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Unpublished manuscript-- study guide to “The Holy Lake of the Acts of Rama”-- accessible as free pdfs

“In an instant behold the effect of the bath; crows become cuckoos and cranes become swans. ‘Let no one marvel at hearing this, for the influence of good company is no secret.’”

“The wise discern the special characteristics of each age in their minds, and, forswearing unrighteousness, devote themselves to religion.”

The above excerpts from “Ramacharitamanasa” (Valmiki/Tulasidasa; translation R.C. Prasad) point towards the importance of “satsang”, or “communion with the godly and good”—which for many people throughout the centuries of human experience, was/is either an ideal, a way of life, or both.

For me, reading the book “Ramacharitamanasa” (“The Holy Lake of the Acts of Rama”) (first reading 1992) opened up more new lines of thought on the subject of “devotion” than any other book I have read--before then or since then. So at one point when I had an opportunity I created a kind of study guide, which amounted to a collection of excerpts from the R.C. Prasad translation (1990 Benarsidass edition) organized into categories. The title of the study guide I created (in 1996) was “Meditations on Devotion to Rama”.

I thought I might find others interested in such a study guide—but somehow I have not yet found such others. However, in my present circumstances I have access to a scanner, and it occurred to me that this study guide may be helpful to others, if I made it accessible as pdf files. The pdf files I created include two large pdfs (Parts I and II, which are very large size pdfs), and a set of smaller sections of the manuscript, in a lower resolution, but still very readable (those pdfs are 5MB or lower in size.) These free pdf files are accessible from the The IPCR Initiative website homepage (at www.ipcri.net )-- see the section "Some of the Documents Providing Spiritual Inspiration for The IPCR Initiative".

Since the study guide makes liberal use of text from the R.C. Prasad translation of “The Holy Lake of the Acts of Rama” (1990 edition), it may seem that propriety would suggest I have permission to share this study guide. However, I believe that sharing this study guide can only increase interest in the complete version of “Ramacharitamanasa”—and especially in R.C. Prasad’s most excellent translation. These considerations—and also the challenges of our times, and my own particular circumstances—have convinced me, if not any others, that there are much more potential for positive outcomes in sharing this study guide, than any other kind of outcomes.

The study guide has a brief introduction which provides some history, some description, and some indicators of why the book has a special place in the Hindu tradition. Here is one passage from that introduction which may help inspire readers to explore the pdf files:

“Possible it is this kind of faith, in the capacity of the ‘Ramacharitamanasa’ to radiate ‘spiritual presence’, that explains why ‘the book is in everyone’s hands, from the court to the cottage, and is read, or heard, and appreciated alike by every class of the Hindu community, whether high or low, rich or poor, young or old’ (F.S. Growse) and ‘is acknowledged not merely as the greatest modern Indian epic, but as something like a living sum of Indian culture…’” (R.C. Prasad).

I hope that there are some readers who can appreciate the glimpses into the “Ramacharitamanasa” provided by this study guide.

With Kind Regards,

Stefan Pasti

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