Sage Vishvamitra narrates the birth, marriage and curse of demoness Tataka, and bids Rama to eliminate her menace without any hesitation of killing a female, for she is atrocious towards the society.
atha tasya aprameyasya muner vacanam uttamam |
śrutvā puruṣa śārdūlaḥ pratyuvāca śubhām giram || 1-25-1
1. a prameyasya = sage with inestimable power; tasya muneH uttamam vachanam shrutvaa = worthy, words, on hearing; puruSa shaarduula = manly-tiger - Rama; tataH = then; shubaam giram = with estimable, words; prati uvaacha = in turn, said - replied.
On hearing the worthy words of that sage with inestimable power, then the manly-tiger Rama replied him with estimable words. [1-25-1]
alpa vīryā yadā yakṣī śrūyate munipuṅgava |
katham nāga sahasrasya dhārayati abalā balam || 1-25-2
2. muni pungava = oh, sage, the eminent; yakshii [yakshaaH] alpa viiryaa = female-yakshii [all yaksha-s,] trivial, in strength; yadaa shruuyate [shruuyante] = while, we hear so it is said; a balaa = without, strength - woman frail by nature; naaga sahasrasya balam = elephants, of a thousand, strength; katham dhaarayatii = how, she exerts.
"It is said that yaksha's strength is trivial, and this is an yakshii, more so a female, how then this yakshii frail by her femineity can exert the strength of a thousand elephants? [1-25-2]
iti ukta,m vacanam śrutvā rāghavasya amita ojasā |
harṣayan ślakṣṇayā vacā sa lakṣmaṇam arindamam || 1-25-3
viśvāmitro.abravīt vākyam śṛṇu yena balotkaṭā |
vara dāna kṛtam vīryam dhārayati abalā balam || 1-25-4
3, 4. iti uktvaa = thus, one who is spoken - Vishvamitra; amita ojasaa raaghavasya = one with illimitable, dynamism, of Raghava; vacanam shrutvaa = sentence, on hearing; Vishvamitra; harSayan = cheering them up; abraviit vaakyam = said, sentence; arindamam sa lakshmaNam = to enemy-subduer [Rama,] along with, Lakshmana; shlakshNayaa vacaa = with pleasant, words; a balaa = female; yena bala utkaTaa = by which, [as to how] by strength, outstanding; shruNu = you listen; vara daana kR^itam viiryam = boon, bestowal, made - obtained; balam dhaaryati = strength, she assumes.
On hearing the sentence of Raghava with illimitable dynamism, Vishvamitra said this sentence to the enemy subduer Rama along with Lakshmana, cheering them up with his pleasant words, "Listen by which a female became outstanding by her strength... she assumes strength by the bestowal of a boon. [1-25-3, 4]
pūrvam āsīt mahā yakṣaḥ suketur nāma vīryavān |
anapatyaḥ śubhācāraḥ sa ca tepe mahat tapaḥ || 1-25-5
5. puurvam = once upon a time; sukethuH naama viiryavaan = Suketu, named, formidable one; mahaa yakshaH aasiit = great, yaksha, was there; anapatyaH saH childless, he; subha aachaaraH = with devout, conduct; mahat tapaH tepe = great, ascesis, he performed.
"Once there was a formidable yaksha named Suketu, but he was childless, and he who had devout conduct performed a great ascesis. [1-25-5]
pitāmahaḥ tu suprītaḥ tasya yakṣapateḥ tadā |
kanyā ratnam dadau rāma tāṭakām nāma nāmataḥ || 1-25-6
6. Rama; tadaa = then; pitaa maha supriitaH = Forefather Brahma, is gladdened; tasya yaksha pateH = to him, yaksha's, lord; namataH taaTakaam nama = by name, Tataka, renowned as; kanya ratnam dadau = girl, gemlike, gave.
"Gladdening at his ascesis, Rama, then the Forefather Brahma gave him a gemlike daughter who is renowned by the name of Tataka. [1-25-6]
dadau nāga sahasrasya balam ca asyāḥ pitāmahaḥ |
na tu eva putram yakṣāya dadau ca asau mahāyaśāḥ || 1-25-7
7. pitaamahaH = Forefather Brahma; asyaaH = to her; naaga sahasrasya balam cha = elephants, thousand, strength, also; dadau = gave; mahaa yashaaH = highly, remarkable Brahma; asau yakshaaya putram tu = to that, yaksha, son, but; na eva dadau ca = not, that way, given, also; [as male child will be more hazardous.]
"Forefather Brahma also gave the strength of a thousand elephants to her, but he that highly remarkable Brahma did not give a son to that yaksha, anticipating male to be more hazardous. [1-25-7]
tām tu bālām vivardhantīm rūpa yauvana śālinīm |
jaṃbha putrāya sundāya dadau bhāryām yaśasvinīm || 1-25-8
8. baalam vi vardhantiim = girl, well, growing up; ruupa yauvana shaliniim = beauty, youth, one having them; yashashviniim = bright one; taam = her; jambha putraaya = to Jambha's, son; sundaaya = to Sunda; bhaaryaam dadau = as wife, [her father Suketu] gave.
"When that bright girl is growing up into a youthful beauty her father Suketu gave her to Jambha's son Sunda as wife. [1-25-8]
kasyacit tu atha kālasya yakṣī putram vyajāyata |
mārīcam nāma durdharṣam yaḥ śāpāt rākṣaso.abhavat ||1-25-9
9. atha kasyachit kaalasya = then, some, after time; yakshii = that yakshii, Tataka; maariicam naama putram = Mareecha, named, son; dur dharSam = indomitable one; vyajaayata = delivered; yaH shaapaat raakshasaH abhavat = who, by curse, demon, he became.
"Then after sometime that yakshii Tataka delivered an indomitable son named Mareecha, who by curse became a demon. [1-25-9]
sunde tu nihate rāma sā agastyam ṛṣi sattamam |
tāṭakā saha putreṇa pradharṣayitum icchati || 1-25-10
3. iti uktvaa = thus, one who is spoken - Vishvamitra; amita ojasaa raaghavasya = one with illimitable, dynamism, of Raghava; vacanam shrutvaa = sentence, on hearing; Vishvamitra; harSayan = cheering them up; abraviit vaakyam = said, sentence; arindamam sa lakshmaNam = to enemy-subduer [Rama,] along with, Lakshmana; shlakshNayaa vacaa = with pleasant, words; a balaa = female; yena bala utkaTaa = by which, [as to how] by strength, outstanding; shruNu = you listen; vara daana kR^itam viiryam = boon, bestowal, made - obtained; balam dhaaryati = strength, she assumes.
"But when Sunda is eliminated by sage Agastya's curse, she that Tataka wished to retaliate that eminent sage along with her son Mareecha. [1-25-10]
bhakṣārtham jāta saṃrambhā garjantī sā abhyadhāvata |
āpatantīm tu tām dṛṣṭvā agastyo bhagavān ṛṣiḥ || 1-25-11
rākṣasatvam bhajasva iti mārīcam vyājahāra saḥ |
11, 12a. saa garjantiii = she, roaring; jaata samrambhaa = caused, hastiness - with brewing desperation; bhaksha artham abhya dhaatava = [as though] to eat away, aiming to, towards [sage,] she rushed; bhagavaan R^iSiH agastyaH = godly, saint, Agastya; aa patantiim = coming and falling upon - rushing to attack; taam dR^iSTtvaa = her, on seeing; raakshsatvam bhajasva = demon-hood, you attain; iti saH mariicham vyajahaara = thus, he, to Mareecha, said cursed.
"With desperation brewing in her she roaringly rushed towards the sage as though to eat him away, and on seeing her rushing along with her son Mareecha towards him, the godly saint Agastya firstly cursed Mareecha saying, 'you will attain demon-hood.' [1-25-11, 12a]
agastyaḥ parama amarṣaḥ tāṭakām api śaptavān || 1-25-12
puruṣādī mahāyakṣī virūpā vikṛta ānanā |
idam rūpam vihāyāśu dāruṇam rūpam astu te || 1-25-13
12b, 13. parama amarSaH agastya = highly, infuriated, Agastya; taaTakaam api shaptavaan = Tataka, even, cursed; aashu idam ruupam vihaaya = forthwith, this, form, divested of; vi ruupaa = with distorted form; vikR^ita aananaa = with contorted, faced; puruSa adii = man, one who eats; mahaa yakshii = oh, great yakshii; te daaruNam ruupam astu = to you, monstrous, form, shall be.
"Highly infuriated sage Agastya even cursed Tataka saying, 'forthwith divested of this form of a beautiful female, oh, great yakshii, you shall become a man eater with your form distorted, face contorted, and shape monstrous.' [1-25-12b, 13]
saiṣā śāpa kṛtām arṣā tāṭakā krodha mūrchitā |
deśam utsādayati enam agastyā caritam śubham || 1-25-14
14. shaapa kR^itaam amarSaa = by curse, caused, frenzy; saa eSaa = she, thus; that Tataka; krodha muurcChitaa = in fury, convulsed; agastya charitam = sage Agastya, sauntered; subham enam desham = auspicious one, this, province; utsaadayati = is vandalizing.
"Frenzied by the curse and convulsed in fury she that Tataka is thus vandalising this auspicious province, in which sage Agastya once sauntered. [1-25-14]
enām rāghava durvṛttām yakṣīm parama dāruṇām |
go brāhmaṇa hitārthāya jahi duṣṭa parākramām || 1-25-15
15. Raghava; dur vR^ittaam = one with horrific, behaviour; panama daaruNam = highly, atrocious one; duSTa paraakramaam = one with malefic, valour; enaam yakshiim = this, yakshii be; go braahmaNa hita arthaaya = cows, Brahmins, for welfare of; jahi = you eliminate [her.]
"She that highly atrocious one is with horrific behaviour and malefic valour, hence you shall eliminate this yakshii for the welfare of Brahmans and cows. [1-25-15]
na hi enām śāpa saṃsṛṣṭām kaścit utsahate pumān |
nihantum triṣu lokeṣu tvām ṛte raghu nandana || 1-25-16
16. raghu nandana = oh, Raghu's, legatee; shaapa samsR^iSTaam = in curse, sheathed - indomitable; enaam ni hantum = her, to completely, eliminate; tvaam R^ite = you, excepting; kashchit pumaan = some man none; triSu lokeSu = in three, worlds; na utsahate hi = not, braves her, indeed - possibly.
"Excepting you there is none to eliminate her who is indomitably sheathed in a curse, oh, Raghu's legatee, and none in the three worlds can possibly brave her. [1-25-16]
na hi te strī vadha kṛte ghṛṇā kāryā narottama |
cātur varṇya hitārthām hi kartavyam rāja sūnunā || 1-25-17
17. nara uttama = among men, the best, Rama; strii vadha = female, killing; kR^ite ghR^iNaa = regarding, compassion; na kaaryaa = no, to be done not, germane; raaja suununa = by king's, son; chaatur varNya hita arartham = four, caste-system, welfare, intending; kartavyam = is to be done effectuated.
"Compassion regarding the elimination of a female is ungermane, oh, best one among men, since a prince has to effectuate it intending the welfare of four categories of society. [1-25-17]
nṛśaṃsam anṛśaṃsam vā prajā rakṣaṇa kāraṇāt |
pātakam vā sadoṣam vā kartavyam rakṣatā sadā || 1-25-18
18. rakshata = [to a king] who is protector [of subjects]; prajaa rakshaNa kaaraNaat = people, guarding, for the reason of; nR^ishamsam vaa = ruthless, either; a nR^ishamsham vaa = humane, or; paatakam vaa = sinful, or; sa doSam vaa = with, vilification, or; that deed; sadaa kartavyam = always, is to be done.
"For the reason of protecting people, a protector always has to execute such deed, either it is ruthless or humane, sinful or vilifying. [1-25-18]
rājya bhāra niyuktānām eṣa dharmaḥ sanātanaḥ |
adharṃyām jahi kākutstha dharmo hi asyām na vidyate || 1-25-19
19. raajya bhaara niyuktaanaam = kingdom's, burde, to those that are nominated; eSa sanaatanaH dharma = this is, age-old, duty; kakutstha = Rama; a dharmyaam jahi = one with infamy, eliminate; asyaam dharmaH na vidyate hi = in her, goodness, not, evident, isn't it.
"To the nominee who bears the burden of kingdom this is the age-old duty, and hence oh, Rama, the legatee of Kakutstha, eliminate this infamy, as goodness is inevident in her, isn't it. [1-25-19]
śrūyate hi purā śakro virocana sutām nṛpa |
pṛthivīm hantum icchantīm mantharām abhyasūdayat || 1-25-20
20. nR^i pa = oh, people, protector; puraa pR^ithiviim hantum icChantiim = once, Earth, to annihilate, she who wished; virochana sutaam mantharaam = Virochana's, daughter, Manthara [namesake of this epic's Manthara]; shakraH abhyasuudayat = Indra, eliminated; shruuyate hi = thus heard, isn't it.
"Oh, Rama, the protector of people, we have heard that Indra once eliminated Manthara, the daughter of Virochana, when she wished to annihilate earth, haven't we. [1-25-20]
viṣṇunā ca purā rāma bhṛgu patnī pativratā |
anindram lokam icchantī kāvyamātā niṣūditā || 1-25-21
21. Rama; puraa = once; lokam = world; an indram = without, Indra; icChantii = she who wished; pativrataa bR^rigu patnii = husband-devote, sage Bhrigu's, wife; kaavya maataa api = sage Shukra's, mother, even; viSNuna nishuuditaa = by Vishnu, she is wiped out.
"And Rama, once Vishnu wiped out even the wife of sage Bhrigu and sage Shukracarya's mother when she wished the world to become one without a governing factor, namely Indra. [1-25-21]
etaiḥ ca anyaiḥ ca bahubhī rājaputraiḥ mahātmabhiḥ |
adharma sahitā nāryo hatāḥ puruṣasattamaiḥ |
tasmād enām ghṛṇām tyaktvā jahi mat śāsanān nṛpa || 1-25-22
22. raja putraiH = oh, prince; etaiH mahaatmabhiH = by these, great souls; anyaiH cha = by others, also; puruSa sattamaiH = by personalities, celebrated ones; bahubhii a dharma sahitaa naaryaH = many of the, un, righteousness, who have, females; hataaH = were eliminated; tasmaat = therefore; nR^i pa = oh, people protector; mat shaasanaat = by my, decree; ghR^iNaam tyaktvaa = compassion, leaving off; enaam jahi = her, you eliminate.
"Oh, prince, these great souls and many other celebrated personalities have eliminated females who deported themselves with unrighteousness, and hence, oh, Rama, the protector of people, by my decree you leave off compassion and eliminate her." Thus said sage Vishvamitra to Rama regarding Tataka's elimination. [1-25-22]
Elimination of females - right or wrong
This is a much discussed topic in Ramayana. Rama's adventures start with the killing of a female. While scriptures say that killing a female is sinful, is this killing of a female righteous or wrongful is the topic for discussion. It is said in answer that there is no harm to dharma since unrighteousness is eliminable though existing in the form of a female. duShTa strii vadho doSho n astiiti shaastreNa na anyena - dharmakuutam ||
And Vishnu Purana says that eliminating one evildoer for the sake of many innocent is neither sin nor a crime of course, to the kings and rulers: easmin atra nidhanam praapite duShTakaariNi | bahuunaam bhavati kShemaH tasya puNyaprado vadhaH || - vishNu puraana 1-13-73-74
For the sake many, that too defenceless rural people, it is the duty of the king to eliminate whether it is a male or a female if involved in atrocities: dharmaartha puurvakam taaDakaa vadhe doSho na asti - -- puNyam eva bhaviShyati iti taatparyeNa maharShi vishvaamitreNa uktam | idaaniimtanairapi bahuunaam kShemaartham ekasya hanane doSho na asti iti j~neyam | visheShitaH raaj~naa janapada rakShaNa diikShitena avadhya vadho api kartavya ityapi suucitam || --- dharmaakuutam
iti vālmīki rāmāyaṇe ādikāvye bāla kāṇḍe paṃcaviṃśaḥ sargaḥ ||
© 2001, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : May 04]