The Garuda Purana

by Manmatha Nath Dutt | 1908 | 245,256 words | ISBN-13: 9788183150736

The English translation of the Garuda Purana: contents include a creation theory, description of vratas (religious observances), sacred holidays, sacred places dedicated to the sun, but also prayers from the Tantrika ritual, addressed to the sun, to Shiva, and to Vishnu. The Garuda Purana also contains treatises on astrology, palmistry, and preci...

Chapter CXLIII - The Ramayana

Brahma said:—Now I shall narrate the celebrated Ramayanam, hearing which a man is absolved of sin. Brahma sprang out of the lotus-navel of Vishnu, and Marichi was the son of Brahma. Kashyapa was the son of Marichi, and the Sun-God was the son of Kashyapa. Manu was the son of the Sub-God. Ikshaku was the son of Manu, in whose line Raghu of mighty prowess was born. Aja was the son of Raghu, and Dasharatha was the son of Aja. Dasharatha had four sons, each of mighty prowess, of whom Rama was born in the womb of Kaushalya, Bharata in the womb of Kaikeyi, and Lakshmana and Shatrughna in the womb of Sumitra. Rama, the beloved of his parents and firmly devoted to them, learned the use of arms and weapons from the holy Vishvamitra, and was thus enabled to kill the monstress Tadaka. He killed the monster Subahu, while defending the sacrificial platform of Vishvamitra, whence he accompanied that holy Sage to witness the celebration of a religious sacrifice by Janaka, whose daughter Janaki he married. Lakshmana married Urmila; Bharata married Mandavi, and Shatrughna married Shrutakirti. After the celebration of their marriage ceremony, Rama and Lakshmana stayed with their parents at Ayodhya, while Bharata and Shatrughna went to live with their maternal uncle, Yudhajit When the two princes Bharata and Shatrughna were away from the city (Ayodhya), the king (Dasharatha) attempted to instal his favourite Rama as the Crown-Prince of his dominion, when his consort Kaikeyi asked him to send Rama in exile for a period of fourteen years. For the spiritual edification of his father, Rama renounced the kingdom as a thing of little consequence and went out as a voluntary exile, in the company of his beloved Sita and Lakshmana, to the city of Shringabera. He renounced the use of his car, and travelled on foot to the city of Prayaga from whence he sojourned to the Mount of Chitrakuta.

King Dasharatha, in agony of separation and in bitter remorse for what he had done, died and ascended to heaven. Prince Bharata performed the funeral rites of his father Dasharatha, and then went to Rama with a large army to welcome him back to his kingdom and heritage. Rama did not return to his capital, but gave his sandal to Bharata instead, to be installed on the throne of his kingdom as a royal insignia. Whereupon Bharata justly ruled the kingdom in the name of his sovereign Rama. Thus dismissed by Rama, Bharata did not return to Ayodhya, but fixed his residence in the town of Nandigrama, while Rama there, after sojourned to the hermitage of Atri from the Mount Chitrakuta. Thence having made obeisance to Sutikshna and Agastya, Rama entered the forest of Dandaka, where the Monstress Surpanakha attempted to devour (Sita). Rama disgraced her by cutting her ears and clipping away her nose. Thus disfigured and insulted, Surpanakha prevailed upon the Monsters’ Khara, Dushana, and Trishira to attack Rama simultaneously from three different sides. The three Rakshasa heroes, with an army of fourteen thousand Rakshasa soldiers drawn up in a battle array, attacked Rama in battle, but Rama with the help of his deadly shafts, consigned them all to the mansion of death. Ravana, through the instigation of this Rakshasi (Surpanakha), resolved to carry away Sita by fraud; and for that end, he despatched before him a Rakshasa named Maricha to lure away Rama in the forest in the magic guise of a golden stag. Sita entreated Rama to chase the golden deer and to secure that golden query for her.

Rama chased and killed that magic deer with his arrow, and the disguised Monster expired shouting,

“Help, O Sita, help, O Lakshmana!”

Lakshmana importunated by Sita, ran to the reatue of Rama, and beheld him in the forest. Rama said,

“O Brother, these are the wicked charms which the Rakshasas practise in this dense and lonely forest, and surely they have carried away Sita by fraud.”

In the meantime, Ravana appeared before the cottage of Rama, and carried away the beloved bride of Rama vainly struggling on his lap. The mighty Jatayu, the king of the birds, assailed the dark-souled miscreant on the way, but Ravana was more than a match for him. So in the battle that ensued Ravana completely defeated the bird-king Jatayu, and returned victor with his beautiful prize to his capital at Lanka, and kept her well guarded in a shady garden of Ashoka trees.

Rama and Lakshmana returned to their forest-retreat, their hearts foreboding all sorts of dire mishaps,—and found it lonely and deserted. Oh, the first stifled sobs of widowed love that almost broke the all-conquering soul of Rama in their repression! Lakshmana wept like a child in the first-gloom of a dire calamity in which suspense metamorphises itself into a torrid noon of burning shame, and a robust stream of molten affection suddenly broke forth, in his heart, into a deathless volcano of vengeance and retaliation, for the consummation of which all eternity expanded its bloated bosom and hypothecated itself to the prospective realisation of that spiritual wrath.

Rama and Lakshmana followed the trail of their stolen goddess—sombre and ominous like a summer thunder cloud. On and on they went, weary and footsore, and traversed many a mile of that sylvan solitude when they stumbled upon the wounded body of the brave though dying Jatayu. That gallant bird-king narrated the whole history of Sita’s forcible carrying away by the benighted Ravana, and breathed his last in the presence of the divine brothers (Rama and Lakshmana). They collected the cast off leaves and twigs of the forest, exhumed the dead body of the godly Jatayu, performed the last earthly rites to his mortal remains, and trended their way to the South.

While there, Rama entered into a friendly compact with Sugriva, the brother of the monkey-king Vali, and showed his skill in archery by shooting through the trunks of seven Tala trees. Then he killed Vali and made over the sovereignity of the monkey-land Kishkinda to his brother Sugriva, and quartered himself with his beloved Lakshmana in the outskirts of the Mount Rishyamukha. Then Sugriva commissioned the leaders of his monkey-troops to search for Sita in all directions, and the huge monkey-generals, with their bodies mountain high, went out north, south, east and west in quest of the sunny bride of the solar race. In vain did they search every stream or river bank, hill or dale, forest or hamlet, and at last while deliberating suicide in despair, they saw Shampati. Hanuman, the greatest of the monkey-generals, having got the information from Shampati, leapt over the sea, which is hundreds of miles wide, and forms the abode of monsters. He saw the lovely Janaki imprisoned in the forest of Ashoka trees, chastised by its female guards who had been pressing her hard to share the bed of Ravana, and harshly rousing her up from her revery of Rama’s company.

The monkey-general dropped down to Sita the signet ring of Rama, and asked her about her health. “Do not be dejected, O Maithili,” observed that gallant monkey,

“but rather give me something of yours which my master Rama might cherish as a sweet memento of love. Do not be frightened, O Maithili, for I am the servant of Rama.”

Whereupon Sita unfastened a jewel from her chignanon, made it over to Hanuman, and asked him to request Rama to succour her immediately after his return to Rama’s residence (at Rishyamukha). Hanuman gladly assented to her request, and thereafter began to destroy the pleasure-garden of Ravana, killing prince Aksha and many a Rakshasa-soldier in the act. A Brahmastra cast by Indrajita hit him hard and left him a captive in the hands of Rakshasas, who dragged him in fetters to the presence of Ravana.. Hanuman said. “I am a servant of Rama. Return to him, O miscreant, his faithful Maithili.” Ravana, madly infuriated by these observations ordered to burn the tail of the monkey general, and Hanuman, by wildly lashing his burning tail against the thatched1 roofs of Lanka, instantaneously set the whole city on fire. Having consumed Lanka with fire, the monkey-general returned to the side of Rama and reported to him of his having eaten mango, and of the general conflagration that broke out in Lanka through his own instrumentality. He made over to him the head gem of Sita, and Rama with Lakshman, Hanuman and his monkey-army with its generals and officers, marched in the direction of Lanka.

Meanwhile, Vibhishana slighted by his brother Ravana, went over to Rama’s side and made a common cause with him. After that, Rama caused a bridge to be built across the ocean with the help of the monkey-general Nala, and crossed over with his whole army and officers to the Isle of Lanka. He viewed the splendid prospect of the Island from the summit of the Hill Suvela, where he fixed his quarter for the day. Then the monkey-generals Nila, Angada, Nala, Dhuma, Dhumraksha, Jamvuvana, Manda, Dvividha and others set to demolish the fortifications of the city (Lanka) and killed many leaders of the Rakshasa-army. Rama and Lakshmana destroyed, with the help of their monkey-army, many an eminent Rakshasa-hero of gigantic stature and black as the sable collyrium of death, such as Vidyutjihva, Dhumraksha, Devantaka, Narantaka, Mahodara, Mahaparshva, Atikaya, Kumbha, Nikumbha, Matta, Makaraksha, and Akampana. After that, Lakshmana defeated and killed in a single combat, the redoubtable Indrajita, and Rama having severed with his arrows the twenty arms of Ravana, subsequently killed him in battle.

Sita gave ample proof of her chastity, and came unscathed out of an Ordeal of Fire. Sita, thus purified by Fire, ascended the aeriel car with her beloved consort, and the whole monkey-army, jubilant, and elated with victory, followed its gracious leader to his capital at Ayodhya.

Rama ruled the country for eleven thousand years, and protected his subjects with paternal love and care. He undertook and accomplished the celebration of ten Horse-Sacrifices in succession, and offered oblations to his departed manes at the shrine of Gaya-Shirsha. He was blessed with two sons named Lava and Kusha, It was in his reign that the holy Sage Bharata first organised dramatic performances, and Shatrughna killed the demon Lavana. Rama heard the origin of the Rakshasas narrated to him by the holy Agastya. Having made over the sovereignty to his sons Lava and Kusha, Rama made his exit from the world at the close of a glorious though chequered life, dedicated exclusively to the furtherance of good therein.

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