Rāmāyana | Āraṇya Kaṇḍa | Chapter 17

17. Sūrpanakhā Meets Rāma

[Sūrpanakhā, the sister of Ravana happens to meet Rāma and is attracted towards him. She tells Rāma that she would like to get married to him.]

After taking bath Rāma, Sītā and son of Sumitrā went back to their hermitage in the banks of river Godavari. 17.1

After reaching their hermitage Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa did the rituals to be done before noon and went inside the hermitage. 17.2

Rāma who was worshipped by sages there stayed happily there and discussed with Lakṣmaṇa regarding diverse matters. 17.3

The long armed Rāma sitting inside the hermitage along with Sītā, shined like moon good sitting along with Chitrā. 17.4

When Rāma was sitting there curious to know about several matters, by an accident a Rākṣasī came over to that place. 17.5

She was a Rākṣasī named Sūrpanakhā, who was a sister of a ten necked Rākṣasa and she approached near Rāma who was like thirty devas. 17.6

She resembled a strong armed man, had a chest like that of lion, eyes resembling lotus petals, with arms hanging up to her thigh, having a glowing face, was pleasant to look at, walked like a mighty elephant, had matted hair, was pretty, looked like a strong man having royal traits, had a skin of the colour of blue lotus, glowed like God of love and as glorious as Indra and seeing Rāma that Rākṣasī was attracted with great passion towards him. 17.7-17.9

While Rāma had a pretty face, she had a horrible face, while Rāma had a slender waist, she had a big belly, while Rāma had broad eyes, she had ugly eyes, while he had black pretty hair, she had copper red coloured hair, When Rāma had an attractive form she had an ugly form, while he had a good voice she had voice like dog, while he was young she was old, she talks to the right and she talks to the left, While he was well behaved, she had a bad behaviour and when he was nice to look at, she had an undesirable form And that Rākṣasī caught in the throes of passion told as follows. 17.10-17.12

"Oh Rāma you have matted hair, look like a saint and is with your wife and are also holding a bow and arrow and with all this you look like a Kshatriya. Why have you come? Please tell me truth." 17.13

The destroyer of enemies after hearing these words of Sūrpanakhā, being honest in his thinking started to tell her everything. 17.14

Untruth was not acceptable to Rāma especially in a hermitage that too in the presence of women. 17.15

"There was a king called Dasaratha who was valorous like Devas and I am eldest son and I am famous among the people with the name of Rāma." 17.16

"He is my younger brother whose name is Lakṣmaṇa and he always follows me and she is my wife who is the princess of Videha and she is called Sītā." 17.17

"By the order of the king who is my father and my mother and bound by Dharma and with a view to establish Dharma, I have come to reside in forest." 17.18

"I wish to know about you. Please tell me who you are as well as where from are you. You do not look like a Rākṣasī to me as you have pretty limbs." 17.19

"Please tell me truly as to what purpose you have come here." Hearing these words but overtaken by passion that Rākṣasī said. 17.20

"Oh Rāma, be pleased to hear my words. I am a Rākṣasī called Sūrpanakhā, who can take any form that I like. I terrorize everyone and move about in this part of the forest." 17.21-17.22

"My brother Ravana who is strong is the king of all Rākṣasas. He is valorous and son of Visravas and I hope you have heard about him." 17.23

"My brothers are the very strong Kumbhakarṇa, the soul of Dharma Vibhīṣaṇa who is a Rākṣasa and the very famous heroes in war called Khara and Dhooshana." 17.24

"I came leaving all of them and as soon as I saw you, I have approached you as my husband." 17.25

"I am having great powers and can move about where I like with my strength,. Be my husband for a long time. What do you intend to do with Sītā?" 17.26

"Being ugly and deformed, she is not suitable to be your wife, and since I am having a form like yours, you make me your wife." 17.27

"I will eat this deformed, unchaste, frightful fat bellied woman along with your brother also." 17.28

"After that seeing the peaks of mountains and forests along with me, you darling can roam about this Daṇḍakāraṇya." 17.29

When told like this Rāma laughed at that lady who had bewitching eyes and that expert in conversation started telling these words. 17.30

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