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THE HOLY RAMAYANA - Book I : Bal Kanda - Narada briefs Valmiki about Rama & Ramayana in a nutshell

Lord Rama and Sitha

Book I : Bala Kanda - Book Of Youthful Majesties

Chapter [Sarga] 1
Verses converted to UTF-8: Sept 09

Divine sage Narada arrives at the hermitage of Sage Valmiki in order to enlighten him and keep him informed of his duty to author the epic poem Ramayana. In the dialogue between these two sages, Valmiki elicits from Narada about most virtuous person on earth, namely Rama. In this opening chapter, while eulogizing Rama Narada gives an outline of Ramayana, truly highlighting those aspects that are the keynotes in this epic, like virtuosity, generosity, morality, chastity and the like.
Valmiki Ramayana is said to have been composed basing on each of the twenty-four letters of Gayatri Hymn, and a thousand verses are arranged into one book under the caption of each letter. Though that classification, or dividing verses into thousand chapters is unavailable now, the twenty-four verses identified with the 24 letters of Gayatri hymn, called as Gayatri Ramayana, is available and it is given in the endnote of this page. In tune with the scheme of Gayatri, Ramayana starts the first verse with letter ta an auspicious letter.

An Appeal to Readers

We have taken every care to present this translation truthfully, but when working with machines, they start to exhibit their talents on the very first key-stroke, like 'Auto Correct, Auto Complete, Auto Insert etc.,' and thus start correcting words like 'high souled one' to 'high-soled one...' and the like. So taking the maxim pramaado api dhiimataam 'even the diligent may make mistakes...' we appeal to the readers to kindly inform us if anything has gone wrong any where, typos, and 'is' becoming 'was', 'are' becoming 'were' and the like, so that they will be corrected, true to the text and spirit of Ramayana.

तपः स्वाध्याय निरताम् तपस्वी वाग्विदाम् वरम् |
नारदम् परिपप्रच्छ वाल्मीकिः मुनि पुंगवम् || १-१-१
1. anvaya / parsing: tapasvii vaalmiikiH tapaH svaadhyaaya niratam vaagvidaam varam muni pumgavam naaradam pari papracCha
1. tapasvii = sagacious thinker; vaalmikiH = Sage [Poet] Valmiki; tapaH = in thoughtful-meditation; and; sva adhyaaya = in self, study [of scriptures]; niratam = always - who is eternally studious in scriptures; and; vaak= in speaking [in enunciation]; vidaam = among expert enunciators; varam= sublime one - with Narada; muni pungavam = with sage, paragon, with such a paragon sage Naarada; naaradam = with [such a sage] Naarada; pari papracCha = verily [inquisitively,] inquired about; [ellipt. sarva guNa samiSTi ruupam puruSam = all, merited endowments, composite, in form - about such a man.]
A thoughtful-meditator, an eternally studious sage in scriptures about the Truth and Untruth, a sagacious thinker, and a sublime enunciator among all expert enunciators is Narada, and with such a Divine Sage Narada, the Sage-Poet Valmiki is inquisitively enquiring about a man who is a composite for all merited endowments in his form and calibre. [1-1-1]

The efficacy of Opening Verse

The very opening word tapaH has diverse meanings. In a way it means j~naana acuity, and it is 'thinking' tap aalocane 'thinking on the Absolute, where that Absolute's thinking itself is tapaH - yasya j~naanam tapaH thus Narada is one who is a constant thinker of the Absolute. Or, he who always practiseskR^icChrandraaayaNaadi vrataH - nitya naimittika karma anuSTHaana paraH the rigorous practises enshrined in Veda-s. It means the Absolute itself tapaH para brahma shabda vaca, brahmai tad upaastvai tat tapaH 'that which is contemplated upon that is tapaH, meaning Vedanta , Upanishads. Let many Veda-s are learnt and recited mechanically it becomes a rote learning, unless, a thought is given as for what it is being recited, an on whom. Thus Narada has no rote learning, but still trying to get full picture of that Absolute. And the swaadhyaya is Veda, and its regular practise, tapo hi svaadhyaayaH. Veda itself is the Knowledge, that is why it is said svadhyaan na pramiditavyam - taittariiya upaniSad Then, it also means as the Absolute. Thus Narada being a complete embodiment of Veda-s, is the proper sage to clear the doubts of Valmiki
The Divine Sage Narada is the brainchild of god Brahma brahma maanasa putra. His name has meanings like naara =knowledge; da= awarder; naarada= the rain cloud. Any cloud rains on its own without any requisition from Mother Earth. So Narada is naaram dadaati iti naarada 'one who accords knowledge concerning the humans...' or, naaram dyati - khaNdati - iti naarada 'one who annihilates the ignorance...' or, 'one who accords knowledge about the Absolute, or Supreme Person. Though a Divine Sage, having all these attributes, Narada has no conclusive information about hari liilaa vibhuuti 'Supreme Person's playful acts...' hence he continuously and constantly ponders over that Absolute to get the real essence of that Absolute, or Supreme Person. This is for himself, and not in respect of his reacting with others.
Then this word vaak means: enunciator - as given above; This word also means Veda - anaadi nidhano hi eSaa vaak utshR^iSTaa Veda-s emerged from that Absolute, hence vaak is identifiable with that Absolute; and this is grammar - vaak yoga viddduSyati ca apashabde as such vaak is identifiable with grammar. And vaak vid vareNya is 'one who has complete information derived from Veda-s, or, one who elucidates and enunciates what he has learned from Veda-s to others...'
There are four epithets of Narada here: atha naaradasya catvaari visheShaNaani | tathaa - tapo nirati - iti anena visheShaNena sarva saamarthyam pratipaaditam | sva adhyaaya nirata - iti anena yat ki~ncit vadati tat veda ukta dharma anuguNatayaa eva vadati iti suucitam | vaak vidaam vara - anena vaktR^itva~N pratipaaditam | muni pungava - iti anena atiindriya abhij~natvam suucitam | agre tri loka j~na iti anena visheShaNena loka traya sa~ncaareNa pratyakShatayaa sat asat vastu abhisa~nj~natva~N pratipaaditam | etai visheShaNaiH - sarvaj~natvam - sarva jana maanyatvam - sarva utkR^iShTa mahaatmyam - ca suucitam | taadR^isham naaradam bhagavaan vaalmiikiH sarva guNa samiShTi ruupam pururaSham - papR^iccha - dharmaakuutam
'By these four epithets of Narada, viz., tapo nirata because he is a 'thoughtful-thinker evermore...' his all-expertise in knowledge is proposed... svaadhyaaya niratabecause he is 'eternally studious sage in scriptures [about the Truth and Untruth...'] whatever the least he says it abides by the everlasting canonical sayings of Veda... vaak vidaam vara because his sayings are rooted in canons he is the best enunciator and elucidator... muni pungava because he is such a sublime sage he is transcendental... and as a traveller among all the three worlds he is aware of Truth and Untruth... and with such Sage Narada, Sage Valmiki enquired about a man, on earth, who is a composite in his form, for all merited endowments...' Dharmaakuutam. This commentary is by Tryambakaraaya Makhi [1690's to 1728] and this can be called not just yet another commentary on Ramayana, but an Encyclopaedia of Indian Culture. This was published under the scheme of 'Editing and Publication if Rare Manuscripts, Govt. of India, Ministry of Scientific Research and Cultural Affairs' and it is available with Tanjore Saraswati Mahal Library, Tanjavore, Tamil Nadu State, India.
There are numerous and voluminous commentaries on Ramayana, bulkier than the epic itself, deciphering latent meanings of Ramayana as above. And to list a few of many commentaries on Ramayana: 1] kataka vyaakhya, by shrii katata; 2] raamayaNa tilakam - raamaabhiraamii : by shrii naagojii bhaTT; 3] raamaayaNa bhuuSaNam by shrii govindaraja; 4] raamaayaNa shiromaNi by shrii shivasahaaya; 5] raamaayaNa tattva diipika by shrii maheshvara tiirtha; 6] raamaayaNa vyaakhya shrii raamaanujaacaarya; 7] viveka tilaka by shrii varadaraaja; dharmaakuutam tryambakaraaya makhii; raamaayaNa kuuTa vyaakhya by shrii raamaananda tiirtha... and many, many more... Hence due to paucity of time we confine ourselves to some references from some of the above, as it will be uncouth to go on dwelling one these intricate derivation obtained by these great commentators.
This stanza equally applies to Sage Valmiki, the taught, by way of the use of words tapaH, svaadhyaaya, tapasvii, thus both of them are experts in their own sphere of teacher-student relationship. The word tapaH denotes Veda-s themselves, in which both the Sages are well-versed, svaadhyaaya means, pondering over what that is learnt, i.e. japatapasvii= sharanaagati Total renunciation of their selves in the Almighty. Routine recitation of Veda-s will become futile if an iota of inclination in the Almighty and self-surrender to that Almighty is not there. tasmaannyeaasam eShaam tapasam atiriktam aahuH - taittatriiya naaraayaNam - 20 Hence, these two sages have commenced to deliver Ramayana, which itself is the epic of virtuous living, to this world.
That being so, Valmiki is asking the same Narada as to who is Absolute-like, Absolute-similar or comparable human, with some of many traits of that Absolute. For this, Narada starts his narration with an exclamation bahavo durlabhaa ca guNaaH kiirtitaa at seventh verse. Thus, there are bulky and voluminous commentaries on Ramayana, bulkier than the epic itself, hence due to paucity of time, and in eagerness to post the main epic firstly, let us take a pause in these declinations and niceties of verbiage, as it will be uncouth to go on dwelling on these intricate derivation at that staring itself.
However, the epic starts with the word auspicious word ta as said in ta kaaro vighna naashakaH, ta kaaro saukhya daayakaH...
कः नु अस्मिन् सांप्रतम् लोके गुणवान् कः च वीर्यवान् |
धर्मज्ञः च कृतज्ञः च सत्य वाक्यो धृढ व्रतः || १-१-२
2. asmin loke = in this, world; saampratam = presently; guNavaan = principled person; kaH nu = who is, really; viiryavaan ca = potential one, also;kaH = who is; dharma j~naH ca = conscientious, also; kR^ita j~naH ca = what has been done, knower of it [a redeemer,] also; satya vaakyaH = truth, speaker of [habitually speaking the truth = truth-teller]; dR^iDha vrataH = determined in his deed.
"Who really is that person in this present world, who is principled and also a potential one, a conscientious one, a redeemer, and also a truth-teller and self-determined in his deed... [1-1-2]
In Sanskrit poems the poets are at liberty to use words at any place according to exigencies of their metric rules. So, the order of words used by the poet calledpada vibhaaga , in this poem is like this
kaH nu asmin saampratam loke guNavaan kaH ca viiryavaan dharma j~naH ca kR^ita j~naH ca satya vaakyaH dhR^iDha vrataH
We have not shown this division of words for all verses in a separate paragraph, but separated them in the verse itself, [even if it gives a low-brow reading,] for fear of repetitive work.
These very words are to be reconnected by readers to derive a particular meaning called anvyaya krama. By this process the words in this second verse will be connected like this:
asmin loke saamprataam guNavaan kaH nu; viiryaaan ca kaH; dharmaj~naH ca; kR^ita j~naH ca; satya vaakyaH dR^iDha vrataH; [ellipted]: kaH
Same words available in the verse but with changed placement. All the verses are provided with word-to-word meanings in anvya krama, i.e., words parsed according to Sanskrit way of reading and then meanings are given.
Further, we tried to give meanings in verse-by-verse in order to tell each on its own. But at times, the meaning rolls into next foots. Then it is inevitable to push and pull the feet of verses, up or down, to give a meaningful paragraph. Some of our readers are a little confused about this arrangement. Hence we request you to go by the verse numbers in such places, and there will be many such pulls and pushes as we go along.
The meter filling words like tu, hi ca, sma, ha, vai: paada puuraNe - amara kosha do not usually mean anything and they fit-in as meter fillers, hence will be dropped in word-to-word meanings. But if they are used specifically, they play havoc in rendering meaning. Here the word dharmaj~na is used, which means, 'knower of rightness...' but when coupled with ca it means 'also, the knower of wrongness... ' where the ca assumes the character of 'either...' and the use of numerous ca-s here in these questions of Valmiki, is to denote that every questioned merit plusses itself into one human being. We are showing all the ca-s and tu-s throughout, giving their meaning as 'also...' and they may be dropped, if need be, in the gist of verse.
चारित्रेण च को युक्तः सर्व भूतेषु को हितः |
विद्वान् कः कः समर्थः च कः च एक प्रिय दर्शनः || १-१-३
3. kaH chaaritreNa ca yuktaH = who is, conduct-wise, also, blent with [good conduct]; kaH sarva bhuuteSu hitaH = who is, in [respect of] all, beings, a benign one; kaH vidvaan = who is, an adept one; samarthaH ca = an ablest one, also; kaH ca eka priya darshanaH = who, also, uniquely, goodly, to look to.
"Who is he conduct-wise blent with good-conduct... who in respect of all beings is benign... who is adept and also the ablest one... also uniquely good to look to... [1-1-3]
The adeptness of that person is in his knowing all the knowable aspects in this world, and he must be able to retain that knowledge to translate into his deeds, not just to sit back with his bookish knowledge, but with utmost practicality. His conduct-wise character shall be acceptable i.e., by his lineage he shall be noble, by his education he must be well-read, by his actions they must be conducive to norms laid down in Veda-s, and thus given any area, he should conduct himself properly. And he must be benign not only to higher-ups but to lowly subjects, like Guha, Shabari et al., and he should deal with wrongdoers and right-doers conscientiously. Further, he in his mien he shall be pleasant, but not an unsightly one. The word eka also means 'unique' and thus his complexion, facial, physical structures etc., shall be unique and shall differ from ordinary beings. kShaNe kShaNe yat navataam upaiti tadeva ruupam ramaNiiyataayaaH 'which / what / who gets newness moment by moment, that alone is pleasant...'
एतत् इच्छामि अहम् श्रोतुम् परम् कौतूहलम् हि मे |
महर्षे त्वम् समर्थोऽसि ज्ञातुम् एवम् विधम् नरम् || १-१-५
5. etat aham shrotum icChaami = all this, I, to listen [from you,] wish to; me kautuuhalam param hi = my, inquisitiveness; immense, indeed; mahaa R^irSe= Oh! Great Sage - Narada; tvam = you; evam vidham naram = [about] this, kind of, man; j~nnaatum = to know of [him]; samarthaH asi = competent [mastermind,] you are.
"All this I wish to listen from you, oh! Great Sage, as you are a mastermind to know this kind of man, and indeed my inquisitiveness is immense..." Thus Valmiki enquired with Narada. [1-1-5]
Valmiki wanted to know about that man - a man with godly qualities. Valmiki's thinking aloud, about the qualities of his prospective hero of this epic, is the very opening questions put to an Omniscient Sage Narada. Both the sages know of Rama and his deeds. Even then Valmiki asks Narada, "who is that man with godly qualities?' If Narada tells that Rama is Vishnu Himself, there is nothing left for Valmiki to compose his epic, because there are numerous mythologies, puraaNa-s, that have already adored God Vishnu. If Narada tells that Rama is so-and-so king, again Valmiki need not attempt to author about some king, however great that king might be. As such, Valmiki wanted to know about a human being with godly attributes, because many acts of Rama, like killing Vali, testing Seetha's chastity, deserting her at the end etc. are both conducive and contradictory puzzles.
The attributes of the hero of Ramayana, as required by Valmiki, are 16; sixteen in number.1 - guNavaan 2 - viryavaan 3 - dharmaj~naH 4 - kR^itaj~naH 5 - satya vaakyaH 6 - dhR^iDha vrataH 7 - caaritra vaan 8 - sarva bhuuteShu hitaH 9 - vidvaan 10 - samarthaH - 11 - priyadarshana 12 - aatmavaan 13 - jita krodhaH 14 - dyutimaan 15 - anasuuyakaH 16 - bibhyatidevaaH These sixteen attributes are attributed to the sixteen phases of the Full Moon, and Valmiki is about to picture Rama to be as pleasant as a full-moon.
श्रुत्वा च एतत् त्रिलोकज्ञो वाल्मीकेः नारदो वचः |
श्रूयताम् इति च आमंत्र्य प्रहृष्टो वाक्यम् अब्रवीत् || १-१-६
6. tri loka j~naH = three, worlds, preceptor of; naaradaH = Narada; vaalmiikeH = of Valmiki; etat vachaH shrutvaa = all those, words, on listening;shruuyataam = let it be heard; iti = thus; aamantrya cha = on beckoning [Valmiki,] also; pra hR^iSTaH = verily, gladly; vaakyam abraviit = sentence [words,] spoke.
On listening all those words of Valmiki, the preceptor of all the three worlds, Sage Narada, said "let it be heard..." and beckoning at Sage Valmiki to listen attentively, he spoke these words very gladly. [1-1-6]
The preceptor of three worlds, where the three worlds are bhuu loka, bhuvar loka, suvar loka this world, the intermediary heaven, the heavens themselves.
बहवो दुर्लभाः च एव ये त्वया कीर्तिता गुणाः |
मुने वक्ष्ष्यामि अहम् बुद्ध्वा तैः उक्तः श्रूयताम् नरः || १-१-७
7. mune = oh, sage Valmiki; bahavaH = many [or, infinite merits]; dur labhaaH = not, attainable, [unattainable by conscious development or effort];ca eva = also, that way [for ordinary humans]; ye guNaaH = which, merits; tvayaa kiirtitaaH = by you, extolled; taiH yuktaH = those [facets,] one who has [the possessor of those merits]; naraH = [of that] man; shruuyataam = I make it clear; aham buddhvaa = I, having known [from Brahma]; vakshyaami = I speak on.
"Oh! Sage Valmiki, the merits which you have extolled are many, and unattainable even for great emperors, let alone ordinary humans, and also infinite are they... but, about such a man with such merits I will speak on... for I, having known from Brahma of such a man, will make clear about that man..." Thus Narada started to say. [1-1-7]
Narada came hither to impart the legend of Rama, as Brahma already imparted the same to him, and wanted him to impart these very attributes to Valmiki to compose Ramayana. It is a coincidence of interests Valmiki and those of Narada and Brahma.
इक्ष्वाकु वंश प्रभवो रामो नाम जनैः श्रुतः |
नियत आत्मा महावीर्यो द्युतिमान् धृतिमान् वशी || १-१-८
8. ikshvaaku vamshaH prabhavaH = Ikshwaku, dynasty, as his birthplace [emerged from Ikshvaku dynasty]; raamaH naama = Rama, named; janaiH shrutaH = by people, heard [by that name]; niyata aatmaa = controlled, souled [conscientious]; mahaa viiryaH = highly valorous one; dyutimaan = resplendent one; dhR^ithimaan = steadfast; vashii = controller [of vice and vile [or,] senses.]
"One emerged from Ikshvaku dynasty and known to people as Rama by his name, and he is conscientious, highly valorous, resplendent, steadfast and a controller of vice and vile... and his own senses, as well... [1-1-8]
For the attributes explained by Narada there are some Vedanta imports. From niya aatma to vashii these are the attributes of the Supreme Being, Absolute of Brahman. swaruupa nirupaka lakshNaaH . This niyata aatmaa is 'immutable Absolute, this is the postulate of any Upanishad: ya aatmaa apahata paapmaa virajo vimR^ityur vishoko... 8-7-1, Chaandoj~na Upanishad. mahaa viiryaH = acintya vividha vicitra shaktivataH Absolute is Omnicompetent paraa asya shaktiH vividhaa iva shruuyate svaabhaavikii j~naana bala kriyaa ca 6-8, Shwetaashvatara Upanishad. The word dyutimaan is for the attribute of Self-Resplendent Absolute, or, Resplendence of Consciousness. tam eva bhaantam anubhaati sarvam tasya bhaasaa sarvam idam bhaati 2-11, Mundaka Upanishad. And the dhR^ithimaan is Sublime Bliss, according to Vyjanti dhR^itiH tu tuSTiH santoSaH and as said in aanando brahama - aanandaat eva khalu imaani bhuutaani jaayante 6, Taittariiya Upanishad. Next, vashii Absolute is the Omnipotent on the entire Universe. eko vahii sarva bhuuta antaraatmaa 2-5-12, Katha Upanishad and sarvasya vashii sarvasya iishaanaHand the like. The rest of the attributes of Rama as said by Narada are identifiable with the causative factors of that Absolute in Creation, and the process of Creation is the self-expression of the Absolute.
बुद्धिमान् नीतिमान् वाङ्ग्मी श्रीमान् शत्रु निबर्हणः |
विपुलांसो महाबाहुः कंबु ग्रीवो महाहनुः || १-१-९
9. budhimaan = an adept one; niitimaan = moralist; vaagmii = learned one; shriimaan = propitious one; shatru nibharhaNaH = enemy, destroyer;vipula amsaH = broad shouldered; mahaa baahuH = great, [lengthy] arms; kambu griivaH = neck like a conch-shell; mahaa hanuH = high cheek bones.
"He is an adept one, moralist, learned, propitious, and a destroyer of enemies. His arms are lengthy, and his neck is like a conch-shell, and cheekbones high... [1-1-9]
The Absolute is an adept one in creating the Creation yat sarvaj~naH sarva vit. He is niitimaan one who maintains the rhythm of universe as said at eSa setuH vidharaNa eSaam loka naama sambhedaaya... He is propitious because shriiH kaanti sampadoH lakshmyaam... gleaming, glistering richness of prosperity emanates from him. The following stanzas describe the physical qualities an Emperor should have by birth, as per saamudrika shaastra, the physiognomic treatise of astroloj~n.
महोरस्को महेष्वासो गूढ जत्रुः अरिन्दमः |
आजानु बाहुः सुशिराः सुललाटः सुविक्रमः || १-१-१०
10. mahaa uraskaH = broad [lion-like,] chested; mahaa eSvaasaH = [one who handles] long, bow; guuDha jatruH = concealed, collarbones [thick shouldered]; arim damaH = enemy, subjugator; aa jaanu baahuH = up to, knees, his arms [lengthy armed]; su shiraaH = high [crowning] head; su lalaaTaH= with ample, forehead; su vi kramaH = good, verily, pacer [lion-like-pacer.]
"He is lion-chested, thick-shouldered, knee-length are his arms, and his is longbow, an enemy-subjugator, and his emperor's countenance is with a crowning-head with an ample forehead, and his pacing is lion-like... [1-1-10]
When his physique is extolled, suddenly a weapon is said, in saying that 'his is longbow...' this is called prakrama bhanga doSa 'jump-cut in narration...' It is not so, his lengthy arms are said firstly and those arms can wield a great bow that can eliminate enemies, both physical and psychological ones like ariSaD varga shatru like desire, ire, avarice, conceit etc., as detailed in verse 4 above.
समः सम विभक्त अंगः स्निग्ध वर्णः प्रतापवान् |
पीन वक्षा विशालाक्षो लक्ष्मीवान् शुभ लक्षणः || १-१-११
11. samaH = medium-sized [physically]; sama vibhakta aN^gaH = symmetrically, divided [distributed, poised,] limbs; snigdha varNaH = soft [glossily,] coloured [complexioned]; prataapavaan = courageous one [or, resplendent one]; piina vakshaaH = sinew, chested; vishaala akshaH = wide, eyed;lakshmiivaan = prosperous [personality]; shubha lakshaNaH = providential, features.
"He is medium-sized physically, with limbs poised symmetrically, sinew-chested, wide-eyed, complexioned glossily... he is a prosperous personality with all the providential features, and thus he is self-resplendent... [1-1-11]
Up to here the godly physical aspect bhagavad vigraha is explained that which is perceptible by the adherents as said in Chaandoj~na Upanishad: ya eSo antaraaditye hiraNmayaH puruSo dR^ishyate... 1-6-6. From now on, the features that are reliable for the adherers are said.
धर्मज्ञः सत्य सन्धः च प्रजानाम् च हिते रतः |
यशस्वी ज्ञान संपन्नः शुचिः वश्यः समाधिमान् || १-१-१२
12. dharma j~naH = rectitude, knower, satya sandhaH ca = truth, bidden, also; prajaanaam ca hitaH rathaH = in subject's, also, welfare, concerned;yashasvii = glorious; j~naana sampannaH = in prudence, proficient; suchiH = clean [in conduct]; vashyaH = self-controlled; samaadhimaan = diligent one.
"He is the knower of rectitude, bidden by the truth, also his concern is in the welfare of subjects, proficient in prudence, clean in his conduct, self-controlled and a diligent one, thus he is glorious... [1-1-12]
Here to the compound satya sandhaH ca 'ca' is added, but here it means nothing special but to plus the features into one man. At such places this can be dropped.
प्रजापति समः श्रीमान् धता रिपु निषूदनः |
रक्षिता जीवलोकस्य धर्मस्य परि रक्षिता|| १-१-१३
13. prajaa patiH samaH = people's, god [Omniscient, Brahma,] equals; shriimaan = exalted one; dhaataa = sustainer [of all worlds]; ripuH ni SuudanaH = enemy [enemies,] complete, eliminator; jiiva lokasya rakshitaaH = living beings, worlds, a guardian of; dharmasya pari rakshitaaH = of probity, in entirety, guards.
"He equals the Omniscient, he is an exalted one for he is the sustainer of all worlds, and he eliminates enemies completely, thus he is a guardian of all living beings and he guards probity, in its entirety... [1-1-13]
'These features show the aspects of Rama's incarnation...' Govindaraja. 'These features are available only in the Supreme Person, but unobtainable in any other...' Maheshvara Tiirtha. These two, Govindaraja and Maheshvara Tiirtha, and another Tilaka are the three reputed commentators on Ramayana among many others.
रक्षिता स्वस्य धर्मस्य स्व जनस्य च रक्षिता |
वेद वेदाङ्ग तत्त्वज्ञो धनुर् वेदे च निष्ठितः || १-१-१४
14. svasya dharmasya rakshitaa = of his own, righteousness [self-righteous, champion; sva janasya ca rakshitaa = his own, people's [adherents', welfare,] also, he is a champion of; veda veda aN^ga = in Veda-s, Veda's, ancillaries; tatvaj~naH = scholar in essence of [Veda-s]; dhanur vede ca = in the science of archery, also; niSTitaH = an expert.
"He is the champion of his own self-righteousness and also champions for adherent's welfare in the same righteousness, and he is a scholar in the essence of Veda-s and their ancillaries, too. He is an expert in dhanur Veda, the Art of Archery... [1-1-14]
These are the ancillary subjects of Vedas called anga part and upa anga sub-part. The main parts of Veda-s are siksha ritual rigor vyakarana grammar chandasprosody jyotish astroloj~n nirukta recital rules kalpa procedure rules. This apart, the dhanur veda science of archery, itself is treated as 'an exclusive Veda taught to warriors...' The danur Veda is not to be construed as simple bow and arrow and 'shooting the target' education. It is a 'scripture on missiles' that existed in those ages.
Down the memory lane, O. A.Vijayan, the eminent Indian journalist has reflected in The Illustrated Weekly of India, that the Soviet scholar Dr. A. A. Gorbovsky said in his article with heading Ancient India may have had N-arms , in the Statesman, with dateline Moscow, Sept. 8, 1986. Among other things, the scientist observes by the stanzas that describe the disaster caused by such astra-s, now loosely termed as a well crafted bow and sky rocketing arrows, as below:
'A blazing shaft which possessed all the effulgence of smokeless fire was let off... all directions were enveloped by darkness... the very elements seemed to be perturbed... the sun seemed to turn... the universe, scorched with heat, seemed to be in fever... the survivors lost their hair and nails... for years the sun and sky remained shrouded with clouds...'

Thus the narration goes on. This is the account of Brahma astra, as in Maha Bharata, the other Epic of India. Thus the Dhanur Veda may be taken as the canon of missile sciences, which fortunately has not been handed over to the successive generations, lest everything would have been annihilated by now. In Ramayana too, which is much earlier to Mahabharata, there are elaborate accounts of such astra-s in the coming chapters. Sage Vishvamitra, who is well-versed in warfare, gives many such weapons to Rama. For now, these bow and arrow references may not be taken as those of Robin Hood.
सर्व शास्त्र अर्थ तत्त्वज्ञो स्मृतिमान् प्रतिभानवान् |
सर्वलोक प्रियः साधुः अदीनाअत्मा विचक्षणः || १-१-१५
15. sarva shaastra arthaH tattva j~naH = all, scriptures, their meaning, their essence, knower of; smR^itimaan = one with excellent memory;pratibhaanavaan = a brilliant one; sarva loka priyaH = all, worlds, esteemed by; saadhuH = gentle; a diina aatmaa = not down, hearted [level-headed even in severe trouble]; vichakSaNaH = clear-headed [in discriminating and distinguishing.]
"He is the knower of the meaning and essence of all the scriptures, excellent at memory thus brilliant, and an esteemed one in all the worlds, gentle, level-headed and clear-headed in discriminating and distinguishing... [1-1-15]
सर्वदा अभिगतः सद्भिः समुद्र इव सिन्धुभिः |
अर्यः सर्वसमः च एव सदैव प्रिय दर्शनः || १-१-१६
16. samudra sindhubhiH iva = an ocean, by rivers, as with; sadbhiH = by clean-minded ones; sarvadaa abhigataH = always, accessible; aaryaH = reachable [or, reverential one]; sarva samaH ca eva = all, treats equally, also, thus; sadaa eva priya darshanaH = ever, thus [the same,] pleasant, in look [ever a feast to eye.]
"Like an ocean that is reached by many rivers accesbly, that reverential one too is always accessible and reachable by clean-minded ones, and he treats all equally, and ever a feast to eye... [1-1-16]
Here it is said 'he is reachable by all clean-minded ones...' sat pravartana, sad budhhi... and those that approach him with a sacrilegious intent, will meet their end at his hand. sarva samaH means, that he does not discriminate people by their caste, creed, or by that individual's philosophy etc., like tribal boatman Guha, low-birthed Shabari, and nihilist Sage Jaabaali et al. jaati guNa vR^itti aadi bheda a+bhaavaat And the word eva in saa eva priya darshanaH indicates 'always...' 'unvarying in his demeanour with anyone...' Govindaraja. And by the simile of ocean to Rama, for rivers there is no other course except an ocean; thus, the living beings, may it be humans or birds like Jataayu, have no other recourse than Rama.
स च सर्व गुणोपेतः कौसल्य आनंद वर्धनः |
समुद्र इव गाम्भीर्ये धैर्येण हिमवान् इव || १-१-१७
17. kausalya aananda vardhanaH = Kausalya's [his mother,] happiness, one who betters; saH ca = he, also; sarva guNa upetaH = with all, [noble] merits, embodied with; gaambhiirye samudra iva = in profundity, ocean, like - his inmost heart is unfathomable like an ocean; dhairyeNa hima vaan iva = by fortitude, Himavanta, [Himalayan] mountain, like.
"He who betters the happiness of his mother Kausalya is an embodiment of all noble merits, and in profundity he is like an unfathomable ocean, and by fortitude he is unalterable like the kingly Himalayan mountain... [1-1-17]
At times Rama is said to be 'the son of Kausalya...' than the son Dasharatha, because the word Kausalya does not signify his mother alone, the daughter of King of Kosala, but it has meanings like kshema, kushala, saamarthya, puNya, nipuNatva 'safeness, soundness, capability, merit, expertise...' and this also signifies Queen Kausalya's worshipping of Vishnu. When dynasty, valour, braveness etc., are said, Rama's name will be attached with Dasharatha. An ocean is not a bottomless one but an unfathomable one. So also Rama's heart has a reachable bottom, where pearls, gems, and other treasures of virtues are abounding, and it can be reached with a heartily approach. For a hard-hearted one Rama's heart becomes an unfathomable abyss and he will get lost in it. girayoH varSha dhaaraabhir haryamaanaa na vivyadhuH | abhibhuuya maanaa vyasanaiH yathaa adhokShaja cetasaa || 'true devotees do not get hassled though subjected to many problems, for they place their faith in the Supreme. Equally, mountains are unshaken though battered by storms or lightings...' So, like a mountain he is unalterable and constant for a true devotee. An icy-mountain is meltable by scorching sun, thus Rama also melts down when his adherents are scorched with their problems.
विष्णुना सदृशो वीर्ये सोमवत् प्रिय दर्शनः |
काल अग्नि सदृशः क्रोधे क्षमया पृथ्वी समः || १-१-१८
धनदेन समः त्यागे सत्ये धर्म इव अपरः |
18, 19a. viirye = in valour; vishNunaa sadR^ishaH = with Vishnu, comparable; somavat priya darshanaH = full-moon like, attractive, in look; krodhe= in anger; kaala agni sadR^ishaH = era [ending,] fire, matchable to; kshamayaa pR^ithvii samaH = in perseverance, earth, equals with; tyage = in benevolence; dhanadena samaH = Kubera [God of Wealth-Management,] identical to; satye = in candour; aparaH = here on earth [or, another]; dharma iva= like dharma = God Probity, like.
"In valour Rama is comparable with Vishnu, and in his looks he is attractive like full-moon, he equals the earth in his perseverance, but he is matchable with era-end-fire in his wrath... and in benevolence he is identical to Kubera, God of Wealth-Management, and in his candour he is like Dharma itself, the other God Probity on earth... [1-1-18, 19a]
Here the 'valour' is to cause harm to enemy, while remaining himself unharmed... svasya a-vikaara eva parasya vikaara aapadanam Rama Tilaka. 'Though Rama is Vishnu, but by nature of his incarnation as human, he is different from Vishnu upaadhi bheda... Hence Vishnu has become another entity than Rama... Or, his valour is selfsame to Vishnu's valour because he is selfsame Vishnu...' Govindaraja. 'As there is none other in similitude, he is compared Vishnu, insofar as valour is concerned...' Maheshvara Tiirtha. Earth personally does not grieve when people tread on it, trample, dig, cut, or whatever is done to her. Likewise Rama personally gets unaffected, whatever harm is done to him, but he becomes wrathful, if that harm is committed to dharma.
Thitherto, the Bala Kanda is narrated by these narrations of sparkled in Ikshvaku dynasty 'Rama's incarnation...' highly valorous, enemy subjugator... 'elimination of demoness Tataka, subdual of the vanity of Parashu Rama...' propitious 'marriage with Seetha, knows Art of Archery 'receiving missiles from Vishvamitra...' From now poet tells the Ayodhya Kanda, and a gist of this magnum opus is given here itself. This narration is known as baala raamayana - samskhepa raamyana meaning that it is aimed at youngsters as it has been told in an abridged version. In the endnote, details about this version and still abridged version, called Gayatri Ramayana, are given.
Readers may find an inordinate use of ellipses in translation of the epic. But they are 'a must.' Pt. Satya Vrat, the author of Ramayana - A Linguistic Study says: "Ellipsis is the peculiarity of the style of the older works like Ramayana... their writings, as they stood, yielded incomplete sense which has to be supplemented byadhyaadhaara, viz., supply of words, that would fit in the context... Indeed, in most cases the ellipsis could be readily understood and would suggest the word or words that would make it up...' We therefore request the readers to go by the meaning of the context, than by the order of words, for there is a saying... paaTha krame artha kramo baliiyaH... So, this adhyaadhaara, supply of words, may not be that faithful while rendering from Sanskrit to English.
तम् एवम् गुण संपन्नम् रामम् सत्य पराक्रमम् || १-१-१९
ज्येष्टम् श्रेष्ट गुणैः युक्तम् प्रियम् दशरथः सुतम् |
प्रकृतीनाम् हितैः युक्तम् प्रकृति प्रिय कांयया || १-१-२०
यौव राज्येन संयोक्तुम् ऐच्छत् प्रीत्या महीपतिः |
19b, 20, 21a. mahii patiH dasarathaH = land, lord of - king, Dasharatha; evam guna sampannam = suchlike, merits, possessor of [Rama]; satya parakramam = truthfulness, is his courage; shreSTa guNaiH yuktam = best, intrinsic values, one who is embodied with; priyam = dear one [to Dasharatha];prakR^itinaam hitaiH yuktam = people's, in welfare of, having [ever involved in]; jyeSTham sutam = eldest, son; tam ramam = such as he is, Rama be;prakR^iti priya kaamyayaa = country's, welfare, intending [to all intents and purposes of peoples welfare]; priityaa = affectionately; yauva raajyena = in young [crown,] prince-hood; samyoktum = to conjoin - to establish; icChhat = intended to.
"Rama being the possessor of suchlike merits, whose truthfulness alone is his courage, embodied with best intrinsic values, ever involved in the welfare of people, besides being the dear and eldest son of Dasharatha, and hence the king Dasharatha affectionately intended to establish such a Rama as crown prince to all intents and purposes of country's welfare...[1-1-29b, 20, 21a
तस्य अभिषेक संभारान् दृष्ट्वा भार्या अथ कैकयी || १-१-२१
पूर्वम् दत्त वरा देवी वरम् एनम् अयाचत |
विवासनम् च रामस्य भरतस्य अभिषेचनम् || १-१-२२
21b, 22. atha = then; tasya = his - Rama's; abhishheka sam bhaaraan = anointment [as crown prince,] arrangements; dR^iSThva = on seeing;puurvam datta vara = once, she who is accorded, boons; bhaarya devi kaikeyi = [dear] wife, queen, Kaikeyi; raamasya vi vaasanam = Rama's, without, place [displacement, banishment]; bharatasya abhiSechanam ca = Bharata's, anointment, also; varam enam = boons, from him [Dasharatha]; ayaachitaH = claimed.
"Then on seeing the arrangements for the anointment of Rama as crown-prince, Kaikeyi, the dear wife and a queen of Dasharatha, claimed boons that were once accorded to her by Dasharatha, which are the banishment of Rama and anointment of Bharata. [1-2-21b 22]
स सत्य वचनात् राजा धर्म पाशेन संयतः |
विवासयामास सुतम् रामम् दशरथः प्रियम् || १-१-२३
23. saH raajaa dasharathaH = he, king, Dasharatha; satya vacanaat = truthfulness, of [his plighted] word; dharma paashena = righteousness, by halter of; samyataH = bound by; priyam sutam raamam = dear, son, Rama; vi vaasayaamaasa = started to displace - exiled to foprests.
"Bound by the truthfulness of his plighted word and by the halter of righteousness that king Dasharatha exiled his dear son Rama to forests. [1-1-23]
स जगाम वनम् वीरः प्रतिज्ञाम् अनुपालयन् |
पितुर् वचन निर्देशात् कैकेय्याः प्रिय कारणात् || १-१-२४
24. viiraH saH = brave one, he [that Rama]; kaikeyyaaH priya nkaaraNaat = Kaikeyi, to appease, by reason of; pituH vacana nirdeshaat = by father's, verbal, directive; pratij~naam = promise - his own pledge to adhere to his father's word, or, promise of his father to Kaikeyi; anu paalayan = to follow through; vanam jagaama = to forests, repaired to.
"Such a brave one as he is, that Rama repaired to forest for the reason of appeasing Kaikeyi, and as directed by the verbal directive of his father, and to follow his father's word of honour. [1-1-24]
तम् व्रजंतम् प्रियो भ्राता लक्ष्मणः अनुजगाम ह |
स्नेहात् विनय संपन्नः सुमित्र आनंद वर्धनः || १-१-२५
भ्रातरम् दयितो भ्रातुः सौभ्रात्रम् अनु दर्शयन् |
25, 26a. vinaya sampannaH = humbleness, abounding; bhraatuH dayitaH = to brother Rama, fondly [to Rama]; priya bhraataa = dear [natural brotherly affection,] brother; lakshmanaH = Lakshmana; sumitra ananda vardhanaH = [his mother] Sumitra's, happiness, duly augmenting; saubhraatram anu darshayan = [ideals of] brotherhood, exemplifying; vrajantam tam bhraataram = who is going, him [Rama,] with brother [Rama]; snehaat anu jagaama ha = heartily, in tow, followed, indeed.
"In whom humbleness and the natural brotherly affection of a brother are abounding, such a fondly younger brother of Rama, namely Lakshmana, indeed heartily followed his forest going brother Rama, exemplifying the ideals of brotherhood, thus augmenting the happiness of his mother Sumitra. [1-1-25, 26a]

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