The Ramayana

by Manmatha Nath Dutt | 1891 | ISBN-13: 9788171101566

This page describes Chapter XLVIII of the English translation of the Ramayana, one of the largest Sanskrit epics of ancient India revolving around the characters Rama, Sita and Ravana. It was orignally authored by Valmiki at least over 2500 years ago. This is the first book of the Bāla-kāṇḍa (Bala-kanda) of the Ramayana, which consists of 24,000 Sanskrit metrical verses divided oer seven books.

Having met together they enquired after each other’s welfare. And then Sumati spoke to the mighty ascetic, saying.

Good betide you, boasting the prowess of celestials of elephantine or leonine gait, heroic, resembling tigers or bulls, possessed of expansive eyes like lotus-petals, bearing scimitars and bows and quivers, like to the Aśvins in grace, endowed with youth, like to celestials fancy-led, descended from ethereal regions to the earth beneath, whose sons; O ascetic, are these boys, and what for have they come hither, and why also is it that they journey of foot?

And adorning all directions, like to the Sun or the Moon adorning the firmament, and resembling each other, in personal proportions, and expressions, and gestures, and equipped with excellent weapons, and war-like, how have these paragons of men, come into this impracticable way? I Wish to hear all this related truly.

Having heard his words, Viśvāmitra faithfully related all about it. Hearing Viśvāmitra’s words, the king was extremely surprised; and having those sons of Daśaratha as his all-worthy guests, received with becoming respect those highly powerful ones deserving of hospitality.

Meeting with such splendid reception from Sumati, those descendants of Raghu spent there a night, and the next day set out for Mithila.

Beholding Janaka’s beauteous city, the ascetics exclaiming, ‘Excellent’ fell to admiring Mithilā.

And in a grove at Mithilā, Rāghava saw an ancient, lonely, and romantic asylum, and asked that foremost of ascetics, saying.

What is this that look like an asylum, though without any ascetics? I wish to hear, O worshipful one, to whom this asylum belonged in time past.

Hearing this speech addressed by Raghu’s descendant that one versed in speech, the highly energetic and mighty saint, Viśvāmitra, answered.

Ah! Do you listen. I will tell you through the wrath of what high-souled one this hermitage came to he cursed.

O foremost of men, this excellent asylum honoured by the celestials themselves, formerly belonged to the high-souled Gautama.

Here, O illustrious prince, in days of yore Gautama in company with Ahalyā earned on austerities for a long series of years.

And perceiving occasion Śacī’s lord, the thousand-eyed deity assuming the form of that ascetic thus addressed Ahalyā.

O exceedingly beautiful one, those bent upon sport, do not stay for the menstrual season. And, O graceful one, I desire to enjoy your company (on the instant).

Thereupon, out of curiosity, that one of perverse understanding consented to the proposals of the chief of the celestials.

Then, having attained her object, she spoke to that foremost of the celestials, saying, ‘O best of the immortals, I have obtained my desire, do you speedily go from this place, O lord. Do you, O lord of the celestials, from a sense of respectability preserve yourself and me also.’

Indra too said to Ahalyā, ‘O you of shapely hips, pleased am I. Now I repair to my own place?

Having known her thus, Indra, O Rāma, exceedingly apprehensive of Gautama, then hurriedly sallied out of the thatched cottage.

Just at this time, Indra saw that mighty ascetic Gautama entering, that foremost of anchorets, incapable of being repressed by the deities and the Dānavas, and equipped with ascetic energy, having based in the waters of holy spots, and flaming like fire, carrying faggots and Kuśa grass.

And seeing him, the countenance of the lord of the celestials turned pale. And seeing the wicked thousand-eyed deity in the guise of an ascetic, the well-behaved anchorite fired with rage said.

‘And since, O you of wicked understanding, assuming my form, you have done this foul-deed, you shall lose your scrotum.’

And soon as the high-souled Gautama had said this in ire, the scrotum of the thousand-eyed one dropped to the earth.

And having seen Śakra in this plight, he cursed his wife also, ‘These weary thousand years you shall pass, feeding upon air, without food, engaged in asceticism in the dust, and you shall remain in this hermitage unseen of any. And when the irrepressible son of Daśaratha, Rāma, shall come to this deep wood, you shall be cleansed of your sin. And, O wicked one, ministering to him the rites of hospitality with a mind free from ignorance and covetousness, you shall in your own form with joy regain my side.’

Having said this the highly energetic Gautama of rigid austerities, forsaking this hermitage, began to carry on penances on the romantic summit of the Himavat, inhabited by Siddhas and Cāraṇas.

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