This lady is the daughter of Drupada; she hath issued
from the sacrificial altar and hath not been begotten
of the flesh; and she is highly blessed and is also
the daughter-in-law of the illustrious Pandu.
I incline to think that Time, and human Destiny that
dependeth on our acts, and the Inevitable, are irresistible
in respect of creatures. (If it were not so), how
could such a misfortune afflict this wife of ours
so faithful and virtuous, like a false accusation of
theft against an honest man? The daughter of Drupada
hath never committed any sinful act, nor hath she
done anything that is not commendable: on the
contrary, she hath assiduously practised the highest
virtues towards Brahmanas. And yet the foolish
king Jayadratha had carried her away by force.
In consequence of this act of violence on her, that
sinful wretch hath his hair shaved off his head and
sustained also, with all his allies, defeat in battle.
It is true we have rescued her after slaughtering
the troops of Sindhu. But the disgrace of this
ravishment of our wife during our hours of carelessness,
hath stained us, to be sure. This life in the
wilderness is full of miseries. We subsist by
chase; and though dwelling in the woods, we are obliged
to slay the denizens thereof that live with us!
This exile also that we suffer is due to the act of
deceitful kinsmen! Is there any one who is more
unfortunate than I am? Hath thou ever seen or
heard of such a one before?’”
“Markandeya said, ’O bull of the Bharata
race, even Rama suffered unparalleled misery, for
the evil-minded Ravana, king of the Rakshasas, having
recourse to deceit and overpowering the vulture Jatayu,
forcibly carried away his wife Sita from his asylum
in the woods. Indeed, Rama, with the help of
Sugriva, brought her back, constructing a bridge across
the sea, and consuming Lanka with his keen-edged arrows.’
“Yudhishthira said, ’In what race was
Rama born and what was the measure of his might and
prowess? Whose son also was Ravana and for what
was it that he had any misunderstanding with Rama?
It behoveth thee, O illustrious one, to tell me all
this in detail; for I long to hear the story of Rama
of great achievements!’
“Markandeya said, ’Listen, O prince of
Bharata’s race, to this old history exactly
as it happened! I will tell thee all about the
distress suffered by Rama together with his wife.
There was a great king named Aja sprung from the race
of Ikshwaku. He had a son named Dasaratha who
was devoted to the study of the Vedas and was ever
pure. And Dasaratha had four sons conversant
with morality and profit known by the names, respectively,
of Rama, Lakshmana, Satrughna, and the mighty Bharata.
And Rama had for his mother Kausalya, and Bharata
had for his mother Kaikeyi, while those scourges of
their enemies Lakshmana and Satrughna were the sons
of Sumitra. And Janaka was the king of Videha,