Rāmāyana | Sundara Kaṇḍa | Chapter 19

Chapter: 19
Sītā’s Description

[This chapter gives a very detailed and graphic description of the state of Sītā.]

The innocent princess Vaidehī, who was a noble soul, seeing Rāvaṇa the youthful, pretty King of Rākṣasas from the place she was sitting, shook like a banana plant caught in a cyclone 1-2

That ten headed one saw Sītā, who was having a pretty body, who had broad eyes, who was hiding her belly by her thighs and chest by her hands, who was being guarded by the crowd of Rākṣasīs, who had wilted because of her sorrow, who was crying, who was like a sinking ship, who was like a branch of a tree which had fallen on earth, who was sitting on bare earth, who was doing great penance, who was suitable for a makeup but was not made up, who was wearing dirt as an ornament and who was the princess of Videha. In that state she who was like a stem of lotus, which was shining and also not shining. 3-6

Rāvaṇa because his death was nearby, passionately loved Sītā, who was like one travelling in the chariot of mind pulled by horses called "strong decision" taking her near to the all-knowing great prince Śrī Rāma, who had faded, who was alone, who was crying, who was all the time thinking and crying, whose only aim was Sri Rāma, who was virtuous, who had still not seen the end of sorrow, who was like the shivering Naga maiden tied by magic chants, who was like the star Rohiṇī affected by the comets, who was born in a pedigreed family which was orthodox, which was just and which was having good character and good conduct, who was given in religious marriage to another great family, who appeared as if she was brought up in a bad family, who was like the fame tainted by non- existing gossip, who was like the knowledge which was not memorized by constant repetition, who was like the fame which had disappeared, who was like the attention which was dishonoured, who was like the knowledge which has diminished, who was like the desire which was disappointed, who was like a demolished home, who was like the commands which were not obeyed, who was like the residences which were burnt, who was like the worship which was prevented in the right time, who was like the destroyed lotus pond, who was like the army without its commander, who was like the darkened glitter, who was like the dried up river, who was like the sacrificial arena made dirty, who was like the receding fire about to die, who was like the night of full moon when eclipse is caused by Rāhu and Ketu, who was like the turbid lotus pond which was disturbed by the trunk of the elephant and from which all leaves and flowers were removed and from which the birds have flown away, who had wilted because of her husband was not with her, who was like the river from which water has been removed by canals, who was like the night of waxing moon because she had not taken her bath, who was great, who was very pretty, who was fit to live in a palace made of gems, who was wilting due to harsh sun light, who was like a lotus stem picked some time before, who was like a she elephant which was removed away from the he elephant and tied to a pillar, which was tired because of extreme sorrow and which was taking long breaths, who was shining with a single made hair without any ornaments, who was like the black corner of the forest at the end of the rainy season, who was famished because of her fast, who had become thin because of her sorrow, who was pitiable because of worries and fear, who was not taking any food, who was wilted because of sorrow, who appeared as if she was praying with folded hands to Sri Rāma mentally as if she was praying God for the death of the ten headed one giving great importance to her virtue, who was having white long eyes with pretty eyelids, who was crying, who was seeing all round out of fear, who was firmly believing only on Śrī Rāma and who was not suitable to be found fault of. 7-22

Thus ends the nineteenth chapter of Sundara Kanda in the Rāmāyaṇa which is the first epic written by Vālmīki.