Tuesday, 18 February 2014

139. Rama rues over the absence of Seetha.

               Rama did not know what to think or do. Horrendous thoughts flooded his mind. Has she been abducted? Or, has she gone out in search of me? Or, has some rakshash took her away? Total misery enfolded him. Seeing him so miserable, the trees of that woodland also seemed to be weeping, their flowers were witheringly weakening and their birds were weepingly warbling. All the animals were whiningly weeping. The entire woodland seemed to have lost all the charms and looked utterly shattered as its georgic deities had completely abandoned it. Rama was standing there not knowing what to do. He started weeping and went on weeping and weeping. 
                Rama could not ward off the various unpleasant thoughts as to what could have happened to his dear Seetha. 'Has that bashful Seetha been abducted by the grudging rakshashas, or slain by the very same grisly rakshashas, or savoured by some gruesome beasts, or else she strayed in this forest while looking for me? Perhaps she might have playfully shrouded herself in this grimly forest. Maybe she
has gone to pick-up some flowers or fruits, or again gone to the lotus-lake, or gone to the river for water.' 
              Rama then ran out and searched for Seetha from tree to shrub, from hill to hillock, from river to rivulet, and revolving around them he wailed for Seetha, as he did not find her.
              Like a madman Rama asked the trees "Oh, Kadamba tree, did you see a lady who is a lover of Kadamba flowers, one with a lovable face and a love of mine? Please tell me if you know.
            "Oh, Bilva tree, have you seen one who is dressed in yellowy-ochry silks, whose skin likens to the silkiness of thine leaflets, breasts to thine rotund and silky Bilva fruits?  Please tell me.
            "Thou Arjuna tree, if you know where is she, who is a lover of thine Arjuna flowers and the ladylove of mine, please tell me.  Please tell me whether that slender-waisted daughter of Janaka is alive."
             In this vein Rama was asking each and every tree and animal around the hermitage.
              Rama in utter misery looked at his brother and clasping his winning shoulders told him "Oh, Lakshmana, where could Vaidehi  go?  Soumitri, has anyone stole her away? If so who?"
              Then facing the woodland he cried "Oh, Seetha, are you hiding yourself behind trees wishing to poke fun at me? If so I declare and accept defeat; I am unable to find you. Finish your fun and games and come to me. I am unable to bear the anguish any longer."
              As there was no reply he turned to lakshmana and said "Really Lakshmana, I will not live long without Seetha. I am enveloped in high anguish caused by the abduction of Seetha, and this alone will kill me, and on my going to the other world my father and that great king Dasharatha will definitely deride me saying, 'when I have directed you for a fourteen years exile, and when you too have assuredly agreed and promised me for that term, how come that you are now in my presence in this ultramundane world without completing that term of fourteen years exile, besides breaking your own word of honour. You have therefore, become a willfully disobedient, despicable and dishonest person. And fie on you.'"
              Then turning to the woodland Rama cried "Anguish seared and bewildered me and I am woebegone with broken down buoyancy, and oh, beautiful lady, jilting such an woeful one as I am, where have you gone? Don't you know that I cannot live without you?"
               Rama was greatly affected by only one factor namely the absence of Seetha, whereas Lakshmana was triply affected by alpha - Seetha's absence, beta - his going out leaving her alone in the hermitage and gamma - seeing the misery of his dear brother. He thought that he should do something to alleviate the misery of his brother Rama. He thought that some diversion may do the trick. With that in view he told Rama "Oh, dear brother, there is no point in getting desperate. Let us make some efforts to find out where she has gone or at least try to get a clue as to what has happened to her. These mountains have many caves. May be she is in one of them. Both of us know very well that Maithili likes to saunter in the woodlands. We also know that she is even infatuated with waters. As such while sauntering in the forest she might have gone to the fully bloomed lotus-lake, or to the river that is adorned by the fast moving fishes. May be she is hiding somewhere just to know our reaction.
               "Dear bro, I strongly suggest that we start searching the forest in its entirety to locate her. Let us quickly do so. I am sure that you will agree that there is no point in getting disheartened." 
                Rama agreed. Then both the brothers started a thorough search for Seetha in the forests, on mountains, at riversides and lakesides. Alas! They could not find Seetha or even a clue as to where she might be.
               Lamenting this and that Rama languished owing to the abduction of Seetha and became a pitiable one. All the limbs of Rama fluttered, his faculties became non-functional, his fervor frozen, he became forlorn and flustered, and he sank down breathing heavily and crying repeatedly 'ha, Seetha...' with tears stifling his throat. Though Rama had many a kinsfolk who held him dear, now there was only one single one, namely Lakshmana, his most dear and obedient brother who was already anguished for Rama's sadness. 

              Rama was so depressed and anguished he started wailing and started talking inarticulately to Seetha "Flowers fascinate you very much, my dear, hence you veil yourself with the full bloomed branches of Ashoka tree, but that alone is amplifying my anguish because you both have presently become tormentors.

            "Maybe, both your thighs liken to the stalks of banana plants, thinking so, now you have lapped them in groovy banana plants; but I can distinguish which is which, thus now I caught sight of them, oh, lady, you are inapt at least to cover them from me. Oh, lady, you are facetiously glorying in the boscage of fully bloomed Karnikaara trees which is really a wafting worry to me, rather than the fragrance of those flowers oh, glorious lady, enough, enough is this facetiousness of yours. I am aware of your humour, lady, and I know that you are jocose, but in a place like hermitage unmerited is this sort of raillery, even if it is good-natured. Hence, you come back, oh, wide-eyed one, your cottage is empty."   

                Then turning to Lakshmana he said "Oh, Lakshmana, very evidently the rakshashas have either gorged up Seetha, or perhaps abducted her. Otherwise why is she not returning to me who is whiny indeed for her. Indeed these teary-eyed mobs of deer look as if to explain that the nightwalkers have gluttonised my lady. Ha! My graceful lady, to where you have strayed now... Ha! Chastely and best complexioned lady, now the ambition of my queen mother Kaikeyi will be fulfilled, as I will be breathing my last owing to your straying.
                "I have come to the forests with Seetha and have to go back to Ayodhya without Seetha. How, in all but name, can I step into an oblivion called my palace-chambers. People will denounce me as a vigourless and pitiless person, and my ineptitude will indeed be self-evident, for Seetha is led away from me by some tactical being. When the king of Mithila Janaka asks after the well being of all the three of us after the completion of forest living, how do I have the face to stand him?
                "On seeing me without Seetha the king of Videha will be distraught by the perishing of his daughter, and he will defiantly go under the preponderance of perplexity. Instead, I prefer not to go to the city Ayodhya that is ruled by Bharata, because it must be comforting to one and all under his rule, but not to me as Seetha will not be with me... else if, that end of my life occurs now and if I were to go to heaven, even that heaven will be a void to me without her. I believe so.
              "Hence, Lakshmana, you go back to that auspicious city Ayodhya forsaking me in forests, because I have no existence without Seetha! On tightly hugging Bharata you shall tell him that 'Rama authorises you to reign the earth.' Oh, Lakshmana, on revering my mothers Kaikey, Sumitra, and Kausalya  you tell them my good bye, and you as the one who effectuates whatever is assigned to you, you have to effortfully protect my mother Kausalya by doing whatever she says. Oh,Lakshmana, you shall clearly inform in detail about this demise of Seetha, also that of mine, to our mothers."
              Thus Raghava, the dejected, looked at every corner of the forest in his search, and bewailed because his dear Seetha was not found and missing from him. Even Lakshmana became wheyfaced, disheartened and highly overwrought, by the fear of uncertainty looming large on them.

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