Shuurpanakha Arrives at the Cottage


Shuurpanakha, the problem female demon of Ramayana enters here. She approaches the cottage of Rama and offers her wifehood to Rama. She is the sister of Ravana and her husband Vidyut Jihva was murdered by Ravana alone, rendering his own sister a widow. She being an age-old female demon wants Rama to marry her, leaving Seetha off.

Chapter [Sarga] 17 in Detail

On taking bath Rama with Seetha and Saumitri, then went to his own hermitage from that bank of River Godavari. [3-17-1]

Nearing that hermitage Raghava along with Lakshmana performed early morning rituals and then reached the cottage. [3-17-2]

There Rama comfortably spent time while being adored by eminent sages when he is with them, and narrating many a narrative while sitting in hermitage along with Seetha and his brother Lakshmana, thus he shone forth like the moon when with Chitra constellation. [3-1-7-3, 4]

At one time when Rama is sitting in hermitage and heartily absorbed in telling narratives some female demon arrived at that place, fortuitously [occurring by chance]. [3-17-5]

She is but the sister of ten-faced demon Ravana, Shuurpanakha by her name and she has seen him on reaching the paradisiacal being like Rama. [3-17-6]

He whose face is radiant, arms lengthy, eyes large like lotus petals, stride [to take a very long step] like that of an elephant, wearing bunches of hair-tufts, delicate yet greatly vigorous, possessor of all kingly aspects, complexion deep-blue like blue lotus, similar to Love-god in brilliance and in simile to Indra, the female demon has seen such a Rama and became lovesick. [3-17-7, 8, 9a]

She that female demon who is facially unpleasant one with that pleasant faced one, pot bellied one with the slim-waist one, wry-eyed [twisted-eyed] one with the broad-eyed one, coppery-haired one with the neatly tressed [being braided] one, ugly featured one with the charming featured one, brassy voiced one with the gentle voiced one, deplorably oldish one with the youngish one, crooked talker with the pleasant talker, ill-mannered one with the well-mannered one, uncouth one with couth [sophisticated], abominable one with amiable Rama spoke, besieged [to press with requests] by Love-god. [3-17-9b, 11, 12a]

"You are an ascetic yet with a wife, handling bow and arrows yet in the appearance of a sage… what for you have come to this province frequented by demons… it will be apt of you to tell the purpose of your coming here, in actuality…" [3-17-12b, 13]

Thus asked by female demon Shuurpanakha that enemy-scorcher Rama started to inform all about it, straightforwardly. [3-17-14]

"A king named Dasharatha was there with his godlike valor, I am his eldest son, and people hear of me by name Rama. [3-17-15]

"He is Lakshmana by his name, my younger brother and a devoted follower of mine, and she is my wife, daughter of Videha’s king, well-known as Seetha. [3-17-16]

"Desiring to implement the probity in following father’s orders and for the sake of establishing probity in living an ascetic’s life I have come here to forests to dwell, as enjoined by the directives of the king and my father, and by my mother, as well. [3-17-17]

"I too wish to know about you. Whose wife are you? What is your name? Or, whose daughter are you? By the way, you are with a most enthralling personality, and then you must be a female demon. [3-17-18]

"What for you have come, either, you tell in actuality..." Thus Rama asked her. On hearing the words of Rama she that female demon wetted with love said these words. [3-17-19]

"I will tell you truth, Rama, nothing but truth, I am a guise-changing demoness [female demon] named Shuurpanakha, and I will be freely moving in this forest in a solitary manner and unnerving all. [3-17-20, 21a]

"My brother is valorous and mighty Ravana, the king of demons and the son of Vishravasa, if ever you have heard of him. [3-17-21b, 22a]

"And the mighty Kumbhakarna who will always be in profound sleep is my brother, and the virtue-souled Vibheeshana too is my brother, but he does not behave like a demon, and two more bothers of mine are Khara and Duushana who are renowned for their bravery in war. [3-17-22b, 23]

"I can excel all of them by my bravery, oh, Rama, and on seeing you for the first time I had a notion that you being the choicest among men you alone are my husband, hence I neared you. [3-17-24]

"I am endowed with such preponderances [a superiority or excess in number or quantity] and I can operate with my independent might, as such you become my everlasting husband… by the way, what you can bring off with Seetha. [3-17-25]

"Unlovely and unshapely is this one, such as she is, this Seetha is unworthy to be your wife, and I am the lone one worthy to be your wife, hence treat me as your wife. [3-17-26]

"Shall I eat up this disfigured, dishonest, diabolical human female with a hallow stomach along with him, that brother of yours to make you free.

"Afterwards, you can lustily ramble about Dandaka forest along with me while enjoying yourself on various mountaintops in the sky and in forests on the earth." So Shuurpanakha said to Rama. [3-17-28]

When he is said that way Rama chuckled and that wordsmith started to reply her who eyes are besotted in lovesickness with this sentence. [3-17-29]

Thus, this is the 17th chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate