Rāmāyana | Sundara Kaṇḍa | Chapter 22

Chapter: 22
Rāvaṇa’s Setting of Limit

[Rāvaṇa terrorizes Sītā and tells her that within another two months she should sleep with him. Otherwise she would be killed. Sītā rejects the threat with contempt it deserves and the passionate Rāvaṇa treats her cruelly. He is dissuaded by one Dhanyamala and returns to his palace, after ordering the Rākṣasīs surrounding Sītā to make her obey to his wishes by fair or foul means.]

After this Rāvaṇa, hearing the firm reply of Sītā, gave the following dangerous reply to her well intentioned words: 1

"To the extent a man tries to console a lady, he gets caught in her web to that extent, to the extent he praises her, he is given negative replies to that extent." 2

"The passion towards you within me is controlling my anger towards you like an experienced driver controls a straying horse." 3

"Passion of a man is beautiful, because to whomsoever that passion is addressed, he gets love and mercy towards her." 4

(Rāvaṇa who is a Rākṣasa talks about the passion of man.)

"Because of this I am not killing you, who has love towards an imposter sage and who should be insulted and killed." 5

"Hey princess of Mithilā, for every harsh word that you told me you deserve terrible punishment of death." 6

After telling the daughter of Videha these words, he became very angry and further told her the following: 7

"Hey pretty one, who cannot be adequately described, the remaining period of safety that I have set to you are only two months and so you better climb in my bed to sleep with me." 8

"If you do not accept me as your husband after two months, my cooks will cut you in to pieces for my breakfast." 9

(After abducting and keeping her imprisoned in Asoka forest, gave her a period of 12 months of which ten are already past.)

The deva and Gandharva ladies present there with pain laden eyes pitied the daughter of Janaka who was threatened by the King of Rākṣasas. 10

Some ladies by the movement of their lips and some others by their eyes and faces tried to console Sītā who was terrorized by the Rākṣasa. 11

Consoled by them Sītā, addressing Rāvaṇa the King of Rākṣasas told him the following words which reflected the greatness in her due to her virtue and which were good to the soul: 12

"There appears to be none interested in your welfare and that is why nobody is preventing you from this base act of yours." 13-14

"In all the three worlds none except you would wish me to be their wives, for I am the wife of that just soul like Sachi Devi is the wife of Indra." 15

"Hey, base Rākṣasa, where and how are you going to run and save yourself after uttering these sinful words addressed to the wife of the all-powerful Sri Rāma. (could be also interpreted as from that sin instead of Rāma)" 16

"You two are like the very angry upset elephant and a poor rabbit in the forest, you being the rabbit and Śrī Rāma the elephant." 17

"You, who are like that are without shame insulting him from the beginning and never became visible to his eye and kept yourself in hiding." 18

"Hey cruel one, why are those two cruel ugly and yellowish black eyes of yours which are staring me not falling down on earth." 19

"Hey sinner, why does not your tongue which talks to me who am Rāma's wife and daughter in law of Dasaratha not getting detached?" 20

"Hey ten headed one, who deserves to become ash, I am not turning you in to ash by the power of my virtue because I do not have the consent from Rāma and since I have to follow my own dictates of just action (dharma)." 21

"It is not possible for me, who belongs to Rāma, to be abducted and I do not have any doubt that God has fated this, for causing your destruction." 22

"After doing some trick to get Sri Rāma away from me, you are supposed to be a great hero, who is the brother of Kubera and who has an army, had only done the theft of a wife " 23

Hearing these insulting words, Rāvaṇa rolled his very cruel eyes and stared at the daughter of Janaka. 24

That King of Rākṣasas who was like a bluish cloud, who had very thick neck and arms, who had the strength and gait of a lion, who was a gentleman, who had sharp tongue and eyes like the flame of fire, who wore the crown with moving tips, who wore several pretty garlands and other marks, who wore red cloths and garland, who wore golden armlets, who had a pretty waist belt adorned with blue gem stones, who was like the Mandāra mountain used to churn out nectar from the sea with the great serpent Vāsuki encircling it and who was equal to a mountain, shined with his two long, round and thick hands like the two peaks of Mandāra mountain. 25-28

That Rāvaṇa, who wore two ear globes having the glitter of the young sun, who was like a mountain having two Asoka trees with red young leaves and flowers, who was similar to the wish giving tree (Kalpaka),* who looked like the personification of spring season, who was like the dreaded body platform in the cremation ground, who though ornamented well was looking terrible and who was having deep red eyes due to anger, hissed like a serpent addressed Sītā the daughter of King of Videha and told thus: 29-31 * This tree is in the Garden of Indra.

"Hey lady, who has believed with hope that unjust Rāma who is poor, I am going to kill you by my strength just now like the Sun eats away the dawn." 32

Having told her like this Rāvaṇa who was the King who made his enemies cry, addressing the Rākṣasīs with terrible miens, some of whom were one eyed, some who were one eared, some who were shut eared, some who were having cow like ears, some who were having elephant like ears, some whose ears were hanging, some who did not have ear at all, some who were elephant legged, some who were horse legged, some who were cow legged, some who were having very long hairs on the leg, some who were having both eyes on one side, some who were having only one leg, some who were having giant legs, some who did not have leg at all, some who were having big heads and legs, some who were having big chest and bellies, some who were having big mouth and eye, some who were having very long tongue, some who did not have tongue at all, some who were not having nose, some who were having the face of a lion, some who were having face of a cow and some who were having the face of a pig, ordered them, " Hey Rākṣasīs, You take that action which would make Sītā the daughter of Janaka obey my intents soon and all of you do it together. Not only that, bring her under control, using techniques favouring and not favouring her and tricks like Sama (soft), Bheda (creating confusion) and Dhāna (using rough tactics)" and after ordering like this forgetting himself by passion and anger he terrorized the daughter of Janaka showing her his face." 33-39

Then a Rākṣasī called Dhanya Malini hurriedly came near him and embracing the ten headed one told him thus: 40

(Some people identify Dhanya Malini as Mandodarī, the queen of Rāvaṇa.)

"Hey King, who is the chief of Rākṣasas, what is the use this foolish Sītā who belongs to the base caste of man to you, come on, make love with me." 41

"Hey King, I feel that the God Brahma has not fated her to enjoy the greatly enjoyable things that you have earned by your strength." 42

"The body of him who is in passionate love with someone who does love him becomes frail day by day and full contentment can be had only when you love someone who desires you." 43

That very strong cloud like Rākṣasa, thus pulled back by that Rākṣasī went back from there with a smile. 44

Starting from there, the ten headed one travelled to his palace with the glitter of the sun, making the earth tremble under his feet. 45

Along with the ten headed one, the Deva ladies, Gandharva ladies and the Nāga ladies surrounded him on all four sides and entered the palace. 46

Tempted by the God of love that Rāvaṇa terrorizing Sītā who was stable, who always stood by just action and who was trembling leaving her there reached his glittering palace. 47

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