(1) S'rî S'uka said: 'From Khathvânga there was Dîrghabâhu, from him was the renown and dexterous Raghu born, from whose son Aja was born the great king Das'aratha. (2) Upon the prayers of the God-conscious was there from him the Absolute Truth in four forms with the Supreme Lord in person and three expansions of Him; they appearing as four sons were thus known as Râma, Lakshmana, Bharata and S'atrughna. (3) Of His transcendental exploits as the husband of Sîtâ, o King, have you more than enough [*] heard through the nice descriptions by the many seers and knowers of the Reality [compare B.G. 4: 34]. (4) Faithful to the teachings [answering to a promise his father made] abandoned He the royal position and wandered He, accompanied by His loved ones [Sîtâ and Lakshmana] who relieved Him of His fatigue on the path, from forest to forest on His bare lotus feet that were as tender to the touch as a hand palm. He was [by Râvana] separated from His sweetheart Sîtâ because of disfiguring S'ûrpanakhâ [the sister of Râvana who got her nose cut off] and found support with the king of the monkeys [Hanumân]. Over the ocean, that was afraid of His eyebrows raised in anger, was a bridge constructed [to Lankâ, the residence of Râvana] and became He, like a forestfire burning the envious ones, the king of Ayodhyâ. May His mercy be upon us.
(5) With a [as'vamedha] sacrifice of Vis'vâmitra was His honor defended of indeed under the supervision of Lakshmana, having killed the wanderers of the dark headed by Mârîca, the great chiefs of the Râkshasas.
(6-7) It was He who of all the heroes in the world in the hall where Sîtâ would select her husband took up the mighty bow of S'iva that had to be carried by three hundred men. Fastening the string, o King, and bending it broke He the bow in two the way a baby elephant breaks a stick of sugar cane. With first by the victory gaining to His chest the divine girl named Sîtâ, who in her qualities, behavior, age and limbs was a perfect match for Him, met and defeated He on his way home with her the deep-rooted pride of Bhrigupati [Paras'urâma] who three times [seven, thus twenty one times] had rid the earth [of its burden of unrighteous rulers] that now without royalty had Him as the seed. (8) He had indeed to the order on His head of His father, who so very attached had made a promise to his wife [**], to accept that He had to abandon the kingdom, residence, opulence, relatives and friends and go live in the forest like a liberated soul. (9) With Him, wandering through the forest living a life of hardship, was the body of the Râkshasa [Râvana] his sister maimed because she had a mind foul of lust and were, with in His hands His invincible bow and arrows, the fourteen-thousand of her many friends headed by Khara, Tris'ira and Dûshana, killed by Him.
(10) O ruler of man, hearing the stories about Sîtâ, stirred the heart of ten-head Râvana and made him lust to see her. Mârîca in the form of a golden deer then lured Him away from their stay and was, like S'iva did with Daksha [see 4.5: 22], by Him killed on the spot with a sharp arrow. (11) With Him together with His brother in the forest, was the unprotected daughter of the king of Videha [Janaka] by the tiger, the most wicked Râkshasa, kidnapped and wandered He around posing as a man who attached to women is in distress over being separated from his dearest wife, thus giving an example [s'ringâra-rasa] of what attachment leads to. (12) After cremating the one who had died for His sake [the eagle Jathâyu], killed He Kabandha [a headless monster] and made He friends with the leaders of the monkey hordes in order to free Sîtâ. He whose feet are worshiped by Brahmâ and S'iva, but appeared as a normal man, next in their acquaintance killed Vâli [a wicked brother of Hanumân] and proceeded, accompanied by the monkey soldiers, to the shore of the ocean. (13) The ocean silent of fear because of His angry glance - of which all the crocodiles and sharks were agitated - carried, assuming a personal form, on its head all that was needed to worship Him and said, reaching the lotus feet, the following: (14) 'We, the dull-minded, are truly not capable of, o Supreme One, knowing You as residing in the core of the heart as the Original Person and Supreme Master of all Universes; the God-conscious under Your direction fixed in their attention are infatuated with goodness, the controllers of the people are infatuated with passion, while the rulers of the physical existence are [as ghosts] under the influence of slowness, but Your Lordship art in Your position the Master over these modes. (15) You may cross as you like! Just conquer that son of Vis'ravâ called Râvana, that urine pollution of the three worlds, and regain Your wife o hero. Build a bridge here so that Your fame may spread; the great kings and heroes still to come will all glorify You for it.'
(16) After the Master of the Raghu dynasty with all sorts of mountain peaks, complete with trees and plants, that were transported by hand by the mighty monkeys, had constructed a bridge in the ocean [***], entered He, helped by the directions of Vibhîshana [a virtuous brother of Râvana], with the soldiers led by Sugrîva, Nîla and Hanumân [the island of] Lankâ that just before had been set afire [by Hanumân's tail]. (17) Right there were the houses of pleasure, granaries, treasuries, palace doors and city gates, assembly houses, palace frontages and [even the] pigeon houses by force taken in and dismantled by the Vânara [monkey people]-leaders who like an elephant herd turned the squares and crossroads, with all their flags and golden waterpots on the rooftops into one swirling river. (18) When the master of the Râkshasas saw that summoned he Nikumbha, Kumbha, Dhûmrâksha, Durmukha, Surântaka, Narântaka and others to fight, and called he as well for his son Indrajit, his followers Prahasta, Atikâya, Vikampana and finally for Kumbhakarna [his mighty brother, see 4.1: 37, 7.1: 44 and 7.10: 36]. (19) All the râkshasa soldiers with hard to defeat swords, lances, bows, barbed missiles and spears, firebrands, javelins and scimitars [a curved sword] came in front of Him who was surrounded by Sugrîva, Lakshmana, Hanumân, Gandhamâda, Nîla, Angada, Riksha, Panasa and others.
(20) The commanders of the soldiers of the Ruler of the Raghu dynasty, together out to defeat all the enemies, fought the hordes by elephant, on foot, from chariots and on horseback. By the warriors lead by Angada and others were they with trees, mountain peaks, clubs and arrows all killed as the luck of Râvana's dependents had ran out being condemned by the anger of mother Sîtâ. (21) The râkshasa leader fuming of seeing his forces defeated thereupon drove his vehicle forward proceeding towards the effulgent Râma who, glittering on the chariot of Indra that Mâtali [the driver] had brought, struck him with the sharpest arrows. (22) Râma said to him: 'You servant of scum, since you criminal like a dog have kidnapped My helpless wife will I as the Time itself in person, will I unfailing in my heroism, for that shameless act, as a result today punish you, abominable evildoer [see also B.G. 16: 6-18]!'
(23) Thus rebuking him released He the arrow He had fixed on His bow and that arrow like a thunderbolt pierced his heart. Vomiting blood from his ten mouths he fell from his heavenly vehicle while all his folk roared: 'Alas, what befell us?', just like the pious do when they fall down [see also B.G. 9: 21]. (24) Thereafter came the wives of the demons headed by Mandodarî [Râvana's wife] out of Lankâ and lamented they upon approaching [their dead husbands]. (25) Embracing their beloved and friends all killed by Lakshmana's arrows beated they, so poor, their breasts and cried they, [for the victors] pleasant to hear, piteously: (26) 'O alas, killed is he who in the past protected us all! O, Râvana, cause of our cries, to whom must the state of Lankâ, overcome by the enemy, turn for shelter, now that it is bereft of your good self? (27) O greatest patron, as a result of having fallen under the influence of lusty desires, had you really no idea of how mother Sîtâ could put you in a situation like this. (28) O glory of the dynasty, because of what you did are we and the state of Lankâ now without a protector and is your body there as fodder for the vultures and your soul destined for hell [compare B.G. 16: 19].'
(29) S'rî S'uka said: 'On the approval of the King of Kosala [Râma] performed, of the [Râvana] family, Vibhîshana the funeral rites that for a deceased one have to be observed to save him from hell. (30) Next found the Supreme Lord in an as'oka forest His love back taking shelter in a small cottage at the foot of a s'ims'apâ [as'oka] tree, very lean from suffering the separation from Him. (31) Râma finding His dearmost wife so poor off became very compassionate with her while her lotus-like mouth, the moment she saw her beloved, was overwhelmed by a great joy. (32) The Supreme Lord, putting Vibhîshana in charge of the rule over Lankâ's Râkshasas for the duration of a kalpa, placed her on his vehicle and got in Himself together with Hanumân and the brothers [Lakshmana and Sugrîva the commander] to return to the home town [Ayodhyâ] and to conclude the term of the vow [to stay away for 14 years]. (33) On the road was He showered by a choice of fragrant flowers offered by the higher class to honor His uncommon activities and were the seer of the absolute truth [Brahmâ] and those belonging to him of great jubilation. (34) The One of Great Compassion was very sorry to hear how His brother Bharata with matted locks was lying down on a Kus'a mat, ate from barley cooked in cows urine and had covered Himself with tree bark. (35-38) Bharata hearing of the arrival took the two sandals on His head [that Râma had left behind on the throne to represent Him] and went, accompanied by all citizens, the ministers and the priests, out to welcome His eldest brother. Departing from His camp Nandigrâma were there songs, the sounds of musical instruments, the constant recitation of mantras by brahmins, with gold embroidered flags on golden chariots pulled by the most beautiful, with gold caparisoned, horses and soldiers in gold-covered armor. In procession with nicely dressed courtesans and servants and also soldiers on foot and everything else that would befit a royal reception, like a wealth of all kinds of jewelry, fell He down at the lotus feet in an ecstatic love that softened the core of His [ascetic] heart and filled His eyes with tears. (39-40) Placing the two slippers with folded hands before His golden brother embraced He Him with His cheeks wet, bathing Him in His arms for a long time with the water from His eyes. Râma, together with Lakshmana and Sîtâ, personally offered the learned and the others worthy of worship their obeisances and received them also back from all the citizens. (41) Seeing their Lord returning after so many years waved the citizens of Kosala with their upper garments, offered they Him garlands and started they to dance in great jubilation. (42-43) The sandals were carried by Bharata, the whisk and luxurious fan by Vibhîshana and Sugrîva, a white parasol by the son of the Maruts [Hanumân], the bow and two quivers by S'atrughna, Sîtâ had the waterpot with water from the holy places, Angada had the sword made of gold and the King of the Rikshas [Jâmbavân, leader of the bears that also assisted in the war] held the shield, o King. (44) To sit on Kuvera's heavenly chariot [the 'Pushpaka' captured from Râvana] made Him, the Supreme Lord, with the worshipful prayers of the women and the reciters, o King, appear as beautiful as the moon risen between the planets.
(45-46) Properly welcomed by His brother was He thereafter festively received in the city of Ayodhyâ. Upon entering the royal palace paid He mother Kaikeyî, His other stepmothers and His own mother [Kaus'alyâ] His respects. The spiritual teachers, friends of their age and the younger ones were all of worship and befittingly was the welcome returned by Him, the princess of the Videhas [Sîtâ] and Lakshmana. (47) As bodies awakening from sleep rose their mothers to their feet and moistened they, keeping their sons on their lap, them with a continuous flow of tears as they gave up their grief [of being separated for so long from them]. (48) Shaving off the matted locks, was by the family priest and the elders of the family according the vidhi with the water of the four oceans and other paraphernalia a bathing ceremony performed to the like of the purification of King Indra [see 6: 13]. (49) Thus having been bathed completely, nicely dressed, decorated and garlanded, shone He brightly with His brothers and His wife. (50) Pleased with the surrender He accepted the throne submitted to Him by His brother and also the citizens who, engaged in the occupational duties of their status-orientations [varnâs'rama, see B.G. 4: 13], all had become fit for His protection; Râma was therein just like a father and by them was He also considered as being their father.
(51) Although it was Tretâ-yuga became the period equal to Satya-yuga because of Râma's presence as the ruling king in full respect of the dharma that makes all living beings happy [see also 12.3: 15]. (52) The forests, rivers, hills and mountains, the lands, the islands, the oceans and the seas yielded for all the living beings all they could desire for their existence, o best of the Bharatas. (53) There was no suffering [due to oneself, others and nature], no disease, old age, bereavement, distress, lamentation, fear and fatigue or an unwanted death during the period that Lord Râma, the One beyond All, was king. (54) Vowed not to take another woman [for reasons of principle He separated from Sîtâ, see next chapter] was He, as a saintly King pure of character in His dharma, especially teaching the householders by the example of His personal dutifulness. (55) In loving service unto her husband was Sîtâ by her good character always submissive and ready to please, and captivated she His mind being chaste and unafraid, bashfully and understanding her husband's position.'