Category: Shatashloki Ramayana

Shatashloki 10: The birth of Lord Rama

Ikṣvākuvamśa prabhavo rāmo nāma janai śrśuta

Niyatātmā mahāvīryo dyutimān dhŗtimān vaśī

Meaning- A very famous person named Rāma, has been born in the Ikshvāku dynasty. He possesses extreme self-control, is exceptionally valourous and has a bright illumination. He has complete control over his senses.

It is common knowledge that Lord Rama belongs to the solar dynasty (Surya vamsa). Why then is He being referred to as belonging to the Ikshvaaku dynasty?

There is a secret behind the usage of this term by Maharishi Narada. Vaivasvata Manu is Lord Sun’s son. Ikshvaaku was the eldest son of Vaivasvata Manu. Being an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu, Ikshvaaku pleased Srihari through rigorous penance.  The Supreme Lord appeared before Ikshvaaku and asked him to choose any boon. To this, Ikshvaaku requested, “O Lord, Please remain as a worshipful idol in my house, in this eternally auspicious form of yours.  In this divine form please accept the daily worship that I shall offer to you”.


From then on, the Supreme Lord Srihari remained as a worshipful idol in their house and was being reverentially worshipped by all the members of this Solar dynasty. For having pleased the Supreme Lord Himself and for having secured Him as a worshipful idol, Ikshvaaku undoubtedly became the greatest in the Solar dynasty. Hence, Narada Maharishi began the Ramayana with reference to the dynasty of Ikshvaaku.


The Supreme Lord is very fond of his true devotee and is very partial towards him at all times. Also keeping this in mind, Narada Maharishi began the Ramayana by referring to the devotee ‘Ikshvaaku’. He further said that in this dynasty, a king by the name Rāma was born, who attained great fame and who is living amongst its citizens.

Yet another fact is that the Supreme Lord loves the Sun very dearly. As such He decided to incarnate in this Solar dynasty.

Why did the Supreme Lord choose to incarnate in the family of kings? Let us delve into the reason behind this. The Supreme Lord in His incarnation as Parashurama wiped away Kshatriyas (warrior clan) from earth. The next incarnation of the Supreme Lord was that of Rama. He now took birth within the same clan and caused a growth in it. He established the rules of righteousness to be followed by this warrior clan.

When the meaning contained within the name ‘Rāma’ is thoroughly understood, then His greatness will automatically be understood.  It will also be clear as to why people choose to listen about Him.

‘ramaya teeti rāmaha’ – He who causes everyone to be blissful is Rāma. ‘rāmo ramayatām varaha’ – he who is adept in showering bliss upon others is Rāma. Great yogis relentlessly chant His name to enjoy the subsequent bliss. Just listening to this name ‘Rāma’ showers bliss upon the person. Such is the greatness contained within this name!

Rama has been described as ‘niyatātma’. It means that He is self-controlled and is devoid of change (nirvikara) i.e. under no circumstances will any change be visible in Him. Such changelessness is the characteristic of Parabrahma. Sri Raamachandra Parabrahmane namaha- salutations to Ramachandra Parabrahma!

‘Mahaaviryo’ suggests that His prowess and might are beyond all forms of comparison.

Narada Maharishi is describing the incarnation of Rama and through this he is detailing the story of Ramayana. In this Shata shloki Ramayana the entire story is explained in a concise manner and hence it is essential to delve into the story that is hidden behind each word.

Through the usage of the words ‘ikshvaaku vamsa prabhavah’, it is implied that the Supreme Lord has incarnated as King Rama of the Ikshvaaku dynasty.

Among those emperors who had conquered the earth and ruled it successfully, were many emperors who belonged to the Ikshvaaku dynasty. Their kingdom was on the banks of River Sarayu with Ayodhya as the capital. It was the land of Kosala.

The city of Ayodhya was initially built by Vaivasvata Manu. Emperor Dasharatha brought to Ayodhya, the grandeur that was equivalent of Lord Indra’s capital Amaravati. Emperor Dasharatha was extremely righteous person who sincerely abided by the rules of righteousness. He had acquired great renown in all the three worlds. He was so valorous that even the most powerful heroes and emperors could not conquer Ayodhya during his rule.

As the king, so are his people. Under the leadership of Emperor Dasharatha, all the citizens of Ayodhya perfectly abided by the rules of dharma.  Each citizen diligently discharged all the designated duties at the designated hour, based on dharma, without fail. In short, they lived a life of dharma, artha (material prosperity) and kaama.

To this righteous Emperor Dasharatha, Maharishis Vashistha and Vamadeva were priests. Dhriti, Jayanta, Vijaya, Siddhartha, Arthasaadaka, Asoka, Mantrapala and Sumantra were his 8 ministers.  All these 8 were well versed and highly efficient.

Emperor Dasharatha had 3 wives Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. However he did not have any progeny. Upon the advice of his ministers, the emperor decided to perform the Ashwamedha Yaaga. At that point of time, Minister Sumantra very greatly praised Sage Rishyasringa. Hearing the praises being showered upon this great sage, Emperor Dasharatha invited the Sage Rishyashringa along with his wife Shanta Devi to Ayodhya. With the help of the priests, Emperor Dasharatha majestically performed the Putrakameshti yaaga (for begetting progeny) along with the Ashwamedha yaaga.

Exactly at that time, in heaven discussions about demon Ravana and of his destruction took place. They arrived at a conclusion and as a part of the plan, many Gods incarnated as Vanaras.

The Fire God (Agni) was pleased with the rituals being performed by Emperor Dasharatha. He offered a cup of payasam (a traditional dish akin to milk pudding) and asked the queens to consume it. Dasharatha divided the dish and gave it to his wives who happily partook it.

On a very auspicious day, Dasharatha was blessed with 4 sons- Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna.

Narada Maharishi had this long story of the birth of Lord Rama, in mind, which he explained in a concise manner through the usage of the term ‘ikshvaaku vamsa prabhavah’. However much we speak about Rama and his traits, it always falls short.


Om SeetaRaamaabhyaam namaha


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Shatashloki 9: Maharishi Narada agrees to clarify the doubts of Maharishi Valmiki

Bahavo durlabhā ścaiva ye tvayā kirtitāguṇāḥ

Mune! vakṣyā myaham buddhvā tairyuktaśryuyatām narah

Meaning- Says Narada, “O Valmiki, the traits that you are seeking to know are infinite. It is impossible to find all of them in any one ordinary human being. I have learnt about a great personality who has in him all these traits. I shall now explain about him to you. Please listen.”

Narada Maharishi had approached Maharishi Valmiki at the behest of Lord Brahma. When Valmiki enquired of him, exactly that which he had been ordained by Brahma to preach, Narada was delighted. Earlier, Narada had received initiation into this same subject, from the Supreme Lord Brahma himself. This is why Narada says, “I will preach to you that which I have learnt in the past.”

This was a wonderful opportunity to drink in the nectar (amruta) called ‘Rama’. Narada was overflowing in joy for having obtained this excellent fortune and also for having secured an eligible disciple in Valmiki.

Stories of God cannot be understood by a person, unless and until he has in him, the feelings of deep faith, reverence and dedication. In its absence, it is impossible. These feelings create in the person a deep desire and inclination to know more about the Supreme Lord. They make the person desirous of hearing the same stories again and again. Innumerable doubts are dispelled through listening to the divine stories. The right direction and path in which the person should proceed will become visible. Everyone will find it beneficial in some way or the other. Listening to divine stories has multifold benefits.

All of us know that the Supreme Lord has infinite transcendental traits. We should understand that within His stories every event/ sequence is inter-linked.

When Narada uses the word ‘listen’, he is implying that one should listen with complete concentration. The mind should not entertain any other thought and other distractions. This lesson is also applicable to one and all.

Narada says to Valmiki- “All the traits that you are seeking to know, exist in one great personality. I have learnt about Him in the past and now I am going to relate the same to you.”

Both Narada and Valmiki were eminent saints who had mastered the Vedas and Vedanta. Both of them were aware of all the happenings in totality. They were always engaged in thoughts about the Supreme Entity. What was the logic in one of them being accepted as a teacher and the other as a student, to speak about that matter, which both already knew in eternity? This could be puzzling to many.

The secret lies in the fact that this was an extraordinary subject, far beyond common knowledge and understanding. This was the subject that could grant liberation in totality. Hence both saints were deeply interested and inclined towards it. They took great delight in speaking/listening to it.

Through the usage of this word ‘nara’, Narada re-assures Valmiki that he has understood the motive with which Valmiki had used the word initially.

Narooje manujerjune means- the one who takes the humans (nara) to the highest destination is none other than Paramatma. This is the meaning behind the usage of this word ‘nara’.  For this reason, both saints have used the word ‘nara’.

apo vai narasoonavah’– means that water (jala) has been created by Nara. Water is the offspring of Nara. Our Vedas emphasize that Nara who initially created all water bodies (jala) is none other than Paramatma. He, the Supreme Lord, is Nara. When seen from this point of view it is clear that Nara, who has assumed the form of a human being, is none other than Paramatma.

Instead of enquiring about the Lord and His existence, why was Valmiki Maharishi enquiring only into His traits? To understand this in a proper manner, let us take the example of a mango.

Upon seeing a mango one cannot decipher whether it is sweet or sour in taste. To know its taste, it has to be mandatorily tasted. Likewise the traits (gunas) of the Supreme Almighty should be contemplated upon. They should be analyzed. In this lies our wellbeing.

In Bhagvatam, Maharishi Narada says to Maharishi Vyasa, “You are the author of many sacred texts and treatise. You have preached many dharmas. However you have never glorified the Lord. You have never experienced Him. You should experience Him. Sing His glories. Praise His pastimes. Recollect all this traits (gunas). Your mind will get that peace which you are seeking”.

Here, Maharishi Narada was enthusiastic to glorify the traits of that Supreme Lord and at the same time, Maharishi Valmiki was eagerly waiting with dedication and devotion to listen to the same. What a beautiful combination! Each is speaking out of their experience.


Om Seetaa raamaabhyaam namaha.

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Shatashloki 8: Past life events of Maharishis Narada and Valmiki

(a portion of the video is missing. Translation however is from the original video).

Śrutvā caita ttrilokajño vālmīke rnārado vaca

Śruyatāmiti cāmantrya prahŗṣṭovākyamabravīt


Meaning- Narada Maharishi, who knows all the happenings of all the three worlds, was pleased with the words spoken by Maharishi Valmiki. He then said, “Please listen attentively as I explain”.


Narada Maharishi is a celestial sage. He is precisely aware of the traits possessed by each and every being within all the 3 planes of existence. The words spoken by Maharishi Valmiki filled him with great joy as He was aware that these 16 qualities are the qualities of the Supreme Lord.

Narada himself is very passionate about singing the glories of the Lord at all times and Valmiki was clearly asking for preaching about Sriman Narayana, the Supreme Lord. It was purely the grace of Lord Narayana, that Narada could offer services to Him. He could set the Narayana mantra as his supreme aim only due to the mercy of that Lord.

Narada was one of the mind born sons of Lord Brahma. After creating him, Brahma entrusted him with the task of becoming a householder and furthering the creation. Narada was not inclined towards this and he showed his disgust. He refused. This angered his father Brahma, who cursed him, “You will be born as a Gandharva and will take on many wives”.

As a result of this curse, Narada was re-born as a Gandharva and lead a family life, taking on several wives. He was a dedicated worshipper of Lord Narayana. Once he was blessed with the rare opportunity of singing the glories of Lord Krishna, in the presence of the Supreme Father Lord Brahma. He was singing melodiously. All of a sudden, he erred in the musical beat (taala). This angered Lord Brahma who cursed him to be born as a son of a maid.

This Gandharva was re-born as a maid’s son. As his mother used to work in the ashram of some saints, from a very young age, Narada had a chance to observe the worship being offered to Lord Srihari and he developed a deep inclination towards it. He began to intensely worship Lord Srihari. After a certain period of time, Srihari appeared before him and said, “As there are a few doshas (ills) remaining in your samskaras (past impressions), in this birth you will only be able to hear my voice. In your next birth you can see me. You will become one among my troops.”

As foretold by the Supreme Lord, Narada took one more birth. He went on to become a celestial sage, great naadopaasaka (worshipping the Divinity through music) and one of the members in the troop of Lord Srihari. Eternally he recites the mantra ‘Narayana’ Narayana’. This is his story.

To obtain the vision of the Supreme Almighty, unyielding determination coupled with rigorous efforts are essential. Narada took on a firm vow to reach this goal and with great patience achieved it. He became a Guru for the Devatas themselves.

To listen and to read the stories of the Divine Lord, feelings of devotion (bhakti), dedication (shraddha), love (prema) and patience (sahana) should necessarily exist within the person. Valmiki Maharishi had all these in abundance. Let us now discuss the story of the disciple Valmiki Maharishi.


A very long time ago, Pracheta was blessed with a son Praachetasa, who had in him an aspect of Brahma. They belonged to the lineage of Brighu and the real name of Prachetasa was Rukshaka. He was seated in deep penance for an extremely long period of time and during this period an anthill completely enveloped him. An anthill is known as ‘valmika’ in Sanskrit. As he broke this anthill and emerged from it, he was titled Vālmiki.


The story of Vālmiki is beautifully elucidated in the Skanda Purana. Many eons ago, there lived a boy named Agni Sharma. No matter how hard his parents struggled to impart the basic education to him, it was of no use. Hoping that marriage would reform him, they got him married. Even this could not bring about any change in his knowledge. Exactly around that time, there was a great famine and, unable to withstand it, all of them moved to the forests. To support the family, Agni Sharma turned into a wayside robber who ruthlessly looted passersby. At one point he confronted the seven great sages (Sapta Rishis) so as to loot them. At that point, Sage Atri asked him, “Having selected looting as your profession, you are committing innumerable of sins. Will your family take a share of these sins?”

Upon going home and enquiring, Agni Sharma realized that none of them was willing to take any share of his sins. With this, Agni Sharma was frightened. He held on to the feet of the Maharishi and begged him for a way out. Atri Maharishi initiated him into dhyana yoga (yoga of meditation) and together with the other Maharishis, left that place.

13 years passed by. The seven great sages (sapta Rishis) were once again passing by that place. From a huge anthill a loud sound was audible. They pondered about it and were surprised when they came to know that Agni Sharma was seated immobile within the anthill. His dedication and discipline pleased them immensely. They asked him to come out of the anthill. They bestowed him the title ‘Valmiki’.

Due to the grace of the Lord, Valmiki could get the blessings of Guru Narada. He secured the eligibility to hear from his Guru the leelas (plays, stories) of the Parabrahma.


Om Seetaraamaaabhyaam namaha.

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Shatashloki 7: Maharishi Valmiki beseeches Maharishi Narada to answer his doubts.

Eta dicchāmyahaśrotuṃ paraṃ koutūhalamhi me

Maharṣe! tvaṃ samartho si jñātu mevaṃ vidhaṃ naram

Meaning- O great Maharishi! I am full of curiosity and am eagerly awaiting to listen to the answers to all my questions. You possess this eligibility to reveal to me about that person who has in him all these above-mentioned traits.

There is a Telugu proverb- ‘adigevariki cheppevaru lokuva’, which means – the person who enquires, considers the one who answers, to be inferior.

Here however, the person who is asking the question is an supreme sage (Maharishi). The one to whom the question has been put forth to is yet another eminent sage. The seeker is questioning in all humility after giving due respect and due reverence to the enlightener and addressing him as ‘Maharishi’. The seeker also makes it clear that through this questioning, he does not seek to display his learning and cleverness, nor is he trying to test the intelligence of his teacher.

Through the usage of the word ‘shrotum’ the seeker explicitly clarifies that he is questioning with the sole intention of listening and learning. ‘I am the shrota, You are the vakta’ he implies here. This means, ‘I am the student, the listener and you are the teacher and the orator’. This is the way to ask.

‘O master, I am eager to learn. You please take your time and teach me when appropriate’ – this respect that Maharishi Valmiki has towards his Guru is visible in his words.

Complete trust and faith in the Guru are a must. Doubts regarding his abilities, capabilities and knowledge should never ever be entertained. Once you have accepted a person as your Guru, then you should treat whatever he says as nectar (amruta). Only then will all doubts be dispelled from the mind. To highlight and teach this, Valmiki Maharishi uses the words- ‘tvam samartho si’.

Samarthah means he who is competent. This is the ordinary meaning. He who has thoroughly and completely understood the deeper meaning of the entire Vedas is the special meaning for this word ‘samarthah’. The word artha also means wealth. Therefore samartha is he who possesses the wealth called knowledge. He is none other than Narada. He is the Supreme Guru.

Valmiki Maharishi has enquired about the 16 traits. To clarify that he is not enquiring about Lord but about a human being, the word ‘naram’ (human being) has been used in the hymn.

Subtly, through the usage of this word, the oneness (abheda) between the individual soul (jeevatma) and the supreme soul (Paramatma) is being highlighted.

We have discussed earlier that only Paramatma, the Supreme Being, can have in him these 16 traits. Now, Valmiki Maharishi enquires about a human being who has in him all these 16 traits. Thus, the oneness between the individual being and Supreme Being is clearly being highlighted.

When seen from this point, the entire Ramayana is a wonderful (adbhuta) treatise about the theory of advaita (non-dualism). Now we shall discuss the reply given by the Supreme Master, Maharishi Narada.

Om seetaraamaabhyaam namaha.


(a portion of the video is missing. However the complete translation of the original episode is covered).

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Shatashloki 6: Auspicious qualities of the Supreme Being.. contd.

Ātmavān ko? Jitakrodho dyutimān ko nasūyaka

Kasya bibhyati devāśca jātaroṣasya saṃyuge

Meaning- Who is the person – m) who has his mind under his complete control, n) who has conquered anger, o) whose illumination causes astonishment, p) who is free from envy and q) whose aggressiveness in war causes fear even among celestials?

12) Atmavān– Great heroes, who have conquered everything in this universe, fail to conquer their mind, which in reality is inside them and very close to them. Even after acquiring control over every thing, they suffer from lack of mental peace, the reason being their inability to control their mind. Great ancient seers (Maharishis) and eminent poets have always compared the mind to huge animals.

Hence, conquering the mind is said to be the greatest victory that one can achieve! This is the true proof of a person’s courage and strength. Controlling the mind is true yoga; it in itself is yaaga. Hence Valmiki Maharishi explicitly questions about this.

13) Jita krodhah– Next, Valmiki wants to know a person who, in addition to conquering the mind, has also controlled inner and outer anger in totality.

Here, what we should understand is that Valmiki Maharishi, does not seek to know merely about a yogi, but is desirous of knowing about that Supreme Being (uttama purusha) who considers every being as his kith and kin, and therefore, with such feelings, treats everyone equally.

Therefore, he asks- who is that person, who, having achieved complete mastery over the inner mind, has in addition, also conquered the inner and the outer anger in totality? Often we notice Mahatmas exhibiting feelings of anger. This is not their natural/ inherent anger but something that they have willingly taken upon themselves. Releasing this, we too should aim to scale to those heights.

14) Dyutimaan- Coming to the next trait, who is the person who possesses dazzling illumination that causes astonishment?

The Sun’s illumination is the brightest illumination that surpasses every other form of illumination known. Valmiki Maharishi enquires about an illumination that eclipses even the Sun’s illumination. This is the illumination of the Self! Hence, the question here is a prayer to teach about Self-illumination.

15) Anasūakah– Asuya (jealousy) means to scan the faults in others and accuse them of it. Going over and above this trait, means to be non-jealous (Anasuya).

One should acknowledge the good deeds that are performed even by his enemy. If merely because he is an enemy, one scans and finds faults in his good deeds, then such mistakes will attach to him. Instead, if the good trait within him is appreciated, then there is a great chance for even an enemy to transform into a good being.


16) Bibhyati devāh- This is the last trait being asked by Maharishi Valmiki. He wants to know about that person who causes fear even among Gods.


Among the Gods, Rudra, Agni (Fire God), Yama (God of death), Lord Narasimha, Veerabhadra, Sharabha and Kali Devi are said to be the most fearful and ferocious. If they get angry, they can swallow the entire creation as if it were a drop of water. Hence it is mandated that deeds that displease them should never ever be performed.

It is only adherence to dharma (righteousness) that pleases them. At times, even Devatas transgress dharma. Here, Valmiki Maharishi seeks to know about that person who causes even these greatest Gods to abide by the dharma that he is following. The person who can cause even the greatest Gods to abide by his dharma is none but Paramatma.

‘Bheeshāsmāt vātah pavate’ says the Taitareeya Upanishad. It means- He, out of whose fear, the fire burns, the Sun rises and blazes, the wind blows, Indra and other Devatas discharge their duties in the prescribed manner and the God of death being scared runs away, is none other than Paramatma.

Valmiki Maharishi ends his questioning with this. In all, he has enquired about 16 traits/qualities. The number 16 symbolizes completeness (poornatvam). The number 16 instantly brings to memory the 16 avatars of Dattatreya and the Shodasi (16 syllable) vidya of the Divine Mother. Paramatma, the complete being (Poorna Purusha) is known as Shodasha kalaha.

From this, it is absolutely clear that Maharishi Valmiki is enquiring about Paramatma.


Om seetaraamaabhyaam namaha.


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