Dasharatha arrives at Mithila and Janaka receives him reverentially, as he belongs to a crowning dynasty, called Ikshvaku-s. Then, after the usual exchange of royal pleasantries and protocol, all of them stay in Mithila comfortably.
ततो रात्र्याम् व्यतीतायाम् स उपाध्यायः स बान्धवः |
राजा दशरथो हृष्टः सुमंत्रम् इदम् अब्रवीत् || १-६९-१
raajaa dasharatho hR^iShTaH sumaMtram idam abraviit || 1-69-1
On the next dawn that heartened king Dasharatha who is with his teachers and his relatives then said this to his minister Sumantra. [1-69-1].
अद्य सर्वे धन अध्यक्षा धनम् आदाय पुष्कलम् |
व्रजंति अग्रे सु विहिता नाना रत्न समन्विताः || १-६९-२
vrajaMti agre su vihitaa naanaa ratna samanvitaaH || 1-69-2
“Now let the chancellors of exchequers draw ample riches, gems and numerous other items that are used in the marriage from bridegroom’s side, all-inclusively, and let them travel in advance and let them be well-prepared for any exigency… [1-69-2].
चतुरंग बलम् च अपि शीघ्रम् निर्यातु सर्वशः |
मम आज्ञा समकालम् च यानम् युग्मम् अनुत्तमम् || १-६९-३
mama aaj~naa samakaalam ca yaanam yugmam anuttamam || 1-69-3
“Let the quadruple forces start off in a trice from everywhere at my order, and others shall start with unexcelled vehicles like palanquins, sedan chairs, litters etc., and with those that can be yoked with horses, like cabined-coaches and horse-carriages… [1-69-3]
The fourfold army is generally taken as horses, elephants, chariots, and foot soldiers for the word caturanga balam , while some say such an army is moved only when a massive combat is necessary, but not when going to marriages. Thus some say though army is moved, it is as much as required. But this word also qualifies as caturanga balam= dhana, kanaka, vastu, vaahana sampatti, the quadruple opulence, namely ‘riches, gold, equipage, and vehicles…’ where opulence will be the only show in Indian marriages, either of poor or rich. R. C. Dutt comes near to this when telling in his poetic version: ‘Ride in front with royal riches, gold and gems in bright array /.
वसिष्ठो वामदेवः च जाबालिः अथ काश्यपः |
मार्कण्डेयः च दीर्घायुः ऋषिः कात्यायनः तथा || १-६९-४
एते द्विजाः प्रयान्तु अग्रे स्यंदनम् योजयस्व मे |
यथा काल अत्ययो न स्यात् दूता हि त्वरयन्ति माम् || १-६९-५
maarkaNDeyaH ca diirghaayuH R^iShiH kaatyaayanaH tathaa || 1-69-4
ete dvijaaH prayaantu agre syaMdanam yojayasva me |
yathaa kaala atyayo na syaat duutaa hi tvarayanti maam || 1-69-5
“Vashishta, Vaamadeva, Jaabaali and Kaashyapa, and the long-lived Maarkandeya, and Sage Kaatyaayana… let these Brahmans travel in forefront… and let horses be yoked to my royal-cariole, and as the messengers of Janaka are hastening me arrange for the travel without time lapse…” Thus Dasharatha ordered. [1-69-4, 5].
वचनात् च नरेन्द्रस्य सेना च चतुरंगिणी |
राजानम् ऋषिभिः सार्धम् व्रजंतम् पृष्ठतो अन्वगात् || १-६९-६
raajaanam R^iShibhiH saardham vrajaMtam pR^iShThato anvagaat || 1-69-6
On the word of that best king the fourfold opulence, and even the fourfold forces up to some extent followed rearward of the king who is going after the sages who are going afore of him. [1-69-6].
गत्वा चतुर् अहम् मार्गम् विदेहान् अभ्युपेयिवान् |
राजा तु जनकः श्रीमान् श्रुत्वा पूजाम् अकल्पयत् || १-६९-७
raajaa tu janakaH shriimaan shrutvaa puujaam akalpayat || 1-69-7
Travelling on a four-day-route Dasharatha reached the fringes of Videha kingdom, and on hearing this, the illustrious king Janaka arranged for welcome ceremonies at the outskirts of the city. [1-69-7]
These formalities are still prevalent in marriage functions, in one way or the other, in India, esp. rural India. The bridegroom’s party will be received at the outskirts of the bride’s place, esp. if it were to be a village, then a small function / ceremony will be held laudatory to the bridegroom, and then they are invited into that place of bride like, ‘meet a party halfway…’ type protocol. This is other than baraat ‘matrimonial pageantry…’
ततो राजानम् आसाद्य वृद्धम् दशरथम् नृपम् |
जनको मुदितो राजा हर्षम् च परमम् ययौ || १-६९-८
janako mudito raajaa harSham ca paramam yayau || 1-69-8
Then the king Janaka who is by far gladdened went into a state of ecstatic elation when he met the senescent king and paladin of people, namely Dasharatha, as the pace for the marriage celebrations is quickened because of the immediate arrival of Dasharatha. [1-69-8].
उवाच वचनम् श्रेष्ठो नरश्रेष्ठम् मुदा अन्वितम् |
स्वागतम् ते नरश्रेष्ठः दिष्ट्या प्राप्तो असि राघव || १-६९-९
पुत्रयोः उभयोः प्रीतिम् लप्स्यसे वीर्य निर्जिताम् |
svaagatam te narashreShThaH diShTyaa praapto asi raaghava || 1-69-9
putrayoH ubhayoH priitim lapsyase viirya nirjitaam |
And the best one among men, king Janaka, gleefully said this commendable sentence to Dasharatha, the best legatee of Raghu, “oh, king, a hearty welcome to you. Oh, legatee of Ragu, your arrival to my city is just by my providence… you will now get delectation on seeing your sons who won accolades just by their valorousness in the act of raising and breaking Shiva’s bow… [1-69-9, 10a]
Though Rama alone broke the bow of Shiva, both Rama and Lakshmana are said to have done it. This is a common unified laudation used for both of them, in view of their insuperable brotherhood, and such a sort of commingling both, for one person’s action, can be heard often. For e.g., when Lakshmana misshapes Shuurpanakha, Rama is said to have done, and even both are said to have done that act.
दिष्ट्या प्राप्तो महातेजा वसिष्ठो भगवान् ऋषिः || १-६९-१०
सह सर्वैः द्विज श्रेष्ठैः देवैः इव शतक्रतुः |
saha sarvaiH dvija shreSh.hThaiH devaiH iva shatakratuH |
“Providentially bechanced is the arrival of this great-resplendent and godly sage Vashishta, who arrived here with all of these eminent Brahmans, like Indra himself with all gods… [1-69-10b, 11a].
दिष्ट्या मे निर्जिता विघ्ना दिष्ट्या मे पूजितम् कुलम् || १-६९-११
राघवैः सह संबंधात् वीर्य श्रेष्ठैः महात्मभिः |
raaghavaiH saha saMbaMdhaat viirya shreShThaiH mahaatmabhiH |
“Providentially my hindrances are overcome by the arrival of godlike sages, and providentially my lineage too is gloried owing to this hymeneal engagement with noble-souled Raghava-s, who are the most valorous among all the valorous people… [1-69-11b, 12a].
श्वः प्रभाते नरेन्द्र त्वम् सम्वर्तयितुम् अर्हसि || १-६९-१२
यज्ञस्य अन्ते नरश्रेष्ठ विवाहम् ऋषि सत्तमैः |
yaj~nasya ante narashreShTha vivaaham R^iShi sattamaiH |
“Because you are born in first and foremost Ikshvaku dynasty, hence you are the Indra of Indra-like kings on earth… and hence, it will be apt of you to initiate the celebrations of marriage tomorrow, and the marriage itself after the culmination of the Vedic-ritual in three or four days, and the date and time for the marriage, that which is agreeable to the best sages can be decided, and you can get it performed on that date, through those great sages… [1-69-12b, 13a]
There is controversy about the marriage of Seetha with Rama, insofar as its categorisation. Whether it is one of the eight kinds or not, is a debated point. The eight kinds of marriages are braahma, daiva, praajaapatya, aarSa, asura, gandharva, raakshasa, paishaaca and this topic can be discussed at a later time.
तस्य तत् वचनम् श्रुत्वा ऋषि मध्ये नराधिपः || १-६९-१३
वाक्यम् वाक्यविदाम् श्रेष्ठः प्रत्युवाच महीपतिम् |
vaakyam vaakyavidaam shreShThaH pratyuvaaca mahiipatim |
On hearing that sentence of king Janaka the sententious king Dasharatha replied the king Janaka from amongst the sages. [1-69-13b, 14a].
प्रतिग्रहो दातृ वशः श्रुतम् एतत् मया पुरा || १-६९-१४
यथा वक्ष्यसि धर्मज्ञ तत् करिष्यामहे वयम् |
yathaa vakShyasi dharmaj~na tat kariShyaamahe vayam |
“Recipiency rests with the restitutor… so I have heard earlier. Hence, whatever you say, for you are the knower of probity and nothing goes amiss in your astute thinking, that we will do… [1-69-14b, 15a]
The word restitutor is used instead of ‘donor’ because Janaka is restoring the estranged divine pair to their togetherness in this mortal world. R. C. Dutt uses ‘Gift betokens giver’s bounty…’ for this expression.
तत् धर्मिष्ठम् यशस्यम् च वचनम् सत्य वादिनः || १-६९-१५
श्रुत्वा विदेह अधिपतिः परम् विस्मयम् आगतः |
shrutvaa videha adhipatiH param vismayam aagataH |
On listening that sentence of that affirmer of principles, namely Dasharatha, that which is conformable to the principles of marriages and familial glory, a thrill of joy came over the king of Videha. [1-69-15b. 16a]
Usually the bridegroom’s party will be stiff-necked at least till the marriage is over, which has become a nuisance practice in Indian marriages. Here Dasharatha is telling the opposite, by which his words are viewed as agreeable to righteousness of marriages etc., and for which Janaka is surprised.
ततः सर्वे मुनि गणाः परस्पर समागमे || १-६९-१६
हर्षेण महता युक्ताः ताम् निशाम् अवसन् सुखम् |
harSheNa mahataa yuktaaH taam nishaam avasan sukham |
Then, on the forgathering of sages from Vashishta’s side with the sages of Mithila all the sages have attained extreme joy and they spent that night happily. [1-69-16b, 17a].
अथ रामो महातेजा लक्ष्मणेन समम् ययौ || १-६९-१७
विश्वामित्रम् पुरस्कृत्य पितुः पादौ उपस्पृशन् |
vishvaamitram puraskR^itya pituH paadau upaspR^ishan |
Then that most brilliant Rama, keeping Vishvamitra ahead, and strutting in step with Lakshmana, strutted to touch the feet of his father Dasharatha. [1-69-17].
राजा च राघवौ पुत्रौ निशांय परिहर्षितः || १-६९-१८
उवास परम प्रीतो जनकेन सुपूजितः |
uvaasa parama priito janakena supuujitaH |
On seeing his two sons, the super medallists in Raghu’s dynasty, King Dasharatha is highly rejoiced and he resided in Mithila with a high contentment, for the reverence of Janaka is that high. [1-69-18]
The expression of ‘medallists’ to the word Raghava-s as above will look odd. So an explanation to this is furnished in the endnote.
जनको अपि महातेजाः क्रिया धर्मेण तत्त्ववित् |
यज्ञस्य च सुताभ्याम् च कृत्वा रात्रिम् उवास ह || १-६९-१९
yaj~nasya ca sutaabhyaam ca kR^itvaa raatrim uvaasa ha || 1-69-19
Even the great-resplendent Janaka on performing ritual acts according to scriptures for the Vedic-ritual on hand, and the preparatory rituals for handing out both of his daughters in marriage, went into the sleep of the just, with his palm on his chest. [1-69-19]
The marriages will be commenced with initial ceremonies called ankura aaropaNa aadi kriyaaH for an unhindered marriage function and for the harmonious family life of the newly wed.