Rama after killing demon Viradha enters the hermitage of Sage Sharabhanga, as advised by the dying demon Viradha in the previous episode. Sage Sharabhanga refuses the invitation of Indra to come to heaven, but awaits the arrival of Rama to see him with his own eyes. After seeing Rama, Seetha and Lakshmana, and also showing next course of their journey, that Sage enters the yogic fire and ascends to Brahma's abode.
hatvā tu tam bhīma balam virādham rākṣasam vane |
tataḥ sītām pariṣvajya samāśvāsya ca vīryavān || 3-5-1
abravīt bhrātaram rāmo lakṣmaṇam dīpta tejasam |
1. viiryavaan = courageous Rama; bhiima balam raakshasam tam viraadham vane hatvaa = stupendously, mighty, demon, that, Viradha, in forest, on killing; tataH siithaam parishvajya = then, Seetha, on embracing; samaasvaasya cha = comforting her, also; diipta tejasam bhraataram lakshmanam abraviit = to one beaming, with resplendence, to brother, to Lakshmana, said.
After killing that stupendously mighty demon Viradha in forest, then Rama comfortingly embraced Seetha, and spoke to his brother Lakshmana who is beaming forth with resplendence. [3-5-1]
kaṣṭam vanam idam durgam na ca smo vana gocarāḥ || 3-5-2
abhigacchāmahe śīghram śarabhaṅgam tapo dhanam |
2b, 3a. idam dur gam vanam kaSTam = this, impassable, forest, is causing difficulties; na cha vana gocharaaH smaH = not, also, forest inhabitants, we are; shiighram tapaH dhanam sharabhangam abhi gacChaamahe = quickly, in ascesis, wealthy, to Sharabhanga, we will go.
"Difficult is this impassable forest, nor we are forest inhabitants either... let's go quickly to that ascetically rich sage Sharabhanga..." [3-5-2b, 3a]
āśramam śarabhangasya rāghavo.abhijagāma ha || 3-5-3
tasya deva prabhāvasya tapasā bhāvita ātmanaḥ |
samīpe śarabhaṃgasya dadarśa mahat adbhutam ||3-5-4
3b, 4. raaghavaH sharabhangansya aashramam abhijagaama ha = Rama, of Sharabhanga, to hermitage, approached, indeed; tasya deva prabhaavasya = one who has divine, effect ; tapasaa = by ascesis; bhaavita aatmanaH = purified, soul; tasya sharabhangasya samiipe mahat adbhutam dadarsha = at his, [hermitage's,] nearby, great, wonder, has seen.
On his approach at the hermitage of Sage Sharabhanga, a sage with a divine effect and the one with a purified soul, saw a great wonder at the nearby of that hermitage of Sharabhanga.[3-5-3b, 4]
vibhrājamānam vapuṣā sūrya vaiśvānara prabham |
ratha pravaram ārūḍham ākāśe vibudha anugam || 3-5-5
asaṃspṛśantam vasudhām dadarśa vibudha īśvaram |
saṃprabha ābharaṇam devam virajo aṃbara dhāriṇam || 3-5-6
tat vidhaiḥ eva bahubhir pūjyamānam mahātmabhiḥ |
5, 6, 7a. aaakaashe = in sky; ratha pravaram aaruuDham = chariot, the great, mounted on; a samspR^ishantam vasudhaam = without, touching, earth; vibudha vapushaa vibhraajamaanam = with body, radiant; suurya vaishvanara prabham = Sun, Fire, in radiance; anugam = divinities, attending him; sam prabha aabharaNam = one who has greatly, brilliant, ornaments; vi rajaH ambara dhaariNam = without, dirt [spotless,] cloths, clad in; tat vidhiaH eva = that, sort of, only; bahubhiH= many more; puujamaanaam mahaatmabhiH = adored, by great souls; devam vibudha iishvaram dadarsha = lord of three worlds, Indra, is seen.
Rama has seen Indra, the lord of three worlds, with a radiant body that has the coupled radiance of Sun and Fire, mounted on a great chariot that does not touch the earth, wearing greatly brilliant ornaments and attired in spotless dress, while the other divinities are attending, and many more selfsame great-souls are worshipping him. [3-5-5, 6, 7a]
haritaiḥ vājibhir yuktam aṃtarikṣa gatam ratham || 3-5-7
dadarśa adūrataḥ tasya taruṇa āditya saṃnibham |
pāṇḍura abhra ghana prakhyam candra maṇḍala saṃnibham || 3-5-8
7b, 8. tasya a duurataH haritaiH vaajibhiH yuktam = his, not, distantly [very nearby,] green, horses, yoked with; taruNa aaditya sannibham = noontime, sun, like in shine; paaNDuura abhra ghana prakhyam = white, clouds, cluster, similar to; chandra maNDala sannibham = moon's, sphere, akin to; antariksha gatam ratham = in firmament, traversing, chariot [of Indra] [raamaH] dadarsha = Rama, saw.
Rama saw at his very nearby a chariot yoked with green horses that traverses in firmament, which in its splendour is either like the noontime sun, or a cluster of silver clouds, or like the silvern sphere of the moon. [3-5-7b, 8]
apaśyat vimalam chatram citra mālya upaśobhitam |
cāmara vyajane ca agrye rukma daṇḍe mahādhane || 3-5-9
gṛhīte vara nārībhyām dhūyamāne ca mūrdhani |
9, 10a. apashyat vi malam Chatram = saw, without stain, parasol [imperial umbrella]; chitra maalya upashobhitam = marvellously, with garlands, shining forth; chaamara vyajane cha = chamara, [the royal fanning instruments,] also; agrye = exemplary; rukma daNDe = with golden, handles; mahaadhane = invaluable ones; gR^ihiite vara nariibhyaam = taking [handling,] best, females; dhuumayaane cha = fanning, also; muurdhani = at head side [of Indra.]
He saw the stainless parasol of Indra, marvellously garlanded and shining forth, and the exemplary and invaluable royal fanning instruments with golden handles, which two best female celestials are handling and fanning at Indra's head sides with them. [3-5-9, 10a]
Comment: The royal umbrella and fanning instruments of Hindu order are of particular type, in comparison with their European counterparts. These chamara instruments will be made from the bushy long, silver-white hair of chamara animal, a Himalayan beast, [Bos grunniens] and the hair will be studded into a golden or silver handle. These are not for actual air circulation but they are royal insignias.
gandharva amara siddhāḥ ca bahavaḥ parama ṛṣayaḥ || 3-5-10
antarikṣa gatam devam gīrbhir agryābhir aiḍiyan |
10b, 11a. gandharva amara siddhaas cha = gandharva-s, amara-s, siddha-s, [the celestial beings,] also; bahavaH parama R^ishayaH = many, great, sages; antariksha gatam devam = in firmament, staying, deity [ Indra]; giirbhiH agryaabhiH aiDayan = with hymns, best ones, extolling.
And the celestials like gandharva-s, amara-s, siddhaa-s and very many great sages as well are extolling Indra who is abiding in firmament. [3-5-10b, 11a]
saha saṃbhāṣamāṇe tu śarabhaṃgena vāsave || 3-5-11
dṛṣṭvā śata kratum tatra rāmo lakṣmaṇam abravīt |
11b, 12a. tatra = there; vaasave = Indra; saha sambhaaSamaaNe tu = with, while talking to; sharabhangena = with Sharabhanga; dR^iSTvaa shata kratum = on seeing, hundred, rituals, [ of, viz. Indra]; Rama; lakshmanam = to Lakshmana; abraviit = spoke.
On seeing Indra speaking there to sage Sharabhanga, Rama spoke to Lakshmana. [3-5-11b, 12a]
rāmo.atha ratham uddiśya bhrātur darśayata adbhutam || 3-5-12
arciṣmantam śriyā juṣṭam adbhutam paśya lakṣmaṇa |
pratapantam iva ādityam antarikṣa gatam ratham || 3-5-13
12b, 13. Rama; atha = then; ratham uddishya = then, chariot, on pointing out; adbhutam lakshmanaaya pradarshayan = his amazement, to Lakshmana, on showing; oh, Lakshmana; archiSmantam shriyaa juSTam adbhutam = effulgence, auspiciousness, included, wonderful; pratapantam iva aadityam = highly luminous, like, the Sun; antariksha gatam ratham = in firmament, abiding, that chariot; pashya = you see.
Rama then on pointing out the chariot expressed his own amazement saying, "Lakshmana see this wonderful chariot that includes effulgence and auspiciousness as well, and that abides in firmament, and highly luminous like the Sun... [3-5-12b, 13]
ye hayāḥ puru hūtasya purā śakrasya naḥ śrutāḥ |
antarikṣa gatā divyāḥ te ime harayo dhruvam || 3-5-14
14. puru huutasya = Chief, Invitee, [in rituals, Indra]; Shakrasya = of Indra; ye hayaaH = those, horses; naH shrutaa = we, heard of; te harayoH = th0se, green horses; antariiksha gatta = in firmament, abiding; divyaaH ime = divine, they, dhruvam = definitely.
"Of which horses we have earlier heard from our teachers telling that they belong to Indra, the Chief Invitee in Vedic rituals, they are these divinely green horses that now abide in the firmament, and definitely these must be Indra's horses... [3-5-14]
ime ca puruṣa vyāghra ye tiṣṭhanti abhitaḥ diśam |
śatam śatam kuṇḍalino yuvānaḥ khaḍga pāṇayaḥ || 3-5-15
vistīrṇa vipula uraskāḥ parighāyata bāhavaḥ |
śoṇāṃśu vasanāḥ sarve vyāghra iva durāsadāḥ || 3-5-16
uro deśeṣu sarveṣām hārā jvalana saṃnibhāḥ |
rūpam bibhrati saumitre paṃca viṃśati vārṣikam || 3-5-17
15, 16, 17. puruSa vyaaghraH = oh, manly-tiger; Soumitri; disham abhitaH = quarters [here Indra - Indra is all quarters,] around; ye shatam shatam = those, hundreds, hundreds; kuNDalinaH khaDga paaNayaH = with ear-ornaments, swords, in hands; vistiirNa vipula uraskaa = wide, broad, chested ones; parigha aayata baahavaH = round-club, shaped, arms; shoNa amshu vasanaa = red, glimmering, garments; yuvaanaH = youths are there; ime sarve = these, all; vyaaghra iva = all, tiger, like; dur aasadaa = un-approachable ones; sarveshaam = for all of them; uraH desheSu = on chest, place; jvalana sannibhaaH = fire, in similitude; haaraaH = ornamental chains are there; pancha vimshati varshakam = five, and twenty, years of age; ruupam bibhrati = that appearance, they [always] bear.
"And oh, manly-tiger Lakshmana, those that are there in hundreds and hundreds around Indra, those youthful ones with their ear-ornaments and swords in hands, with wide and broad chests, with club shaped arms, and clad in glimmering red garments, all are like tigers, all are unapproachable, all of them are wearing ornamental chains on their chest-place that are akin to flaring fires, and in their appearance, Soumitri, they always bear a look of twenty-five-year-olds... [3-5-15, 16, 17]
etaddhi kila devānām vayo bhavati nityadā |
yathā ime puruṣa vyāghrā dṛśyante priya darśanāḥ || 3-5-18
18. priya darshanaH = nice-looking; ime puruSa vyaaghraaH = these, manly-tigers; yathaa dR^ishyante = as to how, they appear now; etat devaanaam vayaH nityadaa bhavati kila = this alone, for gods, age, constantly, remains, they say; [elliptic: for they are immortals and they will be ever young.]
"The age factor of gods remains constant at the age that appears for these nice-looking Tigerly-men, so they say... for gods are immortals and they will be ever young... [3-5-18]
iha eva saha vaidehyā muhūrtam tiṣṭha lakṣmaṇa |
yāvat jānāmi aham vyaktam ka eṣa dyutimān rathe || 3-5-19
19. iha eva sha vaidehyaa = here, only, with Vaidehi; muhuurtam tiSTa = for a moment, stay; Lakshmana; yaavat jaanaami aham vyaktam = until, know, I shall, clearly; kaH eSa dyutimaan rathe = who is, such, a resplendent one, on chariot.
"Stay for a moment Lakshmana along with Vaidehi, until I know clearly about that resplendent one on that chariot... [3-5-19]
tam evam uktvā saumitrim iha eva sthīyatām iti |
abhicakrāma kākutsthaḥ śarabhaṃga āśramam prati || 3-5-20
20. iha eva sthiiyataam iti = here, only, stay, thus; tam saumitrim evam uktvaa = him, to Soumitri, thus, on saying; kaakutshhaH = Kakustha scion, Rama; sharabhanga; aashramam prati = hermitage, towards; abhichakraamaH = proceeded.
On saying to Lakshmana 'stay there only...' Rama proceeded towards the hermitage of Sage Sharabhanga.. [3-5-20]
tataḥ samabhigacchantam prekṣya rāmam śacī patiḥ |
śarabhaṃgam anujñāpya vibudhān idam abravīt || 3-5-21
21. tataH = abhigacchantam = then, arriving there; prekshya raamam = on seeing, Rama; shachii patiH = Shachi's husband [Indra]; sharabhangam = by Sage Sharabhanga; anuj~naapya = bade farewell to; vibudhaan = to celestials; idam abraviit = this, spoke.
Then, on seeing Rama arriving there, Indra, bade farewell to Sage Sharabhanga and said this to the celestials attending him. [3-5-21]
iha upayāti asau rāmo yāvan mām na abhibhāṣate |
niṣṭhām nayata tāvat tu tato mā draṣṭum arhati || 3-5-22
jitavantam kṛtārtham hi tadā aham acirād imam |
karma hi anena kartavyam mahat anyaiḥ suduṣkaram || 3-5-23
22, 23. asau raamaH = that, Rama; iha upayaati = here, he comes; yaavat = until [before]; maam na abhibhaaSate = with me, not, going to talk; taavat = till then; niSTaam na yata = his vow, not, tried - not going to fructify; tataH = there afterwards; maa = me; draSTum arhati = to see, he is eligible; jitavantam kR^ita artham = [when he becomes] victorious one, accomplished one; imam = him; aham = I will; a chiraat = not, long after [very soon]; tadaa = then; [I will see]; anena = by him; mahat = a great work; karma hi = deed, indeed; kartavyam = to be performed; anyaiH = by others; su duSkaram = highly, impossible.
"Here comes that Rama...before he talks to me, you lead him towards his vow, after completing the result of his incarnation, then only he is eligible to see me... Let him be a victorious and accomplished one, then I will see him very soon...for that will happen very soon... A great deed is to be verily performed by him that is highly impossible for others... [3-5-22, 23
Comment: This verse in Gorakhpur version is said to be containing improper word placements thus confusing in its meaning. Some ancient manuscripts are said to contain this as,
karma hi anena kartavyam mahad devaiH suduShkaram |
niShTa na yaato yaavaddhi taava nna draShTum arhasi ||
The same verse in Dharmaakuutam is like this,
karma hi anena kartavyam mahad anyaiH su duShkaram |
niShpadayitvaa tat karma tato maam draShTum arhasi ||
In any case, the import is this "Now he that Rama can not talk to me, and after getting the results of his incarnation, i.e., elimination of Ravana, then only he can see me..."
atha vajrī tam āmaṃtrya mānayitvā ca tāpasam |
rathena haya yuktena yayau divam arindamaḥ || 3-5-24
24. atha = then; arindamaH = enemy-destroyer; vajrii aamantrya = then, Vajra wielder [Indra,] him [that sage,] bade farewell; tam = him; taapasam = the sage [Sharabhanga]; maanayitvaa cha = having adored, also; rathena = by chariot; haya yuktena = horses, with; yayau = travelled; divam = to heavens.
Then that Enemy-destroyer Indra adoringly bade farewell to the sage, and travelled to heavens by the chariot with its green horses. [3-5-24]
Comment: Vishnu is said to have instructed all the divinities to not to talk to him during his human incarnation on earth as Rama. If any divine being comes into direct contact and conducts a dialogue, Rama's identity as Vishnu is revealed, and Ravana will apprehend that and then revokes his boon of not to be killed by any divine being. As long as Ravana believes Rama to be a human being, so long he dares any human to confront, because he slighted humans when seeking his boon. Ravana can be ended only by Rama, but not by others. Hence, Indra departed from there before the arrival of Rama.
prayāte tu sahasrākṣe rāghavaḥ saparicchadaḥ |
agni hotram upāsīnam śarabhaṃgam upāgamat || 3-5-25
25. prayaate tu sahasra akshe = on transit of, Thousand-eyed [ Indra]; sa pari cChadaH = with, his [enclosures, attendants] adherents; Raghava; upa aagamat = nearby, came; agnihotram upa aasiinam = fire-alter, nearby, sitting -- Sharabhanga.
On the transit of that Thousand-eyed Indra, Raghava with his adherents [namely Lakshmana and Seetha,] came nearby the Sage Sharabhanga, who is sitting nearby the altar of fire. [3-5-25]
The word paricChada means, that which encloses anything, apart from its ordinary meaning, attendants, retinue etc. Here the enclosures for Rama are Seetha and Lakshmana. As with any deity in a sanctum sanctorum, who is enclosed by impregnable walls and sanctimonious atmosphere, Rama is enclosed by that impregnable Lakshmana like a firewall, where the sanctimonious environ is the presence of Seetha, near at Rama.
tasya pādau ca saṃgṛhya rāmaḥ sītā ca lakṣmaṇaḥ |
niṣeduḥ tad anujñātā labdha vāsā nimaṃtritāḥ || 3-5-26
26. Rama; Seetha; Lakshmana; tasya paadau samgR^ihya = his, feet, on taking to [touching]; labdha vaasaa = obtaining, shelter [say, for that day and for first time]; nimantritaH = invited; samanuj~naataa = permitted; niSeduH = sat down.
Touching the feet of that Sage Sharabhanga Rama along with Seetha and Lakshmana, and duly permitted and invited by that Sage Sharabhanga they sat there, as they obtained a shelter. [3-5-26]
tataḥ śakra upayānam tu paryapṛcchata rāghavaḥ |
śarabhaṃgaḥ ca tat sarvam rāghavāya nyavedayat || 3-5-27
27. tataH = then; Raghava; shakra upa yaanam pariapR^icChata = about Indra's, arrival, inquired after; Sharabhanga also; raaghvaaya = to Raghava; tat sarvam = that, all; nyavedayat = narrated.
Then, Raghava enquired with sage about the arrival of Indra and Sage Sharabhanga narrated all that to him. [3-5-27]
mām eṣa varado rāma brahma lokam ninīṣati |
jitam ugreṇa tapasā duṣprāpam akṛta ātmabhiḥ || 3-5-28
28. O, Rama; varadaH eSa = boon-giver, this Indra; ugreNa tapasaa jitam = by arduous, ascesis, won over; a kR^ita aatmabhiH = by unconquered, selves; dusH praapam = unattainable; brahma lokam = to Brahma's abode; maam = me; niniiSati = wishes to take.
"Oh! Rama, that boon-giver Indra wishes to take me to Brahma's abode, which is achieved by me by my arduous ascesis and that which is unattainable for them with their souls unconquered... [3-5-28]
aham jñātvā nara vyāghra vartamānam adūrataḥ |
brahma lokam na gacchāmi tvām adṛṣṭvā priya atithim || 3-5-29
29. nara vyaaghra = manly tiger; aham = I; priya atithim = dear, guest; j~naatvaa = on knowing; tvaam = you; vartamaanam = [you are] coursing;a duurataH = not, distantly; a dRiSTvaa brahma lokam na gacChaami = without seeing [you,] to Brahma's abode, I am [not wishing] to go.
"On knowing that you are course is nearby, oh! Manly-tiger, and without seeing my dear guest I do not wish to go to Brahma's abode... [3-5-29]
Sage Sharabhanga, with his sixth sense came to know that Vishnu is coming this way and will become his dear guest. He thus is obliged to receive Rama in his hermitage. It is his first priority than escaping to Brahma's abode. The sage with his own arduous penance attained that travel to Brahma's heavens and he can go there anytime. But seeing Rama, who is now a human incarnate, with his own human eyes is prime ordeal to that Sage. Secondly, ascending to heavens with mortal body is an impracticable affair. Hence the mortal body is to be cast off here only. If that mortal body is cast off, as per the request of Indra, the sage's mortal eyes cannot see Rama, for Rama leaves this earth after fulfilling his vow of eradicating evil, and equally, a Sage of high order like Sharabhanga, on going to Brahma's abode will not return as an earthling. Hence seeing and receiving Rama is his priority now.
tvayā aham puruṣavyāghra dhārmikeṇa mahatmanāa |
samāgaṃya gamiṣyāmi tridivam ca avaram param || 3-5-30
30. puruSa vyaaghra = manly-tiger; aham = I; dhaarmikeNa = virtuous one; mahaatmanaH = great soul; tvayaa= with you; samaagamya = having met; a varam = undesirable [lesser] heavens; param = higher heavens. tri divam = uppermost/Brahma's abode; gamiSyaami = wish to go to.
" Having met with you, a virtuous one and a great soul as you are, oh, manly-tiger, I wish to go through undesirable lesser heavens to Brahma's abode, the highest [3-5-30]
In Gorakhpur version it is avaram, a+varam . The translation will therefore be 'undesirable heavens/lesser heavens...' If there is difference between paradise and heaven, this lesser one is paradise; the ordinary swarga of Indra, where the departed soul's merit is metered and count down starts with the enjoyment of heavenly comforts. As and when the accumulated merit neutralises there, that soul has to take rebirth in the karmic cycle. kshiiNe puNye martya lokam pravishanti... This sage does not wish to go there, because he earned fartherest heavens like Brahma's abode or tridiva patham etc., by his penance. And those lesser heavens are as cited by Krishna in Bhagavad Gita aabrahma bhavanaallokaaH punaraavR^itti na arjuna... 8-16: and here Krishna also says maam upetyatu... 'In me repose yourself...' This 'Me,' is tridivam... and tripaadvibuuti , as cited by puruSa suukta n its hymn paadosya vishvaa bhuutaani, tripaadasya amR^itam divi...' etc. Dharmaakootam puts it as brahma lokam gamiSyaami tridivam deva sevitam... without separating this concept into two kinds of heavens, namely paradise and Brahma's abode. Hence there is nothing enjoyable in any of the said heavens, than having a glance at you. Maheshvara Tiirtha.
akṣayā nara śārdūla jitālokā mayā śubhāḥ |
brāhṃyāḥ ca nāka pṛṣṭhyāḥ ca pratigṛhṇīṣva māmakān || 3-5-31
31. nara shaarduula = manly-tiger; mayaa= by me; subhaaH = auspicious ones; braahmyaaH = relating to Brahma; naaka pR^iSTyaa ca = to paradise, yonder than, even; a kshayaa = non-diminishing; lokaaH jitaaH = abodes, achieved; maamakaan = relating to me; [lokaan = abodes]; pratigR^ihNiiSva = you take them.
"Oh! Tigerly-man, non-diminishing are the abodes achieved by me either in Brahma's abode or yonder than paradise...you take them all...that are mine achieved by me ascesis..." So said Sage Sharabhanga to Rama. [3-5-31]
Comment: The sage is dedicating all his achievements of penance unto god, without any ahamtva buddhi , mine-ness. This is called phala samarpaNa. The fruits of pious achievements are to be dedicated in the divine without the concept 'I am the doer thus I shall enjoy...' Even in the daily worship we are supposed to dedicate all that we have done, with oblating water saying ' karomi yad yat sakalam parsmai naaraayaNaayeti samarpayaami... 'Whatever is done, in all its entirety, I dedicate it unto the Supreme...' And Govindaraja observes, whatever that is acquired by the sage is his wealth. So the heavenly abodes are his only wealth as of now, and they all are surrendered to Rama, as guest-worship.
evam ukto naravyāghraḥ sarva śāstra viśāradaḥ |
ṛṣiṇā śarabhaṃgena rāghavo vākyam abravīt || 3-5-32
32. R^iSiNaa sharabhangena = by the sage Sharabhanga; evam uktaH = thus, said; nara vyaaghraH = many-tiger; sarva shaastra vishaaradaH = all, scriptures, scholar; Raghava; vaaakyam abraviit = this sentence, said.
Thus said by the Sage Sharabhanga to that Manly-tiger Rama, being the scholar in all the scriptures he spoke this sentence to that sage. [3-5-32]
aham eva āhariṣyāmi sarvān lokān mahāmune |
āvāsam tu aham icchāmi pradiṣṭam iha kānane || 3-5-33
33. mahaamune = oh! Great Saint; aham eva = I, alone; sarvaan lokaan = all those worlds; aahariSyaami = will gain/ or, snatch away; tu = but; aham = I; iha = here; kaanane = in forest; pradiSTam = indicated by you; aavasam = dwelling place; icChaami = I seek.
"I alone can gain all those worlds, oh! Great Saint, I now seek a place to dwell here in this forest as indicated by you... [Apparent meaning.] [3-5-33]
"I will however take all those worlds of yours, for you have waited for me and dedicated whatever you achieved by your penance at my tri-feet, as atithi satkaara, honouring guests - ' leaving 'the doer and doing' attachment, and without desire to enjoy the fruits of works, as a karma phala tyaagi . For now, show me a place to dwell in this forest like an ordinary human being - [Implicit meaning according to Govindaraja.]
"I will win-over all those worlds myself, as Kshatriya-s are not supposed to take any donations; they either have to won by them or acquire them for themselves, just show me a place to dwell - [Maheshvara Tirtha.]
"Everything merges in me alone, for I alone gave all these to you, and you also dedicated the same in me, without the concept of doer and doing - [which again is reiterated in Bhagavad Gita -labhatecha tataH kaamaan mayaiva vihitaan || 7-22 ' All the desires of the adherent like Brahma's abode, immortality etc., are acquired at my grace.' for now show me a place to live - [Another concept. tani sloki.]
Comment: Thus aahara means gaining, win-over, or snatching, stealing. Hence Rama as a king refutes that donation, telling that he alone will acquire those worlds, in an explicit meaning, that conceals Rama's identity as Vishnu. Vishnu has Himself given those merits to this sage, as said in Bhagavadgita. Implicitly all the merits of earthly beings merge into that Absolute ultimately, and hence any fresh donation from the sage is negated. The dictionary meaning of aahara is provider, fetcher, and Vishnu Himself is the fetcher, provider. In another way, aahara is to take, or snatch away, or merge and thus Rama is said to express 'I snatch away everything and anything done by my true devotee...for he does not do it for his own sake...' This is said to be God's karma phala swiikaara 'receiving of the fruits of work...
rāghaveṇa evam uktaḥ tu śakra tulya balena vai |
śarabhaṃgo mahāprājñaḥ punar eva abravīt vacaḥ || 3-5-34
34. raaghaveNa evam ukataH tu = by Raghava, thus, said; shakra tulya balena vai = Indra like, in strength, verily; Sharabhanga; mahaa praaj~naaH = supreme, intellectual; punaH eva abraviit vachaH = again, this way, spoke, sentence.
Thus said by Raghava, who is like Indra in strength, that supremely intellectual Sage Sharabhanga again spoke this sentence this way. [3-5-34]
iha rāma mahātejāḥ sutīkṣṇo nama dhārmikaḥ |
vasati araṇye niyataḥ sa te śreyo vidhāsyati || 3-5-35
35. iha = here; mahaa tejaa = great resplendent; Rama; Suteekshna; naama = named; dhaarmikaH = virtuous one; vasati araNye = lives, in forest; niyataH = self-disciplined one; saH te shreyaH vidishyati = he, to you, benignant, will do.
"Here, oh! Rama, a great resplendent sage named Suteekshna, lives in this forest...a virtuous and a self-disciplined one, and he will do something benignant to you... [3-5-35]
sutīkṣṇam abhigaccha tvam śucau deśe tapasvinam |
ramaṇīye vanoddeśe sa te vāsam vidhāsyati || 3-5-36
36. sutiikshNam abhi gacCha = Suteekshna, you approach; tvam = to you; suchau deshe = [in his] auspicious, place; tapasvinam = of hermits; ramaNiiya vanoddeshe = in pleasant, woods; saH te vaasam vidhaasyati = he, to you, housing, arranges.
"You approach Sage Suteekshna and to you he will arrange housing in his auspicious and dpleasant place woods of hermits... [3-5-36]
imām mandākinīm rāma pratisrotam anuvraja |
nadīm puṣpoḍupa vahām tataḥ tatra gamiṣyasi || 3-5-37
37. pushpa udupa vahaam = flowers, ferries, carrying; imaam mandaakiniim nadiim = this, Mandaakini river; prati shrotam = opposite, to its flow; anuvraja = you follow; tataH = then; tatra gamisSyasi = there [to Suteekshna's hemitage,] you can reach.
" Following opposite to its flow you may follow this River Mandaakini that carries flower-ferries, then you can reach there at Sage Suteekshna's hermitage...] [3-5-37]
Comment: Mandaakini is the name of River Ganga, and hence any river with continuous flow is affectionately called Ganga, like Dakshina Ganga, Bhaagiirathi etc. So this name of Mandakini is to mean a river here, but not Ganga. Later in Kishkindha also River Pampa is called Mandakini, at times.
eṣa panthā naravyāghra muhūrtam paśya tāta mām |
yāvat jahāmi gātrāṇi jīrṇām tvacam iva uragaḥ || 3-5-38
38. esha panthaa nara vyaaghra = this is, the way, manly-tiger; taata = oh, sire; muhuurtam maam pashya = for a moment, me, see; yaavat jiirNaam tvachaam = till, withered, skin, iva uragaH = like, a snake's moult [like snake's cast skin]; gatraani = body parts; jahaami = I forsake.
"This is the only way, oh, manly-tiger, and oh, sire, see me for a moment, till I forsake these body parts of mine, like a snake casting its withered moult... [3-5-38]
Sage Sharabhanga said, eSha panthaa naravyaaghraH meaning that 'this is the only recourse, oh, manly-tiger.' Here Rama asked Sage Sharabhanga to show a place to dwell. Sharabhanga's hermitage itself will now become vacant after the sage's ascension to heavens. But it is not shown to Rama to stay, instead yet another distant place is shown. All these Sages and Saints show only one path that Rama, Seetha and Lakshmana have to travel, i.e., towards Ravana, the evil on earth. From here they are directed to Sage Suteekshna's hermitage, there from to Sage Agastya's hermitage, and there from, to still deeper place in forests, called Panchavati. According to Kaikeyi's banishment Rama need not travel this far, but could have resided in some near-about forests of River Ganga. But one after the other, either demons who became celestials or sages who are going to become divinities, all usher Rama southward, i.e., towards the dominions of demons, whom Rama has to eradicated from earth. 'If Rama were to enter into Panchavati, a powerful dominion of demons like Khara and Dushana, alleging their loyalties to Ravana, it is definite that an encounter will ensue and Rama will start eradicating one after the other, and ultimately ending with Ravana...' this appears to be the logic of all the sages. As such Rama is asked to go on travelling towards the evil side of the earth, for all of the sages know about Rama's destination
tato agnim su samādhāya hutvā ca ājyena maṃtravit |
śarabhaṃgo mahātejāḥ praviveśa hutāśanam || 3-5-39
39. tataH = then; mahaatejaa = great, radiant one; saH = he that; Sharabhanga; agnim susamaadhaaya = fire, well, invoked; aajyena = with clarified butter; mantravit = hymnist sage; hutvaa cha = oblations, also, [offered]; hutaashanam = the sacred fire; pravivesha = entered.
Then that hymnist on invoking the sacred fire and offering oblations with clarified butter into it, that radiant sage Sharabhanga entered that sacred fire. [3-5-39]
tasya romāṇi keśām ca tadā vahniḥ mahātmanaḥ |
jīrṇam tvacam tad asthīni yat ca māṃsam ca śoṇitam || 3-5-40
40. tasya mahaatmanaH = of that, great soul; romaaNi keshaam cha = his, hair, head hair also; agniH dadaaha = the fire, burnt them,; jiirNam tvacham = shrunk, skin; tathaa = thus; asthiini = bones; yat cha maamsam cha shoNitam = whatever, also, flesh, and blood; dadaaha = burnt down.
The fire burnt down that great soul Sharabhanga from head-hair to body hair and thus his shrunk skin, bones and whatever flesh and blood are there, they are also burnt completely. [3-5-40]
Then the question arises whether Sage Sharabhanga wilfully encompassed the sin of suicide or not? Not so, because it is said that his self-immolation is not in any mortal fire, but in some yogic fire, which he invoked and sanctified with hymns. If it were to be an ordinary pyre, the mortal body do not burn completely to ashes as the skull and vertebral bones remain, for immersion into holy waters after a while. Here it is said that nothing remained. Further scriptures lay it down that: Hence Sage Sharabhanga, having seen Rama, got that divine knowledge and there is nothing left for him to accomplish with his mortal body, and hence entered the holy fire. Those that are superior in character and virtue, even the of Fire, Agni Deva, cannot even touch, rather provides a coolant condition in His lap. It is the same with Seetha in Yuddha Kanda and it also happened with Queen Chandramati, the virtuous wife of Emperor Harishchandra, one of the forefathers of Rama. Thus said in Dharmaakuutam:
anuShTna asamarthasya vaana prasthasya jiiryataH |
bhR^iguH agniH jalapaatena deha tygo vidhiiyate ||
Those who obtained divine knowledge about this mortal body, and those that cannot practice anuSThaana their daily chores, or with any incapability, and those that have left house as holder, and desiccated, could give up their mortal bodies into fire, waters or falling from mountain peaks.
These feats are for yogis, but not for commoners please!
sa ca pāvaka saṃkāśaḥ kumāraḥ samapadyata |
utthāya agnicayāt tasmāt śarabhaṃgo vyarocata || 3-5-41
41. saH = he that sage; paavaka sankaashaH = Fire, in semblance; kumaaraH = youngster-like; sam apadyataH = reappeared; tasmaat agni chayaat uthaaya vyarochata = from that, fire altar, on getting up, he shone forth.
He that Sage Sharabhanga, then reappeared as an youngster in the semblance of Fire, o\n resurrecting from that altar of fire he shone-forth. [3-5-41]
Comment: The age of celestial is always constant like twenty-five-year-olds, as said above by Rama at 3-5-17/18.
sa lokān āhitāgnīnām ṛṣīṇām ca mahātmanām |
devānām ca vyatikraṃya brahma lokam vyarohata || 3-5-42
42. saH = he; aahita agniinaam = of fire-worshippers; mahaatmaanaam R^iSiiNaam cha = of great souls, of saints, also; devaanaam cha = divinities, also; lokaan = worlds; yatikramya = on transcending; brahma lokam = Brahma's abode; vyarohata = ascended.
He that Sage Sharabhanga, transcending the ethereal worlds of fire-worshippers, of saints, of great souls, and also of divinities, has ascended to Brahma's abode. [3-5-42]
sa puṇya karmā bhuvane dvijarṣabhaḥ
pitāmaham sānucaram dadarśa ha |
pitāmahaḥ ca api samīkṣya tam dvijam
nananda susvāgatam iti uvāca ha || 3-5-43
43. puNya karmaa = meritorious one; dwijarshabha = Brahman, the best; saH = he that sage; bhuvane = in heaven; pitaamaham = grandfather [ Brahma]; dadarsha ha = has seen, verily; pitaamaha cha api = Brahma, also, even; samiikSya = seeing him; tam dvijam = that, Brahman; nanada = felt happy; su svaagatam iti uktvaa = welcome, thus, spoke.
He that meritorious and best Brahman Sharabhanga has seen Brahma in Brahma's abode, and Brahma too, on seeing that Brahman happily spoke to him... "Welcome..." [3-5-43]
iti vālmīki rāmāyaṇe ādi kāvye araṇya kāṇḍe pañcamaḥ sargaḥ ||
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© 1998, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised - March 04]