by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “nalakuvara curses ravana” and represents Chapter 26 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].
“When the immaculate moon rose over the mountain with a splendour equal to his, the vast host that composed the army, fbrnished with diverse weapons, lay sleeping.
“The mighty Ravana, resting on the summit of the mountain, surveyed the splendour of the forests in the light of the moon, the flaming Kamikara Woods, the Kadambas and Vakulas, pools covered with lotuses in bloom, the waters of the Manda-kini, the Champaka, Ashoka, Punnaga, Mandara, Cuta, Patala, Lodhra, Priyanga, Arjuna, Ketaka, Tagara, Narikela, Priyala, Panasa and other trees. Sweet-throated Kinneras, transported with love, sang melodies that ravished the soul with delight; there the Vidyadharas, intoxicated, their eyes inflamed, diverted themselves with their consorts. Like unto a carillon of bells, sweet music was heard from the troops of Apsaras who were singing in Dhanada’s abode. Trees, shaken by the wind, covered the mountain with a shower of blossom, distilling the perfume of honey and mead, and a balmy breeze, laden with the enchanting aroma of nectar and pollen, blew, enhancing Ravana’s voluptuous desire. The songs, the myriad flowers, the freshness of the breeze, the beauty of the mountain in the night, the moon at its zenith, threw Ravana, that mighty warrior, into a ferment of passion.
“Meanwhile, Rambha, loveliest of nymphs adorned with celestial ornaments, was on her way to a sacred festival and her face was like unto the full moon, her limbs smeared with sandalpaste, her hair sown with Mandara flowers, and she was garlanded with celestial blooms. Her eyes were beautiful, her waist high, adorned with a jewelled belt, and her hips were shapely, the gift of love as it were. She was enchanting with her countenance embellished with the marks of flowers that bloom in the six seasons and, in her beauty, stateliness, radiance and splendour, she resembled Shri. Swathed in a dark blue cloth, like unto a rain cloud, her countenance bright as the moon, her eyebrows resplendent arches, her hips like the tapering trunks of elephants, her hands like two fresh buds, under Ravana’s eyes she passed through the ranks of the army.
“Thereupon he, rising, pierced by the shafts of love, with his hand stayed the course of that nymph who was abashed and, smiling, enquired of her:—
“‘Where art you going, O Lady of lovely hips? What good fortune art you pursuing? For whom has this auspicious hour dawned? Who is about to enjoy you? Who, this day, will quaff the elixir of your lips exhaling the perfume of the lotus that rivals nectar or ambrosia? Who will caress those two breasts like unto twin goblets, rounded, blooming, that touch each other, O Youthful Woman? Who will stroke your large hips shining like refined gold covered with dazzling garlands, celestial to look upon? Is it Shakra or Vishnu or the Twin Ashvins? O Lovely One, if you dost pass me by in order to seek out another, it will not be a gracious act! Rest here, O Lady of lovely limbs, on this enchanting mountain side, it is I, who exercise dominion over the Three Worlds, who with joined palms address this humble request to you, I, Dashanana, Lord of the Three Worlds and their Ordainer, therefore grant my request.’
“Hearing these words, Rambha, trembling, with joined palms, replied:—
‘Look on me with favour, it is not fitting that you should address me thus, you who art my superior! Rather is it your duty to protect me from others if I should be in danger of suffering violence at their hands, for apart from duty, I am virtually your daughter-in-law, I speak truth!’
“Then Dashagriva answered Rambha, who had prostrated herself at his feet and whose hair stood on end merely on beholding him, and said:—
“‘Hadst you been my son’s consort, you wouldst in effect be my daughter-in-law!’
Thereupon she answered:—
“‘Truly it is so, by law, I am the wife of your son and dearer to him than his life’s breath, O Bull amongst the Rakshasas; he is the son of your brother Vaishravana, who is renowned in the Three Worlds, and is named Nalakuvara, an ascetic in virtue, a warrior in respect of valour and, in wrath he resembles Agni; in forbearance he is like unto the earth! I was going to meet that son of the Guardian of the Worlds; it is for his sake that I am adorned with these ornaments so that he and no other should enjoy me. For these reasons, let me go hence, O King, O Subduer of your Foes, for that virtuous prince awaits me impatiently. It is not for you to thwart his desires, let me go! Do you follow the path of the virtuous, O Bull among the Rakshasas! It is for me to pay you homage and for you to protect me!’
“Thus did she address Dashagriva, who answered her in smooth accents, saying:—
“‘You have said you are my daughter-in-law! For those who have but one husband, this argument is valid but in Devaloka, the Gods have established a law that is said to be eternal, that Apsaras have no appointed consorts nor are the Gods monogamous!’
“Thus speaking, the Rakshasa, who had stationed himself on the mountain ridge, inflamed with desire, ravished Rambha and, when she was released from his embrace, her garlands and her ornaments spoiled and torn away, she resembled a river where a great elephant, disporting himself, muddying the waters, has borne away the banks. Her hair in disorder, her hands clenched, like unto a creeper with its flowers shaken by the wind, trembling with terror, she sought out Nalakuvara and, with joined palms, fell at his feet.
“Then he enquired of her saying:—
“‘What is this, O Blessed One? Why dost you prostrate thyself at my feet?’
“Thereupon she, sighing deeply, trembling, with joined palms began to tell him everything and said:—
“‘O Lord, this night, Dashagriva scaled the Trivishtapa Peak while he was encamped on that mountain with his army and I was observed by him as I came to meet you, O Conqueror of Your Foes! That Rakshasa seized hold of me and questioned me saying “To whom dost you belong?” Then I told him all, verily the whole truth, but he, intoxicated with desire, would not listen to me when I pleaded with him, saying “I am your daughter-in-law!” Refusing to listen to mine entreaties, he assaulted me ruthlessly! This is mine only fault, O You of firm vows, you should therefore pardon me. O Friend, verily there is no equality of strength between man and woman!’
“These words filled the son of Vaishravana with indignation and hearing of this supreme outrage, he entered into meditation and having ascertained the truth, the son of Vaishravana, his eyes inflamed with anger, instantly took water in his hand and sprinkled his whole person in accord with tradition, after which he pronounced a terrible curse on that Indra of the Rakshasas, saying:—
“‘Since, despite your lack of love for him, he ravished you thus brutally, O Blessed One, on this account he will never be able to approach another youthful woman unless she shares his love; if, carried away by lust, he does violence to any woman who does not love him, his head will split into seven pieces.’
“Having uttered this curse like unto a scorching flame, celestial gongs resounded and a shower of flowers fell from the sky. All the Gods with the Grandsire at their head were filled with joy, conversant as they were with the whole course of the world and the future death of the Rakshasa.
“When Dashagriva learnt of the curse, however, his hair stood on end and he ceased to indulge in uniting himself with those who had no affection for him. Thereafter, among those who had been borne away by him and remained faithful to their consorts, there was great rejoicing when they beard of the curse uttered by Nalakuvara, which was pleasing to their heart.”