The Rainy Season in Ramcharitmanas: By Aparna Sharma
Monsoon in India is like Gods brought down on earth- lending color and life to this land both in the realm of life, and in the realm of its emotional and religious ethos. The first monsoon showers breathing life and love into the parched earth and the waters reflecting the clouds and the sky above – all these reflect life, in its sheer fullness, reflected on life, so that life may know itself more fully.
Perhaps, one of the most enthralling descriptions of the rainy season appears in the ‘Ramcharitmanas’ by Goswami Tulsidas.
Lord Ram, while in exile, spends a few months on the Prabarasana hill before journeying to Lanka to rescue Sita. Seated in a cave with only haystack as a cushion on a stony bench, Lord Ram gives an intimate discourse to his brother Lakshman on seasons as they pass by.
The beautiful, lyrical description not only touches the exquisiteness of the rainy season in the physical sense, but also lends a metaphorical meaning to it. The lines below are taken from Kishkindha Kaand and are intrinsically linked to our experiences in life.
(A marvelous musical version of the same is rendered by the singers Umakant & Ramakant Gundecha in the Times Music album Bhaktimala- Rama)
घन घमंड नभ गरजत घोरा प्रिया हीन डरपत मन मोरा
Ghan Ghamand Nabha Garajat Ghora, Priya Heen Darapat Mann Morã
The dark clouds thunder terribly in the sky
Bereft of the Beloved my heart trembles
दामिनि दमक रह न धन माहीं खल कै प्रीति जथा थिर नाहीं
Daamini Damak RahaN Ghan Maahi Khala Kai Priti Jathaa Thir Nãhi.
The lightning flashes fitfully amid the clouds,
The way the love of the wicked is never stable or enduring
बरषहिं जलद भूमि निअराएँ जथा नवहिं बुध विद्या पाएँ
Barashahi Jalad Bhumi Niaraé, Jatha Navahi Budh Bidyã Pae
The pouring rain clouds hover low, so close to the ground,
Like the sages humbled with the knowledge they have realized
बूंद अघात सहहिं गिरि कैसे खल के बचन संत सह जैसें
Boond Aghaat SahahiN Giri Kaisé, Khala Ke Bachan Sant Sahae Jaisé..
How the mountains endure the assault of the piercing raindrops
The way saints endure the scathing words of the evil
क्षुद्र नदीं भर चलीं तोराई जस थोरेहुँ धन खल इतराई
Kshudra Nadi Bhar Chali Torâi, Jas Thorehu Dhan Khal Itarãi.
The little, frivolous streams overflow, gushing with speed,
Just as the evil puff up even with a small fortune
भूमि परत भा ढाबर पानी जनु जीवहि माया लपटानी
Bhoomi Parata Bhá Dhaabar Pani, Janu Jivahi Maya Lapatani
The water becomes turbid the moment it descends on earth,
just as the way Jiva (embodied soul) is wrapped in illusion (Maya) on the earth
समिटि समिटि जल भरहिं तलावा जिमि सदगुन सज्जन पहिं आवा
Samiti Samiti Jal Bharahi Talava, Jimi Sadagun Sajjan Pahi Ávã
The water comes from various directions gathers into ponds
just as naturally as virtues come into the hearts of the noble
सरिता जल जलनिधि महुँ जाई होइ अचल जिमि जिव हरि पाई
The water of the stream becomes still once they pour into the Ocean,
just as the Jiva (soul) finds eternal rest on attaining union with Hari
May this Monsoon season bring that eternal rest to every seeker’s search.
Nobody summarizes this better than Rabindranath Tagore:
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”