The Bhagavata Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 780,972 words | ISBN-10: 8120838203 | ISBN-13: 9788120838208

This page describes The Story of Rama (concluded) which is chapter 11 of the English translation of the Bhagavata Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas containing roughly 18,000 metrical verses. Topics include ancient Indian history, religion, philosophy, geography, mythology, etc. The text has been interpreted by various schools of philosophy. This is the eleventh chapter of the Ninth Skandha of the Bhagavatapurana.

Chapter 11 - The Story of Rāma (concluded)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Śrī Śuka said:

1. The glorious Lord Rāma who was educated in his preceptor’s academy[1], worshipped his ownself, viz. the Supreme Lord (Viṣṇu) who represents all gods in his person, by performing sacrifices with excellent materials.[2]

2. (When the sacrifice was concluded), the Lord donated as sacrificial fee the eastern direction (eastern part of his empire) to the Hotṛ (the sacrificial priest who recites the mantras from the Ṛgveda), the Southern quarter to the sacrificial priest called Brahmā, the Western part to the adhvaryu (reciter of Sūktas from the Yajurveda), northern direction (northern part of his empire) to the priest that sang Sāma hymns in the sacrifice.

3. To his preceptor (Vasiṣṭha), he gave as grant the remaining portion of the land at the centre, considering a Brāhmaṇa who is devoid of any craving or desire, deserves all this.

4. In this way he was left with his clothes and ornaments (that were on his person), while the queen Sītā (princess of Videha) had only those ornaments which were essential for a lady whose husband is alive (the rest, she distributed to Brahmaṇa [Brāhmaṇa] ladies).

5. Perceiving this affection of the Lord who treated Brāhmaṇas as gods, the Brāhmaṇas were highly pleased and with their hearts overwhelmed with affection, returned all the gifts to him and said:

6. “Oh illustrious Lord! What is it that you have not given to us when entering into our hearts you dispel the darkness (of ignorance) by your effulgence, Oh ruler of the world.

7. We bow down to you, Oh Rāma who regard Brāhmaṇas as gods, and whose intelligence (i.e. knowledge) is boundless and unrestricted. You are the leader of those possessing excellent renown. Your feet are being meditated upon by sages and recluses”.

8. Once upon a time, while Rāma went about in disguise and unnoticed at night, with a desire to know the pulse of the public, he overheard somebody speaking with reference to his queen Sītā.

9. “I would not accept you a wicked, unchaste woman who lived in the house of a stranger. Rāma, an exorbitant doter of that woman Sītā, might be retaining her, but I am not Rāma to have you again.”

10. In this way, Sītā was abandoned by her husband who was afraid of the myriad-tongued, ignorant, unplacative public. She arrived at the hermitage of Vālmīki, the son of Pracetas.

11. Then being pregnant, in due course, she gave birth to twins—sons who came to be called Kuśa and Lava. The sage Vālmīki performed their purificatory rites (jātakarma).

12. Lakṣmaṇa had two sons known as Aṅgada and Citraketu (Candraketu, Cakraketu), and Bharata’s sons were Takṣa and Puṣkala, Oh protector of the earth.

13-14. The sons of Śatrughna were Subāhu and Śrutasena. During the course of the conquest of directions (i.e. of the world) Bharata slew Gandharvas by tens of millions and collecting their wealth, he handed it over to the king Rāma. Śatrughna slew the demon Lavaṇa[3], the son of Madhu and built up a city called Mathurā, on the site of Madhuvana.

15. Sītā who was forsaken by her husband, entrusted both of her sons to the sage (Vālmīki), and meditating upon the feet of Rāma, she entered into the bowels of the earth—so goes the tradition.

16.[4] Hearing of that news (about Sītā) and remembering of her various excellent virtues, (even) that glorious Lord Rāma was not able to restrain his grief, despite his attempts (to suppress it) by force of reason.

17. The attachment between men and women in this way brings (in its train) fear and affliction everywhere—even in the case of rulers of the world. What needs be said of ordinary persons whose minds are fixed on their house-hold (or of a common house-holder whose mind is attached to his house and property).

18. Thereafter the Lord (Rāma) led a life of strict continence, and continued to offer oblations to the sacrificial fire, for thirteen thousand years, without any interruption.

19. Leaving behind him in the heart of his devotees who meditate upon his foliage-like tender feet which were (once) pricked with thorns in the Daṇdaka forest, Rāma then repaired to his own self-luminous region.

20. Rāma assumed this (human) form as a sport at the request of gods. His prowess (or essential nature) is free from (i.e. has no) equals or superiors. (Glorification of feats like) the destruction of Rākṣasas with multitudes of missiles or the construction of a bridge across the sea are no great praise in the case of Rāma. (It was only his sportive action). Were the monkeys his real helpmates in exterminating the enemies? (No).

21. I seek asylum with Rāma, the chief of Raghus, as my protector, whose pure glory efficacious enough to destroy all sins and serving as decorative ornaments to the elephants supporting the cardinal points (i.e. has spread all over the world)—is sung even today by sages (like Mārkaṇḍeya) in royal courts (as that of Yudhiṣṭhira), and whose lotus-like feet are adored by the crowns of the rulers of the celestial world (e.g. Indra), and Lord of wealth (Kubera) or by Protectors of the earth).

22. All the residents of the Kosai country by whom he was touched, seen, seated (by the side) or followed, attained to that region (Mokṣa) where persons expert in yoga go.

23.[5] Oh King! A person who treasures up in his mind the story of Rāma, (heard) through his ears, and exercises control over his passions, becomes free from the bondage of Karmas (and is liberated from Saṃsāra).

The King (Patīkṣit) asked:

24.How did the glorious Lord Rāma behave with his brothers and relatives? How did he conduct himself? How did they (his kith and kin), his subjects and citizens of Ayodhyā (reciprocally) behave with their ruler?

Śrī Śuka replied:

25.When the coronation was over, Rāma, the sovereign ruler of the three worlds, directed his brothers to conquer (and protect) all the four quarters (i.e. countries all over the world). He granted audience to all his people, and looked after the capital city along with his attendants.

26.With its streets besprinkled with water perfumed with sandal etc. and with fragrant drops of ichor exuded from the temples of elephants in rut, the city appeared to be exceedingly intoxicated with rapturous joy[6] at the return of its master.

27.It was beautified with gold domes (lit. pitchers) set on the crests of mansions, towers, assemblies, shrines, temples as well as with flags.

28.(The city was decorated) with (auspicious) arches erected with banana trees surrounded by (branches of) arecanut trees, (or decorations consisting of bunches of fruits and plantains) banners of fancy cloth, mirrors, canopies and wreaths of flowers.

29.With articles of worship (and presents) in their hands, citizens approached him at various places and conferred blessings on him and prayed, “Be pleased to protect the earth which you lifted up formerly (in your boar-incarnation)”.

30.Perceiving (hearing) that their Lord had arrived after a lapse of a long period, his subjects—both men and women—left their household duties, and with a desire to see him directly, climbed up to the tops of their houses, but though their eyes remained unsatisfied with viewing the lotuseyed Rāma, they showered him with flowers.

31-32. Thereafter, the Lord entered his own residence which was once occupied by his predecessor-kings. It was rich in unlimited treasures of every kind, and was furnished with invaluable articles of furniture, coverings etc. It was beautified with doors the thresholds of which were of coral, and with rows of pillars of Vaiḍūrya (cat’s-eye) gems, reflecting (mirror like) floors of emeralds and walls of shining crystals.

33-34. It was decorated with garlands of various colours and kinds, with banners and buntings, with cloths, gems canopies and pearls brilliant like intelligence or at places the columns of vaiḍūrya (cat’s eye)were decorated with brilliant pearls and equipped with all beautiful covetable objects. It was full of fragrance of incenses and lights and was decorated with flowers. It was provided with the services of men and women who being beautiful like gods, enhanced the charm of ornaments (they put on) themselves.

35. It is reported that in that palace the glorious Lord Rāma, the chief of spiritually wise persons who find bliss in their own self, enjoyed himself with his affectionate darling Sītā.

36. Rāma whose foliage-like tender feet are contemplated upon by men, enjoyed for a great number of years all the pleasures at the proper time, without causing any violation of righteousness.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

ācāryavān, cf.—ācāryavān purvṣo veda—Chāndogya up. 6.14.2

[2]:

Conducted by excellent sage like Vasiṣṭha—Bhāgavata Candrikā

[3]:

Although Bhāgavata Purāṇa calls him a demon, it means an unfriendly king, for bis father Madhu was not a demon (vide infra 9.24.5).

[4]:

Deleted in Padaratnāvalī’s text.

[5]:

Padaratnāvalī: ‘By merely listening to the name of Rāma, one becomes free from the bondage of karma. He quotes the following verse indicating how the whole world was imbued with Rāma, when Rāma was ruling:

rāmo rāmo rāma iti sarveṣām abhavattadā /
sarvo rāma-mayo loko yadā rāmas tva pālayat //

This verse is quoted by Bhāvārtha-dīpikā-prakāśa also.

[6]:

v.l. Vāśita-gāmiva—like a cow overwhelmed with passion

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