Book I : Bala Kanda - The Youthful Majesties

Chapter [Sarga] 69
Verses converted to UTF-8, Oct 09


Dasharatha arrives at Mithila and Janaka receives him reverentially, as he belongs to a crowning dynasty, called Ikshvaku-s. Then, after the usual exchange of royal pleasantries and protocol, all of them stay in Mithila comfortably.

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ततो रात्र्याम् व्यतीतायाम् स उपाध्यायः स बान्धवः |
राजा दशरथो हृष्टः सुमंत्रम् इदम् अब्रवीत् || १-६९-१

1. sa upaadhyaayaH = with, teachers; sa baandhavaH = with relatives; raajaa dasharathaH hR^iSTaH = king, Dasharatha, who is heartened; tataH raatryaam vyatiitaayaam = then, night, on being elapsed [into next dawn]; sumantram idam abraviit = to Sumantra [his minister,] this, said.

On the next dawn that heartened king Dasharatha who is with his teachers and his relatives then said this to his minister Sumantra. [1-69-1]

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अद्य सर्वे धन अध्यक्षा धनम् आदाय पुष्कलम् |
व्रजंति अग्रे सु विहिता नाना रत्न समन्विताः || १-६९-२

2. adya = now; sarve dhana adhyakSaa = chancellors, of exchequers; puSkalam dhanam aadaaya = ample, riches, on drawing; naanaa ratna sam anvitaaH = numerous, gems [where gems are, upa lakshaNa, the subjunctive items among the items that are used in marriages from bridegroom's side,] all-inclusive; su vihitaa = well, preparedly; agre vrajanti = in advance, let them travel.

"Now let the chancellors of exchequers draw ample riches, gems and numerous other items that are used in the marriage from bridegroom's side, all-inclusively, and let them travel in advance and let them be well-prepared for any exigency... [1-69-2]

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चतुरंग बलम् च अपि शीघ्रम् निर्यातु सर्वशः |
मम आज्ञा समकालम् च यानम् युग्मम् अनुत्तमम् || १-६९-३

3. mama = my; aaj~naa = order; sama kaalam ca = even with, time, also [in a trice at my order]; caturanga balam ca api = quadruple, forces also, even; sarvashaH = from everywhere; shiighram nir yaatu = quickly, out, go [start off]; an uttamam = un, excelled ones; yaanam = vehicles palanquins, sedan chairs, litters etc]; yugmam = that can be yoked [cabined-coaches with horses]; let start.

"Let the quadruple forces start off in a trice from everywhere at my order, and others shall start with unexcelled vehicles like palanquins, sedan chairs, litters etc., and with those that can be yoked with horses, like cabined-coaches and horse-carriages... [1-69-3]

The fourfold army is generally taken as horses, elephants, chariots, and foot soldiers for the word caturanga balam , while some say such an army is moved only when a massive combat is necessary, but not when going to marriages. Thus some say though army is moved, it is as much as required. But this word also qualifies as caturanga balam= dhana, kanaka, vastu, vaahana sampatti, the quadruple opulence, namely 'riches, gold, equipage, and vehicles...' where opulence will be the only show in Indian marriages, either of poor or rich. R. C. Dutt comes near to this when telling in his poetic version: 'Ride in front with royal riches, gold and gems in bright array

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वसिष्ठो वामदेवः च जाबालिः अथ काश्यपः |
मार्कण्डेयः च दीर्घायुः ऋषिः कात्यायनः तथा || १-६९-४
एते द्विजाः प्रयान्तु अग्रे स्यंदनम् योजयस्व मे |
यथा काल अत्ययो न स्यात् दूता हि त्वरयन्ति माम् || १-६९-५

4, 5. vasiSThaH vaamadevaH ca = Vashishta, Vaamadeva, also; atha = then; jaabaaliH kaashyapaH = Jaabaali, Kaashyapa; diirgha aayuH maarkaNDeyaH ca = long, lived one - one who has longevity, Maarkandeya, also; tathaa = likewise; R^iSiH kaatyaayanaH = sage, Kaatyaayana; ete dvijaaH = these, Brahmans; agre prayaantu = in forefront, let them travel; me syandanam yojayasva = my, royal-cariole, let it be yoked [with horses]; kaala atyayaH yathaa na syaat = time, lapse, as to how, will not, will be there; do it likewise; duutaa maam tvarayanti hi = messengers [of Janaka,] me, hastening, indeed.

"Vashishta, Vaamadeva, Jaabaali and Kaashyapa, and the long-lived Maarkandeya, and Sage Kaatyaayana... let these Brahmans travel in forefront... and let horses be yoked to my royal-cariole, and as the messengers of Janaka are hastening me arrange for the travel without time lapse..." Thus Dasharatha ordered. [1-69-4, 5]

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वचनात् च नरेन्द्रस्य सेना च चतुरंगिणी |
राजानम् ऋषिभिः सार्धम् व्रजंतम् पृष्ठतो अन्वगात् || १-६९-६

6. narendrasya vacanaat = the best king's, by the word of; caturangiNii = quadruple [opulence]; senaa = [some] army; R^iSibhiH saardham = with sages, as well; vrajantam = he who is going; raajaanam = after that king; pR^iSThataH = at rearward; anvagaat = followed.

On the word of that best king the fourfold opulence, and even the fourfold forces up to some extent followed rearward of the king who is going after the sages who are going afore of him. [1-69-6]

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गत्वा चतुर् अहम् मार्गम् विदेहान् अभ्युपेयिवान् |
राजा तु जनकः श्रीमान् श्रुत्वा पूजाम् अकल्पयत् || १-६९-७

7. catuH aham maargam gatvaa = four, day, route, on going; videhaan abhyupeyivaan [abhi upa eyu] = at Videha kingdom, reached nearby - reached fringes of Videha; raajaa shriimaan janakaH = king, illustrious Janaka; shrutvaa puujaam akalpayat = on hearing, [welcome] ceremonies, arranged.

Travelling on a four-day-route Dasharatha reached the fringes of Videha kingdom, and on hearing this, the illustrious king Janaka arranged for welcome ceremonies at the outskirts of the city. [1-69-7]

These formalities are still prevalent in marriage functions, in one way or the other, in India, esp. rural India. The bridegroom's party will be received at the outskirts of the bride's place, esp. if it were to be a village, then a small function / ceremony will be held laudatory to the bridegroom, and then they are invited into that place of bride like, 'meet a party halfway...' type protocol. This is other than baraat 'matrimonial pageantry...'

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ततो राजानम् आसाद्य वृद्धम् दशरथम् नृपम् |
जनको मुदितो राजा हर्षम् च परमम् ययौ || १-६९-८

8. tataH = then; raajaa muditaH janakaH = king, gladdened, Janaka nR^I pam raajaanam vR^iddham dasharatham = people's, paladin, king, senescent, towards Dasharatha; aasaadya = at on getting at; paramam harSam yayau = [a state of ] ecstatic, elation, went into.

Then the king Janaka who is by far gladdened went into a state of ecstatic elation when he met the senescent king and paladin of people, namely Dasharatha, as the pace for the marriage celebrations is quickened because of the immediate arrival of Dasharatha. [1-69-8]

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उवाच वचनम् श्रेष्ठो नरश्रेष्ठम् मुदा अन्वितम् |
स्वागतम् ते नरश्रेष्ठः दिष्ट्या प्राप्तो असि राघव || १-६९-९
पुत्रयोः उभयोः प्रीतिम् लप्स्यसे वीर्य निर्जिताम् |

9, 10a. nara shreSThaH = best among men - Janaka; mudaa anvitam = glee, included [gleeful one]; nara shreSTham = to man, the best [born in foremost lineage of Raghu-s, Dasharatha, the legatee of Raghu]; shreSThaH vacanam uvaaca = best [commendable,] sentence, said; raaghava = oh, the legatee of Raghu; te su aagatam = to you, hearty, welcome; diSTyaa praaptaH asi = providentially, bechanced [you have come,] you are; ubhayoH putrayoH = from both, from sons; viirya nirjitaam = by valour, completely won; priitim lapsyase = delight, you get.

And the best one among men, king Janaka, gleefully said this commendable sentence to Dasharatha, the best legatee of Raghu, "oh, king, a hearty welcome to you. Oh, legatee of Ragu, your arrival to my city is just by my providence... you will now get delectation on seeing your sons who won accolades just by their valorousness in the act of raising and breaking Shiva's bow... [1-69-9, 10a]

Though Rama alone broke the bow of Shiva, both Rama and Lakshmana are said to have done it. This is a common unified laudation used for both of them, in view of their insuperable brotherhood, and such a sort of commingling both, for one person's action, can be heard often. For e.g., when Lakshmana misshapes Shuurpanakha, Rama is said to have done, and even both are said to have done that act.

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दिष्ट्या प्राप्तो महातेजा वसिष्ठो भगवान् ऋषिः || १-६९-१०
सह सर्वैः द्विज श्रेष्ठैः देवैः इव शतक्रतुः |

10b, 11a. mahaatejaa bhagavaan vasiSThaH R^iSiH = great-resplendent, godly, Vashishta, the sage; sarvaiH dvija shreShThaiH saha = with all, Brahmans, eminent ones, along with; devaiH shatakratuH iva = with gods, Indra [who had to perform 'shata' hundred 'kratu' Vedic-ritual s in his earlier human birth,] as with; diSTyaa praaptaH = providentially, bechanced - arrived here.

"Providentially bechanced is the arrival of this great-resplendent and godly sage Vashishta, who arrived here with all of these eminent Brahmans, like Indra himself with all gods... [1-69-10b, 11a]

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दिष्ट्या मे निर्जिता विघ्ना दिष्ट्या मे पूजितम् कुलम् || १-६९-११
राघवैः सह संबंधात् वीर्य श्रेष्ठैः महात्मभिः |

11b, 12a. viirya shreSThaiH = among valorous ones, the best ones; mahaatmabhiH raaghavaiH saha = with noble-souled ones, Raghava-s, with; sambandhaat = [owing to this] hymeneal engagement; diSTyaa me vighnaa nirjitaa = providentially, my, hindrances, are overcome; diSTyaa me kulam puujitam = providentially, my, lineage, is glorified.

"Providentially my hindrances are overcome by the arrival of godlike sages, and providentially my lineage too is gloried owing to this hymeneal engagement with noble-souled Raghava-s, who are the most valorous among all the valorous people... [1-69-11b, 12a]

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श्वः प्रभाते नरेन्द्र त्वम् सम्वर्तयितुम् अर्हसि || १-६९-१२
यज्ञस्य अन्ते नरश्रेष्ठ विवाहम् ऋषि सत्तमैः |

12b, 13b. nara shreSTha = among men, best in first-born-linage [because you are born in first and foremost Ikshvaku dynasty, hence you are]; nara indra = oh, Indra of Indra-like kings [on earth]; shvaH prabhaate = tomorrow, morning; yaj~nasya ante = Vedic-ritual, at end of [at the culmination]; R^iSi sattamaiH [sammatam ] = with Sages, best one's [conducted by, agreeable to for the time and date of marriage]; vivaaham tvam = marriage, you; sam vartayitum arhasi = to clearly initiate [about the talks, celebrations reg. marriage,] apt of you.

"Because you are born in first and foremost Ikshvaku dynasty, hence you are the Indra of Indra-like kings on earth... and hence, it will be apt of you to initiate the celebrations of marriage tomorrow, and the marriage itself after the culmination of the Vedic-ritual in three or four days, and the date and time for the marriage, that which is agreeable to the best sages can be decided, and you can get it performed on that date, through those great sages... [1-69-12b, 13a]

There is controversy about the marriage of Seetha with Rama, insofar as its categorisation. Whether it is one of the eight kinds or not, is a debated point. The eight kinds of marriages are braahma, daiva, praajaapatya, aarSa, asura, gandharva, raakshasa, paishaaca and this topic can be discussed at a later time.

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तस्य तत् वचनम् श्रुत्वा ऋषि मध्ये नराधिपः || १-६९-१३
वाक्यम् वाक्यविदाम् श्रेष्ठः प्रत्युवाच महीपतिम् |

13b, 14a. vaakyam vaakya vidaam shreSThaH = sentence, sentence, among experts, the best [sententious one - Dasharatha]; nara adhipaH = people's king [Dasharatha]; tasya tat vacanam shrutvaa = his [Janaka's,] that, sentence, on hearing; R^iSi madhye = sages, amongst; mahiipatim = to king Janaka; prati uvaaca = replied.

On hearing that sentence of king Janaka the sententious king Dasharatha replied the king Janaka from amongst the sages. [1-69-13b, 14a]

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प्रतिग्रहो दातृ वशः श्रुतम् एतत् मया पुरा || १-६९-१४
यथा वक्ष्यसि धर्मज्ञ तत् करिष्यामहे वयम् |

14b, 15a. prati grahaH = in turn, taking [recipiency]; daatR^i = donor's [restitutor's]; vashaH = in control of [rests with]; etat puraa mayaa shrutam = all this, earlier, by me, heard; dharma j~na = oh, probity, knower of; yathaa [tvam] vakSyasi = as, [whatever you] say; tat vayam kariSyaamahe = that, we, do.

"Recipiency rests with the restitutor... so I have heard earlier. Hence, whatever you say, for you are the knower of probity and nothing goes amiss in your astute thinking, that we will do... [1-69-14b, 15a]

The word restitutor is used instead of 'donor' because Janaka is restoring the estranged divine pair to their togetherness in this mortal world. R. C. Dutt uses 'Gift betokens giver's bounty...' for this expression.

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तत् धर्मिष्ठम् यशस्यम् च वचनम् सत्य वादिनः || १-६९-१५
श्रुत्वा विदेह अधिपतिः परम् विस्मयम् आगतः |

15b, 16b. satya vaadinaH = truth [principles,] affirmer of - Dasharatha; dharmiSTham = agreeable to the principles of marriages; yashasyam ca = agreeable to familial glory; tat = that; vacanam = sentence; shrutvaa = on listening; videha adhipatiH = Videha, to king of; param vismayam aagataH = extremely, thrill [of joy,] came over.

On listening that sentence of that affirmer of principles, namely Dasharatha, that which is conformable to the principles of marriages and familial glory, a thrill of joy came over the king of Videha. [1-69-15b. 16a]

Usually the bridegroom's party will be stiff-necked at least till the marriage is over, which has become a nuisance practice in Indian marriages. Here Dasharatha is telling the opposite, by which his words are viewed as agreeable to righteousness of marriages etc., and for which Janaka is surprised.

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ततः सर्वे मुनि गणाः परस्पर समागमे || १-६९-१६
हर्षेण महता युक्ताः ताम् निशाम् अवसन् सुखम् |

16b, 17a. tataH = then; sarve muni gaNaaH = then, all, saint's, coalescences; paraH para = one, to one - each other - assemblages of sages from Vashishta's side with the assemblages of sages of Mithila; sam aagame = on foregathering; mahataa harSeNa yuktaaH = with extreme, rejoice, having; taam nishaam = that, darkness [night]; sukham avasan = happily, resided - they spent.

Then, on the forgathering of sages from Vashishta's side with the sages of Mithila all the sages have attained extreme joy and they spent that night happily. [1-69-16b, 17a]

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अथ रामो महातेजा लक्ष्मणेन समम् ययौ || १-६९-१७
विश्वामित्रम् पुरस्कृत्य पितुः पादौ उपस्पृशन् |

17b, 18a. atha raamaH mahaatejaa = then, Rama, most brilliant one; vishvaamitram puraskR^itya = Vishvamitra, keeping ahead; lakshmaNena = with Lakshmana; samam yayau = uniformly, proceeded [strutting in step with]; pituH paadau upaspR^ishan = father's, feet, to touch.

Then that most brilliant Rama, keeping Vishvamitra ahead, and strutting in step with Lakshmana, strutted to touch the feet of his father Dasharatha. [1-69-17]

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राजा च राघवौ पुत्रौ निशांय परिहर्षितः || १-६९-१८
उवास परम प्रीतो जनकेन सुपूजितः |

18b-19a. raajaa ca = king Dasharatha, also; putrau raaghavau = sons, Raghava-s [Rama and Lakshmana, here the epithet's subtext is 'the super medallists of Raghu's dynasty]; nishaamya pariharSitaH = on seeing, overly rejoiced; janakena supuujitaH = by Janaka, highly reverenced; parama priitaH uvaasa = highly, contented, resided [in Mithila].

On seeing his two sons, the super medallists in Raghu's dynasty, King Dasharatha is highly rejoiced and he resided in Mithila with a high contentment, for the reverence of Janaka is that high. [1-69-18]

The expression of 'medallists' to the word Raghava-s as above will look odd. So an explanation to this is furnished in the endnote.

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जनको अपि महातेजाः क्रिया धर्मेण तत्त्ववित् |
यज्ञस्य च सुताभ्याम् च कृत्वा रात्रिम् उवास ह || १-६९-१९

19. mahaatejaaH = great-resplendent one; tattva vit = essence of scriptures, knower of; janakaH api = Janaka, even; yaj~nasya ca = of Vedic-ritual [on hand,] also; sutaabhyaam ca = of two daughters, also; dharmeNa = according to scriptures; kriyaa = ritual acts; kR^itvaa = on making [on performing / initiating]; raatrim uvaasa ha = night, resided, indeed [went into the sleep of the just with his palm on chest.]

Even the great-resplendent Janaka on performing ritual acts according to scriptures for the Vedic-ritual on hand, and the preparatory rituals for handing out both of his daughters in marriage, went into the sleep of the just, with his palm on his chest. [1-69-19]

The marriages will be commenced with initial ceremonies called ankura aaropaNa aadi kriyaaH for an unhindered marriage function and for the harmonious family life of the newly wed.


Epithets in Ramayana

'The epithets in Ramayana will be extremely boring and tediously repeated statements...' this is when we see at them in an overall superficial and lexical view. But, to the grammarians, prosodists, aestheticians, and the like, they are a head-breaking headache. A lot of verbal warfare is concurrently going on, perhaps even now, as to which belongs to which expression. To cite an example, here the verse 1-69-18 uses just raaghavau 'a pair of Raghava-s...' for Rama and Lakshmana, and it is no uncommon term to them. But, here this word suddenly assumes a different dimension and aestheticians say that word means 'the pair of brothers who are the decorations, embellishments, and the like, of Raghu's dynasty....' because they dared the bow of Shiva to the extent of its breakage, and by their bold feat they are victorious medallists. While the ancestors in Raghu-s dynasty are pro-gods in seeking Ganga to come to earth etc., this boy Rama has gone against that God, in breaking Shiva's bow. Gita Press' English version puts this as 'the ornaments of Raghu's race...' and R. C. Dutt's poetic version has 'Honoured by the saintly Janak, greeted by his children bold / where the 'boldness' is as explained above. And this 'ornaments' or 'bold boys' or 'medallists' cannot be found in the verse, lexically.

There are many who are baffled and bored at these boring and baffling overused epithets and there are enumerations also, as to how many are increased in Aranya Kanda compared to Ayodhya Kanda etc. In Aranya, for e.g., Seetha is variously called as Janaki, alias Vaidehi, alias Mithila... etc., and this chapter can throw some light, or make a difference between an alias and an epithet, on those that available in Aranya, as those epithets in Aranya bear a link with these few chapters. Even then, it will be inconclusive, as nowhere listed are these epithets or their allusions in their true colour. It is unclear for non-Sanskrit readers, even to vernacular Indians, to know as to how many epithets are truly and correctly translatable, without the assistance of ancient commentaries. Even in those commentaries, there are many epithets that are left out, as those commentators were more bothered to their own tenets like 'Rama is god... Rama is human... Rama is the dharma... Rama is Shiva...' etc., than these epithets. And we are presenting as far as we could muster up information about them. Hence, before the total extinction of Sanskrit grammarians and aestheticians, it is necessary to decode these epithets in Ramayana, thus we humbly feel.


इति वाल्मीकि रामायणे आदि काव्ये बाल काण्डे एको न सप्ततितमः सर्गः

Thus, this is the 69th chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

Verse Locator for Book I : : Bala Kanda - The Youthful Majesties : Chapter 69

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