They soon came to the hut of those whom Ravana considered to be his unsuspecting and helpless victims.
It was a beautiful day. The sun was high in the sky and the forest was full of flowers and delicious scents. This scenery of natural beauty saw Ravana, the being who terrorized the world with his perfidy, carry out his vile plan. Thanks to his mystical powers, Maricha took the form of a fairy-tale golden deer, with such enchanting beauty that it could have attracted the imagination of anyone who looked at it. In order to get noticed by Sita, he began to run here and there around the hut and then to stop, and then to run again, showing his perfect forms. Sita saw it, and couldn’t believe her eyes. How could such a beautiful animal exist? She called her husband.
“Rama! Run! Look at that deer over there! What a beauty! Isn’t it wonderful?”
Rama and Laksmana ran and admired the beautiful animal, but they were visibly wary. Sita had no suspicions.
“Rama, please, catch him for me. We will have him here with us, to keep us company.”
Laksmana was the most skeptical.
“Rama, don’t go.” He warned him. “That deer has an unreal appearance, it’s too beautiful to be true. I’m sure it’s a Raksasa trick to divide us and try to hit us.”
Rama did not seem overly worried, on the contrary he managed a smile.
“I want to find out if that creature is really a Raksasa trick. If he is, I’ll kill him, whoever he is, but if he’s a real deer I have to catch him for Sita. I’m leaving, but promise me you won’t leave Sita alone, not even for a moment or for any reason. As long as you are here she won’t be in danger, but if you leave her alone a disaster could happen.”
Reassured by Laksmana, Rama ran for the prey. Seeing him arrive, Maricha fled; he had achieved his goal. He ran off with great agility through the dense brush. Maricha ran with extraordinary speed and, trying to escape Rama to save his life, he used her supernatural powers. Sometimes it made itself invisible, other times it reappeared, all with surprising rapidity, too fast not to arouse suspicion. Rama thought that the deer was acting too strange to be what it seemed, but he wanted to be sure, and ran after him for a long time. When he was sure it was a trick, he decided to kill him. A stone-hard arrow shot from his bow and hit the target. Having been deadly struck, Maricha could not keep his illusory semblance and retook his original form, mighty, gigantic; the one that aroused fear to anyone who looked at it. With his remaining energy, he shouted, imitating Rama’s voice:
“Help! Sita, Laksmana! Help! Help!”
Those screams were so loud they reached Sita’s ears. Hearing her husband’s desperate voice, she could not control her emotions and became terribly anxious. Thus, she exclaimed:
“Laksmana, listen, that is Rama’s voice asking for help! He is in danger! Run to him immediately!”
But Laksmana didn’t fall into the trap that time either. As with the deer, he suspected it was a Raksasa’s maneuver.
“Sita, you don’t have to worry,” he told her in a reassuring voice. “In this world no one can overpower Rama in combat. Rama is invincible. There is no being that can even give him concern. These cries, as well as the appearance of the deer, are a trick of the Raksasa who want to separate us. Don’t worry. Rama will be back soon.”
But Sita was terrified that something might happen to her beloved, and hearing more desperate cries insisted:
“But this is Rama’s voice! He is in danger! What are you waiting for to run to his aid? How can you not rush to save his life?”
“I can’t leave you alone in this forest full of dangers,” Laksmana retorted quietly, sure of his brother’s invincibility. “Do not panic. Relax. Rama ordered me not to leave you alone for any reason. Stay calm. We will soon see him return safe and sound.”
But the tension was already beyond her ability to bear, and she could no longer tolerate it. Repeatedly, she asked, ordered, pleaded with Laksmana to rush to Rama’s aid, but he understood the trick and flatly refused. A dull rage flooded Sita’s frightened heart.
“So you hope Rama dies, right? That’s why you came to the forest with us. Now I understand your plan. You were waiting for a moment like this. You just want Rama to die to take me as a wife. But know that if anything happens to him I will kill myself and you will be responsible for our deaths.”
Sita didn’t really think what she was saying. She said those unjust and cruel words only to get Laksmana to rush to Rama’s aid. And they had the desired effect. Deeply impressed with what was the highest value in his life, love and loyalty to his brother, Laksmana felt hurt.
“I don’t know how you have been able to say such cruel and false words,” he said with a voice full of dignity. “You don’t know how much you’ve hurt me. But, don’t you realize the danger you’re in if I leave you alone here?”
This is a section of the book “The Ramayana”, in English.
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