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Chapter 71: Kabandha Tells His History

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Kabandha Tells His History


Kabandha requests Rama to incinerate him, so that he would get his divine form and then would be able to give some clues in regaining Seetha. He admits that the present hideous state has chanced only because of his arrogant behavior, thereby a sort of repentance has occurred in him. A course of conversations occurs among these two, as each is distrustful of the other.

Chapter [Sarga] 71 in Detail

puraa raama mahaabaaho mahaabala paraakrama |

ruupam aasiit mama aci.ntyam trisu lokesu vishrutam || 3-71-1

yathaa suuryasya somasya shakrasya ca yathaa vapuh |

"Oh, great dexterous Rama with great daring and dashing, as to how the physique of sun, moon, and even that of Indra is there now, my physique was also like that earlier, an unbelievable mien and renowned in all the three worlds... [3-71-1, 2a]

so aham ruupam idam kritvaa loka vitraasanam mahat || 3-71-2

risiin vana gataan raama traasayaami tatah tatah |

"Such as I was with an admirable body, disguising myself in this kind of horrendous form which is utterly dreadful to the world, I was scaring the forest living sages, there and there... [3-71-2]

tatah sthuulashiraa naama maharsih kopito mayaa || 3-71-3

sa.ncinvan vividham vanyam ruupena anena dharsitah |

"On one day, when a great sage named Sthuulashira was collecting divers forest produce for his Vedic-ritual, I scared him with this ugly form and I even exasperated [enraged] him... [3-71-3b, 4a]

tena aham uktah preksya evam ghora shaapa abhidhaayinaa || 3-71-4

etat eva nrisha.nsam te ruupam astu vigarhitam |

"On seeing me that sage who is an enforcer of deadly curse cursed me in this way, 'that which is presently diabolic [devilish] and despicable [worthless] form of yours, hereinafter you will abide in this form alone...' [3-71-4b, 5a]

sa mayaa yaacitah kruddhah shaapasya anto bhavet iti || 3-71-5

abhishaapa kritasya iti tena idam bhaasitam vacah |

"When I begged that enraged sage as, 'even if I have committed this blasphemy owing to my blasphemous fate, will there be an end to this blasphemed form of mine, or not...' and then he spoke this word to me... [3-71-5b, 6a]

yadaa chittvaa bhujau raamah tvaam dahet vijane vane || 3-71-6

tadaa tvam praapsyase ruupam svam eva vipulam shubham |

“‘When Rama incinerates you in an uninhibited forest on chopping off your shoulders, then you will regain your own grand and auspicious form...' So said the sage to me... [3-71-6b, 7a]

shriyaa viraajitam putram danoh tvam viddhi laksmana || 3-71-7

indra kopaat idam ruupam praaptam evam rana aajire |

"Oh, Lakshmana, you may know as the most handsome son of Danu, and this misshapen form has chanced on me owing the ire of Indra in battlefield... [3-71-7b, 8a]

aham hi tapasaa ugrena pitaamaham atosayam || 3-71-8

diirgham aayuh sa me praadaat tato maam vibhramo asprishat |

"I have gladdened Grandparent Braham with severe ascesis and He granted longevity to me, and then a kind of recalcitrance touched off in my mind... [3-71-8b, 9a]

diirgham aayuh mayaa praaptam kim me shakrah karisyati || 3-71-9

iti evam buddhim aasthaaya rane shakram adharsayam |

“‘When longevity is acquired by me what Indra can do to me...' thus relying upon that kind of certitude, I jousted with Indra in a bout... [3-71-9b, 10a]

tasya baahu pramuktena vajrena shata parvanaa || 3-71-10

sakthinii ca shirah caiva shariire sa.mpraveshitam |

"But the Thunderbolt that has a hundred cutting edges and that which is launched from Indra's hand has rammed by head and thighs into my body... [3-71-10b, 11a]

sa mayaa yaacyamaanah san na aanayat yama saadanam || 3-71-11

pitaamaha vacah satyam tat asti iti mama abraviit |

"When I begged of him saying, 'lead me to the hell of Yama, rather than making me to live this hell of a body...' Then Indra said this to me, 'Let the Grandparent Brahma's word about your longevity come true...' Thus Indra spared me to me... [3-71-11b, 12a]

anaahaarah katham shakto bhagna sakthi shiro mukhah || 3-71-12

vajrena abhihatah kaalam su diirgham api jiivitum |

" 'By the impaction of Thunderbolt disarranged are my thighs and head, thereby my mouth went into my stomach... and without thighs how can I prowl, without arms how can I scrabble, and without a mouth how can I guzzle... and how am I capable to live on, and even that living too, is destined for too long a time...' [3-71-12b, 13a]

sa evam uktah me shakro baahuu yojanam aayatau || 3-71-13

tadaa ca aasyam ca me kuksau tiiksna da.nstram akalpayat |

"When I said to Indra this way, Indra devised for me yojana long arms, also that way a rapier-fanged mouth in my paunch... [3-71-13b, 14a]

so aham bhujaabhyaam diirghaabhyaam sa.mkrisya asmin vane caraan || 3-71-14

si.mha dvipi mriga vyaaghraan bhaksayaami sama.ntatah |

"Such as I am, I have been eating the lions, elephants, animals, and tigers that are on the move in this forest, hauling them in with both of my overlong arms... [3-71-14b, 15a]

sa tu maam abraviit indro yadaa raamah sa laksmanah || 3-71-15

chetsyate samare baahuu tadaa svargam gamisyasi |

"Indra has also said to me, 'as and when Rama hacks off your arms along with Lakshmana in a conflict, then you can go to heaven...' Thus Indra said to me and vanished. [3-71-15b, 16a]

anena vapusaa taata vane asmin raajasattama || 3-71-16

yat yat pashyaami sarvasya grahanam saadhu rocaye |

"Oh, sire, I am grabbing whatever I see in this forest while living with this body... oh, powerful king, as I feel it meetly and a must for me... [3-71-16b, 17a]

avashyam grahanam raamo manye aham samupaisyati || 3-71-17

imaam buddhim puraskritya deha nyaasa krita shramah |

"I believed that Rama will certainly come nigh of my captivity, and confiding myself in this kind of determination, presaged by sage Sthuulashira, as well... I have been toiling to dislodge this body... [3-71-17b, 18a]

sa tvam raamo asi bhadram te na aham anyena raaghava || 3-71-18

shakyo hantum yathaa tattvam evam uktam maharsinaa |

"Oh, Raghava, as to how this has happened in this way according to the sum and substance told by the sage Sthuulashira, you alone are that Rama, let safe betide you, and none other than you is capable to mangle me... [3-71-18b, 19a]

aham hi mati saacivyam karisyaami nara risabha || 3-71-19

mitram caiva upadeksyaami yuvaabhyaam sa.mskrito agninaa |

"Oh, impetuous man Rama, if I were to be beatified by you two by incinerating me in Fire, I will advice you about the next course of your action... I will further advise you about your prospective friend..." So said Kabandha to Rama. [3-71-19b, 20a]

evam uktah tu dharmaatmaa danunaa tena raaghavah || 3-71-20

idam jagaada vacanam laksmanasya upashrinvatah |

When Raghava is said thus by that Kabandha, the heir of Danu, that duty-minded Rama said this word to Kabandha while Lakshmana is hearing. [3-71-20b, 21a]

raavanena hritaa siitaa mama bhaaryaa yashasvinii || 3-71-21

niskraa.ntasya janasthaanaat saha bhraatraa yathaa sukham |

"Ravana conveniently stole my illustrious wife when myself and my brother exited from Janasthaana... [3-71-21b, 22a]

naama maatram tu jaanaami na ruupam tasya raksasah || 3-71-22

nivaasam vaa prabhaavam vaa vayam tasya na vidmahe |

"I only know his name but not the form of that demon... and we are unaware either of his stronghold or of his staying power... [3-71-22b, 23a]

shoka aartaanaam anaathaanaam evam viparidhaavataam || 3-71-23

kaarunyam sadrisham kartum upakaare ca vartataam |

"It will be apt of you to show befitting mercy on us who are anguished by agony, running all over helter-skelter like unsheltered ones, and we who will be compliant for your restitution... [3-71-23b, 24a]

kaasthaani aaniiya bhagnaani kaale shuskaani ku.njaraih || 3-71-24

dhaksyaamah tvaam vayam viira shvabhre mahati kalpite |

"Oh, brave Kabandha, on bringing dried up firewood that was rent at times by elephants, and on digging a large trench, we will incinerate you in it... [3-71-24b, 25a]

sa tvam siitaam samaacaksva yena vaa yatra vaa hritaa || 3-71-25

kuru kalyaanam atyartham yadi jaanaasi tattvatah |

"Such as you are, if you actually know who stole Seetha, or whereto she is stolen, either... you clearly inform of her when incinerated, thus you will be rendering a most gracious deed to me, and to all concerned..." Thus Rama made clear of his case. [3-71-25b, 26a]

evam uktah tu raamena vaakyam danuh anuttamam || 3-71-26

provaaca kushalo vaktum vaktaaram api raaghavam |

When he is said thus that expert articulator Kabandha replied Rama, who is also an expert enunciator, with expedient words. [3-71-26b, 27a]

divyam asti na me jnaanam na abhijaanaami maithiliim || 3-71-27

yah taam jnaasyati tam vaksye dagdhah svam ruupam aasthitah |

"There is no divine knowledge to me as of now... nor I can identify Maithili... but when I am burnt I assume my own original divine form, and then I will be able tell about him, who will find her out... [3-71-27b, 28a]

yo abhijaanaati tad rakshah tad vakshye raama tat param || 3-71-28

adagdhasya hi vijnaatum shaktih asti na me prabho |

raaksasam tam mahaaviiryam siitaa yena hritaa tava || 3-71-29

"With this un-burnt body, oh, Rama, I indeed have no ability to discern anything, hence oh, lord, I will be able to speak about him who can familiarize you with that great mighty demon, by whom your Seetha is stolen, only after that incineration... [3-71-28b, 29]

vijnaanam hi mahat bhrastam shaapa dosena raaghava |

svakritena mayaa praaptam ruupam loka vigarhitam || 3-71-30

"Oh, Raghava, utterly distorted is my acumen, indeed, by the blemish of curse... and this form which is despicable to world has bechanced only because of my own antics... [3-71-30]

kim tu yaavat na yaati astam savitaa shraanta vaahanah |

taavat maam avate ksiptvaa daha raama yathaa vidhi || 3-71-31

"Oh, Rama, soon you have to toss me into trench to burn me customarily, sooner than the Sun's going to Mt. Dusk when his horses are fatigued... [3-71-31]

dagdhah tvayaa aham avate nyaayena raghuna.ndana |

vaksyaami tam mahaaviira yah tam vetsyati raaksasam || 3-71-32

"Oh, Rama, the legatee of Raghu, when I am scripturally burnt by you in a trench, oh, great valiant Rama, for sure, I will tell of him, who can quiet fathom that demon... [3-71-32]

tena sakhyam ca kartavyam nyaayya vrittena raaghava |

kalpayisyati te priitah saahaayyam laghu vikramah || 3-71-33

"Oh, Raghava, you have to befriend him with an amicable comportment... and that valiantly alacritous one will be gladdened by the sequel of your friendship, and he will evolve a succor [relief] to you... [3-71-33]

na hi tasya asti avijnaatam trisu lokesu raaghava |

sarvaan parivrito lokaan puraa vai kaarana antare || 3-71-34

"Oh, Raghava, nothing is there in all the three worlds that is unfamiliar to him, for he circumnavigated all worlds once, in a different context... [3-71-34]

iti vaalmiiki raamaayane aadi kaavye aranya kaande eka saptatitamah sargah

Thus, this is the 71st 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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