Ayodhya Kaanda - Sarga 21
In this Sarga, Kousalyā and Lakshmaṇa try to dissuade Rāma from his decision to go to the Vana to fulfill his father’s promise to Kaikēyee.


Lakshmaṇa speaks in extreme language saying that he would kill anyone that comes in the way of Rāma’s consecration. He even suggests that his father should be imprisoned or killed if he resists the crowning of Rāma. Kousalyā argues that Dharma demands that he should stay back and serve the mother.


Rāma explains why he should follow through his father’s promise in accordance with Dharma. He urges Lakshmaṇa and Kousalyā to understand his point of view. He seeks the permission and blessings from his mother to leave to the Vana.


The many Sargas hitherto, starting from Sarga 7, were filled with high degree of emotion. In this Sarga, reason and discernment takes the front stage, in the words of Rāma, as he defends his decision to fulfill the words of his father.


In the many Sargas to come, we will see the challenges faced by a leader in defending his tough decision.
2.21.1 ததா து விலபந்தீம் தாம் கௌஸல்யாம் ராமமாதரம் ।
உவாச லக்ஷ்மணோ தீநஸ்தத்காலஸத்ருஸம் வச: ॥
tathā tu vilapantīṃ tāṃ kausalyāṃ rāmamātaram ।
uvāca lakṣmaṇō dīnastatkālasadṛṡaṃ vacaḥ ॥
To that crying Kousalyā, the mother of Rāma,
Lakshmaṇa, feeling sad himself, told these apt words:
2.21.2 ந ரோசதே மமாப்யேததார்யே யத்ராகவோ வநம் ।
த்யக்த்வா ராஜ்யஸ்ரியம் கச்சேத் ஸ்த்ரியா வாக்யவஸம் கத: ॥
na rōcatē mamāpyētadāryē yadrāghavō vanam ।
tyaktvā rājyaṡriyaṃ gacchēt striyā vākyavaṡaṃ gataḥ ॥
O venerable one! I too do not like
the thought of Rāghava going to Vana
and giving up the luxury of the kingdom
based on the words of a woman! Every charismatic hero, virtuous or otherwise, enjoys the support of constituencies of people that are enchanted by him. Those people make his support base.


They live and die for their hero. Their focus is on the Artha (advancement or gain) of their hero, even if it means keeping aside the principles of Dharma.


In this story of Rāmāyaṇa, Lakshmaṇa serves as a symbol of that support base.


The drama between a leader and his support base, with all its nuances is illustrated throughout Rāmāyaṇa through the interaction between the characters of Rāma and Lakshmaṇa.


A leader is more than a hero. He does not let his support base set the direction. Rather he carries them with him, in the direction that he feels is right.


Keeping in mind that Lakshmaṇa is a symbol of that support base helps in interpreting many events in the Rāmāyaṇa aptly.


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This accusation in Ṡlōka 3 is exactly what Daṡaratha feared! See Ṡlōka 2.12.83.
2.21.3 விபரீதஸ்ச வ்ருத்தஸ்ச விஷயைஸ்ச ப்ரதர்ஷித: ।
ந்ருப: கிமிவ ந ப்ரூயாச்சோத்யமாநஸ்ஸமந்மத: ॥
viparītaṡca vṛddhaṡca viṣayaiṡca pradharṣitaḥ ।
nṛpaḥ kimiva na brūyāccōdyamānassamanmathaḥ ॥
What would an aged and perverted king not say when incited,
out of indulgence and under the entrancement of lust?
2.21.4 நாஸ்யாபராதம் பஸ்யாமி நாபி தோஷம் ததாவிதம் ।
யேந நிர்வாஸ்யதே ராஷ்ட்ராத்வநவாஸாய ராகவ: ॥
nāsyāparādhaṃ paṡyāmi nāpi dōṣaṃ tathāvidham ।
yēna nirvāsyatē rāṣṭrādvanavāsāya rāghavaḥ ॥
I see neither a fault in Rāghava,
nor an offence committed by him
that warrants his banishment from the kingdom
to live in the Vana!
2.21.5 ந தம் பஸ்யாம்யஹம் லோகே பரோக்ஷமபி யோ நர: ।
ஸ்வமித்ரோऽபி நிரஸ்தோऽபி யோऽஸ்ய தோஷமுதாஹரேத் ॥
na taṃ paṡyāmyahaṃ lōkē parōkṣamapi yō naraḥ ।
svamitrō'pi nirastō'pi yō'sya dōṣamudāharēt ॥
I see no one in this world
who find fault with him even in private,
even among those who earned his enmity or displeasure!
2.21.6 தேவகல்பம்ருஜும் தாந்தம் ரிபூணாமபி வத்ஸலம் ।
அவேக்ஷமாண: கோ தர்மம் த்யஜேத்புத்ரமகாரணாத் ॥
dēvakalpamṛjuṃ dāntaṃ ripūṇāmapi vatsalam ।
avēkṣamāṇaḥ kō dharmaṃ tyajētputramakāraṇāt ॥
How can anyone in his good sense of Dharma
abandon his upright, calm and collected son,
who is comparable to Dēvas and
who is kind even to his enemies? Dharma is so nuanced that anyone can claim it to be on their side of the argument.
2.21.7 ததிதம் வசநம் ராஜ்ஞ:புநர்பால்யமுபேயுஷ: ।
புத்ர: கோ ஹ்ருதயே குர்யாத்ராஜவ்ருத்தமநுஸ்மரந் ॥
tadidaṃ vacanaṃ rājñaḥpunarbālyamupēyuṣaḥ ।
putraḥ kō hṛdayē kuryādrājavṛttamanusmaran ॥
The king seemed to have slipped into his childhood again!
Which son, who is so conversant with statecraft,
would take the words of such king to heart?
2.21.8 யாவதேவ ந ஜாநாதி கஸ்சிதர்தமிமம் நர: ।
தாவதேவ மயா ஸார்தமாத்மஸ்தம் குரு ஸாஸநம் ॥
yāvadēva na jānāti kaṡcidarthamimaṃ naraḥ ।
tāvadēva mayā sārdhamātmasthaṃ kuru ṡāsanam ॥
Before anyone knows about this plan,
may you take hold of the power,
and you have my full support! This is one of the possibilities what Daṡaratha wished, in his desperation. See Ṡlōka 2.12.86b-87a.
2.21.9 மயா பார்ஸ்வே ஸதநுஷா தவ குப்தஸ்ய ராகவ! ।
க ஸ்ஸமர்தோऽதிகம் கர்தும் க்ருதாந்தஸ்யேவ திஷ்டத: ॥
mayā pārṡvē sadhanuṣā tava guptasya rāghava! ।
ka ssamarthō'dhikaṃ kartuṃ kṛtāntasyēva tiṣṭhataḥ ॥
No one can dare commit excesses against you,
O Rāghava, when you stand up like Yama,
while I protect you standing
on your side, with a bow in my hand!
2.21.10 நிர்மநுஷ்யாமிமாம் க்ருத்ஸ்நாமயோத்யாம் மநுஜர்ஷப! ।
கரிஷ்யாமி ஸரைஸ்தீக்ஷ்ணைர்யதி ஸ்தாஸ்யதி விப்ரியே ॥
nirmanuṣyāmimāṃ kṛtsnāmayōdhyāṃ manujarṣabha! ।
kariṣyāmi ṡaraistīkṣṇairyadi sthāsyati vipriyē ॥
O bull among men! I can decimate the entire Ayōdhyā
with my sharp arrows with no one left alive,
in case it turns hostile to you!
2.21.11 பரதஸ்யாத பக்ஷ்யோ வா யோ வாऽஸ்ய ஹிதமிச்சதி ।
ஸர்வாநேதாந்வதிஷ்யாமி ம்ருதுர்ஹி பரிபூயதே ॥
bharatasyātha pakṣyō vā yō vā'sya hitamicchati ।
sarvānētānvadhiṣyāmi mṛdurhi paribhūyatē ॥
I shall slay everyone who sides or sympathizes with Bharata.
For, the soft hearted would be trampled upon!
2.21.12 ப்ரோத்ஸாஹிதோऽயம் கைகேய்யா ஸ துஷ்டோ யதி ந: பிதா ।
அமித்ரபூதோ நிஸ்ஸங்கம் வத்யதாம் பத்யதாமபி ॥
prōtsāhitō'yaṃ kaikēyyā sa duṣṭō yadi naḥ pitā ।
amitrabhūtō nissaṅgaṃ vadhyatāṃ badhyatāmapi ॥
If our father, instigated by Kaikēyee,
were to turn evil and against you,
he should be imprisoned or even killed, dispassionately!
2.21.13 குரோரப்யவலிப்தஸ்ய கார்யாகார்யமஜாநத: ।
உத்பதம் ப்ரதிபந்நஸ்ய கார்யம் பவதி ஸாஸநம் ॥
gurōrapyavaliptasya kāryākāryamajānataḥ ।
utpathaṃ pratipannasya kāryaṃ bhavati ṡāsanam ॥
Even elders must be restrained
if they succumb to egotism,
or lose the sense of right and wrong
and tread the wrong path!
2.21.14 பலமேஷ கிமாஸ்ரித்ய ஹேதும் வாபுருஷர்ஷப! ।
தாதுமிச்சதி கைகேய்யை ராஜ்யம் ஸ்திதமிதம் தவ ॥
balamēṣa kimāṡritya hētuṃ vāpuruṣarṣabha! ।
dātumicchati kaikēyyai rājyaṃ sthitamidaṃ tava ॥
What reason or power can he can rely on,
O bull among men, to give away this kingdom
that belongs to you, to Kaikēyee!
2.21.15 த்வயா சைவ மயா சைவ க்ருத்வா வைரமநுத்தமம் ।
காऽஸ்ய ஸக்திஸ்ஸ்ரியம் தாதும் பரதாயாரிஸாஸந! ॥
tvayā caiva mayā caiva kṛtvā vairamanuttamam ।
kā'sya ṡaktiṡṡriyaṃ dātuṃ bharatāyāriṡāsana! ॥
O harrower of foes! What strength does he have,
to incur the unparalleled enmity of yours and mine,
to bestow this plentitude upon Bharata?
2.21.16 அநுரக்தோऽஸ்மி பாவேந ப்ராதரம் தேவி தத்த்வத: ।
ஸத்யேந தநுஷா சைவ தத்தேநேஷ்டேந தே ஸபே ॥
anuraktō'smi bhāvēna bhrātaraṃ dēvi tattvataḥ ।
satyēna dhanuṣā caiva dattēnēṣṭēna tē ṡapē ॥
I love my brother from the bottom of my heart!
O Queen! I swear this on truth, on my bow,
on all my generosity and on my Yajñas!
2.21.17 தீப்தமக்நிமரண்யம் வா யதி ராம: ப்ரவேக்ஷ்யதி ।
ப்ரவிஷ்டம் தத்ர மாம் தேவி! த்வம் பூர்வமவதாரய ॥
dīptamagnimaraṇyaṃ vā yadi rāmaḥ pravēkṣyati ।
praviṣṭaṃ tatra māṃ dēvi! tvaṃ pūrvamavadhāraya ॥
Be assured, O Queen, that I will be there ahead of Rāma,
whether he goes to Vana or jumps into blazing fire!
2.21.18 ஹராமி வீர்யாத்து:கம் தே தம ஸ்ஸூர்ய இவோதித: ।
தேவீ பஸ்யது மே வீர்யம் ராகவஸ்சைவ பஸ்யது ॥
harāmi vīryādduḥkhaṃ tē tama ssūrya ivōditaḥ ।
dēvī paṡyatu mē vīryaṃ rāghavaṡcaiva paṡyatu ॥
I will dispel your misery,
just as the rising sun would dispel darkness!
May you witness my strength and so may Rāghava!
2.21.19 ஏதத்து வசநம் ஸ்ருத்வா லக்ஷ்மணஸ்ய மஹாத்மந: ।
உவாச ராமம் கௌஸல்யா ருதந்தீ ஸோகலாலஸா ॥
ētattu vacanaṃ ṡrutvā lakṣmaṇasya mahātmanaḥ ।
uvāca rāmaṃ kausalyā rudantī ṡōkalālasā ॥
Hearing those words of Mahātma Lakshmaṇa,
Kousalyā spoke to Rāma, still crying in misery: Why is Lakshmaṇa being referred to as Mahatma here, especially when he is speaking in such extreme language (said so even by Rāma, refer to Ṡlōka 43 below)?


The answer lies in the definition of the word Mahātma. In modern times, we know this word as the title of M.K. Gandhi. We understand it as a title to be used for exceptional personalities.


But during the times of Rāmāyaṇa, the word Mahatma referred to any person whose concerns of life were beyond the mundane and petty.


Lakshmaṇa here, is concerned with matters of change of regime of a great kingdom, which he feels is unjust!
2.21.20 ப்ராதுஸ்தே வதத: புத்ர! லக்ஷ்மணஸ்ய ஸ்ருதம் த்வயா ।
யதத்ராநந்தரம் கார்யம் குருஷ்வ யதி ரோசதே ॥
bhrātustē vadataḥ putra! lakṣmaṇasya ṡrutaṃ tvayā ।
yadatrānantaraṃ kāryaṃ kuruṣva yadi rōcatē ॥
My son! You have heard what your brother has to say.
If it appeals to you, please proceed
with whatever is to be done next!
2.21.21 ந சாதர்ம்யம் வச ஸ்ஸ்ருத்வா ஸபத்ந்யா மம பாஷிதம் ।
விஹாய ஸோகஸந்தப்தாம் கந்துமர்ஹஸி மாமித: ॥
na cādharmyaṃ vaca ṡṡṛtvā sapatnyā mama bhāṣitam ।
vihāya ṡōkasantaptāṃ gantumarhasi māmitaḥ ॥
It does not behoove on you to go away,
heeding the unjust words of my co-wife,
leaving me burning with grief!
2.21.22 தர்மஜ்ஞ! யதி தர்மிஷ்டோ தர்மம் சரிதுமிச்சஸி ।
ஸுஸ்ரூஷ மாமிஹஸ்தஸ்த்வம் சர தர்மமநுத்தமம் ॥
dharmajña! yadi dharmiṣṭhō dharmaṃ caritumicchasi ।
ṡuṡrūṣa māmihasthastvaṃ cara dharmamanuttamam ॥
You are the knower of Dharma!
If you like to adhere to Dharma and follow it,
you should stay back and serve me,
for there is no better Dharma than this!
2.21.23 ஸுஸ்ரூஷுர்ஜநநீம் புத்ர! ஸ்வக்ருஹே நியதோ வஸந் ।
பரேண தபஸா யுக்த: காஸ்யபஸ்த்ரிதிவம் கத: ॥
ṡuṡrūṣurjananīṃ putra! svagṛhē niyatō vasan ।
parēṇa tapasā yuktaḥ kāṡyapastridivaṃ gataḥ ॥
My son! Kāṡyapa, staying at home serving his mother diligently
and doing great Tapa, attained heaven!
2.21.24 யதைவ ராஜா பூஜ்யஸ்தே கௌரவேண ததாऽஸ்ம்யஹம் ।
த்வாம் நாஹமநுஜாநாமி ந கந்தவ்யமிதோ வநம் ॥
yathaiva rājā pūjyastē gauravēṇa tathā'smyaham ।
tvāṃ nāhamanujānāmi na gantavyamitō vanam ॥
As much as the king deserves your
respects and regards, so do I!
You do not have my permission and
hence you must not go to Vana! Rāmāyaṇa is a story of complex situations and choices, just as the other great epic of India, Mahābhārata, is!


Every character in these epics feels that Dharma is on his or her side, and argues for it.


But what matters, is whether they drag Dharma into the service of their Artha (gain) or Kāma (pleasure), or whether they put Dharma above their self-serving Artha and Kāma.


This point is discussed explicitly in Ṡlōkas 56 and 57 below.
2.21.25 த்வத்வியோகாந்ந மே கார்யம் ஜீவிதேந ஸுகேந வா ।
த்வயா ஸஹ மம ஸ்ரேயஸ்த்ருணாநாமபி பக்ஷணம் ॥
tvadviyōgānna mē kāryaṃ jīvitēna sukhēna vā ।
tvayā saha mama ṡrēyastṛṇānāmapi bhakṣaṇam ॥
I shall have no use for life or comforts
at the cost of separation from you.
Even to eat grass with you would be felicity for me.
2.21.26 யதி த்வம் யாஸ்யஸி வநம் த்யக்த்வா மாம் ஸோகலாலஸாம் ।
அஹம் ப்ராயமிஹாஸிஷ்யே ந ஹி ஸக்ஷ்யாமி ஜீவிதும் ॥
yadi tvaṃ yāsyasi vanaṃ tyaktvā māṃ ṡōkalālasām ।
ahaṃ prāyamihāsiṣyē na hi ṡakṣyāmi jīvitum ॥
If you go to Vana leaving me, the grief stricken one alone,
I cannot continue to live any longer!
I shall starve myself to death!
2.21.27 ததஸ்த்வம் ப்ராப்ஸ்யஸே புத்ர! நிரயம் லோகவிஸ்ருதம் ।
ப்ரஹ்மஹத்யாமிவாதர்மாத்ஸமுத்ர ஸ்ஸரிதாம் பதி: ॥
tatastvaṃ prāpsyasē putra! nirayaṃ lōkaviṡrutam ।
brahmahatyāmivādharmātsamudra ssaritāṃ patiḥ ॥
And that will bring you a retribution
that all the world will hear of;
as the ocean, the lord of streams,
suffered for killing a Brāhmaṇa, unjustly!
2.21.28 விலபந்தீம் ததா தீநாம் கௌஸல்யாம் ஜநநீம் தத: ।
உவாச ராமோ தர்மாத்மா வசநம் தர்மஸம்ஹிதம் ॥
vilapantīṃ tathā dīnāṃ kausalyāṃ jananīṃ tataḥ ।
uvāca rāmō dharmātmā vacanaṃ dharmasaṃhitam ॥
Then, Rāma the Dharmātma, said these words of Dharma
to his mother Kousalyā, who was crying in desperation:
2.21.29 நாஸ்தி ஸக்தி: பிதுர்வாக்யம் ஸமதிக்ரமிதும் மம ।
ப்ரஸாதயே த்வாம் ஸிரஸா கந்துமிச்சாம்யஹம் வநம் ॥
nāsti ṡaktiḥ piturvākyaṃ samatikramituṃ mama ।
prasādayē tvāṃ ṡirasā gantumicchāmyahaṃ vanam ॥
I am incapable of disobeying my father’s words!
I have made up my mind to go to the Vana!
I bow my head and beg for your concession! A leader has to use all the tools at hand to make his case, while being, of course, genuine and authentic.


In Ṡlōka 29, Rāma expresses his inability and appeals to emotion.


In Ṡlōka 30, he quotes examples from the past (referred to as ‘case law’ in legal parlance).


In Ṡlōka 31, he emphasizes, with another example, that even dire consequences should not sway one away from obliging Dharma.


In Ṡlōka 32, he argues that one should follow Dharma regardless of its apparent absurdity.

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In Ṡlōkas 34 and 35, he articulates that his decision is not out of bounds; rather, it is within the established pattern of Dharma.
2.21.30 ருஷிணா ச பிதுர்வாக்யம் குர்வதா வ்ரதசாரிணா ।
கௌர்ஹதா ஜாநதா தர்மம் கண்டுநாऽபி விபஸ்சிதா ॥
ṛṣiṇā ca piturvākyaṃ kurvatā vratacāriṇā ।
gaurhatā jānatā dharmaṃ kaṇḍunā'pi vipaṡcitā ॥
Ṛshi Kaṇḍu, who knows Dharma very well,
killed a cow, upon the word of his father,
even though he is a scholar
and man of strict observances!
2.21.31 அஸ்மாகம் ச குலே பூர்வம் ஸகரஸ்யாஜ்ஞயா பிது: ।
கநத்பிஸ்ஸாகரைர்பூமிமவாப்தஸ்ஸுமஹாந்வத: ॥
asmākaṃ ca kulē pūrvaṃ sagarasyājñayā pituḥ ।
khanadbhissāgarairbhūmimavāptassumahānvadhaḥ ॥
In our own family, the sons of Sagara
met with terrible death,
digging through the earth
at the command of their father!
2.21.32 ஜாமதக்ந்யேந ராமேண ரேணுகா ஜநநீ ஸ்வயம் ।
க்ருத்தா பரஸுநாऽரண்யே பிதுர்வசநகாரிணா ॥
jāmadagnyēna rāmēṇa rēṇukā jananī svayam ।
kṛttā paraṡunā'raṇyē piturvacanakāriṇā ॥
Rāma, the son of Jamadagni,
axed his own mother Rēṇukā in the forest
at the bidding of his father.
2.21.33 ஏதைரந்யைஸ்ச பஹுபிர்தேவி! தேவஸமை: க்ருதம் ।
பிதுர்வசநமக்லீபம் கரிஷ்யாமி பிதுர்ஹிதம் ॥
ētairanyaiṡca bahubhirdēvi! dēvasamaiḥ kṛtam ।
piturvacanamaklībaṃ kariṣyāmi piturhitam ॥
These and many other men who are comparable to Devas, ensured
that the words of their fathers did not go in vain !
O Queen! I shall also do whatever pleases my father.
2.21.34 ந கல்வேதந்மயைகேந க்ரியதே பித்ருஸாஸநம் ।
ஏதைரபி க்ருதம் தேவி! யே மயா தவ கீர்திதா: ॥
na khalvētanmayaikēna kriyatē pitṛṡāsanam ।
ētairapi kṛtaṃ dēvi! yē mayā tava kīrtitāḥ ॥
Surely I am not the only one to carry out a father’s command;
these others, whom I have named, my lady, also have done it!
2.21.35 நாஹம் தர்மமபூர்வம் தே ப்ரதிகூலம் ப்ரவர்தயே ।
பூர்வைரயமபிப்ரேதோ கதோ மார்கோऽநுகம்யதே ॥
nāhaṃ dharmamapūrvaṃ tē pratikūlaṃ pravartayē ।
pūrvairayamabhiprētō gatō mārgō'nugamyatē ॥
I am not following an unknown Dharma, against your wish.
I am only following what has been
accepted and followed by people in the past.
2.21.36 ததேதத்து மயா கார்யம் க்ரியதே புவி நாந்யதா ।
பிதுர்ஹி வசநம் குர்வந்ந கஸ்சிந்நாம ஹீயதே ॥
tadētattu mayā kāryaṃ kriyatē bhuvi nānyathā ।
piturhi vacanaṃ kurvanna kaṡcinnāma hīyatē ॥
Hence, in this matter, which I am
called upon to do on this earth,
I would not be able to do anything differently!
One cannot go wrong by fulfilling the words of his father!
2.21.37 தாமேவமுக்த்வா ஜநநீம் லக்ஷ்மணம் புநரப்ரவீத் ।
வாக்யம் வாக்யவிதாம் ஸ்ரேஷ்டஸ்ஸ்ரேஷ்டஸ்ஸர்வதநுஷ்மதாம் ॥
tāmēvamuktvā jananīṃ lakṣmaṇaṃ punarabravīt ।
vākyaṃ vākyavidāṃ ṡrēṣṭhaṡṡrēṣṭhassarvadhanuṣmatām ॥
Having said this to his mother,
he, the foremost of the masters of speech
and the best among bowmen,
spoke again to Lakshmaṇa:
2.21.38 தவ லக்ஷ்மண ஜாநாமி மயி ஸ்நேஹமநுத்தமம் ।
விக்ரமம் சைவ ஸத்த்வம் ச தேஜஸ்ச ஸுதுராஸதம் ॥
tava lakṣmaṇa jānāmi mayi snēhamanuttamam ।
vikramaṃ caiva sattvaṃ ca tējaṡca sudurāsadam ॥
O Lakshmaṇa! I know about your unequalled affection for me!
I also know about your true strength and valor,
and that no one can stand in the proximity of your radiance!
2.21.39 மம மாதுர்மஹத்து:கமதுலம் ஸுபலக்ஷண! ।
அபிப்ராயமவிஜ்ஞாய ஸத்யஸ்ய ச ஸமஸ்ய ச ॥
mama māturmahadduḥkhamatulaṃ ṡubhalakṣaṇa! ।
abhiprāyamavijñāya satyasya ca ṡamasya ca ॥
O man of auspicious qualities!
My mother is grieving immeasurably,
because she does not know the deeper significance of
following the truth and being restrained!
2.21.40 தர்மோ ஹி பரமோ லோகே தர்மே ஸத்யம் ப்ரதிஷ்டிதம் ।
தர்மஸம்ஸ்ரிதமேதச்ச பிதுர்வசநமுத்தமம் ॥
dharmō hi paramō lōkē dharmē satyaṃ pratiṣṭhitam ।
dharmasaṃṡritamētacca piturvacanamuttamam ॥
Dharma is the ultimate goal in this world.
Even truth finds its basis in Dharma.
The laudable decision of my father
is fully in accordance with Dharma. Rāma emphasizes that he is fully convinced with the decision of his father, of obliging the boons asked for by Kaikēyee.
2.21.41 ஸம்ஸ்ருத்ய ச பிதுர்வாக்யம் மாதுர்வா ப்ராஹ்மணஸ்ய வா ।
ந கர்தவ்யம் வ்ருதா வீர! தர்மமாஸ்ரித்ய திஷ்டதா ॥
saṃṡrutya ca piturvākyaṃ māturvā brāhmaṇasya vā ।
na kartavyaṃ vṛthā vīra! dharmamāṡritya tiṣṭhatā ॥
O Veera! Those who adhere to Dharma should not
renege on their word given to father or mother or Brāhmaṇa. Mother, father and Brāhmaṇa have done what they can for you, even before you know how to ask.


One must, therefore, keep one’s word to them at all cost, without looking for a benefit in the future, but in appreciation and gratitude towards what they have done already in the past.
2.21.42 ஸோऽஹம் ந ஸக்ஷ்யாமி பிதுர்நியோகமதிவர்திதும் ।
பிதுர்ஹிவசநாத்வீர! கைகேய்யாऽஹம் ப்ரசோதித: ॥
sō'haṃ na ṡakṣyāmi piturniyōgamativartitum ।
piturhivacanādvīra! kaikēyyā'haṃ pracōditaḥ ॥
O Veera! Hence, I am not capable of
disobeying the command of our father!
Kaikēyee asked me to go to the forest
only because of the word given by our father!
2.21.43 ததேதாம் விஸ்ருஜாநார்யாம் க்ஷத்ரதர்மாஸ்ரிதாம் மதிம் ।
தர்மமாஸ்ரய மா தைக்ஷ்ண்யம் மத்புத்திரநுகம்யதாம் ॥
tadētāṃ visṛjānāryāṃ kṣatradharmāṡritāṃ matim ।
dharmamāṡraya mā taikṣṇyaṃ madbuddhiranugamyatām ॥
Hence leave the ignoble thought
that is born out of Kshatra Dharma!
Follow the ultimate Dharma!
Give up your extremism!
I hope you understand my thought process! Kshatra Dharma is to fight for your right, without caving in.


Dharma is to do what is right in the larger context.
2.21.44 தமேவமுக்த்வா ஸௌஹார்தாத்ப்ராதரம் லக்ஷ்மணாக்ரஜ: ।
உவாச பூய: கௌஸல்யாம் ப்ராஞ்ஜலிஸ்ஸிரஸாநத: ॥
tamēvamuktvā sauhārdādbhrātaraṃ lakṣmaṇāgrajaḥ ।
uvāca bhūyaḥ kausalyāṃ prāñjaliṡṡirasānataḥ ॥
Having said this to his brother in all affection,
the elder brother of Lakshmaṇa addressed Kousalyā again
with bowed head and joined palms:
2.21.45 அநுமந்யஸ்வ மாம் தேவி! கமிஷ்யந்தமிதோ வநம் ।
ஸாபிதாऽஸி மம ப்ராணை: குரு ஸ்வஸ்த்யயநாநி மே ॥
anumanyasva māṃ dēvi! gamiṣyantamitō vanam ।
ṡāpitā'si mama prāṇaiḥ kuru svastyayanāni mē ॥
O lady! Please allow me to leave to the Vana from here!
I adjure you by my life, you must not say no.
Please give me your blessings!
2.21.46 தீர்ணப்ரதிஜ்ஞஸ்ச வநாத்புநரேஷ்யாம்யஹம் புரீம் ।
யயாதிரிவ ராஜர்ஷி:புரா ஹித்வா புநர்திவம் ॥
tīrṇapratijñaṡca vanātpunarēṣyāmyahaṃ purīm ।
yayātiriva rājarṣiḥpurā hitvā punardivam ॥
After fulfilling my promise,
I will return from the Vana to the city,
just as Rājarshi Yayāti, once upon a time,
returned to heaven after losing it once!
2.21.47 ஸோகஸ்ஸந்தார்யதாம் மாதர்ஹ்ருதயே ஸாது மா ஸுச: ।
வநவாஸாதிஹைஷ்யாமி புந: க்ருத்வா பிதுர்வச: ॥
ṡōkassandhāryatāṃ mātarhṛdayē sādhu mā ṡucaḥ ।
vanavāsādihaiṣyāmi punaḥ kṛtvā piturvacaḥ ॥
Mother! May the grief in your heart
be quieted down in full!
Do not cry! I will fulfill my father’s words
and come back here from the Vana!
2.21.48 த்வயா மயா ச வைதேஹ்யா லக்ஷ்மணேந ஸுமித்ரயா ।
பிதுர்நியோகே ஸ்தாதவ்யமேஷ தர்மஸ்ஸநாதந: ॥
tvayā mayā ca vaidēhyā lakṣmaṇēna sumitrayā ।
piturniyōgē sthātavyamēṣa dharmassanātanaḥ ॥
You, me, the princess of Vidēha, Lakshmaṇa and Sumitrā
must abide by the command of the father.
This is a time honored Dharma!
2.21.49 அம்ப! ஸம்ஹ்ருத்ய ஸம்பாராந் து:கம் ஹ்ருதி நிக்ருஹ்ய ச ।
வநவாஸக்ருதா புத்திர்மம தர்ம்யாऽநு வர்த்யதாம் ॥
amba! saṃhṛtya sambhārān duḥkhaṃ hṛdi nigṛhya ca ।
vanavāsakṛtā buddhirmama dharmyā'nu vartyatām ॥
O mother! Please keep aside
the preparations for the crowning.
Please contain the grief in your heart.
May you accept this righteous resolve of mine to go to Vana!
2.21.50 ஏதத்வசஸ்தஸ்ய நிஸம்ய மாதா
ஸுதர்ம்யமவ்யக்ரமவிக்லபம் ச ।
ம்ருதேவ ஸம்ஜ்ஞாம் ப்ரதிலப்ய தேவீ
ஸமீக்ஷ்ய ராமம் புநரித்யுவாச ॥
ētadvacastasya niṡamya mātā
sudharmyamavyagramaviklabaṃ ca ।
mṛtēva saṃjñāṃ pratilabhya dēvī
samīkṣya rāmaṃ punarityuvāca ॥
Hearing those righteous, serene and well considered words,
the queen felt as if she had risen from the dead
and taking a good look at Rāma, said:
2.21.51 யதைவ தே புத்ர! பிதா ததாऽஹம்
குரு ஸ்ஸ்வதர்மேண ஸுஹ்ருத்தயா ச ।
ந த்வாऽநுஜாநாமி ந மாம் விஹாய
ஸுது:கிதாமர்ஹஸி கந்துமேவம் ॥
yathaiva tē putra! pitā tathā'haṃ
guru ssvadharmēṇa suhṛttayā ca ।
na tvā'nujānāmi na māṃ vihāya
suduḥkhitāmarhasi gantumēvam ॥
My dear son! I am also your Guru like your father,
both by affection and by Dharma!
I will not give my permission.
You must not leave, abandoning me in complete grief!
2.21.52 கிம் ஜீவிதேநேஹ விநா த்வயா மே
லோகேந வா கிம் ஸ்வதயாऽம்ருதேந ।
ஸ்ரேயோ முஹூர்தம் தவ ஸந்நிதாநம்
மமேஹ க்ருத்ஸ்நாதபி ஜீவலோகாத் ॥
kiṃ jīvitēnēha vinā tvayā mē
lōkēna vā kiṃ svadhayā'mṛtēna ।
ṡrēyō muhūrtaṃ tava sannidhānaṃ
mamēha kṛtsnādapi jīvalōkāt ॥
What good is life here or
life beyond with Swadha or Amrita, without you?
A single moment here with you is more desirable for me
than eternity with all the beings of all Lōkas!
Swadha refers to the offerings made to the ancestors
on the anniversary of their ascendance to the afterworld.
2.21.53 நரைரிவோல்காபிரபோஹ்யமாநோ
மஹாகஜோऽத்வாநமநுப்ரவிஷ்ட: ।
பூய: ப்ரஜஜ்வால விலாபமேவம்
நிஸம்ய ராம: கருணம் ஜநந்யா: ॥
narairivōlkābhirapōhyamānō
mahāgajō'dhvānamanupraviṣṭaḥ ।
bhūyaḥ prajajvāla vilāpamēvaṃ
niṡamya rāmaḥ karuṇaṃ jananyāḥ ॥
Hearing the piteous wails of his mother,
Rāma was greatly distressed,
like a mighty elephant on its path
blocked by torch bearing men.
2.21.54 ந மாதரம் சைவ விஸம்ஜ்ஞகல்பா
மார்தம் ச ஸௌமித்ரிமபிப்ரதப்தம் ।
தர்மே ஸ்திதோ தர்ம்யமுவாச வாக்யம்
யதா ஸ ஏவார்ஹதி தத்ர வக்தும் ॥
na mātaraṃ caiva visaṃjñakalpā
mārtaṃ ca saumitrimabhiprataptam ।
dharmē sthitō dharmyamuvāca vākyaṃ
yathā sa ēvārhati tatra vaktum ॥
To that mother, who was almost unconscious and
to that son of Sumitrā, who was sad and distressed,
he, who was firmly established in Dharma,
said the words that were in conformance with Dharma,
as he alone, and no one else could, in such a moment.
2.21.55 அஹம் ஹி தே லக்ஷ்மண! நித்யமேவ
ஜாநாமி பக்திம் ச பராக்ரமம் ச ।
மம த்வபிப்ராயமஸந்நிரீக்ஷ்ய
மாத்ரா ஸஹாப்யர்தஸி மாம் ஸுது:கம் ॥
ahaṃ hi tē lakṣmaṇa! nityamēva
jānāmi bhaktiṃ ca parākramaṃ ca ।
mama tvabhiprāyamasannirīkṣya
mātrā sahābhyardasi māṃ suduḥkham ॥
O Lakshmaṇa! I am always aware of
your strength and devotion to me!
You, along with my mother,
are causing great distress to me,
by missing to see my point of view!
2.21.56 தர்மார்தகாமா: கலு தாத! லோகே
ஸமீக்ஷிதா தர்மபலோதயேஷு ।
தே தத்ர ஸர்வே ஸ்யுரஸம்ஸயம் மே
பார்யேவ வஸ்யாऽபிமதா ஸுபுத்ரா ॥
dharmārthakāmāḥ khalu tāta! lōkē
samīkṣitā dharmaphalōdayēṣu ।
tē tatra sarvē syurasaṃṡayaṃ mē
bhāryēva vaṡyā'bhimatā suputrā ॥
My dear! I have no doubt that
Dharma, Artha and Kāma are seen
in the advancement of Dharma only,
like a loving and devoted wife and good children
(are seen in the context of advancement of husband)!
2.21.57 யஸ்மிம்ஸ்து ஸர்வே ஸ்யுரஸந்நிவிஷ்டா
தர்மோ யத ஸ்ஸ்யாத்ததுபக்ரமேத ।
த்வேஷ்யோ பவத்யர்தபரோ ஹி லோகே
காமாத்மதா கல்வபி ந ப்ரஸஸ்தா ॥
yasmiṃstu sarvē syurasanniviṣṭā
dharmō yata ssyāttadupakramēta ।
dvēṣyō bhavatyarthaparō hi lōkē
kāmātmatā khalvapi na praṡastā ॥
When faced with a situation where
all (three) of them do not seem to come together right away,
one must begin with whatever leads to Dharma in the end.


Those who focus on Artha as the end goal
will find themselves becoming abominable in this world!
Similarly one who keeps Kāma as the end goal, gains no respect.
2.21.58 குருஸ்ச ராஜா ச பிதா ச வ்ருத்த:
க்ரோதாத்ப்ரஹர்ஷாத்யதி வாऽபி காமாத் ।
யத்வ்யாதிஸேத்கார்யமவேக்ஷ்ய தர்மம்
கஸ்தந்ந குர்யாதந்ருஸம்ஸவ்ருத்தி: ॥
guruṡca rājā ca pitā ca vṛddhaḥ
krōdhātpraharṣādyadi vā'pi kāmāt ।
yadvyādiṡētkāryamavēkṣya dharmaṃ
kastanna kuryādanṛṡaṃsavṛttiḥ ॥
Be it out of joy or indulgence or rage,
how can anyone, who can see the Dharma,
not obey the directive of a revered
and aged father, who is also the king,
unless he is a wretched soul!
2.21.59 ஸ வை ந ஸக்நோமி பிது: ப்ரதிஜ்ஞா-
மிமாமகர்தும் ஸகலாம் யதாவத் ।
ஸ ஹ்யாவயோஸ்தாத! குருர்நியோகே
தேவ்யாஸ்ச பர்தா ஸ கதி ஸ்ஸதர்ம: ॥
sa vai na ṡaknōmi pituḥ pratijñā-
mimāmakartuṃ sakalāṃ yathāvat ।
sa hyāvayōstāta! gururniyōgē
dēvyāṡca bhartā sa gati ssadharmaḥ ॥
I cannot but fulfill my father’s promise
in letter and spirit,
for he is our elder and hence and is very well
entitled to the privilege of commanding us, my dear!
And as for the queen, he is
her provider, her refuge and her Dharma.
2.21.60 தஸ்மிந்புநர்ஜீவதி தர்மராஜே
விஸேஷதஸ்ஸ்வே பதி வர்தமாநே ।
தேவீ மயா ஸார்தமிதோऽபகச்சேத்
கதம் ஸ்விதந்யா விதவேவ நாரீ ॥
tasminpunarjīvati dharmarājē
viṡēṣatassvē pathi vartamānē ।
dēvī mayā sārdhamitō'pagacchēt
kathaṃ svidanyā vidhavēva nārī ॥
While he, the lord of Dharma,
is alive keeping well to his path of duty,
how can the queen go with me,
like a woman who has lost her husband?
2.21.61 ஸா மாऽநுமந்யஸ்வ வநம் வ்ரஜந்தம்
குருஷ்வ ந ஸ்ஸ்வஸ்த்யயநாநி தேவி! ।
யதா ஸமாப்தே புநராவ்ரஜேயம்
யதா ஹி ஸத்யேந புநர்யயாதி: ॥
sā mā'numanyasva vanaṃ vrajantaṃ
kuruṣva na ssvastyayanāni dēvi! ।
yathā samāptē punarāvrajēyaṃ
yathā hi satyēna punaryayātiḥ ॥
Hence, grant me permission for my departure to the Vana.
O lady! Bless me to return at the end,
just as Yayāti returned (to heaven)
by the strength of adherence to truth!
2.21.62 யஸோ ஹ்யஹம் கேவலராஜ்யகாரணா
ந்ந ப்ருஷ்டத: கர்துமலம் மஹோதயம் ।
அதீர்ககாலே ந து தேவி ஜீவிதே
வ்ருணேऽவராமத்ய மஹீமதர்மத: ॥
yaṡō hyahaṃ kēvalarājyakāraṇā
nna pṛṣṭhataḥ kartumalaṃ mahōdayam ।
adīrghakālē na tu dēvi jīvitē
vṛṇē'varāmadya mahīmadharmataḥ ॥
I cannot put my renown,
which is of more significance, behind,
for the sake of gaining the kingdom.
O lady! Life is too short
to seek this land, transgressing Dharma! Like you, the reader, I also can not help thinking: why do we not have a leader like this today, who puts the reputation of his character above everything else? Asked differently, why don’t leaders like this rise up in public life, in contemporary times?


In contemporary times, it is easy to get by with not just a few blemishes on one’s character, but with an entire swath of them.


In the days of yore or even in close-knit communities such as in villages today, people live and die for the reputation of good character.


Today that place is occupied by achievements, accomplishments and accumulation of wealth.


If one accumulates enough wealth and shares a bit of it with others, everyone is willing to turn a blind eye to the source of that wealth.
2.21.63 ப்ரஸாதயந்நரவ்ருஷப ஸ்ஸமாதரம்
பராக்ரமாஜ்ஜிகமிஷுரேவ தண்டகாந் ।
அதாநுஜம் ப்ருஸமநுஸாஸ்ய தர்ஸநம்
சகார தாம் ஹ்ருதி ஜநநீம் ப்ரதக்ஷிணம் ॥
prasādayannaravṛṣabha ssamātaraṃ
parākramājjigamiṣurēva daṇḍakān ।
athānujaṃ bhṛṡamanuṡāsya darṡanaṃ
cakāra tāṃ hṛdi jananīṃ pradakṣiṇam ॥
That hero, his mind set on leaving for Daṇḍaka,
did his best to impress upon his younger brother
the purport of following Dharma.
That bull among men placated his mother,
and circumambulated her in all reverence.
இத்யார்ஷே ஸ்ரீமத்ராமாயணே வால்மீகீயே ஆதிகாவ்யே
அயோத்யாகாண்டே ஏகவிம்ஸஸ்ஸர்க: ॥
ityārṣē ṡrīmadrāmāyaṇē vālmīkīyē ādikāvyē
ayōdhyākāṇḍē ēkaviṃṡassargaḥ ॥
Thus concludes the twenty first Sarga
in Ayōdhyā Kāṇḍa of the glorious Rāmāyaṇa,
the first ever poem of humankind,
composed by Vālmeeki.
You have completed reading 3229 Ṡlōkas out of ~24,000 Ṡlōkas of Vālmeeki Rāmāyaṇa.


Meaning, notes and commentary by: Krishna Sharma.