Mangalacharan = Mangal + Acharan
Unlike the common western traditions, almost all Hindu sects that follow the Theistic tradition of thought where the Supreme Personality of the Godhead is different from us Humans, the teachers always begin with a Mangalacharan.
Mangal means aupicious and Acharan loosely means behavior. So, culturally, we are driven towards auspicious behavior. Before starting any activity, be it writing a book, or giving a talk, doing the regular – deity worship, or any other puja or ritual, Mangalacharan is something that Acharyas ensure.
It’s thus easy to understand why Goswami Tulasidas begins his poetic epic with what he thinks is auspicious behavior. Also, it’s not difficult to predict what auspicious behavior would really be. It is auspicious to be blessed by the Goddess of wisdom, by the God of Auspiciousness, by the God and Goddess that personify trust and belief and then by the very Hero and Heroine whose leela Goswamiji offers to narrate.
It is interesting to see that while the concept of ‘Mangal’ does not leave one with a lot of options for synonyms. It is a feeling that’s combined with blessing, exaltation, good, boon and so much more all combined.
It is also interesting to note that Goswamiji will repeatedly bring up the motif of Mangal through out the text. Auspicious is what auspicious does – which is Sri Goswami Maharaj’s Mangal Bhawan or Sri Ramchandra and Devi Sita.
On this note, Mangalacharan is carried out immediately after the invocations and hence Gowamiji pleads some of the most prominent deities to bless him in his endeavour to narrate his Lord’s mahakatha.
© Anupama 2016