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Ramayana, the Poisonous Tree

man with garlands of flowers and that man went 490 into the sky. While Rama was relieving even worms and insects from the curses and ruling dogs, foxes, crows and eagles with mercy and justice, one day an aged Brahmin from a village came to Rama grieving. O king! My son died prematurely. I have never spoken lies. Not done any sin. Why have I got this punishment? What is this tragedy in Ramas kingdom? O king! Owing to a kings fault people meet with untimely death. I face this grief due to your negligence, he blamed Rama. (We do not know who this gentleman is, he is a very bold man!) Rama was upset by the accusation of the Brahmin. Is a Brahmin boy dead in my kingdom? Sage Vasista! Cant you think about the reason?, he looked at all Brahmins curiously. Vasista, Vasudeva, Jabali, Gautama, Narada and all other Brahmins held moral discussions. Finally, Narada said the actual and great reason. O king! In the past only Brahmins used to do penance. Then Justice walked on its four feet. Later, Kshatriyas also began to do penance. Then some amount of injustice entered. Now in your kingdom a terrible unjust activity is going on. A sudra by name Sambuka is doing penance. As a result of it there was this untimely death in your kingdom! What? Is a Sudra doing penance in Ramas kingdom? Rama rose up furiously. O king! Owing to the fault of the king this 491 tragedy has occurred.

The owl and the eagle quarrelled and came to Sri Rama Chandra for justice. Sri Rama called Pushpaka and went to that nest in the forest. (The Airplane is readily available at hand! It comes as soon it is called!) When did you build this nest? Rama asked the eagle. This nest is mine since the emergence of human beings on the earth. The nest is mine since the emergence of trees on this earth. Rama asked the ministers to think about whose was justice. ( Is Rama minister s to think? ) The ministers praised Rama. Rama began. All right! I will tell you something from the Puranas. ( Does ruling the kingdom mean telling Puranic stories?) In the past all the worlds were one and the same. Then, the goddess of earth entered the womb of Vishnu. Then Vishnu slept in the sea for a very long time. Then Brahma was born from the navel of Vishnu. Then Brahma created the earth. Later he created trees on the earth. The owl is saying that the nest belongs to it since the emergence of trees. Therefore, the nest belongs to the owl and not the eagle. So, we have to punish the eagle. Rama concluded. Immediately, Akasavani (voice of the sky) said to Rama, This eagle took this birth due to a curse. Relieve him of the curse! Rama touched the eagle. The eagle at once changed into a divine

491. Uttara kanda, sarga 86, slokas 15; sarga 87, sloka 4: The old Brahmin said, Owing to the

490. It seems there are only dogs, foxes, eagles and cats in Ramas kingdom. Human beings and their problems do not strike the poet.

offences of the kings, people become victims of injustice and met untimely death! Is this premature death to all? Or only to Brahmins? Among the Brahmins whom Rama called for discussing justice, Narada was also present. There was an argument that Narada was not a Brahmin but a Devamuni. It was Narada, who suggested the death penalty, and Brahmins had nothing to do with it. However, the poet had clearly mentioned Narada as a Brahmin. When asked to tell the reason for the death of a Brahmin boy, all the moralists debated and said, A Sudra is doing penance.

The Beauty of Rama Rajya!

Will Sri Rama who has studied all scriptures and morals commit a fault?.... It is not the fault of the king. He is alive because the life span of that wicked fellow is not over. Said Rama and started immediately, searching in all directions. In the South, on a big hill, on the bank of a beautiful lake, in front of a small cottage, under the shadow of a tree, sage Sambuka sat in meditation. Rama who goes into ecstasy with fear and respect as soon as he sees sages got uncontrollable anger when he saw that Sudra sage sitting quietly on the sacred grass. O old man! Stop meditation! The head of Kosala, Sri Rama Chandra is commanding you. Who are you? Submit all your details. Rama asked with a roar. Sambuka calmly opened his eyes and expressed happiness in his skeleton like face. Welcome king! You have kindly visited my cottage. You have made me happy.. Relax on this seat. Accept my hospitality., he invited the king very softly. Old man! Do not talk unnecessarily. You are going to receive my hospitality. What is your name? Sambuka, my lord! With what wish are you doing this penance? Heaven? Salvation? The Sanatan sages are my guides. With whatever wish they did penance, I too. Some do it for gaining heaven, some for salvation, some for riches and wealth, some. I do not desire riches in this world. I am doing penance for the sake of divinity. Are you a Brahmin? Kshatriya? What is your caste? Tell me the truth. I have never known falsehood. I am a Sudra, O king! Penance for a Sudra? Base fellow! Do you expect equality with Brahmins and Kshatriyas? I believe that all human beings are equal in worshipping the god Are you so independent? Are human beings equal before god? Never. Among human


beings, Sudras are the lowest. They are base people who ought to live by serving the upper Varnas (castes). If all Sudras defy the oldest tradition and expect a life of penance, who will serve the upper castes? If all the Sudras attain this otherworldly knowledge, what will they have to do with worldly duties? Who are Brahmins? Who are Sudras? Fool! All your attempts will go waste. All scriptures declare loudly that there is no place for a Sudra in the worlds. What is the sin of the Sudras, my lord? To be born a Sudra! I cannot agree Why? Not agreeing with the scriptures and not accepting them without any doubt, do you dare to argue and question them? O king! Will a Sudra himself accept without question the scriptures that debase, insult and harm a Sudra? Dont argue, you fool! Dont you know that a Sudra is not qualified to do penance? Your vile acts harm the world! O king! Owing to me who live meditating by myself in this corner of this dense forest how will the worlds be harmed? Sambuka smiled. Sri Rama became furious. As a result of your sin, the Brahmin boy has died. If this vile act continues, where is the protection for the high castes in Ramas kingdom? Today you are alone. Tomorrow, will you not become a guide to all Sudras? Will the disciples who believe you not propagate your beliefs? Should such undesirable things happen in Ramas kingdom? Dont you know that Sri Rama will protect the caste system by expending all his energies? Sudra! You dare to defy god defy the king defy scriptures finally your defiance of your own life. your daring is unpardonable. Face the punishment for your offence saying so, Sri Rama Chandra, who was born to establish a just rule, took out the sword fiercely and cut off the head of Sambuka with one stroke.


Ramayana, the Poisonous Tree

shut my ears. So far, I was upset how this terrible thing could happen in Ramas kingdom. Now, you have opened your eyes, undertook the act of justice and come to my hermitage. My hermitage is blessed with your arrival. A king like you alone is the saviour of the world. The king himself is the ruler of Dharma. The king is born with an element of god. Rama! If people see you for a moment, they get rid of all sins. They attain holy worlds. Those who view you from a negative perspective will face blows from Yamas staff. If they memorise your name, it is enough and they attain salvation. You alone are the refuge for all the worlds! Praising Rama with a thousand voices, Agastya extended hospitality. Hearing the eulogy of sages that his act was

That old trunk fell down and the Sudra blood filled the earth. Ramas kingdom was purified! 492 Lives of the Brahmins were fulfilled.

Completing the act of justice Rama went to the nearby hermitage of Agastya. Agastya praised Rama with extreme joy. Rama! A while ago, I heard that you defended dharma (Justice) by killing the Sudra sage. I am very happy. Meanwhile, you have arrived. The daring of that Sudra has exceeded all limits. Fool. He invited harm to his life. He says, it is not necessary to observe principles of caste. My disciples used to carry all the prattling of those Sudra disciples. Unable to hear them, I used to

492. Uttara kanda, sarga 88, slokas 16 to 19; sarga 89, slokas up to 6: Rama is asking Sambuka. O Old performer of penances! In which vagina (yoonyaam) were you born?... I am Rama, son of Dasaratha. What do you desire? Heaven? Then what else?.... If you are a Brahmin, you will benefit. Are you a Kshatriya? Vysya? Sudra? Speak the truth Sambukas reply: Sri Rama! I was born from a Sudras vagina. I desire heaven along with the body. I will not speak lies. Know that I am a Sudra! While that Sudra was speaking so, Raghava (Rama) took out a dazzling sword from his sheath and chopped off the head of that Sudra. Then all gods praised Rama. Drums were beaten. A rain of flowers showered on him. In Valmikis Ramayana, Rama did not argue with Sambuka. As soon as he heard the word Sudra, he chopped off Sambukas head and protected Dharma (justice). The fact that Sambuka was a Sudra and being aware of the rule that one should not violate rules of the caste system in Ramas kingdom -- undertook an activity for which only Brahmin and Kshatriyas alone are qualified implies that he undertook it with a view to defy the rules of caste system. Without fearing the punishment of the king, Sambuka demanded a right, which his caste did not have. As soon as Rama slayed Sambuka, the gods praised Rama, (Uttara kanda, sarga 89, sloka 8): Raghunandana! Because of you, this Sudra will not attain heaven. (This means, this Sudra was trying to go to heaven by doing penance. Now because of you the danger of this fellow going to heaven is averted. Therefore, the poet has concluded that it is an utter lie that those who die saying the words of Rama will go to heaven!) Gods praised Rama and asked him, Take whatever boon you want. (For killing a Sudra!) Make the Brahmin boy alive. I gave the word to make him alive, said Rama. As Sambukas head was chopped off, the boy got up at once. He was happy. Later the gods talked among themselves, Sage Agastya got up after having stayed on the bed of water. Let us see him and they left. (Agastya had lain down in water for twelve years, they say! Yes, one must see such a person how rotten, how mossy and how infested he is with itch!)

The Beauty of Rama Rajya!

justified, Rama felt more joy. Next day, while Rama was leaving, Agastya said, You need not have any fear in this area. Go carefully. Go without fear. Agastya gave courage to the ruler of the world and saw him 493 off.


Once some sages came to Rama and requested him. Rama! We have heard that you killed Ravanasura and we felt very happy about that. Now we have trouble due to Lavanasura. He was born to Kumbhinasi and Madhuvu. A most cruel fellow! You alone have to rescue us from his menace. Looking at his brothers, Rama asked, Who

will kill Lavanasura? Satrughna said he would go. ( Now Satrughna is needed!) Rama felt happy and at once got Satrughna crowned so that Lavanasuras kingdom could belong to Satrughna. Satrughna started off for a battle with a huge army. On his way, he stopped at Valmikis hermitage. At the same night, Sita gave birth to twins. Both were sons. To prevent evil influences on the children, Valmiki tied some threads and named them Kusa and Lava. He did all that ritual with the names of Ramas gotra (lineage). Satrughna heard every thing.

493. Uttara kanda, 6 sargas, from 89 to 94: By the time Rama reached, Agastya got up from his twelve-year sleep in water. Agastya was about to give Rama an ornament. Rama said, The king ought to give ornaments to others, he ought not to receive them. Agastya said, In the past people did not have the king in Krita yuga. (This relates to a period in which there was no ruler in human society). People asked Brahma for a king. Taking some element each from all the gods, he created the king. Since the king was born with the element of god, you can take this. How did you get this? asked Rama. Agastya narrated the story of Sveta. Sveta was a king. He did penance and went to Brahmas world. Even there, he felt hungry. People dont feel hungry in Brahmas world. Why I am feeling hungry here? he asked Brahma. (Sveta! It means it is not Brahmas world. It is a world where we feel very hungry!) Brahma said, As long as you have performed penance, you did not work hard, you did not sow any seed, you did not give even a fistful of alms to the beggar and you did penance protecting your body well. That is why you have this pain for hunger. Live, eating your own corpse. After some time, Agastya will elevate you! Since then, Sveta used to come from the sky in an airplane, eat his dead body in the lake completely and leave. The dead body used to be ready again for the next day. After this had happened for some time, Agastya came to this forest. Sveta asked Agastya to remove his pain for hunger. Agastya gave an ornament. As soon as he took that ornament, Sveta got rid of his hunger. This is that ornament. (Agastya himself says, Agastya came, Agastya gave!) Later, he narrated another story. Danda was a king. His priest was Sukracharya. Once Danda saw Araja, the eldest daughter of Sukra, desired her sexually and asked her. Arasa told him to ask her father. Without heeding her advice, he molested her. Sukra heard about it and cursed him, Dust and rain will become one and Dandas kingdom should be destroyed. All people left Dandas kingdom. Sukra scolded his daughter and left leaving his daughter in the hermitage itself. Later, dust and rain fell and Dandas kingdom became Dandakaranya.
Rama heard these stories and left for Ayodhya.