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Chapter 24: History of the Rakshasi Tataka

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History of the Rakshasi Tataka

 

Summary

While crossing over the River Ganga, sage Vishvamitra sails them through its confluence [meeting, or gathering at one point] with River Sarayu, which flows at their capital Ayodhya. The sage leads them to a deadly forest on the other bank of River Ganga and narrates about the ambushing [a trap in which concealed persons lie in wait to attack by surprise] nature of female demon Tataka, preparing him to kill her.

History of the Rakshasi Tataka

Chapter [Sarga] 24 in Detail

tatah prabhaate vimale krita aahnikam arindamau |

vishvaamitram puraskritya nadyaah tiiram upaagatau || 1-24-1

Then, in the fresh of the morning those enemy destroyers, Rama and Lakshmana, arrived at the riverbank of Ganga keeping sage Vishvamitra ahead of them, which sage has just completed his ritualistic [according to religious law] chores of dawn. [1-24-1]

te ca sarve mahaatmaano munayah sa.mshrita vrataah |

upasthaapya shubhaam naavam vishvaamitram atha abruvan || 1-24-2

All those sages of Kaama's hermitage that are the great souls and scrupulous [having moral integrity] ones in their vows have positioned an auspicious ferryboat within the reach in the river, and then they said to sage Vishvamitra. [1-24-2]

aarohatu bhavaan naavam raajaputra puraskritah |

aristam gaccha panthaanam maa bhuut kaala viparyayah || 1-24-3

"You may board the boat keeping the princes ahead of you, and we wish you to proceed on a prosperous route without the shift of time." So said the sages. [1-24-3]

vishvaamitrah tathaa iti uktvaa taan risiin pratipuujya ca |

tataara sahitah taabhyaam saritam saagaram gamaam || 1-24-4

Sage Vishvamitra on saying 'it must be so,' to those sages and revering [worshipping] them in his turn cruised [to sail] the river that itself is cruising towards ocean, along with both the princes. [1-24-4]

tatra shushraava vai shabdam toya sa.mrambha vardhitam |

madhyam aagamya toyasya tasya shabdasya nishcayam || 1-24-5

jnaatu kaamo mahaatejaa saha raamah kaniiyasaa |

On coming to the midstream of water there Rama heard an unusual and increasing noise of gushy waters along with his younger brother, and that brilliant one Rama desired to know its significance. [1-24-5, 6a]

atha raamah sarin madhye papraccha muni pungavam || 1-24-6

vaarino bhidyamaanasya kim ayam tumulo dhvanih |

Rama then asked the eminent [famous] sage Vishvamitra in the midst of the river, "what is this turbulent sound sire [father]? As though slashing water." [1-24-6b, 7a]

raaghavasya vacah shrutvaa kautuuhala samanvitam || 1-24-7

kathayaamaasa dharmaatmaa tasya shabdasya nishcayam |

On hearing the inquisitive [curious] words of Raghava that virtue-souled sage Vishvamitra started to tell the significance of that sound. [1-24-7b, 8a]

kailaasa parvate raama manasaa nirmitam param || 1-24-8

brahmanaa narashaarduula tena idam maanasam sarah |

"On Mt. Kailash, Brahma created a great lake at his will, oh, tigerly-man Rama, hence that is called Maanasa Lake. [1-24-8b, 9a]

tasmaat susraava sarasah saa ayodhyaam upaguuhate || 1-24-9

sarah pravrittaa sarayuuh punyaa brahma sarah cyutaa |

tasya ayam atulah shabdo jaahnaviim abhivartate || 1-24-10

vaari sa.mksobhajo raama pranaamam niyatah kuru |

"That river which spontaneously flows out of that Maanasa Lake surrounds Ayodhya city is this one, the River Sarayu. Because this has originated from a lake, sarah, this is known as Sarayu. And because it flows from Brahma's Lake it is a merited river. This is the remarkable noise of such a Sarayu River in its coursing towards River Ganga, generated by the collision of their waters, and Rama, offer regards to these rivers, respectfully." So said Vishvamitra to the princes. [1-24-9b, 10, 11a]

taabhyaam tu taavubhau kritvaa pranaamam atidhaarmikau || 1-24-11

tiiram daksinam aasaadya jagmatur laghu vikramau |

Offering their salutations to River Sarayu and Ganga those two most virtuous and agile footed princes proceeded further on reaching the southern riverbank. [1-24-11b, 12a]

sa vanam ghora sa.nkaasham dristvaa naravaraatmajah || 1-24-12

aviprahatam aiksvaakah papraccha muni pu.ngavam |

On seeing a horrendous [horrible] and uninhibited forest, Rama, the son of the best king Dasharatha asked the eminent sage Vishvamitra. [1-24-12b, 13a]

aho vanam idam durgam jhillikaa gana samyutam || 1-24-13

bhairavaih shvaapadaih kiirnam shakunaih daaruna aaravaih |

"Oh, impenetrable is this forest fraught [full of] with swarms of crickets, brutish predators, and vultures, which are all horribly strident [characterized by harsh, insistent, and discordant sound]. [1-24-13b, 14a]

naanaa prakaaraih shakunaih vaashyadbhih bhairava svanaih || 1-24-14

simha vyaaghra varaahaih ca vaaranaih ca api shobhitam |

"Various vultures are screeching with fierce sonority [full or loud in sound], and tigers, wild boars, and elephants render this forest atypical. [1-24-14b, 15a]

dhava ashvakarna kakubhaih bilva tinduka paatalaih || 1-24-15

sankiirnam badariibhih ca kim nu etat daarunam vanam |

"Indeed, what is this wretched forest that is dense with Dhava, Ashvakarna, Arjuna, Bilva, Tinduka, Patala, and Badari trees." Thus Rama asked Vishvamitra. [1-24-15b, 16a]

tam uvaaca mahaatejaa vishvaamitro mahaamunih || 1-24-16

shruuyataam vatsa kaakutstha yasya etat daarunam vanam |

The resplendent [shining brilliantly] and the great saint Vishvamitra then said to Rama, "I will tell you, oh, my boy Rama, whose is this wretched forest. [1-24-16b, 17a]

etau janapadau sphiitau puurvam aastaam narouttama || 1-24-17

maladaah ca karuusaah ca deva nirmaana nirmitau |

"Once these were vast provinces, oh, best one among men, designed by Gods and known as Malada and Karuusha. [1-24-17b, 18a]

puraa vritra vadhe raama malena samabhiplutam || 1-24-18

ksudhaa caiva sahasraaksam brahma hatyaa sam aavishat |

"Once upon a time, oh, Rama, mortal impurities of filth and hunger completely stained Indra when he eliminated demon Vritra, as he committed the sin of killing of a Brahman, where the demon Vritra was incidentally a Brahman. [1-24-18b, 19a]

tam indram malinam devaa risayah ca tapodhanaah || 1-24-19

kalashaih snaapayaamaasuh malam ca asya pramocayan |

"The Gods and ascetically rich sages then started to bathe feculent [foul with impurities] Indra with their handy vessels for the riddance of his defilement [to make unclean or impure]. [1-24-19b, 20a]

iha bhuumyaam malam dattvaa devaah kaarusam eva ca || 1-24-20

shariirajam mahendrasya tato harsam prapedire |

"On giving filth and hunger emerged out of the body of Mahendra here on the earth then the Gods were gladdened. [1-24-20b, 21a]

nirmalo niskaruusah ca shuddha indro yathaa abhavat || 1-24-21

tato deshasya supriito varam praadaad anuttamam |

"As and when Indra was without desecration [impurities] and hunger as well, and thus purified, then gladdened about this place he gave it an unexcelled boon. [1-24-21b, 22a]

imau janapadau sphiitau khyaatim loke gamisyatah || 1-24-22

maladaah ca karuusaah ca mama a.nga mala dhaarinau |

"These provinces that bear the impurity of my body shall become resourceful and they shall attain renown in world as Malada and Karusha." Thus Indra gave boon to this place. [1-24-22b, 23a]

saadhu saadhu iti tam devaah paakashaasanam abruvan || 1-24-23

deshasya puujaam taam dristvaa kritaam shakrena dhiimataa |

"On observing the honor accorded by wise Indra to these places Gods praised the controller of demon Paaka, namely Indra saying, 'splendid, splendid it is.' [1-24-23b, 24a]

etau janapadau sphiitau diirgha kaalam arindama || 1-24-24

maladaah ca karuusaah ca muditaa dhana dhaanyatah |

"For a long time these habitations Malada and Karuusha were affluent [rich], oh, enemy subjugator [conqueror] Rama, and people were happy with wealth and provisions. [1-24-24b, 25a]

kasya cit atha kaalasya yaksii kaama ruupinii || 1-24-25

balam naaga sahasrasya dhaarayantii tadaa hi aabhuut |

taatakaa naama bhadram te bhaaryaa sundasya dhiimatah || 1-24-26

maariico raaksasah putro yasyaah shakra paraakramah |

"Later at sometime, a Yaksha female who is a guise changer at her wish, possessor of the strength of a thousand elephants, wife of clever Sunanda, and she whose son is demon Maareecha, the one equal to Indra in his bravery, prevailed here, let you be safe Rama. [1-24-25b, 26, 27a]

vritta baahur mahaa shiirso vipulaa asya tanur mahaan || 1-24-27

raaxaso bhairava aakaaro nityam traasayate prajaah |

"That demon Maareecha is round shouldered, huge headed, cavernous [hollow] mouthed, and gigantic bodied one, and he is always terrifying the people. [1-24-27b, 28a]

imau janapadau nityam vinaashayati raaghava || 1-24-28

maladaamshca karuusaa.mshca taatakaa dusta caarinii |

"And Raghava, that malevolent [evil] Tataka is always destroying the inhabitations at Malada and Karuusha. [1-24-28b, 29a]

saa iyam panthaanam aavritya vasati adhyardha yojane || 1-24-29

ata eva ca gantavyam taatakaayaa vanam yatah |

"She lives about one and half yojana distance (about 15 miles) from here, and by which reason this became the forest of Tataka, owing to her gruesome activities, for that reason only a headway is to be made, to eradicate her and her activities. [1-24-29b, 30a]

sva baahu balam aashritya jahi imaam dusta caariniim || 1-24-30

mat niyogaat imam desham kuru niskantakam punah |

"Depending upon the strength of your own self-confidence you have to eradicate this evildoer, and assigned by me you have to make this province free from thorniness. [1-24-30b, 31a]

na hi kashcit imam desham shakto hi aagantum iidrisham || 1-24-31

yaksinyaa ghorayaa raama utsaaditam asahyayaa |

"Indeed, none is able to enter this sort of province, Rama, destroyed by the hazardous and invincible unearthly being who turned into a female demon, namely Tataka, hence you have to make the provinces habitable. [1-24-31b, 32a]

etat te sarvam aakhyaatam yathaa etat daarunam vanam |

yaksyaa ca utsaaditam sarvam adya api na nivartate || 1-24-32

"As to how that ghoulish [a legendary evil being] Tataka destroyed this entire forest, rendering it as a devastated place, without refraining from it even today, all that is narrated." So said Vishvamitra to Rama. [1-24-32]

iti vaalmiiki raamaayane aadikaavye baala kaande chatur vi.mshah sargah ||

Thus, this is the 24th chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate

References

Desiraju Hanumanta Rao. (1998). Balakanda - Book Of Youthful Majesties.

Merriam-Webster. (2007). At http://www.m-w.com.

Reference.com. (2007). At http://www.reference.com.

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