Rāmāyana | Āraṇya Kaṇḍa | Chapter 69

69. Rāma Meets Ayomukhi

[When walking in the forest near the hermitage of Mātangī, a Rākṣasī called Ayomukhi attacks them. Lakṣmaṇa catches hold of her and cuts her, nose ears and breasts. They see bad omens and then they are both caught by a huge horrifying Rākṣasa called Kabandha]

Then both Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa after offering oblations started towards the south western direction in the forest searching for Sītā. 69.1

Both the princes of Ikshvāku dynasty armed with bows, arrows and swords, walked towards south western direction, first walking through the dense covered forest. 69.2

With many trees, shrubs and trees which had grown and spread all over, the way appeared impenetrable, difficult to travel and appeared dreadful. 69.3

Those two very strong Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa, forced themselves through that dense forest populated by elephants and lions with speed and crossed that forest. 69.4

Then later those two courageous princes after going three kosas [about 11 km] from Janasṭhāna reached and entered the dense Krauncha forest. 69.5

Tormented by the abduction of Sītā, eager to see Vaidehī both stopped here and there for a while in the forest which was dense and looked like formation of clouds of different kinds and which was filled with many animals and snakes. 69.6-69.7

Then the brothers went three kosas east word crossing the Krauncha forest and they saw a very terrible forest near the hermitage of Mātangī filled with fearful animals and birds and which had various types of animals and densely grown great trees and there the sons of Daśaratha saw a cave filled with darkness which was majestic like Paṭala. 69.8-69.10

Those tiger among men reached the cave and not far from there saw a Rākṣasī with a huge body and an ugly face. 69.11

The two brothers Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa saw a Rākṣasī who was scary, timid, nauseating, had a fearful appearance, had a big paunch, sharp teeth, very old, speaking undesirable words, was eating formidable animals and had a spread out hair. 69.12-69.13

She came near them and saw Lakṣmaṇa who was walking in front and told him "Come on, let us enjoy love play", and held Lakṣmaṇa. 69.14

After catching hold of the hand of the son of Sumitrā and hugging him she told, "My name is Ayomukhi and have been attracted by your heroic personality and you will live with me. Oh valorous lord, for the rest of our lives we will wander over lofty hills, rivers and sand banks, making love there." 69.15-69.16

Lakṣmaṇa, the conqueror of enemies got very angry at this and took out his sword and cut off her ears, nose and breasts. 69.17

That Rākṣasī who had a gross appearance ran off shrieking and shouting in a changed tone, when her ears and nose were cut off and went by the way she had come. 69.18

When she went away, the brothers Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa, both of whom were destroyers of enemies and had great lustre walked further and reached a dense forest. 69.19

Lakṣmaṇa who had great lustre, clean and one having good conduct and one who says the truth told his brother who was shining like light, these words holding his hands in salutation. 69.20

"My strong shoulder is throbbing and my mind is agitated and I feel that these are undesirable omens." 69.21

"Oh noble one, therefore be ready and heed my good words and advice as I have no doubt that the period which is going to come would be full of perils. I am perplexed by this." 69.22

"That Vanchulaka bird is making a sound which is extremely frightening, possibly indicating our victory in a war." 69.23

When both the lustrous brothers were further searching in the forest, a huge and tremendous sound, as if the forest was being broken were heard by them. 69.24

A huge wind appeared to completely cover the sky and they heard a sound in the forest which appeared to fill the entire sky. 69.25

When Rāma along with his brother by his side was trying to find out the reason for that sound, Rāma saw a huge bodied Rākṣasa with a huge stomach. 69.26

Then they saw prominently before them a head and neck less body with face on his stomach reaching them. 69.27

That huge body was covered with hair standing up like bristles resembling a dark blue cloud and was making sound like the cloud. 69.28

That one was having only one eye which was glowing like fire on its forehead and had huge eyelashes, with reddish brown colour, stretched broad, which was capable of seeing to great distances and a huge mouth, with a huge teeth and tongue licking on his huge mouth. 69.29-69.30

That dreadful one kept on eating lions, bears, deer and elephants, by taking them by stretching his long arms which were One Yojana [two miles] long. 69.31

With his hands catching and taking various bears, flock of birds, several numbers of deer by both his hands and also throwing them away that huge form came near the brothers and stood blocking their way. 69.32

Then both of them saw that Kabandha [only body] with his body at a distance of one krosa [one and half miles] mighty, frightening, gross and with his hands stretched out and it was frightening to see. 69.33-69.34

He after completely spreading his two great broad arms caught both the sons of Rāghava clan and hurt them with his strength. 69.35

Both of them in spite of their wielding huge swords and strong bows and in spite of a very shining body became helpless when they were seized by that strong one. 69.36

Being a valorous hero, Rāma was not pained much but Lakṣmaṇa being younger and not well sheltered was greatly worried and with great disturbance in his mind told Rāma. 69.37

"Oh valorous one, see me being helpless and caught by this Rākṣasa and so Oh Rāghava, leave me here and free yourselves." 69.38

"It is my opinion that you Give me as a sacrifice to him and run away without being harmed and attain Vaidehī soon." 69.39

"Oh son of Kākutstha clan, Oh Rāma, when you get back your kingdom belonging to our ancestors and when you are ruling that kingdom, I desire that you remember about me." 69.40

When Lakṣmaṇa told like this, Rāma told the son of Sumitrā, "Oh Valorous one, do not be scared and it is not proper for a hero like you to get worried." 69.41

In the meanwhile that cruel Kabandha who was great Rākṣasa in a voice similar to thunder enquired with Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa. 69.42

"Who are you both having shoulders like a bull and carrying huge swords and bows. Since you have reached this horrible place, you have become food to me." 69.43

"Being youth, you can tell me the purpose of your coming here. You have reached the place at the correct time, as I am waiting here with hunger." 69.44

"Holding bows, arrows and sword both of you have entered my domain like bulls with pointed horns and now it is not possible to be alive anymore." 69.45

Hearing these words of that bad soul Kabandha, with a dried up mouth Rāma told Lakṣmaṇa. 69.46

"Oh truly valorous one, it is dreadful that from great difficulty we have progressed to greater difficulty without finding my beloved and we are nearing the end of our life." 69.47

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa, the great power of god of death [time?] over persons is extremely evident and now me and you have reached a point of great calamity." 69.48

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa, the power of god of death [time?] on people is very great and whether a person is valorous, very strong and is knowledgeable of use of weapons in war, they cannot stand the power of god of death [time] like barriers built with sand." 69-49-69.50

Thus told the very famous son of Daśaratha, who is stable in valour and truth, and who is determined to act with a steadfast mind, on seeing the mighty valorous Lakṣmaṇa. 69.51

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