In the previous episode, we witnessed that Rama and Lakshmana are at Sabari’s ashram wherein Rama “approved” Sabari who was ready to attain “Moksha”. In the due course we also witnessed the significance of a “Guru” or an “Aachaarya” and we learnt a very important lesson that a “Guru” has all the qualifications to grant the highest Moksha to his/her disciples, provided the disciples meticulously follow the teachings of the Guru in their lives!
Now moving on further, Rama and Lakshmana walk further southwards as per the guidance given by Kabandha and Sabari and they slowly approach the Pampa Sarovar Lake.
“Thadaa gachadamishyaabaha pampaam thaam priya darshanaam!
Rishyamookho girivyathra naathidhoore prakaashathe!!
Aajagaamaha tathaha pampaam lakshmanena sahafprabhuhu!
Sameekshamaanaha pushpaargyam sarvatho vipuladhruvam!!”
Thus from the above slokas, Valmiki Maharishi describes the beauty of the area surrounding the Pampa Sarovar lake – Dense forest with fast flowing streams, rivers and mountains in the vicinity! In the centre of all this was the beautiful sprawling lake of Pampa Sarovaram with water as clear as crystal! It is to this place did Rama and Lakshmana walk their way into! From the Pampa Sarovar lake, at a certain distance Rama and Lakshmana were able to spot the Rishyamukha mountain as per the guidance given by both Kabandha and Sabari.
Rama says to Lakshmana, “Oh Lakshmana! Here is the beautiful Pampa Sarovar Lake. In the vicinity there is the Tungabhadhra River with all its beautiful clear water! In the surrounding areas there are mountains that are rocky in nature and here is the Rishyamukha Mountain with all its glory! But where is Sugriva?” As Rama and Lakshmana were conversing thus, they near the Rishyamukha Mountain!
“Rishyamookha ithighyaathaha chithra pushpitha paadhakaha!
Ithyuvaacha punar vaakyam lakshmanam sathya vikramaha!!
Katham mayaa vinaa seethaa sakhyam lakshmana jeevithum!”
As Rama and Lakshmana near the Rishyamukha Mountain range, they were unable to trace the whereabouts of Sugriva and his people. While they were searching for Sugriva and Co., Rama loses hope and starts weeping bitterly, reminding himself about the unfortunate loss of his dear Sita! He hugs Lakshmana and says, “Oh my dear Saumithri! Here is the Rishyamukha Mountain, but we are now unable to find this person by name Sugriva! Why is everything going against my will? I lost King Dasharata! Subsequently I lost my dearest Sita to a Raakshasa, and then Jataayu Maharaaja! Now Sabari has also attained Moksha! At this time, Sugriva is also not to be found! Who is going to help me in finding my dear Sita? I think we’ve lost her forever!”
Rama continues further, “Oh Lakshmana! I think it’s better that you go back to Ayodhya and start to rule the kingdom along with Bharata! I cannot come to Ayodhya without Sita! I shall live the rest of my life here, thinking of her! You please do not waste your youth because of me! I’m thereby instructing you to go back immediately and leave me alone here!”
Saying thus, Rama weeps bitterly by hugging Lakshmana with him. However, Lakshmana was unfazed in his devotion towards his dearest brother! He is determined to find out the whereabouts of Sugriva and proceed further in search of Sita! What happened next? Did they manage to find Sugriva? Who was that person who helped Rama and Lakshmana find Sugriva? Let’s wait till the next important episode to find out!