Diwali is the biggest festival in India. Diwali means shopping for new clothes, new gadgets, for the trading community it means the new year and of course it is the beginning of the winter season when you can eat a lot of Mithai. However, what we are celebrating primarily is the return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya after killing Ravana in Sri Lanka. Ram Bhajans are the perfect way to celebrate this festival of lights.
It is said that in Kaliyug – the 4th era of Hindu Calendar, taking the name of ‘Ram’ would be enough to take care of you. Ram Naam or Ram Dhun is a part of Indian ethos.
So let’s begin by listening to Ram Dhun from the temples of Ayodhya
This was recorded during my recent visit to Ayodhya.
This Diwali compiling some of the popular Ram Bhajans for you:
Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram – Most Popular of Ram Bhajans
Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram is a Ram Dhun that has been partially taken from a text called – Nama Ramayana. Nama Ramayana is the concise 108 Shlok Ramayana. So instead of reading the 24,000 verses of Valmiki Ramayana, this is something that you can chant every day.
This Ram Bhajan gained popularity when Gandhi Ji adopted it for the freedom struggle. He changed the original lyrics for the freedom movement. Here are the original and Gandhi Ji’s lyrics for you:
Now, my favorite rendition of this Bhajan is this instrumental version of Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram on Shehnai by Ustad Bismillah Khan.
Sri Ram Chandra Kripalu Bhajman by Goswami Tulsi Das
Shri Ram Chandra Kripalu Bhajman is a Sanskrit Ram Bhajan by Goswami Tulsidas. It has been sung by almost all singers. I chose this version sung by a young Sooryagayathri – it is a delight to see this kid sing the Sanskrit Ram Bhajan so well.
For the more popular and mature versions listen to MS Subbulakshmi sing it so effortlessly in Raag Sindhu Bhairavi. This rendition by Rajan Mishra & Sajan Mishra in Raag Yaman Kalyan is another popular version.
If you want to sing along here are the lyrics of Shri Ram Chandra Kripalu Bhaj Man… it is all about the Mahatmaya of Shri Ram.
Thumak Chalat Ram Chandra by Goswami Tulsi Das
In the Ram Bhajan ‘Thumak Chalat Ram Bhajan’ Goswami Tulsi Das describes a baby or Bal Rama. He describes him as a toddler, who falls in an attempt to walk and how the queens of Dasrath indulge him by sweet talk. Eventually, Tulsidas says looking at this Chhavi or the image of Bal Rama – you also become like him.
This is also a popular Ram Bhajan sung by many popular singers. My favorite rendition is by Purshottam Das Jalota.
Here listen to his son Anup Jalota reciting it and explaining the eternal poetry of Goswami Tulsi Das.
Hear the instrumental version on Flute by Pt Ronu Mazumdar.
Thumak Chalat Ram Chandra lyrics to sing along:
Paayo Ji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Paayo – Ram Bhajan by Mira Bai
In the era of Bhakti, we know Mira Bai to be a devotee. In this Bhajan though she describes the joy of finding Ram whom she called the treasure. It is a treasure that no one can take away and that grows every day.
Listen to this soulful rendition by Pt D V Paluskar
Paayo ji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Paayo Lyrics for Singing Along
Ram Simar Ram – A Shabd by Guru Nanak
Guru Granth Sahib talks a lot about Ram Naam. Here is a Nanak Shabd – sung soulfully by Jagjit Singh
I was surprised to see that this has been sung by MS Subbulakshmi as well.
Jab Janaki Nath Sahay Kare by Goswami Tulsi Das
This is another beautiful Ram Bhajan by Goswami Tulsi Das where he tells that when Lord Ram or Janaki’s Nath is there to protect you – who can harm you. He takes you through all the bad elements – be it the notorious stars like Rahu & Ketu or the bad characters like Dushasan, he will protect you from them.
I choose a rendition by Pt Chhanulal Mishra for you
To sing along, here are the lyrics for you:
Ram Rang Rangile Man – A Marathi Ram Bhajan
I discovered this in my better half’s collection of Pt Bhimsen Joshi Bhajans. It is a very small bhajan that tells you to soak yourself in the Ram Rang, in Atma Rang & in Vishwa Rang. My interpretation of Ram Rang Rangile Man is that the poet is telling us to soak in Ram Rasa at all levels of existence – be it worldly or at an emotional level.
Hear the Maestro sing it in Raag Mishra Pahadi:
Shri Ram Kahe Samjhayi
This Ram Bhajan is a scene after Lord Ram is given exile by his father making his younger brother Lakshman angry. In this bhajan, he is telling Lakshman that he has accepted his father’s command. He does not blame Kaikayee for this as all this is driven by destiny and not doing of a person. I am not saddened and you should not be either. The Bhajan tells us to accept destiny and be not impacted by it.
Hear Pt Bhimsen Joshi sing this in Raag Jaunpuri:
Sree Ramam Charanam Samasta Jagataam – Ram Stuti
This Ram Sturi simply says the whole world lies at the feet of Lord Rama – it is soaked in Bhakti Rasa. Sung by Pt Jasraj
Ranjeeti Ram Rau Aaye
This is one of the few Ram Bhajans that is truly meant for Diwali. It celebrates the homecoming of Ram In Ayodhya after he wins the battle.
Hear the Gundecha brothers sing it in Dhrupad tradition
Ramcharitmanas by Pt Channulal Mishra
This is my favorite rendition of Ramcharit Manas in short. I definitely urge you to listen to this that brings together various types of singing in one piece:
Dear Aditya Sengupta, a big thank you for compiling this list of Ram Bhajans for IndiTales. It was a great journey to compile this post as I heard versions and versions of these Ram Bhajans. I soaked in the world of Ram and Ram Bhakti. It seems for the first time I am having a musical Bhakti Ras soaked musical Diwali.
If your favorite Ram Bhajans are not on this list, please share them in the comments below.
May this Diwali lighten up your lives with Happiness, Joy, and Prosperity!