Om Seetarāmā bhyaam Namaha
Within the very first section of the Bāla Kānḍa (the section that deals with the childhood of Lord Rāma) of Srimad Ramayana, Maharishi Narada has preached the entire Ramayana in brief to Maharishi Valmiki in 100 shlokas (hymns). These 100 shlokas are popularly known as Bāla Ramayana, Samskipta Ramayana and as Shata shloki Ramayana.
Merely listening to this condensed version of the Ramayana bestows the merit (fruit) of listening to the entire Srimad Ramayana.
Let us begin with a prayer to Lord Ganapati-
śuklām bharadaram vishṇum śaṣivarṇam chaturbhujam
prasanna vadanam dhyāyet sarva vighnopasāntaye
With an intention that He should remove all the obstacles in my path, I contemplate on Maha Ganapati who wears white clothes, who is all-pervading, who is in the colour of the Moon (white), who has four hands and whose face is peaceful and pleasant.
śāradā śāradāmbhoja vadanā vadanaambhuje
sarvadā sarvadāsmākam sannidhi sannidhiṃ kriyāt
Mother Goddess Sharada’s face glows like the fresh bright white lotus. May such a Divine Mother, who is dear to everyone, remain eternally in our face!
As the Divine Mother is worshipped primarily during the Sharad rutu (autumn), She takes on the name Shārada. During this season, the sky is crystal clear. Due to this crystal clear sky, the moon on the full-moon night (Purnima) appears incredibly bright and luminous. Mother Goddess Sharada eternally radiates like the Full moon of this month (Sharad Purnima). Her face illumines eternally like the white lotus.
Only those who have been ardently and reverentially worshipping Her for past many births possess the abilities to compile/author sacred treatise/texts, give detailed knowledgeable commentary about these sacred texts, compose poetry and the like. Occasionally in life we come across people who are proficient in these arts. We have developed friendship with such persons too. We are astounded at their poetic skills and derive great delight in listening to them.
Such is the value behind right/proper education. Purely for this reason, the elders in our homes constantly prod us to study. When Mother Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of Learning) showers Her blessings upon us, we can walk on the right path of true knowledge for the rest of our life.
An uneducated, ignorant person could earn name, fame and money and emerge victorious in this worldly life. He could possess many virtuous traits too. Yet, he will be helpless in progressing on the path of reaching Paramatma through the path of jnana (knowledge). He will fail in this path.
Assume that a sumptuous feast has been organized which has in it every form of delicacy. The host is of a calm and pure mind and the guest has the right appetite for providing justice to this sumptuous meal. The ambience is pleasant. However water for drinking has not been organized. Under such circumstances, can the meal be enjoyed? Without water, the guest will not be able to chew and swallow even one mouthful properly. For this reason, provision of water for drinking purposes is ensured at the beginning of the meal.
Likewise, a person could be a multi- billionaire with great name, fame, power and reputation. He could own plenty of assets. Yet, if the small spark of knowledge is lacking within the person, of what use is all that money and fame?
Sharada (Saraswati, Goddess of Learning) is worshipped for this reason. To us all, She is a great treasure house. Through this prayer, we seek that this Divine Mother shines eternally in our face. We pray that She should eternally reside on our tongue.
Om Seeta Rāmābhyām namaha.