Rāmāyana | Āraṇya Kaṇḍa | Chapter 56

56. Rāvaṇa's Threat to Sītā

[When Sītā refuses to accept him, he gives her one year time to change her mind and commands his Rākṣasī maids to break her pride.]

When he told her like this, the sorrowing Vaidehī, who was not afraid, kept a straw in between them and spoke like this to Rāvaṇa. 56.1

"Rāghava is the son of king Dasaratha who is stable like a dam in following Dharma, a teller of only truth and greatly and greatly renowned." 56.2

"Rāma that soul of Dharma is well known in all the three worlds and has long hands, wide eyes and is like God and is my husband." 56.3

"He was born in the clan of Ikshvāku, has shoulder like lion and has great lustre; he with his brother Lakṣmaṇa would steal your life." 56.4

"If I had been attacked by you forcefully in his presence, then you would be lying dead in Janasṭhāna along with innumerable Rākṣasas including Khara." 56.5

"Those dreadful very strong Rākṣasas about whom you spoke are snakes without poison against Rāghava like serpents against Garuda." 56.6

"The gold tipped arrows which would be released from the string of his bow would shatter your body like the waves shattering the banks of river Ganga." 56.7

"Oh Rāvaṇa, even if you cannot be killed by devas and asuras, after creating the great enmity with Rāma, you cannot come out alive." 56.8

"That powerful Rāghava would put an end to your life and like an animal ready to be sacrificed and tied to the sacrificial post, it is difficult for you to survive." 56.9

"If Rāma sees you with his eyes shining with anger, Oh Rākṣasa, you would be burnt down and land in great shame." 56.10

"He can make the moon fall on the earth and destroy the sea by drying it up and will he not be able to get Sītā freed?" 56.11

"Your life span is getting reduced, your wealth is getting reduced, your strength is getting reduced, your senses are getting weak and Lanka would become a widow because of you." 56.12

"This sin which you have committed would not bring good results, for you have brought me from the side of my husband without any feelings." 56.13

"With the help of Gods, my husband who has great lustre, without any fear and depending only on his valour is living in Daṇḍaka." 56.14

"He in a fight with you using his rain of arrows would remove your pride, strength, valour and haughtiness from yourself." 56.15

"The beings face destruction when fixed by time, and by the blunders you have committed, you are going to be in the custody of death." 56.16

"Oh basest among Rākṣasas, having assaulted me, the time has already come for your destruction as well as all Rākṣasas and women in your private apartments." 56.17

"In the middle of the place of Yagna, where the vessels and materials have been kept ready and where Brahmins are uttering the chants, a debased man born in a family of out-castes cannot pollute." 56.18

"I am a daily observer of Dharma, a virtuous wife, and chaste to my husband, Oh basest of Rākṣasas, who is a sinner, you cannot touch me." 56.19

"How can a swan playing daily with a royal swan in the lotus pond, see the water crow resting on the grass lands?" 56.20

"Oh Rākṣasa, when this body has no signs of movement, you can bind it or bury it and I am not bothered to protect this body even it is alive but I cannot bear any ignominy in this world." 56.21

When Vaidehī spoke these angry and harsh words, Rāvaṇa did not speak anything to Maithili.56, 22

Hearing the harsh words of Sītā which caused his hairs to stand erect, he replied to her in words which caused fear. 56.23

"Oh pretty lady Maithili, hear my words. After the passage of twelve months, if you do not accept my hand, Oh lady with a pretty smile, my cooks would cut you in to small pieces and offer it to my breakfast." 56.24-56.25

After telling these harsh words, Rāvaṇa who made his enemies wail, told these angry words to the Rakshasis. 56.26

Addressing those fierce looking, loathsome eaters of flesh and drinkers of blood, he said, "Soon destroy her pride by frightening her." 56.27

As soon as he spoke like this, those horrifying Rākṣasī crowd saluted him and surrounded the lady Maithili." 56.28

Then the fierce looking Rāvaṇa stamped the earth and shook it as if trying to tear it away and told those horrifying Rākṣasīs. 56.29

Let Maithili be taken to the Asoka grove and there she may be kept in hiding by all of you surrounding her." 56.30

"There by terrorizing and again consoling her, you may bring her under your control the wild female elephant." 56.31

When Rāvaṇa instructed the Rākṣasīs this way, taking Maithili with her they went to the Asoka grove, Where different types of trees yielded flowers and fruits all around the year and during all seasons was crowded by different type of birds. 56.32-56.33

Engulfed in grief, that Maithili, who was the daughter of Janaka, in the custody of those Rākṣasīs felt like a deer in the custody of tigers. 56.34

Under going great sorrow, that Maithili, the daughter of Janaka who was a coward did not have peace like the deer caught in the net. 56.35

Maithili who was troubled by those women with ugly eyes did not get peace and went on remembering her godlike husband and due to fear and sorrow lost her consciousness. 56.36

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