Ramayana of Valmiki

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

This page is entitled “menace of the female titans” and represents Chapter 24 of the Sundara-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., Sundara-kanda].

Chapter 24 - Menace of the Female Titans

Thereupon all those titans of hideous appearance, unitedly reproached Sita in harsh and unpleasing words, saying:—

“Why dost you not consent to dwell in that inner apartment abounding in costly couches? O Lady, you prizest union with a mere man; dismiss Rama from your thoughts for assuredly you will not see him more. Live happily with Ravana, the Lord of the Titans as your consort who owns the treasure of the Three Worlds. You are a woman, O Irreproachable Beauty, and for this dost mourn a man who is banished from his kingdom and who leads a life of misery.”

Hearing the words of those titans, Sita, her lotus eyes filled with tears, answered them, saying:—“What you have uttered is immoral and wholly reprehensible and will never find acceptance with me. A mortal woman may not become the wife of a demon. Devour me, if you wish, I will never accede to your request. Poor or deprived of his kingdom, he who is my husband is my spiritual preceptor and I shall ever follow him, as Suvarchala follows the sun or the blessed Saci remains at Indra’s side or Arundhati near Vasishtha or Rohini by Shashin or Lopamudra by Agastya, Sukanya by Syavana, Savitri by Satyavat, Shrimati by Kapila, Madayanti by Sandasa, Keshini by Sagara and Damayanti, the daughter of King Bhima by her Lord Naishada.”

These words of Sita infuriated those titan women, who had been sent by Ravana and they overwhelmed her with hard and bitter reproaches while Hanuman crouched silently in the Shingshapa tree. And that monkey heard those demons threatening Sita in this wise.

Surrounding Sita on every side, licking their burning lips again and again and, armed with spears, they menaced her in a paroxysm of rage, saying:

“Dost you think that the great King of the Titans, Ravana, is not worthy to be your lord?”

Threatened by those terrible looking titan women, the lovely Sita, wiping away her tears, took refuge beneath the Shingshapa tree, where, surrounded by those women, that large-eyed princess, overcome with distress, seated herself. And all those hideous demons overwhelmed her with reproaches, as, clad in a mud-stained sari, reduced to the last extremity, her countenance wan, she remained absorbed in her grief.

Thereupon, a grim-visaged demon, named Vinata, having hideous teeth, and a protruding belly, cried out angrily:—

“O Sita, you have demonstrated your devotion to your lord sufficiently but all excess leads to suffering. May good betide you! We are satisfied, you have preserved the conventions common among men, now hear what I say to you for your good! Do you take Ravana for your lord, he, the chief of the titan host who, like unto Vasava, triumphs over his enemies and is brave, liberal and gracious to all beings. Forsaking that wretched wight, Ramacandra, take Ravana as your husband! Your person, sprinkled with celestial perfume and adorned with excellent ornaments, do you, O Vaidehi, like unto Svaha, the consort of Agni or the goddess Saci, wife of Indra, from to-day become the Queen of the Worlds! What shalt you do with Rama who is wretched and has but a short time to live? If you dost not follow my counsel, that very instant we shall devour you.”

Thereafter, another titan, named Vikata, with pendulous breasts, clenching her fists angrily addressed Sita, saying

“O Foolish Daughter of Mithila’s King, out of compassion and forbearance, we have endured your harsh speech and yet you dost not follow our sage and expedient counsel. You have been transported to the further shore of the ocean which is inaccessible to others; Ravana has imprisoned you in his private apartments to be guarded by us, O Maithili, not even Indra himself can liberate you. Cease from weeping and lamenting and yield thyself up to pleasure and delight, O Sita; disport thyself with the King of the Titans. O Timid Damsel, dost you not know how swiftly the youth of women is gone? Ere it fades, pass your days happily. Till then range the enchanting woods, groves and hills with the sovereign of the titans, O You of Sparkling Eyes! Thousands of women will attend on you if you dost take the lord of all the titans as your consort, but if you dost not follow my counsel, I will tear your heart out and feast on it, O Maithili.”

Then another titan of ferocious looks, named Chandari, brandishing a great spear, said: “Seeing this youthful woman, with the eyes of a young doe who was carried away by Ravana and brought hither, whose breast is now trembling with fear, I feel an intense desire to feast on her liver, spleen, breast, heart, limbs and head.”

At this, a female titan called Praghasa, said: “Of what use to argue about her? Let us stop the breath in the throat of this heartless woman and inform Ravana of her death. He will undoubtedly say: ‘Do you devour her’.”

The titan, Ajamukhi then said: “Let us divide her equally; disputation is unpleasing to me; let our favourite drink and different garlands be brought hither speedily.”

At that moment the demon Shurpanakha said: “I am in full accord with Ajamukhi’s words, let wine that dispels all anxiety be brought without delay. Gorged with human flesh, we will dance in the Nikumbhila Grove.”

Hearing the monstrous titan’s threats, Sita, who resembled the daughter of a God, her endurance at an end, burst into tears.

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