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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The pastimes and teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramachandra are described in two chapters of the Srimad Bhagavatam (IX.10-11). Now let us reflect upon these eternally relevant teachings that are both amazing and inspirational to hear.

I.Characteristics of the Ideal King

“Lord Ramachandra was a saintly king of pure character, raja rishi charitah shucih. He took a vow of accepting only one wife. And by His personal example, Sri Rama taught householders how to properly execute their duties.”

II. Characteristics of the Ideal Queen

Shukadeva Goswami describes the sterling qualities of the Queen, Sri Sitadevi: “Sri Sitadevi fully understood the feelings of Her beloved master, bhava jna bhartuh. She was submissive, chaste and shy. By her sweet love, good character and service, Sitadevi fully enchanted the mind of Her Lord.”

III. People Under an Ideal King

The popular term “Rama Rajya” refers to the reality of an ideal kingdom ruled by an ideal king providing peace, happiness and fulfillment to every living entity under his dominion. The phrase appears in the Srimad Bhagavatam (9.10.51), rame rajani.

What were the characteristics of that wonderful world ruled by the King of Kings, Sri Ramachandra?

“Sri Rama protected the citizens exactly like a father. And because the citizens accepted Lord Rama as their father, they performed their social and religious duties very nicely. Although it was Treta, because Lord Rama was a completely religious King, everyone felt they were living in the age of peace and truth, Satya-yuga.”

“No one experienced any type of bodily or mental suffering. Nor did anyone undergo any debility, lamentation, distress, fear or fatigue. And most amazingly, there was no disease, old age or untimely death!”

IV. Nature Under an Ideal King

“The forests, rivers, hills and mountains, the states, and all lands and seas fully supplied for everyone’s needs.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 9.10.50-55)

To conclude his description of rama-rajya, Shukadeva Goswami offers a blessing, phala shruti: “Anyone who hears about the glories of Lord Ramachandra will be freed from envy and be liberated from the bondage of fruitive activities, karma bandha vimuchyate.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 9.11.23)

Raghupati Raghava Raja Rama, Patita Pavana Sita Rama ki jai!

Sri Rama, Jaya Rama, Jaya Jaya Rama ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

It takes a lot of love and trust, in short—faith—to fully give one’s heart to another. And the ultimate expression of faith is the act of surrendering to God, which is the terra firma supporting the kingdom of divine love.

For those who are courageous enough to surrender to God, a vast unlimited fortune awaits. The following verse from Ramayana (Yuddha-kanda 18.33) portrays a very sweet current of love between Bhagavan and bhakta. Here Lord Rama promises to reward His surrendered devotee.

Sri Ramachandraji said, “It is My vow, that I will give permanent fearlessness to anyone who surrenders unto Me and prays, ‘O Rama, I am Yours!’”

sakrd eva prapanno yas, tavasmiti ca yacate,
abhayam sarvada tasmai, dadamy etad vratam mama

Man, tan, dan, Sri Rama samarpana ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

In Hari-bhakti Vilasa (HBV), Srila Sanatana Goswamipada describes the vow to worship Bhagavan Sri Ramachandraji, Sri Rama-navami vrata, in sixty-verses taken from Agastya Samhita and Ramarchana-candrika.

Devotees who are fully absorbed in the primary Krishna bhakti-bhajana of shravana, kirtanam and smaranam need not observe all the details of the many vows and vratas mentioned in Hari-bhakti Vilasa. This book describes vratas for each and every month, for Bhagavan and His various forms, and even for the different seasons..

However, for devotees who are not practicing intense bhajana, such occasional Vaisnava vratas are very useful because they help one remain absorbed in Krishna consciousness. All activities in Krishna bhakti are performed only for the purpose of pleasing Sri Krishna, attracting His glance of mercy and bringing His sweet love into our hearts.

Quoting from (HBV 14.241-301), we will describe the vrata to inspire devotees to do more—serve more, surrender more and make more and more spiritual advancement.

I.What are the benefits?

One becomes purified of material desires, sinful reactions and goes to Vaikuntha. But most importantly, love for Krishna comes in our hand, bhaktis tasya kare sthita! ((HBV 14. 300)

II.What are the Starting Mantras?

“O Raghava (Lord Rama), today for Your pleasure, I WILL FAST FOR 24 HOURS!!!! (sunrise to sunrise), ashta yama. O Lord Hari, please be merciful to me and liberate me.” (HBV 14. 262-266)

III. Procedure of Worship

  1. Rise early, bathe and complete worship before noon. If possible, observe the vrata in sadhu-sanga. Offer full arati to a murti, painting (picture) of Sita-Rama, Laksmana and Hanuman.
  2. Hear Rama-katha about the divya-janma, siksha and lilas of Sri Ramachandraji.
  3. Offer prayers to Sri Rama, play musical instruments and chant Hari Nama-sankirtana. Especially chant the following mantra:

In San Francisco (U.S.A.), 1968, Srila Prabhupada introduced a new chant which was the favorite of Mahatma Sri Gandhiji. Prabhupada personally repeated the words one by one and even spelled them.

Then in his wonderfully rich, love-laden voice, Srila Prabhupada sang so beautifully…

raghupati raghava raja rama, patita-pavana sita-rama

Srila Prabhupada said that these were Lord Rama’s different names, glorifying Sri Rama as the Lord of the Raghu dynasty, the ideal king, the deliverer of the most fallen, and the husband of the most gorgeous goddess of fortune.

IV. Jagarana, remaining awake all night worshiping Sri Rama is suggested, although this may not be feasible for many.

V. A fragrant sweet offering:

“Without being lazy, one should spend his day and night lovingly offering fragrant flowers to Lord Rama every three hours.” (HBV 14.296) Jai Vijaya Rama ki jai!

VI. Breaking the Vrata

Rise early (if you have not done jagarana), offer full arati to Sri Ramachandraji; feed and donate to brahmanas and honor maha-prasadam.

VII. Concluding Prayer

“O Lord Rama, I am breaking my vrata by honoring Your prasadi. May You be fully satisfied with me, and please give me peace and Krishna bhakti.”

tava prasada svikarat, krtam yat paranam maya
vratenanena santushta, svasti bhaktim prayaccha me

Sri Rama Navami Vrata ki jai! Sita-Rama Laksman Hanuman ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!