Tuesday, 19 November 2013

104. Life at Panchavati.

               They found the locale and the Hermitage quite pleasing. They settled down comfortably and happily there enjoying the forest life. Pleasant Autumn ('hemantha R^itu' in Sanskrit) season set in a few days after Rama and others moves in.
              All the three enjoyed that season. Early morning everyday they used to go to the reiver Godavari for a nice cold bath. On one such day or rather dawn Rama started for the delightful River Godavari for a bath. His brother Saumitri following him humbly with a handy vessel, escorting Seetha. 
Lakshmana started the conversation "We are now in scuh a season which promise a bright new year. And you like this season very much despite the fact that in these days the dew is harsh to the bodies of people, earth is overlaid with crops, water is not quite enjoyable, but fire would be delightful. 
             "On appeasing manes with worships during northern solstice and even on performing solstitial rituals in time, the righteous people are becoming free from evils.
              "This is the season when villagers get a good lot of milch cows and dairy products, and the vanquishing kings make moves to enlarge their kingdoms further. While the sun is steadfastly moving in the direction of Yama, the northern direction is not brilliant like a woman who lost the vermilion mark on her forehead.
Comment. The tilaka is the vermilion mark of sindur, vermilion-red powder specially made out of turmeric and lime juice and other ingredients and called as kunkuma. For a Hindu woman this is sacred and used in daily worships and applied as a mark on  the forehead at a place where the Third Eye, GYaana netra is said to exist. For the women this mark is for their glorification of womanhood by virtue of the existence of her husband. Should she become a widow this mark is made no more and her face will become dull for she is without a husband. So also the sun is such a mark on the forehead of the woman called horizon. Without him no quarters glitter.
End Comment.

                      "Himalayas are the depositories of snow, and presently distanced from the sun they are very obviously snowy true to their name (in Sanskrit 'Hima' means ice and 'alaya' means place or house). Daytime is very much comfortable for sauntering." 
               While talking in this vein Lakshmana suddenly thought of Bharata and how he would then be busy performing the ceremonies appropriate to the month. He said: "Bharata is entitled to live in ease but he has taken on himself a life of hardship because we live a life of hardship in the forest. My heart is full of sorrow for him. Even in this cold weather poor Bharata no doubt eats sparingly and sleeps on the bare floor. In this cold morning he too is probably walking towards the Sarayu. How fortunate we are to have such a noble brother! Pure in mind and speech and conduct, renouncing all pleasures, he lives a life of austerity for our sake. He is exactly like our dear father and quite the opposite of his mother. How could so cruel a woman as Kaikeyi bear so good a son? And ....."
               Rama stopped him, saying: "Talk as much as you like of Bharata and our father, but stop condemning Kaikeyi. All that you say of Bharata is true and my thoughts too today go to him in love. How long yet to see him again? When shall we have that pleasure, Lakshmana? When shall we four brothers live together again? Bharata's loving words are still sweetly ringing in my ears."
             Thus thinking longingly of home and Bharata they bathed in the Godavari on that early morning. After offering oblations to their ancestors and prayers to the sun, Rama rose transfigured like the Lord Siva and returned to the hermitage with Seetha and Lakshmana. Their morning duties over, they sat whiling the hours with wistful talk of old days and tales of long ago.

1 comment:

  1. So, the practice of putting kumkum mark on the forehead of women has been there even during Valmiki's times! This is news to me.