Rāmāyana | Ayodhyā Kaṇḍa | Chapter 38

38. Daśaratha Forbids Sītā Wearing Grass Dress

[Daśaratha tells Kaikeyi that Sītā's wearing of grass dress was not included in the boon. He falls down when Rāma was about to go. Rāma requests him to look after Kauśalya.]

When she was wearing the dress made by grass, like someone who does not have support of her husband, all the people there shouted to Daśaratha "shame on you". 38.1

That king became extremely sad on hearing that sound and he lost faith in his life as well as his faith in Dharma. 38.2

That one belonging to clan of Ikshvāku, breathing hot told his wife Kaikeyi, "Sītā does not deserve to go the forest wearing a dress of grass." 38.3

"She is tender bodied, young and accustomed to life of pleasure and as my Guru has spoken she is not fit to go the forest." 38.4

"To whom has this daughter of a king who wearing a grass garment like an ascetic has done even a little harm?" 38.5

"Let the daughter of Janaka take off that grass garment for this is not the oath given by me and let that daughter of the king go to the forest happily along with her jewels and her usual needs." 38.6

"Unfit to live and for gratification, I had given that cruel promise and by your folly, you are burning me like a bamboo being burnt by its own flowers." 38.7

"Oh sinner, oh demeaned one, has Rāma ever done to you anything which is even little unbecoming and what offence has this Sītā done to you?" 38.8

"What harm has this daughter of Janaka who is like a doe, who has eyes like fully opened flower, who is soft natured and who does penance, done to you?" 38.9

"Oh sinner Is not the banishment of Rāma which has been agreed upon, sufficient to you? Why are you further committing wretched crimes?" 38.10

"Oh lady, I heard you speaking to Rāma, when he came here for the coronation. Only that much, has been promised by me." 38.11

"You have exceeded all that and now are desirous of seeing her wearing the grass dress and by that you are wishing to go to hell." 38.12

That great king wailed like this and he was not seeing even a little possibility of the end of a sorrow and immersed in great sorrow by the separation of his son, he fell on the ground. 38.13

Rāma who was about to start to the forest, then spoke these words to his father with a bowed head. 38.14

"Oh follower of Dharma. Oh my god, oh famous one, my aged and venerable Mother Kauśalya who has a faultless character does not find fault with you?" 38.15

"Oh giver of boons, without me she will be immersed in the ocean of sorrow. She is unaccustomed to such suffering. It is only proper that you take care of her well." 38.16

"She would be constantly thinking of me and doing penance about me and grieve due to sorrow of parting with her son, which she does not desire. If you are venerable treat her with honour, she may live further." 38.17

"Oh Lord who is equal to Indra, my mother who has a possessive feeling, does not merit to go back to the Lord Brahma, due to the sorrow caused by my stay in forest and you only can accomplish it." 38.18

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