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Vishvamitra narrates the legend of Ahalya to Rama and Lakshmana when they arrive at the precincts of Mithila, bidding farewell to the King of Vishaala. Indra is infatuated with Ahalya desires a union with her, for which she complies. However, Gautama catching them unawares curses both Indra and Ahalya.
When those two, Vishvamitra and Sumati, have met one another there at that place, king Sumati raised the topic of Rama and Lakshmana, after exchanging greetings and enquiring about the well-being of the great-saint Vishvamitra.
"These two youngsters, oh, sage, let safety betide you, striding like audacious elephants and arrogant lions, bearing a similitude to adventurous tigers and adamantine bulls, and wielding quivers, swords, and bows, are valorous with their valour matching that of Vishnu, and with their eyes broad like lotus-petals and with youthfulness in the offing they look like the exceptionally beautiful twin-gods, Ashwin-brothers, by their physique. How these two have footslogged and chanced here as though immortals have chanced on earth from the abode of gods at their pleasure? What for they have come here, and whose scions are they?
The word deva can easily be said as a 'god' but, this is said to be Vishnu, as implied at 4-43-56 of Kishkindha 'There the Cosmic-Souled God, namely Vishnu...' etc. Now the enquirer himself is no less than a godly king, hence he identified the boys as non-terrestrial. No fatherly person accepts youngsters to footslog miles and miles, and so far this is an unobserved and an uncared for aspect by other sages and saints, because all of those sages and saints are footsloggers. This may be one of the reasons for Dasharatha in refusing to send Rama with Vishvamitra. However, King Sumati, being a glorious and fatherly king brought up this topic. Vishvamitra is giving a 'rehearsal' for these brothers for their real forest trekking later in the legend. Further, if a divine deed is to be done and a benefit therefrom is to be acquired, one has to footslog. Now Rama is going to perform a divine feat called 'bending the bow of Shiva' and thereby winning the hand of an unusual princess Seetha, in marriage. Hence, he footslogged this much distance for siitaa kalyaaNa artham, loka kalyaaNa artham Seetha's marriage, which is for the 'universal goodness.'
"These two best ones among men are identical to one another by their bodily proportion, facial-language, and by bodily gestures, and with their presence they refurbish this province like the Moon and Sun brightening the firmament. In truth, I would like to know for what reason these valiant ones who are wielding best weapons have arrived here travelling on an arduous path." Thus, king Sumati asked Vishvamitra.
The word facial-language translated for ingita may be an extended expression for the ‘body language.’ This word is for the voice muted facial expressions, given through smiles, eyebrows, lip movement etc. A person could be analysed by these very expressions as we presently call this as face reading. This is what Sugreeva says when sending Hanuma to Rama and Lakshmana for the first time, 'because you are an expert in reading faces, know them by their facial expressions...'
On hearing those words of King Sumati, Vishvamitra informed him about the visit of Rama and Lakshmana to the Hermitage of Accomplishment, also about the elimination of demons, as it has happened. King Sumati is highly astonished to hear the words of Vishvamitra about the visit of Rama and Lakshmana, and treating them to have come as the most prominent and honour-worthy guests that king started to honour those two great-mighty sons of Dasharatha customarily.
On getting high honours from King Sumati, Raghava-s stayed there along with Vishvamitra and with the community of sages for one night, and then they all have moved on to Mithila. On seeing Janaka's auspicious city Mithila, all of the saints who are accompanying Vishvamitra, Rama, and Lakshmana, extolled it saying, "Splendid! Splendid!" and admired it highly.
Ayodhya is not fortunate enough to receive any worship from the onlookers, but it will be admired for its fortification. However, Mithila is a venerable city, because by itself it is a temple town and the Vedic-rituals etc., will be going on forever. It is a blessed place as it has Shiva's Bow, for which bow ritual worship is be ongoing from time immemorial.
On seeing a hermitage in the fringes of Mithila, that appeared to be age-old, but now uninhabited, yet pleasing, Rama asked the eminent sage Vishvamitra. "This is semblable to a hermitage but sages seem to have discarded it. Oh, venerable sage, whose is this hermitage previously, I wish to listen of it." Thus, Rama asked Vishvamitra.
On hearing that sentence spoken by Raghava, the expert in sententiousness, a great resplendent sage and eminent-saint Vishvamitra replied him in this way. "What a pleasure! You may listen as I narrate, Raghava, whose hermitage is this factually, and which great soul has resentfully cursed this.
The pleasure expressed by Vishvamitra is for the arrival of time, for the event of Rama's grace, in releasing Ahalya from her cursed state.
"Oh, the best one among men Rama, this hermitage with a heavenly glisten, and highly hallowed even by gods, once belonged to the great-souled sage Gautama. "In this hermitage, oh, prince Rama, once that highly renowned Sage Gautama sat tight in asceticism for numerous cycle of years along with his wife Ahalya. On knowing the meantime of Gautama's availability at hermitage, Indra, the husband of Shaci Devi and the Thousand-eyed god wearing the guise of sage Gautama and becoming such a sage, approached Ahalya and said this to her.
" 'Oh, finely limbed lady, indulgers do not watch out for the time to conceive, as such oh, slender-waisted one, I desire copulation with you.
Vividly: 'Oh, Ahalya, Brahma crafted you so well that all your limbs are symmetrically conjoined, so who in the universe will not yearn to have intercourse with you... and on seeing your slender waist and thickset hips I wish to copulate with you now itself... and let there be no fear of safe period or unsafe period for I do not wish to have any progeny of mine from you...
"Oh, Rama, the legatee of Raghu, though knowing him as the Thousand-eyed Indra in the guise of her husband Gautama, she is inclined to have intercourse ill-advisedly, only to satisfy the impassion of the King of Gods.
Her thinking is: 'This is none but Indra in the guise of my husband, for my husband never asks me like this nor he violates times... I heard that Indra is seeking me for a long time... and when King of Gods expresses such a desire, it cannot be refused... let him have it…
"She felt fulfilled in her heart of hearts and then she said this to that best god Indra, 'I am gratified in complying with your wish, oh, best of gods, get going oh, lord, from here quickly, oh, ruler of gods, always safeguard yourself and me from Sage Gautama.' Thus, Ahalya said to Indra. Indra on his part smilingly said this word to Ahalya, 'oh, well-hipped lady, I am quite delighted, here I go as I have came.'
"Oh, Rama, Indra then came out of the cottage flustering hurriedly after copulating with her with an uncertainty about the arrival of Sage Gautama. Indra has then seen the great-saint Gautama, an unassailable sage either for gods or for demons owing to his ascetic prowess, though thoroughly wet with the water of pious river he is luminous like ritual fire, and a foremost saint among all saints who just entered the hermitage carrying ritual firewood and sacred grass.
"On seeing the sage the lord of gods Indra is scared and became dreary-faced. Then the well-behaved Gautama furiously spoke these words on seeing the ill-behaved Thousand-eyed Indra who is donning the guise of a saint. 'Oh, dirty-minded Indra, taking hold of my form you have effectuated this unacceptable deed, whereby you shall become infecund.' Thus, Gautama cursed Indra.
"When that great-souled sage Gautama spoke that way with rancour, the testicles of the cursed Thousand-eyed Indra fell down onto ground at that very moment. On cursing Indra thus the sage cursed even his wife saying, 'you shall tarry here for many thousands of years to come without food and consuming air alone, and unseen by all beings you shall live on in this hermitage while contritely recumbent in dust.
" 'When that unassailable son of Dasharatha, namely Rama, arrives at this squalid forest, for it will be henceforth rendered so along with you, then you will be purified. On your welcoming Rama, oh, ill-behaved woman, you will be divested of your greed and craze in which you lingered so far, and then you will assume your own body and then you can be in my proximity, rejoicingly.' Thus, Sage Gautama cursed his wife Ahalya.
"On cursing immodest Ahalya thus, that great-resplendent Sage Gautama shed this hermitage which was once adored by celestials like siddha-sand caarana-s, and that great-ascetic Gautama practised his asceticism on the pleasant peaks of Himalayas." Thus, Vishvamitra continued his narration about the legend of Ahalya.
Thus, this is the 48th chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.
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© Oct, 2002, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : November 04]