by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “how rishyasringa was brought to king lomapada’s court” and represents Chapter 10 of the Bala-kanda of the Ramayana (English translation by Hari Prasad Shastri). The Ramayana narrates the legend of Rama and Sita and her abduction by Ravana, the king of Lanka. It contains 24,000 verses divided into seven sections [viz., Bala-kanda].
Thus requested, Sumantra began to narrate the story in detail and said: “O Great King, hear how the ministers brought the Sage Rishyasringa to the court.
“The ministers addressed King Lomapada saying:
‘We have a plan whereby the young sage may be conveyed hither successfully. He resides in the forest, devoted to holy study, spiritual practices and asceticism, and is wholly unacquainted with the pursuit of pleasure.
“‘By the means of those things gratifying to the senses, we shall most certainly be able to bring the sage to the court. Let beautifully-attired and lovely courtesans go there and by their acts, charm and bring him hither’.”
The king approved the plan and commanded his ministers to carry it out.
The courtesans then entered the forest and took up their abode near the hermitage, seeking a meeting with the young sage. Protected by his father, the youthful ascetic seldom passed the boundaries of the hermitage, nor had he seen any man or woman beyond its precincts.
One day, impelled by destiny, the youth went forth from the hermitage and beheld the graceful and beautiful women, attired in many-coloured robes of exquisite design, singing sweetly. They approached the son of Rishi Vibhandaka and addressed him, saying: “Who art you? Whose son art you? What is your name? Why dost you dwell in the dark forest?”
Never having beheld women of beauty and charm before, Rishyasringa was captivated and answered them, saying: “My father is the great Sage Vibhandaka of the family of Kasyapa and I am his son, my name is Rishyasringa. O Beautiful Beings of charming mien, my hermitage is near at hand, please come thither and allow me to offer you hospitality there.”
The courtesans accepted the invitation and accompanied the sage who received them in the traditional manner, placing before them water to wash their feet and delicious roots and fruits.
Fearing the father’s return and anxious to depart with all haste, the courtesans plied the young sage with tasty confections which they had brought with them, saying: “Be pleased to accept these dainties which we have brought for you to enjoy on this occasion.” They then caressed the youth, feeding him with sweets and other delicacies.
The resplendent sage partook of the offerings, thinking them to be fruits, never having tasted any other food.
The courtesans, fearing the father’s return, pretended to be fasting and left the hermitage. At their departure, the youthful sage felt dejected and restless.
The following day, the courtesans, charmingly attired, again went to the hermitage and smiled on perceiving the young sage appear so disconsolate. They then approached him and said: “O Handsome Youth, to-day please grace our hermitage with your presence. O Auspicious One, we can entertain you better there than here.”
The young sage agreed to accompany them and went with them to their abode. As the sage entered the city, Indra showered rain on the domain of King Lomapada and the people rejoiced.
When the rain began to fall, King Lomapada, realising that the holy sage had entered the city, went out to meet him. Offering him humble and loving salutations, he presented him with the traditional gifts (arghya) of water and food, and entreated him to grant the boon that his father Vibhandaka should not visit his displeasure on him.
The king then took the youth to the inner apartments and united him in marriage to his daughter Shanta.
Deeply revered by the king, Rishyasringa lived happily in the capital with his bride, the Princess Shanta.