By Srila Vyasadeva
SB 9.10: The Pastimes of the Supreme Lord, Rāmacandra
This Tenth Chapter describes how Lord Ramacandra appeared in the dynasty of Maharaja Khatvanga. It also describes the Lord’s activities, telling how He killed Ravana and returned to Ayodhya, the capital of His kingdom.
The son of Maharaja Khatvanga was Dirghabahu, and his son was Raghu. The son of Raghu was Aja, the son of Aja was Dasaratha, and the son of Dasaratha was Lord Ramacandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When the Lord descended into this world in His full quadruple expansion — as Lord Ramacandra, Laksmana, Bharata and Satrughna — great sages like Valmiki who were actually in knowledge of the Absolute Truth described His transcendental pastimes. Srila Sukadeva Gosvami describes these pastimes in brief.
Lord Ramacandra went with Visvamitra and killed Raksasas like Marica. After breaking the stout and strong bow known as Haradhanu, the Lord married mother Sita and cut down the prestige of Parasurama. To obey the order of His father, He entered the forest, accompanied by Laksmana and Sita. There He cut off the nose of Surpanakha and killed the associates of Ravana, headed by Khara and Dusana. Ravana’s kidnapping of Sitadevi was the beginning of this demon’s misfortune. When Marica assumed the form of a golden deer, Lord Ramacandra went to bring the deer to please Sitadevi, but in the meantime Ravana took advantage of the Lord’s absence to kidnap her. When Sitadevi was kidnapped, Lord Ramacandra, accompanied by Laksmana, searched for her throughout the forest. In the course of this search, They met Jatayu. Then the Lord killed the demon Kabandha and the commander Vali and established a friendly relationship with Sugriva. After organizing the military strength of the monkeys and going with them to the shore of the sea, the Lord awaited the arrival of Samudra, the ocean personified, but when Samudra did not come, the Lord, the master of Samudra, became angry. Then Samudra came to the Lord with great haste and surrendered to Him, wanting to help Him in every way. The Lord then attempted to bridge the ocean, and, with the help of advice from Vibhisana, He attacked Ravana’s capital, Lanka. Previously, Hanuman, the eternal servant of the Lord, had set fire to Lanka, and now, with the help of Laksmana, the forces of Lord Ramacandra killed all the Raksasa soldiers. Then Lord Ramacandra personally killed Ravana. Mandodari and other wives lamented for Ravana, and in accordance with Lord Ramacandra’s order, Vibhisana performed the funeral ceremonies for all the dead in the family. Lord Ramacandra then gave Vibhisana the right to rule Lanka and also granted him a long duration of life. The Lord delivered Sitadevi from the Asoka forest and carried her in a flower airplane to His capital Ayodhya, where He was received by His brother Bharata. When Lord Ramacandra entered Ayodhya, Bharata brought His wooden shoes, Vibhisana and Sugriva held a whisk and fan, Hanuman carried an umbrella, Satrughna carried the Lord’s bow and two quivers, and Sitadevi carried a waterpot containing water from holy places. Angada carried a sword, and Jambavan (Rksaraja) carried a shield. After Lord Ramacandra, accompanied by Lord Laksmana and mother Sitadevi, met all His relatives, the great sage Vasistha enthroned Him as King. The chapter ends with a short description of Lord Ramacandra’s rule in Ayodhya.
SB 9.10.1 — Sukadeva Gosvami said: The son of Maharaja Khatvanga was Dirghabahu, and his son was the celebrated Maharaja Raghu. From Maharaja Raghu came Aja, and from Aja was born the great personality Maharaja Dasaratha.
SB 9.10.2 — Being prayed for by the demigods, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth Himself, directly appeared with His expansion and expansions of the expansion. Their holy names were Rama, Laksmana, Bharata and Satrughna. These celebrated incarnations thus appeared in four forms as the sons of Maharaja Dasaratha.
SB 9.10.3 — O King Pariksit, the transcendental activities of Lord Ramacandra have been described by great saintly persons who have seen the truth. Because you have heard again and again about Lord Ramacandra, the husband of mother Sita, I shall describe these activities only in brief. Please listen.
SB 9.10.4 — To keep the promise of His father intact, Lord Ramacandra immediately gave up the position of king and, accompanied by His wife, mother Sita, wandered from one forest to another on His lotus feet, which were so delicate that they were unable to bear even the touch of Sita’s palms. The Lord was also accompanied by Hanuman [or by another monkey, Sugriva], king of the monkeys, and by His own younger brother Lord Laksmana, both of whom gave Him relief from the fatigue of wandering in the forest. Having cut off the nose and ears of Surpanakha, thus disfiguring her, the Lord was separated from mother Sita. He therefore became angry, moving His eyebrows and thus frightening the ocean, who then allowed the Lord to construct a bridge to cross the ocean. Subsequently, the Lord entered the kingdom of Ravana to kill him, like a fire devouring a forest. May that Supreme Lord, Ramacandra, give us all protection.
SB 9.10.5 — In the arena of the sacrifice performed by Visvamitra, Lord Ramacandra, the King of Ayodhya, killed many demons, Raksasas and uncivilized men who wandered at night in the mode of darkness. May Lord Ramacandra, who killed these demons in the presence of Laksmana, be kind enough to give us protection.
SB 9.10.6-7 — O King, the pastimes of Lord Ramacandra were wonderful, like those of a baby elephant. In the assembly where mother Sita was to choose her husband, in the midst of the heroes of this world, He broke the bow belonging to Lord Siva. This bow was so heavy that it was carried by three hundred men, but Lord Ramacandra bent and strung it and broke it in the middle, just as a baby elephant breaks a stick of sugarcane. Thus the Lord achieved the hand of mother Sita, who was equally as endowed with transcendental qualities of form, beauty, behavior, age and nature. Indeed, she was the goddess of fortune who constantly rests on the chest of the Lord. While returning from Sita’s home after gaining her at the assembly of competitors, Lord Ramacandra met Parasurama. Although Parasurama was very proud, having rid the earth of the royal order twenty-one times, he was defeated by the Lord, who appeared to be a ksatriya of the royal order.
SB 9.10.8 — Carrying out the order of His father, who was bound by a promise to his wife, Lord Ramacandra left behind His kingdom, opulence, friends, well-wishers, residence and everything else, just as a liberated soul gives up his life, and went to the forest with Sita.
SB 9.10.9 — While wandering in the forest, where He accepted a life of hardship, carrying His invincible bow and arrows in His hand, Lord Ramacandra deformed Ravana’s sister, who was polluted with lusty desires, by cutting off her nose and ears. He also killed her fourteen thousand Raksasa friends, headed by Khara, Trisira and Dusana.
SB 9.10.10 — O King Pariksit, when Ravana, who had ten heads on his shoulders, heard about the beautiful and attractive features of Sita, his mind was agitated by lusty desires, and he went to kidnap her. To distract Lord Ramacandra from His asrama, Ravana sent Marica in the form of a golden deer, and when Lord Ramacandra saw that wonderful deer, He left His residence and followed it and finally killed it with a sharp arrow, just as Lord Siva killed Daksa.
SB 9.10.11 — When Ramacandra entered the forest and Laksmana was also absent, the worst of the Raksasas, Ravana, kidnapped Sitadevi, the daughter of the King of Videha, just as a tiger seizes unprotected sheep when the shepherd is absent. Then Lord Ramacandra wandered in the forest with His brother Laksmana as if very much distressed due to separation from His wife. Thus He showed by His personal example the condition of a person attached to women.
SB 9.10.12 — Lord Ramacandra, whose lotus feet are worshiped by Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, had assumed the form of a human being. Thus He performed the funeral ceremony of Jatayu, who was killed by Ravana. The Lord then killed the demon named Kabandha, and after making friends with the monkey chiefs, killing Vali and arranging for the deliverance of mother Sita, He went to the beach of the ocean.
SB 9.10.13 — After reaching the beach, Lord Ramacandra fasted for three days, awaiting the arrival of the ocean personified. When the ocean did not come, the Lord exhibited His pastimes of anger, and simply by His glancing over the ocean, all the living entities within it, including the crocodiles and sharks, were agitated by fear. Then the personified ocean fearfully approached Lord Ramacandra, taking all paraphernalia to worship Him. Falling at the Lord’s lotus feet, the personified ocean spoke as follows.
SB 9.10.14 — O all-pervading Supreme Person, we are dull-minded and did not understand who You are, but now we understand that You are the Supreme Person, the master of the entire universe, the unchanging and original Personality of Godhead. The demigods are infatuated with the mode of goodness, the Prajapatis with the mode of passion, and the lord of ghosts with the mode of ignorance, but You are the master of all these qualities.
SB 9.10.15 — My Lord, You may use my water as You like. Indeed, You may cross it and go to the abode of Ravana, who is the great source of disturbance and crying for the three worlds. He is the son of Visrava, but is condemned like urine. Please go kill him and thus regain Your wife, Sitadevi. O great hero, although my water presents no impediment to Your going to Lanka, please construct a bridge over it to spread Your transcendental fame. Upon seeing this wonderfully uncommon deed of Your Lordship, all the great heroes and kings in the future will glorify You.
SB 9.10.16 — Sukadeva Gosvami said: After constructing a bridge over the ocean by throwing into the water the peaks of mountains whose trees and other vegetation had been shaken by the hands of great monkeys, Lord Ramacandra went to Lanka to release Sitadevi from the clutches of Ravana. With the direction and help of Vibhisana, Ravana’s brother, the Lord, along with the monkey soldiers, headed by Sugriva, Nila and Hanuman, entered Ravana’s kingdom, Lanka, which had previously been burnt by Hanuman.
SB 9.10.17 — After entering Lanka, the monkey soldiers, led by chiefs like Sugriva, Nila and Hanuman, occupied all the sporting houses, granaries, treasuries, palace doorways, city gates, assembly houses, palace frontages and even the resting houses of the pigeons. When the city’s crossroads, platforms, flags and golden waterpots on its domes were all destroyed, the entire city of Lanka appeared like a river disturbed by a herd of elephants.
SB 9.10.18 — When Ravana, the master of the Raksasas, saw the disturbances created by the monkey soldiers, he called for Nikumbha, Kumbha, Dhumraksa, Durmukha, Surantaka, Narantaka and other Raksasas and also his son Indrajit. Thereafter he called for Prahasta, Atikaya, Vikampana and finally Kumbhakarna. Then he induced all his followers to fight against the enemies.
SB 9.10.19 — Lord Ramacandra, surrounded by Laksmana and monkey soldiers like Sugriva, Hanuman, Gandhamada, Nila, Angada, Jambavan and Panasa, attacked the soldiers of the Raksasas, who were fully equipped with various invincible weapons like swords, lances, bows, prasas, rstis, sakti arrows, khadgas and tomaras.
SB 9.10.20 — Angada and the other commanders of the soldiers of Ramacandra faced the elephants, infantry, horses and chariots of the enemy and hurled against them big trees, mountain peaks, clubs and arrows. Thus the soldiers of Lord Ramacandra killed Ravana’s soldiers, who had lost all good fortune because Ravana had been condemned by the anger of mother Sita.
SB 9.10.21 — Thereafter, when Ravana, the king of the Raksasas, observed that his soldiers had been lost, he was extremely angry. Thus he mounted his airplane, which was decorated with flowers, and proceeded toward Lord Ramacandra, who sat on the effulgent chariot brought by Matali, the chariot driver of Indra. Then Ravana struck Lord Ramacandra with sharp arrows.
SB 9.10.22 — Lord Ramacandra said to Ravana: You are the most abominable of the man-eaters. Indeed, you are like their stool. You resemble a dog, for as a dog steals eatables from the kitchen in the absence of the householder, in My absence you kidnapped My wife, Sitadevi. Therefore as Yamaraja punishes sinful men, I shall also punish you. You are most abominable, sinful and shameless. Today, therefore, I, whose attempt never fails, shall punish you.
SB 9.10.23 — After thus rebuking Ravana, Lord Ramacandra fixed an arrow to His bow, aimed at Ravana, and released the arrow, which pierced Ravana’s heart like a thunderbolt. Upon seeing this, Ravana’s followers raised a tumultuous sound, crying, “Alas! Alas! What has happened? What has happened?” as Ravana, vomiting blood from his ten mouths, fell from his airplane, just as a pious man falls to earth from the heavenly planets when the results of his pious activities are exhausted.
SB 9.10.24 — Thereafter, all the women whose husbands had fallen in the battle, headed by Mandodari, the wife of Ravana, came out of Lanka. Continuously crying, they approached the dead bodies of Ravana and the other Raksasas.
SB 9.10.25 — Striking their breasts in affliction because their husbands had been killed by the arrows of Laksmana, the women embraced their respective husbands and cried piteously in voices appealing to everyone.
SB 9.10.26 — O my lord, O master! You epitomized trouble for others, and therefore you were called Ravana. But now that you have been defeated, we also are defeated, for without you the state of Lanka has been conquered by the enemy. To whom will it go for shelter?
SB 9.10.27 — O greatly fortunate one, you came under the influence of lusty desires, and therefore you could not understand the influence of mother Sita. Now, because of her curse, you have been reduced to this state, having been killed by Lord Ramacandra.
SB 9.10.28 — O pleasure of the Raksasa dynasty, because of you the state of Lanka and also we ourselves now have no protector. By your deeds you have made your body fit to be eaten by vultures and your soul fit to go to hell.
SB 9.10.29 — Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: Vibhisana, the pious brother of Ravana and devotee of Lord Ramacandra, received approval from Lord Ramacandra, the King of Kosala. Then he performed the prescribed funeral ceremonies for his family members to save them from the path to hell.
SB 9.10.30 — Thereafter, Lord Ramacandra found Sitadevi sitting in a small cottage beneath the tree named Simsapa in a forest of Asoka trees. She was lean and thin, being aggrieved because of separation from Him.
SB 9.10.31 — Seeing His wife in that condition, Lord Ramacandra was very compassionate. When Ramacandra came before her, she was exceedingly happy to see her beloved, and her lotuslike mouth showed her joy.
SB 9.10.32 — After giving Vibhisana the power to rule the Raksasa population of Lanka for the duration of one kalpa, Lord Ramacandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead [Bhagavan], placed Sitadevi on an airplane decorated with flowers and then got on the plane Himself. The period for His living in the forest having ended, the Lord returned to Ayodhya, accompanied by Hanuman, Sugriva and His brother Laksmana.
SB 9.10.33 — When Lord Ramacandra returned to His capital, Ayodhya, He was greeted on the road by the princely order, who showered His body with beautiful, fragrant flowers, while great personalities like Lord Brahma and other demigods glorified the activities of the Lord in great jubilation.
SB 9.10.34 — Upon reaching Ayodhya, Lord Ramacandra heard that in His absence His brother Bharata was eating barley cooked in the urine of a cow, covering His body with the bark of trees, wearing matted locks of hair, and lying on a mattress of kusa. The most merciful Lord very much lamented this.
SB 9.10.35-38 — When Lord Bharata understood that Lord Ramacandra was returning to the capital, Ayodhya, He immediately took upon His own head Lord Ramacandra’s wooden shoes and came out from His camp at Nandigrama. Lord Bharata was accompanied by ministers, priests and other respectable citizens, by professional musicians vibrating pleasing musical sounds, and by learned brahmanas loudly chanting Vedic hymns. Following in the procession were chariots drawn by beautiful horses with harnesses of golden rope. These chariots were decorated by flags with golden embroidery and by other flags of various sizes and patterns. There were soldiers bedecked with golden armor, servants bearing betel nut, and many well-known and beautiful prostitutes. Many servants followed on foot, bearing an umbrella, whisks, different grades of precious jewels, and other paraphernalia befitting a royal reception. Accompanied in this way, Lord Bharata, His heart softened in ecstasy and His eyes full of tears, approached Lord Ramacandra and fell at His lotus feet with great ecstatic love.
SB 9.10.39-40 — After offering the wooden shoes before Lord Ramacandra, Lord Bharata stood with folded hands, His eyes full of tears, and Lord Ramacandra bathed Bharata with tears while embracing Him with both arms for a long time. Accompanied by mother Sita and Laksmana, Lord Ramacandra then offered His respectful obeisances unto the learned brahmanas and the elderly persons in the family, and all the citizens of Ayodhya offered their respectful obeisances unto the Lord.
SB 9.10.41 — The citizens of Ayodhya, upon seeing their King return after a long absence, offered Him flower garlands, waved their upper cloths, and danced in great jubilation.
SB 9.10.42-43 — O King, Lord Bharata carried Lord Ramacandra’s wooden shoes, Sugriva and Vibhisana carried a whisk and an excellent fan, Hanuman carried a white umbrella, Satrughna carried a bow and two quivers, and Sitadevi carried a waterpot filled with water from holy places. Angada carried a sword, and Jambavan, King of the Rksas, carried a golden shield.
SB 9.10.44 — O King Pariksit, as the Lord sat on His airplane of flowers, with women offering Him prayers and reciters chanting about His characteristics, He appeared like the moon with the stars and planets.
SB 9.10.45-46 — Thereafter, having been welcomed by His brother Bharata, Lord Ramacandra entered the city of Ayodhya in the midst of a festival. When He entered the palace, He offered obeisances to all the mothers, including Kaikeyi and the other wives of Maharaja Dasaratha, and especially His own mother, Kausalya. He also offered obeisances to the spiritual preceptors, such as Vasistha. Friends of His own age and younger friends worshiped Him, and He returned their respectful obeisances, as did Laksmana and mother Sita. In this way they all entered the palace.
SB 9.10.47 — Upon seeing their sons, the mothers of Rama, Laksmana, Bharata and Satrughna immediately arose, like unconscious bodies returning to consciousness. The mothers placed their sons on their laps and bathed Them with tears, thus relieving themselves of the grief of long separation.
SB 9.10.48 — The family priest or spiritual master, Vasistha, had Lord Ramacandra cleanly shaved, freeing Him from His matted locks of hair. Then, with the cooperation of the elderly members of the family, he performed the bathing ceremony [abhiseka] for Lord Ramacandra with the water of the four seas and with other substances, just as it was performed for King Indra.
SB 9.10.49 — Lord Ramacandra, fully bathed and His head clean-shaven, dressed Himself very nicely and was decorated with a garland and ornaments. Thus He shone brightly, surrounded by His brothers and wife, who were similarly dressed and ornamented.
SB 9.10.50 — Being pleased by the full surrender and submission of Lord Bharata, Lord Ramacandra then accepted the throne of the state. He cared for the citizens exactly like a father, and the citizens, being fully engaged in their occupational duties of varna and asrama, accepted Him as their father.
SB 9.10.51 — Lord Ramacandra became King during Treta-yuga, but because of His good government, the age was like Satya-yuga. Everyone was religious and completely happy.
SB 9.10.52 — O Maharaja Pariksit, best of the Bharata dynasty, during the reign of Lord Ramacandra the forests, the rivers, the hills and mountains, the states, the seven islands and the seven seas were all favorable in supplying the necessities of life for all living beings.
SB 9.10.53 — When Lord Ramacandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was the King of this world, all bodily and mental suffering, disease, old age, bereavement, lamentation, distress, fear and fatigue were completely absent. There was even no death for those who did not want it.
SB 9.10.54 — Lord Ramacandra took a vow to accept only one wife and have no connection with any other women. He was a saintly king, and everything in His character was good, untinged by qualities like anger. He taught good behavior for everyone, especially for householders, in terms of varnasrama-dharma. Thus He taught the general public by His personal activities.
SB 9.10.55 — Mother Sita was very submissive, faithful, shy and chaste, always understanding the attitude of her husband. Thus by her character and her love and service she completely attracted the mind of the Lord.