Book III : Aranya Kanda - The Forest Trek

Chapter [Sarga] 52
Verses converted to UTF-8, Nov 09


Seetha is abducted by Ravana. When they are on their way to Lanka the whole nature along with its inhabitants laments for the atrocious abduction of Seetha. In here, almost every verse is elaborated, for they contain poetic niceties, and hence more stuffing in introduction is unbefitting.

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sā tu tārā adhipa mukhī rāvaṇena nirīkṣya tam |
gṛdhra rājam vinihatam vilalāpa suduḥkhitā || 3-52-1

1. taaraa adhipa mukhii = stars', lord, visaged - Seetha; saa tu = she, on her part; raavaNena vinihatam = by Ravana, [nearly] killed; tam gR^idhra raajam niriikSya = at him, eagles, king of, on gazing at; su duHkhitaa = highly anguished; vilalaapa = wept away.

Seetha whose visage is like a full moon wept on gazing the king of eagles Jataayu whom Ravana nearly killed. [3-52-1]

There occurs another verse before this one in Eastern recension which says that Ravana has firstly seen Jataayu who is spinning on earth to breath his last: tam alpa jiivitam gR^idhram sphurantam raakSha adipa | dadarsha bhuumau patitam samipe raaghava aashramaat ||thereby giving some time to Seetha to recollect what has happened.

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nimittam lakṣaṇam svapnam śakuni svara darśanam |
avaśyam sukha duḥkheṣu narāṇām paridṛśyate || 3-52-2

2. lakSaNam = characteristics - of omens; svapnam = [concomitants of] dreams; shakuni = presages [shakuna] svara darshanam = [of birds,] callings', seeing [cognisance]; naraaNaam = of humans; sukha duHkheSu = in ecstasy, in agony; avashyam = definitely; nimittam = conjecturable; pari dR^ishyate = in general, are being seen [perceived.]

"Humans definitely perceive either agony or ecstasy by its concomitant happenings, or by the characteristics of uncommon reflexes of their own body parts, or by the presages, or by conjecturable concomitants, or by cognising calls of birds. [3-52-2]

Vividly: Seetha's plaint is like this: 'Oh, Rama, we humans do perceive good or bad happenings by the presages, like concomitant happenings of some hindrances when a deed is attempted, like unforeseen tidings like sneezing, a minor accident or a misfire, or unable to catch a sight of one's own face in a mirror... or by the undue reflexes of bodily parts, like flutter of eyelids or shudder of shoulders or arms... or by the callings of birds and movements of animals... so, by now your left shoulder and left eye should have shuddered, or some crows might have cawed uglily, or some birds might have gone from your right to left, except garuDa, bharadwaja birds, and by these forebodings why do not you cognise that something is happening to me and thus why not come to my rescue?'

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na nūnam rāma jānāsi mahat vyasanam ātmanaḥ |
dhāvanti nūnam kākutstha mat artham mṛga pakṣiṇaḥ || 3-52-3

3. raama = oh, Rama; aatmanaH = for you [bechancing you]; mahat vyasanam = big, catastrophe; na jaanaasi = not, able to know; nuunam = for sure; mat artham = for my, sake; mR^iga pakSiNaH = animals, birds; kaakutstha [kaakutstham] = oh, Kakutstha, [or, towards Kakutstha]; dhaavanti nuunam = running, for sure.

"Oh, Rama, for sure you are not able to know about big catastrophe called my kidnap is chancing on you, even though oh, Kakutstha, these animals and birds are running towards you surely for my sake, to tell about me. [3-52-3]

bhaava/import: 'Oh, Rama you may not be able to perceive the prognostications as you are in a fit of hunting that Golden Deer, but, for a while keep that hunting at bay and give an ear to these birds and animals that are rushing towards you to convey the news of my kidnap... and for god's sake do not kill these animals, presuming that they are pestering you...

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ayam hi kṛpayā rāma mām trātum iha saṃgataḥ |
śete vinihato bhūmau mama abhāgyāt vihaṃgamaḥ || 3-52-4

4. raama = oh, Rama; maam traatum = me, to save; kR^ipayaa = mercifully; iha sangataH = here, arrived [or, encountered Ravana]; ayam vihan gamaH = this, sky, flier [eagle Jataayu]; mama a bhaagyaat = by my, ill, luck; vinihataH = verily mangled; bhuumau shete hi = on earth, sprawling, indeed.

"Oh, Rama, this sky flier Jataayu who mercifully came here to save me is verily mangled on his encountering Ravana, and he is sprawling on earth, indeed by my ill luck." Thus Seetha wailed. [3-52-4]

bhaava/import: 'My ill luck is so preponderant, in that it has demolished this Jataayu, who by himself is a pious and merited being who came to help the helpless one like me... but my ill luck pervaded over such an impeccable being also... otherwise Jataayu would have vanquished Ravana... thus, when an immeasurable ill luck is holding sway, it is for you, and you alone, oh, Rama, to come for my rescue...'

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trāhi mām adya kākutstha lakṣmaṇa iti varāṃganā |
su saṃtrastā samākraṃdat śṛṇvatām tu yathā antike || 3-52-5

5. vara anganaa = best, lady; su sam trastaa = very, highly, panicked; kaakutstha lakSmaNa = oh, Kakutstha Rama, oh, Lakshmana; adya maam traahi = now, me, liberate; iti = thus; antike shR^iNvataam yathaa = close by [afore,] listeners [addressees,] [are available] as though; sam aakrandat = noisily, bawled.

That best lady who is very highly panicked bawled noisily, "oh, Rama of Kakutstha... oh, Lakshmana... liberate me now..." as though the addressees are before her. [3-52-5]

bhaava/import: A subject's bawling in the audience of a king is different from that of a cry of a subject in a moor. Here Seetha is visualising those two Kakutstha-s, Rama, and Lakshmana, right in her front, in a halo, and suppliantly bawling, as though asking them to come out that halo to help her out. Her bawling is not in a clamorous tone but it is aroshantiim madhura svaraam 'crying with mellowly voice...' as detailed at verse 42 below, for there should be difference between the braying of an ass and parroting of a parrot.

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tām kliṣṭa mālya ābharaṇām vilapantīm anāthavat |
abhyadhāvata vaidehīm rāvaṇo rākṣasa adhipaḥ || 3-52-6

6. kliSTa maalya aabharaNaam = muddled up, garland, jewellery; a naatha vat = un, husbanded [orphanized one,] like; vilapantiim = bawling; taam vaidehiim = at her, to Vaidehi; raakSasa adhipaH raavaNaH = demons', sovereign, Ravana; abhyadhaavata = towards rushed.

That sovereign of demons, Ravana, rushed towards Vaidehi whose garlands and jewellery are muddled up and who is bawling like an orphanized one. [3-52-6]

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tām latām iva veṣṭantīm āliṃgantīm mahādrumān |
muṃca muṃca iti bahuśaḥ pravadan rākṣasa adhipaḥ || 3-52-7
krośantīm rāma rāma iti rāmeṇa rahitām vane |
jīvita antāya keśeṣu jagrāha antaka saṃnibhaḥ || 3-52-8

7, 8. antaka sannibhaH = Death, one similar in shine; raakSasa adhipaH = demons', lord; lataam iva mahaadrumaan veSTantiim aalingantiim = climber plant, like, to sturdy tree, who is muffling, and clinging; vane raameNa rahitaam = in timberland, by Rama, one who is devoid of; raama raama iti = Rama, Rama, thus; kroshantiim = who is bewailing; taam = to her; munca munca iti = leave off, leave off [the trees,] [saying] thus; bahushaH pra vadan = repeatedly, harshly, on saying [on taunting]; jiivita antaaya = for [his] life, end of [self-ruinously]; kesheSu jagraaha = at head-hair [bun of hair,] clutched her.

Ravana, the lord of demons, has repeatedly and harshly taunted Seetha saying, 'leave it off, leave it off...' when Seetha devoid of Rama in that timberland is clinging and muffling a sturdy tree like a climber plant, and bawling, 'Rama, Rama,' and that demon whose shine is similar to the Death has clutched her hair loosened from her bun, as death loomed large on him. [3-52-7, 8]

bhaava/import: Here the word vane 'in timberland...' is actually 'loneliness...' plus, 'minus Rama...' and her crying is araNya rodana 'a cry in wilderness...' And from the viewpoint of Ravana, she is uttering a wild cry indicating that 'the giant tree called Ravana is going to fall...' as with the woodcutters' yelling 'timber... timber...' as a warning cry that a tree is about to fall, when the word 'timber' is used esp. as intransitive. This catching a chaste woman by her hair is the worst possible crime and sin as explained at 3-50-13 of this chapter. And now all the gods feel satisfied for the commencement of the process for elimination of vice on earth, called Ravana, though pitying Seetha.

Here, the 'capturing Seetha by her shadow' as explained by Maheshvara Tiirtha, is an untouched subject. If she can be captured by shadow while she is in her senses and agitating and clinging a sturdy tree, as with Simhika-Hanuma in Sundara Kanda, Ravana should not have given her this much time to bemoan, but should have captured by her shadow without leaving her to pay a visit to dying Jataayu. Hence, this capture is viewed on a human plane, rather than a conjuror's trick.

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pradharṣitāyām vaidehyām babhūva sa carā acaram |
jagat sarvam amaryādam tamasā andhena saṃvṛtam || 3-52-9
na vāti mārutaḥ tatra niṣ prabho abhūt divākaraḥ |

9, 10a. vaidehyaam = of Vaidehi; pradharSitaayaam = while being insulted; sa caraa a caram = together with, mobile, not mobile [sessile]; sarvam jagat = entire, world; a maryaadam = not, scrupulous [chaotic]; andhena tamasaa samvR^itam babhuuva = by blinding, blackness, blanketing, it became [bechanced]; tatra maarutaH na vaati = there, wind, not, wafts; divaakaraH niS prabhaH abhuut = day maker [Sun,] devoid of, shine, became.

While Vaidehi is insulted thus, entire world together with its mobile or sessile beings became chaotic, and there chanced a blanketing of a blinding blackness, and waft-less is the Wind and shine-less is the Sun. [3-52-9]

This 'blackness' is a poetic gloominess of the mood, rather than a material or mythical, or superimposing darkness. Sun is gloomy, wind is gloomy, and the entire nature is in oblivion of sadness.

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dṛṣṭvā sītām parā mṛṣṭām devo divyena cakṣuṣā || 3-52-10
kṛtam kāryam iti śrīmān vyājahāra pitāmahaḥ |
prahṛṣṭā vyathitāḥ ca āsan sarve te parama ṛṣayaḥ || 3-52-11

10b, 11. shriimaan devaH pitaamahaH = illustrious, god, Grandparent [Brahma]; siitaam paraa mR^iSTaam = of Seetha, by other [person, inappropriate one,] touched [appropriated]; divyena cakSuSaa dR^iSTvaa = by divine [clairvoyant,] eyes, on seeing; kaaryam kR^itam iti = deed, is done, thus; vyaajahaara = said [declared]; prahR^iSTaa vyathitaaH ca aasan = delighted, despondent, also, became; sarve te parama R^iSayaH = all, those, supreme, sages [in Brahma's abode.]

On seeing Seetha's appropriation by an inappropriate being with His clairvoyant eyes, the illustrious Grandparent of Universe Brahma declared, "the deed is done..." but all of the supreme sages in Brahma's abode on seeing Seetha in such a condition became despondent, and yet delighted in foreseeing results. [3-52-10b, 11a]

Usually this expression parama R^iSaya 'quintessential sages...' is linked with the words danDakaraNya in next verse and said that 'the sages dwelling in Dandaka forest are delighted and yet, despondent...' If some elderly sages were available in the vicinity, they would have waited until the arrival of Rama and would have informed Rama of Seetha's abduction, though they may not be able to combat Ravana or hurl a curse at Ravana. But Ravana is no fool to abduct Seetha while a bystander stands over looking on the spectacle. Hence, these sages said here are those that are available in the academy of Brahma. And the danDaraNya vaasinaH in the next foot are the voiceless and incommunicable beings in Dandaka forest.

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dṛṣṭvā sītām parā mṛṣṭām daṇḍakāraṇya vāsinaḥ |
rāvaṇasya vināśam ca prāptam buddhvā yadṛcchayā || 3-52-12

12. dR^iSTvaa siitaam paraa mR^iSTaam = on seeing, Seetha, by other [person, inappropriate one,] touched [appropriated]; daNDaka araNya vaasinaH = in Dandaka, forest, dwellers; raavaNasya vi naasham ca = Ravana's, utter, destruction [annihilation,] also; praaptam = bechanced; buddhvaa yadR^icChayaa = cognised, coincidentally [as a godsend.]

On seeing Seetha's appropriation by an impropriate being, the dwellers in Dandaka forest cognised that Ravana's annihilation has chanced coincidentally. [3-52-12]

Again a poetic 'thinking' that even speechless beings can presage and prognosticate. Though they may not tell us directly, their body language and odd behaviour will certainly tell. The behaviour of animals and birds before an earthquake or a storm or any natural devastation is not an unknown phenomena. After all, a frog crocks before a rain.

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sa tu tām rāma rāma iti rudantīm lakṣmaṇa iti ca |
jagāma ādāya ca ākāśam rāvaṇo rākṣaseśvara || 3-52-13

13. raakSaseshvara saH raavaNaH tu = demons' lord, he, Ravana, on his part; raama raama iti = Rama, Rama, thus; lakSmaNa iti ca = Lakshmana, thus, also; rudantiim = bawling; taam aadaaya = her, on taking - on wresting; aakaasham jagaama = skyward, took flight.

Ravana, the lord of demons, on wresting Seetha who is bawling, "Rama... Rama..." also thus as, "Lakshmana..." took flight skyward. [3-52-13]

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tapta ābharaṇa varṇa angī pīta kauśeya vāsanī |
rarāja rāja putrī tu vidyut saudāmanī yathā || 3-52-14

14. tapta aabharaNa varNa [juSTa] angii = molten [refined,] jewellery, coloured [muffled up,] bodied; piita kausheya vaasanii = ocherish, in silks, dressed; raaja putrii tu = king's, daughter [princess,] on her part; vidyut saudaamanii [sau daaman] yathaa = lightning flashes, in cloud, as with; raraaja = scintillated.

That princess Seetha scintillated like the oblique flashes of lightning in a cloud, owing to her golden coloured body which is muffled up with jewellery of pure gold, and added with a golden coloured ocherish silky dress, while traversing in the sky. [3-52-14]

dhvani/innuendo: A lightening in a cloud does not last for a long period. So also, for being with this cloudlike Ravana, these flashes of lightning, called Seetha, will not last long, albeit those flashes alone will electrocute that cloud, called Ravana.

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uddhūtena ca vastreṇa tasyāḥ pītena rāvaṇaḥ |
adhikam paribabhrāja giriḥ dīpa iva agninā || 3-52-15

15. tasyaaH = of her; uddhuutena piitena ca vastreNa = by upheaved, yellowish [ochreish silken sari, rather, blazing hue of silk sari,] also, by cloth [upper fringe of sari]; raavaNaH = Ravana; agninaa diipa giriH iva = by fire, blazing, mountain, like; adhikam pari babhraaja = muchly, overly, shone forth - ablaze.

When her ochreish silk sari's upper fringe is upheaved by air onto to Ravana, Ravana looked blazing like a mountain set ablaze, muchly and overly. [3-52-15]

dhvani/innuendo: If some parts of a mountain are afire it is no problem since it is usual. But when the mountain itself is overly and muchly aflame, it is impracticable for any to prevent it or help it out. The upper cloth of Seetha's sari is goldenly silky and thus it will have a tinge of reddish brown hue, like the outer edge of the tongue of fire. That fringe pallu is upheaved, [intr.] rise and fall rhythmically or spasmodically, by air and it is flagging off the annihilation of Ravana, by its flag-like motions on his face. Thus, Ravana who is standing like a mountain as of now is destined soon to become a mountain with a self-ruinous fire, overly and muchly.

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tasyāḥ parama kalyāṇyāḥ tāmrāṇi surabhīṇi ca |
padma patrāṇi vaidehyā abhyakīryanta rāvaṇam - yadvā -
- cyutāni padma patrāṇi rāvaṇam samāvākiran - || 3-52-16

16. parama kalyaaNyaaH = highly, of auspicious one - Seetha's; tasyaaH = of her; taamraaNi = coppery [reddish brown, or reddish]; surabhiiNi ca = scented, also; padma patraaNi = lotus, petals [so far decorating her bun]; cyutaani = slithered; raavaNam samaavaakiran = on Ravana, well bestrewn on; [padma patraaNi vaidehyaa = lotus, petals, of Vaidehi; abhyakiiryanta raavaNam = around, strewn - by air.]

Reddish and scented lotus-petals adorning that highly auspicious Seetha have slithered, but again upheaved by air they are bestrewn on Ravana. [3-52-16]

dhvani/innuendo: The reddish lotus petals which hitherto are on her body, as garlands and on her braid as a chaplet, are crumpled and loosened in the tussle and thus each petal is falling each time. Instead of falling onto earth, they are upheaved and sprinkled on Ravana's body by the fast wind under the feet of Ravana, somewhat like a floral welcome. This is in one way a good omen to Ravana to get a release from his accursed state, while on the other, it suggests that his opulence is soon destined to wither away like a withered petal of lotus. The last foot is taken, which obtains in other mms, leaving off the middle foot, that also says the same.

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tasyāḥ kauśeyam uddhūtam ākāśe kanaka prabham |
babhau ca āditya rāgeṇa tāmram abhram iva ātape || 3-52-17

17. tasyaaH = of her; aakaashe uddhuutam = in sky, upheaved; kanaka prabham kausheyam = golden, in glitter, silk sari [upper fringe]; aatape = in red heat [of midday]; aaditya raageNa = by sun's, reddish hue; taamram abhram iva = coppery red, cloud, like; babhau = beamed forth.

Upper fringe of Seetha's silk sari with golden glitter is upheaved in the sky, and with the reddish hue of sun in red heat of midday it beamed forth like a reddish cloud. [3-52-17]

bhaava/import: A reddish cloud is acceptable either in morning or in evening but not in midday since it is a bad omen.

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tasyāḥ tat vimalam - su nasam - vaktram ākāśe rāvaṇa aṃka gam |
na rarāja vinā rāmam vinālam iva paṃkajam || 3-52-18

18. aakaashe = in sky; raavaNa anka gam = Ravana's, in flank, one who has gone in; tasyaaH tat vimalam vaktram = of her, that, immaculate, visage; raamam vinaa = Rama, without - devoid of, not in vicinage; vi naalam panka jam iva = without, stalk, as with, mud, born [like lotus minus stalk]; na raraaja = not, brightened.

As with a stalk-less lotus the immaculate visage of Seetha is unbright in the sky when she is on the flank of Ravana as Rama is not in vicinage. [3-52-18]

bhaava/import: A lotus without a stalk looses its glamour as well as its infrastructure. As sun brightens the face of moon, Rama brightens Seetha's visage. As moon depends on sun, Seetha depends on Rama, and devoid of him, she is lost to the world for a glimpse.

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babhūva jaladam nīlam bhittvā candra iva uditaḥ |
su lalāṭam su keśa aṃtam padma garbha ābham avraṇam || 3-52-19
śuklaiḥ su vimalair dantaiḥ prabhāvadbhiḥ alaṃkṛtam |
tasyāḥ su nayanam vaktram ākāśe rāvaṇa aṃka gam || 3-52-20
ruditam vyapamṛṣṭa asram candravat priya darśanam |
su nāsam cāru tāmra oṣṭham ākāṣe hāṭaka prabham || 3-52-21

19, 20, 21. su lalaaTam = one with pretty, forehead; su kesha antam = having prettyish, hair, ends [curls]; padma garbha aabham = lotus, pistil, in shine; a vraNam = without, boils [without pimples]; shuklaiH = whitish; su vimalaiH = verily, unblemished [spick and span]; prabhaavadbhiH = sparkling; dantaiH = with teeth; alankR^itam = adorned with; ruditam = on weeping; vyapamR^iSTa asram = vi apa mR^iSTa asram = verily, sideways, dabbed, face; candravat priya darshanam = moon, like, pleasant, to see; su naasam = shapely, nosed; su nayanam = with pretty, eyes; caaru taamra oSTham = charming, coppery [rosy,] lipped; aakaaSe haaTaka prabham = in sky, golden, in shine; aakaashe raavaNa anka gam = in sky, in Ravana's, flank, gone in; tasyaaH tat [vimalam] vaktra = her, that, [immaculate,] face - of Seetha; niilam jaladam bhittvaa = bluish, cloud, on bursting; uditaH = risen; candra iva = moon, like; babhuuva = it became - turned out.

Her lotus pistil like un-pimply face is adorned with a pretty forehead on which prettyish curls are fluttering, and with teeth that are spick and span and sparkling, but tears dabbed on that face to sideways when she wept, yet it is pleasant like moon for a sight with shapely nose, pretty eyes, roseate lips, and shining with golden hue in sky. Nevertheless, when she has gone in the flank of Ravana on the sky such an immaculate face of Seetha turned like a palish moon that has just risen bursting a bluish cloud. [3-52-19, 20, 21]

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rākṣasendra samādhūtam tasyāḥ tat vadanam śubham |
śuśubhe na vinā rāmam divā candra iva uditaḥ || 3-52-22

22. raakSasendra = by demon's lord; sam aadhuutam = highly, disturbed - disconcerted; shubham tat [haaTaka prabha] vadanam = auspicious, that, [golden, in hue,] face; raamam vinaa = Rama, without; divaa uditaH candra iva = in daytime, arisen, moon, like; na shushubhe = not, brightened.

Highly disconcerted by the king of demons that auspicious face of Seetha is unbright like the moon arisen in daytime with somewhat golden hue, owing to the absence of Rama. [3-52-22]

bhaava/import: One moon is enough. If there were to be two moons, it is indicative of some havoc. Now, a silvern moon is there and this lady with her golden-moon face may supersede that silvern moon and thus may cause havocs. Moon coming out when sun is still on sky will be somewhat golden in hue. She is un-brightened because Rama is not at her side as of now, but like a diamond that is coexistent with coal, Seetha is now with this coal-like Ravana.

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sā hema varṇā nīla aṃgam maithilī rākṣasa adhipam |
śuśubhe kāṃcanī kāṃcī nīlam maṇim - gajam - iva āśritā || 3-52-23

23. niila angam raakSasa adhipam = blackish, bodied, demons', sovereign [Ravana]; aashritaa = dangling to - moored by; hema varNaa saa maithilii = golden, coloured, she, that Maithili; niilam maNim [gajam] = Indra niila, sapphire, gem [elephant]; kaancanii = golden; kaancii iva = cincture; shushubhe = shone forth.

She that golden coloured Maithili who is moored by the blackish-bodied sovereign of demons shone forth like a sapphirine gemstone studded in a golden cincture.


She that golden coloured Maithili who is moored by the blackish-bodied sovereign of demons shone forth like a golden cincture girded to an elephant. [3-52-23]

The gemstone sapphire, more precisely indra niila maNi, shines brilliantly when studded in silver ornaments, rather than in golden ones. Gold is no match to that blue stone. So also, Seetha's shine is dullish. This is vyatireka ukti alankaara 'a litotes...' The mms of Govindaraja says shushubhe kaa.ncanii kaa.ncii niilam maNim iva aashritaa 'shone like a sapphire with gold...' while Maheshvara Tiirtha puts it as gajam iva aashritaa 'a golden cincture like elephant's girdle, where Ravana is the elephant and golden cincture is Seetha...' Though this text of Tiirtha is found more emphatic, but the blemish of reiteration occurs to the epic, because another verse, namely 30 below, contains similar 'elephant-golden-cincture' expression gajam kakshyaa iva kaa.ncanii Then, in the text of Maheshvara Tiirtha this verse 30 is pushed to a farther place that is at 30. 'Then unblemished it is, insofar as proximate reiteration is concerned...' it is said so.

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sā padma pītā hema ābhā rāvaṇam janaka ātmajā |
vidyut ghanam iva āviśya śuśubhe tapta bhūṣaṇā || 3-52-24

24. padma piitaa [gaurii] = lotus, yellowish; hema aabhaa = golden, in tinge; tapta bhuuSaNaa = with molten [purified golden,] ornaments; saa janaka aatmajaa = she that, Janaka's, daughter Seetha; raavaNam [ghanam iva] aavishya = Ravana, [stonehearted one, as with,] on holding - on possessing; vidyut [elliptic. aavishya] ghanam iva = lightning, [possessed in,] dark-cloud, like; shushubhe = flashed.

Seetha, the daughter of Janaka, with a complexion that is goldenly yellowish in the tinge of a lotus, moreover with her ornaments of purified gold, flashed like a lightning possessed in a dark-cloud, when that stonehearted Ravana possessed her. [3-52-24]

dhvani/innuendo: A lightning seeks no mercy. Though Seetha is overlain on the shoulder of that ghana saara hR^idaya 'stonehearted...' Ravana, she does not seek for his mercy to leave her off, as lightning overlain on a cloud does not seek the mercy of a ghanaa ghanaH 'a darkly massive cloud...' The nearness or the proximity of a lightning and cloud is short-lived, so is this proximity of Seetha with Ravana. And the lightning will brighten a darkish cloud, but the darkish cloud cannot darken that silvery lightning.

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tasyā bhūṣaṇa ghoṣeṇa vaidehyā rākṣasa adhipaḥ |
babhūva vimalo nīlaḥ saghoṣa iva toyadaḥ || 3-52-25

25. raakSasa adhipaH = demons', lord; tasyaaH vaidehyaa = of her, of Vaidehi; bhuuSaNa ghoSeNa = jewellery's, with tinkles [with rustles]; vimalaH = spotless - shipshape; [sa capalaH = with, undulating lightning]; sa ghoSa = with, rumbles; niilaH toyadaH iva = blue-blackish, cloud, like; babhuuva [babhau] = became [shone forth.]

With the rustles of Vaidehi's jewellery that lord of demons shone forth like a shipshape blue-black cloud with rumbles and undulating lightning. [3-52-25]

dhvani/innuendo: A massive darkish cloud may rumble, roar or blare, but its bursting will be scanty and short. So also, this Ravana may appear like a thunderous cloud as of now, but it dissipates soon.

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uttama aṃga cyutā tasyāḥ puṣpa vṛṣṭiḥ samantataḥ |
sītāyā hriyamāṇāyāḥ papāta dharaṇī tale || 3-52-26

26. hriyamaaNaayaaH = while being abducted; tasyaaH siitaayaaH = of her, Seetha's; uttama anga cyutaa = best, of body part i.e., head, or, from her best, body,] fallen; puSpa vR^iSTiH = flowers, shower of; samantataH dharaNii tale papaata = all-over, on earth's, surface, fallen.

Flowers gracing her best body on her head, in garlands on chest, and on armlets have fallen all-over the surface of earth like showers of flowers while she is being abducted. [3-52-26]

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sā tu rāvaṇa vegena puṣpa vṛṣṭiḥ samantataḥ |
samādhūtā daśagrīvam punaḥ eva abhyavartata || 3-52-27

27. samantataH [cyutaa] tu = all-over, [fallen,] though; saa puSpa vR^iSTiH = that, flower, shower; raavaNa vegena = by Ravana's, speed; samaadhuutaa = sam aa dhuutaa = well, up, heaved [windswept]; punaH dashagriivam eva = again, to Decahedral Ravana, alone; [saa puSpa vR^iSTiH ] abhi aa vartata = towards, re, coursed.

Though that flower-shower has fallen all-over, it is windswept by the speed of Ravana, and fell again on that Decahedral demon. [3-52-27]

All the gods have caused the flower-shower, for their mission is going to fructify by this act of siitaa apaharaNa 'Abduction of Seetha...' saying, 'Oh Goddess Lakshmi, you have graced all of us and the earth to allow yourself for abduction... thus triggered off is our mission of elimination of vice, in the shape of Ravana, on earth...' So said in kaTaka vyaakhya kaTaka's commentary. But Maheshvara Tiirtha says that 'when gods have no guts to affront Ravana or come into the sight of Ravana, wherefrom they cause a flower-shower? So, it is not gods that showered these flowers, but they are the flowers on her body fallen down by the gust caused by the speed of Ravana, but again windswept, up-heaved and fallen on the body of Ravana...' In either the case, Goddess Lakshmi has blessed Ravana with the flowers fallen from her physique onto the head of Ravana, as with the flowers slid from an idol in a temple, becoming worthy to wear on heads of devotees.

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abhyavartata puṣpāṇām dhārā vaiśravaṇa anujam |
nakṣatra mālā vimalā merum nagam iva unnatam || 3-52-28

28. puSpaaNaam dhaaraa = of flowers, showers; vimalaa nakSatra maalaa = pristine, stars, garland; unnatam merum nagam iva [ abhi aa vartitam] = loftiest, Mt, Meru, mountain, like [circles round]; vaishravaNa anujam = Vaishravana, or Kubera's, brother; abhyavartata = circled.

Like the garland of pristine stars that circles round the loftiest Mt. Meru, that flower-shower circled Ravana, the brother of Kubera. [3-52-28]

dhvani/innuendo: This whirling and twirling of flowers around Ravana is not a one time affair. It is continued by his dashing speed. When the circling flowers are lowered by gravity, they are again up-heaved by Ravana's speed and thus it is recurrent.

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caraṇāt nūpuram bhraṣṭam vaidehyā ratna bhūṣitam |
vidyut maṇḍala saṃkāśam papāta dharaṇī tale || 3-52-29

29. vaidehyaa caraNaat bhraSTam = of Vaidehi, from foot, slid; ratna bhuuSitam nuupuram = gems, adorned with, anklet; vidyut maNDala sankaasham = electric, annulus, similar to [sparky] sparkles; dharaNii tale papaata = on earth's, plane of, fell down.

Slid from the left foot of Vaidehi her anklet adorned with gems fell down onto the plane of earth like an electric annulus with its sparky sparkles. [3-52-29]

dhvani/innuendo: This anklet has not suddenly fallen. It is whirling for sometime against the gust raised by Ravana's rush. When it is circuitously whirling, that ring's sparkles are like the sparks of electricity in a circular band. And this ringlet is a symbolic of an electric ring-like guard for the entire earth against further atrocities on earth, which is why it exhibited its electric-sparks in sky for a while and descended onto earth.

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taru pravāla raktā sā nīla aṃgam rākṣasa īśvaram |
prāśobhayata vaidehī gajam kakṣyā iva kāṃcanī || 3-52-30

30. taru pravaala raktaa = tree's, leaflet, reddish; saa vaidehii = she, that Vaidehi; niila angam raakSasa iishvaram = blackish, bodied, demons', lord; kaancanii kakshyaa gajam iva = golden, with girdle [in elephant-stable,] elephant, like; praa shobhayata = well and truly, made lambent.

She that Vaidehi who is so delicate like reddish leaflets of trees made that blackish bodied lord of demons, Ravana, well and truly lambent, herself becoming a golden girdle girded around the elephant like Ravana.


She that Vaidehi who is so delicate like reddish leaflets of trees made that blackish bodied lord of demons, Ravana, well and truly lambent, as with an elephant, with a golden girdle, stabled in an elephant-stable by a mahout, the elephant-trainer. [3-52-30]

bhaava/import: The first gist is the apparent and lexical in its meaning and the second one is like this: An elephant that runs amock and berserk will be controlled and brought back to normalcy by a mahout, an elephant-trainer. He will use all necessary items like ropes, chains, hurdles etc., to stop its haphazard running, and among them is a girdle rope with which he mounts that elephant with his goad to control it. Here Seetha is that golden girdle to this elephantine Ravana, with the help that rope Rama, the mahout, can control this elephant in rut, namely Ravana, and can place that pachyderm in its elephant-stable. Govindaraja.

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tām mahā ulkām iva ākāśe dīpyamānām sva tejasā |
jahāra ākāśam āviśya sītām vaiśravaṇa anujaḥ || 3-52-31

31. vaishravaNa anujaH = Vaishravana's [Kubera's,] brother Ravana; mahaa ulkaam iva = massive, meteor like; sva tejasaa = by her own, radiancy; aakaashe diipyamaanaam = in sky, radiating; taam siitaam = her, that Seetha; aakaasham aavishya = sky, invading; jahaara = stolen [abducted.]

Ravana, the brother of Kubera, on invading the sky abducted that radiant Seetha who is radiating the sky by her own radiancy like a massive meteor. [3-52-31]

bhaava/import: The sighting of a meteor in itself is a bad omen mahaa utpaata suucitam 'augural of a great havoc...' and this Ravana is personally handling such a causer of a great havoc. A meteor, though visible as a streak of light falling in yonder sky, becomes incandescent as a result of friction with the earth's atmosphere. As such, it is tantamount to a massive fireball. Ravana is carrying this fireball to set his home afire. Perhaps Ravana might have thought in similar way and thus kept Seetha in Ashoka gardens, instead of placing her in his golden palace, so that his golden palace will not be burnt with this torch, called Seetha. But the same torch burns that golden palace down to ashes, though not directly but indirectly through Hanuma, in Sundara Kanda, as a coincidence.

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tasyāḥ tāni agni varṇāni bhūṣaṇāni mahī tale |
sa ghoṣāṇi avakīryanta kṣīṇāḥ tārā iva aṃbarāt || 3-52-32

32. tasyaaH = of her; agni varNaani = flamelike, coloured [lustrously flamy]; taani bhuuSaNaani = [some of] those, ornaments; sa ghoSaaNi = with, [much] clatter; ambaraat kSiiNaaH = from sky, fallen [pelted down - stars]; taaraa iva = stars, like; mahii tale ava kiiryanta = on earth's, plane, about, strewn.

Some of her ornaments which are lustrously flamy, for they are sparkling like the sparkles of fireworks, are strewn about on the plane of earth with much clatter like the stars pelted down from the sky. [3-52-32]

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tasyāḥ stana antarāt bhraṣṭo hāraḥ tārā adhipa dyutiḥ |
vaidehyā nipatan bhāti gaṃgā iva gaganāt cyutā || 3-52-33

33. tasyaaH vaidehyaa = of her, of Vaidehi; stana antaraat = breasts, medial; bhraSTaH = glissaded; taaraa adhipa dyutiH = stars, lord in sheen [moonshine]; haaraH = necklace [usu. pearly multi-stringed pendant a rivi�re ]; nipatan = while falling [while glissading]; gaganaat cyutaa gangaa iva bhaati = from skies, in glissade, River Ganga, like, sheeny.

A multi-string pearl pendant, a rivi�re, that vies with the moonshine has glissaded from the medial of her breasts, and while glissading from sky it is sheeny like River Ganga while she glissaded from skies. [3-52-33]

bhaava/import: The simile upama of Seetha's pearly strings of a pendant to River Ganga may be observed and the portrayal of ganga avataraNa 'Ganga's descent to earth...' may be referred in Bala Kanda. The pearls of the pendant are shining like Ganga's glistening froth and foam, the strings are her streams, and the string's wavy movement is Ganga's beautiful flexuous and curvy drift, moreover the stings are falling off medially from two mountains, called Seetha's breasts, as Ganga also rose and fell from mountainous heights.

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utpāta vāta abhihatā nānā dvija gaṇa āyutāḥ |
mā bhaiḥ iti vidhūta agrā vyājahruḥ iva pādapāḥ || 3-52-34

34. vaata abhi hataa = by wind, well, struck - stirred up by the gust caused by Ravana's flight; naanaa dvija gaNa aayutaaH = diverse, bird, folks, consisting of - perching on; paadapaaH = trees; vi dhuuta agraa = verily, blown, with tops; maa bhaiH [maa bhaiH] iti = do not, fear, [fear not,] thus; vyaajahruH iva = saying [consoling Seetha,] as though; ut paata = up, heaved - swung.

The trees on which diverse birds are perching have been stirred up with the wind blown and up-heaved by the gust of Ravana's flight, while the swaying motion of those treetops is as though waving hands to console Seetha saying, "fear not... fear not..." [3-52-34]

dhvani/innuendo: When the treetops, rather whole of a tree is swaying, will not the birds abiding on it chirp and chitter? Yes! They will. Thus, the birds are twittering and trees are swaying their tops for a bon voyage. The chirrups of the birds are abhaya vaakyaaH the 'expression of good wishes to a departing traveller...' and the swaying motion of treetops are abhaya hasta abhinaya are the 'gesturing with raised and swaying hands wishing good to a departing traveller... etc. minus voicing, as with 'ta-ta, cheerio, best of luck...'. The word is 'tree' which comes out of earth and stands on earth, thus an earth-born one. Seetha is also an earth-born one and kindred of trees, i.e., nature. Nature itself is assuring Seetha to not to fear.

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nalinyo dhvasta kamalāḥ trasta mīna jale carāḥ |
sakhīm iva gata utsāhām śocanti iva sma maithilīm || 3-52-35

35. dhvasta kamalaaH = with wilted, lotuses; trasta miina jale caraaH = with scared, fish, [other] water, moving beings; nalinyaH = lotus-lakes; gata utsaahaam = lost, enthusiasm [unenthusiastically]; sakhiim iva = girlfriend, like; maithiliim = about Maithili; shocanti iva = sorrowing, as though; sma = they are.

With wilted lotuses and scared fishes and other beings moving in water the lotus lakes are unenthusiastically sorrowing for Maithili as though Seetha is their girlfriend.


The lakes with lotuses as their faces, and fishes as their eyes, and with the other facial adornments like the swimming, sweeping and sailing water-moving beings like tortoises, waterfowls and the like are unenthused, for a similar girlfriend of theirs, the lotus-faced, fish-eyed, lotus-modelled Seetha is beleaguered, and thus they are sorrowing for such a selfsame Maithili. [3-52-35]

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samaṃtāt abhisaṃpatya siṃha vyāghra mṛga dvijāḥ |
anvadhāvan tadā roṣāt sītām chāyā anugāminaḥ || 3-52-36

36. tadaa = then; simha vyaaghra mR^iga dvijaaH = lions, tigers, animals, birds; samantaat = from all-over; abhi sampatya = towards, came together [gathered in herds]; roSaat = rancorously; Chaayaa anu gaaminaH = shadow of Seetha, on the heels, going, - shadowing her; siitaam anva dhaavan = after Seetha, pursuantly, ran.

All lions, tigers, animals and birds have then gathered in herds from all-over and ran rancorously and pursuantly shadowing the shadow of Seetha. [3-52-36]

dhvani/innuendo: Even the cruellest animals will be compassionate, if only humans are compassionate to them. Neither Seetha scared any animal nor any animal scared Seetha. This may be a useful verse for Animal Rights Activists.

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jala prapāta asra mukhāḥ śṛngaiḥ ucchrita bāhavaḥ |
sītāyām hriyamāṇāyām vikrośanti iva parvatāḥ || 3-52-37

37. siitaayaam hriya maaNaayaam = at Seetha, who is being abducted; parvataaH = mountains; jala prapaata = water, falls; asra mukhaaH = as [shedding] tears, with [such] faces; shR^ingaiH ucChrita baahavaH = by peaks, upraised, arms; vikroshanti iva = bewailed, as though [appeared to be.]

The mountains appeared bewailing with their waterfalls as shedding tears and with their peaks as upraised arms, while Seetha is thus being abducted. [3-52-37]

dhvani/innuendo:A mountain cannot fly up to confront Ravana like an eagle, nor it can express its anguish like a swaying tree or a chirping bird, nor it cannot doggedly run after like lions and other animals, thus it is a 'cannot but situation' for any mountain to sit back and weep, as it is sessile. The eyes do not shed tears only in one direction. So also, the waterfalls are shed in many directions at the face-level of mountains, but not from their peaks. Then how to express their anguish bodily, to her who is up above the sky or pray the Almighty to rescue her? Hence, their raised mountaintops are their upraised arms, expressing all of their anguish, more so, with the booming weepy noise of the air coming out their caves, which in normal situations will be like the booming voicing of Sama Veda.

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hriyamāṇām tu vaidehīm dṛṣṭvā dīno divākaraḥ |
pravidhvasta prabhaḥ śrīmān āsīt pāṇḍura maṇḍalaḥ || 3-52-38

38. hriyamaaNaam vaidehiim dR^iSTvaa = being abducted, at Vaidehi, on seeing; shriimaan divaakaraH diinaH = magnificent, day maker [Sun,] is saddened; pra vi dhvasta prabhaH = very, lowly, weakened, with sunshine; paaNDura maNDalaH aasiit = whitened [palely,] sun-sphere [rather, sun-disc,] became.

On seeing Vaidehi who is being abducted thus, magnificent Sun in firmament is saddened, and lowly weakened is his sunshine, palely whitened is his sun-disc, and faintly deadened is his solar constant. [3-52-38]

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na asti dharmaḥ kutaḥ satyam na ārjavam na anṛśaṃsatā |
yatra rāmasya vaidehīm bhāryām harati rāvaṇaḥ || 3-52-39
iti bhūtāni sarvāṇi gaṇaśaḥ paryadevayan |

39, 40a. yatra = where [when]; raamasya bhaaryaam vaidehiim = Rama's, wife, Vaidehi is; raavaNaH harati = Ravana, is abducting; at such juncture; dharmaH na asti = probity, not, is there; satyam kutaH = fundamental truth [conscience,] whereby; aarjavam na = candour, no [place for, unfounded]; a nR^i shamsataa na = un-mercifulness [compassion,] no [place for, unfounded,]; iti sarvaaNi bhuutaani gaNashaH = thus, all of the, being, in throngs; paryadevayan = overly regretted.

"When Ravana is abducting none other than the wife of Rama, then there is no probity. At such a juncture, how conscience can prevail? Unfounded are candour and compassion," thus the throngs of all beings overly regretted. [3-52-39, 40a]

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vitrastakā dīna mukhā ruruduḥ mṛga potakāḥ || 3-52-40
udvīkṣya udvīkṣya nayanaiḥ asra pāta āvila īkṣaṇāḥ |

40b, 41a. mR^iga potakaaH vi trastakaa = deer, fawns, verily, frightened; diina mukhaa = with saddening, faces; asra paata aavila iikSaNaaH = with tears, shedding; flustered, looks; with such; nayanaiH = eyes; ut viikSya ut viikSya = up, seeing, up, seeing- craning and seeing; ruruduH = wept.

Verily frightened are the fawns of deer, and their saddened faces are with tear shedding eyes with flustered looks, and they looked up and up at Seetha in sky and wept. [3-52-40b, 41a]

dhvani/innuendo: The fawns are frightened because they have very broad and comely eyes like Seetha and someday some seducer like Ravana may also lead them astray, as collapsed is the equilibrium of conscience, candour or compassion. Hence, they are peeking out skyward repeatedly while Seetha is also looking down for Rama and Lakshmana, where the commonality is in the fawn-eyes filled with tears, both to the fawns and Seetha.

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supravepita gātrāḥ ca babhūvuḥ vana devatāḥ || 3-52-41
vikrośantīm dṛḍham sītām dṛṣṭvā duḥkham tathā gatām |

41b, 42a. tathaa = that way; duHkham gataam = anguish, undergoing; dR^iDham vi kroshantiim = in high-pitched [voice,] highly, bawling; siitaam dR^iSTvaa = Seetha, on seeing; vana devataaH = sylvan, deities; su pra vepita gaatraaH = very, extremely, shuddered, bodied; babhuuvuH = [bodies] happened to be.

On seeing Seetha who is undergoing anguish in that way the sylvan deities physically shuddered in a worst way. [3-52-41b, 42a]

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tām tu lakṣmaṇa rāma iti krośantīm madhura svarām || 3-52-42
avekṣamāṇām bahuśo vaidehīm dharaṇī talam |
sa tām ākula keśāntām vipramṛṣṭa viśeṣakām |
jahāra ātma vināśāya daśagrīvo manasvinām || 3-52-43

42b, 43. lakSmaNa raama iti = Lakshmana, Rama, thus; madhura svaraam kroshantiim = with mellowly, voice, one who is crying; bahushaH dharaNii talam avekSamaaNaam = oftentimes, at earth's, plane, who is looking searchingly; aakula kesha antaam = tousle, hair, ends - tousle-haired; vi pra mR^iSTa = very, untidily, smudged; visheSakaam = felicitous, vermilion mark on forehead - tilaka, sindoor]; manasvinaam = uncompromising one - a husband-devout, pati vrata; taam vaidehiim = such a, Vaidehi; saH dashagriivaH = he, that decahedral demon; aatma vinaashaaya = for self, ruination; taam jahaara = her, he abducted.

She who is looking searchingly at the plane of earth for Rama or Lakshmana, and truly bawling in high-pitched but mellowly voice calling "Rama, Lakshmana", and whose hair-lengths are tousled, and whose felicitous vermilion mark on her forehead is smudged very untidily, that Decahedral demon abducted such an uncompromising husband-devout, Vaidehi, only for his self-ruination. [3-52-42a, 43]

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tataḥ tu sā cāru datī śuci smitā
vinā kṛtā bandhu janena maithilī |
apaśyatī rāghava lakṣmaṇāu ubhau
vivarṇa vaktrā bhaya bhāra pīḍitā || 3-52-44

44. tataH = then; caaru datii = prettily, teethed; shuci smitaa = clean-cut, one with such smile; bandhu janena vinaa kR^itaa = kin, folk, without, made [already distanced from kith and kin]; saa = she that; maithilii = Maithili is; raaghava lakSmaNaau ubhau = Raghava, Lakshmana, both; a pashyatii = not, seen [by her]; vi varNa vaktraa = less of, colour, face [pale faced]; bhaya bhaara piiDitaa = of consternation, by cumber, chastened.

She who is already detracted from her kinsfolk in Mithila or in Ayodhya, that Maithili with pretty teeth and clean-cut smile is then distanced from the only two last kinsmen, for either Raghava or Lakshmana or both are unseen by her, and thus her face is paled for she is chastened by the cumber of consternation. [3-52-44]

---- .

The sense and nonsense of the 'untouchability' of woman

There are many taboos annexed to woman saying that 'a woman is untouchable by other men...' and much discussion is also there in Ramayana. For this, the commentator of Dharmaakuutam says, that when Seetha herself said to Hanuma that touching other men is indecent in Sundara Kanda, Ch. 37, at verses 60 or so: bhartur bhaktim puraskrtya raamaat anyasya vaanara | na aham spraShTum padaa gaatram iccheyam vaanarottama || yadaham gaatra samsparsham raavaNasya gataa balaat | aniishaa kim kariShyaami vinaathaa vivashaa satii ||  the commentator questions 'how then can she embrace Jataayu, let alone touching?' and in answer he says iti hanuumantam prati para puruSha sparshana maatram anucitam iti vakShyasi | evam taadR^ishiiyam siitaa para puruSham jataayuSham katham aali~Ngatavati iti cet na | duShTa bhaavena para puruSha aali~Nganasya doShatvo api duHkha parihaaraaya aatura buddhi sparshane doSham a-bhaavaat | tatra - gautamaH - strii prekShaNa aalmbhane maithun kaa~NkShayaam - varjayet iti sheShaH | atra - mitraakSharaa - prakasheNa iikShaNam avayavasho niruupaNam - na yaadR^icchika darShanam | aalambhanam sparShanam | maithuna sha~Nkaayaam iti vacanaat baalaayaam - vR^iddhaayaam - aaturaayaam svasya ca baalaadeH na doSha iti | evam saamaanyatayaa baala vR^iddha aaturaaNaam para puruShaaNaam striibhiH sparshane kR^ito api na doShaH || 

'advances towards a woman with a libidinous look, or a voluptuous gesticulation or lustful approaches are 'immoral' but mere touching or embracing age-old people, people in anguish etc, is as good as fondling her own babies...' Again according to gautama suutraa-s 'lustful eying, or teasingly hankering after other's women is to be avoided...'

Even the mitraakshara 'A treatise of Friendlily Advises' says: 'seeing voyeuristically, bodily gesticulations, habitual observations, or hankering after lustfully etc., are immoral for a man of age at any woman...' This is discussed for the act of Seetha in hugging Jataayu at last verse of previous chapter of this Aranya Kanda: punaH ca samgR^ihya ruroda 'again taken into hands, wept away...' Some publications of this Gorakhpur version has this word samgR^ihya a word of less intensity, 'taken into hands...' has a replacement parishvajya, aali.ngya the words with clear-cut action, 'embraced, hugged a dying eagle with a fatherly affection. Therefore it does not mean women are 'untouchables' in general.

From Ravana's side his curse is that, 'his head splinters into thousands of pieces if he touches other's woman...' But it is not yet splintered though he handled Seetha that roughly. Hence, that curse in its actuality is 'raping' but not mere 'touching' of body parts. Touching the 'untouchable' parts of other's women, that too without proper and full consent of that woman. As such, though he touched Seetha, carried on his flanks, took to his Lanka on his own body, he gives her time to reconcile herself, but does not make haphazard advances unilaterally. Thus, a difference between touching and fondling, grasping and caressing is established and it is no sin or taboo for any woman to do so.

- - - - -

iti vālmīki rāmāyaṇe ādi kāvye araṇya kāṇḍe dvi paṃcāśaḥ sargaḥ

Thus, this is the 52nd chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

Verse Locator for Book III : Aranya Kanda - The Forest Trek : Chapter 52

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© Dec, 2002, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : November 04]

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