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Aranya Kanda, Chapter 7

Hermitage of Sage Suteekshna

Rama, the enemy-scorcher, has gone towards the threshold of the hermitage of Sage Suteekshna along with his brother Lakshmana and Sita, also along with those Brahmans who accompanied him all the way.

He travelling on a long way, and on crossing rivers with plenty of waters has seen a tranquil mountain towering like great Mt. Meru.

Then those best ones from Ikshvaku dynasty, those two Raghava-s along with Sita have entered the forest which will always be full with diverse trees.

Entering that perilous forest with its many a flower and fruit bearing trees, they have seen the hermitage in a reclusive place adorned with rows of jute cloths as though garlanding it.

There on seeing the ascetically rich Sage Suteekshna sitting in yogic posture with his body bearing lotus-like blotches of soil, Rama dutifully spoke to him.

"Oh! godly sage I am Rama, I have come to see you, hence oh, knower of virtue, oh, great sage, oh, one with truthfulness as your courage, please talk to me..."

Then that sage having seen that brave and best proponent of virtue, Rama, embraced him with both of his hands, and spoke this sentence.

"Welcome to you Rama, best of Raghu dynasty and the best patron of truth, and when you presently caught this hermitage unprepared this has become a well-lorded one...

"I am awaiting for you only, oh, greatly renowned one, without my ascent to heavens by casting off this body on the earth's plane, oh, brave one, for I have heard that you have arrived at Chitrakuta after you are repudiated from your kingdom...

"The king of gods and the chief invitee in hundred sacrifices Indra approached me, and that great deity said me that I have conquered all the worlds by my meritorious deeds...

"Let me bequeath those worlds that are cherished by gods and sages alike, but which are won over by me by my ascesis, and you enjoy in them with your wife and with your brother Lakshmana...

That self-respecting Rama replied the radiant sage with intense asceticism, a great soul and an advocate of truth by himself, as Indra would reply to Brahma.

"I alone can gain all those worlds, oh, great saint, I now seek a place to dwell here in this forest as indicated by you...

"You are an expert in all affairs, and you are interested in the welfare of all the beings, so said the great souled Sage Sharabhanga of Sage Gautama's dynasty..."

When said thus by Rama, that great sage with world renown spoke sweet worded sentence with great pleasure.

"You can take delight in this good featured hermitage alone, for groups of sages will always be moving here, and this always contains tubers and fruits..." Thus said Sage Suteekshna.

"But herds of very large animals will be coming to this hermitage, they return after scaring us, of course without killing anyone, and they fear none...

"Know that no other problem is there other than the animals..." So said the sage. On hearing those words of that great sage, that brave elder brother of Lakshmana taking bow and arrow said this sentence.

"I will eradicate them, oh, greatly blessed one, those animals that will come collectively in herds with sharp edged, curve-end arrows...

"But you may be more interested in those animals mercifully, then what will be there more painful to you, hence I deem our staying in this hermitage for along will be unbefitting..." So said Rama.

On saying thus to the sage then Rama came by the twilight, and he paused at it. On worshipping the westward vesperal time, Rama arranged a stay for himself along with Sita and Lakshmana, there in that delightful hermitage of Sage Suteekshna.

Then the great soul Sage Suteekshna on completing his evening rituals and on observing the fall of night he himself courteously served food that is auspicious and worthy of sages to two of the best men, Rama and Lakshmana.