Rāmāyana | Āraṇya Kaṇḍa | Chapter 43

43. Sītā's Request for Deer

[Sītā requests Rāma for the deer and Lakṣmaṇa warns that it may be Mārīcha. Rāma decides to either bring the deer alive or dead. He requests Lakṣmaṇa to take care of Sītā.]

Sītā, the lady with good hips, one of flawless beauty, while plucking flowers saw that splendid deer which was of the colour of gold and silver and after seeing that was delighted shouted to draw the attention of Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa who were standing fully armed. 43.1-43.2

When summoned by Vaidehī those tiger among men, Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa looked around and when their attention was drawn to it, saw the animal. 43.3

Lakṣmaṇa when he saw that animal became doubtful and told Rāma "I do not think that animal is anybody except Mārīcha." 43.4

"Many kings, who came for hunting in the forest for joy, were killed by this malicious imposter who can change his form at will." 43.5

"Oh tiger among men, this deceitful one has taken the form of a radiant deer of illusion which is like the city of Gandharvas that does not exist. 43.6

"Oh Rāghava, nowhere does this type of deer decorated by gems exist and oh lord of the world, this is definitely an act of cheating." 43.7

When Lakṣmaṇa was telling like this, that lady with a pretty smile Sītā whose mind was captivated by the skin of the animal told. 43.8

"Oh husband, this pretty deer has stolen my mind. Oh Great hero, if you bring it to me, we can play with it." 43.9

"In this hermitage of ours there are many deer walking about in groups along with antelopes and Yaks." 43.10

"Oh very strong one, spotted antelopes in groups, monkeys as well as Kinnaras which are good to look at which steal the minds are also moving about." 43.11

"Oh king I have never before seen a similar looking great deer, which is pretty, glittering and patient." 43.12

"It has peculiar body parts of different colours and has been decorated by various gems. It is shining and illuminating the forest like moon." 43.13

"What a pretty form, what rich looks, what a shine and what a pretty sound it produces? This deer with his varied type of body has stolen my mind." 43.14

"If you are able to catch it while it is living, it would be a great surprise and it will generate wonder of wonders." 43.15

"After our exile is over, this deer, when we go back to the kingdom, will add beauty to your private apartment." 43.16

"Oh king, this deer with its pretty form would create surprise in Bhārata, my mother in law, you as well as me." 43.17

"If this great and pretty deer cannot be caught when it is alive, then Oh tiger among men, it's pretty hide would become mine." 43.18

"If this deer is killed then I would use its hide of golden colour on a cushion like grass and sit on it very comfortably." 43.19

"This wish coming from a lady may sound passionate, terrible and not desirable but this animal's beauty creates great surprise in me." 43.20

Its golden colour, horns inlaid with gems, its colour resembling young sun, it looks that resemble the path of the stars, created great sense of wonder in Rāma also. 43.21

Rāma after hearing Sītā's words and after seeing the greatly wonderful deer, attracted by its form and encouraged by Sītā, Rāma told these happy words to Lakṣmaṇa. 43.22-43.23

"See Lakṣmaṇa how Sītā desires me to go after the deer, which due to its great looks does not appear to live in the forest. There is no deer of this beauty in either, the garden of Indra or Chaitraratha which is Kubera’s garden and how can we find such an animal on earth." 43.24-43.25

"Its hairs from top to bottom or from bottom to top are beautiful and the golden drops on the body of this deer are indeed beautiful." 43.26

"Please see its outstretched tongue which shines like a flame of fire and you can see it like a streak of lightning falling from the cloud." 43.27

"Its face is shining with the colour of sapphire; its belly is having the shine of conch and whose mind will not be tempted by this most elegant animal." 43.28

"Oh Lord Lakṣmaṇa, whose mind would not be filled with wonder on seeing this deer which glitters in its golden colour and adorned with different coloured gems?" 43.29

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa, kings who come here to hunt for meat or just for fun may kill this great deer in this great forest." 43.30

"In the dense forest, wealth consisting of gems, minerals, gold and different type of ores would be collected with difficulty." 43.31

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa, the essence of all that forest wealth, promotes the growth of treasuries, like the things that are desired by the mind of Śukra fills his treasury." 43.32

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa, one who wishes for materialistic fulfilments of his desire, moves about without thinking and that is why economists are called materialistic people." 43.33

"Vaidehī with a pretty middle would sit along with me on the golden colour hide of this excellent gem of a deer." 43.34

"I do not think that hide of a black spotted deer or sheep or goat is not comparable to this hide in smoothness." 43.35

"This great deer and divine deer seen on the sky are both divine this being deer of earth and that deer of heavens." 43.36

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa, if what you say is true that this is not a deer but a transformed Rākṣasa, then also, I should bring death to it." 43.37

"That cruel and evil minded Mārīcha, while moving in the forest has tortured and harassed several great sages." 43.38

"Several kings, who were great archers hunting in the forest, were killed by him while they were waking up and so this deer deserves to be killed." 43.39

"Previously Vātāpi used to enter the stomach of saints, humiliate and kill them like the female mare calf killing its mother while in womb." 43.40

"After a long time that Vātāpi entered greedily in to the stomach of the great sage Agastya, who had great lustre and was made in to food by him." 43.41

"When after he was eaten he wanted to rise up in the stomach, taking his real form that great sage with a smile told." 43.42

"Oh Vātāpi in this world of living beings, without caring for them, you insulted many great Brahmins with your power and on that account you are being digested by me." 43.43

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa, I hope this one is not like Vātāpi. He may underestimate me for my qualities of Dharma and control over senses and I would kill him like Agastya killed Vātāpi." 43.44

"Oh son of the Raghu clan, you be here ready and alert and protect Mythili because the actions that we do in future depends on her." 43.45

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa, I would either kill or catch this deer and I will bring the deer speedily back." 43.46

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa see how Sītā desires greatly to the hide of that deer and as the hide of the deer is important, I will not allow the deer to live." 43.47

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa, you be vigilant in the hermitage and look after Sītā and I would kill that deer by just one arrow and after getting his hide, I would return quickly." 43.48-43.49

"Oh Intelligent Lakṣmaṇa, you take care of Mythili, doubting that danger would come from all directions at all times and also the king of birds would go round the hermitage protecting her. 43.50

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