Book III : Aranya Kanda - The Forest Trek
Rama eliminates Maareecha when he is escaping beyond reach in the form of Golden Deer. He sports with that deer for a long time and when it is leading him away and afar from the hermitage, he is vexed with the trickery of the deer and kills it. At the time of his death Maareecha shouts out for Seetha and Lakshmana, as demanded by Ravana. Rama is perplexed at this oddity of Maareecha and presumes that some danger is immanent and then returns to hermitage.
tathaa tu tam samaadishya bhraataram raghuna.ndanaH |
babandha asim mahaatejaa jaa.mbuunadamayaH tsarum || 3-44-1
1. mahaatejaa raghu nandanaH = highly resplendent, Raghu's, scion of - Rama; bhraataram tam tathaa = brother, him [Lakshmana,] in that way; sam aadishya= on clearly instructing; jaambuunadamayaH tsarum asim = having golden, handle, sword; ba bandha= securely, tied - at his waist.
Rama, the great-resplendent scion of Raghu, on instructing his brother Lakshmana in that way securely fastened his sword with golden handle to his waist. [3-44-1]
tataH tri vinatam caapam aadaaya aatma vibhuuSaNam |
aabadhya ca kalaapau dvau jagaama udagra vikramaH || 3-44-2
2. tataH= then; udagra [ut agra] vikramaH= one with - up, risen - escalating, valour - Rama; tri vinatam= three-way, bent - arched; aatma vibhuuSaNam= his own, decoration [insignia]; caapam= bow; aadaaya= on taking; dvau kalaapau ca = two, quivers, also; aabadhya= on binding - on back; jagaama= proceeded.
Rama whose valour is escalating then took his own insignia, the three-way arched bow called kodanDa, and fastened two quivers and proceeded. [3-44-2]
tam va.ncayaano raajendram aapatantam niriikSya vai |
babhuuva a.ntarhitaH traasaat punaH sa.mdarshane abhavat || 3-44-3
baddha asiH dhanuH aadaaya pradudraava yato mR^igaH |
3. mR^igaH= Golden Deer; aa patantam= who is coming, falling - coming down on it; raaja indram= among kings, peerless one; tam= him, Rama; niriikSya vai= on peering at, indeed; vancayaanaH= to beguile him; traasaat= owing to fear [as if]; antarhitaH babhuuva= disappeared, it became; punaH= again; sam darshane abhavat= in clear visibility, it became; raamaH= Rama; baddha asiH dhanuH aadaaya= [securely] grit, sword, bow, on taking [firmly handled]; yataH mR^igaH= from where, deer [has gone]; [tataH= to that place of disappearance]; pra dudraava= speedily, spurted.
On peering at the peerless one among kings, namely Rama, who is indeed coming down on him, that Golden Deer disappeared as if with fear and even to beguile him, and again it came into clear visibility. And Rama speedily spurted to that place from where the Golden Deer has firstly disappeared with securely grit sword and firmly handled bow. [3-44-3]
tam sma pashyati ruupeNa dyotamaanam iva agrataH || 3-44-4
avekSya avekSya dhaavantam dhanuS paaNiH mahaavane |
ativR^ittam iSoH paataat lobhayaanam kadaacana || 3-44-5
sha.nkitam tu samud bhraantam utpatantam iva a.mbare |
dR^iashyamaanam adR^ishyam ca vana uddesheSu keSucit || 3-44-6
chinna abhraiH iva sa.mviitam shaaradam candra maNDalam |
4b, 5, 6, 7a. dhanuS paaNiH= bow, one handling - wielder, Rama; avekSya avekSya= on observing, on observing - deer repeatedly observing the hunter, Rama; mahaavane dhaavantam tam= in deep, forest, running away, that - deer; ruupeNa agrataH= with its [marvellous] form, in forefront; dyotamaanam iva = effulgent, as though; pashyati sma = beholding, he [the hunter] remained - kept on; kadaacana= at times; iSoH paataat= from arrow's, falling of; ati vR^ittam= too far, going [circumventing]; lobhayaanam= while tantalising - Rama; he saw such a deer; shankitam tu = in wariness, but; sam ud bhraantam= very, highly, perplexed; ambare= to skies; ut patantam iva = to upside, falling [springing,] as though; he saw such a deer; chinna abhraiH= with splintered, clouds; samviitam iva= imbricated - overlaid, as if; shaaradam candra maNDalam = autumnal, moon, orb; keSucit vana uddesheSu = somewhere, in forest, thickets; dR^iashyamaanam= is appearing; a+dR^ishyam ca= not, appearing, also.
Rama the wielder of bow kept on beholding that Golden Deer which is observing him over and over and running away into deep of the forest. In the next moment he has seen it right in front of him as though effulgent with its marvellous form. At times he has seen it running away as though to circumvent the fall of arrow, and at times stopping only to tantalise him. Sometimes it appeared to be springing as though to skies in very highly perplexity of wariness. It is disappearing somewhere in the thickets of forest, and it is putting in an appearance elsewhere in those thickets, like the autumnal orb of the moon under the fly front of splintered clouds. [3-44-4b, 5, 6, 7a]
muhuurtaat eva dadR^ishe muhur duuraat prakaashate || 3-44-7
darshana adarshanena eva saH apaakarSata raaghavam |
suduuram aashramasya asya maarico mR^igataam gataH || 3-44-8
7b, 8. mR^igataam gataH = deer-hood, who went into - who is animalised; saH maaricaH= he that, Maareecha; muhuurtaat eva= for a moment, thus - in a wink; [samiipe= close by]; dadR^ishe= seen [by Rama]; muhuH= again; in a flash; duuraat prakaashate= from distance, shone forth - appeared; darshana a + darshanena [adarshanaat] eva= by revealing, not, revealing [concealing himself, hide and seek game] only; raaghavam= Raghava is; asya aashramasya= his own, from his hermitage; su duuram= very, far; apa aakarSata= to side, attracted - sidetracked, drawn off.
In a wink Rama could proximately see that Maareecha who transformed himself into the Golden Deer, and again in a flash he appeared distantly. Thus that deer/demon has drawn off Raghava very far from his hermitage in this hide and seek game. [3-44-7b, 8]
aasiit kruddhaH tu kaakutstho vivashaH tena mohitaH |
atha avatasthe sushraantaH cChaayaam aashritya shaadvale || 3-44-9
9. tena [ruupeNa] mohitaH= by its [form,] spellbound, kaakutsthaH tu= Kakutstha, but; vi vashaH= kutuuhala paravashaH= 1]out of, control - slippery, 2] fascinated; kruddhaH= incensed; aasiit= he became - Rama; atha= then; su shraantaH= verily, tired; cChaayaam aashritya shaadvale avatasthe= shade [of tree,] taking shelter, on pasture, he stayed on.
Rama of Kakutstha is incensed as its form is spellbinding but its capture slippery, and then verily tired as he is he stayed on a pasture taking shelter of a tree shade. [3-44-9]
sa tam unmaadayaamaasa mR^igaruupo nishaacara |
mR^igaiH parivR^ito atha vanyaiH aduuraat pratyadR^ishyata || 3-44-10
10. mR^iga ruupaH saH nishaa cara= in guise, he that Maareecha, night-walker; tam unmaadayaamaasa= him - Rama, started to madden; atha = then; vanyaiH mR^igaiH parivR^itaH= of forest, with [other] animals, surrounded; a + duuraat pratyadR^ishyata= not, from faraway [close-by,] reappeared.
Nightwalker Maareecha has further maddened Rama in the guise of Golden Deer by reappearing in his close-by, surrounded with other animals of the forest. [3-44-10]
grahiitu kaamam dR^iSTvaa tam punaH eva abhyadhaavata |
tat kshaNaat eva sa.mtraasaat punar a.ntarhito abhavat || 3-44-11
11. grahiitu kaamam= to catch, desirous of - he who is stalking; tam dR^iSTvaa = at him - at Rama on seeing; punaH eva abhyadhaavata= again, thus, [deer] towards [Rama,] ran; tat kshaNaat eva= at that, moment, only; punaH= again; sam traasaat= owing to extreme fear; antarhitaH abhavat= vanished, it became.
Again on seeing Rama who is stalking his catch that deer ran towards him as though to impress with its guilelessness, and just at that moment it vanished again as if with extreme fear. [3-44-11]
punar eva tato duuraat vR^iksha khaNDaat viniHsR^itaH |
dR^iSTvaa raamo mahaatejaaH tam hantum kR^ita nishcayaH || 3-44-12
12. tataH= then; mahaatejaaH raamaH = the great-resplendent one, Rama; punaaH eva= again, thus; duuraat vR^iksha khaNDaat= distantly, from trees, thicket of; vi niH sR^itaH= well, out, emerged - issued forth; tam= it - deer; dR^iSTvaa= on seeing; hantum kR^ita nishcayaH= to kill, firmed up, his decision.
Then that deer has again emerged out of the thick of trees, and on spotting it the great-resplendent Rama has firmed up his decision to fell it. [3-44-12]
bhuuyaH tu sharam uddhR^itya kupitaH tatra raaghavaH |
suurya rashmi pratiikaasham jvala.ntam ari mardanam || 3-44-13
sa.ndhaaya sudR^iDhe caape vikR^iSya balavat balii |
tam eva mR^igam uddishya shvasa.ntam iva pannagam || 3-44-14
mumoca jvalitam diiptam astram brahma vinirmitam |
13, 14, 15a. tatra= at that time; bhuuyaH kupitaH= highly, infuriated; balii raaghavaH = forceful one, Raghava; suurya rashmi pratiikaasham= sun, shine [flare,] similar in shine; jvalantam= holocaustic ari ardanam= enemy, subjugating; sharam uddhR^itya= arrow, bringing up - unholstered; su dR^iDhe caape sandhaaya = very, sturdy, in bow, tautened, taking aim; balavat= forcefully; vi kR^iSya= out, stretched - bowstring; shvasantam pannagam iva = exhaling [hissing,] snake, as with; jvalitam diiptam = fierily, blazing; brahma vinirmitam= by Brahma, carefully, created; astram= missile - arrow; tam mR^igam eva uddishya= that, deer, only, on aiming - on targeting; mumoca= released.
At that instant Raghava became highly infuriated and unholstered a holocaustic, enemy-subjugating arrow that is similar to the flare of the sun, tautening it on his very sturdy bow that forceful Rama forcefully outstretched the bowstring with arrow targeting the Golden Deer alone, and released that fierily blazing arrow-missile which is carefully created by Brahma and which is hissing like a snake. [3-44-13, 14, 15a]
shariiram mR^iga ruupasya vinirbhidya sharottamaH || 3-44-15
maariicasya eva hR^idayam vibheda ashani sa.nnibhaH |
15b, 16a. ashani sannibhaH= thunderbolt, similar; shara uttamaH = arrow, the superb; mR^iga ruupasya shariiram = in deer's, form, body; vi nir bhidya= on very, profoundly, impaling; maariicasya hR^idayam eva= Maareecha's, heart, alone; vibheda= severed.
On very profoundly impaling the body of deer's form that superb arrow which is similar to a thunderbolt has severed the heart of Maareecha in the core of deer's body. [3-44-15b, 16a]
taala maatram atha utplutya nyapatat sa bhR^isha aaturaH || 3-44-16
vyanadat bhairavam naadam dharaNyaam alpa jiivitaH |
16b, 17a. atha= then; saH= he - that Maareecha; bhR^isha aaturaH= highly, frenzied; alpa jiivitaH= minimized, lifespan; bhairavam naadam vyanadat = a blaring, shriek, blared; taala maatram= palm-tree, measure of [height of]; ut plutya= up, vaulted; dharaNyaam nyapatat= onto ground fell down.
Then Maareecha is highly frenzied as his lifespan is minimised, blared a blaring shriek, vaulted up to a height of palm-tree, and fell down onto the ground. [3-44-16b, 17a]
mriyamaaNaH tu maariico jahau taam kR^itrimaam tanum || 3-44-17
smR^itvaa tat vacanam raksho dadhyau kena tu lakshmaNam |
iha prasthaapayet siitaa taam shuunye raavaNe haret || 3-44-18
17b, 18. mriyamaaNaH tu maariicaH= when dyeing, on his part, Maareecha; kR^itrimaam taam tanum jahau = artificial, that [deer's,], body, abandoned; rakshaH demon Maareecha; [mriyamaaNaH tu= while dying]; tat vacanam= that, sentence [of Ravana]; smR^itvaa= while remembering; dadhyau= thought of it; siitaa= Seetha; kena lakshmaNam iha prasthaapayet= by what, Lakshmana, will be hastening; shuunye= in a void place; taam raavaNe haret= Ravana, her, will be abducting.
Maareecha on his part abandoned the body of Golden Deer when he is dying. But remembering the words of Ravana that demon gave a thought, 'how best will Seetha hasten Lakshmana to this place, and how best Ravana can abduct Seetha in a place void of people.' [3-44-17b, 18]
Maareecha would have died without yelling for Lakshmana or Seetha as tutored by Ravana because Maareecha is no real alley of Ravana. But it is said that he 'recollected Ravana's words and thought about it.' What he really thought is the causation of death to that one who caused his own death, namely Ravana. Ravana can do nothing to Maareecha now as Maareecha is breathing his last. Whatever is to be done now it has t become a self-ruinous act to Ravana. Hence, it is better to do as said by Ravana for the elimination of Ravana. So thought Maareecha.
sa praapta kaalam aj~naaya cakaara ca tataH svaram |
sadR^isham raaghavasya eva haa siite lakSmaNa iti ca || 3-44-19
19. tataH= then; saH= he, Maareecha; praapta kaalam aj~naaya= chanced, time, perceptive of; raaghavasya sadR^isham eva= Raghava's [voice], soundalike, only; haa siite= ha, Seetha; ha lakSmaNa iti ca= Lakshmana, thus, also; svaram cakaara ca = voice, made, also.
Perceptive of the time that chanced bearing his death, and wishful of the death of Ravana too, then made a voice that is a soundalike to Raghava's voice and yelled 'ha, Seetha...' also thus 'ha Lakshmana...' [3-44-19]
tena marmaNi nirviddham shareNa anupamena hi |
mR^iga ruupam tu tat tyaktvaa raakSasam ruupam aasthitaH || 3-44-20
cakre sa sumahaa kaayam maariico jiivitam tyajan |
20, 21a. saH maariicaH = he, Maareecha; tena= by him - by Rama; an upamena= not, comparable; shareNa= with arrow; marmaNi nir viddham hi; = in crucial [organ, heart,] utterly shattered, indeed; tat mR^iga ruupam tu tyaktvaa= that, deer's, form, but, on abandoning; raakSasam ruupam aasthitaH= demon's, body, on assuming; jiivitam tyajan= life, while forsaking; su mahaa kaayam= very, massive, physique; cakre = done [assumed.]
When Rama's incomparable arrow has indeed shattered his crucial organ, namely the heart, in a downright manner, then Maareecha assumed a very massive physique of a demon, abandoning the form of Golden Deer. [3-44-20, 21a]
Though Maareecha assumed the form of a deer he has to retain his heart and brain of a demon. This is the yogic way of para kaaya praveshanam 'entering other bodies.' These assumed artificial bodies do not hold ground in nidraa, surata, maraNa dasheSu 'in sleep, copulation and death states,' where the mind, if distracted to these states, cannot concentrate or hold the body that is assumed by mental powers of yoga. Here no supernal god or deity is involved to grant such a capacity but one's own practise achieves it. Whereas in other case like Ravana, gods have bestowed boons, so he need not practise such yoga etc., as he is blessed to be above these mortal's practises and thus can change his form and can rejoice in any state with that body or form. This is how he abducts Seetha changing his semblances instantaneously.
tam dR^iSTvaa patitam bhuumau raakSasam bhiima darshanam || 3-44-21
raamo rudhira sikta a.ngam ceSTamaanam mahiitale |
jagaama manasaa siitaam lakSmaNasya vacaH smaran || 3-44-22
21b, 22. raamaH= Rama; bhuumau patitam = on earth, fallen; bhiima darshanam= fiendish, in look; rudhira sikta angam= in blood, steeped, with limbs; mahiitale ceSTamaanam = on earth's plane, weltering; tam raakSasam dR^iSTvaa= at him, demon, on seeing; lakSmaNasya vacaH smaran= Lakshmana's, words, reminiscing; siitaam manasaa jagaama= to Seetha, by heart, went - emotionally took flight to Seetha.
On seeing that demon with a fiendish look, who has fallen to earth with limbs steeped in blood, and who is weltering on the surface of earth, Rama emotionally took flight to Seetha reminiscing Lakshmana's words. [3-44-21b, 22]
maariicasya tu maaya eSaa puurva uktam lakshmaNena tu |
tat tadaa hi abhavat ca adya maariico ayam mayaa hataH || 3-44-23
23. eSaa maariicasya tu maaya= this is, Maareecha's, but, trickery; lakshmaNena puurva uktam tu= by Lakshmana, earlier, vouchsafed, but; tat tadaa abhavat hi= that, that way, happened, indeed; adya mayaa hataH= now, by me, [who is] killed; ayam maariicaH= he is, Maareecha.
"This is the trickery of Maareecha which Lakshmana vouchsafed earlier, that has indeed happened in that way alone, and the one whom I have killed now is none other than Maareecha. [3-44-23]
haa siite lakSmaNa iti evam aakrushya tu mahaa svanam |
mamaara raakSasaH so ayam shrutvaa siitaa katham bhavet || 3-44-24
lakSmaNaH ca mahaabaahuH kaam avasthaam gamiSyati |
iti sa.mcintya dharmaaatmaa raamo hR^iSTa tanuu ruhaH || 3-44-25
24. saH= he; ayam= this; raakSasaH= demon; haa siite= ha, Seetha; lakSmaNa iti evam tu= Lakshmana, thus, that way, but; mahaa svanam aakrushya = with blatant, voice, crying out; mamaara= dead; shrutvaa siitaa katham bhavet= on hearing, Seetha, how, she will be; mahaabaahuH lakSmaNaH ca = dextrous one, Lakshmana, also; kaam avasthaam gamiSyati= in which, plight, he enters; so Rama thought; dharmaaatmaa raamaH= righteous-souled, Rama; iti samcintya = thus, on thinking over; hR^iSTa tanuu ruhaH= surprise, body, born [hair, hair-raising, frightened]; [babhuuva= Rama became.]
"This demon died while crying out with a blatant voice 'ha, Seetha... ha, Lakshmana...' And on hearing this how Seetha will be? And what will be the plight of dextrous Lakshmana?" Thus on thinking over them that righteous-souled Rama remained in a hair-raising predicament. [3-44-24]
tatra raamam bhayam tiivram aavivesha viSaadajam |
raakSasam mR^iga ruupam tam hatvaa shrutvaa ca tat svanam || 3-44-26
26. mR^iga ruupam tam raakSasam hatvaa= in deer's, form, that, demon, on killing; tat svanam shrutvaa ca= his, yelling [of demon,] on hearing, also; tatra= in that matter; raamam= to Rama; viSaada jam tiivram bhayam = by gloom, caused, frantic, fear; aavivesha= ensorcelled.
On killing that demon in the form of Golden Deer, and also on hearing his yelling, Rama is ensorcelled with a frantic fear caused by his own gloom. [3-44-26]
nihatya pR^iSatam ca anyam maa.msam aadaaya raaghavaH |
tvaramaaNo janasthaanam sasaara abhimukhaH tadaa || 3-44-27
27. tadaa= then; raaghavaH= Raghava; anyam= another one; pR^iSatam nihatya ca= spotted deer, on killing, also; maamsam aadaaya= its flesh, on taking; tvaramaaNaH= hurrying himself; janasthaanam abhimukhaH sasaara= to Janasthaana, towards, he drifted, proceeded.
Raghava then on killing another spotted deer and on taking its flesh, he hurried himself towards Janasthaana. [3-44-27]
Fruits of listening Maareecha's legend
As with any other demon's death Maareecha's death also is eulogised as a merited one and reading or listening this is said to bring merit. Though these results are not said in Ramayana proper, its collateral scripts like skaanda purana, aadhyaatma raamaayaNa etc., say them. For the elimination of Maareecha aadhyaatma raamaayaNa says:
tat deh˜t uddhitam teja× sarva lokasya paþyata× |
r˜mam eva ˜viþat dev˜× vismayam paramam jagu× ||
kim karma k®tv˜ kim pr˜pta× p˜takŸ muni himsaka× |
athav˜ r˜ghavasya ayam mahim˜ na atra saÕþaya× ||
dvijo v˜ r˜kÿaso v˜ api p˜pŸ v˜ dh˜rmiko v˜ |
tyajan kalebaram r˜mam sm®tv˜ y˜ti paramam padam ||
From that body of Maareecha a divine aureole risen while all the world is seeing... that merged into Rama alone, causing very great astonishment... this is the marvel of Rama, nothing else..' So the divine beings thought seeing from heavens, and said 'a Brahman or a demon, or a sinner or meritorious one who cites the name of Rama at the time of leaving his body, he attains the Ultimate Threshold...' Blessing so, the divine beings returned to their abodes on seeing the salvation of Maareecha's soul in Rama.' aadhyaatma raamaayaNa, aranya , seventh sarga/chapter.
iti vaalmiiki raamaayaNe aadi kaavye araNya kaaNDe catuH catvaarimshaH sargaH
Thus, this is the 44th chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.
© Oct, 2002, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : September 04]