Chapter [Sarga] 7

Introduction

Rama arrives at the hermitage of Sage Suteekshna, as directed by Sage Sharabhanga in the previous chapter and asks the sage to show a place to dwell. Suteekshna asks Rama to stay at his own hermitage, which has no other problems than the wild animals that come in herds and make blaring noises. Rama wishes to kill those animals that hamper the tranquillity of hermits living therein, but having observed the kindness of Suteekshna towards those wild animals, however disturbing they may be, Rama refrains to kill them, and would like to go to any other place than this. They spend that night there.


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raamaH tu sahitaH bhraatraa siitayaa ca para.mtapaH |
sutiikshNasya aashrama padam jagaama saha taiH dvijaiH || 3-7-1

1. param tapaH raamaH tu= others [enemies,] scorcher, Rama, but; bhraataa siithyaa cha sahitaH= Rama, with brother, Seetha, also, along with; taiH dvijaiH saha= those, Brahmans, along with; sutiikshNasya aashrama padam jagaama= Sage Suteekshna's, hermitage, threshold, gone towards.

Rama, the enemy-scorcher, has gone towards the threshold of the hermitage of Sage Suteekshna along with his brother Lakshmana and Seetha, also along with those Brahmans who accompanied him all the way. [4-7-1]

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sa gatvaa diirgham adhvaanam nadiiH tiirtvaa bahu udakaaH |
dadarsha vimalam shailam mahaa merum iva unnatam || 3-7-2

2. saH= he that Rama; diirgham adhvaanam gatvaa= long, way, having gone on; bahu udakaaH nadiiH tiirtvaa= with plenty, of waters, rivers, on crossing; mahaa merum iva unnatam= great, Mt. Meru, like, towering; vimalam shailam- tranquil mountain; dadarsha = has seen.

He travelling on a long way, and on crossing rivers with plenty of waters has seen a tranquil mountain towering like great Mt. Meru. [3-7-2]

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tataH tad ikshvaaku varau satatam vividhaiH drumaiH |
kaananam tau vivishatuH siitayaa saha raaghavau || 3-7-3

3. tataH ikshvaaku varau= then, of Ikshvaku-s, those, best ones; tau raaghavau= those, Raghava-s; siitayaa saha = along with Seetha; satatam vividhaiH drumaiH= always, with divers, tress; tat kaananam vivishatuH= that, forest, they, entered.

Then those best ones from Ikshvaku dynasty, those two Raghava-s along with Seetha have entered the forest which will always be full with diverse trees. [3-7-3]

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praviSTaH tu vanam ghoram bahu puSpa phala drumam |
dadarsha aashramam ekaante ciira maalaa pariSkR^itam || 3-7-4

4. pravishtaH tu vanam ghoram= entering, forest, perilous one; bahu puSpa phala drumam= with many, flower and fruit bearing trees; dadarsha aashramam= have seen, hermitage; ekaante= in a reclusive place; ciira maalaa parishkR^itam= jute cloths, garlanded, adorned with.

Entering that perilous forest with its many a flower and fruit bearing trees, they have seen the hermitage in a reclusive place adorned with rows of jute cloths as though garlanding it. [3-7-4]

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tatra taapasam aasiinam mala pa~Nkaja dhaariNam |
raamaH sutiikshNam vidhivat tapodhanam abhaaSata || 3-7-5

5. tatra= there; Rama; mala pankaja dhaariNam= soiled, [lotus-like] blotches bearing; aasiinam= one who is sitting; tapaH dhanam= ascetically wealthy one; taapasam sutiikshnam= ascetic, Suteekshna; [dR^iSTvaa= having seen]; vidhivat= dutifully; abhaaSata= spoke to.

There on seeing the ascetically rich Sage Suteekshna sitting in yogic posture with his body bearing lotus-like blotches of soil, Rama dutifully spoke to him. [3-7-5]

Here it is said the soil on the sage's body has taken lotus-like blotches. Certain yogic methods do not care outward bathing of body. Usually the bath is prescribed three times a day, but hermits of a sort leave away that bodily bathing, because the sweat and soil recurs immediately after each bath on this impure body. So they stop taking outward bath and concentrate on cleansing the inner space.

apavitro v pavitro v sarva avasthm gato api v |
ya smaret puarkkam sa bhya abhyantara uci ||

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raamo.aham asmi bhagavan bhavantam draSTum aagataH |
tat maa abhivada dharmaj~na maharSe satya vikrama || 3-7-6

6. bhagavan= oh god; aham raamaH asmi= I am Rama; bhavantam draSTum aagataH= you, to see, have come; tat= therefore; dharmaj~na= O, virtue-knower; maharSe= great sage; satya vikrama= truthfulness, having as your courage; maa abhi vada= to me, you talk.

"Oh! godly sage I am Rama, I have come to see you, hence oh, knower of virtue, oh, great sage, oh, one with truthfulness as your courage, please talk to me..." [3-7-6]

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sa niriikSya tataH dhiiro raamam dharmabhR^itaam varam |
samaashliSya ca baahubhyaam idam vacanam abraviit || 3-7-7

7. tataH= then; dhiiraH saH= highly learned one, he that sage; niriikshya= having seen bhR^itaam varam raamam= virtue, proponent, the best one, at Rama; baahubhyaam sam aashlishya ca= with both hands, well embracing, also; idam vacanam abraviit= this, sentence, said.

Then that sage having seen that brave and best proponent of virtue, Rama, embraced him with both of his hands, and spoke this sentence. [3-7-7]

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svaagatam te raghu shreSTha raama satyabhR^itaam vara |
aashramao ayam tvayaa aakraantaH sanaatha iva saa.mpratam || 3-7-8

8. svaagatam te raghu shreSTha= welcome, to you, Raghu, the best; Rama; satya bhR^itaam vara= truth, patron, the best; saampratam= presently; tvayaa aakraantaH= by you, caught unprepared [treaded upon]; ayam aashramaH= this, hermitage; sa naatha iva with, ed one, like; [babhuuva= became.]

"Welcome to you Rama, best of Raghu dynasty and the best patron of truth, and when you presently caught this hermitage unprepared this has become a well-lorded one... [3-7-8]

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pratiikshamaaNaH tvaam eva na aarohe aham mahaayashaH |
deva lokam ito viira deham tyak{}tvaa mahiitale || 3-7-9
citrakuuTam upaadaaya raajya bhraSTo asi me shrutaH |

9, 10a. mahaa yashaH= greatly renowned; viira= brave one; aham tvaam eva= I, for you, only; pratiikshamaaNaH= while awaiting; deham tyaktvaa mahii tale= body, casting off, on earth's plane; itaH deva lokam na aarohe= from here, gods world [heavens,] not, ascended; raajya bhraSTaH citrakuuTam upaadaaya asi= from kingdom, repudiated, at Chitrakuta, arrived, you are;[iti= thus a]; me shrutaH= I heard thus.

"I am awaiting for you only, oh, greatly renowned one, without my ascent to heavens by casting off this body on the earth's plane, oh, brave one, for I have heard that you have arrived at Chitrakuta after you are repudiated from your kingdom... [3-7-9]

This heaven ' deva loka heaven is negated for total salvation. Total salvation is at your tri-feet, tridiva. So 'I have not ascended to heavens, which causes rebirth after the decline of merit, thus I am waiting for your arrival for Total Salvation, moksha...' So said the sage to Rama. Govindaraja. "You birthed in Raghu's dynasty for the elimination of Ravana, and also foregone your kingdom and you are coming this way. So I am waiting for your graceful look, without going to heavens leaving the body. Should I leave the body and go to heavens, I cannot see parama puruSa , The Absolute, in you... so I did not cast off this body...' Thus said the sage to Rama. Maheshvara Tirtha.

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iha upayaataH kaakutsthaH devaraajaH shatatakratuH || 3-7-10
upaagamya cha me devo mahaadevaH sura iishvaraH |
sarvaan lokaan jitaan aaha mama puNyena karmaNaa || 3-7-11

10b, 11. kaakutsthaH= Rama; shata kratuH deva rajaH iha upayaataH= one with hundred rituals, deities, king, here, he came; mahaadevaH sura iishvaraH= great god, celestials' ; devaH= such Indra; upaagamya= on approaching; mama puNyena karmaNaa= by my, meritorious, deeds; sarvaan lokaan jitaan= all, worlds, conquered [ by me]; maam aaha= [thus] to me, he said.

"The king of gods and the chief invitee in hundred sacrifices Indra approached me, and that great deity said me that I have conquered all the worlds by my meritorious deeds... [3-7-10, 11]

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teSu deva R^iSi juSTeSu jiteshu tapasaa mayaa |
mat prasaadaat sa bhaaryaH tvam viharasva sa lakshmaNaH || 3-7-12

12. mayaa tapasaa jiteSu deva R^iSi juSTeSu= by me, by ascesis, won over, by gods and sages, cherished; teSu= in them [those conquered worlds]; sa bhaaryaH= with, your wife; sa lakshmanaH= with, Lakshmana; tvam mat prasaadaat viharasva= you, by my, bequeathal, you enjoy.

"Let me bequeath those worlds that are cherished by gods and sages alike, but which are won over by me by my ascesis, and you enjoy in them with your wife and with your brother Lakshmana... [3-7-12]

This sage Suteekshna too is dedicating all his merit accrued by his penance at the feet of Vishnu. This is the same effort of dedication, which Sage Sharabhanga offered, to Rama at 3-5-33 of this canto. Any thing accrued by human effort and energy, if dedicated at the feet of god, is doubly meritorious and establishes a selflessness of the devotee. Even in any daily worship it will be concluded with a saying, ye tat phalam parameshwara arpaNamastu... i.e., whatever is the result of this worship it is dedicated in the Supreme...

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tam ugra tapasam diiptam maharSim satya vaadinam |
pratyuvaaca aatmavaan raamo brahmaaNam iva vaasavaH || 3-7-13

13. aatmavaan= self-respecting one; Rama; ugra tapasaa diiptam= by intense, asceticism, radiant one; tam= him; maharSim= to great sage; satya vaadinam= truth, advocate of; prati uvaaca= in turn, said; brahmaaNam iva vaasavaH= to Brahma, like, Indra.

That self-respecting Rama replied the radiant sage with intense asceticism, a great soul and an advocate of truth by himself, as Indra would reply to Brahma. [3-7-13]

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aham eva aahariSyaami svayam lokaan mahaamune |
aavaasam tu aham icChaami pradiSTam iha kaanane || 3-7-14

14. mahaamune= oh, great saint; aham eva aaharishyaami svayam= I, alone, will gain, myself; lokaan= all worlds; aavasam tu= dwelling place, only; aham icChaami= I seek; pradiSTam iha kaanane= indicated [by you,] here, in this forest.

"I alone can gain all those worlds, oh, great saint, I now seek a place to dwell here in this forest as indicated by you... [3-7-14]

This is the same situation with Sage Sharabhanga in the 5th chapter of this canto. This is an allusive saying by Rama. cf. 3-5-33.

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bhavaan sarvatra kushalaH sarvabhuuta hite rataH |
aakhyaataH sharabha.ngena gautamena mahaatmanaa || 3-7-15

15. bhavaan sarvatra kushalaH= you are, in all affairs, expert; sarva bhuuta hiteH rataH= all, beings', welfare, interested in; aakhyaataH mahaatmanaa= sharabhangena gautamena= said by, great soul, Sharabhanga, belonging to sage Gautama's dynasty.

"You are an expert in all affairs, and you are interested in the welfare of all the beings, so said the great souled Sage Sharabhanga of Sage Gautama's dynasty..." [So said Rama to the sage.] [3-7-15]

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evam uk{}taH tu raameNa maharSiH loka vishrutaH |
abraviit madhuram vaakyam harSeNa mahataa yutaH || 3-7-16

16. raameNa evam uktaH= by Rama, that way, when said; loka vishrutaH maharSiH= world, renowned, sage; mahataa harSeNa yutaH= with great, joy, having; abraviit madhuram vaakyam= spoke, sweet worded, sentence.

When said thus by Rama, that great sage with world renown spoke sweet worded sentence with great pleasure. [3-7-16]

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ayam eva aashramo raama guNavaan ramyataam iti |
R^iSi sa.ngha anucaritaH sadaa muula phalair yutaH || 3-7-17

17. Rama; R^ishi sangha anu charitaH= sage, groups, well, moving about; sadaa muula phalaiH yutaH= always, tubers, fruits, containing in; ayam aashramaH eva guNavaan = this, hermitage, alone, fully featured one; [by you] ramyataam iti= delight here, thus.

"You can take delight in this good featured hermitage alone, for groups of sages will always be moving here, and this always contains tubers and fruits..." Thus said Sage Suteekshna. [3-7-17]

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imam aashramam aagamya mR^iga sa.nghaa mahiiyasaH |
ahatvaa pratigacChanti lobhayitvaa akutobhayaaH || 3-7-18

18. imam aashramam aagamya= to this hermitage, having come; mR^iga sanghaa mahiiyasaH= deer, herds, large ones; a+hatvaa prati gacChanti= without killing, return they go; lobhayitvaa= luring us; a+kutaH bhayaaH= not, from anyone, fearing [fearing none.]

"But herds of very large animals will be coming to this hermitage, they return after scaring us, of course without killing anyone, and they fear none... [3-7-18]

There is something in this verse. Some translations read mR^iga as deer, while some others read it as animals. If they are just deer, the word a + hatvaa , without killing, is of no use, for deer is not a carnivorous animal to kill someone. In other versions, this verse is a complete recast telling that herds of great size animals come and blare, but do not kill or fear any one. Even if it were so, this sage has got a tolerance for them too. And if some latent meaning is picked up, the large herds of deer, moving as they like in this hermitage, are said to be 'luring' the sages, lobhayitbvaa. A presumption arises here. This must be the same 'lure' Seetha got on seeing Golden Deer. But Rama raises his bow and arrow to kill these animals that disturb tranquillity of hermitage, whether it be deer or other blaring wild animals. So Rama's fury must be at the 'luring deer', say Golden Deer, but not at ordinary deer. Thus this usage of 'deer and lure' may be taken as lakshaNa for lakshita of Ramayana.

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naa anyo doSo bhavet atra mR^igebhyaH anyatra viddhi vai |
tat shrutvaa vacanam tasya maharSeH lakshmaNaagrajaH || 3-7-19
uvaaca vacanam dhiiro vigR^ihya sa sharam dhanuH |

19, 20a. viddhi vai= you know, thus indeed; atra mR^igebhyaH anyatra anya doSaH naa bhavet= here, from animals, other than, other, problem, will not, be there; dhiiraH lakshmamaNa agrajaH= couraeous one, Lakshmana's, elder Rama; tasya maharsheH tat vacanam shrutvaa= of that, great sage, that, sentence, on hearing; sa sharam dhanuH vi gR^ihya= with, arrow, bow, on taking; uvaaca vacanam= said, sentence.

"Know that no other problem is there other than the animals..." So said the sage. On hearing those words of that great sage, that brave elder brother of Lakshmana taking bow and arrow said this sentence. [3-7-19, 20a]

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taan aham sumahaabhaaga mR^igasa.nghaan samaagataan || 3-7-20
hanyaam nishita dhaareNa shareNa nata parvaNaa |

20b, 21a. su mahaa bhaagaH= oh, greatly, blessed one; samaagataan taan mR^iga sanghaan= that collective come, animal, herds; shareNa nishita dhaareNa nata parvaNaa= arrows, having sharp edges, curved, ends; aham hanyaam= I will, eradicate.

"I will eradicate them, oh, greatly blessed one, those animals that will come collectively in herds with sharp edged, curve-end arrows... [3-7-20b, 21a]

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bhavaan tatra abhiSajyeta kim syaat kR^icChra taram tataH || 3-7-21
etasmin aashrame vaasam ciram tu na samarthaye |

21b, 22a. tatra bhavaan abhishajyetaH= in them, you may be, interested [mercifully]; tataH kR^icChra taram kim syaat= than that, more painful, what, will be, there; [therefore]; etasmin aashrame ciram vaasam na samarthaye= in this, hermitage, for a long, staying, not, befitting [thus I deem.]

"But you may be more interested in those animals mercifully, then what will be there more painful to you, hence I deem our staying in this hermitage for along will be unbefitting..." So said Rama. [3-7-21b, 22a]

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tam evam uk{}tvaa uparamam raamaH sa.mdhyaam upaagamat || 3-7-22
anvaasya pashcimaam sa.ndhyaam tatra vaasam akalpayat |
sutiikshNasya aashrame ramye siitayaa lakshmanena cha || 3-7-23

22b, 23. Rama; tam evam uktvaa= to him [to sage,] thus, on saying; upa ramam= paused; sandhyaam upa aagamat= twilight, nearly, came by; anvaasya pashcimaam sandhyaam= worshipped, the westward, vesperal time; siitayaa lakshmaNena cha= with Seetha, with Lakshmana, too; sutiikshNasya aashrame ramye= Suteekshna's, hermitage, delightful one; tatra vaasam akalpayat= there, stay, arranged for himself.

On saying thus to the sage then Rama came by the twilight, and he paused at it. On worshipping the westward vesperal time, Rama arranged a stay for himself along with Seetha and Lakshmana, there in that delightful hermitage of Sage Suteekshna. [3-7-22b, 23]

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tataH shubham taapasa annam
svayam sutiikshNaH puruSarSabhaabhyaam |
taabhyaam susatkR^itya dadau mahaatmaa
sa.ndhyaa nivR^ittau rajaniim samiikshya || 3-7-24

23. tataH= then; mahaatmaa sutiikshaNaH sandhyaa nivR^ittau= great souled, Suteekshna, evening rituals, on completing; rajaniim avekshya= nightfall, on observing; taabhyaam puruSarSabhaabhyaam= to two of them, men, best among; su satkR^itya= well, looking after [courteously]; shubham taapasa annam= auspicious one, sage's, food; svayam= himself; dadau = gave [served.]

Then the great soul Sage Suteekshna on completing his evening rituals and on observing the fall of night he himself courteously served food that is auspicious and worthy of sages to two of the best men, Rama and Lakshmana. [3-7-23]

It may not be construed that Seetha is served with no food, by taking the wording that 'two of best men are served food' by the sage. It is usual for the Indian women to take food after their husbands or other dependents take it first, then all womenfolk in the house join together to have their meal, [for a long time...of course, with their unending chit-chatting...]

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Endnote

In aascharya raamayana , another traditional rendering of this epic, it is said that Rama, while staying at this hermitage when night advanced, went out of the hermitage and killed all those animals. Not the above mentioned deer, but very big, blaring animals. The thrust of his arrows made the carcasses of those massive animals fall before the demon Kabandha. Kabandha is a cursed angle and will be released of his curse later by Rama. This Kabandha has no body parts below his chest, but has long hands with which he captures his prey that comes within the ambit of his long and strong hands. Kabandha is thus fed upon the kill of Rama, because Kabandha is a keynote character in giving information to Rama, and he is to be kept alive till such time. But all this is unknown to other in-mates of the hermitage, including Seetha. The next morning Rama, in a personal conversation with Seetha, reveals what he has done during the previous night, to her surprise and praise.

 

iti vaalmiiki raamaayanae aadi kaavye araNya kaaNDe saptamaH sargaH

Thus, this is the 7h chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana,the First Epic poem of India.


Verse Locator for Book III : Aranya Kanda - The Forest Trek : Chapter 7

 

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Sarga 7 in English Prose

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2001, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao, [Revised : March, 04]