‘Swagatam Shri Ram Katha’ — Sundarkand Paath 3/6 by Sandipani Vidyaniketan and Sandipani Parivar Africa.

Sundarakānda has a special significance in the Rāmacaritmānasa, just as the 15th Chapter of the Bhagavad Gītā, or the 10th Canto of the Śrimad Bhāgavat. What is not beautiful about the Sundarakānda? Indeed, the Rāmāyana is the word form of Śrī Rāma, and the Sundarakānda, which is the fifth of the seven chapters, is the Lord’s heart. Thus, when reading the Sundarakānda, one is entering into Śrī Rāma’s own heart.

Śri Hanumānajī is the hero (nāyak) of this Sundarakānda. In the quest for devotion (Bhakti), as seen in the Sundarakānda, wherein Rāvana—who represents a deluded intellect—has kidnapped Sītājī—who represents devotion—every spiritual aspirant (sādhaka) determined to reach the goal must learn to face the various obstacles and challenges posed en-route, from Śri Hanumānajī, who crosses the formidable ocean (bhag-sāgara—representing the material ocean of transmigration) by remembering the Lord’s name at all times.

This heroic chapter demonstrates that just as the sky of Śri Hanumānajī’s heart is ever-permeated by the presence of Śrī Lakṣman, Śrī Sītājī and Śrī Rāmajī (wielding a bow and quiver of arrows); so too, is Śrī Rāma’s heart filled with the valour and presence of Śri Hanumānaji’s feats in the Sundarakānda.

Pujya Bhaishri also described how Śrī Hanumānajī is an incarnation of Lord Śiva, who seeks to serve his Lord—Śrī Rāma—as His messenger (dūta), servant (sevak), and devotee (bhakt). In fact, Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu are mutually devoted to one another, and are one another’s top-most devotees.

Invoking the grace of Śrī Hanumānajī grants a spiritual aspirant strength (bala), worldly knowledge (buddhi) and spiritual wisdom (vidyā), whilst also removing all suffering (kleśa) and vices (vikāra). Yet, what is the ultimate fruit of one who chants this Sundarakānda?

sakala sumaṃgala dāyaka
raghunāyaka guna gāna
sādara sunahī te tarahī
bhava siṃdhu binā jalajāna

Dohā 60 | Rāmacaritamānasa | Sundarakānda |

Meaning: A recital of the virtues of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus) bestows all blessings. Those who reverently hear them, cross the ocean of mundane existence without any boat (any other means), says Śrī Tulsīdāsaji.

|| Śrī Sītā Rāma Śaraṇam ||

The third event in this six-part devotional Sundarakānda series—to welcome Śrī Rāma Kathā for ShriHari Mandir’s 15th Pātotsava (February 13-21st, 2021)—was exceptionally well-organised and attended. Thousands had gathered collectively, across digital platforms as well as physically, in various temples in Dar es Salam, Tanzania, and Eldoret, Kenya.

Requests for an affiliation with Sandipani Vidyaniketan, along with further Ṛṣīkumāras to train-the-trainers for spreading the teachings of Sānātana Dharma, was made by Śrī Malharbhai Dave; and Śrī Bimalbhai Gatha expressed appreciation to Sandipani for the excellent sevā and Bal Sanskar activities initiated by Ṛṣī Śrī Saileshbhai Mehta, who is currently offering services as a priest at the Shree Lohana Mandir Ram Mandir.

Ṛṣī Śrī Dilipbhai Pandya, graduate of Sandipani Vidyaniketan and senior Kathākar, who narrates Śrimad Bhāgavat Kathā along with various other scriptures, led the devotional singing of this Sundarakānda Pātha. He was accompanied by Sandipani Vidyaniketan graduate student Śrī Jagdishbhai Vohra, Śrī Ketanbhai Maheta and others.

Sandipani Parivar—Africa event was coordinated by dedicated Sandipani Sevak Parivar of KantaBaa Suchak, Surekhaben and Sanjaybhai Suchak, along with their daughters Shivaniben and Anmolben Suchak, who were the Mukhya Manorathi from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

A dedicated team of coordinators from Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania included:

  • Ṛṣī Śrī Saileshbhai Mehta, Priest and Bal Sanskar Ācaryā—Shree Lohana Mahajan Ram Mandir
  • Śrī Bimalbhai Gatha, Convenor—Shree Lohana Mahajan Hanuman Chalisa Mandal;
  • Śrī Malharbhai Dave, Chairperson—Shree Sanatan Dharma Sabha
  • Śrī Bhavinbhai Borkhataria, President—The Hindu Council of Tanzania

Other Notable attendees:

  • From Shree Sanatan Dharma Sabha (SSDS) Hindu Temple—Eldoret, Kenya:
    • Ṛṣī Śrī Dineshbhai Mehta, Priest
    • Śrī Dipenbhai Bhatt, Trustee
    • Śrī Rajbhai Kachela, Chairperson
    • Śrī Girishbhai Khetia, Secretary
    • And all other committee members
  • From Ndola, Zambia:
    • Śrī Ashokbhai Desai—Hindu Association of Zambia
    • Śrīmati Manjuben Patel—Mahila Mandal Ndola Hindu Samaj
  • Śrīmatī Divyaben Arunbhai Lodhia (Arusha, Tanzania)
  • Śrīmatī Minaben Khagram (Nakuru, Kenya)

Report by Nimisha Sadhu & Shivani Suchak

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