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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Bk. 3 Pt. 2 by Translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli

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Dandaka for fourteen years as an ascetic with matted locks on head and
robed in rags and deer-skins!" Hearing these disagreeable words of cruel
import, the king, O chief of the Bharata race, was sorely afflicted and
became utterly speechless! But the mighty and virtuous Rama, learning
that his father had been thus solicited, went into the forest so that
the king's truth might remain inviolate. And, blessed be thou, he was
followed by the auspicious Lakshmana--that foremost of bowmen and his
wife Sita, the princess of Videha and daughter of Janaka. And after Rama
had gone into the forest, king Dasaratha took leave of his body,
agreeably to the eternal law of time. And knowing that Rama not near and
that the king was dead, queen Kaikeyi, causing Bharata to be brought
before her, addressed him in these words, "Dasaratha hath gone to heaven
and both Rama and Lakshmana are in the forest! Take thou this kingdom
which is so extensive and whose peace there is no rival to disturb."
Thereupon the virtuous Bharata replied unto her saying, "Thou hast done
a wicked deed, having slain thy husband and exterminated this family
from lust of wealth alone! Heaping infamy on my head, O accursed woman
of our race, thou hast, O mother, attained this, thy object!" And having
said these words, the prince wept aloud. And having proved his innocence
before all the subjects of that realm he set out in the wake of Rama,
desiring to bring him back. And placing Kausalya and Sumitra and Kaikeyi
in the vehicles at the van of his train, he proceeded with a heavy
heart, in company with Satrughna. And he was accompanied by Vasishtha
and Vamadeva, and other Brahmanas by thousands and by the people of the
cities and the provinces, desiring to bring back Rama. And he saw Rama
with Lakshmana, living on the mountains of Chitrakuta with bow in hand
and decked with the ornaments of ascetics. Bharata, however, was
dismissed by Rama, who was determined to act according to the words of
his father. And returning, Bharata ruled at Nandigrama, keeping before
him, his brother's wooden sandals. And Rama fearing a repetition of
intrusion by the people of Ayodhya, entered into the great forest
towards the asylum of Sarabhanga. And having paid his respects to
Sarabhanga, he entered the forest of Dandaka and took up his abode on
the banks of beautiful river Godavari. And while living there, Rama was
inveigled into hostilities with Khara, then dwelling in Janasthana, on
account of Surpanakha. And for the protection of the ascetics the
virtuous scion of Raghu's race slew fourteen thousand Rakshasas on
earth, and having slain those mighty Rakshasas, Khara and Dushana, the
wise descendant of Raghu once more made that sacred forest free from

"'And after these Rakshasas had been slain, Surpanakha with mutilated
nose and lips, repaired to Lanka--the abode of her brother (Ravana). And
when that Rakshasa woman, senseless with grief and with dry blood-stains
on her face, appeared before Ravana, she fell down at his feet. And
beholding her so horribly mutilated, Ravana became senseless with wrath
and grinding his teeth sprung up from his seat. And dismissing his
ministers, he enquired of her in private, saying, "Blessed sister, who
hath made thee so, forgetting and disregarding me? Who is he that having
got a sharp-pointed spear hath rubbed his body with it? Who is he that
sleepeth in happiness and security, after placing a fire close to his
head? Who is he that hath trodden upon a revengeful snake of virulent
poison? Who indeed, is that person who standeth with his hand thrust
into the mouth of the maned lion!" Then flames of wrath burst forth from
his body, like those that are emitted at night from the hollows of a
tree on fire. His sister then related unto him the prowess of Rama and
the defeat of the Rakshasas with Khara and Dushana at their head.
Informed of the slaughter of his relatives, Ravana, impelled by Fate,
remembered Maricha for slaying Rama. And resolving upon the course he
was to follow and having made arrangements for the government of his
capital, he consoled his sister, and set out on an aerial voyage. And
crossing the Trikuta and the Kala mountains, he beheld the vast
receptacle of deep waters--the abode of the Makaras. Then crossing the
Ocean, the Ten headed Ravana reached Gokarna--the favourite resort of
the illustrious god armed with the trident. And there Ravana met with
his old friend Maricha who, from fear of Rama himself, had adopted an
ascetic mode of life.'"


"Markandeya said, 'Beholding Ravana come, Maricha received him with a
respectful welcome, and offered him fruits and roots. And after Ravana
had taken his seat, and rested himself a while, Maricha skilled in
speech, sat beside Ravana and addressed him who was himself as eloquent
in speech, saying, "Thy complexion hath assumed an unnatural hue; is it
all right with thy kingdom, O king of the Rakshasas? What hath brought
thee here? Do thy subjects continue to pay thee the same allegiance that
they used to pay thee before? What business hath brought thee here? Know
that it is already fulfilled, even if it be very difficult of
fulfilment!" Ravana, whose heart was agitated with wrath and humiliation
informed him briefly of the acts of Rama and the measures that were to
be taken. And on hearing his story, Maricha briefly replied to him,
saying, "Thou must not provoke Rama, for I know his strength! Is there a
person who is capable of withstanding the impetus of his arrows? That
great man hath been the cause of my assuming my present ascetic life.
What evil-minded creature hath put thee up to this course calculated to
bring ruin and destruction on thee?" To this Ravana indignantly replied,
reproaching him thus, "If thou dost not obey my orders, thou shall
surely die at my hands." Maricha then thought within himself, "When
death is inevitable, I shall do his biddings; for it is better to die at
the hands of one that is superior." Then he replied to the lord of the
Rakshasas saying, "I shall surely render thee whatever help I can!" Then
the Ten-headed Ravana said unto him, "Go and tempt Sita, assuming the
shape of a deer with golden horns and a golden skin! When Sita will
observe thee thus, she will surely send away Rama to hunt thee. And then
Sita will surely come within my power, and I shall forcibly carry her
away. And then that wicked Rama will surely die of grief at the loss of
his wife. Do thou help me in this way!"

"'Thus addressed, Maricha performed his obsequies (in anticipation) and
with a sorrowful heart, followed Ravana who was in advance of him. And
having reached the hermitage of Rama of difficult achievements, they
both did as arranged beforehand. And Ravana appeared in the guise of an
ascetic with head shaven, and adorned with a _Kamandala_, and a treble
staff. And Maricha appeared in the shape of a deer. And Maricha appeared
before the princess of Videha in that guise. And impelled by Fate, she
sent away Rama after that deer. And Rama, with the object of pleasing
her, quickly took up his bow, and leaving Lakshmana behind to protect
her, went in pursuit of that deer. And armed with his bow and quiver and
scimitar, and his fingers encased in gloves of _Guana_ skin, Rama went
in pursuit of that deer, after the manner of Rudra following the stellar
deer[50] in days of yore. And that Rakshasa enticed away Rama to a great
distance by appearing before him at one time and disappearing from his
view at another. And when Rama at last knew who and what that deer was,
viz., that he was a _Rakshasa_, that illustrious descendant of Raghu's
race took out an infallible arrow and slew that Rakshasa, in the
disguise of a deer. And struck with Rama's arrow, the Rakshasa,
imitating Rama's voice, cried out in great distress, calling upon Sita
and Lakshmana. And when the princess of Videha heard that cry of
distress, she urged Lakshmana to run towards the quarter from whence the
cry came. Then Lakshmana said to her, "Timid lady, thou hast no cause of
fear! Who is so powerful as to be able to smite Rama? O thou of sweet
smiles, in a moment thou wilt behold thy husband Rama!" Thus addressed,
the chaste Sita, from that timidity which is natural to women, became
suspicious of even the pure Lakshmana, and began to weep aloud. And that
chaste lady, devoted to her husband, harshly reproved Lakshmana, saying,
"The object which thou, O fool, cherishest in thy heart, shall never be
fulfilled! I would rather kill myself with a weapon or throw myself from
the top of a hill or enter into a blazing fire than live with a sorry
wretch like thee, forsaking my husband Rama, like a tigress under the
protection of a jackal!"

[50] Tard-mrigam. Formerly Prajapati, assuming the Form of a
deer, followed his daughter from lust, and Rudra, armed with a
trident, pursued Prajapati and struck off his head. That
deer-head of Prajapati severed from the trunk, became the star,
or rather constellation, called Mrigasiras.

"'When the good natured Lakshmana, who was very fond of his brother,
heard these words, he shut his ears (with his hands) and set out on the
track that Rama had taken. And Lakshmana set out without casting a
single glance on that lady with lips soft and red like the _Bimba_
fruit. Meanwhile, the Rakshasa Ravana, wearing a genteel guise though
wicked at heart, and like unto fire enveloped in a heap of ashes, showed
himself there. And he appeared there in the disguise of a hermit, for
forcibly carrying away that lady of blameless character. The virtuous
daughter of Janaka, seeing him come, welcomed him with fruits and root
and a seat. Disregarding these and assuming his own proper shape, that
bull among Rakshasas began to re-assure the princess of Videha in these
words, "I am, O Sita, the king of the Rakshasas, known by the name of
Ravana! My delightful city, known by the name of Lanka is on the other
side of the great ocean! There among beautiful women, thou wilt shine
with me! O lady of beautiful lips, forsaking the ascetic Rama do thou
become my wife!" Janaka's daughter of beautiful lips, hearing these and
other words in the same strain, shut her ears and replied unto him,
saying, "Do not say so! The vault of heaven with all its stars may fall
down, the Earth itself may be broken into fragments, fire itself may
change its nature by becoming cool, yet I cannot forsake the descendant
of Raghu! How can a she-elephant, who hath lived with the mighty leader
of a herd with rent temples forsake him and live with a hog? Having once
tasted the sweet wine prepared from honey or flowers, how can a woman, I
fancy, relish the wretched arrak from rice?" Having uttered those words,
she entered the cottage, her lips trembling in wrath and her arms moving
to and fro in emotion. Ravana, however, followed her thither and
intercepted her further progress. And rudely scolded by the Rakshasa,
she swooned away. But Ravana seized her by the hair of her head, and
rose up into the air. Then a huge vulture of the name of Jatayu living
on a mountain peak, beheld that helpless lady thus weeping and calling
upon Rama in great distress while being carried away by Ravana.'"


"Markandeya said, 'That heroic king of the vultures, Jatayu, having
Sampati for his uterine brother and Arjuna himself for his father, was a
friend of Dasaratha. And beholding his daughter-in-law Sita on the lap
of Ravana, that ranger of the skies rushed in wrath against the king of
the Rakshasas. And the vulture addressed Ravana, saying, "Leave the
princess of Mithila, leave her I say! How canst thou, O Rakshasa, ravish
her when I am alive? If thou dost not release my daughter-in-law, thou
shalt not escape from me with life!" And having said these words Jatayu
began to tear the king of the Rakshasas with his talons. And he mangled
him in a hundred different parts of his body by striking him with his
wings and beaks. And blood began to flow as copiously from Ravana's body
as water from a mountain spring. And attacked thus by that vulture
desirous of Rama's good, Ravana, taking up a sword, cut off the two
wings of that bird. And having slain that king of the vultures, huge as
a mountain-peak shooting forth above the clouds, the Rakshasa rose high
in the air with Sita on his lap. And the princess of Videha, wherever
she saw an asylum of ascetics, a lake, a river, or a tank, threw down an
ornament of hers. And beholding on the top of a mountain five foremost
of monkeys, that intelligent lady threw down amongst them a broad piece
of her costly attire. And that beautiful and yellow piece of cloth fell,
fluttering through the air, amongst those five foremost of monkeys like
lightning from the clouds. And that Rakshasa soon passed a great way
through the firmament like a bird through the air. And soon the Rakshasa
beheld his delightful and charming city of many gates, surrounded on all
sides by high walls and built by Viswakrit himself. And the king of the
Rakshasa then entered his own city known by the name of Lanka,
accompanied by Sita.

"'And while Sita was being carried away, the intelligent Rama, having
slain the great deer, retraced his steps and saw his brother Lakshmana
(on the way). And beholding his brother, Rama reproved him, saying, "How
couldst thou come hither, leaving the princess of Videha in a forest
that is haunted by the Rakshasa?" And reflecting on his own enticement
to a great distance by that Rakshasa in the guise of a deer and on the
arrival of his brother (leaving Sita alone in the asylum), Rama was
filled with agony. And quickly advancing towards Lakshmana while
reproving him still, Rama asked him, "O Lakshmana, is the princess of
Videha still alive? I fear she is no more!" Then Lakshmana told him
everything about what Sita had said, especially that unbecoming language
of hers subsequently. With a burning heart Rama then ran towards the
asylum. And on the way he beheld a vulture huge as a mountain, lying in
agonies of death. And suspecting him to be a Rakshasa, the descendant of
the Kakutstha race, along with Lakshmana rushed towards him, drawing
with great force his bow to a circle. The mighty vulture, however,
addressing them both, said, "Blessed be ye, I am the king of the
vultures, and friend of Dasaratha!" Hearing these words of his, both
Rama and his brother put aside their excellent bow and said, "Who is
this one that speaketh the name of our father in these woods?" And then
they saw that creature to be a bird destitute of two wings, and that
bird then told them of his own overthrow at the hands of Ravana for the
sake of Sita. Then Rama enquired of the vulture as to the way Ravana had
taken. The vulture answered him by a nod of his head and then breathed
his last. And having understood from the sign the vulture had made that
Ravana had gone towards the south, Rama reverencing his father's friend,
caused his funeral obsequies to be duly performed. Then those chastisers
of foes, Rama and Lakshmana, filled with grief at the abduction of the
princess of Videha, took a southern path through the Dandaka woods
beholding along their way many uninhabited asylums of ascetics,
scattered over with seats of Kusa grass and umbrellas of leaves and
broken water-pots, and abounding with hundreds of jackals. And in that
great forest, Rama along with Sumatra's son beheld many herds of deer
running in all directions. And they heard a loud uproar of various
creatures like what is heard during a fast spreading forest
conflagration. And soon they beheld a headless Rakshasa of terrible
mien. And that Rakshasa was dark as the clouds and huge as a mountain,
with shoulders broad as those of a Sola tree, and with arms that were
gigantic. And he had a pair of large eyes on his breast, and the opening
of his mouth was placed on his capacious belly. And that Rakshasa seized
Lakshmana by the hand, without any difficulty. And seized by the
Rakshasa the son of Sumitra, O Bharata, became utterly confounded and
helpless. And casting his glances on Rama, that headless Rakshasa began
to draw Lakshmana towards that part of his body where his mouth was. And
Lakshmana in grief addressed Rama, saying, "Behold my plight! The loss
of thy kingdom, and then the death of our father, and then the abduction
of Sita, and finally this disaster that hath overwhelmed me! Alas, I
shall not behold thee return with the princess of Videha to Kosala and
seated on thy ancestral throne as the ruler of the entire Earth! They
only that are fortunate will behold thy face, like unto the moon emerged
from the clouds, after thy coronation bath in water sanctified with Kusa
grass and fried paddy and black peas!" And the intelligent Lakshmana
uttered those and other lamentations in the same strain. The illustrious
descendant, however, of Kakutstha's race undaunted amid danger, replied
unto Lakshmana, saying, "Do not, O tiger among men, give way to grief!
What is this thing when I am here? Cut thou off his right arm and I
shall cut off his left." And while Rama was still speaking so, the left
arm of the monster was severed by him, cut off with a sharp scimitar, as
if indeed, that arm were a stalk of the _Tila corn_. The mighty son of
Sumitra then beholding his brother standing before him struck off with
his sword the right arm also of that Rakshasa. And Lakshmana also began
to repeatedly strike the Rakshasa under the ribs, and then that huge
headless monster fell upon the ground and expired quickly. And then
there came out from the Rakshasa's body a person of celestial make. And
he showed himself to the brothers, staying for a moment in the skies,
like the Sun in his effulgence in the firmament. And Rama skilled in
speech, asked him, saying, "Who art thou? Answer _me_ who enquire of
thee? Whence could such a thing happen? All this seems to me to be
exceedingly wonderful!" Thus addressed by Rama, that being replied unto
him, saying, "I am, O prince, a Gandharva of the name of Viswavasu! It
was through the curse of a Brahmana that I had to assume the form and
nature of a Rakshasa. As to thyself, O Rama, Sita hath been carried away
with violence by king Ravana who dwelleth in Lanka. Repair thou unto
Sugriva who will give thee his friendship. There, near enough to the
peak of _Rishyamuka_ is the lake known by the name of _Pampa_ of sacred
water and cranes. There dwelleth, with four of his counsellors, Sugriva,
the brother of the monkey-king Vali decked with a garland of gold.
Repairing unto him, inform of thy cause of sorrow. In plight very much
like thy own, he will render thee assistance. This is all that we can
say. Thou wilt, without doubt, see the daughter of Janaka! Without doubt
Ravana and others are known to the king of the monkeys!" Having said
these words, that celestial being of great effulgence made himself
invisible, and those heroes, both Rama and Lakshmana, wondered much.'"


"Markandeya said, 'Afflicted with grief at the abduction of Sita, Rama
had not to go much further before he came upon _Pampa_--that lake which
abounded with lotuses of various kinds. And fanned by the cool,
delicious and fragrant breezes in those woods, Rama suddenly remembered
his dear spouse. And, O mighty monarch, thinking of that dear wife of
his, and afflicted at the thought of his separation from her, Rama gave
way to lamentations. The son of Sumitra then addressed him saying, "O
thou that givest proper respect to those that deserve it, despondency
such as this should not be suffered to approach thee, like illness that
can never touch an old man leading a regular life! Thou hast obtained
information of Ravana and of the princess of Videha! Liberate her now
with exertion and intelligence! Let us now approach Sugriva, that
foremost of monkeys, who is even now on the mountain top! Console
thyself, when I, thy disciple and slave and ally, am near!" And
addressed by Lakshmana in these and other words of the same import, Rama
regained his own nature and attended to the business before him. And
bathing in the waters of _Pampa_ and offering oblations therewith unto
their ancestors, both those heroic brothers, Rama and Lakshmana, set out
(for _Rishyamuka_). And arriving at _Rishyamuka_ which abounded with
fruits and roots and trees, those heroes beheld five monkeys on the top
of the mountain-peak. And seeing them approach, Sugriva sent his
counsellor the intelligent Hanuman, huge as the Himavat-mountains, to
receive them. And the brothers, having first exchanged words with
Hanuman, approached Sugriva. And then, O king, Rama made friends with
Sugriva. And when Rama informed Sugriva of the object he had in view,
Sugriva showed him the piece of cloth that Sita had dropped among the
monkeys, while being carried away by Ravana. And having obtained from
him those credentials, Rama himself installed Sugriva--that foremost of
monkeys--in sovereignty of all the monkeys of Earth. And Rama also
pledged himself to slay Vali in battle. And having come to that
understanding and placing the fullest confidence in each other, they all
repaired to _Kiskindhya_, desirous of battle (with Vali). And arriving
at _Kiskindhya_, Sugriva sent forth a loud roar deep as that of a
cataract. Unable to bear that challenge, Vali was for coming out (but
his wife) Tara stood in way, saying, "Himself endued with great
strength, the way in which Sugriva is roaring, showeth, I ween, that he
hath found assistance! It behoveth thee not, therefore, to go out!" Thus
addressed by her, that king of the monkeys, the eloquent Vali, decked in
a golden garland replied unto Tara of face beautiful as the moon,
saying, "Thou understandest the voice of every creature. Tell me after
reflection whose help it is that this brother in name only of mine hath
obtained!" Thus addressed by him Tara endued with wisdom and possessed
of the effulgence of the moon, answered her lord after a moment's
reflection, saying, "Listen, O monarch of the monkeys! That foremost of
bowmen, endued with great might, Rama the son of Dasaratha, whose spouse
hath been ravished, hath made an alliance offensive and defensive with
Sugriva! And his brother the intelligent Lakshmana also of mighty arms,
the unvanquished son of Sumitra, standeth beside him for the success of
Sugriva's object. And Mainda and Dwivida, and Hanuman the son of
_Pavana_, and Jamvuman, the king of the bears, are beside Sugriva as his
counsellors. All these illustrious ones are endued with great strength
and intelligence. And these all, depending upon the might and energy of
Rama, are prepared for thy destruction!" Hearing these words of hers
that were for his benefit, the king of the monkeys disregarded them
altogether. And filled with jealousy, he also suspected her to have set
her heart on Sugriva! And addressing Tara in harsh words, he went out of
his cave and coming before Sugriva who was staying by the side of the
mountains of Malyavat, he spoke unto him thus, "Frequently vanquished
before by me, fond as thou art of life, thou art allowed by me to escape
with life owing to thy relationship with me! What hath made thee wish
for death so soon?" Thus addressed by Vali, Sugriva, that slayer of
foes, as if addressing Rama himself for informing him of what had
happened, replied unto his brother in these words of grave import, "O
king, robbed by thee of my wife and my kingdom also, what need have I of
life? Know that it is for this that I have come!" Then addressing each
other in these and other words of the same import, Vali and Sugriva
rushed to the encounter, fighting with _Sala_ and _Tala_ trees and
stones. And they struck each other down on the earth. And leaping high
into the air, they struck each other with their fists. And mangled by
each other's nail and teeth, both of them were covered with blood. And
the two heroes shone on that account like a pair of blossoming
_Kinshukas_. And as they fought with each other, no difference (in
aspect) could be observed so as to distinguish them. Then Hanuman placed
on Sugriva's neck a garland of flowers. And that hero thereupon shone
with that garland on his neck, like the beautiful and huge peak of
_Malya_ with its cloudy belt. And Rama, recognising Sugriva by that
sign, then drew his foremost of huge bows, aiming at Vali as his mark.
And the twang of Rama's bow resembled the roar of an engine. And Vali,
pierced in the heart by that arrow, trembled in fear. And Vali, his
heart having been pierced through, began to vomit forth blood. And he
then beheld standing before him Rama with Sumatra's son by his side. And
reproving that descendant of Kakutstha's race, Vali fell down on the
ground and became senseless. And Tara then beheld that lord of hers
possessed of the effulgence of the Moon, lying prostrate on the bare
earth. And after Vali had been thus slain, Sugriva regained possession
of Kishkindhya, and along with it, of the widowed Tara also of face
beautiful as the moon. And the intelligent Rama also dwelt on the
beautiful breast of the Malyavat hill for four months, duly worshipped
by Sugriva all the while.

"'Meanwhile Ravana excited by lust, having reached his city of Lanka,
placed Sita in an abode, resembling _Nandana_ itself, within a forest of
_Asokas_, that looked like an asylum of ascetics. And the large-eyed
Sita passed her days there in distress, living on fruits and roots,
practising ascetic austerities with fasts, attired in ascetic garb, and
waning thin day by day, thinking of her absent lord. And the king of the
_Rakshasas_ appointed many _Rakshasa_ women armed with bearded darts and
swords and lances and battle-axes and maces and flaming brands, for
guarding her. And some of these had two eyes, and some three, and some
had eyes on their foreheads. And some had long tongues and some had
none. And some had three breasts and some had only one leg. And some had
three matted braids on their heads, and some had only one eye. And
these, and others of blazing eyes and hair stiff as the camel's, stood
beside Sita surrounding her day and night most watchfully. And those
_Pisacha_ women of frightful voice and terrible aspect always addressed
that large-eyed lady in the harshest tones. And they said, "Let us eat
her up, let us mangle her, let us tear her into pieces, her, that is,
that dwelleth here disregarding our lord!" And filled with grief at the
separation from her lord, Sita drew a deep sigh and answered those
_Rakshasa_ women, saying, "Reverend ladies, eat me up without delay! I
have no desire to live without that husband of mine, of eyes like
lotus-leaves and locks wavy, and blue in hue! Truly I will, without food
and without the least love of life, emaciate my limbs, like a she-snake
(hybernating) within a _Tala_ tree. Know this for certain that I will
never seek the protection of any other person than the descendant of
Raghu. And knowing this, do what ye think fit!" And hearing these words
of hers, those _Rakshasas_ with dissonant voice went to the king of the
_Rakshasas_, for representing unto him all she had said. And when those
_Rakshasas_ had gone away, one of their number known by the name of
_Trijata_, who was virtuous and agreeable in speech, began to console
the princess of Videha. And she said, "Listen, O Sita! I will tell thee
something! O friend, believe in what I say! O thou of fair hips, cast
off thy fears, and listen to what I say. There is an intelligent and old
chief of the _Rakshasas_ known by the name of Avindhya. He always
seeketh Rama's good and hath told me these words for thy sake!
'Reassuring and cheering her, tell Sita in my name, saying: "Thy husband
the mighty Rama is well and is waited upon by Lakshmana. And the blessed
descendant of Raghu hath already made friends with Sugriva, the king of
the monkeys, and is ready to act for thee!"' And, O timid lady,
entertain thou no fear on account of Ravana, who is censured by the
whole world, for, O daughter, thou art safe from him on account of
Nalakuvera's curse. Indeed, this wretch had been cursed before for his
having violated his daughter-in-law, Rambha. This lustful wretch is not
able to violate any woman by force. Thy husband will soon come,
protected by Sugriva and with the intelligent son of Sumitra in his
train, and will soon take thee away hence! O lady, I have had a most
terrible dream of evil omen, indicating the destruction of this
wicked-minded wretch of Pulastya's race! This night wanderer of mean
deeds is, indeed, most wicked and cruel. He inspireth terror in all by
the defects of his nature and the wickedness of his conduct. And
deprived of his senses by Fate, he challengeth the very gods. In my
vision I have seen every indication of his downfall. I have seen the
Ten-headed, with his crown shaven and body besmeared with oil, sunk in
mire, and the next moment dancing on a chariot drawn by mules. I have
seen Kumbhakarna and others, perfectly naked and with crowns shaven,
decked with red wreaths and unguents, and running towards the southern
direction. Vibhishana alone, with umbrella over his head, and graced
with a turban, and with body decked with white wreaths and unguents, I
beheld ascending the summit of the White hill. And I saw four of his
counsellors also, decked with white wreaths and unguents, ascending the
summit of that hill along with him. All this bodeth that these alone
will be saved from the impending terror. The whole earth with its oceans
and seas will be enveloped with Rama's arrows. O lady, thy husband will
fill the whole earth with his fame. I also saw Lakshmana, consuming all
directions (with his arrows) and ascending on a heap of bones and
drinking thereon honey and rice boiled in milk. And thou, O lady, hast
been beheld by me running towards a northernly direction, weeping and
covered with blood and protected by a tiger! And, O princess of Videha,
soon wilt thou find happiness, being united, O Sita, with thy lord, that
descendant of Raghu accompanied by his brother!' Hearing these words of
_Trijata_, that girl with eyes like those of a young gazelle, once more
began to entertain hopes of a union with her lord. And when at last
those fierce and cruel _Pisacha_ guards came back, they saw her sitting
with _Trijata_ as before.'"


"Markandeya said, 'And while the chaste Sita was dwelling there
afflicted with melancholy and grief on account of her lord, attired in
mean garb, with but a single jewel (on the marital thread on her wrist),
and incessantly weeping, seated on a stone, and waited upon by
_Rakshasa_ women, Ravana, afflicted by the shafts of the god of desire,
came to her and approached her presence. And inflamed by desire, that
conqueror in battle of the gods, the _Danavas_, the _Gandharvas_, the
_Yakshas_, and the _Kimpurushas_, attired in celestial robes and
possessing handsome features, decked with jewelled earrings and wearing
a beautiful garland and crown, entered the _Asoka_ woods, like an
embodiment of the vernal season. And dressed with care, Ravana looked
like the _Kalpa_ tree in Indra's garden. But though adorned with every
embellishment, that inspired her only with awe, like a beautified banian
in the midst of a cemetery. And that night wanderer, having approached
the presence of that slender-waisted lady, looked like the planet Saturn
in the presence of _Rohini_. And smitten with the shafts of the god of
the flowery emblem he accosted that fair-hipped lady then affrighted
like a helpless doe, and told her these words, "Thou hast, O Sita, shown
thy regard for thy lord too much! O thou of delicate limbs, be merciful
unto me. Let thy person be embellished now (by these maids in waiting).
O excellent lady, accept me as thy lord! And, O thou of the most
beautiful complexion, attired in costly robes and ornaments, take thou
the first place among all the women of my household. Many are the
daughters of the celestials and also the _Gandharvas_ that I possess! I
am lord also of many _Danava_ and _Daitya_ ladies! One hundred and forty
millions of _Pisachas_, twice as many man-eating Rakshasa of terrible
deed, and thrice as many Yaksha do my bidding! Some of these are under
the sway of my brother who is the lord of all treasures. In my drinking
hall, O excellent lady of beautiful thighs, Gandharvas and Apsaras wait
on me as they do on my brother! I am, again, the son of that regenerate
_Rishi_ Visravas himself of high ascetic merit. I am renowned, again, as
the fifth Regent of the Universe! And, O beautiful lady, of food and
edibles and drinks of the very best kind, I have as much as the Lord
himself of the celestials! Let all thy troubles consequent on a life in
the woods cease! O thou of fair hips, be my Queen, as Mandodari
herself!" Thus addressed by him, the beautiful princess of Videha,
turning away and regarding him as something less than a straw, replied
unto that wanderer of the night. And at that time the princess of
Videha, that girl of beautiful hips, had her deep and compact bosom
copiously drenched by her inauspicious tears shed ceaselessly. And she
who regarded her husband as her god, answered that mean wretch, saying,
"By sheer ill-luck it is, O king of the Rakshasas, that I am obliged to
hear such words of grievous import spoken by thee! Blessed be thou, O
Rakshasa fond of sensual pleasures, let thy heart be withdrawn from me!
I am the wife of another, ever devoted to my husband, and, therefore,
incapable of being possessed by thee! A helpless human being that I am,
I cannot be a fit wife for thee! What joy can be thine by using violence
towards an unwilling woman? Thy father is a wise Brahmana, born of
Brahma and equal unto that Lord himself of the creation! Why dost thou
not, therefore, thyself being equal to a Regent of the Universe, observe
virtue? Disgracing thy brother, that king of the Yakshas, that adorable
one who is the friend of Maheswara himself, that lord of treasures, how
is it that thou feelest no shame?" Having said these words, Sita began
to weep, her bosom shivering in agitation, and covering her neck and
face with her garments. And the long and well-knit braid, black and
glossy, falling from the head of the weeping lady, looked like a black
snake. And hearing these cruel words uttered by Sita, the foolish
Ravana, although thus rejected, addressed Sita once more, saying, "O
lady, let the god having the _Makara_ for his emblem burn me sorely. I
will, however, on no account, O thou of sweet smiles and beautiful hips,
approach thee, as thou art unwilling! What can I do to thee that still
feelest a regard for Rama who is only a human being and, therefore, our
food?" Having said those words unto that lady of faultless features, the
king of the _Rakshasa_ made himself invisible then and there and went
away to the place he liked. And Sita, surrounded by those _Rakshasa_
women, and treated with tenderness by _Trijata_, continued to dwell
there in grief.'"


"Markandeya said, 'Meanwhile the illustrious descendant of Raghu, along
with his brother, hospitably treated by Sugriva, continued to dwell on
the breast of the _Malyavat_ hill, beholding every day the clear blue
sky. And one night, while gazing from the mountain-top on the bright
moon in the cloudless sky surrounded by planets and stars and stellar
bodies, that slayer of foes was suddenly awakened (to a remembrance of
Sita) by the cold breezes fragrant with the perfumes of the lily, lotus
and other flowers of the same species. And virtuous Rama, dejected in
spirits at the thought of Sita's captivity in the abode of the Rakshasa,
addressed the heroic Lakshmana in the morning saying, "Go, Lakshmana and
seek in Kishkindhya that ungrateful king of the monkeys, who understands
well his own interest and is even now indulging in dissipations, that
foolish wretch of his race whom I have installed on a throne and to whom
all apes and monkeys and bears owe allegiance, that fellow for whose
sake, O mighty-armed perpetuator of Raghu's race, Vali was slain by me
with thy help in the wood of Kishkindhya! I regard that worst of monkeys
on earth to be highly ungrateful, for, O Lakshmana, that wretch hath now
forgotten me who am sunk in such distress! I think he is unwilling to
fulfil his pledge, disregarding, from dullness of understanding, one who
hath done him such services! If thou findest him luke-warm and rolling
in sensual joys, thou must then send him, by the path Vali hath been
made to follow, to the common goal of all creatures! If, on the other
hand, thou seest that foremost of monkeys delight in our cause, then, O
descendant of Kakutstha, shouldst thou bring him hither with thee! Be
quick, and delay not!" Thus addressed by his brother, Lakshmana ever
attentive to the behests and welfare of his superiors, set out taking
with him his handsome bow with string and arrows. And reaching the gates
of Kishkindhya he entered the city unchallenged. And knowing him to be
angry, the monkey-king advanced to receive him. And with his wife,
Sugriva, the king of the monkeys, with a humble heart, joyfully received
him with due honours. And the dauntless son of Sumitra then told him
what Rama had said. And having heard everything in detail, O mighty
monarch, Sugriva, the king of the monkeys with his wife and servants,
joined his hands, and cheerfully said unto Lakshmana, that elephant
among men, these words: "I am, O Lakshmana, neither wicked, nor
ungrateful, nor destitute of virtue! Hear what efforts I have made for
finding out Sita's place of captivity! I have despatched diligent
monkeys in all directions. All of them have stipulated to return within
a month. They will, O hero, search the whole earth with her forests and
hills and seas, her villages and towns and cities and mines. Only five
nights are wanting to complete that month, and then thou wilt, with
Rama, hear tidings of great joy!"

"'Thus addressed by that intelligent king of the monkeys, the
high-souled Lakshmana became appeased, and he in his turn worshipped
Sugriva. And accompanied by Sugriva, he returned to Rama on the breast
of the Malyavat hill. And approaching him, Lakshmana informed him of the
beginning already made in respect of his undertaking. And soon thousands
of monkey-chiefs began to return, after having carefully searched the
three quarters of the earth, viz., the North, the East and the West. But
they that had gone towards the South did not make their appearance. And
they that came back represented to Rama, saying that although they had
searched the whole earth with her belt of seas, yet they could not find
either the princess of Videha or Ravana. But that descendant of
Kakutstha's race, afflicted at heart, managed to live yet, resting his
hopes (of hearing Sita's tidings) on the great monkeys that had gone
towards the South.

"'After the lapse of two months, several monkeys seeking with haste the
presence of Sugriva, addressed him, saying, "O king, that foremost of
monkeys, the son of _Pavana_, as also Angada, the son of Vali, and the
other great monkeys whom thou hadst despatched to search the southern
region, have come back and are pillaging that great and excellent
orchard called _Madhuvana_, which was always guarded by Vali and which
hath been well-guarded by thee also after him!" Hearing of this act of
liberty on their part, Sugriva inferred the success of their mission,
for it is only servants that have been crowned with success that can act
in this way. And that intelligent and foremost of monkeys communicated
his suspicions to Rama. And Rama also, from this, guessed that the
princess of Mithila had been seen. Then Hanuman and the other monkeys,
having refreshed themselves thus, came towards their king, who was then
staying with Rama and Lakshmana. And, O Bharata, observing the gait of
Hanuman and the colour of his face, Rama was confirmed in the belief
that Hanuman had really seen Sita. Then those successful monkeys with
Hanuman at their head, duly bowed unto Rama and Lakshmana and Sugriva.
And Rama then taking up his bow and quiver, addressed those monkeys,
saying, "Have you been successful? Will ye impart life unto me? Will ye
once more enable me to reign in Ayodhya after having slain my enemy in
battle and rescued the daughter of Janaka? With the princess of Videha
unrescued, and the foe unslain in battle, I dare not live, robbed of
wife and honour!" Thus addressed by Rama, the son of _Pavana_, replied
unto him, saying, "I bring thee good news, O Rama; for Janaka's daughter
hath been seen by me. Having searched the southern region with all its
hills, forests, and mines for some time, we became very weary. At length
we beheld a great cavern. And having beheld it, we entered that cavern
which extended over many _Yojanas_. It was dark and deep and overgrown
with trees and infested by worms. And having gone a great way through
it, we came upon sun-shine and beheld a beautiful palace. It was, O
Raghava, the abode of the _Daitya Maya_. And there we beheld a female
ascetic named _Prabhavati_ engaged in ascetic austerities. And she gave
us food and drink of various kinds. And having refreshed ourselves
therewith and regained our strength, we proceeded along the way shown by
her. At last we came out of the cavern and beheld the brimy sea, and on
its shores, the _Sahya_, the _Malaya_ and the great _Dardura_ mountains.
And ascending the mountains of _Malaya_, we beheld before us the vast
ocean.[51] And beholding it we felt sorely grieved in mind. And dejected
in spirits and afflicted with pain and famishing with hunger, we
despaired of returning with our lives. Casting our eyes on the great
ocean extending over many hundreds of _Yojanas_ and abounding in whales
and alligators and other aquatic animals, we became anxious and filled
with grief. We then sat together, resolved to die there of starvation.
And in course of conversation we happened to talk of the vulture
_Jatayu_. Just then we saw a bird huge as a mountain, of frightful form,
and inspiring terror into every heart, like a second son of Vinata.[52]
And coming upon us unawares for devouring us, he said, 'Who are ye that
are speaking thus of my brother _Jatayu_? I am his elder brother, by
name _Sampati_, and am the king of birds. Once upon a time, we two, with
the desire of outstripping each other, flew towards the sun. My wings
got burnt, but those of _Jatayu_ were not. That was the last time I saw
my beloved brother _Jatayu_, the king of vultures! My wings burnt, I
fell down upon the top of this great mountain where I still am!' When he
finished speaking, we informed him of the death of his brother in a few
words and also of this calamity that hath befallen thee! And, O king,
the powerful Sampati hearing this unpleasant news from us, was greatly
afflicted and again enquired of us, saying, 'Who is this Rama and why
was Sita carried off and how was Jatayu slain? Ye foremost of monkeys I
wish to hear everything in detail!' We then informed him of everything
about this calamity of thine and of the reason also of our vow of
starvation. That king of birds then urged us (to give up our vow) by
these words of his: 'Ravana is, indeed, known to me. Lanka is his
capital. I beheld it on the other side of the sea in a valley of the
_Trikuta_ hills! Sita must be there. I have little doubt of this!'
Hearing these words of his, we rose up quickly and began, O chastiser of
foes, to take counsel of one another for crossing the ocean! And when
none dared to cross it, I, having recourse to my father, crossed the
great ocean which is a hundred _Yojanas_ in width. And having slain the
_Rakshasis_ on the waters, I saw the chaste Sita within Ravana's harem,
observing ascetic austerities, eager to behold her lord, with matted
locks on head, and body besmeared with filth, and lean, and melancholy
and helpless. Recognising her as Sita by those unusual signs, and
approaching that worshipful lady while alone, I said, 'I am, O Sita, an
emissary of Rama and monkey begotten by _Pavana_![53] Desirous of having
a sight of thee, hither have I come travelling through the skies!
Protected by Sugriva, that monarch of all the monkeys, the royal
brothers Rama and Lakshmana are in peace! And Rama, O lady, with
Sumitra's son, hath enquired of thy welfare! And Sugriva also, on
account of his friendship (with Rama and Lakshmana) enquireth of thy
welfare. Followed by all the monkeys, thy husband will soon be here.
Confide in me, O adorable lady, I am a monkey and not a _Rakshasa_!'
Thus addressed by me, Sita seemed to meditate for a moment and then
replied to me, saying, 'From the words of _Avindhya_ I know that thou
art Hanuman! O mighty-armed one, Avindhya is an old and respected
_Rakshasa_! He told me that Sugriva is surrounded by counsellors like
thee. Thou mayst depart now!' And with these words she gave me this
jewel as a credential. And, indeed, it was by means of this jewel that
the faultless Sita had been able to support her existence. And the
daughter of Janaka further told me as a token from her, that by thee, O
tiger among men, a blade of grass (inspired with _Mantras_ and thus
converted into a fatal weapon) had once been shot at a crow while ye
were on the breast of the mighty hill known by the name of _Chitrakuta_!
And this she said as evidence of my having met her and hers being really
the princess of Videha. I then caused myself to be seized by Ravana's
soldiers, and then set fire to the city of Lanka!"'"

[51] Abode of Varuna in the original.

[52] Garuda.

[53] Pavana, the God of the wind.


"Markandeya said, 'It was on the breast of that very hill where Rama was
seated with those foremost of monkeys that great monkey chiefs at the
command of Sugriva, began to flock together. The father-in-law of Vali,
the illustrious Sushena, accompanied by a thousand crores of active
apes, came to Rama. And those two foremost of monkeys endued with mighty
energy, viz., Gaya and Gavakshya, each accompanied by a hundred crores
of monkeys, showed themselves there. And, O king, Gavakshya also of
terrible mien and endued with a bovine tail, showed himself there,
having collected sixty thousand crores of monkeys. And the renowned
Gandhamadana, dwelling on the mountains of the same name, collected a
hundred thousand crores of monkeys. And the intelligent and mighty
monkey known by the name of Panasa mustered together fifty-two crores of
monkeys.[54] And that foremost and illustrious of monkeys named
Dadhimukha of mighty energy mustered a large army of monkeys possessed
of terrible prowess. And Jamvuvan showed himself there with a hundred
thousand crores of black bears of terrible deeds and faces having the
_Tilaka_ mark.[55] And these and many other chiefs of monkey-chiefs,
countless in number, O king, came there for aiding Rama's cause. And
endued with bodies huge as mountain-peaks and roaring like lions, loud
was the uproar that was heard there made by those monkeys running
restlessly from place to place. And some of them looked like
mountain-peaks, and some looked like buffaloes. And some were of the hue
of autumnal clouds and the faces of some were red as vermillion. And
some rose high, and some fell down, and some cut capers, and some
scattered the dust, as they mustered together from various directions.
And that monkey army, vast as the sea at full tide, encamped there at
Sugriva's bidding. And after those foremost of monkeys had mustered from
every direction, the illustrious descendant of Raghu, with Sugriva by
his side, set out in an auspicious moment of a very fair day under a
lucky constellation, accompanied by that host arrayed in order of
battle, as if for the purpose of destroying all the worlds. And Hanuman,
the son of the Wind-god, was in the van of that host, while the rear was
protected by the fearless son of Sumitra. And surrounded by the
monkey-chiefs, those princes of Raghu's house with fingers cased in
_guana_ skin, shone, as they went, like the Sun and the Moon in the
midst of the planets. And that monkey host armed with stones and _Sola_
and _Tola_ trees, looked very much like a far-extending field of corn
under the morning sun. And that mighty army, protected by Nala and Nila
and Angada and Kratha and Mainda and Dwivida, marched forth for
achieving the purpose of Raghava. And encamping successively, without
interruption of any kind, on wide and healthy tracts and valleys
abounding with fruits and roots and water and honey and meat, the monkey
host at last reached the shores of the brimy sea. And like unto a second
ocean, that mighty army with its countless colours, having reached the
shores of sea, took up its abode there. Then the illustrious son of
Dasaratha, addressing Sugriva amongst all those foremost monkeys, spoke
unto him these words that were suited to the occasion, "This army is
large. The ocean also is difficult to cross. What contrivance,
therefore, commends itself to thee for crossing the ocean?" At these
words, many vain-glorious monkeys answered, "We are fully able to cross
the sea." This answer, however, was not of much use, as all could not
avail of that means. Some of the monkeys proposed to cross the sea in
boats, and some in rafts of various kinds. Rama, however, conciliating
them all, said, "This cannot be. The sea here is a full hundred
_Yojanas_ in width. All the monkeys, ye heroes, will not be able to
cross it. This proposal, therefore, that ye have made, is not consonant
to reason. Besides we have not the number of boats necessary for
carrying all our troops. How, again, can one like us raise such
obstacles in the way of the merchants? Our army is very large. The foe
wilt make a great havoc if a hole is detected. Therefore, to cross the
sea in boats and rafts doth not recommend itself to me. I will, however,
pray to the Ocean for the necessary means. Foregoing food, I will lie
down on the shore. He will certainly show himself to me. If, however, he
doth not show himself, I will chastise him then by means of my great
weapons that are more blazing than fire itself and are incapable of
being baffled!" Having said these words, both Rama and Lakshmana touched
water[56] and duly laid themselves down on a bed of _kusa_ grass on the
seashore. The divine and illustrious Ocean then, that lord of male and
female rivers, surrounded by aquatic animals, appeared unto Rama in a
vision. And addressing Rama in sweet accents, the genius of the Ocean,
surrounded by countless mines of gems, said, "O son of Kausalya, tell me
what aid, O bull among men, I am to render thee! I also have sprung from
the race of Ikshwaku and am, therefore, a relative of thine!" Rama
replied unto him, saying, "O lord of rivers, male and female, I desire
thee to grant me a way for my troops, passing along which I may slay the
Ten-headed (Ravana), that wretch of Pulastya's race! If thou dost not
grant the way I beg of thee, I will then dry thee up by means of my
celestial arrows inspired with _mantras_!" And hearing these words of
Rama, the genius of Varuna's abode, joining his hands, answered in great
affliction, "I do not desire to put any obstacle in thy way. I am no foe
of thine! Listen, O Rama, to these words, and having listened, do what
is proper! If, at thy command, I get a way for the passage of thy army,
others then, from strength of their bows, will command me to do the
same! In thy army there is a monkey of the name of Nala, who is a
skilful mechanic. And endued with great strength, Nala is the son of
_Tashtri_, the divine artificer of the Universe. And whether it is wood,
or grass or stone, that he will throw into my waters, I will support the
same on my surface, and thus wilt thou have a bridge (over which to
pass)!" And having said these words, the genius of the Ocean
disappeared. And Rama awaking, called Nala unto him and said, "Build
thou a bridge over the sea! Thou alone, I am sure, art able to do it!"
And it was by this means that the descendant of Kakutstha's race caused
a bridge to be built that was ten _Yojanas_ in width and a hundred
_Yojanas_ in length. And to this day that bridge is celebrated over all
the world by the name of _Nala's bridge_. And having completed that
bridge, Nala, of body huge as a hill, came away at the command of Rama.

[54] There is a difference of reading here. Some texts read
fifty seven.

[55] A difference of reading is observable here.

[56] As a purificatory ceremony, called the Achamana. To this
day, no Hindu can perform any ceremony without going through the
Achamana in the first instance.

"'And while Rama was on this side of the ocean, the virtuous Vibhishana,
the brother of the king of the Rakshasas accompanied by four of his
counsellors, came unto Rama. And the high-souled Rama received him with
due welcome. Sugriva, however, feared, thinking he might be a spy. The
son of Raghu, meanwhile perfectly satisfied (with Vibhishana) in
consequence of the sincerity of his exertions and the many indications
of his good conduct, worshipped him with respect. And he also installed
Vibhishana in the sovereignty of all the Rakshasas and made him his own
junior counsellor, and a friend of Lakshmana's. And it was under
Vibhishana's guidance, O king, that Rama with all his troops crossed the
great ocean by means of that bridge in course of a month. And having
crossed the ocean and arrived at Lanka, Rama caused its extensive and
numerous gardens to be devastated by his monkeys. And while Rama's
troops were there, two of Ravana's counsellors and officers, named Suka
and Sarana, who had come as spies, having assumed the shape of monkeys,
were seized by Vibhishana. And when those wanderers of the night assumed
their real Rakshasa forms, Rama showed them his troop and dismissed them
quietly. And having quartered his troops in those woods that skirted the
city, Rama then sent the monkey Angada with great wisdom as his envoy to


"Markandeya said, 'Having quartered his army in those groves abounding
with food and water and with fruits and roots, the descendant of
Kakutstha began to watch over them with care. Ravana, on the other hand,
planted in his city many appliances constructed according to the rules
of military science. And his city, naturally impregnable on account of
its strong ramparts and gate-ways, had seven trenches, that were deep
and full of water to the brim and that abounded with fishes and sharks
and alligators, made more impregnable still by means of pointed stakes
of _Khadira_ wood. And the ramparts, heaped with stones, were made
impregnable by means of catapults. And the warriors (who guarded the
walls) were armed with earthen pots filled with venomous snakes, and
with resinous powders of many kinds. And they were also armed with
clubs, and fire-brands and arrows and lances and swords and battle-axes.
And they had also _Sataghnis_[57] and stout maces steeped in wax.[58]
And at all the gates of the city were planted movable and immovable
encampments manned by large numbers of infantry supported by countless
elephants and horses. And Angada, having reached one of the gates of the
city, was made known to the Rakshasas. And he entered the town without
suspicion or fear. And surrounded by countless Rakshasas, that hero in
his beauty looked like the Sun himself in the midst of masses of clouds.
And having approached the hero of Pulastya's race in the midst of his
counsellors, the eloquent Angada saluted the king and began to deliver
Rama's message in these words, "That descendant of Raghu, O king, who
ruleth at Kosala and whose renown hath spread over the whole world,
sayeth unto thee these words suited to the occasion. Accept thou that
message and act according to it! Provinces and towns, in consequence of
their connection with sinful kings incapable of controlling their souls,
are themselves polluted and destroyed. By the violent abduction of Sita,
thou alone hast injured me! Thou, however, wilt become the cause of
death to many unoffending persons. Possessed of power and filled with
pride, thou hast, before this, slain many _Rishis_ living in the woods,
and insulted the very gods. Thou hast slain also many great kings and
many weeping women. For those transgressions of thine, retribution is
about to overtake thee! I will slay thee with thy counsellors. Fight and
show thy courage![59] O wanderer of the night, behold the power of my
bow, although I am but a man! Release Sita, the daughter of Janaka! If
thou dost not release her, I shall make the Earth divested of all
Rakshasas with my keen-edged arrows!" Hearing these defiant words of the
enemy, king Ravana bore them ill, becoming senseless with wrath. And
thereupon four Rakshasas skilled in reading every sign of their master,
seized Angada like four hawks seizing a tiger. With those Rakshasas,
however, holding him fast by his limbs, Angada leaped upwards and
alighted on the palace terrace. And as he leaped up with a great force,
those wanderers of the night fell down the earth, and bruised by the
violence of the fall, had their ribs broken. And from the golden terrace
on which he had alighted, he took a downward leap. And overleaping the
walls of Lanka, he alighted to where his comrades were. And approaching
the presence of the lord of Kosala and informing him of everything, the
monkey Angada endued with great energy retired to refresh himself,
dismissed with due respect by Rama.

[57] Lit. an engine killing a hundred. Perhaps, some kind of
rude cannon.

[58] Perhaps, brands or torches steeped in wax, intended to be
thrown in a burning state, amongst the foe. Readers of Indian
history know how Lord Lake was repulsed from Bharatpore by means
of huge bales of cotton, steeped in oil, rolled from the
ramparts of that town, in a burning state, towards the advancing

[59] Lit. be a Purusha (male)! Manhood would not be appropriate
in connection with a Rakshasa.

"'The descendant of Raghu then caused the ramparts of Lanka to be broken
down by a united attack of all those monkeys endued with the speed of
the wind. Then Lakshmana, with Vibhishana and the king of the bears
marching in the van, blew up the southern gate of the city that was
almost impregnable. Rama then attacked Lanka with a hundred thousand
crores of monkeys, all possessed of great skill in battle, and endued
with reddish complexions like those of young camels. And those crores of
greyish bears with long arms, and legs and huge paws, and generally
supporting themselves on their broad haunches, were also urged on to
support the attack. And in consequence of those monkeys leaping up and
leaping down and leaping in transverse directions, the Sun himself, his
bright disc completely shaded, became invisible for the dust they
raised. And the citizens of Lanka beheld the wall of their town assume
all over a tawny hue, covered by monkeys of complexions yellow as the
ears of paddy, and grey as _Shirisha_ flowers, and red as the rising
Sun, and white as flax or hemp. And the Rakshasas, O king, with their
wives and elders, were struck with wonders at that sight. And the monkey
warriors began to pull down pillars made of precious stones and the
terraces and tops of palatial mansions. And breaking into fragments the
propellers of catapults and other engines, they began to cast them about
in all directions. And taking up the _Sataghnis_ along with the discs,
the clubs, and stones, they threw them down into the city with great
force and loud noise. And attacked thus by the monkeys, those Rakshasas
that had been placed on the walls to guard them, fled precipitately by
hundreds and thousands.

"'Then hundreds of thousands of Rakshasas, of terrible mien, and capable
of assuming any form at will, came out at the command of the king. And
pouring a perfect shower of arrows and driving the denizens of the
forest, those warriors, displaying great prowess, adorned the ramparts.
And soon those wanderers of the night, looking like masses of flesh, and
of terrible mien, forced the monkeys to leave the walls. And mangled by
the enemies' lances, numerous monkey-chiefs fell down from the ramparts,
and crushed by the falling columns and gate-ways, numerous Rakshasas
also fell down to rise no more. And the monkeys and the brave Rakshasas
that commenced to eat up the foe, struggled, seizing one another by the
hair, and mangling and tearing one another with their nails and teeth.
And the monkeys and the Rakshasas roared and yelled frightfully, and
while many of both parties were slain and fell down to rise no more,
neither side gave up the contest. And Rama continued all the while to
shower a thick downpour of arrows like the very clouds. And the arrows
he shot, enveloping Lanka, killed large numbers of Rakshasas. And the
son of Sumitra, too, that mighty bowman incapable of being fatigued in
battle, naming particular Rakshasas stationed on the ramparts, slew them
with his clothyard shafts. And then the monkey host, having achieved
success was withdrawn at the command of Rama, after it had thus pulled
down the fortifications of Lanka and made all objects within the city
capable of being aimed at by the besieging force.'"


"Markandeya said, 'And while those troops (thus withdrawn) were reposing
themselves in their quarters, many little Rakshasas and _Pisachas_
owning Ravana as their leader, penetrated amongst them. And among these
were _Parvana, Patana, Jambha, Khara, Krodha-vasa, Hari, Praruja, Aruja_
and _Praghasa_, and others. And as these wicked ones were penetrating
(the monkey host) in their invisible forms, Vibhishana, who had the
knowledge thereof, broke the spell of their invisibility. And once seen,
O king, by the powerful and long-leaping monkeys, they were all slain
and prostrated on the earth, deprived of life. And unable to endure
this, Ravana marched out at the head of his troops. And surrounded by
his terrible army of Rakshasas and _Pisachas_, Ravana who was conversant
with the rules of warfare like a second _Usanas_ invested the monkey
host, having disposed his troops in that array which is named after
_Usanas_ himself. And beholding Ravana advancing with his army disposed
in that array, Rama, following the mode recommended by Vrihaspati,
disposed his troops in counter array for opposing that wanderer of the
night. And coming up quickly, Ravana began to fight with Rama. And
Lakshmana singled out Indrajit, and Sugriva singled out Virupakshya, and
Nikharvata fought with Tara, and Nala with Tunda, and Patusa with
Panasa. And each warrior, advancing up to him whom he regarded as his
match, began to fight with him on that field of battle, relying on the
strength of his own arms, and that encounter, so frightful to timid
persons, soon became terrible and fierce like that between the gods and
the _Asuras_ in the days of old. And Ravana covered Rama with a shower
of darts and lances and swords, and Rama also afflicted Ravana with his
whetted arrows of iron furnished with the sharpest points, and in the
same way Lakshmana smote the contending Indrajit with arrows capable of
penetrating into the most vital parts and Indrajit also smote Sumitra's
son with an arrowy shower. And Vibhishana showered upon Prahasta and
Prahasta showered upon Vibhishana, without any regard for each other a
thick downpour of winged arrows furnished with the sharpest points. And
thus between those mighty warriors there came about an encounter of
celestial weapons of great force, at which the three worlds with their
mobile and immobile creatures were sorely distressed.'"


"Markandeya said, 'Then Prahasta, suddenly advancing up to Vibhishana
and uttering a loud yell, struck him with his mace. But though struck
with that mace of terrible force, the mighty-armed Vibhishana of great
wisdom, without wavering in the least, stood still as the mountains of
Himavat. Then Vibhishana, taking up a huge and mighty javelin furnished
with a hundred bells, inspired it with _mantras_ and hurled it at the
head of his adversary. And by the impetuosity of that weapon rushing
with the force of the thunderbolt, Prahasta's head was severed off, and
he thereupon looked like a mighty tree broken by the wind. And beholding
that wanderer of the night, Prahasta, thus slain in battle, Dhumraksha
rushed with great impetuosity against the monkey-host. And beholding the
soldiers of Dhumraksha, looking like the clouds and endued with terrible
mien, advancing up towards them, the monkey-chief suddenly broke and
fled. And seeing those foremost of monkeys suddenly give way, that tiger
among monkeys, Hanuman, the son of Pavana, began to advance. And
beholding the son of Pavana staying still on the field of battle, the
retreating monkeys, O king, one and all quickly rallied. Then mighty and
great and fearful was the uproar that arose there in consequence of the
warriors of Rama and Ravana rushing against each other. And in that
battle which raged terribly the field soon became miry with blood. And
Dhumraksha afflicted the monkey-host with volleys of winged shafts. Then
that vanquisher of foes, Hanuman, the son of Pavana, quickly seized that
advancing leader of the Rakshasa. And the encounter that took place
between that monkey and the Rakshasa hero, each desirous of defeating
the other, was fierce and terrible, like that of Indra and Prahlada (in
days of yore). And the Rakshasa struck the monkey with his maces and
spiked clubs while the monkey struck the Rakshasa with trunks of trees
unshorn of their branches. Then Hanuman, the son of Pavana, slew in
great wrath that Rakshasa along with his charioteer and horses and broke
his chariot also into pieces. And beholding Dhumraksha, that foremost of
Rakshasa, thus slain, the monkeys, abandoning all fear, rushed against
the Rakshasa army with great valour. And slaughtered in large numbers by
the victorious and powerful monkeys, the Rakshasas became dispirited and
fled in fear to Lanka. And the surviving wreck of the Rakshasa army,
having reached the city, informed king Ravana of everything that had
happened. And hearing from them that Prahasta and that mighty archer
Dhumraksha, had both, with their armies, been slain by the powerful
monkeys, Ravana drew a deep sigh and springing up from his excellent
seat, said,--the time is come for Kumbhakarna to act.--And having said
this, he awoke, by means of various loud-sounding instruments, his
brother Kumbhakarna from his deep and prolonged slumbers. And having
awaked him with great efforts, the Rakshasa king, still afflicted with
anxiety, addressed the mighty Kumbhakarna and said unto him when seated
at his ease on his bed, having perfectly recovered consciousness and
self-possession, these words, "Thou, indeed, art happy, O Kumbhakarna,
that canst enjoy profound and undisturbed repose, unconscious of the
terrible calamity that hath overtaken us! Rama with his monkey host hath
crossed the Ocean by a bridge and disregarding us all is waging a
terrible war (against us). I have stealthily brought away his wife Sita,
the daughter of Janaka, and it is to recover her that he hath come
hither, after having made a bridge over the great Ocean. Our great
kinsmen also, Prahasta and others, have already been slain by him. And,
O scourge of thy enemies, there is not another person, save thee, that
can slay Rama! Therefore, O warrior, putting on thy armour, do thou set
out this day for the purpose of vanquishing Rama and his followers! The
two younger brothers of Dushana, viz., Vajravega and Promathin, will
join thee with their forces!" And having said this unto the mighty
Kumbhakarna. the Rakshasa king gave instructions to Vajravega and
Promathin as to what they should do. And accepting his advice, those two
warlike brothers of Dushana quickly marched out of the city, preceded by


"Markandeya said, 'Then Kumbhakarna set out from the city, accompanied
by his followers. And soon he beheld the victorious monkey troops
encamped before him. And passing them by with the object of seeking out
Rama, he beheld the son of Sumitra standing at his post, bow in hand.
Then the monkey warriors, speedily advancing towards him, surrounded him
on all sides. And then they commenced to strike him with numberless
large trees. And many amongst them fearlessly began to tear his body
with their nails. And those monkeys began to fight with him in various
ways approved by the laws of warfare. And they soon overwhelmed that
chief of the Rakshasas with a shower of terrible weapons of various
kinds. And attacked by them thus, Kumbhakarna only laughed at them and
began to eat them up. And he devoured those foremost of monkeys known by
the name of Chala, and Chandachala, and Vajravahu. And beholding that
fearful act of the _Rakshasa_, other monkeys were frightened and set
forth a loud wail of fear. And hearing the screams of those
monkey-leaders, Sugriva boldly advanced towards Kumbhakarna. And that
high-souled king of the monkeys swiftly approaching the _Rakshasa_,
violently struck him on the head with the trunk of a _Sala_ tree. And
though the high-souled Sugriva always prompt in action broke that _Sala_
tree on the head of Kumbhakarna, he failed to make any impression on
that _Rakshasa_. And then, as if roused from his torpor by that blow,
Kumbhakarna stretching forth his arms seized Sugriva by main force. And
beholding Sugriva dragged away by the _Rakshasa_, the heroic son of
Sumitra, that delighter of his friends, rushed towards Kumbhakarna. And
that slayer of hostile heroes, Lakshmana, advancing towards Kumbhakarna,
discharged at him an impetuous and mighty arrow furnished with golden
wings. And that arrow, cutting through his coat of mail and penetrating
into his body, passed through it outright and struck into the earth,
stained with the _Rakshasa's_ blood. Kumbhakarna then, having his breast
thus bored through, released the king of monkeys. And taking up a huge
mass of stone as his weapon, the mighty warrior Kumbhakarna then rushed
towards the son of Sumitra, aiming it at him. And as the _Rakshasa_
rushed towards him, Lakshmana cut off his upraised arms by means of a
couple of keen-edged shafts furnished with heads resembling razors. But
as soon as the two arms of the Rakshasa were thus cut off, double that
number of arms soon appeared on his person. Sumitra's son, however,
displaying his skill in weapons, soon by means of similar arrows cut off
those arms also, each of which had seized a mass of stone. At this, that
_Rakshasa_ assumed a form enormously huge and furnished with numerous
heads and legs and arms. Then the son of Sumitra rived, with a _Brahma_
weapon, that warrior looking like an assemblage of hill. And rent by
means of that celestial weapon, that _Rakshasa_ fell on the field of
battle like a huge tree with spreading branches suddenly consumed by
heaven's thunderbolt. And beholding Kumbhakarna endued with great
activity and resembling the _Asura_ Vritra himself, deprived of life and
prostrated on the field of battle, the _Rakshasa_ warriors fled in fear.
And beholding the _Rakshasa_ warriors running away from the field of
battle, the younger brother of Dushana, rallying them, rushed in great
wrath upon the son of Sumitra. Sumitra's son, however, with a loud roar,
received with his winged shafts both those wrathful warriors, Vajravega
and Promathin, rushing towards him. The battle then, O son of Pritha,
that took place between those two younger brothers of Dushana on the one
hand and the intelligent Lakshmana on the other, was exceedingly furious
and made the bristles of the spectators stand on end. And Lakshmana
overwhelmed the two _Rakshasas_ with a perfect shower of arrows. And
those two _Rakshasa_ heroes, on the other hand, both of them excited
with fury, covered Lakshmana with an arrowy hail. And that terrible
encounter between Vajravega and Promathin and the mighty-armed Lakshmana
lasted for a short while. And Hanuman, the son of Pavana, taking up a
mountain peak, rushed towards one of the brothers, and with that weapon
took the life of the Rakshasa Vajravega. And that mighty monkey, Nala,
also, with a large mass of rock, crushed Promathin, that other younger
brother of Dushana. The deadly struggle, however, between the soldiers
of Rama and Ravana, rushing against one another, instead of coming to an
end even after this, raged on as before. And hundreds of _Rakshasas_
were slain by the denizens of the forest, while many of the latter were
slain by the former. The loss, however, in killed, of the _Rakshasas_
was far greater than that of the monkeys.


"Markandeya said, 'Learning that Kumbhakarna had with his followers,
fallen in battle as also that great warrior Prahasta, and Dhumraksha too
of mighty energy, Ravana then addressed his heroic son Indrajit saying,
"O slayer of foes, slay thou in battle Rama and Sugriva and Lakshmana.
My good son, it was by thee that this blazing fame of mine had been
acquired by vanquishing in battle that wielder of the thunderbolt, the
thousand-eyed Lord of Sachi! Having the power of appearing and vanishing
at thy will, slay thou, O smiter of foes, my enemies by means, O thou
foremost of all wielders of weapons, of thy celestial arrows received as
boons (from the gods)! Rama and Lakshmana and Sugriva are incapable of
enduring the bare touch of thy weapons. What shall I say, therefore, of
their followers? That cessation of hostilities which could not be
brought about by either Prahasta or Kumbhakarna in battle, be it thine,
O mighty-armed one, to bring about! Slaying my enemies with all their
army by means of thy keen-edged shafts, enhance my joy to-day, O son, as
thou didst once before by vanquishing Vasava!" Thus addressed by him,
Indrajit said--So be it,--and encased in mail he quickly ascended his
chariot, and proceeded, O king, towards the field of battle. And then
that bull amongst _Rakshasas_ loudly announcing his own name, challenged
Lakshmana endued with auspicious marks, to a single combat. And
Lakshmana, thus challenged, rushed towards that _Rakshasa_, with his bow
and arrows, and striking terror into his adversary's heart by means of
the flapping of his bow-string on the leathern case of his left hand.
And the encounter that took place between those warriors that defied
each other's prowess and each of whom was desirous of vanquishing the
other, and both of whom were conversant with celestial weapons, was
terrible in the extreme. But when the son of Ravana found that he could
not by his arrows gain any advantage over his adversary, that foremost
of mighty warriors mustered all his energy. And Indrajit then began to
hurl at Lakshmana with great force numberless javelins. The son of
Sumitra, however, cut them into fragments by means of his own keen-edged
arrows. And those javelins, thus cut into pieces by the keen-edged
arrows of Lakshmana, dropped down upon the ground. Then the handsome
Angada, the son of Vali, taking up a large tree, rushed impetuously at
Indrajit and struck him with it on the head. Undaunted at this, Indrajit
of mighty energy sought to smite Angada with a lance. Just at that
juncture, however, Lakshmana cut into pieces the lance taken up by
Ravana's son. The son of Ravana then took up a mace and struck on the
left flank that foremost of monkeys, the heroic Angada who was then
staying close beside him. Angada, the powerful son of Vali, little
recking that stroke, hurled at Indrajit a mighty Sala stem. And hurled
in wrath by Angada for the destruction of Indrajit, that tree, O son of
Pritha, destroyed Indrajit's chariot along with his horses and
charioteer. And thereupon jumping from his horseless and driverless car,
the son of Ravana disappeared from sight, O king, by aid of his powers
of illusion. And beholding that _Rakshasa_, abundantly endued with
powers of illusion, disappear so suddenly, Rama proceeded towards that
spot and began to protect his troops with care. Indrajit, however, with
arrows, obtained as boons from the gods, began to pierce both Rama and
mighty Lakshmana in every part of their bodies. Then the heroic Rama and
Lakshmana both continued to contend with their arrows against Ravana's
son who had made himself invisible by his powers of illusion. But
Indrajit continued to shower in wrath all over those lions among men his
keen-edged shafts by hundreds and thousands. And seeking that invisible
warrior who was ceaselessly showering his arrows, the monkeys penetrated
into every part of the firmament, armed with huge masses of stone. Them
as well as the two brothers, however, the invisible _Rakshasa_ began to
afflict with his shafts. Indeed, the son of Ravana, concealing himself
by his powers of illusion, furiously attacked the monkey host. And the
heroic brothers Rama and Lakshmana, pierced all over with arrows,
dropped down on the ground like the Sun and the Moon fallen down from
the firmament.'"


"Markandeya said, 'Beholding both the brothers Rama and Lakshmana
prostrate on the ground, the son of Ravana tied them in a net-work of
those arrows of his which he had obtained as boons. And tied by Indrajit
on the field of battle by means of that arrowy net, those heroic tigers
among men resembled a couple of hawks immured in a cage. And beholding
those heroes prostrate on the ground pierced with hundreds of arrows,
Sugriva with all the monkeys stood surrounding them on all sides. And
the king of the monkeys stood there, accompanied by Sushena and Mainda
and Dwivida, and Kumuda and Angada and Hanuman and Nila and Tara and
Nala. And Vibhishana, having achieved success in another part of the
field, soon arrived at that spot, and roused those heroes from
insensibility, awakening them by means of the weapon called
_Prajna_.[60] Then Sugriva soon extracted the arrows from their bodies.
And by means of that most efficacious medicine called the _Visalya_,[61]
applied with celestial _mantras_, those human heroes regained their
consciousness. And the arrow having been extracted from their bodies,
those mighty warriors in a moment rose from their recumbent posture,
their pains and fatigue thoroughly alleviated. And beholding Rama the
descendant of Ikshwaku's race, quite at his ease, Vibhishana, O son of
Pritha, joining his hands, told him these words, "O chastiser of foes,
at the command of the king of the Guhyakas, a Guhyaka hath come from the
White mountains, bringing with him his water![62] O great king, this
water is a present to thee from Kuvera, so that all creatures that are
invisible may, O chastiser of foes, become visible to thee! This water
laved over the eyes will make every invisible creature visible to thee,
as also to any other person to whom thou mayst give it!"--Saying--_So be
it_,--Rama took that sacred water, and sanctified his own eyes
therewith. And the high-minded Lakshmana also did the same. And Sugriva
and Jambuvan, and Hanuman and Angada, and Mainda and Dwivida, and Nila
and many other foremost of the monkeys, laved their eyes with that
water. And thereupon it exactly happened as Vibhishana had said, for, O
Yudhishthira, soon did the eyes of all these became capable of beholding
things that could not be seen by the unassisted eye!

[60] This weapon could restore an insensible warrior to
consciousness, as the Sam-mohana weapon could deprive one of

[61] Visalya a medicinal plant of great efficacy in healing cuts
and wounds. It is still cultivated in several parts of Bengal. A
medical friend of the writer tested the efficacy of the plant
known by that name and found it to be much superior to either
gallic acid or tannic acid in stopping blood.

[62] The Guhyakas occupy, in Hindu mythology, a position next
only to that of the gods, and superior to that of the Gandharvas
who are the celestial choristers. The White mountain is another
name of Kailasa, the peak where Siva hath his abode.

"'Meanwhile, Indrajit, after the success he had won, went to his father.
And having informed him of the feats he had achieved, he speedily
returned to the field of battle and placed himself at the van of his
army. The son of Sumitra then, under Vibhishana's guidance, rushed
towards that wrathful son of Ravana coming back, from desire of battle,
to lead the attack. And Lakshmana, excited to fury and receiving a hint
from Vibhishana, and desiring to slay Indrajit who had not completed his
daily sacrifice, smote with his arrows that warrior burning to achieve
success. And desirous of vanquishing each other, the encounter that took
place between them was exceedingly wonderful like that (in days of yore)
between the Lord of celestials and Prahrada. And Indrajit pierced the
son of Sumitra with arrows penetrating into his very vitals. And the son
of Sumitra also pierced Ravana's son with arrows of fiery energy. And
pierced with Lakshmana's arrows, the son of Ravana became senseless with
wrath. And he shot at Lakshmana eight shafts fierce as venomous snakes.
Listen now, O Yudhishthira, as I tell thee how the heroic son of Sumitra
then took his adversary's life by means of three winged arrows possessed
of the energy and effulgence of fire! With one of these, he severed from
Indrajit's body that arm of his enemy which had grasped the bow. With
the second he caused that other arm which had held the arrows, to drop
down on the ground. With the third that was bright and possessed of the
keenest edge, he cut off his head decked with a beautiful nose and
bright with earrings. And shorn of arms and head, the trunk became
fearful to behold. And having slain the foe thus, that foremost of
mighty men then slew with his arrows the charioteer of his adversary.
And the horses then dragged away the empty chariot into the city. And
Ravana then beheld that car without his son on it. And hearing that his
son had been slain, Ravana suffered his heart to be overpowered with
grief. And under the influence of extreme grief and affliction, the king
of the Rakshasas suddenly cherished the desire of killing the princess
of Mithila. And seizing a sword, the wicked Rakshasa hastily ran towards
that lady staying within the _Asoka_ wood longing to behold her lord.
Then Avindhya beholding that sinful purpose of the wicked wretch,
appeased his fury. Listen, O Yudhishthira, to the reasons urged by
Avindhya! That wise Rakshasa said, "Placed as thou art on the blazing
throne of an empire, it behoveth thee not to slay a woman! Besides, this
woman is already slain, considering that she is a captive in thy power!
I think, she would not be slain if only her body were destroyed. Slay
thou her husband! He being slain, she will be slain too! Indeed, not
even he of an hundred sacrifices (Indra) is thy equal in prowess! The
gods with Indra at their head, had repeatedly been affrighted by thee in
battle!" With these and many other words of the same import, Avindhya
succeeded in appeasing Ravana. And the latter did, indeed, listen to his
counsellor's speech. And that wanderer of the night, then, resolved to
give battle himself, sheathed his sword, and issued orders for preparing
his chariot.'"


"Markandeya said, 'The Ten-necked (Ravana), excited to fury at the death
of his beloved son, ascended his car decked with gold and gems. And
surrounded by terrible _Rakshasas_ with various kinds of weapons in
their hands, Ravana rushed towards Rama, fighting with numerous
monkey-chiefs. And beholding him rushing in wrath towards the monkey
army, Mainda and Nila and Nala and Angada, and Hanuman and Jambuvan,
surrounded him with all their troops. And those foremost of monkeys and
bears began to exterminate with trunks of trees, the soldiers of the
Ten-necked (Ravana), in his very sight. And beholding the enemy
slaughtering his troops, the _Rakshasa_ king, Ravana, possessed of great
powers of illusion, began to put them forth. And forth from his body
began to spring hundreds and thousands of _Rakshasas_ armed with arrows
and lances and double-edged swords in hand. Rama, however, with a
celestial weapon slew all those _Rakshasas_. The king of the _Rakshasas_
then once more put forth his prowess of illusion. The Ten-faced,
producing from his body numerous warriors resembling, O Bharata, both
Rama and Lakshmana, rushed towards the two brothers. And then those
_Rakshasas_, hostile to Rama and Lakshmana and armed with bows and
arrows, rushed towards Rama, and beholding that power of illusion put
forth by the king of _Rakshasas_, that descendant of Ikshwaku's race,
the son of Sumitra, addressed Rama in these heroic words, "Slay those
_Rakshasas_, those wretches with forms like thy own!" And Rama,
thereupon slew those and other _Rakshasas_ of forms resembling his own.
And that time Matali, the charioteer of Indra, approached Rama on the
field of battle, with a car effulgent as the Sun and unto which were
yoked horses of a tawny hue. And Matali said, "O son of Kakutstha's
race, this excellent and victorious car, unto which have been yoked this
pair of tawny horses, belongs to the Lord of celestials! It is on this
excellent car, O tiger among men, that Indra hath slain in battle
hundreds of _Daityas_ and _Danavas_! Therefore, O tiger among men, do
thou, riding on the car driven by me, quickly slay Ravana in battle! Do
not delay in achieving this!" Thus addressed by him, the descendant of
Raghu's race, however, doubted the truthful words of Matali, thinking
this is another illusion produced by the _Rakshasas_--Vibhishana then
addressed him saying, "This, O tiger among men, is no illusion of the
wicked Ravana! Ascend thou this chariot quickly, for this, O thou of
great effulgence, belongeth to Indra!" The descendant of Kakutstha then
cheerfully said unto Vibhishana, "So be it", and riding on that car,
rushed wrathfully upon Ravana. And when Ravana, too, rushed against his
antagonist, a loud wail of woe was set up by the creatures of the Earth,
while the celestials in heaven sent forth a leonine roar accompanied by
beating of large drums. The encounter then that took place between the
Ten-necked _Rakshasa_ and that prince of Raghu's race, was fierce in the
extreme. Indeed, that combat between them hath no parallel elsewhere.
And the _Rakshasa_ hurled at Rama a terrible javelin looking like
Indra's thunderbolt and resembling a Brahmana's curse on the point of
utterance.[63] Rama, however, quickly cut into fragments that javelin by
means of his sharp arrows. And beholding that most difficult feat,
Ravana was struck with fear. But soon his wrath was excited and the
Ten-necked hero began to shower on Rama whetted arrows by thousands and
tens of thousands and countless weapons of various kinds, such as
rockets and javelins and maces and battle-axes and darts of various
kinds and Shataghnis and _whetted shafts_. And beholding that terrible
form of illusion displayed by the Ten-necked _Rakshasa_, the monkeys
fled in fear in all directions. Then the descendant of Kakutstha, taking
out of his quiver an excellent arrow furnished with handsome wings and
golden feathers and a bright and beautiful head, fixed it on the bow
with _Brahmasira_ mantra. And beholding that excellent arrow transformed
by Rama, with proper _mantras_ into a Brahma weapon, the celestials and
the Gandharvas with Indra at their head, began to rejoice. And the gods
and the _Danavas_ and the _Kinnaras_ were led by the display of that
_Brahma_ weapon to regard the life of their Rakshasa foe almost closed.
Then Rama shot that terrible weapon of unrivalled energy, destined to
compass Ravana's death, and resembling the curse of a Brahmana on the
point of utterance. And as soon, O Bharata, as that arrow was shot by
Rama from his bow drawn to a circle, the _Rakshasa_ king with his
chariot and charioteer and horses blazed up, surrounded on all sides by
a terrific fire. And beholding Ravana slain by Rama of famous
achievements, the celestials, with the _Gandharvas_ and the _Charanas_,
rejoiced exceedingly. And deprived of universal dominion by the energy
of the Brahma weapon, the five elements forsook the illustrious Ravana,
and were consumed by the _Brahma_ weapon, the physical ingredients of
Ravana's body. His flesh and blood were all reduced to nothingness,--so
that the ashes even could not be seen.'"

[63] According to both Vyasa and Valmiki, there is nothing so
fierce as a Brahmana's curse. The very thunderbolt of Indra is
weak compared to a Brahmana's curse. The reason is obvious. The
thunder smites the individual at whom it may be aimed. The curse
of Brahmana smites the whole race, whole generation, whole


"Markandeya said, 'Having slain Ravana, that wretched king of the
_Rakshasas_ and foe of the celestials, Rama with his friends and
Sumitra's son rejoiced exceedingly. And after the Ten-necked
(_Rakshasa_) hath been slain, the celestials with the _Rishis_ at their
head, worshipped Rama of mighty arms, blessing and uttering the word
_Jaya_ repeatedly. And all the celestials and the _Gandharvas_ and the
denizens of the celestial regions gratified Rama of eyes like lotus
leaves, with hymns and flowery showers. And having duly worshipped Rama,
they all went away to those regions whence they had come. And, O thou of
unfading glory, the firmament at that time looked as if a great festival
was being celebrated.

"'And having slain the Ten-necked _Rakshasa_, the lord Rama of worldwide
fame, that conqueror of hostile cities, bestowed Lanka on Vibhishana.
Then that old and wise counsellor (of Ravana) known by the name of
Avindhya, with Sita walking before him but behind Vibhishana who was at
the front, came out of the city. And with great humility Avindhya said
unto the illustrious descendant of Kakutstha, "O illustrious one, accept
thou this goddess, Janaka's daughter of excellent conduct!" Hearing
these words, the descendant of Ikshwaku's race alighted from his
excellent chariot and beheld Sita bathed in tears. And beholding that
beautiful lady seated within her vehicle, afflicted with grief,
besmeared with filth, with matted locks on head, and attired in dirty
robes, Rama, afraid of the loss of his honour, said unto her, "Daughter
of Videha, go withersover thou likest! Thou art now free! What should
have been done by me, hath been done! O blessed lady, owning me for thy
husband, it is not meet that thou shouldst grow old in the abode of the
_Rakshasa_! It is for this I have slain that wanderer of the night! But
how can one like us, acquainted with every truth of morality, embrace
even for a moment a woman that had fallen into other's hands? O princess
of Mithila whether thou art chaste or unchaste, I dare not enjoy thee,
now that thou art like sacrificial butter lapped by a dog!" Hearing
these cruel words, that adorable girl suddenly fell down in great
affliction of heart, like a plantain tree severed from its roots. And
the colour that was suffusing her face in consequence of the joy she had
felt, quickly disappeared, like watery particles on a mirror blown
thereon by the breath of the mouth. And hearing these words of Rama, all
the monkeys also with Lakshmana became still as dead. Then the divine
and pure-souled Brahma of four faces, that Creator of the Universe
himself sprung from a lotus, showed himself on his car to Raghu's son.
And Sakra and Agni and Vayu, and Yama and Varuna and the illustrious
Lord of the _Yakshas_, and the holy _Rishis_, and king Dasaratha also in
a celestial and effulgent form and on car drawn by swans, showed
themselves. And then the firmament crowded with celestials and
_Gandharvas_ became as beautiful as the autumnal welkin spangled with
stars. And rising up from the ground, the blessed and famous princess of
Videha, in the midst of those present spoke unto Rama of wide chest,
these words, "O prince, I impute no fault to thee, for thou art well
acquainted with the behaviour that one should adopt towards both men and
women. But hear thou these words of mine! The ever-moving Air is always
present within every creature. If I have sinned, let him forsake my
vital forces! If I have sinned, Oh, then let Fire, and Water, and Space,
and Earth, like Air (whom I have already invoked), also forsake my vital
forces! And as, O hero, I have never, even in my dreams, cherished the
image of any other person, so be thou my lord as appointed by the gods."
After Sita had spoken, a sacred voice, resounding through the whole of
that region, was heard in the skies, gladdening the hearts of the
high-souled monkeys. And the Wind-god was heard to say, "O son of Raghu,
what Sita hath said is true! I am the god of Wind. The princess of
Mithila is sinless! Therefore, O king, be united with thy wife!" And the
god of Fire said, "O son of Raghu, I dwell within the bodies of all
creatures! O descendant of Kakutstha, the princess of Mithila is not
guilty of even the minutest fault!" And Varuna then said, "O son of
Raghu, the humours in every creature's body derive their existence from
me! I tell thee, let the princess of Mithila be accepted by thee!" And
Brahma himself then said, "O descendant of Kakutstha, O son, in thee
that art honest and pure and conversant with the duties of royal sages,
this conduct is not strange. Listen, however, to these words of mine!
Thou hast, O hero, slain this enemy of the gods, the _Gandharvas_, the
_Nagas_, the _Yakshas_, the _Danavas_, and the great _Rishis_! It was
through my grace that he had hitherto been unslayable of all creatures.
And indeed, it was for some reason that I had tolerated him for some
time! The wretch, however, abducted Sita for his own destruction. And as
regards Sita, I protected her through Nalakuvera's curse. For that
person had cursed Ravana of old, saying, that if he ever approached an
unwilling woman, his head should certainly be split into a hundred
fragments. Let no suspicion, therefore, be thine! O thou of great glory,
accept thy wife! Thou hast indeed, achieved a mighty feat for the
benefit of the gods, O thou that art of divine effulgence!" And last of
all Dasaratha said, "I have been gratified with thee, O child! Blessed
be thou, I am thy father Dasaratha! I command thee to take back thy
wife, and rule thy kingdom, O thou foremost of men!" Rama then replied,
"If thou art my father, I salute thee with reverence, O king of kings! I
shall indeed, return, at thy command, to the delightful city of

"Markandeya continued, 'Thus addressed, his father, O bull of the
Bharata race, gladly answered Rama, the corners of whose eyes were of a
reddish hue, saying, "Return to Ayodhya and rule thou that kingdom! O
thou of great glory, thy fourteen years (of exile) have been completed."
Thus addressed by Dasaratha, Rama bowed to the gods, and saluted by his
friends he was united with his wife, like the Lord of the celestials
with the daughter of Puloman. And that chastiser of foes then gave a
boon to Avindhya. And he also bestowed both riches and honours on the
_Rakshasa_ woman named _Trijata_. And when Brahma with all the
celestials having Indra at their head, said unto Rama, "O thou that
ownest Kausalya for thy mother, what boons after thy heart shall we
grant thee?" Rama, thereupon, prayed them to grant him firm adherence to
virtues and invincibility in respect of all foes. And he also asked for
the restoration to life of all those monkeys that had been slain by the
_Rakshasas_, and after Brahma had said--So be it, those monkeys, O king,
restored to life, rose up from the field of battle, and Sita too, of
great good fortune, granted unto Hanuman a boon, saying, "Let thy life,
O son, last as long as (the fame of) Rama's achievements! And, O Hanuman
of yellow eyes, let celestial viands and drinks be ever available to
thee through my grace!"'

"'Then the celestials with Indra at their head all disappeared in the
very sight of those warriors of spotless achievements. And beholding
Rama united with the daughter of Janaka, the charioteer of Sakra, highly
pleased, addressed him in the midst of friends, and said these words, "O
thou of prowess that can never be baffled thou hast dispelled the sorrow
of the celestials, the _Gandharvas_, the _Yakshas_, the _Asuras_, the
_Nagas_, and human beings! As long, therefore, as the Earth will hold
together, so long will all creatures with the celestials, the _Asuras_,
the _Gandharvas_, the _Yakshas_, the _Rakshasas_, and the _Pannagas_,
speak of thee." And having said these words unto Rama, Matali worshipped
that son of Raghu, and having obtained the leave of that foremost of
wielders of weapons, he went away, on that same chariot of solar
effulgence. And Rama also, with Sumatra's son and Vibhishana, and
accompanied by all the monkeys with Sugriva at their head, placing Sita
in the van and having made arrangements for the protection of Lanka,
recrossed the ocean by the same bridge. And he rode on that beautiful
and sky-ranging chariot called the _Pushpaka_ that was capable of going
everywhere at the will of the rider. And that subduer of passions was
surrounded by his principal counsellors in order of precedence. And
arriving at that part of the sea-shore where he had formerly laid
himself down, the virtuous king, with all the monkeys, pitched his
temporary abode. And the son of Raghu then, bringing the monkeys before
him in due time, worshipped them all, and gratifying them with presents
of jewels and gems, dismissed them one after another. And after all the
monkey-chiefs, and the apes with bovine tails, and the bears, had gone
away, Rama re-entered Kishkindhya with Sugriva. And accompanied by both
Vibhishana and Sugriva, Rama re-entered Kishkindhya riding on the
_Pushpaka_ car and showing the princess of Videha the woods along the
way. And having arrived at Kishkindhya, Rama, that foremost of all
smiters, installed the successful Angada as prince-regent of the
kingdom. And accompanied by the same friends as also by Sumitra's son,
Rama proceeded towards his city along the same path by which he had
come. And having reached the city of Ayodhya, the king despatched
Hanuman thence as envoy to Bharata. And Hanuman, having ascertained
Bharata's intentions from external indications, gave him the good news
(of Rama's arrival). And after the son of Pavana had come back, Rama
entered _Nandigrama_. And having entered that town, Rama beheld Bharata
besmeared with filth and attired in rags and seated with his elder
brother's sandals placed before him. And being united, O bull of Bharata
race, with both Bharata and Shatrughna, the mighty son of Raghu, along
with Sumitra's son, began to rejoice exceedingly. And Bharata and
Shatrughna also, united with their eldest brother, and beholding Sita,
both derived great pleasure. And Bharata then, after having worshipped
his returned brother, made over to him with great pleasure, the kingdom
that had been in his hands as a sacred trust. And Vasishtha and Vamadeva
then together installed that hero in the sovereignty (of Ayodhya) at the
eighth Muhurta[64] of the day under the asterism called _Sravana_. And
after his installation was over, Rama gave leave to well-pleased Sugriva
the king of the monkeys, along with all his followers, as also to
rejoicing Vibhishana of Pulastya's race, to return to their respective
abodes. And having worshipped them with various articles of enjoyment,
and done everything that was suitable to the occasion, Rama dismissed
those friends of his with a sorrowful heart. And the son of Raghu then,
having worshiped that _Pushpaka_ chariot, joyfully gave it back unto
Vaisravana. And then assisted by the celestial _Rishi_ (Vasishtha), Rama
performed on the banks of the _Gomati_ ten horse-sacrifices without
obstruction of any kind and with treble presents unto Brahmanas.'"

[64] Abhijit is lit. the eighth muhurta of the day, a muhurta
being equal to an hour of 48 minutes, i.e. the thirtieth part of
a whole day and night. The Vaishnava asterism is as explained by
Nilakantha, the Sravava.


"Markandeya said, 'It was thus, O mighty-armed one, that Rama of
immeasurable energy had suffered of old such excessive calamity in
consequence of his exile in the woods! O tiger among men, do not grieve,
for, O chastiser of foes, thou art _Kshatriya_! Thou too treadest in the
path in which strength of arms is to be put forth,--the path that
leadeth to tangible rewards. Thou hast not even a particle of sin. Even
the celestials with Indra at their head, and the _Asuras_ have to tread
in the path that is trod by thee! It was after such afflictions that the
wielder of the thunderbolt, aided by the _Maruts_, slew _Vritra_, and
the invincible _Namuchi_ and the Rakshasi of long tongue! He that hath
assistance, always secureth the accomplishment of all his purposes! What
is that which cannot be vanquished in battle by him that hath Dhananjaya
for his brother? This Bhima, also, of terrible prowess, is the foremost
of mighty persons. The heroic and youthful sons of Madravati again are
mighty bowmen. With allies such as these, why dost thou despair, O
chastiser of foes? These are capable of vanquishing the army of the
wielder himself of the thunderbolt with the _Maruts_ in the midst.
Having these mighty bowmen of celestial forms for thy allies, thou, O
bull of Bharata race, art sure to conquer in battle all thy foes!
Behold, this Krishna, the daughter of Drupada, forcibly abducted by the
wicked-minded Saindhava from pride of strength and energy, hath been
brought back by these mighty warriors after achieving terrible feats!
Behold, king Jayadratha was vanquished and lay powerless before thee!
The princess of Videha was rescued with almost no allies by Rama after
the slaughter in battle of the Ten-necked _Rakshasa_ of terrible
prowess! Indeed, the allies of Rama (in that contest) were monkeys and
black-faced bears, creatures that were not even human! Think of all
this, O king, in thy mind! Therefore, O foremost of Kurus, grieve not
for all (that hath occurred), O bull of the Bharata race! Illustrious
persons like thee never indulge in sorrow, O smiter of foes!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "It was thus that the king was comforted by
Markandeya. And then that high-souled one, casting off his sorrows, once
more spoke unto Markandeya."


(_Pativrata-mahatmya Parva_)

"Yudhishthira said, 'O mighty sage, I do not so much grieve for myself
or these my brothers or the loss of my kingdom as I do for this daughter
of Drupada. When we were afflicted at the game of the dice by those
wicked-souled ones, it was Krishna that delivered us. And she was
forcibly carried off from the forest by Jayadratha. Hast thou even seen
or heard of any chaste and exalted lady that resembleth this daughter of

"Markandeya said, 'Listen, O king, how the exalted merit of chaste
ladies, O Yudhishthira, was completely obtained by a princess named
Savitri. There was a king among the Madras, who was virtuous and highly
pious. And he always ministered unto the Brahmanas, and was high-souled
and firm in promise. And he was of subdued senses and given to
sacrifices. And he was the foremost of givers, and was able, and beloved
by both the citizens and the rural population. And the name of that lord
of Earth was Aswapati. And he was intent on the welfare of all beings.
And that forgiving (monarch) of truthful speech and subdued senses was
without issue. And when he got old, he was stricken with grief at this.
And with the object of raising offspring, he observed rigid vows and
began to live upon frugal fare, having recourse to the Brahmacharya mode
of life, and restraining his senses. And that best of kings, (daily)
offering ten thousand oblations to the fire, recited Mantras in honour
of _Savitri_[65] and ate temperately at the sixth hour. And he passed
eighteen years, practising such vows. Then when the eighteen years were
full, _Savitri_ was pleased (with him). And O king, issuing with great
delight, in embodied form, from the _Agnihotra_ fire, the goddess showed
herself to that king. And intent on conferring boons, she spoke these
words unto the monarch, "I have been gratified, O king, with thy
_Brahmacharya_ practices, thy purity and self-restraint and observance
of vows, and all thy endeavours and veneration! Do thou, O mighty king,
O Aswapati, ask for the boon that thou desirest! Thou ought, however, by
no means show any disregard for virtue." Thereat Aswapati said, "It is
with the desire of attaining virtue that I have been engaged in this
task. O goddess, may many sons be born unto me worthy of my race! If
thou art pleased with me, O goddess, I ask for this boon. The twice-born
ones have assured me that great merit lieth in having offspring!"
_Savitri_ replied, "O king, having already learnt this thy intention, I
had spoken unto that lord, the Grandsire, about thy sons. Through the
favour granted by the Self-create, there shall speedily be born unto
thee on earth a daughter of great energy. It behoveth thee not to make
any reply. Well-pleased, I tell thee this at the command of the

[65] Also called Gayatri, the wife of Brahma.

"Markandeya said, 'Having accepted _Savitri's_ words and saying, "_So be
it!_" the king again gratified her and said, "May this happen soon!" On
_Savitri_ vanishing away, the monarch entered his own city. And that
hero began to live in his kingdom, ruling his subjects righteously. And
when some time had elapsed, that king, observant of vows, begat
offspring on his eldest queen engaged in the practice of virtue. And
then, O bull of the Bharata race, the embryo in the womb of the princess
of Malava increased like the lord of stars in the heavens during the
lighted fortnight. And when the time came, she brought forth a daughter
furnished with lotus-like eyes. And that best of monarchs, joyfully
performed the usual ceremonies on her behalf. And as she had been
bestowed with delight by the goddess _Savitri_ by virtue of the
oblations offered in honour of that goddess, both her father, and the
Brahmanas named her _Savitri_. And the king's daughter grew like unto
_Sree_ herself in an embodied form. And in due time, that damsel
attained her puberty. And beholding that graceful maiden of slender
waist and ample hips, and resembling a golden image, people thought, "We
have received a goddess." And overpowered by her energy, none could wed
that girl of eyes like lotus-leaves, and possessed of a burning

"'And it came to pass that once on the occasion of a _parva_, having
fasted and bathed her head, she presented herself before the (family)
deity and caused the Brahmanas to offer oblations with due rites to the
sacrificial fire. And taking the flowers that had been offered to the
god, that lady, beautiful as _Sree_ herself, went to her high-souled
sire. And having reverenced the feet of her father and offering him the
flowers she had brought, that maiden of exceeding grace, with joined
hands, stood at the side of the king. And seeing his own daughter
resembling a celestial damsel arrived at puberty, and unsought by
people, the king became sad. And the king said, "Daughter, the time for
bestowing thee is come! Yet none asketh thee. Do thou (therefore)
thyself seek for a husband equal to thee in qualities! That person who
may be desired by thee should be notified to me. Do thou choose for thy
husband as thou listest. I shall bestow thee with deliberation. Do thou,
O auspicious one, listen to me as I tell thee the words which I heard
recited by the twice-born ones. The father that doth not bestow his
daughter cometh by disgrace. And the husband that knoweth not his wife
in her season meeteth with disgrace. And the son that doth not protect
his mother when her husband is dead, also suffereth disgrace. Hearing
these words of mine, do thou engage thyself in search of a husband. Do
thou act in such a way that we may not be censured by the gods!"'

"Markandeya said, 'Having said these words to his daughter and his old
counsellors, he instructed the attendants to follow her, saying,--_Go!_
Thereat, bashfully bowing down unto her father's feet, the meek maid
went out without hesitation, in compliance with the words of her sire.
And ascending a golden car, she went to the delightful asylum of the
royal sages, accompanied by her father's aged counsellors. There, O son,
worshipping the feet of the aged ones, she gradually began to roam over
all the woods. Thus the king's daughter distributing wealth in all
sacred regions, ranged the various places belonging to the foremost of
the twice-born ones.'"


"Markandeya continued, 'On one occasion, O Bharata, when that king, the
lord of the Madras, was seated with Narada in the midst of his court,
engaged in conversation, Savitri, accompanied by the king's counsellors,
came to her father's abode after having visited various sacred regions
and asylums. And beholding her father seated with Narada, she worshipped
the feet of both by bending down her head. And Narada then said,
"Whither had this thy daughter gone? And, O king, whence also doth she
come? Why also dost thou not bestow her on a husband, now that she hath
arrived at the age of puberty?" Aswapati answered, saying, "Surely it
was on this very business that she had been sent, and she returneth now
(from her search). Do thou, O celestial sage, listen, even from her as
to the husband she hath chosen herself!"'

"Markandeya continued, 'Then the blessed maid, commanded by her father
with the words,--_Relate everything in detail_,--regarded those words of
her sire as if they were those of a god, and spoke unto him thus, "There
was, amongst the Salwas, a virtuous Kshatriya king known by the name of
Dyumatsena. And it came to pass that in course of time he became blind.
And that blind king possessed of wisdom had an only son. And it so
happened that an old enemy dwelling in the vicinity, taking advantage of
the king's mishap, deprived him of his kingdom. And thereupon the
monarch, accompanied by his wife bearing a child on her breast, went
into the woods. And having retired into the forests, he adopted great
vows and began to practise ascetic austerities. And his son, born in the
city, began to grow in the hermitage. That youth, fit to be my husband,
I have accepted in my heart for my lord!" At these words of hers, Narada
said, "Alas, O king, Savitri hath committed a great wrong, since, not
knowing, she hath accepted for her lord this Satyavan of excellent
qualities! His father speaketh the truth and his mother also is truthful
in her speech. And it is for this that the Brahmanas have named the son
_Satyavan_. In his childhood he took great delight in horses, and used
to make horses of clay. And he used also to draw pictures of horses. And
for this that youth is sometimes called by the name of _Chitraswa_." The
king then asked, "And is prince Satyavan, who is devoted to his father,
endued with energy and intelligence and forgiveness and courage?" Narada
replied, saying, "In energy Satyavan is like unto the sun, and in wisdom
like unto Vrihaspati! And he is brave like unto the lord of the
celestials and forgiving like unto the Earth herself!" Aswapati then
said, "And is the prince Satyavan liberal in gifts and devoted to the
Brahmanas? Is he handsome and magnanimous and lovely to behold?" Narada
said, "In bestowal of gifts according to his power, the mighty son of
Dyumatsena is like unto Sankriti's son Rantideva. In truthfulness of
speech and devotion unto Brahmanas, he is like Sivi, the son of Usinara.
And he is magnanimous like Yayati, and beautiful like the Moon. And in
beauty of person he is like either of the twin Aswins. And with senses
under control, he is meek, and brave, and truthful! And with passion in
subjection he is devoted to his friends, and free from malice and modest
and patient. Indeed, briefly speaking, they that are possessed of great
ascetic merit and are of exalted character say that he is always correct
in his conduct and that honour is firmly seated on his brow." Hearing
this, Aswapati said, "O reverend sage, thou tellest me that he is
possessed of every virtue! Do thou now tell me his defects if, indeed,
he hath any!" Narada then said, "He hath one only defect that hath
overwhelmed all his virtues. That defect is incapable of being conquered
by even the greatest efforts. He hath only one defect, and no other.
Within a year from this day, Satyavan, endued with a short life will
cast off his body!" Hearing these words of the sage, the king said,
"Come, O Savitri, go thou and choose another for thy lord, O beautiful
damsel! That one great defect (in this youth) existeth, covering all his
merits. The illustrious Narada honoured by even the gods, sayeth, that
Satyavan will have to cast off his body within a year, his days being
numbered!" At these words of her father, Savitri said, "The death can
fall but once; a daughter can be given away but one; and once only can a
person say, _I give away_! These three things can take place only once.
Indeed, with a life short or long, possessed of virtues or bereft of
them, I have, for once, selected my husband. Twice I shall not select.
Having first settled a thing mentally, it is expressed in words, and
then it is carried out into practice. Of this my mind is an example!"
Narada then said, "O best of men, the heart of thy daughter Savitri
wavereth not! It is not possible by any means to make her swerve from
this path of virtue! In no other person are those virtues that dwell in
Satyavan. The bestowal of thy daughter, therefore, is approved by me!"
The king said, "What thou hast said, O illustrious one, should never be
disobeyed, for thy words are true! And I shall act as thou hast said,
since thou art my preceptor!" Narada said, "May the bestowal of thy
daughter Savitri be attended with peace! I shall now depart. Blessed be
all of ye!"'

"Markandeya continued, 'Having said this, Narada rose up into the sky
and went to heaven. On the other hand, the king began to make
preparations for his daughter's wedding!'"


"Markandeya said, 'Having pondered over these words (of Narada) about
his daughter's marriage, the king began to make arrangements about the
nuptials. And summoning all the old Brahmanas, and _Ritwijas_ together
with the priests, he set out with his daughter on an auspicious day. And
arriving at the asylum of Dyumatsena in the sacred forest, the king
approached the royal sage on foot, accompanied by the twice-born ones.
And there he beheld the blind monarch of great wisdom seated on a
cushion of _Kusa_ grass spread under _Sala_ tree. And after duly
reverencing the royal sage, the king in an humble speech introduced
himself. Thereupon, offering him the _Arghya_, a seat, and a cow, the
monarch asked his royal guest,--_Wherefore is this visit?_--Thus
addressed the king disclosed everything about his intentions and purpose
with reference to Satyavan. And Aswapati said, "O royal sage, this
beautiful girl is my daughter named Savitri. O thou versed in morality,
do thou, agreeably to the customs of our order, take her from me as thy
daughter-in-law!" Hearing these words, Dyumatsena said, "Deprived of
kingdom, and taking up our abode in the woods, we are engaged in the
practice of virtue as ascetics with regulated lives. Unworthy of a
forest life, how will thy daughter, living in the sylvan asylum, bear
this hardship?" Aswapati said, "When my daughter knoweth, as well as
myself, that happiness and misery come and go (without either being
stationary), such words as these are not fit to be used towards one like
me! O king, I have come hither, having made up my mind! I have bowed to
thee from friendship; it behoveth thee not, therefore, to destroy my
hope! It behoveth thee not, also, to disregard me who, moved by love,
have come to thee! Thou art my equal and fit for an alliance with me, as
indeed, I am thy equal and fit for alliance with thee! Do thou,
therefore, accept my daughter for thy daughter-in-law and the wife of
the good Satyavan!" Hearing these words Dyumatsena said, "Formerly I had
desired an alliance with thee. But I hesitated, being subsequently
deprived of my kingdom. Let this wish, therefore, that I had formerly
entertained, be accomplished this very day. Thou art, indeed, a welcome
guest to me!"

"'Then summoning all the twice-born ones residing in the hermitages of
that forest, the two kings caused the union to take place with due
rites. And having bestowed his daughter with suitable robes and
ornaments, Aswapati went back to his abode in great joy. And Satyavan,
having obtained a wife possessed of every accomplishment, became highly
glad, while she also rejoiced exceedingly upon having gained the husband
after her own heart. And when her father had departed, she put off all
her ornaments, and clad herself in barks and cloths dyed in red. And by
her services and virtues, her tenderness and self-denial, and by her
agreeable offices unto all, she pleased everybody. And she gratified her
mother-in-law by attending to her person and by covering her with robes
and ornaments. And she gratified her father-in-law by worshipping him as
a god and controlling her speech. And she pleased her husband by her
honeyed speeches, her skill in every kind of work, the evenness of her
temper, and by the indications of her love in private. And thus, O
Bharata, living in the asylum of those pious dwellers of the forest,
they continued for some time to practise ascetic austerities. But the
words spoken by Narada were present night and day in the mind of the
sorrowful Savitri.'"


"Markandeya said, 'At length, O king, after a long time had passed away,
the hour that had been appointed for the death of Satyavan arrived. And
as the words that had been spoken by Narada were ever present in the
mind of Savitri, she had counted the days as they passed. And having
ascertained that her husband would die on the fourth day following, the
damsel fasted day and night, observing the _Triratra_ vow. And hearing
of her vow, the king became exceedingly sorrowful and rising up soothed
Savitri and said these words, "This vow that thou hast begun to observe,
O daughter of a king, is exceedingly hard; for it is extremely difficult
to fast for three nights together!" And hearing these words, Savitri
said, "Thou needst not be sorry, O father! This vow I shall be able to
observe! I have for certain undertaken this task with perseverance; and
perseverance is the cause of the successful observance of vows." And
having listened to her, Dyumatsena said, "I can by no means say unto
thee, _Do thou break thy vow_. One like me should, on the contrary,
say,--_Do thou complete thy vow!_" And having said this to her, the
high-minded Dyumatsena stopped. And Savitri continuing to fast began to
look (lean) like a wooden doll. And, O bull of the Bharata race,
thinking that her husband would die on the morrow, the woe-stricken
Savitri, observing a fast, spent that night in extreme anguish. And when
the Sun had risen about a couple of hand Savitri thinking within
herself--_To-day is that day_, finished her morning rites, and offered
oblations to the flaming fire. And bowing down unto the aged Brahmanas,
and her father-in-law, and mother-in-law, she stood before them with
joined hands, concentrating her senses. And for the welfare of Savitri,
all the ascetics dwelling in that hermitage, uttered the auspicious
benediction that she should never suffer widowhood. And Savitri immersed
in contemplation accepted those words of the ascetics, mentally
saying,--_So be it!_--And the king's daughter, reflecting on those words
of Narada, remained, expecting the hour and the moment.

"'Then, O best of the Bharatas, well-pleased, her father-in-law and
mother-in-law said these words unto the princess seated in a corner,
"Thou hast completed the vow as prescribed. The time for thy meal hath
now arrived; therefore, do thou what is proper!" Thereat Savitri said,
"Now that I have completed the purposed vow, I will eat when the Sun
goes down. Even this is my heart's resolve and this my vow!"

"Markandeya continued, 'And when Savitri had spoken thus about her meal,
Satyavan, taking his axe upon his shoulders, set out for the woods. And
at this, Savitri said unto her husband, "It behoveth thee not to go
alone! I will accompany thee. I cannot bear to be separated from thee!"
Hearing these words of hers, Satyavan said, "Thou hast never before
repaired to the forest. And, O lady, the forest-paths are hard to pass!
Besides thou hast been reduced by fast on account of thy vow. How
wouldst thou, therefore, be able to walk on foot?" Thus addressed,
Savitri said, "I do not feel langour because of the fast, nor do I feel
exhaustion. And I have made up my mind to go. It behoveth thee not,
therefore, to prevent me!" At this, Satyavan said, "If thou desirest to
go, I will gratify that desire of thine. Do thou, however, take the
permission of my parents, so that I may be guilty of no fault!"'

"Markandeya continued, 'Thus addressed by her lord, Savitri of high vows
saluted her father-in-law and mother-in-law and addressed them, saying,
"This my husband goeth to the forest for procuring fruits. Permitted by
my revered lady-mother and father-in-law, I will accompany him. For
to-day I cannot bear to be separated from him. Thy son goeth out for the
sake of the sacrificial fire and for his reverend superiors. He ought
not, therefore, to be dissuaded. Indeed, he could be dissuaded if he
went into the forest on any other errand. Do ye not prevent me! I will
go into the forest with him. It is a little less than a year that I have
not gone out of the asylum. Indeed, I am extremely desirous of beholding
the blossoming woods!" Hearing these words Dyumatsena said, "Since
Savitri hath been bestowed by her father as my daughter-in-law, I do not
remember that she hath ever spoken any words couching a request. Let my
daughter-in-law, therefore, have her will in this matter. Do thou,
however, O daughter, act in such a way that Satyavan's work may not be

"Markandeya continued, 'Having received the permission of both, the
illustrious Savitri, departed with her lord, in seeming smiles although
her heart was racked with grief. And that lady of large eyes went on,
beholding picturesque and delightful woods inhabited by swarms of
peacocks. And Satyavan sweetly said unto Savitri, "Behold these rivers
of sacred currents and these excellent trees decked with flowers!" But
the faultless Savitri continued to watch her lord in all his moods, and
recollecting the words of the celestial sage, she considered her husband
as already dead. And with heart cleft in twain, that damsel, replying to
her lord, softly followed him expecting that hour.'"


"Markandeya said, 'The powerful Satyavan then, accompanied by his wife,
plucked fruits and filled his wallet with them. And he then began to
fell branches of trees. And as he was hewing them, he began to perspire.
And in consequence of that exercise his head began to ache. And
afflicted with toil, he approached his beloved wife, and addressed her,
saying, "O Savitri, owing to this hard exercise my head acheth, and all
my limbs and my heart also are afflicted sorely! O thou of restrained
speech, I think myself unwell, I feel as if my head is being pierced
with numerous darts. Therefore, O auspicious lady, I wish to sleep, for
I have not the power to stand." Hearing these words, Savitri quickly
advancing, approached her husband, and sat down upon the ground, placing
his head upon her lap. And that helpless lady, thinking of Narada's
words, began to calculate the (appointed) division of the day, the hour,
and the moment. The next moment she saw a person clad in red attire with
his head decked with a diadem. And his body was of large proportions and
effulgent as the Sun. And he was of a darkish hue, had red eyes, carried
a noose in his hand, and was dreadful to behold. And he was standing
beside Satyavan and was steadfastly gazing at him. And seeing him,
Savitri gently placed her husband's head on the ground, and rising
suddenly, with a trembling heart, spake these words in distressful
accents, "Seeing this thy superhuman form, I take thee to be a deity. If
thou will tell me, O chief of the gods, who thou art and what also thou
intendst to do!" Thereat, Yama replied, "O Savitri, thou art ever
devoted to thy husband, and thou art also endued with ascetic merit. It
is for this reason that I hold converse with thee. Do thou, O auspicious
one, know me for Yama. This thy lord Satyavan, the son of a king, hath
his days run out. I shall, therefore, take him away binding him in this
noose. Know this to be my errand!" At these words Savitri said, "I had
heard that thy emissaries come to take away mortals, O worshipful one!
Why then, O lord, hast thou come in person?"'

"Markandeya continued, 'Thus addressed by her, the illustrious lord of
_Pitris_, with a view to oblige her, began to unfold to her truly all
about his intentions. And Yama said, "This prince is endued with virtues
and beauty of person, and is a sea of accomplishments. He deserveth not
to be borne away by my emissaries. Therefore is it that I have come
personally." Saying this, Yama by main force pulled out of the body of
Satyavan, a person of the measure of the thumb, bound in noose and
completely under subjection. And when Satyavan's life had thus been
taken out, the body, deprived of breath, and shorn of lustre, and
destitute of motion, became unsightly to behold. And binding Satyavan's
vital essence, Yama proceeded in a southerly direction. Thereupon, with
heart overwhelmed in grief, the exalted Savitri, ever devoted to her
lord and crowned with success in respect of her vows, began to follow
Yama. And at this, Yama said, "Desist, O Savitri! Go back, and perform
the funeral obsequies of thy lord! Thou art freed from all thy
obligations to thy lord. Thou hast come as far as it is possible to
come." Savitri replied, "Whither my husband is being carried, or whither
he goeth of his own accord, I will follow him thither. This is the
eternal custom. By virtue of my asceticism, of my regard for my
superiors, of my affection for my lord, of my observance of vows, as
well as of thy favour, my course is unimpeded. It hath been declared by
wise men endued with true knowledge that by walking only seven paces
with another, one contracteth a friendship with one's companion. Keeping
that friendship (which I have contracted with thee) in view, I shall
speak to thee something. Do thou listen to it. They that have not their
souls under control, acquire not merit by leading the four successive
modes of life, viz.,--celibacy with study, domesticity, retirement into
the woods, and renunciation of the world. That which is called religious
merit is said to consist of true knowledge. The wise, therefore, have
declared religious merit to be the foremost of all things and not the
passage through the four successive modes. By practising the duties of
even one of these four modes agreeable to the directions of the wise, we
have attained to true merit, and, therefore, we do not desire the second
or the third mode, viz., celibacy with study or renunciation. It is for
this again that the wise have declared religious merit to be the
foremost of all things!" Hearing these words of hers, Yama said, "Do
thou desist! I have been pleased with these words of thine couched in
proper letters and accents, and based on reason. Do thou ask for a boon!
Except the life of thy husband, O thou of faultless features, I will
bestow on thee any boon that thou mayst solicit!" Hearing these words,
Savitri said, "Deprived of his kingdom and bereft also of sight, my
father-in-law leadeth a life of retirement in our sylvan asylum. Let
that king through thy favour attain his eye-sight, and become strong
like either fire or the Sun!" Yama said, "O thou of faultless features,
I grant thee this boon! It will even be as thou hast said! It seems that
thou art fatigued with thy journey. Do thou desist, therefore, and
return! Suffer not thyself to be weary any longer!" Savitri said, "What
weariness can I feel in the presence of my husband? The lot that is my
husband's is certainly mine also. Whither thou carriest my husband,
thither will I also repair! O chief of the celestials, do thou again
listen to me! Even a single interview with the pious is highly
desirable; friendship with them is still more so. And intercourse with
the virtuous can never be fruitless. Therefore, one should live in the
company of the righteous!" Yama said, "These words that thou hast
spoken, so fraught with useful instruction, delight the heart and
enhance the wisdom of even the learned. Therefore, O lady, solicit thou
a second boon, except the life of Satyavan!" Savitri said, "Sometime
before, my wise and intelligent father-in-law was deprived of his
kingdom. May that monarch regain his kingdom. And may that superior of
mine never renounce his duties! Even this is the second boon that I
solicit!" Then Yama said,--"The king shall soon regain his kingdom. Nor
shall he ever fall off from his duties. Thus, O daughter of a king have
I fulfilled thy desire. Do thou now desist! Return! Do not take any
future trouble!" Savitri said, "Thou hast restrained all creatures by
thy decrees, and it is by thy decrees that thou takest them away, not
according to thy will. Therefore it is, O god, O divine one, that people
call thee _Yama_! Do thou listen to the words that I say! The eternal

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