Sundara Kandam

Chapter: 14
Asoka Forest Search

[Graphic description of the Asoka forest as seen by Hanuman is given. Seeing the forest Hanuman decides that Sita should definitely visit there because she likes the forest and also needs to do her morning ablations.]

The very powerful Hanuman after thinking for some more time and after meditating on Sita, jumped immediately on to the wall of that palace of Ravana. 1

Enthused all over his body, by his self-confidence, that monkey climbed that boundary wall and saw many trees with flowers symbolic of spring season, several Sala trees, several pretty Asoka trees, several Champaka trees in full bloom, several Karnikara trees, several Naaka trees, several Mango trees and several Kapimuka (monkey face) trees. 2-3

In that orchard with many mango trees, which is surrounded by pretty climbing plants he rushed in side, like an arrow rushing to its aim from the string of the bow. 4

Then Hanuman entered that garden, which was full of sound made by birds, which was like a rising sun, which was made strange by silver and gold like trees, which was full of birds and deer on all sides, which had several small strange and pretty gardens, which was full of several trees with flowers and fruits, which was always full of nightingales and bees, which was full of sounds made by peacocks, which had a rich varieties of birds, which had people who are happy and in which birds and animals were playing. 5-8

Hanuman, who was searching for the very pretty lady Sita, who was blemish less, woke up several birds, which were sound asleep. 9

The trees, which were shaken violently by the birds, which were flying above them, caused a multi coloured rain of flowers. 10

Hanuman, son of Wind God, covered completely by the shedding flowers looked like a mountain of flowers in the middle of that Asoka Forest. 11

All animals, seeing the monkey rushing in all directions, thought that he was the spring season itself. 12

The ground covered by the shedding flowers from the trees looked like a lady wearing ornaments. 13

The trees shaken vigorously by the strong monkey shed various types of flowers. 14

The trees having shed their leaves, branches, flowers and fruits looked like a losing gambler who has already pledged his cloths and ornaments. 15

Those bare stems of the trees looked like they have been destroyed by cyclone and consequently deserted by all birds and appeared as if they are of no use. 16

That Asoka forest, beat by the hands and tail of the monkey, was bereft of any noble trees and resembled a lady with disheveled hair, with erased Sindhoora (dots in the forehead), with ashen lips drunk by a tenacious lover and with marks all over the body made by his nails and teeth. 17-18

The monkey cut and fell the groups of twining climbers all over in the garden, which was similar to the scattering of clouds over Vindhya Mountain by the Wind God. 19

Travelling through the garden, that monkey chief saw places which were inlaid with precious stones, which were made of silver, which were made of gold streams (fountains) of various shapes, which were filled with very pure water, which had steps made of the nine types of precious stones here and there, which had pearls and corals as sand, which had the middle portion made of crystals, which glittered prettily by the very special type of golden trees, which was full of Lotus and Neelothphala flowers, which was filled with the cooing sound of Chakravaka birds, which was having the sound created by crabs, which had the sound created by the beaks of swans, which was filled with nectar like water, which was arranged in such a way that it was surrounded by small rivulets on all sides, gardens filled with several type of climbing plants, which had several wish giving trees, which had several Karaveera plants and which had orchards filled with dense ornamental shrubs. 20-25

Here the monkey chief saw many mountains with cloud like tall peaks, which had several very pretty sharp peaks, which was surrounded on all four sides by sentry stations, which was filled with houses made by granite stones, which was surrounded by different varieties of trees, which was the prettiest in the world and which had several pretty terraces. 26-27

He saw streams flowing from those mountains, which looked like the pretty loving ladies raising from the lap of their lovers and slowly going forward. 28

Not only that, but the monkey chief thought that the pretty streams, which were flowing back because of huge trees with a large sinking crowns were stopping them, were like the angry sweetheart, who is stopped by her relatives and coming back after giving up her anger and going near her darling 29-30

The monkey chief Hanuman, who was the son of wind God, saw near the river a lotus pond full of different varieties of birds and a lake which was filled with cold water, which had several steps inlaid with precious gems, which had sand strewn with pearls, which had several flocks of deer roaming here and there, which had very pretty and specialized orchards, which was constructed by Viswakarma (the architect of Devas), which was surrounded by several flower beds and which was decorated by several well-crafted towers. 31-34

The trees in the garden were bearing fruits and flowers and were decorated. They also had platforms constructed all round which had golden steps. 35

Hanuman, the monkey, saw a golden Simshuba tree (called "Irumul "in Malayalam) with various climbers and leaves encircling it and which had a golden platform beneath it. 36

(These trees do exist in Kerala forests even now. They are mainly used for firewood.)

He saw springs in very low lying areas and also dry places and several mountains like golden tress. 37-38

That great monkey chief thought for a moment that he too is golden seeing the glitter similar to the Meru Mountain of those trees. 39

He was wonder struck on seeing the golden Simshuba tree with its seedlings around it and also with numerous bells like sound created by the pleasantly wafting wind. 40

Hanuman, who swiftly climbed another Simshuba tree, which had flowery tips, which had young leaf and flower buds and which had very dense leaves and thought, "I would be able to see from here Vaidehi (daughter of Videha) who is sad because of her sorrow, who always fervently wishes for seeing Rama and who may have accidentally come over here." 41-42

"This Asoka forest belonging to the bad soul Ravana is very pretty and is decorated with Sandalwood trees, Champaka trees and Bakula trees." 43

"The royal lady, who is the daughter of Janaka, would certainly come over to this very pretty lotus pond, which is full of birds." 44

"That Janaki (Sita), who is the queen, who has experience in living in forests, who is very talented and who is very innocent darling of Raghava (Sri Rama who is the descendent of King Raghu) would definitely come here." 45

(Raghu the ancestor of Rama served the celestial cow Nandini and got a son called Dilipa.)

"Perhaps that daughter of Janaka, who has doe like eyes, who has become thin by constant thought of Sri Rama and who has lot of experience in living in forests, would certainly come over here." 46

"That lady, who has wilted due to parting with Rama, who has lotus like eyes and who is a traveller in the forest, is likely to come daily here as she is interested in seeing the forest." 47

"That Janaki, who is the very innocent wife of Sri Rama, who is the daughter of Janaka, who is of good colour, who is in the middle of youth and who is great, is always interested in people, who travel in the forest and also taking in to account that the dawn is coming near, she would be coming to this river with clean waters to offer her Ablations of the dawn." 48-49

[The Brahmanas and Kshatriyas offer oblations during dawn, noon and dusk (called Sandhyavandanam) to the Sun God. But these are at present being done only by males. This stanza indicates that during those times even ladies used to offer it.]

"This holy Asoka forest is very suitable to the intelligent wife of Rama, who is the daughter in law of the great King." 50

"If that moon faced lady is alive she would definitely come to this river with crystal clear water." 51

At that time, thinking thus, the great Hanuman hid himself among leaves of a profusely flowering tree expecting to see wife of the King of men and was staring down the tree and was watching everything. 52

Thus ends the fourteenth chapter of Sundara Kanda in the Ramayana which is the first epic written by Valmiki.

Chapter: 15
Hanuman's Seeing of Sita

[This chapter initially gives a description of Asoka Vana and its one of the occupant, whom Hanuman suspects as Sita. In the end using pure logic Hanuman concludes that she definitely is Sita.]

Sitting on the Simshuba tree, Hanuman examined all areas down below, in the garden in search of Mythili (princess of Mithila) and saw everything which was there in the Asoka forest. 1

Sitting there, he saw well the entire garden, which was full of shining climbers and trees, which was sweetly scented, which was decorated all over, which was similar to the ornamental parks, which was full of animals and birds, which had lot of great mansions, which was resounding with the sweet song of Koels, which had golden fruits and flowers, which had many ponds, which had several sofas and carpets, which had several underground chambers, which had trees with fruits and flowers in all seasons, which had several Asoka trees full of flowers from bottom to top and were touching the floor because of the heavy load of flowers, which had several Karnikara trees, which had several fully flowering Palasa trees, which was shining like a sun due to the dense flowers and glitter of Asoka trees, which appeared to shine because of various ornament like flowers and which had bare leaf trees so made by the very many birds which were often flying as a flock. 2-8

Because of their luster that entire area appeared to be shining and the garden also shined with multi crowned pongamia trees, the seven leafed trees, Champaka trees and Udhalaka trees. 9

There were thousands of Asoka trees in the garden, some of which were golden, some like the flame of fire and some were jet black. 10

That forest with several parks and was as pretty as Indra's celebrated Nandana vana and Kubera's famous Chithra vana and was pretty, holy, greatly attractive, with holy splendor, which cannot be compared to any other garden and which was much above the rest. 11

It was like a second sky full of star collections, which resembled flowers and with its flowers resembling the nine precious gems, it was like the fifth sea. 12

That pretty garden filled with desirable scents resembled the great Gandhamadana Mountain and was full of honey smelling trees which flower in all seasons and with various types of deer and birds which make different types of noises and was stealer of mind with wafting perfumes all around. 13-14

That monkey chief also saw a temple which was near the Asoka forest, which was tall, which was supported by thousand pillars in the middle. It was as white as Kailasa, which had steps made of coral, which had floor made of molten gold, which had the glitter attracting the eyes, which was holy and which appeared to touch the sky in height. 15-17

(Possibly this is a very rare mention of temple in the entire Ramayana. Taking in to account that nothing is mentioned about its presiding deity, the word Chaithya in the verse could be taken to mean as a remarkable building. The word 1000-pillared hall is perhaps mentioned first time in Hindu literature.)

He saw in the garden a lady, who was wearing dirty cloths, who was surrounded by several Rakshasis, who was thin because of starvation, who was again and again breathing hard and who was shining like the crescent of moon in the early waning period. After staring and seeing her with care, he saw that broad eyed lady, who was with glittering mien, who was like a flame of fire darkened by smoke, who was dressed in a single disheveled great yellow cloth, who was laden with dust, who was not made up, who was like a pond without lotus, who was ashamed, who looked wilted due to sorrow, who was like a lady saint, who was like the star Rohini affected by planet Mars, who was with face made wet by tears, who was dejected, who was thin because she was not taking food, who was full of sad thoughts and sorrow, who was full of fear, who was not seeing any of her dear relatives nearby, who was like a deer separated from her flock and surrounded by dogs, who was having singly made hair, which was hanging like a cobra behind her, who was like a black forest covered earth in the autumn, who needed good life, who was wilted by sorrow, who never knew the troubles caused by sorrow, who was very thin and who was covered with dirt. 18-25

He concluded that she was that lady, who was abducted by Ravana, the Rakshasa, who could assume any desired form and that she was having the same appearance as she had, when abducted. 26

(Rama had given Description of how she looked when she was abducted.)

Even after Seeing Sita, who had a face like full moon, who had pretty eyebrows, who had pretty chest, who by her luster was removing darkness from all directions, who had very black hair, who had lips like the red guava fruit, who had very beautiful hips, who had eyes like petals of lotus, who is born in a great family, who was born in the channel created by plough, who is darling of all the world like Rati (wife of God of love), who had the shine of the full moon, who had extremely pretty body, who was sitting on the floor as if meditating with full control over all her organs, who was like the serpent maiden hissing with fear, who was not shining because of the hard and long sorrow, who was like the flame of fire hidden by the smoke, who was like the poem which praises but which was not clear, who was like the assets which had vanished, who was like the hope which is reduced, who was like the desire which is stopped, who was like the fulfillment of desires, which were dangerous, who was like the confused wisdom, who was like the fame darkened by gossips which were not true, who was sad because she was not able to attain Rama, who had grown thin because she was abducted by Rakshasas, who was having eyes like a doe, who was seeing here and there with fear because of her weakness, who was breathing heavily again and again with a lusterless face with black curved eyes and eye brows, who was coated with dust and dirt, who should wear makeup but who did not wear it, who should be pitied, who was like the moon light hidden by black clouds and who was like the corrupted Vedic knowledge which was not repeated and practiced, Hanuman's brain was full of suspicions. 27-36

Hanuman recognized Sita with great difficulty, which was similar to understanding of an ungrammatical sentence, without any figure of speech and which indicated a wrong meaning. 37

He understood her as Sita who was a princess, who was blameless and who had wide eyes after looking at her carefully due to the following reasons. 38

"He saw those ornaments (which could be easily removed and are not a symbol of a married woman) which were pointed out to be worn by her by Sri Rama as an identification hanging and shining on a nearby branch of a tree." 39

(This stanza indicates that there were some ornaments even during those times which should always worn by married women and there were others, which were optional and could be removed. Here it is mentioned that Sita only wore such ornaments that were compulsory. She threw some of them over the Kishkinda Mountain when she was being abducted by Ravana and were collected by the monkeys.)

"He thought that some of those ornaments which were worn by her permanently were fixed strongly and were coated with dirt and were definitely those pointed by Sri Rama as identification like those ornaments made of coral and other jewels being worn on her fingers and hands, like the well-crafted ear drops and like the well tied ear ornament called Swadamshtram". 40-41

(It is interesting to note that he does not mention the mangalyam, which must have been introduced after this time.)

"He did not see on her those ornaments which were thrown by her from the Pushpaka Vimana on Rishya Mookha Mountains and all those which she was having were those listed but not thrown out." 42-43

(Sugreeva and his friends were hiding in Rishya Mookha Mountain, afraid of Vali, who could not enter there due to a curse.)

"At that time the monkey chief saw her golden yellow pretty upper cloth had fallen down and was hanging on the tree." 44

(This stanza indicates that she was not wearing a sari but a two pieced cloth and the upper cloth must have been similar to Uthariyam worn by males.)

"Whatever ornaments she has thrown away were definitely the one seen by the monkeys", he thought. 45

"Though whatever cloth she was wearing was crumpled and dirty because they were worn for a long time, they were definitely having the luster and colour of the cloth befitting her status, without doubt", he thought. 46

"Though this golden darling of Sri Rama was now in the custody of some one else, She who is faultless was definitely in his mind and this is definitely her". He thought. 47

"This is the one for whom Sri Rama was sad, due to mercy, affection, sorrow and love; mercy because a helpless one has fallen in others hands, affection because he had the responsibility of protecting the one who has come to him for protection, sorrow because his wife was missing and love because she was the wife who was acting according to his wishes." 48-49

"The beauty of each part of her body and its shape were similar to that of the beauty of Sri Rama and the personality of his was also similar to hers, and so this black eyed beauty must be her". He thought. 50

"This ladies mind lives within his and his mind lives within her and that must be the reason why she and he are staying alive at least for this short time". He thought. 51-52

"Sri Rama in spite of parting from this lady is still keeping his body in tact and his body is not breaking to pieces and so it is clear that Lord Sri Rama is doing things which were impossible to others". He thought. 53

"By living away from this wonderful beauty Sita at least for some time, the great Sri Rama was doing something which is impossible for others", he again thought. 54

Like this becoming happy on seeing Sita, he thought in his mind of Sri Rama and thought of him as his Lord. 55

(He felt that she was keeping her virtue intact and became happy.)

Thus ends the fifteenth chapter of Sundara Kanda in the Ramayana which is the first epic written by Valmiki.

Chapter: 16
Hanuman's Lamenting

[Seeing Sita, Hanuman is upset and thinks about her in various ways and pities her. He again decides that the lady whom he has found is Sita herself.]

After thinking highly of Sita, who is fit to be praised and Rama who has a beautiful character, that monkey chief again became thoughtful. 1

That glittering Hanuman meditated thus for some time about Sita and with tearful eyes cried. Alas! 2

"If the great man's wife Sita, who is fit to be worshipped by Lakshmana, who always behaves with humility towards elders, is troubled by sorrow, then the dictates of time are impassable." 3

"This great one who knows the inner mind of Rama and Lakshmana does not get much stormy like the river Ganges in rainy season", he thought 4

(This indicates that Sita is very hopeful of her being rescued by Rama and Lakshmana and has not broken to pieces.)

"Endowed with similar characters, age and conduct and belonging to similar families and possessing similar characteristics, Sri Rama deserves Sita and this black eyed beauty deserves Sri Rama", he thought. 5

Having seen her who is with colour of molten gold, who is the prettiest in the world and who is like Lakshmi (Consort of Lord Vishnu) and having also thought of Sri Rama. , he told himself the following: 6

"For the sake of this broad eyed damsel, the very strong King Bali was killed, and also Kabanda who was equal to Ravana was killed". 7

[Kabanda who was a Gandarwa who got his head and thighs pushed inside his trunk by Vajrayudha in a fight with Indra. Since he had the boon of immortality from Brahma, he was given two very long hands (8 miles long) and mouth in his stomach. He used to draw whatever he could from the forest by using his extra-long hands and push it in to his stomach. After the war with Rama, he was defeated and resumed his original form.]

"The Rakshasa Viradha who was having extremely great valor was killed in the war in the forest similar Indra killing Sambarasura, again for the sake of this damsel" 8

(Viradha was actually a Gandarwa named Dumburu who was cursed by his master Kubera. In the forest in the war with Rama and Lakshmana, he initially caught hold of Sita and left her to fight with Rama and Lakshmana. He then caught hold of, both of them and kept them on his shoulders. With their swords they cut of his hands. At that time he remembered about his actual, form and by the grace of Rama, got rid of his curse.)

"Fourteen thousand Rakshasas who were doing terrible deeds were also killed in Janasthana by using arrows which are like flame of fire for her sake." 9

 (Janasthana is a part of Dandakaranya forest on the shores of Godhavari. Here fourteen thousand Rakshasas lead by Khara, Dhooshana and Trisiras attacked Rama and Lakshmana. They were all killed by the two brothers.)
"The all-knowing Rama killed in war the greatly powerful Khara, Trishiras and similarly Dhooshana." 10

"It is for this broad eyed damsel's sake that the Kingdom, which was ruled by Bali, which was considered as great by the world and which was difficult to obtain for monkeys was got by Sugreeva." 11

"It is for her sake that that I crossed the ocean which is the lord of streams and rivers and for her sake that I searched this city well." 12

"I feel that for her sake if Lord Rama turns upside down the earth surrounded by oceans and even the universe, it would be most apt". 13

"Suppose in the three worlds, a choice is given between Sita who is the daughter of Janaka and the Kingship of the world, the Kingship will not be even equal to a tiny part of Sita." 14

"This Sita who is eternally devoted to her husband came out breaking apart the earth coated with field dust similar to the pollen of lotus, when the great Janaka who was the King of Mithila ploughed the field and became his very famous daughter." 15-16

"She is the eldest daughter in law of King Dasaratha who was very good, who never came back defeated in war and who was having great valor." 17

"This lady, who is the darling wife of just and philosophic Rama, who does unblemished actions and is like the lord of wealth, has fallen in to the hands of these Rakshasis." 18

"She, without bothering about sorrow and sacrificing all pleasures, accompanied her husband to the solitary forest for the sake of love from him, gave it the utmost importance and lived with happiness by eating fruits and roots of the forest thinking it similar to her life in the palace and was engaged in service to her husband." 19-20

"She who is having all the above qualities, who was having a body of the colour of gold, who was always adorned with a smile, who always used to talk of only good things and who never had experienced sorrow in her life, now tolerates extreme sorrow." 21

‘"Even though troubled by Ravana similar to a thirsty man attacking the water house, she has remained virtuous and Sri Rama deserves to see her." 22

"If Rama gets her back again he would attain the happiness of a King who lost his Kingdom and got it again." 23

"Even though forsaken by love and passion, even though taken away from her relatives and friends, she is keeping her body pure for the sake of union to him". 24

"Even now she is not seeing the Rakshasis and does not give any attention to these flower and fruit filled trees but with absolute concentration is meditating on Rama." 25

"Husband is the ornament which is better than all ornaments to a lady and she who deserves such an ornament does not shine without one." 26

"The Lord Sri Rama is keeping his body intact in spite of parting with her and does not disintegrate and is doing some action which no one can perform." 27

"Seeing her who is having a pitch black hair, who is having eyes of the shape of lotus and who is fit only to enjoy, suffering my mind is in turmoil." 28

"She who is having the patience of earth, who has eyes like lotus and who should have been protected by Rama and Lakshmana, is now being guarded by the ugly Rakshasis below a tree." 29

"This daughter of Janaka, who is lifeless like the lotus flower touched by snow, who is suffering by sorrow again and again, has attained the tragic state of Chakravaka bird who ha lost the company of its beloved." 30

"These Asoka trees bent low because of the large number of flowers produced after the autumn season, and this moon with its thousand rays, produces lot of sorrow to her." 31

(Moon light and flowers make her remember her life of love with Rama and thus causes sorrow to her.)

The strong and wise chief of monkey thought about the matter as described above and decided that "She is definitely Sita" and stayed hidden in the Simshuba tree. 32

Thus ends the Sixteenth chapter of Sundara Kanda in the Ramayana which is the first epic written by Valmiki.

Chapter: 17
Rakshasis Seeing

[Graphic description of the Rakshasis surrounding Sita is given in this chapter. It also describes the sorry state of Sita and ends with the mention of happiness of Hanuman on seeing Sita.]

Then in the clear sky the cream coloured moon, which is normally clear, rose like a swan appearing in blue water. 1

Shining with clarity that moon appeared to help by its light and by its cool moonlight served the son of wind God. 2

Because of that He saw the full moon faced Sita similar to the ship in ocean weighed down and about to sink by her sorrow. 3

Trying to see Sita (daughter of Videha) clearly, that son of wind god saw near her ugly and terrible looking Rakshasis among whom some were one eyed, someone eared, some with closed ears, some without ears, some with stick like ears, some breathing through the nose in the head, some with very large head and body, some thin with elongated neck, some with brush like hair, some with no hair at all, some wearing her hairs like a woolen rug, some with hanging ears and forehead, some with hanging chest and belly, some with hanging lips, some with chin itself as lips, some with hanging faces, some with hanging knees, some hunch backed, some obese, similarly some who were dwarf, some handicapped, some with slanted mouth and some with yellow eyes. 4-9

(This description in these stanzas and the following one, by the poet of a group of grotesque looking figures, indicates to us the common perception of those times of the look of Rakshasis. There is a story that when Lord Brahma was reciting Vedas, due to excessive hunger, he became very angry and from his anger, the first two Rakshasas Hethi and Prahethi were born. They became a part of the Asuras and by their prowess became the pre dominant among them.)

He also saw other Rakshasis, among whom some were very ugly, some yellow coloured, some with jet black colour, some who were very angry, some who were interested in fighting, some who were armed with big spear, swords and rods, some with faces of pig, deer, tiger, bison, sheep and fox, some with legs of elephant, camel and horse, some with heads fixed just over the body, some with one hand and one leg, some with ears of a donkey, some with ears of a dog, some with ears of a cow, some with ears of an elephant, some with ears of a lion, similarly some without nose, some with very big nose, some with nose like an elephant, some with ears on their forehead, some with legs of an elephant, some with very big legs, some with legs of a cow, some with profuse hairs on the legs, some with big neck and heads, some with big chest and belly, some with big mouth and eye, some with long nails and tongue, some with face of a sheep, some with face of an elephant, some with face of a cow, some with face of a pig, some with faces of horse, camel and donkey, some holding spears and thorn sticks, some with ire, some interested in fighting, some with projected teeth, some with blond hairs, some with terrible looking mien, some always interested in alcohol and meat, some drinking spirits often, some with ugly faces, some who had rubbed meat and blood all over their body, some whose food was only meat and blood, some who had a terrible stare which would make hairs stand upright, and all of them surrounding on all four sides a huge forest tree with umpteen branches. 10-18

That Hanuman blessed by Goddess Lakshmi saw below that tree which was in the center of Asoka forest, that Lady Sita, who was a princess, who was innocent, who was the daughter of Janaka, who had lost her glitter, who had faded because of her sorrow, who was having flying dirty hair, who was like a star pushed down to earth when its good deeds are over, * who was great because of her virtue, who was not knowing ways to see her husband, who was not wearing costly ornaments, who was wearing the ornament of her devotion to her husband, who was abducted by the King of rakshasas, who was separated from her relatives, who was like the she elephant who was in the custody of a lion after losing her way, who was like the autumn crescent hidden by the clouds of the late rainy season, who was dirty looking because she had not washed herself, who was like a veena without strings, who was sunk in the sea of sorrow, who was earlier in the custody of her husband and who did not like to be in the custody of Rakshasis. 19-24
* In Hinduism it is believed that good deeds earn you a period of time in heaven and once the fruits of good deeds are enjoyed, they fall down to earth as stars.

Seeing the lady who was like a tender plant in flowering, surrounded by the Rakshasis, he felt that she was like the Rohini star surrounded by the nine planets. 25

(The Moon God has 27 wives, all of them daughters of Daksha. The moon God, it seems was very partial to Rohini, one of his wives. She is supposed to be the bright star travelling along with the moon.)

"Though by her natural beauty itself she was well made up, due to the dirt that she was having on her faded body, she was like the slush coated lotus plant which was shining as well as not shining", he thought. 26

The monkey chief Hanuman saw Sita who was only wearing a dirty and ruffled single cloth, who was having an eye similar to the young deer, who was not wilting away because she was remembering the greatness of her husband, who was being protected by her virtue, who was having black eyes and who was blessed by her youth. 27-28

Understanding her as Sita, that son of wind god, looking at the princess of Mithila who was having eyes similar to an young deer, who was seeing in all directions like a fear struck deer, who was breathing heavily as if her breath will burn the well grown tress surrounding her, who was like a tidal wave of sorrow which always comes as a group, who was shining without any ornaments, who was having very perfect limbs and who was having great patience, attained limitless happiness for having completed his task. 29-31

Hanuman shed tears of happiness seeing her who was having eyes like wine and immediately Saluted Sri Rama. 32

That heroic Hanuman becoming happy as he saw Sita, saluted both Sri Rama and Lakshmana and continued to be in hiding. 33

Thus ends the Seventeenth chapter of Sundara Kanda in the Ramayana which is the first epic written by Valmiki.

Chapter: 18
Ravana’s Arrival

[Here the description of the passionate Ravana who woke up and came to Asoka forest along with his wives to see Sita is given. Ravana is described as valorous but spoiled by his passion and his women are described as virtuous, good and devoted to him.]

When he was examining with care the forest, which was in full flower and also searching for the daughter of Videha, the night was about to come to an end and the dawn was in making. 1

In the end of night, he heard the recitation of Vedas by the Brahma rakshasas, who were well versed in all the six parts of Vedas and who had done great fire sacrifices. 2

(Brahma Rakshasas are highly learned Brahmins who due to the wayward life they lead and sins they committed are not able to attain Pithru Loka after their death. It is believed that they are very learned and have occult powers.]

At that time the very strong and great Hero, the ten headed one (Ravana) was woken up with the good luck, by singing songs which were sweet to hear and also verses praising him. 3

That famous King of Rakshasas having woken up at the correct time wearing displaced cloths and garlands thought of the daughter of Videha. 4

That egoist Rakshasa because God of love affected him, was not able to keep his passion to Sita under control. 5

He, carrying with him his unparalleled fame, wearing all ornaments entered Asoka forest, which was having hangings made of gold in which gems were inlaid, which had fallen fully ripe fruits, which was dense with trees, which was giving happiness to the mind and eyes, which was having statues of deer, which was full of different varieties of trees, which was having several wonderful birds full of zest, which was filled with lotus ponds and which was shining with various types of flowers and saw it round. 6-9

That Ravana was followed by a very big group of ladies similar to Indra being followed by deva and Gandharwa maidens. 10

Some of those ladies were carrying in their hand white threaded fan, some had golden lamps hanging on a chain and some had round ornamental discs. 11

(The Chamara, the white threaded fan had a handle and was used to fan Kings.)

Some with water in golden vessels preceded him and some with back turned swords and carpets followed him. 12

At that time one intelligent lady took a gem studded pot with water in her right hand and walked with him. 13

(When great personages walked, someone walked before him and sprinkled water on his path, so that, the road is not dusty.)

Another walked behind him with an umbrella, which was having a golden handle, which was white, like a swan and which was shining like a full moon. 14

With eyes made red by lack of sleep and wine, those great wives of Ravana followed their heroic husband like the streaks of lightning following the clouds. 15

Those darling wives of Ravana who were wearing mixed up garlands and bangles, who were having a disheveled looks, whose hair has been unloosened, whose face was full of droplets of sweat, whose body was made wet by sweat, whose hair was adorned by flowers, who were tottering because of loss of sleep and due to effects of wine, who were having pretty faces, who were having eyes causing passion and who were great ladies followed the Rakshasa King because of their respect and passion towards him. 16-18

This very strong Ravana who was the husband of those ladies had come under the control of passion became a bad individual and because he had lost his heart to Sita and was following a path of utter selfishness. 19

Hanuman the son of Wind god heard the jingling sound of the anklets and waist belts of those great ladies. 20

Hanuman saw Ravana who was capable of very great deeds, who had unimaginable strength and masculinity, who shined on all the four directions by the light of many lamps held in the front which were fed by perfumed oils, who was full of passion, egoism and bad conduct, who was having long red eyes, who was a personification of the god of love without his rope and who was wearing well washed white cloths with a colour of foam of milk hanging from his shoulders but pushed to one side, entered the garden. 21-24

Hiding in branch with profuse leaves and hidden by leaves and flowers, Hanuman started examining Ravana with care. 25

When the chief of monkeys was examining Ravana thus he saw the youthful pretty great wives of Ravana. 26

That famous King, surrounded by that bevy of beauties, entered the garden of the harem, which was full of animals and birds. 27

That Hanuman saw the very strong King of Rakshasa who was the son of sage Vishravas, who was holding his two ears upright like spears, who was well ornamented, who was visibly drunk by passion, and who was surrounded by his ladies like the stars surrounding the moon. 28-29

(Malyavan, the maternal grandfather of Ravana, wanted the Rakshasa clan to win over Devas. He induced his daughter Kaikasi to attract Sage Vishravas, who was the son of Pulasthya and father of the God of wealth, Kubhera. She became the mother of four children as a result. The eldest was Ravana.)

That monkey chief who was endowed with great power saw Ravana who was glittering by the rays of his power. 30

That greatly resplendent monkey chief who was the Son of God of wind decided without any doubt that" This individual was earlier seen by me in the center of the city, in a great palace asleep and so this must be the great hero Ravana.", and he jumped and ran away. 31
(The awesome look of Ravana induced fear even in a great hero like Hanuman. The poet wants us to compare the weak and tender Sita in such a circumstance.)

That monkey chief was greatly resplendent but being disturbed by the great power of Ravana, he further withdrew deep in to hiding. 32

That Ravana with a great desire to see Sita, who had jet-black hair, jet black eyes and attractive wide waist, neared her. 33

Thus ends the Eighteenth chapter of Sundara Kanda in the Ramayana which is the first epic written by Valmiki.

Chapter: 19
Sita’s Description

[This chapter gives a very detailed and graphic description of the state of Sita.]

The innocent princess Vaidehi, who was a noble soul, seeing Ravana the youthful, pretty King of Rakshasas from the place she was sitting, shook like a banana plant caught in a cyclone 1-2

That ten headed one saw Sita, who was having a pretty body, who had broad eyes, who was hiding her belly by her thighs and chest by her hands, who was being guarded by the crowd of Rakshasis, who had wilted because of her sorrow, who was crying, who was like a sinking ship, who was like a branch of a tree which had fallen on earth, who was sitting on bare earth, who was doing great penance, who was suitable for a makeup but was not made up, who was wearing dirt as an ornament and who was the princess of Videha. In that state she who was like a stem of lotus, which was shining and also not shining. 3-6

Ravana because his death was nearby, passionately loved Sita, who was like one travelling in the chariot of mind pulled by horses called "strong decision" taking her near to the all-knowing great prince Sri Rama, who had faded, who was alone, who was crying, who was all the time thinking and crying, whose only aim was Sri Rama, who was virtuous, who had still not seen the end of sorrow, who was like the shivering Naga maiden tied by magic chants, who was like the star Rohini affected by the comets, who was born in a pedigreed family which was orthodox, which was just and which was having good character and good conduct, who was given in religious marriage to another great family, who appeared as if she was brought up in a bad family, who was like the fame tainted by non-existing gossip, who was like the knowledge which was not memorized by constant repetition, who was like the fame which had disappeared, who was like the attention which was dishonored, who was like the knowledge which has diminished, who was like the desire which was disappointed, who was like a demolished home, who was like the commands which were not obeyed, who was like the residences which were burnt, who was like the worship which was prevented in the right time, who was like the destroyed lotus pond, who was like the army without its commander, who was like the darkened glitter, who was like the dried up river, who was like the sacrificial arena made dirty, who was like the receding fire about to die, who was like the night of full moon when eclipse is caused by Rahu and Kethu, who was like the turbid lotus pond which was disturbed by the trunk of the elephant and from which all leaves and flowers were removed and from which the birds have flown away, who had wilted because of her husband was not with her, who was like the river from which water has been removed by canals, who was like the night of waxing moon because she had not taken her bath, who was great, who was very pretty, who was fit to live in a palace made of gems, who was wilting due to harsh sun light, who was like a lotus stem picked some time before, who was like a she elephant which was removed away from the he elephant and tied to a pillar, which was tired because of extreme sorrow and which was taking long breaths, who was shining with a single made hair without any ornaments, who was like the black corner of the forest at the end of the rainy season, who was famished because of her fast, who had become thin because of her sorrow, who was pitiable because of worries and fear, who was not taking any food, who was wilted because of sorrow, who appeared as if she was praying with folded hands to Sri Rama mentally as if she was praying God for the death of the ten headed one giving great importance to her virtue, who was having white long eyes with pretty eyelids, who was crying, who was seeing all round out of fear, who was firmly believing only on Sri Rama and who was not suitable to be found fault of. 7-22

Thus ends the nineteenth chapter of Sundara Kanda in the Ramayana which is the first epic written by Valmiki.

Chapter: 20
Ravana's Proposal

[This chapter is the prayer of love of Ravana to Sita. He praises her, points out his greatness and tells her how she can enjoy life if she accepts his proposal.]

That Ravana with an aim to intimately talk to Sita who is sad, who meditates like a sage, who was caught in the web of fear and who is virtuous and devoted to her husband, sweetly explained to her: 1

"Oh lady who has thighs like the elephants trunk, you seem to wish to make your body invisible to me by hiding your chest and belly." 2

"Hey broad eyed one, hey my dear, hey lady who has a very beautiful body, I am passionately in love with you, who is the prettiest lady of the world and so please respect me." 3

"Hey Sita, there are neither Rakshasas nor men who are personification of passion here and so let the fear for me inside you be completely erased." 4

"Hey Coward, abducting other women and raping them are permissible by the clan rules of Rakshasas, no doubt." 5

"Whatever it may be, let the God of love play to any extent on my body, but I will definitely not even touch you without your permission." 6

(Vedavathi has cursed Ravana that if he touches any lady against her wishes, his head will break in to pieces.)

"Hey Lady, please do not fear that any mishap will occur in this case. Hey pretty one, have belief in me and love me with all your soul, and do not spend time like this by nurturing your sorrow." 7

"With matted singly made hair, sleeping on the floor, wearing dirty cloths, worrying and starving are not suitable to you, my lady." 8

"Hey daughter of Mithila, please accept my love and receive rare garlands, smoke from incense, several good cloths, divine ornaments, very costly drinks, beds, seats, song, dance and other instrumental music." 9-10

"Hey pretty one, you are a jewel among ladies and why is it that you are not fit to receive praises? Don't be like this, accept me and wear ornaments on your body." 11

"This pretty youthful looks of yours is fading very fast and the youthfulness that is past would not return back similar to the flowing water." 12

"Hey Good looking lady, there is no one else as pretty as you and I think that the creator Brahma has stopped his work after creating you." 13

"Hey daughter of Videha, which male including the God Brahma can leave you after personally seeing you glittering in your beauty and youth?" 14

"Hey lady who has a face like cool full moon, Hey lady who has big wide waists, whichever part of the body I see, my eyes are tied up by that part." 15

"Hey princess of Mithila, forsake this sorrow, become my wife and become the chief among my several great ladies." 16

"Hey coward, whatever jewels I have brought by force from any corner of the world would belong to you and for that matter me and my Kingdom will be yours." 17

"Hey lady who attracts, I would conquer all countries with several cities in the world and for your sake give them to Janaka, your father." 18

"I do not know anyone else in this world who has same strength as me, and so think of my great valor which is unbeatable in war." 19

"All devas and Asuras were unable to stand before me along with their armies and have been driven out by me several times after breaking their flags." 20

"Please accept me, let you be ornamented and made up just now." 21

"Let you, wear glittering ornaments all over your body and let me with pleasure see you pretty. after wearing those ornaments." 22

"Hey pretty faced one, hey coward, after being well made up, with pleasure, enjoy all passions, be happy and get satisfied in your want of passion." 23

"You can give as presents land and wealth to whosoever are dear to you. Please be happy believing in me and order with courage. Please enjoy all pleasures and let all your relations live happily because of my power." 24

"Hey lady, be pleased to see my greatness, my wealth and my fame. Hey lucky one, what are you going to do with Rama who wears cloths made of barks of trees?" 25

"Rama has lost his victory, he has lost his wealth, he wanders in the forest, he does penance, he sleeps on bare earth, and not only that I am doubting whether he is still alive or not?" 26

"Hey princess of Videha, like the moon with a stork filled front which is hidden by dark clouds; he will not be even able to see you." 27

(Normally people imagine the shadow on the moon as rabbit but the poet here imagines it as lot of storks.)

"Not only that Rama will not be able to take you away from my hands like Hiranya Kasipu was not able to take back his wife Keerthi from the hands of Indra." 28

(Indra abducted the Kayathu alias Keerthi wife of Hiranya Kasipu, who could not get her back. Sage Narada convinced Indra of his wrong act and gave back Kayathu to Hiranya Kasipu. It seems she was in the family way while in captivity and Narada told her the stories of Vishnu. The child named as Prahlada became a staunch devotee of Vishnu.)

"Hey coward, hey lady with heart-warming smile, hey lady with pretty teeth, hey lady with pretty eyes, Hey handsome lady who attracts others, you have stolen my mind like the Garuda has taken away the serpent." 29

"In spite of your wearing dirty silk cloth, in spite of not been made up, in spite of your having a famished look, after seeing you, I am not able to love m other dear wives." 30

(Even at this state Sita is pretty, then imagine how much pretty she would be if she dresses well.)

"There are very many ladies with all good qualities in my harem and be pleased to become their queen." 31

"Hey black haired one, my wives are the best in all the three worlds and they would serve you like the divine maidens serve Goddess Lakshmi." 32

"Hey lady with pretty eyelids, Hey lady with pretty waist, you can get all the wealth and gems that Lord Kubhera has and also all the worlds and me if you so please." 33

"Lady, Rama cannot be equal to me by innate power, fame and wealth and also never be equal to me by penance, strength and masculinity." 34

" Hey Lady with shifting glances, I would dedicate sufficient wealth and land for your sake, you can then enjoy all the pleasures and become happy, You can live with me as you please, be a dear to me, engage in love play with me and along with you let your relatives also become happy." 35

"Hey coward, Hey lady, you can wear golden garlands with clear pearls and travel and enjoy with me to the fully flowered dense forests full of bees and also the beaches." 36

(There is a version of Ramayana called Adyathma Ramayana, which tells us that Ravana had abducted Sita only as a means to see Rama whom he revered as God. This Chapter's stanzas have been given alternate meaning by the adherents of that version of Ramayana. There is another version called Ananda Ramayana which tells us that Sita is in fact the daughter of Ravana.)

Thus ends the twentieth chapter of Sundara Kanda in the Ramayana which is the first epic written by Valmiki.

Chapter: 21
Ravana's Proposal Denial

[This chapter contains the reply of Sita. She tells him that he should give her back to Sri Rama and seek his protection if he wants to live further.]

Hearing the words of the cruel Rakshasa, Sita became sad and started trembling and tongue tied and told the following words as reply, one by one in low tones. 1

(People believed that virtuous women should not shout and also Sita wanted to convince Ravana that he is wrong and that is why - one by one.)

Sita who was pretty, who has done penance, who is virtuous, and who always meditates on her husband became extremely sad, started crying and trembling and put a thin grass in between them and replied him with a smile which showed her greatness. 2

(Putting the grass between them indicates, how much value she has attached to Ravana.)

"Take back your mind from me and take your mind to your own people, for you are not fit to pray to me like the sinner praying for redemption." 3

"I who was born in a great family and got married in to a equally holy honoured family cannot do a great sin which is cursed by virtuous women with one husband." 4

(Valmiki uses Eka Pathim meaning a lady with one husband.)

That famous daughter of Videha without bothering about Ravana the Rakshasa told this turning her back to him and started to tell the same thing in more detail. 5

"I who am innocent and a wife of another man, am not fit to become your wife in the proper course, so protect the just method of action and obey the tenets of good conduct properly." 6

"Hey night traveler, like your wives, the wives of other people also should be properly protected and so keep yourself as a simile and try to find satisfaction in your own wives." 7

"He who cannot find satisfaction in his own wives is one who cannot control his senses and that unstable man is lead to his own destruction by other ladies." 8

"It appears that here, there are no great ones who tell you about the right path or it appears that you are not obeying them for your brain is doing just opposite to the right conduct." 9

"You who seem to concentrate your mind on bad conduct possibly are not obeying the advice of those great analysts and their words, which would give you to good future because you are leading the Rakshasas to destruction." 10

"Prosperous countries and cities race to their complete destruction if they get a foolish King who engages himself in unjust activities." 11

"Like that, this gem studded city of Lanka having got you as a King is soon going to be destroyed because of your sinful activities." 12
"Hey Ravana, all animals are thankful for the destruction of a sinner who gets destroyed by thoughtless activities done by himself." 13

"Like this your own people who are ignored t by a sinner such as you would become happy and curse you saying" That angry one attained this destruction because of God."" 14

"I am not the one who will be tempted by wealth or the position of a queen and stray from just activities as I am one with Lord Rama like the Sun's rays are with Sun." 15

"Having made the Lord of the world's hands as a source of protection (pillow), how can I allow anyone else's hands near me." 16

"Like the ultimate knowledge is fit for one who does penances completely and gained knowledge of the soul, I am suitable to be wife only to him who is the King." 17

"Hey Ravana, it would be good for you if you return me to Rama, similar to the imprisoned she elephant be joined to its he elephant in the forest." 18

"That Sri Rama is the greatest among men, he knows what is just and he is famous for behaving with affection towards anyone seeking his protection and if you are desirous of living, you should build up friendly relationship with him. You please do everything that will please that Lord, who loves those who seeks his protection. That is the only one way for you, who is desirous of a deathless state and want to prevent your own death you have to decide to control your senses and decide to pray-fully offer me back at this moment." 19-22

"Only by offering me back to Rama would you lead a comfortable life and if you do otherwise you would reach your death." 23

"The Vajrayudha (weapon of diamond) may leave you and even God of death can postpone his action for a long time but if Rama, the Lord of the world, becomes angry, you will not be left out." 24

"You would hear the fearful echoing sound of Kodanda,* which would be similar to the sound made by Vajrayudha." 25
* Kodanda is the famous bow of Rama.

"Well made, poison spewing arrows of Rama and Lakshmana are going to fall here like serpents soon." 26

"Those arrows with hawk feather which are going to fall here are soon going to kill all Rakshasas and would leave no space in this city." 27

"That great eagle, Sri Rama is going to soon destroy the snake like King of Rakshasa like a eagle destroys the snakes." 28

"Like Lord Maha Vishnu took away the entire wealth of Rakshasa by his three steps, my Lord and destroyer of his enemies Sri Rama would free me from your clutches soon." 29

(This gives an indication about the story of Vamana and Mahabali. Lord Vishnu took the form of dwarfish Brahmin lad and requested Mahabali for three steps of Land. Two steps measured all the fourteen worlds, and Mahabali offered his own head for the third step.)
"Hey Rakshasa, having been made without a army camp by the extermination of the army of Rakshasas in Janasthana and having no other alternative you did this bad deed." 30

"Hey base one, did you not enter my ashram and abduct me when the lion like brothers went little far away." 31

"Like a fox, which is not safe, when two hunter dogs smell for him, you would not be able to even stand before Rama and Lakshmana." 32

"Similarly in the war with them you would attain destruction like the Vrithrasura who had one hand left was destroyed by the two handed Indra and there is no possibility of victory." 33

(This alludes to one of the very few battles Indra won He first cut one of the Asura's hand and when he continued fighting Indra killed him She compares Ravana to a single armed Asura and mocks at him.)

"My Lord Sri Rama with Lakshmana would take your soul away by their arrows like the hot sun dries away a small pool of water." 34

"Even if you hide in the mountain of Kubhera or hide in the residence of Varuna or in the hall of Indra, definitely you cannot save yourselves from the son of Dasaratha like a lifeless huge tree cannot save itself from lightning." 35

Thus ends the twenty first chapter of Sundara Kanda in the Ramayana which is the first epic written by Valmiki.

Chapter: 22
Ravana’s Setting of Limit

[Ravana terrorizes Sita and tells her that within another two months she should sleep with him. Otherwise she would be killed. Sita rejects the threat with contempt it deserves and the passionate Ravana treats her cruelly. He is dissuaded by one Dhanyamala and returns to his palace, after ordering the Rakshasis surrounding Sita to make her obey to his wishes by fair or foul means.]

After this Ravana, hearing the firm reply of Sita, gave the following dangerous reply to her well intentioned words: 1

"To the extent a man tries to console a lady, he gets caught in her web to that extent, to the extent he praises her, he is given negative replies to that extent." 2

"The passion towards you within me is controlling my anger towards you like an experienced driver controls a straying horse." 3

"Passion of a man is beautiful, because to whomsoever that passion is addressed, he gets love and mercy towards her." 4

(Ravana who is a Rakshasa talks about the passion of man.)

"Because of this I am not killing you, who has love towards an imposter sage and who should be insulted and killed." 5

"Hey princess of Mithila, for every harsh word that you told me you deserve terrible punishment of death." 6

After telling the daughter of Videha these words, he became very angry and further told her the following: 7

"Hey pretty one, who cannot be adequately described, the remaining period of safety that I have set to you are only two months and so you better climb in my bed to sleep with me." 8

"If you do not accept me as your husband after two months, my cooks will cut you in to pieces for my breakfast." 9

(After abducting and keeping her imprisoned in Asoka forest, gave her a period of 12 months of which ten are already past.)

The deva and Gandharwa ladies present there with pain laden eyes pitied the daughter of Janaka who was threatened by the King of Rakshasas. 10

Some ladies by the movement of their lips and some others by their eyes and faces tried to console Sita who was terrorized by the Rakshasa. 11

Consoled by them Sita, addressing Ravana the King of Rakshasas told him the following words which reflected the greatness in her due to her virtue and which were good to the soul: 12

"There appears to be none interested in your welfare and that is why nobody is preventing you from this base act of yours." 13-14

"In all the three worlds none except you would wish me to be their wives, for I am the wife of that just soul like Sachi Devi is the wife of Indra." 15

"Hey, base Rakshasa, where and how are you going to run and save yourself after uttering these sinful words addressed to the wife of the all-powerful Sri Rama. (could be also interpreted as from that sin instead of Rama)" 16

"You two are like the very angry upset elephant and a poor rabbit in the forest, you being the rabbit and Sri Rama the elephant." 17

"You, who are like that are without shame insulting him from the beginning and never became visible to his eye and kept yourself in hiding." 18

"Hey cruel one, why are those two cruel ugly and yellowish black eyes of yours which are staring me not falling down on earth." 19

"Hey sinner, why does not your tongue which talks to me who am Rama's wife and daughter in law of Dasaratha not getting detached?" 20

"Hey ten headed one, who deserves to become ash, I am not turning you in to ash by the power of my virtue because I do not have the consent from Rama and since I have to follow my own dictates of just action (dharma)." 21

"It is not possible for me, who belongs to Rama, to be abducted and I do not have any doubt that God has fated this, for causing your destruction." 22

"After doing some trick to get Sri Rama away from me, you are supposed to be a great hero, who is the brother of Kubhera and who has an army, had only done the theft of a wife " 23

Hearing these insulting words, Ravana rolled his very cruel eyes and stared at the daughter of Janaka. 24

That King of Rakshasas who was like a bluish cloud, who had very thick neck and arms, who had the strength and gait of a lion, who was a gentleman, who had sharp tongue and eyes like the flame of fire, who wore the crown with moving tips, who wore several pretty garlands and other marks, who wore red cloths and garland, who wore golden armlets, who had a pretty waist belt adorned with blue gem stones, who was like the Mandara mountain used to churn out nectar from the sea with the great serpent Vasuki encircling it and who was equal to a mountain, shined with his two long, round and thick hands like the two peaks of Mandara mountain. 25-28

That Ravana, who wore two ear globes having the glitter of the young sun, who was like a mountain having two Asoka trees with red young leaves and flowers, who was similar to the wish giving tree (Kalpaka),* who looked like the personification of spring season, who was like the dreaded body platform in the cremation ground, who though ornamented well was looking terrible and who was having deep red eyes due to anger, hissed like a serpent addressed Sita the daughter of King of Videha and told thus: 29-31
* This tree is in the Garden of Indra.

"Hey lady, who has believed with hope that unjust Rama who is poor, I am going to kill you by my strength just now like the Sun eats away the dawn." 32

Having told her like this Ravana who was the King who made his enemies cry, addressing the Rakshasis with terrible miens, some of whom were one eyed, some who were one eared, some who were shut eared, some who were having cow like ears, some who were having elephant like ears, some whose ears were hanging, some who did not have ear at all, some who were elephant legged, some who were horse legged, some who were cow legged, some who were having very long hairs on the leg, some who were having both eyes on one side, some who were having only one leg, some who were having giant legs, some who did not have leg at all, some who were having big heads and legs, some who were having big chest and bellies, some who were having big mouth and eye, some who were having very long toungue, some who did not have toungue at all, some who were not having nose, some who were having the face of a lion, some who were having face of a cow and some who were having the face of a pig, ordered them, " Hey Rakshasis, You take that action which would make Sita the daughter of Janaka obey my intents soon and all of you do it together. Not only that, bring her under control, using techniques favouring and not favouring her and tricks like Sama (soft), Bhedha (creating confusion) and Dhana (using rough tactics)" and after ordering like this forgetting himself by passion and anger he terrorized the daughter of Janaka showing her his face." 33-39

Then a Rakshasi called Dhanya Malini hurriedly came near him and embracing the ten headed one told him thus: 40

(Some people identify Dhanya Malini as Mandodari, the queen of Ravana.)

"Hey King, who is the chief of Rakshasas, what is the use this foolish Sita who belongs to the base caste of man to you, come on, make love with me." 41

"Hey King, I feel that the God Brahma has not fated her to enjoy the greatly enjoyable things that you have earned by your strength." 42

"The body of him who is in passionate love with someone who does love him becomes frail day by day and full contentment can be had only when you love someone who desires you." 43

That very strong cloud like Rakshasa, thus pulled back by that Rakshasi went back from there with a smile. 44

Starting from there, the ten headed one travelled to his palace with the glitter of the sun, making the earth tremble under his feet. 45

Along with the ten headed one, the Deva ladies, Gandharwa ladies and the Naga ladies surrounded him on all four sides and entered the palace. 46

Tempted by the God of love that Ravana terrorizing Sita who was stable, who always stood by just action and who was trembling leaving her there reached his glittering palace. 47

Thus ends the twenty second chapter of Sundara Kanda in the Ramayana which is the first epic written by Valmiki.

Chapter: 23
Rakshasis Persuasion of Sita

[After the departure of Ravana, the Rakshasis started advising Sita about the desirability of her acceding to the request of Ravana. They point out the positive aspects and also tell her about her being killed, if she does not obey Ravana.]

The King Ravana who made his enemies cry went back from there, telling like this to the princess of Mithila and ordering all Rakshasis. 1

After the King of Rakshasas started and went back to his harem, those terrible looking Rakshasis surrounded Sita. 2

Afterwards the Rakshasis forgetting themselves in anger, came near Sita and faced the daughter of Videha told her these fearsome words: 3

"Hey Sita, how is it that you do not consider being wife of Ravana who has ten heads, who was born in the family of Pulasthya and who is great as big?" 4

(Pulasthya was the son of Brahma and father of Vishravas.)

After this One Rakshasi called Eka Jata (single haired one) with blood red eyes due to her anger called Sita who had a belly as soft as the palm and told her thus about this aspect: 5

"The famous Pulasthya is the spiritual son of Brahma and among the Prajapathis (leader of men) and fourth in rank." 6

(Sanaka, Sanatkumara and Sounaka are the others.)

"This Pulasthya, who had the spiritual son, who is a very great sage with famed penance and is called by the name of Vishrawas, had the same luster as Lord Brahma himself." 7

(The Rakshasis are trying to convince Sita that Ravana was after all a son of a great man in other words born to a man and a Rakshasi and therefore it is all right for her to become the wife of Ravana.)

"Hey Broad eyed one, Ravana who is the chief of Rakshasas is his son and you better like to become his wife. Hey lady who is all over pretty, are you going to obey, what I advise you or not?" 8

Then a Rakshasi called Harijata (green haired one) rolled her two very angry eyes and showing her cat like eyes uttered these words: 9

"You better like to become wife of that chief of Rakshasas who has won over the thirty three deva chieftains as well as their King Indra." 10

At that time a Rakshasi called Praghasa bullying her forgetting herself in anger and told the following hard words: "Are you going to accept the role of wife of the strong one who is ebbing with heroism, who has never retreated in a battle and who is very strong. That very strong King Ravana would leave his queen, who needs to be respected and would consider you as the luckiest one among all. Ravana would desert his harem which is filled by thousands of ladies and which is decorated by gems and come near you." 11-14
(She is telling her that he would leave his wife and concubines and get attached to her.)

Another Rakshasi called Vikata asked her thus, "That great one who has won Nagas, Gandharwas and Dhanavas in fights and war, is coming in front of you and begging you. Hey lady who is depressed, are you going to agree now itself to become the wife of Ravana who is a great one with all riches and who is the King of Rakshasas?" 15-17

(She is emphasizing more on the valor of Ravana.)

After that a Rakshasi called Durmukhi (bad faced one) told her the following words, "Hey lady with long eyes, are you not going to come under the control of him, for whose sake the Sun is afraid to emit heat and wind is afraid to blow harshly? Hey pretty one, who has beautiful eye brows, are you going to give your strong consent to be the wife of Ravana, for whose sake trees shower flowers always and the black clouds pour out rain whenever he chooses? Hey bewitching lady who has a very attractive divine smile, you better be clever and obey this good advice given to you, otherwise you will not be definitely alive." 18-22

(This Rakshasi harps about how even the divine ones dread Ravana.)

Thus ends the twenty third chapter of Sundara Kanda in the Ramayana which is the first epic written by Valmiki.

Songs sung of twenty-fourth to forty-seventh chapters of Sundara Kanda by Lava and Kusha in front of Sri Rama at the place where Aswa Medha sacrifice was performed on eighteenth day. The total verses sung on that day were 932.

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