Chapter [Sarga] 53

Introduction

Seetha denounces Ravana's misdeed and challenges him to brave her husband in a manly combat, rather than thieving her in a mousy way. She reasons with him about his propriety in abducting other's wives, in vainglory.


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kham utpatantam tam dR^iSTvaa maithilii janaka aatmajaa |
duHkhitaa parama udvignaa bhaye mahati vartinii || 3-53-1

1. janaka aatmajaa maithilii= Janaka's, daughter, Maithili; kham ut patantam tam dR^iSTvaa= on sky, up, fallen [Ravana's taking flight along with her,] him, on seeing; parama udvignaa= became highly, frantic; mahati bhaye vartinii= in highest, dismay, remaining in; duHkhitaa= she is distraught.

Maithili, the daughter of Janaka, on seeing the skyward flight of Ravana taking her along became highly frantic and remaining in highest dismay she is distraught. [3-53-1]

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roSa rodana taamraakSii bhiimaakSam raakSasa adhipam |
rudatii karuNam siitaa hriyamaaNaa idam abraviit || 3-53-2

2. hriyamaaNaa= while being abducted; siitaa= Seetha; rudatii= outpouring tears; roSa rodana taamraakSii= with resentment, tearful, coppery, eyed one; bhiima akSam raakSasa adhipam= terrible [gory,] eyed one, to demon's, chief; karuNam idam abraviit= piteously, this, said [poured scorn on Ravana.]

Seetha whose eyes turned coppery-red with tears and resentment, still outpouring tears while being abducted she piteously poured this scorn on that gory-eyed demon's chief, Ravana. [3-53-2]

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na vyapatrapase niica karmaNaa anena raavaNa |
j~naatvaa virahitaam yo maam corayitvaa palaayase || 3-53-3

3. niica raavaNa= knave, Ravana; j~naatvaa= on knowing; vi rahitaam= without, someone - my aloneness; yaH= you who are; maam corayitvaa palaayase= me, on thieving, you took to flight; anena karmaNaa= by this, act [subterfuge]; na vyapatrapase [vi apa tarpase]= not, [very, lowly, ashamed]= are you not ashamed in the least.

"You knave Ravana, you are taking flight on thieving me after prowling about my loneliness, such as you are, are you not ashamed in the least for this subterfuge. [3-53-3]

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tvayaa eva nuunam duSTaatman bhiiruNaa hartum icChataa |
mama apavaahito bhartaa mR^iga ruupeNa maayayaa || 3-53-4

4. duSTa aatman= oh, black, hearted [fiend]; hartum icChataa= to abduct, wishful; bhiiruNaa= by coward; tvayaa eva= by you, alone; mama bhartaa= my, husband; maayayaa mR^iga ruupeNa= by trickery, in a Golden-Deer's, guise; apa vaahitaH= to side, lined - led away from hermitage; nuunam= for sure.

"You black-hearted fiend, for sure, you alone sidelined my husband in a trickish guise of Golden Deer wishful to abduct me as you are a coward. [3-53-4]

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yo hi maam udyataH traatum so api ayam vinipaatitaH |
gR^idhra raajaH puraaNo asau shvashurasya sakhaa mama || 3-53-5

5. yaH gR^idhra raajaH= which, eagle, king; maam traatum= me, to bail [me] out; udyataH= battled against; mama shvashurasya puraaNaH sakhaa= my, father-in-law's, old, friend; saH ayam= such as he is; asau api= him, also [even he is]; vi ni paatitaH hi= verily, down, felled, indeed.

"Which king of eagles battled against you to bail me out, an old friend of my father-in-law, such as he is he is also felled, indeed. [3-53-5]

Annex: 'You have felled an old and withered eagle after a long-drawn battle... then, how long can you battle that Raghava? Does this felling of an age-old eagle adds any feather to your crown?'

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paramam khalu te viiryam dR^ishyate raakSasaadhama |
vishraavya naamadheyam hi yuddhe na asmi jitaa tvayaa || 3-53-6

6. raakSasa adhama= you demon, basely; te viiryam= your, audacity; paramam dR^ishyate khalu= audacious, appearing [shown by you,] truly; naamadheyam vishraavya= [your great] name, making to listen [earbashing, ear-shattering,]; tvayaa yuddhe na jitaa asmi hi= by you, in combat, not, conquered, I am, really; [or, yuddhena asmi jitaa tvayaa hi= by combating, I am, conquered, by you - Really? Or, yuddhe naamadheyam vishraavya= in combat, you name, on announcing.]

"Ah, truly what an audacious audacity is shown by you... you basely demon... by ear-shattering your great name saying that 'I am Ravana...' I am conquered in a combat - Really?

Or

"Am I conquered by you in a combat between my husband and you, wherein you on announcing your name to my husband and truly showing your audacious audacity defeated my husband, and thus triumphing over me - or what? Tell me, you mousy demon...

Or

"Unable to conquer my husband in a combat, but able to earbash your name to a lonely woman and abducting her, will this tantamount to your apparently audacious audacity? Thus, I am not really triumphed over by a lowly demon like you... [3-53-6]

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iidR^isham garhitam karma katham kR^itvaa na lajjase |
striyaaH ca haraNam niica rahite ca parasya ca || 3-53-7

7. niica= you knave; rahite= lonely; parasya ca= other [man's,] also [that too]; striyaaH ca= woman, also; haraNam ca= abduction, also [that too]; iidR^isham garhitam karma= this kind of, deplorable, deed; kR^itvaa= on doing [undertaking]; katham na lajjase= how, not, ashamed you are.

"A woman, that too a lonely one, that too the other man's wife, that too an abduction, but not winning or wooing her... you knave, on your undertaking such a kind of deplorable deed, how unashamed are you? [3-53-7]

Annex: 'Will not the other males deplore you for your unmasculine female stealing, for this kind of undertaking is unobserved even in animal world?'

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kathayiSyanti lokeSu puruSaaH karma kutsitam |
sunR^ishamsam adharmiSTham tava shauNDiirya maaninaH || 3-53-8

8. shauNDiirya maaninaH= glorious, self-admirer [self-glorification, or self-vain-glorification] tava= of yours; su nR^ishamsam= highly, inhuman; a + dharmiSTham= not, equitable [iniquitous]; kutsitam= reprovable [imputable]; karma= deed; lokeSu puruSaaH kathayiSyanti= in world, men, wish to recount.

"A self-glorifier as you are, this highly inhuman, iniquitous, imputable deed of yours will be recounted by all men in all worlds. [3-53-8]

Annex: 'For this is an unmanly action of yours, all the manly men wish to recount this as a fabulously fabled account, in dissent, for exemplification of their manliness and also to retroject your self-vainglory...'

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dhik te shauryam ca sattvam ca yat tvayaa kathitam tadaa |
kula aakroshakaram loke dhik te caaritram iidR^isham || 3-53-9

9. yat= what; tvayaa tadaa kathitam= by you, then, said; te shauryam= of your, might; sattvam ca= mettle, also; dhik= be damned; loke= in world; kula aakrosha karam= to [whole of the] clan, lamentable; te iidR^isham caaritram= your, this kind of, demeanour; dhik= be damned.

"Damn with what you have said then about your might and mettle... damn with this kind of your demeanour which is lamentable to whole of your clan in this world. [3-53-9]

Annex: 'You were boastful of your triumphs and victories at the time of captivating me, damn with them... since there is not an iota of gallantry in thieving me, a lonely one in the thick of the forests... and this misdemeanour of yours which not only ruins you but becomes a lamentable affair to whole of your clan, while being burnt in the infernos of Raghava's arrows...'

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kim shakyam kartum evam hi yat javena eva dhaavasi |
muhuurtam api tiSThasva na jiivan pratiyaasyasi || 3-53-10

10. kim kartum shakyam= what, to do, possible - what can be done possibly; yat= why because; evam javena eva dhaavasi= this way, speedily, thus, you are fleeing; muhuurtam api tiSThasva= for moment, even, stay [wait, to ascertain]; jiivan na prati yaasyasi= in aliveness, not [whether,] back, you can go; hi= indeed.

"What can be done possibly... why because you are fleeing very speedily in this way... wait for a moment to ascertain whether you can go back in aliveness... [3-53-10]

Annex: 'You are fleeing as though death is haunting you... death is at your behind... wait, wait and stay... it will approach you speedily... when death nears you, let us watchfully ascertain whose is glory or whose is vainglory... between your Death similar Raghava and deadened you...'

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na hi cakSuH patham praapya tayoH paarthiva putrayoH |
sa sainyo api samarthaH tvam muhuurtam api jiivitum || 3-53-11

11. tayoH paarthiva putrayoH= two of their, of king's, sons [princes Rama, Lakshmana]; cakSuH patham praapya= eyesight, way [line,] on getting [coming into]; tvam sa sainyaH api= you, along with, military, even; muhuurtam api jiivitum na samarthaH hi= moment, even, to live on, not, capacitated you are, indeed.

"On your coming into the line of sight of those two princes, even if you are with whole of your military, you will be incapacitated to live on, indeed even for a moment... [3-53-11]

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na tvam tayoH shara sparsham soDhum shaktaH katha.ncana |
vane prajvalitasya iva sparsham agneH viha.ngamaH || 3-53-12

12. vane pra jvalitasya agneH= in forest, overly, flaring up, of wildfire; sparsham vihan gamaH iva= touch, sky, flyer [bird,] as with; tvam tayoH shara sparsham= you, their, arrows, touch; soDhum kathancana na shaktaH= to endure, in anywise, not, capable.

"Anywise it will be incapable of you to endure the touch of their arrows, as with a bird that cannot endure the overly flaring up wildfire in a forest. [3-53-12]

Annex: 'After all, birds flee by the very touch of fiery air of forest fire even it is burning distantly... thus, where is the question of your tolerating those infernos, called my husband's arrows, shot from long, long a distance... and whereby you can stop them from hitting you, or with what you can retaliate them...'

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saadhu kR^itvaa aatmanaH pathyam saadhu maam mu.nca raavaNa |
mat pradharSaNa ruSTo hi bhraatraa saha patiH mama || 3-53-13
vidhaasyati vinaashaaya tvam maam yadi na mu.ncasi |

13, 14a. raavaNa= oh, Ravana; saadhu aatmanaH pathyam kR^itvaa= positively, in your soul, behove, on making [contemplate]; maam saadhu munca= me, politely, release; tvam maam na muncasi yadi= you, me, not, releases, if; mat pradharSaNa ruSTaH hi= of my, by insulting, by rancour, indeed; mama patiH= my, husband; bhraatraa saha= [his] brother, along with; [te= you]; vinaashaaya vidhaasyati= [of your] doom, devises.

"Oh, Ravana, positively contemplate in your soul and politely release me... and if you do not release me, indeed by the rancour of insulting me, my husband along with his brother devises your doom... [3-53-13, 14a]

All women, without exception, have a weapon called prathama kopam 'a preambular fury...' it is exactly not 'fury' but a sort of bewilderment and insultment meted out by their indignation. Seetha spewed out a stomachful of ire. Pausing a while, she now started to sermonise this demon with hita bodha 'moral teaching...' thinking in 'his' shoes and foreseeing 'his' annihilation. What and why does he care? And how does she bother for his well-being? These questions have their answers in mythology.

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yena tvam vyavasaayena balaat maam hartum icChasi || 3-53-14
vyavasaayaH tu te niica bhaviSyati nirarthakaH |

14b, 15a. niica= you rogue; tvam= you; yena vyavasaayena= by which, endeavour; maam balaat hartum icChasi= me, under duress, to thieve, desirous of; te= of yours; [sah= that]; vyavasaayaH tu= endeavour, on its part; nir arthakaH= less of, meaning [meaningless, absurd]; bhaviSyati= it results as.

"You rogue! By which endeavour you are desirous of thieving me under duress, that endeavour of yours behoves absurd. [3-53-14b, 15a]

Seetha's wording should have been 'for lovemaking with me...' instead of 'endeavour' but as an urbane lady, she used a + graamya pada prayoga, 'urbane' language rather than the graamya bhaaSa 'boorish wording.' Her calculated and cultured talking indicates her staunchness in her 'husband-devoutness...'

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na hi aham tam apashyantii bhartaaram vibudha upamam || 3-53-15
utsahe shatru vashagaa praaNaan dhaarayitum ciram |

15b, 16a. aham= I will; vibudha upamam bhartaaram= god, in simile, at husband; tam a + pashyantii= him [Rama,] by not, seeing; shatru vashagaa= enemy's, going under control of; ciram= for a long; praaNaan dhaarayitum= lives, to bear up; na utsahe hi= not, I enthuse, indeed.

"Though I am in aliveness now, but on my going under the control of an enemy and on unseeing godlike husband of mine I am indeed unenthused to bear up my lives for a long. [3-53-15]

Again she may recount her list of 'suicide programs' as related to Lakshmana after this dialogue. She prefers to use whatever means to end her life, rather than to surrender to immorality. To indicate this 'character's mood' paatra aucityam of Seetha, all her opinions about 'somebody's possessing her' were listed when Lakshmana was hastened after Rama, though at the cost of Lakshmana's steadfastness in his duty.

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na nuunam ca aatmanaH shreyaH pathyam vaa samavekSase || 3-53-16
mR^ityu kaale yathaa martyo vipariitaani sevate |

16b, 17a. martyaH mR^ityu kaale= mortals, at death, time; yathaa vipariitaani sevate= as, too much [noxious, non-recuperative foodstuffs, or, quirkily behaviour,] enjoys [undertakes]; aatmanaH= in your heart; pathyam ca= nontoxic [worthwhile,] either; shreyaH vaa= beneficial, or; nuunam na sam avekSase= definitely, not, completely, you anticipate.

"Definitely and completely unanticipated in your heart are either that which is worthwhile or that which is beneficial to you, as mortals undertake a quirkily behaviour at the time of their death...

Or

"At the time of their death mortals wish to enjoy noxious and non-recuperative foods, thus definitely and completely unanticipated in your heart are either nontoxic or beneficial nourishments for your well-being. [3-53-16b, 17a]

Annex: 'Bechanced is your death-time hence you behave eccentrically and as a dying person wants to feast on with disagreeable foods, you also would like to consume a lethal poison, that is me, and on your death Yama, the Terminator, is ready to offer you a sumptuous feast with hellish edibles...'

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mumuurSuuNaam tu sarveSaam yat pathyam tat na rocate || 3-53-17
pashyaami iva hi kaNThe tvaam kaala paasha avapaashitam |

17b, 18a. mumuurSuuNaam tu sarveSaam= mortals about to die [death-rattlers,] but, to all of them; yat pathyam tat na rocate= which, is recuperative, that, not, interested [unpalatable]; tvaam= you; kaNThe= at throat; kaala paasha ava paashitam iva= Time's, loop; around, looped, as if; pashyaami hi= I behold, indeed.

"But which is recuperative that is unpalatable to all of the death-rattlers, and indeed, I behold you as one around whose throat the noose of Time is looped. [3-53-17b, 18a]

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yathaa ca asmin bhaya sthaane na bibheSi dashaanana || 3-53-18
vyaktam hiraNmayaan hi tvam sa.mpashyasi mahii ruhaan |

18b, 19a. dashaanana= oh, Decahedral demon; tvam= you; asmin bhaya sthaane= in this, daunting, place [situation]; yathaa na bibheSi= as to how, not, fearing; thereby; hiraNmayaan mahii ruhaan= golden, earth, sprouted [trees]; sam pashyasi= clearly, seeing [fantasising]; vyaktam hi= clear, indeed.

"As you are dauntless in this daunting situation as for yourself, oh, Decahedral demon, indeed it is clear that you are clearly fantasising the ill-omened golden trees all around. [3-53-18b, 19a]

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nadiim vaitaraNiim ghoraam rudhira ogha vivaahiniim || 3-53-19
khaDga patra vanam caiva bhiimam pashyasi raavaNa |

19b, 20a. raavaNa= oh, Ravana; rudhira ogha vi vaahiniim= blood, streams, verily [tumultuously,] streaming; ghoraam vaitaraNiim nadiim= ghastly, Vaitarani, river; bhiimam khaDga patra vanam caiva= grisly, swords, leaved, forest, also thus; pashyasi you will see.

"Oh, Ravana, you will see the ghastly River Vaitarani which will be tumultuously streaming with blood streams, also thus you will see the grisly sword-leaved-forests in hell. [3-53-19b, 20a]

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tapta kaa.ncana puSpaam ca vaiduurya pravara cChadaam || 3-53-20
drakSyase shaalmaliim tiikSNaam aayasaiH kaNTakaiH citaam |

20b, 21a. tapta kaancana [tapta] puSpaam ca= molten, gold, [melting] flowered, also; [tapta] vaiduurya pravara cChadaam= [melting] lapis gemlike, best, shrouded [by lapis like leaves]; aayasaiH kaNTakaiH citaam= with iron, thorns, encrusted; tiikSNaam shaalmaliim= sharp, silk-cotton tress; drakSyase= you will see.

"You will see silk-cotton trees flowered with molten gold, shrouded with lapis gemlike melting leaves, and enshrouded with sharp irony thorns in hell. [3-53-20b, 21a]

Annex: Then Ravana may retort her by saying 'if such a condition comes, it comes after my death... but while living I will enjoy you and your company...' for this 'as on date enjoyment' of Ravana, she is repudiating him with her next statement... 'you have already quaffed off a venom, called Seetha... dwindled is your lifetime...'

This is a kind of punishment in a section called asi patra vana 'sword-leaved-forest...' in the Hell of Yama, namely naraka. The sinners are asked to hug a silk-cotton tree like wooden structure with golden leaves and sappharine flowers and irony thorns, where all these items will be sweltering the sinners besides pinching and piercing with thorns. This punishment is aimed at those who abduct, molest, or rape the other man's wife.

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na hi tvam iidR^isham kR^itvaa tasya aliikam mahaatmanaH || 3-53-21
dhaaritum shaksyasi ciram viSam piitvaa iva nirghR^iNaH |

21b, 22a. nir ghR^iNaH= oh, not, merciful one; tvam= you; mahaatmanaH tasya= to that noble souled, to him - Rama; iidR^isham aliikam kR^itvaa= this kind of, misdeed, on doing; viSam piitvaa iva= venom, drunk, like; ciram dhaaritum na shaksyasi hi= for a long, to bear up [to live,] not, capable of, indeed.

"Oh, unmerciful one, on doing this kind of misdeed to that noble-souled Rama you are incapable to bear up life for a long time like the one who quaffed venom. [3-53-21b, 22a]

Then Ravana may say 'nonsense, these venoms, poisons, toxins... all these things can do nothing to me as I am immortalised, I take you off to a distant place, come what may...' for that Seetha is saying that 'the lasso of the Time is very long, but its noose is just throat sized and that noose is already noosed around your throat, called arm-length-sized arrow of Rama, already shot from his bowstring, called sting-like Seetha, as I am his and only his... as such, inescapable you are, anywhere you go...'

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baddhaH tvam kaala paashena dur.hnivaareNa raavaNa || 3-53-22
kva gato lapsyase sharma bhartuH mama mahaatmanaH |

22b, 23a. raavaNa= Ravana; tvam= you; dur nivaareNa= not, preventable; kaala paashena baddhaH= by Time's, lasso, bound; mama bhartuH mahaa-aatmanaH= my, husband, from strong-willed one [uncompromising] Rama; kva gataH= to where, on going; lapsyase sharma= you get, complacency.

"You are bound by the unpreventable lasso of the Time, oh, Ravana, on going where you will get complacency from that uncompromising husband of mine? [3-53-22b, 23a]

Ravana may say: 'is it? What is the proof of his mettle basing on which you sermonise me?' For this, her reply is in the next verse.

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nimeSa antara maatreNa vinaa bhraataram aahave || 3-53-23
raakSasaa nihataa yena sahasraaNi caturdasha |
katham sa raaghavo viiraH sarva astra kushalo balii || 3-53-24
na tvaam hanyaat sharaiH tiikSNaiH iSTa bhaaryaa apahaariNam |

23b, 24, 25a. yena= by whom; aahave= in combat; bhraataram vinaa= brother, without [brother's help]; nimeSa antara maatreNa= a minute within, just in; caturdasha sahasraaNi= fourteen thousand; raakSasaa nihataa= demons, killed; viiraH= brave one; sarva astra kushalaH= in all kinds of, missiles, expert; balii= mighty one; saH raaghavaH= he, that Raghava; iSTa bhaaryaa apahaariNam= chosen, wife's, with the stealer; tvaam= you; tiikSNaiH sharaiH= with mordant, arrows; katham na hanyaat= how, not, kills.

"By whom fourteen thousand demons are killed in war just within a minute, single-handedly without any help from his brother, how then that brave and mighty Raghava, an expert in all kinds of missiles, will not eliminate you, the stealer of his chosen wife, with his mordant arrows?" Thus Seetha poured forth her ire at Ravana. [3-53-23b, 24, 25a]

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etat ca anyat ca paruSam vaidehii raavaNa a.nka gaa |
bhaya shoka samaaviSTaa karuNam vilalaapa ha || 3-53-25

25b, c. raavaNa anka gaa= on Ravana's, flank, [who] has gone; vaidehii= Vaidehi; bhaya shoka samaaviSTaa= dismay, distress, coalesced with; etat ca anyat ca paruSam= this much, also, other, also, sharp [saying exacting words]; karuNam vilalaapa ha= lamentably, lamented, indeed.

On saying this much and other exacting words, Vaidehi who has gone onto the flank of Ravana, indeed lamented lamentably as her dismay is coalesced with her distress. [3-53-25b, c]

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tathaa bhR^isha aartaam bahu caiva bhaaSiNiim
vilalaapa puurvam karuNam ca bhaaminiim |
jahaara paapaH taruNiim viveSTatiim
nR^ipaatmajaam aagata gaatra vepathum || 3-53-26

26. tathaa= in that way; bhR^isha aartaam= highly, agonised; vilalaapa puurvam= lamenting, prioritised - weeping prior to talking; caiva bhaaSiNiim= in muchness, talking [a ranter]; taruNiim= come of age; karuNam ca= pitiably, also; bahu vi veSTatiim= verily whirler [in anguish]; nR^ipa aatmajaam= king's, daughter; aagata gaatra vepathum= bechanced, bodily, spasmodic jerking; bhaaminiim= resentful lady; paapaH= sinner; jahaara= stole.

She who is highly agonised and weeping before talking, a ranter who ranted much, a resentful lady who has come of age, and a pitiable whirler in the hands of demon whose whirligig has transformed into spasmodic jerking of her body for deliverance from that sinner, and in that way that sinner stole that princess Seetha. [3-53-26]

 

iti vaalmiiki raamaayaNe aadi kaavye araNya kaaNDe tri pa.ncaashaH sargaH

Thus, this is the 53rd chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.


Verse Locator for Book III : Aranya Kanda - The Forest Trek : Chapter 53

 

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Sarga 53 in English Prose

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