बालबोधसङ्ग्रहः - ९
BALABODHA SANGRAHA - 9
SYNOPSIS OF MAHAKAVI KALIDASA’S
Compiled with blessings and under instructions and guidance of Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharya Jagadguru
Sri Sri Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Sri Sankaracharya Swamiji
69th Peethadhipathi and
Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharya Jagadguru
Sri Sri Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswathi
Sri Sankaracharya Swamiji 70th Peethadhipathi of
Moolamnaya Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham
Offered with devotion and humility by
Sri Atma Bodha Tirtha Swamiji (Sri Kumbakonam Swamiji)
Disciple of Pujyasri Kuvalayananda Tirtha Swamiji
(Sri Tambudu Swamiji)
Translation from Tamil by
P.R.Kannan, Navi Mumbai
Adoring Guru Sri Govinda Bhagavatpada for long and after he attained Videhamukti through his own power, Sri Sankaracharya wrote commentaries to establish Advaita philosophy, won over opponents in all directions and finally rested in Kanchipuram, where his Avatara period concluded.
(From ‘Patanjali Charitram’ of Sri Ramabhadra Dikshitar)
I pay obeisance every day with great happiness to Sri Chandrasekhara Guru, who is the embodiment of unlimited compassion, the bestower of Gnana, the very form of peace.
(From ‘Guru Stuti’ of Jagadguru Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamiji)
Period of Sri Adi Sankara Bhagavatpadacharya
Kaliyuga 2593 – 2625 (B.C.509 – 477)
We worship the Mahapitha of Devi Kamakshi’s lotus feet, the originator of ‘Kamakala’ in the world, the supreme navel-spot of the earth.
We worship the Guru tradition, starting from Sadasiva, having Sankaracharya in the middle and coming down upto our present Acharya.
“Bala Bodha Sangraham” - 7 volumes published so far through Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham under instructions of Sri Kanchi Acharyas have received excellent welcome among students; they have kindled among them the urge to gain basic knowledge of the works of our Sanatana Dharma. They have been published as part of series of books for propagation of Dharma and Sastra by Srimatham for free distribution.
This eigth volume presents a summary of ‘RAGHUVAMSAM’, the wonderful great epic by Mahakavi Kalidasa. The great qualities of the kings of the Raghu dynasty show the right path for all of us for all times. Such books are indeed at the root of the desire for reading our traditional works. There is no doubt that this helps in preservation of our Bharatiya culture, and further, would provide an excellent eye of intellect for the future generations. By preserving the Bharatiya culture, our people will get to lead ‘Satvic’ (peaceful) life. The nations of the world have started looking to us for learning from our culture.
As per instructions of Sri Kanchi Acharyas, Sri P. R. Kannan of Navi Mumbai has been publishing English translations of the ‘Bala Bodha Sangraham’ books. These translations can be obtained from him by contacting him on his email id: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: 9860750020; they are also available at the website of Srimatham, www.kamakoti.org.
We pray to Sri Mahatripurasundari sametha Sri Chandramouliswara that all those in managements of educational institutions and all teachers should read these books, and teach them to students and make them assimilate the essence, and attain all prosperity and peace.
KALIDASA IS THE GREATEST REPRESENTATIVE OF INDIA’S SPIRIT, GRACE, AND GENIUS. THE INDIAN NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS IS THE BASE FROM WHICH HIS WORKS GROW. KALIDASA HAS OBSERVED INDIA’S CULTURAL HERITAGE, MADE IT HIS OWN, ENRICHED IT, GIVEN IT UNIVERSAL SCOPE AND SIGNIFICANCE.
EX.PRESIDENT OF INDIA
॥बाल बोध सङ्ग्रह:- 9॥
Srimatham Srimukham with meaning6
1. Gnomic Flowers of Raghuvamsam8
2. Summary of Raghuvamsa Mahakavya13
3. Sarga 1 - Story of Emperor Dilipa and Maharani Sudakshina16
4. Sarga 2 – Greatness of Cow Nandini 20
5. Sarga 3, 4 – Valour of Emperor Raghu23
6. Sarga 5,6,7–Glory of Gurudakshina; Marriage of Aja with Indumati 26
7. Sarga 8 –Videhamukti of Raghu; Indumati’s Demise; Aja’s Grief 30
8. Sarga 9, 10, 11 – Sri Kalidasa Ramayanam 33
9. Sarga 12, 13, 14 – Sri Kalidasa Ramayanam 38
10. Sarga 15,16 - Sri Kalidasa Ramayanam 44
11. Sarga 17, 18, 19 – Stories of Sudarsana and Agnivarna 48
Swasti Vachanam – Guru Vandanam
Obeisance at the holy feet of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peethadhipati
Jagadguru Sri Sankaracharya
Obeisance to Gurus
Obeisance to Sri Chandramouliswara and Sri Maha Tripurasundari
The divine town of Kanchipuram is an ornament to all the auspicious worlds; it is adored by the thirtythree crores of Devatas; the visible abode of Sri Kamakshi Devi and Sri Ekamranatha, also of Sri Mahadevi and Sri Hastigirinatha; and named as Satyavrata. Here in Sarada Matham are seated Srimad Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharyavarya Sri Jagadguru Srimad Sankara Bhagavatpadacharya, who is surrounded by wise persons immersed in the bliss of garlands of words like streams of nectar, of unparalleled sweetness, dripping from garland of blooming jasmine at the crown of Devi seated in Kamalasana; who is ever in the bliss of the realisation of Advaita; who is ever adorned with the ornaments of the virtues of self-control of body and mind; who is decorated with the fame from installation of Srichakra, which bestows stability to all the chakras of worlds; who established Shanmatha (six philosophies of six Devatas for worship) on the path laid down by Veda and Vedanta, thus clearing the path free of the thorns of non-believers of Vedas; coronated in his throne are Jagadguru Srimad Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Sripada; his disciple Srimad Jayendra Saraswathi Sripada; his successive disciple Srimad Sankara Vijayendra Saraswathi Sripada. At the lotus feet of these Gurus we prostrate with all humility, with folded hands.
Never Fading Gnomic Flowers of Mahakavi Kalidasa
- हेम्न: संलक्ष्यतेह्यग्नौविशुद्धि: श्यामिकापिवा।(१-१०)
The purity or otherwise of gold is observed when tested in fire. (1-10)
- सहस्रगुणमुत्स्रष्टुम्-आदत्तेहिरसंरवि:।। (१-१८)
Sun draws water in order to give it back a thousand times more! (1-18)
- फलानुमेया: प्रारम्भा: संस्कारा: प्राक्तनाइव। (१-२०)
The undertakings of that king (Dilipa) could be inferred from the fruits to be the result of the good deeds of his previous births. (1-20)
- प्रतिबध्नातिहिश्रेय: पूज्यपूजाव्यतिक्रम: । (१-७९)
Failure to offer worship to those who deserve to be adored hinders one’s wellbeing. (1-79)
श्रुतेरिवार्थंस्मृतिरन्वगच्छत्। (2- )
Sudakshina followed Dilipa like Smriti following Sruti’s (Veda’s) import.
- सम्बन्धमाभाषणपूर्वमाहु: || (२-५८)
It is said that friendship stems from conversation. (2-58)
- स्ववीर्यगुप्ताहिमनो: प्रसूति: ॥२-४
The offspring of Manu was saved by their own efforts. (Everyone should protect himself and progress through his own efforts alone).(2-4)
- भक्त्योपपन्नेषुहितद्विधानांप्रसादचिह्नानिपुर: फलानि॥२-२२
In the case of those adorned with devotion, the indications of the grace bestowed by great personages (like Nandini) are visible in the form of immediate fruits. (2-22)
- नपादपोन्मूलनशक्तिरंह: शिलोच्चयेमूर्च्छतिमारुतस्य॥२-३४
Wind, which has the power to uproot trees, cannot shake a mountain. (2-34)
- शस्त्रेणरक्ष्यंयदशक्यरक्षंनतद्यश: शस्त्रभृतांक्षिणोति॥२-४०
If a thing cannot be potected by the power of weapons, it does not detract from the renown of the warrior who attempted it. (2-40)
- स्थातुंनियोक्तुर्नहिशक्यंअग्रेविनाश्यरक्ष्यंस्वयमक्षतेन|| २-५६
One, who has allowed destruction of a thing to be protected, with himself remaining uninjured, cannot present himself in front of his master. (2-56)
- एकान्तविध्वंसिषुमद्विधानांपिण्डेष्वनास्थाखलुभौतिकेषु|| २-५७
People like me (Dilipa) have indeed no attachment to bodies, made of the five elements, and sure to decay and die. (2-57)
The birth of great persons like him (Raghu) is meant only for the advancement of the world indeed. (3-14)
Effort put in useful work (like teaching) is benefial indeed. (3-29)
- पथ:श्रुते: दर्शयितारईश्वरामलीमसां-आदत्तेनपद्धतिम्॥3-46
Great persons, who show us the path of Vedas, do not accept impure path.
Those, for whomrenown is wealth, should protect their reputation from adversaries. (3-48)
The anger of high-souled persons is impeded indeed by reverential prostration. (4-64)
Like rain-bearing clouds, virtuous persons take things only for giving them away (not for their own enjoyment).
- पर्यायपीतस्यसुरैर्हिमांशो:कलाक्षय: श्र्लाघ्यतरोहिवृद्धे:।५-१६
The diminution in the digit of the Moon caused by the consumption (of Amrita) by Devas in turn is indeed more admirable than the growth of the digit. (5-16)
(To attain poverty by being of help to others is worthier than living in riches not useful to others. – Kouthsa)
- नक्षत्रताराग्रह संकुलापिज्योतिष्मतीचन्द्रमसैवरात्रि:॥
Night is bright only due to the shine of the moon, though stars and planets are present in multitude. (6-22)
The world has differing tastes indeed. (6-30)
Having reached a blossomed mango tree, a swarm of bees would not desire any other tree. (6-69)
Let gem arrive with gold. (6-79)
Mind is indeed capable of knowing the relation with previous births. (7-15)
It is smoke that will be pushed by wind, not fire. With wind, fire shines more. (7-55)
Only when lifespan is balance, medical treatment will bear fruit. (8-40)
By the will of Iswara, even poison turns into nectar sometimes; and, nectar too into poison. (8-46)
Fie unto the transitory nature and worthlessness of Jivas who are in body. (8-51)
For living beings, who attain to the other world after death, their paths differ based on their past Karmas. (8-85)
- मरणंप्रकृति: शरीरिणांविकृतिर्जीवितमुच्यतेबुधै:।
Death is natural for all living beings; living for a while is indeed a surprise. Death can occur any time; living even for a second is beneficial. (8-87)
Even the well-read step on improper path, their eyes of wisdom closed by Rajoguna (passion). (9-74)
- कृष्यांदहन्नपिखलुक्षितिमिन्धनेद्धोबीजप्ररोहजननींज्वलन: करोति॥९-८०
Though fire, kindled with firewood, burns away the (useless vegetation) field ready for ploughing, it indeed makes the field fit for growing shoots from seeds. (9-80)
- अव्याक्षेपोभविष्यन्त्या: कार्यसिद्धेर्हिलक्षणम्॥१०-६
When we approach someone for a certain purpose, the sign of success is attentiveness without being unsteady. (10-6)
The sign of success is one-pointed dedication.
- स्वयमेवहिवातोग्ने: सारत्यं प्रतिपद्यते।१०-४०
Wind goes in support of fire on its own. (10-40)
- तेजसांहिनवय: समीक्ष्यते।
The age (youth) of the glorious persons is not considered.
- आशिषं प्रयुयुजेनवाहिनीं साहिरक्षणविधौतयो: क्षमा॥
(While sending Rama and Lakshmana with Viswamitra) Dasaratha gave blessings only; he did not send any army. The heartfelt blessings of elders are indeed capable of protecting all. (11-6)
- सद्यएवसुकृतां हिपच्यतेकल्पवृक्षफलधर्मिकाङ्क्षितम्॥
The desire of the virtuous persons of meritorious deeds is fulfilled immediately, like the fruit of the (wish-fulfilling heavenly) Kalpaka tree. (11-50)
- निर्जितेषुतरसातरस्विनां शत्रुषुप्रणतिरेवकीर्तये।
For the strong, being modest with enemies who have been defeated by strength, is alone the cause of their fame. (11-89)
- कालेखलुसमारब्धा: फलंबध्नन्तिनीतय:।
Policies commenced in right time bear fruit indeed. (12-69)
- छायाहिभूमे: शशिनोमलत्वेनआरोपिताशुद्धिमत: प्रजाभि:॥
The shadow of earth on the moon is indeed construed by people to be the blot on the very clear moon. (14-40)
- आज्ञागुरूणां ह्यविचारणीया।
The instruction of elders is indeed not to be analysed. (14-46)
- त्राणाभावेहिशापास्त्रा: कुर्वन्तितपसोव्ययम्।
Rishis, who wield the weapon of curse, expend their austerity (Tapas) only in the absence of protection. (15-3)
The advent of Vishnu on earth is only for protecion of Dharma. (15-4)
Great persons do not entertain unbridled anger against those who adore them in a humble way. (16-80)
Youth, beauty and wealth – each of these is cause of conceit. (17-43)
- कातर्यं केवलानीति: शौर्यंश्वापदचेष्टितम्।
Policy with no courage is cowardice; boldness without policy is beastly. (17-47)
It is only rain-laden cloud that is adored by Chataka birds. (17-60)
(People adore only the wealthy).
It is painful to withdraw sense organs which are under the sway of delicious things. (19-49)
Summary of Raghuvamsa Mahakavya of Mahakavi Kalidasa
Lessons on Mahakavi Kalidadsa’s life story and his epic works were covered in Bala Bodha Sangraha- Part 5. Seven partsof Bala Bodha Sangraha have been published by Srimatham and this has been welcomed by many.
Though there are many views about the time of Mahakavi Kalidasa, many scholars habve accepted the conclusion reached after research by Sir William Jones, viz. first century A.D.
On hearing the phrase ‘अस्तिकश्चिद्वाग्विशेष:’ from his wife Vidyottama, Mahakavi Kalidasa started the first verse of his epics using the words of that phrase. The first verse of ‘Kumarasambhavam’ starts with ‘अस्ति’, i.e. ‘अस्त्युत्तरस्यां दिशिदेवतात्मा’. Meghasandesa or Meghadutam starts with ‘कश्चित्’, i.e. ‘कश्चित्कान्ताविरहगुरुणा’. Raghuvamsam starts with ‘वाक्’, i.e. ‘वागर्थाविवसम्प्रृक्तौ’. These first verses are considered to be the ‘Mangala slokas’, i.e. auspicious verses of the respective works.
As requested by many, a summay of the stories of Raghuvamsa is presented in this book. It is the view of scholars that Kalidasa gave the title of Raghuvamsa to his book because Maharishi Valmiki mentions Raghuvamsa in Balakandam – ‘रघुवंशस्यचरितं चकारभगवानृषि:’ as well as Yuddhakandam -अहं रघुवंश्च लक्ष्मणश्च महाबल: 1-11).
Kalidasa has described beautifully and in detail, with many similes, the life stories of the kings of Solar Dynasty (Surya Vamsa), the wealth, literature, arts, people’s life style, qualities of kings, their virtues, purity, truth, valour, simplicity etc. The Mahakavi, who has love and faith in Vedic dharma, points in various places to rituals like Yagas, daily rituals, dharmas, devotion to Bhagavan, mother, father, Guru etc. He also warns against ostentatious and rich life style, leading inexorably downhill like mass of snow rolling down the slopes of hills.
The epic of Raghuvamsam has 19 chapters (sargas). The Mahakavi describes in a picturesque manner the storiesof 29 kings, starting from Dilipa and going up to Agnivarna, against the background of the four aims of life (Purusharthas), viz. Dharma (righteousness), Artha (wealth), Kama (desire) and Moksha (Liberation). The first eight chapters cover the stories of Dilipa, Raghu and Aja; chapters 9 to 15 provide the essence of Srimad Ramayana, i.e. the stories of Dasaratha, Rama, Lakshmana; chapter 16 gives the story of Lava and Kusa; chapter 17 talks of Sri Rama’s grandson Aditi; chapter 18 gives a concise story of 21 kings; chapter 19 tells the story of Agnivarna etc.
Now let us look at the kings of the Raghu dynasty. Surya’s son was Vaivasvata Manu; and this dynasty of kings is hence known as Surya Vamsa. All the kings of this dynasty have been very valorous. Kalidasa has chosen to describe the dynasty starting from the celebrated king Dilipa. Raghu was Dilipa’s son; and he was unparalleled. Hence Kalidasa has named his Mahakavya after Raghu. Kings, who came after Raghu, took pride in calling themselves as belonging to Raghuvamsam. The kings of Raghuvamsam are listed below in their chronological order.
- अज:- Aja
- दशरथ: -Dasaratha
- श्रीराम: -Sri Rama
- कुश: -Kusa
- अतिथि: -Atithi
- निषध: -Nishadha
- नल: -Nala
- नभा: -Nabha
- पुण्डरीक: -Pundarika
- क्षेमधन्वा –Kshemadhanva
- देवानीक: -Devanika
- अहीनगु: –Ahinagu
- पारियात्र: -Pariyatra
- शिल: -Sila
- उन्नाभ: -Unnabha
- वज्रणाभ: -Vajranabha
- शङ्खण: -Sankhana
- व्युषिताश्व: -Vyushitasva
- विश्वसह: -Visvasaha
- हिरण्यनाभ: -Hiranyanabha
- कौसल्य: -Kousalya
- ब्रह्मिष्ठ: -Brahmishtha
- पुत्र: -Putra
- पुष्य: -Pushya
- ध्रुवसन्धि: -Dhruvasandhi
- सुदर्शन: -Sudarsana
- अग्निवर्ण: -Agnivarna
Total Verses in Raghuvamsam
Sarga (Chapter) No. of Verses Sarga (Chapter) No. of Verses
1 95 2 75
3 70 4 88
5 76 6 86
7 71 8 95
9 82 10 86 11 93 12 104
13 79 14 87
15 103 16 88
17 81 18 53
The following are the commentaries in Samskrit for Raghuvamsam
- Dinakara Misra
- Further commentaries on Raghuvamsam: Padarthadipika by Narayana, who has authored a commentary for Kumara Sambhavam, and
- Prakasika by Arunagirinatha are also there. These two are not published, it appears. It is learnt that they are preserved in Madras University Library in Adyar, Chennai, Vadodara, Mysore Oriental Library.
- Commentary titled Sanjivani by Mallinatha is celebrated as the best of all commentaries and is used constantly in research.
- Translation in Tamil (word by word) by V.S.Venkataraghavachariar, Professor in Chennai (1909-1989), was first publishd by LIFCO in Chennai in 1952. This author has also written similar translations for Kumarasambhavam and Meghasandesam. Threse works are very useful for beginners in Samskrit.
प्रथमसर्गः -Sarga 1
Story of Emperor Dilipa and Maharani Sudakshina
- वागर्थाविवसम्पृक्तौ वागर्थप्रतिपत्तये।
जगतः पितरौ वन्दे पार्वतीपरमेश्वरौ ॥
In this first auspicious verse in Sarga 1, Kalidasa offers worship to Parvathi-Parameswara. “In order to understand word and its meaning, I bow to Parvathi and Parameswara, who are united liked word and its meaning, and who are the parents of the world.” We can use this verse as our own prayer every day. The Mahakavi gives expression to his humility. He says: “The stories of Surya Vamsa are very great and expansive. Like one who wishes to cross an ocean with the help of a small boat, I propose to tell the story of Surya Vamsa, or Raghu Vamsa with my little understanding. Like a dwarf attempting to pluck the fruit in the tree accessible only to a tall man, the man of little knowledge that I am will be ridiculed by many. Still I shall fulfil my wish by treading on the path trodden by ancestors.
Glories of Kings of Raghu Vamsa
- सोऽहमाजन्म शुद्धानां आफलोदयकर्मणाम् ।
आसमुद्रक्षितीशानां आनाकरथवर्त्मणां ॥
With my shallow understanding, I shall recount the stories of kings, who were pure from birth, who worked till achievement of results; who ruled the land upto the seas; whose chariots wended their way upto Swarga.
- यथाविधिहुताग्नीनां यथाकामार्चितार्थिनां ।
They had fires, fed with oblutions as per rules; supplicants, duly honoured. They punished the guilty in accordance with the offence. They had understanding required as the occasion demanded.
- त्यागाय संभृतार्थानां सत्यायमितभाषिणाम्।
यशसे विजिगीषूणां प्रजायै गृहमेधिनाम्॥
They managed wealth only for sacrifice; spoke in a limited way for the sake of truth; desired to conquer enemies for acquiring fame; married for getting offspring.
- शैशवेऽभ्यस्तविद्यानां यौवने विषयैषिणाम्।
वार्द्धके मुनिवृत्तीनां योगेनान्ते तनुत्यजाम् ॥
They had their education in childhood; enjoyed comforts in youth; led a life of Muni in old age; left their bodies at the end through yoga (with concentration on Iswara).
- तस्य संवृतमन्त्रस्य गूढाकारेङ्गितस्य च|
फलानुमेया: प्रारंभा: संस्कारा: प्राक्त्तना इव||
Dilipa was a king in the lineage of Vaivasvata Manu, the son of Surya. On the basis of the beneficial experiences in this life, one can guess the Samskaras (impressions of experiences) of the previous life. Similarly, based on the results, one could judge the efforts put in. The poet beautifully says that his political acts were shrouded in mystery and enemies could not have a scent.
In Dilipa’s rule, the people as well as Devas were happy. Dilipa performed yagas with materials obtained from earth and pleased Devas including Indra. Indra in turn bestowed good rains on earth. Thus they helped each other and protected the earth and Swarga. The ocean served as a beautiful fortline for Dilipa’s kingdom. He had no enemies. There was no opposition to his dictat. He ruled his vast kingdom with great ease like a small city.He married Sudakshina, the virtuous princess of the king of Magadha, who was known for generosity. They had no offspring and were sad. They approached Kulaguru Vasishtha in his Asrama and prayed. They asked for the reason for their childlessness.
The poet describes in verses 36 to 45 in a very picturesque manner the sceneries witnessed by the King and queen on their way to the Asrama of Vasishtha. The Asrama has also been described with extraordinary beauty. Veda says that when Dikshitas performing yaga, return from outstation trips, Bhagavan Agni welcomes them with joy, as would children welcome their father returning from outstation. But Bhagavan Agni is not visible to human eyes.Similarly Maharishis of Vasishtha’s Asrama were returning after collecting fuel sticks of Palasa and Asvattha. Wives of Rishis were feeding the deer with wild paddy as if they would feed their own children. They erected small barriers in the field and watered the crops and trees.They enjoyed the birds coming over for drinking the water. Some deer ate wild rice grains and lay in the shade of the trees. When Dilipa and Sudakshina reached the holy Asrama, the smoke from the sacred fires was enveloping the surrounds and it purified them too.
- तस्मै सभ्या: सभार्याय गोप्त्रे गुप्तमेन्द्रिया:|
अर्हणामर्हते चक्रु: मुनयो नयचक्षुषे||
The sages in the Asrama were all capable of decorating any learned assembly; they knew the ways of the world. They had abandoned desire and subdued sense organs. They honoured the king and the queen. Dilipa, who looked at everything with the eyes of Sastra, was the protector of the sages.
Dilipa and Sudakshina worshipped the holy sage Vasishtha and his consort Arundhati, who looked like Bhagavan Agni with Swaha Devi and were seated after completing the evening rituals. Vasishtha enquired him of the welfare of himself and the kingdom. Dilip said that owing to the yagasperformed by Vasishtha, there were plenty of rains in the kingdom.
- हविरावर्जितं होत: त्वया विधिवदग्निषु |
वृष्टिर्भवति सस्यानां अवग्रहविशोषिणां ||
“O Guru performing Homa, the oblutions you offer in Agni as laid down in Sastras, result in rains for the crops withering dry. Owing to your tapas (austerities), the citizens live full lives without any fear and difficulty from any quarter. My kingdom is well protected by you, who are the son of Brahma. We have no complaints. There is but one issue, i.e. we have no progeny. As we have no son to take over the kingdom, we are unable to fulfil the debt owed to Pitrus. You kindly lead us to the means of getting relieved of that debt.
- इक्ष्वाकूनां दुरापेर्थे त्वदधीना हि सिद्धय:|
All the wishes, even unattainable ones, of the dynasts of Ikshvasku are fulfilled by your grace; in fact they are all under your control.” Saying so, Dilip prostrated with Sudakshina at the feet of the sage.
- इति विज्ञापितो राज्ञा ध्यानस्तिमितलोचन:॥
Being informed by the king thus, Maharishi Vasishtha meditated for a while with eyes closed. He then said: “O king, earlier when you were returning from Swarga after meeting Indra, Kamadhenu was resting at the foot of the Kalpaka tree.
- प्रदक्षिणक्रियार्हायाम् तस्याम् त्वम् साधु नाचर:।76
You returned without respectfully going round Kamadhenu, who deserves worship. Sastra says that if we see a cow on our way, we should move such that the cow is on our right side. Grieved at your offensive behaviour, Kamadhenu cursed that you would be childless till you worship her offspring. You and your charioteer did not hear this curse. This is the reason for lack of progeny.
- प्रतिबध्नाति हि श्रेय: पूज्य पूजा व्यतिक्रम:। 79
Failure to worship those who are to be worshipped proves to be an obstacle in one’s welfare. Kamadhenu is now in Patalaloka. Her daughter Nandini is now in my Asrama. You worship Nandini; she will bless you. You serve the cow in all ways; be like her shadow; let your wife Sudakshina also be engaged in the service of the cow. You serve till you receive her grace.
- तथेति प्रतिजग्राह प्रीतिमान् सपरिग्रह:। आदेशं देशकालज्ञ: शिष्य: शासितुरानत:॥ 92
Dilipa, who knew the right time and place for action, happily and humbly accepted as a good disciple the instruction of Guru Vasishtha, and spent the night in the Asrama along with Sudakshina.
द्वितीय सर्ग: -- Sarga Two
Greatness of Cow Nandini
- अथ प्रजानामधिप: प्रभाते जायाप्रतिग्राहित गन्धमाल्याम्।
वनाय पीतप्रतिबद्धवत्साम् यशोधनो धेनुमृषेर्मुमोच॥
The next morning Dilipa, the king, whose wealth was fame, having received sandal paste, flowers etc. from his wife Sudakshina, let loose cow Nandini, with her calf after the calf sucked at her mother.
Sudakshina was the best among chaste women. When Dilipa went with the cow, Sudakshina followed him. The poet says that this was like Smriti texts following Veda’s import.
Kalidasa shows his faith and devotion to Veda in his works through various such references.
Emperor Dilipa served Nandini devotedly by offering her tasty grass, scratching her, driving away wild flies, and allowing her to move freely. He followed her like shadow, listening to various pleasing sounds in the forest. He had his bow always strung ready to protect the cow. At Sunset, Nandini of reddish hue returned to the Asrama after purifying many places through her movements. As instructed by Vasishtha, Sudakshina went round the cow on reaching the Asrama boundary, and worshipped her with offer of Akshatas between her two horns. The way Nandini accepted her Puja patiently, though she wished to hurry to her calf, indicated that she was pleased to bless them very soon.
- भक्त्योपपन्नेषुहितद्विधानां प्रसादचिह्नानिपुर: फलानि॥ 22
Dilipa and Sudakshina were happy to note such signs of her grace indicating the fruits that would follow.
After completing evening rituals and worshipping Guru Vasishtha, Dilipa sat near Nandini. Once Nanadini went to sleep, both of them slept near her. In the morning they performed Puja of the cow. They spent 21 days thus in the service of the cow. The next morning the cow entered a cave in the Himalayan range. While enjoying the natural beauty of the place, Dilipa heard the cry of the cow. He saw a lion pouncing upon her and trying to kill and eat her. The king put his hand on the arrow instantly for aiming it at the lion. And lo! his hand stood paralysed like in a painting. The king who was already enraged became wild with anger now and cried. The lion spoke in human voice then.
- कैलासगौरंवृषमारुरुक्षो: पादार्पणानुग्रहपूतपृष्ठम्।
अवेहिमांकिङ्करमष्टमूर्ते: कुम्भोदरंनामनिकुम्भमित्रम्॥ 35
“Know me as Kumbhodara, the attendant of Sri Siva; when Siva ascends his vehicle Rishabha, he places his foot on my back; I am thus purified. I am the friend of Nikumbha, a Gana of Siva. The Deodar tree opposite is the favourite of Sri Parvati Devi. She has grown it and has asked me to look after it. I have been told to kill the animals which come this way and consume them as food. I am therefore going to kill this cow and eat.”
Dilipa, who felt a bit qietened at this, looked with wonder at the lion and said: “Sri Siva is also worshipped by me. My duty is to honour the instruction of my Guru Maharishi Vasishtha. If you accept me, who has come near the tree, as your food and leave this cow alone for the sake of her calf awaiting her return to the Asrama, Siva’s order would be honoured, and, Maharishi’s cow would also be saved. Please show compassion.” The lion attempted to change Dilipa’s mind in many ways; finally he praised the king’s determination. Dilipa continued his pleadings: “You get your food by eating me. Even if one gives away many crores of cows to Maharishi, they will not equal this Nandini, daughter of Kamadhenu. I have been asked by my Guru to protect this cow. I can only offer my body for release of the cow. The cow will enable continuity of Yagas of Maharishi without any deficiency. I do not wish to stand in front of my Guru after having lost the cow. You are the servant of Siva; I am the servant of Maharishi Vasishtha. Just as you wish to save the Deodar tree, it is my duty to save this cow. As a servant yourself, you can appreciate the difficulty of another servant. Hence do not be adamant; take me and release this cow.” The lion appreciated the Guru bhakti of Dilipa. Dilipa’s hands returned to normalcy. He kept the bow on the ground and went near the lion to offer himself as food. While he was awaiting the pouncing of the lion, there was a shower of flowers from the sky from Devas.
- उत्तिष्ठवत्सेत्यमृतायमानम्वचोनिशम्योत्थितमुत्थित: सन्।
ददर्शराजाजननीमिवस्वांगामग्रत: प्रस्त्रविणीम्नृसिंहम्॥ 61
Dilipa now heard the nectarine voice of the cow saying, “O child, get up.” Dilipa got up and did not see the lion, but saw the milch cow like a mother. The cow continued: “Owing to the blessing of Maharishi, even Yama is incapable of attacking me. You were subjected to test through Maya created by me. I am very pleased with you because of your Guru bhakti and compassion towards me.”
- न केवलानां पयसां प्रसूतिम् अवेहि मां कामदुघां प्रसन्नाम्॥ 63
“Do not think that you can get only milk from me; in fact know me, pleased as I am, as your wish-fulfiller.” Dilipa folded his hands in supplication and prayed for progeny. Nandini happily asked him to drink her milk from a leaf vessel. Dilipa said he would take the permission of Maharishi and do accordingly.
Reaching the Asrama, Dilipa worshipped Nandini and Maharishi Vasishtha, and leaving aside milk for the calf and Homa of Vasishtha, he drank the remaining milk. Duly permitted by the sage, Dilipa and Sudakshina left the Asrama and reached their capital. The king resumed his duties.
- नरपतिकुल भूत्यै गर्भमाधत्त राज्ञी ॥
Sudakshina conceived in time for the prosperity of the lineage of the king.
तृतीयसर्ग: Sarga 3
Valour of Maharaja Raghu
- यथाक्रमं पुंसवनादिका: क्रिया: धृतेश्च धीर: सदृशीर्व्यधत्त स:। (10)
Dilipa conducted the rituals meantfor pregnant women, like Pumvasana, Seematonnayanam etc. as required in a proper manner, suited to his wealth, generosity, love for his wife and enthusiasm. Mahakavi describes the dharmas of a Grihastha (householder) in this context.
ग्रहैस्तत: पञ्चभिरुच्चसंश्रयैः असूर्यगैः सूचित भाग्यसंपदम्।
असूत पुत्रं समये शचीसमा त्रिसाधना शक्तिरिवार्थमक्षयम्||१३
Sudakshina, who was like Indrani, gave birth to a son in due time when five planets, not reaching Surya and full of strength, were in highly beneficial positions, indicating good luck.
Maharishi Valmiki also says in a similar vein about the time of Sri Rama’s birth in Srimad Ramayanam, Bala Kandam, 18.8; five planets were in strong position.
- ततश्च द्वादशे मासे चैत्रे नावमिके तिथौ।
नक्षत्रेऽदितिदैवत्ये स्वोच्चसस्थेषु पञ्चसु ॥
Sri Rama came in the lineage of Raghu!
The strength of kings from wealth and powerful army is called ‘Prabhu Sakti’. The strength from advice of ministers well versed in Sastras is ‘Mantra Sakti’. Strength of mind, zeal and passion to conquer enemies constitute ‘Utsaha Sakti’. These three strengths are essential for a king. Mahakavi says that these three strengths were indicated in the newborn child by the signs of Samudrika Sastra. Dilipa gave away Danas (ritual charity) of Bija (Seeds) etc. as laid down in Sastras.
- ऋणाभिधानात्स्वयमेव केवलं तदा पितॄणां मुमुचे स बन्धनात् २०
Every human being is born with three debts: to Devas, Rishis and his ancestors. Debt to Rishis is returned by study of Vedas; to Devas, by performing Yagas etc.; to ancestors, by begetting a son. Now Dilipa was relieved of his debt to Pitrus after the birth of a son to him.
In those days, when the king gets progeny, prisoners used to be let off. But in Dilipa’s reign, there was none in the prison, none being guilty of offence. Hence it was only Dilipa himself who was relieved of his bondage to Pitrus.
- श्रुतस्य यायादयमन्तमर्भकः तथा परेषां युधिचेति पार्थिवः।
अवेक्ष्य धातोर्गमनार्थमर्थवित् चकार नाम्ना रघुमात्मसंभवम् ॥२१
Dilipa, who knew the import of words, named his son Raghu, a name routed in लघि, meaning attaining, as Raghu the child was expected to attain the very limits of knowledge of Sastras as well as limits of enemy’s territory in war. He performed all Vedic rituals for the child including Chowlam, Upanayanam etc. properly in time. He taught him all Vidyas through qualified teachers. And he got him married too. Dilipa and Sudakshina were very happy and ruled the kingdom well; citizens too were joyful.
Dilipa performed 99 Asvamedha yagas, and let the horse loose for the 100th yaga. Soldiers under the leadership of Raghu followed the horse. Indra came and stole the horse, unseen by anyone.Indra is known as Satakratu, having performed 100 Asvamedha yagas. In case Dilipa completes 100 Asvamedha yagas, he would become Indra. Hence Indra created the obstacle in his yaga.Owing to Nandini’s grace, Raghu could see Indra taking away the horse. Raghu had a verbal duel first with Indra, followed by a battle. Raghu bore sternly the Vajrayudha sent by Indra and broke Indra’s heart by his sharp and valorous words.Virtues attract not just friends, but enemies and neutral people too! Indra, impressed by Raghu’s skill in warfare, said: “You are the first great warrior to bear the brunt of my Vajrayudha. Ask for any boon other than the horse; I am indeed happy with your skill in battle.”
- अमोच्यमश्वम् यदिमन्यसे प्रभो तत: समाप्ते विधिनैवकर्मणि।
अजस्त्रतीक्षप्रयत: स मद्गुरु: क्रतोरशेषेण फलेन युज्यताम्॥ 65
Raghu said, “O lord, in case you are unwilling to let the horse loose, please bless that my father, purified by the Yaga Diksha, attains the entire fruit of the yaga as if completed properly. Also please inform him of all that happened here through your messenger.”
- तथेति कामं प्रतिशुश्रवान् रघोर्यथागतं मातलिसारथिर्ययौ॥67
Indra, whose charioteer was Matali, assented and went away. Dilipa heard of all the happenings. He then entrusted the kingdom to his son Raghu and, as was the custom in his lineage, retired to the forest, the abode of Maharishis for pursuing spirituality, as Vanaprastha.
चतुर्थ: सर्ग:Sarga 4
- स राज्यं गुरुणा दत्तं प्रतिपद्यादिकं बभौ।
दिनान्ते निहितम् तेज: सवित्रेव हुताशन:॥
Having received the kingdom from his father, Raghu shone like Agni, having received splendour from Surya at dusk. People loved his rule even more than that of Dilipa. At the onset of autumn, Raghu felt enthused to go on war on seeing the power of his army and the cooperation of the ministers. As laid down in Sastras, he performed the Homa, Vajinirajanam before proceeding to war. Bhagavan Agni appeared to confer victory on the king with his extended arms of flames. As per customs in Kshatriya families, Harati was performed to the army, ministers and priests wishing for victory. Elderly women scattered parched rice (Laaja) on Raghu.
- अवाकिरन् वयोवृद्धास्तं लाजै: पौरयोषित:॥
प्रथमं प्राचीम् ययौ–Raghu went first towards east and gained victory over many countries till the sea. The countries are:
- Persia- Yavanas
- Hunas on the banks of Sindhu
- Hunters in the wild in Himalayas
- Kamarupam (Present day Assam)
इति जित्वा दिशो जिष्णु: न्यवर्तत रथोद्धतम्।
रजोविश्रामयन् राज्ञाम् छत्रशून्येशु मौलिषु॥ 85
The victorious Raghu conquered all quarters and returned to his country, with his chariot spreading dust on the crowns of chieftains who were left with no royal umbrellas. Raghu was the sovereign emperor, who had won over all kingdoms; he alone was entitled to hold the royal umbrella as per kshatriya custom. Accompanied by many kings, he returned to his city and performed the Visvajit Yaga and got the title of Visvajit.
स विश्वजितमाजह्रे यज्ञं सर्वस्वदक्षिणम्।
आदानं हि विसर्गाय सतां वारिमुचामिव॥ 86
Just as clouds absorb water and give it back, virtuous persons distribute among many people the wealth collected from a few. Raghu distributed as Dakshina all the wealth he had acquired during his conquest of many kingdoms. The chieftains, who had spent a long time with the emperor, were then asked to return to their principalities. They paid respectful obeisance to him. Raghu was hailed as Visvajit and Samrat.
पञ्चम: सर्ग:Sarga Five
Glory of Gurudakshina; Marriage of Aja with Indumati
- तमध्वरे विश्वजिति क्षितीशं निश्शेषविश्राणितकोशजातम्।
उपात्तविद्यो गुरुदक्षिणार्थी कौत्स: प्रपेदे वरतन्तुशिष्य:॥ 1
Koutsa, disciple of Maharishi Varatantu, had completed his studies in Gurukula and wished to give Gurudakshina to his preceptor. He approached Raghu with a view to obtaining money for this purpose; Raghu had by then totally emptied his treasury in the Visvajit Yaga.
- समाप्तविद्येन मया महर्षि: विज्ञापितो अभूद्गुरुदक्षिणायै।
समे चिरायात्खलितोपचाराम् तां भक्तिमेवगणय पुरस्तात्॥ 20
Koutsa told Raghu: “When I expressed my desire to offer Gurudakshina to my teacher Varatantu at the close of my studentship, he said he considered as Gurudakshina the devoted service I had rendered to him for long.
- निर्बन्धसंजातरुषार्थकार्श्यम् अचिन्तयित्वा गुरुणाहमुक्त्त:।
वित्तस्य विद्यापरिसंख्यया मे कोटीस्चतस्त्रो दश चाहरेति॥ 21
Though he refused any further Gurudakshina, I insisted repeatedly that he should accept something at least. Angered at this, he asked me for fourteen crores of gold coins without a thought of the great difficulty in it.
Manusmriti lists fourteen Vidyas:
- अङ्गानि वेदाश्चत्वारो मीमांसा न्यायविस्तर:।
पुराणं धर्मशात्रं च विद्या ह्येतास्चतुर्श॥
Yagnavalkya Smriti also lists them:
- पुराण न्याय मीमांसा धर्मशास्त्र अङ्गमिश्रिता:।
वेदा: स्थानानि विद्यानां धर्मस्य च चतुदर्श॥
Vishnu Purana of Maharishi Parasara lists them thus:
- अङ्गानि वेदाश्चत्वारो मीमांसा न्यायविस्तर:।
पुराणं धर्मशात्रं च विद्या ह्येताश्चतुर्दश॥
The fourteen Vidyas are:
- Rigveda 2. Yajurveda 3. Samaveda 4. Atharvaveda
- Siksha, Nose of Veda 2. Vyakarana, Mouth of Veda
3. Chandas- Feet of Veda 4. Nirukta – Ear of Veda 5. Jyotisha- Eye of Veda 6. Kalpa – Hand of Veda
- Mimamsa 2. Nyaya 3. Purana 4. Dharmasastra
Including further the four Upavedas of Ayurveda, Gandharvaveda, Dhanurveda and Arthasastra, Vidyas are sometimes reckoned to be 18. That these Vidyas contain all the knowledge in the world is a tribute to our system of Bharatiya education. Vishnu Purana mentions these 18 Vidyas.
- आयुर्वेदो धनुर्वेदो गान्धर्वश्चैव तेत्रय:।
अर्थशात्रं चतुर्थं तु विद्याह्यष्टादशैवता:॥
All this is also collectively called ‘Sastram’.
Commentators feel that considering Vidyas to be 14, Maharishi Varatantu asked for 14 crores of gold coins. He thought that by demanding such a huge Gurudakshina, Koutsa would feel helpless and give up! But Koutsa was determined not to give up; he approached Emperor Raghu. Having given away his all, Raghu was using earthen vessels for his religious observances at that time. Seeing this, Koutsa wished to turn back without bothering the king. But Raghu requested him to wait in his Agnisala for a couple of days, saying that he did not wish to embrace the infamy of having turned away a brahmana without meeting his Gurudakshina requirement; this had never happened in the past, nor would it happen in future. Raghuthen planned to invade the lord of wealth Kubera as he had already taken wealth of all other kings. However before he could set out, there was a shower of gold coins in his treasury hall.
- हिरण्मयीं कोषगृहस्य मध्ये वृष्टिम् शशंसु: पतितां नभस्त:। 29
Raghu handed to Koutsa the entire mass of gold coins that he received in the shower.
- जनस्य साकेतनिवासिस्तौ द्वावप्यभूतामभिनन्द्यसत्वौ॥
The people of Ayodhya hailed the mendicant, who, out of dispassion, did not desire anything more than the exact amount of Gurudakshina, and the king, who, out of magnanimity, insisted on giving more than his need. Koutsa was very happy. Raghu begged for his blessings.
- आशास्यमन्यत् पुनरुक्तभूतम् श्रेयांसि सर्वाण्याधिजग्मुषस्ते।
पुत्र लभस्वात्मगुणानुरूपम् भवन्तमीड्यं भवत: पितेव॥ 34
Koutsa said: “To bless you with something will amount to repetition as you possess all that is salutary. Hence I bless that you beget a son of virtues similar to you, like your father had a worthy son in you.” Koutsa then returned to his asrama.
Blessed by Koutsa, Raghu begot a son, who was born in Brahma Muhurta (4.30 to 6 in the morning); he therefore named him Aja after Brahma.
Aja, like his father, mastered all Vidyas in time and became eligible to become Yuvaraja. Bhoja, the king of Vidarbha, arranged for Svayamvara of his daughter Indumati at that time. He sent an emissary to Raghu to fetch Aja. Raghu sent Aja with a large army contingent. Aja spent a night on the banks of river Narmada en route.
When he went to the river in the morning for bath, he found an elephant. The elephants of Aja became agitated at the scent of that new wild elephant. The efforts of mahouts to control them did not bear fruit. The horses also bolted away. There was complete chaos in the army camp. Aja knew that it was not proper to kill an elephant except during war. Hence he hit the elephant mildly on its trunk with an arrow. Instantly the elephant turned into a Gandharva and hailed Aja.
- मतङ्गशापादवलेपमूलात् अवाप्तवानस्मि मतङ्गजत्वम्।
अवेहि गन्धर्वपतेस्तनूजं प्रियंवदं मां प्रियदर्शनस्य॥ 53
The Gandharva said that he was Priyamvada, the son of Priyadarsana, the king of Gandharvas and that he had turned into an elephant through the curse of Rishi Matanga. The compassionate Rishi had then blessed that he would be relieved of the curse when Aja of the Ikshvaku dynasty would hit him on the trunk with an arrow and that he would regain Gandharva body. Having waited for long, Priyamvada was very happy to become Gandhrva again. He requested Aja to accept his offer of the celebrated missile of Sammohana. Aja performed Achamana in the waters of Narmada, and facing north, he received the Astra, together with the mantras for deploying and withdrawing the divine missile. Aja then reached Vidarbha region. The minstrels woke him up in the morning, singing his praise.
षष्ठ:सर्ग:- Sarga Six
Aja reached the Svayamvara hall and saw many kings from different areas seated there. On seeing the handsomeness and majesty of Aja, they all concluded that Indumati would surely choose him only as her consort. The eyes of all those present in the hall were riveted on him. Indumati entered the hall with the Svayamvara garland in hand to the accompaniment of auspicious music. All kings were carried away by the beauty of Indumati. Sunanda, Indumati’s friend, accompanied her; she knew the antecedents of all kings asembled there; she went on announcing the details pertaining to each king. The kings were:
- Magadhadesa king, Parantapa
- King of Angadesa
- King of Avantidesa
- Pradipa, the prince in the lineage of Kartaviryarjuna
- Suhena, the king of Surasenadesa, of the lineage of Nipa
- Hemangada, the king of Kalinga
- Pandyadesa king
Mahakavi Kalidasa says: when Indumati was destined to marry someone else, how could she have chosen any of these kings? Just as a river flowing towards the sea, leaves aside the mountains on the way and proceeds, Indumati left all the kings and approached Aja. But Aja had doubts as to whether Indumati would indeed choose him.
तं प्राप्य सर्वावयवानवद्यम् व्यावर्ततान्योपगमात् कुमारी।
न हि प्रफुल्लं सहकारमेत्य वृक्षान्तरं काङ्क्षति षट्पदाली॥69
Indumati halted at Aja’s place. Having reached a blossomed mango tree, the swarm of bees does not desire any other tree. Taking the hint, Sunanda narrated in detail the glory of the kings of Ikshvaku clan including Raghu and of Aja. Listening to this, Indumati indicated even with her eyes her desire to take Aja as her husband. With all kings looking at her, she placed the garland, reddened with auspicious powders, held by Sunanda, on the neck of Aja, following Kshatriya dharma. The marriage of Aja with Indumati was celebrated in a grand manner.
सप्तम: सर्ग:Sarga Seven
रतिस्मरौ नूनमिमावभूताम् राज्ञां सहस्रेषु तथाहि बाला।
गतेयमात्म प्रतिरूपमेव मनो हि जन्मान्तरसङ्गतिज्ञम्॥ 15
Rati and Manmatha were indeed born as Indumati and Aja. Indumati had chosen a king among thousands, who was suitable to her. The people of Vidarbha were saying that mind is indeed capable of cognising the link from previous birth. पूर्वप्रज्ञा is the term used in Upanishad. Aja then returned to his kingdom. On the way, he was attacked by the kings who were disappointed. Aja deployed the Sammohanastra and put all of them to trance. With his army, Aja reached Ayodhya, accompanied by Indumati.
Emperor Raghu, who had heard of the developments beforehand, was only too happy to entrust the kingdom to Aja’s care; he was keen to follow the path of Moksha. When the son, capable of carrying the lineage, is available, the kings of the dynasty of Surya do not continue in their homes doing household duties.
Kalidasa has mentioned earlier that the kings of Surya dynasty adopted the life of sages in old age.
अष्टम: सर्ग:-Sarga Eight
Videhamukti of Raghu, Indumati’s demise and Aja’s Grief
अथतस्य विवाहकौतुकं ललितं बिभ्रत एव पार्थिव:।
वसुधामपि हस्तगामिनीम् अकरोदिन्दुमतीमिवापराम्॥ 1
Raghu handed over the reins of the kingdom to Aja as soon as the marriage was completed. He conducted his coronation even before the ritual Kankana (thread) of marriage was removed from Aja’s hand. Aja took the earth like another Indumati, says the poet, reckoning the love the earth had for Aja.
अहमेव मतो महीपतेरिति सर्व: प्रकृतिष्वचिन्तयत्।
उदधेरिव निम्नगाशतेष्वभवत् नास्य विमानना क्वचित्॥ 8
Everyone among the people thought he is dear to the king. Just as the ocean does not discriminate among rivers joining it, Aja had no feeling of high and low among the citizens. On learning that in Aja’s reign, people were happy and loved the king, Raghu set up asrama at the boundary of his kingdom and lived the life of a Sanyasi with no desire for Swarga as well as mundane pleasures.
यतिपार्थिवलिङ्गधारिणौ ददृशाते रघुराघवौ जनै:।
अपवर्गमहोदयार्थयो: भुवमंशाविव धर्मयोर्गतौ॥ 16
Dharma is twofold as per Vedic texts – Pravrutti and Nivrutti. To perform acts of Dharma (ordained duty), Artha (wealth) and Kama (desire) looking to obtain fruit is Pravrutti; to do the same acts without expecting fruit and by way of dedication to Iswara is Nivrutti. Emperor Aja and Sanyasi Raghu appeared to people as if these two paths had indeed incarnated in their twin forms. The external signs of Sanyasi (ochre, staff, water pot) and emperor (crown, white parasole, staff of power) appeared to signify the ends of Moksha and mundane pleasures. After a few years, Raghu attained the Immortal Paramatma through meditation. Commentators praise the exit of Raghu as Videhamukti of Jivanmukta. योगेनान्ते तनुत्यजाम्(1-8)- Following the tradition in the lineage of Ikshvaku, Raghu left his body, like a snake would abandon the slough, through the ultimate experience of the unity of Jiva and Brahman.
श्रुतदेह विसर्जन:पितु: चिरमश्रूणि विमुच्य राघव:।
विदधे विधिमस्य नैष्ठिकम् यतिभि: सार्धमनग्निमग्निचित्॥ 25
Aja, the Ahitagni (worshipper of Agni with daily rituals like Agnihotra) heard of the demise of Raghu, and, after shedding tears for long, performed Uttarakriyas for him, appropriate to a Sanyasi, in the company of other Sanyasis. Vedas and Smritis detail the procedure of Uttarakriyas for Sanyasi. Aja followed them and, without cremating Raghu’s body, buried it, built Adhishthanam on it and worshipped him. Mahakavi Kalidasa never deviates from the authority of Sastras in all his works of poems and dramas.
Smriti clearly lays down the procedure to be followed in the case of Sanyasi in the following passage:
सर्वसङ्गनिवृत्तस्य ध्यानयोगरतस्य च। न तस्य दहनं कार्यं नैव पिण्डोदकक्रिया।
निदध्यात् प्रणवेनैव बिले भिक्षो: कलेबरम्। प्रोक्षणं खननं चैव सर्वं तेनैव कारयेत्।
Sanyasis, having obtained Gnana through Yoga, attain Liberation after dropping the body. Maharishis including Kulaguru Vasishtha consoled the grieving Aja, citing Upanishad passages like ब्रह्मवित् ब्रह्मैव भवति,ब्रह्मैवसन् ब्रह्माप्येति, न तस्य प्राणा: उत्क्रामन्ति अत्रैव समवलीयते। As Sanyasis attain to the highest state, we should not grieve over their departure from the mere body. There is no impurity attached to his relatives or his house. Those who participate in Sanyasis’ Samadhi rituals reap the fruit of Avabhruta Snana performed at the close of Yagas. Further it is not necessary for Sanyasi to attain the Supreme state that his progeny should perform Sraadha and such ceremonies; they attain to that state through their Yogic power. But Aja performed all such rituals properly because of high devotion to his father. For the welfare of the lineage, this is required to be done as instructed by Maharishis.
अकरोत् स तदौर्ध्वदैहिकम् पितृभक्त्या पितृकार्यकल्पवित्। 26
Sage Sumantu has also said that one should not grieve on the demise of Sanyasis; in fact grieving would be blemish.
परिव्राजि विपन्ने तु पतिते चात्मवेदिनि। कार्योनशोको ज्ञातीनामन्यथा दोषभागिन:॥
If one performs rituals for Pitrus (ancestors) with devotion, his home would see auspicious developments including birth of son etc. in due time. Aja soon begot a son.
दशरश्मिशतोपमद्युतिं यशसा दिक्षु दशस्वपि श्रुतम्।
दशपूर्वरथं यमाख्यया दशकण्ठारिगुरुं विदुर्बुधा:॥ 29
Indumati gave birth to a son named Dasaratha, who was reckoned by the wise to have the glory of Surya with a thousand rays, to be celebrated in all ten directions, and to be the father of Sri Rama, the enemy of Ravana of ten heads.Aja and Indumati were extremely happy.
The poet describes the glory of Aja beautifully.
बलमार्त भयोपशान्तये विदुषां सत्कृतये बहुश्रुतम्।
वसु तस्य विभो: न केवलम् गुणवत्तापि परप्रयोजना॥ 31
Aja utilised his wealth as well as virtues for the good of others; he employed his strength to rid the weak of fear, and never to terrify them. He was not conceited of his scholarship; on the other hand he honoured the scholars. With Indumathi and Dasaratha, Aja led a happy and peaceful life, and ruled the kingdom, treating the people as his own children.
Once Aja went to a garden outside the city with Indumati for entertainment. Sage Narada was travelling in the sky, singing on his vina to Gokarna for having darshan of Sri Parameswara. There was a divine flower garland at the tip of the vina. The garland fell down on Indumati in strong wind. The moment Indumati saw the garland, she was dead. Aja wept uncontrollably. Dasaratha was a child of hardly two years then. The poet says:प्रतिपच्चन्द्रनिभ:- child with the splendour of the moon of the first day (Prathama). Commentators conclude that though Prathama is the meaning of the term used, Dvitiya (second day) should be construed as the intent, as moon is seen only on the second day. Aja ultimately performed the final rituals for Indumati in the garden itself. When he entered Ayodhya, people shed tears. Guru Vasishtha, who knew everything through divine vision, could not go in person to console the king, as he had commenced a Yaga; he sent his disciple. He conveyed the background story of Indumati. Indra had once despatched an Apsaras called Harini in order to disturb the penance of Maharishi Trinabindu. The Maharishi had cursed her to become a human woman.
भगवन् परवानयं जन: प्रतिकूलाचरितं क्षमस्व मे।
इति चोपनतां क्षितिस्पृशं कृतवाना सुरपुष्पदर्शनात्॥ 81
Harini prayed to the sage for redemption, saying that her act was not wilful, but carried out at the behest of her master Indra. The sage blessed that when she as a human being, would see the divine flower, the curse would come to an end. Indumati was that woman, and she had returned to Swargaloka, having been freed from the curse. Vasishta instructed Aja to forget the incident and rule the kingdom properly. He said: “With your knowledge of Sastras, conquer your sorrow; take courage.” Though he listened to all this consolation, Aja’s heart was broken like a building destroyed by a banyan or peepul tree growing therein.
प्लक्षप्ररोह इव सौधतलं बिभेद।
Though the root of a banyan tree is small, it breaks even large buildings in due course. Aja was similarly struck by the grief of separation from Indumati and fell sick. He took to fast. He made Dasaratha king after some time and drowned himself in the sacred place of union of the waters of Ganga and Sarayu. He became one among Devas.
नवम: सर्ग:Sarga Nine
SRI KALIDASA RAMAYANAM
Dasaratha ruled his kingdom justly like his ancestors, with his capital in Ayodhya. He performed many yagas. He shone like Surya and was like Yama, Kubera and Varuna with his qualities of impartiality, charity, punishing the wicked etc. The chieftains worshipped at his feet, like Devas with Devendra, with fear and devotion.
- तमलभन्त पतिं पतिदेवता: शिखरिणामिव सागरमापगा:।
मगधकोसलकेकय शासिनाम् दुहितरो अहितरोपित मार्गणम्॥17
Kousalya, the princess of Kosala, Sumitra, the princess of Magadha, and Kaikeyi, the princess of Kekaya became the wives of Dasaratha; like rivers, the daughters of mountains would gain the ocean as their husband.
Dasaratha once went to the forest for hunting. Kings used to engage in hunting for various reasons like gaining peace of mind, ability to bear tiresomeness of body, knowledge of behaviour of animals subject to fear and anger, the practice of attacking fleeing animals, which would be useful in times of war etc. Dasaratha moved about on his horse in a forest of deer, with his tuft of hair adorned with wild flowers and leaves, and green coloured armour. He hunted many wild animals and spent the night in the forest itself. Early next morning he was awakened by the trumpeting noise of elephants, as if by the songs of minstrels. He then went after a deer and reached the banks of river Tamasa. As he sped away on horseback, the servants could not follow him. He went alone. The bank of Tamasa was dotted with asramas of sages.
- श्रमफेनमुचा तपस्वि गाढाम् तमसाम् प्राप नगतीं तुरङ्कमेण॥ 72
Dasaratha heard at that time the sound of filling a pot with water from Tamasa. Thinking that the sound came from the blare of an elephant, he despatched an arrow towards the source of the sound. The arrow was known as Sabdavedi, which would hit the target based on sound, even if the target is invisible to eyes. The poet says: शब्दपातिनं इषुं विससर्ज॥73. Dharmasastra as well as Kshatriya dharma lay down that elephants should not be killed except in times of war.
नृपते: प्रतिषिद्धमेव तत् कृतवान् पङ्क्तिरथो विलङ्घ्य यत्।
अपथे पदमर्पयन्ति हि श्रुतवन्तोपि रजोनिमीलिता:॥ 74
The poet says that Dasaratha, though aware of Gajasastra, deployed the arrow because even wise persons commit errors owing to preponderance of Rajoguna (passion). Just as dust fallen in eyes obstructs vision, Rajoguna hid the eye of wisdom of Dasaratha. A moment of indiscretion cost him his life. Even people with sharp intellect sometimes are seen fallen into subtle traps of errors.
- सुनिपुणानामपि सूक्ष्मोपराध: दर्शनात्॥ब्र-सू-भा-18.104.22.168.
This is the statement of Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada in Brahma Sutra Bhashya.
When Dasaratha heard a human voice crying, ‘Oh father’, he realised that he had hit a human being. He then went near and saw that his arrow had hit the chest of the son of a Rishi on the river bank. He laid him on his lap and heard the story of his family. He carried him and reached him to the place where his blind parents were. True to his birth in a noble family, Dasaratha expressed deep regret for the sin he had committed, though unknowingly, and begged pardon. The sage, the father of the unfortunate son, who had died by then, said: “O king, just as we are dying now owing to grief on death of son, I curse you to die in old age of grief owing to separation from your son.” Dasaratha, who knew that the curse of great persons results indeed in good, expressed happiness that being childless, he was now assured of begetting a son.
- शापो अप्यदृष्ट तनया नन पद्मशोभे। सानुग्रहो भगवतामयि पातितोSयम्॥ 80
Dasaratha said that in his case, who had not yet seen the shine on his son’s face, even the curse was indeed a blessing.
The sage and his wife desired to be cremated along with his son; Dasaratha made arrangements accordingly. He kept the grievous curse at the depth of his heart without divulging it to anyone, like the sea holds Vadavagni (fire) at its depths.
दशम: सर्ग:Sarga Ten
Dasaratha had huge wealth and the splendour of Indra; almost ten thousand years passed after being cursed by the sage; he had no progeny. He performed Putrakameshti Ishti with sage Rishyasringa in the lead. At that time Devas, tormented by Ravana, prayed to Mahavishnu.
- नमो विश्वसृजे पूर्वं विश्वं तदनु बिभ्रते।
अथ विशवस्य संहर्त्रे तुभ्यं त्रेधा स्थितात्मने॥ 16
Prostrations to you, who take three forms with three qualities in order to create, sustain and destroy the universe.
- अमेयो मितलोकस्त्वम् अनर्थी प्रार्थनावह:।
अजितो जिष्णुरत्यन्तम् अव्यक्तो व्यक्तकारणम्॥ 18
You are immeasurable; but you measured the worlds. You grant the wishes of people; but you have no want. You are unconquerable; you conquer the world. You are the cause of this world, which is manifest; you are not manifest.
- हृदयस्थमनासन्नमकामं त्वां तपस्विनम्।
दयाळुमनघस्पृष्टं पुराणमजरं विदु:॥ 19
You are known to be present in the heart, yet not present nearby; you have no desire, you are engaged in austerity; you are compassionate in removing the misery of others, you are untouched by misery; you are ancient, but never old.
- सप्तसामोपगीतं त्वां सप्तार्णवजलेशयम्।
सप्तार्चिमुखमाचरव्यु: सप्तलोकैक संश्रयम्॥ 21
You are worshipped through seven Samas; commentators identify the seven Samas as Rathantara, Brihatsama, Vamadevyam, Vairupyam, Pavamanam, Vairajam and Chandramasam. You rest in seven seas; you have mouth as Agni, who has seven tongues. You are the unique refuge of the seven worlds. You are thus adored by the wise.
- अनवाप्तमवाप्तव्यं न तेकिञ्चन विद्यते।
लोकानुग्रह एवैको हेतुस्ते जन्मकर्मणो:॥31
There is nothing not attained by you, or yet to be attained. The only cause of your incarnation and actions is to bless the world.
Devas praised Bhagavan thus from verses 16 to 33. Bhagavan was pleased and said to Devas: “We are aware of the actions of the chief of Lanka; his actions have crossed all limits. But he has secured the boon from Brahma of not being killed by eight kinds of created beings. In fulfilment of your prayer, we shall incarnate as the son of Dasaratha. Do not worry.” At the close of Putrakameshti yaga, Dasaratha found a divine person carrying the divine drink (Payasam) coming from the Agni and worshipped him. As told by that divine person, Dasaratha gave the Payasam to Kousalya and Kaikeyi equally (half the quantity each). Then both of them gave half of the quantity they had to Sumitra. Thus Kousalya and Kaikeyi ultimately drank a quarter of the Payasam each; Sumitra had a half. They all partook of the Payasam , duly permitted by Dasaratha. Vishnu resided in their wombs in four forms. Srimad Ramayana also says:
- तत: पद्मपलाशाक्ष: कृत्वात्मानं चतुर्विधम्।
पितरं रोचयामास तदा दशरथं नृपम्॥
Advent of Sri RAMA
- अथाग्रयमहिषि राज्ञ: प्रसूतिसमये सती।
पुत्रं तमोपहं लेभे नक्तं ज्योतिरिवौषधि:॥ 66
The first wife of the king, Kousalya gave birth to a son, who destroyed the darkness (sorrow) of his father, just as light-creeper (Jyotirlata) removes the darkness of night.
- राम इत्यभिरामेण वपुषा तस्य चोदित:।
नामधेयं गुरुश्चक्रे जगत्प्रथम मङ्गलम्॥ 67
Inspired by the beauty of the child, Dasaratha named him Rama, the name most auspicious for the world.
- कैकेय्यास्तनयो जज्ञे भरतो नाम शीलवान्।
जनयित्रीमलंचक्रे य: प्रश्रय इवश्रियम्॥ 70
Kaikeyi begot a son, who was named Bharata. He was virtuous and adorned his mother, like humility adorning wealth.
- सुतौ लक्ष्मणशत्रुघ्नौ सुमित्रा सुषुवे यमौ।
सम्यगाराधिता विद्या प्रबोधविनयाविव॥ 71
Just as studies, well undertaken, confer true knowledge as well as sense control, Sumitra gave birth to twin sons, named Lakshmana and Satrughna. Dasaratha was very pleased. Devas too became happy.
From the passage
- कुमारा: कृत संस्कारा:78, it is clear that Dasaratha performed rituals like Jatakarma etc. in time.
- समानेपि हि सौभ्रात्रे यथोभौ रामलक्ष्मणौ।
तथा भरतशत्रुघ्नौ, प्रीत्या द्वन्द्वं बभूवतु:॥ 81
Though all the four children loved one another equally, Rama and Lakshmana behaved like twins with great love for each other; so too Bharata and Satrughna. Dasaratha was immersed in the ocean of joy.
एकादश: सर्ग: -Sarga Eleven
कौशिकेन सकिल क्षितीष्वर: राममध्वरविद्यातशान्तये।
काकपक्षधरमेत्य याचित: तेजसाम् हि न वय: समीक्ष्यते॥ 1
Sage Visvamitra asked Dasaratha to send Rama with him for protecting the Yaga he was performing. When Dasaratha hesitated owing to Rama’s very young age (he was not even sixteen), Visvamitra and Vasishtha explained the glory of Rama. Dasaratha then sent Rama together with Lakshmana to go to the forest with Visvamitra. In accordance with Dharma, Rama and Lakshmana worshipped father Dasaratha, mothers and Guru Vasishtha and other elders and left.
तौ बलातिबलयो: प्रभवत: विद्ययो: पथि मुनिप्रदिष्टयो:।
मम्लतुर्न मणिकुट्टिमोचितौ मातृपार्श्व परिवर्तिनाविव॥ 9
They were used to walk on gem-studded floors in the palace; but, owing to the effect of the mantras Bala and Atibala taught by Visvamitra, they did not experience tiresomeness, as if they were beside their mother.
Srimad Valmiki Ramayanam, Bala Kandam 22:17 verse also mentions the absence of hunger and thirst owing to the mantras’ effect.
क्षुत्पिपासे न ते राम भविष्येते नरोत्तम।
बलामतिबलां चैव पठत: पथि राघव॥
Sri Rama killed the Rakshasi Tataka as instructed by Visvamitra, as if to signal the future downfall of Ravana. Reaching Visvamitra’s celebrated asrama called Siddhasrama, they protected his yaga, like the eyelids protect the eyes. They sent the Rakshasa Maricha down into the distant sea, and killed Subahu, and thus helped in conducting the yaga successfully.
Visvamitra then took Rama and Lakshmana to Mithila in order to show them the bow of Siva, kept by the king Janaka. Janaka had announced the condition for marrying his daughter Sita that the suitor should string the bow of Siva. Many kings returned unsuccessfully. On the way to Mithila, Rama released Ahalya, the wife of sage Goutama, of the curse of Goutama, which had turned her into a stone. If the dust of Sri Rama’s feet had this kind of power, is there a limit to what his blessing can achieve?
King Janaka, hearing of the arrival of Sri Rama and Lakshmana along with Maharishi Visvamitra, welcomed them with traditional honours including Purnakumbha. Janaka was thinking whether Rama would succeed in stringing the bow of Siva. But Rama worshipped Visvamitra, lifted the bow with ease and strung it without any effort. The bow broke with a terrible sound. Janaka agreed to give Sita in marriage to Rama, and sent emissaries to Ayodhya to inform Dasaratha and fetch him along with the queens.
At a time when Dasaratha was on the lookout for a suitable bride for Rama, he got the news from Janaka. Here the poet says that Janaka’s priest had come carrying the message. Dasaratha went to Mithila immediately with a large army. The marriage of Rama with Sita was celebrated in a grand manner in the presence of sages Vasishtha and Visvamitra. Sita’s younger sister Urmila got married to Lakshmana; Kusadhwaja’s daughters Mandavi and Srutakirti got married to Bharata and Satrughna respectively. They all left for Ayodhya. On the way, they met Sri Parasurama and got his blessings also.
द्वादश: सर्ग: --Sarga Twelve
Sri Kalidasa Ramayanam
In a few years’ time, Dasaratha decided to perform coronation (Pattabhishekam) of Sri Rama as Yuvaraja. Hearing the news of this from the hunchback Manthara, Kaikeyi obtained from Dasaratha two boons by which Bharata would be installed as Yuvaraja, and Sri Rama would go to the forest for stay of fourteen years. She refused all entreaties of the king to withdraw her harsh demand. Sri Rama, who practised the dictum that there is no word higher than father’s, went to the forest along with Lakshmana and Sita. Dasaratha passed away due to the curse of the sage inflicted on him many years ago. Bharata and Satrughna, who were sojourning in their uncle’s home in Kekayadesa, returned to Ayodhya. On coming to know of the evil designs of his mother Kaikeyi, Bharata was overcome by severe grief and took her to task. Sri Rama, after meeting Guha and securing his friendship, spent a few days in the asrama of sage Bharadvaja, and then stayed in the forest of Chitrakuta. Bharata met Sri Rama there and prayed for his return to Ayodhya; Rama refused. Bharata then got Rama’s Padukas (sandals), installed them on the throne in Nandigrama, performed Pattabhisheka to them, and spent his time there in austerity. Under the supervision of Bharata, the kingdom was ruled by Sri Rama’s Padukas till his return. Sri Rama and Lakshmana killed Virata, and went to Panchavati as instructed by sage Agastya. Ravana’s sister Surpanakha came there and attacked Sri Rama, Lakshmana and Sita viciously. As instructed by Sri Rama, Lakshmana disfigured her by cutting off her ears and nose and drove her away. Surpanakha informed her cousins Khara and Dushana in Janasthana; they came and fought a terrible battle with Sri Rama. Sri Rama and Lakshmana exterminated them; the sages in the forest were very happy. A shocked Surpanakha went and appealed to Ravana. Ravana managed to abduct Sita with the help of Maricha. Though the eagle Jatayu fought an intense battle with Ravana, the latter cut off the wings of the bird with his divine weapon and felled him. When Sri Rama arrived at this spot, Jatayu narrated the incident to him and passed away and attained to Moksha. The demise of their father’s friend Jatayu hurt Sri Rama and Lakshmana badly. They did the obsequies to Jatayu.
With inconsolable grief, they then searched for Sita in the forest. They killed Kabandha, released him from a curse, heard of the monkey king Sugriva from him, approached Sugriva and established friendship with him.
स हत्वा वालिनं वीर: तत्पदे चिरकाङ्क्षिते।
धातो:स्थान इवादेशम् सुग्रीवं सन्यवेशयत्॥ 58
Sri Rama killed Vali, Sugriva’s elder brother and coronated Sugriva as the king of monkey kingdom. The monkeys, ordered by Sugriva, went in all the four directions in search of Sita.
प्रवृत्तावुपलब्धायां तस्या: संपाति दर्शनात्।
मारुति: सागरं तीर्ण: संसारमिव निर्मम:॥ 60
Monkey warriors including Hanuman, who were headed south, came to know of Sita’s presence in Lanka from Sampati, Jatayu’s brother. Hanuman crossed the ocean and reached Lanka, like one, who has conquered desire, crosses the ocean of repeated births and deaths.
(This brings to end Kishkindha Kandam as per Srimad Valmiki Ramayanam)
दृष्टा विचिन्वता तेन लङ्कायाम् राक्षसीवृता।
जानकी विषवल्लीभि: परीतेव महौषधि:॥ 61
Hanuman, who searched for Sita in Lanka, found her there, surrounded by Rakshasis, like the celebrated herb (Sanjivani) encircled by poisonous shrubs.
तस्यै भर्तुरभिज्ञानमङ्गुलीयम् ददौ कपि:।
Hanuman handed to Sita the ring that had been given him by Sri Rama as a sign of reliable identity. On seeing the ring, Sita shed tears of joy. Ravana heard of Hanuman’s destructive activities and got him dragged to his durbar. Announcing that he was the emissary of Sri Rama, Hanuman gave Ravana the wholesome advice of restoring Sita back to him. Ravana set fire to Hanuman’s tail; Hanuman used that fire to reduce Lanka to ashes. He then returned to Sri Rama. He conveyed to him, दृष्टादेवीति, ‘Sita has been seen by me’, and handed him humbly the Chudamani (crest jewel) given by Sita. On hearing of Sita’s news, Rama looked upon the ocean as a moat and got a dam built across the sea through the monkeys.
स सेतुं बन्धयामास प्लवगैर्लवणाम्भसि।
रसातलादिवोन्मग्नं शेषं स्वप्नाय शार्ङ्गिण:॥70
Accepting Ravana’s younger brother Vibhishana, who came for refuge, Sri Rama coronated him on the seashore itself as the king of Lanka. Crossing the ocean on foot with the help of the dam, Sri Rama and Lakshmana reached Lanka with a huge army and fought a bitter war with Ravana’s army. Indrajit, Ravana’s son, bound Sri Rama and Lakshmana with the snake missile. With Garuda’s arrival, the bonds gave way, and the battle resumed. Lakshmana killed Indrajit; Sri Rama made short work of Kumbhakarna, the younger brother of Ravana.
निर्ययावथ पौलस्त्य: पुनर्युद्धाय मन्दिरात्।
अरावणमरामम् वा जगदद्येति निश्चित:॥83
Ravana then emerged from his palace again to fight, having made up his mind that the world would be rid of either Ravana or Rama that day. Ravana was the conqueror of the chiefs of the eight quarters. He had pleased Siva by offering his heads one by one as oblations in Agni. He had once moved Kailasa mountain itself and pleased Siva with his singing of Samavedic hymns. When Ravana of such prowess confronted him on the battlefield, Sri Rama cherished his valour and felt that an enemy suited to him had arrived. Yet as only one can win in a battle, Rama ultimately felled Ravana by using Brahmastra. Devas showered flowers. Agni established the purity of Sita; Sri Rama accepted her. He coronated Vibhishana as the king inLanka. He returned to Ayodhya in Pushpaka Vimana along with Sugriva and others.
त्रयोदश: सर्ग:Sarga Thirteen
While in Pushpaka Vimana, Sri Rama showed Sita all the places in the forest where they had stayed. The Vimana on its own went over the spots which Rama wished to see. Rama showed Sita the unique beauty of the Vimana. He said: “In Janasthana, sages are living peacefully now, having reestablished themselves in asramas. When I was searching for you, this was the spot where your anklet had fallen down. Even plants and creepers wished to tell me about you; I could understand that. We searched for you on the peak of the Malyavan mountain. Look at river Pampa. This is Panchavati. It was here in the asrama that I slept on your lap. This is the asrama of sage Agastya, who turned Nahusha into a serpent and brought him down from the position of Indra. This is sage Sutikshna’s asrama. Look at the way he raised his hands in respect for me. This is the asrama of sage Sarabhanga, who was Ahitagni (constant worshipper of Agni); here oblations are constantly being offered to Bhagavan Agni. This is Chitrakuta hill. River Mandakini flows here; now owing to long distance it looks thin. This is the asrama where the great sage Atri performs austerities. He made Ganga flow here for his wife Anasuya and the seven great Rishis to bathe. Look here at the union of Ganga and Yamuna. This is Sringaverapura, where we got the friendship of Guha.” They were now close to Ayodhya.
Hearing the news of Sri Rama’s arrival from Hanuman, Bharata readied to welcome him. Sensing the thought of Sri Rama to get down with the entourage, the Vimana touched the ground. Sri Rama alighted down the crustalline steps and got down with his hand held by Sugriva. Vibhishana led the way. Rama worshipped Kulaguru Vasishtha and embraced Bharata, who worshipped him with tears in eyes. Rama then introduced all the members of the entourage to Bharata.
चतुर्दश: सर्ग:-Sarga Fourteen
Sri Rama Pattabhishekam
Sri Rama, Lakshmana and Sita prostrated to their mothers Kousalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. Thinking of the miseries undergone by the children, the mothers started to weep. Tears flowed like a stream. Sri Rama consoled everyone. His Pattabhishekam (coronation) was then celebrated on a grand scale.
अथाभिषेकं रघुवंशकेतो: प्रारब्धमानन्द जलैजर्नन्यो:।
निर्वर्तयामासुरमात्यवृद्धाः तीर्थाहृतै: काञ्चनकुम्भतोयैः॥7
In continuation of the coronation commenced with the happy tears shed by the mothers, elderly ministers performed Abhisheka (ritual pouring of water) on Sri Rama’s head from golden pitchers containg sacred waters brought from holy rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Sarayu, Godavari etc. Sri Rama Pattabhishekam is narrated in detail in Srimad Valmiki Ramayanam, Yuddha Kandam, Sarga 131 from verse 59 to 126. The fruits of reading Srimad Ramayanam are also given therein.
सौमित्रिणा सावरजेन मन्दम् आधूतवालव्यजनो रथस्थ:।
धृतातपत्रो भरतेन साक्षात् उपायसंघात इव प्रवृद्ध:॥ 11
Lakshmana, the younger brother, waved chowri lightly; Bharata held the royal white parasole; Rama, seen amidst the three valourous brothers, appeared to be the conglomeration of the four means of resolution of disputes, viz. Sama (negotiating peace), Dana (giving away something); Bheda (creating split); Danda (punishing). This idea was mentioned earlier by Kalidasa at the time of wedding of the four thus:
सामदानविधि भेद निग्रहा: इव बभु:॥ (11-55)
Sita Devi was decorated splendidly and was brought by her mothers-in-law. Sri Rama praised Kaikeyi saying that the credit for making the word of his father true and putting him in Swarga was indeed hers alone. He wiped her tears and worshipped her.
After honouring the sages suitably, Sri Rama gave away gifts to Vibhishana, Sugriva and others through the hands of Sita and bade them farewell. He sent away Pushpaka Vimana to Kubera, to whom it originally belonged.
पुष्पकं विमानंच भूय: कैलासनाथोद्वहनाय अन्वमंस्त॥20
Sri Rama was impartial in giving respect to his mothers. Sita Devi also had the same attitude. Sri Rama had only one aim and that was the welfare of the people; he combined in himself all the virtues of the kings of he Raghu dynasty. He kept track of the opinions of the people; he had an ear for what they were talking among themselves. Once he asked a spy named Bhadra about what was being talked about by people. Questioned insistently, he said:
निर्बन्ध पृष्ठ: स जगाद सर्वम् स्तुवन्ति पौराश्चरितं त्वदीयम्।
अन्यत्र रक्षोभवनोषिताया: परिग्रहान्मानवदेव देव्या:॥32
“O king, people of the city praise all your actions except your accepting Sita, who had lived in the home of the Rakshasa.” On hearing this, Sri Rama was in two minds: to ignore the rumour and keep the chaste Sita at home; or, to sacrifice Sita and remove the blemish in the minds of the public. He was confused and agitated. He consulted his brothers.
He concluded: “Born in Ikshvaku lineage, I should illumine the prestige of the family. Our lineage has always been pure. Hence, in order to get rid of the blemish, though my son is about to be born, I shall leave Sita in the forest as she had wished, just as I sacrificed the kingdom earlier at the orders of Dasaratha. Though I am aware of the purity of Sita, I consider the censure of people as mighty.” In Srimad Ramayanam, in Uttara Kandam, Sri Rama expresses this view.
अन्तरात्मा च मे वेत्ति सीतां शुद्धां यशस्विनीम्।
ततो गृहीत्वा वैदेहीमयोध्यामहमागत:॥(45-10)
His brothers had to keep silent, being aware of the firmness of Sri Rama. He decided to send Sita to the forest secretly with the help of Lakshmana. He instructed him to leave Sita in the forest near sage Valmiki’s asrama on the pretext of meeting her wish of staying in the forest. With Sumantra driving the chariot, Lakshmana took Sita. On reaching the other bank of Ganga in the boat, Lakshmana, overcome by grief, informed Sita of Sri Rama’s instruction. On hearing this, Sita fell down, wept bitterly and rolled on the ground. She called out to her mother Bhumi. Without getting angry with Rama, she blamed her own fate saying that she had sinned and had taken this birth only to experience misery. Lakshmana consoled her saying that he was bound to obey the orders of Rama; he pleaded for mercy, and showed her the asrama of Valmiki nearby. Sita uttered words of consolation to Lakshmana
कल्याणबुद्धेरथवा तवायं नकामचारो मयि शङ्कनीय:।
ममैव जन्मान्तरपातकानाम् विपाक विस्फूर्जथुरप्रसह्य:॥ 62
She asked Lakshmana to convey her message to Sri Rama: Being of auspicious mind always, your sacrificing me should not be construed as your whim. The sin I have committed in my previous birth is now rearing its head like thunder. If I had not been carrying your progeny, I would have ended my life right now, without having to be dependent on others. Please protect me as a renunciate among your citizens. I shall do penance in the midst of five fires (Panchagni: fires at four surrounding corners, with Sun at the top) in order to get you as my husband in my next birth too and to avoid such separation.
Lakshmana agreed to inform Rama accordingly and went away, leaving Sita alone in the forest. Sita then wailed loudly. Valmiki, who had come there to collect firewood for rituals, heard her wail and came near her. Coming to know of all the developments with his divine vision, he said to Sita: “I am like your father. Do not grieve. Think you have come to your father’s home.”
तवोरुकीर्ति: श्वशुर: सखा मे सतां भवोच्छेदकर: पिताते।
धुरि स्थिता त्वं पतिदेवतानाम् किं तन्न येनासि ममानुकम्प्या॥ 74
“Dasaratha, your father-in-law, of widespread fame, was my friend. You father, king Janaka, removes the misery of Samsara (repeated births and deaths) from the minds of the virtuous persons, who seek Moksha, through his teachings of Gnana. You are the foremost among chaste women. Hence you deserve my compassion in all respects. There is no fault in you.”
Sita paid obeisance to Maharishi Valmiki and went to his asrama. The women renunciates there welcomed her and got a Parnasala (thatched hut) ready for her to live. Sita bathed in river Tamasa, and having fruits etc. for food, took care of her body for protecting her progeny. Lakshmana conveyed Sita’s message to Sri Rama. Though Rama had sent Sita away, bowing to people’s criticism, she was ever in his mind. Sita also realised this and engaged in austerity in Valmiki’s asrama, meditating on Rama.
पञ्चदशस्सर्ग: -- Sarga Fifteen
Birth of Kusa and Lava
After Sita was sent away, Sri Rama did not remarry. He performed yagas with a golden image of Sita by his side. Hearing of this, Sita realized the love Rama continued to have for her and consoled herself. Sri Rama ruled the kingdom without peace of mind. Once sages living in a forest met him and conveyed about the misery caused to them by a Rakshasa called Lavana. Sri Rama despatched Satrughna to kill Lavana; Satrughna did accordingly. He spent a night in the asrama of Valmiki. The Maharishi was very hospitable. Sita then give birth to twin sons.
तस्यामेवास्य यामिन्याम् अन्तर्वत्नी प्रजावती।
सुतावसूत संपन्नौ कोशदण्डाविव क्षिति:॥ 13
In the same night of Satrughna’s stay, Sita begot the twins, like the earth begetting wealth and army. Satrughna was very happy.
उपकूलं स कालिन्द्याः पुरीं पौरुषभूषण:।
निर्ममे निर्ममोSर्थेषु मधुरां मधुराकृति:॥ 28
The handsome Satrughna, whose ornament was valour and who had no desire for mundane objects, built the town of Madhura on the banks of Yamuna after killing Lavanasura. The town shone brilliantly. In the next incarnation, Sri Rama was born there as Sri Krishna.
सखा दशरथस्यापि जनकस्य च मन्त्रकृत्।
संचस्कारोभयप्रीत्या मैथिलेयौ यथाविधि॥ 31
The seer of Mantras, Valmiki, who was friend of Dasaratha and Janaka, performed rituals like Jatakarma etc. for the two children and purified them.
सतौ कुशलवोन्मृष्ट गर्भक्लेदौ तदाख्यया।
कवि: कुशलवावेव चकार किल नामत:॥ 32
Maharishi Valmiki, who was Adikavi (the first poet), gave the names of Kusa and Lava to the two children, considering the fact that when they were in mother’s womb, the womb was purified by touching with Darbha (Kusa) grass and the hair on cow’s tail (Lava).
साङ्गं च वेदमध्याप्य किंचिदुत्क्रान्त शैशवौ।
स्वकृतिं गापयामास कविप्रथम पद्धतिम्॥ 33
Valmiki taught them Vedas with Angas (Vedangas are six), and made them sing the first poem created by him, Srimad Ramayanam, which later became the guide for future poets. Lava and Kusa sang the Ramayanam enchantingly in front of their mother Sita and thus removed her sorrow. Bharata, Satrughna and Lakshmana also begot twin sons each.
Bharata’s sons: Daksha, Pushkala
Lakshmana’s sons: Angada, Chandraketu
Satrughna’s sons: Satrughati, Subahu.
शत्रुघातिनि शत्रुघ्न: सुबाहौ च बहुश्रुते।
मधुराविदिशे सून्वो: निदधे पूर्वजोत्सुक:॥ 36
Satrughna, who wished to live with Sri Rama, appointed his sons Satrughati and Subahu to rule from Madhura and Vidisha. Kusa and Lava sang Srimad Ramayanam melodiously in Ayodhya in many venues as instructed by sage Valmiki. They sang once in Asvamedha Yagamandapa in Ayodhya in front of Sri Rama. Sri Rama shed tears and forgot himself in the beauty of the children. The assembled people shed tears and were motionless. Sri Rama asked them very lovingly.
गेये को नु विनेता वाम् कस्य चेयं कृति: कवे:।
इति राज्ञा स्वयं पृष्टौ तौ वाल्मीकिमशंसताम्॥ 69
Asked directly by the king as to who had taught them to sing, and who the author of the epic poem was, the two children answered that it was Valmiki. The highly pleased Rama gave away his entire kingdom to Valmiki. But Valmiki replied that Kusa and Lava were the twin sons of Sri Rama; Sita had delivered them in his asrama; he should accept them.
He then sent for Sita from his asrama. Sri Rama said that first the people of the city should accept her; then he could take her back. The next day Sita stood there with the children in the midst of people. On seeing Sita, people knew of her purity. They did not dare to look at her, feeling sad for the cruelty they had imposed on her. Valmiki then asked Sita to establish her chastity. She partook of the sacred water he gave, and prayed to her mother Bhumidevi.
वाङ्मन: कर्मभि: पत्यौ व्यभिचारो यथा न मे।
तथा विश्वंभरे देवि मामन्तर्धातुमर्हसि॥ 81
“O Bhumidevi, you support the entire world. In case there is no blemish in me with respect to my husband through thought, word and action, you should keep me with you inside.” Sita cried asking Bhumidevi to take her in. The earth split immediately, Bhumidevi appeared seated in a throne held by serpents’ hoods, took Sita with her and vanished.
All people cried bitterly. Sri Rama and the children too wailed. Vasishtha consoled all. Rama brought up Kusa and Lava with love and affection. He destroyed the evil forces of Sindhudesa through Bharata. Bharata anointed his two children Daksha and Pushkala as kings in cities named after them. As instructed by Sri Rama, Lakshmana anointed his two sons Angada and Chandraketu as kings in the region of Karapada. Sri Rama coronated his children Kusa and Lava in the towns of Kusavathi and Saravathi. He proceeded northwards along with his brothers in order to go to Swarga. Followed by all the people, Sri Rama got down inthe river Sarayu.
यद्गोप्रतर कल्पोभूत् संमर्दस्तत्र मज्जताम्।
अतस्तदाख्यया तीर्थं पावनं भुवि पप्रथे॥ 101
Like cows brushing against one another and proceeding ahead hastily while crossing a river, people rushed in the Sarayu river and proceeded to Swarga. Hence that spot became famous as a holy tirtha with the name of ‘Gopratara’. After successfully completing his divine mission of extermination of Ravana, Bhagavan Vishnu made Hanuman and Vibhishana stay back in this world as pillars of triumph, and attained to his divine state.
षोडशस्सर्ग: - Sarga Sixteen
Kusa ruled splendidly from the city of Kusavathi.
अथेतरे सप्त रघुप्रवीरा: ज्येष्ठं पुरोजन्मतया गुणैश्च।
चक्रु: कुशम् रत्न विशेषभाजम्सौभ्रात्रमेषाम् हि कुलानुसारि॥
Lava, the son of Rama, and the children of Rama’s brothers gave the best gifts to Kusa, the eldest and the best among them. Brotherly love was indeed behind their action. It was the characteristic of the Raghu dynasty that the brothers had mutual love and unity. Without transgressing the boundaries of their respective countries, they developed their countries’ wealth all round, and ruled very well and protected the people.
One day Kusa found a beautiful, unknown woman at midnight in her room. Kusa told her: “It appears you have Yogic power. That is how you have entered my room, which is bolted from inside. You appear sad. Who are you? Whose wife are you? What brought you here at midnight to see me? Kings of Raghu dynasty do not seek others’ wives. Tell me now what you wish to convey.”
The woman replied: “I am the deity of Ayodhya. As your father took the people of Ayodhya with him when he went to Vaikuntha, my Ayodhya city, more splendid than Alakapuri of Kubera, stands decrepit today. Hence I feel miserable. Jackals blare in the city with no human population. Peacocks are sad; they do not dance with their plumes wide open. The city has become the home of wild animals. Hence you should now get back to Ayodhya, the capital of your ancestors and restore it to its old glory. This is my request.” Kusa said he would consult elders and then come to Ayodhya. The deity then vanished. The next day when Kusa consulted, Vasishtha and others approved of the shift of the capital to Ayodhya.
कुशावतीं श्रोत्रियसात्स कृत्वा यात्रानु कूलेSहनि सावरोध:।
अनुद्रुतो वायुरिवाभ्रवृन्दै: सैन्यैरयोद्याभिमुख: प्रतस्थे॥
Kusa left Kusavathi in the hands of brahmanas, well versed in Vedas. He proceeded to Ayodhya on an auspicious day, accompanied by the women of his inner apartments. He was followed by the armed forces, like wind followed by clouds. On the way he prayed to Ganga Devi while crossing the river. On the banks of river Sarayu, he saw the Yupastambhas (posts to which sacrificial animals are tied) set up by kings of the Raghu dynasty in yagas over a long time. Though many years had elapsed, he was surprised to see them shine as if they were new. He then got Vastu Puja done by those who are learned in Vastu methods. He honoured people suitably after entering the palace. Ayodhya regained its lost glory. The deity of Ayodhya also became happy.
Kusa once was playing in the waters of river Sarayu. When he reached the riverbank after bath, he found his armlet missing; that armlet had been handed to him at his coronation by Sri Rama, who had himself received it from sage Agastya. He searched everywhere; divers searched in the waters; but the armlet was not traceable. They told him that possibly it had been stolen by the Naga Kumuda, who lived in the depths of the river. Kusa took Garudastra in his hand; Kumuda came and informed the king that his sister Kumudvati had taken the armlet unknowingly and asked for pardon. He returned the ornament and pleaded with the king to take it back. He added that Kumudvati wished to serve him throughout his lifetime. Kusa accepted his proposal and married Kumudvati. Kumuda lived without fear of Garuda and the people of Ayodhya were rid of the fear of serpents.
सप्तदश: सर्ग: ---- Sarga Seventeen
Stories of Emperors Sudarsana and Agnivarna
अतिथिं नाम काकुत्स्थात् पुत्रं प्राप कुमुद्वती।
पश्चिमाद्यामिनीयामात् प्रसादमिव चेतना॥ १
Kumudvati begot the famous son Atithi from Kusa of the dynasty of Kakutstha, like intellect attaining clarity from the last yama of the night (early morning). By his virtuous conduct, Atithi brought further glory to the dynasties of his parents. Kusa and Kumudvati were very happy to see the limitless development and intellectual prowess of Atithi. Once when Kusa fought the wicked Asura Durjaya, both of them met with their deaths. Atithi was enthroned as desired by Kusa. The time of coronation was quite suited to Atithi.
नदद्भि: स्निग्धगम्भीरम् तूर्यैराहत पुष्करै:।
अन्वमीयत कल्याणम् तस्याविच्छिन्न संतति॥
The sweet and majestic melodies emanating from mridanga and other musical instruments at the time of his coronation foretold the continuous good times that Atithi would enjoy in future. Minstrels sang his praise. As the king gave away gold coins in plenty to brahmanas at the close of the coronation, they had enough wealth to perform yagas with sufficient Dakshina for their entire lifetime. it was noteworthy that his actions followed the tenets of Arthasastra. The brahmanas blessed him profusely.
Prisoners were freed. Capital punishment was withdrawn. Calves were let free to drink milk from cows as they liked. At the close of the coronation, Atithi rode an elephant like Airavata through the city. Ayodhya looked like Swarga. People were overjoyed. He conducted direct enquiries with parties in dispute with the help of elders versed in Dharma Sastras. He removed all doubts in the processes. He was invincible to enemies from within and without. He was loving in his behaviour with one and all. Wealth never forsake him. He consulted ministers on matters of state in secret every day. The secrecy of his consultations was well maintained. He was true to the dynasty of Dilipa. In the first Sarga, verse 20, we saw a similar narration of Dilipa’s actions.
तस्य संवृतमन्त्रस्य...............प्राक्तनाइव॥ 1.20
Atithi had an eye on all developments in the country through his spies. His efforts were visible to others only when they bore fruit. Though very wealthy, he never took to inglorious ways. He engaged in warfare after knowing the strength of the enemy. He protected his core army like his own body. Traders moved about freely in rivers, forests and mountains without fear of thieves and wild animals. In the forests Rishis engaged in austerities without any anxiety.
स्तूयमान: स जिह्वाय स्तुत्यमेव समाचरन्।
तथापि ववृधे तस्य तत्कारिद्वेषिणो यश:॥ 73
As Atithi always performed praiseworthy acts, elders acclaimed him. When others praised him, he felt bashful. As he did not care for fame, his fame grew more and more. Citizens acted with full freedom. He attained peaks of conduct by following the path of Sastras like his forefathers. The poet says: शास्त्रनिर्दिष्टवर्त्मना||77. As Atithi gave away a lot of wealth in Yagas to Ritwiks, he got the name of Kubera, viz. Dhanada. Atithi’s rule appeared as if all the virtues of the kings of Raghu dynasty appeared together in his form.
अष्टादश: सर्ग: Sarga Eighteen
Atithi married the daughter of the king of Nishada. As the son born to them had the strength of Nishada mountain, he was named Nishada. Priding himself on the attainments of his son, Atithi handed charge of the kingdom to him, and took to path of yoga like his ancestors and dropped his body.
Nishada ruled the kingdom justly like his father. In this Sarga, the poet lists the succeeding generations of kings and says that their rule was just. The list of kings has been provided right at the beginning of this text. The poet describes in detail the rule of Sudarsana, the son of Dhruvasandhi alone. Sudarsana’s growth was limitless. He attained mastery in studies without any difficulty. He brought people under his spell by his excellent conduct.
एकोनविंश: सर्ग:Sarga Nineteen
The great intellectual, the self-controlled master of Yoga, Sudarsana coronated his son Agnivarna, and proceeded to Naimisaranya for doing penance. He forgot his palace life and bathed in holy waters. He slept on hard ground on a mat of Darbhas. He lived in thatched hut. He was single-minded in pursuit of austerity. फलनिस्पृहस्तप: संचिकाय॥ 2. He performed austerity with no desire for fruits like Swarga.
In this Sarga, the great poet Kalidasa says that Agnivarna concentrated only on Kama (sense pleasures), in the hierarchy of Dharma, Artha and Kama. Unlike his ancestors, he did not pay attention to studies. He did not perform Yagas. He entrusted the kingdom to his ministers and spent all his time in enjoyment of sense pleasures. Ever in the mood of celebrating some occasion, he was in the company of women of the inner apartments, drinking and sporting. Ministers were sad. People wished to see the king; but Agnivarna never met the people. Ministers faithfully protected him from harm. Agnivarna’s health deteriorated quicklyowing to his evil habitsand he passed away. As his wife was pregnant, people entrusted the kingdom to her.
Just as Bhumidevi holds in herself the seeds sown in the month of Sravana, the queen held her child in the womb for the benefit of the world. Seated on the throne, she ruled the kingdom well with the assistance of traditional elderly ministers.
This summary comes to an end with this 19th Sarga of the great epic Raghuvamsam of Mahakavi Kalidasa.
नीलाम्बुज श्यामलकोमलाङ्गम् सीतासमारोपित वामभागम्।
पाणौ महासायक चारुचापम् नमामि रामं रघुवंशनाथम्॥
- Sri Goswami Tulasidasa