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Friday, 15 April 2016

Happy Rama Navami !

Rama Navami brings fond memories of childhood.

Setting up the photo of Lord Rama flanked by Seeta, Lakshmana and Hanuman.

Adorning it with flowers.

Lighting the lamp.

Placing the naivedya of Kosambri and Paanakam to be

offered to God and later partaken by us.

Singing bhajans with parents and sisters.

Looking into Sudhir Phadake’s Geet Ramayan book and

singing songs highlighting the key events in the Ramayana.

My dad always insisted on singing one particular song – the

one in which Rama consoles Bharatha and convinces him to

rule Ayodhya for the 14 years of the vanavaas.

This song is placed in the situation where Bharata 

reaches Rama in the forest and begs him to go back 

to Ayodhya, lamenting over the gross injustice done to 

Him by Kaikeyi and Dasharatha. Rama, in his answer,

consoles Bharata with these words on the ephemeral 

nature of this world and its happenings.

My translation does no justice to the beauty of the Marathi 

(not Sanskrit) poetry…and although it seems like a fatalistic 

take, the poetry is much more than consoles the 

listener to not lose heart but bear the troubles that are 

beyond his control with a stoic attitude…

दैवजात दुःखें भरतां दोष ना कुणाचा

पराधीन आहे जगतीं पुत्र मानवाचा

दोष ना कुणाचा

The living are born to grief, Bharata. It is no one’s fault.

The mortal, son of man, is bound to fate. No one is to blame

जिवासवें जन्मे मृत्यू, जोड जन्मजात

दिसे भासतें तें सारें विश्व नाशवंत

काय शोक करिसी वेड्या, स्वप्निंच्या फळांचा ?

पराधीन आहे जगतीं पुत्र मानवाचा

दोष ना कुणाचा

By birth we are bound to life and death. This world that we 

see and sense is perishable

O crazy one, why do you grieve for the fruits of this dream 


The mortal, son of man, is bound to fate, no one is to blame

जरामरण यांतुन सुटला कोण प्राणिजात ?

दुःखमुक्त जगला का रे कुणी जीवनांत ?

वर्धमान तें तें चाले मार्ग रे क्षयाचा

पराधीन आहे जगतीं पुत्र मानवाचा

दोष ना कुणाचा

Which living being escaped the cycle of ageing and death?

Did anyone live this life free of sorrow?

Every thing in the present is moving towards a gradual 


The mortal, son of man, is bound to fate.

No one is to blame

I didn’t realize it then, but I do now – this song is actually

almost a summary of the philosophical outlook on life that

Sanatana Dharma teaches. Perhaps my dad was particular

about singing this song to draw courage and faith from those

tenets. But whether he intended it or not, in the process, he

ensured that those words sowed the seeds of the same faith

and courage in the innocent minds of his young daughters.

We also learned that there can be great joy in chanting His

Name and surrendering to that is so much beyond

that which wealth can provide.

This is the message of Sage Valmiki to Lava and Kusha when 

he sends them to sing the Ramayana in the court of Lord 


रघुराजाच्या नगरीं जाउन

गा बाळांनो, श्रीरामायण

Travel to the city of King Raghu,

Sing, lads, the chronicle of Rama.

मुनिजन-पूनित सदनांमधुनी

नराधिपांच्या निवासस्थानी

उपमार्गांतुन, राजपथांतुनि

मुक्त दरवळो, तुमचें गायन

In the houses blessed by sages, on the estates of noble people,

On the byways and highways, may your singing freely 


नच स्वीकारा धना कांचना

नको दान रे, नको दक्षिणा

काय धनाचें मूल्य मुनिजनां ?

अवघ्या आशा श्रीरामार्पण

Do not accept money or gold,

Neither donation nor remuneration.

What is the value of wealth to ascetics?

Offer all desires to Shri Rama!

Of all the things they gave us, indeed, the best gift my

parents gave us 6 daughters is the mindset of living a life 

firmly grounded in devotion to God. Through the way they 

lived – and continue to live – in the spirit of “Simple living, 

high thinking, and prayerful doing” they taught us that we 

must perform our duty in the best possible way and yet, 

surrender ourself to His Will.

And every Rama Navami is an occasion to renew that

unspoken pledge to continue on the path that our parents -

aptly named Rama Iyengar and Seetha Lakshmi - showed us!

Happy Rama Navami !


  1. Good one! However, would have been nice to include the meaning / summary for the Sanskrit sloka presented in this article.
    A very apt day to reminisce the memories made with the people you can never ever forget. :)
    The most unforgettable memory for this occasion is the paanakam and prasadam that was served at many junctions of our locality. As kids it was important for us to visit every locality and do a quality check of the refreshments provided. ;)

    1. Indeed, that tradition of roadside celebration of Ram Navami is unique to our city. hanks for pointing out about the meanings, Shilpa...they are Marathi songs and I have now edited the post to give the meanings. Of course, although it helps to convey the meaning, translation takes away the beauty of the original language...but there is nothing we can do about that.

  2. Nice.. But please do include the meaning of the songs

    1. Thanks, Kshama..have included meanings now

  3. Very nice. Your parents Rama & Seeta really showered you all with good "samskara" which I knew while spending time with you. Felt happy reading the lines about your parents.

    1. Thank you, Smitha. Indeed, it is our parents' blessings and teachings that have shaped us into what we are today.

  4. Very interesting perspective on the festival...a personal take..As suggested by others.. The Sanskrit text was over my head. But I'm sure it's quite profound consisting you swear by it... Makes an interesting read.

    1. Thank you. It's Marathi though, not Sanskrit...and by public demand, I have modified the post to reflect the meanings.

  5. Very nice anu. have heard a lot about geet Ramayan but never read it though I have spent all my life in maharashtra.thanks

    1. Thank you, Mythili Maami. Please do make time to listen to it online if not sure you'll love it

  6. Very well written. Very true lines and good u have translated for the benefit of all. God has given you excellent observation and listening skills which has made u very grounded to reality. God likes such people..... rgds, PV

    1. Thank you for your encouraging words and blessings, Venkatesh ji.

  7. Your parents inculcated the real art of living by their way of life and I must add that their daughters are continuing that trend. First heard Geet Ramayan songs from your elder sisters during bhajans and it was captivating even without knowing Marati... And thanks for revealing the apt name of your mother which oddly I didn't know in spite of long association having simply referred her as 'mother'.

    1. Indeed...very well put fact about my parents. And I'm glad to have provided the missing information of my mother's name to you, too :-)


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