Ramayan: Uttara Kanda – Best Book Canto II – Dharma Trimphs

Lakshman returned sorrowfully back to Ayodhya, his mind filled with pictures of Sita. Where was she now? Had she gone to Valmiki’s ashram? He did not know and was tortured by doubts. When he entered his brother’s chamber, he found Ram sitting bereft, with his head in his hands.

Lakshman bowed low before him and said, “0 king! I have carried out your orders and left your faultless wife on the other side of the Ganga. I hope you are satisfied. Why do you look so unhappy? Having made your decision, you should be happy that it has been successfully accomplished. You know full well that no relationship is permanent. What grows has to decay, what flowers has to fade and what rises, fall? Meeting and parting are both part of the game of life. We are born, only to die. So why grieve”? Still Ram said not a word. The country rejoiced that the blot on the fair name of its ruler had been removed, but for Ram there was no joy in life any more. Both he and Sita suffered the agonising pangs of separation to the end of their lives, but the country flourished and the rule of Ram, Ramrajya, is remembered to this day as being exemplary, in which, the very laws of nature bowed to the will of this saintly man who was prepared to sacrifice his own happiness for the sake of dharma. So the land prospered, the rains fell on time and the earth yielded in plenty and the gods rejoiced. Contrary to the custom of the age, Ram never married again, though the pressure on him to do so was great. He led his lonely ascetic’s life and never looked at another woman again.

Every day, Ram would sit in his council hall and ask Lakshman to go outside the gates and see if there was anyone with a grievance. If there was, the person would be brought inside and his wrongs redressed.

One day, a dog was waiting outside. Ram called him in and asked him what he wanted. The dog replied that he had been hit on the head by a Brahmin. Ram asked the council to decide some punishment but the court said that a Brahmin could never be punished so Ram asked the dog to decide on some way to redress his wrongs. The dog insisted that the Brahmin should be given an honourable position, as the spiritual head of a certain monastery.

When questioned about this strange punishment, the dog replied,
“Your majesty, in my previous birth, I held that particular position and though I was honest and sincere, the post is so full of pitfalls that when I died, I was forced to take this birth, as a dog. Can you imagine the plight of that avaricious man, who has an uncontrollable temper as well”
In the meantime, far away on the banks of the Tamasa where Lakshman had abandoned her, Sita sat alone and helpless, with all the little presents she had brought for the forest dwellers scattered round her. She did not know what she should do. Just then some of the young brahmacharis from Valmiki’s ashRam, saw her pitiable plight and ran to tell the sage. Remembering his talk with Narada, Valmiki was immediately able to gauge the situation. He returned with the boys and respectfully requested Sita to accompany him to his hermitage.

“Fear not! 0 noble wife of Ram! Daughter of Janaka. I know that you are absolutely pure. Come with me to my ashRam and the wives of the other ascetics will care for you in your time of labour”.
Sita followed him gratefully and lived a life of great austerity and tapas till the time came for the birth of her child.

She gave birth to twins. When the news was brought to the sage; he hurried to the labour room. His heart filled with joy when he saw the radiant babies, sons of Ram, looking like twin gods. He picked a handful of kusa grass which is used in all rituals. With the tips of the grass, he stroked the first child and said, “He will be known as Kusha”. With the ends, he stroked the second baby and said, “He will be known as Lava”. He then performed all the appropriate rites connected with the birth of a baby and blessed them with all happiness and prosperity.

It was at this time that he began his immortal composition, known as the Ramyana. As soon as the children could learn to talk, he started to teach them to recite the poem. By the time they were twelve years old, he had finished the poem and they could sing it with ease to the accompaniment of the tambura and a small mridanga.

In Ayodhya, at about the time when the babies were born, an old Brahmin arrived at the palace gate carrying the corpse of his son in his arms. He was hysterical with grief and wailed, “What crime have I committed in a previous life to be deprived of my only son in my old age? If innocent children die in a country, it is the king who is guilty. 0 Ram, if you do not give my child back, my wife and I will end our lives here, in front of your gate and you will be guilty of having caused the death of Brahmins. What safety is there for children in your kingdom if they can be snatched away by death, before they attain maturity? Crimes flourish and chaos prevails when a king is negligent in his duty”.

Ram was stunned at this accusation from a new quarter. He summoned all his advisers and asked them to find out the reason for such a happening in the country. Where had he failed?

The divine sage Narada offered his advice. “Listen 0 king, to the reason for the child’s untimely death. Each age has its own laws and rules, by following which the whole land will prosper, and by failing which, the whole cosmic order will be disrupted. In the golden age of Satya Yuga) only the Brahmins were allowed to practise austerities, in the next age of Treta, the Kshatriyas were also allowed to practise tapas. It was in this age that the next two castes were created. The vaishyas practised trade and the shudras served the other three castes. In the Dwapara Yuga, adharma increased and vaishyas were also allowed to practise tapas but the shudras were still forbidden to do so. It is only in the age of Kali that shudras will be allowed to practise tapas. This is still the age of Treta and I fear that some shudra is practising tapas somewhere in your kingdom.

Unless he is stopped, calamities will continue to befall your country. It is your duty as a king to go and stop him from going against the dharma of his caste. It is only by following one’s svadharma, or the duties of one’s own caste, that one can achieve one’s own salvation. One’s own duty, though apparently inferior, is actually superior to the duty of another, however well practised. It will bring nothing but infamy to oneself and calamity to the country. There is nothing inferior or superior as far as duty is concerned. The duty of the king and the duty of the subject are quite different but each has to follow his own svadharma and that is the law of the cosmos. That is the law of Nature, by following which a person will prosper. Tapas, in itself, is a noble thing but when a shudra practises it, in this age, it will bring only ruin on him and his country”.

Ram accepted the advice of the sage and asked the Brahmin to embalm his child till he returned. He recalled the Pushpaka chariot which he had sent back to Kailasa after his return from Lanka and toured the length and breadth of the country to discover the miscreant. At last in the southern region he saw a man hanging, head downwards from a tree, practising rigorous tapas. Ram approached and asked him who he was and what he was doing. The ascetic replied that he was a shudra, called Shambuka who was practising penance.

Without a word Ram unsheathed his sword and cut off his head. For one who had abandoned his dear wife, for the sake of his country, the killing of a shudra who had gone against the rules of his order, was nothing. Ram begged the gods to grant the life of the Brahmin’s son and by the time he returned to the capital, the boy was restored to life and the country rejoiced. To Ram, the only thing that mattered was his duty to his country and to his subjects. For the greater good, the lesser had to be sacrificed.

Twelve years later Ram decided to hold the Horse sacrifice – the ashwamedha yaga. He called Lakshman and asked him to summon all the sages. With folded palms he addressed the sages and informed them
of his decision. The sages were delighted but they told him that it would not be proper to conduct a yaga without his consort by his side. They urged him to marry again. Ram was adamant in his refusal. The cruel world had parted him from his beloved wife and he was determined
never to take another. Eventually he agreed to make a golden figure of Sita and keep it beside him while conducting the rituals.

All details for the year-long sacrifice commenced. The place chosen was the Naimisha forest. A pure black horse, marked with all auspicious signs and richly decorated with gold and silver strapping, was released by Ram. The horse was allowed to roam all over the country, followed by Lakshman and the army. If anyone caught and tied the horse, the army would come and fight with the person who had the temerity to challenge the king’s horse. If the horse returned unchallenged, the king could declare himself as Emperor.

The forest of Naimisha was converted into a veritable paradise, with pavilions and music halls and gardens and yajnashalas. All the kings of the realm were invited and came to pay homage to Ram and accepted him as their suzerain. Not only were kings invited but also the hermits and sages, who lived in the forests. Invitations were also sent to the
vanaras at Kishkinda who came with their leader Sugriva, and to the rakshasas at Lanka who came along with Vibhishana. Food, clothes, jewellery, gems, gold and silver were distributed lavishly. There was nobody who went away empty handed.

Sage Valmiki came with Lava and Kusha. He told them to go and sing twenty cantos of the beautiful poem called the Ramyana, before the huts of the sages who had been invited and also before the king himself. He also told them never to accept any remuneration for their services. If they were asked about their lineage, they were to say that they were the disciples of sage Valmiki.

The children did as they were told and sang twenty cantos in a melodious voice before the royal audience. People were spellbound by the sight of these two hermit boys, who sang so sweetly. They also remarked on their uncanny resemblance to Ram. He had looked exactly like them so many years ago, when he went to the forest, wearing bark, with hair in matted locks. Ram was enchanted with the boys and told Lakshman to give them twenty thousand gold coins and expensive
clothes but the boys refused and said that hermit boys who lived on fruits and roots had no necessity for such things, as they had been told to do by their Guru.

Ram was astonished and asked them, “Who composed this poem and how many cantos are there in it”?

The boys replied, “The venerable sage Valmiki is the composer of this wonderful poem which recounts the doings of your Majesty. It has twenty-four thousand verses and six kandas. The seventh or the Uttara Kanda is now going on. With your leave we will recite the whole poem, in its entirety to you, between the functions of the Horse sacrifice”. “So be it”, said the king.

For many days, Ram and his brothers as well as the collection of sages, kings and monkeys heard the whole story of Ram. All were enthralled by the recital. By the end of it, Ram realised that these boys were his own sons, the children of Sita. All the pent-up emotions which he had bottled up for so many years, now surged forward and his heart was choked with loved for his wife, whom he had abandoned so cruelly twelve years ago. He could no longer suppress his feelings. The day that he banished her, he had enshrined her in his heart and thrown away the key. But these young boys, who looked like him, and smiled like her, had broken open the door of his heart and let loose the floodgates of emotion, which threatened to overwhelm him with their intensity. Their smiles brought to his mind only too vividly Sita’s charming face. The desire to see her again was too strong to be subdued. Surely the fates would not deny him this final bid for happiness. He sent messengers to the hut of the sage with this request.

“Go immediately to the sage Valmiki and request him to bring the mother of these boys to me, for I feel very sure that she is none other than my wife, Sita. If he thinks that she is indeed blameless and that her character is without blemish, ask him to let her come and prove her innocence tomorrow, before this august assembly. Tomorrow at dawn, the princess of Videha is welcome to come and display her virtue”.

The next day everybody from all over the realm as well as the guests who had been invited for the sacrifice, assembled in the Naimisha forest to watch the final scene, in the dRam of the lives of their king and queen. Into that motionless crowd of expectant citizens, Valmiki arrived with Sita. Her head was bent to the ground, her palms were folded together in devotion, her eyes were filled with tears, and her heart with Ram. At the sight of her, dressed in the clothes of an anchorite, looking so divinely beautiful, yet so sad, the fickle crowd set up a spontaneous cheer of welcome. They, who had been so eager to send her away, now appeared equally eager to take her back.

Valmiki led her to Ram and said, “Son of Dasaratha, here is your wife, the ever chaste Sita. Fire itself cools at her approach, for she is purer than Agni. Twelve years ago, you abandoned her in front of my ashram through fear of public censure. But I tell you truly, she is as chaste as Anasuya, the wife of Atri. If Sita is tainted, then let my austerities be in vain. Though you loved her and knew her to be innocent, you repudiated her, to satisfy your subjects. Now at your insistence, she is here to prove her innocence for the second time”.

“So be it”, said Ram. “With the gods as witness, Sita proved her innocence once before in Lanka and I accepted her, but still the people whispered and I was forced to send her away, to uphold my dharma as a king. I hereby acknowledge Lava and Kusha as my own sons and will accept Sita too as my wife, if she proves her innocence once more in front of the people of Ayodhya as she did long ago before the vanaras and rakshasas at Lanka”.

As he said this, Ram allowed himself the pleasure of gazing at his lovely wife once again. Bereft of jewels and adornment, dressed in bark as befitting an anchorite, with matted hair tied in a knot on top of her head, stood his queen—the queen of Ayodhya and the queen of his heart. His heart smote him as he looked at her. Involuntarily he stretched out his hands towards her. Without thinking, she put her delicate, pink tipped palms into his. Despite her lack of adornment, she was still incredibly lovely and he could not tear his eyes away from her. Sita gazed back at him and as their hands and eyes locked in a mutual embrace, they felt as if they were drowning in the ocean of love which was mirrored in their eyes. They held infinity in their hands and eternity in their eyes. A ring of interested spectators had formed round them but Sita and Ram stood alone within the circle, gazing at each other as if they could not bear to look apart. For twelve long years they had been starved of this pleasure. Time stopped and they
beheld heaven in their eyes, and their whole life passed like a dream in front of their interlocked gaze and still they could not bear to look away.

At last Sita broke the silence and whispered, “My Lord, do I have your permission to make a public avowal of my purity”?

Ram nodded. Wearing the ochre robes of the ascetics, yet looking as beautiful as a bride, Sita, the daughter of the earth, stepped into the centre of the circle and with folded palms she bowed before her mother earth and said, “0 Madhavi! Goddess of the earth, beloved mother! If
you know that I have never loved any man but Ram and never thought of any man, other than my husband, even for a moment, then please open your arms wide and accept your daughter, for I can no longer bear to live in this vale of tears. Grief alone has been my lot in life and now I long for the comfort of your arms. 0 mother! Take me to your bosom, as you brought me once, out of your womb, to the field of my father, Janaka”.

Hardly had she finished speaking when the earth split open with
a shudder and out of the chasm there arose a beautiful, flower-throne on which was seated the goddess of the earth in all her bounty covered with flowers and carrying the nine types of grains in sheaves, in her hands.

She opened her arms wide and Sita ran into them and was made to sit beside her on the throne of flowers. In front of the astonished gaze of the spellbound audience, the earth gaped open once more and the throne carrying Sita and her mother slowly descended into the bowels of the earth as the gods rained flowers from above. As the gap closed over their heads, the earth shuddered and the wind moaned and the crowd came out of their mesmerised state and a great sigh broke from every mouth.

As she disappeared from sight, Ram woke up from the grip of terror which was holding him and started to weep uncontrollably. He ran to the spot where she had disappeared and called to her piteously.

Holding a staff, picked from the sacrificial ground, he leant on it
as if his body was too weak to stand alone and bending his head over it, he cried out loud, “0 Janaki! 0 Vaidehi! 0 Sita! My beloved wife! Why have you deserted me, just when I thought I could have you back?

Once you were taken away by the wicked Ravana but I brought you back and then I was forced to send you away again. At that time, I
was able to bear the parting only because I knew that you were alive and being looked after somewhere, but now, I cannot bear to live, when I know I cannot see you any more. I fear I am being punished for my cruel act in having banished you”.

Then, in anger, he smote the earth with the staff and said, “0 goddess of the earth, return my beloved to me, at once. I have suffered enough. I cannot live without her. Or else, open your arms once again and accept me also. I would rather live with her in the nether world, than here as a king. Remember I am your son-in-law and have pity on me. You know my valour. If you refuse my reasonable request, I will destroy
you, burn your forests and crush your mountains and reduce everything to liquid”.

All the worlds trembled with fear at the agony in Ram’s voice which had changed to anger. No one dared to approach him. At last Brahma, the creator came to him and said, “Ram! Remember who you are. Let me remind you of your divinity. Immaculate Sita will be reunited with you in heaven for she is none other than your consort, Lakshmi. Do not grieve but take delight m your children and listen to the rest of the tale of your life which they will recite at dawn tomorrow. It is an exquisitely beautiful poem of a life which was ruled by dharma alone. You should be the first to hear it, for it is about you. 0 Ram! You are undoubtedly the foremost of all rishis. With these words, Brahma vanished.

Ram led his two sons and went to the hut of the sage Valmiki and spent the night there, grieving for Sita. The whole night he kept murmuring, “Why did you leave me? Why did you leave me. Don’t you know that I cannot live without you? I know you must have felt the same when I deserted you and that is why I have to suffer the pangs of separation now. But at least then, I had the satisfaction of knowing that you were alive and I could see you any time I wished, but now
you have left me to go to the bosom of your mother and my life is a barren desert. 0 Sita! 0 Sita! Will you not return to me”?

The boys too were plunged in sorrow at the loss of their mother and Valmiki had the unhappy task of comforting all three of them.

It is only to be expected that a poem which began with the bereavement of the female bird should end with the bereavement of the human couple. At that time when he had watched the male bird being shot down by the cruel arrow, Valmiki had felt as if he had been pierced by the same fatal arrow. How much more did he feel it now, when he saw the tortured king bemoaning his loss over and over again, throughout the long and lonely hours of the endless night?

The next day, in front of the assembled crowd, Ram asked the children to chant the last portion of the epic. He then distributed wealth to all those assembled there, the kings, the Brahmins, the citizens, the tree-dwellers, the cave-dwellers and the rakshasas. The yaga was over, the people had dispersed and the jungle once more crept over the space which had been cleared for the function.

Ram returned to Ayodhya and spent the rest of his life, a lonely ascetic. Without Sita, life had no meaning for him. He never married again but kept the golden effigy of his lovely wife beside him and performed ten thousand aswamedha yagas in order to please his Guru and the people. His rule was noted for its exemplary nature. There were was no diseases amongst the people and no one died prematurely, the kingdom prospered and thrived and the citizens rejoiced. Ram and Sita had paid for this glory with their unceasing tears. They suffered, so that the rest of the country could rejoice, blossom, and flourish. Never once did the citizens think that the price of their prosperity, was the sacrifice of their queen—their land was watered with her tears, their happiness bought with her sorrow. She was the sacrificial offering, tied to the stake of their malice, banished to the forest of their poisonous tongues and eventually swallowed in the chasm of their doubt! They rejoiced and sported with their wives, while their king retired to his lonely chamber every night, with only his memories for company.

Ram carried on his duties for the rest of his life with his usual charm and adherence to dharma and showed a pleasant and happy face to all. Lakshman alone knew that this was just a facade and inside he was burning with regret at what he had done to his queen and waiting for the day when he could join her in their celestial abode.

Thus many years flew by and Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi passed
away. At last one day, Kala, the Time spirit, came to the palace of
Ayodhya, in the guise of an old Brahmin. Ram was waiting for him. He had been waiting for thousands of years. Lakshman brought him in and Ram placed him on a golden seat and asked him what he wanted.

He replied, “If you want to honour me and the gods, then promise me that our meeting shall be private. Anyone who dares to interrupt us should be put to instant death”.

“So be it”, said Ram. “I’ll tell Lakshman to guard the door and no one will interrupt us”. He asked Lakshman to dismiss the doorkeeper and take up his position, for anyone who dared to enter would be put to death. Then he turned to the ascetic and asked him to freely
say whatever he wished to say, without fear of interruption.

“Listen 0 king”! said the spirit of Time. “I have been sent by Brahma to recall you to your heavenly abode. Your time on this earth is over. You have accomplished all that you have set out to do. You are Vishnu! The Eternal, the Immutable – the all pervading, protector of the universe. Your stay among the mortals is over. It is time for you to return”.

Ram smiled and said, “I am honoured by your visit and happy with your message. I will do as you say”.

As they were thus talking, the rishi called Durvasa, who was known for his bad temper, came to the door and asked Lakshman to allow him to enter. Lakshman politely barred the way and said that no one could enter. Hearing this, the sage lost his temper and shouted, “Announce my presence immediately or else I shall curse you and your brothers and your whole race, as well as the land of Kosala, so that nothing and no one remains to tell the tale”!

Lakshman thought for a moment and decided that it was far better for him to give up his life, rather than make the whole country and his brothers, suffer. He went inside and announced the arrival of the sage to Ram. Ram took leave of the ascetic and hurried outside to meet Durvasa and asked him how he could be of service to him. Durvasa said that he had just ended a thousand-year fast and wanted to be fed immediately. Ram plied him with all the choicest delicacies of the realm. Durvasa was immensely pleased and showered his blessings on the land, instead of his curses and went back to his ashRam. With the greatest of sorrow, Ram remembered the promise he had made to Kala and going inside with bowed head, he stood lost in thought. Was this the
last sacrifice? Was he being asked to sacrifice his dear brother, his alter
ego, at the altar of dharma?

Lakshman knew what was passing through his mind and said cheerfully, “Brother do not hesitate. Kill me this minute. I am prepared for it. I thought it better for me to die, rather than the whole country be cursed by the sage, as he threatened to do. If you wish to abide by dharma, then kill me, 0 king! One who does not keep his word will go to hell. In order to keep our father’s word, you were prepared to forego a kingdom. What am I, compared to that”!

Ram spoke not a word but summoned his priests and ministers and asked them what he should do, for he had promised the ascetic that anyone who interrupted them, would be executed, not knowing that this would be his final test. The priests and ministers were silent, knowing the agony which was passing through the king’s mind. At last Vasishta spoke. “If a king does not keep to his word, dharma will be corrupted and the morals of the country will decline. But banishment can be given in lieu of death, so it is your duty to banish Lakshman”.

Lakshman stood with his head thrown back, his eyes gazing fearlessly into Ram’s. Ram looked into those beloved eyes which had always regarded him with such love, looked at that beloved form, which he had known since childhood and which had followed him faithfully like a shadow which can never be parted. He knew that one need not die when parted from a shadow but what about the shadow? Would it not come to an end, when parted from the body? Pain flowed out of his eyes while love flowed from Lakshman’s eyes.

“It does not matter brother”, he whispered. “Command me to leave, as sternly as you once ordered me to leave Sita in the forest”.

Ram was in anguish. Over and over again he murmured, “Everything passes. Everything perishes. Nothing will remain. Time is all powerful. Everything will be swept away in the powerful river of time. I have to abide by my promise. I have to be true to the only thing to which I have clung all my life – dharma, the cosmic law of righteousness. I have been tested time and time again and I have not failed. Let me not fail now”.

He was facing Lakshman but could not look into his eyes. Instead he fixed his gaze at a spot just above his head and said in an expressionless
voice, drained of all emotion, “In honour of truth, in honour of dharma, in honour of the law, which I have always upheld, I banish you, 0 Lakshman, forever. You shall never return to this land of Kosala again, on fear of death”!

Lakshman looked lovingly at his brother whom he had obeyed implicitly all his life and said, “My dearest brother. Do not grieve. I have loved you all my life and obeyed you without a murmur. It shall be as you wish. Farewell! And once again, fare Thee well. We will never meet again in this life. Perhaps we will meet in heaven”.

So saying, he went thrice round Ram and prostrated to him and went without a backward glance to the banks of the swiftly flowing river, Sarayu. The thought of a life apart from Ram was unthinkable. Death was preferable to such a life. He did not even consider it. Going to the Sarayu river he sat in yogic contemplation on the banks. He gathered in his vital breaths and withdrew into his atman, and merged himself into the Brahman – the cosmic whole. Thus he sat in deep samadhL Indra, the king of gods sent his chariot and took Lakshman, the fourth part of Vishnu, to heaven where he merged into That essence.

Back in Ayodhya, Ram knew that Lakshman would never be able to live without him and he himself no longer cared to carry on a life which had ceased to have any meaning for him. Firm in his vows of dharmic discipline, he had been forced to part, one by one, from all those whom he held most dear. He had always known that life was only a dream, a dRam in which he had been called upon to play a part. He had come to the end of his lines. The curtain was going up for the final scene and he had already been given his cue to depart. He called his priests and ministers and announced his decision to them.

“I hereby appoint Bharata, as Lord of Ayodhya. The southern portion of this fair land of Kosala will be given to Kusha and the northern to Lava. I myself shall follow Lakshman”.

Bharata and Shatrugna refused to live without Ram and decided to follow him. Many of the citizens for whose sake he had sacrificed his all, decided that they could not live in a land without their beloved king. Hearing of his terrible decision, the monkeys and the bears and Vibhishana from across the sea, arrived and begged to accompany him.

Ram said to Vibhishana, “0 Lord of rakshasas. Stay on in Lanka,
for that is your duty. Rule with dharma as your guide. So long as ] am remembered on earth, so long will your kingdom endure”.

Then turning to Hanuman he said, “Live long, 0 noble Hanuman. Wherever my story is told, wherever the name of Ram is mentioned, you, will be there to hear it. This story will be told as long as the sun and the moon shine, as long as people remain on this earth and as long as you are there to hear it”!

Then turning to the bear, Jambavan, he said, “0 wise one! You shall live till my advent as Krishna, scion of the race of Yadu. Until then you shall suffer no defeat. When you meet one who is able to defeat you, then you will know that I have returned”.

To the others he said, “If you so wish, you may all follow me. This very day will you enter heaven along with me”.

All the people of Ayodhya followed Ram with love and devotion. Even the animals followed him, the cows and goats and elephants, not to mention the monkeys and bears. The very stones on the streets of Ayodhya wept, for they could not follow him and the trees bent low and brushed his head while he passed. Every creature which could walk or roll or dance or totter, followed him. Sumantra was waiting at the banks of the river with the four red horses which he had freed from the chariot. Guha, the hunter king was also there. The whole pan came to the pellucid waters of the river Sarayu, which circled the land of Kosala like a silver girdle. Ram walked into the icy cold water accompanied by all the rest. The waters closed over their heads lit a benediction. The heavens opened and the celestials rained flower Brahma spoke, “0 gracious Vishnu. Be pleased to return to your celestial abode. Thou art the Soul of All – indestructible, immutable an eternal. Be pleased to give up this form of maya and resume your swaroopa”.

Out of the waters rose the incredibly beautiful form of Lord Vishnu holding the discus, conch, mace and play lotus in His hands. All the others who had decided to join Him also came out of the water endowed with celestial forms and all rose up to the heavens as the music of the spheres floated down in the velvet darkness.

With the ascension of Ram to his heavenly abode, the twenty-four thousand verses were complete. Back in the deserted city of Ayodhya, Lav and Kush sang the final verses of the song, to an unseen audience, the song known as ‘Ramyana, the way of Ram, the first poem ever to be composed by the adi kavi, Valmiki.

Thus end the second canto called “Dharma Trimphs” of the Uttara Kanda in the glorious Ramyan of the Sage Valmiki.

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