Rāmāyana | Sundara Kaṇḍa | Chapter 26

Chapter: 26
Sītā's Decision for Suicide

[Sītā who is extremely sad lists out logical reasons for her to commit suicide and decides on that course.]

That wailing daughter of Janaka, with a bent head, eye full of tears and crying like a child was similar to the one who is mad, who has lost her wisdom and who is fear struck and started wailing like a mare rolling in mud to get rid of her tiresomeness. 1-2

"When Rāghava (one who belongs to the clan of Raghu) was ignorant and away, this Rākṣasa called Rāvaṇa, who can assume any shape he wants, attacked me and abducted me and brought me here, when was crying." 3

"Being in the custody of Rākṣasīs and being bullied by them terribly, I have become very sad and very much worried and so I am not interested in living further." 4

"Without Rāma the great charioteer and being in the custody of Rākṣasīs, there is no purpose in my living even with riches and ornaments." 5

"My mind must be a very hard granite stone or a thing which does not erode or die, because even with all this sorrow, it is not breaking." 6

"Being with less of virtue and not being a lady, I should have been destroyed and in spite of being not in the company of Rāma this sinner is protecting her life for this small period." 7

"What interest have I to look after my body and continue to live after parting from my darling, who is the lord of all land surrounded by the sea and who has such a sweet desirable speech?" 8

"I would not like to tolerate this great sorrow of being away from him for a long time and I do not mind even if I am cut in to pieces or eaten alive." 9

"I would not even touch this base thief Rāvaṇa by even by my left feet and where is the question of my making love to him?" 10

"That cruel one, who desires to request me to be his wife, does not understand when he is being rejected by me with aversion, nor does he understand his stature, nor his family." 11

"I would not accede to Rāvaṇa, even if I am crushed or cut or put in a raging fire. What is the point in this waiting?" 12

"I doubt that Sri Rāma who is very knowledgeable, grateful, shows mercy to those in danger, well behaved and very famous, is devoid of any pity towards me due to my lack of luck." 13

"Why is he, who exterminated fourteen thousand Rākṣasas all alone in Janasṭhāna not interested in saving me?" 14

"This Rāvaṇa with very little valour has imprisoned me and I do not have any doubt that my husband is capable of winning him in war." 15

"Why is it that Rāma who killed that great Rākṣasa Virādha in Daṇḍakāraṇya not freeing me from this custody and taking me back?" 16

(Virādha was a Gandharva who was cured by his master Kubera. He fought with Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa and was killed.)

"It is true that this Lanka is in the middle of the ocean and prevents the entry of outsiders but I do not think that it is capable of preventing the arrows of Rāghava." 17

"What could be the reason that a very stable hero like Sri Rāma does not come here and release his darling wife, I do not understand." 18

"I believe that the great valorous one who is the elder brother of Lakṣmaṇa does not know that I am here, for once he knows about it he will not tolerate this insult." 19

"That great King of Hawks, who would have rushed to Rāghava and informed him that I have been abducted by Rāvaṇa, fell in the battle." 20

(She is referring to Jatāyu, the hawk son of Varuṇa, who fought with Rāvaṇa and died in the battle. However he was alive till he told Rāma that Rāvaṇa had abducted her. Rāma cremated him in the forest with all honours. Sītā was ignorant of this story.)

"In spite of the fact that the Jatāyu, who no doubt is old was defeated in the wrestling fight against Rāvaṇa and was defeated though he did a very great job." 21

" If that Rāghava knows that I am here, immediately with great anger using his arrows he would make the world devoid of Rākṣasas, he would blow Lanka away, dry the great ocean and even destroy the name and fame of Rāvaṇa." 22-23

"Afterwards, similar to my crying and wailing, in every house of Sri Lanka, these Rākṣasīs who have become widows would cry and possibly cry more." 24

"Rāma accompanied by Lakṣmaṇa would search and find out Lanka, and it is definite that the enemy, once found out by them will not even live for a second more." 25

"Soon, this Lanka is going to be filled with the smoke emanating from burning coffins and would be like a cremation ground filled with crowds of hawks." 26

"Within a short time my desire would be fulfilled and definitely and this bad conduct of yours would lead to the destruction of you all." 27

"Within a short time this Lanka is going to lose its lustre and very many bad omens are visible even now." 28

"When the great sinner and the worst among Rākṣasas is killed then this Sri Lanka which is impregnable, is going to get weakened like a lady who has become a widow."29

"This fertile and rich Sri Lanka which has lots of holy festivals and the Rākṣasas would become leaderless like a lady who has lost her husband." 30

"In this place, I am going to hear soon the wailing of Rākṣasīs who are sad and pained from every house." 31

"Once the red eyed valorous Sri Rāma knows that I am alive and in the house of Rāvaṇa, then definitely, Lanka would be burned by the arrows of Sri Rāma and would become dark by losing its lustre and would be filled with dead Rākṣasas." 32-33

"The limit of time which has been fixed by this cruel and base Rāvaṇa is approaching near." 34

"These Rākṣasas, who are sinners do not know that they are performing acts which should not be done and would as a result, danger would definitely come to all those who live in this town." 35

"These flesh eating Rākṣasas do not understand what is just action and it is definite that they would fix me for breakfast." 36

"Without seeing Rāma, who has eyes with red corners and who is pleasing to the eye, what can I who am very sorrowful do?" 37

"If it happens that anyone here, would give me poison, I being without my husband would go and see the God of death." 38

"Rāma who is the elder brother of Bhārata must be ignorant of the fact that I am alive for if not they both would not spare any effort to find me in this earth." 39

"That valorous elder brother of Lakṣmaṇa due to the sorrow because of me, must have left this body and must have reached heaven." 40

"How lucky are those Devas, Gandharvas, Siddhas and sages because they are able to see the lotus eyed Sri Rāma who is my lord." 41

(Assumes Lord Rāma has reached the heaven.)

"Possibly there is nothing I can do as a wife to Sri Rāma who is very wise, who is very charitable, who is like a royal sage and who is the personification of God." 42

"Thankless people show love towards you when you are near them and do not show love when you are not near, but Rāma is never like that." 43

"Is it because I do not have desirable traits or is it because that I am not lucky, that I, in spite of being a woman, is suffering because of the absence of Rāma." 44

"I think it would be better for me to die rather than live away from Rāma who is a great man, who has a faultless character, who is heroic and who is capable of destroying his enemies." 45

"Or is it that those two brothers who follow just action and who are sterling among men have decided to throw away their ornaments and live in the forest eating only fruits and roots." 46

"Or is it possible that those heroic brothers have been killed using deceit by Rāvaṇa who is the King of Rākṣasa and a bad one?" 47

"In this state I wish to die but I do not get a suitable death even in this very sad state." 48

"Those who do not have likes and dislikes are very great souls, for they have won over their senses, they are very lucky, they are really sages, they are recognized by the world and are the ones who should be really applauded." 49

"When pleasures come, mind is not having sorrow. When sadness comes there is pain in the mind. My salutations to those who stand separately from both these states." 50

"I who am not able to achieve such victory over mind have got away from my husband Rāma who lives according to law and am in the custody of Rāvaṇa and so I am going to commit suicide." 51

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