Book II (part3)

635
The royal state, arise, and reign.
For thee, my darling son, for thee
All this was planned and wrought by me.
Come, cast thy grief and pain aside,
With manly courage fortified.
This town and realm are all thine own,
And fear and grief are here unknown.
Come, with Vaśishṭha's guiding aid,
And priests in ritual skilled
Let the king's funeral dues be paid,
And every claim fulfilled.
Perform his obsequies with all
That suits his rank and worth,
Then give the mandate to install
Thyself as lord of earth.”
Canto LXXIII. Kaikeyí Reproached.
But when he heard the queen relate
His brothers' doom, his father's fate,
Thus Bharat to his mother said
With burning grief disquieted:
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“Alas, what boots it now to reign,
Struck down by grief and well-nigh slain?
Ah, both are gone, my sire, and he
Who was a second sire to me.
Grief upon grief thy hand has made,
And salt upon gashes laid:
For my dear sire has died through thee,
And Ráma roams a devotee.
Thou camest like the night of Fate
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This royal house to devastate.
Unwitting ill, my hapless sire
Placed in his bosom coals of fire,
And through thy crimes his death he met,
O thou whose heart on sin is set.
Shame of thy house! thy senseless deed
Has reft all joy from Raghu's seed.
The truthful monarch, dear to fame,
Received thee as his wedded dame,
And by thy act to misery doomed
Has died by flames of grief consumed.
Kauśalyá and Sumitrá too
The coming of my mother rue,
And if they live oppressed by woe,
For their dear sons their sad tears flow.
Was he not ever good and kind,—
That hero of the duteous mind?
Skilled in all filial duties, he
As a dear mother treated thee.
Kauśalyá too, the eldest queen,
Who far foresees with insight keen,
Did she not ever show thee all
A sister's love at duty's call?
And hast thou from the kingdom chased
Her son, with bark around his waist,
To the wild wood, to dwell therein,
And dost not sorrow for thy sin?
The love I bare to Raghu's son
Thou knewest not, ambitious one,
If thou hast wrought this impious deed
For royal sway, in lawless greed.
With him and Lakshmaṇ far away,
What power have I the realm to sway?
What hope will fire my bosom when
Canto LXXIII. Kaikeyí Reproached.
637
I see no more these lords of men?
The holy king, who loved the right
Relied on Ráma's power and might,
His guardian and his glory, so
Joys Meru in his woods below.
How can I bear, a steer untrained,
The load his mightier strength sustained?
What power have I to brook alone
This weight on feeble shoulders thrown?
But if the needful power were bought
By strength of mind and brooding thought,
No triumph shall attend the dame
Who dooms her son to lasting shame.
Now should no doubt that son prevent
From quitting thee on evil bent.
But Ráma's love o'erpowers my will,
Who holds thee as his mother still.
Whence did the thought, O thou whose eyes
Are turned to sinful deeds, arise—
A plan our ancient sires would hate,
O fallen from thy virtuous state?
For in the line from which we spring
The eldest is anointed king:
No monarchs from the rule decline,
And, least of all, Ikshváku's line.
Our holy sires, to virtue true,
Upon our race a lustre threw,
But with subversive frenzy thou
Hast marred our lineal honour now,
Of lofty birth, a noble line
Of previous kings is also thine:
Then whence this hated folly? whence
This sudden change that steals thy sense?
Thou shalt not gain thine impious will,
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O thou whose thoughts are bent on ill,
Thou from whose guilty hand descend
These sinful blows my life to end.
Now to the forest will I go,
Thy cherished plans to overthrow,
And bring my brother, free from stain,
His people's darling, home again.
And Ráma, when again he turns,
Whose glory like a beacon burns,
In me a faithful slave shall find
To serve him with contented mind.”
Canto LXXIV. Bharat's Lament.
When Bharat's anger-sharpened tongue
Reproaches on the queen had flung,
Again, with mighty rage possessed,
The guilty dame he thus addressed:
“Flee, cruel, wicked sinner, flee,
Let not this kingdom harbour thee.
Thou who hast thrown all right aside,
Weep thou for me when I have died.
Canst thou one charge against the king,
Or the most duteous Ráma bring?
The one thy sin to death has sent,
The other chased to banishment.
Our line's destroyer, sin defiled
Like one who kills an unborn child,
Ne'er with thy lord in heaven to dwell,
Thy portion shall be down in hell
Because thy hand, that stayed for naught,
Canto LXXIV. Bharat's Lament.
639
This awful wickedness has wrought,
And ruined him whom all held dear,
My bosom too is stirred with fear.
My father by thy sin is dead,
And Ráma to the wood is fled;
And of thy deed I bear the stain,
And fameless in the world remain.
Ambitious, evil-souled, in show
My mother, yet my direst foe.
My throning ne'er thine eyes shall bless,
Thy husband's wicked murderess.
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Thou art not Aśvapati's child,
That righteous king most sage and mild,
But thou wast born a fiend, a foe
My father's house to overthrow.
Thou who hast made Kauśalyá, pure,
Gentle, affectionate, endure
The loss of him who was her bliss,—
What worlds await thee, Queen, for this?
Was it not patent to thy sense
That Ráma was his friends' defence,
Kauśalyá's own true child most dear,
The eldest and his father's peer?
Men in the son not only trace
The father's figure, form, and face,
But in his heart they also find
The offspring of the father's mind;
And hence, though dear their kinsmen are,
To mothers sons are dearer far.
There goes an ancient legend how
Good Surabhí, the God-loved cow,
Saw two of her dear children strain,
Drawing a plough and faint with pain.
She saw them on the earth outworn,
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Toiling till noon from early morn,
And as she viewed her children's woe,
A flood of tears began to flow.
As through the air beneath her swept
The Lord of Gods, the drops she wept,
Fine, laden with delicious smell,
Upon his heavenly body fell.
And Indra lifted up his eyes
And saw her standing in the skies,
Afflicted with her sorrow's weight,
Sad, weeping, all disconsolate.
The Lord of Gods in anxious mood
Thus spoke in suppliant attitude:
“No fear disturbs our rest, and how
Come this great dread upon thee now?
Whence can this woe upon thee fall,
Say, gentle one who lovest all?”
Thus spake the God who rules the skies,
Indra, the Lord supremely wise;
And gentle Surabhí, well learned
In eloquence, this speech returned:
“Not thine the fault, great God, not thine
And guiltless are the Lords divine:
I mourn two children faint with toil,
Labouring hard in stubborn soil.
Wasted and sad I see them now,
While the sun beats on neck and brow,
Still goaded by the cruel hind,—
No pity in his savage mind.
O Indra, from this body sprang
These children, worn with many a pang.
For this sad sight I mourn, for none
Is to the mother like her son.”
Canto LXXIV. Bharat's Lament.
641
He saw her weep whose offspring feed
In thousands over hill and mead,
And knew that in a mother's eye
Naught with a son, for love, can vie.
He deemed her, when the tears that came
From her sad eyes bedewed his frame,
Laden with their celestial scent,
Of living things most excellent.
If she these tears of sorrow shed
Who many a thousand children bred,
Think what a life of woe is left
Kauśalyá, of her Ráma reft.
An only son was hers and she
Is rendered childless now by thee.
Here and hereafter, for thy crime,
Woe is thy lot through endless time.
And now, O Queen, without delay,
With all due honour will I pay
Both to my brother and my sire
The rites their several fates require.
Back to Ayodhyá will I bring
The long-armed chief, her lord and king,
And to the wood myself betake
Where hermit saints their dwelling make.
For, sinner both in deed and thought!
This hideous crime which thou hast wrought
I cannot bear, or live to see
The people's sad eyes bent on me.
Begone, to Daṇḍak wood retire,
Or cast thy body to the fire,
Or bind around thy neck the rope:
No other refuge mayst thou hope.
When Ráma, lord of valour true,
Has gained the earth, his right and due,
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Then, free from duty's binding debt,
My vanished sin shall I forget.”
Thus like an elephant forced to brook
The goading of the driver's hook,
Quick panting like a serpent maimed,
He fell to earth with rage inflamed.
Canto LXXV. The Abjuration.
A while he lay: he rose at length,
And slowly gathering sense and strength,
With angry eyes which tears bedewed,
The miserable queen he viewed,
And spake with keen reproach to her
Before each lord and minister:
“No lust have I for kingly sway,
My mother I no more obey:
Naught of this consecration knew
Which Daśaratha kept in view.
I with Śatrughna all the time
Was dwelling in a distant clime:
I knew of Ráma's exile naught,
That hero of the noble thought:
I knew not how fair Sítá went,
And Lakshmaṇ, forth to banishment.”
Canto LXXV. The Abjuration.
643
Thus high-souled Bharat, mid the crowd,
Lifted his voice and cried aloud.
Kauśalyá heard, she raised her head,
And quickly to Sumitrá said:
“Bharat, Kaikeyí's son is here,—
Hers whose fell deeds I loathe and fear:
That youth of foresight keen I fain
Would meet and see his face again.”
Thus to Sumitrá spake the dame,
And straight to Bharat's presence came
With altered mien, neglected dress,
Trembling and faint with sore distress.
Bharat, Śatrughna by his side,
To meet her, toward her palace hied.
And when the royal dame they viewed
Distressed with dire solicitude,
Sad, fallen senseless on the ground,
About her neck their arms they wound.
The noble matron prostrate there,
Embraced, with tears, the weeping pair,
And with her load of grief oppressed,
To Bharat then these words addressed:
“Now all is thine, without a foe,
This realm for which thou longest so.
Ah, soon Kaikeyí's ruthless hand
Has won the empire of the land,
And made my guiltless Ráma flee
Dressed like some lonely devotee.
Herein what profit has the queen,
Whose eye delights in havoc, seen?
Me also, me 'twere surely good
To banish to the distant wood,
To dwell amid the shades that hold
My famous son with limbs like gold.
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Nay, with the sacred fire to guide,
Will I, Sumitrá by my side,
Myself to the drear wood repair
And seek the son of Raghu there.
This land which rice and golden corn
And wealth of every kind adorn,
Car, elephant, and steed, and gem,—
She makes thee lord of it and them.”
With taunts like these her bitter tongue
The heart of blameless Bharat wrung
And direr pangs his bosom tore
Than when the lancet probes a sore.
With troubled senses all astray
Prone at her feet he fell and lay.
With loud lament a while he plained,
And slowly strength and sense regained.
With suppliant hand to hand applied
He turned to her who wept and sighed,
And thus bespake the queen, whose breast
With sundry woes was sore distressed:
“Why these reproaches, noble dame?
I, knowing naught, am free from blame.
Thou knowest well what love was mine
For Ráma, chief of Raghu's line.
O, never be his darkened mind
To Scripture's guiding lore inclined,
By whose consent the prince who led
The good, the truthful hero, fled.
May he obey the vilest lord,
Offend the sun with act abhorred,350
And strike a sleeping cow, who lent
350Súryamcha pratimehatu, adversus solem mingat. An offence expressly
forbidden by the Laws of Manu.
Canto LXXV. The Abjuration.
645
His voice to Ráma's banishment.
May the good king who all befriends,
And, like his sons, the people tends,
Be wronged by him who gave consent
To noble Ráma's banishment.
On him that king's injustice fall,
Who takes, as lord, a sixth of all,
Nor guards, neglectful of his trust,
His people, as a ruler must.
The crime of those who swear to fee,
At holy rites, some devotee,
And then the promised gift deny,
Be his who willed the prince should fly.
When weapons clash and heroes bleed,
With elephant and harnessed steed,
Ne'er, like the good, be his to fight
Whose heart allowed the prince's flight.
Though taught with care by one expert
May he the Veda's text pervert,
With impious mind on evil bent,
Whose voice approved the banishment.
May he with traitor lips reveal
Whate'er he promised to conceal,
And bruit abroad his friend's offence,
Betrayed by generous confidence.
No wife of equal lineage born
The wretch's joyless home adorn:
Ne'er may he do one virtuous deed,
And dying see no child succeed.
When in the battle's awful day
Fierce warriors stand in dread array,
Let the base coward turn and fly,
And smitten by the foeman, die.
Long may he wander, rags his wear,
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Doomed in his hand a skull to bear,
And like an idiot beg his bread,
Who gave consent when Ráma fled.
His sin who holy rites forgets,
Asleep when shows the sun and sets,
A load upon his soul shall lie
Whose will allowed the prince to fly.
His sin who loves his Master's dame,
His, kindler of destructive flame,
His who betrays his trusting friend
Shall, mingled all, on him descend.
By him no reverence due be paid
To blessed God or parted shade:
May sire and mother's sacred name
In vain from him obedience claim.
Ne'er may he go where dwell the good,
Nor win their fame and neighbourhood,
But lose all hopes of bliss to-day,
Who willed the prince should flee away.
May he deceive the poor and weak
Who look to him and comfort seek,
[185]
Betray the suppliants who complain,
And make the hopeful hope in vain.
Long may his wife his kiss expect,
And pine away in cold neglect.
May he his lawful love despise,
And turn on other dames his eyes,
Fool, on forbidden joys intent,
Whose will allowed the banishment.
His sin who deadly poison throws
To spoil the water as it flows,
Lay on the wretch its burden dread
Who gave consent when Ráma fled.”351
351Bharat does not intend these curses for any particular person: he merely
Canto LXXV. The Abjuration.
647
Thus with his words he undeceived
Kauśalyá's troubled heart, who grieved
For son and husband reft away;
Then prostrate on the ground he lay.
Him as he lay half-senseless there,
Freed by the mighty oaths he sware,
Kauśalyá, by her woe distressed,
With melancholy words addressed:
“Anew, my son, this sorrow springs
To rend my heart with keener stings:
These awful oaths which thou hast sworn
My breast with double grief have torn.
Thy soul, and faithful Lakshmaṇ's too,
Are still, thank Heaven! to virtue true.
True to thy promise, thou shalt gain
The mansions which the good obtain.”
Then to her breast that youth she drew,
Whose sweet fraternal love she knew,
And there in strict embraces held
The hero, as her tears outwelled.
And Bharat's heart grew sick and faint
With grief and oft-renewed complaint,
And all his senses were distraught
By the great woe that in him wrought.
Thus he lay and still bewailed
With sighs and loud lament
Till all his strength and reason failed,
The hours of night were spent.
wishes to prove his own innocence by invoking them on his own head if he
had any share in banishing Ráma.
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Canto LXXVI. The Funeral.
The saint Vaśishṭha, best of all
Whose words with moving wisdom fall,
Bharat, Kaikeyí's son, addressed,
Whom burning fires of grief distressed:
“O Prince, whose fame is widely spread,
Enough of grief: be comforted.
The time is come: arise, and lay
Upon the pyre the monarch's clay.”
He heard the words Vaśishṭha spoke,
And slumbering resolution woke.
Then skilled in all the laws declare,
He bade his friends the rites prepare.
They raised the body from the oil,
And placed it, dripping, on the soil;
Then laid it on a bed, whereon
Wrought gold and precious jewels shone.
There, pallor o'er his features spread,
The monarch, as in sleep, lay dead.
Then Bharat sought his father's side,
And lifted up his voice and cried:
“O King, and has thy heart designed
To part and leave thy son behind?
Make Ráma flee, who loves the right,
And Lakshmaṇ of the arm of might?
Whither, great Monarch, wilt thou go
And leave this people in their woe,
Mourning their hero, wild with grief,
Of Ráma reft, their lion chief?
Ah, who will guard the people well
Who in Ayodhyá's city dwell,
When thou, my sire, hast sought the sky,
Canto LXXVI. The Funeral.
649
And Ráma has been forced to fly?
In widowed woe, bereft of thee,
The land no more is fair to see:
The city, to my aching sight,
Is gloomy as a moonless night.”
Thus, with o'erwhelming sorrow pained,
Sad Bharat by the bed complained:
And thus Vaśishṭha, holy sage,
Spoke his deep anguish to assuage:
“O Lord of men, no longer stay;
The last remaining duties pay:
Haste, mighty-armed, as I advise,
The funeral rites to solemnize.”
And Bharat heard Vaśishṭha's rede
With due attention and agreed.
He summoned straight from every side
Chaplain, and priest, and holy guide.
The sacred fires he bade them bring
Forth from the chapel of the king,
Wherein the priests in order due,
And ministers, the offerings threw.
Distraught in mind, with sob and tear,
They laid the body on a bier,
And servants, while their eyes brimmed o'er
The monarch from the palace bore.
Another band of mourners led
The long procession of the dead:
Rich garments in the way they cast,
And gold and silver, as they passed.
Then other hands the corse bedewed
With fragrant juices that exude
From sandal, cedar, aloe, pine,
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And every perfume rare and fine.
Then priestly hands the mighty dead
Upon the pyre deposited.
The sacred fires they tended next,
And muttered low each funeral text;
And priestly singers who rehearse
[186]
The Śaman352sang their holy verse.
Forth from the town in litters came,
Or chariots, many a royal dame,
And honoured so the funeral ground,
With aged followers ringed around.
With steps in inverse order bent,353
The priests in sad procession went
Around the monarch's burning pyre
Who well had nursed each sacred fire:
With Queen Kauśalyá and the rest,
Their tender hearts with woe distressed.
The voice of women, shrill and clear
As screaming curlews, smote the ear,
As from a thousand voices rose
The shriek that tells of woman's woes.
Then weeping, faint, with loud lament,
Down Sarjú's shelving bank they went.
There standing on the river side
With Bharat, priest, and peer,
Their lips the women purified
With water fresh and clear.
Returning to the royal town,
Their eyes with tear-drops filled,
Ten days on earth they laid them down,
And wept till grief was stilled.
352The Sáma-veda, the hymns of which are chanted aloud.
353Walking from right to left.
Canto LXXVII. The Gathering Of The Ashes.
651
Canto LXXVII. The Gathering Of The
Ashes.
The tenth day passed: the prince again
Was free from every legal stain.
He bade them on the twelfth the great
Remaining honour celebrate.
Much gold he gave, and gems, and food,
To all the Bráhman multitude,
And goats whose hair was white and fine,
And many a thousand head of kine:
Slaves, men and damsels, he bestowed,
And many a car and fair abode:
Such gifts he gave the Bráhman race
His father's obsequies to grace.
Then when the morning's earliest ray
Appeared upon the thirteenth day,
Again the hero wept and sighed
Distraught and sorrow-stupefied;
Drew, sobbing in his anguish, near,
The last remaining debt to clear,
And at the bottom of the pyre,
He thus bespake his royal sire:
“O father, hast thou left me so,
Deserted in my friendless woe,
When he to whom the charge was given
To keep me, to the wood is driven?
Her only son is forced away
Who was his helpless mother's stay:
Ah, whither, father, art thou fled;
Leaving the queen uncomforted?”
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He looked upon the pile where lay
The bones half-burnt and ashes grey,
And uttering a piteous moan,
Gave way, by anguish overthrown.
Then as his tears began to well,
Prostrate to earth the hero fell;
So from its seat the staff they drag,
And cast to earth some glorious flag.
The ministers approached again
The prince whom rites had freed from stain;
So when Yayáti fell, each seer,
In pity for his fate, drew near.
Śatrughna saw him lying low
O'erwhelmed beneath the crush of woe,
And as upon the king he thought,
He fell upon the earth distraught.
When to his loving memory came
Those noble gifts, that kingly frame,
He sorrowed, by his woe distressed,
As one by frenzied rage possessed:
“Ah me, this surging sea of woe
Has drowned us with its overflow:
The source is Manthará, dire and dark,
Kaikeyí is the ravening shark:
And the great boons the monarch gave
Lend conquering might to every wave.
Ah, whither wilt thou go, and leave
Thy Bharat in his woe to grieve,
Whom ever 'twas thy greatest joy
To fondle as a tender boy?
Didst thou not give with thoughtful care
Our food, our drink, our robes to wear?
Whose love will now for us provide,
When thou, our king and sire, hast died?
Canto LXXVII. The Gathering Of The Ashes.
653
At such a time bereft, forlorn,
Why is not earth in sunder torn,
Missing her monarch's firm control,
His love of right, his lofty soul?
Ah me, for Ráma roams afar,
My sire is where the Blessed are;
How can I live deserted? I
Will pass into the fire and die.
Abandoned thus, I will not brook
Upon Ayodhyá's town to look,
Once guarded by Ikshváku's race:
The wood shall be my dwelling place.”
Then when the princes' mournful train
Heard the sad brothers thus complain,
And saw their misery, at the view
Their grief burst wilder out anew.
Faint with lamenting, sad and worn,
Each like a bull with broken horn,
The brothers in their wild despair
Lay rolling, mad with misery, there.
Then old Vaśishṭha good and true,
Their father's priest, all lore who knew,
Raised weeping Bharat on his feet,
And thus bespake with counsel meet:
“Twelve days, my lord, have past away
[187]
Since flames consumed thy father's clay:
Delay no more: as rules ordain,
Gather what bones may yet remain.
Three constant pairs are ever found
To hem all mortal creatures round:354
Then mourn not thus, O Prince, for none
Their close companionship may shun.”
354Birth and death, pleasure and pain, loss and gain.
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Sumantra bade Śatrughna rise,
And soothed his soul with counsel wise,
And skilled in truth, his hearer taught
How all things are and come to naught.
When rose each hero from the ground,
A lion lord of men, renowned,
He showed like Indra's flag,355whereon
Fierce rains have dashed and suns have shone.
They wiped their red and weeping eyes,
And gently made their sad replies:
Then, urged to haste, the royal pair
Performed the rites that claimed their care.
Canto LXXVIII. Manthará Punished.
Śatrughna thus to Bharat spake
Who longed the forest road to take:
“He who in woe was wont to give
Strength to himself and all that live—
Dear Ráma, true and pure in heart,
Is banished by a woman's art.
Yet here was Lakshmaṇ, brave and strong,
Could not his might prevent the wrong?
Could not his arm the king restrain,
Or make the banished free again?
One loving right and fearing crime
Had checked the monarch's sin in time,
When, vassal of a woman's will,
His feet approached the path of ill.”
355Erected upon a tree or high staff in honour of Indra.
Canto LXXVIII. Manthará Punished.
655
While Lakshmaṇ's younger brother, dread
Śatrughna, thus to Bharat said,
Came to the fronting door, arrayed
In glittering robes, the hump-back maid.
There she, with sandal-oil besmeared,
In garments meet for queens appeared:
And lustre to her form was lent
By many a gem and ornament.
She girdled with her broidered zone,
And many a chain about her thrown,
Showed like a female monkey round
Whose body many a string is bound.
When on that cause of evil fell
The quick eye of the sentinel,
He grasped her in his ruthless hold,
And hastening in, Śatrughna told:
“Here is the wicked pest,” he cried,
“Through whom the king thy father died,
And Ráma wanders in the wood:
Do with her as thou deemest good.”
The warder spoke: and every word
Śatrughna's breast to fury stirred:
He called the servants, all and each.
And spake in wrath his hasty speech:
“This is the wretch my sire who slew,
And misery on my brothers drew:
Let her this day obtain the meed,
Vile sinner, of her cruel deed.”
He spake; and moved by fury laid
His mighty hand upon the maid,
Who as her fellows ringed her round,
Made with her cries the hall resound.
Soon as the gathered women viewed
Śatrughna in his angry mood,
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Their hearts disturbed by sudden dread,
They turned and from his presence fled.
“His rage,” they cried, “on us will fall,
And ruthless, he will slay us all.
Come, to Kauśalyá let us flee:
Our hope, our sure defence is she,
Approved by all, of virtuous mind,
Compassionate, and good, and kind.”
His eyes with burning wrath aglow,
Śatrughna, shatterer of the foe,
Dragged on the ground the hump-back maid
Who shrieked aloud and screamed for aid.
This way and that with no remorse
He dragged her with resistless force,
And chains and glittering trinkets burst
Lay here and there with gems dispersed,
Till like the sky of Autumn shone
The palace floor they sparkled on.
The lord of men, supremely strong,
Haled in his rage the wretch along:
Where Queen Kaikeyí dwelt he came,
And sternly then addressed the dame.
Deep in her heart Kaikeyí felt
The stabs his keen reproaches dealt,
And of Śatrughna's ire afraid,
To Bharat flew and cried for aid.
He looked and saw the prince inflamed
With burning rage, and thus exclaimed:
“Forgive! thine angry arm restrain:
A woman never may be slain.
My hand Kaikeyí's blood would spill,
The sinner ever bent on ill,
But Ráma, long in duty tried,
Canto LXXIX. Bharat's Commands.
657
Would hate the impious matricide:
And if he knew thy vengeful blade
Had slaughtered e'en this hump-back maid,
Never again, be sure, would he
Speak friendly word to thee or me.”
When Bharat's speech Śatrughna heard
He calmed the rage his breast that stirred,
[188]
Releasing from her dire constraint
The trembling wretch with terror faint.
Then to Kaikeyí's feet she crept,
And prostrate in her misery wept.
Kaikeyí on the hump-back gazed,
And saw her weep and gasp.
Still quivering, with her senses dazed,
From fierce Śatrughna's grasp.
With gentle words of pity she
Assuaged her wild despair,
E'en as a tender hand might free
A curlew from the snare.
Canto LXXIX. Bharat's Commands.
Now when the sun's returning ray
Had ushered in the fourteenth day,
The gathered peers of state addressed
To Bharat's ear their new request:
“Our lord to heaven has parted hence,
Long served with deepest reverence;
Ráma, the eldest, far from home,
And Lakshmaṇ, in the forest roam.
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The Ramayana
O Prince, of mighty fame, be thou
Our guardian and our monarch now,
Lest secret plot or foeman's hate
Assail our unprotected state.
With longing eyes, O Lord of men,
To thee look friend and citizen,
And ready is each sacred thing
To consecrate our chosen king.
Come, Bharat, and accept thine own
Ancient hereditary throne.
Thee let the priests this day install
As monarch to preserve us all.”
Around the sacred gear he bent
His circling footsteps reverent,
And, firm to vows he would not break,
Thus to the gathered people spake:
“The eldest son is ever king:
So rules the house from which we spring:
Nor should ye, Lords, like men unwise,
With words like these to wrong advise.
Ráma is eldest born, and he
The ruler of the land shall be.
Now to the woods will I repair,
Five years and nine to lodge me there.
Assemble straight a mighty force,
Cars, elephants, and foot and horse,
For I will follow on his track
And bring my eldest brother back.
Whate'er the rites of throning need
Placed on a car the way shall lead:
The sacred vessels I will take
To the wild wood for Ráma's sake.
I o'er the lion prince's head
Canto LXXX. The Way Prepared.
659
The sanctifying balm will shed,
And bring him, as the fire they bring
Forth from the shrine, with triumphing.
Nor will I let my mother's greed
In this her cherished aim succeed:
In pathless wilds will I remain,
And Ráma here as king shall reign.
To make the rough ways smooth and clear
Send workman out and pioneer:
Let skilful men attend beside
Our way through pathless spots to guide.”
As thus the royal Bharat spake,
Ordaining all for Ráma's sake,
The audience gave with one accord
Auspicious answer to their lord:
“Be royal Fortune aye benign
To thee for this good speech of thine,
Who wishest still thine elder's hand
To rule with kingly sway the land.”
Their glorious speech, their favouring cries
Made his proud bosom swell:
And from the prince's noble eyes
The tears of rapture fell.356
Canto LXXX. The Way Prepared.
356I follow in this stanza the Bombay edition in preference to Schlegel's which
gives the tears of joy to the courtiers.
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The Ramayana
All they who knew the joiner's art,
Or distant ground in every part;
Each busied in his several trade,
To work machines or ply the spade;
Deft workmen skilled to frame the wheel,
Or with the ponderous engine deal;
Guides of the way, and craftsmen skilled,
To sink the well, make bricks, and build;
And those whose hands the tree could hew,
And work with slips of cut bamboo,
Went forward, and to guide them, they
Whose eyes before had seen the way.
Then onward in triumphant mood
Went all the mighty multitude.
Like the great sea whose waves leap high
When the full moon is in the sky.
Then, in his proper duty skilled,
Each joined him to his several guild,
And onward in advance they went
With every tool and implement.
Where bush and tangled creeper lay
With trenchant steel they made the way;
They felled each stump, removed each stone,
And many a tree was overthrown.
In other spots, on desert lands,
Tall trees were reared by busy hands.
Where'er the line of road they took,
They plied the hatchet, axe, and hook.
[189]
Others, with all their strength applied,
Cast vigorous plants and shrubs aside,
In shelving valleys rooted deep,
And levelled every dale and steep.
Each pit and hole that stopped the way
They filled with stones, and mud, and clay,
Canto LXXX. The Way Prepared.
661
And all the ground that rose and fell
With busy care was levelled well.
They bridged ravines with ceaseless toil,
And pounded fine the flinty soil.
Now here, now there, to right and left,
A passage through the ground they cleft,
And soon the rushing flood was led
Abundant through the new-cut bed,
Which by the running stream supplied
With ocean's boundless waters vied.
In dry and thirsty spots they sank
Full many a well and ample tank,
And altars round about them placed
To deck the station in the waste.
With well-wrought plaster smoothly spread,
With bloomy trees that rose o'erhead,
With banners waving in the air,
And wild birds singing here and there,
With fragrant sandal-water wet,
With many a flower beside it set,
Like the Gods' heavenly pathway showed
That mighty host's imperial road.
Deft workmen, chosen for their skill
To do the high-souled Bharat's will,
In every pleasant spot where grew
Trees of sweet fruit and fair to view,
As he commanded, toiled to grace
With all delights his camping-place.
And they who read the stars, and well
Each lucky sign and hour could tell,
Raised carefully the tented shade
Wherein high-minded Bharat stayed.
With ample space of level ground,
With broad deep moat encompassed round;
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The Ramayana
Like Mandar in his towering pride,
With streets that ran from side to side;
Enwreathed with many a palace tall
Surrounded by its noble wall;
With roads by skilful workmen made,
Where many a glorious banner played;
With stately mansions, where the dove
Sat nestling in her cote above.
Rising aloft supremely fair
Like heavenly cars that float in air,
Each camp in beauty and in bliss
Matched Indra's own metropolis.
As shines the heaven on some fair night,
With moon and constellations filled,
The prince's royal road was bright,
Adorned by art of workmen skilled.
Canto LXXXI. The Assembly.
Ere yet the dawn had ushered in
The day should see the march begin,
Herald and bard who rightly knew
Each nice degree of honour due,
Their loud auspicious voices raised,
And royal Bharat blessed and praised.
With sticks of gold the drum they smote,
Which thundered out its deafening note,
Blew loud the sounding shell, and blent
Each high and low-toned instrument.
The mingled sound of drum and horn
Through all the air was quickly borne,
Canto LXXXI. The Assembly.
663
And as in Bharat's ear it rang,
Gave the sad prince another pang.
Then Bharat, starting from repose,
Stilled the glad sounds that round him rose,
“I am not king; no more mistake:”
Then to Śatrughna thus he spake:
“O see what general wrongs succeed
Sprung from Kaikeyí's evil deed!
The king my sire has died and thrown
Fresh miseries on me alone.
The royal bliss, on duty based,
Which our just high-souled father graced,
Wanders in doubt and sore distress
Like a tossed vessel rudderless.
And he who was our lordly stay
Roams in the forest far away,
Expelled by this my mother, who
To duty's law is most untrue.”
As royal Bharat thus gave vent
To bitter grief in wild lament,
Gazing upon his face the crowd
Of pitying women wept aloud.
His lamentation scarce was o'er,
When Saint Vaśishṭha, skilled in lore
Of royal duty, dear to fame,
To join the great assembly came.
Girt by disciples ever true
Still nearer to that hall he drew,
Resplendent, heavenly to behold,
Adorned with wealth of gems and gold:
E'en so a man in duty tried
Draws near to meet his virtuous bride.
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The Ramayana
He reached his golden seat o'erlaid
With coverlet of rich brocade,
There sat, in all the Vedas read,
And called the messengers, and said:
“Go forth, let Bráhman, Warrior, peer,
And every captain gather here:
Let all attentive hither throng:
Go, hasten: we delay too long.
Śatrughna, glorious Bharat bring,
The noble children of the king,357
[190]
Yudhájit358and Sumantra, all
The truthful and the virtuous call.”
He ended: soon a mighty sound
Of thickening tumult rose around,
As to the hall they bent their course
With car, and elephant, and horse,
The people all with glad acclaim
Welcomed Prince Bharat as he came:
E'en as they loved their king to greet,
Or as the Gods Lord Indra359meet.
The vast assembly shone as fair
With Bharat's kingly face
As Daśaratha's self were there
To glorify the place.
It gleamed like some unruffled lake
Where monsters huge of mould
With many a snake their pastime take
O'er shells, sand, gems, and gold.
357The commentator says “Śatrughna accompanied by the other sons of the
king.”
358Not Bharat's uncle, but some councillor.
359Śatakratu, Lord of a hundred sacrifices, the performance of a hundred
Aśvamedhas or sacrifices of a horse entitling the sacrificer to this exalted
dignity.
Canto LXXXII. The Departure.
665
Canto LXXXII. The Departure.
The prudent prince the assembly viewed
Thronged with its noble multitude,
Resplendent as a cloudless night
When the full moon is in his height;
While robes of every varied hue
A glory o'er the synod threw.
The priest in lore of duty skilled
Looked on the crowd the hall that filled,
And then in accents soft and grave
To Bharat thus his counsel gave:
“The king, dear son, so good and wise,
Has gone from earth and gained the skies,
Leaving to thee, her rightful lord,
This rich wide land with foison stored.
And still has faithful Ráma stood
Firm to the duty of the good,
And kept his father's hest aright,
As the moon keeps its own dear light.
Thus sire and brother yield to thee
This realm from all annoyance free:
Rejoice thy lords: enjoy thine own:
Anointed king, ascend the throne.
Let vassal Princes hasten forth
From distant lands, west, south, and north,
From Kerala,360from every sea,
And bring ten million gems to thee.”
As thus the sage Vaśishṭha spoke,
A storm of grief o'er Bharat broke.
And longing to be just and true,
His thoughts to duteous Ráma flew.
360The modern Malabar.
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The Ramayana
With sobs and sighs and broken tones,
E'en as a wounded mallard moans,
He mourned with deepest sorrow moved,
And thus the holy priest reproved:
“O, how can such as Bharat dare
The power and sway from him to tear,
Wise, and devout, and true, and chaste,
With Scripture lore and virtue graced?
Can one of Daśaratha's seed
Be guilty of so vile a deed?
The realm and I are Ráma's: thou,
Shouldst speak the words of justice now.
For he, to claims of virtue true,
Is eldest born and noblest too:
Nahush, Dilípa could not be
More famous in their lives than he.
As Daśaratha ruled of right,
So Ráma's is the power and right.
If I should do this sinful deed
And forfeit hope of heavenly meed,
My guilty act would dim the shine
Of old Ikshváku's glorious line.
Nay, as the sin my mother wrought
Is grievous to my inmost thought,
I here, my hands together laid,
Will greet him in the pathless shade.
To Ráma shall my steps be bent,
My King, of men most excellent,
Raghu's illustrious son, whose sway
Might hell, and earth, and heaven obey.”
That righteous speech, whose every word
Bore virtue's stamp, the audience heard;
On Ráma every thought was set,
Canto LXXXII. The Departure.
667
And with glad tears each eye was wet.
“Then, if the power I still should lack
To bring my noble brother back,
I in the wood will dwell, and share
His banishment with Lakshmaṇ there.
By every art persuasive I
To bring him from the wood will try,
And show him to your loving eyes,
O Bráhmans noble, good, and wise.
E'en now, the road to make and clear,
Each labourer pressed, and pioneer
Have I sent forward to precede
The army I resolve to lead.”
Thus, by fraternal love possessed,
His firm resolve the prince expressed,
Then to Sumantra, deeply read
In holy texts, he turned and said:
“Sumantra, rise without delay,
And as I bid my words obey.
Give orders for the march with speed,
And all the army hither lead.”
The wise Sumantra, thus addressed,
Obeyed the high-souled chief's behest.
He hurried forth with joy inspired
And gave the orders he desired.
Delight each soldier's bosom filled,
And through each chief and captain thrilled,
[191]
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The Ramayana
To hear that march proclaimed, to bring
Dear Ráma back from wandering.
From house to house the tidings flew:
Each soldier's wife the order knew,
And as she listened blithe and gay
Her husband urged to speed away.
Captain and soldier soon declared
The host equipped and all prepared
With chariots matching thought for speed,
And wagons drawn by ox and steed.
When Bharat by Vaśishṭha's side,
His ready host of warriors eyed,
Thus in Sumantra's ear he spoke:
“My car and horses quickly yoke.”
Sumantra hastened to fulfil
With ready joy his master's will,
And quickly with the chariot sped
Drawn by fleet horses nobly bred.
Then glorious Bharat, true, devout,
Whose genuine valour none could doubt,
Gave in fit words his order out;
For he would seek the shade
Of the great distant wood, and there
Win his dear brother with his prayer:
“Sumantra, haste! my will declare
The host be all arrayed.
I to the wood my way will take,
To Ráma supplication make,
And for the world's advantage sake,
Will lead him home again.”
Then, ordered thus, the charioteer
Who listened with delighted ear,
Went forth and gave his orders clear
To captains of the train.
Canto LXXXIII. The Journey Begun.
669
He gave the popular chiefs the word,
And with the news his friends he stirred,
And not a single man deferred
Preparing for the road.
Then Bráhman, Warrior, Merchant, thrall,
Obedient to Sumantra's call,
Each in his house arose, and all
Yoked elephant or camel tall,
Or ass or noble steed in stall,
And full appointed showed.
Canto LXXXIII. The Journey Begun.
Then Bharat rose at early morn,
And in his noble chariot borne
Drove forward at a rapid pace
Eager to look on Ráma's face.
The priests and lords, a fair array,
In sun-bright chariots led the way.
Behind, a well appointed throng,
Nine thousand elephants streamed along.
Then sixty thousand cars, and then,
With various arms, came fighting men.
A hundred thousand archers showed
In lengthened line the steeds they rode—
A mighty host, the march to grace
Of Bharat, pride of Raghu's race.
Kaikeyí and Sumitrá came,
And good Kauśalyá, dear to fame:
By hopes of Ráma's coming cheered
They in a radiant car appeared.
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The Ramayana
On fared the noble host to see
Ráma and Lakshmaṇ, wild with glee,
And still each other's ear to please,
Of Ráma spoke in words like these:
“When shall our happy eyes behold
Our hero true, and pure, and bold,
So lustrous dark, so strong of arm,
Who keeps the world from woe and harm?
The tears that now our eyeballs dim
Will vanish at the sight of him,
As the whole world's black shadows fly
When the bright sun ascends the sky.”
Conversing thus their way pursued
The city's joyous multitude,
And each in mutual rapture pressed
A friend or neighbour to his breast.
Thus every man of high renown,
And every merchant of the town,
And leading subjects, joyous went
Toward Ráma in his banishment.
And those who worked the potter's wheel,
And artists skilled in gems to deal;
And masters of the weaver's art,
And those who shaped the sword and dart;
And they who golden trinkets made,
And those who plied the fuller's trade;
And servants trained the bath to heat,
And they who dealt in incense sweet;
Physicians in their business skilled,
And those who wine and mead distilled;
And workmen deft in glass who wrought,
And those whose snares the peacock caught;
With them who bored the ear for rings,
Canto LXXXIII. The Journey Begun.
671
Or sawed, or fashioned ivory things;
And those who knew to mix cement,
Or lived by sale of precious scent;
And men who washed, and men who sewed,
And thralls who mid the herds abode;
And fishers of the flood, and they
Who played and sang, and women gay;
And virtuous Bráhmans, Scripture-wise,
Of life approved in all men's eyes;
These swelled the prince's lengthened train,
Borne each in car or bullock wain.
Fair were the robes they wore upon
Their limbs where red-hued unguents shone.
These all in various modes conveyed
Their journey after Bharat made;
The soldiers' hearts with rapture glowed,
Following Bharat on his road,
Their chief whose tender love would fain
Bring his dear brother home again.
With elephant, and horse, and car,
The vast procession travelled far,
[192]
And came where Gangá's waves below
The town of Śringavera361flow.
There, with his friends and kinsmen nigh,
Dwelt Guha, Ráma's dear ally,
Heroic guardian of the land
With dauntless heart and ready hand.
There for a while the mighty force
That followed Bharat stayed its course,
Gazing on Gangá's bosom stirred
By many a graceful water-bird.
When Bharat viewed his followers there,
361Now Sungroor, in the Allahabad district.
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The Ramayana
And Gangá's water, blest and fair,
The prince, who lore of words possessed,
His councillors and lords addressed:
“The captains of the army call:
Proclaim this day a halt for all,
That so to-morrow, rested, we
May cross this flood that seeks the sea.
Meanwhile, descending to the shore,
The funeral stream I fain would pour
From Gangá's fair auspicious tide
To him, my father glorified.”
Thus Bharat spoke: each peer and lord
Approved his words with one accord,
And bade the weary troops repose
In separate spots where'er they chose.
There by the mighty stream that day,
Most glorious in its vast array
The prince's wearied army lay
In various groups reclined.
There Bharat's hours of night were spent,
While every eager thought he bent
On bringing home from banishment
His brother, great of mind.
Canto LXXXIV. Guha's Anger.
Canto LXXXIV. Guha's Anger.
673
King Guha saw the host spread o'er
The wide expanse of Gangá's shore,
With waving flag and pennon graced,
And to his followers spoke in haste:
“A mighty army meets my eyes,
That rivals Ocean's self in size:
Where'er I look my very mind
No limit to the host can find.
Sure Bharat with some evil thought
His army to our land has brought.
See, huge of form, his flag he rears,
That like an Ebony-tree appears.
He comes with bonds to take and chain,
Or triumph o'er our people slain:
And after, Ráma will he slay,—
Him whom his father drove away:
The power complete he longs to gain,
And—task too hard—usurp the reign.
So Bharat comes with wicked will
His brother Ráma's blood to spill.
But Ráma's slave and friend am I;
He is my lord and dear ally.
Keep here your watch in arms arrayed
Near Gangá's flood to lend him aid,
And let my gathered servants stand
And line with troops the river strand.
Here let the river keepers meet,
Who flesh and roots and berries eat;
A hundred fishers man each boat
Of the five hundred here afloat,
And let the youthful and the strong
Assemble in defensive throng.
But yet, if, free from guilty thought
'Gainst Ráma, he this land have sought,
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The Ramayana
The prince's happy host to-day
Across the flood shall make its way.”
He spoke: then bearing in a dish
A gift of honey, meat, and fish,
The king of the Nishádas drew
Toward Bharat for an interview.
When Bharat's noble charioteer
Observed the monarch hastening near,
He duly, skilled in courteous lore,
The tidings to his master bore:
“This aged prince who hither bends
His footsteps with a thousand friends,
Knows, firm ally of Ráma, all
That may in Daṇḍak wood befall:
Therefore, Kakutstha's son, admit
The monarch, as is right and fit:
For doubtless he can clearly tell
Where Ráma now and Lakshmaṇ dwell.”
When Bharat heard Sumantra's rede,
To his fair words the prince agreed:
“Go quickly forth,” he cried, “and bring
Before my face the aged king.”
King Guha, with his kinsmen near,
Rejoiced the summoning to hear:
He nearer drew, bowed low his head,
And thus to royal Bharat said:
“No mansions can our country boast,
And unexpected comes thy host:
But what we have I give thee all:
Rest in the lodging of thy thrall.
See, the Nishádas here have brought
The fruit and roots their hands have sought:
Canto LXXXV. Guha And Bharat.
675
And we have woodland fare beside,
And store of meat both fresh and dried.
To rest their weary limbs, I pray
This night at least thy host may stay:
Then cheered with all we can bestow
To-morrow thou with it mayst go.”
Canto LXXXV. Guha And Bharat.
Thus the Nishádas' king besought:
The prince with spirit wisdom-fraught
[193]
Replied in seemly words that blent
Deep matter with the argument:
“Thou, friend of him whom I revere,
With honours high hast met me here,
For thou alone wouldst entertain
And feed to-day so vast a train.”
In such fair words the prince replied,
Then, pointing to the path he cried:
“Which way aright will lead my feet
To Bharadvája's calm retreat;
For all this land near Gangá's streams
Pathless and hard to traverse seems?”
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The Ramayana
Thus spoke the prince: King Guha heard
Delighted every prudent word,
And gazing on that forest wide,
Raised suppliant hands, and thus replied:
“My servants, all the ground who know,
O glorious Prince, with thee shall go
With constant care thy way to guide,
And I will journey by thy side.
But this thy host so wide dispread
Wakes in my heart one doubt and dread,
Lest, threatening Ráma good and great,
Ill thoughts thy journey stimulate.”
But when King Guha, ill at ease,
Declared his fear in words like these,
As pure as is the cloudless sky
With soft voice Bharat made reply:
“Suspect me not: ne'er come the time
For me to plot so foul a crime!
He is my eldest brother, he
Is like a father dear to me.
I go to lead my brother thence
Who makes the wood his residence.
No thought but this thy heart should frame:
This simple truth my lips proclaim.”
Then with glad cheer King Guha cried,
With Bharat's answer gratified:
“Blessed art thou: on earth I see
None who may vie, O Prince, with thee,
Who canst of thy free will resign
The kingdom which unsought is thine.
For this, a name that ne'er shall die,
Thy glory through the worlds shall fly,
Canto LXXXV. Guha And Bharat.
677
Who fain wouldst balm thy brother's pain
And lead the exile home again.”
As Guha thus, and Bharat, each
To other spoke in friendly speech,
The Day-God sank with glory dead,
And night o'er all the sky was spread.
Soon as King Guha's thoughtful care
Had quartered all the army there,
Well honoured, Bharat laid his head
Beside Śatrughna on a bed.
But grief for Ráma yet oppressed
High-minded Bharat's faithful breast—
Such torment little was deserved
By him who ne'er from duty swerved.
The fever raged through every vein
And burnt him with its inward pain:
So when in woods the flames leap free
The fire within consumes the tree.
From heat of burning anguish sprung
The sweat upon his body hung,
As when the sun with fervid glow
On high Himálaya melts the snow.
As, banished from the herd, a bull
Wanders alone and sorrowful.
Thus sighing and distressed,
In misery and bitter grief,
With fevered heart that mocked relief,
Distracted in his mind, the chief
Still mourned and found no rest.
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The Ramayana
Canto LXXXVI. Guha's Speech.
Guha the king, acquainted well
With all that in the wood befell,
To Bharat the unequalled told
The tale of Lakshmaṇ mighty-souled:
“With many an earnest word I spake
To Lakshmaṇ as he stayed awake,
And with his bow and shaft in hand
To guard his brother kept his stand:
“Now sleep a little, Lakshmaṇ, see
This pleasant bed is strewn for thee:
Hereon thy weary body lay,
And strengthen thee with rest, I pray,
Inured to toil are men like these,
But thou hast aye been nursed in ease.
Rest, duteous-minded! I will keep
My watch while Ráma lies asleep:
For in the whole wide world is none
Dearer to me than Raghu's son.
Harbour no doubt or jealous fear:
I speak the truth with heart sincere:
For from the grace which he has shown
Will glory on my name be thrown:
Great store of merit shall I gain,
And duteous, form no wish in vain.
Let me enforced by many a row
Of followers, armed with shaft and bow
For well-loved Ráma's weal provide
Who lies asleep by Sítá's side.
For through this wood I often go,
And all its shades conceal I know:
And we with conquering arms can meet
A four-fold host arrayed complete.”
Canto LXXXVI. Guha's Speech.
679
“With words like these I spoke, designed
To move the high-souled Bharat's mind,
But he upon his duty bent,
Plied his persuasive argument:
“O, how can slumber close mine eyes
When lowly couched with Sítá lies
The royal Ráma? can I give
My heart to joy, or even live?
He whom no mighty demon, no,
Nor heavenly God can overthrow,
See, Guha, how he lies, alas,
[194]
With Sítá couched on gathered grass.
By varied labours, long, severe,
By many a prayer and rite austere,
He, Daśaratha's cherished son,
By Fortune stamped, from Heaven was won.
Now as his son is forced to fly,
The king ere long will surely die:
Reft of his guardian hand, forlorn
In widowed grief this land will mourn.
E'en now perhaps, with toil o'erspent,
The women cease their loud lament,
And cries of woe no longer ring
Throughout the palace of the king.
But ah for sad Kauśalyá! how
Fare she and mine own mother now?
How fares the king? this night, I think,
Some of the three in death will sink.
With hopes upon Śatrughna set
My mother may survive as yet,
But the sad queen will die who bore
The hero, for her grief is sore.
His cherished wish that would have made
Dear Ráma king, so long delayed,
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The Ramayana
“Too late! too late!” the king will cry,
And conquered by his misery die.
When Fate has brought the mournful day
Which sees my father pass away,
How happy in their lives are they
Allowed his funeral rites to pay.
Our exile o'er, with him who ne'er
Turns from the oath his lips may swear,
May we returning safe and well
gain in fair Ayodhyá dwell.”
Thus Bharat stood with many a sigh
Lamenting, and the night went by.
Soon as the morning light shone fair
In votive coils both bound their hair.
And then I sent them safely o'er
And left them on the farther shore.
With Sítá then they onward passed,
Their coats of bark about them cast,
Their locks like hermits' bound,
The mighty tamers of the foe,
Each with his arrows and his bow,
Went over the rugged ground,
Proud in their strength and undeterred
Like elephants that lead the herd,
And gazing oft around.”
Canto LXXXVII. Guha's Story.
Canto LXXXVII. Guha's Story.
681
That speech of Guha Bharat heard
With grief and tender pity stirred,
And as his ears the story drank,
Deep in his thoughtful heart it sank.
His large full eyes in anguish rolled,
His trembling limbs grew stiff and cold;
Then fell he, like a tree uptorn,
In woe too grievous to be borne.
When Guha saw the long-armed chief
Whose eye was like a lotus leaf,
With lion shoulders strong and fair,
High-mettled, prostrate in despair,—
Pale, bitterly afflicted, he
Reeled as in earthquake reels a tree.
But when Śatrughna standing nigh
Saw his dear brother helpless lie,
Distraught with woe his head he bowed,
Embraced him oft and wept aloud.
Then Bharat's mothers came, forlorn
Of their dear king, with fasting worn,
And stood with weeping eyes around
The hero prostrate on the ground.
Kauśalyá, by her woe oppressed,
The senseless Bharat's limbs caressed,
As a fond cow in love and fear
Caresses oft her youngling dear:
Then yielding to her woe she said,
Weeping and sore disquieted:
“What torments, O my son, are these
Of sudden pain or swift disease?
The lives of us and all the line
Depend, dear child, on only thine.
Ráma and Lakshmaṇ forced to flee,
I live by naught but seeing thee:
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The Ramayana
For as the king has past away
Thou art my only help to-day.
Hast thou, perchance, heard evil news
Of Lakshmaṇ, which thy soul subdues,
Or Ráma dwelling with his spouse—
My all is he—neath forest boughs?”
Then slowly gathering sense and strength
The weeping hero rose at length,
And words like these to Guha spake,
That bade Kauśalyá comfort take:
“Where lodged the prince that night? and where
Lakshmaṇ the brave, and Sítá fair?
Show me the couch whereon he lay,
Tell me the food he ate, I pray.”
Then Guha the Nishádas' king
Replied to Bharat's questioning:
“Of all I had I brought the best
To serve my good and honoured guest
Food of each varied kind I chose,
And every fairest fruit that grows.
Ráma the hero truly brave
Declined the gift I humbly gave:
His Warrior part he ne'er forgot,
And what I brought accepted not:
“No gifts, my friend, may we accept:
Our law is, Give, and must be kept.”
The high-souled chief, O Monarch, thus
With gracious words persuaded us.
Then calm and still, absorbed in thought,
He drank the water Lakshmaṇ brought,
And then, obedient to his vows,
He fasted with his gentle spouse.
So Lakshmaṇ too from food abstained,
[195]
Canto LXXXVIII. The Ingudí Tree.
683
And sipped the water that remained:
Then with ruled lips, devoutly staid,
The three362their evening worship paid.
Then Lakshmaṇ with unwearied care
Brought heaps of sacred grass, and there
With his own hands he quickly spread,
For Ráma's rest, a pleasant bed,
And faithful Sítá's too, where they
Reclining each by other lay.
Then Lakshmaṇ bathed their feet, and drew
A little distance from the two.
Here stands the tree which lent them shade,
Here is the grass beneath it laid,
Where Ráma and his consort spent
The night together ere they went.
Lakshmaṇ, whose arms the foeman quell,
Watched all the night as sentinel,
And kept his great bow strung:
His hand was gloved, his arm was braced,
Two well-filled quivers at his waist,
With deadly arrows, hung.
I took my shafts and trusty bow,
And with that tamer of the foe
Stood ever wakeful near,
And with my followers, bow in hand,
Behind me ranged, a ready band,
Kept watch o'er Indra's peer.”
Canto LXXXVIII. The Ingudí Tree.
362Ráma, Lakshmaṇ, and Sumantra.
684
The Ramayana
When Bharat with each friend and peer
Had heard that tale so full and clear,
They went together to the tree
The bed which Ráma pressed to see.
Then Bharat to his mothers said:
“Behold the high-souled hero's bed:
These tumbled heaps of grass betray
Where he that night with Sítá lay:
Unmeet, the heir of fortune high
Thus on the cold bare earth should lie,
The monarch's son, in counsel sage,
Of old imperial lineage.
That lion-lord whose noble bed
With finest skins of deer was spread,—
How can he now endure to press
The bare earth, cold and comfortless!
This sudden fall from bliss to grief
Appears untrue, beyond belief:
My senses are distraught: I seem
To view the fancies of a dream.
There is no deity so great,
No power in heaven can master Fate,
If Ráma, Daśaratha's heir,
Lay on the ground and slumbered there;
And lovely Sítá, she who springs
From fair Videha's ancient kings,
Ráma's dear wife, by all adored,
Lay on the earth beside her lord.
Here was his couch, upon this heap
He tossed and turned in restless sleep:
On the hard soil each manly limb
Has stamped the grass with signs of him.
That night, it seems, fair Sítá spent
Arrayed in every ornament,
Canto LXXXVIII. The Ingudí Tree.
685
For here and there my eyes behold
Small particles of glistering gold.
She laid her outer garment here,
For still some silken threads appear,
How dear in her devoted eyes
Must be the bed where Ráma lies,
Where she so tender could repose
And by his side forget her woes.
Alas, unhappy, guilty me!
For whom the prince was forced to flee,
And chief of Raghu's sons and best,
A bed like this with Sítá pressed.
Son of a royal sire whose hand
Ruled paramount o'er every land,
Could he who every joy bestows,
Whose body like the lotus shows,
The friend of all, who charms the sight,
Whose flashing eyes are darkly bright,
Leave the dear kingdom, his by right,
Unmeet for woe, the heir of bliss,
And lie upon a bed like this?
Great joy and happy fate are thine,
O Lakshmaṇ, marked with each fair sign,
Whose faithful footsteps follow still
Thy brother in his hour of ill.
And blest is Sítá, nobly good,
Who dwells with Ráma in the wood.
Ours is, alas, a doubtful fate
Of Ráma reft and desolate.
My royal sire has gained the skies,
In woods the high-souled hero lies;
The state is wrecked and tempest-tossed,
A vessel with her rudder lost.
Yet none in secret thought has planned
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The Ramayana
With hostile might to seize the land:
Though forced in distant wilds to dwell,
The hero's arm protects it well.
Unguarded, with deserted wall,
No elephant or steed in stall,
My father's royal city shows
Her portals open to her foes,
Of bold protectors reft and bare,
Defenceless in her dark despair:
But still her foes the wish restrain,
As men from poisoned cates refrain.
I from this hour my nights will pass
Couched on the earth or gathered grass,
Eat only fruit and roots, and wear
A coat of bark, and matted hair.
I in the woods will pass, content,
For him the term of banishment;
So shall I still unbroken save
The promise which the hero gave.
[196]
While I remain for Ráma there,
Śatrughna will my exile share,
And Ráma in his home again,
With Lakshmaṇ, o'er Ayodhyá reign,
for him, to rule and guard the state,
The twice-born men shall consecrate.
O, may the Gods I serve incline
To grant this earnest wish of mine!
If when I bow before his feet
And with all moving arts entreat,
He still deny my prayer,
Then with my brother will I live:
He must, he must permission give,
Roaming in forests there.”
Canto LXXXIX. The Passage Of Gangá.
687
Canto LXXXIX. The Passage Of Gangá.
That night the son of Raghu lay
On Gangá's bank till break of day:
Then with the earliest light he woke
And thus to brave Śatrughna spoke.
“Rise up, Śatrughna, from thy bed:
Why sleepest thou the night is fled.
See how the sun who chases night
Wakes every lotus with his light.
Arise, arise, and first of all
The lord of Śringavera call,
For he his friendly aid will lend
Our army o'er the flood to send.”
Thus urged, Śatrughna answered: “I,
Remembering Ráma, sleepless lie.”
As thus the brothers, each to each,
The lion-mettled, ended speech,
Came Guha, the Nishádas' king,
And spoke with kindly questioning:
“Hast thou in comfort passed,” he cried,
“The night upon the river side?
With thee how fares it? and are these,
Thy soldiers, healthy and at ease?”
Thus the Nishádas' lord inquired
In gentle words which love inspired,
And Bharat, Ráma's faithful slave,
Thus to the king his answer gave:
“The night has sweetly passed, and we
Are highly honoured, King, by thee.
Now let thy servants boats prepare,
Our army o'er the stream to bear.”
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The Ramayana
The speech of Bharat Guha heard,
And swift to do his bidding stirred.
Within the town the monarch sped
And to his ready kinsmen said:
“Awake, each kinsman, rise, each friend!
May every joy your lives attend.
Gather each boat upon the shore
And ferry all the army o'er.”
Thus Guha spoke: nor they delayed,
But, rising quick, their lord obeyed,
And soon, from every side secured,
Five hundred boats were ready moored.
Some reared aloft the mystic sign,363
And mighty bells were hung in line:
Of firmest build, gay flags they bore,
And sailors for the helm and oar.
One such King Guha chose, whereon,
Of fair white cloth, an awning shone,
And sweet musicians charmed the ear,—
And bade his servants urge it near.
Then Bharat swiftly sprang on board,
And then Śatrughna, famous lord,
To whom, with many a royal dame,
Kauśalyá and Sumitrá came.
The household priest went first in place,
The elders, and the Bráhman race,
And after them the monarch's train
Of women borne in many a wain.
Then high to heaven the shouts of those
Who fired the army's huts,364arose,
With theirs who bathed along the shore,
363The svastika, a little cross with a transverse line at each extremity.
364When an army marched it was customary to burn the huts in which it had
spent the night.
Canto XC. The Hermitage.
689
Or to the boats the baggage bore.
Full freighted with that mighty force
The boats sped swiftly on their course,
By royal Guha's servants manned,
And gentle gales the banners fanned.
Some boats a crowd of dames conveyed,
In others noble coursers neighed;
Some chariots and their cattle bore,
Some precious wealth and golden store.
Across the stream each boat was rowed,
There duly disembarked its load,
And then returning on its way,
Sped here and there in merry play.
Then swimming elephants appeared
With flying pennons high upreared.
And as the drivers urged them o'er,
The look of winged mountains wore.
Some men in barges reached the strand,
Others on rafts came safe to land:
Some buoyed with pitchers crossed the tide,
And others on their arms relied.
Thus with the help the monarch gave
The army crossed pure Gangá's wave:
Then in auspicious hour it stood
Within Prayága's famous wood.
The prince with cheering words addressed
His weary men, and bade them rest
Where'er they chose and he,
With priest and deacon by his side,
To Bharadvája's dwelling hied
That best of saints to see.
[197]
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The Ramayana
Canto XC. The Hermitage.
The prince of men a league away
Saw where the hermit's dwelling lay,
Then with his lords his path pursued,
And left his warrior multitude.
On foot, as duty taught his mind,
He left his warlike gear behind;
Two robes of linen cloth he wore,
And bade Vaśishṭha walk before.
Then Bharat from his lords withdrew
When Bharadvája came in view,
And toward the holy hermit went
Behind Vaśishṭha, reverent.
When Bharadvája, saint austere,
Saw good Vaśishṭha drawing near,
He cried, upspringing from his seat,
“The grace-gift bring, my friend to greet.”
When Saint Vaśishṭha near him drew,
And Bharat paid the reverence due,
The glorious hermit was aware
That Daśaratha's son was there.
The grace-gift, water for their feet
He gave, and offered fruit to eat;
Then, duty-skilled, with friendly speech
In seemly order questioned each:
“How fares it in Ayodhyá now
With treasury and army? how
With kith and kin and friends most dear,
With councillor, and prince, and peer?”
But, for he knew the king was dead,
Of Daśaratha naught he said.
Vaśishṭha and the prince in turn
Would of the hermit's welfare learn:
Canto XC. The Hermitage.
691
Of holy fires they fain would hear,
Of pupils, trees, and birds, and deer.
The glorious saint his answer made
That all was well in holy shade:
Then love of Ráma moved his breast,
And thus he questioned of his guest:
“Why art thou here, O Prince, whose band
With kingly sway protects the land?
Declare the cause, explain the whole,
For yet some doubt disturbs my soul.
He whom Kauśalyá bare, whose might
The foemen slays, his line's delight,
He who with wife and brother sent
Afar now roam in banishment,
Famed prince, to whom his father spake
This order for a woman's sake:
“Away! and in the forest spend
Thy life till fourteen years shall end”—
Has thou the wish to harm him, bent
On sin against the innocent?
Wouldst thou thine elder's realm enjoy
Without a thorn that can annoy?”
With sobbing voice and tearful eye
Thus Bharat sadly made reply:
“Ah lost am I, if thou, O Saint,
Canst thus in thought my heart attaint:
No warning charge from thee I need;
Ne'er could such crime from me proceed.
The words my guilty mother spake
When fondly jealous for my sake—
Think not that I, to triumph moved,
Those words approve or e'er approved.
O Hermit, I have sought this place
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The Ramayana
To win the lordly hero's grace,
To throw me at my brother's feet
And lead him to his royal seat.
To this, my journey's aim and end,
Thou shouldst, O Saint, thy favour lend:
Where is the lord of earth? do thou,
Most holy, say, where roams he now?”
Then, by the saint Vaśishṭha pressed,
And all the gathered priests beside,
To Bharat's dutiful request
The hermit graciously replied:
“Worthy of thee, O Prince, this deed,
True son of Raghu's ancient seed.
I know thee reverent, well-controlled,
The glory of the good of old.
I grant thy prayer: in this pursuit
I know thy heart is resolute.
'Tis for thy sake those words I said
That wider still thy fame may spread.
I know where Ráma, duty-tried,
His brother, and his wife abide.
Where Chitrakúṭa's heights arise
Thy brother Ráma's dwelling lies.
Go thither with the morning's light,
And stay with all thy lords tonight:
For I would show thee honour high,
And do not thou my wish deny.”
Canto XCI. Bharadvája's Feast.
Canto XCI. Bharadvája's Feast.
693
Soon as he saw the prince's mind
To rest that day was well inclined,
He sought Kaikeyí's son to please
With hospitable courtesies.
Then Bharat to the saint replied:
“Our wants are more than satisfied.
The gifts which honoured strangers greet,
And water for our weary feet
Hast thou bestowed with friendly care,
And every choice of woodland fare.”
Then Bharadvája spoke, a smile
Playing upon his lips the while:
“I know, dear Prince, thy friendly mind
Will any fare sufficient find,
But gladly would I entertain
And banquet all thine armed train:
Such is my earnest wish: do thou
This longing of my heart allow,
Why hast thou hither bent thy way,
And made thy troops behind thee stay?
[198]
Why unattended? couldst thou not
With friends and army seek this spot?”
Bharat, with reverent hands raised high,
To that great hermit made reply:
“My troops, for awe of thee, O Sage,
I brought not to thy hermitage:
Troops of a king or monarch's son
A hermit's home should ever shun.
Behind me comes a mighty train
Wide spreading o'er the ample plain,
Where every chief and captain leads
Men, elephants, and mettled steeds.
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The Ramayana
I feared, O reverend Sage, lest these
Might harm the holy ground and trees,
Springs might be marred and cots o'erthrown,
So with the priests I came alone.”
“Bring all thy host,” the hermit cried,
And Bharat, to his joy, complied.
Then to the chapel went the sire,
Where ever burnt the sacred fire,
And first, in order due, with sips
Of water purified his lips:
To Viśvakarmá, then he prayed,
His hospitable feast to aid:
“Let Viśvakarmá hear my call,
The God who forms and fashions all:
A mighty banquet I provide,
Be all my wants this day supplied.
Lord Indra at their head, the three365
Who guard the worlds I call to me:
A mighty host this day I feed,
Be now supplied my every need.
Let all the streams that eastward go,
And those whose waters westering flow,
Both on the earth and in the sky,
Flow hither and my wants supply.
Be some with ardent liquor filled,
And some with wine from flowers distilled,
While some their fresh cool streams retain
Sweet as the juice of sugar-cane.
I call the Gods, I call the band
Of minstrels that around them stand:
I call the Háhá and Huhú,
I call the sweet Viśvávasu,
365Yáma, Varuṇa, and Kuvera.
Canto XCI. Bharadvája's Feast.
695
I call the heavenly wives of these
With all the bright Apsarases,
Alambúshá of beauty rare,
The charmer of the tangled hair,
Ghritáchí and Viśváchi fair,
Hemá and Bhímá sweet to view,
And lovely Nágadantá too,
And all the sweetest nymphs who stand
By Indra or by Brahmá's hand—
I summon these with all their train
And Tumburu to lead the strain.
Here let Kuvera's garden rise
Which far in Northern Kuru366lies:
For leaves let cloth and gems entwine,
And let its fruit be nymphs divine.
Let Soma367give the noblest food
To feed the mighty multitude,
Of every kind, for tooth and lip,
To chew, to lick, to suck, and sip.
Let wreaths, where fairest flowers abound,
Spring from the trees that bloom around.
Each sort of wine to woo the taste,
And meats of every kind be placed.”
366“A happy land in the remote north where the inhabitants enjoy a natural
pefection attended with complete happiness obtained without exertion. There
is there no vicissitude, nor decrepitude, nor death, nor fear: no distinction of
virtue and vice, none of the inequalities denoted by the words best, worst, and
intermediate, nor any change resulting from the succession of the four Yugas.”
See MUIR'S{FNS Sanskrit Texts, Vol. I. p. 492.
367The Moon.
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The Ramayana
Thus spake the hermit self-restrained,
With proper tone by rules ordained,
On deepest meditation bent,
In holy might preëminent.
Then as with hands in reverence raised
Absorbed in thought he eastward gazed,
The deities he thus addressed
Came each in semblance manifest.
Delicious gales that cooled the frame
From Malaya and Dardar came,
That kissed those scented hills and threw
Auspicious fragrance where they blew.
Then falling fast in sweetest showers
Came from the sky immortal flowers,
And all the airy region round
With heavenly drums was made to sound.
Then breathed a soft celestial breeze,
Then danced the bright Apsarases,
The minstrels and the Gods advanced,
And warbling lutes the soul entranced.
The earth and sky that music filled,
And through each ear it softly thrilled,
As from the heavenly quills it fell
With time and tune attempered well.
Soon as the minstrels ceased to play
And airs celestial died away,
The troops of Bharat saw amazed
What Viśvakarmá's art had raised.
On every side, five leagues around,
All smooth and level lay the ground,
With fresh green grass that charmed the sight
Like sapphires blent with lazulite.
There the Wood-apple hung its load,
The Mango and the Citron glowed,
Canto XCI. Bharadvája's Feast.
697
The Bel and scented Jak were there,
And Apelá with fruitage fair.
There, brought from Northern Kuru, stood
Rich in delights, the glorious wood,
And many a stream was seen to glide
[199]
With flowering trees along its side.
There mansions rose with four wide halls,
And elephants and chargers' stalls,
And many a house of royal state,
Triumphal arc and bannered gate.
With noble doorways, sought the sky,
Like a pale cloud, a palace high,
Which far and wide rare fragrance shed,
With wreaths of white engarlanded.
Square was its shape, its halls were wide,
With many a seat and couch supplied,
Drink of all kinds, and every meat
Such as celestial Gods might eat.
Then at the bidding of the seer
Kaikeyí's strong-armed son drew near,
And passed within that fair abode
Which with the noblest jewels glowed.
Then, as Vaśishṭha led the way,
The councillors, in due array,
Followed delighted and amazed
And on the glorious structure gazed.
Then Bharat, Raghu's son, drew near
The kingly throne, with prince and peer,
Whereby the chouri in the shade
Of the white canopy was laid.
Before the throne he humbly bent
And honoured Ráma, reverent,
Then in his hand the chouri bore,
And sat where sits a councillor.
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The Ramayana
His ministers and household priest
Sat by degrees from chief to least,
Then sat the captain of the host
And all the men he honoured most.
Then when the saint his order gave,
Each river with enchanted wave
Rolled milk and curds divinely sweet
Before the princely Bharat's feet;
And dwellings fair on either side,
With gay white plaster beautified,
Their heavenly roofs were seen to lift,
The Bráhman Bharadvája's gift.
Then straight by Lord Kuvera sent,
Gay with celestial ornament
Of bright attire and jewels' shine,
Came twenty thousand nymphs divine:
The man on whom those beauties glanced
That moment felt his soul entranced.
With them from Nandan's blissful shades
Came twenty thousand heavenly maids.
Tumburu, Nárad, Gopa came,
And Sutanu, like radiant flame,
The kings of the Gandharva throng,
And ravished Bharat with their song.
Then spoke the saint, and swift obeyed
Alambúshá, the fairest maid,
And Miśrakeśí bright to view,
Ramaṇá, Puṇḍríká too,
And danced to him with graceful ease
The dances of Apsarases.
All chaplets that by Gods are worn,
Or Chaitraratha's graves adorn,
Bloomed by the saint's command arrayed
On branches in Prayága's shade.
Canto XCI. Bharadvája's Feast.
699
When at the saint's command the breeze
Made music with the Vilva trees,
To wave in rhythmic beat began
The boughs of each Myrobolan,
And holy fig-trees wore the look
Of dancers, as their leaflets shook.
The fair Tamála, palm, and pine,
With trees that tower and plants that twine,
The sweetly varying forms displayed
Of stately dame or bending maid.
Here men the foaming winecup quaffed,
Here drank of milk full many a draught,
And tasted meats of every kind,
Well dressed, whatever pleased their mind.
Then beauteous women, seven or eight,
Stood ready by each man to wait:
Beside the stream his limbs they stripped
And in the cooling water dipped.
And then the fair ones, sparkling eyed,
With soft hands rubbed his limbs and dried,
And sitting on the lovely bank
Held up the winecup as he drank.
Nor did the grooms forget to feed
Camel and mule and ox and steed,
For there were stores of roasted grain,
Of honey and of sugar-cane.
So fast the wild excitement spread
Among the warriors Bharat led,
That all the mighty army through
The groom no more his charger knew,
And he who drove might seek in vain
To tell his elephant again.
With every joy and rapture fired,
Entranced with all the heart desired,
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The Ramayana
The myriads of the host that night
Revelled delirious with delight.
Urged by the damsels at their side
In wild delight the warriors cried:
“Ne'er will we seek Ayodhyá, no,
Nor yet to Daṇḍak forest go:
Here will we stay: may happy fate
On Bharat and on Ráma wait.”
Thus cried the army gay and free
Exulting in their lawless glee,
Both infantry and those who rode
On elephants, or steeds bestrode,
Ten thousand voices shouting, “This
Is heaven indeed for perfect bliss.”
With garlands decked they idly strayed,
And danced and laughed and sang and played.
At length as every soldier eyed,
With food like Amrit satisfied,
Each dainty cate and tempting meat,
No longer had he care to eat.
Thus soldier, servant, dame, and slave
Received whate'er the wish might crave.
As each in new-wrought clothes arrayed
Enjoyed the feast before him laid.
[200]
Each man was seen in white attire
Unstained by spot or speck of mire:
None was athirst or hungry there,
And none had dust upon his hair.
On every side in woody dells
Was milky food in bubbling wells,
And there were all-supplying cows
And honey dropping from the boughs.
Nor wanted lakes of flower-made drink
With piles of meat upon the brink,
Canto XCI. Bharadvája's Feast.
701
Boiled, stewed, and roasted, varied cheer,
Peachick and jungle-fowl and deer,
There was the flesh of kid and boar,
And dainty sauce in endless store,
With juice of flowers concocted well,
And soup that charmed the taste and smell,
And pounded fruits of bitter taste,
And many a bath was ready placed
Down by each river's shelving side
There stood great basins well supplied,
And laid therein, of dazzling sheen,
White brushes for the teeth were seen,
And many a covered box wherein
Was sandal powdered for the skin.
And mirrors bright with constant care,
And piles of new attire were there,
And store of sandals and of shoes,
Thousands of pairs, for all to choose:
Eye-unguents, combs for hair and beard,
Umbrellas fair and bows appeared.
Lakes gleamed, that lent digestive aid,368
And some for pleasant bathing made,
With waters fair, and smooth incline
For camels, horses, mules, and kine.
There saw they barley heaped on high
The countless cattle to supply:
The golden grain shone fair and bright
As sapphires or the lazulite.
To all the gathered host it seemed
As if that magic scene they dreamed,
And wonder, as they gazed, increased
At Bharadvája's glorious feast.
368The poet does not tell us what these lakes contained.
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The Ramayana
Thus in the hermit's grove they spent
That night in joy and merriment,
Blest as the Gods who take their ease
Under the shade of Nandan's trees.
Each minstrel bade the saint adieu,
And to his blissful mansion flew,
And every stream and heavenly dame
Returned as swiftly as she came.
Canto XCII. Bharat's Farewell.
So Bharat with his army spent
The watches of the night content,
And gladly, with the morning's light
Drew near his host the anchorite.
When Bharadvája saw him stand
With hand in reverence joined to hand,
When fires of worship had been fed,
He looked upon the prince and said:
“O blameless son, I pray thee tell,
Did the past night content thee well?
Say if the feast my care supplied
Thy host of followers gratified.”
Canto XCII. Bharat's Farewell.
703
His hands he joined, his head he bent
And spoke in answer reverent
To the most high and radiant sage
Who issued from his hermitage:
“Well have I passed the night: thy feast
Gave joy to every man and beast;
And I, great lord, and every peer
Were satisfied with sumptuous cheer,
Thy banquet has delighted all
From highest chief to meanest thrall,
And rich attire and drink and meat
Banished the thought of toil and heat.
And now, O Hermit good and great,
A boon of thee I supplicate.
To Ráma's side my steps I bend:
Do thou with friendly eye commend.
O tell me how to guide my feet
To virtuous Ráma's lone retreat:
Great Hermit, I entreat thee, say
How far from here and which the way.”
Thus by fraternal love inspired
The chieftain of the saint inquired:
Then thus replied the glorious seer
Of matchless might, of vows austere:
“Ere the fourth league from here be passed,
Amid a forest wild and vast,
Stands Chitrakúṭa's mountain tall,
Lovely with wood and waterfall.
North of the mountain thou wilt see
The beauteous stream Mandákiní,
Where swarm the waterfowl below,
And gay trees on the margin grow.
Then will a leafy cot between
704
The Ramayana
The river and the hill be seen:
'Tis Ráma's, and the princely pair
Of brothers live for certain there.
Hence to the south thine army lead,
And then more southward still proceed,
So shalt thou find his lone retreat,
And there the son of Raghu meet.”
Soon as the ordered march they knew,
The widows of the monarch flew,
Leaving their cars, most meet to ride,
And flocked to Bharadvája's side.
There with the good Sumitrá Queen
Kauśalyá, sad and worn, was seen,
Caressing, still with sorrow faint,
The feet of that illustrious saint,
Kaikeyí too, her longings crossed,
Reproached of all, her object lost,
Before the famous hermit came,
[201]
And clasped his feet, o'erwhelmed with shame.
With circling steps she humbly went
Around the saint preëminent,
And stood not far from Bharat's side
With heart oppressed, and heavy-eyed.
Then the great seer, who never broke
One holy vow, to Bharat spoke:
“Speak, Raghu's son: I fain would learn
The story of each queen in turn.”
Canto XCII. Bharat's Farewell.
705
Obedient to the high request
By Bharadvája thus addressed,
His reverent hands together laid,
He, skilled in speech, his answer made:
“She whom, O Saint, thou seest here
A Goddess in her form appear,
Was the chief consort of the king,
Now worn with fast and sorrowing.
As Aditi in days of yore
The all-preserving Vishṇu bore,
Kauśalyá bore with happy fate
Lord Ráma of the lion's gait.
She who, transfixed with torturing pangs,
On her left arm so fondly hangs,
As when her withering leaves decay
Droops by the wood the Cassia spray,
Sumitrá, pained with woe, is she,
The consort second of the three:
Two princely sons the lady bare,
Fair as the Gods in heaven are fair.
And she, the wicked dame through whom
My brothers' lives are wrapped in gloom,
And mourning for his offspring dear,
The king has sought his heavenly sphere,—
Proud, foolish-hearted, swift to ire,
Self-fancied darling of my sire,
Kaikeyí, most ambitious queen,
Unlovely with her lovely mien,
My mother she, whose impious will
Is ever bent on deeds of ill,
In whom the root and spring I see
Of all this woe which crushes me.”
706
The Ramayana
Quick breathing like a furious snake,
With tears and sobs the hero spake,
With reddened eyes aglow with rage.
And Bharadvája, mighty sage,
Supreme in wisdom, calm and grave,
In words like these good counsel gave:
“O Bharat, hear the words I say;
On her the fault thou must not lay:
For many a blessing yet will spring
From banished Ráma's wandering.”
And Bharat, with that promise cheered,
Went circling round that saint revered,
He humbly bade farewell, and then
Gave orders to collect his men.
Prompt at the summons thousands flew
To cars which noble coursers drew,
Bright-gleaming, glorious to behold,
Adorned with wealth of burnished gold.
Then female elephants and male,
Gold-girthed, with flags that wooed the gale,
Marched with their bright bells' tinkling chime
Like clouds when ends the summer time:
Some cars were huge and some were light,
For heavy draught or rapid flight,
Of costly price, of every kind,
With clouds of infantry behind.
The dames, Kauśalyá at their head,
Were in the noblest chariots led,
And every gentle bosom beat
With hope the banished prince to meet.
The royal Bharat, glory-crowned,
With all his retinue around,
Borne in a beauteous litter rode,
Like the young moon and sun that glowed.
Canto XCIII. Chitrakúta In Sight.
707
The army as it streamed along,
Cars, elephants, in endless throng,
Showed, marching on its southward way,
Like autumn clouds in long array.
Canto XCIII. Chitrakúta In Sight.
As through the woods its way pursued
That mighty bannered multitude,
Wild elephants in terror fled
With all the startled herds they led,
And bears and deer were seen on hill,
In forest glade, by every rill.
Wide as the sea from coast to coast,
The high-souled Bharat's mighty host
Covered the earth as cloudy trains
Obscure the sky when fall the rains.
The stately elephants he led,
And countless steeds the land o'erspread,
So closely crowded that between
Their serried ranks no ground was seen.
Then when the host had travelled far,
And steeds were worn who drew the car,
The glorious Bharat thus addressed
Vaśishṭha, of his lords the best:
“The spot, methinks, we now behold
Of which the holy hermit told,
For, as his words described, I trace
Each several feature of the place:
Before us Chitrakúṭa shows,
Mandákiní beside us flows:
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The Ramayana
Afar umbrageous woods arise
Like darksome clouds that veil the skies.
Now tread these mountain-beasts of mine
On Chitrakúṭa's fair incline.
The trees their rain of blossoms shed
On table-lands beneath them spread,
As from black clouds the floods descend
When the hot days of summer end.
Śatrughna, look, the mountain see
Where heavenly minstrels wander free,
[202]
And horses browse beneath the steep,
Countless as monsters in the deep.
Scared by my host the mountain deer
Starting with tempest speed appear
Like the long lines of cloud that fly
In autumn through the windy sky.
See, every warrior shows his head
With fragrant blooms engarlanded;
All look like southern soldiers who
Lift up their shields of azure hue.
This lonely wood beneath the hill,
That was so dark and drear and still,
Covered with men in endless streams
Now like Ayodhyá's city seems.
The dust which countless hoofs excite
Obscures the sky and veils the light;
But see, swift winds those clouds dispel
As if they strove to please me well.
See, guided in their swift career
By many a skilful charioteer,
Those cars by fleetest coursers drawn
Race onward over glade and lawn.
Look, startled as the host comes near
The lovely peacocks fly in fear,
Canto XCIII. Chitrakúta In Sight.
709
Gorgeous as if the fairest blooms
Of earth had glorified their plumes.
Look where the sheltering covert shows
The trooping deer, both bucks and does,
That occupy in countless herds
This mountain populous with birds.
Most lovely to my mind appears
This place which every charm endears:
Fair as the road where tread the Blest;
Here holy hermits take their rest.
Then let the army onward press
And duly search each green recess
For the two lion-lords, till we
Ráma once more and Lakshmaṇ see.”
Thus Bharat spoke: and hero bands
Of men with weapons in their hands
Entered the tangled forest: then
A spire of smoke appeared in ken.
Soon as they saw the rising smoke
To Bharat they returned and spoke:
“No fire where men are not: 'tis clear
That Raghu's sons are dwelling here.
Or if not here those heroes dwell
Whose mighty arms their foeman quell,
Still other hermits here must be
Like Ráma, true and good as he.”
His ears attentive Bharat lent
To their resistless argument,
Then to his troops the chief who broke
His foe's embattled armies spoke:
“Here let the troops in silence stay;
One step beyond they must not stray.
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The Ramayana
Come Dhrishṭi and Sumantra, you
With me alone the path pursue.”
Their leader's speech the warriors heard,
And from his place no soldier stirred,
And Bharat bent his eager eyes
Where curling smoke was seen to rise.
The host his order well obeyed,
And halting there in silence stayed
Watching where from the thicket's shade
They saw the smoke appear.
And joy through all the army ran,
“Soon shall we meet,” thought every man,
“The prince we hold so dear.”
Canto XCIV. Chitrakúta.
There long the son of Raghu dwelt
And love for hill and wood he felt.
Then his Videhan spouse to please
And his own heart of woe to ease,
Like some Immortal—Indra so
Might Swarga's charms to Śachí show—
Drew her sweet eyes to each delight
Of Chitrakúṭa's lovely height:
“Though reft of power and kingly sway,
Though friends and home are far away,
I cannot mourn my altered lot,
Enamoured of this charming spot.
Look, darling, on this noble hill
Which sweet birds with their music fill,
Canto XCIV. Chitrakúta.
711
Bright with a thousand metal dyes
His lofty summits cleave the skies.
See, there a silvery sheen is spread,
And there like blood the rocks are red.
There shows a streak of emerald green,
And pink and yellow glow between.
There where the higher peaks ascend,
Crystal and flowers and topaz blend,
And others flash their light afar
Like mercury or some fair star:
With such a store of metals dyed
The king of hills is glorified.
There through the wild birds' populous home
The harmless bear and tiger roam:
Hyænas range the woody slopes
With herds of deer and antelopes.
See, love, the trees that clothe his side
All lovely in their summer pride,
In richest wealth of leaves arrayed,
With flower and fruit and light and shade,
Look where the young Rose-apple glows;
What loaded boughs the Mango shows;
See, waving in the western wind
The light leaves of the Tamarind,
And mark that giant Peepul through
The feathery clump of tall bamboo.369
[203]
Look, on the level lands above,
Delighting in successful love
369These ten lines are a substitution for, and not a translation of the text
which Carey and Marshman thus render: “This mountain adorned with mango,
jumboo, usuna, lodhra, piala, punusa, dhava, unkotha, bhuvya, tinisha, vilwa,
tindooka, bamboo, kashmaree, urista, uruna, madhooka, tilaka, vuduree, am-
luka, nipa, vetra, dhunwuna, veejaka, and other trees affording flowers, and
fruits, and the most delightful shade, how charming does it appear!”
712
The Ramayana
In sweet enjoyment many a pair
Of heavenly minstrels revels there,
While overhanging boughs support
Their swords and mantles as they sport:
Then see that pleasant shelter where
Play the bright Daughters of the Air.370
The mountain seems with bright cascade
And sweet rill bursting from the shade,
Like some majestic elephant o'er
Whose burning head the torrents pour.
Where breathes the man who would not feel
Delicious languor o'er him steal,
As the young morning breeze that springs
From the cool cave with balmy wings,
Breathes round him laden with the scent
Of bud and blossom dew-besprent?
If many autumns here I spent
With thee, my darling innocent,
And Lakshmaṇ, I should never know
The torture of the fires of woe,
This varied scene so charms my sight,
This mount so fills me with delight,
Where flowers in wild profusion spring,
And ripe fruits glow and sweet birds sing.
My beauteous one, a double good
Springs from my dwelling in the wood:
Loosed is the bond my sire that tied,
And Bharat too is gratified.
My darling, dost thou feel with me
Delight from every charm we see,
Of which the mind and every sense
Feel the enchanting influence?
370Vidyadharis, Spirits of Air, sylphs.
Canto XCIV. Chitrakúta.
713
My fathers who have passed away,
The royal saints, were wont to say,
That life in woodland shades like this
Secures a king immortal bliss.
See, round the hill at random thrown,
Huge masses lie of rugged stone
Of every shape and many a hue,
Yellow and white and red and blue.
But all is fairer still by night:
Each rock reflects a softer light,
When the whole mount from foot to crest
In robes of lambent flame is dressed;
When from a million herbs a blaze
Of their own luminous glory plays,
And clothed in fire each deep ravine,
Each pinnacle and crag is seen.
Some parts the look of mansions wear,
And others are as gardens fair,
While others seem a massive block
Of solid undivided rock.
Behold those pleasant beds o'erlaid
With lotus leaves, for lovers made,
Where mountain birch and costus throw
Cool shadows on the pair below.
See where the lovers in their play
Have cast their flowery wreaths away,
And fruit and lotus buds that crowned
Their brows lie trodden on the ground.
North Kuru's realm is fair to see,
Vasvaukasárá,371Naliní,372
But rich in fruit and blossom still
371A lake attached either to Amarávatí the residence of Indra, or Alaká that of
Kuvera.
372The Ganges of heaven.
714
The Ramayana
More fair is Chitrakúṭa's hill.
Here shall the years appointed glide
With thee, my beauty, by my side,
And Lakshmaṇ ever near;
Here shall I live in all delight,
Make my ancestral fame more bright,
Tread in their path who walk aright,
And to my oath adhere.”
Canto XCV. Mandákiní.
Then Ráma, like the lotus eyed,
Descended from the mountain side,
And to the Maithil lady showed
The lovely stream that softly flowed.
And thus Ayodhyá's lord addressed
His bride, of dames the loveliest,
Child of Videha's king, her face
Bright with the fair moon's tender grace:
“How sweetly glides, O darling, look,
Mandákiní's delightful brook,
Adorned with islets, blossoms gay,
And sárases and swans at play!
[204]
The trees with which her banks are lined
Show flowers and fruit of every kind:
The match in radiant sheen is she
Of King Kuvera's Naliní.373
My heart exults with pleasure new
The shelving band and ford to view,
373Naliní, as here, may be the name of any lake covered with lotuses.
Canto XCV. Mandákiní.
715
Where gathering herds of thirsty deer
Disturb the wave that ran so clear.
Now look, those holy hermits mark
In skins of deer and coats of bark;
With twisted coils of matted hair,
The reverend men are bathing there,
And as they lift their arms on high
The Lord of Day they glorify:
These best of saints, my large-eyed spouse,
Are constant to their sacred vows.
The mountain dances while the trees
Bend their proud summits to the breeze,
And scatter many a flower and bud
From branches that o'erhang the flood.
There flows the stream like lucid pearl,
Round islets here the currents whirl,
And perfect saints from middle air
Are flocking to the waters there.
See, there lie flowers in many a heap
From boughs the whistling breezes sweep,
And others wafted by the gale
Down the swift current dance and sail.
Now see that pair of wild-fowl rise,
Exulting with their joyful cries:
Hark, darling, wafted from afar
How soft their pleasant voices are.
To gaze on Chitrakúṭa's hill,
To look upon this lovely rill,
To bend mine eyes on thee, dear wife,
Is sweeter than my city life.
Come, bathe we in the pleasant rill
Whose dancing waves are never still,
Stirred by those beings pure from sin,
The sanctities who bathe therein:
716
The Ramayana
Come, dearest, to the stream descend,
Approach her as a darling friend,
And dip thee in the silver flood
Which lotuses and lilies stud.
Let this fair hill Ayodhyá seem,
Its silvan things her people deem,
And let these waters as they flow
Our own beloved Sarjú show.
How blest, mine own dear love, am I;
Thou, fond and true, art ever nigh,
And duteous, faithful Lakshmaṇ stays
Beside me, and my word obeys.
Here every day I bathe me thrice,
Fruit, honey, roots for food suffice,
And ne'er my thoughts with longing stray
To distant home or royal sway.
For who this charming brook can see
Where herds of roedeer wander free,
And on the flowery-wooded brink
Apes, elephants, and lions drink,
Nor feel all sorrow fly?”
Thus eloquently spoke the pride
Of Raghu's children to his bride,
And wandered happy by her side
Where Chitrakúṭa azure-dyed
Uprears his peaks on high.
Canto XCVI. The Magic Shaft.374
374This canto is allowed, by Indian commentators, to be an interpolation. It
cannot be the work of Válmíki.
Canto XCVI. The Magic Shaft.
717
Thus Ráma showed to Janak's child
The varied beauties of the wild,
The hill, the brook and each fair spot,
Then turned to seek their leafy cot.
North of the mountain Ráma found
A cavern in the sloping ground,
Charming to view, its floor was strown
With many a mass of ore and stone,
In secret shadow far retired
Where gay birds sang with joy inspired,
And trees their graceful branches swayed
With loads of blossom downward weighed.
Soon as he saw the cave which took
Each living heart and chained the look,
Thus Ráma spoke to Sítá who
Gazed wondering on the silvan view:
“Does this fair cave beneath the height,
Videhan lady, charm thy sight?
Then let us resting here a while
The languor of the way beguile.
That block of stone so smooth and square
Was set for thee to rest on there,
And like a thriving Keśar tree
This flowery shrub o'ershadows thee.”
Thus Ráma spoke, and Janak's child,
By nature ever soft and mild,
In tender words which love betrayed
Her answer to the hero made:
“O pride of Raghu's children, still
My pleasure is to do thy will.
Enough for me thy wish to know:
Far hast thou wandered to and fro.”
718
The Ramayana
Thus Sítá spake in gentle tone,
And went obedient to the stone,
Of perfect face and faultless limb
Prepared to rest a while with him.
And Ráma, as she thus replied,
Turned to his spouse again and cried:
“Thou seest, love, this flowery shade
For silvan creatures' pleasure made,
How the gum streams from trees and plants
Torn by the tusks of elephants!
[205]
Through all the forest clear and high
Resounds the shrill cicala's cry.
Hark how the kite above us moans,
And calls her young in piteous tones;
So may my hapless mother be
Still mourning in her home for me.
There mounted on that lofty Sál
The loud Bhringráj375repeats his call:
How sweetly now he tunes his throat
Responsive to the Koïl's note.
Or else the bird that now has sung
May be himself the Koïl's young,
Linked with such winning sweetness are
The notes he pours irregular.
See, round the blooming Mango clings
That creeper with her tender rings,
So in thy love, when none is near,
Thine arms are thrown round me, my dear.”
Thus in his joy he cried; and she,
Sweet speaker, on her lover's knee,
Of faultless limb and perfect face,
Grew closer to her lord's embrace.
375A fine bird with a strong, sweet note, and great imitative powers.
Canto XCVI. The Magic Shaft.
719
Reclining in her husband's arms,
A goddess in her wealth of charms,
She filled his loving breast anew
With mighty joy that thrilled him through.
His finger on the rock he laid,
Which veins of sanguine ore displayed,
And painted o'er his darling's eyes
The holy sign in mineral dyes.
Bright on her brow the metal lay
Like the young sun's first gleaming ray,
And showed her in her beauty fair
As the soft light of morning's air.
Then from the Keśar's laden tree
He picked fair blossoms in his glee,
And as he decked each lovely tress,
His heart o'erflowed with happiness.
So resting on that rocky seat
A while they spent in pastime sweet,
Then onward neath the shady boughs
Went Ráma with his Maithil spouse.
She roaming in the forest shade
Where every kind of creature strayed
Observed a monkey wandering near,
And clung to Ráma's arm in fear.
The hero Ráma fondly laced
His mighty arms around her waist,
Consoled his beauty in her dread,
And scared the Monkey till he fled.
That holy mark of sanguine ore
That gleamed on Sítá's brow before,
Shone by that close embrace impressed
Upon the hero's ample chest.
Then Sítá, when the beast who led
The monkey troop, afar had fled,
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The Ramayana
Laughed loudly in light-hearted glee
That mark on Ráma's chest to see.
A clump of bright Aśokas fired
The forest in their bloom attired:
The restless blossoms as they gleamed
A host of threatening monkeys seemed.
Then Sítá thus to Ráma cried,
As longingly the flowers she eyed:
“Pride of thy race, now let us go
Where those Aśoka blossoms grow.”
He on his darling's pleasure bent
With his fair goddess thither went
And roamed delighted through the wood
Where blossoming Aśokas stood,
As Śiva with Queen Umá roves
Through Himaván's majestic groves.
Bright with purpureal glow the pair
Of happy lovers sported there,
And each upon the other set
A flower-inwoven coronet.
There many a crown and chain they wove
Of blooms from that Aśoka grove,
And in their graceful sport the two
Fresh beauty o'er the mountain threw.
The lover let his love survey
Each pleasant spot that round them lay,
Then turned they to their green retreat
Where all was garnished, gay, and neat.
By brotherly affection led,
Sumitrá's son to meet them sped,
And showed the labours of the day
Done while his brother was away.
There lay ten black-deer duly slain
With arrows pure of poison stain,
Canto XCVI. The Magic Shaft.
721
Piled in a mighty heap to dry,
With many another carcass nigh.
And Lakshmaṇ's brother saw, o'erjoyed,
The work that had his hands employed,
Then to his consort thus he cried:
“Now be the general gifts supplied.”
Then Sítá, fairest beauty, placed
The food for living things to taste,
And set before the brothers meat
And honey that the pair might eat.
They ate the meal her hands supplied,
Their lips with water purified:
Then Janak's daughter sat at last
And duly made her own repast.
The other venison, to be dried,
Piled up in heaps was set aside,
And Ráma told his wife to stay
And drive the flocking crows away.
Her husband saw her much distressed
By one more bold than all the rest,
Whose wings where'er he chose could fly,
Now pierce the earth, now roam the sky.
Then Ráma laughed to see her stirred
To anger by the plaguing bird:
Proud of his love the beauteous dame
With burning rage was all aflame.
Now here, now there, again, again
She chased the crow, but all in vain,
Enraging her, so quick to strike
[206]
With beak and wing and claw alike:
Then how the proud lip quivered, how
The dark frown marked her angry brow!
When Ráma saw her cheek aglow
With passion, he rebuked the crow.
722
The Ramayana
But bold in impudence the bird,
With no respect for Ráma's word,
Fearless again at Sítá flew:
Then Ráma's wrath to fury grew.
The hero of the mighty arm
Spoke o'er a shaft the mystic charm,
Laid the dire weapon on his bow
And launched it at the shameless crow.
The bird, empowered by Gods to spring
Through earth itself on rapid wing,
Through the three worlds in terror fled
Still followed by that arrow dread.
Where'er he flew, now here now there,
A cloud of weapons filled the air.
Back to the high-souled prince he fled
And bent at Ráma's feet his head,
And then, as Sítá looked, began
His speech in accents of a man:
“O pardon, and for pity's sake
Spare, Ráma, spare my life to take!
Where'er I turn, where'er I flee,
No shelter from this shaft I see.”
The chieftain heard the crow entreat
Helpless and prostrate at his feet,
And while soft pity moved his breast,
With wisest speech the bird addressed:
“I took the troubled Sítá's part,
And furious anger filled my heart.
Then on the string my arrow lay
Charmed with a spell thy life to slay.
Thou seekest now my feet, to crave
Forgiveness and thy life to save.
So shall thy prayer have due respect:
Canto XCVII. Lakshman's Anger.
723
The suppliant I must still protect.
But ne'er in vain this dart may flee;
Yield for thy life a part of thee,
What portion of thy body, say,
Shall this mine arrow rend away?
Thus far, O bird, thus far alone
On thee my pity may be shown.
Forfeit a part thy life to buy:
'Tis better so to live than die.”
Thus Ráma spoke: the bird of air
Pondered his speech with anxious care,
And wisely deemed it good to give
One of his eyes that he might live.
To Raghu's son he made reply:
“O Ráma, I will yield an eye.
So let me in thy grace confide
And live hereafter single-eyed.”
Then Ráma charged the shaft, and lo,
Full in the eye it smote the crow.
And the Videhan lady gazed
Upon the ruined eye amazed.
The crow to Ráma humbly bent,
Then where his fancy led he went.
Ráma with Lakshmaṇ by his side
With needful work was occupied.
Canto XCVII. Lakshman's Anger.
724
The Ramayana
Thus Ráma showed his love the rill
Whose waters ran beneath the hill,
Then resting on his mountain seat
Refreshed her with the choicest meat.
So there reposed the happy two:
Then Bharat's army nearer drew:
Rose to the skies a dusty cloud,
The sound of trampling feet was loud.
The swelling roar of marching men
Drove the roused tiger from his den,
And scared amain the serpent race
Flying to hole and hiding-place.
The herds of deer in terror fled,
The air was filled with birds o'erhead,
The bear began to leave his tree,
The monkey to the cave to flee.
Wild elephants were all amazed
As though the wood around them blazed.
The lion oped his ponderous jaw,
The buffalo looked round in awe.
The prince, who heard the deafening sound,
And saw the silvan creatures round
Fly wildly startled from their rest,
The glorious Lakshmaṇ thus addressed:
“Sumitrá's noble son most dear,
Hark, Lakshmaṇ, what a roar I hear,
The tumult of a coming crowd,
Appalling, deafening, deep, and loud!
The din that yet more fearful grows
Scares elephants and buffaloes,
Or frightened by the lions, deer
Are flying through the wood in fear.
I fain would know who seeks this place
Comes prince or monarch for the chase?
Canto XCVII. Lakshman's Anger.
725
Or does some mighty beast of prey
Frighten the silvan herds away?
'Tis hard to reach this mountain height,
Yea, e'en for birds in airy flight.
Then fain, O Lakshmaṇ, would I know
What cause disturbs the forest so.”
Lakshmaṇ in haste, the wood to view,
Climbed a high Sál that near him grew,
The forest all around he eyed,
First gazing on the eastern side.
Then northward when his eyes he bent
He saw a mighty armament
Of elephants, and cars, and horse,
And men on foot, a mingled force,
And banners waving in the breeze,
And spoke to Ráma words like these:
“Quick, quick, my lord, put out the fire,
Let Sítá to the cave retire.
[207]
Thy coat of mail around thee throw,
Prepare thine arrows and thy bow.”
In eager haste thus Lakshmaṇ cried,
And Ráma, lion lord, replied:
“Still closer be the army scanned,
And say who leads the warlike band.”
Lakshmaṇ his answer thus returned,
As furious rage within him burned,
Exciting him like kindled fire
To scorch the army in his ire:
“'Tis Bharat: he has made the throne
By consecrating rites his own:
To gain the whole dominion thus
He comes in arms to slaughter us.
726
The Ramayana
I mark tree-high upon his car
His flagstaff of the Kovidár,376
I see his glittering banner glance,
I see his chivalry advance:
I see his eager warriors shine
On elephants in lengthened line.
Now grasp we each the shafts and bow,
And higher up the mountain go.
Or in this place, O hero, stand
With weapons in each ready hand.
Perhaps beneath our might may fall
This leader of the standard tall,
And Bharat I this day may see
Who brought this mighty woe on thee,
Sítá, and me, who drove away
My brother from the royal sway.
Bharat our foe at length is nigh,
And by this hand shall surely die:
Brother, I see no sin at all
If Bharat by my weapon fall.
No fault is his who slays the foe
Whose hand was first to strike the blow:
With Bharat now the crime begins
Who against thee and duty sins.
The queen athirst for royal sway
Will see her darling son to-day
Fall by this hand, like some fair tree
Struck by an elephant, slain by me.
Kaikeyí's self shall perish too
With kith and kin and retinue,
And earth by my avenging deed
Shall from this mass of sin be freed.
376Bauhinea variegata, a species of ebony.
Canto XCVIII. Lakshman Calmed.
727
This day my wrath, too long restrained,
Shall fall upon the foe, unchained,
Mad as the kindled flame that speeds
Destroying through the grass and reeds.
This day mine arrows keen and fierce
The bodies of the foe shall pierce:
The woods on Chitrakúṭa's side
Shall run with torrents crimson-dyed.
The wandering beasts of prey shall feed
On heart-cleft elephant and steed,
And drag to mountain caves away
The bodies that my arrows slay.
Doubt not that Bharat and his train
Shall in this mighty wood be slain:
So shall I pay the debt my bow
And these my deadly arrows owe.”
Canto XCVIII. Lakshman Calmed.
Then Ráma nobly calm allayed
The wrath that Lakshmaṇ's bosom swayed:
“What need have we the sword to wield,
To bend the bow or lift the shield,
If Bharat brave, and wise, and good,
Himself has sought this sheltering wood?
I sware my father's will to do,
And if I now my brother slew
What gain in kingship should I find,
Despised and scorned by all mankind?
Believe me, e'en as I would shrink
From poisoned meat or deadly drink,
728
The Ramayana
No power or treasure would I win
By fall of friend or kith or kin.
Brother, believe the words I speak:
For your dear sakes alone I seek
Duty and pleasure, wealth and gain:
A holy life, a happy reign.
If royal sway my heart desires,
My brothers' weal the wish inspires:
Their bliss and safety is my care,
By this uplifted bow I swear.
'Twere not so hard for me to gain
This broad land girdled by the main,
But even Indra's royal might
Should ne'er be mine in duty's spite.
If any bliss my soul can see
Deprived of dear Śatrughna, thee,
And Bharat, may the flame destroy
With ashy gloom the selfish joy.
Far dearer than this life of mine,
Knowing the custom of our line,
His heart with fond affection fraught,
Bharat Ayodhyá's town resought
And hearing when he came that I,
With thee and Sítá, forced to fly
With matted hair and hermit dress
Am wandering in the wilderness.
While grief his troubled senses storms,
And tender love his bosom warms,
From every thought of evil clear,
Is come to meet his brother here.
Some grievous words perchance he spoke
Kaikeyí's anger to provoke,
Then won the king, and comes to lay
Before my feet the royal sway.
Canto XCVIII. Lakshman Calmed.
729
Hither, methinks, in season due
Comes Bharat for an interview,
Nor in his secret heart has he
One evil thought 'gainst thee or me.
What has he done ere now, reflect!
How failed in love or due respect
[208]
To make thee doubt his faith and lay
This evil to his charge to-day?
Thou shouldst not join with Bharat's name
So harsh a speech and idle blame.
The blows thy tongue at Bharat deals,
My sympathizing bosom feels.
How, urged by stress of any ill,
Should sons their father's life-blood spill,
Or brother slay in impious strife
A brother dearer than his life?
If thou these cruel words hast said
By strong desire of empire led,
My brother Bharat will I pray
To give to thee the kingly sway.
“Give him the realm,” my speech shall be,
And Bharat will, methinks, agree.”
Thus spoke the prince whose chief delight
Was duty, and to aid the right:
And Lakshmaṇ keenly felt the blame,
And shrank within himself for shame:
And then his answer thus returned,
With downcast eye and cheek that burned:
“Brother, I ween, to see thy face
Our sire himself has sought this place.”
Thus Lakshmaṇ spoke and stood ashamed,
And Ráma saw and thus exclaimed:
“It is the strong-armed monarch: he
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The Ramayana
Is come, methinks, his sons to see,
To bid us both the forest quit
For joys for which he deems us fit:
He thinks on all our care and pain,
And now would lead us home again.
My glorious father hence will bear
Sítá who claims all tender care.
I see two coursers fleet as storms,
Of noble breed and lovely forms.
I see the beast of mountain size
Who bears the king our father wise,
The aged Victor, march this way
In front of all the armed array.
But doubt and fear within me rise,
For when I look with eager eyes
I see no white umbrella spread,
World-famous, o'er the royal head.
Now, Lakshmaṇ, from the tree descend,
And to my words attention lend.”
Thus spoke the pious prince: and he
Descended from the lofty tree,
And reverent hand to hand applied,
Stood humbly by his brother's side.
The host, compelled by Bharat's care,
The wood from trampling feet to spare,
Dense crowding half a league each way
Encamped around the mountain lay.
Below the tall hill's shelving side
Gleamed the bright army far and wide
Spread o'er the ample space,
By Bharat led who firmly true
In duty from his bosom threw
Canto XCIX. Bharat's Approach.
731
All pride, and near his brother drew
To win the hero's grace.
Canto XCIX. Bharat's Approach.
Soon as the warriors took their rest
Obeying Bharat's high behest,
Thus Bharat to Śatrughna spake:
“A band of soldiers with thee take,
And with these hunters o'er and o'er
The thickets of the wood explore.
With bow, sword, arrows in their hands
Let Guha with his kindred bands
Within this grove remaining trace
The children of Kakutstha's race.
And I meanwhile on foot will through
This neighbouring wood my way pursue,
With elders and the twice-born men,
And every lord and citizen.
There is, I feel, no rest for me
Till Ráma's face again I see,
Lakshmaṇ, in arms and glory great,
And Sítá born to happy fate:
No rest, until his cheek as bright
As the fair moon rejoice my sight,
No rest until I see the eye
With which the lotus petals vie;
Till on my head those dear feet rest
With signs of royal rank impressed;
None, till my kingly brother gain
His old hereditary reign,
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The Ramayana
Till o'er his limbs and noble head
The consecrating drops be shed.
How blest is Janak's daughter, true
To every wifely duty, who
Cleaves faithful to her husband's side
Whose realm is girt by Ocean's tide!
This mountain too above the rest
E'en as the King of Hills is blest,—
Whose shades Kakutstha's scion hold
As Nandan charms the Lord of Gold.
Yea, happy is this tangled grove
Where savage beasts unnumbered rove,
Where, glory of the Warrior race,
King Ráma finds a dwelling-place.”
Thus Bharat, strong-armed hero spake,
And walked within the pathless brake.
O'er plains where gay trees bloomed he went,
Through boughs in tangled net-work bent,
And then from Ráma's cot appeared
The banner which the flame upreared.
And Bharat joyed with every friend
To mark those smoky wreaths ascend:
“Here Ráma dwells,” he thought; “at last
The ocean of our toil is passed.”
Then sure that Ráma's hermit cot
Was on the mountain's side
He stayed his army on the spot,
And on with Guha hied.
[209]
Canto C. The Meeting.
733
Canto C. The Meeting.
Then Bharat to Śatrughna showed
The spot, and eager onward strode,
First bidding Saint Vaśishṭha bring
The widowed consorts of the king.
As by fraternal love impelled
His onward course the hero held,
Sumantra followed close behind
Śatrughna with an anxious mind:
Not Bharat's self more fain could be
To look on Ráma's face than he.
As, speeding on, the spot he neared,
Amid the hermits' homes appeared
His brother's cot with leaves o'erspread,
And by its side a lowly shed.
Before the shed great heaps were left
Of gathered flowers and billets cleft,
And on the trees hung grass and bark
Ráma and Lakshmaṇ's path to mark:
And heaps of fuel to provide
Against the cold stood ready dried.
The long-armed chief, as on he went
In glory's light preëminent,
With joyous words like these addressed
The brave Śatrughna and the rest:
“This is the place, I little doubt,
Which Bharadvája pointed out,
Not far from where we stand must be
The woodland stream, Mandákiní.
Here on the mountain's woody side
Roam elephants in tusked pride,
And ever with a roar and cry
Each other, as they meet, defy.
734
The Ramayana
And see those smoke-wreaths thick and dark:
The presence of the flame they mark,
Which hermits in the forest strive
By every art to keep alive.
O happy me! my task is done,
And I shall look on Raghu's son,
Like some great saint, who loves to treat
His elders with all reverence meet.”
Thus Bharat reached that forest rill,
Thus roamed on Chitrakúṭa's hill;
Then pity in his breast awoke,
And to his friends the hero spoke:
“Woe, woe upon my life and birth!
The prince of men, the lord of earth
Has sought the lonely wood to dwell
Sequestered in a hermit's cell.
Through me, through me these sorrows fall
On him the splendid lord of all:
Through me resigning earthly bliss
He hides him in a home like this.
Now will I, by the world abhorred,
Fall at the dear feet of my lord,
And at fair Sítá's too, to win
His pardon for my heinous sin.”
As thus he sadly mourned and sighed,
The son of Daśaratha spied
A bower of leafy branches made,
Sacred and lovely in the shade,
Of fair proportions large and tall,
Well roofed with boughs of palm, and Sál,
Arranged in order due o'erhead
Like grass upon an altar spread.
Canto C. The Meeting.
735
Two glorious bows were gleaming there,
Like Indra's377in the rainy air,
Terror of foemen, backed with gold,
Meet for the mightiest hand to hold:
And quivered arrows cast a blaze
Bright gleaming like the Day-God's rays:
Thus serpents with their eyes aglow
Adorn their capital below.378
Great swords adorned the cottage, laid
Each in a case of gold brocade;
There hung the trusty shields, whereon
With purest gold the bosses shone.
The brace to bind the bowman's arm,
The glove to shield his hand from harm,
A lustre to the cottage lent
From many a golden ornament:
Safe was the cot from fear of men
As from wild beasts the lion's den.
The fire upon the altar burned,
That to the north and east was turned.
Bharat his eager glances bent
And gazed within the cot intent;
In deerskin dress, with matted hair,
Ráma his chief was sitting there:
With lion-shoulders broad and strong,
With lotus eyes, arms thick and long.
The righteous sovereign, who should be
Lord paramount from sea to sea,
High-minded, born to lofty fate,
Like Brahmá's self supremely great;
With Lakshmaṇ by his side, and her,
Fair Sítá, for his minister.
377The rainbow is called the bow of Indra.
378Bhogavatí, the abode of the Nágas or Serpent race.
736
The Ramayana
And Bharat gazing, overcome
By sorrow for a while was dumb,
Then, yielding to his woe, he ran
To Ráma and with sobs began:
“He who a royal seat should fill
With subjects round to do his will,
My elder brother,—see him here,
With silvan creatures waiting near.
The high-souled hero, wont to wear
The costliest robes exceeding fair,
Now banished, in a deerskin dress,
Here keeps the path of righteousness.
How brooks the son of Raghu now
The matted locks which load his brow,
Around whose princely head were twined
Sweet blossoms of the rarest kind?
The prince whose merits grew, acquired
[210]
By rites performed as he desired,
Would now a store of merit gain
Bought by his body's toil and pain.
Those limbs to which pure sandal lent
The freshness of its fragrant scent,
Exposed to sun, and dust, and rain,
Are now defiled with many a stain.
And I the wretched cause why this
Falls on the prince whose right is bliss!
Ah me, that ever I was born
To be the people's hate and scorn!”
Thus Bharat cried: of anguish sprung,
Great drops upon his forehead hung.
He fell o'erpowered—his grief was such—
Ere he his brother's feet could touch.
As on the glorious prince he gazed
Canto CI. Bharata Questioned.
737
In vain his broken voice he raised:
“Dear lord”—through tears and sobbing came,
The only words his lips could frame.
And brave Śatrughna wept aloud,
As low at Ráma's feet he bowed.
Then Ráma, while his tears ran fast,
His arms around his brothers cast.
Guha, Sumantra came to meet
The princes in their wild retreat.
Vrihaspati and Śukra bright
Their greeting thus rejoice to pay
To the dear Lord who brings the night,
And the great God who rules the day.
Then wept the dwellers of the shade,
Whose eyes the princes, meet to ride
On mighty elephants, surveyed;
And cast all thought of joy aside.
Canto CI. Bharata Questioned.
Then Ráma gazed, and scarcely knew
Bharat so worn and changed in hue.
He raised him, kissed him on the head,
Embraced him, and thus kindly said:
“Where was thy father, brother dear,
That thou art come to seek me here?
Unmeet, if he be living yet,
Thy feet within the wood to set.
I pray thee now the cause declare
Why thou hast left the kingdom there,
With matted locks and deerskin dress
To roam the distant wilderness.”
738
The Ramayana
Thus questioned by the prince, at length
Kaikeyí's son regained his strength,
And hand to hand in reverence laid,
To Ráma thus his answer made:
“The great-armed monarch, O my lord,
Has dared to do a thing abhorred,
Left us, and grieving for his son,
A home among the Gods has won.
My mother Queen Kaikeyí gave
The order to the king her slave,
And at the bidding of the dame
He wrought the sin which mars his fame.
Athirst for sway, her hopes are crossed,
She mourns her son, her husband lost,
And through her impious crime will go
For punishment to hell below.
Now O my lord, forgive me all;
Be gracious to thy lowly thrall:
Anointed king, accept to-day
Like Indra's self, the royal sway.
Be gracious, Prince, to lord and peer,
And widowed queens who seek thee here
Accept the kingdom thine by right,
And so thy faithful friends delight.
Let the broad land no longer be
All widowed and forlorn of thee:
Let the full moon of autumn reign
Triumphant o'er the night again.
These lords and I before thee bend:
O Ráma, to our prayer attend.
O do not thou this grace deny:
Thy brother, pupil, slave am I.
Look on this venerable ring,
Advisers of our sire the king,
Canto CI. Bharata Questioned.
739
From age to age so honoured: thou
Shouldst grant their supplication now.”
As weeping thus the hero prayed,
His head at Ráma's feet he laid.
Like a mad elephant he sighed:
And Ráma gazed and thus replied:
“How, brother, can a man of worth,
True to his vows, of noble birth—
A man like me, commit a sin
The lordship of the land to win?
No slightest shade of fault I see,
O tamer of thy foes, in thee.
But ne'er shouldst thou in childish thought
The queen thy mother blame in aught.
O brother wise and sinless, know
The sacred laws would have it so,
That from good wife and son require
Obedience to their lord and sire.
And we are all the king's, for thus
The virtuous ever reckon us:
Yea brother, be it known to thee,
His wives, and sons, and pupils we.
His is the right, if he deem fit,
To bid me, throned as monarch, sit,
Or in a coat of bark expel,
And deerskin, in the wood to dwell.
And O remember, best of all
Who act as claims of duty call,
As to a virtuous sire is due,
Such honour claims a mother too.
So they whose lives have ever been
By duty led, the king and queen,
Said, “Ráma, seek the forest shade:”
740
The Ramayana
And I (what could I else?) obeyed.
Thou must the royal power retain,
[211]
And o'er the famed Ayodhyá reign:
I dressed in bark my days will spend
Where Daṇḍak's forest wilds extend.
So Daśaratha spoke, our king,
His share to each apportioning
Before his honoured servants' eyes:
Then, heir of bliss, he sought the skies.
The righteous monarch's honoured will,
Whom all revered, must guide thee still,
And thou must still enjoy the share
Assigned thee by our father's care.
So I till twice seven years are spent
Will roam this wood in banishment,
Contented with the lot which he,
My high-souled sire, has given me.
The charge the monarch gave, endeared
To all mankind, by all revered,
Peer of the Lord Supreme,
Far better, richer far in gain
Of every blessing than to reign
O'er all the worlds I deem.”
Canto CII. Bharat's Tidings.
He spoke: and Bharat thus replied:
“If, false to every claim beside,
I ne'er in kingly duties fail,
What will my royal life avail?
Still should the custom be observed,
Canto CIII. The Funeral Libation.
741
From which our line has never swerved,
Which to the younger son ne'er gives
The kingdom while the elder lives.
Now to Ayodhyá rich and fair
With me, O Raghu's son, repair,
And to protect and gladden all
Our house, thyself as king install.
A king the world's opinion deems
A man: to me a God he seems,
Whose life in virtuous thoughts and deeds
The lives of other men exceeds.
When I in distant Kekaya stayed,
And thou hadst sought the forest shade,
Our father died, the saints' delight,
So constant in each holy rite.
Scarce with thy wife and Lakshmaṇ thou
Hadst journeyed forth to keep the vow,
When mourning for his son, forspent,
To heavenly rest the monarch went.
Then up, O lord of men, away!
His funeral rites of water pay:
I and Śatrughna, ere we came,
Neglected not the sacred claim.
But in the spirit-world, they say,
That gift alone is fresh for aye
Which best beloved hands have poured;
And thou his dearest art, my lord.
For thee he longed, for thee he grieved,
His every thought on thee was bent,
And crushed by woe, of thee bereaved,
He thought of thee as hence he went.”
742
The Ramayana
Canto CIII. The Funeral Libation.
When Ráma heard from Bharat each
Dark sorrow of his mournful speech,
And tidings of his father dead,
His spirits fell, his senses fled.
For the sad words his brother spoke
Struck on him like a thunder stroke,
Fierce as the bolt which Indra throws,
The victor of his Daitya foes.
Raising his arms in anguish, he,
As when the woodman hews a tree
With its fair flowery branches crowned,
Fainted and fell upon the ground.
Lord of the earth to earth he sank,
Helpless, as when a towering bank
With sudden ruin buries deep
An elephant who lay asleep.
Then swift his wife and brothers flew,
And water, weeping, o'er him threw.
As slowly sense and strength he gained,
Fast from his eyes the tears he rained,
And then in accents sad and weak
Kakutstha's son began to speak,
And mourning for the monarch dead,
With righteous words to Bharat said:
“What calls me home, when he, alas,
Has gone the way which all must pass?
Of him, the best of kings bereft
What guardian has Ayodhyá left?
How may I please his spirit? how
Delight the high-souled monarch now,
Who wept for me and went above
By me ungraced with mourning love?
Canto CIII. The Funeral Libation.
743
Ah, happy brothers! you have paid
Due offerings to his parting shade.
E'en when my banishment is o'er,
Back to my home I go no more,
To look upon the widowed state
Reft of her king, disconsolate.
E'en then, O tamer of the foe,
If to Ayodhyá's town I go,
Who will direct me as of old,
Now other worlds our father hold?
From whom, my brother, shall I hear
Those words which ever charmed mine ear
And filled my bosom with delight
Whene'er he saw me act aright?”
Thus Ráma spoke: then nearer came
And looking on his moonbright dame,
“Sítá, the king is gone,” he said:
“And Lakshmaṇ, know thy sire is dead,
[212]
And with the Gods on high enrolled:
This mournful news has Bharat told.”
He spoke: the noble youths with sighs
Rained down the torrents from their eyes.
And then the brothers of the chief
With words of comfort soothed his grief:
“Now to the king our sire who swayed
The earth be due libations paid.”
Soon as the monarch's fate she knew,
Sharp pangs of grief smote Sítá through:
Nor could she look upon her lord
With eyes from which the torrents poured.
And Ráma strove with tender care
To soothe the weeping dame's despair,
And then, with piercing woe distressed,
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The Ramayana
The mournful Lakshmaṇ thus addressed:
“Brother, I pray thee bring for me
The pressed fruit of the Ingudí,
And a bark mantle fresh and new,
That I may pay this offering due.
First of the three shall Sítá go,
Next thou, and I the last: for so
Moves the funereal pomp of woe.”379
Sumantra of the noble mind,
Gentle and modest, meek and kind,
Who, follower of each princely youth,
To Ráma clung with constant truth,
Now with the royal brothers' aid
The grief of Ráma soothed and stayed,
And lent his arm his lord to guide
Down to the river's holy side.
That lovely stream the heroes found,
With woods that ever blossomed crowned,
And there in bitter sorrow bent
Their footsteps down the fair descent.
Then where the stream that swiftly flowed
A pure pellucid shallow showed,
The funeral drops they duly shed,
And “Father, this be thine,” they said.
But he, the lord who ruled the land,
Filled from the stream his hollowed hand,
And turning to the southern side
Stretched out his arm and weeping cried:
“This sacred water clear and pure,
379“The order of the procession on these occasions is that the children pre-
cede according to age, then the women and after that the men according
to age, the youngest first and the eldest last: when they descend into the
water this is reversed and resumed when they come out of it.” CAREY AND
MARSHMAN.{FNS
Canto CIII. The Funeral Libation.
745
An offering which shall aye endure
To thee, O lord of kings, I give:
Accept it where the spirits live!”
Then, when the solemn rite was o'er,
Came Ráma to the river shore,
And offered, with his brothers' aid,
Fresh tribute to his father's shade.
With jujube fruit he mixed the seed
Of Ingudís from moisture freed,
And placed it on a spot o'erspread
With sacred grass, and weeping said:
“Enjoy, great King, the cake which we
Thy children eat and offer thee!
For ne'er do blessed Gods refuse
To share the food which mortals use.”
Then Ráma turned him to retrace
The path that brought him to the place,
And up the mountain's pleasant side
Where lovely lawns lay fair, he hied.
Soon as his cottage door he gained
His brothers to his breast he strained.
From them and Sítá in their woes
So loud the cry of weeping rose,
That like the roar of lions round
The mountain rolled the echoing sound.
And Bharat's army shook with fear
The weeping of the chiefs to hear.
“Bharat,” the soldiers cried, “'tis plain,
His brother Ráma meets again,
And with these cries that round us ring
They sorrow for their sire the king.”
Then leaving car and wain behind,
746
The Ramayana
One eager thought in every mind,
Swift toward the weeping, every man,
As each could find a passage, ran.
Some thither bent their eager course
With car, and elephant, and horse,
And youthful captains on their feet
With longing sped their lord to meet,
As though the new-come prince had been
An exile for long years unseen.
Earth beaten in their frantic zeal
By clattering hoof and rumbling wheel,
Sent forth a deafening noise as loud
As heaven when black with many a cloud.
Then, with their consorts gathered near,
Wild elephants in sudden fear
Rushed to a distant wood, and shed
An odour round them as they fled.
And every silvan thing that dwelt
Within those shades the terror felt,
Deer, lion, tiger, boar and roe,
Bison, wild-cow, and buffalo.
And when the tumult wild they heard,
With trembling pinions flew each bird,
From tree, from thicket, and from lake,
Swan, koïl, curlew, crane, and drake.
With men the ground was overspread,
With startled birds the sky o'erhead.
Then on his sacrificial ground
The sinless, glorious chief was found.
Loading with curses deep and loud
The hump-back and the queen, the crowd
Whose cheeks were wet, whose eyes were dim,
In fond affection ran to him.
While the big tears their eyes bedewed,
Canto CIV. The Meeting With The Queens.
747
He looked upon the multitude,
[213]
And then as sire and mother do,
His arms about his loved ones threw.
Some to his feet with reverence pressed,
Some in his arms he strained:
Each friend, with kindly words addressed,
Due share of honour gained.
Then, by their mighty woe o'ercome,
The weeping heroes' cry
Filled, like the roar of many a drum,
Hill, cavern, earth, and sky.
Canto CIV. The Meeting With The Queens.
Vaśishṭha with his soul athirst
To look again on Ráma, first
In line the royal widows placed,
And then the way behind them traced.
The ladies moving, faint and slow,
Saw the fair stream before them flow,
And by the bank their steps were led
Which the two brothers visited.
Kauśalyá with her faded cheek
And weeping eyes began to speak,
And thus in mournful tones addressed
The queen Sumitrá and the rest:
“See in the wood the bank's descent,
Which the two orphan youths frequent,
Whose noble spirits never fall,
Though woes surround them, reft of all.
Thy son with love that never tires
748
The Ramayana
Draws water hence which mine requires.
This day, for lowly toil unfit,
His pious task thy son should quit.”
As on the long-eyed lady strayed,
On holy grass, whose points were laid
Directed to the southern sky,
The funeral offering met her eye.
When Ráma's humble gift she spied
Thus to the queens Kauśalyá cried:
“The gift of Ráma's hand behold,
His tribute to the king high-souled,
Offered to him, as texts require,
Lord of Ikshváku's line, his sire!
Not such I deem the funeral food
Of kings with godlike might endued.
Can he who knew all pleasures, he
Who ruled the earth from sea to sea,
The mighty lord of monarchs, feed
On Ingudí's extracted seed?
In all the world there cannot be
A woe, I ween, more sad to see,
Than that my glorious son should make
His funeral gift of such a cake.
The ancient text I oft have heard
This day is true in every word:
“Ne'er do the blessed Gods refuse
To eat the food their children use.’”
The ladies soothed the weeping dame:
To Ráma's hermitage they came,
And there the hero met their eyes
Like a God fallen from the skies.
Him joyless, reft of all, they viewed,
Canto CIV. The Meeting With The Queens.
749
And tears their mournful eyes bedewed.
The truthful hero left his seat,
And clasped the ladies' lotus feet,
And they with soft hands brushed away
The dust that on his shoulders lay.
Then Lakshmaṇ, when he saw each queen
With weeping eyes and troubled mien,
Near to the royal ladies drew
And paid them gentle reverence too.
He, Daśaratha's offspring, signed
The heir of bliss by Fortune kind,
Received from every dame no less
Each mark of love and tenderness.
And Sítá came and bent before
The widows, while her eyes ran o'er,
And pressed their feet with many a tear.
They when they saw the lady dear
Pale, worn with dwelling in the wild,
Embraced her as a darling child:
“Daughter of royal Janak, bride
Of Daśaratha's son,” they cried,
“How couldst thou, offspring of a king,
Endure this woe and suffering
In the wild forest? When I trace
Each sign of trouble on thy face—
That lotus which the sun has dried,
That lily by the tempest tried,
That gold whereon the dust is spread,
That moon whence all the light is fled—
Sorrow assails my heart, alas!
As fire consumes the wood and grass.”
Then Ráma, as she spoke distressed,
The feet of Saint Vaśishṭha pressed,
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The Ramayana
Touched them with reverential love,
Then near him took his seat:
Thus Indra clasps in realms above
The Heavenly Teacher's380feet.
Then with each counsellor and peer,
Bharat of duteous mind,
With citizens and captains near,
Sat humbly down behind.
When with his hands to him upraised,
In devotee's attire,
Bharat upon his brother gazed
Whose glory shone like fire,
As when the pure Mahendra bends
To the great Lord of Life,
Among his noble crowd of friends
This anxious thought was rife:
“What words to Raghu's son to-day
Will royal Bharat speak,
Whose heart has been so prompt to pay
Obeisance fond and meek?”
Then steadfast Ráma, Lakshmaṇ wise,
Bharat for truth renowned,
[214]
Shone like three fires that heavenward rise
With holy priests around.
Canto CV. Ráma's Speech.
380Vṛihaspati, the preceptor of the Gods.
Canto CV. Ráma's Speech.
751
A while they sat, each lip compressed,
Then Bharat thus his chief addressed:
“My mother here was made content;
To me was given the government.
This now, my lord, I yield to thee:
Enjoy it, from all trouble free.
Like a great bridge the floods have rent,
Impetuous in their wild descent,
All other hands but thine in vain
Would strive the burthen to maintain.
In vain the ass with steeds would vie,
With Tárkshya,381birds that wing the sky;
So, lord of men, my power is slight
To rival thine imperial might.
Great joys his happy days attend
On whom the hopes of men depend,
But wretched is the life he leads
Who still the aid of others needs.
And if the seed a man has sown,
With care and kindly nurture grown,
Rear its huge trunk and spring in time
Too bulky for a dwarf to climb,
Yet, with perpetual blossom gay,
No fruit upon its boughs display,
Ne'er can that tree, thus nursed in vain,
Approval of the virtuous gain.
The simile is meant to be
Applied, O mighty-armed, to thee,
Because, our lord and leader, thou
Protectest not thy people now.
O, be the longing wish fulfilled
Of every chief of house and guild,
381Garuḍ, the king of birds.
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The Ramayana
To see again their sun-bright lord
Victorious to his realm restored!
As thou returnest through the crowd
Let roars of elephants be loud.
And each fair woman lift her voice
And in her new-found king rejoice.”
The people all with longing moved,
The words that Bharat spoke approved,
And crowding near to Ráma pressed
The hero with the same request.
The steadfast Ráma, when he viewed
His glorious brother's mournful mood,
With each ambitious thought controlled,
Thus the lamenting prince consoled:
“I cannot do the things I will,
For Ráma is but mortal still.
Fate with supreme, resistless law
This way and that its slave will draw,
All gathered heaps must waste away,
All lofty lore and powers decay.
Death is the end of life, and all,
Now firmly joined, apart must fall.
One fear the ripened fruit must know,
To fall upon the earth below;
So every man who draws his breath
Must fear inevitable death.
The pillared mansion, high, compact,
Must fall by Time's strong hand attacked;
So mortal men, the gradual prey
Of old and ruthless death, decay.
The night that flies no more returns:
Yamuná for the Ocean yearns:
Swift her impetuous waters flee,
Canto CV. Ráma's Speech.
753
But roll not backward from the sea.
The days and nights pass swiftly by
And steal our moments as they fly,
E'en as the sun's unpitying rays
Drink up the floods in summer blaze.
Then for thyself lament and leave
For death of other men to grieve,
For if thou go or if thou stay,
Thy life is shorter day by day.
Death travels with us; death attends
Our steps until our journey ends,
Death, when the traveller wins the goal,
Returns with the returning soul.
The flowing hair grows white and thin,
And wrinkles mark the altered skin.
The ills of age man's strength assail:
Ah, what can mortal power avail?
Men joy to see the sun arise,
They watch him set with joyful eyes:
But ne'er reflect, too blind to see,
How fast their own brief moments flee.
With lovely change for ever new
The seasons' sweet return they view,
Nor think with heedless hearts the while
That lives decay as seasons smile.
As haply on the boundless main
Meet drifting logs and part again,
So wives and children, friends and gold,
Ours for a little time we hold:
Soon by resistless laws of fate
To meet no more we separate.
In all this changing world not one
The common lot of all can shun:
Then why with useless tears deplore
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The Ramayana
The dead whom tears can bring no more?
As one might stand upon the way
And to a troop of travellers say:
“If ye allow it, sirs, I too
Will travel on the road with you:”
So why should mortal man lament
When on that path his feet are bent
Which all men living needs must tread,
Where sire and ancestors have led?
Life flies as torrents downward fall
Speeding away without recall,
So virtue should our thoughts engage,
For bliss382is mortals' heritage.
[215]
By ceaseless care and earnest zeal
For servants and for people's weal,
By gifts, by duty nobly done,
Our glorious sire the skies has won.
Our lord the king, o'er earth who reigned,
A blissful home in heaven has gained
By wealth in ample largess spent,
And many a rite magnificent:
With constant joy from first to last
A long and noble life he passed,
Praised by the good, no tears should dim
Our eyes, O brother dear, for him.
His human body, worn and tried
By length of days, he cast aside,
And gained the godlike bliss to stray
In Brahmá's heavenly home for aye.
For such the wise as we are, deep
In Veda lore, should never weep.
Those who are firm and ever wise
382To be won by virtue.
Canto CVI. Bharat's Speech.
755
Spurn vain lament and idle sighs.
Be self-possessed: thy grief restrain:
Go, in that city dwell again.
Return, O best of men, and be
Obedient to our sire's decree,
While I with every care fulfil
Our holy father's righteous will,
Observing in the lonely wood
His charge approved by all the good.”
Thus Ráma of the lofty mind
To Bharat spoke his righteous speech,
By every argument designed
Obedience to his sire to teach.
Canto CVI. Bharat's Speech.
Good Bharat, by the river side,
To virtuous Ráma's speech replied,
And thus with varied lore addressed
The prince, while nobles round him pressed:
“In all this world whom e'er can we
Find equal, scourge of foes, to thee?
No ill upon thy bosom weighs,
No thoughts of joy thy spirit raise.
Approved art thou of sages old,
To whom thy doubts are ever told.
Alike in death and life, to thee
The same to be and not to be.
The man who such a soul can gain
Can ne'er be crushed by woe or pain.
Pure as the Gods, high-minded, wise,
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The Ramayana
Concealed from thee no secret lies.
Such glorious gifts are all thine own,
And birth and death to thee are known,
That ill can ne'er thy soul depress
With all-subduing bitterness.
O let my prayer, dear brother, win
Thy pardon for my mother's sin.
Wrought for my sake who willed it not
When absent in a distant spot.
Duty alone with binding chains
The vengeance due to crime restrains,
Or on the sinner I should lift
My hand in retribution swift.
Can I who know the right, and spring
From Daśaratha, purest king—
Can I commit a heinous crime,
Abhorred by all through endless time?
The aged king I dare not blame,
Who died so rich in holy fame,
My honoured sire, my parted lord,
E'en as a present God adored.
Yet who in lore of duty skilled
So foul a crime has ever willed,
And dared defy both gain and right
To gratify a woman's spite?
When death draws near, so people say,
The sense of creatures dies away;
And he has proved the ancient saw
By acting thus in spite of law.
But O my honoured lord, be kind,
Dismiss the trespass from thy mind,
The sin the king committed, led
By haste, his consort's wrath, and dread.
For he who veils his sire's offence
Canto CVI. Bharat's Speech.
757
With tender care and reverence—
His sons approved by all shall live:
Not so their fate who ne'er forgive.
Be thou, my lord, the noble son,
And the vile deed my sire has done,
Abhorred by all the virtuous, ne'er
Resent, lest thou the guilt too share.
Preserve us, for on thee we call,
Our sire, Kaikeyí, me and all
Thy citizens, thy kith and kin;
Preserve us and reverse the sin.
To live in woods a devotee
Can scarce with royal tasks agree,
Nor can the hermit's matted hair
Suit fitly with a ruler's care.
Do not, my brother, do not still
Pursue this life that suits thee ill.
Mid duties of a king we count
His consecration paramount,
That he with ready heart and hand
May keep his people and his land.
What Warrior born to royal sway
From certain good would turn away,
A doubtful duty to pursue,
That mocks him with the distant view?
Thou wouldst to duty cleave, and gain
The meed that follows toil and pain.
In thy great task no labour spare:
Rule the four castes with justest care.
Mid all the four, the wise prefer
The order of the householder:383
[216]
Canst thou, whose thoughts to duty cleave,
383The four religious orders, referable to different times of life are, that of the
student, thatofthehouseholder, thatoftheanchorite, andthatofthemendicant.
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The Ramayana
The best of all the orders leave?
My better thou in lore divine,
My birth, my sense must yield to thine:
While thou, my lord, art here to reign,
How shall my hands the rule maintain?
O faithful lover of the right,
Take with thy friends the royal might,
Let thy sires' realm, from trouble free,
Obey her rightful king in thee.
Here let the priests and lords of state
Our monarch duly consecrate,
With prayer and holy verses blessed
By saint Vaśishṭha and the rest.
Anointed king by us, again
Seek fair Ayodhyá, there to reign,
And like imperial Indra girt
By Gods of Storm, thy might assert.
From the three debts384acquittance earn,
And with thy wrath the wicked burn,
O'er all of us thy rule extend,
And cheer with boons each faithful friend.
Let thine enthronement, lord, this day
Make all thy lovers glad and gay,
And let all those who hate thee flee
To the ten winds for fear of thee.
Dear lord, my mother's words of hate
With thy sweet virtues expiate,
And from the stain of folly clear
The father whom we both revere.
Brother, to me compassion show,
I pray thee with my head bent low,
And to these friends who on thee call,—
384To Gods, men, and Manes.
Canto CVII. Ráma's Speech.
759
As the Great Father pities all.
But if my tears and prayers be vain,
And thou in woods wilt still remain,
I will with thee my path pursue
And make my home in forests too.”
Thus Bharat strove to bend his will
With suppliant head, but he,
Earth's lord, inexorable still
Would keep his sire's decree.
The firmness of the noble chief
The wondering people moved,
And rapture mingling with their grief,
All wept and all approved.
“How firm his steadfast will,” they cried,
“Who Keeps his promise thus!
Ah, to Ayodhyá's town,” they sighed,
“He comes not back with us.”
The holy priest, the swains who tilled
The earth, the sons of trade,
And e'en the mournful queens were filled
With joy as Bharat prayed,
And bent their heads, then weeping stilled
A while, his prayer to aid.
Canto CVII. Ráma's Speech.
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The Ramayana
Thus, by his friends encompassed round,
He spoke, and Ráma, far renowned,
To his dear brother thus replied,
Whom holy rites had purified:
“O thou whom Queen Kaikeyí bare
The best of kings, thy words are fair,
Our royal father, when of yore
He wed her, to her father swore
The best of kingdoms to confer,
A noble dowry meet for her;
Then, grateful, on the deadly day
Of heavenly Gods' and demons' fray,
A future boon on her bestowed
To whose sweet care his life he owed.
She to his mind that promise brought,
And then the best of kings besought
To bid me to the forest flee,
And give the rule, O Prince, to thee.
Thus bound by oath, the king our lord
Gave her those boons of free accord,
And bade me, O thou chief of men,
Live in the woods four years and ten.
I to this lonely wood have hied
With faithful Lakshmaṇ by my side,
And Sítá by no tears deterred,
Resolved to keep my father's word.
And thou, my noble brother, too
Shouldst keep our father's promise true:
Anointed ruler of the state
Maintain his word inviolate.
From his great debt, dear brother, free
Our lord the king for love of me,
Thy mother's breast with joy inspire,
And from all woe preserve thy sire.
Canto CVII. Ráma's Speech.
761
'Tis said, near Gayá's holy town385
Gayá, great saint of high renown,
This text recited when he paid
Due rites to each ancestral shade:
“A son is born his sire to free
From Put's infernal pains:
Hence, saviour of his father, he
The name of Puttra gains.”386
Thus numerous sons are sought by prayer,
In Scripture trained with graces fair,
[217]
That of the number one some day
May funeral rites at Gayá pay.
The mighty saints who lived of old
This holy doctrine ever hold.
Then, best of men, our sire release
From pains of hell, and give him peace.
Now Bharat, to Ayodhyá speed,
The brave Śatrughna with thee lead,
Take with thee all the twice-born men,
And please each lord and citizen.
I now, O King, without delay
To Daṇḍak wood will bend my way,
And Lakshmaṇ and the Maithil dame
Will follow still, our path the same.
Now, Bharat, lord of men be thou,
And o'er Ayodhyá reign:
The silvan world to me shall bow,
King of the wild domain.
385Gayá is a very holy city in Behar. Every good Hindu ought once in his life
to make funeral offerings in Gayá in honour of his ancestors.
386Put is the name of that region of hell to which men are doomed who leave
no son to perform the funeral rites which are necessary to assure the happiness
of the departed. Putra, the common word for a son is said by the highest
authority to be derived from Put and tra deliverer.
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The Ramayana
Yea, let thy joyful steps be bent
To that fair town to-day,
And I as happy and content,
To Daṇḍak wood will stray.
The white umbrella o'er thy brow
Its cooling shade shall throw:
I to the shadow of the bough
And leafy trees will go.
Śatrughna, for wise plans renowned,
Shall still on thee attend;
And Lakshmaṇ, ever faithful found,
Be my familiar friend.
Let us his sons, O brother dear,
The path of right pursue,
And keep the king we all revere
Still to his promise true.”
Canto CVIII. Jáváli's Speech.
Thus Ráma soothed his brother's grief:
Then virtuous Jáváli, chief
Of twice-born sages, thus replied
In words that virtue's law defied:
“Hail, Raghu's princely son, dismiss
A thought so weak and vain as this.
Canst thou, with lofty heart endowed,
Think with the dull ignoble crowd?
For what are ties of kindred? can
One profit by a brother man?
Alone the babe first opes his eyes,
And all alone at last he dies.
Canto CVIII. Jáváli's Speech.
763
The man, I ween, has little sense
Who looks with foolish reverence
On father's or on mother's name:
In others, none a right may claim.
E'en as a man may leave his home
And to a distant village roam,
Then from his lodging turn away
And journey on the following day,
Such brief possession mortals hold
In sire and mother, house and gold,
And never will the good and wise
The brief uncertain lodging prize.
Nor, best of men, shouldst thou disown
Thy sire's hereditary throne,
And tread the rough and stony ground
Where hardship, danger, woes abound.
Come, let Ayodhyá rich and bright
See thee enthroned with every rite:
Her tresses bound in single braid387
She waits thy coming long delayed.
O come, thou royal Prince, and share
The kingly joys that wait thee there,
And live in bliss transcending price
As Indra lives in Paradise.
The parted king is naught to thee,
Nor right in living man has he:
The king is one, thou, Prince of men,
Another art: be counselled then.
Thy royal sire, O chief, has sped
On the long path we all must tread.
The common lot of all is this,
387ItwasthecustomofIndianwomenwhenmourningfortheirabsenthusbands
to bind their hair in a long single braid.
Carey and Marshman translate, “the one-tailed city.”
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The Ramayana
And thou in vain art robbed of bliss.
For those—and only those—I weep
Who to the path of duty keep;
For here they suffer ceaseless woe,
And dying to destruction go.
With pious care, each solemn day,
Will men their funeral offerings pay:
See, how the useful food they waste:
He who is dead no more can taste.
If one is fed, his strength renewed
Whene'er his brother takes his food,
Then offerings to the parted pay:
Scarce will they serve him on his way.
By crafty knaves these rules were framed,
And to enforce men's gifts proclaimed:
“Give, worship, lead a life austere,
Keep lustral rites, quit pleasures here.”
There is no future life: be wise,
And do, O Prince, as I advise.
Enjoy, my lord, the present bliss,
And things unseen from thought dismiss.
Let this advice thy bosom move,
The counsel sage which all approve;
To Bharat's earnest prayer incline,
And take the rule so justly thine.”
Canto CIX. The Praises Of Truth.
By sage Jáváli thus addressed,
Ráma of truthful hearts the best,
[218]
Canto CIX. The Praises Of Truth.
765
With perfect skill and wisdom high
Thus to his speech made fit reply:
“Thy words that tempt to bliss are fair,
But virtue's garb they falsely wear.
For he from duty's path who strays
To wander in forbidden ways,
Allured by doctrine false and vain,
Praise from the good can never gain.
Their lives the true and boaster show,
Pure and impure, and high and low,
Else were no mark to judge between
Stainless and stained and high and mean;
They to whose lot fair signs may fall
Were but as they who lack them all,
And those to virtuous thoughts inclined
Were but as men of evil mind.
If in the sacred name of right
I do this wrong in duty's spite;
The path of virtue meanly quit,
And this polluting sin commit,
What man who marks the bounds between
Virtue and vice with insight keen,
Would rank me high in after time
Stained with this soul destroying crime?
Whither could I, the sinner, turn,
How hope a seat in heaven to earn,
If I my plighted promise break,
And thus the righteous path forsake?
This world of ours is ever led
To walk the ways which others tread,
And as their princes they behold,
The subjects too their lives will mould.
That truth and mercy still must be
Beloved of kings, is Heaven's decree.
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The Ramayana
Upheld by truth the monarch reigns,
And truth the very world sustains.
Truth evermore has been the love
Of holy saints and Gods above,
And he whose lips are truthful here
Wins after death the highest sphere.
As from a serpent's deadly tooth,
We shrink from him who scorns the truth.
For holy truth is root and spring
Of justice and each holy thing,
A might that every power transcends,
Linked to high bliss that never ends.
Truth is all virtue's surest base,
Supreme in worth and first in place.
Oblations, gifts men offer here,
Vows, sacrifice, and rites austere,
And Holy Writ, on truth depend:
So men must still that truth defend.
Truth, only truth protects the land,
By truth unharmed our houses stand;
Neglect of truth makes men distressed,
And truth in highest heaven is blessed.
Then how can I, rebellious, break
Commandments which my father spake—
I ever true and faithful found,
And by my word of honour bound?
My father's bridge of truth shall stand
Unharmed by my destructive hand:
Not folly, ignorance, or greed
My darkened soul shall thus mislead.
Have we not heard that God and shade
Turn from the hated offerings paid
By him whose false and fickle mind
No pledge can hold, no promise bind?
Canto CIX. The Praises Of Truth.
767
Truth is all duty: as the soul,
It quickens and supports the whole.
The good respect this duty: hence
Its sacred claims I reverence.
The Warrior's duty I despise
That seeks the wrong in virtue's guise:
Those claims I shrink from, which the base,
Cruel, and covetous embrace.
The heart conceives the guilty thought,
Then by the hand the sin is wrought,
And with the pair is leagued a third,
The tongue that speaks the lying word.
Fortune and land and name and fame
To man's best care have right and claim;
The good will aye to truth adhere,
And its high laws must men revere.
Base were the deed thy lips would teach,
Approved as best by subtle speech.
Shall I my plighted promise break,
That I these woods my home would make?
Shall I, as Bharat's words advise,
My father's solemn charge despise?
Firm stands the oath which then before
My father's face I soothly swore,
Which Queen Kaikeyí's anxious ear
Rejoiced with highest joy to hear.
Still in the wood will I remain,
With food prescribed my life sustain,
And please with fruit and roots and flowers
Ancestral shades and heavenly powers.
Here every sense contented, still
Heeding the bounds of good and ill,
My settled course will I pursue,
Firm in my faith and ever true.
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The Ramayana
Here in this wild and far retreat
Will I my noble task complete;
And Fire and Wind and Moon shall be
Partakers of its fruit with me.
A hundred offerings duly wrought
His rank o'er Gods for Indra bought,
And mighty saints their heaven secured
By torturing years on earth endured.”
That scoffing plea the hero spurned,
And thus he spake once more,
Chiding, the while his bosom burned,
Jáváli's impious lore:
“Justice, and courage ne'er dismayed,
Pity for all distressed,
Truth, loving honour duly paid
To Bráhman, God, and guest—
In these, the true and virtuous say,
Should lives of men be passed:
They form the right and happy way
That leads to heaven at last.
[219]
My father's thoughtless act I chide
That gave thee honoured place,
Whose soul, from virtue turned aside,
Is faithless, dark, and base.
We rank the Buddhist with the thief,388
And all the impious crew
Who share his sinful disbelief,
And hate the right and true.
Hence never should wise kings who seek
To rule their people well,
Admit, before their face to speak,
388The verses in a different metre with which some cantos end are all to be
regarded with suspicion. Schlegel regrets that he did not exclude them all from
his edition. These lines are manifestly spurious. See Additional Notes.
Canto CIX. The Praises Of Truth.
769
The cursed infidel.
But twice-born men in days gone by,
Of other sort than thou,
Have wrought good deeds, whose glories high
Are fresh among us now:
This world they conquered, nor in vain
They strove to win the skies:
The twice-born hence pure lives maintain,
And fires of worship rise.
Those who in virtue's path delight,
And with the virtuous live,—
Whose flames of holy zeal are bright,
Whose hands are swift to give,
Who injure none, and good and mild
In every grace excel,
Whose lives by sin are undefiled,
We love and honour well.”
Thus Ráma spoke in righteous rage
Jáváli's speech to chide,
When thus again the virtuous sage
In truthful words replied:
“The atheist's lore I use no more,
Not mine his impious creed:
His words and doctrine I abhor,
Assumed at time of need.
E'en as I rose to speak with thee,
The fit occasion came
That bade me use the atheist's plea
To turn thee from thine aim.
The atheist creed I disavow,
Unsay the words of sin,
And use the faithful's language now
Thy favour, Prince, to win.”
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The Ramayana
Canto CX. The Sons Of Ikshváku.389
Then spake Vaśishṭha who perceived
That Ráma's soul was wroth and grieved:
“Well knows the sage Jáváli all
The changes that the world befall;
And but to lead thee to revoke
Thy purpose were the words he spoke.
Lord of the world, now hear from me
How first this world began to be.
First water was, and naught beside;
There earth was formed that stretches wide.
Then with the Gods from out the same
The Self-existent Brahmá came.
Then Brahmá390in a boar's disguise
Bade from the deep this earth arise;
Then, with his sons of tranquil soul,
He made the world and framed the whole.
From subtlest ether Brahmá rose:
No end, no loss, no change he knows.
A son had he, Maríchi styled,
And Kaśyap was Maríchi's child.
From him Vivasvat sprang: from him
Manu, whose fame shall ne'er be dim.
Manu, who life to mortals gave,
Begot Ikshváku good and brave:
First of Ayodhyá's kings was he,
Pride of her famous dynasty.
From him the glorious Kukshi sprang,
389This genealogy is a repetition with slight variation of that given in Book I,
Canto LXX.
390In Gorresio's recension identified with Vishṇu. See Muir's Sanskrit Texts,
Vol. IV. pp 29, 30.
Canto CX. The Sons Of Ikshváku.
771
Whose fame through all the regions rang.
Rival of Kukshi's ancient fame,
His heir the great Vikukshi came.
His son was Váṇa, lord of might,
His Anaraṇya, strong in fight.
No famine marred his blissful reign,
No drought destroyed the kindly grain;
Amid the sons of virtue chief,
His happy realm ne'er held a thief,
His son was Prithu, glorious name,
From him the wise Triśanku came:
Embodied to the skies he went
For love of truth preëminent.
He left a son renowned afar,
Known by the name of Dhundhumár.
His son succeeding bore the name
Of Yuvanáśva dear to fame.
He passed away. Him followed then
His son Mándhátá, king of men.
His son was blest in high emprise,
Susandhi, fortunate and wise.
Two noble sons had he, to wit
Dhruvasandhi and Prasenajit.
Bharat was Dhruvasandhi's son:
His glorious arm the conquest won,
Against his son King Asit, rose
In fierce array his royal foes,
Haihayas, Tálajanghas styled,
And Śaśivindhus fierce and wild.
[220]
Long time he strove, but forced to yield
Fled from his kingdom and the field.
The wives he left had both conceived—
So is the ancient tale believed:—
One, of her rival's hopes afraid,
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The Ramayana
Fell poison in the viands laid.
It chanced that Chyavan, Bhrigu's child,
Had wandered to the pathless wild
Where proud Himálaya's lovely height
Detained him with a strange delight.
Then came the other widowed queen
With lotus eyes and beauteous mien,
Longing a noble son to bear,
And wooed the saint with earnest prayer.
When thus Kálindí, fairest dame
With reverent supplication came,
To her the holy sage replied:
“O royal lady, from thy side
A glorious son shall spring ere long,
Righteous and true and brave and strong;
He, scourge of foes and lofty-souled,
His ancient race shall still uphold.”
Then round the sage the lady went,
And bade farewell, most reverent.
Back to her home she turned once more,
And there her promised son she bore.
Because her rival mixed the bane
To render her conception vain,
And her unripened fruit destroy,
Sagar she called her rescued boy.391
He, when he paid that solemn rite,392
Filled living creatures with affright:
Obedient to his high decree
His countless sons dug out the sea.
Prince Asamanj was Sagar's child:
But him with cruel sin defiled
391From sa with, and gara poison.
392See Book I. Canto XL.
Canto CX. The Sons Of Ikshváku.
773
And loaded with the people's hate
His father banished from the state.
To Asamanj his consort bare
Bright Anśumán his valiant heir.
Anśumán's son, Dilípa famed,
Begot a son Bhagírath named.
From him renowned Kakutstha came:
Thou bearest still the lineal name.
Kakutstha's son was Raghu: thou
Art styled the son of Raghu now.
From him came Purushádak bold,
Fierce hero of gigantic mould:
Kalmáshapáda's name he bore,
Because his feet were spotted o'er.
Śankhan his son, to manhood grown,
Died sadly with his host o'erthrown,
But ere he perished sprang from him
Sudarśan fair in face and limb.
From beautiful Sudarśan came
Prince Agnivarṇa, bright as flame.
His son was Śíghraga, for speed
Unmatched; and Maru was his seed.
Prasusruka was Maru's child:
His son was Ambarísha styled.
Nahush was Ambarísha's heir
With hand to strike and heart to dare.
His son was good Nábhág, from youth
Renowned for piety and truth.
From great Nábhág sprang children two
Aja and Suvrat pure and true.
From Aja Daśaratha came,
Whose virtuous life was free from blame.
His eldest son art thou: his throne,
O famous Ráma, is thine own.
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The Ramayana
Accept the sway so justly thine,
And view the world with eyes benign.
For ever in Ikshváku's race
The eldest takes his father's place,
And while he lives no son beside
As lord and king is sanctified.
The rule by Raghu's children kept
Thou must not spurn to-day.
This realm of peerless wealth accept,
And like thy father sway.”
Canto CXI. Counsel To Bharat.
Thus said Vaśishṭha, and again
To Ráma spake in duteous strain:
“All men the light of life who see
With high respect should look on three:
High honour ne'er must be denied
To father, mother, holy guide.
First to their sires their birth they owe,
Nursed with maternal love they grow:
Their holy guides fair knowledge teach:
So men should love and honour each.
Thy sire and thou have learned of me,
The sacred guide of him and thee,
And if my word thou wilt obey
Thou still wilt keep the virtuous way.
See, with the chiefs of every guild
And all thy friends, this place is filled:
All these, as duty bids, protect;
So still the righteous path respect.
Canto CXI. Counsel To Bharat.
775
O, for thine aged mother feel,
Nor spurn the virtuous dame's appeal:
Obey, O Prince, thy mother dear,
And still to virtue's path adhere.
Yield thou to Bharat's fond request,
With earnest supplication pressed,
So wilt thou to thyself be true,
And faith and duty still pursue.”
Thus by his saintly guide addressed
With pleas in sweetest tones expressed,
The lord of men in turn replied
To wise Vaśishṭha by his side:
“The fondest son's observance ne'er
Repays the sire and mother's care:
[221]
The constant love that food provides,
And dress, and every need besides:
Their pleasant words still soft and mild,
Their nurture of the helpless child:
The words which Daśaratha spake,
My king and sire, I ne'er will break.”
Then Bharat of the ample chest
The wise Sumantra thus addressed;
“Bring sacred grass, O charioteer,
And strew it on the level here.
For I will sit and watch his face
Until I win my brother's grace.
Like a robbed Bráhman will I lie,393
Nor taste of food nor turn my eye,
In front of Ráma's leafy cot,
And till he yield will leave him not.”
393A practice which has frequently been described, under the name of dherna,
by European travellers in India.
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The Ramayana
When Bharat saw Sumantra's eye
Looked up to Ráma for reply,
The Prince himself in eager haste
The sacred grass in order placed.
Him great and mighty Ráma, best
Of royal saints, in turn addressed:
“What, Bharat, have I done, that thou
Besiegest me,394a suppliant now?
Thus streched, to force redress for wrongs
To men of Bráhman birth belongs,
Not those upon whose kingly head
The consecrating drops are shed.
Up, lord of men! arise, and quit
This fearful vow for thee unfit.
Go, brother, seek Ayodhyá's town,
Fair city of supreme renown.”
But Bharat, as his seat he took,
Cast all around an eager look:
“O people, join your prayers with mine,
And so his stubborn heart incline.”
And all the people answered thus:
“Full well is Ráma known to us.
Right is the word he speaks and he
Is faithful to his sire's decree:
Nor can we rashly venture now
To turn him from his purposed vow.”
394Compare Milton's “beseeching or beseiging.”
Canto CXI. Counsel To Bharat.
777
Then Ráma spoke: “O Bharat, heed
Thy virtuous friends, and mark their rede.
Mark well what I and these advise,
And duty view with clearer eyes.
Thy hand on mine, O hero, place,
Touch water, and thy sin efface.”
Then Bharat rose: his hand he dipped,
And purifying water sipped:
“Each citizen,” he cried, “give ear,
Attend, each counsellor and peer.
My mother planned, by me untaught,
To win the sway I never sought:
Ne'er Raghu's son could I despise,
In duty's lore supremely wise.
Now if obedience to our sire
This dwelling in the woods require,
I, till the destined years be spent,
Will dwell alone in banishment.”
The virtuous Ráma, wonder-stirred,
The faithful speech of Bharat heard,
And thus the hero's feelings found
Due utterance, as he gazed around:
“Still to my father's word I hold,
Whate'er he bought, or pledged, or sold:
Ne'er shall his living promise be
Annulled by Bharat or by me.
Not thus my task will I evade,
My exile on another laid:
Most wise was Queen Kaikeyí's rede,
And just and good my father's deed.
Dear Bharat's patient soul I know,
How reverence due he loves to show;
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The Ramayana
In him, high-souled and faithful found,
Must each auspicious grace abound.
When from the woods I turn again
I with his aid shall nobly reign,
With one so good, of peerless worth,
A glorious lord of happy earth.
Her boon Kaikeyí sought and won.
I, as my father swore, have done:
And O, do thou, my brother dear,
The monarch's name from falsehood clear.
Canto CXII. The Sandals.
High wonder mingled with delight
Took the great sages at the sight,
Thrilling their breasts who came to view
The meeting of the peerless two.
The saints and sages' holy train
Departed to their home again.
And high each holy voice was raised,
And thus the glorious brothers praised.
“High fate is his, the sire of two
Most virtuous souls, so brave and true:
With wonder and with joy intense
Our ears have heard their conference.”
Then the great sages, longing all
To see the ten-necked tyrant395fall,
To Bharat, bravest of the brave,
Their salutary counsel gave:
395Ten-headed, ten-necked, ten faced, are common epithets of Rávaṇ the giant
king of Lanká.
Canto CXII. The Sandals.
779
“O thou of lofty lineage born,
Whom wisdom, conduct, fame adorn,
Thou for thy honoured father's sake
Shouldst Ráma's righteous counsel take.
[222]
All debts to Queen Kaikeyí paid,
Thy sire his home in heaven has made,
So virtuous Ráma we would see
From filial obligation free.”
Thus gave each royal sage advice,
High saint, and bard of Paradise;
Then quickly vanishing from view
Each to his proper home withdrew.
Then Ráma's face his rapture showed,
And his full heart with joy o'erflowed,
While, as the sages parted thence,
He paid his humble reverence.
Then Bharat shook in every limb
As suppliant thus he spake to him:
“The duty of a king respect,
Held by our race in high respect:
And O, thy gracious ear incline
To heed my mother's prayer and mine.
The mighty realm to rule and guard
For me alone is task too hard.
No power have I the love to gain
Of noble, citizen, and swain.
All those who know thee, warrior, friend,
On thee their eager glances bend,
As labouring hinds who till the plain
Look fondly for the Lord of Rain.
O wisest Prince, thy realm secure,
And make its firm foundations sure.
Kakutstha's son, thy mighty arm
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The Ramayana
Can keep the nation free from harm.”
He spoke, and fell in sorrow drowned
At Ráma's feet upon the ground,
And there the hero sued and sighed,
And “Hear me, Raghu's son,” he cried.
Then Ráma raised him up, and pressed
His brother to his loving breast,
And sweetly as a wild swan cried
To Bharat dark and lotus-eyed:
“So just and true thy generous soul,
Thy hand may well this earth control:
But many a sage his aid will lend,
With counsellor, and peer, and friend:
With these advise: their counsel ask,
And so perform thy arduous task.
The moon his beauty may forgo,
The cold forsake the Hills of Snow,
And Ocean o'er his banks may sweep,
But I my father's word will keep.
Now whether love of thee or greed
Thy mother led to plan the deed,
Forth from thy breast the memory throw,
And filial love and reverence show.”
Thus spake Kauśalyá's son: again
Bharat replied in humble strain
To him who matched the sun in might
And lovely as the young moon's light:
“Put, noble brother, I entreat,
These sandals on thy blessed feet:
These, lord of men, with gold bedecked,
The realm and people will protect.”
Canto CXII. The Sandals.
781
Then Ráma, as his brother prayed
Beneath his feet the sandals laid,
And these with fond affection gave
To Bharat's hand, the good and brave.
Then Bharat bowed his reverent head
And thus again to Ráma said:
“Through fourteen seasons will I wear
The hermit's dress and matted hair:
With fruit and roots my life sustain,
And still beyond the realm remain,
Longing for thee to come again.
The rule and all affairs of state
I to these shoes will delegate.
And if, O tamer of thy foes,
When fourteen years have reached their close,
I see thee not that day return,
The kindled fire my frame shall burn.”
Then Ráma to his bosom drew
Dear Bharat and Śatrughna too:
“Be never wroth,” he cried, “with her,
Kaikeyí's guardian minister:
This, glory of Ikshváku's line,
Is Sítá's earnest prayer and mine.”
He spoke, and as the big tears fell,
To his dear brother bade farewell.
Round Ráma, Bharat strong and bold
In humble reverence paced,
When the bright sandals wrought with gold
Above his brows were placed.
The royal elephant who led
The glorious pomp he found,
And on the monster's mighty head
Those sandals duly bound.
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The Ramayana
Then noble Ráma, born to swell
The glories of his race,
To all in order bade farewell
With love and tender grace—
To brothers, counsellers, and peers,—
Still firm, in duty proved,
Firm, as the Lord of Snow uprears
His mountains unremoved.
No queen, for choking sobs and sighs,
Could say her last adieu:
Then Ráma bowed, with flooded eyes,
And to his cot withdrew.
Canto CXIII. Bharat's Return.
Bearing the sandals on his head
Away triumphant Bharat sped,
And clomb, Śatrughna by his side,
The car wherein he wont to ride.
Before the mighty army went
The lords for counsel eminent,
Vaśishṭha, Vámadeva next,
Jáváli, pure with prayer and text.
[223]
Then from that lovely river they
Turned eastward on their homeward way:
With reverent steps from left to right
They circled Chitrakúṭa's height,
And viewed his peaks on every side
With stains of thousand metals dyed.
Then Bharat saw, not far away,
Where Bharadvája's dwelling lay,
Canto CXIII. Bharat's Return.
783
And when the chieftain bold and sage
Had reached that holy hermitage,
Down from the car he sprang to greet
The saint, and bowed before his feet.
High rapture filled the hermit's breast,
Who thus the royal prince addressed:
“Say, Bharat, is thy duty done?
Hast thou with Ráma met, my son?”
The chief whose soul to virtue clave
This answer to the hermit gave:
“I prayed him with our holy guide:
But Raghu's son our prayer denied,
And long besought by both of us
He answered Saint Vaśishṭha thus:
“True to my vow, I still will be
Observant of my sire's decree:
Till fourteen years complete their course
That promise shall remain in force.”
The saint in highest wisdom taught,
These solemn words with wisdom fraught,
To him in lore of language learned
Most eloquent himself returned:
“Obey my rede: let Bharat hold
This pair of sandals decked with gold:
They in Ayodhyá shall ensure
Our welfare, and our bliss secure.”
When Ráma heard the royal priest
He rose, and looking to the east
Consigned the sandals to my hand
That they for him might guard the land.
Then from the high-souled chief's abode
I turned upon my homeward road,
Dismissed by him, and now this pair
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The Ramayana
Of sandals to Ayodhyá bear.”
To him the hermit thus replied,
By Bharat's tidings gratified:
“No marvel thoughts so just and true,
Thou best of all who right pursue,
Should dwell in thee, O Prince of men,
As waters gather in the glen.
He is not dead, we mourn in vain:
Thy blessed father lives again,
Whose noble son we thus behold
Like Virtue's self in human mould.”
He ceased: before him Bharat fell
To clasp his feet, and said farewell:
His reverent steps around him bent,
And onward to Ayodhyá went.
His host of followers stretching far
With many an elephant and car,
Waggon and steed, and mighty train,
Traversed their homeward way again.
O'er holy Yamuná they sped,
Fair stream, with waves engarlanded,
And then once more the rivers' queen,
The blessed Gangá's self was seen.
Then making o'er that flood his way,
Where crocodiles and monsters lay,
The king to Śringavera drew
His host and royal retinue.
His onward way he thence pursued,
And soon renowned Ayodhyá viewed.
Then burnt by woe and sad of cheer
Bharat addressed the charioteer:
“Ah, see, Ayodhyá dark and sad,
Canto CXIV. Bharat's Departure.
785
Her glory gone, once bright and glad:
Of joy and beauty reft, forlorn,
In silent grief she seems to mourn.”
Canto CXIV. Bharat's Departure.
Deep, pleasant was the chariot's sound
As royal Bharat, far renowned,
Whirled by his mettled coursers fast
Within Ayodhyá's city passed.
There dark and drear was every home
Where cats and owls had space to roam,
As when the shades of midnight fall
With blackest gloom, and cover all:
As Rohiṇí, dear spouse of him
Whom Ráhu hates,396grows faint and dim,
When, as she shines on high alone
The demon's shade is o'er her thrown:
As burnt by summer's heat a rill
Scarce trickling from her parent hill,
With dying fish in pools half dried,
And fainting birds upon her side:
As sacrificial flames arise
When holy oil their food supplies,
But when no more the fire is fed
Sink lustreless and cold and dead:
Like some brave host that filled the plain,
With harness rent and captains slain,
When warrior, elephant, and steed
396The spouse of Rohiṇí is the Moon: Ráhu is the demon who causes eclipses.
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The Ramayana
Mingled in wild confusion bleed:
As when, all spent her store of worth,
Rocks from her base the loosened earth:
Like a sad fallen star no more
Wearing the lovely light it wore:
So mournful in her lost estate
Was that sad town disconsolate.
Then car-borne Bharat, good and brave,
Thus spake to him the steeds who drave:
“Why are Ayodhyá's streets so mute?
Where is the voice of lyre and lute?
Why sounds not, as of old, to-day
The music of the minstrel's lay?
[224]
Where are the wreaths they used to twine?
Where are the blossoms and the wine?
Where is the cool refreshing scent
Of sandal dust with aloe blent?
The elephant's impatient roar,
The din of cars, I hear no more:
No more the horse's pleasant neigh
Rings out to meet me on my way.
Ayodhyá's youths, since Ráma's flight,
Have lost their relish for delight:
Her men roam forth no more, nor care
Bright garlands round their necks to wear.
All grieve for banished Ráma: feast,
And revelry and song have ceased:
Like a black night when floods pour down,
So dark and gloomy is the town.
When will he come to make them gay
Like some auspicious holiday?
When will my brother, like a cloud
At summer's close, make glad the crowd?”
Canto CXV. Nandigrám.
787
Then through the streets the hero rode,
And passed within his sire's abode,
Like some deserted lion's den,
Forsaken by the lord of men.
Then to the inner bowers he came,
Once happy home of many a dame,
Now gloomy, sad, and drear,
Dark as of old that sunless day
When wept the Gods in wild dismay;397
There poured he many a tear.
Canto CXV. Nandigrám.398
Then when the pious chief had seen
Lodged in her home each widowed queen,
Still with his burning grief oppressed
His holy guides he thus addressed:
“I go to Nandigrám: adieu,
This day, my lords to all of you:
I go, my load of grief to bear,
Reft of the son of Raghu, there.
The king my sire, alas, is dead,
And Ráma to the forest fled;
There will I wait till he, restored,
Shall rule the realm, its rightful lord.”
397“Once,” says the Commentator Tírtha, “in the battle between the Gods and
demons the Gods were vanquished, and the sun was overthrown by Ráhu. At
the request of the Gods Atri undertook the management of the sun for a week.”
398Now Nundgaon, in Oudh.
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The Ramayana
They heard the high-souled prince's speech,
And thus with ready answer each
Of those great lords their chief addressed,
With saint Vaśishṭha and the rest:
“Good are the words which thou hast said,
By brotherly affection led,
Like thine own self, a faithful friend,
True to thy brother to the end:
A heart like thine must all approve,
Which naught from virtue's path can move.”
Soon as the words he loved to hear
Fell upon Bharat's joyful ear,
Thus to the charioteer he spoke:
“My car with speed, Sumantra, yoke.”
Then Bharat with delighted mien
Obeisance paid to every queen,
And with Śatrughna by his side
Mounting the car away he hied.
With lords, and priests in long array
The brothers hastened on their way.
And the great pomp the Bráhmans led
With Saint Vaśishṭha at their head.
Then every face was eastward bent
As on to Nandigrám they went.
Behind the army followed, all
Unsummoned by their leader's call,
And steeds and elephants and men
Streamed forth with every citizen.
As Bharat in his chariot rode
His heart with love fraternal glowed,
And with the sandals on his head
To Nandigrám he quickly sped.
Within the town he swiftly pressed,
Canto CXV. Nandigrám.
789
Alighted, and his guides addressed:
“To me in trust my brother's hand
Consigned the lordship of the land,
When he these gold-wrought sandals gave
As emblems to protect and save.”
Then Bharat bowed, and from his head
The sacred pledge deposited,
And thus to all the people cried
Who ringed him round on every side:
“Haste, for these sandals quickly bring
The canopy that shades the king.
Pay ye to them all reverence meet
As to my elder brother's feet,
For they will right and law maintain
Until King Ráma come again.
My brother with a loving mind
These sandals to my charge consigned:
I till he come will guard with care
The sacred trust for Raghu's heir.
My watchful task will soon be done,
The pledge restored to Raghu's son;
Then shall I see, his wanderings o'er,
These sandals on his feet once more.
My brother I shall meet at last,
The burthen from my shoulders cast,
To Ráma's hand the realm restore
And serve my elder as before.
When Ráma takes again this pair
Of sandals kept with pious care,
And here his glorious reign begins,
I shall be cleansed from all my sins,
[225]
When the glad people's voices ring
With welcome to the new-made king,
Joy will be mine four-fold as great
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The Ramayana
As if supreme I ruled the state.”
Thus humbly spoke in sad lament
The chief in fame preëminent:
Thus, by his reverent lords obeyed,
At Nandigrám the kingdom swayed.
With hermit's dress and matted hair
He dwelt with all his army there.
The sandals of his brother's feet
Installed upon the royal seat,
He, all his powers to them referred,
Affairs of state administered.
In every care, in every task,
When golden store was brought,
He first, as though their rede to ask,
Those royal sandals sought.
Canto CXVI. The Hermit's Speech.
When Bharat took his homeward road
Still Ráma in the wood abode:
But soon he marked the fear and care
That darkened all the hermits there.
For all who dwelt before the hill
Were sad with dread of coming ill:
Each holy brow was lined by thought,
And Ráma's side they often sought.
With gathering frowns the prince they eyed,
And then withdrew and talked aside.
Canto CXVI. The Hermit's Speech.
791
Then Raghu's son with anxious breast
The leader of the saints addressed:
“Can aught that I have done displease,
O reverend Sage, the devotees?
Why are their loving looks, O say,
Thus sadly changed or turned away?
Has Lakshmaṇ through his want of heed
Offended with unseemly deed?
Or is the gentle Sítá, she
Who loved to honour you and me—
Is she the cause of this offence,
Failing in lowly reverence?”
One sage, o'er whom, exceeding old,
Had many a year of penance rolled,
Trembling in every aged limb
Thus for the rest replied to him:
“How could we, O beloved, blame
Thy lofty-souled Videhan dame,
Who in the good of all delights,
And more than all of anchorites?
But yet through thee a numbing dread
Of fiends among our band has spread;
Obstructed by the demons' art
The trembling hermits talk apart.
For Rávaṇ's brother, overbold,
Named Khara, of gigantic mould,
Vexes with fury fierce and fell
All those in Janasthán399who dwell.
Resistless in his cruel deeds,
On flesh of men the monster feeds:
Sinful and arrogant is he,
And looks with special hate on thee.
399A part of the great Daṇḍak forest.
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The Ramayana
Since thou, beloved son, hast made
Thy home within this holy shade,
The fiends have vexed with wilder rage
The dwellers of the hermitage.
In many a wild and dreadful form
Around the trembling saints they swarm,
With hideous shape and foul disguise
They terrify our holy eyes.
They make our loathing souls endure
Insult and scorn and sights impure,
And flocking round the altars stay
The holy rites we love to pay.
In every spot throughout the grove
With evil thoughts the monsters rove,
Assailing with their secret might
Each unsuspecting anchorite.
Ladle and dish away they fling,
Our fires with floods extinguishing,
And when the sacred flame should burn
They trample on each water-urn.
Now when they see their sacred wood
Plagued by this impious brotherhood,
The troubled saints away would roam
And seek in other shades a home:
Hence will we fly, O Ráma, ere
The cruel fiends our bodies tear.
Not far away a forest lies
Rich in the roots and fruit we prize,
To this will I and all repair
And join the holy hermits there;
Be wise, and with us thither flee
Before this Khara injure thee.
Mighty art thou, O Ráma, yet
Each day with peril is beset.
Canto CXVII. Anasúyá.
793
If with thy consort by thy side
Thou in this wood wilt still abide.”
He ceased: the words the hero spake
The hermit's purpose failed to break:
To Raghu's son farewell he said,
And blessed the chief and comforted;
Then with the rest the holy sage
Departed from the hermitage.
So from the wood the saints withdrew,
And Ráma bidding all adieu
In lowly reverence bent:
Instructed by their friendly speech,
Blest with the gracious love of each,
To his pure home he went.
Nor would the son of Raghu stray
A moment from that grove away
From which the saints had fled.
And many a hermit thither came
Attracted by his saintly fame
And the pure life he led.
[226]
Canto CXVII. Anasúyá.
794
The Ramayana
But dwelling in that lonely spot
Left by the hermits pleased him not.
“I met the faithful Bharat here,
The townsmen, and my mother dear:
The painful memory lingers yet,
And stings me with a vain regret.
And here the host of Bharat camped,
And many a courser here has stamped,
And elephants with ponderous feet
Have trampled through the calm retreat.”
So forth to seek a home he hied,
His spouse and Lakshmaṇ by his side.
He came to Atri's pure retreat,
Paid reverence to his holy feet,
And from the saint such welcome won
As a fond father gives his son.
The noble prince with joy unfeigned
As a dear guest he entertained,
And cheered the glorious Lakshmaṇ too
And Sítá with observance due.
Then Anasúyá at the call
Of him who sought the good of all,
His blameless venerable spouse,
Delighting in her holy vows,
Came from her chamber to his side:
To her the virtuous hermit cried:
“Receive, I pray, with friendly grace
This dame of Maithil monarchs' race:”
To Ráma next made known his wife,
The devotee of saintliest life:
“Ten thousand years this votaress bent
On sternest rites of penance spent;
She when the clouds withheld their rain,
And drought ten years consumed the plain,
Canto CXVII. Anasúyá.
795
Caused grateful roots and fruit to grow
And ordered Gangá here to flow:
So from their cares the saints she freed,
Nor let these checks their rites impede,
She wrought in Heaven's behalf, and made
Ten nights of one, the Gods to aid:400
Let holy Anasúyá be
An honoured mother, Prince, to thee.
Let thy Videhan spouse draw near
To her whom all that live revere,
Stricken in years, whose loving mind
Is slow to wrath and ever kind.”
He ceased: and Ráma gave assent,
And said, with eyes on Sítá bent:
“O Princess, thou hast heard with me
This counsel of the devotee:
Now that her touch thy soul may bless,
Approach the saintly votaress:
Come to the venerable dame,
Far known by Anasúyá's name:
The mighty things that she has done
High glory in the world have won.”
Thus spoke the son of Raghu: she
Approached the saintly devotee,
Who with her white locks, old and frail,
Shook like a plantain in the gale.
To that true spouse she bowed her head,
And “Lady, I am Sítá,” said:
Raised suppliant hands and prayed her tell
That all was prosperous and well.
400When the saint Máṇḍavya had doomed some saint's wife, who was
Anasúyá's friend, to become a widow on the morrow.
796
The Ramayana
The aged matron, when she saw
Fair Sítá true to duty's law,
Addressed her thus: “High fate is thine
Whose thoughts to virtue still incline.
Thou, lady of the noble mind,
Hast kin and state and wealth resigned
To follow Ráma forced to tread
Where solitary woods are spread.
Those women gain high spheres above
Who still unchanged their husbands love,
Whether they dwell in town or wood,
Whether their hearts be ill or good.
Though wicked, poor, or led away
In love's forbidden paths to stray,
The noble matron still will deem
Her lord a deity supreme.
Regarding kin and friendship, I
Can see no better, holier tie,
And every penance-rite is dim
Beside the joy of serving him.
But dark is this to her whose mind
Promptings of idle fancy blind,
Who led by evil thoughts away
Makes him who should command obey.
Such women, O dear Maithil dame,
Their virtue lose and honest fame,
Enslaved by sin and folly, led
In these unholy paths to tread.
But they who good and true like thee
The present and the future see,
Like men by holy deeds will rise
To mansions in the blissful skies.
So keep thee pure from taint of sin,
Still to thy lord be true,
Canto CXVIII. Anasúyá's Gifts.
797
And fame and merit shalt thou win,
To thy devotion due.”
Canto CXVIII. Anasúyá's Gifts.
Thus by the holy dame addressed
Who banished envy from her breast,
Her lowly reverence Sítá paid,
And softly thus her answer made:
“No marvel, best of dames, thy speech
The duties of a wife should teach;
[227]
Yet I, O lady, also know
Due reverence to my lord to show.
Were he the meanest of the base,
Unhonoured with a single grace,
My husband still I ne'er would leave,
But firm through all to him would cleave:
Still rather to a lord like mine
Whose virtues high-exalted shine,
Compassionate, of lofty soul,
With every sense in due control,
True in his love, of righteous mind,
Like a dear sire and mother kind.
E'en as he ever loves to treat
Kauśalyá with observance meet,
Has his behaviour ever been
To every other honoured queen.
Nay, more, a sonlike reverence shows
The noble Ráma e'en to those
On whom the king his father set
His eyes one moment, to forget.
798
The Ramayana
Deep in my heart the words are stored,
Said by the mother of my lord,
When from my home I turned away
In the lone fearful woods to stray.
The counsel of my mother deep
Impressed upon my soul I keep,
When by the fire I took my stand,
And Ráma clasped in his my hand.
And in my bosom cherished yet,
My friends' advice I ne'er forget:
Woman her holiest offering pays
When she her husband's will obeys.
Good Sávitrí her lord obeyed,
And a high saint in heaven was made,
And for the self-same virtue thou
Hast heaven in thy possession now.
And she with whom no dame could vie,
Now a bright Goddess in the sky,
Sweet Rohiṇí the Moon's dear Queen,
Without her lord is never seen:
And many a faithful wife beside
For her pure love is glorified.”
Thus Sítá spake: soft rapture stole
Through Anasúyá's saintly soul:
Kisses on Sítá's head she pressed,
And thus the Maithil dame addressed:
“I by long rites and toils endured
Rich store of merit have secured:
From this my wealth will I bestow
A blessing ere I let thee go.
So right and wise and true each word
That from thy lips mine ears have heard,
I love thee: be my pleasing task
Canto CXVIII. Anasúyá's Gifts.
799
To grant the boon that thou shalt ask.”
Then Sítá marvelled much, and while
Played o'er her lips a gentle smile,
“All has been done, O Saint,” she cried,
“And naught remains to wish beside.”
She spake; the lady's meek reply
Swelled Anasúyá's rapture high.
“Sítá,” she said, “my gift to-day
Thy sweet contentment shall repay.
Accept this precious robe to wear,
Of heavenly fabric, rich and rare,
These gems thy limbs to ornament,
This precious balsam sweet of scent.
O Maithil dame, this gift of mine
Shall make thy limbs with beauty shine,
And breathing o'er thy frame dispense
Its pure and lasting influence.
This balsam on thy fair limbs spread
New radiance on thy lord shall shed,
As Lakshmí's beauty lends a grace
To Vishṇu's own celestial face.”
Then Sítá took the gift the dame
Bestowed on her in friendship's name,
The balsam, gems, and robe divine,
And garlands wreathed of bloomy twine;
Then sat her down, with reverence meet,
At saintly Anasúyá's feet.
The matron rich in rites and vows
Turned her to Ráma's Maithil spouse,
And questioned thus in turn to hear
A pleasant tale to charm her ear:
“Sítá, 'tis said that Raghu's son
800
The Ramayana
Thy hand, mid gathered suitors, won.
I fain would hear thee, lady, tell
The story as it all befell:
Do thou repeat each thing that passed,
Reviewing all from first to last.”
Thus spake the dame to Sítá: she
Replying to the devotee,
“Then, lady, thy attention lend,”
Rehearsed the story to the end:
“King Janak, just and brave and strong,
Who loves the right and hates the wrong,
Well skilled in what the law ordains
For Warriors, o'er Videha reigns.
Guiding one morn the plough, his hand
Marked out, for rites the sacred land,
When, as the ploughshare cleft the earth,
Child of the king I leapt to birth.
Then as the ground he smoothed and cleared,
He saw me all with dust besmeared,
And on the new-found babe, amazed
The ruler of Videha gazed.
In childless love the monarch pressed
The welcome infant to his breast:
“My daughter,” thus he cried, “is she:”
And as his child he cared for me.
Forth from the sky was heard o'erhead
As 'twere a human voice that said:
“Yea, even so: great King, this child
Henceforth thine own be justly styled.”
Videha's monarch, virtuous souled,
Rejoiced o'er me with joy untold,
Delighting in his new-won prize,
Canto CXVIII. Anasúyá's Gifts.
801
The darling of his heart and eyes.
To his chief queen of saintly mind
The precious treasure he consigned,
And by her side she saw me grow,
Nursed with the love which mothers know.
[228]
Then as he saw the seasons fly,
And knew my marriage-time was nigh,
My sire was vexed with care, as sad
As one who mourns the wealth he had:
“Scorn on the maiden's sire must wait
From men of high and low estate:
The virgin's father all despise,
Though Indra's peer, who rules the skies.”
More near he saw, and still more near,
The scorn that filled his soul with fear,
On trouble's billowy ocean tossed,
Like one whose shattered bark is lost.
My father knowing how I came,
No daughter of a mortal dame,
In all the regions failed to see
A bridegroom meet to match with me.
Each way with anxious thought he scanned,
And thus at length the monarch planned:
“The Bride's Election will I hold,
With every rite prescribed of old.”
It pleased King Varuṇ to bestow
Quiver and shafts and heavenly bow
Upon my father's sire who reigned,
When Daksha his great rite ordained.
Where was the man might bend or lift
With utmost toil that wondrous gift?
Not e'en in dreams could mortal king
Strain the great bow or draw the string.
Of this tremendous bow possessed,
802
The Ramayana
My truthful father thus addressed
The lords of many a region, all
Assembled at the monarch's call:
“Whoe'er this bow can manage, he
The husband of my child shall be.”
The suitors viewed with hopeless eyes
That wondrous bow of mountain size,
Then to my sire they bade adieu,
And all with humbled hearts withdrew.
At length with Viśvámitra came
This son of Raghu, dear to fame,
The royal sacrifice to view.
Near to my father's home he drew,
His brother Lakshmaṇ by his side,
Ráma, in deeds heroic tried.
My sire with honour entertained
The saint in lore of duty trained,
Who thus in turn addressed the king:
“Ráma and Lakshmaṇ here who spring
From royal Daśaratha, long
To see thy bow so passing strong.”
Before the prince's eyes was laid
That marvel, as the Bráhman prayed.
One moment on the bow he gazed,
Quick to the notch the string he raised,
Then, in the wandering people's view,
The cord with mighty force he drew.
Then with an awful crash as loud
As thunderbolts that cleave the cloud,
The bow beneath the matchless strain
Of arms heroic snapped in twain.
Thus, giving purest water, he,
My sire, to Ráma offered me.
Canto CXIX. The Forest.
803
The prince the offered gift declined
Till he should learn his father's mind;
So horsemen swift Ayodhyá sought
And back her aged monarch brought.
Me then my sire to Ráma gave,
Self-ruled, the bravest of the brave.
And Urmilá, the next to me,
Graced with all gifts, most fair to see,
My sire with Raghu's house allied,
And gave her to be Lakshmaṇ's bride.
Thus from the princes of the land
Lord Ráma won my maiden hand,
And him exalted high above
Heroic chiefs I truly love.”
Canto CXIX. The Forest.
When Anasúyá, virtuous-souled,
Had heard the tale by Sítá told,
She kissed the lady's brow and laced
Her loving arms around her waist.
“With sweet-toned words distinct and clear
Thy pleasant tale has charmed mine ear,
How the great king thy father held
That Maiden's Choice unparalleled.
But now the sun has sunk from sight,
And left the world to holy Night.
Hark! how the leafy thickets sound
With gathering birds that twitter round:
They sought their food by day, and all
Flock homeward when the shadows fall.
804
The Ramayana
See, hither comes the hermit band,
Each with his pitcher in his hand:
Fresh from the bath, their locks are wet,
Their coats of bark are dripping yet.
Here saints their fires of worship tend,
And curling wreaths of smoke ascend:
Borne on the flames they mount above,
Dark as the brown wings of the dove.
The distant trees, though well-nigh bare,
Gloom thickened by the evening air,
And in the faint uncertain light
Shut the horizon from our sight.
The beasts that prowl in darkness rove
On every side about the grove,
And the tame deer, at ease reclined
Their shelter near the altars find.
The night o'er all the sky is spread,
With lunar stars engarlanded,
And risen in his robes of light
The moon is beautifully bright.
Now to thy lord I bid thee go:
Thy pleasant tale has charmed me so:
One thing alone I needs must pray,
Before me first thyself array:
Here in thy heavenly raiment shine,
And glad, dear love, these eyes of mine.”
[229]
Then like a heavenly Goddess shone
Fair Sítá with that raiment on.
She bowed her to the matron's feet,
Then turned away her lord to meet.
The hero prince with joy surveyed
His Sítá in her robes arrayed,
As glorious to his arms she came
With love-gifts of the saintly dame.
Canto CXIX. The Forest.
805
She told him how the saint to show
Her fond affection would bestow
That garland of celestial twine,
Those ornaments and robes divine.
Then Ráma's heart, nor Lakshmaṇ's less,
Was filled with pride and happiness,
For honours high had Sítá gained,
Which mortal dames have scarce obtained.
There honoured by each pious sage
Who dwelt within the hermitage,
Beside his darling well content
That sacred night the hero spent.
The princes, when the night had fled,
Farewell to all the hermits said,
Who gazed upon the distant shade,
Their lustral rites and offerings paid.
The saints who made their dwelling there
In words like these addressed the pair:
“O Princes, monsters fierce and fell
Around that distant forest dwell:
On blood from human veins they feed,
And various forms assume at need,
With savage beasts of fearful power
That human flesh and blood devour.
Our holy saints they rend and tear
When met alone or unaware,
And eat them in their cruel joy:
These chase, O Ráma, or destroy.
By this one path our hermits go
To fetch the fruits that yonder grow:
By this, O Prince, thy feet should stray
Through pathless forests far away.”
806
The Ramayana
Thus by the reverent saints addressed,
And by their prayers auspicious blessed,
He left the holy crowd:
His wife and brother by his side,
Within the mighty wood he hied.
So sinks the Day-God in his pride
Beneath a bank of cloud.

Book II (part1)
Book II (part3)

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