Shatashloki 54: Lakshmana chops off the nose and ears of Shurpanakha

Tena tatraiva vasatā janasthāna nivāsinī

Virūpitā śūrpaṇakhā rākṣasi kāmarūpini

Meaning– Sri Rama, set up his residence in Janasthāna, which was the outpost for the rakshasas. He had the nose and ears of the demoness Śurpaṇakha, cut off.


Rama, Seeta and Lakshmana took weapons from Maharishi Agastya and walked towards Panchavati. On the way, they came across a very huge bird. It said, “My name is Jatayu. I am the friend of your father Dasharatha.” Thereafter it explained its entire story.

Further Jatayu said, “Rama, if you wish I will help you. This is an extremely dangerous forest. When you brothers go into the forests on errands, I shall look after Seeta”.  Rama embraced Jataayu out of love.

He thereafter proceeded towards Panchavati. At one spot, they found a garden of flowers. All the trees and plants were blossoming with varied coloured flowers. Fragrance from the flowers filled the air. Deer were playfully sprinting about everywhere. Chirping of the birds could be heard clearly. Realizing that this place was Panchavati, Rama asked Lakshmana to find a suitable location and to build a cottage for their residence. He said, “Lakshmana, this place is beautiful. The blossoming flowers, the deer, the birds and the majestic River Godavari that is flowing by, makes it an ideal place to live. Let us live here with Jatāyu as our companion”.

Based on Vastu shastra, Lakshmana expertly and quickly built a very beautiful and comfortable cottage. Praising and admiring Lakshmana’s feat, Rama said, “When I watch you, Lakshmana, I do not ever feel that our father is no more”. Saying this, Rama accompanied by Seeta, entered the cottage.

Autumn passed and winter made its appearance. They were spending their days joyfully in Panchavati. One day, Rama, Lakshmana and Seeta bathed in the Godavari. Rama and Lakshmana offered tarpana (water oblations) to the Devatas and the pitr-devatas (fore fathers) and conducted their sandhya vandana worship. Having completed their daily worship, they returned to the cottage. Rama was engrossed in playfully spending his time with his brother and Seeta.

Unexpectedly at that time, Surphanaka, the sister of Ravana, arrived there. Her eyes fell on the handsome Rama. She was lovesick. She couldn’t move her eyes away from him. She just stood still, admiring him and drinking in that beauty. She lost her heart to Rama. Seized by love, she walked towards Rama and enquired about him.  Rama introduced himself and told her his entire story of exile. He then enquired about her.


She replied, “I am Surphanaka, the sister of the mighty demon Ravana. The mighty Kumbhakarna, who sleeps all the time, is also another brother of mine. Virtuous Vibhishana, powerful Khara and Dhushana are all my brothers. Without a care for any of them, I fearlessly wander in all these forests. I have accepted you as my husband. Accept me as your wife. This very moment I shall devour this ugly woman Seeta and your brother Lakshmana. Both of us can then, wander through these mountains, joyfully, holding hands. We can visit all the gardens here. Let us roam around the vast Dandakaranaya and enjoy ourselves”.

Rama chuckled and pointed towards Lakshmana and said, “Do you know that this brother of mine is very handsome, possesses many great traits and is very valorous. He has never enjoyed the companionship with his wife. He has not got a chance to wander in these forests, hand-in hand with a wife. He is fit to be your husband. Approach him. It will be better if you hold his hand and roam about”.

Surphanaka immediately turned towards Lakshmana and declared her love for him and made a self-declaration that she was the most charming woman. Lakshmana said, “O beautiful one! I am after all a servant here. If you marry me, you will only be a servant maid here. A lady as beautiful as you deserves to be the wife of my elder brother, whom I serve. He will keep you happy. Approach him”.

Surphanaka thought that it would be best if she could quickly devour Seeta, so that Rama would then happily accept her. She hastily rushed towards Seeta, with this intent. Rama intercepted and loudly said, “Lakshmana, jests and jokes should not be entertained with cruel who are of base character. Arrogance and pride have peaked in this wicked woman. Ensure that no calamity befalls Seeta. Just disfigure this wicked woman”.

Without delaying even a second further, in the presence of his elder brother, Lakshmana chopped off Surphanaka’s nose and ears. The next second, Surphanaka turned into a ghastly demoness.


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