अरण्य-काण्ड > सीता के मर्म से कहने पे लक्ष्मण का राम को खोजने के लिए जाना

Seetha rebukes Lakshmana for he is still here, loitering away even after listening Rama's cry for help. She goes to the extent of slandering him as having intents to woo her, at the cost of Rama's life. Lakshmana tries to pacify her but in vain, as she persists in her rash talk. Lakshmana leaves her alone and starts to reach Rama, broken-heartedly.
This is a much debated chapter in Ramayana because human complexities are involved in its narration. The sublimity of Seetha's characterisation is disputed by her speeches in here. The question is whether Seetha becomes an ideal woman in view of her tongue-lashing, or not. This is as good as asking the nature as to 'why it thunders before a storm, scaring children, birds and calves... cannot it just shower some rains and go...' If anything is not done in accordance with her wish and whim, or which goes against her peculiar way of thinking, it is usual for a shrewd woman to tongue-lash. Here, Seetha is called a woman who is bhartR^i prema antha - bhartR^i kShema arthi 'blinded by the devotement to her husband...' 'a desirer of her husband's welfare...' even at her own risk.
This Ramayana is not the story of Rama. It is raama ayana and becomes raamaayaNa when compounded. Again raama is not the epical hero Rama alone. Seetha is also raamaa as said by Sumantra in Ayodhya, Ch. 60, 10th verse:

baalaa iva ramate siitaa a baala candra nibha aananaa |
raamaa raame hi adiinaatmaa vijane api vane sati

Thus this epic is called raamaa raamayoH ayanam raamaayaNam 'the peregrination of Seetha and Rama...' where the first word raamaa with elongated end syllable belongs to Seetha and the second raama with shortened end syllable belongs to Rama, and thus this is the peregrination of both Raamaa and Raama. If the course of the legend has to move forward, the characters have to move, and if they were to move, some situations should become turning points, and this is one such situation occasioned through the shrewdness of Seetha. In a legendary perspective, if evil is to be eliminated, good has to peregrinate troublesomely, and that troublesome peregrination of Seetha, as well as that of Rama, is triggered off at this situation, again due to the shrewdness of Seetha. Thus, there is no oddity in the shrewd talk of Seetha. Some more discussion is incorporated in the endnote.

आर्तस्वरम् तु तम् भर्तुः विज्ञाय सदृशम् वने |
उवाच लक्ष्मणम् सीता गच्छ जानीहि राघवम् || ३-४५-१
On identifying the grievous voice that is identifiable with her husband's voice, Seetha spoke to Lakshmana, "you go at once, and check up on Raghava.' [3-45-1]
न हि मे जीवितम् स्थाने हृदयम् वा अवतिष्ठते |
क्रोशतः परम आर्तस्य श्रुतः शब्दो मया भृशम् || ३-४५-२
आक्रन्दमानम् तु वने भ्रातरम् त्रातुम् अर्हसि |
"I have heard the loud yelling voice of highly fretful Rama whereby my heart, or my very entity, is not abiding in its place, and it will be apt of you to protect such a brother of yours who is screaming in the forest. [3-45-2, 3a]
तम् क्षिप्रम् अभिधाव त्वम् भ्रातरम् शरण एषिणम् || ३-४५-३
रक्षसाम् वशम् आपन्नम् सिंहानाम् इव गोवृषम् |
"He might have come under the subjugation of demons as with a bull coming under the seize of lions, hence, you hurry up so as to near such a brother of yours who is seeking protection." So said Seetha toi Lakshmana. [3-45-3b, 4a]
न जगाम तथा उक्तः तु भ्रातुः आज्ञाय शासनम् || ३-४५-४
तम् उवाच ततः तत्र क्षुभिता जनक आत्मजा |
Although she spoke a lot to him in this way, Lakshmana on his part has not moved out remembering his brother's order to stay guard to Seetha, and hence that Janaki, the daughter of Janaka, who is already agitated for Rama further spoke to him in the paradox of his not going out of hermitage. [3-45-4b, 5a]
सौमित्रे मित्र रूपेण भ्रातुः त्वम् असि शत्रुवत् || ३-४५-५
यः त्वम् अस्याम् अवस्थायाम् भ्रातरम् न अभिपद्यसे |
"You are like a foe of your brother in friend's mien, Soumitri, as you are not making a move towards a brother even if he is in an emergency. [3-45-5b, 6a]
इच्छसि त्वम् विनश्यन्तम् रामम् लक्ष्मण मत् कृते || ३-४५-६
लोभात् तु मत् कृतम् नूनम् न अनुगच्छसि राघवम् |
"Because of me you wish Rama to be completely destroyed, and only because of your cupidity for me you are not following up on Raghava. It is definite. [3-45-6b, 7a]
व्यसनम् ते प्रियम् मन्ये स्नेहो भ्रातरि न अस्ति ते || ३-४५-७
तेन तिष्ठसि विस्रब्धः तम् अपश्यन् महाद्युतिम् |
" 'Raghava in direst strait' is the most liked thing to you, thus I deem, as you have no heart for that brother, and as you complacently stay behind even when that great-resplendent Rama is unseen. [3-45-7b, 8a]
किम् हि संशयम् आपन्ने तस्मिन् इह मया भवेत् || ३-४५-८
कर्तव्यम् इह तिष्ठन्त्या यत् प्रधानः त्वम् आगतः |
"After which helmsman you have come here that Rama is undergoing an uncertainty of life-and-death, as such I indeed wonder what business you have here now in staying with me at this hermitage?" Seetha spoke so to Lakshmana. [3-45-8, 9a]
एवम् ब्रुवाणम् वैदेहीम् बाष्प शोक समन्वितम् || ३-४५-९
अब्रवीत् लक्ष्मणः त्रस्ताम् सीताम् मृग वधूम् इव |
Lakshmana spoke to Seetha, the princess from Videha kingdom, who is talking deluged under tears and anguish in that way, as she is fretful like a she-deer. [3-45-9a, 10b]
पन्नग असुर गन्धर्व देव दानव राक्षसैः || ३-४५-१०
अशक्यः तव वैदेही भर्ता जेतुम् न संशयः |
"Oh, Vaidehi, your husband is an impossible one for vincibility by serpents, asura-s, gandharva-s, gods, fiends, demons, no doubt about it.
देवि देव मनुष्येषु गन्धर्वेषु पतत्रिषु || ३-४५-११
राक्षसेषु पिशाचेषु किन्नरेषु मृगेषु च |
दानवेषु च घोरेषु न स विद्येत शोभने || ३-४५-१२
यो रामम् प्रतियुध्येत समरे वासव उपमम् |
"Oh, auspicious one, unmarked is some combatant who can counterattack Rama from among gods, humans, gandharva-s, birds, ogres, kinnaraa-s, beasts, or oh, lady, even from horrendous demons, as Rama vies with Indra in any given war. [3-45-11b, 12, 13a]
अवध्यः समरे रामो न एवम् त्वम् वक्तुम् अर्हसि || ३-४५-१३
न त्वाम् अस्मिन् वने हातुम् उत्सहे राघवम् विना |
"It is inapt of you to talk that way as Rama is inextirpable in a given war, and as for me, I do not venture to abandon you in this forest in the absence of Raghava. [3-45-13b, 14a]
अनिवार्यम् बलम् तस्य बलैः बलवताम् अपि || ३-४५-१४
त्रिभिः लोकैः समुदितैः स ईश्वरैः स अमरैः अपि |
"Let the most forceful Crowns with all their military forces, or, all of the gods together with their heads, why they, let all the three worlds put together come mutinously, whether jointly or severally, Rama's prowess is irrestrainable. [3-45, 14b, 15a]
हृदयम् निर्वृतम् ते अस्तु संतापः त्यज्यताम् तव || ३-४५-१५
आगमिष्यति ते भर्ता शीघ्रम् हत्वा मृगोत्तमम् |
"Hence, let your heart be diverted and anxiety divested, as your husband will be returning soon on killing that extraordinary deer. [3-45-15b, 16a]
न सस् तस्य स्वरो व्यक्तम् न कश्चित् अपि दैवतः || ३-४५-१६
गन्धर्व नगर प्रख्या माया तस्य च रक्षसः |
"Evidently it is not the voice of Rama, nor that of any other god, but someone mimicked that voice for chicanery, and that must be the illusory voice of that demon Maareecha, similar in effect to the magical city of gandharva-s usually created by magicians in general. [3-45-15b, 16]
न्यास भूता असि वैदेहि न्यस्ता मयि महात्मना || ३-४५-१७
रामेण त्वम् वरारोहे न त्वाम् त्यक्तुम् इह उत्सहे |
"And you are an entrustment, oh, best lady Vaidehi, as the great-souled Rama has entrusted you in my security, as such I do not dare to leave you off now. [3-45-17, 18a]
कृत वैराः च कल्याणि वयम् एतैः निशाचरैः || ३-४५-१८
खरस्य निधने देवि जनस्थान वधम् प्रति |
"Oh, gracious lady, we have become the adversaries of these night-walkers insofar as the elimination of Khara and others, and concerning the eradication of Janasthaana. [3-45-18b, 19a]
राक्षसा विविधा वाचो व्यवहरन्ति महावने || ३-४५-१९
हिंसा विहारा वैदेहि न चिन्तयितुम् अर्हसि |
"The demons are the swaggerers in violence in great forests and they will be employing various voices. Therefore Vaidehi, just do not bother about it." Thus Lakshmana advised Seetha. [3-45-18b, 19, 20a]
लक्ष्मणेन एवम् उक्ता तु क्रुद्धा संरक्त लोचना || ३-४५-२०
अब्रवीत् परुषम् वाक्यम् लक्ष्मणम् सत्य वादिनम् |
As for Seetha, she became furious on hearing Lakshmana's words of advice, and while her eyes are becoming bloodshot she spoke these rude sentences to that veracious Lakshmana. [3-45-20b, 21a]
अनार्य करुणारंभ नृशंस कुल पांसन || ३-४५-२१
अहम् तव प्रियम् मन्ये रामस्य व्यसनम् महत् |
"You are a debased one devoid of mercy, thus a dreadful one, and a degrader of your dynasty, and I deem that you derive pleasure from fatal hardship to Rama. [3-45-21b, 22a]
रामस्य व्यसन्म् दृष्ट्वा तेन एतानि प्रभाषसे || ३-४५-२२
न एव चित्रम् सपत्नेषु पापम् लक्ष्मण यत् भवेत् |
त्वत् विधेषु नृशंसेषु नित्यम् प्रच्छन्न चारिषु || ३-४५-२३
"You are haranguing all these sermons only on noticing hardship to Rama. It is unsurprising that the pitiless ones and rivals of your kind, who always behave in a cloak-and dagger way, will tend to commit deadly sins, Lakshmana, and it is not uncommon. [3-45-22b, 23]
सुदुष्टः त्वम् वने रामम् एकम् एको अनुगच्छसि |
मम हेतोः प्रतिच्छन्नः प्रयुक्तो भरतेन वा || ३-४५-२४
"You are verily maleficent for you have singly and covertly followed Rama, who started to forests all alone, or instigated by Bharata, only because of me. [3-45-24]
तत् न सिद्ध्यति सौमित्रे तव अपि भरतस्य वा |
कथम् इंदीवर श्यामम् रामम् पद्म निभेक्षणम् || ३-४५-२५
उपसंश्रित्य भर्तारम् कामयेयम् पृथक् जनम् |
"Whether this is an intrigue of yours or that of Bharata it is unachievable, Saumitri. How can I long for another commoner when I have put my faith only in the lotus-blue-complexioned and lotus-bright-eyed husband of mine, Rama? [3-45-25, 26a]
समक्षम् तव सौमित्रे प्राणान् त्यक्ष्यामि असंशयम् || ४-५-२६
रामम् विना क्षणम् अपि न एव जीवामि भू तले |
"If that comes to that, I will just discard my life in your presence, Soumitri do not mistake it. I do not eke out an existence on this earth even for a moment without Rama." Thus Seetha threatened Lakshmana. [3-45-26b, 27a]
इति उक्तः परुषम् वाक्यम् सीतया रोमहर्षणम् || ३-४५-२७
अब्रवीत् लक्ष्मणः सीताम् प्रांजलिः विजितेन्द्रियः |
When that self-mortified Lakshmana is addressed in this way with hair-raising and acerbic words by Seetha, he spoke to her suppliantly adjoining his palm-fold. [3-45-27b, 28a]
उत्तरम् न उत्सहे वक्तुम् दैवतम् भवती मम || ३-४५-२८
वाक्यम् अप्रतिरूपम् तु न चित्रम् स्त्रीषु मैथिलि |
स्वभावः तु एष नारीणाम् एषु लोकेषु दृश्यते || ३-४५-२९
"I do not venture to reply you Maithili, as you are like a deity to me. Women using words that are in a class by themselves is not at all surprising. This sort of bringing stilted words into play is the nature of women and it is obvious in the world. [3-45-28b, 29]
विमुक्त धर्माः चपलाः तीक्ष्णा भेदकराः स्त्रियः |
न सहे हि ईदृशम् वाक्यम् वैदेही जनक आत्मजे || ३-४५-३०
श्रोत्रयोः उभयोः मध्ये तप्त नाराच सन्निभम् |
"Women by their nature are unbound by the etiquette of decency, whimsical, cantankerous and they tend to become the artificers of vicissitudes, and oh, Vaidehi, the daughter of Janaka, indeed unbearable are this kind of words that are much the same as burnt iron arrows thrust in between my two ears. [3-45-30, 31a]
उपशृण्वंतु मे सर्वे साक्षिनो हि वनेचराः || ३-४५-३१
न्याय वादी यथा वाक्यम् उक्तो अहम् परुषम् त्वया |
"Let all of the forest-itinerants indeed listen as to how you are addressing me with bitter words, though I am reasoning with you conscientiously, and let them become my corroborators for the sake of justice. [3-45-31b, 32a]
धिक् त्वाम् अद्य प्रणश्यन्तीम् यन् माम् एवम् विशंकसे || ३-४५-३२
स्त्रीत्वात् दुष्ट स्वभावेन गुरु वाक्ये व्यवस्थितम् |
"Fie upon you, you are acrimoniously tempered owing to your faminality, and by which impulsive reason you mistrust me who am presently abiding in my brother's order, may God damn you for that crotchety. [3-45-32b, 33a]
गमिष्ये यत्र काकुत्स्थः स्वस्ति ते अस्तु वरानने || ३-४५-३३
रक्षन्तु त्वाम् विशालाक्षि समग्रा वन देवताः |
"I am going there where Rama is, oh, lady with best visage, you be blest, and oh, broad-eyed one, let all of the forest deities protect you. [3-45-33b, 34a]
निमित्तानि हि घोराणि यानि प्रादुर्भवन्ति मे |
अपि त्वाम् सह रामेण पश्येयम् पुनरागतः || ३-४५-३४
"Gauging by those dangerous forebodings that are now bidding fair, can I to see you again along with Rama on my return, or not? That I do not know." Thus Lakshmana spoke to Seetha. [3-45-34b, c]
लक्ष्मणेन एवम् उक्ता तु रुदती जनकाअत्मजा |
प्रत्युवाच ततो वाक्यम् तीव्रम् बाष्प परिप्लुता || ३-४५-३५
When Lakshmana spoke to that wailful daughter of Janaka, she on her part spoke this curt sentence to him, while tears whelmed her to a fault. [3-45-35]
गोदावरीम् प्रवेक्ष्यामि हीना रामेण लक्ष्मण |
आबन्धिष्ये अथवा त्यक्ष्ये विषमे देहम् आत्मनः || ३-४५-३६
"Without Rama I plunge myself in River Godavari, or else I string up myself, or discard this body of mine from heights..." Thus Seetha started to vent out her feelings. [3-45-36]
पिबामि वा विषम् तीक्ष्णम् प्रवेक्ष्यामि हुताशनम् |
न तु अहम् राघवात् अन्यम् कदाअपि पुरुषम् स्पृशे || ३-४५-३७
"I drink deadly poison, or I enter a flaring fire, but I will never touch another man other than Raghava. [3-45-37]
इति लक्ष्मणम् आश्रुत्य सीता दुह्ख समन्विता |
पाणिभ्याम् रुदती दुह्खाद् उदरम् प्रजघान ह || ३-४५-३८
Seetha on declaring to Lakshmana in this way, she who is anguished and weeping bitterly, then started to smite her belly with both of her palms in a heightened agony. [3-45-38]
ताम् आर्त रूपाम् विमना रुदन्तीम्
सौमित्रिः आलोक्य विशाल नेत्राम् |
आश्वासयामास न चैव भर्तुः
तम् भ्रातरम् किंचित् उवाच सीता || ३-४५-३९
Observing the agonised aspect of Seetha that cheerless Saumitri started to cheer her up by repeatedly informing that her husband Rama will come soon. Even then Seetha has not spoken in the least to the brother of her husband, and maintained a silence of antipathy. [3-45-39]
ततः तु सीताम् अभिवाद्य लक्ष्मणः
कृत अन्जलिः किंचिद् अभिप्रणम्य |
अवेक्षमाणो बहुशः स मैथिलीम्
जगाम रामस्य समीपम् आत्मवान् || ३-४५-४०
But then, holding Seetha in usual reverence that self-respectful Lakshmana briefly came to her fore making a reverential palm-fold that briefly, and then he proceeded to the proximity of Rama, while repeatedly looking back at that lonely lady in the thick of forest. [3-45-40]
इति वाल्मीकि रामायणे आदि काव्ये अरण्य काण्डे पंच चत्वारिंशः सर्गः/font