Legend of Shiva's bow is narrated as Vishvamitra asks Janaka to show that bow to Rama and Lakshmana, as they have come this far to have a glimpse of that great bow. Janaka, while narrating its history, makes an offer saying that his daughter Seetha will be given in marriage, if only Rama can string the bowstring of Shiva's bow. In the very same sixty-sixth chapter of Kishkindha Kanda, Valmiki narrates the birth of Hanuma through Jambavanta, elaborately. But here Valmiki informs through Janaka about the nature of birth of Seetha, very concisely, which gave raise to too much of debate about this enigmatic Seetha and her birth. Some points are given in the endnote.
Chapter [Sarga] 66 – in Detail
tatah prabhaate vimale krita karmaa naraadhipah |
vishvaamitram mahaatmaanam aajuhaava sa raaghavam || 1-66-1
Then on performing morning time rites in the aurora [dawn] of next morning, king Janaka invited great souled Vishvamitra, along with Raghava-s. [1-66-1]
tam arhcayitvaa dharmaaatmaa shaastra dristena karmanaa |
raaghavau ca mahaatmaanau tadaa vaakyam uvaaca ha || 1-66-2
On reverencing [to regard or treat with honor] Vishvamitra and the noble souled Raghava-s according to the formalities envisaged [said] by scriptures, then the virtue souled Janaka spoke these words, indeed. [1-66-2]
bhagavan svaagatam te astu kim karomi tava anagha |
bhavaan aajnaapayatu maam aajnaapyo bhavataa hi aham || 1-66-3
Oh, God, you are welcome, oh, holy sage, bid me as to what I should do for you, for I am biddable [easily led, taught, or controlled] by you, indeed... [1-66-3]
evam uktah sa dharmaatmaa janakena mahaatmanaa |
pratyuvaaca munir viiram vaakyam vaakya vishaaradah || 1-66-4
When said thus by the foreseer Janaka, [who can foresee as to why Vishvamitra came with Raghava-s this far, and thus asked him as to what next is to be done,] that sage Vishvamitra, for he is presager [one with an intuition or feeling of what is going to happen in the future] and wordsmith, [and who knows what is to be done next,] said these words in reply to that valiant king Janaka. [1-66-4]
putrau dasharathasya imau ksatriyau loka vishrutau |
drastu kaamau dhanuh shrestham yat etat tvayi tisthati || 1-66-5
These two are the sons of Dasharatha, well-renowned Kshatriya-s in world, and they are desirous to see that marvelous bow which has a place with you... [1-66-5]
etat darshaya bhadram te krita kaamau nripa aatmajau |
darshanaat asya dhanuso yathaa istam pratiyaasyatah || 1-66-6
You may show that bow, well bodes [indicates] you, and on beholding that bow the desire of these two princes will come true, and they will go back as they like... [1-66-6]
evam uktah tu janakah pratyuvaaca mahaamunim |
shruuyataam asya dhanuso yat artham iha tisthati || 1-66-7
But Janaka replied the great sage Vishvamitra when he was addressed thus, I shall [firstly] tell by which reason that bow has its place here... [1-66-7]
devaraata iti khyaato nimeh jyestho mahii patih |
nyaaso ayam tasya bhagavan haste datto mahaatmanaa || 1-66-8
Oh, Godly sage, there was a king renowned as Devaraata, sixth one from Nimi, [the originator of our lineage,] and this bow was handed down to him for custodial care by the Sublime [supreme] Soul, Shiva... [1-66-8]
daksa yajna vadhe puurvam dhanuh aayamya viiryavaan |
rudrah tu tridashaan rosaat sa liilam idam abraviit || 1-66-9
Once, during the devastation of the Vedic-ritual of Daksha Prajapati, the mettlesome [spirited] God Rudra, rancorously [bitterly] outstretching the bowstring of this bow, said this to all Gods, superciliously [coolly] [1-66-9]
yasmaat bhaaga arthino bhaagaan na akalpayata me suraah |
vara angaani mahaaarhhaani dhanusaa shaatayaami vah || 1-66-10
Oh, Gods, whereby you have not apportioned my portion [of oblations in Vedic-ritual s, as I am also the] desirer of such portion, [thereby] I will shred the highly revered heads of yours with this bow...' [So said Shiva to Gods.] [1-66-10]
tato vimanasah sarve devaa vai munipu.ngava |
prasaadayanti devesham tesaam priito abhavat bhavah || 1-66-11
Then, oh, best saint Vishvamitra, all Gods are truly dismayed, and on their supplicating [giving], Bhava, namely Shiva, the God of Gods is gladdened... [1-66-11]
priiti yuktah tu sarvesaam dadau tesaam mahaatmanaam |
tat etat devadevasya dhanuu ratnam mahaatmanah || 1-66-12
nyaasabhuutam tadaa nyastam asmaakam puurvaje vibho |
And that Sublime Soul Shiva gladly gave that bow to all of the great souled Gods, and oh, Godly saint, then those great souled Gods gave this gem of a bow of Shiva, the God of Gods, to our ancestor [Devaraata,] for custodial care... [1-66-12, 13a]
atha me krisatah ksetram laa.ngalaat utthitaa mama || 1-66-13
ksetram shodhayataa labdhvaa naamnaa siitaa iti vishrutaa |
Later, when I was ploughing [an implement used to cut, lift, and turn over soil especially in preparing a seedbed] the ritual field then raised by the plough [from the furrow is a baby girl... since she is] gained while consecrating [making sacred] the ritual-field, she is named as Seetha, and thus she is renowned... [1-66-13b, 14a]
bhuu talaat utthitaa saa tu vyavardhata mama aatmajaa || 1-66-14
viirya shulkaa iti me kanyaa sthaapitaa iyam ayonijaa |
Hers is a non-uterine birth as she surfaced from the surface of the earth, but fostered as my own soul-born girl and I determined [to giver her in marriage to a bridegroom where his] boldness is the only bounty, [I receive in that marriage...] [1-66-14b, 15a]
bhuutalaat utthitaam taam tu vardhamaanaam mama aatmajaam || 1-66-15
varayaamaasuH aagamya raajaano munipungava |
Oh, eminent sage, as my daughter has surfaced from the surface of earth and has come of age, the kings, [having heard my declaration that the bounty for Seetha is boldness alone,] have come and besought for her... [1-66-15b, 16a]
tesaam varayataam kanyaam sarvesaam prithiviiksitaam || 1-66-16
viirya shulkaa iti bhagavan na dadaami sutaam aham |
To all of those kings who are beseeching [wanting and anxious] for the girl, I have not given my daughter, saying that she will be given for a bounty of boldness... [1-6-16b, 17a]
tatah sarve nripatayah sametya munipungava || 1-66-17
mithilaam abhyupaagamya viiryam jijnaasavah tadaa |
Then all the kings convoked [assembled] and on arriving at Mithila, then they wanted to ascertain the caliber [of the bow, vis-à-vis their own...] [1-66-17b, 18a]
tesaam jijnaasamaanaanaam shaivam dhanuh upaahritam || 1-66-18
na shekuh grahane tasya dhanusah tolane api vaa |
For them, those who wanted to ascertain the caliber of the bow, that bow of Shiva is fetched to their proximity [closeness], but they are incapable to joggle [to shake slightly] it, or even to catch hold of it... [1-66-18b, 19a]
tesaam viiryavataam viiryam alpam jnaatvaa mahaamune || 1-66-19
pratyaakhyaataa nripatayah tan nibodha tapodhana |
Oh, great saint, on knowing the valor of those valorous ones as valueless, I countermanded [to recall] them... oh, ascetically wealthy Vishvamitra, by that you may know [the sequel [subsequent development] of it...] [1-66-19b, 20a]
tatah parama kopena raajaano munipungava || 1-66-20
arundhan mithilaam sarve viirya sandeham aagataah |
Then, oh, eminent sage, those kings beleaguered [troubled] Mithila in a blind fury, since a self-mistrust bechanced [befall] among them all, about their own valor... [1-66-20b, 21a]
aatmaanam avadhuutam te vijnaaya munipungava || 1-66-21
rosena mahataa aavistaah piidayan mithilaam puriim |
They surmised [to form a notion or opinion] for themselves that they are brushed off by me, and they possessed by a high rancor [bitter deep-seated ill will], they strangled the City of Mithila... [1-66-21b, 22a]
tatah sa.mvatsare puurne ksayam yaataani sarvashah || 1-66-22
saadhanaani munishrestha tato aham bhrisha duhkhitah |
Then elapsed is an year and in anyway the possessions for livelihood went into a decline, oh, eminent sage, thereby I am highly anguished [tormented or agonized] [1-66-22b, 23a]
tato deva ganaan sarvaan tapasaa aham prasaadayam || 1-66-23
daduh ca parama priitaah catura.nga balam suraah |
Then I have assuaged [appeased] the assemblages [gathering] of Gods by my asceticism and Gods are also highly gladdened and gave me fourfold forces... [1-66-23b, 24a]
tato bhagnaa nripatayo hanyamaanaa disho yayuh || 1-66-24
aviiryaa viirya sandigdhaa sa amaatyaah paapa kaarinah |
Then those evildoers and self-mistrustful kings while being drubbed [by the heaven-sent army, they have become] vigor-less and broken, and they beat a hasty retreat... [1-66-24b, 25a]
tat etat munishaarduula dhanuh parama bhaasvaram || 1-66-25
raama laksmanayoh ca api dar.hshayisyaami suvrata |
Oh, tigerly sage this is that supremely radiant bow, and oh, saint of sacred vows, I will show it, even to Rama and Lakshmana... [1-66-25b, 26a]
yadi asya dhanuso raamah kuryaat aaropanam mune |
sutaam ayonijaam siitaam dadyaam daasharatheh aham || 1-66-26
If Rama strings the bowstring of that bow, oh, sage, I will offer my daughter, whose birth is non-uterine, to Dasharatha's Rama... [So said Janaka to Vishvamitra.] [1-66-26b, c]
iti vaalmiiki raamaayane aadi kaavye baala kaande sat sastitamah sargah
Thus, this is the 66th chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.
Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate