Book III : Aranya Kanda - The Forest Trek
Seetha foresees danger in Rama's decision to eliminate the demons in Dandaka forest, without any provocation from their side, at the request of some sages. She narrates an old episode about a sage who in possession of a weapon became violent and cruel.
sutŸkÿõena abhyanujñ˜tam prasthitam raghu nandanam |
h®dyay˜ snigdhay˜ v˜c˜ bhart˜ram idam abravŸt || 3-9-1
1. sutiikSNena abhi anuj~naatam= by Suteekshna, well permitted; prasthitam bhartaaram raghu nandanam= who started, to her husband, to Raghu's, son, Rama; vaidehii snigdhayaa vaacaa = Vaidehi, with friendly, words; idam abraviit= this, spoke.
To Rama, the scion of Raghu and her husband, who started out when permitted by Sage Suteekshna, Vaidehi spoke this with friendly words. [3-9-1]
Seetha addresses Rama with this percept. "Wielding weaponry you are entering into an area where the demons are dense, and you intolerantly embark to kill them, thereupon we two get separated, which in turn is intolerable to you. So let us leave weapons back at hermitage and go to forests to see sages - Govindaraja. "The promise made to sages in eradicating demons is himsaatmaka, injurious; they can be won over by ahimsa, non-injurious methods also. None can avert Rama to make a promise, nor ask him to deviate from it. Aware of this stubbornness of Rama, her heart felt a foreboding, and that love-blind Seetha started telling in a friendlily manner, in view of her friendship with Rama, that may disrupt soon.
adharmam tu sus¨kÿmeõa vidhin˜ pr˜pyate mah˜n |
niv®ttena ca þakyo ayam vyasan˜t k˜maj˜d iha || 3-9-2
2. mahaan, a + dharmaH= gross injustice; su suukshmeNa vidhinaa= very, abstruse, way; praapyate = will be attained; ayam kaamajaat vyasanaat= this, by indulgence, by desire; iha shakyaH= in this world, it is possible; nivR^iittena= to one who fends it off.
"Gross unjust will accrue to any in an abstruse way if his indulgence is enkindled merely by his own desire, and in this world it is possible to fend them off, to have a recourse to justness... [3-9-2]
For the first word adharma of Gorakhpur version, there are other words available in other mms like yastu dharmam tu and ayam dharma . The critical editions and also Dharmaakuutam puts it as ayam dharmaH susuuksmeNa vidhinaa praapyate mahaan... Instead of adharma, ayam dharma is there, which changes the negative attitude to positive Then this ayam dharmaH translates as 'this dharma, the duty of a prince, which you are going to take-up in the wake of promise given to sages, i.e., killing demons, without a valid reason, that which is righteous to you, can be performed in a different way...'
trŸõi eva vyasan˜ni atra k˜maj˜ni bhavanti uta |
mithy˜ v˜kyam tu paramam tasm˜t gurutar˜ ubhau || 3-9-3
para d˜ra abhigamanam vin˜ vairam ca raudrat˜ |
3, 4a. atra= in there, in this world; kaamajaani vyasanaani triiNi eva= desire produced, self-gratifications, are three, only; uta bhavanti= there, they will be; mithyaa vaakyam tu paramakam= fallacious, utterances, is but, highest [worse]; para daara abhi gamanam= other's, wife, towards, drawing [fascination]; vinaa vairam raudrataa = without, enmity, also, furiousness [ cruelness]; ubhau tasmaat gurutarau= than, from the two above, weighty [worst.]
"Only three self-gratifications, the definite products of desire, are there: one is speaking fallacious utterances, which itself is worse, and worst than the other two malefic self-gratifications, where the other two are the fascination for other's wife, and the cruelness without enmity... [3-9-3, 4a]
Seetha is foretelling the triggering points in the course of Ramayana. The addictions or self-gratifying acts are defined as:
m®ga y˜kÿ˜ div˜ svapna× pari v˜da× striyo mada×|
taurya trikamv®th˜ a÷y˜ ca k˜maja× daþako guõa× ||manu sm®ti
mR^igayaakshaa= hunting game; divaa svapnaH= day dreaming - sleeping in daytime; pari vaada= abusing others; striyaomadaH= indulgence in women; taurya trikam=artistic impulses, three of them; vR^ithaa aTyaa ca= wasteful wandering, also; kaamajaH= desire produced; dashako guNaH= ten, traits.
Hunting, sleeping in daytime, abusing others, indulgence in women, three artistic impulses namely music, dance and drama, wasteful wandering, are the ten desire. Manu smriti.
mithy˜ v˜kyam na te bh¨tam na bhaviÿyati r˜ghava || 3-9-4
kuto abhilaÿaõam strŸõ˜m pareÿ˜m dharma n˜þanam |
4b, 5a. mithyaa vaakyam na te bhuutam= fallacious, [habit of ] telling, not, to you, it was there; na bhavishyati= nor, it will be in future; dharma naashanam= virtue, ruinous; abhilaSaNam pareSaam striiNaam= desiring, other's, women; kutaH= wherefrom [it will be there to you.]
"The habit of telling specious words is not there with you in the past nor it will be there in future, oh, Raghava, then wherefrom the virtue-ruining desire for other's women can be there... [3-9-4b, 5a]
tava n˜sti manuÿyendra na ca ˜bh¨t te kad˜cana || 3-9-5
manasyapi tath˜ r˜ma na ca etat vidyate kvacit |
sva d˜ra nirata× ca eva nityam eva n®p˜tmaja || 3-9-6
5b, 6. manuSya indra= men's, king; tava= to you; etat= all this [desiring other's woman]; na asti = in you, not, is there [so far]; kadaacana na aabhuut= earlier, nor, it was there; Rama; tathaa manasi api kvachit na vidyate= like that, [in any corner] of your heart, even, not, observable; nR^iipa atmaja= oh, king's, son – oh, prince; [tvam= you]; nitym eva sva daara nirataH ca= always, thus, in your own, wife, interested, alone.
"Oh, king, earlier this vile desire for other's women is absent in you, nor it is there now, unobserved is such a desire in any corner of your heart oh, prince, for you are always interested in your own wife... [3-9-5, 6]
dharmiÿ÷a× satya sandha× ca pitu× nirdeþa k˜raka× |
tvayi dharma× ca satyam ca tvayi sarvam pratiÿ÷itam ||3-9-7
7. dharmiSTaH satya sandhaH ca= righteous, truth, adherent of, also; pituH nirdesha kaarakaH= father's, orders, obligor; tvayi dharma ca satyam cha= in you, is virtue, truth, also; sarvam tvayi pratiSTitam= all, in you, are established.
"You are conscientious, adherent of truth, and obliging father's orders, and in you virtue and truth, nay everything is established in you... [3-9-7]
tacca sarvam mah˜b˜ho þakyam voýhum jiteindriyai× |
tava vaþya indriyatvam ca j˜n˜mi þubhadarþana || 3-9-8
8. tat ca sarvam= that, also, all; mahaabaahuH= dextrous one; jita indriyaiH= controlled, senses; voDhum= to shoulder; shakyam= is possible; shubha darshana= oh, graceful, to gaze at; tava vashya indriyatvam= your, control, on senses; ca jaanaami= also, I know.
"Oh, dextrous one, all this can possibly be shouldered by one with controlled senses, and oh, graceful one for a gaze, I am also aware of your sense control... [3-9-8]
The compound mahaabaahoshakyam is also cleaved as mahaa baaho a + shakyam, meaning that 'your attributes are impossible to be known even by the self-controlled sages, but they are known to me...' so says Seetha.
t®tŸyam yad idam raudram para pr˜õa abhihiÕsanam |
nirvairam kriyate moh˜t tat ca te samupasthitam || 3-9-9
9. nir vairam= without, enmity; yat idam raudram= that which, this, dangerous; para praaNa abhi himsanam= other's, lives, torturing; kriyate mohaat= will be done, unwarily; tat ca tR^iitiiyam [vyasanam] te samupasthitam= that, even, the third [tendency,] to you, [suddenly] chanced before you.
"That third tendency to torture others' lives without enmity, that which will usually be effectuated unwarily, has now suddenly chanced before you... [3-9-9]
pratijñ˜ta× tvay˜ vŸra daõýak˜raõya v˜sin˜m |
®ÿŸõ˜m rakÿaõ˜rth˜ya vadha× saÕyati rakÿas˜m || 3-9-10
10. viira= o, valiant one; dandaka araNya vaasinaam= Dandaka, forest, dwellers; R^iSiiNaam= of sages; rakshaNa arthaaya= safeguarding, intending to; samyati rakshasaam vadhaH= in a fight, of demons, elimination; tvayaa pratij~naataH= by you promised.
"Intending to safeguard the sages you have promised the dwellers in Dandaka forest, oh, valiant one, that you would eliminate demons in a fight... [3-9-10]
etan nimittam ca vanam daõýak˜ iti viþrutam |
prasthita× tvam saha bhr˜tr˜ dh®ta b˜õa þar˜asana× || 3-9-11
11. etat nimittam ca= in this, respect, only; tvam dhR^ita baaNa sharaaasanaH= you, wielding, arrows, bow; saha bhraatraa= along with, your brother; dandakaa iti vi shrutam= Dandaka, thus, well known; vanam= forest; prasthitaH= started to.
"Only in this respect you have started towards the well-known Dandaka forest along with your brother, and wielding bow and arrows...[3-9-11]
tata× tv˜m prasthitam d®ÿ÷v˜ mama cinta ˜kulam mana× |
tvat v®ttam cintayanty˜ vai bhavet ni×þreyasam hitam || 3-9-12
12. tataH tvaam prasthitam dR^iSTvaa= then, you, on starting, on seeing; mama manaH cinta aakulam= my, mind, with apprehension, is upset; tvat vR^ittam cintayantyaa vai = your, bearing, on reflecting, verily; bhavet niH shreyasam hitam = will be, no, beneficial, good.
"Then on seeing your starting my mind is apprehensively upset, on verily reflecting about your bearing there appears to be no beneficial good for you... [3-9-12]
This last compound of second foot where nisH shreyasam hitam is available in Gorakhpur version. In Eastern version it is bhaven niHshreyasam hi tat and in other older scripts it is: tv˜m caiva prasthitam d®ÿ÷v˜ r˜ma cint˜luma mana×| sarvata× cintayanty˜ me tava ni×þreyasam n®pa|| Dharmaakuutam puts this wording as: niHshreyasam mahat. It is similar in critical editions also bhaven niHshreyasa.n hitam Dharmaakuutam defines this expression as, anena bhart®u hitak˜riõy˜ bh˜ryay˜ þreyo bhavatŸti s¨citam|| In any way, Seetha's contemplation is, "you abide by your oath given to sages, and thus kill the demons. But without a cause you do not proceed to eliminate. If a cause for quarrel is to be there, that will be due to me. If I become the cause and depart you, you cannot survive without me, for you are not a polygamist. So how all these factors like your promise, monogamy, and eliminating demons, can be resolved by you? Thus I am thinking along with the associated troubles which you are going to undergo..."
na hi me rocate vŸra× gamanam daõýak˜n prati |
k˜raõam tatra vakÿy˜mi vadanty˜× þr¨yat˜m mama || 3-9-13
13. viiraH= oh, brave one; dandakaan prati gamanam na hi me rocate= Dandaka, towards, going, not, verily, to me, delightful; kaaraNam tatra vakshyaami= cause, in that respect, I tell; vadantyaaH shruuyataam mama= as I tell, you may listen, of my [talk.]
"Oh, brave one, your going towards Dandaka forest is not delightful to me, I tell the cause for that and listen to it as I tell...[3-9-13]
tvam hi b˜õa dhanuÿp˜õi× bhr˜tr˜ saha vanam gata× |
d®ÿ÷v˜ vana car˜n sarv˜n kaccit kury˜× þara vyayam || 3-9-14
14 .tvam hi baaNa dhanusH paaNiH= you [with,] indeed, arrows, bow; bhraatraa saha= brother, along with; vanam gataH= forest, on entering; dR^iSTvaa vana caraan= on seeing, forest, ramblers; sarvaan= all of them; kaccit kuryaaH= something, you do isn't it; shara= arrow; vyayam= depletion.
"Indeed on entering the forest along with your brother, and wielding bow and arrows, seeing the forest ramblers there, won't you deplete arrows on all of them... [3-9-14]
kÿatriy˜õ˜m iha dhanur hut˜þasya indhan˜ni ca |
samŸpata× sthitam tejo balam ucchrayate bh®þam || 3-9-15
15. kshatriyaaNaam= for Kshatriya-s; samiipataH sthitam dhanuH= in within the reach, available, bow; huta ashasya= for a burning fire; indhanaani ca= fuel, even; tejaH= luminosity; balam= strength; ucChrayate= enhances; bhR^isham= immensely.
"The bow of warrior and the fuel of a burning fire if available within their reach, they immensely enhance their strength... [3-9-15]
pur˜ kila mah˜b˜ho tapasvŸ satya v˜k þuci× |
kasmin cit abhavat puõye vane rata m®ga dvije || 3-9-16
16. mahaabaahuH= oh dextrous one; puraa= once; puNye rata mR^iiga dvije= in a merited [forest,] wonted by, animals, birds; kasmincit vane= in some, forest; satya vaak shuciH tapasvii abhavat kila= true, worded, pious, sage, was there, indeed.
"Once upon a time, oh, dextrous one, there was a pious and true worded hermit in some merited forest that was wonted by animals and birds... [3-9-16]
tasya eva tapaso vighnam kartum indra× þacŸpati× |
khaýga p˜õi× atha ˜gacchat ˜þramam bha÷a r¨pa dh®k || 3-9-17
17. atha= then; shaciipatiH = Indra; tasya eva tapasaH vighnam kartum= his, that, ascesis, hindrance, to cause; bhaTa ruupa dhR^it= soldier, guise, on donning; khaDga paaniH = sword, handling; aagacChat aashramam, came, to hermitage.
"Then Indra came to that hermitage handling a sword, and donning a soldier's guise, to cause hindrance to that hermit's ascesis... [3-9-17]
tasmin tat ˜þrama pade nihita× khaýga uttama× |
sa ny˜sa vidhin˜ datta× puõye tapasi tiÿ÷hata× || 3-9-18
18. tasmin tat aashrama pade= there, in that, hermitage; puNye tapasi tiSTataH= in ascesis, to sage, one lasting in; saH khaDga uttamaH nihitaH= he, that best, sword, kept with sage; nyaasa vidhinaa dattaH= in a redeemable, basis, it is given.
"Indra gave that best sword to store, there in that hermitage to that sage who is lasting in his ascesis, on a redeemable basis... [3-9-18]
sa tat þastram anupr˜pya ny˜sa rakÿaõa tatpara× |
vane tu vicarati eva rakÿan pratyayam ˜tmana× || 3-9-19
9. saH tu= he, but; tat shastram anupraapya= he, that, weapon, on receiving; rakshan pratyayam aatmanaH= to safeguard, confidence reposed, in him; nyaasa rakshaNa tatparaH= entrustment, guarding, duteous one; vane tu= in forest, but; [sa aayudhaH= with weapon;] vicarati eva= moved about, thus.
"On receiving that sword, he who is duteous in guarding the entrustment, moved about in the forest always handling the sword, to safeguard the confidence reposed in him... [3-9-19]
yatra gacchati up˜d˜tum m¨l˜ni ca phal˜ni ca |
na vin˜ y˜ti tam khaýgam ny˜sa rakÿaõa tatpara× || 3-9-20
20. nyaasa rakshana tatparaH= entrustment, to guard, one who is dedicated to; upaadaatum muulaani ca phalaani ca= to obtain, tubers, even, fruits, too; tam yatra gacChati= he, wherever, goes; na khadgam vinaa= not, sword, without; yaati = goes, he.
"Wherever that dedicated guardian of that entrustment goes, even to obtain tubers or fruits, he did not go without that sword... [3-9-20]
nityam þastram parivahan krameõa sa tapodhana× |
cak˜ra raudrŸm sv˜m buddhim tyaktv˜ tapasi niþcayam || 3-9-21
21. nityam shastram parivahan= always, sword, on carrying; krameNa = slowly; saH tapaH dhanaH = he, [by ascesis rich one] that hermit; cakaara raudriim svaam buddhim= made, infuriated, own, faculty; tyaktvaa tapasi nishcayam= loosing, in penance, determination.
"Carrying that sword always, that hermit slowly made his own faculty infuriated, loosing determination in ascesis... [3-9-21]
tata× sa raudra abhirata× pramatto adharma karÿita× |
tasya þastrasya saÕv˜s˜t jag˜ma narakam muni× || 3-9-22
22. tataH= then; tasya shastrasya samvaasaat= with that, weapon's, constant association; raudra abhirataH= in cruelty, delighted; saH muniH= he, that sage; pramattaH= inadvertent; adharma karshitaH= un-virtue, smitten by; jagaama narakam= went to, hell.
"Then with the constant association of that weapon that sage gradually became inadvertent, and smitten by vice he went to hell... [3-9-22]
evam etat pur˜ v®ttam þastra saÕyoga k˜raõam |
agni saÕyogavat hetu× þastra saÕyoga ucyate || 3-9-23
23. puraa etatat= once, all this; shastra samyoga kaaraNam= by weapon's, [constant] association, reason of –falling in to hell; vR^ittam= happened; shastra samyoga= with weapon, association; agni samyogavat hetuH= with fire, associating, sequel of; ucyate= said to be [as good as.]
"Thus, all this happened earlier, only owing the reason of associating with a weapon constantly, and the sequel of constant association with weapon is as good as constant association with fire... [3-9-23]
sneh˜t ca bahum˜n˜t ca sm˜raye tv˜m na þikÿaye |
na kathañcana s˜ k˜ry˜ g®hŸta dhanuÿ˜ tvay˜ || 3-9-24
buddhi× vairam vin˜ hantum r˜kÿas˜n daõýaka ˜þrit˜n |
apar˜dham vin˜ hantum loko vŸra na k˜maye || 3-9-25
24, 25. snehaat ca= in affinity, also; bahumaanaat ca= in respect, also; smaaraye tvaam= reminding you; na shikshaye= not, tutoring; gR^ihiita dhanuSaa tvayaa= wielding, bow, by you; vinaa vairam= without, enmity; daNDaka aashritaan raakshasaan = Dandaka forest, dwellers, demons; hantum= to kill; saa buddhiH= that, thought; kathamcana= in anyway; na kaaryaa= not, to be done [improper]; viira= brave one; aparaadham vinaa= offence, without; lokaan hantum na kaamaye= people, to kill, not, desirable.
"In affinity and in respect I am reminding but not tutoring you, and in anyway improper is that thought of yours to wield your bow to kill the demons dwelling in Dandaka without any enmity, oh, brave one, undesirable is the killing of offenceless... [3-9-24, 25]
kÿatriy˜õ˜m tu vŸr˜õ˜m vaneÿu niyat˜tman˜m |
dhanuÿ˜ k˜ryam et˜vat ˜rt˜n˜m abhirakÿaõam || 3-9-26
26. vaneSu niyata aatmanaam= in forests, who are inclined, heartily; viiraaNaam kshatriyaaNaam= for valiant, Kshatriya-s; aartaanaam abhirakshaNam= sufferers, safeguarding; etaavat= to this point; dhanuSaa kaaryam= of bow, is the purpose.
"For the valiant Kshatriya-s who are inclined in forests heartily, the purpose of the bow is this much 'safeguarding the sufferers...' [3-9-26]
There are some conflicting reviews on this stanza. It is said in the first foot vaneSu niyata aatmaanaam But older mms contain sva dharmeSu nirata aatmaanaam will be found, while Dharmaakuutam and Eastern versions have it as vaneSu nirata only. This Gorakhpur version and critical editions are having as vaneSu niyata The meaning in other versions is that Kshatriya-s should delight in their class-oriented righteousness, even when in forests. Thus Seetha's thinking is that they should live like hermits in forests, without resorting to the warring attributes of Kshatriya class. In the second foot she says that the function of bow is limited to 'safeguard the suffering lot...' In the next chapter at 3-10-3, Rama retorts with the same expression in answering Seetha.
kva ca þastram kva ca vanam kva ca kÿ˜tram tapa× kva ca |
vy˜viddham idam asm˜bhi× deþa dharma× tu p¨jyat˜m || 3-9-27
27. kva ca shastram= where, the weapon; kva ca vanam= where, the forest; kva ca kSaatram= where, Kshatriya principles; tapaH kva ca= where, the sageness; vyaaviddham idam= inconsistent, is this; asmaabhiH= by us; desha dharmaH tu= country's order, alone; puujyataam= be esteemed.
"Where that weapon? Where this forest? Where the principles of Kshatriya? And where is sageness? All this is inconsistent... let us esteem the laws of the land... [3-9-27]
tad˜rya kaluÿ˜ buddhi× j˜yate þastra sevan˜t |
punar gatv˜t tat ayodhy˜y˜m kÿatra dharmam cariÿyasi || 3-9-28
28. shastra sevanaat= weapon, who admire; buddhiH kadaarya kalushaa jaayate= mind, with avariciousness, maligned, it becomes; punaH gatvaat ayodhyaayaam= again, on going, to Ayodhya; kshatra dharmam cariSyasi= Kshatriya, tenets, you can follow.
"Weapon admiring mind becomes maligned with avariciousness, you may therefore follow the tenet of Kshatriya-s on going to Ayodhya again... [3-9-28]
akÿay˜ tu bhavet prŸti× þvaþr¨ þvaþurayo× mama |
yadi r˜jyam hi sannyasya bhavet tvam nirato muni× || 3-9-29
29. a kshayaa tu bhavet priitiH= un, diminishing, will be, satisfaction; shvashruu= to father-in-law; shvashurayoH= to mothers-in-law; mama= of mine; yadi raajyam parityajya= even if, kingdom, is forfeit; tvam bhavet nirataH muniH= you have, become, devout, sage.
"Everlasting satisfaction will be there to my father-in-law and mothers-in-laws, on your becoming a devout sage even after forfeiture of kingdom... [3-9-29]
dharm˜t artha× prabhavati dharm˜t prabhavate sukham |
dharmeõa labhate sarvam dharma s˜ram idam jagat || 3-9-30
30. dharmaat arthaH prabhavati= from virtuousness, prosperity, emanates; dharmaat prabhavate sukham= from righteousness, originates, happiness; dharmeNa labhate sarvam= by honourableness, achieved, are all; dharma saaram idam jagat= probity's, essence, this universe is.
"From virtuousness prosperity emanates, from righteousness happiness, and by honourableness all are achieved, and this universe is the essence of probity... [3-9-30]
˜tm˜nam niyamai× tai× tai× karÿayitv˜ prayatnata× |
pr˜pyate nipuõai× dharmo na sukh˜t labhate sukham || 3-9-31
31. nipuNaiH= by experts; aatmaanam= their own selves; taiH taiH= with those, those; niyamaiH= principles; prayatnataH= making efforts; karSayitvaa= by exhausting; dharmaH= dharma - sublimity; praapyate= will be realized; na sukhaat labhyate sukham= not, by pleasuring, achievable, is pleasure.
"Experts will make efforts to exhaust their own selves with those and those principles, thus they realise sublimity... unachievable is pleasure by pleasuring alone... [3-9-31]
nityam þuci mati× saumya cara dharmam tapo vane |
sarvam hi viditam tubhyam trailokyam api tattvata× || 3-9-32
32. saumya= oh, gentle one; nityam shuci matiH= always, with pure, mind; tapaH vane= in sagely, forests; dharmam cara= righteousness, tread; trailokyam sarvam api= about three worlds, all, even; tubhyam tattvataH viditam= to you, in its nuances, known.
"Always tread along the righteousness with a pure mind, oh, gentle one, and specially in these sagely forests... you know everything in all the three worlds, in all its nuances... [3-9-32]
strŸ c˜pal˜t etat ud˜h®tam me
dharmam ca vaktum tava ka× samartha× |
vic˜rya buddhy˜ tu saha anujena
yat rocate tat kuru ma acireõa || 3-9-33
33. strii caapalaat etat udaahritam me= women's, wavering, all this, cited, by me; dharmam ca vaktum tava= of righteousness, to speak, to you; kaH samartha= who is, capable; vicaarya buddhyaa= ponder, mindfully; saha anujena= with, your brother; yat rocate= what, appropriate; tat kuru= that, you do; ma acireNa= not, belatedly.
"I cite all this with my womanly waver, and who is capable to talk to you about dharma? Ponder mindfully along with your brother, and what that is appropriate, you do it...but not belatedly... [3-9-33]
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This particular chapter is an interesting juncture in Ramayana, where Seetha reminds about the question of triggering cause for Rama's waging a war against demons. Seetha's doubt is well explained in Dharmaakuutam, the encyclopaedic commentary on Ramayana. A number of pages are allotted there for this chapter, and it is said there, that if Seetha is said to be self-contradictory in telling Rama that bow and arrows are a must to Kshatriya-s to protect the helpless when saying 'safeguard the sufferers, then only Kshatriya-s should use their bow..." as at verse 3-9-26 above, and also questioning immediately at 3-9-27, 'where the Kshatriya dharma, where the hermit's way of living...' etc., dharmaakuutam says not so. She is not contradicting herself in her statements, but asking Rama to have a cause, without resorting to weaponry against those demons, in a straightforward way. ata× tad rakÿaõ˜ya ˜yudhamna gr˜hyam iti etad abhipr˜yakatv˜t ||
She is inquisitive to know why Rama alone shall raise the bow and arrows against some demons hurting some sages. These sages are having super powers and Indra like celestial chiefs are coming to these sages to take them to heaven with their mortal bodies. Can't they eliminate these demons? But these super hermits are not going to heaven, which is the minimum ambition of any penance, but requesting Rama to protect them from demons. And Rama obligingly started to wage this unilateral war, where any war requires a triggering point. Can't the super sages eliminate these demons, with their powers acquired by their penances? This is the question of Seetha. For this, Rama replies so convincingly in the next chapter, saying that the sages cannot issue forth a curse at the demons, in the course of their penance.
Sage Vishvamitra, though being a furious sage, once sought the help of Rama to counter the Demoness Tataka. And Rama rendered it. Now also these sages do not waste their powers at the mischievous demons, but ask Rama to safeguard their interests, for Rama is the king, whether he may be in capital or in forests.
Secondly, Rama is subjected to the throne of Ayodhya, now being held by his brother Bharata, and as a loyalist to that throne, Ram should act in accordance with the rules of his kingdom. This area Dandaka forests is under the ambit of their own kingdom. So Rama has to perform the deeds suitable to their kingdom. When killing Vali, Rama speaks to Vali – "all this area is under our kingdom, now held by Bharata, and it is my duty to act in accordance with the decree of that throne..."
"Regarding the cause, Seetha's doubt comes true and she alone becomes the ultimate cause for Rama, to wage the final war with Ravana.
iti v˜lmŸki r˜m˜yaõe ˜di k˜vye araõya k˜õýe navama× sarga×
Thus, this is the 9th chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.
© 2001, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao, [Revised : March 04]