Sri Rama - Sri Rama is exiled

Sri Rama is exiled

Selected Episodes

Canto XVI (Ayodhyākanda)

Passing through the outermost gate of the inner chambers (for women), which was crowded with men, Sumantra (who knew many old legends) next reached the inner gate, which was solitary and was guarded by young men wielding a Prāsa (a barbed missile) and a bow and adorned with ear rings of burnished gold, unfailing in their duty and single  minded of purpose and fully devoted (to their master) (1-2) Here he saw stationed at the gate, staff in hand, aged men clad in ochre coloured liveries and richly adorned, most attentive to their duty and guarding the inmates of the inner apartments. (3) Perceiving him coming near they all sprang up from their seats, full of awe, eager as they (all) were, to do loving service to Śrī Rāma. (4) Sumantra, the son of a bard, who had a disciplined mind and was highly expert in deliberation etc., said to them, "(Please) tell Prince Rāma at once, that Sumantra waits at the door." (5) Approaching Śrī Rāma, they speedily reported the matter to the heir apparent, who was closely seated with his spouse. Receiving the information, Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) caused the bard, who was in the confidence of his father (Emperor Daśaratha), to be brought in the same room where he was, prompted as he was with a desire to please Sumantra. (6-7)

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Sri Rama is exiled

The bard saw  Śrī Rāma, the chastiser of his foes, resplendent as Kubera (son of Visrava seated, richly adorned, on a gold couch overspread with a cover, nay, besmeared with holy and fragrant sandal paste of superb excellence and crimson as the blood of a boar, and further accompanied by Princess Sītā too, standing by his side, chowrie in hand, (even as the moon god is accompanied by Citra, the goddess presiding over an asterism of the same name). (8 -10) Like a humble petitioner, the bard, who knew the rules of decorum, greeted  Śrī Rāma , a bestower of boons, who possessed the flaming splendour of an inherent light just like the sun. (11) Seeing the heir apparent with a cheerful countenance on his couch intended for repose at the time of relaxation, Sumantra, who was honoured by the king, spoke (to him) with joined palms as follows: — (12) " Kausalya is blessed in having you for a son! Along with Queen Kaikeyī  your father (Emperor Daśaratha) too desires to see you. Be pleased to go there: let there be no delay." (13) Highly pleased, Śrī Rāma   (a lion among men), who was as fulgent as a flash of lightning, thereupon showed his great esteem for Sītā — so the tradition goes — and spoke to her as follows: — (14)

"Meeting together, 0 auspicious one, the king (my father) and the queen (mother Kaikeyī ) too are surely having some talk concerning me on the topic of my installation (as Prince Regent). (15) Reading his mind and desirous of pleasing him, that dark eyed mother of mine the daughter of the king of the Kekayas, who is very clever and favourable to the king, (who) wishes well of him and is obedient to him and is my well wisher (too), is surely pressing the king, who is the king of kings, on my behalf, highly delighted as she is (over the prospect of my installation). (16-17) Luckily enough (for me) has the emperor (my father) with his beloved queen (mother Kaikeyī ) sent as his messenger Sumantra, who is the cause of my prosperity and happiness. (18) This messenger has come to me as though the whole assembly has come. (From this I conclude that) the king will surely install me in the office of Prince Regent this very day. (19) Ah, departing from this place soon, I shall see the

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Sri Rama is exiled

emperor. Abide you comfortably with your female companions (here) and rejoice." (20)

Invoking (divine) blessings (on her husband), the dark eyed Sītā who was greatly esteemed by her spouse, followed her husband up to the gate. (21) "(Having once installed you in the office of Prince Regent), the king ought to consecrate you (in course of time), as Brahma (the maker of the universe) consecrated Indra, for the Rajasuya sacrifice, as his kingdom is inhabited by (learned) Brāhmanas (well versed in ritual acts). (22) Seeing you consecrated (for the said sacrifice) and rich in religious austerities (appropriate to the occasion), wearing excellent deerskin (for loin cloth) and leading a pure (chaste) life and carrying a horn of an antelope in your hand, I wish to serve you (in that state). (23) May Indra (the wielder of the thunder  bolt) guard your eastern side; Yama (the god of punishment), your southern side; Varuna (the god of water), your western side and Kubera (the lord of riches) your northern side." (24)

Taking leave of Sītā and having gone through auspicious rites appropriate to the solemn occasion,   Śrī Rāma  forthwith departed from his palace along with Sumantra. (25) Issuing forth from the palace as a lion dwelling in a mountain cave would emerge from a mountainous valley, he beheld Laksmana standing at the (very first) gate bent low with joined palms. (26) Then, at the middle gate, he met his friends and relations. Seeing those who longed for his sight or for his installation and having met and addressed them kindly, the heir apparent, who was a tiger among men, mounted next his splendid and excel  lent chariot, which shone brightly like fire and was upholstered with tiger skin. (27-28) Riding his chariot, which moved rapidly with a sound as of thunder and was commodious, was inlaid with gems and gold, which shone like Mount Meru (the gold mountain) and blinded one's eyes with its splendour as it were, which was driven by super excellent horses almost as big as young elephants — (even) as Indra (the thousand eyed god) does his own chariot, driven by swift horses — Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Raghu), flaming with glory, quickly departed. Thundering

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Sri Rama is exiled

Top: Sita giving away possessions

Bottom : Ram distributing away his wealth (Mewar )

 

 

 

 

 
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Sri Rama is exiled

like a cloud in the sky and making the quarters resound (with its rattle), that glorious chariot proceeded from the palace as the moon emerges from a large cloud. Taking his seat in the chariot behind   Śrī Rāma  , with a wonderful chowrie in his hand, Laksmana, younger brother of Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Raghu) guarded his (elder) brother, a brother (in the true sense of the word) as he was. Thereupon an uproarious shout of applause rose from the concourse of men that had gathered all round, (even) as the chariot departed on its course. Then, excellent horses and the foremost of elephants looking like mountains followed Śrī Rāma  in hundreds and thousands. In front of Śrī Rāma  , again, marched mailed warriors daubed with paste of sandalwood and aloe and wielding a sword and bow each and men invoking blessings (on Śrī Rāma ). Then were heard on the road (along which Śrī Rāma  drove in his chariot) the notes of musical instruments as well as the words of praise uttered by the panegyrists and afterwards the shouts of warriors resembling the roaring of lions. Śrī Rāma  (the subduer of his enemies) drove along while being covered on all sides with showers of excellent flowers rained by women adorned with jewels and standing at the windows of their mansions. With intent to please Śrī Rāma  , women who were faultless of every limb and stood in their mansions or on the ground (along the road) extolled him in excellent words (as follows): — "Your mother, Kausalyā, 0 delighter of your mother, will rejoice to see you installed on the throne of your father and with the object of your visit (to your father) accomplished." Those women indeed looked upon Sītā, beloved of the heart of Śrī Rāma   as the foremost of those aus  piciously married women (and observed): "Surely great austerity  has been duly practised by Sītā in her past lives in that she has (in her present birth) attained union with Śrī Rāma   (even) as Rohini (wife of the moon god, the goddess presiding over an asterism of the same name) got united with the moon god." So did Śrī Rāma   (the foremost among men) hear, on the public road, the delightful words uttered by young ladies on the tops of mansions (as well as on the road). (29 42) There (on the

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Sri Rama is exiled

road) Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Raghu) heard on that occasion the talks of visitors (from outside), on various topics (connected with the line of Raghu) as well as the diverse observations concerning himself of the people of Ayodhyā (itself), who wore a highly delighted appearance: — (43) "Here goes Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Raghu), who is about to inherit a great (royal) fortune by the grace of the king. We too shall have all our desires fulfilled  in that he shall be our suzerain ruler. (44) This will be our (supreme) gain that Śrī Rāma   will for long acquire (sovereignty over) this entire state. For, so long as he is the ruler of men none will ever undergo any disagreeable experience, much less suffering." (45) Being glorified by Swastikas (who pronounced benedictions by raising shouts of victory), Sutas (chroniclers) and Magadhas (who glorified descent), who marched ahead of him and extolled by eloquent eulogists, Śrī Rāma   drove like Kubera along with neighing horses accompanied by elephants. (46) Śrī Rāma   (also) beheld the clean road thronged with elephants in rut and female elephants, chariots and horses, with their crossings packed to the full by large crowds of men, lined with (shops containing) abundant jewels and large stocks of saleable goods. (47)

Canto XVII

Mounting his chariot, the glorious Śrī Rāma  , who brought immense joy to his friends and relations (wherever he went), beheld (from his chariot) the city (of Ayodhyā), which was richly provided with buntings and flags, fumigated with the incense of precious aloe wood and was crowded with various types of men. (In this way) Śrī Rāma   drove through the middle of the road, which was adorned with white houses looking like (so many) douds and was fumigated with the incense of aloe wood. Like Indra (the ruler of gods) in heaven, he (also) saw that excellent road, the right royal road, which was untroubled by thieves and robbers and looked charming with (shops containing) heaps of

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Sri Rama is exiled

superb sandalwood and aloe wood and (other) fragrant sub  stances as well as of linen and silk, unpierced pearls and excel  lent crystals too, which was heaped on the sides with flowers and edibles of various kinds, and whose crossings were ever adorned with curds, grains of unbroken rice, materials worth offering as oblation to the sacred fire, parched grains of paddy, incense of various kinds and paste of sandalwood and aloe  wood and various kinds of flowers and perfumes. Hearing the numerous blessings invoked by friends and duly honouring all men (who invoked such blessings) according to their respective position, Śrī Rāma   drove along.

(Addressing Śrī Rāma  , they said: —) "Resorting to the well  known path (of righteousness) trodden by your (father and) grandfather and great grandfather, when installed (in the of  fice of Prince Regent) today, keep to it." (Again, they said to one another): —"When Śrī Rāma   is crowned king, we shall all live (even) more happily than we did when we were sustained by his father (King Daśaratha) and by all his forefathers. (1- 9) Indeed, we shall have no use for enjoyment (of any sort) or for the varieties of Moksa (final beatitude), if we can only see Śrī Rāma   corning out (of the palace of King Daśaratha) after being installed (as Prince Regent) today. (10) For, nothing else will be dearer to us than the installation on the throne of Śrī Rāma  , who is invested with immense glory." (11)

Śrī Rāma   drove along the main road hearing unconcernedly these and other favourable talks of his friends and relations, eulogizing him. (12) Even when Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Raghu) had passed by, no man (much less woman) could turn his mind or eyes away from that jewel among men. (13) He who did not behold Śrī Rāma   and whom Śrī Rāma   did not notice was indeed despised in the eyes of all men; even his own self would reproach him. (14) Since that pious minded prince would show compassion, commensurate of course with their age, to all people belonging to the four grades of society (and even outside their pale), they were accordingly devoted to him (in thought, word and deed). (15) The heir apparent drove along leaving

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Sri Rama is exiled

crossroads, temples, and places sacred to the tutelary deities of a village and schools to his right (as a token of respect). (16)

He reached the royal palace with its beautiful towers of various designs resembling auspicious assemblage of clouds and comparable to the peak of Kailāsa as well as with its pleasure  houses adorned with bunches of precious stones and rising above the sky like (so many) aerial cars, the heir apparent, who was glowing with his inborn splendour entered the well known palace of his father, the foremost of (all) mansions on the globe and resembling the palace of the mighty Indra. (17- 19) Having passed through (the first) three gates, guarded (as they were) by bowmen, in a chariot drawn by horses; that jewel among men walked through the other two gates on foot. (20) Passing through all the (five) gates and politely sending back all men (who accompanied him) Śrī Rāma , son of Daśaratha, entered the hallowed inner chambers. (21) The prince having made his way into the presence of his (royal) father on that occasion, the whole crowd, full of joy, awaited his coming back (from the palace even) as the ocean awaits the rising of the moon. (22)

Canto XVIII

The said Śrī Rāma  beheld his father seated on a lovely couch with Kaikeyī, dejected and distressed and marked with a withered face. (1) Bowing first at his father's feet with a modest demeanour, he then laid himself low at Kaikeyī's feet, fully com  posed in mind. (2) Having barely uttered the word " Rāma ", the afflicted monarch could neither cast a look (at him) nor speak, his eyes blinded with tears. (3) Seeing that unusual appearance of the monarch, which gave rise to apprehension, Śrī Rāma  too was seized with dismay, (even) as he would on touching a ser  pent with his foot. (4) He saw the monarch withered through grief and agony with his senses divested of joy, sighing with a distressed and perturbed mind; like a mighty and unshakeable

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Sri Rama is exiled

ocean rendered turbulent with a succession of waves, like a Rsi who has spoken a lie and therefore like the sun obscured by an eclipse. (5-6) Bestowing his thought on the said grief of the monarch, which was almost inconceivable, Śrī Rāma  grew extremely agitated as the ocean is on the full moon. (7) The insightful Śrī Rāma , devoted, as he was to the welfare of his father, said to himself, "How is it, that on this day alone, the emperor does not joyfully respond to my greeting? (8) On other days my (royal) father would be pleased on seeing me, even though in an angry mood. How is it that he feels agonized to behold me today?" (9) Like one distressed and stricken with grief and with the lustre of his face overshadowed with melancholy, Śrī Rāma  saluted Kaikeyī and spoke to her alone as follows: — (10)

"I hope no offence has been unwittingly committed by me (against my father). (Pray) tell me the reason why father is angry with me. Only you can propitiate him. (11) Why is he though always fond of me, displeased? With his face downcast he does not even speak to me, afflicted as he is. (12) I hope no agony caused by bodily distemper or mental anguish afflicts him; truly speaking, everlasting happiness is hard to secure. (13) I hope no offence has been committed (by me) against Prince Bharata of pleasing aspect or Satrughna possessing great valour or against my mothers. (14) Unable to please the emperor or failing to do my father's bidding and in the event of His Majesty being angry (with me) I would not survive even for an hour or so. (15) How can a man fail to be devoted to his father, his veritable and living deity, to whom he owes his own birth in this world? (16) (Or) has my father been spoken to — through vanity or anger — a harsh word by you, by which his heart has been stung to the quick? (17) What is this un  precedented agitation in the mind of the emperor due to? 0, auspicious one, I bristle with questions therefore, explain to me, in essential terms." (18)

Questioned thus by the high souled  Rāma  (a scion of Raghu), Kaikeyī, who had grown utterly impudent, made the following  

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Sri Rama is exiled

bold reply, which was calculated to advance her own interest: — (19) "The king is neither angry nor is there any an  guish troubling him. 0  Rāma ! There is, however, something in his mind, which he is not disclosing (to you) for fear of hurting you. (20) Words do not proceed from his mouth to tell you, his darling, something disagreeable (to you). You however, must implement the promise that was given to me, by him. (21) Having granted me a boon in the past and (thereby) honoured me, this (illustrious) monarch (now) repents in the same way as any other common man. (22) Having given a pledge to me in the words 'I grant (you) a boon' the celebrated monarch seeks in vain to construct a dam across a stream whose water has already flowed away. (23) Truth is the root of piety — this is (a fact) well known even to the righteous, 0  Rāma ! Beware lest the king should forsake that truth, angry as he is (with me) for your sake. (24) If you undertake to implement whatever the king says, whether it is good or evil (for you), in that case of course I shall repeat everything (to you). (25) If what has been resolved by the king is not disobeyed by you then I shall lay it all before you. In no case will he utter a word to you." (26)

Distressed to hear the words uttered by Kaikeyī, the aggrieved Srī Rāma  spoke (as follows) to the said queen in the presence of the emperor: (27) "Oh Shame! You do not need to speak such words to me, 0 glorious one! At the bidding of my father, I am prepared to leap into a fire. (28) Commanded by the emperor, who is my teacher, father and friend (all in one), I might (as well) swallow deadly poison and take a plunge into the ocean. (29) (Therefore) speak out to me what is desired by the king, 0 auspicious one! I shall accomplish, I firmly promise. (Know that)  Rāma  does not speak twice." (30) To the said Srī Rāma  , who always spoke the truth and was richly endowed with erect truthfulness, the ignoble Kaikeyī addressed the following exceptionally cruel words: — (31) "Formerly in the course of a conflict between gods and demons, 0 scion of Raghu, a couple of boons were granted to me by your father, who had been rescued (by me) in a major battle with a shaft (which remained

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Sri Rama is exiled

dug into his body and was extracted afterwards by me). (32) As against those boons the king was solicited by me this very day (to acquiesce in) the installation (as Prince Regent) of Bharata and your departure to the Dandaka forest, 0 scion of Raghu. (33) If you want to prove your father and yourself to be true to your promises, 0 jewel among men, (please) listen to the following exhortation of mine. (34) Be faithful to the word of your father: as promised by him, you ought to retire to the woods for nine years and five. (35) And let Bharata be consecrated with all the material that has been got together by the king for your consecration, 0 scion of Raghu! (36) Forgoing the forthcoming installation and ensconced in the Dandaka forest, wear matted locks and the bark of trees for seven and seven years. (37) Let Bharata rule over this earth that is owned by Daśaratha (the king of Ayodhyā) and is full of precious stones of various kinds and crowded with chariots driven by horses. (38) Overwhelmed with compassion (for you) due to this circumstance (of having granted a couple of boons in my favour), this monarch cannot (even) look at you, his face withered from grief. (39) Implement this pledge of the emperor, 0 delight of the Raghus! (Pray) Deliver the emperor (from a delicate situation) by vindicating his outstanding veracity." (40) Even though Kaikeyī spoke unkindly as above, Srī  Rāma  did not yield to grief at all. The king, however, even though he was possessed of great strength of mind, felt sore distressed, afflicted as he was by the agony of (impending) separation from his son. (41)

Canto XIX

Śrī Rāma , the destroyer of his enemies, did not feel distressed to hear that message, which was (so) unpleasant to "hear and was like death (itself), and spoke to Kaikeyī as follows:  — (i) "Amen! Honouring the promise made by the king and wearing matted locks and the bark of trees, I will undoubtedly proceed from Ayodhyā to the forest to take up my abode

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(there). (2) I, however, desire to know wherefore His Majesty, who is capable of chastising his enemies and is (himself) hard to assail, does not welcome me as before. (3) Nor should displeasure be shown by you (to me), 0 queen, because I am put  ting this question to you. Wearing the bark of trees and matted locks I will (certainly) proceed to the forest. Be fully pleased (with me). (4) Enjoined by the emperor, who is my friend, preceptor and father (all in one) and appreciates a service done (to him), what kindly act shall I not do unhesitatingly (to him)? (5) A mental anguish pains my heart that His Majesty should not personally speak to me about Bharata's installation. (6) For, commanded by you, I would myself joyfully part with, in favour of Bharata, not only the kingdom (of Ayodhyā) and my (personal) property but (even) Sītā (my wedded wife), my be  loved life (itself). (7) How much more (gladly) shall I part with (all) these when enjoined by my father, the emperor himself, and (that too) with intent to please you and in order to honour the pledge given by him (to you)? (8) (Therefore) reassure to that effect the bashful monarch. But why should it be that the emperor gently sheds tears with his eyes riveted on the ground? (9) Let messengers proceed this very day on horses possessing a swift speed under orders of the king in order to bring Bharata from his maternal uncle's home. (10) Here do I actually proceed with quick steps without fail to the Dandaka forest in order to live there for fourteen years, without calling in question the command of my father." (11)

Kaikeyī felt rejoiced to hear that reply of Śrī Rāma . Confident of his departure (to the forest), she urged (in the following words) Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Raghu) to look sharp: — (12) "Let it be so! Messengers and (other) men shall depart on horses possessing a swift speed to bring back Bharata from his maternal uncle's abode here. (13) I do not in any case deem it advisable for you to tarry (any longer), keen as you are to depart (for the woods), 0  Rāma ! Therefore you ought to proceed quickly to the forest from this place. (14) That the king does not speak to you himself, ashamed as he is (in asking you, his favourite

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Sri Rama is exiled

son, to relinquish the throne and leave Ayodhyā), matters little, 0 jewel among men! Let this compunction be banished (from your mind). (15) So long as you do not depart posthaste from this city, your father, 0  Rāma , would neither bathe nor have his breakfast." (16)

The king, drawing a deep audible breath, with the words: "What a shame! How painful!" on his lips, overwhelmed with grief, dropped down unconscious on that couch inlaid with gold. (17) Lifting up the king, Śrī Rāma   too, when urged on face to face by Kaikeyī, made haste to proceed to the forest (even) as a horse lashed with a whip. (18) Hearing that ignoble and cruel utterance of Kaikeyī, Śrī Rāma  , who was unknown to anguish, spoke to her as follows: — (19) "I do not desire to live in the world as a slave to material gains. Know me to be devoted to immaculate righteousness like the Rsis. (20) Whatever is agreeable to my adorable father and capable of being accomplished by me even at the cost of my life has veritably been accomplished in everyway. (21) Indeed there is no greater piety than or as good as service to one's father or doing his bidding. (22) At your command, though not (directly) enjoined by my revered father, I shall live in the forest for fourteen years. (23) Surely you have found a deficiency in my virtues otherwise why should you have spoken to the king (about such a trivial thing); you have greater authority over me, 0 princess of Kekaya! (24) (Pray) bear with me till I take leave of my mother (Kausalya) and win Sītā to consent. Then I shall proceed to the great forest of Dandaka1 this very day. (25) An attempt should be made by you to see that Bharata protects the kingdom (from internal disorder and foreign aggression) and serves his (aged) father; for such is the eternal code of morality." (26)

Sore distressed to hear Śrī Rāma  's utterance, and unable to

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1. What then went by the name of the Dandaka forest was at one time a principality ruled over by a Ksatriya clan known by the name of the Dandakas, who claimed their descent from Danda, son of Ikswāku , The tract, which was bounded on the north by the Narmada and oh the south by the Godavari, was, laid waste through a shower of dust under a curse pronounced by Sage Sukra.

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Sri Rama is exiled

speak because of grief, his father wept bitterly at the pitch of his voice. (27) Bowing at the feet of his royal father, who was lying unconscious (even) then, as well as of the ignoble Kaikeyī, Srī  Rāma  (who was endowed with great splendour) departed. (28) Circumambulating his father as well as Kaikeyī and coming out of the inner chambers, the celebrated Śrī Rāma   saw his friends (standing at the gate). (29) Highly enraged, Laksmana, who enhanced the joy of (his mother) Sumitrā, followed at his heels, so the tradition goes, his eyes brimful with tears. (30) Circumambulating the vessel containing the requisites for the (projected) consecration, Srī  Rāma  moved slowly along without casting his eyes on it, keen, as he was to leave the place. (31) Loss of sovereignty, however, did not detract (in the least) from his extraordinary splendour because of his being (naturally) pleasing (of aspect), any more than the waning of (the orb of) the moon (distinguished by its cool rays), which is delightful to the world, detracts from the latter's charm. (32) No change of mood was perceived in him — any more than in a master Yogi who surpasses all (common) men (because of his having risen above all pairs of opposites) — even though he was ready to retire to the woods and was renouncing the sovereignty to the (entire) earth. (33)

Forbidding the use of the beautiful umbrella as well as of a pair of richly adorned chowries and sending away his own people, the chariot and the citizens, inhibiting his agony (caused by the agony of his own people) with his mind and controlling his senses, Śrī Rāma   (who had full mastery over his self) entered his mother's apartments in order to break the unpalatable news (to her). (34 35) All the people around him who were filled with auspicious thoughts of glory, did not notice any change on the face of the truthful and glorious Śrī Rāma  . (36) The mighty armed Śrī Rāma   (who was noted for his self  control) did not shed his characteristic and native joy any more than the autumnal moon with its intensely bright rays loses its natural splendour. (37) Duly honouring all men with his suave speech, the highly illustrious Śrī Rāma   (whose mind was given

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Sri Rama is exiled

to piety) entered the presence of his mother. (38) Controlling the agony caused in his mind (by the interruption of Śrī Rāma  's installation and the news of his impending exile), his (younger) brother, Laksmana (son of Sumitrā), who had attained equality with Śrī Rāma   by virtue of his excellences and was possessed of great prowess, followed him. (39) Entering the palace (of Kausalya), (which was) full of immense joy (at the projected installation of Śrī Rāma  ), Śrī Rāma   did not undergo any change of mood at all even on perceiving that loss of (worldly) fortune, that had come upon him at this moment, for fear of bringing about the loss of life of his near and dear ones. (40)

Canto XXII

Approaching the celebrated Laksmana (son of Sumitrā), his beloved brother and well wisher, who felt distressed through agony and was greatly indignant and was looking with eyes wide open through rage like an infuriated elephant, the said Śrī Rāma  , who had mastered his self, spoke (to him) as follows, re  straining his mind with firmness: — (1 2) "Curbing your anger (against our father and Kaikeyī) and grief (over my impending exile) and embracing uncommon fortitude, ignoring this affront and deriving the highest joy (from the idea of having helped our father in implementing his plighted word and thereby ensuring his place in the highest heaven), (pray) cause to be sent back all the exquisite material that has been got ready for my consecration and quickly and uninterruptedly accomplish what requires to be done (now in the shape of preparations for the journey). (3-4) Let the same zeal be evinced in preparing for the exile (which implies the cessation of the consecration) as was shown in collecting materials for my installation, 0 beloved of Sumitrā! (5) Take steps to ensure that that mother of ours (viz., Kaikeyī) whose mind is greatly troubled over the question 01 my installation is not filled with apprehension. (6) I cannot afford foignore even for a while, 0 beloved of Sumitrā, the

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agony in the form of apprehension aroused in her mind. (7)

"I do not remember the least offence ever given (by me) consciously or unwittingly to my mothers or to my father in this life. (.8) Let my father — who is ever truthful, true to his promise, truly valiant and afraid of falsehood (which brings disaster in the other world) — be rid of fear (in the other world by my redeeming the promise made by him to Kaikeyī). (9) Indeed, so long as this business (of installation) is not liquidated the painful consciousness that his veracity has not been vindicated will lurk in his (father's) mind too and his agony is sure to distress me as well. (10) Therefore, having done away with this ceremony of installation, 0 Laksmana, I wish to proceed from this city to the forest soon, (11) Accomplished of purpose as a result of my banishment, let Kaikeyī (the daughter of King Aswapati) then install her son, Bharata, this (very) day, with  out any distraction of mind. (12) On my having proceeded to the forest clad in the bark of trees and deerskin and wearing a coil of matted locks, the mind of Kaikeyī will be gratified. (13) Surely I ought not to give offence to Providence (by crossing His purpose), as it is by Him that this idea has been infused (into the mind of Kaikeyī through the machination of Manthara) and her mind fully set at rest (on the question). I shall (accordingly) go into exile, let there be no delay. (14)

"Providence alone should be regarded, 0 son of Sumitrā, as responsible for sending me into exile as well as for taking back (from me) the sovereignty (of Ayodhyā) offered to me. (15) How could the resolution of persecuting me (by way of sending me into exile) enter the mind of Kaikeyī (my own mother) if this idea of hers were not prompted by Providence? (16) You (already) know, 0 gentle brother, that I have never made any discrimination between my mothers, nor did Kaikeyi make any distinction, between her son and me. (17) As such I cannot hold anything other than the will of Providence responsible for her tormenting the king with harsh words, hard to utter (even for others), urging him to stop my installation and sending me into exile. (18) How (else) could she, a princess

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of gentle disposition and possessing such (rare) qualities (of head and heart) utter like a vulgar woman in the presence of her husband words intended to torment me? (19) That which cannot be foreseen is surely a decree of Providence and it cannot be set aside by any among created beings. Evidently, therefore, it is by the will of Providence that the unexpected has be fallen me as well as her. (20) Again, what man can dare contend, 0 son of Sumitrā, with destiny, of which no indication can be found other than the consequence of an act? (21) Joy and sorrow, fear and anger, gain and loss, birth and death and whatever similar experience comes to a particular individual, that is unquestionably the work of Providence. (22) Strongly impelled by destiny, even sages practising severe austerities are led astray by concupiscence and anger etc., abandoning their strict observances. (23) Setting aside an undertaking (al  ready) commenced with the help of requisite materials, that which takes place unexpectedly without any (ostensible) cause is undoubtedly the doing of Providence. (24)

"In spite of my installation having been interrupted, I experience no agony, having fully steadied my mind of myself by recourse to this true wisdom. (25) Therefore, rid of agony and following my line of thought, cause you the proceedings of installation to be stopped at once. (26) With all these jars (containing sacred waters) brought together for my consecration, 0 Laksmana, will be accomplished my bath at the inauguration of my vow of austerity. (27) Or what have I to do in reality with this water accompanied in abundance by (auspicious) articles collected for the installation? Water drawn by me personallyill serve to inaugurate my vow of austerity. (28) Moreover, 0 Laksmana, do not give way to remorse over the loss of fortune. To me it matters little whether sovereignty falls to my lot, or exile, latter being ofgreater consequence (in that it will be free from  worries and favourable for austerity and will afford me an opportunity to redeem father's pledge given to Kaikeyī). Our youngest mother (Kaikeyī) ought not to be suspected on any account, of having brought about this interruption in

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my installation, nor our father, both of whom are subject to the control of Providence; for you know Providence to be possessed of unfailing power." (30)

Canto XXIII

Pondering with his head bent low as it were while Śrī Rāma  spoke thus, Laksmana quickly and suddenly began to swing between dejection (at the interruption of Śrī Rāma 's installation) and delight (over the latter's steadfast devotion to righteous  ness). (1) Knitting his brows together, at that time, Laksmana (a jewel among men) hissed like an enraged cobra in a hole. (2) That frowning aspect of his, which was difficult to gaze on, appeared at that moment like the face of an infuriated lion. (3) Violently shaking his forearm precisely as an elephant would shake its proboscis, and flinging his neck horizontally as well as upwards on his body, and gazing obliquely with a comer of his eye, Laksmana spoke (as follows) to his brother (Śrī Rāma ): —"At an inopportune moment indeed has this inordinate flurry appeared in you for fear of lapsing from the path of duty and with a view to disarming the grave suspicion in the mind of the people (that a prince who is disloyal to his father could not be expected to rule his subjects righteously). Indeed, how can a man like yourself speak as you are doing, unless he is agitated? I wonder how you repeatedly glorify in this way fate — which is indeed ineffectual, pitiable and impotent — powerful and foremost among the Ksatriyas as you are. (4 7)

"It is a matter of surprise how there is no suspicion in your mind about that wicked couple (Daśaratha and Kaikeyī). Don't you know, 0 pious  Rāma , that there are men devoted to semblance of piety?" (8) Had this not actually been at the very out  set the intention, 0 scion of Raghu, of the couple — who seek through fraud for their own selfish end, to forsake you who have such a noble conduct — the installation, would not have been undertaken at all. If (the story of) the boon granted by

 
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the one and received by the other had been real; it would have been granted even before (the preparations for the installation were taken in hand). (9) What has now commenced, is disliked by the people. I cannot brook, 0 heroic  Rāma , the installation of anyone other than you. Be pleased to forgive my intolerance in this matter. (10) Repellent to me is that piety too by (the thought of) which your mind (which was once inclined to accept the office of Prince Regent) has thus been diverted from the purpose, 0 noble minded brother, and through devotion to which, you are falling a prey to delusion. (11) (Had it not been so) how are you going to redeem the most unrighteous and reproachful pledge of your father who is under the thumb of Kaikeyī, even though you are able to set things right by recourse to action? (12) Since this interruption (in your installation), though brought about through machination (in the shape of connecting the story of a boon granted by the emperor), is not being recognized (by you) as such, agony is caused to me on that account and partiality to (such false) piety is reprehensible (in my eyes). (13)

"This adherence of yours to piety is condemned in the eyes of these people (of Ayodhyā). How can anyone other than you fulfill, even in thought, the desire of the two enemies, bearing the name of parents, who follow their own pleasure and are ever hostile to you? (14) Although it is your belief that (even) the decision of your parents (to stop your installation) is inspired by fate, it nonetheless deserves to be ignored by yourself. Such a decree even of fate does not please me. (15) He (alone) who is cowardly and powerless trusts in fate. The valiant, who are possessed of a strong mind, never seek shelter in fate.(16) A man who is capable of setting aside the decree of fate through personal effort never feels disheartened on his the^036 136"19 thwarted by destiny. (17) People will see today the relative strength of fate and a human being. The distinction between fate and  a human being will  be manifest today. (18) People by whom your installation on the throne has been seen interrupted through destiny today will find fate worsted this

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very day by my valour. (19) By (sheer) dint of bravery I shall re  pulse destiny rushing headlong like an uncontrollable and unrestrained elephant haughty with fluid exuding from its temples.(20) Neither all the guardians of the spheres nor (the denizens of) all the three worlds, 0  Rāma , can interrupt your consecration today; how, then, can father do it? (21) They (alone) by whom, 0 king, has your exile to the forest been unanimously supported will likewise live in exile for fourteen years. (22) I shall bring to naught that hope of father as well as of hers (Kaikeyī) which is directed towards securing sovereignty for her son through interruption of your consecration. (23)

"For him who is antagonistic to my strength, the power of destiny will not prove helpful to the same extent since my fierce might will redound to his suffering. (24) Later on when you have retired to take up your abode in the forest at the end of thousands of years, sons of your worthy self will rule over the people without interruption (leaving no room for others even then). (25) In conformity with the conduct of ancient royal sages, residence in the forest is recommended (for kings only) when they have committed the people to the care of their sons for being protected as sons. (26) If, constituted as you are, 0 pious minded  Rāma , you do not really seek sovereignty for yourself for fear of disaffection in the state, the king being irresolute (in the matter of renouncing the kingship and retiring to the forest); you need not harbour any misgiving on that score. (27) I promise to you, 0 valiant brother, that I shall guard you as well as your kingdom (even) as the coastline guards the ocean (and keeps it within bounds). Let me not earn the realms that fall to the share of heroes (after death) if I tail to do so. (28) Allow yourself to be consecrated (by Vasistha and others), with auspicious articles and be up and doing in that direction. I am enough to repel (hostile) monarchs forcibly single handed. (29) These arms (of mine) are not intended to add to my charm nor this bow meant to serve as an ornament (for my body). Nor is my sword meant for being tied to my belt (and hanging by my side as a badge of honour) nor are my arrows  

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meant to serve as a support (for some structure). (30) All those four exist (only) for crushing the enemy. Nor do I wish that I should not hew, with my uplifted keen edged sword posessing an inconstant sheen like a flash of lightning, him who is considered to be my inveterate enemy, be he Indra (the wielder of the thunderbolt). (31-32)

"The earth will be thickly set (in no time) with the trunks (or hands) of elephants, horses and warriors fighting in cars, severed with the blows of my sword, and will become hard to tread. (33) Killed with the edge of my sword today (and consequently bathed in blood), enemies will drop on the ground like (so many) blazing fires or clouds accompanied by (flashes of) lightning. (34) While I stand (on the battlefield) with finger  protectors (made of the skin of iguana) fastened (glove like round the left hand) to prevent injury from a bowstring and with uplifted bow, how can anyone among men remain proud of his valour (and dare stand before me)? (35) Throwing down a single warrior with many shafts and many men with a single arrow, I shall dig arrows into the vitals of men, horses and elephants. (36) Today the efficacy of the power of my weapons will manifest itself in order to prove the helplessness of the king (Daśaratha) and demonstrate your sovereignty, 0 lord! (37) These arms of mine, which are worthy of (being daubed with) sandal paste and putting on a pair of armlets, as well as of giving away riches and protecting friends and relations, 0  Rāma , will exert themselves today to stop those who are interrupting your consecration. (38-39) Speak, which enemy of yours may be deprived this very day of his life, fame (of invincibility) and relations. (pray) instruct me how to proceed so that the earth may be brought under your control. I am at your service." (40) Wiping the tears of Laksmana and comforting him more than once Śrī Rāma, the promoter of Raghu's race, replied, "Know me, gentle brother, to be firmlyobedient to the command of my parent; for such is the path trodden by the righteous."(41)

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Canto XXIV

Perceiving Śrī Rāma   resolved on carrying out the command of his father, Kausalya spoke as follows to her most pious son, her voice choked with tears: — (1) "(Ah) born of me through Daśaratha, how will the pious minded boy, who has never known sorrow and who speaks kindly to all created beings, live on grains gleaned from a market place (after the heaps collected there for sale have been disposed of)? (2) How shall this boy, the same  Rāma  whose (very) dependants and servants partake of dainty dishes, eat roots and fruits in the forest? (3) Who will believe this story that  Rāma  (a scion of Kakutstha), the favourite child of the emperor and rich in excellences, is being exiled? And who will not be alarmed to hear this? (4) Sure enough, in this world, 0  Rāma , where you, who are so charming, are going to retire to the forest, destiny (alone) is mighty and rules all. (5) Emaciating me to a remarkable degree, my son, this huge and incomparable fire of grief — which has its source in the mind, is fanned by the wind of your (impending) absence and fed by the firewood of anguish caused by weeping and is nourished by oblations poured in the shape of tears welling up at the time of weeping, which is crowned with voluminous smoke in the form of intensity of thought, which springs up from anxiety concerning your return from exile at the end of fourteen years and which grows in intensity through pumping in the form of respiration — will consume me, bereft of you, here in the same way as a forest fire burns away dry wood and grass etc., at the end of winter. (6 8) It is well known how a milch cow follows its roaming calf. I (too) shall (accordingly) follow you whithersoever, my child, you will go."(9)

Duly hearing this speech uttered by his mother, Śrī Rāma  , a jewel among men, replied as follows to his mother, who was extremely distressed: — (10) "Betrayed by Kaikeyī and (particularly) when I have retired to the forest, the king will surely not survive if he is further deserted by you. (11) Moreover,

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it is sheer cruelty on the part of a woman to desert her husband. You should not do this even in thought; (for) it is highly deprecated. (12) So long as my father. Emperor Daśaratha (a scion of Kakutstha) survives, let service be rendered to him (by you); for such is the eternal moral code." (13) Feeling highly delighted when admonished thus by Śrī Rāma  , Kausalya of benign aspect, for her part, said "So be it!" to Śrī Rāma  , who did things without undergoing any exertion. (14) Addressed in the foregoing words, Śrī Rāma , the foremost among those upholding the cause of righteousness, however, further spoke as follows to his mother, who was feeling deeply distressed: — (15) "Father's command must be carried out by you as well as by me. He is the king, supporter, elder, superior, controller and master of (us) all. (16) Having sported in some great forest during the ensuing nine years and five, with supreme delight, I shall (then) continue to be at your service." (17) Spoken to in these words, Kausalya, for her part, who was full of affection for her son and was extremely miserable, then replied to her beloved son (as follows), her face bathed in tears: — (18) "It is not desirable for me, 0  Rāma , to live in the midst of these co wives. If you have made up your mind to depart in deference to the wish of your father, (pray) take me as well to the forest, 0 scion of Kakutstha, (even) as one would take a wild female deer."

Śrī Rāma   spoke as follows to his mother, who was weeping: — (19 20) "For a (married) woman, so long as she is alive, her husband indeed is her deity as well as her lord. The king, our master, holds sway over you as well as over me today. (21) With the wise king continuing as the ruler of the world, surely we are not without a master. And Bharata too is pious minded, speaks kindly to all created beings and is ever devoted to righteousness. He will undoubtedly serve you. Carefully act in such a way that when I have departed (for the woods) the king may not suffer agony in the least on account of grief caused by separation from his son. And, remaining (ever) vigilant, constantly do good to the aged king, so that this poignant grief

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may not bring about his extinction. The woman, who, though extremely noble and keenly devoted to sacred observances and fasts, does not serve her husband, is sure to attain the destiny Of a sinner. Through service to one's husband (on the other hand) even that woman who does not offer salutations (to any  one other than her husband) and is averse to the worship of gods secures the highest heaven. Intent on doing that which is pleasing and good to her husband, a (married) woman should therefore do service to him alone: this is the lasting duty en  joined on a woman in the Vedas as well as in the Smrti texts. While offering oblations to the fire, gods as well as celebrated Brāhmanas of noble vows should be worshipped with flowers and other articles for my sake, 0 auspicious one! Leading a regulated life and partaking of an austere fare, devoted to the service of your husband, bide time, longing for my return. (In this way) you will attain the highest object of your desire when I have duly returned, provided (of course) the emperor (the foremost of those upholding the cause of righteousness) retains his life."

Spoken to in these words by Śrī Rāma , however, Kausalya, who was stricken with grief caused by the impending separation from her son, spoke as follows to Śrī Rāma , her eyes blinded with tears: — "I cannot change your resolution to de  part, which has been deliberately made, 0 dear and heroic son! Surely destiny is hard to supervene. (Therefore) depart you, my son, with an unwavering mind. Let good betide you at all times, 0 mighty son! (22-33) I shall be rid of affliction once more only when you have returned (to Ayodhyā). I shall sleep most soundly (only) when you (my highly blessed son) return having accomplished your object and concluded your vow (of leading a forest life for fourteen long years) and (thereby) fulfilling your father. (34) The course of destiny in this world is always hard to perceive, my son — the destiny which is urging you to depart setting aside my protest, 0 scion of Raghu! (35) Depart now, 0 mighty armed prince! When safely returned, you shall delight me, my son, with delightful and sweet words of consolation.

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(36) Would that the time when I see you once more, my dear son, come back from the forest wearing matted locks and the bark of trees, turn into this (very) moment!" (37) In as much as the pious lady (Kausalya) perceived with her penetrating mind that Śrī Rāma  was resolved to take up his abode in the forest she spoke benedictory words to him and got inclined to perform rites of averting evil through recitation of sacred texts. (38)

Canto XXVI

Saluting Kausalya while about to set out for the forest, Śrī Rāma , on whom blessings had been invoked by his mother and who remains steadfast on the most righteous path, agitated as it were the hearts of the people (that had gathered there) through his richness in excellences (of various kinds), illumining (at the same time by his very proximity) the king's highway crowded with men (anxious to have a look at the prince). (1-2) Sītā (a princess of the Videha territory), in her turn, who had been observing austere vows, had not so far heard all that had happened in the meantime so that the installation of Śrī Rāma  in the office of Prince Regent alone, stood foremost in her heart. (3) Having offered worship to the gods, the celebrated princess, who knew her duty and was conversant with the moral code prescribed for kings, was waiting for her husband with thrilled expectation. (4)

In the meantime Śrī Rāma  entered his inner apartment, which was most tastefully decorated and was crowded with overjoyed attendants, his head bent somewhat low. (5) Forth  with springing up from her seat, Sītā tremblingly saw her celebrated husband stricken with grief, his mind perplexed with anxiety. (6) Seeing her, the said Śrī Rāma  (a scion of Raghu), whose mind was given to righteousness, could not contain that grief existing in his mind; hence it became manifest. (7)

Seeing him pale of countenance, bathed in perspiration and unable to restrain his grief, Sītā (who felt sore stricken with

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grief) said, "What is this now, my lord? (8) The auspicious constellation Pusya (which is presided over by the sage Brhaspati and) that is propitious (for installation) is in the ascendant today. The ceremony is recommended by learned Brāhmanas when the moon is in conjunction with the said asterism, 0 scion of Raghu! Wherefore (then) are you ill at ease? (9) Your lovely countenance does not shine splendidly as it should when canopied by an umbrella white as foam and provided with a hundred ribs. (10) Nor is your lotus eyed face (I find) being fanned (as it should) with a pair of excellent chowries shining like the moon and the swan. (11) Nor (again) are overjoyed minstrels and bards or even eloquent panegyrists seen extol  ling you in words full of benedictions today, 0 jewel among men! (12) Brāhmanas well versed in the Vedas have not poured with due ceremony honey and curds along with water from holy places on your head after you had taken a full bath drenching your head too. (13) Nor do all the king's ministers and the foremost among the traders, decked with ornaments, nor again the citizens and people belonging to the countryside seek to follow you (in state). (14) How does not an excellent chariot used for travelling or pleasure and driven by four swift horses decked with gold ornaments, go ahead of you? (15) Nor is a glorious elephant, adorned with all noble characteristics and resembling a mountain crowned with a dark cloud, seen ahead of you in your drive, 0 heroic prince? (16) Nor again do I perceive marching before you a servant carrying an excellent seat embroidered with a gold figure, 0 valiant prince of delightful appearance! (17) When the preparations for your consecration are complete, how is it that the colour of your face appears so changed and no great joy is perceived (in you) at this moment?" (18)

Śrī Rāma  (a scion of Raghu) replied (as follows) to the wailing Sītā: —"My adorable father, 0 Sītā, is sending me into exile to the forest. (19) Hear in order of sequence, 0 daughter of Janaka, descended (as you are) in a noble family, knowing (as you do) what is right and practising virtue, wherefore this exile

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has fallen to my lot today. (20) Indeed a couple of momentous boons were actually granted in the days gone by, in favour of my mother, Kaikeyī, by my father. King Daśaratha, who is (so) true to his promise. (21) The preparations for my consecration, arranged through the emperor's endeavour, being complete to  day, the king was pressed hard by her to grant those boons and, having been bound with an oath, was completely brought under her thumb on grounds of righteousness. (22) I must take up my abode in the forest of Dandaka for fourteen years and furthermore, Bharata has been nominated by my father for the office of Prince Regent. (23) As such I have come to see you while on my way to the solitary forest. In the presence of Bharata, I should never be praised by you. (24) For men endowed with fortune and power, do not brook to hear the glorification of others. Therefore my virtues should never be extolled by you before Bharata. (25) I should never be exalted to the skies by you (even before your companions). You can stay with him (only) by behaving conformably to him. (26) The king has, once for all, conferred on him the office of Prince Regent. You 0 Sītā should see that he is pleased by you, more so because he is going to be the king as well. (27) Duly implementing the pledge of my father, I shall proceed to the forest this very day. (Please) remain firm, 0 one of steadfast mind! (28)

"When I have left for the forest, inhabited by sages, 0 propitious one, you should take to sacred observances and fasts, 0 pure one! (29) Rising at dawn, after performing worship of the gods according to the scriptural ordinance, you must salute King Daśaratha, my father. (30) My mother, Kausalya too, aged as she is and emaciated through agony, deserves to be duly respected by you since you must keep right conduct foremost in your mind. (31) Those others too who are related to me as mothers deserve to be saluted by you everyday since (all) mothers are equal in my eyes in point of affection and goodwill (they cherish me) and the way in which they have looked after me (when I was a child). (32) Bharata and Satrughna too, who are dearer to me than life, should be particularly regarded by

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you as your (own) brothers or sons. (33) No offence should be given to Bharata at any time; for he is (now) as it were the ruler of our country as well as of our family, 0 princess of the Videha territory! (34) Kings, really speaking, get highly pleased when propitiated through good conduct and served with continued endeavour and feel enraged otherwise. (35) Rulers of men forsake even sons sprung from their own loins if they are adverse, and duly accept as their own even strangers who are friendly to them. (36) Dwell you as such in Ayodhyā under the protection of the emperor and conforming to the will of Bharata, remaining devoted to righteousness and following sacred observances of unfailing efficacy, 0 blessed one! (37) I shall (immediately) proceed to the great forest (of Dandaka), my beloved; while you should live here, 0 beautiful one! You should conduct yourself in such a way as not to offend anyone: this is my advice (to you)." (38)

Canto XXVII

Roused to indignation through sheer love when admonished thus, Sītā (the daughter of the king of the Videhas), who de  served kindness (from her husband) and (always) spoke kindly (to him), replied to her husband as follows: — (1) "Wherefore do you tender me this advice, which makes me look indeed so small, 0  Rāma , and which I am amused to hear, 0 jewel among the foremost of men! (2) Your utterance is unworthy of valiant princes adept in the use of weapons and missiles, and disgraceful to them, 0 ruler of men, and is not worth listening to. (3) Father, mother, brother, son and daughter in law, my darling, reap each his or her destiny, enjoying their own merits (earned in previous lives). (4) A wife alone actually shares the fortune of her husband, 0 jewel among men! For this very reason I too stand enjoined that I should as well take up my abode in the forest. (5) In the case of women neither father nor son nor their own body nor mother nor their female companions serve

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as an asylum here or hereafter. The husband alone is their refuge at all times. (6) If you depart this very day for the forest (of Dandaka) which is difficult to penetrate, 0 scion of Raghu, I shall walk ahead of you crushing (under my soles) blades of (the sacred) Kusa grass and thorns (that lie in the way). (7) Casting away envy (at my courage in voluntarily offering to accompany you to the forest) and wrath (at my insolence in flouting your command to stay in Ayodhyā), confidently take me (with you) as one would take water remaining (in one's pot) after one has drunk it once, 0 valiant prince! No sin (that may deter you from taking me with you) abides in me. (8) Protection under the feet of one's husband under all circumstances is preferable (for a woman) to residence at the top of a palace, or living in aerial cars or coursing through the heavens (by virtue of mystic powers acquired through proficiency in Yoga). (9) I have been taught in many ways by my mother and father how I should conduct myself. (As such) I need not be instructed at this juncture. (10) Unattended by any male servant I shall proceed with you to the forest (of Dandaka) which is difficult to penetrate and teems with multitudes of beasts of various species and is infested with herds of tigers. (11) Caring not for the sovereignty of the three worlds and concentrating my thought on the vow of serving my husband, I shall live happily in the forest as I would in my paternal home. (12) Serving you everyday with self restraint and practicing brahmacharya, I shall sport with you in woodlands fragrant with (stores of) honey, 0 valiant prince! (13)

"(As for yourself), you are indeed capable of duly supporting in the forest (even) other men much more myself (who am your wedded wife and entirely dependent on you), 0  Rāma , who bestow honour on others! (14) Such as I am I shall un  doubtedly accompany you to the forest today. Bent as I am (on going) I cannot be diverted (from my purpose), 0 prince of great fortune! (15) I shall without doubt live on fruits and roots (alone) from day to day and shall not cause any annoyance to you while living with you. (16) I shall walk ahead of you and

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shall take my food (only) when you have finished your meal. After that I long to see mountains, ponds and lakes, remaining fearless everywhere with you as my wise protector. Accompanied by you, a heroic prince, I wish happily to see lotus ponds teeming with swans and waterfowls and abounding in lotuses. Remaining devoted to you I shall daily bathe in them and, full of supreme joy, sport with you, in this way, 0 large eyed lord! Spending with you (say) thousands of years or even a hundred thousand years I shall never experience any sorrow. Heaven too will not be acceptable to me otherwise. Even if an abode devoid of you is vouchsafed to me in heaven, 0 scion of Raghu, I shall never find pleasure in it without you, 0 tiger among men! (17 21) I shall proceed to the forest (of Dandaka), which is most difficult to penetrate and is full with deer (of various kinds) as well as with monkeys and elephants. Clinging to your feet alone and honoured by you I shall dwell in the forest as though in my father's home, (22) (Therefore) grant my prayer and take me (with you) — me, who am exclusively devoted to you, whose mind is fondly attached to you and who am deter mined to die if disunited from you. You shall not be burdened by my being taken along with you." (23) Śrī Rāma (the foremost among men) did not feel inclined in the least to take (to the forest) Sītā, who was (so) devoted to righteousness and even though she spoke as she did. In order to turn her away (from her resolve) he spoke to her a lot about the miseries attendant upon forest life. (24)

Canto XXVIII 

Bearing in mind the hardships one will be called upon to bear in the forest, Śrī Rāma , who was devoted to righteousness, did not favour the idea of taking (along with him to the forest) Sītā, who knew what is right and who had spoken thus. (1) Soothing with kind words Sītā, whose eyes were bedimmed with tears, Śrī Rāma (whose mind was given to piety), so the tradition

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goes, then spoke as follows with a view to turning her back from her purpose: — (2) "Sītā, you are born of a high pedigree and are ever devoted to righteousness. Practise you virtue here so that gratification may be caused to my mind. (3) You should act as I am going to tell you, 0 Sītā! A dweller in the forest, really speaking, suffers from many a handicap: (please) know them (from me). (4) Let this idea of living in a forest be finally relinquished, 0 Sītā; for a dense forest is spoken of as fraught with manifold dangers. (5) My advice to you is tendered with an eye to your welfare alone (and not because you will prove a burden to me). Not only there is no joy in a forest at all times; I know it to be an abode of perpetual misery. (6)

"Intensified by (the noise of) hill streams, the roars of lions dwelling in mountain caves are unpleasant to hear. Hence a forest is full of misery. (7) Again, on seeing a human being, wild beasts in rut sporting fearlessly in a lonely retreat attack him on all sides. Hence a forest is full of suffering. (8) Rivers are full of alligators and marshy too and as such difficult to cross even for elephants in rut. Hence a forest is ever exceedingly unpleasant. (9) The paths are waterless and extremely rugged, covered with creepers and thorns and rendered noisy by wild cocks. A forest is therefore full of misery. (10) Exhausted through toil (entailed by search for food in the shape of fruits etc.) one has to lie down during nights on beds of (dry) leaves fallen of themselves. Hence a forest is a source of great suffering. (11) By day and by night hunger has to be appeased with one's mind fully controlled by means of fruits fallen of them  selves from trees, 0 Sītā! Hence a forest is full of privations. (12) Fasting has to be observed according to one's stamina, 0 princess of Mithila! A mass of matted hair has to be worn (on the head) and one has to remain clad in the bark of trees. (13) Worship must be offered everyday to the gods and the manes according to the scriptural ordinance and hospitality shown to unexpected guests arrived at his door. (14) Those living strictly in accordance with the scriptural ordinance must perform ablutions thrice at the appointed time everyday. Hence a forest is

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full of great hardships. (15) Worship must be offered, according to the ordinance laid down by sages, at the altar (prepared with one's own hands) by means of flowers gathered by one, 0 Sīta! Hence a forest is a source of suffering. (16) Eating sparingly dwellers in forests have to appease their hunger with fruits etc. obtained according to season, 0 Sita, princess of Mithila! Hence a forest is full of hardships. (17)

"The wind blows furiously everyday, thick darkness prevails and hunger (too) is rapacious. Besides, there are great perils in the forest. Hence a forest is a source of great hardships. (18) Well known serpents of various kinds proudly move on the tracks in large numbers, 0 proud one! A forest therefore is a source of great miseries. (19) Serpents having their home in rivers and moving tortuously like rivers lie blocking the way. Hence a forest is full of great suffering. (20) Moths, scorpions, worms and gnats along with mosquitoes harass everyone daily, 0 frail princess! Hence a forest is full of suffering. (21) Thorny trees, blades of (the sacred) Kusa grass and gnarled shrubs known by the name of Kasas are seen with the ends of their limbs spreading on all sides in the forest, 0 proud one! Hence a forest is thick beset with hardships. (22) Manifold bodily sufferings torment and perils of various kinds threaten a man taking up his abode in a forest dwelling. A forest is (thus) a perennial source of suffering. (23) Anger and greed have to be completely abandoned, one's heart has to be set on austerity and one must not dread even that which deserves to be dreaded. Hence a forest is a perpetual source of suffering, (24) Therefore have done with the idea of proceeding to the forest. A forest is not secure for you. Bestowing my thought on the subject I perceive the forest as fraught with many evils as it were." (25)

When the high souled Śrī Rāma  did not agree to take Sītā to the forest, she did not readily accept his verdict. Sore afflicted, she then spoke as follows to the illustrious  Rāma . (26)

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Distressed to hear this plea of Śrī Rāma , Sītā, who was deeply attached to the latter, gently spoke as follows, her face wet with tears: — (1) "The disadvantages ensuing from an abode in the forest, that have been enumerated by you, know them to be (so many) blessings (in disguise) in view of the fact that I am foremost in your affections. (2) Antelopes, lions and even so elephants, tigers and Sarabhas (a legendary animal with eight legs and said to be more powerful even than the lion), wild buffaloes and many other beasts that roam about in the forest are all sure to run away on seeing your countenance since they have never seen your face before and because all are afraid of you. (3 4) In pursuance of the orders of your parents I too must accompany you (to the forest in as much as I am your counterpart and cannot live apart from you). Life in this world must be cast away by me in the event of separation from you, 0  Rāma ! (5) In fact not even Indra, the ruler of gods, is capable of overpowering me by his might so long as I am by your side. (6)

"It has been amply brought home to me by you, 0  Rāma  that a (devoted) wife, would not be able to survive, without her husband. (7) Moreover, in the days gone by while living at my father's, 0 highly enlightened prince, the prophecy — which must come true — was heard by me from the mouth of Brāhmanas (well versed in astrology) that I must dwell in the forest. (8) Having heard the prophecy at my (parents') home from Brāhmanas able to interpret marks on the body I have ever cherished a longing for forest life, 0 highly powerful prince! (9) The truth of that prediction about forest life must be realized by me. I must accordingly accompany you, my husband, 0 beloved; it cannot be otherwise. (10) (I am sure) ,1 shall be permitted by you and shall (eventually) accompany I you. The time (for the fulfilment of the prophecy) has now ¦ arrived. Let the utterance of the Brāhmanas prove true. (11)

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I certainly know there are sufferings only of various kinds in the forest. They are, (however) invariably experienced by men of unsubdued mind (alone), 0 heroic prince! (12) While I was (still) unmarried, the prediction about my dwelling in the forest was heard by me in my father's house from (the mouth of) a female hermit living in tranquility, in the presence of my mother. Here too, my lord, you have been actually asked on many an occasion in the past the favour of taking me to the forest and spending some time there. Indeed to go and spend some time in the forest with you is longed for by me. (13-14)

"I am feeling jubilant over (the prospect of) my departure (for the forest). May all be well with you, 0 scion of Raghu! Service to you a heroic prince while dwelling in the forest is surely delightful to me. (15) Following my husband with loving devotion I shall surely be absolved from all guilt, 0 pure minded prince; for the husband is the supreme deity. (16) My union with you will continue forever and will be a source of blessedness (to both) even hereafter. On this subject, 0 highly powerful prince, is heard from the lips of celebrated Brāhmanas the following holy Sruti text — Even in the other world a woman continues to be the wife of that very man to whom she was given away in this world by her parents with water in their hands (to solemnize the gift) according to the moral code binding on them. (17-18) Such being the case, for what reason on earth do you not agree to take me, your own wife, actually (so) devoted to her husband and of (such) good character, from this city? (19) You ought (therefore) to take me, so devoted and faithful to my husband, miserable, alike to pleasure and pain and sharing your joys and sorrows 0 scion of Kakutstha! (20) If you do not feel inclined at all to take me, afflicted as I am, to the forest, I shall resort to poison, fire or water to hasten my end."(21)

In this way Sītā entreated him in many ways to let her ac  company him. (Nevertheless) Śrī Rāma   (the mighty armed prince) did not consent to take her to the forest, which was destitute of friends. (22) Discouraged thus, the celebrated Sītā (the princess of Mithila), fell a prey to anxiety, moistening the

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earth as it were with burning tears dropping from her eyes. (23) In order, however, to divert her (from her resolve), the self possessed Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Kakutstha) for his part then pacified in many ways the said princess of the Videha kingdom, who was overwhelmed with indignation (roused by love) and fell a brooding. (24)

Canto XXX

Being consoled by Śrī Rāma  , Sītā (Janaka's daughter), the princess of Mithila, replied thus to her husband in order to obtain his permission to live (with him) in the forest: (1) Highly agitated (at the thought of her separation from Śrī Rāma  ), Sītā taunted him, who was distinguished by a broad chest, from affection and pride, in the following words: — (2) "Securing you as his son in law, 0  Rāma , did my father, Janaka (descended in the line of the Videhas), the king of Mithila, recognise you to be a woman in the form of a man? (3) It would be a matter for pity (to me) if (in the event of your not taking me with you) the people of Ayodhyā utter through ignorance the falsehood that 'Supreme valour is lacking in Śrī Rāma  , even though he blazes like the sun' (4) On what ground are you cast down or whence the fear in you for which you are inclined to desert me, exclusively devoted as I am (to you)? (5) Know you me to be as obedient to your will as Savitrī (of historical fame) was devoted to the valiant Satyavan, son of King Dyumatsena. (6) I will not cast my eyes even in thought on anyone else than you as any other woman bringing disgrace to her family would, 0 sinless one! I must accompany you, 0 scion of Raghu! (7) 0  Rāma , of exemplary character, following the dharma of a married man who is always accompanied by his wife, yet you yourself want, to leave me to others, even though I have been your wife since puberty and lived with you for a long time and have been faithful? (8)

"0 sinless one, be you amenable to the one whom you are asking me to follow and the one for whose sake you are re  

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strained, to him you be ever amenable and obedient. (9) But you cannot legitimately, proceed to the forest without taking me (with you). Be it a course of austerities, forest life or heavenly life, let it be with you. (10) No more exertion will be caused to me in following at your heels on the paths in the forest than in strolling (in a garden) or in sleep. (11) Blades of the sacred Kusa grass, shrubs known by the name of Kasa, reeds and rushes and whatever prickly bushes fall in my way in your company will touch my soles like a heap of cotton or soft deer  skin. (12) The dust raised by a storm that will cover my body, I shall take as most exquisite sandal dust, my lord! (13) When, while living in the forest, I shall lie down on the grasses in the heart of a forest (with you), will lying on beds covered with woolen rugs be more comfortable than that? (14) Anything you will give (me) in the shape of leaves, roots or fruits, bringing it yourself in a small or large quantity will taste like nectar to me. (15) Enjoying the seasonal flowers and fruits too, I shall neither remember my mother nor father nor home. (16) You ought not to foresee anything unwelcome following from my departure to the forest. Nor will (any) grief, come to you there on my account, nor shall I prove hard to sustain. (17)

"An abode shared with you, will be heaven (to me); while that which will be shorn of you will be hell. Knowing thus my supreme love for you proceed to the forest with me, 0  Rāma ! (18) If you decidedly do not take me to the forest, even though I am not the least afraid (or going there), I shall drink poison this very day but would on no account submit to the will of enemies. (19) Surely as a result of grief I am not going to live after being abandoned by you, 0 lord! It is therefore better that I should die in your very presence. (20) I indeed cannot endure even for less than an hour the grief caused by separation from you. How, then can I, an afflicted woman, bear it for ten years and four?" (21) Having wailed a lot in a piteous way and closely embracing her husband, tormented as she was with grief, Sītā, who (now) felt exhausted, cried at the top of her voice. (22) Tortured with many homilies like a female elephant pierced with

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poisoned shafts, she shed tears that had long been restrained even as a piece of wood would emit fire through attrition with another. (23) Tear drops sparkling as crystal and born of agony slipped from her eyes as water from a pair of lotuses. (24) Her countenance, that shone like the uneclipsed moon on a full moon night and was distinguished by large eyes, was withered with (hot) tears as a lotus taken out of water is withered by heat. (25) Folding in his arms Sītā, who felt distressed and had fainted as it were, Śrī Rāma  then spoke to her as follows, fully reassuring her: — (26)

"Alas, I find no delight even in heaven obtained by causing agony to you, 0 auspicious one! Nor is there fear to me from any quarter any more than to Lord Narayana. (27) Not knowing your full mind, 0 beautiful one, I did not approve of your sojourn in the forest, though capable of protecting you. (28) Since you were (obviously) born to dwell with me in the forest, 0 princess of Mithila, you are incapable of being abandoned by me even as compassion cannot be given up by a man of self knowledge. (29) I shall abide by the moral law actually followed by the virtuous (dwellers in the forest) in the past, 0 one with comely limbs! Follow me (now even) as Suvarcala (wife of the sun god) does the sun god. (30) Of course it cannot be that I may not proceed to the forest, 0 daughter of Janaka; (for) that plighted word of my father is urging me to proceed. (31) Obedience to one's father and mother — this is one's sacred duty, 0 beautiful one! And violating their command I dare not survive. (32) Disregarding one's mother, father and teacher, whose command can be directly obtained, how can it be possible to propitiate one's chosen deity, who is not so manifest, through (traditional) modes of worship? (33) No other worship is so sacred on earth as service to the aforesaid three, through which all the three worlds (heaven, earth and the space intervening them) can be propitiated and (all) the three objects of human pursuit (viz., religious merit, earthly possessions and gratification of senses) can be obtained, 0 one with charming glances! Hence the above mentioned three are sought to be

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propitiated (by me). (34)

   "Neither truthfulness nor gifts and honour (bestowed on the deserving) nor sacrificial performances in which sacrificial fees are handsomely paid are so potent (in securing happiness in the other world) as service to one's father is believed to be. (35) Heavenly bliss or (earthly) riches, food grains or learning, sons and amenities of life — nothing is hard to obtain through compliance with the wishes of one's elders. (36) High souled men (exclusively) devoted to their parents secure (after their death) the regions of the gods and the Gandharvas, the seventh heaven presided over by Brahma (the creator) and other regions, nay, (even) Goloka. (37) I wish to do precisely as my celebrated father, devoted to the path of truthfulness and virtue, enjoins me to do; for such is the eternal law of right conduct. (38) In as much as you are fully determined to follow me (to the forest) with a resolution to sojourn (there), my decision about (not) taking you to the forest of Dandaka has grown weak, 0 Sītā. (39) Since you are (now) allowed (by me) to proceed to the forest (with me), 0 timid one of flawless limbs and intoxicating eyes, follow me as such and be my partner in the practice of austerities (incumbent on the dwellers in a forest). (40)

   "Beloved Sītā, you have arrived at a most welcome decision worthy in every way of my race as well as of yours. (41) Proceed with the duties preliminary to a sojourn in the woods, 0 one of charming limbs! Without you even heaven does at  tract me at this moment. (42) Bestow valuable gifts on the Brāhmanas and also offer food to mendicants asking for it. Again, be very quick. Make no delay. (43) Give to the various grades of your dependants whatever costly ornaments, fine articles of wearing apparel and whatever lovely articles of house  hold use and those meant for diversion, couches and conveyances, (both) mine as well as yours, and whatever articles are left after satisfying the Brāhmanas." (44 45) Overjoyed to know her departure (to the forest) acceptable to her husband, the auspicious one (Sītā), quickly and definitely set about making

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gifts accordingly. (46) Feeling reassured in mind and overjoyed to ponder over the speech of her husband, the illustrious and strong minded Sītā, forthwith commenced gifting riches and jewels to virtuous souls. (47)

Canto XXXI

Hearing the dialogue (that passed between Śrī Rāma and Sītā), the illustrious Laksmana, who had already come there (from Kausalya's apartments along with Śrī Rāma  ) could not bear the grief (born of his impending separation from Śrī Rāma  ), his face covered with tears. (1) Tightly pressing the feet of his (eldest) brother, Laksmana, the delight of the Raghus, spoke (as follows) to Sītā, who enjoyed great renown, as also to Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Raghu), who had undertaken a great vow:— (2) "If your mind is set on proceeding to the forest full of deer and elephants, I shall accompany you to the woodland, walking ahead of you armed with a bow. (3) Accompanied by me you will roam about in delightful woodlands rendered noisy all round by birds and swarms of deer. (4) Without you I do not wish to ascend to heaven nor do I solicit godhood nor again do I crave for the rulership of the spheres." (5) Speaking thus, Laksmana (son of Sumitrā), who was determined to dwell in the forest with his eldest brother, was discouraged by Śrī Rāma   in (so) many soothing words, submitted once more (as follows): — (6) "Even though I stand already permitted by you (to accompany you to the forest), how am I being prohibited anew this moment? (7) I wish to know definitely wherefore I am being disallowed though longing to proceed (with you); for there is doubt in my mind, 0 sinless brother (as to how permission was granted in the beginning and is being witheld now)." (8) Śrī Rāma  , who was endowed with great effulgence, then replied (as follows) to the strong minded Laksmana, who stood before him eager to precede Śrī Rāma and soliciting the latter's Permission with joined palms: — (9)

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"Full of affection (for me), devoted to virtue, resolute, constantly firm on the right path (as shown by the Vedas), dear to me as life, amenable to my control and obedient, you are my boon companion too (and therefore worthy in every way of accompanying me). (10) (Yet) if you proceed with me to the forest for which I am leaving today, 0 son of Sumitrā, who will serve the illustrious Kausalya and Sumitrā? (11) That highly glorious king (our father) who showered blessings on the people (even) as the god of rain sends down rain on the earth stands fettered by the cord of love. (12) Obtaining this kingdom Kaikeyī, the daughter of King Aswapati  will certainly not accord good treatment to her afflicted co wives. (13) Having attained sovereignty Bharata (too) will not maintain the extremely miserable Kausalya and Sumitrā, devoted, as he (naturally) will be to Kaikeyī, (his own mother). (14) By your own effort or by securing the goodwill of the king, 0 son of Sumitrā, please look after her, Kausalya, who is worthy of the utmost respect. (Pray) carry out this design (of mine). (15) On service being thus rendered to elders, 0 knower of what is right, devotion to me will have been fully demonstrated by you and incomparably great religious merit too will accrue to you. (16) For my sake (therefore), 0 son of Sumitrā, do as aforesaid; (for) there will be no happiness for my mother bereft of us, 0 scion of Raghu!" (17) Spoken to thus by Śrī Rāma , Laksmana, for his part, who knew how to speak, then replied in sweet words (as follows) to his eldest brother, a master of expression (himself): — (18)

"Inspired by your brilliance itself the devout Bharata will treat with respect Kausalya and Sumitrā too: there is no doubt (about it), 0 valiant prince! (19) If led astray in consequence of having obtained this first rate kingdom, Bharata does not protect his mothers through perversity and particularly from pride, 0 heroic brother, I shall make short work not only of that evil minded and cruel fellow but all his well known adherents too, nay, all the three worlds (if they side with him): there is no doubt about it. The celebrated Kausalya, worthy of the highest respect and (even) by whose dependants, thousands of villages

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have been duly obtained, (as grants), can support thousands like me. (20-22) As such the high minded Kausalya is capable of maintaining her as well as me and even so my mother (Sumitrā) and those like me. (23) Therefore kindly make me your attendant: there will be no unrighteousness in it. I shall (thereby) have accomplished my object and your purpose too will be adequately served. (24) Taking my stringed bow and carrying a spade and a basket I shall walk ahead of you showing you the way. (25) I shall procure for you from day to day, wild roots and fruits and other products as well, fit for being consigned as oblation into the sacred fire. (26) You will sport at will with Sītā (a princess of the Videha clan) on mountaintops. I shall do everything for you whether you are waking or sleeping." (27)

Highly pleased at this submission, Śrī Rāma  for his part re  plied (as follows) to Laksmana: — "Go, take leave, 0 son of Sumitrā, of ail your near and dear ones. (28) The two heavenly bows, dreadful to look at, which the high souled Varuna (the god of water) personally gave to King Janaka at a grand sacrifice (performed by the latter), a pair of impenetrable pieces of armour, a couple of quivers containing an inexhaustible stock of arrows and a pair of swords shedding a spotless lustre like that of the sun and decked with gold — all these (which had been presented to me by King Janaka as part of my dowry) lie deposited after paying (due) reverence at the residence of our preceptor (Sage Vasistha). Taking all those arms return, soon, 0 Laksmana!" (29 31) Taking leave of his near and dear ones and approaching Vasistha (the preceptor of the Ikswāku s), the prince, who was now assured of his sojourn in the forest, took (all) the excellent arms etc. (32) Laksmana (son of Sumitrā), a tiger among princes, showed to Śrī Rāma  all these excellent and divine weapons, that were decorated with garlands. (33) To Laksmana who had come back, Śrī Rāma , who had (fully) brought his mind under control, lovingly said, "You have re  turned at the hour desired by me, 0 gentle Laksmana! (34) With you, 0 chastiser of foes, I wish to give away whatever wealth of my own there is (with me) to Brāhmanas engaged

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in austerities as also to those jewels among Brāhmanas who are firmly devoted to their preceptors and live here (in my palace) and again to all my dependants (too). (35 -36) Meanwhile bring you speedily, the most adorable Suyajna, son ofVasistha and the foremost among the Brāhmanas, as also other cultured Brāhmanas. Fully adoring all, I shall proceed forthwith to the forest." (37)

Canto XXXII

Bowing to the delightful and salutary command of his brother (the execution of which involved substantial service to de  serving Brāhmanas) and departing, Laksmana speedily entered the house of Suyajna. (1) Saluting the said Brāhmanas, who was present in the fire sanctuary, he said, "0 friend, visit you the palace of Śrī Rāma  (who is going to do something hard to accomplish) and witness his doing (with your own eyes)." (2) Concluding forthwith his periodical fire worship (for midday) and proceeding with Laksmana, he entered (in no time) the lovely palace of Śrī Rāma , overflowing with wealth (of every kind). (3) Seeing him arrived, Śrī Rāma  (a scion of Raghu) rose from his seat with joined palms along with Sītā to receive Suyajna, a knower of the Vedas, (even) as one would welcome a flame offered worship (in the form of oblations). (4) Śrī Rāma  (a scion of Kakutstha) gratified Suyajna with (presents of) excellent Angadas (armlets) and beautiful earrings of gold, gems strung on gold threads as also with Keyuras (another ornament similar in shape to an Ahgada but worn above it near the armpit) and bracelets as well as with many other superb ornaments. Śrī Rāma , urged by Sītā, then spoke to Suyajna (as follows): — (5 6) "The illustrious Sītā, your wife's friend, wishes to bestow a pearl necklace as well as a string of gold and also a girdle on your wife, 0 gentle sage! (Please) cause them to be conveyed to her. (7) Leaving for the forest (with me this very day) the friend of your wife offers to you for (the

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use of) your wife Angadas adorned with figures cut in it and beautiful Keyuras too. (8) Sītā (a princess of the Videha clan) also intends to have sent to your house (as a gift) a well known couch inlaid with various jewels and provided with an excellent cover. (9) I gift to you along with a thousand gold coins, the elephant, Satrunjaya by name, which my maternal uncle gave as a present to me, 0 jewel among the Brāhmanas!" (10) Accepting the gift, when requested as aforesaid by Śrī Rāma , the celebrated Suyajna for his part pronounced benign blessings on Śrī Rāma , Laksmana and Sītā. (11)

As Brahma (the creator) would address Indra (the ruler of gods), Śrī Rāma  then spoke as follows to his celebrated and beloved brother, Laksmana (son of Sumitrā), who was polite of speech and stood unperturbed (by his side): — (12) "Calling Agastya (a son of the sage Agastya) and Kausika (a son of Viswamitra), both of whom are foremost among the Brāhmanas, 0 son of Sumitrā honour them by offering valuable gifts (to them) and (then) satiate them with (presents of) a thousand cows (each) as well as with gold and silver pieces and costly gems (even) as a cloud would drench the earth with showers, 0 scion of Raghu! (13-14) Further see that to the Brahmana who waits upon Kausalya with benedictions (everyday), devoted as he is to her, who is a teacher of those studying the Taittiriya recension of the Black Yajurveda, is a knower of all the Vedas and (as such) worthy (in everyway), 0 son of Sumitrā, are duly gifted a conveyance and servant maids and silken robes and as much wealth as that Brahmana may feel satisfied with. (15-16) There is the venerable Citraratha, a charioteer cum minister of very long standing. Gratify him with (presents of) costly jewels, articles of wearing apparel and riches and even so with animals of all kinds (such as female goats and buffaloes) and a thousand cows. Besides, here are many religious students carrying staffs (as a distinguishing mark of celibacy) and studying the Katha and Kalapa recensions of the Vedas, who, being ever engaged in the study of the Vedas, do not practise any other austerities, but are (nevertheless) held in great esteem even

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by the great (for their devotion to study), are inactive (in the sense that they do not move out for begging alms) and (yet) hanker for delicacies. (17-19) Cause them to be given eighty camels loaded with jewels, a thousand bullocks carrying loads of rice and even so two hundred bullocks useful for cultivation. (20) Gift a thousand cows more (to Brāhmanas maintaining the sacred fire) for yielding milk products (curds and ghee etc.), 0 Laksmana! A large multitude of celibates (willing to marry on the impending expiry of their vow of celibacy) waits upon Kausalya (my mother) — see that they are given a thou  sand cows or gold coins each (so as to enable them to pay the preceptor's fee and defray the nuptial expenses), 0 son of Sumitrā! (21) Honour all the aforesaid Brāhmanas in everyway so liberally that our mother, Kausalya, may rejoice to see my gift (to the celibates depending on her), 0 Laksmana!" (22)

Like Kubera (the bestower of riches), Laksmana, a (veritable) tiger among men, thereupon distributed that wealth (of Śrī Rāma  ) among the foremost of the Brāhmanas as instructed (by him). (23) Having bestowed abundant wealth, enough to sustain each one of them (for the entire period of his impending exile into the forest), Śrī Rāma   then spoke (as follows) to his dependants standing there with throats choked with tears: —(24) "Till my return (from the forest) the house which belongs to Laksmana and also this house which is (now) occupied by me should (always) be guarded by each one (of you) by turn." (25) Having instructed thus all his dependants, distressed as they were (at the thought of his exile), Śrī Rāma   spoke as follows to his treasurer, "Let my wealth be brought (here)." (26) All his dependants thereupon brought his wealth (before him). That huge heap (of wealth collected there) really presented a splendid spectacle. (27) With the help of Laksmana, that tiger among men then actually caused that wealth to be distributed among Brāhmanas who were (yet mere) boys, the aged, and to the afflicted(28)

They say there lived in those days in the forest (near about Ayodhyā) a Brahmana, Trijata by name, born in the line of

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Garga, who looked pale (due to privations) and, (all) his means of subsistence having failed, always carried an axe, a spade and a ploughshare living as he did by digging the soil (in order to get roots and bulbs etc.). (29) Taking her young children (with her) his wife, who was (still) young, (approached and) spoke to the said Brahmana, who had grown old, as follows: —"Although the husband is a (veritable) god to the weaker sex (does not deserve to be commanded by his wife), (pray) follow my instructions, discarding the hatchet and the spade. Seek the presence of Śrī Rāma  , who knows his duty (by the Brāhmanas) and you are sure to get something at least." (30-31) Hearing the request of his wife and wrapping a loin cloth that could hardly cover his body (tattered as it was) he set out on the track which led to Śrī Rāma  's palace. (32) Up to the fifth gate none in the (large) concourse of men (collected at the gates of the palace) stopped this Trijata, who vied with the sages Bhrgu and Angirā in spiritual radiance (befitting a Brahmana). (33) Approaching Śrī Rāma  , the said Trijata then spoke as follows: —"I have many children, though destitute, 0 prince of extraordinary might! (34) (All) my means of subsistence having failed, I perpetually dwell in the forest, (Pray) look to me." Śrī Rāma   thereupon replied jestingly to him (as follows): (35) "Not even one thousand of my cows have been given away by me so far. You will get as many (of them) as you will cover by throwing your staff across them." (36)

Tightening his aforesaid loin cloth round his waist and twirling his staff he violently threw it with all his might, excited as he was. (37) Released from his hand and flying across the Sarayu, that staff fell close to a bull in the midst of the multitude of cows numbering many thousand (grazing there). (38) Embracing him, Śrī Rāma   of devout mind caused to be driven to Trijata's hermitage (all) the cows (from the spot where the staff fell right) up to that bank of the Sarayu (beyond which the cows stood grazing). (39) Consoling the said scion of Garga in everyway, Śrī Rāma   then said to him, "No offence should be taken by you, since this was only a jest indulged in by me. (40)

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You were requested by me to undergo this trial wishing (as I did) precisely to test this remarkable strength of yours, which is really hard to excel. If you desire anything else, (please) ask for it. (41) I tell you the truth: let there be no hesitation on your part; for whatever wealth belongs to me has been earned by me for the sake of Brāhmanas alone. Through bestowal on you (Brāhmanas) according to the scriptural ordinance it will bring me renown." (42) Taking the herd of cows (bestowed upon him by Śrī Rāma  ) the great ascetic, Trijata, who felt rejoiced with his wife, thereupon pronounced on Śrī Rāma   at that time, blessings calculated to enhance his reputation, strength, delight and happiness. (43) Encouraged by words expressive of highest regard befitting his rank, the illustrious Śrī Rāma  , who was endowed with perfect valour, portioned out to his near and dear ones in no time his enormous wealth earned through righteous might. (44) At that time in Ayodhyā there was no Brahmana, relation, dependant or pauper who was living on alms, who was not gratified with honour, gifts and attention commensurate to his deserts. (45)

Canto XXXIII

Having portioned out with Sītā (a princess of the Videha clan) abundant riches to the Brāhmanas, Śrī Rāma   and Laksmana (the two scions of Raghu), proceeded with her to see their father (Emperor Daśaratha). (1) Next to them shone the weapons of the two brothers, held by a couple of servants and decorated with a number of garlands and worshipped by Sītā (personally with sandal paste etc.). (2) Ascending (the roofs of) temples and mansions and the tops of seven storied buildings wealthy people gazed despondently on them. (3) The streets could not be easily passed through, crowded as they were with many men; mounting, therefore, to (the top of) seven storeyed buildings, people looked sorrowfully on Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Raghu) from those mansions. (4) Seeing Śrī Rāma   walking with

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Sītā and Laksmana (his younger brother) at that time, many men offered remarks (as follows), their minds overpowered by grief:   (5)

"Lo! the same Śrī Rāma  , who was (at one time) followed by a strong detachment consisting of all the four limbs (viz., in  fantry, cavalry, elephants and chariots), is walking unattended by bodyguards with Sītā, followed by Laksmana (alone). (6) He who, having tasted the delights of sovereignty, vested with objects of enjoyment is anxious not to belie the plighted word (of his father), prompted as he is by respect for virtue. (7) (Even) people on the roads are able today to behold Sītā, who could not formerly be seen even by beings coursing in the air (8) Rain, heat and cold will quickly reduce to pallor Sītā, who deserves to be daubed with pigments (such as musk paste) and habitually paints her body with the paste of red sandal. (9) Surely King Daśaratha has announced today his decision to banish Śrī Rāma   identifying himself with some (evil) spirit, for otherwise (had he been his normal self) he ought not to have sent his dearest son into exile. (10) How could banishment be inflicted even on a son devoid of virtue, much less on him whose character alone has won the affection of the (entire) world? (11) Harmlessness, compassion, learning, amiability of disposition, subjugation of the senses and tranquility of mind — these six excellences adorn Śrī Rāma  , the foremost of men.(12) People, therefore, feel extremely pained by the. injury which is being done to him (by way of unmerited banishment) (even) as aquatic creatures are afflicted by depletion of water.(13) The whole world feels injured by the suffering inflicted on this protector of the world, (even) as a tree with its flowers and fruit is damaged by injury caused to its root. (14) For Śrī Rāma  , whose strength is virtue and who is possessed of extraordinary effulgence, is the root of the tree of humanity, while other men are its flowers and fruits, leaves and boughs. (15)

"As such even as Laksmana we will also with our wives and relations forthwith follow the departing Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Raghu), on the path the former is going to tread. (16) Relinquishing 

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 for good our gardens and fields and houses, let us follow the virtuous Śrī Rāma , sharing his joys and sorrows. (17) Let Kaikeyī enjoy as her share the dwellings deserted by us and robbed of their substance in everyway — their treasures unearthed, their courtyards neglected, their wealth and (stocks of) food grains removed — covered by dust on all sides and (as such) deserted by the deities (presiding over them), overrun by mice coming out of their holes and scurrying here and there, water and smoke having disappeared from them, unswept, dilapidated as though by adverse times and strewn with broken vessels, the rites of offering oblations.to all creatures as well as to the sacred fire, worship of gods, the chanting of sacred texts and muttering of prayers having altogether ceased. (18  21) Let the forest itself, for which Śrī Rāma  (a scion of Raghu) is leaving, turn into a city and let the city (of Ayodhyā), (when) deserted by us, be converted into a forest. (22) Scared by fear of us, all the snakes will forsake their holes; the deer and birds, (their abode on) the mountain peaks and elephants and lions, the forests. (23) Let them abandon the region going to be in  habited by us and flee for protection to the one forsaken by us. Let Kaikeyī with her son and relations actually obtain (as her share) the region where grass, meat and fruits can be had (in abundance) and which is inhabited by ferocious beasts and birds. We shall (on the other hand) live happily in the forest with Śrī Rāma  (a scion of Raghu)." (24 25)

Śrī Rāma  (a scion of Raghu) heard these remarks of diverse kinds uttered by various men; hearing them (however) his mind was not (in the least) disturbed. (26) The prince, whose mind was given to piety, walked once more with the strides of an elephant in rut to the palace of his (step) mother (Kaikeyī), which shone as a peak of the Kailasa mountain (and in which his father was still lingering). (27) Entering the royal palace, however, which was being guarded by disciplined and valiant soldiers, he saw Sumantra standing disconsolate not very far away. (28) Appearing in no way afflicted, even though seeing the people of Ayodhyā distressed at that time, Śrī Rāma  as though smiling,

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forthwith approached his father, eager to see him and desirous of duly carrying out his behest. (29) Catching sight of Sumantra before that, while approaching the king; who wore a wretched appearance, the great souled and high minded Śrī Rāma , son of Daśaratha (a scion of Ikswāku ), waited awhile to announce his presence to his father. (30) Perceiving Sumantra, the illustrious Śrī Rāma  (a scion of Raghu), who was devoted to righteousness and had deliberately made up his mind to retire to the woods in obedience to the command of his father, said to him, "Announce my arrival to His Majesty." (31)

Canto XXXVII

Hearing the remonstrance of the chief minister Śrī Rāma , who was an adept in courtesy, politely addressed on that occasion the following words to Daśaratha: — (1) "What purpose of mine, who has renounced (all) enjoyment and shaken off attachment for everything and am going to live on the products of the forest (alone), will be served, 0 king, with an army following me? (2) He who, having parted with an excellent elephant, seeks to retain the tether is indeed a fool. What is to be gained through attachment to a tether by him who has for  gone an excellent elephant? (3) Similarly, 0 jewel among the virtuous, what purpose of mine will be served with an .army, 0 ruler of the world? I allow all things to be used by Bharata. Let the servant maids of mother Kaikeyī bring me robes fit for a dweller in forests alone. (4) (Addressing the maid servants he continues,) go and duly bring a spade and a basket both for me, who am going to take up my abode in a forest for fourteen years." (5) Personally bringing pieces of bark (for being put on by Śrī Rāma  and others), Kaikeyī, who was lost to (all) shame, forthwith said to Śrī Rāma  in the midst of that concourse of men, "Put these on!" (6) Receiving from Kaikeyī two pieces of bark (for being used as a loin cloth and a cover respectively) and discarding his raiment of fine yarn, that tiger among men,

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put on the garb of ascetics: so the tradition goes. (7) Leaving his exquisite robes on that very spot, Laksmana too put on in the presence of his father two pieces of bark fit for ascetics. (8)  

Gazing with reverence on the piece of bark intended for being donned by her, Sītā, who was clad in silken robes, felt dismayed as a doe would on seeing a snare. (9) Feeling much abashed as it were while taking from (the hand of) Kaikeyī the two articles of wearing apparel made of Kusa grass and greatly troubled in mind, Sītā (daughter of Janaka), who was endowed with auspicious bodily marks, knew what is right and served as an illustration of virtue, spoke as follows, her eyes overflowing with tears, to her husband, who vied with Citraratha (the ruler of the Gandharvas): —(10 11)"! wonder how ascetics dwelling in forests put on the bark of trees." Saying so, the celebrated Sītā, who was in no way adept in wearing the bark of trees, erred again and again (in her attempt to do so). (12) Placing one piece about her neck and taking another in her hand, the daughter of Janaka stood abashed, inefficient as she was (in wearing the bark). (13) Quickly going near her, Śrī Rāma , the foremost of those upholding the cause of virtue, then person  ally fastened the bark over her silken garment. (14) Perceiving Śrī Rāma  fastening the excellent bark about Sītā, the female inmates of the inner chambers began to shed tears and, sore distressed (as they were), spoke (as follows) to Śrī Rāma  of dazzling splendour: — "This self respecting princess has not been so commanded to reside in the forest (as you), dear child! (15 16) (At least) let her (blessed) sight (continue to) bring its reward to us during the period when you have departed to the lonely forest in obedience to your father's command, 0 lord! (17) Proceed to the forest, dear son, with Laksmana (alone) as your companion. This blessed princess does not deserve to dwell in the forest like an ascetic. (18) Grant our solicitation 0 dear one! Let Sītā, the beautiful one, (continue to) stay (in Ayodhyā) though surely you are not personally inclined to stay any longer, righteousness being your eternal companion." (19)

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(Even though) hearing such (loving) remonstrances of those women, Śrī Rāma  (son of Daśaratha) persisted in fastening the bark (over her silken garment) as desired by Sītā, whose con  duct was in line with his own. (20) Stopping Sītā, as she took the bark from the hands of Kaikeyī, Sage Vasistha, the king's preceptor, for his part spoke to Kaikeyī with tears (in his eyes) as follows: — (21).

"Having hoodwinked the king, 0 evil minded Kaikeyī, who have exceeded your limits and brought disgrace to your family, you do not keep within bounds yet! (22) 0 woman dead to (all) decorum, Princess Sītā shall not proceed to the forest. She will occupy the throne that was offered to  Rāma . (23) A wife is the very self to all householders. As the (other) self of  Rāma  she will rule over the earth. (24) If Sītā (a princess of the Videha territory) retires to the forest along with  Rāma , we who are present here (at this moment) shall follow suit and (the people of) this city (too) will go. (25) The soldiers guarding the royal women's chambers too, will go where  Rāma  (a scion of Raghu) stays with his wife. The (entire) state (of Kosala) including (all) its resources as well as the city (of Ayodhyā) with its goods and chattel will (also) go. (26) Clad in the bark of trees and dwelling in a forest, Bharata too with Satrughna will adopt the mode of life of his elder brother,  Rāma  (a scion of Kakutstha), living in the forest. (27) Rule you alone after that, the desolate earth, deserted by men, with its trees (because it will be reduced to a mere forest), vile as you are and bent upon doing harm to the people. (28) The state in which  Rāma  is no longer the king will not survive; while the forest, which  Rāma  is going to inhabit, is sure to develop into a (flourishing) state. (29)

"Bharata surely would not rule over the earth that has not been (voluntarily) alienated by his father, nor would he live with you as a son, if he is sprung from the loins of the emperor. (30) Even if you soar into the heavens leaving the earth's surface, he would not do anything contrary to the established custom, knowing as he does the practice of his forbears. (31) There  fore, you alone have done an unfriendly act to your son, even

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though you covet his well being; for there is none in the world who is not devoted to  Rāma . (32) 0 Kaikeyī, you will see this very day beasts, snakes, deer and birds going with  Rāma  (to the forest) and trees (too) eager to accompany him. (33) There  fore, laying aside the bark of trees, give your daughter in law excellent jewels, 0 queen! The bark of trees is not meant for her." Saying so, Vasistha, forbade her wearing it. (34) The sage continued, "The sojourn in the forest of  Rāma  alone has been asked for by you, 0 princess of the Kekaya territory! (Hence) let Sītā, who deserves to be ornamented daily, dwell in the forest with Rāma  (a scion of Raghu) richly adorned. (35) Nay, let the princess proceed fully provided with excellent conveyances and attendants as well as with costumes of various kinds and all useful accessories; (for) while asking for the boons her exile was not solicited by you." (36) Even though the said preceptor of the king, the foremost among the Brāhmanas, who wielded an influence which had no parallel, spoke as above, Sītā, who wished to follow the ways of her husband, did not desist from her purpose in the least. (37)

Canto XXXVIII

On seeing Sītā, wearing the bark of trees as if a helpless woman, though protected by her husband, all the people (present there) loudly exclaimed, "Fie upon you, (the powerless) Daśaratha (who does not stop this flagrant injustice)!" (1) Pained to hear that loud cry, the said emperor lost (all) his interest in life, religious merit and renown. (2) Heaving a sigh of grief, that scion of Ikswāku  spoke to his wife (Kaikeyī) as follows: — "Sītā (surely) does not deserve to depart in a robe made of Kusa grass, 0 Kaikeyī! (3) My teacher truly says that delicate (of body), young and ever used to amenities of life as she is, she is not fit for residence in a forest. (4) Has this innocent daughter of Janaka (a jewel among kings) really done any injury to anyone whomsoever that, having received a robe of

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bark she stands dumbfounded like an ordinary hermitess in the midst of men? (5) Let Sītā, (the daughter of Janaka) shed her robes of bark. I did not pledge that, she would accompany her husband, in robes of bark. Let the princess (therefore) proceed at pleasure to the forest fully equipped (with clothes and ornaments) and provided with all valuable possessions. (6) I who no longer deserve to survive, made on oath a cruel promise in the first place; and on top of that you have initiated this (unjust) act (of providing the robes of a hermitess to Sītā) through (sheer) childishness. That is sure to consume me (even) as the blossoming of a bamboo brings about its own destruction. (7)

"Even supposing some offence was given to you by  Rāma , what wrong on earth was done to you by Sītā, (a princess of the Videha territory), 0 vile woman? (8) What injury on earth could the lofty minded Sītā, (the daughter of Janaka) do to you — Sītā, who is distinguished by a pair of blooming eyes like a female gazelle and is possessed of a soft disposition? (9) Indeed sending  Rāma  into exile (in the robes of a hermit), as you are doing, 0 sinful woman, is enough for you. What more do you seek to gain through these (further) sins (in the shape of exiling Sītā, and that too in the robes of a hermitess) which are going to be perpetrated by you and which are calculated to land you in untold suffering? (10) Hearing your command, which you gave to  Rāma , who called here in connection with his installation (as Prince Regent), 0 queen, that much was (silently) acquiesced to by me. (11) Distinctly going beyond that, however, as you are doing now, you seek to go to hell in that you would have Sītā (a princess of Mithila) too clad in the bark of trees." (12)

To his father, who sat with his head bent low, while speaking thus, Śrī Rāma , who was (now) actually on his way to the forest, submitted as follows: — (13) "This illustrious mother of mine, Kausalya, has not only grown old but is of a generous disposition too and never speaks ill of you, 0 pious monarch! (14) When she is bereft of me and (consequently) drowned in a sea of grief, although she has known no suffering before, 0

 

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bestower of boons, you ought to show greater regard to her, so that the poor lady may not fall a prey to grief caused by separation from me (her son) and, treated with respect by you, who are worthy of adoration (to her), and contemplating on me, may survive under your care. (15-16) Kindly handle my mother, who is sure to pine for me (her son), in such a way, 0 compeer of the mighty Indra, as to ensure that, stricken with grief, when I am so journing in the forest, she may not depart to the abode of Yama (the god of death), giving up her life." (17)

Canto XXXIX

Hearing the intercession of Śrī Rāma  and perceiving him clad in the garb of a hermit, the king for his part with his consorts fell unconscious. (1) Sore stricken with agony he neither could regale his eyes on Śrī Rāma  (a scion of Raghu) nor could he accost him even on casting a look at him awhile, disconsolate as he was. (2) Remaining senseless as it were for an hour or so and feeling distressed, the mighty armed monarch repented in various ways (as follows), thinking all the time of Śrī Rāma  alone: — (3) "I think in my past life many a cow indeed was robbed of its calf or in any case many living beings were destroyed by me. Hence this (calamity) has befallen me. (4) Surely life does not depart from the body until the (appointed) hour has arrived. (It is therefore that) death does not claim me even though Kaikeyī torments me and even though I behold my son, effulgent as fire, standing before me clad in the robes of an ascetic, having shed garments of fine fabric. (5 6) Indeed (all) these people have to suffer on account of Kaikeyī alone, who, having resorted to this roguery, is striving hard to gain her object." (7)

Having uttered these words and saying "0  Rāma !" only once, the emperor, however, whose voice was choked by tears, could not speak any more. Just regaining his consciousness after an hour or so the said emperor for his part spoke to Sumantra with

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his eyes flooded with tears as follows: — (8-9)

"Fitting with the best of horses a chariot used for pleasure  drives, return you (soon) and take this highly blessed prince beyond this territory. (10) Since a pious and valiant son is being exiled to the forest by his (very) father and mother, such I believe is declared (by the scriptures) to be the reward of virtues of the virtuous." (11) Bowing to the king's command and fitting with horses a chariot decked with ornaments, Sumantra, who was swift of pace, returned (quickly) to that (very) spot (where Śrī Rāma  stood ready with Sītā and Laksmana to depart for the forest). (12) Joining his palms (as a token of submission), the charioteer announced to the Crown prince (Śrī Rāma ) the arrival of that chariot, decked with gold and fitted with excel  lent horses. (13) Promptly summoning (to his presence) the officer placed in charge of the treasury, the king, who knew what should be done at a particular place and time and was free from all impurities (in the shape of duplicity etc.), spoke in a decisive tone (as follows): — (14) "Taking into consideration (all) these years (that Sītā has to spend in exile), (pray) speedily bring for Sītā (a princess of the Videha kingdom) costly robes and valuable ornaments." (15) Proceeding to the treasury when commanded thus by the king, and bringing everything (that he was instructed to fetch), the officer for his part immediately delivered the (whole) lot to Sītā. (16)

Bound as she was for the forest, Sītā (a princess of the Videha kingdom), of noble (uncommon) birth (in that she was not born from a womb), adorned her limbs, which were endowed with propitious marks, with those marvellous jewels. (17) Splendidly and profusely decked (with ornaments) Sītā (a princess of the Videha kingdom) illumined that palace (where she stood) in the same way as the radiance of the rising sun with its bright rays illumines the sky in the morning (particularly when there is no mist or cloud). (18) Folding in her arms that princess of Mithila, who never behaved in an unseemly way, and smelling her head (as a token of affection), her mother in law (Kausalya) spoke in the following words: — (19)

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"Women who though constantly adored by their beloved consorts, cease to esteem their husband who has fallen on evil days are dubbed as wicked throughout this world. (20) Having enjoyed happiness in the past they malign and even desert their husband on meeting with the least misfortune: such is the nature of (wicked) women. (21) Wicked are those women who are ever untruthful by nature and swayed by passion, are difficult to comprehend, heartless and of sinful resolve and who get estranged in a moment. (22) Neither (noble) birth nor good turn, nor learning, nor gift nor even marriage ties capture the heart of (such) women, fickle of heart as they are. (23) In the case, however, of virtuous women, who are in fact devoted to good conduct, truthfulness and the precepts of their elders and keep within the bounds of decorum (laid down for their family), their husband is the most sacred object and he alone excels all. (24) Though (being) sent into exile to the forest, you should not despise my son, Śrī Rāma . Endowed with means or without resources, he is surely as good as a deity to you." (25)

Perceiving her advice to be in consonance with righteous  ness, which constituted her aim (in life), and joining her palms, Sītā replied to her mother in law as follows, standing in front of her: — (26) "I shall surely do all that your worthy self instructs me to do. I know how I should behave towards my husband and I have (also) heard about it (from my elders). (27) Your noble self ought not to equate me with wicked women. I am un  able to deviate from virtue (even) as moonlight is incapable of parting from the moon. (28) A Vina is of no use without chords and a chariot is of no use without wheels. Nor can a wife who is bereft of her husband prosper in a happy state even though she may have a hundred sons. (29) Indeed a father bestows limited joy, a brother (too) bestows limited joy and a son (as well) bestows limited happiness. What woman, then, would not adore her husband, the bestower of unlimited joy? (30) Having heard about the special and ordinary duties of a wife from my superiors and thus convinced that the husband is a veritable deity to a (married) woman, how can I, such as I am, despise

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my husband, 0 venerable one?" (31)

Hearing Sītā's reply, which touched (the chords of) her heart, Kausalya of pure mind suddenly began to shed tears born of agony (at the thought of the impending separation from her sons and daughter in law) and delight (over the pious sentiments expressed by Sītā). (32) Gazing at Kausalya (his own mother), who was highly respected among his mothers, Śrī Rāma , who had a supremely pious mind, spoke to her with joined palms as follows: — (33) "(Pray) do not regard my father with a doleful countenance. The end of exile too will come rather soon. (34) Nine years and five will slip past you (even) while you are asleep. (One fine morning) you will find me duly arrived (back) here (in Ayodhyā) in my entire being (along with Sītā and Laksmana), surrounded by my friends and relations." (35) Having made this comprehensive submission to his mother, and gazing on his three hundred and fifty step  mothers he actually found those mothers too distressed in the same way (as his own mother was). Joining his palms the said son of Daśaratha (once more) made the following submission, which was in consonance with (the spirit of) righteousness: — (36 37) "(Pray) forgive whatever unkind word or even act may have been uttered or done by me through ignorance because we lived together. Now I take leave of you all." (38) All those (royal) ladies whose mind was agitated through grief, heard the calm submission of Śrī Rāma  (a scion of Raghu),, which conformed to (the principles of) righteousness. (39)

While Śrī Rāma  (a scion of Raghu) was speaking thus, an out  cry resembling the wail of female cranes rose from the mouth of those consorts of Daśaratha (a ruler of men). (40) The same palace of Daśaratha which was formerly marked with the sound of tom toms, large drums and Meghas (a musical instrument the sound of which resembled the rumbling of clouds) was now filled with extreme agony, agitated as it was through wails and cries and fallen on evil days. (41)

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Preparation for the exile.

Dasharatha sits sunk in grief. Rama, Sita and Lakshamana don the

garments of exile. On the right the chariot leave, accompanied by

the citizen of Ayodhya. ( Pahadi painting, c. 1775-80 )

Museum Rietberg, Zurich

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   Canto XL

Clasping the feet of and bowing to the king, Śrī Rāma   and Sītā as well as Laksmana felt miserable (because of their in  ability to be of any service to their aged parents) forthwith circumambulated him with joined palms. (1) Duly obtaining leave of him and accompanied by Sītā, Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Raghu), who knew what is right, and stood stupefied through grief, bowed to Kausalya. (2) Following at the heels of his brother, Laksmana too greeted Kausalya; then he clasped the feet of his (own) mother, Sumitrā. (3)    Canto XLSmelling (as a token of affection) the head of the mighty armed Laksmana, who was saluting her, the mother, who wished well of him, spoke weeping to that son of hers (as follows): — (4) "Excessively fond as you are of your kinsman,  Rāma , you have been permitted (by me) to dwell in the forest. (But) do not neglect, my son, the service of your brother,  Rāma , who is going (with you). (5) He (alone) is your refuge, whether in adversity or affluent (circumstances), 0 sin  less one! Such is the rule of conduct followed by the virtuous in the world that a younger brother should be subject to the control of his elder brother. (6) To practise charity, to consecrate oneself for sacrificial performances and to drop ones body on the field of battle alone — this indeed constitutes the conduct appropriate to this race (of the Raghus) for all time." (7) Having exhorted Laksmana thus, the said Sumitrā repeatedly said to the celebrated Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Raghu), who was loved by all and was bent on leaving (for the forest), "Fare forth! Fare forth!! (May all be well with you!)." (8) (She said to Laksmana again,) "Know  Rāma  to be Daśaratha (your father), look upon Sītā (the daughter of Janaka) as myself (your mother) and esteem the forest as Ayodhyā (your home) and depart dear son, happily." (9)

Then Sumantra, who was meek and knew how to behave politely, submitted with joined palms as follows to Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Kakutstha) even as Matali (the charioteer of Indra)

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would to Indra (the ruler of gods): — (10) "Mount the chariot, 0 highly illustrious prince; may all be well with you. I shall speedily take you to whatever place you will direct me to go. (11) Indeed those fourteen years that have to be spent by you in the forest as directed by the queen (Kaikeyī) are to be considered as having commenced (this very day)." (12) Having adorned herself (with the articles of wearing apparel and ornaments bestowed on her by her father in law), Sītā, who had comely limbs, mounted with a delighted mind that chariot, which was resplendent like the sun. (13) Having carefully arranged in the hind part of the chariot the raiments and jewels which her father in law, duly taking into account (the period of) her exile in the forest, had bestowed on Sītā while she was ready to accompany her husband (to the forest), and even so the sets of weapons and the pieces of armour he had given to the two brothers, as well as the basket, covered with leather, and the spade, the two brothers, Śrī Rāma and Laksmana, then quickly mounted the chariot, which was decked in gold and shone like fire. (14-16)

Seeing the exiles, of whom Sītā constituted the third, mount  ed on the chariot, Sumantra drove the horses, which were thought highly of and vied in speed with the velocity of the wind. (17) Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Raghu) having departed for the great forest (of Dandaka) for a long term, confusion and an unconsciousness prevailed (among the people) in the city and also in the army (including even horses and elephants) as well as among the people visiting Ayodhyā (from the districts). (18) Confounded and flurried with its elephants in rut highly excited, and resonant with the tinkling of the ornaments of its horses, the city was filled with great sound. (19) Sore stricken with agony, that city including the youth as well as the old people rushed towards Śrī Rāma   in the same way as one op  pressed with the sun would rush towards water. (20) Clinging to the sides and back (of the chariot) with their faces turned towards him and bathed with tears, all submitted to Sumantra in a loud voice: — (21)

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"Hold in the reins of the horses, 0 charioteer, and drive slowly and slowly. We would behold the countenance of Śrī Rāma  , which would (henceforth) be difficult to behold. (22) The heart of Kausalya (Śrī Rāma's mother) is surely and un  doubtedly made of steel in that it does not get riven (even) when her son, who resembles an offspring of gods, is departing for the forest! (23) Sītā (a princess of the Videha kingdom) has done what ought to be done in as much as she follows her husband like a shadow and, devoted to her duty, does not leave him any more than the light of the sun forsakes Mount Meru. (24) Oh Laksmana, you are accomplished of purpose in that you are going to serve your godlike brother, who is ever disposed to speak kind words (to all). (25) Indeed this constitutes your great wisdom; this is your great good fortune and this is the way to heaven (for you) that you are following Śrī Rāma  !" (26) Saying so those men could not restrain their tears, that had (already) welled up (in their eyes), and followed their be  loved Śrī Rāma   (the delight of the Ikswāku s). (27)

Meanwhile, surrounded by his consorts — who were (all) feeling miserable — and distressed in mind, the king moved forth from his palace, saying, "I shall see my beloved son." (28) In front of him was heard the high sound of crying women, resembling the trumpeting of she elephants on a lordly elephant (the leader of their herd) having been bound (with chains).(29) At that time, the father (of Śrī Rāma  ), the glorious King Daśaratha (a scion of Kakutstha), looked lustreless indeed like the full moon overshadowed by Rahu during a lunar eclipse.(30) The illustrious son of Daśaratha, Śrī Rāma  , on the other hand of inconceivable firmness commanded the charioteer in the words "Let the chariot be driven fast." (31) Śrī Rāma   commanded the celebrated charioteer in the words "Move on!" And the people (following the chariot) likewise said to him, "Stop!" Urged (both ways) on the road, the charioteer (however) could do neither. (32) The dust raised on the road (even) as the mighty armed Śrī Rāma   drove out (of the city for the forest) settled down due to the tears that fell (from the eyes) of the

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citizens (following at his heels). (33) Full of lamentation and tears and (therefore) doleful (in appearance) at the departure of Śrī Rāma  , the citizens (of Ayodhyā), who were stricken with deep agony and commenced wailing loudly, became unconscious. (34) Tears born of agony (caused by separation from Śrī Rāma  ) flowed from the eyes of women like (drops of) water from lotuses shaken by the commotion of fish. (35)

Seeing the city reduced to singleness of mind, the glorious king fell down precipitately like a tree cut at the root. (36) Perceiving the king sore distressed and suffering agony, an outcry thereupon rose from (the mouths of) men in the rear of Śrī Rāma  . (37) Seeing him wailing with the inmates of his gynaeceum some people cried out, "Oh  Rāma ", while others exclaimed, "oh  Rāma 's mother!" (38) Looking back, Śrī Rāma   forthwith beheld the king, dejected and perplexed in mind, as well as his mother (Kausalya) following (him) on the road. (39) Bound by the cord of duty, he did not openly gaze on them any more than a foal, caught in a snare would look at its dam. (40) Seeing them walking, though worthy of a chariot, unworthy of suffering and deserving of comfort, he commanded the charioteer in the words "Drive fast!" (4]L) (Even) as an elephant urged on with goads is unable to look behind, Śrī Rāma   (a tiger among men) too was unable to bear the distressing sight of his father and mother (following him on foot). (42) Kausalya (Śrī Rāma's mother) rushed forth (after Śrī Rāma  ) as a cow that has given birth to a calf and whose calf stands tied (at the stall) would run to meet it while returning ,to its stall (from the pasture). (43)

Śrī Rāma   repeatedly gazed on his mother, Kausalya, who was weeping and following that chariot as though dancing, crying " Rāma , o Rāma , o Sītā, o Laksmana!" and shedding tears for the sake of Śrī Rāma  , Laksmana and Sītā. (44 45) The king (on the one hand) exclaimed saying "Stop!", while Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Raghu) called out "Go on! Proceed!!" (In this way) Sumantra's mind was placed in a dilemma as one would feel while standing between two (revolving) wheels. (46) Śrī Rāma   

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said to him, "Even when reproached (by the king on going back to Ayodhyā, for not carrying out his orders), you will say, 'I did not hear (your call).' Prolongation of this agony (caused by witnessing the sad plight of my aged and feeble parents) would prove most calamitous." (47) Carrying out the behest of Śrī Rāma   and taking leave of that crowd (which was following at his heels), the charioteer urged on the horses that were (already) moving (ahead), to go fast. (48) (Mentally) circumambulating Śrī Rāma   the king's men returned (to the king's presence with their body, which could not keep pace with the chariot, though they accompanied Śrī Rāma   with their mind to the forest); the common people (however) did not return even with their body as they did not return with their mind, being possessed of a quick speed. (49) (On returning to the king's presence) the ministers submitted to Emperor Daśaratha as follows: — "One should not follow to a long distance him whom one wishes to see come back." (50) Hearing their submission, the king, who was endowed with all virtues and felt miserable, stopped short, gazing with his consorts, on his celebrated son (Śrī Rāma  ), perspiring all over his body and wearing a most dejected appearance. (51)

Canto XLV

People devoted to the high souled Śrī Rāma   of unfailing prowess followed him on his way to the forest for exile. (1) Even when the king was made to return much against his will, governed as he was by the code of conduct prescribed for friends and relations (accompanying a departing friend to some distance only), they would not return on any account and continued to follow the chariot; for Śrī Rāma  , who enjoyed great renown and was richly endowed with excellences, had become the favourite like the full moon of the people residing in Ayodhyā. (2 3) Even though being implored by those (devoted) people (to return), the said Śrī Rāma   (a scion of

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Kakutstha) pressed on to the forest, (thereby) proving his father to be true (to his word). (4) Fondly gazing on those people as though drinking them with his eyes, Śrī Rāma  lovingly spoke to them (as follows) as though they were his own children: — (5) "The love and high esteem that has been bestowed upon me by you (the inhabitants of Ayodhyā) may for my pleasure be bestowed in a special measure on Bharata. (6) For Bharata, who enhances the delight of Kaikeyī and who is possessed of an excellent conduct will properly do things, which are not only pleasing but conducive to your (best) interests too. (7) Elderly in wisdom, though juvenile in age, tender though adorned with heroic qualities, he will prove to be a worthy master and will dispel your fears. (8) Endowed as he is with kingly virtues, he has been thought fit to be the Prince Regent. For this reason too the behest of your master must be carried out by you and also because you are enjoined by me. (9) Moreover, with intent to oblige me, the said emperor should be treated by you in such a way that he may not suffer agony when I have gone into exile to the forest." (10)

The more did Śrī Rāma  (son of Daśaratha) hold fast to righteousness (in the form of obedience to his father's wishes), the more did the people desire him to be their ruler. (11) Śrī Rāma   with Laksmana drew as it were by their virtues the residents of Ayodhyā — who were afflicted and covered with tears — as though bound with cords. (12) (Of them) such Brāhmanas as were senior in three ways, viz., in point of wisdom, age and power acquired through austerities, and whose heads were shaking under the weight of their years, spoke from a distance as follows (unable as they were to keep pace with the chariot of Śrī Rāma  ): — (13) "Return, 0 swift steeds of excellent breed drawing the chariot conveying Śrī Rāma  , and be friendly to your master (since by taking Śrī Rāma   against our wishes you will be doing a disservice to him); you ought not to proceed further. (14) Indeed, (all) created beings which are endowed with ears, more so horses, stand apprised of our entreaty. Therefore please return. (15) The said master of yours is exceedingly

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pure-minded, heroic and a man of virtuous and firm resolve. As such he justly deserves to be conveyed by you nearer the city and not to be carried away from the city to the forest." (16) Perceiving those aged Brāhmanas uttering such plaintive words, Śrī Rāma   precipitately got down from the chariot: so the tradition goes. (17) Taking small strides (in order to enable the aged Brāhmanas to overtake him), Śrī Rāma   now proceeded on foot with Sita and with Laksmana in the direction of the forest, which constituted his final destination (without stopping or receding to meet and console the Brāhmanas since that would amount to a breach of the vow undertaken by him to depart for the forest). (18) For, the said Śrī Rāma  , who was affectionate by disposition and had compassion in his eyes, could not send back those Brāhmanas walking on foot while continuing to be in the chariot himself. (19) Perplexed in mind, sore distressed to see the celebrated Śrī Rāma still pressing on, the Brāhmanas spoke to him as follows : — (20)

"The whole of this Brāhmanas community is following you, devoted (as you are) to the Brāhmanas. (Nay) borne on the shoulders of the Brāhmanas (through the medium of the two pieces of wood used for kindling the fire by attrition and the vessel intended for holding it), these sacred fires too are following them. (21) (Pray) look at these canopies obtained by us during the performance of a Vajapeya sacrifice and following at your heels like (white) clouds appearing in autumn (marking the end of the monsoon). (22) With these canopies of ours, obtained during a Vajapeya sacrifice, we shall give shade to you, who have got no canopy1 and (as such) are being scorched with rays (of the sun). (23) Indeed our minds which were (hereto  fore) engaged in pursuing the study of Vedic texts have (now) been made to follow the course of exile to the forest for your sake, 0 son! (24) The Vedas, which constitute our supreme riches, stand preserved in our hearts (memory); and protected

__________________

1. It is laid down in the Vedas that he who performs a Vajapeya sacrifice must be supplied with a white canopy.

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by their character, our consorts too will (continue to) stay in our homes alone. (We need not therefore be deterred by any anxiety on their score). (25) No fresh decision need be taken by us (on the matter), (since) our mind is fully determined to follow you (to the forest). Yet (we should like to tell you that) in the event of your turning indifferent to piety (in the form of listening to the advice of Brāhmanas), what being will remain devoted to the path of virtue? (26)

"Solicited by us with our heads bent low — heads which are covered with hair white as the down of swans and are soiled with dust as a result of their falling on the ground (in the course of our prostration to you, whom we know to be none other than Lord Visnu) — (pray) turn back, 0 prince, resolute of conduct! (27) Sacrifices have been started by many of those Brāhmanas that have come here (to follow you). Their conclusion, 0 son, depends on your return. (28) (All) created beings — both in  animate and animate — here are full of devotion to you. (Pray) show your affection to such devotees, who are imploring you to return (by acceding to their request). (29) Tall trees, whose power of locomotion stands completely hampered by their roots (penetrating deep into the earth) and which are (therefore) un  able to follow you, are crying as it were through the creaking sound produced by the force of wind (and thus asking you to return). (30) Birds too, which sit motionless and are unable to go out in search of food and which remain fixed to one spot on (the boughs of) trees, solicit you to return, compassionate as you are to all created beings." (31) While the Brāhmanas were crying thus with a view to persuading Śrī Rāma   to return, the river Tamasa came to view as though retarding the progress of Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Raghu). (32) Releasing the horses, fatigued as they were, from the chariot and quickly making them roll afterwards, Sumantra too allowed them to graze not very far from (the bank of) the Tamasa once they had drunk water and had their body washed in the river. (33)

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 Rāma , Sita and Lakshmana in exile (detail)

 Pahari, c. 1775/80. Museum Rietberg, Zurich

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Sri Rama is exiled

Canto XLVI

Then, taking his stand on the delightful bank of the Tamasa and gazing on Sītā, Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Raghu) spoke to the son of Sumitrā, as follows: — (1) "Today, 0 Laksmana, is the (very) first night of our exile in the forest. And since it is to the forest that we have been sent away, you ought not to feel anxious (for those that have been left behind); may all be well with you! (2) Look here: sought for shelter by beasts and birds retiring to their respective abode, the desolate woods are crying as it were on all sides. (3) The city of Ayodhyā, the capital of my father (King Daśaratha), with its men and women will for its part lament today for us, that have departed (for the forest): there is no doubt about it. (4) For, the people (of Ayodhyā) are devoted to the king no less than to you and me, as also to Bharata and Satrughna, for our manifold virtues, 0 tiger among men! (5) I bewail (the lot of) my father as well as my illustrious mother (Kausalya). I fear lest those parents of ours, who must be incessantly weeping, should be deprived of their eyesight. (6) I am sure that the pious minded Bharata will console my father and mother by means of words assuring them of religious merit, material welfare and sense gratification. (7) Reflecting again and again on the tender heartedness of Bharata, 0 mighty armed prince, I do not lament for my father and mother. (8) By following me (to the forest), 0 tiger among men, a (great) purpose (of mine) has been served by you for (otherwise) aid would have to be sought for by me for looking after Sītā (a princess of the Videha kingdom). (9) I shall certainly live on water alone tonight. 0 son of Sumitrā! Although there are various kinds of wild fruits and roots, this alone pleases me." (10)

Having told Laksmana (son of Sumitrā) as above, Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Raghu), so the tradition goes, spoke to Sumantra too as follows: —"Attend you to the horses (now), 0 good sir!" (11) Fastening the horses tightly, the sun having completely  

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set, and supplying them with abundant grass, the said Sumantra returned (to the presence of Śrī Rāma  ). (12) Having worshipped (the goddess presiding over) the benign evening twilight and seeing the night fallen, the charioteer along with Laksmana (son of Sumitrā) prepared a ground suitable for Śrī Rāma   to sleep on (by brushing aside gravel and particles of dust etc.) as well as a bed (of leaves). (13) Perceiving the bed overspread (by Sumantra) with (fresh) leaves of trees on the bank of the Tamasa with the help of Laksmana (son of Sumitrā) Śrī Rāma   with his consort lay down on it: so they say. (14) Observing Śrī Rāma   buried in deep sleep with his spouse, fatigued as he was, Laksmana for his part began to recount the various virtues of Śrī Rāma   before the charioteer. (15) The sun rose past Laksmana (son of Sumitrā) even as he was recounting to the charioteer on the bank of the Tamasa the excellences of Śrī Rāma  , both (Laksmana and Sumantra) keeping awake that night. (16) At a respectable distance from the Tamasa, whose bank was crowded with herds of cows, Śrī Rāma   spent that night with the citizens on that stretch of land. (17) Getting up and seeing those people (lying at some distance), Śrī Rāma  , who was possessed of extraordinary splendour, spoke (as follows) to his brother, Laksmana, who was endowed with auspicious bodily marks: — (18)

"Behold, 0 Laksmana, the citizens, full of great longing for us and absolutely unmindful of their homes as also of their near and dear ones, lying close to the roots of trees till this (late) hour, 0 son of Sumitrā! (19) From the way in which these citizens are taking pains to take us back (to Ayodhyā) it seems they will even lay down their lives but would in no case give up their resolve. (20) Therefore, while they are fast asleep let us meantime quickly mount the chariot and take a route which has no fear from any quarter, so that the citizens of Ayodhyā (the ancient capital of Ikswāku ), who are (so keenly) devoted to me, may not henceforth (have to) repose leaning against the roots of trees as now. (21 22) The residents of a city (ruled over by a king) should indeed be completely and finally rid

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by the sons of their rulers of suffering brought about by (the citizens) themselves. The citizens should on no account be burdened with affliction caused by the princes themselves as in "our case." (23) Laksmana replied as follows to Śrī Rāma , who was firm as virtue incarnate: — "What you say appeals to me, 0 wise brother; (pray) ascend the chariot quickly." (24)

Śrī Rāma   then said to the charioteer, "Please get the chariot ready soon. On it I shall proceed to the forest. Depart from this place at once, my lord!" (25) Having got the chariot ready with those excellent horses yoked to it with great expedition, the charioteer for his part thereupon submitted (as follows) with joined palms to Śrī Rāma   : — (26) "Here is your chariot ready, 0 mighty armed prince! (Pray) ascend it quickly with Sītā and with Laksmana, 0 jewel among chariot warriors; may prosperity attend you!" (27) Mounting the chariot with (all) necessities for traveling (viz., his bow, armour, quiver, spade, basket and so on), Śrī Rāma   (a scion of Raghu) speedily crossed (thereby) the swift going Tamasa thickly set with eddies. (28) Having duly crossed the stream, the glorious Śrī Rāma   (who was possessed of mighty arms) reached a smooth road, free from obstacles and safe even for those who are apprehensive of danger. (29) With a view to putting the citizens off the scent, Śrī Rāma   for his part spoke to the charioteer as follows: — "Mounting the chariot (alone), 0 charioteer, proceed you northward and, going apace awhile, bring the chariot back again. Remaining careful, drive the chariot in such a way that the citizens may not (be able to) locate me." (30 31)

Hearing the command of Śrī Rāma  , the said charioteer for his part did as he was told and, returning (by a different route) reported to Śrī Rāma   the arrival of the chariot. (32) Then Śrī Rāma   and Laksmana (the promoters of the race of Raghu) along with Sītā comfortably took their seats in the chariot that was duly kept ready. The said charioteer thereupon urged the horses along the route by which they could reach a forest suited to the practice of austerities. (33) Having duly occupied the chariot, Śrī Rāma   (son of Daśaratha), who was a great

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chariot warrior, thereupon proceeded to the forest along with the charioteer. At the outset, (however) the charioteer placed the chariot facing the north; for he saw omens auspicious for journey (in that quarter). (34)

Canto XLVII

The night having ended in dawn, the citizens, who were stunned with grief, became unconscious (as it were). (1) Made miserable by tears born of grief and full of agony, they could not catch even a glimpse of Śrī Rāma  , though casting their eyes all round. (2) Their faces withered through despondency, deprived as they were of Śrī Rāma   (who was full of wisdom), and (therefore) nonplussed, the citizens, even though they were wise, uttered plaintive words (as follows) : — (3)

"Woe is to that slumber, rendered unconscious by which we could not perceive today Śrī Rāma  , who is distinguished by a broad chest and mighty arms! (4) How did that mighty armed Śrī Rāma  , whose actions, as is well known, are never ineffectual, leave for other lands in the garb of an ascetic, abandoning (us) his devoted subjects? (5) How did that jewel among the Raghus, who ever protected us as a father does his own children, proceed to the forest abandoning us? (6) Let us meet our end at this very place (by fasting) or definitely set out on the grand journey (to the north with a resolve to die). For what purpose can life be good for us, deprived as we are of Śrī Rāma  ? (7) Or, there are any numbers of big logs of dry wood (here). Lighting a funeral pile let us all enter the fire (simultaneously).  

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 (8) Shall we break the news (when asked by those left behind in Ayodhyā) that Śrī Rāma  (a scion of Raghu) of mighty arms, who is free from jealousy and speaks kindly (to all), has been conveyed to the forest by us? How can we utter such words? (9) Seeing us (back) without Śrī Rāma , that city (of Ayodhyā) will surely assume a wretched and cheerless aspect with its womenfolk, children and elderly people. (10) How shall we, who left with that high souled hero for good, behold that city again without him?" (11)

Holding up their arms, the above mentioned men, stricken with agony like cows of excellent breed bereft of their calf, lamented in various ways as above. (12) Then proceeding to some distance along the tracks, (left by Śrī Rāma 's chariot) for some moments, they were overwhelmed with great despondency, the tracks having disappeared immediately afterwards (due to the chariot having returned by another route). (13) The high minded citizens (eventually) returned (to Ayodhyā) along the tracks left by the chariot (while leaving Ayodhyā), saying, "How is it (that the tracks have disappeared so soon)? What shall we do? We are doomed by Providence." (14) Depressed in spirits they all then returned, by the same route along which they had come, to the city of Ayodhyā, where all good people were feeling distressed. (15) Seeing the city (which presented a sorry spectacle), they shed tears in profusion through their eyes tormented with grief, their mind distracted through cheerlessness. (16) Bereft of Śrī Rāma , the city (of Ayodhyā) did not look any more charming than a river whose snakes have been uprooted from its pool by Garuda. (17) Those bewildered men beheld the city joyless like the firmament bereft of the moon and an ocean without water. (18) Entering their dwellings full of abundant riches with difficulty, the citizens could not distinguish between their own people and others, though casting their eyes all round, stricken as they were with sorrow, their joy having altogether disappeared for good. (19)

* * *

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Sri Rama is exiled

Rama, Sita and Lakshmana at Panchavati (Pahari, 1st century )

Courtesy : Govt. Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh (India )

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Sri Rama is exiled

Rama visit the sage Bharadwaj, then the three are crossing the

river with a raft for sita, on their way to Chitrakoot.

Guler 1775/80, Museum Rietberg, Zurich

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Sri Rama is exiled

Rama, Sita and Lakshmana in the forest

Kangra late 18th century.

Courtesy: Govt. Museum and art Gallery, Chandigarh (India )

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Sri Rama is exiled

Bharat approaches Chitrrakut with the army Mewa

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