Srimad Ramayana, Part 4
Apr 11, CANADA (SUN) The Travels of Rama by Valmeeki Muni - The last in a 4-part series, translated by Karnamrita dasa.
Volume 1, The Ayodhya Kanda
(The Book of Ayodhya)
By the Mercy of His Divine Grace Om Vishnupada Sri Srimad A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada - Translated by Karnamrita Dasa, 1997
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.
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
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?
Tell me, why are the citizens so excessively joyful, and what is the delighted king having
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
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
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.
he stands beside you he speaks kind words devoid of meaning, for now he will endow
Kausalya with riches, and not you!
26) “Your evil-minded husband has conveyed [your son] Bharata to His relatives— now
that thorn is plucked from his side he will take the opportunity to have Rama installed
upon the throne.
27) O childish one, the king is your enemy and he is your husband in
name only. Like a mother intent on its well-being you have enclosed a poisonous serpent
within your arms.
28) You and your son have been neglected by King Dasaratha today as
though you were snakes or enemies.
29) Because you were lulled by the king’s falsely
gentle speech, he will establish Rama upon the throne. Thus you, who are accustomed to
constant happiness, are ruined, along with your family!
30) O perceptive one, quickly do
that which will advance your interests and preserve you, your son, and myself from grave
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.
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.
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!”
THUS ENDS THE SEVENTH CANTO OF THE AYODHYA KANDA
OF VALMEEKI MUNI'S 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
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
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
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
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
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.
will be king, and His son shall succeed Him, O Kaikeyi! Bharata will be excluded from the
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!
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
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
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.
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.
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.”
THUS ENDS THE EIGHTH CANTO OF THE AYODHYA KANDA
OF VALMEEKI MUNI'S RAMAYANA