14 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

“Hear, my beloved lord, that which pleases my heart; vouchsafe to me for one boon the installation of Bharata (as the prince-regent of Ayodhyā). And for the second boon I ask with joined palms - pray accomplish my desire, my lord: let Rāma dwell in the woods for fourteen years in the garb of a hermit and wholly detached from the world.” The king was grieved at heart to hear these gentle words even as a Cakravāka bird is filled with agony at the mere touch of a moonbeam. He felt dismayed and could not utter a word, like a partridge in the woods at the swoop of a falcon. The king turned altogether pale as a palm tree struck by lightning; with his hands to his forehead and closing both his eyes he began to mourn like Grief personified. “The celestial tree of my desire, that had already blossomed, has been torn up with its roots by the elephant-like Kaikeyī just when it was about to bear fruit. She has desolated Ayodhyā and laid the foundation of everlasting misfortune.” (1 - 5)

“An inauspicious thing has happened at an auspicious moment; and I am doomed by putting trust in a woman like a striving Yogī who has been undone by nescience at a time when his practice of Yoga was just going to bear fruit in the form of Realization.” (29)

In this way the king moaned within himself. Seeing his bad plight the wicked queen sulked within her heart and said, “Is Bharata not your son? And have you bought me in consideration of money? If my words pierced you like arrows the moment they entered your ears, why should you not make promises after careful thought? Either say yes to my proposal or decline. You are true to your promise (more than anyone else) in the race of Raghu. Refuse the boons you promised me; abandon truth and court infamy in the world. Loud in your praise of truth you promised me a couple of boons, imagining of course that I would ask for a handful of parched grain. Śibi, Dadhīci and Bali redeemed their plighted word maintaining whatever they said even at the cost of their life and possessions.” In this way Kaikeyī uttered most pungent words as though applying salt to a burn. (1 - 4)

A champion of righteousness, the king took courage and opened his eyes, and beating his head sighed out, “She has attacked me (created a snare not to allow me anyway out of it).” (30)

He saw her standing before him burning with rage, as if it were Fury’s own sword drawn from the sheath, with a malicious mind for its hilt and remorselessness for its edge, whetted on the grindstone in the shape of the humpback (Mantharā). The king saw that the sword was dreadful and inflexible and said to himself, “Is it really going to take my life?” Then, steeling his heart, he politely spoke to her in endearing terms, “My darling, why should you utter such unbecoming words, casting all confidence and affection to the winds, O timid lady? Bharata and Rāma are my two eyes; I vouch for it calling Śaṅkara as my witness. I will positively despatch a messenger at daybreak, and the two brothers (Bharata and Śatrughna) will speedily come on hearing the message. Then, after fixing an auspicious date and making all preparations I will solemnly bestow the kingdom on Bharata.” (1 - 4)

“Rāma has no greed of sovereignty and is deeply attached to Bharata. I was only going to follow the usage obtaining among the princes, considering the seniority and juniority of the two princes.” (31)

“I sincerely tell you, swearing by Rāma a hundred times, that his mother (Kauśalyā) never said a word to me in this connection. No doubt I arranged everything without consulting you and that is why my cherished desire has not been realized. Now give up your anger and put on a festal garb; a few days hence Bharata will be the prince- regent. Only one thing has caused me pain; the second boon that you have asked for is something incongruous. My heart is still burning with the agony caused by it. Is it anger or jest, or is it all really true? Tell me with a cool mind Śrī Rāma’s guilt; everybody says Rāma is extremely well-behaved. You too spoke well of him and loved him. Hearing now what you have asked, I have begun to suspect (whether your profession of love was genuine). How could he whose temperament was congenial even to an enemy act contrary to the will of his own mother?”

“No more of jesting or anger, my darling; make a reasonable and thoughtful request, so that I may now regale my eyes on the sight of Bharata’s installation on the throne.” (32)

“A fish may rather survive even without water and a serpent may drag on a miserable and wretched existence without the gem in its head. But I tell you sincerely with a guileless heart that I cannot live without Rāma. Be assured in your mind, my wise darling, that my very existence depends on the sight of Śrī Rāma.” Hearing these soft words the evil-minded queen blazed up like the fire on which has fallen an oblation of clarified butter. She said, “You might as well try millions of devices; but your stratagem shall not avail with me. Either grant my request or earn a bad reputation by refusing it; I am not fond of much wiles. Rāma is virtuous, you too are virtuous and wise and no less virtuous is Rāma’s mother (Kauśalyā); I have known all of you. I will repay with a vengeance the benefit she has sought to confer upon me.” (1 - 4)

“If Rāma does not retire to the woods assuming the garb of a hermit as soon as the day breaks, death for me and ill-repute for you will be the result; bear this in mind, O king.” (33)

So saying, the wicked woman rose and stood up as though it were a swollen stream of fury that had issued from the mountain of sin and, overflowing with the water of anger, was too terrible to look at. The two boons she had asked for represented its banks, her inexorable obstinacy corresponded to its (swift) current and the impelling force of Mantharā’s words stood for its eddies; uprooting the king like a tree the river headed towards the ocean of adversity. The king now perceived that the demand of the queen was really true, and that it was death itself which was dancing over his head in the disguise of his own consort. Clasping her feet he persuaded her to sit down and implored her, “Pray do not play the axe with respect to the solar race. Ask of me my own head and I will forthwith give it to you; but kill me not by tearing Rāma from me. Retain Rāma by any means whatsoever, or your bosom will burn with anguish all your life.” (1 - 4)

When the king saw the malady uncontrollable he dropped on the ground beating his head and sobbing out in most piteous tones, “Rāma, O Rāma, O Lord of Raghus!” (34)

The king was stricken with grief and his limbs began to droop; it looked as if a wish-yielding tree had been knocked down by a female elephant. His throat was dry and speech failed his lips; he felt miserable like a fish out of water. Kaikeyī plied him once more with pungent and harsh words, injecting poison as it were into his wound, “If this was what you intended doing in the long run, what emboldened you to say “Ask, ask”? Can both these things happen at the same time, O sovereign of the earth - to laugh a boisterous laugh and to look grave, to enjoy the reputation of being generous and yet be stingy? Is it possible to remain unscathed while playing the hero? Either go back upon your word or forbear; pray do not wail like a woman. Life and wife, sons, home, wealth and land have been spoken of as no better than a straw in the eyes of a man who is true to his word.” (1 - 4)

On hearing these poignant words the king exclaimed, “Say what you will; you are not to blame for it. It is my doom which has possessed you like a devil and is using you as its mouthpiece.” (35)

“Bharata would never covet sovereignty even unwittingly. By the decree of fate, however, evil counsel has taken possession of your mind. All that is the outcome of my sins, due to which the tide has turned against me at an inopportune moment. Beautiful Ayodhyā shall flourish again under the sovereignty of Rāma, the abode of all virtues. All his brothers shall serve him and his fame shall spread through all the three spheres of creation. The stain on your reputation and my remorse shall not disappear even after our death and shall never go till eternity. Now do whatever pleases you; only keep out of my sight hiding your face. So long as I live, I beseech you with joined palms, pray speak not a word to me again. You will repent in the end, O hapless woman, that you killed a cow for the sake of gut.” (1 - 4)

Thus arguing with her in numberless way the king dropped on the ground crying. “Why do you bring ruin to all?” But a pas-master in wiles the queen did not utter a word as though busy to acquire control over ghosts. (36)

Stricken with grief the king repeated the word “Rāma” again and again and felt miserable like a bird that has been shorn of its wings. He prayed in his heart, “May the day never dawn nor may anyone go and tell Rāma. Rise not, O sun-god, the progenitor of Raghu’s race; for you will be pained at heart to see the plight of Ayodhyā.” The king’s affection and the relentlessness of Kaikeyī both were the highest of their kind in God’s creation. While the king was yet wailing, the day broke and the music of lute, flute and conch was heard at his door. Bards extolled him and minstrels sang his praises; they, however, pierced the king like shafts as he heard them. These and other tokens of rejoicing pleased him not even as ornaments repel a widow who has decided to accompany her deceased husband to the other world. None could have a wink of sleep that night since everyone was eagerly longing for a sight of Śrī Rāma. (1 - 4)

At the door waited a crowd of servants and ministers, who said to one another at the sight of the risen sun, “The Lord of Ayodhyā has not yet woken up, what special reason can there be?” (37)

“The king used to wake up during the last watch of the night every day; his behaviour today appears most strange to us. Getting into the palace, O Sumantra, you go and rouse him; on receiving his orders we may proceed with our work.” Sumantra then entered the gynaecium; but it wore such a dismal appearance that he was afraid to advance. It looked like a monster that would spring on him and devour him; its sight was so repelling. It seemed to be the very abode of calamity and sorrow. Since nobody answered his questions he proceeded to the apartment where the king and Queen Kaikeyī were. Greeting the king with the salutary words “Jaya Jīvan!” and bowing his head, he sat down. He turned pale to behold the condition of the king, who lay on the ground distracted with grief and colourless like a lotus stalk torn from its roots. The minister being too alarmed to ask any question, Kaikeyī, who was full of evil and void of all good, broke the silence. (1 - 4)

“The king had no sleep last night: Heaven alone knows the reason. He has been simply repeating “Rāma, Rāma” till daybreak and refuses to disclose the secret.” (38)

“Therefore, call on Rāma and bring him soon; thereafter, when you have come back, you may ask further details.” Judging (from his master’s looks) that the king approved of this idea, Sumantra left; he concluded that the queen had contrived some evil design. He felt so distressed with anxiety that his legs refused to move ahead. “What will the king speak to Rāma after calling him?” he wondered. Recovering himself he repaired to the gate; and seeing him disconsolate all began to question him. He, however, reassured them all and proceeded to the apartment where the Ornament of the solar race (Śrī Rāma) was. When Śrī Rāma saw Sumantra coming, He received him with honour, treating the minister on an equal footing with His father. Looking Śrī Rāma in the face, Sumantra conveyed to Him the royal command and returned with the Light of Raghu’s race (Śrī Rāma). Śrī Rāma followed the minister in an unbecoming manner: people here and there were grieved to see this. (1 - 4)

The Jewel of Raghu’s race went and saw the king in an utterly wretched state like an aged elephant who had dropped down in terror at the sight of a lioness. (39)

His lips got parched and his whole frame burned; he looked like a helpless snake bereft of the gem. The Lord beheld by the side of His father angry Kaikeyī, who stood there like Death personified counting the last minutes of his life. Śrī Rāma was compassionate and soft by nature; He witnessed sorrow for the first time in His life, He had never heard of it before. Yet, recovering Himself as the occasion demanded, addressed His step-mother in the following sweet words, “Tell me, dear mother, the cause of my father’s distress, so that an attempt may be made to remove it.” “Listen, Rāma; the sole cause is this: the king is very fond of you. He had promised me two boons of my choice and I asked whatever I liked. The king, however, was stricken with grief to hear my requests; for he cannot shake off the hesitation on your score.” (1 - 4)

“Love for his son on one side and his plighted word on the other: The king is placed on the horns of a dilemma. Obey his command if you can, and rid him of a severe mental torture.” (40)

Kaikeyī unhesitatingly spoke these pungent words, which callousness itself was sore distressed to hear. With the tongue for a bow, and words for so many shafts and with the king for a delicate target as it were, it looked as hard heartedness had assumed the form of a great hero and practised bowmanship. Having communicated the whole incident to the Lord of Raghus (Śrī Rāma). She sat like the very incarnation of heartlessness. The Sun of the solar dynasty, Śrī Rāma, the natural fountain of joy, smiled within Himself and spoke words which were free from all blemish and were so sweet and agreeable that they seemed to be the very ornaments of speech; “Listen, mother: That son alone is blessed, who is devoted to the words of his parents. A son who gratifies his father and mother is rare in this whole world, mother.” (1 - 4)

“In the forest I shall get more opportunities of meeting hermits, which will be beneficial to me in every way. On top of it I have my father’s command and your approval to boot, mother.” (41)

“Again, Bharata, who is dear to me as life, will get the sovereignty: God is propitious to me in every respect today. If I refuse to proceed to the woods even under such circumstances, I should be reckoned foremost in an assembly of fools. Those who nurture a castor-oil plant leaving the tree of paradise and barter away nectar for poison, they too will not lose an opportunity like this should they ever get it: ponder this fact in your mind and realize it, mother. Only one thing pains me most, mother; I am grieved to see the king sore distressed. That my father should be so overwhelmed with grief over a trifling matter is more than I can believe, dear mother. The king is stout of heart and a fathomless ocean of goodness; I must have committed some great offence, which prevents the king from speaking out his mind to me. I adjure you, therefore, to tell me the truth.” (1 - 4)

The words of Śrī Rāma (the Chief of Raghus) were artless and straight-forward, yet the evil-minded Kaikeyī took then to be otherwise. A leech must always move obliquely even though the water on which it moves has a smooth surface. (42)

The queen rejoiced to find Śrī Rāma acquiescing to her proposal and said with a false show of affection, “I swear by yourself and Bharata that no other cause of the king’s affliction is known to me. You are not supposed to do any offence, dear son, a source of delight that you are to your parents and brothers. What you say is all true; you are devoted to the words of your father and mother. I adjure you to argue with your father that he may not incur opprobrium in the evening of his life. It is hardly desirable for him to disregard the virtues (truthfulness etc.) that have fetched him a son like you.” These polite words adorned her detestable mouth even as sacred spots just as Gayā is situated in the accursed land of Magadha (South Bihar). All these words from His stepmother sounded pleasant to Rāma in the same way as waters of all kinds are hallowed through their confluence with the holy Gaṅgā. (1 - 4)

The king’s spell of unconsciousness now left him; he remembered Rāma and then changed sides. And the minister (Sumantra) informed him of Śrī Rāma’s arrival and made humble submission to him in words appropriate to the occasion. (43)

Hearing that Śrī Rāma had come, the king recovered himself and opened his eyes. The minister (Sumantra) helped his sovereign to a sitting posture, when the latter beheld Rāma falling at his feet. Overwhelmed with emotion the king clasped Him to his bosom as though a serpent had regained its lost gem. The monarch kept gazing on Śrī Rāma and a torrent of tears streamed forth from his eyes. Overpowered with grief he could not utter a word and pressed the prince to his heart again and again. He inwardly prayed to God that the Lord of Raghus (Śrī Rāma) might not be able to proceed to the woods.

Invoking the mighty Lord Śiva he solicited Him saying, “Hear my prayer, O ever-blissful Lord! Quickly pleased and indiscreetly generous as You are, pray, relieve my affliction knowing me to be in distress. (1 - 4)

“Dwelling as You do in the heart of all as the prompter of actions, so inspire Rāma that he may flout my word and stay at home casting to the wind all sense of propriety and filial affection.” (44)

“Let world-wide disrepute be my lot and let my good name perish; I would fain be damned to perdition and forgo heaven (the abode of immortals). Subject me to all severe hardships; but let not Rāma be screened from my view.” The king thus prayed within his heart but did not open his lips; his mind quivered like an aspen leaf. Perceiving that His father was overpowered with affection, and apprehending that mother Kaikeyī might utter something again, the Lord of Raghus (Śrī Rāma) spoke after due deliberation, words which were not only humble but also suited to the place, time and circumstances. “Dear father, I make bold to submit something; pray forgive this impropriety on my part knowing that I am yet tender of age. You have suffered for a most trifling matter; and the pity of it is that nobody apprized me of it before. When I saw you I asked mother Kaikeyī, and was consoled to hear what she has told me.” (1 - 4)

“Grieve not out of affection at a time of rejoicing, dear father, and command me with a glad heart.” The Lord felt a thrill of joy all over his body as He spoke these words. (45)

“Blessed is his birth on the surface of this earth, whose father is rejoiced to hear of his doings. He has in his hand all the four prizes of life, (viz., religious merit, material riches, sensuous gratification and final beatitude), to whom his parents are dear as life. After carrying out your order and having obtained the reward of my life I shall come back soon; therefore be pleased to command me. In the meantime I shall ask leave of mother Kauśalyā and return forthwith; then I shall proceed to the woods after throwing myself once more at your feet.” So spoke Śrī Rāma and then departed; while the king was too overpowered with grief to make any answer. This most unwelcome news spread throughout the city as though the sting of a scorpion had circulated its poison throughout the body. Every man and woman who heard this was distressed even as trees and creepers are blasted at the very sight of a forest fire. Whoever heard it beat his head wherever he happened to be; the grief was too great to be borne. (1 - 4)

Their mouths were parched, their eyes streamed and their heart could not contain their sorrow; it seemed as though the army of Pathos had openly pitched its camp at Ayodhyā. (46)

“When everything was ready, God upset the whole plan!” Everywhere people abused Kaikeyī. “What sense could there be in this wicked woman having set fire to a house that had been newly thatched! She seeks to perceive after tearing out her eyes with her own hands, and wishes to taste poison throwing away nectar. This crooked hard-hearted and evil-minded wretch has appeared as fire to burn the cluster of bamboos in the shape of Raghu’s race. Sitting on a twig she has hewn the tree itself; in the midst of joy she has raised a structure of sorrow. Śrī Rāma had always been dear to her as life: What has led her to resort to such perversity? Seers have truly said that a woman’s mind is altogether incomprehensible, unfathomable and shrouded in mystery. Sooner man may catch his own reflection but to know the ways of a woman is impossible. (1 - 4)

“What is there that fire cannot consume; what is there that cannot be engulfed by the ocean? What is there that a powerful woman, miscalled powerless (Abalā) in common parlance, cannot accomplish and what creature is there in this perishable world, that death cannot devour?” (47)

“Having first ordained one thing the Creator has now ordained quite the reverse of it; having shown us one spectacle he would now show us quite another.” Some people said, “The king has not done well; he has not been discreet in granting the wicked woman her request, whereby he has wilfully courted all this tragedy. By allowing himself to be ruled by a woman he has lost his wisdom and goodness as it were.” Others who were saner did not blame the king, recognizing as they did his high standard of morality. They repeated at length to one another the narratives of Śibi, Dadhīci and Hariśchandra. Some suggested Bharata’s connivance, while still others passively heard what their companions said. Others stopped their ears with their hands and bit their tongue as they exclaimed, “This is untrue. All your merits will be destroyed as you utter these words: Śrī Rāma is dear to Bharata as his own life.” (1 - 4)

“Sooner shall the moon rain sparks of fire or nectar have the same effect as poison than Bharata ever dream of doing anything prejudicial to the interests of Śrī Rāma.” (48)

Some blamed the Creator, who had offered nectar but actually given them poison. The whole city was astir and everyone felt distressed. There was deep agony in their heart and their briskness was gone. Brāhmaṇa matrons and other venerable and elderly ladies of the royal family and such other ladies as were most dear to Kaikeyī began to expostulate with her praising her amiability; but their words pierced her like shafts. “You have always said, and the whole world knows it, that Bharata is not so dear to you as Rāma. You have borne natural affection towards Rāma; for what offence do you exile him to the woods today? You have never harboured jealousy towards your co-wives; your loving disposition and credulity are known throughout the land. What wrong has Kauśalyā done to you now due to which you should have hurled this thunderbolt against the whole city. (1 - 4)

“Will Sītā forgo the company of Śrī Rāma or Lakṣmaṇa choose to stay at home? Will Bharata enjoy the sovereignty of Ayodhyā or will the king survive without Rāma? (49)

“Pondering thus banish anger from your breast nor make yourself a storehouse of grief and infamy. By all means install Bharata as the Prince-Regent; but what need is there for exiling Rāma to the forest? Rāma is not covetous of sovereignty; he is a champion of righteousness and has no relish for sensuous pleasures. Let Rāma abandon his home and live with his preceptor; ask this of the king as your second boon. In case you do not follow our advice, you will gain nothing. If you have only played some joke, let us know by openly declaring it. Does a son like Rāma deserve to be exiled to the woods? What will the world say about you when they hear of it? Up quickly and devise some means to avert grief and obloquy.” (1 - 4)

“Devise some means to avert grief and infamy and save your family. Forcibly dissuade Rāma from proceeding to the woods and make no other suggestion. As the day without the sun, as the body without life and the night without the moon, so the city of Ayodhyā without the Lord of Tulasīdāsa, Śrī Rāma! just consider this, O irascible lady.”

The advice that Kaikeyī’s friends gave her was agreeable to hear and salutary in consequence. But she gave no ear to it, tutored as she was by the mischievous humpback. (50)

She gave no reply and wore a sullen look due to anger that could not be easily curbed. She stared at them as a hungry tigress would gaze on a herd of does. Finding her disease incurable, her friends left her saying as they went, “Wretched fool! Fate could not brook her sovereignty and has betrayed her. She has done what nobody else would do.” Men and women of the city thus lamented and showered numberless abuses on the wicked woman. They burned with terrible agony and sighed. “There can be no hope of life without Rāma,” they said. The people were disconcerted at the thought of long separation even as aquatic creatures get disturbed when water in which they live begins dry. Men and women alike were overcome with excessive grief. In the meantime Lord Śrī Rāma called on His mother (Kauśalyā). He wore a cheerful look and had fourfold joy in his heart; He no longer feared lest the king should detain him. (1 - 4)

The mind of Śrī Rāma (the Hero of Raghu’s race) resembled a young elephant (newly caught) with kingship for its chain. When He heard of the proposal for exiling Him to the forest He took Himself as freed and felt overjoyed in His heart. (51)

The Crown of Raghu’s race, Śrī Rāma, joined both His palms and cheerfully bowed His head at His mother’s feet. She blessed Him and clasped Him to her bosom and scattered jewels and raiment around Him (in order to protect Him from evil). The mother kissed Him again and again with tears of affection in her eyes and her limbs thrilling over with joy. Seating Him in her lap she pressed Him once more to her heart, while milk flowed from her graceful breasts due to excess of love. Her affection and joy were altogether beyond description; it seemed as if a pauper had attained the position of Kubera (the god of riches). Fondly regarding His lovely countenance the mother spoke to Him in endearing terms; “Tell me, dear child - I beseech you; - when will be that delightful and auspicious hour, the beautiful culmination of piety, virtue and joy and the highest reward of human birth, - ” (1 - 4)

 - ”And for which all men and women long as anxiously as a thirsty pair of Chātakā birds for an autumnal shower during the brief period when the sun is in the same longitude as the constellation named Svātī (the Arcturus)? (52)

“I adjure you, my darling, to bathe quickly and take some sweet dish of your choice. See your father after that, my boy; for I protest it is already too late.” Even on hearing these most agreeable words of His mother, which were blossoms as it were, of the celestial tree of affection, laden with the honey of joy and fountains of worldly prosperity, the bee of Śrī Rāma’s mind could not be lured by their charm. A champion of righteousness that He was, He clearly discerned the path of duty and spoke to His mother in exceedingly polite terms. “Father has bestowed on me the kingdom of the forest, where there will be great opportunities for me in everyway. Therefore, grant me leave with a cheerful heart, so that my journey to the forest may be attended with joy and blessing. Be not obsessed with erroneous fears due to affection, dear mother; by your goodwill I shall be ever happy.” (1 - 4)

“Spending four years and ten in the forest and having obeyed father’s commands I will come back and behold your feet again; be not sad at heart.” (53)

The gentle and sweet words of Śrī Rāma (the Chief of the Raghus) pierced the mother’s heart and rankled there. Alarmed to hear His serene speech she turned pale in the same way as the Yavāsaka plant is blasted by a shower in the monsoon. The agony of her heart was beyond description like that of a doe that has heard a lion’s roar. Her eyes were wet with tears and her body violently shook like a fish that had got inebriated by sucking the scum raised by the first monsoon shower. Recovering herself and looking her son in the face the mother spoke in faltering accents, “My boy, you are dear as life to your father, to whom it is a constant delight to watch your day to day doings from.  He had got an auspicious day fixed for installing you as the prince-regent; for what offence has he asked you to proceed to the woods? Let me know the reason, my darling; who is it that has served as fire to consume the solar race?” (1 - 4)

Reading in Śrī Rāma’s eyes His tacit consent Sumantra’s son (who had obviously accompanied the Prince) explained the reason. The mother was struck dumb as it were to hear the episode; the state of her mind could not be described in words. (54)

She could neither detain her Son nor yet say “Go”; she felt terrible agony in her heart in either event. “It seemed as though one was going to write “moon” and wrote “Rāhu” (the demon who is believed by the Hindus to devour the moon during a lunar eclipse) instead through a slip of the pen,” she said to herself. “The ways of the Creator (Brahmā) are always adverse to all,” she concluded. Kauśalyā’s judgment was swayed on the one hand by her sense of duty and on the other by her affection. She found herself on the horns of a dilemma like a snake that has caught hold of a musk-rat. “If I press my son and detain him, the moral code will be violated and bad blood created between brothers. And if I allow him to proceed to the woods, it will be a grievous loss.” The queen thus found herself faced with an embarrassing situation and was overwhelmed with grief. Again, realizing the duty of a woman and remembering that both Rāma and Bharata were equally her sons the prudent Kauśalyā (Śrī Rāma’s mother), who had a guileless disposition, spoke as follows with great courage, “You have done well, my child, I swear; a father’s command is the most sacred of all obligations.” (1 - 4)

“That having promised to bestow on you the kingdom of Ayodhyā your father has now decided to exile you to the woods does not make me the least sorry. But your absence from our midst will mean a terrible ordeal to Bharata, to the king himself and to the people.” (55)

“In any case if it be your father’s command alone, my boy, then go not, remembering that a mother ranks higher than one’s father. If, on the other hand, both father and mother have asked you to proceed to the woods then, of course, the forest will equal a hundred cities like Ayodhyā, with the sylvan gods for your father, the sylvan goddesses for your mother and the birds and beasts to wait upon your lotus feet. At all events it is but proper for a king to dwell in a forest in the evening of his life; it is your tender age which fills my heart with agony. How blessed is the forest and how luckless Ayodhyā, that will be deserted by you, O crown of Raghu’s line! If I ask you, my boy, to take me with you, your mind will be filled with doubt. You are supremely dear to all, my child; you are the life of our life, the vitality of our soul. As such you say, “Mother, I go to the forest!” while I remain rooted to my seat even on hearing these words and repent. (1 - 4)

“Realizing this I do not press my suit exaggerating my false love. I only pray that remembering me as a mother you should not allow me to slip out of your mind.” (56)

“May all the gods and manes protect you, O lord of the earth, as the eyelids protect the eyes. The term of exile is like water, while your near and dear ones resemble the fish that live on it; as for yourself you are a fountain of mercy and a champion of virtue. Remembering this please devise some means to see that you come back in time to find them all alive. I adjure you to proceed to the woods in good cheer abandoning your servants, family and the whole city. The fruit of everyone’s meritorious deeds is exhausted today and the tide of fortune has turned against us, assuming a sullen aspect.” Thus wailing in many ways mother Kauśalyā clung to Śrī Rāma’s feet accounting herself the most unlucky woman. Her heart was filled with terrible and deep agony and the profusion of wailings was beyond all description. Śrī Rāma lifted His mother and pressed her to His bosom, and then comforted her with soothing words. (1 - 4)

That very moment Sītā heard the news and rose in great agitation. She approached Her mother-in-law, reverenced her lotus feet and sat down bowing Her head. (57)

The mother-in-law blessed Her in gentle accents and felt distressed when she regarded Her most delicate frame. With Her head bent low Sītā, who was beauty personified and cherished unalloyed love towards Her Lord, sat reflecting, “The lord of my life would depart to the forest; it has yet to be seen who will have the good fortune to accompany Him - my body and soul together or my soul alone. What God intends to do cannot be foreseen even partly.” As She scratched the ground with the lovely nails of Her toes, Her anklets produced a musical sound, as if - so declare the poets - they lovingly prayed that Sītā’s feet may never abandon them. Seeing Her shed tears from Her charming eyes, Śrī Rāma’s mother broke the silence: “Listen, my dear child: Sītā is exceedingly delicate and the pet of her father-in-law and mothers-in-law and the whole family.” (1 - 4)

“She has for her father Janaka, the jewel among princes, while her father-in-law is no other than the sun of the solar race (your father); as for her lord (yourself), he is a veritable moon for the lily-like progeny of the sun-god and a repository of goodness and beauty.” (58)

“Again I have found in her a beloved daughter-in-law, who is amiable and accomplished, and beauty personified. I have treated her as the very apple of my eye and loved her ever more; nay, my very life is centred in Jānakī. I have fostered her in many ways as a celestial creeper and nourished her by feeding her with the water of affection. Just when the creeper was about to blossom and bear fruit God turned against me and there is no knowing what will be the consequence. Borne invariably on a bedstead, seat, swing or my own lap Sītā has never set her foot on hard ground. I have been tending her like a life-giving herb and never ask her even to stir the wick of a lamp. The same Sītā would accompany you to the woods, and awaits your orders, O Lord of the Raghus! How can a female Chakora bird, who loves to feed on the nectar borne on the rays of the moon, bear to fix her gaze on the sun?” (1 - 4)

“Hosts of wild elephants, lions, demons and other fell creatures roam about in the woods. Can a beautiful life-giving herb fit in with a poison-wood, my boy?” (59)

“For residing in the forest God has created Kola and Kirāta girls, who are foreign to sensuous pleasures. Adamantine by nature like the insect living on stone, they never experience any hardship in the woods. Another class fit for the forest are the hermit women, who have renounced all pleasures for the sake of penance. But how, my son, will Sītā live in the forest; - she who is frightened to see even the picture of a monkey? Is a female cygnet, who disports in the lovely lotus-beds of the Mānasa lake, fit for a muddy puddle? First ponder this; then as you order I will instruct Janaka’s daughter. “If she stays at home,” the mother continued, “that will mean a great solace to me.” When Śrī Rāma (the Hero of Raghu’s race) heard this endearing speech of His mother, imbued as it were with the nectar of grace and affection - (1 - 4)

He comforted her by addressing tender and wise words to her; and then He started admonishing Jānakī by disclosing to Her the advantages and disadvantages of forest life. (60)