Book IV. Kishkindhya (part1)

  • user warning: UPDATE command denied to user 'piv1691_db'@'91.206.200.87' for table 'cache_filter' query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>BOOK IV.<br />\nCanto I. Ráma\'s Lament.<br />\nThe princes stood by Pampá\'s side522<br />\nWhich blooming lilies glorified.<br />\nWith troubled heart and sense o\'erthrown<br />\nThere Ráma made his piteous moan.<br />\nAs the fair flood before him lay<br />\nThe reason of the chief gave way;<br />\nAnd tender thoughts within him woke,<br />\nAs to Sumitrá\'s son he spoke:<br />\n522Pampá is said by the commentator to be the name both of a lake and a brook<br />\nwhich flows into it. The brook is said to rise in the hill Rishyamúka.<br />\nCanto I. Ráma\'s Lament.<br />\n1135<br />\n“How lovely Pampá\'s waters show,<br />\nWhere streams of lucid crystal flow!<br />\nWhat glorious trees o\'erhang the flood<br />\nWhich blooms of opening lotus stud!<br />\nLook on the banks of Pampá where<br />\nThick groves extend divinely fair;<br />\nAnd piles of trees, like hills in size,<br />\nLift their proud summits to the skies.<br />\nBut thought of Bharat\'s523pain and toil,<br />\nAnd my dear spouse the giant\'s spoil,<br />\nAfflict my tortured heart and press<br />\nMy spirit down with heaviness.<br />\nStill fair to me though sunk in woe<br />\nBright Pampá and her forest show.<br />\nWhere cool fresh waters charm the sight,<br />\nAnd flowers of every hue are bright.<br />\nThe lotuses in close array<br />\nTheir passing loveliness display,<br />\nAnd pard and tiger, deer and snake<br />\nHaunt every glade and dell and brake.<br />\nThose grassy spots display the hue<br />\nOf topazes and sapphires\' blue,<br />\nAnd, gay with flowers of every dye,<br />\nWith richly broidered housings vie.<br />\nWhat loads of bloom the high trees crown,<br />\nOr weigh the bending branches down!<br />\nAnd creepers tipped with bud and flower<br />\nEach spray and loaded limb o\'erpower.<br />\nNow cool delicious breezes blow,<br />\nAnd kindle love\'s voluptuous glow,<br />\nWhen balmy sweetness fills the air,<br />\nAnd fruit and flowers and trees are fair.<br />\n523Who was acting as Regent for Ráma and leading an ascetic life while he<br />\nmourned for his absent brother.<br />\n1136<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThose waving woods, that shine with bloom,<br />\nEach varied tint in turn assume.<br />\nLike labouring clouds they pour their showers<br />\nIn rain or ever-changing flowers.<br />\nBehold, those forest trees, that stand<br />\nHigh upon rock and table-land,<br />\nAs the cool gales their branches bend,<br />\nTheir floating blossoms downward send.<br />\nSee, Lakshmaṇ, how the breezes play<br />\nWith every floweret on the spray.<br />\nAnd sport in merry guise with all<br />\nThe fallen blooms and those that fall.<br />\nSee, brother, where the merry breeze<br />\nShakes the gay boughs of flowery trees,<br />\nDisturbed amid their toil a throng<br />\nOf bees pursue him, loud in song.<br />\nThe Koïls,524mad with sweet delight,<br />\nThe bending trees to dance invite;<br />\nAnd in its joy the wild wind sings<br />\nAs from the mountain cave he springs.<br />\nOn speed the gales in rapid course,<br />\nAnd bend the woods beneath their force,<br />\nTill every branch and spray they bind<br />\nIn many a tangled knot entwined.<br />\nWhat balmy sweets those gales dispense<br />\nWith cool and sacred influence!<br />\nFatigue and trouble vanish: such<br />\nThe magic of their gentle touch.<br />\nHark, when the gale the boughs has bent<br />\nIn woods of honey redolent,<br />\nThrough all their quivering sprays the trees<br />\nAre vocal with the murmuring bees.<br />\n524The Indian Cuckoo.<br />\nCanto I. Ráma\'s Lament.<br />\n1137<br />\nThe hills with towering summits rise,<br />\nAnd with their beauty charm the eyes,<br />\nGay with the giant trees which bright<br />\nWith blossom spring from every height:<br />\nAnd as the soft wind gently sways<br />\nThe clustering blooms that load the sprays,<br />\nThe very trees break forth and sing<br />\nWith startled wild bees\' murmuring.<br />\nThine eyes to yonder Cassias525turn<br />\nWhose glorious clusters glow and burn.<br />\n[320]<br />\nThose trees in yellow robes behold,<br />\nLike giants decked with burnished gold.<br />\nAh me, Sumitrá\'s son, the spring<br />\nDear to sweet birds who love and sing,<br />\nWakes in my lonely breast the flame<br />\nOf sorrow as I mourn my dame.<br />\nLove strikes me through with darts of fire,<br />\nAnd wakes in vain the sweet desire.<br />\nHark, the loud Koïl swells his throat,<br />\nAnd mocks me with his joyful note.<br />\nI hear the happy wild-cock call<br />\nBeside the shady waterfall.<br />\nHis cry of joy afflicts my breast<br />\nBy love\'s absorbing might possessed.<br />\nMy darling from our cottage heard<br />\nOne morn in spring this shrill-toned bird,<br />\nAnd called me in her joy to hear<br />\nThe happy cry that charmed her ear.<br />\n525The Cassia Fistula or Amaltás is a splendid tree like a giant laburnum<br />\ncovered with a profusion of chains and tassels of gold. Dr. Roxburgh well<br />\ndescribes it as “uncommonly beautiful when in flower, few trees surpassing it<br />\nin the elegance of its numerous long pendulous racemes of large bright-yellow<br />\nflowers intermixed with the young lively green foliage.” It is remarkable also<br />\nfor its curious cylindrical black seed-pods about two feet long, which are called<br />\nmonkeys\' walking-sticks.<br />\n1138<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nSee, birds of every varied voice<br />\nAround us in the woods rejoice,<br />\nOn creeper, shrub, and plant alight,<br />\nOr wing from tree to tree their flight.<br />\nEach bird his kindly mate has found,<br />\nAnd loud their notes of triumph sound,<br />\nBlending in sweetest music like<br />\nThe distant warblings of the shrike.<br />\nSee how the river banks are lined<br />\nWith birds of every hue and kind.<br />\nHere in his joy the Koïl sings,<br />\nThere the glad wild-cock flaps his wings.<br />\nThe blooms of bright Aśokas526where<br />\nThe song of wild bees fills the air,<br />\nAnd the soft whisper of the boughs<br />\nIncrease my longing for my spouse.<br />\nThe vernal flush of flower and spray<br />\nWill burn my very soul away.<br />\nWhat use, what care have I for life<br />\nIf I no more may see my wife<br />\nSoft speaker with the glorious hair,<br />\nAnd eyes with silken lashes fair?<br />\nNow is the time when all day long<br />\n526“TheJonesiaAsocaisatreeofconsiderablesize, nativeofsouthernIndia. It<br />\nblossoms in February and March with large erect compact clusters of flowers,<br />\nvarying in colour from pale-orange to scarlet, almost to be mistaken, on a hasty<br />\nglance, for immense trusses of bloom of an Ixora. Mr. Fortune considered this<br />\ntree, when in full bloom, superior in beauty even to the Amherstia.<br />\nThe first time I saw the Asoc in flower was on the hill where the famous<br />\nrock-cut temple of Kárlí is situated, and a large concourse of natives had<br />\nassembled for the celebration of some Hindoo festival. Before proceeding to<br />\nthe temple the Mahratta women gathered from two trees, which were flowering<br />\nsomewhat below, each a fine truss of blossom, and inserted it in the hair at the<br />\nback of her head.… As they moved about in groups it is impossible to imagine<br />\na more delightful effect than the rich scarlet bunches of flowers presented on<br />\ntheir fine glossy jet-black hair.” FIRMINGER{FNS, Gardening for India.<br />\nCanto I. Ráma\'s Lament.<br />\n1139<br />\nThe Koïls fill the woods with song.<br />\nAnd gardens bloom at spring\'s sweet touch<br />\nWhich my beloved loved so much.<br />\nAh me, Sumitrá\'s son, the fire<br />\nOf sorrow, sprung from soft desire,<br />\nFanned by the charms the spring time shows,<br />\nWill burn my heart and end my woes,<br />\nWhose sad eyes look on each fair tree,<br />\nBut my sweet love no more may see.<br />\nAh me, Ah me, from hour to hour<br />\nLove in my soul will wax in power,<br />\nAnd spring, upon whose charms I gaze,<br />\nWhose breath the heat of toil allays,<br />\nWith thoughts of her for whom I strain<br />\nMy hopeless eyes, increase my pain.<br />\nAs fire in summer rages through<br />\nThe forests thick with dry bamboo,<br />\nSo will my fawn eyed love consume<br />\nMy soul o\'erwhelmed with thoughts of gloom.<br />\nBehold, beneath each spreading tree<br />\nThe peacocks dance527in frantic glee,<br />\nAnd, stirred by all the gales that blow,<br />\nTheir tails with jewelled windows glow,<br />\nEach bird, in happy love elate,<br />\nRejoices with his darling mate.<br />\nBut sights like these of joy and peace<br />\nMy pangs of hopeless love increase.<br />\nSee on the mountain slope above<br />\nThe peahen languishing with love.<br />\nBehold her now in amorous dance<br />\nClose to her consort\'s side advance.<br />\n527No other word can express the movements of peafowl under the influence<br />\nof pleasing excitement, especially when after the long drought they hear the<br />\nwelcome roar of the thunder and feel that the rain is near.<br />\n1140<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHe with a laugh of joy and pride<br />\nDisplays his glittering pinions wide;<br />\nAnd follows through the tangled dell<br />\nThe partner whom he loves so well.<br />\nAh happy bird! no giant\'s hate<br />\nHas robbed him of his tender mate;<br />\nAnd still beside his loved one he<br />\nDances beneath the shade in glee.<br />\nAh, in this month when flowers are fair<br />\nMy widowed woe is hard to bear.<br />\nSee, gentle love a home may find<br />\nIn creatures of inferior kind.<br />\nSee how the peahen turns to meet<br />\nHer consort now with love-drawn feet.<br />\n[321]<br />\nSo, Lakshmaṇ, if my large-eyed dear,<br />\nThe child of Janak still were here,<br />\nShe, by love\'s thrilling influence led,<br />\nUpon my breast would lay her head.<br />\nThese blooms I gathered from the bough<br />\nWithout my love are useless now.<br />\nA thousand blossoms fair to see<br />\nWith passing glory clothe each tree<br />\nThat hangs its cluster-burthened head<br />\nNow that the dewy months528are fled,<br />\nBut, followed by the bees that ply<br />\nTheir fragrant task, they fall and die.<br />\nA thousand birds in wild delight<br />\nTheir rapture-breathing notes unite;<br />\nBird calls to bird in joyous strain,<br />\nAnd turns my love to frenzied pain.<br />\nO, if beneath those alien skies,<br />\nThere be a spring where Sítá lies,<br />\n528The Dewy Season is one of the six ancient seasons of the Indian year,<br />\nlasting from the middle of January to the middle of March.<br />\nCanto I. Ráma\'s Lament.<br />\n1141<br />\nI know my prisoned love must be<br />\nTouched with like grief, and mourn with me.<br />\nBut ah, methinks that dreary clime<br />\nKnows not the touch of spring\'s sweet time.<br />\nHow could my black eyed love sustain,<br />\nWithout her lord, so dire a pain?<br />\nOr if the sweet spring come to her<br />\nIn distant lands a prisoner,<br />\nHow may his advent and her met<br />\nOn every side with taunt and threat?<br />\nAh, if the springtide\'s languor came<br />\nWith soft enchantment o\'er my dame,<br />\nMy darling of the lotus eye,<br />\nMy gently speaking love, would die;<br />\nFor well my spirit knows that she<br />\nCan never live bereft of me<br />\nWith love that never wavered yet<br />\nMy Sítá\'s heart, on me is set,<br />\nWho, with a soul that ne\'er can stray,<br />\nWith equal love her love repay.<br />\nIn vain, in vain the soft wind brings<br />\nSweet blossoms on his balmy wings;<br />\nDelicious from his native snow,<br />\nTo me like fire he seems to glow.<br />\nO, how I loved a breeze like this<br />\nWhen darling Sítá shared the bliss!<br />\nBut now in vain for me it blows<br />\nTo fan the fury of my woes.<br />\nThat dark-winged bird that sought the skies<br />\nForetelling grief with warning cries,<br />\nSits on the tree where buds are gay,<br />\nAnd pours glad music from the spray.<br />\nThat rover of the fields of air<br />\nWill aid my love with friendly care,<br />\n1142<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd me with gracious pity guide<br />\nTo my large-eyed Videhan\'s side.529<br />\nHark, Lakshmaṇ, how the woods around<br />\nWith love-inspiring chants resound,<br />\nWhere birds in every bloom-crowned tree<br />\nPour forth their amorous minstrelsy.<br />\nAs though an eager gallant wooed<br />\nA gentle maid by love subdued,<br />\nEnamoured of her flowers the bee<br />\nDarts at the wind-rocked Tila tree.530<br />\nAśoka, brightest tree that grows,<br />\nThat lends a pang to lovers\' woes,<br />\nHangs out his gorgeous bloom in scorn<br />\nAnd mocks me as I weep forlorn.<br />\nO Lakshmaṇ, turn thine eye and see<br />\nEach blossom-laden Mango tree,<br />\nLike a young lover gaily dressed<br />\nWhom fond desire forbids to rest.<br />\nLook, son of Queen Sumitrá through<br />\nThe forest glades of varied hue,<br />\nWhere blooms are bright and grass is green<br />\nThe Kinnars531with their loves are seen.<br />\nSee, brother, see where sweet and bright<br />\nThose crimson lilies charm the sight,<br />\nAnd o\'er the flood a radiance throw<br />\nFair as the morning\'s roseate glow.<br />\nSee, Pampá, most divinely sweet,<br />\n529Ráma appears to mean that on a former occasion a crow flying high over-<br />\nhead was an omen that indicated his approaching separation from Sítá; and that<br />\nnow the same bird\'s perching on a tree near him may be regarded as a happy<br />\naugury that she will soon be restored to her husband.<br />\n530A tree with beautiful and fragrant blossoms.<br />\n531A race of semi-divine musicians attached to the service of Kuvera, repre-<br />\nsented as centaurs reversed with human figures and horses\' heads.<br />\nCanto I. Ráma\'s Lament.<br />\n1143<br />\nThe swan\'s and mallard\'s loved retreat,<br />\nShows her glad waters bright and clear,<br />\nWhere lotuses their heads uprear<br />\nFrom the pure wave, and charm the view<br />\nWith mingled tints of red and blue.<br />\nEach like the morning\'s early beams<br />\nReflected in the crystal gleams;<br />\nAnd bees on their sweet toil intent<br />\nWeigh down each tender filament.<br />\nThere with gay lawns the wood recedes;<br />\nThere wildfowl sport amid the reeds,<br />\nThere roedeer stand upon the brink,<br />\nAnd elephants descend to drink.<br />\nThe rippling waves which winds make fleet<br />\nAgainst the bending lilies beat,<br />\nAnd opening bud and flower and stem<br />\nGleam with the drops that hang on them.<br />\nLife has no pleasure left for me<br />\nWhile my dear queen I may not see,<br />\n[322]<br />\nWho loved so well those blooms that vie<br />\nWith the full splendour of her eye.<br />\nO tyrant Love, who will not let<br />\nMy bosom for one hour forget<br />\nThe lost one whom I yearn to meet,<br />\nWhose words were ever kind and sweet.<br />\nAh, haply might my heart endure<br />\nThis hopeless love that knows not cure,<br />\nIf spring with all his trees in flower<br />\nAssailed me not with ruthless power.<br />\nEach lovely scene, each sound and sight<br />\nWherein, with her, I found delight,<br />\nHas lost the charm so sweet of yore,<br />\nAnd glads my widowed heart no more.<br />\nOn lotus buds I seem to gaze,<br />\n1144<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nOr blooms that deck Paláśa532sprays;533<br />\nBut to my tortured memory rise<br />\nThe glories of my darling\'s eyes.<br />\nCool breezes through the forest stray<br />\nGathering odours on their way,<br />\nEnriched with all the rifled scent<br />\nOf lotus flower and filament.<br />\nTheir touch upon my temples falls<br />\nAnd Sítá\'s fragrant breath recalls.<br />\nNow look, dear brother, on the right<br />\nOf Pampá towers a mountain height<br />\nWhere fairest Cassia trees unfold<br />\nThe treasures of their burnished gold.<br />\nProud mountain king! his woody side<br />\nWith myriad ores is decked and dyed,<br />\nAnd as the wind-swept blossoms fall<br />\nTheir fragrant dust is stained with all.<br />\nTo yon high lands thy glances turn:<br />\nWith pendent fire they flash and burn,<br />\nWhere in their vernal glory blaze<br />\nPaláśa flowers on leafless sprays.<br />\nO Lakshmaṇ, look! on Pampá\'s side<br />\nWhat fair trees rise in blooming pride!<br />\n532Butea Frondosa. A tree that bears a profusion of brilliant red flowers which<br />\nappear before the leaves.<br />\n533I omit five ślokas which contain nothing but a list of trees for which,<br />\nwith one or two exceptions, there are no equivalent names in English. The<br />\nfollowing is Gorresio\'s translation of the corresponding passage in the Bengal<br />\nrecension:—<br />\n“Oh come risplendono in questa stagione di primavera i vitici, le galedupe,<br />\nle bassie, le dalbergie, i diospyri … le tile, le michelie, le rottlerie, le pentaptere<br />\ned i pterospermi, i bombaci, le grislee, gli abri, gli amaranti e le dalbergie; i<br />\nsirii, le galedupe, le barringtonie ed i palmizi, i xanthocymi, il pepebetel, le<br />\nverbosine e le ticaie, le nauclee le erythrine, gli asochi, e le tapie fanno d\'ogni<br />\nintorno pompa de\' lor fiori.”<br />\nCanto I. Ráma\'s Lament.<br />\n1145<br />\nWhat climbing plants above them show<br />\nOr hang their flowery garlands low!<br />\nSee how the amorous creeper rings<br />\nThe wind-rocked trees to which she clings,<br />\nAs though a dame by love impelled<br />\nWith clasping arms her lover held.<br />\nDrunk with the varied scents that fill<br />\nThe balmy air, from hill to hill,<br />\nFrom grove to grove, from tree to tree,<br />\nThe joyous wind is wandering free.<br />\nThese gay trees wave their branches bent<br />\nBy blooms, of honey redolent.<br />\nThere, slowly opening to the day,<br />\nBuds with dark lustre deck the spray.<br />\nThe wild bee rests a moment where<br />\nEach tempting flower is sweet and fair,<br />\nThen, coloured by the pollen dyes,<br />\nDeep in some odorous blossom lies.<br />\nSoon from his couch away he springs:<br />\nTo other trees his course he wings,<br />\nAnd tastes the honeyed blooms that grow<br />\nWhere Pampá\'s lucid waters flow.<br />\nSee, Lakshmaṇ, see, how thickly spread<br />\nWith blossoms from the trees o\'erhead,<br />\nThat grass the weary traveller woos<br />\nWith couches of a thousand hues,<br />\nAnd beds on every height arrayed<br />\nWith red and yellow tints are laid,<br />\nNo longer winter chills the earth:<br />\nA thousand flowerets spring to birth,<br />\nAnd trees in rivalry assume<br />\nTheir vernal garb of bud and bloom.<br />\nHow fair they look, how bright and gay<br />\nWith tasselled flowers on every spray!<br />\n1146<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nWhile each to each proud challenge flings<br />\nBorne in the song the wild bee sings.<br />\nThat mallard by the river edge<br />\nHas bathed amid the reeds and sedge:<br />\nNow with his mate he fondly plays<br />\nAnd fires my bosom as I gaze.<br />\nMandákiní534is far renowned:<br />\nNo lovelier flood on earth is found;<br />\nBut all her fairest charms combined<br />\nIn this sweet stream enchant the mind.<br />\nO, if my love were here to look<br />\nWith me upon this lovely brook,<br />\nNever for Ayodhyá would I pine,<br />\nOr wish that Indra\'s lot were mine.<br />\nIf by my darling\'s side I strayed<br />\nO\'er the soft turf which decks the glade,<br />\nEach craving thought were sweetly stilled,<br />\nEach longing of my soul fulfilled.<br />\nBut, now my love is far away,<br />\nThose trees which make the woods so gay,<br />\nIn all their varied beauty dressed,<br />\nWake thoughts of anguish in my breast.<br />\nThat lotus-covered stream behold<br />\nWhose waters run so fresh and cold,<br />\n[323]<br />\n534A sacred stream often mentioned in the course of the poem. See Book II,<br />\nCanto XCV.<br />\nCanto I. Ráma\'s Lament.<br />\n1147<br />\nSweet rill, the wildfowl\'s loved resort,<br />\nWhere curlew, swan, and diver sport;<br />\nWhere with his consort plays the drake,<br />\nAnd tall deer love their thirst to slake,<br />\nWhile from each woody bank is heard<br />\nThe wild note of each happy bird.<br />\nThe music of that joyous quire<br />\nFills all my soul with soft desire;<br />\nAnd, as I hear, my sad thoughts fly<br />\nTo Sítá of the lotus eye,<br />\nWhom, lovely with her moonbright cheek,<br />\nIn vain mine eager glances seek.<br />\nNow turn, those chequered lawns survey<br />\nWhere hart and hind together stray.<br />\nAh, as they wander at their will<br />\nMy troubled breast with grief they fill,<br />\nWhile torn by hopeless love I sigh<br />\nFor Sítá of the fawn-like eye.<br />\nIf in those glades where, touched by spring,<br />\nGay birds their amorous ditties sing,<br />\nMine own beloved I might see,<br />\nThen, brother, it were well with me:<br />\nIf by my side she wandered still,<br />\nAnd this cool breeze that stirs the rill<br />\nTouched with its gentle breath the brows<br />\nOf mine own dear Videhan spouse.<br />\nFor, Lakshmaṇ, O how blest are those<br />\nOn whom the breath of Pampá blows,<br />\nDispelling all their care and gloom<br />\nWith sweets from where the lilies bloom!<br />\nHow can my gentle love remain<br />\nAlive amid the woe and pain,<br />\nWhere prisoned far away she lies,—<br />\nMy darling of the lotus eyes?<br />\n1148<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHow shall I dare her sire to greet<br />\nWhose lips have never known deceit?<br />\nHow stand before the childless king<br />\nAnd meet his eager questioning?<br />\nWhen banished by my sire\'s decree,<br />\nIn low estate, she followed me.<br />\nSo pure, so true to every vow,<br />\nWhere is my gentle darling now?<br />\nHow can I bear my widowed lot,<br />\nAnd linger on where she is not,<br />\nWho followed when from home I fled<br />\nDistracted, disinherited?<br />\nMy spirit sinks in hopeless pain<br />\nWhen my fond glances yearn in vain<br />\nFor that dear face with whose bright eye<br />\nThe worshipped lotus scarce can vie.<br />\nAh when, my brother, shall I hear<br />\nThat voice that rang so soft and clear,<br />\nWhen, sweetly smiling as she spoke,<br />\nFrom her dear lips gay laughter broke?<br />\nWhen worn with toil and love I strayed<br />\nWith Sítá through the forest shade,<br />\nNo trace of grief was seen in her,<br />\nMy kind and thoughtful comforter.<br />\nHow shall my faltering tongue relate<br />\nTo Queen Kauśalyá Sítá\'s fate?<br />\nHow answer when in wild despair<br />\nShe questions, Where is Sítá, where?<br />\nHaste, brother, haste: to Bharat hie,<br />\nOn whose fond love I still rely.<br />\nMy life can be no longer borne,<br />\nSince Sítá from my side is torn.”<br />\nCanto I. Ráma\'s Lament.<br />\n1149<br />\nThus like a helpless mourner, bent<br />\nBy sorrow, Ráma made lament;<br />\nAnd with wise counsel Lakshmaṇ tried<br />\nTo soothe his care, and thus replied:<br />\n“O best of men, thy grief oppose,<br />\nNor sink beneath thy weight of woes.<br />\nNot thus despond the great and pure<br />\nAnd brave like thee, but still endure.<br />\nReflect what anguish wrings the heart<br />\nWhen loving souls are forced to part;<br />\nAnd, mindful of the coming pain,<br />\nThy love within thy breast restrain.<br />\nFor earth, though cooled by wandering streams,<br />\nLies scorched beneath the midday beams.<br />\nRávaṇ his steps to hell may bend,<br />\nOr lower yet in flight descend;<br />\nBut be thou sure, O Raghu\'s son,<br />\nAvenging death he shall not shun.<br />\nRise, Ráma, rise: the search begin,<br />\nAnd track the giant foul with sin.<br />\nThen shall the fiend, though far he fly,<br />\nResign his prey or surely die.<br />\nYea, though the trembling monster hide<br />\nWith Sítá close to Diti\'s535side,<br />\nE\'en there, unless he yield the prize,<br />\nSlain by this wrathful hand he dies.<br />\nThy heart with strength and courage stay,<br />\nAnd cast this weakling mood away.<br />\nOur fainting hopes in vain revive<br />\nUnless with firm resolve we strive.<br />\nThe zeal that fires the toiler\'s breast<br />\n535A daughter of Daksha who became one of the wives of Kaśyapa and mother<br />\nof the Daityas. She is termed the general mother of Titans and malignant<br />\nbeings. See Book I Cantos XLV, XLVI.<br />\n1150<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nMid earthly powers is first and best.<br />\nZeal every check and bar defies,<br />\nAnd wins at length the loftiest prize,<br />\nIn woe and danger, toil and care,<br />\nZeal never yields to weak despair.<br />\nWith zealous heart thy task begin,<br />\nAnd thou once more thy spouse shalt win.<br />\nCast fruitless sorrow from thy soul,<br />\nNor let this love thy heart control.<br />\nForget not all thy sacred lore,<br />\nBut be thy noble self once more.”<br />\nHe heard, his bosom rent by grief,<br />\nThe counsel of his brother chief;<br />\nCrushed in his heart the maddening pain,<br />\nAnd rose resolved and strong again.<br />\nThen forth upon his journey went<br />\nThe hero on his task intent,<br />\nNor thought of Pampá\'s lovely brook,<br />\n[324]<br />\nOr trees which murmuring breezes shook,<br />\nThough on dark woods his glances fell,<br />\nOn waterfall and cave and dell;<br />\nAnd still by many a care distressed<br />\nThe son of Raghu onward pressed.<br />\nAs some wild elephant elate<br />\nMoves through the woods in pride,<br />\nSo Lakshmaṇ with majestic gait<br />\nStrode by his brother\'s side.<br />\nHe, for his lofty spirit famed,<br />\nAdmonished and consoled;<br />\nShowed Raghu\'s son what duty claimed,<br />\nAnd bade his heart be bold.<br />\nThen as the brothers strode apace<br />\nTo Rishyamúka\'s height,<br />\nCanto II. Sugríva\'s Alarm.<br />\n1151<br />\nThe sovereign of the Vánar race536<br />\nWas troubled at the sight.<br />\nAs on the lofty hill he strayed<br />\nHe saw the chiefs draw near:<br />\nA while their glorious forms surveyed,<br />\nAnd mused in restless fear.<br />\nHis slow majestic step he stayed<br />\nAnd gazed upon the pair.<br />\nAnd all his spirit sank dismayed<br />\nBy fear too great to bear.<br />\nWhen in their glorious might the best<br />\nOf royal chiefs came nigh,<br />\nThe Vánars in their wild unrest<br />\nPrepared to turn and fly.<br />\nThey sought the hermit\'s sacred home537<br />\nFor peace and bliss ordained,<br />\nAnd there, where Vánars loved to roam,<br />\nA sure asylum gained.<br />\nCanto II. Sugríva\'s Alarm.<br />\nSugríva moved by wondering awe<br />\nThe high-souled sons of Raghu saw,<br />\nIn all their glorious arms arrayed;<br />\nAnd grief upon his spirit weighed.<br />\n536Sugríva, the ex-king of the Vánars, foresters, or monkeys, an exile from<br />\nhis home, wandering about the mountain Rishyamúka with his four faithful<br />\nex-ministers.<br />\n537The hermitage of the Saint Matanga which his curse prevented Báli, the<br />\npresent king of the Vánars, from entering. The story is told at length in Canto<br />\nXI of this Book.<br />\n1152<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nTo every quarter of the sky<br />\nHe turned in fear his anxious eye,<br />\nAnd roving still from spot to spot<br />\nWith troubled steps he rested not.<br />\nHe durst not, as he viewed the pair,<br />\nResolve to stand and meet them there;<br />\nAnd drooping cheer and quailing breast<br />\nThe terror of the chief confessed.<br />\nWhile the great fear his bosom shook,<br />\nBrief counsel with his lords he took;<br />\nEach gain and danger closely scanned,<br />\nWhat hope in flight, what power to stand,<br />\nWhile doubt and fear his bosom rent,<br />\nOn Raghu\'s sons his eyes he bent,<br />\nAnd with a spirit ill at ease<br />\nAddressed his lords in words like these:<br />\n“Those chiefs with wandering steps invade<br />\nThe shelter of our pathless shade,<br />\nAnd hither come in fair disguise<br />\nOf hermit garb as Báli\'s spies.”<br />\nEach lord beheld with troubled heart<br />\nThose masters of the bowman\'s art,<br />\nAnd left the mountain side to seek<br />\nSure refuge on a loftier peak.<br />\nThe Vánar chief in rapid flight<br />\nFound shelter on a towering height,<br />\nAnd all the band with one accord<br />\nWere closely gathered round their lord.<br />\nTheir course the same, with desperate leap<br />\nEach made his way from steep to steep,<br />\nAnd speeding on in wild career<br />\nFilled every height with sudden fear.<br />\nCanto II. Sugríva\'s Alarm.<br />\n1153<br />\nEach heart was struck with mortal dread,<br />\nAs on their course the Vánars sped,<br />\nWhile trees that crowned the steep were bent<br />\nAnd crushed beneath them as they went.<br />\nAs in their eager flight they pressed<br />\nFor safety to each mountain crest,<br />\nThe wild confusion struck with fear<br />\nTiger and cat and wandering deer.<br />\nThe lords who watched Sugríva\'s will<br />\nWere gathered on the royal hill,<br />\nAnd all with reverent hands upraised<br />\nUpon their king and leader gazed.<br />\nSugríva feared some evil planned,<br />\nSome train prepared by Báli\'s hand.<br />\nBut, skilled in words that charm and teach,<br />\nThus Hanumán538began his speech:<br />\n“Dismiss, dismiss thine idle fear,<br />\nNor dread the power of Báli here.<br />\nFor this is Malaya\'s glorious hill539<br />\nWhere Báli\'s might can work no ill.<br />\nI look around but nowhere see<br />\nThe hated foe who made thee flee,<br />\nFell Báli, fierce in form and face:<br />\nThen fear not, lord of Vánar race.<br />\nAlas, in thee I clearly find<br />\nThe weakness of the Vánar kind,<br />\n[325]<br />\nThat loves from thought to thought to range,<br />\nFix no belief and welcome change.<br />\nMark well each hint and sign and scan,<br />\nDiscreet and wise, thine every plan.<br />\n538Hanumán, Sugríva\'s chief general, was the son of the God of Wind. See<br />\nBook I, Canto XVI.<br />\n539A range of hills in Malabar; the Western Ghats in the Deccan.<br />\n1154<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHow may a king, with sense denied,<br />\nThe subjects of his sceptre guide?”<br />\nHanúmán,540wise in hour of need,<br />\nUrged on the chief his prudent rede.<br />\nHis listening ear Sugríva bent,<br />\nAnd spake in words more excellent:<br />\n“Where is the dauntless heart that free<br />\nFrom terror\'s chilling touch can see<br />\nTwo stranger warriors, strong as those,<br />\nEquipped with swords and shafts and bows,<br />\nWith mighty arms and large full eyes,<br />\nLike glorious children of the skies?<br />\nBáli my foe, I ween, has sent<br />\nThese chiefs to aid his dark intent.<br />\nHence doubt and fear disturb me still,<br />\nFor thousands serve a monarch\'s will,<br />\nIn borrowed garb they come, and those<br />\nWho walk disguised are counted foes.<br />\nWith secret thoughts they watch their time,<br />\nAnd wound fond hearts that fear no crime.<br />\nMy foe in state affairs is wise,<br />\nAnd prudent kings have searching eyes.<br />\nBy other hands they strike the foe:<br />\nBy meaner tools the truth they know.<br />\nNow to those stranger warriors turn,<br />\nAnd, less than king, their purpose learn.<br />\nMark well the trick and look of each;<br />\nObserve his form and note his speech.<br />\nWith care their mood and temper sound,<br />\n540Válmíki makes the second vowel in this name long or short to suit the<br />\nexigencies of the verse. Other Indian poets have followed his example, and the<br />\nsame licence will be used in this translation.<br />\nCanto III. Hanumán\'s Speech.<br />\n1155<br />\nAnd, if their minds be friendly found,<br />\nWith courteous looks and words begin<br />\nTheir confidence and love to win.<br />\nThen as my friend and envoy speak,<br />\nAnd question what the strangers seek.<br />\nAsk why equipped with shaft and bow<br />\nThrough this wild maze of wood they go.<br />\nIf they, O chief, at first appear<br />\nPure of all guile, in heart sincere,<br />\nDetect in speech and look the sin<br />\nAnd treachery that lurk within.”<br />\nHe spoke: the Wind-God\'s son obeyed.<br />\nWith ready zeal he sought the shade,<br />\nAnd reached with hasty steps the wood<br />\nWhere Raghu\'s son and Lakshmaṇ stood.541<br />\nCanto III. Hanumán\'s Speech.<br />\nThe envoy in his faithful breast<br />\nPondered Sugríva\'s high behest.<br />\nFrom Rishyamúka\'s peak he hied<br />\nAnd placed him by the princes\' side.<br />\nThe Wind-God\'s son with cautious art<br />\nHad laid his Vánar form apart,<br />\nAnd wore, to cheat the strangers eyes,<br />\n541I omit a recapitulatory and interpolated verse in a different metre, which is<br />\nas follows:—Reverencing with the words, So be it, the speech of the greatly<br />\nterrified and unequalled monkey king, the magnanimous Hanumán then went<br />\nwhere (stood) the very mighty Ráma with Lakshmaṇ.<br />\n1156<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nA wandering mendicant\'s disguise.542<br />\nBefore the heroes\' feet he bent<br />\nAnd did obeisance reverent,<br />\nAnd spoke, the glorious pair to praise,<br />\nHis words of truth in courteous phrase,<br />\nHigh honour duly paid, the best<br />\nOf all the Vánar kind addressed,<br />\nWith free accord and gentle grace,<br />\nThose glories of their warrior race:<br />\n“O hermits, blest in vows, who shine<br />\nLike royal saints or Gods divine,<br />\nO best of young ascetics, say<br />\nHow to this spot you found your way,<br />\nScaring the troops of wandering deer<br />\nAnd silvan things that harbour here<br />\nSearching amid the trees that grow<br />\nWhere Pampá\'s gentle waters flow.<br />\nAnd lending from your brows a gleam<br />\nOf glory to the lovely stream.<br />\nWho are you, say, so brave and fair,<br />\nClad in the bark which hermits wear?<br />\nI see you heave the frequent sigh,<br />\nI see the deer before you fly.<br />\nWhile you, for strength and valour dread,<br />\nThe earth, like lordly lions, tread,<br />\nEach bearing in his hand a bow,<br />\nLike Indra\'s own, to slay the foe.<br />\nWith the grand paces of a bull,<br />\n542The semi divine Hanumán possesses, like the Gods and demons, the power<br />\nof wearing all shapes at will. He is one of the Kámarúpís.<br />\nLike Milton\'s good and bad angels “as they please<br />\nThey limb themselves, and colour, shape, or size<br />\nAssume as likes them best, condense or rare.”<br />\nCanto III. Hanumán\'s Speech.<br />\n1157<br />\nSo bright and young and beautiful.<br />\nThe mighty arms you raise appear<br />\nLike trunks which elephants uprear,<br />\nAnd as you move this mountain-king543<br />\nIs glorious with the light you bring.<br />\nHow have you reached, like Gods in face,<br />\nBest lords of earth, this lonely place,<br />\n[326]<br />\nWith tresses coiled in hermit guise,544<br />\nAnd splendours of those lotus eyes?<br />\nAs Gods who leave their heavenly sphere,<br />\nAlike your beauteous forms appear.<br />\nThe Lords of Day and Night545might thus<br />\nStray from the skies to visit us.<br />\nHeroic youth, so broad of chest,<br />\nFair with the beauty of the Blest,<br />\nWith lion shoulders, tall and strong,<br />\nLike bulls who lead the lowing throng,<br />\nYour arms, unmatched for grace and length,<br />\nWith massive clubs may vie in strength.<br />\nWhy do no gauds those limbs adorn<br />\nWhere priceless gems were meetly worn?<br />\nEach noble youth is fit, I deem,<br />\nTo guard this earth, as lord supreme,<br />\nWith all her woods and seas, to reign<br />\nFrom Meru\'s peak to Vindhya\'s chain.<br />\nYour smooth bows decked with dyes and gold<br />\nAre glorious in their masters\' hold,<br />\nAnd with the arms of Indra546vie<br />\nWhich diamond splendours beautify.<br />\n543Himálaya is of course par excellence the Monarch of mountains, but the<br />\ncomplimentary title is frequently given to other hills as here to Malaya.<br />\n544Twisted up in a matted coil as was the custom of ascetics.<br />\n545The sun and moon.<br />\n546The rainbow.<br />\n1158<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nYour quivers glow with golden sheen,<br />\nWell stored with arrows fleet and keen,<br />\nEach gleaming like a fiery snake<br />\nThat joys the foeman\'s life to take.<br />\nAs serpents cast their sloughs away<br />\nAnd all their new born sheen display,<br />\nSo flash your mighty swords inlaid<br />\nWith burning gold on hilt and blade.<br />\nWhy are you silent, heroes? Why<br />\nMy questions hear nor deign reply?<br />\nSugríva, lord of virtuous mind,<br />\nThe foremost of the Vánar kind,<br />\nAn exile from his royal state,<br />\nRoams through the land disconsolate.<br />\nI, Hanumán, of Vánar race,<br />\nSent by the king have sought this place,<br />\nFor he, the pious, just, and true,<br />\nIn friendly league would join with you.<br />\nKnow, godlike youths, that I am one<br />\nOf his chief lords, the Wind-God\'s son.<br />\nWith course unchecked I roam at will,<br />\nAnd now from Rishyamúka\'s hill,<br />\nTo please his heart, his hope to speed,<br />\nI came disguised in beggar\'s weed.”<br />\nThus Hanúmán, well trained in lore<br />\nOf language, spoke, and said no more.<br />\nThe son of Raghu joyed to hear<br />\nThe envoy\'s speech, and bright of cheer<br />\nHe turned to Lakshmaṇ by his side,<br />\nAnd thus in words of transport cried:<br />\nCanto III. Hanumán\'s Speech.<br />\n1159<br />\n“The counselor we now behold<br />\nOf King Sugríva righteous-souled.<br />\nHis face I long have yearned to see,<br />\nAnd now his envoy comes to me<br />\nWith sweetest words in courteous phrase<br />\nAnswer this mighty lord who slays<br />\nHis foemen, by Sugríva sent,<br />\nThis Vánar chief most eloquent.<br />\nFor one whose words so sweetly flow<br />\nThe whole Rig-veda547needs must know,<br />\nAnd in his well-trained memory store<br />\nThe Yajush and the Sáman\'s lore.<br />\nHe must have bent his faithful ear<br />\nAll grammar\'s varied rules to hear.<br />\nFor his long speech how well he spoke!<br />\nIn all its length no rule he broke.<br />\nIn eye, on brow, in all his face<br />\nThe keenest look no guile could trace.<br />\nNo change of hue, no pose of limb<br />\nGave sign that aught was false in him.<br />\nConcise, unfaltering, sweet and clear,<br />\nWithout a word to pain the ear.<br />\nFrom chest to throat, nor high nor low,<br />\nHis accents came in measured flow.<br />\nHow well he spoke with perfect art<br />\nThat wondrous speech that charmed the heart,<br />\nWith finest skill and order graced<br />\nIn words that knew nor pause nor haste!<br />\nThat speech, with consonants that spring<br />\nFrom the three seats of uttering,548<br />\n547The Vedas are four in number, the Rich or Rig-veda, the Yajush or Yajur-<br />\nveda; the Sáman or Sáma-veda, and the Atharvan or Atharva-veda. See p. 3.<br />\nNote.<br />\n548The chest, the throat, and the head.<br />\n1160<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nWould charm the spirit of a foe<br />\nWhose sword is raised for mortal blow.<br />\nHow may a ruler\'s plan succeed<br />\nWho lacks such envoy good at need?<br />\nHow fail, if one whose mind is stored<br />\nWith gifts so rare assist his lord?<br />\nWhat plans can fail, with wisest speech<br />\nOf envoy\'s lips to further each?”<br />\nThus Ráma spoke; and Lakshmaṇ taught<br />\nIn all the art that utters thought,<br />\nTo King Sugríva\'s learned spy<br />\nThus made his eloquent reply:<br />\n“Full well we know the gifts that grace<br />\nSugríva, lord of Vánar race,<br />\nAnd hither turn our wandering feet<br />\nThat we that high-souled king may meet.<br />\nSo now our pleasant task shall be<br />\nTo do the words he speaks by thee.”<br />\nHis prudent speech the Vánar heard,<br />\nAnd all his heart with joy was stirred.<br />\nAnd hope that league with them would bring<br />\nRedress and triumph to his king.<br />\n[327]<br />\nCanto IV. Lakshman\'s Reply.<br />\nCanto IV. Lakshman\'s Reply.<br />\n1161<br />\nCheered by the words that Ráma spoke,<br />\nJoy in the Vánar\'s breast awoke,<br />\nAnd, as his friendly mood he knew,<br />\nHis thoughts to King Sugríva flew:<br />\n“Again,” he mused, “my high-souled lord<br />\nShall rule, to kingly state restored;<br />\nSince one so mighty comes to save,<br />\nAnd freely gives the help we crave.”<br />\nThen joyous Hanumán, the best<br />\nOf all the Vánar kind, addressed<br />\nThese words to Ráma, trained of yore<br />\nIn all the arts of speakers\' lore:549<br />\n“Why do your feet this forest tread<br />\nBy silvan life inhabited,<br />\nThis awful maze of tree and thorn<br />\nWhich Pampá\'s flowering groves adorn?”<br />\n549“In our own metrical romances, or wherever a poem is meant not for readers<br />\nbut for chanters and oral reciters, these formulæ, to meet the same recurring<br />\ncase, exist by scores. Thus every woman in these metrical romances who<br />\nhappens to be young, is described as ‘so bright of ble,’ or complexion; always<br />\na man goes ‘the mountenance of a mile’ before he overtakes or is overtaken.<br />\nAnd so on through a vast bead-roll of cases. In the same spirit Homer has his<br />\neternal τον δ\'αρ\' ὑποδρα ιδων, or τον δ\'απαμειβομενος προσφη, &amp;c.<br />\nTo a reader of sensibility, such recurrences wear an air of child-like sim-<br />\nplicity, beautifully recalling the features of Homer\'s primitive age. But they<br />\nwould have appeared faults to all commonplace critics in literary ages.”<br />\nDE QUINCEY{FNS. Homer and the Homeridæ.<br />\n1162<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHe spoke: obedient to the eye<br />\nOf Ráma, Lakshmaṇ made reply,<br />\nThe name and fortune to unfold<br />\nOf Raghu\'s son the lofty-souled:<br />\n“True to the law, of fame unstained,<br />\nThe glorious Daśaratha reigned,<br />\nAnd, steadfast in his duty, long<br />\nKept the four castes550from scathe and wrong.<br />\nThrough his wide realm his will was done,<br />\nAnd, loved by all, he hated none.<br />\nJust to each creature great and small,<br />\nLike the Good Sire he cared for all.<br />\nThe Ágnishṭom,551as priests advised,<br />\nAnd various rites he solemnized,<br />\nWhere ample largess ever paid<br />\nThe Bráhmans for their holy aid.<br />\nHere Ráma stands, his heir by birth,<br />\nWhose name is glorious in the earth:<br />\nSure refuge he of all oppressed,<br />\nMost faithful to his sire\'s behest.<br />\nHe, Daśaratha\'s eldest born<br />\nWhom gifts above the rest adorn,<br />\nLord of each high imperial sign,552<br />\nThe glory of his kingly line,<br />\nReft of his right, expelled from home,<br />\nCame forth with me the woods to roam.<br />\nAnd Sítá too, his faithful dame,<br />\nForth with her virtuous husband came,<br />\nLike the sweet light when day is done<br />\n550Bráhmans the sacerdotal caste. Kshatriyas the royal and military, Vaiśyas<br />\nthe mercantile, and Śúdras the servile.<br />\n551A protracted sacrifice extending over several days. See Book I, p. 24 Note.<br />\n552Possessed of all the auspicious personal marks that indicate capacity of<br />\nuniversal sovereignty. See Book I. p. 2, and Note 3.<br />\nCanto IV. Lakshman\'s Reply.<br />\n1163<br />\nStill cleaving to her lord the sun.<br />\nAnd me his sweet perfections drew<br />\nTo follow as his servant true.<br />\nNamed Lakshmaṇ, brother of my lord<br />\nOf grateful heart with knowledge stored<br />\nMost meet is he all bliss to share,<br />\nWho makes the good of all his care.<br />\nWhile, power and lordship cast away,<br />\nIn the wild wood he chose to stay,<br />\nA giant came,—his name unknown,—<br />\nAnd stole the princess left alone.<br />\nThen Diti\'s son553who, cursed of yore,<br />\nThe semblance of a Rákshas wore,<br />\nTo King Sugríva bade us turn<br />\nThe robber\'s name and home to learn.<br />\nFor he, the Vánar chief, would know<br />\nThe dwelling of our secret foe.<br />\nSuch words of hope spake Diti\'s son,<br />\nAnd sought the heaven his deeds had won.<br />\nThou hast my tale. From first to last<br />\nThine ears have heard whate\'er has past.<br />\nRáma the mighty lord and I<br />\nFor refuge to Sugríva fly.<br />\nThe prince whose arm bright glory gained,<br />\nO\'er the whole earth as monarch reigned,<br />\nAnd richest gifts to others gave,<br />\nIs come Sugríva\'s help to crave;<br />\nSon of a king the surest friend<br />\nOf virtue, him who loved to lend<br />\nHis succour to the suffering weak,<br />\nIs come Sugríva\'s aid to seek.<br />\nYes, Raghu\'s son whose matchless hand<br />\n553Kabandha. See Book III. Canto LXXIII.<br />\n1164<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nProtected all this sea-girt land,<br />\nThe virtuous prince, my holy guide,<br />\nFor refuge seeks Sugríva\'s side.<br />\nHis favour sent on great and small<br />\nShould ever save and prosper all.<br />\nHe now to win Sugríva\'s grace<br />\nHas sought his woodland dwelling-place.<br />\n[328]<br />\nSon of a king of glorious fame;—<br />\nWho knows not Daśaratha\'s name?—<br />\nFrom whom all princes of the earth<br />\nReceived each honour due to worth;—<br />\nHeir of that best of earthly kings,<br />\nRáma the prince whose glory rings<br />\nThrough realms below and earth and skies,<br />\nFor refuge to Sugríva flies.<br />\nNor should the Vánar king refuse<br />\nThe boon for which the suppliant sues,<br />\nBut with his forest legions speed<br />\nTo save him in his utmost need.”<br />\nSumitrá\'s son, his eyes bedewed<br />\nWith piteous tears, thus sighed and sued.<br />\nThen, trained in all the arts that guide<br />\nThe speaker, Hanumán replied:<br />\n“Yea, lords like you of wisest thought,<br />\nWhom happy fate has hither brought,<br />\nWho vanquish ire and rule each sense,<br />\nMust of our lord have audience.<br />\nReft of his kingdom, sad, forlorn,<br />\nOnce Báli\'s hate now Báli\'s scorn,<br />\nDefeated, severed from his spouse,<br />\nWandering under forest boughs,<br />\nChild of the Sun, our lord and king<br />\nCanto IV. Lakshman\'s Reply.<br />\n1165<br />\nSugríva will his succours bring,<br />\nAnd all our Vánar hosts combined<br />\nWill trace the dame you long to find.”<br />\nWith gentle tone and winning grace<br />\nThus spake the chief of Vánar race,<br />\nAnd then to Raghu\'s son he cried:<br />\n“Come, haste we to Sugríva\'s side.”<br />\nHe spoke, and for his words so sweet<br />\nGood Lakshmaṇ paid all honour meet;<br />\nThen turned and cried to Raghu\'s son:<br />\n“Now deem thy task already done,<br />\nBecause this chief of Vánar kind,<br />\nSon of the God who rules the wind,<br />\nDeclares Sugríva\'s self would be<br />\nAssisted in his need by thee.<br />\nBright gleams of joy his cheek o\'erspread<br />\nAs each glad word of hope he said;<br />\nAnd ne\'er will one so valiant deign<br />\nTo cheer our hearts with hope in vain.”<br />\nHe spoke, and Hanumán the wise<br />\nCast off his mendicant disguise,<br />\nAnd took again his Vánar form,<br />\nSon of the God of wind and storm.<br />\nHigh on his ample back in haste<br />\nRaghu\'s heroic sons he placed,<br />\nAnd turned with rapid steps to find<br />\nThe sovereign of the Vánar kind.<br />\n1166<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nCanto V. The League.<br />\nFrom Rishyamúka\'s rugged side<br />\nTo Malaya\'s hill the Vánar hied,<br />\nAnd to his royal chieftain there<br />\nAnnounced the coming of the pair:<br />\n“See, here with Lakshmaṇ Ráma stands<br />\nIllustrious in a hundred lands.<br />\nWhose valiant heart will never quail<br />\nAlthough a thousand foes assail;<br />\nKing Daśaratha\'s son, the grace<br />\nAnd glory of Ikshváku\'s race.<br />\nObedient to his father\'s will<br />\nHe cleaves to sacred duty still.<br />\nWith rites of royal pomp and pride<br />\nHis sire the Fire-God gratified;<br />\nTen hundred thousand kine he freed,<br />\nAnd priests enriched with ample meed;<br />\nAnd the broad land protected, famed<br />\nFor truthful lips and passions tamed.<br />\nThrough woman\'s guile his son has made<br />\nHis dwelling in the forest shade,<br />\nWhere, as he lived with every sense<br />\nSubdued in hermit abstinence,<br />\nFierce Rávaṇ stole his wife, and he<br />\nIs come a suppliant, lord, to thee.<br />\nNow let all honour due be paid<br />\nTo these great chiefs who seek thine aid.”<br />\nCanto V. The League.<br />\n1167<br />\nThus spake the Vánar prince, and, stirred<br />\nWith friendly thoughts, Sugríva heard.<br />\nThe light of joy his face o\'erspread,<br />\nAnd thus to Raghu\'s son he said:<br />\n“O Prince, in rules of duty trained,<br />\nCaring for all with love unfeigned,<br />\nHanúmán\'s tongue has truly shown<br />\nThe virtues that are thine alone.<br />\nMy chiefest glory, gain, and bliss,<br />\nO stranger Prince, I reckon this,<br />\nThat Raghu\'s son will condescend<br />\nTo seek the Vánar for his friend.<br />\nIf thou my true ally wouldst be<br />\nAccept the pledge I offer thee,<br />\nThis hand in sign of friendship take,<br />\nAnd bind the bond we ne\'er will break.”<br />\nHe spoke, and joy thrilled Ráma\'s breast;<br />\nSugríva\'s hand he seized and pressed<br />\nAnd, transport beaming from his eye,<br />\nHeld to his heart his new ally.<br />\nIn wanderer\'s weed disguised no more,<br />\nHis proper form Hanúmán wore.<br />\nThen, wood with wood engendering,554came<br />\nNeath his deft hands the kindled flame.<br />\n554Fire for sacred purposes is produced by the attrition of two pieces of wood.<br />\nIn marriage and other solemn covenants fire is regarded as the holy witness in<br />\nwhose presence the agreement is made. Spenser in a description of a marriage,<br />\nhas borrowed from the Roman rite what he calls the housling, or “matrimonial<br />\nrite.”<br />\n“His owne two hands the holy knots did knit<br />\nThat none but death forever can divide.<br />\nHis owne two hands, for such a turn most fit,<br />\nThe housling fire did kindle and provide.”<br />\nFaery Queen, Book I. XII.{FNS 37.<br />\n1168<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nBetween the chiefs that fire he placed<br />\n[329]<br />\nWith wreaths of flowers and worship graced.<br />\nAnd round its blazing glory went<br />\nThe friends with slow steps reverent.<br />\nThus each to other pledged and bound<br />\nIn solemn league new transport found,<br />\nAnd bent upon his dear ally<br />\nThe gaze he ne\'er could satisfy.<br />\n“Friend of my soul art thou: we share<br />\nEach other\'s joy, each other\'s care;”<br />\nThus in the bliss that thrilled his breast<br />\nSugríva Raghu\'s son addressed.<br />\nFrom a high Sál a branch he tore<br />\nWhich many a leaf and blossom bore,<br />\nAnd the fine twigs beneath them laid<br />\nA seat for him and Ráma made.<br />\nThen Hanumán with joyous mind,<br />\nSon of the God who rules the wind,<br />\nTo Lakshmaṇ gave, his seat to be,<br />\nThe gay branch of a Sandal tree.<br />\nThen King Sugríva with his eyes<br />\nStill trembling with the sweet surprise<br />\nOf the great joy he could not hide,<br />\nTo Raghu\'s noblest scion cried:<br />\n“O Ráma, racked with woe and fear,<br />\nSpurned by my foes, I wander here.<br />\nReft of my spouse, forlorn I dwell<br />\nHere in my forest citadel.<br />\nOr wild with terror and distress<br />\nRoam through the distant wilderness.<br />\nVext by my brother Báli long<br />\nMy soul has borne the scathe and wrong.<br />\nDo thou, whose virtues all revere,<br />\nCanto V. The League.<br />\n1169<br />\nRelease me from my woe and fear.<br />\nFrom dire distress thy friend to free<br />\nIs a high task and worthy thee.”<br />\nHe spoke, and Raghu\'s son who knew<br />\nAll sacred duties men should do.<br />\nThe friend of justice, void of guile,<br />\nThus answered with a gentle smile:<br />\n“Great Vánar, friends who seek my aid<br />\nStill find their trust with fruit repaid.<br />\nBáli, thy foe, who stole away<br />\nThy wife this vengeful hand shall slay.<br />\nThese shafts which sunlike flash and burn,<br />\nWinged with the feathers of the hern,<br />\nEach swift of flight and sure and dread,<br />\nWith even knot and pointed head,<br />\nFierce as the crashing fire-bolt sent<br />\nBy him who rules the firmament,555<br />\nShall reach thy wicked foe and like<br />\nInfuriate serpents hiss and strike.<br />\nThou, Vánar King, this day shalt see<br />\nThe foe who long has injured thee<br />\nLie, like a shattered mountain, low,<br />\nSlain by the tempest of my bow.”<br />\nThus Ráma spake: Sugríva heard,<br />\nAnd mighty joy his bosom stirred:<br />\nAs thus his champion he addressed:<br />\n“Now by thy favour, first and best<br />\nOf heroes, shall thy friend obtain<br />\nHis realm and darling wife again<br />\nRecovered from the foe.<br />\nCheck thou mine elder brother\'s might;<br />\n555Indra.<br />\n1170<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThat ne\'er again his deadly spite<br />\nMay rob me of mine ancient right,<br />\nOr vex my soul with woe.”<br />\nThe league was struck, a league to bring<br />\nTo Sítá fiends, and Vánar king556<br />\nApportioned bliss and bale.<br />\nThrough her left eye quick throbbings shot,557<br />\nGlad signs the lady doubted not,<br />\nThat told their hopeful tale.<br />\nThe bright left eye of Báli felt<br />\nAn inauspicious throb that dealt<br />\nA deadly blow that day.<br />\nThe fiery left eyes of the crew<br />\nOf demons felt the throb, and knew<br />\nThe herald of dismay.<br />\nCanto VI. The Tokens.<br />\nWith joy that sprang from hope restored<br />\nTo Ráma spake the Vánar lord:<br />\n“I know, by wise Hanúmán taught,<br />\nWhy thou the lonely wood hast sought.<br />\nWhere with thy brother Lakshmaṇ thou<br />\nHast sojourned, bound by hermit vow;<br />\nHave heard how Sítá, Janak\'s child,<br />\nWas stolen in the pathless wild,<br />\nHow by a roving Rákshas she<br />\n556Báli the king de facto.<br />\n557With the Indians, as with the ancient Greeks, the throbbing of the right eye<br />\nin a man is an auspicious sign, the throbbing of the left eye is the opposite. In<br />\na woman the significations of signs are reversed.<br />\nCanto VI. The Tokens.<br />\n1171<br />\nWeeping was reft from him and thee;<br />\nHow, bent on death, the giant slew<br />\nThe vulture king, her guardian true,<br />\nAnd gave thy widowed breast to know<br />\nA solitary mourner\'s woe.<br />\nBut soon, dear Prince, thy heart shall be<br />\nFrom every trace of sorrow free;<br />\n[330]<br />\nFor I thy darling will restore,<br />\nLost like the prize of holy lore.558<br />\nYea, though in heaven the lady dwell,<br />\nOr prisoned in the depths of hell,<br />\nMy friendly care her way shall track<br />\nAnd bring thy ransomed darling back.<br />\nLet this my promise soothe thy care,<br />\nNor doubt the words I truly swear.<br />\nSaints, fiends, and dwellers of the skies<br />\nShall find thy wife a bitter prize,<br />\nLike the rash child who rues too late<br />\nThe treacherous lure of poisoned cate.<br />\nNo longer, Prince, thy loss deplore:<br />\nThy darling wife will I restore.<br />\n\'Twas she I saw: my heart infers<br />\nThat shrinking form was doubtless hers,<br />\nWhich gaint Rávaṇ, fierce and dread,<br />\nBore swiftly through the clouds o\'erhead<br />\nStill writhing in his strict embrace<br />\n558The Vedas stolen by the demons Madhu and Kaiṭabha.<br />\n“The text has [Sanskrit text] which signifies literally ‘the lost vedic tradi-<br />\ntion.’ It seems that allusion is here made to the Vedas submerged in the depth<br />\nof the sea, but promptly recovered by Vishṇu in one of his incarnations, as the<br />\nbrahmanic legend relates, with which the orthodoxy of the Bráhmans intended<br />\nperhaps to allude to the prompt restoration and uninterrupted continuity of the<br />\nancient vedic tradition.”<br />\nGORRESIO.{FNS<br />\n1172<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nLike helpless queen of serpent race,559<br />\nAnd from her lips that sad voice came<br />\nShrieking thine own and Lakshmaṇ\'s name.<br />\nHigh on a hill she saw me stand<br />\nWith comrades twain on either hand.<br />\nHer outer robe to earth she threw,<br />\nAnd with it sent her anklets too.<br />\nWe saw the glittering tokens fall,<br />\nWe found them there and kept them all.<br />\nThese will I bring: perchance thine eyes<br />\nThe treasured spoils will recognize.”<br />\nHe ceased: then Raghu\'s son replied<br />\nTo the glad tale, and eager cried:<br />\n“Bring them with all thy speed: delay<br />\nNo more, dear friend, but haste away.”<br />\nThus Ráma spoke. Sugríva hied<br />\nWithin the mountain\'s caverned side,<br />\nImpelled by love that stirred each thought<br />\nThe precious tokens quickly brought,<br />\nAnd said to Raghu\'s son: Behold<br />\nThis garment and these rings of gold.<br />\nIn Ráma\'s hand with friendly haste<br />\nThe jewels and the robe he placed.<br />\nThen, like the moon by mist assailed,<br />\nThe tear-dimmed eyes of Ráma failed;<br />\nThat burst of woe unmanned his frame,<br />\nWoe sprung from passion for his dame,<br />\nAnd with his manly strength o\'erthrown,<br />\n559Like the wife of a Nága or Serpent-God carried off by an eagle. The enmity<br />\nbetween the King of birds and the serpent is of very frequent occurrence. It<br />\nseems to be a modification of the strife between the Vedic Indra and the Ahi,<br />\nthe serpent or drought-fiend; between Apollôn and the Python, Adam and the<br />\nSerpent.<br />\nCanto VI. The Tokens.<br />\n1173<br />\nHe fell and cried, Ah me! mine own!<br />\nAgain, again close to his breast<br />\nThe ornaments and robe he pressed,<br />\nWhile the quick pants that shook his frame<br />\nAs from a furious serpent came.<br />\nOn his dear brother standing nigh<br />\nHe turned at length his piteous eye;<br />\nAnd, while his tears increasing ran,<br />\nIn bitter wail he thus began:<br />\n“Look, brother, and behold once more<br />\nThe ornaments and robe she wore,<br />\nDropped while the giant bore away<br />\nIn cruel arras his struggling prey,<br />\nDropped in some quiet spot, I ween,<br />\nWhere the young grass was soft and green;<br />\nFor still untouched by spot or stain<br />\nTheir former beauty all retain.”<br />\nHe spoke with many a tear and sigh,<br />\nAnd thus his brother made reply:<br />\n“The bracelets thou hast fondly shown,<br />\nAnd earrings, are to me unknown,<br />\nBut by long service taught I greet<br />\nThe anklets of her honoured feet.”560<br />\nThen to Sugríva Ráma, best<br />\nOf Raghu\'s sons, these words addressed:<br />\n560He means that he has never ventured to raise his eyes to her arms and face,<br />\nthough he has ever been her devoted servant.<br />\n1174<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\n“Say to what quarter of the sky<br />\nThe cruel fiend was seen to fly,<br />\nBearing afar my captured wife,<br />\nMy darling dearer than my life.<br />\nSpeak, Vánar King, that I may know<br />\nWhere dwells the cause of all my woe;<br />\nThe fiend for whose transgression all<br />\nThe giants by this hand shall fall.<br />\nHe who the Maithil lady stole<br />\nAnd kindled fury in my soul,<br />\nHas sought his fate in senseless pride<br />\nAnd opened Death\'s dark portal wide.<br />\nThen tell me, Vánar lord, I pray,<br />\nThe dwelling of my foe,<br />\nAnd he, beneath this hand, to-day<br />\nTo Yáma\'s halls shall go.”<br />\n[331]<br />\nCanto VII. Ráma Consoled.<br />\nWith longing love and woe oppressed<br />\nThe Vánar chief he thus addressed:<br />\nAnd he, while sobs his utterance broke,<br />\nRaised up his reverent hands and spoke:<br />\nCanto VII. Ráma Consoled.<br />\n1175<br />\n“O Raghu\'s son, I cannot tell<br />\nWhere now that cruel fiend may dwell,<br />\nDeclare his power and might, or trace<br />\nThe author of his cursed race.<br />\nStill trust the promise that I make<br />\nAnd let thy breast no longer ache.<br />\nSo will I toil, nor toil in vain,<br />\nThat thou thy consort mayst regain.<br />\nSo will I work with might and skill<br />\nThat joy anew thy heart shall fill:<br />\nThe valour of my soul display,<br />\nAnd Rávaṇ and his legions slay.<br />\nAwake, awake! unmanned no more<br />\nRecall the strength was thine of yore.<br />\nBeseems not men like thee to wear<br />\nA weak heart yielding to despair.<br />\nLike troubles, too, mine eyes have seen,<br />\nLamenting for a long-lost queen;<br />\nBut, by despair unconquered yet,<br />\nMy strength of mind I ne\'er forget.<br />\nFar more shouldst thou of lofty soul<br />\nThy passion and thy tears control,<br />\nWhen I, of Vánar\'s humbler strain,<br />\nWeep not for her in ceaseless pain.<br />\nBe firm, be patient, nor forget<br />\nThe bounds the brave of heart have set<br />\nIn loss, in woe, in strife, in fear,<br />\nWhen the dark hour of death is near.<br />\nUp! with thine own brave heart advise:<br />\nNot thus despond the firm and wise.<br />\nBut he who gives his childish heart<br />\nTo choose the coward\'s weakling part,<br />\nSinks, like a foundered vessel, deep<br />\nIn waves of woe that o\'er him sweep.<br />\n1176<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nSee, suppliant hand to hand I lay,<br />\nAnd, moved by faithful love, I pray.<br />\nGive way no more to grief and gloom,<br />\nBut all thy native strength resume.<br />\nNo joy on earth, I ween, have they<br />\nWho yield their souls to sorrow\'s sway.<br />\nTheir glory fades in slow decline:<br />\n\'Tis not for thee to grieve and pine.<br />\nI do but hint with friendly speech<br />\nThe wiser part I dare not teach.<br />\nThis better path, dear friend, pursue,<br />\nAnd let not grief thy soul subdue.”<br />\nSugríva thus with gentle art<br />\nAnd sweet words soothed the mourner\'s heart,<br />\nWho brushed off with his mantle\'s hem<br />\nTears from the eyes bedewed with them.<br />\nSugríva\'s words were not in vain,<br />\nAnd Ráma was himself again,<br />\nAround the king his arms he threw<br />\nAnd thus began his speech anew:<br />\n“Whate\'er a friend most wise and true,<br />\nWho counsels for the best, should do,<br />\nWhate\'er his gentle part should be,<br />\nHas been performed, dear friend, by thee.<br />\nTaught by thy counsel, O my lord,<br />\nI feel my native strength restored.<br />\nA friend like thee is hard to gain,<br />\nMost rare in time of grief and pain.<br />\nNow strain thine utmost power to trace<br />\nThe Maithil lady\'s dwelling place,<br />\nAnd aid me in my search to find<br />\nFierce Rávaṇ of the impious mind.<br />\nCanto VIII. Ráma\'s Promise.<br />\n1177<br />\nTrust thou, in turn, thy loyal friend,<br />\nAnd say what aid this arm can lend<br />\nTo speed thy hopes, as fostering rain<br />\nQuickens in earth the scattered grain.<br />\nDeem not those words, that seemed to spring<br />\nFrom pride, are false, O Vánar King.<br />\nNone from these lips has ever heard,<br />\nNone e\'er shall hear, one lying word.<br />\nAgain I promise and declare,<br />\nYea, by my truth, dear friend, I swear.”<br />\nThen glad was King Sugríva\'s breast,<br />\nAnd all his lords their joy confessed,<br />\nStirred by sure hope of Ráma\'s aid,<br />\nAnd promise which the prince had made.<br />\nCanto VIII. Ráma\'s Promise.<br />\nDoubt from Sugríva\'s heart had fled,<br />\nAnd thus to Raghu\'s son he said:<br />\n“No bliss the Gods of heaven deny.<br />\nEach views me with a favouring eye,<br />\nWhen thou, whom all good gifts attend,<br />\nHast sought me and become my friend.<br />\nLeagued, friend, with thee in bold emprise<br />\nMy arm might win the conquered skies;<br />\nAnd shall our banded strength be weak<br />\nTo gain the realm which now I seek?<br />\nA happy fate was mine above<br />\nMy kith and kin and all I love,<br />\nWhen, near the witness fire, I won<br />\n1178<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThy friendship, Raghu\'s glorious son.<br />\nThou too in ripening time shall see<br />\nThy friend not all unworthy thee.<br />\nWhat gifts I have shall thus be shown:<br />\nNot mine the tongue to make them known.<br />\nStrong is the changeless bond that binds<br />\nThe friendly faith of noble minds,<br />\nIn woe, in danger, firm and sure<br />\nTheir constancy and love endure.<br />\nGold, silver, jewels rich and rare<br />\nThey count as wealth for friends to share.<br />\n[332]<br />\nYea, be they rich or poor and low,<br />\nBlest with all joys or sunk in woe,<br />\nStained with each fault or pure of blame,<br />\nTheir friends the nearest place may claim;<br />\nFor whom they leave, at friendship\'s call,<br />\nTheir gold, their bliss, their homes and all.”<br />\nHe spoke by generous impulse moved,<br />\nAnd Raghu\'s son his speech approved<br />\nGlancing at Lakshmaṇ by his side,<br />\nLike Indra in his beauty\'s pride.<br />\nThe Vánar monarch saw the pair<br />\nOf mighty brothers standing there,<br />\nAnd turned his rapid eye to view<br />\nThe forest trees that near him grew.<br />\nHe saw, not far from where he stood,<br />\nA Sál tree towering o\'er the wood.<br />\nAmid the thick leaves many a bee<br />\nGraced the scant blossoms of the tree,<br />\nFrom whose dark shade a bough, that bore<br />\nA load of leafy twigs, he tore,<br />\nWhich on the grassy ground he laid<br />\nAnd seats for him and Ráma made.<br />\nCanto VIII. Ráma\'s Promise.<br />\n1179<br />\nHanúmán saw them sit, he sought<br />\nA Sál tree\'s leafy bough and brought<br />\nThe burthen, and with meek request<br />\nEntreated Lakshmaṇ, too, to rest.<br />\nThere on the noble mountain\'s brow,<br />\nStrewn with the young leaves of the bough,<br />\nSat Raghu\'s son in placid ease<br />\nCalm as the sea when sleeps the breeze.<br />\nSugríva\'s heart with rapture swelled,<br />\nAnd thus, by eager love impelled,<br />\nHe spoke in gracious tone, that, oft<br />\nChecked by his joy, was low and soft:<br />\n“I, by my brother\'s might oppressed,<br />\nBy ceaseless woe and fear distressed,<br />\nMourning my consort far away,<br />\nOn Rishyamúka\'s mountain stray.<br />\nExpelled by Báli\'s cruel hate<br />\nI wander here disconsolate.<br />\nDo thou to whom all sufferers flee,<br />\nFrom his dread hand deliver me.”<br />\nHe spoke, and Ráma, just and brave,<br />\nWhose pious soul to virtue clave,<br />\nSmiled as in conscious might he eyed<br />\nThe king of Vánars, and replied:<br />\n“Best fruit of friendship is the deed<br />\nThat helps the friend in hour of need;<br />\nAnd this mine arm in death shall lay<br />\nThy robber ere the close of day.<br />\nFor see, these feathered darts of mine<br />\nWhose points so fiercely flash and shine,<br />\nAnd shafts with golden emblem, came<br />\nFrom dark woods known by Skanda\'s name,561<br />\n561The wood in which Skanda or Kártikeva was brought up:<br />\n1180<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nWinged from the pinion of the hern<br />\nLike Indra\'s bolts they strike and burn.<br />\nWith even knots and piercing head<br />\nEach like a furious snake is sped;<br />\nWith these, to-day, before thine eye<br />\nShall, like a shattered mountain, lie<br />\nBáli, thy dread and wicked foe,<br />\nO\'erwhelmed in hideous overthrow.”<br />\nHe spoke: Sugríva\'s bosom swelled<br />\nWith hope and joy unparalleled.<br />\nThen his glad voice the Vánar raised,<br />\nAnd thus the son of Raghu praised:<br />\n“Long have I pined in depth of grief;<br />\nThou art the hope of all, O chief.<br />\nNow, Raghu\'s son, I hail thee friend,<br />\nAnd bid thee to my woes attend;<br />\nFor, by my truth I swear it, now<br />\nNot life itself is dear as thou,<br />\nSince by the witness fire we met<br />\nAnd friendly hand in hand was set.<br />\nFriend communes now with friend, and hence<br />\nI tell with surest confidence,<br />\nHow woes that on my spirit weigh<br />\nConsume me through the night and day.”<br />\n“The Warrior-God<br />\nWhose infant steps amid the thickets strayed<br />\nWhere the reeds wave over the holy sod.”<br />\nSee also Book I, Canto XXIX.<br />\nCanto VIII. Ráma\'s Promise.<br />\n1181<br />\nFor sobs and sighs he scarce could speak,<br />\nAnd his sad voice came low and weak,<br />\nAs, while his eyes with tears o\'erflowed,<br />\nThe burden of his soul he showed.<br />\nThen by strong effort, bravely made,<br />\nThe torrent of his tears he stayed,<br />\nWiped his bright eyes, his grief subdued,<br />\nAnd thus, more calm, his speech renewed:<br />\n“By Báli\'s conquering might oppressed,<br />\nOf power and kingship dispossessed,<br />\nLoaded with taunts of scorn and hate<br />\nI left my realm and royal state.<br />\nHe tore away my consort: she<br />\nWas dearer than my life to me,<br />\nAnd many a friend to me and mine<br />\nIn hopeless chains was doomed to pine.<br />\nWith wicked thoughts, unsated still,<br />\nMe whom he wrongs he yearns to kill;<br />\nAnd spies of Vánar race, who tried<br />\nTo slay me, by this hand have died.<br />\nMoved by this constant doubt and fear<br />\nI saw thee, Prince, and came not near.<br />\nWhen woe and peril gather round<br />\nA foe in every form is found.<br />\nSave Hanumán, O Raghu\'s son,<br />\nAnd these, no friend is left me, none.<br />\nThrough their kind aid, a faithful band<br />\nWho guard their lord from hostile hand,<br />\nRest when their chieftain rests and bend<br />\nTheir steps where\'er he lists to wend,—<br />\nThrough them alone, in toil and pain,<br />\nMy wretched life I still sustain.<br />\n[333]<br />\n1182<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nEnough, for thou hast heard in brief<br />\nThe story of my pain and grief.<br />\nHis mighty strength all regions know,<br />\nMy brother, but my deadly foe.<br />\nAh, if the proud oppressor fell,<br />\nHis death would all my woe dispel.<br />\nYea, on my cruel conqueror\'s fall<br />\nMy joy depends, my life, my all.<br />\nThis were the end and sure relief,<br />\nO Ráma, of my tale of grief.<br />\nFair be his lot or dark with woe,<br />\nNo comfort like a friend I know.”<br />\nThen Ráma spoke: “O friend, relate<br />\nWhence sprang fraternal strife and hate,<br />\nThat duly taught by thee, I may<br />\nEach foeman\'s strength and weakness weigh:<br />\nAnd skilled in every chance restore<br />\nThe blissful state thou hadst before.<br />\nFor, when I think of all the scorn<br />\nAnd bitter woe thou long hast borne,<br />\nMy soul indignant swells with pain<br />\nLike waters flushed with furious rain.<br />\nThen, ere I string this bended bow,<br />\nTell me the tale I long to know,<br />\nEre from the cord my arrow fly,<br />\nAnd low in death thy foeman lie.”<br />\nHe spoke: Sugríva joyed to hear,<br />\nNor less his lords were glad of cheer:<br />\nAnd thus to Ráma mighty-souled<br />\nThe cause that moved their strife he told:<br />\nCanto IX. Sugríva\'s Story.<br />\n1183<br />\nCanto IX. Sugríva\'s Story.562<br />\n“My brother, known by Báli\'s name,<br />\nHad won by might a conqueror\'s fame.<br />\nMy father\'s eldest-born was he,<br />\nWell honoured by his sire and me.<br />\nMy father died, and each sage lord<br />\nNamed Báli king with one accord;<br />\nAnd he, by right of birth ordained,<br />\nThe sovereign of the Vánars reigned.<br />\nHe in his royal place controlled<br />\nThe kingdom of our sires of old,<br />\nAnd I all faithful service lent<br />\nTo aid my brother\'s government.<br />\nThe fiend Máyáví,—him of yore<br />\nTo Dundubhi563his mother bore,—<br />\nFor woman\'s love in strife engaged,<br />\nA deadly war with Báli waged.<br />\nWhen sleep had chained each weary frame<br />\nTo vast Kishkindhá564gates he came,<br />\nAnd, shouting through the shades of night,<br />\nChallenged his foeman to the fight.<br />\nMy brother heard the furious shout,<br />\nAnd wild with rage rushed madly out,<br />\nThough fain would I and each sad wife<br />\nDetain him from the deadly strife.<br />\nHe burned his demon foe to slay,<br />\n562“Sugríva\'s story paints in vivid colours the manners, customs and ideas<br />\nof the wild mountain tribes which inhabited Kishkindhya or the southern<br />\nhills of the Deccan, of the people whom the poem calls monkeys, tribes<br />\naltogether different in origin and civilization from the Indo-Sanskrit race.”<br />\nGORRESIO{FNS.<br />\n563A fiend slain by Báli.<br />\n564Báli\'s mountain city.<br />\n1184<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd rushed impetuous to the fray.<br />\nHis weeping wives he thrust aside,<br />\nAnd forth, impelled by fury, hied;<br />\nWhile, by my love and duty led,<br />\nI followed where my brother sped.<br />\nMáyáví looked, and at the sight<br />\nFled from his foes in wild affright.<br />\nThe flying fiend we quickly viewed,<br />\nAnd with swift feet his steps pursued.<br />\nThen rose the moon, whose friendly ray<br />\nCast light upon our headlong way.<br />\nBy the soft beams was dimly shown<br />\nA mighty cave with grass o\'ergrown.<br />\nWithin its depths he sprang, and we<br />\nThe demon\'s form no more might see.<br />\nMy brother\'s breast was all aglow<br />\nWith fury when he missed the foe,<br />\nAnd, turning, thus to me he said<br />\nWith senses all disquieted:<br />\n“Here by the cavern\'s mouth remain;<br />\nKeep ear and eye upon the strain,<br />\nWhile I the dark recess explore<br />\nAnd dip my brand in foeman\'s gore.”<br />\nI heard his angry speech, and tried<br />\nTo turn him from his plan aside.<br />\nHe made me swear by both his feet,<br />\nAnd sped within the dark retreat.<br />\nWhile in the cave he stayed, and I<br />\nWatched at the mouth, a year went by.<br />\nFor his return I looked in vain,<br />\nAnd, moved by love, believed him slain.<br />\nI mourned, by doubt and fear distressed,<br />\nAnd greater horror seized my breast<br />\nWhen from the cavern rolled a flood,<br />\nCanto IX. Sugríva\'s Story.<br />\n1185<br />\nA carnage stream of froth and blood;<br />\nAnd from the depths a sound of fear,<br />\nThe roar of demons, smote mine ear;<br />\nBut never rang my brother\'s shout<br />\nTriumphant in the battle rout.<br />\nI closed the cavern with a block,<br />\nHuge as a hill, of shattered rock.<br />\nGave offerings due to Báli\'s shade,<br />\nAnd sought Kishkindhá, sore dismayed.<br />\nLong time with anxious care I tried<br />\nFrom Báli\'s lords his fate to hide,<br />\nBut they, when once the tale was known,<br />\nPlaced me as king on Báli\'s throne.<br />\nThere for a while I justly reigned<br />\n[334]<br />\nAnd all with equal care ordained,<br />\nWhen joyous from the demon slain<br />\nMy brother Báli came again.<br />\nHe found me ruling in his stead,<br />\nAnd, fired with rage, his eyes grew red.<br />\nHe slew the lords who made me king,<br />\nAnd spoke keen words to taunt and sting.<br />\nThe kingly rank and power I held<br />\nMy brother\'s rage with ease had quelled,<br />\nBut still, restrained by old respect<br />\nFor claims of birth, the thought I checked.<br />\nThus having struck the demon down<br />\nCame Báli to his royal town.<br />\nWith meek respect, with humble speech,<br />\nHis haughty heart I strove to reach.<br />\nBut all my arts were tried in vain,<br />\nNo gentle word his lips would deign,<br />\nThough to the ground I bent and set<br />\nHis feet upon my coronet:<br />\nStill Báli in his rage and pride<br />\n1186<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAll signs of grace and love denied.”<br />\nCanto X. Sugríva\'s Story.<br />\n“I strove to soothe and lull to rest<br />\nThe fury of his troubled breast:<br />\n“Well art thou come, dear lord,” I cried.<br />\n“By whose strong arm thy foe has died.<br />\nForlorn I languished here, but now<br />\nMy saviour and defence art thou.<br />\nOnce more receive this regal shade565<br />\nLike the full moon in heaven displayed;<br />\nAnd let the chouries,566thus restored,<br />\nWave glorious o\'er the rightful lord.<br />\nI kept my watch, thy word obeyed,<br />\nAnd by the cave a year I stayed.<br />\nBut when I saw that stream of blood<br />\nRush from the cavern in a flood,<br />\nMy sad heart broken with dismay,<br />\nAnd every wandering sense astray,<br />\nI barred the entrance with a stone,—<br />\nA crag from some high mountain thrown—<br />\nTurned from the spot I watched in vain,<br />\nAnd to Kishkindhá came again.<br />\nMy deep distress and downcast mien<br />\nBy citizen and lord were seen.<br />\nThey made me king against my will:<br />\nForgive me if the deed was ill.<br />\n565The canopy or royal umbrella, one of the usual Indian regalia.<br />\n566Whisks made of the hair of the Yak or Bos grunniers, also regal insignia.<br />\nCanto X. Sugríva\'s Story.<br />\n1187<br />\nTrue as I ever was I see<br />\nMy honoured king once more in thee;<br />\nI only ruled a while the state<br />\nWhen thou hadst left us desolate.<br />\nThis town with people, lords, and lands,<br />\nLay as a trust in guardian hands:<br />\nAnd now, my gracious lord, accept<br />\nThe kingdom which thy servant kept.<br />\nForgive me, victor of the foe,<br />\nNor let thy wrath against me glow.<br />\nSee joining suppliant hands I pray,<br />\nAnd at thy feet my head I lay.<br />\nBelieve my words: against my will<br />\nThe royal seat they made me fill.<br />\nUnkinged they saw the city, hence<br />\nThey made me lord for her defence.”<br />\nBut Báli, though I humbly sued,<br />\nReviled me in his furious mood:<br />\n“Out on thee, wretch!” in wrath he cried<br />\nWith many a bitter taunt beside.<br />\nHe summoned every lord, and all<br />\nHis subjects gathered at his call.<br />\nThen forth his burning anger broke,<br />\nAnd thus amid his friends he spoke:<br />\n“I need not tell, for well ye know,<br />\nHow fierce Máyáví, fiend and foe,<br />\nCame to Kishkindhá\'s gate by night,<br />\nAnd dared me in his wrath to fight.<br />\nI heard each word the demon said:<br />\nForth from my royal hall I sped;<br />\nAnd, foe in brother\'s guise concealed,<br />\nSugríva followed to the field.<br />\nThe mighty demon through the shade<br />\n1188<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nBeheld me come with one to aid:<br />\nThen shrinking from unequal fight,<br />\nHe turned his back in swiftest flight.<br />\nFrom vengeful foes his life to save<br />\nHe sought the refuge of a cave.<br />\nThen when I saw the fiend had fled<br />\nWithin that cavern dark and dread,<br />\nThus to my brother cruel-eyed,<br />\nImpatient in my wrath, I cried:<br />\n“I seek no more my royal town<br />\nTill I have struck the demon down.<br />\nHere by the cavern\'s mouth remain<br />\nUntil my hand the foe have slain.”<br />\nUpon his faith my heart relied,<br />\nAnd swift within the depths I hied.<br />\nA year went by: in every spot<br />\nI sought the fiend, but found him not.<br />\nAt length my foe I saw and slew,<br />\nWhom long I feared when lost to view;<br />\nAnd all his kinsmen by his side<br />\nBeneath my vengeful fury died.<br />\nThe monster, as he reeled and fell,<br />\nPoured forth his blood with roar and yell;<br />\nAnd, filling all the cavern, dyed<br />\nThe portal with the crimson tide.<br />\nUpon my foeman slain at last<br />\nOne look, one pitying look, I cast.<br />\nI sought again the light of day:<br />\nThe cave was closed and left no way.<br />\nTo the barred mouth I sadly came,<br />\nAnd called aloud Sugríva\'s name.<br />\nBut all was still: no voice replied,<br />\n[335]<br />\nAnd hope within my bosom died.<br />\nWith furious efforts, vain at first,<br />\nCanto X. Sugríva\'s Story.<br />\n1189<br />\nThrough bars of rock my way I burst.<br />\nThen, free once more, the path that brought<br />\nMy feet in safety home I sought.<br />\n\'Twas thus Sugríva dared despise<br />\nThe claim of brothers\' friendly ties.<br />\nWith crags of rock he barred me in,<br />\nAnd for himself the realm would win.”<br />\nThus Báli spoke in words severe;<br />\nAnd then, unmoved by ruth or fear,<br />\nLeft me a single robe and sent<br />\nHis brother forth in banishment.<br />\nHe cast me out with scathe and scorn,<br />\nAnd from my side my wife was torn.<br />\nNow in great fear and ill at ease<br />\nI roam this land with woods and seas,<br />\nOr dwell on Rishyamúka\'s hill,<br />\nAnd sorrow for my consort still.<br />\nThou hast the tale how first arose<br />\nThis bitter hate of brother foes.<br />\nSuch are the griefs neath which I pine,<br />\nAnd all without a fault of mine.<br />\nO swift to save in hour of fear,<br />\nMy prayer who dread this Báli, hear<br />\nWith gracious love assistance deign,<br />\nAnd mine oppressor\'s arm restrain.”<br />\nThen Raghu\'s son, the good and brave,<br />\nWith a gay laugh his answer gave:<br />\n“These shafts of mine which ne\'er can fail,<br />\nBefore whose sheen the sun grows pale,<br />\nWinged by my fury, fleet and fierce,<br />\nThe wicked Báli\'s heart shall pierce.<br />\nYea, mark the words I speak, so long<br />\n1190<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nShall live that wretch who joys in wrong,<br />\nUntil these angered eyes have seen<br />\nThe robber of thy darling queen.<br />\nI, taught by equal suffering, know<br />\nWhat waves of grief above thee flow.<br />\nThis hand thy captive wife shall free,<br />\nAnd give thy kingdom back to thee.”<br />\nSugríva joyed as Ráma spoke,<br />\nAnd valour in his breast awoke.<br />\nHis eye grew bright, his heart grew bold,<br />\nAnd thus his wondrous tale he told:<br />\nCanto XI. Dundubhi.<br />\n“I doubt not, Prince, thy peerless might,<br />\nArmed with these shafts so keen and bright,<br />\nLike all-destroying fires of fate,<br />\nThe worlds could burn and devastate.<br />\nBut lend thou first thy mind and ear<br />\nOf Báli\'s power and might to hear.<br />\nHow bold, how firm, in battle tried,<br />\nIs Báli\'s heart; and then decide.<br />\nFrom east to west, from south to north<br />\nOn restless errand hurrying forth,<br />\nFrom farthest sea to sea he flies<br />\nBefore the sun has lit the skies.<br />\nA mountain top he oft will seek,<br />\nTear from its root a towering peak,<br />\nHurl it aloft, as \'twere a ball,<br />\nAnd catch it ere to earth it fall.<br />\nCanto XI. Dundubhi.<br />\n1191<br />\nAnd many a tree that long has stood<br />\nIn health and vigour in the wood,<br />\nHis single arm to earth will throw,<br />\nThe marvels of his might to show.<br />\nShaped like a bull, a monster bore<br />\nThe name of Dundubhi of yore:<br />\nHe matched in size a mountain height,<br />\nA thousand elephants in might.<br />\nBy pride of wondrous gifts impelled,<br />\nAnd strength he deemed unparalleled,<br />\nTo Ocean, lord of stream and brook,<br />\nAthirst for war, his way he took.<br />\nHe reached the king of rolling waves<br />\nWhose gems are piled in sunless caves,<br />\nAnd threw his challenge to the sea;<br />\n“Come forth, O King, and fight with me.”<br />\nHe spoke, and from his ocean bed<br />\nThe righteous567monarch heaved his head,<br />\nAnd gave, sedate, his calm reply<br />\nTo him whom fate impelled to die:<br />\n“Not mine, not mine the power,” he cried,<br />\n“To cope with thee in battle tried;<br />\nBut listen to my voice, and seek<br />\nThe worthier foe of whom I speak.<br />\nThe Lord of Hills, where hermits live<br />\nAnd love the home his forests give,<br />\nWhose child is Śankar\'s darling queen,568<br />\nThe King of Snows is he I mean.<br />\nDeep caves has he, and dark boughs shade<br />\n567Righteous because he never transgresses his bounds, and<br />\n“over his great tides<br />\nFidelity presides.”<br />\n568Himálaya, theLordofSnow, isthefatherofUmáthewifeofŚivaorŚankar.<br />\n1192<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe torrent and the wild cascade.<br />\nFrom him expect the fierce delight<br />\nWhich heroes feel in equal fight.”<br />\nHe deemed that fear checked ocean\'s king,<br />\nAnd, like an arrow from the string,<br />\nTo the wild woods that clothe the side<br />\nOf Lord Himálaya\'s hills he hied.<br />\nThen Dundubhi, with hideous roar,<br />\nHuge fragments from the summit tore<br />\nVast as Airávat,569white with snow,<br />\nAnd hurled them to the plains below.<br />\nThen like a white cloud soft, serene,<br />\nThe Lord of Mountains\' form was seen.<br />\nIt sat upon a lofty crest,<br />\nAnd thus the furious fiend addressed:<br />\n“Beseems thee not, O virtue\'s friend,<br />\nMy mountain tops to rive and rend;<br />\n[336]<br />\nFor I, the hermit\'s calm retreat,<br />\nFor deeds of war am all unmeet.”<br />\nThe demon\'s eye with rage grew red,<br />\nAnd thus in furious tone he said:<br />\n“If thou from fear or sloth decline<br />\nTo match thy strength in war with mine,<br />\nWhere shall I find a champion, say,<br />\nTo meet me burning for the fray?”<br />\nHe spoke: Himálaya, skilled in lore<br />\nOf eloquence, replied once more,<br />\nAnd, angered in his righteous mind,<br />\nAddressed the chief of demon kind:<br />\n“The Vánar Báli, brave and wise,<br />\n569Indra\'s celestial elephant.<br />\nCanto XI. Dundubhi.<br />\n1193<br />\nSon of the God who rules the skies,570<br />\nSways, glorious in his high renown,<br />\nKishkindhá his imperial town.<br />\nWell may that valiant lord who knows<br />\nEach art of war his might oppose<br />\nTo thine, in equal battle set,<br />\nAs Namuehi571and Indra met.<br />\nGo, if thy soul desire the fray;<br />\nTo Báli\'s city speed away,<br />\nAnd that unconquered hero meet<br />\nWhose fame is high for warlike feat.”<br />\nHe listened to the Lord of Snow,<br />\nAnd, his proud heart with rage aglow,<br />\nSped swift away and lighted down<br />\nBy vast Kishkindhá, Báli\'s town.<br />\nWith pointed horns to strike and gore<br />\nThe semblance of a bull he bore,<br />\nHuge as a cloud that downward bends<br />\nEre the full flood of rain descends.<br />\nImpelled by pride and rage and hate,<br />\nHe thundered at Kishkindhá\'s gate;<br />\nAnd with his bellowing, like the sound<br />\nOf pealing drums, he shook the ground,<br />\nHe rent the earth and prostrate threw<br />\nThe trees that near the portal grew.<br />\nKing Báli from the bowers within<br />\nIndignant heard the roar and din.<br />\nThen, moonlike mid the stars, with all<br />\nHis dames he hurried to the wall;<br />\nAnd to the fiend this speech, expressed<br />\nIn clear and measured words, addressed:<br />\n570Báli was the son of Indra. See p. 28.<br />\n571An Asur slain by Indra. See p. 261 Note. He is, like Vritra, a form of the<br />\ndemon of drought destroyed by the beneficent God of the firmament.<br />\n1194<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\n“Know me for monarch. Báli styled,<br />\nOf Vánar tribes that roam the wild.<br />\nSay why dost thou this gate molest,<br />\nAnd bellowing thus disturb our rest?<br />\nI know thee, mighty fiend: beware<br />\nAnd guard thy life with wiser care.”<br />\nHe spoke: and thus the fiend returned,<br />\nWhile red with rage his eyeballs burned:<br />\n“What! speak when all thy dames are nigh<br />\nAnd hero-like thy foe defy?<br />\nCome, meet me in the fight this day,<br />\nAnd learn my strength by bold assay.<br />\nOr shall I spare thee, and relent<br />\nUntil the coming night be spent?<br />\nTake then the respite of a night<br />\nAnd yield thee to each soft delight.<br />\nThen, monarch of the Vánar race<br />\nWith loving arms thy friends embrace.<br />\nGifts on thy faithful lords bestow,<br />\nBid each and all farewell, and go.<br />\nShow in the streets once more thy face,<br />\nInstall thy son to fill thy place.<br />\nDally a while with each dear dame;<br />\nAnd then my strength thy pride shall tame<br />\nFor, should I smite thee drunk with wine<br />\nEnamoured of those dames of thine,<br />\nBeneath diseases bowed and bent,<br />\nOr weak, unarmed, or negligent,<br />\nMy deed would merit hate and scorn<br />\nAs his who slays the child unborn.”<br />\nThen Báli\'s soul with rage was fired,<br />\nQueen Tára and the dames retired;<br />\nAnd slowly, with a laugh of pride,<br />\nThe king of Vánars thus replied:<br />\nCanto XI. Dundubhi.<br />\n1195<br />\n“Me, fiend, thou deemest drunk with wine:<br />\nUnless thy fear the fight decline,<br />\nCome, meet me in the fray, and test<br />\nThe spirit of my valiant breast.”<br />\nHe spoke in wrath and high disdain;<br />\nAnd, laying down his golden chain,<br />\nGift of his sire Mahendra, dared<br />\nThe demon, for the fray prepared;<br />\nSeized by the horns the monster, vast<br />\nAs a huge hill, and held him fast,<br />\nThen fiercely dragged him round and round,<br />\nAnd, shouting, hurled him to the ground.<br />\nBlood streaming from his ears, he rose,<br />\nAnd wild with fury strove the foes.<br />\nThen Báli, match for Indra\'s might,<br />\nWith every arm renewed the fight.<br />\nHe fought with fists, and feet, and knees,<br />\nWith fragments of the rock, and trees.<br />\nAt last the monster\'s strength, assailed<br />\nBy Śakra\'s572conquering offspring, failed.<br />\nHim Báli raised with mighty strain<br />\nAnd dashed upon the ground again;<br />\nWhere, bruised and shattered, in a tide<br />\nOf rushing blood, the demon died.<br />\nKing Báli saw the lifeless corse,<br />\nAnd bending, with tremendous force<br />\nRaised the huge bulk from where it lay,<br />\nAnd hurled it full a league away.<br />\nAs through the air the body flew,<br />\nSome blood-drops, caught by gales that blew,<br />\nWelled from his shattered jaw and fell<br />\nBy Saint Matanga\'s hermit cell:<br />\n572Another name of Indra or Mahendra.<br />\n1196<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nMatanga saw, illustrious sage,<br />\nThose drops defile his hermitage,<br />\n[337]<br />\nAnd, as he marvelled whence they came,<br />\nFierce anger filled his soul with flame:<br />\n“Who is the villain, evil-souled,<br />\nWith childish thoughts unwise and bold,<br />\nWho is the impious wretch,” he cried,<br />\n“By whom my grove with blood is dyed?”<br />\nThus spoke Matanga in his rage,<br />\nAnd hastened from the hermitage,<br />\nWhen lo, before his wondering eyes<br />\nLay the dead bull of mountain size.<br />\nHis hermit soul was nothing slow<br />\nThe doer of the deed to know,<br />\nAnd thus the Vánar in a burst<br />\nOf wild tempestuous wrath he cursed:<br />\n“Ne\'er let that Vánar wander here,<br />\nFor, if he come, his death is near,<br />\nWhose impious hand with blood has dyed<br />\nThe holy place where I abide,<br />\nWho threw this demon corse and made<br />\nA ruin of the pleasant shade.<br />\nIf e\'er he plant his wicked feet<br />\nWithin one league of my retreat;<br />\nYea, if the villain come so nigh<br />\nThat very hour he needs must die.<br />\nAnd let the Vánar lords who dwell<br />\nIn the dark woods that skirt my cell<br />\nObey my words, and speeding hence<br />\nFind them some meeter residence.<br />\nHere if they dare to stay, on all<br />\nThe terrors of my curse shall fall.<br />\nThey spoil the tender saplings, dear<br />\nCanto XI. Dundubhi.<br />\n1197<br />\nAs children which I cherish here,<br />\nMar root and branch and leaf and spray,<br />\nAnd steal the ripening fruit away.<br />\nOne day I grant, no further hour,<br />\nTo-morrow shall my curse have power,<br />\nAnd then each Vánar I may see<br />\nA stone through countless years shall be.”<br />\nThe Vánars heard the curse and hied<br />\nFrom sheltering wood and mountain side.<br />\nKing Báli marked their haste and dread,<br />\nAnd to the flying leaders said:<br />\n“Speak, Vánar chiefs, and tell me why<br />\nFrom Saint Matanga\'s grove ye fly<br />\nTo gather round me: is it well<br />\nWith all who in those woodlands dwell?”<br />\nHe spoke: the Vánar leaders told<br />\nKing Báli with his chain of gold<br />\nWhat curse the saint had on them laid,<br />\nWhich drove them from their ancient shade.<br />\nThen royal Báli sought the sage,<br />\nWith reverent hands to soothe his rage.<br />\nThe holy man his suppliant spurned,<br />\nAnd to his cell in anger turned.<br />\nThat curse on Báli sorely pressed,<br />\nAnd long his conscious soul distressed.<br />\nHim still the curse and terror keep<br />\nAfar from Rishyamúka\'s steep.<br />\nHe dares not to the grove draw nigh,<br />\nNay scarce will hither turn his eye.<br />\nWe know what terrors warm him hence,<br />\nAnd roam these woods in confidence.<br />\nLook, Prince, before thee white and dry<br />\nThe demon\'s bones uncovered lie,<br />\nWho, like a hill in bulk and length,<br />\n1198<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nFell ruind for his pride of strength.<br />\nSee those high Sál trees seven in row<br />\nThat droop their mighty branches low,<br />\nThese at one grasp would Báli seize,<br />\nAnd leafless shake the trembling trees.<br />\nThese tales I tell, O Prince, to show<br />\nThe matchless power that arms the foe.<br />\nHow canst thou hope to slay him? how<br />\nMeet Báli in the battle now?”<br />\nSugríva spoke and sadly sighed:<br />\nAnd Lakshmaṇ with a laugh replied:<br />\n“What show of power, what proof and test<br />\nMay still the doubts that fill thy breast?”<br />\nHe spoke. Sugríva thus replied:<br />\n“See yonder Sál trees side by side.<br />\nKing Báli here would take his stand<br />\nGrasping his bow with vigorous hand,<br />\nAnd every arrow, keen and true,<br />\nWould strike its tree and pierce it through.<br />\nIf Ráma now his bow will bend,<br />\nAnd through one trunk an arrow send;<br />\nOr if his arm can raise and throw<br />\nTwo hundred measures of his bow,<br />\nGrasped by a foot and hurled through air,<br />\nThe demon bull that moulders there,<br />\nMy heart will own his might and fain<br />\nBelieve my foe already slain.”<br />\nCanto XI. Dundubhi.<br />\n1199<br />\nSugríva spoke inflamed with ire,<br />\nScanned Ráma with a glance of fire,<br />\nPondered a while in silent mood.<br />\nAnd thus again his speech renewed:<br />\n“All lands with Báli\'s glories ring,<br />\nA valiant, strong, and mighty king;<br />\nIn conscious power unused to yield,<br />\nA hero first in every field.<br />\nHis wondrous deeds his might declare,<br />\nDeeds Gods might scarcely do or dare;<br />\nAnd on this power reflecting still<br />\nI roam on Rishyamúka\'s hill.<br />\nAwed by my brother\'s might I rove,<br />\nIn doubt and fear, from grove to grove,<br />\nWhile Hanumán, my chosen friend,<br />\nAnd faithful lords my steps attend;<br />\nAnd now, O true to friendship\'s tie,<br />\nI hail in thee my best ally.<br />\nMy surest refuge from my foes,<br />\nAnd steadfast as the Lord of Snows.<br />\nStill, when I muse how strong and bold<br />\nIs cruel Báli, evil-souled,<br />\nBut ne\'er, O chief of Raghu\'s line,<br />\nHave seen what strength in war is thine,<br />\nThough in my heart I may not dare<br />\nDoubt thy great might, despise, compare,<br />\nThoughts of his fearful deeds will rise<br />\nAnd fill my soul with sad surmise.<br />\nSpeech, form, and trust which naught may move<br />\n[338]<br />\nThy secret strength and glory prove,<br />\nAs smouldering ashes dimly show<br />\nThe dormant fires that live below.”<br />\n1200<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHe ceased: and Ráma answered, while<br />\nPlayed o\'er his lips a gracious smile:<br />\n“Not yet convinced? This clear assay<br />\nShall drive each lingering doubt away.”<br />\nThus Ráma spoke his heart to cheer,<br />\nTo Dundubhi\'s vast frame drew near:<br />\nHe touched it with his foot in play<br />\nAnd sent it twenty leagues away.<br />\nSugríva marked what easy force<br />\nHurled through the air that demon\'s corse<br />\nWhose mighty bones were white and dried,<br />\nAnd to the son of Raghu cried:<br />\n“My brother Báli, when his might<br />\nWas drunk and weary from the fight,<br />\nHurled forth the monster body, fresh<br />\nWith skin and sinews, blood and flesh.<br />\nNow flesh and blood are dried away,<br />\nThe crumbling bones are light as hay,<br />\nWhich thou, O Raghu\'s son, hast sent<br />\nFlying through air in merriment.<br />\nThis test alone is weak to show<br />\nIf thou be stronger or the foe.<br />\nBy thee a heap of mouldering bone,<br />\nBy him the recent corse was thrown.<br />\nThy strength, O Prince, is yet untried:<br />\nCome, pierce one tree: let this decide.<br />\nPrepare thy ponderous bow and bring<br />\nClose to thine ear the straining string.<br />\nOn yonder Sál tree fix thine eye,<br />\nAnd let the mighty arrow fly,<br />\nI doubt not, chief, that I shall see<br />\nThy pointed shaft transfix the tree.<br />\nThen come, assay the easy task,<br />\nAnd do for love the thing I ask.<br />\nCanto XII. The Palm Trees.<br />\n1201<br />\nBest of all lights, the Day-God fills<br />\nWith glory earth and sky:<br />\nHimálaya is the lord of hills<br />\nThat heave their heads on high.<br />\nThe royal lion is the best<br />\nOf beasts that tread the earth;<br />\nAnd thou, O hero, art confessed<br />\nFirst in heroic worth.”<br />\nCanto XII. The Palm Trees.<br />\nThen Ráma, that his friend might know<br />\nHis strength unrivalled, grasped his bow,<br />\nThat mighty bow the foe\'s dismay,—<br />\nAnd on the string an arrow lay.<br />\nNext on the tree his eye he bent,<br />\nAnd forth the hurtling weapon went.<br />\nLoosed from the matchless hero\'s hold,<br />\nThat arrow, decked with burning gold,<br />\nCleft the seven palms in line, and through<br />\nThe hill that rose behind them flew:<br />\nSix subterranean realms it passed,<br />\nAnd reached the lowest depth at last,<br />\nWhence speeding back through earth and air<br />\nIt sought the quiver, and rested there.573<br />\nUpon the cloven trees amazed,<br />\nThe sovereign of the Vánars gazed.<br />\nWith all his chains and gold outspread<br />\nProstrate on earth he laid his head.<br />\n573The Bengal recension makes it return in the form of a swan.<br />\n1202<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThen, rising, palm to palm he laid<br />\nIn reverent act, obeisance made,<br />\nAnd joyously to Ráma, best<br />\nOf war-trained chiefs, these words addressed:<br />\n“What champion, Raghu\'s son, may hope<br />\nWith thee in deadly fight to cope,<br />\nWhose arrow, leaping from the bow,<br />\nCleaves tree and hill and earth below?<br />\nScarce might the Gods, arrayed for strife<br />\nBy Indra\'s self, escape, with life<br />\nAssailed by thy victorious hand:<br />\nAnd how may Báli hope to stand?<br />\nAll grief and care are past away,<br />\nAnd joyous thoughts my bosom sway,<br />\nWho have in thee a friend, renowned,<br />\nAs Varuṇ574or as Indra, found.<br />\nThen on! subdue,—\'tis friendship\'s claim,—<br />\nMy foe who bears a brother\'s name.<br />\nStrike Báli down beneath thy feet:<br />\nWith suppliant hands I thus entreat.”<br />\nSugríva ceased, and Ráma pressed<br />\nThe grateful Vánar to his breast;<br />\nAnd thoughts of kindred feeling woke<br />\nIn Lakshmaṇ\'s bosom, as he spoke:<br />\n“On to Kishkindhá, on with speed!<br />\nThou, Vánar King, our way shalt lead,<br />\nThen challenge Báli forth to fight.<br />\n574Varuṇa is one of the oldest of the Vedic Gods, corresponding in name and<br />\npartly in character to the Οὐρανός of the Greeks and is often regarded as the<br />\nsupreme deity. He upholds heaven and earth, possesses extraordinary power<br />\nand wisdom, sends his messengers through both worlds, numbers the very<br />\nwinkings of men\'s eyes, punishes transgressors whom he seizes with his deadly<br />\nnoose, and pardons the sins of those who are penitent. In later mythology he<br />\nhas become the God of the sea.<br />\nCanto XII. The Palm Trees.<br />\n1203<br />\nThy foe who scorns a brother\'s right.”<br />\nThey sought Kishkindhá\'s gate and stood<br />\nConcealed by trees in densest wood,<br />\nSugríva, to the fight addressed,<br />\nMore closely drew his cinctured vest,<br />\nAnd raised a wild sky-piercing shout<br />\n[339]<br />\nTo call the foeman Báli out.<br />\nForth came impetuous Báli, stirred<br />\nTo fury by the shout he heard.<br />\nSo the great sun, ere night has ceased,<br />\nSprings up impatient to the east.<br />\nThen fierce and wild the conflict raged<br />\nAs hand to hand the foes engaged,<br />\nAs though in battle mid the stars<br />\nFought Mercury and fiery Mars.575<br />\nTo highest pitch of frenzy wrought<br />\nWith fists like thunderbolts they fought,<br />\nWhile near them Ráma took his stand,<br />\nAnd viewed the battle, bow in hand.<br />\nAlike they stood in form and might,<br />\nLike heavenly Aśvins576paired in fight,<br />\nNor might the son of Raghu know<br />\nWhere fought the friend and where the foe;<br />\n575Budha, not to be confounded with the great reformer Buddha, is the son of<br />\nSoma or the Moon, and regent of the planet Mercury. Angára is the regent of<br />\nMars who is called the red or the fiery planet. The encounter between Michael<br />\nand Satan is similarly said to have been as if<br />\n“Two planets rushing from aspect malign<br />\nOf fiercest opposition in midsky<br />\nShould combat, and their jarring spheres compound.”<br />\nParadise Lost. Book VI.<br />\n576The Aśvins or Heavenly Twins, the Dioskuri or Castor and Pollux of the<br />\nHindus, have frequently been mentioned. See p. 36, Note.<br />\n1204<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nSo, while his bow was ready bent,<br />\nNo life-destroying shaft he sent.<br />\nCrushed down by Báli\'s mightier stroke<br />\nSugríva\'s force now sank and broke,<br />\nWho, hoping naught from Ráma\'s aid,<br />\nTo Rishyamúka fled dismayed,<br />\nWeary, and faint, and wounded sore,<br />\nHis body bruised and dyed with gore,<br />\nFrom Báli\'s blows, in rage and dread,<br />\nAfar to sheltering woods he fled.<br />\nNor Báli farther dared pursue,<br />\nThe curbing curse too well he knew.<br />\n“Fled from thy death!” the victor cried,<br />\nAnd home the mighty warrior hied.<br />\nHanúmán, Lakshmaṇ, Raghu\'s son<br />\nBeheld the conquered Vánar run,<br />\nAnd followed to the sheltering shade<br />\nWhere yet Sugríva stood dismayed.<br />\nNear and more near the chieftains came,<br />\nThen, for intolerable shame,<br />\nNot daring yet to lift his eyes,<br />\nSugríva spoke with burning sighs:<br />\n“Thy matchless strength I first beheld,<br />\nAnd dared my foe, by thee impelled.<br />\nWhy hast thou tried me with deceit<br />\nAnd urged me to a sure defeat?<br />\nThou shouldst have said, “I will not slay<br />\nThy foeman in the coming fray.”<br />\nFor had I then thy purpose known<br />\nI had not waged the fight alone.”<br />\nCanto XII. The Palm Trees.<br />\n1205<br />\nThe Vánar sovereign, lofty-souled,<br />\nIn plaintive voice his sorrows told.<br />\nThen Ráma spake: “Sugríva, list,<br />\nAll anger from thy heart dismissed,<br />\nAnd I will tell the cause that stayed<br />\nMine arrow, and withheld the aid.<br />\nIn dress, adornment, port, and height,<br />\nIn splendour, battle-shout, and might,<br />\nNo shade of difference could I see<br />\nBetween thy foe, O King, and thee.<br />\nSo like was each, I stood at gaze,<br />\nMy senses lost in wildering maze,<br />\nNor loosened from my straining bow<br />\nA deadly arrow at the foe,<br />\nLest in my doubt the shaft should send<br />\nTo sudden death our surest friend.<br />\nO, if this hand in heedless guilt<br />\nAnd rash resolve thy blood had spilt,<br />\nThrough every land, O Vánar King,<br />\nMy wild and foolish act would ring.<br />\nSore weight of sin on him must lie<br />\nBy whom a friend is made to die;<br />\nAnd Lakshmaṇ, I, and Sítá, best<br />\nOf dames, on thy protection rest.<br />\nOn, warrior! for the fight prepare;<br />\nNor fear again thy foe to dare.<br />\nWithin one hour thine eye shall view<br />\nMy arrow strike thy foeman through;<br />\nShall see the stricken Báli lie<br />\nLow on the earth, and gasp and die.<br />\nBut come, a badge about thee bind,<br />\nO monarch of the Vánar kind,<br />\nThat in the battle shock mine eyes<br />\nThe friend and foe may recognize.<br />\n1206<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nCome, Lakshmaṇ, let that creeper deck<br />\nWith brightest bloom Sugríva\'s neck,<br />\nAnd be a happy token, twined<br />\nAround the chief of lofty mind.”<br />\nUpon the mountain slope there grew<br />\nA threading creeper fair to view,<br />\nAnd Lakshmaṇ plucked the bloom and round<br />\nSugríva\'s neck a garland wound.<br />\nGraced with the flowery wreath he wore,<br />\nThe Vánar chief the semblance bore<br />\nOf a dark cloud at close of day<br />\nEngarlanded with cranes at play,<br />\nIn glorious light the Vánar glowed<br />\nAs by his comrade\'s side he strode,<br />\nAnd, still on Ráma\'s word intent,<br />\nHis steps to great Kishkindhá bent.<br />\n[340]<br />\nCanto XIII. The Return To Kishkindhá.<br />\nThus with Sugríva, from the side<br />\nOf Rishyamúka, Ráma hied,<br />\nAnd stood before Kishkindhá\'s gate<br />\nWhere Báli kept his regal state.<br />\nThe hero in his warrior hold<br />\nRaised his great bow adorned with gold,<br />\nAnd drew his pointed arrow bright<br />\nAs sunbeams, finisher of fight.<br />\nStrong-necked Sugríva led the way<br />\nWith Lakshmaṇ mighty in the fray.<br />\nCanto XIII. The Return To Kishkindhá.<br />\n1207<br />\nNala and Níla came behind<br />\nWith Hanumán of lofty mind,<br />\nAnd valiant Tára, last in place,<br />\nA leader of the Vánar race.<br />\nThey gazed on many a tree that showed<br />\nThe glory of its pendent load,<br />\nAnd brook and limpid rill that made<br />\nSweet murmurs as they seaward strayed.<br />\nThey looked on caverns dark and deep,<br />\nOn bower and glen and mountain steep,<br />\nAnd saw the opening lotus stud<br />\nWith roseate cup the crystal flood,<br />\nWhile crane and swan and coot and drake<br />\nMade pleasant music on the lake,<br />\nAnd from the reedy bank was heard<br />\nThe note of many a happy bird.<br />\nIn open lawns, in tangled ways,<br />\nThey saw the tall deer stand at gaze,<br />\nOr marked them free and fearless roam,<br />\nFed with sweet grass, their woodland home.<br />\nAt times two flashing tusks between<br />\nThe wavings of the wood were seen,<br />\nAnd some mad elephant, alone,<br />\nLike a huge moving hill, was shown.<br />\nAnd scarcely less in size appeared<br />\nGreat monkeys all with dust besmeared.<br />\nAnd various birds that roam the skies,<br />\nAnd silvan creatures, met their eyes,<br />\nAs through the wood the chieftains sped,<br />\nAnd followed where Sugríva led.<br />\nThen Ráma, as their way they made,<br />\nSaw near at hand a lovely shade,<br />\nAnd, as he gazed upon the trees,<br />\n1208<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nSpake to Sugríva words like these;<br />\n“Those stately trees in beauty rise,<br />\nFair as a cloud in autumn skies.<br />\nI fain, my friend, would learn from thee<br />\nWhat pleasant grove is that I see.”<br />\nThus Ráma spake, the mighty souled;<br />\nAnd thus his tale Sugríva told:<br />\n“That, Ráma, is a wide retreat<br />\nThat brings repose to weary feet.<br />\nBright streams and fruit and roots are there,<br />\nAnd shady gardens passing fair.<br />\nThere, neath the roof of hanging boughs,<br />\nThe sacred Seven maintained their vows.<br />\nTheir heads in dust were lowly laid,<br />\nIn streams their nightly beds were made.<br />\nEach seventh night they broke their fast,<br />\nBut air was still their sole repast,<br />\nAnd when seven hundred years were spent<br />\nTo homes in heaven the hermits went.<br />\nTheir glory keeps the garden yet,<br />\nWith walls of stately trees beset.<br />\nScarce would the Gods and demons dare,<br />\nBy Indra led, to enter there.<br />\nNo beast that roams the wood is found,<br />\nNo bird of air, within the bound;<br />\nOr, thither if they idly stray,<br />\nThey find no more their homeward way.<br />\nYou hear at times mid dulcet tones<br />\nThe chime of anklets, rings, and zones.<br />\nYou hear the song and music sound,<br />\nAnd heavenly fragrance breathes around,<br />\nCanto XIII. The Return To Kishkindhá.<br />\n1209<br />\nThere duly burn the triple fires577<br />\nWhere mounts the smoke in curling spires,<br />\nAnd, in a dun wreath, hangs above<br />\nThe tall trees, like a brooding dove.<br />\nRound branch and crest the vapours close<br />\nTill every tree enveloped shows<br />\nA hill of lazulite when clouds<br />\nHang round it with their misty shrouds.<br />\nWith Lakshmaṇ, lord of Raghu\'s line,<br />\nIn reverent guise thine head incline,<br />\nAnd with fixt heart and suppliant hand<br />\nGive honour to the sainted band.<br />\nThey who with faithful hearts revere<br />\nThe holy Seven who harboured here,<br />\nShall never, son of Raghu, know<br />\nIn all their lives an hour of woe.”<br />\nThen Ráma and his brother bent,<br />\nAnd did obeisance reverent<br />\nWith suppliant hand and lowly head,<br />\nThen with Sugríva onward sped.<br />\nBeyond the sainted Seven\'s abode<br />\nFar on their way the chieftains strode,<br />\nAnd great Kishkindhá\'s portal gained,<br />\nThe royal town where Báli reigned.<br />\nThen by the gate they took their stand<br />\nAll ready armed a noble band,<br />\nAnd burning every one<br />\nTo slay in battle, hand to hand,<br />\nTheir foeman, Indra\'s son.<br />\n577Called respectively Gárhapatya, Áhavaniya, and Dakshiṇa, household,<br />\nsacrificial, and southern.<br />\n1210<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nCanto XIV. The Challenge.<br />\nThey stood where trees of densest green<br />\nWove round their forms a veiling screen.<br />\nO\'er all the garden\'s pleasant shade<br />\nThe eyes of King Sugríva strayed,<br />\n[341]<br />\nAnd, as on grass and tree he gazed,<br />\nThe fires of wrath within him blazed.<br />\nThen like a mighty cloud on high,<br />\nWhen roars the tempest through the sky,<br />\nGirt by his friends he thundered out<br />\nHis dread sky-rending battle-shout<br />\nLike some proud lion in his gait,<br />\nOr as the sun begins his state,<br />\nSugríva let his quick glance rest<br />\nOn Ráma whom he thus addressed:<br />\n“There is the seat of Báli\'s sway,<br />\nWhere flags on wall and turret play,<br />\nWhich mighty bands of Vánars hold,<br />\nRich in all arms and store of gold.<br />\nThy promise to thy mind recall<br />\nThat Báli by thy hand shall fall.<br />\nAs kindly fruits adorn the bough.<br />\nSo give my hopes their harvest now.”<br />\nIn suppliant tone the Vánar prayed,<br />\nAnd Raghu\'s son his answer made:<br />\n“By Lakshmaṇ\'s hand this flowery twine<br />\nWas wound about thee for a sign.<br />\nThe wreath of giant creeper throws<br />\nAbout thy form its brillant glows,<br />\nAs though about the sun were set<br />\nThe bright stars for a coronet.<br />\nOne shaft of mine this day, dear friend,<br />\nCanto XIV. The Challenge.<br />\n1211<br />\nThy sorrow and thy fear shall end.<br />\nAnd, from the bowstring freed, shall be<br />\nGiver of freedom, King, to thee.<br />\nThen come, Sugríva, quickly show,<br />\nWhere\'er he lie, thy bitter foe;<br />\nAnd let my glance the wretch descry<br />\nWhose deeds, a brother\'s name belie.<br />\nYea, soon in dust and blood o\'erthrown<br />\nShall Báli fall and gasp and groan.<br />\nOnce let this eye the foeman see,<br />\nThen, if he live to turn and flee,<br />\nDespise my puny strength, and shame<br />\nWith foul opprobrium Ráma\'s name.<br />\nHast thou not seen his hand, O King,<br />\nThrough seven tall trees one arrow wing?<br />\nStill in that strength securely trust,<br />\nAnd deem thy foeman in the dust.<br />\nIn all my days, though surely tried<br />\nBy grief and woe, I ne\'er have lied;<br />\nAnd still by duty\'s law restrained<br />\nWill ne\'er with falsehood\'s charge be stained.<br />\nCast doubt away: the oath I sware<br />\nIts kindly fruit shall quickly bear,<br />\nAs smiles the land with golden grain<br />\nBy mercy of the Lord of rain.<br />\nOh, warrior to the gate I defy<br />\nThy foe with shout and battle-cry,<br />\nTill Báli with his chain of gold<br />\nCome speeding from his royal hold.<br />\nProud hearts, with warlike fire aglow,<br />\nBrook not the challenge of a foe:<br />\nEach on his power and might relies,<br />\nAnd most before his ladies eyes.<br />\nKing Báli loves the fray too well<br />\n1212<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nTo linger in his citadel,<br />\nAnd, when he hears thy battle-shout,<br />\nAll wild for war will hasten out.”<br />\nHe spoke. Sugríva raised a cry<br />\nThat shook and rent the echoing sky,<br />\nA shout so fierce and loud and dread<br />\nThat stately bulls in terror fled,<br />\nLike dames who fly from threatened stain<br />\nIn some ignoble monarch\'s reign.<br />\nThe deer in wild confusion ran<br />\nLike horses turned in battle\'s van.<br />\nDown fell the birds, like Gods who fall<br />\nWhen merits fail,578at that dread call.<br />\nSo fiercely, boldened for the fray,<br />\nThe offspring of the Lord of Day<br />\nSent forth his furious shout as loud<br />\nAs thunder from a labouring cloud,<br />\nOr, where the gale blows fresh and free,<br />\nThe roaring of the troubled sea.<br />\nCanto XV. Tárá.<br />\n578The store of merit accumulated by a holy or austere life secures only a<br />\ntemporary seat in the mansion of bliss. When by the lapse of time this store is<br />\nexhausted, return to earth is unavoidable.<br />\nCanto XV. Tárá.<br />\n1213<br />\nThat shout, which shook the land with fear,<br />\nIn thunder smote on Báli\'s ear,<br />\nWhere in the chamber barred and closed<br />\nThe sovereign with his dame reposed.<br />\nEach amorous thought was rudely stilled,<br />\nAnd pride and rage his bosom filled.<br />\nHis angry eyes flashed darkly red,<br />\nAnd all his native brightness fled,<br />\nAs when, by swift eclipse assailed,<br />\nThe glory of the sun has failed.<br />\nWhile in his fury uncontrolled<br />\nHe ground his teeth, his eyeballs rolled,<br />\nHe seemed a lake wherein no gem<br />\nOf blossom decks the lotus stem.<br />\nHe heard, and with indignant pride<br />\nForth from the bower the Vánar hied.<br />\nAnd the earth trembled at the beat<br />\nAnd fury of his hastening feet.<br />\nBut Tárá to her consort flew,<br />\nHer loving arms around him threw,<br />\nAnd trembling and bewildered, gave<br />\nWise counsel that might heal and save:<br />\n“O dear my lord, this rage control<br />\nThat like a torrent floods thy soul,<br />\nAnd cast these idle thoughts away<br />\nLike faded wreath of yesterday,<br />\nO tarry till the morning light,<br />\nThen, if thou wilt, go forth and fight.<br />\n[342]<br />\nThink not I doubt thy valour, no;<br />\nOr deem thee weaker than thy foe,<br />\nYet for a while would have thee stay<br />\nNor see thee tempt the fight to-day.<br />\nNow list, my loving lord, and learn<br />\nThe reason why I bid thee turn.<br />\n1214<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThy foeman came in wrath and pride,<br />\nAnd thee to deadly fight defied.<br />\nThou wentest out: he fought, and fled<br />\nSore wounded and discomfited.<br />\nBut yet, untaught by late defeat,<br />\nHe comes his conquering foe to meet,<br />\nAnd calls thee forth with cry and shout:<br />\nHence spring, my lord, this fear and doubt.<br />\nA heart so bold that will not yield,<br />\nBut yearns to tempt the desperate field,<br />\nSuch loud defiance, fiercely pressed,<br />\nOn no uncertain hope can rest.<br />\nSo lately by thine arm o\'erthrown,<br />\nHe comes not back, I ween, alone.<br />\nSome mightier comrade guards his side,<br />\nAnd spurs him to this burst of pride.<br />\nFor nature made the Vánar wise:<br />\nOn arms of might his hope relies;<br />\nAnd never will Sugríva seek<br />\nA friend whose power to save is weak.<br />\nNow listen while my lips unfold<br />\nThe wondrous tale my Angad told.<br />\nOur child the distant forest sought,<br />\nAnd, learnt from spies, the tidings brought.<br />\nTwo sons of Daśaratha, sprung<br />\nFrom old Ikshváku, brave and young,<br />\nRenowned in arms, in war untamed—<br />\nRáma and Lakshmaṇ are they named—<br />\nHave with thy foe Sugríva made<br />\nA league of love and friendly aid.<br />\nNow Ráma, famed for exploit high,<br />\nIs bound thy brother\'s firm ally,<br />\nCanto XV. Tárá.<br />\n1215<br />\nLike fires of doom579that ruin all<br />\nHe makes each foe before him fall.<br />\nHe is the suppliant\'s sure defence,<br />\nThe tree that shelters innocence.<br />\nThe poor and wretched seek his feet:<br />\nIn him the noblest glories meet.<br />\nWith skill and knowledge vast and deep<br />\nHis sire\'s commands he loved to keep;<br />\nWith princely gifts and graces stored<br />\nAs metals deck the Mountains\' Lord.580<br />\nThou canst not, O my hero, stand<br />\nBefore the might of Ráma\'s hand;<br />\nFor none may match his powers or dare<br />\nWith him in deeds of war compare.<br />\nHear, I entreat, the words I say,<br />\nNor lightly turn my rede away.<br />\nO let fraternal discord cease,<br />\nAnd link you in the bonds of peace.<br />\nLet consecrating rites ordain<br />\nSugríva partner of thy reign.<br />\nLet war and thoughts of conflict end,<br />\nAnd be thou his and Ráma\'s friend,<br />\nEach soft approach of love begin,<br />\nAnd to thy soul thy brother win;<br />\nFor whether here or there he be,<br />\nThy brother still, dear lord, is he.<br />\nThough far and wide these eyes I strain<br />\nA friend like him I seek in vain.<br />\nLet gentle words his heart incline,<br />\nAnd gifts and honours make him thine,<br />\nTill, foes no more, in love allied,<br />\nYou stand as brothers side by side.<br />\n579The conflagration which destroys the world at the end of a Yuga or age.<br />\n580Himálaya.<br />\n1216<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThou in high rank wast wont to hold<br />\nSugríva, formed in massive mould;<br />\nThen come, thy brother\'s love regain,<br />\nFor other aids are weak and vain.<br />\nIf thou would please my soul, and still<br />\nPreserve me from all fear and ill,<br />\nI pray thee by thy love be wise<br />\nAnd do the thing which I advise.<br />\nAssuage thy fruitless wrath, and shun<br />\nThe mightier arms of Raghu\'s son;<br />\nFor Indra\'s peer in might is he,<br />\nA foe too strong, my lord, for thee.”<br />\nCanto XVI. The Fall Of Báli.<br />\nThus Tárá with the starry eyes581<br />\nHer counsel gave with burning sighs.<br />\nBut Báli, by her prayers unmoved,<br />\nSpurned her advice, and thus reproved:<br />\n“How may this insult, scathe, and scorn<br />\nBy me, dear love, be tamely born?<br />\nMy brother, yea my foe, comes nigh<br />\nAnd dares me forth with shout and cry.<br />\nLearn, trembler! that the valiant, they<br />\nWho yield no step in battle fray,<br />\nWill die a thousand deaths but ne\'er<br />\nAn unavenged dishonour bear.<br />\nNor, O my love, be thou dismayed<br />\n581Tárá means “star.” The poet plays upon the name by comparing her beauty<br />\nto that of the Lord of stars, the Moon.<br />\nCanto XVI. The Fall Of Báli.<br />\n1217<br />\nThough Ráma lend Sugríva aid,<br />\nFor one so pure and duteous, one<br />\nWho loves the right, all sin will shun,<br />\nRelease me from thy soft embrace,<br />\nAnd with thy dames thy steps retrace:<br />\nEnough already, O mine own,<br />\nOf love and sweet devotion shown.<br />\nDrive all thy fear and doubt away;<br />\nI seek Sugríva in the fray<br />\nHis boisterous rage and pride to still,<br />\nAnd tame the foe I would not kill.<br />\nMy fury, armed with brandished trees,<br />\nShall strike Sugríva to his knees:<br />\n[343]<br />\nNor shall the humbled foe withstand<br />\nThe blows of my avenging hand,<br />\nWhen, nerved by rage and pride, I beat<br />\nThe traitor down beneath my feet.<br />\nThou, love, hast lent thine own sweet aid,<br />\nAnd all thy tender care displayed;<br />\nNow by my life, by these who yearn<br />\nTo serve thee well, I pray thee turn.<br />\nBut for a while, dear dame, I go<br />\nTo come triumphant o\'er the foe.”<br />\nThus Báli spake in gentlest tone:<br />\nSoft arms about his neck were thrown;<br />\nThen round her lord the lady went<br />\nWith sad steps slow and reverent.<br />\nShe stood in solemn guise to bless<br />\nWith prayers for safety and success,<br />\nThen with her train her chamber sought<br />\nBy grief and racking fear distraught.<br />\n1218<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nWith serpent\'s pantings fierce and fast<br />\nKing Báli from the city passed.<br />\nHis glance, as each quick breath he drew,<br />\nAround to find the foe he threw,<br />\nAnd saw where fierce Sugríva showed<br />\nHis form with golden hues that glowed,<br />\nAnd, as a fire resplendent, stayed<br />\nTo meet his foe in arms arrayed.<br />\nWhen Báli, long-armed chieftain, found<br />\nSugríva stationed on the ground,<br />\nImpelled by warlike rage he braced<br />\nHis warrior garb about his waist,<br />\nAnd with his mighty arm raised high<br />\nRushed at Sugríva with a cry.<br />\nBut when Sugríva, fierce and bold,<br />\nSaw Báli with his chain of gold,<br />\nHis arm he heaved, his hand he closed,<br />\nAnd face to face his foe opposed.<br />\nTo him whose eyes with fury shone,<br />\nIn charge impetuous rushing on,<br />\nSkilled in each warlike art and plan,<br />\nBáli with hasty words began:<br />\n“My ponderous hand, to fight addressed<br />\nWith fingers clenched and arm compressed<br />\nShall on thy death doomed brow descend<br />\nAnd, crashing down, thy life shall end.”<br />\nHe spoke; and wild with rage and pride,<br />\nThe fierce Sugríva thus replied:<br />\n“Thus let my arm begin the strife<br />\nAnd from thy body crush the life.”<br />\nThen Báli, wounded and enraged,<br />\nWith furious blows the battle waged.<br />\nSugríva seemed, with blood-streams dyed,<br />\nCanto XVI. The Fall Of Báli.<br />\n1219<br />\nA hill with fountains in his side.<br />\nBut with his native force unspent<br />\nA Sál tree from the earth he rent,<br />\nAnd like the bolt of Indra smote<br />\nOn Báli\'s head and chest and throat.<br />\nBruised by the blows he could not shield,<br />\nHalf vanquished Báli sank and reeled,<br />\nAs sinks a vessel with her freight<br />\nBorne down by overwhelming weight.<br />\nSwift as Suparṇa\'s582swiftest flight<br />\nIn awful strength they rushed to fight:<br />\nSo might the sun and moon on high<br />\nEncountering battle in the sky.<br />\nFierce and more fierce, as fought the foes,<br />\nThe furious rage of combat rose.<br />\nThey warred with feet and arms and knees,<br />\nWith nails and stones and boughs and trees,<br />\nAnd blows descending fast as rain<br />\nDyed each dark form with crimson stain,<br />\nWhile like two thunder-clouds they met<br />\nWith battle-cry and shout and threat.<br />\nThen Ráma saw Sugríva quail,<br />\nMarked his worn strength grow weak and fail.<br />\nSaw how he turned his wistful eye<br />\nTo every quarter of the sky.<br />\nHis friend\'s defeat he could not brook,<br />\nBent on his shaft an eager look,<br />\nThen burned to slay the conquering foe,<br />\nAnd laid his arrow on the bow.<br />\nAs to an orb the bow he drew<br />\nForth from the string the arrow flew<br />\nLike Fate\'s tremendous discus hurled<br />\n582Suparṇa, the Well-winged, is another name of Garuḍa the King of Birds.<br />\nSee p. 28, Note.<br />\n1220<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nBy Yáma583forth to end the world.<br />\nSo loud the din that every bird<br />\nThe bow-string\'s clans with terror heard,<br />\nAnd wildly fled the affrighted deer<br />\nAs though the day of doom were near.<br />\nSo, deadly as the serpent\'s fang,<br />\nForth from the string the arrow sprang.<br />\nLike the red lightning\'s flash and flame<br />\nIt flew unerring to its aim,<br />\nAnd, hissing murder through the air,<br />\nPierced Báli\'s breast, and quivered there.<br />\nStruck by the shaft that flew so well<br />\nThe mighty Vánar reeled and fell,<br />\nAs earthward Indra\'s flag they pull<br />\nWhen Aśvíní\'s fair moon is full.584<br />\nCanto XVII. Báli\'s Speech.<br />\nLike some proud tree before the blast<br />\nBrave Báli to the ground was cast,<br />\nWhere prostrate in the dust he rolled<br />\nClad in the sheen of glistening gold,<br />\n[344]<br />\n583The God of Death.<br />\n584The flag-staff erected in honour of the God Indra is lowered when the<br />\nfestival is over. Aśvíní in astronomy is the head of Aries or the first of the<br />\ntwenty-eight lunar mansions or asterisms.<br />\nCanto XVII. Báli\'s Speech.<br />\n1221<br />\nAs when uptorn the standard lies<br />\nOf the great God who rules the skies.<br />\nWhen low upon the earth was laid<br />\nThe lord whom Vánar tribes obeyed,<br />\nDark as a moonless sky no more<br />\nHis land her joyous aspect wore.<br />\nThough low in dust and mire was rolled<br />\nThe form of Báli lofty-souled,<br />\nStill life and valour, might and grace<br />\nClung to their well-loved dwelling-place.<br />\nThat golden chain with rich gems set,<br />\nThe choicest gift of Sákra,585yet<br />\nPreserved his life nor let decay<br />\nSteal strength and beauty\'s light away.<br />\nStill from that chain divinely wrought<br />\nHis dusky form a glory caught,<br />\nAs a dark cloud, when day is done,<br />\nMade splendid by the dying sun.<br />\nAs fell the hero, crushed in fight,<br />\nThere beamed afar a triple light<br />\nFrom limbs, from chain, from shaft that drank<br />\nHis life-blood as the warrior sank.<br />\nThe never-failing shaft, impelled<br />\nBy the great bow which Ráma held,<br />\nBrought bliss supreme, and lit the way<br />\nTo Brahmá\'s worlds which ne\'er decay.586<br />\nRáma and Lakshmaṇ nearer drew<br />\nThe mighty fallen foe to view,<br />\nMahendra\'s son, the brave and bold,<br />\n585Indra the father of Báli.<br />\n586It is believed that every creature killed by Ráma obtained in consequence<br />\nimmediate beatitude.<br />\n“And blessed the hand that gave so dear a death.”<br />\n1222<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe monarch with his chain of gold,<br />\nWith lustrous face and tawny eyes,<br />\nBroad chest, and arms of wondrous size,<br />\nLike Lord Mahendra fierce in fight,<br />\nOr Vishṇu\'s never-conquered might,<br />\nNow fallen like Yayáti587sent<br />\nFrom heaven, his store of merit spent,<br />\nLike the bright flame that pales and dies,<br />\nLike the great sun who fires the skies,<br />\nDoomed in the general doom to fall<br />\nWhen time shall end and ruin all.<br />\nThe wounded Báli, when he saw<br />\nRáma and Lakshmaṇ nearer draw,<br />\nKeen words to Raghu\'s son, impressed<br />\nWith justice\' holy stamp, addressed:<br />\n“What fame, from one thou hast not slain<br />\nIn front of battle, canst thou gain,<br />\nWhose secret hand has laid me low<br />\nWhen madly fighting with my foe?<br />\nFrom every tongue thy glory rings,<br />\nA scion of a line of kings,<br />\nTrue to thy vows, of noblest race,<br />\nWith every gentle gift and grace:<br />\nWhose tender heart for woe can feel,<br />\nAnd joy in every creature\'s weal:<br />\nWhose breast with high ambition swells,<br />\nKnows duty\'s claim and ne\'er rebels.<br />\nThey praise thy valour, patience, ruth,<br />\n587“Yayáti was invited to heaven by Indra, and conveyed on the way thither<br />\nby Mátali, Indra\'s charioteer. He afterwards returned to earth where, by his<br />\nvirtuous administration he rendered all his subjects exempt from passion and<br />\ndecay.” GARRETT\'S C. D. OF INDIA{FNS.<br />\nCanto XVII. Báli\'s Speech.<br />\n1223<br />\nThy firmness, self-restraint, and truth:<br />\nThy hand prepared for sin\'s control,<br />\nAll virtues of a princely soul.<br />\nI thought of all these gifts of thine,<br />\nAnd glories of an ancient line,<br />\nI set my Tárá\'s tears at naught,<br />\nI met Sugríva and we fought.<br />\nO Ráma, till this fatal morn<br />\nI held that thou wouldst surely scorn<br />\nTo strike me as I fought my foe<br />\nAnd thought not of a stranger\'s blow,<br />\nBut now thine evil heart is shown,<br />\nA yawning well with grass o\'ergrown.<br />\nThou wearest virtue\'s badge,588but guile<br />\nAnd meanest sin thy soul defile.<br />\nI took thee not for treacherous fire,<br />\nA sinner clad in saint\'s attire;<br />\nNor deemed thou idly wouldst profess<br />\nThe show and garb of righteousness.<br />\nIn fenced town, in open land,<br />\nNe\'er hast thou suffered at this hand,<br />\nNor canst of proud contempt complain:<br />\nThen wherefore is the guiltless slain?<br />\nMy harmless life in woods I lead,<br />\nOn forest fruits and roots I feed.<br />\nMy foeman in the field I sought,<br />\nAnd ne\'er with thee, O Ráma, fought.<br />\nUpon thy limbs, O King, I see<br />\nThe raiment of a devotee;<br />\nAnd how can one like thee, who springs<br />\nFrom a proud line of ancient kings,<br />\nBeneath fair virtue\'s mask, disgrace<br />\n588The ascetic\'s dress which he wore during his exile.<br />\n1224<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHis lineage by a deed so base?<br />\nFrom Raghu is thy long descent,<br />\nFor duteous deeds prëeminent:<br />\nWhy, sinner clad in saintly dress,<br />\nRoamest thou through the wilderness?<br />\nTruth, valour, justice free from spot,<br />\nThe hand that gives and grudges not,<br />\nThe might that strikes the sinner down,<br />\nThese bring a prince his best renown.<br />\nHere in the woods, O King, we live<br />\nOn roots and fruit which branches give.589<br />\n[345]<br />\nThus nature framed our harmless race:<br />\nThou art a man supreme in place.<br />\nSilver and gold and land provoke<br />\nThe fierce attack, the robber\'s stroke,<br />\nCanst thou desire this wild retreat,<br />\nThe berries and the fruit we eat?<br />\n\'Tis not for mighty kings to tread<br />\nThe flowery path, by pleasure led.<br />\nTheirs be the arm that crushes sin,<br />\nTheirs the soft grace to woo and win:<br />\nThe steadfast will that guides the state,<br />\nWise favour to the good and great;<br />\nAnd for all time are kings renowned<br />\nWho blend these arts and ne\'er confound.<br />\nBut thou art weak and swift to ire,<br />\nUnstable, slave of each desire.<br />\nThou tramplest duty in the dust,<br />\nAnd in thy bow is all thy trust.<br />\n589There is much inconsistency in the passages of the poem in which the<br />\nVánars are spoken of, which seems to point to two widely different legends.<br />\nThe Vánars are generally represented as semi-divine beings with preternatural<br />\npowers, living in houses and eating and drinking like men sometimes as here,<br />\nas monkeys pure and simple, living is woods and eating fruit and roots.<br />\nCanto XVII. Báli\'s Speech.<br />\n1225<br />\nThou carest naught for noble gain,<br />\nAnd treatest virtue with disdain,<br />\nWhile every sense its captive draws<br />\nTo follow pleasure\'s changing laws.<br />\nI wronged thee not in word or deed,<br />\nBut by thy deadly dart I bleed.<br />\nWhat wilt thou, mid the virtuous, say<br />\nTo purge thy lasting stain away?<br />\nAll these, O King, must sink to hell,<br />\nThe regicide, the infidel,<br />\nHe who in blood and slaughter joys,<br />\nA Bráhman or a cow destroys,<br />\nUntimely weds in law\'s despite<br />\nScorning an elder brother\'s right,590<br />\nWho dares his Teacher\'s bed ascend,<br />\nThe miser, spy, and treacherous friend.<br />\nThese impious wretches, one and all,<br />\nMust to the hell of sinners fall.<br />\nMy skin the holy may not wear,<br />\nUseless to thee my bones and hair;<br />\nNor may my slaughtered body be<br />\nThe food of devotees like thee.<br />\nThese five-toed things a man may slay<br />\nAnd feed upon the fallen prey;<br />\nThe mailed rhinoceros may die,<br />\nAnd, with the hare his food supply.<br />\nIguanas he may kill and eat,<br />\n590For a younger brother to marry before the elder is a gross violation of<br />\nIndian law and duty. The same law applied to daughters with the Hebrews: “It<br />\nmust not be so done in our country to give the younger before the first-born.”<br />\nGENESIS{FNS xix. 26.<br />\n1226<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nWith porcupine and tortoise meat.591<br />\nBut all the wise account it sin<br />\nTo touch my bones and hair and skin.<br />\nMy flesh they may not eat; and I<br />\nA useless prey, O Ráma, die.<br />\nIn vain my Tárá reasoned well,<br />\nOn dull deaf ears her counsel fell.<br />\nI scorned her words though sooth and sweet,<br />\nAnd hither rushed my fate to meet.<br />\nAh for the land thou rulest! she<br />\nFinds no protection, lord, from thee,<br />\nNeglected like some noble dame<br />\nBy a vile husband dead to shame.<br />\nMean-hearted coward, false and vile,<br />\nWhose cruel soul delights in guile,<br />\nCould Daśaratha, noblest king,<br />\nBeget so mean and base a thing?<br />\nAlas! an elephant, in form<br />\nOf Ráma, in a maddening storm<br />\nOf passion casting to the ground<br />\nThe girth of law592that clipped him round,<br />\nToo wildly passionate to feel<br />\nThe prick of duty\'s guiding steel,593<br />\nHas charged me unawares, and dead<br />\nI fall beneath his murderous tread.<br />\nHow, stained with this my base defeat,<br />\n591“The hedgehog and porcupine, the lizard, the rhinoceros, the tortoise,<br />\nand the rabbit or hare, wise legislators declare lawful food among five-toed<br />\nanimals.” MANU{FNS, v. 18.<br />\n592<br />\n“He can not buckle his distempered cause<br />\nWithin the belt of rule.”<br />\nMACBETH{FNS.<br />\n593The Ankuś or iron hook with which an elephant is driven and guided.<br />\nCanto XVII. Báli\'s Speech.<br />\n1227<br />\nHow wilt thou dare, where good men meet,<br />\nTo speak, when every tongue will blame<br />\nWith keen reproach this deed of shame?<br />\nSuch hero strength and valour, shown<br />\nUpon the innocent alone,<br />\nThou hast not proved in manly strife<br />\nOn him who robbed thee of thy wife.<br />\nHadst thou but fought in open field<br />\nAnd met me boldly unconcealed,<br />\nThis day had been thy fate to fall,<br />\nSlain by this hand, to Yáma\'s hall.<br />\nIn vain I strove, and struck by thee<br />\nFell by a hand I could not see.<br />\nThus bites a snake, for sins of yore,<br />\nA sleeping man who wakes no more.<br />\nSugríva\'s foeman thou hast killed,<br />\nAnd thus his heart\'s desire fulfilled;<br />\nBut, Ráma, hadst thou sought me first,<br />\nAnd told the hope thy soul has nursed,<br />\nThat very day had I restored<br />\nThe Maithil lady to her lord;<br />\nAnd, binding Rávaṇ with a chain,<br />\nHad laid him at thy feet unslain.<br />\n[346]<br />\nYea, were she sunk in deepest hell,<br />\nOr whelmed beneath the ocean\'s swell,<br />\nI would have followed on her track<br />\nAnd brought the rescued lady back,<br />\nAs Hayagríva594once set free<br />\n594Hayagríva, Horse-necked, is a form of Vishṇu.<br />\n1228<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nFrom hell the white Aśvatarí.595<br />\nThat when my spirit wings its flight<br />\nSugríva reign, is just and right.<br />\nBut most unjust, O King, that I,<br />\nSlain by thy treacherous hand, should lie.<br />\nBe still, my heart: this earthly state<br />\nIs darkly ruled by sovereign Fate.<br />\nThe realm is lost and won: defy<br />\nThy questioners with apt reply.”596<br />\nCanto XVIII. Ráma\'s Reply.<br />\nHe ceased: and Ráma\'s heart was stirred<br />\nAt every keen reproach he heard.<br />\nThere Báli lay, a dim dark sun,<br />\nHis course of light and glory run:<br />\nOr like the bed of Ocean dried<br />\nOf his broad floods from side to side,<br />\nOr helpless, as the dying fire,<br />\nHushed his last words of righteous ire.<br />\nThen Ráma, with his spirit moved,<br />\nThe Vánar king in turn reproved:<br />\n595“Aśvatara is the name of a chief of the Nágas or serpents which inhabit the<br />\nregions under the earth; it is also the name of a Gandharva. Aśvatarí ought to<br />\nbe the wife of one of the two, but I am not sure that this conjecture is right. The<br />\ncommentator does not say who this Aśvatarí is, or what tradition or myth is<br />\nalluded to. Vimalabodha reads Aśvatarí in the nominative case, and explains,<br />\nAśvatarí is the sun, and as the sun with his rays brings back the moon which<br />\nhas been sunk in the ocean and the infernal regions, so will I bring back Sítá.”<br />\nGORRESIO{FNS.<br />\n596That is, “Consider what answer you can give to your accusers when they<br />\ncharge you with injustice in killing me.”<br />\nCanto XVIII. Ráma\'s Reply.<br />\n1229<br />\n“Why dost thou, Báli, thus revile,<br />\nAnd castest not a glance the while<br />\nOn claims of duty, love, and gain,<br />\nAnd customs o\'er the world that reign?<br />\nWhy dost thou blame me, rash and blind,<br />\nFickle as all thy Vánar kind,<br />\nSlighting each rule of ancient days<br />\nWhich all the good and prudent praise?<br />\nThis land, each hill and woody chase,<br />\nBelongs to old Ikshváku\'s race:<br />\nWith bird and beast and man, the whole<br />\nIs ours to cherish and control.<br />\nNow Bharat, prompt at duty\'s call,<br />\nWise, just, and true, is lord of all.<br />\nEach claim of law, love, gain he knows,<br />\nAnd wrath and favour duly shows.<br />\nA king from truth who never bends,<br />\nAnd grace with vigour wisely blends;<br />\nWith valour worthy of his race,<br />\nHe knows the claims of time and place.<br />\nNow we and other kings of might,<br />\nBy his ensample taught aright,<br />\nThe lands of every region tread<br />\nThat justice may increase and spread.<br />\nWhile royal Bharat, wise and just,<br />\nRules the broad earth, his glorious trust,<br />\nWho shall attempt, while he is lord,<br />\nA deed by Justice held abhorred?<br />\nWe now, as Bharat has decreed,<br />\nLet justice guide our every deed,<br />\nAnd toil each sinner to repress<br />\nWho scorns the way of righteousness.<br />\nThou from that path hast turned aside,<br />\nAnd virtue\'s holy law defied,<br />\n1230<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nLeft the fair path which kings should tread,<br />\nAnd followed pleasure\'s voice instead.<br />\nThe man who cleaves to duty\'s law<br />\nRegards these three with filial awe—<br />\nThe sire, the elder brother, third<br />\nHim from whose lips his lore he heard.<br />\nThus too, for duty\'s sake, the wise<br />\nRegard with fond paternal eyes<br />\nThe well-loved younger brother, one<br />\nTheir lore has ripened, and a son.<br />\nFine are the laws which guide the good,<br />\nAbstruse, and hardly understood;<br />\nOnly the soul, enthroned within<br />\nThe breast of each, knows right from sin.<br />\nBut thou art wild and weak of soul,<br />\nAnd spurnest, like thy race, control;<br />\nThe true and right thou canst not find,<br />\nThe blind consulting with the blind.<br />\nIncline thine ear and I will teach<br />\nThe cause that prompts my present speech.<br />\nThis tempest of thy soul assuage,<br />\nNor blame me in thine idle rage.<br />\nOn this great sin thy thoughts bestow,<br />\nThe sin for which I lay thee low.<br />\nThou, Báli, in thy brother\'s life<br />\nHast robbed him of his wedded wife,<br />\nAnd keepest, scorning ancient right,<br />\nHis Rumá for thine own delight.<br />\nThy son\'s own wife should scarcely be<br />\nMore sacred in thine eyes than she.<br />\nAll duty thou hast scorned, and hence<br />\nComes punishment for dire offence.<br />\nFor those who blindly do amiss<br />\nThere is, I ween, no way but this:<br />\nCanto XVIII. Ráma\'s Reply.<br />\n1231<br />\nTo check the rash who dare to stray<br />\nFrom customs which the good obey,<br />\nI may not, sprung of Kshatriya line,<br />\n[347]<br />\nForgive this heinous sin of thine:<br />\nThe laws for those who sin like thee<br />\nThe penalty of death decree.<br />\nNow Bharat rules with sovereign sway,<br />\nAnd we his royal word obey.<br />\nThere was no hope of pardon, none,<br />\nFor the vile deed that thou hast done,<br />\nThat wisest monarch dooms to die<br />\nThe wretch whose crimes the law defy;<br />\nAnd we, chastising those who err,<br />\nHis righteous doom administer.<br />\nMy soul accounts Sugríva dear<br />\nE\'en as my brother Lakshmaṇ here.<br />\nHe brings me blessing, and I swore<br />\nHis wife and kingdom to restore:<br />\nA bond in solemn honour bound<br />\nWhen Vánar chieftains stood around.<br />\nAnd can a king like me forsake<br />\nHis friend, and plighted promise break?<br />\nReflect, O Vánar, on the cause,<br />\nThe sanction of eternal laws,<br />\nAnd, justly smitten down, confess<br />\nThou diest for thy wickedness.<br />\nBy honour was I bound to lend<br />\nAssistance to a faithful friend;<br />\nAnd thou hast met a righteous fate<br />\nThy former sins to expiate.<br />\nAnd thus wilt thou some merit win<br />\nAnd make atonement for thy sin.<br />\nFor hear me, Vánar King, rehearse<br />\n1232<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nWhat Manu597spake in ancient verse,—<br />\nThis holy law, which all accept<br />\nWho honour duty, have I kept:<br />\n“Pure grow the sinners kings chastise,<br />\nAnd, like the virtuous, gain the skies;<br />\nBy pain or full atonement freed,<br />\nThey reap the fruit of righteous deed,<br />\nWhile kings who punish not incur<br />\nThe penalties of those who err.”<br />\nMándhátá598once, a noble king,<br />\nLight of the line from which I spring,<br />\nPunished with death a devotee<br />\nWhen he had stooped to sin like thee;<br />\nAnd many a king in ancient time<br />\nHas punished frantic sinners\' crime,<br />\nAnd, when their impious blood was spilt,<br />\nHas washed away the stain of guilt.<br />\nCease, Báli, cease: no more complain:<br />\nReproaches and laments are vain,<br />\nFor thou art justly punished: we<br />\nObey our king and are not free.<br />\nOnce more, O Báli, lend thine ear<br />\nAnother weightiest plea to hear.<br />\nFor this, when heard and pondered well,<br />\nWill all complaint and rage dispel.<br />\nMy soul will ne\'er this deed repent,<br />\nNor was my shaft in anger sent.<br />\nWe take the silvan tribes beset<br />\nWith snare and trap and gin and net,<br />\n597Manu, Book VIII. 318. “But men who have committed offences and have<br />\nreceivedfromkingsthepunishmentduetothem, gopuretoheavenandbecome<br />\nas clear as those who have done well.”<br />\n598Mándhátá was one of the earlier descendants of Ikshváku. His name is<br />\nmentioned in Ráma\'s genealogy, p. 81.<br />\nCanto XVIII. Ráma\'s Reply.<br />\n1233<br />\nAnd many a heedless deer we smite<br />\nFrom thickest shade, concealed from sight.<br />\nWild for the slaughter of the game,<br />\nAt stately stags our shafts we aim.<br />\nWe strike them bounding scared away,<br />\nWe strike them as they stand at bay,<br />\nWhen careless in the shade they lie,<br />\nOr scan the plain with watchful eye.<br />\nThey turn away their heads; we aim,<br />\nAnd none the eager hunter blame.<br />\nEach royal saint, well trained in law<br />\nOf duty, loves his bow to draw<br />\nAnd strike the quarry, e\'en as thou<br />\nHast fallen by mine arrow now,<br />\nFighting with him or unaware,—<br />\nA Vánar thou.—I little care.599<br />\nBut yet, O best of Vánars, know<br />\nThat kings who rule the earth bestow<br />\nFruit of pure life and virtuous deed,<br />\nAnd lofty duty\'s hard-won meed.<br />\nHarm not thy lord the king: abstain<br />\nFrom act and word that cause him pain;<br />\nFor kings are children of the skies<br />\nWho walk this earth in men\'s disguise.<br />\nBut thou, in duty\'s claims untaught,<br />\nThy breast with blinding passion fraught,<br />\nAssailest me who still have clung<br />\nTo duty, with thy bitter tongue.”<br />\n599I cannot understand how Válmíki could put such an excuse as this into<br />\nRáma\'s mouth. Ráma with all solemn ceremony, has made a league of alliance<br />\nwith Báli\'s younger brother whom he regards as a dear friend and almost as<br />\nan equal, and now he winds up his reasons for killing Báli by coolly saying:<br />\n“Besides you are only a monkey, you know, after all, and as such I have every<br />\nright to kill you how, when, and where I like.”<br />\n1234<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nHe ceased: and Báli sore distressed<br />\nThe sovereign claims of law confessed,<br />\nAnd freed, o\'erwhelmed with woe and shame,<br />\nThe lord of Raghu\'s race from blame.<br />\nThen, reverent palm to palm applied,<br />\nTo Ráma thus the Vánar cried:<br />\n“True, best of men, is every word<br />\nThat from thy lips these ears have heard,<br />\nIt ill beseems a wretch like me<br />\nTo bandy empty words with thee.<br />\nForgive the angry taunts that broke<br />\nFrom my wild bosom as I spoke.<br />\nAnd lay not to my charge, O King,<br />\n[348]<br />\nMy mad reproaches\' idle sting.<br />\nThou, in the truth by trial trained,<br />\nBest knowledge of the right hast gained:<br />\nAnd layest, just and pure within,<br />\nThe meetest penalty on sin.<br />\nThrough every bond of law I burst,<br />\nThe boldest sinner and the worst.<br />\nO let thy right-instructing speech<br />\nConsole my heart and wisely teach.”<br />\nLike some sad elephant who stands<br />\nFast sinking in the treacherous sands,<br />\nThus Báli raised despairing eyes;<br />\nThen spake again with sobs and sighs:<br />\n“Not for myself, O King, I grieve,<br />\nFor Tárá or the friends I leave,<br />\nAs for sweet Angad, my dear son,<br />\nMy noble, only little one.<br />\nFor, nursed in luxury and bliss,<br />\nHis father he will mourn and miss,<br />\nCanto XVIII. Ráma\'s Reply.<br />\n1235<br />\nAnd like a stream whose fount is dry<br />\nWill waste away and sink and die,—<br />\nMy own dear child, my only boy,<br />\nHis mother Tárá\'s hope and joy.<br />\nSpare him, O son of Raghu, spare<br />\nThe child entrusted to thy care.<br />\nMy Angad and Sugríva treat<br />\nE\'en as thy heart considers meet,<br />\nFor thou, O chief of men, art strong<br />\nTo guard the right and punish wrong.<br />\nO, if thou wilt thine ear incline<br />\nTo hear these dying words of mine,<br />\nHe and Sugríva will to thee<br />\nAs Bharat and as Lakshmaṇ be.<br />\nLet not my Tárá, left forlorn,<br />\nWeep for Sugríva\'s wrathful scorn;<br />\nNor let him, for her lord\'s offence,<br />\nCondemn her faithful innocence.<br />\nAnd well and wisely may he reign<br />\nIf thy dear grace his power sustain:<br />\nIf, following thee his friend and guide,<br />\nHe turn not from thy hest aside:<br />\nThus may he reign with glory, nay<br />\nThus to the skies will win his way.<br />\nThough stayed by Tárá\'s fond recall,<br />\nBy thy dear hand I longed to fall.<br />\nAgainst my brother rushed and fought,<br />\nAnd gained the death I long have sought.”<br />\nThen Ráma thus the prince consoled<br />\nFrom whose clear eyes the mists were rolled:<br />\n“Grieve not for those thou leavest thus,<br />\nNor tremble for thyself or us,<br />\nFor we will deal with thine and thee<br />\n1236<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAs duty and the laws decree.<br />\nHe who exacts and he who pays,<br />\nIs justly slain or justly slays,<br />\nShall in the life to come have bliss;<br />\nFor each has done his task in this.<br />\nThou, wandering from the right, art made<br />\nPure by the forfeit thou hast paid.<br />\nThy weight of sins is cast aside,<br />\nAnd duty\'s claim is satisfied.<br />\nThen grieve no more, O Prince, but clear<br />\nThy bosom from all doubt and fear,<br />\nFor fate, inexorably stern,<br />\nThou hast no power to move or turn.<br />\nThy princely Angad still will share<br />\nMy tender love, Sugríva\'s care;<br />\nAnd to thy offspring shall be shown<br />\nAffection that shall match thine own.”<br />\nCanto XIX. Tárá\'s Grief.<br />\nNo answer gave the Vánar king<br />\nTo Ráma\'s prudent counselling.<br />\nBattered and bruised by tree and stone,<br />\nBy Ráma\'s arrow overthrown,<br />\nFainting upon the ground he lay,<br />\nGasping his troubled life away.<br />\nCanto XIX. Tárá\'s Grief.<br />\n1237<br />\nBut Tárá in the Vánar\'s hall<br />\nHeard tidings of her husband\'s fall;<br />\nHeard that a shaft from Ráma\'s bow<br />\nHad laid the royal Báli low.<br />\nHer darling Angad by her side,<br />\nDistracted from her home she hied.<br />\nThen nigh the place of battle drew<br />\nThe Vánars, Angad\'s retinue.<br />\nThey saw the bow-armed Ráma: dread<br />\nFell on them, and they turned and fled.<br />\nLike helpless deer, their leaders slain,<br />\nSo wildly fled the startled train.<br />\nBut Tárá saw, and nearer pressed,<br />\nAnd thus the flying band addressed:<br />\n“O Vánars, ye who ever stand<br />\nAbout our king, a trusty band,<br />\nWhere is the lion master? why<br />\nForsake ye thus your lord and fly?<br />\nSay, lies he dead upon the plain,<br />\nA brother by a brother slain,<br />\nOr pierced by shafts from Ráma\'s bow<br />\nThat rain from far upon the foe?”<br />\nThus Tárá questioned, and was still:<br />\nThen, wearers of each shape at will,<br />\nThe Vánars thus with one accord<br />\nAnswered the Lady of their lord:<br />\n“Turn, Tárá turn, and half undone<br />\nSave Angad thy beloved son.<br />\nThere Ráma stands in death\'s disguise,<br />\nAnd conquered Báli faints and dies.<br />\nHe by whose strong arm, thick and fast,<br />\nUprooted trees and rocks were cast,<br />\nLies smitten by a shaft that came<br />\n1238<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nResistless as the lightning flame.<br />\nWhen he, whose splendour once could vie<br />\nWith Indra\'s, regent of the sky,<br />\nFell by that deadly arrow, all<br />\nThe Vánars fled who marked his fall.<br />\nLet all our chiefs their succours bring,<br />\nAnd Angad be anointed king;<br />\n[349]<br />\nFor all who come of Vánar race<br />\nWill serve him set in Báli\'s place.<br />\nOr else our conquering foes to-day<br />\nWithin our wall will force their way,<br />\nPolluting with their hostile feet<br />\nThe chambers of thy loved retreat.<br />\nGreat fear is on us, all and one.<br />\nThose who have wives and who have none,<br />\nThey lust for power, are fierce and bold,<br />\nOr hate us for the strife of old.”<br />\nShe heard their speech as, sore afraid,<br />\nArrested in their flight, they stayed,<br />\nAnd gave her answer as became<br />\nThe spirit of so true a dame:<br />\n“Nay, what have I to do with pelf,<br />\nWith son, with kingdom, or with self,<br />\nWhen he, my noble lord, who leads<br />\nThe Vánars like a lion, bleeds?<br />\nHis high-souled victor will I meet,<br />\nAnd throw me prostrate at his feet.”<br />\nCanto XIX. Tárá\'s Grief.<br />\n1239<br />\nShe hastened forth, her bosom rent<br />\nWith anguish, weeping as she went,<br />\nAnd striking, mastered by her woes,<br />\nHer head and breast with frantic blows.<br />\nShe hurried to the field and found<br />\nHer husband prostrate on the ground,<br />\nWho quelled the hostile Vánars\' might,<br />\nWhose bank was never turned in flight:<br />\nWhose arm a massy rock could throw<br />\nAs Indra hurls his bolts below:<br />\nFierce as the rushing tempest, loud<br />\nAs thunder from a labouring cloud:<br />\nWhene\'er he roared his voice of fear<br />\nStruck terror on the boldest ear:<br />\nNow slain, as, hungry for the prey,<br />\nA tiger might a lion slay:<br />\nOr when, his serpent foe to seek,<br />\nSuparṇa600with his furious beak<br />\nTears up a sacred hillock, long<br />\nThe reverence of a village throng,<br />\nIts altar with their offerings spread,<br />\nAnd the gay flag that waved o\'erhead.<br />\nShe looked and saw the victor stand<br />\nResting upon his bow his hand:<br />\nAnd fierce Sugríva she descried,<br />\nAnd Lakshmaṇ by his brother\'s side.<br />\nShe passed them by, nor stayed to view,<br />\nSwift to her husband\'s side she flew;<br />\nThen as she looked, her strength gave way,<br />\nAnd in the dust she fell and lay.<br />\nThen, as if startled ere the close<br />\nOf slumber, from the earth she rose.<br />\n600A name of Garuḍa the king of birds, the great enemy of the Serpents.<br />\n1240<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nUpon her dying husband, round<br />\nWhose soul the coils of Death were wound,<br />\nHer eyes in agony she bent<br />\nAnd called him with a shrill lament.<br />\nSugríva, when he heard her cries,<br />\nAnd saw the queen with weeping eyes,<br />\nAnd youthful Angad standing there,<br />\nHis load of grief could hardly bear.<br />\nCanto XX. Tárá\'s Lament.<br />\nAgain she bent her to the ground,<br />\nHer arms about her husband wound.<br />\nSobbed on his breast, and sick and faint<br />\nWith anguish poured her wild complaint:<br />\n“Brave in the charge of battle, boast<br />\nAnd glory of the Vánar host,<br />\nWhy on the cold earth wilt thou lie<br />\nAnd give no answer when I cry?<br />\nUp, warrior, from thy lowly bed!<br />\nA meeter couch for thee is spread.<br />\nIt ill beseems a glorious king<br />\nOn the bare ground his limbs to fling.<br />\nAh, surely must thy love be strong<br />\nFor her whom thou hast governed long,<br />\nIf thou, my hero, canst recline<br />\nOn her cold breast forsaking mine.<br />\nOr, famed for justice through the land,<br />\nThou on the road to heaven hast planned<br />\nSome city fairer far than this<br />\nTo be thy new metropolis.<br />\nCanto XX. Tárá\'s Lament.<br />\n1241<br />\nAre all our pleasures ended now,<br />\nWith those delicious hours which thou<br />\nAnd I, dear lord, together spent<br />\nIn woods that breathed the honey\'s scent?<br />\nWhelmed in my sorrow\'s boundless sea,<br />\nThere is no joy, no hope, for me,<br />\nWhen my beloved lord, who led<br />\nThe Vánars to the fight, is dead,<br />\nMy widowed heart is stern and cold.<br />\nOr, at the sight mine eyes behold,<br />\nO\'ermastered would it end this ache<br />\nAnd in a thousand fragments break.<br />\nAh noble Vánar, doomed to pay<br />\nThe penalty of all today—<br />\nSugríva from his home expelled,<br />\nAnd Rumá601from his arms withheld.<br />\nOur Vánar race and thee to save,<br />\nWise counsel for thy weal I gave;<br />\nBut thou, by wildest folly stirred,<br />\nWouldst give no credence to my word,<br />\nAnd now wilt woo the nymphs above,<br />\nAnd shake their souls with pangs of love.<br />\nAh, never could it be that thou<br />\nBeneath Sugríva\'s power shouldst bow,<br />\nThy conqueror is none but Fate<br />\nWhose mandates all who breathe await.<br />\nAnd does no thrill of anguish run<br />\nThrough the stern breast of Raghu\'s son,<br />\nWhose base hand dealt a coward\'s blow,<br />\nAnd smote thee fighting with thy foe?<br />\nReft of my lord my days, alas!<br />\n[350]<br />\nIn bitter bitter woe will pass:<br />\n601Sugríva\'s wife.<br />\n1242<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAnd I, long blest with every good,<br />\nMust bear my dreary widowhood.<br />\nAnd when his uncle\'s brow is stern,<br />\nWhen his fierce eyes with fury burn,<br />\nAh, what will be my Angad\'s fate,<br />\nSo fair and young and delicate?<br />\nCome, darling, for the last sad sight,<br />\nOf thy dear sire who loved the right;<br />\nFor soon thine eyes will long in vain<br />\nA look at that loved face to gain.<br />\nAnd, hero, as thy child draws near,<br />\nWith tender words his spirit cheer;<br />\nThy dying wishes gently speak,<br />\nAnd kiss him on the brows and cheek.<br />\nHigh fame, I ween, has Ráma won<br />\nBy this great deed his hand has done,<br />\nHis debt to brave Sugríva paid<br />\nAnd kept the promise that he made.<br />\nBe happy, King Sugríva, lord<br />\nOf Ramá to thine arms restored:<br />\nEnjoy uninterrupted reign,<br />\nFor he, thy foe, at length is slain.<br />\nDost thou not hear me speak, and why<br />\nHast thou no word of soft reply?<br />\nWill thou not lift thine eyes and see<br />\nThese dames who look to none but thee?”<br />\nFrom their sad eyes, as Tárá spoke,<br />\nThe floods of bitter sorrow broke:<br />\nThen, pressing close to Angad\'s side,<br />\nEach lifted up her voice and cried:<br />\nCanto XXI. Hanumán\'s Speech.<br />\n1243<br />\n“How couldst thou leave thine Angad thus,<br />\nAnd go, for ever go, from us—<br />\nThy child so dear in brave attire,<br />\nGraced with the virtues of his sire?<br />\nIf e\'er in want of thought, O chief,<br />\nOne deed of mine have caused thee grief,<br />\nForgive my folly, I entreat,<br />\nAnd with my head I touch thy feet.”<br />\nAgain the hapless Tárá wept<br />\nAs to her husband\'s side she crept,<br />\nAnd wild with sorrow and dismay<br />\nSat on the ground where Báli lay.<br />\nCanto XXI. Hanumán\'s Speech.<br />\nThere, like a fallen star, the dame<br />\nFell by her lord\'s half lifeless frame;<br />\nAnd Hanumán drew softly near,<br />\nAnd strove her grieving heart to cheer:<br />\n1244<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\n“By changeless law our bliss and woe<br />\nFrom ancient worth and folly flow.<br />\nWhat fruits soe\'er we cull, the seeds<br />\nWere scattered by our former deeds.602<br />\nWhy mourn another\'s mournful fate,<br />\nAnd weep, thyself unfortunate?<br />\nBe calm, O thou whose heart is wise,<br />\nFor none deserves another\'s sighs.<br />\nLook up, with idle sorrow strive:<br />\nThy child, his heir, is yet alive.<br />\nLet needful rites be duly done,<br />\nNor in thy woe forget thy son.<br />\nRegard the law which all obey:<br />\nThey spring to life, they pass away.<br />\nBegin the task that bids thee rise,<br />\nAnd stay these tears, for thou art wise.<br />\nOur lord the king is doomed to die,<br />\nOn whom ten million hearts rely.<br />\nKind, liberal, patient, true, and just<br />\nWas he in whom they place their trust,<br />\nAnd now he seeks the land of those<br />\nWho for the right subdue their foes.<br />\nEach Vánar lord with all his train,<br />\nEach ranger of this wild domain,<br />\nAnd Angad here, thy darling, see<br />\nA governor and friend in thee.<br />\nThese twain603whose hearts with sorrow ache<br />\nThe funeral rites shall undertake,<br />\nAnd Angad by his mother\'s care<br />\nBe king, his father\'s rightful heir.<br />\nNow let him pay, as laws require,<br />\n602“Our deeds still follow with us from afar. And what we have been makes<br />\nus what we are.”<br />\n603Sugríva and Angad.<br />\nCanto XXII. Báli Dead.<br />\n1245<br />\nHis sacred duty to his sire,<br />\nNor one solemnity omit<br />\nOf all that mighty kings befit.<br />\nAnd when thy fond eye sees thine own<br />\nDear Angad on his father\'s throne,<br />\nThen, lightened of its load of pain,<br />\nThy spirit will have rest again.”<br />\nShe heard his speech, she heaved her head,<br />\nLooked upon Hanumán and said:<br />\n“Sweeter my slain lord\'s limbs to touch,<br />\nThan Angad or a hundred such.<br />\nNo rule or right, a widowed dame,<br />\nO\'er Angad or the realm I claim.<br />\nSugríva is the uncle, he<br />\nIn every act supreme must be.<br />\nI pray thee, chief, this plan resign,<br />\nNor claim from me what ne\'er is mine.<br />\nThe father with his tender care<br />\nGuards the dear child the mother bare,<br />\nWhere\'er I be, no sweeter task,<br />\nNo happier joy I hope or ask<br />\nThan thus to sit with loving eyes<br />\nAnd watch the bed where Báli lies.<br />\nCanto XXII. Báli Dead.<br />\nThere breathing still with slow faint sighs<br />\nLay Báli on the ground: his eyes,<br />\n[351]<br />\n1246<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nDamp with the tears of death, he raised,<br />\nOn conquering Sugríva gazed,<br />\nAnd then in clearest speech expressed<br />\nThe tender feelings of his breast:<br />\n“Not to my charge, Sugríva, lay<br />\nThine injuries avenged to-day;<br />\nBut rather blame resistless Fate<br />\nThat urged me on infuriate.<br />\nFate ne\'er agreed our lives to bless<br />\nWith simultaneous happiness:<br />\nTo dwell like brothers side by side<br />\nIn tender love was still denied.<br />\nThe Vánars\' realm is thine to-day:<br />\nBegin, O King, thy rightful sway;604<br />\nFor I must go at Yáma\'s call<br />\nTo sojourn in his gloomy hall;<br />\nMust part and leave this very hour<br />\nMy life, my realm, my kingly power,<br />\nAnd go instead of these to gain<br />\nBright glory free from spot and stain.<br />\nNow at thy hands one boon I seek<br />\nWith the last words my lips shall speak,<br />\nAnd, though it be no easy thing,<br />\nPerform the task I give thee, King.<br />\nThis son of mine, no foolish boy,<br />\nWorthy of bliss and nursed in joy,—<br />\nSee, prostrate on the ground he lies,<br />\nThe hot tears welling from his eyes—<br />\nThe child I love so well, more sweet<br />\nThan life itself, for woe unmeet,—<br />\nTo him be kindly favour shown:<br />\nO guard and keep him as thine own.<br />\n604Angad himself, being too young to govern, would be Yuvarája or heir-ap-<br />\nparent.<br />\nCanto XXII. Báli Dead.<br />\n1247<br />\nRetain him ever by thy side,<br />\nHis father, helper, friend, and guide.<br />\nFrom fear and woe his young life save,<br />\nAnd give him all his father gave.<br />\nThen Tárá\'s son in time shall be<br />\nBrave, resolute, and famed like thee,<br />\nAnd march before thee to the fight<br />\nWhere stricken fiends shall own his might.<br />\nWhile yet a tender stripling, fame<br />\nShall bruit abroad his warrior name,<br />\nAnd brightly shall his glory shine<br />\nFor exploits worthy of his line.<br />\nChild of Susheṇ,605my Tárá well<br />\nObscurest lore can read and tell;<br />\nAnd, trained in wondrous art, divines<br />\nEach mystery of boding signs.<br />\nHer solemn warning ne\'er despise,<br />\nDo boldly what her lips advise;<br />\nFor things to come her eye can see,<br />\nAnd with her words events agree.<br />\nAnd for the son of Raghu\'s sake<br />\nThe toil and danger undertake:<br />\nFor breach of faith were grievous wrong,<br />\nNor wouldst thou be unpunished long.<br />\nNow, brother, take this chain of gold,<br />\nGift of celestial hands of old,<br />\nOr when I die its charm will flee,<br />\nAnd all its might be lost with me.”<br />\nThe loving speech Sugríva heard,<br />\nAnd all his heart with woe was stirred.<br />\nRemorse and gentle pity stole<br />\nEach thought of triumph from his soul:<br />\n605Susheṇa was the son of Varuṇa the God of the sea.<br />\n1248<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThus fades the light when Ráhu606mars<br />\nThe glory of the Lord of Stars.607<br />\nAll angry thoughts were stayed and stilled<br />\nAnd kindly love his bosom filled.<br />\nHis brother\'s word the chief obeyed<br />\nAnd took the chain as Báli prayed.<br />\nOn little Angad standing nigh<br />\nThe dying hero fixed his eye,<br />\nAnd, ready from this world to part,<br />\nSpoke the fond utterance of his heart:<br />\n“Let time and place thy thoughts employ:<br />\nIn woe be strong, be meek in joy.<br />\nAccept both pain and pleasure, still<br />\nObedient to Sugríva\'s will.<br />\nThou hast, my darling, from the first<br />\nWith tender care been softly nursed;<br />\nBut harder days, if thou wouldst win<br />\nSugríva\'s love, must now begin.<br />\nTo those who hate him ne\'er incline,<br />\nNor count his foe a friend of thine.<br />\nIn all thy thoughts his welfare seek,<br />\nObedient, lowly, faithful, meek.<br />\nLet no rash suit his bosom pain,<br />\nNor yet from due requests abstain.608<br />\nEach is a grievous fault, between<br />\nThe two is found the happy mean.”<br />\n606A demon with the tail of a dragon, that causes eclipses by endeavouring to<br />\nswallow the sun and moon.<br />\n607The Lord of Stars is the Moon.<br />\n608Or the passage may be interpreted: “Be neither too obsequious or affection-<br />\nate, nor wanting in due respect or love.”<br />\nCanto XXII. Báli Dead.<br />\n1249<br />\nThen Báli ceased: his eyeballs rolled<br />\nIn stress of anguish uncontrolled<br />\nHis massive teeth were bared to view,<br />\nAnd from the frame the spirit flew.<br />\nTheir lord and leader dead, the crowd<br />\nOf noblest Vánars shrieked aloud:<br />\n“Since thou, O King, hast sought the skies<br />\nAll desolate Kishkindhá lies.<br />\nHer woods, where Vánars loved to rove,<br />\nAre empty now, and hill and grove.<br />\nFrom every eye the light is fled,<br />\nSince thou, our mighty lord, art dead.<br />\nThine was the unwearied arm that bore<br />\nThe brunt of deadly fight of yore<br />\nWith Golabh the Gandharva, when,<br />\nLasting through five long years and ten,<br />\n[352]<br />\nThe dreadful conflict knew no stay<br />\nIn gloom of night, in glare of day;<br />\nAnd when the fifteenth year had past<br />\nThy dire opponent fell at last.<br />\nIf such a foeman fell beneath<br />\nOur hero\'s arm and awful teeth<br />\nWho freed us from our terror, how<br />\nIs conquering Báli fallen now?”<br />\nThen when they saw their leader slain<br />\nGreat anguish seized the Vánar train,<br />\nWeeping their mighty chief, as when<br />\nIn pastures near a lion\'s den<br />\nThe cows by sudden fear are stirred,<br />\nSlain the bold bull who led the herd.<br />\nAnd hapless Tárá sank below<br />\nThe whelming waters of her woe,<br />\nLooked upon Báli\'s face and fell<br />\n1250<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nBeside him whom she loved go well,<br />\nLike a young creeper clinging round<br />\nA tall tree prostrate on the ground.<br />\nCanto XXIII. Tárá\'s Lament.<br />\nShe kissed her lifeless husband\'s face,<br />\nShe clasped him in a close embrace,<br />\nLaid her soft lips upon his head;<br />\nThen words like these the mourner said:<br />\n“No words of mine wouldst thou regard,<br />\nAnd now thy bed is cold and hard.<br />\nUpon the rude rough ground o\'erthrown,<br />\nBeneath thee naught but sand and stone.<br />\nTo thee the earth is dearer far<br />\nThan I and my caresses are,<br />\nIf thou upon her breast wilt lie,<br />\nAnd to my words make no reply.<br />\nAh my beloved, good and brave,<br />\nBold to attack and strong to save,<br />\nFate is Sugríva\'s thrall, and we<br />\nIn him our lord and master see.<br />\nLo, by thy bed, a mournful band,<br />\nThy Vánar chiefs lamenting stand.<br />\nO hear thy nobles\' groans and cries,<br />\nO mark thy Angad\'s weeping eyes,<br />\nO list to my entreaties, break<br />\nThe chains of slumber and awake.<br />\nAh me, my lord, this lowly bed<br />\nWhere rest thy limbs and fallen head,<br />\nCanto XXIII. Tárá\'s Lament.<br />\n1251<br />\nIs the cold couch where smitten lay<br />\nThy foemen in the bloody fray.<br />\nO noble heart from blemish free,<br />\nLover of war, beloved by me.<br />\nWhy hast thou fled away and left<br />\nThy Tárá of all hope bereft?<br />\nUnwise the father who allows<br />\nHis child to be a warrior\'s spouse,<br />\nFor, hero, see thy consort\'s fate,<br />\nA widow now most desolate,<br />\nFor ever broken is my pride,<br />\nMy hope of lasting bliss has died,<br />\nAnd sinking in the lowest deep<br />\nOf sorrow\'s sea I pine and weep.<br />\nAh, surely not of earthly mould,<br />\nThis stony heart is stern and cold,<br />\nOr, in a hundred pieces rent,<br />\nIt had not lingered to lament.<br />\nDead, dead! my husband, friend, and lord<br />\nIn whom my loving hopes were stored,<br />\nFirst in the field, his foemen\'s dread,<br />\nMy own victorious Báli, dead!<br />\nA woman when her lord has died,<br />\nThough children flourish by her side,<br />\nThough stores of gold her coffers fill,<br />\nIs called a lonely widow still.<br />\nAlas, thy bleeding gashes make<br />\nAround thy limbs a purple lake:<br />\nThus slumbering was thy wont to lie<br />\nOn cushions bright with crimson dye.<br />\nDark streams of welling blood besmear<br />\nThy limbs where dust and mire adhere,<br />\nNor have I strength, weighed down by woe,<br />\nMine arms about thy form to throw.<br />\n1252<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe issue of this day has brought<br />\nSugríva all his wishes sought,<br />\nFor Ráma shot one shaft and he<br />\nIs freed from fear and jeopardy.<br />\nAlas, alas, I may not rest<br />\nMy head upon thy wounded breast,<br />\nObstructed by the massive dart<br />\nDeep buried in thy bleeding heart.”<br />\nThen Níla from his bosom drew<br />\nThe fatal shaft that pierced him through,<br />\nLike some tremendous serpent deep<br />\nIn caverns of a hill asleep.<br />\nAs from the hero\'s wound it came,<br />\nShot from the shaft a gleam of flame,<br />\nLike the last flashes of the sun<br />\nDescending when his course is run.<br />\nFrom the wide rent in crimson flood<br />\nRushed the full stream of Báli\'s blood,<br />\nLike torrents down a mountain\'s side<br />\nWith golden ore and copper dyed.<br />\nThen Tárá brushed with tender care<br />\nThe dust of battle from his hair,<br />\nWhile her sad eyes poured down their rain<br />\nUpon her lord untimely slain.<br />\nOnce more she looked upon the dead;<br />\nThen to her bright-eyed child she said:<br />\n“Turn hither, turn thy weeping eyes<br />\nWhere low in death thy father lies.<br />\nBy sinful deed and bitter hate<br />\nOur lord has met his mournful fate.<br />\nBright as the sun at early morn<br />\nTo Yáma\'s halls is Báli borne.<br />\nThen go, my child, salute the king,<br />\nCanto XXIII. Tárá\'s Lament.<br />\n1253<br />\nFrom whom our bliss and honour spring.”<br />\nObedient to his mother\'s hest<br />\nHis father\'s feet he gently pressed<br />\n[353]<br />\nWith twining arms and lingering hands:<br />\n“Father,” he cried, “here Angad stands.”<br />\nThen Tárá: “Art thou stern and mute,<br />\nRegardless of thy child\'s salute?<br />\nHast thou no blessing for thy son,<br />\nNo word for little Angad, none?<br />\nO, hero, at thy lifeless feet<br />\nHere with my boy I take my seat,<br />\nAs some sad mother of the herd,<br />\nBy the fierce lion undeterred,<br />\nLies moaning by the grassy dell<br />\nWherein her lord and leader fell.<br />\nHow, having wrought that awful rite,<br />\nThe sacrifice of deadly fight,<br />\nWherein the shaft by Ráma sped<br />\nSupplied the place of water shed,<br />\nHow hast thou bathed thee at the end<br />\nWithout thy wife her aid to lend?609<br />\nWhy do mine eyes no more behold<br />\nThy bright beloved chain of gold,<br />\nWhich, pleased with thee, the Immortals\' King<br />\nAbout thy neck vouchsafed to fling?<br />\nStill lingering on thy lifeless face<br />\nI see the pride of royal race:<br />\nThus when the sun has set, his glow<br />\nStill rests upon the Lord of Snow.<br />\n609Sacrifices and all religious rites begin and end with ablution, and the wife<br />\nof the officiating Bráhman takes an important part in the performance of the<br />\nholy ceremonies.<br />\n1254<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nAlas my hero! undeterred<br />\nThou wouldst not listen to my word.<br />\nWith tears and prayers I sued in vain:<br />\nThou wouldst not listen, and art slain.<br />\nGone is my bliss, my glory: I<br />\nAnd Angad now with thee will die.”<br />\nCanto XXIV. Sugríva\'s Lament.<br />\nBut when Sugríva saw her weep<br />\nO\'erwhelmed in sorrow\'s rushing deep,<br />\nSwift through his bosom pierced the sting<br />\nOf anguish for the fallen king.<br />\nAt the sad sight his eyes beheld<br />\nA flood of bitter tears outwelled,<br />\nAnd, with his bosom racked and rent,<br />\nTo Ráma with his train he went.<br />\nHe came with faltering steps and slow<br />\nWhere Ráma held his mighty bow<br />\nAnd arrow like a venomed snake,<br />\nAnd to the son of Raghu spake:<br />\n“Well hast thou kept, O King, thy vow:<br />\nThe promised fruit is gathered now.<br />\nBut life is marred, my soul to-day<br />\nTurns sickening from all joy away.<br />\nFor, while this queen laments and sighs<br />\nAmid a mourning people\'s cries,<br />\nAnd Angad weeps his father slain,<br />\nHow can my heart delight to reign?<br />\nFor outrage, fury, senseless pride,<br />\nMy brother, doomed of yore, has died.<br />\nCanto XXIV. Sugríva\'s Lament.<br />\n1255<br />\nYet, Raghu\'s son, in bitter woe<br />\nI mourn his fated overthrow.<br />\nAh, better far in pain and ill<br />\nTo dwell on Rishyamúka still<br />\nThan gain the heaven of Gods and all<br />\nIts pleasures by my brother\'s fall.<br />\nDid not he cry,—great-hearted foe,—<br />\n“Go, for I will not slay thee, Go”?<br />\nWith his brave soul those words agree:<br />\nMy speech, my deeds, are worthy me.<br />\nHow can a brother counterweigh<br />\nHis grievous loss with joys of sway,<br />\nAnd see with dull unpitying eye<br />\nSo brave and good a brother die?<br />\nHis lofty soul was nobly blind:<br />\nMy death alas, he ne\'er designed;<br />\nBut I, urged blindly on by hate,<br />\nSought with his life my rage to sate.<br />\nHe smote me with a splintered tree:<br />\nI groaned aloud and turned to flee,<br />\nFrom stern reproaches he forbore,<br />\nAnd gently bade me sin no more.<br />\nSerene and dutiful and good<br />\nHe kept the laws of brotherhood:<br />\nI, fierce and greedy, vengeful, base,<br />\nShowed all the vices of our race.<br />\nAh me, dear friend, my brother\'s fate<br />\nLays on my soul a crushing weight:<br />\nA sin no heart should e\'er conceive,<br />\nBut at the thought each soul should grieve:<br />\nSin such as Indra\'s when his blow<br />\nLaid heavenly Viśvarúpa610low.<br />\n610Viśvarúpa, a son of Twashṭri or Viśvakarmá the heavenly architect, was a<br />\nthree-headed monster slain by Indra.<br />\n1256<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nYet earth, the waters of the seas,<br />\nThe race of women and the trees<br />\nWere fain upon themselves to take<br />\nThe weight of sin for Indra\'s sake.<br />\nBut who a Vánar\'s soul will free,<br />\nOr ease the load that crushes me?<br />\nWretch that I am, I may not claim<br />\nThe reverence due to royal name.<br />\nHow shall I reign supreme, or dare<br />\nAffect the power I should not share?<br />\nAh me, I sorrow for my sin,<br />\nThe ruin of my race and kin,<br />\nPolluted by a hideous crime<br />\nWorld-hated till the end of time.<br />\nAlas, the floods of sorrow roll<br />\nWith whelming force upon my soul:<br />\nSo gathers the descending rain<br />\nIn the deep hollow of the plain.”<br />\n[354]<br />\nCanto XXV. Ráma\'s Speech.<br />\nThen Raghu\'s son, whose feeling breast<br />\nShared the great woe that moved the rest,<br />\nStrove with wise charm their grief to ease<br />\nAnd gently spoke in words like these:<br />\nCanto XXV. Ráma\'s Speech.<br />\n1257<br />\n“You ne\'er can raise the dead to bliss<br />\nBy agony of grief like this.<br />\nCease your lament, nor leave undone<br />\nThe funeral task you may not shun.<br />\nAs nature orders o\'er the dead.<br />\nYour tributary tears are shed,<br />\nBut Fate, directing each event,<br />\nIs still the lord preëminent.<br />\nYes, all obey the changeless laws<br />\nOf Fate the universal cause.<br />\nBy Fate, the lives of all proceed,<br />\nThat governs every word and deed,<br />\nNone acts, none sees his hest obeyed,<br />\nBut each and all by Fate are swayed.<br />\nThe world its ordered course maintains,<br />\nAnd o\'er that course Fate ever reigns.<br />\nFate ne\'er exceeds the rule of Fate:<br />\nIs ne\'er too swift, is ne\'er too late,<br />\nAnd making nature its ally<br />\nForgets no life, nor passes by.<br />\nNo kith and kin, no power and force<br />\nCan check or stay its settled course,<br />\nNo friend or client, grace or charm,<br />\nThat victor of the world disarm.<br />\nSo all who see with prudent eyes<br />\nThe hand of Fate must recognize,<br />\nFor virtue rules, or love, or gain,<br />\nAs Fate\'s unchanged decrees ordain.<br />\nBáli has died and won the meed<br />\nThat waits in heaven on noble deed,<br />\nThroned in the seats the brave may reach<br />\nBy liberal hand and gentle speech,<br />\nTrue to a warrior\'s duty, bold<br />\nIn fight, the hero lofty-souled<br />\n1258<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nDeigned not to guard his life: he died,<br />\nAnd now in heaven is glorified.<br />\nThen cease these tears and wild despair:<br />\nTurn to the task that claims your care,<br />\nFor Báli\'s is the glorious fate<br />\nWhich warriors count most fortunate.”<br />\nWhen Ráma\'s speech had found a close,<br />\nBrave Lakshmaṇ, terror of his foes,<br />\nWith wise and soothing words addressed<br />\nSugríva still with woe oppressed:<br />\n“Arise Sugríva,” thus he said,<br />\n“Perform the service of the dead.<br />\nPrepare with Tárá and her son<br />\nThat Báli\'s rites be duly done.<br />\nA store of funeral wood provide<br />\nWhich wind and sun and time have dried<br />\nAnd richest sandal fit to grace<br />\nThe pyre of one of royal race.<br />\nWith words of comfort soft and kind<br />\nConsole poor Angad\'s troubled mind,<br />\nNor let thy heart be thus cast down,<br />\nFor thine is now the Vánars\' town.<br />\nLet Angad\'s care a wreath supply,<br />\nAnd raiment rich with varied dye,<br />\nAnd oil and perfumes for the fire,<br />\nAnd all the solemn rites require.<br />\nGo, hasten to the town, O King,<br />\nAnd Tárá\'s little quickly bring.<br />\nA virtue is despatch: and speed<br />\nIs best of all in hour of need.<br />\nGo, let a chosen band prepare<br />\nThe litter of the dead to bear.<br />\nFor stout and tall and strong of limb<br />\nCanto XXV. Ráma\'s Speech.<br />\n1259<br />\nMust be the chiefs who carry him.”<br />\nHe spoke,—his friends\' delight and pride,—<br />\nThen stood again by Ráma\'s side.<br />\nWhen Tára611heard the words he said<br />\nWithin the town he quickly sped,<br />\nAnd brought, on stalwart shoulders laid,<br />\nThe litter for the rites arrayed,<br />\nFramed like a car for Gods, complete<br />\nWith painted sides and royal seat,<br />\nWith latticed windows deftly made,<br />\nAnd golden birds and trees inlaid:<br />\nWell joined and wrought in every part,<br />\nA marvel of ingenious art.<br />\nWhere pleasure mounds in carven wood<br />\nAnd many a graven figure stood.<br />\nThe best of jewels o\'er it hung,<br />\nAnd wreaths of flowers around it clung,<br />\nAnd over all was raised on high<br />\nA canopy of saffron dye,<br />\nWhile like the sun of morning shone<br />\nThe brilliant blooms that lay thereon.<br />\nThat glorious litter Ráma eyed.<br />\nAnd spake to Lakshmaṇ by his side:<br />\n“Let Báli on the bier be placed<br />\nAnd with all funeral service graced.”<br />\nSugríva then with many a tear<br />\nDrew Báli\'s body to the bier<br />\nWhereon, with weeping Angad\'s aid,<br />\nThe relics of the chief were laid<br />\nNeath many a vesture\'s varied fold,<br />\nAnd wreaths and ornaments and gold.<br />\nThen King Sugríva bade them speed<br />\n611The Vánar chief, not to be confounded with Tárá.<br />\n1260<br />\nThe Ramayana<br />\nThe obsequies by law decreed:<br />\n“Let Vánars lead the way and throw<br />\nRich gems around them as they go,<br />\nAnd be the chosen bearers near<br />\nBehind them laden with the bier.<br />\nNo costly rite may you deny,<br />\nUsed when the proudest monarchs die:<br />\nAs for a king of widest sway.<br />\nPerform his obsequies to-day.”</p>\n<p><a title=\"read Book IV. Kishkindhya (part 2)\" href=\"/node/331\" style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">Book IV. Kishkindhya (part 2)</a></p>\n', created = 1620423296, expire = 1620509696, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:06c9276e1ae1447afed13e4433785245' in /home/piv1691/theosophy-mm.net/www/includes/cache.inc on line 108.
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BOOK IV.
Canto I. Ráma's Lament.
The princes stood by Pampá's side522
Which blooming lilies glorified.
With troubled heart and sense o'erthrown
There Ráma made his piteous moan.
As the fair flood before him lay
The reason of the chief gave way;
And tender thoughts within him woke,
As to Sumitrá's son he spoke:
522Pampá is said by the commentator to be the name both of a lake and a brook
which flows into it. The brook is said to rise in the hill Rishyamúka.
Canto I. Ráma's Lament.
1135
“How lovely Pampá's waters show,
Where streams of lucid crystal flow!
What glorious trees o'erhang the flood
Which blooms of opening lotus stud!
Look on the banks of Pampá where
Thick groves extend divinely fair;
And piles of trees, like hills in size,
Lift their proud summits to the skies.
But thought of Bharat's523pain and toil,
And my dear spouse the giant's spoil,
Afflict my tortured heart and press
My spirit down with heaviness.
Still fair to me though sunk in woe
Bright Pampá and her forest show.
Where cool fresh waters charm the sight,
And flowers of every hue are bright.
The lotuses in close array
Their passing loveliness display,
And pard and tiger, deer and snake
Haunt every glade and dell and brake.
Those grassy spots display the hue
Of topazes and sapphires' blue,
And, gay with flowers of every dye,
With richly broidered housings vie.
What loads of bloom the high trees crown,
Or weigh the bending branches down!
And creepers tipped with bud and flower
Each spray and loaded limb o'erpower.
Now cool delicious breezes blow,
And kindle love's voluptuous glow,
When balmy sweetness fills the air,
And fruit and flowers and trees are fair.
523Who was acting as Regent for Ráma and leading an ascetic life while he
mourned for his absent brother.
1136
The Ramayana
Those waving woods, that shine with bloom,
Each varied tint in turn assume.
Like labouring clouds they pour their showers
In rain or ever-changing flowers.
Behold, those forest trees, that stand
High upon rock and table-land,
As the cool gales their branches bend,
Their floating blossoms downward send.
See, Lakshmaṇ, how the breezes play
With every floweret on the spray.
And sport in merry guise with all
The fallen blooms and those that fall.
See, brother, where the merry breeze
Shakes the gay boughs of flowery trees,
Disturbed amid their toil a throng
Of bees pursue him, loud in song.
The Koïls,524mad with sweet delight,
The bending trees to dance invite;
And in its joy the wild wind sings
As from the mountain cave he springs.
On speed the gales in rapid course,
And bend the woods beneath their force,
Till every branch and spray they bind
In many a tangled knot entwined.
What balmy sweets those gales dispense
With cool and sacred influence!
Fatigue and trouble vanish: such
The magic of their gentle touch.
Hark, when the gale the boughs has bent
In woods of honey redolent,
Through all their quivering sprays the trees
Are vocal with the murmuring bees.
524The Indian Cuckoo.
Canto I. Ráma's Lament.
1137
The hills with towering summits rise,
And with their beauty charm the eyes,
Gay with the giant trees which bright
With blossom spring from every height:
And as the soft wind gently sways
The clustering blooms that load the sprays,
The very trees break forth and sing
With startled wild bees' murmuring.
Thine eyes to yonder Cassias525turn
Whose glorious clusters glow and burn.
[320]
Those trees in yellow robes behold,
Like giants decked with burnished gold.
Ah me, Sumitrá's son, the spring
Dear to sweet birds who love and sing,
Wakes in my lonely breast the flame
Of sorrow as I mourn my dame.
Love strikes me through with darts of fire,
And wakes in vain the sweet desire.
Hark, the loud Koïl swells his throat,
And mocks me with his joyful note.
I hear the happy wild-cock call
Beside the shady waterfall.
His cry of joy afflicts my breast
By love's absorbing might possessed.
My darling from our cottage heard
One morn in spring this shrill-toned bird,
And called me in her joy to hear
The happy cry that charmed her ear.
525The Cassia Fistula or Amaltás is a splendid tree like a giant laburnum
covered with a profusion of chains and tassels of gold. Dr. Roxburgh well
describes it as “uncommonly beautiful when in flower, few trees surpassing it
in the elegance of its numerous long pendulous racemes of large bright-yellow
flowers intermixed with the young lively green foliage.” It is remarkable also
for its curious cylindrical black seed-pods about two feet long, which are called
monkeys' walking-sticks.
1138
The Ramayana
See, birds of every varied voice
Around us in the woods rejoice,
On creeper, shrub, and plant alight,
Or wing from tree to tree their flight.
Each bird his kindly mate has found,
And loud their notes of triumph sound,
Blending in sweetest music like
The distant warblings of the shrike.
See how the river banks are lined
With birds of every hue and kind.
Here in his joy the Koïl sings,
There the glad wild-cock flaps his wings.
The blooms of bright Aśokas526where
The song of wild bees fills the air,
And the soft whisper of the boughs
Increase my longing for my spouse.
The vernal flush of flower and spray
Will burn my very soul away.
What use, what care have I for life
If I no more may see my wife
Soft speaker with the glorious hair,
And eyes with silken lashes fair?
Now is the time when all day long
526“TheJonesiaAsocaisatreeofconsiderablesize, nativeofsouthernIndia. It
blossoms in February and March with large erect compact clusters of flowers,
varying in colour from pale-orange to scarlet, almost to be mistaken, on a hasty
glance, for immense trusses of bloom of an Ixora. Mr. Fortune considered this
tree, when in full bloom, superior in beauty even to the Amherstia.
The first time I saw the Asoc in flower was on the hill where the famous
rock-cut temple of Kárlí is situated, and a large concourse of natives had
assembled for the celebration of some Hindoo festival. Before proceeding to
the temple the Mahratta women gathered from two trees, which were flowering
somewhat below, each a fine truss of blossom, and inserted it in the hair at the
back of her head.… As they moved about in groups it is impossible to imagine
a more delightful effect than the rich scarlet bunches of flowers presented on
their fine glossy jet-black hair.” FIRMINGER{FNS, Gardening for India.
Canto I. Ráma's Lament.
1139
The Koïls fill the woods with song.
And gardens bloom at spring's sweet touch
Which my beloved loved so much.
Ah me, Sumitrá's son, the fire
Of sorrow, sprung from soft desire,
Fanned by the charms the spring time shows,
Will burn my heart and end my woes,
Whose sad eyes look on each fair tree,
But my sweet love no more may see.
Ah me, Ah me, from hour to hour
Love in my soul will wax in power,
And spring, upon whose charms I gaze,
Whose breath the heat of toil allays,
With thoughts of her for whom I strain
My hopeless eyes, increase my pain.
As fire in summer rages through
The forests thick with dry bamboo,
So will my fawn eyed love consume
My soul o'erwhelmed with thoughts of gloom.
Behold, beneath each spreading tree
The peacocks dance527in frantic glee,
And, stirred by all the gales that blow,
Their tails with jewelled windows glow,
Each bird, in happy love elate,
Rejoices with his darling mate.
But sights like these of joy and peace
My pangs of hopeless love increase.
See on the mountain slope above
The peahen languishing with love.
Behold her now in amorous dance
Close to her consort's side advance.
527No other word can express the movements of peafowl under the influence
of pleasing excitement, especially when after the long drought they hear the
welcome roar of the thunder and feel that the rain is near.
1140
The Ramayana
He with a laugh of joy and pride
Displays his glittering pinions wide;
And follows through the tangled dell
The partner whom he loves so well.
Ah happy bird! no giant's hate
Has robbed him of his tender mate;
And still beside his loved one he
Dances beneath the shade in glee.
Ah, in this month when flowers are fair
My widowed woe is hard to bear.
See, gentle love a home may find
In creatures of inferior kind.
See how the peahen turns to meet
Her consort now with love-drawn feet.
[321]
So, Lakshmaṇ, if my large-eyed dear,
The child of Janak still were here,
She, by love's thrilling influence led,
Upon my breast would lay her head.
These blooms I gathered from the bough
Without my love are useless now.
A thousand blossoms fair to see
With passing glory clothe each tree
That hangs its cluster-burthened head
Now that the dewy months528are fled,
But, followed by the bees that ply
Their fragrant task, they fall and die.
A thousand birds in wild delight
Their rapture-breathing notes unite;
Bird calls to bird in joyous strain,
And turns my love to frenzied pain.
O, if beneath those alien skies,
There be a spring where Sítá lies,
528The Dewy Season is one of the six ancient seasons of the Indian year,
lasting from the middle of January to the middle of March.
Canto I. Ráma's Lament.
1141
I know my prisoned love must be
Touched with like grief, and mourn with me.
But ah, methinks that dreary clime
Knows not the touch of spring's sweet time.
How could my black eyed love sustain,
Without her lord, so dire a pain?
Or if the sweet spring come to her
In distant lands a prisoner,
How may his advent and her met
On every side with taunt and threat?
Ah, if the springtide's languor came
With soft enchantment o'er my dame,
My darling of the lotus eye,
My gently speaking love, would die;
For well my spirit knows that she
Can never live bereft of me
With love that never wavered yet
My Sítá's heart, on me is set,
Who, with a soul that ne'er can stray,
With equal love her love repay.
In vain, in vain the soft wind brings
Sweet blossoms on his balmy wings;
Delicious from his native snow,
To me like fire he seems to glow.
O, how I loved a breeze like this
When darling Sítá shared the bliss!
But now in vain for me it blows
To fan the fury of my woes.
That dark-winged bird that sought the skies
Foretelling grief with warning cries,
Sits on the tree where buds are gay,
And pours glad music from the spray.
That rover of the fields of air
Will aid my love with friendly care,
1142
The Ramayana
And me with gracious pity guide
To my large-eyed Videhan's side.529
Hark, Lakshmaṇ, how the woods around
With love-inspiring chants resound,
Where birds in every bloom-crowned tree
Pour forth their amorous minstrelsy.
As though an eager gallant wooed
A gentle maid by love subdued,
Enamoured of her flowers the bee
Darts at the wind-rocked Tila tree.530
Aśoka, brightest tree that grows,
That lends a pang to lovers' woes,
Hangs out his gorgeous bloom in scorn
And mocks me as I weep forlorn.
O Lakshmaṇ, turn thine eye and see
Each blossom-laden Mango tree,
Like a young lover gaily dressed
Whom fond desire forbids to rest.
Look, son of Queen Sumitrá through
The forest glades of varied hue,
Where blooms are bright and grass is green
The Kinnars531with their loves are seen.
See, brother, see where sweet and bright
Those crimson lilies charm the sight,
And o'er the flood a radiance throw
Fair as the morning's roseate glow.
See, Pampá, most divinely sweet,
529Ráma appears to mean that on a former occasion a crow flying high over-
head was an omen that indicated his approaching separation from Sítá; and that
now the same bird's perching on a tree near him may be regarded as a happy
augury that she will soon be restored to her husband.
530A tree with beautiful and fragrant blossoms.
531A race of semi-divine musicians attached to the service of Kuvera, repre-
sented as centaurs reversed with human figures and horses' heads.
Canto I. Ráma's Lament.
1143
The swan's and mallard's loved retreat,
Shows her glad waters bright and clear,
Where lotuses their heads uprear
From the pure wave, and charm the view
With mingled tints of red and blue.
Each like the morning's early beams
Reflected in the crystal gleams;
And bees on their sweet toil intent
Weigh down each tender filament.
There with gay lawns the wood recedes;
There wildfowl sport amid the reeds,
There roedeer stand upon the brink,
And elephants descend to drink.
The rippling waves which winds make fleet
Against the bending lilies beat,
And opening bud and flower and stem
Gleam with the drops that hang on them.
Life has no pleasure left for me
While my dear queen I may not see,
[322]
Who loved so well those blooms that vie
With the full splendour of her eye.
O tyrant Love, who will not let
My bosom for one hour forget
The lost one whom I yearn to meet,
Whose words were ever kind and sweet.
Ah, haply might my heart endure
This hopeless love that knows not cure,
If spring with all his trees in flower
Assailed me not with ruthless power.
Each lovely scene, each sound and sight
Wherein, with her, I found delight,
Has lost the charm so sweet of yore,
And glads my widowed heart no more.
On lotus buds I seem to gaze,
1144
The Ramayana
Or blooms that deck Paláśa532sprays;533
But to my tortured memory rise
The glories of my darling's eyes.
Cool breezes through the forest stray
Gathering odours on their way,
Enriched with all the rifled scent
Of lotus flower and filament.
Their touch upon my temples falls
And Sítá's fragrant breath recalls.
Now look, dear brother, on the right
Of Pampá towers a mountain height
Where fairest Cassia trees unfold
The treasures of their burnished gold.
Proud mountain king! his woody side
With myriad ores is decked and dyed,
And as the wind-swept blossoms fall
Their fragrant dust is stained with all.
To yon high lands thy glances turn:
With pendent fire they flash and burn,
Where in their vernal glory blaze
Paláśa flowers on leafless sprays.
O Lakshmaṇ, look! on Pampá's side
What fair trees rise in blooming pride!
532Butea Frondosa. A tree that bears a profusion of brilliant red flowers which
appear before the leaves.
533I omit five ślokas which contain nothing but a list of trees for which,
with one or two exceptions, there are no equivalent names in English. The
following is Gorresio's translation of the corresponding passage in the Bengal
recension:—
“Oh come risplendono in questa stagione di primavera i vitici, le galedupe,
le bassie, le dalbergie, i diospyri … le tile, le michelie, le rottlerie, le pentaptere
ed i pterospermi, i bombaci, le grislee, gli abri, gli amaranti e le dalbergie; i
sirii, le galedupe, le barringtonie ed i palmizi, i xanthocymi, il pepebetel, le
verbosine e le ticaie, le nauclee le erythrine, gli asochi, e le tapie fanno d'ogni
intorno pompa de' lor fiori.”
Canto I. Ráma's Lament.
1145
What climbing plants above them show
Or hang their flowery garlands low!
See how the amorous creeper rings
The wind-rocked trees to which she clings,
As though a dame by love impelled
With clasping arms her lover held.
Drunk with the varied scents that fill
The balmy air, from hill to hill,
From grove to grove, from tree to tree,
The joyous wind is wandering free.
These gay trees wave their branches bent
By blooms, of honey redolent.
There, slowly opening to the day,
Buds with dark lustre deck the spray.
The wild bee rests a moment where
Each tempting flower is sweet and fair,
Then, coloured by the pollen dyes,
Deep in some odorous blossom lies.
Soon from his couch away he springs:
To other trees his course he wings,
And tastes the honeyed blooms that grow
Where Pampá's lucid waters flow.
See, Lakshmaṇ, see, how thickly spread
With blossoms from the trees o'erhead,
That grass the weary traveller woos
With couches of a thousand hues,
And beds on every height arrayed
With red and yellow tints are laid,
No longer winter chills the earth:
A thousand flowerets spring to birth,
And trees in rivalry assume
Their vernal garb of bud and bloom.
How fair they look, how bright and gay
With tasselled flowers on every spray!
1146
The Ramayana
While each to each proud challenge flings
Borne in the song the wild bee sings.
That mallard by the river edge
Has bathed amid the reeds and sedge:
Now with his mate he fondly plays
And fires my bosom as I gaze.
Mandákiní534is far renowned:
No lovelier flood on earth is found;
But all her fairest charms combined
In this sweet stream enchant the mind.
O, if my love were here to look
With me upon this lovely brook,
Never for Ayodhyá would I pine,
Or wish that Indra's lot were mine.
If by my darling's side I strayed
O'er the soft turf which decks the glade,
Each craving thought were sweetly stilled,
Each longing of my soul fulfilled.
But, now my love is far away,
Those trees which make the woods so gay,
In all their varied beauty dressed,
Wake thoughts of anguish in my breast.
That lotus-covered stream behold
Whose waters run so fresh and cold,
[323]
534A sacred stream often mentioned in the course of the poem. See Book II,
Canto XCV.
Canto I. Ráma's Lament.
1147
Sweet rill, the wildfowl's loved resort,
Where curlew, swan, and diver sport;
Where with his consort plays the drake,
And tall deer love their thirst to slake,
While from each woody bank is heard
The wild note of each happy bird.
The music of that joyous quire
Fills all my soul with soft desire;
And, as I hear, my sad thoughts fly
To Sítá of the lotus eye,
Whom, lovely with her moonbright cheek,
In vain mine eager glances seek.
Now turn, those chequered lawns survey
Where hart and hind together stray.
Ah, as they wander at their will
My troubled breast with grief they fill,
While torn by hopeless love I sigh
For Sítá of the fawn-like eye.
If in those glades where, touched by spring,
Gay birds their amorous ditties sing,
Mine own beloved I might see,
Then, brother, it were well with me:
If by my side she wandered still,
And this cool breeze that stirs the rill
Touched with its gentle breath the brows
Of mine own dear Videhan spouse.
For, Lakshmaṇ, O how blest are those
On whom the breath of Pampá blows,
Dispelling all their care and gloom
With sweets from where the lilies bloom!
How can my gentle love remain
Alive amid the woe and pain,
Where prisoned far away she lies,—
My darling of the lotus eyes?
1148
The Ramayana
How shall I dare her sire to greet
Whose lips have never known deceit?
How stand before the childless king
And meet his eager questioning?
When banished by my sire's decree,
In low estate, she followed me.
So pure, so true to every vow,
Where is my gentle darling now?
How can I bear my widowed lot,
And linger on where she is not,
Who followed when from home I fled
Distracted, disinherited?
My spirit sinks in hopeless pain
When my fond glances yearn in vain
For that dear face with whose bright eye
The worshipped lotus scarce can vie.
Ah when, my brother, shall I hear
That voice that rang so soft and clear,
When, sweetly smiling as she spoke,
From her dear lips gay laughter broke?
When worn with toil and love I strayed
With Sítá through the forest shade,
No trace of grief was seen in her,
My kind and thoughtful comforter.
How shall my faltering tongue relate
To Queen Kauśalyá Sítá's fate?
How answer when in wild despair
She questions, Where is Sítá, where?
Haste, brother, haste: to Bharat hie,
On whose fond love I still rely.
My life can be no longer borne,
Since Sítá from my side is torn.”
Canto I. Ráma's Lament.
1149
Thus like a helpless mourner, bent
By sorrow, Ráma made lament;
And with wise counsel Lakshmaṇ tried
To soothe his care, and thus replied:
“O best of men, thy grief oppose,
Nor sink beneath thy weight of woes.
Not thus despond the great and pure
And brave like thee, but still endure.
Reflect what anguish wrings the heart
When loving souls are forced to part;
And, mindful of the coming pain,
Thy love within thy breast restrain.
For earth, though cooled by wandering streams,
Lies scorched beneath the midday beams.
Rávaṇ his steps to hell may bend,
Or lower yet in flight descend;
But be thou sure, O Raghu's son,
Avenging death he shall not shun.
Rise, Ráma, rise: the search begin,
And track the giant foul with sin.
Then shall the fiend, though far he fly,
Resign his prey or surely die.
Yea, though the trembling monster hide
With Sítá close to Diti's535side,
E'en there, unless he yield the prize,
Slain by this wrathful hand he dies.
Thy heart with strength and courage stay,
And cast this weakling mood away.
Our fainting hopes in vain revive
Unless with firm resolve we strive.
The zeal that fires the toiler's breast
535A daughter of Daksha who became one of the wives of Kaśyapa and mother
of the Daityas. She is termed the general mother of Titans and malignant
beings. See Book I Cantos XLV, XLVI.
1150
The Ramayana
Mid earthly powers is first and best.
Zeal every check and bar defies,
And wins at length the loftiest prize,
In woe and danger, toil and care,
Zeal never yields to weak despair.
With zealous heart thy task begin,
And thou once more thy spouse shalt win.
Cast fruitless sorrow from thy soul,
Nor let this love thy heart control.
Forget not all thy sacred lore,
But be thy noble self once more.”
He heard, his bosom rent by grief,
The counsel of his brother chief;
Crushed in his heart the maddening pain,
And rose resolved and strong again.
Then forth upon his journey went
The hero on his task intent,
Nor thought of Pampá's lovely brook,
[324]
Or trees which murmuring breezes shook,
Though on dark woods his glances fell,
On waterfall and cave and dell;
And still by many a care distressed
The son of Raghu onward pressed.
As some wild elephant elate
Moves through the woods in pride,
So Lakshmaṇ with majestic gait
Strode by his brother's side.
He, for his lofty spirit famed,
Admonished and consoled;
Showed Raghu's son what duty claimed,
And bade his heart be bold.
Then as the brothers strode apace
To Rishyamúka's height,
Canto II. Sugríva's Alarm.
1151
The sovereign of the Vánar race536
Was troubled at the sight.
As on the lofty hill he strayed
He saw the chiefs draw near:
A while their glorious forms surveyed,
And mused in restless fear.
His slow majestic step he stayed
And gazed upon the pair.
And all his spirit sank dismayed
By fear too great to bear.
When in their glorious might the best
Of royal chiefs came nigh,
The Vánars in their wild unrest
Prepared to turn and fly.
They sought the hermit's sacred home537
For peace and bliss ordained,
And there, where Vánars loved to roam,
A sure asylum gained.
Canto II. Sugríva's Alarm.
Sugríva moved by wondering awe
The high-souled sons of Raghu saw,
In all their glorious arms arrayed;
And grief upon his spirit weighed.
536Sugríva, the ex-king of the Vánars, foresters, or monkeys, an exile from
his home, wandering about the mountain Rishyamúka with his four faithful
ex-ministers.
537The hermitage of the Saint Matanga which his curse prevented Báli, the
present king of the Vánars, from entering. The story is told at length in Canto
XI of this Book.
1152
The Ramayana
To every quarter of the sky
He turned in fear his anxious eye,
And roving still from spot to spot
With troubled steps he rested not.
He durst not, as he viewed the pair,
Resolve to stand and meet them there;
And drooping cheer and quailing breast
The terror of the chief confessed.
While the great fear his bosom shook,
Brief counsel with his lords he took;
Each gain and danger closely scanned,
What hope in flight, what power to stand,
While doubt and fear his bosom rent,
On Raghu's sons his eyes he bent,
And with a spirit ill at ease
Addressed his lords in words like these:
“Those chiefs with wandering steps invade
The shelter of our pathless shade,
And hither come in fair disguise
Of hermit garb as Báli's spies.”
Each lord beheld with troubled heart
Those masters of the bowman's art,
And left the mountain side to seek
Sure refuge on a loftier peak.
The Vánar chief in rapid flight
Found shelter on a towering height,
And all the band with one accord
Were closely gathered round their lord.
Their course the same, with desperate leap
Each made his way from steep to steep,
And speeding on in wild career
Filled every height with sudden fear.
Canto II. Sugríva's Alarm.
1153
Each heart was struck with mortal dread,
As on their course the Vánars sped,
While trees that crowned the steep were bent
And crushed beneath them as they went.
As in their eager flight they pressed
For safety to each mountain crest,
The wild confusion struck with fear
Tiger and cat and wandering deer.
The lords who watched Sugríva's will
Were gathered on the royal hill,
And all with reverent hands upraised
Upon their king and leader gazed.
Sugríva feared some evil planned,
Some train prepared by Báli's hand.
But, skilled in words that charm and teach,
Thus Hanumán538began his speech:
“Dismiss, dismiss thine idle fear,
Nor dread the power of Báli here.
For this is Malaya's glorious hill539
Where Báli's might can work no ill.
I look around but nowhere see
The hated foe who made thee flee,
Fell Báli, fierce in form and face:
Then fear not, lord of Vánar race.
Alas, in thee I clearly find
The weakness of the Vánar kind,
[325]
That loves from thought to thought to range,
Fix no belief and welcome change.
Mark well each hint and sign and scan,
Discreet and wise, thine every plan.
538Hanumán, Sugríva's chief general, was the son of the God of Wind. See
Book I, Canto XVI.
539A range of hills in Malabar; the Western Ghats in the Deccan.
1154
The Ramayana
How may a king, with sense denied,
The subjects of his sceptre guide?”
Hanúmán,540wise in hour of need,
Urged on the chief his prudent rede.
His listening ear Sugríva bent,
And spake in words more excellent:
“Where is the dauntless heart that free
From terror's chilling touch can see
Two stranger warriors, strong as those,
Equipped with swords and shafts and bows,
With mighty arms and large full eyes,
Like glorious children of the skies?
Báli my foe, I ween, has sent
These chiefs to aid his dark intent.
Hence doubt and fear disturb me still,
For thousands serve a monarch's will,
In borrowed garb they come, and those
Who walk disguised are counted foes.
With secret thoughts they watch their time,
And wound fond hearts that fear no crime.
My foe in state affairs is wise,
And prudent kings have searching eyes.
By other hands they strike the foe:
By meaner tools the truth they know.
Now to those stranger warriors turn,
And, less than king, their purpose learn.
Mark well the trick and look of each;
Observe his form and note his speech.
With care their mood and temper sound,
540Válmíki makes the second vowel in this name long or short to suit the
exigencies of the verse. Other Indian poets have followed his example, and the
same licence will be used in this translation.
Canto III. Hanumán's Speech.
1155
And, if their minds be friendly found,
With courteous looks and words begin
Their confidence and love to win.
Then as my friend and envoy speak,
And question what the strangers seek.
Ask why equipped with shaft and bow
Through this wild maze of wood they go.
If they, O chief, at first appear
Pure of all guile, in heart sincere,
Detect in speech and look the sin
And treachery that lurk within.”
He spoke: the Wind-God's son obeyed.
With ready zeal he sought the shade,
And reached with hasty steps the wood
Where Raghu's son and Lakshmaṇ stood.541
Canto III. Hanumán's Speech.
The envoy in his faithful breast
Pondered Sugríva's high behest.
From Rishyamúka's peak he hied
And placed him by the princes' side.
The Wind-God's son with cautious art
Had laid his Vánar form apart,
And wore, to cheat the strangers eyes,
541I omit a recapitulatory and interpolated verse in a different metre, which is
as follows:—Reverencing with the words, So be it, the speech of the greatly
terrified and unequalled monkey king, the magnanimous Hanumán then went
where (stood) the very mighty Ráma with Lakshmaṇ.
1156
The Ramayana
A wandering mendicant's disguise.542
Before the heroes' feet he bent
And did obeisance reverent,
And spoke, the glorious pair to praise,
His words of truth in courteous phrase,
High honour duly paid, the best
Of all the Vánar kind addressed,
With free accord and gentle grace,
Those glories of their warrior race:
“O hermits, blest in vows, who shine
Like royal saints or Gods divine,
O best of young ascetics, say
How to this spot you found your way,
Scaring the troops of wandering deer
And silvan things that harbour here
Searching amid the trees that grow
Where Pampá's gentle waters flow.
And lending from your brows a gleam
Of glory to the lovely stream.
Who are you, say, so brave and fair,
Clad in the bark which hermits wear?
I see you heave the frequent sigh,
I see the deer before you fly.
While you, for strength and valour dread,
The earth, like lordly lions, tread,
Each bearing in his hand a bow,
Like Indra's own, to slay the foe.
With the grand paces of a bull,
542The semi divine Hanumán possesses, like the Gods and demons, the power
of wearing all shapes at will. He is one of the Kámarúpís.
Like Milton's good and bad angels “as they please
They limb themselves, and colour, shape, or size
Assume as likes them best, condense or rare.”
Canto III. Hanumán's Speech.
1157
So bright and young and beautiful.
The mighty arms you raise appear
Like trunks which elephants uprear,
And as you move this mountain-king543
Is glorious with the light you bring.
How have you reached, like Gods in face,
Best lords of earth, this lonely place,
[326]
With tresses coiled in hermit guise,544
And splendours of those lotus eyes?
As Gods who leave their heavenly sphere,
Alike your beauteous forms appear.
The Lords of Day and Night545might thus
Stray from the skies to visit us.
Heroic youth, so broad of chest,
Fair with the beauty of the Blest,
With lion shoulders, tall and strong,
Like bulls who lead the lowing throng,
Your arms, unmatched for grace and length,
With massive clubs may vie in strength.
Why do no gauds those limbs adorn
Where priceless gems were meetly worn?
Each noble youth is fit, I deem,
To guard this earth, as lord supreme,
With all her woods and seas, to reign
From Meru's peak to Vindhya's chain.
Your smooth bows decked with dyes and gold
Are glorious in their masters' hold,
And with the arms of Indra546vie
Which diamond splendours beautify.
543Himálaya is of course par excellence the Monarch of mountains, but the
complimentary title is frequently given to other hills as here to Malaya.
544Twisted up in a matted coil as was the custom of ascetics.
545The sun and moon.
546The rainbow.
1158
The Ramayana
Your quivers glow with golden sheen,
Well stored with arrows fleet and keen,
Each gleaming like a fiery snake
That joys the foeman's life to take.
As serpents cast their sloughs away
And all their new born sheen display,
So flash your mighty swords inlaid
With burning gold on hilt and blade.
Why are you silent, heroes? Why
My questions hear nor deign reply?
Sugríva, lord of virtuous mind,
The foremost of the Vánar kind,
An exile from his royal state,
Roams through the land disconsolate.
I, Hanumán, of Vánar race,
Sent by the king have sought this place,
For he, the pious, just, and true,
In friendly league would join with you.
Know, godlike youths, that I am one
Of his chief lords, the Wind-God's son.
With course unchecked I roam at will,
And now from Rishyamúka's hill,
To please his heart, his hope to speed,
I came disguised in beggar's weed.”
Thus Hanúmán, well trained in lore
Of language, spoke, and said no more.
The son of Raghu joyed to hear
The envoy's speech, and bright of cheer
He turned to Lakshmaṇ by his side,
And thus in words of transport cried:
Canto III. Hanumán's Speech.
1159
“The counselor we now behold
Of King Sugríva righteous-souled.
His face I long have yearned to see,
And now his envoy comes to me
With sweetest words in courteous phrase
Answer this mighty lord who slays
His foemen, by Sugríva sent,
This Vánar chief most eloquent.
For one whose words so sweetly flow
The whole Rig-veda547needs must know,
And in his well-trained memory store
The Yajush and the Sáman's lore.
He must have bent his faithful ear
All grammar's varied rules to hear.
For his long speech how well he spoke!
In all its length no rule he broke.
In eye, on brow, in all his face
The keenest look no guile could trace.
No change of hue, no pose of limb
Gave sign that aught was false in him.
Concise, unfaltering, sweet and clear,
Without a word to pain the ear.
From chest to throat, nor high nor low,
His accents came in measured flow.
How well he spoke with perfect art
That wondrous speech that charmed the heart,
With finest skill and order graced
In words that knew nor pause nor haste!
That speech, with consonants that spring
From the three seats of uttering,548
547The Vedas are four in number, the Rich or Rig-veda, the Yajush or Yajur-
veda; the Sáman or Sáma-veda, and the Atharvan or Atharva-veda. See p. 3.
Note.
548The chest, the throat, and the head.
1160
The Ramayana
Would charm the spirit of a foe
Whose sword is raised for mortal blow.
How may a ruler's plan succeed
Who lacks such envoy good at need?
How fail, if one whose mind is stored
With gifts so rare assist his lord?
What plans can fail, with wisest speech
Of envoy's lips to further each?”
Thus Ráma spoke; and Lakshmaṇ taught
In all the art that utters thought,
To King Sugríva's learned spy
Thus made his eloquent reply:
“Full well we know the gifts that grace
Sugríva, lord of Vánar race,
And hither turn our wandering feet
That we that high-souled king may meet.
So now our pleasant task shall be
To do the words he speaks by thee.”
His prudent speech the Vánar heard,
And all his heart with joy was stirred.
And hope that league with them would bring
Redress and triumph to his king.
[327]
Canto IV. Lakshman's Reply.
Canto IV. Lakshman's Reply.
1161
Cheered by the words that Ráma spoke,
Joy in the Vánar's breast awoke,
And, as his friendly mood he knew,
His thoughts to King Sugríva flew:
“Again,” he mused, “my high-souled lord
Shall rule, to kingly state restored;
Since one so mighty comes to save,
And freely gives the help we crave.”
Then joyous Hanumán, the best
Of all the Vánar kind, addressed
These words to Ráma, trained of yore
In all the arts of speakers' lore:549
“Why do your feet this forest tread
By silvan life inhabited,
This awful maze of tree and thorn
Which Pampá's flowering groves adorn?”
549“In our own metrical romances, or wherever a poem is meant not for readers
but for chanters and oral reciters, these formulæ, to meet the same recurring
case, exist by scores. Thus every woman in these metrical romances who
happens to be young, is described as ‘so bright of ble,’ or complexion; always
a man goes ‘the mountenance of a mile’ before he overtakes or is overtaken.
And so on through a vast bead-roll of cases. In the same spirit Homer has his
eternal τον δ'αρ' ὑποδρα ιδων, or τον δ'απαμειβομενος προσφη, &c.
To a reader of sensibility, such recurrences wear an air of child-like sim-
plicity, beautifully recalling the features of Homer's primitive age. But they
would have appeared faults to all commonplace critics in literary ages.”
DE QUINCEY{FNS. Homer and the Homeridæ.
1162
The Ramayana
He spoke: obedient to the eye
Of Ráma, Lakshmaṇ made reply,
The name and fortune to unfold
Of Raghu's son the lofty-souled:
“True to the law, of fame unstained,
The glorious Daśaratha reigned,
And, steadfast in his duty, long
Kept the four castes550from scathe and wrong.
Through his wide realm his will was done,
And, loved by all, he hated none.
Just to each creature great and small,
Like the Good Sire he cared for all.
The Ágnishṭom,551as priests advised,
And various rites he solemnized,
Where ample largess ever paid
The Bráhmans for their holy aid.
Here Ráma stands, his heir by birth,
Whose name is glorious in the earth:
Sure refuge he of all oppressed,
Most faithful to his sire's behest.
He, Daśaratha's eldest born
Whom gifts above the rest adorn,
Lord of each high imperial sign,552
The glory of his kingly line,
Reft of his right, expelled from home,
Came forth with me the woods to roam.
And Sítá too, his faithful dame,
Forth with her virtuous husband came,
Like the sweet light when day is done
550Bráhmans the sacerdotal caste. Kshatriyas the royal and military, Vaiśyas
the mercantile, and Śúdras the servile.
551A protracted sacrifice extending over several days. See Book I, p. 24 Note.
552Possessed of all the auspicious personal marks that indicate capacity of
universal sovereignty. See Book I. p. 2, and Note 3.
Canto IV. Lakshman's Reply.
1163
Still cleaving to her lord the sun.
And me his sweet perfections drew
To follow as his servant true.
Named Lakshmaṇ, brother of my lord
Of grateful heart with knowledge stored
Most meet is he all bliss to share,
Who makes the good of all his care.
While, power and lordship cast away,
In the wild wood he chose to stay,
A giant came,—his name unknown,—
And stole the princess left alone.
Then Diti's son553who, cursed of yore,
The semblance of a Rákshas wore,
To King Sugríva bade us turn
The robber's name and home to learn.
For he, the Vánar chief, would know
The dwelling of our secret foe.
Such words of hope spake Diti's son,
And sought the heaven his deeds had won.
Thou hast my tale. From first to last
Thine ears have heard whate'er has past.
Ráma the mighty lord and I
For refuge to Sugríva fly.
The prince whose arm bright glory gained,
O'er the whole earth as monarch reigned,
And richest gifts to others gave,
Is come Sugríva's help to crave;
Son of a king the surest friend
Of virtue, him who loved to lend
His succour to the suffering weak,
Is come Sugríva's aid to seek.
Yes, Raghu's son whose matchless hand
553Kabandha. See Book III. Canto LXXIII.
1164
The Ramayana
Protected all this sea-girt land,
The virtuous prince, my holy guide,
For refuge seeks Sugríva's side.
His favour sent on great and small
Should ever save and prosper all.
He now to win Sugríva's grace
Has sought his woodland dwelling-place.
[328]
Son of a king of glorious fame;—
Who knows not Daśaratha's name?—
From whom all princes of the earth
Received each honour due to worth;—
Heir of that best of earthly kings,
Ráma the prince whose glory rings
Through realms below and earth and skies,
For refuge to Sugríva flies.
Nor should the Vánar king refuse
The boon for which the suppliant sues,
But with his forest legions speed
To save him in his utmost need.”
Sumitrá's son, his eyes bedewed
With piteous tears, thus sighed and sued.
Then, trained in all the arts that guide
The speaker, Hanumán replied:
“Yea, lords like you of wisest thought,
Whom happy fate has hither brought,
Who vanquish ire and rule each sense,
Must of our lord have audience.
Reft of his kingdom, sad, forlorn,
Once Báli's hate now Báli's scorn,
Defeated, severed from his spouse,
Wandering under forest boughs,
Child of the Sun, our lord and king
Canto IV. Lakshman's Reply.
1165
Sugríva will his succours bring,
And all our Vánar hosts combined
Will trace the dame you long to find.”
With gentle tone and winning grace
Thus spake the chief of Vánar race,
And then to Raghu's son he cried:
“Come, haste we to Sugríva's side.”
He spoke, and for his words so sweet
Good Lakshmaṇ paid all honour meet;
Then turned and cried to Raghu's son:
“Now deem thy task already done,
Because this chief of Vánar kind,
Son of the God who rules the wind,
Declares Sugríva's self would be
Assisted in his need by thee.
Bright gleams of joy his cheek o'erspread
As each glad word of hope he said;
And ne'er will one so valiant deign
To cheer our hearts with hope in vain.”
He spoke, and Hanumán the wise
Cast off his mendicant disguise,
And took again his Vánar form,
Son of the God of wind and storm.
High on his ample back in haste
Raghu's heroic sons he placed,
And turned with rapid steps to find
The sovereign of the Vánar kind.
1166
The Ramayana
Canto V. The League.
From Rishyamúka's rugged side
To Malaya's hill the Vánar hied,
And to his royal chieftain there
Announced the coming of the pair:
“See, here with Lakshmaṇ Ráma stands
Illustrious in a hundred lands.
Whose valiant heart will never quail
Although a thousand foes assail;
King Daśaratha's son, the grace
And glory of Ikshváku's race.
Obedient to his father's will
He cleaves to sacred duty still.
With rites of royal pomp and pride
His sire the Fire-God gratified;
Ten hundred thousand kine he freed,
And priests enriched with ample meed;
And the broad land protected, famed
For truthful lips and passions tamed.
Through woman's guile his son has made
His dwelling in the forest shade,
Where, as he lived with every sense
Subdued in hermit abstinence,
Fierce Rávaṇ stole his wife, and he
Is come a suppliant, lord, to thee.
Now let all honour due be paid
To these great chiefs who seek thine aid.”
Canto V. The League.
1167
Thus spake the Vánar prince, and, stirred
With friendly thoughts, Sugríva heard.
The light of joy his face o'erspread,
And thus to Raghu's son he said:
“O Prince, in rules of duty trained,
Caring for all with love unfeigned,
Hanúmán's tongue has truly shown
The virtues that are thine alone.
My chiefest glory, gain, and bliss,
O stranger Prince, I reckon this,
That Raghu's son will condescend
To seek the Vánar for his friend.
If thou my true ally wouldst be
Accept the pledge I offer thee,
This hand in sign of friendship take,
And bind the bond we ne'er will break.”
He spoke, and joy thrilled Ráma's breast;
Sugríva's hand he seized and pressed
And, transport beaming from his eye,
Held to his heart his new ally.
In wanderer's weed disguised no more,
His proper form Hanúmán wore.
Then, wood with wood engendering,554came
Neath his deft hands the kindled flame.
554Fire for sacred purposes is produced by the attrition of two pieces of wood.
In marriage and other solemn covenants fire is regarded as the holy witness in
whose presence the agreement is made. Spenser in a description of a marriage,
has borrowed from the Roman rite what he calls the housling, or “matrimonial
rite.”
“His owne two hands the holy knots did knit
That none but death forever can divide.
His owne two hands, for such a turn most fit,
The housling fire did kindle and provide.”
Faery Queen, Book I. XII.{FNS 37.
1168
The Ramayana
Between the chiefs that fire he placed
[329]
With wreaths of flowers and worship graced.
And round its blazing glory went
The friends with slow steps reverent.
Thus each to other pledged and bound
In solemn league new transport found,
And bent upon his dear ally
The gaze he ne'er could satisfy.
“Friend of my soul art thou: we share
Each other's joy, each other's care;”
Thus in the bliss that thrilled his breast
Sugríva Raghu's son addressed.
From a high Sál a branch he tore
Which many a leaf and blossom bore,
And the fine twigs beneath them laid
A seat for him and Ráma made.
Then Hanumán with joyous mind,
Son of the God who rules the wind,
To Lakshmaṇ gave, his seat to be,
The gay branch of a Sandal tree.
Then King Sugríva with his eyes
Still trembling with the sweet surprise
Of the great joy he could not hide,
To Raghu's noblest scion cried:
“O Ráma, racked with woe and fear,
Spurned by my foes, I wander here.
Reft of my spouse, forlorn I dwell
Here in my forest citadel.
Or wild with terror and distress
Roam through the distant wilderness.
Vext by my brother Báli long
My soul has borne the scathe and wrong.
Do thou, whose virtues all revere,
Canto V. The League.
1169
Release me from my woe and fear.
From dire distress thy friend to free
Is a high task and worthy thee.”
He spoke, and Raghu's son who knew
All sacred duties men should do.
The friend of justice, void of guile,
Thus answered with a gentle smile:
“Great Vánar, friends who seek my aid
Still find their trust with fruit repaid.
Báli, thy foe, who stole away
Thy wife this vengeful hand shall slay.
These shafts which sunlike flash and burn,
Winged with the feathers of the hern,
Each swift of flight and sure and dread,
With even knot and pointed head,
Fierce as the crashing fire-bolt sent
By him who rules the firmament,555
Shall reach thy wicked foe and like
Infuriate serpents hiss and strike.
Thou, Vánar King, this day shalt see
The foe who long has injured thee
Lie, like a shattered mountain, low,
Slain by the tempest of my bow.”
Thus Ráma spake: Sugríva heard,
And mighty joy his bosom stirred:
As thus his champion he addressed:
“Now by thy favour, first and best
Of heroes, shall thy friend obtain
His realm and darling wife again
Recovered from the foe.
Check thou mine elder brother's might;
555Indra.
1170
The Ramayana
That ne'er again his deadly spite
May rob me of mine ancient right,
Or vex my soul with woe.”
The league was struck, a league to bring
To Sítá fiends, and Vánar king556
Apportioned bliss and bale.
Through her left eye quick throbbings shot,557
Glad signs the lady doubted not,
That told their hopeful tale.
The bright left eye of Báli felt
An inauspicious throb that dealt
A deadly blow that day.
The fiery left eyes of the crew
Of demons felt the throb, and knew
The herald of dismay.
Canto VI. The Tokens.
With joy that sprang from hope restored
To Ráma spake the Vánar lord:
“I know, by wise Hanúmán taught,
Why thou the lonely wood hast sought.
Where with thy brother Lakshmaṇ thou
Hast sojourned, bound by hermit vow;
Have heard how Sítá, Janak's child,
Was stolen in the pathless wild,
How by a roving Rákshas she
556Báli the king de facto.
557With the Indians, as with the ancient Greeks, the throbbing of the right eye
in a man is an auspicious sign, the throbbing of the left eye is the opposite. In
a woman the significations of signs are reversed.
Canto VI. The Tokens.
1171
Weeping was reft from him and thee;
How, bent on death, the giant slew
The vulture king, her guardian true,
And gave thy widowed breast to know
A solitary mourner's woe.
But soon, dear Prince, thy heart shall be
From every trace of sorrow free;
[330]
For I thy darling will restore,
Lost like the prize of holy lore.558
Yea, though in heaven the lady dwell,
Or prisoned in the depths of hell,
My friendly care her way shall track
And bring thy ransomed darling back.
Let this my promise soothe thy care,
Nor doubt the words I truly swear.
Saints, fiends, and dwellers of the skies
Shall find thy wife a bitter prize,
Like the rash child who rues too late
The treacherous lure of poisoned cate.
No longer, Prince, thy loss deplore:
Thy darling wife will I restore.
'Twas she I saw: my heart infers
That shrinking form was doubtless hers,
Which gaint Rávaṇ, fierce and dread,
Bore swiftly through the clouds o'erhead
Still writhing in his strict embrace
558The Vedas stolen by the demons Madhu and Kaiṭabha.
“The text has [Sanskrit text] which signifies literally ‘the lost vedic tradi-
tion.’ It seems that allusion is here made to the Vedas submerged in the depth
of the sea, but promptly recovered by Vishṇu in one of his incarnations, as the
brahmanic legend relates, with which the orthodoxy of the Bráhmans intended
perhaps to allude to the prompt restoration and uninterrupted continuity of the
ancient vedic tradition.”
GORRESIO.{FNS
1172
The Ramayana
Like helpless queen of serpent race,559
And from her lips that sad voice came
Shrieking thine own and Lakshmaṇ's name.
High on a hill she saw me stand
With comrades twain on either hand.
Her outer robe to earth she threw,
And with it sent her anklets too.
We saw the glittering tokens fall,
We found them there and kept them all.
These will I bring: perchance thine eyes
The treasured spoils will recognize.”
He ceased: then Raghu's son replied
To the glad tale, and eager cried:
“Bring them with all thy speed: delay
No more, dear friend, but haste away.”
Thus Ráma spoke. Sugríva hied
Within the mountain's caverned side,
Impelled by love that stirred each thought
The precious tokens quickly brought,
And said to Raghu's son: Behold
This garment and these rings of gold.
In Ráma's hand with friendly haste
The jewels and the robe he placed.
Then, like the moon by mist assailed,
The tear-dimmed eyes of Ráma failed;
That burst of woe unmanned his frame,
Woe sprung from passion for his dame,
And with his manly strength o'erthrown,
559Like the wife of a Nága or Serpent-God carried off by an eagle. The enmity
between the King of birds and the serpent is of very frequent occurrence. It
seems to be a modification of the strife between the Vedic Indra and the Ahi,
the serpent or drought-fiend; between Apollôn and the Python, Adam and the
Serpent.
Canto VI. The Tokens.
1173
He fell and cried, Ah me! mine own!
Again, again close to his breast
The ornaments and robe he pressed,
While the quick pants that shook his frame
As from a furious serpent came.
On his dear brother standing nigh
He turned at length his piteous eye;
And, while his tears increasing ran,
In bitter wail he thus began:
“Look, brother, and behold once more
The ornaments and robe she wore,
Dropped while the giant bore away
In cruel arras his struggling prey,
Dropped in some quiet spot, I ween,
Where the young grass was soft and green;
For still untouched by spot or stain
Their former beauty all retain.”
He spoke with many a tear and sigh,
And thus his brother made reply:
“The bracelets thou hast fondly shown,
And earrings, are to me unknown,
But by long service taught I greet
The anklets of her honoured feet.”560
Then to Sugríva Ráma, best
Of Raghu's sons, these words addressed:
560He means that he has never ventured to raise his eyes to her arms and face,
though he has ever been her devoted servant.
1174
The Ramayana
“Say to what quarter of the sky
The cruel fiend was seen to fly,
Bearing afar my captured wife,
My darling dearer than my life.
Speak, Vánar King, that I may know
Where dwells the cause of all my woe;
The fiend for whose transgression all
The giants by this hand shall fall.
He who the Maithil lady stole
And kindled fury in my soul,
Has sought his fate in senseless pride
And opened Death's dark portal wide.
Then tell me, Vánar lord, I pray,
The dwelling of my foe,
And he, beneath this hand, to-day
To Yáma's halls shall go.”
[331]
Canto VII. Ráma Consoled.
With longing love and woe oppressed
The Vánar chief he thus addressed:
And he, while sobs his utterance broke,
Raised up his reverent hands and spoke:
Canto VII. Ráma Consoled.
1175
“O Raghu's son, I cannot tell
Where now that cruel fiend may dwell,
Declare his power and might, or trace
The author of his cursed race.
Still trust the promise that I make
And let thy breast no longer ache.
So will I toil, nor toil in vain,
That thou thy consort mayst regain.
So will I work with might and skill
That joy anew thy heart shall fill:
The valour of my soul display,
And Rávaṇ and his legions slay.
Awake, awake! unmanned no more
Recall the strength was thine of yore.
Beseems not men like thee to wear
A weak heart yielding to despair.
Like troubles, too, mine eyes have seen,
Lamenting for a long-lost queen;
But, by despair unconquered yet,
My strength of mind I ne'er forget.
Far more shouldst thou of lofty soul
Thy passion and thy tears control,
When I, of Vánar's humbler strain,
Weep not for her in ceaseless pain.
Be firm, be patient, nor forget
The bounds the brave of heart have set
In loss, in woe, in strife, in fear,
When the dark hour of death is near.
Up! with thine own brave heart advise:
Not thus despond the firm and wise.
But he who gives his childish heart
To choose the coward's weakling part,
Sinks, like a foundered vessel, deep
In waves of woe that o'er him sweep.
1176
The Ramayana
See, suppliant hand to hand I lay,
And, moved by faithful love, I pray.
Give way no more to grief and gloom,
But all thy native strength resume.
No joy on earth, I ween, have they
Who yield their souls to sorrow's sway.
Their glory fades in slow decline:
'Tis not for thee to grieve and pine.
I do but hint with friendly speech
The wiser part I dare not teach.
This better path, dear friend, pursue,
And let not grief thy soul subdue.”
Sugríva thus with gentle art
And sweet words soothed the mourner's heart,
Who brushed off with his mantle's hem
Tears from the eyes bedewed with them.
Sugríva's words were not in vain,
And Ráma was himself again,
Around the king his arms he threw
And thus began his speech anew:
“Whate'er a friend most wise and true,
Who counsels for the best, should do,
Whate'er his gentle part should be,
Has been performed, dear friend, by thee.
Taught by thy counsel, O my lord,
I feel my native strength restored.
A friend like thee is hard to gain,
Most rare in time of grief and pain.
Now strain thine utmost power to trace
The Maithil lady's dwelling place,
And aid me in my search to find
Fierce Rávaṇ of the impious mind.
Canto VIII. Ráma's Promise.
1177
Trust thou, in turn, thy loyal friend,
And say what aid this arm can lend
To speed thy hopes, as fostering rain
Quickens in earth the scattered grain.
Deem not those words, that seemed to spring
From pride, are false, O Vánar King.
None from these lips has ever heard,
None e'er shall hear, one lying word.
Again I promise and declare,
Yea, by my truth, dear friend, I swear.”
Then glad was King Sugríva's breast,
And all his lords their joy confessed,
Stirred by sure hope of Ráma's aid,
And promise which the prince had made.
Canto VIII. Ráma's Promise.
Doubt from Sugríva's heart had fled,
And thus to Raghu's son he said:
“No bliss the Gods of heaven deny.
Each views me with a favouring eye,
When thou, whom all good gifts attend,
Hast sought me and become my friend.
Leagued, friend, with thee in bold emprise
My arm might win the conquered skies;
And shall our banded strength be weak
To gain the realm which now I seek?
A happy fate was mine above
My kith and kin and all I love,
When, near the witness fire, I won
1178
The Ramayana
Thy friendship, Raghu's glorious son.
Thou too in ripening time shall see
Thy friend not all unworthy thee.
What gifts I have shall thus be shown:
Not mine the tongue to make them known.
Strong is the changeless bond that binds
The friendly faith of noble minds,
In woe, in danger, firm and sure
Their constancy and love endure.
Gold, silver, jewels rich and rare
They count as wealth for friends to share.
[332]
Yea, be they rich or poor and low,
Blest with all joys or sunk in woe,
Stained with each fault or pure of blame,
Their friends the nearest place may claim;
For whom they leave, at friendship's call,
Their gold, their bliss, their homes and all.”
He spoke by generous impulse moved,
And Raghu's son his speech approved
Glancing at Lakshmaṇ by his side,
Like Indra in his beauty's pride.
The Vánar monarch saw the pair
Of mighty brothers standing there,
And turned his rapid eye to view
The forest trees that near him grew.
He saw, not far from where he stood,
A Sál tree towering o'er the wood.
Amid the thick leaves many a bee
Graced the scant blossoms of the tree,
From whose dark shade a bough, that bore
A load of leafy twigs, he tore,
Which on the grassy ground he laid
And seats for him and Ráma made.
Canto VIII. Ráma's Promise.
1179
Hanúmán saw them sit, he sought
A Sál tree's leafy bough and brought
The burthen, and with meek request
Entreated Lakshmaṇ, too, to rest.
There on the noble mountain's brow,
Strewn with the young leaves of the bough,
Sat Raghu's son in placid ease
Calm as the sea when sleeps the breeze.
Sugríva's heart with rapture swelled,
And thus, by eager love impelled,
He spoke in gracious tone, that, oft
Checked by his joy, was low and soft:
“I, by my brother's might oppressed,
By ceaseless woe and fear distressed,
Mourning my consort far away,
On Rishyamúka's mountain stray.
Expelled by Báli's cruel hate
I wander here disconsolate.
Do thou to whom all sufferers flee,
From his dread hand deliver me.”
He spoke, and Ráma, just and brave,
Whose pious soul to virtue clave,
Smiled as in conscious might he eyed
The king of Vánars, and replied:
“Best fruit of friendship is the deed
That helps the friend in hour of need;
And this mine arm in death shall lay
Thy robber ere the close of day.
For see, these feathered darts of mine
Whose points so fiercely flash and shine,
And shafts with golden emblem, came
From dark woods known by Skanda's name,561
561The wood in which Skanda or Kártikeva was brought up:
1180
The Ramayana
Winged from the pinion of the hern
Like Indra's bolts they strike and burn.
With even knots and piercing head
Each like a furious snake is sped;
With these, to-day, before thine eye
Shall, like a shattered mountain, lie
Báli, thy dread and wicked foe,
O'erwhelmed in hideous overthrow.”
He spoke: Sugríva's bosom swelled
With hope and joy unparalleled.
Then his glad voice the Vánar raised,
And thus the son of Raghu praised:
“Long have I pined in depth of grief;
Thou art the hope of all, O chief.
Now, Raghu's son, I hail thee friend,
And bid thee to my woes attend;
For, by my truth I swear it, now
Not life itself is dear as thou,
Since by the witness fire we met
And friendly hand in hand was set.
Friend communes now with friend, and hence
I tell with surest confidence,
How woes that on my spirit weigh
Consume me through the night and day.”
“The Warrior-God
Whose infant steps amid the thickets strayed
Where the reeds wave over the holy sod.”
See also Book I, Canto XXIX.
Canto VIII. Ráma's Promise.
1181
For sobs and sighs he scarce could speak,
And his sad voice came low and weak,
As, while his eyes with tears o'erflowed,
The burden of his soul he showed.
Then by strong effort, bravely made,
The torrent of his tears he stayed,
Wiped his bright eyes, his grief subdued,
And thus, more calm, his speech renewed:
“By Báli's conquering might oppressed,
Of power and kingship dispossessed,
Loaded with taunts of scorn and hate
I left my realm and royal state.
He tore away my consort: she
Was dearer than my life to me,
And many a friend to me and mine
In hopeless chains was doomed to pine.
With wicked thoughts, unsated still,
Me whom he wrongs he yearns to kill;
And spies of Vánar race, who tried
To slay me, by this hand have died.
Moved by this constant doubt and fear
I saw thee, Prince, and came not near.
When woe and peril gather round
A foe in every form is found.
Save Hanumán, O Raghu's son,
And these, no friend is left me, none.
Through their kind aid, a faithful band
Who guard their lord from hostile hand,
Rest when their chieftain rests and bend
Their steps where'er he lists to wend,—
Through them alone, in toil and pain,
My wretched life I still sustain.
[333]
1182
The Ramayana
Enough, for thou hast heard in brief
The story of my pain and grief.
His mighty strength all regions know,
My brother, but my deadly foe.
Ah, if the proud oppressor fell,
His death would all my woe dispel.
Yea, on my cruel conqueror's fall
My joy depends, my life, my all.
This were the end and sure relief,
O Ráma, of my tale of grief.
Fair be his lot or dark with woe,
No comfort like a friend I know.”
Then Ráma spoke: “O friend, relate
Whence sprang fraternal strife and hate,
That duly taught by thee, I may
Each foeman's strength and weakness weigh:
And skilled in every chance restore
The blissful state thou hadst before.
For, when I think of all the scorn
And bitter woe thou long hast borne,
My soul indignant swells with pain
Like waters flushed with furious rain.
Then, ere I string this bended bow,
Tell me the tale I long to know,
Ere from the cord my arrow fly,
And low in death thy foeman lie.”
He spoke: Sugríva joyed to hear,
Nor less his lords were glad of cheer:
And thus to Ráma mighty-souled
The cause that moved their strife he told:
Canto IX. Sugríva's Story.
1183
Canto IX. Sugríva's Story.562
“My brother, known by Báli's name,
Had won by might a conqueror's fame.
My father's eldest-born was he,
Well honoured by his sire and me.
My father died, and each sage lord
Named Báli king with one accord;
And he, by right of birth ordained,
The sovereign of the Vánars reigned.
He in his royal place controlled
The kingdom of our sires of old,
And I all faithful service lent
To aid my brother's government.
The fiend Máyáví,—him of yore
To Dundubhi563his mother bore,—
For woman's love in strife engaged,
A deadly war with Báli waged.
When sleep had chained each weary frame
To vast Kishkindhá564gates he came,
And, shouting through the shades of night,
Challenged his foeman to the fight.
My brother heard the furious shout,
And wild with rage rushed madly out,
Though fain would I and each sad wife
Detain him from the deadly strife.
He burned his demon foe to slay,
562“Sugríva's story paints in vivid colours the manners, customs and ideas
of the wild mountain tribes which inhabited Kishkindhya or the southern
hills of the Deccan, of the people whom the poem calls monkeys, tribes
altogether different in origin and civilization from the Indo-Sanskrit race.”
GORRESIO{FNS.
563A fiend slain by Báli.
564Báli's mountain city.
1184
The Ramayana
And rushed impetuous to the fray.
His weeping wives he thrust aside,
And forth, impelled by fury, hied;
While, by my love and duty led,
I followed where my brother sped.
Máyáví looked, and at the sight
Fled from his foes in wild affright.
The flying fiend we quickly viewed,
And with swift feet his steps pursued.
Then rose the moon, whose friendly ray
Cast light upon our headlong way.
By the soft beams was dimly shown
A mighty cave with grass o'ergrown.
Within its depths he sprang, and we
The demon's form no more might see.
My brother's breast was all aglow
With fury when he missed the foe,
And, turning, thus to me he said
With senses all disquieted:
“Here by the cavern's mouth remain;
Keep ear and eye upon the strain,
While I the dark recess explore
And dip my brand in foeman's gore.”
I heard his angry speech, and tried
To turn him from his plan aside.
He made me swear by both his feet,
And sped within the dark retreat.
While in the cave he stayed, and I
Watched at the mouth, a year went by.
For his return I looked in vain,
And, moved by love, believed him slain.
I mourned, by doubt and fear distressed,
And greater horror seized my breast
When from the cavern rolled a flood,
Canto IX. Sugríva's Story.
1185
A carnage stream of froth and blood;
And from the depths a sound of fear,
The roar of demons, smote mine ear;
But never rang my brother's shout
Triumphant in the battle rout.
I closed the cavern with a block,
Huge as a hill, of shattered rock.
Gave offerings due to Báli's shade,
And sought Kishkindhá, sore dismayed.
Long time with anxious care I tried
From Báli's lords his fate to hide,
But they, when once the tale was known,
Placed me as king on Báli's throne.
There for a while I justly reigned
[334]
And all with equal care ordained,
When joyous from the demon slain
My brother Báli came again.
He found me ruling in his stead,
And, fired with rage, his eyes grew red.
He slew the lords who made me king,
And spoke keen words to taunt and sting.
The kingly rank and power I held
My brother's rage with ease had quelled,
But still, restrained by old respect
For claims of birth, the thought I checked.
Thus having struck the demon down
Came Báli to his royal town.
With meek respect, with humble speech,
His haughty heart I strove to reach.
But all my arts were tried in vain,
No gentle word his lips would deign,
Though to the ground I bent and set
His feet upon my coronet:
Still Báli in his rage and pride
1186
The Ramayana
All signs of grace and love denied.”
Canto X. Sugríva's Story.
“I strove to soothe and lull to rest
The fury of his troubled breast:
“Well art thou come, dear lord,” I cried.
“By whose strong arm thy foe has died.
Forlorn I languished here, but now
My saviour and defence art thou.
Once more receive this regal shade565
Like the full moon in heaven displayed;
And let the chouries,566thus restored,
Wave glorious o'er the rightful lord.
I kept my watch, thy word obeyed,
And by the cave a year I stayed.
But when I saw that stream of blood
Rush from the cavern in a flood,
My sad heart broken with dismay,
And every wandering sense astray,
I barred the entrance with a stone,—
A crag from some high mountain thrown—
Turned from the spot I watched in vain,
And to Kishkindhá came again.
My deep distress and downcast mien
By citizen and lord were seen.
They made me king against my will:
Forgive me if the deed was ill.
565The canopy or royal umbrella, one of the usual Indian regalia.
566Whisks made of the hair of the Yak or Bos grunniers, also regal insignia.
Canto X. Sugríva's Story.
1187
True as I ever was I see
My honoured king once more in thee;
I only ruled a while the state
When thou hadst left us desolate.
This town with people, lords, and lands,
Lay as a trust in guardian hands:
And now, my gracious lord, accept
The kingdom which thy servant kept.
Forgive me, victor of the foe,
Nor let thy wrath against me glow.
See joining suppliant hands I pray,
And at thy feet my head I lay.
Believe my words: against my will
The royal seat they made me fill.
Unkinged they saw the city, hence
They made me lord for her defence.”
But Báli, though I humbly sued,
Reviled me in his furious mood:
“Out on thee, wretch!” in wrath he cried
With many a bitter taunt beside.
He summoned every lord, and all
His subjects gathered at his call.
Then forth his burning anger broke,
And thus amid his friends he spoke:
“I need not tell, for well ye know,
How fierce Máyáví, fiend and foe,
Came to Kishkindhá's gate by night,
And dared me in his wrath to fight.
I heard each word the demon said:
Forth from my royal hall I sped;
And, foe in brother's guise concealed,
Sugríva followed to the field.
The mighty demon through the shade
1188
The Ramayana
Beheld me come with one to aid:
Then shrinking from unequal fight,
He turned his back in swiftest flight.
From vengeful foes his life to save
He sought the refuge of a cave.
Then when I saw the fiend had fled
Within that cavern dark and dread,
Thus to my brother cruel-eyed,
Impatient in my wrath, I cried:
“I seek no more my royal town
Till I have struck the demon down.
Here by the cavern's mouth remain
Until my hand the foe have slain.”
Upon his faith my heart relied,
And swift within the depths I hied.
A year went by: in every spot
I sought the fiend, but found him not.
At length my foe I saw and slew,
Whom long I feared when lost to view;
And all his kinsmen by his side
Beneath my vengeful fury died.
The monster, as he reeled and fell,
Poured forth his blood with roar and yell;
And, filling all the cavern, dyed
The portal with the crimson tide.
Upon my foeman slain at last
One look, one pitying look, I cast.
I sought again the light of day:
The cave was closed and left no way.
To the barred mouth I sadly came,
And called aloud Sugríva's name.
But all was still: no voice replied,
[335]
And hope within my bosom died.
With furious efforts, vain at first,
Canto X. Sugríva's Story.
1189
Through bars of rock my way I burst.
Then, free once more, the path that brought
My feet in safety home I sought.
'Twas thus Sugríva dared despise
The claim of brothers' friendly ties.
With crags of rock he barred me in,
And for himself the realm would win.”
Thus Báli spoke in words severe;
And then, unmoved by ruth or fear,
Left me a single robe and sent
His brother forth in banishment.
He cast me out with scathe and scorn,
And from my side my wife was torn.
Now in great fear and ill at ease
I roam this land with woods and seas,
Or dwell on Rishyamúka's hill,
And sorrow for my consort still.
Thou hast the tale how first arose
This bitter hate of brother foes.
Such are the griefs neath which I pine,
And all without a fault of mine.
O swift to save in hour of fear,
My prayer who dread this Báli, hear
With gracious love assistance deign,
And mine oppressor's arm restrain.”
Then Raghu's son, the good and brave,
With a gay laugh his answer gave:
“These shafts of mine which ne'er can fail,
Before whose sheen the sun grows pale,
Winged by my fury, fleet and fierce,
The wicked Báli's heart shall pierce.
Yea, mark the words I speak, so long
1190
The Ramayana
Shall live that wretch who joys in wrong,
Until these angered eyes have seen
The robber of thy darling queen.
I, taught by equal suffering, know
What waves of grief above thee flow.
This hand thy captive wife shall free,
And give thy kingdom back to thee.”
Sugríva joyed as Ráma spoke,
And valour in his breast awoke.
His eye grew bright, his heart grew bold,
And thus his wondrous tale he told:
Canto XI. Dundubhi.
“I doubt not, Prince, thy peerless might,
Armed with these shafts so keen and bright,
Like all-destroying fires of fate,
The worlds could burn and devastate.
But lend thou first thy mind and ear
Of Báli's power and might to hear.
How bold, how firm, in battle tried,
Is Báli's heart; and then decide.
From east to west, from south to north
On restless errand hurrying forth,
From farthest sea to sea he flies
Before the sun has lit the skies.
A mountain top he oft will seek,
Tear from its root a towering peak,
Hurl it aloft, as 'twere a ball,
And catch it ere to earth it fall.
Canto XI. Dundubhi.
1191
And many a tree that long has stood
In health and vigour in the wood,
His single arm to earth will throw,
The marvels of his might to show.
Shaped like a bull, a monster bore
The name of Dundubhi of yore:
He matched in size a mountain height,
A thousand elephants in might.
By pride of wondrous gifts impelled,
And strength he deemed unparalleled,
To Ocean, lord of stream and brook,
Athirst for war, his way he took.
He reached the king of rolling waves
Whose gems are piled in sunless caves,
And threw his challenge to the sea;
“Come forth, O King, and fight with me.”
He spoke, and from his ocean bed
The righteous567monarch heaved his head,
And gave, sedate, his calm reply
To him whom fate impelled to die:
“Not mine, not mine the power,” he cried,
“To cope with thee in battle tried;
But listen to my voice, and seek
The worthier foe of whom I speak.
The Lord of Hills, where hermits live
And love the home his forests give,
Whose child is Śankar's darling queen,568
The King of Snows is he I mean.
Deep caves has he, and dark boughs shade
567Righteous because he never transgresses his bounds, and
“over his great tides
Fidelity presides.”
568Himálaya, theLordofSnow, isthefatherofUmáthewifeofŚivaorŚankar.
1192
The Ramayana
The torrent and the wild cascade.
From him expect the fierce delight
Which heroes feel in equal fight.”
He deemed that fear checked ocean's king,
And, like an arrow from the string,
To the wild woods that clothe the side
Of Lord Himálaya's hills he hied.
Then Dundubhi, with hideous roar,
Huge fragments from the summit tore
Vast as Airávat,569white with snow,
And hurled them to the plains below.
Then like a white cloud soft, serene,
The Lord of Mountains' form was seen.
It sat upon a lofty crest,
And thus the furious fiend addressed:
“Beseems thee not, O virtue's friend,
My mountain tops to rive and rend;
[336]
For I, the hermit's calm retreat,
For deeds of war am all unmeet.”
The demon's eye with rage grew red,
And thus in furious tone he said:
“If thou from fear or sloth decline
To match thy strength in war with mine,
Where shall I find a champion, say,
To meet me burning for the fray?”
He spoke: Himálaya, skilled in lore
Of eloquence, replied once more,
And, angered in his righteous mind,
Addressed the chief of demon kind:
“The Vánar Báli, brave and wise,
569Indra's celestial elephant.
Canto XI. Dundubhi.
1193
Son of the God who rules the skies,570
Sways, glorious in his high renown,
Kishkindhá his imperial town.
Well may that valiant lord who knows
Each art of war his might oppose
To thine, in equal battle set,
As Namuehi571and Indra met.
Go, if thy soul desire the fray;
To Báli's city speed away,
And that unconquered hero meet
Whose fame is high for warlike feat.”
He listened to the Lord of Snow,
And, his proud heart with rage aglow,
Sped swift away and lighted down
By vast Kishkindhá, Báli's town.
With pointed horns to strike and gore
The semblance of a bull he bore,
Huge as a cloud that downward bends
Ere the full flood of rain descends.
Impelled by pride and rage and hate,
He thundered at Kishkindhá's gate;
And with his bellowing, like the sound
Of pealing drums, he shook the ground,
He rent the earth and prostrate threw
The trees that near the portal grew.
King Báli from the bowers within
Indignant heard the roar and din.
Then, moonlike mid the stars, with all
His dames he hurried to the wall;
And to the fiend this speech, expressed
In clear and measured words, addressed:
570Báli was the son of Indra. See p. 28.
571An Asur slain by Indra. See p. 261 Note. He is, like Vritra, a form of the
demon of drought destroyed by the beneficent God of the firmament.
1194
The Ramayana
“Know me for monarch. Báli styled,
Of Vánar tribes that roam the wild.
Say why dost thou this gate molest,
And bellowing thus disturb our rest?
I know thee, mighty fiend: beware
And guard thy life with wiser care.”
He spoke: and thus the fiend returned,
While red with rage his eyeballs burned:
“What! speak when all thy dames are nigh
And hero-like thy foe defy?
Come, meet me in the fight this day,
And learn my strength by bold assay.
Or shall I spare thee, and relent
Until the coming night be spent?
Take then the respite of a night
And yield thee to each soft delight.
Then, monarch of the Vánar race
With loving arms thy friends embrace.
Gifts on thy faithful lords bestow,
Bid each and all farewell, and go.
Show in the streets once more thy face,
Install thy son to fill thy place.
Dally a while with each dear dame;
And then my strength thy pride shall tame
For, should I smite thee drunk with wine
Enamoured of those dames of thine,
Beneath diseases bowed and bent,
Or weak, unarmed, or negligent,
My deed would merit hate and scorn
As his who slays the child unborn.”
Then Báli's soul with rage was fired,
Queen Tára and the dames retired;
And slowly, with a laugh of pride,
The king of Vánars thus replied:
Canto XI. Dundubhi.
1195
“Me, fiend, thou deemest drunk with wine:
Unless thy fear the fight decline,
Come, meet me in the fray, and test
The spirit of my valiant breast.”
He spoke in wrath and high disdain;
And, laying down his golden chain,
Gift of his sire Mahendra, dared
The demon, for the fray prepared;
Seized by the horns the monster, vast
As a huge hill, and held him fast,
Then fiercely dragged him round and round,
And, shouting, hurled him to the ground.
Blood streaming from his ears, he rose,
And wild with fury strove the foes.
Then Báli, match for Indra's might,
With every arm renewed the fight.
He fought with fists, and feet, and knees,
With fragments of the rock, and trees.
At last the monster's strength, assailed
By Śakra's572conquering offspring, failed.
Him Báli raised with mighty strain
And dashed upon the ground again;
Where, bruised and shattered, in a tide
Of rushing blood, the demon died.
King Báli saw the lifeless corse,
And bending, with tremendous force
Raised the huge bulk from where it lay,
And hurled it full a league away.
As through the air the body flew,
Some blood-drops, caught by gales that blew,
Welled from his shattered jaw and fell
By Saint Matanga's hermit cell:
572Another name of Indra or Mahendra.
1196
The Ramayana
Matanga saw, illustrious sage,
Those drops defile his hermitage,
[337]
And, as he marvelled whence they came,
Fierce anger filled his soul with flame:
“Who is the villain, evil-souled,
With childish thoughts unwise and bold,
Who is the impious wretch,” he cried,
“By whom my grove with blood is dyed?”
Thus spoke Matanga in his rage,
And hastened from the hermitage,
When lo, before his wondering eyes
Lay the dead bull of mountain size.
His hermit soul was nothing slow
The doer of the deed to know,
And thus the Vánar in a burst
Of wild tempestuous wrath he cursed:
“Ne'er let that Vánar wander here,
For, if he come, his death is near,
Whose impious hand with blood has dyed
The holy place where I abide,
Who threw this demon corse and made
A ruin of the pleasant shade.
If e'er he plant his wicked feet
Within one league of my retreat;
Yea, if the villain come so nigh
That very hour he needs must die.
And let the Vánar lords who dwell
In the dark woods that skirt my cell
Obey my words, and speeding hence
Find them some meeter residence.
Here if they dare to stay, on all
The terrors of my curse shall fall.
They spoil the tender saplings, dear
Canto XI. Dundubhi.
1197
As children which I cherish here,
Mar root and branch and leaf and spray,
And steal the ripening fruit away.
One day I grant, no further hour,
To-morrow shall my curse have power,
And then each Vánar I may see
A stone through countless years shall be.”
The Vánars heard the curse and hied
From sheltering wood and mountain side.
King Báli marked their haste and dread,
And to the flying leaders said:
“Speak, Vánar chiefs, and tell me why
From Saint Matanga's grove ye fly
To gather round me: is it well
With all who in those woodlands dwell?”
He spoke: the Vánar leaders told
King Báli with his chain of gold
What curse the saint had on them laid,
Which drove them from their ancient shade.
Then royal Báli sought the sage,
With reverent hands to soothe his rage.
The holy man his suppliant spurned,
And to his cell in anger turned.
That curse on Báli sorely pressed,
And long his conscious soul distressed.
Him still the curse and terror keep
Afar from Rishyamúka's steep.
He dares not to the grove draw nigh,
Nay scarce will hither turn his eye.
We know what terrors warm him hence,
And roam these woods in confidence.
Look, Prince, before thee white and dry
The demon's bones uncovered lie,
Who, like a hill in bulk and length,
1198
The Ramayana
Fell ruind for his pride of strength.
See those high Sál trees seven in row
That droop their mighty branches low,
These at one grasp would Báli seize,
And leafless shake the trembling trees.
These tales I tell, O Prince, to show
The matchless power that arms the foe.
How canst thou hope to slay him? how
Meet Báli in the battle now?”
Sugríva spoke and sadly sighed:
And Lakshmaṇ with a laugh replied:
“What show of power, what proof and test
May still the doubts that fill thy breast?”
He spoke. Sugríva thus replied:
“See yonder Sál trees side by side.
King Báli here would take his stand
Grasping his bow with vigorous hand,
And every arrow, keen and true,
Would strike its tree and pierce it through.
If Ráma now his bow will bend,
And through one trunk an arrow send;
Or if his arm can raise and throw
Two hundred measures of his bow,
Grasped by a foot and hurled through air,
The demon bull that moulders there,
My heart will own his might and fain
Believe my foe already slain.”
Canto XI. Dundubhi.
1199
Sugríva spoke inflamed with ire,
Scanned Ráma with a glance of fire,
Pondered a while in silent mood.
And thus again his speech renewed:
“All lands with Báli's glories ring,
A valiant, strong, and mighty king;
In conscious power unused to yield,
A hero first in every field.
His wondrous deeds his might declare,
Deeds Gods might scarcely do or dare;
And on this power reflecting still
I roam on Rishyamúka's hill.
Awed by my brother's might I rove,
In doubt and fear, from grove to grove,
While Hanumán, my chosen friend,
And faithful lords my steps attend;
And now, O true to friendship's tie,
I hail in thee my best ally.
My surest refuge from my foes,
And steadfast as the Lord of Snows.
Still, when I muse how strong and bold
Is cruel Báli, evil-souled,
But ne'er, O chief of Raghu's line,
Have seen what strength in war is thine,
Though in my heart I may not dare
Doubt thy great might, despise, compare,
Thoughts of his fearful deeds will rise
And fill my soul with sad surmise.
Speech, form, and trust which naught may move
[338]
Thy secret strength and glory prove,
As smouldering ashes dimly show
The dormant fires that live below.”
1200
The Ramayana
He ceased: and Ráma answered, while
Played o'er his lips a gracious smile:
“Not yet convinced? This clear assay
Shall drive each lingering doubt away.”
Thus Ráma spoke his heart to cheer,
To Dundubhi's vast frame drew near:
He touched it with his foot in play
And sent it twenty leagues away.
Sugríva marked what easy force
Hurled through the air that demon's corse
Whose mighty bones were white and dried,
And to the son of Raghu cried:
“My brother Báli, when his might
Was drunk and weary from the fight,
Hurled forth the monster body, fresh
With skin and sinews, blood and flesh.
Now flesh and blood are dried away,
The crumbling bones are light as hay,
Which thou, O Raghu's son, hast sent
Flying through air in merriment.
This test alone is weak to show
If thou be stronger or the foe.
By thee a heap of mouldering bone,
By him the recent corse was thrown.
Thy strength, O Prince, is yet untried:
Come, pierce one tree: let this decide.
Prepare thy ponderous bow and bring
Close to thine ear the straining string.
On yonder Sál tree fix thine eye,
And let the mighty arrow fly,
I doubt not, chief, that I shall see
Thy pointed shaft transfix the tree.
Then come, assay the easy task,
And do for love the thing I ask.
Canto XII. The Palm Trees.
1201
Best of all lights, the Day-God fills
With glory earth and sky:
Himálaya is the lord of hills
That heave their heads on high.
The royal lion is the best
Of beasts that tread the earth;
And thou, O hero, art confessed
First in heroic worth.”
Canto XII. The Palm Trees.
Then Ráma, that his friend might know
His strength unrivalled, grasped his bow,
That mighty bow the foe's dismay,—
And on the string an arrow lay.
Next on the tree his eye he bent,
And forth the hurtling weapon went.
Loosed from the matchless hero's hold,
That arrow, decked with burning gold,
Cleft the seven palms in line, and through
The hill that rose behind them flew:
Six subterranean realms it passed,
And reached the lowest depth at last,
Whence speeding back through earth and air
It sought the quiver, and rested there.573
Upon the cloven trees amazed,
The sovereign of the Vánars gazed.
With all his chains and gold outspread
Prostrate on earth he laid his head.
573The Bengal recension makes it return in the form of a swan.
1202
The Ramayana
Then, rising, palm to palm he laid
In reverent act, obeisance made,
And joyously to Ráma, best
Of war-trained chiefs, these words addressed:
“What champion, Raghu's son, may hope
With thee in deadly fight to cope,
Whose arrow, leaping from the bow,
Cleaves tree and hill and earth below?
Scarce might the Gods, arrayed for strife
By Indra's self, escape, with life
Assailed by thy victorious hand:
And how may Báli hope to stand?
All grief and care are past away,
And joyous thoughts my bosom sway,
Who have in thee a friend, renowned,
As Varuṇ574or as Indra, found.
Then on! subdue,—'tis friendship's claim,—
My foe who bears a brother's name.
Strike Báli down beneath thy feet:
With suppliant hands I thus entreat.”
Sugríva ceased, and Ráma pressed
The grateful Vánar to his breast;
And thoughts of kindred feeling woke
In Lakshmaṇ's bosom, as he spoke:
“On to Kishkindhá, on with speed!
Thou, Vánar King, our way shalt lead,
Then challenge Báli forth to fight.
574Varuṇa is one of the oldest of the Vedic Gods, corresponding in name and
partly in character to the Οὐρανός of the Greeks and is often regarded as the
supreme deity. He upholds heaven and earth, possesses extraordinary power
and wisdom, sends his messengers through both worlds, numbers the very
winkings of men's eyes, punishes transgressors whom he seizes with his deadly
noose, and pardons the sins of those who are penitent. In later mythology he
has become the God of the sea.
Canto XII. The Palm Trees.
1203
Thy foe who scorns a brother's right.”
They sought Kishkindhá's gate and stood
Concealed by trees in densest wood,
Sugríva, to the fight addressed,
More closely drew his cinctured vest,
And raised a wild sky-piercing shout
[339]
To call the foeman Báli out.
Forth came impetuous Báli, stirred
To fury by the shout he heard.
So the great sun, ere night has ceased,
Springs up impatient to the east.
Then fierce and wild the conflict raged
As hand to hand the foes engaged,
As though in battle mid the stars
Fought Mercury and fiery Mars.575
To highest pitch of frenzy wrought
With fists like thunderbolts they fought,
While near them Ráma took his stand,
And viewed the battle, bow in hand.
Alike they stood in form and might,
Like heavenly Aśvins576paired in fight,
Nor might the son of Raghu know
Where fought the friend and where the foe;
575Budha, not to be confounded with the great reformer Buddha, is the son of
Soma or the Moon, and regent of the planet Mercury. Angára is the regent of
Mars who is called the red or the fiery planet. The encounter between Michael
and Satan is similarly said to have been as if
“Two planets rushing from aspect malign
Of fiercest opposition in midsky
Should combat, and their jarring spheres compound.”
Paradise Lost. Book VI.
576The Aśvins or Heavenly Twins, the Dioskuri or Castor and Pollux of the
Hindus, have frequently been mentioned. See p. 36, Note.
1204
The Ramayana
So, while his bow was ready bent,
No life-destroying shaft he sent.
Crushed down by Báli's mightier stroke
Sugríva's force now sank and broke,
Who, hoping naught from Ráma's aid,
To Rishyamúka fled dismayed,
Weary, and faint, and wounded sore,
His body bruised and dyed with gore,
From Báli's blows, in rage and dread,
Afar to sheltering woods he fled.
Nor Báli farther dared pursue,
The curbing curse too well he knew.
“Fled from thy death!” the victor cried,
And home the mighty warrior hied.
Hanúmán, Lakshmaṇ, Raghu's son
Beheld the conquered Vánar run,
And followed to the sheltering shade
Where yet Sugríva stood dismayed.
Near and more near the chieftains came,
Then, for intolerable shame,
Not daring yet to lift his eyes,
Sugríva spoke with burning sighs:
“Thy matchless strength I first beheld,
And dared my foe, by thee impelled.
Why hast thou tried me with deceit
And urged me to a sure defeat?
Thou shouldst have said, “I will not slay
Thy foeman in the coming fray.”
For had I then thy purpose known
I had not waged the fight alone.”
Canto XII. The Palm Trees.
1205
The Vánar sovereign, lofty-souled,
In plaintive voice his sorrows told.
Then Ráma spake: “Sugríva, list,
All anger from thy heart dismissed,
And I will tell the cause that stayed
Mine arrow, and withheld the aid.
In dress, adornment, port, and height,
In splendour, battle-shout, and might,
No shade of difference could I see
Between thy foe, O King, and thee.
So like was each, I stood at gaze,
My senses lost in wildering maze,
Nor loosened from my straining bow
A deadly arrow at the foe,
Lest in my doubt the shaft should send
To sudden death our surest friend.
O, if this hand in heedless guilt
And rash resolve thy blood had spilt,
Through every land, O Vánar King,
My wild and foolish act would ring.
Sore weight of sin on him must lie
By whom a friend is made to die;
And Lakshmaṇ, I, and Sítá, best
Of dames, on thy protection rest.
On, warrior! for the fight prepare;
Nor fear again thy foe to dare.
Within one hour thine eye shall view
My arrow strike thy foeman through;
Shall see the stricken Báli lie
Low on the earth, and gasp and die.
But come, a badge about thee bind,
O monarch of the Vánar kind,
That in the battle shock mine eyes
The friend and foe may recognize.
1206
The Ramayana
Come, Lakshmaṇ, let that creeper deck
With brightest bloom Sugríva's neck,
And be a happy token, twined
Around the chief of lofty mind.”
Upon the mountain slope there grew
A threading creeper fair to view,
And Lakshmaṇ plucked the bloom and round
Sugríva's neck a garland wound.
Graced with the flowery wreath he wore,
The Vánar chief the semblance bore
Of a dark cloud at close of day
Engarlanded with cranes at play,
In glorious light the Vánar glowed
As by his comrade's side he strode,
And, still on Ráma's word intent,
His steps to great Kishkindhá bent.
[340]
Canto XIII. The Return To Kishkindhá.
Thus with Sugríva, from the side
Of Rishyamúka, Ráma hied,
And stood before Kishkindhá's gate
Where Báli kept his regal state.
The hero in his warrior hold
Raised his great bow adorned with gold,
And drew his pointed arrow bright
As sunbeams, finisher of fight.
Strong-necked Sugríva led the way
With Lakshmaṇ mighty in the fray.
Canto XIII. The Return To Kishkindhá.
1207
Nala and Níla came behind
With Hanumán of lofty mind,
And valiant Tára, last in place,
A leader of the Vánar race.
They gazed on many a tree that showed
The glory of its pendent load,
And brook and limpid rill that made
Sweet murmurs as they seaward strayed.
They looked on caverns dark and deep,
On bower and glen and mountain steep,
And saw the opening lotus stud
With roseate cup the crystal flood,
While crane and swan and coot and drake
Made pleasant music on the lake,
And from the reedy bank was heard
The note of many a happy bird.
In open lawns, in tangled ways,
They saw the tall deer stand at gaze,
Or marked them free and fearless roam,
Fed with sweet grass, their woodland home.
At times two flashing tusks between
The wavings of the wood were seen,
And some mad elephant, alone,
Like a huge moving hill, was shown.
And scarcely less in size appeared
Great monkeys all with dust besmeared.
And various birds that roam the skies,
And silvan creatures, met their eyes,
As through the wood the chieftains sped,
And followed where Sugríva led.
Then Ráma, as their way they made,
Saw near at hand a lovely shade,
And, as he gazed upon the trees,
1208
The Ramayana
Spake to Sugríva words like these;
“Those stately trees in beauty rise,
Fair as a cloud in autumn skies.
I fain, my friend, would learn from thee
What pleasant grove is that I see.”
Thus Ráma spake, the mighty souled;
And thus his tale Sugríva told:
“That, Ráma, is a wide retreat
That brings repose to weary feet.
Bright streams and fruit and roots are there,
And shady gardens passing fair.
There, neath the roof of hanging boughs,
The sacred Seven maintained their vows.
Their heads in dust were lowly laid,
In streams their nightly beds were made.
Each seventh night they broke their fast,
But air was still their sole repast,
And when seven hundred years were spent
To homes in heaven the hermits went.
Their glory keeps the garden yet,
With walls of stately trees beset.
Scarce would the Gods and demons dare,
By Indra led, to enter there.
No beast that roams the wood is found,
No bird of air, within the bound;
Or, thither if they idly stray,
They find no more their homeward way.
You hear at times mid dulcet tones
The chime of anklets, rings, and zones.
You hear the song and music sound,
And heavenly fragrance breathes around,
Canto XIII. The Return To Kishkindhá.
1209
There duly burn the triple fires577
Where mounts the smoke in curling spires,
And, in a dun wreath, hangs above
The tall trees, like a brooding dove.
Round branch and crest the vapours close
Till every tree enveloped shows
A hill of lazulite when clouds
Hang round it with their misty shrouds.
With Lakshmaṇ, lord of Raghu's line,
In reverent guise thine head incline,
And with fixt heart and suppliant hand
Give honour to the sainted band.
They who with faithful hearts revere
The holy Seven who harboured here,
Shall never, son of Raghu, know
In all their lives an hour of woe.”
Then Ráma and his brother bent,
And did obeisance reverent
With suppliant hand and lowly head,
Then with Sugríva onward sped.
Beyond the sainted Seven's abode
Far on their way the chieftains strode,
And great Kishkindhá's portal gained,
The royal town where Báli reigned.
Then by the gate they took their stand
All ready armed a noble band,
And burning every one
To slay in battle, hand to hand,
Their foeman, Indra's son.
577Called respectively Gárhapatya, Áhavaniya, and Dakshiṇa, household,
sacrificial, and southern.
1210
The Ramayana
Canto XIV. The Challenge.
They stood where trees of densest green
Wove round their forms a veiling screen.
O'er all the garden's pleasant shade
The eyes of King Sugríva strayed,
[341]
And, as on grass and tree he gazed,
The fires of wrath within him blazed.
Then like a mighty cloud on high,
When roars the tempest through the sky,
Girt by his friends he thundered out
His dread sky-rending battle-shout
Like some proud lion in his gait,
Or as the sun begins his state,
Sugríva let his quick glance rest
On Ráma whom he thus addressed:
“There is the seat of Báli's sway,
Where flags on wall and turret play,
Which mighty bands of Vánars hold,
Rich in all arms and store of gold.
Thy promise to thy mind recall
That Báli by thy hand shall fall.
As kindly fruits adorn the bough.
So give my hopes their harvest now.”
In suppliant tone the Vánar prayed,
And Raghu's son his answer made:
“By Lakshmaṇ's hand this flowery twine
Was wound about thee for a sign.
The wreath of giant creeper throws
About thy form its brillant glows,
As though about the sun were set
The bright stars for a coronet.
One shaft of mine this day, dear friend,
Canto XIV. The Challenge.
1211
Thy sorrow and thy fear shall end.
And, from the bowstring freed, shall be
Giver of freedom, King, to thee.
Then come, Sugríva, quickly show,
Where'er he lie, thy bitter foe;
And let my glance the wretch descry
Whose deeds, a brother's name belie.
Yea, soon in dust and blood o'erthrown
Shall Báli fall and gasp and groan.
Once let this eye the foeman see,
Then, if he live to turn and flee,
Despise my puny strength, and shame
With foul opprobrium Ráma's name.
Hast thou not seen his hand, O King,
Through seven tall trees one arrow wing?
Still in that strength securely trust,
And deem thy foeman in the dust.
In all my days, though surely tried
By grief and woe, I ne'er have lied;
And still by duty's law restrained
Will ne'er with falsehood's charge be stained.
Cast doubt away: the oath I sware
Its kindly fruit shall quickly bear,
As smiles the land with golden grain
By mercy of the Lord of rain.
Oh, warrior to the gate I defy
Thy foe with shout and battle-cry,
Till Báli with his chain of gold
Come speeding from his royal hold.
Proud hearts, with warlike fire aglow,
Brook not the challenge of a foe:
Each on his power and might relies,
And most before his ladies eyes.
King Báli loves the fray too well
1212
The Ramayana
To linger in his citadel,
And, when he hears thy battle-shout,
All wild for war will hasten out.”
He spoke. Sugríva raised a cry
That shook and rent the echoing sky,
A shout so fierce and loud and dread
That stately bulls in terror fled,
Like dames who fly from threatened stain
In some ignoble monarch's reign.
The deer in wild confusion ran
Like horses turned in battle's van.
Down fell the birds, like Gods who fall
When merits fail,578at that dread call.
So fiercely, boldened for the fray,
The offspring of the Lord of Day
Sent forth his furious shout as loud
As thunder from a labouring cloud,
Or, where the gale blows fresh and free,
The roaring of the troubled sea.
Canto XV. Tárá.
578The store of merit accumulated by a holy or austere life secures only a
temporary seat in the mansion of bliss. When by the lapse of time this store is
exhausted, return to earth is unavoidable.
Canto XV. Tárá.
1213
That shout, which shook the land with fear,
In thunder smote on Báli's ear,
Where in the chamber barred and closed
The sovereign with his dame reposed.
Each amorous thought was rudely stilled,
And pride and rage his bosom filled.
His angry eyes flashed darkly red,
And all his native brightness fled,
As when, by swift eclipse assailed,
The glory of the sun has failed.
While in his fury uncontrolled
He ground his teeth, his eyeballs rolled,
He seemed a lake wherein no gem
Of blossom decks the lotus stem.
He heard, and with indignant pride
Forth from the bower the Vánar hied.
And the earth trembled at the beat
And fury of his hastening feet.
But Tárá to her consort flew,
Her loving arms around him threw,
And trembling and bewildered, gave
Wise counsel that might heal and save:
“O dear my lord, this rage control
That like a torrent floods thy soul,
And cast these idle thoughts away
Like faded wreath of yesterday,
O tarry till the morning light,
Then, if thou wilt, go forth and fight.
[342]
Think not I doubt thy valour, no;
Or deem thee weaker than thy foe,
Yet for a while would have thee stay
Nor see thee tempt the fight to-day.
Now list, my loving lord, and learn
The reason why I bid thee turn.
1214
The Ramayana
Thy foeman came in wrath and pride,
And thee to deadly fight defied.
Thou wentest out: he fought, and fled
Sore wounded and discomfited.
But yet, untaught by late defeat,
He comes his conquering foe to meet,
And calls thee forth with cry and shout:
Hence spring, my lord, this fear and doubt.
A heart so bold that will not yield,
But yearns to tempt the desperate field,
Such loud defiance, fiercely pressed,
On no uncertain hope can rest.
So lately by thine arm o'erthrown,
He comes not back, I ween, alone.
Some mightier comrade guards his side,
And spurs him to this burst of pride.
For nature made the Vánar wise:
On arms of might his hope relies;
And never will Sugríva seek
A friend whose power to save is weak.
Now listen while my lips unfold
The wondrous tale my Angad told.
Our child the distant forest sought,
And, learnt from spies, the tidings brought.
Two sons of Daśaratha, sprung
From old Ikshváku, brave and young,
Renowned in arms, in war untamed—
Ráma and Lakshmaṇ are they named—
Have with thy foe Sugríva made
A league of love and friendly aid.
Now Ráma, famed for exploit high,
Is bound thy brother's firm ally,
Canto XV. Tárá.
1215
Like fires of doom579that ruin all
He makes each foe before him fall.
He is the suppliant's sure defence,
The tree that shelters innocence.
The poor and wretched seek his feet:
In him the noblest glories meet.
With skill and knowledge vast and deep
His sire's commands he loved to keep;
With princely gifts and graces stored
As metals deck the Mountains' Lord.580
Thou canst not, O my hero, stand
Before the might of Ráma's hand;
For none may match his powers or dare
With him in deeds of war compare.
Hear, I entreat, the words I say,
Nor lightly turn my rede away.
O let fraternal discord cease,
And link you in the bonds of peace.
Let consecrating rites ordain
Sugríva partner of thy reign.
Let war and thoughts of conflict end,
And be thou his and Ráma's friend,
Each soft approach of love begin,
And to thy soul thy brother win;
For whether here or there he be,
Thy brother still, dear lord, is he.
Though far and wide these eyes I strain
A friend like him I seek in vain.
Let gentle words his heart incline,
And gifts and honours make him thine,
Till, foes no more, in love allied,
You stand as brothers side by side.
579The conflagration which destroys the world at the end of a Yuga or age.
580Himálaya.
1216
The Ramayana
Thou in high rank wast wont to hold
Sugríva, formed in massive mould;
Then come, thy brother's love regain,
For other aids are weak and vain.
If thou would please my soul, and still
Preserve me from all fear and ill,
I pray thee by thy love be wise
And do the thing which I advise.
Assuage thy fruitless wrath, and shun
The mightier arms of Raghu's son;
For Indra's peer in might is he,
A foe too strong, my lord, for thee.”
Canto XVI. The Fall Of Báli.
Thus Tárá with the starry eyes581
Her counsel gave with burning sighs.
But Báli, by her prayers unmoved,
Spurned her advice, and thus reproved:
“How may this insult, scathe, and scorn
By me, dear love, be tamely born?
My brother, yea my foe, comes nigh
And dares me forth with shout and cry.
Learn, trembler! that the valiant, they
Who yield no step in battle fray,
Will die a thousand deaths but ne'er
An unavenged dishonour bear.
Nor, O my love, be thou dismayed
581Tárá means “star.” The poet plays upon the name by comparing her beauty
to that of the Lord of stars, the Moon.
Canto XVI. The Fall Of Báli.
1217
Though Ráma lend Sugríva aid,
For one so pure and duteous, one
Who loves the right, all sin will shun,
Release me from thy soft embrace,
And with thy dames thy steps retrace:
Enough already, O mine own,
Of love and sweet devotion shown.
Drive all thy fear and doubt away;
I seek Sugríva in the fray
His boisterous rage and pride to still,
And tame the foe I would not kill.
My fury, armed with brandished trees,
Shall strike Sugríva to his knees:
[343]
Nor shall the humbled foe withstand
The blows of my avenging hand,
When, nerved by rage and pride, I beat
The traitor down beneath my feet.
Thou, love, hast lent thine own sweet aid,
And all thy tender care displayed;
Now by my life, by these who yearn
To serve thee well, I pray thee turn.
But for a while, dear dame, I go
To come triumphant o'er the foe.”
Thus Báli spake in gentlest tone:
Soft arms about his neck were thrown;
Then round her lord the lady went
With sad steps slow and reverent.
She stood in solemn guise to bless
With prayers for safety and success,
Then with her train her chamber sought
By grief and racking fear distraught.
1218
The Ramayana
With serpent's pantings fierce and fast
King Báli from the city passed.
His glance, as each quick breath he drew,
Around to find the foe he threw,
And saw where fierce Sugríva showed
His form with golden hues that glowed,
And, as a fire resplendent, stayed
To meet his foe in arms arrayed.
When Báli, long-armed chieftain, found
Sugríva stationed on the ground,
Impelled by warlike rage he braced
His warrior garb about his waist,
And with his mighty arm raised high
Rushed at Sugríva with a cry.
But when Sugríva, fierce and bold,
Saw Báli with his chain of gold,
His arm he heaved, his hand he closed,
And face to face his foe opposed.
To him whose eyes with fury shone,
In charge impetuous rushing on,
Skilled in each warlike art and plan,
Báli with hasty words began:
“My ponderous hand, to fight addressed
With fingers clenched and arm compressed
Shall on thy death doomed brow descend
And, crashing down, thy life shall end.”
He spoke; and wild with rage and pride,
The fierce Sugríva thus replied:
“Thus let my arm begin the strife
And from thy body crush the life.”
Then Báli, wounded and enraged,
With furious blows the battle waged.
Sugríva seemed, with blood-streams dyed,
Canto XVI. The Fall Of Báli.
1219
A hill with fountains in his side.
But with his native force unspent
A Sál tree from the earth he rent,
And like the bolt of Indra smote
On Báli's head and chest and throat.
Bruised by the blows he could not shield,
Half vanquished Báli sank and reeled,
As sinks a vessel with her freight
Borne down by overwhelming weight.
Swift as Suparṇa's582swiftest flight
In awful strength they rushed to fight:
So might the sun and moon on high
Encountering battle in the sky.
Fierce and more fierce, as fought the foes,
The furious rage of combat rose.
They warred with feet and arms and knees,
With nails and stones and boughs and trees,
And blows descending fast as rain
Dyed each dark form with crimson stain,
While like two thunder-clouds they met
With battle-cry and shout and threat.
Then Ráma saw Sugríva quail,
Marked his worn strength grow weak and fail.
Saw how he turned his wistful eye
To every quarter of the sky.
His friend's defeat he could not brook,
Bent on his shaft an eager look,
Then burned to slay the conquering foe,
And laid his arrow on the bow.
As to an orb the bow he drew
Forth from the string the arrow flew
Like Fate's tremendous discus hurled
582Suparṇa, the Well-winged, is another name of Garuḍa the King of Birds.
See p. 28, Note.
1220
The Ramayana
By Yáma583forth to end the world.
So loud the din that every bird
The bow-string's clans with terror heard,
And wildly fled the affrighted deer
As though the day of doom were near.
So, deadly as the serpent's fang,
Forth from the string the arrow sprang.
Like the red lightning's flash and flame
It flew unerring to its aim,
And, hissing murder through the air,
Pierced Báli's breast, and quivered there.
Struck by the shaft that flew so well
The mighty Vánar reeled and fell,
As earthward Indra's flag they pull
When Aśvíní's fair moon is full.584
Canto XVII. Báli's Speech.
Like some proud tree before the blast
Brave Báli to the ground was cast,
Where prostrate in the dust he rolled
Clad in the sheen of glistening gold,
[344]
583The God of Death.
584The flag-staff erected in honour of the God Indra is lowered when the
festival is over. Aśvíní in astronomy is the head of Aries or the first of the
twenty-eight lunar mansions or asterisms.
Canto XVII. Báli's Speech.
1221
As when uptorn the standard lies
Of the great God who rules the skies.
When low upon the earth was laid
The lord whom Vánar tribes obeyed,
Dark as a moonless sky no more
His land her joyous aspect wore.
Though low in dust and mire was rolled
The form of Báli lofty-souled,
Still life and valour, might and grace
Clung to their well-loved dwelling-place.
That golden chain with rich gems set,
The choicest gift of Sákra,585yet
Preserved his life nor let decay
Steal strength and beauty's light away.
Still from that chain divinely wrought
His dusky form a glory caught,
As a dark cloud, when day is done,
Made splendid by the dying sun.
As fell the hero, crushed in fight,
There beamed afar a triple light
From limbs, from chain, from shaft that drank
His life-blood as the warrior sank.
The never-failing shaft, impelled
By the great bow which Ráma held,
Brought bliss supreme, and lit the way
To Brahmá's worlds which ne'er decay.586
Ráma and Lakshmaṇ nearer drew
The mighty fallen foe to view,
Mahendra's son, the brave and bold,
585Indra the father of Báli.
586It is believed that every creature killed by Ráma obtained in consequence
immediate beatitude.
“And blessed the hand that gave so dear a death.”
1222
The Ramayana
The monarch with his chain of gold,
With lustrous face and tawny eyes,
Broad chest, and arms of wondrous size,
Like Lord Mahendra fierce in fight,
Or Vishṇu's never-conquered might,
Now fallen like Yayáti587sent
From heaven, his store of merit spent,
Like the bright flame that pales and dies,
Like the great sun who fires the skies,
Doomed in the general doom to fall
When time shall end and ruin all.
The wounded Báli, when he saw
Ráma and Lakshmaṇ nearer draw,
Keen words to Raghu's son, impressed
With justice' holy stamp, addressed:
“What fame, from one thou hast not slain
In front of battle, canst thou gain,
Whose secret hand has laid me low
When madly fighting with my foe?
From every tongue thy glory rings,
A scion of a line of kings,
True to thy vows, of noblest race,
With every gentle gift and grace:
Whose tender heart for woe can feel,
And joy in every creature's weal:
Whose breast with high ambition swells,
Knows duty's claim and ne'er rebels.
They praise thy valour, patience, ruth,
587“Yayáti was invited to heaven by Indra, and conveyed on the way thither
by Mátali, Indra's charioteer. He afterwards returned to earth where, by his
virtuous administration he rendered all his subjects exempt from passion and
decay.” GARRETT'S C. D. OF INDIA{FNS.
Canto XVII. Báli's Speech.
1223
Thy firmness, self-restraint, and truth:
Thy hand prepared for sin's control,
All virtues of a princely soul.
I thought of all these gifts of thine,
And glories of an ancient line,
I set my Tárá's tears at naught,
I met Sugríva and we fought.
O Ráma, till this fatal morn
I held that thou wouldst surely scorn
To strike me as I fought my foe
And thought not of a stranger's blow,
But now thine evil heart is shown,
A yawning well with grass o'ergrown.
Thou wearest virtue's badge,588but guile
And meanest sin thy soul defile.
I took thee not for treacherous fire,
A sinner clad in saint's attire;
Nor deemed thou idly wouldst profess
The show and garb of righteousness.
In fenced town, in open land,
Ne'er hast thou suffered at this hand,
Nor canst of proud contempt complain:
Then wherefore is the guiltless slain?
My harmless life in woods I lead,
On forest fruits and roots I feed.
My foeman in the field I sought,
And ne'er with thee, O Ráma, fought.
Upon thy limbs, O King, I see
The raiment of a devotee;
And how can one like thee, who springs
From a proud line of ancient kings,
Beneath fair virtue's mask, disgrace
588The ascetic's dress which he wore during his exile.
1224
The Ramayana
His lineage by a deed so base?
From Raghu is thy long descent,
For duteous deeds prëeminent:
Why, sinner clad in saintly dress,
Roamest thou through the wilderness?
Truth, valour, justice free from spot,
The hand that gives and grudges not,
The might that strikes the sinner down,
These bring a prince his best renown.
Here in the woods, O King, we live
On roots and fruit which branches give.589
[345]
Thus nature framed our harmless race:
Thou art a man supreme in place.
Silver and gold and land provoke
The fierce attack, the robber's stroke,
Canst thou desire this wild retreat,
The berries and the fruit we eat?
'Tis not for mighty kings to tread
The flowery path, by pleasure led.
Theirs be the arm that crushes sin,
Theirs the soft grace to woo and win:
The steadfast will that guides the state,
Wise favour to the good and great;
And for all time are kings renowned
Who blend these arts and ne'er confound.
But thou art weak and swift to ire,
Unstable, slave of each desire.
Thou tramplest duty in the dust,
And in thy bow is all thy trust.
589There is much inconsistency in the passages of the poem in which the
Vánars are spoken of, which seems to point to two widely different legends.
The Vánars are generally represented as semi-divine beings with preternatural
powers, living in houses and eating and drinking like men sometimes as here,
as monkeys pure and simple, living is woods and eating fruit and roots.
Canto XVII. Báli's Speech.
1225
Thou carest naught for noble gain,
And treatest virtue with disdain,
While every sense its captive draws
To follow pleasure's changing laws.
I wronged thee not in word or deed,
But by thy deadly dart I bleed.
What wilt thou, mid the virtuous, say
To purge thy lasting stain away?
All these, O King, must sink to hell,
The regicide, the infidel,
He who in blood and slaughter joys,
A Bráhman or a cow destroys,
Untimely weds in law's despite
Scorning an elder brother's right,590
Who dares his Teacher's bed ascend,
The miser, spy, and treacherous friend.
These impious wretches, one and all,
Must to the hell of sinners fall.
My skin the holy may not wear,
Useless to thee my bones and hair;
Nor may my slaughtered body be
The food of devotees like thee.
These five-toed things a man may slay
And feed upon the fallen prey;
The mailed rhinoceros may die,
And, with the hare his food supply.
Iguanas he may kill and eat,
590For a younger brother to marry before the elder is a gross violation of
Indian law and duty. The same law applied to daughters with the Hebrews: “It
must not be so done in our country to give the younger before the first-born.”
GENESIS{FNS xix. 26.
1226
The Ramayana
With porcupine and tortoise meat.591
But all the wise account it sin
To touch my bones and hair and skin.
My flesh they may not eat; and I
A useless prey, O Ráma, die.
In vain my Tárá reasoned well,
On dull deaf ears her counsel fell.
I scorned her words though sooth and sweet,
And hither rushed my fate to meet.
Ah for the land thou rulest! she
Finds no protection, lord, from thee,
Neglected like some noble dame
By a vile husband dead to shame.
Mean-hearted coward, false and vile,
Whose cruel soul delights in guile,
Could Daśaratha, noblest king,
Beget so mean and base a thing?
Alas! an elephant, in form
Of Ráma, in a maddening storm
Of passion casting to the ground
The girth of law592that clipped him round,
Too wildly passionate to feel
The prick of duty's guiding steel,593
Has charged me unawares, and dead
I fall beneath his murderous tread.
How, stained with this my base defeat,
591“The hedgehog and porcupine, the lizard, the rhinoceros, the tortoise,
and the rabbit or hare, wise legislators declare lawful food among five-toed
animals.” MANU{FNS, v. 18.
592
“He can not buckle his distempered cause
Within the belt of rule.”
MACBETH{FNS.
593The Ankuś or iron hook with which an elephant is driven and guided.
Canto XVII. Báli's Speech.
1227
How wilt thou dare, where good men meet,
To speak, when every tongue will blame
With keen reproach this deed of shame?
Such hero strength and valour, shown
Upon the innocent alone,
Thou hast not proved in manly strife
On him who robbed thee of thy wife.
Hadst thou but fought in open field
And met me boldly unconcealed,
This day had been thy fate to fall,
Slain by this hand, to Yáma's hall.
In vain I strove, and struck by thee
Fell by a hand I could not see.
Thus bites a snake, for sins of yore,
A sleeping man who wakes no more.
Sugríva's foeman thou hast killed,
And thus his heart's desire fulfilled;
But, Ráma, hadst thou sought me first,
And told the hope thy soul has nursed,
That very day had I restored
The Maithil lady to her lord;
And, binding Rávaṇ with a chain,
Had laid him at thy feet unslain.
[346]
Yea, were she sunk in deepest hell,
Or whelmed beneath the ocean's swell,
I would have followed on her track
And brought the rescued lady back,
As Hayagríva594once set free
594Hayagríva, Horse-necked, is a form of Vishṇu.
1228
The Ramayana
From hell the white Aśvatarí.595
That when my spirit wings its flight
Sugríva reign, is just and right.
But most unjust, O King, that I,
Slain by thy treacherous hand, should lie.
Be still, my heart: this earthly state
Is darkly ruled by sovereign Fate.
The realm is lost and won: defy
Thy questioners with apt reply.”596
Canto XVIII. Ráma's Reply.
He ceased: and Ráma's heart was stirred
At every keen reproach he heard.
There Báli lay, a dim dark sun,
His course of light and glory run:
Or like the bed of Ocean dried
Of his broad floods from side to side,
Or helpless, as the dying fire,
Hushed his last words of righteous ire.
Then Ráma, with his spirit moved,
The Vánar king in turn reproved:
595“Aśvatara is the name of a chief of the Nágas or serpents which inhabit the
regions under the earth; it is also the name of a Gandharva. Aśvatarí ought to
be the wife of one of the two, but I am not sure that this conjecture is right. The
commentator does not say who this Aśvatarí is, or what tradition or myth is
alluded to. Vimalabodha reads Aśvatarí in the nominative case, and explains,
Aśvatarí is the sun, and as the sun with his rays brings back the moon which
has been sunk in the ocean and the infernal regions, so will I bring back Sítá.”
GORRESIO{FNS.
596That is, “Consider what answer you can give to your accusers when they
charge you with injustice in killing me.”
Canto XVIII. Ráma's Reply.
1229
“Why dost thou, Báli, thus revile,
And castest not a glance the while
On claims of duty, love, and gain,
And customs o'er the world that reign?
Why dost thou blame me, rash and blind,
Fickle as all thy Vánar kind,
Slighting each rule of ancient days
Which all the good and prudent praise?
This land, each hill and woody chase,
Belongs to old Ikshváku's race:
With bird and beast and man, the whole
Is ours to cherish and control.
Now Bharat, prompt at duty's call,
Wise, just, and true, is lord of all.
Each claim of law, love, gain he knows,
And wrath and favour duly shows.
A king from truth who never bends,
And grace with vigour wisely blends;
With valour worthy of his race,
He knows the claims of time and place.
Now we and other kings of might,
By his ensample taught aright,
The lands of every region tread
That justice may increase and spread.
While royal Bharat, wise and just,
Rules the broad earth, his glorious trust,
Who shall attempt, while he is lord,
A deed by Justice held abhorred?
We now, as Bharat has decreed,
Let justice guide our every deed,
And toil each sinner to repress
Who scorns the way of righteousness.
Thou from that path hast turned aside,
And virtue's holy law defied,
1230
The Ramayana
Left the fair path which kings should tread,
And followed pleasure's voice instead.
The man who cleaves to duty's law
Regards these three with filial awe—
The sire, the elder brother, third
Him from whose lips his lore he heard.
Thus too, for duty's sake, the wise
Regard with fond paternal eyes
The well-loved younger brother, one
Their lore has ripened, and a son.
Fine are the laws which guide the good,
Abstruse, and hardly understood;
Only the soul, enthroned within
The breast of each, knows right from sin.
But thou art wild and weak of soul,
And spurnest, like thy race, control;
The true and right thou canst not find,
The blind consulting with the blind.
Incline thine ear and I will teach
The cause that prompts my present speech.
This tempest of thy soul assuage,
Nor blame me in thine idle rage.
On this great sin thy thoughts bestow,
The sin for which I lay thee low.
Thou, Báli, in thy brother's life
Hast robbed him of his wedded wife,
And keepest, scorning ancient right,
His Rumá for thine own delight.
Thy son's own wife should scarcely be
More sacred in thine eyes than she.
All duty thou hast scorned, and hence
Comes punishment for dire offence.
For those who blindly do amiss
There is, I ween, no way but this:
Canto XVIII. Ráma's Reply.
1231
To check the rash who dare to stray
From customs which the good obey,
I may not, sprung of Kshatriya line,
[347]
Forgive this heinous sin of thine:
The laws for those who sin like thee
The penalty of death decree.
Now Bharat rules with sovereign sway,
And we his royal word obey.
There was no hope of pardon, none,
For the vile deed that thou hast done,
That wisest monarch dooms to die
The wretch whose crimes the law defy;
And we, chastising those who err,
His righteous doom administer.
My soul accounts Sugríva dear
E'en as my brother Lakshmaṇ here.
He brings me blessing, and I swore
His wife and kingdom to restore:
A bond in solemn honour bound
When Vánar chieftains stood around.
And can a king like me forsake
His friend, and plighted promise break?
Reflect, O Vánar, on the cause,
The sanction of eternal laws,
And, justly smitten down, confess
Thou diest for thy wickedness.
By honour was I bound to lend
Assistance to a faithful friend;
And thou hast met a righteous fate
Thy former sins to expiate.
And thus wilt thou some merit win
And make atonement for thy sin.
For hear me, Vánar King, rehearse
1232
The Ramayana
What Manu597spake in ancient verse,—
This holy law, which all accept
Who honour duty, have I kept:
“Pure grow the sinners kings chastise,
And, like the virtuous, gain the skies;
By pain or full atonement freed,
They reap the fruit of righteous deed,
While kings who punish not incur
The penalties of those who err.”
Mándhátá598once, a noble king,
Light of the line from which I spring,
Punished with death a devotee
When he had stooped to sin like thee;
And many a king in ancient time
Has punished frantic sinners' crime,
And, when their impious blood was spilt,
Has washed away the stain of guilt.
Cease, Báli, cease: no more complain:
Reproaches and laments are vain,
For thou art justly punished: we
Obey our king and are not free.
Once more, O Báli, lend thine ear
Another weightiest plea to hear.
For this, when heard and pondered well,
Will all complaint and rage dispel.
My soul will ne'er this deed repent,
Nor was my shaft in anger sent.
We take the silvan tribes beset
With snare and trap and gin and net,
597Manu, Book VIII. 318. “But men who have committed offences and have
receivedfromkingsthepunishmentduetothem, gopuretoheavenandbecome
as clear as those who have done well.”
598Mándhátá was one of the earlier descendants of Ikshváku. His name is
mentioned in Ráma's genealogy, p. 81.
Canto XVIII. Ráma's Reply.
1233
And many a heedless deer we smite
From thickest shade, concealed from sight.
Wild for the slaughter of the game,
At stately stags our shafts we aim.
We strike them bounding scared away,
We strike them as they stand at bay,
When careless in the shade they lie,
Or scan the plain with watchful eye.
They turn away their heads; we aim,
And none the eager hunter blame.
Each royal saint, well trained in law
Of duty, loves his bow to draw
And strike the quarry, e'en as thou
Hast fallen by mine arrow now,
Fighting with him or unaware,—
A Vánar thou.—I little care.599
But yet, O best of Vánars, know
That kings who rule the earth bestow
Fruit of pure life and virtuous deed,
And lofty duty's hard-won meed.
Harm not thy lord the king: abstain
From act and word that cause him pain;
For kings are children of the skies
Who walk this earth in men's disguise.
But thou, in duty's claims untaught,
Thy breast with blinding passion fraught,
Assailest me who still have clung
To duty, with thy bitter tongue.”
599I cannot understand how Válmíki could put such an excuse as this into
Ráma's mouth. Ráma with all solemn ceremony, has made a league of alliance
with Báli's younger brother whom he regards as a dear friend and almost as
an equal, and now he winds up his reasons for killing Báli by coolly saying:
“Besides you are only a monkey, you know, after all, and as such I have every
right to kill you how, when, and where I like.”
1234
The Ramayana
He ceased: and Báli sore distressed
The sovereign claims of law confessed,
And freed, o'erwhelmed with woe and shame,
The lord of Raghu's race from blame.
Then, reverent palm to palm applied,
To Ráma thus the Vánar cried:
“True, best of men, is every word
That from thy lips these ears have heard,
It ill beseems a wretch like me
To bandy empty words with thee.
Forgive the angry taunts that broke
From my wild bosom as I spoke.
And lay not to my charge, O King,
[348]
My mad reproaches' idle sting.
Thou, in the truth by trial trained,
Best knowledge of the right hast gained:
And layest, just and pure within,
The meetest penalty on sin.
Through every bond of law I burst,
The boldest sinner and the worst.
O let thy right-instructing speech
Console my heart and wisely teach.”
Like some sad elephant who stands
Fast sinking in the treacherous sands,
Thus Báli raised despairing eyes;
Then spake again with sobs and sighs:
“Not for myself, O King, I grieve,
For Tárá or the friends I leave,
As for sweet Angad, my dear son,
My noble, only little one.
For, nursed in luxury and bliss,
His father he will mourn and miss,
Canto XVIII. Ráma's Reply.
1235
And like a stream whose fount is dry
Will waste away and sink and die,—
My own dear child, my only boy,
His mother Tárá's hope and joy.
Spare him, O son of Raghu, spare
The child entrusted to thy care.
My Angad and Sugríva treat
E'en as thy heart considers meet,
For thou, O chief of men, art strong
To guard the right and punish wrong.
O, if thou wilt thine ear incline
To hear these dying words of mine,
He and Sugríva will to thee
As Bharat and as Lakshmaṇ be.
Let not my Tárá, left forlorn,
Weep for Sugríva's wrathful scorn;
Nor let him, for her lord's offence,
Condemn her faithful innocence.
And well and wisely may he reign
If thy dear grace his power sustain:
If, following thee his friend and guide,
He turn not from thy hest aside:
Thus may he reign with glory, nay
Thus to the skies will win his way.
Though stayed by Tárá's fond recall,
By thy dear hand I longed to fall.
Against my brother rushed and fought,
And gained the death I long have sought.”
Then Ráma thus the prince consoled
From whose clear eyes the mists were rolled:
“Grieve not for those thou leavest thus,
Nor tremble for thyself or us,
For we will deal with thine and thee
1236
The Ramayana
As duty and the laws decree.
He who exacts and he who pays,
Is justly slain or justly slays,
Shall in the life to come have bliss;
For each has done his task in this.
Thou, wandering from the right, art made
Pure by the forfeit thou hast paid.
Thy weight of sins is cast aside,
And duty's claim is satisfied.
Then grieve no more, O Prince, but clear
Thy bosom from all doubt and fear,
For fate, inexorably stern,
Thou hast no power to move or turn.
Thy princely Angad still will share
My tender love, Sugríva's care;
And to thy offspring shall be shown
Affection that shall match thine own.”
Canto XIX. Tárá's Grief.
No answer gave the Vánar king
To Ráma's prudent counselling.
Battered and bruised by tree and stone,
By Ráma's arrow overthrown,
Fainting upon the ground he lay,
Gasping his troubled life away.
Canto XIX. Tárá's Grief.
1237
But Tárá in the Vánar's hall
Heard tidings of her husband's fall;
Heard that a shaft from Ráma's bow
Had laid the royal Báli low.
Her darling Angad by her side,
Distracted from her home she hied.
Then nigh the place of battle drew
The Vánars, Angad's retinue.
They saw the bow-armed Ráma: dread
Fell on them, and they turned and fled.
Like helpless deer, their leaders slain,
So wildly fled the startled train.
But Tárá saw, and nearer pressed,
And thus the flying band addressed:
“O Vánars, ye who ever stand
About our king, a trusty band,
Where is the lion master? why
Forsake ye thus your lord and fly?
Say, lies he dead upon the plain,
A brother by a brother slain,
Or pierced by shafts from Ráma's bow
That rain from far upon the foe?”
Thus Tárá questioned, and was still:
Then, wearers of each shape at will,
The Vánars thus with one accord
Answered the Lady of their lord:
“Turn, Tárá turn, and half undone
Save Angad thy beloved son.
There Ráma stands in death's disguise,
And conquered Báli faints and dies.
He by whose strong arm, thick and fast,
Uprooted trees and rocks were cast,
Lies smitten by a shaft that came
1238
The Ramayana
Resistless as the lightning flame.
When he, whose splendour once could vie
With Indra's, regent of the sky,
Fell by that deadly arrow, all
The Vánars fled who marked his fall.
Let all our chiefs their succours bring,
And Angad be anointed king;
[349]
For all who come of Vánar race
Will serve him set in Báli's place.
Or else our conquering foes to-day
Within our wall will force their way,
Polluting with their hostile feet
The chambers of thy loved retreat.
Great fear is on us, all and one.
Those who have wives and who have none,
They lust for power, are fierce and bold,
Or hate us for the strife of old.”
She heard their speech as, sore afraid,
Arrested in their flight, they stayed,
And gave her answer as became
The spirit of so true a dame:
“Nay, what have I to do with pelf,
With son, with kingdom, or with self,
When he, my noble lord, who leads
The Vánars like a lion, bleeds?
His high-souled victor will I meet,
And throw me prostrate at his feet.”
Canto XIX. Tárá's Grief.
1239
She hastened forth, her bosom rent
With anguish, weeping as she went,
And striking, mastered by her woes,
Her head and breast with frantic blows.
She hurried to the field and found
Her husband prostrate on the ground,
Who quelled the hostile Vánars' might,
Whose bank was never turned in flight:
Whose arm a massy rock could throw
As Indra hurls his bolts below:
Fierce as the rushing tempest, loud
As thunder from a labouring cloud:
Whene'er he roared his voice of fear
Struck terror on the boldest ear:
Now slain, as, hungry for the prey,
A tiger might a lion slay:
Or when, his serpent foe to seek,
Suparṇa600with his furious beak
Tears up a sacred hillock, long
The reverence of a village throng,
Its altar with their offerings spread,
And the gay flag that waved o'erhead.
She looked and saw the victor stand
Resting upon his bow his hand:
And fierce Sugríva she descried,
And Lakshmaṇ by his brother's side.
She passed them by, nor stayed to view,
Swift to her husband's side she flew;
Then as she looked, her strength gave way,
And in the dust she fell and lay.
Then, as if startled ere the close
Of slumber, from the earth she rose.
600A name of Garuḍa the king of birds, the great enemy of the Serpents.
1240
The Ramayana
Upon her dying husband, round
Whose soul the coils of Death were wound,
Her eyes in agony she bent
And called him with a shrill lament.
Sugríva, when he heard her cries,
And saw the queen with weeping eyes,
And youthful Angad standing there,
His load of grief could hardly bear.
Canto XX. Tárá's Lament.
Again she bent her to the ground,
Her arms about her husband wound.
Sobbed on his breast, and sick and faint
With anguish poured her wild complaint:
“Brave in the charge of battle, boast
And glory of the Vánar host,
Why on the cold earth wilt thou lie
And give no answer when I cry?
Up, warrior, from thy lowly bed!
A meeter couch for thee is spread.
It ill beseems a glorious king
On the bare ground his limbs to fling.
Ah, surely must thy love be strong
For her whom thou hast governed long,
If thou, my hero, canst recline
On her cold breast forsaking mine.
Or, famed for justice through the land,
Thou on the road to heaven hast planned
Some city fairer far than this
To be thy new metropolis.
Canto XX. Tárá's Lament.
1241
Are all our pleasures ended now,
With those delicious hours which thou
And I, dear lord, together spent
In woods that breathed the honey's scent?
Whelmed in my sorrow's boundless sea,
There is no joy, no hope, for me,
When my beloved lord, who led
The Vánars to the fight, is dead,
My widowed heart is stern and cold.
Or, at the sight mine eyes behold,
O'ermastered would it end this ache
And in a thousand fragments break.
Ah noble Vánar, doomed to pay
The penalty of all today—
Sugríva from his home expelled,
And Rumá601from his arms withheld.
Our Vánar race and thee to save,
Wise counsel for thy weal I gave;
But thou, by wildest folly stirred,
Wouldst give no credence to my word,
And now wilt woo the nymphs above,
And shake their souls with pangs of love.
Ah, never could it be that thou
Beneath Sugríva's power shouldst bow,
Thy conqueror is none but Fate
Whose mandates all who breathe await.
And does no thrill of anguish run
Through the stern breast of Raghu's son,
Whose base hand dealt a coward's blow,
And smote thee fighting with thy foe?
Reft of my lord my days, alas!
[350]
In bitter bitter woe will pass:
601Sugríva's wife.
1242
The Ramayana
And I, long blest with every good,
Must bear my dreary widowhood.
And when his uncle's brow is stern,
When his fierce eyes with fury burn,
Ah, what will be my Angad's fate,
So fair and young and delicate?
Come, darling, for the last sad sight,
Of thy dear sire who loved the right;
For soon thine eyes will long in vain
A look at that loved face to gain.
And, hero, as thy child draws near,
With tender words his spirit cheer;
Thy dying wishes gently speak,
And kiss him on the brows and cheek.
High fame, I ween, has Ráma won
By this great deed his hand has done,
His debt to brave Sugríva paid
And kept the promise that he made.
Be happy, King Sugríva, lord
Of Ramá to thine arms restored:
Enjoy uninterrupted reign,
For he, thy foe, at length is slain.
Dost thou not hear me speak, and why
Hast thou no word of soft reply?
Will thou not lift thine eyes and see
These dames who look to none but thee?”
From their sad eyes, as Tárá spoke,
The floods of bitter sorrow broke:
Then, pressing close to Angad's side,
Each lifted up her voice and cried:
Canto XXI. Hanumán's Speech.
1243
“How couldst thou leave thine Angad thus,
And go, for ever go, from us—
Thy child so dear in brave attire,
Graced with the virtues of his sire?
If e'er in want of thought, O chief,
One deed of mine have caused thee grief,
Forgive my folly, I entreat,
And with my head I touch thy feet.”
Again the hapless Tárá wept
As to her husband's side she crept,
And wild with sorrow and dismay
Sat on the ground where Báli lay.
Canto XXI. Hanumán's Speech.
There, like a fallen star, the dame
Fell by her lord's half lifeless frame;
And Hanumán drew softly near,
And strove her grieving heart to cheer:
1244
The Ramayana
“By changeless law our bliss and woe
From ancient worth and folly flow.
What fruits soe'er we cull, the seeds
Were scattered by our former deeds.602
Why mourn another's mournful fate,
And weep, thyself unfortunate?
Be calm, O thou whose heart is wise,
For none deserves another's sighs.
Look up, with idle sorrow strive:
Thy child, his heir, is yet alive.
Let needful rites be duly done,
Nor in thy woe forget thy son.
Regard the law which all obey:
They spring to life, they pass away.
Begin the task that bids thee rise,
And stay these tears, for thou art wise.
Our lord the king is doomed to die,
On whom ten million hearts rely.
Kind, liberal, patient, true, and just
Was he in whom they place their trust,
And now he seeks the land of those
Who for the right subdue their foes.
Each Vánar lord with all his train,
Each ranger of this wild domain,
And Angad here, thy darling, see
A governor and friend in thee.
These twain603whose hearts with sorrow ache
The funeral rites shall undertake,
And Angad by his mother's care
Be king, his father's rightful heir.
Now let him pay, as laws require,
602“Our deeds still follow with us from afar. And what we have been makes
us what we are.”
603Sugríva and Angad.
Canto XXII. Báli Dead.
1245
His sacred duty to his sire,
Nor one solemnity omit
Of all that mighty kings befit.
And when thy fond eye sees thine own
Dear Angad on his father's throne,
Then, lightened of its load of pain,
Thy spirit will have rest again.”
She heard his speech, she heaved her head,
Looked upon Hanumán and said:
“Sweeter my slain lord's limbs to touch,
Than Angad or a hundred such.
No rule or right, a widowed dame,
O'er Angad or the realm I claim.
Sugríva is the uncle, he
In every act supreme must be.
I pray thee, chief, this plan resign,
Nor claim from me what ne'er is mine.
The father with his tender care
Guards the dear child the mother bare,
Where'er I be, no sweeter task,
No happier joy I hope or ask
Than thus to sit with loving eyes
And watch the bed where Báli lies.
Canto XXII. Báli Dead.
There breathing still with slow faint sighs
Lay Báli on the ground: his eyes,
[351]
1246
The Ramayana
Damp with the tears of death, he raised,
On conquering Sugríva gazed,
And then in clearest speech expressed
The tender feelings of his breast:
“Not to my charge, Sugríva, lay
Thine injuries avenged to-day;
But rather blame resistless Fate
That urged me on infuriate.
Fate ne'er agreed our lives to bless
With simultaneous happiness:
To dwell like brothers side by side
In tender love was still denied.
The Vánars' realm is thine to-day:
Begin, O King, thy rightful sway;604
For I must go at Yáma's call
To sojourn in his gloomy hall;
Must part and leave this very hour
My life, my realm, my kingly power,
And go instead of these to gain
Bright glory free from spot and stain.
Now at thy hands one boon I seek
With the last words my lips shall speak,
And, though it be no easy thing,
Perform the task I give thee, King.
This son of mine, no foolish boy,
Worthy of bliss and nursed in joy,—
See, prostrate on the ground he lies,
The hot tears welling from his eyes—
The child I love so well, more sweet
Than life itself, for woe unmeet,—
To him be kindly favour shown:
O guard and keep him as thine own.
604Angad himself, being too young to govern, would be Yuvarája or heir-ap-
parent.
Canto XXII. Báli Dead.
1247
Retain him ever by thy side,
His father, helper, friend, and guide.
From fear and woe his young life save,
And give him all his father gave.
Then Tárá's son in time shall be
Brave, resolute, and famed like thee,
And march before thee to the fight
Where stricken fiends shall own his might.
While yet a tender stripling, fame
Shall bruit abroad his warrior name,
And brightly shall his glory shine
For exploits worthy of his line.
Child of Susheṇ,605my Tárá well
Obscurest lore can read and tell;
And, trained in wondrous art, divines
Each mystery of boding signs.
Her solemn warning ne'er despise,
Do boldly what her lips advise;
For things to come her eye can see,
And with her words events agree.
And for the son of Raghu's sake
The toil and danger undertake:
For breach of faith were grievous wrong,
Nor wouldst thou be unpunished long.
Now, brother, take this chain of gold,
Gift of celestial hands of old,
Or when I die its charm will flee,
And all its might be lost with me.”
The loving speech Sugríva heard,
And all his heart with woe was stirred.
Remorse and gentle pity stole
Each thought of triumph from his soul:
605Susheṇa was the son of Varuṇa the God of the sea.
1248
The Ramayana
Thus fades the light when Ráhu606mars
The glory of the Lord of Stars.607
All angry thoughts were stayed and stilled
And kindly love his bosom filled.
His brother's word the chief obeyed
And took the chain as Báli prayed.
On little Angad standing nigh
The dying hero fixed his eye,
And, ready from this world to part,
Spoke the fond utterance of his heart:
“Let time and place thy thoughts employ:
In woe be strong, be meek in joy.
Accept both pain and pleasure, still
Obedient to Sugríva's will.
Thou hast, my darling, from the first
With tender care been softly nursed;
But harder days, if thou wouldst win
Sugríva's love, must now begin.
To those who hate him ne'er incline,
Nor count his foe a friend of thine.
In all thy thoughts his welfare seek,
Obedient, lowly, faithful, meek.
Let no rash suit his bosom pain,
Nor yet from due requests abstain.608
Each is a grievous fault, between
The two is found the happy mean.”
606A demon with the tail of a dragon, that causes eclipses by endeavouring to
swallow the sun and moon.
607The Lord of Stars is the Moon.
608Or the passage may be interpreted: “Be neither too obsequious or affection-
ate, nor wanting in due respect or love.”
Canto XXII. Báli Dead.
1249
Then Báli ceased: his eyeballs rolled
In stress of anguish uncontrolled
His massive teeth were bared to view,
And from the frame the spirit flew.
Their lord and leader dead, the crowd
Of noblest Vánars shrieked aloud:
“Since thou, O King, hast sought the skies
All desolate Kishkindhá lies.
Her woods, where Vánars loved to rove,
Are empty now, and hill and grove.
From every eye the light is fled,
Since thou, our mighty lord, art dead.
Thine was the unwearied arm that bore
The brunt of deadly fight of yore
With Golabh the Gandharva, when,
Lasting through five long years and ten,
[352]
The dreadful conflict knew no stay
In gloom of night, in glare of day;
And when the fifteenth year had past
Thy dire opponent fell at last.
If such a foeman fell beneath
Our hero's arm and awful teeth
Who freed us from our terror, how
Is conquering Báli fallen now?”
Then when they saw their leader slain
Great anguish seized the Vánar train,
Weeping their mighty chief, as when
In pastures near a lion's den
The cows by sudden fear are stirred,
Slain the bold bull who led the herd.
And hapless Tárá sank below
The whelming waters of her woe,
Looked upon Báli's face and fell
1250
The Ramayana
Beside him whom she loved go well,
Like a young creeper clinging round
A tall tree prostrate on the ground.
Canto XXIII. Tárá's Lament.
She kissed her lifeless husband's face,
She clasped him in a close embrace,
Laid her soft lips upon his head;
Then words like these the mourner said:
“No words of mine wouldst thou regard,
And now thy bed is cold and hard.
Upon the rude rough ground o'erthrown,
Beneath thee naught but sand and stone.
To thee the earth is dearer far
Than I and my caresses are,
If thou upon her breast wilt lie,
And to my words make no reply.
Ah my beloved, good and brave,
Bold to attack and strong to save,
Fate is Sugríva's thrall, and we
In him our lord and master see.
Lo, by thy bed, a mournful band,
Thy Vánar chiefs lamenting stand.
O hear thy nobles' groans and cries,
O mark thy Angad's weeping eyes,
O list to my entreaties, break
The chains of slumber and awake.
Ah me, my lord, this lowly bed
Where rest thy limbs and fallen head,
Canto XXIII. Tárá's Lament.
1251
Is the cold couch where smitten lay
Thy foemen in the bloody fray.
O noble heart from blemish free,
Lover of war, beloved by me.
Why hast thou fled away and left
Thy Tárá of all hope bereft?
Unwise the father who allows
His child to be a warrior's spouse,
For, hero, see thy consort's fate,
A widow now most desolate,
For ever broken is my pride,
My hope of lasting bliss has died,
And sinking in the lowest deep
Of sorrow's sea I pine and weep.
Ah, surely not of earthly mould,
This stony heart is stern and cold,
Or, in a hundred pieces rent,
It had not lingered to lament.
Dead, dead! my husband, friend, and lord
In whom my loving hopes were stored,
First in the field, his foemen's dread,
My own victorious Báli, dead!
A woman when her lord has died,
Though children flourish by her side,
Though stores of gold her coffers fill,
Is called a lonely widow still.
Alas, thy bleeding gashes make
Around thy limbs a purple lake:
Thus slumbering was thy wont to lie
On cushions bright with crimson dye.
Dark streams of welling blood besmear
Thy limbs where dust and mire adhere,
Nor have I strength, weighed down by woe,
Mine arms about thy form to throw.
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The Ramayana
The issue of this day has brought
Sugríva all his wishes sought,
For Ráma shot one shaft and he
Is freed from fear and jeopardy.
Alas, alas, I may not rest
My head upon thy wounded breast,
Obstructed by the massive dart
Deep buried in thy bleeding heart.”
Then Níla from his bosom drew
The fatal shaft that pierced him through,
Like some tremendous serpent deep
In caverns of a hill asleep.
As from the hero's wound it came,
Shot from the shaft a gleam of flame,
Like the last flashes of the sun
Descending when his course is run.
From the wide rent in crimson flood
Rushed the full stream of Báli's blood,
Like torrents down a mountain's side
With golden ore and copper dyed.
Then Tárá brushed with tender care
The dust of battle from his hair,
While her sad eyes poured down their rain
Upon her lord untimely slain.
Once more she looked upon the dead;
Then to her bright-eyed child she said:
“Turn hither, turn thy weeping eyes
Where low in death thy father lies.
By sinful deed and bitter hate
Our lord has met his mournful fate.
Bright as the sun at early morn
To Yáma's halls is Báli borne.
Then go, my child, salute the king,
Canto XXIII. Tárá's Lament.
1253
From whom our bliss and honour spring.”
Obedient to his mother's hest
His father's feet he gently pressed
[353]
With twining arms and lingering hands:
“Father,” he cried, “here Angad stands.”
Then Tárá: “Art thou stern and mute,
Regardless of thy child's salute?
Hast thou no blessing for thy son,
No word for little Angad, none?
O, hero, at thy lifeless feet
Here with my boy I take my seat,
As some sad mother of the herd,
By the fierce lion undeterred,
Lies moaning by the grassy dell
Wherein her lord and leader fell.
How, having wrought that awful rite,
The sacrifice of deadly fight,
Wherein the shaft by Ráma sped
Supplied the place of water shed,
How hast thou bathed thee at the end
Without thy wife her aid to lend?609
Why do mine eyes no more behold
Thy bright beloved chain of gold,
Which, pleased with thee, the Immortals' King
About thy neck vouchsafed to fling?
Still lingering on thy lifeless face
I see the pride of royal race:
Thus when the sun has set, his glow
Still rests upon the Lord of Snow.
609Sacrifices and all religious rites begin and end with ablution, and the wife
of the officiating Bráhman takes an important part in the performance of the
holy ceremonies.
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The Ramayana
Alas my hero! undeterred
Thou wouldst not listen to my word.
With tears and prayers I sued in vain:
Thou wouldst not listen, and art slain.
Gone is my bliss, my glory: I
And Angad now with thee will die.”
Canto XXIV. Sugríva's Lament.
But when Sugríva saw her weep
O'erwhelmed in sorrow's rushing deep,
Swift through his bosom pierced the sting
Of anguish for the fallen king.
At the sad sight his eyes beheld
A flood of bitter tears outwelled,
And, with his bosom racked and rent,
To Ráma with his train he went.
He came with faltering steps and slow
Where Ráma held his mighty bow
And arrow like a venomed snake,
And to the son of Raghu spake:
“Well hast thou kept, O King, thy vow:
The promised fruit is gathered now.
But life is marred, my soul to-day
Turns sickening from all joy away.
For, while this queen laments and sighs
Amid a mourning people's cries,
And Angad weeps his father slain,
How can my heart delight to reign?
For outrage, fury, senseless pride,
My brother, doomed of yore, has died.
Canto XXIV. Sugríva's Lament.
1255
Yet, Raghu's son, in bitter woe
I mourn his fated overthrow.
Ah, better far in pain and ill
To dwell on Rishyamúka still
Than gain the heaven of Gods and all
Its pleasures by my brother's fall.
Did not he cry,—great-hearted foe,—
“Go, for I will not slay thee, Go”?
With his brave soul those words agree:
My speech, my deeds, are worthy me.
How can a brother counterweigh
His grievous loss with joys of sway,
And see with dull unpitying eye
So brave and good a brother die?
His lofty soul was nobly blind:
My death alas, he ne'er designed;
But I, urged blindly on by hate,
Sought with his life my rage to sate.
He smote me with a splintered tree:
I groaned aloud and turned to flee,
From stern reproaches he forbore,
And gently bade me sin no more.
Serene and dutiful and good
He kept the laws of brotherhood:
I, fierce and greedy, vengeful, base,
Showed all the vices of our race.
Ah me, dear friend, my brother's fate
Lays on my soul a crushing weight:
A sin no heart should e'er conceive,
But at the thought each soul should grieve:
Sin such as Indra's when his blow
Laid heavenly Viśvarúpa610low.
610Viśvarúpa, a son of Twashṭri or Viśvakarmá the heavenly architect, was a
three-headed monster slain by Indra.
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The Ramayana
Yet earth, the waters of the seas,
The race of women and the trees
Were fain upon themselves to take
The weight of sin for Indra's sake.
But who a Vánar's soul will free,
Or ease the load that crushes me?
Wretch that I am, I may not claim
The reverence due to royal name.
How shall I reign supreme, or dare
Affect the power I should not share?
Ah me, I sorrow for my sin,
The ruin of my race and kin,
Polluted by a hideous crime
World-hated till the end of time.
Alas, the floods of sorrow roll
With whelming force upon my soul:
So gathers the descending rain
In the deep hollow of the plain.”
[354]
Canto XXV. Ráma's Speech.
Then Raghu's son, whose feeling breast
Shared the great woe that moved the rest,
Strove with wise charm their grief to ease
And gently spoke in words like these:
Canto XXV. Ráma's Speech.
1257
“You ne'er can raise the dead to bliss
By agony of grief like this.
Cease your lament, nor leave undone
The funeral task you may not shun.
As nature orders o'er the dead.
Your tributary tears are shed,
But Fate, directing each event,
Is still the lord preëminent.
Yes, all obey the changeless laws
Of Fate the universal cause.
By Fate, the lives of all proceed,
That governs every word and deed,
None acts, none sees his hest obeyed,
But each and all by Fate are swayed.
The world its ordered course maintains,
And o'er that course Fate ever reigns.
Fate ne'er exceeds the rule of Fate:
Is ne'er too swift, is ne'er too late,
And making nature its ally
Forgets no life, nor passes by.
No kith and kin, no power and force
Can check or stay its settled course,
No friend or client, grace or charm,
That victor of the world disarm.
So all who see with prudent eyes
The hand of Fate must recognize,
For virtue rules, or love, or gain,
As Fate's unchanged decrees ordain.
Báli has died and won the meed
That waits in heaven on noble deed,
Throned in the seats the brave may reach
By liberal hand and gentle speech,
True to a warrior's duty, bold
In fight, the hero lofty-souled
1258
The Ramayana
Deigned not to guard his life: he died,
And now in heaven is glorified.
Then cease these tears and wild despair:
Turn to the task that claims your care,
For Báli's is the glorious fate
Which warriors count most fortunate.”
When Ráma's speech had found a close,
Brave Lakshmaṇ, terror of his foes,
With wise and soothing words addressed
Sugríva still with woe oppressed:
“Arise Sugríva,” thus he said,
“Perform the service of the dead.
Prepare with Tárá and her son
That Báli's rites be duly done.
A store of funeral wood provide
Which wind and sun and time have dried
And richest sandal fit to grace
The pyre of one of royal race.
With words of comfort soft and kind
Console poor Angad's troubled mind,
Nor let thy heart be thus cast down,
For thine is now the Vánars' town.
Let Angad's care a wreath supply,
And raiment rich with varied dye,
And oil and perfumes for the fire,
And all the solemn rites require.
Go, hasten to the town, O King,
And Tárá's little quickly bring.
A virtue is despatch: and speed
Is best of all in hour of need.
Go, let a chosen band prepare
The litter of the dead to bear.
For stout and tall and strong of limb
Canto XXV. Ráma's Speech.
1259
Must be the chiefs who carry him.”
He spoke,—his friends' delight and pride,—
Then stood again by Ráma's side.
When Tára611heard the words he said
Within the town he quickly sped,
And brought, on stalwart shoulders laid,
The litter for the rites arrayed,
Framed like a car for Gods, complete
With painted sides and royal seat,
With latticed windows deftly made,
And golden birds and trees inlaid:
Well joined and wrought in every part,
A marvel of ingenious art.
Where pleasure mounds in carven wood
And many a graven figure stood.
The best of jewels o'er it hung,
And wreaths of flowers around it clung,
And over all was raised on high
A canopy of saffron dye,
While like the sun of morning shone
The brilliant blooms that lay thereon.
That glorious litter Ráma eyed.
And spake to Lakshmaṇ by his side:
“Let Báli on the bier be placed
And with all funeral service graced.”
Sugríva then with many a tear
Drew Báli's body to the bier
Whereon, with weeping Angad's aid,
The relics of the chief were laid
Neath many a vesture's varied fold,
And wreaths and ornaments and gold.
Then King Sugríva bade them speed
611The Vánar chief, not to be confounded with Tárá.
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The Ramayana
The obsequies by law decreed:
“Let Vánars lead the way and throw
Rich gems around them as they go,
And be the chosen bearers near
Behind them laden with the bier.
No costly rite may you deny,
Used when the proudest monarchs die:
As for a king of widest sway.
Perform his obsequies to-day.”

Book IV. Kishkindhya (part 2)