12 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

Rāma's swarthy form was naturally graceful; His beauty put to shame millions of Cupids. Dyed with red lac, His lotus-feet, which ever attracted the bee-like minds of sages, looked most lovely. His sacred and charming yellow loin-cloth outshone the rising sun as well as the lightning. The girdle round His waist together with the sweet-sounding small bells was soul-enchanting; His long arms were adorned with beautiful ornaments. The yellow sacred thread greatly enhanced His charm; while the ring on His finger would ravish all hearts. Beautified with all sorts of wedding adornments He looked most charming; His broad chest was adorned with appropriate ornaments. He had a yellow scarf with fringes of pearls and gems slung partly under His right armpit and partly across His left shoulder. He had a pair of lotus-like eyes and beautiful pendants dangling from the lobes of his ears; while His countenance was a storehouse of all comeliness. He had lovely eyebrows and a charming nose; while the sacred mark on His forehead was an abode of loveliness. And His head was adorned with a beautiful wedding crown which had auspicious pearls and gems strung together and woven into it. (1 - 5)

Precious gems had been strung together and woven into the lovely wedding crown and each of His limbs ravished the heart. At the sight of the bridegroom (Śrī Rāma) the women of the city as well as pretty celestial ladies all tore blades of grass (in order to avert the evil eye). After scattering about Him gems, raiment and ornaments they waved lights around Him and sang festal songs. The gods rained down flowers; while bards, panegyrists and rhapsodists uttered His praises. Married women, whose husbands were alive, happily brought the brides and bridegrooms to the apartment reserved for the tutelary deities, and with festal songs they most lovingly began to perform customary rites. Goddess Gaurī Herself taught Rāma how to offer a morsel of food to Sītā; while Śāradā urged Sītā to do likewise with Rāma. The whole gynaecium was absorbed in the delight of merry-making; everyone enjoyed the fruit of her birth. In the gems on Her hand Jānakī saw the reflection of Śrī Rāma, the repository of beauty; hence She dared not move Her arm or eyes for fear of losing sight of Him. The rapture and love that characterized the gaiety and mirth of the occasion surpassed all telling; Sītā's companions alone knew them. They escorted all the four charming couples to the palace assigned to King Daśaratha and his party. At that moment blessings might be heard on all sides and there was great exultation in the city as well as in the heavens. Everyone exclaimed with a delighted heart, "Long live the four lovely couples!" Great Yogīs, Siddhas, eminent sages and divinities sounded their kettledrums on beholding the Lord; and raining down flowers and crying "Victory, victory, victory" they gladly returned, each to his own realm. (1 - 4)

Then all the four princes with their brides approached their father. It appeared at that time as if the lodgings of the bridegroom's party overflowed with beauty, felicity and joy. (327)

Then there was a banquet with a rich variety of dishes, to which Janaka invited all the members of the bridegroom's party. Carpets of incomparable beauty were spread on the way as King Daśaratha sallied forth with his sons. The feet of all were reverently washed and then they were seated on wooden seats according to their rank. Janaka laved the feet of Daśaratha, King of Ayodhyā; his courtesy and affection were past telling. He then bathed Śrī Rāma's lotus-feet, that are enshrined in the lotus-like heart of Śiva. Similarly he washed with his own hands the feet of the other three brothers also, treating them on a par with Śrī Rāma. King Janaka assigned an appropriate seat to each guest and sent for all the cooks (for service). Leaves joined together so as to serve for plates were set before the guests with due reverence - leaves which were made of precious stones and had been joined with gold pins. (1 - 4)

Clever and polite cooks passed round, and in a trice they served all with curry and boiled rice mixed with clarified butter extracted from cows' milk, all of which were pleasing and delicious and had been cooked with purity. (328)

Taking the five initial morsels as an oblation for the five vital airs the guests commenced dining, and were enraptured to hear songs full of raillery. Confections of various kinds, sweets as ambrosia and more delicious than one could describe, were served to them. Expert cooks then began to serve a variety of seasoned articles which were too numerous to be named. Of the four categories of food mentioned in the scriptures (viz., 1. that which can be directly swallowed, 2. that which must be masticated before it can be gulped, 3. that which can be licked with the tongue and 4. that which can be sucked) each comprised an indescribable variety of dishes. Similarly there were seasoned dishes of various kinds, having six different flavours, each flavour being exhibited in numberless varieties. As the dinner was in progress, women railed in melodious strains at men and women both, mentioning each by name. Even raillery at an opportune time is agreeable and welcome; King Daśaratha and his whole party felt amused to hear it. In this way the whole party dined and in the end they were all reverently supplied with water to rinse their mouth with. (1 - 4)

Offering betel-leaves in due form, Janaka paid his homage to King Daśaratha and his company; and the crown of all monarchs, Daśaratha, retired to his own apartments with a cheerful heart. (329)

Every day there was a new festival in the city; days and nights passed like a moment. The jewel of king, Daśaratha, woke up at a very early hour; and mendicants began to sing his praises. As he gazed upon the princes with their beautiful brides, the rapture of his soul was beyond all telling. Having finished his morning routine he called on his Guru with a heart full of exultation and love. Making obeisance to him and paying him his homage the king with joined palms addressed him in a voice steeped as it were in nectar, "Listen, O chief of sages: by your grace I have realized all my ambitions today. Now summoning all the Brāhmaṇas, O holy sir, present them with cows adorned in every way." On hearing these words the preceptor applauded the king and then sent for the troops of sages. (1 - 4)

Then came Vāmadeva, the celestial sage Nārada, Vālmīki, Jābāli, Viśvāmitra and hosts of other great sages given to austerities. (330)

The king threw himself upon the ground before them all and worshipping them with love offered them seats of honour. Next he sent for four lakhs of cows, all as gentle and beautiful as the cow of plenty; and adorning them all in every possible way he gladly bestowed them upon the Brāhmaṇas. The king supplicated them in many ways and said, "It is only today that I have attained the fruit of my existence." The delight of the solar race was glad to receive their blessings and then sent for beggars and bestowed on them, according to their liking, gold, wearing apparel, jewels, horses, elephants and chariots. Singing the king's praises and saying, "Glory, glory, all glory to the lord of the solar race!" they all went away. In this way the rejoicing in connection with Śrī Rāma's wedding was more than the thousand-mouthed serpent-king could tell. (1 - 4)

Again and again the king bowed his head at the feet of Kauśika and said, "All this joy, O chief of sages, is a gift of your gracious looks." (331)

King Daśaratha extolled in everyway Janaka's affection, amiability, affluence and doings. Every morning the King of Ayodhyā asked leave to return home; but each time Janaka would lovingly detain him. The royal guest received greater and enhanced attentions from day to day and was entertained in a thousand ways each day. The city witnessed a new rejoicing and festivity everyday; no one liked Daśaratha's departure. In this way a number of days passed, as though members of the bridegrooms' party were tied by cords of love. The sages Kauśika and Śatānanda then called on King Videha and advised him saying, "Now you must let Daśaratha go, even though you may not be able to part with him out of love." “Very well, my lord", replied the king, and sent for his ministers, who came and bowed their heads saying, "May you be victorious, may you live long!" (1 - 4)

"The King of Ayodhyā longs to depart: make this known in the gynaecium." At these words the ministers, Brāhmaṇas, courtiers as well as the king himself were overwhelmed with emotion. (332)

When the people of the city heard that the bridegrooms' party was leaving, they anxiously asked one another if it were a fact. When they learnt that the departure of the guests was certain, they were all sad in the same way as lotuses get shrivelled up in the evening. Provisions of various kinds were sent to all those places where the bridegrooms' party had halted while coming from Ayodhyā. Dry fruits and confections of all kinds and other articles of food too numerous to be mentioned were sent by Janaka on the back of oxen and through numberless porters along with a number of beautiful bedsteads. He also sent 1,00,000 horses and 25,000 chariots, all decorated from top to bottom, 10,000 adorned elephants in rut, that put to shame the elephants guarding the eight quarters, besides cartloads of gold, wearing apparel and jewels and even so she- buffaloes, cows and many other articles of various kinds. (1 - 4)

In this way King Videha gave once more a dowry which was immeasurable and beyond all telling, and before which the wealth possessed by the lords of the different worlds looked small. (333)

Having got all the equipage arranged in the order mentioned above, Janaka had everything despatched to Ayodhyā. When the queens heard that the bridegrooms' party was about to start, they all felt miserable even as fish when faced with shortage of water. Again and again they took Sītā in their lap and blessed and exhorted her in the following words: "May you be ever beloved of your lord, and may you live long with him: this is our blessing. Serve the parents of your husband and other elders and do the bidding of your lord according to his pleasure." In their excess of love Sītā's clever companions too taught her the duties of a housewife in soft accents. The queens politely admonished all the other princesses too and clasped them to their bosom again and again; and as the mothers embraced their daughters time and again, they exclaimed, "Why did Brahmā ever create a woman?" (1 - 4)

That very moment did Rāma, the chief of the solar race, gladly proceeded along with His brothers to Janaka’s palace to take the brides along with them. (334)

The people of the city, both men and women, ran to see the four brothers, who were naturally lovely. Said one, "They intend leaving today; King Videha has made all arrangements for their farewell. So let your eyes drink in their beauty; the four princes have been our most welcome guests. Who knows, friend, what virtuous deed we have performed, in return for which Providence has unexpectedly brought them before our eyes? Even as a dying man should stumble on nectar or he who has been starving all his life should be able to discover a wish-yielding tree or as one of the damned in hell should attain to the abode of Śrī Hari, even so have we been blessed with their sight. Gaze on Śrī Rāma's beauty and treasure it in your heart; let your mind fondly cherish His image even as a serpent loves the gem in its hood." Thus delighting the eyes of all, the four princes went to the royal palace. (1 - 4)

The ladies of the gynaecium were transported with joy to behold the four brothers, who were oceans of beauty as it were, and the mothers-in-law in their ecstatic mood scattered gift and waved lights about the bridegrooms. (335)

Greatly moved at the sight of Śrī Rāma's beauty they affectionately fell at His feet again and again. Their heart being rapt in love, the feeling of shyness had bid them adieu; how could their natural affection for their sons-in-law be described? After anointing the body of Śrī Rāma and His brothers with ointment they were given a bath and were most lovingly entertained with dishes containing the six flavours. Finding it a suitable opportunity Śrī Rāma spoke in accents full of amiability, affection and modesty. “Our royal father intends leaving for Ayodhyā, and has sent us here to take leave of you. Therefore, mothers, grant us permission with a cheerful mind and ever regard us with affection as your own children." The ladies of the gynaecium were distressed to hear these words; the mothers-in-law were too overwhelmed with emotion to speak a word. They clasped all the princesses to their bosom and while giving them to their lords made humble submission to them. (1 - 4)

With humble submission Queen Sunayanā committed Sītā to Rāma, and with joined palms prayed again and again, "I offer myself as sacrifice to You, my all-wise darling; You know what passes in the mind of all. May you know that Sītā is dear as life itself to the whole family, nay, to the entire population of the city, much more to me and to her royal father. Therefore, considering her meekness and affection, O Lord of Tulasī, treat her as Your maid-servant.

"You have Your desires ever fulfilled, You are the crest-jewel of the wise; and it is love alone that attracts You. You perceive only the good points of Your devotees; You eradicate their weaknesses and are an abode of mercy, Rāma!" (336)

So saying the queen remained clinging to His feet; it seemed as if her speech had been lost in the quick-sands of love. On hearing her fine speech, which was full of affection, Śrī Rāma honoured His mother-in-law in ways more than one. While seeking her permission with joined palms He made obeisance to her again and again. Having received her blessings the Lord of Raghus bowed His head once more and then departed with His brothers. Treasuring up in their heart Śrī Rāma's lovely and beautiful image all the queens were overcome with emotion. Then, recovering themselves, they called their daughters and embraced them again and again. They escorted them to some distance and then embraced them once more; the love on both sides swelled to a considerable extent. While meeting their daughters again and again they were parted by the companions of the princesses even as a cow who has just brought forth a calf may be parted from the latter. (1 - 4)

All men and women including the companions of the princesses and the ladies of the gynaecium were overpowered by emotion; it seemed as if pathos and the parting of lovers had taken up their abode in the capital of the Videhās. (337)

The parrots and mainas who had been reared by Princess Jānakī and having been kept in cages of gold had been taught to speak, cried in distress, "Where is Videha's daughter?" On hearing their wail who would have the patience to stand the sight? When birds and beasts were distressed in this way, how can one depict the feelings of the human being. Then came King Janaka with his younger brother (Kuśadhvaja); due to excess of emotion tears rushed to his eyes. Although he was reputed to be a man of supreme dispassion, his strength of mind took leave of him the moment he gazed on Sītā. The king clasped Jānakī to his bosom and the great embankment of wisdom toppled down. All his wise counsellors admonished him; and realizing that it was no occasion for wailing, the king recovered himself. Again and again he pressed his daughters to his bosom and ordered beautiful and well-equipped palanquins to be brought. (1 - 4)

The whole family was overwhelmed with emotion; yet, perceiving that the auspicious moment had arrived the king invoked Lord Gaṇeśa and His consort, Siddhi, and helped the princesses to ascend the palanquins. (338)

King Janaka admonished his daughters in various ways more than one, and instructed them in the duties of a woman as well as in family customs. He bestowed upon Sītā a good many men-servants and maid-servants who had been her trusted and favourite attendants. As She proceeded on Her journey the citizens felt miserable; while good omens, which were all fountains of blessings, appeared. Accompanied by a crowd of Brāhmaṇas and his counsellors the king himself followed his daughters to escort them. When it was found that the time of departure had come, music began to play and the members of the bridegrooms' party made ready their chariots, elephants and horses. King Daśaratha sent to all the Brāhmaṇas and sated them with gifts and courtesy. The king placed the dust of their lotus-feet on his head and was glad to receive their benediction. Invoking the elephant-headed Gaṇeśa he set out on his journey, when many good omens, which were the roots of felicity, occurred. (1 - 4)

The gods gladly rained down flowers and heavenly nymphs sang, as the lord of Ayodhyā joyfully set forth for his capital amidst the clash of kettledrums. (339)

King Daśaratha politely persuaded the respectable citizens to retire and having reverently called all the mendicants he bestowed on them ornaments and clothes as well as horses and elephants and satiating them with love he made them all self-supporting. Glorifying the king again and again they all returned with Śrī Rāma in their heart. The Lord of Ayodhyā importuned King Janaka over and over again; but out of affection for his relative the latter would not turn back. Once more King Daśaratha addressed him in polite terms, "I beg you to turn back, O king; you have already come far enough." At last King Daśaratha got down from his chariot and remained standing, while his eyes overflowed with torrents of love. Then spoke King Videha with joined palms and in accents imbued with the nectar of love, "How and in what words should I make my supplication to you? You have conferred such high honour on me, O great king." (1 - 4)

The king of Kosala showed every respect to the father of the bride and his relative, Janaka. The embrace in which they held each other was characterized by utmost humility and their heart could not contain the love they felt. (340)

King Janaka bowed his head to the throng of sages and received blessings from them all. Next he reverently embraced his sons-in-law, the four brothers, each a mine of beauty, amiability and goodness; and joining his graceful lotus hands he spoke in accents begotten of love as it were, "How can I extol You, O Rāma, sporting as You do in the hearts of sages as well as of the great Lord Śiva like a swan in the Mānasarovara lake. That for whose sake Yogīs (those given to contemplation) practise Yoga (contemplation) renouncing anger, infatuation, the feeling of meum and pride, the all-pervading Brahma (Absolute) who is imperceptible and imperishable, the embodiment of consciousness and bliss, attributeless and simultaneously possessing divine qualities, who is beyond the ken of speech and mind, who is past all speculation, but is only inferred by all and who is the same at all times -  (1 - 4)

"That source of all joy has appeared before my eyes! Everything is easy of access in this world to a living being when God is propitious.” (341)

"You have exalted me in every way and accepted me as Your own servant. If there were ten thousand Śāradās and Śeṣas, and if they were to count for millions of Kalpas, the tale of my good fortune, I tell You, and the record of Your virtues, could not be exhausted, O Lord of Raghus. I make bold to say something on the strength of my conviction that You are pleased with the slightest devotion. I repeatedly beseech You with joined palms that my mind may never be deluded into deserting Your feet." On hearing these polite words saturated with love Śrī Rāma who had all His desires fulfilled, felt gratified. With the greatest courtesy the latter honoured His father-in-law treating him on a par with His own father, Kauśika or Vasiṣṭha. The king then humbly approached Bharata and embracing him with affection gave him his blessings. (1 - 4)

Next the king embraced and blessed Lakṣmaṇa and Ripusūdana; overpowered by emotion they bowed their heads to one another again and again. (342)

Paying his respectful compliments to Janaka again and again the Lord of Raghus set out on His journey with His three brothers. Janaka approached Kauśika, clasped his feet and put the dust of the same on his head and eyes. He said, "Listen, O lord of sages: to him who has been blessed with your sight nothing is unattainable; such is my marriage party conviction. The joy and the bright renown which the regional lords of the universe long to have, but feel too diffident to expect - such a joy and glory has been brought within my reach; and all achievements follow on seeing you." In these words King Janaka made humble submission to Viśvāmitra, bowing his head again and again, and returned after receiving his blessings. The people started on its return journey to the sound of kettledrums; all the sections, both big and small, were transported with joy. Men and women of the villages, as they gazed on Śrī Rāma, felt gratified on realizing the object of their eyes. (1 - 4)

Halting at convenient stages in course of the journey and gladdening the people on the roadside the marriage procession approached Ayodhyā on a sacred day. (343)

Kettledrums were beaten and good tabors sounded, accompanied by the blast of sackbuts and conchs, and the neighing of horses and trumpeting of elephants. Similarly there was a clash of cymbals and drums, while clarinets played sweet tunes. The citizens were all delighted to hear the procession coming; the hair on their body stood erect. They all decorated their own beautiful houses as well as the markets, streets, squares and gates of the city. All the lanes were watered with perfumes; here and there festal squares were filled in with elegant devices. The bazar was beautified beyond all description with festal arches, flags, banners and canopies. Trees of the areca-nut, the plantain, the mango, the Bakula, the Kadamba and the Tamāla were transplanted along with their fruit. The beautiful trees thus planted touched the ground (on account of their being laden with fruits); they had basins of precious stones constructed around them with exquisite skill. (1 - 4)

Festal vases of various kinds were ranged in order in every house; Brahmā and the other gods were filled with envy to see the birthplace of Śrī Rāma (the Chief of Raghus). (344)

The king's palace looked very charming on that occasion; its decoration captivated the heart of Cupid himself. It looked as if auspicious omens and loveliness; affluence and mystic powers, joys and smiling prosperity and all kinds of rejoicings had assumed a naturally beautiful form and taken their abode in the palace of King Daśaratha. Tell me who would not feel tempted to have a look at Śrī Rāma and Videha's Daughter? Married women, whose husbands were alive, sallied forth in troops, each eclipsing Love's consort (Rati) by her beauty. They all carried articles of good omen and were equipped with lights for waving round the bridegrooms. As they moved along singing all the way, it appeared as if Goddess Bhāratī (the goddess of speech) had appeared in so many forms. The king's palace was full of hilarious tumult; the joy of the occasion was ineffable. Kauśalyā and other mothers of Śrī Rāma were so overwhelmed with emotion that they forgot their own body. (1 - 4)

After worshipping Lord Gaṇeśa and the Slayer of the demon Tripura, they bestowed enormous gifts upon the Brāhmaṇas and were supremely delighted as an utterly indigent man who had attained the four great prizes of life. (345)

All the mothers were so overcome with joy and rapture that their feet refused to walk and all their limbs began to droop as it were. Full of intense longing for a sight of Śrī Rāma they began to get everything ready for the reception of their sons. Music of every kind started playing, while Sumitrā gladly got together articles of good omen such as turmeric, blades of Durbā grass, curds, ordinary leaves, flowers, betel-leaves, areca- nuts, auspicious roots, unbroken rice, sprouts of barley, Gorochanā, parched paddy and lovely blossoms of the Basil plant. Exceedingly charming gold vases, painted with various colours, looked like nests built by Cupid's own birds. Auspicious perfumes defied all description. In this way all the queens prepared all sorts of auspicious articles. They got ready rows of lights arranged in various devices for waving round their sons and with a cheerful heart sang melodious festal strains. (1 - 4)

Carrying in their lotus hands salvers of gold laden with articles of good omen, the queen-mothers proceeded joyfully to greet their sons ceremoniously, every limb of their body throbbing with emotion. (346)

The sky became dark with the fumes of burning incense, as though overhung with the fast gathering clouds of the month of Śrāvaṇa (August). The gods rained down wreaths of flowers from the trees of paradise, which looked like rows of herons in their graceful flight. Lovely festoons made of Jewels looked like rainbows appearing in a row. Charming and volatile ladies, appearing on house-tops as quickly or disappearing an alties looked like flashes of lightning. The beat of drums resembled the crash of thunder; while beggars were as clamorous as the Chātakā birds, frogs and peacocks. The gods poured down showers in the form of sacred perfumes, which gladdened the crop in the form of all the citizens. Perceiving that a propitious hour had arrived the preceptor (Vasiṣṭha) gave the word, and the jewel of Raghu's race, King Daśaratha, gladly entered the city with all his followers, fixing his mind on Bhagavān Śambhu, Goddess Pārvatī and Their son, Lord Gaṇeśa. (1 - 4)

Good omens manifested themselves and the gods rained down flowers to the beat of drums; while celestial dames danced for joy, singing melodious triumphal songs. (347)

Bards, minstrels, rhapsodists and skilled dancers chanted the glory of Him (Śrī Rāma) who illumines all the three worlds. Auspicious holy sounds and the sacred and melodious chanting of the Vedas were heard in all the ten directions. Musical instruments of all kinds began to play; gods in heaven and men in the city were enraptured alike. Members of the bridegroom's party looked smart beyond description. They were highly delighted and could not contain themselves for joy. The people of Ayodhyā then greeted the king, and were gladdened at the very sight of Śrī Rāma. They scattered about Him jewels and vestments; their eyes were full of tears and their body thrilled over. The women of the city gladly waved lights around His head and rejoiced to see the four noble princes. They were all the more gratified when they lifted the curtains of the beautiful palanquins and beheld the brides. (1 - 4)

Thus gladdening the heart of all, they arrived at the entrance of the royal palace; the delighted mothers waved lights over the princes and their brides. (348)

They waved lights again and again; the love and rapture which they felt in their heart was beyond all words. They scattered about their sons and daughters-in-law ornaments, jewels and costumes of various kinds and numberless other articles. The queen-mothers were enraptured to behold their four sons along with their brides. As they gazed again and again on the beauty of Sītā and Rāma they felt delighted and regarded the object of their life in this world as realized. The queen-mothers’ companions, as they gazed on Sītā's countenance over and over again, sang and extolled their good fortune. Moment after moment the gods rained down flowers, danced and sang and offered their homage. Seeing the four charming couples Goddess Śāradā ransacked all her stock of similes, but her choice fell on none; they appeared too trivial. She therefore stood gazing with unwinking eyes, enchanted with their beauty. (1 - 4)

After performing the rites prescribed by the Vedas and family usage the queen- mothers waved lights over all the princes and their brides and conducted them to the palace, offering water to them as a mark of respect and spreading carpets along the way. (349)

There were four exquisitely beautiful thrones, which had been fashioned by Cupid with his own hands as it were; the queen-mothers seated the brides and the bridegrooms on them and reverently laved their holy feet. They then worshipped the blessed couples in accordance with the Vedic ritual by offering them incense, light and oblations of food. They passed lights around them again and again and waved beautiful fans and chowries over their heads. They scattered offerings of various kinds about them; the mothers were as full of exultation as a Yogī who has realized the highest truth, or as a lifelong chronic who has been able to lay his hands on nectar or as a born pauper who has stumbled on a philosopher's stone, or as a blind man who has regained a good vision, or as a dumb fellow, whose tongue has been transfused with the eloquence of Śāradā, the goddess of speech, or even as a hero who has triumphed in battle. (1 - 4)

The mothers derived joy millions of times greater than the joys mentioned above; for in their case it was the Delighter of Raghu's race Himself who had returned home with His brothers duly married. As the mothers performed the traditional rites the brides and their grooms felt shy; while Śrī Rāma smiled within Himself on perceiving the ecstasy and merriment of the occasion. (350 A-B)

The mothers gratefully worshipped the gods and manes with due ceremony; for all the cravings of their heart had been satisfied. Bowing to all they begged as a boon the welfare of Rāma and His brothers. The gods conferred their blessings all unseen, and the mothers gladly received them by spreading the end of their garment. The king sent for those who had joined the marriage party and gave them vehicles, wearing apparel, jewels and ornaments. Having received the king's permission and enshrining Śrī Rāma's image in their heart they joyfully returned each to his own house. All the men and women of the city were invested with garments and jewels and there was jubilant music in every home. The king in his exultation gave whatever the mendicants asked for. Every attendant and every musician was sated with gifts and kind attentions. (1 - 4)

They all saluted and invoked blessing upon the king and sang his praises, and thereafter the king, accompanied by his preceptor and other Brāhmaṇas, proceeded to the palace. (351)

Under Vasiṣṭha’s directions he reverently performed all the ceremonies prescribed either by usage or by the Veda. The queens, on seeing a crowd of Brāhmaṇas, deemed themselves most fortunate and all rose to greet them. They laved the feet of the holy ones and helped them all perform their ablutions; while the king duly worshipped and entertained them at meal. Overwhelmed with the host's civility, gifts and love, they departed glad of heart invoking blessings on him. To Gādhi's son (Viśvāmitra) he paid homage in various ways and said, "My lord, there is no one so blessed as I am." The king lavished his praises on him and with his queens took the dust of his feet. He assigned the sage a fine quarter in his own palace, while the king and his whole gynaecium kept a vigilant eye on his wants even though unexpressed. Again he adored the lotus feet of his preceptor (Vasiṣṭha) and made humble submission to him with great affection in his heart. (1 - 4)

All the princes with their brides and the king with his queens bowed to the preceptor's feet again and again, while the great sage invoked blessings on them all. (352)

With his heart overflowing with love he made entreaties to the Guru and placed his sons and all his wealth before him. The great sage, however, asked for and accepted only his customary due (as a family priest) for the ceremonial occasion and blessed him in profusion. And with the image of Sītā and Rāma installed in his heart he gladly proceeded to his own residence. The king then summoned all the Brāhmaṇa dames, and invested them with beautiful robes, and ornaments. He next sent for the married women of the city (whose husbands were alive and who, though born in Ayodhyā, were married elsewhere) and presented them with garments of their liking. All those who were entitled to receive gifts and presents on ceremonial occasions, received their dues from the jewel of kings, who rewarded them according to their choice; and the king duly honoured those guests whom he regarded as worthy of affection and adoration. The gods who witnessed Śrī Rāma's wedding, rained down flowers, while applauding the jubilation -  (1 - 4)

And with beat of drum the celestials gladly proceeded each to his abode, talking to one another of Śrī Rāma's glory with their heart overflowing with love. (353)

Having shown everyone all possible honour the king, whose heart was over brimming with joy, visited the private apartments and beheld the princes with their brides. He gladly took the boys in his arms and experienced a thrill of joy which nobody could tell. Similarly he affectionately seated the brides in his lap and fondled them again and again with a heart full of rapture. The ladies of the gynaecium were delighted to behold this spectacle; the heart of everyone became an abode of joy. The king related how the wedding had taken place and everyone was delighted to hear the account. The goodness, amiability, nobility, loving nature and the splendid wealth of King Janaka were extolled by King Daśaratha in a variety of ways even as a rhapsodist would do; and the queens were enraptured to hear the record of his doings. (1 - 4)

After bathing with his sons the king called the Brāhmaṇas, the preceptor and his own kinsmen and, having entertained them at meal, feasted himself on a variety of dishes till a couple of hours of the night passed. (354)

Lovely women sang joyous songs, and the night became a source of delight and soul-enchanting. After rinsing their mouth the king and his party were all given betel-leaves; and adorned with garlands and sandal-paste etc., they looked most charming. Looking once more at Śrī Rāma and having received their permission they proceeded each to his own house, bowing their heads. The love and rapture, merriment and magnanimity, prosperity, splendour and loveliness that manifested there were more than could be told by a hundred Śāradās and Śeṣas, Vedas and Brahmās, Śivas and Gaṇeśas. How, then, can I describe them at length any more than an earthly worm could support the globe on its head? The king then summoned the queens and, showing every honour to them all, admonished them in gentle tones. "The brides are yet damsels and have come to a strange house; therefore, take care of them as eyelids protect the eyes. (1 - 4)

"The boys are tired and feeling drowsy; go and put them to bed." So saying he retired to his own bedroom with his mind fixed on Śrī Rāma's feet. (355)

Hearing the sweet and loving words of the king, the queens made ready bejewelled beds of gold and furnished them with many a rich covering, soft and white as the froth of cow's milk, and pillows more charming than words can tell. The bed-chamber, made of precious stones, was decked with garlands and supplied with perfumes, lamps consisting of bright gems and a canopy lovely beyond words. He alone who saw it could know what it was like. Having thus prepared a number of fine beds the queens took up Śrī Rāma and lovingly laid Him down upon one of them. On being repeatedly asked by Śrī Rāma, His brothers too retired each to his own bed. As the mothers gazed on the swarthy limbs of Śrī Rāma, so soft and attractive, they all exclaimed in loving accents, "How did you manage, dear child; to kill the most dreadful demoness Tāḍakā while on your way to the forest? (1 - 4)

"How were you able to slay those monstrous giants, the wicked Mārīcha and Subāhu and their followers, who were formidable warriors and counted none before them in battle?” (356)

"My darling may God bless you; it was through the grace of the sage Viśvāmitra alone that God kept away a number of calamities from you. Even while you and your brother (Lakṣmaṇa) guarded the sacrifice, you were initiated into all the secret lore. At the mere touch of the dust from your feet the hermit's wife (Ahalyā) attained salvation and your glory filled the whole universe. In the assembly of princes you broke Śiva’s bow, hard though it was as a tortoise-shell or adamant or rock. You gained the glory of having triumphed over the world and won the hand of Janaka's daughter, and then returned home after marrying all your brothers. All your actions have been superhuman and were accomplished only by the grace of the sage Kauśika. Our birth into the world has borne fruit today as we now behold, dear child, your moon-like face. Our prayer is that the number of days that have been spent without seeing you, may not be reckoned by the Creator at all." (1 - 4)

Śrī Rāma gratified all His mothers by addressing sweet and polite words to them; and fixing His thought on the feet of Lord Śambhu, His preceptors (Vasiṣṭha and Viśvāmitra) and the Brāhmaṇas in general, He closed His eyes in order to sleep. (357)

Even during sleep His most charming countenance gleamed as a red lotus, half closed at eventide. In every house women kept vigil and railed at one another in auspicious strains. The queens said to one another, "See, friends, how resplendent the city is, and how splendid the night!" The mothers-in-law then slept with the lovely brides enfolded in their arms even as serpents would clasp to their bosom the gems from their hood. At the holy hour before dawn the Lord awoke, and the cocks commenced their beautiful crowing. The rhapsodists and genealogists sang His praises, while the citizens flocked to the gate to make their obeisance. The four brothers saluted the Brāhmaṇas and gods as well as their preceptor and parents and were glad to receive their benedictions. The mothers reverently gazed on their countenance as the princes repaired to the gate with the king. (1 - 4)

Though pure in themselves, the four brothers performed all the purificatory acts (such as evacuating the bowels, cleansing the privates and the hands with water and clay, rinsing the mouth, brushing the teeth and cleansing the tongue etc.,) and bathed in the holy river (Sarayū) and, having gone through their morning routine of prayer etc., returned to their sire. (358)


The king, on seeing them, clasped them to his bosom; and the four brothers gladly sat down on receiving his permission. The whole court was gratified to see Rāma and accounted their eyes supremely blest.

Then came the sages Vasiṣṭha and Viśvāmitra and were seated on splendid seats.

The father and sons adored the sages and clasped their feet and the two preceptors were enraptured to behold Śrī Rāma.

The sage Vasiṣṭha narrated sacred legends, while the king and the ladies of the gynaecium listened. In the course of his narration the sage gladly recounted in diverse ways the doings of Viśvāmitra, which surpassed the imagination even of hermits.

Vāmadeva (another family preceptor of King Daśaratha) observed that whatever Vasiṣṭha said was true and that Viśvāmitra's fair renown had pervaded all the three spheres. Everyone rejoiced to hear that, while Śrī Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa were all the more delighted at heart. (1 - 4)

There was constant felicity, joy and rejoicing and days rolled on in this way. The city of Ayodhyā was inundated with a tidal wave of delight, swelling higher and still higher. (359)

After fixing an auspicious day the sacred strings (tied round the wrist of the brides and bridegrooms before the wedding for warding off evil-spirits) were untied with no little felicity, joy and merriment. The gods were filled with envy to see new rejoicings every day and begged of the Creator that they might be born in Ayodhyā. Viśvāmitra intended leaving every day, but was detained by Śrī Rāma's affectionate entreaties. Seeing the king's devotion to him, grow a hundredfold day after day the great sage Viśvāmitra was full of praise for him. At last when he asked permission to go, the king was greatly moved and with his sons stood before him saying, "My lord, all that I have, is yours; while I and my sons and wives are your servants. Be ever gracious to these boys and condescend from time to time to bless me with your sight." So saying, the king with his sons and queens fell at his feet, and speech failed his tongue. The Brāhmaṇa (Viśvāmitra) invoked upon him every kind of blessing and departed amidst a scene of love that defied all description. Śrī Rāma and all His brothers lovingly escorted him and returned only when they were allowed to go back. (1 - 5)

The delighter of Gādhi's race gladly went on his way praising within himself Śrī Rāma's beauty, King Daśaratha's piety, the wedding of Śrī Rāma and Sītā and the festivities and rejoicings connected therewith. (360)

Vāmadeva and the wise preceptor of Raghu's race, Vasiṣṭha, once more narrated the story of Viśvāmitra (Gādhi's son). On hearing the sage's bright glory the king praised to himself the value of his stock of merits (which attracted the sage to his house and won for him his favour). At the royal command the people dispersed, while the king with his sons returned to his palace. Everywhere the people sang the story of Śrī Rāma's wedding, and His holy and fair fame was diffused through all the three spheres. From the day Śrī Rāma came home duly married, every kind of joy took its abode in Ayodhyā. The festivities that followed the Lord's wedding were more than the goddess of speech or the Lord of serpents, Śeṣa, could tell. I know that the glory of Śrī Rāma and Sītā is the very life and sanctifier of the race of poets and a mine of blessings; that is why I have said something about it just to hallow my speech. (1 - 4)

For the purpose of hallowing his speech has Tulasīdāsa sung Śrī Rāma's glory; otherwise the story of Śrī Rāma is a limitless ocean, which no poet has ever been able to cross.

Those men who reverently hear or sing the tale of the auspicious festivities attendant on Śrī Rāma's investiture with the sacred thread and marriage shall ever be happy by the grace of Videha's Daughter and Śrī Rāma.

Those who lovingly sing or hear the story of Sītā and Rāma's marriage shall ever rejoice; for Śrī Rāma's glory is an abode of felicity. (361)


Thus ends the first descent into the Mānasa lake of Śrī Rāma's exploits, that eradicates all the impurities of the Kali age.