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Chapter 2: How the Ramayana Was Compiled

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How the Ramayana Was Compiled



Sage Valmiki goes to River Tamasa for a bath and sees bird couple, of which a hunter kills one. Valmiki unintentionally [without intention] utters [recites] a poem, which is rich in grammar and new in meter [rhythm that continuously repeats a single basic patter], of which he is very much confused as to why such a poem has come from his tongue. Brahma, the presiding deity of letters appears and ordains [appoints] Valmiki to author Ramayana, excellent epic of Rama, for which purpose alone he gave such divine meter and grammar to him.

How the Ramayana Was Compiled

Chapter [Sarga] 2 in Detail

naaradasya tu tadvaakyam shrutvaa vaakya vishaaradah |

puujayaamaasa dharmaatmaa saha shishhyo mahaamunih || 1-2-1

On hearing that sentence of that eminent [famous] sentence-maker Sage Narada, that great sage of virtuous mind, namely Valmiki, revered [worshipped] the Divine Sage Narada, along with his disciples. [1-2-1]

yathaavat puujitah tena devarshhih naaradah tathaa |

aapricchaiva abhyanujjnaatah sa jagaama vihaayasam || 1-2-2

That divine sage Narada is worshipped that way by Valmiki in a befitting [appropriate] way, and on seeking permission of Valmiki to leave, and having been permitted by Valmiki went away heavenward. [1-2-2]

sa muhuurtam gate tasmin devalokam munih tadaa |

jagaama tamasaa tiiram jaahnavyaat aviduuratah || 1-2-3

A while after the departure of Narada to heavens, Valmiki proceed to the riverbanks of Tamasa, which are not far-off from River Jahnavi [i.e., River Ganga.] [1-2-3]

sa tu tiiram samaasaadya tamasaayaa munih tadaa |

shishhyam aaha sthitam paarshve drishhtvaa tiirtham akardamam || 1-2-4

Then Valmiki drew nigh [near] of River Tamasa's riverbanks, and on beholding [seeing] an un-filthy strand [shore] of that river, he spoke to his disciple available at his side. [1-2-5]

akardamam idam tiirtham bharadvaaja nishaamaya |

ramaniiyam prasanna ambu san manushhya mano yathaa || 1-2-5

"Oh! Bharadwaja, un-filthy is this watery foreshore [a strip of land margining a body of water], and with pleasant waters it is heart pleasing... like a noble man's heart... behold it... [1-2-5]

nyasyataam kalashah taata diiyataam valkalam mama |

idam eva avagaahishhye tamasaa tiirtham uttamam || 1-2-6

"Keep that handy-vessel there, and give me my loincloth... I will enter only this best ford [a shallow part of a body of water that may be crossed by wading] of Tamasa River... [1-2-6]

evam ukto bharadvaajo vaalmiikena mahaatmanaa |

prayachchhata muneh tasya valkalam niyatah guroh || 1-2-7

When Bharadwaja is said that way by great-souled Valmiki, himself being a humble one before his mentor [coach or tutor] gave that jute-cloth to that saint, that humbly. [1-2-7]

sa shishhya hastaat aadaaya valkalam niyatendriyah |

vichachaara ha pashyan tat sarvato vipulam vanam || 1-2-8

That self-controlled Sage Valmiki on taking loincloth from his disciple's hands, indeed ambled [to go at] towards the river, looking everywhere at the wide of forest. [1-2-8]

tasya abhyaashe tu mithunam charantam anapaayinam |

dadarsha bhagavaan tatra kraunchayoh chaaru nisvanam || 1-2-9

There godly sage Valmiki saw a couple of lovely Krouncha birds [There are three subspecies of Sarus Crane known worldwide. This elegant bird called Krouncha in India, is revered as a symbol of marital fidelity and is celebrated in myth and legend. The Krouncha birds usually stay in pairs], in the vicinity [neighborhood] of that river's foreshore, flying there about in togetherness, and calling charmingly [1-2-9]

tasmaat tu mithunaat ekam pumaa.msam paapa nishchayah |

jaghaana vairanilayo nishhaadah tasya pashyatah || 1-2-10

A tribal hunter with all his evil intent [purpose], as he is an enemy of foresters, killed the male, while Valmiki is looking on. [1-2-10]

tam shonita pariitaangam cestamaanam mahiitale |

bhaaryaa tu nihatam dristvaa ruraava karunaam giram || 1-2-11

viyuktaa patinaa tena dvijena sahachaarinaa |

taamra shiirshhena mattena patrinaa sahitena vai | 1-2-12

She who is ever together with her husband, a lusty [merry and joyous] male bird with flighty wings and with a prideful red crest, and one who always had a heart for her, but she is now separated from him, and gone is that togetherness; and she, on seeing her slain husband whose body is blood-soaked, and who is reeling [to turn or move round and round] on the ground in the anguish [anger] of pain, bewailed [to express deep sorrow] with piteous utterances [vocal expression]. [1-2-11, 12]

tathaa vidhim dvijam drishhtvaa nishhaadena nipaatitam |

risheh dharmaatmaanah tasya kaarunyam samapadyata || 1-2-13

On seeing at that bird felled [killed] that way by the tribal hunter, compassion is aroused [raise] in that kind-hearted sage Valmiki. [1-2-13]

tatah karuna veditvaat adharmo ayam iti dvijah |

nishaamya rudatiim krounchiim idam vacanam abraiit || 1-2-14

Then on seeing the wailing [sorrowful] female Krouncha bird, compassion haunting him and apperceiving [to have mental perception of] the killing of male bird as unjust, the sage uttered [said] this sentence... [1-2-14]

maa nishhaada pratisthaamtva | magamah shaashvatiih samaah |

yat krauncha mithunaat eka | mavadhiih kaama mohitam || 1-2-15

"Oh! ill-fated Hunter, by which reason you have killed one male bird of the couple, when it is in its lustful [indulgence in sexual activity] passion, thereby you will get an ever-lasting reputation for ages to come..." [1-2-15]

tasya evam bruvatah chintaa babhuuva hridi viikshatah |

shokaartena asya shakuneh kim idam vyaahritam mayaa || 1-2-16

On saying thus, and pondering for a while in his heart, 'annoyed by the anguish [anger] for that bird, what is it uttered [said] by me...' thus he became cogitative [thoughtful] of those lines uttered. [1-2-16]

chintayan sa mahaapraajnah chakaara matimaan matim |

shishyam cha eva abraviit vaakyam idam sa munipungavah || 1-2-17

On thinking, he that eminently [famous] astute [shrewd] and intellectual sage made up his mind, and he that erudite [learned] scholar also spoke this sentence to his disciples, thus as... [1-2-17]

paada baddhah akshara samah tantrii laya samanvitah |

shokaartasya pravritto me shloko bhavatu na anyathaa || 1-2-18

"This utterance of mine has emerged out of anguished annoyance [the act of being disturbed], and it is well- arranged with letters metrically posited [fixed], tuneful and rhythmical to be sung with string instrument, and hence, this shall be a verse, not otherwise..." [1-2-18]

shisyah tu tasya bruvato muner vaakyam anuttamam |

prati jagraaha sa.ntushhtah tasya tustoah abhavat munih || 1-2-19

Even the disciples happily received what that is articulated [put into words] by the saint, a unique articulation [assembly of words], by which the saint too, became happy. [1-2-19]

so.abhisekam tatah kritvaa tiirthe tasmin yathaavidhi |

tam eva chintayan artham upaavartata vai munih || 1-2-20

Then that saint on performing his bathing in that ford [a shallow part of a body of water that may be crossed by wading] according to custom, and still thinking on the purport of his utterance, he returned towards his hermitage. [1-2-20]

bharadvaajah tatah shisyo viniitah shrutavaan guroh |

kalasham puurnamaadaaya prishhthatah anujagaama ha || 1-2-21

Then Bharadwaja, the obedient disciple and an erudite [learned] scholar, for he heard and learnt many scriptures by listening, on taking handy-vessel full with water followed at the behind of his mentor. [1-2-21]

sa pravishya aashrama padam shisyena saha dharmavit |

upavishhtah kathaah cha anyaah chakaara dhyaanamaasthitah || 1-2-22

He that knower of dharma, Valmiki, having entered the threshold of hermitage along with disciples, and having seated spoke about the day-to-day teachings and also other things, but he himself is preoccupied in cogitation [thought] on the verse. [1-2-22]

aajagaama tatah brahmo lokakartaa svayam prabhuh |

chatur mukho mahaatejaa drastum tam munipungavam || 1-2-23

Then, the great resplendent [shining brilliantly] Four-faced creator of fourteen worlds, almighty Brahma, arrived there on his own, to see that eminent [famous] saint Valmiki. [1-2-23]

vaalmiikih atha tam dristvaa sahasaa utthaaya vaagyatah |

praanjalih prayato bhuutvaa tasthau parama vismitah || 1-2-24

Then that pious [virtuous] saint Valmiki is highly surprised on seeing Brahma, and on quickly getting up from his seat with his palms adjoined [joining] humbly, he stood aside, as he is spellbind [to bind or hold by or as if by a spell]. [1-2-24]

puujayaamaasa tam devam paadya arghya aasana vandanaih |

pranamya vidhivat ca enam prishhtvaa ca eva niraamayam || 1-2-25

Valmiki venerated [to regard or treat with reverence] Brahma, on inquiring into his well-being, washed his feet, drenched his thirst, seated him to rest, and adored at best with customarily obeisance [homage]. [1-2-25]

atha upavishya bhagavaan aasane parama archite |

vaalmiikaye ca risaye sandidesha aasanam tatah || 1-2-26

Then god Brahma, who is seated on a high seat, very highly worshipped by Valmiki, also beckoned [signal typically with a wave or nod] at Valmiki to take a seat. [1-2-26]

brahmanaa samanujnaatah so.api upaavishat aasane |

upaviste tadaa tasmin saakshaat loka pitaamahe | 1-2-27

tat gatena eva manasaa vaalmiikih dhyaanam aasthitah ||

Even though Valmiki sat on his seat when duly permitted by Brahma, and though the Grandparent of the worlds is manifestly [obviously] sitting before him, but the same broodings [to think anxiously] on those happenings occurred on that day have recurred [came] on his mind. [1-2-27-28a]

paapaatmanaa kritam kastam vaira grahana buddhinaa | 1-2-28

yat taadrisham chaaruravam krauncham hanyaat akaaranaat ||

"He that tribal hunter, who killed a cutely [attractive or pretty] calling krouncha bird for no good reason than intending [planning] to capture the kill, is an evil souled one that caused hardship..." [1-2-28b-29a]

shochan eva punah kraunchiim upa shlokam imam jagau | 1-2-29

punar antargata manaa bhuutvaa shoka paraayanah ||

Remaining in melancholic [depressed] mood Valmiki turned his mind to the depth of thinking, and again thinking only on the krouncha bird he sung the same verse, involuntarily [done contrary to or without choice]. [1-2-29b-30a]

tam uvaacha tato brahmaa prahasan munipu.ngavam | 1-2-30

shloka evaastvayaam baddho na atra kaaryaa vichaaranaa ||

Then, Brahma smilingly spoke to that eminent [famous] saint Valmiki, "But, what that is composed is a verse only... and there is no need to think through... [1-2-30b-31a]

mat cchandaat eva te brahman pravritte ayam sarasvatii | 1-2-31

raamasya charitam kritsnam kuru tvam rishhisattama |

"Oh, Brahman, that speech of yours sprang forth at my wish alone, hence oh, eminent [famous] sage, you shall render the legend of Rama, in its entirety... [1-2-31b-32a]

dharmaatmano bhagavato loke raamasya dhiimatah || 1-2-32

vrittam kathaya dhiirasya yathaa te naaradaat shrutam |

"You shall narrate the legend of Rama, the virtuous, intellectual and an intrepid [fearlessness] one, and a godlike person in this world as well, as you have heard it from sage Narada. [1-2-32b-33a]

rahasyam cha prakaasham cha yad vrittam tasya dhiimatah || 1-2-33

raamasya saha saumitre raakshasaanaam cha sarvashah |

vaidehyaah cha eva yad vrittam prakaasham yadi vaa rahah || 1-2-34

tat ca api aviditam sarvam viditam te bhavisyati |

"The adventures of valorous [courageous] Rama along with Lakshmana, and the misadventures [misfortunes] of demons, known or unknown in every detail, and even the plight [an unfortunate, difficult, or precarious situation] of Vaidehi (Seetha) which is either revealed or un-revealed so far, and whatever legend that has happened, all that will also be known to you, even if it were to be unknown, as yet... [1-2-33b-35a]

na te vaak anritaa kaavye kaachit atra bhavishhyati || 1-2-35

kuru raama kathaam punyaam shloka baddhaam manoramaam |

"You shall versify [to compose verses] the heart pleasing and merit-yielding legend of Rama and not a single word of yours will be unfounded in this epic... [1-2-35b-36a]

yaavat sthaasyanti girayah saritah cha mahiitale || 1-2-36

taavat raamaayana kathaa lokesu pracharisyati |

"As long as the mountains and even rivers flourish [prosper or present] on the surface of the earth, so long the legend of Ramayana will flourish in this world... [1-2-36b-37a]

yaavat raamasya ca kathaa tvat kritaa pracharishhyati | 1-2-37

taavat uurdhvam adhah cha tvam mat lokeshhu nivatsyasi |

"And as long as Rama's legend authored by you flourishes...till then you will flourish in heavenly, in netherworlds [the world of the dead], and even in my abode, namely abode of Brahma... [1-2-37]

iti uktvaa bhagavaan brahmaa tatra eva antaradhiiyata |

tatah sa shishhyo bhagavaan munih vismayam aayayau || 1-2-38

On saying thus that Divinity Brahma vanished then and there only, and then that godly sage Valmiki came by astonishment [amazement], along with his disciples. [1-2-38b-c]

tasya shishhyaah tatah sarve jaguh shlokam imam punah |

muhur muhuh priiyamaanaah praahuh cha bhrisha vismitaah || 1-2-39

Then all of the disciples of Valmiki sang this verse time and again very delightedly, and much astonished they also recited this verse, reciprocally [shared, felt, or shown by both side]. [1-2-39]

samaaksharaih chaturbhih yah paadaih giito maharshhinaa |

sah anuvyaaharanaat bhuuyah shokah shlokatvam aagatah || 1-2-40

Equally lettered, four-footed is that verse when great Sage Valmiki articulated [put into word] it, and when repetitively recited by one and all, it attained prominence [importance] as verse proper. [1-2-40]

tasya buddhih iyam jaataa maharseh bhaavitaatmanah |

kritsnam raamaayanam kaavyam iidrishaih karavaanyaham || 1-2-41

Born is an intuition [quick and ready insight] in that great sage and contemplated [satisfied] soul asserting [to state or declare positively] that "I will compose entire Ramayana, the epic, in suchlike verses...' [1-2-41]

udaara vritta artha padaih manoramaih

tadaa asya raamasya chakaara kiirtimaan |

sama aksharaih shloka shataih yashasvino

yashaskaram kaavyam udaara darshanah || 1-2-42

That celebrated sage and magnanimous [showing or suggesting a lofty and courageous spirit] seer [one that predicts events] Valmiki then authored the highly renowned Rama's legend extolling [glorifying] Rama's renown, with symmetrically worded verses, and words versified to yield [give] meanings semantically, prosody [the language] free-flowing, and with hundreds of such verses. [1-2-42]

tad upagata samaasa sandhi yogam

sama madhuropanata artha vaakya baddham |

raghuvara charitam munipraniitam

dasha shirasah cha vadham nishaamaya adhvam || 1-2-43

That epic which is with uncomplicated compounds, conjunctions and conjugations, and which has expressive sentences that are well-knit and led evenly and sweetly, and that legend of the best one from Raghu's dynasty [a succession of rulers of the same line of descent], namely Rama, which also includes the extermination of the Ten-headed evil named Ravana, that may be listened as narrated by the sage. [1-2-43]

iti vaalmiki raamaayane aadikaavye baala kaande dvitiiyah sargah

Thus, this is the 2nd chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate


Desiraju Hanumanta Rao. (1998). Balakanda - Book Of Youthful Majesties.

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


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