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A recording of this namasankirtana is available in the Siddha Yoga Bookstore.
No play about poet-saints would be complete without a portrayal of their devotional singing. For each of the plays, Gurumayi composed melodies to the bhajans or abhangas by the saint being honored, and she also composed some devotional chants, namasankirtanas, that were part of the dramatic action. Rama Rama Ram is the namasankirtana that Gurumayi composed for The Life of Tulsidas, which was performed on July 21, 2000.
As a finale to The Life of Tulsidas, Gurumayi and the choir of young people sang one of Tulsidas’s bhajans, Raghuvara Tumako Meri La, and then chanted the namasankirtana Rama Rama Ram. Their ecstatic voices filled the hall. It is the recording of this namasankirtana that you can hear in this post.
Gurumayi chose the Malkauns raga for this namasankirtana, which evokes resplendence and valor, qualities that exemplify Lord Rama. Tulsidas was an ardent devotee of Lord Rama and composed the revered Ramcharitmanasa, a retelling of the Ramayana, in Avadhi, a common vernacular of his time. It tells the epic story of the noble prince Rama’s fourteen-year exile to the forest, his defeat of the demon king Ravana, and his triumphant return to his kingdom of Ayodhya with his beloved wife, Sita. There Lord Rama was crowned king, amidst much jubilation.
This is a story that was told and retold to me while I was growing up in India. It is a story that is enacted year after year under the evening sky in towns and villages throughout the country. Toddlers on their fathers’ shoulders gasp as Lord Rama strides valiantly across the stage, his bow and arrow in hand, and everyone celebrates the victory of light over darkness. During his time on earth, Lord Rama was looked upon as the embodiment of dharma. Ram Navami, the day marking his birth, is celebrated with great joy. Devotees recite the Ramayana, perform pujas that fill the air with the fragrance of incense and marigolds, and chant namasankirtanas.
Ram Navami also happened to be my grandfather’s birthday. The synchronicity of this always felt like a grace-filled blessing. Every year, my family honored the birthdays of Lord Rama and my grandfather with satsang at home. On these days, our house was filled with chanting and the taste of sweet, delicious halwa.
As you chant this namasankirtana, may the jubilant name of Rama lift your heart.
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