CANTO 1 OF THE RAMAYANA: QUALITIES OF RAMA
1) Taking His affectionate and sinless brother, Satrughna, who ever slays His foes, Lord Bharata proceeded to the habitation of His maternal uncle.
2) Being affectionately entertained by Yudhajit, the horse master, the righteous prince remained there for some time and received the fond embrace due a beloved son.
3) Bharata and Satrughna abided there in great happiness, having all Their desires gratified, and They always remembered Their elderly father, King Dasaratha. 4) King Dasaratha too, never forgot his absent sons, the heroic Bharata and Satrughna, who resembled Indra and Varuna.
5) Indeed, the emperor held his four mighty sons, who had issued from his body, as dear as his own arms.
6) Of the four, Lord Rama was the king's most beloved son, and like a Brahma He excelled all others in virtue.
7) Indeed, He was the eternal Lord Sri Vishnu, and had advented Himself in the world of men on behalf of the Devas, who desired the slaying of Ravana.
8) Queen Kausalya had her beauty embellished by her son of unequalled potency, just as Aditi does by Vajrapani [Indra].
9) He was endowed with supernal loveliness and heroism, and was envious of no one. He was a son unequalled in the world, and resembled Dasaratha in the possession of good qualities.
10) He was always tranquil at heart and His speech was gentle— He never spoke haughtily to any man even though He had been reviled. [Source: Ayodhya Kanda of the Ramayana by Valmeeki Muni, Volume 1, translated by Karnamrita Dasa, 1997, Hare Krsna website]
11) He was often delighted by some small service rendered Him, and being self-possessed, He would forgive hundreds of misdeeds.
12) Lord Rama would converse only with self-realised souls, with those of mature character, with those advanced in spiritual knowledge, and with those advanced in years. He was always available to such persons when He was not under arms.
13) He was intelligent, sweetly spoken, and would always speak first [thus allaying others' nervousness]. He was agreeable and valorous, but was not proud of His heroism.
14) He never spoke an untruth, He offered all respect to the learned and the elderly; the people adored Him, and He loved the people.
15) He was compassionate, mild, and the worshipper of brahmanas. He pitied the unfortunate, was conversant with the principles of religion, was always kind, and was purity personified.
16) Lord Rama always had His family's well-being in mind. He considered His regal duty to be of great importance, and He contemplated the heavenly reward of such conduct with immense satisfaction.
17) He would countenance no mischief, neither did He relish vulgar talk. Like Brihaspati, He could counter specious arguments with ease.
18) His transcendental body was free from disease and the influence of old age. He was eloquent, beautiful, and adaptable to circumstances. He knew the heart of every man on earth [being omniscient], and He alone was aloof from the world of matter.
19) He alone was possessed of all conceivable qualities who was the king's son, and was as dear to the people as their own hearts.
20) He had acquired all requisite learning, had undertaken all manner of religious vows and was fully conversant with the Vedas and the Vedic supplements. Lord Rama, the elder brother of Bharata, surpassed His father in the wielding of the bow and missiles controlled by hymns.
21) He was the benefactor of the people; He was determined and noble-minded, truthful and honest. He was tutored by elderly brahmanas who were authorities in matters of religion and economics.
22) He knew the principles of religion, regulated sense enjoyment, and the acquisition of wealth. His memory was faultless, He was shrewd, and He was conversant with both worldly conventions and Vedic ritual.
23) He was modest and reserved. He kept His counsellors' advice secret and had many companions and confidential servants. His wrath and joviality were both unfailing, and He knew when renunciation and restraint were called for.
24) Rama was the personification of unflinching devotion, His wisdom was unswerving, He utterly rejected things mundane, and would never speak harshly. He was alert and infallible. He was neither unaware of the faults of His kin nor of others.
25) He knew the scriptures, He was grateful, He was learned in the art of psychology, and He was sagacious in the matter of proffering and accepting favours.
26) He attracted the self-realised, and bestowed His mercy upon them, and He knew when to suppress disturbing elements in His father's realm. He was conversant with the means of collecting revenue and He managed the state expenditure as per the scriptural ordinances. 27) He was pre-eminent in His ability to extract the quiddity of the various scriptures and of works composed in a mixture of dialects. Lord Rama enjoyed sense-pleasure within the bounds of religion and economy and was never slothful.
28) He knew how to apportion funds for the patronage of the arts that serve for amusement or sport, and He was an accomplished rider and trainer of spirited horses.
29) He was fully conversant with the Dhanurveda and was adjudged the greatest warrior in the world by the atirathas. He knew how to best the enemy in an assault, and was proficient in the deployment of military formations.
30) He was invincible in battle by either demigods or demons. He was free from spite, having subdued anger, and He was neither haughty nor envious.
31) Lord Rama was not to be disesteemed or disregarded by any living being, neither did He come under the sway of the time factor. Indeed, the Prince was endowed with super-excellent characteristics that were unequalled within the three worlds.
32) He was like the earth in point of forbearance, like Brihaspati in point of wisdom, and like Indra in point of valour.
33) He was loved by His father's subjects, and ever increased His sire's delight. Lord Rama was endowed with dazzling transcendental qualities, and He was haloed as if by the rays of the sun.
34) The earth personified adored Him who was possessed of such virtues, who was unconquerable, who was courageous, and who was the unequalled Lord of all.
35) Perceiving his son to be possessed of innumerable sublime characteristics, King Dasaratha, the subduer of foes, began to consider thus.
36) Now that the long-lived monarch had grown old he thought: "How shall I live to see my beloved Rama crowned king?
37) This is undoubtedly the foremost desire within my heart— when, pray, shall I behold my darling son anointed as emperor?
38) He is desirous of the people's prosperity and He is compassionate upon all living beings. He is dearer to my subjects than I, and is just like Parjanya, the god of rain.
39) In valour He is the equal of Yama and Indra, and in intellect He is the equal of Brihaspati. He is as constant as a mountain, and He is more qualified and virtuous than am I.
40) When I witness His dominion over the entire world, then I shall attain the kingdom of God!"
41-42) Observing such manifold qualities, which are rarely to be found in kings, to be present in his cultured son, and to a degree that is seldom to be seen in mankind, King Dasaratha and his counsellors resolved to have Rama installed as heir-apparent.
43) The emperor was somewhat elderly in body and mind, and he observed terrifying portents in the heavens and upon the earth.
44) He reminded himself, however, of the people's love for Rama— whose countenance was as radiant as the full moon, and his fears were completely dispelled.
45) For his own benefit, as well as for that of his subjects, and also to gain the affection of the public, the righteous king, who was motivated by devotional love for his son, urged the speedy coronation of Lord Rama.
46) To that end, the intelligent emperor had the prominent residents of various cities and villages brought to the capital to observe the festivities.
47) Upon arriving in Ayodhya, they were provided with fitting accommodation and with jewels and ornaments. They were given an honourable reception, and the king came personally, fully decorated, and met them, just as Brahma meets his offspring.
48) The arrangements were so quickly made that the emperor had neither the king of the Kekayas nor King Janaka brought to his capital, thinking they would hear the delightful news in due course.
49) Thereafter, as King Dasaratha, the subduer of foes, took his seat in the assembly of guests. The other sovereigns, who were esteemed by their subjects, entered and took their respective seats as well.
50) He was thus surrounded by kings who were self-controlled and endowed with the marks of nobility, by men who had come from town and village, and who sat closely about him, and he appeared like Indra in the midst of the demigods.
Websites and Resources on Hinduism: Hinduism Today hinduismtoday.com ; Heart of Hinduism (Hare Krishna Movement) iskconeducationalservices.org ; India Divine indiadivine.org ; Religious Tolerance Hindu Page religioustolerance.org/hinduism ; Hinduism Index uni-giessen.de/~gk1415/hinduism ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Oxford center of Hindu Studies ochs.org.uk ; Hindu Website hinduwebsite.com/hinduindex ; Hindu Gallery hindugallery.com ; Hindusim Today Image Gallery himalayanacademy.com ; Encyclopædia Britannica Online article britannica.com ; International Encyclopedia of Philosophy by Shyam Ranganathan, York University iep.utm.edu/hindu ; Vedic Hinduism SW Jamison and M Witzel, Harvard University people.fas.harvard.edu ; The Hindu Religion, Swami Vivekananda (1894), Wikisource ; Hinduism by Swami Nikhilananda, The Ramakrishna Mission .wikisource.org ; All About Hinduism by Swami Sivananda dlshq.org ; Advaita Vedanta Hinduism by Sangeetha Menon, International Encyclopedia of Philosophy (one of the non-Theistic school of Hindu philosophy) ; Journal of Hindu Studies, Oxford University Press academic.oup.com/jhs ; Hindu Texts: Sanskrit and Prakrit Hindu, Buddhist and Jain Manuscripts Vol. 1 archive.org/stream and Volume 2 archive.org/stream ; Clay Sanskrit Library claysanskritlibrary.org ; Sacred-Texts: Hinduism sacred-texts.com ; Sanskrit Documents Collection: Documents in ITX format of Upanishads, Stotras etc. sanskritdocuments.org ; Ramayana and Mahabharata condensed verse translation by Romesh Chunder Dutt libertyfund.org ; Ramayana as a Monomyth from UC Berkeley web.archive.org ; Ramayana at Gutenberg.org gutenberg.org ; Mahabharata Online (in Sanskrit) sub.uni-goettingen.de ; Mahabharata holybooks.com/mahabharata-all-volumes ; Mahabharata Reading Suggestions, J. L. Fitzgerald, Das Professor of Sanskrit, Department of Classics, Brown University brown.edu/Departments/Sanskrit_in_Classics ; Mahabharata Gutenberg.org gutenberg.org ; Bhagavad Gita (Arnold translation) wikisource.org/wiki/The_Bhagavad_Gita ; Bhagavad Gita at Sacred Texts sacred-texts.com ; Bhagavad Gita gutenberg.org gutenberg.org
Canto 2 of the Ramayana: Rama's Inauguration Debated
1-4) Thereafter, King Dasaratha addressed the assembly with words both amiable and delightful, his voice resounding like the deep note of a kettledrum. The emperor, who was marked with the characteristics of kings, addressed the princes and potentates in a great voice that resembled the thundering of a cloud and was saturated with spiritual sentiment, saying, "It is well known that my glorious realm was protected by my predecessors as if it were their son.
5) It is my desire that this kingdom, which is under the dominion of the descendants of Ikshvaku, be bestown with the highest good and the resultant happiness of the entire world.
6) Following the path of virtuous conduct established by my forebears, I have protected my subjects tirelessly and with whatever energy I was able.
7) In striving for the good of the world I have worn this body out in the shade of a white umbrella.
8) I have lived a life of many thousands of years, and I long to give rest to this aged body.
9) I have borne the burden of exercising regal power with controlled senses, and I am exhausted by the heavy yoke of righteous government.
10) If the assembled brahmanas, who are like unto bulls, will consent, then I wish to retire, having first made my son responsible for the care of my subjects.
11) "My eldest son, the valorous Rama, has inherited all my virtues; He is the equal of Indra in might and the subduer of the cities of His foes. [Source: Ayodhya Kanda of the Ramayana by Valmeeki Muni, Volume 1, translated by Karnamrita Dasa, 1997, Hare Krsna website]
12) In the morning, when the moon traverses Pushya, I shall appoint my son, Rama, who is the supreme support of religion, as successor to the throne.
13) He is a fit protector for us, who is the master of the Goddess of Fortune, and the elder brother of Lakshmana. The three worlds would be better governed with Him as their master.
14) In endowing the earth with this great good— the bestowal of kingship upon my son— I shall become free of anxiety.
15) If my well-considered proposal is fitting, then consent to it, sirs, else tell me what I should do instead.
16) This would give me great joy, yet if there be some alternative to my proposition, then let it be considered, for an unbiased opinion arises from the conflict of opposing views."
17) So saying, the emperor was applauded by the delighted kings, and they voiced their happiness like peacocks crying out to a great rain cloud.
18) There arose an affectionate uproar as the multitude clamoured joyfully. They all simultaneously proclaimed their delight, and the resultant tumult seemed to shake the earth.
19-20) Fully comprehending the mood of the elderly king, and knowing him to be fully conversant with matters both sacred and secular, the brahmanas, military chiefs and the various citizens and foreigners who were gathered there came to a unanimous conclusion within their minds, and they counselled King Dasaratha as follows:
21) "You have prospered for many thousands of years, O Emperor, now you should anoint Lord Rama heir apparent!
22) We desire to behold the mighty-armed Raghava mounted upon a great elephant under the shade of a white umbrella."
23-24) Hearing their declaration, the sovereign then questioned them to ascertain that which was dear to their hearts— as if he were unaware of it— saying, "O kings, I have heard you desire my Raghava to be your master, but I have an apprehension I should like you to dispel.
25) How is it that, despite my governing the world according to religious principles, you wish to see the mighty Ramachandra coronated in my stead?"
26) The citizens and foreigners replied to the great soul, saying, "Your son, O king, possesses many delightful characteristics.
27) Hearken, as we declare the endearing and transporting qualities possessed by the godly Rama, O lord!
28) Sri Rama is of unfailing prowess, He is the equal of Indra in point of divine characteristics, and He undoubtedly surpasses all the descendants of Ikshvaku.
29) Rama is the transcendental Personality of Godhead, He is the one truthful person in the world and is devoted to truth. Religion and opulence directly proceed from Rama.
30) He is as delightful to the people as the moon, He is as forbearing as the earth, He is as wise as Brihaspati, and as courageous as Indra.
31) He knows the tenets of religion, He associates with the faithful [at all times], He is virtuous and non-envious. He is powerful, He comforts the distressed, He is gentle, He remembers any service rendered Him, and He has subdued senses.
32) Lord Raghava is gentle, He is never capricious, He is beautiful, He is free of spite, His speech is delightful, and He is the most truthful of all beings.
33) He honours the learned scholars of the Veda, the elderly and the brahmanas, and consequently His earthly fame, glory, and power ever increase.
34) "Lord Rama is skilled in the employment of the weapons of demigods, demons and men. He has concluded His study of the various branches of spiritual knowledge under the vow of brahmacharya, and He is fully conversant with the supplementary Vedic literature’s.
35) Lord Rama, the elder brother of Lakshmana, has become the greatest exponent of the musical arts in the world. He is the auspicious crest-jewel of His family, He is amiable, He is noble and He has a mighty intellect.
36-37) He has been trained by the best and most expert brahmanas in the matter of religion and political economics. Whenever He marches with a military force in the company of Lord Lakshmana for the protection of some village or city, He is always victorious, and returns home by chariot or elephant.
38 41) He always enquires after the well-being of the citizens as if they were His kinsmen, or as if He were their father and they His sons. He asks after their children, their wives, their servants and disciples, all in due order and with full attention. He always asks, 'Are your disciples eager to hear their lessons?' and 'Is there someone dressed in armour for your protection?' “He is always compassionate to suffering mankind, and He ever takes a fatherly delight in their joys. He speaks nothing but the truth, He is a great archer, He is submissive to the aged, and He has His senses in rein.
42) "He always smiles before He speaks, and He has resorted to righteousness with His whole being. He ever does that which is beneficial to all, and He eschews rancorous talk.
43) He is expert in the matter of argument and counter-argument, and vies with Brihaspati as an orator. His brow is enchanting, His eyes are large and reddish, and verily, He is Vishnu Himself.
44) Lord Rama delights the world with His heroism, chivalry and power. Although He engages in the protection of the citizens, His senses are never seduced by passion.
45) He is capable of governing the entire universe, what to speak of this earth. Neither His wrath nor the bestowal of His grace are purposeless.
46) He slays those the scriptures ordain to die, but He is never angered by those who do not deserve death. With great happiness Lord Rama bestows riches upon whoever He pleases.
47) "Lord Rama shines with the brilliance of the sun's rays by dint of His patience, His dearness to your subjects, the love He engenders in men, and His dazzling spiritual attributes.
48) Ramachandra is endowed with all possible virtues, and His valour is unfailing. He is the equal of the presiding deities of the planets, and the earth desires to have Him as her master.
49) By good fortune, your child, Lord Raghava, is able to bestow the ultimate beatitude upon His servants and, by the grace of God, He is endowed, like Mareecha and Kasyapa, with all the virtues of a good son.
50-51) "Every citizen of the state and capital, as well as foreigners dwelling in their respective habitations, offer fervent prayers to demigods, demons, men and serpents in the hope of obtaining strength, salubrity, and longevity for their beloved Rama.
52) Morning and evening, every woman who has fixed her mind upon Lord Rama, be she aged or youthful, worships the Devas on His behalf. O king, may their prayers be answered by your grace!
53) We wish to see your son, Ramachandra, the issue of an emperor, who is complexioned like a dark blue-green lotus, and who vanquishes all His foes, installed as heir apparent.
54) For the weal of the world, and for us all, you should anoint Him, who is the noble and worshippable Lord of lords, with expedition, O bestower of boons!"
Canto 3 of the Ramayana: Settling Lord Rama's Inauguration
1) Accepting their salutations, their hands having been joined in the semblance of lotus buds, the king returned the gesture, and spoke the following agreeable words:
2) "Ah! I am supremely happy that you desire my beloved elder son to be installed as heir apparent."
3-4) Having thus replied, the king addressed the brahmanas present, such as Vasishta and Vamadeva, in the hearing of the others, saying, "This is the auspicious month of Chaitra, when the forest groves are decorated with blossom. Please make everything ready for the inauguration of Rama as heir-apparent." [Source: Ayodhya Kanda of the Ramayana by Valmeeki Muni, Volume 1, translated by Karnamrita Dasa, 1997, Hare Krsna website]
5-12) As the king fell silent a great cry arose from the people. When their cheering had abated, the emperor addressed the mighty sage, Vasishta, as follows: "Kindly consent this day, your holiness, to the performance of the necessary rites and the collection of the requisite paraphernalia for Rama's installation." Being thus requested by King Dasaratha, Vasishta, the best of sages, commanded the sovereign's attendants, who stood before him with folded hands, saying, "Gather the following— gold and jewels for tribute, and various herbs as well. Bring pure, white garlands, honey, and clarified butter. Bring unbeaten cloth, a chariot, and all manner of weapons. Bring an army consisting of horse, cars, foot soldiers and elephants, an elephant with auspicious markings, a pair of wisks, fans, a flag, and a white umbrella. Fetch a hundred gold pots as lustrous as fire, a bull with gilded horns, and a complete tiger-skin. Procure whatever else is required for the ceremony and place it at dawn before the house where the king's sacred fire is maintained.
13) "Let the portals of the emperor's private apartments, and of the entire city, be worshipped with sandalwood paste, with garlands, and with fragrant incense.
14) Let the best quality rice, prepared together with milk and yoghurt, be sanctified and offered to a hundred-thousand brahmanas, to their full satisfaction.
15) Tomorrow morning, prominent brahmanas should be honoured and then donated generous quantities of clarified butter, yoghurt and grains.
16) Tomorrow, at sunrise, the ceremonial invocation of blessings will be performed. Let brahmanas be summoned and seats be prepared for them.
17-18) Let flags be hung, and have the king's road sprinkled with water. Have musicians and dancers gorgeously arrayed, and upon their reaching the second enclosure of the king's palace, have them abide there.
19-21) “Have the worshippable icons of the Lord installed in temples and beneath sacred trees. Let Them be worshipped individually with fried grains and other eatables, with gifts of money and with garlands. Let heroes armed with long swords, sporting leather wristguards and polished armour enter the mighty sovereign's courtyard." Having thus commanded the king's attendants, the two brahmanas [Vasishta and Vamadeva] tarried there, performing whatever rites remained to be done, and informing the king of their progress.
22) These two superlative brahmanas advised the monarch of whatever had been done in great ecstasy. Thereafter, the king instructed Sumantra as follows:
23-27) "Bring the pure souled Rama here without delay!" Sumantra, having replied in the affirmative, conveyed Lord Rama to that place upon an excellent chariot in conformity with the emperor's command. Thereafter, the kings from the east, north, west, and south, as well as the kings of the Mlechchhas, the Aryans, and the forest and mountain folk, began to worship King Dasaratha just as the Devas adore Indra. As he sat in his palace, like Indra in the midst of the Maruts, he observed his son approaching. Lord Rama, who was famed for His valiance, was as beautiful as the king of the Gandharvas.
28) His arms were long, He was the essence of nobility, and His gait was like that of an intoxicated elephant. His countenance was enchanting like the moon, and He was most agreeable to behold.
29) His transcendental beauty, generosity, and manifold spiritual characteristics transported the hearts of men, and He delighted the people like Parjanya [when he sends rain] in the summer season.
30-42) The king could not be satiated by the sight of the approaching Rama. Sumantra helped Raghava alight from an exquisite chariot, and as He proceeded towards His father Sumantra followed with joined palms. Rama ascended the steps to the palace— which resembled the peak of Mount Kailasa; He approached the emperor with folded hands, and offering obeisance at his feet, pronounced His own name. Beholding Him prostrate at his feet, King Dasaratha caught His beloved son by His joined hands, and drawing Him to his bosom, embraced Him. Having raised Him up, the king directed Him to a superlative golden throne inlaid with jewels. Seating Himself upon that excellent chair, Lord Raghava illuminated it with His personal bodily effulgence like the unobscured sun rising over Mount Meru. The assembly hall was lit by His spiritual radiance just as the clear autumnal sky, with its stars and planets, is illumined by the full moon. King Dasaratha was as delighted by the sight of his son as is a man who sees himself adorned with jewels, reflected in a looking-glass. When his son was comfortably seated, Maharaja Dasaratha, the best of those who have sons, addressed Lord Rama as Brahma addresses Kasyapa, saying, "You are born the worthy son of my worthy senior wife. As You are seniormost in point of virtue, You are my beloved, dearmost son. These subjects of mine are devoted to You by reason of Your good qualities, therefore, accept Thou the office of heir apparent tomorrow, when the moon is conjoined with Pushya. The people desire this passionately and have pronounced You to be virtuous. Although You are possessed of such virtues, I shall, out of love, counsel You. "Being always of modest conduct, ever keep Your senses restrained.
43-44) Abandon all evil passions arisen from lust and anger. Governing through the agency of others, as well as by direct decree, gratify You ministers and Your subjects in all respects, and fill the granaries and armouries to the brim.
45) The friends of the sovereign who protects the earth, and who is by nature attached to the performance of sacrifice unto the Supreme Lord, are joyful, like demigods who acquire nectar.
46-48) Therefore, my son, having brought Your senses under control, perform Your duty diligently!" Hearing the emperor's proclamation, Lord Rama's friends hastened to tell the news to Queen Kausalya. And she, the best among women, bestowed gold, cows, and valuable gems upon those who brought the good tidings. Thereafter, having offered obeisance’s to Maharaja Dasaratha, Raghava mounted His chariot, and proceeding to His own majestic residence, was worshipped by crowds along the way.
49) When the citizens [gathered in the royal palace] heard the emperor's decree, they felt as if their cherished wish had been fulfilled, and bidding that lord of men farewell, they returned to their apartments and worshipped the Devas in great happiness.
Canto 4 of the Ramayana: Further Discussion of Lord Rama's Inauguration
1-2) Upon the departure from the assembly hall of the potentates and the king's subjects, Maharaja Dasaratha, having conferred with his ministers, made a final resolution. He considered thus: "Since the moon is conjoined with Pushya tomorrow, my son Rama, whose eyes are like lotus petals, must be anointed heir-apparent [at that time]". [Source: Ayodhya Kanda of the Ramayana by Valmeeki Muni, Volume 1, translated by Karnamrita Dasa, 1997, Hare Krsna website]
3) He then entered his private apartments, and commanded his charioteer, Sumantra, saying, "Bring Rama here once more."
4) Assenting to these words, Sumantra proceeded with haste to Rama's residence to fetch the Lord again.
5) Rama was informed by His doorkeepers that His father's charioteer had come once more, and hearing this He became somewhat apprehensive.
6) He had Sumantra brought in immediately, and spoke to him as follows, "Please tell Me exactly why you have returned."
7) Sumantra replied, saying, "The king desires to see You. Having heard this statement, it is for You to decide whether You come or not!"
8) Being thus advised, Lord Rama hastened to the sovereign's palace to see him again.
9) Hearing that Rama had arrived, King Dasaratha had Him enter his apartments, for he wished to tell Him something most agreeable.
10) As the beautiful Raghava proceeded through His father's residence, He descried him from a distance, and fell prostrate before him with joined palms.
11) King Dasaratha raised His son as He lay prone, and embraced Him closely. He then offered Him a seat, and spoke to Him as follows:
12) "O Rama, I am old and have lived a long life, enjoying whatever I may have desired. I have initiated hundreds of sacrifices and have bestown huge fees upon the performers thereof.
13) That son, longed for by me, has now been born and is unequalled on earth. My wish being granted, I have donated all manner of desirable things, O best among men!
14) Not only have I enjoyed an agreeable life, but I have discharged my duties to the demigods, the forefathers, and the brahmanas, as well as to this body [and its senses].
15) "There is nothing more to be done, except for Your inauguration. Therefore, You should do as I bid You.
16) Today the people have expressed their desire to have You as king; thus, my son, I will anoint You heir-apparent.
17) However, I have recently dreamt inauspicious dreams, O Raghava, and thunderbolts and fiery meteors fall from the sky with a terrible roar!
18) Astrologers inform me that my natal stars are afflicted by evil planets, and the sun is conjunct with Mars and Rahu.
19) Generally, the appearance of such omens presages the calamitous and untimely demise of the king.
20) Therefore, as my intelligence is not bewildered, O Raghava, be anointed without delay, for the minds of embodied beings are flickering [and I fear my mind may be changed].
21) "Today the moon traverses the Punarvasu asterism, which precedes Pushya. The astrologers say the moon will be conjoined with Pushya tomorrow.
22) Upon the moon entering Pushya, be Thou anointed— my mind seems to urge me to be quick about it. Tomorrow I shall have You inaugurated as crown-prince.
23) You should therefore observe a fast, together with Your wife, from this moment and throughout the night, and sleep on a couch of kusa grass.
24) Have Your friends guard You vigilantly on all sides; there are many obstacles that can arise in the performance of rites such as this.
25) "Although Bharata is absent from Ayodhya and is dwelling abroad, the time has come for Your anointment— that is my opinion.
26-27) Your brother is habituated to the good conduct of the righteous, He is obedient to His elder brother, He is compassionate, and His sense are subdued; but the minds of men are inconstant, are they not? I believe it to be so. And the righteous, being always devoted to piety, are beautified by their decisiveness, O Raghava."
28) Having listened attentively, and being permitted to depart, Lord Rama, whose inauguration was imminent, saluted His father, and proceeded to His residence.
29) He entered His habitation, having been directed by the king in the matter of His anointment, and at that moment His mother left her private apartments.
30) Lord Rama beheld her in His temple, dressed in fine linen, absorbed in silent prayers before the Deity for His good fortune.
31) Hearing the delightful news of Rama's anointment, Queen Sumitra had already arrived there, and Lakshmana and Sita as well.
32-33) At that moment, Kausalya stood motionless with half-closed eyes, attended upon by Sumitra, Lakshmana and Sita. Having heard that her son was to be crowned heir-apparent upon the moon entering Pushya, she meditated, with suspended breathing, upon the Supreme Lord, Janardana [Vishnu].
34) Approaching His mother, who was absorbed in contemplation, Rama offered her obeisance and spoke the following, bringing her the highest joy.
35) "O mother, I have been entrusted by My father with the protection of the people. Tomorrow, by his command, I shall be anointed heir-apparent.
36) I must perform a night-long fast together with Sita. I was bidden thus by My preceptors; indeed, My father has told Me so.
37) Please have all rites performed today, for Me and for Sita, that will ensure tomorrow's ceremony is auspicious."
38) Hearing that which she had desired so long to hear, Kausalya addressed Lord Rama, her eyes bedimmed with tears of ecstasy, as follows.
39) "O Rama, dear child, may You live a long life! May Your adversaries be vanquished! May you be the delight of my kin, and of Sumitra, when You are invested with regal splendour!
40) You were born from me under the auspices of a beneficent star, my son. For that reason Your father, Dasaratha, is propitiated by Your virtues.
41) The penance I have performed for the pleasure of the lotus-eyed Lord Vishnu has now proven fruitful. Because of this the glory of the House of Ikshvaku will enfold You."
42-43) Being thus addressed by His mother, Rama, smiling mildly, spoke as follows to His brother, who sat bowed, with folded hands, saying, "O Lakshmana, govern this earth with Me. You are my second Self— this honour has fallen to Your share.
44) O son of Sumitra, enjoy whatever You desire, and all the rewards of kingship too. I wish for life and the realm for Your sake alone!"
45) Having thus addressed Lakshmana, and offering obeisance to His mother, Lord Rama begged leave to depart, and proceeded with Sita to His personal apartment.
Canto 5 of the Ramayana: Vasishta Enjoins Lord Rama to Fast
1) Having instructed Rama, who was to be anointed the next day, King Dasaratha summoned his family priest, Vasishta, and spoke to him as follows: [Source: Ayodhya Kanda of the Ramayana by Valmeeki Muni, Volume 1, translated by Karnamrita Dasa, 1997, Hare Krsna website]
2) “Please go to Rama’s residence, O ascetic, and persuade Him and His wife to observe a fast so His succession to the throne may be auspicious.”
3) The blessed Vasishta, the supreme scholar of the Veda, having said, “So be it!”, proceeded personally to Lord Rama’s palace.
4) In order to persuade the heroic Raghava– an adept in the use of mantras, to observe a fast, Vasishta, a knower of mantras, mounted a chariot suitable for a brahmana.
5) Upon reaching Rama’s palace, which shone with the splendour of a mass of white clouds, the sage entered by chariot and proceeded through its three courtyards.
6) As he arrived, Lord Rama, who considered the sage to be worthy of honour, came quickly out of His residence.
7) Hastily approaching the chariot, the intelligent Lord helped Vasishta to alight from the vehicle.
8-9) Vasishta greeted Rama, and noted His humility with satisfaction. The sage then addressed Rama, who deserved affection, and increased His joy, saying, “Your father is delighted with You, and thus he will bestow the kingdom upon You. You should observe a fast today together with Sita.
10) In the morning King Dasaratha will anoint You crown-prince with great happiness, just as Nahusha anointed Yayati.”
11) So saying, the pure ascetic counselled Lord Rama to fast together with the princess of Videha [Sita].
12) Thereafter, having been suitably worshipped by Rama, the king’s preceptor took leave of Him and proceeded from His palace.
13) Sitting then with His companions, who ever spoke endearingly, the Lord shortly took leave of them, and receiving their salutations He entered His private quarters.
14) Rama’s palace thronged with blissful men and women, and it had the semblance of a lake decorated with flocks of intoxicated birds and full blown lotuses.
15) Upon leaving Ramachandra’s residence, which resembled a king’s palace, Vasishta beheld the street crowded with people.
16) The royal thoroughfares of Ayodhya thronged with a great multitude of groups of curious men pressed close together, and was thus made impassable.
17) There was a joyous commotion as the waves of citizens glided together, and the king’s road resounded as if with the roar of an ocean.
18) The carriageway was sprinkled with water and strewn with flowers, and the whole of Ayodhya was hung with garlands and with flags that day.
19) Indeed, the crowds of Ayodhyites, along with their womenfolk and children, were so enthusiastic to see the anointment of Lord Rama that they yearned for the rising of the next day’s sun.
20) The people were eager to behold the great festival in Ayodhya, which would beautify their existence and expand their transcendental ecstasy.
21) The king’s highway being obstructed by crowds, the sovereign’s preceptor parted the flood of people as it were, gradually making his way to the royal palace.
22) Ascending the steps to the king’s residence, which resembled a mountain summit surrounded by white clouds, Vasishta met Maharaja Dasaratha, just as Brihaspati meets Indra.
23) Leaving the imperial throne as soon as he descried him, the king asked him to reveal his thoughts, and Vasishta informed him that he had done as bidden.
24) In a like manner, the members of the royal council, who sat with the emperor, rose from their seats to show respect to his family priest.
25) With the consent of his spiritual master, Dasaratha then dismissed the assembly of men, and entered his private apartments like a lion entering a mountain cave.
26) Upon entering that excellent dwelling, which was crowded with youthful women, and which vied with Indra’s abode, King Dasaratha shone like the moon in a star spangled sky.
Canto 6 of the Ramayana: Lord Rama Follows Certain Vows
1) Upon Vasishta departing, Lord Rama bathed with a restrained mind and worshipped Lord Narayana in the company of His large-eyed wife. [Source: Ayodhya Kanda of the Ramayana by Valmeeki Muni, Volume 1, translated by Karnamrita Dasa, 1997, Hare Krsna website]
2) Taking a vessel containing clarified butter upon His head— according to the scriptural ordinance— He poured it into blazing fire for the pleasure of the Supreme Lord, Vishnu.
3-4) He ate the remnants of the oblation, desiring that which was dear to His heart; thereafter, with His mind concentrated upon Narayana, and saying little, He lay with Sita upon a bed of kusa-grass in the splendid temple of Lord Vishnu.
5) When three hours of the night yet remained, Rama awoke and had the entire temple decorated according to the prescribed rule.
6) Having listened to the delightful words uttered by the professional reciters and singers, He chanted His morning gayatri with a concentrated mind.
7) He then eulogised Lord Madhusoodana [Vishnu] and bowed His head before Him, and, clothed in spotless linen, He urged the brahmanas to recite auspicious prayers.
8) Then was Ayodhya filled with the resonance of their deep, sweet voices, which harmonised with the sounds of musical instruments.
9-11) Hearing that Lord Raghava and the Princess of Videha had fasted during the night, and that Rama was to be anointed that day, the Ayodhyites were filled with joy. Thereafter, seeing that morning had come, the citizens began to decorate the city.
12-13) Flags and banners were hoisted on the spires of temples that resembled mountain-tops surrounded by white clouds; they were hung at cross-roads and across carriageways, upon places of worship, and from watch towers; they adorned the shops and booths of various well-to-do merchants, the homes of prosperous householders, assembly-halls, and any visible tree.
14) The citizens then hearkened to the songs and recitations of professional singers and actors, which were a joy to the mind and to the ear.
15) People met at cross-roads and in each others’ homes and discussed Lord Rama’s forthcoming installation.
16) Even groups of small boys playing at the doorstep gathered together and discussed Lord Rama’s anointment.
17) The citizens strewed the king’s road with flowers and perfumed it with the scent of incense at the time of Lord Rama’s inauguration, thus rendering it beautiful.
18) Anticipating the approach of darkness [later that day] they then erected lamp-posts along every carriageway to provide illumination.
19) Longing for the anointment of Rama as heir- apparent, the residents of Ayodhya decked the city out in finery.
20-21) Gathering at every crossroad and in assembly halls, they eulogised the emperor, saying, “What a great soul is King Dasaratha, the delight of the House of Ikshvaku! Knowing himself to be advanced in years he will shortly anoint Rama heir-apparent.
22) We are indeed fortunate that as king of the earth, Lord Rama, who has seen what is noble and what is vile in this world, will long protect us.
23) He is modest, learned, and righteous. He is dear to His brothers and They to Him. Verily, Raghava is as affectionate to His subject as He is to His siblings.
24) Long live the sinless Dasaratha! By his grace we shall witness the anointment of Rama!”
25) The citizens' various utterances were heard by outsiders who, hearing the tidings of Rama’s inauguration, came from their habitations to Ayodhya.
26) Indeed, the king’s subjects came to the capital from all points of the compass to witness the anointment of Lord Rama, and they filled the Lord’s city to the brim.
27) And the great multitudes of people spreading through the capital were heard like the roaring of the ocean when the force of its waves is augmented by the rising of the full moon.
28) At that time Ayodhya resembled Indra’s residence, as it thronged with those wishing to behold Rama’s inauguration. It resounded with a deafening hubbub and it had the appearance of a sea full of ocean-going aquatics.
Canto 7 of the Ramayana: Manthara Afraid
1) A certain housemaid, who resided with Kaikeyi, went by chance to the roof of her mistress’s palace, which was a beautiful as the moon.
2) From her vantage point, Manthara [that being her name] beheld the royal road strewn with lotuses and lilies. [Source: Ayodhya Kanda of the Ramayana by Valmeeki Muni, Volume 1, translated by Karnamrita Dasa, 1997, Hare Krsna website]
3) It was festooned with flags and costly banners, and was sprinkled with water perfumed with sandalwood, and crowds of men with freshly washed hair were gathered there.
4) The city was made noisy by prominent brahmanas, who carried garlands and sweetmeats, and the white doorways of the temples resounded with the vibrations of all manner of musical instruments.
5) The king’s road thronged with jubilant men and women and with brahmanas reciting the Veda, with intoxicated elephants and horses, and with bellowing bulls and lowing cows.
6) Seeing Ayodhya crowded with enraptured citizens and decorated with hoisted flags, Manthara was greatly astonished.
7) She noticed Lord Rama’s nurse standing close by, attired in white linen, her eyes wide with delight, and she questioned her as follows:
8) “Why, pray, is Rama’s mother donating riches to the people with extreme pleasure, though she is fond of accumulating wealth?
9) Tell me, why are the citizens so excessively joyful, and what is the delighted king having done?”
10-11) Bursting with joy, indeed, with ineffable happiness, the nurse informed the hunch- backed maid of the honour shortly to be conferred upon Lord Raghava, saying, “Tomorrow, when the moon is in Pushya, King Dasaratha will anoint Ramachandra, who has conquered anger and is sinless, heir-apparent!”
12) Having heard the nurse’s reply, Manthara immediately became indignant, and she descended from the roof of the palace, which resembled a peak of Mount Kailasa.
13) Perceiving mischief afoot, Manthara burned with rage, and she spoke as follows unto Queen Kaikeyi, who lay upon her couch.
14) “Arise, you fool! Why do you lie there? A grave danger threatens you. Do you not perceive yourself to be overwhelmed by a flood of misery?
15) Although he desires you not, you boast of your good fortune in the person of your spouse. Your joy is impermanent, like the flow of a stream in the summer heat!”
16) Being addressed by her hunch-backed servant- who saw only evil— with wrathful, piercing speech, Kaikeyi became greatly dismayed.
17) She therefore spoke to her maid, saying, “O Manthara, what ails you? Your face is downcast, and you appear extremely sorrowful.”
18) Hearing Kaikeyi’s sweet utterance, the enraged Manthara, who was expert in the art of speaking, replied as follows.
19-20) Indeed, becoming even angrier, and feigning despair as though she were the queen’s well-wisher, the hunchback contrived to alienate her mistress from Lord Raghava, saying, “Your Majesty, a great and irrevocable catastrophe is about to occur— King Dasaratha will shortly anoint Rama heir-apparent!
21) I am sunk in unfathomable terror, I am full of misery, and my mind burns as if with fire! I have come here for your sake only.
22) Your sorrow will cause me great un-happiness. Your prosperity is my prosperity— of that there is no doubt.
23) You were born in a royal family and you are an emperor’s queen— how is it you know not that kings are by nature cruel?
24) Though he makes a pretence of being righteous your husband is a pitiless rogue— yet you think him pure-hearted and are thus deceived by him.
31) Being thus addressed by Manthara, the beautiful queen rose from her couch with great joy, like a crescent moon rising in an autumnal sky.
32) Great indeed was the happiness of the astonished Kaikeyi, and she gifted the hunchback with a divine ornament.
33) Having given her that priceless jewellery she spoke to Manthara as follows.
34) “These are supremely happy tidings to me, O Manthara! I am delighted to hear such joyful tidings. What else shall I do for you?
35) I do not distinguish between Rama and Bharata, and I am therefore delighted that the emperor will anoint Rama successor to the throne.
36) No words more welcome, nor more nectarean could have been spoken to me. Therefore, O deserving one, ask, and I shall confer an unequalled boon upon you!”
Canto 8 of the Ramayana: The Estrangement of Kaikeyi
1-2) Becoming most indignant, Manthara cast down the ornament given her, and she addressed Kaikeyi in anger and desperation, saying, “Why are you happy, simpleton, when happiness is out of place? Do you not perceive yourself to be in the midst of an ocean of misery?
3) I laugh within my mind, Your Majesty, though I am afflicted with sorrow, for you exult as great misfortune befalls you!
4) I lament your stupidity; what intelligent woman is gladdened by the prosperity of an inimical stepson, which comes to her like death?
5) Rama must fear Bharata’s equal claim to the throne. Considering this I am despondent, for terror proceeds from one who is fearful.
6) The mighty Lakshmana has no doubt taken refuge of Rama with all His heart, and Satrughna is as faithful to Bharata as Lakshmana is to Rama.
7) Bharata alone could be pressed with accession to the throne. Lakshmana and Satrughna are definitely disqualified from succession, being younger than the other two.
8) “I shudder to think what Rama, who is a decisive, practised warrior, and a learned politician, intends to do with your son.
9) Kausalya is indeed fortunate that her son is to be anointed heir-apparent by the foremost among brahmanas, when the moon transits Pushya.
10) You will serve her with folded hands like a maid-servant when she has happily attained sovereignty of the world, and all her enemies are destroyed.
11) Thus you and I will become her menial servants, and your son will doubtless be reduced to the status of Rama’s servant too.
12) Whereas Rama, and the other womenfolk, will be delighted, your daughter-in-law and her companions will not be overjoyed by the destruction of Bharata.”
13) Beholding Manthara supremely unhappy, Queen Kaikeyi extolled Rama’s virtues, it is said.
14) [She told her,] “Rama is virtuous, patient, expert, truthful, and pure. He is the eldest son of the king and therefore deserves the office of heir-apparent.
15) He will live long, and protect His brothers and His servants like a father. Why are you so pained to hear that Rama will be anointed?
16) Besides, Bharata will definitely succeed to the throne of His father and His grandfather a hundred years hence.
17) When such a happy festival as this occurs, O Manthara, what need is there for you to be afflicted as if by burning fire?
18) Just as Bharata is worthy of my consideration so too is Raghava. Indeed, He renders me more service than He does Kausalya.
19) When the kingdom is Rama’s it shall be as much Bharata’s as His. I am certain Rama loves His brothers as though They were Himself!”
20) Manthara was sore distressed by the words of Kaikeyi, and breathing a woeful sigh, she replied as follows.
21) “O deluded one, you are utterly sunk in misery, and drown in an ocean of woe, yet you are unable to perceive it because of your stupidity.
22) Raghava will be king, and His son shall succeed Him, O Kaikeyi! Bharata will be excluded from the royal succession.
23) Not all of a king’s sons have the right of succession to the throne, O proud one. If they all were to be installed that would be gross misgovernment!
24) For that reason kings ever appoint their eldest sons, even though other sons may have perfect limbs and be possessed of good qualities.
25) “Your son Bharata being without a protector, O affectionate one, He will be totally excluded from the royal dynasty, and from the joys of life!
26) Although I have come to inform you of your co-wife’s good fortune, you misunderstand me and wish to give me a present.
27) Having obtained the realm without hindrance, Rama will doubtless banish Bharata to some distant land or else will slay Him.
28) “Even in His boyhood you would have Bharata taken to His uncle. Affection arises from proximity, as is the case with immovable beings [such as trees].
29) In obedience to Bharata, Satrughna has accompanied Him- just as Lakshmana is devoted to Rama, so is Satrughna to Bharata.
30) It is said that a certain tree was to be felled by forest dwellers, but because of its proximity to sharp reeds it was preserved from the gravest danger.
31) “Rama is protected by Lakshmana and Lakshmana is protected by Raghava. Indeed, like the Asvini Kumaras Their fraternal love is celebrated throughout the world.
32) Because Rama will do no evil to Lakshmana He will assuredly do something wicked to Bharata.
33) Raghava must therefore be sent even from His palace to the forest: that course of action pleases me greatly, and will be advantageous to you as well.
34) It will be better for your family’s side if Bharata were to receive the kingdom from His father.
35) How would your son, who is desirous of prosperity, be able to live when His fortune is lost and His inimical brother flourishes?
36) You must protect Bharata from Rama, else He will be vanquished like the king of a herd of elephants attacked by a lion in the forest.
37) “Being proud of your good fortune, you have mistreated Kausalya in the past; why should your co-wife not be revenged upon you?
38) Once Rama has obtained the world, with its oceans and mountain ranges, then you will be humiliated, along with Bharata.
39) Once Rama has dominion over the world, Bharata will assuredly be destroyed. You must therefore consider how the kingdom may be conferred upon your son, and how the banishment of Rama may be accomplished.”
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons
Text Sources: Internet Indian History Sourcebook sourcebooks.fordham.edu “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); “Encyclopedia of the World's Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); “Encyclopedia of the World Cultures: Volume 3 South Asia” edited by David Levinson (G.K. Hall & Company, New York, 1994); “The Creators” by Daniel Boorstin; “A Guide to Angkor: an Introduction to the Temples” by Dawn Rooney (Asia Book) for Information on temples and architecture. National Geographic, the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, Times of London, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Last updated September 2018