Book III : Aranya Kanda - The Forest Trek

Chapter [Sarga] 18
Verses converted to UTF-8, Oct 09


Rama averts Shuurpanakha's advances toward him and asks her to seek Lakshmana instead. Lakshmana uses wordplay in retorting her in her own words. But she takes the apparent meaning of Lakshmana's words and rushes to eat away Seetha. Lakshmana defaces her and she noisily runs away from there, only to report to her brother Khara, a violent demon. This is the triggering situation of another round of troubles to Rama and Ramayana.

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tām tu śūrpaṇakhām rāmaḥ kāma pāśa avapāśitām |
svacchhayā ślakṣṇayā vācā smita pūrvam atha abravīt || 3-18-1

1. raamaH = Rama; kaama paasha ava paashitaam = by, lust's, noose, tethered down; taam shuurpaNakhaam = to her, Shuurpanakha; svacChayaa shlakSNayaa vaacaa = clearly, softly, with voice; smita puurvam = smile, preceded by; atha abraviit = then, said.

Rama then voicing clearly and softly spoke to her, whom the noose of lust has tethered down, with a smile preceding his words. [3-18-1]

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kṛta dāro asmi bhavati bhāryā iyam dayitā mama |
tvat vidhānām tu nārīṇām suduḥkhā sasapatnatā || 3-18-2

2. bhavati = oh, honourable one; kR^ita daaraH asmi = made, married, I am; iyam mama dayitaa bhaaryaa = this is, my, dear, wife; tvat vidhaanaam tu = to your, sort of [females,] but; naariiNaam = females; sa sapatnataa = [living] with, co-wife; su duHkhaa = will be distressing.

"Oh, honourable one, I am married and this is my dear wife, thus it will be distressing for your sort of females to live with a co-wife. [3-18-2]

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anujaḥ tu eṣa me bhrātā śīlavān priya darśanaḥ |
śrīmān akṛta dāraḥ ca lakṣmaṇo nāma vīryavān || 3-18-3

3. lakSmaNaH naama = Lakshmana, named; eSa anujaH me bhraataa = he is, younger one, my, brother; shiilavaan = with good conduct; priya darshanaH = good looking one; shriimaan = promising one; viiryavaan = valiant one; a kR^ita daaraH ca = not, made, wife nearly, not with a wife.

"He is my younger brother named Lakshmana, he is with a good conduct, good looking, a promising and valiant one, and he is without a wife. [3-18-3]

Rama is punning here. In punning apparent meaning will be different than the latent and the apparent appears to an untruth. Then if it is questioned whether Rama tells a lie while joking or punning, it is not so: nyaaya - guruuNam api samam haasyam kartavyam kutilam vinaa 'even with teachers one can be humorous, if it is not fraudulent'. According to dharmaakuutam which quotes gautam suutra: vivaaha maithuna narma aatra saMyogeSu adoSakakameke anR^itam; and in aapad dharma suutra: na narma yuktam anR^itam hi na asti na striiSu raajan na vivaaha kaale 'at the time of marriage or copulation or with women talking untruth [or with innuendo, or punning,] is not wrong.'

Again if it be asked whether Rama really said in jocular way or in real sense, it is said that he has not joked. navevamapi raama vacanam parihaasa ruupamiti katham nishcitamiti cet na for this Rama's words at 3-18-19 will suffice, saumitre parihaasaH kathaMcana 'Lakshmana.... no joking with this kind of beings please...' dharmaakuutam.

Rama is known to be a jovial talker, na vitathaa parihaasa kathhasvapi Here for the word a kR^ita daaraH apparently means 'not, made, wife= wife not available.' But Lakshmana is married and Rama says here he is unmarried. Then Rama must have bluffed! Not so, that compound is in its subtext means: 'one who did not make his wife to come along, hence there is no wife.' Govindaraja.

In another way, the word a in a kR^ite also means antaHpura according to the thesaurus of a and it is said as: akaaro brahma vishNu iisha kamaTheSva~NgaNe, gaurave antaHpure palace-chambers of queens; and thus the meaning is as: 'one who left behind his wife in palace-chambers, hence he has no wife.'

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apūrvī bhāryayā ca arthī taruṇaḥ priya darśanaḥ |
anurūpaḥ ca te bhartā rūpasya asya bhaviṣyati || 3-18-4

4. a puurvii = without, a wife; bhaaryayaa ca arthii = for wife, also, in need of; taruNaH = youthful one; priya darshanaH = good, looking; te ruupasya asya = by your, features, that kind of; anu ruupaH bhartaa = fitly, husband;; bhaviSyati = he becomes.

"He is without a wife and in need of a wife he is youthful, good-looking and he can become a fitly husband of yours, fit enough to your kind of features. [3-18-4]

The word apuurvi means in the viewpoint of Rama 'one who has been missing the company of wife for a long' but in Shuurpanakha's view it is 'one who is missing the company of ANY wife for a long...' The word bhaaryaa ca arthii is from Rama's view 'desiring his own wife, Urmila' but in Shuurpanakha's view 'desiring ANY woman as wife' and the word te bhartaa is declined as te.abhartaa= te a bhartaa 'unfit to be your husband' because of your ruupasya asyaa 'by your aspect, your repulsive aspect.' Govindaraja.

In another way akR^ita daaraH 'already a married man' apuurvii 'one who does not have the comfort from wife' so bharyayaa ca arthii; a + puurva bhaaryayaa ca arthii 'for a new wife, also, desiring one; one who is desiring new wife; thus you are a fitly wife for him by your aspect, anuruupascha te . This is on joculary side of the statement parihaasa anukuula praatiitaka artha. The implicit meaning is akR^ita daaraH 'one without a wife now or one who does not take another wife.' apuurva bhaaryayaa by first wife alone, arthii he is desired; shiilavaan, eka patnii vrata shiila vantaH an abider in the syndrome of 'one-man-one-wife.' priya darshanaH 'in dear ones, tend towards; tending towards his dear ones.' te.abhrtaa= te + a + bhartaa 'for you, no, husband; he is no husband of yours, he can never be your husband.' anu ruupaH 'fit for his own wife.' asya ruupasya yogya bhaviSyati? 'with this kind of, aspect of yours for you with such a notorious aspect, will he be eligible to become your husband? No, he will not.' Maheshvara Tiirtha.

The word apuurvi is categorised under rare and unfamiliar words. It is said that as per rock edicts it is a traveller, brahmacaari celibate, who is studying apuurva, namely Veda-s. As mimaamsikaa-s tell us that apuurva is divineness, results from Vedic knowledge. Here the celibate state of Lakshmana is said to have been referred, 'though he is having his wife Urmila, he is undergoing celibacy.' And further 'In Gorresio's text it is there as taruNo bhaaryayaa ca arthii where taruNa is youthfulness. Rama is also youthful. So Rama's expression of apurvii is just to indicate Lakshmana as a brahmacaari a celibate, though he has a wife and youthful also. After Prof. Satya Vrat. Unchained is he by nuptial bands: is Griffith's wording.

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enam bhaja viśālākṣi bhartāram bhrātaram mama |
asapatnā varārohe merum arka prabhā yathā || 3-18-5

5. vishaalaakSi = oh, broad-eyed one; vara aarohe = great, waisted one; enam mama bhraataram = him, my, brother; arka prabhaa merum yathaa = sun's, shine, on Mt. Meru, like; a sapatnaa = without, a co-wife; bhartaaram = as husband; bhaja = you pray you woo.

"You woo him, oh, board-eyed [bulged-eyed] one, this brother of mine as your husband like sunshine seeking the Mt. Meru, then oh, great-waisted [pot-bellied] one, you will be without a co-wife " So said Rama to that demoness. [3-18-5]

The sunshine seeking Mt. Meru will spread over it, and on going at its behind, the sun disappears along with his shine. Such a massive mountain is that. Thus Mt. Meru is an absolver nivR^itti pradaata of sunshine. So also you reach Lakshmana and become absolved in him / by him. Govindaraja. Secondly, you adore Lakshmana like bhartaaram a husband, a Providence of all in the universe. Maheshvara Tiirtha.

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iti rāmeṇa sā proktā rākṣasī kāma mohitā |
visṛjya rāmam sahasā tato lakṣmaṇam abravīt || 3-18-6

6. raameNa iti proktaa [pra uktaa] = by Rama, this way, [when] clearly told; raakSasii kaama mohitaa = demoness, in lust, dazed; sahasaa raamam visR^ijya = quickly, discarding, Rama; tataH saa lakSmaNam abraviit = then, she, to Lakshmana, spoke.

When Rama clearly told that way to that demoness dazed in lust, discarding Rama quickly then she spoke to Lakshmana. [3-18-6]

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asya rūpasya te yuktā bhāryā aham varavarṇinī |
mayā saha sukham sarvān daṇḍakān vicariṣyasi || 3-18-7

7. te asya ruupasya = your, for this, with aspect [meetly to your charm]; vara varNinii = best, complexioned one; aham yuktaataa bhaaryaa = I am, a deserving, wife; mayaa saha sukham = with me, along, happily; sarvaan daNDakaan vi cariSyasi = all of, Dandaka, well, move about [take a jaunt.]

"I with my best complexion will be your deserving wife meetly to you charm, you can happily take a jaunt all over Dandaka forest along with me." So Shuurpanakha ran after Lakshmana. [3-18-7]

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evam uktaḥ tu saumitrī rākṣasyā vākya kovidaḥ |
tataḥ śūrpaṇakhīm smitvā lakṣmaṇo yuktam abravīt || 3-18-8

8. raakSasyaa evam uktaH tu = by demoness, thus, said, but; vaakya kovidaH = sentence making, expert; saumitrii = Soumitri's son; lakSmaNaH = Lakshmana; tataH smitvaa = then, smiled; shuurpaNakhiim yuktam abraviit = to Shuurpanakha, reasonable [words,] said.

Thus said by the demoness that meaningful sentence maker Lakshmana, the son of Sumitra, then smiled and appropriately replied Shuurpanakha. [3-18-8]

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katham dāsasya me dāsī bhāryā bhavitum icchhasi |
so aham āryeṇa paravān bhrātrā kamala varṇinī || 3-18-9

9. kamala varNinii = oh, [black] lotus, coloured one; daasasya me bhaaryaa = servant's, me like, wife; daasii bhavitum katham icChasi = female servant, to become, how, you wish; saH aham = such as, I am; aaryeNa = by adorable one [Rama]; paravaan [para aadhiina] bhraatraa = vassal, brother.

"How you wish to become a female servant, oh, [black] lotus-coloured one, by becoming the wife of a servant like me? I am just a vassal of my adorable brother. [3-18-9]

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samṛddha arthasya siddhārthā mudita amala varṇinī |
āryasya tvam viśālākṣi bhāryā bhava yavīyasī || 3-18--10

10. vishaala akSi = oh, broad-eyed [goggle-eyed] one; a mala varNinii = un, blemished, complexioned one; [or, if disconnected as: muditaa mala varNini = mala varNini = filthy complexioned one, nothing more is there to blemish]; tvam = you; samR^iddha arthasya = abounding, in means [is Rama]; aaryasya = to adorable one [to Rama]; yaviiyasii bhaaryaa = younger, wife; on becoming; siddha arthaa mudita bhava = achieving, your means, be happy.

"Oh, goggle eyed one, befitting to your complexion that is un-stainable further you better become the wife of my brother Rama who is abounding in means, and on becoming the younger wife of that adorable one, you too will achieve your means and thus you will be happy. [3-18-10]

The word samR^iddha artha is 'abounding in the means of salvation.' arthobhidheyaraiH vastu prayojana nivR^itteSu nivR^itti 'Rama will accord salvation to you, should you adore him as your ultimate husband, thereby your means too are achieved and you can be happy.' The compound mudita amala varnaNi when declined as a + mudita; mala varNinii will mean: ' you have no happiness, filthy is your complexion.' yaviiyasii bhaaryaa; 'you are an unhappy creature with a filthy complexion and you will become a worst possible wife of Rama... do you wish to become at least that worst wife? No, never you can.' Maheshvara Tiirtha.

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enām virūpām asatīm karālām nirṇata udarīm |
bhāryām vṛddhām parityajya tvām eva eṣa bhajiṣyati || 3-18-11

11. eSa = he this Rama; vi ruupaam = without shape disfigured one; a satiim = not, good one - dishonest; karaalaam = deleterious one; nirNata udariim = hallow-stomached; vR^iddhaam = old one; enaam bhaaryaam parityajya = this, wife, on discarding; tvaam eva bhajiSyati = leaving off, you, alone, he adores.

"On discarding her who is disfigured, dishonest, diabolically deleterious old wife with a hallow stomach that Rama will adore you alone. [3-18-11]

Lakshmana tolerates anything but lets no fly to fly over Seetha. He may defy his brother Rama, but never tolerates belittlement of Seetha, and lets none to insult her. Now he is retorting Shuurpanakha in the same words she used in last chapter when she was speaking about Seetha.

Here Govindaraja says, viruupaama asatiim karaalaam nirNatatodariim vR^idhaam tvaam parityajya enaam bhaaryaam eva eSa 'oh, Shuurpanakha you are un-shapely, unworthy etc., so Rama will leave you off, and adores his own wife, Seetha only...' Govindaraja.

Next, Maheshvara Tirtha says the same verse with reference to Seetha, it is: vi + ruupaam= visheSa ruupaam= tri loka sundariim with a particular excellence in her beauty in all three worlds; a + satiim= na anya pativrataa syaat samam vaa adhikam none, equalling or better in husband-adoration; karaalaam= karaalo daMture tunge daaruNe api ca, tallish; nirNata udariim hallow-stomached, slender-waisted, the first attribute a comely lady should have; vR^iddhaam= j~naana, shiila, guNa saMvR^ddhi 'abounding with intellect, character, conduct etc., not just years of age...'

'Seetha is one with a particular excellence in her beauty in all three worlds, none is equalling or higher to her in husband-adoration, a tallish lady, slender-waisted and in her enriched are intellect, character and conduct... how can she be left off for your sake?' This is the innuendo of Lakshmana's wording. Maheshvara Tiirtha.

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ko hi rūpam idam śreṣṭham saṃtyajya varavarṇini |
mānuṣeṣu varārohe kuryāt bhāvam vicakṣaṇaḥ || 3-18-12

12. vara varNini = oh, best, complexioned one; vara arohe = best, waisted one; vicakSaNaH = differentiating man, wiseacre; kaH hi = who, indeed; shreSTham idam ruupam = best, this sort of, personality; sam tyajya = completely, discarding; maanuSeSu bhaavam kuryaat = in human females, an intent, makes -- who will prefer.

"Oh, best complexioned one with best waist, is there any wiseacre to simply discard your kind of best personality, indeed, in preference to human females?" Lakshmana said so to Shuurpanakha. [3-18-12]

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iti sā lakṣmaṇena uktā karālā nirṇatodarī |
manyate tat vacaḥ satyam parihāsa avicakṣaṇā || 3-18-13

13. lakSmaNena iti uktaa = by Lakshmana, thus, said; karaalaa nirNatodarii = despicable, one with slouching stomach; parihaasa a vicakSaNaa = equivoque, not, differentiating one equivocal; saa = she; tat vacaH = that, word; satyam manyate = truthful, presumed.

Thus said by Lakshmana that despicable one with slouching stomach Shuurpanakha presumed those words to be truthful, for she is equivocal of that equivoque. [3-18-13]

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sā rāmam parṇaśālāyām upaviṣṭam paraṃtapam |
sītayā saha durdharṣam abravīt kāma mohitā || 3-18-14

14. kaama mohitaa = by lust, one fuddled by; saa = she; siitayaa saha parNashaalaayaam upaviSTam = Seetha, along with, in cottage, one who is sitting; param tapam = enemy-scorcher; durdharSam = unassailable one; raamam = to Rama; abraviit = said.

She who is fuddle by lust said to that unassailable enemy scorcher Rama who is sitting in the cottage along with Seetha. [3-18-14]

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imām virūpām asatīm karālām nirṇatodarīm |
vṛddhām bhāryām avaṣṭabhya na mām tvam bahu manyase || 3-18-15

15. viruupaam asatiim karaalaam nirNatodariim = disfigured, dishonest, diabolical, hallow-stomached one; imaam vR^iddhaam bhaaryaam avaSTabhya = her, old one, wife, tenacious of; tvam maam na bahu manyase = you, me, not, highly, regarding.

"Tenacious of her who is disfigured, dishonest, diabolical, hallow-stomached old wife of yours you are not regarding me high. [3-18-15]

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adya imām bhakṣayiṣyāmi paśyataḥ tava mānuṣīm |
tvayā saha cariṣyāmi niḥsapatnā yathā sukham || 3-18-16

16. tava pashyataH = you, while seeing; adya imaam maanuSiim = now, her, the human female; bhakSayiSyaami = I wish eat up; niH sa patnaa = without [botheration of,] co, wife; tvayaa saha cariSyaami = with you, along, I ramble [make merry]; yathaa sukham = as per, cheerfulness - blithely.

"Now I wish to eat up this human female right before your very eyes, and then I can blithely make merry along with you, without the botheration of a co-wife." Said Shuurpanakha to Rama. [3-18-16]

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iti uktvā mṛgaśāvākṣīm alāta sadṛśa īkṣaṇā |
abhyadhāvat susaṃkruddhā mahā ulkā rohiṇīm iva || 3-18-17

17. alaata sadR^isha iikSaNaa = half burnt wood stick, [torche-like,] equal, eyed Shuurpanakha; iti uktvaa = thus, speaking; su sam kruddhaa = very, highly, exasperated; mahaa ulkaa rohiNiim iva = great, meteor, towards Rohini [a brightest star in sky,] like; mR^igashaava akSiim = towards deer, eyed [Seetha]; abhyadhaavat = dashed.

Speaking that way she that torch-eyed Shuurpanakha dashed towards the deer-eyed Seetha in high exasperation as a great meteor would dash towards Rohini, the brightest star in the sky. [3-18-17]

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tām mṛtyu pāśa pratimām āpataṃtīm mahābalaḥ |
vigṛhya rāmaḥ kupitaḥ tato lakṣmaṇam abravīt || 3-18-18

18. mahaabalaH raamaH = greatly, energetic, Rama; kupitaH = took umbrage; aa patantiim = coming, falling - swooping; mR^ityu paasha pratimaam = death's, noose, like; taam vi gR^ihya = her, on checking; tataH lakSmaNam abraviit = to Lakshmana, said.

By that the great-energetic Rama took umbrage and checking her who is like the noose of death swooping down on Seetha said to Lakshmana. [3-18-18]

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krūraiḥ anāryaiḥ saumitre parihāsaḥ kathaṃcana |
na kāryaḥ paśya vaidehīm kathaṃcit saumya jīvatīm || 3-18-19

19. saumya = oh, gentle one; saumitre = Soumitri; kruuraiH = with brutish ones; an aaryaiH = with un, civilised ones - base; kathamcana = in any event; parihaasaH na kaaryaH = punning, not, be made - inapposite; kathamcit jiivatiim vaidehiim pashya = somehow, surviving, at Vaidehi, see.

"Punning in any way with the base and brutish is inapposite, oh, gentle Saumitri, mark note of Vaidehi, somehow surviving [3-18-19]

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imām virūpām asatīm atimattām mahodarīm |
rākṣasīm puruṣavyāghra virūpayitum arhasi || 3-18-20

20. puruSa vyaaghra = oh, manly-tiger; vi ruupaam = freakish; a satiim = knavish; ati mattaam = overtly, ruttish; mahaa udariim = big, bellied; imaam raakSasiim = this, demoness be; vi ruupayitum arhasi = without, shape [to deface,] apt of you.

"She is freakish, knavish and overtly ruttish, oh, tigerly man, it will be apt of you to deface this paunchy demoness " Thus Rama said to Lakshmana. [3-18-20]

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iti ukto lakṣmaṇaḥ tasyāḥ kruddho rāmasya paśyataḥ |
uddhṛtya khaḍgam cicchheda karṇa nāsam mahābalaḥ || 3-18-21

21. iti uktaH mahaabalaH lakshmaNaH = thus, said, great-mighty, Lakshmana; kruddhaH = infuriated; raamasya pashyataH = while Rama, is seeing; uddhR^itya khaDgam = taking up [drawing,] sword; tasyaaH karNa naasam cicCheda = her, ears, nose, chopped off.

Thus said to that mighty Lakshmana he infuriately drew sword and chopped off her ears and nose before the very eyes of Rama. [3-18-21]

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nikṛtta karṇa nāsā tu visvaram sā vinadya ca |
yathā āgatam pradudrāva ghorā śūrpaṇakhā vanam || 3-18-22

22. ghoraa saa shuurpaNakhaa = ghastly one, she, Shuurpanakha; nikR^itta karNa naasaa tu = hewed off, ears, nose, but; vi svaram vi nadya ca = discordantly, she, highly, blared; yathaa aagatam = as has come; vanam = into forest; pradudraava [pra du draava] = very, speedily, fled.

On hewing off her ears and nose she that ghastly Shuurpanakha blared highly and discordantly, and very speedily fled into forest as she came. [3-18-22]

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sā virūpā mahāghorā rākṣasī śoṇita ukṣitā |
nanāda vividhān nādān yathā prāvṛṣi toyadaḥ || 3-18-23

23. vi ruupaa = defaced; mahaa ghoraa = very ghastly one; shoNita ukSitaa = blood, wetted; saa raakSasii = she, that demoness; praavR^iSi toyadaH yathaa = in cloudburst, cloud, as with; nanaada vividhaan naadaan = blaring, many a, blared; like, cloud.

She that very ghastly demoness when defaced is wetted by blood and blared many a blare like a cloud in cloudburst. [3-18-23]

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sā vikṣaraṃtī rudhiram bahudhā ghora darśanā |
pragṛhya bāhū garjantī praviveśa mahāvanam || 3-18-24

24. ghora darshanaa saa = gruesome, in appearance, she; bahudhaa rudhiram vi kSarantii = in many way - fountained, blood, profusely, exuding; baahuu pragR^ihya = arms, clutching -- clasped herself; garjantii mahaa vanam pravivesha = thundering, great [gruesome,] forest, entered.

m>garjantii mahaa vanam pravivesha = thundering, great [gruesome,] forest, entered.

She that gruesome one in her appearance clasped herself and thunderously entered similarly gruesome forest while her blood fountained and profusely exuded. [3-18-24]

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tataḥ tu sā rākṣasa saṃgha samvṛtam
kharam jana sthāna gatam virūpitā |
upetya tam bhrātaram ugra tejasam
papāta bhūmau gaganād yathā aśaniḥ || 3-18-25

25. tataH = then; saa viruupitaa = she who is, disfigured; raakSasa sangha samvR^itam = demons, band of, surrounded by; janasthaana gatam = in Janasthaana, one abiding in; ugra tejasam = one with violent, vigour; bhraataram = at her brother; tam kharam = that, Khara; upetya = neared; gaganaat ashaniH yathaa = from sky, thunderbolt, as with; bhuumau papaata = on ground, fell down.

Then she who is deformed neared her brother Khara who possess violent vigour, who is abiding in Janasthaana and who is presently surrounded by his band of his hench-demons, and before him she that Shuurpanakha fell onto ground like a thunderbolt from the sky. [3-18-25]

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tataḥ sabhāryam bhaya moha mūrcitā
salakṣmaṇam rāghavam āgatam vanam |
virūpaṇam ca ātmani śoṇita ukṣitā
śaśaṃsa sarvam bhaginī kharasya sā || 3-18-26

26. tataH = then; kharasya bhaginii saa = Khara's, sister, she who is; bhaya moha muurchitaa = by fear's, fluster, convulsed; shoNita ukSitaa = by blood, wetted; vanam aagatam = to forest, arrived; sa bhaaryam = with, wife; sa lakSmaNam raaghavam = with Lakshmana, about Raghava; aatmani viruupaNam ca = of her, misshaping, also; sarvam shashamsa = all, reported.

Then that sister of Khara who is convulsed in the fluster of fear and her body wetted with blood reported to her brother Khara, all about Rama's arrival in forest with his wife and Lakshmana, and even about his misshaping her. [3-18-26]


iti vālmīki rāmāyaṇe ādi kāvye araṇya kāṇḍe aṣṭādaśaḥ sargaḥ

Thus, this is the 18th chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

Verse Locator for Book III : Aranya Kanda - The Forest Trek : Chapter 18

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© 2002, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : May 04]