Rāmāyana | Āraṇya Kaṇḍa | Chapter 12

12. Agastya Gives Vishnu's Bow to Rāma

[Rāma is hospitably received by sage Agastya. He gives him Vishnu's Bow, Brahma's arrows and Indra's inexhaustible quivers.]

Then Lakṣmaṇa the younger brother of Rāma entered the hermitage, met a disciple of sage Agastya and told him. 12.1

"There was a king called Dasaratha and he had a very strong [dynamic] son and that Rāma along with his wife has reached here to see the sage." 12.2

"My name is Lakṣmaṇa and I am his dedicated brother who is his obedient devotee. Possibly you have heard about us?" 12.3

"We have come to this very severe forest as per the order of our father, Please tell the god like sage that we wish to see him." 12.4

When that sage rich in penance heard the words of Lakṣmaṇa, he assented and entered in the room where fire is kept to inform the sage. 12.5

That dear disciple of Agastya speedily approached sage, saluted him and told the sage who has done very difficult penance, and told him exactly similar to what Lakṣmaṇa told that Rāma has come. 12.6

"The sons of Dasaratha called Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa have arrived at the gate of the hermitage along with their wife Sītā." 12.7

"Those destroyers of enemies have come to see you and then serve you and please tell me what I should do." 12.8

Having heard from the disciple that Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa have come along with Vaidehī that great one told the following. 12.9

"I was having a great desire in my mind to see Rāma for a long time and providentially, he himself has come to see me." 12.10

"Go and hospitably receive Rāma along with his wife and Lakṣmaṇa and bring them near me. Why have you not brought him already?" 12.11

When the great sage who was expert in Dharma told like this that disciple saluted and told him, "As you say." 12.12

That very jittery disciple went out and told Lakṣmaṇa, "Where is Rāma? He may enter and see the sage on his own." 12.13

Then Lakṣmaṇa along with that disciple went to the gate of the hermitage and saw the son of Kākutstha clan and the daughter of Janaka. 12.14

Then the disciple told the words as told by Agastya and made him, showing him the hospitality that suits him. 12.15

Then Rāma entered the hermitage along with Sītā and Lakṣmaṇa and looking over it saw a docile deer there. 12.16

Rāma entered inside the hermitage and saw therein the altars of Brahma, Agni [fire God], Vishnu, Indra, Sun, Moon, Bhaga [Goddess of fortune], Kubera, Dhatha, Vidatha, Svāyambhūva Manu, Vāyu [wind god], the great Varuṇa who wields the noose, Gāyatrī, the Vāsus, the king of serpents, Garuda, Lord Kārtikeya [Subrāmaṇya] and the god of death. 12.17-12.20

Then the sage surrounded by his disciples came out and Rāma saw him glowing in lustre greater than all others. 12.21

Then Rāma told Lakṣmaṇa who increased auspiciousness, "the God like sage Agastya is coming out and I understand that in the matter of penance he is greater than all other sages." 12.22-12.23

After saying this, that great son of Raghu clan, fell at the feet of Agastya who shined like Sun and touched his feet. 12.24

After introducing himself to that soul of Dharma that attractive Rāma along with Sītā and Lakṣmaṇa stood with saluting hands. 12.25

After receiving the son of Kākutstha clan and after offering him seat as well as water and after enquiring about his welfare he asked him to sit. 12.26

After worshipping the fire and offering water to it and after having worshipped the guests, he offered them food as per Dharma of a Vānaprastha. 12.27

After sitting himself first, that great sage who was a follower of Dharma and spoke to Rāma who was sitting with folded hands. 12.28

"Oh son of Kākutstha clan, If a sage does not worship fire, offer sacrificial water, worship the guests, then he is a false sage and in the hell we would be made to eat his own flesh." 12.29

"You are the king of the world treading through the path of Dharma and a great warrior. You, being fit to be worshipped and respectable, have become my dear guest." 12.30

After saying this Agastya offered fruits, roots, flowers and so many other things to Rāma and worshipped him as per his desire and told Rāma. 12.31

"Here is the divine bow ornamented in gold, which was made by Viśvakarma for the use of Lord Vishnu, the tiger among males and here is the sun like arrows which never get over and which belonged to Lord Brahma," 12.32

Here are the quivers belong to Indra which can never be exhausted which is completely filled with arrows which shine like fire and here is the sword decorated by gold in excellent golden sheath." 12.33-12.34

"Oh Rāma once using this bow Lord Vishnu killed very many great asuras and brought back the lustre to the occupants of heavens." 12.35

"Oh Rāma who treasures respect, take this bow, arrows, quiver and the sword and wield them and achieve victory like Indra did with Vajra." 12.36

After telling this that greatly resplendent sage gave all those weapons to Rāma and then Agastya again spoke. 12.37

This is the end of Twelfth Sarga of Āraṇya Kanda which occurs in Holy Rāmāyaṇa composed by Vālmīki as the First Epic.