Rāmāyana | Ayodhyā Kaṇḍa | Chapter 54

54. Rāma at Bharadvāja’s Hermitage

[After walking further by evening they reach Prayāga, where they visit sage Bharadvāja in his hermitage. The sage advises them to stay in Chitrakūṭa Mountains.]

Those people spent a peaceful night under the tree and after the sun had raised set out from that region. 54.1

Those people with great fame, entered the very deep forest and seeing various parts of the land which they have not seen before and further viewing mind bewitching land areas further travelled with the intention of reaching the confluence of Bhagirathi [Ganga] and river Yamuna. 54.2-54.3

They went safely seeing various types of plants and when the day came to an end Rāma told Lakṣmaṇa. 54.4

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa, see the matchless smoke near Prayāga, appearing like a flag of the fire God indicating that, there is a sage nearby." 54.5

"Now it is certain that we have reached the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna as sound of water dashing against water is being heard." 54.6

"Here we see logs of wood, which have been cut by forest living people who have cut it for their living and we also see the hermitage of Bharadvāja surrounded by various types of trees." 54.7

Those archers walking at a comfortable pace reached the hermitage of saint Bharadvāja near the confluence of Yamuna and Ganga when the sun was about to set. 54.8

When Rāma was about to reach the hermitage, the animals and birds were frightened by their movement and walking on the path for a little time they reached the place of Bharadvāja. 54.9

Then those two valorous ones accompanied by Sītā reached the hermitage and waited at a distance desirous of meeting the sage. 54.10

Rāma entered and saw the great sage surrounded by his disciples. Having obtained the spiritual insight, that great one was practicing rigid penances and meditation with a concentrated mind and was performing Agnihotra [fire ritual]. Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā after saluting him introduced themselves. 54.11-54.12

After that elder brother of Rāma introduced himself he told the sage "Oh great sage we are Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa, the sons of Daśaratha." 54.13

"This Vaidehī, who is the auspicious daughter of Janaka is my wife. That irreproachable one has followed me in to this desolate forest of penance." 54.14

"When my father banished me, this dear brother of mine who is the son of Sumitrā, with great determination accompanied me to this forest." 54.15

"Oh God like person, as sent by father, we will enter this forest of penance, will practice Dharma and live on collected roots and fruits." 54.16

Hearing the words of the sagacious son of a king, the sage brought water to wash his feet and water to drink to that soul of Dharma. 54.17

That sage who practiced penance offered them several types of food and drinks prepared from the fruits as well as roots and also arranged for a resting place to them. 54.18

Surrounded by animals, birds as well as sages, after welcoming Rāma with proper rituals that sage spoke. 54.19

That sage Bharadvāja after Rāma received all his hospitality, gave him seat, uttered suitable words of welcome and said. 54.20

"Oh prince of Kākutstha clan, after a long time you have arrived here and I am able to see you now. I also heard about your being banished without any reason." 54.21

"This place in the confluence of great rivers is a solitary region. You can comfortably stay at this divine, pretty place." 54.22

Rāma, who is interested in the welfare of all, after hearing these words of Bharadvāja replied in an auspicious and proper way. 54.23

"Oh God like sage, people of the towns and village of my country, who live nearby, can easily see me and would often come to see me and Sītā at this hermitage and because of that I do not have wish to stay here." 54.24-54.25

"Oh god like sage please suggest a suitable place for a hermitage in a solitary place, Where the daughter of Janaka who merits all comforts, can entertain herself." 54.26

After hearing these auspicious words of Rāma, that great sage Bharadvāja told these words pregnant with meaning. 54.27

"Ten Krosas [twenty miles] from here, there is a famous mountain called Chitrakūṭa which is similar to Gandhamādana mountains and which is auspicious, served by great sages, very pleasant to look at full of wandering apes and habituated by monkeys and bears and you can live there." 54.28-54.29

"When men look at the peaks of Chitrakūṭa, they will do only auspicious deeds and sinful deeds will not even enter their mind." 54.30

"For hundreds of autumns many great sages did penance there till only skull remained on their heads and went to heaven from there." 54.31

"Oh Rāma, I think that solitary place would be a nice place for you to live with joy, if you think otherwise you can live with me here till the time of banishment is over." 54.32

Bharadvāja honoured and fulfilled all the desires of his dear guest along with his wife and his brother. 54.33

In Prayāga when Rāma was sitting near the sage, he told him several divine stories and the night again set in. 54.34

Overcome by tiredness, as he was accustomed to life luxury, that son of Kākutstha clan along with Sītā as third member of the group stayed that night in that very pretty hermitage. 54.35

After the night, in the morning, going near saint Bharadvāja, that tiger among men told that saint who had a shining lustre. 54.36

"Oh God like sage of truthful character, we have spent the night in your hermitage and today we may be permitted to go to the dwelling place [suggested by you]." 54.37

When the night came to a close that saint Bharadvāja told Rāma, "You may now go to Chitrakūṭa, which has plenty of roots, fruits and honey." 54.38

"Oh very strong Rāma, the famous Chitrakūṭa having trees of all types, is visited by Kinnaras and Uragas. It is sacred, delightful and is visited by mighty tuskers and is always filled with sound of peacocks. I believe it is the proper place for you to stay and so you may go there." 54.39-54.40

"There you would see herds of elephants as well as hoards of deer. You will see them roaming in the forest." 54.41

"Along with Sītā, when you are wandering, you will see waterfalls, rivers, plateaus, caves, mountain and torrents on that mountain." 54.42

"Filled with the delightful music of Koyashtika birds as well as Cuckoos and populated by deer, exuberant elephants that place is enchanting. When you reach there please stay in a hermitage." 54.43

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