SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 3 CHAPTER 29

THE THIRD BOOK

Chapter XXIX

On the stealing of Sītā and the sorrows of Rāma

1-2. Vyāsa said:

Hearing these vicious words, Jānakī became very much confounded with fear and began to tremble; somehow collecting herself she began to say:

“O descendant of the family of Pulastya! Why are you, prompted by lust, uttering these sinful words? I am born of the family of Janaka; therefore I cannot act wantonly according to my own inclination.

3. O ten faced one! Better you go to Lanka quickly; else Rāmachandra will take away your life; you will no doubt incur death for my sake.”

4-5. Thus saying, Sītā Devī went towards the Sacred fire called Gārhapatya, placed in the house, with words: “go away” “go away” in her mouth.

He, whose wickedness has caused all the Lokas cry out: “save” “save”, the same Rāvaṇa, of perverted intellect, then assumed his real form, went towards the hut and caught hold of Sītā Devī who was crying, bewildered with fear.

6. Sītā cried:

“Rāma” “Rāma” “Lakṣmaṇa”, and the sinful Rāvaṇa caught hold of her and quickly mounting her on the chariot, fast got away.

7-9. On the way Jatāyu, the son of Āruṇa, met Rāvaṇa; and a terrible fight then ensued between the two, when the evil minded Rāvaṇa, the king of the Demons, killed Jatāyu.

Rāvaṇa carried Sītā to Lanka. Then Sītā cried like a forlorn deer and Rāvaṇa kept her in the Aśoka forest (Jaffna), surrounded and guarded by the Rākṣasas.

The king of Lanka tempted Sītā with comforting words, and the kingdoms, etc., but she never swerved from her own pure and stainless chastity.

10-12. On the other side, Rāmachandra after killing the deer and taking it was coming back calmly, when he saw Lakṣmaṇa going to him and said:

“O Lakṣmaṇa! What a great blunder you have committed! Hearing the voice of that villain conjurer, how is it that you have left my dear Sītā alone and come here!”

Lakṣmaṇa said:

“O Lord! Being pierced sharply by Sītā Devī’s words (coming like sharpened arrows) and being driven away by her, under the guidance of the Inevitable Destiny as it were, I have come here; there is no doubt in this.”

13. They, then, both hurriedly went to their hut, made of leaves; and there not finding Sītā, they were very much afflicted with sorrows and went in quest of Jānakī.

14. Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa in their search for Sītā, came at last to the spot where Jatāyu, the king of birds, was lying on the surface of the earth, with his life ultimately on the point of parting away from his body.

15-16. Jatāyu said:

Rāvaṇa, the king of Lanka, carried away today stealthily Sītā Devī; I resisted that villain who then fought with me on that account and threw me down on this spot by weapons.

Thus saying, the king of birds died; whereupon Rāmachandra performed the burning of his dead body as well his funeral ceremonies. Then both of them went out of that place.

17. Then the Lord Rāmachandra killed Kabandha and freed him from his curse; and, through his advice, he made friendship with Sugrīva, the king of the monkeys, and was thus bound under a tie.

18. Next Rāma killed the hero Balī as a duty and gave the excellent kingdom of Kiskindhyā to his new friend Sugrīva according to his promise.

19. Then, he began to ceaselessly think of the stealing away of Sītā by Rāvaṇa and passed away the four months of the rainy season there with his brother Lakṣmaṇa.

20. Rāma, being very much shaken on account of the bereavement of Sītā, began to address Lakṣmaṇa thus:

“O Saumitre! The desires of the daughter of the king of Kekaya are now fulfilled.

21. Jānakī will no more be obtained; without Jānakī I will not go back to Ayodhyā; without Jānakī I won’t be able to live any longer.

22. Kingdom lost, dwelling in forests happened, father left his body, at last the dear wife is lost; the cruel hands of Destiny are tormenting me now thus; what more it will inflict, how can I say now?

23. O Brother Lakṣmaṇa! What is to happen is very hard to be known beforehand by men; I cannot say, what is written on my fate after this, painful or otherwise.

24. See! Both of us, the descendants of Manu, though born in a royal family, are exiled in forests due to our past deeds.

25. O Lakṣmaṇa! It is by Fate, too, that you, abandoning the pleasures of the royal surroundings, have come out with me; and you, too, are now suffering heaps of dire troubles with me.

26. No one in our family suffered so much as we are suffering; why we talk of our family! No human being was ever born or will ever take his birth that suffered or will suffer like me so many troubles, will be like me incapacitated and a penniless pauper.

27. O Saumitre! I am drowned in the ocean of pains and troubles; What am I to do now? I have no means to cross this ocean; I am quite helpless, no doubt.

28. No money, nor armies, O hero! You are my one and only one companion; O brother! On whom shall I be angry when I am suffering on account of my own deeds?

29. Alas! The kingdom that could have been compared in prosperity to the Indra Sabha, was almost obtained by me when, in an instant, I lost it and am now in exile in forest. Lakṣmana! Who can ascertain what is in the womb of Destiny?

30. Oh! That soft bodied Sītā, with her child like nature came out with us in this forest; but the inexorable Fate has now drowned her, that perfectly beautiful woman, into an ocean of sorrows, difficult to be crossed?

31. That fair daughter of Janaka is extremely devoted to me; she is pure and holy. How will she be able to suffer troubles in the house of the king of Lanka!

32. O Lakṣmaṇa! Sītā Devī will never come under the control of Rāvaṇa; how can that excellent chaste woman act like an ordinary public woman?

33. O Lakṣmaṇa! Rest assured that in case Rāvaṇa exercises, out of his lordly position, any violence on Sītā, she will rather put an end to her life than come under his control.

34. O Lakṣmaṇa! And when Jānakī sacrifices her life, I will assuredly do the same; for, of what use, then is this body to me when that fair Sītā has gone away with her life?”

35. While the lotus eyed Rāmachandra was thus weeping and expressing his regrets and sorrows, the religious Lakṣmaṇa consoled him with the following sweet, truthful, words:

36. “O Hero of the heroes! Kindly cast aside this weakness and have patience; I will soon kill that villain demon Rāvaṇa and get you back your Sītā Devī.

37. The wise steady persons remain on account of their fortitude, unshaken in their hearts whether in joy or in sorrow; whereas men, of little intellect, indulge in sorrows when they are happy.

38. Coming in union and going out in disunion, both are under the hands of Destiny; What, then, there is the need for expressing sorrows for this body, which is not soul.

39. As we have been banished from our kingdom into this forest, as there has happened this bereavement of Sītā, so, in proper time, we will again get back Sītā Devī.

40. O Darling of Jānakī! There must come a time when sorrows will be converted into happiness and vice versa; there will be nothing otherwise. So avoid this sorrow now and have firmness.

41. There are multitudes of monkeys, who are our helping hands; they will go to all the four quarters and bring back to us the news of the daughter of Janaka; there is no doubt in this.

42. O Lord! Knowing the way to Lanka, we will go there and kill by our prowess the villainous Rāvaṇa and bring back Sītā Devī.

43. Or we will call Bharata with Satrughna and with all the armies we all united will kill our enemy; why, then, are you thus expressing sorrows in vain.

44. O Lord! our ancestor Raghu, the hero of heroes, the monarch; won his victories over the ten quarters; and you belong to that family and are now plunged in grief!

45. Alone, I can defeat all the Devas and the Demons; and if I get help, is there any doubt, then, in my killing, that Rāvaṇa, the disgrace of the family of Rākṣasas.

46. O Powerful One! We may call to, our aid the king of Janaka and root out that wicked source of enemy to the Devas.

47-48. O Descendant of Raghu! Like the rim of a wheel, happiness and pain come alternately; it is not that happiness, or pain comes and remains for ever. He whose mind is very much overwhelmed, with pain or happiness, is the man who is always plunged in an ocean of misery; and he can never expect to become happy.

49. See! In days of yore, Indra once got addicted into vicious habits. The Devas united put in place of Indra, the king Nahuṣa.

50. Then Indra, terrified, relinquished his post and passed very many years into an unknown and unnoticed state within the lotus.

51. Again, when time changed, he got his own post back; and the king Nahuṣa fell down on this earth and became transformed into a boa constrictor (a big serpent), through the curse of a Ṛiṣi.

52. The king Nahuṣa wanted the wife of Indra and insulted a Brahmin; therefore, he was, under the curse of Mahāṛṣi Agasti, transformed into a snake on the earth.

53. Therefore, O Rāghava! One ought not to plunge in grief, when a danger comes; rather one should be quite energetic in times of danger and remain firm; thus, the sages do.

54. O Lord of the world! You are high minded, omniscient and omnipotent; why are you now overwhelmed with grief, like an ordinary mortal. ”

55. Vyāsa said:

Oh king! Thus consoled by Lakṣmaṇa, Rāma discarded all his heavy sorrows and began to remain with his heart firm and at rest.

Thus ends the 29th chapter on the stealing of Sītā and the sorrows of Rāma in the 3rd Skandha of Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.