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Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda in Prose
Sarga 13

Rama requests Sage Agastya to indicate a place in the forest to make a residence during the days of exile. Sage Agastya who foresees the next course of Ramayana orients his conversation around womanhood and Seetha and that sage informs Rama to proceed to Panchavati where Seetha will be delightful of its surroundings.

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"Rama delighted I am...safe be you, oh Lakshmana, well-contended I am...for, to pay respects you arrived at me and are here along with Seetha... The well-worn trail of you all, in its strenuousness paining you...evident is much strain above your necks [by way of sweat...] or even for Maithili, Janaka's daughter...  Also she is fragile and not discomforted by the distresses and on attaining very perilous forests motivated by her friendship towards her husband, [for she hails from a comfortable royalty unaccustomed to these distresses...]

"How she revels in, Rama, do so thus here for Seetha for what is done by her in following you into forests, is impossible... to other women...

"The nature of women is this way only... from the beginning of creation, oh scion of Raghu, they admire their man in well-being and leave him off in his ill-being, indeed... With the dangling of hundreds of streaks of thunderbolt and also a weapon's incisiveness, and also with the speediness of an eagle and wind's gust, the women are conformable...

Comment: The flashes of thunderbolts are famous for their mercuriality and so capricious are the women's hearts and razor sharp will be their attitude to cut-off the age-old friendship, if they are ill at ease, and they sever relations with the speediness of eagle and wind.

"But this one, your wife is well ridded of all the stigmas...an exemplary and an estimable one also, verily like Lady Arundhati...

Comment: Lady Arundhati is the wife of Sage Vashishta, an exemplary lady in devotion to her husband and she has become a star in the sky by virtue of that devotion. Even today in marriages, at the close of all observances, this star in skies is shown to the bride imbuing a sense of devotion to her bridegroom.

"Enriched are the precincts...along with Soumitri and also with this Vaidehi, oh Rama, where you reside, oh, enemy-destroyer..." Said Sage Agastya to Rama.

Thus said by the sage, Raghava adjoining his palms spoke this sentence amiably to the sage who is glowing like a ritual-fire... "I am thriven and privileged...with whose virtues like that of mine, the eminent sage Agastya endorsed, along with the virtues of my brother and wife, my mentor is well-pleased... But direct me to a place with water and many forests, where on making the threshold of hermitage we reside delightedly and happily..." Rama thus asked the Sage Agastya.

That eminent sage said then on hearing Rama's saying, on contemplating a while, that virtuous and confident sage spoke this best confiding word...[Agastya started to tell...]  "Two yojana-s here-from, sire, with many a tuber fruit and water and that place is there with many deer...oh, promising one, well-renowned as Panchavati...On going there and making the threshold of hermitage along with Lakshmana, delight in there, in full compliance with your father's decree... Verily known is this episode of yours... all of it by me... by the ability of my asceticism and also in my friendship with Dasharatha...

"Your heart-abiding certitude is known to me by my asceticism, and though I apprised you to dwell along with me in these ascetic-woods, but... for that reason [of knowing what your heart is longing for,] I am telling you to go to Panchavati, and that is a very delightful woodland and Maithili can revel therein...

"A praiseworthy place is that and also not very far, it is nearby River Godavari, and Maithili delights therein... Also bounteous are the tubers and fruits, various are the bird flocks, very reclusive too...oh, great dextrous one, and like that even pious and appealing also is that Panchavati...Even so, you with your good bearing are also capable to wholly champion [the cause of the hermits, and] also even when residing there, Rama, the hermits be protected...

"Oh, Brave one, perceived is this great forest of Madhuka [bassia latifolia] trees, proceed northerly of it, and also on advancing towards a banyan tree..." Said thus by Sage Agastya, Rama along with Soumitri venerated and bid farewell to that truthful sage...

Those two Rama and Lakshmana, thus well bidden by Sage Agastya, making best salutations at the feet of the sage, to that hermitage at Panchavati, they journeyed on with Seetha... Taken are the bows by those princes and quivers braced, those undaunted ones in the war... as apprised by the great sage journeyed well to Panchavati... they the resolute ones...

 

Thus, this is the 13th chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

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2001, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao