Rāmāyana | Ayodhyā Kaṇḍa | Chapter 40

40. Rāma Starts Journey

[Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā, after taking leave of Daśaratha, Kauśalya and Sumitrā, start in a chariot driven by Sumantra. Daśaratha ran out along with Kauśalya behind the chariot. All the citizens wailed. As per instructions of Rāma, Sumantra drove the chariot with great speed.]

Then Sītā, Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa saluted the very sad king, touched his feet and went round him. 40.1

Rāma that expert in Dharma, after taking leave of Daśaratha, along with Sītā saluted their mother Kauśalya who was dumbstruck with sorrow. 40.2

Following them immediately Lakṣmaṇa saluted Kauśalya and then clasped the feet of his mother Sumitrā. 40.3

When he saluted her, that mother Sumitrā cried, after kissing his forehead wished him well and told. 40.4

"Oh son, Due to your great love towards those to whom you are devoted, you are going to the forest, Never be inattentive to the needs of Rāma when you are in the forest." 40.5

"Oh blameless one, In both sorrow of Joy, he is your only refuge. In this world Dharma consists in following your elder brother." 40.6

"In your clan, the perennial customs are charity, observing penance in Yagnas and fighting in battle." 40.7

"That Sumitrā, after saying this to Lakṣmaṇa, who was ready to depart with Rāma, again and again told "go, go". 40.8

"Consider Rāma as Daśaratha, and consider Sītā as myself, think of the forest as Ayodhyā and with these convictions, please go my son." 40.9

Then Sumantra with folded hands told the following to Rāma, like the well behaved and Modest Mātali talking to Indra. 40.10

"Oh Rāma, safety to you, Oh famous son of the king, get in to the chariot and I will make you reach the place you want to go quickly." 40.11

"As per the orders of the lady, you have to spend fourteen years in the forest and you can assume that it has started now." 40.12

With a happy mind Sītā after decorating herself well climbed in to the chariot which was gleaming like Sun. 40.13

After wards the brothers gleaming like fire, immediately boarded the chariot, which was decorated by gold. 40.14

Then the father in law gave ornaments and cloths to Sītā, after checking whether it was sufficient for her period of her stay in the forest. 40.15

Then multitude of weapons along with armours for brothers were kept in the centre of the chariot along with hard leather covering for their hands. After seeing whether the threesome including Sītā have boarded properly, the honourable Sumantra drove those horses with the speed of wind. 40.16-40.17

Seeing Rāma starting to the forest for a long stay all the men were stupefied and also lost their strength. 40.18

That city was greatly distressed, being full of the intoxicated elephants which were provoked and the mighty sound of tinkling bells tied to the feet of neighing horses. 40.19

The greatly distressed young and old people of the city, ran towards Rāma like the one who is thirsty due to heat, runs towards water. 40.20

They, hands behind, to the sides and on the front of the chariots with their faces wet with tears and breathing heavily addressed Sumantra. 40.21

"Oh charioteer, control the horses and proceed slowly and slowly, so that we can have a glimpse of the face of Rāma, as we would not be able to see him soon. 40.22

"For what reason does the heart of Kauśalya does not break, even after seeing her god like son going to forest, we do not understand." 40.23

"By following her husband like a shadow, . The daughter of Videha must be greatly contended and she is like the sunlight which never fails to fall on Meru Mountain." 40.24

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa, you have fulfilled the purpose of your life by attending on your brother who is like devas and who talks with love." 40.25

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa, you have achieved a great goal by following Rāma and this will you lead to great prosperity and in the end of the heaven." 40.26

Thus speaking about and following their beloved Rāma, who was the joy of Ikshvāku clan. all those people who had arrived there could not hold back their tears. 40.27

At that time the king surrounded by his wives who were with distressed face came out and told, "I want to see my beloved son." 40.28

In front of him he heard women wailing in a very loud tone, which was similar to the cries of the female elephant when its child is captured. 40.29

Rāma's father, son of Kākutstha clan who had great splendour was seen to be greatly shrunk, like the moon at eclipse affected by Rāhu. 40.30

That great man who has a soul greater than thought, who was the son of Daśaratha went on egging the charioteer to driver faster and faster. 40.31

While Rāma was urging the charioteer to go fast and at the same time when the people wanted it to be driven slow, he was unable to do both acts. 40.32

While the great Rāma was going out, tears also came out of the eyes of the people, fell on the ground and subsided the dust that was raised. 40.33

At the time of departure of Rāma, the entire city was drenched by the tears of weeping of the people, and horror stricken sounds raised by them as if they were tormented. 40.34

Tears fell from the eyes of ladies fell out of great sorrow, like the water falling like rain drops from lotus flowers when they are shaken by movement of fishes. 40.35

The great king whose single minded thought was sorrow, seeing the sorrow of the people, fell down like an uprooted tree. 40.36

A great and tumultuous sound from the people arose behind Rāma, after seeing the greatly sorrowful and enfeebled king. 40.37

Some people loudly cried "Oh Rāma" and some other people cried "Oh mother of Rāma", hearing which made the members of inner apartment to cry loudly. 40.38

When Rāma hearing that glanced back he saw his mother and father following him behind with a highly disturbed mind. 40.39

Like a young child who is tied by a rope [by affection], Rāma who was bound by duty, could not see his parents properly. 40.40

Seeing his parents walking when they are worthy of going on a chariot, accustomed to comforts but now suffering great sorrow, he urged to the charioteer to go with greater speed. 40.41

That tiger among men, who was suffering like an elephant being tormented by a goad, was not able to tolerate the sorrow of his father and mother. 40.42

Like a cow running to the house to see its calf which is tied there due to its great affection, Kauśalya ran after the chariot. 40.43

Kauśalya crying, followed that chariot wailing "Oh Rāma, Oh Rāma, Oh Sītā, Oh Lakṣmaṇa" and shedding tears for sake of Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā, looked like a dancing mother. 40.44-40.45

The king cried "Stay, stay", and Rāma said "go, go" and mind of Sumantra felt like it was caught in between two wheels. 40.46

"When the king reproaches you for not stopping, you can always say that you did not hear but "Prolonging this agony is sinful" Rāma said to Sumantra. 40.47

Obeying the orders of Rāma to drive fast, that charioteer even though prevented by people, drove the horses faster. 40.48

The people of the king after mentally going round Rāma, returned back but the flow of tears of all the other people did not stop even mentally. 40.49

"All those who desire can go back, do not follow him for a long distance" said the ministers addressing king Daśaratha. 40.50

Hearing those words full of virtue Daśaratha with a body covered with sweat and a melancholic look, along with his wives stood there itself staring at his son. 40.51

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