Ramayana of Valmiki

by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597

This page is entitled “marica describes his first encounter with rama” and represents Chapter 38 of the Aranya-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., Aranya-kanda].

Chapter 38 - Marica describes his first Encounter with Rama

“O King, formerly I possessed great powers and ranged the earth in a body resembling a mountain, endowed with the strength of a thousand elephants. In colour like a dark cloud, wearing bracelets of fine gold, my brow encircled by a diadem, armed with a club, I sowed terror in the hearts of all creatures.

“Wandering in the Dandaka Forest, I fed on the flesh of ascetics, and the great and virtuous Sage Vishvamitra, alarmed, went in person to King Dasaratha and addressed that Indra among men, saying:—

‘Let Rama protect me with vigilance on the day of sacrifice! O Chief of Men, I fear Marica exceedingly.’

“To these words, the righteous monarch Dasaratha answered that illustrious ascetic, Vishvamitra, saying:—

Raghava is not yet twelve years old and is not skilled in the use of weapons, but I myself will lead an army composed of four angas against those Prowlers of the Night, O You Best of Ascetics and will destroy thine adversary in accord with your desire!’

“Thus addressed by the King, Vishvamitra answered:—

“‘Verily you were the refuge of the Gods and thine exploits are renowned in the Three Worlds, yet, however powerful thine army, none but Rama on this earth has the power to overcome these demons. Do you therefore remain here, O Scourge of Your Foes! Though still a child, Rama is fully able to subdue the demons, I shall therefore take him with me; may all be well with you!’

“Having spoken thus, the Sage Vishvamitra, highly gratified, took the king’s son with him to his hermitage.

“In the forest of Dandaka he initiated the traditional sacrifices, whilst Rama, with his bow strung in readiness, remained close at hand. Yet a child, with his dark skin of bluish hue and his shining glances, clothed in a simple tunic, bearing his bow, his locks tied in a knot, wearing a golden chain, he illumined the Dandaka Forest with his radiance, like unto the new moon about to rise.

“At that instant, full of power and proud of the boons won from Brahma, shining like a cloud and wearing golden earrings, I entered the hermitage. Seeing me, Rama took up his arrow and placed it on the string of his bow with care. In mine ignorance I passed him by, deeming him to be but a child and rushed towards the altar where Vishvamitra stood. Thereupon Rama let loose a sharp arrow fatal to his foes, and striking me, hurled me into the sea, a distance of a hundred yojanas! O Friend, the valiant Rama, having no wish to kill me, spared my life, but overwhelmed by the violence of the blow I lost consciousness and was thrown into the depths of the sea. After a long while, recovering my senses, I returned to Lanka. Though my life had been spared, yet my companions, who went to mine aid were all slain by the child Rama of imperishable deeds, who proved himself a master in the science of archery.

“If, setting me aside, you dost pit thyself against him, then you shalt surely draw down an immediate, dreadful and inescapable retribution, not to be eschewed.

“The titans who know of nought but diversions and entertainments of every kind and who dream only of assemblies and festivities will be plunged in fruitless misery.

“On account of Sita, the City of Lanka, with its temples and palaces, encrusted with every kind of gem, will be razed to the ground under thine eyes.

“Even those who are pious and innocent, suffer for the misdeeds of others through their contact, as fish in a snake-infested lake.

“Their limbs perfumed with divine sandal-paste, wearing celestial ornaments, you shalt see the titans lying on the earth on account of your folly. The survivors with their consorts, save those who have been borne away, will flee in all directions, unable to find refuge. Under a hail of arrows, ringed in flames, you shalt see the edifices of Lanka burnt to ashes.

“O King, there is no greater sin than consorting with another’s wife; you have thousands of concubines in your train; therefore, cleaving to your lawful consorts, preserve your line, thine honour, fortune, kingdom and your life. If you desirest to live happily with your wives and friends, do not enter into conflict with Rama.

“If, despite my friendly counsels, you dost bear Sita away by force, then you and your kinsmen, together with thine whole army will surely descend to the region of Yama under Rama’s deadly shafts.”

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