Sri Rama - Sita is exiled

Sita is exiled

(vi) Sita is exiled

Canto XLIII (Uttarakanda)

Wise and witty narrators used to sit around the king reciting various kinds of stories. (1) Vijaya, Madhumatta, Kāśyapa, Mangala, Kula, Surāji, Kāliya, Bhadra, Dantavaktra and Sumāgadha used to narrate with great delight various kinds of humorous stories to the high-souled Rāma. (2-3)

After sometime, during the course of the narration of a certain story, Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) inquired: — "Bhadra! What are the talks of the town and the kingdom? (4) What are the people of the town and the country talking about me and about Sītā, Bharata and Laksmana and what indeed about Śatrughna and mother Kaikeyī ? Kings are criticized in the forests and in the kingdom." (5-6)

On being thus questioned by Śrī Rāma, Bhadra with his palms joined together replied: —"0 King! Everything is stable and auspicious are the talks of the citizens. (7) 0 gentle one, the best of men! It is indeed the conquest gained by killing Rāvana (the ten-headed monster) which is being mainly talked about by the citizens in the town." (8) Having been thus replied to by Bhadra, Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) spoke the following words: — "Leaving nothing, tell me everything exactly as it is. What are the good and ill words that the citizens speak? Now after having heard, I shall practise what is good and refrain. from evil actions.(9-10) Tell me with confidence' and without fear and mental anguish, what ill the people in the town and in

Sita is exiled

Sita is exiled

the country are speaking (about me)?" (11)

On being thus spoken to by Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu), Bhadra on his part with a composed mind and with palms joined together replied to the mighty-armed Śrī Rāma in these pleasing words. (12) "0 King! Listen how the citizens talk good and ill words (about you) at the crossroads, in the markets, on the streets, in the forests and in the groves. (13) 'By constructing a bridge across the sea, Śrī Rāma has performed a difficult feat, unheard of as having been accomplished by former kings and even by gods and demons.(14) Besides, Rāvana, difficult to be vanquished, was killed along with his army and mounts. The Vanara and the Rksa alongwith the Rāksasas were brought under control. (15) Having killed Rāvana in battle and fetched Sri Sītā, Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) took her into his house again, renouncing anger (caused by the polluting touch of Rāvana). (16) What must be the pleasure in his heart born out of conjugation with Sri Sītā? Why does not Śrī Rāma censure her, who formerly had been forcibly carried away by Rāvana, placed in his lap and taken to Lankā, who went into the Asoka grove and remained under the control of the Rāksasas. Such conduct of our wives shall have to be suffered by us also, since whatever a king does, the subjects follow.' (17-19) Thus, 0 King, the citizens of all the towns and the countryside pass remarks in so many ways." (20)

Having heard this statement of his, Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) as if stricken with grief spoke to all the friends, "Tell


Sita is exiled

Sita is exiled

me how it is." (21) Bending respectfully so low as to touch the ground by the head, and saluting, all of them — each a picture of pity — replied, to Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu), "No doubt, this is so." (22) Having heard then the words spoken by all of them, Śrī Rāma (a scion of Kakutstha), the exterminator of enemies dismissed the friends at that time. (23)

Canto XLIV

Then, having sent away the group of friends and having made up his mind through intellect Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) spoke these words to the door-keeper seated nearby: — (1) "Bring immediately Sumitrā's son Laksmana, endowed with auspicious marks, the highly illustrious Bharata and the unconquered Śatrughna." (2)

Having heard Śrī Rāma's order the doorkeeper placed his hands with palms joined together on the forehead (as a mark of respect) and having set forth to Laksmana's residence entered I the same unhindered. (3) Wishing prosperity to the eminently I high-souled Laksmana and with his palms joined together he said, "The King desires to see you. Go there, do not delay." (4) "Very well!" Having said so and having received the command of Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) Laksmana (the son of Sumitrā) mounting a chariot drove speedily to the residence of Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu).

Having seen Laksmana departing, the doorkeeper went to Bharata and there having wished prosperity and having bowed down with humility with his palms joined together, said to Bharata, "The King desires to see you." On hearing form the message Then having beheld Bharata going away, the doorkeeper moving speedily to the palace of Śatrughna, said with his palm's joined together: — "Come, come along, 0 best of the Raghus! The king desires to see you. Laksmana has left earlier and the celebrated

Sita is exiled

Sita is exiled

Bharata too." Now, hearing his words Śatrughna got down from his throne and paying obeisance to the earth with his head, reached where Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) was. Then having come back, the doorkeeper with his palms joined together informed Sn Rama that all his brothers were duly present as ordered. (6-11Y2)

Having heard that the princes had come, Śrī Rāma, his senses agitated due to anxiety, his mind distressed and his face downcast gave the following command to the door-keeper: —"Immediately, send in the princes close to me. (12-13) My life rests on them. These dear ones constitute my very life-breath." Then ordered by the king, these princes of steady mind, clad in white entered, bowing down with their palms joined together. Having beheld his face like the eclipsed moon and like the evening sun shorn of brilliance, having also seen the sagacious Śrī Rāma's eyes full of tears and having glanced at his face (looking) like a withered lotus, they all hurriedly bowed down their head in salutation at the feet of Śrī Rāma and became transfixed attentively while Śrī Rāma shed tears. (12-17)

Then having embraced them between his arms and lifting them up, asked them to take (their) seats, the mighty Śrī Rāma verily made the (following) statement: — "0 guardians of the people, you constitute all my possessions. You are my very life. I am (simply) looking after the kingdom carved out by you. (18-19) You have practised the teachings of the scriptures. You have a mature intellect. This problem of mine deserves to be deliberated upon by you all together, 0 guardians of the people!" On being told thus by Śrī Rāma (a scion of Kakutstha) they all became attentive and mentally agitated (to learn) what the King would say. (20-21)


Sita is exiled

Sita is exiled

Canto XLV

The scion of Kakutstha bearing an emaciated face, spoke thus to them (his brothers), who had taken their seats with dejected minds. (1) "Listen to me. All of you, may all be well with you, intend not to do otherwise as I narrate the tale that circulates among my citizens with regard to Sītā. (2) The ill report that circulates among my fellow-citizens and countrymen is indeed of great significance. That calumny of mine verily eats up my vitals. (3) I am born in the line of great Ikswākus and Sītā too comes from the noble family of the high-souled Janakas. (4) You surely know, 0 good ones, how Sītā was taken away by Rāvana from the lonely forest and how I vanquished him. (5) Due to that it occurred to me then, that I could on no account bring Sītā who had dwelt in Lankā with Rāvana, to this city. (6) To convince me Sītā at that time entered the fire before you/ 0 Laksmana (son of Sumitrā)! The god of Fire, the bearer of oblations to gods, declared that Sītā was free from sins, so also Vayu, who dwells in the sky, (so also) proclaimed the two — sun and moon — before the gods Sītā free from sins before all the Rsis. In Lankā, Sītā, (pure of conduct) was handed over to me by Mahendra (the lord of gods), in the presence of the gods and the Gandharvas and my inner conscience bears testimony to her purity and nobility. (7-10)

"Then having accepted Sītā, I have come to Ayodhyā. This has now become for me a stern condemnation and grief has made its home in my heart. The condemnation of the people is indeed great; there is also the condemnation of the assembly of the people and as long as it circulates one falls in the lower regions (hell). (11-12)

"Any blemish is condemned even by the gods and effulgence is worshipped in the world. (13) Indeed all great souls endeavour for refulgence, 0 heroes among men. Blemished by the public censure, I can even give up my life or abandon you all who are bulls among men, what then to speak of Sītā? All of

Sita is exiled

Sita is exiled

you see me submerged in the ocean of sorrow. (14-15) I do not see any greater misfortune than this. 0 Laksmana (son of Sumitrā), ascending the chariot driven by Sumantra, and seating Sītā therein, leave her beyond the confines of the kingdom. On the other side of the Ganga, is the hermitage of the great sage Vālmīkī that looks like a celestial abode on the river Tamasa. There in that desolate place, 0 Laksmana (a scion of Raghu) leaving her (Sītā) return immediately. Do what I say, and (remember) I am not to be countered by any statement in regard to Sītā. (16-19)

"Therefore 0 Laksmana (son of Sumitrā), go soon and carry out my behest. I prohibit you by the force of my life and up to its extreme end, on the sentence of a curse, that anyone who speaks to me after I have spoken, to pacify me in any manner, will have acted against my welfare, on account of having destroyed what is the highest good for me. If you are steadfast under my command, then obey me and take away Sītā from here, this very day. Do what I say. 'I wish to behold the hermitage on the banks of the Ganga', thus she had told me formerly, now fulfill this desire." Thus saying, Śrī Rama (the descendant of Kakutstha), whose eyes were submerged with tears, taking leave of his brothers, entered his own apartment with his heart submerged in sorrow and sighed heavily like an elephant. (20-25)

Canto XLVI

Then as the night passed away, Laksmana in a helpless state of mind and bearing a drained face spoke thus to Sumantra:

— (1) "0 Charioteer, yoke the swift horses to the best chariot and equip it with a well spread-out couch for Sītā, as ordered by the King, (2) Sītā has to be taken to the hermitage of the pious sages at the command of the king, please do not delay in bringing the chariot". (3) "May it be so!", replied Sumantra. After having brought the grand, royal chariot, beautifully

Sita is exiled

Sita is exiled

shaped and well-equipped with comfortable couches, yoked with the best horses, Sumantra spoke thus again to Laksmana (son of Sumitrā), whose presence bestows great honour upon his friends: — "The chariot is ready, 0 Lord, kindly proceed to do what is neccessary." (4-5)

Thus spoken to by Sumantra, Laksmana, the foremost of men, after having entered the royal palace approached Sītā and said (to her): — "By you, 0 auspicious one, a boon was asked of our Lord Śrī Rama the king, in regard to seeing the hermitages. The king has approved and I have been ordered to take you to the hermitages. (6-7) 0 Your Majesty Sītā, by the bidding of our Lord I have been asked to take you quickly to the auspicious abodes of the Rsis located on the banks of the Gangā. Therefore, you will be taken to the forest inhabited by the austere teachers." Thus addressed by the noble Laksmana, Sītā (the daughter of the king of Videha) was exceedingly happy and agreed to depart. Sītā (the daughter of the king of Videha) taking with her those costly garments and gems said, "I shall distribute these garments and costly gems of various types to the wives of the austere teachers." Laksmana (son of Sumitrā) fully approved of her desire and having seated Sītā (the daughter of the king of Mithilā) in the chariot, keeping in mind the order of Śrī Rāma drove on with speedy horses. Then Sītā addressed Laksmana, the enhancer of prosperity thus (8-13); "0 Laksmana (the descendant of Raghu), I see ill omens in abundance, my eye throbs and my limbs shiver. 0 Laksmana (son of Sumitrā), my heart seems to be distressed, great anxiety ails me and my forbearance fails completely. (14-15) 0 large-eyed one and lover of brothers Laksmana, the earth seems a void, may all be well with your brother; and may welfare and well being, be with all my mothers-in-law too in equal measure and with all beings in the town and country." (16-17)

Thus Sītā prayed to the gods with folded hands; Laksmana then hearing this and paying homage to Sītā (the daughter of the Lord of Mithilā), with his head bowed and keeping a contented appearance though his heart was withered, said: "May all be

Sita is exiled

Sita is exiled

well". Having reached the abode at the Āsrama on the banks of the Gomatī, and again having risen at the break of dawn, Laksmana (the son of Sumitrā), addressed the Charioteer thus:"You yoke the chariot soon, I shall bear the waters of Gangā on my head as the Lord Siva (the three-eyed god) did with prowess." The Charioteer having yoked the horses to the chariot who had a speed equal to that of the mind, with folded hands asked Sītā (the daughter of the Lord of Mithilā) to ascend and she ascended the splendid chariot as requested. Sītā of large eyes, together with Laksmana (son of Sumitrā) and the wise Sumantra reached the Gangā, the dispeller of all sins. (18-23)

After having spent half a day and as he gazed intensely at the surging waters of the Gangā, the utterly helpless Laksmana burst out weeping, loudly. (24) The well composed Sītā, knower of good conduct, seeing Laksmana gripped with grief, uttered thus: — "Why do you cry? Having reached the banks of the Gangā which has been awaited joyously for a long time by me and at this moment of my joy, 0 Laksmana, why do you fill me with sorrow? (25-26). As you remain close in the vicinity of Rāma everyday, 0 best of men, is it that separated as you are from him for two nights you are grieved? '(27) Śrī Rāma, for me too, is dearer even than my life, but no sorrow comes to me. Do not be overpowered by childishness. (28)

"Take me across the Gangā, and show me those who are absorbed in austerities. I shall give to all the revered teachers the garments and the ornaments and having paid homage to the great Rsis according to their position, and spending one night there, we shall again return to the city. (29-30) My heart too, urges me on to see that one of lotus-eyes, the lion-breasted one, with a slender waist, the best of those that-please (all)." (31) Laksmana, the destroyer of the heroes among foes, hearing these words, wiped his eyes dry and summoned the boatmen. The ferry-men with folded hands replied thus: — "This boat has been made fit and is well equipped" (32). Desiring to cross the holy Gangā, Laksmana ascended the boat, and fully composed, made her cross the Gangā. (33)

Sita is exiled

Sita is exiled

Canto XLVII 

Then Laksmana (the younger brother of Rama) ascended the boat (brought by) the Nisāda, which was spacious and well furnished, seating Sītā (the princess of Mithilā) first. (1) Laksmana struck with grief ordered Sumantra to stay with the chariot on the other bank of the Ganga and told the ferryman to steer the boat. (2) Then on reaching the other bank of the Gangā, Laksmana with folded hands and face covered with tears uttered the following words: — (3)

"My heart is pierced by a mighty dart as I have been entrusted to carry out this task (so cruel) and (made) worthy of censure (by people). (4) A death-like torture or even death would have been preferred by me. But I should not have been employed in such a task deserving popular condemnation. (5) I beg of you do not consider this as my fault, 0 auspicious one." Saying these words with folded hands Laksmana fell on the ground (before Sītā). (6)

Seeing Laksmana crying with folded hands and wishing for his death, the daughter of the lord of Mithilā (Sītā), greatly overpowered with grief, said to Laksmana: —"I do not know what this is, speak out the truth. It seems you do not keep well, nor is the king (Rama) happy. You are indeed sworn by the king as you seem to be in agony, so speak out before me, this is my command." (7-9)

Urged by Sītā (the daughter of the Lord of Videha), Laksmana in a helpless state of mind, and with face downward, with tears (choking) his throat spoke out. (10) "0 daughter of Janaka (Sītā), hearing the most painful ill-report circulating among the citizens and countrymen, in the presence of the courtiers, Śrī Rama struck with grief, conveying to me (the report), entered the inner apartment. The shameful words that pierced the heart of the king are not indeed to be uttered (before you), and hence I refrain from uttering them. (11-12) The king affected

Sita is exiled

Sita is exiled

by the ill-report circulating among the citizens — although you were proved to be free from blemishes (by the gods) even in my presence — has forsaken you. You should take this, 0 auspicious Majesty, as an act resulting from the condemnation by the people and you should not take it otherwise. You are to be left near the hermitage by me. Bearing in mind the orders of the king and as well as the desire of the pregnant woman (that has to be fulfilled). Do not be dejected, here is that beautiful and holy penance-grove of the Brahmarsis, (where dwells) the famous Brahmarsi Vālmīkī, who was a close friend of my father, king Daśaratha, and is the foremost among the seers. Approaching him for shelter, do dwell observing fasts and relying on your steadfast loyalty to Rama forever in your heart, 0 auspicious one, in this manner your highest welfare shall be achieved." (13-18)


Sītā the daughter of the lord of Videhas, hearing the dreadful words of Laksmana fell on the ground in utter despondency. (1) That daughter of Janaka (Sītā) swooned as it were, for a while and then with tear-filled eyes, spoke these words in utter helplessness, to Laksmana. (2) "This mortal frame of mine was indeed created by the creator for sorrow, 0 Laksmana, and hence seems today the very embodiment of sorrow. (3) What sin did I commit or who indeed was separated from his spouse, as a result of which, I stand here forsaken by the king, though of good conduct? (4) Earlier, in order to follow Rama I stayed with him in the hermitage, even though resisted, and even though in hardship. Now then how can I live in the hermitage all alone? 0 Lord, what shall I say, when enquired by the sages about my misdeeds, or about what caused the great-souled scion of Raghu to forsake me? (5-7) I cannot give up my life here and now, by throwing myself in the waters of the Ganga, for by doing so the royal dynasty of my husband will be broken.

Sita is exiled

Sita is exiled

(8) Having abandoned me, the miserable one, and placing me in this wilderness, 0 son of Sumitrā do as ordered by the king but listen to what I say now. (9)

"Speak to my mothers-in-law, without discrimination, about my concern for their well-being, and pay obeisance with folded hands at their feet and also speak to the king in the same way. (10) Speak to all of them 0 Laksmana with your head bent downwards and indeed communicate this to the king, who is so steadfast in righteousness. (11) '0 Rama you know well that Sītā is pure and full of devotion and concerned about your welfare every moment. (12) Under the obligation of avoiding infamy among the people, 0 brave one, I have been exiled. I shall avert from you the cursed censure that has befallen you. You are the highest path on which I can walk.' (131/2)

"The following should be communicated to the king who is embedded in righteousness appropriate to a king. (14) 'As you treat your brothers so should you treat all the people, ever and ever. This is the highest Dharma and therefore the highest glory. (15) 0 king, the highest should be sought for the people by the path of righteousness. 0 supreme among men, I do not worry about my own body. (16) Just as dealing rightly with the people's condemnation is supreme for the king, even it is so for the wife specially, to perform that which is beneficial for the husband even if it has to be done by offering ones life, because the husband is for women the god, the master, the friend, the lord and the preceptor.' (17) All this what I have said, you must tell briefly. You go now, having seen with your own eyes that I am in the family way." (18 1/2)

The helpless Laksmana, on hearing Sītā having spoken thus, bowed down, touching the earth with his head but he failed to speak. He circumambulated Sītā crying loudly. Observing her for a moment addressed her thus: "0 auspicious one, 0 flawless one, what art thou saying? I had never seen thy form since your feet alone were the object of my vision till now. Oh how shall I behold thee separated from Rama in this forest?" Thus saying to her and bowing to her (Laksmana) approached and

Sita is exiled

Sita is exiled

ascended the boat and urged the ferryman (to steer the boat), then having reached the Northern banks, burdened by the weight of sorrow and as if bereft of all awareness, he ascended the chariot in haste, turning again and again to look back at the orphaned Sītā. The chariot sped away from her who was on the other side of the bank, broken and straining helplessly. (19-24) She was overpowered by sorrow as she saw the chariot receding from her and with a sense of doom she strove to catch a glimpse of Laksmana again and again. Buried in grief, the noble one, not seeing any protector wailed in the forest resounding with the sound of peacocks. (25-26)

Canto XLIX

The young sons of the austere ones there (in the hermitage of Vālmīkī), beholding Sītā sobbing, ran out to where the blessed Vālmīkī of great wisdom was. (1) Saluting the great sage (Vālmīkī) by touching his feet, they informed that they had heard the sound of Sītā crying. (2) "A noble lady, never seen by us before, spouse of some noble one, resembling the Goddess of wealth (Śrī) cries loudly in despair, with distorted face, near the banks of the river; she is grieved. We saw her crying, overwhelmed by sorrow as she is. She does not deserve so much suffering sire, nor should she remain like an orphan. We do not feel that she may be from humans. Please 0 revered teacher, entertain her in a befitting manner. She is not far from the Asrama seeking refuge from you, she is in need of a guardian and it behoves you to protect her." (3-6 1/2)

Hearing their words, Vālmīkī the foremost of the sages, knowing already everything by virtue of austerities stepped rapidly towards her and reached where Sītā the daughter of the king Janaka was (sobbing) and as he strode forward, the disciples of the great wise sage followed him. Walking barefooted and carrying Arghya in his hands, the sage Vālmīkī reached the shore of the Gangā and beheld Sītā the consort of Śrī Rama, lamenting there helplessly. (7-9)

Sita is exiled

Sita is exiled

Vālmīkī the foremost of all sages spoke these sweet words to Sītā pained by sorrow, delighting her as if with his powerful effulgence. (10) "You are the daughter-in-law of Daśratha and the beloved queen of Rama and also the daughter of the king Janaka. Welcome to you 0 chaste lady! (11) I knew from my subtle eyes that you were coming and the causes thereof are also known to me, in my heart. (12) 0 fortunate one, I know of your purity. All is known to me, which exist in the three worlds. (13) Yes indeed through my inner eye acquired through penance, I have perceived that you are sinless. Be composed, 0 daughter of the lord of Videha, you are now in my charge. (14) Not very far from the hermitage are the female ascetics engaged in penances. They, 0 child, shall always look after you as a child. (15) Accept this ablution and be calm and free from all maladies. As if you are entering your own home, so do not be despondent." (16)

Hearing this most wonderful utterance of the ascetic, doing homage to him with her head and with folded hands Sītā said —"Be it so." (17) Sītā with folded hands followed the austere sage.

Sita is exiled

Sita is exiled

Luv and Kusa sings Rama,s feats Mewar

Sita is exiled

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