Vishnu agrees to incarnate as human and selects Dasharatha as his father. And when Dasharatha is performing the Vedic ritual called putrakaameSTi a deity called praajaapatya purusha arises from the sacrificial fire to give a golden vessel of divine dessert to Dasharatha for distribution among his queens to beget progeny. The three queens on consuming that dessert conceive their children.
tato nārāyaṇo devo viṣuṇuḥ niyuktaḥ sura sattamaiḥ |
jānan api surān evam ślakṣṇam vacanam abravīt || 1-16-1
1. tataH = later; niyuktaH sura sattamaiH = nominated, by gods, best ones; naaraayaNaH vishNuH = Narayana, Vishnu - Omnipresent; jaanan api = he knows [outcome,] though; suraan evam slakSNam vachanam abraviit = with gods, this way, gently, words, spoke.
Later when the Omnipresent Narayana is thus nominated by best gods, and though he knows the outcome, he gently spoke these words to gods in this way. [1-16-1]
The name Vishnu indicates his all pervading Omnipresence in all beings, sessile or mobile: vyaapitvaat sarva bhuuteSu vishnuH iti abhidhiiyate. This is one of his thousand names, called Vishnu sahasra naama , each name elucidating his attributes.
upāyaḥ ko vadhe tasya rākṣsādhipateḥ surāḥ |
yam aham tam samāsthāya nihanyām ṛṣi kaṇṭakam || 1-16-2
2. suraaH = oh gods; raakshasa adhipateH tasya vadhe = demon's, chief, [namely Ravana,] in his, elimination; upaayaH kaH = idea, what is; yam samasthaaya = which [strategy,] on adoting; R^ishi kanTakam tam aham nihanyaam = for sages, thorny, him, I can, eliminate.
"What is the idea to eliminate that demon's chief Ravana, oh, gods, adopting which strategy I will have to eliminate that thorn in the side of sages?" Thus Vishnu asked the gods. [1-16-2]
evam uktāḥ surāḥ sarve pratyūcuḥ viṣṇum avyayam |
mānuṣam rūpam āsthāya rāvaṇam jahi saṃyuge || 1-16-3
3. evam uktaaH suraaH sarve = thus, spoken, gods, all; a vyayam viSNuum = imperishable, to Vishnu; prati uuchuH = in reply, said; maanuSam tanum aasthaaya = of human, body, form, on assuming; raavaNam jahi samyuge = Ravana, kill, in war.
Asked thus all the gods said to that sempiternal Vishnu, "on assuming a human form, eliminate Ravana in a war." [1-16-3]
sa hi tepe tapaḥ tīvram dīrgha kālam ariṃdama |
yena tuṣṭo.abhavat brahmā loka kṛt loka pūrvajaḥ || 1-16-4
4. arim dama = oh, enemy, destroyer; saH diirgha kaalam tiivram tapaH tepeH = he [Ravana,] for a long period, vehement, ascesis, undertook; yena = by which - thereby; loka kR^it = worlds, creator; and loka puurva jaH = in worlds, earliest, born one - Brahma; tuSTaH abhavat = glad, he become.
"Oh, destroyer of enemies, he that Ravana undertook a vehement ascesis for a long period, thereby the creator of worlds and the first born one Brahma, felt gladsome of his ascesis. [1-16-4]
santuṣṭaḥ pradadau tasmai rākṣasāya varam prabhuḥ |
nānāvidhebhyo bhūtebhyo bhayam na anyatra mānuṣāt || 1-16-5
avajñātāḥ purā tena varadāne hi mānavāḥ |
5, 6a. santushtaaH prabhu = satisfied, Brahma; tasmai raakshasaaya maanushaat anyatra = to him, to demon Ravana, from human, other than; naanaa vidhebhyaH bhuutebhyaH = many a, kinds of, beings; bhayam na = danger, is not there; [iti = thus]; varam pradadau = boon, gave; puraa = earlier; vara daane [samaye] = while boon, being bestowed [at that time]; tena maanavaaH avaGYaataH hi = by him, humans, are slighted, indeed.
"Satisfied with his ascesis Brahma gave boon to that demon that he shall have no fear for his life from many kinds of beings, excepting humans, because that demon indeed slighted humans earlier at the time of bestowing boon. [1-16-5, 6a]
evam pitāmahāt tasmāt varadānena garvitaḥ || 1-16-6
utsādayati lokān trīīn striyaḥ ca api apakarṣati |
tasmāt tasya vadho dṛṣṭo mānuṣebhyaḥ parantapa || 1-16-7
6b, 7. evam tasmaat pitaamahaat = thus, from him, the Forefather Brahma; vara daanena garvitaH = by boon, according, becoming arrogant; utsaadayat lokaanm triin = torturing, worlds, three; striyaH api apakarSati cha = women, even, abducting, also; tasmaat paramtapa = therefore, oh, enemy, destroyer Vishnu; tasya vadhaH = his, elimination; maanushebhyaH dR^iSTaH = by humans, is envisaged.
"Thus, on getting boon from the Forefather Brahma he has become arrogant and torturing the three worlds, and he is even abducting women. As such, oh, enemy destroyer Vishnu, his elimination is envisaged through humans alone." So said gods to Vishnu. [1-16-6b, 7]
iti etat vacanam śrutvā surāṇām viṣṇuḥ ātmavān |
pitaram rocayāmāsa tadā daśaratham nṛpam || 1-16-8
8. iti suraaNaam etat vachanam shrutvaa = this way, of the gods, that, speech, on hearing; Vishnu; aatmavaan = kind-hearted one; tadaa dasharatham nR^ipam = then, Dasharatha, king; pitaram rochayaamaasa = as father, started to choose.
On hearing that speech of gods said that way, he that kind-hearted Vishnu then chose Dasharatha as his father in human world. [1-16-8]
sa ca api aputro nṛpatiḥ tasmin kāle mahādyutiḥ |
ayajat putriyām iṣṭim putrepsuḥ arisūdanaḥ ||1-16-9
9. tasmin kaale = during that time; mahaa dyutiH = great resplendent one; ari suudanaH = enemy, subduer [Dasharatha]; saH nR^ipatiH = he, that king; a putraH = without, progeny; putra iipsuH = children, he is desiring; putriyaam iSTim api = for sons, ritual, even; ayajaH cha = performed, also.
During that time the great resplendent king and an enemy subduer Dasharatha is performing putrakaameSTi ritual, desiring progeny as he is sonless. [1-16-9]
sa kṛtvā niścayam viṣṇuḥ āmantrya ca pitāmaham |
antardhānam gato devaiḥ pūjya māno maharṣibhiḥ || 1-16-10
10. saH vishnuH kR^itvaa nischayam = he, Vishnu, making - taking, decision; pitaamahaH aamantrya cha = from Forefather [Brahma,] took leave of, also; devaiH maharSibhiH puujyamaanaH = by gods, saints, while being extolled; antardhaanam gataH = vanishing, gone into.
On taking a decision Vishnu took leave of Forefather Brahma, and vanished while he is still being extolled by gods and sages. [1-16-10]
tato vai yajamānasya pāvakāt atula prabham |
prādurbhūtam mahadbhūtam mahāvīryam mahābalam || 1-16-11
11. tataH vai yajamaanasya = then, verily, performer of ritual, [Dasharatha's]; paavakaat atula prabham = [from] ritual fire, with unparalleled, resplendence; praadurbhuutam mahat bhuutam = emerged, Divine, Being; mahaa viiryam mahaa balam = greatly, vigorous, greatly, energetic.
Then, from Fire of Altar Dasharatha's ritual there emerged a greatly vigorous and energetic Divine Being with an unparalleled resplendence, called yajna puruSa. [1-16-11]
kṛṣṇam raktāmbara dharam raktāasyam dundubhi svanam |
snigdha haryakṣa tanuja śmaśru pravaram ūrdhajam || 1-16-12
12. kR^iSNa rakta ambara dharam = black, red, garments, clad in; rakta aasyam = red faced; dundubhi svanam = drum-beat like, voiced; snigdha haryakSa tanuuja shmashru pravaram uurdha jam = with his soft hair, like mane of lion, moustaches and head hair.
He is clad in black and red garments and his face is red and his voice resembled the drumbeat. His moustache and hairdo are soft like that of a lion's mane. [1-16-12]
śubha lakṣaṇa saṃpannam divya ābharaṇa bhūṣitam |
śaila śṛṅga samutsedham dṛpta śārdūla vikramam || 1-16-13
13. subha lakSaNa sampannam = auspicious, features, endowed with; divya aabharaNa buuSitam = divine, ornaments, decorated with; shaila sR^i~Nga samutsedham = mountain, peak like, in height; dR^ipta shaarduula vikramam = imperious, tiger like, in valiance.
And he is endowed with auspicious features and decorated with divine ornaments, in height he is like a mountain peak, and in valiance he is like an imperious tiger. [1-16-13]
divākara samāakāram dīpta anala śikhopamam |
tapta jāmbūnadamayīm rājatānta paricchadām || 1-16-14
divya pāyasa saṃpūrṇām pātrīm patnīm iva priyām |
pragṛhya vipulām dorbhyām svayam māyāmayīm iva || 1-16-15
14. [tat mahat bhuutam = that, great being]; pragR^ihya = carrying; dorbhyaam svayam = in two hands, personally; vipulaam patriim = a big vessel, golden vessel; [which is] maayaamayiim iva = [made by an] an illusion, like; divaakara sama aakaaram = [day, giver dazzling] sun, similar, in appearance; diipta anala shika upamam = glowing, flame's tongues, in similitude; tapta jambuunada mayiim = molten, gold moulded, full with; rajataanta paricChadaam = silver lid, covered with; [and which is] divya paayasa sampuurNaam = divine, dessert, full of; patniim iva = wife, like; priyaam = dear [wife].
That great ritual being personally brought a big golden vessel carrying it with both of his hands as if he would personally handle his own wife, which vessel is made from the molten gold and covered with a silver lid, and which appeared to be crafted out of a divine illusion, since it is dazzling like sun and glowing like the tongues of flame, and that vessel is full with the divine dessert. [1-16-14, 15]
samavekṣya abravīt vākyam idam daśaratham nṛpam |
prājāpatyam naram viddhi mām iha abhyāgatam nṛpa || 1-16-16
16. dasharatham nR^ipam samavekSyaH = Dasharatha, king, on observing; idam vaakyam abraviit = this, word, said; nR^ipaH = oh, king; iha abhyaagatam = at here, arrived; maam = me; praajaapatyam = from Prajapati [sent by]; naram viddhi = being, you know.
That divine person on observing king Dasharatha said these words "oh, king, you may know me as the being sent by Prajapati." [1-16-16]
tataḥ param tadā rājā prati uvāca kṛta aṃjaliḥ |
bhagavan svāgatam te.astu kimaham karavāṇi te || 1-16-17
17. tataH param tadaa raajaa = there after, thus, king; prati uvaacha kR^ita anjaliH = in turn, said, adjoining, palms [greeting]; bhagavan = oh, god; te svaagatam astu = to you, welcome, let there be; aham te kim karavaaNi = I, for you, what shall [I,] do.
There after, king Dasharatha greeted that divine being with palms adjoining and said in reply, "oh, god, welcome to you, and what shall I do for you?" [1-16-17]
atho punaḥ idam vākyam prājāpatyo naro.abravīt |
rājan arcayatā devān adya prāptam idam tvayā || 1-16-18
18. athaH praajaapatyH naraH = then, Prajaapati's, person; punaH idam vaakyam abraviit = again, this, word, said; raajan = oh, king; devaan archayataa tvayaa = gods, when propitiated, by you; adya idam praaptam = now, this is, obtained [by you.]
Then again, that divine being sent by Prajapati said these words, "oh, king, now you have obtained this dessert in golden vessel as you have propitiated gods. [1-16-18]
idam tu nṛpa śārdūla pāyasam deva nirmitam |
prajā karam gṛhāṇa tvam dhanyam ārogya vardhanam || 1-16-19
19. nR^ipa shaarduula = oh, king, the tiger; deva nirmitam = by divinities, prepared; prajaa karam = progeny, enriching; dhanyam = blessed one; aarogya vardhanam = health, enriching; idam paayasam tvam gR^ihaaNa = this, dessert, you, take.
"Oh, tigerly king, take this dessert prepared by divinities, this is a blessed dessert that enriches progeny and health. [1-16-19]
bhāryāṇām anurūpāṇām aśnīta iti prayaccha vai |
tāsu tvam lapsyase putrān yadartham yajase nṛpa || 1-16-20
20. nR^ipaH = oh, king; ashniita = consume; iti = on saying; anuruupaanaam bhaaryaaNaam prayacCha vai = eligible ones, to your wives, give them, indeed; yat ardham yajase = for which, purpose, you performed ritual; putraan taasu tvam lapsyaase = sons, in them [in queens,] you, will get.
"Oh, king, let this be consumed" saying so he further said, "for which purpose you have performed this ritual that childbearing will be fructified in your wives by bearing sons, hence give this among your eligible wives." So said the divine being to Dasharatha. [1-16-20]
tathā iti nṛpatiḥ prītaḥ śirasā prati gṛhya tām |
pātrīm deva anna saṃpūrṇām deva dattām hiraṇmayīm || 1-16-21
21. nR^ipati tathaa iti = king, like that only, thus [on agreeing]; taam deva anna sampuuram = that, divine, food, full of; deva dattam hiraNyamayiim = gods, given, golden one; paatriim shirasaa pratigR^ihya = vessel, onto head [head bent, wholeheartedly,] on taking; priitaH = he is delighted.
Agreeing to that the king wholeheartedly took that god-given golden vessel full with divine food. [1-16-21]
abhivādya ca tat bhūtam adbhutam priya darśanam |
mudā paramayā yuktaḥ cakāra abhipradakṣiṇam || 1-16-22
22. paramayaa mudaa yuktaH = high, ecstasy, with; adbhutam priya darshanam = astonishing, delightful, in his appearance; tat bhuutam = at that, being; abhivaadya cha = revering, too; chakaara abhipradakshiNam = performed, circumambulations.
With high ecstasy Dasharatha revered that Ritual Being, the Prajapati Purusha or yaGYa purusha , an astonishing and delightful being in his appearance, and performed circumambulations around him. [1-16-22]
tato daśarathaḥ prāpya pāyasam deva nirmitam |
babhūva parama prītaḥ prāpya vittam iva adhanaḥ || 1-16-23
23. tataH = then; Dasharatha; deva nirmitam paayasam praapya = by gods, prepared, dessert, on getting; vittam praapya a dhana iva = [unforeseen] wealth, on obtaining, by a pauper, like; parama priitaH babhuuva = highly, gladdened, he became.
On obtaining that dessert prepared by gods then Dasharatha is highly gladdened like a pauper obtaining unforeseen wealth. [1-16-23]
tataḥ tat adbhuta prakhyam bhūtam parama bhāsvaram |
saṃvartayitvā tat karma tatra eva antaradhīyata || 1-16-24
24. tataH = then; adbhuta prakhyam = with astonishing, form; parama bhaasvaram = highly, glowing; tat bhuutam = that, ritual being; tat karma samvartayitvaa = that, deed, on completing; tatra eva antardhiiyata = there, only, disappeared.
On completing his work of giving the golden vessel with dessert then that divine being who is astonishing by his form and highly glowing by his physique, disappeared then and there itself. [1-16-24]
harṣa raśmibhiḥ uddyotam tasya antaḥpuram ābabhau |
śāradasya abhirāmasya caṃdrasya iva nabhaḥ aṃśubhiḥ || 1-16-25
25. harSa rasmibhiH uddyotam = happiness, beams of, lit up; tasya antaHpuram = his, palace chambers; abhiraamasya shaaradasya = heart pleasing, of autumn; chandrasya amshubhiH = with moon's, rays; nabhaH iva = sky, like; babhuuva = became.
Lit up with beams of happiness Dasharatha's palace chambers shone forth like the autumnal sky brightened with moonbeams. [1-16-25]
saḥ antaḥpuram praviśya eva kausalyām idam abravīt |
pāyasam pratigṛhṇīṣva putrīyam tu idam ātmanaḥ || 1-16-26
26. saH antaH puram pravishya = he [Dasharatha,] palace chambers, on entering; kausalyaam idam abraviit = to Kausalya, this, said; aatmanaH putriiyam = for your, son causing; idam paayasam pratigR^ihNiishva = this, dessert, you receive.
Then Dasharatha on entering palace chambers spoke this to queen Kausalya, "Receive this dessert to beget your son." [1-16-26]
This divine dessert is meant for the 'eligible' queens, as informed the Ritual Being and also in order to maintain the divinity of Ram's birth. In the context of seed and field, the field has no equal importance to the seed biija kshetra nyaya . Hence the seed is divine in the form of dessert and fields are therefore shall 'be eligible' for the seedling. As such the First Queen and Empress Kausalya is being addressed firstly, and given firstly.
kausalyāyai narapatiḥ pāyasa ardham dadau tadā |
ardhāt ardham dadau ca api sumitrāyai narādhipaḥ || 1-16-27
kaikeyyai ca avaśiṣṭa ardham dadau putrārtha kāraṇāt |
pradadau ca avaśiṣṭa ardham pāyasasya amṛta upamam || 1-16-28
anucintya sumitrāyai punaḥ eva mahīpatiḥ |
evam tāsām dadau rājā bhāryāṇām pāyasam pṛthak || 1-16-29
27, 28 29. tadaa nara patiH = then, people's lord - king; kausalyaayai = to Kausalya; paayasa artham dadou = dessert, half of it, gave; nara adhipaH = people's, lord - king; arthaat artham = half of the [remaining] half [-one fourth]; sumitraayai cha api dadou = to Sumitra, also, even, gave; avashiSTa artham = of the remaining, half [one eight,]; putra artha kaaraNaat = sons, purpose of, desiring; klaikeyyaiH cha dadau = to Kaikeyi, also, gave; mahii patiH = king; anuchintya = thought a while; paayasam = dessert; amR^ita upamam = ambrosia, equalling; avashiSTa artham = remaining part [one eight]; punaH eva = again, thus; sumitraayai = to Sumitra; dadou = gave; evam = thus; raajaa = king; taasaam = to them; bhaaryaaNaam = among his wives; pR^ithak = differently; paayasam = dessert; dadou = distributed.
The king then gave half of the dessert to queen Kausalya, and he gave half of the half, i.e., one fourth to queen Sumitra. And to Kaikeyi he gave half of the remaining half, i.e., one eight of the dessert, with a desire to beget sons. Then thinking for a while gave the remaining, i.e., one-eighth portion again to queen Sumitra. Thus, the king distributed the dessert to his wives differently. [1-16-27, 28, 29]
This is a much-discussed distribution by the traditionalists. Adhyatma Ramayana, a treatise that postulates god-hood to Rama, gives a well-constructed argument about these shares of dessert and the resultant births of the four brothers, viz., Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata, and Shatrughna, in accordance with these shares. In its simplest terms and as contained in these verses, queen Kausalya got half of the dessert as an Empress, paTTa mahiSi. Sumitra gets one-fourth in the first round and after a rethink by Dasharatha, she gets another one-eighth portion. Kaikeyi gets only a one-eighth quantity. Thus, Kausalya gives birth to Rama, Sumitra to Lakshmana and Shatrughna, and Kaikeyi to Bharata. The quantum of apportionment of the dessert does not make Rama all-powerful or Bharata the least. Since the Absolute is indivisible into parts, the dessert that is divided is not to be taken as the divided Absolute, but a kind of medium through which the incarnation is made possible.
There is another declination enquiring whether the incarnation of Rama is full or partial, puurNa avatara or artha avatara... Rama is Vishnu Himself while Bharata and Shatrughna are his disc and conch-shell, while Lakshmana is the thousand headed snake aadi sesha on whose coils Vishnu reclines. The whole dessert is divine and parts of it do not signify and inter-divided god-hoods. Hence, the apportionment of the desert is done in order to keep up the hierarchy of the queen-hoods and their status. Throughout this magnum opus Rama never said that he is god or an incarnate of god, but called himself, nimitta maatra a casual relation to the course of events. Should Rama be the incarnation of the Almighty Himself, he has little or no necessity to incarnate the weaponry along with him. They are at his beck and call at any time. Thus, Rama is neither a half nor one-fourth incarnation of the Absolute nor a dividend of the whole, but an incarnate of the virtuously ideal personality of Vishnu, maryaada purushottama Rama.
Incidental to this apportionment of the dessert, the aspect of eldest son is also studied. Rama is the first-born and thus the eldest. This is because the dessert is given to queen Kausalya in the first instance, and half of the whole vessel. She immediately consumed to lionise her share and as an Empress. Sumitra waited a while till apportionment is complete. Kaikeyi got her portion but waited till her elder sister Sumitra completes her drink. In the meanwhile Dasharatha thought a while, as said in the verse, and gave Sumitra another one-eighth part. Sumitra then consumed her two parts. Later Kaikeyi drinks her dividend.
tāḥ ca evam pāyasam prāpya narendrasya uttamāḥ striyaḥ |
sammānam menire sarvāḥ praharṣa udita cetasaḥ || 1-16-30
30. narendrasya uttamaaH striyaH = of king, best, ladies; sarvaaH = all of them; taaH evam paayasam praapya = they, that way, dessert, on getting; praharSa udita chetasa = gladness, exuberance, with hearts; sammaanam menire = a reward, they deemed [the dessert.]
On getting the dessert all of those best ladies of the king, whose hearts are exuberant with happiness, deemed it as a reward. [1-16-30]
tatastu tāḥ prāśya tad uttama striyo
mahīpateḥ uttama pāyasam pṛthak |
hutāśana āditya samāna tejasaḥ
acireṇa garbhān pratipedire tadā || 1-16-31
31. mahiipateH tataH uttama striyaH = of king, those, best, ladies; tat uttama paayasam = that, best, dessert; praasya = on consuming; hutaashanaa aaditya samaana tejasaH = Fire, Sun, equalling, in resplendence [queens]; chirena tadaa garbhaan pratipedire = after some time, then, pregnancy, they got - conceived.
Then on consuming dessert those best ladies of the king whose resplendence then vied with that Fire and Sun became pregnant after some time. [1-16-31]
A synecdochic expression to indicate that Sun and Fire, the enliveners of living beings, pratyaksha naraayaNa are there in those wombs and their resplendence is shining out of mothers bodies.
tatastu rājā prativīkṣya tāḥ striyaḥ
prarūḍha garbhāḥ prati labdha mānasaḥ |
babhūva hṛṣṭaḥ tridive yathā hariḥ
surendra siddha ṛṣi gaṇābhipūjitaḥ || 1-16-32
32. tataH raajaa = then, king; praruuDha garbhaaH = having confirmed, about their pregnancies; taaH striyaH = at those, ladies; prativiikshya = on seeing; prati labdha maanasa = again, recaptured, [his lost] heart; tridive = in heavens; sura indra siddha R^iSi gaNaabhi = gods, [Indra,] by great souls, sages, by groups of; puujitaH = worshipped; yathaa hariH = as like, Vishnu; babhuuva hR^iSTaH = became, delighted.
Then on seeing his queens with confirmed pregnancies Dasharatha regained his lost heart for sons, and he is gladdened like Vishnu, who will always be gladsome when worshipped by gods, namely Indra and others, as well as by the assemblages of great souls, sages. [1-16-32]
iti śrī vālmīki rāmāyaṇe ādikāvye bālakāṇḍe ṣoḍaśaḥ sargaḥ ||
© 1999, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised: April 04]
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