Notes to the Text

Sarga 1

Sarga 1  

Virtually all manuscripts, with the notable exception of the vulgate (Dt), have several verses prior to the first verse of the crit. ed. in praise of Rāma, Hanumān, and especially Vālmīki. The verses are of the nature of later Vaishnava stotras and certainly do not belong to the oldest stratum of the text. The crit. notes, p. 424, tell us that these have been omitted from the crit. ed. on the grounds that they are “not written by Vālmīki.” But many passages of the constituted text, such as the Vaishnava hymn at 6.105, are of this character and are retained on textual grounds, despite the unlikelihood of their having been composed by Vālmīki himself. Indeed, as we have argued in the Introduction, a goal of a critical edition of the Rāmāyaṇa cannot be the recovery of the actual text of the poet. Therefore, these initial verses have been rejected on the grounds of higher criticism against the stated principles of scientific textual criticism adopted by the editors, whose spokesman, Bhatt, specifically denounced this sort of criticism during the early stages of preparing the critical edition (see Bhatt 1960, p. xxxiv). Many of the manuscripts have closely related verses that should be included in the crit. ed. The verses in question in all likelihood, belong to an early version of the poem and, judging by their popularity, are seen as an important part of it.

The decision as to just which verses should be accepted is not so easily made. The readings of N and S are divergent here, and the manuscripts within each of these recensions display many variants. Applying the principles of text criticism as set forth in the introduction to the first volume (p. xxxiv), it would seem most likely that verses 3*,4*,5*, and 6* should precede the first verse of our text. This is the most popular and consistent S reading. Verses 20*,42*,21*,22*,14*, and 15* are also popular S readings but have not been included, since they have inadequate support in the Devanāgarī manuscripts and lack a clear parallel in N. The distribution of 1* and 2* in N seems to indicate that these verses are a substituted passage for S’s 3*-6*. Because of the great variety and divergence among the texts, however, even the southern reading should, in our opinion, be regarded with considerable suspicion. See Peterson 1879, p. 1, who quotes Schlegel’s view on these introductory stanzas. It is interesting that the only textual tradition that consistently excises these verses is Dt, or the text of the southern commentators, The commentators of the vulgate know the verses, but use them as invocatory stanzas to their own commentaries rather than to the poem itself. Cr, discussing Vālmīki’s patronymic, Prācetasa, in reference to 1.1, remarks that verse 5 (and so, by implication, the others) is lavakuśoktiḥ, “the words of Lava and Kuśa,” indicating, it would seem, that the prefatory stanzas were not regarded as part of Vālmīki’s composition, but were thought to form part of the version recited by the rhapsodists. Verses 3*-6*, which we find to have the best textual support of this prefatory material, have, with a number of the others, become quite popular in the sectarian tradition and are often recited at the beginning of even vernacular discourses on the Rāmāyaṇa. Some of them have a considerable charm. Their translation is as follows:

3*. I praise the cuckoo, Vālmīki, who sits upon the highest branch of the tree of poetry, sweetly warbling the sweet syllables, “Rāma, Rāma.”

4*. For who, upon hearing the droning tale of Rāma told by that bee among sages, Vālmīki, a wanderer in the woodlands of poetry, would not attain the highest bliss?

This first sarga of Vālmīki’s Rāmāyaṇa is commonly known as the Saṃkṣipta, or condensed, Rāmāyaṇa and discussed at some length in the Introduction.

.1  

Owing to the great importance attached in the Indian tradition to the beginnings of texts, the first verse of the commentators’ text, which is also the first verse of the crit. ed., has been invested with a significance far exceeding that of its apparent content. The sectarian commentators see in each of its words cryptic references to the poem’s theological import. They apply their enormous learning and considerable ingenuity to bringing out the sectarian significance in apparently straight-forward names and adjectives. Thus, for example, Ct and Cr explain the name of the sage Nārada in terms of an etymology provided in the Nāradīya Purāṇa, whereby it is seen as a compound meaning “destroyer of ignorance” (nāram ajñānaṃ, tad dyatiCt, Cr). The significance of this name, according to Cr, is that the sage dispels human nescience by making known the story of the lord of Sāketa (Rāma). Similarly, Cr interprets the term tapaḥsvādhyāyaniratam, “devoted to asceticism and vedic study,” in various ways. At first he takes the term tapaḥ simply to mean knowledge and the word svādhyāyaḥ to mean the vedas, particularly the upaniṣadic texts. Subsequently, however, he analyzes the compound differently, taking it as tapaḥ plus sūḥ plus adhyāyaḥ, where tapaḥ means the vedas, sūḥ signifies the source of these texts, or the god Brahmā, and adhyāyaḥ means longing recollection. In this way the word suggests to the pious longing for Brahmā. By further manipulation of this sort, involving derivation of the same word from various verbal roots, the pious scholiast is able to argue that the compound has been used in order to make us understand the supremacy of the great gods Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Śiva. The commentaries abound in such interpretations, especially in connection with verses thought to have some special significance by virtue of their placement or some other criterion. In general, we regard such exegeses as interesting for the light they shed on the workings of the commentarial mind in traditional India and on the Vaishnava theology of the Rāma cult. They do not, in our opinion, often elucidate the epic text itself. Except for these examples and a few cases (for example, the notes on 1.2.14) where the traditional interpretations are of unusual interest, we have ignored this hermeneutic approach both in the translation and the notes.

Several of the commentators evince considerable interest in the name Vālmīki and the light that it sheds on the poet-sage’s origins and family affiliation. They are especially eager to show that there is no contradiction to be found among the three apparently patronymic epithets that the first and seventh books of the epic apply to the sage, Vālmīki, Bhārgava, and Prācetasa. For a discussion of the problem of Vālmīki’s affiliation, see Goldman 1976, pp. 97-101.

In the N manuscripts, all the adjectives in the verse refer to Vālmīki rather than Nārada. The crit. notes (p. 424) are probably correct in their opinion that this is inappropriate, given the relative status of the two figures, and that the S manuscripts seem to represent the older reading.

For additional discussions of this verse, see crit. notes, pp. 424-25 and Bhandare notes, pp. 1-2.

.2  

“today” sāṃpratam: This is marked in the crit. ed. as a doubtful reading, although the reason is not clear. The N manuscripts read prathitaḥ, “famous,” but there does not appear to be the irresolvable intrarecensional difference that Bhatt sets down as the justification for the use of the wavy line; see Bhatt 1960, p, xxxiv. The critical reading makes Vālmīki a contemporary of Rāma. N is not, despite Bhatt’s note (p. 425), an “improvement” over the reading of S. The case demonstrates the crit. ed.’s recurrent failure to follow the principles upon which it is predicated.

.4  

After 4 (or 4ab-D2), S,Ñ2,V,B,D2,3,5,7,9-13,M4 insert 4 lines [49*] that extend Vālmīki’s question in a similar vein.

.8  

Rāma: This is the first mention of the name of the epic’s hero, and the commentators again comment upon it at length, providing dozens of derivations for the name, ranging from such popular etymologies as the root ram, “to take pleasure” (“He who delights all creatures through his virtues” [Cg]), to elaborate discussions, based on the various monosyllabic and disyllabic words that the scholiasts (especially Cr) can find, after the manner of the Ekākṣarakośa, in the name and charge with theological significance. The first and most common of these derivations is included in the text of several N manuscripts. See 52* (misnumbered in the apparatus) after verse 18b.

Compare the catalog of Rāma’s virtues with that given at 2.1.

.9  

“His neck is like a conch shell” kambugrīvaḥ: The comparison to the shell is based, according to Cr and Cg, upon the presence of three lines, or, apparently, folds of flesh. See Bhandare 1920, p. 5.

.10  

“collarbone is set deep in muscle” gūḍhajatruḥ: The phrase is awkward in English. The compound reads literally, “whose collarbone is hidden.” The commentators generally understand this to mean something like “collarbones hidden because of fleshiness,” gūḍhe māṃsalatvenāprakāśe jatruṇī (Cg), and we have followed them. The idea is that his chest is muscular. See verse 11 below.

.11  

“Dark is his complexion” snigdhavarṇaḥ: As with so many of the epithets found in the epic, the visual reference of this adjective is unclear. Snigdha, literally “oily,” can be understood either as “dark” or as “soft, smooth.” The commentators, themselves indecisive, mention both. However, since Rāma, like Kṛṣṇa, is traditionally depicted in iconography and paintings as dark-complexioned, it seems reasonable, unless we see this tradition as deriving from a later misreading of the term, that this is the intent here. For a discussion of the complexion of Rāma and its traditional contrast with that of Lakṣmaṇa, see Goldman 1980, pp. 153-54 and note 21.

.13  

“subsidiary sciences” vedāṅga—: This is a collective term for the six areas of learning that were considered necessary for the pronunciation and interpretation of the vedas and for the proper employment of the various sacrificial formulae. The six are śikṣā, “pronunciation”; chandas, “prosody”; vyākaraṇa, “grammar”; nirukta, “etymology”; jyotiṣa, “astronomy”; and kalpa, “ritual.”

.15  

“equable in all circumstances” sarvasamaḥ: Ct understands this in two ways: “equal in his treatment of all men” or “unmoved by pleasure or pain.” We have attempted to preserve the ambiguity.

.16  

“The delight of his mother Kausalyā” kausalyānandavardhanaḥ: The phrase is a stock epithet, “the increaser of the joy of Kausalyā.”

.17  

“as mighty as Viṣṇu” viṣṇunā sadrśaḥ: The fact that Rāma is compared to Viṣṇu in this verse is often cited as proof that the author of this section of the epic did not recognize Rāma as an incarnation of Viṣṇu. Despite the arguments of Peterson 1879, p. 2, and Bhandare 1920, p. 7, the reference is suggestive rather than decisive.

The Vaishnava commentators discuss this reference at length. See crit. notes, p. 426.

“fire at the end of time” kālāgni—: The reference is to the destruction of the universe that occurs at the end of the kalpa age (approximately 432 million years). The epic poets frequently use this fire in rhetorical figures to suggest enormous destructive power. Cf. 1.54.28, 1.55.19, and 1.64.9 below.

.19  

This begins the abbreviated story of the Rāmāyaṇa. For a discussion of its contents and their significance for our understanding of the textual history of the Bālakāṇḍa, see the Introduction. Numbers in square brackets below indicate the passages in the body of the crit. ed. that are alluded to in Nārada’s synopsis of the epic tale.

“wished to appoint … Rāma … as prince regent” [2.2].

.20  

“preparations for the consecration” [2.3-6]; “Kaikeyī, who had … been granted a boon” [2.9.4-26, 2.10].

.21  

“Daśaratha was caught in the trap of his own righteousness” [2.12.16]; “had to exile … Rāma” [2.16.21-26].

.22  

“hero entered the forest’ [2.35].

.23  

“Lakṣmaṇa … followed him” [2.28].

.24  

“Sītā … followed … Rāma” [2.24-27].

“as Rohiṇī does the hare-marked moon” śaśinaṃ rohiṇī yathā: Rohiṇī is considered the most favored wife of the moon. In astrology, Rohiṇī is the fourth lunar mansion, which is made up of five stars in the shape of a cart. The spots on the moon are commonly thought to resemble a hare, śaśa.

.25  

“followed far on his way by his father … and the people” paurair anugato dūraṃ pitrā daśarathena ca [2.35-37]: The word dūram, “far,” is strictly applicable only to the populace here. Daśaratha (and Kausalyā) follow Rāma’s chariot only a short way, in one of the most affecting scenes in the epic (2.35.24-38). Cg, noting that the king follows his son only as far as the gates, understands the conjunction ca as indicating the inclusion of a lesser or secondary action (ca śabdo ‘nvācaye).

“he dismissed his charioteer” [2.46.7].

.26  

“on the instructions of Bharadvāja” [2.47]; “they came to Mount Citrakūṭa” [2.50.11ff.].

.27  

“There (they) built a … dwelling … and … lived … happily” [2.50.13ff.].

.28  

“Daśaratha … went to heaven” [2.53].

.29  

“brahmans … urged Bharata to become king” [2.73]; “the hero (Bharata) went to the forest” [2.76].

.30  

“(Rāma) gave his sandals as a token” [2.104.20-25]: for “token,” nyāsam, cf. note on 1.65.8.

.31  

“Bharata … ruled the kingdom from the village of Nandigrāma” [2.107]: Nandigrāma is the village where Bharata lived during the fourteen-year exile of his elder brother, Rāma. It is usually identified with modern Nandagaon, which is situated two miles from modern Ayodhyā.

.32  

Daṇḍaka forest: According to Rām 7.81, the Daṇḍaka forest was situated between the Vindhya and Śaivala mountains. See crit. notes, p. 427 and Law 1954, p. 280.

At 2.108-109 a different reason is given for the departure of Rāma for the Daṇḍaka forest. There the sages, anxious on account of their harassment at the hands of the rākṣasas, urge him to go. This element is mentioned in verse 35.

.33  

The killing of Virādha and the encounters with the named sages are recounted at 3.2-12. Agastya’s brother, whose hermitage the hero visits on the way to that of Agastya himself [3.10.45-70], is never named. The commentators are divided as to his actual identity, Ct and Cr think that he is Idhmavāhana, a character identified as Agastya’s brother in the Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa. Cg claims that, according to the Sanatkumārasaṃhitā, Agastya’s brother is named Sudarśana.

.34  

Agastya presents the divine weapons to Rāma at 3.11.29-30. This incident may be the inspiration for the much more elaborate conferral of divine weaponry upon the prince at the hands of Viśvāmitra at 1.26-27.

.35  

“woodland creatures” vanacaraiḥ saha: We have so taken the phrase against Cr, who glosses vanaprasthaiḥ, “forest-dwelling hermits.” The text seems to us to distinguish the vanacaras, the wanderers of the forest, from the seers and sages who people the woods. In any case, the term is more commonly used of tribal peoples and forest creatures than of Aryan sages.

“the seers came to see him about killing the asuras and rākṣasas” [3.1]. See above, note 32.

.36  

“he disfigured the rākṣasa woman Śūrpaṇakhā” [3.16-17].

.37–38  

“Rāma slew … all the rākṣasas sent against him” [3.21-29].

.39  

“Rāvaṇa … chose … Mārīca to assist him” [3.33-34].

.40  

“Mārīca tried to dissuade Rāvaṇa” [3.35-37].

.41  

“Rāvaṇa … paid no heed … and went … to Rāma’s ashram’ [3.38, 40].

.42  

“he lured both sons of the king far away” [3.40-43]; “having slain the vulture Jaṭāyus” [3.48-50]; “he carried off Rāma’s wife” [3.47, 51ff.].

.43  

“(Rāghava found) the vulture dying and (heard) that Maithilī had been abducted” [3.63]; “Rāghava was consumed with grief’ [3.58-59].

.44–45  

“he cremated the vulture Jaṭāyus’ [3.64]; “he met … Kabandha’ [3.65]; “(he) killed … him” [3.66].

.46  

“Kabandha … told him, … ‘go to … Śabarī’ “ [3.69]; “(he) came to Śabarī” [3.70].

.47  

Lake Pampā: B. C. Law identifies Pampā as a tributary of the river Tuṅgabhadrā in western India. According to him it originates in the Ṛṣyamūka hills and is the spot where Hanumān meets Rāma. However, he also acknowledges a lake by this same name, described in the Kiṣkindhākāṇḍa. In the absence of convincing evidence to the contrary, we follow the tradition in considering Pampā a lake.

“he met the monkey Hanumān” [4.3].

.48  

“Rāma met Sugrīva and told him all that had happened” [4.5-6].

.49  

“(Sugrīva) told Rāma the whole story of his feud” [4.8-11].

.50  

“Rāma vowed to kill Vālin” [4.10.27-29].

.51  

“Rāghava kicked the great corpse of Dundubhi’ [4.11.50].

.52  

“he pierced seven sāla trees” [4.12.1-4].

.53  

“(Sugrīva) went with Rāma to … Kiṣkindhā” [4.12.13ff.]: Although it is called a cave here, the crit. notes (p. 427) identify Kiṣkindhā as a “small hamlet situated on the northern bank of the river Tuṅgabhadrā near Anagandi.”

.54  

“(Sugrīva) gave a great roar … Vālin came forth” [4.14].

.55  

“Rāghava .. killed Vālin in battle … and made Sugrīva king” [4.16-25].

.56  

“(Sugrīva) sent (the monkeys) out in all directions” [4.36-42].

.57  

“On the advice of the vulture Sampāti” [4.57-58]: The vulture Sampāti, elder brother of the slain Jaṭāyus, actually advises all the monkeys to continue their search for Sītā. It is the monkey Jāmbavān who exhorts Hanumān to leap over the ocean [4.65].

“Hanumān leaped over the salt sea” [4.66; 5.1].

.58  

“(Hanumān) saw Sītā” [5.13].

.59  

“He gave her a token” [5.34]; “he smashed the gate” [5.39].

.60  

“He killed five generals” [5.41-45]; “he was captured” [5.46].

.61  

“as they would” yadṛcchayā: Usually, “by chance,” we have followed Cg, Ct, Ck, and Cm, who understand it to mean that he went without resistance. However, Cr takes it to mean that he went in order to see Rāvaṇa “of his own accord.” See Bhandare 1920, p. 24.

The verse is awkward since it has no independent verb or participle. Most N manuscripts avoid this, reading instead mamarṣa, “suffered.” Cg construes it with verse 60. The idea of the verse is that, although Hanumān knows that he can escape the bonds, he endures the abuse so that he can be taken to Rāvaṇa. See Bhandare 1920, pp. 23-24, who discusses this verse at length.

“the hero suffered the rākṣasas to bind him” [5.46.37ff.].

.62  

“the … monkey .. burned … the city of Laṅkā” [5.52-53]: The location of Laṅkā has been the subject of much controversy and debate. Such locations as Shri Lanka (Ceylon), Amarakaṇṭaka, Madagascar, Malaya Island, and Australia have all been suggested. See crit. notes, p. 427 and Introduction above.

“(he) returned” [5.56].

.63  

“(Hanumān) told him just what had happened” [5.62.38ff.].

“I have seen Sītā” dṛṣṭā sītā: Although this is a reference to the event described at 5.62.38, the phrasing is evidently borrowed from 5.61.22, where Sugrīva tells Lakṣmaṇa that, on the basis of their behavior in the Madhuvana, the monkeys must have seen Sītā. The commentators are virtually unanimous in their concern with showing that the order of the words here demonstrates Hanumān’s worry lest the use of Sītā’s name cause Rāma anxiety while he awaited the verb (so Ct, Cr, Cg). But although the phrase or a variant of it occurs in several contexts in the Sundara and Yuddha Kāṇḍas, neither the commentators’ text nor any other reported in the critical apparatus has Hanumān deliver just this phrase to Rāma at their first encounter after the former’s successful mission to Laṅkā A few Devanāgarī manuscripts and the texts of Ct and Cr have a half verse in the context of this encounter in which the phrase dṛṣṭā devī is quoted as the monkey’s direct address [1352*], but the exact source of our quotation is unclear.

.64  

“Rāma went … to the seashore” [6.4]; “he made the ocean tremble” [6.14].

.65  

“The ocean … revealed himself” [6.14]; “Rāma had Nala build a bridge” [6.15].

.66  

“(he killed) Rāvaṇa” [6.87-97]; “he consecrated Vibhīṣaṇa” [6.100.8-18]. The crit. ed. is inconsistent in its spelling of the name Vibhīṣaṇa. The name is spelled in this verse with an initial V, but at 1.3.25 and 27 it begins with B. We have adopted the former spelling, as it seems to be the more common and familiar one, used in the vulgate editions and, for the most part, in the Yuddhakāṇḍa of the crit. ed. Also the use of the upasargavi” would seem etymologically apposite. See Apte 1959, s.v. vibhīsikā, an etymologically related word used in the Rām. Note, however, that Apte cites the name of the rākṣasa as Bibhīṣaṇa.

.67  

“The three worlds … were delighted” [6.105].

Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S (except M4) (after 66ab); D11,13,M4 (after 66); Ñ2,V4,B,D10,12 (after 68ab); V2,3 (after 69ab) insert 6 lines [107*], in which the fire ordeal of Sītā is described. See crit. notes, pp. 427-28 and Bhatt 1960, p. xxxiv. Despite Bhatt’s arguments, the omission of this passage is questionable.

.68  

“All the gods … worshiped Rāma” [6.105].

.69  

“He … revived the fallen monkeys” [6.120.8-9].

.70  

“He received boons … (and) went to Nandigrāma” [6.110-11].

.70  

“(he) put off the knotted hair of ascetics. Thus did Rāma … recover his kingdom” [6.115-16].

.73  

“Golden Age” kṛtayuge: The first and most perfect of traditional India’s four cosmic eras that make up the recurrent cycles of time.

.74  

Horse Sacrifices: See 7.82-83 for the description of the only such sacrifice Rāma is shown to perform in the epic. See the Introduction for a discussion of the significance of the epic’s treatment of the Horse Sacrifice.

.75  

“four social orders” cāturvarṇyam: Traditionally Indian society is divided into four classes: brahmans, kshatriyas, vaishyas, and shudras, each with its own preordained duties.

.76  

This verse has frequently been cited as evidence that Rāma was not originally considered to be an incarnation of Viṣṇu. See Introduction and Bhandare 1920, p. 29.

After 76, Ś,Ñ(Ñ1 missing),V,B,D5,9-13 insert 5 lines [122*] in which Nārada brings his account to a formal close by recapitulating his premise. Vālmīki then speaks, paraphrasing Nārada’s remark and indicating that he understands that all these virtues are indeed to be attributed to Rāma. The effect of this passage is to bring the dialogue between the two sages to a clearly marked close and thus to sharply separate the closing verses of thesarga and the phalaśruti from the discourse of Nārada.

.77  

This begins the phalaśruti of the Saṃkṣiptarāmāyaṇa. See Introduction.

.79  

In keeping with Hindu tradition, N does not allow the lowly shudras actually to read or recite (paṭh) the Rāmāyaṇa. Several N manuscripts substitute śṛṇvan hi, “hearing.” This prejudice, evidently ignored by the authors of the S passage, is, however, clearly present in the minds of the commentators. Thus Cm glosses the word paṭhan, “reading or reciting,” which applies to all four social classes, as brāhmaṇāc chṛṇvan, “hearing from a brahman,” only in the case of the shudras. See crit. notes, p. 428. Cases such as this are interesting not only for the light they shed on the social history of ancient and medieval India, but for the information they provide about the relationship of the two principal recensions of the text. It would appear that the medieval commentators and the transmitters of N alike are struck by what seems to them a social impropriety and seek to rectify it in the light of their own perceptions of what is correct. This is an excellent example of the quasi-commentarial nature of many N readings and tends to confirm the critical editors’ judgment that S often retains the older readings. Since the reading of N and the interpretation of Cm are later than that of S, they would tend to confirm our notion that the tradition’s conception of the immutability of caste and class function grew more rigid after the period in which the epics were first written.

The closure of this introductory sarga is marked by the shift, in verse 79, of the meter from the basic narrative śloka of 32 syllables to the 44-syllabic upajāti.

Sarga 2

.1  

“great … sage” mahāmuniḥ: The crit. ed. marks the nominative ending of mahāmuniḥ as uncertain. Dt,6,8, G2,M read mahāmunim, the accusative singular, and make the term refer to Nārada rather than, as in the text, Vālmīki. This reading appears in some printed versions of the vulgate and is mentioned as a variant by Cg. It is possible that these texts have adopted the accusative because without it there is no explicit object of Vālmīki’s reverence.

.2  

“he took his leave” āpṛṣṭvā: This is marked as a doubtful reading by the crit. ed. As noted in crit. notes, p. 428, Ś,Ñ2,V1-3,B,Dt,1-3,5-10, M3,4 prefer the more regular āpṛcchya. Cg, however, justifies the irregularity, citing 7.1.38. Ct and Cr take the reference to the formalities of leave taking to be illustrative of the formal relationship of master and disciple that has sprung up between the two sages.

.3  

“after a while” muhūrtam: Although the adverb could technically refer to the actions of either sage, Ct,Cr,Cg,Ck, and Cm agree that the term is to be taken as referring to Vālmīki’s actions. The idea is that he hesitated for a moment out of respect for Nārada. Additionally, Cr thinks that the term is to be taken technically as referring to a period of two ghatikās (a total of 48 minutes) and feels that this delay is suggestive of the profound affection in which Vālmīki holds Nārada. An-other possible interpretation is to read muhūrtam adverbially with gate tasmin to mean that it took but a moment for Nārada to reach the heavenly world.

Jāhnavī: See note on 1.42.24.

Tamasā: A tributary of the Ganges on whose banks Vālmīki is said to have had his ashram.

.6  

“water jar … barkcloth robe” kalaśam … valkalam: These two standard accoutrements of the forest-dwelling ascetic are mentioned again in the Bālakāṇḍa in connection with the recitation of the poem. See 1.4.19, where Lava and Kuśa, the first professional singers of the tale, receive these articles as rewards for their performance.

.7  

Note the unusual variant Vālmīka for Vālmīki.

.8  

It is interesting that, after having prepared himself for his ablutions, the sage does not actually bathe until verse 19 below, after his encounter with the Niṣādas Although he is niyatendriya, “one whose senses are tightly controlled,” he becomes distracted by the beauty of the woodlands and begins to wander about. Many manuscripts (S,Ñ2,V,B,D1,2,3,5,7,9,10-13), in full or part, insert two lines [133*], in which the sage immediately performs his ritual bath with its accompanying rites and recitations, in an apparent attempt to remedy this seeming discontinuity. These manuscripts, naturally, omit verse l9ab of our text.

.9  

“Nearby” abhyāśe: According to Cg, this means “near the tīrtha,” whereas Ck and Ct understand “near the forest.”

“inseparable” anapāyinam: Cr and Cg take anapāyinam more strongly to mean “unable to endure even a moment’s separation.” Ck and Ct, however, understand the adjective to mean that the birds are free from any hindrance, danger, or bodily affliction and that it is for this reason that they sing so sweetly.

krauñcas: A type of heron or curlew.

.10  

Niṣāda hunter: Niṣāda, originally the proper name of a tribe, came also to be used as a generic term for any non-aryan tribesman and as such is frequently used to refer to a hunter or fisherman. The term also is applied to outcastes, especially the offspring of a brahman man and a shudra woman. It is uncertain whether or not the word is used in a restricted or generic sense in this passage, but the term clearly has a pejorative connotation. See crit. notes, p. 428, and Masson 1970.

.11  

“writhing” veṣṭamānam: Several N manuscripts and the vulgate read ceṣṭamānam. Burrow 1959, p. 79, in his review of the first fascicle of the crit. ed., argues for the vulgate reading, whereas Bhatt in his notes, p. 429, defends his reading on the grounds that it is the lectio difficilior and, he claims, is supported by parallel usages in the Rām and MBh.

.14  

Vālmīki’s curse of the hapless hunter is one of the most famous and widely known verses in the Sanskrit literature, quoted not only in numerous treatises on poetics and aesthetic theory, but even in great works of literature. See Masson 1969 and Bhavabhūti’s Uttararāmacarita 2.5. Its significance lies less in its inherent poetic value than in the texts statement that it is the very first example of true poetry, an idea that is generally accepted by the tradition. Because of its significance to the poem itself and the tradition of Sanskrit poetry and poetics, the verse has provoked an extensive, elaborate, and even absurd kind of exegesis of the same sort as was discussed in connection with 1.1.1. See crit. notes, p. 431.

.15  

“What is this … ?” kim idam … : Cg, whose interpretation we have followed, takes Vālmīki’s wonder to be a reference to the unprecedented nature of the form that he has created. Ct feels that this is more an expression of shock on the sage’s part, that he, a tranquil ascetic, should so give way to an anger that must destroy the fruits of his austerities. Ct is also struck by the use of the perfect form babhūva to describe the arising of Vālmīki’s thought. The point is that, according to the grammarians, this tense is reserved for distant past events not directly witnessed by the narrator (parokṣabhūtakāle liṭ) Yet Vālmīki is supposed to be the narrator. Ct offers several possible explanations of this seeming anomaly. First he suggests that the use of the perfect is allowable because, although the verse is Vālmīki’s composition, it was intended to be recited by the bards Kuśa and Lava. As an alternative he suggests that the first four sargas of the poem, the upodghāta, are the product of one or another of the sage’s students. This theory is still current, insofar as it is generally agreed by modern scholars that the four introductory sargas are very probably a later addition to the Bālakāṇḍa. For further discussion of this problem, see the Introduction and the note on the invocatory stanzas that, in most manuscripts, precede 1.1.1. Ct closes his discussion of this problem by noting that other scholars reckon that this is Vālmīki’s utterance, but is phrased in such a way as to show that it is a preface to the main poem. All this constitutes an interesting piece of early textual criticism in the traditional manner.

.17  

śloka: Vālmīki names his new creation punningly because of its origin in his grief or śoka. This sort of popular etymology, based on accidental phonological similarity, is well known and extremely popular in the brahmanic tradition. The Bālakāṇḍa is particularly fond of this type of etymology. For other examples, see 1.23.7,8,17-20; 1.28.18; 1.36.7. The particular play on śoka and śloka, repeated at verses 28 and 39 below, also makes a theoretical statement, accepted by later tradition, about the origin and nature of aesthetic experience. According to this view, such experience is deeply rooted in the unconscious emotional life of the person. The point is worth consideration even today.

A śloka consists of four quarters (pādas), each with eight syllables, and is the most common meter of the epic. For a discussion of this and other epic meters, see Hopkins 1901, pp. 191-362, especially pp. 219-61.

.21  

“various other matters” kathāś cānyāś cakāra: The commentators differ somewhat in their conceptions of what these “other matters” (literally, “stories”) are. Cr, with his unrelenting concern with the Rāma cult, takes these stories as those not connected with Rāma; Vālmīki’s meditation is for him concerned with Raghunātha. Cg sees the stories as purāṇic recitations, whereas Ck regards them as conversations conducive to dharma, “righteousness”

.24  

The translation follows Ck and Cg in taking enam to refer to Vālmīki. In this case it is necessary, as Ct notes, to read praṇamya separately from the pronoun, so as not to have the creator of the universe prostrating before a sage,

“welcome offering” arghya—: This is the traditional hospitality offering of brahmanical society. According to a traditional verse, it consists in its full form of eight things: water, milk, the tips of kuśa grass, curds, clarified butter, rice, barley, and mustard seed. See Apte 1957, s.v. arghya. Not infrequently, however, the offering consisted only of water.

.27  

The use of the optative form hanyāt here is unusual and its sense slightly opaque. The translation follows Ct, who sees it simply as an irregular past. Peterson 1879, p. 5, also accepts this. Ck takes the same position, but sees the usage as having a particular semantic value. He says that the optative is used of a past action that the speaker regards with contempt. Cm and Cg take the usage to be śaki liñ, “optative of capacity,” and gloss it as hantuṃ śaknuyāt, that is, “in that he could kill.”

.28  

“he sang” jagau: Cr proposes an optional interpretation of the verse. He suggests that we take the verb jagau as a first person singular, thus making this verse a continuation of the direct address represented by the sage’s thoughts in 27, that is, “Grieving for the krauñca hen, my mind focused within me, I sang this śloka, there, before him, for I was overwhelmed by sorrow.” He deals with the problem of the first person perfect by taking it as the valliṭprayoga, the first person perfect that is allowable if the speaker was intoxicated, maddened, or in some other altered state of consciousness at the time of the action referred to by the verb. In keeping with this interpretation, Cr takes the indeclinable upa, “near,” to refer to the Niṣāda at the time of the utterance of the curse. Ct, whom we have followed, reads the verb as a third person form used by the narrator, and takes upa to refer to the proximity of Brahmā. Cg and Cm regard this particle as an upasarga or preverb irregularly separated from the verb.

.39  

For the pun, see notes to 17 above. Cg and Cm, who mention our reading of śokaḥ, “grief,” as a v.l. of their ślokaḥ, “poetry,” argue — in our opinion correctly — that it is the repetition of the verse on the part of the sage’s students that is responsible for transforming the emotion of sorrow, expressed in Vālmīki’s curse, into something subject to aesthetic apprehension. However, the reading accepted by these commentators is not a good one. Ct attempts to demonstrate the technical features of the karuṇarasa. See note on 1.4.8.

Sarga 3

.1  

Before this sarga, N manuscripts (S,Ñ,V,B,D5,10-13) insert an additional and more detailed list of contents which is given at App. 1, No. 1 (303 lines, pp. 401-10). Gorresio’s ed. inserts this added sarga aftersarga 3.

.2  

“the sage sipped water” upaspṛśyodakam: The purificatory sipping of water is a prerequisite to many ritual acts in the Hindu tradition. According to Ct, the sipping of water suggests purification of the body and the mind. Cf. 1.21.10.

darbha grass: A plant with special religious and ceremonial uses.

“through profound meditation” dharmeṇa: The term is quite difficult here. The translation takes its cue from Ct’s “arising from yoga and having the form of the grace of Brahmā.” Cg, Cr, and Cm have similar interpretations. The N manuscripts replace dharmeṇa with the much clearer and simpler kāvyasya. This replacement has the virtue of eliminating the problematic reading while providing an explicit reference for gatim, “means of access,” a reference that we felt it appropriate to provide in any case.

“sought … the means of access to” anveṣate gatim: Although literally this means “sought … the path,” we are in agreement with the vulgate commentators, who understand this as a reference to the events of the Rāmāyaṇa detailed in the following verses. See Raghuvaṃśa 1.4 for a similar use of the term gati.

After 2, Dt,4,6,8,9,14,and S (including the vulgate) insert a well-known passage of 14 lines [154*] in which additional details of the sage’s vision are given. This passage contains a famous verse on the clarity of the poet’s vision (lines 7-8; vulgate 1.3.6) which translates as follows: “Then, deep in his yogic trance, that knower of righteousness saw all that had taken place before as clearly as an āmalaka fruit placed in one’s hand.”

.3  

“Rāma’s birth” [1.7-17, especially sarga 17].

.4  

“various other marvellous stories” nānā citrāḥ kathāś cānyāḥ: This refers to stories that are not directly part of the Rāmacaritam, such as the episodes of the origin of the Ganges (1.34), the birth of Kumāra (1.36), the churning of the ocean (1.44), the penances of Diti (1.46), and so on. These stories are, for the most part, recounted in the first and last books of the Rāmāyaṇa.

“Jānakī’s wedding, and the breaking of the bow” [1.68-72, especially sarga 72 for Sītā’s wedding, and 1.66 for the breaking of the bow]. Notice that the order of events is inverted here.

.5  

“the dispute between the two Rāmas” [1.73-75]; “the virtues of Dāśarathi” [2.2.]; “Rāma’s consecration” [2.3-6]; “Kaikeyī’s wicked nature” [2.7-91.

.6  

“the interruption of the consecration” [2.10-11]; “the banishment of Rāma” [2.16.21-261; “the king’s grief and lamentation, and his departure for the next world” [2.57-78].

.7  

“the dejection of the common people” [2.36, 41]; “their abandonment” [2.41]; “the conversation with the Niṣāda chief” [2.44.9-2.45]; “the return of the charioteer” 12.46.1-45].

“charioteer” sūta: The reference here is to Rāma’s own charioteer, Sumantra.

.8  

“the crossing of the Ganges” [2.46.60-75]; “the meeting with Bharadvāja” [2.47]; “the arrival at Mount Citrakūṭa on the instruction of Bharadvāja” [2.50].

.9  

“the building of and dwelling in a hut” [2.50.13ff.]; “the coming of Bharata” [2.92]; “the propitiation of Rāma” [2.93]; “the funeral libations for his father” [2.95].

.10  

“the consecration of the wonderful sandals” [2.104.20-25]; “the dwelling in Nandigrāma” [2.107] (see note on 1.1.31); “the journey to the Daṇḍaka forest” [3.1] (see note on 1.1.32); “the meeting with Sutīkṣṇa” [3.6-7].

.11  

“the encounter with Anasūyā.” [2.109-111.16]; “her presentation of the ointment” [2.110.12-21]; “the conversation with Śūrpaṇakhā” [3.16-17].

“encounter” samasyām: The usual meaning is “junction, union,” whereas the sense used here of “meeting, encounter” is unusual in the classical language. Bhatt, however, provides a lengthy note (crit. notes, p. 431) demonstrating that there is ample justification fen this latter sense.

After 11ab, Ś,Ñ,V,B,D1-3,5,7,9-13 insert 3 lines (166*) in which the visit to Śarabhaṅga’s ashram, the encounter with Vāsava, the visit to Agastya’s ashram, the departure from Agastya, the meeting with Virādha, and the dwelling in the Pañcavaṭa forest are mentioned.

.12  

“the slaying of Khara and Triśiras” [3.26-29]; “the setting out of Rāvaṇa” [3.33-34]; “the destruction of Mārīca” [3.42]; “the abduction of Vaidehī” [3.47].

.13  

“the lamentation of Rāghava” [3.59]; “the death of the vulture king” [3.48-49]; “the encounter with Kabandha” [3.65-69]; “the arrival at Lake Pampā” [3.71] (see note on 1.1.47).

.14  

“the encounters with Śabarī and Hanumān” [3.70; 4.3]; “the lamentation of great Rāghava” [4.1]; note that the sequence is out of order.

.15  

“the journey to Ṛṣyamūka” [4.4-5]; “the meeting with Sugrīva” [4.4-5]; “the engendering of confidence” [4.4-5]; “the alliance” [4.4-5]; “the battle between Vālin and Sugrīva” [4.12].

.16  

“the slaying of Vālin” [4.16; Vālin dies at 4.22.24]; “the installation of Sugrīva” [4.22]; “the lamentation of Tārā, the agreement” [4.19.20-28; 4.20]; “settling in for the rainy season” [4.27].

“the lamentation of Tārā, the agreement” tārāvilāpasamayam: The compound is rather awkward. Ñ1,B1,4,Dt,4-6,8,11,12,G1, read vilāpaṃ samayaṃ, thus breaking the compound into two separate units. The translation follows Cr and Cg, who read as does the crit ed. and take the word as a copulative compound with a neuter singular ending, or a samāhāradvandva. Samaya, “compact,” could refer to either the agreement to install Sugrīva as king [4.22] or the agreement of Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa to remain on Mt. Prasravaṇa for the rainy season [4.26]. Ck,Ct,Cr, and Cg all understand it to refer to the latter, which seems most probable.

.17  

“the anger of the lion of the Rāghavas” [4.30-35]; “the marshaling of the troops” [4.36]; “their being dispatched in all directions, and the description of the earth” [4.39-42].

.18  

“the giving of the ring” [4.43.10-16]; “the discovery of Riksha’s cave” [4.49]; “the fast until death” [4.52-54]; “the encounter with Sampāti” [4.55-62].

.19  

“the ascent of the mountain” [4.66.31ff.]; “the leap over the ocean” [5.1]; “the entry into Laṅkā by night” [5.2.46ff.] (see note on 1.1.62); “the solitary deliberations” [5.2.24-45]. The crit. ed. omits several of the other deeds of Hanumān, noted chiefly in the S manuscripts. See 175* (1 line), 176* (1 line), and 177* (1 line).

.20  

“the arrival at the drinking ground” [5.9]; “the view of the women’s quarters” [5.7]; “the arrival at the aśoka grove” [5.12]; “the meeting with Sītā” [5.13-38].

.21  

“the giving of the token of recognition” [5.34.1-5]; “Sītā’s speech” [5-35.41-68]; “the threats of the rākṣasa women” [5.22]; “the dream-vision of Trijaṭā” [5.25.4-25].

.22  

“Sītā’s giving of the jewel” [5.36.10ff.]; “the breaking of the trees” [5.39]; “the flight of the rākṣasa women” [5.40.1-11]; “the slaughter of the servants” [5.40.31-36].

.23  

“the capture of Vāyu’s son” [5.46.17ff.]; “the wailing at the burning of Laṅkā” [5.52.1-5]; “the return leap” [5.55]; “the seizure of the mead” [5.59.7-60]. “the wailing at the burning of Laṅkā” laṅkādāhābhigarjanam: The identity of those wailing or roaring is unspecified, and the commentators are divided on the issue. Ct and Cr understand Hanumān as the subject, whereas Cg thinks that it is the crying of the rākṣasas. Cr understands the compound as optionally a copulative: “the burning of Laṅkā and the wailing.”

.24  

“the consolation of Rāghava” [5.62.25ff.]; “the presentation of the jewel” [5.63]; “the encounter with the ocean” [6.4.65-88]; “the construction of Nala’s bridge” [6.15.8-26].

.25  

“the crossing of the ocean” [6.15.27-33]; “the siege of Laṅkā by night” [6.31-32]; “the alliance with Vibhīṣaṇa” [6.13.1-10].

“his revelation of the means of destruction” vadhopāyanivedanam: This is an obscure reference. Cr takes it to refer to Vibhīṣaṇa’s suggestion that they approach Sāgara, the Ocean, for advice [6.13.13-14]. It could, however, refer to many other incidents. Since it follows directly upon the alliance with Vibhīṣaṇa in the list, Cr’s interpretation seems good.

.26  

“the death of Kumbhakarṇa” [6.55.77-123]; “the slaying of Meghanāda” [6.75-77]; “the destruction of Rāvaṇa’ [6.87-97]; “the recovery of Sītā” [6.101-106].

.27  

“the consecration of Vibhīṣaṇa” [6.100.8-18]; “the acquisition of the chariot Puṣpaka” [6.109.8ff.]; “the journey to Ayodhyā” [6.110.-111]; “the meeting with Bharata” [6.115].

.28  

“the celebration of Rāma’s consecration” [6.116.13-76]; “his dismissal of all his troops” [6.116.74-76]; “his pleasing the kingdom” [6.116.80-90]; “his sending away Vaidehī” [7.46]. Note that this is the only reference to events from the Uttarakāṇḍa.

.29  

“latter portion of this poem” uttare kāvye: Cr and Cg understand this as a reference to the Uttarakāṇḍa, the last book of the epic, whereas Ct and Ck take the word uttara to mean excellent,” that is, “in this excellent poem.”

Sarga 4

.1  

After 1, B2 (after 1.14 of App. I, No. 2), Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S (except M4) and Cr,Cm,Cg,Ct insert 2 lines [196*] in which the length of the Rāmāyaṇa is specified: “The seer recited twenty-four thousand ślokas in five hundred sargas making up six kāṇḍas plus the Uttara.” This is, roughly speaking, the extent of the poem in its critical edition. The verse is, as Ck noted centuries ago, and as quoted by Ct, probably a late interpolation and describes the text of the bards who inserted it. It cannot be made the basis of any generalizations about the reconstruction of the “original” poem.

.2  

“the future and final events” sabhaviṣyaṃ … sahottaṛam: The verse suggests Vālmīki’s great and awesome ability to foretell future events through his divine insight. According to Ct, some people consider the future to refer to the events beginning with the abandonment of Sītā, that is, those told in the Uttarakāṇḍa, whereas others think that it refers to events after she enters the earth, that is, after the Horse Sacrifice of Rāma, at which Lava and Kuśa recite the poem. Cg understands uttara to refer to the events following Rāma’s coronation, and bhaviṣya to refer to “the events of the future that are later than (uttara) the Horse Sacrifice.” This seems plausible as, according to the story, the recitation of the poem at Rāma’s sacrifice marks a turning point in its history. See Bhandare 1920, p. 42.

For verses 2-18, Ś,Ñ,V,B,D1(for 7-18)-3,5,10-13 substitute 47 lines [203*1.

.3  

“Kuśa and Lava” kuśīlavau: The original sense of the word seems to be “bards” “actors.” And this is the meaning that the crit. notes, citing Amarakośa, appear to accept for this verse. The PW (s.v. kuśīlava) cites various examples of this usage, for example MBh 13.90.10 and ManuSm 3.155; 8.65,102; 9.225. The traditional etymology given by the Śabdakalpadruma pt. 2, p. 160, derives the word as kutsitaṃ śīlaṃ yasya saḥ, “he whose moral character is to be condemned.” The text also cites the Amarakośa’s gloss of the word as “bard.” The use of the word “bard” in this context, however, is inappropriate. The translation follows the interpretation of Cg,Ct, and Cm, who understand the irregular formation kuśīlava to refer to the two sons of Rāma. Probably the word originally meant a loose-living, wandering rhapsodist, and the naming and characterization of the twins Kuśa and Lava are probably the result of folk etymology (see Macdonell 1901, p. 306). This interpretation implies that the original Rāmāyaṇa did not know Rāma’s sons. Bhandare 1920, p. 42, however, argues that the term kuśīlava was generalized from the names of the twin princes. The Uttarakāṇḍa provides its own etymology for the names. At 7.58.4-6, Vālmīki, according to the commentators, names the boys after the upper (kuśa) and lower (lava) parts of the sacrificial grass.

“in the guise of sages” muniveṣau: They are dressed as munis, although they are, in fact, kshatriya princes. The use of this and other specific adjectives in verses 4-5 further supports the interpretation of kuśīlavau as proper nouns.

.4  

For 4cd-6ab, the northern variant, given at 203* (p. 38), substitutes lines 7-10, in which the sage Vālmīki greets the two boys by sniffing their heads, tells them that this is the Rāmāyaṇa poem that he composed and that they should learn it from him.

.6  

“the tale of Sītā and the slaying of Paulastya” sītāyāś caritam … paulastyavadham: This verse is provocative. Is it possible that the oldest core of the epic was the tale of the abduction of the princess and her rescue, a ballad that was known as the Paulastyavadha, “The Slaying of Paulastya (Rāvaṇa)”? If this is so — and some of the commentators are ready to entertain this conjecture — it might be that the events of the Ayodhyākāṇḍa, usually thought to be the oldest stratum of the poem, may have been secondarily elaborated, in keeping with the main thrust of the surviving text of this Paulastyavadha, to emphasize the characterization of Rāma as one ready to renounce everything to keep his father’s word. Ck and Ct understand paulastyavadha to be the proper title of the poem on the analogy of Māgha’s Śiśupālavadha. Cg disagrees, and considers the Paulastyavadha to be only a section of the entire work. Bhandare 1920, p. 42, assumes that the reference here to Paulastyavadha means that the “original Rāmāyaṇa closed with the death of Rāvaṇa.” Cg (and Ctś) argues that the killing of Rāvaṇa is the principal and culminating episode of the poem, and that the earlier episodes are subordinate elements that lead up to it or to other secondary episodes. Using the two terms, he then interprets the verse to mean, “through the device of the paulastyavadha, he developed the story of Rāma, which is secondary, into the principal story, the story of Sītā. That is, he caused it to be sung in that way.” Ctś, in support of this interpretation, goes so far as to propose that the poem’s traditional title, Rāmāyaṇa, should be interpreted as the career of Rāmā, that is, Lakṣmī, whom the sectarian tradition regards as identical with Sītā.

.7  

“in three tempos” pramāṇaiṣ tribhiḥ: The tempos are said to be quick, moderate, and slow (Ct).

“seven notes of the scale” jātibhiḥ saptabhiḥ: Jātis are apparently an older form of the classical rāgas. See Te Nijenhuis 1974, pp. 34-35.

“stringed and percussion instruments” tantrīlaya—: According to Cg, tantrī here refers to vīṇās, “lutes,” that have tantrīs, “strings.” Layas, according to him, refer to other instruments, that is, drums, flutes, and so on. For a more detailed account of early Indian music, see Te Nijenhuis 1974 and 1970.

.8  

“sentiments” rasaḥ: The word rasa is a technical term used by writers on poetics to refer to the various sentiments expressed in works of poetry or drama. Traditionally these are said to be eight, although some later authorities add a ninth, śānta, “the tranquil.” Seven of the eight rasas are enumerated in the verse. Omitted is adbhuta, “the marvellous.” The number of rasas mentioned and the order given for them varies significantly in the manuscripts. The N manuscripts mention nine rasas, including śāntarasa. The inclusion of the ninth suggests to the authors of the crit. notes, p. 433, the priority of the southern tradition. This assumption on the part of the crit. ed. is unfounded, in our opinion, as there is no way to determine whether 203*.16 is from an early stratum of the northern recension or a later interpolation. Although the crit. notes say that the northern tradition “uniformly” reads all nine rasas, according to the crit. app., p. 39, at least five manuscripts (Ñ1,B1,2,D2,3) omit the ninth. Cg suggests that the word ādi, “and the rest,” refers to the remaining two rasas, and that the intent was to suggest all nine. Cg discusses, at some length, which rasa predominates in the text. According to him, some say that the śokarasa (that is, karunaṛasa), or the piteous sentiment, predominates (because of its association with śloka, see 1.2.17), whereas others say that vīrarasa, the heroic sentiment, predominates because the title of the work is the Paulastyavadha. Cg himself, however, feels that śrṅgārarasa, the erotic sentiment, is the central one, since the story is primarily concerned with the adventures of Sītā (see note on 6 above). To further strengthen his argument, he alludes to the traditional doctrine that either the heroic or the erotic sentiment should predominate in a serious poetic work. The episode of Vālmīki and the krauñca bird (1.2) seems to suggest that the aesthetic experience derives primarily from the emotional experience of sorrow or loss. This notion, although not in the mainstream of Indian writings on aesthetics, is passionately put forward in the context of the Rāma story by the playwright-poet Bhavabhūti at Uttararāmacarita 3.47. See Introduction.

.9  

gandharvas’ musical art” gandharvatattva—: Gandharvas are the musicians of the gods.

“articulation and modulation” sthānamūrcchana—: Sthāna is a technical term referring to the organs of articulation. There are three: the chest, throat, and head (Cg). The crit. notes, p. 433, refer to the grammatical tradition of eight points of vocal articulation. Mūrcchana is another technical term of Indian music and refers to the cadences of the seven notes. See above note 9, Bhandare 1920, p. 43, and crit. notes, p. 433.

Notice that N manuscripts have no equivalent passage for 9-10ab, and in our opinion, this passage should be treated with suspicion.

.10  

“Gifted with beauty and auspicious marks” rūpalakṣaṇasaṃpannau: The translation here follows Ct, who understands the adjective to refer to the boys’ appearance. Cr and Cg, however, interpret rūpa to mean nāṭaka, that is, skilled in the movements of mime.

“Like twin reflections they seemed, born of the same image, Rāma’s body” bimbād ivoddhṛtau bimbau rāmadehāt tathāparau: The translation follows the commentators here in rendering the awkward phrase. According to Ct the first occurrence of the word bimba is to be taken in the sense of an image, like that of the sun, whereas the second must be understood as “reflection.” The point of the figure is evidently that the two boys are identical both to each other and to their father, Rāma.

.11  

“learned … by heart” vāco vidheyaṃ … kṛtvā: According to Ct, “fit for recitation without a text” Cg understands “conformable to speech with much practice.” Ct, in his commentary on vulgate 1.4.14, quotes the N version (203* lines 21-22), which demonstrates that he had some familiarity with that tradition.

.13  

“on one occasion” kadācit. Cg and Cm both take this to refer to the time of Rāma’s Horse Sacrifice,

.16  

“of … the poetry” ślokānām: Literally, ślokas; see note on 1.2.17.

.17  

“with feeling” raktam: The translation follows Cg’s reading, rāgayukta, “filled with emotion.”

.19  

The water jar (kalaśa) and the barkcloth mantle (valkala) are the same articles that Bharadvāja handed Vālmīki before his discovery of poetry (1.2.6-7).

After 19, Dt,4,6,8,14,T1,2,G1-3,M1,3 insert 10 lines [209*; GPP 1.4.21cd-26ab] that contain a list of additional brahmanical gifts given to the pair.

.20  

“great source of inspiration for poets” paraṃ kavīnām ādhāram: The word ādhāra means literally “prop” or “support.” The idea is that the Rāmāyaṇa will be the basis for all subsequent poetry. See Bhandare 1920, p. 4, and crit. notes, p. 434.

.21  

For 21cd-23, Ś,Ñ,V,B,D1-3,5,9-13 substitute 13 lines [215*], in which the time and place of the recitation is explicitly stated to be Rāma’s Horse Sacrifice.

.24  

“with their lutes” vīṇinau: Vīṇā refers to a stringed instrument, either an arched harp or a lute. The reading is marked as doubtful in the crit. ed.

.26  

It is evident from this verse that Rāma does not know the true identity of the two bards.

The meter has changed to jagatī (48 syllables).

.27  

mārga: Traditionally there are two types of recitation. The formal or high style, used only for those works composed in Sanskrit, is called mārga. For those works composed in Prākrit, an informal style called deśī is used.

The meter, as in the verse above, is a type of jagatī. The sense of this lovely verse appears to be that through his powerful emotional response to the poem, Rāma gradually becomes oblivious to his surroundings and is wholly absorbed in the story. The verse serves as an ingenious transition from the preamble to the epic proper. In it we see the culmination of the tale of the creation of the poem in its performance before its own hero. The power of the work is suggested by the fact that even Rāma, who is renowned for his emotional self-control, is ravished by hearing it. Moreover, in bringing the bards and the audience into the presence of Rāma at the court of Ayodhyā, the poet has set the scene for the heroic narrative to begin in earnest.

Sarga 5

.2  

The story of King Sagara and his sixty thousand sons is told in sargas 37-40 below.

.4  

“I will recite” vartayiṣyāmi: Who is the subject of the verb? Bhandare 1920, p. 46, thinks that Vālmīki is the speaker. Bhatt (crit. notes, p. 435) and Ct understand the subject to be Kuśa and Lava, with the singular used in place of the dual, to indicate the closeness of the twins.

“goals of righteousness, profit, and pleasure” dharmakāmārtha—: These are the three principal worldly concerns of a man in traditional Hindu society.

“with faith” anasūyayā: This literally means “without malice” or ‘jealousy,” but here Cg’s interpretation has been followed.

.5  

Sarayū: Apparently this is to be identified with the modern Sarjū. Cf. 1.23.8.

.6  

Ayodhyā: This is Daśaratha’s capital city and is one of the most famous cities of Indian tradition. Situated between the Sarayū and Tamasā rivers, it was, and still is, considered one of the seven holy cities of India. See Law 1954, pp. 67-68.

.7  

“leagues” yojanāni: The exact distance represented by this unit is uncertain; according to some it is approximately nine miles, whereas others judge it to be only three. In the translation we have decided to interpret it loosely as a league, in the sense of a fairly long distance.

For 7cd-22, Ś,Ñ,V,B,D5,10-13 substitute 35 lines [230*], a parallel passage that describes Ayodhyā somewhat more elaborately.

.8  

“loose blossoms” muktapuṣpa—: Ct understands this to mean “full-blown blossoms.” Cr takes it to refer to “flowers thrown by the consorts of the gods from their aerial chariots.”

.10  

“doors and gates” kapāṭatoraṇa—: This could also be read as a madhyamapadalopin compound, one in which a middle term has been omitted. Thus the reference could be to archways fitted with doors.

.11  

“hundred-slayers” śataghnī—: According to the commentators, these are large iron-spiked defensive weapons placed along ramparts, but cf. Raghuvaṃśa 12.95, where it is an offensive weapon hurled by Rāvaṇa at Rāma.

.12  

“troops of actresses” vadhūnāṭakasanghaiḥ: The meaning of the compound is uncertain. The crit. notes, p. 436, following Ct and Ck, understand “theaters for women.” Bhandare 1920, p. 47, somewhat more freely, translates “sporting places for females.” Cg, on the other hand, understands “hosts of dancing masters for women.” We have followed Cr, but one could also interpret the term as a copulative compound (dvandva) and translate it as “hosts of women and actors.”

.15  

Amarāvatī: The heavenly city of Indra, king of the gods.

.16  

“like a chessboard” aṣṭāpadākārām: The term aṣṭāpada apparently refers to an eight-rowed gaming board. The word is known to Pāṇini as a technical term (6.3.125). Cr and Cg cite the Amarakośa, which glosses the term as śāriphalam, a cloth or board for playing chess. Ct gives “gaming board’’ as the interpretation of some authorities. Others, he says, take the term to refer to gold ornamentation. Bhandare 1920, p. 48, takes this verse to be the earliest reference to chess in the literature.

.18  

The dundubhis, mṛdaṅgas, and paṇavas are all various types of drums or percussion instruments. See 1.4.24 for “lutes,” vīṇās.

.20  

“in hiding” śabdavedhyam: This means literally “to be shot by sound,” that is, to be located and shot on the basis of sound alone. The suggestion, according to the commentators, is that the person shot is in hiding. It is the thoughtless exercise of this skill at archery that is the cause of Daśaratha’s curse and tragic death (2.57, especially verse 8).

.22  

“great chariot warriors” mahārathaiḥ: CF. 1.6.2 and 1.41.21.

.23  

“six adjunct sciences” ṣadaṅga—: See note on 1.1.13.

The meter is jagatī, that is, twelve syllables per quarter.

Sarga 6

.2  

“master chariot warrior” atirathaḥ: Cf. 1,5.22 and 1.41.21.

.3  

“was the equal of Śakra or Vaiśravaṇa” śakravaiśravaṇopamaḥ: Śakra, or Indra, is the king of the gods. Vaiśravaṇa, or Kubera, is the lord of wealth. The inclusion of the former in the comparison is somewhat unusual. Kubera is a standard of comparison for wealth, whereas Indra is usually referred to as an exemplar of martial valor or royal splendor.

.5  

“True to his vows” satyābhisaṃdhena: This epithet and others to the same effect are especially significant in establishing the trait of truthfulness that will be so critical in the characterization of the hero and in the development of the epic narrative.

“three goals of life” trivarga—: See 1.5.4 and note.

Amarāvatī: See note to 1.5.15.

.6  

For verses 6-24, Ś,Ñ,V,B,D5,10-13 substitute a parallel passage of 48 lines [248*].

.7  

“who had not accomplished his goals” asiddhārthaḥ: According to Ct, this refers to “both worldly and heavenly desires,” Cg and Cr understand the word to refer to the puruṣārthas mentioned above at 5.

.8  

“agnostic” nāstikaḥ: According to Cg and Cr, “one who does not believe in the existence of the next world.”

.12  

“mixing of social classes” nirvṛttasaṃkaraḥ: Miscegenation was considered a grave social offense.

.16  

“of which the foremost … makes the fourth” agryacaturtheṣu: This statement refers to the traditional division of Indian society, the components of which are enumerated in the next verse. The phrase is unusually worded; normally the brahmans are thought of not as the fourth, hut the first among the four social classes.

.19  

“unyielding” amarṣiṇām: We follow the vulgate commentators, who understand “not enduring conquest at the hands of an enemy.”

“accomplished in their art” kṛtavidyānām: The commentators agree that this means learned in the use of weapons and missiles.

.20  

“Hari’s steed” harihaya—: According to Cr, Ct, and Cg, the horse referred to is Ucchaihśravas, the horse given to Indra at the churning of the ocean. See 1.44.24. The term harihaya is potentially confusing. Not only is the name Hari a commonly used epithet of Viṣṇu, but harihaya is, in its own right, an epithet of Indra, that is, “he of the bay steeds.”

Bāhlīka: The country of the Bāhlīkas seems to have been in northwest India, possibly some region to the north of the Punjab. See Law 1954, p. 133, and Bhandare 1920, p. 51, who identify it with Bactria. The region was famous for its horses.

Kāmboja: One of the sixteen mahājanapadas or tribal kingdoms of pre-Magadhan north India. The Kāmboja people are said to have occupied the province around Rajaori (Rājapur) in northwest India, not far from Gāndhāra. See Law 1954, p. 53.

Vanāyu: This country was apparently in northwest India, and like Bāhlīka and Kāmboja, was famous for its horses. The crit. notes, p. 437, offer the possibility that the reference is to Arabia.

“the great river” nadījaiḥ: Literally, “born near the river.” All the commentators agree that the reference is to the region of Sindhu, or the Indus valley, which, like the other areas mentioned, was noted for its fine horses.

.21  

Vindhya hills: A range of mountains that separates northern India from the Deccan peninsula.

.22–23  

bhadramandra, bhadramṛga, and mṛgamandra breeds: Traditionally there are three pure breeds of elephants, Bhadra, Mandra, and Mṛga. Cr and Ct associate these with the major mountain ranges: the Himalaya, Vindhya, and Sahya, respectively. Cr and Cg describe the elephants according to their physical features: Bhadras have contracted limbs, Mandras are stocky, and Mṛgas are lean and long-limbed. The animals mentioned in the verse are of mixed breeds. See note on 1.38.5 and crit. notes, p. 437.

“even two leagues beyond its gates” yojane … dve bhūyaḥ: The translation follows Cg. See note on 1.5.7.

.24  

The meter is the same as that found at 1.5.23, that is, jagatī, with twelve syllables per metric quarter.

Sarga 7

.1  

“renowned” yaśasvinaḥ: The adjective could also apply to “hero,” although most commentators do not allude to the ambiguity. Cr, the only vulgate commentator to gloss the term, construes it with “ministers,” and all considered, this seems most probable.

Dt,2,4,6-8,14,S (D3,9 insert after 253*) begin thesarga with 2 lines [249*] that describe the virtues of the king’s ministers.

.2  

The names of the ministers differ in the various manuscripts. This sort of variation is the rule with lists of names in the epic. See crit. app. at 1.

.3  

“as well as other counsellors” mantriṇaś … apare: Ct distinguishes the “ministers” (amātyāḥ) of verse 1 from the “counsellors” (mantriṇaḥ). The former, according to him, handle affairs of state, and the latter day-to-day concerns. See KauṭArthŚā 1.4, 5, and 9 and ManuSm 7.54ff.

.6  

“in their own realm or abroad” sveṣu … pareṣu: The translation follows Cg’s gloss, “events in one’s own country and in others.” Ct understands sveṣu as “friends” and pareṣu as “enemies.”

.10  

“the relative gravity of a man’s offense” puruṣasya balābalam: This reading follows Ct,Cr, and Cg. Ct offers an optional interpretation, “the relative power of the king,” but this is difficult to support in the context.

.14  

“Sensible only of the virtues of their master” gurau guṇagṛhītāḥ: This is a peculiar and difficult phrase. The northern manuscripts substitute 4 lines [267*] for our verses 13-14, in which the phrase is replaced by the much simpler svaguṇeṣu parikhyātāḥ, “famed for their virtues.” Eight manuscripts of southern bias (Dt,4,6,8,G1-3,M1) read guroḥ in place of gurau, whereas T3 reads guṇaiḥ. Several other manuscripts, mainly Devanāgarī, also have alternative readings. This suggests that the reading should be regarded as doubtful, even though not marked as such by the crit. ed. The referent of guru here is in question. Does it refer to the king or to an actual teacher? Ct, the only commentator who says anything helpful, reads it as referring to both. Bhandare 1920, p. 52, understands “preceptors,” which, since he cites Ct, apparently includes the king. It seems likely, given the context, that the referent intended is the king, and the sense is that the ministers only apprehended the virtues of Daśaratha and not his faults, that is, they refused to hear any evil of their master.

.17  

The meter is upajāti, which has eleven syllables per quarter.

Sarga 8

.1  

“suffered” tapyamānasya: We follow Ck,Cg, and Cm. Ct and Cr understand the phrase to mean that the king is actually performing penances (tapas) for the sake of acquiring an heir. Cg also gives this as an alternative explanation. But the first seems more appropriate for the king, who is brooding over his lack of progeny. Also, if the king were engaged in actual austerities, one would expect some description of them.

.2  

“Horse Sacrifice” vājimedhena: Daśaratha’s choice of this particular rite is peculiar, as it is normally performed for the purpose of extending and defining a king’s area of sovereignty. The normal rite for the acquisition of a son is the Putrakāmeṣṭi, which is not mentioned here. For a discussion of this contradiction and its possible origins and implications, see notes to 1.11,1 and the Introduction to the Bālakāṇḍa. See also sarga 13, where the Horse Sacrifice is described in unusual detail, and crit. notes, pp. 437-38, for more elaborate discussion and description of the rite itself.

.4–5  

After 4,Dt,4,6,8,14,S (except M4) read for the first time 11*.5-20 (GPP 1.8.5-24 and 1.12.5c-22), in which Sumantra carries out Daśaratha’s orders and summons the king’s advisors, who approve of the sacrifice. Since this repetition does not occur in the northern versions, Bhatt has concluded that the passage rightfully belongs only to sarga 11. This creates an awkward gap in the narrative, however, since Sumantra does not carry out the command, but immediately launches into the tale of Ṛśyaśṛṅga. Peterson 1879, p. 8, comments that this is “a piece of unskilled joining.” On the other hand, the repeated passage of the S manuscripts only postpones and does not eliminate the discontinuity. For, although the passage follows logically enough from the king’s command, its end provides no coherent juncture with the verse that follows it (1.8.6; GPP 1.9.1). For now it is not clear what it is that Sumantra hears, and his introduction of the tale of Ṛśyaśṛṅga seems no less abrupt. The problem is undoubtedly to be traced to the relatively late and rather imperfect interpolation of the episode into the Rāmāyaṇa story. For further discussion of the history of this portion of the text, see the Introduction.

6. Sanatkumāra is probably the famous seer known from the ChāndoU 7.1.1 and 7.26.2. See crit. notes, p. 438.

.7  

The crit. ed. (crit. notes, p. 438) has adopted everywhere the southern reading of the name Ṛśyaśṛṅga, even though it is printed in the critical text itself as Ṛṣyaśṛṅga. This southern version of the name is also found in the S manuscripts of the Mahābhārata, and was accepted for the crit. ed. of that text by Sukthankar. The crit. ed. has omitted the majority of textual evidence here and elsewhere for this name. The Ṛśyaśṛṅga episode appears also at MBh 3.110-13, PadmP, Bengali recension, Pātālakhaṇḍa, 13 (reprinted in Lüders 1897), Bhāratamañjarī 3.758-95, Bhadrakalpāvadāna 33, Avadānakalpalatā 65, Alambusā and Naḷanikā Jātakas, etc. The episode is clearly of great importance to traditional India, and it is this importance, coupled with the tale’s powerful association with sexuality and especially fertility, that is doubtless responsible for its rather awkward inclusion in the Rāmāyaṇa. One is inclined, on the basis of the palpably ill fit of the episode in our epic and on the clearly inferior version that we have, to believe, with Lüders 1897 and 1901, that the Rāmāyaṇa episode is later than that of the Mahābhārata version and, possibly, even that of the Padmapurāṇa. For a general discussion of the saga, see Lüders 1897; Sukthankar 1942, pp. 1100-101; and crit. notes, pp. 438-39. For a discussion of the role of the episode in the formation of the Bālakāṇḍa, see the Introduction.

See also note on 1.11.6 and MBh 3.110.12-13, where Ṛśyaśṛṅga is also identified as a descendant of Kāśyapa.

.8  

Ct suggests that the thrust of the verse, with its use of sadā, “entirely,” and nityam “constant,” is to show the total isolation and innocence of Ṛśyaśṛṅga.

.9  

“chastity will be destroyed” dvaividhyam brahmacaryasya: The phrase is obscure. It means literally “duality or differentiation in his chastity.” The translation follows Cg, who interprets dvaividhyam as “a break brought about through the sage’s contact with women.” In the context of the Ṛśyaśṛṅga legend this makes good sense. On the other hand, Cg offers an alternative explanation to the effect that chastity is of two kinds, that of the celibate and that of the householder who engages in sexual activity only at the times prescribed by the law texts. Cm for the most part follows Cg, whereas Ck and Ct only provide the latter interpretation, stressing that the chastity of a celibate is primary and that of a householder secondary. Cr provides a sectarian interpretation based on a scholastic reading of dvaividhya, “intense meditation upon the two, that is, Rāma and Sītā,” thereby making even Ṛśyaśṛṅga a devotee of Rāma. Here again, as with so many of the obscure if perfectly grammatical readings of S, the N manuscripts tend to serve as a kind of gloss. In place of our phrase they substitute a phrase expressing the sense suggested by Cg, which we have accepted. This phrase varies in the various manuscript traditions insofar as they tend to use different adjectives with the sense of “lost, broken, destroyed.”

.11  

Romapāda: This is the southern version of the king’s name. The northern manuscripts (Ś, Ñ,V,B,D1,2,5,7,9-13) consistently read Lomapāda. Notice that the northern manuscripts of the Mahābhārata version read Lomapāda, whereas the majority of the southern manuscripts of that text read Romapāda.

Aṅgas: The country of Aṅga was located around what is now the district of Bhagalpur in southern Bihar. It was one of the mahājanapadas or tribal states of ancient India. Its capital city was known as Campā. See notes on 1.6.20 and 1.12.22. See also Law 1954, pp. 42-43, and crit. notes, p. 439.

.11  

“Because of some transgression” vyatikramāt: The nature of Romapāda’s lapse is nowhere mentioned. The commentators are general in their explanations, saying that it is a lapse of dharma or a transgression of his kingly duties.

“cruel and terrible” sudāruṇā … sughorā: This is one of those pairs of synonyms or near synonyms, quite common in the Sanskrit epic style, that are virtually impossible to distinguish semantically for the purposes of translation. The commentators often feel impelled to attempt to make some distinction between the two terms and read sudāruṇā to indicate the duration of the drought and sughorā to suggest its geographical extent, which includes the entire kingdom.

.13  

“advanced in learning” śrutavṛddhān: The N manuscripts substitute jñānino viprān, “learned brahmans,” thus lending support to this interpretation. See note on verse 14 below.

.14  

“learned in the ways of righteousness” śrutadharmāṇaḥ: This phrase is somewhat obscure, and many variants are found. The vulgate (Ct,Cr only; 1,9.10) reads śrutakarmāṇaḥ, which, according to Ct, should be understood as the rites referred to in the ritual literature about droughts. The Mysore ed. (1.9.10) reads as does the critical text. Most N manuscripts read śrutidṛṣṭāntaiḥ: “by means of examples provided in the scriptures.” Cr, who reads as does the critical text, understands the phrase to mean “having heard many worldly and vedic things.”

.16  

“with … unwavering mind” susamāhitaḥ: This adjective is widely applied to characters in the epic, often with no apparent specific focal reference. Here, however, it may be that there is a reference to some anticipated unwillingness on the part of the king to give his daughter away to some wild ascetic. Such hesitation is seen elsewhere in the epic in the marriage of Ṛcīka and Satyavatī (MBh 3.115.9-18) and hinted at in the story of Cyavana and Sukanyā (MBh 3.122). See 1.47.18 and 1.48.18, where the word susamāhitaḥ also occurs.

Śāntā is said in some texts to be Daśaratha’s daughter adopted by R(L)omapāda. See BhāgP 9.23.8 and UttaRāCa 1.4. See crit. notes on 1.10.3 (p. 440) and Cr on GPP 1.11.3, who, against the other commentators, thinks that Śāntā was the real daughter of Daśaratha. A. Chatterjee 1957 has shown that the tradition that Śāntā is the daughter of Daśaratha belongs to N. See note on verse 22 and 1.10.3 below.

.20  

“difficulty” doṣaḥ: An ambiguous term that has many meanings, such as “fault,” “defect,” “censure,” “offense,” and so on. We have translated it here as “difficulty” because it seems that the ministers, having seen a means by which the sage may be brought safely, are reassuring the king that neither he nor they will suffer retribution at the hands of the ascetic. The commentators give various, often alternative, explanations. Ck thinks that no ill consequences will befall them, since they will be using the prostitutes as intermediaries. Cr offers this and another explanation, whereby doṣa refers to a diminution of the sage’s chastity. Cg gives these two alternatives and expands upon the second, saying that his chastity will not be compromised because they plan to bring him in such a way that he will never have actual sexual contact with the prostitutes. This last interpretation is at odds with most other versions of the legend and merely points up the bowdlerized nature of the Rāmāyaṇa version. Cg adds yet a third alternative according to which the doṣa is the drought itself. Cm gives the last two alternatives only. Cr takes the term to refer to dereliction on the part of the king’s ministers.

.21  

“god will cause rain” avarṣayad devaḥ: The god in question is Parjanya (Indra). Burrow’s suggestion (1959, p. 79) to read devam for devaḥ attempts to deal with the problem of the causative, but although the crit. notes, p. 439, evaluate this as “not unlikely” and Ck urges this reading as “an improvement,” we are not convinced. Such a reading is improbable on the basis of the textual evidence. Only five manuscripts have the accusative here, and even the N version [289*.3] has the nominative. It seems to us preferable to read avarṣayat as a svārthe ṇījanta, a causative form with the sense of the simplex.

For verses 21-22 the N manuscripts substitute 12 lines [289*] that provide much the same information with additional detail and greater clarity.

.22  

“son-in-law” jāmātā: The verse does not specify whose relation Ṛśyaśṛṅga is thought to be. Ct and Cr, whom we follow, understand that the sage is to be Daśaratha’s son-in-law. Ct thinks that this is so because Daśaratha is a close friend of R(L)omapāda, who is the real father-in-law of Ṛśyaśṛṅga. Cg says that Ṛśyaśṛṅga is the son-in-law of either Daśaratha or R(L)omapāda, since the former had given his daughter to the latter. See note on verse 16 above, where the familial affiliation of Śāntā is discussed. Notice that in N’s passage [289*.8-9] it is said explicitly that the sage becomes the son-in-law of King Lomapāda and produces sons for King Daśaratha.

Sarga 9

Sarga 9  

For sarga 9, Ñ,V,B,D1,8,13,M4 substitute 103 lines [309.1].

.3  

“austerity and study” tapaḥsvādhyāyane: See note on 1.1.1.

“with women and with the pleasures of the senses’ nārīṇām viṣayāṇām sukhasya ca: The syntax of the genitives is awkward and obscure. The translation follows Cg, who reads “women” separately from “senses” in a somewhat objective sense. Ck construes both genitives as partitive, whereas Ct, evidently following him, interprets the phrase to mean “unacquainted with the pleasure associated with the sensual experience of women.”

.5  

“prostitutes” ganikāḥ: See crit. notes, p. 439.

“He will receive them with honor” satkṛtāḥ: The agent of this honor to the prostitutes is not made clear by the text. The translation follows Cr and one alternative of Cg in making the agent the sage. There is no way of ignoring the interpretation of Ck and Ct, however, who say that the prostitutes will be honored with gifts of various garments, ornaments, food, and drink, and thus suggest that it is the king who must first pay off the women. Cg, unable to make up his mind, says it means “greatly honored by us or by Ṛśyaśṛṅga.”

.7  

“stayed near the ashram” āśramasyāvidūre ‘smin: The sequence is awkward, especially the word asmin. Many versions, including the northern [309*.20], omit the word altogether and avoid the difficulty. Ck,Ct,Cr, and Cg understand it, probably correctly, to refer elliptically to the forest. Cm, on the other hand, construes it with darśane, “glimpse,” rationalizing that the demonstrative asmin is used because the sight of Ṛśyaśṛṅga is present “in their minds.” Notice that the northern manuscripts [309*.20] have tadā, which seems to us a more straightforward reading. The reading is marked as doubtful in the crit. ed.

The crit. notes, p. 439, revise the numbering of the verses. Verse 7 includes 8ab, whereas 8cd stands alone.

The northern version after its variant to 7ef (new numbering), that is, 309*.21, adds several verses to the story in which the wiles of the courtesans are more fully described.

“Wholly content … ”: This verse should be considered at best a doubtful reading in the critical text, although it is not noted as such. The verse has no variant known to the entire northern version and is not crucial to the context. See note on 1.19.15.

.9  

“or any other creature of the city or the countryside” anyat sattvaṃ nagararāṣṭrajam: Ck,Ct, and Cg all suggest that the city creatures would be horses, elephants, and so on, whereas those of the countryside are pigs, fowl, and so on. The point of the verse is probably not to suggest that the boy-sage has never seen any living thing other than his father, but that he is entirely innocent of any sort of social environment. There seems to be no serious reference, as is suggested in the crit. notes, p. 439, to political divisions of the country.

.12  

The prostitutes appear to ask three questions in the verse, although the last is not explicitly marked as such. Ck,Ct,Cg,Cr, and Cm all agree that the last line is an additional question. The commentators differ among themselves as to the exact significance of the second question, kiṃ vartate. The translation is, more or less, in accordance with the interpretations of Ct and Cr, who see the question specifically directed to the sage’s occupation. Rut Cg and Cm understand, “Why are you here?” and Ck, “What is your name?” The reading of N provides the third interrogative, kasmāt, “why” [309*.48].

.14  

Ṛśyaśṛṅga: The name means “having deer antlers,” and Cg and Cr provide brief versions of the well-known story of the sage’s birth from a doe who had accidentally imbibed some of Vibhāṇḍaka’s semen. They describe the tale as purāṇic. See MBh 3.110.11-16, where the story of the doe is told. Cr, however, remarks that “others” reject this story and explain the name differently. The sage’s mother is referred to as deer only metaphorically in that she has the eyes and so on of a gazelle. Moreover, according to this argument, śṛṅga means not antlers, but mountain peaks, the peaks on which deer (ṛśya) delight. Thus the name means “he who inhabits deer-filled mountains.”

“occupation” karma: Ṛśyaśṛṅga’s occupation according to Ct,Cg, and Cm is ascetic practice. Burrow’s suggestion (1959, p. 79) of an emendation in the critical reading to nāmakarma (from nāma karma) is not a good one, as is correctly noted in the crit. notes, p. 440.

.15  

“Our ashram is nearby” ihāśramapado ’smākam samīpe: The use of the masculine gender, instead of the expected neuter, for pada is unusual. The reading is marked as doubtful, since a few S manuscripts (T3,G1,3) and NW manuscripts (8,D2,7) read the locative, pade. But Burrow’s harsh comment (1959, p. 78) about “the use of barbarous Sanskrit” is uncalled for and prescriptive rather than descriptive. The crit. notes, p. 440, have defended their choice of the reading adequately and, we feel, correctly.

.17  

“welcoming offering” arghyam: See note on 1.2.24.

.18  

“were filled with longing, they were fearful of the seer” samutsukāḥ … ṛṣer bhītāḥ: In this verse Ct has been followed. He understands samutsuka to suggest the prostitutes’ eagerness to lead Ṛśyaśṛṅga away from the ashram. It seems that the intent is to show that both this eagerness and their fear lead them to terminate the first encounter so quickly. Cr takes samutsuka simply to mean “greatly delighted,” whereas Cg and Ck interpret it as “desirous of (long [Ck]) conversation with him.” In these cases one would translate “eager but fearful.” The sage of whom they are frightened is Vibhāṇḍaka. Perhaps in keeping with the generally prudish stance of the Rām and its commentaries, the commentators avoid the common sense of the term, “sexually excited, longing for sexual contact.”

.20  

“joyfully” harṣasamanvitāḥ: Ck and Ct note that there are two reasons for the prostitutes’ joy. The first is their pleasurable embrace of a boy celibate, and the second is that this contact is favorable to their plans.

.20  

“mighty” tejasvī: A stock epithet of brahmans and other important personages. Ct, reading closely and playing on the various meanings of tejas, that is, “power, luster, semen,” and so on, remarks that the epithet means “one whose tejas is not diminished,” and applies it to the sage because he has not shed his semen in spite of his contact with the prostitutes and because he knows the absolute (brahman).

“living always” nityanivāsinā: For the change in the critical reading, see crit. notes, p. 440.

.23  

After this verse, Ś,D5,12 insert 9 lines [302*] in which Vibhāṇḍaka returns to the ashram that evening to find his son so sad that he asks who has been there. Ṛśyaśṛṅga replies that he has been visited by elderly, pure, and splendid sages, who have embraced him in affection. After 309*.80, N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D10,11) insert 17 lines [314*] that have a similar content. This incident, well developed in the Mahābhārata version (3.111.22ff.), is, as the evidence shows, popular only in the northern manuscripts and is likely to have had a source influenced by the MBh version.

.26  

“welcome ceremony” vidhiḥ: Literally this means “rite,” but here most commentators (Ck,Ct,Cg,Cm, and Cr) see the prostitutes as stressing the sumptuous nature of the foods that they will give Ṛśyaśṛṅga. This appears to be in keeping with Ṛśyaśṛṅga’s interest in the prostitutes’ confections in verses 20-21. This in turn parallels a more elaborate reference to Ṛśyaśṛṅga’s fascination with the delicacies and intoxicating beverages used in his seduction in the Mahābhārata version (3.11.13; 112.14-15). What is of particular note, however, is that in this highly bowdlerized retelling of the legend, the gastronomic delights have entirely replaced the sexual seduction of the sage in the Mahābhārata, where the delicacies serve merely as an adjunct. Despite the use of prostitutes, the Rāmāyaṇa admits of no sexual contact with the sage, and would have it that he abandons his father and the ascetic life principally upon the urging of his sweet tooth. Compare MBh 3.112, especially verse 12.

.28  

“there” tatra: That is, Aṅga; see note on 1.8.11.

“the god” devaḥ: That is, Parjanya; see note on 1.8.21.

.30  

“welcoming offering” arghyam: See note on 1.2.24.

“Please do not be angry, brahman” mā vipraṃ manyur āviśet: The commentators see this as a highly formal use of the third for the second person, but Ct,Cr, and Cg, additionally or alternatively, see this as a reference to the anticipated anger of Vibhāṇḍaka. They are doubtless thinking of the elaborate diffusion of the elder sage’s wrath detailed at MBh 3.113.11-21. It is, of course, possible that our phrase is a very terse reference to that. Once again the northern manuscripts insert a passage — 15 lines [315*] — that details the sage’s wrath upon his return to the empty ashram, his search for his son, and his ultimate acceptance of his son’s defection. This passage is very similar to that found at MBh 3.113.14-20. So similar, in fact, are the two that it seems as if the northern manuscripts were very familiar with the Mahābhārata’s version. Appendix I, No. 4, discussed at the beginning of the notes on sarga 17, tells of the ultimate reconciliation of Vibhāṇḍaka and his son.

Sarga 10

.1  

“descendant of the gods” devapravaraḥ: Sanatkumāra, see note on 1.8.6. See Bhandare 1920, p. 56, who translates, “the eldest of the gods.” Sumantra continues his recitation of Sanatkumāra’s tale.

.3  

“the (king of Aṅga)” (aṅgarājena) … asya: The pronoun refers to Romapāda, according to all commentators except Cr, who says it refers to Daśaratha. The issue, of course, revolves around the question of Śāntā’s parentage. Most of the commentators do not accept the tradition of Śāntā’s adoption, and Ck goes so far as to provide a refutation. Bhandare, on the other hand, thinks that it must refer to King Daśaratha (1920, p. 56). See also crit. notes, pp. 440-41, on this verse as well as verse 1.10.17, and notes on 1.8.16 and 22.

.4  

The king of Aṅga” aṅgasya rājñaḥ: Here the reference is not to Romapāda but his father.

The verse seems to mark a regression in the narrative. The identification of Romapāda and his daughter was already established at sarga 8 (verses 11, 16). Perhaps this reintroduction of the two characters should be seen as evidence marking the previous two sargas as interpolations. See crit. notes, p. 440.

For 4-7, Ś,Ñ,V,B,D1-3,5,7,9-13,M4 substitute 10 lines [322*]. In this passage it is explicitly stated that Śāntā is Daśaratha’s real daughter and was given by him to R(L)omapāda, who was childless.

.6  

“who can give him sons” putravantam: The translation follows Cv’s “having as a motive the production of sons” and Cg’s first reading, “able to give sons.” Ct and Cr cite the injunction “jātaputra …” and so on, which according to them shows that the verse intends to suggest that since Ṛśyaśṛṅga kindled the sacred fires, he is authorized to be the officiating priest for Daśaratha’s sacrifice.

.15  

“Arriving there, he … saw” āsādya taṃ … dadarśa: The syntax of the verse is awkward. The translation follows the commentators, who take tam to refer to deśam, “country,” of 14c, but this may be otiose. If, however, one takes it in apposition to dvijaśreṣṭham, “best of brahmans,” the sentence becomes cumbersome with one subject, two verbs, and one object.

.16  

The names of the kings are not specified in the text but have been supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity. According to the commentators, rājā refers to King Romapāda, and rājñaḥ refers to King Daśaratha. Compare the northern variant 330* (2 lines), where the name Daśaratha is explicitly mentioned, avoiding the confusion of the southern version,

.17  

“kinship” saṃbandhakam: See note above on verse 3 for a discussion of the complex and uncertain relationship among Daśaratha, Romapāda, Ṛśyaśṛṅga, and Śāntā.

The northern manuscripts (including Ś,Ñ,V,B,D1-3,5,7,9-13) and M4 insert and/or substitute completely or partially 8 lines [331*] in which the story is modified to include the northern version’s acceptance of the genetic relationship between Daśaratha and Śāntā.

.18  

Again the proper names have been supplied in the translation to avoid confusion. Rājā refers to Daśaratha, and rājānam refers to Romapāda.

.26  

“whose deeds were like those of Indra” indrakarmaṇā: The translation follows Cg’s reading of the compound. Ck,Ct, and Cr, however, understand the phrase as “whose deeds assist Indra.”

.28  

“because of their love for her” prītyā—: Cg says that the women who had known her only as a maiden rejoiced to see her with a husband. Thus he evidently accepts the legend of Śāntā’s having grown up in the household of Daśaratha.

Sarga 11

.1  

“ravishing the heart” sumanohare: Ct,Cg, and Cr agree that the implication is that the time is auspicious and free from ill omens, and so on. The time here, according to the commentators, is when the full moon is standing in the constellation of Citra, that is, March-April.

.2  

Note that the use of the Aśvamedha, or Horse Sacrifice, to acquire sons is unusual (see note on 1.8.2). Cg provides an extensive note on the appropriateness of its employment in this circumstance, remarking that the Aśvamedha is prescribed to eliminate any behavioral lapses, religious or otherwise, on Daśaratha’s behalf. Cf. Kane 1962-1975, vol. IV, pp. 91-92, who states “that all persons guilty of any of the mahāpātakas [the cardinal sins], are purified by the performance of the Aśvamedha or by going to all the tīrthas on the earth,” a citation taken by him from the Viṣṇudharmasūtra (ch. 35, last verse). Compare crit. notes on 1.8.2 (p. 437), where it is said that the Aśvamedha can be used for the acquisition of a son, and on 1.14 (p. 446), where the Aśvamedha is said only to remove sins. See Introduction to Bālakāṇḍa, where this discrepancy is discussed further.

Several manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D7,10,13,M4) substitute 3 lines [343*]. The variant’s distribution may be traced to its explicit use of the name Ṛśyaśṛṅga, which avoids the confusion of our reading.

.5  

Southern manuscripts (Dt,4,6,8,14,S [except M4) read verses 5-21 for the first time following 1.8.4. The crit. ed. has taken both versions into account. The wisdom of this, in our opinion, is doubtful.

6. Ṛśyaśṛṅga is known as a Kāśyapa, the son of Kāśyapa Vibhāṇḍaka, see MBh 3.110.12-13 and Rām 1.8.7.

.7  

“words in keeping with both righteousness and sound policy” idaṃ dharmārthasahitam: This is corrected in the crit. notes (p. 441) to read dharmārthasahitaṃ yuktaṃ.

.8  

“For that reason” tadartham: Many S manuscripts (Dt,4,6,8,T3,G1,3,M2 — all second time) read putrārtha, “for the sake of a son.”

.9  

“prescribed in the ritual texts” śāstradṛṣṭena: This is doubtful reading; variants include hayamedhena, vājimedhena, hayapūrveṇa, and vidhipūrvena.

.11  

“Making Ṛśyaśṛṅga their spokesman” ṛśyaśṛṅgapurogāḥ: Cf. 10c, vasiṣṭhapramukhāḥ. Now Ṛśyaśṛṅga is the first, whereas Vasiṣṭha was in the previous verse. This adds to the confusion in the passage caused by the substitution of Ṛśyaśṛṅga for Vasiṣṭha as principal officiant in the sacrifice. See 1.12.34 and 1.13.2 and Introduction to Bālakāṇḍa

.14  

“release the horse … attended by our preceptor” aśvaḥ sopādhyāyo vimucyatām: Peterson’s point is well taken (1879, notes p. l0). Schlegel was wrong in taking upādhyāya to mean “groom.” The idea is that the priest as an officiant must be present at the ceremony. See ŚatBr 13.4.2.5-17, especially 5 and 15, and Keith 1925, pp. 343-44.

.15  

“propitiatory rites’ śāntayaḥ: Śāntis are propitiatory rites used for averting a god’s anger, a calamity, or an unlucky event. See Kane 1962-1975, vol. V, pp. 719ff.

“in due order and according to the ritual injunctions” yathākalpam yathāvidhi: We follow Cg, who glosses the former term as yathākramam and the latter as yathāśāstram.

Sarayū: See note on 1.5.5.

.17  

“brahman-rākṣasas” brahmarākṣasāḥ: This refers to a specific type of ghost, that is, the ghost of a brahman who during his life had a disdainful attitude, made love to others’ wives, and stole the property of brahmans. See ManuSm 12.60, crit. notes, p. 441, Bhandare 1920, p. 57, and Hopkins 1915b, p. 44.

“without following all the injunctions” vidhihīnasya: This is marked as a doubtful reading. Variant readings include vighnitasya ca/hi, “obstructed,” vihatasya ca, nihatasya ca/hi, and so forth.

.18  

“preliminary rites” vidhānam: These may include the śāntis of verse 15.

Sarga 12

.1–2  

“as you said you would” yathoktam: This interpretation is against Ct,Cr, and Cg, who read the expression as referring to the sacrificial injunctions, that is, “according to prescription.” It is interesting to note that many N manuscripts read for 2cd 367*, where the word yathāśāstram occurs rather than yathoktam, the same interpretation as the commentators provide, Cf. 1.72.23.

.4  

“begun” udyataḥ: Ck and Ct interpret the term to mean that the approximate time for the sacrifice has arrived, since the released horse has once again been captured. Cr glosses udyataḥ as prāpta, “arrived,” or perhaps here “begun.” Cg understands the word in the sense of upakrānta, “commenced, begun” It is this gloss that the crit. notes, p. 442, render, somewhat infelicitously, as “shouldered.”

.5–7  

“requested” samarthitam: Usually this means “maintained, considered, judged, decided.” The vulgate commentators, however, agree that the meaning is “(properly) requested,” samyakprārthitam, and this is contextually appropriate.

“experienced” vṛddhān: Although it literally means “old,” Cr glosses vṛddhān as baḥujñān, “knowledgeable.” The translation follows Śrīnivāsaśāstrī’s suggestion. See also verse 6 for the use of vṛddha in a similar sense.

“art of construction” sthāpatye: Ct and Ck understand this to mean “chariot or car making,” while Cr,Cg, and Cm understand it to refer to sacrificial architecture. Peterson 1879, notes p. 10, takes it to mean “in charge of carpentry.”

“reliable” karmāntikān: The commentators take this to mean servants or workmen, bhṛtyān. Rather than introducing a new noun, it seems that it can just as well be construed with śilpakārān, “artisans.”

“artisans” śilpakārān: The commentators are divided as to the exact distinction between śilpakāras and śilpins. Ck and Ct take śilpam, as in śilpakāra, to mean citrādi, “painting and so on.” Therefore they understand the first term in the sense of artists. On the other hand, Ck and Ct take śilpinaḥ as carmakārādayaḥ, “tanners and so on,” in other words, artisans. In direct opposition to this, Cr and Cg take śilpinaḥ as citrādikāraḥ “makers of paintings, and so on,” and śilpakārān as iṣṭakādinirmātn, “makers of bricks, and so on,” Cr and Cg have been followed in the translation, but there is no way to decide the issue,

“astrologers” gaṇakān: Here following Ct and Cr, who gloss jyotirvidaḥ (jyotiśśāstranipuṇān). Cg and Cm interpret the term to mean lekhahān, “scribes.” See Amarakośa 1495, where Ct and Cr’s interpretation is supported.

.8  

“begin” samīhantām: Cg thinks that this instruction applies only to the ṛtvijs, the officiating priests, and that it is the following order that is directed to the artisans. If he is right, yajñakarma, which we take to mean “work for the sacrifice,” may refer to the ritual performance itself. Ct, on the other hand, says that yajñakarma is not the object of samīhantām. He argues that the word nivartayitum, “in order to accomplish,” should he supplied, and that yajñakarma should be taken as its object. Thus, “busy yourselves for the furtherance of the sacrificial rites.”

iti: This marker of direct quotation construes according to Cg with abravīt of 5c. We agree, but it is a complex construction. Cm gives the option of construing it with abruvan of verse 15. Note that many N manuscripts (Ś,Ñ,V,B,D1-3,5,7,9-13) avoid this difficulty by substituting the word dvijān, “brahmans,” for iti.

.9  

“with all amenities” bahuguṇānvitāḥ: Ct,Cr, and Ck understand this to mean “supplied with food and drink,” whereas Cg takes it to describe the physical aspect of the buildings, that is, they are high-ceilinged and roomy.

.10  

“every sort of food and drink” bhakṣyānnapānaiḥ: Cg glosses this with kaṭhinaṃ phalādi, “sweetmeats, fruits, and so on,” which implies that the refreshments are special treats rather than just ordinary fare.

After verse 10, the vulgate and D6,8 insert 3 lines [369*], which continue to describe the types of furnishings to be provided. These specifically refer to the buildings for housing royal guests and armies.

.13–15  

“your hearts softened by love” prītisnigdhena cetasā: Although snigdha literally signifies “unctuous,” it idiomatically means “affectionate.” But this seems awkward in the compound. The vulgate, following Ct and Cr, reads more clearly, prītiyuktena cetasā, “hearts filled with love.” Cr glosses snigdhena with ārdreṇa, “wet, moist,” so here, “moist with affection.”

.17  

brahmans, kshatriyas, vaishyas, and shudras: These are the four varṇas, “social orders” See notes on 1.1.75 and 1.6.16-17.

.18–19  

“ancient kinsman” pūrvasaṃbandhinam: The meaning of pūrva is obscure. Ct and Ck take pūrva in the sense of “brought first.” Ct further clarifies this by telling us that Daśaratha, through his yogic powers, is able to foretell the future relation between Rāma and Sītā and therefore summons him (Janaka) first. Cg and Cm, on the other hand, seem to imply a longstanding and ancient tie. Both families originate from Manu and are called Aikṣvākavas, but a complete and unambiguous genealogy of the clans is difficult to trace, and it is hard to identify a common ancestor.

.20  

Kāśi: Benares (Varanasi).

.21  

“king of the Kekayas” kekayarājānam: Note the irregular ending. Daśaratha’s father-in-law, Kaikeya, stands, it seems, third in precedence after Janaka and Kāśirāja.

“his son” saputram: The king of the Kekayas’ son is Yudhājit. See note on 1.72.1.

.21  

Aṅga: See note on 1.8.11.

After verse 22, Dt,6,8 insert 4 lines [373*], which mention the countries of Magadha and Kosala. The country of Aṅga with its capital city of Campā lay to the east of Magadha.

.23  

“eastern” prācīnān: Bhatt in the crit notes, p. 443, takes this as a reference to the regions named in the verse. He therefore assumes that, since these lay to the west and not the east of Ayodhyā, there is an error in the text. It is not necessary, however, to interpret prācīna in this manner. We have taken the term separately from the named countries as a reference to the lands east of Ayodhyā. We thus understand the verse to refer to three directions in all: the west, the east, and the south. The alternative interpretation of prācīna as “old” that Bhatt, p. 443, puts forward makes little sense here.

Note that none of the famous kings of the lunar dynasty, the central royal house of the MBh, are mentioned. This tends to support the notion that even the later strata of the Rām are ignorant of the longer epic. For a discussion of this issue, see the Introduction.

.33  

“on the advice of both Vasiṣṭha and Ṛśyaśṛṅga” vasiṣṭhavacanād ṛśyaśṛṅgasya cobhayoḥ: The construction is awkward but not ambiguous.

.34  

Note again the persistent ambiguity concerning the order of precedence of Vasiṣṭha and Ṛśyaśṛṅga.

Sarga 13

Sarga 13  

This sarga describes the Aśvamedha or Horse Sacrifice. Its importance from a text-historical point of view has been commented upon by various scholars. Schlegel and Lassen both felt that the detail apparent in the southern recension, which they call the recension of the commentators, and which Gorresio calls the northern recension, indicates that this recension is the older and belongs to a period in which these rites were in vogue. Gorresio refutes this and is one of the first to attribute this difference to recensional divergence, the theory most generally held today. Jacobi, too, comments upon the importance of this episode from a text-historical point of new, using his arguments to demonstrate the posteriority of the Bālakāṇḍa (see Schlegel 1829, pp. xxxiii-xxxiv; Gorresio 1843, pp. lxxxviii-lxxxix; Bulcke 1952/1953, pp. 330ff.; and Introduction to Bālakāṇḍa above). For a brief description of the sacrifice, see Keith 1925, pp. 343-47, and Kane 1962-1975, vol. II, pp. 1228-39.

.1  

“full year” saṃvatsare pūrṇe: This paraphrases the reference at 1.12.1 and does not imply that a second year has elapsed. It is the same year as that of the horse’s peregrinations. Cg mentions certain rites that have occurred during the year up to the recapture of the sacrificial horse and the entering of the sacrificial grounds. Ck observes that the following description of the sacrifice is poetic rather than an attempt at ritual accuracy.

.2  

“Led by Ṛśyaśṛṅga” ṛśyaśṛṅgam puraskrtya: The commentators agree that this indicates that Ṛśyaśṛṅga is preeminent among those brahmans gathered. This again draws attention to the strange and persistent overlapping of the authority of Ṛśyaśṛṅga and Vasiṣṭha. Many N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D10,13) substitute 384* for 2ab. The sense of the substitute passage is much the same, and the place of honor is still given to Ṛśyaśṛṅga.

.3  

“according to the ritual injunctions” vidhivat: Following Cg, the term has been understood in a general sense. The next three terms — yathāvidhi, yathānyāyam, and śāstrataḥ — are, however, used more specifically.

“Following the vedic prescriptions” yathāvidhi: The commentators interpret this variously. Ck and Cr take it to refer specifically to the kalpasūtras, or texts describing the rituals. Cr understands it as “not overstepping the rules, or injunctions (vidhi).” Cg understands it “as prescribed in the veda,” whereas Cm takes it more generally to mean “following the rules of scriptural texts.” The author of the crit notes, p. 444, follows Cg.

“in the correct manner” yathānyāyam: All the commentators take this to mean following the strictures laid down by the Mīmāṃsā school of philosophy.

“according to the ritual texts” śāstrataḥ: Ct and Ck interpret this as “not forgetting the time and order of each proper action enjoined by the śāstras,” whereas Cr takes it as “connected with learning,” perhaps a reference to the vedāṅgas (see note on 1.1.13). Cg and Cm take śāstrataḥ to be a reference to the kalpasūtras. The crit. notes follow them.

“undertook it” parikrāmanti: The crit. notes say “commenced.” Peterson 1879, p. 11, quotes Ck and Ct’s interpretation, and claims that this refers to the solemn procession around the mahāvīra pot, which was one of the initial ceremonies of the Pravargya rite. See Keith 1925, pp. 328, 333, and verse 4 below.

.4  

Pravargya and Upasad are names of rites performed at the beginning of the Soma sacrifice. The Pravargya rite, it is generally accepted, should be performed twice a day on each of three Upasad days (six times in all). The Upasad rite consists of offerings made before and after noon with reference to iron, silver, and gold (in the form of Agni). See Keith 1925, p. 327. The Pravargya rite consists primarily in the offering of hot milk to the Aśvins in the morning and evening (Keith 1925, p. 332).

“additional rites” adhikaṃ karma: Bhandare 1920, p. 60, interprets Ck and Ct to mean “additional rites to be performed on account of the extended application of the precepts of ritual pertaining to the main sacrifice.” The reference here is most likely to the fact that Daśaratha is undertaking this rite — a rite normally performed to sanction political hegemony — to acquire offspring. Cg understands it to mean “extended or added from the instructional texts.” The idea is that nothing pertaining to the rite was lacking.

.5  

“Completing their preliminary worship” abhipūjya: Worship is made to the presiding divinity of the sacrifice.

“Morning Pressing” prātaḥsavana—: According to Cg. the term here refers to all three libations — morning, midday, and evening (cf. Keith 1925, pp. 326ff.).

Dt,D4,6,8,14,S (except M4) insert, after 5, 4 lines [386*] that further detail the savanas. Most commentators, however, do not mention the savanas.

Dt,6,8,G3,M4 (after 400*), Ct continue, whereas Ñ,V,B,D10-l3 insert, after 14, 4 lines [387*] that further expand the description of the ritual.

.6  

“improperly offered” ahutam: The translation follows Ct, who glosses “offer a (sacrifice) wrongly or improperly.”

“they performed them perfectly” kṣemayuktam: According to Ct and Ck, the meaning is “without transgression of rules of injunctions,” or according to Ct,Cg, and Cm, “without obstacles.” Cm’s interpretation is “replete with mantras that destroy rākṣasas and remove obstacles.”

.7  

“fatigued” śrāntaḥ: Ck and Ct read this as “incapable of their respective (Ck: one’s own) priestly functions.” whereas Cr and Cg understand it to mean “thirsty,” to provide a better semantic parallel with ksuditaḥ, “hungry.”

“attendants” anucaraḥ: The crit. notes, p. 444, following Cg’s interpretation, take this as a reference to the pupils attendant upon a brahman.

Verse 7 is repeated after 390* in Ñ,V,B,D10,12,13. After the first occurrence of 7ab, these manuscripts insert 4 lines [389*] that elaborate upon the above description. After the first occurrence of 7cd, these manuscripts insert 8 lines [390*] that contain still more elaboration upon the theme of the lavishness of Daśaratha’s sacrifice.

.8  

“dependents” nāthavantaḥ: Ck,Ct,Cg, and Cm interpret as dāsaḥ, “slave” or “servant.” Cr, on the other hand, takes the term to refer to the three lesser classes of Aryan society — the kshatriyas, vaishyas, and shudras — who have the brahmans as their masters (nātha); see note on 1.1.75.

“Ascetics” tāpasāḥ: Ck and Ct take this to mean shudras who are of the Shaiva sect. Cr disagrees, taking the term as a reference to celibates, and the like. The interpretation of Ct and Ck is probably based on a Vaishnava prejudice against lowborn Shaivite mendicants. For the famous episode of the consequences of asceticism performed by shudras, see the Śambūka episode in the Uttarakāṇḍa (7.64-67). Cg and Cm do not gloss the term tāpasaḥ and must, therefore, have taken it, as do we, in its most general sense.

“wandering mendicants” śramaṇāḥ: See crit. notes, p. 444. Ck sees them as “shudras who wear red clothing and who have abandoned saṃsāra, ‘worldly life, sons, and so on.’” Ct says they are Buddhists and sannyāsins (or Buddhist sannyāsins). Cr views them as ordinary (presumably Hindu) sannyāsins. Cg, citing the Nighaṇṭu, regards them as digambaras, “naked ascetics,” or, optionally, men who have reached the fourth āśrama, “stage of life.” This second interpretation is the same as Cr’s, and Cm follows it. The presence of Buddhist mendicants at a vedic sacrifice is not as unthinkable as Bhatt suggests (crit. notes, p. 444). These ceremonies continued to be performed throughout the period during which Buddhism flourished in India and were (and still are) often major public events that attracted large crowds of people of all persuasions. Although, it is, as we have argued in the Introduction, extremely unlikely that there could have been any Buddhist mendicants at the time of the composition of the bulk even of the Bālakāṇḍa. The lateness of this passage does not rule out the view of Ct.

.9  

“they never felt jaded” na tṛptir upalabhyate: This is a somewhat awkward phrase to translate. Tṛptiḥ normally means “satisfaction, contentment”; however, it seems unlikely that the poet meant that the people did not get enough to eat. In fact, in verse 12 the brahmans answer aho tṛptāḥ sma, “we are satisfied.” The phrase has puzzled commentators and scholars. Peterson’s variant (1879, p. 39, line 2) and Ñ,V,B,D10,13 read nātṛptir upalabhyate, “they found no insufficiency (though they ate continually).” Peterson refers to the reading of the Bombay ed. (which is the same as the critical reading) as an “odd variant” (notes, p. 11). According to Peterson, “with one the reference is to the abundance of the food, with the other to the excellence.” In keeping with this sense, some NW manuscripts (Ś,D5,11,12) have replaced the negative na with the prefix su-, “very,” that is, “very satisfied.” The commentators interpret our reading in two ways: a) the excellence of the food was such that even though they filled their bellies, their minds craved more (so Ck,Ct,Cr,Cg, and Cm); b) the king (Daśaratha), who was the yajamāna, “patron of the sacrifice” and the donor of the food, got no satisfaction in hearing the words “enough.” Cm follows this latter interpretation, and says, “Daśaratha was not satisfied with the food (or the amount of food) and so said, ‘Give.’” With the first interpretation, one can compare the English expression “couldn’t get enough of” in the sense of expressing praise. Even so, this interpretation seems to conflict with verse 12 below. Perhaps the variant is to be preferred.

.11  

“perfectly prepared food” annakuṭāś … siddhasya vidhivat: Anna- (for annasya) is to be construed with siddhasya. The compound is irregular. Siddha, “prepared” or even “cooked,” is qualified by vidhivat, “perfectly” (literally, “according to the rules”). According to Ct and Ck, this refers to the rules of food preparation known from the pākaśāstras. This is to say that the food is perfectly prepared as it must be for consumption by a brahman.

.12  

This śloka might also be interpreted as follows: “The bulls among brahmans praised the properly prepared and delicious food: ‘Ah, bless you! We have had enough.’ This is what Rāghava heard.” Here the words aho tṛptāḥ sma bhadraṃ te are taken as constituting the entire quotation. Ct and Cr give both options. Cg notes that verses 7-12a (vulgate 1.14.11-17a) are not the words of the poet himself, but rather pars of the brahmans’ eulogy of the food.

.13  

“them” tān: The commentators agree in taking this to refer back to the men, purusāḥ, who were waiting on the brahmans. The pronoun could also refer to the brahmans themselves.

For 13, Ñ,V,B,D10,13 substitute 401* (D11 only 13ab). This is an interesting passage. Here, the kings, invited as guests themselves, wait on the brahmans like servants (bhṛtyavat).

.14  

“learned” dhīrāḥ: This word has numerous meanings, such as “calm, prudent, steadfast,” and so on. Cr here takes it to mean sāvadhānāḥ, “careful,” whereas Cg, whom we follow, glosses dhīmantaḥ, “wise.” Bhandare 1920, p. 61, understands “sedate,” that is, “not carried away in the heat of discussion.” This is not a bad attempt to make the usual sense of the term fit the context.

“philosophical debates” hetuvādān: Cf. MBh 14.85.27. According to Cg, these are brahmodyas, stylized arguments concerning points of ritual that take place at specific points during the sacrifice between the brahman and hotṛ: priests. Cr, on the other hand, takes this to mean “(philosophical) arguments concerning the cause of the world.” This interpretation is adopted by Bhandare 1920, p. 61, who cites Schlegel: “This public disputation in the assembly of Brahmans, and the almost fraternal connection between theology and philosophy, deserves some notice; whereas priests of some religions are generally but little inclined to show favour to philosophers, nay, sometimes they persecute them with the most rancorous hatred, as we are taught both by history and experience. This śloka is found in MSS. of different recensions of the Rāmāyaṇa, and we have therefore the most trustworthy testimony to the antiquity of philosophy among the Indians.” For a discussion of the kind of brahmodya employed during the Horse Sacrifice, see Keith 1925, pp. 344-45.

.15  

“make up the sacrifice” saṃstare: Ck,Cr,Ct, and Cm read saṃstare as yajñe, “sacrifice” (Amarakośa 2658). Cg reads āstīrṇabarhiṣi, “on strewn barhis grass.” Bhandare 1920, p. 61, disagrees with Cg. He says that since not all the rites are performed on barhis grass, Cg’s interpretation is inaccurate. See crit. notes (p. 444). Cf. MBh 14.90.24 and 37 (crit. app.).

.16  

“the six adjunct sciences” ṣadaṅga—: See note on 1.1.13.

.17  

See crit. notes, p. 444. There are twenty-one yūpas or sacrificial posts in all, including those enumerated in verse 18. This is the usual number prescribed for this rite. Cf. Keith 1925, p. 344.

.18  

The construction of the śloka is odd. The implication appears to be that there is one post of devadāru wood and one of śleṣmātaka wood. But the commentators agree, in keeping with the virtually unanimous tradition of the ritual texts, that there are three posts, one of śleṣmātaka (or rajjudāra) and two of devadāru. We agree that this is the intention of the verse. See note on verse 17 and Bhandare 1920, p. 61.

.19  

“learned in the ritual texts” śāstrajñaiḥ: Ct and Ck understand the reference to be to the texts on ritual measurement and construction.

Ś,Ñ,V,B,D1-3,5,7,10,11,12,13 omit verse 19; M4 omits 19ab. This is to say that the verse is omitted by the entire N recension (D9, a W manuscript, retains it), yet it is admitted to the critical text. See Bhatt 1960, p. xxxiv, no. 3. In contrast to this it is interesting that 406*, with virtually the same textual support, is quite correctly rejected by the critical edition.

.21  

“seven seers” saptarṣayaḥ: The seven mind-born sons of Brahmā. The actual list of seers differs somewhat in different sources. Cf. MBh 1.114.41, 13.94.3-4, etc., and VāmaP 23.9. The seven seers are identified with the constellation Ursa Major. According to the commentators, the quality that the sacrificial posts and the seven seers have in common is brilliance. Cg, however, refers to a numerical similarity between the two groups as an optional point of comparison. Presumably he is referring to the fact that the twenty-one yūpas are ordered in three groups of seven.

.22  

See crit. notes for change of verse numbers.

.23  

“golden-winged eagle” garuḍo rukmapakṣaḥ: This verse refers to another rite known as the Agnicayana, one of the principal features of which is the ritual construction of a huge brick altar in the shape of an eagle. According to Kane (1962-1975, vol. II, p. 1249), the altar has five layers. The commentators, however, choose to follow the general rules laid down by the VājaS where the cayana is said to be built up in six layers, a number that is to be trebled in the special case of the Aśvamedha. Bhandare 1920, p. 62, interprets this to refer not to the layers of the altar, but rather to the number of altars themselves. He thus understands the sacrifice to require eighteen altars. This seems unlikely, and is not supported elsewhere. See Peterson 1879, p. 10. It is interesting to note that the text seems most familiar with the ritual tradition of the VājaS.

.24  

“place of immolation” śāmitre: According to Ct and Ck the term refers to the act of cutting up the dead victim, rather than the place at which this is done. Cg understands “at the time of immolation.” The crit. notes tell us that it is “the place fixed for killing the animal to be offered in a sacrifice, to the north of the Uttaravedi, near the seats of Agnīdhra and the Adhvaryu priests” (p. 445). For information on the immolation of victims and an enumeration of the types of victims, cf. Eggeling 1966, vol. 2, p. 309 note 2 and ŚatBr 13.2.5.2; 5.1.13-15. See also Kane 1962-1975, vol. II, pp. 1108ff., especially p. 1119, on paśubandhas.

.25  

Ñ,V,B,D10,13,M4 omit 25ab. For 25c-30, these same manuscripts substitute 11 lines [413*]. Here Kausalyā sleeps with the horse for one night, and the association of this action with the wish for a son is made clear (line 5). No mention is made of the other wives (see notes to verse 30).

“in addition to Daśaratha’s jewel of a horse” aśvaratnottaram: Rather than -uttamam, “best, superior,” the reading chosen by the critical editors, we have adopted the reading uttaram. The basis for the choice is mainly textual, although it is felt that contextually this reading is also preferable. The compound only occurs in the S manuscripts. N either replaces 25ef with 413*, where the word aśvaratnam is used, but not in connection with uttama/uttara, or it substitutes 25e with the phrase, sa yajño vavrdhe. Among the S manuscripts, ten manuscripts read uttara, whereas five manuscripts, including most commentators, provide support for the critical reading. The reason for the choice of this inadequately supported reading on the part of the critical editors is not clear. The statistically better supported and contextually preferable reading has therefore been adopted. This reading, uttara, has been glossed by Cm as adhikam, “more,” which can then be construed as a bahuvrīhi compound with triśatam in pāda c. This suggestion is followed in the translation.

.26  

See crit. notes, p. 445. This verse seems to go against all evidence of the traditional rites enjoined by the brahmanic tradition regarding the Aśvamedha. Normally, the chief queen neither performs purificatory rites nor kills the horse with the three knives. ŚatBr 13.2.8.1-5 provides a description of the role of the wives at this point in the Aśvamedha ceremony. At 13.2.8.1 we learn that after the horse is “quieted” (samjñāpaya), that is, strangled, the adhvaryu priest offers three oblations, says the words “Amba,” and so on (13.2.8.3), and then leads the four wives up to the dead horse. Furthermore, at ŚatBr 13.2.10, the wives of the sacrificer prepare the “knife paths.” This refers apparently to three lines drawn in the earth with the knife by the chief queen.

.27  

“with the horse” patatriṇā: Patatrin, literally “possessing wings.” Peterson and Apte specify that this is a word used especially in the Aśvamedha to mean “horse.” Bhandare 1920, p. 63, gives the etymology of the word as “one who draws carts,” that is, a horse. See also Amarakośa, 1053. The commentators assume the existence of flying horses.

According to the text available to us, it seems that the queen does not spend the entire night with the horse. Typically she lies down with the horse and is covered with an upper cloth; at this time she is symbolically said to unite with the horse. Some words suggestive of copulation and fertility are spoken over her and the dead horse.

.28  

The hotṛ, the adhvaryu, and the udgātṛ are three of the four priests who carry out the rites of the sacrifice. The fourth is the brahman priest.

“second and … juniormost” parivṛttyā … vāvātām: This is a difficult verse. As with the verse above, the events described are not in keeping with the tradition of the Aśvamedha as we know it from the brāhmaṇa and sūtra literature. The ŚatBr tells us that the adhvaryu priest leads the four principal queens up to the horse and has them circumambulate it, but only the chief queen is said to unite with it (13.2.8.4, also see Eggeling’s note [1966, vol. 2, p. 321]). The difficulties are enhanced in this verse by the obscure terms used for the two junior queens. There is no agreement as to the sense of these technical terms, and in spite of all manuscript evidence, the crit. ed. emends parivṛtti (see crit. notes, p. 445). The reference in the verse is to the sexual union between the chief queen and the sacrificial horse. See Peterson’s circumlocutory remark on Schlegel’s bowdlerized translation, “led to the horse” (1879, pp. 12-13).

“chief queen” mahiṣī: Cr and Cg understand this to refer to the consecrated queen, whereas Ck understands “the king’s favorite, beloved.” Dutt translates it as “kshatriya wife,” an interpretation borrowed from Ct.

“second (queen)” parivṛtti and “juniormost (queen)” vāvātā: A parivṛtti is a vaishya wife, according to Dutt, but Ct quotes ĀśvaŚS, where it says that the parivṛtti is from the shudra class, whereas the vāvātā wife is from the vaishya class. According to some, parivṛtti means a wife alienated from the king’s affection; Ck says it means a servant so alienated, whereas Ct and Cr read it as a reference to a neglected wife. The crit. notes (p. 445) take the term to refer to a former favorite who is now neglected or, according to some, who has borne no son, cf. 1.15.18. Bhatt wishes to emend the word parivṛtti, found in most manuscripts, to parivṛktī, and argues that the technical term ceased to be understood at an early age. Cf. ŚatBr 13.4.1.8 and 13.5.2.7. See also Rau 1957, p. 106.

A vāvātā as opposed to a parivṛtti is, according to Dutt, a vaishya wife, whereas Ck calls her a servant or a slave, and Ct a beloved servant. Ct furthermore quotes the Nārayaṇavṛtti, where it says that a vāvātā is the second wife.

Aparā literally means “other,” but according to crit. notes (p. 445) and others, there are only three wives, an opinion we share despite the mention of four in the ritual texts (cf. ŚatBr 13.2.8.3). Ck reads apare, that is, other priests, but this is not supported in the crit. app. Cr and Cg hold that the term refers to a servant girl. On the titles of the wives, see TaiBr 1.7.3.3, 4 and Rau 1957, p. 106.

As the above synopsis of commentarial and scholarly opinion shows, there are several problems here. How many wives are, in fact, mentioned — three or four? Are the wives to be distinguished by order of precedence, social class, function, or state of current favor with the king? Do we have here merely a repetition of the vedic formula or can we distinguish the wives? Are not Kausalyā and Kaikeyī clearly kshatriya women? What of Sumitrā? Is she in fact some kind of servant, as suggested by the subservient roles of her sons, Śatrughna and Lakṣmaṇa? Is there perhaps a hidden fourth wife? On the whole, in the context of the Rām, especially in the light of the later events in Ayodhyā, when Rāma is exiled from the kingdom because of the king’s love for Kausalyā, a junior wife, it seems best to interpret the terms for the wives in this verse as based on seniority (cf. notes on 1.15.25-26).

.29  

“officiating priest” ṛtvik: Here the priest in question is the adhvaryu.

“extremely adept” paranasampannaḥ: The commentators say, endowed with great skill in the sacrificial usages.

“fat” vapām: Cg and Ck note that this is the omentum, but as horses do not have an omentum, it seems unlikely. See crit. notes, p. 445.

.32  

See crit. notes, p. 445, but cf. ŚatBr 13.2.8.1 and Eggeling 1966-1975, vol. 5, p. 320. The commentators note that the horse is sacrificed on reeds because it is traditionally thought that horses are born from water.

.33–35  

These verses list some of the additional rites that Daśaratha performed in conjunction with and as part of the Aśvamedha. Technically the Aśvamedha is not a Soma sacrifice. Within the context of the Aśvamedha, however, a Soma sacrifice was performed. There are, according to most authorities, seven types of Soma sacrifice, namely, Agniṣṭoma, Atyagniṣṭoma, Ukthya, Ṣoḍaśin, Vājapeya, Atirātra, and Aptoryāma. The Agniṣṭoma is a one-day sacrifice, and it is an integral part of the Jyotiṣṭoma. As a result, the two are often identified. ĀpaŚS 14.1.1 and Kane 1962-1975, vol. II, p. 1204 say that the Ukthya, Ṣoḍaśin, Atirātra, and Aptoryāma are modifications of the Agniṣṭoma, and within the context of our passage must be taken so. In the version told in the Rām, there are three Soma rites offered; the first is the Agniṣṭoma, the second is the Ukthya, and the third is the Atirātra. In this passage the Catuṣṭoma is included as a part of the Agniṣṭoma. The Āyuṣṭoma, a rite performed to secure long life, is usually associated with the Jyotiṣṭoma, and is incorporated into other larger sacrifices (see Eggeling 1966, vol. 2, p. 403 note). The Abhijit and the Viśvajit are additionally names of smaller rites included in and/or identified with the Atirātra sacrifice (see ManuSm 11.74). For further information on these rites and their position within the context of the sacrificial tradition see Keith 1925, pp. 256-332, and Kane 1962-1975, vol. II, pp. 1133-1205.

.36  

“extend his dynasty” svakulavardhanaḥ: Cg says, “fit to give much dakṣiṇā for the Ikṣvākus.” But in light of the purport of the sacrifice, to produce heirs, the epithet is evidently proleptic.

.37  

“self-existent” svayaṃbhu—: The commentators say that this refers to Prajāpati, as “Prajāpati instituted the Aśvamedha.” Cf. ŚatBr 13.4.1.1.

.38  

“patron of sacrifices” kratuvardhanaḥ: The vulgate, D6,8,M3 read kulavaṛdhanaḥ, “extending his lineage,” which is perhaps better. In all, thirteen S manuscripts and the entire N recension do not support the critical reading. Cg says that, as it is forbidden to give the whole earth, we should understand the gift as land grants, but this is clearly contradictory to what follows. The verse is a recapitulation of verses 36-37, so tadā, literally “then,” can be understood loosely in the sense of “thus” rather than as a temporal adverb introducing new action. The vulgate and most N manuscripts have a variant of the verse.

.39  

“cleansed of his sins” gatakalmaṣam: The epithet is pregnant here in that the purpose of the sacrifice was, evidently, to rid Daśaratha of the sin that was preventing him from becoming a father. Cf. Rām 1.8.2 and 1.11.1.

.41  

Presumably the payment was in coinage, at least according to the crit. notes, p. 446. But should this date the reference, or is it the value of cows in metals? Coinage seems to be implied. See Kosambi 1966, pp. 102-11, and 1970, pp. 124ff. for a discussion of the issue of coinage in early Indian historiography.

.43  

“all indicated their satisfaction” suprītamanasaḥ sarve pratyūcuḥ: The construction seems to lack any formal closure to the direct address implied by the verb pratyūcuḥ. Closure is normally indicated by iti. The commentators (Cg and Cm) supply this marker and tell us that we are to understand an expression of satisfaction on the part of the priest.

After 43ab, Ś,B2,D1-3,5,7,9,11,12 insert 4 lines [430*] consisting of a list of those who apparently shared in the priests’ gains. The list is interesting in that it names the wretched, blind, poor, old, needy, handicapped, and so on.

After 43, S (except M4), Dt,4,6,8,9,14 insert 8 lines [433*] in which Daśaratha gives his own arm ornament (hastābharaṇam uttamam) to the poor brahmans.

.44  

“leads one to heaven” svarnayanam: A son is traditionally the means by which one obtains heaven (see Cg), for it is a son alone who performs the funerary rites that enable a man to find sustenance in the next world.

Sarga 14

.1  

“for some time” kiṃcit: We agree with Ck,Ct, and Cr that the word kālam, “time,” should be supplied. Cg suggests a slightly different addition, kṣaṇam, “moment.”

“Regaining consciousness” labdhasamjñaḥ: The commentators vary in their interpretation of this phrase. According to Ck and Ct, it means “arisen from meditation (samādhivyutthitaḥ).” Cm, on the other hand, takes the compound to mean, “having come to a decision.” Cg understands prāptasmṛti, which we interpret as in the translation.

.2  

“in the Atharva Vedaatharvaśirasi: Bhandare 1920, p. 66, agrees with the commentators that this is a reference to the Atharva Veda. Apte (s.v.) and Peterson 1879, p. 13, take the term to be the name of an upaniṣad.

.3  

“according to the rite specified in the vedas” mantradṛṣṭeṇa karmaṇā: We follow Cr and Cg, who gloss the first word as vedabodhitena and vedāvagatena, respectively. Compare Ck and Ct, who read mantrapūrvakatayā kalpasutre dṛṣṭena, “specified in the ritual texts as being performed to the accompaniment of vedic hymns.”

.4  

After 4 most N manuscripts (Ś,Ñ,V,B, D1-3,5,7,9-13) insert 5 lines [444*]. These lines name additional personages who joined the assembled group detailed in verse 4. Specifically mentioned are Brahmā, Nārāyaṇa, the four Lokapālas (world protectors, that is, Indra, Varuṇa, Yama, and Kubera [see note on 1.71.7]), and Indra and the Maruts. Ś,D1-3,5,7,9,11,12 continue with 7 lines [445*]. Here Vasiṣṭha asks the gods to grant Daśaratha the boon of four sons since he has practiced austerities for this very purpose for such a long time. Ñ,V,B,D10,13 and M4 (after 443*) then continue after 444* with 446* (8 lines). Here Vasiṣṭha speaks to the gods on Daśaratha’s behalf. Unlike the above variant, the text says that, in his desire for a son, Daśaratha is prepared to undertake yet another sacrifice for this purpose. This appears to be the only explicit textual reference to the problem of the redundancy of the two offerings. Perhaps these N manuscripts are attempting to deal with an issue that is left unsettled in S. For a discussion of this point, see the Introduction to the Bālakāṇḍa. After 445* or 446*, respectively, all the above-mentioned manuscripts insert 8 lines [447*]. Here the gods agree to grant Daśaratha the four sons that Vasiṣṭha has requested and depart for heaven.

“in the proper order” yathāvidhi: Literally, “according to rule,” but the translation follows Cg’s interpretation of yathākramam, “in due order,” which is contextually better. Compare verse 5 below, yathānyāyam, where Cg also glosses yathākramam, Cf. 1.40.24.

.5  

Ś,Ñ,V,B,D1-3,5,7,9-13, and M4 omit 5ab. As the textual evidence is weak and the verse is not crucial to the context, according to the critical principles it should be relegated to the crit. app.

.7  

After 7ab, N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D10-12) and M4 insert one line [449*] in which the terms of the boon are specified. This is not done in S until verse 13. Cf. Uttarakāṇḍa 10, where the story of the boon is related in greater detail. See 7.10.16-18 for the exact conditions of Rāvaṇa’s boon.

.8  

“greater than himself’ ucchritān: Can the adjective modify lokān, “worlds,” as Cr suggests? Cg says unnatān lokapālān, “the great guardians of the world,” which is better, but here the term seems to be used more generally. Ct thinks that this is a foreshadowing of the later episode in which Indrajit (Meghanāda), Rāvaṇa’s son, conquers Indra and binds him (7.29-30).

.14  

A number of N and Devanāgarī manuscripts replace the logical subject, the ablative mānuṣāt, “from a man,” with the more regular instrumental form.

.16  

See crit. notes, p. 446. This is the first reference to Rāma as an incarnation of Viṣṇu in the Bālakāṇḍa. For a discussion of the question of the divinity of Rāma and its implications for the textual history of the poem, see the Introduction. See, too, the Introduction to the translation of the Araṇyakāṇḍa (forthcoming),

“intent upon the work at hand” samāhitaḥ: The commentators interpret this in different ways. Cr reads “(Viṣṇu) who was filled with his own tejas, ‘splendor,’ even in the company of Brahmā and the rest (of the gods).” Ct takes this to mean “intent upon the gods’ work.” Cg understands the phrase similarly.

The versions of S and N differ considerably from this verse to the end of the sarga. Only differences that have a significant bearing on our understanding of the text, its contents, or its history have been adduced in the notes. For a discussion of the major variants, see notes to verse 18 below. Many of the additional passages, especially in the vulgate (cf. 457*, 458*), are sectarian in nature, providing lists of the familiar attributes of Viṣṇu. The late and sectarian nature of the passage doubtless accounts for the high degree of variation, although it should be kept in mind that such passages (e.g., 6.105) sometimes show remarkable uniformity over the recensions.

Govindarāja (Cg) and the author of the Taniśloki, Ātreya Ahobala, provide a detailed and elaborate Vaishnava analysis of 457* and l6cd (which they construe together as one verse).

.18  

“Modesty, Majesty, and Fame” hrīśrīkīrti—: Ct suggests that these indicate the suitability of Daśaratha’s three wives to be the mothers of the incarnation of god. Cg says that Hrī, Śrī, and Kīrti are three daughters of Dakṣa, who is one of the ten mind-born sons of Brahmā.

The northern recension begins to diverge significantly from the crit. ed. after 16ab. For 16cd-18 most N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D10,13) and M4 substitute 11 lines [462*] plus 461*.7 after 461*, for a total of twelve lines. The crit. app. is somewhat confusing here. The order of the verses should be iṣṭavān* [462*8], dharnaśila* [461*.7], asmin niyogāt* [462*.9]. After this, these same manuscripts continue with 6 lines [463*] and then substitute, for 19-20, 10 lines [464*] and continue with 8 lines [466*]. Thus, 16cd-20 of the crit. ed. are replaced by 36 lines in the N manuscripts. Gorresio’s edition, representing the Bengali recension of N, clearly shows this sequence (G 1.14.24-end).

In this passage, Viṣṇu is summoned mentally by Brahmā, in order to bring about Rāvaṇa’s destruction. In their affliction, Brahmā and the gods beg Viṣṇu for refuge. Viṣṇu asks them what they require, and the gods reply that there is a virtuous and austere king named Daśaratha who is performing an Aśvamedha in his desire for a son. In order to carry out the business of the gods, Viṣṇu is asked to take quadripartite birth as the king’s son, by his three queens, women who are like Śrī [462*]. Viṣṇu asks the gods why they are afraid, and they explain that they are afraid of Rāvaṇa [463*]. The gods go on to describe Rāvaṇa and the boon of invulnerability that was given to him by Brahmā in recompense for his fierce austerities [464*]. The description of Rāvaṇa is continued, and he is called a destroyer of sacrifices, a hater and killer of brahmans, a man-eater, and so on. Once again it is stated that his destruction can be effected only at the hands of a human being [466*].

It is interesting to note Schlegel’s version of this episode (1829, 1.14.24ff.). As Peterson suggests (1879, p. 14), he seems to have combined, quite unsuccessfully, the N and S traditions (see verse 20 for the latter).

.20  

The S recension, with which the crit. ed. agrees to a large extent until the end of verse 20, inserts in most manuscripts 20 lines [467*] following verse 20 (GPP 15.13cd-31). This passage enlarges upon the villainy of Rāvaṇa, who is said to harm seers, gandharvas, and apsarases and oppress the inhabitants of the three worlds. These various beings approach Viṣṇu for refuge and seek his aid in the destruction of this enemy of gods and men. Viṣṇu agrees to help the gods and kill Rāvaṇa along with his family, advisors, friends, and relatives. Viṣṇu tells them that as Rāma he will rule for eleven thousand years among men (compare 1.1.76). Then, after having given this promise, the god directs his thoughts toward the place of his birth among men. He divides his soul into four parts and chooses King Daśaratha to be his father. All the gods, etc. praise him with hymns.

.21  

The verse is in the jagatī meter, which has twelve syllables per quarter.

“holy men” sādhu—: The crit. ed. reads this as part of the compound sādhutapasvikaṇṭakam, “a thorn in the side of holy men and ascetics.” The vulgate reads sādhu as separate from the compound. Cr, following this, understands it to mean “so that it will be all right,” whereas Cg takes it in the sense of “completely.” Most N manuscripts substitute, for sādhu-, sarva-, “all,” so that the compound would read “a thorn to all ascetics,”

Sarga 15

.1  

“Viṣṇu” viṣṇuḥ: The word is marked as a doubtful reading in the crit. ed. N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D10,11,13) (and D11 partially) omit verses 1-6. But parallels to these verses can be found at 463*.1 (15.1ab), 463*.5 (15.3ab), 464*.1 (15.3cd), 464*.4-5 (15.4ed-5ab), 464*.6 (15.5cd), and 466*.7-8 (15.6) in sarga 14. A common southern variant is deva, “god.” The northern reading has the common variant prabhuḥ (see 463*.1).

“even though he knew the answer” jānann api: The idea is that since he is the supreme lord, he knows the way to destroy Rāvaṇa. Ct says he asks in any case so as to avert a sense of shame on the part of the gods for having been so bold as to approach him. Note that the N versions show no parallel for this expression (cf. 463*).

.4  

“foe-conquering hero” ariṃdama: The vocative ending is marked as doubtful by the crit. ed. The alternative reading is a nominative singular, which then would construe with saḥ, “he” (Rāvaṇa).

.6  

“At the time the boon was granted” varadānena: Literally, “by the gift of the boon.” The instrumental of the critical reading makes little sense. D6,8,14, the vulgate (GPP), Cm, and Ck all read varadāne, which is understood by the commentators to mean “at the time of the granting of the boon.” For the sake of comprehensibility, we have followed this reading against the critical text, despite its rather weak textual evidence. Compare the northern manuscripts (466*.7, 8). Note, however, that Ś,D1-3,5,7,12 substitute 469* for dab.

After 6, D4,6,8,9,14,S (except M4) insert 2 lines [470*]: “When he had received that boon from Grandfather Brahmā, he grew arrogant, wreaking havoc upon the three worlds and even abducting women.”

.7  

“chose” racayām āsa: Literally, “desired,” cf. 467*.18.

This verse introduces the sarga in most N manuscripts. Many of them (Ñ,V,B,D10,13) read for 7ab: “Lord Viṣṇu, grandfather of the worlds, was addressed by the gods in this manner.” Compare 462*.7.

.8  

After this verse Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S (except M4),Cg,Ck,Ct insert the following 2 lines [471*]: “Having made this resolution, Viṣṇu took his leave of Grandfather Brahmā and, praised by the gods and great seers, he vanished.”

.9  

“enormous power, and immense might” mahavīryam mahābalam: Cr says that the former is strength of body and the latter strength of the organs of sense.

.10  

“The hair of his body, head, and beard were as glossy as that of a yellow-eyed lion” snigdhaharyakṣatanujaśmaśrupravaramūrdhajam: The compound can be interpreted in a number of ways. Cg,Ck,Ct, and Bhandare 1920, p. 68, read the compound as is translated. Cr construes pravara with mūrdhaja, that is, “long hair.” The compound can also be read as “having glossy lion’s body-hair, beard, and long hair.” Here the adjective snigdha construes only with the first member of the compound. Some N manuscripts read harisnigdhekṣaṇam ramyam, “charming with yellow shining eyes,” for 10c, whereas D9 substitutes nayana, “eyes,” for tanuja, “hair,” to read: “with shining eyes like a lion’s.”

.12–13  

“fine gold and covered with a silver lid” taptajāmbūnadamayīṃ rājatāntaparicchadām: The gold of the cup is traditionally for the gods, and the silver of the lid is for the pitṛs, the departed ancestors. The implication is that both are propitiated.

“creative energy itself’ māyāmayīm iva: Ck and Ct take iva, “like,” in the sense of the emphatic particle eva, to read, “actually consisting of the creative energy of the lord” (Ct) or “manifested by the inconceivable power of the lord Hiraṇyagarbha” (Ck). Cr reads “as though made of creative energy because of its wonderful nature.” Cg understands māyāmayī as “causing wonder because of its being inconceivable.” For additional uses of the word māyā in the Bālakāṇḍa, see 1.28.7 and 1.29.10.

“celestial porridge” divyapāyasa—: The traditional recipe for pāyasa is as follows: “Washed, uncooked rice mixed with ghee and cooked with sugared milk makes pāyasa” (Apte, s.v. pāyasa).

Note that many N manuscripts replace 13cd with 475* and invert the order. If S is accepted as representing an earlier form of the text, then here again N appears to be a rephrasing of the S version. Particularly note here the substitution of adbhutopamām for māyāmayīm.

.14  

“servant of Brahmā, lord of creatures” prājāpatyam: The commentators agree that the meaning is, “an agent or servant of the god Prajāpati.” Ck glosses the word as “son of Prajāpati” or (so also Cr and Cg) “sent by Prajāpati.” Cr understands, “sent by Prajāpati, that is, sprung from Prajāpati, that is, Viṣṇu, the protector of the people” — a sectarian interpretation. The N manuscripts show an interesting variation, in which the messenger addresses Ṛśyaśṛṅga rather than Daśaratha (476*, 477*). Note, too, the similarity between 477*.2 and 14cd.

At this point most N manuscripts (Śl,Ñ,V,B,D1-3,5,7,10-13) insert (or continue from 477*) 8 lines [478*] in which the messenger of Brahmā, lord of creatures, addresses the sage Ṛśyaśṛṅga and urges him to give the pot to the king. The sage complies. Most of these same manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D10,13) then continue with 4 lines [479*] that are considered as a substitute for verses 15-16 by the crit. ed.: “Upon accepting (this pot) the king, with his head bent down, spoke to that being who was the messenger of Brahmā, lord of creatures, ‘Lord, blessed one, what should I do with this?’ Then (the messenger) spoke to the king, ‘I bring you the fruit of your excellent sacrifices.’”

.15  

Compare 15cd with 479*.2.

“In response” tataḥ param: Literally, “after that.” The reading is marked as doubtful in the crit. ed. The N manuscripts generally replace the verse with 479*.1-2 (see above note on verse 14). Ct,Cr, and Cg agree that it means “after that,” in reference to the speech of the messenger, and then construe it relatively with tadā, “then.” Cr says that param can be taken adverbially as a reference to the king’s response, that is, “answered very well.”

.18  

“of your wives who are of your own station” bhāryāṇām anurūpāṇām: The genitive is used here in the sense of the dative (saṃbandhasāmānye ṣaṣṭhī). According to Ck the adjective anurūpāṇām means, “favorable to you, that is, fit to eat the porridge.” Likewise, Ct says, “suitable because of their reputation, conduct, excellent virtues, and so on, and because they are chief queens.” Cg, on the other hand, glosses the term with savarṇānām, “of the same social class.” Similarly, Cr under-stands, “born in equal families,” that is, families of the same social status (as the king). If Cr and Cg are correct, and we believe that they are, this would undermine the interpretation, suggested by Ct and Ck and adopted by Dutt, according to which the three wives of Daśaratha belonged to different social classes. See notes to 1.13.28 (GPP 1.14.35).

The issue is avoided in many of the N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D10,13 and M4), which substitute 2 lines [481*] for verse 18. The verse reads, “Lord of men, give this to your lawful wives (dharmapatnībhyah) and tell them to eat it. You will obtain that desired thing for the sake of which you have gone to all this effort.” Note here that the irregular genitive construction bhāryāṇām anurūpāṇām is replaced by the regular dative.

.19  

“bowing his head in token of acceptance” śirasā pṛatigṛhya: Literally, this means “accepted with his head.” The gesture referred to is a typically Indian one of respectful acceptance whereby the gift is placed, literally or symbolically, on the recipient’s head. Cf. Kumārasambhava 3.2, where a command is accepted with the head.

.25–27  

The exact fractional distribution of the divinely charged porridge among the three wives of Daśaratha is not perfectly clear. Whether or not Vālmīki intended the divisions to be specific fractions or just general portions cannot be determined. However, as the division of the impregnating food is traditionally understood to be reflected in the respective proportion of the divine essence represented by each of the brothers, an accurate understanding of these lines is extremely important to the Vaishnava tradition.

The issue hangs upon the interpretation of the various occurrences of the word ardha in the passage. Although this word generally means “one half,” it is not uncommonly taken in the masculine gender in the nonspecific sense of “portion, part” (bhittam śakalakhaṇḍe vā puṃsy ardho ‘rdham same ‘mśakeAmaK 176). Playing upon this ambiguity, the commentators offer many elaborate and ingenious interpretations of the passage.

The general view (Ct,Cg,Cm), and the one followed in the translation, is that Daśaratha gives Kausalyā, his eldest and most senior queen, one-half of the pāyasa. He then gives Sumitrā, generally considered by the commentators to be his middle wife, one-quarter of the remaining portion. (A later tradition, and one apparently supported in the N recension, holds that Sumitrā is the younger and least important wife. See, for example, Uttararāmacarita 1.21,1.) To Kaikeyī, his youngest but most beloved wife, he gives half of the remainder (avaśiṣṭasya ardham), that is, one-eighth of the whole. He then gives Sumitrā the remaining portion (avaśiṣṭam ardham), which is the final one-eighth of the pāyasa. Thus ardha is interpreted as both “one-half’ and “portion,” and the compound avaśiṣṭārdham is taken in the first case as a genitive tatpuruṣa and in the second instance as an adjectival karmadhāraya.

Another often cited interpretation, defended in particular by Ck, is that Kausalyā and Kaikeyī each receive a portion of the pāyasa and then, respectively, give Sumitrā some of their own shares. Ck would have Kausalyā and Kaikeyī each receive one-half of the pāyasa. Each woman then would give one-eighth of her portion to Sumitrā. This means that Kausalyā and Kaikeyī each get three-eighths of the pāyasa, and Sumitrā has two one-eighth portions, or one-quarter of the total.

A popular but generally late interpretation has Kausalyā and Kaikeyī each give Sumitrā one-half of her own portion of pāyasa. This is a particularly interesting solution, because it means that Sumitrā receives one-half of the pāyasa. Since her portion is divided between her twin sons, in this version all the four brothers are equally endowed with Viṣṇu’s essence. Cf. Cm; RaghuVa 10.54-6; AdhyāRā (Bālakāṇḍa) 3.10-12; and PadmP 6.269.57-60. Cr has a similar interpretation according to which Kausalyā and Kaikeyī each give a portion of their pāyasa to Sumitrā, but, according to him, the two original portions are not equal. Kausalyā is given five-eighths and Kaikeyī is given three-eighths. Each then gives Sumitrā three-sixteenths of the whole, so that Kausalyā finally receives seven-sixteenths and Kaikeyī three-sixteenths of the whole. Sumitrā thus gets two portions, each consisting of three-sixteenths of the undivided porridge.

According to N it is Kaikeyī and not Sumitrā (25d) who receives the “half of the half.” This, with the lengthy explanations and rationalizations of the commentators, shows that the tradition was uncomfortable with Bharata’s mother receiving a smaller portion than the mother of the younger brothers, Lakṣmaṇa and Śatrughna. Further complications arise for the tradition from an apparent inconsistency in the text of the Bālakāṇḍa. At 17.8, Bharata is said to represent one-quarter of the incarnate (sākṣāt) Viṣṇu. The commentators generally offer two explanations: 1. that the word caturbhāga, “fourth part,” in the verse really means “a portion”; and 2. that Bharata is one-quarter of the “manifest” (sākṣāt) Viṣṇu, who is, in fact, Rāma (half of Viṣṇu), and is thus the product of only one-eighth of the pāyasa. For a further discussion of this curious question of the division of the pāyasa, see Ramaswami Sastri 1944, pp. 54ff., and notes on 1.17.6-8 below.

The motif of oral impregnation, particularly through the ingestion of a substance infused with some sort of divine essence, is a common one in Indian mythology. Compare MBh 12.49.1ff., where specially charged porridge (caru) is ingested by the wife and mother-in-law of Ṛcīka, which results in the births of Viśvāmitra and Paraśurāma.

The numbering of the verses has been changed in the crit. ed. 27ab should he changed to 26ef and 27cd to 27ab. This should be noted in respect to the crit. app.

.27ab  

(revised numbering) should, according to the critical principles, be omitted from the critical text. Ñ,V,B,D10,13, and M4 omit it, and it is not necessary to the context of the passage.

Sarga 15  

Note that there is an error in the crit. app. on p. 115. After the insert on 487*, the crit. app. reads, “Then all (except D11) read App. I (No. 3).” This should be disregarded, as App. I (No. 3) occurs in different manuscripts after 489* or 514*. See pp. 116, 124, and 411.

D11 continues (from 487*), whereas Ñ,V,B,D10,13 substitute for 28, and Dt,4,6,8,14,S (M4 substitutes),Cg,Ck,Ct insert 8 lines in the jagatī meter [488*]. The textual issue here is complicated. On the basis of the textual evidence and following the critical principles outlined in the introduction, one would expect these verses to be included in the crit. ed., whereas verse 28, which has far less textual support, should be relegated to the crit. app, as a southern interpolation. It appears that the editors of the text have considered the four lines substituted by Ś,D1-3,5,7,9,11,12 [487*] and the change in meter seen in 488* as sufficient cause to regard verse 28 as the older reading. Neither of these reasons is adequate, to our minds, and considering the evidence, we feel the more critically appropriate reading to be 488*: “After that his excellent wives, having eaten the offering, joyfully presented by the king himself, according to precedence gave birth to beautiful infants, resplendent like the sun and fire.* Then the king, having gathered about him his delighted wives with their newborn infants, was satisfied just like a good man upon seeing heaven through the power acquired through yoga.”

* “resplendent like the sun and fire” hutāśanādityasamāna—: This could, in fact, modify either the wives, here somewhat freely translated from the original striyaḥ, “women,” or the infants, garbhān, as in the translation. Ct construes it with both, Cr only with the wives. Compare 1.35.18.

Sarga 16

Sarga 16  

The N and S recensions present rather different versions starting at sarga 16. In keeping with its stated principles, the crit. ed. follows S. N begins here with 52 lines [514*]. For a summary of this passage, see notes to sarga 17. 514* is similar in content to and, in fact, is often identical to 17.1-21. Following 514*, N has our sarga 16. This, in turn, is followed by a new sarga that begins with our 17.22.

.3  

“magic powers” māyā—: Here Ck,Ct, and Cr take māyā to refer to special divine magical powers that can be used against the similar powers of the demons in battle. Cg glosses māyā only as “wondrous power.”

.4  

“skilled in the use of all weapons’ sarvāstraguṇasaṃpannān: The commentators interpret this variously: Ck, “like the gods, invulnerable to all weapons”; Cg, “endowed with the power (guṇa) of every weapon”; and Ct, “possessing qualities (skills) in the form of the ability to ward off all weapons”; or optionally (so too Cr and Cm), “qualities, that is, the ability to use and ward off (weapons).”

.5–6  

“equal to you in valor” tulyaparākramān: Ct,Ck, and Cr read the compound as “each one having strength equal to that of his respective (father).” Ck elucidates this interpretation by quoting the maxim, “As is the seed, so is the sprout.” Cr understands here, “similar to one’s respective parent.” Cr also admits as a possible interpretation that the sons will be of equal strength compared to one another. This is unappealing in the context and fails to suggest the great power of the monkeys. The idea is that they have the strength of the gods. Ck,Ct, and Cg call to mind the Uttarakāṇḍa passage where Rāvaṇa is cursed by Nandi to be destroyed by monkeys (7.16.15) in retribution for having laughed at him when he had the form of a monkey.

After 6, Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S,Cm,Cg,Ck,Ct insert 2 lines [490*; GPP 1.17.6]. Here Viṣṇu notes that previously Jāmbavān, the great ape, was born from his mouth as he yawned.

.8  

After 8, Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S, insert 15 lines [491*; GPP 1.17.10-17.b(. These seven-and-a-half verses list the names of the principal monkeys generated by each god. Indra fathered Vālin; Tapana (the sun god) fathered Sugrīva; Bṛhaspati fathered Tāra; Dhanada (Kubera) fathered Gandhamādana; Viśvakarman fathered Nala; Pāvaka (the fire god) fathered Nīla; the Aśvins fathered the twins Mainda and Dvivida; Varuṇa fathered Suṣeṇa; Parjanya fathered Śarabha; and Māruta (the wind god) fathered Hanumān.

.9  

“determined to kill” vadhodyatāḥ: Udyata is marked as a doubtful reading in the crit. ed. Variants include īpsubhiḥ, “with a desire to obtain (the destruction of),” uddhatāḥ, “eager,” and ratāḥ, “devoted to, or intent upon (the destruction of).”

.10  

“Apes, monkeys, and langurs” ṛkṣavānaragopucchāḥ: The epic has a fairly large number of names, epithets, and kennings to refer to the hosts of primates that are Rāma’s companions and chief allies in the search for Sītā and the battle at Laṅkā. Most of these, terms such as kapi, hari, plavaṃga(ma), śākhamṛga, and so on, are general terms for “monkey,” hut it would appear that in the present context there is a clear intention to distinguish species. The first term, ṛkṣa, is interesting, and its misunderstanding on the part of the poets, commentators, theologians, and general audiences of the post-epic period has given rise to one of the most charming traditions of the Rāma legend: the tradition that the hero is befriended not only by monkeys, but also by bears. It is true that the term means “bear,” and that this meaning comes to be the only one in the classical literature. On the other hand, the standard lexicons (cf. PW, Apte) are aware of the epic use of the word in the sense of monkey. Moreover, a close study of the portions of the epic that are closely concerned with these creatures, that is, Books Four to Six, reveals to us not one reference that can be shown to refer specifically to the appearance or habits of bears. On the other hand, even the characters that the tradition specifically regards as bears, figures such as Jāmbavān, are nowhere distinguished from the other monkeys and are consistently grouped together with them under the terms for monkey mentioned above. If the poet had had bears in mind, he would doubtless have had occasion to use some of the synonyms for bear that are part of the epic lexicon. Yet none of these terms seems to occur in connection with Rāma’s allies, and it seems certain to us that Vālmīki had only monkeys in mind when he used the word ṛkṣa. We therefore must differ with the commentators who gloss this term with the word bhallūka, “bear” (Cg,Cr), and can only see the literary, folkloric, and iconographic tradition that surrounds Rāma with both bears and monkeys as deriving from the fact that the term ṛkṣa, originally disemic, lost its principal epic connotation of “monkey” by the end of the epic period. This problem was noted by the late Professor van Buitenen in his notes to his translation of the Rāmopākhyāna of the Mahābhārata. Although he translated the phrase ṛkṣīṣu vānarīṣu ca (MBh 3.260.7) as “bears and monkeys” (1975, p. 731), he remarks in his note to the passage (erroneously keyed to verse 3.260.5) that, “while mention is made on occasion of bears (ṛkṣa) the classification of monkeys is so preponderant that one might wonder whether these ‘bears’ are not really a kind of monkey” (p. 835). A problem for the translation is that English is not nearly as rich in general terms for monkeys as Sanskrit. We have, therefore, in passages that contrast different types, used the term “ape” in a non-technical sense. (The only true ape now found in the Indian subcontinent is the white-browed gibbon [Hylobates hoolock], whose range is far re-moved from the areas known to the Rām poets.) The term gopuccha, literally “cow-tailed,” is, in our opinion, used to refer to the ubiquitous common langur (Semnopithecus entellus) which, incidentally, is known in various of the Indian vernaculars as the Hanumān monkey. When the general term vānara is contrasted with gopuccha or golāngūla, we feel that it is probably a reference to the widely distributed and very common Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta). We translate this as “monkey.”

“enormous their bodies” vapuṣmantaḥ: Cr reads as “having very large bodies,” whereas Cg considers the monkeys’ bodies to be “hard.” Apte, on the other hand (s.v. vapuṣmant), says “beautiful (of body).”

“resembled elephants or mountains” gajācalasaṃkāśāḥ: Optionally this could be read as “like elephants and mountains.” Cr and Cg understand “resembling the mountains Meru and Mandara.”

.11  

“build, beauty” rūpam veśaḥ: The distinction between rūpa and veśa is small. Ck takes rūpa to refer to color, as does Ct, who is more specific and uses the word varṇa. Cr and Cg understand rūpa as “beauty.” Ck then glosses veśa with “appearance, symmetry, etc.,” whereas Ct and Cg read it as “form.” For the latter term Cr suggests avayavasanniveśa, “arrangement of limbs,” that is, build. This last interpretation is followed in the translation. Many northern manuscripts substitute vīrya, “might,” for rūpa, which perhaps indicates that the tradition, even at an early time, was uncomfortable with the juxtaposition of the two words.

.12  

“famous for their valor” saṃmatavikramāḥ: Here saṃmata is interpreted as “famous” (Cg) or “respected” (CI). Note that Ct reads unnata “great, eminent,” as do D6 and 8. Ñ,V,B,D10,13 read adbhuta, “wonderful.”

After 12, Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S,M4 (after 491*) insert the following 8 lines [495*]: “The many illustrious gods, great seers, gandharvas, snakes, great birds, yakṣas, and kiṃpuruṣas, perfected beings, vidyādharas, and great serpents were overjoyed, and they engendered by the thousands all those huge monkeys, roamers of the forest, on the principal apsarases, vidyādhara women, daughters of the serpents, and gandharva women. These monkeys were endowed with strength, could take on any form and could wander freely where they would. In their strength and pride they were the lions and tigers.”

.16  

“With the roaring of their mighty voices” nardamānāś ca nādena: The crit. ed. reads the accusative nardamānān. On the basis of textual and contextual evidence, we propose emending in favor of the nominative, the reading of D9,14,T2,3,G,M1,3. According to the critical principles, on the basis of this split reading in the S manuscripts, the reading should have been marked as doubtful (cf. 1.17.4, puṇaḥ and its variant readings). Additional support for this emendation is given by the N manuscripts, which provide an alternative reading that tends to support the reading of D9,14,T2,3,G,M1,3. Ñ,V,B,D10,13, and M4 replace 16cd with pataṃgān api vegena pātayeyur nabhastalāt, “with their impetuous speed they could cause even the birds to fall from the sky” (or a variant thereof), whereas Ś,D1-3,5,7,11,12 read 16c as nadanto ‘pi tathā vyomni, “(the monkeys) roaring in the sky (could cause the birds to fall),” Thus it seems that the majority of manuscripts intend the monkeys to roar, rather than, as in the critical text, the birds. The critical text as it stands means, “With their roars they could cause the twittering birds to fall from the sky,” a clearly inferior reading This is a case in which, in addition to following the critical principles, a little higher criticism would have been well advised.

.18  

Ṛkṣavant is the name of a mountain in the eastern part of the Vindhya range. The name means “Abounding in Monkeys.” See notes to verse 10 above. 20.

The meter is upajāti, consisting of eleven syllables per quarter.

Sarga 17

Sarga 17  

N manuscripts (Ś,Ñ,V,B,D1-3,5,7,10-13) and M4 have a passage of 52 lines [514* 1 before sarga 16 (see notes, sarga 15). 514* is given at p. 124 of the crit. ed. Many lines found in this passage closely resemble lines from sarga 17.1-21. The crit. app. provides the correspondences between the two. The order is somewhat different (vide 3, 8ab,20ab,cd), and after 5cd there are eleven lines unknown to S. These lines describe Daśaratha and his three wives and tell us that his three wives gave birth to four sons: Rāma, Bharata, Lakṣmaṇa, and Śatrughna.

Ñ,V,B1,D10, and M4 omit lines 12-15 of 514*. After line 11 of 514*, Ś,Ñ,V,B,D1-3,5,7,9-13, insert Appendix I, No. 4 (pp. 411ff.). This consists of 127 lines normally divided into three sections, the last of which ends with the end of 514* (G’s edition XVII, XVIII). The contents of this passage is summarized as follows: After Daśaratha’s sacrifice has been completed, Ṛśyaśṛṅga and Śāntā, his wife, return to L(R)omapāda’s court. At Campā, L(R)omapāda’s capital city, the king welcomes the sage and his wife. He sends his courtiers out to inform Vibhāṇḍaka of his son’s arrival and of the news of Daśaratha’s sacrifice. Vibhāṇḍaka leaves the forest and joins his son and L(R)omapāda at court, where he tells the king not to be afraid, for he is pleased with all that has happened. He then welcomes his son home with a sniff on his head and embraces his daughter-in-law. This is doubtless a late attempt to complete the episode of Ṛśyaśṛṅga (1.8-10) by bringing about a reconciliation among king, father, and son. See 1.10.30, note and MBh 3.113.11-21, where the anger of Vibhāṇḍaka is described.

.2  

“entered” praviveśa: In the light of verse 4 it appears that the king, having gone out of the city to escort his guests, turns back but does not actually re-enter the city.

“host of wives” patnīgaṇa—-: Daśaratha has many wives, not just the three principal consorts who give birth to the epic’s heroes. At 2.31.10 he is said to have 350.

.3  

“bull among sages” munipuṃgavam: The issue here is the referent of the epithet. Ck and Cg take it as a reference to Vasiṣṭha, Ct thinks it refers to Vasiṣṭha and Ṛśyaśṛṅga, whereas Cr thinks it means Vasiṣṭha, Ṛśyaśṛṅga, and Vāmadeva. Cm follows Ck and Cg in assuming that it refers only to Vasiṣṭha; cf. 514*.3, 4.

The S recension seems to read (according to Cr) that Daśaratha honored the kings, and the kings in turn honored the sage(s), whereas the N recension has the king acting as the subject of both clauses. By taking the gerund, praṇamya, in a passive sense with Daśaratha as its subject, this interpretation is also possible with our text.

.4  

“once more” punaḥ: The word is marked in the crit. ed. as doubtful. Variant readings include tadā, “then,” and tathā, “in this manner.” Note that the N recension (506*.6, 7) reads only tadā or tathā (cf. 1.16.16).

The issue revolves around a question of protocol: How many times does Daśaratha enter Ayodhyā? Ck, who reads tadā, avoids the apparent redundancy of this verse after verse 2 by taking the latter’s praviveśa to mean “began to enter.” Cr, however, explains the term punaḥ in the light of royal protocol, “The repetition of ‘entry’ suggests that having previously entered the city, he (Daśaratha) went out again to see off the kings.”

.5  

“king” rājñā: Cr and Ct take the king to be Daśaratha, who is then accompanying Ṛśyaśṛṅga a little way as a sign of respect. The often very perceptive Cg thinks that the king is R(L)omapāda, Daśaratha’s old friend, who is leaving Ayodhyā in the company of his adopted daughter and son-in-law (but compare the northern recension’s interpolation at App. I, No. 4, summarized above).

After verse 5, many S manuscripts (Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S [except M4], D10 partially) insert a well-known passage of 7 lines [506*; GPP 1.18.7-I0b] that provides the astrological data for Rāma’s birth. The passage, an interpolation, mentions a lapse of one year since the completion of the sacrifice and thus provides a transition to verse 6, which is lacking in the critical text. The astrological data — which are of great interest to the Indian audience (and were doubtless interpolated for that reason) — are as follows: Rāma was born on the ninth day of the lunar month Caitra under the influence of the lunar asterism whose presiding deity is Aditi (this is the constellation called Punarvasū — see Cg on GPP 1.18.9). The five grahas, “planetary bodies” (that is, Ravi, the Sun; Maṅgala, Mars; Guru, Jupiter; Śukra, Venus; and Śani, Saturn) were at their highest and, therefore, most auspicious points, and Jupiter and the moon were in Karkaṭa (Cancer). This conjunction is considered a highly auspicious one, and the commentators, especially Cg, describe at some length the many virtues of a person born under its influence. See B. V. Kamesvara Aiyar 1921, pp. 73-75, who says that the horoscope in the Bālakāṇḍa cannot be earlier than the fifth century a.d.

The division of Viṣṇu’s essence among the four sons of Daśaratha as described here in verses 6-9 does not seem to accord with that given at 1.15.25-26, where the division of the divine pāyasa is described. The problem concerns the portion represented by Bharata. At 1.15.25, Kaikeyī seems to have received only one-eighth of the divinely infused porridge, yet here, in verse 8, her son is said to be sākṣāt viṣṇor caturbhāgaḥ, “one-quarter of the incarnate Viṣṇu.” The discrepancy has disturbed the commentators. Thus, for example, Cg tries at GPP 1.18.13, by several alternative explanations, such as taking Viṣṇu here to mean Rāma, to demonstrate that the verse really means that Bharata represents only one-eighth of the god’s essence. The problem of the portions represented by Sumitrā’s two sons is resolved if, as we have done, one follows the commentators in reading ardha in verse 9 to mean any fraction or portion. This issue of fractional arithmetic is of considerable interest to the Vaishnava tradition and is dealt with at great length and with enormous ingenuity by the commentators at 1.15.25-26. See notes on 1.15.25-26 for a detailed discussion of the passages.

.8  

See notes on 1.15.25 and verse 6 above; cf. 514*.31 and 521*.

.9  

After 9, Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S (except M4), insert 2 lines [508*; GPP 1.18.15] that provide the astrological signs governing the births of Bharata, Śatrughna, and Lakṣmaṇa.

.10  

Proṣṭhapada: Literally this means “ox-foot.” This is the name applied collectively to two nakṣatras, “lunar asterisms,” that are known as Pūrvabhādrapada and Uttarabhādrapada. Each of these asterisms consists of a pair of stars. Thus the basis for the simile is that the four lustrous boys are grouped into two shining pairs. The basis for the pairing is not, however, the twin births of Sumitrā’s sons, but rather the natural affinity between Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa, on the one hand, and Bharata and Śatrughna, on the other. This is made clear in verses 15-19. See Goldman 1980, p. 153.

After 10, Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S(except M4), insert 8 lines [509*GPP 1.18.17-20] that describe the rejoicing in heaven and in Ayodhyā and the generosity of the king on the occasion of the births.

.11–12  

“On the twelfth day” atītyaikādaśāham: Literally, “when the period of eleven days had passed.” The reference is to the period of sūtaka or ritual impurity that prevails in a household after a birth. It is only when this period has elapsed that the auspicious saṃskāras or life-stage ceremonies can be carried out. The mention of eleven days is interesting here because, as several commentators hasten to note, the prescriptive texts agree that the period of sūtaka lasts twelve days in the case of a kshatriya (so Ct and Cg on GPP 1.18.21), and that the naming ceremony should be performed, in a royal house, on the thirteenth day. The commentators offer various ingenious but unconvincing explanations for the discrepancy.

he: The subject of the finite verb akārayat, “saw to it that … were performed,” is unspecified. The reference could be to either the king or to Vasiṣṭha. Ct and Cr take Vasiṣṭha as the subject, which seems most probable.

“beginning with the birth ritual” janmakriyādīni: This refers to the twelve traditional saṃskāras, or “rites of passage prescribed for upper class Hindus.” See Kane 1962-1975, vol. II, pp. 188ff.

After 12cd, Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S(except M4), Cg,Ck,Ct insert 2 lines (510*; GPP 1.18.23], which tell further of the generosity of Daśaratha to the brahmans and citizens.

.13  

“like a royal pennant” ketur iva. According to Cg, “like a flag or pennant heralding his line.”

.13cd  

“just as the self-existent Brahmā ..” babhūva bhūyo bhūtānāṃ ṣvayambhūr iva saṃmataḥ: It is impossible to duplicate the effect of the alliteration in the original.

.15  

Can 15ab stand alone like this? Both “mighty” and “valorous” seem to be descriptive rather than predicative adjectives. There appears to be no syntactical link with either the preceding or following verse. The GPP reads 15ab as pāda cd of GPP 1.18.26 (crit. ed. 14cd,15ab). But note 514*.42 where a variant stands in similar isolation with no apparent syntactical link with its neighboring verses. As it stands in the constituted text, l5ab has the appearance of a verse fragment.

Following l5ab S manuscripts and Devanāgarī manuscripts following the southern recension read 3 lines [511*] that further describe Rāma’s attributes.

“Lakṣmaṇa, bringer of glory” (verse 15) lakṣmaṇo lakṣmivardhanaḥ, and “glorious Lakṣmaṇa” (verse 17) lakṣmaṇo lakṣmisaṃpannaḥ: These two epithets of Lakṣmaṇa, which recur in a formulaic pattern many times in the epic, are used more for their alliterative effect than for any particular association of the hero with Lakṣmī, the goddess of fortune or prosperity. This is also the case with the epithets lokābhirāma, “delight of the world,” used frequently of Rāma, and lokarāvaṇa, “thorn in the side of the world,” used of Rāvaṇa, although in these cases the appropriateness of the epithets is clear.

.16  

“outside his body” śarīrataḥ. This is a difficult passage to construe with certainty, and it has occasioned much thought on the part of traditional commentators and modern scholars alike. There are several possible ways to construe śarīrataḥ, all of which have been put forth as alternatives by Cg at GPP 1.18.29. The point of the verse seems to be that Lakṣmaṇa is so devoted to his brother that, despite the fact that he too is a prince, he serves Rāma in the capacity of a personal valet or body servant. See Goldman 1980, p. 154. Cg’s suggestions are: 1. Take the word simply as an adverb in the sense of “bodily.” The intention then is that Lakṣmaṇa served Rāma personally. 2. Take śarīrataḥ as equivalent to the ablative śarīrāt and construe it with api, that is, Rāma was dearer to Lakṣmaṇa than his own body, which he neglected in his devotion. This interpretation is also given by Ck and was thought to be “probably right” by Peterson (1879, p. 18). 3. Take śarīrataḥ with bahiḥ so that Lakṣmaṇa is then described as being like a second life breath outside the body. This interpretation was accepted by Schlegel, and we have followed it in the translation. Peterson felt that “there is something to be said for it” (1879, p. 18). This interpretation can be supported by a verse from the Araṇyakāṇḍa (32.13) in which Lakṣmaṇa is described as Rāma’s right arm, a breath always moving outside. Cg, however, cites this verse in support of yet another interpretation, viz., 3. Take śarīra in the sense of Rāma’s body so that, since Lakṣmaṇa serves as Rāma’s right arm, and thus a principal feature of that body, the adverb śarīrataḥ may mean bodily, in the place of a body.

.17  

“best of men” puruṣottamaḥ: This also means the Supreme Puruṣa, a common epithet of Viṣṇu. Interestingly, the Vaishnava commentators appear to take no notice of this. Cg remarks that this epithet here signifies that since Rāma is the object of universal love, Lakṣmaṇa cannot live without him even for a moment.

.21–22  

“were modest” hrīmantaḥ: Cr glosses this as “ashamed of (that is, careful to avoid) worldly censure.” This is, in all likelihood, an attempt on his part at foreshadowing the later events of the epic, especially those of the final book, where Rāma repudiates Sītā for fear of censure. Cg here reads, “ashamed, that is, lest they even think of improper acts committed through laxity.”

“gifted with foresight” dīrghadarśinaḥ: Here Cr understands, “perceiving the future,” whereas Cg glosses, “always seeing the future.”

The juxtaposition of verses 21 and 22 in the crit. ed. presents a serious problem of construction. The particle atha, “now,” that begins verse 22 is not normally used as a correlative to relative adverbs such as yadā, “when,” of verse 21; instead it normally marks the beginning of a new narrative or section of narrative. The S manuscripts (except M4), including the Devanāgarī manuscripts that follow Ś, insert 4 lines [513*; GPP 1.18.35c-37b] which better complement the syntax of verse 21. Cg explains that these verses, which describe the additional accomplishments of Daśaratha’s sons, contain an implicit adverb, tads, “then,” which would be the expected correlative of yadā. The idea of the sequence proposed by Cg is that when the princes had acquired all the enumerated virtues, the old king was delighted. The discussion of the princes’ education completed, the narrative takes up a new topic, the king’s thoughts about the boys’ marriages. The new section is introduced with the atha of verse 22. In keeping with this handling of the transition in S, the western and northwestern manuscripts, including Ś,D1-3,5,7,9,11,13 begin a new sarga at verse 22, further strengthening the argument that the atha of verse 22 was not originally intended to be the correlative of yadā, a role more or less forced upon it by the text of the crit. ed. The remainder of the N manuscripts (N, V2-4, B1,2,4,D10) and M4 replace verses 22-23 with 8 lines [536*] (see below). What we see here is an interesting and potentially instructive textual manipulation in which manuscript traditions in isolation present grammatically and syntactically acceptable constructions, but the crit. ed., through adherence to its governing principles, has provided an ungrammatical and difficult construction, a reading, moreover, to be found in no known manuscript.

.22–23  

For 22-23, W and NW add and N substitutes 8 lines [536*], which tell the reason for Viśvāmitra’s arrival, that is, the obstruction of his sacrifice by the demons (cf. 1.18.4-7).

.25  

“their minds in a flurry of agitation” saṃbhrāntamanasaḥ: Ck and Ct gloss the term as “having agitated thoughts.” Cr remarks that the gatekeepers’ minds are filled with respect or awe of their great visitor and that their running suggests their extreme joy. This, in turn, he notes, makes clear the king’s great love for the sage. Given the awe in which the great seers, especially men such as Viśvāmitra, are held in the epics, it is as likely that the agitation of the gatekeepers is caused by dread.

.27  

“dropping all other concerns” samāhitaḥ: Ct,Cr, and Cm have been followed here in taking this adjective to indicate that the king has focussed all his attention upon the arrival of the sage and has, by implication, dropped all his other concerns for the moment.

“Brahmā” brahmāṇam: Citing the vedic tradition, bṛhaspatir devānāṃ brahmā, “Bṛhaspati is the brahman of the gods,” Ck,Ct, and Cr argue that this is not the proper name of the great creator-divinity, but a reference to the god Bṛhaspati, the traditional purohita, “family priest,” of the gods. The reason for this is doubtless to intensify the parallelism suggested by Viśvāmitra’s traditional role as an advisor to the Ikṣvāku kings. This is not, however, convincing, and Cg (and Cr optionally) takes this, no doubt correctly, as a reference to the god Brahmā.

.28  

“welcome offering” arghyam: See note on 1.2.24.

.29  

“prescribed in the traditional texts” śāstradṛṣṭena karmaṇā: Cg and Cr construe this with arghyam, that is, “welcoming offerings which were offered with proper rites.” Cg says that samarpitam, “offered,” is to be added to complete the sense.

“prosperity” avyayam: Ct glosses this with vṛddhim, “prosperity,” as does Apte, who cites the verse. But Cg and Cr take this as an adjective modifying kuśalam, “welfare,” that is, “perfect (indestructible) welfare.”

.30  

Ct appears to be alone in seeing, in this straightforward description of the encounter between the two famous sages, an allusion to the story of their rivalry that will play so important a role later in the Bālakāṇḍa. He feels that in greeting the king before the eminent Vasiṣṭha, who would normally be granted precedence, Viśvāmitra is slightly affronting the senior brahman. Ct quotes a verse that he says is found in some manuscripts (cf. crit. app. on verse 50, especially the northern variants and 541*) to the effect that Vasiṣṭha in turn welcomes his former rival with a smile. The commentator takes the smile to express Vasiṣṭha’s unspoken thought, “So, you used to be my rival and now you come to see my king!”

.33  

“in great advancement” mahodaye: Ck,Ct, and Cg analyze the compound as a tatpuruṣa compound in the sense of “the advent (udaya) of a festival (mahaḥ).” In the translation it is read as a karmadhāraya compound in the sense of “great good luck” or “advancement,” on the grounds that this translation seems to preserve the parallelism with the other subjects of comparison (upamānas) in this multiple simile (mālopamā), all of which compare Viśvāmitra’s arrival with some unexpected or unhoped for good fortune. This could hardly be appropriate for a festival. Compare the N manuscript variants iṣṭasyāgamanaṃ yathā and 544*.

“Welcome” svāgatam: Ck,Cr, and Ct understand this as in the translation, while Cg takes the term as modifying āgamanam, “coming,” that is, “your arrival is an unexpected event.”

.35  

“once you were called a royal-seer” rājarṣiśabdena: Ck and Ct take this as an adjective modifying tapasā, “austerities.” That they see the phrase as meaning “penances that had as their object the acquisition of the title ‘royal-seer’.” The translation follows Cr,Cg, and Cm in supplying some term (bodhita, lakṣita, or sahita respectively) to indicate that Viśvāmitra was formerly known by the title “royal-seer” and that subsequently, through further penances, he acquired the status of a brahman-seer. The story to which allusion is made is told below at great length in sargas 50-64.

.36  

“like a journey to a holy place of pilgrimage” śubhakṣetragataḥ: Here again Cr has been followed. Cr,Cg, and Cm understand the phrase to indicate that Daśaratha regards his own city as having now become like a pilgrimage spot (by virtue of the sage’s visit). Ck and Ct take kṣetra in the sense of the body as it is used at Bhagavadgītā 13.1, etc. Thus, they see the king as saying that through the sight of Viśvāmitra, he has attained a body free from sin and possessed of all merit and so on.

.37  

“you” tubhyam: The dative is awkward and hard to construe here. The translation follows Cg, who takes the dative in the sense of the instrumental.

.39  

She meter here is Puṣpitāgrā, which has 12 syllables per quarter-verse.

Sarga 18

Sarga 18  

Ñ,V,B,D10, and 13 substitute 566* for sarga 18. The passage is largely parallel to sarga 18, and the critical editors have provided the correspondences to the critical readings. Note that many passages of Ś,D1-3,5,6,9, and 11 follow 566* rather than the critical readings. The variants for these manuscripts are given by the critical editors in the appropriate section (see Bhatt 1960, p. 137).

.1  

“wonderful and elaborate” adbhutavistaram: This is read as a dvandva compound, in disagreement with most of the commentators. Ck, Ct, and Cm read it as a bahuvrīhi compound in the sense of “of wonderful extent.” But here Daśaratha is only moderately long-winded by epic standards. Cg’s bahuvrīhi, “in which there is an elaboration of wonder,” is somewhat more convincing. Cr’s adbhutatvasamānādhikaraṇavistaratvaviśiṣṭam, “the term ‘extent’ is not grammatically subordinated to the term ‘wonder,’” seems best.

.4  

“performance of a ritual” niyamam: This is taken in the general sense of a self-imposed religious or ritual observance. As the context will later make clear, some sort of sacrifice is intended. The commentators almost unanimously understand this to mean the state of dīkṣā, or consecration incumbent upon the sacrificer.

“in order to accomplish a specific purpose” siddhyartham: This is understood generally in the sense of any desired end or accomplishment. Ck reads, with a few Devanāgarī manuscripts, vidhyārtham, that is, for the sake of a sacrifice. It is unlikely that the technical sense of the term siddhi, “supernatural power,” is intended here. Compare the NE reading (566*.5), yajñasiddhikaraṃ kiṃcid āsthito ‘smi mahad vratam, where mahad vratam, “great religious observance,” takes the place of niyamam and yajñasiddhi, “accomplishment of a sacrifice,” that of siddhyartha. Cf. note on 1.17.22-23 [536*].

.5  

Mārīca: This demon, whom Rāma refrains from killing (1.29.14-17), will reap-pear much later in the epic, where he will play a crucial role in the abduction of Sītā (3.33-43).

.6  

“my efforts gone for nothing” kṛtaśramaḥ: Normally, “one who has made efforts.” Context and commentators agree, however, that we must understand it as “one who has exerted himself for nothing.”

.8  

“side locks” kākapakṣa—: Literally, this means “crow’s wings.” These are side locks of hair characteristic of young boys, particularly kshatriyas in ancient India. The use of this term emphasizes the tender age of Rāma and thus increases the pathos of Daśaratha’s reaction.

.12  

“fallen into the compass of the noose of Kāla, Death” kālapāśavaśaṃ gatau: Kāla, or Time, is a common name for Mṛtyu, or Yama, the Hindu god of death. His typical attribute is a noose, with which he is thought to lasso and draw out the thumb-sized souls of his victims. Thus “to come under the power of Time’s noose” is commonly used in the epics of a character who is about to be killed.

.13  

“concerned for your son” putrakṛtaṃ sneham: Normally “paternal affection for a son.” Here the use is evidently in the sense of anxiety born of affection. Ct has a sectarian explanation. He takes the phrase to mean that the king should not show paternal affection since Rāma, being divine, is not, in fact, his son.

.14  

“I know” vedmi: Here again the commentators insist on sectarian interpretations of straightforward matter. They refer to Viśvāmitra’s supernormal perceptions and see him as stating that he knows Rāma to be parabrahma, the supreme spirit, and so on. Some, like Cg, then use this as an occasion for a theological digression.

.15  

“acquire merit” dharmalābham: Glosses such as Cg’s dharmavṛddhim, “increase of dharma” tend to obscure the issue, at least for the translator. The translation follows the suggestion of Śrīnivāsaśāstrī, who glosses puṇyam, “merit,” for dharma.

.17  

“beloved” abhipretam: The commentators take this as “whom I require,” which is also a possibility.

“freely” asaṃsaktam: We have followed Cg and Cm in taking this adverbially in the sense of “freely” or “without deliberation.” Ck,Ct, and Cr take it as an adjective in the sense of “independent” They feel that it signifies that Rāma, having come of age, is not really dependent upon his father.

Note that 566* has no equivalent for 17ab, and following the principles set down by the critical editors, the latter should not be included in the critical text. At best, it should be considered a doubtful reading. Note, too, that some NW manuscripts (Ś,D5,11, and 12) replace abhipretam with mahābāhum.

.19  

After verse 19, Dt,4,6,8,9, and 14 insert 3 lines [564*] that tell how Daśaratha is overcome with grief at Viśvāmitra’s words. He faints and, regaining consciousness, he sinks down filled with fear.

.20  

The meter is, as Cg puts it, a variety of upajāti.

“He was overwhelmed with terror” agamad bhayaṃ mahat: The reading is marked as uncertain by the critical editors. Most N manuscripts read abhavat tato mahātmā, “then the great one became.” Many other manuscripts, including the vulgate, replace tataḥ with mahān (great).

Compare 1.19.1.

Sarga 19

.2  

“not yet sixteen years of age” ūnaṣoḍaśavarṣaḥ: The question of Rāma’s actual age has been discussed at length by the commentators because of various, apparently discrepant, references in the epic. Several of these passages bear on the duration of Rāma’s stay in Ayodhyā between the time of his marriage and that of his exile. These will be discussed in later notes (2.17.26, 3.36.6, 3.45.10, etc.). The problem here derives from a verse in the Araṇyakāṇḍa (3.36.6), which in the southern manuscripts and in the versions of many of the commentators (GPP 3.38.6) indicates that Rāma was twelve or even younger at the time of Viśvāmitra’s arrival at his father’s court. The reading dvādaśa, “twelve,” has been rejected by the crit. ed. in favor of ūnaṣoḍaśa, “less than sixteen,” partly on the basis of the verse under discussion (see crit. notes to Araṇyakāṇḍa 36). Cg and Cm understand Rāma to be twelve. Cr and Ct understand him to be fifteen, the age at which (according to Ct quoting Ck) the śāstras prescribe the putting on of armor by a kshatriya youth. Ck feels that Rāma is fifteen or so on the grounds that the word ūna- properly means “reduced by one or two.” He understands, quite rightly, that the real point here for Daśaratha is that his son is underage for combat, and he accordingly pokes fun at the commentator (Cg) who wastes time trying to make out the exact age: “Therefore a certain scholar, in wondering whether, at the time of Viśvāmitra’s arrival, Rāma was twelve or fifteen is exerting himself greatly in an investigation on the subject of crows’ teeth.” The crit. ed. has not been consistent in its interpretation of Rāma’s age. Based on Sheldon Pollock’s careful analysis of the available textual material, we have agreed that Rāma’s age at the time of his exile was twenty-five, and that the duration of his residence in Ayodhyā was seventeen years. This would make Rāma approximately twelve at the time of his marriage at the end of this book, and still be consistent with the phrase here that he is “not yet sixteen.” It is our feeling that this was idiomatic for expressing the idea that someone had not yet attained the age of majority, just as we might say in English that someone was not yet twenty-one, without thereby specifying his or her exact age. That the age at which a youth was considered a man was sixteen in traditional India is further supported by the traditional verse, “For the first five years indulge a son in anything, for the next ten beat him constantly, when he attains his sixteenth year you can treat him as a friend.” For additional discussion of this point, see note on 2.17.26.

.3  

“huge army” akṣauhiṇī pūrṇā: Literally, “a full akṣauhiṇī” The grand army of epic India consisted of four divisions traditionally enumerated as follows: 21,870 chariots, 21,870 elephants, 65,610 horses, and 109,350 infantry. Cf. MBh 1.2.15-24 and note to 1.50.21 below.

.5  

“shall guard your sacrifices” goptā: We follow Cr,Ct, and Cg, who all agree that “sacrifice” should be supplied as the object of goptā, “protector.”

.7  

“not yet finished with his studies” akṛtavidyaḥ: Cg takes “studies,” vidyā, here in the specific sense of the dhanurveda, “the science of arms.” Neither Ct nor Cr is so specific about the nature of the studies. Cr stresses Rāma’s uncompleted studentship (na kṛtā gurūpadeśaprāptyā prakaṭitā vidyā) rather than his deficiency in knowledge. Ct brings up the possibility that this verse might contradict 1.17.14, where the offspring of Daśaratha are described as sarve vedavidaḥ śurāḥ: “all the heroes were learned in the vedas.” He alone adduces this verse in the context of Daśaratha’s paternal anxiety.

“He is neither strong nor skilled in the use of weapons” na cāstrabalasaṃyuktaḥ: This could optionally be read as “he does not command the power of weapons,” or possibly even “he has neither army (bala) nor weapons.”

.10  

“I am 60,000 years old” ṣaṣṭir varṣasahasrāṇi jātasya mama: This number crops up elsewhere in connection with the legendary Ikṣvākus. Thus, for example, this is the number of sons of the earlier dynast, Sagara (1.37.8ff.). It is striking that Daśaratha lives so much longer than his great son, who dies after a reign of a mere 11,000 years. It is likely that this huge number is purely, conventional, to indicate a large number. Thus the king’s statement may be taken as an idiomatic expression in the sense of, “I am an old, old man.”

.11  

“most righteous” dharmapradhānam: The refrain na rāmaṃ netum arhasi, “please don’t take Rāma,” occurs five times in thissarga (verses 4,6,8,10,11). It is only here that a word outside of a verse-final pāda construes with this phrase. A few other versions apparently attempt to remove this variation by changing the reading to the locative singular, dharmapradhāne, which is then construed with pāda c (see GPP 1.20.12, also D6, 8). A number of N manuscripts 10,13) read pādas cd as jyeṣṭham putraṃ na me rāmaṃ (bālaṃ) bhagavan netum arhasi (“Please, holy one, do not take my eldest son Rāma”).

Compare 575* and note to verse 10.

.15  

This is the first mention in the central epic story of the great demon king. From what follows it is clear that the nature and history of the villain are well known to Daśaratha. Yet, after the abduction of Sītā, it will appear that the monster is virtually unknown to everyone. For a discussion of this seeming anomaly see Goldman and Masson 1970. Note also that although the northern manuscripts all know of the demon, they make no mention of his boons here.

The entire N recension (Ś,Ñ,V,B,D1-3,5,7,10-13) and M4 partially or completely omit 14cd-16 and 18c-19ab, and provide a significant substitute for l7cd [577] — a direct reference to Rāvaṇa and his half-brother Kubera (Vaiśṛavaṇa). This means that Viśvāmitra’s reply to Daśaratha is unknown to these versions, and instead Daśaratha in his uninterrupted speech makes mention of the terrible demon Rāvaṇa. This again demonstrates the strong partiality of the editors for S; for here, what must be considered a southern interpolation is admitted to the critical text.

.17  

Vaiśṛavaṇa, or “descendant of Viśravas,” is a reference to Kubera. Rāvaṇa, Kubera’s half-brother, is also frequently given this patronymic epithet. 18-19. Ś,Ñ,V,B,D1-3,5,7,10-13,M4 omit 18c-19b. See above, note 15.

.20  

“to me, an unfortunate man” alpabhāgyasya: Cg,Ck,Ct, and Cm all read this as “unlucky on account of not being able to carry out your orders,” whereas Cr understands “who has enjoyed good fortune (bhāgya), in the form of this son, only for a short (alpa) time.”

.22  

After 22, N manuscripts (Ś,Ñ,B,V,D1-3,5,7,10-13) and M4 insert one curious line [586*]: “Or perhaps it is Lavaṇa, the son of Madhu, who is ruining your sacrifice.” This is hardly apposite contextually, but is nonetheless an interesting line in that it refers as an episode in the Uttarakāṇḍa in which Rāma sends his brother Śatrughna to slay the demon Lavaṇa and arms him with a weapon too powerful to use against Rāvaṇa. This is traditionally interpreted by the commentators to suggest that Lavaṇa is more powerful than even the awesome villain of the central epic (7.55.13-14). This episode, which provides a legendary account of the founding of the kingdom of Mathurā, belongs to one of the later strata of the epic. It would follow that the reading of N here is still later.

.24  

“Sunda and Upasunda” sundopasundayoḥ: According to the legend recounted at MBh 1.201-204, these two invincible demons were tricked into destroying each other.

After 25ab, N manuscripts (N,Ś,V,B,Dt-3,5,7,10-13) insert 2 lines [589*] and substitute for 25cd either 590* (Ś,D2,11,12) or 591* (Ñ,V,B,D1,3,5,7,10,13). In 590*, Daśaratha says that he will fight along with his son, whereas 591* has no mention of anyone accompanying the king into battle.

After this all the above manuscripts Ś,Ñ,V,B,D1-3,5,7,10-13) and Dt,6,8,M3,4 insert 1 line [592*]. Then Dt,5,6,8,11,M3,4 continue, whereas D4,9,14,T,G,M1,2, and Cg,Cm, and Ct insert 2 lines [593*] after 25, in jagatī meter: “At that rambling speech of the lord of men, a furious rage seized the great brahman, the son of Kuśika, so that that fiery great seer flared up like a sacrificial fire into which the proper oblations have been offered when it is sprinkled with melted butter.”

Sarga 20

.5  

“stricken with terror” trastarūpam : Literally, “having a terrified form,” the translation follows Ct,Cg, and Cm, who gloss the phrase as atiśayena trastam, “extremely frightened.”

Note that the N manuscripts tend to rephrase pāda a with either krodhābhibhūtaṃ taṃ jñātvā, “realizing that he was overcome with anger,” or kauśikaṃ kupitaṃ dṛṣṭvā, “having seen that Kauśika was angry.” The same manuscripts make appropriate substitutions for pāda b. For example, Ś, Ñ,V1,4,B2-3,D5,10,12,13,M4 read jaganmaitraḥ or jaganmitraḥ, “friend of the world,” for jagat sarvam, “the whole world.”

.7  

“tradition of your House” svadharmam: Literally, “proper duty.” The proper duty of Daśaratha and all of his lineage is, as the commentators stress, scrupulous adherence to his given word. The term is thus used differently here than in the MBh, especially the BhagGī, where it refers to the duty of any person to carry out the preordained tasks of his social class. This emphasis on the old king’s customary truthfulness to his vows (satyapratijñātva) in this passage is surely intended to establish firmly this concept in the mind of the audience and to foreshadow its even more significant role in the next book. There it is Daśaratha’s compulsive adherence to old promises that sets in motion the major events of the epic and brings about his own destruction. It is this that explains the frequent occurrence of the term dharma in its various senses in this passage.

After 7ab Ś,B2,D1-3,5,7,11,12 (D2 missing 7ab and 596*.1) insert 4 lines [596*] in which the term dharma is used in the same sense that it is used in the MBh passage mentioned above.

.8  

“sacrifices and good works … are wasted” iṣṭāpūrtavadhaḥ: The commentators are in general agreement that the āpūrta, “good works,” are public works such as the construction of wells, tanks, and so on.

.9  

“by the son of Kuśika’’ kuśikaputreṇa: Viśvāmitra is, in reality, the son of Gādhi and descended in the eponymously named family of the Kauśikas. Actually, the Rām in its genealogy of Viśvāmitra appears to know of no king named Kuśika. His antecedents as given at 150.18-19 are Prajāpati, Kuśa, Kuśanābha, and Gādhi. According to a version at MBh 13.56, Gādhi’s father is called Kuśika, but as argued elsewhere, the genealogy has been tampered with for reasons unrelated to the present context. See Goldman 1977, pp. 104-11.

“like nectar by the blazing fire” jvalanenāmṛtam yathā: The reference is to the legend in which the mythic bird Garuḍa, having conquered the gods, steals the amṛta, the nectar or soma, which is guarded, in part, by a ring of fire. Cf. MBh 1.28.22-23.

.10  

“He” eṣaḥ: Cr,Cg, and Ck agree that eṣaḥ here refers to the sage Viśvāmitra. Ct takes it to refer to both Rāma and the sage. See Cm for a sectarian discussion that takes Rāma as referent.

.11  

“in all the three worlds with their fixed and moving contents” trailokye sacarācare: Cr construes this with pāda a: “he knows all the different weapons in the three worlds among things fixed and moving.” Cf. 600*.1, 2.

Ñ,V,B,D10,M4 substitute 600* for verses 11-13: “The son of Kuśika knows the divine weapons without exception, weapons which neither the gods, nor other mortals on earth know. Without exception, all of these divine weapons were given to him long ago by Kṛśāśva, who was pleased with him for protecting the earth.” See note on verse 13.

.13  

“Kṛśāśva’s … sons” kṛśāśvasya putrāḥ: The notes to the crit. ed., which often attempt to rationalize the more fanciful notions of the epic bards, find it difficult to accept the fact that a set of weapons could be anyone’s sons. They explain as follows: “all the missiles were given by (Kṛśāśva) to Kuśika when he was ruling” (p. 447). Aside from making the syntax of the verse very awkward, this attempt leaves unanswered the question of why these sons are suddenly mentioned. The reading of the verse is quite clear, and the commentaries, translators, and Bhandare have no problem with it. Indeed, the tradition as seen at 1.26.22-24 and Uttararāmacarita 1.14:7-15 clearly supports the notion that the divine missiles are personified. In an epic where monkeys talk and one’s sister may be a river (1.33.7-8), scholars should not balk at such trifles. Cf. verse 14.

Some commentators (Ct,Cm, and Cr on GPP 1.21.13) read dattā śivena iti śeṣaḥ, “the words ‘given by Śiva’ are to be added.” Thus they see Śiva rather than Kṛśāśva as the donor of the weapons. This is in keeping with the legend as told at 1.54.12-19 where Śiva gives the weapons to Viśvāmitra as a reward for his penances.

“when he was still ruling” praśāsati: When who was ruling? Is it Kṛśāśva, Kṛśāśva’s sons, or Viśvāmitra? Praśāsati is plural, but the commentators read it as the singular praśāsti. The commentators agree, too, that here the referent is Viśvāmitra and the reference is to the days when he was a great kshatriya king. The N recension (600*.3, 4) makes clear reference to Viśvāmitra.

.14  

“the daughters of Brahmā, lord of creatures” prajāpatisutāḥ: The commentators are unanimous in taking these as Dakṣa’s famous daughters. See verse 15.

Most N manuscripts omit verse 14, and according to the critical principles, the verse should not be admitted to the critical text.

.15  

For 15cd some N manuscripts substitute 601*. Here the weapons are said to have been produced from the “splendor (might/seed) of Viṣṇu” (viṣṇutejasā). This interesting, especially when compared to the remarks of the commentators who, despite their Vaishnava bias, understand that Śiva originally gave the weapons (note on 13 above).

.17  

“called the Saṃhāras” saṃhārān nāma: Ck,Cr,Ct, and Cg all agree that this name expresses the function of the weapons in that they are for the destruction (saṃhāra) of the demons. Bhandare, however, argues convincingly that saṃhāra means “withholding” and refers to the spells for the recovery of magical missiles once they have been discharged. Citing Raghuvaṃśa 5.57, he suggests that half of the spells, the sons of Jayā, are for prayoga or vikṣepa, the discharge of the weapons, and the other half, the sons of Suprabhā, are for saṃhāra, their retrieval.

.18  

After 18, Dt,4,6,8,T3,G2,3,M1,3 insert 2 lines [606*] where Viśvāmitra is described as omniscient.

.19  

Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S (except M4), Cg,Cm,Ck, and Ct insert 607* (2 verses; GPP 1.21.21-22; one in śloka and one in a mixed meter called puṣpitāgrā): “‘The descendant of Kuśika is able to control them by himself. It is for the sake of your son’s welfare that he has approached and asked this of you.’ His mind calmed by these words of the sage, the resplendent bull of the Raghus was delighted. The world-renowned king then looked favorably in his mind upon Rāghava’s going with the descendant of Kuśika.”

Sarga 21

.2  

“blessed his journey” kṛtasvastyayanam: The svastyayana was a ceremony for insuring good fortune that commonly involved the chanting or uttering of magic formulas. Cf. 609* (see below).

For verse 2, Ñ,V,B,D10,13 substitute 2 lines [609*]. Note that the reference is to Rāma’s mothers in the plural (cf. 1.17.2), and how Vasiṣṭha, rather than reciting auspicious formulas, performs the same svastyayana rite as the mothers.

.5  

“the great man” mahātmani: It is difficult to say whether Viśvāmitra or Rāma is meant. Cr hedges the issue by saying that it refers to both.

“flourish of drums and conches” śankhadundubhinirghoṣaḥ: Ck,Ct, and Cg take the drumming to be that in the city. Cm and Cg remark that the gods beat their drums in celebration of the beginning of the mission of the Rāmāvatāra.

.6  

“side locks” kākapakṣa—: See note on 1.18.8.

.7  

“looked like three-headed cobras” triśīrṣāv iva pannagau: The commentators have several, sometimes alternative, explanations of the simile. Ck,Cm, and Cr suggest that it refers to the fact that each of the heroes has a quiver on either side of his head giving the appearance of three hoods. Ct feels that the three are represented by head, bow, and quiver.

For 7ef, Ñ,V,B,D10,11,13,M4 substitute 614*, in which the sage is compared to the god Indra.

.8  

“their wrist and finger guards strapped on” baddhagodhāṅgulitrāṇau: The translation follows Cm’s reading of the compound. This is against Ck,Ct,Cr, and Cg. Although some of these commentators note Cm’s opinion, they prefer to read the compound as “having put on finger guards made of godhā (a kind of lizard) skin.” Ct remarks that the position enunciated by Cm is dubious because of what he sees as the problem of redundancy between “hand guards” and “finger guards.” Yet, if we understand godhā as wrist guard and aṅgulitrāṇa as finger guard, there is no redundancy, and the description seems then to accord with the normal requirements of archery.

“like twin Kumāras” kumārāv iva pāvakī: Cr,Ct,Cg, and Cm all understand the two fire-born kumāras to be Skanda and Viśākha. Cg quotes MBh 9.43.37, however, where these are but two of the four forms taken by Kārttikeya to satisfy simultaneously the four divinities who have parental claims upon him. Moreover, Cg’s passage tells as that only Skanda approached the great god while Viśākha went to Pārvatī. The other two kumāras, Śāka and Naigameṣa, approach Agni and Gaṅgā, respectively. Thus the story is somewhat problematic as a basis for the simile. Ck reads the figure as an abhūtopamā, that is, one in which the object of comparison does not, in fact, exist. Thus he reads Kumāra as referring to an imaginary duplication of the same individual, the war god Subrahmaṇya. This seems to us to make better sense. Sthāṇu, “Pillar,” is an epithet of Śiva.

After 8ab, most S manuscripts, including the Devanāgarī manuscripts that follow S (Dt,4,6,8,9,14), Ck, and Ct, insert 2 lines [616*] in which Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa are further described.

.9  

“a league and a half’ adhyardhayojanam: Cg takes the poet’s reference to the distance traveled to suggest that Viśvāmitra, wishing to forestall hunger and fatigue on the part of the young boys who had come such a long way, decides to impart to them the two secret mantras that (verse 11) have the power to stave off bodily discomfort.

“these sweet words” madhurāṃ vāṇim: Cg thinks that the utterance consists of Rāma’s name, and says that it is sweet because the name is pronounced with devotion, bhakti, and because hearing it engenders bliss. If he is correct in this sectarian interpretation, then this would be the first place in the epic, and therefore in the literature, where any special virtue is attached to the Rāmanāma, which has such great significance in later devotional Hinduism. It seems more probable that, despite the placement of the iti, the sweet speech of Viśvāmitra is meant to include the text of verses 10-17.

Sarayū: See notes on 1.5.5 and 1.23.8.

.10  

“sip this water” gṛhāṇa … salilaṃ: This, as the commentators agree, is a ritual of purification preparatory to accepting the mantras, cf. 620”. See note on 1.3.2.

“Balā and Atibalā” balām atibalāṃ tathā: Ct, who understands tathā as the conjunction joining the two mantras, has been followed in the translation. Ct also disputes the argument that these spells include those governing the astras mentioned in the previous chapter, for, as he states, the gift of these latter mantras will come only later. Peterson, however, in his notes (1879, p. 21) rejects this view.

.11  

rākṣasas” nairṛtāḥ: This means literally “sons of destruction.”

.13  

“in beauty” saubhāgye: This means literally “good luck,” but here, following Cg, saubhāgya is used especially in regard to “the ability to inspire devotion and love in a mate.” Apte cites Kumārasambhava 5.1 and Meghadūta 29, as well as Mallinātha’s commentary on both, for the use of the word in this meaning.

“ready response” uttare pratipattavye: The idea is that Rāma will be able to respond in an intelligent, respectful, and confident manner. Many S manuscripts read prativaktavye, “response,” which is perhaps redundant.

.17  

“acquired through austerities” tapasā saṃbhṛte: Ct and Cr read “gained by me (Viśvāmitra) through penance” or, optionally according to Ct, “maintained by you (Rāma) trough austerities.”

“manifold use” bahurūpe: This means literally “multiform,” that is, all-purpose. Here the commentators understand the word differently. Ct says, “yielding fruits even greater than those described in the śāstras.” Cr, on the other hand, says, “greater for having been taught to you,” whereas Cg says, “having manifold use in the world.” Some N manuscripts (N, V,B,D10,13) replace 17 with 2 lines [627*]. Like many of the N readings, this appears to be a gloss of the reading adopted by the crit. ed.: “You are already possessed of innate divine virtues that are desirable and unequaled. But these two spells will provide you with still more virtues.”

.19  

After verse 19, Dt,4,6,8,14,S (except M4), and all commentators insert 2 lines [631*; GPP 1.22.24]. The meter has 12 syllables per quarter verse, and is thus a type of jagatī. “The two excellent sons of King Daśaratha were delighted by the words of the son of Kuśika, so that even though they lay on beds of grass that hardly suited their station, it seemed to them that the night was a pleasant one.”

Sarga 22

.1  

“Kākutstha” kākutstham: The accusative singular ending here is marked as a doubtful reading. S almost unanimously reads the accusative dual in its place, thereby indicating both Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa. The use of the wavy line runs contrary to the general principles set down by the editor in that, in this case, the readings of S and N do differ (cf. Bhatt 1961, p. xxxiv).

.2  

“Kausalyā has an excellent child, Rāma” Kausalyā suprajā rāma: Ck reads the phrase as one word, kausalyāsuprajārāma, and Ck takes it as an appositional karmadhāraya, the former member of which is a genitive tatpuruṣa (Rāma, excellent son of Kausalyā). Cr follows this interpretation. This is acceptable, but the majority of printed editions, excepting the Mysore, separate the words in print. This seemingly innocuous formula of politeness that the sage uses to rouse the prince has provoked Cg to offer a dozen or so elaborate explanations. See also Ct. Note that the N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D10,13) and M4 read kasualyāmātar uttiṣṭha for pāda a: “Rāma, whose mother is Kausalyā, get up!” (cf. Gorresio’s edition 1.26). These same manuscripts substitute 632* for 2cd.

“morning worship” sandhyā: Literally, “twilight,” but here it refers to the prayers offered every morning and evening. This offering traditionally consists, among other things, of the offering of water to the sun and the uttering of the japa or the Gāyatrī mantra (see below verse 3). See Kane 1966-1975, vol. II, pp. 312ff.

.3  

“made the water-offering” kṛtodakau: See above, verse 2.

“supreme prayer” paṛam japam: The Gāyatrī mantra (RV 3.62.3) is considered the highest prayer and its recitation each morning is enjoined upon all brahmans. Cg quotes a maxim to the effect that there is no superior prayer to the Gāyatrī. See above, note 2.

.4  

“paid homage” abhivādya: Abhivādana is a formal ceremony of greeting, obeisance, and salutation to a distinguished personage. It consists of three parts, pratyutthāna, rising from one’s seat, pādopasaṃgrahaṇa, grasping the feet of the respected person, and abhivādana, the formal salutation itself. The rules are set down at ManuSm 2.120-2. See also Kane 1966-1975, vol. II, pp. 334ff.

.5  

“Ganges which goes by three paths” tripathagāṃ nadīm: The story of how the river comes to have three courses is narrated below at 1.41-43.

.10  

Kāma: The personification and divinity of love and sexual passion. The story of how he attempted to incite Śiva’s lust is very popular. It is told in detail at Kumārasambhava 3 and in various upaniṣads (VāmaP 6.24-107; ŚivaP, Rudrasaṃhitā 3.19, etc.)

.11  

“prior to his marriage” kṛtodvāham: The translation follows the first alternative offered by Cm for this term, that is, kariṣyamānodvāham, “whose marriage is yet to be performed.” This accords best with the story as we know it from its other sources. In all versions known to us, the destruction of Kāma occurs prior to Śiva’s marriage to Pārvatī. Cg takes this as an adverb indicating that the marriage had already taken place. Other commentators, including Ck,Ct, and Cv, understand the term to mean “having arisen from a trance,” whereas Cmu takes it to mean “having held in his breath.” This is a reference to the word kṛtodvāha’s second meaning, a posture for meditation in which one stands with arms outstretched. Śrīnivāsaśāstri has suggested that, like Cg, we should take the term adverbially, but in the sense of “as though he were a married man.” The crit. notes (p. 448) support Cm’s (and so our) interpretation.

Some N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D10,13) and M4 substitute 5 lines [636*] for 11-12. Here the same story of Kāma’s destruction at the hands of the enraged Śiva is told. As is frequently the case with the N variants, the text is clearer and the story is more in keeping with the form known from the later versions mentioned above. This version, however, like the critical reading, has the difficult term kṛtodvāha.

.12  

12 “terrible eye” raudreṇa cakṣuṣā: The word raudreṇa here can be taken in two senses, either as “belonging to Rudra (Śiva)” or “terrible.” The reference is to Śiva’s powerful and destructive third eye.

.15  

“Śiva’s” tasya: The word “Śiva’s” does not appear in the text. The pronoun tasya, “his,” has no clear antecedent, although in all likelihood it refers to Śiva. Cg says that is can also refer to Kāma, but despite the title of the place, Kāma never had an ashram there, nor, one would imagine, anywhere else. At verse 19 (GPP 1.23.21), Cg says that it was called kāmāśramapada because Kāma was burnt there.

Ñ,V,B,D10,13,M4 substitute, whereas D11 inserts, 2 lines [640*] after 15, which contain a more elaborate description of the students of Śiva. Compare 639*.4 with 15cd.

.16  

After 16, all manuscripts, except for D2,3,7,M2, insert 3 lines [641*]: “All of us are pure; let us enter the holy ashram. It will be an excellent place for us to stay. When we have bathed, said our prayers, and made our sacred offerings, best of men, we shall pass the night comfortably here.” With the exception of 641*.3 (which most of N omits), the dropping of these lines from the critical edition is, in our opinion, questionable. All manuscripts except four partially or completely include the passage. Cf. Bhatt 1960, p. xxxiv.

.18  

“welcome offering” arghyam: See note on 1.2.24.

.19  

“they passed” nyavasan: The translation is in agreement with Cm in taking Viśvāmitra, Rāma, and Lakṣmaṇa as the subject of the verse. Ct and Cg take the ashramites as the subject. Cr takes everyone.

See critical app. 643* (2 lines) and 644* (2 lines) for additional verses added by the S manuscripts (GPP 1.23.21-22). Here Viśvāmitra tells more stories to amuse the princes. Notice particularly the repeated use of the syllable ram as a play on Rāma’s name in 644*.

Sarga 23

.1  

“riverbank” nadyās tīram: According to the commentators, this refers to the Ganges.

.3  

“before the king’s sons” rājaputrapuraskṛtaḥ: According to Ct, this should read as an instrumental tatpuruṣa compound, “honored by the king’s sons.” Cg glosses puraskṛtaḥ with pūjitaḥ, “honored.” Peterson 1879, p. 22, remarks that Ct’s reading is in order to avoid any disrespect to the sage; but this is not good. In the translation, puraskṛtaḥ has been interpreted literally, “placed before them by the sons of the king.” Note that Peterson 1879, p. 3, earlier identifies a similar compound incorrectly.

“safely” ariṣṭam: The commentators, who have been followed in the translation, take this adverbially in the sense of śubham, “with good fortune, safely.” See Amarakośa 2406.

.4  

“set out … to cross” tatāra: As is often the case in the Rām, we must read the perfect form (liṭ) to indicate an action undertaken but not yet completed. Cr understands taritum ārebhe, “began to cross,” whereas Cg has a similar gloss. Can this usage illuminate somehow the process of expansion of the text? Let us suppose for example, that originally the story only mentioned the crossing, but later additional material, perhaps Rāma’s question about the “tumultuous din of clashing waters” (verse 5) was incorporated into the text. What may have been an originally truly perfective meaning of tatāra, “he crossed,” would no longer be suitable. Cf. 1.17.2.

After 4, S manuscripts (Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S [except M4]) insert 3 lines [645*; GPPI.24.5-6b] in which Rāma, along with his brother, hearing a sound in the midst of the river, wants to know the cause.

.6  

“cause” niścayam: Here, the translation follows Cr and Ct, who understand niścayam in the sense of kāraṇam, “cause, reason.” Notice that most N manuscripts (Ñ,V1-3,B,D10,11,13) read vistaram, “entire (story).”

.7  

The verse involves a pun on the word manas, “mind.” Since the lake was created from Brahmā’s mind (manas) it is called mānasa, “mental.”

.8  

As in the preceding verse, there is a pun here. This one is based on a word for lake, saras, and the name of the Sarayū river. Both Sarayū and saras are derived from the verb sṛ, “to go, move, flow.” Cf. Cg, who provides the traditional etymology — saraso yautīti sarayūḥ, “coming from the lake, that is, the Sarayū.” The lake referred to is, of course, Lake Mānasa, a fact made explicit in many N manuscripts [646*].

.11  

“trackless” aviprahatam: Cg glosses akṣuṇṇam , “untrodden,” or janasaṃcārarahitam, “untraveled by men.” Ct similarly says, “without the comings and goings of caravans,’ and Cr follows Ct. See Apte s.v. and Bhandare 1920, p. 93.

Many N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D10,11,13) and M4 replace verse 11 with 3 lines [651*]. Their content is similar to that of 11, but note that the verb is in the dual, and the question is made explicit by the introduction in line 3 of kasya, “whose?”

.12  

“with … vultures” śakuntaiḥ: Cr, citing Amarakośa 2450 (pakṣitārkṣyau garutmantau śakuntau bhāsapakṣiṇau), takes śakunta as a bird of prey.

.13  

Ś,D1-3,5,7,12 omit verses 13-14.

.16  

Malada and Karūṣa: According to Law 1954, pp. 225-26, Karūṣa seems to have been located it southern Bihar between the Śoṇa and Karmanāsa rivers. Cf. Chaudhuri 1955, pp. 37-38; Law 1943, pp. 87-89: and MBh 6.10.39, 48. See note on 1.31.7.

“created through the efforts of the gods” devanirmāṇanirmitau: Ck understands this to mean “named by the gods,” whereas Cg understands, somewhat differently, “fashioned with effort like that of the gods.” Ct,Cr, and Cm, whose interpretation has been followed in the translation, read “fashioned by the gods’ efforts.”

.17–20  

What we apparently have here is a folk etymology of the two place names Malada and Karūṣa. The word for “taint,” mala, is the basis for the derivation of the first. The etymology of the second, however, is obscure. Somehow the word Karūṣa is intended, it seems, to be related to the word for “hunger” (kṣud) in the verse. However, it is very difficult to rationalize this interpretation, as it is impossible to find any meaningful word connected with the name Karūṣa. The commentators, who are frequently ingenious when it comes to this type of interpretation, are at a loss. They agree that the intent of the word karūṣa here must be “hunger,” although it is not a word known to their language. Like us they make the connection on the basis of context (sthānnpramāṇāt), an unusually unimaginative explanation for the commentators. Apte, s.v. kārūṣa, on the basis of this passage alone, understands the term to mean “hunger.” Manuscript evidence is not helpful, as there are no significant variants. Therefore, although we must assume that a pun is intended in this verse, the basis for that pun, that is, the relationship between Karūṣa and kṣud, must remain unclear. See Bhandare 1920, p. 93.

.27  

It is not clear how to construe yataḥ, “since.” The commentators are of differing opinions. Ck and Ct construe the yataḥ with 27cd, and the ataḥ, its natural correlative, with 28ab, that is, “since we must go to Tāṭakā’s forest (therefore) Rāma, having recourse to the strength of your own arms, slay her.” Cg and Cm, however, read yataḥ as yasmin, “where, on which,” that is, “we must travel by means of that path on which Tāṭakā’s forest is located,” Cr, who is followed in the translation, construes the yataḥ with 27ab, that is, “since she lives a league and a half from here, therefore we must go to Tāṭakā’s forest.”

.30  

“To this day, she keeps up her depredations” adyāpi na nivartate: The problem in this verse is in identifying a subject for the verb nivartate. Here Cr,Ck, and Cg, who take yakṣī to be the unspecified subject, are followed in the translation. Bhandare 1920, p. 94, also follows this interpretation. Ct and Cm provide an interesting, but as Bhandare notes, farfetched solution. According to these commentators, the words atra pūrvasthito janah, “the people who used to live here,” are to be added. Thus the verse would read, “The people who used to live here do not return.” Peterson 1879, p. 23, reads vanam, “forest,” as the subject, that is, “has to this day not returned to its former state.”

Sarga 24

.3  

As the critical edition stands, this verse seems stylistically awkward, for it is unusual to have a phrase such as is found in pāda a, that is, viśvāmitro ‘bravīd vākyam, at the beginning of a verse. Normally this type of phrase is preceded by a clause that contains a gerund, such as is found at 663*.1. In support of this more usual syntactical construction, we see 11 S manuscripts (Dt,4,6,8,14,T3,G2,3,M1,3 inserting 2 lines [663*] that provide a more typical syntactic transition (cf. especially D4,14,T3,G2,3,M1, which omit 663*.2). Furthermore, 12 N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D10,13) have a stylistically acceptable variant: “viśvāmitras tato rāmaṃ śrutveti punar abravīt.” Eight other manuscripts (Ś,D1-3,5,7,12) substitute 2 lines for verse 3 [664*] that again provide a construction more in keeping with the usual epic style: “etac chrutvā vacas tasya viśvāmitro ‘bhyabhāṣata.” Cf. notes on 1.17.21-22 and 1.19.15.

Pāda b plays on the terms bala, “strength,” and abalā, “woman,” literally, “weak, frail.”

“extraordinary strength” balottarā: Here Bhandare’s suggestion (1920, p. 94), which follows Cg’s reading of the compound, has been adopted, that is, balena uttarā, “great through strength.”

.4  

“austerities” tapaḥ: The austerities are, of course, in order to secure progeny. Cf. 1.8.1.

.5  

“by the name of Tāṭakā” tāṭakāṃ nāma nāmataḥ: Nāma “named,” and nāmataḥ, “by name,” are, or appear to be, redundant. Cg reads nāma as prasiddha, “known, famed as,” whereas Cr glosses nāmataḥ as prasiddha, that is, “this well-known (person), Tāṭakā by name.” The idiomatic repetition of the two virtually identical words is a stylistic convention of the Rām and is common to all manuscripts.

.6  

Ct and Cr remark that if Brahmā had actually granted Suketu a son, that son would have oppressed the world. Therefore, acting upon this consideration, they gave him only a daughter.

.7  

Jambha: The name of Sunda’s father is marked as a doubtful reading in the crit. ed. The choice of Jambha over the other variants is hard to defend. N manuscripts (including Devanāgarī manuscripts that follow N) read Dhuṃdhu (Ñ2,VŚ,B3,4,D10) or other names that are for the most part akin to it. [Dhuṃdu — Ñ1,B2; Dhūnu — V l; Dhuṃdoh — V2, 4; Dhaṃdhu — B1; but Kuṃbha Ś, D5,11-13; and Ruru — D1,3,7,9]. S manuscripts (except T3,M4) and D14 read Jharjha, whereas Ck reads Khañjoh . This means that only five manuscripts (Dt,4,6,8,T3D2 omits — D4 reads vatsa-) have the reading given in the text. The choice of the critical editors was perhaps influenced by the use of this name in the Rāmopākhyāna (3.269.2), and it is significant that the northern manuscripts, which often seem to be familiar with MBh characters and even tend to substitute names from that epic (see note on verse 17 below), do not read Jambha here. We feel that a reading of Jharjha, following the stronger S reading, although no doubt still doubtful, would have been a better choice.

This Sunda is evidently not the same as the famous brother of Upasunda known to the MBh (1.201ff.) and the purāṇic texts.

.9  

“After Sunda had been killed” sunde tu nihate: Who killed Sunda and why? Ct,Cg, and Cr agree that he was destroyed through a curse pronounced upon him by the sage Agastya. Bhandare 1920, p. 95, notes, too, that Agastya’s slaying of Sunda must be inferred on the strength of Tāṭakā’s desire for revenge. Elsewhere the sage Agastya is associated with the destruction of demons. He is said to have caused the downfall of the great dānava king, Ilvala, by eating that demon’s brother Vātāpi, who had been turned into a goat (MBh 3.97). He is also said to have drunk up the entire ocean to rid the earth of the Kāleya asuras (MBh 3.101-103, especially 103.10). See Holtzmann 1880, pp. 589-96.

We see in this verse an example of the Bālakāṇḍa’s tendency to follow a purāṇic style. This style is often typified by loose constructions and vague antecedents, and its presence in the epic’s first and last books has been commented upon by scholars; see Lesny 1913, pp. 497-500, and Bulcke 1952-1953, p. 328. But we think that there is more behind the vagueness of this particular passage than style. In the light of parallel legends of the encounters of sages and beautiful women, encounters that are numerous in the epic, it seems more than likely that the lack of detail here is the result of a desire on the part of the poet to conceal the underlying sexual nature of Tāṭakā’s “attack” and Agastya’s response. Manuscripts of S including those of the commentators add a passage of 3 (in the vulgate 2) lines [667*; GPP 1.25.11], in which it is stated that the yakṣī attacked the sage in order to devour him. This is odd, since she is not yet a man-eating rākṣasī. If she were already a cannibal, that fact would make the sage’s curse otiose. Only M4, a strange and interesting misch-codex from the south that shares a number of interesting northern readings and has some readings unique to itself, preserves (or reconstructs), in our opinion, the essential nature of Tāṭakā’s assault. This manuscript inserts the following passage of four lines [668.] after 667*.1: “When she drew closer to the sage with her son and saw how handsome he was, she was completely overpowered by the god of love. Smitten by swarms of the love-god’s arrows, the young woman took off all her clothes and, wildly eager to make love to him, she ran toward him singing.” The suppression of erotic material in inherited legends is a characteristic of the Rāmāyaṇa that has been remarked upon above. See note to 1.9.26.

.11  

“You are now a great yakṣa woman, but you shall be a repulsive man-eater with a hideous face” puruṣādī mahāyakṣī virūpā vikṛtānanā: The commentators agree that the second person imperative singular form of the verb to be, bhava, “become,” is implicit in the verse. The N manuscripts support this reading, as they include the personal pronoun tvam in their text. One manuscript (D11) actually includes the verbal form. Ct tells us that Tāṭakā is hideous because of her anger.

.15  

soft-hearted” ghṛṇā: The word can be understood in two senses. Cr, whom we follow, glosses ghṛṇā as dayālutā, “compassion” or “pity.” Cg, however, understands the term to mean jugupsā, “disgust.” See Bhandare 1920, p. 97, and Mallinātha’s commentary on Raghuvaṃśa 11.17.

“killing a woman” strīvadha—: The slaying of a woman is considered an upapātaka or “lesser sin” according to traditional law. It is listed among those upapātakas cited by Manu (11.59-66, especially verse 66). See Kane 1962-1975, vol. IV, pp. 33, 96. One should note here the opportunism of the passage, especially in light of the subsequent developments of the epic plot. Rāma, who later abandons the kingship of Kosala over the relatively minor ethical dilemma of obeying to the letter his father’s orders, here is convinced to slay a woman, traditionally considered a serious infraction of the law. Later in the epic he will commit similar questionable acts, particularly the shooting of Vālin from ambush.

After 15, Ñ2,D10,11, after 16, B2-4,Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S (except M4) insert 2 lines [670*; GPP 1.25.18]. This is an interesting verse, for not only does it enhance the episode’s tone of pragmatic cynicism, it hints at the future developments of the relationship between Rāma and Sītā: “Any cruelty or kindness, any sin or crime, may be performed by a ruler for the sake of protecting his subjects.” Note that this is a popular verse and is omitted by only a relatively small number of manuscripts. Cf. note on 1.22.16.

.17  

“protector of men” nṛpa: The term is normally used only of a reigning king, but here Rāma is at least rhetorically a king insofar as he is to carry out the protective function of a monarch.

Mantharā: As the daughter of Virocana, Mantharā (literally, “Stirring-up”) is known apparently only to this passage. The use of the name in this context is interesting, as it turns up later in the epic as the name of Kaikeyī’s maid (see Introduction and Ayodhyākāṇḍa 7-8). Significant too, are the facts that the commentators take little note of her here and, more importantly, that the name is not accepted by all the manuscripts. In fact, most N manuscripts replace the name of Mantharā with Dīrghajihvā, “Long-tongued”; see 671*. Dīrghajihvā is a rākṣasa woman known to the MBh (3.276.4). There she is said to be slain by Indra. Here we see a case in which a name used in the MBh is seen as a N reading, in place of an obscure S reading. Cf. 1.24.7.

.18  

The story is told at Matsyapurāṇa 47.61-110 and Padmapurāṇa 5.13.202ff. For a translation and discussion of the story, see Goldman 1971, pp. 39-41, and 1977, pp. 88-89.

.19  

“These” etaiḥ: Here the referents seem only to be Viṣṇu and Indra (Śakra), and yet the plural and not the dual is used. Compare the N reading [672*], where the word etaiḥ is omitted. Peterson 1879, p. 23, suggests that etaiḥ may well “be explained as having a latent reference to the numerous other instances the speaker has in view.” But this seems rather farfetched and redundant in relation to anyaiḥ, which means “others.” More likely what we see here is the epic use of the plural for the dual, a possibility noted by Ct. But Ct and Cg prefer to read etaiḥ as etādṛśaiḥ, “such as these.” See too Bhandare 1920, p. 96. Cf. notes to 1.5.4 and 1.67.8.

Sarga 25

.4  

“eminently justifiable action” uttamam: Literally, “best, excellent,” but Ck and Ct understand uttamam in the sense of “dharma, ‘(social) responsibility, duty “ (Ck uttamaṃ dharmam, “highest duty”; Ct utkṛṣṭadharma, “consisting of the highest dharma”). Thus, although it is traditionally a sin to kill a woman, an uttama or “higher duty” is served by Tāṭakā’s destruction, since she is such an evil being. The translation attempts to convey Rāma’s concern lest he be regarded as committing a violation of the code of dharma. Cf. the N variant 675*.3, 4 where Rāma says, “I will destroy the terrible yakṣa woman, Tāṭakā, sage.” This avoids the difficulties presented in the critical reading by omitting the word uttamam.

.8  

“Locating its source” abhinidhyāya: The translation follows Cr’s śabdadeśaṃ niścitya.

Notice that many N manuscripts have replaced 8ab with 677*: “enraged and loudly bellowing, that hideous woman with a hideous face … ” The latter half of 677* is almost identical with 9ab.

.10  

“of the timid” bhīrūṇām: Ck,Ct, and Cm read abhīrūṇām, “of the brave.” For verse 10, some manuscripts (Ś,D1,2,5,11,12) read 680*. Here the word kātarasya, “coward,” is used rather than bhirūṇām. Ñ,V,B,D10,13 read for cd, “atipramāṇaṃ kruddhāyā rūpaṃ cātibhayāvaham.”

.11  

“magic powers” māyābala—: This could optionally be understood as a dvandva compound, meaning “magical power and strength.” Cr reads “magical powers such as invisibility, etc.” Cg assumes that it is only the power of invisibility, that is, the power of illusion.

“without her ears and the tip of her nose” hrtakarṇāgranāsikām: The compound seems best taken as made up of the words karṇā and agranāsikāyāḥ, following Bhandare 1920, p. 97. He suggests that there is no “special propriety” in construing agra with karṇa. He dissolves the compound as nāsikāyāḥ agram, citing Rāghavabhaṭṭa’s commentary on Śākuntalam 4.1:15-16, where the word agrahasta, “finger-tips,” is discussed.

11cd is, in our opinion, suspect. See note to verse 13 below.

.12  

“lair” gatiṃ: This means literally “path” or “way.” The word gatiḥ as used in this context presents some difficulty. Ct reads “moving/going about in the sky, etc.” Cm says “movement of the body, etc.” It is important to note that later, in another of Rāma’s conflicts, the word gatiḥ appears in a similar context. Rather than killing the powerful Bhārgava, Paraśurāma, Rāma offers that warrior-sage the choice of either losing his gatiḥ, “his (mountain) resort,” or the worlds gained through his austerities (1.75.7-16). Bhārgava Rāma chooses the latter, but the employment of the word gatiḥ in the sense of sthānam, “residence,” is relevant to this context. Could gatiḥ refer here to Tāṭakā’s forest? After all, to rid the forest of the demoness is one of the main reasons for the combat. Although the commentators do not mention this option here, we feel that this is probably the intended meaning of the word in this passage and have translated it accordingly. It is also interesting to note that the commentators almost unanimously agree that the deprivation of the demoness’s “strength and mobility” is to be accomplished by means of severing her hands and feet, a notion not supported by the critical text (see Ck,Cg, and Ct). Note too that the N manuscripts (see 628*) make no mention of gatiḥ.

.13  

After l3, Dt,4,6,8,9,14,T,G,M1-3 insert Appendix I, No. 5 (23 lines; GPP 1.26.14-26b). In this passage the battle between Tāṭakā and Rāma is vividly de-scribed. The passage is interesting because in it Rāma’s promise to cut off the monster’s ears and nose (and hands and feet) is actually fulfilled (GPP 17ab; App. I, No. 5, 7-10). This vow is neither fulfilled nor mentioned again in the critical text. The single reference to the severing of the nose and ears in the critical edition is suspect. Its presence is only supported by the S manuscripts, the very same manuscripts that read App. I, No. 5. All N manuscripts omit this reference (Ś,D1-3,5,7,11,12 substitute 681 *, whereas Ñ,V,B,D10-13 substitute 682*.l ). Thus it would seem that 11cd, like App. I, No. 5, must be considered an interpolation (see also principles of the critical edition, p. xxxiv, no. 3).

In the interpolated passage, the combat continues and Tāṭakā assumes many forms, becomes invisible, and finally looses upon the heroes a shower of stones. Viśvāmitra requests that the heroes end the combat before nightfall, since rākṣasas are known to gain strength at night (GPP 17.22-23; App. I, No. 5, 14-16).

Like the S recension, many N manuscripts elaborate on the battle between Rāma and the demoness. Although neither as lengthy nor as detailed as the S passage, these versions (Ñ,B,V,D10,D11 and 13 [partially]) insert 4 lines [684* and 685*]. Here the description of Tāṭakā’s attack on Rāma is somewhat elaborated, as is Rāma’s slaying of the demoness with an arrow that looks “like a thunderbolt” (vajrarūpeṇa).

.18  

See 1.20.13.

.22  

After 22, S manuscripts and Dt,4,6,8,9,14 insert 6 lines [690*] — 4 in śloka and 2 in the longer upajāti meter: “Upon hearing Viśvāmitra’s words, Daśaratha’s son was delighted and passed the night pleasantly in Tāṭakā’s forest. Released from its curse, the forest turned lovely that same day, as lovely as the Caitraratha forest. Rāma, having destroyed the daughter of the yakṣa, camped there along with that sage honored by the hosts of gods and perfected beings, and was awakened at dawn.”

Sarga 26

Sarga 26  

Ñ,V,B,D10,13 read a different version [700* — 51 lines] for sarga 26, which is provided in the crit. ed. after 26.25 (p. 172ff.). Where appropriate, the lines of 700* are numbered to correspond to the verses in sarga 26.

.2  

“fully” sarvaśaḥ: The translation goes against the commentators, who gloss sarvāṇi (astrāṇi), “all weapons,” and the northern reading, which is in agreement with the commentators (700*.4). Several other, mainly western or northwestern manuscripts (Ś,D1-3,5,7,9,11,12) follow the northern reading.

“weapons” astrāṇi: Astras, “divine weapons,” are often presented to a character as a reward for some great feat of valor or austerity. The names generally refer to the shape or function of the weapon, or to the fact that they belong originally to specific divinities or other supernatural beings.

See sarga 29, where Rāma actually employs some of Viśvāmitra’s weapons in the battle with Mārica. For the remainder of the epic, the divine weapons Rāma uses are provided from other sources. See, too, note on verse 19 below. See Peterson 1879, p. 26; Bhandare 1920, p. 101; and crit. notes, p. 448, which have, incorrectly, Bhārgava for Bharadvāja as Droṇa’s father.

.3  

The N manuscripts [700*] do not know any verses that parallel 3-4ab. Therefore, these verses should be regarded as questionable, especially in light of the fact that the manuscripts noted in 2 above follow 700*. Here again is an example of the crit. ed. admitting a southern passage in its entirety without considering possible interpolations within that passage. See van Daalen 1980, pp. 19ff. and pp. 40-41. 6.

.6  

known as the Vajra: The vajra is a thunderbolt. As a weapon it is known from the earliest literature and is connected frequently with the god Indra. Cf. 700*.13.

See crit. notes, p. 449, for the correct numbering of the verses.

.8  

According to Ct, 8ab should be read understanding pāśa, “noose,” and astra, “weapon,” as two distinct entities, both modifying vāruṇa, that is, “Varuṇa’s noose and unsurpassed weapon.”

The textual evidence for 8ab, like that for 3-4ab, is weak, and should at best be considered suspicious. See 700*.

.9  

Śuṣka and Ārdra: Literally “the Dry and the Wet.”

.10  

See note below on verse 19.

.11  

Prathama: Literally, “the First.” This name is marked in the crit. ed. as doubtful. V.l. include pramatham, pradhanam, mathanam, etc. Cf. 700.*23 and see note below on verse 19 and note on 1.29.20.

.12  

“two spears” śaktidvayam: According to Cr and Cg, one of the spears belongs to Viṣṇu and the other to Śiva.

.13  

For 13, the vulgate (GPP 1.27.13) reads slightly differently: “For the destruction of the rākṣasas, I shall give you that great weapon of the vidyādharas called Nandana.”

The N variant given at 700* has no parallel to verse 13. On this basis alone, the acceptability of the verse in the crit. ed. should be questioned (see notes above on 3-4ab and 8ab). Additionally, here the inclusion of an unspecified number of weapons is not in keeping with the remainder of the passage and makes the verse contextually awkward.

.14  

“Mānava” is marked as a doubtful reading in the crit. ed. The main variant, Mohana, is also read in the N manuscripts (700*.3). Cf. verse 16.

.17  

The Mausala, according to the commentators, is “a special type of musala, club.”

17ab, like 3-4ab and 13, may possibly be considered an interpolation belonging to the S tradition. See notes on 3-4ab and 13 above and 700*. Here the context, style, and remaining manuscript evidence are of no aid in determining whether or not the line is added.

.19  

Śīteṣu: The Mānava Śīteṣu, Āgneya Śikhara (verse 10), and the Vāyavya Pramatha (verse 11) are used later in the Bālakāṇḍa by Rāma against the demons Mārīca and Subāhu (1.29.13-17, 19, and 20). There, although Subāhu and other demons are slain, Mārīca is merely stunned — a fact that will prove significant in the development of the epic story (see Araṇyakāṇḍa 3.33-43). Cf. 1.55.1, where Viśvāmitra is said to fire the Āgneya weapon.

20. Bhandare counts fifty weapons (1920, p. 102) and fifty saṃhāraṣ, “recovery spells” (see sarga 27). The crit. ed. has fifty weapons, too, excluding the indefinite number referred to at verse 13. For a more detailed discussion of the number of weapons and recovery spells, see note below on 1.27.2.

.21  

Ct and Ck question whether or not this verse is redundant in respect to the granting of the Balā and Atibalā mantras (1.21.10). Both say no, since in that context the sage merely utters the words, “accept (these) (gṛhāṇa),” but does not actually give the mantras. Here, however, Rāma is not only addressed with the very same command, gṛhāṇa (verse 20), but he is actually presented with the mantras (dadau rāmāya … ). The mantras, or master spells, control the weapons.

After 21, Dt,4,6,8,11,14,S (except M4) insert 695* (2 lines; GPP 1.27.23). Here Viśvāmitra instructs Rāma in those weapons that are difficult to obtain even by the gods. This is an excellent example of the crit. ed., correctly in our opinion, rejecting a verse that is obviously a southern interpolation. It provides a counter-example to 3-4ab, 8ab, 13ab, and 17ab, although the manuscript evidence in all cases is quite similar.

Sarga 27

.2  

“spells for the recovery of the weapons” saṃhāram: See note on 1.26.20.

.4–9  

The name Jṛmbhaka (verse 8) is used by Bhavabhūti at the close of the first act of his Uttararāmacarita (1.14:7) as a generic term for all the magic weapons at Rāma’s command. The northern texts at 7120,3 read jambhaka, which is also used generically. Cf. 708*.11, where jambhaka is again used, but this time apparently as the name of a specific weapon.

At 1.20.15-17 reference is made to fifty astras and fifty saṃhāras that are collectively said to be the sons of Kṛśāśva. In sargas 26 and 27, Viśvāmitra bestows what must be these very weapons and spells upon Rāma as reward for killing Tāṭakā. In fact, at 27.9, the saṃhāras listed are called Kṛśāśva’s sons. In light of this, we would expect there to be fifty each of the astras and saṃhāras. As noted above, apropos 1.26.20, excluding the indefinite reference made at 26-13ab, some fifty weapons are listed in sarga 26. It is all but impossible to verify this number textually. The text in sarga 26 is filled with adjectives and epithets of the various weapons, which can be (and often are by other translators) easily read as additional names. Moreover, many of the names included in the critical text are marked as doubtful. No other edition available to us (GPP, Kumbhakona, Mysore, Veṅkateśvara, Lahore, Gorresio, Schlegel) yields a count of exactly fifty. Bhandare 1920, pp. 100, 102, counts fifty, but he reads dhanadhānya as a singular rather than a dual, a reading that cannot be supported by any available manuscript evidence. On the other hand, the crit. ed. yields a count of forty-two saṃhāras. Unlike the astras, the listing of the saṃhāras is straightforward and not obscured by epithets and modifiers. With these names, too, no edition reads exactly fifty. Moreover, the commentators do not take cognizance of or apparent interest in the count. That they could not have been aware of the passage at 1.20.9 seems unlikely, as it is known to all manuscripts. We are willing to accept the fact that there were originally intended to be fifty weapons and fifty recovery spells, but due to corruption in the textual transmission of the proper names, it is virtually impossible to reconstruct with any certainty an “original” list consisting of one hundred astras and saṃhāras. Compare these lists with those found in Araṇyakāṇḍa 12.29-34 and Yuddhakāṇḍa 87.7ff. Cf. 1.26.4-9.

After 9ab, N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D10,11,13) and M4 insert 2 lines [710*] in which there is a more elaborate description of the weapons. After this, all the above manuscripts except D11 (see crit. app.) follow with 4 lines [712*]. These lines replace 9c-10 of the critical text.

.10  

After 10, Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S (except M4) insert 2 lines [713*; GPP 1.28.12]: “Their hands cupped in reverence, some resembled glowing coals, others were like smoke, while others resembled the moon’s rays.”

.12  

“keep yourselves in readiness until I call you to mind” mānasā: Compare 26.24, mānasā me bhaviṣyadhvam. The two passages have been understood to have the same intent. Ś,D1-3,5,7,11,12 substitute 715* for 12cd: manasā me … bhaviṣyatha (cf. 26.24). The remaining N manuscripts substitute 2 lines [716*] for verse 12: “Rāma said to them, ‘Welcome! You may go, but you must attend upon me when I have need of you. Come to me when I call you to mind.’”

.16  

“deer” mṛga—: Optionally mṛga can be understood here to be a generic term, that is, “forest animal.”

.18  

Pādas c and d (“Is this the place where we shall find those sinful and wicked killers of brahmans?”) seem elliptical. The reading is unique to the critical text. For pāda d, N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D10,13) substitute yajñavighnakarau, “where those two evil ones obstructed your sacrifice?” (Additional grammatical changes from the plural to the dual, of course, are made where appropriate.) Ś,D1-3,5,7,11,12 finish the line with 719*: “(They) who were struck down formerly by your anger, am I to kill them?” Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S insert 5 lines [720*]. 720*.1 completes 18cd: “those evil (killers of brahmans who have come — saṃprāptāḥ) to destroy your sacrifice, great sage?” Here the editors of the text have left us with an awkward and fragmentary verse. The manuscript evidence supports the inclusion of some kind of resolution to the final clause, and even though the textual evidence is inconclusive and any reading would have to be regarded as doubtful, such an inclusion would be, we feel, more true to the epic style. Compare 1.17.21-22 and 1.24.3.

Sarga 28

.1  

After 1, Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S (M4 substitutes for verse 2) insert 3 lines [721*]: “Here, great armed Rāma, the lord Viṣṇu foremost among the gods and a great ascetic, dwelt for many eons, innumerable years, in order to practice austerity and yoga.”

.2  

“the great Dwarf’ vāmanasya mahātmanaḥ: One of the principal avatāras or incarnations of Viṣṇu, the Dwarf is a popular figure whose story is often told in the mythological literature. For other versions see MBh 3, App. 1, No. 27.66ff. (Kumbhakonam ed. 3.273); Bhāgavatapurāṇa 8.15-23; Padmapurāṇa 5.25; 6.267; Agnipurāṇa 4.5-11; and Harivaṃśa 31. For some antecedents in the earlier literature see AitBr 6.15 and ŚatBr 1.2.5.1ff.

.3  

Bali Vairocana is the son of Virocana and grandson of Prahlāda. His own son was the demon Bāṇa. He is one of the oldest and most famous of the asura kings known to the literature. In the typical version of the Vāmanāvatara, he is a generous and unsuspecting demon-king who gives away as much territory as can be covered by the three steps of the Dwarf, who is, of course, Viṣṇu.

.5  

Ck and Ct discuss at some length the propriety of asuras offering sacrifices. The problem for both commentators centers around the apparent absurdity of the demons offering sacrifice to their enemies, the gods. In order to explain this paradox, they provide several explanations: 1. Ck concludes that the divinities have many forms through their power of divine sovereignty and can, therefore, be present at all sacrifices. 2. Ck next argues that the gods are divided into two categories: somapas, “drinkers of soma,” and Prajāpati. Asomapas, “nor-drinkers of soma,” are considered a subgroup (upāṅga) of somapas. Prajāpati is the supreme god and is identified with the sacrifice itself. 3. The last argument is also discussed by Ct. Here the gods are divided, as above, into two groups. The division is between karmadevatās, “gods by virtue of their actions,” and ājānadevatās, “gods by virtue of their birth.” The latter are the elder, and it is to these that both the karmadevatās and the asuras sacrifice. See also Cg, who presents the first argument, but then goes on to say that Viṣṇu is the source of all devotion.

“before he completes this rite” asamāpte kratau: Note the importance of destroying the sacrifice before it is completed. Compare this with Indrajit’s sacrifice in the Yuddhakāṇḍa (6.71.13-71 and especially 6.71.14), where we are told that unless he is stopped before the completion of the sacrifice, he will be invincible.

.6  

“however much” yathāvat: We have followed Cm, who interprets yathāvat as yāvat, “to whatever extent.” This seems appropriate in the context of the verse where the other two relative adverbs suggest the extent of the demon’s largesse. Ck,Cg, and Ct explain the term as satkārapūrva(ka), “with honor.” Cr understands the word in its more usual sense as samyak, “properly.”

.7  

“Through your yogic power of illusion” māyāyogam upāśritaḥ: The commentators, who are in agreement in taking yoga here to mean sambandha, “association,” have not been followed in the translation. See 1.29.10.

After verse 7, Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S insert 16 lines [App. I, No. 6; GPP 1.29.10-17] in which Kaśyapa, accompanied by Aditi, performs severe austerities for one thousand years, whereby he pleases Madhusūdana (Viṣṇu). Flattered further by the sage, the god grants him a boon. Kaśyapa asks Viṣṇu to incarnate himself as his son, through Aditi, and to become the younger brother of Indra in order to help the afflicted gods. See 1.61.24.

.8  

“When you have accomplished this task” siddhe karmaṇi: Following Cm’s interpretation, siddhe karmaṇi has been construed with pādas a and b. Cr suggests that Viṣṇu should arise for the work of the gods, thus taking the construction in a dative sense. Ck,Ct, and Cm all understand the phrase to mean “when the austerities are finished.” But whose austerities are intended? Cg, following the story outlined above (App. 1, No. 6), thinks that they are Kaśyapa’s, whereas Ct’s interpretation is ambiguous as to whether the austerities are Viṣṇu’s or Kaśyapa’s. Compare the N reading [Gorresio 1.32.11; 727*.1]. See note 9 below.

For 8c-l1, Ñ,V,B,D10 (partially),11,13 substitute 10 lines [727*].

.9  

Cf. App. I, No. 6.2-6; 12,14 (GPP 1.29.10cd-1 ltd; 15cd,l6cd) and 727*. With the sole exception of B2, neither Aditi nor Kaśyapa appears in this episode in N. On the other hand, the version of S has both figures. The critical reading, however, mentions only Aditi, wholly omitting reference to her husband. In this way, as in the case of the story of the killing of Tāṭakā (see note to 1.25.13 above), the critical editors have created a version known only to their text. Yet the textual evidence is virtually identical for the omitted App. 1, No. 6 and for the included 9(a)b, where Viṣṇu was said to be born from Aditi (Dt,4,8,8,9,14,S). (The remaining manuscripts (Ś,D1-3,5,7,12) replace pāda d with praviśya raghunandana.) Based on the textual evidence, it would seem that 9ab properly belongs to the southern interpolation (see, too, note on 1.37.20).

.10  

Cf. 727*.7-8, where it is said that with the first step the Dwarf took over the earth, with the second the sky, and with the third the heavens.

.14  

After 14, Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S insert 3 lines [729*; GPP 1.29.25] in which Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa enter the ashram like the moon in conjunction with Punarvasu (the seventh lunar constellation).

.18  

“a place of perfection” siddhaḥ: Siddha in this verse is used to play on the name of the ashram, siddhāśṛama. Cf. 1.23.7,8,17-20.

Sarga 29

Sarga 29  

For sarga 29, Ñ,V,B,D10,11,13 read a somewhat different version of 51 lines [742*].

.2  

“we are supposed to ward off” saṃrakṣaṇīyau: The term would normally mean “to be protected,” but this is hardly apposite here. Ct,Ck, and Cg who are followed in the translation understand “to be warded off (for the protection of the sacrifice — Ct,Ck).” Cg explains this irregular meaning by: 1. the fact that there is a multiplicity of root meanings; 2. the use of viparītalakṣaṇa, that is, mentioning a thing ironically in the opposite sense; and 3. the use of rakṣaṇa in the sense of turning back what is not desired. Cr who is quite ingenious in his interpretation says that the gerundive is used in the ablative sense, that is, “from whom the sacrifice is to be protected.” Moreover, he argues, the demons themselves are to be protected from falling into hell. Cf. 742*.3-4.

“the two rangers of the night” niśācarau: Cf. 28.13 and 728*, and 742*.3-4, where the crit. ed. (28.13) has the plural. The N passages, too, mention only two rākṣasas.

.3  

The sages speak for Viśvāmitra who, in his state of consecration for the ritual, is observing a vow of silence. Cf. Uttarakāṇḍa 25.6ff. where Uśanas Kāvya speaks for Indrajit, who must remain silent until the completion of his sacrifice.

.6  

This verse has no equivalent in N (742*) and, Ś,D1-3,5,7,12 omit it; therefore its inclusion in the critical text seems poorly justified.

.8  

“suddenly blazed up” prajajvāla: According to the majority of commentators, the blazing up of the fire is a sign of the advent of the rākṣasas.

Based on textual evidence that is identical to 6, 8ab must likewise be regarded as a doubtful line.

.10  

“changing their shapes” māyā: So we render the term here as an application of its general sense of “illusion.” See 1.28.7.

The encounter is reported in greater detail to Rāvaṇa by Mārīca at Araṇyakāṇḍa 36ff. The version there, however, omits mention of Mārīca’s companion, Subāhu. See Introduction to the Bālakāṇḍa for a discussion of the text-historical significance of these two versions.

.13  

Mānava (Śiteṣu): See note on 1.26.19. Compare 3.36.16, where a “whetted arrow” (śitaḥ bāṇah) is mentioned in place of the astra.

Several manuscripts, including the vulgate (Ś,Dt,4,6,8,T3), insert 2 lines [737*; GPP 1.30.16. The commentators construe kariṣyāmi, “I will do” of 737*.1 with verse 13: “‘Surely I will drive them away. I can’t bear to kill such as these.’ Speaking in this fashion, he swiftly strung his bow.” The reluctance of Rāma in the vulgate passage to slay Mārīca is reminiscent of his initial hesitation to kill Tāṭakā. See 1.24.15-19, 1.25.11-12, and notes to 1.24.15.

.15  

“into the ocean’s flood” sāgarasaṃplave: Cg’s interpretation has been adopted. Cr and Ct understand samudramadhye, “into the middle of the ocean.” The expression “one hundred yojanas is used in the epic for a great but unspecified distance. The crit. notes suggest (p. 449) that the ocean is the Bay of Bengal.

.17  

“inseparable from righteousness” dharmasaṃhitam: The translation follows Cr who, along with Cg, has the same reading as the critical text. Cr glosses “righteous.” Cg offers no comment. The texts of Ct and Ck, like several other manuscripts, read manusaṃhitam, which is read by Ct and Ck to mean “used by Manu,” whereas Dutt translates the vulgate reading as “first used by Manu” Bhandare 1920, p. 108, and Peterson 1879, p. 25, both read mantrasaṃhita, “accompanied by the recitation of sacred formulas.” This reading is not recorded in the crit. app. Compare 742*.36 and its variant readings.

.19  

Āgneya weapon: According to 1.26.10, this is called the Śikhara. See note on 26.19.

.20  

Vāyavya weapon: According to 26.11 this is called the Prathama. See notes on 26.11 and 19.

.21  

According to the commentators, the reference is to the gods’ victory over the asuras.

.22  

See crit. notes, p. 449.

“free from those pests” nirītikāḥ: According to the crit. notes, p. 450, this refers to “public calamities.” These calamities, traditionally numbered at six, are: excessive rain, droughts, locusts, rats, parrots (eating and destroying grain), and foreign invasion. The commentators’ interpretation, which has been used for the translation, is “free from molestation.” The crit. notes refer also to the Bharatavākya of Mālavikāgnimitra 5.20 and to Raghuvaṃśa 1.36 for uses of this term.

.23  

“orders of your father’ guruvacaḥ: Cg interprets guru in this phrase to mean pitṛ “father,” a common usage. See Goldman 1978, p. 328, and especially note 22 (p. 368).

Sarga 30

.6  

“the highest expression of righteousness” paramadharmiṣṭhaḥ: Ct provides two interpretations for this phrase: “exceedingly righteous,” or optionally, he reads parama as a separate word in the vocative singular modifying Rāma, “O highest one.” Dharmiṣṭha, “righteous,” then modifies yajña, “sacrifice.” Cr and Cg more or less agree with Ct’s first interpretation, reading “productive of immense righteousness.”

.6  

Ct and Cr tell us that the bow was obtained from Śiva through his grace by the gods at the destruction of Dakṣa’s sacrifice. Later it was given to Devarāta, an ancestor of Janaka. See 1.65.8-13, where this history of the bow is given, and cf. 1.74.1-21, where the history of the bow is slightly different. See also the version given in the Ayodhyākāṇḍa (2.110.38). For Dakṣa’s sacrifice, see note on 1.65.9.

.12  

“splendid grip” sunābham: This means literally “having a good middle.” Here the commentators understand nābha to refer to the point where the hand grips the bow.

“all the gods” sarvadevataiḥ: The instrumental is difficult to construe here and has given rise to speculation on the part of translators and commentators alike. Some commentators interpret the instrumental as a dative, “begged from the gods” (Cg,Cm). Cr, who has a far more elaborate interpretation, understands “begged from the gods and given by the gods,” by supplying an indirect object for the participle yācitam, “begged,” and a second participle, dattam, “given,” to construe with the instrumental of the text. The crit. notes, p. 450, argue that the instrumental has been used here in place of a dative for metrical reasons. Peterson 1879, notes p. 25, considers the reading an impossible one and suggests that sarvadevataiḥ be construed with maithilena, that is, “the gods and the king of Mithilā joined in the request.” Bhandare 1920, p. 111, disagrees and remarks that this interpretation of Peterson’s is “unsatisfactory.” He himself suggests that Cr’s interpretation be followed.

After 12, Dt,4,6,8,9,14,T,Gl, M1-3, all the vulgate commentators, and all printed editions insert 2 lines [750*: GPP 1.31.13]. Here the bow is described as āyāgabhūtam, which Monier-Williams 1899, p. 148, takes to mean “a gift given at a sacrifice.” It is worshiped in the king’s house with various kinds of incense scented with agaru wood. The meaning of the word āyāgabhūta is uncertain and has been the subject of much discussion on the part of commentators and translators. See Bhandare 1920, p. 111.

.16  

“a hundred carts full” śakaṭīśatamātram: Cr and Ct understand this to mean one hundred carts filled with sacrificial requisites. Cg, on the other hand, thinks it means one hundred carts of followers. See too Bhandare 1920, p. 111-12, who follows Cg.

.17  

Dt,4,6,8,T1,2,G2-4,M1-3, have an additional line following 17 [755*; GPP 1.31.17ab) in which the sage sends the birds and deer back.

Sarga 31

.1  

See crit. notes, p. 450.

.4  

According to Law 1954, p. 57, Kauśāmbī has been identified by Dayaram Sahni 1928, pp. 689-98. with the village of Kosam in Allahabad District. See also Sita Ram 1928 and crit. notes, p. 450.

.5  

Girivraja or Rājagṛha is the earliest known capital of Magadha. See Law 1954, p. 44.

.7  

Sumāgadhī or Māgadhī (verse 8) seems to be another name for the Soṇā (Śoṇā) river, the longest and largest tributary of the Ganges. See Law 1954, p. 128.

.8  

“flows east” pūrvābhicaritā: So Ck,Ct, and Cr. Cg and Cm, however, understand flowing from the eastern lands to the west. Bhandare 1920, p. 112, notes that the Soṇā (Śoṇā) first runs north and then east. Cg’s interpretation is incorrect, suggesting that he was unfamiliar with the geography of the Magadhan region. Śrīnivāsaśāstrī of Deccan College suggests that a nadaḥ, or river with a masculine name, must flow west, whereas a nadī, or river with a feminine name, flows east.

.9  

Ghṛtācī is most probably the apsaras, or nymph, of that name known to the mythological literature. She is one of the six principal apsarases (MBh 1.68.67), and is best known as the wife of the Bhārgava sage Pramati and the mother of Ruru (MBh 1.5.7, 9.47.57, etc.). Cg provides two ingenious explanations of the etymology of the name Ghṛtācī: “When she sees a man, she drips like butter (ghṛta) and comes running (añcati),” and “turning a man to butter (ghṛta) she approaches him (añcati).”

.14  

“mortal state” mānuṣaḥ … bhāvaḥ: Cg and Cr both understand the phrase to refer to affection for mortal men rather than mortality itself. We have followed Ct. Cf. 3.47.12.

After 14, Dt,D4,6,8,9,14,S insert 2 lines [762*; GPP 1.32.17]: “Youth is always fleeting, especially in the case of mortals. Rut you shall attain eternal youth and become immortal.”

.16  

Vāyu is viewed here in his aspect of prāṇa, “life-breath” The implication, according to the commentators, especially Cr, seems to be that Vāyu, who moves freely within all creatures, should therefore know that the girls would not accept his proposal. According to Cr, there is some unexpressed impropriety involved. The girls view the proposal as an insult. See 763* (note to 18 below) and 1.32.1ff.

.18  

The verse is problematic, and various ingenious devices have been employed by commentators and translators in an effort to make sense of it. Thus, Ct,Cr, Peterson, and Bhandare read nāvamanya svadharmeṇa for nāvamanyasva dharmeṇa. In this way, the verse can be read as follows: “Let the time never come when, disregarding our father, we choose of our own will our husband.” Cg reads kāla, “time,” as mṛtyu, “death,” and svayaṃvara, “self-choice,” as svayaṃ varam, “own husband.” This breaking up of the latter term is approved by the crit. notes, p. 450. See also Bhandare 1920, p. 115, and Peterson 1879, p. 26.

Note that for 18cd, most N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D1-3,7,10,l1,13) and M4 substitute the following line [763*]: “(Let that time never come) when we would (from our own desire) transgress our (father’s wishes) and choose a husband for ourselves.” This N version clearly suggests that the offense or insult noted in verse 17 involves the imputation to the girls of the inclination to place their own desires before those of their father. As is so common with the poem, the reading of N is more lucid than that of S and serves to explicate the text.

After 21ab, Dt, D4, 6,8,9,13,14, S (except M4) and commentators insert the following 2 lines [766*; GPP 1.32.24c-25b]: “Agitated, ashamed, their eyes full of tears, they fell to the ground. And he (seeing) his beautiful and beloved daughters so dejected … ”

.22  

“gesticulate wildly” veṣṭantyaḥ: The crit. notes, p. 450, understand this to mean “reeling,” and refer to the usage of the term at 1.2.11b and MBh 5.47.42 (samveṣṭante). Compare the usage at 7.47.16, where it is used of Sītā’s agitation upon her abandonment. See too Bhandare 1920, p. 116.

Sarga 32

Sarga 32  

For this sarga, N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D1-3,7,10,11,13) and M4 replace most verses with variants. The syntax, vocabulary, and grammar of the substitute passages differ somewhat from the critical text, but the story for the most part is the same.

.6  

See Bhandare 1920, p. 116, and Peterson 1879, pp. 25-26, for a discussion of the verse. According to both authors, Schlegel reads kṣāntaṃ kṣamāvatām putryaḥ kartavyam separately, and understands it to mean “My daughters, patience becomes the meek” (Peterson, p. 26). Carey and Marshman, according to Peterson, p. 26, understand, “The patient are worthy of abundant forbearance.” Ct and Cr understand the forbearance, “kṣāntam” to refer to the anger of the girls against Vāyu’s evil act. Cr remarks that such conquest over the sexual and aggressive drives is very difficult. Apte, s.v. kṣamāvat, cites this verse and gives as its meaning “knowing what is right and proper,” rather than “meek,”

“shown your respect,” avekṣitam: An alternative would be “protected, guarded.” Cr glosses, “regard which is proper for the family,” and Cg says, “you have done a deed appropriate to our family.” See also Bhandare 1920, p. 116.

.7  

“especially in the face of the thirty gods” tridaśeṣu viśeṣataḥ: Ct understands kṣāntam here, as he did in verse 6, as kāmavegasahanam, “resistance to the force of lust.” This, he adds, is especially difficult in the case of gods because of their great excess of desirable qualities such as good looks, and so on. Cr believes that such restraint is difficult even for gods because it is so hard to overcome the power of vāsanā or inherited emotive substrates. The crux of the problem is to determine whether the king is referring to the girls’ restraint in resisting the sexual desires aroused by the god or to their withholding of their righteous anger. If Cr is right, then the verse is simply contrasting Vāyu’s unrestrained behavior with that of the girls. Peterson 1879, p. 26, understands “especially in the case of the Thirty Gods” to mean that restraint is especially difficult when it is a god who has done the injury. This is not convincing. See also Bhandare 1920, p. 116.

.10  

Ñ,V,B,D1-3,7,10,11,13,M4 insert after 774* [7 line replacement for 7c-10b]; Ś,D5,9,12 insert after 773*, 2 lines [775*] that provide an etymology for the name Kanyākubja: “Since long ago those girls (kanyāḥ) were deformed (kubjīkṛtāḥ) there, that town has from then on been known as Kanyākubja.”

.11  

Cūlin: The name is wavy-lined in the crit. ed. Variant readings include cūḍīḥ, cūḍī, culī, vṛṣī, śūlī, halī, cūlīḥ, cullī, and so on.

“austerities as enjoined in the vedas” brāhmaṃ tapaḥ: Ct understands this to refer to austerities that have Brahman or the universal absolute principle as their object. Cg takes the term brāhma to mean “vedic,” and so sees the phrase as referring to austerities prescribed in the vedas. Cr shares this view, and it appears to us to be the most plausible interpretation.

.16  

The repetition of the term Brahman, “the absolute principle,” emphasizes the spiritual elevation and power of the sage Cūlin. The commentators have provided various interpretations. See also Bhandare 1920, p. 117.

“splendor of Brahmanlakṣmyā … brāhmyā: We have followed Cg and Ct, who understand, “having Brahman-luster.” Lakṣmī is glossed by Cg as varcaḥ, “luster.” See crit. app. 779* for reading of N, dīpyase brāhmyā lakṣmyā, “you shine with the splendor of Brahman.” Compare crit. app. 778*.

“attained Brahmanbrahmabhūtaḥ: For this, Ct understands that one attains Brahman through meditation on the Brahman-Ātman, whereas Cr merely glosses, “attained the state of Brahman.” Cg understands “an ascetic who is equal to Brahman.” The major problem in arriving at a sense that one has understood exactly what the poet intends here derives from the ambiguity of the repeated term brahman. It can refer (and probably does in this passage) to the universal absolute of the upaniṣadic philosophers, the status of a brahman or member of the priestly class, or as some of the commentators argue, the vedas.

“ascetic power of Brahmanbrāhmeṇa tapasā: Here we have followed Cg, who understands, “possessed of the powers of Brahman.” Ct takes the phrase to mean either single-minded concentration on the absolute or vedic study. Cr takes the meaning to be “prescribed in the vedas” (bodhitaḥ). Compare note on 1.35.10.

.17  

According to Ct,Cr, and Cg, the word brāhmeṇa, “as prescribed in the vedas,” implies that the sage Cūlin is to produce a son mentally by the means of his identification with Brahman. The concept of immaculate conception is contrasted by the poet with the word upagatāyāḥ, “(Since I have) approached,” which frequently has sexual connotations. See Bhandare 1920, pp. 117-18.

Many N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D10,11,13) and M4 substitute 2 lines [781*] for 17, whereas Ś,D1-3,5,7,12 (NW) insert this after 17ab. Here Somadā announces that she has never had a man.

.18  

Here is the culmination of the repetitive use of the word brahman and its derivatives. This repetition serves to explain the name of the son of Somadā and Cūlin

.19  

See crit. notes, p. 450. Cf. MBh 1.128.15, where Kāmpilyā is identified as Drupada’s capital. See Law 1954, pp. 91-93.

.26  

to see: Cg and Cr supply dṛṣṭvā, “having seen.” The translation follows Cg, who then takes kriyām, “ceremony,” as the object of “see.”

S manuscripts (Dt,D4,6,8,9,14,S [except M4], and Ck,Ct) insert 1 line [789*; GPP 1.33.26e-f]: “(Somadā) having repeatedly embraced the girls, praised Kuśanābha.”

For 26, Ñ,V1,2,4,B,D1-3,7,10,11,13, and M4 substitute 2 lines [788*]. As usual, the N reading is similar in content but phrased differently. The rephrasing here is noteworthy in that it explicitly uses dṛṣṭvā, the word that is supplied by the commentators on the text of S.

Sarga 33

.1  

Compare 1.14.2-3. See notes on 1.8.2 and 1.11.1. See also Introduction for a discussion of the “son-producing” rite and its importance to the Bālakāṇḍa.

.3  

Gādhi is elsewhere (MBh 13.4.6 and crit. app. on 1.165.3) said to be the son of Kuśika, not Kuśanābha. He is, however, generally known (compare MBh 1.164.3; 5.117.4) as the king of Kanyākubja (Kanyakubja). Kuśanābha is apparently not known to the MBh. According to the longer epic, Viśvāmitra is the son of Gādhi, and Satyavatī is the latter’s daughter who marries the Bhārgava sage Ṛcīka (see verse 7). Cf. 791 *, the N recension (Ñ1,V1-3,B1-3,D1,2,10,11, and M4) reading for 3cd, where the name Kauśika is explicitly mentioned. See note on 1.50.19. 6. The MBh knows Viśvāmitra as the son of Gādhi. Instead of the proper name Kauśika, N reads the patronymic Gādhija, but cf. 791* and note 3 above. The passage is interesting as an example of the pervasive Kauśika influence on the Bālakāṇḍa. The connection with Rāma’s original question at 1.30.22 is tenuous, as the region they are in appears to be Vasu’s and not Kuśanābha’s. This is a type of digression more commonly seen in the MBh.

By ascending to heaven in her earthly body, Satyavatī shows her great spiritual power as well as her devotion to her husband. Ct understands Kauśikī as the name of the river. However, the MBh does not apparently identify the two figures, Satyavatī and the river Kauśikī, nor does that text seem to know of Satyavatī’s transformation into a river. On the other hand, Viśvāmitra is associated with the Kauśikī river, as he is said to have created it, to have given it its other name — the Pārā—and to have performed austerities there (MBh 1.65.30-32; 3.82.124; 3.85.9, etc.).

.9  

“flows forth” pravṛttā: Compare 8d, where the word has been translated as “transformed.” Cg, whom we have partially followed, understands here that in the form of a river, Kauśikī flows from heaven to the Himalaya mountains. See crit. app. for this verse, where some manuscripts read svargāt, “from heaven.”

.12  

“I was myself able to become a perfected being” siddho ‘smi: Cf. 1.28.2ff., especially verse 8.

.16  

“thick with stars and planets” nakṣatratārāgahanam: Compare Cg, who understands nakṣatras to be constellations and tārās to be individual stars.

For 16-18, N manuscripts (Ś,Ñ2,V,B,D1-3,5,7,10-13) and M4 substitute 6 lines [796*] equally poetic in their description.

.17–18  

Compare with this Hanumān’s description of moonrise over Laṅkā at 5.4.1-6, especially verse 2. It seems probable that the authors of the Bālakāṇḍa passage and its N variant were familiar with the powerful and highly wrought description of the Sundarakāṇḍa.

“hungry for flesh” piśitāśanāḥ: Or, according to Cg, “blood-drinking.” Flesh-eating here refers to raw or human flesh. This is a common epithet of demons and demonlike figures and is not a reference to nonvegetarian as opposed to vegetarian dietary habits.

After 19, the Dt(vulgate),D4,6,7,9,14, S, and Cg,Cm,Ck, and Ct insert 6 lines [797*; GPP 1.34.20-22]. Here the sages praise Viśvāmitra, Kauśikī, and the Kauśika lineage in general. Praised in this fashion, Viśvāmitra retires for the night, like the setting sun.

Sarga 34

.2  

“It is time for the morning devotions’ pūrvā saṃdhyā: This can refer to dawn itself, but more commonly the rites thereof are intended. See note on 1.22.2 for a description of the morning devotions.

For 2ab N manuscripts (Ñ2,V,B,D1-3,7,10,11,13) and M4 substitute (D2,3,7 substitute for verse 2) 1 line [798*], kausalyāmātar uttiṣṭha suprabhātā niśā tava. Compare this with 1.22.2, especially the northern variants found in the crit. app. for kausalyāmātar.

.7  

Many N manuscripts (Ś,Ñ,V,B,D1-3,5,7,9-13) and M4 insert partially or completely 11 lines [800*] after 7ab, in which, in response to Rāma’s question, Viśvāmitra describes the Ganges ford and the path to it in somewhat greater detail.

“wild geese and white cranes” haṃsasārasa—: Convention holds that the haṃsa, “wild goose,” is the god Brahmā’s vehicle. These birds are said to fly toward Lake Mānasa when the rains approach and to have the ability to separate milk from water. Because of this latter convention the birds are frequently used as metaphors for the discriminating intelligence. The sārasa is probably the white sarus crane. Although Ct comments that it is merely a type of bird, Cg tells us that it is a subspecies of haṃsa.

.8  

“ate of the oblation” prāśya … haviḥ: According to Cg and Ct, the reference is to the food left over from the sacrifice. Ct further suggests that the havis, “oblation,” may be the water of the Ganges.

The four dependent clauses that constitute the verse are not resolved until the finite verb of 9a, but to avoid the awkward string of gerunds, the verse has been translated as if it were self-sufficient.

.10  

The following episode, the descent of the Ganges, is also related at MBh 3.107ff., Bhāgavatapurāṇa 5.17 and 9.9, etc. Although all manuscripts know this story, Bhatt considered the passage a late interpolation, reasoning that the episode has “no direct bearing on the Rāma story” (crit. notes, p. 450). In all likelihood the passage is late, but not for the reason advanced by Bhatt. The purāṇic character and sectarian tone of the episode mark it as late (see Introduction to Bālakāṇḍa). The fact that the passage is known to all manuscripts argues against commonality as a sign of antiquity. For a similar case of a late devotional passage included by all the manuscripts, see Yuddhakāṇḍa 105.

.13  

“lovely … Menā” menā manojñā vai: The crit. ed. marks this phrase as a doubtful reading. Ś,Ñ2,V,B,D1-3,5,7,9-13,T1,3,G2,M1-3 read manoramā devī, “ravishing lady,” whereas D4,G1,3 have ca menakā rāma, and M4 has meneti yā rāma.

.14  

Umā: For a traditional derivation of the name, cf. Kālidāsa’s Kumārasambhava 1.26: “Her relatives called her, who was beloved of her kin, by the patronymic name Pārvatī; later, that lovely-faced woman went by the name Umā, as she was prevented from undertaking austerities by her mother with the words ‘O don’t’ (u mā).”

.15  

“goes by three paths” tripathagām: According to Ct, the paths are heaven, earth, and hell.

For 15-16b, some manuscripts (Ñ2,V,B,D1-3,7,10,11,13, and M4) substitute 3 lines [802*]: “The gods, desirous of effecting their own purposes, asked for Himalaya’s eldest daughter, Ganges. And, in the interests of righteousness, he gave her, who purifies the three worlds, to them.”

.16  

“In the interests of righteousness” dharmeṇa: The idea is that, since the gods are appropriate suitors for the hand of his daughter, Himalaya’s giving her away is in keeping with the rules of proper conduct.

“moves freely by any path” svacchandapathagām: Ct,Cg,Cr, and Cm understand this to mean “limited only by one’s desires” (svecchāmātreṇa), and we agree that this is the basic sense.

.17  

According to Ct, “for the sake of the three worlds” (trilokahitakāriṇah) refers to a mythic episode told in the Vāmanapurāṇa, according to which Agni once drank Śiva’s semen, and its power deprived him of strength. Having sought the aid of the gods, he went to Brahmaloka (heaven). On his way he encountered Kuṭilā (Ganges) and gave her the seed. She carried it for 5,000 years, but it caused her much discomfort, and so she went to the god Brahmā, who advised her to abandon it on a bed of reeds. From that seed, the god Kārttikeya (Skanda) was born in order to overpower the demon Tāraka. See Vāmanapurāṇa 31.2-56. Compare with this Kālidāsa’s famous rendition of the story, Kumārasambhava, especially 5.1-30, and the versions of the tale that follow in this sarga and the next.

.21  

“fleet-footed” gatimatāṃ vara: This could also be taken more literally, following Cg’s gloss, sundaragatimatām, “possessing a beautiful gait.”

Pādas cd play upon the words gati, “path, way, gait,” and gatā “went,” which are both derivatives of the verbal root gam, “to go.”

For 21, the majority of the N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D1-3,10,11,13) substitute 2 lines [803*]: “There, in order to purify the three worlds by her own splendor, the Ganges flows forth, Rāma, devoted to the welfare of all beings.”

After 21, Dt,D4,6,8,9,14,S (except M4), Cm,Cg insert 2 lines [804*; GPP 1.35.22]: “Then that torrent of water, the lovely river of the gods and sinless daughter of the mountain lord, ascended to the world of the gods.”

Sarga 35

Sarga 35  

The tale of the marriage of Śiva and Pārvatī and the birth of the god Kārttikeya is an extremely popular and widely distributed one. Some variants are found at Śivapurāṇa (Rudrasaṃhitā) 4.1-2, MBh 3.213-216, Matsyapurāṇa 146, Vāmanapurāṇa 28, Varāhapurāṇa 25, Kumārasambhava 9-11, etc.

.1  

Cg says that now two of the Ganges’ paths have been mentioned, that is, the one through the sky (antarikṣa) and the one through heaven (svarga). Compare note on 1.34.15. But this only seems plausible in light of 804* (see note on 34.21), where her actual ascent to heaven is mentioned.

For 1-4, Ñ2 (Ñ1 missing), V,B,D1-3, 7,10,11,13 substitute (whereas Ś,D5,9,12, and M4 partially substitute and/or insert [see crit. app.]) 8 lines [806*].

.6  

“had gotten married” kṛtodvāhaḥ: Cg’s explanation here is that Śiva (Śitikaṇṭha), although he was a great ascetic, “having observed the marriage ceremonies of others with desire, was struck by the arrow of Kāma, the god of love, and desired marriage.” See also note to 1.22.11, where this term is again used of Śiva in a similar connection, but through the force of the context is rendered as “prior to his marriage.”

.7  

To complete the sense of 7ab, Ct supplies gataṃ krīḍayā, “passed in dalliance.” The vulgate (Dt) and a few S manuscripts have added a line [808*] to complete the sense. Compare the N version, which construes a variant of 6cd with 7ab (Gorresio I.XXXVIII.7). The verse division of the crit. ed. is unique among texts of the Rāmāyaṇa and as it stands, is difficult to construe.

“a hundred years of the gods” divyam varṣaśatam.: A year of the gods equals 360 years of men.

.8  

The retention of semen is equated in the Hindu tradition with the possession of great mental and physical power, whereas its loss is associated with a corresponding diminution of these powers. See Carstairs 1967, pp. 83-84, etc.; and Sutherland 1979, pp. 65-66, 137-38.

.10  

“the austerities prescribed in the vedas” brāhmeṇa tapasā: See 1.32.16, where the identical phrase is used. Ct and Ck take the phrase here to mean austerities focused upon the upaniṣadic absolute, brahman. Cr and Cg, whom we have followed in the translation, understand “prescribed” or “understood” in the vedas. Note the northern variant at 813*.10, brahmacaryeṇa.

For verses 10-12, Ñ2 (Ñ1 omits),V,B,D1-3,7,10,13, and M4 substitute 14 lines [813*[, where the contents of our 2 verses are reported with some additional elaboration.

.11  

“your semen in your body” tejas tejasi: The vulgate commentators understand “in your own body” or “in your body that consists of radiance (tejas).” (ĀtmaniCt; tejomayasva [nijaCg] śarīreCr,Cg) for tejasi.

.13  

“with the help of Umā,” sahomayā: Cg and Cm say that the goddess will help by retaining her own tejas, which consists of her (menstrual) blood.

“rest easy” nirvāṇam adhigacchatu: The commentators agree and gloss the first word as sukham, “ease [of mind].” Cr elaborates, saying, “ease born of freedom from fear,” bhayatyāgajanitasukham. See crit. notes, pp. 450-51, where Bhatt attempts — inappropriately, in our opinion — to demonstrate the pre-Buddhistic age of the Rāmāyaṇa on the basis of the term nirvāṇam here. The bulk of the epic is, in our judgment, pre-Buddhist, but the nontechnical use of this term has no bearing on the issue. For a discussion of the date of the poem relative to the rise of Buddhism, see Introduction.

.17  

Ck and Ct understand the word punaḥ, “again,” here as a pleonasm (vākyālaṃkāra) used for purposes of style, and we concur. Cg understands the word to have its usual sense and feels that having the gods make their request more than once suggests the fear of Agni, the god of fire, at the thought of entering the dreadful semen of the great god.

.18  

“like the sun surrounded by fire” pāvakādityasaṃnibham: This has been translated closely following Cr, who regards the figure as a paryavasannābhūtopamā, a simile in which the object of comparison is nonexistent. He then reads the figure as “resembling the sun in a fire.” In this context, keep in mind the brilliance of the semen itself in the fire. The unnatural and incomparable brilliance of the semen is, of course, the focus of the figure.

.21  

“From this day forward, your wives shall remain childless” adya prabhṛti yuṣmākam aprajāḥ santu patnayaḥ: Although it has been admitted to the critical text, this line (21ef) must be regarded as doubtful. It is omitted by eleven manuscripts (mostly N) and is somewhat redundant with 21cd.

.22  

“manifold in form” naikarūpā: The commentators are split as to the significance of this adjective, whose literal sense is “nonuniform.” Ct understands it to mean that the earth will have manifold forms on account of the ability of a single field to grow many different kinds of seed. This is not convincing. Cr and Cg both understand — more correctly, we believe — that manifold forms implies areas “impregnated with salt, etc.” The idea is that the earth will have productive as well as nonproductive areas. Compare Cr and Cg with 820*, a northern variant: “O earth, you shall be scattered with barren deserts of salt.”

“wife of many” bahubhāryā: The commentators generally agree: “the wife of many kings.” To be the wife of more than one man is traditionally a degrading position, and is considered an insult to an Indian woman. The earth is traditionally looked upon as the first wife of a king.

.23  

Umā feels that the earth, by not bearing Śiva’s semen, has rejected her son, and it is this insult that motivates her to pronounce the curse. This curse of the earth does not appear to be part of other popular versions of the myth found in the upaniṣads.

.25  

“mountain peak in the Himalayas” himavatprabhave śṛṅge: Ct and Cr read himavatprabhava as the name of the mountain, but Cg, whom we have followed, does not. Peterson (1879, p. 27) reads, “on the peak of a snowy range.”

Sarga 36

.6  

N (Ñ2,V,B,D1,2,10,11,13) and M4 partially or completely substitute 12 lines [827*] for 6-11.

.13  

“scattered” avakīryata (v.l. avaśīryata): We have followed Cg, who understands, “seeing her excessive beauty, he (Agni) shed the semen from every limb,” and cites the following saying, “a woman is like glowing coal and a man is like a pot of ghee,” that is, the latter spills over at the sight of the former. Compare note at 31.9.

For 13-17, Ñ2,V,B,D1-3,7,10,11,13 substitute 10 lines [828*].

.15  

“priest” purohitam: This is marked as a doubtful reading in the crit. ed.; the main variant is purogamam, “placed first (among the gods).”

“powerful” samuddhatam: Here we follow Ct, who glosses, atyagram, “fierce,”

On the basis of textual evidence available in the crit. app., it is doubtful whether 15ef should be admitted to the critical text. The line, unlike 15ab and 15cd, has no northern variant (see 828*, where lines 1-2 equal 15ab,cd, and 3-4 equal 16ab,cd). Compare 828*.6, which appears to be the textual evidence used for the admission of this line. See note on 1.37.20.

.17  

“mighty” mahātejāḥ: This modifies the river Ganges, but Cg apparently reads the vocative, mahātejaḥ, which then would refer to Rāma. Support for Cg’s vocative reading, however, is seen only in the crit. ed. The GPP and the VSP both read mahātejāḥ.

.18  

“silver” hiraṇyam: Usually hiraṇyam means gold, but here, in a rare usage, it must be understood as silver. The commentators support this, as do the crit. notes, p. 451. See 1.73.5, where this usage is repeated.

.19  

Ct (on GPP 1.37.20) provides an interesting interpretation of this passage that provides a traditional scientific explanation of the relationship among these elements. According to him, gold is permeated through contact(?) with that which is pure and contains the acrid quality, base elements, and smell; silver is permeated only by smell; copper and iron only by the acrid quality; and tin by the base elements alone.

.20  

Ñ2,V,B,D3,7,10,13, and M4 omit verse 20. That so many manuscripts omit the verse is suspicious, and its inclusion on the basis of textual evidence runs counter to the principles set forth by the critical editors (see Bhatt 1960, p. xxiv no.4). Notice that in general the critical editors only include verses with such weak textual evidence when they are part of longer southern passages (see, for example, 1.18.17ab; 1.19.14cd-16, 18c-19b; 1.35.15ef).

.21  

“mountain forest” parvatasaṃnaddam … vanam: Literally saṃnaddha means “tied, bound together,” or “ready, prepared.” Here it is used in the sense of avayava, “part of’ (Cr), or saṃbaddha, “connected with” (Ct). Cg understands the compound to mean “a reed forest along with the previously mentioned white mountain,”

.22  

Jātarūpa, “gold,” is explained etymologically as a collocation of jāta, “born,” and rūpa, “(beautiful) form.” Ct understands, “born with a beautiful or excellent form.” This is yet another example of the folk etymology for names in which the Rām, like other Indic mythological texts, abounds. For other examples see 1.23.7, 8, 17-20, and 28.18.

After 22, Ñ2,B,V,D1-3,7,10,11,13, and M4 insert the following 2 lines [830*]: “There, that prince (kumāra), as brilliant as the newly risen sun, and born from Agni’s seed, was released from the womb of the Ganges.”

D4,9,14,S (except M4) insert the following line [831*]: “grass, trees, creepers, and thickets all turned to gold.”

.23  

“all” saha—: The word saha here literally means “with,” but Cg, who has been followed in the translation, understands saha in the sense of yugapad, “all together.”

“sufficient milk” kṣīrasaṃbhāvana—: The use of the word sambhāvana in the sense of “obtaining” is rare. Apte (s.v. sambhāvanam, ) cites the word in connection with this verse. Ct understands the entire compound to mean “in order to bring about the necessity of (his) drinking milk.” Cr, who interprets sambhāvana in this context, as does Apte, glosses, “to obtain sufficient milk.” Cg reads the compound as “for employment in the nurturing (of the prince) with milk.”

The Kṛttikās are the constellation known in the West as the Pleiades.

.24  

D1-3,7, and M4 substitute 7 lines [833*] for verses 24-27. Ñ2,V,B,D10,11,13 substitute 833*.1-2 for 22: “Then they gave milk to that god at the proper time. ‘Let this son be known by our name,’ Rāghava” (833*.l-2).

.26  

“outpouring of the embryonic waters” garbhaparisrave: This implies a normal birth procedure that is not in keeping with this version of the episode. Other versions tell of the seed being deposited in the womb of the six women (see Śivapurāṇa, Rudrasaṃhitā 4.2.47ff.). Compare the MBh version, where Śivā, the wife of Aṅgiras, assumed the forms, one after another, of six of the seven sages’ wives and made love to Agni, the god of fire. She then took the semen in her hand and tossed it into a mountain crevice. From this semen Skanda was generated (MBh 3.214). Cr resolves this by interpreting garbhaparisrava as the flowing waters of the river Ganges.

.27  

The name Skanda is derived from the verbal root skand, here rendered as “come forth.” This root, repeated in verse 26, is in a participial form the basis of the etymology offered here for the name. See 1.23.7, 8, 17-20, etc., for other similar derivations.

.31  

“birth of Kumāra” kumārasaṃbhavaḥ: This is also the name of Kālidāsa’s famous poem that tells of the events that culminate with this episode.

After 31, Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S (except M4) insert 2 lines [838*; GPP 1.37.32] that function as a phalaśruti for the episode: “Whatever man on earth, Kākutstha, is a devotee of Kārtikeya, will be long lived and go, along with his sons and grandsons, to the same world that Skanda inhabits.”

Sarga 37

Sarga 37  

This sarga tells the story of the birth of Sagara’s sixty thousand sons, which is mentioned again at Ayodhyākāṇḍa 32.12-20. For a discussion of this episode, see Jacobi 1893, pp. 27ff., especially note, p. 28; Lesny 1913, pp. 497-500: and Kirfel 1947, pp. 113-28. For a comparison of the different purāṇic versions, see Kirfel 1927. See also crit. notes, p. 451 and Introduction to the Bālakāṇḍa. The story of the sons of Sagara is a popular one in the epic-purāṇic tradition and is also told at MBh 3.104-108; 12.29.122-28; Harivaṃśa 10.28ff.; Viṣnupurāṇa 4.3-4; Bhāgavatapurāṇa 9.8ff., etc.

.3  

Vidarbha is modern Berar in central India. It is known to Patañjali (Mahābhāṣya 1.41). The MBh knows it as the kingdom of Bhīma, the father of Damayantī (MBh 3.50.5, etc.). See Law 1954, p. 341.

.4  

Ariṣṭanemi (“of unimpeded wheel-rims”): The commentators agree that this is another name for Kaśyapa. See below (verse 14), where Sumatī is called Suparṇa’s (Garuḍa s) sister.

.14  

Suparṇa, also called Garuḍa, is the son of Kaśyapa and Vinatā. The MBh tells the story of his birth (1.14ff.) and how he seeks the nectar of immortality (amṛta) in order to free both himself and his mother from bondage by the snakes (1.23). He defeats the gods and steals the soma (nectar) (1.28). At MBh 1.29, Garuḍa forms a friendship with Viṣṇu and becomes the god’s mount, a role he assumes throughout the Vaishnava tradition. Compare MBh 1.14.5ff., where the story of the birth of Vinatā’s and Kadrū’s sons is told.

.17  

The motif of two wives giving birth to vastly disparate numbers of children is a recurrent one in the Sanskrit epics. Thus, in connection with the tale of Garuḍa, Kaśyapa’s wives, Vinatā and Kadrū, each choose a boon. Kadrū chooses to have one thousand sons, and Vinatā chooses two sons who are superior in strength to those of her sister. Compare also MBh 1.107ff., where a similar set of circumstances surrounds the births of the heroes of the epic and their rivals.

.16  

Asamañja: The name means “bad” or “wicked.”

.17  

“gourdlike fetal mass” garbhatumbam: Here the commentators (Ct,Cg,Cr, and Cm) understand, “a fetal mass in the shape of a tumba fruit,” Ck, on the other hand, takes tumba, which is a type of gourd, to be the fetal covering, that is, the amniotic membrane.

The simultaneous multiple birth of children from undifferentiated masses is known elsewhere in the epic literature. See MBh 1.107ff., where Gāndhārī, the wife of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, gives birth to a ball of flesh that is cut into pieces to be incubated in pots of ghee. Compare too MBh 1.14, where the birth of Vinatā’s two sons is related, and MBh 1.154.1-10, where the story of Droṇa’s birth from a pot is told. “When the gourd was split” tumbabhedāt: According to Cg, this is not the same as in the case of Gāndhārī. Gāndhārī aborted her fetus and then sprinkled it with water. It then divided itself into one thousand pieces that were put into pots of ghee. From that her sons developed. Here, the division occurs at the time of separation from the womb and not later.

.20  

Ñ2 (Ñ1 missing), V,B1,3,4,D1-3,7,10,12,13, and M4 omit 20cd,ef (B2,D11 substitute and read after 21) 844* (2 lines): “(he) used to forcibly seize children, etc.” The crit. notes, p. 451, call our attention to the fact that neither the Harivaṃśa nor Viṣnupurāṇa version knows the account of Asamañja. This is also the case for N. It seems that here again we see a southern interpolation admitted to the critical text. Compare 1.18.17ab; 1.19.14cd-16, 18c-19b; 1.36.15,20, etc.

After 20, Ś,Dt,D6,8,9,14,S (except M4), and Cm,Cg,Ck,Ct insert the following line [845*]; “Evil in his conduct, he harassed decent people.”

Sarga 38

Sarga 38  

The point of the verse is the absence of high mountains across the plains of northern India that divide these two ranges. See note on 1.6.21.

.5  

“this … region” sa … deśaḥ: The area referred to is the region bounded in the north by the Himalayas and in the south by the Vindhya Mountains. To the east and west it has as its boundaries the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, respectively. Traditionally this area is called the Āryāvarta (see ManuSm 2.22) and is considered virtually the only suitable region in which to perform a sacrifice; see Cr,Cg, and Ct.

.6  

The sacrifice undertaken is the Aśvamedha or Horse Sacrifice. See sarga 13 and notes for a description and discussion of this sacrifice. Also see the Introduction to Bālakāṇḍa for a discussion of the significance of the Aśvamedha to our understanding of the textual history of the Bālakāṇḍa and the epic as a whole.

.7  

“an instant” parvaṇi: The commentators of the vulgate take the term to refer to the day on which the Ukthya rite is performed. See note on 1.13.33-35. For 7-9, Ñ,V,B,D1-3,7,10,11,13, and M4 substitute 6 lines [851*] in which a nāga in the form of the great serpent Ananta is responsible for the theft of the horse.

.12  

Sagara doubts that a rākṣasa could do this, as these creatures are usually regarded as petty nuisances rather than serious threats to a major state ritual. This is interesting in the light of the exaltation of Rāvaṇa, especially in the first and last books of the poem. See Goldman and Masson 1969. Ct offers an alternative explanation; “If rākṣasas can penetrate a sacrifice performed by such holy men, then I see no hope (gati) for myself.”

For 12, Ñ,V,B,D10,13, and M4 substitute 2 lines [852*]. D1,2,3,7,11 substitute in whole or part and follow with 3 lines [853*]. In these passages the king remarks that neither rākṣasas nor nāgas could have accomplished the theft and that it must have been a god.

.18  

“for a league on every side” yojanāyāmavistaram: Here the commentators who understand “a yojana in length and breadth” have been followed. Bhandare 1920, p. 127, on the other hand, reads, “extending to the length of one yojana,” and construes it as an adjective of dharaṇītala, “the earth’s surface.”

.19  

Note that in the crit. app., Dt, an important manuscript that represents the vulgate and contains Ct, is said to omit 38.19-39.6. Nonetheless, the GPP not only knows the verses, but cites Ct on 1.38.25-26 and 1.39.1 (GPP 1.39.26 and 1.40.1).

.21  

“Rasātala” is one of the nether worlds, or “seven hells.” The seven are traditionally listed as Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Rasātala, Talātala, Mahātala, and Pātāla. The commentators understand, “as though to search (dig) down to Rasātala,” that is, very deep. According to Cr, the particle tu here carries the meaning of iva, “like.” Compare 861*.3, but see, too, 1.39.11, where the sons are said to return to Rasātala.

.24  

“they propitiated” āsādya: This means literally “having approached,” but here Cg, whom we follow, understands, “having praised” (stutvā). Compare with this the northern reading, abhivādya, ”respectfully greeting.”

.25  

“Many great beings, as well as creatures of the waters” mahātmānaḥ … jalacāriṇaḥ: The commentators generally understand two distinct groups of creatures to be mentioned. It is also possible to translate mahātmānaḥ as an adjective jalacāriṇaḥ, “great aquatic creatures.” Ct understands mahātmānaḥ to refer to siddhas (perfected beings), gandharvas, and the like, whereas Cg, who reads talavāsinaḥ For jalacāriṇaḥ, takes the reference to be to the inhabitants of the above-mentioned Rasātala. Notice that 25cd, the line in question, has a variant reading in the N. Ñ2,V,B,D1,3,7,10,13, and M4 substitute 1 line [863*] that reads mahāsattva-, “noble beings, large animals,” for mahātmānaḥ.

Sarga 39

.1  

“bewildered by the might of those destructive men” kṛāntabalamohitān: All the vulgate commentators take the compound to refer to the strength of Sagara’s sons who had caused the destruction. Antaḥ, “end,” is glossed as nāśaḥ, “destruction.” This interpretation is supported by Apte, s.v. antaḥ. Bhandare 1920, p. 128, understands, “the power of death.” Cm understands daivabala, that is, deluded by the power of fate.

.2  

Kapila is the name of a great sage who is often identified with Viṣṇu through his epithet, Vāsudeva. He is traditionally regarded as the founder of the philosophical system known as Sāṃkhya.

After 2, D4,6,9,14,S (except M4) insert the following line [867*; GPP 1.40.3.bc]: “The king’s sons will be burnt by the fire of his (Kapila’s) anger.”

.3  

“short-lived” adīrghajīvinām: The vulgate (following Ct) reads instead dirghadarśinām, “gifted with foresight.” The idea is that there should be no surprise or anxiety.

.4  

“thirty-three” trayastriṃśat: This is the traditional enumeration of the gods. It is broken down as follows: eight Vasus, eleven Rudras, twelve Ādityas, and two Aśvins or Indra and Prajāpati. See crit. notes, p. 452.

.5  

“a noise” nisvanaḥ: See crit. notes, p. 452, for correction in reading. The noise is a herald of calamity and not just the sound of their digging.

“earthquake” nirghāta—: Cg glosses this as “a kind of calamity,” and he claims that it is used to stress the portentous nature of the noise. Compare the N variant, 868* (I line).

.7  

“powerful beings” sattvavantaḥ: All the commentators understand this to mean powerful creatures, balavantaḥ. Compare 1.38.25, where the word used to refer to these creatures was mahātmānaḥ. See also 863*, where mahāsattva is used in a similar context.

.11  

See 1.38.21.

.12  

“from there” tataḥ: See Bhandare 1920, pp. 128-29.

“elephants who support the earth” diśāgajam: The reference is to the eight elephants who are traditionally stationed in each of the eight cardinal and intermediate points of the compass and are said to support the earth (cf. note on 1.71.7). Compare Jacobi 1893, pp. 6ff. Only the four elephants of the cardinal points are mentioned in this passage: Virūpākṣa, the guardian of the East (verses 13,15); Mahāpadma, the guardian of the South (verses 16-17); Saumanasa, the guardian of the West (verse 19); and Bhadra, the guardian of the North (verse 20). These names do not agree with the ones listed at Amarakośa 151, which has Airāvata, Puṇḍarīka, Vāmana, Kumuda, Añjana, Puṣpadanta, Sarvabhauma, and Supratīka. The commentators do not discuss the divergence in names. See Bhandare 1920, p. 129. Cf. note on 1.6.22.

.13  

For 13-14, Ñ2,V,B,D,1,3,7,9,10,13, and M4 substitute 4 lines [870*].

.14  

“earthquake” bhūmikampaḥ: Cr is more explicit. He says that when the elephants’ heads tire, they hold the earth with their trunks and shake their heads.

.15  

“guardian of the East” diśāpālam: Literally. “guardian of the quarter,” but in this case the quarter is the East.

.16–17  

“supports the earth” dhārayantam gām: Here the vulgate reading gām has been adopted to replace the crit. ed.’s reading te, “they.” As the verse stands in the crit. ed., the transitive verbal participle dhārayantam, “supporting,” has no object and is therefore difficult to construe. Even though the critical editors have followed their principles and taken the southern reading, textual evidence is inconclusive and the reading should be considered doubtful, especially in light of the grammatical difficulty in construing the southern reading. The majority of N manuscripts replace 17c with taṃ ca dṛṣṭvā mahākāyam, “and having seen that huge-bodied creature,” whereas Ś, the majority of Devanāgarī manuscripts (except 4, 10, and 13, which read a N variant), and G4 read gām. Therefore, only D14,T (T1 damaged),G2,3 (G1 omits), and M read te, “they.”

.20  

“the North” diśam somavatīm: This means literally “the direction which is possessed of soma.” The derivation of somavatī is not wholly clear. The most plausible explanation, although one not mentioned by the commentators or other annotators, seems to rely on the notion that the soma plant comes from the northern mountains. From as early as the Ṛgveda (10.34.1), soma is said to grow on Mount Mūjavat (Muñjavat). See Geldner on 10.34.1 (1923, vol. 3, p. 183). See too VājaS 3.61 and commentary, ĀpaŚS 12.5.11, and MBh 14.8.1. This mountain is located in the Himalayan range in northern India (Law 1954, p. 112). Note the v.l. haimavatīm and Ct’s gloss, udīcīm, “northern direction,” Cf. AitBr 1.14, where soma is king of the northeastern quarter. This is not the interpretation offered by Bhandare 1920, p. 129, or Monier-Williams (s.v.) who both understand soma in its other classical meaning, “moon,” and translate, “presided over by the moon.” But no evidence to support a relation between the north and the moon is given. The crit. notes identify soma as a name for Kubera, the god of wealth. This is better, since Kubera is said to live on Mt. Muñjavat.

.21  

“splendid body” bhadreṇa vapuṣā: Bhadra, “splendid,” is employed as a play on the elephant’s name.

.23  

“famous northeastern quarter” prāguttaram … prathitām diśan: The northeastern direction is traditionally held in high regard as a region of great sanctity. Bhandare 1920, p. 129, and Peterson 1879, p. 29, both refer to an Aitareya Brāhmaṇa passage (1.17) in which the northeastern quarter is the only one where the asuras were not victorious. Therefore it is the “unconquered” (aparājitā) direction. Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa also has a passage (9.2.34.29) that presupposes this story. Ct notes that this direction is famous because of its “suitability for all undertakings” Cg and Ck understand this to be the direction of the Lord Śiva. They take the word prathita to mean that the northeast is the appropriate direction for the horse to go.

.24  

“near the god” devasya: In other words, near Kapila Vāsudeva.

.26–27  

These verses are not found in N except in the margin of Ś1. It is not clear why Bhatt included them. Compare 1.18.17ab; 1.19.14cd-16, 18c-19b; 1.36.15,20; 1.37.20, etc.

.27  

“Hum” huṃkāram: This destructive and powerful syllable is used elsewhere in the epic to annihilate a host of enemies. See 1.54.5-6 and cf. 1.74.17.

Sarga 40

.1  

“grandson,” that is, Aṃśumant.

.2  

“forefathers” pitṝṇām: The term pitṛ, “father,” is often used in Sanskrit to mean male relatives of an older generation or even elders in general. Here the reference is to Aṃśumant’s paternal uncles.

“taken” apahāritaḥ: The reading is marked as doubtful. N reads apavāhitaḥ, “carried off.”

After 2ab, Ñ,B2-4, D10,13 insert the following line [879*]: “You must return quickly so that my religious duty is not compromised.”

.9  

“affectionately” prītyā: The reading must be regarded as doubtful, considering the textual evidence. N manuscripts (Ñ2,V,B,D1-3,10,13) and M4 read pṛcchato—; Ś,D5,11,12 read saumyam; S manuscripts Dt(vulgate),6,8 replace the entire pāda and read pratyuvāca mahāmatiḥ; and S manuscripts D4,9,T3,G1,3,4,M (Cg,Ck, and Cr) read pratyāhā—. Ñ1,D7,T1 omit this verse. Only M2,3, D14,T2,G2 read as does the critical text.

.11  

“understood the subtleties of speech” vākyajñaiḥ: Cr and Cg (alternative reading), who understand, “knowing the intent/meaning of others’ words,” are followed in the translation. Ct and Cg (first reading) understand instead, “knowing what is proper to say.”

“eloquent” vākyakovidaiḥ: Cr and Cg (alternative reading), who understand, “clever in speech (literally, skilled in the use of speech),” again are followed in the translation. Ct and Cg (first reading) understand, “knowing the proper time and place for speech.”

.15  

“funerary libations” jalakriyām: This is glossed by Cg as tarpaṇa, and refers to the daily ritual offering of water to deceased ancestors. See Kane 1962-1975, vol. II, pp. 668-69; 689-95.

.16  

See 1.37.14.

.17  

“good of the world” lokasaṃmataḥ: Ck,Ct,and Cg, whom we follow in the translation, understand this to mean lokahitaḥ, “for the benefit of the worlds.” Cr, on the other hand, understands, “approved by the beings of the three worlds — upper, lower, and middle.” The idea, according to Cr, is that the destruction of the sons of Sagara will ultimately lead to the descent of the Ganges.

.19  

Most S manuscripts (Ś, Dt[vulgate], 4, 6, 8, 14, T1, 2, G, M1-3) insert the following line [889* GPP 1.41.19cd]: “Great-armed man, you must perform the funerary water offerings for your forefathers in her.”

.24  

“in due order” yathākalpam: This means usually “according to rule.” It is difficult. however, to distinguish this term from the following, yathāvidhi, “according to the rules of ritual performance.” Cr reads this alternatively as “according to ability,” or “not transgressing the prescriptions.” The translation follows Cg. Cf. note on 1.14.5.

Sarga 41

.1  

“law of time” kāladharmam: This is a frequent epic euphemism for death.

“ministers” prakṛtījanāḥ: The term here refers just to the ministers of state, despite the remarks in the crit. notes, p. 452, on elective monarchy and the suggestion that this refers to the six limbs of state (kings, ministers, territory, forts, treasury, armies, and allies). Cf. Meghadūta 6, where prakṛtipuruṣa, “minister, officer,” is used. As we see in the attempted consecration of Bharata at Ayodhyākāṇḍa 61.1ff., it was the brahman ministers who chose the successor to a king when the heir was dead or otherwise disqualified. We see no evidence for the concept of popular election. Daśaratha’s consultation with his people and allies on the succession of Rāma (Ayodhyākāṇḍa 2.lff.) seems to us to have been purely pro forma. See Bhandare 1920, p. 131.

.7  

“celebrated for his righteousness” dharmeṇa viditātmanaḥ: Ct and Cr, who are followed in the translation, understand the phrase to mean prasiddha, “famed,” or prākhyāta, “well-known.”

Note that Ñ2,V3,Bl,D10,13 omit this verse, whereas TI and Ñ1 are missing it, and B3 reads it in the margin.

.12  

Gokarṇa: The exact location of Gokarṇa is uncertain. Bhatt 1961, p. 452, seems to believe that it is modern Gomukhī, which is “two miles beyond Gaṅgotrī.” There is also a town in northern Mysore called Gokarṇa that is mentioned in several texts as a pilgrimage site (cf. MBh 3.83.22; 3.86.12, etc.). See Law 1954, pp. 79,153. The commentators generally understand a specific spot in the Himalayas. Ct optionally identifies it as a southern town. Compare Bhandare 1920, pp. 131-32, and Raghuvaṃśa 8.33.

“practiced the austerity of the five fires” pañcatapāḥ: The bahuvrīhi compound is based on a variety of madhyamapadalopin, or compound in which one or more of the middle terms are missing. Here the word Agni, “fire,” is missing. Thus the underlying reference of the compound is to “austerities performed in the midst of five fires.” This is a frequently mentioned type of austerity, in which a person is surrounded by four fires, with the sun constituting the fifth.

After 12, N adds 2 lines [898*] that further describe Bhagīratha’s penances.

.19  

“second” paraḥ: Here the translation follows the commentators. Peterson 1879, p. 30, understands parch to mean “highest,” for he feels that there is only one boon. But Bhandare disagrees, noting that there are in fact two boons (1920, p. 132).

.21  

The semi-technical term “of the great chariot,” mahāratha, is used here to echo the final element of the name Bhagīratha. The word chosen for “wish,” manoratha, further enhances this effect. Cf. 1.5.22 and 1.6.2.

.24  

“spoke to the Ganges” gaṅgāṃ … ābhāṣya: This is to say that he told her about her forthcoming descent. Cr says that he explained what she had to do in order to accomplish Bhagīratha’s request. 911*, the northern variant for 24cd, makes this quite clear: “After telling her to go to the earth, he went to heaven.”

Sarga 42

.1  

“stood for a year on the tip of one big toe, worshiping Śiva” aṅguṣṭhāgranipīḍitām … kṛtvā vasumatīṃ … saṃvatsaram upāsata: This means literally “causing the earth to be pressed by his big toe for a year, he worshiped.” Cr understands the reference to be to the left big toe. This is evidently considered to be an intense form of self-mortification, for it is sustained for only a year compared with the thousand years of the pañcatapaḥ of 1.41.12. Cg and Ct supply Śiva as the unexpressed object of upāsata, “worship,” as has been done in the translation. The verb is irregular in form.

After 1, Ś,Ñ2 (Ñ1 missing), V,B,D10,11,12,13,14,T1,2,G,M insert 2 lines [913*] in which further details about the austerities are given. Notice here the relatively unusual situation in which the N and S evidence is strong, but the Devanāgarī manuscripts for the most part omit the verse.

.3  

After 3, Ñ,V,B,D10,13,M4 (Ś,D1-3,5,7,9,11,12 after 4ab) insert 4 lines [914*] in which Śiva goes to the peak of the Himalaya and requests the heavenly Ganges to descend.

For 4-7 Ś,Ñ2 (N1 missing), V,B,D1-3,5,7,9-13,M4 (Ś,D1-3,5,7,9,11,12 for 4c-6) substitute a passage of 11 lines [921*], in which the Ganges falls on Śiva’s head but is not released and wanders about for a full year. Bhagīratha again propitiates Mahādeva in order to obtain the Ganges’ release. On account of Bhagīratha’s words the god releases the river.

After 4, Dt,4,6,8,14,S (except M4) insert a well-known passage of 7 lines [916*] that describes the Ganges’ plan to carry Śiva to Pātāla (hell), and Śiva’s anger at her impudence. Śiva devises a plan to make her disappear into the depths of the coils of his topknot, so that she will not be able to descend on earth. Compare 921*.

It is difficult to determine on what evidence the critical editors chose to retain verses 4c-6 as part of the critical text and to exclude 916*,918*.2, and 919*. The textual evidence for the passages is identical. The parts of S that have been omitted appear to have northern parallels (918*.2, 92l*.6-7) that should support inclusion. On the other hand, with the possible exceptions of 4ef (921*.1-2), 5cd (921*.4) and 6cd (921*.8), there seems inadequate support for the critical reading, especially of 4cd,5ab, and 6ab. The case for inclusion is particularly strong for 918*.2, where Bhagīratha undertakes austerities for a second time. Reference is made to this action in the northern manuscripts (921*.6-7), which means that although there are no verses or lines that can be considered true variants, both traditions know the episode, and it should, on these grounds, be considered as part of the original story. Compare 1.25.13, 1.28.9, 1.37.20, etc. The reading in the critical text of anena, which is very difficult to interpret as it stands, becomes clear within the context of 918*.2. Evidence for the remaining lines and verses is neither as convincing nor as obvious, but it remains clear that the passage has been edited in an eclectic manner and that at least the passage of Bhagīratha’s renewed austerities should be considered part of the reconstituted text.

.5  

“wandered about” ababhramat: The form is a reduplicated aorist, with irregular reduplication (the expected form is abibhramat). Cg and Cm, who read abambhramat (VSP 1.43.9), identify the form as an imperfect intensive (yaṅluganta). (See crit. notes, p. 453.)

After 5, Dt,4,6,8,14,S (except M4) insert 918*. 2. See above note 4. Here Bhagīratha resumes his austerities in order to bring the Ganges down from Śiva’s head. Compare 921*.6-7.

.6  

“by this” anena: See above note 4. The commentators understand, “by this penance,” anena tapasā.

Lake Bindu: According to the crit. notes, this is a pool near Gaṅgotrī in the Rudra Himalaya, but see 1.41.12. Law 1954, p. 134, gives the name as Vindusarovara. See Dey 1927, p. 38, and Bhandare 1920, p. 133.

After 6, Dt,4,6,8,14,S (except M4) insert 8 lines [919*; GPP 1.3.11c-15b] that tell of the seven streams of the Ganges, of which three went east, three went west, and one followed Bhagīratha’s chariot. Cf. 921*.9-11. See also note 4 above for a discussion of the textual problems of this passage.

.7  

After 7, Dt,4,6,8,14,S (except M4) insert (D1-3,7,9,11 insert after 5 of 921*) 2 lines [924*; GPP 1.43.16c-17b] that describe the earth shining with various aquatic animals.

.9  

“awed” pāriplavagatāḥ: Here, following Cr, pāriplava has been interpreted as saṃbhramaḥ, “amazement, agitation.” Ct and Cg, who read pāriplavagataiḥ, understand pāriplava to be a type of vehicle, probably a palanquin. Thus they take the compound to mean “mounted in palanquins.” See crit. app. at verse 9 for variant Cf. Apte s.v. pāriplava, who cites this verse. Bhandare 1920, p. 134, thinks that both options are equally good.

.13  

“snowy geese” haṃsasaṃplavaiḥ: At issue in this verse is what is actually in the sky. Cg and Ct, who have been followed in the translation, understand that both the foam and the geese are in the sky and that they are respectively compared with the white autumn clouds. This makes sense, as both the foam and the geese are logically connected with a river. On the other hand, Cr understands that only the foam is actually in the sky and that it is compared to both the geese and the clouds. He would read, “the sky seemed suddenly filled with autumn clouds and snowy geese.” See Bhandare 1920, p. 134.

.14  

“at others, it narrowed and sank between its banks” vinataṃ kvacid: Vinata here is taken by the commentators as “shrunken or low because of its depth.” Bhandare 1920, p. 134, understands vinata as “descending” in opposition to udbhūta, “ascending.” For clarity, vinata has been translated rather generally.

.16  

“able to wash away all sin” gatakalmaṣam: This means literally “free from taint or dirt,” but Ct and Cg, whom the translation has followed, understand that the waters wash away the sins of those who bathe in it. Cg evidently, regards Śiva and the Earth as impure, “clean even though fallen from Śiva’s head.” Obviously this interpretation derives from his Vaishnava commitment.

.17  

“fallen from Bhava’s body” bhavāṅgapatitam: Cg goes to great lengths to explain away the purifying effect of Śiva’s body. One of his more ingenious explanations is that the Ganges is no longer as extremely pure as it was, since it had fallen from Śiva’s body. Therefore the gods just touch it rather than bathe in it. Another ingenious rationale is that even though “fallen from Bhava’s body, the Ganges is pure, since she originates from Viṣṇu’s toe!” Cr, in a more ecumenical spirit, disagrees with Cg and says that people who desire the best should shun the notion that the Ganges loses its extreme purity from contact with Śiva’s body, and they “should respect the notion that the Ganges obtained purity from contact with Śiva.”

“bathed there” paspṛśuḥ: Here Ct has been followed. Both Cr and Cg understand, “touched,” as noted above.

.24  

After 24, Ś,Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S (except M4) insert a very well-known passage of 16 lines [934*; GPP 1.43.34c-41] in which the Ganges floods the sacrificial hall of the sage Jahnu. He is angered and drinks her up, to the amazement of all. Praised and propitiated, he releases her through his ears. Hence she is called Jāhnavī, for she is now regarded as his daughter. She follows Bhagīratha’s chariot again, this time to Rasātala, where Bhagīratha sees his ancestors and they are flooded and purified by the Ganges. The sons of Sagara finally reach heaven. Peterson 1879, p. 31, regards the story as an invention to explain the common epithet Jāhnavī, but this sort of argument can be made with respect to all these stories. The actual release of Sagara’s sons is otiose here, as it occurs in the next sarga.

Sarga 43

.1  

“gaping hole” talam: Talam literally means the surface (of the earth). Cg and Ct think that here it refers to Pātāla. Cf. 939*.1.

.4  

Compare the northern recension’s (Ñ,V,B,D10,13, and M4) reading 941*.

.5  

“by a name that you shall give her” tvatkṛteṇa … nāmnā: Cr interprets the word kṛta, “fashioned,” nominally in the sense of “deed, effort.” Thus he takes the phrase to mean “by a name that originates in your effort, which has now become the subject of knowledge.”

.6  

For 6cd, Ś,Ñ,V,B,D1-3,5,6,9-13, and M4 substitute 2 lines [944*]. These same manuscripts have 8 additional lines [945*]. In this passage, the etymological derivations of the river’s three names — Tripathagā, Ganges, and Bhāgīrathī — are given. Cr reads four names, adding Divyā to the list; see Cr on 6 (GPP 1.44.6). The last two lines of the passage promise indestructible fame throughout the worlds for Bhagīratha, so long as the Ganges remains a great river.

.10–11  

“could not … think of a way” na śaṅkitā: Although śaṅkitā literally means “doubted,” both Cg and Ct understand it here in the sense of “determined” or “resolved.” A great many manuscripts and commentators (Ś,Dt,1,3,5,6,8,10,14, Ñ2,V1,4,B1,2,4,G1,3,4,M3,4) have instead a form of the verb śak, “be able,” that is, “was not able to bring her down.”

.13  

“great abode of righteousness” dharmasyāyatanam: According to Ct, this is the place that is to be obtained through dharma, that is, Brahmaloka. Cr suggests that the intent of the phrase is the highest home of dharma, and implies that one who obtains it has completed the puruṣārthas, or four principal goals in life (dharma, artha, kāma, and mokṣa).

.18  

“freed from … anxiety” vigatajvaraḥ: This means literally “free from fever.” We follow the interpretation of Ct; Cg and Cr both interpret the compound more literally, glossing it as “free from illness” and “free from fever,” respectively.

.19  

“time for our evening devotions” saṃdhyākālaḥ: Peterson, disagreeing with Schlegel, understands this to mean the morning devotions and that Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa spent the night referred to at 44.3-5 listening to the story. It seems to us, however, that Ck is right and that the narration of the story concludes in the evening and Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa spend the night reflecting on the story.

.20  

The crit. notes, p. 453, say that this phalaśruti shows that the episode is interpolated, but this is too facile an argument. See Introduction.

The southern manuscripts (Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S [except M4]) insert 2 lines [949*; GPP 1.44.21c-22b] after 20ab . After 20cd, these same manuscripts continue with 2 lines [950*; GPP 1.44.23]: “The departed ancestors and gods are pleased with him who recites this among brahmans and kshatriyas (949*). Whoever hears it gains all desires, all his sins are destroyed, and his life and fame are increased” (950*).

Sarga 44

.2  

“filling of the ocean” sāgarasya … pūraṇam: This refers to the story that the Ganges filled the hole dug by the sons of Sagara and in so doing, created the ocean. See 1.43.1.

After 2, Ś,Ñ,V,B,Dt,1-3,5-13,G1-3, M1,3,4 read 5c-f (Mighty ascetic … but a moment). Textual evidence strongly suggests that the ordering should read 2;5c-f;3;4;5ab;6ab;6c-f. Cf. the northern recension, which replaces 6cd with 956*.

.5  

“holy goddess Night” bhagavatī rātriḥ: It is the telling of the story of the descent of the Ganges that, according to Ct and Cg, makes the night worthy of reverence. See above, note 2.

.8  

Viśālā is, apparently, the capital city of the Licchavis, a powerful tribe of eastern India around 600 b.c. The city is known from the Buddhist period as Vaiśālī. This city is, it seems, different from the city of the same name mentioned in Kālidāsa’s Meghadūta (1.31, cf. 1.37) and identified with Ujjain. See crit. notes, p. 453, Law 1954, pp. 265-67; Kale 1969, pp. 56-58; Wilson 1864, vol. 3, p. 246.

.13  

“as I tell it” kathayataḥ: Only Ct seems to construe kathayataḥ with śakrasya, that is, “story of Śakra, who related it.” Cg and Cr understand Viśvāmitra as its subject.

.14  

Golden Age: See note on 1.1.73.

Sons of Diti … sons of Aditi: The sons of Diti are demons and the sons of Aditi are the gods. Aditi is known as the mother of the gods. Diti, known from the earliest literature, is called the mother of the demons in the Atharvaveda (7.7.1). See Keith 1925, vol. 2, pp. 215-18.

.16  

“wise beings” vipaścitām: This is marked as a doubtful reading in the critical text. Variant readings include viniścitām, suniścitām, and mahātmanām.

“the elixir of life” rasaḥ: Here rasaḥ refers to the amṛtaḥ or nectar of immortality. See crit. notes, p. 453.

For other versions of this famous story, see MBh 1.15ff., Bhāgavatapurāṇa 8.6-9, Matsyapurāṇa 249.51, Viṣnupurāṇa 1.9, etc. See also Bedekar 1967, pp. 7-61; S. A. Dange 1969, pp. 239-80.

.17  

In the traditional Indian method of churning butter, which serves as the model for the churning of the ocean, the churning stick is twirled by means of a rope rather than agitated directly by hand.

After 17, Dt,4,6,8,T3,M3 insert a well-known passage of 25 lines given at App. I, No. 8 (GPP 1.45.17-3lb): “After one thousand years, the heads of the snake (Vāsuki), who was the churning rope, bit the rocks with their fangs, vomiting forth a horrible poison. Thus was the great Hālāhala poison produced, which began to burn all the worlds — gods, demons, and mortals included. The gods, seeking refuge, approached the Great God, Rudra Śaṅkara, lord of creatures, crying, ‘Save us, save us!’ Then they spoke to the lord, lord of Kubera, the god of gods. Thereupon Hari, bearer of the conch and discus, appeared and, smiling, addressed the bearer of the trident, Rudra. ‘That which was brought up first as the gods churn belongs to you, best of gods, for you are first among the gods. Since you are deserving of first worship, lord, you should accept this poison.’ Having spoken in this manner, the best of gods (Viṣṇu) disappeared on the spot. But the bowman, Śiva, hearing these words and seeing the gods’ fear, accepted the terrible Hālāhala poison as if it were nectar. Then, dismissing the gods, the blessed Hara, lord of gods, departed. Then, delight of the Raghus, all the gods and demons began to churn once more. This time, however, the great mountain that served as their churning stick sank down to Pātāla. Therefore the gods and gandharvas praised Viṣṇu, the slayer of Madhu, saying, ‘You are the recourse for all beings, especially for the gods who reside in heaven. Protect us, great-armed one, please raise up this mountain.’ Upon hearing this, Hari, lord of the senses, assumed the form of a tortoise and, placing the mountain on his back, lay there in the ocean. Then the great Primal Man, Keśava, soul of the world, took the peak of the mountain in his hand and standing in the midst of the gods, began to churn.” See crit. app., p. 255, for Ck and Cg’s criticism of the passage. Ck says, “we don’t see this version in the oldest and purest manuscripts.” See Ck and Ct on the last verse of the sarga (GPP 1.45.45), where they argue that the passage is interpolated.

Following App. I, No. 8, the southern manuscripts read 2 lines, marked “f” in the crit. app. to App. I, No. 8. Based on the textual evidence, these lines (GPP 1.41.3lcd-32ab) properly belong to the appendix itself.

.18  

Dhanvantari is the physician of the gods and the legendary founder of Ayurvedic medicine.

18ab is a highly suspect line. As it stands, the line is awkward and the reference to Dhanvantari is incomplete. The textual evidence for its inclusion is weak, as all the N manuscripts and M4 omit it. Furthermore, it construes grammatically with a line found in the crit. app. to the appendix (line 2 of “f,” p. 419; see note to 17 above).

The word apsaras is here fancifully derived as a sort of portmanteau word made up of apsu, “in the waters,” and rasa, “elixir.” The commentators understand rasa to be the essence produced by the churning. See Bhandare 1920, p. 138, who derives the term from the word ap, “water,” and the verbal root sṛ, “to move.” For other derivations of this type, see 1.23.7,8,17-20; 28.18, etc.

.20  

“belong to everyone” sādhāraṇāḥ: The idea is that they belong to no one party. This is supposed to account for the apsarases’ legendary promiscuity.

.21  

Vāruṇī, a goddess also known as Surā, is the personification of intoxicating drink.

.23  

This verse gives a popular etymology for the common terms sura, “god,” and asura, “demon.” Those that possessed Surā became known as “suras,” whereas those that did not became known as “a-suras,” which is then represented as meaning, “having no wine.” Bhandare 1920, p. 138, presents two other popular and somewhat more plausible etymologies.

.24  

The horse Uccaihśravas was given to Indra, and the gem Kaustubha to Viṣṇu.

“finest thing of all” uttamam. According to Cg, this refers to the last, rather than the finest, thing produced.

After 24, some S manuscripts (G1-3,M1-3) insert 12 lines [966*] in which the beautiful goddess Śrī is produced from the churning, and chooses Viṣṇu. Compare MBh 1.16.35-37.

For 24c-25, Ñ2 (Ñ1 missing),V,B,D10,13 substitute, whereas Ś,D1-3,5,7,9,11,12, and M4 partially substitute or insert, 8 lines [967°]. Here the nectar appears, followed by Dhanvantari. In this version it is only now that the poison appears, and it is taken not by Śiva hut by the great serpents, the nāgas. The gods and asuras then fight to gain possession of the nectar. Compare 967*.2-3 with MBh 1.16.37.

.25  

After 25, Ś,Dt,4,6,8,14,S insert 6 lines [969*; GPP 1.45.41-43], in which the asuras join forces with the rākṣasa and continue the fight. After great destruction, Viṣṇu takes the form of the seductress Mohinī, steals the amṛta, and crushes all who come to face him/her. See MBh 1 16.38ff.

Sarga 45

Sarga 45  

For a discussion of this sarga in light of Kirfel’s remarks about its relationship to the Vāyupurāṇa, see crit. notes, p. 453.

.1  

Mārīca Kāśyapa is the husband of both Diti and Aditi; therefore both the gods and the demons are his sons. See 1.44.14.

.8  

Kuśaplavana is, according to the commentators, a penance grove to the east of Viśālā (see note on 1.44.8). It is mentioned at MBh 3.83.33.

.9  

“most virtuously” guṇasaṃpadā: According to the commentators, this implies humility, discipline, and other appropriate virtues. Attendance upon an ascetic is a common motif in the literature. This particular case is somewhat unusual in that normally it is a woman who waits upon a male. See, for example, Matsyapurāṇa 47.61-126, MBh 1.71ff., etc.

.12  

After 12, D4,9,14,S (except M4) insert, whereas Ś,Dt,6,8 insert after 14, 2 lines [975*; GPP 1.46.15] in which Diti tells Indra that Kaśyapa has granted her a son.

.14  

“for your sake” tvatkṛte: Ct and Cr understand “for your (Indra’s) destruction.” It seems, and the commentators agree, that, pleased by Indra’s service, Diti has had a genuine change of heart, though Bhandare 1920, p. 140, disagrees. In any ease, her new prediction is the one that comes true, for she gives birth to the Maruts, who are Indra’s helpers.

.15  

This is a cause of impurity, as is also sleeping during the day (sūryābhyuditam). Ct says that the head should be to the north or east and the feet to the south or west. See Kane 1962-1975, vol. II, pp. 800ff.

.19  

“Don’t cry! Don’t cry!” mā rudo mā rudaḥ: This phrase will serve as the folk etymology of the name Māruta mentioned below at 1.46.4-6.

Sarga 46

.3  

“some good” priyaṃ tu kṛtam: Tu and kṛtam are both marked as doubtful readings by the critical text. The GPP reads tvatkṛtam, “for your sake.” Cf. 983*. It appears that some manuscript evidence has been omitted from the apparatus; for according to the GPP edition (1.47.3), Cg and Cr both read tu kartum, and yet the apparatus makes no mention of this reading (cf. 983*.1).

See Bhandare 1920, p. 141, who says that marutām refers to the regions of the wind.

.4  

The name Māruta is derived from “marut,” “wind,” or, as in verse 3, “regions of the wind.” At verse 6 another derivation is given.

“regions of the winds” vātaskandhāḥ: Cr understands, vātabhedāh, “varieties of wind.” whereas Cg glosses, vātaskandhābhimānidevatāḥ, “divinities who proudly style themselves the Vātaskandhas.” See Bhandare 1920, p. 141.

.6  

Mārutas: The name is a pun based on a verse from the last sarga (1.45.20), where Indra tells the fetus mā rudaḥ, “don’t cry.”

.12  

See 1.44.8.

.16  

Kākutstha is a patronymic epithet frequently applied to Ikṣvāku princes, most notably Rāma himself.

Sarga 47

.1  

“formalities” kathānte: Kathā, usually “story,” seems here to mean the formal exchange of greetings, as opposed to the substantive matter that follows. See Cr and Cg.

.2  

“tigers or bulls … lions or elephants” śārdūlalavṛṣabha— … gajasiṃha—: Cg, who understands each brother to have the attributes of all four animals, has been followed in the translation. He provides an explanation of the appropriate times at which the different gaits are applicable. Cr, on the other hand, reads the phrases distributively; thus Lakṣmaṇa’s gait is like an elephant’s, whereas Rāma’s is like that of a lion. One could also read the compound gajasiṃhagatī as “those whose gaits were like that of a lion among (best of) elephants.”

Verses 2-7 are repeated virtually verbatim at sarga 49, although the order of the pādas differs somewhat. The correspondences are as follows: 47.2—49.17; 47.3—49.18; 47.4—49.19; 47.5ab—49.20cd; 47.5cd—49.21ab; 47.6cd—9.20ab; 47.7a—49.22a; 47.7cd—49.23ab.

Many N manuscripts (Ñ2,V,B,D1,10,13) omit 8ef, and it should, perhaps, be removed from the text altogether, or at least, be considered a doubtful reading.

.10  

“praised” samapūjayan: The vulgate commentators understand the verb, which normally indicates “worship,” in the sense of praise, and understand the praise itself, that is, sādhu sādhu, “excellent, excellent,” as a type of worship.

.14  

“Ah!” hanta: This particle frequently expresses joy, but here it seems to carry no definite meaning. See Bhandare 1920, p. 142.

.15  

The crit. notes, p. 453, provide a list of variants and references to the story of Ahalyā and Indra.

The Uttarakāṇḍa version (7.16ff.) marks the only repetition in the poem of a story peripheral to the epic narrative. The style and content of the two versions are quite distinct.

.18  

“Shapely woman” susamāhite: This term usually refers to a controlled or concentrated state of mind. Ct,Cg, and Cm, however, take it here to mean “beautiful.” Ck construes it in yet a different manner, as a modifier of kāla, “time,” thus, “at the proper time.” Cr reads the phrase more in keeping with its usual interpretation, “of concentrated mind.” The use of this word seems to be intentional in that it evokes both sexual and contemplative associations, thus intensifying the sexual and ascetic conflict of the episode. See 1.48.18, where the word is translated as “attentively.”

“fertile period” ṛtukālam: This is the time traditionally prescribed for love-making, in order to insure offspring (see Kane 1962-1975, vol. II, pp. 201-206), although sex is not absolutely forbidden at other times, except during the menses (see Kane 1962-1975, vol. II, p. 801).

.20  

“my lover” mānada: Literally, “building esteem,” this is a stock epithet for a paramour.

20ef is omitted by Ñ, V2-4,B1,3,4,D1,10,13, M4. As a southern reading with no solid northern support, it should be omitted from the critical text, or at least marked as doubtful.

.29  

“suffering” tapantī: Ct and Cr agree that this refers to Ahalyā’s remorse at the memory of her own misconduct.

Sarga 48

.2–3  

The idea is that Gautama, like any zealous ascetic, might threaten the gods with his power. This is a common theme in the epic literature. Verse 3 elaborates the idea of verse 2. Although the theme is not uncommon, in this case there is none of the usual preparation for such a scene, that is, there is no indication that Gautama has actually frightened the gods or that they have deputed Indra to subvert his austerities.

.5  

“divine ancestors” pitṛdevān: Here the intent seems to be literal — “the gods in the form of ancestors” — following Bhandare 1920, p. 143. The commentators read the compound as copulative and gloss, “Agni and the bearers of the funerary offerings, etc.” But Agni is also a spokesman of the gods, unless the commentators understand a different form of Agni.

.7  

This verse is somewhat obscure, especially the second half. GPP reads an additional line (1018*; GPP I.49.7ef) that resolves it. The N manuscripts replace 7cd with 1016*, which also resolves the verse (“with your use of his great testicles”). However, the idea of the critical reading seems to be that Agni is reassuring the pitṛs that the loss of the ram’s testicles does not impair its value as a sacrificial victim. See Bhandare 1920, p. 143, and Peterson 1879, p. 33.

.9  

Peterson 1879, p. 33, understands this as a mythical explanation of a sacrificial practice.

“reserving their testicles for Indra” phalais teṣām ayojayan: This last quarter of the verse is very obscure and evidently depends on an elided phalam, “fruit.” The idea, according to Cg and Cr, appears to be that they make the benefits (phalam) of offering a castrated and an uncastrated ram the same. Ct, whom we follow, understands more simply, “since they had given over (to Indra) their testicles” (supplying “since” to complete the meaning). See Bhandare 1920, p. 144. Cm offers some additional interpretations.

.13  

“even” api: In the translation, api is construed with surāsaraiḥ, “by the gods and asuras,” following Cr and Cg. Ct understands the api differently, that is, “even though they came near.” See Peterson 1920, p. 33, and Bhandare 1879, p. 144, who both accept Ct’s interpretation.

.14  

Cf. Kumārasambhava 1.49 for a similar description of Umā.

.15  

“discerned but dimly” durādharṣām: The adjective normally means “unassailable,” and Ct reads it separately from the simile, rendering it as “untouchable.” We believe, however, that it is not likely that the poet would have broken up the rhetorical figure in this way and follow Cm in taking the term to refer to the obscurity of Ahalyā’s appearance.

.18  

“Attentively” susamāhitā: Compare the usage here with that at 1.47.18.

.20  

The commentators note that Gautama, aware of Rāma’s arrival through his yogic power, has returned for the event.

Sarga 49

.6–7  

“the best of sages” muniśreṣṭham: This is marked as an uncertain reading in the critical text. Variant readings include muniṃ prāptam and ṛṣiṃ prāptam for the N manuscripts, and anuprāptam for eight S manuscripts, including the vulgate.

“welcome offering” arghyam: See note on 1.2.24.

Lines 7ab and cd of the critical text are slightly difficult to construe together because the subject of the plural verb daduḥ, “gave,” appears to agree with the singular subject nṛpatiḥ, “king.” Given the critical reading, one may accept this irregularity as the result of the inclusion of the priests in the king’s action. The various recensions avoid this problem. The S manuscripts (D4,9,14,S [except M4],Cg,Ck [after 6], Dt,6,8 [after 7ab]) insert 1 line [1033*], “went there quickly with humility,” which makes the passage read much better. The northern reading is similar to the critical, substituting 1034* for 7ab. It is grammatically no clearer than the critical reading. The passage wants a verb, which the S manuscripts have provided.

.9  

“embracing” samāgācchat: The translation follows Cg’s interpretation, “embraced,” rather than giving the usual meaning, “come together.” See Bhandare 1920, p. 145.

“them all” sarvaiḥ: is marked as a doubtful reading in the critical text. Variant readings include ṛṣiḥ, muniḥ, munivaraiḥ, etc. The vulgate reads yathārham ṛṣibhiḥ sarvaiḥ for pāda c. N manuscripts have no direct equivalent, but read sarvān as the object of samāgacchat, indicating here that the instrumental is to be irregularly understood as the object.

.17  

Verses 17-21 are almost a verbatim repetition of 1.47.2-7cd. See note on 1.47.2.

.21  

“side locks” kākapakṣa—: See note on 1.18.8.

.25  

See Peterson 1879, p. 34, and Bhandare 1920, p. 145, for a summary of the journey from Ayodhyā to Mithilā.

Sarga 50

.4  

Śatānanda’s mother is Ahalyā.

.5  

“Mighty man” mahātejaḥ: The vocative ending is marked as doubtful in the critical text. Many S manuscripts read a nominative singular. The N manuscripts avoid this phrase with the substitution of 1 line [1045*].

.7  

“after seeing Rāma” rāmasaṃdarśanād itaḥ: Cg reads this phrase as either rāmasaṃdarśanād itaḥ, which is the interpretation followed in the translation, or as rāmasaṃdarśanāditaḥ, “with the sight of Rāma, etc.,” taking the suffix -taḥ in the sense of the instrumental.

.8  

“show him reverence” pūjitaḥ: Here, according to the commentators, the reverence takes the form of the restoration of his wife Ahalyā.

.11  

The Bhārgava sage, Jamadagni, ordered his son Rāma to behead his wife Reṇukā. As a result of the sage’s boon to his son, Rāma, the slain woman was restored to life and the couple was reunited. See MBh 3.115-117, especially 3.116.1-19, for the oldest surviving version of this tale.

The allusion to the Bhārgava legend is of interest here at the beginning of the Viśvāmitra episode in that it shows that the author of this passage at least knew the MBh. This is one of the few Bhārgava references in the epic. See also 1.24.18, 1.37.6.11, 1.60.10-11, and notes on 1.60.10-11 and 1.69.24. See Goldman 1976 and 1977.

.16  

“his mighty deeds” yathābalam: We have followed the commentators, who understand this to be a reference to Viśvāmitra’s powerful austerities. A possible alternative would be to read the term adverbially with the participle nigadataḥ, “as I recount,” in the sense of “to the best of my ability.”

For a discussion of the Viśvāmitra episode and its special connection with the Rām, see Introduction to Bālakāṇḍa and Jacobi 1893, pp. 26ff.

.19  

Viśvāmitra’s lineage has already been given at sarga 33 (see especially verses 1-3). Note that here, again, there is no mention of Kuśika. This is of interest in light of the fact that the MBh seems to know only the name Kuśika and not Kuśanābha. The two must be regarded as identical, as both are known primarily as Gādhi’s father. See notes to 33.3 and 33.6. Cf. also notes to 33.8.

.22–27  

“home of flocks of birds” dvijasaṃghaniveṣitam: One could optionally read the compound as “the home of communities of brahmans”

Sarga 51

.4–5  

“burnt offerings’ agnihotra—: This is an oblation consisting mainly of cow’s milk, but which may include gruel (yavāgū), cooked rice, curds, and/or clarified butter. See Āśvalayana Śrauta Sūtra 2.3.1-2.

.7  

“your majesty” rājan: The second occurrence of the vocative in this verse is replaced in the N manuscripts with the adverb nityam, “constantly.” It is marked as a doubtful reading in the crit. ed.

“manner proper to a king” rājavṛttena: The vulgate commentators cite a verse that describes the fourfold rājavṛtta: 1. lawful acquisition, 2. increase of wealth, 3. protection, and 4. respect for those worthy of it.

.10  

“eminent” vasiṣṭham: The proper noun Vasiṣṭha is, according to Cr and Ct, modified by the noun vasiṣṭha, “best.” Cg understands the adjective Vasiṣṭha to mean righteous (dhārmika) instead. Cf. 1.67.4-5, where the name Janaka is, in a similar manner, used in conjunction with the adjective janaka.

.11  

“pleasant” śubhāḥ: This is marked as a doubtful reading in the critical text. Many S manuscripts and most N manuscripts read tadā or tathā.

.12  

“smiling slightly” prahasann iva: What is the significance of the smile? Cm,Ck, and Ct understand it to signify the sage’s pleasure in having such an august guest. Cr and Cg take the phrase simply to mean that the sage has a pleasant expression on his face. It is tempting to suggest that the old sage is smiling in his knowledge of what is to come.

.20  

“cleansed of all sin” dhūtakalmaṣaḥ: The vulgate commentators (except Cg) and many other manuscripts, both northern and southern, read dhūtakalmaṣām, which then modifies kalmāṣīm, “brindled cow.”

.22  

“the six flavors” ṣaḍraseṣu: These are traditionally said to be astringent, sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and acrid. See Amarakośa 245-46 and Bhandare 1920, p. 149.

Sarga 52

Sarga 52  

The story of Vasiṣṭha’s cow and the hostilities she engenders between the sage and Viśvāmitra is also told in the Mahābhārata (1.164-165). There are striking and significant parallels between the two passages. Not only is there a marked similarity of vocabulary (cf. Rām 1.51.23ab and MBh 1.165.11cd), but several lines are so close in content and structure — a few are virtually identical — as to leave no doubt that the passages are in some manner related. The MBh evidence is found mainly in the critical apparatus. After MBh 1.165.9, the S manuscripts insert six lines (1.1753*). Similar lines are found in the critical text of the Rām. Some northern Rām versions are virtually identical with the southern MBh passage. Based on other observations, such as the fact that the Kauśika elements in both texts are late, it appears that the northern version of the Rām knew the MBh episode. (For other cases of close affinity between the northern recension of the Rām and the MBh, compare Rām 1.52.2ab, especially N variant 1063*, and MBh 1.1753*.5; Rām 1.52.2cd and MBh 1.1753*.6; Rām 1.52.3ab, especially Ś,V,D1-3,5,7,12,13, and MBh 1.1753*.l; Rām I.52.3cd, especially T1, G2, and MBh 1.1753*.2.)

.2  

“sweets” madhūn: Literally, “honeys,” but here Cr has been followed in interpreting the term more generally. Note the irregular masculine.

.4  

“silver” gauḍāni: Ck adduces a lexical citation, rajataṃ guḍaḥ, which gives guḍaḥ, as a synonym of rajatam, “silver.” He thus takes the term to be an adjective, “silver,” referring to the serving vessels. Ct cites him and accepts this interpretation, whereas Cr cites Ct’s reference to Ck, and offers this as an alternative explanation. The issue hinges mainly on the crit. ed.’s (and Cg’s) reading of bhājanāni, “vessels.” Several manuscripts and most of the vulgate commentators read bhojanāni, “foods.” This reading makes easier the interpretation of the adjective gauḍa in its more usual sense of “consisting of molasses or unrefined sugar” This is the interpretation offered first by Cr, who curiously takes bhojana in the sense of platters filled with such (sweetened) food. Cg, who reads bhājanāni, still tries to apply the adjective to the food. All considered, it seems that Ck’s interpretation is most in keeping with the syntax. See Bhandare 1920, p. 149, who accepts Cg’s reading of “consisting of molasses.”

.13  

The idea behind the verse is that all the rites named require the milk and ghee produced by the cow for oblation.

“burnt offerings” agnihotram: See note on 1.51.4.

bali”: This is the daily offering of a portion of rice, grain, clarified butter, etc. to all creatures. It is one of the five daily rites that are to be performed by a brahman. See Kane 1962-1975, vol. II, pp. 741-48.

homa offerings”: This is the offering of ājya, “clarified butter,” to the gods. It, too, is one of the five daily rites enjoined upon brahmans. See Kane 1962-1975, vol. II, pp. 208ff.

.14  

svāhā and vaṣaṭ”: These are utterances intoned at the time of offering an oblation and/or at the end of a sacrifice in conjunction with the god’s name to whom the sacrifice is offered. The svāhā is associated with the homa of the gṛhya rites, whereas the vaṣaṭ is used at the yajñas and upayajñas of the śrauta ceremonies. Compare Kane 1962-1975, vol. II, pp. 208, 1058-59. See 1.64.14.

“various branches of learning” vidyāḥ: Here the six vedāṅgas, “auxiliary vedic sciences,” are meant. See note on 1.1.13.

.16  

“still more determined” saṃrabdhataram: Normally this means “more agitated,” but here the translation follows the commentators.

.19  

“foaled in good regions” deśajātānām: The commentators mention Kāmboja (Kamboja) and Bāhlīka (Vāhlīka) as two regions famed for horses. See note on 1.6.20.

“born of noble stock” kulajānām: The commentators mention the Gandharva line as an excellent breed, and cite the upaniṣads to this effect.

.20  

“young” vayaḥsthānām: Cr and Ct cite Amarakośa 1157, bālas tu syān mānavako vayahsthas taruṇo yuvā, to show that the word means “young.” Bhandare 1920, p. 151, however, understands, “mature, full-grown.”

After verse 20, Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S insert 2 lines [1069*; GPP 1.53.21], where Viśvāmitra says: “I will give you as many gems or as much gold as you want, best of brahmans. Give me Śabalā.”

.23  

“new and full moon rites” darśaś ca pūrṇamāsaś ca: The new and full moon rites are obligatory śrauta ceremonies. See crit. notes, p. 454; Keith 1925, pp. 319-21; and Kane 1965, vol. II pt. ii, pp. 1009ff.

Sarga 53

.4  

“contemplative” bhāvitātmanaḥ: This can also be understood in the sense of pure, holy, or “one who has meditated upon and realized the Ātman.”

.7  

“lowed like thunder” meghadundubhirāviṇī: This means literally, “with a bellow like the kettledrums of the clouds.” Compare with this the GPP (1.54.7) reading, meghaniḥsvanā, “noise like (rumbling) clouds.” The N manuscripts read as a variant haṃb(h)āra(ā)va, “lowing ‘Hambhā.’”

.11  

“especially today” adya viśeṣataḥ: Ct notes, no doubt correctly, that Viśvāmitra, who as a king would in any case be inviolate, is especially so for Vasiṣṭha, in that the latter has received the former as his guest.

.12  

“with hosts of horses and chariots” savājirathasaṃkulā: The first two members of the compound are marked as a doubtful reading in the critical text. Most N manuscripts, the vulgate, and some S manuscripts read the most common variant, gajavājirathākulā, “with hosts of elephants, horses, and chariots.”

.18  

Humbhā”: This is an onomatopoetic word for the lowing of cattle. It is the Indian equivalent of the English “moo.” See above, note 7.

Pahlavas are a tribe of foreign invaders usually identified as the Parthians, who invaded India in the first or second century b.c., although the word may just as well be understood here more generally to refer to any non-aryan tribal or barbarian warriors. The exact spelling of this term is marked as uncertain in the crit. ed. The references to these various invaders here must be understood as late and therefore as having no real significance in the dating of the core of the Bālakāṇḍa. See Introduction to Bālakāṇḍa.

.20  

Śakas and Yavanas are not infrequently associated and mentioned in connection with the Pahlavas. The Yavanas, or Ionians, are presumably Greek invaders from Bactria, and the Śakas the Scythians. These groups are all associated with the northwestern border areas of the Indian subcontinent. The epic literature is not precise in its use of any of these names and, as noted above in conjunction with the Pahlavas, the terms are often employed only to mean non-aryan tribals or barbarians.

.23  

The verse is uncharacteristically abrupt. The various versions resolve it with 1079*, 1080*, or 1081*. As no version reads the line in isolation, and as it is somewhat awkward contextually, we feel that the critical text should, in keeping with its principles, have completed the verse. Ś1 (in margin),Dt,D4,6,8,9,14,S add after 23 1081*: “(Viśvāmitra … fired his weapons) by which the Yavanas, Kāmbojas, and Paplavas (Pahlavas) were routed.” This verse [1081*] is, unfortunately, contextually weak, as the Kāmbojas are not produced until 1.54.2 and are not mentioned in any relevant Devanāgarī or S manuscripts prior to this. Furthermore, there are no significant variants among the S manuscripts themselves. Ñ,V,B,D10,11 add after verse 23 1079*, whereas Ś1 (after 1081), V4,D1-3,5,7,11-13 add after verse 23 1080*. Either of these would be suitable, but although they are contextually apposite, their textual support is weak. As credible arguments can be made for either the major N variant (1079*) or the S variant (1081*), no definitive resolution is possible.

Sarga 54

.1  

“through your yogic power” yogatalḥ: This is the reading of all the vulgate commentators and Bhandare 1920, p. 152, but compare Peterson 1879, p. 36, who understands, “with all your might,” which may be a more appropriate interpretation. Peterson is evidently disturbed by the notion of an animal practicing yoga, or possessing yogic powers. This, however, merely seeks to impose a veneer of rationality on a sea of fantasy. If the beast can produce soldiers, surely we ought not quibble over the exact means of their production. Interestingly, Cg appears to be bothered by something of the same scruple that afflicts Peterson, for he remarks, by way of explanation, “even though she is only an animal, still, through the grace of Brahmā she has yogic power. This is what we are to understand.”

.2  

See note on 1.52.19 and 1.53.23, and see Chaudhuri 1955, p. 133.

.3  

Mlecchas are barbarians or non-aryans in general. Derived from the root mlecch (1P), the word refers to those who speak confusedly or indistinctly. Thus, one who does not speak the aryan tongue is a mleccha. In this verse, however, the commentators understand mleccha to refer to a particular tribe rather than to barbarians generally.

The Kirātas are a tribe of aboriginal hill peoples from northern India. They are known from the Atharvaveda (10.4.14), but in time this term, too, assumed a generic sense and refers commonly in the literature to any tribal hill peoples.

The Hārītas were also, it seems, a tribal group. According to the commentators, they are a type of Kirāta. The name is not as well attested as the others. The manuscripts are not uniform in their reading of Hārīta, and the crit. app. offers such variants as tuṣārāḥ, the Sanskritic form of tukhāra, that is, the peoples of Turkistan. In the northern manuscripts we find variants such as savarā sa, tathā rāma, and khurājjātāḥ). (see Chaudhuri 1955, p. 105ff.).

.5–6  

“uttering the syllable ‘Hum’” huṃkāreṇa: This is the same syllable with which Kapila destroys all the sixty thousand sons of Sagara. See 1.39.27 and 1.74.17.

.13  

“great sage” mahāmunim: This is marked as a doubtful reading in the critical text; variants include abhāṣata (from the main northern variant, which reads: āgatya varado vīraṃ viśvāmitram abhāṣata) mahābalam, and tapodhanaḥ.

.16  

Peterson notes that Schlegel observed a play here on the word veda: “There is a play here upon the words Veda and Dhanurveda as if the latter, the science of using the bow, consisted of the same parts and required the same helps as the Veda itself” (Schlegel as quoted by Peterson 1879, p. 37). We are to understand that Viśvāmitra wishes to learn the science of weaponry in its totality. Bhandare 1920, pp. 152-53, citing Kullūka on Manusmṛti 2.140 and 165 argues that the terms rahasya and upaniṣad are redundant. It is possible, however, to take rahasya either with Cm and Cg as the means of understanding the teaching, or preferably in our opinion, with Ck,Ct, and Cr, as the special secret knowledge for the application of these weapons, knowledge that can be had only from the mouth of a guru.

.19  

“already proud, was filled with still greater pride” darpeṇa mahatā yukto darpapūrṇo ‘bhavat: The translation follows Ct,Ck,Cm, and Cg, who say that Viśvāmitra was originally proud on account of his being a kshatriya and that his pride was increased by his acquisition of the divine weapons Cr offers an interesting alternative. He reads mahatā ayuktaḥ, that is, “he who was without great pride became prideful.” This could be supported on the basis of verse 10 above, where the king’s pride was described as having been demolished (hatadarpaḥ).

.27  

This is one of the very few brahmanical curses in the literature that prove false. Strangely, no mention is made of this in the text or in any commentaries that we have seen.

Sarga 55

.1  

“Āgneya weapon” āgneyāstram: See note to 1.26.19. The Āgneya weapon belongs originally to the god of fire, Agni. This weapon can perhaps be identified with one of the astras taught by Viśvāmitra to Rāma at 1.26. The weapon in question is mentioned at 1.26.10, where it is called the Āgneya Śikhara. See below, note 6. The Āgneya weapon is well known elsewhere in epic literature. For example, at MBh 1.158.54, Arjuna gives the weapon to Citraratha, and at MBh 1.216.21, the god of fire, Agni (Pāvaka), gives the weapon to Kṛṣṇa. Cf. 1.29.19, where Rāma uses it against Subāhu.

After 1, Dt,4,6,8,14,S (except M4) add the following line [1085*]: ‘raising his brahman’s staff, which was like a second staff of Death … :’

.6–10  

These verses enumerate for the most part the weapons that Viśvāmitra bestowed upon Rāma following his slaying of the rākṣasa woman Tāṭakā at 1.26. No attempt is made in the text or commentaries to correlate the two lists.

Mānava … Gāndharva: At 1.26.14, the Gāndharva weapon is called the Mānava Gāndharva, whereas here, two separate weapons seem to be intended. Mohana: The repetition of the name is found in the critical text. Mohana has many variants, particularly in the northern manuscripts; for example, vāruṇam, mānasam, mānavaṃ caiva, etc. Cg and the VSP edition read madanam, a variant unrecorded in the critical text. The Paiśāca weapon is also called mohana (l.26.16). Perhaps the two mohanas are meant to be understood adjectivally in the sense of “bewildering.”

Vāyavya, Mathana: Cf. 1.26.11, where the name is Prathama. Compare the variant readings in the crit. app. at 1.26.11.

.11–13  

“at Vasiṣṭha” vasiṣṭhe: Here Ct, who understands the locative to express the locus of the action of the verb cikṣepa, “loosed,” has been followed. Cg, however, understands the locative as the locus of adbhuta, ”wonder,” that is, “something quite extraordinary happened to Vasiṣṭha.” The idea, according to Cg, is that it was extraordinary because Vasiṣṭha felt no effect from the onslaught and absorption of Viśvāmitra’s terrifying weaponry.

.14–15  

“Brahmā’s weapon” brahmāstram: This is regarded as the ultimate weapon, capable of destroying the universe. This explains the reaction of the gods and other supernatural beings. Cf. verse 8 and 1.26.6.

.18  

“like sparks” marīcya iva: The vulgate commentators gloss marīcyaḥ, which generally means “rays of light,” with visphuliṅgāḥ, “sparks.” See Apte s.v. marīciḥ, who cites this verse.

Sarga 56

.3  

Madhuṣpanda: Variants include mahiṣyanda, madhuṣyaṃda, mahiṣpanda, and madhucchanda. Similar variations may be seen with the other names. This sort of instability in the case of proper nouns is common across the recensions of the Sanskrit epics. Madhuṣyanda, although not named first, here appears at 1.60.12 to be the foremost of Viśvāmitra’s sons. Cf. Aitareyabrāhmaṇa 7.18, where Madhucchandas is the middlemost of Viśvāmitra’s 101 sons.

.6  

“first to heaven … and then to the Brahmaloka, his own realm” triviṣṭapaṃ brahmalokam: The translation follows Cr and Ct, who understand that Brahmā went first with the gods to heaven, triviṣṭapam, and then he continued on alone to the Brahmaloka. Cg, however, understands that Brahmā and the gods separated immediately and went to their respective worlds.

.7  

“dejected” samanyuḥ: Normally this would mean “angry,” but Cg and Ct gloss, sadainyaḥ, “dejected, miserable,” which seems more appropriate to the context.

.8  

“I do not consider this a fitting recompense for my austerities” nāsti manye tapaḥphalam: Literally, “I think that austerities bear no fruit,” or “It seems to me that nothing is gained through austerity.” Viśvāmitra is being ironic.

.12  

Vasiṣṭha’s position as purohita or family priest of the Ikṣvākus extends many generations back in time from the days of Rāma and Daśaratha.

.13  

After 13ab, Ś,Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S (except M4) insert the following line [1099*]: “Then, in order to accomplish this feat, the king approached his (Vasiṣṭha’s) sons.” Ñ,V,B,D10,11,13,M4, on the other hand, substitute the following line [1100*] for 13cd: “where the hundred sons of Vasiṣṭha were practicing austerities.”

.14  

Cf. 1101*, which N substitutes for verse 14.

.15–16  

The reconstruction of these two verses in the crit. ed. is suspect, but not crucial to the interpretation of the text.

Sarga 57

Sarga 57  

For additional references to the Triśaṅku episode, see crit. notes, p. 455.

.2  

“someone else” śākhāntaram: This literally means, “another branch,” which can be taken metaphorically to refer to a different vedic school. But Peterson 1879, p. 38, following Muir 1873, vol. 1, p. 401, notes that Vasiṣṭha’s sons would hardly belong to a school other than that of their father. Cr and Cg understand, “another refuge” (āśrayāntaram), whereas Ct understands, “another protector” (rakṣakāntaram). Cf. Bhandare 1920, pp. 155-56.

.5  

“a sacrifice … over all the three worlds” yājane … trailokasya: Ct, whom we have followed here, supplies siddhyartham, and thus understands, “to gain complete mastery over the three worlds.”

Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S (except M4) all insert 1 line [1108*; GPP 1.58.6ab]. This line, “How would we dare show him disrespect?” provides a somewhat better transition between our verse 5 and verse 6.

Ñ2,V,B,D10,13 have a different line that is grammatically less awkward, as do Ś,D1-3,5,7,12. Again we see a situation in which the context was not taken carefully into consideration in the critical editing. Bhandare 1920, p. 156, comments on the ellipsis. He takes this to suggest that if Vasiṣṭha says the sacrifice cannot be done, then it cannot be otherwise. See notes on 1.27.18, 1.28.9, 1.53.23, etc.

.8  

“with their horrifying implications” ghorābhisaṃhitam: Cg and Ct agree that the “horrifying implications” here are the transgression of a guru’s order and the attempt to find another guru.

“pariah” caṇḍāla—: A caṇḍāla is the child of a shudra man and a woman of one of the three higher varṇas. As in the case of the barbarians mentioned at 1.53-54, the name was probably originally that of a specific tribal group but has become generalized to mean any highly polluting untouchable. In the traditional literature, the caṇḍāla is regarded as the most degraded of humans. Cf. Manusmṛti 10.12, caṇḍālaś cādhamo nṝṇām, “The caṇḍāla is the lowest of men.” See Bhandare 1920, p. 156. On the propriety of such a curse of social degradation as punishment for an insult to one’s guru, see Goldman 1978, note 171, p. 384.

.9  

“unkempt hair” dhvastamūrdhajaḥ: Dhvasta literally means, “fallen” or “destroyed.” Cg and Cr understand, “short hair.” We follow Ct.

“garlands and ointment from the cremation ground” cityamālyānulepaḥ: As Cg notes, the king is adorned with a garland of funerary flowers and a paste of human ash. See Bhandare 1920, p. 156, who reads the vulgate aṅgarāgaḥ, “unguent,” for anulepaḥ.

Most N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D10,11,13) and M4 substitute 5 lines [1110*] for 9, whereas Ś,D1-3,5,7,12 substitute 1110*.3 for 9cd. Here the description of the caṇḍāla is more elaborate.

.12  

“ruined” viphalīkṛtam: This means literally “fruitless.” Here Cr understands, “having the pleasure of both worlds destroyed on account of the curse and the refusal of his sacrifice.” Ct and Cg offer similar explanations.

.17  

“gained nothing” nāvāpyate phalam: The vulgate commentators understand the phala, “fruit,” to be a reference to his ascension to heaven. Since, however, the sacrifice that was to have effected Triśaṅku’s embodied ascent to heaven has not yet been performed, this seems to be an embittered reference to his previous sacrifices. It is possible that the hundred sacrifices (kratuśatam) are an ironic allusion to Indra’s epithet Śatakratu, “patron of a hundred sacrifices”

.19  

“my virtuous conduct” śīlavṛttena: The compound could be read optionally as copulative, that is, “by my good qualities (śīla) and behavior (vṛtta).” See Bhandare 1920, p. 157.

.21  

For 21cd, many N manuscripts (Ñ,V4,B, 1,3,4,D10,11,13) substitute, whereas V1, B2 insert after 21, the following line [1113*], which appears to mean, “In my opinion men randomly acquire good and bad fruits.”

.22  

“good works” karmaṇaḥ: The word could also be taken more specifically as a reference to Triśaṅku’s sacrifices.

Sarga 58

.1  

“directly” sākṣāt: Cr says that the word is used in order to emphasize the non-caṇḍāla birth of the king, since a brahman would ordinarily not speak “directly” to a real caṇḍāla. On the other hand, the idea may be to call attention to the kṛpā, “pity,” evinced by Viśvāmitra.

.9  

“anyone” anyaḥ: Here Cg understands “anyone at all who was (invited).” Cr understands anyaḥ to refer to those who were originally not invited, whereas Ct takes it to refer both to those who were invited and to those who were not. Bhandare 1920, p. 157, follows Cg.

“in disrespect” anādṛtam: Both Peterson 1879, p. 39, and Bhandare 1920, pp. 157-58, take the word adverbially with ākhyeyam, “you are to tell it to me (without regard).” The vulgate commentators take it as an adjective modifying uktam, that is, “whatever disrespectful (or offensive) speech … ”

.12  

Mahodaya: The identification of Mahodaya is uncertain. The commentators take Mahodaya to be the name of a ṛṣi, as does the crit. ed. (see crit. notes, p. 455). Schlegel thinks Mahodaya is Vasiṣṭha, but Peterson disagrees, since “Vasiṣṭha does not seem to be involved in the destruction of his hundred sons and Mahodaya” (1879, p. 39). He means that Vasiṣṭha does not appear to suffer the effects of Viśvāmitra’s curse of Mahodaya at verse 21. Peterson seems to like the suggestion of Böhtlingk and Roth that Mahodaya is one of Vasiṣṭha’s sons. The only sons of Vasiṣṭha named in the literature, however, are Śakti(n), known to the Kalmāṣapāda episode of the MBh (1.166.4ff.; 12.337.6), and Suyajña, mentioned at Rām 2.28-29. Bhandare 1920, p. 158, follows the commentators and makes no effort to further identify the figure.

.15  

“is the patronage of this Viśvāmitra sufficient to insure” viśvāmitreṇa pālitāḥ: This means literally “protected by Viśvāmitra” and refers to the brahmans. The commentators regard the utterance as contemptuous.

.19  

“keepers of the dead” mṛtapāḥ: The term refers to scavengers and cemetery workers. The commentators understand the word somewhat more graphically: Ct reads, “those who take the clothes of the dead, etc.,” Cr reads, “cookers of dog flesh,” and Cg,Cm, and Ck, “corpse-eaters.” Each of these, within the Indian tradition, represents an unspeakably foul occupation. See Bhandare 1920, p. 158.

.20  

“vile” nirghṛṇāḥ: This literally means “cruel,” but Cr understands, “having no sense of shame,” which makes better sense, in our opinion, in the context of dog eating and so on.

Muṣṭika” is another term for an outcaste group. These people are evidently not to be distinguished from the mṛtapas of verse 19. Cr understands the term to designate a type of caṇḍāla, whereas Cg remarks that it refers to some kind of low caste. Ct identifies them with the ḍoṃbas. Cf. Bhandare 1920, p. 158.

“loathsome in their occupation” vikṛtāḥ: The commentators understand vikṛta to mean “perverse actions” (Cg: speech, etc.), whereas they take virūpa to refer to physical appearance.

Sarga 59

.2  

After 2, most N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B1,D10,11,13) insert 1 line [1126*]: “All of you sages must consent to this.”

.3  

This verse is omitted by most N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D1-3,5,7,10-13), and M4 omits 3ab; it should therefore be regarded as suspect.

.4  

“in keeping with righteousness” dharmasaṃhitam: The translation follows the interpretation of Ct, who reads the compound adverbially. Cr, on the other hand, takes saṃhita in the sense of sahita, “accompanied by,” and reads the compound as an adjective modifying an unexpressed noun meaning “speech” (vacanam), that is, dharmasahitaṃ vacanam ūcuḥ, “they spoke words that were expressive of righteousness.”

In place of cd, most N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D10,11,13) offer a somewhat more lucid variant: “having heard Viśvāmitra’s speech, all the great seers consulted with one another, overcome with fear of Viśvāmitra.”

.5  

The somewhat conventionalized nature of the term dharmasaṃhitam in the preceding verse can be deduced by the fact that the speech of the sages is governed not so much by respect for law, tradition, or propriety — in short, for dharma — as by their terror of arousing Viśvāmitra’s wrath. The northern manuscripts make this point explicit. See above note on verse 4.

N (Ñ,V,B,D10,11,13) substitutes the following line [1129*] for 5cd. These same manuscripts also read pāda ab somewhat differently: “This ascetic seer is extremely irritable. Mere mortals like us cannot contend with him.”

.8  

8ab is omitted by most N manuscripts (Ñ,V,B,D1-3,5,7,10-13) and M4. This makes its inclusion in the critical text questionable, especially as it is not necessary to the context. Most of these same manuscripts (with the exception of D1-3,5,7,12) read adhvaryuḥ for yājakaḥ, “principal officiant,” in pāda c.

.9  

“according to the rules and ritual injunctions” yathākalpaṃ yathāvidhi: That is, those injunctions found in the kalpasūtra and rules of the vedas. See note to 1.13.3.

.20–21  

“Seven Seers” saptarṣīn: See note on 1.13.21. Gorresio (pt. 1, translation; p. 446 note 203) notes Schlegel’s opinion that these were constellations unknown to the Aryans as long as they were restricted to the Gangetic plain, but which became known to them once they began to colonize the south. See Bhandare 1920, p. 160, and Peterson 1879, p. 39.

.22  

“without an Indra” anindrakaḥ: The word can be taken to mean that the existing world will be without an Indra. In other words, Viśvāmitra is proposing to destroy Indra. Cg, however, says that this is not a suitable explanation. Another way of understanding anindrakaḥ is that the new world that Viśvāmitra intends to create will have no Indra. Ct and Cg agree with the latter interpretation, but they understand it to mean that Triśaṅku will be the ruler of the new world in place of Indra. See Peterson 1879, p. 39, and Bhandare 1920, p. 160. Compare the northern reading (1134*.3), where the whole issue is avoided.

.29  

N manuscripts Ñ,V,B,D10,13 substitute 8 lines [1140*] for verses 29-33. Note that at 1140*.1, the gods’ fear, like that of the sages, motivates their consent.

.30–31  

“constellations” nakṣatrāṇi: We construe the term with pādas c and d of verse 30. The division of the ślokas should be somewhat different, as 30cd and 3lab, it seems, should be read together. See GPP 1.60.3.

“outside the circuit of the sun” vaiśvānarapathād bahiḥ: The idea is that they will not be in the true zodiac.

Sarga 60

Sarga 60  

Variants of the Śunaḥśepa episode are found at Aitareya Brāhmaṇa 7.13-18 and Bhāgavatapurāṇa 9.7. Mention is made of him at MBh 13.3.6. See crit. notes, p. 455, for additional references.

.2  

“here in the southern region” dakṣiṇāṃ … diśam: Viśvāmitra feels that because the Triśaṅku affair and its consequent disruption of his austerities took place in the south, that region is compromised as a location for further asceticism.

.3  

Puṣkara: According to the crit. notes, p. 455, Puṣkara is “a sacred place near Ajmer in Rājasthān.” Law 1954, p. 41, says that according to the Devīpurāṇa, Puṣkara is one of the nine sacred forests. The commentators take Puṣkara to be a tīrtha on the banks of Puṣkara, which (according to Cg, Cr) is in the west and has extensive penance groves. See Bhandare 1920, p. 161, who notes that the plural is probably used to show that there were many small tīrthas called Puṣkara.

“sparsely peopled” viśālāyām: the word normally means “wide, broad.” Here the translation follows Cm’s gloss asambādhāyām, “uncrowded.” Bhandare 1920, p. 161, takes viśālā as the name of a river, distinct from the city of the same name; cf. 1.44.8.

.6  

“priest” vipraḥ: Although this usually means “brahman,” here the commentators agree in taking it to refer to the king’s purohita, “household priest.”

.10–11  

Ṛcīka is a Bhārgava brahman known to the MBh (3.115). He is said to marry Satyavatī, and is the father of Jamadagni. Thus, according to the MBh tradition, at least, he is Viśvāmitra’s brother-in-law; see 1.74.21.

Bhṛgutunda: This literally means “Bhṛgu’s belly” or “Bhṛgu’s navel.” Tunda is marked as a doubtful reading in the text; the most common variant is bhṛgutuṅga. The commentators agree that this is a place, but they interpret it somewhat differently. According to Ct, it refers to the specific peak of a mountain called Bhṛgutuṅga. Cr, on the other hand, thinks that is a “place associated with Bhṛgus.” Cg, who has the same reading as the critical text, understands, “on the inside — the belly (tunda) — of the slope of Bhṛgu’s mountain.”

The influence of the Bhārgava clan and the proliferation of its legends are far greater in the MBh than in the Rām. For a discussion of the references to Bhārgavas in the Rām and their significance, see Sukthankar 1944, Goldman 1976 and 1977, and Sutherland 1979. See note on 1.69.24. It is particularly noteworthy that in the Rām version of this legend, Śunaḥśepa is the son of a Bhārgava.

.13  

For 13, Ñ,V,B,D10,11,13 read 5 lines [1145*]. Note that the vocative bhārgava is replaced by kāśyapa. Does this suggest that Ṛcīka was considered to be a Kāśyapa rather than a Bhārgava by the transmitters of N? Not only do the N manuscripts omit the word Bhārgava, they also lack the reference to Bhṛgutunda. The MBh knows both Ṛcīka and Śunaḥśepa as Bhārgavas. Cf. 1147*, where again the N manuscripts read Kāśyapa for Bhārgava. It is likely that this discrepancy reflects certain aspects of the historical relation of the two texts, especially those centered around the Bhārgava and Kāśyapa families.

.16  

After 16, Ś,Ñ,V,B,D (except 4,9),T1,2,G4,M4 insert the following line [1147*], which construes with verse 17: “Holy Kāśyapa said that an eldest son may not be sold.”

.17  

After 17, Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S (except M4) insert the following line [1148*]: “Therefore I will not give you my youngest son, your majesty.”

Sarga 61

.2  

“splendid” śreṣṭham: This is marked as a doubtful reading in the crit. ed. The most popular variant is, strangely enough, the contextually meaningless jyeṣṭham, “eldest,” which is read by no fewer than sixteen manuscripts.

After 2, Dt,4,6,8,9,14,S (except M4) insert the following line [1153*; GPP 1.62.3ab; VSP 1.62.2ef]: “In great distress (he saw) his maternal uncle engaged in austerities with the seers.”

.4  

“nor kinsmen anywhere on either side” jñātayo bāndhavāḥ kutaḥ: Jñāti refers to a paternal relation and bāndhava to a maternal kinsman. Viśvāmitra is actually a maternal uncle of Śunaḥśepa, since his sister, Satyavatī, is married to Ṛcīka.

.5–6  

“helper” bhāvanaḥ: Literally, “creator,” but here the word bhāvana has been translated following Cr’s gloss, which reads, “you who are the subject of everyone’s recollection in times of distress.” Cg and Cm read bhāvana to mean, “bringer of well-being,” whereas