श्री राम, सीता, लक्ष्मण का तापसों के आश्रम मंडल में सत्कार >> अरण्य-काण्ड



Rama, Seetha, and Lakshmana enter the great forest called Dandaka Forest and adore the eminent sages, who are in penance and hermitages in that forest. This canto is named as Aranya Kanda not just to show that Rama roved over just forests. The forests, as per Indian tradition, are the treasure houses of knowledge, and they are the ultimate in Vedic culture.
Thus, until Ayodhya Kanda Rama's exile is in aaryavarta , the place of noblemen, from River Ganges to Greece. Now Rama is stepping into an area called janasthana,meaning people's place. This janasthana is the place where Rama eradicated certain negative aspects of the then anarchic individualised dominions where jungle law was the only recourse and brought all of them under one roof. Though people lived there about along with sages and demons as well, demonic influence is said to be predominant, as per Ramayana or other Purana-s. These demons are narrated to be man-eaters, but not cannibals who eat their own tribesmen.Recent discoveries revealed that the first humans were cannibals.
The Science magazine reported about the excavations at Neanderthals Neander Valley, Germany. In the words of Alban Defleur of the Universite de la Mediterranee at Masrseilles, France, "The finding allows us for the first time to demonstrate the existence of the practice of cannibalism by European eanderthals." It is not clear from the excavations of Neanderthals, whether the cannibalism was practised for survival or as a ritual.And even at Alveston in the western English country of Gloucestershire, recently found are such human thighbones, which had been split down the middle to remove marrow. Archaeologists of Bristol University are saying that the evidence indicated the victims could have been disabled and deformed people in society. They have been murdered and eaten, and the radiocarbon dating suggests these finds are about 2000 years ago. This practice is attributed to some underworld cults during the later Iron Age. That being the situation in Europe, in the knowable history, in Ramayana that has happened in an unknown era, the rakshasa-s are narrated to be man-eaters, but not as cannibals.But the accounts given in Aranya Kanda and elsewhere, in ancient India the rakshasa-s ate up humans neither for their own survival nor for ritual but to exhibit their tyranny and their barbaric supremacy. They never reported to have eaten their own clansmen, but have a palate for other breed. Hence it is not exactly cannibalism, but a barbaric act to exert savage scare. This is what the sages advise Rama, Seetha and Lakshmana when departing towards Dandaka Aranya, and indirectly suggest eradicating such a savage atmosphere in peaceful forests.
When it comes to isms , it is said that the whole clash is between Vaishnavaites and Shaivites or Shaaktaites , because the raakshasa-s are invariably Shiva worshippers, where Vaishnavism is a later development. All the raakshasa-s or demons [in fact the term 'demon' do not suit them,] portrayed hereafter, are ardent worshippers of Shiva, and have every blessing from Shiva or Brahma. It is an ethnicity of its own which lived rich lives, pompous in attributes, wielded magical powers, and unabatedly performed anything that is beneficial for them.Their riches and glory will be reflected in Sundara Kanda, which will be burnt down by Hanuma, humbling this deleterious ethnicity, even before Rama's war with Ravana. Such an ethnic culture will be portrayed hereafter, in constant conflict with Rama, and Rama eradicating each and every member of such ethnicity that goes against any civility.
It is said that Rama performed diina jana rakshana in this Aranya Kaanda, Miserable People's Protection and mitra jana rakshana in the next canto Kishkindha Kaanda, i.e., Friendly People's Protection. The janasthana is the unexplored area by the then people of aaryavarta, where the raakshasa ethnicity prevailed and which certainly resisted any outside influences or culture, and which is why they are called raakshasa-s. The word raksha means protection, and they protect their own culture and ethnicity, and if any outsiders to join them, they shall be subservient.For e.g., Ravana does not tolerate the insult meted out by his sister Shuurpanakha at the hands of Lakshmana.Ravana, though persuaded by Maareecha not to encounter Rama, does not listen to any advises but wished to abduct Seetha, because he wanted to possess that beautiful woman, like all other beautiful, pompous objects like Kubera's wealth, Lanka, the golden city and Pushpaka aircraft etc. Ravana even baits Seetha with queen-hood, if only she subjugates to him, and all these dictatorial aspects reveal the pride and vanity of Rakshasa culture. But the term 'demon' used in paucity of equivalent term may not be taken to mean just as a wicked demon or a devil, but a powerful antagonistic culture or ethnic dominions of Rakshasas, in Janasthana.
Rama does much good in jansthana in wiping out those cultures of greedily dictatorial, magically overpowering, and ruinous to other forms of civility. In fact this Aranya Kanda is not explained in vivid terms by the ancient commentators, and if things are probed deeper in this book, Aranya Kanda, Rama did more social work than miracles.Hence much can be explored into this Aranya Kaanda, the Book of Forest, in terms of sociological, demographically and ethnological pursuits of Rama to establish one great orderly civil empire under one emperor, that is what we call Rama Raajya. Further, it will be narrated that Rama killed these Rakshasas in thousands, which is objected by materialists as how can an archer eliminate so many thousands of Rakshasas, with just a bow and arrows.It may be remembered that Sage Viswamitra accords many kinds of missiles to Rama, after the killing of Tataka, the demoness, in Bala Kanda.It may not be surprising for this generation to know that a single trigger can create havoc of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, and then in all its probability Rama also might have triggered in the same way, with the missiles endowed by Sage Viswamitra.
ॐ शान्ति शान्ति शान्तिः
प्रविश्य तु महारण्यम् दण्डकारण्यम् आत्मवान् |
रामो ददर्श दुर्धर्ष तापस आश्रम मण्डलम् || ३-१-१
On entering the impenetrable Dandaka forest that courageous and unassailable Rama saw a clusters of hermitages of sages. [3-1-1]
कुश चीर परिक्षिप्तम् ब्राह्ंया लक्ष्ंया समावृतम् |
यथा प्रदीप्तम् दुर्दर्शम् गगने सूर्य मण्डलम् || ३-१-२
Overspread with Darbha, the sacred grass, and jute clothing, well pervaded with Vedic splendour and well glowing like the un-seeable solar arena in the sky, with naked eye. [3-1-2]
शरण्यम् सर्व भूतानाम् सु संमृष्ट अजिरम् सदा |
मृगैः बहुभिः आकीर्णम् पक्षि सन्घैः समावृतम् || ३-१-३
Those hermitages have well-tidied thresholds on all sides, dense with many deer and teemed with many groups of birds, and they are the recourse for all living beings. [3-1-3]
पूजितम् च उपनृत्तम् च नित्यम् अप्सरसाम् गणैः |
विशालैः अग्नि शरणैः स्रुक् भाण्डैः अजिनैः कुशैः || ३-१-४
समिद्भिः तोय कलशैः फल मूलैः च शोभितम् |
आरण्यैः च महा वृक्षैः पुण्यैः स्वादु फलैर् वृतम् || ३-१-५
Those hermitages are always adored by groups of apsarasa-s with their continued dancing, their Holy Fireplaces are very broad, and are with oblation items, vessels, deerskins and sacred grass, and they are beaming forth with gigantic trees that yield sacred and palatable fruits, and with ritual fuels, and water vessels, tubers and fruits. [3-1-4, 5]
बलि होम अर्चितम् पुण्यम् ब्रह्म घोष निनादितम् |
पुष्पैः च अन्यैः परिक्षिप्तम् पद्मिन्या च स पद्मया || ३-१-६
Those hermitages are sacrosanct for Ritual fire is being worshiped with fire-oblations and sacrifices to the reverberating Vedic sounds, and they are enwrapped with lotus ponds with lotuses, and even with flowers of forest. [3-1-6]
फलमूल अशनैः दान्तैः चीर कृष्णाजिन अम्बरैः |
सूर्य वैश्वानर आभैः च पुराणैः मुनिभिर् युतम् || ३-१-७
They have age-old saints with controlled senses who are clad in jute cloths and deerskin, and who subsist on fruits and tubers alone, ye their resplendence is like that that of the Sun-god or the Fire-god. [3-1-7]
पुण्यैः च नियत आहारैः शोभितम् परम ऋषिभिः |
तत् ब्रह्म भवन प्रख्यम् ब्रह्म घोष निनादितम् || ३-१-८
Rama has seen such a cluster of hermitages that is glistening forth just by the presence of holy saints whose sustenance is constrained, and that hermitage is distinctive like Brahma's abode, reverberating with the sounds of that Brahma's Vedic chants alone. [3-1-8]
ब्रह्म विद्भिः महा भागैः ब्राह्मणैः उपशोभितम् |
तत् दृष्ट्वा राघवः श्रीमान् तापस आश्रम मण्डलम् || ३-१-९
अभ्यगच्छत् महातेजा विज्यम् कृत्वा महद् धनुः |
That glorious and great resplendent Rama on seeing those precincts of hermitage that is graced with highly blest Brahmans, the knowers of Brahma, neared it, unstringing the bowstring of his great bow. [3-1-9-10a]
दिव्य ज्ञान उपपन्नाः ते रामम् दृष्ट्वा महर्षयः || ३-१-१०
अभिजग्मुः तदा प्रीता वैदेहीम् च यशस्विनीम् |
Those great sages, the possessors of divine knowledge, are gladdened on seeing Rama and illustrious Seetha, and they moved towards them welcomingly. [3-1-10-11a]
ते तु सोमम् इव उद्यन्तम् दृष्ट्वा वै धर्मचारिणम् || ३-१-११
लक्ष्मणम् च एव दृष्ट्वा तु वैदेहीम् च यशश्विनीम् |
मङ्गलानि प्रयुञ्जानाः प्रत्यगृह्णान् दृढ व्रताः || ३-१-१२
But those sages who are austerely committed to vows, on their seeing Rama, the treader on the path of rectitude, and who is now arising like moon, and at Lakshmana and at glorious Seetha as well, rendered Vedic blessings and welcomed the trio. [3-1-11a-12]
रूप संहननम् लक्ष्मीम् सौकुमार्यम् सुवेषताम् |
ददृशुर् विस्मित आकारा रामस्य वन वासिनः || ३-१-१३
Those forest-dwelling sages saw the physical built, its augustness and gracefulness, and his fine attire remaining in astonished postures. [3-1-13]
वैदेहीम् लक्ष्मणम् रामम् नेत्रैर् अनिमिषैर् इव |
आश्चर्य भूतान् ददृशुः सर्वे ते वन वासिनः || ३-१-१४
The forest-dwellers saw Seetha, Lakshmana and Rama, without a wink on their own eyes, as that trio is causing surprise with their arrival.

Or

The forest-dwellers saw Rama, Seetha, and Lakshmana without a wink on their own eyes [like celestial beings, who do not have the winking property on their eyes like living beings,] as their arrival is causing surprise.

Or

The forest-dwellers saw Rama, Seetha, and Lakshmana without a wink on their own eyes [as though the Vishnu along with Goddess Lakshmi and Thousand headed-serpent, aadi sheSha are coming from their abode vaikunTha to this hermitage, for this hermitage is like Brahma's abode, as already said, thus the sages lost their wink. And loosing any single wink will loose the sight of these divinities from vaikunTha; hence their unannounced arrival caused surprise in them, which further caused a wink-less state [3-1-14]
अत्र एनम् हि महाभागाः सर्व भूत हिते रताः |
अतिथिम् पर्णशालायाम् राघवम् संन्यवेशयन् || ३-१-१५
Those august sages that are interested in the well being of all beings have indeed accommodated Rama in that hermitage, as Rama is their guest a priori. [3-1-15]
ततो रामस्य सत्कृत्य विधिना पावक उपमाः |
आजह्रुः ते महाभागाः सलिलम् धर्मचारिणः || ३-१-१६
Then those august sages who are similar to sacred fire in glow have procedurally accorded guestship to Rama, and fetched water for him. [3-1-17]
मंगलानि प्रयुञ्जाना मुदा परमया युता |
मूलम् पुष्पम् फलम् सर्वम् आश्रमम् च महात्मनः || ३-१-१७
निवेदयीत्वा धर्मज्ञाः ते तु प्रांजलयोऽब्रुवन् |
On sounding out Vedic blessings those virtuous sages have offered flowers, fruits and tubers, and even the entire hermitage to that great soul Rama, and then with their palms adjoined. [3-1-17-18a]
धर्मपालो जनस्य अस्य शरण्यः च महायशाः || ३-१-१८
पूजनीयः च मान्यः च राजा दण्डधरो गुरुः |
"The king will have great renown for he is the ruler of the righteousness of these people, a protector, a respectable and adorable one, and as he wields the sceptre of justice, he is a revered one too... [3-1-18-19a]
इन्द्रस्य एव चतुर्भागः प्रजा रक्षति राघव || ३-१-१९
राजा तस्माद् वरान् भोगान् रंयान् भुङ्क्ते नमस्कृतः |
"The fourth part of Indra is the protector of people, called the king, and hence Oh! Raghava, the king is hailed, and hence he enjoys best and delightful fortune... [3-1-19b-20a]
ते वयम् भवता रक्ष्या भवद् विषय वासिनः |
नगरस्थो वनस्थो वा त्वम् नः राजा जनेश्वरः || ३-१-२०
"You alone have to protect us as we are the subjects living in your kingdom..May you be in the capital... or in the forest...you are our king... [3-1-20b,c]
न्यस्त दण्डा वयम् राजन् जित क्रोधा जितेन्द्रियाः |
रक्षणीयाः त्वया शश्वद् गर्भ भूताः तपोधनाः || ३-१-२१
"We gave-up punishments, either physically or by the power of curses, conquered are our anger and senses, and our ascesis is the only wealth of ours, thus oh! King, we are to be protected by you, like the foetus inside a womb... [3-1-21]
एवम् उक्त्वा फलैर् मूलैः पुष्पैर् अन्यैः च राघवम् |
वन्यैः च विविध आहारैः स लक्ष्मणम् अपूजयन् || ३-१-२२
Thus saying they worshipped Raghava along with Lakshmana, on giving fruits, tubers, flowers and other varieties of forest foods. [3-1-22]
तथाऽन्ये तापसाः सिद्धा रामम् वैश्वानर उपमाः |
न्याय वृत्ता यथा न्यायम् तर्पयामासुर् ईश्वरम् || ३-१-२३
Thus other saints and sages who are the followers of the virtue, and similar to the Sacred Fire adored Rama, the king, according to the wont of custom. [3-1-23]
इति वाल्मीकि रामायणे आदि काव्ये अरण्य काण्डे प्रथमः सर्गः

Thus, this is the 1st chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.