Rama Setu: Sri Rama in Guru Granth Sahib

http://www.hinduweb.org/home/sikh/rverma/agrawal2.html

Shri Ram in the Guru Granth Sahib

This article is a translation from Hindi of the chapter “Ram” in the book Adi Shri Guru Granth Sahib ki Mahima by Dr. K.P. Agrawal, published by Voice of India. It was translated by M. Shreenivas Somayaji.

The name of God most often lauded in the Granth Sahib, after that of Hari is Ram. Ram, Raja Ram, Raghunath and such other words occur approximately 2500 times in the Granth. In the Ramapurva Tapaneeya Upanishad, the various meanings of the word Rama are explained as follows: “Raajate vaa maheem sthitah san iti Raamah” that is, he who is on the earth and fulfills the deires of his devotees and is hailed as a king, is Rama. In other words, when Sacchidanand or Mahavishnu or Shrihari incarnated in the home of Dasharatha in the family of Raghu, He was named Rama. At whose hands, Rakshasas are destroyed, He is Rama. Or He who renders the Rakshasas powerless in His human form, is Rama. By his ideal behaviour, He guides kings in the way of Dharma. The utterance of His name results in the attainment of the way of Jnana. He grants Vairagya when He is meditated upon. He grants prosperity when his image is worshipped. For these reasons did His name become famous on the earth as Rama. The Vedas say that in fact yogis dwell (Sanskrit: Ram-) in the endless, ever-joyous, self-absorbed Brahma state, and so Parabrahma Universal Soul (Paramatma) is itself described as the Rama state. Thus, although Brahma is self-absorbed, non-dual, undivided and devoid of the five-elemental body, it manifests as a conscious body in order to fulfil the Bhaktas’ desires. For love of the Bhaktas, the Nirakar (formless) Brahma assumes Narakaar (human form).

ghaT ghaT ramaiya ramat rAm rAI gur sabde gur liv lAge (Page 172)
(In every heart Rama is contained. Through the Gurus word, the love for God is contracted. )

nirguN rAmu guNah vasi hoI (page 222)
(Ram, who is without attributes is under the sway of man’s merits. He, who effaces his self-conceit, reflects on the Lord.)

jat kat dekhao tat tat tum hI mohi ihu bisuAsu hoi Aio. kai pahi karau ardAs bentI jau sunto hai raghurAio (Page 205)
(Wherever I look, I find Thee there. I am now firmly convinced of it. Before whom should I make supplication and entreaty, when Raghurai himself is listening to everything.)

rAm ramahu baRaBAgio jal thal mahiali soI nAnak nAmi arAdhi-ai bighanu na lAgai koi (Page 521)
(O ye very fortunate ones, contemplate on Rama, who pervades the ocean, earth and sky. Nanak says, by meditating on the Name, no calamity befalls the mortal.)

The Granth has displayed a fondness for referring to the play of Paramatma on this earth in terms of Rama-avatar and Raja Ram:

jAnI jAnI re rAjA rAm kI kahAnI antari joti rAm pargAsA gurmukhi birlai jAnI (Page 970)
(O my love, I have known the story of the sovereign Rama. Within us Rama’s light shines, but the rare one, by the Guru’s guidance, becomes aware of it. )

The Granth Sahib declares in no uncertain terms that the name of Lord Rama, who took an avatar in the form of a king, is itself true knowledge of God.

rAjA rAm nAmu morA braham giyAnu (Page 1159)
(The Name of Raja Ram is divine knowledge for me.)

ubrat rAjA rAm kI saraNI (Page 215)
(One is saved by seeking the shelter of Raja Ram.)

Nanak Ji regards Raja Ram as more precious than all the wealth of the world. He says:

mAlu khajIna sut bhrAt mIt sabhhuM se piyArA rAm rAje ((Page 454)
(Raja Ram is dearer to me than all the wealth, treasures, son, brother and friend.)

By seeking refuge with such a Raja Ram, even the most sinful become holy. This idea is expressed in the words of Ravidas which are included in the Granth Sahib:

merI jAti kamInI pAti kamInI ochA janamu hamAra tum sarnAgati rAjA rAmcand kahi ravidAs camArA (Page 659)
(My caste is low, my lineage is low, and mean is my birth. I have taken shelter, King Rama, says Ravidas the cobbler.)

A glimpse of Lord Rama’s divine, contemplative, lotus-like face is the very goal of Nanak’s life. He wishes to establish the feet of Rama in his heart, through the grace of saints. He says:

avilokau rAm ko mukhArbind khojat khojat ratanu pAio bisrI sabh cind caran kamal rIdai dhAri, utariA dukhu mand raj dhanu parvAru mere sarbaso gobind sAdh sangami lAbhu pAio nAnak phir na marand (Page 1304)
(I behold the lotus-like countenance of Rama’s face. Searching and seeking, I have found the jewel of the Lord’s Name and am rid of all anxiety. By enshrining the Lord’s feet in my heart, my suffering and foulness is shed. Govind is my dominion, wealth, family and everything. Nanak says, in holy company, I have earned that after which there is no death.)

A detailed description of Rama’s avatarhood was later composed in the form of ‘padAvalIs’ by the poets, and were also included in the Granth. In these verses the poets have also sung the glories of the many Gurus. The reader can easily understand their contents from the verses given below:

raghupati tilaku sundaru dasrath ghari muni banchahi jAki saraNa (Page 1401) (The Guru is honoured as was the Supreme and beautiful Rama, in the house of Dashratha of the Raghava dynasty.)

gAvai jamadagni parasarAmesur kar kuThAr raghu teju hariO udhau akrUru vidaru guNa gAvai sarbAtamu jini jANiO kabi kal sujasu gAvau gur nAnak rAju jogu jini mAnNiO (Page 1389-90)
(His divine praise is sung by Parashurama, the son of Jamadagni, who was divested of his axe and powers by Raghuvira. Udho, Akrur and Bidur chant the glories of Guru Nanak, who had realized God, pervasive in themselves. Kal, the poet, sings the sublime praises of Guru Nanak, who enjoys both the temporal and spiritual empires.)

satjugi tai maNiO ChaliO bali bAvan bhAiO traite tai maNiO rAm raghuvaMsu kahAiO duApari krisan murAri kaMsu kirtarthu kiO ugrasaiN ka-u rAju amai bhagataha jan dIO kalijugi pramANu nAnak guru angadu amaru kahAiO (Page 1390)
(In Satyayuga, you sported as the dwarf incarnation, and fooled Bali. In Treta, you enjoyed being called Rama of the Raghu dynasty. In Dvapara, becoming Krishna, you killed the demon Mura, and delivered Kamsa. You bestowed the kingdom on Ugrasen, and the state of abhaya (fearlessness) on Your devotees. In the Kali yuga, you are called the Accepted Gurus Nanak, Angad and Amar.)

manahi na kIjai rosu jamahi na dIjai dosu nirmal nirbAN padu cInhi lIjai jasrath rAi nandu rAjA merA rAmcandu praNavai nAmA tatu rasu amritu pIjai (Page 973)
(Do not feel offended in thy mind and attribute not blame to Yama. Contemplate the immaculate dignity of salvation. Namdev prays, my Sovereign Lord is Ramachandra, son of King Dashrath. I quaff the essence of the immortalizing elixir.)

In India (Bharatvarsh) Ramrajya has always been an ideal for the welfare of the people. This is because it was during Rama’s reign that mankind, and even the animal world, was free of the three kinds of suffering – bodily, physical and supernatural. The Granth Sahib has this to say of the ideal of Ramrajya:

rAkhanhAr apAr prabh tA kI nirmal sev rAm rAj rAmdAspuri kInhe gurdev (Page 817)
(The Lord is the Infinite Preserver. Pure is His service. The Divine Guru has established RamRajya in the city of Ram Das.)

Then is it surprising that Nanak ji would recommend to everyone to seek refuge at Rama’s feet, or command them to sing the name of Rama ?

rAjA rAm kI sarNaI nirbha-u bha-e gobind gun gAvat sAdh sangi dukhu jA-i (Page 899)
(I have sought the shelter of King Rama. I have become free of fear by singing the praise of Govind, and in holy company pain goes away.)

But how is Rama to be worshipped, so that He can be attained ? The Granth Sahib answers this question as follows:

rAm japahu ji-u aise aise dhrU prahilad japi-O hari jaise (Page 337)
(As Dhruv and Prahlad meditated on Hari, so do thou, o my self, contemplate on Rama.)

Rama will dwell in the heart only when the heart is completely purified:

bikhi-A ajahu surati sukh AsA kaise ho-IhaiM rAjA rAm nivAsA (Page 330)
(Man is intent on sin, still he hopes for happiness. How shall he find an abode in Raja Ram ?)

When God Himself takes the responsibility of protecting the devotee, everything becomes full of joy:

ho-I rAje rAm kI rakhvAlI sukh sahaj Anand guN gAvahu manu tanu deha sukhAlI (Page 620)
(King Rama has given us protection. With peace, equipoise and joy, I sing the Lord’s praise. My mind, body and human frame are at ease.)

Singing the boundless glory of Ramnam, the Granth Sahib says:

rAm nAmu hari bheTi-ai hari rAmai nAmi samAvaigO jo jo japai so-I gati pAvai jI-u dhr prahilAdu samAvaigo (Page 1309)
(By meeting with Rama’s Name, one gets absorbed in RamNam. Whoever meditates on Him, is emancipated and merges in the Lord like Dhruv and Prahlad.)

jIvatu rAm ke guNa gA-i karahu kripA gopAl bIThule bisari na kabahi jA-i (Page 1223) (I live by singing the praises of Rama. O Gopal, show grace unto me, that I may never forget You.)

sAlgrAm bipa puji manAvahU sukritu tulasI mAlA rAm nAmu japi beRA bAMdh-hU da-i-A karahu da-i-AlA bagule te phuni haMsulA hovai je tU karahi da-i-AlA praNavati nAnaku dAsnidAsA da-i-A karahu da-i-AlA (Page 1171)
(O Brahmin, you worship and propitiate the stone-god and deem it a good act to wear the rosary of sweet basil. Build thou the ship of meditiation of Rama’s Name and pray to the gracious Lord for grace. O Lord, if you be graceful, the heron turns into a swan. Nanak, the slave of Thy slaves, humbly supplicates, Gracious Lord, show grace. )

mAnga-u rAm te iku dAnu sagal manorath pUran hovahi simara-u tumrA nAmu (Page 682)
(I ask one boon from Rama. By meditating on Thy Name, all my desires are fulfilled.)

devA pAhan tArI-ale, rAm kahat jan kas na tare tArI le gaNikA binu rUp kubijA bi-Adhi ajAmilu tArI-ale dAsI sut janu bidaru sudAmA ugrasaiN ka-u rAj dI-ai japahIn tapahIn kulahIn kramahIn nAme su-AmI te-U tare (Page 345)
(God has caused the stones to float. Why should not I, Thy slave, float by repeating Thine Name? Thou hast saved Ganika and the hunch-back, and has caused the hunter and Ajamil to swim across. The man-slayer, who shot Krisha in the foot, even he was emancipated. Thou savedst Sudama and slave Vidur, son of a hand-maiden, and gave sovereignty to Ugrasen. Nam Dev’s Lord has saved those without devotion, without penance, without good family lineage and without good acts.)

giri tar jal ju-AlA bhai rAkhiO rAjA rAm mA-iyA pherI (Page 1165) (Though he (Prahlad) was thrown down a mountain, a tree, put into water, and fire and subjected to the fear of death, Rama did always save him.)

In this terrible Kaliyuga, the Granth Sahib says, the only support is the name of Rama. This is also the verdict of the sages and seers. According to the Granth Sahib, a being (individual) has only one thing to do, and that is to take the name of Rama, and take the name hundreds of thousands of times.

ucarahu rAm nAm lakhbArI (Page 194)
(Utter thou the name of Rama a hundred thousand times.)

veda purAn simrit sudhAkhyar kIne rAm nAm ik Akhyar (Page 262)
(The Vedas, Puranas and Smritis, which are accepted as Holy Word, have all grown out of the sole Name of Rama.)

caturathi cAre veda suNi sodhiO tatu bIcAru sarab khem kali-AN nidhi rAm nAmu japi sAru (Page 297)
(Hearing the Vedas and pondering over their reality, I have ascertained that the sublime meditation of Rama’s Name, is the treasure of all the joys and comforts. )

sasatra beda sodhi sodhi dekhe muni nArad bacan pukAre rAm nAmu paRahu gati pAvahu sat sangati guri nistAre (Page 983)
(The six Shastras and the four Vedas, I have carefully searched and seen. Narad, the silent sage, also utters the same words. That in the company of the holy and by the Guru’s grace, man is emancipated and delivered by uttering Rama’s Name.)

kaljug mahi rAm nAmu urdhAru (Page 1129)
(In this dark Age, enshrine thou Rama’s Name in thy heart.)

kaljug mahi rAm nAmu sAru (Page 1130)
(In this Dark Age, devotion to Rama’s Name is sublime and pure.)

Guru Nanak is so delighted by the praise of Lord Rama that he breaks out into song: rAm nAm gun gAvahu hari prItam updesi sukhu hota hari hare hari hare hare bhaju rAm rAm rAm sabh sisTi dhAr hari tum kirpAl kartA sabhu tU tU tU rAm rAm rAm jan nAnako sarNAgati dehu gurmati bhaju rAm rAm rAm (Page 1297)
(By singing the praise of the Name of Rama, according to the teaching of the Great Guru, one is blessed with peace. So meditate on Ram, Ram, Ram. O merciful Hari, You cherish the whole world, and You, You and You alone, Rama, are the Creator of All. Slave Nanak seeks shelter. Bless him with the Guru’s teaching so that he may reflect over Rama’s Name.)

We are all familiar with this verse composed by Guru Tegh Bahadur: rAm simar rAm simar ihai teri kAji hai… rAm bhaju rAm bhaju janamu sirAtu hai (Page 1352)
(Contemplate Rama, contemplate Rama, O man. This alone shall be of avail to thee…. Meditate on Rama, meditate on Rama, your life is passing away.)

In the final words of the Granth Sahib, on page 1429, Guru Nanak says in mysterious, moving and inspiring words:

sang sakhA sabh taji ga-e ko-u na nibahi-O sAth kahu nAnak iha bipat mai Tek ek raghnAth
(My companions and friends have all left me. None has remained with me to the last. Nanak says, in this calamity, Raghunath is my only support.)

The tenth Guru Shri Govind Singh Maharaj has devoted a whole composition “Ramavtar” to the story of the complete avatar of God in the form of Rama. It comprises of 864 verses. Towards the end of the poem, in the 859th verse, the Guru writes these beautiful words to describe the fruits of reading the story of Rama:

jo yah kathA sune aru gAvai, dukh pAp tih nikaT na Avai, Vishan Bhagat kI ai phal ho-I, Adhi vyAdhi chavai sake na ko-I
(Whoever listens to and sings this story, will be free of sin and sorrow. The fruits of devotion to Vishnu are that disease and pain will never affect the devotee.)

Transliteration scheme:
Indic words have been transcribed as in their popular spelling when they occur in the middle of English text. The quotations have been transliterated as follows: Capital letters indicate long vowels or retroflex (cerebral) consonants. “M” stands for a nasalization. Two adjacent vowels, not separated by a hyphen, are to be read as a diphthong.

Reference:
The English translation of the verses quoted (given in brackets) have been taken from the “Shri Guru Granth Sahib” by Pritam Singh Chahil, with a minimum of editing. Unlike the learned translator, the present tranlator has chosen to retain “Saguna” words for the divine, as in the original. For example, the word “Ram” in the Adi Granth has often been translated as “Lord” in Shri Chahil’s tranlation. In this article, “Ram”, “Raghunath” etc. are left unchanged.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: