Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Glories of Prayag

At dawn the Lord of Raghus performed His morning duties and then the Lord proceeded further and visited Prayaga, the king of holy places. This king has Truth for his minister, Piety for his beloved consort and a beneficent friend like Bindumadhava (the Deity presiding over Prayaga). His treasury is replete with the four prizes of human life, while the sacred region surrounding the confluence of the Ganga and the Yamuna marks his most beautiful dominion. The holy Prayaga represents his inaccessible, strong and lovely fortress that no enemy has ever dreamt of possessing. All the sacred spots are his chosen and valiant warriors, who are staunch in battle and capable of crushing the host of sins. The confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna constitutes his exquisite throne, while the immortal banyan tree (known by the name of Aksayavata) represents his royal umbrella, which captivates the heart even of sages. The waves of the Ganga and Yamuna constitute his chowries, whose very sight destroys sorrow and want.

Virtuous and holy saints wait upon this king and attain all that they desire; while the Vedas and Puranas are the rhapsodists who recount his stainless virtues.

Who can describe the glory of Prayaga, a lion as it were for the herd of elephants in the shape of sins? The Chief of Raghu's race, who is an ocean of bliss, was filled with delight to see this glorious king of holy places. With His own gracious lips He told Sita, Laksmana and His friend (Guha) the greatness of Prayaga. Making obeisance to this holy place He cast a look round the groves and gardens and expatiated on its glory with the utmost devotion. In this way He arrived at and saw the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna, the very thought of which bestows choice blessings. After bathing in the confluence He gladly adored Lord Shiva and worshipped the deities presiding over the holy Prayaga according to the prescribed ritual. The Lord then called on Bharadvaja; and the sage clasped Him to his bosom as He fell prostrate before Him. The joy that the sage felt within his heart cannot be described in words; it looked as if he had found the bliss of oneness with Brahma incarnate.

The chief of sages, Bharadvaja, invoked his blessing on the Lord. He felt great joy in his heart to perceive that God had as it were set before him in visible form the reward of all his virtues.

-Sri Ramacaritamanasa, Ayodhya Kanda 104-106

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