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Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda in Prose
Sarga 8

Rama and others, having spent that night in the hermitage of Sage Suteekshna, start to go from there on the next day morning, duly taking permission from the sage. While bidding farewell to Rama and others, Sage Suteekshna, explains concern about the forests, which are rich natural gifts to human kind and tranquil abodes of hermits, and implicitly suggests to Rama, to somehow safeguard them from the demonic activities in this Dandaka Aranya, by which, these forests are rendered into graveyards...not even honourable graveyards, but stockyards for heaps of dead bodies, bone and skulls, for no faulty reason of the saints and sages.

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Rama, along with Soumitri well revered by Sage Suteekhsna, spent that night there, and awoken in the morning. Rama got up according to time along with Seetha and touched well coolant water with lotus-fragrance...[for morning cleansing and bath...]  Then they, Vaidehi, Rama and Lakshmana, punctually and dutifully worshipped the sacred fire and deities also thus, in the shelter of the sages in that forest...  On seeing the dawning sun, those unblemished ones approached Sage Suteekshna and spoke this sentence mellowly... "We stayed here happily, oh, god...venerated by a venerable one [like you... and here we] come to ask [your permission, for we wish] to move on, as the sages are urging us... Hurrying we are, to see the habitats of hermitages in its entirety, of the sages of meritorious selves, living in Dandaka forest... We aspire your permission along with these eminent sages also, who are ever virtuous, self-controlled by their penance, and like the veritable pinnacles of sacred fire... Before the scorching burner, the sun, not flares enough...like the one with an improper lineage attains wealth that comes at, in an improper way... Before that, we desire to go..." saying thus, that Raghava venerated at the feet of that sage, along with Soumitri and Seetha...

Touching them and lifting from his feet that eminent sage, and tightly embracing them in friendship, spoke this sentence... "Go in an invulnerable way, Rama, along with Lakshmana, and this Seetha closely following you like a shadow...significantly...

Comment: Rama obtained the permission of this sage for the elimination of Ravana, where Seetha is its signifier, and without the shadow cast of Seetha, Ravana cannot be eliminated.

"See the pleasant thresholds of the hermitages of the dwellers in the forests of Dandaka, oh! Valiant one, they the sages...by their penance have contemplative souls... See the well grown fruits and tubers, also well flowered is this forest, with best herds of deer and peaceful bird flocks... And these clusters of the bloomed lotuses...tranquil waters, and the water-birds spreading over on them in pools and lakes... You can see the eye pleasing rapids from mountains...pleasant are these forests with the heartily screaming precooks also... You may go my dear Rama, and Soumitri, you too also may go... and come again after seeing all of them...towards this hermitage... " Thus said by the sage, Rama said, "Like that only..." and circum-ambulated around the sage, and started on to journey...

Then given are the auspicious quivers and bows by the broad eyed Seetha, to those two brothers, and their unstained swords too, and then... Both of them well tied the quivers [on their backs,] and took the bows that are twangy and exited from that hermitage to go [on their way...] those two Rama and Lakshmana...

Swift are they, those two exquisite ones...permitted by that august sage, and started on... wielding bows and swords and along with Seetha, those two Raghava-s...

 

Thus, this is the 8th chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India. 

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2001, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao