The exile of Rama into the forest

युधिष्ठिर उवाच उक्तं भगवता जन्म रामादीनां पृथक् पृथक्। प्रस्थानकारणं ब्रह्मच्छ्रोतुमिच्छामि कथ्यताम्॥ कथं दाशरथी वीरौ भ्रातरौ रामलक्ष्मणौ। सम्प्रस्थितौ वने ब्रह्मन् मैथिली च यशस्विनी॥
Yudhishthira said : Your worshipful self has related (to me) separately of the birth of Rama and others, O Brahmana, I am (now) desirous of hearing of the cause of their exile. Tell me, O Brahmana, why the heroic sons of Dasharatha, the brothers Rama and Lakshmana, departed to the forest, together with the renowned Maithili (Sita, daughter of the king of Mithila).

मार्कण्डेय उवाच जातपुत्रो दशरथः प्रीतिमानभवनृप। क्रियारतिधर्मरतः सततं वृद्धसेविता॥
Markandeya said: O King, Dasharatha, always devoted to religion and given to the performance of) religious ceremonies and engaged in ministering to the comforts of his elders, was (very) glad at the birth of his sons.

क्रमेण चास्य ते पुत्रा व्यवर्धन्त महौजसः। वेदेषु सरहस्येषु धनुर्वेदेषु पारगाः॥
Those sons of his, gradually grew up in strength, obtained mastery over the Vedas together with all their mysteries and became skilled in the science of weapons.

चरितब्रह्मचर्यास्ते कृतदाराश्च पार्थिव। यदा तदा दशरथः प्रीतिमानभवत् सुखी॥
When after having observed the Brahmacharya vows, they got they got married. Dasharatha, O king, became (very) pleased and happy.

ज्येष्ठो रामोऽभवत् तेषां रमयामास हि प्रजाः। मनोहरतया धीमान् पितुर्हदयनन्दनः॥
(And) among them his intelligent eldest son, who gladdened the heart of his father and delighted his subjects, was named Rama on account of his sweet disposition.

ततः स राजा मतिमान् मत्वाऽऽत्मानं वयोऽधिकम्। मन्त्रयामास सचिवैधर्मज्ञैश्च पुरोहितैः॥ अभिषेकाय रामस्य यौवराज्येन भारत।
O Bharata, then that wise monarch considering himself far too advanced in age (to look after worldly affairs), for the installation of Rama as the prince regent; consulted with his righteous ministers and priests.

प्राप्तकालं च ते सर्वे मेनिरे मन्त्रिसत्तमाः॥ लोहिताक्षं महाबाहुं मत्तमातङ्गगामिनम्। कम्बुग्रीवं महोरस्कं नीलकुञ्चितमूर्धजम्॥ दीप्यमानं श्रिया वीरं शक्रादनवरं रणे। पारगं सर्वधर्माणां बृहस्पतिसमं मतौ॥ सर्वानुरक्तप्रकृति सर्वविद्याविशारदम्। जितेन्द्रियममित्राणामपि दृष्टिमनोहरम्॥ नियन्तारमसाधूनां गोप्तारं धर्मचारिणाम्। धृतिमन्तनाधृष्यं जेतारमपराजितम्॥ पुत्रं राजा दशरथः कौसल्यानन्दवर्धनम्। संदृश्य परमां प्रीतिमगच्छत् कुरुनन्दन॥
And all those best of advisers thought that it was the proper time (for the purpose). O descendant of the Kurus, king Dasharatha was greatly pleased on beholding his son (Rama) of red eyes and mighty arms, endued with the gait of an elephant mad (with exuberance of spirits), of long arms and broad chest, having blue and curly hair, blazing with beauty, brave as Shakra in battle, versed in all the religious duties, wise as Brihaspati, an object of adoration with all his subjects, proficient in every science and art, of subdued passions, pleasant to the eye of even his enemies, the chastiser of the wicked, the protector of the virtuous, endued with high intellect, invincible, ever victorious and never vanquished and the enhancer of the joy of (his mother) Kausalya.

चिन्तयंश्च महातेजा गुणान् रामस्य वीर्यवान्। अभ्यभाषत भद्रं ते प्रीयमाणः पुरोहितम्॥ अद्य पुष्यो निशि ब्रह्मन् पुण्यं योगमुपैष्यति। सम्भाराः सम्भियन्तां मे रामश्चोपनिमन्त्र्यताम्॥
That highly energetic and powerful one (Dasharatha) thinking of the qualifications of Rama, was well-pleased and (thus) addressed his priest, "O Brahmana, this night the constellation Paushya being in the ascendant, will be a highly auspicious time. Let therefore my attendants collect materials (for the inauguration) and let Rama also be invited.”

इति तद् राजवचनं प्रतिश्रुत्याथ मन्थरा। कैकेयीमभिगम्येदं काले वचनमब्रवीत्॥
Hearing these words of the king, Manthara (the maid of Kaikeyi) went to Kaikeyi and addressed her these words suited to the occasion.

अद्य कैकेयि दौर्भाग्यं राज्ञा ते ख्यापितं महत्। आशीविषस्त्वां संक्रुद्धश्चण्डो दशतु दुर्भगे॥
O Kaikeyi, your great ill-luck has today been proclaimed by the king. O unfortunate one, may a fierce and angry venomous snake bite you.

सुभगा खलु कौसल्या यस्याः पुत्रोऽभिषेक्ष्यते। कुतो हि तव सौभाग्यं यस्याः पुत्रो न राज्यभाक्।।१८।
It is indeed Kausalya who is fortunate in as much as her son will be installed. Where is your good fortune since your son will not obtain the kingdom?

सा तद्वचनमाज्ञाय सर्वाभरणभूषिता। देवी विलग्नमध्येव बिभ्रती रूपमुत्तमम्॥ विविक्ते पतिमासाद्य हसन्तीव शुचिस्मिता। प्रणयं व्यञ्जयन्तीव मधुरं वाक्यमब्रवीत्॥
O hearing these words of (Manthara), Kaikeyi with her waist resembling the middle of a Dambura, decked with all sorts of ornaments and wearing a highly beautiful appearance, sought her lord in a secluded place and making a show of love, smilingly spoke these sweet words.

सत्यप्रतिज्ञ यन्मे त्वं काममेकं निसृष्टवान्। उपाकुरुष्व तद् राजस्तस्मान्मुच्यस्व संकटात्॥
"O king, you are (always) firm in your promise. Formerly you promised me a boon. Do you grant it now and thereby save yourself the sin of an unredeemed promise."

राजोवाच वरं ददानि ते हन्त तद् गृहाण यदिच्छसि। अबध्यो बध्यतां कोऽद्य बध्यः कोऽद्यविमुच्यताम्॥
The King said: "I am ready to grant you any boon you like. Is there anybody to be slain that does not deserve death or is there any one to be set at liberty who is imprisoned?

धनं ददानि कस्याद्य ह्रियतां कस्य वा पुनः। ब्राह्मणस्वादिहान्यत्र यत् किंचिद् वित्तमस्ति मे॥
Whom shall I heap riches upon and whom shall I deprive of his wealth? Everything on earth belongs to me except what is possessed by the Brahmanas.

पृथिव्यां राजराजोऽस्मि चातुर्वर्ण्यस्य रक्षिता। यस्तेऽभिलषित: कामो ब्रूहि कल्याणि मा चिरम्॥
I am, in this world, the king of all kings and the guardian of the four orders, O fortunate one, express your desire without delay".

सा तद्वचनमाज्ञाय परिगृहा नराधिपम्। आत्मनो बलमाज्ञाय तत एनमुवाच ह॥
Listening to these words of the king and binding him to his promise, she, well aware of her influence over him, spoke these words,

आभिषेचनिकं यत् ते रामार्थमुपकल्पिपतम्। भरतस्तदवाप्नोतु वनं गच्छतु राघवः॥
“Let Bharata be installed with the materials brought for Rama and let Raghava depart to the forests."

स तद् राजा वचः श्रुत्वा विप्रियं दारुणोदयम्। दुःखार्तो भरतश्रेष्ठ न किंचिद् व्याजहार ह॥
O the best of the Bharata, on hearing this disagreeable speech of terrible significance, the king weighed down with grief, could not speak anything.

ततस्तथोक्तं पितरं रामो विज्ञाय वीर्यवान्। वनं प्रतस्थे धर्मात्मा राजा सत्यो भवत्विति॥
Learning that his father has been thus promise-bound and considering that the king's truth ought to remain inviolable, the virtuous and powerful Rama went into the forests.

तमन्वगच्छल्लक्ष्मीवान् धनुष्मॉल्लक्ष्मणस्तदा। सीता च भार्या भद्रं ते वैदेही जनकात्मजा॥
And, may you be blessed, he (Rama) was followed by the prosperous Lakshmana, the foremost of bowmen and his wife Sita, the princess of Videha and daughter of Janaka.

ततो वनं गते रामे राजा दशरथस्तदा। समयुज्यत देहस्य कालपर्यायधर्मणा॥
Then Rama having departed to the forest, Dasharatha, following the eternal law of time, gave up the ghost.

रामं तु गतमाज्ञाय राजानं च तथागतम्। आनाय्य भरतं देवी कैकेयी वाक्यमब्रवीत्॥
And seeing that Rama had left for the forest and that the king had breathed his last, Kaikeyi causing Bharata to be brought, addressed to him these words.

गतो दशरथः स्वर्ग वनस्थौ रामलक्ष्मणौ। गृहाण राज्यं विपुलं क्षेमं निहतकण्टकम्॥
“Now that the king has gone to heaven and Rama and Lakshmana have left for the forest, accept this auspicious and extensive kingdom with all its thorns weeded out."

तामुवाच स धर्मात्मा नृशंसं वत ते कृतम्। पतिं हत्वा कुलं चेदमुत्साद्य धनलुब्धया।॥ अयशः पातयित्वा मे मूर्ध्नि त्वं कुलपांसने। सकामा भव मे मातरित्युक्त्वा प्ररुरोद ह॥
(Thereupon), the virtuous (Bharata) said to her “You have committed a very cruel deed by killing your husband and exterminating the family actuated by greed of wealth alone. O accursed (woman) of (our) family, hurling disgrace upon my head, fulfill your desire now.” Saying this to her mother, he gave free vent to his tears.

स चारित्रं विशोध्याथ सर्वप्रकृतिसंनिधौ। अन्वयाद् भ्रातरं रामं विनिवर्तनलालसः॥
And vindicating his character before all the subjects, he set out, desirous of bringing back his brother Rama.

कौसल्यां च सुमित्रां च कैकेयीं च सुदुःखितः। अचे प्रस्थाप्य यानैः स शत्रुघ्नसहितो ययौ॥
Placing, Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi in vehicle at the van (of his train), he set out with a sorrowful heart, accompanied by Shatrughna.

वसिष्ठवामदेवाभ्यां विप्रैश्चान्यैः सहस्रशः। पौरजानपदैः सार्धं रामानयनकाझया।॥
Vasishtha, Vamadeva, thousands of other Brahmanas and the people of the cities and the provinces, with an eager desire to bring Rama back.

ददर्श चित्रकूटस्थं स रामं सहलक्ष्मणम्। तापसानामलंकारं धारयन्तं धनुर्धरम्॥
(And he) found Rama together with Lakshmana in the mountain) Chitrakuta bow in hand and wearing the garb of ascetics.

विसर्जित: स रामेण पितुर्वचनकारिणा। नन्दिग्रामेऽकरोद् राज्यं पुरस्कृत्यास्य पादुके॥
(But), being dismissed by Rama who was bent on obeying his fathers; words, he (Bharata) began to reign at Nandigram placing his brother's shoes before him.

रामस्तु पुनराशङ्कय पौरजानपदागमम्। प्रविवेश महारण्यं शरभङ्गाश्रमं प्रति॥
And Rama too, afraid of the return of the people of the cities and provinces entered into the mighty forest of Dandaka near the hermitage of Sharabhanga.

सत्कृत्य शरभङ्गं स दण्डकारण्यमाश्रितः। नदी गोदावरी रम्यामाश्रित्य न्यवसत् तदा॥
Paying his adorations to Sharabhanga and taking refuge in the Dandaka, forest he began to dwell on the banks of the beautiful river Godavari.

वसतस्तस्य रामस्य ततः शूर्पणखाकृतम्। खरेणासीन्महद् वैरं जनस्थाननिवासिना॥
While dwelling there, Rama had great enmity with Khara who had his abode in the Janasthana, on account of Shurpanakha.

रक्षार्थं तापसानां तु राघवो धर्मवत्सलः। चतुर्दश सहस्राणि जघान भुवि रक्षसाम्॥ दूषणं च खरं चैव निहत्य सुमहाबलौ। चक्रे क्षेमं पुनर्धीमान् धर्मारण्यं स राघवः॥
The descendant of Raghu, devoted to virtue, slew fourteen thousands of Rakshasas on earth for the protection of the ascetics and the intelligent Raghava having slain the highlypowerful Khara and Dushana resorted peace to that sacred forest.

हतेषु तेषु रक्षःसु ततः शूर्पणखा पुनः। ययौ निकृत्तनासोष्ठी लङ्का भ्रातुर्निवेशनम्॥
Those Rakshasas being slain, Shurpanakha with her nose and lips cut off returned to Lanka, the abode of her brother (Ravana).

ततो रावणमभ्येत्य राक्षसी दुःखमूर्च्छिता। पपात पादयोर्धातुः संशुष्करुधिरानना॥
Then that Rakshasas-woman senseless with grief and with marks of dry blood on her face, approaching Ravana, fell down at his feet.

तां तथा विकृतां दृष्ट्वा रावणः क्रोधमूर्च्छितः। उत्पपातासनात् क्रुद्धो दन्तैर्दन्तानुपस्पृशन्॥
Seeing her thus multilated Ravana became senseless with rage and fired with anger and gnashing his teeth, rose up from his throne.

स्वानमात्यान् विसृज्याथ विविक्ते तामुवाच सः। केनास्येवं कृता भद्रे मामचिन्त्यावमन्य च॥
And dismissing his ministers he asked her in private "O gentle sister, who has made you so by despising and disregarding me?

कः शूलं तीक्ष्णमासाद्य सर्वगात्रैनिषेवते। कः शिरसस्यग्निमाघाय विश्वस्तः स्वपते सुखम्॥
Who is he that having got a sharp spear has rubbed it all over his body? Who is he that is sleeping in peace and security, keeping a fire near his head?

आशीविषं घोरतरं पादेन स्पृशतीह कः। सिंह केसरिणं कश्च दंष्ट्रायां स्पृश्य तिष्ठति॥
Who is he that has trodden over a terrible snake? Who is he that has thrust his hand into the jaws of a mained lion?"

इत्येवं ब्रुवतस्तस्य स्रोतोभ्यस्तेजसोऽचिषः। निश्चेरुर्दह्यतो रात्रौ वृक्षस्येव स्वरन्ध्रतः॥
While he was saying thus, sparks of flame issued out from his organs of senses like those that are emitted from the hollows of a tree on fire at night.

तस्य तत् सर्वमाचख्यौ भगिनी रामविक्रमम्। खरदूषणसंयुक्तं राक्षसानां पराभवम्॥
Then his sister informed him of the prowess of Rama causing the defeat of the Rakshasas led by Khara and Dushana.

स निश्चित्य ततः कृत्यं स्वसारमुपसान्त्व्य च। ऊर्ध्वमाचक्रमे राजा विधाय नगरे विधिम्॥
Then king (Ravana) settling as to what course to adopt and making arrangements for the protection of his capital and consoling his sister, rose up in the air.

त्रिकूटं समतिक्रम्य कालपर्वतमेव च। ददर्श मकरावासं गम्भीरोदं महोदधिम्॥
Crossing the mountains Trikuta and Kala he beheld the mighty ocean of deep waters, the abode of the Makaras (alligators).

तमतीत्याथ गोकर्णमभ्यगच्छद् दशाननः। दयितं स्थानमव्यचं शूलपाणेर्महात्मनः॥
Then Dashanana (Ravana, who had ten mouths) crossing it (the ocean) reached Gokarna the beloved place of the high-souled wielder of the trident (Shiva).

तत्राभ्यगच्छन्मारीचं पूर्वामात्यं दशाननः। पुरा समभयादेव तापस्यं समुपाश्रितम्॥
Then the ten-headed one went to his exminister Maricha who had long before at that very place adopted the mode of life led by the ascetics, through fear of Rama.