11 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra
Jars of gold full of sweet and cold drinks and trays and salvers and beautiful dishes of various kinds laden with confections of indescribable variety and delicious as ambrosia, with luscious fruit and many other delightful articles were sent as an offering by King Janaka in his joy.
The king also sent ornaments, wearing apparel, valuable gems of every variety, birds, antelopes, horses, elephants, vehicles of every description, charming aromatic substances of an auspicious nature and various articles of good omen;
and a train of porters marched with their loads of curds, parched rice and presents of endless variety slung across their shoulders.
When the deputation saw the bridegroom’s party, their mind was filled with rapture and a thrill ran through their frame. Seeing the deputation equipped in every way the members of the bridegroom’s party had their drums beaten in great joy. (1 - 4)
A batch from each side joyfully marched at a gallop in order to meet each other and the two parties met as two oceans of bliss that had transgressed their bounds. (305)
Celestial damsels rained down flowers and sang, while the glad gods sounded kettledrums. The members of the deputation placed all the offerings before King Daśaratha and supplicated him with an affectionate address. The king lovingly accepted everything and distributed the offerings as presents among his own people, or bestowed them as alms on the beggars. After due homage, reverence and courtesy the deputation conducted the bridegroom’s party to the lodgings set apart for them. Gorgeous cloths were spread as carpets for the royal guests to tread upon, on seeing which Kubera (the god of wealth) was no longer proud of his wealth. Magnificent were the quarters assigned to the bridegroom’s party, which provided every kind of comfort for each guest. When Sītā learnt that the bridegroom’s party had arrived in the city, She manifested Her glory to a certain extent. By Her very thought She summoned all the Siddhis (miraculous powers personified) and despatched them to wait upon the king and his party. (1 - 4)
Hearing Sītā’s command they repaired to the guests’ apartments, taking with them every kind of riches, comforts as well as the enjoyments and luxuries of heaven. (306)
Each member of the bridegroom’s party found in his own apartment all the enjoyments of heaven ready at hand in every way. No one, however, had an inkling of the mystery behind this untold splendour; everyone sang Janaka’s praises. Rāma alone recognized Sītā’s influence and was glad at heart to discern Her love . When the two brothers heard of their father’s arrival, they could not contain themselves for joy, but were too modest to speak to their Guru, though their heart longed to see their sire. Viśvāmitra felt much gratified at heart to perceive this great humility. In his joy he pressed the two brothers to his bosom; a thrill ran through his limbs, while tears rushed to his eyes. They proceeded to the guests’ apartments, where King Daśaratha was, as though a lake sought to visit a thirsty soul. (1 - 4)
When the king saw the sage coming with the two princes, he rose in joy and advanced to meet them like a man who feels his footing in an ocean of bliss. (307)
The king prostrated himself before the sage, placing the dust of the latter’s feet on his head again and again. Kauśika pressed the king to his bosom, blessed him and inquired after his welfare. When King Daśaratha saw the two brothers prostrating themselves, he could not contain himself for joy. Pressing the boys to his bosom he allayed the unbearable pangs of separation and looked like a dead body restored to life. Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa then bowed their head at Vasiṣṭha’s feet and the great sage embraced them in the ecstasy of love. The two brothers next saluted all the Brāhmaṇas and in turn received their welcome blessings. Bharata and his younger half-brother (Śatrughna) greeted Rāma, who lifted them and embraced them. Lakṣmaṇa rejoiced to see the two brothers (Bharata and Śatrughna) and as he embraced them his limbs were throbbing with emotion. (1 - 4)
The most gracious and unassuming Lord greeted everyone else including the citizens, attendants, kinsmen, beggars, ministers and friends in a manner befitting the rank of each. (308)
The sight of Śrī Rāma was so soothing to the guests; the ways of love are beyond description. Beside the king his four sons looked like incarnations as it were, of the four ends of human endeavour, viz., riches, religious merit etc. The people of the city were delighted beyond measure to see King Daśaratha with his sons. The gods rained down flowers and beat their drums; the nymphs of heaven danced and sang. Śatānanda (King Janaka’s family preceptor) and the other Brāhmaṇas and ministers of State, as well as the genealogists, minstrels, jesters and rhapsodists, who formed the deputation, paid due honour to the king and his party and returned with their permission. The bridegroom’s party had arrived earlier than the day fixed for the wedding: there was great rejoicing in the city on this account. Everyone enjoyed transcendent bliss and prayed to the Creator that the days and nights might be lengthened. (1 - 4)
“Rāma and Sītā are the perfection of beauty, and the two kings (Daśaratha and Janaka) the perfection of virtue!” Thus would observe the men and women of the city wherever they happened to meet”. (309)
“Vaidehī (Sītā) is the incarnation of Janaka’s merit, and Rāma is Daśaratha’s virtue personified. No one has worshipped Śiva with such devotion as these two kings, nor has anyone obtained such a reward as they have. No one has equalled them in this world, nor is there anyone to equal them anywhere nor shall be. We are all storehouses of all kinds of merits in that we have been born in this world as residents of Janaka’s capital. Who is so highly blessed as we, who have beheld the beauty of Jānakī (Sītā) and Rāma? And we will witness Śrī Rāma’s wedding and shall thereby richly reap the benefit of having our eyes.” Damsels with voice as sweet as the notes of the cuckoo whispered to one another, “O bright-eyed friends, we shall gain much by this union. By our great good-luck Providence has ordained things well: the two brothers shall often delight our eyes.” (1 - 4)
“Time after time out of affection Janaka will send for Sītā (from Ayodhyā); and the two brothers, charming as millions of Cupids put together, will come to take her back.” (310)
“There will be hospitality of every kind; who, dear one, would not love to stay at such a father-in-law’s. On each such occasion all the people of the city will be happy to behold Śrī Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa. King Daśaratha, my friends, has brought with him two other lads exactly resembling the pair of Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa. One dark, the other fair, but both charming of every limb: so declare all those who have seen them.” Said another, “I saw them today: it appeared to me as though the Creator had fashioned them with his own hands. Bharata is an exact copy of Rāma; no man or woman could distinguish them at first sight. Lakṣmaṇa and Śatrusūdana (Śatrughna) are indistinguishable from each other, peerless in every limb from head to foot. The four brothers attract the mind but cannot be described in words; for they have no match in all the three worlds.” (1 - 4)
Says Tulasīdāsa: “They have no comparison anywhere, so declare the poets and wise men. Oceans of strength, modesty, learning, amiability and beauty, they are their own Compeers.” Spreading out the skirt of their garment (as a beggar would while asking for alms) all the women of the city made entreaties to the Creator, “May all the four brothers be married in this city and may we sing charming nuptial songs!”
Said the damsels to one another, with tears in their eyes and the hair on their body standing erect, “Friends, the Slayer of the demon Tripura will accomplish everything: the two kings are of such boundless merit.” (311)
In this way they all prayed and a flood of joy inundated their heart. The princes who had come thus some days rejoiced to see the four brothers and returned each to his own home extolling Śrī Rāma’s widespread and spotless fame. Thus a few days elapsed to the delight alike of the citizens and all the members of the bridegroom’s party. At length the blessed day of wedding arrived; it was the delightful month of Mārgaśīrṣa and the beginning of the cold season. Having carefully examined and determined the propitious nature of the planets, date, asterism, the conjunction of the stars, the day of the week and the hour of the wedding the Creator despatched the note concerning the hour of the wedding through Nārada; it was just the same that Janaka’s astrologers had already determined. When all the people heard of this, they observed, “The astrologers of this place are so many creators as it were.” (1 - 4)
The most auspicious and sacred hour before sunset (which is the time when cows generally return home from pasture, and is consequently marked by clouds of dust raised by their hoofs) arrived; perceiving propitious omens, the Brāhmaṇas apprised King Videha of its approach. (312)
The king asked the family priest (Śatānanda), “What is the cause of delay now?” Śatānanda then summoned the ministers, who came equipped with all auspicious articles. A number of conches, drums and tabors sounded. Festal vases and articles of good omen (such as curds, turmeric and blades of Durba grass) were displayed. Graceful women (whose husbands were alive) sang songs, and holy Brāhmaṇas chanted Vedic texts. In this manner they proceeded to invite the bridegroom’s party with due honour and called at the latter’s lodgings. When they witnessed King Daśaratha’s glory, Indra (the lord of celestials) looked very small to them. “The hour has come; be good enough to start now,” they submitted. At this the drums gave a thundering beat. After consulting his preceptor and going through the family rites King Daśaratha sallied forth with a host of sages and holy men. (1 - 4)
Witnessing King Daśaratha’s good fortune and glory and believing their birth as fruitless, Brahmā and the other gods began to extol him with a thousand tongues. (313)
The gods perceived that it was a fit occasion for happy rejoicings; hence they rained down flowers and beat their drums. Śiva, Brahmā and hosts of other gods mounted aerial cars in several groups. Their frames thrilling over with emotion and their hearts overflowing with joy they proceeded to witness Śrī Rāma’s wedding. The gods felt so enraptured to see Janaka’s capital that their own realms appeared to them as of small account. They gazed with amazement at the wonderful pavilion and all the different works of art which were of a transcendental character. The people of the city, both men and women, were so many mines of beauty, well-formed, pious, amiable and wise. In their presence all the gods and goddesses appeared like stars in a moonlit night. The Creator (Brahmā) was astounded above all; for nowhere did he find his own handiwork. (1 - 4)
Śiva admonished all the gods saying, "Be not lost in wonder; calmly ponder in your heart that it is the wedding of Sītā and the Hero of Raghu's race." (314)
"At the very mention of whose name all evil is uprooted and the four ends of human existence are brought within one's grasp, such are Sītā and Rāma," said the Destroyer of Cupid, Śaṅkara. In this way Śambhu admonished the divinities, and then spurred on His noble bull. The gods beheld Daśaratha marching (to Janaka's palace) with his heart full of rapture and the hair on his body standing erect. The assemblage of holy men and Brāhmaṇas accompanying the king appeared like joys incarnate ministering to him. By his side shone forth the four handsome princes, incarnations as it were of the four types of final beatitude. The gods were greatly inspired with love to see two lovely pairs, one possessing the hue of emeralds and the other of golden hue. They were particularly delighted at heart to see Rāma; and extolling the king they rained down flowers on him. (1 - 4)
As Umā and the Slayer of the demon Tripura gazed again and again at Śrī Rāma's charming beauty from head to foot, the hair on Their body stood erect and Their eyes were bedewed with tears. (315)
His swarthy form possessed the glow of a peacock's neck, while His bright yellow raiment outshone the lightning. Wedding ornaments of every kind, all auspicious and graceful in every way, adorned His person. His countenance was as delightful as the moon in a cloudless autumnal night; while His eyes put to shame a blooming pair of lotuses. The elegance of His form was transcendent in all its details; yet enrapturing the mind, it defied description. Beside Him shone forth His lovely brothers, who rode curvetting their restive steed. The other princes too displayed the pace of their horses and the family bards recited the glories of their line. Even the king of birds, Garuḍa, blushed for shame to note the speed of the steed that Rāma bestrode; it was charming beyond description in every way; it seemed as though Cupid himself had taken the form of horse. (1 - 4)
It seemed as if Cupid himself had appeared with all his charm in the disguise of a horse for the sake of Śrī Rāma and fascinated the whole universe with its youth and vigour, form and virtues as well as with its pace. A bejewelled saddle, thick set with beautiful pearls, gems and rubies shone on his back; the exquisite band with small tinkling bells and the lovely bridle, dazed gods, men and sages alike.
Marching with its mind completely merged in the Lord's will, the horse looked most beautiful, as though a cloud irradiated by stars and the fitful lightning had mounted a peacock and made it dance. (316)
Even Śāradā is unable to describe the noble steed on which Śrī Rāma rode. Śaṅkara (who has five faces, with three eyes each) was enamoured of Śrī Rāma's beauty and congratulated himself on His possessing as many as fifteen eyes. When Śrī Hari (Viṣṇu) fondly gazed on Rāma, both Ramā and Her lord were equally enchanted. (The four-faced) Brahmā too was delighted to behold Śrī Rāma's beauty; but he felt sorry to think that he had only eight eyes. The generalissimo of the heavenly host (the six-faced Kārtikeya) exulted over the fact of his possessing one and a half as many eyes as Brahmā. When the wise lord of celestials gazed on Śrī Rāma (with his thousand eyes), he thought Gautama's curse as the greatest blessing. All the gods envied Indra and observed, "No one can vie with Purandara (Indra) today." The whole host of heavenly beings rejoiced to behold Śrī Rāma and there was joy beyond measure in the court of both the monarchs. (1 - 4)
There was great rejoicing in the court of both the kings and a tempestuous clash of kettledrums on both sides; the gods rained down flowers, shouting in their joy, "Glory, glory, glory to the Jewel of Raghu's race!" In this way when it was known that the marriage procession was approaching, all sorts of music began to play; while Queen Sunayanā (Sītā's mother) summoned married women whose husbands were alive and prepared with their help auspicious materials for the ceremony of waving lights round the bridegroom.
Kindling lights of various kinds and collecting all other articles of good omen, a bevy of graceful women, who possessed the charming gait of an elephant, proceeded joyfully to perform the ceremony of waving lights round the bridegroom. (317)
They all had moon-like faces, and eyes like those of a gazelle; by the elegance of their form they robbed Rati (Love's consort) of all self-conceit. Attired in costly garments of various colours they had adorned their person with all kinds of ornaments. They had further beautified all their limbs with auspicious materials, and sang melodies that put to shame even a female cuckoo. Bracelets, small bells round their waistband as well as anklets made a jingling sound as they moved and even Love's elephants blushed for shame to see their gait. All kinds of music played and there were festive activity both in the heavens and in the city. Śacī (Indra's consort), Śāradā, Ramā, Bhavānī and other goddesses, who were pure-hearted and clever by nature, assumed the disguise of lovely women and joined the royal gynaecium. They sang festal songs in a melodious voice; and as everyone was overcome with joy no one could recognize them. (1 - 4)
Who should recognize whom, when everyone in the gynaecium proceeded in her ecstatic joy to join the ceremony of waving lights round the bridegroom, who was no other than the Supreme Spirit incarnate. Melodious songs were being sung and kettledrums gently sounded; the gods rained down flowers and everything looked most charming. All the women were delighted at heart to behold the bridegroom, who was the fountain of joy; tears of love rushed to their lotus-like eyes and the hair on their pretty limbs stood erect.
The joy which Sītā's mother felt in her heart on beholding Śrī Rāma in the attire of a bridegroom was more than a thousand Śāradās and Śeṣas could not tell in a hundred Kalpas. (318)
Restraining her tears out of regard for the auspicious occasion, Queen Sunayanā performed the ceremony of waving lights with a gladdened heart, and duly completed all the rites prescribed by the Vedas as well as by family usage. The five kinds of music were being played, accompanied by five varieties of other sounds– and festal songs; carpets of different sorts were spread on the way. After waving lights the queen offered water to Śrī Rāma for washing His hands with and the latter then proceeded to the pavilion. Daśaratha shone in all his glory with his followers; his magnificence put to shame the guardians of the different worlds. From time to time the gods rained down flowers; and the Brāhmaṇas recited propitiatory texts appropriate to the occasion. There was such a great uproar in the heavens as well as in the city that no one could hear one's own words, much less of others. In this way Śrī Rāma entered the pavilion; after offering Him water to wash His hands with, He was conducted to His seat. (1 - 4)
When Rāma was installed on the seat reserved for Him, lights were waved round Him and everyone rejoiced to behold the bridegroom, scattering about Him gems and raiment and ornaments in profusion; while women sang festal songs. Brahmā and the other great gods witnessed the spectacle disguised as Brāhmaṇas; and as they gazed on the beauty of Śrī Rāma, who delighted Raghu's race even as the sun brings joy to the lotuses, they regarded this privilege as the fulfilment of their life.
Having gathered the offerings scattered about Śrī Rāma, the barbers, torchbearers, family bards and dancers bowed their head and gladly invoked blessings on Him with a heart overflowing with joy. (319)
Having observed every custom that derived its authority from the Vedas or from popular tradition the two kings Janaka and Daśaratha, embraced each other with great love. The two monarchs while embracing each other presented a glorious spectacle; poets made repeated efforts to find a suitable analogy but felt abashed at their failure. Finding no comparison anywhere, they felt baffled and concluded that the pair could be likened to themselves alone. The gods were enraptured to see the tie of love between the two kings embracing each other; raining down flowers they began to sing the glories of both. "Ever since Brahmā created the world, we have witnessed and heard of many a marriage; but it is only today that we have seen the pomp and grandeur on both sides so well-balanced in every respect and the fathers of the bride and the bridegroom so well- matched." Hearing the above voice from heaven, which was so charming yet so true, there was a flood of transcendent love on both sides. Unrolling beautiful carpets on the way and offering water to wash his hands with, Janaka himself conducted Daśaratha to the pavilion with all honour. (1 - 4)
The marvellous art of the pavilion and its charm captivated the heart even of sages; yet wise Janaka fetched and placed with his own hands thrones for all the honoured guests. He worshipped the sage Vasiṣṭha as if he were his own family deity and supplicating before him, received his blessings; while the supreme devotion with which he paid his homage to Kauśika was something too great for words.
King Janaka gladly adored Vāmadeva (another family preceptor of King Daśaratha) and the other Ṛṣis as well; he gave them all gorgeous seats and received blessings from all of them in return. (320)
Thereafter he adored the King of Ayodhyā, taking him to be the peer of Śiva and none other; and mentioning how his fortune and rank had been enhanced through relation with King Daśaratha, he made humble supplication to the latter and extolled him with joined palms. King Janaka worshipped all the members of the bridegroom's party with the same honour in every respect as he had paid to the bridegroom's father, and assigned appropriate seats to them all. How am I to describe with my one tongue the warmth of his feeling? Janaka honoured the whole bridegroom's party with gifts, polite behaviour, supplication and sweet words. Brahmā, Hari, Hara, the guardians of the eight quarters of the world and the sun-god, all of whom had knowledge of Śrī Rāma's glory, disguised themselves as noble Brāhmaṇas and witnessed the spectacle with great delight. Janaka worshipped them as on a par with gods and, though he recognized them not, assigned them exalted seats. (1 - 4)
Who should recognize and whom should one know, when everyone had forgotten one's own self? As they gazed on the bridegroom, who was Bliss personified, joy was diffused on both sides (in the bridegroom's party as well as in the court of Janaka). The all-wise Rāma recognized the gods, worshipped them mentally and assigned them seats of His own fancy. And the immortals were delighted at heart to perceive the congenial manners and gentle disposition of the Lord.
The graceful eyes of all fondly drank in the beauty of Śrī Rāmacandra's countenance with the utmost love and rapture even as the Chakora bird feeds on the moon's rays. (321)
Perceiving that the time of wedding had arrived, Vasiṣṭha sent for Śatānanda with all the honour due to him, and on hearing the call the latter came with all reverence. "Kindly go and bring the bride quickly now." Receiving the sage's order he gladly left. The wise queen with her associates was highly pleased to hear the priest's message; she sent for a few Brāhmaṇa ladies and the elder ladies of the family, who performed the family rites and sang charming festal songs. The consorts of the principal gods, who were disguised as mortal women, were all naturally lovely and in the prime of their youth. The ladies of Janaka's household were delighted to see them and, even though none recognized them, the ladies held them dearer than their life. The queen honoured them again and again treating them on a par with Umā, Ramā and Śāradā. After adorning Sītā and forming a circle about Her they joyously conducted Her to the pavilion. (1 - 4)
Equipping themselves with auspicious materials Sītā's companions and other ladies conducted Her to the pavilion with due honour; each of them was lovely of form and had all the sixteen forms of adornment and moved with the grace of an elephant in rut. At the sound of their melodious strains the sages felt obliged to give up their meditation, and love's own cuckoos were abashed. Their ornaments for the toes and ankles and the charming bangles on their wrists produced a delightful sound keeping tune with their songs.
Sītā in Her native loveliness shone forth among the bevy of ladies as a charming personification of Beauty in the midst of the Graces. (322)
Sītā's elegant form baffles all description: so poor is my wit and so surpassing Her charm. When the members of the bridegroom's party saw Sītā approach, a veritable storehouse of beauty and spotless in everyway, all greeted Her from the core of their heart. At the sight of Jānakī Rāma had His heart's desire fulfilled. King Daśaratha with all his other sons was filled with delight; the joy of their heart could not be expressed. The gods made obeisance and rained down flowers; while the sages uttered their benedictions, which were the source of all blessings. The songs that the ladies sang, combined with the sound of kettledrums, produced a loud symphony; men and women both were lost in love and rejoicing. In this manner Sītā entered the pavilion, while great sages recited propitiatory texts in great joy. The two family preceptors (Vasiṣṭha and Śatānanda) performed all the religious rites and ceremonies and observed the family customs. (1 - 4)
Having observed the family customs the Gurus (Vasiṣṭha and Śatānanda) in great joy are getting Gauri, Gansa and Brāhmaṇas; the gods accepted the homage in visible form and gave their blessing with great delight. Whatever auspicious article such as a mixture of honey etc., the sages mentally sought at any particular moment, attendants stood ever ready with gold trays and pitchers full of that substance. The sun-god himself lovingly pointed out the family usages, which were all scrupulously observed. Having thus caused Sītā to worship the gods, the sages assigned Her a beautiful throne. The mutual love with which Sītā and Rāma regarded each other could not be perceived by anyone. It was beyond the reach of the best mind, intellect and speech; how then, could the poet express it? (1-2)
While oblations were offered to the sacred fire, the fire-god in person accepted the offerings with great delight; and the Vedas in the guise of Brāhmaṇas directed the procedure of the nuptial ceremony. (323)
What words can describe the world-renowned queen-consort of Janaka and Sītā's mother? The Creator had exhausted in fashioning her all the bright glory, virtue, joy and beauty. Perceiving the appropriate time, the great sages sent for her; and in response to their call married women whose husbands were alive brought her with due honour. Queen Sunayanā shone forth to Janaka's left even as Mainā beside Himavān (the mountain- king). The king and queen joyfully brought and placed with their own hands gold vases and beautiful trays of jewels filled with holy, scented and auspicious water before Śrī Rāma. The sages recited the Veda in joyous tones and at the proper time flowers rained down from the heavens. The royal couple were enraptured to behold the Bridegroom and began to wash His holy feet. (1 - 4)
They began to love Śrī Rāma's lotus-feet; their whole frame was thrilled with emotion. The sounds of singing and kettledrums and shouts of victory in the heavens as well as in the city overflowed as it were in all direction . The lotus-feet that ever sparkle in the lake of Śiva's bosom, by thinking of which even for once the mind gets purified and all the impurities of the Kali age are driven away, by whose touch the sage Gautama's wife, who was full of sin, attained salvation, whose nectar in the form of the river Gaṅgā adorns Śambhu’s head and is declared by the gods as the holiest of the holy, and by resorting to which with their bee-like minds sages and mystics attain the goal of their liking, it is those very feet that the most lucky Janaka washed amidst shouts of victory from all corners. Joining the palms of the Bride and the Bridegroom, both the family priests recited the genealogy of the two families; and perceiving that the Bridegroom had accepted the Bride's hand, Brahmā and the other divinities as well as men and sages were filled with delight. As the king and queen gazed on the Bridegroom, who was the very fountain of joy, the hair on their body stood erect, while their heart was filled with rapture. And having gone through all the rites sanctioned either by the Vedas or by family usage, the glorious King Janaka gave his Daughter to the Bridegroom. As Himavān gave away Girijā to the great Lord Śiva, and the deity presiding over seas bestowed Śrī on Hari, so did Janaka give Sītā to Rāma and thereby earned fair renown of an unprecedented character. King Videha (Janaka) was unable to make any supplication, since that Prince (Śrī Rāma) of swarthy complexion had justified his name (Videha) by making him forget everything about his body. When oblations had been offered to the sacred fire with due rite, the ends of garments of the Bride and the Bridegroom were tied together (as a token of their indissoluble union) and the couple began to circumambulate the fire (in order to show that the two had been united in the presence of the fire-god as a witness). (1 - 4)
At the sound of the huzzas, the praises sung by the bards, the recitation of the Vedic texts, the din of the festal songs and the beating of kettledrums the wise immortals rejoiced and rained down flowers from the trees of paradise. (324)
The Bride and Bridegroom performed the circumambulation with charming paces; while all present feasted their admiring gaze on the spectacle. The lovely couple was beyond description; whatever comparison might be suggested would fall short of the reality. Lovely images of Rāma and Sītā were reflected on the pillars of jewels and shone as if Love and his consort, Rati, witnessed Śrī Rāma's matchless wedding appearing in numerous forms. Their curiosity and bashfulness were equally great; that is why they revealed themselves and went out of sight again and again. All the spectators were enraptured; like Janaka they forgot all about themselves. Joyously the sages bade the Bride and Bridegroom pace round the fire and accomplished all the rites including the ceremonial gifts, Śrī Rāma applied the vermilion to Sītā's forehead, a sight the charm of which was altogether beyond description. It seemed as if with a lotus surcharged with reddish pollen a serpent thirsting for nectar decorated the moon. Then Vasiṣṭha gave the direction and the Bride and Bridegroom sat together on the same seat. (1 - 5)
Śrī Rāma and Princess Jānakī sat together on a costly seat and King Daśaratha was glad of heart to see them. Joy thrilled along his veins again and again as he perceived the wish-yielding tree of his meritorious deeds bear new fruits. There was rejoicing all over the universe; everyone proclaimed that Śrī Rāma's wedding had been accomplished . With one tongue how could anyone describe in full the joy which knew no bounds? Then, receiving Vasiṣṭha's order, Janaka sent for the other three princesses, Māṇḍavī, Śrutakīrti and Urmilā, each clad in a bride's attire. The eldest daughter of his younger brother Kuśaketu, who was an embodiment of goodness, virtue, joy and beauty, he gave in marriage to Bharata after performing every rite with love. Jānakī's younger sister (Urmilā), whom he knew to be the crest-jewel of charming girls, Janaka gave in marriage to Lakṣmaṇa with all honour. Finally the bright-eyed and fair-faced princess Śrutakīrti, who was a mine of all virtues and was well-known for her beauty and amiability, the king gave to Ripusūdana. When each pair of bride and bridegroom saw that they were well- matched with each other’s, they felt shy, but rejoiced in their heart of hearts; everyone joyfully applauded the beauty of each pair, while the gods rained down flowers. All the lovely brides with their handsome bridegrooms shone forth in the same pavilion as it the four states (waking, dreaming, soe sleep the state) alary with their fore lard (visva Tajas prasya and Brahme) are e within the seva. (1 - 4)
The king of Ayodhyā was delighted to see his four sons with their brides, as though that jewel of monarchs had realized the four ends of life, (viz., worldly riches, religious merit, sensuous enjoyment and Liberation) along with the four processes of their realization (viz., sacrificial performances, piety, practice of Yoga and spiritual exercise). (325)
All the other princes were married according to the same rites as have been described in the case of Śrī Rāma’s marriage. The richness of the dowry was beyond description; the whole pavilion was packed with gold and jewels. There were a number of shawls, linen and silk of various colours and designs and of immense value, elephants, chariots, horses, men-servants and maid-servants and cows adorned with ornaments and vying with the cow of plenty and many other things which were more than one could count and defied description. They alone who saw the dowry could have some idea of it; even the guardians of the different realms regarded it with envy. The king of Ayodhyā gladly accepted it all and gave to the beggars whatever they liked; only that which was left was taken to the lodgings of the bridegroom's party. Then with joined palms Janaka honoured the whole bridegroom's party and spoke in gentle tones. (1 - 4)
Having honoured the whole bridegroom's party with courtesy, gifts, supplication and compliments, King Janaka joyfully paid his homage to and greeted the great sages after bestowing his loving attention on them. Bowing his head and invoking the gods he addressed them all with joined palms, "Gods and holy men seek one's love alone; can the ocean be propitiated by offering as much water as can be held within one's palms?" Again, with joined palms Janaka and his younger brother (Kuśaketu) submitted to the King of Kosala in winning words full of affection, courtesy and sincerity, "By our connection with you, O king, we have now been exalted in every respect; along with this kingdom and all that we possess, pray, look upon us both as your slaves purchased without any consideration. Taking these girls as your hand-maidens foster them with your unremitting kindness. Pardon me my offence; it was too presumptuous on my part to have called you here." The ornament of the solar race, King Daśaratha, in his turn flooded the bride's father with all kinds of honour. The courtesy they showed to each other was past all telling; for their hearts overflowed with love. Hosts of gods rained down flowers and King Daśaratha proceeded to the palace where he and his party had been lodged amidst the crash of kettledrums, voices of victory and the chanting of Vedic texts. There was much rejoicing both in the heavens and in the city. Then, receiving orders from the chief of sages, Vasiṣṭha, the lovely companions of the brides conducted them along with the bridegrooms to the apartment where the guardian deities of the family, had been installed for worship during the wedding days. (1 - 4)
Again and again did Sītā gaze on Śrī Rāma and shrink out of modesty; her heart however, refused to shrink. Her charming eyes, athirst with love, outshone the fish.(326)
[PAUSE 11 FOR A THIRTY-DAY RECITATION]