Category: Shatashloki Ramayana

Shatashloki 15: Rama, the Supreme Lord, is over and above everyone

Prajāpati sama śrimān dhāta ripu niṣūdhana

Rakṣita jeevalokasya dharmasya parirakṣitā

Meaning- Rama is equal to the creator, Lord Brahma. He is over and above everyone. He is the protector of one and all. He is the one who nourishes all the planes of existence. He protects and propagates dharma at all times.

Prajapati samaha– Rama is equal to the creator. Although in reality He is a step higher than Brahma and all the other Gods, for the sake of protection of the people, He assumed a human form and acquired fame as one who is equal to Brahma.

While it was Mahavishnu who incarnated as Rama, Mahalakshmi incarnated as Sita. When Mahavishnu incarnated as Krishna, Mahalakshmi incarnated as Rukmini.  A similar pattern is followed in all incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Lakshmi Devi never leaves the side of her husband and incarnates each time He incarnates on earth. This is confirmed in the Vishnu Purana.

‘Sri’ is Lakshmi. Srimanta is Rama, the one who nourishes (sustains) every being. In the phrase ‘prajaapati samaha’ the Brahma aspect in Rama was highlighted, now the Vishnu aspect within Him, of sustenance (nourishment), is being brought out.

After having firmly established dharma within his kingdom, Rama began engaging in  Yagnas and Yaagas. A combined effect of dharma + yagnas ensured that the kingdom was bestowed with timely and adequate rainfall. Through this rainfall, He nourished his people.

It is natural for a person to become egoistic when everything is going in accordance to his wishes and planning. That Rama was not egoistic is understandable. But during Rama’s rule, even the citizens of his entire kingdom were not egoistic! That was the effect of Rama’s rule.   People would willingly go to Rama’s kingdom. Just by stepping into His kingdom, they turned righteous. Wasn’t this Rama’s greatness?

Rama is addressed as the destroyer of enemies (ripu hara). This phrase brings out the aspect of Shiva that exists within Him. If there is one person who has absolutely no enemies, then it is Srirama. He subdues the arrogance of those who trouble saints. More importantly, Rama drives away the feelings of enmity from within the person. He takes the person to this state wherein he finds no enemies anywhere.

Coming to the third part of this hymn, the reason behind Rama’s incarnation on earth is being explained. Rakshita jivalokasya – it means Rama incarnated in order to protect this world of living beings!

It is Rama’s nature to ensure protection to all the living beings. He was concerned about the welfare of each and every being. More often than not, people tend to protect only their kith and kin. Rama, on the other hand, protected the entire universe. Mother Sita herself declared that Rama protected every single living being in this creation.

Now you should not question- since Rama protected everyone, did he also protect sinners? The answer to this is given in the last part of this hymn- dharmasya parirakshita. It means that in addition to strictly adhereing to the rules of dharma, He also ensures that everyone perpetually adheres to it. He then protects them.

A clean golden vessel is preserved in the cupboard. However if the same golden vessel is unclean, it is kept aside for washing. If someone were to ask, ‘what is this? Why is a golden vessel lying outside?’ the reply will be ‘it needs to be cleaned’. Here the vessel is treated (cleaned) first and then protected. Likewise, the human being has to be taught (sikshana, punished) and then protected (rakshana). Rama thus followed the policy of sikshana-rakshana which means He firstly punished the adharmic persons (those who did not abide by the rules and regulations of righteousness) and thereafter he gave them his protection.

Rama is beyond dualities of like- dislike. His sole motive was that beings in entirety should prosper. May all the feelings of hatred/ dislikes (dvesha bhava) be destroyed in everyone by the grace of Rama!

Om Seeta Ramaabhayaam namaha.


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Shatashloki 14: Rama’s diligence in abiding by righteousness, truthfulness and other noble traits.

Dharmajña satyasandhaśca prajānām ca hite rata

Yaśasvī jñānasampannaḥ sucirvaśya-ssamādhimān.

Meaning- He has complete knowledge of righteousness and is eternally truthful. He is forever inclined towards ensuring the well-being of his citizens. He is of great renown. He is a repository of entire knowledge and is very pure. He is under the sway of his devotees.

Dharmajna– Rama is perpetually oriented towards abidance towards righteousness. Every action of His stems out of dharma. Even killing of Ravana was for dharma only. Dharma (rules of righteous living) is very subtle and minute (sookshma). It is extremely complicated to understand its true essence and its principles.  Rama who was adept in all forms of knowledge, forever acted per the tenets of the Vedas. Only when this fact is deeply understood, will His actions become clear to us. In its absence, it is likely that we may question his decisions and actions.

Rama has made it his primary dharma to offer protection to those devotees who have sought complete refuge in Him. Although Demon Vibhishana, belonged to the enemy camp, Rama gave him refugevas soon as Vibhishana prayed for it. He further declared that instead of giving protection (Abhaya) to the one who seeks refuge (sharana), if his faults and mistakes (doshas) are counted, then it is unrighteous.

Satyasandha- Satyasandha is He who is eternally bound to truth. ” Seeta, I can abandon you, my brother and even myself but will never abandon truthfulness”. Rama is forever inclined towards ensuring the well-being of all his citizens. He left Seeta in the hermitage of Valmiki for the benefit of his citizens. He taught through his actions that well-being of the citizens is the real well-being of the king.

Yashasvi- He was very famous for offering protection to those who had taken protection under Him. The manner in which he subdued the demons and his valour brought him great fame (yasas).

When Lakshmana swooned in the battle-field, Rama lamented that in future people would criticize Him and his ancestors due to his inability to protect his wife and his younger brother.

Jñānasampanna means Rama is well versed in all branches of knowledge. More importantly He is well versed even in that knowledge which is the root for all other forms of knowledge. In other words, He is adept in Self-knowledge. Only because of his mastery in this root knowledge, He could grant liberation even to the bird Jataayu.

Rama is totally pure (suchi). Be it in His speech, in His mind, in His body or in His actions, total purity is visible.

He allows himself to be held in the total sway of those devotees who have placed implicit faith in Him. He will be under their control. He has the complete knowledge of the type of protection He should offer to any devotee in distress. When it comes to dealing with elders such as his father or His Gurus, He is obedient.

Rama acquired Self-realization through spiritual practices  and through mastery in Yoga. Neither when He was a prince nor when He became the monarch of this universe did He abandon Self-contemplation. From Him we should learn to spend at least a little part of the day in Self-study.

Om Seeta ramaabhyaam Namaha.

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Shatashloki 13: Description of the flawless, proportionate bodily features of Rama

Sama ssamavibhaktāṇgah snighdavarṇaḥ pratāpavān

Peenavakṣa visālākṣo laksmivān subhalakṣaṣaḥ.

Meaning- He is neither too tall nor too short- He is of optimal height. His body is proportionate, symmetrical and flawless. He has a lovely complexion. His chest is broad and strong. His eyes are wide. He is prosperous. All his bodily features symbolize auspiciousness.

The bodily features of Rama have been delightfully brought out in this hymn. Every body part of His is of the right proportion. He can be described the ideal, greatest and best man on earth. The Saamudrika shastra stipulates that both the eyes, holes of the nostrils, both the ears, lips, elbows, wrists, knees, legs, and ankles should be symmetrical.  This is the body structure of the ideal man.

Arjuna, of the Mahabharata fame, had beautifully proportioned ankles. It is said that due to this he had to face many difficulties in life. Krishna too had to face many hurdles in life.

Even Rama had to live in the deep forests and face so many hardships in life. In the case of Rama, however, the hardships were taken upon by Him willfully. His father did not send him to the forests. To ensure that the promise made by His father to his mother Kaikeyi is kept up and thereby to ensure that dharma is not transgressed, Rama himself decided to go and live in exile for fourteen years. Such was His greatness! Not even once did He find the life in the forest troubling and tedious.  He ruled the forests as He would have ruled his kingdom. He took it as His dharma and lived by it.

Snigdah varnah– His body glows with a divine complexion and radiance. His eyes shine. The glow in the teeth symbolize that the person will get good food. The glowing of the feet indicates that the person will enjoy the comforts of a vehicle.

Such was His valour that enemies trembled upon hearing His name. He has a massive and wide chest (pinavaksha).

Visālākso– Many poets have glorified the beauty of His wide eyes in their varied poetic compositions.  Nevertheless, however much they are praised, it can never suffice. They are beautifully shaped like lotus petals and are red in colour.

Saamudrika shastra stipulates that such a person shall enjoy all luxuries of life (bhogi). It is said that Mother Sita, when in captivity in Lanka, would recollect Rama’s beautiful eyes and grieve. Hanuman, when He had to describe Rama’s physique to Mother Sita, began with the description of Rama’s eyes. When demoness Surphanaka had to describe the distinguishing features of Rama, to her brother Ravana, she described him as a person who had wide beautiful eyes and who was long limbed.

In the earlier hymn, the term ‘shatru nibarhanah’ subtly referred to the killing of demoness Tataka and defeating Maricha. In this hymn, the word ‘Lakshmivaan’ refers subtly to the story of Mother Sita. Let us now discuss this story.

Emperor Nimi was the foremost emperor of Mithila. Due to the blessings of the Devatas (Gods), Devaraatha, the sixth emperor in the lineage of Nimi, obtained the custody of the Shiva’s bow.

During Daksha’s yagna, Shiva was enraged with the Devatas who did not offer to Him a share in the Yagna offerings. He fixed the arrow to his bow and threatened to behead them all with one single arrow. At this, the Devatas fell at Shiva’s feet at begged forgiveness. Shiva, who was pacified with this, in turn gave to them the bow that He had been holding in His hand.  These Devatas in turn gave that bow to Devaraatha, the emperor of Mithila, for safe custody. From then on, the kings of Mithila were offering worship to this Shiva’s bow.

Years rolled on. Janaka became the king of Mithila. One day when he was ploughing the field for conducting a yagna, he found a female infant. She was Sita. For this reason, Mother Sita is addressed as ayonija (not born in the normal course from a mother’s womb). This is the story of Her divine birth.

Subhalakshanah– Rama has in Him all the auspicious traits and physical features that is uniformly appreciated by everyone. His appearance itself is so auspicious that He has remained in the hearts of one and all!


Om Seeta Raamaabhyaam Namaha

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Shatashloki 12: Rama has a proportionate, beautiful, sturdy physique

Mahorasko maheṣvāso gūḍhajatru rarindama

ājānubāhu ssuśirāh sulalāṭa ssuvikrama

Meaning- Rama has a broad and strong chest. He carries with Him a strong, supreme and splendid bow. His collarbones, that are very strong, are not visible (finely covered). He overcomes enemies easily. His hands are long enough to touch his knees. His head as well as his forehead are sturdy, beautiful and proportionate. His possesses great valour (parakrama).

There are many hymns which proclaim that the Supreme Lord who has no form, no shape, no weapon and no fixed place of residence takes on a form and shape solely for the convenience of his devotees. This same statement is re-affirmed by our Upanishads.

For our convenience, Maharishi Narada is describing the bodily features of Rāma, who is none other than the Supreme Almighty!

Mahoraskah– Rama has a massive, broad, rigid, tough, prominent and upright chest. The Sāmudrika Shastra (a scripture that interprets the features of the body and foretells the future based on that) states that a person with these physical features will become a king. In the case of Rama, He was not only a king for this visible world, but in addition he was also the emperor of the inner kingdom called Self (atma samrajyam).

Maheṣvasah– His body is so well-built and firm that he can support the most powerful bow. The bow that Rama wears on his body is no average one; it is the mighty Kodanda. Even to hold it casually, one should necessarily possess a extremely powerful body. More importantly, the person should the energy required to hold it.

The bow that Rama broke at the time of His marriage belonged to Shiva (Shiva dhanus). All of us know that Lord Shiva retains the mighty, forceful and gigantic River Ganga on His head. How powerful and mighty should the bow of this Lord, who has the capacity to retain a massive river on His head, be? It is beyond imagination.

Moreover, Shiva has a celestial body while Rama had a human body. If with the human body, Rama broke Shiva’s bow, then it was a feat that was accomplished purely due to the power of His inner Self. In another instance, He calmly and easily took over the Vaishnava bow from Parashurama. Both these instances teach us the oneness between Shiva and Vishnu principles that exists within Rama.

Goodha jatruh– Gudhajatru is one whose collarbones (jatru) are not visible due to the fleshy muscular chest. According to the Sāmudrika shastra the person in whom the collarbones are imbalanced or are very minute (sookshma) will face great deprivation (daridra) in life. When they are even and balanced, the person will enjoy all luxuries in life (bhogi). Where these collarbones are deep, the person will be poor. Where the person has tough and strong collarbones, as in the case of Rama, the person will be a king.

Arindamah- He who subjugates his enemies is arindamah. In the earlier hymn a similar term ‘shatru nibarhanah’ was used. What could be the purpose behind this repetition? The term ‘enemies’ (shatru) includes both the inner as well as external enemies of a person. The term ‘ari’ in this word ‘arindamah’ instantly brings to memory the ‘arishadvargas’. (Arishadvargas are the 6 internal enemies of a person such as kaama (desire), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (infatuation), mada (pride) and matsarya (jealousy)). This word in turn helps us recollect Yoga. Rama has conquered all his arishadvargas and He helps those, who have placed implicit faith in Him, to reach the similar state.


Ajaanubaahuh – Rama has long arms that reach up to His knees. Hence He is addressed as Ajaanubaahu. Samudrika shastra declares that such a person will be a sarvabhouma (universal monarch of the highest degree).

Susirah– His head will be round and even in shape.  Our scriptures state that He who has a uniform and even head that is round in shape with the head that is in the shape of an umbrella, will have long life and be an absolute monarch of the land. This proved to be true in the case of Rama.

Sulalaata– The beauty of His forehead is beyond every form of comparison. It is as beautiful as the crescent moon.

Suvikramah– His gait is beautiful. Noiselessly He releases the arrow from His bow. When he enters the field and wrestles, the dust does not rise even by a fraction. Even in the midst of a terrible war, the smile on His face never fades. Without even the subtlest change, He accomplishes the greatest feats with ease. Hence, He is addressed as Suvikramaha.

His gait is far more superior than the elephant’s or lion’s gait. So noiselessly He walks. Even walking very swiftly does not tire him in the least. Hasn’t the graceful and delicate gait of a woman been compared to that of a swan (hamsa)? This is beautifully expressed in Lalita Sahasranama in the verse- maraali mandagamana mahaa laavanya sevadhih. Rama’s walk is profound and deep (gaambhirya). Hence He is – mahaa gaambhirya sevadhih.


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Shatashloki 11: The divine qualities of Srirama

Buddimān neetimān vāgmi sreemān śatrunibarhaṇa

Vipulāmso mahābāhuḥ kambugrīvo mahāhanu

Meaning- Rama is intelligent and wise, is virtuous, and is of high moral conduct, speaks only good and well-meaning words at all times (vaagmi), is prosperous, he destroys all enemies, has a raised nape, possesses beautiful conch-like voice, has fine cheeks the upper portion of which is raised.

Buddhimān is a person who is intelligent, wise and ‘all knowing’. All-knowing means to know every thing that happens in every time period i.e. to be omniscient. Omniscience is a characteristic of Parabrahma.

We should be aware that every minute the Supreme Lord is watching each and every action of ours. When this is properly understood, the person will be inclined only towards good deeds.

Being omniscient, King Rama did not have the necessity to get the information of the happenings in the kingdom through spies.  This enabled him to be a very great and efficient king.

Neetimān– Rama predominantly adhered to the most accepted and known ethics and code of conduct (neeti) as stipulated by the Vedas and Shastras (scriptures).

The term neeti has many meanings. It includes the rules of righteousness that apply to a king (raja dharma), code of conduct applicable to him, his limitations and many more. Rama was completely aware of His real identity, the reason behind his incarnation, and the duties He had to execute. Due to this, He could perfectly comply with the neeti.

Vāgmi is He who speaks good, meaningful words. This ability of Rama is visible in many instances in Ramayana and more importantly, in the words which He uttered at the time of Vali’s death. At all times and in all instances Rama only speaks that which is good and beneficial to one and all. The term ‘Good and beneficial speech’ refers to the Vedas. Vedas are the words of the Supreme Lord. As at all times Rama speaks only in accordance with the Vedas, He is Vāgmi.

Controlling speech is a great spiritual exercise (sadhana). Through usage of the word vāgmi, Narada emphasizes that Rama possesses this trait and that He is teaching this wonderful trait to others.

Srimān– This is very commonly understood to mean a person who owns a lot of money. The word ‘Sri’ has many in-depth meanings. ‘Sri’ also means vibhuti. Vibhuti in turn means aishwarya (prosperity). Aishwarya means ‘to have the quality/trait of Eshwara’ (eshwara guna). Rama has in Him this trait of Eshwara in totality and hence is Srimaan.

He who playfully creates this entire world is the real Srimaan. He is Rama. He is said to be together with Lakshmi Devi (Goddess of prosperity). Mother Sita was none other than Goddess Lakshmi. Whenever Lord Vishnu incarnates, the Goddess of prosperity, Lakshmi also incarnates. This should be clearly understood.

Shatru nibarhanah– He who destroys those who go against the dictates of the Vedas is known as Shatru nibarhanah. As everyone is equal in the eyes of God, He, in reality, has no enemies. Only those who harm and torture saints and true devotees are His enemies. He protects his devotees and saints from such people.

Rakshate bhagavān Vishnu : bhaktānām ātma shareeravath- means Vishnu protects his devotees just as one would protect his own body. At certain times He protects them with feelings of compassion (krpa drishti). At certain other times, He protects through his mahima (greatness). At other times He protects through the medium of other persons.

At few other times, where necessary, He himself enters the war field, wages the war and rescues his devotee. Prahlada’s story is an example of this. The body features that are required to achieve this feat are being described in the 3rd and 4th portion (pada) of this hymn. His wide and strong shoulders, long arms, the raised nape of his neck, clear voice which is resonant like a conch are characteristics of a brave, excellent hero.

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