Book I : Bala Kanda - The Youthful Majesties

Chapter / sarga 49
verses converted to UTF-8, Sept 09


Ahalya is redeemed from her curse when Rama enters their hermitage. Vishvamitra while continuing the narration of the legend of Ahalya asks Rama to enter her hermitage where Ahalya is living unseen by anybody. When once Rama steps into that hermitage she manifests herself from her accursed invisible state. She emerges with her divine form and accords guestship to Rama and Lakshmana. Sage Gautama also arrives at this juncture to accept his depurated wife Ahalya.

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अफलस्तु ततः शक्रो देवानग्निपुरोगमान् |
अब्रवीत् त्रस्तनयनः सिद्धगन्धर्वचारणान् || १-४९-१

1. tataH = then; aphalaH = without fruits - one who is without testicles, emasculated; shakraH = Indra; trastanayanaH = with panicked eyes; devaan = to gods; siddhagandharvacaaraNaan = to siddha-s, gandharva-s, carana-s; agnipurogamaan = Fire-god in forefront - as helms-god; abraviit = spoke.

The emasculated Indra then with panicked eyes spoke to gods, siddha-s, gandharva-s, and carana-s, keeping Fire-god as their helms-god. [1-49-1]

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कुर्वता तपसो विघ्नं गौतमस्य महात्मनः |
क्रोधमुत्पाद्य हि मया सुरकार्यमिदं कृतम् || १-४९-२

2. mahaatmanaH gautamasya = for noble-souled sage Gautama; krodham utpaadya = on inciting fury; tapasaH vighnam kurvataa = effectuated hindrance to asceticism; mayaa = by me; idam surakaaryam kR^itam = done this god's deed - I have accomplished a task of gods; hi = indeed.

I have Indeed incited fury in that noble-souled Sage Gautama by effectuating hindrance in his asceticism, but I have accomplished a task of gods. [1-49-2]

Indra is a position assigned to some high-souled being on acquiring considerable merit. He functions as a CEO of the universe, maintaining seasons, rains, thunders, thunderbolts, crops, earthquakes, and every aspect of nature, whether they are good or bad for us. If any Vedic-ritual were performed, this Indra would be too happy, as he and his deputies like Rain-god, Fire-god, Air-god, et al., will receive many oblations from that ritual. But if it is tapas 'the practise of asceticism, penance, or ascesis' by single sage, Indra will be highly perturbed. Usually sages will be practising this ascesis for attainment of higher abodes of Brahma, Vishnu, or Shiva. Some practise this to overthrow present Indra and try ascending to his position, or to attain immortality and thereby rout out Indra, as with the case of Ravana. When that practise is about to materialise, Indra sends his agents, like voluptuous celestial beauties, namely the apsara-s, to infatuate those sages with their beauty. Once the sage's concentration fails, his practise becomes futile. Thus, Indra retains his present position. Here, though Sage Gautama did not practise his ascesis for Indra's post, Indra had to hinder it in his own apprehension, and when the fury of Gautama is incited, Gautama's practise also failed and he had to redo his ascesis until he overcomes his passions. Thus, this 'causing hindrance' is a divine-act as proclaimed by Indra to other gods. In doing such 'divine-acts' Indra will also be maligned, for which the higher gods like Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, or other higher beings will come to his rescue.

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अफलोऽस्मि कृतस्तेन क्रोधात् सा च निराकृता |
शापमोक्षेण महता तपोऽस्यापहृतं मया || १-४९-३

3. tena krodhaat = by him [Gautama,] by anger; aphalaH kR^itaH asmi = T am rendered fruitless [testicle-less] ; saa ca niraakR^itaa = she [Ahalya,] also, is rejected; mahataa shaapamokSeNa = by releasing severe curse ; asya tapaH mayaa apahR^itam = his, ascesis, pre-empted by me.

By Gautama's anger I am rendered testicle-less and his wife Ahalya is also rejected by the sage, and thus by his releasing a severe curse his propriety for ascesis is dwindled, therefore his ascesis is pre-empted by me. [1-49-3]

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तन्मां सुरवराः सर्वे सर्षिसंघाः सचारणाः |
सुरकार्यकरं यूयं सफलं कर्तुमर्हथ || १-४९-४

4. tat [tasmaat] = therefore; sariSisanghaaH sacaaraNaaH = together with assemblages of sages, with caarana-s; sarve suravaraaH = oh, all of the best gods; surakaaryakaram = undertaken divine deed - I acted for the benefit of gods; maam = me; yuuyam saphalam kartum arhatha = apt of you to make me virile.

'Therefore, oh, all gods with the assemblages of sages and caarana-s, it will be apt of you to make me virile again, as I have acted for the benefit of gods.' Thus Indra spoke to all gods. [1-49-4]

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शतक्रतोर्वचः श्रुत्वा देवाः साग्निपुरोगमाः |
पितृदेवानुपेत्याहुः सह सर्वैः मरुद्गणैः || १-४९-५

5. saagnipurogamaaH devaaH = gods going ahead [keeping in van] with fire-god ; shatakratoH vacaH shrutvaa = on hearing Hundred-Vedic-rituals officiator - Indra's words; sarvaiH marut gaNaiH saha = along with all [gods] Marut groups; pitR^idevaan upetya = nearby coming at mane gods ; aahuH = spoke - appealed.

On hearing the words of the officiator for Hundred-Vedic-rituals, namely Indra, all of the gods and other assemblages of celestials, together with the groups of Marut-gods came to the godly manes keeping the Fire-god in van, and appealed. [1-49-5]

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अयं मेषः सवृषणः शक्रो ह्यवृषणः कृतः |
मेषस्य वृषणौ गृह्य शक्रायाशु प्रयच्छत || १-४९-६

6. ayam meSaH savR^iSaNaH = this, ram, is with testicles; shakraH avR^iSaNaH kR^itaH hi = Indra indeed rendered without testicles; meSasya vR^iSaNau gR^ihya = on taking ram's testicles; shakraaya aashu prayacChata = quickly be given to Indra.

'This ram is with testicles and Indra is indeed rendered testicle-less. Taking the testicles of this ram they may be given to Indra quickly.' Thus Fire-god started his appeal to manes. [1-49-6]

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अफलस्तु कृतो मेषः परां तुष्टिं प्रदास्यति |
भवतां हर्षणार्थाय ये च दास्यन्ति मानवाः |
अक्षयं हि फलं तेषां यूयं दास्यथ पुष्कलम् || १-४९-७

7. aphalaH tu kR^itaH meSaH = ram [this one before you] rendered devoid of testes, but [though going to be]; bhavataam paraam tuSTim pradaasyati = certainly endows complete contentment for you; ye maanavaaH [aphalaH meSaaH] daasyanti = which of those, humans, [testes-less rams, hereafter in sacrifices,] are going to offer [to you manes]; to such of those humans; harSaNaarthaaya = purpose of gratification; akShayam phalam hi = not lessened, fruits [benefits,] truly; teSaam yuuyam daasyatha puSkalam = for them [to humans,] you [manes,] offer plentiful.

'This ram that is being offered to you shall now be gelded to give its testes to Indra, and though this ram is deprived of its organ it will be complete and it endows complete satisfaction to you. To those humans who hereafter offer testes-less rams in sacrifices for the purpose of your gratification, you shall truly offer them plentiful and unmitigated benefits.' Thus Agni, the Fire-god spoke to manes. [1-49-7]

The 'manes' are the deified souls of dead ancestors. It is customary to offer un-castrated or unmutilated animals in sacrifices to please gods or departed souls. Presently some humans have offered such an un-castrated ram to manes and the manes are about to enjoy it. But the gods have come and Agni, the Fire-god, is asking them to part with such an offering, for the sake of Indra. And when the manes were hesitating to go against the existing rules of ritual, then Agni, the Fire-god, is amending those rules and he is saying a boon-like proclamation. 'From now, the manes can enjoy even a castrated ram, if offered by humans on earth, and in turn the manes shall afford plentiful benefits of undiminished value to those offerers, namely humans...'

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अग्नेस्तु वचनं श्रुत्वा पितृदेवाः समागताः |
उत्पाट्य मेषवृषणौ सहस्राक्षे न्यवेशयन् || १-४९-८

8. samaagataaH = who gathered [to collect their share of offering]; pitR^idevaaH = godly manes; agneH vacanam shrutvaa = on hearing Agni - the Fire-god's words; meSavR^iSaNau = ram's both testes; utpaaTya = pulled out, extricated; sahasraakSe nyaveshayan = offered to Thousand-eyed Indra.

On hearing the words of Agni, the Fire-god, the manes-gods who gathered to collect their share of offering have extricated that ram's testes, which is not yet sacrificed but tethered to a sacrificial post, and offered them to the Thousand-eyed Indra. [1-49-8]

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तदा प्रभृति काकुत्स्थ पितृदेवाः समागताः |
अफलान् भुंजते मेषान् फलैस्तेषामयोजयन् || १-४९-९

9. kaakutstha = oh Rama of Kakutstha; samaagataaH = who have come to collect their share of offering; pitR^idevaaH = godly manes; tadaa prabhR^iti = then, onwards; aphalaan meSaan bhunjate = they are enjoying goats without testes; teSaam = their [ of offerings / of rams or goats]; phalaiH = with testes / benefits; ayojayan = to join [to join testes to Indra / join benefits to the offerer.

Oh, Rama of Kakutstha, from then onwards the manes-gods who come to collect their share are enjoying even the goats, even if they do not have testes, to endow benefits thereof to those that offer those goats, and to join the testes of goats to Indra. [1-49-9]

If rams with testes are offered the manes discard the testes of those rams and enjoy the rest of it. Even if a goat is offered they enjoy it, considering it as homogenous to a ram. In either way, the offerer is blessed with benefits and Indra with testes.

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इन्द्रस्तु मेषवृषणस्तदा प्रभृति राघव |
गौतमस्य प्रभावेन तपसा च महात्मनः || १-४९-१०

10. raaghava = oh Raghava; mahaatmanaH = great-souled one; gautamasya prabhaavena = by efficacy of Gautama; tapasaa ca = ascesis, also; indraH tu = Indra, on his part; tadaa prabhR^iti = then onwards; meSavR^iSaNaH = with tests of goat - Indra has become one having goat's testes.

Oh, Raghava, owing to the efficacy of the great-souled Gautama and his ascesis, from then onwards Indra has became one with the testes of a goat. [1-49-10]

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तदागच्छ महातेज आश्रमं पुण्यकर्मणः |
तारयैनां महाभागामहल्यां देवरूपिणीम् || १-४९-११

11. mahaateja = oh great-resplendent Rama; tat = therefore; puNyakarmaNaH aashramam aagacCha = you come - enter into hermitage of pietistic doer [Gautama] ; mahaabhaagaam = highly fortunate one; devaruupiNiim = who is in compose of divinity; enaam = her [lady]; ahalyaam taaraya = let Ahalya, be atoned.

"Therefore, oh, great-resplendent Rama, enter the hermitage of Gautama whose deeds are pietistic, and atone Ahalya who is highly fortunate and who is in the compose of a divinity." Thus Vishvamitra spoke to Rama. [1-49-11]

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विश्वामित्रवचः श्रुत्वा राघवः सहलक्ष्मणः |
विश्वामित्रं पुरस्कृत्य आश्रमं प्रविवेश ह || १-४९-१२

12. sahalakSmaNaH raaghavaH = with Lakshmana, Raghava; vishvaamitravacaH shrutvaa = on hearing Vishvamitra's words; vishvaamitram puraskR^itya = keeping afore Vishvamitra; aashramam pravivesha ha = entered hermitage, indeed.

On hearing Vishvamitra's words Rama entered the hermitage along with Lakshmana and keeping Vishvamitra afore. [1-49-12]

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ददर्श च महाभागां तपसा द्योतितप्रभाम् |
लोकैरपि समागम्य दुर्निरीक्ष्यां सुरासुरैः || १-४९-१३
प्रयत्नान्निर्मितां धात्रा दिव्यां मायामयीमिव |
धूमेनाभिपरीताङ्गीं दीप्तामग्निशिखामिव || १-४९-१४
सतुषारावृतां साभ्रां पूर्णचन्द्रप्रभामिव |
मध्येऽम्भसो दुराधर्षां दीप्तां सूर्यप्रभामिव || १-४९-१५

13-15. saH = he that Rama [has seen one who is]; mahaabhaagaam = at highly glorious - Ahalya; tapasaa dyotitaprabhaam = by ascesis, brightened splendour - one who has it; lokaiH api = by worldly beings, even; suraasuraiH = by gods, demons; samaagamya = on coming close; durniriikSyaam = impossible, to stare at - one who cannot be stared at; dhaatraa prayatnaat nirmitaam = with careful contemplation crafted contrived by Creator; divyaam = angelic; maayaamayiim iva = like completely [entity] phantasmal ; tuSaaraavR^itaam = overspread by fog - befogged moonshine; saabhraam = with clouds - beclouded moonshine; puurNacandraprabhaam iva = as with full moon's shine; ambhasaH madhye = in midst of waters ; duraadharSaam = unwatchable; diiptaam suuryaprabhaam iva = glowing, sun [mirrored sun] shine, like - she who is lay waste hitherto; dhuumena abhipariitaangiim = as with limbs cloaked around by fumes; diiptaaam agnishikhaam iva = as with flaring fire tongue; dadarsha = he has seen.

She whose splendour is brightened by her ascesis, at whom it is impossible to raise an eye for a stare either for gods, or for demons, or for the worldly beings on coming close to her, whom the Creator has contrived with careful contemplation as an angelic and a completely phantasmal entity, who is like the befogged and beclouded moonshine of a full moon as she is hitherto enshrouded by the dried up leaves and dust, who is like an unwatchable sunshine mirrored in and glowing from the midst of water, for she is hitherto in the midst of denounce, and whose limbs are like the tongues of a flaring fire around which fumes are cloaking, as she is hitherto practising an utmost ascesis subsisting on air alone, which ascesis alone made her like a flaring Ritual Fir, and Rama has seen such a highly glorious Ahalya. [1-49-13, 14, 15]

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सा हि गौतमवाक्येन दुर्निरीक्ष्या बभूव ह |
त्रयाणामपि लोकानां यावद्रामस्य दर्शनम् |१-४९-१६

16. saa gautamavaakyena = she - Ahalya, by the word of Gautama; raamasya darshanam yaavat = until Rama's manifestation; trayaaNaam api lokaanaam = even for the three worlds; durniriikSyaa babhuuva ha = indiscernible, became, indeed.

Ahalya is indeed indiscernible to all the three worlds by the very word of Gautama until the manifestation of Rama. [1-49-16a, b]

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शापस्यान्तमुपागम्य तेषां दर्शनमागता ||
राघवौ तु ततस्तस्याः पादौ जगृहतुर्मुदा | १-४९-१७

16c, 17a. shaapasya antam upaagamya = on reaching end of [time of] curse; teSaam darshanam aagataa = she got their [Rama, Lakshmana] ; tataH = then; raaghavau = two Raghava-s; mudaa = gladly; tasyaaH paadau jagR^ihatuH = grasped her [Ahalya's,] feet.

On reaching the end of curse she came into the view of Raghava-s, and they too gladly touched her feet in reverence. [1-49-16c, 17a]

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स्मरन्ती गौतमवचः प्रतिजग्राह सा च तौ ||
पाद्यमर्घ्यं तथातिथ्यं चकार सुसमाहिता |
प्रतिजग्राह काकुत्स्थो विधिदृष्टेन कर्मणा || १-४९-१८

17b, 18. saa ca = she, too; gautamavacaH smarantii = reminiscing Gautama's word; tau = them two - Rama, Lakshmana; pratijagraaha = in turn received; susamaahitaa = self-consciously; paadyam arghyam tathaa aatithyam = water [for feet-wash,] water [for hand-wash,] like that, guestship; vidhidR^iSTena karmaNaa = in view of custom [customarily] dutifully; cakaara = [Ahalya] offered; kaakutsthaH pratijagraaha = Rama of Kakutstha, in turn acquiesced it.

Reminiscing Gautama's words Ahalya received those two, and self-consciously offered water for feet and hand washing, and like that she also offered guestship customarily and dutifully, and Rama of Kakutstha on his part acquiesced her hospitality. [1-49-18]

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पुष्पवृष्टिर्महत्यासीद्देवदुंदुभिनिस्वनैः |
गन्धर्वाप्सरसां चैव महानासीत् समुत्सवः || १-४९-१९

19. devadundubhinisvanaiH = with sounds of god's drums [drumbeats]; mahatii puSpavR^iSTiH aasiit = abundant, floral fall, is there [chanced]; gandharvaapsarasaam ca eva = gandharva-s, apsara-s, also, even; mahaan aasiit samutsavaH = superb, is there [revelled in,] splendid, festivity.

There chanced an abundant floral fall form firmament to the drumbeats of god's drums, and the celestials like gandharva-s, apsara-s revelled in a splendid festivity that is superb. [1-49-19]

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साधु साध्विति देवास्तामहल्यां समपूजयन् |
तपोबलविशुद्धाङ्गीं गौतमस्य वशानुगाम् || १-४९-२०

20. gautamasya vashaanugaam = Gautama's, abidance, close follower - a devotee of Gautama; tapobalavishuddhaangiim = limbed [Ahalya] verily purified [depurated] by asset of ascesis; taam ahalyaam = at her, Ahalya; devaaH = gods; saadhu saadhu iti = Gracious!, Goodness!, thus [saying,] samapuujayan = collectively, reverenced;

Gods have collectively reverenced her, whose limbs are depurated by the asset of her ascesis which is performed as a devotee of Gautama remaining in his directives, saying 'Gracious! Goodness!' [1-49-20]

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गौतमोऽपि महातेजा अहल्यासहितः सुखी |
रामं संपूज्य विधिवत्तपस्तेपे महातपाः || १-४९-२१

21. mahaatapaaH = great ascetic - Gautama; mahaatejaaH = great-resplendent one; gautamaH api = Gautama, even; ahalyaasahitaH = reunited with Ahalya ; sukhii = heartened; raamam vidhivat sampuujya = highly reverenced at Rama customarily; tapaH tepe = ascesis, practised - continued his ascesis.

Even that great-resplendent Gautama is heartened when he reunited with Ahalya after a long, long a time, and that sage customarily reverenced Rama for actualising his solemn utterance, and that great-ascetic Gautama continued his ascesis together with Ahalya. [1-49-21]

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रामोऽपि परमां पूजां गौतमस्य महामुनेः |
सकाशाद्विधिवत्प्राप्य जगाम मिथिलां ततः || १-४९-२२

22. raamaH api = Rama, even; gautamasya mahaamuneH sakaashaat = in the manifestness of great saint Goutama; paramaam puujaam vidhivat praapya = on receiving high veneration conventionally; tataH = from there; mithilaam jagaama = to Mithila, moved ahead.

Even Rama on receiving a conventionally high veneration in the manifestness of that great-saint Gautama himself, then moved ahead to Mithila. [1-49-22]


Ahalya - a Myth or a reality?

The legend of Ahalya is viewed from many viewpoints, because it is unclear whether she is a humanly lady or a divine entity, or a tract of land.

The atheists, rather materialists, in their translation of Ramayana take this Ahalya, according to their viewpoint, as an uncultivable tract of land by saying that is a halya un,' Thereby Rama rendered it as a cultivable land in the course of his socio-economic reforms. There are many other instances in relating these mythical accounts of Ramayana to the earthly plane. Another instance is lavaNaasurasamhaara elimination of Saline Demon...' and Rama's elimination of this demon is taken as treatment of saline oceanic water as potable waters...'

When the mythology is touched upon, it says that Ahalya is lying there as a stone and by the touch of Rama's foot she regained her divinely human form. This is not evident in Valmiki Ramayana. The idea of petrifaction of Ahalya is brought in from PadmaPuraana which says: saa tataH tasya raamasya paadasparshanaat mahaatmanaH | abhuut suruupaa vanitaa samaakraantaa mahaashilaa || by the touch of the feet of that great souled Rama, she was manifest as a divine damsel, getting rid of her stone-shape...' Further, there will be an exchange of words between Indra and Brahma in Uttara Kanda of Ramayana, and there this episode of Ahalya recurs. At that place Brahma defines hala as - distorted shape...' and a halya is one with an impeccable beauty...' Besides the above, Indra will be usually addressed as sahasraakSha - thousand eyed one...' and behind this legend, there is another legend, saying that Gautama's curse to Indra is: since you delighted with Divine Ahalya, who is crafted by Brahma, in carnal pleasures, let there be thousand carnally vaginal apertures on your body...' Then that Indra is agitated for such an appearance, pleads for mercy. Then, the curse is amended saying 'instead of vaginal apertures, the apertures on your body will look like eyes...' thus Indra became sahasraakSha.

F. Max Muller records in his History of Sanskrit Literature' the commentary of Kumaarila Bhatt, yet another ancient commentator on Ramayana. "In the same manner, if it is said the Indra was the seducer of Ahalya. This does not imply that the God Indra committed such a crime, but Indra means the Sun and Ahalya the night, from [the words] ahaH the 'day' and lil the 'night'; and as the night is seduced and ruined by the sun of the morning, there is Indra called the paramour of Ahalya."

Dharmaakuutam views this as paatityam, patita falling from practise of virtuousness' Such women are said to be accepted by men after making their amends for their faults. tathaa svaruupanaasham kR^itvaa vaayubhakSha ityaadi vayonuurpashaapapradaanena caapalyaat satkR^itaparapuruShavR^ittaa striiniyamena shocayitvaa punaH sa~Ngrahya iti suucitam | abhyaase tu paatityam | - tathaa ca gautamaH - ninditakarmaabhyaasi patitaat tyaagapatitaat tyaaginaH patitaaH - iti - dk

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इति वाल्मीकिरामायणे आदिकाव्ये बालकाण्डे एकोनपंचाशः सर्गः

Thus, this is the 49th chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

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© Nov, 2002, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : November 04]

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