|| Sarga 21 ||

|| Meanings and Summary in English ||

Sanskrit Text in Telugu , Kannada, Gujarati, Devanagari, English

|| om tat sat||

Sarga 21

Sita, the teacher

The subject of Sarga 21 is Sita's response to the arrogant Ravana, where in we see Sita in her true form.

Valmiki starts the Sarga saying that Sita started her reply, after placing a blade of grass between Ravana and herself virtually indicating that he is not fit enough for a conversation on equal footing. But then the natural spirit of a true mother's nature shines through. Quickly she realizes the absence of seers , seer like advisers, seer like advice and the inability of Ravana to listen to such counsel. She already knows that this Ravana with his dastardly act is fit for being killed and the only way out for him is to seek protection of Rama himself. Also realizing that the arrogance of Ravana does not permit him to seek such protection she tells him to seek friendship of Rama by returning her, for she knows Rama also forgives people who seek his friendship. In truly mother' spirit she also warns him that if he does not do the right thing , he cannot escape the arrows of Rama

Now we go through the Slokas with meanings and the philosophical underpinnings.

||Sloka 21.01||

तस्य तद्वचनं श्रुत्वा सीता रौद्रस्य रक्षसः।
अर्ता दीनस्वरा दीनं प्रत्युवाच शनैर्वचः ||21.01||

स॥ तस्य रौद्रस्य रक्षसः वचनं शृत्वा आर्ता दीनं दीनस्वरा सीता शनैः प्रत्युवाच॥

॥Sloka meanings||

तस्य रौद्रस्य रक्षसः वचनं शृत्वा -
hearing those words of that fierce Rakshasa
आर्ता दीनं दीनस्वरा सीता - distressed and pitiable Sita in a sorrowful tone
शनैः प्रत्युवाच - replied slowly

||Sloka summary||

"Hearing those words of that fierce Rakshasa, distressed and pitiable Sita replied slowly in a sorrowful tone." ||21.01||

||Sloka 21.02||

दुःखार्ता रुदती सीता वेपमाना तपस्विनी।
चिन्तयन्ती वरारोहा पतिं एव पतिव्रतः॥21.02||
तृणमन्तरः कृत्वा प्रत्युवाच शुचिस्मिता।

स॥ सीता वेपमाना तपश्विनी पतिव्रतः पतिं एव चिन्तयन्ती दुःखार्ता रुदती सुचिस्मिता सीता वेपमाना तृणं अन्तरः कृत्वा प्रत्युवाच॥

Tilak Tika says - तृणमन्तरः कृत्वा परपुरुषस्य साक्षात् संभाषणानर्हत्वात् भूम्यां किंचिदन्तर्थाय तस्य मुखे प्रत्युत्तरदानम्। कथं अस्य दुरात्मनो रजः तमोभिभूतस्य मयि दुराशेति सुचिस्मिता।प्रत्युवाचेऽति पुनरभिदानं प्रकार विंशपकथनार्थम् । एतेन तृणीकृतप्राणतया तृणतुल्यतया रावणस्य ग्रहणाच्च निभय प्रत्युत्तरदानमिति बोध्यम्। तदेव आह निवर्तयेति।

॥Sloka meanings||

तपश्विनी दुःखार्ता सुचिस्मिता -
ascetic afflicted by grief, yet with a gentle smile
पतिव्रतः पतिं एव चिन्तयन्ती -
a chaste woman ever thinking of her husband only
रुदती वेपमाना सीता - crying and trembling ascetic Sita
तृणं अन्तरः कृत्वा प्रत्युवाच -
replied putting a blade of grass between them

||Sloka summary||

Trembling ascetic Sita , a chaste woman ever thinking of her husband only, crying , afflicted by grief, yet with a gentle smile replied him, putting a blade of grass between them. ||21.02||

Valmiki says that Sita started her reply, after placing a blade of grass between Ravana and herself.

"तृणमंतरः कृत्वा"

'तृण' means a blade of grass.

Sita places a blade of grass between herself and Ravana. Then starts her reply. At the first level it is simply following a custom. A virtuous woman does not respond to an outside person directly. There would always be a separation shielding her from the other. The blade of grass is that symbolic separation.
That is also the normal interpretation.

But there are more echoes. Placing that blade of grass is an indication to Ravana, that Ravana is nothing more than a blade of grass for her. It is also a hinting that Ravana does not have a right to talk to her.

Ramayana Tilaka says. "रावणस्य साक्षात् संभाषणार्हत्वात् तृणव्यवधान करणम्"
That placing of that 'तृण' is meant to say that Ravana is unfit to talk to her.

There is another link to the blade of grass. That is that blade of grass which Rama used against a crow. Rama invoked Brahmastra into the blade of grass which set it on a course to chasing that crow. Chased by that blade of grass, the crow travels all over the three worlds. Unable to find a savior comes back to Rama. The Crow falls at Rama's feet and saves itself. Sita is hinting that Ravana's fate will be similar unless he asks for Rama's protection. In fact this thought comes through in her reply later.

After she placed a blade of grass, the reply went forth from Sita, who was described as "शुचिस्मिता". शुचिस्मिता means one with a bright smile.

Amidst all that sorrow दुःखार्ता रुदती सीता , Sita immersed in sorrow and crying,
when she started her reply she was "शुचिस्मिता".

Why "शुचिस्मिता"? what was that bright smile meant to be?

Ramayana Tilaka explains Sita's thinking as follows."कथमस्य दुरात्मनो रजस्तमोभि भूतस्य मयि दुराशेति", शुचिस्मिता। "How can this 'absolute rogue' full of Rajo Tamo Gunas can even aspire for me?" That bright smile was like laughing at Ravana's foolishness or audacity.

We see Sita in different forms through this Sarga.
The main form of Sita that will linger is that of a teaching mother. A son may do many wrongs, the affection of a mother restrains her anger. Almost on a similar token Sita was not angry in her reply. When the child asks for a thing that is not possible or a food that is not good for him, a mother has a smile for that foolish baby wishes. So it is with Sita's smile, in her reply.

The underlying feeling associated with that smile is purity. It is neither anger nor dirty thoughts. That comes out in her first sentence.

||Sloka 21.03||

निवर्तय मनो मत्तः स्वजने क्रियतां मनः॥21.03||
नमां प्रार्थयितुं युक्तं सुसिद्धमिव पापकृत्।

स॥ मत्तः मनो निवर्तय | स्वजने मनः क्रियतां | मां प्रार्थयितुं न युक्तं पापकृत् सुसिद्धम् इव॥

॥Sloka meanings||

मत्तः मनो निवर्तय - turn away your mind from me
स्वजने मनः क्रियतां - fix mind in your own people
पापकृत् सुसिद्धम् इव - . like the sinner hoping for blessings
मां प्रार्थयितुं न युक्तं - desiring me is not proper for you

||Sloka summary||

"Turn away your mind from me. You fix it in your own people. Like the sinner hoping for blessings, desiring me is not proper for you." ||21.03||

She says,"निवर्तयमनो मत्तः स्वजने क्रियतां मनः"।
Divert your mind from me. Focus your mind on your people

साधुधर्मं अवेक्षस्व साधु साधु व्रतं चर।
"Ravana follow the path of virtue. Follow the path of virtuous ones"

This is a उपदेश , or advise, counsel given by Sita. This is also a universal counsel for all men with a roving eye. This also is the advice for the Jivas who look at Self as part of the body complex. The Self that should seek Paramatma , cannot be made a part that which creates bondage. Sita belongs to Bhagavan Rama Ravana's effort is to make Sita as his. Sita's counsel is that it is not possible .

Root cause of all such thoughts is the mind. The mind with its flights creates bondage. The ones with mind under control are on the path of Self-realization. For them all actions are for Bhagavan and all actions are ordained by Bhagavan And those actions do not create bondage .In that spirit Sita tells Ravana "निवर्तय मनो बुद्धि" .

||Sloka 21.04||

अकार्यं न मया कार्यं एकपत्न्या विगर्हितम्॥21.04||
कुलं संप्राप्तया पुण्यं कुले महति जातया।

स॥ महति कुले जातया कुलं संप्राप्तया एकपत्न्या मया विगर्हितं अकार्यं न कार्यं ||

Rama Tika says - महति कुले जाताया अत एव पुण्यं कुलं संप्राप्तया विवाहित विधिना, संगतया एकपत्न्या पतिव्रतयेत्यर्थः , मया विगर्हितम् पतिविरोध्ल कर्तुकत्वेन निन्दितं कार्यं कुत्सित स्त्रीभिः कर्तव्यं पूजनं , मया अकार्यं न कारयितव्यं।

॥Sloka meanings||.

महति कुले जातया -
born in a great lineage
कुलं संप्राप्तया -
having gained a great lineage
एकपत्न्या मया -
by me who is devoted to single husband
विगर्हितं अकार्यं न कार्यं -
the contemptible forbidden action (proposed by you) will not be done.

||Sloka summary||

'Born in a great lineage, having gained a great lineage, devoted to single husband , the contemptible forbidden action (proposed by you) will not be done.

||Sloka 21.05||

एवमुक्त्वा तु वैदेही रावणं तं यशस्विनी॥21.05||
राक्षसं पृष्ठतः कृत्वा भूयो वचनमब्रवीत्।

स॥ यशस्विनी वैदेही तं रावणं एवं उक्त्वा राक्षसं पृष्टतः कृत्वा भूयः वचनम् अब्रवीत्॥

॥Sloka meanings||

यशस्विनी वैदेही - glorious Vaidehi
तं रावणं एवं उक्त्वा - having said this to that Ravana
राक्षसं पृष्टतः कृत्वा - turned her back to him
भूयः वचनम् अब्रवीत् - spoke these words again

||Sloka summary||

"यशस्विनी अगु वैदेहि आ रावणुनि ई विधमुगा चॆप्पि तिरुगुमुखमुतो मरल इट्लु पलिकॆनु." ||21.05||

Glorious Vaidehi having said this to that Ravana turned her back and spoke these words again ||21.05||

||Sloka 21.06||

नाह मौपयिकी भार्या परभार्या सती तव॥21.06||
साधु धर्ममवेक्षस्व साधु साधु व्रतं चर।

स॥ परभार्या सती अहं औपयिकी भार्या न |तव धर्मं साधु अवेक्षस्व।साधुव्रतं साधु चर॥

॥Sloka meanings||

परभार्या सती - as a chaste married woman
अहं औपयिकी भार्या न - I am a wife of an accomplished man not otherwise तव धर्मं साधु अवेक्षस्व - you may examine the righteous conduct
साधुव्रतं साधु चर - with honesty follow honest action.

||Sloka summary||

'As a chaste married woman, I am a wife of an accomplished man not otherwise. You may examine the righteous conduct. With honesty follow honest action. ||21.06||

||Sloka 21.07||

यथा तव तथाऽन्येषां दारा रक्ष्या निशाचर॥21.07||
आत्मानमुपमां कृत्वा स्वेषुदारेषु रम्यतां।

स॥ निशाचर यथा तव दाराः रक्ष्याः तथा अन्येषां | आत्मानं उपमा कृत्वा स्वेषु दारेषु रम्यताम्॥

Tilaka Tika elaborates a little more here. - हे निशाचर तव दाराः यथा रक्ष्याः तथा अन्येषामपि रक्ष्याः अतः अत्मानम् उपमा उपमानं कृत्वा
स्वेषु दारेष्येव रम्यतां अन्यदारानिरोधे मनो न कुर्वित्यर्थः।

॥Sloka meanings||

निशाचर - Oh Night being
यथा तव दाराः रक्ष्याः - like your wives are protected
तथा अन्येषां - similarly other's wives (too are to be protected)
आत्मानं उपमा कृत्वा - making yourself an example
स्वेषु दारेषु रम्यताम् - enjoy with your own wives

||Sloka summary||

"Oh Night being, like your wives are protected, similarly other's wives (too are to be protected). Making yourself an example enjoy with your own wives." ||21.07||

In the same strain of counseling, Sita tells one more thing. When one desire another's wife, one ought to look at his own family. Just like one would protect one's own wife, other's wives too require a similar protection. This also a counseling gem from Sita

||Sloka 21.08||

अतुष्टं स्वेषु दारेषु चपलं चलितेन्द्रियः॥21.08||
नयन्ति निकृति प्रज्ञं परदाराः पराभवम्।

स॥ स्वेषु दारेषु अतुष्टं चपलं चलितेन्द्रियं निकृतिप्रज्ञं परदाराः पराभवं नयन्ति ||

||Sloka meanings||

स्वेषु दारेषु अतुष्टं -
one who is unsatisfied with his own wives
चपलं चलितेन्द्रियं -
one with unsteady mind with no control on his senses
परदाराः - other wives
निकृतिप्रज्ञं पराभवं नयन्ति -
evil minded one will be insulted

||Sloka summary||

"Evil minded one, one with unsteady mind with no control on his senses, one who is unsatisfied with his own wives, will be insulted by other wives." ||21.08||

Saying "परदाराः पराभवं" , Sita warns that one who desires another woman, would also be insulted by that woman. This also a counsel from Sita..

||Sloka 21.09||

इहा सन्तो न वा सन्ति सतो वा नानुवर्तसे॥21.09||
तथा हि विपरीता बुद्धि राचारवर्जिता।

स॥इह संतः न वा संति |सतः अनुवर्तसे न। तथा हि आचारवर्जिता ते बुद्धिः विपरीता ||

||Sloka meanings||

इह संतः न वा संति -
are there no pious one here.
सतः अनुवर्तसे न -
Or you do not follow the saints
तथा हि ते आचारवर्जिता बुद्धिः -
that is why your evil mind focused on forbidden acts
विपरीता - perversely

||Sloka summary||

"Are there no pious one here? Or you do not follow the saints. That is why your evil mind is after forbidden actions." ||21.09||

||Sloka 21.10||

वचो मिथ्या प्रणीतात्मा पथ्य मुक्तं विचक्षणैः॥21.10||
राक्षसानामभावाय त्वं वा न प्रतिपद्यसे।

स॥ मिथ्याप्रणीतात्मा राक्षसानां अभवाय त्वं विचक्षणैः उक्तं पथ्यं वचः न प्रतिपद्यसे॥

॥Sloka meanings||

मिथ्याप्रणीतात्मा - indulging in unrighteous acts
राक्षसानां अभवाय - for destruction of the Rakshasas
विचक्षणैः उक्तं - righteous advice given
पथ्यं वचः त्वं न प्रतिपद्यसे - good words of advice you do not agree

||Sloka summary||

"Indulging in unrighteous act, you are not following righteous advice leading to destruction of the Rakshasas". ||21.10||

||Sloka 21.11||

अकृतात्मान मासाद्य राजानमनयेरतम्॥21.11||
समृद्धानि विनश्यन्ति राष्ट्राणि नगराणि च।

स॥ अकृतात्मानं अनये रतं राजानं आसाद्य समृद्धानि राष्ट्रानि नगराणि च विनश्यंति॥

॥Sloka meanings||

अकृतात्मानं अनये रतं -
with foolish one engaged in improper acts
राजानं आसाद्य - having kings
समृद्धानि राष्ट्रानि - prosperous countries
नगराणि च विनश्यंति - cities too are destroyed

||Sloka summary||

"Having kings who are foolish engaged in improper acts, prosperous countries and cities are destroyed." ||21.11||

In all this Sita acts like a mother personified. She asks with wonder. Are there no saints here? "And adds that may be "even if they are there you do not follow them" And patiently goes on to explain the consequences of a king not following the virtuous path. With king not following the virtuous path, prosperous countries and cities are destroyed.

Here Ramayana Tilaka has a thought; - "सन्तां न वा संतीत्यादिना विचिन्त्य , दयावती स्वयमेव उपदिशति । मातृत्वप्रयुक्तावात्सल्येन।".

The comment is that Sita having thought about whether there are saints or not etc the kind lady (दयावती ) herself teaches (Ravana). And the Sloka flows from her as her teaching !

||Sloka 21.12||

तथेयं त्वां समासाद्य लङ्कारत्नौघ संकुला॥21.12||
अपराधात्तवैकस्य न चिरा द्विनशिष्यति।

स॥ तथा त्वां समसाद्य रत्नौघसंकुला इयं लंका एकस्य तव अपराधात् न चिरात् विनशिष्यति॥

॥Sloka meanings||

तथा त्वां समसाद्य - In that way having obtained you
रत्नौघसंकुला इयं लंका - this Lanka which is filled with gems
एकस्य तव अपराधात् - because of your single crime
न चिरात् विनशिष्यति - will soon be destroyed

||Sloka summary||

"In that way having obtained you, this Lanka which is filled with gems , will soon be destroyed because of your single crime." ||21.12||

||Sloka 21.13||

स्वकृतैर्हन्यमानस्य रावणा दीर्घदर्शिनः॥21.13||
अभिनन्दन्ति भूतानि विनाशे पापकर्मणः।

स॥ रावण अदीर्घदर्शनः स्वकृतैः हन्यमानस्य पापकर्मणः विनासे भूतानि अभिनंदंति ||

||Sloka meanings||

रावण - Oh Ravana
अदीर्घदर्शनः - of a short sighted one
स्वकृतैः हन्यमानस्य - one who is killed by his own deeds
पापकर्मणः विनाशे - destruction of a sinner
भूतानि अभिनंदंति - all the creatures will be delighted

O Ravana, all the creatures will be delighted, with the destruction of a of a short-sighted sinner, who is killed by his own deeds

||Sloka summary||

"O Ravana, all the creatures will be delighted, with the destruction of a of a short-sighted sinner, who is killed by his own deeds." ||21.13||

||Sloka 21.14||

एवं त्वां पापकर्माणं वक्ष्यन्ति निकृता जनाः॥21.14||
दिष्ट्यैतत् व्यसनं प्राप्तो रौद्र इत्येव हर्षिताः |

स॥ निकृताः जनाः एवं रौद्रः पापकर्माणं त्वां हर्षिताः | दिष्ट्याएतत् व्यसनं प्राप्तः इत्येव वक्ष्यंति॥

॥Sloka meanings||

एवं पापकर्माणं त्वां - this way you the sinner
रौद्रः दिष्ट्याएतत् व्यसनं प्राप्तः - luckily the fierce one met his doom
इत्येव निकृताः जनाः - thus people who were insulted
हर्षिताः वक्ष्यंति - say delightedly

||Sloka summary||

" ई विधमुगा पापकर्मलु चेसिन नीवु नशिंचिनप्पुडु, 'अदृष्टवशात्तु ई रौद्रुडि विनाशमु कलिगिनदि' अनि नी वलन कष्टपडिनवारंदरू 'अनि संतोषमुतो चॆप्पुकॊनॆदरु ". ||21.14||

||Sloka 21.15||

शक्या लोभयितुं नाहम् ऐश्वर्येण धनेन वा॥21.15||
अनन्या राघवेणाहं भास्करेण प्रभा यथा।

स॥ अहं ऐश्वर्येण धनेन वा लोभयितुं न शक्या | प्रभा भास्करेण यथा अहं राघवेण अनन्या॥

॥Sloka meanings||

ऐश्वर्येण धनेन वा - by power or even wealth
अहं लोभयितुं न शक्या - I cannot be tempted
प्रभा भास्करेण यथा - like the splendor of the Sun
अहं राघवेण अनन्या - I am not separable from Rama

||Sloka summary||

I cannot be tempted by power or even wealth. Like the splendor of the Sun, I am not separable from Rama.' ||21.15||

Hearing Sita say "शक्या लोभयितुं नाहं ऐश्वर्येण धनेन वा"; Meaning that she cannot be tempted by wealth ; also hearing Sita say "भास्करेण प्रभा यथा" meaning that she cannot be separated from Raghava like splendor cannot be separated from the Sun. We virtually hear her saying that she is Lakshmi , the consort of Vishnu. And Rama is that Vishnu.

Sita is also laying down another marker. The Jiva seeking the Supreme being,
cannot be tempted by many temptations on offer. He must keep the focus on that path that leads to realization.

||Sloka 21.16||

उपधाय भुजं तस्य लोकनाथस्य सत्कृतम्॥21.16||
कथं नामोपधास्यामि भुजमन्यस्य कस्यचित्॥

स॥ लोकनाथस्य तस्य सत्कृतं भुजं उपधाय अन्यस्य कस्य चित् भुजं कथं नाम उपधास्यामि ||

||Sloka meanings||

लोकनाथस्य सत्कृतं भुजं उपधाय -
having used shoulder of one who protected the world, shoulder which performed great deeds
अन्यस्य कस्य चित् भुजं - another's shoulder
कथं नाम उपधास्यामि - how can I use

||Sloka summary||

"लोकनाथुडैन आयन यॊक्क सत्कर्मलु ऒनरिंचिन भुजमुनु आश्रयिंचिन नेनु इंकॊकरि भुजमुनु एट्लु आश्रयिंचगलनु? ॥21.16||

"Having used his shoulder which protected the world and which performed great deeds, I am not going to use any other shoulder." ||21.16||

||Sloka 21.17||

अह मौपयिकी भार्या तस्यैव वसुधापतेः॥21.17||
व्रतस्नातस्य धीरस्य विद्येव विदितात्मनः।

स॥ व्रतस्नातस्य विदितात्मनः विप्रस्य विद्या इव अहं वसुधापतेः तस्यैव औपयिकी भार्या ||

||Sloka meanings||

व्रतस्नातस्य -one who is bathed in ceremonial duties
विदितात्मनः - who is a realized soul
विप्रस्य विद्या इव - like the knowledge of an ascetic
वसुधापतेः - that Lord of the earth's
अहं तस्यैव औपयिकी भार्या - I am his wife, fit for him only

||Sloka summary||

"Like the knowledge of an ascetic who is bathed in ceremonial duties, who is a realized soul I am that Lord of the earth's wife, fit for him only." ||21.17||

Tilaka Tika elaborates on the phrase - औपयिकी भार्या - - औपयिकी योग्या। व्रतस्नातस्य ब्रह्मचर्य व्रतपूर्वकं कृतसमावर्तनस्य मत्पाणिग्रहणं कृतवतो विदितात्मनो ज्ञातः तत्त्वस्य ज्ञात पुरुषार्थ साधनस्य अ तस्यैव अहं योग्या। विप्रस्य विद्येव ब्रह्म विद्या यथा ब्रह्मणस्यैव असाधारणं स्वं न्यायप्राप्तं तद्वत् सन्यासे तस्यैव अधिकारात् ब्रह्म विद्यायां ब्राह्मणस्यैव अधिकारः इति भावः।

औपयिकी भार्या means that she belongs to or wife of one who having undertaken various vows of celibacy, enters the state of married life. Then following the goals of human life realizes Self . She is the wife of such a one.
Here the simile is with the knowledge of Brahman which belongs to the one who aspired and worked for the same , not to others

||Sloka 21.18||

साधु रावण रामेण मां समानय दुःखिताम्॥21.18||
वने वाशितया सार्थं करेण्वेव गजाधिपम्।

स॥ रावण दुःखितां माम् गजाधिपं वने वाशितया करेण्वेव रामेण सार्धं साधु समानय॥

॥Sloka meanings||

रावण - Oh Ravana
दुःखितां माम् -
me in sorrows
गजाधिपं वने वाशितया करेण्वेव -
female elephant separated in the forest with the king of elephants
रामेण सार्धं साधु समानय -
Uniting me with Rama would be good

||Sloka summary||

"Oh Ravana ! Uniting me in sorrows with Rama would be good like uniting the female elephant separated from the king of elephants in the forest." ||21.18||

||Sloka 21.19||

मित्रमौपयिकं कर्तुं रामः स्थानं परीप्सता॥21.19||
वधं चानिच्छता घोरं त्वयाऽसौ पुरुषर्षभः।

स॥ स्थानं परीप्सिता घोरं वधं अनिच्छता त्वया असौ पुरुषर्षभः रामः मित्रं कर्तुं औपयिकं॥

Rama Tika says -स्थानं स्वपुरं परीप्सुता रक्षेत्सुना वधं च अनिच्छता त्वया पुरुषषभ असौ रामः मित्रं कर्तुं औपयिकम् युक्तं

॥Sloka meanings||

स्थानं परीप्सिता - desirous protecting your city
घोरं वधं अनिच्छता - not wanting dreadful death
त्वया मित्रं कर्तुं - seek friendship with
असौ पुरुषर्षभः रामः - this Rama the bull among men
औपयिकं - appropriate

||Sloka summary||

"If you are desirous of protecting your city, avoiding dreadful death appropriate to seek the friendship of Rama ||21.19||

||Sloka 21.20||

विदितः स हि धर्मज्ञः शरणागतवत्सलम्॥21.20||
तेन मैत्री भवतु ते यदि जीवितु मिच्छसि।

स॥ धर्मज्ञः सः शरणागतवत्सलः (इति) विदितः हि। यदि ते जीवितुं इच्छसि तेन मैत्री भवतु॥

॥Sloka meanings||

धर्मज्ञः सः शरणागतवत्सलः -
as one who knows Dharma, he is kind to those who seek protection
(इति) विदितः हि - that is known
यदि ते जीवितुं इच्छसि - If you desire to live
तेन मैत्री भवतु - seek his friendship

||Sloka summary||

"As one who knows Dharma, he is kind to those who seek protection. If you desire to live then seek his friendship." ||21.20||

There is another thought which also attests to Sita's counsel. Like that crow which came back to Rama seeking protection, Ravana too must seek Rama's protection as the only way to avoid annihilation.

But thinking that egocentric maniac may outright baulk at such a suggestion, almost like the mother explaining to a petulant son Sita says "तेन मैत्री भवतु". That is "make friendship with him (Rama)"; "Friendship" sounds like it is between equals. Thinking that the thought of being treated as equal may appeal to Ravana, and accept the path of friendship, Sita says "तेन मैत्री भवतु".

Of course that does not go with Ravana. Again we see Sita using the route of counselling Ravana.

Sita says, "तेन मैत्री भवतु ते यदि जीवितुमिच्चसि" ; meaning that if you wish 'to live', make friendship with Rama

There is another thought in this. "To live" does not mean being part of that body complex and moving around. That is not living.

Body recognizing Self and living with Self is that 'living'. Just like the relationship of "body" and "Self'; "Self" too is related to "Paramatma" the Supreme being. "Self" must live with "Paramatma" till it realizes the unity of the two. Living with that awareness of "Paramatma" is 'true living'. Not otherwise.

Here Sita is referring to "living" like that when she is suggesting friendship with "Paramatma", that is Rama.

Sita anticipated that Ravana may have questions. Such as whether Rama accepts friendship of the one who took away his wife. Sita answers that straight away. Rama is "विदितः, धर्मज्ञः ,शरणागत वत्सलः" Rama is learned, and knows the path of Dharma. Rama is one who rewards those who seek his protection. So, Sita says seek his friendship. He will reward.

||Sloka 21.21||

प्रसादयस्व त्वं चैनं शरणागतवत्सलम्॥21.21||
मां चास्मै प्रयतो भूत्वा निर्यातयितुमर्हसि।

स॥ त्वं शरणागतवत्सलं एनं प्रसादयस्व च। नियतः भूत्वा माम् अस्मै निर्यातयितुं अर्हसि ||

||Sloka meanings||

शरणागतवत्सलं -
one who is kind to the those who seek protection
त्वं एनं प्रसादयस्व च -
you propiate him
नियतः भूत्वा -
controlling yourself performing appropriate actions
माम् अस्मै निर्यातयितुं अर्हसि -
it is proper for you to return me

||Sloka summary||

"You propiate him who is kind to the those who seek protection. Controlling yourself it is proper for you to return me." ||21.21||

||Sloka 21.22||

एवं हि ते भवेत्स्वस्ति संप्रदाय रघूत्तमे॥21.22||
अन्यथा त्वं हि कुर्वाणो वधं प्राप्स्यसि रावण।

स॥ एवं रघूत्तमे संप्रदाय ते स्वस्तिः भवेत्। अन्यथा कुर्वाणः रावण त्वं वधं प्राप्स्यसि॥

॥Sloka meanings||

एवं रघूत्तमे संप्रदाय - this way having given me away
ते स्वस्तिः भवेत् - you will achieve prosperity
अन्यथा कुर्वाणः - if you act otherwise
रावण त्वं वधं प्राप्स्यसि - you will face death

||Sloka summary||

This way having given me away you will achieve prosperity. Ravana ! Otherwise you will face death. ||21.22||

||Sloka 21.23||

वर्जयेत् वज्र मुत्सृष्टं वर्जये दन्तकश्चिरम्॥21.23||
तद्विधं तु न संक्रुद्धो लोकनाथः स राघवः।

स॥तद्विधं उत्सृष्टं वज्रं वर्जयेत् चिरं अंतकः वर्जयेत् | सम्कृद्धः लोकनाथः सः राघवः न ( वर्जयेत्)||

||Sloka meanings||

उत्सृष्टं वज्रं वर्जयेत् -
the raised thunderbolt may spare you
चिरं अंतकः वर्जयेत् - the Yama may spare you
सम्कृद्धः लोकनाथः - the angry Lord of the world
तद्विधं सः राघवः न ( वर्जयेत्) - Raghava will not spare you like that

||Sloka summary||

"The raised thunderbolt may spare you ; the Yama may spare you. But the angry Lord of the world, Raghava will not spare you like that." ||21.23||

||Sloka 21.24||

रामस्य धनुषश्शब्दं श्रोष्यसि त्वं महास्वनम्॥21.24||
शतक्रतुविसृष्टस्य निर्घोषमशनेरिव।

स॥शतक्रतुविसृष्टस्य अशनेः निर्घोषं इव रामस्य धनुषः महास्वनम् शब्दं त्वं श्रोष्यसि॥

॥Sloka meanings||

शतक्रतुविसृष्टस्य अशनेः -
of the thunderbolt released by the one who performed hundred sacrifices
निर्घोषं इव -
like that sound
रामस्य धनुषः महास्वनम् शब्दं -
the sound of great twang of Rama's bow
त्वं श्रोष्यसि - you will hear

||Sloka summary||

"You will hear the great sound of the twang of Rama's bow , like the thunderbolt released by Indra, the one who performed hundred Yagnyas." ||21.24||

||Sloka 21.25||

इह शीघ्रं सुपर्वाणो ज्वलितास्य इवोरगाः॥21.25||
इषवो निपतिष्यन्ति रामलक्ष्मण लक्षणाः।

स॥ सुपर्वाणः शीघ्रं ज्वलितस्याः उरगाः इव रामलक्ष्मणलक्षणाः इषवः इह निपतिष्यंति॥

॥Sloka meanings||

सुपर्वाणः ज्वलितस्याः उरगाः इव -
well jointed arrows with flaming fangs like that of poisonous snakes
रामलक्ष्मण लक्षणाः - marked with names of Rama and Lakshmana
शीघ्रं इषवः इह निपतिष्यंति - arrows will soon be raining here

||Sloka summary||

"Well jointed arrows with flaming fangs like that of poisonous snakes marked with names of Rama and Lakshmana will soon be raining here." ||21.25||

||Sloka 21.26||

रक्षांसि परिनिघ्नन्तः पुर्यामस्यां समन्ततः॥21.26||
असंपातं करिष्यन्ति पतन्तः कङ्कवाससः।

स॥ कंकवाससः पतंतः अस्यां पुर्यां समंततः रक्षांसि परिनिघ्नंतः असंपतां करिष्यंति ||

||Sloka meanings||

कंकवाससः पतंतः -the shafts with feathers of Kanka bird
अस्यां पुर्यां समंततः - falling on this city
रक्षांसि परिनिघ्नंतः - be killing Rakshasas
असंपतां करिष्यंति - destroy the city

||Sloka summary||

"The shafts with feathers of Kanka bird falling on this city will be killing Rakshasas everywhere and destroy the city." ||21.26||

||Sloka 21.27||

राक्षसेंद्र महासर्पान् स रामगरुडो यथा॥21.27||
उद्धरिष्यति वेगेन वैनतेय इवोरगान्।

स॥ महान् सः रामगरुडः राक्षसेंद्र महासर्पान् वैनतेयः उरगान् इव वेगेन उद्धरिष्यति॥

॥Sloka meanings||

महान् सः रामगरुडः - great soul Rama like Garuda
राक्षसेंद्र महासर्पान् - rakshasas like serpents
वैनतेयः उरगान् इव उद्धरिष्यति-
like Vainateya carrying away the serpents
वेगेन - swiftly

||Sloka summary||

Like the Garuda swiftly carrying away the great serpents, the great Rama will kill the king of demons. ||21.27||

||Sloka 21.28||

अपनेष्वति मां भर्ता त्वत्तः शीघ्रमरिन्दमः॥21.28||
असुरेभ्यः श्रियं दीप्तां विष्णुस्त्रिभिरिव क्रमैः।

स॥ शीघ्रं अरिंदमः भर्ता माम् त्वत्तः विष्णुः त्रिभी क्रमैः दीप्तं श्रियं असुरेभ्यः इव अपनेष्यति॥

॥Sloka meanings||

शीघ्रं अरिंदमः - quickly the subduer of enemies
भर्ता माम् त्वत्तः अपनेष्यति - my husband will take me away from you
विष्णुः त्रिभी क्रमैः इव - like Vishnu with three strides
दीप्तं श्रियं असुरेभ्यः इव - (took away) the prosperity of the Asuras

||Sloka summary||

Swiftly my husband, the subduer of enemies will take me away from you like Vishnu with three strides took away the prosperity of the Asuras.||21.28||

||Sloka 21.29||

जनस्थाने हतस्थाने निहते रक्षसां बले॥21.29||
अशक्तेन त्वया रक्षः कृत मेतदसाधु वै |

स॥ रक्षसां बले निहते जनस्थाने हतस्थाने रक्षः अशक्तेन त्वया एतत् असाधु कृतं वै॥

॥Sloka meanings||

रक्षसां बले जनस्थाने निहते -
when the Rakshasa army was killed in Janasthana
हतस्थाने अशक्तेन - being unable to do anything at that place of death
रक्षः - O Rakshasa
त्वया एतत् असाधु कृतं वै - this evil deed was performed by you

||Sloka summary||

"When the Rakshasa army was killed in Janasthana you being unable to do anything, you resorted to this evil deed." ||21.29||

||Sloka 21.30||

आश्रमं तु तयोः शून्यं प्रविश्य नरसिंहयोः॥21.30||
गोचरं गतयोर्भ्रात्रोः अपनीता त्वयाऽधमा।

स॥ अथम नरसिंहयोः तयोः भ्रात्रोः गोचरं गतयोः शून्यं आश्रमं प्रविश्य त्वया अपनीताः ||

||Sloka meanings||

अथम नरसिंहयोः तयोः भ्रात्रोः -
Oh Mean one, when the two brothers lions among men
गोचरं गतयोः -
went away and not found
शून्यं आश्रमं प्रविश्य-
entering the desolate hermitage
त्वया अपनीताः -
you have abducted

||Sloka summary||

"Oh Mean one, when the two lions among men were away, entering the unprotected hermitage I have been abducted by you." ||21.30||

||Sloka 21.31||

नहि ग्रन्धमुपाघ्राय रामलक्ष्मणयोस्त्वया॥21.31||
शक्यं संदर्शने स्थातुम् शुना शार्दूलयोरिव।

स॥ शुना शार्दूलयोरिव रामलक्ष्मणयोः गंधं उपघ्राय त्वया संदर्शने स्थातुं न शक्यं हि ||

||Sloka meanings||

शुना शार्दूलयोरिव - like a dog in front of two tigers
रामलक्ष्मणयोः गंधं उपघ्राय -
having smelt the presence of Rama and Lakshmana
त्वया संदर्शने स्थातुं - to stand in front of them
न शक्यं हि - would not have been possible ( for you)

||Sloka summary||

"You would not have been able to be stand in front of Rama and Lakshmana like a dog in front of two tigers , if you smelt their presence". ||21.31||

||Sloka 21.32||

तस्य ते विग्रहे ताभ्यां युग ग्रहण मस्थिरम्॥21.32||
वृत्रस्येवेन्द्रबाहूभ्यां बाहोरेकस्य निग्रहः।

स॥ तस्य ताभ्यां विग्रहे इंद्रबाहुभ्यां वृत्रस्य एकस्य बाहोः विग्रहे इव युगग्रहणं अस्थिरं॥

॥Sloka meanings||

एकस्य बाहोः वृत्रस्य विग्रहे इव -like the one armed Vritrasura body
अस्थिरं - unable to stand
इंद्रबाहुभ्यां - with the two armed Indra
तस्य ताभ्यां विग्रहे - in the battle with both of them
युगग्रहणं - seized

||Sloka summary||

"You cannot stand both of them in a battle like the one-armed Vritrasura could not face the two-armed Indra." ||21.32||

||Sloka 21.33||

क्षिप्रं तव सनाथो मे राम स्सौमित्रिणा सह।
तोयमल्पमिवादित्यः प्राणानादास्यते शरैः॥21.33||

स॥ मे नाथः सः रामः सौमित्रिणा सह आदित्यः अल्पं तोयमिव शरैः तव प्राणान् क्षिप्रं दास्यते॥

॥Sloka meanings||

मे नाथः - my husband
सः रामः सौमित्रिणा सह -
Rama along with the son of Sumitra
शरैः - with arrows
तव प्राणान् क्षिप्रं दास्यते -
will destroy your life breath in a moment
आदित्यः अल्पं तोयमिव - like the Sun destroys a little water

||Sloka summary||

"My husband Rama with the son of Sumitra will destroy your life breath in a moment like Sun destroying a little water with his radiance." ||21.33||

||Sloka 21.34||

गिरिं कुबेरस्य गतोऽपधाय वा
सभां गतो वा वरुणस्य राज्ञः |
असंशयं दाशरथेर्नमोक्ष्यसे
महाद्रुमः कालहतोऽशनेरिव॥21.34||

स॥ कालहतः कुबेरस्य गिरिं वा आलयं गतः राज्ञः वरुणस्य सभाम् गतः महाद्रुमः अशनैरिव दाशरथेः न मोक्ष्यसे॥

॥Sloka meanings||

कालहतः - doomed by time
कुबेरस्य गिरिं वा आलयं गतः - going to Kubera's mountain or palace
राज्ञः वरुणस्य सभाम् गतः - or even entering Varuna's assembly
महाद्रुमः अशनैरिव - like a mighty tree that cannot escape lightning.
दाशरथेः न मोक्ष्यसे - you cannot evade Rama's arrows

||Sloka summary||

"Doomed by time, going to Kubera's mountain or palace, or even entering Varunas assembly , you cannot evade Rama's arrows like a mighty tree cannot escape lightning." ||21.34||

Faults in others are not an opportunity for one to seek higher ground. Accepting Childs faults is mother's tender affection. The cow that does not eat a soiled grass, still licks away all the dirt on the body of the calf she gave birth to. That is tender love of the mother. Mother setting aside a child's fault and caring again is that. That is tender love of a mother.

We also commit so many faults offending the dignity. There is no related automatic atonement. Leaving it to God and following him is the way. Then we too receive that tender affection of the Supreme being.

This is the counseling of Ravana by Sita, this is also a counseling for all. The action for one who arrogates himself the universal riches is clear. Offer them to the Supreme being.

Sita warns Ravana saying "गिरिं कुबेरस्य गतोsपधाय वा सभां गतो वा वरुणस्य राज्ञः ।"
effectively saying "you may go anywhere but you cannot escape" Rama's arrows.

This is a warning to all who want to follow a path away from the Supreme being." This is Sita's universal message.

Thus in the 21st Sarga we see Sita in a different light. We see her in the form of a Universal mother, Jaganmaata.

इत्यार्षे श्रीमद्रामायणे आदिकाव्ये वाल्मीकीये
चतुर्विंशत् सहस्रिकायां संहितायाम्
श्रीमत्सुंदरकांडे एकविंशस्सर्गः॥

Thus the Sarga twenty-one in Sundarakanda of Valmiki Ramayana ends.

||ओम् तत् सत्॥