Prince Rama* and his brother Laxmana
With Sage Viswamitra on their way back
After killing Demoness Tataki,
Who had disrupted the sacrificial works
Of the sage, entered the fort of Mithila,
To attend the sacrificial ceremony
Convened by Mithila's King Janaka,
As per the design of Viswamitra.1
On the outskirt stood a woman as stone.
Which turned a beautiful woman as soon
As the dust of Rama's feet fell upon it.
She was Ahalya, wife of sage Gowthem.
Indra*, out of lust on her sexy beauty,
In husband's absence went in his disguise
And had union with her. The sage cursed her
To go stone till Rama came and redeem. 2
King Dasaratha of Kosala Kingdom
From Solar Dynasty, without issues,
Got four sons delivered of by his three wives,
Who consumed portions of consecrated food,
That came through a being from the sacred fire,
Consequent to the sacrifice performed,
As Rama to Kousalya, Bharathan to Kaikeyi
And Laxmana and Satrugna to Subatra. 3
The princess and the sage went through streets,
Littered with garlands and golden ornaments,
Thrown away in reckless abandon by women,
Exhausted after sexual combat, in the town.
As they stood before the maidens' mansion,
Looking up, Rama saw the wide-eyed Sita*!
It was hard to define Sita's beauty
For Laxmi herself was incarnate Sita.4
Rama gazed long and so did she in turn!
Into his powerful shoulders her look drove
A pair of spears, while his large sharp eyes,
Rested on the charming breasts of Sita.
Her eyes met Rama's and, stunned, they feasted
Upon each other. Their souls, no longer
in their own possession, became one.
Love at first sight- they fell for each other.5
Distressed in mind, Sita pined and stayed mute.
Kama* shot his arrow and kept her sick.
‘Who is this cruel man, barging into me
And melting my steadfast mind of womanhood?
The womanly virtue of bashfulness
I was born with has now deserted me.'
Thus, in her mansion she lay on her bed,
Her mind aflame with unrequited love. 6
Love-struck Rama was at bed in deep thought,
‘Though heartlessly she has devoured me
With her terrible, venomous eyes, I see
in all things moving or still, only her image.'
‘Two long sword-eyes, and two arrogant breasts,
A smile held back tight in the mouth, my God,
—does Death need so many missiles? ' he mused,
‘How a bow of sugarcane* had vanquished me! '7
The massive bow handed down from Siva*
Must be lifted by whoever wanted
To marry Sita, daughter of Janaka.
The bow was brought there for Rama to try.
Putting to shame bulls and elephants,
Effortlessly Rama lifted the bow
And held aloft as if it were a garland
With which to wed the coveted Sita. 8
No one saw the toe pressed or the string fixed.
The lifted bow they saw as a flash
And only heard the thunder of its crash!
‘Our lady needs a thousand eyes to see him
And he will need a thousand eyes for her.
How blessed is our world! ' all the people hailed.
‘It must be he, that has done this, the one
I saw yesterday, ' Sita thought and wished. 9
Rama was taken in a procession.
Those who saw his shoulder, his shoulder only saw;
Those his foot, only his foot; those his arm,
Only his arm. Which of those saw his full form?
Sita was adorned and ornamented.
Her vermilion breasts, full and surging,
Were a burden to her slender waist.
Her slender shoulders had, as rivals, bamboos. 10
The wedding took place in a grand manner
In Mithila in the presence of sages,
Dasaratha and his family and troops.
‘Firm with my daughter may your union be,
Like Vishnu's with his consort, Lakshmi.'
Said Janaka to Rama, pouring water
And placed Sita's lotus palm in his hand.
After some days they left for Ayodhya.11
To set Rama, the first born, on the throne,
Dasaratha declared, which was thwarted
By his second wife, Kaikeyi, by means
Of two boons once granted her by the king:
To have Rama exiled for fourteen years
And to have her son Bharata the crown.
Rama quit willingly, with whom volunteered
His wife Sita and brother Laxmana.12
Soon Dasaratha succumbed to his grief.
Bharata declined to accept the kingdom
And with Rama's sandals placed on the throne,
As proxy to Rama, he ruled from the outskirt.
Journeying southward, the trio met many rishis
And went deep into Dandakaranya forest
And later to Panchavadi, where they put a hut.
Surpanaka, Ravana's* sister, sighted them. 13
Marveling at the beauty of Rama,
‘No tree or mountain can ever match his hands, '
She thought. The flood of love in her heart,
Greater than any tide in river or sea,
Submerged her sense, and she fixed her gaze
On Rama's shoulders and couldn't pull it back.
‘A Demoness fanged he will reject her at once; '
So Surpanaka impersonated Laxmi.14
Rama was surprised to see before him
A blowing figure with burgeoning breasts.
He suspected her form and intention.
‘As a woman I cannot declare my love.
Enamoured, I pine; save me from Kama*.'
She was adamant in her sinful attempt.
Laxmana with rage cut her nose, ears
And breasts, and she left with deep pain and grief.15
‘What was your fault that made them cut off
Your ears and nose? ' asked brother Ravana,
Who once lifted Siva's mountain, to his court
When Surpanaka bleeding came, and reported.
‘The fount of my dire fate, ' she said grimly,
‘Is one who is beyond compare, Sita.
When I attempted to spirit her away
To bring her to you, I was deformed thus.'16
‘She lives with him, Rama, in the forest,
And Laxmana, his brother who cut off
My nose, ears and nipples with his sword.
Sita's body is of burnished pure gold,
Her breasts a pair of golden urns, her eyes
Spears, teeth pearls, lips coral and forehead a bow.
You, the great, must acquire this lovely woman
And get me Rama for my pleasure.' Said she. 17
Ravana forgot his sister's nose cut,
His own dishonour and only remembered
The words spoken in praise of that maiden.
Ravana approached Maricha* for her.
‘Tell me what witchcraft I should employ.'
Ravana said, ‘Turn into a golden stag
And rouse the greed of that golden maiden.'
Agreeing to this plan, Maricha left. 18
In the form of a golden deer, he went
To the place where Sita would yearn for it.
Plucking flowers, she spotted the golden stag.
She wanted the stag; Rama obliged
Against Laxmana's caution and pursued.
He shot at last the elusive golden stag,
Which fell in real form, yelling in Rama's voice.
Sita mistook and urged Lexmana to go.19
‘It is not Rama's but Maricha's, ' said he,
‘If the Protector himself is in danger
As you seem to fear, all the three worlds, the gods,
The sages and the righteous, would have fallen'.
‘Go now or let me set myself on fire.'
‘Rather than stay here and cause Sita's death,
I'll leave it to Dharma to protect her.'
Saying Laxmana left, obeying her wish.20
Ravana came to lone Sita as a monk
And saw her, the epitome of beauty.
‘She has not come from any woman's womb.
If her face, filled with sorrow, can be so bright,
What will it be like when she smiles? ' he mused.
He revealed who he was and wanted her
To be his queen, which she spurned with rage.
Not to touch unwilling woman is his curse. 21
Ravana hefted the earth with the hut,
And went away in his flying chariot.
On his way, he was way laid by Jatayu,
The king of eagles, which, fighting him
To save Sita, lay dead losing his wings.
Laxmana, sent by Sita to find Rama,
Returned with him to see to their dismay
The absence of the hut and their Sita. 22
‘You came to the rescue of my wife
Abducted by a rakshasa and, slain.
The killer is still alive and so am I! '
Lamented Rama at dying Jatayu,
When the two began their search for Sita.
From him they knew who had abducted Sita
But before their query as to which way
Was replied the wounded bird left its life. 23
Two sons of Kosala resumed their quest
For Sita, traversing through many hills,
And reached the hill where troops of monkey lived.
A friendship was forced with Sugriva, the head.
Rama beat Vali in a dual by hiding
Lest he should get half of strength of his foe,
And redeemed the kingdom and Sugrive's wife
From Vali and got Hanuman to help the search. 24
Hanuman, son of the Wind, was deputed
To search for Sita towards southern side.
Rama took Hanuman aside and said,
‘Should you see her, this is how you can identify:
Her thighs are lovelier than banana stalks.
Her banded breasts more beautiful than
The chakravahas*. Her waist is the vanji
Creeper, and her gait is that of a swan; 25
Her middle is the hood of Adisesha*
The tender mango is her complexion.
Remind her of what she said in Mitila,
"If the man who broke that mountainous bow
Is not the one who came with the sage,
I'll give up my life." Here is a ring to prove
You are my messenger. Farewell, wise one.'
Hanuman had left on his journey to Lanka. 26
Hanuman located Sita in Ashoka grove,
Where she was being wooed and threatened
By Ravana. and his rakshasis to marry Ravana.
Hanuman reassured Sita, and gave
Rama's signet ring as his credential.
He offered to carry Sita back to Rama,
Which was declined as she was of a firm view
That Rama himself must avenge the insult. 27
He got from her the hair clip worn by her
To show Rama that he had seen Sita.
Hanuman then wreaked havoc in Lanka
And killed many Ravana's warriors.
When he was caught, and his tail set on fire,
He went round and burnt Lanka's citadel,
And made a giant leap back from the island.
He told Rama that Sita was safe, unsoiled. 28
Rama, Laxmana and their allies crossed
The sea with apes putting stones across.
The war between Rama and Ravana
Took many days that saw Ravana dying
With his kin. Rama made king of Lanka
Vibishna, Ravana's brother, who sided
Rama and helped him to win the battle.
Hanuman played a major role in the war. 29
Sita was informed of Ravana's death.
Her breasts, always a burden to her waist,
Swelled. Drunk with joy, she thought of her return.
Her breasts grew damp with dewy drops of sweat,
And her garment loosened and slid low too.
Vibishna led her to where Rama stood.
She descended from the chariot with grace.
Her body ached for reunion with him. 30
Rama had not received her with open arms.
He doubted Sita's womanly virtues.
‘To whom shall I declare my chastity?
There is nothing better for me than to die.
That is what you have ordered too.'
She plunged into fire lit then and came out
Unscathed and proved to the world her innocence.
Who knows if her wounded heart has ever healed?31
(Indra - God of rain and pleasure, Kama - God of lust, Siva - God Supreme, the terminator of beings, Ravana - King of rakshajas meaning demons as against Rama the God Vishnu the protector of beings and of Devas, the good. Sita - incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of God Vishnu and epitome of womanly beauty, bow of sugarcane - it belongs to Kama, God of lust,Maricha - a rakshaja and son of Tataka, Tataka - demoness, Chacravahas - twin birds in the shape of human breasts, Adisesha - A serpent on which Vishnu would rest in the milk sea.
The story is said to be spun by Sage Valmihi in 1st or 2nd Centuri BC in Sanskrit about the happenings before 20th century BC, probably in erstwhile West India where Aryans migrated in with Sanskrit as their tongue about 4000 years ago, and it was recreated by Kamban in Tamil in 12th Century AD, which is taken as base in line with P S Sundaram's English translation to write this poem.
Topic(s) of this poem: legend
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.