Chapter [Sarga] 49

Introduction

Seetha's abduction takes place now. Ravana forcefully abducts Seetha in his air-chariot. She bewails and bemoans for Rama and Lakshmana and appeals to all nature to inform Rama about this abduction. Finally, she sees Jatayu, the eagle, and asks him to narrate her abduction to Rama.


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sty vacanam rutv daagrva pratpavn |
haste hastam samhatya cakra sumahat vapu || 3-49-1

1. prataapavaan dashagriivaH = valorous one, Ten-headed Ravana; siitaayaa vacanam shrutvaa= Seetha's, words, on hearing; haste hastam sam aahatya= on palm, with palm, well [loudly,] clapped; su mahat vapuH cakaara = very mighty, [his] body, made [divulged,].

On hearing Seetha's words that valorous ten-headed Ravana loudly clapped in dissent for once and divulged his very mighty body. [3-49-1]

These beings, including Hanuma, change into titanic form when they are infuriated. A cruel aspect minus anger is not in consonance with each. Thus, Ravana got wild first, but he does not want to hide his reality before his Goddess Lakshmi, hence he divulged his real aspect. Maheshvara Tiirtha.

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sa maithilm puna vkyam babhe vkya kovida |
na unmattay rutau manye mama vrya parkramau || 3-49-2

2. vaakya kovidaH saH = word, smith, he that Ravana; maithiliim punaH vaakyam babhaaSe= he, to Maithili, again, words, spoke; unmattayaa= by you who are mad; mama viirya paraakramau= my, valour, vanquishes; na shrutau manye= not, unheard, I think.

That wordsmith Ravana again spoke these words to Maithili, "Perhaps you have not heard about my valour and vanquishes in all your madness for Rama. [3-49-2]

Ravana as devotee is saying to Seetha: 'unheard are my valour and vanquishes na unmattayaa : matta janaat udgataa unmatta bhinna taa dR^ishayaa 'not mad... you are far from the maddened crowd, you are opposite of a mad personality...' na unmattayaa tvayaa na shrutau manye... 'though you are not a madcap in reality, you did not give any ear to my valour and vanity...' Maheshvara Tiirtha.

Once the demon Mahisha-asura was eliminated by Goddess Durga, a female, and Ravana is now talking to a female, [and maybe she is also in disguise like him.] If this woman assumes her real nature at the time of abduction, the abduction will not be easy and handy. Hence, before her assuming her real form, it is better to show his real entity. Thus, he clapped for once before changing into his real entity. Or, the role-play of a Brahman sanyasi is not in consonance with the villainous abduction and that garb of a Brahman itself is a hindrance to his original atrocious nature known to world as raa vaNa 'one who makes people to cry...' thus vexed with this role-paying of a Brahman, he clapped loudly and infuriately, for once. Rama Tilaka.

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ud vaheyam bhujbhym tu medinm ambare sthita |
pibeyam samudram ca mtyum hanym rae sthita || 3-49-3

3. ambare sthitaH = on sky, standing; bhujaabhyaam mediniim ud vaheyam= by my two arms, earth I can up, lift; samudram ca= [any] ocean, also; aa pibeyam = completely, I gulp down; raNe sthitaH= in war, standing; mR^ityum hanyaam = Death, I put to death.

"Standing on the sky I can lift up the earth with two of my arms, I can completely gulp down any ocean, standing in war I can even put the Death to death. [3-49-3]

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arkam tundym arai tkair vibhindym hi mahtalam |
kma rpiam unmatte paya mm kmadam patim || 3-49-4

4. arkam tundyaam [rundhyaam] hi= Sun, I can split [obstruct] indeed; tiikSNaiH sharaiH = with splitting, arrows; mahiitalam vi bhindyaam= earth's plane, verily, split [splinter]; unmatte= oh, mad woman; kaama dam patim= wishes, endowing, husband; kaama ruupiNam= by wish, who can assume any form; maam pashya = me, you behold.

"Indeed, I can split the Sun and splinter the earth with my splitting arrows, oh, mad woman, I can assume any form as I wish, and endow any wish you wish, such as I am, I must be your husband, behold me." So said Ravana when revealing his real nature. [3-49-4]

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evam uktavata tasya rvaasya ikhi prabhe |
kruddhasya hari paryante rakte netre babhvatu || 3-49-5

5. evam uktavataH = that way, when he said; kruddhasya tasya raavaNasya = infuriated, that, Ravana's; shikhi prabhe= torchlit, in shine; hari paryante = blackened, at edges; netre= in such eyes; rakte babhuuvatuH= bloodshot, became.

While the infuriated Ravana is saying in that way his eyes which by themselves are torchlit in their shine have became further bloodshot and blackened at their edges. [3-49-5]

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sadya saumyam parityajya tka rpam sa rvaa |
svam rpam kla rpa bham bheje vairavaa anuja || 3-49-6

6. vaishravaNa anujaH= Vaishravana [Kubera's] younger brother; saH raavaNaH= he, Ravana; sadyaH= immediately; saumyam ruupam= gentle, form - of Brahman friar; pari tyajya= discarding; svam= his own; kaala ruupa aabham= Terminator's, form, similar to; tiikshNa ruupam bheje= ferocious, aspect, he assumed.

Immediately discarding the gentle form of a Brahman friar, that younger brother of Kubera, Ravana, assumed his own ferocious form which is similar to the form of Terminator. [3-49-6]

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sarakta nayana rmn tapta kcana bhaa |
krodhena mahat vio nla jmta sannibha || 3-49-7
daa syo viati bhujo babhva kaad cara |

7, 8a. mahataa krodhena aaviSTaH= by desperate, fury, ensorcelled; sam rakta nayanaH= with bloodshot, eyes; shriimaan= celebrated one; tapta kaancana bhuuSaNaH= burnt [purified,] golden, wearer of ornaments; [vicitra shakti sampanna= wizardly Ravana]; niila jiimuuta sannibhaH= blackish, [tempestuous] cloudlike, in shine; dasha aasyaH= ten, faced one; vimshati bhujaaH= twenty, with arms; kSaNadaa caraH= night, walker; babhuuva = became [transmuted.]

That celebrated Ravana whose eyes are bloodshot as he is ensorcelled by desperate fury transmuted his form into a tend-faced, twenty-armed night-walker wearing golden ornaments of purified gold and appearing as a black tempestuous cloud. [3-49-7, 8a]

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sa parivrjaka cchadma mahkyo vihya tat || 3-49-8
pratipede svakam rpam rvao rkasa adhipa |
rakta ambara dhara tasthau str ratnam prekya maithilm || 3-49-9

8b, 9. raakSasa adhipaH= demons, sovereign; saH raavaNaH= he, Ravana; parivraajaka cChadma vihaaya= friar's, guise, on discarding; svakam ruupam pratipede= his own, form, he educed; tat mahaa kaayaH = that, mighty-bodied one; rakta ambara dharaH= reddish, clothing, attired in; strii ratnam maithiliim prekSya= lady, gem of a, at Maithili, observing; tasthau= stood afore her.

On discarding that guise of a Brahman friar that sovereign of demons Ravana educed his own physique and then that mighty bodied one attired in reddish clothing stood before Maithili observing that gem of a lady. [3-49-8b, 9]

He stood before her showing his mighty physique, expecting her to yield on seeing such a magnificent manly physique, which dissimilar to the girlish physique of her husband Rama.

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sa tm asita kea antm bhskarasya prabhm iva |
vasana bharaa upetm maithilm rvao abravt || 3-49-10

10. saH raavaNaH = he, Ravana; a + sita kesha antaam= not, whitened, head-hair, ends [hairdo having glossily blackish tressed ends]; bhaaskarasya prabhaam iva= sun's, shining, like; vasana aabharaNa upetaam= clothed [silken-ochry-sari,] jewellery, having on her; taam maithiliim abraviit= to her, to Maithili, spoke.

She whose tresses are glossily blackish until their ends, and who has on her glittering jewellery and silken-ochry-sari, whereby who is imperceivable like sun's glaring shine, to such Maithili Ravana spoke. [3-49-10]

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triu lokeu vikhytam yadi bhartram icchasi |
mm raya varrohe tava aham sada pati || 3-49-11

11. varaarohe= oh, high-hipped lady; triSu lokeSu vikhyaatam bhartaaram = in three, worlds, well-renowned, a husband; icChasi yadi = you wish, if; maam aashraya= in me, you seek shelter; aham tava sadR^ishaH patiH= I [alone] will, to you, match up, as husband.

"If you wish to have a husband of well-renown in three worlds you seek shelter in me, oh, high-hipped lady, I alone will match up to you as husband. [3-49-11]

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mm bhajasva cirya tvam aham lghya pati tava |
na eva ca aham kvacit bhadre kariye tava vipriyam || 3-49-12
tyajyatm mnuo bhvo mayi bhva prayatm |

12, 13a. bhadre= oh, fortunate lady; tvam ciraaya maam bhajasva= you, for a long time [ultimately,] me, you oblige; aham tava shlaaghyaH patiH = I will be, to you, much-lauded, husband; aham kvacit= I will, anytime; tava= to you; vi priyam= dis, pleasure; na kariSye ca = not, I will cause; maanuSe= for humanly [Rama]; bhaavaH= your thoughts [heart, love]; tyajyataam= leave off; mayi bhaavaH pra Niiyataam= me [towards me,] thought [heart, love,] verily lead [bring round.]

"Ultimately you have a much-lauded husband in me, as such you oblige me, and I will not cause any displeasure to you at any point of time. Let your heart refrain from that humanly Rama and you start bringing round your heart towards me. [3-49-12, 13a]

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rjyt cyutam asiddha artham rmam parimita yuam || 3-49-13
kai guai anurakt asi mhe paita mnini |
ya striy vacant rjyam vihya sasuht janam || 3-49-14
asmin vyla anucarite vane vasati durmati |

13b, 14, 15a. muuDhe= oh, unintelligent lady; paNDita maanini= highly intelligent, deem your self; dur matiH= bad, minded [mindless Rama]; yaH striyaa vacanaat= who, by a woman's, word; sa= along with; su hR^it janam= good, hearted, people; raajyam vihaaya= kingdom, on leaving off; vyaala anucarite= predators, moving in [on prowl]; asmin vane vasati = in this, in forest, he who lives - Rama; such a; raajyaat cyutam= from kingdom, fallen [spurned off]; a + siddha artham= not, gainful, his purposes; [maanuSaH= being human]; parimita aayuSam= he is with - limited, longevity - short-lived human being; raamam= at Rama; kaiH guNaiH anuraktaa asi= by what, merits [of Rama,] impassioned [for him,] you are.

"Oh, halfwitted lady, you who deem yourself a highly intellectual lady, listen, that mindless Rama who just by a word of a woman forebode kingdom along with all of his amiable people, and lives in this forest where the predators are on the prowl, thus he who is spurned off from kingdom, ungainful are his purposes, and who is even a short-lived human, I wonder by what merits you are impassioned for such a Rama?" Thus Ravana spoke to Seetha. [3-49-13b, 14, 15a]

For the verses from 11 to 14 Maheshvara Tiirtha, a very ancient commentator, tries hard to establish Ravana as an absolute devotee of Goddess Lakshmi, for Ravana himself was their doorkeeper in heaven before his accursed being. He is one from the two doorkeepers in vaikuNTha 'abode of Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi' called Jaya and Vijaya Ravana is Jaya, the doorkeeper. That commentary is like this. yadi aham patiH 'if, I am, the lord...' raakshasaam iti seSaH elliptic, 'of demons...' tava sadR^ishaH : kim bhR^itya - iti seSaH 'you befitting, elliptic, am I a befitting servant - no I am not...' 'Although I am not a good servant of yours, but if you wish to me be one, triSu lokeSu vikhyaataam yathaa tathaa 'as if to become famous in all the three worlds...' maam bhartaaram aashraya 'me, as servant, accept...' Here bharta is defined as shushruuSa aadinaa svaaminam bibharti iti bhartaa - bhR^itya iti arthaH 'one who serves his master by his services is bhartaa. Thus bhartaa does not only mean a husband but also a servant. Why should she accept Ravana now as a newly recruited servant? Because ciraaya tava shlaaghyaH 'for a long time I have been extolling you in vaikunTha as Jaya...' and I am a priya : priiNayati iti shshruuSa aadinaa svaaminam - iti priya bhR^ityaH 'a dear, earnest servant of yours...' maam bhajasva 'you know me thus as your humble servant...' maanuSe bhaava tyajataam 'humans only are to be saved..' - you leave this thinking and think that we the demons are also to be saved...' muuDhe paNDita maaninii mayi bhaava praNiiyataam 'Although I am an unread stupid, grace me too because I am your long serving servant...' Further, Rama is raajyaat cyutam 'not fallen from kingship, but he is a spurner of kingly pleasures, he thrusts these small things back with his foot...' why because a siddha artham - ashca asau siddha arthaH ca 'Vishnu is one with His purposes fulfilled... thus He does not care for a petty kingdom, when He is the King of Kings...' parimita aayuSam : parigatam - tyaktam; mitam - alpam - aayuH yena tam - a parimita aayuSam 'He is an eternal entity...' kaiH guNaiH - kaiH= anirvacaniiya; guNaiH= ananta kalyaaNa guNa shiila 'One with indefinable, illimitable auspicious merits...' anuraktaa asi 'you are impassioned for such a Vishnu, though... and I have no objection for that, but bless me too... durmati : duSTeSu api matiH - anugraahikaa buddhi 'He is not a mindless person, but he has a mind for the mindless and bad-minded persons like me... So please come with me and let your husband follow you to Lanka and accord salvation, as planned by you all...' Maheshvara Tiirtha.

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iti uktv maithilm vkyam priya arhm priya vdinm || 3-49-15
abhigamya sudua tm rkasa kma mohita |
jagrha rvaa stm budha khe rohim iva || 3-49-16

15b, 16. su duSTa aatmaa= verily, evil, minded [Ravana]; kaama mohitaH= by lust, maddened; raakshasaH raavaNaH = that demon, Ravana; priya [vacana] arhaam= for nice, [words,] proper one - to talk to; priya vaadiniim= nice, talker; maithiliim= to Maithili; vaakyam iti uktvaa= words, this way, on saying; abhi gamya= nigh, drawing - approaching her; khe budhaH rohiNiim iva= in firmament, Budha - the Jupiter, with Rohini, as with; siitaam jagraaha= Seetha, he grabbed.

On saying that sentence to Maithili, who by herself is a nice talker and who is a proper one for addressing with nice words, that verily evil-minded demon Ravana maddened by lust drew nigh of Seetha and grabbed her, as Budha, the Jupiter grabs the Star Rohini in firmament. [3-49-15b, 16]

What happened to the lakshmaNa rekha? 'A boundary drawn by Lakshmana when he departed Seetha in search of Rama?' Some discussion about this is there in the endnote. Here, even though Ravana is su duSTa aatmaa, kaama mohitaa 'a very wicked souled and lustily crazed....' it is all for other women, but not towards Seetha. And thus he caught hold of Seetha, as the planet Budha, Jupiter, the son of Moon catches his own Star mother Rohini, a dear wife the Moon, reverentially. Maheshvara Tiirtha. Later commentators rejected this saying that, if it were to be so, then Ravana has Oedipus complex.

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vmena stm padmkm mrdhajeu karea sa |
rvo tu dakiena eva parijagrha pin || 3-49-17

17. saH= he; padma akSiim siitaam= lotus, eyed, at Seetha; vaamena kareNa eva muurdhajeSu= with left, hand, thus, head-hair; dakSiNena paaNinaa uurvoH tu = with right, hand, thighs, but; parijagraaha= grabbed.

He that Ravana grabbed the lotus-eyed Seetha on lifting her up with his left hand at her plait of hair at nape, and with his right hand at her thighs. [3-49-17]

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tam dv giri ga bham tka daram mah bhujam |
prdravan mtyu sakam bhaya rt vana devat || 3-49-18

18. mR^ityu sankaasham= Death, one similar to; tiikSNa damSTram= one with incisive, fangs; mahaa bhujam= mightily, armed one; giri shR^inga aabham= mountain, crest, in shine; tam dR^iSTvaa= him [who grabbed Seetha,] on seeing; vana devataaH= forest, deities; bhaya aartaa = by terrorism, terrorised; praadravan= quickly fled.

On seeing him who grabbed Seetha, who has incisive fangs, mightily armed and who is shining forth like a mountain crest and similar to Death, the forest deities quickly fled away terrorised by his terrorism. [3-49-18]

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sa ca mymayo divya khara yukta khara svana |
pratyadyata hemgo rvaasya mahratha || 3-49-19

19. [then]; maayaamayaH= miraculously [designed for appearing and disappearing]; divyaH khara yuktaH= miraculous; mules, yoked with; khara svanaH= braying, noisily; hema angaH= golden, with wheels [parts]; raavaNasya saH mahaarathaH = Ravana's, that, miracle-air-chariot; prati adR^ishyata= afore, appeared.

Then the miracle-air-chariot of Ravana which is miraculously designed to appear and disappear at the wish of its master, yoked with miraculous mules, and built with its golden wheels and parts, appeared afore Ravana braying noisily. [3-49-19]

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tata tm paruai vkyai abhitarjya mahsvana |
akena dya vaidehm ratham ropayat tad || 3-49-20

20. tadaa= then; mahaa svanaH= one who has - strident, voice - Ravana; taam vaidehiim= her, Vaidehi; paruSaiH vaakyaiH abhitarjya= with bitter, words, intimidating; ankena aadaaya = by waist, lifting up - or dragging her onto his flank; tataH= then; ratham aaropayat= chariot, got up on.

Then he whose voice is strident that Ravana lifted her up by her waist and got Vaidehi up on the air-chariot intimidating her with bitter words. [3-49-20]

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s ght aticukroa rvaena yaasvin |
rm iti st dukha rt rmam dram gatam vane || 3-49-21

21. raavaNena gR^ihiitaa= by Ravana, captured [when gone into captivity of Ravana]; yashasvinii= glorious one; saa siitaa= that, Seetha; duHkha aartaa= with anguish, agonised; vane duuram gatam raamam = in forest, distant, gone, at Rama; raamaa iti= 'oh, Rama', thus [saying]; ati cukrosha= loudly, wailed.

Agonised with anguish when gone into the captivity of Ravana, she that glorious Seetha wailed loudly for Rama saying 'oh, Rama,' which Rama has gone deep into the forest by then. [3-49-21]

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tm akmm sa kma rta pannaga indra vadhm iva |
viveamnm dya utpapta atha rvaa || 3-49-22

22. atha= then; kaama aartaH= with lust, infatuated; saH raavaNaH= that, Ravana; a + kaamaam= not, inclined - one disinclined for lusting; pannaga indra vadhuum iva= cobra, king, wife, like; vi veSTamaanaam= one who is verily, writhing; taam aadaaya= her, on picking her up; [vegena= speedily]; ut papaata= up, fallen - fell upon the skies, flew off.

Ravana who is infatuated with lust picked her up, which lady is disinclined for any kind of sensuality and who is verily writhing like the wife of King Cobra, and then he surged skyward and flew off with her in his air-chariot. [3-49-22]

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tata s rkasendrea hriyam vihyas |
bham cukroa matt iva bhrnta citt yath tur || 3-49-23

23. tataH= then; raakSasa indreNa vihaayasaa hriyamaaNaa= by demons, lord, in skyway, while being abducted; saa = she that Seetha; mattaa iva= frenzied, as if; bhraanta cittaa= bewildered, faculties; aaturaa yathaa = a hysterical person, as with; bhR^isham cukrosha= stridently, bawled.

While that lord of demons is abducting her in the skyway, Seetha became frenzied with bewildered faculties and then bawled stridently like a hysterical person. [3-49-23]

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h lakmaa mahbho guru citta prasdaka |
hriyamm na jne rakas kma rpi || 3-49-24

24. mahaabaahuH= greatly dextrous one; guru citta prasaadaka= mentors, heart, rejoicer of; haa lakSmaNa= haa, Lakshmana; kaama ruupiNaa rakSasaa= by wish, guise-changer - dissembler, by demon; hriyamaaNaam= being abducted; [maam= me, of me]; na jaaniiSe= not, you know.

"Haa, greatly dextrous Lakshmana... oh, rejoicer of your mentor... you are incognisant of me who am being abducted by this demon who is a dissembler. [3-49-24]

Seetha tongue-lashed this Lakshmana alone in the earlier chapters and him alone she is addressing now, that too firstly, before calling Rama, that too addressing as 'dextrous one...' Is she self-contradictory? Not so, 'Lakshmana is the one who can protect even the self-reliant Rama, then where is the question of his not protecting Seetha from any calamity?' is her reasoning. On the other hand, Lakshmana left the hermitage just now, so he must be within earshot, while Rama went into deep of the forest long back.

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jvitam sukham arthm ca dharma heto parityajan |
hriyamm adharmea mm rghava na payasi || 3-49-25

25. jiivitam sukham arthaam ca= [high] life, happiness, riches, also; dharma hetoH parityajan= righteousness, for the reason of, one who is relinquishing; raaghava= oh, Raghava; a + dharmeNa= by not, righteousness - unrighteousness or, by an unrighteous demon; hriyamaaNaam= being abducted; maam na pashyasi= me, not, you are observant of.

"Oh, Raghava, you have relinquished your high-life, happiness, and riches for the sake of righteousness, and though you avowed to protect your observants, you are unobservant of me who am being abducted by the unrighteousness itself. [3-49-5]

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nanu nma avintnm vinet asi parantapa |
katham evam vidham ppam na tvam ssi hi rvaam || 3-49-26

26. parantapa= oh, enemy-inflamer; a +viniitaanaam= for not, wise beings [ for uncontrollable beings,] vi netaa= absolute, controller; asi nanu = you are, I dare say [I reckon]; tvam= you; evam vidham paapam raavaNam= this, kind of, sinner, Ravana; katham naama= how, I wonder; na shaassi hi = not, controlling, indeed.

"Oh, enemy-inflamer Rama, I reckon that you are an absolute controller of uncontrollable beings, I wonder why you are not controlling this kind of sinner, Ravana, indeed?" This is how Seetha started her cry in wilderness. [3-49-26]

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nanu sadyo avintasya dyate karmaa phalam |
klo api ag bhavati atra sasynm iva paktaye || 3-49-27

27. aviniitasya karmaNaH phalam= evil, acts', fruit [result]; sadyaH= instantaneously; na dR^ishyate nu= not, apparent, indeed; sasyaanaam paktaye iva= [yield of] crops, for cooking [after ripeness,] as with; atra= in such matters; kaalaH api angii bhavati= Time, even, part [factor,] becomes.

"Indeed, the result for an evil act will not be apparent instantaneously. Even the time becomes a factor in the matter of cause and effect, as with the crops becoming cookable after certain time lag." Thus, she is addressing Ravana now. [3-49-27]

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tvam karma ktavn etat kla upahata cetana |
jvita antakaram ghoram rmt vyasanam pnuhi || 3-49-28

28. tvam= you; kaala upahata cetanaH= by Time, battered, with a mind; [ett= this particular]; karma kR^itavaan= deed [exploit,] you have done [as an infringer]; raamaat= from Rama; jiivita antakaram ghoram vyasanam aapnuhi = life, ending, devastating, tribulation, you get.

"The Time has battered your brains and as an infringer you have undertaken this particular exploit, whereby you will get a devastating and life-ending tribulation from Rama." Thus, she upbraided Ravana. [3-49-28]

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hanta idnm sakm tu kaikey bndhavai saha |
hriyeyam dharma kmasya dharma patn yaasvina || 3-49-29

29. dharma kaamasya= honesty, aspirer of - Rama; yashasvinaH= of glorious Rama; dharma patnii= honest, wife; such as I am; hriyeyam= I am being abducted; idaaniim= now; kaikeyii baandhavaiH saha= Kaikeyi, kinfolk, together with; sa kaamaa= with [came true,] aspiration; [astu= let her be]; hanta= oh, god.

"An honest wife of a glorious one who aspires nothing but honesty, such a wife of Rama as I am, I am being abducted, thus the aspiration of Kaikeyi and her kinfolk has now come true. Oh, god!" Thus, she soliloquised. [3-49-29]

Rama also talks in this way when Viraadha abducted Seetha in the opening chapter of this Aranya Kanda. This small talk is more humanly as said: supramatta kupitaanaam bhaava j~naanam dR^iSTam 'in the delirious or furious conditions, one's own heart is outspoken...' and if it is spoken in anger none but their antagonists are envisaged, firstly.

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mantraye janasthnam karikrn ca pupitn |
kipram rmya asadhvam stm harati rvaa || 3-49-30

30. janasthaanam puSpitaan karNikaaraan= in Janasthaana, flowered, Karnikaara trees; aamantraye = I call attention of; raavaNaH siitaam harati = Ravana is, Seetha, thieving; thus; kSipram raamaaya shamsadhvam= instantly, to Rama, be made known inform.

"I call the attention of the flowered Karnikaara trees of Janasthaana, you inform Rama that Ravana is thieving Seetha." Thus, she is addressing the woods and others on the ground from air-chariot. [3-49-30]

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hasa srasa saghum vande godvarm nadm |
kipram rmya asa tvam stm harati rvaa || 3-49-31

31. hamsa saarasa sanghuSTaam= swans, saarasa [water birds,] bustling with; godaavariim nadiim vande = to you Godavari, river, I pray; raavaNaH harati siitaam = Ravana is, thieving, Seetha; tvam kSipram raamaaya shamsa = you, promptly, to Rama, tell.

"I pray you who are with the bustle of swans and saarasa water birds, oh, River Godavari, you promptly tell Rama that Ravana is thieving Seetha. [3-49-31]

This does not mean that this request is as good as asking that river to overflow its banks to go to Rama and tell the news. It is: "I pray you to tell this news to any one of the bustling birds in your lap and that bird swiftly takes to flight to go to Rama and informs him, because the birds are also sympathetic with Rama and with me, as well...' This is hamsa sandesha, saarasa sandesha which idea became more famous at a later time for the emergence of masterpieces like megha sandesha of Kalidasa and hamsa sandesha in nala damayanti upaakhyaana.

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daivatni ca ynti asmin vane vividha pdape |
namaskaromi aham tebhyo bhartu asata mm htm || 3-49-32

32. vividha paadape = which is with diverse, trees; asmin vane= in this, forest; [yaani= which of those]; daivataani= sylvan deities; yaanti [santi]= will be moving about [abide by trees]; tebhyaH= for them; aham namaskaromi = I am, offering veneration; maam hR^itaam= me, as a stolen one; bhartuH shamsata= [to my] husband, inform.

"I also venerate you, the sylvan deities that travel in this forest with diverse trees or, those that abide on the treetops, you may please inform my husband that I am being stolen. [3-49-32]

The word namaskaromi is of two parts: namaH, karomi and this namaH is again cleavable as na mama 'not, mine...' 'I have no 'I-ness' and I wholly submit my 'my-ness' unto you...' Thus namaH kaomi is 'I am making myself in submission to you...' and if this said with the gesture of adjoined palms called an~jali, which in Latin is iungo, iungere and if iun is read as an` and ng be read as j~na of Sanskrit, this iungo is also an~jali as Latin has many Sanskrit words in it. Then this is called namaskaara baaNa 'a salutation-arrow' more like a cupid's arrow to bring two together... not necessarily a male and a female, but any two or more, in veneration or friendship.

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yni knicit api atra sattvni nivasanti uta |
sarvi araam ymi mga paki gan api || 3-49-33

33. atra= there - on the ground as seen from aircraft; yaani kaanicit api= those, some few, even; sattvaani nivasanti uta = beings, are living, there; sarvaaNi= all of the; mR^iga pakSi gaNaan api= animals, birds, groups of, even; sharaNam yaami= shelter, I am getting into - I seek.

"Or, over there, some few beings that are living over there on the ground below, I seek shelter of all the flocks of birds and hoards of animals, and I pray you to convey this news. [3-49-33]

Seetha firstly appealed to the trees frenziedly. But reasoning herself that the trees can tell only when Rama comes to them, for they cannot move, and then she appealed to River Godavari and her swans. Presuming that the water loving water birds may not penetrate the deep forest, and then she appealed the sylvan deities presiding on the treetops. Again presuming that these sylvan deities of forests may not be able to see through the thick of forest, she is now asking the animals and birds that usually move on the ground, to locate Rama. This entire criss-cross thinking has happened within split seconds.

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hriyamm priym bhartu prebhyo api garyasm |
vivaa apaht st rvaena iti asata || 3-49-34

34. praaNebhyaH api gariiyasiim= by [his] lives, even, loftier; hriyamaaNaam= being stolen; priyaam= about [his] dear [wife]; vi vasha= without, help [helpless one]; siitaa= Seetha; raavaNena apahR^itaa= by Ravana, stolen; iti bhartuH shamsata= thus, to [my] husband, you inform.

"Inform my husband about his dear and loftier wife than his lives, saying that, 'helpless Seetha is stolen by Ravana.' [3-49-34]

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viditv mm mahbhu amutra api mahbala |
neyati parkramya vaivasvata htm api || 3-49-35

35. mahaa balaH= great-mighty one; mahaabaahuH= ambidextrous [Rama]; vaivasvata hR^itaam api= by Death, I am impounded, even if; maam= me; amutra api = [taken to] other world [to heavens,] even if; viditvaa= [if he comes to] on knowing; paraakramya= on aggressing; aaneSyati= brings back.

"If that ambidextrous Rama comes to know about me, even if I am taken to heavens, or, even if I am impounded by Death, that great-mighty Rama brings me back, on aggressing against all of the gods in heaven, or, against Yama, the Death God." Thus, she appealed to one and all, but in vain. [3-49-35]

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s tad karu vco vilapant sudukhit |
vanaspati gatam gridhram dadara yata locan || 3-49-36

36. tadaa= then; karuNaa vaacaH vilapantii= with pitiable, words, who is bewailing; aayata locanaa= wide, eyed one; saa= she; su duHkhitaa= highly, anguished; vanaspati gatam gridhram dadarsha = tree [a tree that yields fruits without flowering,] gone onto - perched on, eagle, she saw.

She that wide-eyed Seetha who is highly anguished and bewailing with pitiable words then with a wide-eyed expectancy saw the eagle Jatayu perching on a tree. [3-49-36]

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s tam ud vkya suro rvaasya vaam gat |
samkrandat bhayapar dukha upahatay gir || 3-49-37

37. raavaNasya vasham gataa= Ravana's, captivity, gone in; sushroNii= well-waisted one; bhaya paraa= by fear, worsted; saa= she; tam = him [Jataayu]; ud viikshya= up, on seeing - seeing on raising head; duHkha upahatayaa giraa= anguish, walloped with, [stuttering] voice; sam aakrandat= squeakily, shrieked.

She that well-waisted lady who has gone into the captivity of Ravana craned and stared at the eagle, and worsted by fear she shrieked squeakily with a stuttering voice that is walloped with anguish. [3-49-37]

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jayo paya mama rya hriyamam antha vat |
anena rkasedrea karuam ppa karma || 3-49-38

38. aarya jaTaayoH= oh, dignified [fatherly,] Jatayu; anena paapa karmaNaa= by this one, with sinister, deeds; raakshasa indreNa= by demons, lord of; anaatha vat= orphan, like [orphanized one]; karuNam= pitiably; hriyamaaNam= being abducted; mama [maam] pashya= me, you see.

"Oh, fatherly Jatayu, see me, like an orphanized one I am pitiably abducted by this lord of demons with sinister deeds. [3-49-38]

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na ea vrayitum akya tvay krro nicara |
sattvavn jitak ca sa yudha caiva durmati || 3-49-39

39. kruuraH= merciless one; sattvavaan= a formidable one; jita kaashii ca= [who by his cunning] conquests, shining forth, also; sa aayudhaH caiva= with, weaponry, also thus; dur matiH= wicked, minded one; eSa nishaacara= this one, night-walker; tvayaa= by you; vaarayitum= to forestall; na shakyaH= not, a possible, one.

"It is impossible for you to forestall this merciless night-walker, for he is formidable, shining forth with cunning conquests, also thus this wicked minded one is with weaponry. [3-49-39]

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rmya tu yath tattvam jayo haraam mama |
lakmaya ca tat sarvam khytavyam aeata || 3-49-40

40. jaTaayo= oh, Jatayu; mama haraNam = my, about abduction; yathaa tattvam= as, it happened; tat sarvam= that, all about it; a + sheSataH= without, a residuum - entirely; raamaaya= to Rama; lakSmaNaaya ca= to Lakshmana, also - or to Lakshmana; aakhyaatavyam= be narrated.

"Oh, Jatayu, everything about my abduction shall be narrated to Rama, or to Lakshmana, as it has happened in its entirety." Thus Seetha supplicated Jatayu. [3-49-40]

Nobility will not seek help selfishly; if help is sought that way, the seeker instantly becomes an ignoble, falling from the heights of personal nobility. Seetha may be an impetuous lady but if she talking to a noble elderly person or being, she talks judiciously in all her humbleness. Here she is not asking Jatayu to wage a war against Ravana to save her. She is asking Jatayu to convey the news of her abduction to Rama, because as an old eagle, as old as her father-in-law, Jatayu may not fight back this Ravana successfully. Besides, Ravana is with weaponry and a cunning warrior. Jatayu may be a powerful eagle, but if it comes to weapons and missiles, a natural being cannot withstand the artificial ammunition of war. Hence, visualising the danger in Jatayu's attempting any combat with Ravana, she is asking him to be the carrier of news, as all the trees, river and her birds, sylvan deities, and the other birds and animals are not heedful of her request, and this eagle alone is beheld, besides being an old acquaintance.

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Is Seetha an 'untouchable'?

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Whether Seetha is touched by Ravana or not - is a much debated issue by ancient commentators. When Ravana is carrying a curse on his head, that makes his head/heads to be splintered, if he lustfully touches any woman, against her will, it is questioned how his head is not splintered now, when touching Seetha. Maheshvara Tiirtha brings in skaanda puraaNa which says that: chy grhitvam api asi sarva vidy virade | kea chym parmya jnu chyam tahaiva ca | ghtv jnakm ho lankm pry tath eva ca | 'Ravana being an expert in all branches of sciences, caught Janaki by the shadow of her head-hair and the shadow of thighs...' Maheshvara Tiirtha.

For this Rama Tilaka says yet another way of catching Seetha, as explained for the verse at 3-49-17: muurdhajeSu kareNa : muudhaja iSu kareNa 'best ones, arrows, with hands...' 'with the hands that handle the best arrows... Seetha is caught...' vaama kareNa uurvo saH pari jagraaha here the word uuru which usually translates as 'thighs' is said as 'feet...' 'Ravana caught hold of her feet as the Planet Budha, the Jupiter caught the feet of his mother Star Rohini, requesting his personal deity Goddess Lakshmi to come to Lanka. Rama Tilaka.

Catching Seetha while she is standing is not possible in both the ways as said above. She should be in a supine position on ground to handle her from under her thighs or at the nape of the neck. Her falling on ground is not explicitly said in these verses in Aranya. But Seetha says at verse 3-49-34, that 'in a state of helplessness, I am abducted...' This word vivasha, vi vashatvam is not only 'helplessness...' but also a state of 'swooning...' She repeats the same wording in Sundara Kanda and even in Yuddha Kanda II at verse 8 of 116 sarga, while replying Rama's accusation, in saying that yadi aham gtra samsparam gat asmi viva prabho 'when I was 'helpless' I was touched by Ravana... fault is not mine, gods alone have fouled it...' Thus, it is assumed that Seetha was in a short swoon when caught by Ravana. Then again, when she was rolling on ground in the same state Ravana lifts her up by her waist into his air-chariot.

All this discussion is to establish Seetha is an 'untouchable' for others, and for fear of a blemish to her paativratya 'husband-devoutness...' which topic will be raised by no other than Rama, after war. The absolute devotees of Rama or Seetha hold Ravana's touching Seetha, as an intolerable act. Thus, to portray that Seetha is 'untouchable' there are many more legends woven around this topic.

One among it is lakshmaNa rekha 'Lakshmana's drawing a line around the hermitage, like a firewall...' When Seetha transgressed this firewall and came out of it to offer alms to Ravana, in Brahman sanyaasi's guise, she in her fear fell down on ground, as said in aadhyaatma raamaayaNa in the verse: tato vidrya dharam nakhai uddhtya bhubhi | tolayitv rathe kipt yayau kipram vihyas || 'then [Ravana] cleaved the earth with his nails, uplifting that clod with his hands and with a balancing act put it in the air-chariot, and quickly went away in skyway...'

Another anthology says that Rama while going after the Golden Deer, hid the real Seetha and placed a maayaa siitaa 'an illusory Seetha...' in the cottage. This deceptive Seetha is continued until her self-immolation after Great War. Real Seetha emerged out of the pyre instead of this Maya Seetha. Then it is questioned, whether the bemoaning and bewailing of Rama for Seetha, throughout the later part of the epic is to hoodwink the readers or so? It is then replied that this also is one among the many miraculous effects of Vishnu viSNu maaya All this culminates into the saying of Bhagavad Gita: vyavasytmik buddhi eka iha kuru nandana | bahu akh hi ananth ca buddhayo avyavasyim || 2-41 'the object to determine is distinct singularly, and many and unending are those who say manifoldly with indistinct minds....'

Nothing happens by mere touching of Seetha, for she is a resolute lady to abide by her husband Rama. Valmiki is very clear in picturing her to be a stubborn and staunch husband-devote, and no more mythological bends are required to prove her chastity. She herself proved this with her agni pravesha 'self-immolation...' to all concerned. If Seetha acquired a blemish by mere touch, then Draupadi will be in a more pathetic state, since she is physically handled by Keecaka, that too when she is in her senses. The common feature in both the cases is, some other man 'touching their braids...' A woman's head hair cannot be touched by anybody in molestation. atra daagrvo atyanta avamati rpam kula kaya karam kea grahaam svasya bhavitavya anurpatay ktav | kea grahaasya - sabh nayana - parua bhaa - vastra apaharaa - di apekay - vadhopekay ca atyanta avamati karatvam kula kaya karatva ca bhrate prati pditam - dk 'Ravana is predestined for self-ruin, hence touched the braid of Seetha, and touching the braid of a lady, dragging her to king's court, roughly talking to her, undressing her, all these lead to the destruction of one's own clan, as demonstrated in Maha Bharata...' In vana parva of Bharata, when Draupadi goes on complaining that 'I am dragged by my braid... I am dragged by my braid...' Krishna says to Draupadi: rudiyanti striyo hi evam yem kruddh asi bhmini | satyam te pratijnami rj rj bhaviyasi || 'you women always go on weeping for such tings... [having suffered in such a way,] I promise that you alone will become the empress...' So also, Seetha is instrumental for the elimination of evil, called Ravana together with all his clansmen. This is as pledged by Veadavati, an earlier incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. As such, Seetha has to go to Lanka to attend that complete eradication, according to mythology.

Whether it is myth or real she is not all a frailty to yield up that easily nor a weak bodied one for an easy molestation. She travelled the length and breadth of the country barefooted, that too in impenetrable forests. These ladies of lore had their yogic faculties with which Gaandhaari, the mother Duryodhana, in Maha Bharata makes him a diamond-bodied one, excepting his thighs. Their words come true if they utter them with certain concentration. At the time of burning the tail of Hanuma in Sundara Kaanda Seetha says: siito bhava 'cool down...' 'Let the fire on the tail of that monkey be coolant to him...' and it happened accordingly. That burning tail burnt whole Lanka, except some places, without any scorching effect on Hanuma. Likewise she would have said at Ravana hato bhava 'dead, you are...' but she does not say so. Rama's pledge to saints and sages to eliminate evil on earth is to be fulfilled by Rama alone.

Leaving the untouchablness or otherwise of Seetha aside, since every negative act is to be solemnised, let us listen to the fruits of listening or reading of this episode, siitaa apaharaNa 'abduction of Seetha...' as it involves the elimination of evil on earth, Skanda Puraana says 'nothing inauspicious will happen to those best people who listen this episode of Seetha's abduction...'

st apaharaam ca eva vanti narottam |
na tem aubham devi bhaviyati kadcana ||- sknda

 

iti vlmki rmyae di kvye araya ke eko na paca sarga

Thus, this is the 49th chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.


Verse Locator for Book III : Aranya Kanda - The Forest Trek : Chapter 49

 

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Sarga 49 in English Prose

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Nov, 2002, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : November 04]