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The multitude that had caused Rama in his journey to the forest wake up to find Rama and his associates gone. They begin to rebuke themselves. Overwhelmed with grief, they hunt up to tracks of Rama's chariot. Being unable to find the tracks, they helplessly return to Ayodhya in sheer despair.
प्रभातायाम् तु शर्वर्याम् पौराः ते राघवो विना |
शोक उपहत निश्चेष्टा बभूवुर् हत चेतसः || २-४७-१
As the night was beginning to become dawn, those citizens relinquished by Raghava were perplexed with grief and became motionless.
शोकज अश्रु परिद्यूना वीक्षमाणाः ततः ततः |
आलोकम् अपि रामस्य न पश्यन्ति स्म दुह्खिताः || २-४७-२
Made miserable with tears born of anguish and agony, they could not notice even a glimmer of Rama, though casting their eyes everywhere.
ते विषादार्तवदना रहितास्तेन धिमता |
कृपणाः करुणा वाचो वदन्ति स्म मनस्विनः || २-४७-३
Their faces distorted with sorrow, deprived as they were of sagacious Rama and therefore non-pulsed, the citizens broke into piteous exclamations, saying:-
धिगस्तु खलु निद्राम् ताम् ययापहृतचेतसः |
नाद्य पश्यामहे रामम् पृथूरस्कम् महाभुजम् || २-४७-४
"Cursed be to that slumber, rendered unconscious, by which we could not behold today that mighty armed Rama with a broad chest."
कथम् नाम महाबाहुः स तथाऽवितथक्रियः |
भक्तम् जनम् परित्यज्य प्रवासम् राघवो गतः || २-४७-५
"How that Rama the strong armed, whose actions are never ineffectual, leave for exile, abandoning his devoted citizens?"
यो नः सदा पालयति पिता पुत्रानिवौरसान् |
कथम् रघूणाम् स श्रेष्ठस्त्यक्त्वा नो विपिनम् गतः || २-४७-६
"How did the chief of Raghus, who protected us ever, like a father the children born of his loins, could proceed to the forest, leaving us?"
इहैव निधनम् यामो महाप्रस्थानमेव वा |
रामेण रहितानाम् हि किमर्थम् जीवितम् हि नः || २-४७-७
"Let us have recourse to death here itself, or definitely set out for a grand journey ( to the north with a resolve to die). For what purpose can life be good for us, separated as we are from Rama?"
सन्ति शुष्काणि काष्ठानि प्रभूतानि महान्ति च |
तैः प्रज्वाल्य चिताम् सर्वे प्रविशामोऽथ पावकम् || २-४७-८
" Or there are a number of big dry logs of wood here. Lighting a funeral fire out of them, let us all enter the fire."
किम् व्ख्स्यामो महाबाहुरनसूयः प्रियम्वद |
नीतः स राघवोऽस्माभिर्ति वक्तुम् कथम् क्षमम् || २-४७-९
"What shall we say to our fellow citizens? �The great armed Rama who is free from egoism and who speaks kindly ( to all ) has been conveyed to the forest by us!' How can we say so?"
सा नूनम् नगरी दीना दृष्ट्वाऽस्मान् राघवम् विना |
भविष्यति निरानन्दा सस्त्रीबालवयोधिका || २-४७-१०
"Seeing us returning without Rama, that city of Ayodhya, already desolate, will with its women, children and the aged, become even deeply cheerless."
निर्यातास्तेन वीरेण सह नित्यम् जितात्मना |
विहिनास्तेन च पुनः कथम् पश्याम ताम् पुरीम् || २-४७-११
"Having left the city thus with that hero, the conqueror of one's own self, how can we look on that city again without him?"
इतीव बहुधा वाचो बाहुमुद्यम्य ते जनाः |
विलपन्तिस्म दुःखर्ता विवत्सा इव धेनवः || २-४७-१२
Uplifting their arms , those men stricken with anguish, like cows bereft of their calves, lamented in various ways as above.
ततः मार्ग अनुसारेण गत्वा किंचित् क्षणम् पुनः
मार्ग नाशात् विषादेन महता समभिप्लुतः || २-४७-१३
Then, proceeding to some distance along the tracks for a while, they were overwhelmed with great despair again due to sudden disappearance of tracks.
रथस्य मार्ग नाशेन न्यवर्तन्त मनस्विनः |
किम् इदम् किम् करिष्यामः दैवेन उपहताइति || २-४७-१४
The good-natured citizens, due to disappearance of the tracks of the chariot, returned to Ayodhya, saying thus, " How is it? What shall we do? We are afflicted by providence"
ततः यथा आगतेन एव मार्गेण क्लान्त चेतसः |
अयोध्याम् अगमन् सर्वे पुरीम् व्यथित सज्जनाम् || २-४७-१५
Therafter, all of them with aggrieved hearts went to the city of Ayodhya, which was comprising of virtuous people with distress, by the same path on which they had come.
आलोक्य नगरीम् ताम् च क्षयव्याकुलमानसाः |
आवर्तयन्त त्ऽश्रूणि नयनैः शोकपीडितैः || २-४७-१६
Beholding the city, they shed tears through their eyes stricken as they were in grief , their minds distressed through cheerlessness.
एषा रामेण नगरी रहिता नातिशोभते |
आपगा गरुडेनेव ह्रदादुद्धृतपन्नगा || २-४७-१७
Bereft of Rama, the aforesaid city of Ayodhya was not any more enchanting than a river whose snakes were uplifted from its pool by Garuda.
चन्द्रहीनमिवाकाशम् तोयहीनमिवार्णवम् |
अपश्यन्निहतानन्दम् नगरम् ते विचेतसः || २-४७-१८
As the sky without the moon or the sea without the water, these disconcerted men beheld the city from which all joy had fled.
ते तानि वेश्मानि महाधनानि |
दुःखेन दुःखोपहता विशन्तः |
नैव प्रजज्ञुः स्वजनम् जनम् वा |
निरीक्षमाणाः प्रविणष्टहर्षाः || २-४७-१९
Entering their houses full of abundant riches with uneasiness, the citizens could not distinguish between their own people and others, even though being looked at, stricken as they were with grief, their joy having altogether extinguished.
इति वाल्मीकि रामायणे आदि काव्ये अयोध्य काण्डे एकचत्वारिंशः सर्गः