Book III : Aranya Kanda - The Forest Trek
Shuurpanakha, the problem demoness of Ramayana enters here. She approaches the cottage of Rama and offers her wifehood to Rama. She is the sister of Ravana and her husband Vidyut Jihva was murdered by Ravana alone, rendering his own sister a widow. She being an age-old demoness wants Rama to marry her, leaving Seetha off.
k®ta abhiÿeko r˜ma× tu sŸt˜ saumitrir eva ca |
tasm˜t god˜varŸ tŸr˜t tato jagmu× svam ˜þramam || 3-17-1
1. kR^ita abhiSekaH raamaH tu= on taking, bath, Rama, but; siitaa saumitriH eva ca= Seetha, Soumitri, thus, also; tataH= then; tasmaat godaavarii tiiraat= from that, Godavari, from bank, jagmuH svam aashramam= went, to his own, hermitage.
On taking bath Rama with Seetha and Soumitri, then went to his own hermitage from that bank of River Godavari. [3-17-1]
˜þramam tam up˜gamya r˜ghava× saha lakÿmaõa× |
k®tv˜ paurv˜hõikam karma parõaþ˜l˜m up˜gamat || 3-17-2
2. saha lakSmaNaH raaghavaH= with, Lakshmana, Raghava; tam aashramam upaagamya= that, hermitage, on nearing; paurva aahNikam karma kR^itvaa= early, morning, rituals, on performing; parNashaalaam upaagamat= cottage, reached.
Nearing that hermitage Raghava along with Lakshmana performed early morning rituals and then reached the cottage. [3-17-2]
uv˜sa sukhita× tatra p¨jyam˜no maharÿabha×|
sa r˜ma× parõa þ˜l˜y˜m ˜sŸna× saha sŸtay˜ || 3-1-7-3
virar˜ja mah˜ b˜hu× citray˜ candram˜ iva |
lakÿmaõena saha bhr˜tr˜ cak˜ra vividh˜× kath˜× || 3-17-4
3. saH raamaH= he, that Rama; maharSabhaH puujyamaanaH= by eminent sages, being adored [when within their reach]; tatra sukhitaH uvaasa= there, comfortably, stayed – he who is spending time; parNashaalaayaam siitayaa saha aasiinaH= in hermitage, Seetha, along with, sitting; saha bhraatraa lakSmaNena= with, brother, Lakshmana; cakaara vividhaaH kathaaH= narrating, many, legends; mahaabaahuH vi ra raaja= that dexterous one, shone forth; citrayaa candramaa iva= with Chitra star-constellation, Moon, like.
There Rama comfortably spent time while being adored by eminent sages when he is with them, and narrating many a narrative while sitting in hermitage along with Seetha and his brother Lakshmana, thus he shone forth like the moon when with Chitra constellation. [3-1-7-3, 4]
The Chitra star is with clearest whiteness against the sky-blue background and thus it is said citra mauktikam ekam 'Chitra star and a pearl are one in colour.' Thus sky-blue coloured Rama is the moon while pearl white Seetha is pearl white Chitra star.
tad˜ ˜sŸnasya r˜masya kath˜ saÕsakta cetasa× |
tam deþam r˜kÿasŸ k˜cid ˜jag˜ma yad®cchay˜ || 3-17-5
5. raamasya kathaa samsakta cetasaH= Rama is, narrative, absorbed in, with such a heart; tadaa aasiinasya= thus, sitting – in hermitage; kaacit raakSasii= some, demoness; yadR^icChayaa tam desham aajagaama= fortuitously, at that, place, arrived.
At one time when Rama is sitting in hermitage and heartily absorbed in telling narratives some demoness arrived at that place, fortuitously. [3-17-5]
s˜ tu þ¨rpaõakh˜ n˜ma daþagrŸvasya rakÿasa× |
bhaginŸ r˜mam ˜s˜dya dadarþa tridaþa upamam || 3-17-6
6. rakSasaH dasha griivasya bhaginii= demon, ten, faced one’s [Ravana’s,] sister; shuurpaNakhaa naama= Shuurpanakha, named; saa tu= she, but; tridasha upamam= paradisiacal being, who is like; raamam aasaadya= Rama, on reaching; dadarsha= she saw him.
She is but the sister of ten-faced demon Ravana, Shuurpanakha by her name and she has seen him on reaching the paradisiacal being like Rama. [3-17-6]
dŸpt˜syam ca mah˜b˜hum padma patr˜yata Ÿkÿaõam |
gaja vikr˜nta gamanam ja÷˜ maõdala dh˜riõam || 3-17-7
sukum˜ram mah˜ sattvam p˜rthiva vyañjana anvitam |
r˜mam indŸvara þy˜mam kandarpa sad®þa prabham || 3-17-8
babh¨va indropamam d®ÿ÷v˜ r˜kÿasŸ k˜ma mohit˜ |
7. diipta aasyam= radiant, faced; mahaabaahum= lengthy armed; padma patra aayata ikSaNam= lotus, petal, long, eyed one; gaja vikraanta gamanam= elephant, in pacing, in walk [imposingly pacing]; jaTaa maNdala dhaariNam= hair-tuft, bunches, wearing; sukumaaram mahaasattvam= delicate, greatly vigorous; paarthiva vyanjana anvitam= kingly, aspects, one having them; indiivara shyaamam= blue-lotus-like, deep-blue coloured; kandarpa sadR^isha prabham= Love-god, similar, in his brilliance; indra upamam= Indra, in simile; raamam= at Rama; dR^iSTvaa= on seeing; raakSasii kaama mohitaa= demoness, love, sickened; babhuuva= she [Shurpanakha] became.
He whose face is radiant, arms lengthy, eyes large like lotus petals, stride like that of an elephant, wearing bunches of hair-tufts, delicate yet greatly vigorous, possessor of all kingly aspects, complexion deep-blue like blue lotus, similar to Love-god in brilliance and in simile to Indra, the demoness has seen such a Rama and became lovesick. [3-17-7, 8, 9a]
sumukham durmukhŸ r˜mam v®tta madhyam mahodarŸ || 3-17-9
viþ˜l˜kÿam vir¨p˜kÿŸ sukeþam t˜mra m¨rdhaj˜ |
priyar¨pam vir¨p˜ s˜ susvaram bhairava svan˜ || 3-17-10
taruõam d˜ruõ˜ v®ddh˜ dakÿiõam v˜ma bh˜ÿiõŸ |
ny˜ya v®ttam sudurv®tt˜ priyam apriya darþan˜ || 3-17-11
þarŸraja sam˜viÿ÷˜ r˜kÿasŸ r˜mam abravŸt |
9b, 10, 11, 12a. dur mukhii= unpleasing, faced one [Shurpanakha]; su mukham= with pleasing, faced one [at Rama]; mahaa udarii= pot-bellied one [Shuurpanakha]; vR^itta madhyam= with slim, waisted one [Rama ]; vi ruupa akSii= wry, eyed one [Shuurpanakha]; vishaala akSam= with broad-eyed [Rama]; taamra muurdhajaa= coppery, haired one [Shuurpanakha]; su kesham= with neatly, tressed [Rama]; vi ruupaa= ugly, featured one [Shuurpanakha]; priya ruupam= with charming, featured one [Rama]; bhairava svanaa= brassy, voiced one [Shuurpanakha]; su svaram= gentle, voiced one [Rama]; daaruNaa= vR^iddhaa= deplorably, oldish one [Shuurpanakha]; taruNam= youngish [Rama]; vaama bhaaSiNii= crooked, talker [Shuurpanakha]; dakSiNam= with pleasant speaking [Rama]; su dur vR^ittaa= very, ill, mannered one [Shuurpanakha]; nyaaya vR^ittam= rightful one, in behaviour [Rama]; a+priya darshanaa= un, pleasant one, to look at [abominable one - Shuurpanakha]; priyam= with pleasant one [to look on, amiable one - Rama]; saa= she [Shuurpanakha]; raamam= at Rama; shariira ja samaaviSTaa= by Love-god, besieged; raakSasii raamam abraviit= demoness, to Rama, spoke.
She that demoness who is facially unpleasant one with that pleasant faced one, pot bellied one with the slim-waisted one, wry-eyed one with the broad-eyed one, coppery-haired one with the neatly tressed one, ugly featured one with the charming featured one, brassy voiced one with the gentle voiced one, deplorably oldish one with the youngish one, crooked talker with the pleasant talker, ill-mannered one with the well-mannered one, uncouth one with couth, abominable one with amiable Rama spoke, besieged by Love-god. [3-17-9b, 11, 12a]
ja÷Ÿ t˜pasa r¨peõa sabh˜rya× þara c˜pa dh®k || 3-17-12
˜gata× tvam imam deþam katham r˜kÿasa sevitam |
kim ˜gamana k®tyam te tat tvam ˜khy˜tum arhasi || 3-17-13
12b, 13. tvam= you are; jaTii= one with matted hair [ascetic]; sa bhaaryaH= with, wife; shara caapa dhR^ik= arrows, bows, handling; taapasa ruupeNa= in sage’s, in aspect; raakSasa sevitam= by demons, frequented by; imam desham= this, province; katham aagataH= what for, you have come; te aagamana kR^ityam kim =your, coming [here,] purpose of, what is; tat tvam= that, you; [tattvam= in actuality;] aakhyaatum arhasi= to tell, apt of you..
"You are an ascetic yet with a wife, handling bow and arrows yet in the appearance of a sage… what for you have come to this province frequented by demons… it will be apt of you to tell the purpose of your coming here, in actuality…" [3-17-12b, 13]
evam ukta× tu r˜kÿasy˜ þ¨rpaõakhy˜ parantapa× |
®ju buddhitay˜ sarvam ˜khy˜tum upacakrame || 3-17-14
14. raakSasyaa shuurpaNakhyaa= by demoness, by Shuurpanakha; evam uktaH= thus, one who is spoken; paramtapaH= enemy, scorcher, Rama; R^iju buddhitayaa= straight, at mind straightforwardly; sarvam aakhyaatum upacakrame= all of it, to narrate [inform,] started to.
Thus asked by demoness Shuurpanakha that enemy-scorcher Rama started to inform all about it, straightforwardly. [3-17-14]
˜sŸt daþaratho n˜ma r˜j˜ tridaþa vikrama× |
tasya aham agraja× putro r˜mo n˜ma janai× þruta× || 3-17-15
15. tridasha vikramaH= godlike, in valour; dasharathaH naama raajaa aasiit= Dasharatha, named, king, was there; aham tasya agrajaH putraH= I am, his, eldest, son; raamaH naama janaiH shrutaH= Rama, by name, by people, heard.
"A king named Dasharatha was there with his godlike valour, I am his eldest son, and people hear of me by name Rama. [3-17-15]
bhr˜t˜ ayam lakÿmaõo n˜ma yavŸy˜n m˜m anuvrata× |
iyam bh˜ry˜ ca vaidehŸ mama sŸteti viþrut˜ || 3-17-16
16. ayam lakSmaNaH naama= he is, Lakshmana, by name; yaviiyaan bhraataa= younger, brother; maam anu vrataH= me, follows, in devotion; vaidehii= [daughter of Videha king] Vaidehi; iyam [mama] bhaaryaa= she is, [my,] wife; siita iti vishrutaa= Seetha, thus, well-known.
"He is Lakshmana by his name, my younger brother and a devoted follower of mine, and she is my wife, daughter of Videha’s king, well-known as Seetha. [3-17-16]
niyog˜t tu narendrasya pitur m˜tu× ca yantrita× |
dharm˜rtham dharmak˜ðkÿŸ ca vanam vastum iha ˜gata× || 3-17-17
17. narendrasya= by king; pituH= by father; maatuH ca= by mother, also; niyogaat tu= by directive, but; yantritaH= I am directed by; dharma kaankSii= probity, desiring; dharma artham ca= probity, for the sake of, also; iha vastum vanam aagataH= here, to live, to forests, I came.
"Desiring to implement the probity in following father’s orders and for the sake of establishing probity in living an ascetic’s life I have come here to forests to dwell, as enjoined by the directives of the king and my father, and by my mother, as well. [3-17-17]
tv˜m tu veditum icch˜mi kasya tvam k˜ asi kasya v˜ |
tvam hi t˜vanmanojñ˜ðgŸ r˜kÿasŸ pratibh˜si me || 3-17-18
18. tvaam veditum icChaami= you, to know, I wish to; kasya= whose [wife]; tvam= you are; kaa= what [your name]; asi= is there; kasya= whose [daughter]; vaa= either; tvam= you are, indeed; taavaat= by the way; manoj~na angii= enthralling, with body; raakshasii pratibhaasi me= demoness, you are appearing, to me, indeed.
"I too wish to know about you. Whose wife are you? What is your name? Or, whose daughter are you? By the way, you are with a most enthralling personality, and then you must be a demoness. [3-17-18]
So far the handsomeness of Shuurpanakha is not narrated in these verses. But Rama's addressing her as a handsome woman is for fun sake, so some commentators say. The episode Shuurpanakha is considered to have haasya rasa, comic relief. Refusing the unnecessarily joking of Rama some say that Shuurpanakha came there with an exquisite form. And what all said negatively about her in preceding verses is the implicit idea of the poet. Taking the entrance of Shuurpanakha with a beautiful personality every cinema that is shot on Ramayana gives a cabaret dance with inciting song to Shuurpanakha at this situation.
In some other mms there are a few more verses that contain a situation where Jatayu comes to Rama to take leave of him to go and see his relatives and bird-friends, after Rama returns from the river. Then, knowing that Jatayu is not there Shuurpanakha enters the cottage area with a guise of winsome beauty. No demon or demoness can approach that cottage of Rama, as long as Jatayu is there - is the point for establishment. While the difference in mms/texts is between one or two letters like, na hi taavat manoj~na angii and tvam hi taavat manoj~na angii , whether the poet entered Shuurpanakha in a fashionable getup or as an old female is another point that remained inconclusive.
iha v˜ kim nimittam tvam ˜gat˜ br¨hi tattvata× |
s˜ abravŸt vacanam þrutv˜ r˜kÿasŸ madana ardit˜ || 3-17-19
19. iha kim nimittam tvam aagataa vaa= here, what, for, you, came, either; tattvataH bruuhi= actually, you tell; vacanam shrutvaa= said words, on hearing; madana arditaa= by love, wetted; saa raakSasii abraviit= she that, demoness, spoke.
"What for you have come, either, you tell in actuality..." Thus Rama asked her. On hearing the words of Rama she that demoness wetted with love said these words. [3-17-19]
þr¨yat˜m r˜ma vakÿy˜mi tattv˜rtham vacanam mama |
aham þ¨rpaõakh˜ n˜ma r˜kÿasŸ k˜mar¨piõŸ || 3-17-20
araõyam vicar˜mi idam ek˜ sarva bhayaðkar˜ |
20, 21a. shruuyataam raama= I let you hear [I tell you,] Rama; tattva artham mama vacanam= truth, meaning, my. words [my words are truthful]; vakSyaami= I will say; [or, what all I say is truth, nothing but truth]; aham shuurpaNakhaa naama= I am, Shuurpanakha, named; raakSasii= demoness; kaama ruupiNii= by wish, guise-changer; ekaa= lonely; sarva bhayam karaa= to all, fear, causing [unnerving]; idam araNyam vi caraami= in this, forest, am freely moving.
"I will tell you truth, Rama, nothing but truth, I am a guise-changing demoness named Shuurpanakha, and I will be freely moving in this forest in a solitary manner and unnerving all. [3-17-20, 21a]
r˜vaõo n˜ma me bhr˜t˜ yadi te þrotram ˜gata× || 3-17-21
vŸro viþravasa× putro yadi te þrotram ˜gata× |
21b, 22a. viiraH raavaNaH me bhraataa= valorous, Ravana, is my, brother; yadi te shrotram aagataH= if ever, by you, to ears, has come [if ever you have heard of him]; vishravasaH putraH= Vishravasa, son of; yadi te shrotram aagataH [or, baliiyaan raakshasa iishvaraH]= If you ever heard, [or, mighty one, demons, king.]
"My brother is valorous and mighty Ravana, the king of demons and the son of Vishravasa, if ever you have heard of him. [3-17-21b, 22a]
prav®ddha nidra× ca sad˜ kumbhakarõo mah˜bala× || 3-17-22
vibhŸÿaõa× tu dharm˜tm˜ na tu r˜kÿasa ceÿ÷ita× |
prakhy˜ta vŸryau ca raõe bhr˜tarau khara d¨ÿaõau || 3-17-23
22b, 23. sadaa= always; pravR^iddha nidraH= one with intensified - profound, sleep; mahaabalaH= mighty one; kumbhakarNaH ca= Kumbhakarna, is also [my brother]; dharmaatmaa vibhiiSaNaH= virtue-souled one, Vibheeshana [is also my brother]; tu= but; raakSasa ceSTitaH= with demon's, conduct; na= he is not; raNe prakhyaata viiryau= in war, renowned, braving ones; khara duuSaNau= Khara, Dushana[ bhraatarau= are two brothers.
"And the mighty Kumbhakarna who will always be in profound sleep is my brother, and the virtue-souled Vibheeshana too is my brother, but he does not behave like a demon, and two more bothers of mine are Khara and Duushana who are renowned for their bravery in war. [3-17-22b, 23]
t˜n aham samatikr˜nt˜ r˜ma tv˜ p¨rva darþan˜t |
samupet˜ asmi bh˜vena bhart˜ram puruÿottamam || 3-17-24
24. raama= oh, Rama; aham= I am; taan= them; sam ati kraantaa= I an excel [them with my bravery]; puurva darshanaat= firstly, on seeing; puruSa uttamam= of men, the best one; tvaa= you; bhartaaram bhaavena= as husband, with the notion of; sam upetaa= neared; asmi= I am.
"I can excel all of them by my bravery, oh, Rama, and on seeing you for the first time I had a notion that you being the choicest among men you alone are my husband, hence I neared you. [3-17-24]
aham prabh˜va sampann˜ svacchanda bala g˜minŸ |
cir˜ya bhava bhart˜ me sŸtay˜ kim kariÿyasi || 3-17-25
25. aham prabhaava sampannaa= I am, preponderance, endowed with; svacChanda bala gaaminii= with independent, might, goer [I operate]; ciraaya me bhartaa= for a long time, to me, husband; bhava= you be; [by the way]; siitayaa kim kariSyasi= with Seetha, what, you do [bring off.]
"I am endowed with such preponderances and I can operate with my independent might, as such you become my everlasting husband… by the way, what can you bring off with Seetha. [3-17-25]
vik®t˜ ca vir¨p˜ ca na s˜ iyam sad®þŸ tava |
aham eva anur¨p˜ te bh˜ry˜ r¨peõa paþya m˜m || 3-17-26
26. vikR^itaa ca= unlovely one, also; viruupaa ca= unshapely one, also; saa iyam= she, this one [such as she is]; tava na sadR^ishii= to you, not, appropriate [unworthy wife]; te aham eva anuruupaa= to you , I, alone, appropriate [worthy wife]; maam bhaaryaa ruupeNa pashya = me, wife, in manner of, see, me [treat me as your wife.]
"Unlovely and unshapely is this one, such as she is, this Seetha is unworthy to be your wife, and I am the lone one worthy to be your wife, hence treat me as your wife. [3-17-26]
im˜m vir¨p˜m asatŸm kar˜l˜m nirõata udarŸm |
anena saha te bhr˜tr˜ bhakÿayiÿy˜mi m˜nuÿŸm || 3-17-27
27. viruupaam= without shape – disfigured one; a + satiim=not, good one - dishonest; karaalaam= diabolical one; nirNata udariim= hallow-stomached; imaam maanuSiim= this, human female; anena= with him; te bhraatraa saha= your, brother, along with; bhakSa yiSyaami= I wish to eat up [shall I eat them up without a later time botheration to you.]
"Shall I eat up this disfigured, dishonest, diabolical human female with a hallow stomach along with him, that brother of yours to make you free.
Lakshmana will use the very same wording in the next chapter when retorting Shuurpanakha.
tata× parvata þ®ðg˜õi van˜ni vividh˜ni ca |
paþyansahamay˜k˜mŸdaõýak˜nvicariÿyasi - yadv˜ -
paþyan saha may˜ k˜mŸ daõýak˜n vicariÿyasi || 3-17-28
28. tataH= afterwards; vividhaani= various; parvata shR^ingaaNi= mountain, tops [in sky]; vanaani ca= forests [on earth,] also; pashyan= while seeing experiencing, enjoying; maya saha= me, along with; kaamii= lustily; daNDakaan vi cariSyasi= Dandaka forest, well, ramble about.
"Afterwards, you can lustily ramble about Dandaka forest along with me while enjoying yourself on various mountaintops in the sky and in forests on the earth." So Shuurpanakha said to Rama. [3-17-28]
iti evam ukta× k˜kutstha× prahasya madira Ÿkÿaõ˜m |
idam vacanam ˜rebhe vaktum v˜kya viþ˜rada× || 3-17-29
29. iti evam uktaH= thus, that way, who is said; vaakya vishaaradaH= in words, expert; kaakutsthaH prahasya= Kakutstha Rama, chuckled; madira iikSaNaam= one with besotted, eyes – Shuurpanakha [in lovesickness]; idam vacanam vaktum aarebhe= this, sentence, to tell, started.
When he is said that way Rama chuckled and that wordsmith started to reply her who eyes are besotted in lovesickness with this sentence. [3-17-29]
iti v˜lmŸki r˜m˜yaõe ˜di k˜vye araõya k˜õýe saptadaþa× sarga×
Thus, this is the 17th chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.
© 2002, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : May 04]