Commentary on Thumaka Chalata Ramachandra

In the Celebration Satsang for Gurumayi’s Birthday, Viju Kulkarni sang Thumaka Chalata Ramachandra, a bhajan by the sixteenth-century poet-saint Tulsidas. In this bhajan, Tulsidas, an ardent devotee of Lord Rama, very beautifully and tenderly describes Lord Rama as a young child.

Later in the satsang, David Katz, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Muktabodha Indological Research Institute, gave a commentary on one of the teachings in this bhajan. Here is that commentary.

In the last sentence of Tulsidas’ bhajan, the poet-saint says: “The beauty of the Lord’s countenance is beyond compare. Lord Rama can only be compared with Lord Rama himself.”

Isn’t this understanding that Tulsidas has so eloquently put into words just remarkable? Think about it—what can you really compare the Lord with?

You may say the Lord is like the sun, the Lord is like the pristine blue sky or the convergence of color in a rainbow. You may say that the Lord has the purity and sweetness of an innocent young child. Yet—will you be satisfied with any of these descriptions? No matter what alankāra—what adornment or embellishment of speech—you use, no matter what simile or metaphor, you will always think, “There is more to it than that.”

Reading this bhajan, you might believe that this was Tulsidas’ quandary as well. He was in a conundrum. His heart was overcome with devotion and he wanted to glorify the image of the Lord. He wanted to express in words his experience of darshan.

So he looked to nature and tried to compare the Lord to the beauty that he found there. Yet as evocative and beautiful as the images he gives are, none of them quite suffices. So, by the end of the bhajan, Tulsidas can only say: “The Lord is the Lord.”

The poet-saint sings: “The beauty of the Lord’s countenance is beyond compare. Lord Rama can only be compared with Lord Rama himself.”

By focusing on this line in the bhajan, which is such a great teaching, we can learn how to receive darshan fully, how to recognize when we encounter God, and how to perceive the fullness of God’s divinity and resplendence.

This line from the bhajan brings to mind one of Gurumayi’s teachings. Gurumayi says:

The uniqueness contained in each individuality is part and parcel of the very energy of God.

Thumaka Chalata Ramachandra Bhajan

About David Katz

David Katz

David Katz began following the Siddha Yoga path in 1982. He has been a speaker in Siddha Yoga teaching and learning events; he wrote the introduction to The Yoga of Discipline, authored by Gurumayi Chidvilasananda; and he currently serves as chairman of the Board of Directors and president of the Muktabodha Indological Research Institute.

David received a PhD in neurobiology and behavior at the State University of New York and completed postdoctoral training in developmental neurology at Cornell University Medical College in Manhattan, New York. He is currently professor emeritus of neurosciences at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Ohio. David lives in Fallsburg, New York, with his wife, Kashmiri.

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