Rāmāyana | Sundara Kaṇḍa | Chapter 20

Chapter: 20
Rāvaṇa's Proposal

[This chapter is the prayer of love of Rāvaṇa to Sītā. He praises her, points out his greatness and tells her how she can enjoy life if she accepts his proposal.]

That Rāvaṇa with an aim to intimately talk to Sītā who is sad, who meditates like a sage, who was caught in the web of fear and who is virtuous and devoted to her husband, sweetly explained to her: 1

"Oh lady who has thighs like the elephants trunk, you seem to wish to make your body invisible to me by hiding your chest and belly." 2

"Hey broad eyed one, hey my dear, hey lady who has a very beautiful body, I am passionately in love with you, who is the prettiest lady of the world and so please respect me." 3

"Hey Sītā, there are neither Rākṣasas nor men who are personification of passion here and so let the fear for me inside you be completely erased." 4

"Hey Coward, abducting other women and raping them are permissible by the clan rules of Rākṣasas, no doubt." 5

"Whatever it may be, let the God of love play to any extent on my body, but I will definitely not even touch you without your permission." 6

(Vedavatī has cursed Rāvaṇa that if he touches any lady against her wishes, his head will break in to pieces.)

"Hey Lady, please do not fear that any mishap will occur in this case. Hey pretty one, have belief in me and love me with all your soul, and do not spend time like this by nurturing your sorrow." 7

"With matted singly made hair, sleeping on the floor, wearing dirty cloths, worrying and starving are not suitable to you, my lady." 8

"Hey daughter of Mithilā, please accept my love and receive rare garlands, smoke from incense, several good cloths, divine ornaments, very costly drinks, beds, seats, song, dance and other instrumental music." 9-10

"Hey pretty one, you are a jewel among ladies and why is it that you are not fit to receive praises? Don't be like this, accept me and wear ornaments on your body." 11

"This pretty youthful looks of yours is fading very fast and the youthfulness that is past would not return back similar to the flowing water." 12

"Hey Good looking lady, there is no one else as pretty as you and I think that the creator Brahma has stopped his work after creating you." 13

"Hey daughter of Videha, which male including the God Brahma can leave you after personally seeing you glittering in your beauty and youth?" 14

"Hey lady who has a face like cool full moon, Hey lady who has big wide waists, whichever part of the body I see, my eyes are tied up by that part." 15

"Hey princess of Mithilā, forsake this sorrow, become my wife and become the chief among my several great ladies." 16

"Hey coward, whatever jewels I have brought by force from any corner of the world would belong to you and for that matter me and my Kingdom will be yours." 17

"Hey lady who attracts, I would conquer all countries with several cities in the world and for your sake give them to Janaka, your father." 18

"I do not know anyone else in this world who has same strength as me, and so think of my great valour which is unbeatable in war." 19

"All devas and Asuras were unable to stand before me along with their armies and have been driven out by me several times after breaking their flags." 20

"Please accept me, let you be ornamented and made up just now." 21

"Let you, wear glittering ornaments all over your body and let me with pleasure see you pretty. after wearing those ornaments." 22

"Hey pretty faced one, hey coward, after being well made up, with pleasure, enjoy all passions, be happy and get satisfied in your want of passion." 23

"You can give as presents land and wealth to whosoever are dear to you. Please be happy believing in me and order with courage. Please enjoy all pleasures and let all your relations live happily because of my power." 24

"Hey lady, be pleased to see my greatness, my wealth and my fame. Hey lucky one, what are you going to do with Rāma who wears cloths made of barks of trees?" 25

"Rāma has lost his victory, he has lost his wealth, he wanders in the forest, he does penance, he sleeps on bare earth, and not only that I am doubting whether he is still alive or not?" 26

"Hey princess of Videha, like the moon with a stork filled front which is hidden by dark clouds; he will not be even able to see you." 27

(Normally people imagine the shadow on the moon as rabbit but the poet here imagines it as lot of storks.)

"Not only that Rāma will not be able to take you away from my hands like Hiraṇyakaśipu was not able to take back his wife Kīrti from the hands of Indra." 28

(Indra abducted the Kayathu alias Kīrti wife of Hiraṇyakaśipu, who could not get her back. Sage Nārada convinced Indra of his wrong act and gave back Kayathu to Hiraṇyakaśipu. It seems she was in the family way while in captivity and Nārada told her the stories of Vishnu. The child named as Prahlāda became a staunch devotee of Vishnu.)

"Hey coward, hey lady with heart-warming smile, hey lady with pretty teeth, hey lady with pretty eyes, Hey handsome lady who attracts others, you have stolen my mind like the Garuda has taken away the serpent." 29

"In spite of your wearing dirty silk cloth, in spite of not been made up, in spite of your having a famished look, after seeing you, I am not able to love m other dear wives." 30

(Even at this state Sītā is pretty, then imagine how much pretty she would be if she dresses well.)

"There are very many ladies with all good qualities in my harem and be pleased to become their queen." 31

"Hey black haired one, my wives are the best in all the three worlds and they would serve you like the divine maidens serve Goddess Lakshmi." 32

"Hey lady with pretty eyelids, Hey lady with pretty waist, you can get all the wealth and gems that Lord Kubera has and also all the worlds and me if you so please." 33

"Lady, Rāma cannot be equal to me by innate power, fame and wealth and also never be equal to me by penance, strength and masculinity." 34

"Hey Lady with shifting glances, I would dedicate sufficient wealth and land for your sake, you can then enjoy all the pleasures and become happy, You can live with me as you please, be a dear to me, engage in love play with me and along with you let your relatives also become happy." 35

"Hey coward, Hey lady, you can wear golden garlands with clear pearls and travel and enjoy with me to the fully flowered dense forests full of bees and also the beaches." 36

(There is a version of Rāmāyaṇa called Adhyātma Rāmāyaṇa, which tells us that Rāvaṇa had abducted Sītā only as a means to see Rāma whom he revered as God. This Chapter's stanzas have been given alternate meaning by the adherents of that version of Rāmāyaṇa. There is another version called Ānanda Rāmāyaṇa which tells us that Sītā is in fact the daughter of Rāvaṇa.)

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