The sages of Dandakaranya
received them with regard and affection. They told Rama that evil rakshasas and wild
animals had been harassing them and sought his help to relieve them of these troubles and
protect them. Rama, by nature, was compassionate; he promised them he would free them from
the menace of rakshasas.
Sitadevi was worried. At an appropriate time she told Rama: "Aryaputra, let me
submit to you a few of my thoughts. Please do not think I am more learned than you. The
sages narrated their problems and you promised them you would annihilate the rakshasas and
wild animals. You have now forsaken all the royal paraphernalia and have come to the
forest. Now you have to live like an ascetic and should not carry weapons. You have a bow
and arrows for self-protection. By your promise to the sages, the rakshasas will become
your enemies. I am worded about this. We cannot say what danger might hit us at any time.
And also, is it just to kill wild animals and rakshasas who have not harmed us in any way?
Hatred without reason may result in danger. Please think it over."
Rama patiently listened to Sita's words and said:
"Devi, listen. We are Kshatriyas by birth and no time is objectionable for us to
punish the evil. Can the rakshasas attack innocent sages and devour them? Punishing them
and protecting theinnocent is our dharma (sacred duty). Your thoughts deserve
consideration. You have thought about this matter seriously. I will go about this very
carefully." Sita was relieved at his explanation.
As Rama, Sita and Lakshmana were approaching a spot called Panchavati, they came across
a huge banyan tree. Atop it sat a large-sized eagle. They thought it might also be a
rakshasas in disguise. But it said: "Raghurama, I am a friend of your father
Dasharatha. My name is Jatayu. When you and Lakshmana go out, I will be here with Sita and
keep guard. I will try to be of some help to you. "They felt happy that they met a
friendly soul in the jungle.
They built a hermitage and lived comfortably for sometime. Close by was the Godavari
river. The area was dotted with hills. The jungle trees and plants provided fruits and
flowers in abundance. With majestic trees, various plants, chirping birds and attractive
animals like the deer, the spot was a feast to the eye.