Baala Kaanda - Sarga 54
In this Sarga, the tense conversation between Viṡwāmitra and Vasishṭha in the previous Sarga precipitates into a full-fledged fight, after Viṡwāmitra tries to snatch away Ṡabala. The forces created by Ṡabala instantaneously using Brāhmaṇic power, eradicate the entire army of Viṡwāmitra.
1.54.1
காமதேநும் வஸிஷ்டோऽபி யதா ந த்யஜதே முநி: ।
ததாஸ்ய ஸபலாம் ராம விஸ்வாமித்ரோऽந்வகர்ஷத ॥
kāmadhēnuṃ vasiṣṭhō'pi yadā na tyajatē muniḥ ।
tadāsya ṡabalāṃ rāma viṡvāmitrō'nvakarṣata ॥
O Rāma! As Vasishṭha was unwilling
to give away that Kāmadhenu,
Viṡwāmitra snatched away Ṡabala.
Kāmadhenu is a generic term for any cow that fulfills wishes.
1.54.2
நீயமாநா து ஸபலா ராம ராஜ்ஞா மஹாத்மநா ।
து:கிதா சிந்தயாமாஸ ருதந்தீ ஸோககர்ஸிதா ॥
nīyamānā tu ṡabalā rāma rāj˝ā mahātmanā ।
duḥkhitā cintayāmāsa rudantī ṡōkakarṡitā ॥
O Rāma! As the Mahātma king Viṡwāmitra took her away,
Ṡabala became sad and started crying.
Exhausted by distress, she thought:
The term Mahātma has been used several times thus far in the Rāmāyaṇa and you must have become familiar and used to it by now.


You might have also noticed that the connotation is slightly different from the way we commonly use it in modern times, as the title of 'Mahātma' given to M.K. Gandhi by Ravindranath Tagore (which I guess, would have been inspired by a character in Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya's novel Anandamath).


Now the question is, why is the term Mahātma used for Viṡwāmitra in this Ṡlōka (1.54.2), when he is doing the heinous act of snatching away Ṡabala?


The answer is in the word 'Mahā', which means big, grand, as opposed to tiny, puny or petty. Anyone who can think of things beyond mundane concerns is a Mahātma.

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So the implication is that someone can be a Mahātma, but not necessarily do the right things. But then, what would we call someone who always strives to do the right thing? He is called a Dharmātmā.


A Dharmātmā need not be a Mahātma and a Mahātma need not be a Dharmātmā. But any given single individual could be both Mahātma and Dharmātmā.


In fact, in the very next Ṡlōka (1.54.3), Vasishṭha is referred to as Sumahātma, to differentiate him from Viṡwāmitra, who is just a Mahātma.
1.54.3
பரித்யக்தா வஸிஷ்டேந கிமஹம் ஸுமஹாத்மநா ।
யாऽஹம் ராஜபடைர்தீநா ஹ்ரியேயம் ப்ருஸது:கிதா ॥
parityaktā vasiṣṭhēna kimahaṃ sumahātmanā ।
yā'haṃ rājabhaṭairdīnā hriyēyaṃ bhṛṡaduḥkhitā ॥
Was I forsaken by the well-meaning Mahātma Vasishṭha?
Why are these servants of the king taking me,
the miserable, the helpless?
1.54.4
கிம் மயாऽபக்ருதம் தஸ்ய மஹர்ஷேர்பாவிதாத்மந: ।
யந்மாமநாகஸம் பக்தாமிஷ்டாம் த்யஜதி தார்மிக: ॥
kiṃ mayā'pakṛtaṃ tasya maharṣērbhāvitātmanaḥ ।
yanmāmanāgasaṃ bhaktāmiṣṭāṃ tyajati dhārmikaḥ ॥
I am fully devoted to him, always liked by him
and have never committed any mistake!
What might I have done wrong for
the Dhārmika (Vasishṭha) to give me away?
1.54.5
இதி ஸா சிந்தயித்வா து விநிஸ்ஸ்வஸ்ய புந:புந:।
நிர்த்தூய தாம்ஸ்ததா ப்ருத்யாந் ஸதஸ: ஸத்ருஸூதந ।
ஜகாமாநிலவேகேந பாதமூலம் மஹாத்மந: ॥
iti sā cintayitvā tu viniṡṡvasya punauna:।
nirddhūya tāṃstadā bhṛtyān ṡataṡaḥ ṡatrusūdana ।
jagāmānilavēgēna pādamūlaṃ mahātmanaḥ ॥
O annihilator of foes (Rāma)!
Thus brooding and sighing over it for a while,
she wrenched herself out of those
hundreds of servants and dashed with the speed of wind
back to the feet of the Mahātma (Vasishṭha).
1.54.6
ஸபலா ஸா ருதந்தீ ச க்ரோஸந்தீ சேதமப்ரவீத் ।
வஸிஷ்டஸ்யாக்ரத: ஸ்தித்வா மேகதுந்துபிராவிணீ ॥
ṡabalā sā rudantī ca krōṡantī cēdamabravīt ।
vasiṣṭhasyāgrataḥ sthitvā mēghadundubhirāviṇī ॥
Standing in front of Vasishṭha, Ṡabala,
while continuing to cry and weep,
spoke to him in a voice resembling
the sound of thunder and a kettle drum:
1.54.7
பகவந் கிம் பரித்யக்தா த்வயாஹம் ப்ரஹ்மண: ஸுத ।
யஸ்மாத்ராஜப்ருதா மாம் ஹி நயந்தே த்வத்ஸகாஸத: ॥
bhagavan kiṃ parityaktā tvayāhaṃ brahmaṇaḥ suta ।
yasmādrājabhṛtā māṃ hi nayantē tvatsakāṡataḥ ॥
Bhagawan! O son of Brahma!
Why have you forsaken me?
Why are these king's men taking me away from you?
1.54.8
ஏவமுக்தஸ்து ப்ரஹ்மர்ஷிரிதம் வசநமப்ரவீத் ।
ஸோகஸந்தப்தஹ்ருதயாம் ஸ்வஸாரமிவ து:கிதாம் ॥
ēvamuktastu brahmarṣiridaṃ vacanamabravīt ।
ṡōkasantaptahṛdayāṃ svasāramiva duḥkhitām ॥
To those words of Ṡabala,
whose heart was filled with sadness,
the Brahmarshi spoke as if
he was speaking to his own sister, who was suffering.
1.54.9
ந த்வாம் த்யஜாமி ஸபலே நாபி மேऽபக்ருதம் த்வயா ।
ஏஷ த்வாம் நயதே ராஜா பலாந்மத்தோ மஹாபல: ॥
na tvāṃ tyajāmi ṡabalē nāpi mē'pakṛtaṃ tvayā ।
ēṣa tvāṃ nayatē rājā balānmattō mahābalaḥ ॥
I am not giving you away.
You have done nothing wrong.
This king is taking you away from me by force.
1.54.10
ந ஹி துல்யம் பலம் மஹ்யம் ராஜா த்வத்ய விஸேஷத: ।
பலீ ராஜா க்ஷத்ரியஸ்ச ப்ருதிவ்யா: பதிரேவ ச ॥
na hi tulyaṃ balaṃ mahyaṃ rājā tvadya viṡēṣataḥ ।
balī rājā kṣatriyaṡca pṛthivyāḥ patirēva ca ॥
I am not strong enough to match his strength.
Further, he is a king and Kshatriya and
this land is under his rule.
1.54.11
இயமக்ஷௌஹிணீ பூர்ணா ஸவாஜிரதஸங்குலா ।
ஹஸ்தித்வஜஸமாகீர்ணா தேநாஸௌ பலவத்தர: ॥
iyamakṣauhiṇī pūrṇā savājirathasaṅkulā ।
hastidhvajasamākīrṇā tēnāsau balavattaraḥ ॥
His imposing strength is evident in his Akshouhiṇi-
of army, of horses, elephants, chariots
with pennants flying all over.
1.54.12
ஏவமுக்தா வஸிஷ்டேந ப்ரத்யுவாச விநீதவத் ।
வசநம் வசநஜ்ஞா ஸா ப்ரஹ்மர்ஷிமதுலப்ரபம் ॥
ēvamuktā vasiṣṭhēna pratyuvāca vinītavat ।
vacanaṃ vacanaj˝ā sā brahmarṣimatulaprabham ॥
To those words of the supremely radiant Brahmarshi,
the eloquent Ṡabala responded respectfully, saying:
1.54.13
ந பலம் க்ஷத்ரியஸ்யாஹுர்ப்ராஹ்மணோ பலவத்தர: ।
ப்ரஹ்மந் ப்ரஹ்மபலம் திவ்யம் க்ஷத்ராத்து பலவத்தரம் ॥
na balaṃ kṣatriyasyāhurbrāhmaṇō balavattaraḥ ।
brahman brahmabalaṃ divyaṃ kṣatrāttu balavattaram ॥
O Brahman! The strength of a Kshatriya
cannot be counted as true strength.
The strength of Brāhmaṇa is divine and
superior to the strength of a Kshatriya.
1.54.14
அப்ரமேயபலம் துப்யம் ந த்வயா பலவத்தர: ।
விஸ்வாமித்ரோ மஹாவீர்யஸ்தேஜஸ்தவ துராஸதம் ॥
apramēyabalaṃ tubhyaṃ na tvayā balavattaraḥ ।
viṡvāmitrō mahāvīryastējastava durāsadam ॥
Your strength is limitless.
The mighty Veera Viṡwāmitra is not stronger than you.
Your power can hardly be challenged.
1.54.15
நியுங்க்ஷ்வ மாம் மஹாதேஜஸ்த்வத்ப்ரஹ்மபலஸம்ப்ருதாம் ।
தஸ்ய தர்பபலம் யத்தந்நாஸயாமி துராத்மந: ॥
niyuṅkṣva māṃ mahātējastvadbrahmabalasambhṛtām ।
tasya darpabalaṃ yattannāṡayāmi durātmanaḥ ॥
O blessed one! Deploy me with all your Brāhmaṇic power!
I will put an end to the arrogance of that evil soul!
1.54.16
இத்யுக்தஸ்து தயா ராம வஸிஷ்டஸ்து மஹாயஸா: ।
ஸ்ருஜஸ்வேதி ததோவாச பலம் பரபலாருஜம் ॥
ityuktastu tayā rāma vasiṣṭhastu mahāyaṡāḥ ।
sṛjasvēti tadōvāca balaṃ parabalārujam ॥
O Rāma! Thus urged by her, the well sung Vasishṭha said:
Create a force that will harry the enemyĺs forces!
1.54.17-18a
தஸ்ய தத்வசநம் ஸ்ருத்வா ஸுரபி: ஸாஸ்ருஜத்ததா ॥
தஸ்யா ஹும்பாரவோத்ஸ்ருஷ்டா: பப்லவா: ஸதஸோ ந்ருப ।
நாஸயந்தி பலம் ஸர்வம் விஸ்வாமித்ரஸ்ய பஸ்யத: ॥
tasya tadvacanaṃ ṡrutvā surabhiḥ sāsṛjattadā ॥
tasyā humbhāravōtsṛṣṭāḥ paplavāḥ ṡataṡō nṛpa ।
nāṡayanti balaṃ sarvaṃ viṡvāmitrasya paṡyataḥ ॥
O prince! With that command of Vasishṭha,
the divine cow bellowed, and that
sound created hundreds of Paplavas,
who destroyed all the forces of
Viṡwāmitra, verily as he was watching.
The words Paplavas, Yavanas, Ṡakas and Kāmbhōjas have historic and geographical connotations.


These words are interpreted to refer to various alien warriors and tribes that flashed in India now and then.


They seem to be perceived as strong but ruthless mercenaries.


Yavanas are considered to be Greeks, Paplavas are considered to be Persians and Kāmbhōjas are considered to be Afghans and there is no clear interpretation of the word Ṡaka.










1.54.18b-19
பலம் பக்நம் ததோ த்ருஷ்ட்வா ரதேநாக்ரம்ய கௌஸிக: ।
ஸ ராஜா பரமக்ருத்த: க்ரோதவிஸ்பாரிதேக்ஷண: ।
பப்லவாந் நாஸயாமாஸ ஸஸ்த்ரைருச்சாவசைரபி ॥
balaṃ bhagnaṃ tatō dṛṣṭvā rathēnākramya kauṡikaḥ ।
sa rājā paramakruddhaḥ krōdhavisphāritēkṣaṇaḥ ।
paplavān nāṡayāmāsa ṡastrairuccāvacairapi ॥
The son of Kuṡika was outraged seeing his forces thus broken.
With eyes turned blood-red, he hoisted himself on a chariot
and killed many of the Paplavas with his Ṡāstras.
Ṡastras are arrows, as opposed to Ṡāstras, which are authoritative books on different subjects.
1.54.20
விஸ்வாமித்ரார்திதாந் த்ருஷ்ட்வா பப்லவாந் ஸதஸஸ்ததா ।
பூய ஏவாஸ்ருஜத்கோபாச்சகாந் யவநமிஸ்ரிதாந் ॥
viṡvāmitrārditān dṛṣṭvā paplavān ṡataṡastadā ।
bhūya ēvāsṛjatkōpācchakān yavanamiṡritān ॥
As hundreds of Paplavas were hurt by Viṡwāmitra,
Ṡabala became angry and created again
many dreaded Ṡakas and Yavanas.
1.54.21
தைராஸீத்ஸம்வ்ருதா பூமி: ஸகைர்யவநமிஸ்ரிதை: ।
ப்ரபாவத்பிர்மஹாவீர்யைர்ஹேமகிஞ்ஜல்கஸந்நிபை: ॥
tairāsītsaṃvṛtā bhūmiḥ ṡakairyavanamiṡritaiḥ ।
prabhāvadbhirmahāvīryairhēmaki˝jalkasannibhaiḥ ॥
The earth was thronged by those impactful
Sakas and Yavanas who were great Veeras
resembling golden filaments.
1.54.22
தீர்காஸிபட்டிஸதரைர்ஹேமவர்ணாம்பராவ்ருதை: ।
நிர்தக்தம் தத்பலம் ஸர்வம் ப்ரதீப்தைரிவ பாவகை: ॥
dīrghāsipaṭṭiṡadharairhēmavarṇāmbarāvṛtaiḥ ।
nirdagdhaṃ tadbalaṃ sarvaṃ pradīptairiva pāvakaiḥ ॥
Those forces, in outfits glistening like gold,
wielding long swords and battle axes,
annihilated the entire army like a ravenous fire.
1.54.23
ததோऽஸ்த்ராணி மஹாதேஜா விஸ்வாமித்ரோ முமோச ஹ ।
தைஸ்தைர்யவநகாம்போஜா: பப்லவாஸ்சாகுலீக்ருதா: ॥
tatō'strāṇi mahātējā viṡvāmitrō mumōca ha ।
taistairyavanakāmbhōjāḥ paplavāṡcākulīkṛtāḥ ॥
Then the supremely radiant Viṡwāmitra cast Astras
that scattered away the Paplavas and Kambhojas.
இத்யார்ஷே ஸ்ரீமத்ராமாயணே வால்மீகீயே ஆதிகாவ்யே
ஸ்ரீமத்பாலகாண்டே சது:பஞ்சாஸ: ஸர்க: ॥
ityārṣē ṡrīmadrāmāyaṇē vālmīkīyē ādikāvyē
ṡrīmadbālakāṇḍē catuḥpa˝cāṡaḥ sargaḥ ॥
Thus concludes the fifty fourth Sarga
in Bāla Kāṇḍa of the glorious Rāmāyaṇa,
the first ever poem of humankind,
composed by Vālmeeki.

We completed reading 1616 Ṡlōkas out of ~24,000 Ṡlōkas of Vālmeeki Rāmāyaṇa.