An incident occurred one day.
A demoness, Shurpanakha,was wandering about in that area in search of food. She scented
some human beings staying there and came to Rama's hermitage and peeped in.
She was instantly struck by the graceful personalities of Rama and Lakshmana and wished
to marry one of them. She assumed the appearance of a beautiful damsel and asked Rama to
Rama said: "I am married and my wife is with me here. I cannot bring in"
another wife. My younger brother Lakshmana is alone and he is also good-looking. Go to
Shurpanakha then approached Lakshmana and asked him to marry her. He said: "I am
Rama's devout attendant. If you marry me, you will also become a servant and have to sub
serve Sita. Go back and ask Rama."
It was a sport between the brothers. She was made to go from one to the other several q
times and became fed up. She angrily said: "it is because Rama's wife is here that
things are happening this way. I am going to finish her off." So saying, she came to
pounce upon Sita.
Rama told Lakshmana: "No point in being too light-hearted with evil people. Punish
her and drive her away." Thereupon, Lakshmana went and cut off her ears and nose and
drove her away.
Shurpanakha, apart from the physical pain, felt humiliated and ran away growling
loudly. She was the sister of Ravana, the king of Lanka, a man endowed with immense
prowess. Another demon, Khara, who ruled over Janasthana, where Rama's hermitage was
located, was Ravana's younger brother. Shurpanakha went to Khara and told him of her
humiliation. He became wild with anger and, accompanied by a large army, came to attack
Rama and Lakshmana. But Rama's powerful arrows annihilated the enemy force. The sages of
the forest extolled Rama. Sita also felt happy, but a nagging worry continued to haunt