Illustrated Ramayana – Part 10

Among the rishis from whom Rama received blessings was Agastya, short of stature and a sage known for his penance and great powers.

Agastya of incredible might gave Rama a big bow made by the architect of the heavens, Viswakarma and quivers, with the following words:

“Rama! You are no ordinary guest, but the Lord of the earth. You are the noblest exponent of dharma, the prince of heroes and deserve every worship and reverence. Last, you are my guest well beloved; it behoves me to offer you my warmest welcome. Behold this noble bow fashioned of yore for Mahavishnu by Viswakarma. 

Indra left this inexhaustible pair of quivers here. Observe these shafts blazing like tongues of fire and this sword in its scabbard of gold. Accept from me this blade curiously chased with gold and gems, this bow, these arrows and quivers. In the distant past, these helped Mahavishnu to slay the asuras and confer untold blessings upon the devas.

Take back these weapons, for they are yours; humble your enemies with them and bring peace and happiness to all beings; even Indra shines not more, armed with his Vajra.”

Agastya then gave his blessings to the princes and Sita and directed them to go to Panchavati on the banks of the Godavari where they could build an abode.

On their way to Panchavati the princes saw a huge bird, which they mistook for a rakshasa in disguise. But Io! the bird spoke in a soft voice full of affection and regard.

The bird was none other than Jatayu, a nephew of Garuda, the vahana (mount) of Lord Vishnu. Jatayu said that he was a friend of Dasaratha. He offered to do his best to serve the Princes and guard Sita whenever she was left alone.

Rama accepted the offer and embraced. Jatayu and set off again.

At Panchavati, Lakshmana built a lovely cottage with reeds and grass found in the forest.