Ramayana of Valmiki

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

This page is entitled “budha encounters ila” and represents Chapter 88 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 88 - Budha encounters Ila

The story of Ila, related by Rama, greatly astonished Lakshmana and Bharata, and both, with joined palms, requested him to recount further details of that magnanimous King and his transformations, saying:—

“What did that wretched king do when he was transformed into a woman and how did he conduct himself when he became a man once more?”

Hearing these words inspired by curiosity, Kakutstha told them what had happened to that monarch, saying:—

“Having been transformed into a woman, he passed the first month amidst his female attendants, his former courtiers, and that lady, the most beautiful on earth, whose eyes resembled lotus petals, entering a deep forest, wandering on foot amongst the copses, bushes and creepers, having given up all conveyances, sported in the winding vale. Now in that wooded region, not far from the mountain, lay a charming lake frequented by birds of every kind; there Ila beheld Budha [i.e., The planet Mercury],the son of the Moon, who was as radiant as that orb on rising.

“Budha, who remained inaccessible in the waters, had given himself up to a rigid penance, and that illustrious Sage was benevolent and extremely compassionate. In her astonishment, Ila agitated the waters with her companions, and beholding her, Budha fell under the sway of the God of Love with his shafts and, no longer self-controlled, became restless, as he stood in the lake.

Seeing Ila, whose beauty was unsurpassed in the Three Worlds, he reflected:—

‘Who is this lady, more lovely than the Celestials? I have never before beheld such radiance amongst the wives of Devas, Nagas, Asuras or Apsaras. If she is not already wedded to another, she is worthy of me!’

“As he delayed, thinking thus, the company left the water and Budha, pondering, emerged therefrom.

Thereafter those women having been summoned by him went to his retreat and they paid obeisance to him, whereupon that virtuous ascetic enquired of them, saying:—

“‘To whom does this lady, the most lovely in all the world, belong? Why has she come here? Tell me all without hesitation.’

“Hearing these fair words spoken in gentle tones, all those women answered with sweet voices, saying:—

“‘That lady is our mistress, she has no husband and wanders in the woods in our company.’

“Hearing the reply of those women, that Twice-born called to mind the science by which all may be perceived[1], whereupon he became conversant with all that had passed regarding King Ila, and that foremost of Sages said to those women:—

“‘Here on the mountainous region you shall dwell as Kimpurushis![2] Make your home on this mountain; you shall feed on roots, leaves and fruits and shall have Kimpurushas as your consorts!’

“At this command of the son of Soma, those women, who were men, having been transformed into Kimpurushis, took up their abode on the slopes of the mountain.”

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

The sacred formula of Avartani.

[2]:

Kimpurushis—The females of the Kimpurushas, beings who are half human, sometimes identified with the Kinneras.

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