Katha Chopais

Je na mitr dukh hohi dukhari | Tinhi bilokit paatak bhari ||
Nij dukh giri sam raj kari jaanaa | Mitrak dukh raj meru samaanaa ||

One would incur great sin by the very sight of those who are not distressed to see the distress of a friend.

A man should regard his own mountain-like troubles as of no more account than a mere grain of sand, while the troubles of a friend should appear to him like mount sumeru though really they may be as trifling as a grain of sand

Katha Translations

Ram Charit Manas gives vishram (peace) and param Vishram (supreme peace). Each of its seven kaands exemplifies one main thought. If we eliminate the following thoughts, then we too can experience param vishram.

  1. Baal Kaand – AanaashrayaIf a sadhak eliminate annaashraya, then this is the first step to attain param vishram. An example in this kaand is when Maa Uma / Bhagwati Bhavani tells Sapt (Seven) Rishis that she will marry no other than Shanker in each of her births.
  2. Ayodhya Kaand – PadaashrayaEliminate pada and partishtha (fame) aashraya (shelter/dependence) to attain param vishram
  3. Aaranya Kaand – Dharm (Duty/Religion) /Karam (Karama) ka aashrayaIndividuals should eliminate Dharm and Karama’s aashraya. Moksh (Salvation) is just that – When an individual eliminates Dharm, Arth (greed/money) and Kaam (lust), they become Mukt (free) and attain Nirvaan (Salvalation).
  4. Kiskinda Kaand – Bal (Strength) ka AashrayaOne should tyag (Let go off) ones bal (strength) ka ashraya
  5. Sunder Kaand – Devta AashrayaAashraya of various Devta (demi gods) should be eliminated
  6. Lanka Kaand – Aashraya of Jartaa (Rigidity/Stubburn) / moodta (Ignorance)One should not be stubborn
  7. Uttar Kaand – Aashraya of Gyan (Knowledge)(a) Eliminating aashraya of gyan has two meanings.(b) Staying away from the pride of having knowledge Being Free from knowledge with prem (love) and Bhakti (devotion)

If the above seven are eliminated, then one can attain Param Vishram

The topic is about how our Maitri (Friendship) should be. There are eight panktis (lines) which thoroughly describe Mitra (Friend), thus this is called “Manas Mitraashtak”

A Mitra (Friend) is not just a friend like we have in college. We can also consider God our Mitra, just like Arjun did. Relationships like Guru-Shishya, Bhakt-Bhagwan, Husband – Wife, Neighbour – Neighbour, Father – Son, Sadhu – Sadhu and many others are all considered friendships.

There are 3 important mitras of Ram in the Ram Charit Manas

  1. Guha Nishad Raj
  2. Sugriv
  3. Vibhishan

In the larger scope, Ram is actually a mitra of everyone.

Hanumanji has five mukh’s:

  1. Paschim (facing west) – Garud mukh
  2. Dakshin (facing south) – Narsingh mukh
  3. Purva (facing east) – Vanar mukh
  4. Uttar (facing north) – Varah mukh
  5. Urdhva – Ashva (horse) mukh

Today, let us look at the first line of this ashtak:

Je na mitr dukh hohi dukhari | Tinhi bilokit paatak bhari ||

(kiskindha Kand – Doha 7 – 1st chaupai)

If a mitra does not get dukhi (sad) by seeing the dukh (sorrows) of another friend, then looking at the mitra is a bhayankar (enormous) paap (sin). For example, if you do not feel sorrow when seeing another friend who is sad, then looking at you becomes a sin.

According to the Ramcharit Manas, the following patak (sins) are bad:

  1. Asatya – There is no sin like lying
  2. When our Guru, mother, father and/or swami (Isht) are saying something for our hith (benefit), listen and happily do what they say without questioning if it is uchit (appropriate) or anuchit (inappropriate). If one does not do this, then one is letting go of their dharma (duty), and that is considered a sin.
  3. Hari / Har ninda – Even listening to gossip of Hari (ie. Vishnu = vyapak (omnipresent) = sarvatra = in everyone) and Har (ie. Mahadev and har cheez (everything)) is a big sin.
  4. Speaking dur vachan (bad words) to one’s Isht (Adored / Favourite deity ) and Shradhay (Revered/Respected) . For this sin, the only nirvan (salvation) is that person’s kripa (mercy)
  5. Doing paap (sin) in a tirth (holy place) will increase the paap. If one thinks good in a tirth, then those good thoughts will increase. Similarly, if one thinks bad in a tirth, then those bad thoughts will increase.

These are some sins outlined in the Ram Charit Manas. However, not becoming sad when a friend is in sorrow is an enormous sin. It is possible to decrease these above mentioned sins from our lives.

Give prathishta to others; hold onto your own nishtha (Faith).

There are two types of sadhus as described in kiskindha Kaand:

  1. like a sarita – “chareveti, chareveti” – the sadhu keeps on doing things for lok kalyan (welfare of others)
  2. like a sarovar (Lake) – the sadhi has stopped everything and has settled in one spot

When there is a solar eclipse, we do not eat because our mitra, the sun, is dukhi. Similarly, we do jagran during a lunar eclipse because our mitra, the moon, is dukhi.

Our antahkaran (inner self) consists of our mun (mind), buddhi (intellect), chit (concentration, focus of mind) and ahankaar (pride). To help understand these, let us use the analogy of a camera.

  1. Mun (Mind) – this is the camera itself
  2. Buddhi (Intellect) – the art of setting up the camera and taking photgraphs (how to …)
  3. Chit (concentration, focus of mind) – this is the camera film roll – both do sangrah (collection)
  4. Ahankar (Pride) – the thought that the camera is mine and that I took the picture – all this is mine OR all this is not mine.

Sadaguru gives diksha (Initiation) to ones antahakaran.

In Kiskindhaa kaand, Ram is explaining mitra’s paribhasha (definition of friendship) to Sugriv. Mitrata (friendship) is discussed everywhere from the Veda’s to lok boli.

In the Shukla Raju Ved, a Rishi asks God to grant him mitra jeevan. Specifically, the Rishi is asking to see everyone with mitra bhav and that everyone also sees him with mitra bhav.

If everyone were to let go of their own purva grah, then all problems could be eliminated. Through “Manas Mitrashtak”, let us progress in seeing everyone with mitra bhav.

Nij dukh giri sam raj kari jaanaa | Mitrak dukh raj meru samaanaa ||

This chaupai (couplet) describes a lakshan (characteristic) of a mitra: even if one’s own dukh (sorrows) are like a parvat (mountain) and one’s mitra’s dukh is like a raj-kan (particle of dust), one should consider that mitra’s dukh like Meru (Mount Sumeru) and their own dukh like a raj-kan.

Raghav is an example of this type of a mitra. One particular day during the yudh (war) in Lanka, many reech (bears) and vanar (monkeys) were walking back to Ram’s base with long faces. On the other side, “Jai Jai kaar” could be heard because Raavan’s side had succeeded in making Lakshman murchit (unconscious). As described in the Gitavali Ramayan, Ram began to cry and was extremely upset. Ram consoles himself that all of them, including the reech and vanar, will go back to their respective places. However, he was very upset and worried about Vibhishan´s future. Ram had already done Vibhishan´s raj tilak (coronation as King) and was now unsure what would happen to him. Ram regarded his dukh of Lakshman being murchit as nothing compared to Vibhishan’s uncertain future. Lakshman is Ram’s right hand – despite how important Lakshman’s survival is to Ram, Ram is thinking of Vibhishan instead.

This is an example of how we should consider our own dukh as something small compared to our mitra’s dukh. These thoughts should come to mitra’s naturally. If not, such a sutt (fool) should not be a mitra.

Jinh ke asi mati sahaj na jaiee | te sutt kat hatti karat mitaiee ||

Those fools who are not naturally endowed with such wisdom presume in vain to make friends with anybody.

Sahaj mati should be as natural as a nail is attracted to a magnet.

There are five prakar’s (types) of mati / buddhi which we refer to as panch-mati:

1. Guru mukhi mati
This is buddhi from the mouth of one’s Guru.

2. Abhadhra buddhi
This is when one always wishes amangal (bad) upon others.

3. Asati mati / buddhi
Leaving paramatma (God) and doing only sansar’s chintan is an example of this asatya.

4. Pashvi buddhi
Another name for this is Hatyari mati. This is when one is ready to do whatever it takes until someone dies.

5. Sahaj buddhi
This is the uttam (best) mati of all five. Another name for this from the Bhagvat is Naisargaki mati. This refers to one being svabhavik (natural).

If one does not have sahaj mati [to fulfill the role as a friend], then one should not do maitri with others. However, these types of sutt (such as those who say sweet things to ones face and talk badly behind their back) do maitri parane.

Lord Krishna says that we should do bhajan – with that, buddhi will be given.

Do smaran (remember) of Ram and acharan (Practice/conduct) of satyaa (truth)

Once again, this sandesh (message) is about living with mitra bhav in relationships like those of  husband – wife, father – son, mother-in-law – daughter-in-law, brother – brother, Guru – shishya (disciple), raja (king) – raja, friend – friend, etc.

“Na saa sakhaa yo na dadati sakhye aacha bhave” – mantra from Rig Ved

A friend is not a true friend if he/she does not do ana daan (giving of food) to a snehaal and premaal (loving) mitra.  This refers to giving food as well as feeding someone with love.

There are three meanings of ana (Food):

  1. ana is bhrama (God)
  2. ana is ones man (mind) because ones mind is made from food
  3. ana is jeevan (life)

If one does not give ana daan to a friend, then one is not considered a true mitra.  Specifically, if one does not give the above three to a friend, then one is not considered a true mitra.  As a friend, give your mitra bhrama daan (ie. God’s smaran (remembrance)), sundar (beautiful) mansikta (state of mind) (ie. Good thoughts), and a good jeevan.

When eating, one should not do the following:

  • krod (anger) – Food is bhrama, so do not get angry while consuming it.
  • watch inappropriate scenes – While eating and while doing bhajan, ones chetna is very prabal (powerful) with lots of urja (energy).  At these times, one should be particularly careful with what enters ones self.
  • watch the person who is serving
  • lie
  • comment on the food if it is not to your liking

Maitri (friendship) is a deep (light).

Ram tells Sugriv that a friend is someone who takes their mitra from kupath (bad path) to supanth (good path).

Kupath nivari supanth chalava | gun pragataee avgunanhi durava ||

A friend should divert his companion from the path of evil and set his foot on the path of righteousness.  He should proclaim his virtues and conceal his faults.

Some examples of kupath from the Ram Charit Manas are:

  • A path which is nindaniya (worthy of gossip).
  • Leaving your mool dhara (main focus) and going to a pakhand marg.
  • Kusang (Bad Comapny) – keeping the company of people who are a bad influence on you.  The company one keeps always influences an individual.  It can even prahar (attack) ones shraddha (faith).

Supanth is where the following five are presentIf they are not present, then this is kupath.

  1. Sava kalyan (welfare of oneself) – Whichever marg (path) gives you atma (soul) kalyan (benefit) is supanth.  Otherwise, it is kupath.
  2. Par kalyan (welfare of others)– Whichever marg (path) gives others kalyan (benefit) is supanth.  Otherwise, it is kupath.
  3. Samaj kalyan (welfare of society) – Whichever marg (path) gives the samaj (group of people) kalyan (benefit) is supanth.  Otherwise, it is kupath.
  4. Desh kalyan (welfare of nation) – Whichever marg (path) gives a county kalyan (benefit) is supanth.  Otherwise, it is kupath.
  5. Vishva  kalyan (welfare of world) – Whichever marg (path) gives the entire world kalyan (benefit) is supanth.  Otherwise, it is kupath.

Kupath takes one away from God while supath takes one towards God.

In order to maintain one’s atma tatva (inner self) and do bhakti (devotion) properly, one should be careful not to do the following:

  1. spardha (competetion) – especially when it comes to religion
  2. asuyah – do not do irsha(Jealousy), dvesh (malice), etc.
  3. teeriskaar (taunting, insulting)
  4. ahankaar (pride)

The sugam marg / saral path (easy path) to God is bhakti.

A mitra proclaims a friends gun’s (good qualities / virtues) and covers up the avgun’s (bad qualities / faults).  A mitra should work at slowly decreasing the avgun in a friend and should cover up those that still remain.

In Shiv charitra, one can see sandeh (doubt) burning and shraddha (faith) sparking.

Det let man sank na dharaiee | bal anuman sada hit karaiee ||

A lakshan (characteristic) of a mitra is one who never does shanka (doubt) in giving and taking. The first word in the above chaupai is “det”. Thus, we should give first, then if need be, take.

There are many things to give, but to make a maitri (friendship) dikshit, start by making a friend abhay (fearless). Sadhu’s and sant’s give the jagat (world) abhay. Dharma’s (righteousness’) first kam (task) is to make others abhay and not afraid.

There are two conditions associated with satya (truth):
1. Sada – one should always tell the truth
2. Suchi / pavitra (pure)
If one wants to do satya’s sankalp, then one should not speak apriya (unsweet) satya, because apriya satya becomes apavitra (unpure) satya, according to the Ram Charit Manas.

In the Atharva Veda, a Rishi asks for nothing but abhay from friends, enemies, and everyone he knows. He asks to get this abhay day and night from every angle. The mantra begins with asking for abhay from friends: “abhayam mitrad”.

In the Ram Charit Manas, it is apparent that Ram gives to his friends first and foremost. For example, Ram first gave Sugriv abhay, then tackled the rest. Another example is how Ram first gave Vibhishan Lanka’s rajya (kingdom) and then continued with planning the war. In the instance with Guharaj, Ram actually asked first: “mangi naav” . This made him little sankochi (hesitant) because He had not given Guharaj anything first.

If a Guru becomes a shishya’s (disciple’s) friend, then the Guru should also give something first, like abhay, to the shishya. A Guru generally does not take anything from a shishya. However, in the event that a Guru does take something from a shishya, it is to keep the shishya happy.

The Ram Charit Manas outlines the method of asking a question to ones Guru or a sant (saint). This is Shankar’s vidhaan:

1. Sahaj suhaiee / svabhavik (naturally) sundar (beautiful)
2. Sukhdaiee – the question should give sukh to both the person who asks and the person who is asked
3. Shastra (scriptures) / sant sammat
One should ask to learn and/or understand something; not to test someone’s knowledge.

A mitra should not do shanka (doubt) when giving and taking, and should do as much hith (what is in the best interest of others) as possible.

bal anuman sada hit karaiee ||

There are ten types of bal (strength) outlined in the Mahabharat. If someone has any of these, then they should give them to their mitra:

1. Vidya (knowledge) – If a friend does not have vidhya, then share your knowledge with them. This can be extended to paying for the fees of a mitra’s admission to an educational institute, or helping them to obtain addmission.
2. Abhijit / kulinta / khandani / parampara (tradition) – share the sanskar (values) of your family with a friend.
3. Mitra – share what you have learned from another friend with your mitra.
4. Buddhi (intellect) – use your intellect to help a friend
5. Satva / bhitari sampada – purity of ones antakaran should be shared.
6. Dhan (wealth) – help others according to our ability.
7. Tap (penance) – If you have acquired a particular tap bal, such as tolerance, then share this with a friend.
8. Sahai ( Helpful)
9. Paurush / ones tej (radiance)
10. Devta’s bal

There is a misconception that tap (penance) means to fast. In actual fact, it refers to letting go of what one is regularly used to (accostomed to).

The following describes the type of bal (strength) various people have:

  1. Vaishnav’s (God Loving) bal is hari naam (taking the Lord’s name) and prabhu sharanagati (surrendering at the feet of God).
  2. Durjan’s (wicked person) bal is hinsa (violence)
  3. Tapasvi’s (ascetic,hermit) bal is tapasya (penance).
  4. Devta’s (Demi God) bal is to give shraap (curse) and vardaan (boon) .
  5. Shishya’s (Disciple) bal is to do their Guru’s seva – not puja, but seva.
  6. Ghrastaya’s (Householder) bal is to follow sanatan dharma and sadd (good) dharma.
  7. Baalak’s (Child) bal is rudan (crying).
  8. Chor’s (thief) bal is to speak a lie.
  9. Raja’s (king) bal is when others around are nirbal (weak).

Whichever type of bal one has, they should use it to help their mitra.

There is no better seva (service) than following your Guru’s aagyaa.

“Ram janam ki badhai” to everyone

Question: Where is it best to sit and listen to the katha?

Answer: Sit wherever there is anukulta (convenient/suitable) so that shisht (discipline) and maryada (decorum) are maintained. From an adhyatmik (spiritual) drushti (viewpoint) in the Ram Charit Manas, Tulsidas says to sit in ones man (mind) to listen to the katha. If shravan (listening) is done from ones man, then tamaam (every) anumaan siddhant become shastra’s (scripture’s) praman. Both shrota (those who have come to listen to the katha) and vakta (one who recites the katha) should sit in their own man. Just like a sheet will not blow away from underneath a person sitting on top of it, ones mun (mind) will not wander while one is sitting on it in katha. In katha, the shresht (best) aasan (what one sits on) is ones mun.

The Gujarati language is like our home while the English language is like our office. We should use the English language as a tool, but it is important to speak Gujarati at home.

Three things are very important: matri bhumi (motherland), matri bhasha (mother tonge), and janani (mother who gave you birth ).

Question: How can one be a good sasu (mother-in-law) so that one could become a good mitra to ones bahu (daughter-in-law)?

Answer: Sasu = sa aas = one who lets go of all asha (wishes). Thus, a sasu (mother-in-law) should not have any apeksha (expectations) of her bahu (daugher-in-law). Instead, she should think of what she can do for her bahu. A sasu should not have any asha, should not immediately scold mistakes made by her bahu, should be patient, should do parivatan (change) using vivek (understanding), etc.

Ram says that he experienced the following three things by giving Vibhishan Lanka’s rajya (kingdom):

1. Krutkrutya bhav (feeling of eternal satisfaction)
2. Taav (flu) utaryo (decreased)
3. Anand (bliss)

Bipati-kal kar satgun neha | shruti kah sant mitra gun eha ||

A mitra is one who gives one hundred times more love to a friend during times of vipati / dukh (sorrow).

An example of this is when Ram’s mitra, Nishad Raj Guh, saw Ram, Sita and Laxman in their tapas vesh (physical appearance while in penance) on their way to the van (forest). This is thoroughly described in the Chumpu Ramayan. Good realizes that he has done janmo punya (good deeds for many births) in order for the three of them to come to his nagar (city). At this point, he experiences tears of joy. When he remembered that Kaikeyi and Manthra were the root cause of their exile, his tears of joy turned into tears of anger. Furthermore, Nishad Raj asked Ram to fulfill his pita’s (father’s) agya (command) by staying in his nagar during the fourteen years of exile. This instance depicts Nishad Raj´s love for Ram during Ram’s time of vipati.

Tulsidas outlines this same occurance in the Ram Charit Manas. In Ayodhya kaand, Nishad Raj proclaimed that his dharti (land), dhan (wealth) and dhaam are all Ram’s. He clearly stated that he and his family are neej kinkar’s / sevak’s (servants) of Ram. When he asked Ram to stay with him for fourteen years, Ram explained why he could not do that. Even though Ram did not svikar (accept) Nishad Raj’s proposal, it is apparent that as a friend, Nishad Raj showed his love during the time of Ram’s dukh.

shruti kah sant mitra gun eha ||

There are three ways of interpreting this portion of the chaupai:

1. Shruti (ie. Ved) says that sants (saints) — ie. Mitra (friend), sajjan (good) person, sadhu –possess the quality of giving one hundred times more love to a friend during times sorrow.
2. Both shruti and sant say that a mitra possesses the quality of giving one hundred times more love to a friend during times sorrow.
3. Shruti says that both sant and mitra possess the quality of giving one hundred times more love to a friend during times sorrow.

A mitra is one who:

  1. Dharm no acharan kare (practices righteousness)
  2. Satya bole (speaks the truth)
  3. Durnu jove (is not short sighted)
  4. sees param (supreme)

Bapu’s question to the shrota’s: Where is a mitra born?

Answer: According to the Ved’s, a mitra is born in one’s ankh (eyes) / drishti (sight).

The Dohavali Ramayan explains that it is not as important to have a mitra during the good days of ones life as it is during the bad days. When the moon is in line with the sun, the moon blends into its light and cannot be seen. However, we still call the sun a mitra because it continues to give the moon its tej (light).

There are many prakar (forms) of netra (eyes) / drishtri:
1. Pett drishti – This is when an individual only looks out for themself. An example is an ati (extremely) lobhi (greedy) person. Despite what this person is given (ie. Money, intellect, laughter), he/she will not use it for the good of others.
2. Padaarth drshti – This is when an individual even forgets to eat because he/she is so engrossed in their own padaarth. In fact, many individuals will let go of their satya (truth) for padaarth.
3. Prabhu drushti — This is when an individual has sat (truth), prakash (light) and amrut (nectar) in their eyes. This is the best drushti of all.

A mitra is not born from pett drushti or from padaarth drushti. A mitra is born from prabhu drushti.

Distinguishing characteristics of different types of individuals:
· Lobhi (one who is full of greed) – likes to listen about others
· Krodhi (one who is full of anger) – does not like to listen to others; instead likes to tell others
· Kami — will not listen to anyone, even if it is in their best interest

“Ram” is a mantra. Ram’s three other brothers exemplify the three sidhant of a mantra:

· Bharat shows us to fill others with bhav (feelings) and prem (love). We should make everyone trupt (satisfied) and ensure that others are happy even when you do your bhajan. We should be practical and vehvari when doing our bhajan.
· Shatrugna shows us not to have shatruta / dvesh (jealousy) / dushmani towards others when doing bhajan.
· Lakshman shows us to help others as much as possible when doing bhajan.

Dvesh (jealousy) to these seven will give you a quick gati to mrutyu (death). Ravan purposely did dvesh with all seven of these because he wanted to die by the hands of Ram.
1. Deveshu = devtas
2. Vedeshu = veds
3. Gaushu = gaiee (cows)
4. Vipreshu = bhramans
5. Sadhushu = sadhus
6. Dharm
7. Mein (“with me” ie. God

Question: Yesterday, it was discussed that a mitra is born through ones eyes / drishti(vision). What if an individual does not have eyes?

Answer: The physical eyes are not of as much importance as jeevan’s (lifes) drishti (view).

Question: What do you do when a friend does not want your help, but you know that he/she needs it?

Answer: Come forward with your love and duty. However, if your friend does not accept your help, then do not be forceful. Give help to your friend secretly, like Krishna did to Sudama. Those who truly want to give will find a way to do it.

Vriti (State/Condition of mind) is better than kriyaa (actions).

Question: It was mentioned to speak 100% satya (truth). What if we are in a position where we need to speak the truth, but that truth will hurt someone. Should we still speak it?

Answer: At a time where the truth will hurt someone, either stay maun (silent) or muskurao (smile). Then, when the timing is appropriate and the other person is not as sensitive, tell them that truth. If need be, telling them through a shalok or chopai. Just do not tell them in kheej (anger).

Question: Who named you “Bapu”?

Answer: “Bapu” is not a name, it is a kriyavaad (verb) [tense]. Furthermore, it is is a kriyaa (action) – by being a nimit matra (medium), it is an action. That is why the “Bapus” and sadhus in the world are “chareveti, chareveti” (always on the go). Bapu is a very aadarniya (respectful) sambodan. In sadhu kul (families of sages), people are called Bapu.

Question: How can one become a good bahu (daughter-in-law)?

Answer: A bahu’s first duty should be to see her sagi (real) mother in her sasu (mother-in-law). Even if you don’t see / experience those qualities in her, do your own praan pratishta ( the ceremony of imparting life to an idol) to help you see your mother in her. If ever there is sangarsh (argument / fight) between your husband and your sasu, take your sasu’s side, even if your husband is correct. If you side with your husband, there is potential of another sangarsh. In due time, when things settle, it will all fall back into place. Remember that your sasu is elderly and that you are young with a taaji (fresh) chetna (consciousness) . Thus, conduct yourself in such a way that she does not feel uncomfortable with your actions. Even if you have all the suvidha (luxuries) in your home, do some parichariya (work) at home.

All sambands (relationships) should have maitri bhav (feelings of friendship), including derani (younger daughter-in-law) — jetani (older daughter-in-law), and nanand (husband’s sister) – bhabhi (brother’s wife).

Question: What is manush (human) jeevan’s (life’s) antim (last) arth (purpose)?

Answer: Prabhu prapti (attaining God). Do not accept anything less of this, not even swarg (heaven) and moksh (salvation).

Aage kah mrudu bachan banaiee | pache anhit man kutilaiee ||

Stay away from those people who make up sweet words to one’s face and harms behind ones back.

In the Ram Charit Manas, there are three main mantras, three main mantris, and three main mitras.

The Ram Charit Manas is itself a maha-mantra. However, it further specifies three main mantras:

1. “Ram” — this is a maha mantra
2. “Aum namah bhagvate vasudevaya ” – this is a dvadas (12) akshar (syllobal) mantra
3. “Aum” – this is an ekakshar (one syllobal) mantra; it is gyani’s mantra. All three of these are sthapit in the Bal kaand.

One can repeat sadhan’s — like jap and tap – that make God happy. However, nishtha and sharanagati can be done in only one place for life after life (births after births) – these should not change. It is khatarnakh (dangerous) to sell ones nishtha for pratishtha (fame).

A mantri is one who has a mantra – like a gyani is one who has gyan (wisdom). The three main mantri’s in the Ram Charit Manas all have mantras:

1. Ayodhya’s mantri is Sumant. Ram calls him “taat” (ie. Father). Sumant is a gupt (secret) upasak of Ram mantra.
2. kiskindha’s mantri is Shree Hanumanji His mantra is “Ram”.
3. Lanka’s mantri is Malyavant.

When Ram and Lakshman met Hanuman in kiskindha, Ram did not say anything to Hanuman for two reasons:

1. Hanuman spoke so beautifully that Ram forgot his dukh (sorrow).
2. Hanuman still had shareerak (physical) kapat (cunningness) – not any other kapat – in him because despite being a vanar (monkey), he took the form of a Bhramin.

In the Ram Charit Manas, Ram did not talk to those who changed their bhesh (outer form). For example, he did not talk to Sati, Supnakha or Hanuman.

It is in our best interest to come forth the way we are in front of God.

The three mitra in the Ram Charit Manas are:

1. Shringverpur’s Guhraj
2. Kiskindha’s Sugriv
3. Lanka’s Vibhishan

Each of these three mitras did not speak good things to one’s face and bad things behind their backs.

A mantra, mantri and mitra should all be the same in front of an individual and behind their back. They should be free from kutilta (crookedness) / kapat (hipocrisy/fraud):

  1. If there is kutilta / kapat behind a mantra, then the entire phal (fruits) of the mantra will not be experienced.
  2. A mantri should make sure that whatever he says is without kapat.
  3. A mitra should be without kapat.

As a friend, do not make up mitta bol (sweet words) and do not speak behind peoples backs. If someone speaks bad about others behind their backs, then they are giving their kul (family) parichay (introduction).

Manas Mitrashtak can be divided into two: who is a su-mitra (good friend) and who is a ku-mitra (bad friend). One should strive to be a su-mitra and stay away from a ku-mitra.

To make up and say sweet things to ones face involves swarth (selfishness). To hold bad feelings behind someone’s back shows the dvesh (jealousy) within us. If there is kuttilt-ta (crookedness) in our mun (mind), then this shows our dushtt-ta (wickedness). Sarp gati (snake-like) refers to a mitra whose chit is vaaku (not straight). It is in everyone’s hit (best interest) to tyag (let go of) a mitra with sarp gati as quickly as possible.

A mitra should not be swarthi (selfish). If a mitra is swarthi, one should tyag them. In Kiskindha kaand, it is said that there is no one in this world who does hith (good) of Ram. It is further explained that sur (devtas), nar (humans) and muni does prem (love) only when in their selfish interest. True, there are always apvaads (exceptions). However, this is a direct contradiction to being a su-mitra (ie. a su-mitra should not be swarthi).

Is it true that even a muni does prem while it is in their best interest? One can understand that devtas and humans do so, but why have munis been included? The samadhan (answer) to why all three (devta, nar, muni) have been generalized together is given in Uttar kaand.

Bhushundi was asked why he kept the body of a crow. In reply, he explained that the body of a crow was where he attained Ram bhakti (devotion) and hence wanted to keep it. There are two birds in the Ram Charit Manas whose bodies we should look at. The first is Jatayu who wanted to die because he did not want to keep that body which could not hold onto Ram bhakti. The second is Kaag Bhushundi who wanted to keep his body because it was with that body he received Ram bhakti. Kaag Bhushundi has mamta (attachment) to his crow body for this reason.

Wherever there is param (supreme) hit (good/welfare), munis have a similar swarth (selfishness). That is, wherever they can attain bhakti (devotion) and Hari prapti (attainment of God) is where their best interest lies. Moreover, muni’s will never give that away — that which gives them Ram bhakti is more vaalo (dear) to them than Ram Himself. For example, one will not give up ones mala, mantra or murti because they are dear to them. Munis’ swarth is not at all sansari (worldly). Similarly, ones swarth should not change ones mantra, Guru, nishtha, mala, etc.

Lakshman tells Nishad Raj Guh that one who is param (supreme) paramarth (subtle truth, salvation) does prem (love) in Ram charan (feet) with his mun (mind), vachan (words) and karm (actions). Bhushundi says that one who has saach (true) swarth (selfishness) does Ram charan (feet) prem (love). This is a very krantikari (revolutionary) sutra (aphorism) whereby both param paramarth and saach swarth have the same outcome of Ram charan prem. Despite paramarth and swarth being like two sides of a railway track which never meet, the Ram Charit Manas says that the outcome of both is the same — that of Ram charan prem: “man kram bachan Ram pad nehu”.

True friendships should not be selfish. For example, a mitra, Guru, sasu (mother-in-law), patni (wife), etc. should not be swarthi. If one is swarthi, then they are a ku-mitra.

Some lakshans (characteristics) of a ku-mitra include:

  1. swarthi (selfish)
  2. ahitvan from behind (like keeping dvesh (jealousy) from behind)
  3. dusht by man (mind)
  4. sarpi-chit (snake-like)

Stay away from such ku-mitras.

When you find out that someone speaks differently about you behind your back, let go of their sang (company). Still laugh with them and maintain a surface relationship, but do not give your dil (heart).

A particular Tamas lakshan (characteristic of tamogun) is krodh. Krodh has three shreni (levels):
1. no krodh in you right from the beginning
2. krodh in you before, then in time, no krodh
3. krodh in you

Question: Of the many Gods in the Hindu religion, which is the greatest?

Answer: Wherever your heart’s chetna’s sahaj (natural) gati (movement) is — that is the best form for you.

Question: We are not supposed to lie. However, can we lie to our school and/or workplace to come to a katha?

Answer: “Muskurate raho” (keep smiling)! If one has saachi (true) tivarata (longing), then the opposite party’s chit will be changed so that one will not have to lie.

Question: I have a mitra who has vyasans (vices) like drinking and smoking. I have accepted him/her for who he/she is, and love him/her a lot. I have tried to stop him/her from these vyasans, but there has not been any change in my friend thus far. What should I do?

Answer: Be sure that you do not start having the same vyasans, and keep telling your mitra to stop them. Someday your telling them will affect him/her. You keep doing your prayas (trying) and leave the parinam (outcome) to God. Do not tiraskar your mitra, but have the apeksha (hope) with prabhu to change them.

jakar chit ahigati sam bhaiee | as kumitra pariharehi bhalaiee ||

It is in one’s best interest to stop a friendship with someone whose chit is ahi-gati (gati like a snake — walks crooked), because that person is a ku-mitra.

A sarp (snake) walks straight only two times:

1. When it goes into its dar (place of stay) — that is, when its swarth is there, it becomes straight.

2. When it bites — that is, when its swarth of dasvanu (biting) is there, it becomes straight for a while.

Similarly, a ku-mitra who walks like a snake will become straight only when in their best interest.

God does not change ones svabhav (nature); sadhu’s change ones svabhav.

Ram did katha for chatur maas (four months) while Lakshman listened. The topics and four paatras (characters) where:

  1. bhakti (devotion) — Bharat charitra (both Ram and Lakshman were crying during this topic)
  2. virati — Lakshman charitra (during this topic, Lakshman looked down)
  3. nrupniti (principles of a King) — Dashrath charitra
  4. vivek (understanding) — Shatrugna charitra

Tomorrow, we will discuss the upsanharak (ending) sutras (aphorisms).

sevak sat nrup krupan kunari | kapti mitra sul sam chari ||

“A stupid servant, a niggardly monarch, an adulterous wife, and a false friend — these four are painful like a pike.”

The above types of people give dukh (sorrows), just as a sul does. A sul is like a tir (arrow). In every dharma, seva (service) is very hard, unlike giving daan (charity), which is easy.

A sevak (servant) filled with loochai (cheating / insincerity) is called a sut sevak. One who does seva but does not have samarpan / tyag (ability to let go of) and prabhu smaran (remembrance of God) is called a sat sevak — their seva is not as saphal (fruitful).

A sevak is considered sath (foolish) if he/she:
1. does not do samarpan
2. does not do tyag
3. does hut / balaat (force) on his/her Swami
4. puts his/her Swami in sankoch (hesitation)

A lakshan (characteristic) of a sadhu is that he/she is ati (extremely) sankochi (hesitant) in that he/she tries not to hurt anyone.

A kripan (miser) is one who cannot give others even a very little. There are two beek (fears) of a lobhi (one who is greedy): he/she does not give others so that nothing becomes less from what they have, and he/she does not use what they have for themselves so that what they have is not decreased. Even at the last moment of a kripan’s life, he/she cannot become udaar (generous). A kripan does not do bhajan to understand God, and does not do bhagwat aayojan.

One who does bhajan, uses their money in satsang, and uses their money in ann (grains) seva (service) is not kripan.

Know that you are a sajjan (good) person if you shed tears for:

1. anya (for others) — For example, those who you do not know, but have read about in the newspaper; seeing strangers and getting tears for them; your own dushman (enemies).
2. svadosh — when you remember your own faults and shed tears realizing how you really are. For example, thinking how abhimani (proud) you are, and how you cannot sahan (tolerate) others’ pragati (rising to the top).
3. anant upkar — the endless things others (like your parents, Sadguru, Paramatma) have done for you.

A ku-nari is a woman who has a bad swabhav (nature). Some characteristics of a kunari are:

  1. Not taking care of ones own kutumb (family) and not nibhav (fulfilling) ones kartavya (duty).
  2. Not giving sanskar (values and morals) to ones children.
  3. Fighting with ones husband — “gala gali”
  4. Not taking care of ones dharma (duties / righteousness).

A woman should take care of her husband regardless of how he is. At each instance, she should stand by him and help him.

A kapati (crafty) mitra (friend) gives dukh (sorrows) like a sul does.

sakha soch tyagahu bal more | sab bidhi ghatab kaaj me tore ||

“Rely on me, my friend, and grieve no more, for I shall serve your cause in every way possible.”

Ram does a sankalp (promise) to accept Sugriv as a mitra. Ram tells Sugriv to let go of all chinta (worries), to forget his (ie. Sugriv’s) own bal (strength) and to take on Ram’s bal.

Let go of chinta (worries) and do chintan (remember God). If one worries, they are doing apman (disrespect) to Bhagvan (God). Instead, do chintan and smaran of God.

There are some differences between chinta (worries) and chintan (remembrance of God):

1. Chinta is done of jagat (world); chintan is does of jagdish (God).
2. The word “chinta” is of feminine form; the word “chintan” implies bal (strength). Thus, one should do ashrai (surrender) of bal / chintan.
3. Chinta jalaave (burns); chintan gives anand (joy / bliss).
4. Chinta leads to mrityu (death); chintan jagade (awakens).
5. Chinta affects ones health; chintan gives ones laher (fun / happiness).
6. Chinta keeps one in sansar (world); chintan makes one mukt (salvation) from sansar.

Ram will help His mitra with His own bal (strength), not with Sugriv’s.

sab bidhi ghatab kaaj me tore ||

Ram says that, in every way possible, I will complete each and every karya (task).

Keep bharosa (trust) in Hari (God).

Today, August 4th 2002, is Friendship Day in India. On this day, let us arpan (give / bestow) this mitra prasang (friendship subject). A katha occurs when there is yog, lagan, grah, bar and titi. It is apparent that this is also true for a katha vishai (topic).

Let us samarpit (surrender) this katha to all mitra-bhav (feelings of friendship) relationships in this world.