Why Ahalya Was Cursed


Vishvamitra narrates the legend of Ahalya to Rama and Lakshmana when they arrive at the precincts [district or place] of Mithila, bidding farewell to the King of Vishaala. Indra is infatuated [inspired with extravagant love or admiration] with Ahalya desires a union with her, for which she complies. However, Gautama catching them unawares curses both Indra and Ahalya.

Chapter [Sarga] 48 in Detail

When those two, Vishvamitra and Sumati, have met one another there at that place, king Sumati raised the topic of Rama and Lakshmana, after exchanging greetings and enquiring about the well-being of the great-saint Vishvamitra. [1-48-1]

These two youngsters, oh, sage, let safety betide [to happen to] you, striding like audacious [adventurous] elephants and arrogant lions, bearing a similitude [likeness] to adventurous tigers and adamantine [rigidly firm] bulls, and wielding quivers, swords, and bows, are valorous with their valor matching that of Vishnu, and with their eyes broad like lotus-petals and with youthfulness in the offing they look like the exceptionally beautiful twin-Gods, Ashwin-brothers, by their physique. How these two have footslogged and chanced here as though immortals have chanced on earth from the abode of Gods at their pleasure? What for they have come here, and whose scions [descendants] are they? [1-48-2, 3, 4]

These two best ones among men are identical to one another by their bodily proportion, facial-language, and by bodily gestures, and with their presence they refurbish [to brighten or freshen up] this province like the Moon and Sun brightening the firmament [heavens]. In truth, I would like to know for what reason these valiant ones who are wielding best weapons have arrived here traveling on an arduous [difficult] path. Thus, king Sumati asked Vishvamitra. [1-48-5, 6]

On hearing those words of King Sumati, Vishvamitra informed him about the visit of Rama and Lakshmana to the Hermitage of Accomplishment, also about the elimination of demons, as it has happened. [1-48-7a, 7b]

King Sumati is highly astonished to hear the words of Vishvamitra about the visit of Rama and Lakshmana, and treating them to have come as the most prominent and honor-worthy guests that king started to honor those two great-mighty sons of Dasharatha customarily. [1-48-7c, 8]

On getting high honors from King Sumati, Raghava-s stayed there along with Vishvamitra and with the community of sages for one night, and then they all have moved on to Mithila. [1-48-9]

On seeing Janaka's auspicious city Mithila, all of the saints who are accompanying Vishvamitra, Rama, and Lakshmana, extolled [to praise highly] it saying, Splendid! Splendid! and admired it highly. [1-48-10]

On seeing a hermitage in the fringes of Mithila, that appeared to be age-old, but now uninhabited, yet pleasing, Rama asked the eminent sage Vishvamitra. [1-48-11]

This is semblable [similar] to a hermitage but sages seem to have discarded it. Oh, venerable sage, whose is this hermitage previously; I wish to listen of it. Thus, Rama asked Vishvamitra. [1-48-12]

On hearing that sentence spoken by Raghava, the expert in sententiousness [moralistic in expression], a great resplendent sage and eminent-saint Vishvamitra replied him in this way. [1-48-13]

What a pleasure! You may listen as I narrate, Raghava, whose hermitage is this factually, and which great soul has resentfully cursed this. [1-48-14]

Oh, the best one among men Rama, this hermitage with a heavenly glisten, and highly hallowed even by Gods, once belonged to the great-souled sage Gautama. [1-48-15]

In this hermitage, oh, prince Rama, once that highly renowned Sage Gautama sat tight in asceticism for numerous cycle of years along with his wife Ahalya. [1-48-16]

On knowing the meantime of Gautama's availability at hermitage, Indra, the husband of Shaci Devi and the Thousand-eyed God wearing the guise of sage Gautama and becoming such a sage, approached Ahalya and said this to her. [1-48-17]

'Oh, finely limbed lady, indulgers [to yield to the desire] do not watch out for the time to conceive, as such oh, slender-waist one, I desire copulation [to engage in sexual intercourse] with you. [1-48-18]

Oh, Rama, the legatee of Raghu, though knowing him as the Thousand-eyed Indra in the guise of her husband Gautama, she is inclined to have intercourse ill-advisedly, only to satisfy the impassion of the King of Gods. [1-48-19]

She felt fulfilled in her heart of hearts and then she said this to that best God Indra, 'I am gratified in complying with your wish, oh, best of Gods, get going oh, lord, from here quickly, oh, ruler of Gods, always safeguard yourself and me from Sage Gautama.' Thus, Ahalya said to Indra. [1-48-20, 21a]

Indra on his part smilingly said this word to Ahalya, 'oh, well-hipped lady, I am quite delighted, here I go as I have come.' [1-48-21b, 22a]

Oh, Rama, Indra then came out of the cottage flustering [to move or behave in an agitated or confused manner] hurriedly after copulating [to engage in sexual intercourse] with her with an uncertainty about the arrival of Sage Gautama. [1-48-22b, 23a]

Indra has then seen the great-saint Gautama, an unassailable sage either for Gods or for demons owing to his ascetic prowess, though thoroughly wet with the water of pious river he is luminous like ritual fire, and a foremost saint among all saints who just entered the hermitage carrying ritual firewood and sacred grass. [1-48-23b, 24, 25a]

On seeing the sage the lord of Gods Indra is scared and became dreary-faced [gloomy faced]. Then the well-behaved Gautama furiously spoke these words on seeing the ill-behaved Thousand-eyed Indra who is donning [to put on] the guise of a saint. [1-48-25b, 26]

‘Oh, dirty-minded Indra, taking hold of my form you have effectuated this unacceptable deed, whereby you shall become in-fecund [not fruitful in offspring].' Thus, Gautama cursed Indra. [1-48-27]

When that great-souled sage Gautama spoke that way with rancor [bitter deep-seated ill will], the testicles of the cursed Thousand-eyed Indra fell down onto ground at that very moment. [1-48-28]

On cursing Indra thus the sage cursed even his wife saying, 'you shall tarry [wait] here for many thousands of years to come without food and consuming air alone, and unseen by all beings you shall live on in this hermitage while contritely [feeling or showing sorrow and remorse for a sin] recumbent [lying down] in dust. [1-48-29, 30]

‘When that unassailable son of Dasharatha, namely Rama, arrives at this squalid [dirty] forest, for it will be henceforth rendered so along with you, then you will be purified. [1-48-31]

'On your welcoming Rama, oh, ill-behaved woman, you will be divested of your greed and craze in which you lingered [to remain existent although often waning in strength, importance, or influence] so far, and then you will assume your own body and then you can be in my proximity [closeness], rejoicing.' Thus, Sage Gautama cursed his wife Ahalya. [1-48-32]

On cursing immodest [not modest] Ahalya thus, that great-resplendent Sage Gautama shed this hermitage which was once adored by celestials like Siddha-sand Caarana-s, and that great-ascetic Gautama practiced his asceticism on the pleasant peaks of Himalayas. Thus, Vishvamitra continued his narration about the legend of Ahalya. [1-48-33]

Thus, this is the 48th chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate