Revealing her second boon to Daśaratha, Kaikeyī says "नव पञ्च च वर्षाणि" (nine and five years) instead of चतुर्दश वर्षाणि (fourteen years). Is this just Vālmīki's play of words or is there a deeper significance to it?

नव पञ्च च वर्षाणि दण्डकारण्यमाश्रितः || २-११-२६
चीराजिनजटाधारी रामो भवतु तापसः |

26. raamaH = Rama; aashritaH = has to take refuge; daNdakaaranyam = in the forest of Dandaka; nava paJNcha cha varshhaNi = for fourteen years; bhavatu taapasaH = let him become ascetic; chiiraajiina jataadhaarii = wearing rags; deer skin and matted hair.

"Rama has to take refuge in the forest of Dandaka for fourteen years and let him become an ascetic wearing rags, deer skin and matted hair".

  • I think this is just to maintain Chhanda.. however there is a possibility that it has some deeper significance.. if one writes चतुर्दश वर्षाणी there will be only 15 letters.. but 16 letters are needed to complete that Chhanda...
    – Tezz
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 16:11
  • 3
    @Tezz There must be some significance attached, because Rama uses "Caturdasa Hi Varsani' to complete the 16 syllables. Similarly Kaikeyi could have used 'Caturdasa Ca/Hi/Tu/Eva Varsani', but instead Valmiki says Nava Pancha, which means there is something more to it. @ sv Nice question.
    – Surya
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 16:42
  • 1
    @sv. Because 14 years forest exile was considered as a punishment for severe crimes or sins in those days. By using नव पञ्च च वर्षाणि instead of चतुर्दश वर्षाणि kaikeyi only meant an exile away from the throne but not as a punishment. Because she also knew the greatness and blemishlessness of Rama. Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 16:56
  • @SreeCharan Yeah, I heard something like that recently in Chaganti's speech. Looking for some references. Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 21:30
  • @sv. I commented above after listening to his discourses. Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 3:08

1 Answer 1


This is just to maintain the writing style. These synonymous words are used in Ramayana for the same:

नव प़ञ्च च वर्षाणि (9+5)

नव वर्षाणि पञ्च च (9+5)

सप्त सप्त च वर्षाणि (7+7)

वर्षाणीह चतुर्दश (14)

चतुर्दश हि वर्षाणि (14)

षट्चाष्टौ च वर्षाणि (6+8)

Kaikayi to Dashratha (2.11.26) :

नव प़ञ्च च वर्षाणि दण्डकारण्यमाश्रितः। चीराजिनजटाधारी रामो भवतु तापसः।।

Kaikayi to Lord Shri Rama (2.18.35) :

सन्निदेशे पितुस्तिष्ठ यथा तेन प्रतिश्रुतम्। त्वयाऽरण्यं प्रवेष्टव्यं नव वर्षाणि पञ्च च।।

Kaikayi to Lord Shri Rama (2.18.37) :

सप्त सप्त च वर्षाणि दण्डकारण्यमाश्रितः। अभिषेकमिमं त्यक्त्वा जटाजिनधरो वस।।

Lord Shri Rama to Kaikayi (2.19.23) :

अनुक्तोऽप्यत्रभवता भवत्या वचनादहम्। वने वत्स्यामि विजने वर्षाणीह चतुर्दश।।

Lord Shri Rama to Kausalya (2.20.29) :

चतुर्दश हि वर्षाणि वत्स्यामि विजने वने। मधुमूलफलैर्जीवन्हित्वा मुनिवदामिषम्।।

Lord Shri Rama to Kausalya (2.20.31) :

षट्चाष्टौ च वर्षाणि वत्स्यामि विजने वने। आसेवमानो वन्यानि फलमूलैश्च वर्तयन्।।

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .