Garuḍa's 7 Questions
The Seven Questions of Garuḍa
Tulasīdās concludes his Rāmacaritamānasa with a conversation between Garuḍa, the king of birds, carrier of Śrī Viṣṇu and Kākabhuśuṇḍi the enlightened sage in the body of a crow.
The fact that Garuḍa goes to a crow for spiritual instruction is profoundly symbolic. A seeker of wisdom must be prepared to learn from any qualified source, and a teacher must not be judged by outward appearance or social status. It is the content of the teacher's wisdom and spiritual enlightment that matters.
The dialogue between Garuḍa and Kākabhuśuṇḍi focuses on the nature of God, and the path of love. At one point in the conversation, Garuḍa places seven questions before his eloquent teacher. His questions deal with the value and purpose of human existence, the greatest pain, the highest pleasure, the differences between good and evil, the highest virtue, the worst sin and the diseases of the mind. These questions and answers are analyzed and discussed.
पुनि सप्रेम बोलेउ खगराऊ । जौं कृपाल मोहि ऊपर भाऊ ॥
प्रथमहिं कहहु नाथ मतिधीरा । सब ते दुर्लभ कवन सरीरा ॥
Tell me, first of all, my compassionate master, which embodied form of all is the most difficult to obtain?
संत असंत मरम तुम्ह जानहु । तिन्ह कर सहज सुभाव बखानहु ॥
You know the essential characteristics of the saints and the evil-minded (sinner); therefore, describe their innate disposition.
मानस रोग कहहु समुझाई । तुम्ह सर्बग्य कृपा अधिकाई ॥
Further tell me in unambiguous terms the diseases of the mind, omniscient as you are and richly endowed with compassion.
Listen, dear Garuda, with reverence and rapt attention while I tell you briefly my views on these questions.
Kākabhuśuṇḍi happily answers these questions and says:
नर तन सम नहिं कवनिउ देही । जीव चराचर जाचत तेही ॥
There is no other embodied form as good as the human body: every living creature, whether animate or inanimate, craves for it. The human body is the ladder that takes the soul either to hell or to heaven. Only this human body provides the opportunity to attain Self-Realization, Renunciation and Devotion and is the bestower of blessings in the form of wisdom, dispassion and final Salvation.
सो तनु धरि हरि भजहिं न जे नर । होहिं बिषय रत मंद मंद तर ॥
Men who fail to adore Sri Hari even after obtaining this human body, and wallow in the basest sensual pleasures, throw away the philosopher’s stone from the palm of their hand and take bits of glass in exchange for the same.
नहिं दरिद्र सम दुख जग माहीं । संत मिलन सम सुख जग नाहीं ॥
There is no misery in this world as terrible as poverty and no blessing as great as communion with saints. Beneficence in thought, word and deed is the innate disposition of saints, O king of birds. A Saint always does good to others in his thoughts, deeds and words and this is their natural habit.
संत सहहिं दुख पर हित लागी । पर दुख हेतु असंत अभागी ॥
The saints undergo suffering in the interest of others while impious wretches (sinner's) do so with a view to tormenting others. Tender-hearted saints, like the birch tree, submit to the greatest torture (even allow their skin to be peeled off) for the good of others.
सन इव खल पर बंधन करई । खाल कढाई बिपति सहि मरई ॥
While the wicked, like the hemp, have their skin flayed off and perish in agony in order to be able to bind others (in the form of cords). Listen, O Garuḍa, like the rat and the serpent, the wicked injure others without any gain to themselves.
पर संपदा बिनासि नसाहीं । जिमि ससि हति हिम उपल बिलाहीं ॥
Having destroyed others prosperity they perish themselves, even as the hail dissolves after destroying the crop. The elevation of the wicked, like the rising of a comet (Ketu) -which is a detestable heavenly body- is a source of calamity to the world.
संत उदय संतत सुखकारी । बिस्व सुखद जिमि इंदु तमारी ॥
The advancement of a saint, on the other hand, is ever conducive to joy, even as the rising of the sun and the moon bring delight to the whole universe. A vow of non-violence is the highest religious merit known to the Vedas; and there is no sin as grievous as speaking ill of others.
हर गुर निंदक दादुर होई । जन्म सहस्र पाव तन सोई ॥
A reviler of Lord Hara and his own preceptor takes the form of a frog (after his death) and his birth in that form is repeated a thousand times. A reviler of the Brāhmaṇas, after suffering tortures in a number of hells, is born on earth in the form of a crow.
सुर श्रुति निंदक जे अभिमानी । रौरव नरक परहिं ते प्रानी ॥
Those conceited persons who revile the gods and the Vedas are cast into the hell known as Raurava. They who delight in vilifying the saints are reborn as owls, who love the night of delusion and for whom the sun of wisdom has set.
सब कै निंदा जे जड़ करहीं । ते चमगादुर होइ अवतरहीं ॥
The fools who censure all are reborn as bats. Note now, venerable Garuḍa, the diseases of the mind, from which everyone suffers.
मोह सकल ब्याधिन्ह कर मूला । तिन्ह ते पुनि उपजहिं बहु सूला ॥
Infatuation is the root of all ailments and from these again arise many other troubles. Lust is a counterpart of wind (वात) and inordinate greed corresponds to an abundance of phlegm; while anger represents bile (पित्त), which constantly burns the breast. Moha (illusion) is the root cause of all maladies and it generates many other troubles like kāma, krodha, lobha, mada and mātsarya—lust, anger, greed, pride and envy.
प्रीति करहिं जौं तीनिउ भाई । उपजइ सन्यपात दुखदाई ॥
Should all these three combine, there results what is known as Sannipāta (a derangement of the aforesaid three humours of the body, causing fever which is of a dangerous nature). The cravings for the manifold pleasures of the sense, so difficult to realize, are the various distempers (diseases), which are too numerous to name.
ममता दादु कंडु इरषाई । हरष बिषाद गरह बहुताई ॥
The feeling of mineness corresponds to ringworms, envy represents itches while joy and grief correspond to a disease of the throat marked by an excessive enlargement of its glands. Grudging contemplation of others happiness represents consumption; while wickedness and perversity of mind correspond to leprosy.
अहंकार अति दुखद डमरुआ । दंभ कपट मद मान नेहरुआ ॥
Egotism is a counterpart of the most painful gout; while hypocrisy, deceit, arrogance and pride correspond to the disease known as Dracontiasis (which is marked by the presence in the body of a parasite known as the guinea-worm). Thirst for enjoyment represents the most advanced type of dropsy; while the three types of craving (those for progeny, riches and honour;) correspond to the violent quartan ague.
जुग बिधि ज्वर मत्सर अबिबेका । कहँ लगि कहौं कुरोग अनेका ॥ १९ ॥
Jealousy and thoughtlessness are the two types of fever.
कथा समस्त भुसुंड बखानी । जो मैं तुम्ह सन कही भवानी ॥
In this way Kākabhuśuṇḍi narrated the whole story as I have told you, Bhavānī. When he heard the whole of Śrī Rāma's narrative, Garuḍa's mind was filled with rapture and he spoke as follows:
गयउ मोर संदेह सुनेउँ सकल रघुपति चरित ।
My doubts have gone, now that I have heard the whole of Śrī Rāma's episodes. And by your grace, O best of crows, I have developed devotion to Śrī Rāma's feet. (68 A)
विनिश्चितं वदामि ते न अन्यथा वचांसि मे।
I tell You the well-established principle and my words can never be untrue: men who worship Śrī Rāma are able to cross the most turbulent ocean of mundane existence.(122 C)
कहेउँ नाथ हरि चरित अनूपा। ब्यास समास स्वमति अनुरूपा॥
I have narrated, my lord, the incomparable story of Śrī Hari according to my own comprehension, somewhere briefly and somewhere in detail. The conclusion of the Vedas, O Garuḍa, enemy of serpents, is just this: relinquishing all other duties, Śrī Rāma alone should be adored. (122-1)
जासु नाम भव भेषज हरन घोर त्रय सूल ।
He whose name is an unfailing remedy for the disease of birth and death and alleviates the three kinds of terrible pain ññmay that gracious Lord remain ever propitious both to me and to you. (124 A)
सुनि भुसुंडि के बचन सुभ देखि राम पद नेह।
On hearing Bhuśuṇḍi's blessed discourse and perceiving his devotion to Śrī Rāma's feet, Garuḍa, who was now rid of all doubt, submitted in endearing terms: (124 B)
कृतकृत्य भयउँ तव बानी । सुनि रघुबीर भगति रस सानी ॥
I have attained the object of my life now that I have listened to your discourse, imbued with the nectar of Devotion to Śrī Rāma's feet. My love for Śrī Rāma's feet has been renewed and the delusion created by Māyā (the Lordís deluding potency) has all ended. (1)
मोह जलधि बोहित तुम्ह भए । मो कहँ नाथ बिबिध सुख दए ॥
You have been a vessel to me, drifting as I was in the ocean of infatuation and have gratified me in various ways, my lord. I am, however, incapable of repaying my obligation to you and simply adore your feet again and again. (2)
पूरन काम राम अनुरागी । तुम्ह सम तात न कोउ बड़भागी ॥
You are fully satiated and a lover of Śrī Rāma; no one is so blessed as you, venerable Sir. Saints, trees, rivers, mountains and the earth, all these operate for the good of others. (3)
संत हृदय नवनीत समाना । कहा कबिन्ह परि कहै न जाना ॥
The poets have declared the heart of a saint to be soft as butter; but they haven’t said the true thing. For, while butter melts only when it gets heat to itself, the holy saints melt at the suffering of others. (4)
जीवन जन्म सफल मम भयऊ । तव प्रसाद संसय सब गयऊ ॥
My life and birth into this world have both been rewarded and by your grace all my doubts have disappeared. Ever regard me as your own servant.
Again and again did Garuḍa, the chief of the birds, speak thus, O Umā. (5)
कलिजुग जोग न जग्य न ग्याना । एक अधार राम गुन गाना ॥
Goswami Tulsidas Ramcharitmanas Hindi-English Edition
Ramacharitamanasa is the most excellent piece of work in Hindi literature. Sri Ramacharitamanasa of Goswami Tulasidas enjoys a unique place among the classics of the world literature. It is one of the best poems of the world. This book is an excellent specimen of ideal duties of a sovereign, ideal household life, ideal conjugal life and other ideal rights of human beings. It is quite impossible to find some other literary work in the world which contains highest level of devotion, knowledge, renunciation, dispassion etc. The book represents the wonderful example of divine sport displayed by the Lord in human form. It is universally accepted by all classes of people.
Reverently recitation of the verses of this book, and acting upon the instructions as given in the book make human beings able to attain divine bliss, there is no doubt about it. Gita Press has published this book in various sizes King-size, voluminous, in book size, medium size, and small size (manual). Sri Ramacharitamanasa published from Gita Press is considered to be authentic as there is no interpolation in it. Procedure of recitation of verses, brief biography of Goswamiji, the composer, and the Arati song have been given in all the editions of Ramacharitamanasa. The presence of a copy of Sri Ramacharitamanasa published from Gita Press in each and every home at least in India is a beautiful example of its popularity.
Srila Prabhupada regarding Rama-Carita-Manasa and its author poet Tulsi das
Regarding the two books you have mentioned, Sri Ramacharitamanasa by Goswami Tulasi das is not very authorized, and Ramayana is authorized. One thing is though, you have got enough other books to study. Did you appear in the examination held on Janmastami Day? Why should you go to Ramayana when you have got Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam and Teachings of Lord Caitanya? Don't divert your attention in that way. The author of Ramacharitamanasa, Goswami Tulasi das, has a tint of Mayavadi philosophy. He belongs to the Ramananda Sampradaya. They are mixed up combination of personalist and impersonalist. Therefore, the author is not considered as pure Vaisnava. Pure Vaisnava is free from all material contamination of fruitive activities and mental speculation. The pure Vaisnava is simply, purely disposed to transcendental loving service to Krishna. The pure Vaisnava rejects anything which has no pure idea of serving the Personality of Godhead. Letters : 1969 Correspondence : September : Letter to: Raktaka -- Hamburg 6 September, 1969 : 69-09-06 :
Srila Prabhupāda: Yes, that is wanted. They want āśīrvāda. Just like so many people come, āśīrvāda. "You are a saintly person, you give me āśīrvāda so my material happiness may increase. I am not interested with the spiritual knowledge. Give me blessing so that for nothing I get, upgrade my material opulence." This is their... So those Tulasīdāsa readers, they are like that. They want material opulence. Ārto-arthārthī, arthārthī, want some material benefit. They chant Tulasīdāsa's Rāma-carita-mānasa for some material benefit. They're not interested in the spiritual advancement. Nobody. That Delhi temple where they have paṇḍita? I'm forgetting his name. (Conversations : 1976 Conversations : August, 1976 : Room Conversation -- August 21, 1976, Hyderabad : 760821rc.hyd)
Srila Prabhupāda: Why? Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava has immense literature. Why they should bother with Tulasīdāsa? By reading Tulasīdāsa's Rāma-carita-mānasa in my experience I've not seen a single man has come to the spiritual platform. I have not seen a single man. ] (Conversations : 1976 Conversations : August, 1976 : Room Conversation -- August 21, 1976, Hyderabad : 760821rc.hyd )
Srila Prabhupada: …So this verse... Our, this respectable Indian lady, she will begin Rāmāyana... This Tulasī, actually it is not Rāmāyaṇa. It is called Rāma-carita-manasa. Rāmāyaṇa means Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, but people have taken it as Rāmāyaṇa. Actually, Tulasī dāsa has expressed his own feelings about his devotion to Lord Rāma, and therefore he has named it Rāma-carita-manasa, his mind full with service attitude for Lord Rāma. That is the real meaning of this book. But people have misinterpreted; they are going on just it is Rāmāyaṇa. And Rāmāyaṇa, of course, anywhere where Rāma's activities are described, that is called Rāmāyaṇa. That is another sense. But real Rāmāyaṇa means the Rāmāyaṇa composed by Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa. Rāmāyaṇa composed by Maharṣi Vālmīki. And this is... It is a popular notion that this is Rāmāyaṇa, but actually this book is called Rāma-carita-manasa. So some of the description of Rāma are there, but not all the description. Rather there are many differences from the original Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa. Anyway this is song of a devotee for his Lord Rāma. In that sense, you can call it Rāmāyaṇa, but this book is actually Rāma-carita-manasa. (Lectures : Festival Lectures : Radhastami, Srimati Radharani's Appearance Day -- Montreal, August 30, 1968 : 680830RA.MON)
Srila Prabhupada; To effect the perfection of human life there is cooperation between men and demigods, sages, denizens of the Pitṛloka, devotees of the Lord and the scientific system of varṇa and āśrama orders of life. The distinction between human life and animal life therefore begins with the scientific system of varṇa and āśrama, guided by the experience of the sages in relation with the demigods, gradually rising to the summit of reestablishing our eternal relation with the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. When God-made varṇāśrama-dharma, which is strictly meant for developing animal consciousness into human consciousness and human consciousness into godly consciousness, is broken by advancement of foolishness, the whole system of peaceful and progressive life is at once disturbed. In the age of Kali, the first attack of the venomous snake strikes against the God-made varṇāśrama-dharma, and thus a person properly qualified as a brāhmaṇa is called a śūdra, and a śūdra by qualification is passing as a brāhmaṇa, all on a false birthright claim. To become a brāhmaṇa by a birthright claim is not at all bona fide, although it may be a fulfillment of one of the conditions. But the real qualification of a brāhmaṇa is to control the mind and the senses, and to cultivate tolerance, simplicity, cleanliness, knowledge, truthfulness, devotion and faith in the Vedic wisdom. In the present age, consideration of the necessary qualification is being neglected, and the false birthright claim is being supported even by a popular, sophisticated poet, the author of Rāma-carita-mānasa. (Books : Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 1:"Creation" : SB 1.16: How Pariksit Received the Age of Kali : SB 1.16.31 : PURPORT)