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Chapter 279

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Markandeya said, ‘And while the chaste Sita was dwelling there afflictedwith melancholy and grief on account of her lord, attired in mean garb,with but a single jewel (on the marital thread on her wrist), andincessantly weeping, seated on a stone, and waited upon by Rakshasawomen, Ravana, afflicted by the shafts of the god of desire, came to herand approached her presence. And inflamed by desire, that conquerer inbattle of the gods, the Danavas, the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, and theKimpurushas, attired in celestial robes and possessing handsome features,decked with jewelled earrings and wearing a beautiful garland and crown,entered the Asoka woods, like an embodiment of the vernal season. Anddressed with care, Ravana looked like the Kalpa tree in Indra’s garden.But though adorned with every embellishment, that inspired her only withawe, like a beautified banian in the midst of a cemetery. And that nightwanderer, having approached the presence of that slender-waisted lady,looked like the planet Saturn in the presence of Rohini. And smitten withthe shafts of the god of the flowery emblem he accosted that fair-hippedlady then affrighted like a helpless doe, and told her these words, ‘Thouhast, O Sita, shown thy regard for thy lord too much! O thou of delicatelimbs, be merciful unto me. Let thy person be embellished now (by thesemaids in waiting). O excellent lady, accept me as thy lord! And, O thouof the most beautiful complexion, attired in costly robes and ornaments,take thou the first place among all the women of my household. Many arethe daughters of the celestials and also the Gandharvas that I possess! Iam lord also of many Danava and Daitya ladies! One hundred and fortymillions of Pisachas, twice as many man-eating Rakshasa of terrible deed,and thrice as many Yaksha do my bidding! Some of these are under the swayof my brother who is the lord of all treasures. In my drinking hall, Oexcellent lady of beautiful thighs, Gandharvas and Apsaras wait on me asthey do on my brother! I am, again, the son of that regenerate RishiVisravas himself of high ascetic merit. I am renowned, again, as thefifth Regent of the Universe! And, O beautiful lady, of food and ediblesand drinks of the very best kind, I have as much as the Lord himself ofthe celestials! Let all thy troubles consequent on a life in the woodscease! O thou of fair hips, be my Queen, as Mandodari herself!’ Thusaddressed by him, the beautiful princess of Videha, turning away andregarding him as something less than a straw, replied unto that wandererof the night. And at that time the princess of Videha, that girl ofbeautiful hips, had her deep and compact bosom copiously drenched by herinauspicious tears shed ceaselessly. And she who regarded her husband asher god, answered that mean wretch, saying, ‘By sheer ill-luck it is, Oking of the Rakshasas, that I am obliged to hear such words of grievousimport spoken by thee! Blessed be thou, O Rakshasa fond of sensualpleasures, let thy heart be withdrawn from me! I am the wife of another,ever devoted to my husband, and, therefore, incapable of being possessedby thee! A helpless human being that I am, I cannot be a fit wife forthee! What joy can be thine by using violence towards an unwilling woman?Thy father is a wise Brahmana, born of Brahma and equal unto that Lordhimself of the creation! Why dost thou not, therefore, thyself beingequal to a Regent of the Universe, observe virtue? Disgracing thybrother, that king of the Yakshas, that adorable one who is the friend ofMaheswara himself, that lord of treasures, how is it that thou feelest noshame?’ Having said these words, Sita began to weep, her bosom shiveringin agitation, and covering her neck and face with her garments. And thelong and well-knit braid, black and glossy, falling from the head of theweeping lady, looked like a black snake. And hearing these cruel wordsuttered by Sita, the foolish Ravana, although thus rejected, addressedSita once more, saying, ‘O lady, let the god having the Makara for hisemblem burn me sorely. I will, however, on no account, O thou of sweetsmiles and beautiful hips, approach thee, as thou art unwilling! What canI do to thee that still feelest a regard for Rama who is only a humanbeing and, therefore, our food?’ Having said those words unto that ladyof faultless features, the king of the Rakshasa made himself invisiblethen and there and went away to the place he liked. And Sita, surroundedby those Rakshasa women, and treated with tenderness by Trijata,continued to dwell there in grief.”

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