Aranya Kanda, Chapter 16
Lakshmana's description of Vasanta - the Flowering Season
Pleasant hemantha R^itu , pre-winter season has set in after the passage of sharat R^itu, post-rainy season at Panchavati where the noble souled Rama is staying comfortably.
On some day when night faded into dawn Rama started for the delightful River Godavari for a bath.
His valorous brother Saumitri following him humbly with a handy vessel, along with Sita, spoke this to Rama.
"Adorned by which season the promising year will be bright, oh, pleasant conversationalist, and which season will also be pleasant to you, that hemanta season has set in.
"These days the dew is harsh to the bodies of people, earth is overlaid with crops, water is unenjoyable, but fire is delightful.
"On appeasing manes with worships during northern solstice and even on performing solstitial rituals in time, the righteous people are becoming free from evils.
"Amply fulfilled are the desires of the villagers with the affluence of milch cows and dairy, and the vanquishing kings are make moves for the purposes of their further vanquishes.
"While the sun is steadfastly attending the direction of Time-god Yama, namely southern horizon, the northern direction is not brilliant like a woman who lost the vermilion mark on her forehead.
"By their very nature Himalayas are the depositories of snow, and presently distanced from the sun they are very obviously snowy true to their name.
"By the way of touch the mid days are comfortable and in these days the daytime is very much comfortable for sauntering, thus the sun in daytimes is genial and ungenial are the shades and waters.
"Overwhelmed by snow presently the noontimes are with soft sun, with bitter cold, with mists and wintry breezes, and with them the forests too are bleak in their sheen.
"Precluded is the reclining under open sky as the nights are led by the Pushya constellation, they will now be with brownish-grey fog and chilly, and prolonged are the lengths of nights whereby the three watches of night will be quickly slipping away.
"Transgressed is the destiny of moon by the sun as moon lost the chance of keeping people happy with his lustrousness in these days, thus the lustreless moon remained in a blushing sphere with fog, just like a mirror blinded by the fog of a suspire.
"Even on a full moon day the moonlight is unbright blemished by mist, and it is appearing like brightly Sita becoming swarthy by sun's heat, but not brightly.
"The western breeze by itself will be cool to touch, but presently charged with snow it is wafting doubly chilly in the early hours.
"Covered with the dew the forests that already covered with crop fields of barley and wheat are beaming forth, together with the callings of waterfowls, at the rise of the sun.
"The paddy crops in fields are gleaming forth with golden lustre, and their heads full with grain and a little bent down are shapely like the flowers of date-fruit.
"Though he came up long back, and though his beams are spreading around, besieged by snowy mist the sun is appearing as moon.
Inappreciable is the warmth of sun in the mornings, but comfortable for touch at noontimes, since the reddish but a little palish sunshine is radiating on earth.
"The pasturelands are a little moistened with the fall of dewdrops, but the fields of forest are enlivened by the radiance of tender sun's warmth.
"On easily touching very clear and cold water with its very broad trunk that intensely thirsty wild elephant is backing away its trunk for the water is that cold.
"These waterfowls that are sitting nearby are not entering into waters like cowards not entering battlefields.
"Subdued by snowy darkness, enclosed in misty gloom, and reft of flowers these forest ranges appear like those that are asleep.
"Now the rivers are imperceptible as their water is overspread with dewdrops, but their water-birds are perceptible only by their callings, thus making that river perceptible, and such rivers are now glistening with moist sandbanks and shores.
"Owing to the fall of snow, further owing to the softness and coldness of sun, the water deep down the wells is generally agreeable for drinking.
"Lotus lakes are left alone with stalks of lotuses as their petals are aged and withered, decrepit are the fibrils and carpels, thus impaired by cold they are ungracious in look.
"But during this time, oh, manly-tiger, ushered by anguish that virtue souled one Bharata must be practising ascesis in city with adoration to you.
"On forsaking kingdom and pride of becoming the king of Ayodhya as well, and varied and various pleasures too, he is in self-denial, and with his food regulated he sleeps on chilly surface of earth.
"Even he might always be getting up at this time of the day and proceeding to River Sarayu for a bath surrounded by ministers, definite is that.
"But how can he who is brought up in high comfort, a delicate one too, enter the cold-wet waters of River Sarayu, in these small hours.
"That lotus-petal eyed one with blue-black complexion is an imposing one with lion-like waist, being the noblest he is knower of dharma thus an advocate of truth, and thus intolerant of ignominy, and as a self-restrained one he talks dearly and sweetly, and he is dextrous and an enemy-destroyer, such as he is, that Bharata on forgoing all of his various pleasures he is devoted to you, as you alone are his adorable brother.
"Even though you are in forests far away from him, he is following you in the practise of austerities, and such a brother of yours, that great-souled Bharata has refused ascent to heaven.
" Humans do not derive father's attitude but they take of their mothers' is the well-know maxim in the world, but Bharata rendered it otherwise.
"Whose husband is Dashratha and whose son is gentle Bharata, how then can she, our mother Kaikeyi, is with this sort of cruel disposition, indeed " Thus Lakshmana spoke to Rama on their way to River Godavari.
When that upright Lakshmana is speaking those words that way out of his fondness towards Rama, Raghava spoke to Lakshmana, intolerant of that slanderous talk about their mother.
"In any way, dear Lakshmana, you are not supposed to deplore another mother of ours, but you go on telling the topics of Bharata, the king of Ikshvaku-s.
"My mind is indeed set to dwell only in forest, and it is firmly avowed, but while yearning for Bharata's fellowship my fascination to reunite with him is recurring again.
"I reminisce his words well, that are genial, sweet, heartily, ambrosial and that will gladden the heart.
"When can I really reunite, oh, Lakshmana, with great-souled Bharata, valorous Shatrughna, and with you and Sita." Thus said Rama to Lakshmana.
Thus worrying that way while proceeding, there Rama reached River Godavari and performed bathing with his younger brother Lakshmana and along with Sita.
Then on offering water oblations to manes and gods that impeccant trinity extolled the rising sun and gods likewise.
On taking bath in the river along with Sita and Lakshmana, Rama shone forth like All-controlling god Rudra, who will be radiant on taking bath along with his consort Paarvati and with his follower Nandi, the Holy Bull.
The portrayal of seasons in epics with all their delicacies is a disputed topic. Ramayana also deals much on these descriptions of seasons. Whether an epic avowed to reflect the Vedic import, as said at 1-4-6, vedopabR^ihmaNaarthaaya , and that which is pious and merited puNyam vedaischa samamatam at 1-1-98, should have accounts on seasons is the question. For this is said that relating niceties of season time and again, is in perfect accord with Veda, for the season and time are subservient to all Vedas as per the ancillary of Veda, the Astrology, veda-anga : jyotiShya . Vedas themselves say that the year is the soul of the horse of Ashvameda. uShaa vaa ashvasya medhasya shiraH | sa~Nvatsara aatmaashvasya medhasya | -- yajurveda bR^ihadaaraNyaka Hence time and season are the mind and soul of all Vedas.