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Chapter 289

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Markandeya said, ‘Having slain Ravana, that wretched king of theRakshasas and foe of the celestials, Rama with his friends and Sumitra’sson rejoiced exceedingly. And after the Ten-necked (Rakshasa) hath beenslain, the celestials with the Rishis at their head, worshipped Rama ofmighty arms, blessing and uttering the word Jaya repeatedly. And all thecelestials and the Gandharvas and the denizens of the celestial regionsgratified Rama of eyes like lotus leaves, with hymns and flowery showers.And having duly worshipped Rama, they all went away to those regionswhence they had come. And, O thou of unfading glory, the firmament atthat time looked as if a great festival was being celebrated.

“And having slain the Ten-necked Rakshasa, the lord Rama of worldwidefame, that conqueror of hostile cities, bestowed Lanka on Vibhishana.Then that old and wise counsellor (of Ravana) known by the name ofAvindhya, with Sita walking before him but behind Vibhishana who was atthe front, came out of the city. And with great humility Avindhya saidunto the illustrious descendant of Kakutstha, ‘O illustrious one, acceptthou this goddess, Janaka’s daughter of excellent conduct!’ Hearing thesewords, the descendant of Ikshwaku’s race alighted from his excellentchariot and beheld Sita bathed in tears. And beholding that beautifullady seated within her vehicle, afflicted with grief, besmeared withfilth, with matted locks on head, and attired in dirty robes, Rama,afraid of the loss of his honour, said unto her, ‘Daughter of Videha, gowithersover thou likest! Thou art now free! What should have been done byme, hath been done! O blessed lady, owning me for thy husband, it is notmeet that thou shouldst grow old in the abode of the Rakshasa! It is forthis I have slain that wanderer of the night! But how can one like us,acquainted with every truth of morality embrace even for a moment a womanthat had fallen into other’s hands? O princess of Mithila whether thouart chaste or unchaste, I dare not enjoy thee, now that thou art likesacrificial butter lapped by a dog!’ Hearing these cruel words, thatadorable girl suddenly fell down in great affliction of heart, like aplantain tree severed from its roots. And the colour that was suffusingher face in consequence of the joy she had felt, quickly disappeared,like watery particles on a mirror blown thereon by the breath of themouth. And hearing these words of Rama, all the monkeys also withLakshmana became still as dead. Then the divine and pure-souled Brahma offour faces, that Creator of the Universe himself sprung from a lotus,showed himself on his car to Raghu’s son. And Sakra and Agni and Vayu,and Yama and Varuna and the illustrious Lord of the Yakshas, and the holyRishis, and king Dasaratha also in a celestial and effulgent form and oncar drawn by swans, showed themselves. And then the firmament crowdedwith celestials and Gandharvas became as beautiful as the autumnal welkinspangled with stars. And rising up from the ground, the blessed andfamous princess of Videha, in the midst of those present spoke unto Ramaof wide chest, these words, ‘O prince, I impute no fault to thee, forthou art well acquainted with the behaviour that one should adopt towardsboth men and women. But hear thou these words of mine! The ever-movingAir is always present within every creature. If I have sinned, let himforsake my vital forces! If I have sinned, Oh, then let Fire, and Water,and Space, and Earth, like Air (whom I have already invoked), alsoforsake my vital forces! And as, O hero, I have never, even in my dreams,cherished the image of any other person, so be thou my lord as appointedby the gods.’ After Sita had spoken, a sacred voice, resounding throughthe whole of that region, was heard in the skies, gladdening the heartsof the high-souled monkeys. And the Wind-god was heard to say, O son ofRaghu, what Sita hath said is true! I am the god of Wind. The princess ofMithila is sinless! Therefore, O king, be united with thy wife!’ And thegod of Fire said, ‘O son of Raghu, I dwell within the bodies of allcreatures! O descendant of Kakutstha, the princess of Mithila is notguilty of even the minutest fault!’ And Varuna then said, ‘O son ofRaghu, the humours in every creature’s body derive their existence fromme! I tell thee, let the princess of Mithila be accepted by thee!’ AndBrahma himself then said, ‘O descendant of Kakutstha, O son, in thee thatart honest and pure and conversant with the duties of royal sages, thisconduct is not strange. Listen, however, to these words of mine! Thouhast, O hero, slain this enemy of the gods, the Gandharvas, the Nagas,the Yakshas, the Danavas, and the great Rishis! It was through my gracethat he had hitherto been unslayable of all creatures. And indeed, it wasfor some reason that I had tolerated him for some time! The wretch,however, abducted Sita for his own destruction. And as regards Sita, Iprotected her through Nalakuvera’s curse. For that person had cursedRavana of old, saying, that if he ever approached an unwilling woman, hishead should certainly be split into a hundred fragments. Let nosuspicion, therefore, be thine! O thou of great glory, accept thy wife!Thou hast indeed, achieved a mighty feat for the benefit of the gods, Othou that art of divine effulgence!’ And last of all Dasaratha said, ‘Ihave been gratified with thee, O child! Blessed be thou, I am thy fatherDasaratha! I command thee to take back thy wife, and rule thy kingdom, Othou foremost of men!’ Rama then replied, ‘If thou art my father, Isalute thee with reverence, O king of kings! I shall indeed, return, atthy command, to the delightful city of Ayodhya!’

“Markandeya continued, ‘Thus addressed, his father, O bull of the Bharatarace, gladly answered Rama, the corners of whose eyes were of a reddishhue, saying, ‘Return to Ayodhya and rule thou that kingdom! O thou ofgreat glory, thy fourteen years (of exile) have been completed.’ Thusaddressed by Dasaratha, Rama bowed to the gods, and saluted by hisfriends he was united with his wife, like the Lord of the celestials withthe daughter of Puloman. And that chastiser of foes then gave a boon toAvindhya. And he also bestowed both riches and honours on the Rakshasawoman named Trijata. And when Brahma with all the celestials having Indiaat their head, said unto Rama, ‘O thou that ownest Kausalya for thymother, what boons after thy heart shall we grant thee?’ Rama, thereupon,prayed them to grant him firm adherence to virtues and invincibility inrespect of all foes. And he also asked for the restoration to life of allthose monkeys that had been slain by the Rakshasas, and after Brahma hadsaid–So be it, those monkeys, O king, restored to life, rose up from thefield of battle, and Sita too, of great good fortune, granted untoHanuman a boon, saying, ‘Let thy life, O son, last as long as (the fameof) Rama’s achievements! And, O Hanuman of yellow eyes, let celestialviands and drinks be ever available to thee through my grace!’

“Then the celestials with Indra at their head all disappeared in the verysight of those warriors of spotless achievements. And beholding Ramaunited with the daughter of Janaka, the charioteer of Sakra, highlypleased, addressed him in the midst of friends, and said these words, ‘Othou of prowess that can never be baffled thou hast dispelled the sorrowof the celestials, the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, the Asuras, the Nagas,and human beings! As long, therefore, as the Earth will hold together, solong will all creatures with the celestials, the Asuras, the Gandharvas,the Yakshas, the Rakshasas, and the Pannagas, speak of thee.’ And havingsaid these words unto Rama, Matali worshipped that son of Raghu, andhaving obtained the leave of that foremost of wielders of weapons, hewent away, on that same chariot of solar effulgence. And Rama also, withSumatra’s son and Vibhishana, and accompanied by all the monkeys withSugriva at their head, placing Sita in the van and having madearrangements for the protection of Lanka, recrossed the ocean by the samebridge. And he rode on that beautiful and sky-ranging chariot called thePushpaka that was capable of going everywhere at the will of the rider.And that subduer of passions was surrounded by his principal counsellorsin order of precedence. And arriving at that part of the sea-shore wherehe had formerly laid himself down, the virtuous king, with all themonkeys, pitched his temporary abode. And the son of Raghu then, bringingthe monkeys before him in due time, worshipped them all, and gratifyingthem with presents of jewels and gems, dismissed them one after another.And after all the monkey-chiefs, and the apes with bovine tails, and thebears, had gone away, Rama re-entered Kishkindhya with Sugriva. Andaccompanied by both Vibhishana and Sugriva, Rama re-entered Kishkindhyariding on the Pushpaka car and showing the princess of Videha the woodsalong the way. And having arrived at Kishkindhya, Rama, that foremost ofall smiters, installed the successful Angada as prince-regent of thekingdom. And accompanied by the same friends as also by Sumitra’s son,Rama proceeded towards his city along the same path by which he had come.And having reached the city of Ayodhya, the king despatched Hanumanthence as envoy to Bharata. And Hanuman, having ascertained Bharata’sintentions from external indications, gave him the good news (of Rama’sarrival). And after the son of Pavana had come back, Rama enteredNandigrama. And having entered that town, Rama beheld Bharata besmearedwith filth and attired in rags and seated with his elder brother’ssandals placed before him. And being united, O bull of Bharata race, withboth Bharata and Shatrughna, the mighty son of Raghu, along withSumitra’s son, began to rejoice exceedingly. And Bharata and Shatrughnaalso, united with their eldest brother, and beholding Sita, both derivedgreat pleasure. And Bharata then, after having worshipped his returnedbrother, made over to him with great pleasure, the kingdom that had beenin his hands as a sacred trust. And Vasishtha and Vamadeva then togetherinstalled that hero in the sovereignty (of Ayodhya) at the eighthMuhurta[105] of the day under the asterism called Sravana. And after hisinstallation was over, Rama gave leave to well-pleased Sugriva the kingof the monkeys, along with all his followers, as also to rejoicingVibhishana of Pulastya’s race, to return to their respective abodes. Andhaving worshipped them with various articles of enjoyment, and doneeverything that was suitable to the occasion, Rama dismissed thosefriends of his with a sorrowful heart. And the son of Raghu then, havingworshiped that Pushpaka chariot, joyfully gave it back unto Vaisravana.And then assisted by the celestial Rishi (Vasishtha), Rama performed onthe banks of the Gomati ten horse-sacrifices without obstruction of anykind and with treble presents unto Brahmanas.'”

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