Now begins the Aaranya Kaanda. The poet begins with an episode that prepares us
for the misfortunes of Seeta. A new responsibility has been cast on the Prince. He is to
destroy raakshasas who molest the rishis in the Dandaka forest. A fear arose in Seeta's
heart like a shadow cast by events to come.
" Why should you and Lakshmana who are
properly to be merely ascetics in the forest ' " asked Seeta of her beloved husband,
"take on yourselves this task of protection? You have come here to fulfil a promise
of the late King. The duty of protecting the rishis be longs to the ruler who is actually
reigning. It is not for you, engaged in penance, to protect rishis. To kill anyone, except
in self-defence, is opposed to the vow o ascetic life. But you have rashly promised
protection to the rishis. I wonder where this will lead us.