Book IV. Kishkindhya (part2)

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Sugríva gave his high behest;
Then Princely Tára and the rest,
With little Angad weeping, led
The long procession of the dead.
Behind the funeral litter came,
With Tárá first, each widowed dame,
In tears and shrieks her loss deplored,
Add cried aloud, My lord! My lord!
While wood and hill and valley sent
In echoes back the shrill lament.
Then on a low and sandy isle
Was reared the hero's funeral pile
By crowds of toiling Vánars, where
The mountain stream ran fresh and fair,
The Vánar chiefs, a noble band,
Had laid the litter on the sand,
And stood a little space apart,
Each mourning in his inmost heart.
But Tárá, when her weeping eye
Saw Báli, on the litter lie,
Laid his dear head upon her lap,
And wailed aloud her dire mishap;
“O mighty Vánar, lord and king,
To whose fond breast I loved to cling,
Of goodly arms, wise, brave, and bold,
Canto XXV. Ráma's Speech.
1261
Rise, look upon me as of old.
Rise up, my sovereign, dost thou see
A crowd of subjects weep for thee?
Still o'er thy face, though breath has fled,
The joyous light of life is spread:
Thus around the sun, although he set,
A crimson glory lingers yet.
Death clad in Ráma's form to-day
Hast dragged thee from the world away.
One shaft from his tremendous bow
Dooms us to widowhood and woe.
Hast thou, O Vánar King, no eyes
Thy weeping wives to recognize,
Who for the length of way unmeet
Have followed thee with weary feet?
Yet every moon-faced beauty here
By thee, O King was counted dear.
Lord of the Vánar race, hast thou
No eyes to see Sugríva now?
About thee stands in mournful mood
A sore-afflicted multitude,
And Tára and thy lords of state
Around their monarch weep and wait.
Arise my lord, with gentle speech,
As was thy wont, dismissing each,
Then in the forest will we play
And love shall make our spirits gay.”
The Vánar dames raised Tárá, drowned
In floods of sorrow, from the ground;
And Angad with Sugríva's aid,
O'erwhelmed with anguish and dismayed,
Weeping for his departed sire,
Placed Báli's body on the pyre:
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Then lit the flame, and round the dead
Passed slowly with a mourner's tread.
Thus with full rites the funeral train
Performed the service for the slain,
Then sought the flowing stream and made
Libations to the parted shade.
There, setting Angad first in place,
The chieftains of the Vánar race,
With Tárá and Sugríva, shed
The water that delights the dead.
Canto XXVI. The Coronation.
Each Vánar councillor and peer
In crowded numbers gathered near
Sugríva, mournful king, while yet
His vesture from the wave was wet,
Before the chief of Raghu's seed
Unwearied in each arduous deed,
They stood and raised the reverent hand
As saints before Lord Brahmá stand.
Then Hanumán of massive mould,
Like some tall hill of glistering gold,
Son of the God whose wild blasts shake
The forest, thus to Ráma spake:
“By thy kind favour, O my lord,
Sugríva, to his home restored
Triumphant, has regained to-day
His rank and power and royal sway.
He now will call each faithful friend,
Enter the city, and attend
Canto XXVI. The Coronation.
1263
With sage advice and prudent care
To every task that waits him there.
Then balm and unguent shall anoint
Our monarch, as the laws appoint,
And gems and precious wreaths shall be
His grateful offering, King, to thee.
Do thou, O Ráma, with thy friend
Thy steps within the city bend;
Our ruler on his throne install,
And with thy presence cheer us all.”
Then, skilled in lore and arts that guide
The speaker, Raghu's son replied:
“For fourteen years I might not break
The mandate that my father spake;
Nor can I, till that time be fled,
The street of town or village tread.
Let King Sugríva seek the town
Most worthy of her high renown,
There let him be without delay
Anointed, and begin his sway.”
This answered, to Sugríva then
Thus spake anew the king of men:
“Do thou who knowest right ordain
Prince Angad consort of thy reign;
For he is noble, true, and bold,
And trained a righteous course to hold
Gifts like his sire's that youth adorn
Born eldest to the eldest born.
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The Ramayana
This is the month of Śrávaṇ,612first
Of those that see the rain-clouds burst.
Four months, thou knowest well, extends
The season when the rain descends.
No time for deeds of war is this:
Seek thou thy fair metropolis,
And I with Lakshmaṇ, O my friend,
The time upon this hill will spend.
An ample cavern opens there
Made lovely by the mountain air,
And lotuses and lilies fill
The pleasant lake and murmuring rill.
When Kártik's613month shall clear the skies,
Then tempt the mighty enterprise.
Now, chieftain to thy home repair,
And be anointed sovereign there.”
Sugríva heard: he bowed his head:
Within the lovely town he sped
Which Báli's royal will had swayed,
Where thousand Vánar chiefs arrayed
Gathered in order round their king,
And led him on with welcoming.
Low on the earth the lesser crowd
Fell in prostration as they bowed.
Sugríva looked with grateful eyes,
Spake to them all and bade them rise.
Then through the royal bowers he strode
Wherein the monarch's wives abode.
612Śrávaṇ: July-August. But the rains begin a month earlier, and what follows
must not be taken literally. The text has púrvo' yam várshiko másah Śrávaṇah
salilágamdh. The Bengal recension has the same, and Gorresio translates:
“Equesto ilmese Srâvana (luglio-agosto) primo della stagione piovosa, in cui
dilagano le acque.”
613Kártik: October-November.
Canto XXVI. The Coronation.
1265
Soon from the inner chambers came
The Vánar of exalted fame;
And joyful friends drew near and shed
King-making balm upon his head,
Like Gods anointing in the skies
Their sovereign of the thousand eyes.614
Then brought they, o'er their king to hold
The white umbrella decked with gold,
And chouries with their waving hair
In golden handles wondrous fair;
And fragrant herbs and seed and spice,
And sparkling gems exceeding price,
And every bloom from woods and leas,
And gum distilled from milky trees;
And precious ointment white as milk,
And spotless robes of cloth and silk,
Wreaths of sweet flowers whose glories gleam
In grassy grove, on lake or stream.
And fragrant sandal and each scent
That makes the soft breeze redolent;
Grain, honey, odorous seed, and store
Of oil and curd and golden ore;
A noble tiger's skin, a pair
Of sandals wrought with costliest care,
Eight pairs of damsels drawing nigh
Brought unguents stained with varied dye.
Then gems and cates and robes displayed
Before the twice-born priests were laid,
That they would deign in order due
614“Indras, as the nocturnal sun, hides himself, transformed, in the starry
heavens: the stars are his eyes. The hundred-eyed or all-seeing (panoptês)
Argos placed as a spy over the actions of the cow beloved by Zeus, in the
Hellenicequivalent ofthisformof Indras.”DEGUBERNATIS{FNS,Zoological
Mythology, Vol. I, p. 418.
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The Ramayana
To consecrate the king anew.
The sacred grass was duly spread
And sacrificial flame was fed,
Which Scripture-learned priests supplied
With oil which texts had sanctified.
Then, with all rites ordained of old,
High on the terrace bright with gold,
Whereon a glorious carpet lay,
And fresh-culled garlands sweet and gay,
Placed on his throne, Sugríva bent
His looks toward the Orient.
In horns from forehead of the bull,
In pitchers bright and beautiful,
In urns of gold the Vánara took
Pure water brought from stream and brook,
From every consecrated strand
And every sea that beats the land.
Then, as prescribed by sacred lore
And many a mighty sage of yore,615
The leaders of the Vánars poured
The sacred water on their lord.616
From every Vánar at the close
Of that imperial rite arose
Shouts of glad triumph, loud and long
Repeated by the high-souled throng.
Sugríva, when the rite was done,
Obeyed the hest of Raghu's son,
Prince Angad to his breast he strained,
And partner of his sway ordained.
615Baudháyana and others.
616Sugríva appears to have been consecrated with all the ceremonies that
attended the Abhisheka or coronation of an Indian prince of the Aryan race.
Compare the preparations made for Ráma's consecration, Book II, Canto III.
Thus Homer frequently introduces into Troy the rites of Hellenic worship.
Canto XXVII. Ráma On The Hill.
1267
Once more from all the host rang out
The loud huzza and jovful shout.
“Well done! well done!” each Vánar cried,
And good Sugríva glorified.
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Then with glad voices loudly raised
Were Ráma and his brother praised;
And bright Kishkindhá shone that day
With happy throngs and banners gay.
Canto XXVII. Ráma On The Hill.
But when the solemn rite was o'er,
And bold Sugríva reigned once more,
The sons of Raghu sought the hill,
Praśravaṇ of the rushing rill,
Where roamed the tiger and the deer,
And lions raised their voice of fear;
Thick set with trees of every kind,
With trailing shrubs and plants entwined;
Home of the ape and monkey, lair
Of mountain cat and pard and bear.
In cloudy gloom against the sky
The sanctifying hills rose high.
Pierced in their crest, a spacious cave
To Raghu's sons a shelter gave.
Then Ráma, pure from every crime,
In words well suited to the time
To Lakshmaṇ spake, whose faithful zeal
Watched humbly for his brother's weal:
“I love this spacious cavern where
There breathes a fresh and pleasant air.
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Brave brother, let us here remain
Throughout the season of the rain.
For in mine eyes this mountain crest
Is above all, the loveliest.
Where copper-hued and black and white
Show the huge blocks that face the height;
Where gleams the shine of varied ore,
Where dark clouds hang and torrents roar;
Where waving woods are fair to see,
And creepers climb from tree to tree;
Where the gay peacock's voice is shrill,
And sweet birds carol on the hill;
Where odorous breath is wafted far
From Jessamine and Sinduvár;617
And opening flowers of every hue
Give wondrous beauty to the view.
See, too, this pleasant water near
Our cavern home is fresh and clear;
And lilies gay with flower and bud
Are glorious on the lovely flood.
This cave that fares north and east
Will shelter us till rain has ceased;
And towering hills that rise behind
Will screen us from the furious wind.
Close by the cavern's portal lies
And level stone of ample size
And sable hue, a mighty block
Long severed from the parent rock.
Now let thine eye bent northward rest
A while upon that mountain crest,
High as a cloud that brings the rain,
And dark as iron rent in twain.
617Vitex Negundo.
Canto XXVII. Ráma On The Hill.
1269
Look southward, brother, now and view
A cloudy pile of paler hue
Like Mount Kailása's topmost height
Where ores of every tint are bright.
See, Lakshman, see before our cave
That clear brook eastward roll its wave
As though 'twere Gangá's infant rill
Down streaming from the three-peaked hill.
See, by the water's gentle flow
Aśoka, sál, and sandal grow.
And every lovely tree most fair
With leaf and bud and flower is there.
See there, beneath the bending trees
That fringe her bank, the river flees,
Clothed with their beauty like a maid
In all her robes and gems arrayed,
While from the sedgy banks are heard
The soft notes of each amorous bird.
O see what lovely islets stud
Like gems the bosom of the flood,
And sárases and wild swans crowd
About her till she laughs aloud.
See, lotus blooms the brook o'erspread,
Some tender blue, some dazzling red,
And opening lilies white as snow
Their buds in rich profusion show.
There rings the joyous peacock's scream,
There stands the curlew by the stream,
And holy hermits love to throng
Where the sweet waters speed along.
Ranged on the grassy margin shine
Gay sandal trees in glittering line,
And all the wondrous verdure seems
The offspring of creative dreams.
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The Ramayana
O conquering Prince, there cannot be
A lovelier place than this we see.
Here sheltered on the beauteous height
Our days will pass in calm delight.
Nor is Kishkindhá's city, gay
With grove and garden, far away.
Thence will the breeze of evening bring
Sweet music as the minstrels sing;
And, when the Vánars dance, will come
The sound of tabour and of drum.
Again to spouse and realm restored,
Girt by his friends, the Vánar lord
Great glory has acquired; and how
Can he be less than happy now?”
This said, the son of Raghu made
His dwelling in that pleasant shade
Upon the mountain's shelving side
That sweetly all his wants supplied.
But still the hero's troubled mind
No comfort in his woe could find,
Yet mourning for his stolen wife
Dearer to Ráma than his life,
Chief when he saw the Lord of Night
Rise slowly o'er the eastern height,
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He tossed upon his leafy bed
With eyes by sleep unvisited.
Outwelled the tears in ceaseless flow,
And every sense was numbed by woe.
Each pang that pierced the mourner through
Smote Lakshmaṇ's faithful bosom too,
Who, troubled for his brother's sake,
With wisest words the prince bespake:
“Arise, my brother, and be strong:
Canto XXVII. Ráma On The Hill.
1271
Thy hero heart has mourned too long.
Thou knowest well that tears and sighs
Will mar the mightiest enterprise.
Thine was the soul that loved to dare:
To serve the Gods was still thy care;
And ne'er may sorrow's sting subdue
A heart so resolute and true.
How canst thou hope to slay in fight
The giant cruel in his might?
Unwearied must the champion be
Who strives with such a foe as he.
Tear out this sorrow by the root;
Again be bold and resolute.
Arise, my brother, and subdue
The demon and his wicked crew.
Thou canst destroy the earth, her seas,
Her rooted hills and giant trees
Unseated by thy furious hand:
And shall one fiend thy power withstand?
Wait through this season of the rain
Till suns of autumn dry the plain,
Then shall thy giant foe, and all
His host and realm, before thee fall.
I wake thy valour that has slept
Amid the tears thine eyes have wept;
As drops of oil in worship raise
The dormant flame to sudden blaze.”
The son of Raghu heard: he knew
His brother's rede was wise and true;
And, honouring his friendly guide,
In gentle words he thus replied:
“Whate'er a hero firm and bold,
Devoted, true, and lofty-souled
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Should speak by deep affection led,
Such are the words which thou hast said.
I cast away each pensive thought
That brings the noblest plans to naught,
And each uninjured power will strain
Until the purposed end we gain.
Thy prudent words will I obey,
And till the close of rain-time stay,
When King Sugríva will invite
To action, and the streams be bright.
The hero saved in hour of need
Repays the debt with friendly deed:
But hated by the good are they
Who take the boon and ne'er repay.”
Canto XXVIII. The Rains.
“See, brother, see” thus Ráma cried
On Mályavat's618dark-wooded side,
“A chain of clouds, like lofty hills,
The sky with gathering shadow fills.
Nine months those clouds have borne the load
Conceived from sunbeams as they glowed,
And, having drunk the seas, give birth,
And drop their offspring on the earth.
Easy it seems at such a time
That flight of cloudy stairs to climb,
618Mályavat: “The name of this mountain appears to me to be erroneous, and
I think that instead of Mályavat should be read Malayavat, Malaya is a group
of mountains situated exactly in that southern part of India where Ráma now
was, while Mályavat is placed to the north east.” GORRESIO{FNS.
Canto XXVIII. The Rains.
1273
And, from their summit, safely won,
Hang flowery wreaths about the sun.
See how the flash of evening's red
Fringes the fleecy clouds o'erhead
Till all the sky is streaked and lined
With bleeding wounds incarnadined,
Or the wide firmament above
Shows like a lover sick with love
And, pale with cloudlets, heaves a sigh
In the soft breeze that wanders by.
See, by the fervent heat embrowned,
How drenched with recent showers, the ground
Pours out in floods her gushing tears,
Like Sítá wild with torturing fears.
So softly blows this cloud-born breeze
Cool through the boughs of camphor trees
That one might hold it in the cup
Of hollowed hands and drink it up.
See, brother, where that rocky steep,
Where odorous shrubs in rain-drops weep,
Shows like Sugríva when they shed
Tne royal balm upon his head.
Like students at their task appear
These hills whose misty peaks are near:
Black deerskin619garments wrought of cloud
Their forms with fitting mantles shroud,
Each torrent from the summit poured
Supplies the place of sacred cord.620
And winds that in their caverns moan
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619Mantles of the skin of the black antelope were the prescribed dress of
ascetics and religious students.
620The sacred cord worn as the badge of religious initiation by men of the
three twice-born castes.
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The Ramayana
Sound like the voice's undertone.621
From east to west red lightnings flash,
And, quivering neath the golden lash,
The great sky like a generous steed
Groans inly at each call to speed.
Yon lightning, as it flashes through
The giant cloud of sable hue,
Recalls my votaress Sítá pressed
Mid struggles to the demon's breast.
See, on those mountain ridges stand
Sweet shrubs that bud and bloom expand.
The soft rain ends their pangs of grief,
And drops its pearls on flower and leaf.
But all their raptures stab me through
And wake my pining love anew.622
Now through the air no wild bird flies,
Each lily shuts her weary eyes;
And blooms of opening jasmin show
The parting sun has ceased to glow.
No captain now for conquest burns,
But homeward with his host returns;
For roads and kings' ambitious dreams
Have vanished neath descending streams.
This is the watery month623wherein
621The hum with which students conduct their tasks.
622I omit here a long general description of the rainy season which is not
found in the Bengal recension and appears to have been interpolated by a far
inferior and much later hand than Valmiki's. It is composed in a metre different
from that of the rest of the Canto, and contains figures of poetical rhetoric and
common-places which are the delight of more recent poets.
623Praushthapada or Bhadra, the modern Bhadon, corresponds to half of
August and half of September.
Canto XXVIII. The Rains.
1275
The Sámar's624sacred chants begin.
Áshádha625past, now Kośal's lord626
The harvest of the spring has stored,627
And dwells within his palace freed
From every care of pressing need.
Full is the moon, and fierce and strong
Impetuous Sarjú628roars along
As though Ayodhyá's crowds ran out
To greet their king with echoing shout.
In this sweet time of ease and rest
No care disturbs Sugríva's breast,
The foe that marred his peace o'erthrown,
And queen and realm once more his own.
Alas, a harder fate is mine,
Reft both of realm and queen to pine,
And, like the bank which floods erode,
I sink beneath my sorrow's load.
Sore on my soul my miseries weigh,
And these long rains our action stay,
While Rávan seems a mightier foe
Than I dare hope to overthrow.
I saw the roads were barred by rain,
I knew the hopes of war were vain;
Nor could I bid Sugríva rise,
Though prompt to aid my enterprise.
E'en now I scarce can urge my friend
624The Sáman or Sáma-veda, the third of the four Vedas, is really merely a
reproduction of parts of the Rig-veda, transposed and scattered about piece-
meal, only 78 verses in the whole being, it is said, untraceable to the present
recension of the Rig-veda.
625Áshádha is the month corresponding to parts of June and July.
626Bharat, who was regent during Ráma's absence.
627Or with Gorresio, following the gloss of another commentary: “Has com-
pleted every holy rite and accumulated stores of merit.”
628The river on which Ayodhyá was built.
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The Ramayana
On whom his house and realm depend,
Who, after toil and peril past,
Is happy with his queen at last.
Sugríva after rest will know
The hour is come to strike the blow,
Nor will his grateful soul forget
My succour, or deny the debt
I know his generous heart, and hence
Await the time with confidence
When he his friendly zeal will show,
And brooks again untroubled flow.”629
Canto XXIX. Hanumán's Counsel.
No flash of lightning lit the sky,
No cloudlet marred the blue on high.
The Saras630missed the welcome rain,
The moon's full beams were bright again.
Sugríva, lapped in bliss, forgot
The claims of faith, or heeded not;
And by alluring joys misled
The path of falsehood learned to tread.
In careless ease he passed each hour,
And dallied in his lady's bower.
Each longing of his heart was stilled,
And every lofty hope fulfilled.
With royal Rumá by his side,
Or Tárá yet a dearer bride,
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629I omit a śloka or four lines on gratitude and ingratitude repeated word for
word from the last Canto.
630The Indian crane; a magnificent bird easily domesticated.
Canto XXIX. Hanumán's Counsel.
1277
He spent each joyous day and night
In revelry and wild delight,
Like Indra whom the nymphs entice
To taste the joys of Paradise.
The power to courtiers' hands resigned,
To all their acts his eyes were blind.
All doubt, all fear he cast aside
And lived with pleasure for his guide.
But sage Hanúmán, firm and true,
Whose heart the lore of Scripture knew,
Well trained to meet occasion, trained
In all by duty's law ordained,
Strove with his prudent speech to find
Soft access to the monarch's mind.
He, skilled in every gentle art
Of eloquence that wins the heart,
Sugríva from his trance to wake,
His salutary counsel spake:
“The realm is won, thy name advanced,
The glory of thy house enhanced,
And now thy foremost care should be
To aid the friends who succoured thee.
He who is firm and faithful found
To friendly ties in honour bound,
Will see his name and fame increase
And his blest kingdom thrive in peace.
Wide sway is his who truly boasts
That friends and treasure, self and hosts,
All blent in one harmonious whole,
Are subject to his firm control.
Do thou, whose footsteps never stray
From the clear bounds of duty's way,
Assist, as honour bids thee, now
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The Ramayana
Thy friends, observant of thy vow.
For if all cares we lay not by,
And to our friend's assistance fly,
We, after, toil in idle haste,
And all the late endeavour waste.
Up! nor the promised help delay
Until the hour have slipped away.
Up! and with Raghu's son renew
The search for Sítá lost to view.
The hour is come: he hears the call,
But not on thee reproaches fall
From him who labours to repress
His eager spirit's restlessness.
Long joined to thee in friendly ties
He made thy fame and fortune rise,
In gentle gifts by none excelled.
In splendid might unparalleled.
Up, to his succour, King! repay
The favour of that prosperous day,
And to thy bravest captains send
Prompt mandates to assist thy friend.
The cry for help thou wilt not spurn
Although no grace demands return:
And wilt thou not thine aid afford
To him who realm and life restored?
Exert thy power, and thou hast won
The love of Daśaratha's son:
And wilt thou for his summons wait,
And, till he call thee, hesitate?
Think not the hero needs thy power
To save him in the desperate hour:
He with his arrows could subdue
The Gods and all the demon crew,
And only waits that he may see
Canto XXIX. Hanumán's Counsel.
1279
Redeemed the promise made by thee.
For thee he risked his life and fought,
For thee that great deliverance wrought.
Then let us trace through earth and skies
His lady wheresoe'er she lies.
Through realms above, beneath, we flee,
And plant our footsteps on the sea.
Then why, O Lord of Vánars, still
Delay us waiting for thy will?
Give thy commands, O King, and say
What task has each and where the way.
Before thee myriad Vánars stand
To sweep through heaven, o'er seas and land.”
Sugríva heard the timely rede
That roused him in the day of need,
And thus to Níla prompt and brave
His hest the imperial Vánar gave:
“Go, Níla, to the distant hosts
That keep in arms their several posts,
And all the armies that protect
The quarters,631with their chiefs, collect.
To all the luminaries placed
In intermediate regions haste,
And bid each captain rise and lead
His squadrons to their king with speed.
Do thou meanwhile with strictest care
All that the time requires prepare.
The loitering Vánar who delays
To gather here ere thrice five days,
Shall surely die for his offence,
Condemned for sinful negligence.”
631The troops who guard the frontiers on the north, south, east and west.
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The Ramayana
Canto XXX. Ráma's Lament.
But Ráma in the autumn night
Stood musing on the mountain height,
While grief and love that scorned control
Shook with wild storms the hero's soul.
Clear was the sky, without a cloud
The glory of the moon to shroud.
And bright with purest silver shone
Each hill the soft beams looked upon.
He knew Sugríva's heart was bent
On pleasure, gay and negligent.
He thought on Janak's child forlorn
From his fond arms for ever torn.
He mourned occasion slipping by,
And faint with anguish heaved each sigh.
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He sat where many a varied streak
Of rich ore marked the mountain peak.
He raised his eyes the sky to view,
And to his love his sad thoughts flew.
He heard the Sáras cry, and faint
With sorrow poured his love-born plaint:
“She, she who mocked the softest tone
Of wild birds' voices with her own,—
Where strays she now, my love who played
So happy in our hermit shade?
How can my absent love behold
The bright trees with their flowers of gold,
And all their gleaming glory see
With eyes that vainly look for me?
How is it with my darling when
From the deep tangles of the glen
Float carols of each bird elate
With rapture singing to his mate?
Canto XXX. Ráma's Lament.
1281
In vain my weary glances rove
From lake to hill, from stream to grove:
I find no rapture in the scene,
And languish for my fawn-eyed queen.
Ah, does strong love with wild unrest,
Born of the autumn, stir her breast?
And does the gentle lady pine
Till her bright eyes shall look in mine?”
Thus Raghu's son in piteous tone,
O'erwhelmed with sorrow, made his moan.
E'en as the bird that drinks the rains632
To Indra thousand-eyed complains.
Then Lakshmaṇ who had wandered through
The copses where the berries grew,
Returning to the cavern found
His brother chief in sorrow drowned,
And pitying the woes that broke
The spirit of the hero spoke:
“Why cast thy strength of soul away,
And weakly yield to passion's sway?
Arise, my brother, do and dare
Ere action perish in despair.
Recall the firmness of thy heart,
And nerve thee for a hero's part.
Whose is the hand unscathed to sieze
The red flame quickened by the breeze?
Where is the foe will dare to wrong
Or keep the Maithil lady long?”
Then with pale lips that sorrow dried
The son of Raghu thus replied:
632The Chátaka, Cuculus, Melanoleucus, is supposed to drink nothing but the
water for the clouds.
1282
The Ramayana
“Lord Indra thousand-eyed, has sent
The sweet rain from the firmament,
Sees the rich promise of the grain,
And turns him to his rest again.
The clouds with voices loud and deep,
Veiling each tree upon the steep,
Up on the thirsty earth have shed
Their precious burden and are fled.
Now in kings' hearts ambition glows:
They rush to battle with their foes;633
But in Sugríva's sloth I see
No care for deeds of chivalry.
See, Lakshmaṇ, on each breezy height
A thousand autumn blooms are bright.
See how the wings of wild swans gleam
On every islet of the stream.
Four months of flood and rain are past:
A hundred years they seemed to last
To me whom toil and trouble tried,
My Sítá severed from my side.
She, gentlest woman, weak and young,
Still to her lord unwearied clung.
Still by the exile's side she stood
In the wild ways of Daṇḍak wood,
Like a fond bird disconsolate
If parted from her darling mate.
Sugríva, lapped in soft repose,
Untouched by pity for my woes,
Scorns the poor exile, dispossessed,
By Rávaṇ's mightier arm oppressed,
The wretch who comes to sue and pray
From his lost kingdom far away.
633The time for warlike expeditions began when the rains had ceased.
Canto XXX. Ráma's Lament.
1283
Hence falls on me the Vánar's scorn,
A suitor friendless and forlorn.
The time is come: with heedless eye
He sees the hour of action fly,—
Unmindful, now his hopes succeed,
Of promise made in stress of need.
Go seek him sunk in bliss and sloth,
Forgetful of his royal oath,
And as mine envoy thus upbraid
The monarch for his help delayed:
“Vile is the wretch who will not pay
The favour of an earlier day,
Hope in the supplicant's breast awakes,
And then his plighted promise breaks.
Noblest, mid all of women born,
Who keeps the words his lips have sworn,
Yea, if those words be good or ill,
Maintains his faith unbroken still.
The thankless who forget to aid
The friend who helped them when they prayed,
Dishonoured in their death shall lie,
And dogs shall pass their corpses by.
Sure thou wouldst see my strained arm hold
My bow of battle backed with gold,
Wouldst gaze upon its awful form
Like lightning flashing through the storm,
And hear the clanging bowstring loud
As thunder from a labouring cloud.”
His valour and his strength I know:
But pleasure's sway now sinks them low,
With thee, my brother, for ally
That strength and valour I defy.
[362]
1284
The Ramayana
He promised, when the rains should end,
The succour of his arm to lend.
Those months are past: he dares forget,
And, lapped in pleasure, slumbers yet.
No thought disturbs his careless breast
For us impatient and distressed,
And, while we sadly wait and pine,
Girt by his lords he quaffs the wine.
Go, brother, go, his palace seek,
And boldly to Sugríva speak,
Thus give the listless king to know
What waits him if my anger glow:
Still open, to the gloomy God,
Lies the sad path that Báli trod.
“Still to thy plighted word be true,
Lest thou, O King, that path pursue.
I launched the shaft I pointed well.
And Báli, only Báli, fell.
But, if from truth thou dare to stray,
Both thee and thine this hand shall slay.”
Thus be the Vánar king addressed,
Then add thyself what seems the best.”
Canto XXXI. The Envoy.
Thus Ráma spoke, and Lakshmaṇ then
Made answer to the prince of men:
“Yea, if the Vánar, undeterred
By fear of vengeance, break his word,
Loss of his royal power ere long
Shall pay the traitor for the wrong.
Canto XXXI. The Envoy.
1285
Nor deem I him so void of sense
To brave the bitter consequence.
But if enslaved to joy he lie,
And scorn thy grace with blinded eye,
Then let him join his brother slain:
Unmeet were such a wretch to reign.
Quick rises, kindling in my breast,
The wrath that will not be repressed,
And bids me in my fury slay
The breaker of his faith to-day.
Let Báli's son thy consort trace
With bravest chiefs of Vánar race.”
Thus spoke the hero, and aglow
With rage of battle seized his bow.
But Ráma thus in gentler mood
With fitting words his speech renewed:
“No hero with a soul like thine
To paths of sin will e'er incline,
He who his angry heart can tame
Is worthiest of a hero's name.
Not thine, my brother, be the part
So alien from the tender heart,
Nor let thy feet by wrath misled
Forsake the path they loved to tread.
From harsh and angry words abstain:
With gentle speech a hearing gain,
And tax Sugríva with the crime
Of failing faith and wasted time.”
1286
The Ramayana
Then Lakshmaṇ, bravest of the brave,
Obeyed the hest that Ráma gave,
To whom devoting every thought
The Vánar's royal town he sought.
As Mandar's mountain heaves on high
His curved peak soaring to the sky,
So Lakshmaṇ showed, his dread bow bent
Like Indra's634in the firmament.
His brother's wrath, his brother's woe
Inflamed his soul to fiercest glow.
The tallest trees to earth were cast
As furious on his way he passed,
And where he stepped, so fiercely fleet,
The stones were shivered by his feet.
He reached Kishkindhá's city deep
Embosomed where the hills were steep,
Where street and open square were lined
With legions of the Vánar kind.
Then, as his lips with fury swelled,
The lord of Raghu's line beheld
A stream of Vánar chiefs outpoured
To do obeisance to their lord.
But when the mighty prince in view
Of the thick coming Vánars drew,
They turned them in amaze to seize
Crags of the rock and giant trees.
He saw, and fiercer waxed his ire,
As oil lends fury to the fire.
Scarce had the Vánar chieftains seen
That wrathful eye, that troubled mien
Fierce as the God's who rules the dead,
When, turned in wild affright, they fled.
634The rainbow.
Canto XXXI. The Envoy.
1287
Speeding in breathless terror all
Sought King Sugríva's council hall,
And there made known their tale of fear,
That Lakshmaṇ wild with rage, was near.
The king, untroubled by alarms,
Held Tárá in his amorous arms,
And in the distant bower with her
Heard not each clamorous messenger.
Then, summoned at the lords' behest
Forth from the city portals pressed,
Each like some elephant or cloud,
The Vánars in a trembling crowd:
Fierce warriors all with massive jaws
And terrors of their tiger claws,
Some matched ten elephants, and some
A hundred's strength could overcome.
Some chieftains, mightier than the rest,
Ten times a hundred's force possessed.
With eyes of fury Lakshmaṇ viewed
The Vánars' tree-armed multitude.
Thus garrisoned from side to side
The city walls assault defied.
Beyond the moat that girt the wall
Advanced the Vánar chiefs; and all
Upon the plain in firm brigade,
Impetuous warriors, stood arrayed.
[363]
Red at the sight flashed Lakshmaṇ's eyes,
His bosom heaved tumultuous sighs,
And forth the fire of fury broke
Like flame that flashes through the smoke.
Like some fierce snake the hero stood:
His bow recalled the expanded hood,
And in his shaft-head bright and keen
The flickering of its tongue was seen:
1288
The Ramayana
And in his own all-conquering might
The venom of its deadly bite.
Prince Angad marked his angry look,
And every hope his heart forsook.
Then, his large eyes with fury red,
To Angad Lakshmaṇ turned and said:
“Go tell the king that Lakshmaṇ waits
For audience at the city gates,
Whose heart, O tamer of thy foes,
Is heavy with his brother's woes.
Bid him to Ráma's word attend,
And ask if he will aid his friend.
Go, let the king my message learn:
Then hither with all speed return.”
Prince Angad heard and wild with grief
Cried as he looked upon the chief:
“'Tis Lakshmaṇ's self: impelled by ire
He seeks the city of my sire.”
At the fierce words and furious look
Of Raghu's son he quailed and shook.
Back through the city gates he sped,
And, laden with the tale of dread,
Sought King Sugríva, filled his ears
And Rumá's with his doubts and fears.
To Rumá and the king he bent,
And clasped their feet most reverent,
Clasped the dear feet of Tárá, too,
And told the startling tale anew.
Canto XXXI. The Envoy.
1289
But King Sugríva's ear was dulled,
By love and wine and languor lulled,
Nor did the words that Angad spake
The slumberer from his trance awake.
But soon as Raghu's son came nigh
The startled Vánars raised a cry,
And strove to win his grace, while dread
Each anxious heart disquieted.
They saw, and, as they gathered round,
Rose from the mighty throng a sound
Like torrents when they downward dash,
Or thunder with the lightning's flash.
The shouting of the Vánars broke
Sugríva's slumber, and he woke:
Still with the wine his eyes were red,
His neck with flowers was garlanded.
Roused at the voice of Angad came
Two Vánar lords of rank and fame;
One Yaksha, one Prabháva hight,—
Wise counsellors of gain and right.
They came and raised their voices high,
And told that Raghu's son was nigh:
“Two brothers steadfast in their truth,
Each glorious in the bloom of youth,
Worthy of rule, have left the skies,
And clothed their forms in men's disguise.
One at thy gates, in warlike hands
Holding his mighty weapon, stands.
His message is the charioteer
That brings the eager envoy near,
Urged onward by his bold intent,
And by the hest of Ráma sent.”
The gathered Vánars saw and fled,
And raised aloud their cry of dread.
1290
The Ramayana
Son of Queen Tárá, Angad ran
To parley with the godlike man.
Still fiery-eyed with rage and hate
Stands Lakshmaṇ at the city gate,
And trembling Vánars scarce can fly
Scathed by the lightning of his eye.
“Go with thy son, thy kith and kin,
The favour of the prince to win,
And bow thy reverent head that so
His fiery wrath may cease to glow.
What righteous Ráma bids thee, do,
And to thy plighted word be true.”
Canto XXXII. Hanumán's Counsel.
Sugríva heard, and, trained and tried
In counsel, to his lords replied:
“No deed of mine, no hasty word
The anger of the prince has stirred.
But haply some who hate me still
And watch their time to work me ill,
Have slandered me to Raghu's son,
Accused of deeds I ne'er have done.
Now, O my lords—for you are wise—
Speak truly what your hearts advise,
And, pondering each event, inquire
The reason of the prince's ire.
No fear have I of Lakshmaṇ: none:
No dread of Raghu's mightier son.
But wrath, that fires a friendly breast
Without due cause, disturbs my rest.
Canto XXXII. Hanumán's Counsel.
1291
With labour light is friendship gained,
But with severest toil maintained.
And doubt is strong, and faith is weak,
[364]
And friendship dies when traitors speak.
Hence is my troubled bosom cold
With fear of Ráma lofty-souled;
For heavy on my spirit weigh
His favours I can ne'er repay.”
He ceased: and Hanumán of all
The Vánars in the council hall
In wisdom first, and rank, expressed
The thoughts that filled his prudent breast:
“No marvel thou rememberest yet
The service thou shouldst ne'er forget,
How the brave prince of Raghu's seed
Thy days from fear and peril freed;
And Báli for thy sake o'erthrew,
Whom Indra's self might scarce subdue.
I doubt not Ráma's anger burns
For the scant love thy heart returns.
For this he sends his brother, him
Whose glory never waxes dim.
Sunk in repose thy careless eye
Marks not the seasons as they fly,
Nor sees that autumn has begun
With dark blooms opening to the sun.
Clear is the sky: no cloudlet mars
The splendour of the shining stars.
The balmy air is soft and still,
And clear and bright are lake and rill.
Thou heedest not with blinded eyes
The hour for warlike enterprise.
Hence Lakshmaṇ hither comes to break
1292
The Ramayana
Thy slothful trance and bid thee wake.
Then, Monarch, with a patient ear
The high-souled Ráma's message hear,
Which, reft of wife and realm and friends,
Thus by another's mouth he sends.
Thou, Vánar King, hast done amiss:
And now I see no way but this:
Before his envoy humbly stand
And sue for peace with suppliant hand.
High duty bids a courtier seek
His master's weal, and freely speak.
So by no thought of fear controlled
My speech, O King, is free and bold,
For Ráma, if his anger glow,
Can, with the terrors of his bow
This earth with all the Gods subdue,
Gandharvas,635and the demon crew.
Unwise to stir his wrathful mood
Whose favour must again be wooed.
And, most of all, unwise for one
Grateful like thee for service done.
Go with thy son and kinsmen: bend
Thy humble head and greet thy friend.
And, like a fond obedient spouse,
Be faithful to thy plighted vows.”
Canto XXXIII. Lakshman's Entry.
635Indra's associates in arms, and musicians of his heaven.
Canto XXXIII. Lakshman's Entry.
1293
Through the fair city Lakshmaṇ came,
Invited in Sugríva's name.
Within the gates the guardian bands,
Of Vánars raised their suppliant hands,
And in their ordered ranks, amazed,
Upon the princely hero gazed,
They marked each burning breath he drew,
The fury of his soul they knew.
Their hearts were chilled with sudden fear:
They gazed, but dared not venture near,
Before his eyes the city, gay
With gems and flowery gardens, lay,
Where fane and palace rose on high,
And things of beauty charmed the eye.
Where trees of every blossom grew
Yielding their fruit in season due
To Vánars of celestial seed
Who wore each varied form at need,
Fair-faced and glorious with the shine
Of heavenly robes and wreaths divine.
There sandal, aloe, lotus bloomed,
And there delicious breath perfumed
The city's broad street, redolent
Of sugary mead636and honey scent.
There many a lofty palace rose
Like Vindhya or the Lord of Snows,
And with sweet murmur sparkling rills
Leapt lightly down the sheltering hills.
On many a glorious palace, raised
For prince and noble,637Lakshmaṇ gazed:
636Maireya, a spirituous liquor from the blossoms of the Lythrum fruticosum,
with sugar, &c.
637Their names are as follows: Angad, Maínda, Dwida, Gavaya, Gaváksha,
Gaja, Śarabha, Vidyunmáli, Sampáti, Súryáksa, Hanumán, Vírabáhu, Subáhu,
1294
The Ramayana
Like clouds of paly hue they shone
With fragrant wreaths that hung thereon:
There wealth of jewels was enshrined,
And fairer gems of womankind.
There gleamed, of noble height and size,
Like Indra's mansion in the skies,
Protected by a crystal fence
Of rock, the royal residence,
With roof and turret high and bright
Like Mount Kailása's loftiest height.
There blooming trees, Mahendra's gift,
High o'er the walls were seen to lift
Their golden fruited boughs, that made
With leaf and flower delicious shade.
He saw a band of Vánars wait,
[365]
Wielding their weapons, at the gate
Where golden portals flashed between
Celestial garlands red and green.
Within Sugríva's fair abode
Unchecked the mighty hero strode,
As when the sun of autumn shrouds
His glory in a pile of clouds.
Through seven wide courts he quickly passed,
And reached the royal tower at last,
Where seats were set with couch and bed
Of gold and silver richly spread.
While the young chieftain's feet drew near
The sound of music reached his ear,
As the soft breathings of the flute
Came blending with the voice and lute.
Then beauty showed her youth and grace
And varied charm of form and face:
Nala, Kúmuda, Susheṇa, Tára, Jámbuvatu, Dadhivakra, Níla, Supátala, and
Sunetra.
Canto XXXIII. Lakshman's Entry.
1295
Soft bright-eyed creatures, fair and young,—
Gay garlands round their necks were hung,
And greater charms to each were lent
By richest dress and ornament.
He saw the calm attendants wait
About their lord in careless state,
Heard women's girdles chime in sweet
Accordance with their tinkling feet.
He heard the anklet's silvery sound,
He saw the calm that reigned around,
And o'er him, as he listened, came
A rush of rage, a flood of shame.
He drew his bowstring: with the clang
From ease to west the welkin rang:
Then in his modest mood withdrew
A little from the ladies' view.
And sternly silent stood apart,
While wrath for Ráma filled his heart.
Sugríva knew the sounding string,
And at the call the Vánar king
Sprang swiftly from his golden seat,
And feared the coming prince to meet.
Then with cold lips that terror dried
To beauteous Tárá thus he cried:
“What cause of anger, O my spouse
Fair with the charm of lovely brows,
Sets Lakshmaṇ's gentle breast on fire,
And brings him in unwonted ire?
Say, canst thou see, O faultless dame,
A cause to fill his soul with flame?
For there must be a reason when
Such fury stirs the king of men.
Reveal the sin, if sin of mine
Anger the lord of Raghu's line.
1296
The Ramayana
Or go thyself, his rage subdue,
And with soft words his favour woo.
Soon as on thee his eyes are set
His heart this anger will forget,
For men like him of lofty mind
Are never stern with womankind.
First let thy gentle speech disarm
His fury, and his spirit charm,
And I, from fear of peril free,
The conqueror of his foes will see.”
She heard: with faltering steps and slow,
With eyes that shone with trembling glow,
With gold-girt body gently bent
To meet the stranger prince she went.
When Lakshmaṇ saw the Vánar queen
With tranquil eyes and modest mien,
Before the dame he bent his head,
And anger, at her presence, fled.
Made bold by draughts of wine, and cheered
By Lakshmaṇ's look no more she feared,
And in the trust his favour lent
She thus addressed him eloquent:
“Whence springs thy burning fury? say:
Who dares thy will to disobey?
Who checks the maddened flames that seize
On forests full of withered trees?”
Then Lakshmaṇ spoke, her mind to ease,
His kind reply in words like these:
Canto XXXIII. Lakshman's Entry.
1297
“Thy lord his days in pleasure spends,
Heedless of duty and of friends,
Nor dost thou mark, though fondly true,
The evil path his steps pursue.
He cares not for affairs of state,
Nor us forlorn and desolate,
But sits a mere spectator still,
A sensual slave to pleasure's will.
Four months were fixed, the time agreed
When he should help us in our need:
But, bound in toils of pleasure fast,
He sees not that the months are past.
Where beats the heart which draughts of wine
To virtue or to gain incline?
Hast thou not heard those draughts destroy
Virtue and gain and love and joy?
For those who, helped at need, refuse
Their aid in turn, their virtue lose:
And they who scorn a friend disdain
A treasure naught may buy again.
Thy lord has cast his friend away,
Nor feared from virtue's path to stray,
If this be true, declare, O dame
Who knowest duty's every claim,
What further work remains for us
Deceived and disappointed thus.”
She listened, for his words were kind,
Where virtue showed with gain combined,
And thus in turn the prince addressed,
As hope was rising in his breast:
“No time, no cause of wrath I see
With those who live and honour thee:
And thou shouldst bear without offence
1298
The Ramayana
Thy servant's fitful negligence.
I know the seasons glide away,
While Ráma maddens at delay
I know what deed our thanks has earned,
I know that grace should be returned.
But still I know, whate'er befall,
That conquering love is lord of all;
[366]
Know where Sugríva's thoughts, possessed
By one absorbing passion, rest.
But he whom sensual joys debase
Heeds not the claim of time and place,
And sees not with his blinded sight
His duty or his gain aright.
O pardon him who loves me! spare
The Vánar caught in pleasure's snare,
And once again let Ráma grace
With favour him who rules our race.
E'en royal saints, whose chief delight
Was penance and austerest rite,
At love's commandment have unbent,
Beguiled by sweetest blandishment.
And know, Sugríva, roused at last,
The order to his lords has passed,
And, long by love and bliss delayed,
Wakes all on fire your hopes to aid.
A countless host his city fills,
New-gathered from a thousand hills:
Impetuous chiefs, who wear at need
Each varied form, his legions lead.
Come then, O hero, kept aloof
By modest awe, nor fear reproof:
A faithful friend untouched by blame
May look upon another's dame.”
Canto XXXIV. Lakshman's Speech.
1299
He passed within, by Tárá pressed,
And by his own impatient breast,
Refulgent there in sunlike sheen
Sugríva on his throne was seen.
Gay garlands round his neck were twined,
And Rumá by her lord recline.
Canto XXXIV. Lakshman's Speech.
Sugríva started from his rest
With doubt and terror in his breast.
He heard the prince's furious tread
He saw his eyes glow fiercely red.
Swift sprang the monarch to his feet
Upstarting from his golden seat.
Rose Rumá and her fellows, too,
And closely round Sugríva drew,
As round the moon's full glory stand
Attendant stars in glittering band.
Sugríva glanced with reddened eyes,
Raised his joined hands in suppliant guise
Flew to the door, and rooted there
Stood like the tree that grants each prayer.638
And Lakshmaṇ saw, and, fiercely moved,
With angry speech the king reproved:
638The Kalpadruma or Wishing-tree is one of the trees of Svarga or Indra's
Paradise: it has the power of granting all desires.
1300
The Ramayana
“Famed is the prince who loves the truth,
Whose soul is touched with tender ruth,
Who, liberal, keeps each sense subdued,
And pays the debt of gratitude.
But all unmeet a king to be,
The meanest of the mean is he
Who basely breaks the promise made
To trusting friends who lent him aid.
He sins who for a steed has lied,
As if a hundred steeds had died:
Or if he lie, a cow to win,
Tenfold as heavy is the sin.
But if the lie a man betray,
Both he and his shall all decay.639
O Vánar King, the thankless man
Is worthy of the general ban,
Who takes assistance of his friends,
And in his turn no service lends.
This verse of old by Brahmá sung
Is echoed now by every tongue.
Hear what He cried in angry mood
Bewailing man's ingratitude:
“For draughts of wine, for slaughtered cows,
For treacherous theft, for broken vows
A pardon is ordained: but none
For thankless scorn of service done.”
Ungrateful, Vánar King, art thou,
And faithless to thy plighted vow.
For Ráma brought thee help, and yet
Thou shunnest to repay the debt:
Or, grateful, thou hadst surely pressed
To aid the hero in his quest.
639The meaning is that if a man promises to give a horse and then breaks his
word he commits a sin as great as if he had killed a hundred horses.
Canto XXXV. Tárá's Speech.
1301
Thou art, in vulgar pleasures drowned,
False to thy bond in honour bound.
Nor yet has Ráma's guileless heart
Discerned thee for the thing thou art—
A snake who holds the frogs that cries
And lures fresh victims as it dies.
Brave Ráma, born for glorious fate,
Has set thee in thy high estate,
And to the Vánars' throne restored,
Great-souled himself, their mean-souled lord.
Now if thy pride disown what he,
High thoughted prince, has done for thee,
Struck by his arrows shalt thou fall,
And Báli meet in Yáma's hall.
Still open, to the gloomy God,
Lies the sad path thy brother trod.
Then to thy plighted word be true,
Nor let thy steps that path pursue.
Methinks the shafts of Ráma, shot
Like thunderbolts, thou heedest not,
Who canst, absorbed in sensual bliss,
Thy promise from thy mind dismiss.”
[367]
Canto XXXV. Tárá's Speech.
1302
The Ramayana
He ceased: and Tárá starry-eyed
Thus to the angry prince replied:
“Not to my lord shouldst thou address
A speech so fraught with bitterness:
Not thus reproached my lord should be,
And least of all, O Prince, by thee.
He is no thankless coward—no—
With spirit dead to valour's glow.
From paths of truth he never strays,
Nor wanders in forbidden ways.
Ne'er will Sugríva's heart forget,
By Ráma saved, the lasting debt.
Still in his grateful breast will live
The succour none but he could give.
Restored to fame by Ráma's grace,
To empire o'er the Vánar race,
From ceaseless dread and toil set free,
Restored to Rumá and to me:
By grief and care and exile tried,
New to the bliss so long denied,
Like Viśvámitra once, alas,
He marks not how the seasons pass.
That saint ten thousand years remained,
By sweet Ghritáchí's640love enchained,
And deemed those years, that flew away
So lightly, but a single day.
O, if those years unheeded flew
By him who times and seasons knew,
Unequalled for his lofty mind,
What marvel meaner eyes are blind?
Then be not angry, Raghu's son,
And let thy brother feel for one
640The story is told in Book I, Canto LXIII, but the charmer there is called
Menaká.
Canto XXXV. Tárá's Speech.
1303
Who many a weary year has spent
Stranger to love and blandishment.
Let not this wrath thy soul inflame,
Like some mean wretch unknown to fame:
For high and noble hearts like thine
Love mercy and to ruth incline,
Calm and deliberate, and slow
With anger's raging fire to glow.
At length, O righteous prince, relent,
Nor let my words in vain be spent,
This sudden blaze of fury slake,
I pray thee for Sugríva's sake.
He would renounce at Ráma's call
Rumá and Angad, me and all
Who call him lord: his gold and grain,
The favour of his friend to gain.
His arm shall slay the fiend more base
In soul than all his impious race,
And happy Ráma reunite
To Sítá, rival in delight
Of the triumphant Moon when he
Rejoins his darling Rohiṇí.641
Ten million million demons guard
The gates of Lanká firmly barred.
All hope until that host be slain,
To smite the robber king is vain.
Nor with Sugríva's aid alone
May king and host be overthrown.
Thus ere he died—for well he knew—
Spake Báli, and his words are true.
I know not what his proofs might be,
641Rohiṇí is the name of the ninth Nakshatra or lunar asterism personified as
a daughter of Daksha, and the favourite wife of the Moon. Aldebaran is the
principal star in the constellation.
1304
The Ramayana
But speak the words he spake to me.
Hence far and wide our lords are sent
To raise the mightiest armament,
For their return Sugríva waits
Ere he can sally from his gates.
Still is the oath Sugríva swore
Kept firmly even as before:
And the great host this day will be
Assembled by the king's decree,
Ten thousand thousand troops, who wear
The form of monkey and of bear,
Prepared for thee the war to wage:
Then let thy wrath no longer rage.
The matrons of the Vánar race
See marks of fury in thy face;
They see thine eyes like blood are red,
And will not yet be comforted.”
Canto XXXVI. Sugríva's Speech.
She ceased: and Lakshmaṇ gave assent,
Won by her gentle argument.
So Tárá's pleading, just and mild,
His softening heart had reconciled.
His altered mood Sugríva saw,
And cast aside the fear and awe
Like raiment heavy with the rain
Which on his troubled soul had lain.
Then quickly to the ground he threw
His flowery garland, bright of hue,
Which round his royal neck he wore,
Canto XXXVI. Sugríva's Speech.
1305
And, sobered, was himself once more.
Then turning to the princely man
In soothing words the king began:
“My glory, wealth, and royal sway
To other hands had passed away:
But Ráma to my rescue came,
And gave me back my power and fame.
O Lakshmaṇ, say, whose grateful heart
[368]
Could nurse the hope to pay in part,
By service of a life, the deed
Of Ráma sprung of heavenly seed?
His foeman Rávaṇ shall be slain,
And Sítá shall be his again.
The hero's side I will not leave,
But he the conquest shall achieve.
What need of help has he who drew
His bow, and one great arrow flew
Through seven tall trees, a mountain rent,
And cleft the earth with force unspent?
What aid needs he who shook his bow,
And at the sound the earth below
With hill and wood and rooted rock
Quaked feverous with the thunder shock?
Yet all my legions will I bring,
And follow close the warrior king
Marching on his impetuous way
Fierce Rávaṇ and his hosts to slay.
If I be guilty of offence,
Careless through love or negligence,
Let him his loyal slave forgive;
For error cleaves to all who live.”
Thus king Sugríva, good and brave,
In humble words his answer gave,
1306
The Ramayana
Softened was Lakshmaṇ's angry mood
Who thus his friendly speech renewed:
“My brother, Vánar King, will see
A champion and a friend in thee.
So strong art thou, so brave and bold,
So pure in thought, so humble-souled,
That thou deservest well to reign
And all a monarch's bliss to gain.
Lend thou my brother aid, and all
His foes beneath his arm will fall.
Full well the words thou speakest suit
A chieftain wise and resolute.
With grateful heart that loves the right,
And foot that never yields in fight.
O come, and my sad brother cheer
Who mourns the wife he holds so dear.
O pardon, friend, my harsh address,
And Ráma's frantic bitterness.”
Canto XXXVII. The Gathering.
He ceased: and King Sugríva cried
To sage Hanúmán642by his side:
“Summon the Vánar legions, those
Who dwell about the Lord of Snows:
Those who in Vindhyan groves delight,
Kailása's, or Mahendra's height,
Dwell on the Five bright Peaks, or where
642Válmíki and succeeding poets make the second vowel in this name long or
short at their pleasure.
Canto XXXVII. The Gathering.
1307
Mandar's white summit cleaves the air:
Wherever they are wandring free
In highlands by the western sea,
On that east hill whence springs the sun,
Or where he sinks when day is done.
Call the great chiefs whose legions fill
The forests of the Lotus Hill,643
Where every one in strength and size
With the stupendous Anjan644vies.
Call those, with tints of burnished gold
Whom Maháśaila's caverns hold:
Those who on Dhúmra roam, or hide
In the wild woods on Meru's side.
Call those who, brilliant as the sun,
On high Maháruṇ leap and run,
Quaffing sweet juices that distil
From odorous trees upon the hill,
Call those whom tranquil haunts delight,
Where dwell the sage and anchorite
In groves that through their wide extent
Exhale a thousand blossoms' scent.
Send out, send out: from coast to coast
Assemble all the Vánar host:
With force, with words, with gifts of price
Compel, admonish and entice.
Already envoys have been sent
643Some of the mountains here mentioned are fabulous and others it is im-
possible to identify. Sugríva means to include all the mountains of India from
Kailás the residence of the God Kuvera, regarded as one of the loftiest peaks
of the Himálayas, to Mahendra in the extreme south, from the mountain in the
east where the sun is said to rise to Astáchal or the western mountain where he
sets. The commentators give little assistance: that Maháśaila, &c. are certain
mountains is about all the information they give.
644One of the celestial elephants of the Gods who protect the four quarters and
intermediate points of the compass.
1308
The Ramayana
To warn them of their lord's intent.
Let others urged by thee repeat
My mandate that their steps be fleet.
Those lords who yielding to the sway
Of love's delight would fain delay,
Urge hither with the utmost speed,
Or with thee to my presence lead:
And those who linger to the last
Until ten days be come and passed,
And dare their sovereign to defy,
For their offence shall surely die.
Thousands, yea millions, shall there be,
Obedient to their king's decree,
The lions of the Vánar race,
Assembled from each distant place,
Forth shall they haste like hills in size,
Or mighty clouds that veil the skies,
And swiftly speeding on their way
Bring all our legions in array.”
[369]
He ceased: the son of Váyu645heard,
Submissive to his sovereign's word;
And sent his rapid envoys forth
To east and west and south and north.
They bent their airy course afar
Along the paths of bird and star,
And sped through ether farther yet
Where Vishṇu's splendid sphere is set.646
By sea, on hill, by wood and lake
They called to arms for Ráma's sake,
As each with terror in his breast
Obeyed his awful king's behest.
645Váyu or the Wind was the father of Hanumán.
646The path or station of Vishṇu is the space between the seven Rishis or Ursa
Major, and Dhruva or the polar star.
Canto XXXVII. The Gathering.
1309
Three million Vánars, fierce and strong
As Anjan's self, a wondrous throng
Sped from the spot where Ráma still
Gazed restless from the woody hill.
Ten million others, brave and bold,
With coats that shone like burning gold,
Came flying from the mountain crest
Where sinks the weary sun to rest.
Impetuous from the northern skies,
Where Mount Kailása's summits rise,
Ten hundred millions hasted, hued
Like manes of lions, ne'er subdued:
The dwellers on Himálaya's side,
Whose food his roots and fruit supplied,
With rangers of the Vindhyan chain
And neighbours of the Milky Main.647
Some from the palm groves where they fed,
Some from the woods of betel sped:
In countless numbers, fierce and brave,
They came from mountain, lake, and cave.
As on their way the Vánars went
To rouse each distant armament,
They chanced that wondrous tree to view
That on Himálaya's summit grew.
Of old upon that sacred height
Was wrought Maheśvar's648glorious rite,
Which every God in heaven beheld,
And his glad heart with triumph swelled.
There from pure seed at random sown
Bright plants with luscious fruit had grown,
647One of the seven seas which surround the earth in concentric circles.
648The title of Maheśvar or Mighty Lord is sometimes given to Indra, but more
generally to Śiva whom it here denotes.
1310
The Ramayana
And, sweet as Amrit to the taste,
The summit of the mountain graced.
Who once should eat the virtuous fruit
That sprang from so divine a root,
One whole revolving moon should be
From every pang of hunger free.
The Vánars culled the fruit they found
Ripe on the sacrificial ground
With rare celestial odours sweet,
To lay them at Sugríva's feet.
Those noble envoys scoured the land
To summon every Vánar band
Then swiftly homeward at the head
Of countless armaments they sped.
They gathered by Kishkindhá's wall.
They thronged Sugríva's palace hall,
And, richly laden, bare within
That fruit of heavenly origin.
Their gifts before their king they spread,
And thus in tones of triumph said:
“Through every land our way we took
To visit hill and wood and brook,
And all thy hosts from east to west
Flock hither at their lord's behest.”
Sugríva with delighted look
The present of his envoys took,
Then bade them go, with gracious speech
Rewarding and dismissing each.
Canto XXXVIII. Sugríva's Departure.
1311
Canto XXXVIII. Sugríva's Departure.
Thus all the princely Vánars, true
To their appointed tasks, withdrew.
Sugríva deemed already done
The work he planned for Raghu's son.
Then Lakshmaṇ gently spoke and cheered
Sugríva for his valour feared:
“Now, chieftain, if thy will be so,
Forth from Kishkindhá let us go.”
Sugríva's heart swelled high with pride
As to the prince he thus replied:
“Come, speed we forth without delay:
'Tis mine thy mandate to obey.”
Sugríva bade the dames adieu,
And Tárá and the rest withdrew.
Then at their chieftain's summons came
The Vánars first in rank and fame,
A trusty brave and reverent band,
Meet e'en before a queen to stand.
They at his call made haste to bring
The litter of the glorious king.
“Mount, O my friend.” Sugríva cried,
And straight Sumitrá's son complied.
Then took by Lakshmaṇ's side his place
The sovereign of the woodland race,
Upraised by Vánars, fleet and strong,
Who bore the glittering load along.
On high above his royal head
A paly canopy was spread,
And chouries white in many a hand
The forehead of the monarch fanned,
And shell and drum and song and shout
Pealed round him as the king passed out.
[370]
1312
The Ramayana
About the monarch went a throng
Of Vánar warriors brave and strong,
As onward to the mountain shade
Where Ráma dwelt his way he made.
Soon as the lovely spot he viewed
Where Ráma lived in solitude,
The Vánar monarch, far-renowed,
With Lakshmaṇ, lightly stepped to ground,
And to the son of Raghu went
Joining his raised hands reverent.
As their great leader raised his hands,
So suppliant stood the Vánar bands.
Well pleased the son of Raghu saw
Those legions, hushed in reverent awe,
Stand silent like the tranquil floods
That raise their hands of lotus buds.
But Ráma, when the king, to greet
His friend, had bowed him at his feet,
Raised him who ruled the Vánar race,
And held him in a close embrace:
Then, when his arms he had unknit,
Besought him by his side to sit,
And thus with gentle words the best
Of men the Vánar king addressed:
“The prince who well his days divides,
And knows aright the times and tides
To follow duty, joy, or gain,
He, only he, deserves to reign.
But he who wealth and virtue leaves,
And every hour to pleasure cleaves,
Falls from his bliss like him who wakes
From slumber on a branch that breaks.
True king is he who smites his foes,
Canto XXXVIII. Sugríva's Departure.
1313
And favour to his servants shows,
And of that fruit makes timely use
Which virtue, wealth, and joy produce.
The hour is come that bids thee rise
To aid me in my enterprise.
Then call thy nobles to debate,
And with their help deliberate.”
“Lost was my power,” the king replied,
“All strength had fled, all hope had died.
The Vánars owned another lord,
But by thy grace was all restored.
All this, O conqueror of the foe,
To thee and Lakshmaṇ's aid I owe.
And his should be the villain's shame
Who durst deny the sacred claim.
These Vánar chiefs of noblest birth
Have at my bidding roamed the earth,
And brought from distant regions all
Our legions at their monarch's call:
Fierce bears with monkey troops combined,
And apes of every varied kind,
Terrific in their forms, who dwell
In grove and wood and bosky dell:
The bright Gandharvas' brood, the seed
Of Gods,649they change their shapes at need.
Each with his legions in array,
Hither, O Prince, they make their way.
They come: and tens of millions swell
To numbers that no tongue may tell.650
For thee their armies will unite
649See Book I, Canto XVI.
650The numbers are unmanageable in English verse. The poet speaks of
hundreds of arbudas; and an arbuda is a hundred millions.
1314
The Ramayana
With chiefs, Mahendra's peers in might.
From Meru and from Vindhya's chain
They come like clouds that bring the rain.
These round thee to the war will go,
To smite to earth thy demon foe;
Will slay the Rákshas and restore
Thy consort when the fight is o'er.”
Canto XXXIX. The Vánar Host.
Then Ráma, best of all who guide
Their steps by duty, thus replied:
“What marvel if Lord Indra send
The kindly rain, O faithful friend?
If, thousand-rayed, the God of Day
Drive every darksome cloud away?
Or, rising high, the Lord of Night
Flood the broad heaven with silver light?
What marvel, King, that one like thee
The glory of his friends should be?
No marvel, O my lord, that thou
Hast shown thy noble nature now.
Thy heart, Sugríva, well I know:
Naught from thy lips but truth may flow,
With thee for friend and champion all
My foes beneath my arm will fall.
The Rákshas, when my queen he stole,
Brought sure destruction on his soul,
Canto XXXIX. The Vánar Host.
1315
Like Anuhláda651who beguiled
Queen Śachí called Puloma's child.
Yes, near, Sugríva, is the day
When I my demon foe shall slay,
As conquering Indra in his ire
Slew Queen Paulomí's haughty sire.”652
[371]
He ceased: thick clouds of dust rose high
To every quarter of the sky:
The very sun grew faint and pale
Behind the darkly-gathering veil.
The mighty clouds that hung o'erhead
From east to west thick darkness spread,
And earth to her foundations shook
With hill and forest, lake and brook.
Then hidden was the ground beneath
Fierce warriors armed with fearful teeth,
Hosts numberless, each lord in size
A match for him who rules the skies:
From many a sea and distant hill,
From rock and river, lake and rill.
Some like the morning sun were bright,
Some, like the moon, were silver white:
These green as lotus fibres, those
White-coated from their native snows.653
651Anuhláda or Anuhráda is one of the four sons of the mighty Hiraṇyakaśipu,
an Asur or a Daitya son of Kaśyapa and Diti and killed by Vishṇu in his
incarnation of the Man-Lion Narasinha. According to the Bhágavata Puráṇa
the Daitya or Asur Hiraṇyakaśipu and Hiraṇyáksha his brother, both killed by
Vishṇu, were born again as Rávaṇ and Kumbhakarṇa his brother.
652Puloma, a demon, was the father-in-law of Indra who destroyed him in
order to avert an imprecation. Paulomí is a patronymic denoting Śachí the
daughter of Puloma.
653“Observe the variety of colours which the poem attributes to all these
inhabitants of the different mountainous regions, some white, others yellow,
&c. Such different colours were perhaps peculiar and distinctive characteristics
of those various races.” GORRESSIO{FNS.
1316
The Ramayana
Then Śatabali came in view
Girt by a countless retinue.
Like some gold mountain high in air
Tárá's illustrious sire654was there.
There Rumá`s father,655far-renowned,
With tens of thousands ranged around.
There, tinted like the tender green
Of lotus filaments, was seen,
Compassed by countless legions, one
Whose face was as the morning sun,
Hanúmán's father good and great,
Kesarí,656wisest in debate.
There the proud king Gaváksha, feared
For his strong warrior arm, appeared.
There Dhúmra, mighty lord, the dread
Of foes, his ursine legions led.
There Panas, first for warlike fame,
With twenty million warriors came.
There glorious Níla, dark of hue,
Arrayed his countless troops in view.
There moved lord Gavaya brave and bold,
Resplendent like a hill of gold,
And near him Darímukha stood
With millions from the hill and wood
And Dwivid famed for strength and speed,
And Mamda, both of Aśvin seed.
There Gaja, strong and glorious, led
The countless troops around him spread,
654Susheṇ.
655Tára.
656Kesarí was the husband of Hanúmán's mother, and is here called his father.
Canto XXXIX. The Vánar Host.
1317
And Jámbaván657the king whose sway
The bears delighted to obey,
With swarming myriads onward pressed
True to his lord Sugríva's hest;
And princely Ruman, dear to fame,
Led millions whom no hosts could tame,
All these and many a chief beside658
Came onward fierce in warlike pride.
They covered all the plain, and still
Pressed forward over wood and hill.
In rows for many a league around
They rested on the grassy ground;
Or to Sugríva made their way,
Like clouds about the Lord of Day,
And to the king their proud heads bent
In power and might preeminent.
Sugríva then to Ráma sped,
And raised his reverent hands, and said
That every chief from coast to coast
Was present with his warrior host.
657“I here unite under one heading two animals of very diverse nature and race,
but which from some gross resemblances, probably helped by an equivoque
in the language, are closely affiliated in the Hindoo myth … a reddish colour
of the skin, want of symmetry and ungainliness of form, strength in hugging
with the fore paws or arms, the faculty of climbing, shortness of tail(?), sen-
suality, capacity of instruction in dancing and in music, are all characteristics
which more or less distinguish and meet in bears as well as in monkeys.
In the Rámáyaṇam, the wise Jámnavant, the Odysseus of the expedition of
Lanká, is called now king of the bears (rikshaparthivah), now great monkey
(Mahákapih).” DE GUBERNATIS{FNS: Zoological Mythology, Vol. II. p. 97.
658Gandhamádana, Angad, Tára, Indrajánu, Rambha, Durmukha, Hanumán,
Nala, Da mukha, Śarabha, Kumuda, Vahni.
1318
The Ramayana
Canto XL. The Army Of The East.
With practised eye the king reviewed
The Vánars' countless multitude,
And, joying that his hest was done,
Thus spake to Raghu's mighty son:
“See, all the Vánar hosts who fear
My sovereign might are gathered here.
Chiefs strong as Indra's self, who speed
Wher'er they list, these armies lead.
Fierce and terrific to the view
As Daityas or the Dánav659crew,
[372]
Famed in all lands for souls afire
With lofty thoughts, they never tire,
O'er hill and vale they wander free,
And islets of the distant sea.
And these gathered myriads, all
Will serve thee, Ráma, at thy call.
Whate'er thy heart advises, say:
Thy mandates will the host obey.”
Then answered Ráma, as he pressed
The Vánar monarch to his breast:
“O search for my lost Sítá, strive
To find her if she still survive:
And in thy wondrous wisdom trace
Fierce Rávaṇ to his dwelling-place.
And when by toil and search we know
Where Sítá lies and where the foe,
With thee, dear friend, will I devise
Fit means to end the enterprise.
659Daityas and Dánavas are fiends and enemies of the Gods, like the Titans of
Greek mythology.
Canto XL. The Army Of The East.
1319
Not mine, not Lakshmaṇ's is the power
To guide us in the doubtful hour.
Thou, sovereign of the Vánars, thou
Must be our hope and leader now.”
He ceased: at King Sugríva's call
Near came a Vánar strong and tall.
Huge as a towering mountain, loud
As some tremendous thunder cloud,
A prince who warlike legions led:
To him his sovereign turned and said:
“Go, take ten thousand660of our race
Well trained in lore of time and place,
And search the eastern region; through
Groves, woods, and hills thy way pursue.
There seek for Sítá, trace the spot
Where Rávaṇ hides, and weary not.
Search for the captive in the caves
Of mountains, and by woods and waves.
To Sarjú,661Kauśikí,662repair,
Bhagírath's daughter663fresh and fair.
Search mighty Yamun's664peak, explore
Swift Yamuná's665delightful shore,
660I reduce the unwieldy numbers of the original to more modest figures.
661Sarayú now Sarjú is the river on which Ayodhyá was built.
662Kauśikí is a river which flows through Behar, commonly called Kosi.
663Bhagírath's daughter is Gangá or the Ganges. The legend is told at length
in Book I Canto XLIV. The Descent of Gangá.
664A mountain not identified.
665The Jumna. The river is personified as the twin sister of Yáma, and hence
regarded as the daughter of the Sun.
1320
The Ramayana
Sarasvati666and Sindhu's667tide,
And rapid Śona's668pebbly side.
Then roam afar by Mahí's669bed
Where Kálamahí's groves are spread.
Go where the silken tissue shines,
Go to the land of silver mines.670
Visit each isle and mountain steep
And city circled by the deep,
And distant villages that high
About the peaks of Mandar lie.
Speed over Yavadwipa's land,671
And see Mount Śiśir672proudly stand
Uplifting to the skies his head
By Gods and Dánavs visited.
Search each ravine and mountain pass,
Each tangled thicket deep in grass.
Search every cave with utmost care
If haply Ráma's queen be there.
Then pass beyond the sounding sea
Where heavenly beings wander free,
666The Sarasvatí (corruptly called Sursooty, is supposed to join the Ganges
and Jumna at Prayág or Allahabad. It rises in the mountains bounding the
north-east part of the province of Delhi, and running in a south-westerly
direction becomes lost in the sands of the great desert.
667The Sindhu is the Indus, the Sanskrit s becoming h in Persian and being in
this instance dropped by the Greeks.
668The Sone which rises in the district of Nagpore and falls into the Ganges
above Patna.
669Mahí is a river rising in Malwa and falling into the gulf of Cambay after a
westerly course of 280 miles.
670There is nothing to show what parts of the country the poet intended to
denote as silk-producing and silver-producing.
671Yavadwipa means the island of Yava, wherever that may be.
672Śiśir is said to be a mountain ridge projecting from the base of Meru on the
south. Wilson's Vishnu Puráṇa, ed. Hall, Vol. II. p. 117.
Canto XL. The Army Of The East.
1321
And Śona's673waters swift and strong
With ruddy billows foam along.
Search where his shelving banks descend,
Search where the hanging woods extend.
Try if the pathless thickets screen
The robber and the captive queen.
Search where the torrent floods that rend
The mountain to the plains descend:
Search dark abysses where they rave,
Search mountain slope and wood and cave
Then on with rapid feet and gain
The inlands of the fearful main
Where, tortured by the tempest's lash,
Against rude rocks the billows dash:
An ocean like a sable cloud,
Whose margent monstrous serpents crowd:
[373]
An ocean rising with a roar
To beat upon an iron shore.
On, onward still! your feet shall tread
Shores of the sea whose waves are red,
Where spreading wide your eyes shall see
The guilt-tormenting cotton tree674
And the wild spot where Garuḍ675dwells
Which gems adorn and ocean shells,
High as Kailása, nobly decked,
Wrought by the heavenly architect.676
673This appears to be some mythical stream and not the well-known Śone. The
name means red-coloured.
674A fabulous thorny rod of the cotton tree used for torturing the wicked in
hell. The tree gives its name, Śálmalí, to one of the seven Dwípas, or great
divisions of the known continent: and also to a hell where the wicked are
tormented with the pickles of the tree.
675The king of the feathered creation.
676Viśvakarmá, the Mulciber of the Indian heaven.
1322
The Ramayana
Huge giants named Mandehas677there
In each foul shape they love to wear,
Numbing the soul with terror's chill,
Hang from the summit of the hill.
When darts the sun his earliest beam
They plunge them in the ocean stream,
New vigour from his rays obtain,
And hang upon the rocks again.
Speed onward still: your steps shall be
At length beside the Milky Sea
Whose every ripple as it curls
Gleams glorious with its wealth of pearls.
Amid that sea like pale clouds spread
The white Mount Rishabh678rears his head.
About the mountain's glorious waist
Woods redolent of bloom are braced.
A lake where lotuses unfold
Their silver buds with threads of gold,
Sudarśan ever bright and fair
Where white swans sport, lies gleaming there,
The wandering Kinnar's679dear resort,
Where heavenly nymphs and Yakshas680sport.
On! leave the Milky Sea behind:
Another flood your search shall find,
A waste of waters, wild and drear,
That chills each living heart with fear.
There see the horse's awful head,
677“The terrific fiends named Mandehas attempt to devour the sun: for Brahmá
denounced this curse upon them, that without the power to perish they should
die every day (and revive by night) and therefore a fierce contest occurs (daily)
between them and the sun.” WILSON'S{FNS Vishṇu Puráṇa. Vol. II. p. 250.
678Said in the Vishṇu Puráṇa to be a ridge projecting from the base of Meru
to the north.
679Kinnars are centaurs reversed, beings with equine head and human bodies.
680Yakshas are demi-gods attendant on Kuvera the God of wealth.
Canto XL. The Army Of The East.
1323
Wrath-born, that flames in Ocean's bed.681
There rises up a fearful cry
From the sea things that move thereby,
When, helpless, powerless for flight,
They gaze upon the horrid sight.
Past to the northern shore, and then
Beyond the flood three leagues and ten
Your wondering glances will behold
Mount Játarúpa682bright with gold.
There like the young moon pale of hue
The monstrous serpent683will ye view,
The earth's supporter, whose bright eyes
Resemble lotus leaves in size.
He rests upon the mountain's brow,
And all the Gods before him bow.
Ananta with a thousand heads
His length in robes of azure spreads.
A triple-headed palm of gold—
Meet standard for the lofty-souled—
Springs towering from the mountain's crest
Beneath whose shade he loves to rest,
So that in eastern realms each God
May use it as a measuring-rod.
Beyond, with burning gold aglow,
The eastern steep his peaks will show,
Which in unrivalled glory rise
A hundred leagues to pierce the skies,
681Aurva was one of the descendants of Bhrigu. From his wrath proceeded a
flame that threatened to destroy the world, had not Aurva cast it into the ocean
where it remained concealed, and having the face of a horse. The legend is told
in the Mahábhárat. I. 6802.
682The word Játarúpa means gold.
683The celebrated mythological serpent king Sesha, called also Ananta or the
infinite, represented as bearing the earth on one of his thousand heads.
1324
The Ramayana
And all the neighbouring air is bright
With golden trees that clothe the height.
A lofty peak uprises there
Ten leagues in height and one league square
Saumanas, wrought of glistering gold,
Ne'er to be loosened from its hold.
There his first step Lord Vishṇu placed
When through the universe he paced,
And with his second lightly pressed
The loftiest peak of Meru's crest.
When north of Jambudwíp684the sun
[374]
A portion of his course has run,
And hangs above this mountain height,
Then creatures see the genial light.
Vaikhánases,685saints far renowned,
And Bálakhilyas686love the ground
Where in their glory half divine,
Touched by the morning glow, they shine
The light that flashes from that steep
Illumines all Sudarśandwíp,687
And on each creature, as it glows,
The sight and strength of life bestows.
Search well that mountain's woody side
If Rávaṇ there his captive hide.
The rising sun, the golden hill
684Jambudwípa is in the centre of the seven great dwípas or continents into
which the world is divided, and in the centre of Jambudwípa is the golden
mountain Meru 84,000 yojans high, and crowned by the great city of Brahmá.
See WILSON'S{FNS Vishṇu Puráṇa, Vol. II. p. 110.
685Vaikhánases are a race of hermit saints said to have sprung from the nails
of Prajápati.
686“The wife of Kratu, Samnati, brought forth the sixty thousand Válakhilyas,
pigmy sages, no bigger than a joint of the thumb, chaste, pious, resplendent as
the rays of the Sun.” WILSON'S{FNS Vishṇu Puráṇa.
687The continent in which Sudarśan or Meru stands, i.e. Jambudwíp.
Canto XL. The Army Of The East.
1325
The air with growing splendours fill,
Till flashes from the east the red
Of morning with the light they shed.
This, where the sun begins his state,
Is earth and heaven's most eastern gate.
Through all the mountain forest seek
By waterfall and cave and peak.
Search every nook and bosky dell,
If Rávaṇ there with Sítá dwell.
There, Vánars, there your steps must stay:
No farther eastward can ye stray.
Beyond no sun, no moon gives light,
But all is sunk in endless night.
Thus far, O Vánar lords, may you
O'er sea and land your search pursue.
But wild and dark and known to none
Is the drear space beyond the sun.
That mountain whence the sun ascends
Your long and weary journey ends.688
Now go, and in a month return,
And let success my praises earn.
He who beyond tho month shall stay
Will with his life the forfeit pay.”
688The names of some historical peoples which occur in this Canto and in
the Cantos describing the south and north will be found in the ADDITIONAL
NOTES{FNS. They are bare lists, not susceptible of a metrical version.
1326
The Ramayana
Canto XLI. The Army Of The South.
He gathered next a chosen band
For service in the southern land.
He summoned Níla son of Fire,
And, offspring of the eternal Sire,
Jámbaván bold and strong and tall,
And Hanumán, the best of all,
And many a valiant lord beside,689
With Angad for their chief and guide.
“Go forth,” he cried, “with all this host
Exploring to the southern coast:
The thousand peaks that Vindhya shows
Where every tree and creeper grows:
Where Narmadá's690sweet waters run,
And serpents bask them in the sun:
Where Krishṇaveṇí's691currents flee,
And sparkles fair Godávarí.692
Through Mekhal693pass and Utkal's694land:
Go where Daśárṇa's695cities stand.
Avantí696seek, of high renown,
689Suhotra, Śarári, Śaragulma, Gayá, Gaváksha, Gavaya, Susheṇa, Gandhamá-
dana, Ulkámukha, and Ananga.
690The modern Nerbudda.
691Krishṇaveṇí is mentioned in the Vishṇu Puráṇa as “the deep Krishṇaveṇí”
but there appears to be no clue to its identification.
692The modern Godavery.
693The Mekhalas or Mekalas according to the Paráṇas live in the Vindhya
hills, but here they appear among the peoples of the south.
694Utkal is still the native name of Orissa.
695The land of the people of the “ten forts.” Professor Hall in a note on
WILSON'S{FNS Vishṇu Puráṇa, Vol. II. p. 160 says: “The oral traditions of
the vicinity to this day assign the name of Daśárna to a region lying to the east
of the District of Chundeyree.”
696Avantí is one of the ancient names of the celebrated Ujjayin or Oujein in
Central India.
Canto XLI. The Army Of The South.
1327
And Abravanti's697glorious town.
Search every hill and brook and cave
Where Daṇḍak's woods their branches wave
Ayomukh's698woody hill explore
Whose sides are bright with richest ore,
Lifting his glorious head on high
From bloomy groves that round him lie.
[375]
Search well his forests where the breeze
Blows fragrant from the sandal trees.
Then will you see Káverí's699stream
Whose pleasant waters glance and gleam,
And to the lovely banks entice
The sportive maids of Paradise.
High on the top of Malaya's700hill,
In holy musing, calm and still,
Sits, radiant as the Lord of Light,
Agastya,701noblest anchorite.
Soon as that lofty-thoughted lord
His high permission shall accord,
Pass Támraparṇí's702flood whose isles
Are loved by basking crocodiles.
The sandal woods that fringe her side
Those islets and her waters hide;
While, like an amorous matron, she
Speeds to her own dear lord the sea.
Thence hasting on your way behold
697Not identified.
698Ayomukh means iron faced. The mountain is not identified.
699The Káverí or modern Cauvery is well known and has always borne the
same appellation, being the Chaberis of Ptolemy.
700One of the seven principal mountain chains: the southern portion of the
Western Gháts.
701Agastya is the great sage who has already frequently appeared as Ráma's
friend and benefactor.
702Támraparṇí is a river rising in Malaya.
1328
The Ramayana
The Páṇḍyas'703gates of pearl and gold.
Then, with your task maturely planned,
On ocean's shore your feet will stand.
Where, by Agastya's high decree,
Mahendra,704planted in the sea,
With tinted peaks against the tide
Rises in solitary pride,
And glorious in his golden glow
Spurns back the waves that beat below.
Fair mountain, bright with creepers' bloom
And every tint that trees assume,
Where Yaksha, God, and heavenly maid
Meet wandering in the lovely shade,
At changing moon and solemn tide
By Indra's presence glorified.
One hundred leagues in fair extent
An island705fronts the continent:
No man may tread its glittering shore,
With utmost heed that isle explore,
For the fair country owns the sway
Of Rávaṇ whom we burn to slay.
A mighty monster stands to keep
The passage of the southern deep.
Lifting her awful arms on high
She grasps e'en shadows as they fly.
Speed through that isle, and onward still
Where in mid sea the Flowery Hill706
Raises on high his bloomy head
703The Páṇḍyas are a people of the Deccan.
704Mahendra is the chain of hills that extends from Orissa and the northern
SircarstoGondwána, partofwhichnearGanjamisstillcalledMahendraMalay
or hills of Mahendra.
705Lanká, Sinhaladvípa, Sarandib, or Ceylon.
706The Flowery Hill of course is mythical.
Canto XLI. The Army Of The South.
1329
By saints and angels visited.
There, with a hundred gleaming peaks
Bright as the sun, the sky he seeks,
One glorious peak the Lord of Day
Gilds ever with his loving ray;
Thereon ne'er yet the glances fell
Of thankless wretch or infidel.
Bow to that hill in reverence due,
And then once more your search pursue.
Beyond that glorious mountain hie,
And Súryaván,707proud hill is nigh.
Your rapid course yet farther bend
Where Vaidyut's708airy peaks ascend.
There trees of noblest sort, profuse
Of wealth, their kindly gifts produce.
Their precious fruits, O Vánars, taste,
The honey sip, and onward haste.
Next will ye see Mount Kunjar rise,
Who cheers with beauty hearts and eyes.
There is Agastya's709mansion, decked
By heaven's all moulding architect.
Near Bhogavatí710stands, the place
Where dwell the hosts of serpent race:
A broad-wayed city, walled and barred,
Which watchful legions keep and guard,
The fiercest of the serpent youth,
Each awful for his venomed tooth:
707The whole of the geography south of Lanká is of course mythical. Súryaván
means Sunny.
708Vaidyut means connected with lightning.
709Agastya is here placed far to the south of Lanká. Earlier in this Canto he
was said to dwell on Malaya.
710Bhogavatí has been frequently mentioned: it is the capital of the serpent
Gods or demons, and usually represented as being in the regions under the
earth.
1330
The Ramayana
And throned in his imperial hall
Is Vásuki711who rules them all.
Explore the serpent city well,
Search town and tower and citadel,
And scan each field and wood that lies
Around it, with your watchful eyes.
Beyond that spot your way pursue:
A noble mountain shall ye view,
Named Rishabh, like a mighty bull,
With gems made bright and beautiful.
[376]
All trees of sandal flourish there
Of heavenly fragrance, rich and rare.
But, though they tempt your longing eyes,
Avoid to touch them, and be wise.
For Rohitas, a guardian band
Of fierce Gandharvas, round them stand,
Who five bright sovereign lords712obey,
In glory like the God of Day.
Here by good deeds a home is won
With shapes like fire, the moon, the sun.
Here they who merit heaven by worth
Dwell on the confines of the earth.
There stay: beyond it, dark and drear,
Lies the departed spirits' sphere,
And, girt with darkness, far from bliss,
Is Yáma's sad metropolis.713
So far, my lords, o'er land and sea
Your destined course is plain and free.
Beyond your steps you may not set,
711Vásuki is according to some accounts the king of the Nágas or serpent
Gods.
712Śailúsha, Gramiṇi, Siksha, Suka, Babhru.
713The distant south beyond the confines of the earth is the home of departed
spirits and the city of Yáma the God of Death.
Canto XLII. The Army Of The West.
1331
Where living thing ne'er journeyed yet.
With utmost care these realms survey,
And all you meet upon the way.
And, when the lady's course is traced,
Back to your king, O Vánars, haste.
And he who tells me he has seen.
After long search, the Maithil queen,
Shall gain a noble guerdon: he
In power and bliss shall equal me.
Dear as my very life, above
His fellows in his master's love;
I call him, yea though stained with crime.
My kinsman from that happy time.”
Canto XLII. The Army Of The West.
Then to Susheṇ Sugríva bent,
And thus addressed him reverent:
“Two hundred thousand of our best
With thee, my lord, shall seek the west.
Explore Suráshṭra's714] distant plain,
Explore Váhlíka's715wild domain,
And all the pleasant brooks that flee
Through mountains to the western sea.
Search clustering groves on mountain heights,
And woods the home of anchorites.
Search where the breezy hills are high,
Search where the desert regions lie.
714Suráshṭra, the “good country,” is the modern Sura
715A country north-west of Afghanistan, Baíkh.
1332
The Ramayana
Search all the western land beset
With woody mountains like a net.
The country`s farthest limit reach,
And stand upon the ocean beach.
There wander through the groves of palm
Where the soft air is full of balm.
Through grassy dell and dark ravine
Seek Rávaṇ and the Maithil queen.
Go visit Somagiri's716steep
Where Sindhu717mingles with the deep.
There lions, borne on swift wings, roam
The levels of their mountain home,
And elephants and monsters bear,
Caught from the ocean, to their lair.
You Vánars, changing forms at will,
With rapid search must scour the hill,
And his sky-kissing peak of gold
Where loveliest trees their blooms unfold.
There golden-peaked, ablaze with light,
Uprises Páriyátra's718height
Where wild Gandharvas, fierce and fell,
In bands of countless myriads dwell.
Pluck ye no fruit within the wood;
Beware the impious neighbourhood,
Where, very mighty, strong, and hard
To overcome, the fruit they guard.
Yet search for Janak's daughter still,
For Vánars there need fear no ill.
Near, bright as turkis, Vajra719named,
716The Moon-mountain here is mythical.
717Sindhu is the Indus.
718Páriyátra, or as more usually written Páripátra, is the central or western
portion of the Vindhya chain which skirts the province of Malwa.
719Vajra means both diamond and thunderbolt, the two substances being
Canto XLII. The Army Of The West.
1333
There stands a hill of diamond framed.
Soaring a hundred leagues in pride,
With trees and creepers glorified.
Search there each cave and dark abyss
By waterfall and precipice.
Far in that sea the wild waves beat
On Chakraván's720firm-rooted feet.
Where the great discus,721thousand rayed,
By Vísvakarmá's722art was made.
When Panchajan723the fiend was slain.
And Hayagríva,724fierce in vain,
[377]
Thence taking shell and discus went
Lord Vishṇu, God preëminent.
On! sixty thousand hills of gold
With wondering eyes shall ye behold,
Where in his glory every one
Is brilliant as the morning sun.
Full in the midst King Meru,725best
Of mountains, lifts his lofty crest,
supposed to be identical.
720Chakraván means the discus-bearer.
721The discus is the favourite weapon of Vishṇu.
722The Indian Hephaistos or Vulcan.
723Panchajan was a demon who lived in the sea in the form of a conch shell.
WILSON'S{FNS Vishṇu Puráṇa, V. 21.
724Hayagríva, Horse-necked, is the name of a Daitya who at the dissolution
of the universe caused by Brahmá's sleep, seized and carried off the Vedas.
Vishṇu slew him and recovered the sacred treasures.
725Meru stands in the centre of Jambudwípa and consequently of the earth.
“The sun travels round the world, keeping Meru always on his right. To the
spectator who fronts him, therefore, as he rises Meru must be always on the
north; and as the sun's rays do not penetrate beyond the centre of the mountain,
the regions beyond, or to the north of it must be in darkness, whilst those on
the south of it must be in light: north and south being relative, not absolute,
terms, depending on the position of the spectator with regard to the Sun and
Meru.” WILSON'S{FNS Vishṇu Puráṇa, Vol. II. p. 243. Note.
1334
The Ramayana
On whom of yore, as all have heard,
The sun well-pleased this boon conferred:
“On thee, O King, on thee and thine
Light, day and night, shall ever shine.
Gandharvas, Gods who love thee well
And on thy sacred summits dwell,
Undimmed in lustre, bright and fair,
The golden sheen shall ever share.”
The Viśvas,726Vasus,727they who ride
The tempest,728every God beside,
Draw nigh to Meru's lofty crest
When evening darkens in the west,
And to the parting Lord of Day
The homage of their worship pay,
Ere yet a while, unseen of all,
Behind Mount Asta's729peaks he fall.
Wrought by the heavenly artist's care
A glorious palace glitters there,
And round about it sweet birds sing
Where the gay trees are blossoming:
The home of Varuṇ730high-souled lord,
Wrist-girded with his deadly cord.731
With ten tall stems, a palm between
726The Viśvadevas are a class of deities to whom sacrifices should be daily
offered, as part of the ordinary worship of the householder. According to the
Váyu Puráṇa, this is a privilege conferred on them by Brahmá and the Pitris as
a reward for religious austerities practised by them upon Himálaya.
727The eight Vasus were originally personifications like other Vedic deities,
of natural phenomena, such as Fire, Wind, &c. Their appellations are variously
given by different authorities.
728The Maruts or Storm-Gods, frequently addressed and worshipped as the
attendants and allies of Indra.
729The mountain behind which the sun sets.
730One of the oldest and mightiest of the Vedic deities; in later mythology
regarded as the God of the sea.
731The knotted noose with which he seizes and punishes transgressors.
Canto XLII. The Army Of The West.
1335
Meru and Asta's hill is seen:
Pure silver from the base it springs,
And far and wide its lustre flings.
Seek Rávaṇ and the dame by brook,
In pathless glen, in leafy nook
On Meru's crest a hermit lives
Bright with the light that penance gives:
Sávarṇi732is he named, renowned
As Brahmá's peer, with glory crowned.
There bowing down in reverence speak
And ask him of the dame you seek.
Thus far the splendid Lord of Day
Pursues through heaven his ceaseless way,
Shedding on every spot his light;
Then sinks behind Mount Asta's height,
Thus far advance: the sunless sea
Beyond is all unknown to me.
Susheṇ of mighty arm, long tried
In peril, shall your legions guide.
Receive his words with high respect,
And ne'er his lightest wish neglect.
He is my consort's sire, and hence
Deserves the utmost reverence.”
732Sávarṇi is a Manu, offspring of the Sun by Chháyá.
1336
The Ramayana
Canto XLIII. The Army Of The North.
Forth went the legions of the west:
And wise Sugríva addressed
Śatabal, summoned from the crowd.
To whom the sovereign cried aloud:
“Go forth, O Vánar chief, go forth,
Explore the regions of the north.
Thy host a hundred thousand be,
And Yáma's sons733attend on thee.
With dauntless courage, strength, and skill
Search every river, wood, and hill.
Through every land in order go
Right onward to the Hills of Snow.
Search mid the peaks that shine afar,
In woods of Lodh and Deodár.734
Search if with Janak's daughter, screened
By sheltering rocks, there lie the fiend.
[378]
The holy grounds of Soma tread
By Gods and minstrels visited.
Reach Kála's mount, and flats that lie
Among the peaks that tower on high.
Then leave that hill that gleams with ore,
And fair Sudarśan's heights explore.
Then on to Devasakhá735hie,
Loved by the children of the sky.
A dreary land you then will see
Without a hill or brook or tree,
A hundred leagues, bare, wild, and dread
733The poet has not said who the sons of Yáma are.
734The Lodhra or Lodh (Symplocos Racemosa) and the Devadáru or Deodar
are well known trees.
735The hills mentioned are not identifiable. Soma means the Moon. Kála,
black; Sudaraśan, fair to see; and Devasakhá friend of the Gods.
Canto XLIII. The Army Of The North.
1337
In lifeless desolation, spread.
Pursue your onward way, and haste
Through the dire horrors of the waste
Until triumphant with delight
You reach Kailása's glittering height.
There stands a palace decked with gold,
For King Kuvera736wrought of old,
A home the heavenly artist planned
And fashioned with his cunning hand.
There lotuses adorn the flood
With full-blown flower and opening bud
Where swans and mallards float, and gay
Apsarases737come down to play.
There King Vaiśravaṇ's738self, the lord
By all the universe adored,
Who golden gifts to mortals sends,
Lives with the Guhyakas739his friends.
Search every cavern in the steep,
And green glens where the moonbeams sleep,
If haply in that distant ground
The robber and the dame be found.
Then on to Krauncha's hill,740and through
His fearful pass your way pursue:
Though dark and terrible the vale
Your wonted courage must not fail.
There through abyss and cavern seek,
On lofty ridge, and mountain peak,
736The God of Wealth.
737The nymphs of Paradise.
738Kuvera the son of Viśravas.
739A class of demigods who, like the Yakshas, are the attendants of Kuvera,
and the guardians of his treasures.
740Situated in the eastern part of the Himálaya chain, on the north of Assam.
The mountain was torn asunder and the pass formed by the War-God Kártikeya
and Paraśuráma.
1338
The Ramayana
On, on! pursue your journey still
By valley, lake, and towering hill.
Reach the North Kurus' land, where rest
The holy spirits of the blest:
Where golden buds of lilies gleam
Resplendent on the silver stream,
And leaves of azure turkis throw
Soft splendour on the waves below.
Bright as the sun at early morn
Fair pools that happy clime adorn,
Where shine the loveliest flowers on stems
Of crystal and all valued gems.
Blue lotuses through all the land
The glories of their blooms expand,
And the resplendent earth is strown
With peerless pearl and precious stone.
There stately trees can scarce uphold
The burthen of their fruits of gold,
And ever flaunt their gay attire
Of flower and leaf like flames of fire.
All there sweet lives untroubled spend
In bliss and joy that know not end,
While pearl-decked maidens laugh, or sing
To music of the silvery string.741.
Still on your forward journey keep,
And rest you by the northern deep,
Where springing from the billows high
741“The Uttara Kurus, it should be remarked, may have been a real people,
as they are mentioned in the Aitareya Bráhmaṇa, VIII. 14.… Wherefore the
several nations who dwell in this northern quarter, beyond the Himavat, the
Uttara Kurus and the Uttara Madras are consecrated to glorious dominion, and
people term them the glorious. In another passage of the same work, howev-
er, the Uttara Kurus are treated as belonging to the domain of mythology.”
MUIR'S{FNS Sanskrit Texts. Vol. I. p. 494. See ADDITIONAL NOTES{FNS
Canto XLIV. The Ring.
1339
Mount Somagiri742seeks the sky,
And lightens with perpetual glow
The sunless realm that lies below.
There, present through all life's extent,
Dwells Brahmá Lord preëminent,
And round the great God, manifest
In Rudra743forms high sages rest.
Then turn, O Vánars: search no more,
Nor tempt the sunless, boundless shore.”
Canto XLIV. The Ring.
But special counselling he gave
To Hanumán the wise and brave:
[379]
To him on whom his soul relied,
With friendly words the monarch cried:
“O best of Vánars, naught can stay
By land or sea thy rapid way,
Who through the air thy flight canst bend,
And to the Immortals' home ascend.
All realms, I ween, are known to thee
With every mountain, lake, and sea.
In strength and speed which naught can tire
Thou, worthy rival of thy sire
The mighty monarch of the wind,
Where'er thou wilt a way canst find.
742The Moon-mountain.
743The Rudras are the same as the storm winds, more usually called Maruts,
and are often associated with Indra. In the later mythology the Rudras are
regarded as inferior manifestations of Śiva, and most of their names are also
names of Śiva.
1340
The Ramayana
Exert thy power, O swift and strong,
Bring back the lady lost so long,
For time and place, O thou most wise,
Lie open to thy searching eyes.”
When Ráma heard that special hest
To Hanumán above the rest,
He from the monarch's favour drew
Hope of success and trust anew
That he on whom his lord relied,
In toil and peril trained and tried,
Would to a happy issue bring
The task commanded by the king.
He gave the ring that bore his name,
A token for the captive dame,
That the sad lady in her woe
The missive of her lord might know.
“This ring,” he said, “my wife will see,
Nor fear an envoy sent by me.
Thy valour and thy skill combined,
Thy resolute and vigorous mind,
And King Sugríva's high behest,
With joyful hopes inspire my breast.”
Canto XLV. The Departure.
Canto XLV. The Departure.
1341
Away, away the Vánars sped
Like locusts o'er the land outspread.
To northern realms where rising high
The King of Mountains cleaves the sky,
Fierce Śatabal with vast array
Of Vánar warriors led the way.
Far southward, as his lord decreed,
Wise Hanumán, the Wind-God's seed,
With Angad his swift way pursued,
And Tára's warlike multitude,
Strong Vinata with all his band
Betook him to the eastern land,
And brave Susheṇ in eager quest
Sped swiftly to the gloomy west.
Each Vánar chieftain sought with speed
The quarter by his king decreed,
While from his legions rose on high
The shout and boast and battle cry:
“We will restore the dame and beat
The robber down beneath our feet.
My arm alone shall win the day
From Rávaṇ met in single fray,
Shall rob the robber of his life,
And rescue Ráma's captive wife
All trembling in her fear and woe.
Here, comrades, rest: no farther go:
For I will vanquish hell, and she
Shall by this arm again be free.
The rooted mountains will I rend,
The mightiest trees will break and bend,
Earth to her deep foundations cleave,
And make the calm sea throb and heave.
A hundred leagues from steep to steep
In desperate bound my feet shall leap.
1342
The Ramayana
My steps shall tread unchecked and free,
Through woods, o'er land and hill and sea,
Range as they list from flood to fell,
And wander through the depths of hell.”
Canto XLVI. Sugríva's Tale.
“How, King,” cried Ráma, “didst thou gain
Thy lore of sea and hill and plain?”
“I told thee how,” Sugríva said,
“From Báli's arm Máyáví fled744
To Malaya's hill, and strove to save
His life by hiding in the cave.
I told how Báli sought, to kill
His foe, the hollow of the hill;
Nor need I, King, again unfold
The wondrous tale already told.
Then, wandering forth, my way I took
By many a town and wood and brook.
I roamed the earth from place to place,
Till, like a mirror's polished face,
The whole broad disk, that lies between
Its farthest bounds, mine eyes had seen.
I wandered first to eastern skies
Where fairest trees rejoiced mine eyes,
And many a cave and wooded hill
Where lilies robed the lake and rill.
There metal dyes that hill745adorn
744Canto IX.
745Udayagiri or the hill from which the sun rises.
Canto XLVI. Sugríva's Tale.
1343
Whence springs the sun to light the morn.
There, too, I viewed the Milky sea,
Where nymphs of heaven delight to be.
Then to the south I made my way
From regions of the rising day,
And roamed o'er Vindhya, where the breeze
Is odorous of sandal trees.
Still in my fear I found no rest:
I sought the regions of the west,
And gazed on Asta,746where the sun
[380]
Sinks when his daily course is run.
Then from that noblest hill I fled
And to the northern country sped,
Saw Himaván,747and Meru's steep,
And stood beside the northern deep.
But when, by Báli's might oppressed,
E'en in those wilds I could not rest,
Came Hanumán the wise and brave,
And thus his prudent counsel gave:
“'I told thee how Matanga748cursed
Thy tyrant, that his head should burst
In pieces, should he dare invade
The precincts of that tranquil shade.
There may we dwell in peace and be
From thy oppressor's malice free.”
We went to Rishyamúka's hill,
And spent our days secure from ill
Where, with that curse upon his head,
The cruel Báli durst not tread.”
746Asta is the mountain behind which the sun sets.
747Himálaya, the Hills of Snow.
748Canto XI.
1344
The Ramayana
Canto XLVII. The Return.
Thus forth in quest of Sítá went
The legions King Sugríva sent.
To many a distant town they hied
By many a lake and river's side.
As their great sovereign's order taught,
Through valleys, plains, and groves they sought.
They toiled unresting through the day:
At night upon the ground they lay
Where the tall trees, whose branches swayed
Beneath their fruit, gave pleasant shade.
Then, when a weary month was spent,
Back to Praśravaṇ's hill they went,
And stood with faces of despair
Before their king Sugríva there.
Thus, having wandered through the east,
Great Vinata his labours ceased,
And weary of the fruitless pain
Returned to meet the king again,
Brave Śatabali to the north
Had led his Vánar legions forth.
Now to Sugríva he sped
With all his host dispirited.
Susheṇ the western realms had sought,
And homeward now his legions brought.
All to Sugríva came, where still
He sat with Ráma on the hill.
Before their sovereign humbly bent
And thus addressed him reverent:
“On every hill our steps have been,
By wood and cave and deep ravine;
And all the wandering brooks we know
Throughout the land that seaward flow,
Canto XLVIII. The Asur's Death.
1345
Our feet by thy command have traced
The tangled thicket and the waste,
And dens and dingles hard to pass
for creeping plants and matted grass.
Well have we searched with toil and pain,
And monstrous creatures have we slain
But Hanumán of noblest mind
The Maithil lady yet will find;
For to his quarter of the sky749
The robber fiend was seen to fly.”
Canto XLVIII. The Asur's Death.
But Hanumán still onward pressed
With Tára, Angad, and the rest,
Through Vindhya's pathless glens he sped
And left no spot unvisited.
He gazed from every mountain height,
He sought each cavern dark as night,
And wandered through the bloomy shade
By pool and river and cascade,
But, though they sought in every place,
Of Sítá yet they found no trace.
On fruit and woodland berries fed
Through many a lonely wild they sped,
And reached at last, untouched by fear,
A desert terrible and drear:
A fruitless waste, a land of gloom
749Hanumán was the leader of the army of the south which was under the
nominal command of Angad the heir apparent.
1346
The Ramayana
Where trees were bare of leaf and bloom,
Where every scanty stream was dried,
And niggard earth her roots denied.
No elephants through all the ground,
No buffaloes or deer are found.
There roams no tiger, pard, or bear,
No creature of the wood is there.
No bird displays his glittering wings,
No tree, no shrub, no creeper springs.
There rise no lilies from the flood,
Resplendent with their flower and bud,
Where the delighted bees may throng
About the fragrance with their song.
There lived a hermit Kaṇdu named,
For truth and wealth of penance famed.
Whom fervent zeal and holy rite
Had dowered with all-surpassing might.
His little son, a ten year child—
So chanced it—perished in the wild.
His death with fury stirred the sage,
Who cursed the forest in his rage,
Doomed from that hour to shelter none,
A waste for bird and beast to shun.
[381]
They searched by every forest edge,
They searched each cave and mountain ledge,
And thickets whence the water fell
Wandering through the tangled dell.
Striving to do Sugríva's will
They roamed along each leafy rill.
But vain were all endeavours, vain
The careful search, the toil and pain.
Through one dark grove they scarce could wind,
So thick were creepers intertwined.
There as they struggled through the wood
Canto XLIX. Angad's Speech.
1347
Before their eyes an Asur750stood.
High as a towering hill, his pride
The very Gods in heaven defied.
When on the fiend their glances fell
Each braced him for the combat well.
The demon raised his arm on high,
And rushed upon them with a cry.
Him Angad smote,—for, sure, he thought
This was the fiend they long had sought.
From his huge mouth by Angad felled,
The blood in rushing torrents welled,
As, like a mountain from his base
Uptorn, he dropped upon his face.
Thus fell the mighty fiend: and they
Through the thick wood pursued their way;
Then, weary with the toil, reclined
Where leafy boughs to shade them twined.
Canto XLIX. Angad's Speech.
Then Angad spake: “We Vánars well
Have searched each valley, cave, and dell,
And hill, and brook, and dark recess,
And tangled wood, and wilderness.
But all in vain: no eye has seen
The robber or the Maithil queen.
A dreary time has passed away,
And stern is he we all obey.
750The Bengal recension—Gorresio's edition—calls this Asur or demon the
son of Márícha.
1348
The Ramayana
Come, cast your grief and sloth aside:
Again be every effort tried;
So haply may our toil attain
The sweet success that follows pain.
Laborious effort, toil, and skill,
The firm resolve, the constant will
Secure at last the ends we seek:
Hence, O my friends, I boldly speak.
Once more then, noble hearts, once more
Let us to-day this wood explore,
And, languor and despair subdued,
Purchase success with toil renewed.
Sugríva is a king austere,
And Ráma's wrath we needs must fear.
Come, Vánars, ye think it wise,
And do the thing that I advise.”
Then Gandhamádan thus replied
With lips that toil and thirst had dried;
“Obey his words, for wise and true
Is all that he has counselled you.
Come, let your hosts their toil renew
And search each grove and desert through,
Each towering hill and forest glade.
By lake and brook and white cascade,
Till every spot, as our great lord
Commanded, be again explored.”
Uprose the Vánars one and all,
Obedient to the chieftain's call,
And over the southern region sped
Where Vindhya's tangled forests spread.
They clomb that hill that towers on high
Like a huge cloud in autumn's sky,
Canto L. The Enchanted Cave.
1349
Where many a cavern yawns, and streaks
Of radiant silver deck the peaks.
In eager search they wandered through
The forests where the Lodh trees grew,
Where the dark leaves were thick and green,
But found not Ráma's darling queen.
Then faint with toil, their hearts depressed,
Descending from the mountain's crest,
Their weary limbs a while to ease
They lay beneath the spreading trees.
Canto L. The Enchanted Cave.
Angad and Tára by his side,
Again rose Hanumán and tried
Each mountain cavern, dark and deep,
And stony pass and wooded steep,
The lion's and the tiger's home,
By rushing torrents white with foam.
Then with new ardour, south and west,
O'er Vindhya's height the search they pressed.
The day prescribed was near and they
Still wandered on their weary way.
They reached the southern land beset
With woody mountains like a net.
At length a mighty cave they spied
That opened in a mountain's side.
Where many a verdant creeper grew
And o'er the mouth its tendrils threw.
Thence issued crane, and swan, and drake,
And trooping birds that love the lake.
1350
The Ramayana
The Vánars rushed within to cool
Their fevered lips in spring or pool.
Vast was the cavern dark and dread,
Where not a ray of light was shed;
Yet not the more their eyesight failed,
[382]
Their courage sank or valour quailed.
On through the gloom the Vánars pressed
With hunger, thirst, and toil distressed,
Poor helpless wanderers, sad, forlorn,
With wasted faces wan and worn.
At length, when life seemed lost for aye,
They saw a splendour as of day,
A wondrous forest, fair and bright,
Where golden trees shot flamy light.
And lotus-covered pools were there
With pleasant waters fresh and fair,
And streams their rippling currents rolled
By seats of silver and of gold.
Fair houses reared their stately height
Of burnished gold and lazulite,
And glorious was the lustre thrown
Through lattices of precious stone.
And there were flowers and fruit on stems
Of coral decked with rarest gems,
And emerald leaves on silver trees,
And honeycomb and golden bees.
Then as the Vánars nearer drew,
A holy woman met their view,
Around her form was duly tied
A garment of the blackdeer's hide.751
Pure votaress she shone with light
Of fervent zeal and holy rite.
751The skin of the black antelope was the ascetic's proper garb.
Canto LI. Svayamprabhá.
1351
Then Hanumán before the rest
With reverent words the dame addressed:
“Who art thou? say: and who is lord
Of this vast cave with treasures stored?”
Canto LI. Svayamprabhá.
“Assailed by thirst and hunger, dame,
Within a gloomy vault we came.
We saw the cavern opening wide,
And straight within its depths we hied.
But utterly amazed are we
At all the marvels that we see.
Whose are the golden trees that gleam
With splendour like the morning's beam?
These cates of noblest sort? these roots?
This wondrous store of rarest fruits?
Whose are these calm and cool retreats,
These silver homes and golden seats,
And lattices of precious stones?
Who is the happy lord that owns
The golden trees, of rarest scent,
Neath loads of fruit and blossom bent?
Who, strong in holy zeal, had power
To deck the streams with richest dower,
And bade the lilies bright with gold
The glory of their blooms unfold,
Where fish in living gold below
The sheen of changing colours show?
Thine is the holy power, I ween,
That beautified the wondrous scene;
1352
The Ramayana
But if another's, lady, deign
To tell us, and the whole explain.”
To him the lady of the cave
In words like these her answer gave:
“Skilled Maya framed in days of old
This magic wood of growing gold.
The chief artificer in place
Was he of all the Dánav race.
He, for his wise enchantments famed,
This glorious dwelling planned and framed
He for a thousand years endured
The sternest penance, and secured
From Brahmá of all boons the best,
The knowledge Uśanas752possessed.
Lord, by that boon, of all his will,
He fashioned all with perfect skill;
And, with his blissful state content,
In this vast grove a season spent.
By Indra's jealous bolt he fell
For loving Hemá's753charms too well.
And Brahmá on that nymph bestowed
The treasures of this fair abode,
Wherein her tranquil days to spend
In happiness that ne'er may end.
Sprung of a lineage old and high,
Merusávarṇi's754daughter, I
Guard ever for that heavenly dame
752Uśanas is the name of a sage mentioned in the Vedas. In the epic poems he
is identified with Śukra, the regent of the planet Venus, and described as the
preceptor of the Asuras or Daityas, and possessor of vast knowledge.
753Hemá is one of the nymphs of Paradise.
754Merusávarṇi is a general name for the last four of the fourteen Manus.
Canto LII. The Exit.
1353
This home, Svayamprabhá755my name,—
For I have loved the lady long,
So skilled in arts of dance and song.
But say what cause your steps has led
The mazes of this grove to tread.
[383]
How, strangers did ye chance to spy
The wood concealed from wanderer's eye?
Tell clearly why ye come: but first
Eat of this fruit and quench your thirst.”
Canto LII. The Exit.
“Ráma,” he cried, “a prince whose sway
All peoples of the earth obey,
To Daṇḍak's tangled forest came
With his brave brother and his dame.
From that dark shade of forest boughs
The giant Rávaṇ stole his spouse.
Our king Sugríva's orders send
These Vánars forth to aid his friend,
That so the lady be restored
Uninjured to her sorrowing lord.
With Angad and the rest, this band
Has wandered through the southern land,
755Svayamprabhá, the“self-luminous,”isaccording toDEGUBERNATIS{FNS
the moon: “In the Svayamprabhá too, we meet with the moon as a good fairy
who, from the golden palace which she reserves for her friend Hemá (the
golden one:) is during a month the guide, in the vast cavern of Hanumant and
his companions, who have lost their way in the search of the dawn Sítá.” This
is is not quite accurate: Hanumán and his companions wander for a month in
the cavern without a guide, and then Svayamprabhá leads them out.
1354
The Ramayana
With careful search in every place
The lady and the fiend to trace.
We roamed the southern region o'er,
And stood upon the ocean's shore.
By hunger pressed our strength gave way;
Beneath the spreading trees we lay,
And cried, worn out with toil and woe,
“No farther, comrades, can we go.”
Then as our sad eyes looked around
We spied an opening in the ground,
Where all was gloomy dark behind
The creeping plants that o'er it twined.
Forth trooping from the dark-recess
Came swans and mallards numberless,
With drops upon their shining wings
As newly bathed where water springs.
“On, comrades, to the cave,” I cried
And all within the portal hied.
Each clasping fast another's hand
Far onward pressed the Vánar band;
And still, as thirst and hunger drove,
We traced the mazes of the grove.
Here thou with hospitable care
Hast fed us with the noblest fare,
Preserving us, about to die,
With this thy plentiful supply.
But how, O pious lady, say,
May we thy gracious boon repay?”
He ceased: the ascetic dame replied:
“Well, Vánars, am I satisfied.
A life of holy works I lead,
And from your hands no service need.”
Then spake again the Vánar chief:
Canto LII. The Exit.
1355
“We came to thee and found relief.
Now listen to a new distress,
And aid us, holy votaress.
Our wanderings in this vasty cave
Exhaust the time Sugríva gave.
Once more then, lady, grant release,
And let thy suppliants go in peace
Again upon their errand sped,
For King Sugríva's ire we dread.
And the great task our sovereign set,
Alas, is unaccomplished yet.”
Thus Hanumán their leader prayed,
And thus the dame her answer made:
“Scarce may the living find their way
Returning hence to light of day;
But I will free you through the might
Of penance, fast, and holy rite.
Close for a while your eyes, or ne'er
May you return to upper air.”
She ceased: the Vánars all obeyed;
Their fingers on their eyes they laid,
And, ere a moment's time had fled,
Were through the mazy cavern led.
Again the gracious lady spoke,
And joy in every bosom woke:
“Lo, here again is Vindhya's hill,
Whose valleys trees and creepers fill;
And, by the margin of the sea,
Praśravaṇ where you fain would be.”
With blessings then she bade adieu,
And swift within the cave withdrew.
1356
The Ramayana
Canto LIII. Angad's Counsel.
They looked upon the boundless main
The awful seat of Varuṇ's reign.
And heard his waters roar and rave
Terrific with each crested wave.
Then, in the depths of sorrow drowned,
They sat upon the bosky ground,
And sadly, as they pondered, grieved
For days gone by and naught achieved.
Pain pierced them through with sharper sting
When, gazing on the trees of spring,
They saw each waving bough that showed
The treasures of its glorious load,
And helpless, fainting with the weight
Of woe they sank disconsolate.
Then, lion-shouldered, stout and strong,
The noblest of the Vánar throng,
Angad the prince imperial rose,
And, deeply stricken by the woes
That his impetuous spirit broke,
Thus gently to the chieftains spoke:
“Mark ye not, Vánars, that the day
Our monarch fixed has passed away?
The month is lost in toil and pain,
And now, my friends, what hopes remain?
On you, in lore of counsel tried,
Our king Sugríva most relied.
Your hearts, with strong affection fraught,
[384]
His weal in every labour sought,
And the true valour of your band
Was blazoned wide in every land.
Forth on the toilsome search you sped,
By me—for so he willed it—led,
Canto LIII. Angad's Counsel.
1357
To us, of every hope bereft,
Death is the only refuge left.
For none a happy life may see
Who fails to do our king's decree.
Come, let us all from food abstain,
And perish thus, since hope is vain.
Stern is our king and swift to ire,
Imperious, proud, and fierce like fire,
And ne'er will pardon us the crime
Of fruitless search and wasted time.
Far better thus to end our lives,
And leave our wealth, our homes and wives,
Leave our dear little ones and all,
Than by his vengeful hand to fall.
Think not Sugríva's wrath will spare
Me Báli's son, imperial heir:
For Raghu's royal son, not he,
To this high place anointed me.
Sugríva, long my bitter foe,
With eager hand will strike the blow,
And, mindful of the old offence,
Will slay me now for negligence,
Nor will my pitying friends have power
To save me in the deadly hour.
No—here, O chieftains, will I lie
By ocean's marge, and fast and die.”
They heard the royal prince declare
The purpose of his fixt despair;
And all, by common terror moved,
His speech in these sad words approved:
“Sugríva's heart is hard and stern,
And Ráma's thoughts for Sítá yearn.
Our forfeit lives will surely pay
1358
The Ramayana
For idle search and long delay,
And our fierce king will bid us die
The favour of his friend to buy.”
Then Tára softly spake to cheer
The Vánars' hearts oppressed by fear:
“Despair no more, your doubts dispel:
Come in this ample cavern dwell.
There may we live in blissful ease
Mid springs and fruit and bloomy trees,
Secure from every foe's assault,
For magic framed the wondrous vault.
Protected there we need not fear
Though Ráma and our king come near;
Nor dread e'en him who batters down
The portals of the foeman's town.”756
Canto LIV. Hanumán's Speech.
But Hanumán, while Tára, best
Of splendid chiefs his thought expressed,
Perceived that Báli's princely son
A kingdom for himself had won.757
His keen eye marked in him combined
The warrior's arm, the ruler's mind,
756Purandara, the destroyer of cities; the cities being the clouds which the
God of the firmament bursts open with his thunderbolts, to release the waters
imprisoned in these fortresses of the demons of drought.
757Perceived that Angad had secured, through the love of the Vánars, the
reversion of Sugríva's kingdom; or, as another commentator explains it, per-
ceived that Angad had obtained a new kingdom in the enchanted cave which
the Vánars, through love of him, would consent to occupy.
Canto LIV. Hanumán's Speech.
1359
And every noble gift should grace
The happy sovereign of his race:
Marked how he grew with ripening age
More glorious and bold and sage,—
Like the young moon that night by night
Shines on with ever waxing light,—
Brave as his royal father, wise
As he who counsels in the skies:758
Marked how, forwearied with the quest,
He heeded not his liege's hest,
But Tára's every word obeyed
Like Indra still by Śukra759swayed.
Then with his prudent speech he tried
To better thoughts the prince to guide,
And by division's skilful art
The Vánars and the youth to part:
“Illustrious Angad, thou in fight
Hast far surpassed thy father's might,
Most worthy, like thy sire of old,
The empire of our race to hold.
The Vánars' fickle people range
From wish to wish and welcome change.
Their wives and babes they will not leave
And to their new-made sovereign cleave.
No art, no gifts will draw away
The Vánars from Sugríva's sway,
Through hope of wealth, through fear of pain
Still faithful will they all remain.
Thou fondly hopest in this cave
The vengeance of the foe to brave.
But Lakshmaṇ's arm a shower will send
Of deadly shafts those walls to rend.
758Vṛihaspati, Lord of Speech, the Preceptor of the Gods.
759Śukra is the regent of the planet Venus, and the preceptor of the Daityas.
1360
The Ramayana
Like Indra's bolts his shafts have power
To cleave the mountain like a flower.
O Angad, mark my counsel well:
If in this cave thou choose to dwell,
[385]
These Vánar hosts with one accord
Will quit thee for their lawful lord,
And turn again with thirsty eyes
To wife and babe and all they prize.
Thou in the lonely cavern left
Of followers and friends bereft,
Wilt be in all thy woe, alas,
Weak as a blade of trembling grass:
And Lakshmaṇ's arrows, keen and fierce
From his strong bow, thy heart will pierce.
But if in lowly reverence meek
Sugríva's court with us thou seek,
He, as thy birth demands, will share
The kingdom with the royal heir.
Thy loving kinsman, true and wise,
Looks on thee still with favouring eyes.
Firm in his promise, pure is he,
And ne'er will vex or injure thee.
He loves thy mother, lives for her
A faithful friend and worshipper.
That mother's love thou mayst not spurn:
Her only child, return, return.”
Canto LV. Angad's Reply.
Canto LV. Angad's Reply.
1361
“What truth or justice canst thou find,”
Cried Angad, “in Sugríva's mind?
Where is his high and generous soul,
His purity and self-control?
How is he worthy of our trust,
Righteous, and true, and wise, and just,
Who, shrinking not from sin and shame,
Durst take his living brother's dame?
Who, when, in stress of mortal strife
His noble brother fought for life,
Against the valiant warrior barred
The portal which he stood to guard?
Can he be grateful—he who took
The hand of Ráma, and forsook
That friend who saved him in his woes,
To whom his life and fame he owes?
Ah no! his heart is cold and mean,
What bids him search for Ráma's queen?
Not honour's law, not friendship's debt,
But angry Lakshmaṇ's timely threat.
No prudent heart will ever place
Its trust in one so false and base,
Who heeds not friendship, kith or kin,
Who scorns the law and cleaves to sin.
But true or false, whate'er he be,
One consequence I clearly see;
Me, in my youth anointed heir
Against his wish, he will not spare,
But strike with eager hand the blow
That rids him of a household foe.
Shall I of power and friends despoiled,
In all my purpose crossed and foiled,—
Shall I Kishkindhá seek, and wait,
Like some poor helpless thing, my fate?
1362
The Ramayana
The cruel wretch through lust of sway
Will seize upon his hapless prey,
And to a prison's secret gloom
The remnant of my years will doom.
'Tis better far to fast and die
Than hopeless bound in chains to lie,
Your steps, O Vánars, homeward bend
And leave me here my life to end.
Better to die of hunger here
Than meet at home the fate I fear.
Go, bow you at Sugríva's feet,
And in my name the monarch greet.
Before the sons of Raghu bend,
And give the greeting that I send.
Greet kindly Rumá too, for she
A son's affection claims from me,
And gently calm with friendly care
My mother Tárá's wild despair;
Or when she hears her darling's fate
The queen will die disconsolate.”
Thus Angad bade the chiefs adieu:
Then on the ground his limbs he threw
Where sacred Darbha760grass was spread,
And wept as every hope had fled.
The moving words of Angad drew
Down aged cheeks the piteous dew.
And, as the chieftains' eyes grew dim,
They swore to stay and die with him.
On holy grass whose every blade
760The name of various kinds of grass used at sacrificial ceremonies, especial-
ly, of the Kuśa grass, Poa cynosuroides, which was used to strew the ground in
preparing for a sacrifice, the officiating Brahmans being purified by sitting on
it.
Canto LVI. Sampáti.
1363
Was duly, pointing southward, laid,
The Vánars sat them down and bent
Their faces to the orient,
While “Here, O comrades, let us die
With Angad,” was the general cry.
Canto LVI. Sampáti.
Then came the vultures' mighty king
Where sat the Vánars sorrowing,—
Sampáti,761best of birds that fly
On sounding pinions through the sky,
Jaṭáyus' brother, famed of old,
Most glorious and strong and bold.
Upon the slope of Vindhya's hill
He saw the Vánars calm and still.
[386]
These words he uttered while the sight
Filled his fierce spirit with delight:
“Behold how Fate with changeless laws
Within his toils the sinner draws,
And brings me, after long delay,
A rich and noble feast to-day,
These Vánars who are doomed to die
My hungry maw to satisfy.”
761Sampáti is the eldest son of the celebrated Garuḍa the king of birds.
1364
The Ramayana
He spoke no more: and Angad heard
The menace of the mighty bird;
And thus, while anguish filled his breast,
The noble Hanumán addressed:
“Vivasvat's762son has sought this place
For vengeance on the Vánar race.
See, Yáma, wroth for Sítá's sake,
Is come our guilty lives to take.
Our king's decree is left undone,
And naught achieved for Raghu's son.
In duty have we failed, and hence
Comes punishment for dire offence.
Have we not heard the marvels wrought
By King Jaṭáyus,763how he fought
With Rávaṇ's might, and, nobly brave,
Perished, the Maithil queen to save?
There is no living creature, none,
But loves to die for Raghu's son,
And in long toils and dangers we
Have placed our lives in jeopardy.
Blest is Jaṭáyus, he who gave
His life the Maithil queen to save,
And proved his love for Ráma well
When by the giant's hand he fell.
Now raised to bliss and high renown
He fears not fierce Sugríva's frown.
Alas, alas! what miseries spring
From that rash promise of the king!764
His own sad death, and Ráma sent
With Lakshmaṇ forth to banishment:
The Maithil lady borne away:
762Vivasvat or the Sun is the father of Yáma the God of Death.
763Book III, Canto LI.
764Daśaratha's rash oath and fatal promise to his wife Kaikeyí.
Canto LVII. Angad's Speech.
1365
Jaṭáyus slain in mortal fray:
The fall of Báli when the dart
Of Ráma quivered in his heart:
And, after toil and pain and care,
Our misery and deep despair.”
He ceased: the feathered monarch heard,
His heart with ruth and wonder stirred:
“Whose is that voice,” the vulture cried,
“That tells me how Jaṭáyus died,
And shakes my inmost soul with woe
For a loved brother's overthrow?
After long days at length I hear
The glorious name of one so dear.
Once more, O Vánar chieftains, tell
How King Jaṭáyus fought and fell.
But first your aid, I pray you, lend,
And from this peak will I descend.
The sun has burnt my wings, and I
No longer have the power to fly.”
Canto LVII. Angad's Speech.
Though grief and woe his utterance broke
They trusted not the words he spoke;
But, looking still for secret guile,
Reflected in their hearts a while:
“If on our mangled limbs he feed,
We gain the death ourselves decreed.”
1366
The Ramayana
Then rose the Vánar chiefs, and lent
Their arms to aid the bird's descent;
And Angad spake: “There lived of yore
A noble Vánar king who bore
The name of Riksharajas, great
And brave and strong and fortunate.
His sons were like their father: fame
Knows Báli and Sugríva's name.
Praised in all lands, a glorious king
Was Báli, and from him I spring.
Brave Ráma, Daśaratha's heir,
A glorious prince beyond compare,
His sire and duty's law obeyed,
And sought the depths of Daṇḍak' shade
Sítá his well-beloved dame,
And Lakshmaṇ, with the wanderer came.
A giant watched his hour, and stole
The sweet delight of Ráma's soul.
Jaṭáyus, Daśaratha's friend,
Swift succour to the dame would lend.
Fierce Rávaṇ from his car he felled,
And for a time the prize withheld.
But bleeding, weak with years, and tired,
Beneath the demon's blows expired,
Due rites at Ráma's hands obtained,
And bliss that ne'er shall minish, gained.
Then Ráma with Sugríva made
A covenant for mutual aid,
And Báli, to the field defied,
By conquering Ráma's arrow died.
Sugríva then, by Ráma's grace,
Was monarch of the Vánar race.
By his command a mighty host
Seeks Ráma's queen from coast to coast.
Canto LVIII. Tidings Of Sítá.
1367
Sent forth by him, in every spot
We looked for her, but find her not.
Vain is the toil, as though by night
We sought to find the Day-God's light.
In lands unknown at length we found
A spacious cavern under ground,
Whose vaults that stretch beneath the hill
Were formed by Maya's magic skill.
Through the dark maze our steps were bent,
And wandering there a month we spent,
[387]
And lost, in fruitless error, thus
The days our king allotted us.
Thus we though faithful have transgressed,
And failed to keep our lord's behest.
No chance of safety can we see,
No lingering hope of life have we.
Sugríva's wrath and Ráma's hate
Press on our souls with grievous weight:
And we, because 'tis vain to fly,
Resolve at length to fast and die.”
Canto LVIII. Tidings Of Sítá.
The piteous tears his eye bedewed
As thus his speech the bird renewed;
“Alas my brother, slain in fight
By Rávaṇ's unresisted might!
I, old and wingless, weak and worn,
O'er his sad fate can only mourn.
Fled is my youth: in life's decline
My former strength no more is mine.
1368
The Ramayana
Once on the day when Vritra765died,
We brothers, in ambitious pride,
Sought, mounting with adventurous flight,
The Day-God garlanded with light.
On, ever on we urged our way
Where fields of ether round us lay,
Till, by the fervent heat assailed,
My brother's pinions flagged and failed.
I marked his sinking strength, and spread
My stronger wings to screen his head,
Till, all my feathers burnt away,
On Vindhya's hill I fell and lay.
There in my lone and helpless state
I heard not of my brother's fate.”
Thus King Sampáti spoke and sighed:
And royal Angad thus replied:
“If, brother of Jatáyus, thou
Hast heard the tale I told but now,
Obedient to mine earnest prayer
The dwelling of that fiend declare.
O, say where cursed Rávaṇ dwells,
Whom folly to his death impels.”
765Vritra, “the coverer, hider, obstructer (of rain)” is the name of the Vedic
personification of an imaginary malignant influence or demon of darkness and
drought supposed to take possession of the clouds, causing them to obstruct the
clearness of the sky and keep back the waters. Indra is represented as battling
with this evil influence, and the pent-up clouds being practically represented
as mountains or castles are shattered by his thunderbolt and made to open their
receptacles.
Canto LVIII. Tidings Of Sítá.
1369
He ceased. Again Sampáti spoke,
And hope in every breast awoke:
“Though lost my wings, and strength decayed,
Yet shall my words lend Ráma aid.
I know the worlds where Vishṇu trod,766
I know the realm of Ocean's God;
How Asurs fought with heavenly foes,
And Amrit from the churning rose.767
A mighty task before me lies,
To prosper Ráma's enterprise,
A task too hard for one whom length
Of days has rifled of his strength.
I saw the cruel Rávaṇ bear
A gentle lady through the air.
Bright was her form, and fresh and young,
And sparkling gems about her hung.
“O Ráma, Ráma!” cried the dame,
And shrieked in terror Lakshmaṇ's name,
As, struggling in the giant's hold,
She dropped her gauds of gems and gold.
Like sun-light on a mountain shone
The silken garments she had on,
And glistened o'er his swarthy form
As lightning flashes through the storm.
That giant Rávaṇ, famed of old,
Is brother of the Lord of Gold.768
The southern ocean roars and swells
Round Lanká, where the robber dwells
In his fair city nobly planned
766Frequent mention has been made of the three steps of Vishṇu typifying the
rising, culmination, and setting of the sun.
767For the Churning of the Sea, see Book I, Canto XLV.
768Kuvera, the God of Wealth.
1370
The Ramayana
And built by Viśvakarmá's769hand.
Within his bower securely barred,
With monsters round her for a guard,
Still in her silken vesture clad
Lies Sítá, and her heart is sad.
A hundred leagues your course must be
Beyond this margin of the sea.
Still to the south your way pursue,
And there the giant Rávaṇ view.
Then up, O Vánars, and away!
For by my heavenly lore I say,
There will you see the lady's face,
And hither soon your steps retrace.
In the first field of air are borne
The doves and birds that feed on corn.
The second field supports the crows
And birds whose food on branches grows.
Along the third in balanced flight
Sail the keen osprey and the kite.
Swift through the fourth the falcon springs
The fifth the slower vulture wings.
Up to the sixth the gay swans rise,
[388]
Where royal Vainateya770flies.
We too, O chiefs, of vulture race,
Our line from Vinatá may trace,
Condemned, because we wrought a deed
Of shame, on flesh and blood to feed.
But all Suparṇa's771wondrous powers
And length of keenest sight are ours,
That we a hundred leagues away
Through fields of air descry our prey.
769The architect of the gods.
770Garuḍa, son of Vinatá, the sovereign of the birds.
771“The well winged one,” Garuḍa.
Canto LIX. Sampáti's Story.
1371
Now from this spot my gazing eye
Can Rávaṇ and the dame descry.
Devise some plan to overleap
This barrier of the briny deep.
Find the Videhan lady there,
And joyous to your home repair.
Me too, O Vánars, to the side
Of Varuṇ's772home the ocean, guide,
Where due libations shall be paid
To my great-hearted brother's shade.”
Canto LIX. Sampáti's Story.
They heard his counsel to the close,
Then swiftly to their feet they rose;
And Jámbaván with joyous breast
The vulture king again addressed:
“Where, where is Sítá? who has seen,
Who borne away the Maithil queen?
Who would the lightning flight withstand
by Lakshmaṇ's hand?”
772The god of the sea.
1372
The Ramayana
Again Sampáti spoke to cheer
The Vánars as they bent to hear:
“Now listen, and my words shall show
What of the Maithil dame I know,
And in what distant prison lies
The lady of the long dark eyes.
Scorched by the fiery God of Day,
High on this mighty hill I lay.
A long and weary time had passed,
And strength and life were failing fast.
Yet, ere the breath had left my frame,
My son, my dear Supárśva, came.
Each morn and eve he brought me food,
And filial care my life renewed.
But serpents still are swift to ire,
Gandharvas slaves to soft desire,
And we, imperial vultures, need
A full supply our maws to feed.
Once he turned at close of day,
Stood by my side, but brought no prey.
He looked upon my ravenous eye,
Heard my complaint and made reply:
“Borne on swift wings ere day was light
I stood upon Mahendra's773height,
And, far below, the sea I viewed
And birds in countless multitude.
Before mine eyes a giant flew
Whose monstrous form was dark of hue
And struggling in his grasp was borne
A lady radiant as the morn.
Swift to the south his course he bent,
And cleft the yielding element.
773Mahendra is chain of mountains generally identified with part of the Gháts
of the Peninsula.
Canto LX. Sampáti's Story.
1373
The holy spirits of the air
Came round me as I marvelled there,
And cried as their bright legions met:
“O say, is Sítá living yet?”
Thus cried the saints and told the name
Of him who held the struggling dame.
Then while mine eye with eager look
Pursued the path the robber took,
I marked the lady's streaming hair,
And heard her cry of wild despair.
I saw her silken vesture rent
And stripped of every ornament,
Thus, O my father, fled the time:
Forgive, I pray, the heedless crime.”
In vain the mournful tale I heard
My pitying heart to fury stirred,
What could a helpless bird of air,
Reft of his boasted pinions, dare?
Yet can I aid with all that will
And words can do, and friendly skill.”
Canto LX. Sampáti's Story.
Then from the flood Sampáti paid
Due offerings to his brother's shade.
He bathed him when the rites were done,
And spake again to Báli's son:
“Now listen, Prince, while I relate
How first I learned the lady's fate.
Burnt by the sun's resistless might
I fell and lay on Vindhya's height.
1374
The Ramayana
Seven nights in deadly swoon I passed,
But struggling life returned at last.
Around I bent my wondering view,
But every spot was strange and new.
I scanned the sea with eager ken,
And rock and brook and lake and glen,
I saw gay trees their branches wave,
And creepers mantling o'er the cave.
I heard the wild birds' joyous song,
And waters as they foamed along,
And knew the lovely hill must be
Mount Vindhya by the southern sea.
[389]
Revered by heavenly beings, stood
Near where I lay, a sacred wood,
Where great Niśakar dwelt of yore
And pains of awful penance bore.
Eight thousand seasons winged their flight
Over the toiling anchorite—
Upon that hill my days were spent,—
And then to heaven the hermit went.
At last, with long and hard assay,
Down from that height I made my way,
And wandered through the mountain pass
Rough with the spikes of Darbha grass.
I with my misery worn, and faint
Was eager to behold the saint:
For often with Jaṭáyus I
Had sought his home in days gone by.
As nearer to the grove I drew
The breeze with cooling fragrance blew,
And not a tree that was not fair,
With richest flower and fruit was there.
With anxious heart a while I stayed
Beneath the trees' delightful shade,
Canto LXI. Sampáti's Story.
1375
And soon the holy hermit, bright
With fervent penance, came in sight.
Behind him bears and lions, tame
As those who know their feeder, came,
And tigers, deer, and snakes pursued
His steps, a wondrous multitude,
And turned obeisant when the sage
Had reached his shady hermitage.
Then came Niśakar to my side
And looked with wondering eyes, and cried:
“I knew thee not, so dire a change
Has made thy form and feature strange.
Where are thy glossy feathers? where
The rapid wings that cleft the air?
Two vulture brothers once I knew:
Each form at will could they endue.
They of the vulture race were kings,
And flew with Mátariśva's774wings.
In human shape they loved to greet
Their hermit friend, and clasp his feet.
The younger was Jaṭáyus, thou
The elder whom I gaze on now.
Say, has disease or foeman's hate
Reduced thee from thy high estate?”
Canto LXI. Sampáti's Story.
774Mátariśva is identified with Váyu, the wind.
1376
The Ramayana
“Ah me! o'erwhelmed with shame and weak
With wounds,” I cried, “I scarce can speak.
My hapless brother once and I
Our strength of flight resolved to try.
And by our foolish pride impelled
Our way through realms of ether held.
We vowed before the saints who tread
The wilds about Kailása's head,
That we with following wings would chase
The swift sun to his resting place.
Up on our soaring pinions through
The fields of cloudless air we flew.
Beneath us far, and far away,
Like chariot wheels bright cities lay,
Whence in wild snatches rose the song
Of women mid the gay-clad throng,
With sounds of sweetest music blent
And many a tinkling ornament.
Then as our rapid wings we strained
The pathway of the sun we gained.
Beneath us all the earth was seen
Clad in her garb of tender green,
And every river in her bed
Meandered like a silver thread.
We looked on Meru far below
And Vindhya and the Lord of Snow,
Like elephants that bend to cool
Their fever in a lilied pool.
But fervent heat and toil o'ercame
The vigour of each yielding frame,
Our weary hearts began to quail,
And wildered sense to reel and fail.
We knew not, fainting and distressed,
The north or south or east or west.
Canto LXII. Sampáti's Story.
1377
With a great strain mine eyes I turned
Where the fierce sun before me burned,
And seemed to my astonished eyes
The equal of the earth in size.775
At length, o'erpowered, Jaṭáyus fell
Without a word to say farewell,
And when to earth I saw him hie
I followed headlong from the sky.776
With sheltering wings I intervened
And from the sun his body screened,
But lost, for heedless folly doomed,
My pinions which the heat consumed.
In Janasthán, I hear them say,
My hapless brother fell and lay.
I, pinionless and faint and weak,
Dropped upon Vindhya's woody peak.
Now with my swift wings burnt away,
Reft of my brother and my sway,
From this tall mountain's summit I
Will cast me headlong down and die.”
[390]
Canto LXII. Sampáti's Story.
775Of course not equal to the whole earth, says the Commentator, but equal to
Janasthán.
776This appears to be the Indian form of the stories of Phaethon and Dædalus
and Icarus.
1378
The Ramayana
“As to the saint I thus complained
My bitter tears fell unrestrained.
He pondered for a while, then broke
The silence, and thus calmly spoke:
“Forth from thy sides again shall spring,
O royal bird, each withered wing,
And all thine ancient power and might
Return to thee with strength of sight.
A noble deed has been foretold
In prophecy pronounced of old:
Nor dark to me are future things,
Seen by the light which penance brings.
A glorious king shall rise and reign,
The pride of old Ikshváku's strain.
A good and valiant prince, his heir,
Shall the dear name of Ráma bear.
With his brave brother Lakshmaṇ he
An exile in the woods shall be,
Where Rávaṇ, whom no God may slay,777
Shall steal his darling wife away.
In vain the captive will be wooed
With proffered love and dainty food,
She will not hear, she will not taste:
But, lest her beauty wane and waste,
Lord Indra's self will come to her
With heavenly food, and minister.
Then envoys of the Vánar race
By Ráma sent will seek this place.
To them, O roamer of the air,
The lady's fate shalt thou declare.
Thou must not move—so maimed thou art
Thou canst not from this spot depart.
777According to the promise, given him by Brahmá. See Book I, Canto XIV.
Canto LXIII. Sampáti's Story.
1379
Await the day and moment due,
And thy burnt wings will sprout anew.
I might this day the boon bestow
And bid again thy pinions grow,
But wait until thy saving deed
The nations from their fear have freed.
Then for this glorious aid of thine
The princes of Ikshváku's line,
And Gods above and saints below
Eternal gratitude shall owe.
Fain would mine aged eyes behold
That pair of whom my lips have told,
Yet wearied here I must not stay,
But leave my frame and pass away.”
Canto LXIII. Sampáti's Story.
“With this and many a speech beside
My failing heart he fortified,
With glorious hope my breast inspired,
And to his holy home retired.
I scaled the mountain height, to view
The region round, and looked for you.
In ceaseless watchings night and day
A hundred seasons passed away,
And by the sage's words consoled
I wait the hour and chance foretold.
But since Niśakar sought the skies.
And cast away all earthly ties,
Full many a care and doubt has pressed
With grievous weight upon my breast.
1380
The Ramayana
But for the saint who turned aside
My purpose I had surely died.
Those hopeful words the hermit spake,
That bid me live for Ráma's sake,
Dispel my anguish as the light
Of lamp and torch disperse the night.”
He ceased: and in the Vánars' view
Forth from his side young pinions grew,
And boundless rapture filled his breast
As thus the chieftains he addressed:
“Joy, joy! the pinions, which the Lord
Of Day consumed, are now restored
Through the dear grace & boundless might
Of that illustrious anchorite.
The fire of youth within me burns,
And all my wonted strength returns.
Onward, ye Vánars, toil strive,
And you shall find the dame alive.
Look on these new-found wings, and hence
Be strong in surest confidence.”
Swift from the crag he sprang to try
His pinions in his native sky.
His words the chieftains' doubts had stilled,
And every heart with courage filled.778
778In the Bengal recension the fourth Book ends here, the remaining Cantos
being placed in the fifth.
Canto LXIV. The Sea.
1381
Canto LXIV. The Sea.
Shouts of triumphant joy outrang
As to their feet the Vánars sprang:
And, on the mighty task intent,
Swift to the sea their steps they bent.
They stood and gazed upon the deep,
Whose billows with a roar and leap
On the sea banks ware wildly hurled,—
The mirror of the mighty world.
There on the strand the Vánars stayed
And with sad eyes the deep surveyed,
Here, as in play, his billows rose,
And there he slumbered in repose.
Here leapt the boisterous waters, high
As mountains, menacing the sky,
And wild infernal forms between
The ridges of the waves were seen.
[391]
They saw the billows rave and swell,
And their sad spirits sank and fell;
For ocean in their deep despair
Seemed boundless as the fields of air.
Then noble Angad spake to cheer
The Vánars and dispel their fear:
“Faint not: despair should never find
Admittance to a noble mind.
Despair, a serpent's mortal bite,
Benumbs the hero's power and might.”
1382
The Ramayana
Then passed the weary night, and all
Assembled at their prince's call,
And every lord of high estate
Was gathered round him for debate.
Bright was the chieftains' glorious band
Round Angad on the ocean strand,
As when the mighty Storm-Gods meet
Round Indra on his golden seat.
Then princely Angad looked on each,
And thus began his prudent speech:
“What chief of all our host will leap
A hundred leagues across the deep?
Who, O illustrious Vánars, who
Will make Sugríva's promise true,
And from our weight of fear set free
The leaders of our band and me?
To whom, O warriors, shall we owe
A sweet release from pain and woe,
And proud success, and happy lives
With our dear children and our wives,
Again permitted by his grace
To look with joy on Ráma's face,
And noble Lakshmaṇ, and our lord
The king, to our sweet homes restored?”
Thus to the gathered lords he spoke;
But no reply the silence broke.
Then with a sterner voice he cried:
“O chiefs, the nation's boast and pride,
Whom valour strength and power adorn,
Of most illustrious lineage born,
Where'er you will you force a way,
And none your rapid course can stay.
Now come, your several powers declare.
Canto LXV. The Council.
1383
And who this desperate leap will dare?”
Canto LXV. The Council.
But none of all the host was found
To clear the sea with desperate bound,
Though each, as Angad bade, declared
His proper power and what he dared.779
Then spake good Jámbaván the sage,
Chief of them all for reverend age;
“I, Vánar chieftains, long ago
Limbs light to leap could likewise show,
But now on frame and spirit weighs
The burthen of my length of days.
Still task like this I may not slight,
When Ráma and our king unite.
So listen while I tell, O friends,
What lingering strength mine age attends.
If my poor leap may aught avail,
Of ninety leagues, I will not fail.
Far other strength in youth's fresh prime
I boasted, in the olden time,
When, at Prahláda's780solemn rite,
I circled in my rapid flight
Lord Vishṇu, everlasting God,
When through the universe he trod.
779Each chief comes forward and says how far he can leap. Gaja says he can
leap ten yojans. Gavaksha can leap twenty. Gavaya thirty, and so on up to
ninety.
780Prahláda, the son of Hiraṇyakaśipu, was a pious Datya remarkable for his
devotion to Vishṇu, and was on this account persecuted by his father.
1384
The Ramayana
But now my limbs are weak and old,
My youth is fled, its fire is cold,
And these exhausted nerves to strain
In such a task were idle pain.”
Then Angad due obeisance paid,
And to the chief his answer made:
“Then I, ye noble Vánars, I
Myself the mighty leap will try:
Although perchance the power I lack
To leap from Lanká's island back.”
Thus the impetuous chieftain cried,
And Jámbaván the sage replied:
“Whate'er thy power and might may be,
This task, O Prince, is not for thee.
Kings go not forth themselves, but send
The servants who their best attend.
Thou art the darling and the boast,
The honoured lord of all the host.
In thee the root, O Angad, lies
Of our appointed enterprise;
And thee, on whom our hopes depend,
Our care must cherish and defend.”
Then Báli's noble son replied:
“Needs must I go, whate'er betide,
For, if no chief this exploit dare,
What waits us all save blank despair,—
Upon the ground again to lie
In hopeless misery, fast, and die?
For not a hope of life I see
If we neglect our king's decree.”
Then spoke the aged chief again:
“Nay our attempt shall not be vain,
Canto LXVI. Hanumán.
1385
For to the task will I incite
A chieftain of sufficient might.”
[392]
Canto LXVI. Hanumán.
The chieftain turned his glances where
The legions sat in mute despair;
And then to Hanumán, the best
Of Vánar lords, these words addressed:
“Why still, and silent, and apart,
O hero of the dauntless heart?
Thou keepest treasured in thy mind
The laws that rule the Vánar kind,
Strong as our king Sugríva, brave
As Ráma's self to slay or save.
Through every land thy praise is heard,
Famous as that illustrious bird,
Aríshṭanemi's son,781the king
Of every fowl that plies the wing.
Oft have I seen the monarch sweep
With sounding pinions o'er the deep,
And in his mighty talons bear
Huge serpents struggling through the air.
Thy arms, O hero, match in might
The ample wings he spreads for flight;
781The Bengal recension calls him Aríshṭanemi's brother. “The commentator
says ‘Aríshṭanemi is Aruṇa.’ Aruṇa the charioteer of the sun is the son of
Kaśyapa and Vinatá and by consequence brother of Garuḍa, called Vainateya
from Vinatá, his mother.” GORRESSIO{FNS.
1386
The Ramayana
And thou with him mayest well compare
In power to do, in heart to dare.
Why, rich in wisdom, power, and skill,
O hero, art thou lingering still?
An Apsaras782the fairest found
Of nymphs for heavenly charms renowned,
Sweet Punjikasthalá, became
A noble Vánar's wedded dame.
Her heavenly title heard no more,
Anjaná was the name she bore,
When, cursed by Gods, from heaven she fell
In Vánar form on earth to dwell,
New-born in mortal shape the child
Of Kunjar monarch of the wild.
In youthful beauty wondrous fair,
A crown of flowers about her hair,
In silken robes of richest dye
She roamed the hills that kiss the sky.
Once in her tinted garments dressed
She stood upon the mountain crest,
The God of Wind beside her came,
And breathed upon the lovely dame.
And as he fanned her robe aside
The wondrous beauty that he eyed
In rounded lines of breast and limb
And neck and shoulder ravished him;
And captured by her peerless charms
He strained her in his amorous arms.
Then to the eager God she cried
In trembling accents, terrified:
“Whose impious love has wronged a spouse
So constant in her nuptial vows?”
782A nymph of Paradise.
Canto LXVI. Hanumán.
1387
He heard, and thus his answer made:
“O, be not troubled, nor afraid,
But trust, and thou shalt know ere long
My love has done thee, sweet, no wrong,
So strong and brave and wise shall be
The glorious child I give to thee.
Might shall be his that naught can tire,
And limbs to spring as springs his sire.”
Thus spoke the God; the conquered dame
Rejoiced in heart nor feared the shame.
Down in a cave beneath the earth
The happy mother gave thee birth.
Once o'er the summit of the wood
Before thine eyes the new sun stood.
Thou sprangest up in haste to seize
What seemed the fruitage of the trees.
Up leapt the child, a wondrous bound,
Three hundred leagues above the ground,
And, though the angered Day-God shot
His fierce beams on him, feared him not.
Then from the hand of Indra came
A red bolt winged with wrath and flame.
The child fell smitten on a rock,
His cheek was shattered by the shock,
Named Hanumán783thenceforth by all
In memory of the fearful fall.
The wandering Wind-God saw thee lie
With bleeding cheek and drooping eye,
And stirred to anger by thy woe
Forbade each scented breeze to blow.
The breath of all the worlds was stilled,
And the sad Gods with terror filled
783Hanu or Hanú means jaw. Hanumán or Hanúmán means properly one with
a large jaw.
1388
The Ramayana
Prayed to the Wind, to calm the ire
And soothe the sorrow of the sire.
His fiery wrath no longer glowed,
And Brahmá's self the boon bestowed
That in the brunt of battle none
Should slay with steel the Wind-God's son.
Lord Indra, sovereign of the skies,
Bent on thee all his thousand eyes,
And swore that ne'er the bolt which he
Hurls from the heaven should injure thee.
'Tis thine, O mighty chief, to share
The Wind-God's power, his son and heir.
Sprung from that glorious father thou,
And thou alone, canst aid us now.
This earth of yore, through all her climes,
I circled one-and-twenty times,
And gathered, as the Gods decreed,
Great store of herbs from hill and mead,
Which, scattered o'er the troubled wave,
The Amrit to the toilers gave.
[393]
But now my days are wellnigh told,
My strength is gone, my limbs are old,
And thou, the bravest and the best,
Art the sure hope of all the rest.
Now, mighty chief, the task assay:
Thy matchless power and strength display.
Rise up, O prince, our second king,
And o'er the flood of ocean spring.
So shall the glorious exploit vie
With his who stepped through earth and sky.”784
784Vishṇu, the God of the Three Steps.
Canto LXVII. Hanumán's Speech.
1389
He spoke: the younger chieftain heard,
His soul to vigorous effort stirred,
And stood before their joyous eyes
Dilated in gigantic size.
Canto LXVII. Hanumán's Speech.
Soon as his stature they beheld,
Their fear and sorrow were dispelled;
And joyous praises loud and long
Rang out from all the Vánar throng.
On the great chief their eyes they bent
In rapture and astonishment,
As, when his conquering foot he raised,
The Gods upon Náráyaṇ785gazed.
He stood amid the joyous crowd,
Bent to the chiefs, and cried aloud:
“The Wind-God, Fire's eternal friend,
Whose blasts the mountain summits rend,
With boundless force that none may stay,
Takes where he lists his viewless way.
Sprung from that glorious father, I
In power and speed with him may vie,
A thousand times with airy leap
Can circle loftiest Meru's steep:
With my fierce arms can stir the sea
Till from their bed the waters flee
And rush at my command to drown
785Náráyaṇ, “He who moved upon the waters,” is Vishnu. The allusion is to
the famous three steps of that God.
1390
The Ramayana
This land with grove and tower and town.
I through the fields of air can spring
Far swifter than the feathered King,
And leap before him as he flies,
On sounding pinions through the skies.
I can pursue the Lord of Light
Uprising from the eastern height,
And reach him ere his course be sped
With burning beams engarlanded.
I will dry up the mighty main,
Shatter the rocks and rend the plain.
O'er earth and ocean will I bound,
And every flower that grows on ground,
And bloom of climbing plants shall show
Strewn on the ground, the way I go,
Bright as the lustrous path that lies
Athwart the region of the skies.786
The Maithil lady will I find,—
Thus speaks mine own prophetic mind,—
And cast in hideous ruin down
The shattered walls of Lanká's town.”
Still on the chief in rapt surprise
The Vánar legions bent their eyes,
And thus again sage Jámbaván
Addressed the glorious Hanumán:
“Son of the Wind, thy promise cheers
The Vánars' hearts, and calms their fears,
Who, rescued from their dire distress,
With prospering vows thy way will bless.
The holy saints their favour lend,
And all our chiefs the deed commend
Urging thee forward on thy way:
786The Milky Way.
Canto LXVII. Hanumán's Speech.
1391
Arise then, and the task assay.
Thou art our only refuge; we,
Our lives and all, depend on thee.”
Then sprang the Wind-God's son the best
Of Vánars, on Mahendra's crest,
And the great mountain rocked and swayed
By that unusual weight dismayed,
As reels an elephant beneath
The lion's spring and rending teeth.
The shady wood that crowned him shook,
The trembling birds the boughs forsook,
And ape and pard and lion fled
From brake and lair disquieted.
[394]

Book IV. Kishkindhya (part2)
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