Book I : Bala Kanda - The Youthful Majesties

Chapter / sarga 49
verses converted to UTF-8, Sept 09


Ahalya is redeemed from her curse when Rama enters their hermitage. Vishvamitra while continuing the narration of the legend of Ahalya asks Rama to enter her hermitage where Ahalya is living unseen by anybody. When once Rama steps into that hermitage she manifests herself from her accursed invisible state. She emerges with her divine form and accords guestship to Rama and Lakshmana. Sage Gautama also arrives at this juncture to accept his depurated wife Ahalya.

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अफलः तु ततः शक्रो देवान् अग्नि पुरोगमान् |
अब्रवीत् त्रस्त नयनः सिद्ध गन्धव चारणान् || १-४९-१

1. tataH = then; a phalaH = without, fruits - one who is without testicles, emasculated; shakraH = Indra; trasta nayanaH = with panicked, eyes; devaan = to gods; siddha gandhava caaraNaan = to siddha-s, gandharva-s, carana-s; agni purogamaan = Fire-god, in forefront - as helms-god; abraviit = spoke.

"The emasculated Indra then with panicked eyes spoke to gods, siddha-s, gandharva-s, and carana-s, keeping Fire-god as their helms-god. [1-49-1]

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कुर्वता तपसो विघ्नम् गौतमस्य महात्मनः |
क्रोधम् उत्पाद्य हि मया सुर कार्यम् इदम् कृतम् || १-४९-२

2. mahaa aatmanaH gautamasya = noble-souled sage, for Gautama; krodham utpaadya = fury, on inciting; tapasaH vighnam kurvataa = to asceticism, hindrance, effectuated; mayaa = by me; idam sura kaaryam kR^itam = this, god's, deed, done - I have accomplished a task of gods; hi = indeed.

" 'I have Indeed incited fury in that noble-souled Sage Gautama by effectuating hindrance in his asceticism, but I have accomplished a task of gods. [1-49-2]

Indra is a position assigned to some high-souled being on acquiring considerable merit. He functions as a CEO of the universe, maintaining seasons, rains, thunders, thunderbolts, crops, earthquakes, and every aspect of nature, whether they are good or bad for us. If any Vedic-ritual were performed, this Indra would be too happy, as he and his deputies like Rain-god, Fire-god, Air-god, et al., will receive many oblations from that ritual. But if it is tapas 'the practise of asceticism, penance, or ascesis' by single sage, Indra will be highly perturbed. Usually sages will be practising this ascesis for attainment of higher abodes of Brahma, Vishnu, or Shiva. Some practise this to overthrow present Indra and try ascending to his position, or to attain immortality and thereby rout out Indra, as with the case of Ravana. When that practise is about to materialise, Indra sends his agents, like voluptuous celestial beauties, namely the apsara-s, to infatuate those sages with their beauty. Once the sage's concentration fails, his practise becomes futile. Thus, Indra retains his present position. Here, though Sage Gautama did not practise his ascesis for Indra's post, Indra had to hinder it in his own apprehension, and when the fury of Gautama is incited, Gautama's practise also failed and he had to redo his ascesis until he overcomes his passions. Thus, this 'causing hindrance' is a divine-act as proclaimed by Indra to other gods. In doing such 'divine-acts' Indra will also be maligned, for which the higher gods like Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, or other higher beings will come to his rescue.

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अफलो अस्मि कृतः तेन क्रोधात् सा च निराकृता |
शाप मोक्षेण महता तपो अस्य अपहृतम् मया || १-४९-३

3. tena krodhaat = by him [Gautama,] by anger; a phalaH kR^itaH asmi = fruitless [testicle-less,] rendered, I am; saa ca niraakR^itaa = she [Ahalya,] also, is rejected; mahataa shaapa mokSeNa = severe, curse, by releasing; asya tapaH mayaa apahR^itam = his, ascesis, by me, pre-empted.

"By Gautama's anger I am rendered testicle-less and his wife Ahalya is also rejected by the sage, and thus by his releasing a severe curse his propriety for ascesis is dwindled, therefore his ascesis is pre-empted by me. [1-49-3]

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तत् माम् सुरवराः सर्वे स ऋषि संघाः स चारणाः |
सुर कार्य करम् यूयम् सफलम् कर्तुम् अर्हथ || १-४९-४

4. tat [tasmaat] = therefore; sa R^iSi sanghaaH sa caaraNaaH = together with, sages, assemblages, with, caarana-s; sarve sura varaaH = oh, all of the, gods, best ones; sura kaarya karam = divine, deed, undertaken - I acted for the benefit of gods; maam = me; yuuyam sa phalam kartum arhatha = you all, with, testicles, to make [me virile,] apt of you.

" 'Therefore, oh, all gods with the assemblages of sages and caarana-s, it will be apt of you to make me virile again, as I have acted for the benefit of gods.' Thus Indra spoke to all gods. [1-49-4]

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शतक्रतोः वचः श्रुत्वा देवाः स अग्नि पुरोगमाः |
पितृ देवान् उपेत्य आहुः सह सर्वैः मरुत् गणैः || १-४९-५

5. sa agni purogamaaH devaaH = with, fire-god, going ahead [keeping in van,] gods; shatakratoH vacaH shrutvaa = Hundred-Vedic-rituals officiator - Indra's, words, on hearing; sarvaiH marut gaNaiH saha = by all [gods,] Marut, groups, along with; pitR^i devaan upetya = at mane, gods, nearby coming; aahuH = spoke - appealed.

"On hearing the words of the officiator for Hundred-Vedic-rituals, namely Indra, all of the gods and other assemblages of celestials, together with the groups of Marut-gods came to the godly manes keeping the Fire-god in van, and appealed. [1-49-5]

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अयम् मेषः सवृषणः शक्रो हि अवृषणः कृतः |
मेषस्य वृषणौ गृह्य शक्राय आशु प्रयच्छत || १-४९-६

6. ayam meSaH sa vR^iSaNaH = this, ram, is with, testicles; shakraH a vR^iSaNaH kR^itaH hi = Indra, without, testicles, rendered, indeed; meSasya vR^iSaNau gR^ihya = ram's, testicles, on taking; shakraaya aashu prayacChata = for Indra, quickly, be given.

" 'This ram is with testicles and Indra is indeed rendered testicle-less. Taking the testicles of this ram they may be given to Indra quickly.' Thus Fire-god started his appeal to manes. [1-49-6]

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अफलः तु कृतो मेषः पराम् तुष्टिम् प्रदास्यति |
भवताम् हर्षणार्थाय ये च दास्यन्ति मानवाः |
अक्षयम् हि फलम् तेषाम् यूयम् दास्यथ पुष्कलम् || १-४९-७

7. a phalaH tu kR^itaH meSaH = devoid of, testes, but [though going to be,] rendered, ram [this one before you]; bhavataam paraam tuSTim pra daasyati = for you, complete, contentment, certainly endows; ye maanavaaH [aphalaH meSaaH] daasyanti = which of those, humans, [testes-less rams, hereafter in sacrifices,] are going to offer [to you manes]; to such of those humans; harSaNa arthaaya = gratification, purpose of; a kshayam phalam hi = not, lessened, fruits [benefits.] truly; teSaam yuuyam daasyatha puSkalam = for them [to humans,] you [manes,] offer; plentiful.

" 'This ram that is being offered to you shall now be gelded to give its testes to Indra, and though this ram is deprived of its organ it will be complete and it endows complete satisfaction to you. To those humans who hereafter offer testes-less rams in sacrifices for the purpose of your gratification, you shall truly offer them plentiful and unmitigated benefits.' Thus Agni, the Fire-god spoke to manes. [1-49-7]

The 'manes' are the deified souls of dead ancestors. It is customary to offer un-castrated or unmutilated animals in sacrifices to please gods or departed souls. Presently some humans have offered such an un-castrated ram to manes and the manes are about to enjoy it. But the gods have come and Agni, the Fire-god, is asking them to part with such an offering, for the sake of Indra. And when the manes were hesitating to go against the existing rules of ritual, then Agni, the Fire-god, is amending those rules and he is saying a boon-like proclamation. 'From now, the manes can enjoy even a castrated ram, if offered by humans on earth, and in turn the manes shall afford plentiful benefits of undiminished value to those offerers, namely humans...'

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अग्नेः तु वचनम् श्रुत्वा पितृ देवाः समागताः |
उत्पाट्य मेष वृषणौ सहस्राक्षे न्यवेशयन् || १-४९-८

8. sam aagataaH = who gathered [to collect their share of offering]; pitR^i devaaH = manes, godly ones; agneH vacanam shrutvaa = Agni - the Fire-god's, words, on hearing; meSa vR^iSaNau = ram's, both testes; ut paaTya = out, pulled [pulled out, extricated]; sahasraakSe nyaveshayan = to Thousand-eyed Indra, offered.

"On hearing the words of Agni, the Fire-god, the manes-gods who gathered to collect their share of offering have extricated that ram's testes, which is not yet sacrificed but tethered to a sacrificial post, and offered them to the Thousand-eyed Indra. [1-49-8]

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तदा प्रभृति काकुत्स्थ पितृ देवाः समागताः |
अफलान् भुंजते मेषान् फलैः तेषाम् अयोजयन् || १-४९-९

9. kaakutstha = oh, Rama of Kakutstha; sam aagataaH = who have come to collect their share of offering; pitR^i devaaH = manes, godly ones; tadaa prabhR^iti = then, onwards; a phalaan meSaan bhunjate = without, testes, goats, they are enjoying; teSaam = their [ of offerings / of rams or goats]; phalaiH = with testes / benefits; ayojayan = to join [to join testes to Indra / join benefits to the offerer.

"Oh, Rama of Kakutstha, from then onwards the manes-gods who come to collect their share are enjoying even the goats, even if they do not have testes, to endow benefits thereof to those that offer those goats, and to join the testes of goats to Indra. [1-49-9]

If rams with testes are offered the manes discard the testes of those rams and enjoy the rest of it. Even if a goat is offered they enjoy it, considering it as homogenous to a ram. In either way, the offerer is blessed with benefits and Indra with testes.

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इन्द्रः तु मेष वृषणः तदा प्रभृति राघव |
गौतमस्य प्रभावेन तपसा च महात्मनः || १-४९-१०

10. raaghava = oh, Raghava; maha aatmanaH = great-souled one; gautamasya prabhaavena = Gautama's, by efficacy of; tapasaa ca = ascesis, also; indraH tu = Indra, on his part; tadaa prabhR^iti = then, onwards; meSa vR^iSaNaH = goat, with testes - Indra has become one having goat's testes.

"Oh, Raghava, owing to the efficacy of the great-souled Gautama and his ascesis, from then onwards Indra has became one with the testes of a goat. [1-49-10]

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तत् आगच्छ महातेज आश्रमम् पुण्य कर्मणः |
तारय एनाम् महाभागाम् अहल्याम् देव रूपिणीम् || १-४९-११

11. mahaateja = oh, great-resplendent Rama; tat = therefore; puNya karmaNaH aashramam aagacCha = with pietistic, deeds [done by Gautama,] to hermitage, you come - enter into; mahaa bhaagaam = highly, fortunate one; deva ruupiNiim = divinity, who is in compose of; enaam = her [lady]; ahalyaam taaraya = let Ahalya, be atoned.

"Therefore, oh, great-resplendent Rama, enter the hermitage of Gautama whose deeds are pietistic, and atone Ahalya who is highly fortunate and who is in the compose of a divinity." Thus Vishvamitra spoke to Rama. [1-49-11]

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विश्वामित्र वचः श्रुत्वा राघवः सह लक्ष्मणः |
विश्वामित्रम् पुरस्कृत्य आश्रमम् प्रविवेश ह || १-४९-१२

12. saha lakSmaNaH raaghavaH = with, Lakshmana, Raghava; vishvaamitra vacaH shrutvaa = Vishvamitra's, words, on hearing; vishvaamitram puraskR^itya = Vishvamitra, keeping afore; aashramam pravivesha ha = hermitage, entered, indeed.

On hearing Vishvamitra's words Rama entered the hermitage along with Lakshmana and keeping Vishvamitra afore. [1-49-12]

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ददर्श च महाभागाम् तपसा द्योतित प्रभाम् |
लोकैः अपि समागंय दुर्निरीक्ष्याम् सुर असुरैः || १-४९-१३
प्रयत्नात् निर्मिताम् धात्रा दिव्याम् मायामयीम् इव |
धूमेन अभिपरीत अंगीम् दीप्ताअम् अग्नि सिखाम् इव || १-४९-१४
स तुषार आवृताम् स अभ्राम् पूर्ण चन्द्र प्रभाम् इव |
मध्ये अंभसो दुराधर्षाम् दीप्ताम् सूर्य प्रभाम् इव || १-४९-१५

13. saH = he that Rama [has seen one who is]; mahaabhaagaam = at highly glorious - Ahalya; tapasaa dyotita prabhaam = by ascesis, brightened, splendour - one who has it; lokaiH api = by worldly beings, even; sura asuraiH = by gods, demons; samaagamya = on coming close; dur niriikSyaam = impossible, to stare at - one who cannot be stared at; dhaatraa pra yatnaat nirmitaam = by Creator, with careful, contemplation, crafted, contrived; divyaam = angelic; maayaa mayiim iva = phantasmal, completely [entity,] like; tuSaara aavR^itaam = by fog, overspread - befogged moonshine; sa abhraam = with, clouds - beclouded moonshine; puurNa candra prabhaam iva = full, moon's, shine, as with; ambhasaH madhye = waters, in midst of; duraadharSaam = unwatchable; diiptaam suurya prabhaam iva = glowing, sun [mirrored sun,] shine, like - she who is lay waste hitherto; dhuumena abhi pariita angiim = by fumes, around, cloaked, limbed, as with; diiptaaam agni sikhaam iva = flaring, fire, tongue, as with; dadarsha = he has seen.

She whose splendour is brightened by her ascesis, at whom it is impossible to raise an eye for a stare either for gods, or for demons, or for the worldly beings on coming close to her, whom the Creator has contrived with careful contemplation as an angelic and a completely phantasmal entity, who is like the befogged and beclouded moonshine of a full moon as she is hitherto enshrouded by the dried up leaves and dust, who is like an unwatchable sunshine mirrored in and glowing from the midst of water, for she is hitherto in the midst of denounce, and whose limbs are like the tongues of a flaring fire around which fumes are cloaking, as she is hitherto practising an utmost ascesis subsisting on air alone, which ascesis alone made her like a flaring Ritual Fir, and Rama has seen such a highly glorious Ahalya. [1-49-13, 14, 15]

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सस् हि गौतम वाक्येन दुर्निरीक्ष्या बभूव ह |
त्रयाणाम् अपि लोकानाम् यावत् रामस्य दर्शनम् |१-४९-१६

16. saa gautama vaakyena = she - Ahalya, Gautama, by the word of; raamasya darshanam yaavat = Rama's, manifestation, until; trayaaNaam api lokaanaam = three, even, for the worlds; durniriikSyaa babhuuva ha = indiscernible, became, indeed.

Ahalya is indeed indiscernible to all the three worlds by the very word of Gautama until the manifestation of Rama. [1-49-16a, b]

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शापस्य अन्तम् उपागंय तेषाम् दर्शनम् आगता ||
राघवौ तु ततः तस्याः पादौ जगृहतुः मुदा | १-४९-१७

16c, 17a. shaapasya antam upaagamya = [time of] curse, end, on reaching; teSaam darshanam aagataa = their [Rama, Lakshmana,] in to view, she got; tataH = then; raaghavau = two Raghava-s; mudaa = gladly; tasyaaH paadau jagR^ihatuH = her [Ahalya's,] feet, grasped.

On reaching the end of curse she came into the view of Raghava-s, and they too gladly touched her feet in reverence. [1-49-16c, 17a]

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स्मरंती गौतम वचः प्रतिजग्राह सा च तौ ||
पाद्यम् अर्घ्यम् तथा आतिथ्यम् चकार सुसमाहिता |
प्रतिजग्राह काकुत्स्थो विधि दृष्टेन कर्मणा || १-४९-१८

17b, 18. saa ca = she, too; gautama vacaH smarantii = Gautama's, word, reminiscing; tau = them two - Rama, Lakshmana; prati jagraaha = in turn, received; su samaahitaa = self-consciously; paadyam arghyam tathaa aatithyam = water [for feet-wash,] water [for hand-wash,] like that, guestship; vidhi dR^iSTena karmaNaa = custom, in view of [customarily,] dutifully; cakaara = [Ahalya] offered; kaakutsthaH prati jagraaha = Rama of Kakutstha, in turn, acquiesced it.

Reminiscing Gautama's words Ahalya received those two, and self-consciously offered water for feet and hand washing, and like that she also offered guestship customarily and dutifully, and Rama of Kakutstha on his part acquiesced her hospitality. [1-49-18]

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पुष्प वृष्टिः महती आसीत् देव दुंदुभि निस्वनैः |
गन्धर्व अप्सरसाम् च एव महान् आसीत् समुत्सवः || १-४९-१९

19. deva dundubhi nisvanaiH = gods, drum's, with sounds [drumbeats]; mahatii puSpa vR^iSTiH aasiit = abundant, floral, fall, is there [chanced]; gandharva apsarasaam ca eva = gandharva-s, apsara-s, also, even; mahaan aasiit sam utsavaH = superb, is there [revelled in,] splendid, festivity.

There chanced an abundant floral fall form firmament to the drumbeats of god's drums, and the celestials like gandharva-s, apsara-s revelled in a splendid festivity that is superb. [1-49-19]

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साधु साधु इति देवाः ताम् अहल्याम् समपूजयन् |
तपो बल विशुद्ध अंगीम् गौतमस्य वश अनुगाम् || १-४९-२०

20. gautamasya vasha anu gaam = Gautama's, abidance, close, follower - a devotee of Gautama; tapaH bala vi shuddha angiim = by ascesis, asset of, verily, purified [depurated,] limbed [Ahalya]; taam ahalyaam = at her, Ahalya; devaaH = gods; saadhu saadhu iti = Gracious!, Goodness!, thus [saying,] sam apuujayan = collectively, reverenced;

Gods have collectively reverenced her, whose limbs are depurated by the asset of her ascesis which is performed as a devotee of Gautama remaining in his directives, saying 'Gracious! Goodness!' [1-49-20]

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गौतमो अपि महातेजा अहल्या सहितः सुखी |
रामम् संपूज्य विधिवत् तपः तेपे महातपाः || १-४९-२१

21. mahaatapaaH = great ascetic - Gautama; mahaatejaa = great-resplendent one; gautamaH api = Gautama, even; ahalyaa sahitaH = Ahalya, reunited with; sukhii = heartened; raamam vidhivat sampuujya = at Rama, customarily, highly reverenced; tapaH tepe = ascesis, practised - continued his ascesis.

Even that great-resplendent Gautama is heartened when he reunited with Ahalya after a long, long a time, and that sage customarily reverenced Rama for actualising his solemn utterance, and that great-ascetic Gautama continued his ascesis together with Ahalya. [1-49-21]

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रामो अपि परमाम् पूजाम् गौतमस्य महामुनेः |
सकाशात् विधिवत् प्राप्य जगाम मिथिलाम् ततः || १-४९-२२

22. raamaH api = Rama, even; gautamasya mahaa muneH sakaashaat = of Gautama, great saint, in the manifestness of; paramaam puujaam vidhivat praapya = high, veneration, conventionally, on receiving; tataH = from there; mithilaam jagaama = to Mithila, moved ahead.

Even Rama on receiving a conventionally high veneration in the manifestness of that great-saint Gautama himself, then moved ahead to Mithila. [1-49-22]


Ahalya - a Myth or a reality?

The legend of Ahalya is viewed from many viewpoints, because it is unclear whether she is a humanly lady or a divine entity, or a tract of land.

The atheists, rather materialists, in their translation of Ramayana take this Ahalya, according to their viewpoint, as an uncultivable tract of land by saying that is a halya un,' Thereby Rama rendered it as a cultivable land in the course of his socio-economic reforms. There are many other instances in relating these mythical accounts of Ramayana to the earthly plane. Another instance is lavaNa asura samhaara elimination of Saline Demon...' and Rama's elimination of this demon is taken as treatment of saline oceanic water as potable waters...'

When the mythology is touched upon, it says that Ahalya is lying there as a stone and by the touch of Rama's foot she regained her divinely human form. This is not evident in Valmiki Ramayana. The idea of petrifaction of Ahalya is brought in from Padma Puraana which says: saa tataH tasya raamasya paada sparshanaat mahaatmanH | abhuut suruupaa vanitaa samaakraantaa mahaa shilaa || by the touch of the feet of that great souled Rama, she was manifest as a divine damsel, getting rid of her stone-shape...' Further, there will be an exchange of words between Indra and Brahma in Uttara Kanda of Ramayana, and there this episode of Ahalya recurs. At that place Brahma defines hala as - distorted shape...' and a halya is one with an impeccable beauty...' Besides the above, Indra will be usually addressed as sahasra aksha - thousand eyed one...' and behind this legend, there is another legend, saying that Gautama's curse to Indra is: since you delighted with Divine Ahalya, who is crafted by Brahma, in carnal pleasures, let there be thousand carnally vaginal apertures on your body...' Then that Indra is agitated for such an appearance, pleads for mercy. Then, the curse is amended saying 'instead of vaginal apertures, the apertures on your body will look like eyes...' thus Indra became sahasra aksha.

F. Max Muller records in his History of Sanskrit Literature' the commentary of Kumaarila Bhatt, yet another ancient commentator on Ramayana. "In the same manner, if it is said the Indra was the seducer of Ahalya. This does not imply that the God Indra committed such a crime, but Indra means the Sun and Ahalya the night, from [the words] ahaH the 'day' and lil the 'night'; and as the night is seduced and ruined by the sun of the morning, there is Indra called the paramour of Ahalya."

Dharmaakuutam views this as paatityam, patita falling from practise of virtuousness' Such women are said to be accepted by men after making their amends for their faults. tathaa svaruupa naasham kR^itvaa vaayu bhakSha ityaadi vayonuurpa shaapa pradaanena caapalyaat satkR^it para puruSha vR^ittaa strii niyamena shocayitvaa punaH sa~Ngrahya iti suucitam | abhyaase tu paatityam | - tathaa ca gautamaH - nindita karma abhyaasi patitaat tyaaga patitaat tyaaginaH patitaaH - iti - dk

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इति वाल्मीकि रामायणे आदि काव्ये बाल काण्डे एको न पंचाशः सर्गः

Thus, this is the 49th chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

Verse Locator for Book I : Bala Kanda - The Youthful Majesties : Chapter 49

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

Further info on indra and further information concerning ahalya
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