Shatrughna asks Bharata why even Lakshmana could not prevent Dasaratha from sending Rama to the forest. Meanwhile, when Manthara arrives at the scene, Shatrughna seizes her with his powerful hand, threatens to punish her and abuses Kaikeyi too. When Kaikeyi pleads for mercy with her son, Bharata intervenes and Shatrughna releases Manthara.
Chapter [Sarga] 78 in Detail
atra yaatraam samiihantam shatrughnah laksmana anujah |
bharatam shoka samtaptam idam vacanam abraviit || 2-78-1
Thereafter, Shatrughna the younger brother of Lakshmana spoke the following words to Bharata, who was tormented with grief and who desired to undertake an expedition to Rama.
gatir yah sarva bhuutaanaam duhkhe kim punar aatmanah |
sa raamah sattva sampannah striyaa pravraajitah vanam || 2-78-2
"When that even-minded Rama is a refuge for all beings, how much more to tell about our seeking solace to him in our grief? He has been abandoned to the forest by a woman."
balavaan viirya sampanno laksmano naama yo api asau |
kim na mocayate raamam kritvaa api pitri nigraham || 2-78-3
"Why the so-called Lakshmana, the strong and powerful man, even could not rescue Rama from distress by making our father to restrain from doing it?"
puurvam eva tu nigraahyah samaveksya naya anayau |
utpatham yah samaaruudho naaryaa raajaa vasham gatah || 2-78-4
"By perceiving the prudence and imprudence in that wrong course adopted by the king, who has fallen into the clutches of a woman, Lakshmana should have restrained Dasaratha even at the beginning itself."
iti sambhaasamaane tu shatrughne laksmana anuje |
praag dvaare abhuut tadaa kubjaa sarva aabharana bhuusitaa || 2-78-5
While Shatrughna the younger brother of Lakshmana was talking thus, the hump-backed Manthara duly adorned with all types of ornaments, appeared at the eastern gate.
liptaa candana saarena raaja vastraani bibhratii |
vividham vividhaistaistairbhuusanaishca vibhuusitaa || 2-78-6
Anointed with a scent of sandal-wood and wearing royal clothes, she was bedecked with several kinds of ornaments of every description in various ways.
mekhalaa daamabhih citrai rajju baddhaa iva vaanarii |
babhaase bahubhirbaddhaa rajjubaddeva vaanarii || 2-78-7
Studded with bright-colored girdle-bands and many other excellent ornaments, Manthara appeared like a female-monkey tied with ropes!
taam samiiksya tadaa dvaahstho bhrisham paapasya kaariniim |
grihiitvaa akarunam kubjaam shatrughnaaya nyavedayat || 2-78-8
Beholding that hump-backed Manthara, the very much sinful and insensitive woman, the door-keepers caught her and delivered her to Shatrughna (with the following words:)
yasyaah krite vane raamah nyasta dehah ca vah pitaa |
saa iyam paapaa nrishamsaa ca tasyaah kuru yathaa mati || 2-78-9
"Here is that sinful and cruel woman, by whose act Rama is in the forest and your father has laid down his body. Do with her, as you consider fitting."
shatrughnah ca tat aajnaaya vacanam bhrisha duhkhitah |
antah pura caraan sarvaan iti uvaaca dhrita vratah || 2-78-10
Hearing those words, Shatrughna who was very much in grief and was firmly resolute, spoke to all those inmates of that gynaeceum, as follows:
tiivram utpaaditam duhkham bhraatririnaam me tathaa pituh |
yayaa saa iyam nrishamsasya karmanah phalam ashnutaam || 2-78-11
"Let this woman, who created serious misfortune to my brothers and my father, receive the fruit of her cruel act."
evam uktaa ca tena aashu sakhii jana samaavritaa |
grihiitaa balavat kubjaa saa tat griham anaadayat || 2-78-12
Speaking thus in the midst of her companions, he seized that hunch-backed woman with his powerful hand soon and she in turn made that mansion resound with her shrieks.
tatah subhrisha samtaptah tasyaah sarvah sakhii janah |
kruddham aajnaaya shatrughnam vyapalaayata sarvashah || 2-78-13
Then, her companion, having conceived Shatrughna's anger and extremely agonized as they were, ran away helter-shelter in all directions.
amantrayata kritsnah ca tasyaah sarva sakhii janah |
yathaa ayam samupakraantah nihshesam nah karisyati || 2-78-14
All the company of women there surmised [to form a notion or opinion] as follows: "The way how he is coming up, he will surely slay us all"
saanukroshaam vadaanyaam ca dharmajnaam ca yashasviniim |
kausalyaam sharanam yaamah saa hi no astu dhruvaa gatih || 2-78-15
"We shall take refuge with the compassionate, magnanimous, virtuous and illustrious Kausalya. Let her be the sure asylum for us."
sa ca rosena taamra aksah shatrughnah shatru taapanah |
vicakarsa tadaa kubjaam kroshantiim prithivii tale || 2-78-16
That Shatrughna, the tormentor of enemies, with his raging red eyes then violently dragged the crying hump-back along the floor.
tasyaa hi aakrisyamaanaayaa mantharaayaah tatah tatah |
citram bahu vidham bhaandam prithivyaam tat vyashiiryata || 2-78-17
While that Manthara was violently dragged, here various colorful ornaments were scattered asunder here and there on the floor.
tena bhaandena samkiirnam shriimad raaja niveshanam |
ashobhata tadaa bhuuyah shaaradam gaganam yathaa || 2-78-18
Thus, that splendid royal mansion scattered by those ornaments, appeared very much like an autumnal sky studded with innumerable stars.
sa balii balavat krodhaat grihiitvaa purusa risabhah |
kaikeyiim abhinirbhartsya babhaase parusam vacah || 2-78-19
Shatrughna, the strong and the eminent man, thus violently seizing her with rage, sharply rebuked Kaikeyi and spoke harsh words to her.
taih vaakyaih parusaih duhkhaih kaikeyii bhrisha duhhitaa |
shatrughna bhaya samtrastaa putram sharanam aagataa || 2-78-20
Agonized very much by those harsh and painful words, Kiakeyi overwhelmed as she was with the fear of Shatrughna, took refuge with Bharata.
taam preksya bharatah kruddham shatrughnam idam abraviit |
avadhyaah sarva bhuutaanaam pramadaah ksamyataam iti || 2-78-21
Seeing that enraged Shatrughna, Bharata said: "Among all beings women are not to be killed. Hence she is to be pardoned."
hanyaam aham imaam paapaam kaikeyiim dusta caariniim |
yadi maam dhaarmiko raamah na asuuyen maatri ghaatakam || 2-78-22
"If the pious Rama were not to express his displeasure with me for killing the mother, I would have killed this Kaikeyi, the ill-mannered and sinful woman."
imaam api hataam kubjaam yadi jaanaati raaghavah |
tvaam ca maam caiva dharma aatmaa na abhibhaasisyate dhruvam || 2-78-23
"If the virtuous Rama hears that the hunch-backed woman has been killed, it is sure that he will cease to talk to you or even to me."
bharatasya vacah shrutvaa shatrughnah laksmana anujah |
nyavartata tatah rosaat taam mumoca ca mantharaam || 2-78-24
Hearing the words of Bharata, Shatrughna the younger brother of Lakshmana renouncing his guilty design forthwith released that Manthara.
saa paada muule kaikeyyaa mantharaa nipapaata ha |
nihshvasantii suduhkha aartaa kripanam vilalaapa ca || 2-78-25
Manthara fell at the feet of Kaikeyi, breathless, weeping piteously.
shatrughna viksepa vimuudha samjnaam |
samiiksya kubjaam bharatasya maataa |
shanaih samaashvaasayad aarta ruupaam |
kraunciim vilagnaam iva viiksamaanaam || 2-78-26
Seeing the hunch-backed woman, who was distraught on account of Shatrughna’s violence, wearing a disturbed appearance and looking like a crane that has been caught in a noose, Bharata's mother slowly consoled her.
ityaarse shriimadraamaayane aadikaavye ayodhyaakaande astasaptatitamah sargah
Thus completes 78th Chapter of Ayodhya Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.
Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate