Book I : Bala Kanda - The Youthful Majesties
Parashu Rama confronts the wedding party that is returning to Ayodhya from Mithila. On his very entry, the atmosphere becomes pell-mell and a whirlwind ensues. Expecting some problem from this Parashu Rama, the sages like Vashishta and others starts to receive him in a peaceable manner. Not caring anyone around Parashu Rama starts a dialogue with Dasharatha Rama.
atha raatryaam vyatiitaayaam vishvaamitro mahaamuniH |
aapR^iSTvaa tau ca raajaanau jagaama uttara parvatam || 1-74-1
1. atha raatryaam vyatiitaayaam [satyaam]= then, night, elapse [is becoming true]; mahaamuniH vishvaamitraH= eminent-saint, Vishvamitra; raajaanau= [all] kings; tau ca= both - Rama and Lakshmana, also; aapR^iSTvaa= on asking [leave of absence]; uttara parvatam jagaama= to northern, mountains [Himalayas,] set out.
When that night is elapsing into the wee hours of next day, then the eminent-saint Vishvamitra on asking for the leave of absence from those kings, Dasharatha and Janaka, and from both Rama and Lakshmana, he set out to northern mountains, namely Himalayas. [1-74-1]
vishvaamitro gate raajaa vaideham mithilaa adhipam |
aapR^iSTva iva jagaama aashu raajaa dasharathaH puriim || 1-74-2
2. vishvaamitraH gate= Vishvamitra, on departure of; raajaa dasharathaH= the ruler to the delight of people, Dasharatha; mithilaa adhipam= Mithila's, king; vaideham= one who outvies bodily affairs - Janaka; aa pR^iSTva iva= on asking [leave of absence]; raajaa= king Dasharatha; aashu puriim jagaama= promptly, for city Ayodhya, set forth.
When Vishvamitra departed that ruler to the delight of people, namely Dasharatha, on asking leave of absence with king Janaka who outvies bodily affairs, promptly set forth for the city of Ayodhya. [1-74-2]
atha raajaa videhaanaam dadau kanyaa dhanam bahu |
gavaam shata sahasraaNi bahuuni mithileshvaraH || 1-74-3
ka.mbalaanaam ca mukhyaanaam kSaumaan koTi a.mbaraaNi ca |
hasti ashva ratha paadaatam divya ruupam svala.nkR^itam || 1-74-4
dadau kanyaa shatam taasaam daasii daasam anuttamam |
3, 4, 5a. atha= then; mithileshvaraH= Mithila's, king; raajaa videhaanaam= king, from Videha lineage; bahu= innumerable; kanyaa dhanam= girl's [patrimonial,] riches; dadau= gave; gavaam bahuuni= cows, umpteen; shata sahasraaNi mukhyaanaam kambalaanaam ca= hundred, thousands [millions of,] excellent ones, shawls, also; kSaumaan koTi ambaraaNi ca= silk, crores of, dresses, also; hasti ashva ratha paadaatam= elephants, horses, chariots, foot soldiers; divya ruupam svalankR^itam= divinely, in mien, highly decorated; anuttamam= unexcelled ones; daasii daasam= chambermaids, handmaidens; kanyaa shatam= girls, hundreds of; taasaam= to them [to brides]; dadau= [Janaka] gave.
Then that king Janaka of Mithila, the one from Videha lineage, gave innumerable patrimonial riches. He has also given umpteen number of cows, millions of excellent shawls and silk dresses, and elephants, horses, chariots, foot soldiers, besides hundreds of highly decorated girls, divine in their mien, as unexcelled chambermaids and handmaidens to the brides. [1-74-3, 4, 5a]
hiraNyasya suvarNasya muktaanaam vidrumasya ca || 1-74-5
dadau raajaa susa.mhR^iSTaH kanyaa dhanam anuttamam |
5b, 6a. raajaa= king Janaka; su samhR^iSTaH= very highly gladdened; hiraNyasya= of gold; suvarNasya= of silver; muktaanaam= of pearls; vidrumasya ca= red corals, even; anuttamam= beau idéal; kanyaa dhanam= bridal, riches; dadau= he gave.
King Janaka gave beau idéal bridal riches in gold, silver, pearls and corals even, for he is very highly gladdened as Seetha's marriage came true. [1-74-5b, 6a]
dattvaa bahu vidham raajaa samanuj~naapya paarthivam ||
pravivesha sva nilayam mithilaam mithileshvaraH |
6b, 7a. mithileshvaraH= Mithila's, sovereign; raajaa= king Janaka; bahu vidham dattvaa= many, kinds [of gifts,] having given; paarthivam= king Dasharatha; samanuj~naapya= on making Dasharatha to bid adieu; sva nilayam= his own, dwelling city; mithilaam pravivesha= in Mithila, he entered.
Having given many kinds of bridal gifts and having accompanied his daughters for a distance, then having received a bid adieu from Dasharatha, that sovereign of Mithila, Janaka, re-entered is own palace in Mithila. [1-74-6, 7a]
It is customary to follow the wedding party up to the outskirts of village or town. In the meantime, there will be two or three hugs of mother and the bride, shedding two or three litres of tears, while the father of the bride secretly wipes his own moist eyes, and the like. Because, this despatch of the bride is considered as another life to her, for she cannot come to her father's house as and when she wants. Even if she comes, she is to return to her husband's place at some point of time, because from now onward 'that' house has become 'her' house. In this particular case of Seetha, she does not come to Mithila after this episode and even when Rama abandons her she goes into the womb of her mother, Mother Earth, but not to Mithila. So let us leave Janaka and his queen as they have the satisfaction in marrying their daughter, whose marriage itself is problematical so far, and when that has happened, now some sort of dissatisfaction has cropped up, in leaving her off with some forest ranger, called Rama.
raajaa api ayodhyaa adhipatiH saha putraiH mahaatmabhiH ||
R^iSiin sarvaan puraskR^itya jagaama sa bala anugaH |
7b, 8a. ayodhyaa adhipatiH raajaa api= Ayodhya's, sovereign, king Dasharatha, even mahaa aatmabhiH putraiH saha= with noble-souled, sons, along with; sarvaan R^iSiin puraskR^itya= all sages, keeping in fore; sa bala anugaH= with, forces, following; jagaama= proceeded.
Even the king Dasharatha, the sovereign of Ayodhya proceeded with his noble-souled sons, keeping all the sages in the fore, while his forces followed him. [1-74-7b, 8a]
gacCha.ntam tu naravyaaghram sa R^iSi sa.ngham sa raaghavam
ghoraaH tu pakSiNo vaaco vyaaharanti sama.ntataH |
8b, 9a. sa R^iSi sangham= with, sages, assemblages; sa raaghavam= with [young] Raghava-s - Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata, Shatrughna; gacChantam= who is going - Dasharatha; naravyaaghram= at that tigerly-man [facing Dasharatha]; samantataH= from all around; pakSiNaH ghoraaH vaacaH vyaaharanti= birds, with horrible, voice, started to screech.
But while going with the assemblages of sages and with young Raghava-s, namely Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata, Shatrughna, the sky-bound birds started to screech with startling voice from all around facing that tigerly-man Dasharatha. [1-74-8b, 9a]
bhaumaaH caiva mR^igaaH sarve gacChanti sma pradakSiNam ||
taan dR^iSTvaa raaja shaarduulo vasiSTham paryapR^icChata |
9b, 10a. bhaumaaH= concerning earth; caiva= also thus; sarve mR^igaaH= all, animals; pradakSiNam gacChanti sma= leftward, going, they are; taan dR^iSTvaa= them, on seeing; raja shaarduulaH= king, the tiger; vasiSTham paryapR^icChata= with Vashishta, particularly asked.
Also thus, all of the earth bound animals are going his leftward, and on seeing this, albeit he is a tigerly king he is perplexed, and particularly asked Vashishta. [1-74-9b, 10a]
asaumyaaH pakSiNo ghoraa mR^igaaH ca api pradakSiNaaH ||
kim idam hR^idaya utkampi mano mama viSiidati |
10b, 11a. ghoraa [vaacaH]= startling [voicing]; pakSiNaH= bird's; a + saumyaaH= not, gentle [not favourable, unpropitious]; mR^igaaH ca api pradakSiNaaH= animals, also, even, going leftward [propitious]; hR^idaya ut kampi= heart, to up, beating [with one's heart in one's mouth, throbbing up]; idam kim= this is, what [why so?]; mama manaH viSiidati= my, heart, is sinking [throbbing down].
"Unpropitious is the starling voicing of birds, whereby my heart is throbbing down... and propitious is the leftward going of the animals, thereby my heart is throbbing up... why so?" [1-74-10b, 11a]
raaj~no dasharathasya etat shrutvaa vaakyam mahaan R^iSiH ||
uvaaca madhuraam vaaNiim shruuyataam asya yat phalam |
11b, 12a. mahaan R^iSiH= great [instinctual,] sage; raaj~naH dasharathasya= of king, Dasharatha; etat shrutvaa= all [that is said,] on hearing; madhuraam vaaNiim vaakyam uvaaca= in a soothing, voice, [this] sentence, said; asya yat phalam= its [auguries',] which, result is there; [tat= that]; shruuyataam= I will let you hear.
On hearing all that is said by king Dasharatha, the instinctual sage Vashishta said this sentence in a soothing voice, "I will tell apart the result of these auguries... [1-74-11b, 12a]
upasthitam bhayam ghoram divyam pakSi mukhaat cyutam ||
mR^igaaH prashamayanti ete sa.ntaapaH tyajyataam ayam |
12b, 13a. pakSi mukhaat cyutam= bird's, from mouths, fallen [shrieks voiced, foretokening]; divyam= providential; ghoram bhayam= perilous, trepidation; upa sthitam= [indicate it as] forthcoming; ete mR^igaaH prashamayanti= these, animals' [behaviour,] mitigable [betokening as]; ayam santaapaH tyajyataam= this, consternation, be forsaken.
"The shrieks voiced by the birds are foretokening the forthcoming providential and perilous trepidation, but the behaviour of these animals is betokening it as mitigable... hence, let this consternation be forsaken... [1-74-12b, 13a]
teSaam sa.mvadataam tatra vaayuH praadur babhuuva ha ||
kampayan mediniim sarvaam paatayan ca mahaan drumaan |
13b, 14a. teSaam= among them; samvadataam= while discussing; tatra= there; mediniim kampayan= earth, [as though] to shake; sarvaan mahaan drumaan paatayan= all, gigantic, trees, to fell [shattering]; vaayuH praadur babhuuva ha= [whirl] wind, started to whirl, indeed.
While they are discussing among themselves, a whirlwind started to whirligig there, as though to shake the earth and shatter all gigantic trees. [1-74-13b, 14a]
tamasaa sa.mvR^itaH suuryaH sarve na vediSur dishaH ||
bhasmanaa ca aavR^itam sarvam sammuuDham iva tat balam |
14b, 15a. suuryaH tamasaa samvR^itaH= sun, by murkiness, is enshrouded; sarve dishaH na vediSuH= all, quarters, not, aware; tat sarvam balam= that, all, army - of Dasharatha; bhasmanaa aavR^itam= by ash [simoom, sandstorm,] is enwrapped; sammuuDham iva= ensorcelled, as though - it became.
Murkiness enshrouded the sun, thus everyone is unaware of quarters, a sandstorm enwrapped that army, by which it has become as though ensorcelled. [1-74-14b, 15a]
vasiSTha R^iSayaH ca anye raajaa ca sasutaH tadaa || 1-74-15
sa sa.nj~naa iva tatra aasan sarvam anyat vicetanam |
15b, 16a. tadaa= then; vasiSTha= Vashishta; anye R^iSayaH ca= other, sages, also; sa sutaH= with, sons; raajaa ca= king, also; sa sanj~naa iva= with, animation, as though; tatra aasan= there, they are; anyat sarvam vi cetanam= every other one, everything, is without, animation.
Then Vashishta and the other sages, the king Dasharatha along with his sons remained there with animation, and everything and every other one available there has become inanimate. [1-74-15b, 16a]
tasmin tamasi ghore tu bhasma Channa iva saa camuuH ||
dadarsha bhiima sa.mkaasham jaTaa maNDala dhaariNam |
bhaargavam jamadagne ayam raajaa raaja vimardanam || 1-74-17
kailaasam iva durdharSam kaala agnim iva duHsaham |
jvala.ntam iva tejobhiH dur niriikSyam pR^ithak janaiH || 1-74-18
skandhe ca aasajya parashum dhanuH vidyut gaNa upamam |
pragR^ihya sharam ugram ca tri pura ghnam yathaa shivam || 1-74-19
16b, 17, 18, 19. tasmin ghore tamasi= in that, catastrophic, darkness; bhasma Channa iva= by ashes [sand,] muffled up, as though; saa camuuH= that, military; bhiima samkaasham= calamitous, in looks; jaTaa maNDala dhaariNam= tufted, matted-hair, wearing; raajaa raaja vimardanam= he [who is,] king, of kings, subjugator of; kailaasam iva durdharSam= Mt. Kailash, like, unassailable one; kaala agnim iva duHsaham= epoch-end, fire, like, unbearable one; tejobhiH jvalantam iva= with his own radiance, irradiant, like; pR^ithak janaiH dur niriikSyam= by common, people, one impossible, to gaze at; parashum skandhe aasajya= axe, on shoulder, clinching; vidyut gaNa upamam= electric discharges, groups, in simile to; dhanuH= bow - bow of Vishnu; ugram sharam pragR^ihya ca= terrible [electrocuting one,] arrow, clasping, also; tri pura ghnam shivam yathaa= triple, cities, devastator, Shiva, as with; ayam jamadagne bhaargavam dadarsha= him, sage Jamadagni's, Bhaargava, they all have seen.
In that catastrophic darkness, that sand-muffled military of king Dasharatha has seen the son of Sage Jamadagni, namely Bhaargava Rama, the subjugator of kings of kings. He appeared calamitous in his look by wearing tufty matted and unruly head-hair, an unassailable one like Mt. Kailash, an unbearable one like the Epoch-End-Fire, irradiant with his own radiance, hence imperceivable for commoners, and such as he is, he clinched an axe on his right shoulder and clasped a bow in his left hand, that in simile is like a congeries of electroluminescence, and handling an arrow which is as if ready to electrocute, and he vied in his overall look with the devastator of triple cities, namely God Shiva. [1-74-16b, 17, 18, 19]
tam dR^iSTvaa bhiima sa.mkaasham jvala.ntam iva paavakam |
vasiSTha pramukhaa vipraa japa homa paraayaNaaH || 1-74-20
sa.ngataa munayaH sarve sa.mjajalpuH atho mithaH |
20, 21a. bhiima samkaasham= peril, similar [perilous in his propensity]; jvalantam paavakam iva= flaming, Ritual-fire, as with; tam dR^iSTvaa= him, on seeing; japa homa paraayaNaaH vipraaH= meditation, fire-oblation, practisers of, Brahman-s; vasiSTha pramukhaa= Vashishta, other prominent ones; sarve munayaH sangataa= all of the, sages, coming together; athaH mithaH= up and down; samjajalpuH= started to susurrate.
On seeing him who is perilous in his propensity and flaming like the Ritual-fire, Vashishta and the other prominent Brahman-s who are the practisers of meditation and fire-oblations have come together and started to susurrate, up and down. [1-74-20, 21a]
kaccit pitR^i vadha amarSii kSatram na utsaadayiSyati ||
puurvam kSatra vadham kR^itvaa gata manyuH gata jvaraH |
kSatrasya utsaadanam bhuuyo na khalu asya cikiirSitam || 1-74-22
21b-22. pitR^i vadha amarSii= father's, murder, envenomed by; kSatram na utsaadayiSyati kaccit= Kshatriya race, not, going to eradicate [now,] will he be - or what; puurvam kSatra vadham kR^itvaa= previously, Kshatriya-s, on eliminating; gata manyuH= gone [abated,] is his anger; gata jvaraH= gone [alleviated,] is his frenzy; bhuuyaH= again; kSatrasya utsaadanam= Kshatriya, for elimination; asya na cikiirSitam khalu= his, not, intended [action,] really.
"Will he eradicate the race of Kshatriya-s even now as he was once envenomed by the murder of his father, or what... abated is his anger and alleviated is his frenzy previously when he eliminated Kshatriya-s... but is he really intending to eliminate Kshatriya-s once again, or what?" Thus, those Brahmans talked among themselves. [1-74-21b, 22]
An account of Parashu Rama's elimination of Kshatriya clans is given in endnote.
evam uktvaa arghyam aadaaya bhaargavam bhiima darshanam |
R^iSayo raama raama iti madhuram vaakyam abruvan || 1-74-23
23. R^iSayaH= sages; evam uktvaa= thus, saying [after susurrus]; arghyam aadaaya= oblational water, on taking; bhiima darshanam bhaargavam= a visitation, in his look, towards Bhaargava Rama; raama raama= oh, Rama, oh, Rama; iti madhuram vaakyam abruvan= thus, sweetly [benignly,] sentence [lines of greetings,] while speaking - they approached.
After their susurrus the sages have approached him, who in his very look is like a visitation, with oblational water and addressed him with benign words of greeting like, "oh, Rama, oh, Bhaargava Rama..." [1-74-23]
pratigR^ihya tu taam puujaam R^iSi dattaam prataapavaan |
raamam daasharathim raamo jaamadag.hnyo abhyabhaaSata || 1-74-24
24. prataapavaan= inexorable one; jaamadagnyaH raamaH= of Jamadagni, Rama; R^iSi dattaam= sage, given by; taam puujaam pratigR^ihya= that, deference, on receiving; daasharathim raamam abhyabhaaSata= of Dasharatha, to Rama, started to talk.
On receiving the deference paid by the sage Vashishta, that inexorable Rama of Jamadagni started to talk to Rama of Dasharatha. [1-74-24]
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This Parashu Rama or Bhaargava Rama is believed as the sixth incarnation of Vishnu on earth, prior to Dasharatha Rama. The word parashu 'an axe...' is prefixed to this Rama because he wields a merciless axe. His father was sage Jamadagni and mother Renuka. This Jamadagni is the son of Sage Riciika, a Brahman, and he married Satyavati, the sister of Vishvamitra, a Kshatriya. On certain occasion Jamadagni doubting his wife Renuka's infidelity orders this Parashu Rama to behead her, which he promptly does, but Bhaargava Rama requests his father to bring her back to life. Sage Jamadagni agrees and brings her back to life. This is a kind of entrance test to Parashu Rama, and if he can ruthlessly kill his own mother he does not hesitate to kill any, in future.
During their time, the kings were cruel and homicide was rampant to achieve the desires of the throne, however ruthless it might be. On another occasion when the sons of one Kaartviiryaarjuna sacrifice Sage Jamadagni as a sacrificial human, this Parashu Rama is frenziedly infuriated and starts eliminating all of the enthroned Kshatriya bloodlines on earth. That way he roves over the earth for thirty seven times eliminating Kshatriya-s. He even cuts off the foetuses in wombs of their queens, in order to stop the menacing progeny and offers the blood of the foetus as oblation. And that blood became five streams called shamanta pancaka. Bhaargava or Parashu Rama practises insurmountable ascesis and appeases God Shiva, and thus acquires divine weaponry. He is indomitable in archery and nothing is unknown to him in the art of archery. Yet, he resorts to an axe to behead cruel kings, physically and personally, without depending up on a distant shooting arrow. He is ciranjiivi 'long living being...' Later when peace is established on earth, this Parashu Rama retires to penance but re-entered here to have a glimpse of Dasharatha Rama. And the purpose and import of his entry at this place, is recorded in later chapters.
iti vaalmiiki raamaayaNe aadi kaavye baala kaaNDe catuH saptatitamaH sargaH
Thus, this is the 74th chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.
© May, 2003, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : January 05]