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Chapter 1: Reception of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita by the Sages

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Reception of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita by the Sages


Rama, Seetha, and Lakshmana enter the great forest called Dandaka Forest and adore the eminent sages, who are in penance and hermitages in that forest. This canto is named as Aranya Kanda not just to show that Rama roved over just forests. The forests, as per Indian tradition, are the treasure houses of knowledge, and they are the ultimate in Vedic culture.

Thus, until Ayodhya Kanda Rama's exile is in aaryavarta, the place of noblemen, from River Ganges to Greece. Now Rama is stepping into an area called Janasthaana, meaning people's place. This Janasthaana is the place where Rama eradicated certain negative aspects of the then anarchic individualized dominions where jungle law was the only recourse and brought all of them under one roof. Though people lived there about along with sages and demons as well, demonic influence is said to be predominant, as per Ramayana or other Purana’s. These demons are narrated to be man-eaters, but not cannibals who eat their own tribesmen.

Chapter [Sarga] 1 in Detail

pravishya tu mahaaranyam dandakaaranyam aatmavaan |

raamo dadarsha durdharsha taapasa aashrama mandalam || 3-1-1

On entering the impenetrable Dandaka forest that courageous and unassailable Rama saw clusters of hermitages of sages. [3-1-1]

kusha chiira parikshiptam braahmyaa lakshmyaa samaavritam |

yathaa pradiiptam durdarsham gagane suurya mandalam || 3-1-2

Overspread with Darbha, the sacred grass, and jute clothing, well pervaded with Vedic splendor and well glowing like the un-seeable solar arena in the sky, with naked eye. [3-1-2]

sharanyam sarva bhuutaanaam su sa.mmrishta ajiram sadaa |

mrigaih bahubhih aakiirnam paxi sanghaih samaavritam || 3-1-3

Those hermitages have well-tidied thresholds on all sides, dense with many deer and teemed with many groups of birds, and they are the recourse for all living beings. [3-1-3]

puujitam cha upanrittam cha nityam apsarasaam ganaih |

vishaalaih agni sharanaih sruk bhaandaih ajinaih kushaih || 3-1-4

samidbhih toya kalashaih phala muulaih cha shobhitam |

aaranyaih cha mahaa vrikshaih punyaih svaadu phalair vritam || 3-1-5

Those hermitages are always adored by groups of Apsaras with their continued dancing, their Holy Fireplaces are very broad, and are with oblation items, vessels, deerskins and sacred grass, and they are beaming forth with gigantic trees that yield sacred and palatable fruits, and with ritual fuels, and water vessels, tubers and fruits. [3-1-4, 5]

bali homa architam punyam brahma ghosha ninaaditam |

pushpaih cha anyaih parikshiptam padminyaa cha sa padmayaa || 3-1-6

Those hermitages are sacrosanct for Ritual fire is being worshiped with fire-oblations and sacrifices to the reverberating Vedic sounds, and they are enwrapped with lotus ponds with lotuses, and even with flowers of forest. [3-1-6]

phalamuula ashanaih daantaih chiira krishnaajina ambaraih |

suurya vaishvaanara aabhaih cha puraanaih munibhir yutam || 3-1-7

They have age-old saints with controlled senses who are clad in jute cloths and deerskin, and who subsist on fruits and tubers alone, ye their resplendence is like that that of the Sun-god or the Fire-god. [3-1-7]

punyaih cha niyata aahaaraih shobhitam parama risibhih |

tat brahma bhavana prakhyam brahma ghosha ninaaditam || 3-1-8

Rama has seen such a cluster of hermitages that is glistening forth just by the presence of holy saints whose sustenance is constrained, and that hermitage is distinctive like Brahma's abode, reverberating with the sounds of that Brahma's Vedic chants alone. [3-1-8]

brahma vidbhih mahaa bhaagaih braahmanaih upashobhitam |

tat drishtvaa raaghavah shriimaan taapasa aashrama mandalam || 3-1-9

abhyagacchat mahaatejaa vijyam kritvaa mahad dhanuh |

That glorious and great resplendent Rama on seeing those precincts of hermitage that is graced with highly blest Brahmans, the knower of Brahma, neared it, unstringing the bowstring of his great bow. [3-1-9-10a]

divya jnaana upapannaah te raamam drishtvaa maharshayah || 3-1-10

abhijagmuh tadaa priitaa vaidehiim cha yashasviniim |

Those great sages, the possessors of divine knowledge, are gladdened on seeing Rama and illustrious Seetha, and they moved towards them welcomingly. [3-1-10-11a]

te tu somam iva udyantam drishtvaa vai dharmachaarinam || 3-1-11

laxmanam ca eva drishtvaa tu vaidehiim cha yashashviniim |

mangalaani prayunjaanaah pratyagrihnaan dridha vrataah || 3-1-12

But those sages who are austerely committed to vows, on their seeing Rama, the treader [follower] on the path of rectitude [righteousness], and who is now arising like moon, and at Lakshmana and at glorious Seetha as well, rendered Vedic blessings and welcomed the trio. [3-1-11a-12]

ruupa sa.mhananam lakshmiim saukumaaryam suveshataam |

dadrishur vismita aakaaraa raamasya vana vaasinah || 3-1-13

Those forest-dwelling sages saw the physical built its augustness and gracefulness, and his fine attire remaining in astonished postures. [3-1-13]

vaidehiim lakshmanam raamam netrair animishair iva |

aashcharya bhuutaan dadrishuh sarve te vana vaasinah || 3-1-14

The forest-dwellers saw Rama, Seetha, and Lakshmana without a wink on their own eyes [as though the Vishnu along with Goddess Lakshmi and Thousand headed-serpent, aadi shesha are coming from their abode Vaikuntha to this hermitage, for this hermitage is like Brahma's abode, as already said, thus the sages lost their wink. And loosing any single wink will loose the sight of these divinities from Vaikuntha; hence their unannounced arrival caused surprise in them, which further caused a wink-less state [3-1-14]

atra enam hi mahaabhaagaah sarva bhuuta hite rataah |

atithim parnashaalaayaam raaghavam samnyaveshayan || 3-1-15

Those august sages that are interested in the well being of all beings have indeed accommodated Rama in that hermitage, as Rama is their guest a priori. [3-1-15]

tato raamasya satkritya vidhinaa paavaka upamaah |

aajahruh te mahaabhaagaah salilam dharmachaarinah || 3-1-16

Then those august sages who are similar to sacred fire in glow have procedurally accorded guest-ship to Rama, and fetched water for him. [3-1-16]

mangalaani prayunjaanaa mudaa paramayaa yutaa |

muulam pushpam phalam sarvam aashramam cha mahaatmanah || 3-1-17

nivedayiitvaa dharmajnaah te tu praa.njalayo.abruvan |

On sounding out Vedic blessings those virtuous sages have offered flowers, fruits and tubers, and even the entire hermitage to that great soul Rama, and then with their palms adjoined. [3-1-17-18a]

dharmapaalo janasya asya sharanyah cha mahaayashaah || 3-1-18

puujaniiyah cha maanyah cha raajaa dandadharo guruh |

"The king will have great renown for he is the ruler of the righteousness of these people, a protector, a respectable and adorable one, and as he wields the scepter [royal or imperial authority] of justice, he is a revered one too... [3-1-18-19a]

indrasya eva chaturbhaagah prajaa rakshati raaghava || 3-1-19

raajaa tasmaad varaan bhogaan ramyaan bhunkte namaskritah |

"The fourth part of Indra is the protector of people, called the king, and hence Oh! Raghava, the king is hailed, and hence he enjoys best and delightful fortune... [3-1-19b-20a]

te vayam bhavataa rakshyaa bhavad vishaya vaasinah |

nagarastho vanastho vaa tvam nah raajaa janeshvarah || 3-1-20

"You alone have to protect us as we are the subjects living in your kingdom...may you be in the capital... or in the are our king... [3-1-20b, c]

nyasta dandaa vayam raajan jita krodhaa jitendriyaah |

rakshaniiyaah tvayaa shashvad garbha bhuutaah tapodhanaah || 3-1-21

"We gave-up punishments, either physically or by the power of curses, conquered are our anger and senses, and our ascesis is the only wealth of ours, thus oh! King, we are to be protected by you, like the fetus inside a womb... [3-1-21]

evam uktvaa phalair muulaih pushpair anyaih cha raaghavam |

vanyaih cha vividha aahaaraih sa lakshmanam apuujayan || 3-1-22

Thus saying they worshipped Raghava along with Lakshmana, on giving fruits, tubers, flowers and other varieties of forest foods. [3-1-22]

tathaa.anye taapasaah siddhaa raamam vaishvaanara upamaah |

nyaaya vrittaa yathaa nyaayam tarpayaamaasur iishvaram || 3-1-23

Thus other saints and sages who are the followers of the virtue, and similar to the Sacred Fire adored Rama, the king, according to the wont of custom. [3-1-23]

 iti vaalmiiki raamaayane aadi kaavye aranya kaande prathamah sargah

Thus, this is the 1st chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate




Desiraju Hanumanta Rao. (1998). Aranya Kanda - Forest track.


Merriam-Webster. (2007). At (2007). At

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