bAla kANDa

Book I : Bala Kanda - The Youthful Majesties

Chapter [Sarga] 20
Verses converted to UTF-8 - Sep 2009


On enquiring details about those dangerous demons that are ravaging sage's ritual, King Dasharatha refuses to send young Rama along with Sage Vishvamitra on many an account, and thus confronts the Sage's wrath.

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तत् श्रुत्वा राज शार्दूलो विश्वामित्रस्य भाषितम् |
मुहूर्तम् इव निस्सज्ञः सज्ञावान् इदम् अब्रवीत् || १-२०-१

1. raaja shaarduulaH = king, the tiger; vishvamitrasya tat bhaaSitam shrutvaa = Vishvamitra's, that, spoken, on hearing; muhuurtam iva nissanj~naH = for a time, thus, became senseless; sanj~navaan idam abraviit = gaining senses, this, said.

On hearing what is spoken by Vishvamitra the tigerly-king Dasharatha became insensate for a time, and on redeeming senses he said this. [1-20-1]

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ऊन षोडश वर्षो मे रामो राजीव लोचनः |
न युद्ध योग्यताम् अस्य पश्यामि सह राक्षसैः || १-२०-२

2. raajiiva lochanaH = lotus, eyed one; me raamaH = my, Rama; uuna SoDasha varSaH = is less than, sixteen, years [of age]; asya raakshasaiH saha = his, with, demons; yuddha yogyataam = warring, aptitude; na pasyaami = not, I see.

""Less than sixteen years of age is my lotus-eyed Rama, and I see no warring aptitude to him with the demons. [1-20-2]

This particular statement uuna SoDasha varshaH less than sixteen years, has evoked a spate of commentaries in deciding the age of Rama at this juncture of going along with Sage Viswamitra, i.e., at the time of his marrying Seeta and at the time of his exile to forests etc. His age is said to be twelve years as of now. And this is confirmed by Mareecha while advising Ravana, that 'as a boy of twelve Rama, killed my mother and brother, and hit me out' as at 3-38-6, uuna dvaadasha varSaH Or, baalo dvaadasha varSo ayam as per other versions of the same verse.

Ramayana has some bearing on the number twelve. The Books or Kaanda-s are 6, half of twelve. The total verses are 24 thousand, two folds of twelve thousand. Rama is born in twelfth month. Vishvamitra's arrival, or better said as Seetha kalyaNa , Seetha's marriage with Rama, is in the twelfth year. His stay in Ayodhya before crown prince ceremony and exile is for twelve years. The years of Rama's exile are twelve, plus two years stay in Panchavati, of the total fourteen years of exile. In Uttara Ramayana Seetha's exile in the hermitage of Valmiki is for twelve years. So on...

Some others said that because Rama has not yet attained all the sixteen phases like full moon, he is not a full-fledged person, chaaru SoDasha kalaa sahitaH Again in saying: raajiiva lochana lotus-eyed one - petals of lotuses close down by night, so Rama's eyelids too close by night for a boyish sleep. Then how can such a boy war with night-active demons? In answer to this Sage Vishvamitra uses the same wording in previous chapter at 1-19-18, dasha raatram; raamam raajiiva locanam where the wording raajiiva locana is used by Vishvamitra in the sense that the petals of a lotus spread out on the first rays of sun. So also the very opening of the lotus-petal eyelids of Rama will eradicate the nightly menace of demons with his Omniscient Sun-Moon-Fire eyes, suurya chandra agni lochana , that can see even in night.

A Kshatriya of sixteen years age is unfit to war with any one, as he is still a childhood baala aashoDashaat varSaa . But Rama is under sixteen, and he is being requisitioned for war. Can he combat even if he is under aged? Yes, he can, says Govindaraja as per the nyaya /syndrome, tejasaam hi na vayaH samiikshyate 'dextrous person's age is not to be reckoned' As such, though Rama appears to be under aged he can do wonders in eliminating the vice. This is again rounded off with Vishvamitra's wording in last chapter: aham vedmi mahaa aatmaanam raamam raajiiva locanam.

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इयम् अक्षौहिणी सेना यस्य अहम् पतिः ईश्वरः |
अनया सहितो गत्वा योद्ध अहम् तैर् निशाचरैः || १-२०-३

3. puurNaa iyam akshouhiNii = full-fledged one, this one - here is, battalion [of ancient Indian warfare]; yasya aham patiH = for which, I am, the leader; iishwara = controller; anayaa sam vR^itaH = by this [battalion,] surrounded - fortified by; gatvaa = having gone; aham taiH nishaa charaiH yoddhaa = I will, with those, night, walkers [demons,] I can encounter.

"Here is the full-fledged battalion, called akshouhiNi sena , for which I am the leader and controller, and fortified by this army I will go there to encounter those demons. [1-20-3]

One pankti row, is the first unit of ancient military, which consists of 1 chariot, 1 elephant, 3 cavalry, and 7-foot soldiers. Multiples of this first unit become an akshouhiNi troop, which consists of 21,870 chariots and the same number of elephants, 65,610 cavalry, and 1,09,350 of foot soldiers.

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इमे शूराः च विक्रान्ता भृत्याः मे अस्त्र विशारदाः |
योग्या रक्षोगणैः योद्धुम् न रामम् नेतुम् अर्हसि || १-२०-४

4. me bhR^ityaa = my, subordinates - soldiers; ime shuuraaH cha = these, braves ones, also; vikraantaa = daring ones; astra vishaaradaaaH = in weaponry, experts; rakshaH ganaiH = with demon, hordes; yoddhum yogyaaH = to combat, suitable ones; raamam = Rama; netum = to take along; na arhasi = not, apt of you.

"Brave and daring are these soldiers of mine, and as experts in weaponry they are the appropriate ones to combat the hordes of demons, but, it will be ungentle of you to take Rama with you. [1-20-4]

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अहम् एव धनुष्पाणिः गोप्ता समर मूर्धनि |
यावत् प्राणान् धरिष्यामि तावत् योत्स्ये निशाचरैः || १-२०-५

5. aham eva = I, alone; dhanuS paaNiH = having bow, in hand; goptaa = I can protect [ritual]; yaavat praaNaan dhariSyaami = as long as, lives, I bear; taavat = so long; samara muurdhani = in war's, forefront; nishaa charaiH yotse = with nightwalkers [demons,] I war.

"I alone with bow in my hand can protect your ritual, and as long as I bear my lives so long I war with those nightwalkers staying in the van of war. [1-20-5]

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निर्विघ्ना व्रत चर्या सा भविष्यति सुरक्षिता |
अहम् तत्र आगमिष्यामि न रामम् नेतुम् अर्हसि || १-२०-६

6. aham tatra aagama iSyaami = I am, over there, to come, I wish; saa vrata charya = that, ritual, work; su rakshitaa = well, guarded; nir vighnaa = without, impediments; bhaviSyati = it will be; raamam netum na arhasi = Rama, to take with you, inapt of you.

" I myself wish to come over there thereby the works of ritual will be well-guarded and unimpeded, but, taking Rama with you will be ungracious of you. [1-20-6]

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बालो हि अकृत विद्यः च न च वेत्ति बलाबलम् |
न च अस्त्र बल संयुक्तो न च युद्ध विशारदः || १-२०-७
न च असौ रक्षसा योग्यः कूट युद्धा हि राक्षसा |

7, 8a. hi = why because; [Rama] baalaH = a boy; a kR^ita vidyaH cha = not done [unschooled,] in education; bala a balam = strengths, weaknesses; na vetti cha = not, knows, also; astra bala samyuktaH = missiles, accumulation [- arsenal,] he is along with; na = he is not, - he has no equipage of arsenal; yuddha vishaaradaH cha = in warfare, he is an expert, also; na = he is not; asau raakshasaa yogyaH = to those, demons, as a match, equal; na = he is not; te dhruvam kuuTa yuddha hi = those, definitely, with deceitful, warfare, isn't it.

"Why because, Rama is boy! And he is unschooled in his princely education; does he know the strengths and weaknesses of opponents - no; has he got the equipage of arsenal - no; has he any expertise in warfare - no; is he an equal to the demons - no; be that as it may, those demons definitely conduct a deceitful warfare, isn't it. [1-19-7, 8a]

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विप्रयुक्तो हि रामेण मुहूर्तम् अपि न उत्सहे || १-२०-८
जीवितुम् मुनि शार्दूल न रामम् नेतुम् अर्हसि |

8b, 9a. raameNa = with Rama; viprayuktaH [vi pra yuktaH] = [I am] alienated from; muhurtam api = for a moment, even; jiivitum na utsahe = to live, not, inclined; muni shaarduula = sage, the tiger; raamam netum na arhasi = Rama, to take with you, not, apt of you.

"Alienated from Rama I am disinclined to live even for a moment, oh, tigerly sage, hence taking Rama with you will be unjust. [1-20-8b, 9a]

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यदि वा राघवम् ब्रह्मन् नेतुम् इच्छसि सुव्रत || १-२०-९
चतुरंग समायुक्तम् मया सह च तम् नय |

9b, 10a. suvrata = oh, one with best vows; brahman = oh, Brahman; vaa = otherwise; raaghavam netum icChasi yadi = Rama, to take away, you wish, if; chatur anga samaayuktam = four kinds of troops, along with; mayaa saha ca = me, along with, also; tam naya = him [Rama,] you lead forth - take.

"Otherwise, oh, Brahman with best vows, if you so wish to take Rama along with you, you lead him off along with me, and along with my four kinds of troops. [1-20-9b, 10a]

The four kinds of troops are: chariots, elephants, cavalry, and foot soldiers.

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षष्टिः वर्ष सहस्राणि जातस्य मम कौशिक || १-२०-१०
कृच्छ्रेण उत्पादितः च अयम् न रामम् नेतुम् अर्हसि |

10b, 11a. koushika = oh, Vishvamitra; jaatasya mama = birthed, for me [from my birth]; SaSTiH varSa sahasraaNi = sixty, years, thousands [sixty thousand years passed]; ayam = this one [Rama]; kR^icChreNa = with tribulations; utpaaditaH cha = is produced given birth, also; raamam netum na arhasi = Rama, to take with you, not, apt of you.

"Sixty thousand years have passed from my birth, oh! Vishvamitra, and this Rama is engendered at this age, that too with tribulations, hence taking Rama with you will be inappropriate of you. [1-20-10b, 11a]

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चतुर्णाम् आत्मजानाम् हि प्रीतिः परमिका मम || १-२०-११
ज्येष्ठे धर्म प्रधाने च न रामम् नेतुम् अर्हसि |

11b, 12a. chaturNaam aatma jaanaam = for four, of my soul, born sons; mama paramikaa priitiH hi = to me, exceptional, affection is there, isn't it; jyeSThe = eldest one; dharma pradhaane cha = [in view of rightness [of descent ,] significance, also - as he is the next king, do not butcher him now; raamam netum na arhasi = Rama, to take with you, not, apt of you.

"I will have exceptional affection for all of my four sons, isn't it, and among them Rama has a significance in the matter of his descent as an eldest son, hence taking Rama with you will be unjust of you. [1-20-11b, 12a]

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किम् वीर्याः राक्षसाः ते च कस्य पुत्राः च के च ते || १-२०-१२
कथम् प्रमाणाः के च एतान् रक्षन्ति मुनिपुंगव |

12b, 13a. muni pungava = oh, sage, the eminent; te raakshasaaH kim viiryaa = those, demons, of what, fortitude; kasya putraaH cha = whose, sons, also; te ke = they, who; katham pramaaNaaH = of what, size; ke cha etaan rakshanti = who, also, all of them, protecting.

"Oh, eminent sage, of what fortitude are those demons? Whose sons are they? Who are they? How is their size and shape? Also who protects all of them? [1-20-12b, 13a]

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कथम् च प्रति कर्तव्यम् तेषाम् रामेण रक्षसाम् || १-२०-१३
मामकैः वा बलैः ब्रह्मन् मया वा कूट योधिनाम् |

13b, 14a. brahman = oh, Brahman; kuuTa yothaanaam = deceitful, militants; teSaam raakshasaam = in respect of those, demons; raameNa = by Rama; maamakaiH balaiH vaa = my own, forces, or; mayaa vaa = by me, or; katham prati kartavyam = how to, retaliate.

"Oh, Brahman, how Rama, or my forces, or I myself have to retaliate those demons that are deceitful militants. [1-20-13b, 14a]

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सर्वम् मे शंस भगवन् कथम् तेषाम् मया रणे|| १-२०-१४
स्थातव्यम् दुष्ट भावानाम् वीर्योत्सिक्ता हि राक्षसाः |
तस्य तद् वचनम् श्रुत्वा विश्वामित्रो अभ्यभाषत || १-२०-१५

14b, 15. bhagavan = oh, god; duSTa bhaavaanaam = evil, minded ones; teSaam raNe katham mayaa sthaatavyam = with them, in war, how, by me, to stand - to carry out; sarvam me shamsa = all, to me, you inform; raaakshasaaH viirya utsiktaa hi = demons, by audacity, delirious, isn't it; tasya tat vachanam shrutvaa = his [Dasharatha's,] that, words, on hearing; Vishvamitra; abhyabhashitaH = spoke.

"Tell me all that, oh, god, how I have to carry on when warring with those evil minded demons, for the demons will be delirious by their audacity, isn't it..." Thus Dasharatha asked Vishvamitra insistently. On hearing those words Sage Vishvamitra replied this way. [1-20-14b, 15]

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पौलस्त्य वंश प्रभवो रावणो नाम राक्षसः |
स ब्रह्मणा दत्त वरः त्रैलोक्यम् बाधते भृशम् || १-२०-१६
महाबलो महावीर्यो राक्षसैः बहुभिः वृतः |

16, 17a. paulastya vamsha prabhavaH = Pulastya, dynasty, born in; raaavaNa naama raakshasaH = Ravana, named, demon [is there]; mahaa balaH mahaa viiryaH = greatly, mighty, greatly, brave; saH = he; brahmaNaa datta varaH = by Brahma, given, boon; bahubhiH raakshasaiH vR^itaH = with many, demons, surrounded with [accompanied with]; trai lokyam bhR^isham badhate = three, worlds, highly, [contemptuously] torturing.

"One born in Paulastya dynasty, an extremely mighty and exceedingly brave demon named Ravana is there, and he with the boon given by Brahma, and accompanied with many other demons is torturing the triad of worlds, contemptuously. [1-20-16, 17a]

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श्रूयते च महाराजा रावणो राक्षस अधिपः || १-२०-१७
साक्षात् वैश्रवण भ्राता पुत्रो विश्रवसो मुनेः |

17b, 18a. mahaa raajaa = oh, exalted king Dasharatha; saakshaat vaishravaNa bhraataa = unequivocally, Kubera's, brother; visravasaH muneH putraH = Vishravasa, the sage's, son of; raakshasa adhipaH = demon's, chief; shruuyate = he is being heard so.

"Unequivocally that chief of demons is the brother of Kubera and the son of sage Vishravasa, thus we hear. [1-20-17b, 18a]

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यदा न खलु यज्ञस्य विघ्न कर्ता महाबलः || १-२०-१८
तेन संचोदितौ तौ तु राक्षसौ च महाबलौ |
मारीचः च सुबाहुः च यज्ञ विघ्नम् करिष्यतः || १-२०-१९

18b, 19. mahaa balaH = great, mighty - formidable Ravana; yadaa yaj~nasya vighna kartaa na khalu = when, rituals, hindrances - devastation, causer, not, indeed; tena samchoditaH = by him, instigated; maariicaH ca subaahuH ca = Mareecha, and, Subaahu, also; tau mahaa balau raakshasau tu = those, very mighty, demons, but; yaj~na vighnam kariSyataH = ritual, hindrance, will cause.

"That formidable Ravana is not a devastator of rituals by himself, even so, two very mighty demons called Mareecha and Subaahu will cause devastating hindrances to rituals, instigated by him." Thus Sage Vishvamitra said to Dasharatha. [1-20-18b, 19]

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इति उक्तो मुनिना तेन राजा उवाच मुनिम् तदा |
न हि शक्तो अस्मि संग्रामे स्थातुम् तस्य दुरात्मनः || १-२०-२०

20. iti tena muninaa uktaH = thus, by that, sage, one who is said; raajaH tadaa munim uvaacha = king Dasharatha, then, to sage, spoke; sangraame = in war; tasya dur aatmanaH = him, evil, minded one Ravana; sthaatum na shaktaH asmi hi = to stand [against him,] not, capable, I am, in truth; annex: where is the question of deputing my young Rama to confront him.

Thus when he is said so by that sage Vishvamitra, then the king Dasharatha spoke to the sage, "I myself am not capable of standing against that evil minded Ravana, in truth, where is the question of deputing my young Rama to confront him? [1-20-20]

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स त्वम् प्रसादम् धर्मज्ञ कुरुष्व मम पुत्रके |
मम च एव अल्प भाग्यस्य दैवतम् हि भवान् गुरुः || १-२०-२१

21. dharma j~na = probity, knower; saH = such as you are; tvam = you; mama putrake = on my, boyish son; alpa bhaagyasaya mama cha eva = less, fortunate, one me, also, thus; prasaadam kuruSva = benevolence, you bestow; guruH bhavaan daivatam hi = mentor, you are, god, indeed.

"You are the knower of probity, such as you are, you may please bestow benevolence upon my boyish son, as well on a less fortunate one like me too, and as our mentor you are indeed a god of ours. [1-20-21]

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देव दानव गंधर्वा यक्षाः पतग पन्नगाः|
न शक्ता रावणम् सोढुम् किम् पुनर् मानवा युधि || १-२०-२२

22. deva daanava = gods, demons; gandharvaa; yakshaaH [celestials]; pataga = winged beings [birds]; pannagaaH = reptile beings; yudhi = in war; raavanam = Ravana's; soDhum = bear [the brunt of]; na shaktaa = not, capable of; kim punaH maanavaa= why, again [tell, about] humans.

"Gods, demons, celestial beings like gandharva-s, yaksha-s, winged and reptile beings are incapable to bear the brunt of that Ravana in fight, why tell again about humans. [1-20-22]

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स तु वीर्यवताम् वीर्यम् आदत्ते युधि रावणः |
तेन च अहम् न शक्तोऽस्मि संयोद्धुम् तस्य वा बलैः || १-२०-२३
सबलो वा मुनिश्रेष्ठ सहितो वा मम आत्मजैः |

23, 24a. saH raavaNaH tu = he, that Ravana, but; yudhi = in battle; viiryavataam viiryam aadatte = valorous ones', valour, depletes; muni sreSThaH = oh, sage, the eminent; sa balaH vaa = with, my [entire] forces, either; mama aatmajaiH sahitaH vaa = my, sons, along with, or; aham tena = I, with him [individually]; tasya balaiH vaa = with his, forces, or; sam yoddhum = to grapple with; shaktaH na asmi = capable, not - inadequate, I am.

"But that Ravana depletes the valour of valorous opponents in a battle, oh, eminent sage, either with my entire forces, or with all my sons I am inadequate to grapple with all his forces, or with him, individually. [1-20-23, 24a]

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कथम् अपि अमर प्रख्यम् संग्रामाणाम् अकोविदम् || १-२०-२४
बालम् मे तनयम् ब्रह्मन् नैव दास्यामि पुत्रकम् |

24b, 25a. brahman = oh, Brahman; amara prakhyam = godlike [for Rama is still a boy]; sangraamaanaam = in wars; a kovidam = not, experienced; baalam = just a boy; putrakam = a son who alleviates hell of sonless fathers; me tanayam = my, son; katham api = in any wise; na eva daasyaami = not, thus, I handover.

"My boyish son is godlike and unfledged in warfare, oh, Brahman, and he is the one who alleviates me from punnama naraka the hell of sonless fathers... no, I cannot spare my son in anyway. [1-20-24b, 25a]

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अथ काल उपमौ युद्धे सुतौ सुन्दोपसुन्दयोः || १-२०-२५
यज्ञ विघ्न करौ तौ ते न एव दास्यामि पुत्रकम् |

25b, 26a. atha = further; te yaj~na vighna karau = your, ritual, sabotage, causers - saboteurs; tau = those two - Mareecha, Subaahu; sunda upasundayoH sutau = demons Sunda, Upasunda, sons of [ viz., descendants of]; yuddhe kaala upmau = in war, Death-god, in simile; putrakam na eva daasyaami = son, not, in any way, I spare.

"Further, those saboteurs of your ritual namely Mareecha and Subaahu, are similar to Death-god and the descendents of the earliest demons and subverters of rituals, namely Sunda and Upasunda, no, I cannot spare my son, in any case. [1-20-25b, 26a]

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मारीचः च सुबाहुः च वीर्यवन्तौ सुशिक्षितौ || १-२०-२६
तयोः अन्यतरम् योद्धुम् यास्यामि स सुहृत् गणः |
अन्यथा त्वनुनेष्यामि भवन्तम् सह बान्धव || १-२०-२७

26b, 27. maariicaH ca subaahuH ca = Mareecha, also, Subaahu, also; viiryavantau sushikSitau = valorous ones, well-trained ones; sa suhR^it gaNaH = along with, friendly, forces; tayoH anyataram yoddhum = with one only [either of the two demons,] to war; yaasyaami = I will proceed; anyathaa = otherwise; saha baandhava = with, relatives; bhavantam = your [order, in turning down]; tvam anuneSyaami = you, I implore upon you.

"Mareecha and Subaahu are well-trained and valorous ones, hence I will proceed with all my friendly forces to war with either of those two demons, otherwise, I along with all my relatives implore upon you for your exoneration in my failure to comply my own promises. [1-20-26b, 27]

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इति नरपति जल्पनात् द्विजेन्द्रम्
कुशिक सुतम् सुमहान् विवेश मन्युः |
सु हुत इव मखे अग्निः आज्य सिक्तः
समभवत् उज्वलितो महर्षि वह्निः || १-२०-२८

28. iti = that way; nara pati jalpanaat = peoples', lord, [king's,] with incongruous talk; dwija indram = Brahman, outstanding one - Vishvamitra; kushika sutam = to sage Kushi's, son - to Vishvamitra; su mahaan manyuH vivesha = very, high, anger, overwhelmed with; maharshi vahniH = glorious sage, [called] the fire; makhe su huta = in ritual, well oblated; aajya siktaH = with ghee [clarified butter,] drenched; agniH iva = fire, like; ujwalithaH = flared up [tongues of fire]; samabhavat = has happened [flared up.]

Thus, by the incongruous talk of Dasharatha, the outstanding Brahman and son of Sage Kushi, namely sage Vishvamitra is overwhelmed with outrageous anger by his mentation, and that fire-like glorious sage looked like the ritual fire into which many inflammable oblations are offered, and which is drenched with a lot of clarified butter, whereby it is flaring up its tongues. [1-20-28]

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इति वाल्मीकि रामायणे आदिकाव्ये बाल काण्डे विंशः सर्गः ||

Thus, this is the 20th chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

Verse Locator for Book I : Bala Kanda - The Youthful Majesties : Chapter 20

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© 1999, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised: April 04]

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