Rama Informed of Sita’s Supposed Death

Hearing the great tumult raised by the encounter between the monkeys and rakshasas, Rama said to Jambavan: “My dear friend, from the great and frightful rattling of weapons, surely Hanuman must have performed some difficult deed. As such, go there immediately with you army and help that fighting monkey, O lord of bears.” Saying, “So be it!” Jambavan went with his army to the western gate where Hanuman was. There he saw Hanuman returning with the monkeys who had fought and were sighing out of sorrow.

Seeing that army of fearsome bears that resembled a dark-blue cloud and stopping it, Hanuman continued retreating. Quickly approaching Rama with that army, Hanuman sadly spoke the following words: “While we who were fighting in combat were watching, Ravana’s son, Indrajit, killed Sita as she wept. With a mind bewildered by seeing that, I have come to break the news to you.”

When Rama heard this, He became overwhelmed with grief and fell on the ground like a tree cut down at the roots. Seeing Rama lying on the ground like a fallen god, the monkeys jumped from everywhere towards Him. They sprinkled Him with water fragrant with the scent of lotuses and water lilies, as one would to a fire that had unexpectedly flared up and would not die down. Embracing Rama with His arms, the grief-stricken Lakshmana spoke to Him the following logical words:

“O noble one, although You have conquered Your senses and are following the path of virtue, righteousness cannot protect You from difficulties and is therefore useless. It is seen that mobile and immobile beings enjoy happiness without recourse to righteousness. Therefore I do not believe that righteousness is the cause of happiness. As much as immobile creatures are evidently happy without practicing righteousness, so also are the mobile creatures. Therefore the assumption that righteousness leads to happiness is not true, otherwise a just person like you would not be in difficulty. If unrighteousness had borne its effect, Ravana would have gone to hell, while you, who possess righteousness, would not suffer adversity. Since Ravana is free from difficulty and you are in difficulty, righteousness and unrighteousness have changed roles.

“If one achieved happiness by righteousness and unhappiness by unrighteousness, those who are unrighteous should be unhappy. Nor would those who find no pleasure in unrighteousness ever be deprived of happiness. The fruit of righteousness would accrue to those who practice righteousness. Since the assets of those engaged in unrighteousness increase and the assets of those engaged in righteousness diminish, therefore they are both useless. How can the unrighteousness of murderers destroy them when that unrighteousness itself, being the act of killing, ends with that act? Whom can that unrighteousness punish when it is only temporary? Or else, if one kills or is killed by a ritual, then destiny is tainted by that sinful action, not the performer.

“How can righteousness catch someone for punishment when righteousness itself does not know how to retaliate, is un-manifested and nonexistent? If such a thing as a good result existed, then you would have no ill fortune. Since you have suffered such misfortune, therefore it is unacceptable that good actions produce good results. If righteousness, being weak and feeble, needs strength, then such a powerless and ineffectual thing should not be pursued. Such is my opinion. If righteousness is dependent on strength, then give up righteousness and take up courage, depending on strength as you do on righteousness. And, if you say that you are upholding the righteousness of your father’s promise, he lied to you about installing you as prince regent and was cruel to you by exiling you. Therefore, why are you bound by his promise to Kaikeyi?

If it were best to follow only righteousness or unrighteousness, then Lord Indra would not have performed a sacrifice after killing the hermit Vishvarupa. Righteousness destroys enemies when it is combined with strength, which is unrighteousness. An intelligent person does all of this as he desires, O descendant of Kakutstha. My opinion is that this is righteousness. You cut the root of righteousness when you rejected sovereignty. As streams flow from mountains, all undertakings proceed from assets gathered from different places and increased. All undertakings of a less intelligent person deprived of assets are interrupted, like small streams during a hot summer. If a person raised in comfort and who desires it gives up his assets, he commits a sin and something bad will result from that. Friends and relatives gather around one who possesses wealth. One who has wealth is a real man and truly wise. One who has wealth is valiant and intelligent. One who has wealth is most fortunate and most qualified. I have enumerated the faults of renouncing one’s wealth. I do not understand the reasoning by which you gave up the kingdom. One who has wealth can achieve all the results of piety, sense enjoyment and economic gain. Wealth cannot be achieved by a penniless person who seeks it. Delight, enjoyment, pride, virtue, anger, peacefulness and self-control—all these are achieved through wealth, O king.

“Those riches which destroy those who have renounced worldly pleasure and are practicing austerities are not found in you, as the planets are not seen on a cloudy day. While you were in exile in obedience to your father’s command, Your wife who was dearer to You than Your own life was kidnapped by the Rakshasa Ravana. Today I shall dispel the great sorrow occasioned by Indrajit. Therefore, get up, O descendent of the Raghu Dynasty! Get up, O tiger among men! Why do you not recognize your great intelligence and that You are yourself the Supreme Soul? O sinless one, I have said this in order to please you. Outraged by the slaughter of Sita, I shall completely destroy Lanka with is chariots, horses and elephants, along with Ravana, the lord of the rakshasas!”

Thus completes 83rd Chapter of Yuddha Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate