Guhena sahito rāmo lakṣmaṇena ca sītayā
Te vanena vanaṃ gatvā nadī stīrtvī bahūdakāḥ
Meaning- Rama, along with Lakshmana, Seeta and Guha crossed River Ganga and stepped into the forest. He walked from one forest to another and in this process crossed many rivers.
Rama addressed Guha and said, “My dear friend, in accordance with my father’s command, I am to live in a forest that is uninhabited by people. I am to eat only roots and fruits during this period and sleep on the bare floor. My attire should be like that of ascetics. Hence, first and foremost, I need to matt my hair using the milk of banyan tree. Kindly organize for it, so that I can proceed on my further journey with matted hair”.
Guha swiftly arranged for the milk using which Rama and Lakshmana matted their hair. They accepted the vow of Vanaprastha ashrama vrata and then bid farewell to Guha. Rama together with Seeta and Lakshmana boarded the boat. The boatmen were speedily rowing the boat across Ganga.
As they reached the middle of the river, Seeta Devi folded her palms and prayed to Mother Ganga, “May Rama, after living fourteen years in exile, return safely to Ayodhya. I pray to you. Upon our return, I shall offer you due worship”.
The boat reached the other shore. From here began the dense forest. Rama said to Lakshmana, “Dear brother, now you have to protect us. We are now entering an unknown territory. You walk in front and we will follow you. Sita will be in the middle and I will be behind her. In this way, let us all protect each other”.
Agreeing to this, Lakshmana led the way. They reached the Vatsa desa. This was a very fertile land replete with fields that were laden with crops. There was greenery all around. Crops were plentiful. They halted there for that night. Lakshmana quickly created a bed for Rama. Resting on it, Rama began to think about his mothers. He said to Lakshmana, “Dear brother, you please go back to Ayodhya for the safety of our mothers. I fear that they may have to face trouble from Kaikeyi. I am worried about their welfare and safety. Please go back”.
Lakshmana would not hear of it. He immediately said, “Brother, if you grieve, I am bound to grieve. I do not have any desire to go back. Wherever you are, to me that is Ayodhya. It itself is everything to me”.
A little while later Rama and Seeta drifted off to sleep. Lakshmana remained fully alert and was guarding them very carefully. The next morning they resumed their journey. As they proceeded through the dense forests, they came across strange wild animals they had never seen before. They were proceeding on the path that led towards the confluence of Rivers Ganga and Yamuna. They passed by many villages and beautiful places enjoying the scenery as they passed by. They noticed different types of trees and birds.
As they were thus going, at one place, they could clearly hear the noise created by the merger of the two great Rivers Ganga and Yamuna. They also saw many pieces of timber and broken trees. They realized that this was a place inhabited by hunters. As they walked further they came across many fruit and flower trees. A hermitage (ashram) could also be seen close by.
In this manner, Rama, together with Lakshmana and Seeta, crossed many forests and rivers and were proceeding on the journey, all the while enjoying the natural beauty of the places that they passed by.
Om Seeta Ramabhyaam Namaha.