Ramayan portrays the nine kinds of devotion through the nine important characters in a way unique to themselves. Their devotion teaches us that though the journey was different but their destination was Shri Ram.
Sravan – This form of devotion was by one and all who were associated with Shri Ram. Be it the simple Kevat, or Shabari, the Rishis of dandak forest, or even Hanuman who spent their time listening to the stories of Shri Ram and waiting to be blessed by him.
Kirtan – Maharish Valmiki taught the Ramayan to his disciples Luv and Kush, who sang it in a melodious way and made the Ramayan imprinted in the hearts of one and all. By singing the glories of Shri Ram and Mata Sita, they fulfilled the Kirtan form of devotion.
Smaran – When Mata Sita was kept captive in Lanka, her devotion towards Shri Ram was in the form of Smaran, where she fixed her thoughts, heart and mind on Shri Ram and remembering him each and every minute of her time in Lanka. There is no great example then Mata Sita herself for this form of devotion in Ramayan
Pada Sev – Lakshman all his life was in the service of Shri Ram, and he stands as the epitome of servitude. By serving Shri Ram and being his constant companion through the worship of his lotus feet, Lakshman aptly fulfilled his devotion as the one dedicated to the service of Shri Ram’s Pada Sev.
Archan – After Bharat comes back to Nandigram with the padukas of Shri Ram, he installs them as the representation of Shri Ram and thus worships them as the images of Shri Ram all the fourteen years with only nothing but worship of his lotus feet, thus offering his devotion in the archan form
Vandan – When Shri Ram arrives at the doorstep of Mata Shabari, she washes his feet with her tears of joy, thus paying homage to him in the form of Vandan. She bows to him and offers her simple hospitality which is priceless and becomes one of the most revered devotees of Shri Ram.
Dasy a– When Shri Ram praises Hanuman as the one who is as dear to him as Bharat, Hanuman humbly falls at his feet and says that he is nothing , but a devout servant of Shri Ram. By offering himself completely to Shri Ram, Hanuman glorifies the Dasy bhakti like none other and they both stand as the best ideal of swami and daas relation.
Sakhya –Nishad Raj and Sugriv are the personification of the devotion in form of friendship with Shri Ram. As a childhood friend, Nishadraj Guh offered his simple hospitality on the banks of River Ganga and took care of Shri Ram. Sugriv as the King of Kishkinda offered his entire for war against Ravan and stood up for Shri Ram as his true friend, thus proving that being a true Sakha is the most delightful form of devotion.
Aatma Nivedan – Aatma Nivedan is surrender to the Almighty in total, and Vibhishan fits in this devotional form in the most explicable way. He leaves his family, kith and kin to seek surrender in Shri Ram and offers himself completely at his service and paves way for the victory over Ravan .
Just as the nine precious gems radiate immense light, these great personalities have carved a niche for themselves in radiating the bhakti of Shri Ram in the nine forms of Devotion.