Rāmāyana | Sundara Kaṇḍa | Chapter 24

Chapter: 24
Rākṣasīs Bullying

[This chapter describes the various ways the Rākṣasīs tried to bully Sītā.]

After this the ugly looking hard hearted Rākṣasa ladies came near Sītā and told the following harsh and undesirable words: 1

"Hey Sītā, why are you not consenting to the life in Harem which is liked by all beings and which has very special beds?" 2

"You think a human lady should only be the wife of another human being but that is not going to happen to you and so drag away your mind from Śrī Rāma." 3

"Accept being the wife of Rāvaṇa who enjoys the greatest pleasures in all the three worlds and engage in pleasant love play." 4

"It is strange for you who is a lucky human being without any defects, wanting to re-join Rāma who has been driven away from his Kingdom, who is dejected and who is suffering because of sorrow." 5

Sītā, who had eyes similar to the lotus, after hearing the words of Rākṣasīs with tear-filled eyes, told the following words: 6

"All the words told by you jointly are against the precepts of the world and are sinful and is not acceptable to me." 7

"A human lady should not become the wife of a Rākṣasa, even if all of you are going to eat me away. I am not going to listen to your words." 8

"Though my husband has been driven away from his Kingdom and though he is in dire straits, he is always one who is respected by me and like the Lady Suvarchala is always with the Sun God, I will always be with him." 9

(This simile is strange, because Suvarchala being hurt by Sun's harsh rays, left her shadow instead of her to be his wife.)

"I would never part from my husband Rāma who is the prince of Ikshvāku clan, like the very lucky Lady Sachi Devi from Indra, like Aruṇdhatī from Vasiṣṭha, Rohiṇī from the moon god, Lopāmudrā from Sage Agastya, Sukanyā from Sage Chyavana, Sāvitrī from Prince Satyavān, Madayanthi from Saudāsa, Kesini from Sāgara and the great Bhīmā princess Damayantī from the great King Nala." 10-12

(Here she lists the various great virtuous ladies of her time. Since each couple represents a famous well known story, they are not related here. She also indicates that like Damayantī and Madayanthi, she will also re-join her husband.)

Those Rākṣasīs appointed by Rāvaṇa, hearing the words of Sītā, became livid with anger and uttered the following harsh words and bullied her. 13

Hanuman the monkey who was silently hiding atop the Simshuba tree carefully watched Sītā and those Rākṣasīs. 14

Those angry women surrounded her who was trembling by fear on all the four sides licked and bit     their dry and elongated lips. 15

They who were very angry took the white axe in their hands and told, "This lady does not deserve to be the wife of Rāvaṇa who is the King of Rākṣasas." 16

(Till this time, the Rākṣasīs were trying to convince Sītā logically.)

Terrorized by the hateful Rākṣasīs, she who had a pleasant face wiped away her tears and reached the Simshuba tree. 17

Surrounded by the Rākṣasīs that broad eyed Sītā drowned in her sorrow reached the Simshuba tree and stood there. 18

Those Rākṣasīs surrounded on all sides Sītā who was thin, who had a faded face and who wore dirty cloths and started bullying her. 19

Then a Rākṣasī called Vinatā who was having all signs of being angry, who was having a hateful look, who was having a pot belly and who was ugly to look at addressing Sītā told: 20

"Madam Sītā, you have till now shown that you love your husband sufficiently and doing anything more than this necessary leads to sorrow." 21

"Hey princess of Mithilā, I am very much satisfied by your proper observation of the duty of human beings and let all good come to you. Be pleased to obey me who is telling you what is good for you." 22-23

"You please accept Rāvaṇa who is the King of all Rākṣasas, who is handsome, who is valorous, who is like Indra, the King of devas, who is powerful, who has the sense of sacrifice and who tells sweet things to every one as your husband." 24

"Hey pretty lady who is the daughter of Videha, leave the poor unstable Rāma and accept Rāvaṇa as husband and from today wear very costly make up and ornaments and become a queen of the three worlds. You would be then like Sachi Devi to Indra and Swāhā Devi for the God of fire." 25-26

(Swāhā is the wife of Agni, the god of fire.)

"Hey daughter of Videha, what is the use of your having the mortal Rāma who does not have any support whatsoever? If you are not going to obey these words of mine to you, immediately all of us would eat you completely." 27

Then a Rākṣasī called Vikaṭa, who was having stooping chest, became very angry and with fists held up roared and told the following words to Sītā. 28

"Hey very ignorant princess of Mithilā, We have been tolerating several of your illogical words due to mercy towards and because of our peaceful nature." 29

"You are not obeying our words which are the only suitable ones to the present circumstances." 30

"Hey princess of Mithilā you have been brought to the other shore of the ocean which cannot be crossed by any one and you have also come in to the horror filled harem of Rāvaṇa." 31

"Stop those tears and give away your sorrow which is going to cause problems to you." 32

"Leave out this permanent bad feeling and take as your share yourself happiness and love." 33

"Hey Sītā, enjoy yourselves by passionate love with the King of Rākṣasas." 34

"Hey, coward, you seem not to know that the youth in ladies is not a permanent and so it is necessary to enjoy all pleasures till youth is there with you." 35

"Hey, lady with a pretty eye, along with the King of Rākṣasa see many flower gardens and mountain parks." 36

"Hey pretty one, under your control there would be seven thousand ladies to obey you." 37

"Hey princess of Mithilā, if you do not act according to my words, I would definitely tear open your heart and eat it." 38

After that a Rākṣasī called Chandodhari with cruel looks and rotating a huge spear, told her the following words: 39

"Seeing this lady who was abducted by Rāvaṇa, who is having with shaking chest due to fear and who has doe like eyes, I am getting a great desire." 40

"It is my wish to bite away and eat her liver. Pancreas, the fleshy part above that, her fleshy bones, heart, intestines, and head." 41

Alas, after that a Rākṣasī called Praghasa told, "Why are we keeping quiet? Let us strangle this bad lady's neck and tell our King that that human lady is no more. Then he will tell us" You can eat her" and "I do not have any doubt about his telling like this." 42-43

Then another Rākṣasī called Ajaamukhi (sheep headed one) told "Let us cut her in to small pieces and divide them equally among us and let us all take part in that. I do not like to go on arguing with her without doing this. Go and swiftly bring several types of drinks and several chutneys." 44-45

Then a Rākṣasī called Sūrpanakhā (lady having very broad nails) told, "I am in agreement with what Ajamukhi has told us. Go bring wine which makes us forget all sorrows. Let us eat the human flesh and dance in the grounds of Nikumbila." 46-47

(Nikumbila is the ground outside the city where Rāvaṇa used to carry out his fire sacrifices.)

Terribly bullied thus by all the Rākṣasīs, Sītā who is like a divine lady lost her courage and started crying. 48

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