Shatashloki 37: Guha helps Rama cross the River Ganga

Śŗingiberapure sūtaṃ gaṇgākūle vyasarjayat

Guhamāsādya dharmātma niṣādādhipatiṃ priyam.

Meaning- Rama, who was eternally righteous, bid farewell to their charioteer Sumantra, when they reached Sringiberapura. He befriended Guha, the headman of the Nishada tribe who inhabited this area.

The chariot moved on leaving Ayodhya far behind. There are no words to describe the agony of Dasharatha. The queens held him and with difficulty took him into the palace. Sumitra consoled Koushalya who was totally drowned in sorrow.

The entire city of Ayodhya was engulfed in grief. Loud cries could be heard from every household. Many men and women were running behind the chariot following Rama. Rama was overwhelmed by the love and affection shown by the people towards him. Addressing the crowds he said, “My dear people, please shower this similar love to Bharata, when he is crowned. He will also govern reciprocating similar feelings of love”.

The citizens were in no mood to listen to this. They chased the chariot. When they reached the banks of River Tamasa, Sumantra stopped the chariot. That night all of them, including those citizens who were following them, rested there. Around midnight, Rama instructed that the chariot should return back to Ayodhya. Leaving all the citizens behind, Rama sought out another route, and reached Sringiberapuram.

Sringiberapuram was on the banks of Ganga. Guha was the Nishada King who ruled this land. Guha was a dear friend of Rama. When he learnt that Rama had stepped into his kingdom, he hastened with his entire family to warmly and reverentially welcome Him.

Rama embraced Guha and enquired about his well being. Guha begged Rama to visit his capital and receive the ceremonious offerings from him. Rama gently declined stating that bound by the rules of vanavasa dharma, he could not enter any township. Rama sipped a little water from the River Ganga and slept on the bare floor.

Lakshmana and Sumantra did not sleep that night. Entire night was spent grieving about the fate of Rama and Sita.  They recollected various instances of Rama’s life. Lakshmana said to Guha, “I fear that, unable to bear this separation from Rama, our father King Dasharatha may not live long”. Guha also was overcome with grief.

The next morning Rama expressed his intention to cross the River Ganga. In a short while, Guha got a beautiful boat constructed. Rama, Lakshmana and Sita were all set to leave. Sumantra, totally overcome with grief, shed tears, beseeched him and said, “Please permit me to come with you”. Rama affectionately consoled him and said, “Sumantra, please return to Ayodhya and look after the needs of the king. Listen to me. It is for your good. Please protect the kingdom”.

Sumantra was the wisest amongst the ministers. He was the only one among them who had the freedom to move around freely within the inner apartments of the royal palaces. Hence, he was the only one who could freely visit the grieving king and effectively take care of his needs. Rama was therefore keen that he should return back to Ayodhya at the earliest.

Sumantra returned to Ayodhya. Rama, Seeta and Lakshmana were all set to cross the River Ganga.


Om Seeta Ramabhyaam namaha.

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