Rāmāyana |Ayodhyā Kaṇḍa| Chapter 117

117. Rāma Visits Sage Atri

[Rāma along with Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā leave Chitrakūṭa and on their way, they visit the hermitage of sage Atri. Sītā meets Anasūyā, the wife of that sage, who talks about the Dharma of a wife.]

After the sages left that place Rāma started thinking and due to very many reasons he did not like to live at that place. 117.1

"It is here that Bhārata, my mothers and the citizens met me and that memory is chasing me and filling me with grief." 117.2

"Since the great Bhārata encamped with his army here, this place has been made exceedingly dirty with dung of horses and elephants." 117.3

Having resolved that "We would go to some other place", Rāma along with Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā set forth from there. 117.4

After the very famous Rāma reached the hermitage of sage Atri, he prostrated before the sage, who received him like his son. 117.5

That sage, after showing great hospitality on Rāma in a fitting way, spoke with kind words to Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā. 117.6

That follower of Dharma, who was wise, earnest and one who did good to all beings, called out his aged wife, who had just come there and who was revered by all and spoke kind words to her. 117.7

That great sage told his highly virtuous ascetic wife Anasūyā, who followed principles of Dharma, "Please honour this Sītā" and thereafter he told Rāma about that female ascetic. 117.8

"Oh blameless one, once this world was affected by constant drought for ten years. It was Anasūyā who created roots and fruits as well us filled up river Ganga with water. She is the follower of great penance and one decorated by self-imposed religious observances. For ten thousand years she practiced rigorous penance and oh lad, she removed all the obstacles and for modifying the divine command converted ten nights in to one and this Anasūyā who has just taken bath after a penance is like mother to you." [Māṇḍavya cursed Sandili a friend of Anasūyā that she will become a widow, one morning within next ten days and Sandili cursed that there would not be dawn anymore and when Gods approached Anasūyā, she converted those ten days in to one day and saved everybody.] 117.9-117.12

"This aged and famous lady is worthy of worship of all beings and is well known as "One who does not get jealous". Let Sītā approach and talk to her.” 117.13

Hearing the words of the sage, Rāma said "So be it" and that lady who was a great follower of Dharma addressed Sītā and told. 117.14

"Oh daughter of a king, you have now heard the message of the sage and without delay meet that lady sage for the sake of your welfare." 117.15

Hearing the words of Rāma, which were aimed at her welfare, Sītā approached Anasūyā, who was the wife of Atri and an expert in Dharma, and went round her. 117.16

The great and greatly virtuous Anasūyā was feeble, full of wrinkles, with grey hair being very old, with body trembling always, and shaking like a banana plant in wind and Sītā went and without haste saluted her and introduced herself by telling her name. 117.17-117.18

Sītā saluted that blameless ascetic and saluting her with folded hands and with happiness enquired about her welfare. 117.19

That follower of Dharma seeing the glorious Sītā who followed Dharma, talking sweet and appeasing words told, "Fortunately you are observing your Dharma." 117.20

"Oh pretty Sītā, Thank heaven. You are accompanying Rāma, who has left his relations, pride, wealth and being banished, is living in the forest." 117.21

"Any lady who is devoted to her dear husband, whether he is town or in forest, or whether he is a sinner or one who does blessed deeds, she is the greatest gift to the world." 117.22

"For a lady of noble nature her husband is her god, whether he is of bad character, passionate by nature or devoid of any riches." 117.23

"Oh Sītā, thinking about everything after performing imperishable and suitable penances, I still do not see a better relation than a husband." 117.24

"Those evil women, who are overpowered by carnal desires and who lord over their husbands, do not have any understanding of virtue and vice in this world." 117.25

"Oh Maithili such women who are in the grip of unworthy acts would reach infamy as well as destruction of Dharma." 117.26

"But those who are endowed with virtues like you and can find the difference between good and bad, would go to heaven like those who perform Dharmic deeds." 117.27

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