Friday 31 December 2021

The Procedure of reciting Sri Ramcharitmanas

Those who offer to undertake the recitation of Sri Ramcharitmanas according to the correct procedure should first invoke and worship Gosvami Tulasidas, the sage Valmiki, Lord Siva, and Sri Hanuman. Then they should invoke Sri SitaRam, the divine couple. The seeker should then invoke the three divine brothers of Sri Ram, and offer them worship, meditate on them. After that they may commence the reading / recitation of the text.

As I read the text, I noticed that the invocations were quite specific in where each of the invited deities were offered a seat. There was so much to learn, less through observation, more through understanding. I am sure there is a reason why Gosvami Tulasidas has been offered seating in the South West. Most likely it is because he will then be able to face North – East.

I am also sure that this knowledge needs to impact how we set our altars when doing the recitation of the book. However, I also understand that in modern day houses, it may not always be possible to arrange the altars in the prescribed way. I am also aware that most of us do not even have the time and the energy to understand the Vaastu behind these arrangements.

That said, one thing that I have absolute faith in, is the fact that no matter the arrangement, no matter the errors one might make, no matter the things one might do right, and as prescribed; in the end it’s all about surrender. Surrender, as beloved Krishna Das once said to me in one of his video calls, is all about grace. One cannot seek grace, one cannot even hope for grace, one cannot surrender, because when one does all of that, there’s the ego present, and then one is no longer in surrender. Surrender instead happens, grace happens. It happens out of the divine will, and for no other reason at all.

So, with this intent, this hope, and this prayer, we invoke Gosvami Tulsidas to accept our obeisance and a seat in the South-West, and the Sage Valmiki to accept homage and a seat in the North East. We invoke Lord Siva to accept homage and a seat in the South – East.

We invoke Lord Lakshman with Devi Urmila to accept the Southern quarter of the altar, for Lord Satrughna with Devi Srutkirti to accept the Western quarter of the altar, for Lord Bharat with Devi Mandavi to accept the Northern quarter of the Altar. We invoke them to accept our humble obeisance and homage.

We invoke Sri Hanuman to please occupy the Eastern quarter of the altar and accept our obeisance and homage.

One might wonder why we invoke the eternal ‘Sahchars’ and the scholars before we invoke the Lord. Part of it is of course about the prescribed procedure; the remaining is a part of the intent. When one aspires to seek the blessings of the divine couple Sri SitaRam as their principal deity; one seeks blessings from their eternal friends, holy saints, Gurus, and other glorious Vaishnavas.

Hence, after one invokes the other deities, one then meditates on the beauty of the Supreme Deity, and then offered the seat on the altar, surrounded by all other deities. After that, the Deity should be worshipped with the 16-fold paraphernalia, as prescribed in the scriptures.

After this, there's the aachamanam, the karanyas, the hridyadianganyas, and the dhyaanam, like one would do for any strota, or even kavacha. 

We now embark on the journey through Manasas our limited human consciousness may take us through. Gratitude to Goswami Tulasidas ji for blessing the humankind through this esoteric text called Sri Ramacharitmanas.


© Anupama 2021


Mangalacharan 4

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