Agasttyavacanā ccaiva jagrāhaindraṃ śarāsanam
Khaḍgam ca paramaprītah tūṇicāksayasāyakau.
Rama visited Maharishi Agastya who handed over to him, a powerful sword; a bow that had been given to him by Lord Indra and quivers that had the capacity to produce infinite number of arrows. Rama joyfully and reverentially received them.
Rama, Seeta and Lakshmana began to walk towards Maharishi Agastya’s hermitage. They enjoyed the pleasant forests which abounded in greenery and admired the frolicking deer as they entered the hermitage. They also visited the Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra and Kartikeya dharmasthanas on the way.
Upon knowing that Rama was entering his hermitage, Sage Agastya, in great elation came forward along with his disciples, to receive him. He had been yearning to meet Rama. Sri Rama, fell at the feet of the great sage and held them tightly with profound reverence. Seeta and Lakshmana too prostrated to him reverentially. Maharishi Agastya provided all the required comforts, fruits and roots for his guests.
Each and every chapter of Ramayana has its own specialty. Within every movement and breath of Lord Rama, many deep specialties are hidden.
Addressing Rama, who was seated with his palms joined, Maharishi Agastya said, “Rama, a hermit who undertakes penance (tapas) should worship fire, give water oblations and worship the guests who arrive. In case he behaves contrary to this tradition, then upon reaching the other world, he will have to eat his own flesh”.
Maharishi Agastya’s ashram was a storehouse of all the good traditions. Every person who lived there abided totally by dharma. Even before they had stepped into this sacred hermitage, Rama had informed Seeta and Lakshmana about the prominence of this sage. Great Devatas, Siddhas, Gandharvas as well as the exalted seers, resided within Maharishi Agastya’s ashram practising intense penance (tapas) while consuming very limited food and maintaining absolute control over the senses (indriya nigraha). Even birds, reptiles, Gandharvas and Devatas that reside here abide by dharma. They totally abide by the directions given by this righteous sage and offer their services to him.
Liars, savages, cruel people, cheats, sinners, murderers or those who override the dictates of the scriptures (shastras) cannot reside. Such was his greatness. Many exalted sages after undertaking penance at this hermitage, obtain divine effulgent bodies and depart to heaven. Devatas have blessed many of the upasakas of this hermitage with immortality (amaratva) or with the state of divine celestial yakshas. They have also blessed many with kingship.
Maharishi Agastya has performed many divine extraordinary deeds for the welfare of this universe. He is a Srividya upasaka (worshipper of Srividya).
Such an illustrious and exalted Maharishi, greeted Rama and said, “Rama, you are the king of all these universes. You are worthy of worship. You are a great dharmatma. I have with me a Vishnu bow that was created by Vishwakarma, the celestial architect. This is the bow of the highest order. Lord Brahma gave this to me. Here is a quiver from which will come limitless arrows and also a golden sword. Both of these are gifts received by me from Lord Indra.
Long ago, using this bow, Vishnu annihilated the horrible and atrocious demons and ensured that the kingdom of Heaven was restored to the Devatas. You too should use these weapons towards the destruction of the mighty demons whom you will encounter. Please accept them”.
Rama was mighty pleased that he had secured the most suitable weapons. Gladly he accepted them. Agastya further continued, “Rama, please proceed towards Panchavati and set up your residence there. I know everything about you. Using my power of penance I am able to read your intentions. Understand that Panchavati is a beautiful place with exquisite flower gardens. May auspiciousness befall you”.
With this, the Maharishi bid them farewell. Rama and Lakshmana wore on their bodies this new weaponry received and together with Seeta proceeded towards Panchavati.
Receiving these divine weapons was the purpose behind their visit to Maharishi Agastya’s ashram. It can be said that Agastya returned back to Vishnu, the bow that originally belonged to Him.
Om Seeta Ramabhyaam namaha.