Book III : Aranya Kanda - The Forest Trek
Lakshmana reasons with Rama regarding the drastic action Rama is about to take in annihilating the worlds. He says many pithy references in dissuading Rama. This chapter likens to Bhagavad Gita, as its terse version.
tam tath˜ þoka santaptam vilapantam an˜thavat |
mohena mahat˜ ˜viÿ÷am paridy¨nam acetanam || 4-66-1
tata× saumitri× ˜þv˜sya muh¨rt˜t iva lakÿmaõa× |
r˜mam sambodhay˜m˜sa caraõau ca abhipŸýayan || 4-66-2
1, 2. tataH= then; saumitriH= Sumitra's son; lakSmaNaH= Lakshmana; tathaa= thus; shoka santaptam= by anguish, scorched; mahataa mohena aaviSTam= by high, passion, possessed by; anaathavat vilapantam= like a forlorn one, who is bewailing; paridyuunam= impoverished; a+ cetanam= not, animated at heart; tam raamam= him, Rama; muhuurtaat iva aashvaasya= for a moment, to say, having consoled; caraNau abhipiiDayan= feet, gripping tightly [in supplication]; sambodhayaamaasa= started to address.
While Rama is bewailing like a forlorn as his anguish is scorching him, rendered impoverished with an inanimate heart as a high passion possessed him, Lakshmana, the son of Sumitra, suppliantly gripped his feet and started to address him. [4-66-1, 2]
mahat˜ tapas˜ r˜ma mahat˜ ca api karmaõ˜ |
r˜jñ˜ daþarathena asi labdho am®tam iva amarai× || 4-66-3
3. raama= oh, Rama; raaj~naa dasharathena= by king, Dasharatha; mahataa tapasaa= by superlative, ascesis; mahataa ca api karmaNaa= by superior, also, even, acts; amaraiH amR^itam iva= by gods, ambrosia, as with; labdhaH asi= reaped, you are.
"Oh, Rama, as gods have reaped ambrosia after a prolonged churning of Milky Ocean, you are a reap of King Dasharatha's superlative ascesis and even by his superior acts... [4-66-3]
The comparison of Rama to ambrosia is noteworthy. Ambrosia is not self-useful but it is manifoldly useful to every other being. If Rama is useful to all created, animate, or inanimate beings, inclusive of gods, and the thought of that prime mover to destruct what it is moving, is self-contradictory. Next, the prime object of ambrosia is to enliven but not to eradicate, thus that thought itself is self-contemptuous. Next, the very same demons turned destructive from day one, and now if Rama destructs everything, it tantamount to brand Rama to have taken sides with demons. This is again a self-critical phenomenon of his incarnation. And so on...
tava caiva guõai× baddha× tvat viyog˜t mahipati× |
r˜j˜ devatvam ˜panno bharatasya yath˜ þrutam || 4-66-4
4. bharatasya= of [from] Bharata; yathaa shrutam= as to how, heard; mahi patiH= kingdom, husbander of [an enlivener of his subjects, our father Dasharatha]; raajaa= king - Dasharatha; tava guNaiH baddhaH= by your, [rosy] endowments, fastened [beholden to]; tvat viyogaat= by your, separation; devatvam aapannaH= godhood, he obtained.
"Our father was an enlivener of all the subjects and that king was beholden only to your rosy endowments, but he obtained godhood by your separation... this is what we heard from Bharata... [4-66-4]
Annex: 'You know that our father fought demons on behalf of gods and was an ablest and an impeccable ruler... and you said that our father might deride you in saying: 'you are a wilful disobedient, despicable and even that way a dishonest one, such as you are, fie on you...' [as at 3-61-8b, 9a,] but when you resort to undertake still deplorable devastation of worlds, than that of demons, what will he say of you...
yadi du×kham idam pr˜ptam k˜kutstha na sahiÿyase |
pr˜k®ta× ca alpa sattva× ca itara× ka× sahiÿyati || 4-66-5
5. kaakutstha= oh, Kakutstha; praaptam idam duHkham= chanced, this, aguish; na sahiSyase yadi= not, able to withstand, if; praakR^itaH= a simpleton; alpa sattvaH= one with meagre, boldness; itaraH kaH sahiSyati= other man, who, withstands.
"If you are unable to withstand this anguish chanced on you, oh, Kakutstha, then how a simpleton and whose boldness is meagre can withstand it... [4-66-5]
Annex: 'Kakutstha-s are the pure beings shuddha sattva, and you are still purer, because of the speciality of your birth through some divine dessert given by some yaj~na puruSa, a Ritual Deity, therefore you should have some divine endowments, if not all, and why do you compare yourself to a commoner and bewail like this, instead of making humanly efforts... and if a person of your stature sits bewailing and moaning, whereto a commoner has to go in a similar situation...
˜þvasihi naraþreÿ÷ha pr˜õina× kasya na ˜pada |
saÕsp®þanti agnivat r˜jan kÿaõena vyapay˜nti ca || 4-66-6
6. narashreSTha= oh, best one among men [first and foremost man]; praaNinaH= for living beings; kasya na aapada samspR^ishanti= who is, not, mischance, touches [catches, uncaught]; agnivat kshaNena vyapayaanti= fire [-catch,] like, momently, takes away [lets up]; raajan= oh, king; aashvasihi= tell me.
"Oh, first and foremost man, tell me who is uncaught by mischance, which mischance will be catchy like fire-catch, and oh, king, even that, that lets up momently... [4-66-6]
Annex: 'I am not imparting any maiden version of Bhagavad Gita to you in saying that gataasuuna agataa suunau na anushocanti panNDitaaH; maatraa sparshaH tu kaunteya shiita uSNam sukha duHkhadaa... Gita 2-11, 13; 'This that irks- / Thy sense-life, thrilling to the elements- / Bringing thee heat and cold, sorrows and joys, / 'Tis brief and mutable!' but we are in an era of action, let us undertake some action, rather than bewailing... all this is but brief and mutable...' but think yourself, what to do next, in a human way...'
du×khito hi bhav˜n lok˜n tejas˜ yadi dhakÿyate |
˜rt˜× praj˜ nara vy˜ghra kva nu y˜syanti nirv®tim || 4-66-7
7. nara vyaaghra= man, the tiger; duHkhitaH= ruefully; bhavaan= you; tejasaa lokaan dhakSyate yadi= by your radiance, worlds, you blaze away, if; aartaaH prajaa= rueful, people; nirvR^itim= for solace; kva yaasyanti nu= where, they go, really.
"If you are going to blaze away worlds with your radiance in your ruefulness, to where the ordinary people in rue shall go for solace, really... [4-66-7]
Annex: 'A farmer fences his farm to not to allow stray cattle to graze the crop... you are an implicit farmer of this universe and you alone fenced this universe with their respective protective areas or spheres, say stratosphere, troposphere and suchlike... thus you have come here explicitly as a fence to this world, and when the fence alone is trampling the crop of the rightness, who else will come to the rescue of that forlorn elements of crop, called the inmates of worlds...'
loka svabh˜va eva eÿa yay˜ti× nahuÿa ˜tmaja× |
gata× þakreõa s˜lokyam anaya× tam samasp®þat || 4-66-8
8. eSa loka svabhaavaH eva= this is, world's, disposition, only; nahuSa aatmajaH yayaatiH= Nahusha's, son, Yayaati; shakreNa saalokyam gataH= with Indra, egalitarian. on becoming; anayaH tam samaspR^ishat= writhe, him, touched off
"World's disposition is this way only, even if Nahusha, the son Yayaati, has become an egalitarian with Indra, writhe touched him off... [4-66-8]
Yayaati attains heaven after performing many Vedic-rituals. But when Indra asked Yayaati 'who is the best personality in your kingdom?' Yayaati, as a straightforward person replied 'I am the best in my kingdom...' Then Indra said 'Self-eulogisers have no place in heaven, hence you return to mortal worlds...' thus Yayaati met with a mischance. Instead of telling as Yayaati, he is said to be the 'son of Nahusha' which expression suggests disobedience. Once Nahusha made the Seven Sages, the stars in Ursa Major, as the bearers of his palanquin and hastened them saying sarpa, sarpa... where that word means 'move fast, move fast...' besides its general meaning 'serpent...' Then Sage Agastya curses Nahusha, 'be like that...' i.e., 'become a serpent...' taking the general meaning of that word. Then Nahusha, though a renowned personality, for he is accursed he had to fall supine as a big serpent. So Lakshmana is obliquely suggesting Rama, 'you may be a god supreme... but it is in your realm... not on earth... on earth you have to behave like an earthling... wrecking the system from within is meaningless... have some obedience to the set order...'
mah˜®ÿi ya× vasiÿ÷ha× tu ya× pitu× na× purohita×
ahn˜ putra þatam jajñe tathaiva asya punar hatam || 4-66-9
9. mahaaR^iSiH= great sage; yaH vasiSThaH= which, Vashishta is there; [yaH=who is]; naH pituH purohitaH= to our, father, he is a priest; asya= to him; ahnaa= in one day; putra shatam jaj~ne= sons, hundred, parented; punaH= again; tathaiva= like that; hatam= they are eliminated.
"Which great sage Vashishta is there, who is also the priest of our father, he parented a hundred sons in one day and like that they are all eliminated in one day by Vishvamitra, for which Vashishta also lamented, but not for a long... [4-66-9]
Annex: 'world's disposition is such, a hundred living beings may take birth on one day and even die in hundreds, or thousands in one day... birth entails death... you ordained it to be so, but when the problem has come right under your seat, you go on bewailing without undertaking humanly effort... is this befitting...'
y˜ ca iyam jagato m˜t˜ sarva loka namask®t˜ |
asy˜× ca calanam bh¨me× d®þyate kosaleþvara || 4-66-10
10. kosala iishvara= Kosala kingdom, oh, king of; jagataH maataa= worlds, mother; sarva loka namaskR^itaa= by all, [beings in the] world, one who is venerated; yaa iyam= she who is, this one - this Earth is there; asyaaH bhuumeH calanam= her, to this earth, movement [undergoes earth tremors]; dR^ishyate= is evident.
"This Mother Earth who is the mother of worlds and venerated by all animate and inanimate, or even celestial beings, oh, king of Kosala kingdom, even she undergoes tremors and earthquakes... [4-66-10]
Mother earth is not only held as a mother of living beings on her surface, but even Moon, Mars etc., planets are said to have emerged from her, and she is lone female in planetary system capable enough to produce offspring, and hence she is regarded as the wife of Vishnu, and hence Vishnu has to incarnate Himself on her periodically, to ease her of her problems. As such 'your weeping for your loss is subjective, while putting your other wife, namely bhuu devi, Mother Earth, to suffering by earthquakes, storms, whirlwinds, twisters, and what not... is it appropriate of you to make her suffer periodically, while you say that your one-time-suffering such as this one is nonpareil... or what... world's disposition is as such... not even you can change it, lest it boomerangs...'
yau dharmau jagat˜m netre yatra sarvam pratiÿ÷hitam |
˜ditya candrau grahaõam abhyupetau mah˜balau || 4-66-11
11. yau= which pair; dharmau= duteous; jagataam netre= for world, eyes; yatra sarvam pratiSThitam= wherein [in whom,] all [system of world,] is established [peremptory]; mahaabalau= highly, influential; aaditya candrau= Sun, Moon; grahaNam abhyupetau [iva]= eclipse, draw nigh, [as though.]
"Which duteous pair is the pair of eyes of the world in whom all the systems of world are peremptory, though that pair of Sun and Moon are doughtily influential in this solar system, eclipse draws nigh of them... [4-66-11]
Annex: 'for a while you stop thinking that you as Vishnu are reclining on me, aadi sheeSha the Divine-Thousand-hooded-serpent-recline-bed of Vishnu in vaikuNTha, yon the dwaadasha aadtya-s, 'Eleven Suns' and numerous Moons of this Universes... you are now right under the nose of this solar system, and on earth... and in this solar system there is none supreme than this mighty sun, and mellowly moon, a pair of eyes of this system, where one opens one's eye by day and the other closes that eye with his cooling effect by night... and it is also said in Veda-s: ˜dity˜t j˜yate v®ÿ÷i× - v®ÿ÷i× tato annam abhij˜yate - candramasau oÿadhi vanaspatau 'Sun causes rains, rains cause food, Moon causes herbs and plants of condiments...' and even they, they are eclipsed occasionally, for they are around the mortal world... and what if, your anguish eclipses you, temporarily...'
sumah˜nti api bh¨t˜ni dev˜× ca puruÿa ®ÿabha |
na daivasya pramuñcanti sarva bh¨t˜ni dehina× || 4-66-12
12. puruSa R^iSabha= oh, bullish man; su mahaanti bhuutaani= very, great, beings [incorporates like earth and suchlike planets]; devaaH ca= gods, also; sarva bhuutaani= all, beings; dehinaH= corporeal beings; daivasya= from the Supreme Being's [predestine]; na= not; pramuncanti= unloosened.
"Even very great incorporates like earth and suchlike planets, oh, bullish man, or even the gods, or even all corporeal beings, cannot get release from the predestine of Supreme Being... [4-66-12]
This verse is held as an interpolate or the problem with copyists, by the use of the word bhuutaani twice, and even the last compound is said to be self-contradictory sarva bhuutaani dehinaH or sarva bhuutaadi dehinaH Hence it is up to the grammarians to decide. Some mms use vedaaH for devaaH in first foot, thus 'even all Veda-s put together cannot transcend the Absolute...'
þakra ˜diÿu api deveÿu vartam˜nau naya anayau |
þr¨yete nara þ˜rd¨la na tvam vyathitum arhasi || 4-66-13
13. nara shaarduula= oh, man, tigerly; shakra aadiSu deveSu api= Indra, et al., for gods, even; naya anayau= in ethical, unethical [course, their resultant agonies and ecstasies]; vartamaanau= as functional; shruuyete= we hear so; tvam vyathitum na arhasi= you, to anguish, not, apt of you.
"Oh, tigerly-man, we hear that whether gods like Indra et al., are ethical and/or unethical, yet they too have the resultant agonies and ecstasies... hence, it is inapt of you to fret thyself... [4-66-13]
The last compound in second foot na tvam vyathitum arhasi is the 'theme instruction' in Gita na tvam shocitum arhasi which again appears in the next verse. This has a near psalm in The Bible: 'Fret not thyself because of the ungodly...' Psalm 37, v 1.
h®t˜y˜m api vaidehy˜m naÿ÷˜y˜m api r˜ghava |
þocitum na arhase vŸra yath˜ anya× pr˜k®ta× tath˜ || 4-66-14
14. viira= oh, brave one; Raaghava= oh, Raghava; vaidehyaam= Vaidehi is; hR^itaayaam api= stolen, whether; naSTaayaam api= slain, whether; praakR^itaH anyaH yathaa= primitive [commoner,] other person, as with; tathaa= that way; shocitum na arhase= to sadden, not, apt of you.
"Whether Vaidehi is stolen or slain, oh, brave one, it will be inapt of you sadden like this as with any other commoner without tracking her whereabouts... [4-66-14]
tvat vidh˜ nahi þocanti satatam sarva darþina× |
sumahatsu api k®cchreÿu r˜ma anirviõõa darþan˜× || 4-66-15
15. raama= oh, Rama; sarva [or, satatam sama ] darshinaH= [always,] all, [equably,] seers [always equable in their outlook]; a +nir+ viNNa darshanaaH= non, without, spirit, [non-dispirited,] seers; tvat vidhaa= your, like; su mahatsu api= in very, high [highly desperate straits,] even; kR^icChreSu= in straits; na shocanti hi= will not, sadden - non-dispirited, indeed.
"Persons of your like who are always equable in their outlook, oh, Rama, they will remain non-dispirited even if they are undergoing desperate straits, and they will not just sadden like this... [4-66-15]
tattvato hi naraþreÿ÷ha buddhy˜ samanucintaya |
buddhy˜ yukt˜ mah˜pr˜jñ˜ vij˜nanti þubha aþubhe || 4-66-16
16. narashreSTha= oh, foremost among men; tattvataH= objectively; buddhyaa sam anu cintaya= brainily, well [in subtlety,] pursuit, think [ratiocinate]; mahaa praaj~naa= great, brains; buddhyaa yuktaa= with brain, having [with braininess]; shubha= auspicious [good]; a shubhe= not, auspicious [bad]; vi jaananti= they clearly, comprehend; hi= indeed.
"Oh, foremost man among men, you ratiocinate in subtle pursuit, objectively and brainily, and great brains will comprehend good and bad in subtlety with their braininess... [4-66-16]
ad®ÿ÷a guõa doÿ˜õ˜m adh®v˜õ˜m ca karmaõ˜m |
na antareõa kriy˜m teÿ˜m phalam iÿ÷am ca vartate || 4-66-17
17. a+ dR^iSTa= not, seen [indiscernible]; guNa doSaaNaam= rights, wrongs; a +dhR^ivaaNaam ca= not, definite [indefinite,] also [a+ dhR^itaanaam= not, firm - infirm]; teSaam karmaNaam= those, of actions; iSTam phalam ca= cherished, fruits; kriyaam antareNa= action, without [performing any action]; [phalam ca= fruits, also]; na vartate= not, will be in existence [nonexistent.]
"Indiscernible are the rights and wrongs of actions, and indefinite are the cherished fruits of those actions, and without performing any action, fruits also will be nonexistent... [4-66-17]
Vividly: We cannot discern the rights or wrongs of any action we perform now in this lifetime, nor we can recollect the actions done us in earlier births, to asses their rights or wrongs. And they are indefinite and infirm, because any action we perform it ceases to exist on its competition. And if we have not performed such an action in last birth, conducive to yield good result in this birth, its fruition is nonexistent. Thereby we may perhaps muse over our actions basing on the results occurring now. In any case, nonexistent is the fruits of action, may it be right or wrong, if there is inaction. This is according to Govindaraja. He uses word a dhR^itaanaam 'infirm' for a dhR^ivaaNaam 'indefinite' and Tilaka uses word ca vartate 'also, happens' for pravartate 'will be in existence' and in either way the meaning is the same. anena pr˜ptam sukham du×kham v˜ p¨rva karma adhŸnam iti uktam - tath˜ ca bh˜rate - ˜raõyake - y˜ni pr˜pnoti puruÿa× tat phalam p¨rva karm˜õ˜m | dh˜t˜ api hi sva karmaiva tai× tai× hetubhi× Ÿþvara× || dk
Another way of declining the meaning is by ellipting the words from previous verse buddhyaa yuktaa 'with braininess' as below:
mahaa praaj~naa= great, brains; buddhyaa yuktaa= with brain, having [with braininess]; a + dR^iSTa= not, seen [indiscernible]; a + dhR^ivaaNaam ca= not, definite [indefinite,] also [a + dhR^itaanaam= not, firm, infirm]; guNa doSaaNaam= rights, wrongs; karmaNaam= of actions; shubha= rights; a shubhe= wrongs; vi jaananti= clearly, comprehending.
"The great brains with their braininess are clearly comprehending the indiscernible, indefinite or infirm rights and wrongs of their actions, thus they translate their thinking into action... and thus they are undertaking humanly possible action... but not sitting back, unlike you...
There is another shade to this verse with some altered verbiage as below:
ad®ÿ÷a guõa doÿ˜õ˜m karmasu abhirata ˜tm˜n˜m |
na antareõa kriy˜m vŸra phalam iÿ÷am pravartate ||
Oh, brave one, to those that are interested in endeavours, whether or not they are uninterested in the results of their actions, either rights or wrongs, but even to them cherished fruits does not occur, effortlessly...
And the commentaries go on expanding these tenets, till this chapter vies with Bhagavad Gita.
m˜m evam hi pur˜ vŸra tvam eva bahuþo uktav˜n |
anuþiÿy˜t hi ko nu tv˜m api s˜kÿ˜t b®haspati× || 4-66-18
18. viira= oh, valiant one; puraa tvam eva= previously, you, alone; maam evam= me, this way; bahushaH uktavaan [anvashaH] hi= repeatedly, you have said [you instructed me,] indeed; saakSaat bR^ihaspatiH api= actually [professedly,] he were to be Jupiter, even [if]; kaH nu= who, really; tvaam anushiSyaat hi= to you, can profess, indeed.
"Oh valiant one, indeed you alone have said this way to me previously and repeatedly, who really can profess you even he were to be professedly the Jupiter... [4-66-18]
buddhi× ca te mah˜pr˜jña devai× api duranvay˜ |
þokena abhiprasuptam te jñ˜nam sambodhay˜mi aham || 4-66-19
19. mahaapraaj~na= oh, great discerner; te buddhiH= your, thinking process; devaiH api dur anvayaa= by gods, even, impossible, to explicate [non-explicatory]; shokena abhi pra suptam= by sadness, obliquely, utterly, slumberous; te j~naanam= your, to percipience; aham sambodhayaami= I am, addressing.
"Oh, great discerner, your thinking process is non-explicatory even to gods, but now that thinking process is obliquely and utterly slumberous owing to your sadness, hence I am addressing your percipience and this is no schoolteaching... [4-66-19]
divyam ca m˜nuÿam ca evam ˜tmana× ca par˜kramam |
ikÿv˜ku v®ÿabha avekÿya yatasva dviÿat˜m vadhe || 4-66-20
20. kSvaaku vR^iSabha= oh, Ikshvaku's, foremost among; avekSya= contemplate / consider / count; divyam ca maanuSam ca= divineness, also, humanness, also; evam= that way; aatmanaH ca paraakramam= your own, valour; yatasva dviSataam vadhe= try hard, in abser's, elimination.
"Oh, foremost one among Ikshvaku, oh, Rama, contemplate the divineness of those immortals and their pure being in maintaining world order, also consider the humanness of these mortals and their helpless susceptibility to pain, also count on your own valour that which can annihilate the whole of anything... and then come to conclusion whether or not to annihilate everything... but, before that try hard to eliminate the abuser, lest he may abuse many others... [4-66-20]
"Oh, best one among Ikshvaku-s, oh, Rama, contemplate the divine valour you have derived, also consider the human valour you have inherited, also count on your own innate valour... hence, try hard to eliminate the abuser...
The second meaning is when 'valour' is taken as main principle. This verse has another shade if the compound in first foot is read as, according to some other ancient mms: divyam ca maanuSam ca astram aatmanaH ca paraakramam | where the word aatmanaH is replaced with astram and then the meaning is 'you have missiles unknown to humans and you also have missiles unknown even to gods, by the courtesy of Vishvamitra and Agastya, and you have your own valour, then try hard for the abuser...'
kim te sarva vin˜þena k®tena puruÿa ®ÿabha |
tam eva tu ripum p˜pam vijñ˜ya uddhartum arhasi || 4-66-21
21. puruSa R^iSabha= oh, man, the best; kR^itena sarva vinaashena= by performing, complete, annihilation; te kim= to you, what - what is the use; tam= him; paapam= malevolent; ripum eva= malefactor, alone; vij~naaya= on knowing - on finding out; ut dhartum arhasi= to up, root, apt of you.
"Oh, best one among men, what is it you gain on performing a complete annihilation owing to a single soul's malefaction, hence, mark him... that malefactor and a malevolent of yours, and it will be apt of you to uproot him... him alone... [4-66-21]
iti v˜lmŸki r˜m˜yaõe ˜di k˜vye araõya k˜õýe ÿa÷s ÿaÿ÷itama× sarga×
Thus, this is the 66th chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.
© April, 2003, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : January 05]