Chapter [Sarga] 56


Seetha reprimands Ravana in saying that her unswerving devotion to Rama will not permit her to be dominated by anyone. She gives word-by-word replies to all that is prattled by Ravana in earlier chapter. A discussion about Seetha's stance and stability is given in the endnote of this chapter.

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saa tathaa uktaa tu vaidehii nirbhayaa shoka karshitaa |
tR^iNam antarataH kR^itvaa raavaNam prati abhaaSata || 3-56-1

1. tathaa uktaa= in that way, she who is addressed; shoka karshitaa= by anguish, haggard; saa vaidehii tu= she, Vaidehi, on her part; nir bhayaa= without, fear [boldly]; tR^iNam antarataH kR^itvaa= straw-blade, in between, on making [placing]; raavaNam= to Ravana; prati abhaaSata= counter, spoke - castigated.

She that Vaidehi who is haggard by anguish boldly spoke to Ravana when he addressed her in that way, duly placing a blade of straw in between herself and Ravana. [3-56-1]

The place of conversation is a speckles palace and then where from a blade of straw is available to Seetha to place in between them - is the question. It is adjusted by saying that a straw blade stuck to her sari, which she removed and placed in between. Has she searched whole of sari, inch by inch, for a blade of straw that too to talk to a debased character - is its counter-question. Anyway she treated Ravana just as a worthless straw - is another viewpoint. Either way, 'husband-devout' wives do not chat with 'the other' males without making an improvised screen in between, may it be a half-veil, a door, or any other item that prevent the vilely ogles of others.

She is also said to be talking 'boldly...' where this boldness is the derivative of her self-assured 'husband-devoutness.' When this boldness is there why she is emaciated through sadness - is the collateral question. For this, it is said that her wailing is not for herself, but for her separation from Rama, coupled with her thinking about Rama's miseries in forest, besides, due to the ambiguity about Lakshmana's meeting with Rama or otherwise.

Tilaka says, 'Seetha is aware of the curse of Ravana that his heads get splintered into pieces if he makes advances to any female without her consent, hence Seetha is talking fearlessly. And if Ravana tries to make any further advances, Seetha is ready to disappear, as is the practice with gods, or to become an untouchable entity, like a hologram...' But this is negated, taking Seetha as a human level entity rather than an incarnation, saying that 'human Seetha is unaware of Ravana himself, thus her becoming aware of his curse is untenable...' Maybe, Goddess Lakshmi or Maya Seetha is aware of that curse of Ravana.

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raajaa dasharatho naama dharma setuH iva acalaH |
satya sandhaH parij~naato yasya putraH sa raaghavaH || 3-56-2

2. dasharathaH naama raajaa= Dasharatha, known as, king; a + calaH= unwavering [resolute]; dharma setuH iva= for righteousness, rampart, like; satya sandhaH= forthrightness, he abide by; pari j~naataH= overly, known [well renowned one]; saH raaghavaH= he that, Raghava - Rama; yasya putraH= whose, son; [saH patiH mama= such a Raghava, husband, of mine.]

"He whose son is Raghava, is a resolute king known as Dasharatha. That king is a kingly rampart for righteousness, a kingpin abiding in forthrightness and thereby his kingliness is well renowned in all worlds, and my husband Rama is such a king's son. [3-56-2]

The word used setu also means a 'bridge' apart from a rampart. Thus Dasharatha is not only a rampart 'a defensive wall with a broad top and usu. a stone parapet...' for the defence of dharma from its mismanagement, but he is also the bridge between a dharma and dharma. Thus this bridge called Dasharatha enables anyone to crossover it towards dharma. That bridge called Dasharatha allowed Rama to cross and to reach forests for the annihilation of demons.

Therefore, Seetha is saying 'being such a righteous king's daughter-in-law, I cannot bring blemish to my in-laws, or to their dynasty in surrendering to you... furthermore, my husband is the one from such a dynasty who never tolerates unrighteousness...'

And by taking the name of Dasharatha, where dasha ratha 'ten way charioteer, or charioteer of ten chariots...' she is explaining 'my father-in-law chariots his one chariot in ten ways, whereas you can steer only one in one way, called lust... my father-in-law chariots ten chariots in a single instance, whereas you can handle only one, at any given time besides being dependent on the capability of auto-propelling Pushpaka aircraft, rather than on your own steersman's capability...

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raamo naama sa dharmaatmaa triSu lokeSu vishrutaH |
diirgha baahuH vishaalaakSo daivatam sa patiH mama || 3-56-3

3. [yasya dasharasya putraH= which, Dasharatha's, son is]; who is; triSu lokeSu vishrutaH= in three, worlds, highly, renowned; diirgha baahuH= lengthy, armed one [having ambidexterity]; vishaala akSaH= wide, eyed [eagle-eyed, having perspicacity]; raamaH naama= Rama, known as; saH dharma aatmaa= he, virtue-souled one; mama patiH= my, husband; and; daivatam= [my] godlike.]

"Such a Dasharatha's son who is virtue-souled one, who is highly renowned in all the three worlds for his ambidexterity and perspicacity, and who is known as Rama is my husband and a god to me. [3-56-3]

Annex: 'And he is named as Rama because he causes rejoice in one and all, thus he is well renowned in all worlds, unlike you who are named as Ravana, meaning that 'the one who makes one and all rueful...' thus you are also well renowned in the worlds, but by your notoriety. On the other hand Rama is virtue-souled, unlike you a virtueless, meritless and lawless knave... and his ambidexterity contrasts with your guile-handedness, while his perceptiveness with your purblindness of the proximate problem of yours... such a husband's wife as I am, how do you think that I on my own get estranged from such a godlike husband of mine, unrighteously...

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ikSvaakuuNaam kule jaataH si.mha skandho mahaadyutiH |
lakSmaNena saha bhraatraa yaH te praaNaan hariSyati || 3-56-4

4. ikSvaakuuNaam kule jaataH= in Ikshvaku's, dynasty, born in; simha skandhaH= lion, shoulders; mahaa dyutiH= great, resplendent one; bhraatraa lakSmaNena saha= brother, with Lakshmana, along with; yaH te praaNaan hariSyati= who, your, lives, will take away.

"He who took birth in Ikshvaku's dynasty is a great-resplendent one with his shoulders like those of a lion, and who comes here along with similarly lion-shouldered and nearly great-resplendent brother of his, namely Lakshmana, to take your lives away. Such Rama is my husband. [3-56-4]

Annex: Ravana asked Seetha at 3-55-21 'what can you achieve with that dethroned, hapless, seer, vagrant Rama and who is short-lived, for after all, he is a human with littlest vitality?' Thus belittling Rama's possessions in the shape of palaces, riches and kingdoms. For that Seetha is now saying that Rama does not possess anything, but the whole world is possessed of him. saha lakshmaNa= sa ha lakshmaNa ; cihnaa naamno saha lakshmii ke saumitrau saa rasa striyaam 'Supreme Person's possession is the eternal opulence of the Universe...' para brahma mantraNayo 'one achievable by constant meditation upon Him alone...' To such Rama now adjoined is Lakshmana, the personified prosperity. As such, that Supreme Splendour has taken incarnation as Rama because of the curse of Anaranya. Thus, Seetha took the name of Ikshvaku dynasty.

The curse of Anaranya: Anaranya is the ancestor of Rama in Ikshvaku dynasty. His son is Haryashva, a grandparent of Rama. When Ravana subjugated Anaranya, dying Anaranya curses Ravana to die at the hands of his great-grandson Rama in later generations.

'Such Ikshvaku will now come along with prosperous Lakshmana not only to belittle your opulence of falsity, but also to terminate such a vainglorious mischief... thus foxlike creatures like you cannot dare a lion, for he is lion-shouldered... and because you foxed Rama you are still alive, otherwise...' - continuation with next verse.

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pratyakSam yadi aham tasya tvayaa syaam dharSitaa balaat |
shayitaa tvam hataH sa.nkhye janasthaane yathaa kharaH || 3-56-5

5. aham tvayaa= I am, by you; tasya pratyakSam= in his [Rama's,] presence; balaat= forcibly; dharSitaa syaam yadi= humiliated, had I been, if; tvam= you; jana sthaane kharaH yathaa= in Janasthaana, Khara, as with; sankhye hataH shayitaa= in combat, killed, you would have been sprawling [on earth.]

"Had I been forcibly humiliated by you in the presence of Rama, you too would have been killed by Rama in combat and by now you too would be sprawling on earth, as with Khara in Janasthaana, but you foxed him. However, such Rama is my husband. [3-56-5]

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ya ete raakSasaaH proktaa ghora ruupaa mahaabalaaH |
raaghave nirviSaaH sarve suparNe pannagaa yathaa || 3-56-6

6. ghora ruupaa= with ghastly, forms; mahaabalaaH= gruellingly powerful; yaH [ye=]= which; ete= all these; raakSasaaH proktaa= demons, said to be - available with you; sarve= all of them; suparNe= with respect to Garuda, the Divine Eagle; pannagaa yathaa= snakes, as with; raaghave= with regard to Raghava; nir viSaaH= devoid of, poison - futile.

"Those demons who are spoken of you to be with ghastly forms and gruelling power, they all will become formless and powerless in face of Raghava, as with all snakes becoming non-poisonous earthworms in the face of Garuda, the Divine Eagle. Such Rama is my husband. [3-56-6]

Annex: 'You said that you have millions and millions of ghastly demons... but where are they, in the backyard of your house and behind your back? None has surfaced so far to confront my husband, for they are nothing but your kitchenware... and thus you are a gehe shuuraH 'a champion in your own home... a paper tiger...' boastful of your paper-thin-tigerish-ness before me, a solitary woman... thus you and your forces will be rendered ineffectual the minute you confront my husband...'

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tasya jyaa vipramuktaaH te sharaaH kaa.ncana bhuuSaNaaH |
shariiram vidhamiSyanti ga.ngaa kuulam iva uurmayaH || 3-56-7

7. tasya= his - Rama's; jyaa= from bowstring; vi pra muktaaH= verily [directly,] unswervingly, unloosened; kaancana bhuuSaNaaH= in gold, decorated [gilded]; sharaaH= arrows; uurmayaH= waves; gangaa kuulam iva= River Ganga's, riverbanks, as with; te shariiram= your, body; vi dhamiSyanti= utterly, wallop.

"Those gilded arrows of Rama unloosened directly and unswervingly from his bowstring will utterly batter your body, as the waves of River Ganga will be battering that river's riverbanks. Such Rama is my husband. [3-56-7]

Annex: 'What if Rama is dethroned or enthroned? He is not a 'hapless' person as observed by you, but he solitarily depends upon his self-confidence and a pair of skilful arms

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asuraiH vaa suraiH vaa tvam yadi avadhyo asi raavaNa |
utpaadya sumahat vairam jiivan tasya na mokSyase || 3-56-8

8. raavaNa= oh, Ravana; tvam= you; asuraiH vaa suraiH vaa= by demons, or, by gods, either; a + vadhyaH= not, killable; asi yadi=you are, [even] if; su mahat vairam utpaadya= very, great, animosity, on generating - hatching; jiivan= in aliveness; tasya na mokSyase= by him [from Rama,] not, set free.

"Even if you are unkillable either by gods or by demons, you Ravana, you will not be disenthralled by Rama while you are alive, for you hatched a very great animosity in him against you. [3-56-8]

Annex: 'Maybe god or demons or others, other than humans, cannot kill you... why the humans were slighted by you as your killing agents at the time of your seeking boons from Brahma, or at least at the time of my abduction why humans are disregarded... hence, that heedlessness alone becomes the very cause for your self-ruination...'

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sa te jiivita sheSasya raaghavo anta karo balii |
pashoH yuupa gatasya iva jiivitam tava durlabham || 3-56-9

9. balii saH raaghavaH= mighty one, he, that Raghava; te jiivita sheSasya= your, life's, vestige of; anta karaH= end, maker [terminator]; yuupa gatasya pashoH iva= stake [of sacrifice,] on going [fastened to,] animal, as with; tava jiivitam dur labham= your, life, not, retrievable.

"That mighty Rama will become the terminator of the vestige of your life, and as with an animal fastened to the stake of sacrifice your life too will become irretrievable. [3-56-9]

Annex: 'Even the beasts like cattle and goats when herded towards a slaughterhouse they will be apprehensively fearsome and walk closely and snugly, for they know not what will become of them... and for your part, your intellect is far too low than that of a beastie bovine... and you say vaingloriously that everything in every world fears you... firstly you fear for yourself as an animal tied to a stake...

'Rama's life itself is yaj~na 'a sacrificial ritual...' his actions are ritualistic performances... in which he sacrifices a dharma for the sake of dharma even by sacrificing his own comforts... and you said of him as a 'vagrant...' yes, his yaj~na is to be performed not by sitting in some hall of ritual, but meandering vagrantly... because entire earth is his hall of ritual... and now, you as a sacrificial beast are fastened to the stake of sacrifice by a rope called Seetha, and you be ready awaiting for your slaughter in that raama yaj~na

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yadi pashyet sa raamaH tvaam roSa diiptena cakSuSaa |
rakSaH tvam adya nirdagdho yathaa rudreNa manmadhaH || 3-56-10

10. rakSaH= oh, demon; saH raamaH= he, that Rama; roSa diiptena cakSuSaa= rancour, torched, with eyes; tvaam pashyet yadi= at you, he sees, if; adya= now; [sadyaH= promptly]; tvam nirdagdh= you, completely burnt down; rudreNa manmadhaH yathaa= by Rudra [the Furious Shiva,] Love-god, as with.

"If he that Rama glances you with his rancour-torched eyes, you demon, you will be completely burnt down now itself, as with Love-god burnt down by Furious Shiva. [3-56-10]

Annex: 'exacting eroticism is an inexcusable impasse... did you not learn this lesson from the legend of your iSTa daiva 'most cherished god...' God Shiva, who burnt down the Love-god... and if there is any thinly separated state between love and lust, how then will you be unburnt by the furious glances of Rama for your lustfulness...

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yaH candram nabhaso bhuumau paatayen naashayeta vaa |
saagaram shoSayet vaa api sa siitaam mocayet iha || 3-56-11

11. yaH= who - which Rama; candram nabhasaH= moon, from sky; bhuumau paatayen= on earth, hurls down; vaa= or else; naashayeta= extirpates [if need be]; saagaram shoSayet vaa api= ocean, desiccates, or, even; saH iha siitaam mocayet= he that Rama, from here, Seetha, rescues.

"He that Rama who hurls down the moon from skies onto earth, or else extirpates it if need be, or even desiccates an ocean, he alone rescues Seetha from here. [3-56-11]

Annex: 'You need not sit back gleefully thinking that none can cross over an ocean and come thither, presuming that 'a hundred-yojana ocean roundly enshrouds this Lanka...' Rama can dehydrate any ocean of any size in its entirety... thus he just walk on its sands in commissioning his mission...

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gata aayuH tvam gata shriikaH gata sattvo gata indriyaH |
la.nkaa vaidhavya sa.myuktaa tvat kR^itena bhaviSyati || 3-56-12

12. tvam= you; gata aayuH= with gone, livability; gata shriikaH= with gone, prosperity; gata sattvaH= with gone, vivacity; gata indriyaH= with gone, senses [faculty]; tvat kR^itena= by your, deed done - by the deed you have done in abducting me; lankaa vaidhavya samyuktaa bhaviSyati= Lanka, with widowhood, enjoined [widowed,] it will be [Lanka will become a widow.]

"Gone is your liveability, gone is your prosperity, gone is your vivacity, and gone is your faculty. Thus Lanka is widowed by a single deed of yours. [3-56-12]

Annex: 'as such, you yourself cannot be on the throne of Lanka since her widowhood is admonished by your single act of touching 'other man's wife' that is me, and in abducting me... wherewith you daydream and daresay to me 'you rule over this very great empire of Lanka as empress of Lanka...'

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na te paapam idam karma sukha udarkam bhaviSyati |
yaa aham niitaa vinaa bhaavam pati paarshvaat tvayaa vanaat || 3-56-13

13. te idam paapam karma= your, this, diabolic, deed; sukha udarkam= happiness, for ultimate fruition; na bhaviSyati= not, it will be [yields]; yaa= by which [deed]; aham= I am; tvayaa vanaat= by you, from forest; pati paarshvaat= husband, from the side of; vinaabhaavam= separation; niitaa= dragged into [separated.]

"In forest you have separated me from the propinquity of my husband, which diabolic deed of yours will not result in any ultimate happiness for you. [3-56-13]

Annex: you said to me, 'of what use is your thinking conversely about that long-lost Rama...' what else am I to do, for I am diabolically dragged away from him by you, as such I am, I am now contemplating upon that Rama alone to come here to handover 'a fruit of unhappiness' to you as a barter for my release...'

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sa hi devara - daivata - sa.myukto mama bhartaa mahaadyutiH |
nirbhayo viiryam aashritya shuunye vasati daNDake || 3-56-14

14. mahaadyutiH mama bhartaa= great-resplendent one, my, husband; saH= he that Rama; viiryam aashritya= [his own] valour, hinging on to; nir bhayaH= without, fear [bravely]; devara [daivata ] samyuktaH= brother-in-law [or, God,] joined by [in tandem]; shuunye daNDake vasati hi= empty [eremitical,] in Dandaka, still residing; hi= in fact.

"In fact, that great-resplendent husband of mine, Rama, is still residing in the eremitical Dandaka forest, bravely hinging on to his own valour, in tandem only with my brother-in-law. [3-56-14]

Annex: 'you said that you do not envisage 'him who can lead me back with his valour...' but my husband is still there in Dandaka along with his brother, both in tandem only with God Almighty, whose biting bravery and venomous valour are yet to be tasted by you... and if you too are brave enough, confront him to know whether I am winnable or otherwise...'

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sa te viiryam darpam balam utsekam ca tathaa vidham |
apaneSyati gaatrebhyaH shara var.hSeNa sa.nyuge || 3-56-15

15. saH= he - my husband Rama; samyuge shara varSeNa= in combat, arrow, by storms of; te gaatrebhyaH= your, from limbs; darpam balam viiryam= insolence, arrogance, puissance; tathaa vidham= in that, way; utsekam= impudence; apa neSyati= to side, leads - expels.

"With storms of his arrows in a given combat my husband will dislodge arrogance, insolence, puissance, like that impudence from every limb of yours. [3-56-15]

Annex: 'for yours is only bodily might as you have said 'I behold none matchable to my vitality...' and no spiritual or ethical, or whatsoever merits abide in you... thus, should you confront an ethical and scrupulous combatant, evanished are your bodily vanities...'

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yadaa vinaasho bhuutaanaam dR^ishyate kaala coditaH |
tadaa kaarye pramaadyanti naraaH kaala vasham gataaH || 3-56-16

16. bhuutaanaam= for birthed beings; yadaa kaala coditaH vinaashaH dR^ishyate= as [and when,] time, actuated, ruination, manifests; tadaa naraaH kaala vasham gataaH= then, humans [created beings,] Time's, under control, having gone in; kaarye pramaadyanti= in actions [behaviour,] endangers [places themselves.]

"As and when ruination of created beings manifests actuated by Time, then all of them will place their behaviour in endangerment, as they have gone under the control of End-Time. [3-56-16]

Annex: 'you said to me that 'by your damnable dwelling in forests, bygone is your bad-luck which you misdealt in bygone times...' and I agree for that assertion of yours as my damnable bad-luck is nearing its completion, but your damnable, ill-lucky, self-ruinous time as started, and hence you are placing your behaviour in endangerment, by this quirkish act of abducting me...'

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maam pradhR^iSya sa te kaalaH praapto ayam rakSasa adhama |
aatmano raakSasaanaam ca vadhaaya antaH purasya ca || 3-56-17

17. rakSasa adhama= oh, demon, basely; maam pradhR^iSya= me, on molesting; aatmanaH= for yourself; raakSasaanaam ca= for [all] demons, also; antaH purasya ca= for interior [Queen's,] Chambers, also; vadhaaya= for devastation; ayam= this; saH kaalaH= that, time - [end time]; te praaptaH= to you, bechanced.

"This is that time which has bechanced on you owing to your molesting me, you basely demon, by which time-factor yourself, all of your demons, and even all of your queens in the Chambers of Queens will be devastated. [3-56-17]

Annex: You said that I will become an empress among all females you brought. I need not become an empress for the 'countless females of finest fabric you amassed...' Because all those females have yielded themselves to you, and they are going to be devastated and evanished along with their Chambers of Queens, which chambers you endowed to them as gifts. But Rama will rescue others who are still captivated yet reticent. Where is the question of my becoming an empress of dead souls?

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na shakyaa yaj~na madhyasthaa vediH sruk bhaaNDa maNDitaa |
dvijaati ma.ntra sa.mpuutaa caNDaalena avamarditum || 3-56-18

18. yaj~na madhyasthaa= ritual [hall,] amidst; sruk bhaaNDa maNDitaa= oblational, vessels, surrounded with; dvijaati mantra sampuutaa ca= by Brahman's [Vedic,] hymns, sanctified by, further; vediH= Fire-altar; caNDaalena ava marditum= by profaner, to heavily tread on; na shakyaa= not, possible.

"It is impossible for a profaner to heavily tread on the Altar of Fire amidst a Ritual Hall surrounded by oblational vessels, further sanctified by Vedic hymns. [3-56-18]

Annex: 'Liken me to that Altar of Fire, centrally located in the ritual hall of Rama, namely the whole earth, and liken the oblational receptacles to nature's bounties like lakes, rivers, mountains, trees, and liken the offerings to flowers, fruits, and waters, and liken Vedic sound to the background drone of nature... and every bit of it is sanctified by all the hymns of Veda-s, as all Veda-s glorify them, the components of nature alone... and you profaner... it is impossible for you tread on this Fire Altar, that is me, blasphemously...'

This expression caNDaal has its own impact. Though this is amplified elsewhere it is reiterated here also. The nomenclature of caNDaal is not the present day 'untouchable' 'outcaste' or a 'pariah' etc., because he is also a member and an important functionary in Hindu system of castes. The analogy is between the Vedic-scholar and profaner, [meaning: one who is not initiated into religious rites or any esoteric knowledge...] and between the Altar of Fire and Fire of Pyre, and between the Vedic Ritual and Funeral Rites, both involving Vedic-hymns. A Vedic scholar may perhaps conduct a yaj~na but he is no authority to conduct antya kriya 'funerals' till its end. At best, a priest's function is until the lighting of the pyre, and even perhaps until kapaala moksha 'breakage of cranium...' and from then on it is the function of this caNDaal to take care of the corpse consigned to fire and for its complete cremation, since leaving half burnt corpse to vultures and foxes or wolves, is sinning. Thus, if a Vedic scholar conducts jaata aadi kriyaaH 'rites from birth onwards...' as an initiator, whereas a caNDaal conducts antya, uttara kriyaaH 'rites of death afterwards...' as a terminator. Thus, Ravana being a Vedic scholar is now conducting himself as a self-cremator.

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tathaa aham dharma nityasya dharma patnii dR^iDha vrataa |
tvayaa sa.mpraSTum na shakyaa aham raakshasaadhama paapinaa || 3-56-19

19. raakshasa adhama= oh, demon, basely; tathaa= likewise - on par with Rama; dharma nityasya= in righteousness, one who steadied himself; dharma patnii= legitimate, wife; dR^iDha vrataa= solemnly, pledged [wife]; aham= such as I am; paapinaa tvayaa sampraSTum= by a trespasser, by you, to touch; aham na shakyaa= I am, not, possible - impossible.

"Likewise, I am the solemnly pledged legitimate wife of one who steadied himself in righteousness, and such as I am, you basely demon, it is impossible for you trespasser to touch me even. [3-56-19]

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kriiDantii raaja ha.msena padma Sa.nDeSu nityashaH |
ha.msii saa tR^iNa SaNDastham katham draksheta madgukam || 3-56-20

20. padma SanDeSu= in lotuses, bunches; nityashaH= ever; raaja hamsena kriiDantii= with majestic, swans, sporting [frolicking]; saa hamsii= she, that she-swan; tR^iNa SaNDastham= grass, abiding in bunch - sneaking in a bunch of grass; madgukam= at water-crow; katham draksheta= how, leers at.

"How a she-swan ever frolicking with majestic swans in bunches of lotuses can leer at a water-crow sneaking in a bunch of grass? [3-56-20]

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idam shariiram niHsa.nj~nam bandha vaa ghaatayasva vaa |
na idam shariiram rakSyam me jiivitam vaa api raakSasa || 3-56-21
na tu shakyaami upakrosham pR^ithivyaam dhaatum aatmanaH |

21, 22a: raakshasa= oh, demon; niH sanj~nam= less of, feelings [inertial]; idam shariiram= this, body; bandha= you trammel; vaa= or; ghaatayasva= vandalise; vaa= or; me idam shariiram= to me, [either] this, body; jiivitam vaa api= life, or, even; rakSyam= saveable; na= not - no need; [this life is irreclaimable by me]; tu= but; pR^ithivyaam= on earth; aatmanaH= for myself; upakrosham= disrepute; dhaatum na shakyaami= to bear with, not, tolerant I am.

"Oh, demon, you may either trammel or vandalise this inertial body of mine. I claim neither this body nor life of mine as my own. But I am intolerant to bear with any disrepute on this earth." Thus Seetha castigated Ravana. [3-56-21, 22a]

Annex: 'my father endowed me to Rama bodily in kanyaa daana 'bride betrothal...' and I soulfully resigned my soul, let alone my life, unto that Rama by my vara sviikaara, paaNi grahaNa... 'marriage...' as such I cannot reclaim my body and soul from Rama for placement in other's unworthy hands... thereby it is up Rama to win back his wife, or it is up to you to tangle, mangle, and wrangle with these ideas...'

Nobility is nobler than life. Hence, it is to be protected even at the cost of one's own life... anena pr˜õa parity˜gena api loka apav˜da pariharaõa p¨rvakam yaþa× samrakÿõŸyam iti s¨citam - tath˜ ca raghu vamþe k˜lid˜sa× - api sva deh˜t kim uta indriya arth˜t yaþodh˜n˜nam hi yaþo garŸya× - dk

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evam uktvaa tu vaidehii kroddhaat su paruSam vacaH || 3-56-22
raavaNam maithilii tatra punaH na uvaaca ki.mcana |

22b, 23a. vaidehii maithilii= princess of Videha, Maithili; kroddhaat= with fury; raavaNam= to Ravana; evam= in that way; su paruSam vacaH uktvaa= highly, caustic, words, on speaking; tatra= therein [that matter]; punaH kimcana na uvaaca= further, no more, not, spoke.

Vaidehi on speaking those highly caustic words angrily to Ravana in this way, she that Maithili spoke no more in that matter. [3-56-22b, 23a]

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siitaayaa vacanam shrutvaa paruSam roma harSaNam || 3-56-23
prati uvaaca tataH siitaam bhaya sa.ndarshanam vacaH |

23b, 24a. siitaayaaH= Seetha's; paruSam roma harSaNam vacanam shrutvaa= scathing, hair, raising, words [censures,] on hearing; [raavaNaH= Ravana]; tataH= then; siitaam= to Seetha; bhaya sandarshanam vacaH= fear, showing [intimidatory,] words [chides]; prati uvaaca= in turn, said - retorted.

On hearing Seetha's scathing and hair-raising censures, then Ravana retorted with these intimidatory chides. [3-56-23b, 24a]

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shR^iNu maithili mat vaakyam maasaan dvaadasha bhaamini || 3-56-24
kaalena anena na abhyeSi yadi maam caaru haasini |
tataH tvaam praataH aashaa artham suudaaH Chetsyanti leshashaH || 3-56-25

24b, 25. maithili= oh, Maithili; bhaamini= oh, lady in anger; mat vaakyam shR^iNu= my, words, you listen; dvaa dasha maasaan= two, ten [twelve,] months; is the period given to you; caaru haasini= oh, smiley, smiler; anena kaalena= by that, time; maam na abhyeSi yadi= of me, do not, you come nigh, if; tataH= then; suudaaH= cooks; tvaam= you; praataH aashaa artham= morning, meal [/ quarters,] for purpose of; leshashaH= to pieces; Chetsyanti= they slice you.

"Oh, angry lady Maithili, listen to my words. A period of twelve months is given to you. And oh, smiley smiler, if you do not come nigh of me within that period, then the cooks will slice you to pieces for the purpose of a morning meal." [3-56-24b, 25]

dhvani/innuendo: Ravana the devotee is saying: 'I will wait for a period of twelve months... and if I am na abhyeSi 'unblessed...' tataH tvaam uddishya 'then, on your account...' praataH 'morning, next morning after twelve month period...' aashaa artham 'for the purpose of crows, eagles and vultures in direction, quarters...' suudaaH 'cooks...' maam Chesyanti 'me, they slice to pieces...' mat aaj~nayaa, iti shesaH 'by my order, thus ellipted...'

'I will wait for a period of twelve months... and if I am unblessed even by that time, by my order my cooks will slice me to pieces for the morning meal of vultures in all the directions of compass, as a kind of self-immolation by getting sliced to pieces as I will become unworthy for your grace...' Tiirtha.

If one king conquers another and lay seize to queens, a twelve month time is given to the defeated king to regain his captivated queens, by making another round of combat. If the defeated king is unable to do so, or reluctant to do so, the captivated queens of the defeated king automatically belong to the conquering king after twelve months, raja niita - shaanti parva - Maha Bharata.

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iti uktvaa paruSam vaakyam raavaNaH shatru raavaNaH |
raakSasiiH ca tataH kruddha idam vacanam abraviit || 3-56-26

26. shatru raavaNaH raavaNaH =[his] enemies, one who make to bewail, such Ravana; iti paruSam vaakyam uktvaa= thus, harsh, words, on saying; tataH kruddha= then, infuriated one; raakSasiiH idam vacanam abraviit= to [guarding] demonesses, this, sentence, said.

Thus on saying those harsh words, Ravana, the one who makes his enemies to bewail, and who is now infuriated said this sentence to the guarding demonesses. [3-56-26]

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shiighram eva hi raakSasyo vikR^itaa ghora darshanaaH |
darpam asyaa apaneSyantu maa.msa shoNita bhojanaaH || 3-56-27

27. vikR^itaa ghora darshanaaH= gnarled ones, grisly, in mien; maamsa shoNita bhojanaaH= meat, blood, eaters of; such as you are you; raakSasyaH= oh, demonesses; shiighram eva= immediately, only; asyaaH darpam apaneSyantu= her, pride, you remove.

"Oh, gnarled demonesses of grisly mien and devourers of meat and blood, you have to indeed remove her pride immediately. [3-56-27]

dhvani/innuendo: 'Oh, demonesses you now immediately become a+ vikR^itaa 'not, ghastly, not gnarled...' darpam vinaa 'your pride, without...' asyaat samiipe 'in her proximity, in her audience...' iSyadhvam 'be servitors...'

'Oh, demonesses of gnarled grisly mien and devourers of meat and blood, now you immediately become presentable, casting off your gnarled and ghastly appearances... and without your personal pride be in her servitude as servitors in her audience... for she is my Goddess Lakshmi...'

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vacanaat eva taaH tasya vikR^itaa ghora darshanaaH |
kR^ita praa.njalayo bhuutvaa maithiliim paryavaarayan || 3-56-28

28. vikR^itaa ghora darshanaaH= grotesque, ugly, in appearance; taaH= those; [raakshasii gaNaaH= demonesses, groups of; tasya= his [Ravana's]; vacanaat eva= by wordds [order of,] only - just by that order; kR^ita praanjalayaH bhuutvaa= made, palm-fold, they on becoming - obedient; maithiliim paryavaarayan= around Maithili, encircled.

Just by that order of Ravana those demonesses of grotesque and ugly appearance have obediently made palm-fold to him and encircled Maithili. [3-56-28]

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sa taaH provaaca raajaa tu raavaNo ghora darshanaaH |
pracaalya caraNa utkarSaiH daarayan iva mediniim || 3-56-29

29. raajaa saH raavaNaH tu= who is king, he, that Ravana, on his part; caraNa utkarSaiH= with feet's, stamping; mediniim pracaalya= earth, made to shatter; daarayan iva= to cleave [earth,] as though; taaH ghora darshanaaH= to them, to ghastly demonesses, in look; pra uvaaca= clearly, said.

That king Ravana paced in an earth-shattering manner as though to cleave it and clearly said this to those demonesses with ghastly look. [3-56-29]

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ashoka vanikaa madhye maithilii niiyataam iti |
tatra iyam rakSyataam guuDham yuSmaabhiH parivaaritaa || 3-56-30

30. [iyam= this]; maithilii= Maithili; ashoka vanikaa madhye= Ashoka, gardens, centre of; niiyataam= she is to be led - taken away; tatra iyam= there, she; yuSmaabhiH parivaaritaa= by you all, by blockading; guuDham rakSyataam= stealthily, guarded; iti= thus; he said to them.

"Let this Maithili be taken to the centre of Ashoka gardens, where you all shall blockade and guard her stealthily. [3-56-30]

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tatra enaam tar.hjanaiH ghoraiH punaH saa.ntvaiH ca maithiliim |
aanayadhvam vasham sarvaa vanyaam gaja vadhuum iva || 3-56-31

31. tatra= there; sarvaaH= all of you; enaam maithiliim= at her, at Maithili; ghoraiH= with dreadful [admonitions]; tarjanaiH= [pointing the] forefingers, [threateningly]; punaH saantvaiH ca= again, imploringly [speaking,] also; vanyaam gaja vadhuum iva= in forest [wild,] elephant, bride [she-elephant,] as with; vasham aanayadhvam= under control, you shall bring her.

"You threaten her with dreadful admonitions and again speaking imploringly you all have to bring her under control, as a wild she-elephant of age will be brought under control. [3-56-31]

Annex: Ravana the devotee's the caution is: vinaa tarjaniaH 'without threats, tame her; or tarjanaiH vinaa ghoraiH where vinaa 'without...' is ellipted by commentators and said 'threats without dreadfulness...

'You as demons are already habituated to threat sages and saints till their death... but, mind it... just threaten Maithili till threat-tolerability... do not overdo it, lest she may die of threats... again brainwash her with good words of me and my generosity... if Maithili is dead at your hands deem that you and your families are effaced... for I cherish Maithili to live...'

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iti prati samaadiSTaa raakSasyo raavaNena taaH |
ashoka vanikaam jagmuH maithiliim parigR^ihya tu || 3-56-32
sarvakaamaphalairvR^ikSairnaanaapuSpaphalairvR^itaam - yadvaa -
sarva kaama phalaiH vR^ikSaiH naanaa puSpa phalaiH vR^itaam |
sarva kaala madaiH ca api dvijaiH samupasevitaam || 3-56-33

32, 33. raavaNena iti= by Ravana, in this way; prati sam aadiSTaa= towards, clearly, ordered - demonesses who are ordered; taaH raakSasyaaH= those, demonesses; maithiliim parigR^ihya tu= Maithili, on taking, on their part; sarva kaama phalaiH= to every, savour, having fruits; naanaa puSpa phalaiH= having diverse, flowers, fruits; vR^ikSaiH= with such - trees; vR^itaam= surrounded with; sarva kaala madaiH dvijaiH= at all, time, lusty, by birds; sam upa sevitaam= highly adored; ashoka vanikaam jagmuH= to Ashoka, gardens, they went.

When Ravana has clearly ordered, those demonesses on their part took Maithili to Ashoka garden. That Ashoka gardens are surrounded with trees that yield fruits to every savour, and now they are diversely flowered and fruited. Further, those gardens are highly adored by all-time lusty birds. [3-56-32, 33]

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saa tu shoka pariita a.ngii maithilii janakaatmajaa |
raakSasii vasham aapannaa vyaaghriiNaam hariNii yathaa || 3-56-34

34. shoka pariita angii= with anguish, coverall, body; janaka aatmajaa= Janaka's, daughter; saa maithilii tu= she, that Maithili, on her part; hariNii vyaaghriiNaam yathaa= she-deer, to tigresses, as good as; raakSasii vasham aapannaa= demonesses, controlling, obtained.

But she that Janaka's daughter Maithili whose body is with a coverall of anguish, further on obtaining the control of demonesses, she is as good as a she-deer under the coverall of tigresses. [3-56-34]

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shokena mahataa grastaa maithilii janakaatmajaa |
na sharma labhate bhiiruH paasha baddhaa mR^igii yathaa || 3-56-35

35. mahataa shokena grastaa= by utmost, agony, consumed by; bhiiruH= timorous one - Seetha / she-deer; janaka aatmajaa maithilii= Janaka's, daughter, Maithili; paasha baddhaa mR^igii yathaa= tether, bound, she-deer, as with; sharma na labhate= placidity, not, obtained.

Maithili, the daughter of Janaka, who is already consumed by utmost agony has not obtained any placidity now as with a she-deer bound by tether - where timorousness is common to both. [3-56-35]

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na vindate tatra tu sharma maithilii
viruupa netraabhiH atiiva tarjitaa |
patim smarantii dayitam ca devaram
vicetanaa abhuut bhaya shoka piiDitaa || 3-56-36

36. viruupa netraabhiH= by [demonesses] with bizarre, eyes; atiiva tarjitaa= highly, intimidated; maithilii= Maithili; tatra sharma na vindate= there [in captivity,] peace, not, knows; dayitam patim= about dear, husband; devaram ca= of brother-n-law Lakshmana, too; smarantii= while reminiscing; bhaya shoka piiDitaa= with alarm, with anguish, distraught; vi cetanaa= with, animation [swooned]; abhuut= she became.

Maithili knows no peace when the bizarre-eyed demonesses have highly intimidated her, and by shut-seeing those demonesses her reminiscences went over to her dear husband and about her brother-in-law Lakshmana too, and when she felt about the improbability of their coming here, she is distraught with alarm and anguish, and then she swooned. [3-56-36]


An enigma called - Seetha

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Is Seetha really the Goddess Lakshmi? This question is often raised and answered by commentators. Ravana kidnapped umpteen numbers of beautiful women and goddess, but why his dialogues with Seetha are given many shades of meanings by all most all commentators. Is this for proving Ravana as devotee or else to prove that Seetha is not a human but Goddess Lakshmi - is the collateral objection. Apparently, Seetha is behaving like a normal woman but latently her speeches, verbiage, or the words put by Valmiki on her tongue, indicate that she is an all-powerful enigma... without saying who she is.

If she is an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi how then can Ravana lift her up and carry this far - is the next dilemma, because Ravana's strength becomes useless to lift up Lakshmana who swooned on the battlefield when Ravana used Shakti missile. In Yuddha Kaanda Ch. 59 verse 111 it is said: himav˜n mandaro mero× trai lokyam v˜ saha amarai× | þakyam bhuj˜bhy˜m uddhartum na þakyo bharata anuja×

'Ravana may have lifted Mt. Himavan, Mt. Mandara, Mt. Meru or all the three worlds along with all gods, but he could not lift up Bharata's brother Lakshmana with both of his shoulders...'

Ravana wanted to distance fiercer Lakshmana from Rama so that Rama's intensity of warring lessens. Then an episode of this lifting occurs and Hanuma on seeing this comes to Ravana and hits Ravana with fist, by which Ravana falls distantly with blood effusing from eyes, ears, and mouth. Then Hanuma easily lifts up Lakshmana and takes him to Rama. A man in swoon will not weigh differently to two different lifters. How then Ravana could not lift Lakshmana, which is not at all a great feat to Hanuma? For this the very next verse 112 gives a reply saying that:

'even if Lakshmana is hit by Shakti missile of Brahma, he is conscious of himself as an unimaginable entity of God Vishnu, so Ravana could not lift Lakshmana. Whereas Hanuma happened to be a true devotee of God Almighty, he could easily lift Lakshmana...'

Then the original topic of Ravana's lifting and carrying off Seetha comes to fore. She is also another unimaginable entity of Supreme Person. How then can Ravana lift her? For this it is said that Seetha allowed herself to be carried off by Ravana as she pledged in the incarnation of Vedavati.

The legend goes on to say that Vedavati is the brainchild of a sage called Kushadhwaja, and he decides to give Vedavati only to Vishnu in marriage. But it is an unfulfilled desire in his lifetime. Then Vedavati starts a rigorous penance to achieve her father's wish. When she is at the culmination point of her penance, Ravana passing that way in skyway sees this beautiful lady, nears, and disturbs her penance. Vedavati coming out of her meditation curses Ravana saying that she will reincarnate herself to destroy Ravana and his entire dynasty. Then she causes a yogic fire and immolates herself in it. Ravana took this as prattle by a woman-hermit, dismisses that curse, and conveniently forgets it.

Later, Ravana being an ardent devotee of Shiva, on one day when he enters a lake to get lotuses for his daily worship of Shiva, and finds among lotuses a baby in a lotus. He brings that lotus and the baby to his palace, in all his fondness for children. But his empress Mandodari doubts the arrival of this baby in lotus and recognises that baby as Goddess Lakshmi. They consult their teachers about that baby's arrival. Those teachers, priests and pundits advise to get rid of this baby immediately, for she is Vedavati, arrived here only to end Ravana and his dynasty. Then Mandodari orders the servants to carry away this baby in a casket, and bury it.

Empress Mandodari further curses that girl saying: 'this faithless girl [for Wealth has no faithfulness, and this girl is recognised as Goddess Lakshmi - presiding deity of Wealth,] will thrive only in a house, where the householder has his senses conquered, and who being an emperor lives like a perfect hermit, and who though wealthy and supreme by himself, will care nothing for the riches but view whole of the world and people as his own soul, with an impartial attitude...' Mandodari thought that such a person is an impossibility to take birth in this mortal world, and thus presumed this curse to be twisty. But there is King Janaka who has all these attributes. A king without ego, wealthy one living simple, childless but yet does not crave for children, like King Dasharatha. Hence, he is called raajarshi a saintly king. While King Janaka was about to perform a Vedic ritual, he had to till some piece of land as a ceremonial act to commence that ritual. Then this casket with the baby is touched to the blade at the end of plough-beam and that plough halted. The attendants dug up that area only to find this casket with baby. The childless Janaka takes the baby into his arms and names her as 'Seetha...' where Seetha in Sanskrit means 'furrow.' This is as per aananda raamaayaNa Thus, Goddess Lakshmi became Vedavati and Vedavati became Seetha of Ramayana, as such Valmiki calls his Ramayana siithaayaH charitam mahaan...

Then another counter objection - it is all correct to say that all puraaNaa-s say that these characters in Ramayana as gods and goddesses, as Vishnu Puraana says raaghavatve havat siitaa rukmiNii kR^iSNa jananii. But does Valmiki say it in his epic? For this it is answered, though it is not said explicitly there are many instances indicating towards this divinity of Seetha. Seetha asks Fire-god to become cool for Hanuma, when his tail is burnt saying siito bhava hanumataa and likewise she could have said hato bhava raavaNa 'dead you are Ravana...' But she does not say so for, because Rama has to undertake that process of elimination of vice called Ravana. As Seetha said in Sundara Kanda Ch. 22, verse 20: a sandeþ˜t tu r˜masya tapasa× ca anup˜lan˜t | na tv˜m kurmi daþagrŸva bhasma bhasm˜rha tejas˜ ||

'As I have no indication from Rama to burn you down, nor do I wish to waste my ascetic power, therefore I do not burn you to ashes, though you are worthy to become a mound of ash...'

In the very next verse 21 she directly says to Ravana: na apahartum aham þky˜ tvay˜ r˜masya dhŸmata× | vidhi× tava vadha arth˜ya vihito na atra samþaya× ||

'I am un-seizable for [any] as I am the wife of bold Rama, but it happened so, for you are fated to doom [you could seize me...] undoubtedly...'

Again in Yuddha Kanda Brahma in eulogising Rama for eliminating Ravana says in Ch. 117, verse 28: siitaa lakshmiiH bhavaan viSNuH... 'Seetha is Lakshmi and you are Vishnu...' Like this, there are many bits and pieces of information to establish her as an incarnate of Vedavati alias Goddess Lakshmi. Govindaraja.

Then why she and Rama behaved like humans in their wailing, moaning, and bawling is again a secondary query. This is according to loka riiti, laukika vidhaana 'humanly nature, behaviour in human world...' Though this humanly behaviour is not innate trait as Rama says aatmaanam aham maanuSam manye 'I for myself confess to be human...' Hence this humanly wailing and bawling are due to an adopted human behaviour, where incarnation itself is an adaptation.

Their humanly behaviour is to show themselves as one with the humans, asking humans to undergo these series of sufferings to eliminate unrighteousness, either in the society or within themselves. Besides, their mission is to make believe Ravana that they are just humans, as Ravana is killable by humans and monkeys, but not to hoodwink readers, the adherents or all of us put together. Maheshvara Tiirtha.

This incarceration of Seetha in Ashoka gardens is viewed as the incarceration of the innate soul in birthed being's body. The release from that body, namely moksha is achievable only when that being wants a perfect release by transcending the threefold nature consisting of sattva, rajas, tamo guNaaH 'purity, activity and stolidity...' and with an unswerving devotion to the Supreme as said in Gita, 14-26: m˜m ca yo avyabhic˜reõa bhakti yogena sevate | sa guõ˜n samatŸtya et˜n brahma bh¨ya kalpate ||

'And such- / With single, fervent faith adoring Me, / Passing beyond the Qualities, conforms / To Brahma, and attains Me!' - Sir Edwin Arnold.

God Almighty is said to be masculine single, the rest of the universe is taken as feminine, as said in Vishnu Puraana: sa eva v˜sudevo ayam s˜kÿ˜t puruÿa ucyate | strŸ pr˜yam etat sarvam jagat brahma purassaram || Then the way the innate soul, called Seetha, is incarcerated is, when she had no help of the Supreme or the Adherent of the Supreme, [Rama and Lakshmana.] Then the Decahedral demon [the demon called Ten Motor Senses,] came and captured the Soul, called Seetha and incarcerated that soul in Lanka. The syllable 'lam' in the word Lanka is lam - biijaakshara which stands for earth, and because body is earthly, lascivious and carnal, the soul enters that body by its bondage. If that soul again tries for a final release, that soul shall seek the Ultimate as said in the verse of Gita, quoted above.

There is no instance to quote that Rama or Seetha have performed some miracles, special effects or any other optical works... perhaps due to lack of any FX studio or something like that, or due to their humanly behaviour. This wizardry is shown by demons and monkeys but not by mannish Rama or womanish Seetha. Yet Seetha is held more enigmatic than Rama. If she is not an enigma how she footslogged miles and miles in forests without hiring a taxi, and how she came out of blazing fire when she performed self-immolation after Great War? These are but two questions among many. Because these questions are never-ending and more enigmatic, because we think that we have deciphered what Rama is, it is better retain Seetha as an undecipherable enigma.


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

Thus, this is the 56th chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

Verse Locator for Book III : Aranya Kanda - The Forest Trek : Chapter 56


© Jan, 2003, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : December 04]