Rāmāyana | Sundara Kaṇḍa | Chapter 21

Chapter: 21
Rāvaṇa's Proposal Denial

[This chapter contains the reply of Sītā. She tells him that he should give her back to Sri Rāma and seek his protection if he wants to live further.]

Hearing the words of the cruel Rākṣasa, Sītā became sad and started trembling and tongue tied and told the following words as reply, one by one in low tones. 1

(People believed that virtuous women should not shout and also Sītā wanted to convince Rāvaṇa that he is wrong and that is why - one by one.)

Sītā who was pretty, who has done penance, who is virtuous, and who always meditates on her husband became extremely sad, started crying and trembling and put a thin grass in between them and replied him with a smile which showed her greatness. 2

(Putting the grass between them indicates, how much value she has attached to Rāvaṇa.)

"Take back your mind from me and take your mind to your own people, for you are not fit to pray to me like the sinner praying for redemption." 3

"I who was born in a great family and got married in to a equally holy honoured family cannot do a great sin which is cursed by virtuous women with one husband." 4

(Vālmīki uses Eka Pathim meaning a lady with one husband.)

That famous daughter of Videha without bothering about Rāvaṇa the Rākṣasa told this turning her back to him and started to tell the same thing in more detail. 5

"I who am innocent and a wife of another man, am not fit to become your wife in the proper course, so protect the just method of action and obey the tenets of good conduct properly." 6

"Hey night traveller, like your wives, the wives of other people also should be properly protected and so keep yourself as a simile and try to find satisfaction in your own wives." 7

"He who cannot find satisfaction in his own wives is one who cannot control his senses and that unstable man is lead to his own destruction by other ladies." 8

"It appears that here, there are no great ones who tell you about the right path or it appears that you are not obeying them for your brain is doing just opposite to the right conduct." 9

"You who seem to concentrate your mind on bad conduct possibly are not obeying the advice of those great analysts and their words, which would give you to good future because you are leading the Rākṣasas to destruction." 10

"Prosperous countries and cities race to their complete destruction if they get a foolish King who engages himself in unjust activities." 11

"Like that, this gem studded city of Lanka having got you as a King is soon going to be destroyed because of your sinful activities." 12

"Hey Rāvaṇa, all animals are thankful for the destruction of a sinner who gets destroyed by thoughtless activities done by himself." 13

"Like this your own people who are ignored t by a sinner such as you would become happy and curse you saying" That angry one attained this destruction because of God."" 14

"I am not the one who will be tempted by wealth or the position of a queen and stray from just activities as I am one with Lord Rāma like the Sun's rays are with Sun." 15

"Having made the Lord of the world's hands as a source of protection (pillow), how can I allow anyone else's hands near me." 16

"Like the ultimate knowledge is fit for one who does penances completely and gained knowledge of the soul, I am suitable to be wife only to him who is the King." 17

"Hey Rāvaṇa, it would be good for you if you return me to Rāma, similar to the imprisoned she elephant be joined to its he elephant in the forest." 18

"That Śrī Rāma is the greatest among men, he knows what is just and he is famous for behaving with affection towards anyone seeking his protection and if you are desirous of living, you should build up friendly relationship with him. You please do everything that will please that Lord, who loves those who seeks his protection. That is the only one way for you, who is desirous of a deathless state and want to prevent your own death you have to decide to control your senses and decide to pray-fully offer me back at this moment." 19-22

"Only by offering me back to Rāma would you lead a comfortable life and if you do otherwise you would reach your death." 23

"The Vajra (weapon of diamond) may leave you and even God of death can postpone his action for a long time but if Rāma, the Lord of the world, becomes angry, you will not be left out." 24

"You would hear the fearful echoing sound of Kodanda,* which would be similar to the sound made by Vajra." 25 * Kodanda is the famous bow of Rāma.

"Well made, poison spewing arrows of Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa are going to fall here like serpents soon." 26

"Those arrows with hawk feather which are going to fall here are soon going to kill all Rākṣasas and would leave no space in this city." 27

"That great eagle, Sri Rāma is going to soon destroy the snake like King of Rākṣasa like a eagle destroys the snakes." 28

"Like Lord Maha Vishnu took away the entire wealth of Rākṣasa by his three steps, my Lord and destroyer of his enemies Sri Rāma would free me from your clutches soon." 29

(This gives an indication about the story of Vāmana and Mahabali. Lord Vishnu took the form of dwarfish Brahmin lad and requested Mahabali for three steps of Land. Two steps measured all the fourteen worlds, and Mahabali offered his own head for the third step.)

"Hey Rākṣasa, having been made without a army camp by the extermination of the army of Rākṣasas in Janasṭhāna and having no other alternative you did this bad deed." 30

"Hey base one, did you not enter my ashram and abduct me when the lion like brothers went little far away." 31

"Like a fox, which is not safe, when two hunter dogs smell for him, you would not be able to even stand before Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa." 32

"Similarly in the war with them you would attain destruction like the Vritrāsura who had one hand left was destroyed by the two handed Indra and there is no possibility of victory." 33

(This alludes to one of the very few battles Indra won He first cut one of the Āsura’s hand and when he continued fighting Indra killed him She compares Rāvaṇa to a single armed Asura and mocks at him.)

"My Lord Śrī Rāma with Lakṣmaṇa would take your soul away by their arrows like the hot sun dries away a small pool of water." 34

"Even if you hide in the mountain of Kubera or hide in the residence of Varuṇa or in the hall of Indra, definitely you cannot save yourselves from the son of Daśaratha like a lifeless huge tree cannot save itself from lightning." 35

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