Aryanya Kand 3 - The Golden Deer and the Abduction of Sita
Ravana mocked Maricha, saying Rama was a human and that he was not scared of him. He again asked Maricha to entice Sita by becoming a golden deer and lure away Rama and Lakshmana. Ravana promised half his kingdom to Maricha if he agreed. Maricha criticised Ravana and told him that he would be destroyed with his family if he tried to touch Sita.
Since Maricha was scared of Ravana, he had no option but to accept the unpleasant job. Maricha then used his powers to turn into a golden deer. He pranced around near Sita, who saw him. She summoned Rama and Lakshmana to show them the deer. Lakshmana immediately said the deer seemed to be created from Maya and was the rakshasa Maricha.
Sita ignored Lakshmana’s words and requested Rama to capture the deer alive or atleast get its golden hide. Rama then told Lakshmana then he would get the deer and come back. He assured his brother that even if the deer was Maricha, he would kill him. He reminded them that Jatayu was circling overhead for their protection.
Maricha, in the form of the deer, led Rama to a chase for a long distance. But Rama’s arrow struck Maricha, and he collapsed. Before dying, he shouted for Sita and Lakshmana in Rama’s voice. Rama then saw Maricha’s body and was worried why the rakshasa had shouted in his voice.
Sita had heard Maricha’s cry and assumed the worst. She told Lakshmana to go and help Rama immediately. Lakshmana assured Sita that no one could harm Rama and that he would not leave her alone and go to the forest. An angry Sita then accused Lakshmana of being in love with her, which is why he refused to go to help Rama.
Lakshmana was deeply hurt by Sita’s accusation. He told her that he would not reply to her charge, but would go immediately in search of Rama. Sita wept bitterly, saying she could not live without Rama. She told Lakshmana that she would kill herself if anything happened to Rama. Bowing to Sita, Lakshmana took his bow and left in search of Rama.
The moment Lakshmana left, Ravana, who was watching all this entered the hermitage in the guise of an ascetic. Seeing Sita, Ravana was smitten and praised her beauty. He told her that the place was dangerous, with rakshasas everywhere. Seeing the ascetic in front of her, Sita welcomed him and offered him hospitality.
Seeing her at close range, Ravana decided to abduct her. Meanwhile, Sita told the ascetic who she was and how she was staying with her husband and his brother in the forest. Ravana then revealed his true form. He told her to come with him and be his chief queen in his palace in Lanka.
Sita was furious and told him he was like a jackal desiring a lioness. Grabbing Sita’s hair with his left hand, he held her thighs with his right hand and took her away. Ravana placed her in his flying vimana and proceeded to leave. Sita cried out for Rama and Lakshmana in anguish. She then cried out to Jatayu, requesting the bird to tell Rama all that had occurred.
Jatayu who was asleep got up and attacked Ravana. Even though Jatayu was severely hurt by Ravana’s arrows, he fought valiantly to save Sita. Jatayu killed Ravana’s charioteer, broke his bow, and made Ravana fall. Jatayu then attacked Ravana with his claws and beak. Using his sword, Ravana chopped off Jatayu’s wings and feet. The bird then collapsed on the ground. Sita ran to Jatayu weeping and tried to help the eagle. Ravana grabbed her again and placing her in his chariot, flew away to Lanka. Sita’s ornaments fell to the ground from the air. Seeing her being taken away, the sages of the forest lamented loudly.
….. to be continueds