Chapter [Sarga] 17

Introduction

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.

 

Verse Locator

kt Ai-;ekae ram> tu sIta saEimir @v c,
tSmat! gaedavrI tIrat! ttae jGmu> Svm! Aamm!. 3171

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]

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Aamm! tm! %pagMy ra"v> sh lm[>,
kTva paEvaRikm! kmR p[Rzalam! %pagmt!. 3172

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]

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%vas suiot> t pUJymanae mh;R->,
s ram> p[R zalayam! AasIn> sh sItya. 3173
ivrraj mha ba> icya cNma #v,
lm[en sh aa ckar ivivxa> kwa>. 3174

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.

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tda AasInSy ramSy kwa s<sKt cets>,
tm! dezm! ra]sI kaicd Aajgam yCDya. 3175

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]

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sa tu zUpR[oa nam dzIvSy r]s>,
-ignI ramm! Aasa* ddzR idz %pmm!. 3176

6. rakSasaH dasha griivasya bhaginii= demon, ten, faced ones [Ravanas,] 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]

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dIaSym! c mhabam! p payt $][m!,
gj iva<t gmnm! jqa m{dl xair[m!. 3177
sukmarm! mha svm! paiwRv Vy<jn AiNvtm!,
ramm! #NdIvr Zyamm! kNdpR sz -m!. 3178
b-Uv #Naepmm! va ra]sI kam maeihta,

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]

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sumuom! muRoI ramm! v& mXym! mhaedrI. 3179
ivzala]m! ivpa]I sukezm! ta mUxRja,
iypm! ivpa sa suSvrm! -Erv Svna. 31710
t[m! da[a v&a di][m! vam -ai;[I,
Nyay v&m! suv&Ra iym! Aiy dzRna. 31711
zrIrj smaiva ra]sI ramm! AvIt!,

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]

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jqI taps pe[ s-ayR> zr cap x&k. 31712
Aagt> Tvm! #mm! dezm! kwm! ra]s seivtm!,
ikm! Aagmn kTym! te tt! Tvm! AaOyatum! AhRis. 31713

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 sages, 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]

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@vm! %Kt> tu ra]Sya zUpR[Oya pr<tp>,
\ju buitya svRm! AaOyatum! %pcme. 31714

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]

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AasIt! dzrwae nam raja idz ivm>,
tSy Ahm! Aj> puae ramae nam jnE> ut>. 31715

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]

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ata Aym! lm[ae nam yvIyan! mam! Anut>,
#ym! -ayaR c vEdehI mm sIteit ivuta. 31716

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 Videhas king, well-known as Seetha. [3-17-16]

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inyaegat! tu nreNSy iptur matu> c y<it>,
xmaRwRm! xmRka<]I c vnm! vStum! #h Aagt>. 31717

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 fathers orders and for the sake of establishing probity in living an ascetics 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]

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Tvam! tu veidtum! #CDaim kSy Tvm! ka Ais kSy va,
Tvm! ih tavNmnae}a<gI ra]sI it-ais me. 31718

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.

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#h va ikm! inimm! Tvm! Aagta Uih tvt>,
sa AvIt! vcnm! uTva ra]sI mdn AidRta. 31719

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]

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Uytam! ram vyaim tvawRm! vcnm! mm,
Ahm! zUpR[oa nam ra]sI kamip[I. 31720
Ar{ym! ivcraim #dm! @ka svR -y<kra,

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]

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rav[ae nam me ata yid te aem! Aagt>. 31721
vIrae ivvs> puae yid te aem! Aagt>,

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]

Verse Locator

v& in> c sda k<-k[aeR mhabl>. 31722
iv-I;[> tu xmaRTma n tu ra]s ceit>,
Oyat vIyaER c r[e atraE or ;[aE. 31723

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]

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tan! Ahm! smitaNta ram Tva pUvR dzRnat!,
smupeta AiSm -aven -taRrm! pu;aemm!. 31724

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]

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Ahm! -av s<pa SvCD<d bl gaimnI,
icray -v -taR me sItya ikm! kir:yis. 31725

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]

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ivkta c ivpa c n sa #ym! szI tv,
Ahm! @v Anupa te -ayaR pe[ pZy mam!. 31726

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]

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#mam! ivpam! AstIm! kralam! in[Rt %drIm!,
Anen sh te aa -]iy:yaim manu;Im!. 31727

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.

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tt> pvRt z&<gai[ vnain ivivxain c,
pZyNshmyakamId{fkaiNvcir:yis ya
pZyn! sh mya kamI d{fkan! ivcir:yis. 31728

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]

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#it @vm! %Kt> kakTSw> hSy midr $][am!,
#dm! vcnm! Aare-e vKtum! vaKy ivzard>. 31729

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]

 

#it vaLmIik ramay[e Aaid kaVye Ar{y ka{fe sdz> sgR

Thus, this is the 17th chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

Verse Locator for Book III : Aranya Kanda - The Forest Trek : Chapter 17

 

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Sarga 17 in English Prose

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2002, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : May 04]