The Ramayana

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

This page describes Chapter LXIII 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.

When the thousand years had been completed and the mighty ascetic had accomplished his vow, the celestials in a body desirous of conferring upon him the fruit thereof, appeared before him.

The exceedingly effulgent Brahmā addressed him in soothing words, saying, ‘You are henceforth a saint, good to you,—and (this eminence) you have attained through your own laudable exertions.’

Having spoken thus to him, the lord of celestials returned to heaven. And Viśvāmitra of mighty energy became again engaged in rigid austerities.

And, O foremost of men, it came to pass that after a long lapse of time that prime of Apsaras, Menaka, was at that time perfonning her ablutions in Puṣkara, and she was observed by Kuśika’s son like to lighting among clouds. And coming under the control of Kandarpa, (Cupid) the anchorite spoke to her, saying, ‘O Apsari, has your journey been a pleasant one? Do you abide in my asylum.’

Do you favour me; for, good betide you, I have been rendered senseless by Madana. Thus addressed, that one of shapely hips began to dwell there.

And mighty was the hindrance that befell Viśvāmitra as regarded his asceticism, as she, O Rāghava, staying in that asylum of his, pleasantly spent five and five years, O gentle one.

And after this period had gone by, overwhelmed with shame and afflicted with anxiety and grief, the mighty ascetic Viśvāmitra impatiently thought,

O son of Raghu, that all this mighty loss of austerities was the work of the celestials.

And deprived of his senses by lust, the decade had passed away imperceptibly as if it were one day and night; and this impediment stood in the way of his austerities.

Having a sigh, that best of ascetics burned in repentance. And with sweet words renouncing the terrified and trembling Menaka standing with clasped hands, Kuśika’s son, Viśvāmitra, O Rāma, went to the northern mountains.

And practising the Brahmacarya mode of life with the intention of subduing lust, that highly famous one engaged in arduous austerities on the banks of the Kauśiki.

And as he was thus engaged in profound austerities on the northern mountain, a thousand years, O Rāma passed away.

Then taking counsel together, the celestials and the saints appeared before (Brahmā), saying, ‘Let Kuśika’s son obtain the title of Maharṣi.’

Hearing the words of the celestials, the Grand sire of all addressed the ascetic Viśvāmitra, in these sweet words, ‘O mighty saint, hast you had a pleasant journey? Satisfied with your fierce austerities, O Kauśika, I confer upon you the eminence of the foremost saintship.’

Hearing Brahma’s speech, the anchorite Viśvāmitra bowing down thus answered the Grandsire with clasped hands, ‘The incomparable title of Brahmarṣi is to be won by one by performing sterling works. And since you have not addressed me (by that title), it appears that I have not yet succeeded in subduing my senses.’[1]

Thereupon Brahmā said to him, ‘Do you exert thyself until you conquer your senses?’ Saying this, Brahmā went to heaven.

And when the celestials had gone, the mighty ascetic, Viśvāmitra, with upraised arms, and without any support, and subsisting on air, began to perform penances.

And in summer, the ascetic surrounded himself with five fires, and in rains remained in an uncovered place, and in winter day and night stood submerged in water. Thus passed by a thousand years of terrible penances.

And on the mighty ascetic Viśvāmitra being engaged in austerities, great was the agitation that exercised the celestials and Indra, in particular.

Śakra together with the Maruts spoke to Rambhā these words, fraught with weal to himself, and woe to Kauśika.’

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

The text is very faulty. The literal meaning would be, since you have not...... I have subdued my senses, which would be absurd. I have therefore rendered the passage freely.

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