Sri Rama - Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

vii) Luv and Kuśa sing the Rāmāyana in Śrī Rāma's Court

The last Ordeal of Sita


As the night passed and the day approached, both (Kuśa and Lava) having taken their bath and made offerings to the fire, sang (the poem) there as instructed formerly by the sage Vālmīki. That scion of Kakutstha heard that musical recitation accompanied with musical notes, never heard before, composed by the former teacher (Bharata). (1-2) Śrī Rāma was amazed on hearing (that song) set to the proper beat and tune and accompanied with the lute, from the two boys. (3)

Then in the midst of the performance (of the Asvamedha) the king, Śrī Rāma the tiger among men, having called,, the great men of knowledge, the other kings and the learned citizens, the specialists in the Purānas, and also those aged Brāhmanas who were proficient in the knowledge of words, and also those best among Brāhmanas, who were curious to hear (the Rāmāyana) and knew the specialities of musical notes, the knowers of auspicious marks, the musicians, all citizens, the knowers of the relation between the syllables of stanza and were proficient in metres; those who excelled in art only, and those well-versed in astrology, knowers of ritual performances, and also those specializing in the details of the ritual and those skilled in suggesting remedial forms (of ritual), the logicians

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

and also the erudite ones, the verifiers and knowers of the Purānas, the Vedas, the best among Brāhmanas, knowers of the Citra (forms of the Kāvya), knowers of the Sūtras on righteous conduct (Dharmasūtras) and also experts in vocal music and dance, and bringing all of them together, made the two singers sit (in the assembly of all these). (4-10)

Those two sons of the sage (Kuśa and Lava) then started singing, enhancing the joy of the assembly who were talking among themselves. (11) Then continued the celestial music; all the listeners, despite the musical wealth that was displayed were left thirsting for more. (12) The assembly of the sages and the kings of great glory, in their extreme joy were gazing at them again and again (the two boys) as though they were drinking in the sight of them through their eyes. (13) They (looked) attentively and said to each other: "Both are similar to Śrī Rāma as a reflection from the original object. (14) If they were not bearing matted hair or not dressed in bark-garments, we could not differentiate between those two singers and the descendant of Raghu." (15) While the citizens and townsmen spoke in this way the first canto attributed to Narada was sung from the beginning. (16)

From then on, they sang till the twenty cantos were completed. Then in the evening Śrī Rāma the descendant of Raghu affectionate to his brothers after hearing the twenty cantos spoke to his brother: "Give to these two noble ones without delay, eighteen thousand gold coins, and whatever else they ask". The scion of Kakutstrfa at once gave to those two boys separately. (17-19) Kuśa and Lava, the noble ones, did not accept the gold coins given to them and they said in surprise: "Of what use are these for us. (20) We reside in the forest and subsist daily on fruits and roots. What shall we do with gold and silver (coins) in the forest?" (21) Thus as both of them spoke, those who heard them along with Śrī Rāma too were surprised and filled with curiosity. (22)

Desirous to know the source of that poem, Śrī Rāma the mighty one, asked the sons of the sage. (23) "How long is this

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

poem? What is the object of the great sage the composer of this poem, the best among sages?" (24) The two sons of the sage said to the scion of Raghu, "The venerable sage Vālmīki is the composer who has come to this place of performance. By this poem he has revealed the whole account to you. (25) Twenty four thousand Slokas (verses) with a hundred legends have been composed by the sage Bhargava (Vālmīki the brother of Bhrgu). (26) From the beginning, 0 King, five hundred cantos with six Kāndas (parts) together with the Uttara (best Kanda) have been composed by the noble one, our preceptor sage keeping in mind your deeds which will continue until people live. (27-28) 0 great charioteer, if you have decided to hear it then listen joyfully together with your brothers, intermittently during the ritual performance." (29)

"So be it" said Śrī Rāma, and the two taking leave (of Śrī Rāma), went cheerfully to the place where the great sage stayed. (30) Śrī Rāma too with the sages and the noble kings, having heard the sweet song, approached the place of the ritual performance. (31) The song set into Chhandas with the appropriate words embellished by appropriate beats and time, sung by Kuśa and Lava with a lute in harmony was heard by Śrī Rāma. (32) 


Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita


Śrī Rāma, together with the sages, kings and monkeys heard that most auspicious song for many days. (1) Having known through that song, Kuśa and Lava as the sons of Sītā, Śrī Rāma spoke in that assembly. (2) Having called envoys of pure con- duct, and contemplating inwardly said to them: "Go to the venerable Rsi (Vālmīki) and speak to him my words! (3) If she (Sītā) is pure of conduct, or if all her sins have been washed away, then may she prove her purity to the great sage (Vālmīki). (4) After finding out the wish of the sage as also Sītā's willingness to give proof, let me know at once. (5) Let Maithilī (Sītā), the daughter of Janaka, declare at dawn tomorrow, her oath, in the midst of the assembly which will also absolve me from blemish." (6)

Hearing these wonderful words of Śrī Rāma the descendant of Raghu, envoys nodding assent, went to the place where the great sage (Vālmīki) stayed. (7) Having made obeisance to that great sage endowed with flaming effulgence, they spoke the words of Rāma soft and sweet. (8) Having heard their words, and having come to know the intention of Śrī Rāma, the highly luminous sage spoke thus: (9)

"So be it, welfare be with you, Sītā will go as told by Śrī Rāma; since the husband is (indeed) a god for the wife." (10) Thus spoken to by the sage, all the royal envoys, coming back, repeated all that the sage had said, to the mighty Rāma. (11) Then Śrī Rāma, the scion of Kākutstha, highly pleased on hearing the words of Vālmīki, the noble one addressed the sages and also the kings assembled there. (12) "Venerable sages with pupils, and kings with attendants, or anyone else too so desiring, may witness the oath-taking of Sītā." (13) Hearing those words of the noble descendant of Raghu, all the chief sages exclaimed "May weal ensue". (14) The noble kings praised indeed the descendant of Raghu thus: "0 best among men, you alone and no one else on the earth is worthy of this which

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

has been announced." (15) Thus having declared that the oath would take place the next day, Śrī Rāma, the lion among kings, dismissed the assembly. (16) That lion among kings, the great and magnanimous one, deciding the oath to take place next day dismissed all noble ones. (17)


As the night passed the King (Śrī Rāma) the powerful one, going to the place of sacrifice, greeted all the sages — Vasistha, Vāmadeva, Jābāli and Kāśyapa, Viśvāmitra, Dīrghatamā, the great ascetic Durvāsā, also Pulastya and Śakti, Bhārgava, Vāmana, Mārkandeya the long-lived one, the famous Maudgalya, Garga, Cyavana, the religious Śatānanda, the splendrous Bharadvāja, the son ofAgni, the lustrous one, Nārada, Parvata, the most famous Gautama, Kātyāyana, Suyajna and Agastya ( the great treasure of Tapas). All these and other sages of austere vows, filled with earnest curiosity, came, and also the most powerful Rakshasas and monkeys. (1-7) All Ksatriyas and Sudras and thousands of Vaiśyas, noble ones, came out of curiosity. (8) Brāhmanas coming from all places, well versed in vows and also all those devoted to pursuits of knowledge and right action and to yoga, came to witness the oath-taking of Sītā. (9) Then having learnt that all who had come, were still and stationary like a rock, the great sage came soon after, accompanied by Sītā. (10)

Sītā followed the sage, with face bowed down and hands folded, full of tears, her mind fixed on Śrī Rāma. (11) Seeing Sita approaching after Vālmīki (as) the Sruti (Vedas) follows Brahma (creator). (There) was a great uproar of appreciation. (12) Thereafter there was all over the sound of sorrowful sighs from those who were distressed with grief arising out of vast suffering. (13) Some said: "May weal come Śrī Rāma", while others said: "May weal ensue Sri Sītā." Both therefore were Praised by other spectators. (14) Then in the midst of that assembly

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

 of men the great sage entering, accompanied by Sītā, spoke thus to the descendant of Raghu. (15)

"0 Rāma, son of Dasaratha, Sītā, fully devoted to right observances, guided by Dharma, was left near my hermitage on account of public censure. (16) 0 Rāma, you who are devoted to the great vows of austerity, but who are under the pressure of public opinion, Sītā will give to you proof and you should give your permission to do so. (17) These twin sons of Sītā are indeed your sons, difficult to conquer (by foes); this is the truth, I tell you. (18) 0 descendant of Raghu, I am the tenth son of Praceta (Varuna). I do not remember having spoken untruth. These twins are verily your sons. (19) I have practised penances for many thousand years — may I not obtain the fruits there of, if Maithilī (Sītā) is polluted. (20) No sin has been committed by me in my earlier life through mind, speech or action; may I gain the fruit (of this sinless conduct) if Sītā is sinless. (21) 0 Rāma, I accepted Sītā in the wilderness of the forest after having considered fully that in all the five elements as also in the sixth element of the mind, she was pure. (22) This sinless, pure of conduct Sītā, looking upon her husband as the only god, shall give assurance to you, who are under the pressure of public opinion. (23) Therefore, 0 son of the greatest of men, I have seen through divine vision that she is perfectly pure and that she was forsaken by you on account of public censure that considered her to be polluted, even though you knew your most beloved to be chaste." (24)


Thus spoken to by Vālmīki, the scion of Raghu, replied with folded hands seeing the beautiful complexioned one (Sītā) within the sight of everybody. (1) "0 holy one, this is as you say, 0 knower of law, 0 Brahmana, by your guiltless words, I am assured. (2) Sītā (the daughter of Videha) had already assured (us of her pure conduct) in front of the gods and had

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

taken oath and then was she allowed to enter the inner apartments. (3)

"Public opinion has a supervening power; it is for this reason that Maithilī (Sītā) was forsaken.

"I forsook this Sītā, 0 Brahmana, due to pressure of censure, although knowing that she was sinless, so please forgive me. (4) I know these two are my sons, the twins, Kuśa and Lava; let her chastity be acknowledged by the world and let my love be restored to me." (5)

Knowing the intention of Śrī Rāma, all the great gods, came for the oath-taking of Sītā. (6) Having Brahma at their head, the Ādityas, Vasus, Rudras, Viśvadevas, the hosts of Maruts, all the Sadhya gods, all great sages, the Nāgas, Suparnas and the Siddhas, all came joyfully. (7-8) Seeing all the gods and sages, who had come for the oath-taking, the scion of Raghu again said: — "0 best of the gods, by the guiltless words of the sage (Vālmīki), I stand confirmed. (9) Having been declared pure in the midst of the people, may my love for Sītā be restored to me."(10)

Then the holy and pure wind-god blew emitting divine fragrance and caused the joy of all, on all sides. (11) That wonderful and unconceivable happening as used to be in Krtayuga (golden age of Truth), was seen by all men coming from various countries. (12) Sītā wearing a brown garment, having seen all of them arrived, with folded hands, keeping her gaze downwards and face cast down said: (13) "As I have not contemplated about anyone other than the scion of Raghu, even in mind, so the goddess Mādhavī (the earth-goddess) may provide space to me (to enter). (14) As I worship Śrī Rāma, in mind, speech and action, so the spouse of Mādhavī (the earth-goddess) may grant space to me to enter. (15) As I have spoken the truth that I do not know anyone except Śrī Rāma, so the earth-goddess may grant space to me." (16)

Then as Sītā the daughter of Videha was taking oath, a supremely divine throne, sprang up and arose from the interior of the earth, borne on the heads of immeasurably powerful

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

Nāgas (serpents) who were adorned with divine ornaments, and looked divine in form. (17-18) The earth goddess, welcoming her with words of welcome, and taking her by her hands made Sītā seated on the seat of that throne. (19) Seeing Sītā thus seated entering the depths of the earth, a divine shower of flowers in succession covered Sītā. (20) All of a sudden from the gods arose loud cries: "May weal ensue. May weal ensue, 0 Sītā, purity incarnate, thou who bearest such an exempla- ry character". Thus and with numerous such words the gods, whose hearts were greatly gratified on seeing Sītā's entry into the depths of the earth, retired into the invisible horizons. (21- 22) All, sages and kings, tigers among men, that had come to the place of the ritual performance, were speechless with wonder and astonishment. (23) In the firmament, on earth all movable and stationary (beings), the mighty sons of Danu (devils) and overlords of serpents acclaimed her. (24) Some rejoiced others fixed their gaze on (Sītā), while others looked at Śrī Rāma, some were gratified and some were absorbed in contemplation. (25) All had become united on seeing the entry of Sītā into the earth; and at that moment, the entire world stood entranced having felt its deep significance. (26)


When Sītā had entered the earth, all the monkeys and the sages exclaimed "May weal come" in the presence of Śrī Rāma. (1) Propping himself against the wooden pillar, with his eyes afflicted by tears, head downcast in mental agony, Śrī Rāma was struck with grief. (2) Weeping long and shedding'tears in profusion, possessed of (both) anger and sorrow, he said. (3) "A sorrow not experienced before, is about to overpower my mind as Sītā, beautiful as the goddess of wealth incarnate, has been destroyed just before my eyes. (4) She who had similarly disappeared when carried away to Lankā beyond the ocean; even then I brought her back from there; why not from the depths

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

Sita returns to mother Earth, detail,

Kangra, circa AD 1810, Nation Museum, Delhi

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

of the Earth? He spoke: (5) "0 goddess of Earth venerable one, return to me my Sītā or else I will manifest my wrath in the way in which you know of me. (6) You indeed are my mother- in-law, since Maithilī (Sītā) was long ago, raised up from your depths when Janaka was tilling the earth with a golden plough. (7) Therefore either return Sītā or else grant space to me, I will stay with her in the depths of the earth or in heaven. (8) Restore that Sītā of mine; I have gone mad for her; if you will not give back to me Sītā as she was on this earth, I shall render you unstable in your entirety, including all the mountains and forests; I shall destroy the whole earth — may the waters flood over the entire earth." (9-10)

On being spoken to thus, by the scion of Kakutstha, accompanied with anger and sorrow, Brahma together with the gods spoke to the descendant of Raghu. (11) "0 Rāma, 0 Śrī Rāma, possessor of good vows, please do not be grieved, recall your previous form and advice (to the gods), 0 destroyer of foes. (12) I do not dare remind you (of your former form) 0 one of long arms, but (pray to you) to remember at this moment, your incarnation (of Visnu), 0 one difficult to conquer. (13) The pure and noble Sītā devoted to yourself as before, has gone to the happy Nāgaloka in the depths of the earth by the power of penances in the form of complete surrender to you. (14) Your union with her will again take place in heaven, listen to what I say in the midst of this assembly. (15) This poem (the Rāmāyana) dedicated to you that you have heard is the best among all poems, there is no doubt 0 Rāma, that it shall describe everything in detail. (16) In this poem all has been described by Vālmīki, all happiness and sorrow that you have experienced from your birth, and also after that what you will (experience) in the future. (17) This first and foremost among poems, 0 Rāma, is entirely based on you. No one other than you will be possessed of fame (to be described) by the poems. (18) I have heard all this formerly together with the gods, all wonderful and possessed of true statements with nothing concealed. (19) So you, 0 lion among men, scion of Kakutsthas should carefully

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

listen to the remaining portion of the Rāmāyana poem (dealing with) happenings of the future. (20) The remaining part of this poem, 0 famous One, is known as (Uttarakānda); 0 powerful one, listen to it possessed of excellence with the sages. (21) 0 scion of Kākutstha, this best (portion) is indeed not to be heard by anyone else (composed by) the great sage, 0 brave hero (it is to be heard) only by you." (22) Having spoken this much, Brahmā, the lord of the three worlds, went to heaven together with the other gods. (23)

The noble and splendorous sages belonging to the world of Brahma being ordered by Brahmā, returned, having a mind to hear what will happen to the scion of Raghu thereafter in the future. Then the most powerful Śrī Rāma after hearing the holy words spoken by the God of gods (Brahma) said to Vālmīki: "0 revered teacher, the Uttarakānda pertaining to what (will hap- pen to) me in the future, that the sages of the world of Brahma desire to hear, may be described tomorrow." Having decided thus and taking hold of Kuśa and Lava, Śrī Rāma, leaving that assembly of men went to his arbour — (and) as he kept thinking of Sītā, that night passed. (24-28)



Kusa and Luva sing the Ramayana in Sri Rama's court :The last ordeal of Sita

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