The Ramayana of Valmiki

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

This page is entitled “the sages pay homage to rama” and represents Chapter 1 of the Uttara-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., Uttara-kanda].

Chapter 1 - The Sages pay homage to Rama

When Rama regained his kingdom, having slain the titans, all the Sages came to pay him homage.

Kaushika, Yavakrita, Gargya also, and Kanva, the son of Medhatithi, who dwelt in the eastern region; Svastiyatreya, the blessed Namuchi and Pramuchi, Agastya and Atri, the blessed Sumukha and Vimukha, led by Agastya, came from the southern region, and Nrishangu, Elavashin, Dhaumya and the great Rishi Kausheya, who inhabited the western region, also presented themselves with their disciples; and Vasishtha, Kashyapa, Vishvamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni and Bharadvaja came with the seven Rishis who were established in the northern quarter.

Reaching the palace of Raghava, those magnanimous ascetics who shone like Fire, the devourer of offerings, presented themselves at the gate and they were all conversant with the Veda and its component parts and versed in the various traditions.

Addressing himself to the doorkeeper, the virtuous Agastya, Prince of Sages, said to him:—

“Let the arrival of the ascetics be made known to the son of Dasaratha!”

Thereupon the vigilant guardian of the door, hearing these words from the Sage Agastya, instantly went away and, trustworthy, skilled in the art of procedure, instructed in conduct and gesture, he entered the presence of that magnanimous sovereign, who was as radiant as the full moon, and informed him of the arrival of that Prince of Sages, Agastya.

Learning that those ascetics, who resembled the rising sun, had come, Rama said to the door-keeper

“Usher them in with all due respect 1”

Thereafter, when the Sages had entered, Rama rose in deference to them and honoured them with water and the Arghya, bestowing on each a cow.

Then Rama, bowing low, paid obeisance to them and caused raised and costly seats encrusted with gold to be brought, that were covered with cushions of Kusha Grass and antelope skins, and those mighty Sages seated themselves according to rank and, questioned by Rama concerning their well-being, the great Rishis versed in the Veda, who were accompanied by their disciples, replied to him, saying:—

“O Long-armed Hero, Joy of the House of Raghu, all is well with us! By the grace of heaven we behold you happy and delivered from thine enemies! By divine grace, O King, you have slain Ravana, that destroyer of the worlds, nor is it any great matter for you to slay Ravana with his sons and grandsons! Furnished with your bow, you canst undoubtedly destroy the Three Worlds! By heaven’s favour, we behold you with Sita victorious to-day. We see you with your brother Lakshmana, who is devoted to thine interests, in the midst of your mothers and other brothers, O Virtuous Prince. By the grace of heaven, the Rangers of the Night, Prahasta, Vikata, Virupaksha, Mahodara, Akampana and Durdharsha have perished. By divine grace, O Rama, Kumbhakarna, he, whose monstrous form had no equal in the world, was overthrown by you in combat. Trishiras, Atikaya, Devantaka and Narantaka, those mighty night rangers, were struck down by you, O Rama. By the grace of heaven, you didst measure your strength against that Indra of Titans whom the Gods themselves were unable to destroy and didst vanquish him in single combat. Assuredly it was no small matter for you to overcome Ravana in fight but, by divine grace, you wast able to join issue with Ravani and, in combat, slay him also.

“Once you wast delivered from his magic bonds, O Long-armed Hero, by heaven’s favour, you didst triumph over that enemy of the Gods who bore down on you like Time itself! We marvelled to learn of the death of Indrajita 1 By granting us the sacred and agreeable gift of security, you have enhanced your victory, O Kakutstha, O Scourge of Your Foes!”

Hearing those pure-souled Sages speak thus, Rama was extremely surprised and, with joined palms, answered them, saying:—

“O Blessed Ones, I vanquished Kumbhakarna and that Ranger of the Night, Ravana, both of whom were filled with valour, why, therefore, do you praise me particularly on account of Ravani? Since I vanquished Mahodara, Prahasta, the Titan Virupaksha, also Matta and Unmatta who were both invincible, and those great warriors, Devantaka and Narantaka, why this commendation on Indrajita’s account? Did I not overcome those Rangers of the Night, Atikaya, Trishiras and Dhumraksha who were full of courage? Why, therefore, do you extol me because of Ravani? In what lay his special power, strength and prowess? How was he superior to Ravana? If I may learn it, for this is no command I lay upon you, if it be no secret that you may not reveal, I desire to know it, therefore speak! Shakra himself was vanquished by him; in virtue of what boon and from what source did the son derive those powers that his sire Ravana, did not possess? From whence did this titan gain pre-eminence over his father in combat? How was he able to triumph over Indra? Tell me now of all the boons he received, O Foremost of the Sages!”

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