Book I : Bala Kanda - The Youthful Majesties
On the advice of his minister Sumantra, Dasharatha proceeds to Anga kingdom to fetch Sage Rishyasringa and his wife Shanta to his capital Ayodhya.
bhuuya eva hi raajendra shR^iNu me vacanam hitam |
yathaa sa devapravaraH kathayaamaasa buddhimaan || 1-11-1
1. raaja indra= oh, king, of kings; saH deva pravara= he, that best one among deities [Sage Sanat Kumara]; yathaa= as to how; kathaayaam= in narration; abraviit= has said; evam= that way; me vachanam= my words; hitam= favourable; bhuya eva hi= again, thus, only; shruNu= listen.
Minister Sumantra continued, "oh, the great king, I will further narrate all that has been said by Sanat Kumara, the best one among all deities, kindly listen to these favourable words." [1-11-1.]
Sage Sanat Kumara belongs to the bygone era of Ikshvaku dynasty. Please refer to the account regarding the era-system if ancient India at endnote.
ikSvaakuuNaam kule jaato bhaviSyati sudhaarmikaH |
naamnaa dasharatho raajaa shriimaan satya pratishravaH || 1-11-2
2. shriimaan= resplendent one; satya prati sravaH= truthful to his vow; naamna= by his name; dasharathaH naama= named Dasaratha; su dhaarmikaH= very virtuous one; ikshwaaknaam= in Ikshwaku; kule jaatH [bhaviSyati]= dynasty, born in; [he will be.]
"A king named Dasharatha will be born into Ikshwaku dynasty who will be very virtuous, resplendent and truthful one to his vow." [Said Sanat Kumara, the Sage.] [1-11-2]
a~Nga raajena sakhyam ca tasya raaj~no bhaviSyati |
kanyaa ca asya mahaabhaagaa shaa.ntaa naama bhaviSyati || 1-11-3
3. tasya raaj~naH= to that, king [to Dasharatha]; anga raajena= with Anga, king of; sakhyam bhaviSyati= friendship, will happen; asya= his [for king of Anga]; mahaa bhaagaa= fortunate woman; Shanta; naama kanyaa bhaviSyati= named, daughter, will be there.
"King Dasharatha will befriend the king of Anga and the king of Anga will beget a fortunate girl named Shanta. [1-11-3]
Shanta is said to be the daughter of Dasharatha and given to Romapada in adoption, and Rishyasringa marries her alone. This is what Sumantra says to Dasharatha at 1-9-19.
putrastuH a~Ngasya raaj~naH tu romapaada iti shrutaH |
tam sa raajaa dasharatho gamiSyati mahaayashaaH || 1-11-4
4. saH putraH tu angasya raajnaH tu= son of, Anga, king of; romapaada iti shrutaH= Romapada, thus, heard; mahaa yashaH raajaa dasharathaH= well renowned, king, Dasharatha; tam= to him [to Romapada,]; gamiSyati= will approach.
The son of the king of Anga, the earlier king of Anga kingdom, will be known as Romapada, or also know as Chitraratha, and the highly renowned king Dasharatha approaches Romapada. [1-11-4]
anapatyo.asmi dharmaatman shaa.ntaa bhartaa mama kratum |
aahareta tvayaa aaj~naptaH sa.ntaanaartham kulasya ca || 1-11-5
5. dharmaatman= oh virtuous-soul; anapatyaH asmi= childless, I am; shantaa bhartaa tvaya aaj~nptaH= Shanta's, husband, by you, instructed; mama kulasya santaana artham= for my, dynasty, for progeny, for the sake of; kratum aahareta= Vedic ritual, will preside over.
Then king Dasharatha says to king of Anga "oh, righteous one, I am childless and hence I intend to perform a Vedic ritual. Let the husband of your daughter Shanta, Sage Rishyasringa, preside over that Vedic ritual at you behest, for the sake of progeny in my dynasty. [1-11-5]
shrutvaa raaj~no.atha tat vaakyam manasaa sa vici.ntya ca |
pradaasyate putravantam shaa.ntaa bhartaaram aatmavaan || 1-11-6
6. aatmavaan= benevolent soul - Romapada; raaj~naH tat vaakyam shrutvaa= king's, [Dasharatha's,] that, word, on hearing; manasaa vichintya= at heart, considered; atha= then; putravantam= one who has son / or, one who endows sons; shaanta bhartaaram= Shanta's, husband; pradaasyate= will give - agrees.
"On hearing those words of king Dasharatha that benevolent soul Romapada, the king of Anga, considers heartily and agrees to send the one who endows progeny by rituals, namely Sage Rishyasringa his son-in-law. [1-11-6]
The words pradaasyate putravantam are read in some translations as 'Rishyasringa who already has a son...' while others read it as 'a sage who endows progeny by putra kameSti ritual...' But in Maha Bharata father Vibhandaka says to Rishyasringa to comeback after begetting a son, which Rishyasringa did not concede. So taking this some say Rishyasringa has a son. But it is generally accepted that putravantam as aahitaagni, Vedic ritualist of eminence, according to: j˜ta putra× k®þõa keþo agnŸn adhŸta... according to shruti scripture.
pratigR^ihyam ca tam vipram sa raajaa vigata jvaraH |
aahariSyati tam yaj~nam prahR^iSTena a.ntaraatmanaa || 1-11-7
7. saH raajaa= he, that king [Dasharatha]; pratigR^ihyam tam vipram= on receiving, him, Brahman [Rishyasringa]; vigata jwaraH=rid of, fever - uneasiness; pra hR^iSTena antaraatmana= very felicitousness, in depths of heart; tam yaj~nam= that, Vedic ritual; aahariSyati= will accomplish.
"On receiving that Brahman, Sage Rishyasringa, at the behest of his father-in-law, that king Dasharatha gets rid of his febrile condition and will accomplish that Vedic ritual, feeling very felicitous in the depths of his heart. [1-11-7]
tam ca raajaa dasharatho yashas kaamaH kR^itaa.nliH |
R^iSyashR^i~Ngam dvija shreSTham varayiSyati dharmavit || 1-11-8
yaj~naartham prasavaartham ca svargaartham ca nareshvaraH |
labhate ca sa tam kaamam dvija mukhyaat vishaa.mpatiH || 1-11-9
8,9. raajaa= that king; yashaH kaamaH= glory, desiring one; dharama vit= virtue, knower of; nara iiswara= peoples' lord; dasharathaH= king Dasharatha; kR^ita anjaliH= with adjoined-palms; dwija sreSTam= Brahman, the best - Rishyasringa; yajna artham= for ritual, intending to; prasava artham cha= for progeny, intending, also; svarga artham cha= for heavenly abodes, also; vara ishyati= to request, he is inclined; saH vishaam patiH= he that, to [all the] quarters of earth, king of - king [Dasharatha]; dvija mukhyaat= by Brahman, eminent; labhate tam kaamam cha= accomplishes, those, desires, also.
"That king, the desirer of glory, the knower of virtue and the lord of people, namely Dasharatha will be requesting that best Brahman Rishyasringa with his palms adjoined in supplication for the conduct of ritual, for progeny and even for his heavenly abodes, and that king of all the quarters of earth will accomplish those desires from that eminent Brahman Rishyasringa. [1-11-8,9]
Heavenly abodes are dependent on begetting sons: aputrasya gatir n˜sti svargo naivaca naivaca There is no way out [in other worlds] for those without sons... shruti scripture. Hence the request of Dasharatha is that way.
putraaH ca asya bhaviSyanti catvaaro amita vikramaaH |
va.msha pratiSThaanakaraaH sarva buuteSu vishrutaaH || 1-11-10
10. putraaH cha asya bhaviSyanti= sons, also, to him [Dasharatha,] will be; chatvaaraH amita vikramaaH= four [in all,] abounding, in valour; vamsha pratishtaana karaaH= dynasty's, reputation, enriching ones; sarva bhuuteSu vishrutaaH= among, all beings, renowned ones.
"There will be four sons to king Dasharatha that abound with valour, enrich dynasty's reputation and they will be renowned among all beings." Thus said Sage Sanat Kumara to other sages. [1-11-10]
'Sons and Paradise are intimately connected in Indian belief. A man desires above every thing to have a son to perpetuate his race, and to assist with sacrifices and funeral rites to make him worthy to obtain a lofty seat in heaven or to preserve that which he has already obtained.' Gorresio via Ralph T. H. Griffith [1870-1874].
evam sa deva pravaraH puurvam kathitavaan kathaam |
sanatkumaaro bhagavaan puraa devayuge prabhuH || 1-11-11
11. deva pravaraH= god, the best; bhagavaan= one who is effectual; prabhuH= the godly one; saH sanatkumaaraH= he, that Sage Sanatkumaara; puraa deva yuge kathaam kathitavaan= earlier, in previous, Divine Era, [krita yuga,] narration, he narrated.
"This way he that ancient and godly Sage Sanatkumaara, who is also Brahma's brain-child like Narada, said this legend in earlier Divine Era, called krita yuga..." thus Sumantra continued his narration to Dasharatha. [1-11-11]
Comment: Please refer endnote for yuga / era classification.
sa tvam puruSa shaarduula samaanaya susatkR^itam |
svayam eva mahaaraaja gatvaa sa bala vaahanaH || 1-11-12
12. puruSa sharduula= manly, tiger; mahaaraaja= oh, great king; saH tvam= such as, you are; saha bala vaahanaH svayam eva gatvaa= with, staff, transport in person, only, on proceeding; samaanaya su satkR^itam= he be brought, well adored.
" Oh, great king the manly-tiger, he that Sage Rishyasringa be led here on your proceeding in person with staff and transport and on adoring him well personally." Thus Sumantra concluded his narration. [1-11-12]
suma.ntrasya vachaH shrutvaa hR^iSTo dasharatho.abhavat |
anumaanya vasiSTham ca suutavaakyam nishaamya ca || 1-11-13
sa antaHpuraH saha amaatyaH prayayau yatra sa dvijaH |
13, 14a. sumantrasya vachaH shrutvaa= Sumantra's, words [of advise,] on hearing; dasharathaH hR^iSTaH abhavat= Dasharatha, gladsome, be became; suutavaakyam= charioteer's words; vasiSTham= to Vashishta; nishaamya ca= on getting those words listened b Vashishta from Sumantra - on reporting, also; anumaanya ca= making [Vashishta ] agreeable [to the words of Sumantra,] even; sa antaHpuraH= with inmates of palace chambers; saha amaatyaH=with, ministers; prayayau yatra sa dvijaH= travelled to, where, that, Brahman is there.
On hearing the word of advise from charioteer, Dasharatha became gladsome and made Sumantra to reiterate to that sage also, for his approval, then Dasharatha travelled to the place where that Brahman Rishyasringa is, along with the inmates of palace-chambers and ministers too. [1-11-13, 14a]
While the chief priest Vashishta is officiator of all rituals no king can invite another priest to perform something without the consent of the officiating priest. Hence the consent of Vasishta is obtained, after asking Sumantra to reiterate what all was said, to sage Vashishta also. anena pr˜cŸna ®tvik abhyanujñanena na eva anya ˜neya× -- dharm˜k¨tam
vanaani saritaH ca eva vyatikramya shanaiH shanaiH || 1-11-14
abhicakraama tam desham yatra vai munipu.ngavaH |
14b, 15a. shanaiH shanaiH= slowly, slowly; vanaani saritaH cha eva= forests, rivers, also, thus; vyatikramya= crossing over; yatra sa dvijaH= where, that, Brahman is; tam desham= in that, kingdom; abhicakraama entered.
On crossing over the rivers and forests slowly and steadily Dasharatha entered that kingdom where that eminent Brahman is there. [1-11-14b, 15a]
aasaadya tam dvija shreSTham romapaada samiipagam || 1-11-15
R^iSiputram dadarsha atho diipyamaanam iva analam |
15b, 16a. athaH=then; romapada samiipagam= with Romapada, one who is nearby; diipyamaanam iva analam= resplendent, like, ritual fire; dvija shreSTham= Brahman, the best; tam aasaadya= drew nigh of; dadarsha= he saw.
Then Dasharatha saw that best Brahman who he is nearby king Romapada, andwho is resplendent like ritual fire. [1-11-15b, 16a]
tato raajaa yathaa yogyam puujaam cakre visheSataH || 1-11-16
sakhitvaat tasya vai raaj~naH prahR^iSTena a.ntaraatmanaa |
16b, 17a. tataH raajaa= then, the king [here Romapada]; pra hR^isTena= very, gladdened; antaraatmanaa= with inner self; yathaa yogyam= as befitting; sakhitwaat= in view of friendship; visheshataH= in an excelling manner; tasya raaj~naH vai= to that, king [Dasharatha,] indeed; puujaam cakre= respects, he paid.
Then king Romapada gladdened at heart of hearts paid excellent respects to king Dasharatha procedurally and in view of their friendship.[1-11-16b, 17a]
romapaadena ca aakhyaatam R^iSiputraaya dhiimate || 1-11-17
sakhyam sa.mbandhakam caiva tadaa tam pratyapuujayat |
17b, 18a. romapaadena= by Romapada; sakhyam sa.mbandhakam caiva= friendship, relation, also thus; dhiimate R^iSiputraaya aakhyaatam= to the wise one, sage's son – Rishyasringa, is informed; tadaa tam prati apuujayat= then, him, [Rishyasringa] in return, adored [ Dasharatha.]
Then Romapada informed the wise sage Rishyasringa about the friendship and relation with Dasharatha, and then that sage worshipped king Dasharatha in his return. [1-11-17b, 19a]
evam susatkR^itaH tena sahoSitvaa nararSabhaH || 1-11-18
saptaaSTa divasaan raajaa raajaanam idam abraviit |
18b, 19a. evam= that way; su satkritaH= well received; nararSabhaH raajaa= man, the sacred bull, king - Dasharatha; tena saha= with him; sapta= seven; aSTa= eight; divasaan= days; ushitwaa= having spent time; raajaanam= to king Romapada; idam= this; abravet= spoken.
Thus well received by king Romapada, king Dasharatha spent seven to eight days with him, and then spoke this to king Romapada. [1-11-18b, 19a]
shaa.ntaa tava sutaa raajan saha bhartraa vishaam pate || 1-11-19
madiiyam nagaram yaatu kaaryam hi mahadudyatam |
19b, 20a. vishaam pate= subjects, lord of; tava sutaa= your, daughter; shaantaa= Princess Shanta; saha bhartraa= along with, her husband; madiiya nagaram yaatu= my, city, she may go over; raajan= oh, king; mahat kaaryam udyatam hi= a great, deed - the ritual, is contemplated by me, indeed.
"Oh, lord of subjects, your daughter Princess Shanta may go over my city Ayodhya along with her husband Rishyasringa, as oh, king, I am contemplating to perform a great Vedic ritual, indeed." So said Dasharatha to Romapada. [1-11-19b, 20a]
tathaa iti raajaa sa.mshrutya gamanam tasya dhiimataH || 1-11-20
uvaaca vacanam vipram gacCha tvam saha bhaaryayaa |
20b, 21a. raajaa= the king; tathaa iti= so it be; tdhiimataH tasya gamanam= of that intellectual one, his - Rishyasringa's travel; samshrutya= agreeing; twam bhaaryaya saha gacCha= = you, your wife, along with, shall proceed; [iti= thus]; vipram= to the Brahman; vachanam= the words; uvaacha= addressed.
"So it shall be" said king Romapada agreeing to their travel with king Dasharatha, and addressed these words to that Brahman sage and his son-in-law, Sage Rishyasringa "You may proceed along with your wife." [1-11-20b, 21a]
Here Ralph T. H. Griffith's translation [1870-1874] has that Shanta is the daughter of Dasharatha: 'This king,' he said, 'from days of old / A well beloved friend I hold. / To me this pearl of dames he gave / From childless woe mine age to save, / The daughter whom he loved so much, / Moved by compassion's gentle touch. / In him thy S'antá's father see: / As I am even so is he...
R^iSiputraH pratishrutya tathaa iti aahaH nR^ipam tadaa || 1-11-21
sa nR^ipeNa abhyanuj~naataH prayayau saha bhaaryayaa |
21b, 22a. tadaa= then; R^ishi putraH= Sage's son - Rishyasringa; prati shrutya= in turn, replied - agreeing; tathaa iti aahaH= 'like, that only', said; nR^ipam= to the king; saH= he; nR^ipena= by the king; abhaynujnaata= permitted; saha bhaaryayaa= along with his wife; prayayau= set-forth.
Then Rishyasringa agreed and replied to the king Romapada "So it will be done" and then having been permitted by the king he set forth along with his wife. [1-11-21b, 22a]
taava anyonya a.njalim kR^itvaa snehaat sa.mshliSya ca urasaa ||
nana.ndatuH dasharatho romapaadaH ca viiryavaan |
22b, 23a. tau= those two; Dasharatha; and viiryavaan= valiant kings, Romapada; anyonya anjalim= to each other, thanksgiving with palm-fold; kritwaa= having performed; snehaat= by friendship; urasaa= with their bosoms; samshlishya cha= embraced, also; nanadatu= gladdened.
Those valiant kings greeted each other with thanksgiving palm-fold, and in friendship they embraced each other and gladdened. [1-11-22b, 23a]
tataH suhR^idam aapR^icChya prasthito raghunandanaH || 1-11-23
paureSu preSayaamaasa duutaan vai shiighra gaaminaH |
23b, 24a. tataH= then; raghu nandanaH= Ragu's, descendent - Dasharatha; suhR^idam= good-hearted one, the friend; aapricChya= having asked - bid farewell; prasthitaH= set-forth; shiighra gaaminaH duutaan= quick, stepped ones, messengers; paurebhyaH= to citizens [of Ayodhya]; preSayaamaasa= started to send.
Then king Dasharatha who set forth to Ayodhya bade farewell to his friend king Romapada, and he firstly sent quick-footed messengers to Ayodhya to inform his citizens about his arrival along with Sage Rishyasringa. [1-11-23b, 24a]
kriyataam nagaram sarvam kSipram eva svala.nkR^itam || 1-11-24
dhuupitam sikta sammR^iSTam pataakaabhiH ala.nkR^itam |
24b, 25a. sarvam nagaram= entire, city Ayodhya; kshipram eva= very quickly, thus; swa alankR^itam= well decorated; dhuupitam= well incensed; sikta sammR^iSTam= [streets be] water sprinkled well, and then swept; pataakaabhiH= with flags of welcome; alankR^itam= be decorated, hoisted; kriyataam= shall be done.
"Let the entire city of Ayodhya be well decorated very quickly, let her streets be sprinkled with water and then swept, let the flags of welcome be hoisted.." Thus, king Dasharatha ordered messengers that are sent beforehand. [1-11-24b, 25a]
tataH prahR^iSTaaH pauraaH te shrutvaa raajaanam aagatam || 1-11-25
tathaa cakruH cha tat sarvam raaj~naa yat preSitam tadaa |
25b, 26a. tataH= then; raajaanam aagatam= kings, arrival; shrutwaa= on hearing; te pouraaH= those, citizens; pra hR^istaaH= felt very, happy; raajnaa= by the king; yat yathaa preSitam= which, in which way, ordered; tat sarvam= that, all; tathaa= that way; pra chakru= readily, performed.
Then on hearing the arrival of their king all the citizens felt very happy and readily performed all those works exactly as ordered by their king. [1-11-25b, 26a]
tataH svala.mkR^itam raajaa nagaram pravivesha ha || 1-11-26
sha~Nkha dundubhi nihraa.rdaiH puraskR^itvaa dvijarSabham |
26b, 27a. tataH= then; raajaa= king Dasharatha; dwijaH R^iSabham= Brahman, the Sacred Bull - Rishyasringa; puraskritya= keeping before him; swa lankR^itam naragam= well-decorated, city; shankha= conch-shells; dundubhi= drumbeats; nirghoshaiH= full sounding; pravivesha ha= entered, verily.
Then king Dasharatha keeping Rishyasringa before him entered the well-decorated city Ayodhya amidst the full sounding of conch shells and drumbeats. [1-11-26b, 27a]
tataH pramuditaaH sarve dR^iSTvaa tam naagaraa dvijam || 1-11-27
praveshyamaanam satkR^itya narendreNa indra karmaNaa |
yathaa divi surendreNa sahasraaksheNa kaashyapam || 1-11-28
27b, 28. tataH sarve naagaraaH= then, all, citizens; indra karmaNaa= one who has exploits like that of Indra; nara indreNa= by people's, lord – Dasharatha; satkritya praveshyamaanam= well honoured, and being entered; yathaa= as with; kaashyapam= sage Kashyapa's son, namely Vamana, the dwarf boy incarnation of Vishnu; sahasra aksheNa surendreNa= by thousand eyed, lord of gods, namely Indra; divi= in heaven [while entered]; tam dvijam= him, at that Brahman; dR^iSTvaa pramuditaaH= on seeing, highly gladdened.
Then all the citizens are very happy on seeing that Brahman, Sage Rishyasringa, who is well honoured and being entered into the city by their king Dasharatha, as has been done once by Indra when he entered sage Kashyapa's son Vamana, the dwarfish boy and the incarnation of Vishnu, into heavens, and thus those citizens felt that their human lord Dasharatha vies with divine lord Indra. [1-11-27b, 28]
The simile of Indra to king Dasharatha is in two ways. Dasharatha ruled kingdom like Indra who rules Heavens. The word Indra karmaNa also refers to the deeds of Dasharatha, in helping the gods' forces combating the demonic forces. Thus the deeds performed by Dasharatha are like those of Indra's. Here Dasharatha is bringing Sage Rishyasringa to Ayodhya. Earlier Indra led Vamana, the dwarf-boy to heavens. Vamana is the incarnation of Vishnu in early ages and after Vamana suppressed Bali, the Emperor to netherworlds, Indra took Vamana to heavens. Thus Dasharatha is like Indra on earth, both by his virtue and deed. Incidentally, Vamana i.e., Vishnu, is the son-incarnate to Sage Kaashyapa, while sage Rishyasringa is the grandson of the same Kaashyapa. Thus Sage Kaashyapa is instrumental to these two incarnations. Through the divine grace of Sage Rishyasringa, the same Vishnu is going to take birth as Rama, while Sage Kashyapa is a grandparent of Rama in this era, and while he alone was Vishnu's father when Vishnu incarnated as Dwarf boy Vamana.
antaHpuram praveshya enam puujaam kR^itvaa ca shaastrataH |
kR^itakR^ityam tadaa aatmaanam mene tasya upavaahanaat || 1-11-29
29. enam= him; antaHpuram= palace-chambers; praveshya= having entered; shaastrataH= as per scriptures; puujaam cha= worshipped, too; tadaa= then; tasya= his [for Rishyasringa]; upavaahannat= by bringing here; aatmaanam= for himself; kR^itakrityam= one with his desire fulfilled; mene= beleived.
Dasharatha entered the sage into the palace chambers and worshipped him there as ordained in the scriptures, and in bringing the Sage here into his country, king Dasharatha believed that his desired is fulfilled. [1-11-28]
antaHpuraaNi sarvaaNi shaa.ntaam dR^iSTvaa tathaa aagataam |
saha bhartraa vishaalaakSiim priityaa aana.ndam upaagaman || 1-11-30
30. antaHpura striyaH sarvaaH= palace, ladies, all of them; tathaa= thus; bhartraa saha aagataam= her husband, along with, one who arrived; vishaala akshiim= broad-eyed lady; shaantaam= at Shanta; dristwaa= on seeing; priityaa= with affection; aanandam= happiness; upaagaman= they derived.
On seeing her, the broad-eyed Shanta, who came there along with her husband all the ladies of palace derived happiness for the homecoming of their own daughter, as it were. [1-11-29]
puujyamaanaa tu taabhiH saa raaj~naa cha eva visheSataH |
uvaasa tatra sukhitaa kancit kaalam saha dvijaa || 1-11-31
31. saa= she, Shanta; taabhiH= by them; [by far] visheshataH= in an exceptional manner; raajnaa cha eva= by king, also, thus; puujayamaanaa= while being admired; sukhitaa= comfortably; Rîtwijaa saha= that, Vedic scholar - her husband, along with; kamchit kaalam= for some time; tatra= there; uvaasa= resided.
Shanta thus being admired by all of them, and in an exceptional manner by Dasharatha, comfortably resided there along with her husband, the Vedic scholar Rishyasringa. [1-11-30]
The Riwik is not just a reciter of Veda-s but more a director or conductor of whole orchestration of the Vedic ritual, which involves lots of rules, in reciting hymns, in performing deeds and all in their exactness. The whole lots of works that need be performed have the order of precedence like prime, auxiliary or adjunctive in their ordinance. A Ritwik is the elated scholar who keeps track of these activities while other scholars recite hymns as directed by these Ritwik-s. Hence, Ritwik-hood is the highest.
The Dour Era system of Hindus
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The Four Era system, chaturyuga has the following components: satya yuga or krita yuga 17, 28, 000 years of duration. This is the era of Rama's ancestors of Ikshvaku dynasty, or the Solar dynasty. treta yuga 12, 96, 000 years.[The era is of Rama's near ancestors, again of Solar dynasty 3. dwapara yuga 8, 64, 000 years. This is the period of Epic Maha Bharata with an admixture of Solar and Lunar dynasties ruling. kali yuga 4, 32, 000 years. The present period obtaining from the ruination of Maha Bharata civilisation.
One cycle of the above four eras is called one mahaa yuga and seventy-one  of such of the Fourfold Eras mahaa yugaa-s will become one manvantara, Manu-Epoch, the time scale attributed to one Manu, the Supreme Ruler of Mankind. There are total fourteen such Manu-epochs and six of them over in the present manvantara , the time-scale.
The completed Manu cycles are 1.] svayambhu manu , 2.] svaarochiSa manu , 3.] auuttami manu , 4.] taamasa manu , 5.] raivata manu , 6.] chaaksha manu . Presently we are in the Seventh cycle called vaivasvata mnavantara , and there are seven more manvantara -s to come, starting with 8.] surya saavarni Manu, 9.] dharma saavani, 10.] daksha savarni, 11.] rudra saavarni, 12.] brahma saavrani, 13.] rouchya manu , 14.] bhoutya manu.
Such fourteen Manu time cycles will be said to be a Day of Brahma, the Absolute. Ramayana is said to have happened in kR^ita yuga, the second Manu time cycle. The earlier one is satya yuga , in which the ancestors of Rama, descendants of Raghu dynasty, like Saagara, Harishchandra et al, were the rulers, which is called Ikshvaku dynasty.
iti vaalmiiki raamaayaNe aadi kaavye baala kaaNDe ekaadashaH sargaH
Thus, this is the 11th chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.
© 1999, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised: March, '04]