Rāmāyana | Bala Kaṇḍa | Chapter 48

Sargam [Chapter]: 48
Ahalyā's Story

[After leaving Vishala, when they were about to reach Mithilā, they saw a deserted hermitage. When Rāma asks about it, Viśvāmitra tells the story of Ahalyā and her husband Gautama. Indra, falling in love with Ahalyā, takes the form of sage Gautama and enters the hermitage when he is not there. Ahalyā recognized him and they make illicit love. Gautama catches them and curses both of them. Indra loses his testicles and Ahalyā is cursed to become invisible and do penance without food and sleep. She will regain her form when Rāma, the son of Dasaratha, sees her.]

After the mutual meeting and after Sumathi enquired about their welfare, at the end, Sumathi asked thus to the great sage. 48.1

"Oh sage Viśvāmitra, be safe. Who are these two youths, who are as valorous as devas, who have the gait of an elephant or a lion, appearing similar to the tiger or bull, who have broad eyes like the lotus petal, who are armed with sword and quiver full of arrows, who have the prettiness of Aśvinī Kumāras, who have just attained the youth and who seem to have come to earth by their own free will from the land of devas? Whose sons are they? Have they come on foot to this place? And for what purpose have they come here?" 48.2-48.4

"Oh great saint, they resemble each other in their personality, expression and movements. They are decorating this country like moon and sun decorates the sky. Holding blessed weapons, these heroes have come through a path that is difficult to walk. I would like to know as to why they have come here?" 48.5-48.6

Having listened to his words, the sage told him about their stay in Sidhāśrama and how they killed the Rākṣasas. 48.7

King Sumathi after listening to Viśvāmitra became extremely happy and extended great hospitality to the highly valorous sons of King Dasaratha according to tradition. 48.8

After Rāma and Lakshmana enjoyed the great hospitality from King Sumathi, they stayed there for one night and departed to Mithilā after that. 48.9

All the sages, after seeing the auspicious city of Janaka, admired it saying, "Great, great" and worshipped it. 48.10

Rāma saw an old, uninhabited and pretty grove near the city of Mithilā. He also saw there a deserted hermitage and asked Viśvāmitra. 48.11

"Oh God like sage, what is this divine place which looks like a hermitage deserted by ascetics? It belonged to whom earlier? I am interested in knowing about it?" 48.12

That expert in language listened to words of Rāma carefully and then the great sage Viśvāmitra replied. 48.13

"Oh Rāma, please listen. I shall tell you truthfully, how a great one cursed this hermitage." 48.14

"Oh great man, this great hermitage, looking like a holiday home of devas, belonged once to the great sage Gautama, who was honoured by devas." 48.15

"Oh famous prince, he practiced penance here for several years in the company of Ahalyā." 48.16

"Indra, the husband of Sachi, having found an opportunity, assumed the guise of that sage Gautama addressed Ahalyā saying." 48.17

"Oh well made up one, the passionate seekers do not wait for the menstruation to end. Oh lady with the thin middle, I desire to make love to you." 48.18

"Oh son of Raghu clan, the evil intentioned Ahalyā, who knew that it was Indra in sage's guise, inclined towards the King of Devas and consented." 48.19

"Oh great man, after having been satisfied right in to her inner soul, she told, "Oh chief of devas,I am completely satisfied; quickly go away from here. Oh King of Devas, sage Gautama should not see you and me together." 48.20-48.21

Indra laughed and spoke the following words to Ahalyā, "Oh lady with pretty lips, I am greatly satisfied and I shall go back by the way that I have come." 48.22

"Oh Rāma, having made love to her, out of great fear for the sage Gautama, he came out of that thatched hut with leaves." 48.23

"Then Indra saw the great saint, who is blessed by the power of penance, who cannot be opposed by Devas and asuras, who was drenched in the sacred waters and who shined like the flaming fire, carrying sticks for the homa and the Kuśa grass, entering the hermitage covered with leaves." 48.24- 48.25

"Seeing the shivering King of Devas with a pale face, that sage, who was greatly cultured, spoke with an angry tone, to the very much ill-behaved thousand eyed one." 48.26

"Oh bad brained one, assuming my form you have done a forbidden act. For that reason, you will become without a scrotum." 48.27

"Due to the wrathful words, which were uttered by the great Gautama, the testicles of Indra fell down on earth immediately." 48.28

"Having cursed Indra in this manner, he also cursed Ahalyā this way, "You would be living in this place only eating air but without any food, lying on the ashes and doing penance, invisible to the people of the hermitage." 48.29-48.30

"When Rāma, the son of Dasaratha, who cannot be opposed enters this dreadful forest, you would be purified." 48.31

"Oh lady with a bad behaviour, by offering a joyful hospitality without miserliness and without passion, you will regain your body and live with me in my proximity." 48.32

"That Gautama, who had great lustre and wealth of penance, after speaking this way to the lady with bad behaviour, left this hermitage and went to the peak of Himalayas; he did penance there served by Sidhas and Chāraṇas." 48.33-48.34

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