The Pastimes of the Supreme Lord, Rāmacandra
The son of Mahārāja Khaṭvāṅga was Dīrghabāhu, and his son was Raghu. The son of Raghu was Aja, the son of Aja was Daśaratha, and the son of Daśaratha was Lord Rāmacandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When the Lord descended into this world in His full quadruple expansion—as Lord Rāmacandra, Lakṣmaṇa, Bharata and Śatrughna—great sages like Vālmīki who were actually in knowledge of the Absolute Truth described His transcendental pastimes. Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī describes these pastimes in brief.
Lord Rāmacandra went with Viśvāmitra and killed Rākṣasas like Mārīca. After breaking the stout and strong bow known as Haradhanu, the Lord married mother Sītā and cut down the prestige of Paraśurāma. To obey the order of His father, He entered the forest, accompanied by Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā. There He cut off the nose of Śūrpaṇakhā and killed the associates of Rāvaṇa, headed by Khara and Dūṣaṇa. Rāvaṇa’s kidnapping of Sītādevī was the beginning of this demon’s misfortune. When Mārīca assumed the form of a golden deer, Lord Rāmacandra went to bring the deer to please Sītādevī, but in the meantime Rāvaṇa took advantage of the Lord’s absence to kidnap her. When Sītādevī was kidnapped, Lord Rāmacandra, accompanied by Lakṣmaṇa, searched for her throughout the forest. In the course of this search, They met Jaṭāyu. Then the Lord killed the demon Kabandha and the commander Vāli and established a friendly relationship with Sugrīva. After organizing the military strength of the monkeys and going with them to the shore of the sea, the Lord awaited the arrival of Samudra, the ocean personified, but when Samudra did not come, the Lord, the master of Samudra, became angry. Then Samudra came to the Lord with great haste and surrendered to Him, wanting to help Him in every way. The Lord then attempted to bridge the ocean, and, with the help of advice from Vibhīṣaṇa, He attacked Rāvaṇa’s capital, Laṅkā. Previously, Hanumān, the eternal servant of the Lord, had set fire to Laṅkā, and now, with the help of Lakṣmaṇa, the forces of Lord Rāmacandra killed all the Rākṣasa soldiers. Then Lord Rāmacandra personally killed Rāvaṇa. Mandodarī and other wives lamented for Rāvaṇa, and in accordance with Lord Rāmacandra’s order, Vibhīṣaṇa performed the funeral ceremonies for all the dead in the family. Lord Rāmacandra then gave Vibhīṣaṇa the right to rule Laṅkā and also granted him a long duration of life. The Lord delivered Sītādevī from the Aśoka forest and carried her in a flower airplane to His capital Ayodhyā, where He was received by His brother Bharata. When Lord Rāmacandra entered Ayodhyā, Bharata brought His wooden shoes, Vibhīṣaṇa and Sugrīva held a whisk and fan, Hanumān carried an umbrella, Śatrughna carried the Lord’s bow and two quivers, and Sītādevī carried a waterpot containing water from holy places. Aṅgada carried a sword, and Jāmbavān (Ṛkṣarāja) carried a shield. After Lord Rāmacandra, accompanied by Lord Lakṣmaṇa and mother Sītādevī, met all His relatives, the great sage Vasiṣṭha enthroned Him as King. The chapter ends with a short description of Lord Rāmacandra’s rule in Ayodhyā.
khaṭvāṅgād dīrghabāhuś ca
raghus tasmāt pṛthu-śravāḥ
ajas tato mahā-rājas
tasmād daśaratho ’bhavat
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; khaṭvāṅgāt—from Mahārāja Khaṭvāṅga; dīrghabāhuḥ—the son named Dīrghabāhu; ca—and; raghuḥ tasmāt—from him Raghu was born; pṛthu-śravāḥ—saintly and celebrated; ajaḥ—the son named Aja; tataḥ—from him; mahā-rājaḥ—the great king called Mahārāja Daśaratha; tasmāt—from Aja; daśarathaḥ—by the name Daśaratha; abhavat—was born.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: The son of Mahārāja Khaṭvāṅga was Dīrghabāhu, and his son was the celebrated Mahārāja Raghu. From Mahārāja Raghu came Aja, and from Aja was born the great personality Mahārāja Daśaratha.
tasyāpi bhagavān eṣa
sākṣād brahmamayo hariḥ
putratvaṁ prārthitaḥ suraiḥ
śatrughnā iti saṁjñayā
tasya—of him, Mahārāja Daśaratha; api—also; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; eṣaḥ—all of them; sākṣāt—directly; brahma-mayaḥ—the Supreme Parabrahman, the Absolute Truth; hariḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; aṁśa-aṁśena—by an expansion of a plenary portion; caturdhā—by fourfold expansions; agāt—accepted; putratvam—sonhood; prārthitaḥ—being prayed for; suraiḥ—by the demigods; rāma—Lord Rāmacandra; lakṣmaṇa—Lord Lakṣmaṇa; bharata—Lord Bharata; śatrughnāḥ—and Lord Śatrughna; iti—thus; saṁjñayā—by different names.
Being prayed for by the demigods, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth Himself, directly appeared with His expansion and expansions of the expansion. Their holy names were Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa, Bharata and Śatrughna. These celebrated incarnations thus appeared in four forms as the sons of Mahārāja Daśaratha.
Lord Rāmacandra and His brothers, Lakṣmaṇa, Bharata and Śatrughna, are all viṣṇu-tattva, not jīva-tattva. The Supreme Personality of Godhead expands into many, many forms. Advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam [Bs 5.33]. Although they are one and the same, viṣṇu-tattva has many forms and incarnations. As confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.39), rāmādi-mūrtiṣu kalā-niyamena tiṣṭhan. The Lord is situated in many forms, such as Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa, Bharata and Śatrughna, and these forms may exist in any part of His creation. All these forms exist permanently, eternally, as individual Personalities of Godhead, and they resemble many candles, all equally powerful. Lord Rāmacandra, Lakṣmaṇa, Bharata and Śatrughna, who, being viṣṇu-tattva, are all equally powerful, became the sons of Mahārāja Daśaratha in response to prayers by the demigods.
śrutaṁ hi varṇitaṁ bhūri
tvayā sītā-pater muhuḥ
tasya—of Him, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Rāmacandra and His brothers; anucaritam—transcendental activities; rājan—O King (Mahārāja Parīkṣit); ṛṣibhiḥ—by great sages or saintly persons; tattva-darśibhiḥ—by persons who know the Absolute Truth; śrutam—have all been heard; hi—indeed; varṇitam—as they have been so nicely described; bhūri—many; tvayā—by you; sītā-pateḥ—of Lord Rāmacandra, the husband of mother Sītā; muhuḥ—more than often.
O King Parīkṣit, the transcendental activities of Lord Rāmacandra have been described by great saintly persons who have seen the truth. Because you have heard again and again about Lord Rāmacandra, the husband of mother Sītā, I shall describe these activities only in brief. Please listen.
Modern Rākṣasas, posing as educationally advanced merely because they have doctorates, have tried to prove that Lord Rāmacandra is not the Supreme Personality of Godhead but an ordinary person. But those who are learned and spiritually advanced will never accept such notions; they will accept the descriptions of Lord Rāmacandra and His activities only as presented by tattva-darśīs, those who know the Absolute Truth. In Bhagavad-gītā (4.34) the Supreme Personality of Godhead advises:
“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.” Unless one is tattva-darśī, in complete knowledge of the Absolute Truth, one cannot describe the activities of the Personality of Godhead. Therefore although there are many so-called Rāmāyaṇas, or histories of Lord Rāmacandra’s activities, some of them are not actually authoritative. Sometimes Lord Rāmacandra’s activities are described in terms of one’s own imaginations, speculations or material sentiments. But the characteristics of Lord Rāmacandra should not be handled as something imaginary. While describing the history of Lord Rāmacandra, Śukadeva Gosvāmī told Mahārāja Parīkṣit, “You have already heard about the activities of Lord Rāmacandra.” Apparently, therefore, five thousand years ago there were many Rāmāyaṇas, or histories of Lord Rāmacandra’s activities, and there are many still. But we must select only those books written by tattva-darśīs (jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ), not the books of so-called scholars who claim knowledge only on the basis of a doctorate. This is a warning by Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Ṛṣibhis tattva-darśibhiḥ. Although the Rāmāyaṇa composed by Vālmīki is a huge literature, the same activities are summarized here by Śukadeva Gosvāmī in a few verses.
gurv-arthe tyakta-rājyo vyacarad anuvanaṁ padma-padbhyāṁ priyāyāḥ
pāṇi-sparśākṣamābhyāṁ mṛjita-patha-rujo yo harīndrānujābhyām
vairūpyāc chūrpaṇakhyāḥ priya-viraha-ruṣāropita-bhrū-vijṛmbha-
trastābdhir baddha-setuḥ khala-dava-dahanaḥ kosalendro ’vatān naḥ
guru-arthe—for the sake of keeping the promise of His father; tyakta-rājyaḥ—giving up the position of king; vyacarat—wandered; anuvanam—from one forest to another; padma-padbhyām—by His two lotus feet; priyāyāḥ—with His very dear wife, mother Sītā; pāṇi-sparśa-akṣamābhyām—which were so delicate that they were unable to bear even the touch of Sītā’s palm; mṛjita-patha-rujaḥ—whose fatigue due to walking on the street was diminished; yaḥ—the Lord who; harīndra-anujābhyām—accompanied by the king of the monkeys, Hanumān, and His younger brother Lakṣmaṇa; vairūpyāt—because of being disfigured; śūrpaṇakhyāḥ—of the Rākṣasī (demoness) named Śūrpaṇakhā; priya-viraha—being aggrieved by separation from His very dear wife; ruṣā āropita-bhrū-vijṛmbha—by flickering of His raised eyebrows in anger; trasta—fearing; abdhiḥ—the ocean; baddha-setuḥ—one who constructed a bridge over the ocean; khala-dava-dahanaḥ—killer of envious persons like Rāvaṇa, like a fire devouring a forest; kosala-indraḥ—the King of Ayodhyā; avatāt—be pleased to protect; naḥ—us.
To keep the promise of His father intact, Lord Rāmacandra immediately gave up the position of king and, accompanied by His wife, mother Sītā, wandered from one forest to another on His lotus feet, which were so delicate that they were unable to bear even the touch of Sītā’s palms. The Lord was also accompanied by Hanumān [or by another monkey, Sugrīva], king of the monkeys, and by His own younger brother Lord Lakṣmaṇa, both of whom gave Him relief from the fatigue of wandering in the forest. Having cut off the nose and ears of Śūrpaṇakhā, thus disfiguring her, the Lord was separated from mother Sītā. He therefore became angry, moving His eyebrows and thus frightening the ocean, who then allowed the Lord to construct a bridge to cross the ocean. Subsequently, the Lord entered the kingdom of Rāvaṇa to kill him, like a fire devouring a forest. May that Supreme Lord, Rāmacandra, give us all protection.
viśvāmitra-adhvare—in the sacrificial arena of the great sage Viśvāmitra; yena—by whom (Lord Rāmacandra); mārīca-ādyāḥ—headed by Mārīca; niśā-carāḥ—the uncivilized persons wandering at night in the darkness of ignorance; paśyataḥ lakṣmaṇasya—being seen by Lakṣmaṇa; eva—indeed; hatāḥ—were killed; nairṛta-puṅgavāḥ—the great chiefs of the Rākṣasas.
In the arena of the sacrifice performed by Viśvāmitra, Lord Rāmacandra, the King of Ayodhyā, killed many demons, Rākṣasas and uncivilized men who wandered at night in the mode of darkness. May Lord Rāmacandra, who killed these demons in the presence of Lakṣmaṇa, be kind enough to give us protection.
yo loka-vīra-samitau dhanur aiśam ugraṁ
ādāya bāla-gaja-līla ivekṣu-yaṣṭiṁ
sajjyī-kṛtaṁ nṛpa vikṛṣya babhañja madhye
sītābhidhāṁ śriyam urasy abhilabdhamānām
mārge vrajan bhṛgupater vyanayat prarūḍhaṁ
darpaṁ mahīm akṛta yas trir arāja-bījām
yaḥ—Lord Rāmacandra who; loka-vīra-samitau—in the society or in the midst of many heroes of this world; dhanuḥ—the bow; aiśam—of Lord Śiva; ugram—very fierce; sītā-svayaṁvara-gṛhe—in the hall where mother Sītā stood to select her husband; triśata-upanītam—the bow carried by three hundred men; ādāya—taking (that bow); bāla-gaja-līlaḥ—acting like a baby elephant in a forest of sugarcane; iva—like that; ikṣu-yaṣṭim—a stick of sugarcane; sajjyī-kṛtam—fastened the string of the bow; nṛpa—O King; vikṛṣya—by bending; babhañja—broke it; madhye—in the middle; jitvā—gaining by victory; anurūpa—just befitting His position and beauty; guṇa—qualities; śīla—behavior; vayaḥ—age; aṅga—body; rūpām—beauty; sītā-abhidhām—the girl named Sītā; śriyam—the goddess of fortune; urasi—on the chest; abhilabdhamānām—had gotten her previously; mārge—on the way; vrajan—while walking; bhṛgupateḥ—of Bhṛgupati; vyanayat—destroyed; prarūḍham—rooted very deep; darpam—pride; mahīm—the earth; akṛta—finished; yaḥ—one who; triḥ—three times (seven); arāja—without a royal dynasty; bījām—seed.
O King, the pastimes of Lord Rāmacandra were wonderful, like those of a baby elephant. In the assembly where mother Sītā was to choose her husband, in the midst of the heroes of this world, He broke the bow belonging to Lord Śiva. This bow was so heavy that it was carried by three hundred men, but Lord Rāmacandra bent and strung it and broke it in the middle, just as a baby elephant breaks a stick of sugarcane. Thus the Lord achieved the hand of mother Sītā, who was equally as endowed with transcendental qualities of form, beauty, behavior, age and nature. Indeed, she was the goddess of fortune who constantly rests on the chest of the Lord. While returning from Sītā’s home after gaining her at the assembly of competitors, Lord Rāmacandra met Paraśurāma. Although Paraśurāma was very proud, having rid the earth of the royal order twenty-one times, he was defeated by the Lord, who appeared to be a kṣatriya of the royal order.
yaḥ satya-pāśa-parivīta-pitur nideśaṁ
straiṇasya cāpi śirasā jagṛhe sabhāryaḥ
rājyaṁ śriyaṁ praṇayinaḥ suhṛdo nivāsaṁ
tyaktvā yayau vanam asūn iva mukta-saṅgaḥ
yaḥ—Lord Rāmacandra who; satya-pāśa-parivīta-pituḥ—of His father, who was bound by the promise to his wife; nideśam—the order; straiṇasya—of the father who was very much attached to his wife; ca—also; api—indeed; śirasā—on His head; jagṛhe—accepted; sa-bhāryaḥ—with His wife; rājyam—the kingdom; śriyam—opulence; praṇayinaḥ—relatives; suhṛdaḥ—friends; nivāsam—residence; tyaktvā—giving up; yayau—went; vanam—to the forest; asūn—life; iva—like; mukta-saṅgaḥ—a liberated soul.
Carrying out the order of His father, who was bound by a promise to his wife, Lord Rāmacandra left behind His kingdom, opulence, friends, well-wishers, residence and everything else, just as a liberated soul gives up his life, and went to the forest with Sītā.
Mahārāja Daśaratha had three wives. One of them, Kaikeyī, served him very pleasingly, and he therefore wanted to give her a benediction. Kaikeyī, however, said that she would ask for the benediction when it was necessary. At the time of the coronation of Prince Rāmacandra, Kaikeyī requested her husband to enthrone her son Bharata and send Rāmacandra to the forest. Mahārāja Daśaratha, being bound by his promise, ordered Rāmacandra to go to the forest, according to the dictation of his beloved. And the Lord, as an obedient son, accepted the order immediately. He left everything without hesitation, just as a liberated soul or great yogī gives up his life without material attraction.
rakṣaḥ-svasur vyakṛta rūpam aśuddha-buddhes
jaghne caturdaśa-sahasram apāraṇīya-
kodaṇḍa-pāṇir aṭamāna uvāsa kṛcchram
rakṣaḥ-svasuḥ—of Śūrpaṇakhā, the sister of the Rākṣasa (Rāvaṇa); vyakṛta—(Lord Rāma) deformed; rūpam—the form; aśuddha-buddheḥ—because her intelligence was polluted by lusty desires; tasyāḥ—of her; khara-triśira-dūṣaṇa-mukhya-bandhūn—many friends, headed by Khara, Triśira and Dūṣaṇa; jaghne—He (Lord Rāmacandra) killed; caturdaśa-sahasram—fourteen thousand; apāraṇīya—invincible; kodaṇḍa—bows and arrows; pāṇiḥ—in His hand; aṭamānaḥ—wandering in the forest; uvāsa—lived there; kṛcchram—with great difficulties.
While wandering in the forest, where He accepted a life of hardship, carrying His invincible bow and arrows in His hand, Lord Rāmacandra deformed Rāvaṇa’s sister, who was polluted with lusty desires, by cutting off her nose and ears. He also killed her fourteen thousand Rākṣasa friends, headed by Khara, Triśira and Dūṣaṇa.
sṛṣṭaṁ vilokya nṛpate daśa-kandhareṇa
jaghne ’dbhutaiṇa-vapuṣāśramato ’pakṛṣṭo
mārīcam āśu viśikhena yathā kam ugraḥ
sītā-kathā—topics about Sītādevī; śravaṇa—by hearing; dīpita—agitated; hṛt-śayena—lusty desires within the mind of Rāvaṇa; sṛṣṭam—created; vilokya—seeing that; nṛpate—O King Parīkṣit; daśa-kandhareṇa—by Rāvaṇa, who had ten heads; jaghne—the Lord killed; adbhuta-eṇa-vapuṣā—by a deer made of gold; āśramataḥ—from His residence; apakṛṣṭaḥ—distracted to a distance; mārīcam—the demon Mārīca, who assumed the form of a golden deer; āśu—immediately; viśikhena—by a sharp arrow; yathā—as; kam—Dakṣa; ugraḥ—Lord Śiva.
O King Parīkṣit, when Rāvaṇa, who had ten heads on his shoulders, heard about the beautiful and attractive features of Sītā, his mind was agitated by lusty desires, and he went to kidnap her. To distract Lord Rāmacandra from His āśrama, Rāvaṇa sent Mārīca in the form of a golden deer, and when Lord Rāmacandra saw that wonderful deer, He left His residence and followed it and finally killed it with a sharp arrow, just as Lord Śiva killed Dakṣa.
rakṣo-’dhamena vṛkavad vipine ’samakṣaṁ
bhrātrā vane kṛpaṇavat priyayā viyuktaḥ
strī-saṅgināṁ gatim iti prathayaṁś cacāra
rakṣaḥ-adhamena—by the most wicked among Rākṣasas, Rāvaṇa; vṛka-vat—like a tiger; vipine—in the forest; asamakṣam—unprotected; vaideha-rāja-duhitari—by this condition of mother Sītā, the daughter of the King of Videha; apayāpitāyām—having been kidnapped; bhrātrā—with His brother; vane—in the forest; kṛpaṇa-vat—as if a very distressed person; priyayā—by his dear wife; viyuktaḥ—separated; strī-saṅginām—of persons attracted to or connected with women; gatim—destination; iti—thus; prathayan—giving an example; cacāra—wandered.
When Rāmacandra entered the forest and Lakṣmaṇa was also absent, the worst of the Rākṣasas, Rāvaṇa, kidnapped Sītādevī, the daughter of the King of Videha, just as a tiger seizes unprotected sheep when the shepherd is absent. Then Lord Rāmacandra wandered in the forest with His brother Lakṣmaṇa as if very much distressed due to separation from His wife. Thus He showed by His personal example the condition of a person attached to women.
In this verse the words strī-saṅgināṁ gatim iti indicate that the condition of a person attached to women was shown by the Lord Himself. According to moral instructions, gṛhe nārīṁ vivarjayet: when one goes on a tour, one should not bring his wife. Formerly men used to travel without conveyances, but still, as far as possible, when one leaves home one should not take his wife with him, especially if one is in such a condition as Lord Rāmacandra when banished by the order of His father. Whether in the forest or at home, if one is attached to women this attachment is always troublesome, as shown by the Supreme Personality of Godhead by His personal example.
Of course, this is the material side of strī-saṅgī, but the situation of Lord Rāmacandra is spiritual, for He does not belong to the material world. Nārāyaṇaḥ paro ’vyaktāt: Nārāyaṇa is beyond the material creation. Because He is the creator of the material world, He is not subject to the conditions of the material world. The separation of Lord Rāmacandra from Sītā is spiritually understood as vipralambha, which is an activity of the hlādinī potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead belonging to the śṛṅgāra-rasa, the mellow of conjugal love in the spiritual world. In the spiritual world the Supreme Personality of Godhead has all the dealings of love, displaying the symptoms called sāttvika, sañcārī, vilāpa, mūrcchā and unmāda. Thus when Lord Rāmacandra was separated from Sītā, all these spiritual symptoms were manifested. The Lord is neither impersonal nor impotent. Rather, He is sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1], the eternal form of knowledge and bliss. Thus He has all the symptoms of spiritual bliss. Feeling separation from one’s beloved is also an item of spiritual bliss. As explained by Śrīla Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī, rādhā-kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinī-śaktiḥ: the dealings of love between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are displayed as the pleasure potency of the Lord. The Lord is the original source of all pleasure, the reservoir of all pleasure. Lord Rāmacandra, therefore, manifested the truth both spiritually and materially. Materially those who are attached to women suffer, but spiritually when there are feelings of separation between the Lord and His pleasure potency the spiritual bliss of the Lord increases. This is further explained in Bhagavad-gītā (9.11):
One who does not know the spiritual potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead thinks of the Lord as an ordinary human being. But the Lord’s mind, intelligence and senses can never be affected by material conditions. This fact is further explained in the Skanda Purāṇa, as quoted by Madhvācārya:
It was actually impossible for Rāvaṇa to take away Sītā. The form of Sītā taken by Rāvaṇa was an illusory representation of mother Sītā—maya-sītā. When Sītā was tested in the fire, this māyā-sītā was burnt, and the real Sītā came out of the fire.
A further understanding to be derived from this example is that a woman, however powerful she may be in the material world, must be given protection, for as soon as she is unprotected she will be exploited by Rākṣasas like Rāvaṇa. Here the words vaideha-rāja-duhitari indicate that before mother Sītā was married to Lord Rāmacandra she was protected by her father, Vaideha-rāja. And when she was married she was protected by her husband. Therefore the conclusion is that a woman should always be protected. According to the Vedic rule, there is no scope for a woman’s being independent (asamakṣam), for a woman cannot protect herself independently.
dagdhvātma-kṛtya-hata-kṛtyam ahan kabandhaṁ
sakhyaṁ vidhāya kapibhir dayitā-gatiṁ taiḥ
buddhvātha vālini hate plavagendra-sainyair
velām agāt sa manujo ’ja-bhavārcitāṅghriḥ
dagdhvā—by burning; ātma-kṛtya-hata-kṛtyam—after performing religious rituals required after the death of Jaṭāyu, who died for the Lord’s cause; ahan—killed; kabandham—the demon Kabandha; sakhyam—friendship; vidhāya—after creating; kapibhiḥ—with the monkey chiefs; dayitā-gatim—the arrangement for delivering Sītā; taiḥ—by them; buddhvā—knowing; atha—thereafter; vālini hate—when Vāli had been killed; plavaga-indra-sainyaiḥ—with the help of the soldiers of the monkeys; velām—to the beach of the ocean; agāt—went; saḥ—He, Lord Rāmacandra; manu-jaḥ—appearing as a human being; aja—by Lord Brahmā; bhava—and by Lord Śiva; arcita-aṅghriḥ—whose lotus feet are worshiped.
Lord Rāmacandra, whose lotus feet are worshiped by Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, had assumed the form of a human being. Thus He performed the funeral ceremony of Jaṭāyu, who was killed by Rāvaṇa. The Lord then killed the demon named Kabandha, and after making friends with the monkey chiefs, killing Vāli and arranging for the deliverance of mother Sītā, He went to the beach of the ocean.
When Rāvaṇa kidnapped Sītā, he was obstructed on the way by Jaṭāyu, a large bird. But the powerful Rāvaṇa defeated Jaṭāyu in the fight and cut his wing. When Rāmacandra was searching for Sītā, He found Jaṭāyu almost dead and was informed that Sītā has been carried off by Rāvaṇa. When Jaṭāyu died, Lord Rāmacandra did the duty of a son by performing the funeral ceremony, and then He made friends with the monkeys to deliver Sītādevī.
sindhuḥ śirasy arhaṇaṁ parigṛhya rūpī
pādāravindam upagamya babhāṣa etat
yat-roṣa—whose anger; vibhrama—induced by; vivṛtta—turned; kaṭākṣa-pāta—by the glance; sambhrānta—agitated; nakra—crocodiles; makaraḥ—and sharks; bhaya-gīrṇa-ghoṣaḥ—whose loud sound was silenced through fear; sindhuḥ—the ocean; śirasi—on his head; arhaṇam—all paraphernalia for worshiping the Lord; parigṛhya—carrying; rūpī—taking form; pāda-aravindam—the lotus feet of the Lord; upagamya—reaching; babhāṣa—said; etat—the following.
After reaching the beach, Lord Rāmacandra fasted for three days, awaiting the arrival of the ocean personified. When the ocean did not come, the Lord exhibited His pastimes of anger, and simply by His glancing over the ocean, all the living entities within it, including the crocodiles and sharks, were agitated by fear. Then the personified ocean fearfully approached Lord Rāmacandra, taking all paraphernalia to worship Him. Falling at the Lord’s lotus feet, the personified ocean spoke as follows.
na tvāṁ vayaṁ jaḍa-dhiyo nu vidāma bhūman
kūṭa-stham ādi-puruṣaṁ jagatām adhīśam
yat-sattvataḥ sura-gaṇā rajasaḥ prajeśā
manyoś ca bhūta-patayaḥ sa bhavān guṇeśaḥ
na—not; tvām—Your Lordship; vayam—we; jaḍa-dhiyaḥ—dull-minded, possessing blunt intelligence; nu—indeed; vidāmaḥ—can know; bhūman—O Supreme; kūṭa-stham—within the core of the heart; ādi-puruṣam—the original Personality of Godhead; jagatām—of the universes, which progressively go on; adhīśam—the supreme master; yat—fixed under Your direction; sattvataḥ—infatuated with sattva-guṇa; sura-gaṇāḥ—such demigods; rajasaḥ—infatuated with rajo-guṇa; prajā-īśāḥ—the Prajāpatis; manyoḥ—influenced by tamo-guṇa; ca—and; bhūta-patayaḥ—rulers of ghosts; saḥ—such a personality; bhavān—Your Lordship; guṇa-īśaḥ—the master of all three modes of material nature.
O all-pervading Supreme Person, we are dull-minded and did not understand who You are, but now we understand that You are the Supreme Person, the master of the entire universe, the unchanging and original Personality of Godhead. The demigods are infatuated with the mode of goodness, the Prajāpatis with the mode of passion, and the lord of ghosts with the mode of ignorance, but You are the master of all these qualities.
The word jaḍa-dhiyaḥ refers to intelligence like that of an animal. A person with such intelligence cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Without being beaten, an animal cannot understand the purpose of a man. Similarly, those who are dull-minded cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but when punished severely by the modes of material nature, they begin to understand Him. A Hindi poet has said:
When one is distressed he goes to the church or temple to worship the Lord, but when opulent he forgets the Lord. Therefore, punishment by the Lord through material nature is necessary in human society, for without it men forget the supremacy of the Lord due to their dull, blunt intelligence.
kāmaṁ prayāhi jahi viśravaso ’vamehaṁ
trailokya-rāvaṇam avāpnuhi vīra patnīm
badhnīhi setum iha te yaśaso vitatyai
gāyanti dig-vijayino yam upetya bhūpāḥ
kāmam—as You like; prayāhi—You may go over my water; jahi—just conquer; viśravasaḥ—of Viśravā Muni; avameham—pollution, like urine; trailokya—for the three worlds; rāvaṇam—the person known as Rāvaṇa, the cause of weeping; avāpnuhi—regain; vīra—O great hero; patnīm—Your wife; badhnīhi—just construct; setum—a bridge; iha—here (on this water); te—of Your good self; yaśasaḥ—fame; vitatyai—to expand; gāyanti—will glorify; dik-vijayinaḥ—great heroes who have conquered all directions; yam—which (bridge); upetya—coming near; bhūpāḥ—great kings.
My Lord, You may use my water as You like. Indeed, You may cross it and go to the abode of Rāvaṇa, who is the great source of disturbance and crying for the three worlds. He is the son of Viśravā, but is condemned like urine. Please go kill him and thus regain Your wife, Sītādevī. O great hero, although my water presents no impediment to Your going to Laṅkā, please construct a bridge over it to spread Your transcendental fame. Upon seeing this wonderfully uncommon deed of Your Lordship, all the great heroes and kings in the future will glorify You.
It is said that a son and urine emanate from the same source—the genitals. When a son is a devotee or a great learned person, the seminal discharge for begetting a son is successful, but if the son is unqualified and brings no glory to his family, he is no better than urine. Here Rāvaṇa is compared to urine because he was a cause of disturbances to the three worlds. Thus the ocean personified wanted him killed by Lord Rāmacandra.
One feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Rāmacandra is omnipotence. The Lord can act without regard to material impediments or inconveniences, but to prove that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and was not merely advertised as Godhead or elected by popular vote, He constructed a wonderful bridge over the ocean. Nowadays it has become fashionable to create some artificial God who performs no uncommon activities; a little magic will bewilder a foolish person into selecting an artificial God because he does not understand how powerful God is. Lord Rāmacandra, however, constructed a bridge over the water with stone by making the stone float. This is proof of God’s uncommonly wonderful power. Why should someone be accepted as God without displaying extraordinary potency by doing something never to be done by any common man? We accept Lord Rāmacandra as the Supreme Personality of Godhead because He constructed this bridge, and we accept Lord Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead because He lifted Govardhana Hill when He was only seven years old. We should not accept any rascal as God or an incarnation of God, for God displays special features in His various activities. Therefore, the Lord Himself says in Bhagavad-gītā (4.9):
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” The activities of the Lord are not common; they are all transcendentally wonderful and not able to be performed by any other living being. The symptoms of the Lord’s activities are all mentioned in the śāstras, and after one understands them one can accept the Lord as He is.
baddhvodadhau raghu-patir vividhādri-kūṭaiḥ
laṅkāṁ vibhīṣaṇa-dṛśāviśad agra-dagdhām
baddhvā—after constructing; udadhau—in the water of the ocean; raghu-patiḥ—Lord Rāmacandra; vividha—varieties of; adri-kūṭaiḥ—with peaks of great mountains; setum—a bridge; kapi-indra—of powerful monkeys; kara-kampita—moved by the great hands; bhūruha-aṅgaiḥ—with the trees and plants; sugrīva—Sugrīva; nīla—Nīla; hanumat—Hanumān; pramukhaiḥ—led by; anīkaiḥ—with such soldiers; laṅkām—Laṅkā, the kingdom of Rāvaṇa; vibhīṣaṇa-dṛśā—by the direction of Vibhīṣaṇa, the brother of Rāvaṇa; āviśat—entered; agra-dagdhām—which was previously burnt (by the monkey soldier Hanumān).
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: After constructing a bridge over the ocean by throwing into the water the peaks of mountains whose trees and other vegetation had been shaken by the hands of great monkeys, Lord Rāmacandra went to Laṅkā to release Sītādevī from the clutches of Rāvaṇa. With the direction and help of Vibhīṣaṇa, Rāvaṇa’s brother, the Lord, along with the monkey soldiers, headed by Sugrīva, Nīla and Hanumān, entered Rāvaṇa’s kingdom, Laṅkā, which had previously been burnt by Hanumān.
Great mountain peaks covered with trees and plants were thrown into the sea by the monkey soldiers and began to float by the supreme will of the Lord. By the supreme will of the Lord, many great planets float weightlessly in space like swabs of cotton. If this is possible, why should great mountain peaks not be able to float on water? This is the omnipotence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He can do anything and everything He likes, because He is not under the control of the material nature; indeed, material nature is controlled by Him. Mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sacarācaram: [Bg. 9.10] only under His direction does prakṛti, or material nature, work. Similar information is given in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.52):
Describing how material nature works, the Brahma-saṁhitā says that the sun moves as desired by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Consequently, for Lord Rāmacandra to construct a bridge over the Indian Ocean with the help of monkey soldiers who threw great mountain peaks into the water is not at all wonderful; it is wonderful only in the sense that it has kept the name and fame of Lord Rāmacandra eternally celebrated.
śṛṅgāṭakā gaja-kulair hradinīva ghūrṇā
sā—the place known as Laṅkā; vānara-indra—of the great chiefs of the monkeys; bala—by the strength; ruddha—stopped, encircled; vihāra—pleasure houses; koṣṭha—the places where food grains were stocked; śrī—the treasury houses; dvāra—the doors of palaces; gopura—the gates of the city; sadaḥ—the assembly houses; valabhī—the frontage of great palaces; viṭaṅkā—the rest houses for the pigeons; nirbhajyamāna—in the process of being dismantled; dhiṣaṇa—platforms; dhvaja—the flags; hema-kumbha—golden waterpots on the domes; śṛṅgāṭakā—and the crossroads; gaja-kulaiḥ—by herds of elephants; hradinī—a river; iva—like; ghūrṇā—agitated.
After entering Laṅkā, the monkey soldiers, led by chiefs like Sugrīva, Nīla and Hanumān, occupied all the sporting houses, granaries, treasuries, palace doorways, city gates, assembly houses, palace frontages and even the resting houses of the pigeons. When the city’s crossroads, platforms, flags and golden waterpots on its domes were all destroyed, the entire city of Laṅkā appeared like a river disturbed by a herd of elephants.
rakṣaḥ-patis tad avalokya nikumbha-kumbha-
putraṁ prahastam atikāya-vikampanādīn
sarvānugān samahinod atha kumbhakarṇam
rakṣaḥ-patiḥ—the master of the Rākṣasas (Rāvaṇa); tat—such disturbances; avalokya—after seeing; nikumbha—Nikumbha; kumbha—Kumbha; dhūmrākṣa—Dhūmrākṣa; durmukha—Durmukha; surāntaka—Surāntaka; narāntaka—Narāntaka; ādīn—all of them together; putram—his son, Indrajit; prahastam—Prahasta; atikāya—Atikāya; vikampana—Vikampana; ādīn—all of them together; sarva-anugān—all followers of Rāvaṇa; samahinot—ordered (to fight with the enemies); atha—at last; kumbhakarṇam—Kumbhakarṇa, the most important brother.
When Rāvaṇa, the master of the Rākṣasas, saw the disturbances created by the monkey soldiers, he called for Nikumbha, Kumbha, Dhūmrākṣa, Durmukha, Surāntaka, Narāntaka and other Rākṣasas and also his son Indrajit. Thereafter he called for Prahasta, Atikāya, Vikampana and finally Kumbhakarṇa. Then he induced all his followers to fight against the enemies.
tāṁ yātudhāna-pṛtanām asi-śūla-cāpa-
nīlāṅgadarkṣa-panasādibhir anvito ’gāt
tām—all of them; yātudhāna-pṛtanām—the soldiers of the Rākṣasas; asi—by swords; śūla—by lances; cāpa—by bows; prāsa-ṛṣṭi—prāsa weapons and ṛṣṭi weapons; śakti-śara—śakti arrows; tomara—tomara weapons; khaḍga—by a type of sword; durgām—all invincible; sugrīva—by the monkey named Sugrīva; lakṣmaṇa—by Lord Rāmacandra’s younger brother; marut-suta—by Hanumān; gandhamāda—by Gandhamāda, another monkey; nīla—by the monkey named Nīla; aṅgada—Aṅgada; ṛkṣa—Ṛkṣa; panasa—Panasa; ādibhiḥ—and by other soldiers; anvitaḥ—being surrounded, Lord Rāmacandra; agāt—came in front of (for the sake of fighting).
Lord Rāmacandra, surrounded by Lakṣmaṇa and monkey soldiers like Sugrīva, Hanumān, Gandhamāda, Nīla, Aṅgada, Jāmbavān and Panasa, attacked the soldiers of the Rākṣasas, who were fully equipped with various invincible weapons like swords, lances, bows, prāsas, ṛṣṭis, śakti arrows, khaḍgas and tomaras.
te ’nīkapā raghupater abhipatya sarve
dvandvaṁ varūtham ibha-patti-rathāśva-yodhaiḥ
jaghnur drumair giri-gadeṣubhir aṅgadādyāḥ
te—all of them; anīka-pāḥ—the commanders of the soldiers; raghupateḥ—of Lord Śrī Rāmacandra; abhipatya—chasing the enemy; sarve—all of them; dvandvam—fighting; varūtham—the soldiers of Rāvaṇa; ibha—by elephants; patti—by infantry; ratha—by chariots; aśva—by horses; yodhaiḥ—by such warriors; jaghnuḥ—killed them; drumaiḥ—by throwing big trees; giri—by peaks of mountains; gadā—by clubs; iṣubhiḥ—by arrows; aṅgada-ādyāḥ—all the soldiers of Lord Rāmacandra, headed by Aṅgada and others; sītā—of mother Sītā; abhimarṣa—by the anger; hata—had been condemned; maṅgala—whose auspiciousness; rāvaṇa-īśān—the followers or dependents of Rāvaṇa.
Aṅgada and the other commanders of the soldiers of Rāmacandra faced the elephants, infantry, horses and chariots of the enemy and hurled against them big trees, mountain peaks, clubs and arrows. Thus the soldiers of Lord Rāmacandra killed Rāvaṇa’s soldiers, who had lost all good fortune because Rāvaṇa had been condemned by the anger of mother Sītā.
The soldiers Lord Rāmacandra recruited in the jungle were all monkeys and did not have proper equipment with which to fight the soldiers of Rāvaṇa, for Rāvaṇa’s soldiers were equipped with weapons of modern warfare whereas the monkeys could only throw stones, mountain peaks and trees. It was only Lord Rāmacandra and Lakṣmaṇa who shot some arrows. But because the soldiers of Rāvaṇa were condemned by the curse of mother Sītā, the monkeys were able to kill them simply by throwing stones and trees. There are two kinds of strength—daiva and puruṣākāra. Daiva refers to the strength achieved from the Transcendence, and puruṣākāra refers to the strength organized by one’s own intelligence and power. Transcendental power is always superior to the power of the materialist. Depending on the mercy of the Supreme Lord, one must fight one’s enemies even though one may not be equipped with modern weapons. Therefore Kṛṣṇa instructed Arjuna, mām anusmara yudhya ca: [Bg. 8.7] “Think of Me and fight.” We should fight our enemy to the best of our ability, but for victory we must depend on the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
rakṣaḥ-patiḥ sva-bala-naṣṭim avekṣya ruṣṭa
āruhya yānakam athābhisasāra rāmam
svaḥ-syandane dyumati mātalinopanīte
vibhrājamānam ahanan niśitaiḥ kṣurapraiḥ
rakṣaḥ-patiḥ—the leader of the Rākṣasas, Rāvaṇa; sva-bala-naṣṭim—the destruction of his own soldiers; avekṣya—after observing; ruṣṭaḥ—became very angry; āruhya—riding on; yānakam—his beautiful airplane decorated with flowers; atha—thereafter; abhisasāra—proceeded toward; rāmam—Lord Rāmacandra; svaḥ-syandane—in the celestial chariot of Indra; dyumati—glittering; mātalinā—by Mātali, the chariot driver of Indra; upanīte—having been brought; vibhrājamānam—Lord Rāmacandra, as if brilliantly illuminating; ahanat—Rāvaṇa struck him; niśitaiḥ—very sharp; kṣurapraiḥ—with arrows.
Thereafter, when Rāvaṇa, the king of the Rākṣasas, observed that his soldiers had been lost, he was extremely angry. Thus he mounted his airplane, which was decorated with flowers, and proceeded toward Lord Rāmacandra, who sat on the effulgent chariot brought by Mātali, the chariot driver of Indra. Then Rāvaṇa struck Lord Rāmacandra with sharp arrows.
rāmas tam āha puruṣāda-purīṣa yan naḥ
kāntāsamakṣam asatāpahṛtā śvavat te
tyakta-trapasya phalam adya jugupsitasya
yacchāmi kāla iva kartur alaṅghya-vīryaḥ
rāmaḥ—Lord Rāmacandra; tam—unto him, Rāvaṇa; āha—said; puruṣa-ada-purīṣa—you are the stool of the man-eaters (Rākṣasas); yat—because; naḥ—My; kāntā—wife; asamakṣam—helpless because of My absence; asatā—by you, the most sinful; apahṛtā—was kidnapped; śva-vat—like a dog who takes food from the kitchen in the absence of the proprietor; te—of you; tyakta-trapasya—because you are shameless; phalam adya—I shall give you the result today; jugupsitasya—of you, the most abominable; yacchāmi—I shall punish you; kālaḥ iva—like death; kartuḥ—of you, who are the performer of all sinful activities; alaṅghya-vīryaḥ—but I, being omnipotent, never fail in My attempt.
Lord Rāmacandra said to Rāvaṇa: You are the most abominable of the man-eaters. Indeed, you are like their stool. You resemble a dog, for as a dog steals eatables from the kitchen in the absence of the householder, in My absence you kidnapped My wife, Sītādevī. Therefore as Yamarāja punishes sinful men, I shall also punish you. You are most abominable, sinful and shameless. Today, therefore, I, whose attempt never fails, shall punish you.
Na ca daivāt paraṁ balam: no one can surpass the strength of the Transcendence. Rāvaṇa was so sinful and shameless that he did not know what the result would be of kidnapping mother Sītā, the pleasure potency of Rāmacandra. This is the disqualification of the Rākṣasas. Asatyam apratiṣṭhaṁ te jagad āhur anīśvaram [Bg. 16.8]. The Rākṣasas are unaware that the Supreme Lord is the ruler of the creation. They think that everything has come about by chance or accident and that there is no ruler, king or controller. Therefore the Rākṣasas act independently, as they like, going even so far as to kidnap the goddess of fortune. This policy of Rāvaṇa’s is extremely dangerous for the materialist; indeed, it brings ruin to the materialistic civilization. Nonetheless, because atheists are Rākṣasas, they dare to do things that are most abominable, and thus they are punished without fail. Religion consists of the orders of the Supreme Lord, and one who carries out these orders is religious. One who fails to carry out the Lord’s orders is irreligious, and he is to be punished.
evaṁ kṣipan dhanuṣi sandhitam utsasarja
bāṇaṁ sa vajram iva tad-dhṛdayaṁ bibheda
so ’sṛg vaman daśa-mukhair nyapatad vimānād
dhāheti jalpati jane sukṛtīva riktaḥ
evam—in this way; kṣipan—chastising (Rāvaṇa); dhanuṣi—on the bow; sandhitam—fixed an arrow; utsasarja—released (toward him); bāṇam—the arrow; saḥ—that arrow; vajram iva—like a thunderbolt; tat-hṛdayam—the heart of Rāvaṇa; bibheda—pierced; saḥ—he, Rāvaṇa; asṛk—blood; vaman—vomiting; daśa-mukhaiḥ—through the ten mouths; nyapatat—fell down; vimānāt—from his airplane; hāhā—alas, what happened; iti—thus; jalpati—roaring; jane—when all the people present there; sukṛtī iva—like a pious man; riktaḥ—when the results of his pious activities are finished.
After thus rebuking Rāvaṇa, Lord Rāmacandra fixed an arrow to His bow, aimed at Rāvaṇa, and released the arrow, which pierced Rāvaṇa’s heart like a thunderbolt. Upon seeing this, Rāvaṇa’s followers raised a tumultuous sound, crying, “Alas! Alas! What has happened? What has happened?” as Rāvaṇa, vomiting blood from his ten mouths, fell from his airplane, just as a pious man falls to earth from the heavenly planets when the results of his pious activities are exhausted.
In Bhagavad-gītā (9.21) it is said, kṣīṇe puṇye martya-lokaṁ viśanti: “When the results of their pious activities are exhausted, those who have enjoyed in the heavenly planets fall again to earth.” The fruitive activities of this material world are such that whether one acts piously or impiously one must remain within the material world according to different conditions, for neither pious nor impious actions can relieve one from māyā’s clutches of repeated birth and death. Somehow or other, Rāvaṇa was raised to an exalted position as the king of a great kingdom with all material opulences, but because of his sinful act of kidnapping mother Sītā, all the results of his pious activities were destroyed. If one offends an exalted personality, especially the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one certainly becomes most abominable; bereft of the results of pious activities, one must fall down like Rāvaṇa and other demons. It is therefore advised that one transcend both pious and impious activities and remain in the pure state of freedom from all designations (sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]). When one is fixed in devotional service, he is above the material platform. On the material platform there are higher and lower positions, but when one is above the material platform he is always fixed in a spiritual position (sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate [Bg. 14.26]). Rāvaṇa or those like him may be very powerful and opulent in this material world, but theirs is not a secure position, because, after all, they are bound by the results of their karma (karmaṇā daiva-netreṇa). We should not forget that we are completely dependent on the laws of nature.
“The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by nature.” (Bg. 3.27) One should not be proud of one’s exalted position and act like Rāvaṇa, thinking oneself independent of material nature’s laws.
tato niṣkramya laṅkāyā
mandodaryā samaṁ tatra
tataḥ—thereafter; niṣkramya—coming out; laṅkāyāḥ—from Laṅkā; yātudhānyaḥ—the wives of the Rākṣasas; sahasraśaḥ—by thousands and thousands; mandodaryā—headed by Mandodarī, the wife of Rāvaṇa; samam—with; tatra—there; prarudantyaḥ—crying in lamentation; upādravan—came near (their dead husbands).
Thereafter, all the women whose husbands had fallen in the battle, headed by Mandodarī, the wife of Rāvaṇa, came out of Laṅkā. Continuously crying, they approached the dead bodies of Rāvaṇa and the other Rākṣasas.
svān svān bandhūn pariṣvajya
ruruduḥ susvaraṁ dīnā
ghnantya ātmānam ātmanā
svān svān—their own respective husbands; bandhūn—friends; pariṣvajya—embracing; lakṣmaṇa-iṣubhiḥ—by the arrows of Lakṣmaṇa; arditān—who were killed; ruruduḥ—all the wives cried piteously; su-svaram—it was very sweet to hear; dīnāḥ—very poor; ghnantyaḥ—striking; ātmānam—their breasts; ātmanā—by themselves.
Striking their breasts in affliction because their husbands had been killed by the arrows of Lakṣmaṇa, the women embraced their respective husbands and cried piteously in voices appealing to everyone.
hā hatāḥ sma vayaṁ nātha
kaṁ yāyāc charaṇaṁ laṅkā
hā—alas; hatāḥ—killed; sma—in the past; vayam—all of us; nātha—O protector; loka-rāvaṇa—O husband, who created the crying of so many other people; rāvaṇa—O Rāvaṇa, one who can cause crying of others; kam—unto whom; yāyāt—will go; śaraṇam—shelter; laṅkā—the state of Laṅkā; tvat-vihīnā—being bereft of your good self; para-arditā—being defeated by the enemies.
O my lord, O master! You epitomized trouble for others, and therefore you were called Rāvaṇa. But now that you have been defeated, we also are defeated, for without you the state of Laṅkā has been conquered by the enemy. To whom will it go for shelter?
Rāvaṇa’s wife Mandodarī and the other wives knew very well how cruel a person Rāvaṇa was. The very word “Rāvaṇa” means “one who causes crying for others.” Rāvaṇa continuously caused trouble for others, but when his sinful activities culminated in giving trouble to Sītādevī, he was killed by Lord Rāmacandra.
na vai veda mahā-bhāga
bhavān kāma-vaśaṁ gataḥ
tejo ’nubhāvaṁ sītāyā
yena nīto daśām imām
na—not; vai—indeed; veda—did know; mahā-bhāga—O greatly fortunate one; bhavān—yourself; kāma-vaśam—influenced by lusty desires; gataḥ—having become; tejaḥ—by influence; anubhāvam—as a result of such influence; sītāyāḥ—of mother Sītā; yena—by which; nītaḥ—brought into; daśām—condition; imām—like this (destruction).
O greatly fortunate one, you came under the influence of lusty desires, and therefore you could not understand the influence of mother Sītā. Now, because of her curse, you have been reduced to this state, having been killed by Lord Rāmacandra.
Not only was mother Sītā powerful, but any woman who follows in the footsteps of mother Sītā can also become similarly powerful. There are many instances of this in the history of Vedic literature. Whenever we find a description of ideal chaste women, mother Sītā is among them. Mandodarī, the wife of Rāvaṇa, was also very chaste. Similarly, Draupadī was one of five exalted chaste women. As a man must follow great personalities like Brahmā and Nārada, a woman must follow the path of such ideal women as Sītā, Mandodarī and Draupadī. By staying chaste and faithful to her husband, a woman enriches herself with supernatural power. It is a moral principle that one should not be influenced by lusty desires for another’s wife. Mātṛvat para-dāreṣu: an intelligent person must look upon another’s wife as being like his mother. This is a moral injunction from Cāṇakya-śloka (10).
“One who considers another’s wife as his mother, another’s possessions as a lump of dirt and treats all other living beings as he would himself, is considered to be learned.” Thus Rāvaṇa was condemned not only by Lord Rāmacandra but even by his own wife, Mandodarī. Because she was a chaste woman, she knew the power of another chaste woman, especially such a wife as mother Sītādevī.
kṛtaiṣā vidhavā laṅkā
vayaṁ ca kula-nandana
dehaḥ kṛto ’nnaṁ gṛdhrāṇām
kṛtā—made by you; eṣā—all of this; vidhavā—without a protector; laṅkā—the state of Laṅkā; vayam ca—and us; kula-nandana—O pleasure of the Rākṣasas; dehaḥ—the body; kṛtaḥ—made by you; annam—eatable; gṛdhrāṇām—of the vultures; ātmā—and your soul; naraka-hetave—for going to hell.
O pleasure of the Rākṣasa dynasty, because of you the state of Laṅkā and also we ourselves now have no protector. By your deeds you have made your body fit to be eaten by vultures and your soul fit to go to hell.
One who follows the path of Rāvaṇa is condemned in two ways: his body is fit to be eaten by dogs and vultures, and the soul goes to hell. As stated by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gītā (16.19):
“Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among men, are cast by Me into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac species of life.” Thus the destination of godless atheists such as Rāvaṇa, Hiraṇyakaśipu, Kaṁsa and Dantavakra is a hellish condition of life. Mandodarī, the wife of Rāvaṇa, could understand all this because she was a chaste woman. Although lamenting for the death of her husband, she knew what would happen to his body and soul, for although one cannot see directly with one’s material eyes, one can see with eyes of knowledge (paśyanti jñāna-cakṣuṣaḥ). In Vedic history there are many instances of how one becomes godless and is condemned by the laws of nature.
svānāṁ vibhīṣaṇaś cakre
yad uktaṁ sāmparāyikam
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; svānām—of his own family members; vibhīṣaṇaḥ—Vibhīṣaṇa, the brother of Rāvaṇa and devotee of Lord Rāmacandra; cakre—executed; kosala-indra-anumoditaḥ—approved by the King of Kosala, Lord Rāmacandra; pitṛ-medha-vidhānena—by the funeral ceremony performed by the son after the death of his father or some family member; yat uktam—which have been prescribed; sāmparāyikam—duties to be performed after a person’s death to save him from the path to hell.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Vibhīṣaṇa, the pious brother of Rāvaṇa and devotee of Lord Rāmacandra, received approval from Lord Rāmacandra, the King of Kosala. Then he performed the prescribed funeral ceremonies for his family members to save them from the path to hell.
After giving up the body, one is transferred to another body, but sometimes, if one is too sinful, he is checked from transmigrating to another body, and thus he becomes a ghost. To save a diseased person from ghostly life, the funeral ceremony, or śrāddha ceremony, as prescribed in authorized śāstra, must be performed. Rāvaṇa was killed by Lord Rāmacandra and was destined for hellish life, but by Lord Rāmacandra’s advice, Vibhīṣaṇa, Rāvaṇa’s brother, performed all the duties prescribed in relation to the dead. Thus Lord Rāmacandra was kind to Rāvaṇa even after Rāvaṇa’s death.
tato dadarśa bhagavān
tataḥ—thereafter; dadarśa—saw; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; aśoka-vanika-āśrame—in a small cottage in the forest of Aśoka trees; kṣāmām—very lean and thin; sva-viraha-vyādhim—suffering from the disease of separation from Lord Rāmacandra; śiṁśapā—of the tree known as Siṁśapā; mūlam—the root; āśritām—taking shelter of.
Thereafter, Lord Rāmacandra found Sītādevī sitting in a small cottage beneath the tree named Siṁśapā in a forest of Aśoka trees. She was lean and thin, being aggrieved because of separation from Him.
rāmaḥ priyatamāṁ bhāryāṁ
rāmaḥ—Lord Rāmacandra; priya-tamām—upon His dearmost; bhāryām—wife; dīnām—so poorly situated; vīkṣya—looking; anvakampata—became very compassionate; ātma-sandarśana—when one sees his beloved; āhlāda—an ecstasy of joyful life; vikasat—manifesting; mukha—mouth; paṅkajām—like a lotus.
Seeing His wife in that condition, Lord Rāmacandra was very compassionate. When Rāmacandra came before her, she was exceedingly happy to see her beloved, and her lotuslike mouth showed her joy.
laṅkām āyuś ca kalpāntaṁ
yayau cīrṇa-vrataḥ purīm
āropya—keeping or placing; āruruhe—got up; yānam—on the airplane; bhrātṛbhyām—with His brother Lakṣmaṇa and the commander Sugrīva; hanumat-yutaḥ—accompanied by Hanumān; vibhīṣaṇāya—unto Vibhīṣaṇa, the brother of Rāvaṇa; bhagavān—the Lord; dattvā—gave charge; rakṣaḥ-gaṇa-īśatām—the power to rule over the Rākṣasa population of Laṅkā; laṅkām—the state of Laṅkā; āyuḥ ca—and the duration of life; kalpa-antam—for many, many years, until the end of one kalpa; yayau—returned home; cīrṇa-vrataḥ—finishing the duration of time living in the forest; purīm—to Ayodhyā-purī.
After giving Vibhīṣaṇa the power to rule the Rākṣasa population of Laṅkā for the duration of one kalpa, Lord Rāmacandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead [Bhagavān], placed Sītādevī on an airplane decorated with flowers and then got on the plane Himself. The period for His living in the forest having ended, the Lord returned to Ayodhyā, accompanied by Hanumān, Sugrīva and His brother Lakṣmaṇa.
avakīryamāṇaḥ—being overflooded; su-kusumaiḥ—by fragrant and beautiful flowers; loka-pāla-arpitaiḥ—offered by the princely order; pathi—on the road; upagīyamāna-caritaḥ—being glorified for His uncommon activities; śatadhṛti-ādibhiḥ—by personalities like Lord Brahmā and other demigods; mudā—with great jubilation.
When Lord Rāmacandra returned to His capital, Ayodhyā, He was greeted on the road by the princely order, who showered His body with beautiful, fragrant flowers, while great personalities like Lord Brahmā and other demigods glorified the activities of the Lord in great jubilation.
go-mūtra-yāvakam—eating barley boiled in the urine of a cow; śrutvā—hearing; bhrātaram—His brother Bharata; valkala-ambaram—covered with the bark of trees; mahā-kāruṇikaḥ—the supremely merciful Lord Rāmacandra; atapyat—lamented very much; jaṭilam—wearing matted locks of hair; sthaṇḍile-śayam—lying down on a grass mattress, or kuśāsana.
Upon reaching Ayodhyā, Lord Rāmacandra heard that in His absence His brother Bharata was eating barley cooked in the urine of a cow, covering His body with the bark of trees, wearing matted locks of hair, and lying on a mattress of kuśa. The most merciful Lord very much lamented this.
bharataḥ prāptam ākarṇya
pāduke śirasi nyasya
rāmaṁ pratyudyato ’grajam
brahma-ghoṣeṇa ca muhuḥ
haimaiś citra-dhvajai rathaiḥ
bhṛtyaiś caiva padānugaiḥ
paṇyāny uccāvacāni ca
pādayor nyapatat premṇā
bharataḥ—Lord Bharata; prāptam—coming back home; ākarṇya—hearing; paura—all kinds of citizens; amātya—all the ministers; purohitaiḥ—accompanied by all the priests; pāduke—the two wooden shoes; śirasi—on the head; nyasya—keeping; rāmam—unto Lord Rāmacandra; pratyudyataḥ—going forward to receive; agrajam—His eldest brother; nandigrāmāt—from His residence, known as Nandigrāma; sva-śibirāt—from His own camp; gīta-vāditra—songs and vibrations of drums and other musical instruments; niḥsvanaiḥ—accompanied by such sounds; brahma-ghoṣeṇa—by the sound of chanting of Vedic mantras; ca—and; muhuḥ—always; paṭhadbhiḥ—reciting from the Vedas; brahma-vādibhiḥ—by first-class brāhmaṇas; svarṇa-kakṣa-patākābhiḥ—decorated with flags with golden embroidery; haimaiḥ—golden; citra-dhvajaiḥ—with decorated flags; rathaiḥ—with chariots; sat-aśvaiḥ—having very beautiful horses; rukma—golden; sannāhaiḥ—with harnesses; bhaṭaiḥ—by soldiers; puraṭa-varmabhiḥ—covered with armor made of gold; śreṇībhiḥ—by such a line or procession; vāra-mukhyābhiḥ—accompanied by beautiful, well-dressed prostitutes; bhṛtyaiḥ—by servants; ca—also; eva—indeed; pada-anugaiḥ—by infantry; pārameṣṭhyāni—other paraphernalia befitting a royal reception; upādāya—taking all together; paṇyāni—valuable jewels, etc.; ucca-avacāni—of different values; ca—also; pādayoḥ—at the lotus feet of the Lord; nyapatat—fell down; premṇā—in ecstatic love; praklinna—softened, moistened; hṛdaya—the core of the heart; īkṣaṇaḥ—whose eyes.
When Lord Bharata understood that Lord Rāmacandra was returning to the capital, Ayodhyā, He immediately took upon His own head Lord Rāmacandra’s wooden shoes and came out from His camp at Nandigrāma. Lord Bharata was accompanied by ministers, priests and other respectable citizens, by professional musicians vibrating pleasing musical sounds, and by learned brāhmaṇas loudly chanting Vedic hymns. Following in the procession were chariots drawn by beautiful horses with harnesses of golden rope. These chariots were decorated by flags with golden embroidery and by other flags of various sizes and patterns. There were soldiers bedecked with golden armor, servants bearing betel nut, and many well-known and beautiful prostitutes. Many servants followed on foot, bearing an umbrella, whisks, different grades of precious jewels, and other paraphernalia befitting a royal reception. Accompanied in this way, Lord Bharata, His heart softened in ecstasy and His eyes full of tears, approached Lord Rāmacandra and fell at His lotus feet with great ecstatic love.
pāduke nyasya purataḥ
tam āśliṣya ciraṁ dorbhyāṁ
snāpayan netrajair jalaiḥ
viprebhyo ye ’rha-sattamāḥ
tebhyaḥ svayaṁ namaścakre
prajābhiś ca namaskṛtaḥ
pāduke—the two wooden shoes; nyasya—after placing; purataḥ—before Lord Rāmacandra; prāñjaliḥ—with folded hands; bāṣpa-locanaḥ—with tears in the eyes; tam—unto Him, Bharata; āśliṣya—embracing; ciram—for a long time; dorbhyām—with His two arms; snāpayan—bathing; netra-jaiḥ—coming from His eyes; jalaiḥ—with the water; rāmaḥ—Lord Rāmacandra; lakṣmaṇa-sītābhyām—with Lakṣmaṇa and mother Sītā; viprebhyaḥ—unto the learned brāhmaṇas; ye—also others who; arha-sattamāḥ—worthy of being worshiped; tebhyaḥ—unto them; svayam—personally; namaḥ-cakre—offered respectful obeisances; prajābhiḥ—by the citizens; ca—and; namaḥ-kṛtaḥ—was offered obeisances.
After offering the wooden shoes before Lord Rāmacandra, Lord Bharata stood with folded hands, His eyes full of tears, and Lord Rāmacandra bathed Bharata with tears while embracing Him with both arms for a long time. Accompanied by mother Sītā and Lakṣmaṇa, Lord Rāmacandra then offered His respectful obeisances unto the learned brāhmaṇas and the elderly persons in the family, and all the citizens of Ayodhyā offered their respectful obeisances unto the Lord.
patiṁ vīkṣya cirāgatam
uttarāḥ kosalā mālyaiḥ
kiranto nanṛtur mudā
dhunvantaḥ—waving; uttara-āsaṅgān—the upper cloths covering the body; patim—the Lord; vīkṣya—seeing; cira-āgatam—returned after many years of banishment; uttarāḥ kosalāḥ—the citizens of Ayodhyā; mālyaiḥ kirantaḥ—offering Him garlands; nanṛtuḥ—began to dance; mudā—in great jubilation.
The citizens of Ayodhyā, upon seeing their King return after a long absence, offered Him flower garlands, waved their upper cloths, and danced in great jubilation.
pāduke bharato ’gṛhṇāc
abibhrad aṅgadaḥ khaḍgaṁ
haimaṁ carmarkṣa-rāṇ nṛpa
pāduke—the two wooden shoes; bharataḥ—Lord Bharata; agṛhṇāt—carried; cāmara—whisk; vyajana—fan; uttame—very opulent; vibhīṣaṇaḥ—the brother of Rāvaṇa; sa-sugrīvaḥ—with Sugrīva; śveta-chatram—a white umbrella; marut-sutaḥ—Hanumān, the son of the wind-god; dhanuḥ—the bow; niṣaṅgān—with two quivers; śatrughnaḥ—one of the brothers of Lord Rāmacandra; sītā—mother Sītā; tīrtha-kamaṇḍalum—the waterpot filled with water from holy places; abibhrat—carried; aṅgadaḥ—the monkey commander named Aṅgada; khaḍgam—the sword; haimam—made of gold; carma—shield; ṛkṣa-rāṭ—the King of the Ṛkṣas, Jāmbavān; nṛpa—O King.
O King, Lord Bharata carried Lord Rāmacandra’s wooden shoes, Sugrīva and Vibhīṣaṇa carried a whisk and an excellent fan, Hanumān carried a white umbrella, Śatrughna carried a bow and two quivers, and Sītādevī carried a waterpot filled with water from holy places. Aṅgada carried a sword, and Jāmbavān, King of the Ṛkṣas, carried a golden shield.
puṣpaka-stho nutaḥ strībhiḥ
stūyamānaś ca vandibhiḥ
vireje bhagavān rājan
grahaiś candra ivoditaḥ
puṣpaka-sthaḥ—seated on the airplane made of flowers; nutaḥ—worshiped; strībhiḥ—by the women; stūyamānaḥ—being offered prayers; ca—and; vandibhiḥ—by the reciters; vireje—beautified; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Rāmacandra; rājan—O King Parīkṣit; grahaiḥ—among the planets; candraḥ—the moon; iva—like; uditaḥ—risen.
O King Parīkṣit, as the Lord sat on His airplane of flowers, with women offering Him prayers and reciters chanting about His characteristics, He appeared like the moon with the stars and planets.
bhrātrābhinanditaḥ so ’tha
sotsavāṁ prāviśat purīm
vaidehī lakṣmaṇaś caiva
bhrātrā—by His brother (Bharata); abhinanditaḥ—being welcomed properly; saḥ—He, Lord Rāmacandra; atha—thereafter; sa-utsavām—in the midst of a festival; prāviśat—entered; purīm—the city of Ayodhyā; praviśya—after entering; rāja-bhavanam—the royal palace; guru-patnīḥ—Kaikeyī and other stepmothers; sva-mātaram—His own mother (Kauśalyā); gurūn—the spiritual masters (Śrī Vasiṣṭha and others); vayasya—unto friends of the same age; avara-jān—and those who were younger than He; pūjitaḥ—being worshiped by them; pratyapūjayat—He returned the obeisances; vaidehī—mother Sītā; lakṣmaṇaḥ—Lakṣmaṇa; ca eva—and; yathā-vat—in a befitting way; samupeyatuḥ—being welcomed, entered the palace.
Thereafter, having been welcomed by His brother Bharata, Lord Rāmacandra entered the city of Ayodhyā in the midst of a festival. When He entered the palace, He offered obeisances to all the mothers, including Kaikeyī and the other wives of Mahārāja Daśaratha, and especially His own mother, Kauśalyā. He also offered obeisances to the spiritual preceptors, such as Vasiṣṭha. Friends of His own age and younger friends worshiped Him, and He returned their respectful obeisances, as did Lakṣmaṇa and mother Sītā. In this way they all entered the palace.
putrān sva-mātaras tās tu
prāṇāṁs tanva ivotthitāḥ
bāṣpaughair vijahuḥ śucaḥ
putrān—the sons; sva-mātaraḥ—Their mothers; tāḥ—they, headed by Kauśalyā and Kaikeyī; tu—but; prāṇān—life; tanvaḥ—bodies; iva—like; utthitāḥ—arisen; āropya—keeping; aṅke—on the lap; abhiṣiñcantyaḥ—moistening (the bodies of their sons); bāṣpa—by tears; oghaiḥ—continuously pouring; vijahuḥ—gave up; śucaḥ—lamentation due to separation from their sons.
Upon seeing their sons, the mothers of Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa, Bharata and Śatrughna immediately arose, like unconscious bodies returning to consciousness. The mothers placed their sons on their laps and bathed Them with tears, thus relieving themselves of the grief of long separation.
jaṭā nirmucya vidhivat
kula-vṛddhaiḥ samaṁ guruḥ
jaṭāḥ—the matted locks of hair on the head; nirmucya—shaving clean; vidhi-vat—according to regulative principles; kula-vṛddhaiḥ—the elderly persons in the family; samam—with; guruḥ—the family priest or spiritual master, Vasiṣṭha; abhyaṣiñcat—performed the abhiṣeka ceremony of Lord Rāmacandra; yathā—as; eva—like; indram—unto King Indra; catuḥ-sindhu-jala—with the water of the four oceans; ādibhiḥ—and with other paraphernalia for bathing.
The family priest or spiritual master, Vasiṣṭha, had Lord Rāmacandra cleanly shaved, freeing Him from His matted locks of hair. Then, with the cooperation of the elderly members of the family, he performed the bathing ceremony [abhiṣeka] for Lord Rāmacandra with the water of the four seas and with other substances, just as it was performed for King Indra.
bhrātṛbhir bhāryayā babhau
evam—thus; kṛta-śiraḥ-snānaḥ—having completely bathed, washing the head; su-vāsāḥ—being nicely dressed; sragvi-alaṅkṛtaḥ—being decorated with a garland; su-alaṅkṛtaiḥ—decorated nicely; su-vāsobhiḥ—dressed nicely; bhrātṛbhiḥ—with His brothers; bhāryayā—and with His wife, Sītā; babhau—the Lord became very brilliant.
Lord Rāmacandra, fully bathed and His head clean-shaven, dressed Himself very nicely and was decorated with a garland and ornaments. Thus He shone brightly, surrounded by His brothers and wife, who were similarly dressed and ornamented.
agrahīd āsanaṁ bhrātrā
jugopa pitṛvad rāmo
menire pitaraṁ ca tam
agrahīt—accepted; āsanam—the throne of the state; bhrātrā—by His brother (Bharata); praṇipatya—after fully surrendering unto Him; prasāditaḥ—having been pleased; prajāḥ—and the citizens; sva-dharma-niratāḥ—fully engaged in their respective occupational duties; varṇāśrama—according to the system of varṇa and āśrama; guṇa-anvitāḥ—all of them being qualified in that process; jugopa—the Lord protected them; pitṛ-vat—exactly like a father; rāmaḥ—Lord Rāmacandra; menire—they considered; pitaram—exactly like a father; ca—also; tam—Him, Lord Rāmacandra.
Being pleased by the full surrender and submission of Lord Bharata, Lord Rāmacandra then accepted the throne of the state. He cared for the citizens exactly like a father, and the citizens, being fully engaged in their occupational duties of varṇa and āśrama, accepted Him as their father.
People are very fond of the pattern of Rāma-rājya, and even today politicians sometimes form a party called Rāma-rājya, but unfortunately they have no obedience to Lord Rāma. It is sometimes said that people want the kingdom of God without God. Such an aspiration, however, is never to be fulfilled. Good government can exist when the relationship between the citizens and the government is like that exemplified by Lord Rāmacandra and His citizens. Lord Rāmacandra ruled His kingdom exactly as a father takes care of his children, and the citizens, being obliged to the good government of Lord Rāmacandra, accepted the Lord as their father. Thus the relationship between the citizens and the government should be exactly like that between father and son. When the sons in a family are well trained, they are obedient to the father and mother, and when the father is well qualified, he takes good care of the children. As indicated here by the words sva-dharma-niratā varṇāśrama-guṇān-vitāḥ, the people were good citizens because they accepted the institution of varṇa and āśrama, which arranges society in the varṇa divisions of brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra and the āśrama divisions of brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa. This is actual human civilization. People must be trained according to the different varṇāśrama occupational duties. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (4.13), cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ: the four varṇas must be established according to varying qualities and work. The first principle for good government is that it must institute this varṇāśrama system. The purpose of varṇāśrama is to enable people to become God conscious. Varṇāśramācāravatā puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān viṣṇur ārādhyate. The entire varṇāśrama scheme is intended to enable people to become Vaiṣṇavas. Viṣṇur asya devatā. When people worship Lord Viṣṇu as the Supreme Lord, they become Vaiṣṇavas. Thus people should be trained to become Vaiṣṇavas through the system of varṇa and āśrama, as they were during the reign of Lord Rāmacandra, when everyone was fully trained to follow the varṇāśrama principles.
Simply enforcing laws and ordinances cannot make the citizens obedient and lawful. That is impossible. Throughout the entire world there are so many states, legislative assemblies and parliaments, but still the citizens are rogues and thieves. Good citizenship, therefore, cannot be enforced; the citizens must be trained. As there are schools and colleges to train students to become chemical engineers, lawyers or specialists in many other departments of knowledge, there must be schools and colleges to train students to become brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas, śūdras, brahmacārīs, gṛhasthas, vānaprasthas and sannyāsīs. This will provide the preliminary condition for good citizenship (varṇāśrama-guṇān-vitāḥ). Generally speaking, if the king or president is a rājarṣi, the relationship between the citizens and the chief executive will be clear, and there will be no possibility of disruption in the state, because the number of thieves and rogues will decrease. In Kali-yuga, however, because the varṇāśrama system is neglected, people are generally thieves and rogues. In the system of democracy, such thieves and rogues naturally collect money from other thieves and rogues, and thus there is chaos in every government, and no one is happy. But here the example of good government is to be found in the reign of Lord Rāmacandra. If people follow this example, there will be good government all over the world.
kālaḥ kṛta-samo ’bhavat
rāme rājani dharma-jñe
tretāyām—in the Tretā-yuga; vartamānāyām—although situated in that period; kālaḥ—the period; kṛta—with Satya-yuga; samaḥ—equal; abhavat—it so became; rāme—because of Lord Rāmacandra’s being present; rājani—as the ruling king; dharma-jñe—because He was fully religious; sarva-bhūta—of all living entities; sukha-āvahe—giving full happiness.
Lord Rāmacandra became King during Tretā-yuga, but because of His good government, the age was like Satya-yuga. Everyone was religious and completely happy.
Among the four yugas—Satya, Tretā, Dvāpara and Kali—the Kali-yuga is the worst, but if the process of varṇāśrama-dharma is introduced, even in this age of Kali, the situation of Satya-yuga can be invoked. The Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, is meant for this purpose.
“My dear King, although Kali-yuga is full of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.” (Bhāg. 12.3.51) If people take to this saṅkīrtana movement of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Rāma, they will certainly be freed from the contamination of Kali-yuga, and the people of this age will be happy, as people were in Satya-yuga, the golden age. Anyone, anywhere, can easily take to this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement; one need only chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, observe the rules and regulations, and stay free from the contamination of sinful life. Even if one is sinful and cannot give up sinful life immediately, if he chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra with devotion and faith he will certainly be freed from all sinful activities, and his life will be successful. Paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam. This is the blessing of Lord Rāmacandra, who has appeared in this age of Kali as Lord Gaurasundara.
vanāni nadyo girayo
sarve kāma-dughā āsan
vanāni—the forests; nadyaḥ—the rivers; girayaḥ—the hills and mountains; varṣāṇi—various parts of the states or divisions on the surface of the earth; dvīpa—islands; sindhavaḥ—the oceans and seas; sarve—all of them; kāma-dughāḥ—full of their respective opulences; āsan—existed like that; prajānām—of all the living beings; bharata-ṛṣabha—O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, best of the Bharata dynasty.
O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, best of the Bharata dynasty, during the reign of Lord Rāmacandra the forests, the rivers, the hills and mountains, the states, the seven islands and the seven seas were all favorable in supplying the necessities of life for all living beings.
mṛtyuś cānicchatāṁ nāsīd
rāme rājany adhokṣaje
na—not; ādhi—adhyātmika, adhibhautika and adhidaivika sufferings (that is, sufferings from the body and mind, from other living entities and from nature); vyādhi—diseases; jarā—old age; glāni—bereavement; duḥkha—grief; śoka—lamentation; bhaya—fear; klamāḥ—and fatigue; mṛtyuḥ—death; ca—also; anicchatām—of those who did not like it; na āsīt—there was not; rāme—during the rule of Lord Rāmacandra; rājani—because of His being the king; adhokṣaje—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is beyond this material world.
When Lord Rāmacandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was the King of this world, all bodily and mental suffering, disease, old age, bereavement, lamentation, distress, fear and fatigue were completely absent. There was even no death for those who did not want it.
All these facilities existed because of Lord Rāmacandra’s presence as the King of the entire world. A similar situation could be introduced immediately, even in this age called Kali, the worst of all ages. It is said, kali-kāle nāma-rūpe kṛṣṇa-avatāra: Kṛṣṇa descends in this Kali-yuga in the form of His holy name—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Rāma. If we chant offenselessly, Rāma and Kṛṣṇa are still present in this age. The kingdom of Rāma was immensely popular and beneficial, and the spreading of this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement can immediately introduce a similar situation, even in this Kali-yuga.
śikṣayan svayam ācarat
eka-patnī-vrata-dharaḥ—taking a vow not to accept a second wife or to have any connection with any other woman; rāja-ṛṣi—like a saintly king; caritaḥ—whose character; śuciḥ—pure; sva-dharmam—one’s own occupational duty; gṛha-medhīyam—especially of persons situated in household life; śikṣayan—teaching (by personal behavior); svayam—personally; ācarat—executed His duty.
Lord Rāmacandra took a vow to accept only one wife and have no connection with any other women. He was a saintly king, and everything in His character was good, untinged by qualities like anger. He taught good behavior for everyone, especially for householders, in terms of varṇāśrama-dharma. Thus He taught the general public by His personal activities.
Eka-patnī-vrata, accepting only one wife, was the glorious example set by Lord Rāmacandra. One should not accept more than one wife. In those days, of course, people did marry more than one wife. Even Lord Rāmacandra’s father accepted more wives than one. But Lord Rāmacandra, as an ideal king, accepted only one wife, mother Sītā. When mother Sītā was kidnapped by Rāvaṇa and the Rākṣasas, Lord Rāmacandra, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, could have married hundreds and thousands of Sītās, but to teach us how faithful He was to His wife, He fought with Rāvaṇa and finally killed him. The Lord punished Rāvaṇa and rescued His wife to instruct men to have only one wife. Lord Rāmacandra accepted only one wife and manifested sublime character, thus setting an example for householders. A householder should live according to the ideal of Lord Rāmacandra, who showed how to be a perfect person. Being a householder or living with a wife and children is never condemned, provided one lives according to the regulative principles of varṇāśrama-dharma. Those who live in accordance with these principles, whether as householders, brahmacārīs or vānaprasthas, are all equally important.
bhiyā hriyā ca bhāva-jñā
bhartuḥ sītāharan manaḥ
premṇā anuvṛttyā—because of service rendered to the husband with love and faith; śīlena—by such good character; praśraya-avanatā—always very submissive and ready to satisfy the husband; satī—chaste; bhiyā—by being afraid; hriyā—by shyness; ca—also; bhāva-jñā—understanding the attitude (of the husband); bhartuḥ—of her husband, Lord Rāmacandra; sītā—mother Sītā; aharat—simply captivated; manaḥ—the mind.
Mother Sītā was very submissive, faithful, shy and chaste, always understanding the attitude of her husband. Thus by her character and her love and service she completely attracted the mind of the Lord.
As Lord Rāmacandra is the ideal husband (eka-patnī-vrata), mother Sītā is the ideal wife. Such a combination makes family life very happy. Yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas tat tad evetaro janaḥ: whatever example a great man sets, common people follow. If the kings, the leaders, and the brāhmaṇas, the teachers, would set forth the examples we receive from Vedic literature, the entire world would be heaven; indeed, there would no longer be hellish conditions within this material world.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Ninth Canto, Tenth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The Pastimes of the Supreme Lord, Rāmacandra.”
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