BOOK 7: UTTARA KANDA
Having sent away the golden Pushpaka, the highly powerful Rama entered the Asoka forest beautified by sandal, Aguru, Mangoe, dark sandal and Devadaru trees, and covered with Champaka, Aguru, Naga, Kesara, Madhuka, Panasa, Sarja, Parijata, resembling smokeless fire, Sodhra, Neepa, Arjuna, Naga, Saptaparna, Muktaka, Mandara, Kadali and various creepers, abounding in Priyanga, Kadamba, Vakula, Jambu, pomegranate, and Kadali trees, containing various flowers, picturesque, having many fruits, fragrant, decorated with new leaves and adorned with vaious other trees. There were many a tree, having profuse foliage and flowers and covered with maddened black bees as if constructed by architects.
The forest land was variegated and beautified by cuckoos, the ornaments of mangoe trees, black bees and various birds of various colours. Amongst the trees beautifying the forest some were gold hued, some were radiant as the flame of fire and some were like red collyrium. There were various flowers, spreading fragrance and making garlands.
And there were various ponds filled with pure water. The stairs of those ponds were made of corals and the ground was of crystal. And they were all filled with lotuses and lilies.
They were beautified with Chakravakas and the banks were graced with variegated trees and flowers. And the forest was encompassed by stone walls and in the inside were dwelling many a Sardula bird resembling Vaiduryas. All the trees in the forest were filled with flowers.
And the rocks there, covered with flowers falling down from trees, appeared like welkin beautified with stars. And Rama s Asoka forest was like unto Indra s Nandana and Kubera s Chitraratha made by Brahma. Having entered the rich Asoka forest abounding in many seats and houses and creepers Rama sat on an excellent seat, covered with a beautiful coverlet and well constructed.
Like unto Purandara with Sachi he took Sita by the hand, made her sit and drink the wine distilled in the province of Mira. And in no time the servants brought for him well cooked meat and various fruits. Being inebriete the beautiful Apsaras, well skilled in the art of singing and dancing, began to dance before Rama in the company of Kinnaris.
The virtuous souled Rama, the foremost of those who know how to please, satisied those beautiful damsels adorned with various ornaments. And Sita sitting by him, he appeared like the effulgent Vasishta in the company of Arundhati. Being greatly delighted the celestial like Rama pleased every day Sita resembling a celestial damsel.
Sita and Raghava thus spent their days happily. And thus was spent the delightful winter giving all enjoyments. Enjoying various things the high souled Rama and Sita spent ten thousand years.
Once on a time, having performed all the religious ceremonies, in the fore part of the day, Rama, to spend the evening, entered the inner apartment. Sita, too, having performed all religious ceremonies, at first attended to the service of her mothers in law. Thereupon wearing a beautifully coloured cloth and being adorned with various ornaments Sita appeared before Rama like unto Sachi approaching the king of Devas in heaven.
And beholding the auspicious signs of pregnancy in his spouse Rama attained to excessive delight. Thereupon he said to the beautiful Sitaresembling a celestialdamsel "0Vaidehi signs of pregnancy are manifest in thee. What desires of thine can we satisfy ?"Smiling a little the daughter of Janaka said "O Raghava, I wish to behold the holy hermitages.
I wish to salute the greatly effulgent Rishis living on fruits and roots and residing on the banks of the Ganges. I greatly desire, O Rama, that I may spend even one night in the hermitage of the Rishis living on fruits and roots." Whereto replied Rama of unwearied actions, saying so be it.
Believe me, O Vaidehi, that thou shalt undoubtedly go there to morrow." Having thus addressed Maithili, the daughter of Janaka, Rama, the descendant of Kakutstha, then issued out of the inner apatment and entered the middle one filled with his friends.