Rāmāyana | Ayodhyā Kaṇḍa | Chapter 21

21. Rāma Consoles

[Lakṣmaṇa in great anger tells Rāma to disobey his father and if needed fight with Bhārata. Kauśalya says that she is his mother and her words are to be obeyed. Rāma consoles them.]

The helpless Lakṣmaṇa, hearing the greatly sorrowing mother of Rāma, addressed Kauśalya with words suitable for the occasion. 21.1

"Rāma going to the forest sacrificing the kingdom and hearing the words of a lady is not liked by me. 21.2

"That king who is contrary to norms and an old man caught in the throes of passion can speak any type of words, if he is incited by her." 21.3

"I do not find anything criminal or anything wrong which merits his banishment from the kingdom and sending him away to the forest." 21.4

"Even in his absence I do not find any person, who can find any fault in him, whether he is his enemy or a criminal." 21.5

"I do not think that anyone who is observing Dharma would sacrifice his son, who is like God, who is upright, who has subdued emotions and one who is dear even to his enemies." 21.6

"Will any son, who has in his heart, the matchless life of a king, accept the words of a king who has again become a child." 21.7

"Before any other human being knows about it, make this country yours immediately with my help." 21.8

"Oh Rāma, with me armed with a bow to protect you, who would be standing like a god of death, who can commit excesses on you?" 21.9

"Oh great man, I will make the city of Ayodhyā without people using my sharp arrows, if any one there wants to cause harm to you." 21.10

"If anyone is on the side of Bhārata or anyone has his interest in mind, I will kill all of them as I know that a person of soft nature is always treated with disgrace." 21.11

"Even if our father, without caring for us, is instigated by Kaikeyi then, I would no more see him as our friend and I would imprison and kill him." 21.12

"Even if our Guru, without discriminating between good and bad and is haughty and takes recourse to a wrong path, then it is our duty to punish him." 21.13

"Oh best among men, based on what reason or what power, did the king give away the kingdom, which is yours, to Kaikeyī." 21.14

"Oh destroyer of pride of foes, after creating matchless enmity either with you or with me, based on which strength did the king bestow the kingdom on Bhārata?" 21.15

"Oh mother, I truly love my brother from the bottom of my heart and I am taking an oath on my bow, the charities that I gave and on the sacrifices that I carried out." 21.16

"You please know that if Rāma were to enter a burning forest, Oh god like lady, I would already be there." 21.17

"I would blow away your sorrow like a sun driving away the darkness. Oh god like lady, let you as well as Rāma see my valour." 21.18

Hearing these words from the great Lakṣmaṇa, Kauśalya who was crying caught in the web of sorrow, told Rāma. 21.19

"Oh son, you have heard what your brother has said so far and if you like it, you have to do what is needed in this case." 21.20

"Hearing the words spoken of my unjust co-wife, it is not proper for you to leave me, who is full of great sorrow." 21.21

"Oh follower of Dharma, if you are a follower of Dharma and wants to act as per Dharma, you would serve Dharma better by remaining here." 21.22

"Oh son, Kaśyapa, who did service to his mother by living according to rules his own home, was considered as one who has done divine penance and went to heaven." 21.23

"Like your father merits your serious worship, I also merit that. I shall not permit you to go to forest, so you should not go." 21.24

"Being separated from you, I would not get any pleasure in life and if I am with you, I can even live eating grass." 21.25

"If you depart to the forest leaving me in a state of sorrow, I would seek death by not eating anything." 21.26

"Thereafter son, you will reach bad fame, like the world famous ocean which due to conduct against Dharma killed a Brahmin and attained hell." 21.27

Then that depressed Kauśalya, who was his mother, cried and Rāma told her the following words which follow Dharma. 21.28

“I do not have the strength to disobey my father. I bow to you with my head and tell you, "I Want to go to the forest." 21.29

"Kandu, a sage who observed penances, who was a learned man, and who was knowledgeable of Dharma killed a cow upon the order of his father." 21.30

"Even in our clan, by the command of their father, Sagara went on digging and ultimately they were killed." 21.31

"Rāma the son of Jamadagni killed himself his mother using his axe in the forest obeying the orders of his father." 21.32

"Oh goddess like mother, like this there are many who have acted like gods and obeyed the words of their father and I shall also make the words of my mother true." 21.33

"Oh great lady, I am not the only one who obeyed the words of my father, for all those persons whom I mentioned had obeyed the words of their father." 21.34

"I am not creating a rare Dharma and going against Dharma, for I am only following the path followed by people earlier to me." 21.35

"Obeying the orders of the father which I am doing cannot be done in another manner for no one will perish doing that." 21.36

After telling like these to his mother, Rāma who was an expert in language and the best among expert archers again told like this to Lakṣmaṇa. 21.37

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa, I know about your matchless love towards me and I also know about your valour, strength and matchless energy." 21.38

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa of auspicious qualities, the sorrow of my mother is without comparison and due to that she does not have any opinion about truth and self-restraint." 21.39

"In this world Dharma is supreme and truth is established in Dharma and Dharma says that it is best to follow the words of father." 21.40

"When a word is given to the father or mother or a Brahmin, Oh valorous one, one who depends on Dharma should not allow it to go in vain." 21.41

"Oh hero, I cannot disobey fathers command because it was told to me by Kaikeyi, because she told it at the instruction of my father." 21.42

"So leave out the ungentle thought which goes against the dharma of royal clans, follow Dharma, leave out violence and follow my decision." 21.43

The elder brother of Lakṣmaṇa addressed his brother affectionately in this way and with folded hands and bowed head, he again addressed his mother. 21.44

"Oh great lady, you may please swear on my life permit me to go to the forest as I have decided to go to the forest. And then perform all ceremonies for my prosperity." 21.45

"After completing my vow, I would again return to the city, like in olden times Yayathi left the heavens and reached it back again." 21.46

"Oh mother, control your sorrow and make your heart pure and divine. I will definitely come back after fulfilling my father's words." 21.47

"Me, yourself, Sītā, Lakṣmaṇa and Sumitrā would fulfil father's words and obey our beginning less Dharma." 21.48

"Oh mother, withdraw these preparations made, destroy the sorrow in the mind and allow me to act as per Dharma and live in the forest." 21.49

Having heard these words confirming to Dharma, not showing distress or nervousness that mother, felt as if she has come back from death and again told the following words to Rāma. 21.50

"Oh son, similar to your father, I am also like a Guru to you like your father due to your Dharma as well as affection. I will not permit you to go and you are not leaving me and go away leaving me with this great sorrow." 21.51

"What is this life to without you? I do not have any use of the other world with nectar, food for manes and your presence even for a very small time brings me greater satisfaction [fame] in this world." 21.52

"Like men creating great difficulties for the great elephant on its way by of burning firebrands, having heard the pitiable cries of his mother, Rāma was greatly distressed." 21.53

Rāma who follows Dharma addressing his mother who has almost lost her consciousness and distressed Lakṣmaṇa who was tormented by suffering, spoke according to Dharma as he alone was competent to do it. 21.54

"OH Lakṣmaṇa, I know your devotion towards me as well as your great valour but without understanding my opinion, you along with mother are causing great pain to me. 21.55

"Oh dear son, Dharma, Artha and Kama are important, but people are bothered more about the fruits of Dharma, But I do not have any doubt whatsoever that all these join for having an obedient wife who gives us good sons." 21.56

"By giving up those activities in which all these are not joined, we should try to do that action which is only dharma oriented. The pleasure seeker is not liked by this world and he whose actions are dictated by desires is not admired by anyone." 21.57

"When the king who is our teacher, father and that too an old man, out of anger or joy or even passion asks us to do something, it is our Dharma to obey those orders and it will be not be obeyed only by one who is cruel." 21.58

"It will not be possible for me not to perform completely and properly the order of my father, for both of us he is our Guru as well as father and for her our mother he is her husband, refuge as well as ultimate Dharma." 21.59

"While that king of Dharma is alive, especially in his own path of Dharma, if at this time this venerable lady comes with me, it would be like an ordinary woman, who has lost her husband." 21.60

"Oh venerable lady, give me permission to go the forest and I would return back like the king Yayāti who returned to heaven after leaving but please perform rituals to enhance my prosperity." 21.61

"Just for the sake of the kingdom, I will not forsake my respectability and oh great lady do not keep me back from my mission. The life is of a short duration and I do not want to take this Kingdom against dharma." 21.62

"That a great man who wanted to depart to the Daṇḍaka forest courageously, pacified his mother and taught his younger brother of his good intentions and then went round his mother." 21.63

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