Friday, July 2, 2010

PDE Ramayana: Sita and Ravana


Reading Guide. As Hanuman watches, hidden up in a tree, he sees Ravana trying to persuade Sita to reject Rama and take Ravana as her new husband.

Image: You can see Ravana speaking to Sita in the Ashoka grove; if you look closely, you will see that in addition to his human heads, he has a donkey head — an expression of his foolish stubbornness.

SourceMyths of the Hindus and Buddhists by Sister Nivedita (1914). [300 words]



Ashoka Grove | 53. Sita and Ravana | Hanuman and Sita


Hanuman saw a marble palace, with stairs of coral and floors of shining gold, and there lay one imprisoned, weak and thin as if with fasting, sighing for heavy grief, clad in soiled robes, and guarded by horrid rakshasis, like a deer among the dogs or a shining flame obscured by smoke. Then Hanuman considered that this must be Sita, for she was fair and spotless, like a moon overcast by clouds, and she wore such jewels as Rama had described to him. Hanuman shed tears of joy and thought of Rama and Lakshmana.

But now, while he yet sat hidden on the tree, Ravana had waked, and that lordly rakshasa came with a great train of women to the Ashoka wood. They followed their heroic husband like lightnings following a cloud, and Hanuman heard the sound of their tinkling anklets as they passed across the golden pavements.

Ravana came toward Sita, and when she saw him she trembled like a plantain-tree shaken by the wind, and hid her face and sobbed. Then he wooed her in every way, tempting her with wealth and power and comfort, but she refused him utterly, and foretold his death at Rama's hands.

But Ravana waxed wood-wrath and gave a two-month term, after which, if she yielded not, she should be tortured and slain, and leaving her to the horrid rakshasi guards with orders to break her will, Ravana returned with his wives to his apartment. Then Sita, shrinking from the horrible she-demons, threatening her with death and torture, and reviling Rama, crept to the foot of the Ashoka tree where Hanuman was hidden.


Ashoka Grove | Sita and Ravana | Hanuman and Sita



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