[ Transcribed from lectures given by Sri Atmatattva Das ]

After Rama’s fight with the demons Maricha and Dusana, Vishvamitra didn’t come back to Ayodhya, instead he told them, “There is going to be a big fire sacrifice in Mithila.” King Janaka was ruling. So Vishvamitra said, “A great sacrifice and all the rishis and pandits will be there. I will take you there so you can see it.”

On the way so many other pastimes happened, these are already famous pastimes. Ahalya, the wife of Gautama Rishi had been cursed to become stone, and she would not be released until Ramachandra touched her with His lotus feet. Then she would come alive again. So those pastimes happened within the travel from Vishvamitra’s ashrama to the present Lucknow, and from there up to Mithila.

Mithila, the country of Janaka is known as Mithila because long before Janaka there was one king in the Iksvaku dynasty. Vasishtha was the guru for a many generations, and the king at that time wanted to perform a yajna. Vasishtha had agreed to perform a yajna for Indra in the heavenly planets, so he told him, “I will finish this yajna, then I will come back and perform yours.” The king did not say anything. He didn’t want to displease Vasishtha, he was a great devotee. Vasishtha went to the heavenly planets, and before he came back the king called some other rishis, Gautama and his brother, and he engaged them as priests and completed his yajna. He did not tell them that Vasishtha was only in the heavenly planets.

Vasishtha came back. Very quickly he completed his yajna, he didn’t even wait for receiving payment for it. He told Indra, “Just keep it in credit and I will collect it later.” Very quickly he returned, but when he got back he saw that Brahmins were coming out of the palace with cows. “What’s happening here?” he asked. “Oh, big yajna. It’s all over now, though. We just received dakshina and now we are going.” So Vasishtha was very upset. He called the king and said, “What is this? First you tell me that I should do the yajna, so I finished my job in the heavenly planet very quickly and even displeased Indra and his party, and I have come here because I am your Kula-guru, your family spiritual master. So how is this proper that you have taken some other person and performed the yajna?”

The king was still keeping quiet, not saying anything. Actually Vasishtha should not have gone to the heavenly planets to perform yajna because he is the family guru of the Iksvaku dynasty. So if Iksvakus are having a yajna he is supposed to do that first, and then if it is necessary he can go to the heavenly planets. So it was actually a mistake on the part of Vasishtha, because he was a little greedy from the great remuneration he would get from the heavenly planets. A Brahmin should not be greedy. By doing that, a great trouble happens. What was the trouble?

Vasishtha became so angry that he said to the king, “You become nirdeha.” Deha means “this body” and nir means “without.” “So you will be without body.”

All this time the king was tolerating, but now he said, “What is this? I must perform my yajna on time, and you went there because you are greedy. Now you are cursing me.”

So the king got angry with Vasishtha and said, “You also become nirdeha.” So at the same time, both bodies were lost, and they both became nirdeha. When Vasishtha became nirdeha he was going here and there and then one group of rishis who were meditating took him and put him inside a pot and kept him inside the pot for a long time until he could take another body. In the same pot another rishi’s soul was kept. They became brothers. Vasishtha is therefore known as kumbha-muni, the rishi coming from a pot, and another kumbha-muni was Agastya. He was thumb sized. Not thumb sized of our thumb, but the thumb of the demigods, so he was much taller than us. In Dvapara-yuga people were ten times taller, eating was ten times bigger, lifetime was also ten times longer, and in Treta-yuga it was a hundred times. So now we are living a hundred years, in Dvapara yuga they lived 1000 years, in Treta-yuga it was 10,000 years, and 100,000 years was the lifetime in Satya-yuga. So that is why in Satya-yuga the process is meditation, because if you are living 100,000 years, what it the problem with spending 30,000 years meditation?

Agastya lived through all the yugas. He is even living now in the southern part of India. There is a mountain in South India called Kozwalla mountain, and on Kozwalla mountain there are caves, and the scriptures say that Agastya is still there. These rishis are chiran-jivas, meaning that up to Brahma’s life-span they will also live. So Agastya and Vasishtha came from the same pot. In this way Vasishtha got his body, and this person who became nirdeha couldn’t get a body because of the rishi’s curse, no-one tried to give him an artificial room like Vasishtha got. These test tubes are nothing new. The rishis have been doing it for ages. They take the sperm and put it in a pot, create some artificial climate and it would grow in there and become a saintly person.

These two rishis became test tube babies, but the other person just remained nirdeha and he remained for a long time, and then he went to the heavenly planets and from there to the spiritual world. His dead body was there, so all the saintly people in the country churned the body as there was no dynasty, just like in the Srimad-Bhagavatam there is the story of how Vena’s body was churned and Prthu Maharaja came. So this churning was done, and this churning is called Mithi. When churning the body you have to keep the foot from the body of that person and take the leg and then churn it. So this is why it was called Mithila, and the man who came out of that body was called Mithi Janaka. Ja means “birth” and Janaka means “one who has taken birth by churning.” So Mithi Janaka means “one who has taken his birth by churning of someone’s body.” And this Mithi Janaka, he didn’t want to be in Ayodhya because of all the prestige the family had. So he left Ayodhya and created a separate kingdom, and that kingdom was known as Mithila, because the Mithi Janaka created that kingdom so it was called Mithila. And all his sons were known by the name Janaka. He was Janaka, and then Janaka I, Janaka II, Janaka III and so on.

Janaka had a great property in his palace. This property was the bow which was used by Mahadeva, Lord Shiva, in a battle between him and Vishnu. Once there was a battle between Vishnu and Shiva. There was no cause for this, it was just Narada Muni’s jubilation. He was once in the assembly of Indra, and Indra was praising Mahadeva. He was saying, “Lord Shiva has three eyes, and fire comes out of his third eye and all that.”

So Narada Muni said, “There are so many Shivas. In every universe there are eleven Shivas. My Lord is different. He has no third eye but He knows everything.”

Then Indra said, “No no no, you don’t know. Vishnu is alright, he’s the avatar, but Shiva is the great powerful person.”

“If it is so,” Narada said, “Why don’t you go and ask Shiva to have a fight with Vishnu? Then we will see who is more powerful.”

Then Indra thought, “That would be a nice thing to do,” so he went to Kailash.

Shiva’s bull, Nandi, was asking, “What are you doing on Kailash? This is meant for people who meditate.” Nandi is a great yogi, and an astrologer too. He saw Indra and knew there would be trouble, so he said, “Get out of Kailash. You are an enjoyer, so what are you doing here?”

Indra said, “No no, I have only come here for Shiva’s darshana without any motive.”

Nandi said, “I am an astrologer, and I can see on your face that you have come here to create trouble. Don’t give any trouble to my Lord, he is peacefully meditating.”

Then Indra said, “Let me in Nandi.”

So he was allowed. When he came in, Shiva was in deep meditation. Indra came in there and prayed to Mahadeva so much, and finally Shiva opened his eyes. “Indra! Why are you here? There is no trouble happening. I don’t think you have come here to ask me to fight with someone.”

Indra said, “I must say that I only visit Kailash to ask you to fight with someone, but this time it’s not a demon.”

“Who is it then?” Mahadeva asked.

“Well we had a little argument,” Indra said. “Myself and Narada. I said that you are the most powerful, but Narada said that Vishnu is the most powerful.”

Shiva said, “You see this japa-mala I am holding? Do you know what I am doing with this? Do you know what I am chanting?”

“I heard that you chant Rama’s name,” Indra replied.

Shiva said, “So I am chanting Rama’s name. And then you are asking who is more powerful. If I am more powerful than Him, then He must be chanting my name. But it would never happen, I am chanting His name.”

Indra said, “That is right, that is Purana, but I want to see it.”

Shiva said, Why do you want to see it? I am telling you, He is the most powerful and all power comes from Him. I only destroy this universe, that is all the power I have.”

So Indra said, “Even though you say these things, I don’t believe it.”

“Why don’t you believe it?”

“Because you are so powerful that you burnt the fort which was flying in the sky.”

Then Shiva said, “I know what you are up to. You want to have some entertainment. So you go to Visvakarma and ask him to make a bow for me. I am a babaji, but you want me to fight. So at least give me some weapons.” So Visvakarma used his mystic power and made a bow. This bow was so big that 300 people had to carry it. Actually it was in a cart. The cart had so many wheels, and 300 people had to push it to move it an inch, and then they had to rest for half an hour. So this was the size of the bow. It was unstrung also, the thread was separate. So that was brought in front of Lord Shiva. “This is a good bow,” the said, and took it up. When he took it up all the demigods fainted. It was such a huge bow and Shiva was just lifting it so easily. Then Indra was saying, “See? I told you, he’s very strong. Don’t think that he’s just a babaji meditating. He’s got so much strength.” Shiva then strung the bow and he said, “All right, I am ready.” Then they went to Brahma and asked, “Please bring Lord Vishnu for a fight.” So Brahma went to the milk ocean and meditated.

Vishnu was sitting there in the Svetadvipa, and he said to Laksmi, “I wonder what Brahma is calling for now?”

Lakshmi said, “Maybe some demon is there.”

“How can a demon have come without My knowledge? There is no demon,” the Lord said.

“Then You must also know why he is calling You,” Lakshmi said.

“Yes I do. He wants Me to have a fight with Lord Shiva.”

“Oh,” Laksmi said. “I would like to see that.”

“Then I’ll have to do it,” the Lord said. So then He got up from His seat and He came to the other side of the milk ocean. He said, “All right Brahma, I am ready.”

And then Indra said, “But there is one condition – You don’t bring any bow or anything from Your spiritual world. We will give You something from this world. Otherwise You will overpower him easily, we know that. We want a straightforward fight.” So Visvakarma made another bow. Shiva’s bow was called Mahesha-chapa, and Vishnu’s bow was called Vishnu-chapa. Both were made by Visvakarma and were equal in strength. They were exactly the same. They were copies. So Vishnu came and said, “No problem, I will take it.” So he took the bow, and he came and lifted it. When he lifted the bow, because He has got an eternal associate called Sarnga, who is His bow, and when Vishnu touches any bow Sarnga will come in there and it will become Sarnga-dhanu. He took the bow and Sarnga entered. Nobody could see this happen.

So He came and Shiva was there, and as soon as Vishnu was in vision of Mahesha, Shiva offered his obeisances and clapped his hands, rolling on the floor in ecstasy. Indra said, “What’s going on?” He turned to Narada Muni and said, “Go and tell him to give up his devotion and fight!”

Narada Muni went to Shiva and said, “You have forgotten that there is supposed to be a fight. You have surrendered.”

So then Mahesha said, “Please, bless me so that I can fight with You.”

Vishnu blessed him, “All right. You can fight with Me.” So they were fighting, fighting, fighting, and it was going on for a long time. Finally Shiva put the bow down and started running away from the battlefield, and all sorts of astras were coming out of Sarnga, and Shiva ran away. He ran, and he was shouting to Indra, “I told you! I told you! Now I am in trouble!” Of course, Vishnu was not angry, he was only smiling. But then all the demigods prayed to Vishnu, “Please stop the war. We need Lord Shiva.” So then the war was over, and Shiva was saved.

Vishnu took His bow and gave it to one rishi called Rcika. Rcika gave that bow to Jamadagni, another great rishi. Jamadagni was the father of Parashurama, so that bow of Vishnu eventually came to Parashurama. Parashurama was holding this bow. Of course, he didn’t need this, as he had his axe with which he killed then kshatriyas twenty-one times. And the bow of Lord Shiva was given to one of the Janakas. Not the original Janaka who was made from churning. Seven generations after him there was one Janaka called Devarata Janaka. He was very attractive to the Devas so he was known as Devarata.

Devarata got Shiva’s bow and he kept it in the palace as a worshippable object. In this way it was coming down in the family, and this Janaka we are dealing with was also worshipping the bow. He did not have any children, so they suggested to him to do a hola-yajna. You take a plough and draw a line around the palace. When you move the plough, it will get stuck in the mud, and every time it gets stuck you have to donate gold to the priests. And every movement you make it will get stuck, so you have to give gold. When all the Brahmins are satisfied, you move it again and when it gets stuck you have to get more gold. In this way you are giving a lot of charity and you are getting a lot of blessings so you will get children.

So Janaka was doing this, moving the plough and giving gold. In one place it got stuck, and after giving all the gold, still the plough would not move on. “There must be some big rock there,” everybody said, so they dug and found a box. And inside the box was a baby, a female baby, and she looked just like Laksmi. She was known as Janaki, the daughter of Janaka, and she grew up in the palace.

She was six years old. Janaka had a brother, and he had three daughters. So these four daughters were running around and playing at the palace. Once they made a stick with a hook on it to take some flowers from the trees. So Janaki was trying to get it, but somehow or other there was a mystic tree there, and whenever she reached up, it grew more. Somebody was in that tree. So Janaki could not get it and she was the only daughter of the emperor, so she was very frustrated. “I want to get it, and I know what I will use to get it.” She ran into the puja room, and in there was this big bow inside a box. She opened the box and took the bow in her hands, and then she walked outside with the bow. When the soldiers saw her they all swooned. Three hundred people were supposed to push the cart, and this little girl was holding the bow. Whoever was able to stay conscious ran to Janaka and said, “Do you know what’s happening? Your little girl is holding Lord Shiva’s bow!”

“Send this man to the doctor,” Janaka said. “There’s something wrong with his head.”

Then another lady came and said, “Yes, yes, it’s true! And if you want to see it come quickly.””What’s wrong with these people?” Janaka said. Then he called his doctor. “Supply 1000 lemons to the palace. And put at least 500 lemons on these people’s heads, to cool them down.”

And then Janaka’s minister came running and said, “No, it is no joke. I just saw it myself.”

This time Janaka said, “It must be true,” so he came running, and the last thing he saw was Janaki lifting the bow into the box. Then she came towards Janaka as if she had done nothing. When questioned by Janaka, she innocently said that she had performed no great task. But Janaka had seen it happen, and he went to his ministers and said, “My daughter must be haunted by some big brahma-rakshasa ghost, more powerful than Lord Shiva. Otherwise how is it possible that she is able to lift it?” So then the ministers thought over it and said, “Janaka, we think that your daughter is Maha-laksmi. From all the symptoms of her bodily features, we can understand that she is none other than Laksmi. And if she is Laksmi, then naturally her Lord is Narayana. Now your problem is, how are you going to get Narayana to marry her? There is no Narayana here.”

Then Janaka came up with an idea. He said, “Anyone who can take this bow and string it will marry my daughter.” All the ministers laughed. They said, “In this way your daughter is going to remain unmarried. Because who on this earth has the strength to do this?”

Janaka said, “Narayana obviously knows that Lakshmi is here. He is not going to leave her unmarried. She is not going to take some woman sannyasa or anything. No. Narayana must come here.” So everyone was shocked. They were saying, “What is this man doing? This is as good as saying, `No-one can marry my daughter.'” Anyway, this was going on, and a yajna was performed. The special feature of this yajna was that they were going to bring the bow and put it for darshana, and the kshatriya kings could try. So Vishvamitra knew this, so he told Rama and Lakshmana, “This is the bow used by Lord Shiva, and if you want to see it I will take you there.” “We must see it,” they said. Rama and Lakshmana came there, and the rest of the story is known. We are only dealing with those parts of the story that are not well-known.

All the kshatriyas came and they were seeing the bow and Janaka told Vishvamitra, “You must call your young student to come and have a look at this.” So Ramachandra came and saw it, and Lakshmana said, “Try it.” Janaka announced, “If anyone wants to try and string this bow and get my daughter, then please come.”

So one or two very puffed-up kshatriya kings came. The first one could not lift it, and another got his hand stuck between the floor and the bow, and he had to be pulled out. Just then the whole assembly became dark and the earth was shaking. They heard someone laughing loudly. So then Janaka caught hold of Vishvamitra’s hand and said, “Tell me what is now happening.” Vishvamitra said, “This must be a demon. Very soon he will enter.” In another three minutes there was a flash of light, and between the light came Trilokeshvara, Ravana. He had arranged that before he came, two other demons would precede him and announce, “Trilokeshvara Ravana is coming.” Everyone was scared, “What is this demon doing in our assembly?” So then Ravana appeared. “What is this svayamvara? You are all spineless people. You can’t even lift this bow! You must know who I am. I am Ravana, and I have lifted Kailash with Lord Shiva on it. This is only his bow. This is the bow of Lord Shiva, and Lord Shiva, his whole family, his entire troop of ghosts and goblins and the whole Kailash mountain was lifted by me, and I flew to Lanka. That is my strength.” So then everybody thought, “He can easily lift this bow.”

So Ravana came, and he put his hands on each side, and he lifted the bow. Everyone was amazed. “Ah! He has lifted the bow!” Then Lord Shiva in Kailash was thinking, “What’s going on? I didn’t leave it for him. I left it for Lord Rama.” So then Shiva went inside the bow and pressed down. Ravana got stuck. That also happened when he lifted Kailash mountain, when he put it down he got stuck. Now he was also stuck. He was crying and pleading, and finally Lord Shiva let go, and he got his hand out.

And then Rama came, but he didn’t use two hands, only one. He put his foot on the other end of the bow and he took the string. As he pulled it, the bow broke into two pieces. Everyone clapped their hands, and flowers fell from heaven. Then Lord Ramachandra got married to Sita, and those other three girls were married to Bharata, Shatrughna and Lakshmana. And they were coming back to Ayodhya.

On the way back, again everything became dark and the earth shook, and all the birds stopped singing. Dasharatha asked Vishvamitra, “Is Ravana coming again?”

“No, this is Parashurama,” Vishvamitra said. “He is about one hundred miles away, that is why it is shaking. He is angry.”

Dasharatha said, “What are you going to do? Are you going to do anything to protect us?” And he asked Vasishtha too.

They replied, “In this we have only one opinion. Usually we have two opinions, but here we have only one opinions. We’re going to lay down and close our eyes, because Parashurama is coming.” So they laid down and closed their eyes, and Parashurama was coming closer and closer, and he was doing his umkara. Every step he was taking he was going, “Oom! Oom!” And by this sound all of Dasharatha’s army fainted, and the elephants screamed. By his attachment to Rama, Dasharatha didn’t faint, because he wanted to look after Rama.

Finally when Parashurama came, only two people were conscious, the supremely conscious people, Rama and Lakshmana. Even Bharata and Satrughna were on the ground. Rama looked at Lakshmana and said, “You have planned something?”

So then Parashurama came to him and said, “Who is this Rama?”

Ramachandra said, “It is you. You are the only Rama. You are Parashurama. Who else is Rama?”

Parashurama said, “Some young child from Iksvaku’s dynasty, how dare he break Lord Shiva’s bow? I have controlled the kshatriyas so much. I have finished them all. And now someone else is coming. He must know that I am still here.”

Ramachandra said, “No, no, what’s the problem? I didn’t break it, but the bow was so weak that I just lifted it and it broke into two pieces.”

Parashurama said, “You mean to say that You are so strong and Lord Shiva’s bow is so weak? So the kshatriyas are becoming strong again, and I am not going to leave it like that. If you think that you are so powerful, then why did you insult Lord Shiva? You don’t think that you have done aparadha? He’s the great Mahesha and you broke his bow! And how does this Janaka make a svayamvara like this, that someone should string Shiva’s bow? So he is also an impostor. Now again I will start, and I will finish all of you. Finish Dasharatha, finish Janaka, finish everyone.”

So then Ramachandra said, “Yes, many people are supposed to be finished, but it is supposed to be done by me.”

Parashurama said, “Now you are competing with me?” He took his axe and said, “You look at this.”

Rama and Lakshmana paid obeisances. “Why are you paying namaskara to my axe?” Parashurama asked.

They replied, “Because it killed all the bad ksatriyas. It is a famous weapon. It is a weapon of Vishnu, and we are in the Surya dynasty so we must pay our obeisances.”

So Parashurama was perplexed. At one point they are instructing, and then they are paying obeisances. “There is something here that I am not able to figure out,” Parashurama said. “So I will have to give them a test.” Then he addressed them. “If you are so courageous and so strong, I will give you the bow of Vishnu. Let us see if you can string it.”

Ramachandra said, “Anything you give, I will take, and anything you say I will do by your blessing.”

So then Parashurama closed his eyes and lifted his hands. He was invoking Sarnga-dhanu, the original bow of Vishnu. He was calling and calling, but it was not coming. And then he opened his eyes, and he saw that Rama was already holding it, and it was already strung. Then he said, “You are the source of all strength. Now I understand that it is you and not me. You are the Rama, I am not the Rama. So I have no worries, and now I will only do meditation. That was what I was doing, but Narada came to me and said, `What are you doing, Parashurama? The kshatriyas are becoming powerful again.’ And he told me that some king, he didn’t tell me who, he just told me that some king has a son, and this son has broken Lord Shiva’s bow. He never told me it was You.”

So then Parashurama paid obeisances, and Ramachandra said, “Now what am I supposed to do? I have strung the bow, I have put and arrow upon it. I need some object. I am Rama. My arrow and my word never go wrong. This arrow has to get an object. So where should I aim it? You tell me. You have put me in a very big dilemma. The arrow is there, I have to shoot it, so where shall I shoot it?”

Parashurama said, “You shoot it on my strength, and you take it.” So this strength which had entered Parashurama, he was a saktyavesa avatar, so the arrow went on that strength. So Ramachandra’s arrows always come back, they are like boomerangs, so all the strength entered Ramachandra, and Parashurama’s lila was over. So he went to the Himalayas, a particular peak, and stayed there for meditation.

Later Rama and Lakshmana woke up Dasharatha and Vishvamitra and Vasishtha, and then Dasharatha asked, “What happened?”

Ramachandra said, “Oh, nothing. Parashurama came, and he talked to us about history, and after history class he left.” In this way they came back to Ayodhya, and there was a coronation. The hunchbacked woman couldn’t tolerate it, and she put some great advice in the mind of Kaikeyi, and Kaikeyi also remembered the Kanya-sulka. “Originally this land was supposed to be given to my son, so what is the wrong if I ask for it?” So he asked for two benedictions, and by the benedictions Rama was sent to the forest with Lakshmana and Sita.

First they visited Bharadvaja ashrama, and after visiting Bharadvaja they wanted to go to Citrakuta, and in Citrakuta Khara and Dusana came and gave trouble to the rishis because Ramachandra was there. Ramachandra decided, “Why should I be a cause of trouble for these rishis? Let me go to Dandakaranya, because Dandakaranya was the place where I was supposed to go.” So he walked down to Dandakaranya, they came down into that vicinity. And as they entered Dandakaranya, they saw a demon. This demon was three tall trees high, and he was wearing many tiger skins, and he had a trident in his hand. On that trident was six elephants, three tigers and a few other wolfs and some rishis on the top. So he came there, and he saw Ramachandra and Lakshmana and said, “Oh, that’s good! There’s some space left on my trident.” And then he took the trident and tried to stick them on it.

Just then he saw Mother Sita. “Oh!” he exclaimed. “You look horrible with this tree bark and renunciate clothing on. This is the dress of a renunciate, not of a grhasta. You come with me.” Compared to him, Sita was very small, and she was wondering, “What is this demon trying to do me?” So he told Sita, “After finishing these two, I will reduce my form and then we will be a good match.”

Ramachandra said to Lakshmana, “Look what has happened! You had so many plans that we would go to Dandakaranya and kill all the demons and return to Ayodhya. But now, my wife is gone. Look, she is being carried away by this demon! We can’t do anything, look what he has on his trident.”

Lakshmana said, “Why are you saying all this? Just finish him!”

So they both took their swords, and they cut his legs, and he fell down.

Then they brought Sita away, and they began cutting the demon into pieces. The demon was screaming and shouting, “Who are you? Tell me!” Ramachandra replied, “I am the son of King Dasharatha, and this is my brother Lakshmana.” Immediately the demon said, “I am actually a gandharva, and I was cursed to become a demon. They told me that only when Rama and Lakshmana cut me into pieces would I be relieved of this curse. So please do it, quickly, and then dig a big hole and bury me there.” So they did that, then from the hole came Tumburu, a great gandharva musician who had been cursed by Kuvera for singing some sense gratification songs. So he told Ramachandra, “If you walk this way in Dandakaranya, you will come to the ashrama of Sarabanga Rishi, and then you will find so many rishis. Eventually you will come to Agastya, and he will give you divine weapons. After receiving these weapons you will go to Pancavati, and in Pancavati some bad things will happen, but I won’t tell you what they are. However, these deeds will make you most famous.”

In this way Tumburu was sent there in disguise, and Ramachandra entered into the Dandakaranya forest, and his pastimes with the different rishis will be discussed later.

At the end of Dandakaranya, after Sita was taken away, and Jatayu was given cremation by Ramachandra, Rama and Lakshmana were coming to Kishkinda, because one rishi told Ramachandra that in Kishkinda they would get information where Mother Sita was. As they reached Kishkinda, there was a very very old man with matted locks of hair walking in front of Lord Rama. He looked at them and said, “You are saintly people, or are you kings, or are you hunters, or demigods? Please tell me who you are. I am a beggar in this area, and anyone who comes here, I beg something from them. So according to your business I will make my demand. You tell me whether you are a demigod or a king or saintly person.”

So Ramachandra looked at Lakshmana and said, “This is a wonderful beggar. According to the standard of the donors his demands increase or decrease.” Then he looked at the beggar, and he saw a wonderful diamond necklace on his neck. He said, “You are a strange beggar. You have a very nice diamond necklace, and yet you are begging. I can’t understand. You have so much wealth. How can one have such a nice necklace, and still be begging?”

The old man said, “You are able to see my necklace?”

Ramachandra replied, “Yes, I can see it.”

Then the beggar asked, “Is he able to see my necklace?”

So Rama asked Lakshmana, “Can you see it?”

Lakshmana said, “No. I don’t see a thing.”

Ramachandra asked, “How come I can see the necklace and Lakshmana can’t?” Then the sage very excitedly began to explain. And this is explained in the next story.