KISHKINDHA KĀNDA

        The brothers reached the lake Pampa of ethereal beauty. At the very first sight of the lake, Rāma shuddered and wept for Sita, the splendid lotus and lilies and the fish of the lake, resembling her face and eyes. Rāma wondered at the celestial beauty of the lake and in ecstasy spoke to Lakshmana thus, "Dear brother! See the crystal-clear waters, those splendid water lilies and the splendid forest around with those gigantic trees. My great agony is for Sita being lost and for Bharata doing severe tapās mortifying himself outside Ayōdhya. Notwithstanding this mental torture, I feel some joy on seeing these wonderful forests, the ground covered with various flowers fallen down, from trees and the clear holy waters of the lake, which is full of otus. Various animals are freely moving about. Birds are singing. Snakes are showing their full hoods. The earth is like a beautiful carpet from fallen flowers. The great flowery trees with the flowery creepers encircling them, look like lovers, gaily dressed, embracing each other. This is spring-tide. Every tree is in full bloom of various flowers. Trees are laden with fruits of various kinds. The cool scented breeze excites passion in the youth. Flowers are falling like rain from the clouds. It seems the wind is playing with the flowery trees with balls of flowers. The wind is moving the branches of those flowery trees and the (startled) bees seem (by their buzzing) to be singing to the accompaniment of the music (rustling noise) of the wind.

मत्त्कोकिल सत्रदौः नर्तयत्रिव पादपान् !
शौल कन्दरनिश्क्रान्तः प्रगोत इवचानिलः !!

        The wind from the mountain cave is the musician, the intoxicated cuckoo-birds, with their fine notes are supplementing that symphony and the trees with their moving tops are the dancers and the wind is the musician and the director of the whole concert of nature.

        Perhaps the poet's suggestion or the allegory is that "the great conductor of the entertainment" is Rāma himself who had come out of his mysterious heaven, like wind from the mysterious caves? Rāma took possession of the whole society for 11,000 years and kept it in perfect harmony regarding dharma as the symphony of a music and dance concert under a very able conductor. In the next age (द्वापर युग) of the world, under the influence of delusion and self-deception those dharmās were grossly distorted, being perversely practiced in utterly wrong context or with reference to wrong persons or groups of persons. Again Rāma had to come down from his abode as Lord Krishna in response to S.O.S. from the much distressed mother-earth Then there was some modicum of virtue. There were a great many fine specimens of humanity, but being cornered by complex and even undreamt of situations, they had to rub shoulders with the wicked and share their doom. Theirs is the case of wrong practice of virtues. But in this Age, all virtues are conspicuous by their absence, but curiously the texts of dharma are on the lips of every one the trait of this age. Further, in my little opinion there is nothing crude, or vulgar in the sentiments of Rāma in those scenes of Pampa. On the other hand, Rāma seemed to have a high aesthetic sense, from his frequently calling the attention of Lakshmana to those scenes. If those thoughts are those of a love-lorn person, we can reasonably expect Rāma either to ignore the presence of Lakshmana or to soliloquies to himself. Rāma's grief was never even tinged with base love. In the hermitages, though the beasts shed their natural killing habits, they never shed their mating instincts and the Rishis were quite unaffected by those amorous sights. So also the hermit - Rāma. Rāma continued, "The blowing wind is twisting the flowery tree tops into a huge garland. The cool fragrant wind is very comfortable and soothing to our weary bodies. The great trees seem to be speaking the language of the honey-bees (buzzing sounds) swarming around the hives among those trees. The mountain-tops with flowery" trees look like mountain heaps of flowers. With the sounds of the bees and the flowery tree-tops waving in the wind, the trees look like musicians with garlands round their heads, singing, dancing and nodding their heads. Those trees in full bloom of yellow flowers appear like men dressed in fine silk and with gold ornaments on them. Brother! All these sights and sounds are tormenting me and making me weep, Sita nor being with me. That cuckoo-bird, with its mate, is mocking at me for losing my Sita, with its notes. Those water-birds with their joyful notes are making me miserable, because Sita loved to hear their cries. She used to call me on hearing them. Various kinds of birds with their mates settling on the branches of trees and creepers and bees, in groups have a happy time of this spring, making various noises, in various love-making sports. But these otherwise pleasant sights and sounds, are very much tormenting me, with no Sita by me and much more, those (beautiful) red Asōka flowers, are like fiery embers to my body and the noises of the bees are like the sounds of red-hot coals. The trees with red tender leaves, seem to be on fire to burn me. This spring-tide is one of fire to consume me.

        "Brother! Without Sita, it is useless for me to live. All these years in the forests she used to be very happy, when this spring season came, with fine sights and sounds of the various birds, this season ushered in. This season, the happiest one for the couples living together, is terribly aggravating my agony and grief for the loss of the soft-spoken Sita, my sustainer. Even the cool, soothing wind of the season, is hot and very tormenting".

        Vālmeeki is the first poet to use this sentiment of the cool air being felt as hot and tormenting for lovers in separation or before being united. As written by me earlier, it is sheer blasphemy to think that Rāma had these sentiments of love (Srungāra) of the common type. The mutual love of Rāma and his Dēvi is of the sublime nature, like word and its meaning (वागर्धविवसंप्रुक्त्यो - कालिदास).

         The great poet Vālmeeki made his enunciation of the important sentiment of love (Srungāra rasa) through Rāma, the only appropriate person and one capable of maintaining it at a high level and embellishing it by his great virtues. The spring season, the cool wind (मलयमारुतं), Asōka flowers, the cuckoo-bird, the pea-cock, the Moon, music concert, dance etc are some of the elements, Vālmeeki chose for this rasa. Further he installed Manmadha and Vasanta (the God of Love and the God of Spring) as the presiding deities of this rasa, to place this rasa on par with the sacred principle of creation. Sage Vyāsa further corroborated this nature of this rasa in his Purānās. When the great God Siva reduced Manmadha to ashes, he later relented and restored him to life but without his form, till the great mother restored his form also. The Devās were cursed with childlessness by the great mother Pārvati, for showing most unbecoming curiosity when the divine parents were in their privacy. Such kind of sentiment, if any in Rāma, beyond his agony for the loss of Sita, the sage-poet, in his founding of a full-blown Kāvya, put in the mouth of Rāma. It is the mere agony of Rāma. A little later, Lakshmana intervened to say that by such "undue attachment" as he put it, Rāma was allowing Rāvana to go scot-free and and Rāma at once became the great sworn enemy of Rāvana and not his lachrymose victim.

        Rāma continued, "The pea-cocks with their splendid feathers, like jeweled windows, moving in the wind, are doing frenzied dance. No Rākshasa has separated them and so the peacock, with its purest bright plumage has attracted its female and is dancing with it. Its cries seem to mock at me. In this season, it is hard for me to live in the forest without Sita by my side. See the power of this season, which fills even the birds and the beasts with such passion for their mates. If Sita is not stolen and is with me, we would have been happy like these birds. But now, without her, all these most beautiful and sweet flowers have no use for me. If this season is also there, where my Sita is confined, she must also be suffering like-wise. Even if there is no spring, she must be suffering like-wise from mere separation from me. Moreover she will most likely to give up her life, being constantly put in by fear by the Rākshasas about her. She is very chaste and is very much devoted to me and cannot bear separation from me and will surely die. Likewise I cannot live without her. I would have enjoyed this cool fragrant breeze in the company of Sita. But now it is scorching me. Dear brother, that crow previously, by its raucous voice while flying warned me about the impending loss of Sita. Now it is cawing joyfully sitting in the tree. Perhaps I may regain Sita. Those sweet voices of birds are exciting me. Like a lover going to his sweet-heart, the bee is going to the bunch of flowers. The mango tree in full bloom, is like a well-dressed proud lover. The nymphs are happily loitering in these magnificent forests about this lake Pampa. This lake with its purest waters and various bright fragrant flowers is as splendid as the early Sun. It is a fine sight to see groups of elephants, deer, coming to the lake for its limpid waters. Sita liked the lotus being tossed about by wind, very much. She used to converse to me about happily things only. I don't like to live without such auspicious lady. When I am in great straits, not knowing where she is how cruel of the God of Love (Manmadha) to tease me further by these sights of love and passion and make me think more and more of her! When Sita was with me, all that was beautiful was so, but now they are exactly the opposite, with Sita being taken away from me. The lotus reminds me of her eyes and the sweet wind her sighs. Those creepers in full bloom are very fine. Those trees in full bloom of red flowers, seem as if on fire. All kinds of flowers of trees and creepers are giving out very sweet smell. This lake and its surroundings present a splendid scene with various kinds of trees in full boom. Like a chaste lady never leaving her husband, the creepers firmly have attached themselves to the trees and their branches, even when the wind is shaking them. The wind is slowly moving from tree to tree, from hill to hill and from grove to grove, carrying (enjoying) their scent. No tree of flowers is without a swarm of unstated bees. The ground seems to be a bed of different hues from the various flowers thickly covering it. The trees with their tops moving appear to be speaking to each other in the language of the bees around them. In this season, the trees seem to be vying with each other in blossoming. See those birds in pairs, swimming merrily in the lake. In the whole world, only the river Ganga has this beauty of Pampa. If Sita is found, let us stay here only. In that case, I do not want Ayōdhya and for that matter, I do not want even Indra's throne. I will have no grief or trouble whatever, when I, in the company of Sita roam about these fine pastures. I have no other desire. Her absence is making me mad. To my consuming anguish, I am constantly reminded of her, when I see this magnificent lake, its numerous fine birds gaily singing and swimming in it with their mates, the deer and other animals freely coming to drink its clear waters and the numerous flowery trees and the humming bees about them. The sight of the herds of deers and other animals, male and female on the hill sides, is very much exciting me. Only on seeing Sita, I will be happy. The fine, fragrant breeze coming over lotus and other sweet-smelling flowers, is very auspicious and drives away all sorrow and only the fortunate couple will enjoy it. Sita followed me, an exile, to the forests. She was a great solace to me and she preserved my sanity in my great straits. She used to comfort me with sweet smiles, merry laughter, soft speech, wise and pleasing and rare advice. She is so devoted to me that she forgot all her troubles (which are no less severe than mine) to make me happy in the forests. When can I see her and hear her talk again? All that is impossible to happen for me and I cannot also live without seeing her. I doubt whether she also is alive still or not. When I go to Ayōdhya, without Sita, what answer can I give to my mother and king Janaka when they ask me about Sita? Lakshmana! You alone return to Ayōdhya and be with Bharata who loves his brothers". Thus wept Rāma as a helpless person.

        Then Lakshmana, with proper advice, dispelled Rāma's mood thus, "Best of men! Rāma! Suppress your grief. Do not weep but look forward to good. For pure souls like you, this kind of weakness of intellect is quite unbecoming. When one happens to lose a person, whom one loved very much, one must suffer great grief. Great (undue) attachment (friendship) for anyone is harmful, just as even a wet wick in a lamp gets burnt by too much oil". (The poet uses the world "Snēha" having the two meanings friendship and oil). Keeping this in view, you must give up undue attachment for the dear (as this most untimely and excessive attachment entailing such suffering and weeping will jeopardize intense search for Sita").

        In this superb poet from the rasa-filled heart of Rāma and the highly restrained diction of the poet, there is not even an iota of amour in Rāma. The correct evaluation of Rāma is by Lakshmana, though his devotee. It is almost similar to the grief of Arjuna in the battlefield, when the arrows were about to fly from the bows-an undue attachment for the dear ones, when a far greater and sacred duty is beckoning Rāma to search for Sita and Arjuna to do battle for the rightful throne. Again, though the hermits in the forests were familiar with such amatory scenes every spring, they looked upon them with vacant mind, no impression of them being left there. Rāma is such a hermit and even more, by virtue of his oath, discipline and innate divine nature.

        Lakshmana further said, "Dear brother! Even if Rāvana goes to lower world, or even to the still lower worlds, he would not be allowed to live. The moment that villian's abode, is known, that is the end of the matter. If he does not want to die, he will hand over Sita to you. If not he shall face death. Without giving back Sita to you, if he, taking Sita with him, hides himself in the body of the Goddess-Mother Diti (of Rākshasās) or the body of the Goddess-mother Aditi (of the Dēvās, Sun etc.,) I will kill him. Adorable brother be composed. Do not be so cast down. It is not safe. One can recover the lost thing by great effort only. Earnestness and spiritedness, enthusiasm, in effort is strength and there is no strength greater than earnestness (enthusiasm). For an earnest and spirited person nothing is impossible on earth. Persons working with earnestness will never face frustration. Earnestness is a magic formula, through which we will get Sita. First give up weeping and then this distraction of love. You have forgotten your great self and great self-control". These words went home and Rāma giving up weeping and delusion became bold and resolute again. Then mighty and noble Rāma (the poet uses महात्म अचिन्त्यपराक्रमः], with a steady mind, left behind the beautiful Pampa and entered another forest and proceeded on, searching the caves and hill streams (for Sita). The noble Lakshmana walked closely by his side, protecting his brother by his might and serving him by devotion and duty of a brother. Then the mighty monkey-chief Sugreeva roaming about the Rushyamooka mountain, nearby, saw the brothers walking towards the mountain. He wondered at the royal appearance and their majestic elephant like gait. He became panicky at the thought that his dreaded brother, Vāli, might have sent them against him. So he and his ministers into the holy Mātanga hermitage as being the safe haven for them.