by Helen M. Johnson | 1931 | 742,503 words
This page describes Return to Ayodhya which is the fourth part of chapter VIII 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.
Now in Sāketapura the mothers of Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa were much grieved because they had not had any news of them. At that time Nārada came there from Dhātakīkhaṇḍa and asked them who were bowed with devotion “Why are you depressed?” Then Aparājitā said: “My sons, Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa, went to the forest with my daughter-in-law, Sītā, at their father’s command. Both of them, long-armed, went to Laṅkā because of Sītā’s kidnaping and Lakṣmaṇa was struck with a spear in a battle with Rāvaṇa, it was said. Viśalyā was taken there to remove the spear-point. We do not know anything that happened and whether or not the boy lives.”
After making this reply, she cried pathetically, “Oh, son! son!” and made Sumitrā cry hard. Then Nārada said to them, “Be comforted. I shall go to your sons and bring them here.” With this promise to them Nārada went through the air to Rāma in Laṅkā, obtaining news from the talk of the people. Rāma himself welcomed him and asked, “Why have you come here?” and Nārada told him the whole story of their mothers’ grief. At once Padma said with longing to Bibhīṣaṇa: “Forgetting our mothers’ grief, I have, stayed here too long from devotion to you. Thāt our mothers may not die from grief over us, we shall go there today. Give your consent, sir.”
Bibhīṣaṇa bowed and said, “Remain here for sixteen days until I have Ayodhyā beautified by my own artists.” “Very well,” said Rāma, and in sixteen days he had Ayodhyā made to resemble a city in heaven by Vidyādhara artists. Then Nārada, honored and dismissed by Rāma, went and told Rāma’s mothers of the festival of their sons’ arrival. On the sixteenth day the two Raghūdvahas together got into Puṣpaka with their retinues, like Śakra and Īśāna, and set forth. Attended by the younger brother of Rāvaṇa, Sugrīva, Bhāmaṇḍala, and other kings, they went to Ayodhyā in a moment. Bharata and his younger brother saw them from afar as they came in Puṣpaka and went to meet them, mounted on an elephant.
At Bharata’s approach Puṣpaka descended to the earth at Rāma’s command, like Pālaka at Pākaśāsana’s command. Bharata and his brother dismounted from the elephant first and Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa eagerly descended from Puṣpaka. Rāma embraced Bharata who had fallen, weeping, at his feet, made him stand up, kissing him on the head again and again. The chief of the Raghus raised śatrughna also who was prostrate at his feet, dusted him with his own garment, and embraced him. Then Lakṣmaṇa, his arms stretched out, embraced closely and ardently Bharata and Śatrughna who were bowing to him.
Rāma got into Puṣpaka with his three younger brothers and gave orders for the entrance into Ayodhyā, speed having been made. Musical instruments being played on earth and in the sky, Rāma and Saumitri entered their own city, Ayodhyā, joyfully. Watched by the people, eager, with uplifted faces, with unwinking eyes, like clouds watched by peacocks, and praised ardently, received like the sun with respectful presents offered by the citizens at every step, Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa went to their own palace with gracious countenances.
Rāma, rejoicing the heart of his friends, descended from Puṣpaka with Saumitri and went to the mothers’ dwelling. Rāma bowed to Queen Aparājitā and the group of other mothers and with Saumitri was wished prosperity by their blessings. Then Sītā, Viśalyā, and the others bowed to Aparājitā and the mothers-in-law, their hair being put at their lotus-feet. “May you, like us, be bearers of excellent heroes by our blessing” the mothers-in-law prayed aloud.
Queen Aparājitā, touching Lakṣmaṇa with her Hand again and again and kissing his head, said: “By good fortune you are beheld, son, and now you are born again, since you have come here victorious after making a trip to foreign countries. Rāma and Sītā have survived the various misfortunes arising from living in the forest because of your devotion.”
Lakṣmaṇa said: “Cherished by my elder brother like a father and by Queen Sītā like you, I lived comfortably in the forest. Enmities to me and the elder brother were caused by persons ill-disposed of their own accord, the root of which was the kidnaping of Sītā. What else is to be said, queen? However, having crossed the ocean of hostility by your prayers, mother, the elder brother has come here safely with his retinue.”
Then Bharata held a festival in Ayodhyā joyfully, observing the rank of a mere footman before Rāma.
One day Bharata bowed to Rāmabhadra and said: “Sir, for so long a time at your command I have borne the kingdom. I would have become a mendicant with the father at that time, lord, if your command to direct the kingdom had not been an obstacle. Permit me to take vows and you yourself take the kingdom. Now that you have come, I can not endure to remain longer, disgusted with existence.”
Rāma, weeping, said: “Why do you talk so, dear boy? Do you alone exercise sovereignty here. We have come eager for you. Abandoning us with the realm, will you, cause the pain of separation from you again, dear boy? Remain: Follow my command as before.” When he (Bharata), knowing Rāma’s insistence in this way, had bowed and departed, he (Rāma) stood up and was supported by Saumitri with his hand. Knowing that Bharata was going in this way, determined on taking the vows, Sītā, Viśalyā, and others went there in haste. Eager to make Bharata forget his persistence in taking the vows, they made repeated requests for water-sports. Because of their persistence Bharata, though disgusted with existence, went to the sport-pool with his retinue and played for three-quarters of an hour. Leaving the water, Bharata stood on the bank like a rājahaṃsa and Bhuvanā laṅkāra went there, after pulling up the post (to which he was tied). Blind from passion, he became free from passjon at once at sight of Bharata; and Bharata also experienced extreme joy at the sight of him. Rāma and Saumitri approached hurriedly with their vassals to capture quickly the elephant that was causing the commotion. At Rāma’s command the elephant was led to the elephant-post by the elephant-drivers.
Munis Deśabhūṣaṇa and Kulabhūṣaṇa came. Padma, Saumitri, and Bharata went with their retinues to pay homage to the munis who had stopped in a garden. After he had paid homage to them, Rāma asked, “Why did my elephant, Bhuvanālaṅkāra, become free from passion at the sight of Bharata?” Then Kevalin Deśabhūṣaṇa related:
Footnotes and references:
With a play on spiritual and physical mada.