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Chapter 56: Ravana Sends Sita to the Ashoka Garden

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Ravana Sends Sita to the Ashoka Garden


Seetha reprimands Ravana in saying that her unswerving devotion to Rama will not permit her to be dominated by anyone. She gives word-by-word replies to all that is prattled by Ravana in earlier chapter. A discussion about Seetha's stance and stability is given in the endnote of this chapter.

Chapter [Sarga] 56 In Detail

saa tathaa uktaa tu vaidehii nirbhayaa shoka karshitaa |

trinam antaratah kritvaa raavanam prati abhaasata || 3-56-1

She that Vaidehi who is haggard by anguish boldly spoke to Ravana when he addressed her in that way, duly placing a blade of straw in between herself and Ravana. [3-56-1]

raajaa dasharatho naama dharma setuh iva acalah |

satya sandhah parijnaato yasya putrah sa raaghavah || 3-56-2

"He whose son is Raghava, is a resolute king known as Dasharatha. That king is a kingly rampart for righteousness, a kingpin abiding in forthrightness and thereby his kingliness is well renowned in all worlds, and my husband Rama is such a king's son. [3-56-2]

raamo naama sa dharmaatmaa trisu lokesu vishrutah |

diirgha baahuh vishaalaakso daivatam sa patih mama || 3-56-3

"Such a Dasharatha's son who is virtue-souled one, who is highly renowned in all the three worlds for his ambidexterity and perspicacity, and who is known as Rama is my husband and a god to me. [3-56-3]

iksvaakuunaam kule jaatah si.mha skandho mahaadyutih |

laksmanena saha bhraatraa yah te praanaan harisyati || 3-56-4

"He who took birth in Ikshvaku's dynasty is a great-resplendent one with his shoulders like those of a lion, and who comes here along with similarly lion-shouldered and nearly great-resplendent brother of his, namely Lakshmana, to take your lives away. Such Rama is my husband. [3-56-4]

pratyaksam yadi aham tasya tvayaa syaam dharsitaa balaat |

shayitaa tvam hatah sa.nkhye janasthaane yathaa kharah || 3-56-5

"Had I been forcibly humiliated by you in the presence of Rama, you too would have been killed by Rama in combat and by now you too would be sprawling on earth, as with Khara in Janasthaana, but you foxed him. However, such Rama is my husband. [3-56-5]

ya ete raaksasaah proktaa ghora ruupaa mahaabalaah |

raaghave nirvisaah sarve suparne pannagaa yathaa || 3-56-6

"Those demons who are spoken of you to be with ghastly forms and gruelling power, they all will become formless and powerless in face of Raghava, as with all snakes becoming non-poisonous earthworms in the face of Garuda, the Divine Eagle. Such Rama is my husband. [3-56-6]

tasya jyaa vipramuktaah te sharaah kaa.ncana bhuusanaah |

shariiram vidhamisyanti ga.ngaa kuulam iva uurmayah || 3-56-7

"Those gilded arrows of Rama unloosened directly and unswervingly from his bowstring will utterly batter your body, as the waves of River Ganga will be battering that river's riverbanks. Such Rama is my husband. [3-56-7]

asuraih vaa suraih vaa tvam yadi avadhyo asi raavana |

utpaadya sumahat vairam jiivan tasya na moksyase || 3-56-8

"Even if you are not killable either by gods or by demons, you Ravana, you will not be disenthralled [liberated] by Rama while you are alive, for you hatched a very great animosity in him against you. [3-56-8]

sa te jiivita shesasya raaghavo anta karo balii |

pashoh yuupa gatasya iva jiivitam tava durlabham || 3-56-9

"That mighty Rama will become the terminator of the vestige of your life, and as with an animal fastened to the stake of sacrifice your life too will become irretrievable. [3-56-9]

yadi pashyet sa raamah tvaam rosa diiptena caksusaa |

raksah tvam adya nirdagdho yathaa rudrena manmadhah || 3-56-10

"If he that Rama glances you with his rancour-torched eyes, you demon, you will be completely burnt down now itself, as with Love-god burnt down by Furious Shiva. [3-56-10]

yah candram nabhaso bhuumau paatayen naashayeta vaa |

saagaram shosayet vaa api sa siitaam mocayet iha || 3-56-11

"He that Rama who hurls down the moon from skies onto earth, or else extirpates [destroys] it if need be, or even desiccates [dry up] an ocean, he alone rescues Seetha from here. [3-56-11]

gata aayuh tvam gata shriikah gata sattvo gata indriyah |

la.nkaa vaidhavya sa.myuktaa tvat kritena bhavisyati || 3-56-12

"Gone is your livability, gone is your prosperity, gone is your vivacity, and gone is your faculty. Thus Lanka is widowed by a single deed of yours. [3-56-12]

na te paapam idam karma sukha udarkam bhavisyati |

yaa aham niitaa vinaa bhaavam pati paarshvaat tvayaa vanaat || 3-56-13

"In forest you have separated me from the propinquity of my husband, which diabolic deed of yours will not result in any ultimate happiness for you. [3-56-13]

sa hi devara - daivata - sa.myukto mama bhartaa mahaadyutih |

nirbhayo viiryam aashritya shuunye vasati dandake || 3-56-14

"In fact, that great-resplendent husband of mine, Rama, is still residing in the eremitical Dandaka forest, bravely hinging on to his own valor, in tandem only with my brother-in-law. [3-56-14]

sa te viiryam darpam balam utsekam ca tathaa vidham |

apanesyati gaatrebhyah shara var.hsena sa.nyuge || 3-56-15

"With storms of his arrows in a given combat my husband will dislodge arrogance, insolence [being proud], puissance [power], like that impudence [lacking modesty] from every limb of yours. [3-56-15]

yadaa vinaasho bhuutaanaam drishyate kaala coditah |

tadaa kaarye pramaadyanti naraah kaala vasham gataah || 3-56-16

"As and when ruination [destruction] of created beings manifests [show] actuated [moved] by time, then all of them will place their behavior in endangerment, as they have gone under the control of End-Time. [3-56-16]

maam pradhrisya sa te kaalah praapto ayam raksasa adhama |

aatmano raaksasaanaam ca vadhaaya antah purasya ca || 3-56-17

"This is that time which has bechanced [befallen] on you owing to your molesting me, you basely demon, by which time-factor yourself, all of your demons, and even all of your queens in the Chambers of Queens will be devastated. [3-56-17]

na shakyaa yajna madhyasthaa vedih sruk bhaanda manditaa |

dvijaati ma.ntra sa.mpuutaa candaalena avamarditum || 3-56-18

"It is impossible for a profaner [abuser] to heavily tread on the Altar of Fire amidst a Ritual Hall surrounded by oblational vessels, further sanctified by Vedic hymns. [3-56-18]

tathaa aham dharma nityasya dharma patnii dridha vrataa |

tvayaa sa.mprastum na shakyaa aham raakshasaadhama paapinaa || 3-56-19

"Likewise, I am the solemnly pledged legitimate wife of one who steadied himself in righteousness, and such as I am, you basely demon, it is impossible for you trespasser to touch me even. [3-56-19]

kriidantii raaja ha.msena padma sa.ndesu nityashah |

ha.msii saa trina sandastham katham draksheta madgukam || 3-56-20

"How a she-swan ever frolicking with majestic swans in bunches of lotuses can leer at a water-crow sneaking in a bunch of grass? [3-56-20]

idam shariiram nihsa.njnam bandha vaa ghaatayasva vaa |

na idam shariiram raksyam me jiivitam vaa api raaksasa || 3-56-21

na tu shakyaami upakrosham prithivyaam dhaatum aatmanah |

"Oh, demon, you may either trammel [catch] or vandalize this inertial body of mine. I claim neither this body nor life of mine as my own. But I am intolerant to bear with any disrepute on this earth." Thus Seetha castigated Ravana. [3-56-21, 22a]

evam uktvaa tu vaidehii kroddhaat su parusam vacah || 3-56-22

raavanam maithilii tatra punah na uvaaca ki.mcana |

Vaidehi on speaking those highly caustic words angrily to Ravana in this way, she that Maithili spoke no more in that matter. [3-56-22b, 23a]

siitaayaa vacanam shrutvaa parusam roma harsanam || 3-56-23

prati uvaaca tatah siitaam bhaya sa.ndarshanam vacah |

On hearing Seetha's scathing [bitterly severe] and hair-raising censures [opinion], then Ravana retorted with these intimidatory [frightening] chides [to speak out in angry]. [3-56-23b, 24a]

shrinu maithili mat vaakyam maasaan dvaadasha bhaamini || 3-56-24

kaalena anena na abhyesi yadi maam caaru haasini |

tatah tvaam praatah aashaa artham suudaah chetsyanti leshashah || 3-56-25

"Oh, angry lady Maithili, listen to my words. A period of twelve months is given to you. And oh, smiley smiler, if you do not come nigh [near] of me within that period, then the cooks will slice you to pieces for the purpose of a morning meal." [3-56-24b, 25]

iti uktvaa parusam vaakyam raavanah shatru raavanah |

raaksasiih ca tatah kruddha idam vacanam abraviit || 3-56-26

Thus on saying those harsh words, Ravana, the one who makes his enemies to bewail, and who is now infuriated said this sentence to the guarding demoness. [3-56-26]

shiighram eva hi raaksasyo vikritaa ghora darshanaah |

darpam asyaa apanesyantu maa.msa shonita bhojanaah || 3-56-27

"Oh, gnarled [knotty] demoness of grisly [frightening] mien [appearance] and devourers of meat and blood, you have to indeed remove her pride immediately. [3-56-27]

vacanaat eva taah tasya vikritaa ghora darshanaah |

krita praa.njalayo bhuutvaa maithiliim paryavaarayan || 3-56-28

Just by that order of Ravana those demoness of grotesque [fanciful] and ugly appearance have obediently made palm-fold to him and encircled Maithili. [3-56-28]

sa taah provaaca raajaa tu raavano ghora darshanaah |

pracaalya carana utkarsaih daarayan iva mediniim || 3-56-29

That king Ravana paced in an earth-shattering manner as though to cleave it and clearly said this to those demoness with ghastly look. [3-56-29]

ashoka vanikaa madhye maithilii niiyataam iti |

tatra iyam raksyataam guudham yusmaabhih parivaaritaa || 3-56-30

"Let this Maithili be taken to the centre of Ashoka gardens, where you all shall blockade and guard her stealthily. [3-56-30]

tatra enaam tar.hjanaih ghoraih punah saa.ntvaih ca maithiliim |

aanayadhvam vasham sarvaa vanyaam gaja vadhuum iva || 3-56-31

"You threaten her with dreadful admonitions and again speaking imploringly you all have to bring her under control, as a wild she-elephant of age will be brought under control. [3-56-31]

iti prati samaadistaa raaksasyo raavanena taah |

ashoka vanikaam jagmuh maithiliim parigrihya tu || 3-56-32

sarvakaamaphalairvriksairnaanaapuspaphalairvritaam - yadvaa -

sarva kaama phalaih vriksaih naanaa puspa phalaih vritaam |

sarva kaala madaih ca api dvijaih samupasevitaam || 3-56-33

When Ravana has clearly ordered, those demoness on their part took Maithili to Ashoka garden. That Ashoka gardens are surrounded with trees that yield fruits to every savor, and now they are diversely flowered and fruited. Further, those gardens are highly adored by all-time lusty birds. [3-56-32, 33]

saa tu shoka pariita a.ngii maithilii janakaatmajaa |

raaksasii vasham aapannaa vyaaghriinaam harinii yathaa || 3-56-34

But she that Janaka's daughter Maithili whose body is with a coverall of anguish, further on obtaining the control of demoness, she is as good as a she-deer under the coverall of tigresses. [3-56-34]

shokena mahataa grastaa maithilii janakaatmajaa |

na sharma labhate bhiiruh paasha baddhaa mrigii yathaa || 3-56-35

Maithili, the daughter of Janaka, who is already consumed by utmost agony has not obtained any placidity now as with a she-deer bound by tether - where timorousness is common to both. [3-56-35]

na vindate tatra tu sharma maithilii

viruupa netraabhih atiiva tarjitaa |

patim smarantii dayitam ca devaram

vicetanaa abhuut bhaya shoka piiditaa || 3-56-36

Maithili knows no peace when the bizarre-eyed demonesses have highly intimidated her, and by shut-seeing those demonesses her reminiscences went over to her dear husband and about her brother-in-law Lakshmana too, and when she felt about the improbability of their coming here, she is distraught with alarm and anguish, and then she swooned. [3-56-36]

iti vaalmiiki raamaayane aadi kaavye aranya kaande sat pa.ncaashah sargah

Thus, this is the 56th 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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