Rāmāyana | Yuddha Kaṇḍa | Chapter 116

116. Sītā Enters Fire

[Sītā becomes dejected at the attitude of Rāma. She assures him that she is virtuous and her mind had always been with Rāma. She requests Lakṣmaṇa to arrange for a burning pyre and later enters in to it. All the monkeys and Rākṣasas are sad to see this.]

Vaidehi hearing these harsh words of Rāghava which makes one's hair to stand erect became very much perturbed. 116.1

Maithili, who heard these words of her husband in the midst of multitudes of people, which she had never heard before, stood bent due to intense shame. 116.2

That daughter of Janaka felt as though all her limbs were pierced by these sharp arrows like words and shed tears without end. 116.3

Then after wiping away her face which was wet with her tears she spoke the following words slowly to her husband in a stammering voice. 116.4

"Oh valorous one, why are you making me hear such very harsh words which are hurting to hear, like a common uneducated man to a common uneducated lady." 116.5

"Oh long armed one, I am not one like what you have understood and so have faith in me as I swear to you on my virtuous character." 116.6

"By the conduct of some vulgar woman do not distrust the entire race of women and give up your suspicion as I have been earlier tested by you." 116.7

"Oh Lord, When I came to touch his body it was not intentional but due to my sheer helplessness and only my bad fate has to be blamed for that." 116.8

"My heart which was in my control was living in you and what was I supposed to do with regard to my limbs, which was under the control of someone else." 116.9

"Oh Lord who honours others, If in spite of our having lived together after for love for each other simultaneously grew, if you have not understood me fully I am completely ruined due to your ignorance." 116.10

"Oh king, you sent the greatly valorous Hanuman in search of me and why did you not abandon me then in Lanka itself, if you had made up your mind like this?" 116.11

"Oh valorous one If you had informed that you are going to desert me, I would have by now given up my life in front of that monkey." 116.12

"This unnecessary effort of keeping your life in jeopardy could have been avoided and also your friends would not have undergone so much suffering." 116.13

"Oh great king, like a woman and like a feeble man you gave priority, you became a slave to mere anger." 116.14

"Oh knower of good conduct, though I was supposed to have been born to Janaka, I was really born to this earth and such a sacred birth of mine was not honoured by you." 116.15

"My marriage to you [holding of hand] in childhood was not recognized by you and also you have chosen to ignore my devotion and chastity towards you." 116.16

After speaking like this, weeping and stammering due to great tears, she said to Lakṣmaṇa who was sad and was immersed in thought. 116.17

"Oh son of Sumithra, create a funeral pyre for me for I do not want to live any longer after such false accusations were levelled against me and death seems to be the only solution." 116.18

"As I have gained only lack of satisfaction from my husband and expressed it in the midst of the assembly of men, entering fire seems to be the only course appropriate for me." 116.19

Hearing the words of Sītā, Lakṣmaṇa the destroyer of enemies gave rise to great anger and looked at Rāma. 116.20

After understanding the mental inclination of Rāma from the expression of his face, that son of Sumithra prepared a pyre according to the wishes of the valorous Rāma. 116.21

No friend of Rāma was able to dissuade or speak at that time to Rāma who was standing like the God of death at the time of final deluge. 116.22

After slowly going round Rāma who was standing with a bent head, Sītā went towards the pyre with burning fire. 116.23

After saluting the Gods and the Brahmins, Maithili with palms joined in salutation spoke the following words. 116.24

"Because my mind always never goes away from Rāghava, let the fire God be witness to the world and protect me from all sides." 116.25

"Because Rāma feels I have been spoiled in spite of my unimpeachable character, let the fire god be witness to the world and protect me from all sides." 116.26

"Since by act or by mind or by my words, I have never been unfaithful to Rāghava, who is the follower of all Dharma, let the fire God protect me." 116.27

"Oh Sun God, Oh wind God, oh four directions and also the moon God and also the gods protecting over day time, dawn, dusk and noon as well as night and the earth, you all know me endowed with a good character and so let the fire God protect me." 116.28

After speaking like this, Sītā walked round that fire and free from any hesitation entered that burning fire. 116.29

Large number of people including boys and old ones saw the lustrous Mythili after she entered the fire. 116.30

She who was shining like Gold, decked with ornaments made of pristine Gold plunged in to the burning fire in front of all the people. 116.31

They saw the wide eyed lady Sītā who was shining like a golden altar plunge in to that blazing fire. 116.32

All the people of the three worlds saw that great lady Sītā entering the fire like the sacred oblations in to the sacrificial fire. 116.33

All the ladies present there wailed on seeing her enter the fire, similar to the flow of Ghee plunging in to the sacrificial fire duly consecrated by Vedic hymns. 116.34

The Devas, Gandharwas and Dhanavas of the three worlds saw her and felt that goddess like lady rushing from heaven to hell. 116.35

When she was entering deep in to the fire a strange loud sound "Alas, Alas", was heard from the Rākṣasas and monkeys alike. 116.36

This is the end of One Hundred and Sixteenth Sarga of Yuddha Kanda which occurs in Holy Rāmāyaṇa composed by Vālmīki as the First Epic.