While crossing over the River Ganga, sage Vishvamitra sails them through its confluence with River Sarayu, which flows at their capital Ayodhya. The sage leads them to a deadly forest on the other bank of River Ganga and narrates about the ambushing nature of demoness Tataka, preparing him to kill her.
ततः प्रभाते विमले कृत आह्निकम् अरिन्दमौ |
विश्वामित्रम् पुरस्कृत्य नद्याः तीरम् उपागतौ || १-२४-१
1. tataH = then; arindamau = enemy destroyers Rama and Lakshmana; vimale prabhaate = in fresh, morning; kR^ita aahnikam vishvaamitram = one who [just now] performed, morning ritual tasks, Vishvamitra; puraskR^itya = keeping ahead; nadyaaH tiiram upaagatau = at river, bank, arrived at.
Then, in the fresh of the morning those enemy destroyers, Rama and Lakshmana, arrived at the riverbank of Ganga keeping sage Vishvamitra ahead of them, which sage has just completed his ritualistic chores of dawn. [1-24-1]
ते च सर्वे महात्मानो मुनयः संश्रित व्रताः |
उपस्थाप्य शुभाम् नावम् विश्वामित्रम् अथ अब्रुवन् || १-२४-२
2. mahaatmanaH samshrita vrataaH = great souls, scrupulous ones, in their vows; te sarve munayaH = those, also, all, sages [of that hermitage]; shubhaam naavam upa sthaapya = auspicious, ferryboat, nearby, on positioning; atha vishvamitram abruvan = to then, to Vishvamitra, they said.
All those sages of Kaama's hermitage that are the great souls and scrupulous ones in their vows, have positioned an auspicious ferryboat within the reach in the river, and then they said to sage Vishvamitra. [1-24-2]
आरोहतु भवान् नावम् राजपुत्र पुरस्कृतः |
अरिष्टम् गच्छ पन्थानम् मा भूत् काल विपर्ययः || १-२४-३
3. bhavaan raja putra puraskR^itaH = you, king's, sons, keeping ahead of you; naavam aarohatu = boat, you embark; ariSTtam panthaanam gacCha = on prosperous, pathway, you go; kaala viparyayaH = time, change [lapse]; maa bhuut = let not be there - without time-shift.
"You may board the boat keeping the princes ahead of you, and we wish you to proceed on a prosperous route without the shift of time." So said the sages. [1-24-3]
विश्वामित्रः तथा इति उक्त्वा तान् ऋषीन् प्रतिपूज्य च |
ततार सहितः ताभ्याम् सरितम् सागरम् गमाम् || १-२४-४
4. Vishvamitra; tathaa iti uktvaa = 'it must be so', thus, on saying; taan R^iSiin prati puujya cha = them, the sages, in turn, revering; taabhyaam shaitaH = two [princes,] along with; saagaram gamaam saritaam = ocean, going, river; ta taara = crossed over.
Sage Vishvamitra on saying 'it must be so,' to those sages and revering them in his turn, cruised the river that itself is cruising towards ocean, along with both the princes. [1-24-4]
तत्र शुश्राव वै शब्दम् तोय संरम्भ वर्धितम् |
मध्यम् आगंय तोयस्य तस्य शब्दस्य निश्चयम् || १-२४-५
ज्ञातु कामो महातेजा सह रामः कनीयसा |
5, 6a. raamaH = Rama; toyasya madhyam aagamya = of water, in mid of stream, on coming; tatra = there; toya samrambha vardhitam shabdam = by water's, gush, increasing, [unusual] noise; shushraava = heard; saha kaniiyasaa = he, Rama, with younger brother; j~naatu kaamaH = to know, desired; mahaatejaa = brilliant one [Rama]; tasya shabdasya nishcayam = of that, sound's, significance.
On coming to the midstream of water there Rama heard an unusual and increasing noise of gushy waters along with his younger brother, and that brilliant one Rama desired to know its significance. [1-24-5, 6a]
अथ रामः सरिन् मध्ये पप्रच्छ मुनि पुङ्गवम् || १-२४-६
वारिणो भिद्यमानस्य किम् अयम् तुमुलो ध्वनिः |
6b, 7a. atha raamaH = then, Rama; sarin madhye = river's, midst; prapacCha muni pungavam = asked, sage, the eminent; bhidyamaanasya variNaH = [as though] slashing, water; kim ayam = what is, this; tumulaH dhwaniH = turbulent, sound.
Rama then asked the eminent sage Vishvamitra in the midst of the river, "what is this turbulent sound sire, as though slashing water?" [1-24-6b, 7a]
राघवस्य वचः श्रुत्वा कौतूहल समन्वितम् || १-२४-७
कथयामास धर्मात्मा तस्य शब्दस्य निश्चयम् |
7b, 8a. raaghavasya vachaH = Raghava's, words; koutuuhala samanvitam = inquisitiveness, having; shrutvaa = on hearing; dharmaatmaa = virtuous soul; tasya shabdasya nishchayam = of that, sound's, significance; kathayaamaasa = started telling.
On hearing the inquisitive words of Raghava that virtue-souled sage Vishvamitra started to tell the significance of that sound. [1-24-7b, 8a]
कैलास पर्वते राम मनसा निर्मितम् परम् || १-२४-८
ब्रह्मणा नरशार्दूल तेन इदम् मानसम् सरः |
8b, 9a. nara shaarduula = manly-tiger; Rama; kailaasa parvate = Kailash, mount of; brahmaNaa = by Brahma; param saraH manasaa nirmitam = great, lake, at will, created - lake is the brainchild of Brahma; tena = hence; idam saraH = this, lake is [called]; manasam = Manasa lake.
"On Mt. Kailash Brahma created a great lake at his will, oh, tigerly-man Rama, hence that is called Maanasa Lake. [1-24-8b, 9a]
तस्मात् सुस्राव सरसः सा अयोध्याम् उपगूहते || १-२४-९
सरः प्रवृत्ता सरयूः पुण्या ब्रह्म सरः च्युता |
तस्य अयम् अतुलः शब्दो जाह्नवीम् अभिवर्तते || १-२४-१०
वारि संक्षोभजो राम प्रणामम् नियतः कुरु |
9b, 10, 11a. [yaa = which river]; tasmaat = from it [from that lake]; susraava = spontaneously, flowed out; that is this; sarasaH = River Sarayu; saa ayodhyaam upaguuhate = that [the river,] Ayodhya, surrounds; saraH pravR^ittaa saryuuH = [because] from sara [lake,] originated, [it is called] Sarayu river; brahma saraH cchyutaa = from Brahma's, lake, flowed out; puNyaa = merited [river]; jahnaviim abhivartate = to River Ganga, towards, coursing towards; tasya = its [Sarayu river's]; ayam atulaH shabdaH = this is, the remarkable, noise; vaari samskobha jaH = waters, collision, generated by; Rama; praNaamam niyataH kuru = regards, respectfully, offer.
"That river which spontaneously flows out of that Maanasa Lake surrounds Ayodhya city is this one, the River Sarayu. Because this has originated from a lake, saraH, this is known as Sarayu. And because it flows from Brahma's Lake it is a merited river. This is the remarkable noise of such a Sarayu River in its coursing towards River Ganga, generated by the collision of their waters, and Rama, offer regards to these rivers, respectfully." So said Vishvamitra to the princes. [1-24-9b, 10, 11a]
ताभ्याम् तु तावुभौ कृत्वा प्रणामम् अतिधार्मिकौ || १-२४-११
तीरम् दक्षिणम् आसाद्य जग्मतुर् लघु विक्रमौ |
11b, 12a. ati dhaarmkau = most, virtuous pair [of princes]; tau ubhau = those, two; taabhyaam tu = to them [ the two rivers]; kR^itvaa praNaamam = on making, salutation; dakshiNam tiiram aasaadya = southern, bank, on getting at; laghu vikramau jagmatuH = in swiftness, exerts, they proceeded further.
Offering their salutations to River Sarayu and Ganga those two most virtuous and agile footed princes proceeded further on reaching the southern riverbank. [1-24-11b, 12a]
स वनम् घोर संकाशम् दृष्ट्वा नरवरात्मजः || १-२४-१२
अविप्रहतम् ऐक्ष्वाकः पप्रच्छ मुनि पुंगवम् |
12b, 13a. aikshwaakaH = legatee of Ikshvaku's; nara vara aatmajaH = among people, best one's [king's,] son; saH = he [Rama]; ghora samkaasham = horrendous, in looks; aviprahatam = [a vi pra hatam = not, verily, trodden] = untrodden - uninhibited; vanam dR^iSTvaa = forest, on seeing; prapacCha munipungavam = asked, sage, the eminent.
On seeing a horrendous and uninhibited forest, Rama, the son of the best king Dasharatha asked the eminent sage Vishvamitra. [1-24-12b, 13a]
अहो वनम् इदम् दुर्गम् झिल्लिका गण संयुतम् || १-२४-१३
भैरवैः श्वापदैः कीर्णम् शकुनैः दारुण आरवैः |
13b, 14a. aho = oh; jhillikaa gaNa samyutam = crickets, swarms, having; bhairavaiH shvaapadaiH = with brutish, predators; shakunaiH = with vultures; daaruNa aarutaiH = [all are] horribly, strident; puurNam = full of , fraught with; idam vanam dur gam = this, forest, difficult, to enter - impenetrable.
"Oh, impenetrable is this forest fraught with swarms of crickets, brutish predators, and vultures, which are all horribly strident. [1-24-13b, 14a]
नाना प्रकारैः शकुनैः वाश्यद्भिः भैरव स्वनैः || १-२४-१४
सिंह व्याघ्र वराहैः च वारणैः च अपि शोभितम् |
14b, 15a. vaasyadbhiH = screeching; bhairava swanaiH = with fierce, voices; naanaa prakaaraiH shakunaiH = with many, varieties, of vultures; simha vyaaghra varaahaiH cha = lions, tigers, wild boars, also; vaariNaiH cha api = with elephants, also, even; shobhitam = made to shine - atypical.
"Various vultures are screeching with fierce sonority, and tigers, wild boars, and elephants render this forest atypical. [1-24-14b, 15a]
धव अश्वकर्ण ककुभैः बिल्व तिन्दुक पाटलैः || १-२४-१५
संकीर्णम् बदरीभिः च किम् नु एतत् दारुणम् वनम् |
15b, 16a. dhavaa = tree of Mimosa catechu family, Hindi: Khaira, khadira; ashvakarNa = trees of Pentapetra Arjuna; kakubhaiH = Arjuna trees; bilva = trees of Egle Marmelos; tinduka = trees of Diospyros glutinosa, Hindi: tamaala; paatalaiH = trees of Bignonia suave olens; badarii bhiH cha = with badarii trees of Zizyphus jujuba, also; samkiirNam = dense with; etat daaruNam vanam = this, wretched, forest; kim nu = what is, indeed.
"Indeed, what is this wretched forest that is dense with Dhava, Ashvakarna, Arjuna, Bilva, Tinduka, Patala, and Badari trees." Thus Rama asked Vishvamitra. [1-24-15b, 16a]
The botanical names of the trees mentioned in the text are Grislea Tormentosa, Shorea Robusta, Echites Antidysenterica, Bignonia Suaveolens, Aegle Marmelos, and Diospyrus Glutinosa. I have omitted the Kutaja (Echites) and the Tinduka (Diospyrus). Griffith.
तम् उवाच महातेजा विश्वामित्रो महामुनिः || १-२४-१६
श्रूयताम् वत्स काकुत्स्थ यस्य एतत् दारुणम् वनम् |
16b, 17a. mahaatejaa mahaamuniH vishvamitraH = great resplendent, great saint, Vishvamitra; tam uvaacha = to him [to Rama], said; shruuyataam vatsa = I will let you hear - I will tell you, my boy; kaakutstha = oh, Rama; etat daaruNam vanam yasya = this one, wretched, forest, whose is.
The resplendent and the great saint Vishvamitra then said to Rama, "I will tell you, oh, my boy Rama, whose is this wretched forest. [1-24-16b, 17a]
एतौ जनपदौ स्फीतौ पूर्वम् आस्ताम् नरौत्तम || १-२४-१७
मलदाः च करूषाः च देव निर्माण निर्मितौ |
17b, 18a. narottama = oh, best one among men, Rama; puurvam = once; deva nirmaaNa nirmitau = of gods, by construction, that are constructed - designed by gods; maladaaH cha karuuSaaH cha = [known as] Malada, and, Karuusha, also; janapadau sphiitau = provinces, vast ones; etau aastaam = these, were there.
"Once these were vast provinces, oh, best one among men, designed by gods and known as Malada and Karuusha. [1-24-17b, 18a]
The word mala da is malam dyati khaNDayati iti mala da that which abolishes excreta, but not filth itself. karusha is kaa ruusha remover of hunger. If mortal hunger is there excreta will be there and then mortality of Indra is at stake. Hence if hunger is eliminated there will be nothing filthy. Once these provinces were such hunger removers equalling to heaven, but deteriorated in their heaven-on-earth attributes, owing to demoness Tataka.
पुरा वृत्र वधे राम मलेन समभिप्लुतम् || १-२४-१८
क्षुधा चैव सहस्राक्षम् ब्रह्म हत्या सम् आविशत् |
18b, 19a. Rama; puraa vR^itra vadhe = once, demon Vritra, while eliminating; malena = with filth; eva = thus; kshudhaa cha = with hunger, also; sam abhiplutam = completely submersed - soaked, stained; sahasra aksham = thousand-eyed god [Indra]; brahma hatya samaavishat = Brahman killing [sin of,] befell upon.
"Once upon a time, oh, Rama, mortal impurities of filth and hunger completely stained Indra when he eliminated demon Vritra, as he committed the sin of killing of a Brahman, where the demon Vritra was incidentally a Brahman. [1-24-18b, 19a]
तम् इन्द्रम् मलिनम् देवा ऋषयः च तपोधनाः || १-२४-१९
कलशैः स्नापयामासुः मलम् च अस्य प्रमोचयन् |
19b, 20a. tam malinam indram = him, feculent one, that Indra; devaa = gods; tapodhanaa R^iSayaH cha = ascetically rich, sages, also; kalashaiH snaapayamaasuH = with handy-vessels [kamanDulu-s,] started to bathe; asya malam pra mochayan = his, filth, for riddance.
"The gods and ascetically rich sages then started to bathe feculent Indra with their handy vessels for the riddance of his defilement. [1-24-19b, 20a]
इह भूंयाम् मलम् दत्त्वा देवाः कारुषम् एव च || १-२४-२०
शरीरजम् महेन्द्रस्य ततो हर्षम् प्रपेदिरे |
20b, 21a. mahendrasya = of Mahendra; shariiram jam malam = from body, emerged, filth; iha bhuumyaam = here, on earth; kaaruuSam ca eva = hunger, also, thus; datvaa = on giving; tataH devaaH harSam prapedire = then, gods, gladness, they obtained.
"On giving filth and hunger emerged out of the body of Mahendra here on the earth then the gods were gladdened. [1-24-20b, 21a]
निर्मलो निष्करूषः च शुद्ध इन्द्रो यथा अभवत् || १-२४-२१
ततो देशस्य सुप्रीतो वरम् प्रादाद् अनुत्तमम् |
21b, 22a. Indra; yathaa = as to how; nir malaH nish karuushaH cha = without, filth, without, hunger, also; abhavat = became; suddha = purified; tataH = then; deshasya supriitaH = of this place, gladdened; anuttamam varam praadaat = unexcelled, boon, he gave.
"As and when Indra was without desecration and hunger as well, and thus purified, then gladdened about this place he gave it an unexcelled boon. [1-24-21b, 22a]
इमौ जनपदौ स्फीतौ ख्यातिम् लोके गमिष्यतः || १-२४-२२
मलदाः च करूषाः च मम अंग मल धारिणौ |
22b, 23a. mama anga mala dhaariNau = my, body's, impurity, bearing ones; imau janapadau sphiitau = these, habitats, will be resourceful places; maladaH cha karuuSaaH cha = as Malada, and Karuusha, also; loke khyaatim gamishyataH = in world, renown, they will attain.
"These provinces that bear the impurity of my body shall become resourceful and they shall attain renown in world as Malada and Karusha." Thus Indra gave boon to this place. [1-24-22b, 23a]
साधु साधु इति तम् देवाः पाकशासनम् अब्रुवन् || १-२४-२३
देशस्य पूजाम् ताम् दृष्ट्वा कृताम् शक्रेण धीमता |
23b, 24a. dhiimataa shakreNa kR^itaam = by wise one, Indra, done - according; taam deshasya puujaam = that, place's, honouring; devaaH dR^iSTvaa = gods, on observing; saadhu saadhu iti = splendid, splendid, thus; tam = him; paaka shaasanam = demon Paaka, controller of - to Indra; abruvan = said - praised.
"On observing the honour accorded by wise Indra to these places gods praised the controller of demon Paaka, namely Indra saying, 'splendid, splendid it is.' [1-24-23b, 24a]
एतौ जनपदौ स्फीतौ दीर्घ कालम् अरिन्दम || १-२४-२४
मलदाः च करूषाः च मुदिता धन धान्यतः |
24b, 25a. arindama = oh, enemy subjugator, Rama; maladaaH cha karuuSaaH cha = Malada, and, Karuusha, as well; diirgha kaalam = for a long, time; sphiitau etau janapadau = were affluent, these, people's habitations; dhana dhaanyataH muditaa = with wealth, grains, [people] were happy.
"For a long time these habitations Malada and Karuusha were affluent, oh, enemy subjugator Rama, and people were happy with wealth and provisions. [1-24-24b, 25a]
कस्य चित् अथ कालस्य यक्षी काम रूपिणी || १-२४-२५
बलम् नाग सहस्रस्य धारयन्ती तदा हि आभूत् |
ताटका नाम भद्रम् ते भार्या सुन्दस्य धीमतः || १-२४-२६
मारीचो राक्षसः पुत्रो यस्याः शक्र पराक्रमः |
25b, 26, 27a. atha = later; kasyachit kaalasya = at some, time; tadaa = then; kaama ruupiNii = by wish, guise-changer; naaga sahasrasya = elephants, of a thousand; balam dhaarayantii = strength of, possessing; dhiimataH sundasya bhaaryaa = clever one, Sunanda's, wife; shakra paraakramaH = Indra [like,] in bravery; raakshasaH maariichaH = demon, Mareecha; yasyaH putraH = whose, son is; taaTaka nama yakshii = Tataka, named, she-yaksha; abhuut hi = was there - prevailed, indeed; bhadram te = safety, to you.
"Later at sometime, a yaksha female who is a guise changer at her wish, possessor of the strength of a thousand elephants, wife of clever Sunanda, and she whose son is demon Mareecha, the one equal to Indra in his bravery, prevailed here, let you be safe Rama. [1-24-25b, 26, 27a]
वृत्त बाहुर् महा शीर्षो विपुला अस्य तनुर् महान् || १-२४-२७
राक्षसो भैरव आकारो नित्यम् त्रासयते प्रजाः |
27b, 28a. vR^itta baahuH = round, shouldered; mahaa shiirSaH = huge, headed; vipulaa asya = cavernous, mouthed; mahaan tanuH = gigantic, bodied; bhairava aakaara = mammoth, in shape; raakshasaH = demon Mareecha; nityam traasayate prajaaH = always, terrifying, people.
"That demon Mareecha is round shouldered, huge headed, cavernous mouthed, and gigantic bodied one, and he is always terrifying the people. [1-24-27b, 28a]
इमौ जनपदौ नित्यम् विनाशयति राघव || १-२४-२८
मलदांश्च करूषांश्च ताटका दुष्ट चारिणी |
28b, 29a. Raghava; duSTta chaariNii Tataka = malevolence, pursuer - malevolent one, Tataka; imau janapadau = these, inhabitations; maladaam cha karuuSam cha = Malada, also, Karuusha, also; nityam vinaashayati = always, destroying.
"And Raghava, that malevolent Tataka is always destroying the inhabitations at Malada and Karusha. [1-24-28b, 29a]
सा इयम् पन्थानम् आवृत्य वसति अध्यर्ध योजने || १-२४-२९
अत एव च गन्तव्यम् ताटकाया वनम् यतः |
29b, 30a. saa iyam panthaanam aavR^itya = she, this, route, on blockading; vasati adhyartha yojane = lives, after one half, yojana [distance]; yataH = where/ for which reason; taaTakayaa vanam = [this has become,] Tataka's, forest; ataH eva = there alone / for that reason alone; gantavyam = headway is to be made.
"She lives about one and half yojana distance from here, and by which reason this became the forest of Tataka, owing to her gruesome activities, for that reason only a headway is to be made, to eradicate her and her activities. [1-24-29b, 30a]
This verse also means 'where there is the forest of Tataka there we have to go.' The above is another shade of that verse.
स्व बाहु बलम् आश्रित्य जहि इमाम् दुष्ट चारिणीम् || १-२४-३०
मत् नियोगात् इमम् देशम् कुरु निष्कण्टकम् पुनः |
30b, 31a. sva baahu balam aashritya = your own, arms, strength - self-confidence, depending upon; duSTa chariNiim = evildoer; jahi imam = kill, this one; mat niyogaat = by my, assigned; desham kuru = this, province, be made; punaH nisH kaNTakam = again, free from, thorniness.
"Depending upon the strength of your own self-confidence you have to eradicate this evildoer, and assigned by me you have to make this province free from thorniness. [1-24-30b, 31a]
Great persons accomplish their deeds by their self-confidence, kriyaa siddhiH sattve bhavati mahataam, na upakaraNe not by their hardware.
न हि कश्चित् इमम् देशम् शक्तो हि आगन्तुम् ईदृशम् || १-२४-३१
यक्षिण्या घोरया राम उत्सादितम् असह्यया |
31b, 32a. Rama; ghorayaa = hazardous; a sahyayaa = in, tolerable - invincible; yakshiNya = yakshii, unearthly being turned demoness; utsaaditam iidR^isham desham = destroyed, this kind of, to province; aagantum = to come; kaschit na shaktaH hi = none, not, capable, indeed; [hence make them habitable.]
"Indeed, none is able to enter this sort of province, Rama, destroyed by the hazardous and invincible unearthly being who turned into a demoness, namely Tataka, hence you have to make the provinces habitable. [1-24-31b, 32a]
एतत् ते सर्वम् आख्यातम् यथा एतत् दारुणम् वनम् |
यक्ष्या च उत्सादितम् सर्वम् अद्य अपि न निवर्तते || १-२४-३२
32. etat vanam sarvam = this, forest, entirely; daaruNam = rendered it as a devastated one; yakshyaa = by ghoulish, she-yaksha - Tataka; yathaa utsaaditam = as to how, destroyed; adya api = now, even; na nivartate = not, returning - not retracing her steps - without refrain; etat sarvam te aakhyaatam = that, all, to you, is narrated.
"As to how that ghoulish Tataka destroyed this entire forest, rendering it as a devastated place, without refraining from it even today, all that is narrated." So said Vishvamitra to Rama. [1-24-32]
The epithets in Ramayana
The epithets used in epic may be on the increase from now, and they may not be construed as redundant foot fillers. All have implicit meanings and they can be understood with the help of commentaries. As this work cannot include voluminous commentaries, many of the meanings of epithets as said by commentators are not incorporated. This bypassing will not effect the ordinary narration. For e.g., the meaning to the words muni pungava, nara shaarduula will be 'saint, the eminent' 'tigerly man.' And trying to obtain a squeezed meaning from them would be futile, without resorting to some commentary. So also, there are words like indra, candra, simha, shaarduula, naaga, vR^iSabha, pungava which when suffixed to vocatives will mean 'best, choicest, excellent' etc., as per simha shaarduula naaga aadyaaH pumsi shreSTa artha gocaraa. But commentators have explained why that character is 'best or excellent, or a lion' at that juncture. For e.g., dharma aatmaa the apparently usual epithet in Ramayana has many meanings like – 1] one whose life is dharma; 2] one whose body is dharma incarnate; 3] one whose soul is filled with dharma; 4] one whose entity itself is dharma – so on, basing on the thesaurus of aatma that say as: aatmaa yatna dhR^iti svaanta svabhaava paramaatmaasu jiiva buddhi shariireSu..
So also, more than often Seetha will be referred as Vaidehi or Maithili in Aranya Kanda. Some details about it are incorporated in that book. Wherever possible those niceties will be included subject to availability of commentaries, which commentaries have already became 'the flowers in the sky.'
Hence, without trying to squeeze meaningless meanings, and leaving this aspect to pundits and researchers, and as this work cannot be stuffed with those intricacies, henceforth the meanings of epithets are said simply, and at times ignored also. This may please be kept in view while reading.
इति वाल्मीकि रामायणे आदिकाव्ये बाल काण्डे चतुर् विंशः सर्गः ||
© 2001, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : May 4]