Śrī Rāma’s visit to Janaka’s garden; Rāma and Sītā catch sight of each other
uṭhē lakhana nisi bigata suni arunasikhā dhuni kāna..
gura tēṃ pahilēhiṃ jagatapati jāgē rāmu sujāna..226.. [1-226]
Towards the close of night, at the sound of cook-crow, got up Lakṣmaṇa. The Lord of the universe, the all-wise Śrī Rāma, also woke before His preceptor.
sakala sauca kari jāi nahāē. nitya nibāhi munihi sira nāē..
samaya jāni gura āyasu pāī. lēna prasūna calē dōu bhāī.. [1-226-1]
bhūpa bāgu bara dēkhēu jāī. jahaom basaṃta ritu rahī lōbhāī..
lāgē biṭapa manōhara nānā. barana barana bara bēli bitānā.. [1-226-2]
nava pallava phala sumāna suhāē. nija saṃpati sura rūkha lajāē..
cātaka kōkila kīra cakōrā. kūjata bihaga naṭata kala mōrā.. [1-226-3]
madhya bāga saru sōha suhāvā. mani sōpāna bicitra banāvā..
bimala salilu sarasija bahuraṃgā. jalakhaga kūjata guṃjata bhṛṃgā.. [1-226-4]
Having performed all the customary acts of purification, they went and finished their ablutions; and having gone through their daily routine of devotions etc., they bowed before the sage. When the time came, the two brothers took leave of the preceptor and went out to gather flowers. Having gone out they saw the lovely royal garden, enamoured of whose beauty the vernal season had taken its permanent abode there. It was planted with charming trees of various kinds and overhung with beautiful creepers of different colours. Rich in fresh leaf, fruit and flower they put to shame even kalpavṛkṣa trees by their affluence. The feathered choir of the Cātakas, cuckoos, parrots and Cakoras warbled and peacocks beautifully danced. In the centre of the garden a lovely lake shone bright with flights of steps made of many-coloured gems. Its limpid water contained lotuses of various colours and was vocal with the cooing of aquatic birds and the humming of bees.
bāgu taḍaāgu bilōki prabhu haraṣē baṃdhu samēta.
parama ramya ārāmu yahu jō rāmahi sukha dēta..227.. [1-227]
Both the Lord and His brother were delighted to behold the garden with its lake. Most lovely must have been that garden which delighted even Śrī Rāma (lit., the delighter of all) !
cahu disi citai pūomchi māligana. lagē lēna dala phūla mudita mana..
tēhi avasara sītā tahaom āī. girijā pūjana janani paṭhāī.. [1-227-1]
saṃga sakhīṃ saba subhaga sayānī. gāvahiṃ gīta manōhara bānī..
sara samīpa girijā gṛha sōhā. barani na jāi dēkhi manu mōhā.. [1-227-2]
majjanu kari sara sakhinha samētā. gaī mudita mana gauri nikētā..
pūjā kīnhi adhika anurāgā. nija anurūpa subhaga baru māgā.. [1-227-3]
ēka sakhī siya saṃgu bihāī. gaī rahī dēkhana phulavāī..
tēhi dōu baṃdhu bilōkē jāī. prēma bibasa sītā pahiṃ āī.. [1-227-4]
After looking all about, and with the consent of the gardeners, the two brothers began in high glee to gather leaves and flowers. On that very occasion Sītā too arrived there, having been sent by Her mother to worship Girijā. She was accompanied by Her girl-companions, who were all lovely and intelligent. They sang melodies in an enchanting voice. Close to the lake stood a temple, sacred to Girijā, which was beautiful beyond description, and captivated the mind of those who looked at it. Having taken a dip into the lake with Her companions, Sītā went with a glad heart to Girijā’s temple. She offered worship with great devotion and begged of the Goddess a handsome match worthy of Her. One of Her companions had strayed away from Her in order to have a look at the garden. She chanced to behold the two brothers and returned to Sītā overwhelmed with love.
tāsu dasā dēkhi sakhinha pulaka gāta jalu naina.
kahu kāranu nija haraṣa kara pūchahi saba mṛdu baina..228.. [1-228]
When her companions saw her condition, her body thrilling all over and her eyes full of tears, they all asked her in gentle tones, “Tell us what gladdens your heart.”
dēkhana bāgu kuaomra dui āē. baya kisōra saba bhāomti suhāē..
syāma gaura kimi kahauṃ bakhānī. girā anayana nayana binu bānī.. [1-228-1]
suni haraṣīṃ saba sakhīṃ sayānī. siya hiyaom ati utakaṃṭhā jānī..
ēka kahai nṛpasuta tēi ālī. sunē jē muni saomga āē kālī.. [1-228-2]
jinha nija rūpa mōhanī ḍārī. kīnha svabasa nagara nara nārī..
baranata chabi jahaom tahaom saba lōgū. avasi dēkhiahiṃ dēkhana jōgū.. [1-228-3]
tāsu vacana ati siyahi suhānē. darasa lāgi lōcana akulānē..
calī agra kari priya sakhi sōī. prīti purātana lakhai na kōī.. [1-228-4]
“Two princes have come to see the garden, both of tender age and charming in everyway, one dark of hue and the other fair; how shall I describe them ? For speech is sightless, while the eyes are mute.” All the clever maidens were delighted to hear this. Perceiving the intense longing in Sītā’s bosom one of them said, “They must be the two princes, my dear, who, I was told, arrived yesterday with the sage (Viśvāmitra), and who have captivated the heart of men and women of the city by casting the spell of their beauty. All are talking of their loveliness here, there and everywhere. We must see them, for they are worth seeing.” The words of this damsel highly pleased Sītā; Her eyes were restless for the sight of the princes. With that kind friend to lead the way She followed; no one knew that Hers was an old love.
sumiri sīya nārada bacana upajī prīti punīta..
cakita bilōkati sakala disi janu sisu mṛgī sabhīta..229.. [1-229]
Recollecting Nārada’s words She was filled with innocent love; and with anxious eyes She gazed all round like a startled fawn
kaṃkana kiṃkini nūpura dhuni suni. kahata lakhana sana rāmu hṛdayaom guni..
mānahu madana duṃdubhī dīnhī..manasā bisva bijaya kahaom kīnhī.. [1-229-1]
asa kahi phiri citaē tēhi ōrā. siya mukha sasi bhaē nayana cakōrā..
bhaē bilōcana cāru acaṃcala. manahu sakuci nimi tajē digaṃcala.. [1-229-2]
dēkhi sīya sōbhā sukhu pāvā. hṛdayaom sarāhata bacanu na āvā..
janu biraṃci saba nija nipunāī. biraci bisva kahaom pragaṭi dēkhāī.. [1-229-3]
suṃdaratā kahu suṃdara karaī. chabigṛhaom dīpasikhā janu baraī..
saba upamā kabi rahē juṭhārī. kēhiṃ paṭatarauṃ bidēhakumārī.. [1-229-4]
Hearing the tinkling of bangles, the small bells tied round the waist and the anklets Śrī Rāma thought within Himself and then said to Lakṣmaṇa, “It seems as if Cupid has sounded his kettledrum with intent to conquer the universe.” So saying, He looked once again in the same direction (whence the sound came); and lo ! His eyes feasted themselves on Sītā’s countenance even as the Cakora bird gazes on the moon. His charming eyes became motionless, as if Nimi* (the god of winking) had left the eyelids out of shyness. Śrī Rāma was filled with rapture to behold Sītā’s beauty; He admired it in His heart, but utterance failed Him. He felt as if the Creator had put his whole creative skill in visible form and demonstrated it to the world at large. “She lends charm to charm itself,” He said to Himself, “and looks as if a flame of light is burning in a house of beauty. The similes already employed by the poets are all stale and hackneyed; to whom shall I liken the daughter of Videha?”
- * Nimi was a forbear of King Janaka. On his death his spirit obtained a seat on the eyelids of human beings and has ever since remained there. The poet here figuratively attributes the motionlessness of Śrī Rāma’s eyelids to the sudden departure therefrom of Nimi, who as a forbear of Janaka is described as loth to witness this exchange of pure love between Rāma and Sītā.
siya sōbhā hiyaom barani prabhu āpani dasā bicāri.
bōlē suci mana anuja sana bacana samaya anuhāri..230.. [1-230]
Thus describing to Himself Sītā’s loveliness and reflecting on His own condition the Lord innocently spoke to His younger brother in terms appropriate to the occasion:-
tāta janakatanayā yaha sōī. dhanuṣajagya jēhi kārana hōī..
pūjana gauri sakhīṃ lai āī. karata prakāsu phirai phulavāī.. [1-230-1]
jāsu bilōki alōkika sōbhā. sahaja punīta mōra manu chōbhā..
sō sabu kārana jāna bidhātā. pharakahiṃ subhada aṃga sunu bhrātā.. [1-230-2]
raghubaṃsinha kara sahaja subhāū. manu kupaṃtha pagu dharai na kāū..
mōhi atisaya pratīti mana kērī. jēhiṃ sapanēhu paranāri na hērī.. [1-230-3]
jinha kai lahahiṃ na ripu rana pīṭhī. nahiṃ pāvahiṃ paratiya manu ḍīṭhī..
maṃgana lahahi na jinha kai nāhīṃ. tē narabara thōrē jaga māhīṃ.. [1-230-4]
“Brother, she is no other than the daughter of King Janaka, for whom the bowsacrifice is being arranged. She has been escorted by her girl-companions to worship Goddess Gaurī and is moving about in the garden diffusing light all about her. My heart which is naturally pure, is agitated by the sight of Her transcendent beauty. The reason of all this is known to God alone; but I tell you, brother, my right limbs are throbbing, which is an index of coming good fortune. It is a natural trait with the race of Raghu that they never set their heart on evil courses. As for myself I am fully confident of My mind, which has never sought another’s wife even in a dream. Rare in this world are those noble men who never turn their back on the foe in battle nor give their heart to or cast an amorous glance on another’s wife, and from whom no beggar meets with a rebuff.
karata batakahi anuja sana mana siya rūpa lōbhāna.
mukha sarōja makaraṃda chabi karai madhupa iva pāna..231.. [1-231]
While Śrī Rāma was talking to His younger brother in this strain, His mind, which was enamoured of Sītā’s beauty, was all the time drinking in the loveliness of Her countenance, like a bee sucking the nectar from a lotus.
citavahi cakita cahūom disi sītā. kahaom gaē nṛpakisōra manu ciṃtā..
jahaom bilōka mṛga sāvaka nainī. janu tahaom barisa kamala Sītā śrēnī.. [1-231-1]
latā ōṭa taba sakhinha lakhāē. syāmala gaura kisōra suhāē..
dēkhi rūpa lōcana lalacānē. haraṣē janu nija nidhi pahicānē.. [1-231-2]
thakē nayana raghupati chabi dēkhēṃ. palakanhihūom pariharīṃ nimēṣēṃ..
adhika sanēhaom dēha bhai bhōrī. sarada sasihi janu citava cakōrī.. [1-231-3]
lōcana maga rāmahi ura ānī. dīnhē palaka kapāṭa sayānī..
jaba siya sakhinha prēmabasa jānī. kahi na sakahiṃ kachu mana sakucānī.. [1-231-4]
Sītā looked timidly all round; Her mind was at a loss as to where the princes had gone. Wherever the fawneyed princess cast Her glance, a continuous stream of white lotuses seemed to rain there. Her companions then pointed out to Her the two lovely brothers, the one dark, the other fair of hue, standing behind a fence of creepers. Beholding the beauty of the two princes Her eyes were filled with greed; they rejoiced as if they had discovered their longlost treasure. The eyes became motionless at the sight of Śrī Rāma’s loveliness; the eyelids too forgot to fall. Due to excess of love Her body-consciousness began to fail; it looked as if a Cakora bird were gazing at the autumnal moon. Receiving Śrī Rāma into the heart through the passage of the eyes, She cleverly shut Him up there by closing the doors of Her eyelids. When Her girl-companions found Sītā overpowered with love, they were too much abashed to utter a word.
latābhavana tēṃ pragaṭa bhē tēhi avasara dōu bhāi.
nikasē janu juga bimala bidhu jalada paṭala bilagāi..232.. [1-232]
At that very moment the two brothers emerged from a bower. It looked as if a pair of spotless moons had shone forth tearing the veil of cloud.
sōbhā sīvaom subhaga dōu bīrā. nīla pīta jalajābha sarīrā..
mōrapaṃkha sira sōhata nīkē. guccha bīca bica kusuma kalī kē.. [1-232-1]
bhāla tilaka śramabiṃdu suhāē. śravana subhaga bhūṣana chabi chāē..
bikaṭa bhṛkuṭi kaca ghūgharavārē. nava sarōja lōcana ratanārē.. [1-232-2]
cāru cibuka nāsikā kapōlā. hāsa bilāsa lēta manu mōlā..
mukhachabi kahi na jāi mōhi pāhīṃ. jō bilōki bahu kāma lajāhīṃ.. [1-232-3]
ura mani māla kaṃbu kala gīvā. kāma kalabha kara bhuja balasīṃvā..
sumana samēta bāma kara dōnā. sāvaomra kuaomra sakhī suṭhi lōnā.. [1-232-4]
The two gallant heroes were the very perfection of beauty; their bodies resembled in hue a blue and a yellow lotus respectively. Charming peacock-feathers adorned their head, which had bunches of flower-buds stuck here and there. A sectarian mark and beads of perspiration glistened on their brow; while graceful pendants shed their lustre on their ears. With arched eyebrows and curly locks, eyes red as a lotus-bud and a lovely chin, nose and cheeks their gracious smile was soul-enthralling. The beauty of their countenance was more than I can describe; it would put to shame a myriad Cupids. They had a string of jewels on their breast; their lovely neck resembled a conch-shell in its spiral shape; while their mighty arms vied with the trunk of a young elephant, who was the very incarnation of Cupid. With a cup of leaves full of flowers in His left hand the dark-hued prince, my dear, is most charming.
kēhari kaṭi paṭa pīta dhara suṣamā sīla nidhāna.
dēkhi bhānukulabhūṣanahi bisarā sakhinha apāna..233.. [1-233]
Beholding the Ornament of the solar race, who had a slender waist like that of a lion and was clad in yellow, and who was the very embodiment of beauty and amiability, Sītā’s companions forgot their very existence.
dhari dhīraju ēka āli sayānī. sītā sana bōlī gahi pānī..
bahuri gauri kara dhyāna karēhū. bhūpakisōra dēkhi kina lēhū.. [1-233-1]
sakuci sīyaom taba nayana ughārē. sanamukha dōu raghusiṃgha nihārē..
nakha sikha dēkhi rāma kai sōbhā. sumiri pitā panu manu ati chōbhā.. [1-233-2]
parabasa sakhinha lakhī jaba sītā. bhayau gaharu saba kahahi sabhītā..
puni āuba ēhi bēriāom kālī. asa kahi mana bihasī ēka ālī.. [1-233-3]
gūḍha girā suni siya sakucānī. bhayau bilaṃbu mātu bhaya mānī..
dhari baḍai dhīra rāmu ura ānē. phiri apanapau pitubasa jānē.. [1-233-4]
Recovering herself, one of Her clever companions grasped Sītā by the hand and said to Her, “Meditate on Gaurī afterwards; why not behold the princes just now ?” Sītā then bashfully opened Her eyes and saw the two lions of Raghu’s race opposite Herself. Surveying Śrī Rāma’s beauty from head to foot in the reverse order,* and remembering Her father’s vow she felt much perturbed. When Sītā’s companions saw Her thus overcome with love, they all cried in alarm: “We are late already.” “Let us come again at this very hour tomorrow !” So saying one of them smiled within herself. Sītā blushed at this pregnant remark. She got afraid of Her mother; for she felt it was already late. Recovering Herself with considerable effort she received Śrī Rāma into Her heart and conscious of Her dependence on Her sire returned home.
- * Girls in India are coy by their very nature and would not have the audacity to look straight into the eyes of a suitor. Sītā, who is the very embodiment of feminine virtues and the ideal of Indian womanhood, is, therefore, depicted here as beginning Her survey of Śrī Rāma’s beauty from His feet and gradually passing Her eyes to His head. It is unidiomatic in English to speak of one scanning a person from ‘foot to head’; hence the order had to be reversed in the rendering. It was, however, necessary to point out this radical difference between the Western and Indian cultures; and hence the words ‘in the reverse order’ have been added to keep the sense of the original intact while taking care not to allow the English idiom to suffer.