Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

by Helen M. Johnson | 1931 | 742,503 words

This page describes Kidnaping of Sita which is the eleventh part of chapter V of the English translation of the Jain Ramayana, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. This Jain Ramayana contains the biographies of Rama, Lakshmana, Ravana, Naminatha, Harishena-cakravartin and Jaya-cakravartin: all included in the list of 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.

Part 11: Kidnaping of Sītā

Extremely angered by the refusal of her request and the killing of her son, she went and told Khara and the others about the killing of her son which they had committed. Accompanied by fourteen thousand Vidyādharas, they went to attack Rāma like elephants attacking a mountain. “While I am here, will the elder brother himself fight with such people?” Lakṣmaṇa asked Rāma for permission to fight them. “Go, son, to victory. If there should be any difficulty, give a lion’s roar to summon me,” he instructed him. Agreeing definitely to Rāma’s command, Lakṣmaṇa, accompanied by his bow, went and commenced killing them, like Garuḍa killing serpents.

The fight increasing, in order to strengthen her husband’s army in the rear, Rāvaṇa’s sister hurried to Rāvaṇa and said: “Two men, Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa, have come to Daṇḍakāraṇya. Devoid of wisdom, they have led your sister’s son to the sphere of Yama. Hearing of that, your sister’s husband with his younger brother and an army went there and is now fighting with Saumitri. Proud of his younger brother’s strength and his own strength, Rāma has stood apart, amusing himself with Sītā. Sītā, the crest of women, as it were, from her wealth of beauty and grace, is not a goddess, not a Nāga-maiden, not a mortal. She is something else. Her beauty, without parallel in the three worlds, by which all the women of gods and demons are reduced to slavery, is beyond the • realm of speech. You whose commands extend from ocean to ocean—whatever jewels are on the earth, they all belong to you alone, brother. If you do not take this jewel of a woman, who stops winking of the eyes by her wealth of beauty, you are not Rāvaṇa.”

Daśakandhara got into Puṣpaka and gave orders, “King of aerial cars, go quickly where Jānakī is.” The aerial car went with very great speed to Jānakī as if in rivalry with Daśagrīva’s mind going there. Daśakandhara was afraid of Rāma’s very strong brilliance, when he had seen it, and stopped at a distance, like a tiger fearing a fire. He reflected, “Alas! On the one hand is Rāma, difficult to approach; on the other hand, the kidnaping of Sītā; on the one hand, a tiger; on the other, a bank.” Then he recalled the vidyā Avalokanī and she was present immediately like a servant, her hands joined together. Daśānana ordered her immediately, “Give me assistance at once. I am on the point of kidnaping Sītā.” She said: “Vāsuki’s head-jewel can be taken easily, but: not Sītā, even by gods and demons, when she is near Rāma. However, there is a means by which he would go to Lakṣmaṇa, namely, a lion’s roar from him (Lakṣmaṇa). That is a signal between them.” He told her, “Give one,” and she went off to a distance and gave a lion’s roar like Saumitri in person. Hearing the lion’s roar, Rāma thought in confusion: “The younger brother has no equal in the world, like Hastimalla. I see no one by whom Saumitri meets trouble. Yet the lion’s roar, the signal of trouble, is heard.” While Rāma, noble-minded, was hesitating, Sītā, because of affection for Lakṣmaṇa, said to him: “Husband, why do you hesitate now when the boy is in trouble? Go quickly and protect Lakṣmaṇa.” Urged by these words of Sītā and by the lion’s roar, Rāma went quickly, even disregarding omens.

Then Daśagrīva got out of his aerial car, Puṣpaka, and began to put Janaka’s daughter, screaming, in it. "Mistress, I am here. Do not be afraid. Stop! Stop, fiend!” saying this angrily, Jaṭāyus ran at him from a distance. The great bird furrowed Rāvaṇa’s chest with the sharp ends of his bill and claws, like a great field with plows. Then Daśagrīva, angry, took his cruel sword, cut off his wings, and made the bird fall to the ground. Unhesitatingly Daśagrīva put Sītā into Puṣpaka and set out through the air, his wish almost fulfilled.

“Oh! my lord, Rāma, by whom enemies are destroyed; Oh! dear Lakṣmaṇa; oh! my father; oh! brother Bhāmaṇḍala, long-armed. Sītā is seized by this man through a trick, like an offering of food by a crow.” So Sītā cried, making heaven and earth cry. A Khecara, Ratnajaṭi, son of Arkajaṭi, heard her cry and thought: “That is certainly Rāma’s wife. Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa were tricked by that noise which was heard above the ocean and she is kidnaped by Rāvaṇa. I shall aid my lord Bhāmaṇḍala now.” With this thought, drawing his sword he ran at Daśakandhara, attacking him. Daśānana laughed at him challenging him to battle and at once destroyed all his vidyā by the power of (his own) vidyā. When his vidyā had been destroyed, like a bird whose wings have been cut off, he fell and landed on Kambuśaila in Kambudvīpa.

Rāvaṇa went in his car by air above the ocean and, suffering from love, said to Sītā humbly: “You have attained the rank of chief-queen of me who am the lord of those who fly in the air and walk on the earth. Why do you weep? Enough of sorrow in the place of joy! When fate joined you with Rāma of poor destiny before, certainly it did an unsuitable thing. Now I did a suitable thing. Consider me your husband, queen, resembling a slave for service. If I am your slave, all the Khecaras, men and women, are your slaves.”

While Rāvaṇa was making this speech, Sītā remained with bowed head recalling with devotion the two syllables ‘Rāma’ like a charm. Suffering from love, he fell with his head at Jānakī’s feet; she drew away her feet, fearful of the touch of a strange man. Sītā reviled him, “Pitiless, shameless man! Soon you will meet death, the fruit of desire for another man’s wife.” Just then the ministers, Sāraṇa and others, and other Rakṣas-vassals came from all sides to meet the lord of Rākṣasas. Rāvaṇa, very impetuous, very foolhardy, his strength equal to any work, went to the city Laṅkā, which held a great festival.

“I will not eat until I receive news of the safety of Rāma and Saumitri,” Sītā took this resolution firmly. Daśakandhara deposited Jānakī under a red aśoka, in the garden Devaramaṇa, the place of coquetry of Khecara-women, which resembled a beautiful garden of the gods, to the east of Laṅkā. She was attended by Trijaṭā and guards. He, delighted, a depository of strength, went to his own house.

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