On spotting the deer Seetha calls Rama and Lakshmana to have sight of it. Lakshmana immediately concludes it to be Maareecha, but Seetha, keeping his observation aside asks Rama to fetch it. Rama is also fascinated when he looked at that deer and he explains to Lakshmana as to why that particular deer is to be hunted down.
sā tam saṃprekṣya suśroṇī kusumāni vicinvatī |
hema rājata varṇābhyām pārśvābhyām upaśobhitam || 3-43-1
prahṛṣṭā ca anavadyāngī mṛṣṭa hāṭaka varṇinī |
bhartāram api ca ākranda lakṣmaṇam caiva sāyudham || 3-43-2
1. su shroNii = slender, waisted one; anavadya angii = flawlessly, limbed; mR^iSTa haaTaka varNinii = purified, gold, one in colour of - complexioned one; kusumaani vicinvatii = flowers, while culling; saa = she - Seetha; hema raajata varNaabhyaam paarshvaabhyaam = with golden, silver, tinged, with flanks; upashobhitam = brightened with; tam = that; [mR^igam = deer]; sam prekSya = on observing; pra hR^iSTaa ca = well, gladdened, also; bhartaaram api = at husband, even; sa aayudham lakSmaNam ca eva = [who is] with, weapon, at Lakshmana, also thus; aakranda = shouted, exclaimed.
That slender-waisted Seetha whose limbs are flawless, whose complexion is like purified gold, and who is presently culling flowers is highly gladdened to observe the Golden Deer that is brightened in one flank with the colour of gold and the other is silvery, and she shouted for attention of her husband, and even that of Lakshmana who is presently weaponed. [3-43-1, 2]
āhūya āhūya ca punaḥ tam mṛgam sādhu vīkṣate |
āgaccha āgaccha śīghram vai āryaputra saha anuja || 3-43-3
3. aarya putra = oh, nobleman's, son - Rama; aagacCha = come here; saha anuja shiighram aagacCha vai = with, younger brother, quickly, come here, really; [iti = this way]; aahuuya aahuuya = calling, calling; punaH tam mR^igam saadhu viikshate = again [oftentimes,] at that, deer, fondly, gazing.
"Oh, noble prince, come here," thus she called her husband and peered at the deer, and again she called, "really come with your younger brother quickly," and again gazed at the deer, and thus she oftentimes called and oftentimes saw the deer fondly. [3-43-3]
tayā āhūtau naravyāghrau vaidehyā rāma lakṣmaṇau |
vīkṣamāṇau tu tam deśam tadā dadṛśatuḥ mṛgam || 3-43-4
4. tayaa vaidehyaa aahuutau = by her, by Vaidehi, bidden; nara vyaaghrau = bidden, manly, lions [vyaahra also means lion]; raama lakSmaNau = Rama, Lakshmana; tam desham viikSamaaNau [aayaatau] = that, place, on exploring [having come]; tadaa mR^igam dadR^ishatuH = then, Golden Deer, they saw.
Those manly lions Rama and Lakshmana thus bidden by Vaidehi came there exploring that place and then they saw that Golden Deer. [3-43-4]
śaṃkamānaḥ tu tam dṛṣṭvā lakṣmaṇo rāmam abravīt |
tam eva enam aham manye mārīcam rākṣasam mṛgam || 3-43-5
5. tam dR^iSTvaa = at it, on seeing; shankamaanaH lakSmaNaH tu = becoming incredulous, Lakshmana, on his part; raamam abraviit = to Rama, said; aham enam mR^igam = I, this, deer; tam raakSasam maariicam eva manye = him, as Maareecha, demon, alone, I believe.
But Lakshmana became incredulous on seeing it and said to Rama, "I believe this deer to be that Maareecha, the demon." [3-43-5]
caranto mṛgayām hṛṣṭāḥ pāpena upādhinā vane |
anena nihatā rāma rājānaḥ kāma rūpiṇā || 3-43-6
6. raama = oh, Rama; hR^iSTaaH mR^igayaam carantaH raajaanaH = delightedly, in game of hunting, who are moving around, kings; kaama ruupiNaa = by wish, guise-changer; anena paapena = by this, sinner - sinister; vane = in forest; upaadhinaa = [by his resorting to] disguises; nihataa = are killed.
"Oh, Rama, when kings engaged in hunting games were delightedly moving in the forest, this Maareecha killed many of them resorting to many disguises, for he is a guise-changer by his wish. [3-43-6]
asya māyāvido māyā mṛga rūpam idam kṛtam |
bhānumat puruṣavyāghra gandharva pura saṃnibham || 3-43-7
7. puruSavyaaghra = oh, man, the lion; maayaa vidaH = wiles, expert in; asya = his - Maareecha's; bhaanumat = having scintillation; gandharva pura sannibham = gandharva, [wilily] city, similar in shine; idam maayaa mR^iga ruupam kR^itam = this, wily, Golden-Deer, form, is made - he assumed.
"Maareecha is an expert in many wiles and he has now assumed the form of this Golden-Deer, oh, manly lion, which is not more than the scintillating city of Gandharva-s, a city of wiles, which any trickster can create to make-believe. [3-43-7]
The 'Gandharva-city' is the name given to a make-believe formation of a city-like structure in skies by magicians, and presently the magicians world over are making the apparent structures to disappear, rather than constructing one which is un-manifest.
mṛgo hi evam vidho ratna vicitro na asti rāghava |
jagatyām jagatīnātha māyā eṣā hi na saṃśayaḥ || 3-43-8
8. jagatii naatha raaghava = oh, world/earth, lord of, [such a] Raghava; evam vidhaH = this, kind of; mR^igaH = animal/deer; ratna = gemmed, gem studded; vi citraH [citritaH ] = verily, amazing [or, amazingly dappled animal]; jagatyaam na asti hi = in world, non, existent, isn't it; eSaa maayaa hi = this is, phantasm, truly; na samshayaH = no, doubt.
"Oh, Raghava, this kind of amazing animal with gemlike dapples is nonexistent in the world, isn't it. Hence, oh, lord of the world, this is truly a phantasm. No doubt about it." So said Lakshmana to Rama. [3-43-8]
Here the timely provision of data by Lakshmana may be noticed. Rama is also aware of it, but Lakshmana is reminding him. Lakshmana cites even the name of Maareecha and by this, we can infer as to why Ravana chose Maareecha for this particular purpose. Because Maareecha has that extraordinary ability to lure and has a good record of wily accomplishments, Ravana chose him. Lakshmana has done his duty in presenting expedient data and it is up to Rama to analyse it. Rama argues on this point later in the chapter.
evam bruvāṇam kākutstham prativārya śuci smitā |
uvāca sītā saṃhṛṣṭā cadmanā hṛta cetanā || 3-43-9
9. shuci smitaa = one with whitely, smile - with a toothy smile; chadmanaa [carmaNaa] hR^ita cetanaa = by cozenage, [by deerskin,] conjured, heart; sam hR^iSTaa = self-satisfied [with her own thinking]; siitaa = such a Seetha; evam bruvaaNam kaakutstham = this way, who is speaking, Kakutstha Lakshmana; prati vaarya = in turn, on forestalling - on deterring; uvaaca = spoke.
While Lakshmana of Kakutstha-s is speaking thus, she who is self-satisfied as her heart is conjured by the cozenage, such a Seetha of a toothy smile deterred him and spoke. [3-43-9]
āryaputra abhirāmo asau mṛgo harati me manaḥ |
ānaya enam mahābāho krīḍārtham naḥ bhaviṣyati || 3-43-10
10. aarya putra = oh, son of noble; abhiraamaH asau mR^igaH = delightful, that, deer; me manaH harati = my, heart, stealing; mahaabaahuH = oh, dextrous one; enam aanaya = that one [deer,] bring round; naH kriiDa artham [kriiDanakaH, kriiDanakam] bhaviSyati = for us, for playing, [a plaything,] it will become.
"Oh, nobleman's son, that delightful deer is stealing my heart, oh, dextrous one, bring it round, it will be our plaything. [3-43-10]
iha āśrama pade asmākam bahavaḥ puṇya darśanāḥ |
mṛgāḥ caranti sahitāḥ camarāḥ sṛmarāḥ tathā || 3-43-11
11. asmaakam iha aashrama pade = of ours, here, in hermitage's, threshold; puNya darshanaaH = adorable [deer,] in manifestation; bahavaH = many; mR^igaaH = animals; sR^imaraaH tathaa camaraaH = Srimara deer, like that, Caamara-s; sahitaaH caranti = collectively - in flocks and herds, move about.
"Here in the threshold of our hermitage many animals with adorable manifestation are moving about in flocks and herds, say Caamara deer, like that Srimara deer. [3-43-11]
The chaamara is the kind of deer of species Bos grunniens and shrimara is a larger variety than chaamara.
ṛkṣāḥ pṛṣata saṃghāḥ ca vānarāḥ kinarāḥ tathā |
vicaranti mahābāho rūpa śreṣṭhā mahābalāḥ || 3-43-12
12. mahaabaahuH = oh, dextrous one; ruupa shreSThaa = in form, excellent ones; vaanaraaH = monkeys; tathaa kinaraaH = likewise, Kinnara deer; pR^iSata sanghaaH ca = spotted-deer, herds of, also; mahaabalaaH R^ikSaaH = great-mighty, bears; vi caranti = freely, moving.
"Also the animals that are excellent in their form, say monkeys, are moving here. Likewise herds of Kinnara deer, spotted-deer, and even bears of great-might are freely moving here. [3-43-12]
Here the Kinnaraa-s are another kind of deer and not to be confounded with yaksha, gandharva, kinnaraa celestials.
na ca asya sadṛśo rājan dṛṣṭa pūrvo mṛgaḥ mayā |
tejasā kṣamayā dīptyā yathā ayam mṛga sattamaḥ || 3-43-13
13. raajan = oh, king; ayam mR^iga sattamaH = this, deer, the extraordinary one; yathaa = as to how it is appearing; tejasaa kSamayaa diiptyaa = by brilliance, by meekness [tameness,] by lustre [of skin]; asya sadR^ishaH mR^igaH = its, coequal, deer; mayaa na dR^iSTa puurvaH = by me, not seen, earlier - so far.
"As to how this extraordinary deer is appearing, oh, king, by way of its brilliance, tameness, or by the lustre of its skin, I have not so far seen any coequal to this. [3-43-13]
nānā varṇa vicitra aṃgo ratna bhūto mama agrataḥ |
dyotayan vanam avyagram śobhate śaśi saṃnibhaḥ || 3-43-14
14. naanaa varNa vicitra angaH = diversely, coloured, amazingly, limbed; ratna bindu samaacitaH = gemlike, dapples, dappled with; ratna bhuutaH = gemmed, completely; shashi sannibhaH = moon, like - in shine; a vyagram = not, hurriedly - nonchalantly; vanam dyotayan = forest, livening up; mama agrataH = my, before; shobhate = shining forth.
"Diversely coloured, amazingly limbed, and spotted with gemlike dapples it is shining forth like a deer that is completely gemmy, and while nonchalantly moving before me it is enlivening the forest like the moon. [3-43-14]
aho rūpam aho lakṣmīḥ svara saṃpat ca śobhanā |
mṛgo adbhuto vicitrāṃgo hṛdayam harati iva me || 3-43-15
15. aho ruupam aho lakSmiiH = ah, [what a] form, ah, [what a] brilliance; svara sampat ca shobhanaa = tonal, quality [bleat,] also, is beautiful; adbhutaH = wonderful; vicitra angaH mR^igaH = amazingly, limbed, deer; me hR^idayam harati iva = my, heart, stealing, as it were.
"Ah, what a form, ah, what a brilliance, what a beautiful bleat! This amazingly limbed deer is wonderful, and this is stealing my heart, as it were. [3-43-15]
yadi grahaṇam abhyeti jīvan eva mṛgaḥ tava |
āścarya bhūtam bhavati vismayam janayiṣyati || 3-43-16
16. mR^igaH = deer; jiivan eva = while living [alive and well]; tava grahaNam abhyeti yadi = your, capture, draws in, if; aashcarya bhuutam bhavati = surprise, causing, it will be; vismayam janayiSyati = astonishment, creates.
"It will be surprising if this deer draws into your capture alive and well, as it creates astonishment to one and all. [3-43-16]
samāpta vana vāsānām rājya sthānām ca naḥ punaḥ |
aṃtaḥpure vibhūṣārtho mṛga eṣa bhaviṣyati || 3-43-17
17. eSa mR^igaH = this, deer; samaapta vana vaasaanaam = for us - on completing, forest, dwelling; punaH raajya sthaanaam ca = again, in kingdom, when [we will be] staying, also; naH = for us; antaHpure vibhuuSa arthaH = in palace-chambers, decoration, for the sake of - as a masterpiece; bhaviSyati = it becomes.
"When we return to kingdom on completing our dwelling in forest this deer becomes a masterpiece in palace-chambers for us. [3-43-17]
bharatasya āryaputrasya śvaśrūṇām mama ca prabho |
mṛga rūpam idam divyam vismayam janayiṣyati || 3-43-18
18. prabho = oh, lord; idam mR^iga ruupam = this, deer's, form; bharatasya = to Bharata; aaryaputrasya = to son of nobleman [you, Rama]; shvashruuNaam = to mothers-in-law; mama ca = to me, also; divyam vismayam janayiSyati = excellent, astonishment [jubilation,] creates.
"Oh, lord, the form of this deer creates an excellent jubilation to Bharata, to you the son of the nobleman, to my mothers-in-law, and also to me in palace-chambers. [3-43-18]
jīvan na yadi te abhyeti grahaṇam mṛga sattamaḥ |
ajinam naraśārdūla ruciram tu bhaviṣyati || 3-43-19
19. nara shaarduula = oh, tigerly-man; mR^iga sattamaH = deer, the best; jiivan = while living; te grahaNam na abhyeti yadi = into your, capture, no, comes into, else if; ruciram ajinam tu bhaviSyati = beautiful, deerskin, on its part, will be there - will be remnant with us.
"Else if that best deer does not come into you capture while alive, oh tigerly-man, at the least its gorgeous deerskin will be remnant of it. [3-43-19]
nihatasya asya sattvasya jāṃbūnadamaya tvaci |
śaṣpa bṛsyām vinītāyām icchāmi aham upāsitum || 3-43-20
20. shaSpa bR^isyaam = tender darbha grass-blades, on seat of; viniitaayaam = overlaid; nihatasya asya sattvasya = killed, that, being's - of that killed deer; jaambuunadamaya tvaci = in golden, skin - on the deerskin; upa aasitum = nearby [along with you,] to sit; aham icChaami = I, wish to.
"I wish to sit along with you on its golden deerskin, overlaying it on a seat of tender darbha grass-blades, in case the deer is felled. [3-43-20]
The seat of those that are under a vow is called bR^isii, vratiinaam aasanam bR^isii, ajina, carma, kR^ittiH : amara kosha 'A seat covered with darbha, the sacred grass, [and if available] a deerskin thereon.'
kāmavṛttam idam raudram strīṇām asadṛśam matam |
vapuṣā tu asya sattvasya vismayo janito mama || 3-43-21
21. raudram = unruly [nagging]; idam kaama vR^ittam = this sort of, independent behaviour - self-seeking; striiNaam = to women; a sadR^isham = not, befitting; matam = tradition says so; tu = but; asya sattvasya = its, that being's; vapuSaa = by beautiful body; mama vismayaH janitaH = to me, astonishment - curiosity, is induced.
"Tradition says that this sort of unruly self-seeking is unbefitting to women, yet that deer's beautiful body is inducing curiosity in me." Seetha said so to Rama and remained waiting for his reply. [3-43-21]
Seetha talked only this much and left the fulfilment of her indent to the discretion of Rama. There is neither demand nor compulsion to bring the deer in her talk. But we usually hear the telltale stories, bringing from some other texts, which say that Seetha pestered, nagged, and harassed Rama to get this deer. But nothing of that sort is evident from the dialogue given to her by Valmiki. She started to ask Rama with a suchiH smitaH 'a white smile, i.e., a toothy smile or a simpering smile' that too to deride the security guard, namely Lakshmana. These security personnel all over the world and in all situations and always forewarn the secured, and on the other hand, it is customary to the secured person to jump off the cordon of security, disdainful of the security measures. After all, human nature wants a free living. Thus, when Seetha is trying to jump off the cordon of security laid by Lakshmana, commentators say that she is said to have smiled scornfully. lakshmaNa vaakya shravaNa janita kopaa siitaa raamam eva aaha - dk 'with the anger generated on listening Lakshmana's words, Seetha spoke to Rama,' Whether Seetha is with kopa 'anger' or not, it is unsaid in the text.
tena kāṃcana romṇā tu maṇi pravara śṛṃgiṇā |
taruṇa āditya varṇena nakṣatra patha varcasā || 3-43-22
babhūva rāghavasya api mano vismayam āgatam |
22, 23a. kaancana romNaa [ruupeNa] = by its, golden, hair [golden coat]; maNi pravara shR^ingiNaa = which has - sapphirine, excellent, horns; taruNa aaditya varNena = tender, sun, in hue - complexion; nakSatra patha varcasaa = stars, pathway [milky way,] having resplendence - ambience; tena tu = by that reason, on its part; raaghavasya manaH api = Raghava's, heart, even; vismayam aagatam babhuuva = awe, came over [struck,] it became.
As for that deer's horns they vie with excellent sapphires, its golden coat with the glitter of tender sun, and its ambience with silver spots on coat with a milk way containing twinkling stars, and by that reason even Raghava's heart is awestruck when he saw it. [3-43-22, 23a]
According to this original text, Rama is more lured by the Golden Deer than Seetha, whereas later legends made Seetha a scapegoat. Rama too did not fancifully come under the lure but he got his own logistics to fall after the deer, which we come across in the following speeches of Rama. The word api 'even,' is a normal metrical filler at most times, but assumes importance at times. Here Rama is the all knowing and all deciding personality as depicted until now, and 'even' he is lured by the deer, say Maareecha's supernal trickery.
evam sītā vacaḥ śrutvā dṛṣṭvā ca mṛgam adbhutam || 3-43-23
lobitaḥ tena rūpeṇa sītāyā ca pracoditaḥ |
uvāca rāghavo hṛṣṭo bhrātaram lakṣmaṇam vacaḥ || 3-43-24
23b, 24. raaghavaH = Raghava; evam siitaa vacaH shrutvaa = in this way, Seetha's, words, on hearing; adbhutam [tam] mR^igam dR^iSTvaa ca = wondrous one, [that] deer, having observed, also; tena ruupeNa lobitaH = by its, form, lured - amused; siitaayaaH ca pracoditaH = by Seetha, even, motivated; hR^iSTaH = delightedly; bhraataram lakSmaNam vacaH uvaaca = to brother, Lakshmana, word, spoke.
In this way, hearing the words of Seetha and observing that wondrous deer Raghava is also amused by its form, and even motivated by Seetha in fetching it, he delightedly spoke this word to his brother Lakshmana. [3-43-23b, 24]
When Seetha placed her indent before Rama, Rama is speaking to Lakshmana, only to allow us to listen his strategy in going after the deer. atra mR^igayaa vyasana doShaan jaanan api raamo - lobhitaH ten ruupeNa - iti anayo uktayaa mahaa purusaanatra mR^igayaa vyasana doSaan jaanan api raamo - lobhitaH ten ruupeNa - iti anayo uktayaa mahaa puru//saanaam api bhavati vyasana anuruupatayaa buddhi vyaamoho bhavati iti suucitam - dk -
'here knowing well about the blemishes of hunting games, Rama is lured, ambitioned, hankered after etc. By these words it is suggested that even great people are beguiled for their inclination in such matters - Dharmaakuutam;
asambhave hemamayasya jantoH tathaa api raamo lulubhe mR^igaaya | sabhaa parva - bhaarata - raamo hema mR^igam na vetti - - - dyuute bhraatR^i catuSTayam ca mahiSiim dharmaatmajo dattavaan | praayaH sat puruSo hi anartha samaye buddhyaa parityajyate - - praaciinaa
'even if it is impossible to have a golden deer, Rama is lured by it for his hunting game' Maha Bharata, sabhaa parva ; 'Rama, unable to distinguish illusory deer [went after it...] Yudhistar staked all his four brothers and his queen [in dice game...] thus even great people at inopportune times loose their brains,' an ancient saying.
paśya lakṣmaṇa vaidehyāḥ spṛhām ullasitām imām |
rūpa śreṣṭhatayā hi eṣa mṛgo adya na bhaviṣyati || 3-43-25
na vane naṃdanoddeśe na caitraratha saṃśraye |
kutaḥ pṛthivyām saumitre yo asya kaścit samo mṛgaḥ || 3-43-26
25. lakSmaNa = Lakshmana; vaidehyaaH ullasitaam imaam spR^ihaam pashya = Vaidehi's, enthused, this, delight, you see; saumitre = oh, Soumitri; adya ruupa shreSThatayaa hi = presently, by form's, by excellence, for sure; eSaH mR^igaH = such a sort of, [other] deer; vane = forest; na bhaviSyati = does not, exist; nandana uddeshe = in Nandana, places [gardens of Indra]; na = will not be there; caitraratha samshraye = in Caitraratha, adjoins of [of Kubera]; na = will not be there; yaH asya samaH = which, to it, similar - deer; kashcit mR^igaH = some, deer; pR^ithivyaam kutaH = on earth, how - how can there be.
"Lakshmana, behold this enthusiastic delight of Vaidehi. Oh, Soumitri, presently no other deer indeed with such an excellent form exists in this forest. Or else, does it exist in Nandana Gardens of Indra - no, it cannot be there; in the adjoins of Caitraratha Gardens of Kubera - no, it will not be there, then how can there be some deer on earth which is similar to this! [3-43-25, 26]
pratiloma anulomāḥ ca rucirā roma rājayaḥ |
śobhante mṛgam āśritya citrāḥ kanaka bindubhiḥ || 3-43-27
27. prati loma = upturned, hair; anu lomaaH ca = down-turned, hair, also; ruciraaH kanaka bindubhiH = with charming, golden, spots; citraaH roma raajayaH = amazing, hair, lines; mR^igam aashritya shobhante = deer, abiding - embedded [on coat of deer,] are glittery.
"Amazing are its hairlines with hair upturned at some places and down-turned at other, and the golden spots embedded on the coat of the deer are glittery. [3-43-27]
paśya asya jṛṃbhamāṇasya dīptām agni śikhopamām |
jihvām mukhāt niḥsaraṃtīm meghāt iva śata hradām || 3-43-28
28. jR^imbhamaaNasya asya mukhaat = while yawning, from its, from mouth; niH sarantiim = from mouth, out, flowing - exserting; diiptaam agni shikha upamaam jihvaam = flaring, fire, crests - tongue of fire, similar, at tongue; meghaat = from cloud; shata hradaam = in hundred ways, which is flowing - lightning; iva = as with; pashya = you see.
"See at its tongue that is exserting from its mouth while it is yawning, which is similar to the flaring tongue of fire and to the lightning from a cloud. [3-43-28]
masāra galvarka mukhaḥ śaṃkha muktā nibha udaraḥ |
kasya nāma anirūpyaḥ asau na mano lobhayet mṛgaḥ || 3-43-29
29. masaaraH = sapphirine; gallarkaH = caSaka = mug-like, beaker-like; mukhaH = face; shankha muktaa nibha udaraH = conch, pearl, in shine, paunch; a niruupyaH = not, demonstrable inexplicable [its beauty]; asau mR^igaH = that, deer; kasya naama manaH na lobhayet = whose, in name, heart, not, lures.
"Its face is like a mug made up of sapphires, its paunch is pearly and conchoidal, and whose heart is it that will not lured for this deer with an inexplicable beauty. [3-43-29]
kasya rūpam idam dṛṣṭvā jāṃbūnadamaya prabham |
nānā ratnamayam divyam na mano vismayam vrajet || 3-43-30
30. jaambuu nadamaya prabham = golden, in glitter; naanaa ratnamayam = numerously, bejewelled - as it were; divyam = astounding; idam ruupam dR^iSTvaa = this, look, on seeing; kasya manaH vismayam na vrajet = whose, mind, into astonishment, not, transported.
"On seeing at this astounding look of the deer which is golden in glitter and bejewelled numerously as it were, whose heart is it that will not be transported into astonishment. [3-43-30]
māṃsa hetoḥ api mṛgān vihārārtham ca dhanvinaḥ |
ghnanti lakṣmaṇa rājāno mṛgayāyām mahāvane || 3-43-31
31. lakSmaNa = oh, Lakshmana; raajaanaH mahaa vane mR^igayaayaam = kings, in great, forests, in games of hunting; maamsa hetoH api = flesh, for the sake of, even; dhanvinaH [dhanvanaH] = archers [of bows, or, to use bows in sport, archery]; vihaara artham ca = sporting, for purpose of, also; mR^igaan ghnanti = deer, they kill.
"Kings pursuing games of hunting in great forests, oh, Lakshmana, will be felling deer either for the sake of flesh, or just for the purpose of sporting archery. [3-43-31]
dhanāni vyavasāyena vicīyante mahāvane |
dhātavo vividhāḥ ca api maṇi ratna suvarṇinaḥ || 3-43-32
32. mahaavane = in great-forests; vyavasaayena = exerting themselves; dhanaani = riches [forest produce]; maNi ratna suvarNinaH = jewels, gemstones, gold containing [gold gravel]; vividhaaH dhaatavaH ca api = ores, many, also, even; vi ciiyante = by far, they will be amassing.
"And exerting themselves in great forests they by far amass forest produce, ores, jewels, gemstones and the gravel of gold. [3-43-32]
'And this deer is also the produce of this forest, as such hunting this for taming or tanning is befitting to us, as we are princes.' One should not 'exert oneself,' or 'amass' forest produce even if he is a king, but collect it casually without looting it.
tat sāram akhilam nṝṇām dhanam nicaya vardhanam |
manasā cintitam sarvam yathā śukrasya lakṣmaṇa || 3-43-33
33. lakSmaNa = oh, Lakshmana; akhilam tat saaram = all, that, the best; dhanam = wealth [forest produce]; nR^INaam = for humanly kings; manasaa cintitam = in mind, that which is thought; sarvam = everything; shukrasya yathaa = Shukra's, as with; nicaya vardhanam = treasury-filling.
"Everything of that wealth from forest produce will be filling the treasuries of kings, like the speculated objects filling the entire treasury of Shukra just by his thinking of them in his mind. [3-43-33]
Whatever object Shukra thinks wilfully, it becomes a reality, filling his treasury. So also, whatever objects the kings desire they come to reality through forest produce. This is a puranic/ legendary saying which Rama is quoting.
Or, as contained in Maha Bharata, Udyoga Parva, Suparna-Narada discourse: manuShyebhya samaadatte shukraH cintaa aarjitam dhanam 'the pipedreams, [the unattainable or fanciful hopes or schemes,] of people fill up the coffers of Shukra.'
Or, dhaninaam kosha vardhanam dhanam saaram 'for rich people [like kings, merchants,] coffer, filling, wealth, i.e., the forest produce is the best.' 'The forest produce is the best wealth for enriching the coffers of the kings for maintenance of kingdom, and for other rich people it is for trade etc.' Hence, this deer, or its deerskin is saaram 'an excellent gift' to be taken to Ayodhya on our return.' Rama's saying is interpreted in this way giving a high priority to forest produce.
arthī yena artha kṛtyena saṃvrajati avicārayan |
tam artham artha śāstrajñaḥ prāhuḥ arthyāḥ ca lakṣmaṇa || 3-43-34
34. lakSmaNa = oh, Lakshmana; arthii = an aspirant; yena artha kR^ityena = by which, aspirational, activity; a vicaarayan = without, discrimination [unhesitatingly]; sam vrajati = verily, scurries for; tam = that alone - that target; artha shaastraGYaH = finance, science, knowers of - financial experts; arthyaaH = who have reaped riches, financially-well people; ca = they too; artham = that is the worthwhile - wealth; pra ahuH = they - well, say, well-said - lauded by them.
"The financial experts and the other financially well-off people say that with which aspirational activity an aspirant unhesitatingly scurries and achieves it, that achieved target alone is lauded to be worthwhile, or, as real wealth. [3-43-34]
To support his argument that bringing the Golden Deer shall not become a pipedream but it shall occur in reality, Rama is substantiating with this statement. This is called apuurva vastu sekaraNa 'collection of valuable objects' which is a fashion to anyone, especially to kings. Then Lakshmana may further insist 'even then you shall not go, it is a fanciful deer/demon,' for which Rama is saying 'getting the un-gettable itself is worthwhile.'
etasya mṛga ratnasya parārdhye kāṃcana tvaci |
upavekṣyati vaidehī mayā saha sumadhyamā || 3-43-35
35. su madhyamaa = well, waisted one - comely Seetha; vaidehii = Vaidehi; etasya mR^iga ratnasya = that this [such a,], deer, gem of a; paraardhye kaancana tvaci = on invaluable, golden, skin; mayaa saha = me, along with; upa vekSyati [upa vishST] = nearby, will be sitting.
"This comely Vaidehi will be sitting on that invaluable golden skin of that gem of a deer along with me. [3-43-35]
Rama is not primarily bothered to tame the Golden Deer by declaring about its skin and its usage at this juncture. This skin alone is the 'laudable wealth' 'worthwhile object' and a 'masterpiece.'
na kādalī na priyakī na praveṇī na ca avikī |
bhavet etasya sadṛśī sparśanena iti me matiḥ || 3-43-36
36. sparshanena = by way of [soft-] touch of skin - now assessed by seeing; kaadalii = Kadali's skin - variety of deer; etasya sadR^ishii na bhavet = to this, matching, not, it becomes; priyakii = Priyaki's skin; na = not; praveNii = Praveni's skin; na = not; avikii = Avi's skin -a breed of sheep; na = not; iti me matiH = thus, is my, thinking.
"I think the skin of Kadali deer, or of Priyaki deer, or of Praveni deer, or as a matter of fact the skins of best breed of deer or sheep will not be match to the deerskin of this deer, insofar as the soft-touch is concerned. [3-43-36]
Kadali, Priaki and Avi are the names of breed of deer that yield best deerskins. It is said in amara kosha: kadalii kandalii ciinaH ca camuuru priyakaH; amii ajina yonayaH; avayaH shaila meSa arka Kadali is the deer with white stripes on its neck that lives in a big burrows. Priyaki will have thick brown and black hair and these yield the best and soft deerskin for sitting. AviH is the sheep in breed. The word Praveni may perhaps not of a breed of deer as said in amara kosha: aiNeya meNyaaH carmaadyameNaH aiNam ubhe triSu Thus it conveys the meaning aiNeya, the best deer belonging to doe, and aiNa, belonging to buck. Some take this praveNi as a separate breed whose dictionary meaning is completely different than that of deer.
eṣa caiva mṛgaḥ śrīmān yaḥ ca divyo nabhaḥ caraḥ |
ubhau etau mṛgau divyau tārāmṛga mahīmṛgau || 3-43-37
37. shriimaan eSa mR^igaH ca eva = magnificent one, this, deer, also, thus; nabhaH caraH = in sky, moving [deer]; yaH ca divyaH = which, also, best one; is there, that one; divyau etau = divine, these two; taaraa mR^iga = in stars, deer - in stellar region, i.e., in Orion or in moon; mahii mR^igau = on earth, deer; ubhau mR^igau = [only these] two, [are the divine] deer.
"Only two divine deer are there, this magnificent deer on earth, and the other that moves in skies remaining in stellar region. [3-43-37]
The deer in skies is taken in two ways; one, the deer in the moon and the other, the Orion constellation, mR^iga shiirSa, mR^iga shira 'deer, as its head,' i.e., the deer-like stars in the head of Orion, where East takes this Orion as the 'hunted' and West takes it as the 'hunter', in which 'hunting' is common. And Rama wants to hunt down the reality of the deer. But Lakshmana may still insist saying, 'maybe, only these two deer are the unavailable objects. We cannot leap up to skies to catch hold of those deer-like stars, or the deer in the moon. Equally this tricky deer on earth is uncatchable. Thereby getting its skin is also that dreamy.' For this Rama explains his duty in his next course of action, viz., killing the demon.
yadi vā ayam tathā yat mām bhavet vadasi lakṣmaṇa |
māyā eṣā rākṣasasya iti kartavyo asya vadho mayā || 3-43-38
38. lakSmaNa = oh, Lakshmana; eSaa raakSasasya maayaa iti = this is, demon's, wizardry, thus; maam yat vadasi = to me, what, you told; tathaa ayam bhavet = that way, this, results in, [wizardry of demon]; yadi vaa = if, else - even then - if he is a demon; mayaa asya vadhaH kartavyaH [bhavet] = by me, its [deer/ demon's,] killing, is the duty [that results in; ellipses : if this deer happens to be Maareecha, he is eliminable, from verse 40.
"You are telling me that 'this is the wizardry of the demon.' Even then, Lakshmana, if this results in that way as a demon's wizardry, my duty also results in the elimination of that deer. [3-43-38]
etena hi nṛśaṃsena mārīcena akṛta ātmanā |
vane vicaratā pūrvam hiṃsitā muni puṃgavāḥ || 3-43-39
39. [yadi = if this is Maareecha, by him]; nR^ishamsena = by heinous one; akR^ita aatmanaa hi = by vicious, souled one, indeed; vane vicarataa = in forest, on the prowl; etena maariicena = by such, Maareecha; puurvam muni pungavaaH himsitaaH = earlier, sages, eminent, are tortured.
"If this deer is Maareecha, this heinous and vicious-souled demon has indeed tortured many eminent sages earlier when was on the prowl in the forests, thus he is eliminable. [3-43-39]
utthāya bahavo anena mṛgayāyām janādhipāḥ |
nihatāḥ parama iṣvāsāḥ tasmāt vadhyaḥ tu ayam mṛgaḥ || 3-43-40
40. anena = by him; utthaaya = uprising [rising against, rebelliously]; mR^igayaayaam = in game of hunting; bahavaH parama iSvaasaaH = many, excellent, bow wielders [archers]; janaadhipaaH = kings; nihataaH = were killed; tasmaat tu = for that reason, at least; ayam mR^igaH vadhyaH = this, deer/beast, is eradicable.
"He rebelliously killed many kings who are excellent archers while they were in hunting games, at least for that reason this bestial monster is eradicable. [3-43-40]
The last word in second foot mR^iga is also identifiable with 'beast' thus a bestial monster.
purastāt iha vātāpiḥ paribhūya tapasvinaḥ |
udarastho dvijān hanti sva garbho aśvatarīm iva || 3-43-41
41. purastaat iha vaataapiH = earlier, here, Vaataapi [demon]; tapasvinaH paribhuuya = holding in contempt, ascetics; udara sthaH = in stomach, staying; ashvatariim = of a mare; sva garbhaH iva = one's own, womb, [mother's,] as with; dvijaan hanti = Brahmans, he used to kill.
"Demon Vaataapi who held ascetics in contempt was here earlier, and staying in the stomachs of Brahmans he used to come out by ripping their stomachs open and thus he was killing Brahmans, like a mare-calf killing its own mother at its time of birth by ripping the womb of its own mother. [3-43-41]
The legend of Vaataapi is said in detail in chapter 11 of this Aranya Kanda when Rama and others were going to Agastya's hermitage.
sa kadācit cirāt lobhāt āsasāda mahāmunim |
agastyam tejasā yuktam bhakṣyaḥ tasya babhūva ha || 3-43-42
42. saH = he Vaataapi; ciraat = after some time; kadaacit = on one occasion; lobhaat = avariciously; tejasaa yuktam = effulgence, one endowed with; mahaa munim agastyam = great-saint Agastya; aasasaada = obtained; tasya = to him, to Agastya; bhakSyaH babhuuva = an eatable, he became - demon became; ha = actually.
"On one occasion after some time, that Vaataapi avariciously obtained that great-saint and the one who is endowed with effulgent, namely Agastya, as an eatable, but actually that demon has became an eatable to the sage. [3-43-42]
samutthāne ca tat rūpam kartu kāmam samīkṣya tam |
utsmayitvā tu bhagavān vātāpim idam abravīt || 3-43-43
43. sam utthaane = in the matter of getting up - demon's coming out from the stomach of the sage; tat ruupam kartu kaamam = that, aspect, [demon's aspect,] to make [when trying to renew demon's form,] when demon was intending to; bhagavaan samiikSya = god - godly saint Agastya, on observing; tam utsmayitvaa tu = him [at demon,] [with a scornful] smile, but; vaataapim idam abraviit = to Vaataapi, this, spoke.
"On observing the demon Vaataapi who is trying to assume his original form of demon in order to come out of his stomach, that godly saint Agastya spoke this to Vaataapi with a scornful smile. [3-43-43]
tvayā avigaṇya vātāpe paribhūtāḥ ca tejasā |
jīva loke dvija śreṣṭhāḥ tasmāt asi jarām gataḥ || 3-43-44
44. vaataape = oh, Vaataapi; jiiva loke = somatic, world - on earth, in this world; dvija shreSThaaH = in Brahmans, the best ones; tvayaa = by you; avigaNya = a vi gaNya = not, verily, counting - without taking into account - disregarding irreverently; tejasaa ca = by [your] might, also; pari bhuutaaH = insulted - blasphemed, killed; tasmaat jaraam gataH asi = therefore, into digestion, gone, you are you are digested by me.
" 'Oh, Vaataapi, you have irreverently eradicated the best Brahmans in this world owing to your might, therefore I have assimilated you.' So said sage Agastya to Vaataapi. [3-43-44]
tat etat na bhavet rakṣo vātāpiḥ iva lakṣmaṇa |
mat vidham yo atimanyeta dharma nityam jitendriyam || 3-43-45
bhavet hato ayam vātāpiḥ agastyena iva mā gataḥ |
45, 46a. lakSmaNa = oh, Lakshmana; vaataapiH iva = Vaataapi, as with; etat tat = this, that - such a; rakSaH = demon - Maareecha; na bhavet = not, will be there; yaH = which - demon; dharma nityam = righteousness, one who is always abiding; jitendriyam = self-controlled one; mat vidham = one who is of my, kind of; him; ati manyeta [ava manyeta] = lowly, regards - disregards; ayam maa gataH = he, me, on getting at [confronting, if he provokes]; agastyena vaataapiH iva = by Agastya, Vaataapi, as with; hataH bhavet = killed, he will be.
"Lakshmana, such a demon who is like Vaataapi will not be there any more. He who disregards someone of my kind, who always abides in righteousness and who is self-controlled, such a demon will be eliminated as sage Agastya has eliminated demon Vaataapi, if that demon happens to get at me. [3-43-45, 46a]
iha tvam bhava saṃnaddho yaṃtrito rakṣa maithilīm || 3-43-46
asyām āyattam asmākam yat kṛtyam raghunaṃdana |
46b, 47a. raghunandana = oh, Raghu's, descendent - Lakshmana; tvam iha sannaddhaH bhava = you, here, preparedly, you be [stay here]; yantritaH maithiliim rakSa = attentively, Maithili, you safeguard; asmaakam yat kR^ityam = = of our, which, enterprise is there; that is; asyaam aayattam = in her, founded.
"Oh, Lakshmana, the descendent of Raghu, you stay here in all preparedness and guard Maithili steadfastly, whatever enterprise of ours is there that is founded in her. [3-43-46b, 47a]
The first foot 'she is the basis of our mission' is a debated expression. Their mission is to eliminate Ravana. Seetha as Vedavati, an earlier incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, vows to eliminate Ravana when she comes to earth as Seetha. Then Rama should have said 'look Lakshmana, our task is to kill Ravana, for that Ravana has to kidnap Seetha, and to make that kidnapping possible do not guard her.' Can he say so? Neither Rama, nor any ordinary husband can say so. Then this predictive sentence becomes self-contrary. Contrariwise, taking some concessions of grammar, because most of Ramayana is un-Paninian, Rama is indirectly hinting Lakshmana that something is immanent, because 'after the elimination of demons like Khara, Duushana nothing drastic has happened, but a queer deer has come, and thus something may now happen.' Then, if this asyaam is given to kartavyam 'the enterprise' as tasmin then the connection is: asmaakam yat kR^ityam asyaam [tasmin] aayattam asaama 'for us, which, enterprise is there, in that, circumspect, we shall be' 'Which enterprise is there for us individually, in that we both shall conduct separately and circumspectly, and you do your job of guarding Seetha and I mine in bringing the deer or its skin, duly eliminating that conjuring demon.' In such a case, the blemish soothsaying or prophesising will not occur to Rama, in saying 'Seetha as the pivotal character is to be kidnapped by Ravana' etc. In fact, Rama is the person who is more beguiled by the deer.
aham enam vadhiṣyāmi grahīṣyāmi athavā mṛgam || 3-43-47
yāvat gacchāmi saumitre mṛgam ānayitum drutam |
47b, 48a. saumitre = oh, Soumitri; aham enam mR^igam grahiiSyaami = I wish to catch, I, this, deer, athavaa = if not; vadhiSyaami = wish to kill; mR^igam aanayitum = deer, to fetch; drutam = forthwith; yaavat gacChaami = I will go.
"I wish to catch this deer, Soumitri, if not I will kill it, and I will be going forthwith to fetch the deer. [3-43-47b, 48a]
paśya lakṣmaṇa vaidehīm mṛga tvaci gatām spṛhām || 3-43-48
tvacā pradhānayā hi eṣa mṛgo adya na bhaviṣyati |
48b, 49a. lakSmaNa = oh, Lakshmana; mR^iga tvaci gataam spR^ihaam = on deer, skin, reached [overtaken by,] one with such a percept; vaidehiim pashya = at Vaidehi; pradhaanayaa tvacaa hi = = by distinctiveness of [strangeness of,] deerskin, indeed; eSa mR^igaH adya na bhaviSyati = this, deer, now, not, will be there - survives.
"Lakshmana, see how Vaidehi's percept is overtaken by deerskin. Indeed by the strangeness of its skin that deer must be a mysterious being, hence, it will not survive now. [3-43-48]
apramattena te bhāvyam āśramasthena sītayā || 3-43-49
yāvat pṛṣatam ekena sāyakena nihanmi aham |
hatvā etat carma ca ādāya śīghram eṣyāmi lakṣmaṇa || 3-43-50
49b, 50. lakSmaNa = oh, Lakshmana; aashramasthena = staying in hermitage; te = to you [by you]; siitayaa = with Seetha; apramattena bhaavyam = vigilantly, think out - apply yourself; pR^iSatam = spotted deer; ekena saayakena = with one, arrow; aham yaavat nihanmi = I will, kill; hatvaa etat carma ca aadaaya = on killing, that, skin, also, on taking; [taavat] shiighram eSyaami = [so soon,] quickly, comeback.
"Oh, Lakshmana, apply yourself vigilantly while staying in hermitage along with Seetha. So soon as I go I will be felling that spotted deer with one arrow and returning quickly. [3-43-49b, 50]
The ambiguity is whether Rama is going for the deer, or deerskin, or for the latent demon. He is going for the deer epically, for the memento of deerskin to Seetha as a hero of the epic, and for the demon in deer, according to mythology.
pradakṣiṇena atibalena pakṣiṇā
jaṭāyuṣā buddhimatā ca lakṣmaṇa |
bhava apramattaḥ pratigṛhya maithilīm
prati kṣaṇam sarvata eva śankitaḥ || 3-43-51
51. lakSmaNa = oh, Lakshmana; maithiliim = Maithili; prati gR^ihya = well, taking - taking care for; prati kSaNam = every, spilt-second; sarvataH eva = from everywhere, thus; shankitaH = remaining suspicious; pradakSiNena atibalena pakSiNaa = forthright, formidable, with bird; buddhimataa jaTaayuSaa ca = with sagacious [fatherly bird,] with Jatayu, also; a pramattaH = without, laxity - watchfully; bhava = you shall be.
"Oh, Lakshmana, you be here taking care of Maithili along with the forthright, formidable and fatherly bird Jatayu, and be watchful and suspicious from everywhere and every split-second." Thus Rama spoke to Lakshmana and started to go after the deer [3-43-51]
Lure for Golden Deer
Poor Seetha, she could not romanticise the Golden Deer better than Rama. Then it may be asked 'what is the necessity for Rama to romanticise and compare it to the skyey star-deer and others. Is it for the deer or for the deerskin?' This is the unanswered question. 'It is for the deer alone but not its skin,' said so in reply by some. If it were to be for the deerskin, from the view point of Rama, he could have shot his arrow from where he is standing, which arrow miraculously pierces any terrain, kills the deer, and safely comes back into his quiver, as in the case of showing his prowess to Sugreeva. Otherwise, Rama should have turned down the request of Seetha, as he did in the ninth chapter of this Aranya Kanda, when she was saying: 'where that weapon? Where this forest? Where the principles of Kshatriya? And where is the sageness? All this is inconsistent... By us, let the laws of the land be esteemed...' as at 3-9-27. When kings come into such a sort of allurement, many wise men quote this instance of Rama's going after the deer as a reminder to them, as in Maha Bharata.
asambhavam hema mR^igasya janma - tathaapi raamo lulubhe mR^igaaya |
praayaH samaasanna vipatti kaale - dhiyo pu~Nsaam malinii bhavanti ||
"Impossible is the birth of a Golden Deer, even then Rama is lured, if time is perilous, even the best man's brain deranges.'
karmaNaa baadhyate buddhiH - na buddhyaa karma baadhyate |
subuddhiH api yat raamo - haimam hariNiim anvagaat ||
Fate harasses the faculty, faculty cannot harass the fate, even the cleverest Rama, went after the Golden Deer.
na bhuuto puurvo na ca kena dR^iShTo - hema kura~Ngo na kadaa api vaartaa |
tathaa api tR^iShNaa raghunandanasya - vinaasha kaale vipariita buddhiH ||
Unborn it was, none has seen yet, nor mentioned about it, such is the mirage of Rama. Parlous time causes perilous percipience.
Hence Rama's going after the deer is for the deerskin, on one count, and for the deer itself, on the other as affirmed by Lakshmana because Lakshmana never says untruth. This Maareecha is recurrently falling after Rama. Once an accident, twice a coincidence, but thrice... a habituation... and it become habitual for Maareecha to dare Rama. Hence, Rama has to do something to Maareecha, permanently.
The other view according to puranic/mythological sayings is that god endows whatever you seek. But that god alone says: 'Seek you will get it, but seek not by the extrinsic values of objects.' This saying has it counterpart at: 'Every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth.' St Matthew, p[Ch. 7, v. 8] The Bible. But 'seek something within the nature, according to your nature... but not the supernatural... for eyes belie the nature of objects...' is the essence here. He/she who seeks beyond means will have to suffer, either by getting it or devoid of it. This is said in innuendo at 3-43-33, that 'the results of pipedreams fill the coffers of Shukra.'
Further, because parlous time has come to Rama and Seetha, epically, providentially, and episodically, Rama has to move away from Seetha. While going after the deer, Rama says much to Lakshmana about the security to Seetha and also informs him that 'she is pivotal to our mission.' He did not say these many farewells when sending Seetha and Lakshmana for hiding in a cave at the time of elimination Khara, Duushana, and the other fourteen thousand demons. At one time Rama spared Maareecha's life in the forest of Tataka while guarding Vishwamitra's ritual, only to cause Maareecha to come now. As such, Rama has to go after Maareecha. Besides, Seetha or Goddess Lakshmi will let none killed in her presence.
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iti vālmīki rāmāyaṇe ādi kāvye araṇya kāṇḍe tri catvāriṃśaḥ sargaḥ
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© Sept, 2002, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : September 04]