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gets to the Outer Party, I am afraid.' His face grew solemn
again, and he raised his glass: 'I think it is fitting that we
should begin by drinking a health. To our Leader: To Em-
manuel Goldstein.'

Winston took up his glass with a certain eagerness. Wine
was a thing he had read and dreamed about. Like the glass
paperweight or Mr Charrington's half-remembered rhymes,
it belonged to the vanished, romantic past, the olden time
as he liked to call it in his secret thoughts. For some reason
he had always thought of wine as having an intensely sweet
taste, like that of blackberry jam and an immediate intoxi-


eating effect. Actually, when he came to swallow it, the stuff
was distinctly disappointing. The truth was that after years
of gin-drinking he could barely taste it. He set down the
empty glass.

'Then there is such a person as Goldstein?' he said.

'Yes, there is such a person, and he is alive. Where, I do
not know.'

'And the conspiracy — the organization? Is it real? It is not
simply an invention of the Thought Police?'

'No, it is real. The Brotherhood, we call it. You will never
learn much more about the Brotherhood than that it exists
and that you belong to it. I will come back to that pres-
ently' He looked at his wrist-watch. 'It is unwise even for
members of the Inner Party to turn off the telescreen for
more than half an hour. You ought not to have come here
together, and you will have to leave separately. You, com-
rade' — he bowed his head to Julia — 'will leave first. We have
about twenty minutes at our disposal. You will understand
that I must start by asking you certain questions. In general
terms, what are you prepared to do?'

Anything that we are capable of,' said Winston.

O'Brien had turned himself a little in his chair so that he
was facing Winston. He almost ignored Julia, seeming to
take it for granted that Winston could speak for her. For a
moment the lids flitted down over his eyes. He began asking
his questions in a low, expressionless voice, as though this
were a routine, a sort of catechism, most of whose answers
were known to him already.

'You are prepared to give your lives?' 217


'You are prepared to commit murder?'


'To commit acts of sabotage which may cause the death
of hundreds of innocent people?'


'To betray your country to foreign powers?'


'You are prepared to cheat, to forge, to blackmail, to cor-
rupt the minds of children, to distribute habit-forming
drugs, to encourage prostitution, to disseminate venereal
diseases — to do anything which is likely to cause demoral-
ization and weaken the power of the Party?'


'If, for example, it would somehow serve our interests to
throw sulphuric acid in a child's face — are you prepared to
do that?'


'You are prepared to lose your identity and live out the
rest of your life as a waiter or a dock-worker?'


'You are prepared to commit suicide, if and when we or-
der you to do so?'


'You are prepared, the two of you, to separate and never
see one another again?'

'No!' broke in Julia.

It appeared to Winston that a long time passed before
he answered. For a moment he seemed even to have been


deprived of the power of speech. His tongue worked sound-
lessly, forming the opening syllables first of one word, then
of the other, over and over again. Until he had said it, he
did not know which word he was going to say. 'No,' he said

'You did well to tell me,' said O'Brien. 'It is necessary for
us to know everything.'

He turned himself toward Julia and added in a voice
with somewhat more expression in it:

'Do you understand that even if he survives, it may be
as a different person? We may be obliged to give him a new
identity. His face, his movements, the shape of his hands,
the colour of his hair — even his voice would be different.
And you yourself might have become a different person.
Our surgeons can alter people beyond recognition. Some-
times it is necessary. Sometimes we even amputate a limb.'

Winston could not help snatching another sidelong
glance at Martin's Mongolian face. There were no scars
that he could see. Julia had turned a shade paler, so that
her freckles were showing, but she faced O'Brien boldly. She
murmured something that seemed to be assent.

'Good. Then that is settled.'

There was a silver box of cigarettes on the table. With a
rather absent-minded air O'Brien pushed them towards the
others, took one himself, then stood up and began to pace
slowly to and fro, as though he could think better standing.
They were very good cigarettes, very thick and well-packed,
with an unfamiliar silkiness in the paper. O'Brien looked at
his wrist-watch again.

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'You had better go back to your Pantry, Martin,' he said.
'I shall switch on in a quarter of an hour. Take a good look
at these comrades' faces before you go. You will be seeing
them again. I may not.'

Exactly as they had done at the front door, the little man's
dark eyes flickered over their faces. There was not a trace
of friendliness in his manner. He was memorizing their
appearance, but he felt no interest in them, or appeared
to feel none. It occurred to Winston that a synthetic face
was perhaps incapable of changing its expression. Without
speaking or giving any kind of salutation, Martin went out,
closing the door silently behind him. O'Brien was strolling
up and down, one hand in the pocket of his black overalls,
the other holding his cigarette.

'You understand,' he said, 'that you will be fighting in
the dark. You will always be in the dark. You will receive
orders and you will obey them, without knowing why. Later
I shall send you a book from which you will learn the true
nature of the society we live in, and the strategy by which
we shall destroy it. When you have read the book, you will
be full members of the Brotherhood. But between the gen-
eral aims that we are fighting for and the immedi ate tasks
of the moment, you will never know anything. I tell you
that the Brotherhood exists, but I cannot tell you wheth-
er it numbers a hundred members, or ten million. From
your personal knowledge you will never be able to say that
it numbers even as many as a dozen. You will have three
or four contacts, who will be renewed from time to time
as they disappear. As this was your first contact, it will be


preserved. When you receive orders, they will come from
me. If we find it necessary to communicate with you, it will
be through Martin. When you are finally caught, you will
confess. That is unavoidable. But you will have very little
to confess, other than your own actions. You will not be
able to betray more than a handful of unimportant people.
Probably you will not even betray me. By that time I maybe
dead, or I shall have become a different person, with a dif-
ferent face.'

He continued to move to and fro over the soft carpet. In
spite of the bulkiness of his body there was a remarkable
grace in his movements. It came out even in the gesture
with which he thrust a hand into his pocket, or manipu-
lated a cigarette. More even than of strength, he gave an
impression of confidence and of an understanding tinged
by irony. However much in earnest he might be, he had
nothing of the single-mindedness that belongs to a fanatic.
When he spoke of murder, suicide, venereal disease, am-
putated limbs, and altered faces, it was with a faint air of
persiflage. 'This is unavoidable,' his voice seemed to say;
'this is what we have got to do, unflinchingly. But this is
not what we shall be doing when life is worth living again.'
A wave of admiration, almost of worship, flowed out from
Winston towards O'Brien. For the moment he had forgot-
ten the shadowy figure of Goldstein. When you looked at
O'Brien's powerful shoulders and his blunt- featured face, so
ugly and yet so civilized, it was impossible to believe that
he could be defeated. There was no stratagem that he was
not equal to, no danger that he could not foresee. Even Julia 221

seemed to be impressed. She had let her cigarette go out and
was listening intently. O'Brien went on:

'You will have heard rumours of the existence of the
Brotherhood. No doubt you have formed your own picture
of it. You have imagined, probably, a huge underworld of
conspirators, meeting secretly in cellars, scribbling mes-
sages on walls, recognizing one another by codewords or by
special movements of the hand. Nothing of the kind exists.
The members of the Brotherhood have no way of recogniz-
ing one another, and it is impossible for any one member to
be aware of the identity of more than a few others. Gold-
stein himself, if he fell into the hands of the Thought Police,
could not give them a complete list of members, or any in-
formation that would lead them to a complete list. No such
list exists. The Brotherhood cannot be wiped out because it
is not an organization in the ordinary sense. Nothing holds
it together except an idea which is indestructible. You will
never have anything to sustain you, except the idea. You
will get no comradeship and no encouragement. When fi-
nally you are caught, you will get no help. We never help
our members. At most, when it is absolutely necessary that
someone should be silenced, we are occasionally able to
smuggle a razor blade into a prisoner's cell. You will have
to get used to living without results and without hope. You
will work for a while, you will be caught, you will confess,
and then you will die. Those are the only results that you
will ever see. There is no possibility that any perceptible
change will happen within our own lifetime. We are the
dead. Our only true life is in the future. We shall take part


in it as handfuls of dust and splinters of bone. But how far
away that future may be, there is no knowing. It might be
a thousand years. At present nothing is possible except to
extend the area of sanity little by little. We cannot act col-
lectively. We can only spread our knowledge outwards from
individual to individual, generation after generation. In the
face of the Thought Police there is no other way'

He halted and looked for the third time at his wrist-

'It is almost time for you to leave, comrade,' he said to Ju-
lia. 'Wait. The decanter is still half full.'

He filled the glasses and raised his own glass by the

'What shall it be this time?' he said, still with the same
faint suggestion of irony. 'To the confusion of the Thought
Police? To the death of Big Brother? To humanity? To the

'To the past,' said Winston.

'The past is more important,' agreed O'Brien gravely.

They emptied their glasses, and a moment later Julia
stood up to go. O'Brien took a small box from the top of a
cabinet and handed her a flat white tablet which he told her
to place on her tongue. It was important, he said, not to go
out smelling of wine: the lift attendants were very obser-
vant. As soon as the door had shut behind her he appeared
to forget her existence. He took another pace or two up and
down, then stopped.

'There are details to be settled,' he said. 'I assume that
you have a hiding-place of some kind?' 223

Winston explained about the room over Mr Char-
rington's shop.

'That will do for the moment. Later we will arrange
something else for you. It is important to change one's hid-
ing-place frequently. Meanwhile I shall send you a copy of
THE BOOK' — even O'Brien, Winston noticed, seemed to
pronounce the words as though they were in italics — 'Gold-
stein's book, you understand, as soon as possible. It may
be some days before I can get hold of one. There are not
many in existence, as you can imagine. The Thought Police
hunt them down and destroy them almost as fast as we can
produce them. It makes very little difference. The book is
indestructible. If the last copy were gone, we could repro-
duce it almost word for word. Do you carry a brief-case to
work with you?' he added.

'As a rule, yes.'

'What is it like?'

'Black, very shabby. With two straps.'

'Black, two straps, very shabby — good. One day in the
fairly near future — I cannot give a date — one of the messag-
es among your morning's work will contain a misprinted
word, and you will have to ask for a repeat. On the following
day you will go to work without your brief-case. At some
time during the day, in the street, a man will touch you on
the arm and say T think you have dropped your brief-case.'
The one he gives you will contain a copy of Goldstein's book.
You will return it within fourteen days.'

They were silent for a moment.

"There are a couple of minutes before you need go,' said


O'Brien. 'We shall meet again — if we do meet again '

Winston looked up at him. 'In the place where there is no
darkness?' he said hesitantly.

O'Brien nodded without appearance of surprise. 'In the
place where there is no darkness,' he said, as though he had
recognized the allusion. 'And in the meantime, is there any-
thing that you wish to say before you leave? Any message?
Any question?.'

Winston thought. There did not seem to be any further
question that he wanted to ask: still less did he feel any
impulse to utter high-sounding generalities. Instead of any-
thing directly connected with O'Brien or the Brotherhood,
there came into his mind a sort of composite picture of the
dark bedroom where his mother had spent her last days,
and the little room over Mr Charrington's shop, and the
glass paperweight, and the steel engraving in its rosewood
frame. Almost at random he said:

'Did you ever happen to hear an old rhyme that begins
'Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement's'?'

Again O'Brien nodded. With a sort of grave courtesy he
completed the stanza:

'Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement's,
You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St Martin's,
When will you pay me? say the bells of Old Bailey,
When I grow rich, say the bells ofShoreditch.'

'You knew the last line!' said Winston.

'Yes, I knew the last line. And now, I am afraid, it is time 225

for you to go. But wait. You had better let me give you one
of these tablets.'

As Winston stood up O'Brien held out a hand. His pow-
erful grip crushed the bones of Winston's palm. At the
door Winston looked back, but O'Brien seemed already to
be in process of putting him out of mind. He was waiting
with his hand on the switch that controlled the telescreen.
Beyond him Winston could see the writing-table with its
green-shaded lamp and the speakwrite and the wire baskets
deep-laden with papers. The incident was closed. Within
thirty seconds, it occurred to him, O'Brien would be back at
his interrupted and important work on behalf of the Party.


Chapter 9

Winston was gelatinous with fatigue. Gelatinous was
the right word. It had come into his head spontane-
ously. His body seemed to have not only the weakness of a
jelly, but its translucency He felt that if he held up his hand
he would be able to see the light through it. All the blood
and lymph had been drained out of him by an enormous
debauch of work, leaving only a frail structure of nerves,
bones, and skin. All sensations seemed to be magnified. His
overalls fretted his shoulders, the pavement tickled his feet,
even the opening and closing of a hand was an effort that
made his joints creak.

He had worked more than ninety hours in five days. So
had everyone else in the Ministry. Now it was all over, and
he had literally nothing to do, no Party work of any descrip -
tion, until tomorrow morning. He could spend six hours in
the hiding-place and another nine in his own bed. Slowly, in
mild afternoon sunshine, he walked up a dingy street in the
direction of Mr Charrington's shop, keeping one eye open
for the patrols, but irrationally convinced that this after-
noon there was no danger of anyone interfering with him.
The heavy brief-case that he was carrying bumped against
his knee at each step, sending a tingling sensation up and
down the skin of his leg. Inside it was the book, which he
had now had in his possession for six days and had not yet

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opened, nor even looked at.

On the sixth day of Hate Week, after the processions, the
speeches, the shouting, the singing, the banners, the posters,
the films, the waxworks, the rolling of drums and squeal-
ing of trumpets, the tramp of marching feet, the grinding
of the caterpillars of tanks, the roar of massed planes, the
booming of guns — after six days of this, when the great or-
gasm was quivering to its climax and the general hatred of
Eurasia had boiled up into such delirium that if the crowd
could have got their hands on the 2,000 Eurasian war-crim-
inals who were to be publicly hanged on the last day of the
proceedings, they would unquestionably have torn them
to pieces — at just this moment it had been announced that
Oceania was not after all at war with Eurasia. Oceania was
at war with Eastasia. Eurasia was an ally.

There was, of course, no admission that any change had
taken place. Merely it became known, with extreme sud-
denness and everywhere at once, that Eastasia and not
Eurasia was the enemy. Winston was taking part in a dem-
onstration in one of the central London squares at the
moment when it happened. It was night, and the white fac-
es and the scarlet banners were luridly floodlit. The square
was packed with several thousand people, including a block
of about a thousand schoolchildren in the uniform of the
Spies. On a scarlet- draped platform an orator of the Inner
Party, a small lean man with disproportionately long arms
and a large bald skull over which a few lank locks strag-
gled, was haranguing the crowd. A little Rumpelstiltskin
figure, contorted with hatred, he gripped the neck of the


microphone with one hand while the other, enormous at
the end of a bony arm, clawed the air menacingly above his
head. His voice, made metallic by the amplifiers, boomed
forth an endless catalogue of atrocities, massacres, depor-
tations, lootings, rapings, torture of prisoners, bombing
of civilians, lying propaganda, unjust aggressions, broken
treaties. It was almost impossible to listen to him without
being first convinced and then maddened. At every few mo-
ments the fury of the crowd boiled over and the voice of the
speaker was drowned by a wild beast-like roaring that rose
uncontrollably from thousands of throats. The most sav-
age yells of all came from the schoolchildren. The speech
had been proceeding for perhaps twenty minutes when a
messenger hurried on to the platform and a scrap of paper
was slipped into the speaker's hand. He unrolled and read it
without pausing in his speech. Nothing altered in his voice
or manner, or in the content of what he was saying, but sud-
denly the names were different. Without words said, a wave
of understanding rippled through the crowd. Oceania was
at war with Eastasia! The next moment there was a tremen-
dous commotion. The banners and posters with which the
square was decorated were all wrong! Quite half of them
had the wrong faces on them. It was sabotage! The agents of
Goldstein had been at work! There was a riotous interlude
while posters were ripped from the walls, banners torn to
shreds and trampled underfoot. The Spies performed prod-
igies of activity in clambering over the rooftops and cutting
the streamers that fluttered from the chimneys. But within
two or three minutes it was all over. The orator, still gripping

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the neck of the microphone, his shoulders hunched forward,
his free hand clawing at the air, had gone straight on with
his speech. One minute more, and the feral roars of rage
were again bursting from the crowd. The Hate continued
exactly as before, except that the target had been changed.

The thing that impressed Winston in looking back was
that the speaker had switched from one line to the other ac-
tually in midsentence, not only without a pause, but without
even breaking the syntax. But at the moment he had other
things to preoccupy him. It was during the moment of dis-
order while the posters were being torn down that a man
whose face he did not see had tapped him on the shoulder
and said, 'Excuse me, I think you've dropped your brief-
case.' He took the brief-case abstractedly, without speaking.
He knew that it would be days before he had an opportuni-
ty to look inside it. The instant that the demonstration was
over he went straight to the Ministry of Truth, though the
time was now nearly twenty-three hours. The entire staff
of the Ministry had done likewise. The orders already issu-
ing from the telescreen, recalling them to their posts, were
hardly necessary.

Oceania was at war with Eastasia: Oceania had always
been at war with Eastasia. A large part of the political lit-
erature of five years was now completely obsolete. Reports
and records of all kinds, newspapers, books, pamphlets,
films, sound-tracks, photographs — all had to be rectified
at lightning speed. Although no directive was ever issued,
it was known that the chiefs of the Department intended
that within one week no reference to the war with Eurasia,


or the alliance with Eastasia, should remain in existence
anywhere. The work was overwhelming, all the more so
because the processes that it involved could not be called
by their true names. Everyone in the Records Department
worked eighteen hours in the twenty-four, with two three-
hour snatches of sleep. Mattresses were brought up from
the cellars and pitched all over the corridors: meals con-
sisted of sandwiches and Victory Coffee wheeled round
on trolleys by attendants from the canteen. Each time that
Winston broke off for one of his spells of sleep he tried to
leave his desk clear of work, and each time that he crawled
back sticky-eyed and aching, it was to find that another
shower of paper cylinders had covered the desk like a snow-
drift, halfburying the speakwrite and overflowing on to the
floor, so that the first job was always to stack them into a
neat enough pile to give him room to work. What was worst
of all was that the work was by no means purely mechanical.
Often it was enough merely to substitute one name for an-
other, but any detailed report of events demanded care and
imagination. Even the geographical knowledge that one
needed in transferring the war from one part of the world
to another was considerable.

By the third day his eyes ached unbearably and his
spectacles needed wiping every few minutes. It was like
struggling with some crushing physical task, something
which one had the right to refuse and which one was never-
theless neurotically anxious to accomplish. In so far as he
had time to remember it, he was not troubled by the fact that
every word he murmured into the speakwrite, every stroke 231

of his ink-pencil, was a deliberate lie. He was as anxious as
anyone else in the Department that the forgery should be
perfect. On the morning of the sixth day the dribble of cyl-
inders slowed down. For as much as half an hour nothing
came out of the tube; then one more cylinder, then nothing.
Everywhere at about the same time the work was easing off.
A deep and as it were secret sigh went through the Depart-
ment. A mighty deed, which could never be mentioned, had
been achieved. It was now impossible for any human being
to prove by documentary evidence that the war with Eurasia
had ever happened. At twelve hundred it was unexpectedly
announced that all workers in the Ministry were free till
tomorrow morning. Winston, still carrying the brief-case
containing the book, which had remained between his feet
while he worked and under his body while he slept, went
home, shaved himself, and almost fell asleep in his bath, al-
though the water was barely more than tepid.

With a sort of voluptuous creaking in his joints he
climbed the stair above Mr Charrington's shop. He was
tired, but not sleepy any longer. He opened the window, lit
the dirty little oilstove and put on a pan of water for coffee.
Julia would arrive presently: meanwhile there was the book.
He sat down in the sluttish armchair and undid the straps
of the brief-case.

A heavy black volume, amateurishly bound, with no
name or title on the cover. The print also looked slightly
irregular. The pages were worn at the edges, and fell apart,
easily, as though the book had passed through many hands.
The inscription on the title-page ran:




Emmanuel Goldstein

Winston began reading:

Chapter 1

Ignorance is Strength

Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end
of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people
in the world, the High, the Middle, and the Low. They have
been subdivided in many ways, they have borne count-
less different names, and their relative numbers, as well as
their attitude towards one another, have varied from age to
age: but the essential structure of society has never altered.
Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable
changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just
as a gyroscope will always return to equilibrium, however
far it is pushed one way or the other.

The aims of these groups are entirely irreconcilable...

Winston stopped reading, chiefly in order to appreciate
the fact that he was reading, in comfort and safety. He was
alone: no telescreen, no ear at the keyhole, no nervous im-
pulse to glance over his shoulder or cover the page with his
hand. The sweet summer air played against his cheek. From
somewhere far away there floated the faint shouts of chil- 233

dren: in the room itself there was no sound except the insect
voice of the clock. He settled deeper into the arm-chair and
put his feet up on the fender. It was bliss, it was eternity.
Suddenly, as one sometimes does with a book of which one
knows that one will ultimately read and re-read every word,
he opened it at a different place and found himself at Chap-
ter III. He went on reading:

Chapter III

War is Peace

The splitting up of the world into three great super-states
was an event which could be and indeed was foreseen
before the middle of the twentieth century. With the ab-
sorption of Europe by Russia and of the British Empire by
the United States, two of the three existing powers, Eurasia
and Oceania, were already effectively in being. The third,
Eastasia, only emerged as a distinct unit after another de-
cade of confused fighting. The frontiers between the three
super-states are in some places arbitrary, and in others they
fluctuate according to the fortunes of war, but in general
they follow geographical lines. Eurasia comprises the whole
of the northern part of the European and Asiatic land-mass,
from Portugal to the Bering Strait. Oceania comprises the
Americas, the Atlantic islands including the British Isles,
Australasia, and the southern portion of Africa. Eastasia,
smaller than the others and with a less definite western
frontier, comprises China and the countries to the south of


it, the Japanese islands and a large but fluctuating portion
of Manchuria, Mongolia, and Tibet.

In one combination or another, these three super-states
are permanently at war, and have been so for the past twen-
ty-five years. War, however, is no longer the desperate,
annihilating struggle that it was in the early decades of the
twentieth century. It is a warfare of limited aims between
combatants who are unable to destroy one another, have no
material cause for fighting and are not divided by any genu-
ine ideological difference This is not to say that either the
conduct of war, or the prevailing attitude towards it, has be-
come less bloodthirsty or more chivalrous. On the contrary,
war hysteria is continuous and universal in all countries,
and such acts as raping, looting, the slaughter of children,
the reduction of whole populations to slavery, and reprisals
against prisoners which extend even to boiling and burying
alive, are looked upon as normal, and, when they are com-
mitted by one's own side and not by the enemy, meritorious.
But in a physical sense war involves very small numbers of
people, mostly highly-trained specialists, and causes com-
paratively few casualties. The fighting, when there is any,
takes place on the vague frontiers whose whereabouts the
average man can only guess at, or round the Floating For-
tresses which guard strategic spots on the sea lanes. In the
centres of civilization war means no more than a contin-
uous shortage of consumption goods, and the occasional
crash of a rocket bomb which may cause a few scores of
deaths. War has in fact changed its character. More exactly,
the reasons for which war is waged have changed in their

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order of importance. Motives which were already present
to some small extent in the great wars of the early twentieth
centuury have now become dominant and are consciously
recognized and acted upon.

To understand the nature of the present war — for in spite
of the regrouping which occurs every few years, it is al-
ways the same war — one must realize in the first place that
it is impossible for it to be decisive. None of the three su-
per-states could be definitively conquered even by the other
two in combination. They are too evenly matched, and their
natural defences are too formidable. Eurasia is protected by
its vast land spaces, Oceania by the width of the Atlantic
and the Pacific, Eastasia by the fecundity and indus tri-
ousness of its inhabitants. Secondly, there is no longer, in
a material sense, anything to fight about. With the estab-
lishment of self-contained economies, in which production
and consumption are geared to one another, the scramble
for markets which was a main cause of previous wars has
come to an end, while the competition for raw materials is
no longer a matter of life and death. In any case each of the
three super-states is so vast that it can obtain almost all the
materials that it needs within its own boundaries. In so far
as the war has a direct economic purpose, it is a war for la-
bour power. Between the frontiers of the super-states, and
not permanently in the possession of any of them, there lies
a rough quadrilateral with its corners at Tangier, Brazza-
ville, Darwin, and Hong Kong, containing within it about
a fifth of the population of the earth. It is for the posses-
sion of these thickly-populated regions, and of the northern

236 1984

ice-cap, that the three powers are constantly struggling. In
practice no one power ever controls the whole of the disput-
ed area. Portions of it are constantly changing hands, and
it is the chance of seizing this or that fragment by a sud-
den stroke of treachery that dictates the endless changes of

All of the disputed territories contain valuable minerals,
and some of them yield important vegetable products such
as rubber which in colder climates it is necessary to syn-
thesize by comparatively expensive methods. But above all
they contain a bottomless reserve of cheap labour. Which-
ever power controls equatorial Africa, or the countries
of the Middle East, or Southern India, or the Indonesian
Archipelago, disposes also of the bodies of scores or hun-
dreds of millions of ill-paid and hard-working coolies. The
inhabitants of these areas, reduced more or less openly to
the status of slaves, pass continually from conqueror to con-
queror, and are expended like so much coal or oil in the
race to turn out more armaments, to capture more territory,
to control more labour power, to turn out more armaments,
to capture more territory, and so on indefinitely. It should
be noted that the fighting never really moves beyond the
edges of the disputed areas. The frontiers of Eurasia flow
back and forth between the basin of the Congo and the
northern shore of the Mediterranean; the islands of the In-
dian Ocean and the Pacific are constantly being captured
and recaptured by Oceania or by Eastasia; in Mongolia the
dividing line between Eurasia and Eastasia is never stable;
round the Pole all three powers lay claim to enormous terri-

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tories which in fact are largely unihabited and unexplored:
but the balance of power always remains roughly even, and
the territory which forms the heartland of each super-state
always remains inviolate. Moreover, the labour of the ex-
ploited peoples round the Equator is not really necessary to
the world's economy. They add nothing to the wealth of the
world, since whatever they produce is used for purposes of
war, and the object of waging a war is always to be in a bet-
ter position in which to wage another war. By their labour
the slave populations allow the tempo of continuous war-
fare to be speeded up. But if they did not exist, the structure
of world society, and the process by which it maintains it-
self, would not be essentially different.

The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance
with the principles of DOUBLETHINK, this aim is simul-
taneously recognized and not recognized by the directing
brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the
machine without raising the general standard of living.
Ever since the end of the nineteenth century, the problem of
what to do with the surplus of consumption goods has been
latent in industrial society. At present, when few human be-
ings even have enough to eat, this problem is obviously not
urgent, and it might not have become so, even if no artifi-
cial processes of destruction had been at work. The world
of today is a bare, hungry, dilapidated place compared with
the world that existed before 1914, and still more so if com-
pared with the imaginary future to which the people of that
period looked forward. In the early twentieth century, the
vision of a future society unbelievably rich, leisured, orderly,

238 1984

and efficient — a glittering antiseptic world of glass and steel
and snow-white concrete — was part of the consciousness of
nearly every literate person. Science and technology were
developing at a prodigious speed, and it seemed natural to
assume that they would go on developing. This failed to
happen, partly because of the impoverishment caused by a
long series of wars and revolutions, partly because scientific
and technical progress depended on the empirical habit of
thought, which could not survive in a strictly regimented
society. As a whole the world is more primitive today than it
was fifty years ago. Certain backward areas have advanced,
and various devices, always in some way connected with
warfare and police espionage, have been developed, but
experiment and invention have largely stopped, and the
ravages of the atomic war of the nineteen-fifties have nev-
er been fully repaired. Nevertheless the dangers inherent
in the machine are still there. From the moment when the
machine first made its appearance it was clear to all think-
ing people that the need for human drudgery, and therefore
to a great extent for human inequality, had disappeared. If
the machine were used deliberately for that end, hunger,
overwork, dirt, illiteracy, and disease could be eliminated
within a few generations. And in fact, without being used
for any such purpose, but by a sort of automatic process —
by producing wealth which it was sometimes impossible not
to distribute — the machine did raise the living standards
of the average humand being very greatly over a period of
about fifty years at the end of the nineteenth and the begin-
ning of the twentieth centuries.

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But it was also clear that an all-round increase in wealth
threatened the destruction — indeed, in some sense was the
destruction — of a hierarchical society. In a world in which
everyone worked short hours, had enough to eat, lived in a
house with a bathroom and a refrigerator, and possessed a
motor-car or even an aeroplane, the most obvious and per-
haps the most important form of inequality would already
have disappeared. If it once became general, wealth would
confer no distinction. It was possible, no doubt, to imagine
a society in which WEALTH, in the sense of personal pos-
sessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while
POWER remained in the hands of a small privileged caste.
But in practice such a society could not long remain sta-
ble. For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the
great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by
poverty would become literate and would learn to think for
themselves; and when once they had done this, they would
sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no
function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run,
a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of pov-
erty and ignorance. To return to the agricultural past, as
some thinkers about the beginning of the twentieth cen-
tury dreamed of doing, was not a practicable solution. It
conflicted with the tendency towards mechanization which
had become quasi-instinctive throughout almost the whole
world, and moreover, any country which remained indus-
trially backward was helpless in a military sense and was
bound to be dominated, directly or indirectly, by its more
advanced rivals.


Nor was it a satisfactory solution to keep the masses in
poverty by restricting the output of goods. This happened
to a great extent during the final phase of capitalism, rough-
ly between 1920 and 1940. The economy of many countries
was allowed to stagnate, land went out of cultivation, capital
equipment was not added to, great blocks of the popula-
tion were prevented from working and kept half alive by
State charity. But this, too, entailed military weakness, and
since the privations it inflicted were obviously unneces-
sary, it made opposition inevitable. The problem was how
to keep the wheels of industry turning without increasing
the real wealth of the world. Goods must be produced, but
they must not be distributed. And in practice the only way
of achieving this was by continuous warfare.

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of
human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a
way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere,
or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might
otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and
hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons
of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still
a convenient way of expending labour power without pro-
ducing anything that can be consumed. A Floating Fortress,
for example, has locked up in it the labour that would build
several hundred cargo-ships. Ultimately it is scrapped as
obsolete, never having brought any material benefit to any-
body, and with further enormous labours another Floating
Fortress is built. In principle the war effort is always so
planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after meet-

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ing the bare needs of the population. In practice the needs
of the population are always underestimated, with the re-
sult that there is a chronic shortage of half the necessities
of life; but this is looked on as an advantage. It is deliberate
policy to keep even the favoured groups somewhere near
the brink of hardship, because a general state of scarcity
increases the importance of small privileges and thus mag-
nifies the distinction between one group and another. By
the standards of the early twentieth century, even a mem-
ber of the Inner Party lives an austere, laborious kind of life.
Nevertheless, the few luxuries that he does enjoy his large,
well-appointed flat, the better texture of his clothes, the bet-
ter quality of his food and drink and tobacco, his two or
three servants, his private motor-car or helicopter — set him
in a different world from a member of the Outer Party, and
the members of the Outer Party have a similar advantage
in comparison with the submerged masses whom we call
'the proles'. The social atmosphere is that of a besieged city,
where the possession of a lump of horseflesh makes the dif-
ference between wealth and poverty. And at the same time
the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger,
makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem
the natural, unavoidable condition of survival.

War, it will be seen, accomplishes the necessary destruc-
tion, but accomplishes it in a psychologically acceptable way.
In principle it would be quite simple to waste the surplus
labour of the world by building temples and pyramids, by
digging holes and filling them up again, or even by produc-
ing vast quantities of goods and then setting fire to them.


But this would provide only the economic and not the emo-
tional basis for a hierarchical society. What is concerned
here is not the morale of masses, whose attitude is unim-
portant so long as they are kept steadily at work, but the
morale of the Party itself. Even the humblest Party member
is expected to be competent, industrious, and even intel-
ligent within narrow limits, but it is also necessary that he
should be a credulous and ignorant fanatic whose prevailing
moods are fear, hatred, adulation, and orgiastic triumph. In
other words it is necessary that he should have the mental-
ity appropriate to a state of war. It does not matter whether
the war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory
is possible, it does not matter whether the war is going well
or badly. All that is needed is that a state of war should ex-
ist. The splitting of the intelligence which the Party requires
of its members, and which is more easily achieved in an at-
mosphere of war, is now almost universal, but the higher
up the ranks one goes, the more marked it becomes. It is
precisely in the Inner Party that war hysteria and hatred of
the enemy are strongest. In his capacity as an administra-
tor, it is often necessary for a member of the Inner Party to
know that this or that item of war news is untruthful, and
he may often be aware that the entire war is spurious and is
either not happening or is being waged for purposes quite
other than the declared ones: but such knowledge is easily
neutralized by the technique of DOUBLETHINK. Mean-
while no Inner Party member wavers for an instant in his
mystical belief that the war is real, and that it is bound to
end victoriously, with Oceania the undisputed master of 243

the entire world.

All members of the Inner Party believe in this coming
conquest as an article of faith. It is to be achieved either by
gradually acquiring more and more territory and so build-
ing up an overwhelming preponderance of power, or by
the discovery of some new and unanswerable weapon. The
search for new weapons continues unceasingly, and is one
of the very few remaining activities in which the inventive
or speculative type of mind can find any outlet. In Ocea-
nia at the present day, Science, in the old sense, has almost
ceased to exist. In Newspeak there is no word for 'Science'.
The empirical method of thought, on which all the scien-
tific achievements of the past were founded, is opposed to
the most fundamental principles of Ingsoc. And even tech-
nological progress only happens when its products can in
some way be used for the diminution of human liberty. In
all the useful arts the world is either standing still or go-
ing backwards. The fields are cultivated with horse-ploughs
while books are written by machinery. But in matters of
vital importance — meaning, in effect, war and police espio-
nage — the empirical approach is still encouraged, or at least
tolerated. The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole
surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the
possibility of independent thought. There are therefore two
great problems which the Party is concerned to solve. One
is how to discover, against his will, what another human be-
ing is thinking, and the other is how to kill several hundred
million people in a few seconds without giving warning be-
forehand. In so far as scientific research still continues, this


is its subject matter. The scientist of today is either a mixture
of psychologist and inquisitor, studying with real ordinary
minuteness the meaning of facial expressions, gestures, and
tones of voice, and testing the truth-producing effects of
drugs, shock therapy, hypnosis, and physical torture; or he
is chemist, physicist, or biologist concerned only with such
branches of his special subject as are relevant to the taking
of life. In the vast laboratories of the Ministry of Peace, and
in the experimental stations hidden in the Brazilian forests,
or in the Australian desert, or on lost islands of the Ant-
arctic, the teams of experts are indefatigably at work. Some
are concerned simply with planning the logistics of future
wars; others devise larger and larger rocket bombs, more
and more powerful explosives, and more and more impen-
etrable armour-plating; others search for new and deadlier
gases, or for soluble poisons capable of being produced in
such quantities as to destroy the vegetation of whole con-
tinents, or for breeds of disease germs immunized against
all possible antibodies; others strive to produce a vehicle
that shall bore its way under the soil like a submarine un-
der the water, or an aeroplane as independent of its base
as a sailing-ship; others explore even remoter possibilities
such as focusing the sun's rays through lenses suspended
thousands of kilometres away in space, or producing artifi-
cial earthquakes and tidal waves by tapping the heat at the
earth's centre.

But none of these projects ever comes anywhere near re-
alization, and none of the three super-states ever gains a
significant lead on the others. What is more remarkable is

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that all three powers already possess, in the atomic bomb,
a weapon far more powerful than any that their present
researches are likely to discover. Although the Party, ac-
cording to its habit, claims the invention for itself, atomic
bombs first appeared as early as the nineteen-forties, and
were first used on a large scale about ten years later. At that
time some hundreds of bombs were dropped on indus-
trial centres, chiefly in European Russia, Western Europe,
and North America. The effect was to convince the ruling
groups of all countries that a few more atomic bombs would
mean the end of organized society, and hence of their own
power. Thereafter, although no formal agreement was ever
made or hinted at, no more bombs were dropped. All three
powers merely continue to produce atomic bombs and store
them up against the decisive opportunity which they all
believe will come sooner or later. And meanwhile the art
of war has remained almost stationary for thirty or forty
years. Helicopters are more used than they were formerly,
bombing planes have been largely superseded by self-pro-
pelled projectiles, and the fragile movable battleship has
given way to the almost unsinkable Floating Fortress; but
otherwise there has been little development. The tank, the
submarine, the torpedo, the machine gun, even the rifle and
the hand grenade are still in use. And in spite of the end-
less slaughters reported in the Press and on the telescreens,
the desperate battles of earlier wars, in which hundreds of
thousands or even millions of men were often killed in a
few weeks, have never been repeated.

None of the three super-states ever attempts any ma-

246 1984

noeuvre which involves the risk of serious defeat. When
any large operation is undertaken, it is usually a surprise
attack against an ally. The strategy that all three powers are
following, or pretend to themselves that they are following,
is the same. The plan is, by a combination of fighting, bar-
gaining, and well-timed strokes of treachery, to acquire a
ring of bases completely encircling one or other of the ri-
val states, and then to sign a pact of friendship with that
rival and remain on peaceful terms for so many years as to
lull suspicion to sleep. During this time rockets loaded with
atomic bombs can be assembled at all the strategic spots;
finally they will all be fired simultaneously, with effects so
devastating as to make retaliation impossible. It will then be
time to sign a pact of friendship with the remaining world-
power, in preparation for another attack. This scheme, it is
hardly necessary to say, is a mere daydream, impossible of
realization. Moreover, no fighting ever occurs except in the
disputed areas round the Equator and the Pole: no invasion
of enemy territory is ever undertaken. This explains the fact
that in some places the frontiers between the superstates
are arbitrary. Eurasia, for example, could easily conquer the
British Isles, which are geographically part of Europe, or on
the other hand it would be possible for Oceania to push its
frontiers to the Rhine or even to the Vistula. But this would
violate the principle, followed on all sides though never
formulated, of cultural integrity. If Oceania were to con-
quer the areas that used once to be known as France and
Germany, it would be necessary either to exterminate the
inhabitants, a task of great physical difficulty, or to assimi-

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late a population of about a hundred million people, who,
so far as technical development goes, are roughly on the
Oceanic level. The problem is the same for all three super-
states. It is absolutely necessary to their structure that there
should be no contact with foreigners, except, to a limited
extent, with war prisoners and coloured slaves. Even the of-
ficial ally of the moment is always regarded with the darkest
suspicion. War prisoners apart, the average citizen of Ocea-
nia never sets eyes on a citizen of either Eurasia or Eastasia,
and he is forbidden the knowledge of foreign languages. If
he were allowed contact with foreigners he would discover
that they are creatures similar to himself and that most of
what he has been told about them is lies. The sealed world
in which he lives would be broken, and the fear, hatred,
and self-righteousness on which his morale depends might
evaporate. It is therefore realized on all sides that however
often Persia, or Egypt, or Java, or Ceylon may change hands,
the main frontiers must never be crossed by anything ex-
cept bombs.

Under this lies a fact never mentioned aloud, but tacitly
understood and acted upon: namely, that the conditions of
life in all three super-states are very much the same. In Oce-
ania the prevailing philosophy is called Ingsoc, in Eurasia
it is called Neo-Bolshevism, and in Eastasia it is called by
a Chinese name usually translated as Death-Worship, but
perhaps better rendered as Obliteration of the Self. The citi-
zen of Oceania is not allowed to know anything of the tenets
of the other two philosophies, but he is taught to execrate
them as barbarous outrages upon morality and common

248 1984

sense. Actually the three philosophies are barely distin-
guishable, and the social systems which they support are
not distinguishable at all. Everywhere there is the same py-
ramidal structure, the same worship of semi-divine leader,
the same economy existing by and for continuous warfare.
It follows that the three super-states not only cannot con-
quer one another, but would gain no advantage by doing
so. On the contrary, so long as they remain in conflict they
prop one another up, like three sheaves of corn. And, as
usual, the ruling groups of all three powers are simultane-
ously aware and unaware of what they are doing. Their lives
are dedicated to world conquest, but they also know that it
is necessary that the war should continue everlastingly and
without victory. Meanwhile the fact that there IS no danger
of conquest makes possible the denial of reality which is the
special feature of Ingsoc and its rival systems of thought.
Here it is necessary to repeat what has been said earlier, that
by becoming continuous war has fundamentally changed
its character.

In past ages, a war, almost by definition, was something
that sooner or later came to an end, usually in unmistak-
able victory or defeat. In the past, also, war was one of the
main instruments by which human societies were kept in
touch with physical reality. All rulers in all ages have tried
to impose a false view of the world upon their followers, but
they could not afford to encourage any illusion that tended
to impair military efficiency. So long as defeat meant the
loss of independence, or some other result generally held
to be undesirable, the precautions against defeat had to be

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serious. Physical facts could not be ignored. In philosophy,
or religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make
five, but when one was designing a gun or an aeroplane they
had to make four. Inefficient nations were always conquered
sooner or later, and the struggle for efficiency was inimi-
cal to illusions. Moreover, to be efficient it was necessary to
be able to learn from the past, which meant having a fairly
accurate idea of what had happened in the past. Newspa-
pers and history books were, of course, always coloured and
biased, but falsification of the kind that is practised today
would have been impossible. War was a sure safeguard of
sanity, and so far as the ruling classes were concerned it was
probably the most important of all safeguards. While wars
could be won or lost, no ruling class could be completely ir-

But when war becomes literally continuous, it also ceases
to be dangerous. When war is continuous there is no such
thing as military necessity. Technical progress can cease
and the most palpable facts can be denied or disregarded.
As we have seen, researches that could be called scientific
are still carried out for the purposes of war, but they are es-
sentially a kind of daydreaming, and their failure to show
results is not important. Efficiency, even military efficiency,
is no longer needed. Nothing is efficient in Oceania except
the Thought Police. Since each of the three super-states is
unconquerable, each is in effect a separate universe within
which almost any perversion of thought can be safely prac-
tised. Reality only exerts its pressure through the needs of
everyday life — the need to eat and drink, to get shelter and


clothing, to avoid swallowing poison or stepping out of top -
storey windows, and the like. Between life and death, and
between physical pleasure and physical pain, there is still
a distinction, but that is all. Cut off from contact with the
outer world, and with the past, the citizen of Oceania is
like a man in interstellar space, who has no way of know-
ing which direction is up and which is down. The rulers of
such a state are absolute, as the Pharaohs or the Caesars
could not be. They are obliged to prevent their followers
from starving to death in numbers large enough to be in-
convenient, and they are obliged to remain at the same
low level of military technique as their rivals; but once that
minimum is achieved, they can twist reality into whatever
shape they choose.

The war, therefore, if we judge it by the standards of pre-
vious wars, is merely an imposture. It is like the battles
between certain ruminant animals whose horns are set at
such an angle that they are incapable of hurting one anoth-
er. But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It eats up
the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve
the special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society
needs. War, it will be seen, is now a purely internal affair.
In the past, the ruling groups of all countries, although
they might recognize their common interest and therefore
limit the destructiveness of war, did fight against one an-
other, and the victor always plundered the vanquished. In
our own day they are not fighting against one another at
all. The war is waged by each ruling group against its own
subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent 251

conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society
intact. The very word 'war', therefore, has become mislead-
ing. It would probably be accurate to say that by becoming
continuous war has ceased to exist. The peculiar pressure
that it exerted on human beings between the Neolithic Age
and the early twentieth century has disappeared and been
replaced by something quite different. The effect would be
much the same if the three super-states, instead of fighting
one another, should agree to live in perpetual peace, each
inviolate within its own boundaries. For in that case each
would still be a self-contained universe, freed for ever from
the sobering influence of external danger. A peace that was
truly permanent would be the same as a permanent war.
This — although the vast majority of Party members under-
stand it only in a shallower sense — is the inner meaning of
the Party slogan: WAR IS PEACE.

Winston stopped reading for a moment. Somewhere in
remote distance a rocket bomb thundered. The blissful feel-
ing of being alone with the forbidden book, in a room with
no telescreen, had not worn off. Solitude and safety were
physical sensations, mixed up somehow with the tiredness
of his body, the softness of the chair, the touch of the faint
breeze from the window that played upon his cheek. The
book fascinated him, or more exactly it reassured him. In
a sense it told him nothing that was new, but that was part
of the attraction. It said what he would have said, if it had
been possible for him to set his scattered thoughts in or-
der. It was the product of a mind similar to his own, but
enormously more powerful, more systematic, less fear-rid-


den. The best books, he perceived, are those that tell you
what you know already. He had just turned back to Chapter
I when he heard Julia's footstep on the stair and started out
of his chair to meet her. She dumped her brown tool-bag on
the floor and flung herself into his arms. It was more than a
week since they had seen one another.

'I've got THE BOOK,' he said as they disentangled them-

'Oh, you've got it? Good,' she said without much interest,
and almost immediately knelt down beside the oil stove to
make the coffee.

They did not return to the subject until they had been
in bed for half an hour. The evening was just cool enough
to make it worth while to pull up the counterpane. From
below came the familiar sound of singing and the scrape
of boots on the flagstones. The brawny red-armed woman
whom Winston had seen there on his first visit was almost a
fixture in the yard. There seemed to be no hour of daylight
when she was not marching to and fro between the washtub
and the line, alternately gagging herself with clothes pegs
and breaking forth into lusty song. Julia had settled down
on her side and seemed to be already on the point of falling
asleep. He reached out for the book, which was lying on the
floor, and sat up against the bedhead.

'We must read it,' he said. 'You too. All members of the
Brotherhood have to read it.'

'You read it,' she said with her eyes shut. 'Read it aloud.
That's the best way. Then you can explain it to me as you

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The clock's hands said six, meaning eighteen. They had
three or four hours ahead of them. He propped the book
against his knees and began reading:

Chapter I Ignorance is Strength

Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end
of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people
in the world, the High, the Middle, and the Low. They have
been subdivided in many ways, they have borne count-
less different names, and their relative numbers, as well as
their attitude towards one another, have varied from age to
age: but the essential structure of society has never altered.
Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable
changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just
as a gyroscope will always return to equilibnum, however
far it is pushed one way or the other

'Julia, are you awake?' said Winston.

'Yes, my love, I'm listening. Go on. It's marvellous.'

He continued reading:

The aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcil-
able. The aim of the High is to remain where they are. The
aim of the Middle is to change places with the High. The
aim of the Low, when they have an aim — for it is an abiding
characteristic of the Low that they are too much crushed
by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of
anything outside their daily lives — is to abolish all distinc-
tions and create a society in which all men shall be equal.
Thus throughout history a struggle which is the same in its
main outlines recurs over and over again. For long periods
the High seem to be securely in power, but sooner or later


there always comes a moment when they lose either their
belief in themselves or their capacity to govern efficiently,
or both. They are then overthrown by the Middle, who en-
list the Low on their side by pretending to them that they
are fighting for liberty and justice. As soon as they have
reached their objective, the Middle thrust the Low back
into their old position of servitude, and themselves become
the High. Presently a new Middle group splits off from one
of the other groups, or from both of them, and the struggle
begins over again. Of the three groups, only the Low are
never even temporarily successful in achieving their aims.
It would be an exaggeration to say that throughout history
there has been no progress of a material kind. Even today,
in a period of decline, the average human being is physical-
ly better off than he was a few centuries ago. But no advance
in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolu-
tion has ever brought human equality a millimetre nearer.
From the point of view of the Low, no historic change has
ever meant much more than a change in the name of their

By the late nineteenth century the recurrence of this pat-
tern had become obvious to many observers. There then
rose schools of thinkers who interpreted history as a cy-
clical process and claimed to show that inequality was the
unalterable law of human life. This doctrine, of course, had
always had its adherents, but in the manner in which it was
now put forward there was a significant change. In the past
the need for a hierarchical form of society had been the doc-
trine specifically of the High. It had been preached by kings

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and aristocrats and by the priests, lawyers, and the like who
were parasitical upon them, and it had generally been soft-
ened by promises of compensation in an imaginary world
beyond the grave. The Middle, so long as it was struggling
for power, had always made use of such terms as freedom,
justice, and fraternity. Now, however, the concept of hu-
man brotherhood began to be assailed by people who were
not yet in positions of command, but merely hoped to be so
before long. In the past the Middle had made revolutions
under the banner of equality, and then had established a
fresh tyranny as soon as the old one was overthrown. The
new Middle groups in effect proclaimed their tyranny be-
forehand. Socialism, a theory which appeared in the early
nineteenth century and was the last link in a chain of
thought stretching back to the slave rebellions of antiquity,
was still deeply infected by the Utopianism of past ages. But
in each variant of Socialism that appeared from about 1900
onwards the aim of establishing liberty and equality was
more and more openly abandoned. The new movements
which appeared in the middle years of the century, Ingsoc
in Oceania, Neo-Bolshevism in Eurasia, Death-Worship, as
it is commonly called, in Eastasia, had the conscious aim
of perpetuating UNfreedom and INequality These new
movements, of course, grew out of the old ones and tended
to keep their names and pay lip-service to their ideology.
But the purpose of all of them was to arrest progress and
freeze history at a chosen moment. The familiar pendulum
swing was to happen once more, and then stop. As usual,
the High were to be turned out by the Middle, who would

256 1984

then become the High; but this time, by conscious strategy,
the High would be able to maintain their position perma-

The new doctrines arose partly because of the accu-
mulation of historical knowledge, and the growth of the
historical sense, which had hardly existed before the nine-
teenth century. The cyclical movement of history was now
intelligible, or appeared to be so; and if it was intelligible,
then it was alterable. But the principal, underlying cause
was that, as early as the beginning of the twentieth century,
human equality had become technically possible. It was still
true that men were not equal in their native talents and that
functions had to be specialized in ways that favoured some
individuals against others; but there was no longer any real
need for class distinctions or for large differences of wealth.
In earlier ages, class distinctions had been not only inevi-
table but desirable. Inequality was the price of civilization.
With the development of machine production, however, the
case was altered. Even if it was still necessary for human
beings to do different kinds of work, it was no longer neces-
sary for them to live at different social or economic levels.
Therefore, from the point of view of the new groups who
were on the point of seizing power, human equality was no
longer an ideal to be striven after, but a danger to be avert-
ed. In more primitive ages, when a just and peaceful society
was in fact not possible, it had been fairly easy to believe it.
The idea of an earthly paradise in which men should live
together in a state of brotherhood, without laws and with-
out brute labour, had haunted the human imagination for

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thousands of years. And this vision had had a certain hold
even on the groups who actually profited by each histori-
cal change. The heirs of the French, English, and American
revolutions had partly believed in their own phrases about
the rights of man, freedom of speech, equality before the
law, and the like, and have even allowed their conduct to
be influenced by them to some extent. But by the fourth
decade of the twentieth century all the main currents of
political thought were authoritarian. The earthly paradise
had been discredited at exactly the moment when it became
realizable. Every new political theory, by whatever name it
called itself, led back to hierarchy and regimentation. And
in the general hardening of outlook that set in round about
1930, practices which had been long abandoned, in some
cases for hundreds of years — imprisonment without trial,
the use of war prisoners as slaves, public executions, torture
to extract confessions, the use of hostages, and the depor-
tation of whole populations — not only became common
again, but were tolerated and even defended by people who
considered themselves enlightened and progressive.

It was only after a decade of national wars, civil wars,
revolutions, and counter-revolutions in all parts of the
world that Ingsoc and its rivals emerged as fully worked-
out political theories. But they had been foreshadowed by
the various systems, generally called totalitarian, which
had appeared earlier in the century, and the main outlines
of the world which would emerge from the prevailing chaos
had long been obvious. What kind of people would control
this world had been equally obvious. The new aristocracy

258 1984

was made up for the most part of bureaucrats, scientists,
technicians, trade-union organizers, publicity experts, so-
ciologists, teachers, journalists, and professional politicians.
These people, whose origins lay in the salaried middle class
and the upper grades of the working class, had been shaped
and brought together by the barren world of monopoly in-
dustry and centralized government. As compared with
their opposite numbers in past ages, they were less avari-
cious, less tempted by luxury, hungrier for pure power, and,
above all, more conscious of what they were doing and
more intent on crushing opposition. This last difference was
cardinal. By comparison with that existing today, all the
tyrannies of the past were half-hearted and inefficient. The
ruling groups were always infected to some extent by lib-
eral ideas, and were content to leave loose ends everywhere,
to regard only the overt act and to be uninterested in what
their subjects were thinking. Even the Catholic Church of
the Middle Ages was tolerant by modern standards. Part of
the reason for this was that in the past no government had
the power to keep its citizens under constant surveillance.
The invention of print, however, made it easier to manipu-
late public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the
process further. With the development of television, and
the technical advance which made it possible to receive and
transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private
life came to an end. Every citizen, or at least every citizen
important enough to be worth watching, could be kept for
twenty- four hours a day under the eyes of the police and in
the sound of official propaganda, with all other channels

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of communication closed. The possibility of enforcing not
only complete obedience to the will of the State, but com-
plete uniformity of opinion on all subjects, now existed for
the first time.

After the revolutionary period of the fifties and sixties,
society regrouped itself, as always, into High, Middle, and
Low. But the new High group, unlike all its forerunners, did
not act upon instinct but knew what was needed to safeguard
its position. It had long been realized that the only secure
basis for oligarchy is collectivism. Wealth and privilege are
most easily defended when they are possessed jointly. The
so-called 'abolition of private property' which took place in
the middle years of the century meant, in effect, the con-
centration of property in far fewer hands than before: but
with this difference, that the new owners were a group in-
stead of a mass of individuals. Individually, no member of
the Party owns anything, except petty personal belongings.
Collectively, the Party owns everything in Oceania, be-
cause it controls everything, and disposes of the products
as it thinks fit. In the years following the Revolution it was
able to step into this commanding position almost unop-
posed, because the whole process was represented as an act
of collectivization. It had always been assumed that if the
capitalist class were expropriated, Socialism must follow:
and unquestionably the capitalists had been expropriated.
Factories, mines, land, houses, transport — everything had
been taken away from them: and since these things were
no longer private property, it followed that they must be
public property. Ingsoc, which grew out of the earlier So-


cialist movement and inherited its phraseology, has in fact
carried out the main item in the Socialist programme; with
the result, foreseen and intended beforehand, that econom-
ic inequality has been made permanent.

But the problems of perpetuating a hierarchical soci-
ety go deeper than this. There are only four ways in which
a ruling group can fall from power. Either it is conquered
from without, or it governs so inefficiently that the masses
are stirred to revolt, or it allows a strong and discontented
Middle group to come into being, or it loses its own self-
confidence and willingness to govern. These causes do not
operate singly, and as a rule all four of them are present in
some degree. A ruling class which could guard against all
of them would remain in power permanently. Ultimately
the determining factor is the mental attitude of the ruling
class itself.

After the middle of the present century, the first dan-
ger had in reality disappeared. Each of the three powers
which now divide the world is in fact unconquerable, and
could only become conquerable through slow demographic
changes which a government with wide powers can easi-
ly avert. The second danger, also, is only a theoretical one.
The masses never revolt of their own accord, and they never
revolt merely because they are oppressed. Indeed, so long
as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison,
they never even become aware that they are oppressed. The
recurrent economic crises of past times were totally un-
necessary and are not now permitted to happen, but other
and equally large dislocations can and do happen without 261

having political results, because there is no way in which
discontent can become articulate. As for the problem of
over-production, which has been latent in our society since
the development of machine technique, it is solved by the
device of continuous warfare (see Chapter III), which is
also useful in keying up public morale to the necessary
pitch. From the point of view of our present rulers, there-
fore, the only genuine dangers are the splitting-off of a new
group of able, under-employed, power-hungry people, and
the growth of liberalism and scepticism in their own ranks.
The problem, that is to say, is educational. It is a problem
of continuously moulding the consciousness both of the
directing group and of the larger executive group that lies
immediately below it. The consciousness of the masses
needs only to be influenced in a negative way.

Given this background, one could infer, if one did not
know it already, the general structure of Oceanic society. At
the apex of the pyramid comes Big Brother. Big Brother is in-
fallible and all-powerful. Every success, every achievement,
every victory, every scientific discovery, all knowledge, all
wisdom, all happiness, all virtue, are held to issue directly
from his leadership and inspiration. Nobody has ever seen
Big Brother. He is a face on the hoardings, a voice on the
telescreen. We maybe reasonably sure that he will never die,
and there is already considerable uncertainty as to when he
was born. Big Brother is the guise in which the Party choos-
es to exhibit itself to the world. His function is to act as a
focusing point for love, fear, and reverence, emotions which
are more easily felt towards an individual than towards an


organization. Below Big Brother comes the Inner Party. Its
numbers limited to six millions, or something less than
2 per cent of the population of Oceania. Below the Inner
Party comes the Outer Party, which, if the Inner Party is de-
scribed as the brain of the State, may be justly likened to the
hands. Below that come the dumb masses whom we habitu-
ally refer to as 'the proles', numbering perhaps 85 per cent of
the population. In the terms of our earlier classification, the
proles are the Low: for the slave population of the equatori-
al lands who pass constantly from conqueror to conqueror,
are not a permanent or necessary part of the structure.

In principle, membership of these three groups is not he-
reditary. The child of Inner Party parents is in theory not
born into the Inner Party. Admission to either branch of the
Party is by examination, taken at the age of sixteen. Nor is
there any racial discrimination, or any marked domination
of one province by another. Jews, Negroes, South Ameri-
cans of pure Indian blood are to be found in the highest
ranks of the Party, and the administrators of any area are
always drawn from the inhabitants of that area. In no part
of Oceania do the inhabitants have the feeling that they are
a colonial population ruled from a distant capital. Ocea-
nia has no capital, and its titular head is a person whose
whereabouts nobody knows. Except that English is its chief
LINGUA FRANCA and Newspeak its official language, it is
not centralized in any way. Its rulers are not held together
by blood-ties but by adherence to a common doctrine. It
is true that our society is stratified, and very rigidly strat-
ified, on what at first sight appear to be hereditary lines. 263

There is far less to-and-fro movement between the differ-
ent groups than happened under capitalism or even in the
pre-industrial age. Between the two branches of the Party
there is a certain amount of interchange, but only so much
as will ensure that weaklings are excluded from the Inner
Party and that ambitious members of the Outer Party are
made harmless by allowing them to rise. Proletarians, in
practice, are not allowed to graduate into the Party. The
most gifted among them, who might possibly become nu-
clei of discontent, are simply marked down by the Thought
Police and eliminated. But this state of affairs is not neces-
sarily permanent, nor is it a matter of principle. The Party
is not a class in the old sense of the word. It does not aim
at transmitting power to its own children, as such; and if
there were no other way of keeping the ablest people at the
top, it would be perfectly prepared to recruit an entire new
generation from the ranks of the proletariat. In the crucial
years, the fact that the Party was not a hereditary body did
a great deal to neutralize opposition. The older kind of So-
cialist, who had been trained to fight against something
called 'class privilege' assumed that what is not hereditary
cannot be permanent. He did not see that the continuity
of an oligarchy need not be physical, nor did he pause to
reflect that hereditary aristocracies have always been short-
lived, whereas adoptive organizations such as the Catholic
Church have sometimes lasted for hundreds or thousands
of years. The essence of oligarchical rule is not father-to-son
inheritance, but the persistence of a certain world -view and
a certain way of life, imposed by the dead upon the living. A

264 1984

ruling group is a ruling group so long as it can nominate its
successors. The Party is not concerned with perpetuating
its blood but with perpetuating itself. WHO wields power
is not important, provided that the hierarchical structure
remains always the same.

All the beliefs, habits, tastes, emotions, mental attitudes
that characterize our time are really designed to sustain the
mystique of the Party and prevent the true nature of pres-
ent-day society from being perceived. Physical rebellion, or
any preliminary move towards rebellion, is at present not
possible. From the proletarians nothing is to be feared. Left
to themselves, they will continue from generation to gener-
ation and from century to century, working, breeding, and
dying, not only without any impulse to rebel, but without
the power of grasping that the world could be other than it
is. They could only become dangerous if the advance of in-
dustrial technique made it necessary to educate them more
highly; but, since military and commercial rivalry are no
longer important, the level of popular education is actually
declining. What opinions the masses hold, or do not hold,
is looked on as a matter of indifference. They can be granted
intellectual liberty because they have no intellect. In a Party
member, on the other hand, not even the smallest deviation
of opinion on the most unimportant subject can be toler-

A Party member lives from birth to death under the eye
of the Thought Police. Even when he is alone he can never be
sure that he is alone. Wherever he may be, asleep or awake,
working or resting, in his bath or in bed, he can be inspected 265

without warning and without knowing that he is being in-
spected. Nothing that he does is indifferent. His friendships,
his relaxations, his behaviour towards his wife and children,
the expression of his face when he is alone, the words he
mutters in sleep, even the characteristic movements of his
body, are all jealously scrutinized. Not only any actual mis-
demeanour, but any eccentricity, however small, any change
of habits, any nervous mannerism that could possibly be
the symptom of an inner struggle, is certain to be detected.
He has no freedom of choice in any direction whatever. On
the other hand his actions are not regulated by law or by any
clearly formulated code of behaviour. In Oceania there is
no law. Thoughts and actions which, when detected, mean
certain death are not formally forbidden, and the endless
purges, arrests, tortures, imprisonments, and vaporizations
are not inflicted as punishment for crimes which have ac-
tually been committed, but are merely the wiping- out of
persons who might perhaps commit a crime at some time in
the future. A Party member is required to have not only the
right opinions, but the right instincts. Many of the beliefs
and attitudes demanded of him are never plainly stated, and
could not be stated without laying bare the contradictions
inherent in Ingsoc. If he is a person naturally orthodox (in
Newspeak a GOODTHINKER), he will in all circumstanc-
es know, without taking thought, what is the true belief or
the desirable emotion. But in any case an elaborate men-
tal training, undergone in childhood and grouping itself
round the Newspeak words CRIMESTOP, BLACKWHITE,
and DOUBLETHINK, makes him unwilling and unable to


think too deeply on any subject whatever.

A Party member is expected to have no private emotions
and no respites from enthusiasm. He is supposed to live in a
continuous frenzy of hatred of foreign enemies and internal
traitors, triumph over victories, and self-abasement before
the power and wisdom of the Party. The discontents pro-
duced by his bare, unsatisfying life are deliberately turned
outwards and dissipated by such devices as the Two Minutes
Hate, and the speculations which might possibly induce a
sceptical or rebellious attitude are killed in advance by his
early acquired inner discipline. The first and simplest stage
in the discipline, which can be taught even to young chil-
dren, is called, in Newspeak, CRIMESTOP CRIMESTOP
means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct,
at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the
power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logi-
cal errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if
they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled
by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a
heretical direction. CRIMESTOP, in short, means protec-
tive stupidity. But stupidity is not enough. On the contrary,
orthodoxy in the full sense demands a control over one's
own mental processes as complete as that of a contortion-
ist over his body. Oceanic society rests ultimately on the
belief that Big Brother is omnipotent and that the Party is
infallible. But since in reality Big Brother is not omnipotent
and the party is not infallible, there is need for an unwea-
rying, moment-to-moment flexibility in the treatment of
facts. The keyword here is BLACKWHITE. Like so many 267

Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradicto-
ry meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of
impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of
the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal
willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline
demands this. But it means also the ability to BELIEVE that
black is white, and more, to KNOW that black is white, and
to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This de-
mands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible
by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest,
and which is known in Newspeak as DOUBLETHINK.

The alteration of the past is necessary for two reasons,
one of which is subsidiary and, so to speak, precaution-
ary. The subsidiary reason is that the Party member, like
the proletarian, tolerates present-day conditions partly be-
cause he has no standards of comparison. He must be cut
off from the past, just as he must be cut off from foreign
countries, because it is necessary for him to believe that
he is better off than his ancestors and that the average lev-
el of material comfort is constantly rising. But by far the
more important reason for the readjustment of the past is
the need to safeguard the infallibility of the Party. It is not
merely that speeches, statistics, and records of every kind
must be constantly brought up to date in order to show that
the predictions of the Party were in all cases right. It is also
that no change in doctrine or in political alignment can
ever be admitted. For to change one's mind, or even one's
policy, is a confession of weakness. If, for example, Eurasia
or Eastasia (whichever it may be) is the enemy today, then


that country must always have been the enemy. And if the
facts say otherwise then the facts must be altered. Thus his-
tory is continuously rewritten. This day-to-day falsification
of the past, carried out by the Ministry of Truth, is as neces-
sary to the stability of the regime as the work of repression
and espionage carried out by the Ministry of Love.

The mutability of the past is the central tenet of Ingsoc.
Past events, it is argued, have no objective existence, but
survive only in written records and in human memories.
The past is whatever the records and the memories agree
upon. And since the Party is in full control of all records
and in equally full control of the minds of its members, it
follows that the past is whatever the Party chooses to make
it. It also follows that though the past is alterable, it never
has been altered in any specific instance. For when it has
been recreated in whatever shape is needed at the moment,
then this new version IS the past, and no different past can
ever have existed. This holds good even when, as often hap-
pens, the same event has to be altered out of recognition
several times in the course of a year. At all times the Party
is in possession of absolute truth, and clearly the absolute
can never have been different from what it is now. It will
be seen that the control of the past depends above all on
the training of memory. To make sure that all written re-
cords agree with the orthodoxy of the moment is merely
a mechanical act. But it is also necessary to REMEMBER
that events happened in the desired manner. And if it is
necessary to rearrange one's memories or to tamper with
written records, then it is necessary to FORGET that one 269

has done so. The trick of doing this can be learned like any
other mental technique. It is learned by the majority of Par-
ty members, and certainly by all who are intelligent as well
as orthodox. In Oldspeak it is called, quite frankly, 'reality
control'. In Newspeak it is called DOUBLETHINK, though
DOUBLETHINK comprises much else as well.

DOUBLETHINK means the power of holding two
contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and ac-
cepting both of them. The Party intellectual knows in which
direction his memories must be altered; he therefore knows
that he is playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of
DOUBLETHINK he also satisfies himself that reality is not
violated. The process has to be conscious, or it would not
be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be
unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and
hence of guilt. DOUBLETHINK lies at the very heart of In-
gsoc, since the essential act of the Party is to use conscious
deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes
with complete honesty. To tell deliberate lies while genu-
inely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become
inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again,
to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed,
to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while
to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is
indispensably necessary. Even in using the word DOUBLE-
THINK it is necessary to exercise DOUBLETHINK. For
by using the word one admits that one is tampering with
reality; by a fresh act of DOUBLETHINK one erases this
knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one


leap ahead of the truth. Ultimately it is by means of DOU-
BLETHINK that the Party has been able — and may, for all
we know, continue to be able for thousands of years — to ar-
rest the course of history.

All past oligarchies have fallen from power either because
they ossified or because they grew soft. Either they became
stupid and arrogant, failed to adjust themselves to chang-
ing circumstances, and were overthrown; or they became
liberal and cowardly, made concessions when they should
have used force, and once again were overthrown. They fell,
that is to say, either through consciousness or through un-
consciousness. It is the achievement of the Party to have
produced a system of thought in which both conditions can
exist simultaneously. And upon no other intellectual basis
could the dominion of the Party be made permanent. If one
is to rule, and to continue ruling, one must be able to dis-
locate the sense of reality. For the secret of rulership is to
combine a belief in one's own infallibility with the Power to
learn from past mistakes.

It need hardly be said that the subtlest practitioners of
DOUBLETHINK are those who invented DOUBLETHINK
and know that it is a vast system of mental cheating. In
our society, those who have the best knowledge of what is
happening are also those who are furthest from seeing the
world as it is. In general, the greater the understanding, the
greater the delusion; the more intelligent, the less sane. One
clear illustration of this is the fact that war hysteria increas-
es in intensity as one rises in the social scale. Those whose
attitude towards the war is most nearly rational are the sub-

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ject peoples of the disputed territories. To these people the
war is simply a continuous calamity which sweeps to and
fro over their bodies like a tidal wave. Which side is win-
ning is a matter of complete indifference to them. They are
aware that a change of overlordship means simply that they
will be doing the same work as before for new masters who
treat them in the same manner as the old ones. The slightly
more favoured workers whom we call 'the proles' are only
intermittently conscious of the war. When it is necessary
they can be prodded into frenzies of fear and hatred, but
when left to themselves they are capable of forgetting for
long periods that the war is happening. It is in the ranks of
the Party, and above all of the Inner Party, that the true war
enthusiasm is found. World-conquest is believed in most
firmly by those who know it to be impossible. This peculiar
linking-together of opposites — knowledge with ignorance,
cynicism with fanaticism — is one of the chief distinguish-
ing marks of Oceanic society. The official ideology abounds
with contradictions even when there is no practical reason
for them. Thus, the Party rejects and vilifies every principle
for which the Socialist movement originally stood, and it
chooses to do this in the name of Socialism. It preaches a
contempt for the working class unexampled for centuries
past, and it dresses its members in a uniform which was at
one time peculiar to manual workers and was adopted for
that reason. It systematically undermines the solidarity of
the family, and it calls its leader by a name which is a direct
appeal to the sentiment of family loyalty. Even the names of
the four Ministries by which we are governed exhibit a sort


of impudence in their deliberate reversal of the facts. The
Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of
Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the
Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions
are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypoc-
risy; they are deliberate exercises in DOUBLETHINK. For
it is only by reconciling contradictions that power can be
retained indefinitely. In no other way could the ancient cy-
cle be broken. If human equality is to be for ever averted — if
the High, as we have called them, are to keep their places
permanently — then the prevailing mental condition must
be controlled insanity.

But there is one question which until this moment we
have almost ignored. It is; WHY should human equality be
averted? Supposing that the mechanics of the process have
been rightly described, what is the motive for this huge,
accurately planned effort to freeze history at a particular
moment of time?

Here we reach the central secret. As we have seen, the
mystique of the Party, and above all of the Inner Party, de-
pends upon DOUBLETHINK But deeper than this lies the
original motive, the never- questioned instinct that first led
to the seizure of power and brought DOUBLETHINK, the
Thought Police, continuous warfare, and all the other nec-
essary paraphernalia into existence afterwards. This motive
really consists...

Winston became aware of silence, as one becomes aware
of a new sound. It seemed to him that Julia had been very
still for some time past. She was lying on her side, na-

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ked from the waist upwards, with her cheek pillowed on
her hand and one dark lock tumbling across her eyes. Her
breast rose and fell slowly and regularly.


No answer.

'Julia, are you awake?'

No answer. She was asleep. He shut the book, put it care-
fully on the floor, lay down, and pulled the coverlet over
both of them.

He had still, he reflected, not learned the ultimate secret.
He understood HOW; he did not understand WHY. Chap-
ter I, like Chapter III, had not actually told him anything
that he did not know, it had merely systematized the knowl-
edge that he possessed already. But after reading it he knew
better than before that he was not mad. Being in a minority,
even a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was
truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth
even against the whole world, you were not mad. A yellow
beam from the sinking sun slanted in through the window
and fell across the pillow. He shut his eyes. The sun on his
face and the girl's smooth body touching his own gave him
a strong, sleepy, confident feeling. He was safe, everything
was all right. He fell asleep murmuring 'Sanity is not sta-
tistical,' with the feeling that this remark contained in it a

profound wisdom.


When he woke it was with the sensation of having slept
for a long time, but a glance at the old-fashioned clock told
him that it was only twenty-thirty He lay dozing for a while;


then the usual deep-lunged singing struck up from the yard

'It was only an 'opeless fancy,

It passed like an Ipril dye,

But a look an a word an' the dreams they stirred

They 'ave stolen my 'eart awyef

The driveling song seemed to have kept its popularity.
You still heard it all over the place. It had outlived the Hate
Song. Julia woke at the sound, stretched herself luxuriously,
and got out of bed.

'I'm hungry,' she said. 'Let's make some more coffee.
Damn! The stove's gone out and the water's cold.' She picked
the stove up and shook it. 'There's no oil in it.'

'We can get some from old Charrington, I expect.'

'The funny thing is I made sure it was full. I'm going to
put my clothes on,' she added. 'It seems to have got colder.'

Winston also got up and dressed himself. The indefati-
gable voice sang on:

'They sye that time 'eals all things,

They sye you can always forget;

But the smiles an' the tears acrorss the years

They twist my ' eart-strings yet!'

As he fastened the belt of his overalls he strolled across
to the window. The sun must have gone down behind the
houses; it was not shining into the yard any longer. The flag- 275

stones were wet as though they had just been washed, and
he had the feeling that the sky had been washed too, so fresh
and pale was the blue between the chimney-pots. Tireless-
ly the woman marched to and fro, corking and uncorking
herself, singing and falling silent, and pegging out more di-
apers, and more and yet more. He wondered whether she
took in washing for a living or was merely the slave of twen-
ty or thirty grandchildren. Julia had come across to his side;
together they gazed down with a sort of fascination at the
sturdy figure below. As he looked at the woman in her char-
acteristic attitude, her thick arms reaching up for the line,
her powerful mare-like buttocks protruded, it struck him
for the first time that she was beautiful. It had never before
occurred to him that the body of a woman of fifty, blown up
to monstrous dimensions by childbearing, then hardened,
roughened by work till it was coarse in the grain like an
over-ripe turnip, could be beautiful. But it was so, and after
all, he thought, why not? The solid, contourless body, like a
block of granite, and the rasping red skin, bore the same re-
lation to the body of a girl as the rose-hip to the rose. Why
should the fruit be held inferior to the flower?

'She's beautiful,' he murmured.

'She's a metre across the hips, easily' said Julia.

'That is her style of beauty' said Winston.

He held Julia's supple waist easily encircled by his arm.
From the hip to the knee her flank was against his. Out of
their bodies no child would ever come. That was the one
thing they could never do. Only by word of mouth, from
mind to mind, could they pass on the secret. The woman

276 1984

down there had no mind, she had only strong arms, a warm
heart, and a fertile belly. He wondered how many children
she had given birth to. It might easily be fifteen. She had
had her momentary flowering, a year, perhaps, of wild-rose
beauty and then she had suddenly swollen like a fertilized
fruit and grown hard and red and coarse, and then her life
had been laundering, scrubbing, darning, cooking, sweep-
ing, polishing, mending, scrubbing, laundering, first for
children, then for grandchildren, over thirty unbroken
years. At the end of it she was still singing. The mystical
reverence that he felt for her was somehow mixed up with
the aspect of the pale, cloudless sky, stretching awaybehind
the chimney-pots into interminable distance. It was curi-
ous to think that the sky was the same for everybody, in
Eurasia or Eastasia as well as here. And the people under
the sky were also very much the same — everywhere, all over
the world, hundreds of thousands of millions of people just
like this, people ignorant of one another's existence, held
apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the
same — people who had never learned to think but who were
storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power
that would one day overturn the world. If there was hope,
it lay in the proles! Without having read to the end of THE
BOOK, he knew that that must be Goldstein's final message.
The future belonged to the proles. And could he be sure that
when their time came the world they constructed would not
be just as alien to him, Winston Smith, as the world of the
Party? Yes, because at the least it would be a world of sanity.
Where there is equality there can be sanity. Sooner or later

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it would happen, strength would change into consciousness.
The proles were immortal, you could not doubt it when you
looked at that valiant figure in the yard. In the end their
awakening would come. And until that happened, though it
might be a thousand years, they would stay alive against all
the odds, like birds, passing on from body to body the vital-
ity which the Party did not share and could not kill.

'Do you remember,' he said, 'the thrush that sang to us,
that first day, at the edge of the wood?'

'He wasn't singing to us,' said Julia. 'He was singing to
please himself. Not even that. He was just singing.'

The birds sang, the proles sang, the Party did not sing.
All round the world, in London and New York, in Africa
and Brazil, and in the mysterious, forbidden lands beyond
the frontiers, in the streets of Paris and Berlin, in the villag-
es of the endless Russian plain, in the bazaars of China and
Japan — everywhere stood the same solid unconquerable
figure, made monstrous by work and childbearing, toiling
from birth to death and still singing. Out of those mighty
loins a race of conscious beings must one day come. You
were the dead, theirs was the future. But you could share in
that future if you kept alive the mind as they kept alive the
body, and passed on the secret doctrine that two plus two
make four.

'We are the dead,' he said.

'We are the dead,' echoed Julia dutifully.

'You are the dead,' said an iron voice behind them.

They sprang apart. Winston's entrails seemed to have
turned into ice. He could see the white all round the irises of

278 1984

Julia's eyes. Her face had turned a milky yellow. The smear
of rouge that was still on each cheekbone stood out sharply,
almost as though unconnected with the skin beneath.

'You are the dead,' repeated the iron voice.

'It was behind the picture,' breathed Julia.

'It was behind the picture,' said the voice. 'Remain exactly
where you are. Make no movement until you are ordered.'

It was starting, it was starting at last! They could do noth-
ing except stand gazing into one another's eyes. To run for
life, to get out of the house before it was too late — no such
thought occurred to them. Unthinkable to disobey the iron
voice from the wall. There was a snap as though a catch had
been turned back, and a crash of breaking glass. The picture
had fallen to the floor uncovering the telescreen behind it.

'Now they can see us,' said Julia.

'Now we can see you,' said the voice. 'Stand out in the
middle of the room. Stand back to back. Clasp your hands
behind your heads. Do not touch one another.'

They were not touching, but it seemed to him that he
could feel Julia's body shaking. Or perhaps it was merely
the shaking of his own. He could just stop his teeth from
chattering, but his knees were beyond his control. There
was a sound of trampling boots below, inside the house and
outside. The yard seemed to be full of men. Something was
being dragged across the stones. The woman's singing had
stopped abruptly. There was a long, rolling clang, as though
the washtub had been flung across the yard, and then a con-
fusion of angry shouts which ended in a yell of pain.

'The house is surrounded,' said Winston.

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'The house is surrounded,' said the voice.

He heard Julia snap her teeth together. 'I suppose we may
as well say good-bye,' she said.

'You may as well say good-bye,' said the voice. And then
another quite different voice, a thin, cultivated voice which
Winston had the impression of having heard before, struck
in; 'And by the way, while we are on the subject, 'Here comes
a candle to light you to bed, here comes a chopper to chop
off your head'!'

Something crashed on to the bed behind Winston's back.
The head of a ladder had been thrust through the window
and had burst in the frame. Someone was climbing through
the window. There was a stampede of boots up the stairs.
The room was full of solid men in black uniforms, with iron-
shod boots on their feet and truncheons in their hands.

Winston was not trembling any longer. Even his eyes he
barely moved. One thing alone mattered; to keep still, to
keep still and not give them an excuse to hit you! A man
with a smooth prize -fighter's jowl in which the mouth was
only a slit paused opposite him balancing his truncheon
meditatively between thumb and forefinger. Winston met
his eyes. The feeling of nakedness, with one's hands behind
one's head and one's face and body all exposed, was almost
unbearable. The man protruded the tip of a white tongue,
licked the place where his lips should have been, and then
passed on. There was another crash. Someone had picked
up the glass paperweight from the table and smashed it to
pieces on the hearth-stone.

The fragment of coral, a tiny crinkle of pink like a sug-


ar rosebud from a cake, rolled across the mat. How small,
thought Winston, how small it always was! There was a gasp
and a thump behind him, and he received a violent kick on
the ankle which nearly flung him off his balance. One of the
men had smashed his fist into Julia's solar plexus, doubling
her up like a pocket ruler. She was thrashing about on the
floor, fighting for breath. Winston dared not turn his head
even by a millimetre, but sometimes her livid, gasping face
came within the angle of his vision. Even in his terror it was
as though he could feel the pain in his own body, the deadly
pain which nevertheless was less urgent than the struggle to
get back her breath. He knew what it was like; the terrible,
agonizing pain which was there all the while but could not
be suffered yet, because before all else it was necessary to
be able to breathe. Then two of the men hoisted her up by
knees and shoulders, and carried her out of the room like a
sack. Winston had a glimpse of her face, upside down, yel-
low and contorted, with the eyes shut, and still with a smear
of rouge on either cheek; and that was the last he saw of

He stood dead still. No one had hit him yet. Thoughts
which came of their own accord but seemed totally uninter-
esting began to flit through his mind. He wondered whether
they had got Mr Charrington. He wondered what they had
done to the woman in the yard. He noticed that he bad-
ly wanted to urinate, and felt a faint surprise, because he
had done so only two or three hours ago. He noticed that
the clock on the mantelpiece said nine, meaning twenty-
one. But the light seemed too strong. Would not the light

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be fading at twenty- one hours on an August evening? He
wondered whether after all he and Julia had mistaken the
time — had slept the clock round and thought it was twen-
ty-thirty when really it was nought eight-thirty on the
following morning. But he did not pursue the thought fur-
ther. It was not interesting.

There ws another, lighter step in the passage. Mr
Charrington came into the room. The demeanour of
the black-uniformed men suddenly became more sub-
dued. Something had also changed in Mr Charrington's
appearance. His eye fell on the fragments of the glass pa-

'Pick up those pieces,' he said sharply.

A man stooped to obey. The cockney accent had disap-
peared; Winston suddenly realized whose voice it was that
he had heard a few moments ago on the telescreen. Mr Char-
rington was still wearing his old velvet jacket, but his hair,
which had been almost white, had turned black. Also he was
not wearing his spectacles. He gave Winston a single sharp
glance, as though verifying his identity, and then paid no
more attention to him. He was still recognizable, but he was
not the same person any longer. His body had straightened,
and seemed to have grown bigger. His face had undergone
only tiny changes that had nevertheless worked a complete
transformation. The black eyebrows were less bushy, the
wrinkles were gone, the whole lines of the face seemed to
have altered; even the nose seemed shorter. It was the alert,
cold face of a man of about five-and-thirty It occurred to
Winston that for the first time in his life he was looking,


with knowledge, at a member of the Thought Police.

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Part Three

284 1984

Chapter i

He did not know where he was. Presumably he was in
the Ministry of Love, but there was no way of mak-
ing certain. He was in a high-ceilinged windowless cell with
walls of glittering white porcelain. Concealed lamps flood-
ed it with cold light, and there was a low, steady humming
sound which he supposed had something to do with the
air supply. A bench, or shelf, just wide enough to sit on ran
round the wall, broken only by the door and, at the end op-
posite the door, a lavatory pan with no wooden seat. There
were four telescreens, one in each wall.

There was a dull aching in his belly. It had been there
ever since they had bundled him into the closed van and
driven him away. But he was also hungry, with a gnaw-
ing, unwholesome kind of hunger. It might be twenty-four
hours since he had eaten, it might be thirty-six. He still did
not know, probably never would know, whether it had been
morning or evening when they arrested him. Since he was
arrested he had not been fed.

He sat as still as he could on the narrow bench, with his
hands crossed on his knee. He had already learned to sit
still. If you made unexpected movements they yelled at you
from the telescreen. But the craving for food was growing
upon him. What he longed for above all was a piece of bread.
He had an idea that there were a few breadcrumbs in the 285

pocket of his overalls. It was even possible — he thought this
because from time to time something seemed to tickle his
leg — that there might be a sizeable bit of crust there. In the
end the temptation to find out overcame his fear; he slipped
a hand into his pocket.

'Smith!' yelled a voice from the telescreen. '6079 Smith
W.! Hands out of pockets in the cells!'

He sat still again, his hands crossed on his knee. Be-
fore being brought here he had been taken to another place
which must have been an ordinary prison or a temporary
lock-up used by the patrols. He did not know how long he
had been there; some hours at any rate; with no clocks and
no daylight it was hard to gauge the time. It was a noisy, evil-
smelling place. They had put him into a cell similar to the
one he was now in, but filthily dirty and at all times crowded
by ten or fifteen people. The majority of them were common
criminals, but there were a few political prisoners among
them. He had sat silent against the wall, jostled by dirty
bodies, too preoccupied by fear and the pain in his belly to
take much interest in his surroundings, but still noticing
the astonishing difference in demeanour between the Party
prisoners and the others. The Party prisoners were always
silent and terrified, but the ordinary criminals seemed to
care nothing for anybody. They yelled insults at the guards,
fought back fiercely when their belongings were impound-
ed, wrote obscene words on the floor, ate smuggled food
which they produced from mysterious hiding-places in their
clothes, and even shouted down the telescreen when it tried
to restore order. On the other hand some of them seemed


to be on good terms with the guards, called them by nick-
names, and tried to wheedle cigarettes through the spyhole
in the door. The guards, too, treated the common criminals
with a certain forbearance, even when they had to handle
them roughly. There was much talk about the forced-labour
camps to which most of the prisoners expected to be sent.
It was 'all right' in the camps, he gathered, so long as you
had good contacts and knew the ropes. There was bribery,
favouritism, and racketeering of every kind, there was ho-
mosexuality and prostitution, there was even illicit alcohol
distilled from potatoes. The positions of trust were given
only to the common criminals, especially the gangsters and
the murderers, who formed a sort of aristocracy. All the
dirty jobs were done by the politicals.

There was a constant come-and-go of prisoners of every
description: drug-peddlers, thieves, bandits, black-mar-
keteers, drunks, prostitutes. Some of the drunks were so
violent that the other prisoners had to combine to sup-
press them. An enormous wreck of a woman, aged about
sixty, with great tumbling breasts and thick coils of white
hair which had come down in her struggles, was carried in,
kicking and shouting, by four guards, who had hold of her
one at each corner. They wrenched off the boots with which
she had been trying to kick them, and dumped her down
across Winston's lap, almost breaking his thigh-bones. The
woman hoisted herself upright and followed them out with
a yell of 'F bastards!' Then, noticing that she was sit-
ting on something uneven, she slid off Winston's knees on
to the bench. 287

'Beg pardon, dearie,' she said. 'I wouldn't 'a sat on you,
only the buggers put me there. They dono 'ow to treat a lady,
do they?' She paused, patted her breast, and belched. 'Par-
don,' she said, 'I ain't meself, quite.'

She leant forward and vomited copiously on the floor.

"Ihass better,' she said, leaning back with closed eyes.
'Never keep it down, thass what I say. Get it up while it's
fresh on your stomach, like.'

She revived, turned to have another look at Winston and
seemed immediately to take a fancy to him. She put a vast
arm round his shoulder and drew him towards her, breath-
ing beer and vomit into his face.

'Wass your name, dearie?' she said.

'Smith,' said Winston.

'Smith?' said the woman. "Ihass funny. My name's Smith
too. Why' she added sentimentally, 'I might be your moth-

She might, thought Winston, be his mother. She was
about the right age and physique, and it was probable that
people changed somewhat after twenty years in a forced-la-
bour camp.

No one else had spoken to him. To a surprising extent
the ordinary criminals ignored the Party prisoners. 'The
polITS,' they called them, with a sort of uninterested con-
tempt. The Party prisoners seemed terrified of speaking to
anybody, and above all of speaking to one another. Only
once, when two Party members, both women, were pressed
close together on the bench, he overheard amid the din of
voices a few hurriedly-whispered words; and in particular a


reference to something called 'room one-oh-one', which he
did not understand.

It might be two or three hours ago that they had brought
him here. The dull pain in his belly never went away, but
sometimes it grew better and sometimes worse, and his
thoughts expanded or contracted accordingly. When it
grew worse he thought only of the pain itself, and of his de-
sire for food. When it grew better, panic took hold of him.
There were moments when he foresaw the things that would
happen to him with such actuality that his heart galloped
and his breath stopped. He felt the smash of truncheons on
his elbows and iron-shod boots on his shins; he saw himself
grovelling on the floor, screaming for mercy through bro-
ken teeth. He hardly thought of Julia. He could not fix his
mind on her. He loved her and would not betray her; but
that was only a fact, known as he knew the rules of arith-
metic. He felt no love for her, and he hardly even wondered
what was happening to her. He thought oftener of O'Brien,
with a flickering hope. O'Brien might know that he had
been arrested. The Brotherhood, he had said, never tried to
save its members. But there was the razor blade; they would
send the razor blade if they could. There would be perhaps
five seconds before the guard could rush into the cell. The
blade would bite into him with a sort of burning coldness,
and even the fingers that held it would be cut to the bone.
Everything came back to his sick body, which shrank trem-
bling from the smallest pain. He was not certain that he
would use the razor blade even if he got the chance. It was
more natural to exist from moment to moment, accepting 289

another ten minutes' life even with the certainty that there
was torture at the end of it.

Sometimes he tried to calculate the number of porcelain
bricks in the walls of the cell. It should have been easy, but
he always lost count at some point or another. More often he
wondered where he was, and what time of day it was. At one
moment he felt certain that it was broad daylight outside,
and at the next equally certain that it was pitch darkness. In
this place, he knew instinctively, the lights would never be
turned out. It was the place with no darkness: he saw now
why O'Brien had seemed to recognize the allusion. In the
Ministry of Love there were no windows. His cell might be
at the heart of the building or against its outer wall; it might
be ten floors below ground, or thirty above it. He moved
himself mentally from place to place, and tried to deter-
mine by the feeling of his body whether he was perched
high in the air or buried deep underground.

There was a sound of marching boots outside. The steel
door opened with a clang. A young officer, a trim black-uni-
formed figure who seemed to glitter all over with polished
leather, and whose pale, straight-featured face was like a
wax mask, stepped smartly through the doorway. He mo-
tioned to the guards outside to bring in the prisoner they
were leading. The poet Ampleforth shambled into the cell.
The door clanged shut again.

Ampleforth made one or two uncertain movements from
side to side, as though having some idea that there was an-
other door to go out of, and then began to wander up and
down the cell. He had not yet noticed Winston's presence.


His troubled eyes were gazing at the wall about a metre
above the level of Winston's head. He was shoeless; large,
dirty toes were sticking out of the holes in his socks. He
was also several days away from a shave. A scrubby beard
covered his face to the cheekbones, giving him an air of
ruffianism that went oddly with his large weak frame and
nervous movements.

Winston roused himself a little from his lethargy. He
must speak to Ampleforth, and risk the yell from the tele-
screen. It was even conceivable that Ampleforth was the
bearer of the razor blade.

Ampleforth,' he said.

There was no yell from the telescreen. Ampleforth
paused, mildly startled. His eyes focused themselves slowly
on Winston.

Ah, Smith!' he said. 'You too!'

'What are you in for?'

'To tell you the truth — ' He sat down awkwardly on the
bench opposite Winston. 'There is only one offence, is there
not?' he said.

And have you committed it?'

Apparently I have.'

He put a hand to his forehead and pressed his temples for
a moment, as though trying to remember something.

'These things happen,' he began vaguely. 'I have been
able to recall one instance — a possible instance. It was an
indiscretion, undoubtedly. We were producing a definitive
edition of the poems of Kipling. I allowed the word 'God' to
remain at the end of a line. I could not help it!' he added al- 291

most indignantly, raising his face to look at Winston. 'It was
impossible to change the line. The rhyme was 'rod". Do you
realize that there are only twelve rhymes to 'rod' in the en-
tire language? For days I had racked my brains. There WAS
no other rhyme.'

The expression on his face changed. The annoyance
passed out of it and for a moment he looked almost pleased.
A sort of intellectual warmth, the joy of the pedant who has
found out some useless fact, shone through the dirt and
scrubby hair.

'Has it ever occurred to you,' he said, 'that the whole his-
tory of English poetry has been determined by the fact that
the English language lacks rhymes?'

No, that particular thought had never occurred to Win-
ston. Nor, in the circumstances, did it strike him as very
important or interesting.

'Do you know what time of day it is?' he said.

Ampleforth looked startled again. 'I had hardly thought
about it. They arrested me — it could be two days ago — per-
haps three.' His eyes flitted round the walls, as though he
half expected to find a window somewhere. 'There is no dif-
ference between night and day in this place. I do not see
how one can calculate the time.'

They talked desultorily for some minutes, then, without
apparent reason, a yell from the telescreen bade them be
silent. Winston sat quietly, his hands crossed. Ampleforth,
too large to sit in comfort on the narrow bench, fidgeted
from side to side, clasping his lank hands first round one
knee, then round the other. The telescreen barked at him to


keep still. Time passed. Twenty minutes, an hour — it was
difficult to judge. Once more there was a sound of boots
outside. Winston's entrails contracted. Soon, very soon,
perhaps in five minutes, perhaps now, the tramp of boots
would mean that his own turn had come.

The door opened. The cold-faced young officer stepped
into the cell. With a brief movement of the hand he indi-
cated Ampleforth.

'Room 101,' he said.

Ampleforth marched clumsily out between the guards,
his face vaguely perturbed, but uncomprehending.

What seemed like a long time passed. The pain in Win-
ston's belly had revived. His mind sagged round and round
on the same trick, like a ball falling again and again into
the same series of slots. He had only six thoughts. The pain
in his belly; a piece of bread; the blood and the screaming;
O'Brien; Julia; the razor blade. There was another spasm in
his entrails, the heavy boots were approaching. As the door
opened, the wave of air that it created brought in a power-
ful smell of cold sweat. Parsons walked into the cell. He was
wearing khaki shorts and a sports-shirt.

This time Winston was startled into self-forgetfulness.

'YOU here!' he said.

Parsons gave Winston a glance in which there was
neither interest nor surprise, but only misery. He began
walking jerkily up and down, evidently unable to keep still.
Each time he straightened his pudgy knees it was apparent
that they were trembling. His eyes had a wide-open, staring
look, as though he could not prevent himself from gazing at 293

something in the middle distance.

'What are you in for?' said Winston.

'Thoughtcrime!' said Parsons, almost blubbering. The
tone of his voice implied at once a complete admission of
his guilt and a sort of incredulous horror that such a word
could be applied to himself. He paused opposite Winston
and began eagerly appealing to him: 'You don't think they'll
shoot me, do you, old chap? They don't shoot you if you
haven't actually done anything — only thoughts, which you
can't help? I know they give you a fair hearing. Oh, I trust
them for that! They'll know my record, won't they? YOU
know what kind of chap I was. Not a bad chap in my way.
Not brainy, of course, but keen. I tried to do my best for the
Party, didn't I? I'll get off with five years, don't you think? Or
even ten years? A chap like me could make himself pretty
useful in a labour-camp. They wouldn't shoot me for going
off the rails just once?'

'Are you guilty?' said Winston.

'Of course I'm guilty!' cried Parsons with a servile glance
at the telescreen. 'You don't think the Party would arrest
an innocent man, do you?' His frog-like face grew calm-
er, and even took on a slightly sanctimonious expression.
"Ihoughtcrime is a dreadful thing, old man,' he said senten-
tiously 'It's insidious. It can get hold of you without your
even knowing it. Do you know how it got hold of me? In my
sleep! Yes, that's a fact. There I was, working away, trying to
do my bit — never knew I had any bad stuff in my mind at all.
And then I started talking in my sleep. Do you know what
they heard me saying?'


He sank his voice, like someone who is obliged for medi-
cal reasons to utter an obscenity.

"Down with Big Brother!' Yes, I said that! Said it over
and over again, it seems. Between you and me, old man, I'm
glad they got me before it went any further. Do you know
what I'm going to say to them when I go up before the tribu-
nal? 'Thank you,' I'm going to say, 'thank you for saving me
before it was too late."

'Who denounced you?' said Winston.

'It was my little daughter,' said Parsons with a sort of
doleful pride. 'She listened at the keyhole. Heard what I
was saying, and nipped off to the patrols the very next day.
Pretty smart for a nipper of seven, eh? I don't bear her any
grudge for it. In fact I'm proud of her. It shows I brought her
up in the right spirit, anyway'

He made a few more jerky movements up and down,
several times, casting a longing glance at the lavatory pan.
Then he suddenly ripped down his shorts.

'Excuse me, old man,' he said. T can't help it. It's the wait-

He plumped his large posterior into the lavatory pan.
Winston covered his face with his hands.

'Smith!' yelled the voice from the telescreen. '6079 Smith
W! Uncover your face. No faces covered in the cells.'

Winston uncovered his face. Parsons used the lavatory,
loudly and abundantly. It then turned out that the plug was
defective and the cell stank abominably for hours after-

Parsons was removed. More prisoners came and went, 295

mysteriously. One, a woman, was consigned to 'Room 101',
and, Winston noticed, seemed to shrivel and turn a differ-
ent colour when she heard the words. A time came when, if
it had been morning when he was brought here, it would be
afternoon; or if it had been afternoon, then it would be mid-
night. There were six prisoners in the cell, men and women.
All sat very still. Opposite Winston there sat a man with a
chinless, toothy face exactly like that of some large, harm-
less rodent. His fat, mottled cheeks were so pouched at the
bottom that it was difficult not to believe that he had little
stores of food tucked away there. His pale-grey eyes flitted
timorously from face to face and turned quickly away again
when he caught anyone's eye.

The door opened, and another prisoner was brought in
whose appearance sent a momentary chill through Win-
ston. He was a commonplace, mean-looking man who
might have been an engineer or technician of some kind.
But what was startling was the emaciation of his face. It
was like a skull. Because of its thinness the mouth and eyes
looked disproportionately large, and the eyes seemed filled
with a murderous, unappeasable hatred of somebody or

The man sat down on the bench at a little distance from
Winston. Winston did not look at him again, but the tor-
mented, skull-like face was as vivid in his mind as though
it had been straight in front of his eyes. Suddenly he real-
ized what was the matter. The man was dying of starvation.
The same thought seemed to occur almost simultaneously
to everyone in the cell. There was a very faint stirring all

296 1984

the way round the bench. The eyes of the chinless man kept
flitting towards the skull-faced man, then turning guiltily
away, then being dragged back by an irresistible attraction.
Presently he began to fidget on his seat. At last he stood up,
waddled clumsily across the cell, dug down into the pocket
of his overalls, and, with an abashed air, held out a grimy
piece of bread to the skull-faced man.

There was a furious, deafening roar from the telescreen.
The chinless man jumped in his tracks. The skull-faced man
had quickly thrust his hands behind his back, as though
demonstrating to all the world that he refused the gift.

'Bumstead!' roared the voice. '2713 Bumstead J.! Let fall
that piece of bread!'

The chinless man dropped the piece of bread on the

'Remain standing where you are,' said the voice. 'Face the
door. Make no movement.'

The chinless man obeyed. His large pouchy cheeks were
quivering uncontrollably. The door clanged open. As the
young officer entered and stepped aside, there emerged
from behind him a short stumpy guard with enormous
arms and shoulders. He took his stand opposite the chin-
less man, and then, at a signal from the officer, let free a
frightful blow, with all the weight of his body behind it, full
in the chinless man's mouth. The force of it seemed almost
to knock him clear of the floor. His body was flung across
the cell and fetched up against the base of the lavatory seat.
For a moment he lay as though stunned, with dark blood
oozing from his mouth and nose. A very faint whimper-

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ing or squeaking, which seemed unconscious, came out of
him. Then he rolled over and raised himself unsteadily on
hands and knees. Amid a stream of blood and saliva, the
two halves of a dental plate fell out of his mouth.

The prisoners sat very still, their hands crossed on their
knees. The chinless man climbed back into his place. Down
one side of his face the flesh was darkening. His mouth had
swollen into a shapeless cherry- coloured mass with a black
hole in the middle of it.

From time to time a little blood dripped on to the breast
of his overalls. His grey eyes still flitted from face to face,
more guiltily than ever, as though he were trying to discov-
er how much the others despised him for his humiliation.

The door opened. With a small gesture the officer indi-
cated the skull-faced man.

'Room 101,' he said.

There was a gasp and a flurry at Winston's side. The man
had actually flung himself on his knees on the floor, with
his hand clasped together.

'Comrade! Officer!' he cried. 'You don't have to take me to
that place! Haven't I told you everything already? What else
is it you want to know? There's nothing I wouldn't confess,
nothing! Just tell me what it is and I'll confess straight off.
Write it down and I'll sign it — anything! Not room 101!'

'Room 101,' said the officer.

The man's face, already very pale, turned a colour Win-
ston would not have believed possible. It was definitely,
unmistakably, a shade of green.

'Do anything to me!' he yelled. 'You've been starving me

298 1984

for weeks. Finish it off and let me die. Shoot me. Hang me.
Sentence me to twenty-five years. Is there somebody else
you want me to give away? Just say who it is and I'll tell you
anything you want. I don't care who it is or what you do to
them. I've got a wife and three children. The biggest of them
isn't six years old. You can take the whole lot of them and
cut their throats in front of my eyes, and I'll stand by and
watch it. But not Room 101!'

'Room 101,' said the officer.

The man looked frantically round at the other prisoners,
as though with some idea that he could put another victim
in his own place. His eyes settled on the smashed face of the
chinless man. He flung out a lean arm.

'That's the one you ought to be taking, not me!' he shout-
ed. 'You didn't hear what he was saying after they bashed
his face. Give me a chance and I'll tell you every word of it.
HE'S the one that's against the Party, not me.' The guards
stepped forward. The man's voice rose to a shriek. 'You
didn't hear him!' he repeated. 'Something went wrong with
the telescreen. HE'S the one you want. Take him, not me!'

The two sturdy guards had stooped to take him by the
arms. But just at this moment he flung himself across the
floor of the cell and grabbed one of the iron legs that sup-
ported the bench. He had set up a wordless howling, like an
animal. The guards took hold of him to wrench him loose,
but he clung on with astonishing strength. For perhaps
twenty seconds they were hauling at him. The prisoners sat
quiet, their hands crossed on their knees, looking straight
in front of them. The howling stopped; the man had no 299

breath left for anything except hanging on. Then there was
a different kind of cry. A kick from a guard's boot had bro-
ken the fingers of one of his hands. They dragged him to
his feet.

'Room 101,' said the officer.

The man was led out, walking unsteadily, with head
sunken, nursing his crushed hand, all the fight had gone
out of him.

A long time passed. If it had been midnight when the
skull-faced man was taken away, it was morning: if morn-
ing, it was afternoon. Winston was alone, and had been
alone for hours. The pain of sitting on the narrow bench
was such that often he got up and walked about, unreproved
by the telescreen. The piece of bread still lay where the chin-
less man had dropped it. At the beginning it needed a hard
effort not to look at it, but presently hunger gave way to
thirst. His mouth was sticky and evil-tasting. The hum-
ming sound and the unvarying white light induced a sort
of faintness, an empty feeling inside his head. He would get
up because the ache in his bones was no longer bearable,
and then would sit down again almost at once because he
was too dizzy to make sure of staying on his feet. Whenever
his physical sensations were a little under control the ter-
ror returned. Sometimes with a fading hope he thought of
O'Brien and the razor blade. It was thinkable that the razor
blade might arrive concealed in his food, if he were ever
fed. More dimly he thought of Julia. Somewhere or other
she was suffering perhaps far worse than he. She might be
screaming with pain at this moment. He thought: 'If I could


save Julia by doubling my own pain, would I do it? Yes, I
would.' But that was merely an intellectual decision, taken
because he knew that he ought to take it. He did not feel it.
In this place you could not feel anything, except pain and
foreknowledge of pain. Besides, was it possible, when you
were actually suffering it, to wish for any reason that your
own pain should increase? But that question was not an-
swerable yet.

The boots were approaching again. The door opened.
O'Brien came in.

Winston started to his feet. The shock of the sight had
driven all caution out of him. For the first time in many
years he forgot the presence of the telescreen.

'They've got you too!' he cried.

'They got me a long time ago,' said O'Brien with a mild,
almost regretful irony. He stepped aside. From behind him
there emerged a broad-chested guard with a long black
truncheon in his hand.

'You know this, Winston,' said O'Brien. 'Don't deceive
yourself. You did know it — you have always known it.'

Yes, he saw now, he had always known it. But there was no
time to think of that. All he had eyes for was the truncheon
in the guard's hand. It might fall anywhere; on the crown,
on the tip of the ear, on the upper arm, on the elbow

The elbow! He had slumped to his knees, almost para-
lysed, clasping the stricken elbow with his other hand.
Everything had exploded into yellow light. Inconceivable,
inconceivable that one blow could cause such pain! The
light cleared and he could see the other two looking down

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at him. The guard was laughing at his contortions. One
question at any rate was answered. Never, for any reason
on earth, could you wish for an increase of pain. Of pain
you could wish only one thing: that it should stop. Nothing
in the world was so bad as physical pain. In the face of pain
there are no heroes, no heroes, he thought over and over as
he writhed on the floor, clutching uselessly at his disabled
left arm.


Chapter 2

He was lying on something that felt like a camp bed, ex-
cept that it was higher off the ground and that he was
fixed down in some way so that he could not move. Light
that seemed stronger than usual was falling on his face.
O'Brien was standing at his side, looking down at him in-
tently. At the other side of him stood a man in a white coat,
holding a hypodermic syringe.

Even after his eyes were open he took in his surround-
ings only gradually. He had the impression of swimming up
into this room from some quite different world, a sort of un-
derwater world far beneath it. How long he had been down
there he did not know. Since the moment when they arrest-
ed him he had not seen darkness or daylight. Besides, his
memories were not continuous. There had been times when
consciousness, even the sort of consciousness that one has
in sleep, had stopped dead and started again after a blank
interval. But whether the intervals were of days or weeks or
only seconds, there was no way of knowing.

With that first blow on the elbow the nightmare had
started. Later he was to realize that all that then happened
was merely a preliminary, a routine interrogation to which
nearly all prisoners were subjected. There was a long range
of crimes — espionage, sabotage, and the like — to which ev-
eryone had to confess as a matter of course. The confession 303

was a formality, though the torture was real. How many
times he had been beaten, how long the beatings had con-
tinued, he could not remember. Always there were five or
six men in black uniforms at him simultaneously. Some-
times it was fists, sometimes it was truncheons, sometimes
it was steel rods, sometimes it was boots. There were times
when he rolled about the floor, as shameless as an animal,
writhing his body this way and that in an endless, hopeless
effort to dodge the kicks, and simply inviting more and yet
more kicks, in his ribs, in his belly, on his elbows, on his
shins, in his groin, in his testicles, on the bone at the base
of his spine. There were times when it went on and on un-
til the cruel, wicked, unforgivable thing seemed to him not
that the guards continued to beat him but that he could not
force himself into losing consciousness. There were times
when his nerve so forsook him that he began shouting for
mercy even before the beating began, when the mere sight
of a fist drawn back for a blow was enough to make him
pour forth a confession of real and imaginary crimes. There
were other times when he started out with the resolve of
confessing nothing, when every word had to be forced out
of him between gasps of pain, and there were times when he
feebly tried to compromise, when he said to himself: 'I will
confess, but not yet. I must hold out till the pain becomes
unbearable. Three more kicks, two more kicks, and then I
will tell them what they want.' Sometimes he was beaten till
he could hardly stand, then flung like a sack of potatoes on
to the stone floor of a cell, left to recuperate for a few hours,
and then taken out and beaten again. There were also longer


periods of recovery. He remembered them dimly, because
they were spent chiefly in sleep or stupor. He remembered
a cell with a plank bed, a sort of shelf sticking out from the
wall, and a tin wash-basin, and meals of hot soup and bread
and sometimes coffee. He remembered a surly barber arriv-
ing to scrape his chin and crop his hair, and businesslike,
unsympathetic men in white coats feeling his pulse, tapping
his reflexes, turning up his eyelids, running harsh fingers
over him in search for broken bones, and shooting needles
into his arm to make him sleep.

The beatings grew less frequent, and became mainly a
threat, a horror to which he could be sent back at any mo-
ment when his answers were unsatisfactory. His questioners
now were not ruffians in black uniforms but Party intellec-
tuals, little rotund men with quick movements and flashing
spectacles, who worked on him in relays over periods which
lasted — he thought, he could not be sure — ten or twelve
hours at a stretch. These other questioners saw to it that he
was in constant slight pain, but it was not chiefly pain that
they relied on. They slapped his face, wrung his ears, pulled
his hair, made him stand on one leg, refused him leave to
urinate, shone glaring lights in his face until his eyes ran
with water; but the aim of this was simply to humiliate him
and destroy his power of arguing and reasoning. Their real
weapon was the merciless questioning that went on and on,
hour after hour, tripping him up, laying traps for him, twist-
ing everything that he said, convicting him at every step of
lies and self-contradiction until he began weeping as much
from shame as from nervous fatigue. Sometimes he would

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weep half a dozen times in a single session. Most of the time
they screamed abuse at him and threatened at every hesita-
tion to deliver him over to the guards again; but sometimes
they would suddenly change their tune, call him comrade,
appeal to him in the name of Ingsoc and Big Brother, and
ask him sorrowfully whether even now he had not enough
loyalty to the Party left to make him wish to undo the evil
he had done. When his nerves were in rags after hours of
questioning, even this appeal could reduce him to snivel-
ling tears. In the end the nagging voices broke him down
more completely than the boots and fists of the guards. He
became simply a mouth that uttered, a hand that signed,
whatever was demanded of him. His sole concern was to
find out what they wanted him to confess, and then confess
it quickly, before the bullying started anew. He confessed
to the assassination of eminent Party members, the dis-
tribution of seditious pamphlets, embezzlement of public
funds, sale of military secrets, sabotage of every kind. He
confessed that he had been a spy in the pay of the Easta-
sian government as far back as 1968. He confessed that he
was a religious believer, an admirer of capitalism, and a sex-
ual pervert. He confessed that he had murdered his wife,
although he knew, and his questioners must have known,
that his wife was still alive. He confessed that for years he
had been in personal touch with Goldstein and had been
a member of an underground organization which had in-
cluded almost every human being he had ever known. It
was easier to confess everything and implicate everybody.
Besides, in a sense it was all true. It was true that he had

306 1984

been the enemy of the Party, and in the eyes of the Party
there was no distinction between the thought and the deed.

There were also memories of another kind. They stood
out in his mind disconnectedly, like pictures with black-
ness all round them.

He was in a cell which might have been either dark or
light, because he could see nothing except a pair of eyes.
Near at hand some kind of instrument was ticking slow-
ly and regularly. The eyes grew larger and more luminous.
Suddenly he floated out of his seat, dived into the eyes, and
was swallowed up.

He was strapped into a chair surrounded by dials, under
dazzling lights. A man in a white coat was reading the dials.
There was a tramp of heavy boots outside. The door clanged
open. The waxed-faced officer marched in, followed by two

'Room 101,' said the officer.

The man in the white coat did not turn round. He did not
look at Winston either; he was looking only at the dials.

He was rolling down a mighty corridor, a kilometre
wide, full of glorious, golden light, roaring with laughter
and shouting out confessions at the top of his voice. He was
confessing everything, even the things he had succeeded
in holding back under the torture. He was relating the en-
tire history of his life to an audience who knew it already.
With him were the guards, the other questioners, the men
in white coats, O'Brien, Julia, Mr Charrington, all rolling
down the corridor together and shouting with laughter.
Some dreadful thing which had lain embedded in the fu- 307

ture had somehow been skipped over and had not happened.
Everything was all right, there was no more pain, the last
detail of his life was laid bare, understood, forgiven.

He was starting up from the plank bed in the half-cer-
tainty that he had heard O'Brien's voice. All through his
interrogation, although he had never seen him, he had had
the feeling that O'Brien was at his elbow, just out of sight. It
was O'Brien who was directing everything. It was he who
set the guards on to Winston and who prevented them from
killing him. It was he who decided when Winston should
scream with pain, when he should have a respite, when he
should be fed, when he should sleep, when the drugs should
be pumped into his arm. It was he who asked the ques-
tions and suggested the answers. He was the tormentor, he
was the protector, he was the inquisitor, he was the friend.
And once — Winston could not remember whether it was
in drugged sleep, or in normal sleep, or even in a moment
of wakefulness — a voice murmured in his ear: 'Don't wor-
ry, Winston; you are in my keeping. For seven years I have
watched over you. Now the turning-point has come. I shall
save you, I shall make you perfect.' He was not sure whether
it was O'Brien's voice; but it was the same voice that had
said to him, We shall meet in the place where there is no
darkness,' in that other dream, seven years ago.

He did not remember any ending to his interrogation.
There was a period of blackness and then the cell, or room,
in which he now was had gradually materialized round him.
He was almost flat on his back, and unable to move. His
body was held down at every essential point. Even the back

308 1984

of his head was gripped in some manner. O'Brien was look-
ing down at him gravely and rather sadly. His face, seen
from below, looked coarse and worn, with pouches under
the eyes and tired lines from nose to chin. He was older
than Winston had thought him; he was perhaps forty-eight
or fifty Under his hand there was a dial with a lever on top
and figures running round the face.

'I told you,' said O'Brien, 'that if we met again it would
be here.'

'Yes,' said Winston.

Without any warning except a slight movement of
O'Brien's hand, a wave of pain flooded his body. It was a
frightening pain, because he could not see what was hap-
pening, and he had the feeling that some mortal injury was
being done to him. He did not know whether the thing was
really happening, or whether the effect was electrically pro-
duced; but his body was being wrenched out of shape, the
joints were being slowly torn apart. Although the pain had
brought the sweat out on his forehead, the worst of all was
the fear that his backbone was about to snap. He set his
teeth and breathed hard through his nose, trying to keep
silent as long as possible.

'You are afraid,' said O'Brien, watching his face, 'that in
another moment something is going to break. Your especial
fear is that it will be your backbone. You have a vivid mental
picture of the vertebrae snapping apart and the spinal fluid
dripping out of them. That is what you are thinking, is it
not, Winston?'

Winston did not answer. O'Brien drew back the lever on

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the dial. The wave of pain receded almost as quickly as it
had come.

'That was forty,' said O'Brien. 'You can see that the num-
bers on this dial run up to a hundred. Will you please
remember, throughout our conversation, that I have it in
my power to inflict pain on you at any moment and to what-
ever degree I choose? If you tell me any lies, or attempt to
prevaricate in any way, or even fall below your usual level
of intelligence, you will cry out with pain, instantly. Do you
understand that?'

'Yes,' said Winston.

O'Brien's manner became less severe. He resettled his
spectacles thoughtfully, and took a pace or two up and
down. When he spoke his voice was gentle and patient. He
had the air of a doctor, a teacher, even a priest, anxious to
explain and persuade rather than to punish.

'I am taking trouble with you, Winston,' he said, 'because
you are worth trouble. You know perfectly well what is the
matter with you. You have known it for years, though you
have fought against the knowledge. You are mentally de-
ranged. You suffer from a defective memory. You are unable
to remember real events and you persuade yourself that you
remember other events which never happened. Fortunately
it is curable. You have never cured yourself of it, because
you did not choose to. There was a small effort of the will
that you were not ready to make. Even now, I am well aware,
you are clinging to your disease under the impression that
it is a virtue. Now we will take an example. At this moment,
which power is Oceania at war with?'


'When I was arrested, Oceania was at war with Eastasia.'

'With Eastasia. Good. And Oceania has always been at
war with Eastasia, has it not?'

Winston drew in his breath. He opened his mouth to
speak and then did not speak. He could not take his eyes
away from the dial.

'The truth, please, Winston. YOUR truth. Tell me what
you think you remember.'

T remember that until only a week before I was arrested,
we were not at war with Eastasia at all. We were in alliance
with them. The war was against Eurasia. That had lasted for
four years. Before that '

O'Brien stopped him with a movement of the hand.

'Another example,' he said. 'Some years ago you had a
very serious delusion indeed. You believed that three men,
three one-time Party members named Jones, Aaronson,
and Rutherford — men who were executed for treachery
and sabotage after making the fullest possible confession —
were not guilty of the crimes they were charged with. You
believed that you had seen unmistakable documentary evi-
dence proving that their confessions were false. There was
a certain photograph about which you had a hallucination.
You believed that you had actually held it in your hands. It
was a photograph something like this.'

An oblong slip of newspaper had appeared between
O'Brien's fingers. For perhaps five seconds it was within the
angle of Winston's vision. It was a photograph, and there
was no question of its identity. It was THE photograph. It
was another copy of the photograph of Jones, Aaronson, 311

and Rutherford at the party function in New York, which
he had chanced upon eleven years ago and promptly de-
stroyed. For only an instant it was before his eyes, then it
was out of sight again. But he had seen it, unquestionably he
had seen it! He made a desperate, agonizing effort to wrench
the top half of his body free. It was impossible to move so
much as a centimetre in any direction. For the moment he
had even forgotten the dial. All he wanted was to hold the
photograph in his fingers again, or at least to see it.

'It exists!' he cried.

'No,' said O'Brien.

He stepped across the room. There was a memory hole
in the opposite wall. O'Brien lifted the grating. Unseen, the
frail slip of paper was whirling away on the current of warm
air; it was vanishing in a flash of flame. O'Brien turned away
from the wall.

'Ashes,' he said. 'Not even identifiable ashes. Dust. It does
not exist. It never existed.'

'But it did exist! It does exist! It exists in memory. I re-
member it. You remember it.'

'I do not remember it,' said O'Brien.

Winston's heart sank. That was doublethink. He had a
feeling of deadly helplessness. If he could have been certain
that O'Brien was lying, it would not have seemed to matter.
But it was perfectly possible that O'Brien had really forgot-
ten the photograph. And if so, then already he would have
forgotten his denial of remembering it, and forgotten the
act of forgetting. How could one be sure that it was simple
trickery? Perhaps that lunatic dislocation in the mind could


really happen: that was the thought that defeated him.

O'Brien was looking down at him speculatively. More
than ever he had the air of a teacher taking pains with a
wayward but promising child.

'There is a Party slogan dealing with the control of the
past,' he said. 'Repeat it, if you please.'

"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls
the present controls the past," repeated Winston obedient-

"Who controls the present controls the past," said
O'Brien, nodding his head with slow approval. 'Is it your
opinion, Winston, that the past has real existence?'

Again the feeling of helplessness descended upon Win-
ston. His eyes flitted towards the dial. He not only did not
know whether 'yes' or 'no' was the answer that would save
him from pain; he did not even know which answer he be-
lieved to be the true one.

O'Brien smiled faintly. 'You are no metaphysician, Win-
ston,' he said. 'Until this moment you had never considered
what is meant by existence. I will put it more precisely. Does
the past exist concretely, in space? Is there somewhere or
other a place, a world of solid objects, where the past is still


'Then where does the past exist, if at all?'

'In records. It is written down.'

'In records. And ?'

'In the mind. In human memories.'

'In memory. Very well, then. We, the Party, control all

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records, and we control all memories. Then we control the
past, do we not?'

'But how can you stop people remembering things?' cried
Winston again momentarily forgetting the dial. 'It is invol-
untary. It is outside oneself. How can you control memory?
You have not controlled mine!'

O'Brien's manner grew stern again. He laid his hand on
the dial.

'On the contrary' he said, 'YOU have not controlled it.
That is what has brought you here. You are here because
you have failed in humility, in self-discipline. You would
not make the act of submission which is the price of san-
ity. You preferred to be a lunatic, a minority of one. Only
the disciplined mind can see reality, Winston. You believe
that reality is something objective, external, existing in its
own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-
evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you
see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same
thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not ex-
ternal. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.
Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and
in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party,
which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds
to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except
by looking through the eyes of the Party. That is the fact
that you have got to relearn, Winston. It needs an act of self-
destruction, an effort of the will. You must humble yourself
before you can become sane.'

He paused for a few moments, as though to allow what


he had been saying to sink in.

'Do you remember,' he went on, 'writing in your dia-
ry, 'Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make

'Yes,' said Winston.

O'Brien held up his left hand, its back towards Winston,
with the thumb hidden and the four fingers extended.

'How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?'


'And if the party says that it is not four but five — then
how many?'


The word ended in a gasp of pain. The needle of the dial
had shot up to fifty-five. The sweat had sprung out all over
Winston's body. The air tore into his lungs and issued again
in deep groans which even by clenching his teeth he could
not stop. O'Brien watched him, the four fingers still ex-
tended. He drew back the lever. This time the pain was only
slightly eased.

'How many fingers, Winston?'


The needle went up to sixty.

'How many fingers, Winston?'

'Four! Four! What else can I say? Four!'

The needle must have risen again, but he did not look at
it. The heavy, stern face and the four fingers filled his vision.
The fingers stood up before his eyes like pillars, enormous,
blurry, and seeming to vibrate, but unmistakably four.

'How many fingers, Winston?' 315

'Four! Stop it, stop it! How can you go on? Four! Four!'

'How many fingers, Winston?'

'Five! Five! Five!'

'No, Winston, that is no use. You are lying. You still think
there are four. How many fingers, please?'

'Four! five! Four! Anything you like. Only stop it, stop
the pain!'

Abruptly he was sitting up with O'Brien's arm round his
shoulders. He had perhaps lost consciousness for a few sec-
onds. The bonds that had held his body down were loosened.
He felt very cold, he was shaking uncontrollably, his teeth
were chattering, the tears were rolling down his cheeks. For
a moment he clung to O'Brien like a baby, curiously com-
forted by the heavy arm round his shoulders. He had the
feeling that O'Brien was his protector, that the pain was
something that came from outside, from some other source,
and that it was O'Brien who would save him from it.

'You are a slow learner, Winston,' said O'Brien gently.

'How can I help it?' he blubbered. 'How can I help seeing
what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.'

Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Some-
times they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once.
You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.'

He laid Winston down on the bed. The grip of his limbs
tightened again, but the pain had ebbed away and the
trembling had stopped, leaving him merely weak and cold.
O'Brien motioned with his head to the man in the white
coat, who had stood immobile throughout the proceedings.
The man in the white coat bent down and looked closely

316 1984

into Winston's eyes, felt his pulse, laid an ear against his
chest, tapped here and there, then he nodded to O'Brien.

'Again,' said O'Brien.

The pain flowed into Winston's body. The needle must be
at seventy, seventy-five. He had shut his eyes this time. He
knew that the fingers were still there, and still four. All that
mattered was somehow to stay alive until the spasm was
over. He had ceased to notice whether he was crying out or
not. The pain lessened again. He opened his eyes. O'Brien
had drawn back the lever.

'How many fingers, Winston?'

'Four. I suppose there are four. I would see five if I could.
I am trying to see five.'

'Which do you wish: to persuade me that you see five, or
really to see them?'

'Really to see them.'

Again,' said O'Brien.

Perhaps the needle was eighty — ninety. Winston could
not intermittently remember why the pain was happening.
Behind his screwed-up eyelids a forest of fingers seemed to
be moving in a sort of dance, weaving in and out, disap-
pearing behind one another and reappearing again. He was
trying to count them, he could not remember why. He knew
only that it was impossible to count them, and that this was
somehow due to the mysterious identity between five and
four. The pain died down again. When he opened his eyes
it was to find that he was still seeing the same thing. In-
numerable fingers, like moving trees, were still streaming
past in either direction, crossing and recrossing. He shut

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his eyes again.

'How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?'

'I don't know. I don't know. You will kill me if you do that
again. Four, five, six — in all honesty I don't know.'

'Better,' said O'Brien.

A needle slid into Winston's arm. Almost in the same in-
stant a blissful, healing warmth spread all through his body.
The pain was already half-forgotten. He opened his eyes
and looked up gratefully at O'Brien. At sight of the heavy,
lined face, so ugly and so intelligent, his heart seemed to
turn over. If he could have moved he would have stretched
out a hand and laid it on O'Brien's arm. He had never loved
him so deeply as at this moment, and not merely because
he had stopped the pain. The old feeling, that at bottom it
did not matter whether O'Brien was a friend or an enemy,
had come back. O'Brien was a person who could be talked
to. Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be
understood. O'Brien had tortured him to the edge of luna-
cy, and in a little while, it was certain, he would send him
to his death. It made no difference. In some sense that went
deeper than friendship, they were intimates: somewhere or
other, although the actual words might never be spoken,
there was a place where they could meet and talk. O'Brien
was looking down at him with an expression which suggest-
ed that the same thought might be in his own mind. When
he spoke it was in an easy, conversational tone.

'Do you know where you are, Winston?' he said.

'I don't know. I can guess. In the Ministry of Love.'

'Do you know how long you have been here?'

318 1984

'I don't know. Days, weeks, months — I think it is

'And why do you imagine that we bring people to this

'To make them confess.'

'No, that is not the reason. Try again.'

'To punish them.'

'No!' exclaimed O'Brien. His voice had changed extraor-
dinarily, and his face had suddenly become both stern and
animated. 'No! Not merely to extract your confession, not to
punish you. Shall I tell you why we have brought you here?
To cure you! To make you sane! Will you understand, Win-
ston, that no one whom we bring to this place ever leaves
our hands uncured? We are not interested in those stupid
crimes that you have committed. The Party is not interested
in the overt act: the thought is all we care about. We do not
merely destroy our enemies, we change them. Do you un-
derstand what I mean by that?'

He was bending over Winston. His face looked enormous
because of its nearness, and hideously ugly because it was
seen from below. Moreover it was filled with a sort of exal-
tation, a lunatic intensity. Again Winston's heart shrank. If
it had been possible he would have cowered deeper into the
bed. He felt certain that O'Brien was about to twist the dial
out of sheer wantonness. At this moment, however, O'Brien
turned away. He took a pace or two up and down. Then he
continued less vehemently:

'The first thing for you to understand is that in this place
there are no martyrdoms. You have read of the religious 319

persecutions of the past. In the Middle Ages there was the
Inquisition. It was a failure. It set out to eradicate heresy, and
ended by perpetuating it. For every heretic it burned at the
stake, thousands of others rose up. Why was that? Because
the Inquisition killed its enemies in the open, and killed
them while they were still unrepentant: in fact, it killed
them because they were unrepentant. Men were dying be-
cause they would not abandon their true beliefs. Naturally
all the glory belonged to the victim and all the shame to the
Inquisitor who burned him. Later, in the twentieth century,
there were the totalitarians, as they were called. There were
the German Nazis and the Russian Communists. The Rus-
sians persecuted heresy more cruelly than the Inquisition
had done. And they imagined that they had learned from
the mistakes of the past; they knew, at any rate, that one
must not make martyrs. Before they exposed their victims
to public trial, they deliberately set themselves to destroy
their dignity. They wore them down by torture and solitude
until they were despicable, cringing wretches, confessing
whatever was put into their mouths, covering themselves
with abuse, accusing and sheltering behind one another,
whimpering for mercy. And yet after only a few years the
same thing had happened over again. The dead men had
become martyrs and their degradation was forgotten. Once
again, why was it? In the first place, because the confessions
that they had made were obviously extorted and untrue. We
do not make mistakes of that kind. All the confessions that
are uttered here are true. We make them true. And above
all we do not allow the dead to rise up against us. You must


stop imagining that posterity will vindicate you, Winston.
Posterity will never hear of you. You will be lifted clean out
from the stream of history. We shall turn you into gas and
pour you into the stratosphere. Nothing will remain of you,
not a name in a register, not a memory in a living brain. You
will be annihilated in the past as well as in the future. You
will never have existed.'

Then why bother to torture me? thought Winston, with a
momentary bitterness. O'Brien checked his step as though
Winston had uttered the thought aloud. His large ugly face
came nearer, with the eyes a little narrowed.

'You are thinking,' he said, 'that since we intend to de-
stroy you utterly, so that nothing that you say or do can
make the smallest difference — in that case, why do we go to
the trouble of interrogating you first? That is what you were
thinking, was it not?'

'Yes,' said Winston.

O'Brien smiled slightly. 'You are a flaw in the pattern,
Winston. You are a stain that must be wiped out. Did I not
tell you just now that we are different from the persecutors
of the past? We are not content with negative obedience, nor
even with the most abject submission. When finally you
surrender to us, it must be of your own free will. We do not
destroy the heretic because he resists us: so long as he re-
sists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture
his inner mind, we reshape him. We burn all evil and all
illusion out of him; we bring him over to our side, not in ap-
pearance, but genuinely, heart and soul. We make him one
of ourselves before we kill him. It is intolerable to us that 321

an erroneous thought should exist anywhere in the world,
however secret and powerless it maybe. Even in the instant
of death we cannot permit any deviation. In the old days the
heretic walked to the stake still a heretic, proclaiming his
heresy, exulting in it. Even the victim of the Russian purges
could carry rebellion locked up in his skull as he walked
down the passage waiting for the bullet. But we make the
brain perfect before we blow it out. The command of the old
despotisms was 'Thou shalt not". The command of the total-
itarians was 'Thou shalt". Our command is 'THOU ART".
No one whom we bring to this place ever stands out against
us. Everyone is washed clean. Even those three miserable
traitors in whose innocence you once believed — Jones, Aar-
onson, and Rutherford — in the end we broke them down. I
took part in their interrogation myself. I saw them gradu-
ally worn down, whimpering, grovelling, weeping — and in
the end it was not with pain or fear, only with penitence.
By the time we had finished with them they were only the
shells of men. There was nothing left in them except sor-
row for what they had done, and love of Big Brother. It was
touching to see how they loved him. They begged to be shot
quickly, so that they could die while their minds were still

His voice had grown almost dreamy. The exaltation, the
lunatic enthusiasm, was still in his face. He is not pretend-
ing, thought Winston, he is not a hypocrite, he believes
every word he says. What most oppressed him was the con-
sciousness of his own intellectual inferiority. He watched
the heavy yet graceful form strolling to and fro, in and out


of the range of his vision. O'Brien was a being in all ways
larger than himself. There was no idea that he had ever had,
or could have, that O'Brien had not long ago known, ex-
amined, and rejected. His mind CONTAINED Winston's
mind. But in that case how could it be true that O'Brien was
mad? It must be he, Winston, who was mad. O'Brien halted
and looked down at him. His voice had grown stern again.

'Do not imagine that you will save yourself, Winston,
however completely you surrender to us. No one who has
once gone astray is ever spared. And even if we chose to let
you live out the natural term of your life, still you would
never escape from us. What happens to you here is for ever.
Understand that in advance. We shall crush you down to
the point from which there is no coming back. Things will
happen to you from which you could not recover, if you
lived a thousand years. Never again will you be capable of
ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside
you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship,
or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or in-
tegrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and
then we shall fill you with ourselves.'

He paused and signed to the man in the white coat.
Winston was aware of some heavy piece of apparatus being
pushed into place behind his head. O'Brien had sat down
beside the bed, so that his face was almost on a level with

'Three thousand,' he said, speaking over Winston's head
to the man in the white coat.

Two soft pads, which felt slightly moist, clamped them- 323

selves against Winston's temples. He quailed. There was
pain coming, a new kind of pain. O'Brien laid a hand reas-
suringly, almost kindly, on his.

'This time it will not hurt,' he said. 'Keep your eyes fixed
on mine.'

At this moment there was a devastating explosion, or what
seemed like an explosion, though it was not certain whether
there was any noise. There was undoubtedly a blinding flash
of light. Winston was not hurt, only prostrated. Although
he had already been lying on his back when the thing hap-
pened, he had a curious feeling that he had been knocked
into that position. A terrific painless blow had flattened him
out. Also something had happened inside his head. As his
eyes regained their focus he remembered who he was, and
where he was, and recognized the face that was gazing into
his own; but somewhere or other there was a large patch
of emptiness, as though a piece had been taken out of his

'It will not last,' said O'Brien. 'Look me in the eyes. What
country is Oceania at war with?'

Winston thought. He knew what was meant by Oceania
and that he himself was a citizen of Oceania. He also re-
membered Eurasia and Eastasia; but who was at war with
whom he did not know. In fact he had not been aware that
there was any war.

'I don't remember.'

'Oceania is at war with Eastasia. Do you remember that



'Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. Since the
beginning of your life, since the beginning of the Party,
since the beginning of history, the war has continued with-
out a break, always the same war. Do you remember that?'


'Eleven years ago you created a legend about three men
who had been condemned to death for treachery. You pre-
tended that you had seen a piece of paper which proved
them innocent. No such piece of paper ever existed. You in-
vented it, and later you grew to believe in it. You remember
now the very moment at which you first invented it. Do you
remember that?'


'Just now I held up the fingers of my hand to you. You saw
five fingers. Do you remember that?'


O'Brien held up the fingers of his left hand, with the
thumb concealed.

"There are five fingers there. Do you see five fingers?'


And he did see them, for a fleeting instant, before the
scenery of his mind changed. He saw five fingers, and there
was no deformity. Then everything was normal again, and
the old fear, the hatred, and the bewilderment came crowd-
ing back again. But there had been a moment — he did not
know how long, thirty seconds, perhaps — of luminous cer-
tainty, when each new suggestion of O'Brien's had filled up
a patch of emptiness and become absolute truth, and when
two and two could have been three as easily as five, if that 325

were what was needed. It had faded but before O'Brien had
dropped his hand; but though he could not recapture it, he
could remember it, as one remembers a vivid experience at
some period of one's life when one was in effect a different

'You see now,' said O'Brien, 'that it is at any rate possi-

'Yes,' said Winston.

O'Brien stood up with a satisfied air. Over to his left
Winston saw the man in the white coat break an ampoule
and draw back the plunger of a syringe. O'Brien turned to
Winston with a smile. In almost the old manner he resettled
his spectacles on his nose.

'Do you remember writing in your diary' he said, 'that
it did not matter whether I was a friend or an enemy, since
I was at least a person who understood you and could be
talked to? You were right. I enjoy talking to you. Your mind
appeals to me. It resembles my own mind except that you
happen to be insane. Before we bring the session to an end
you can ask me a few questions, if you choose.'

'Any question I like?'

'Anything.' He saw that Winston's eyes were upon the
dial. 'It is switched off. What is your first question?'

'What have you done with Julia?' said Winston.

O'Brien smiled again. 'She betrayed you, Winston. Im-
mediately — unreservedly. I have seldom seen anyone come
over to us so promptly. You would hardly recognize her if
you saw her. All her rebelliousness, her deceit, her folly, her
dirty-mindedness — everything has been burned out of her.

326 1984

It was a perfect conversion, a textbook case.'

'You tortured her?'

O'Brien left this unanswered. 'Next question,' he said.

'Does Big Brother exist?'

'Of course he exists. The Party exists. Big Brother is the
embodiment of the Party.'

'Does he exist in the same way as I exist?'

'You do not exist,' said O'Brien.

Once again the sense of helplessness assailed him. He
knew, or he could imagine, the arguments which proved
his own nonexistence; but they were nonsense, they were
only a play on words. Did not the statement, 'You do not ex-
ist', contain a logical absurdity? But what use was it to say
so? His mind shrivelled as he thought of the unanswerable,
mad arguments with which O'Brien would demolish him.

'I think I exist,' he said wearily. 'I am conscious of my
own identity. I was born and I shall die. I have arms and
legs. I occupy a particular point in space. No other solid
object can occupy the same point simultaneously. In that
sense, does Big Brother exist?'

'It is of no importance. He exists.'

'Will Big Brother ever die?'

'Of course not. How could he die? Next question.'

'Does the Brotherhood exist?'

'That, Winston, you will never know. If we choose to set
you free when we have finished with you, and if you live to
be ninety years old, still you will never learn whether the
answer to that question is Yes or No. As long as you live it
will be an unsolved riddle in your mind.' 327

Winston lay silent. His breast rose and fell a little faster.
He still had not asked the question that had come into his
mind the first. He had got to ask it, and yet it was as though
his tongue would not utter it. There was a trace of amuse-
ment in O'Brien's face. Even his spectacles seemed to wear
an ironical gleam. He knows, thought Winston suddenly,
he knows what I am going to ask! At the thought the words
burst out of him:

'What is in Room 101?'

The expression on O'Brien's face did not change. He an-
swered drily:

'You know what is in Room 101, Winston. Everyone
knows what is in Room 101.'

He raised a finger to the man in the white coat. Evidently
the session was at an end. A needle jerked into Winston's
arm. He sank almost instantly into deep sleep.


Chapter 3

^ There are three stages in your reintegration,' said O'Brien.
'There is learning, there is understanding, and there is ac-
ceptance. It is time for you to enter upon the second stage.'

As always, Winston was lying flat on his back. But of late
his bonds were looser. They still held him to the bed, but
he could move his knees a little and could turn his head
from side to side and raise his arms from the elbow. The
dial, also, had grown to be less of a terror. He could evade its
pangs if he was quick-witted enough: it was chiefly when he
showed stupidity that O'Brien pulled the lever. Sometimes
they got through a whole session without use of the dial.
He could not remember how many sessions there had been.
The whole process seemed to stretch out over a long, indefi-
nite time — weeks, possibly — and the intervals between the
sessions might sometimes have been days, sometimes only
an hour or two.

'As you lie there,' said O'Brien, 'you have often won-
dered — you have even asked me — why the Ministry of Love
should expend so much time and trouble on you. And when
you were free you were puzzled by what was essentially the
same question. You could grasp the mechanics of the So-
ciety you lived in, but not its underlying motives. Do you
remember writing in your diary, 'I understand HOW: I do
not understand WHY'? It was when you thought about

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'why' that you doubted your own sanity. You have read THE
BOOK, Goldstein's book, or parts of it, at least. Did it tell
you anything that you did not know already?'

'You have read it?' said Winston.

'I wrote it. That is to say, I collaborated in writing it. No
book is produced individually, as you know.'

'Is it true, what it says?'

'As description, yes. The programme it sets forth is non-
sense. The secret accumulation of knowledge — a gradual
spread of enlightenment — ultimately a proletarian rebel-
lion — the overthrow of the Party. You foresaw yourself that
that was what it would say. It is all nonsense. The proletar-
ians will never revolt, not in a thousand years or a million.
They cannot. I do not have to tell you the reason: you know
it already. If you have ever cherished any dreams of violent
insurrection, you must abandon them. There is no way in
which the Party can be overthrown. The rule of the Party is
for ever. Make that the starting-point of your thoughts.'

He came closer to the bed. 'For ever!' he repeated. 'And
now let us get back to the question of 'how' and 'why". You
understand well enough HOW the Party maintains itself
in power. Now tell me WHY we cling to power. What is
our motive? Why should we want power? Go on, speak,' he
added as Winston remained silent.

Nevertheless Winston did not speak for another mo-
ment or two. A feeling of weariness had overwhelmed him.
The faint, mad gleam of enthusiasm had come back into
O'Brien's face. He knew in advance what O'Brien would say.
That the Party did not seek power for its own ends, but only


for the good of the majority. That it sought power because
men in the mass were frail, cowardly creatures who could
not endure liberty or face the truth, and must be ruled over
and systematically deceived by others who were stronger
than themselves. That the choice for mankind lay between
freedom and happiness, and that, for the great bulk of man-
kind, happiness was better. That the party was the eternal
guardian of the weak, a dedicated sect doing evil that good
might come, sacrificing its own happiness to that of oth-
ers. The terrible thing, thought Winston, the terrible thing
was that when O'Brien said this he would believe it. You
could see it in his face. O'Brien knew everything. A thou-
sand times better than Winston he knew what the world
was really like, in what degradation the mass of human be-
ings lived and by what lies and barbarities the Party kept
them there. He had understood it all, weighed it all, and it
made no difference: all was justified by the ultimate purpose.
What can you do, thought Winston, against the lunatic who
is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments
a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?

'You are ruling over us for our own good,' he said feebly.
'You believe that human beings are not fit to govern them-
selves, and therefore '

He started and almost cried out. A pang of pain had shot
through his body. O'Brien had pushed the lever of the dial
up to thirty-five.

'That was stupid, Winston, stupid!' he said. 'You should
know better than to say a thing like that.'

He pulled the lever back and continued:

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'Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this.
The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not
interested in the good of others; we are interested solely
in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness:
only power, pure power. What pure power means you will
understand presently. We are different from all the oligar-
chies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All
the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cow-
ards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian
Communists came very close to us in their methods, but
they never had the courage to recognize their own motives.
They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had
seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that
just round the corner there lay a paradise where human be-
ings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know
that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relin-
quishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not
establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution;
one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictator-
ship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of
torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you
begin to understand me?'

Winston was struck, as he had been struck before, by the
tiredness of O'Brien's face. It was strong and fleshy and bru-
tal, it was full of intelligence and a sort of controlled passion
before which he felt himself helpless; but it was tired. There
were pouches under the eyes, the skin sagged from the
cheekbones. O'Brien leaned over him, deliberately bringing
the worn face nearer.


'You are thinking,' he said, 'that my face is old and tired.
You are thinking that I talk of power, and yet I am not even
able to prevent the decay of my own body. Can you not un-
derstand, Winston, that the individual is only a cell? The
weariness of the cell is the vigour of the organism. Do you
die when you cut your fingernails?'

He turned away from the bed and began strolling up and
down again, one hand in his pocket.

'We are the priests of power,' he said. 'God is power. But
at present power is only a word so far as you are concerned.
It is time for you to gather some idea of what power means.
The first thing you must realize is that power is collective.
The individual only has power in so far as he ceases to be an
individual. You know the Party slogan: 'Freedom is Slavery".
Has it ever occurred to you that it is reversible? Slavery is
freedom. Alone — free — the human being is always defeated.
It must be so, because every human being is doomed to die,
which is the greatest of all failures. But if he can make com-
plete, utter submission, if he can escape from his identity,
if he can merge himself in the Party so that he IS the Party,
then he is all-powerful and immortal. The second thing for
you to realize is that power is power over human beings.
Over the body — but, above all, over the mind. Power over
matter — external reality, as you would call it — is not impor-
tant. Already our control over matter is absolute.'

For a moment Winston ignored the dial. He made a vio-
lent effort to raise himself into a sitting position, and merely
succeeded in wrenching his body painfully.

'But how can you control matter?' he burst out. 'You don't

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even control the climate or the law of gravity. And there are
disease, pain, death '

O'Brien silenced him by a movement of his hand. 'We
control matter because we control the mind. Reality is in-
side the skull. You will learn by degrees, Winston. There is
nothing that we could not do. Invisibility, levitation — any-
thing. I could float off this floor like a soap bubble if I wish
to. I do not wish to, because the Party does not wish it. You
must get rid of those nineteenth-century ideas about the
laws of Nature. We make the laws of Nature.'

'But you do not! You are not even masters of this planet.
What about Eurasia and Eastasia? You have not conquered
them yet.'

'Unimportant. We shall conquer them when it suits us.
And if we did not, what difference would it make? We can
shut them out of existence. Oceania is the world.'

'But the world itself is only a speck of dust. And man is
tiny — helpless! How long has he been in existence? For mil-
lions of years the earth was uninhabited.'

'Nonsense. The earth is as old as we are, no older. How
could it be older? Nothing exists except through human

'But the rocks are full of the bones of extinct animals —
mammoths and mastodons and enormous reptiles which
lived here long before man was ever heard of

'Have you ever seen those bones, Winston? Of course not.
Nineteenth- century biologists invented them. Before man
there was nothing. After man, if he could come to an end,
there would be nothing. Outside man there is nothing.'


'But the whole universe is outside us. Look at the stars!
Some of them are a million light-years away. They are out of
our reach for ever.'

'What are the stars?' said O'Brien indifferently. 'They are
bits of fire a few kilometres away. We could reach them if we
wanted to. Or we could blot them out. The earth is the cen-
tre of the universe. The sun and the stars go round it.'

Winston made another convulsive movement. This time
he did not say anything. O'Brien continued as though an-
swering a spoken objection:

'For certain purposes, of course, that is not true. When
we navigate the ocean, or when we predict an eclipse, we of-
ten find it convenient to assume that the earth goes round
the sun and that the stars are millions upon millions of ki-
lometres away. But what of it? Do you suppose it is beyond
us to produce a dual system of astronomy? The stars can be
near or distant, according as we need them. Do you suppose
our mathematicians are unequal to that? Have you forgot-
ten doublethink?'

Winston shrank back upon the bed. Whatever he said,
the swift answer crushed him like a bludgeon. And yet he
knew, he KNEW, that he was in the right. The belief that
nothing exists outside your own mind — surely there must
be some way of demonstrating that it was false? Had it not
been exposed long ago as a fallacy? There was even a name
for it, which he had forgotten. A faint smile twitched the
corners of O'Brien's mouth as he looked down at him.

'I told you, Winston,' he said, 'that metaphysics is not
your strong point. The word you are trying to think of is 335

solipsism. But you are mistaken. This is not solipsism. Col-
lective solipsism, if you like. But that is a different thing: in
fact, the opposite thing. All this is a digression,' he added
in a different tone. 'The real power, the power we have to
fight for night and day, is not power over things, but over
men.' He paused, and for a moment assumed again his air
of a schoolmaster questioning a promising pupil: 'How does
one man assert his power over another, Winston?'

Winston thought. 'By making him suffer,' he said.

'Exactly By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough.
Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obey-
ing your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain
and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces
and putting them together again in new shapes of your own
choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we
are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonis-
tic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear
and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being
trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but MORE
merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be
progress towards more pain. The old civilizations claimed
that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded
upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions ex-
cept fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything
else we shall destroy — everything. Already we are break-
ing down the habits of thought which have survived from
before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child
and parent, and between man and man, and between man
and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend

336 1984

any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and
no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at
birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be
eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the
renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our
neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loy-
alty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love,
except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, ex-
cept the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will
be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipo-
tent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no
distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no
curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing
pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this,
Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power,
constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Al-
ways, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory,
the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If
you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping
on a human face — for ever.'

He paused as though he expected Winston to speak.
Winston had tried to shrink back into the surface of the bed
again. He could not say anything. His heart seemed to be
frozen. O'Brien went on:

And remember that it is for ever. The face will always
be there to be stamped upon. The heretic, the enemy of so-
ciety, will always be there, so that he can be defeated and
humiliated over again. Everything that you have undergone
since you have been in our hands — all that will continue, 337

and worse. The espionage, the betrayals, the arrests, the tor-
tures, the executions, the disappearances will never cease.
It will be a world of terror as much as a world of triumph.
The more the Party is powerful, the less it will be tolerant:
the weaker the opposition, the tighter the despotism. Gold-
stein and his heresies will live for ever. Every day, at every
moment, they will be defeated, discredited, ridiculed, spat
upon and yet they will always survive. This drama that I
have played out with you during seven years will be played
out over and over again generation after generation, always
in subtler forms. Always we shall have the heretic here at our
mercy, screaming with pain, broken up, contemptible — and
in the end utterly penitent, saved from himself, crawling to
our feet of his own accord. That is the world that we are pre-
paring, Winston. A world of victory after victory, triumph
after triumph after triumph: an endless pressing, pressing,
pressing upon the nerve of power. You are beginning, I can
see, to realize what that world will be like. But in the end
you will do more than understand it. You will accept it, wel-
come it, become part of it.'

Winston had recovered himself sufficiently to speak.
'You can't!' he said weakly.

'What do you mean by that remark, Winston?'

'You could not create such a world as you have just de-
scribed. It is a dream. It is impossible.'


'It is impossible to found a civilization on fear and hatred
and cruelty. It would never endure.'

'Why not?'

338 1984

'It would have no vitality. It would disintegrate. It would
commit suicide.'

'Nonsense. You are under the impression that hatred is
more exhausting than love. Why should it be? And if it were,
what difference would that make? Suppose that we choose
to wear ourselves out faster. Suppose that we quicken the
tempo of human life till men are senile at thirty. Still what
difference would it make? Can you not understand that the
death of the individual is not death? The party is immor-

As usual, the voice had battered Winston into helpless-
ness. Moreover he was in dread that if he persisted in his
disagreement O'Brien would twist the dial again. And yet
he could not keep silent. Feebly, without arguments, with
nothing to support him except his inarticulate horror of
what O'Brien had said, he returned to the attack.

'I don't know — I don't care. Somehow you will fail. Some-
thing will defeat you. Life will defeat you.'

We control life, Winston, at all its levels. You are imag-
ining that there is something called human nature which
will be outraged by what we do and will turn against us. But
we create human nature. Men are infinitely malleable. Or
perhaps you have returned to your old idea that the prole-
tarians or the slaves will arise and overthrow us. Put it out
of your mind. They are helpless, like the animals. Humanity
is the Party. The others are outside — irrelevant.'

'I don't care. In the end they will beat you. Sooner or later
they will see you for what you are, and then they will tear
you to pieces.' 339

'Do you see any evidence that that is happening? Or any
reason why it should?'

'No. I believe it. I KNOW that you will fail. There is
something in the universe — I don't know, some spirit, some
principle — that you will never overcome.'

'Do you believe in God, Winston?'


'Then what is it, this principle that will defeat us?'

'I don't know. The spirit of Man.'

'And do you consider yourself a man?'


'If you are a man, Winston, you are the last man. Your
kind is extinct; we are the inheritors. Do you understand
that you are ALONE? You are outside history, you are non-
existent.' His manner changed and he said more harshly:
And you consider yourself morally superior to us, with our
lies and our cruelty?'

'Yes, I consider myself superior.'

O'Brien did not speak. Two other voices were speaking.
After a moment Winston recognized one of them as his
own. It was a sound-track of the conversation he had had
with O'Brien, on the night when he had enrolled himself in
the Brotherhood. He heard himself promising to lie, to steal,
to forge, to murder, to encourage drug-taking and prosti-
tution, to disseminate venereal diseases, to throw vitriol
in a child's face. O'Brien made a small impatient gesture,
as though to say that the demonstration was hardly worth
making. Then he turned a switch and the voices stopped.

'Get up from that bed,' he said.


The bonds had loosened themselves. Winston lowered
himself to the floor and stood up unsteadily.

'You are the last man,' said O'Brien. 'You are the guard-
ian of the human spirit. You shall see yourself as you are.
Take off your clothes.'

Winston undid the bit of string that held his overalls to-
gether. The zip fastener had long since been wrenched out of
them. He could not remember whether at any time since his
arrest he had taken off all his clothes at one time. Beneath
the overalls his body was looped with filthy yellowish rags,
just recognizable as the remnants of underclothes. As he
slid them to the ground he saw that there was a three-sided
mirror at the far end of the room. He approached it, then
stopped short. An involuntary cry had broken out of him.

'Go on,' said O'Brien. 'Stand between the wings of the
mirror. You shall see the side view as well.'

He had stopped because he was frightened. A bowed,
grey-coloured, skeleton-like thing was coming towards
him. Its actual appearance was frightening, and not merely
the fact that he knew it to be himself. He moved closer to
the glass. The creature's face seemed to be protruded, be-
cause of its bent carriage. A forlorn, jailbird's face with a
nobby forehead running back into a bald scalp, a crooked
nose, and battered-looking cheekbones above which his
eyes were fierce and watchful. The cheeks were seamed, the
mouth had a drawn-in look. Certainly it was his own face,
but it seemed to him that it had changed more than he had
changed inside. The emotions it registered would be differ-
ent from the ones he felt. He had gone partially bald. For the 341

first moment he had thought that he had gone grey as well,
but it was only the scalp that was grey. Except for his hands
and a circle of his face, his body was grey all over with an-
cient, ingrained dirt. Here and there under the dirt there
were the red scars of wounds, and near the ankle the vari-
cose ulcer was an inflamed mass with flakes of skin peeling
off it. But the truly frightening thing was the emaciation of
his body. The barrel of the ribs was as narrow as that of a
skeleton: the legs had shrunk so that the knees were thicker
than the thighs. He saw now what O'Brien had meant about
seeing the side view. The curvature of the spine was aston-
ishing. The thin shoulders were hunched forward so as to
make a cavity of the chest, the scraggy neck seemed to be
bending double under the weight of the skull. At a guess he
would have said that it was the body of a man of sixty, suf-
fering from some malignant disease.

'You have thought sometimes,' said O'Brien, 'that my
face — the face of a member of the Inner Party — looks old
and worn. What do you think of your own face?'

He seized Winston's shoulder and spun him round so
that he was facing him.

'Look at the condition you are in!' he said. 'Look at this
filthy grime all over your body. Look at the dirt between
your toes. Look at that disgusting running sore on your leg.
Do you know that you stink like a goat? Probably you have
ceased to notice it. Look at your emaciation. Do you see? I
can make my thumb and forefinger meet round your bicep.
I could snap your neck like a carrot. Do you know that you
have lost twenty-five kilograms since you have been in our


hands? Even your hair is coming out in handfuls. Look!' He
plucked at Winston's head and brought away a tuft of hair.
'Open your mouth. Nine, ten, eleven teeth left. How many
had you when you came to us? And the few you have left are
dropping out of your head. Look here!'

He seized one of Winston's remaining front teeth be-
tween his powerful thumb and forefinger. A twinge of pain
shot through Winston's jaw. O'Brien had wrenched the
loose tooth out by the roots. He tossed it across the cell.

'You are rotting away' he said; 'you are falling to pieces.
What are you? A bag of filth. Now turn around and look
into that mirror again. Do you see that thing facing you?
That is the last man. If you are human, that is humanity.
Now put your clothes on again.'

Winston began to dress himself with slow stiff move-
ments. Until now he had not seemed to notice how thin and
weak he was. Only one thought stirred in his mind: that he
must have been in this place longer than he had imagined.
Then suddenly as he fixed the miserable rags round himself
a feeling of pity for his ruined body overcame him. Before
he knew what he was doing he had collapsed on to a small
stool that stood beside the bed and burst into tears. He was
aware of his ugliness, his gracelessness, a bundle of bones in
filthy underclothes sitting weeping in the harsh white light:
but he could not stop himself. O'Brien laid a hand on his
shoulder, almost kindly.

'It will not last for ever,' he said. 'You can escape from it
whenever you choose. Everything depends on yourself

'You did it!' sobbed Winston. 'You reduced me to this

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'No, Winston, you reduced yourself to it. This is what you
accepted when you set yourself up against the Party. It was
all contained in that first act. Nothing has happened that
you did not foresee.'

He paused, and then went on:

'We have beaten you, Winston. We have broken you up.
You have seen what your body is like. Your mind is in the
same state. I do not think there can be much pride left in
you. You have been kicked and flogged and insulted, you
have screamed with pain, you have rolled on the floor in
your own blood and vomit. You have whimpered for mercy,
you have betrayed everybody and everything. Can you think
of a single degradation that has not happened to you?'

Winston had stopped weeping, though the tears were
still oozing out of his eyes. He looked up at O'Brien.

'I have not betrayed Julia,' he said.

O'Brien looked down at him thoughtfully. 'No,' he said;
'no; that is perfectly true. You have not betrayed Julia.'

The peculiar reverence for O'Brien, which nothing
seemed able to destroy, flooded Winston's heart again. How
intelligent, he thought, how intelligent! Never did O'Brien
fail to understand what was said to him. Anyone else on
earth would have answered promptly that he HAD be-
trayed Julia. For what was there that they had not screwed
out of him under the torture? He had told them everything
he knew about her, her habits, her character, her past life;
he had confessed in the most trivial detail everything that
had happened at their meetings, all that he had said to her


and she to him, their black-market meals, their adulteries,
their vague plottings against the Party — everything. And
yet, in the sense in which he intended the word, he had not
betrayed her. He had not stopped loving her; his feelings to-
wards her had remained the same. O'Brien had seen what
he meant without the need for explanation.

'Tell me,' he said, 'how soon will they shoot me?'
'It might be a long time,' said O'Brien. 'You are a difficult
case. But don't give up hope. Everyone is cured sooner or
later. In the end we shall shoot you.'

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Chapter 4

He was much better. He was growing fatter and stronger
every day, if it was proper to speak of days.

The white light and the humming sound were the same
as ever, but the cell was a little more comfortable than the
others he had been in. There was a pillow and a mattress on
the plank bed, and a stool to sit on. They had given him a
bath, and they allowed him to wash himself fairly frequent-
ly in a tin basin. They even gave him warm water to wash
with. They had given him new underclothes and a clean suit
of overalls. They had dressed his varicose ulcer with sooth-
ing ointment. They had pulled out the remnants of his teeth
and given him a new set of dentures.

Weeks or months must have passed. It would have been
possible now to keep count of the passage of time, if he had
felt any interest in doing so, since he was being fed at what
appeared to be regular intervals. He was getting, he judged,
three meals in the twenty-four hours; sometimes he won-
dered dimly whether he was getting them by night or by day.
The food was surprisingly good, with meat at every third
meal. Once there was even a packet of cigarettes. He had
no matches, but the never-speaking guard who brought his
food would give him a light. The first time he tried to smoke
it made him sick, but he persevered, and spun the packet out
for along time, smoking half a cigarette after each meal.

346 1984

They had given him a white slate with a stump of pencil
tied to the corner. At first he made no use of it. Even when
he was awake he was completely torpid. Often he would lie
from one meal to the next almost without stirring, some-
times asleep, sometimes waking into vague reveries in which
it was too much trouble to open his eyes. He had long grown
used to sleeping with a strong light on his face. It seemed
to make no difference, except that one's dreams were more
coherent. He dreamed a great deal all through this time,
and they were always happy dreams. He was in the Golden
Country, or he was sitting among enormous glorious, sunlit
ruins, with his mother, with Julia, with O'Brien — not do-
ing anything, merely sitting in the sun, talking of peaceful
things. Such thoughts as he had when he was awake were
mostly about his dreams. He seemed to have lost the power
of intellectual effort, now that the stimulus of pain had been
removed. He was not bored, he had no desire for conversa-
tion or distraction. Merely to be alone, not to be beaten or
questioned, to have enough to eat, and to be clean all over,
was completely satisfying.

By degrees he came to spend less time in sleep, but he still
felt no impulse to get off the bed. All he cared for was to lie
quiet and feel the strength gathering in his body. He would
finger himself here and there, trying to make sure that it
was not an illusion that his muscles were growing round-
er and his skin tauter. Finally it was established beyond a
doubt that he was growing fatter; his thighs were now defi-
nitely thicker than his knees. After that, reluctantly at first,
he began exercising himself regularly. In a little while he

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could walk three kilometres, measured by pacing the cell,
and his bowed shoulders were growing straighten He at-
tempted more elaborate exercises, and was astonished and
humiliated to find what things he could not do. He could
not move out of a walk, he could not hold his stool out at
arm's length, he could not stand on one leg without falling
over. He squatted down on his heels, and found that with
agonizing pains in thigh and calf he could just lift himself
to a standing position. He lay flat on his belly and tried to
lift his weight by his hands. It was hopeless, he could not
raise himself a centimetre. But after a few more days — a few
more mealtimes — even that feat was accomplished. A time
came when he could do it six times running. He began to
grow actually proud of his body, and to cherish an inter-
mittent belief that his face also was growing back to normal.
Only when he chanced to put his hand on his bald scalp did
he remember the seamed, ruined face that had looked back
at him out of the mirror.

His mind grew more active. He sat down on the plank
bed, his back against the wall and the slate on his knees,
and set to work deliberately at the task of re-educating him-

He had capitulated, that was agreed. In reality, as he saw
now, he had been ready to capitulate long before he had
taken the decision. From the moment when he was inside
the Ministry of Love — and yes, even during those minutes
when he and Julia had stood helpless while the iron voice
from the telescreen told them what to do — he had grasped
the frivolity, the shallowness of his attempt to set himself

348 1984

up against the power of the Party. He knew now that for
seven years the Thought Police had watched him like a bee-
tle under a magnifying glass. There was no physical act, no
word spoken aloud, that they had not noticed, no train of
thought that they had not been able to infer. Even the speck
of whitish dust on the cover of his diary they had careful-
ly replaced. They had played sound-tracks to him, shown
him photographs. Some of them were photographs of Julia
and himself. Yes, even... He could not fight against the Party
any longer. Besides, the Party was in the right. It must be
so; how could the immortal, collective brain be mistaken?
By what external standard could you check its judgements?
Sanity was statistical. It was merely a question of learning

to think as they thought. Only !

The pencil felt thick and awkward in his fingers. He be-
gan to write down the thoughts that came into his head. He
wrote first in large clumsy capitals:


Then almost without a pause he wrote beneath it:


But then there came a sort of check. His mind, as though
shying away from something, seemed unable to concen-
trate. He knew that he knew what came next, but for the
moment he could not recall it. When he did recall it, it was
only by consciously reasoning out what it must be: it did not 349

come of its own accord. He wrote:

He accepted everything. The past was alterable. The past
never had been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia.
Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia. Jones, Aar-
onson, and Rutherford were guilty of the crimes they were
charged with. He had never seen the photograph that dis-
proved their guilt. It had never existed, he had invented it.
He remembered remembering contrary things, but those
were false memories, products of self-deception. How easy it
all was! Only surrender, and everything else followed. It was
like swimming against a current that swept you backwards
however hard you struggled, and then suddenly deciding to
turn round and go with the current instead of opposing it.
Nothing had changed except your own attitude: the predes-
tined thing happened in any case. He hardly knew why he
had ever rebelled. Everything was easy, except !

Anything could be true. The so-called laws of Na-
ture were nonsense. The law of gravity was nonsense. 'If I
wished,' O'Brien had said, 'I could float off this floor like
a soap bubble.' Winston worked it out. 'If he THINKS he
floats off the floor, and if I simultaneously THINK I see
him do it, then the thing happens.' Suddenly, like a lump
of submerged wreckage breaking the surface of water, the
thought burst into his mind: 'It doesn't really happen. We
imagine it. It is hallucination.' He pushed the thought un-
der instantly. The fallacy was obvious. It presupposed that


somewhere or other, outside oneself, there was a 'real' world
where 'real' things happened. But how could there be such a
world? What knowledge have we of anything, save through
our own minds? All happenings are in the mind. Whatever
happens in all minds, truly happens.

He had no difficulty in disposing of the fallacy, and he
was in no danger of succumbing to it. He realized, never-
theless, that it ought never to have occurred to him. The
mind should develop a blind spot whenever a dangerous
thought presented itself. The process should be automatic,
instinctive. CRIMESTOP, they called it in Newspeak.

He set to work to exercise himself in crimestop. He pre-
sented himself with propositions — 'the Party says the earth
is flat', 'the party says that ice is heavier than water' — and
trained himself in not seeing or not understanding the ar-
guments that contradicted them. It was not easy. It needed
great powers of reasoning and improvisation. The arith-
metical problems raised, for instance, by such a statement
as 'two and two make five' were beyond his intellectual
grasp. It needed also a sort of athleticism of mind, an ability
at one moment to make the most delicate use of logic and
at the next to be unconscious of the crudest logical errors.
Stupidity was as necessary as intelligence, and as difficult
to attain.

All the while, with one part of his mind, he wondered
how soon they would shoot him. 'Everything depends on
yourself,' O'Brien had said; but he knew that there was no
conscious act by which he could bring it nearer. It might
be ten minutes hence, or ten years. They might keep him 351

for years in solitary confinement, they might send him to
a labour-camp, they might release him for a while, as they
sometimes did. It was perfectly possible that before he was
shot the whole drama of his arrest and interrogation would
be enacted all over again. The one certain thing was that
death never came at an expected moment. The tradition —
the unspoken tradition: somehow you knew it, though you
never heard it said — was that they shot you from behind;
always in the back of the head, without warning, as you
walked down a corridor from cell to cell.

One day — but 'one day' was not the right expression; just
as probably it was in the middle of the night: once — he fell
into a strange, blissful reverie. He was walking down the
corridor, waiting for the bullet. He knew that it was com-
ing in another moment. Everything was settled, smoothed
out, reconciled. There were no more doubts, no more argu-
ments, no more pain, no more fear. His body was healthy
and strong. He walked easily, with a joy of movement and
with a feeling of walking in sunlight. He was not any longer
in the narrow white corridors in the Ministry of Love, he
was in the enormous sunlit passage, a kilometre wide, down
which he had seemed to walk in the delirium induced by
drugs. He was in the Golden Country, following the foot-
track across the old rabbit- cropped pasture. He could feel
the short springy turf under his feet and the gentle sun-
shine on his face. At the edge of the field were the elm trees,
faintly stirring, and somewhere beyond that was the stream
where the dace lay in the green pools under the willows.

Suddenly he started up with a shock of horror. The


sweat broke out on his backbone. He had heard himself cry

'Julia! Julia! Julia, my love! Julia!'

For a moment he had had an overwhelming hallucina-
tion of her presence. She had seemed to be not merely with
him, but inside him. It was as though she had got into the
texture of his skin. In that moment he had loved her far
more than he had ever done when they were together and
free. Also he knew that somewhere or other she was still
alive and needed his help.

He lay back on the bed and tried to compose himself.
What had he done? How many years had he added to his
servitude by that moment of weakness?

In another moment he would hear the tramp of boots
outside. They could not let such an outburst go unpunished.
They would know now, if they had not known before, that
he was breaking the agreement he had made with them. He
obeyed the Party, but he still hated the Party. In the old
days he had hidden a heretical mind beneath an appear-
ance of conformity. Now he had retreated a step further:
in the mind he had surrendered, but he had hoped to keep
the inner heart inviolate. He knew that he was in the wrong,
but he preferred to be in the wrong. They would understand
that — O'Brien would understand it. It was all confessed in
that single foolish cry.

He would have to start all over again. It might take years.
He ran a hand over his face, trying to familiarize himself
with the new shape. There were deep furrows in the cheeks,
the cheekbones felt sharp, the nose flattened. Besides, since 353

last seeing himself in the glass he had been given a complete
new set of teeth. It was not easy to preserve inscrutabili-
ty when you did not know what your face looked like. In
any case, mere control of the features was not enough. For
the first time he perceived that if you want to keep a secret
you must also hide it from yourself. You must know all the
while that it is there, but until it is needed you must never let
it emerge into your consciousness in any shape that could
be given a name. From now onwards he must not only think
right; he must feel right, dream right. And all the while he
must keep his hatred locked up inside him like a ball of
matter which was part of himself and yet unconnected with
the rest of him, a kind of cyst.

One day they would decide to shoot him. You could not
tell when it would happen, but a few seconds beforehand
it should be possible to guess. It was always from behind,
walking down a corridor. Ten seconds would be enough. In
that time the world inside him could turn over. And then
suddenly, without a word uttered, without a check in his
step, without the changing of a line in his face — suddenly
the camouflage would be down and bang! would go the bat-
teries of his hatred. Hatred would fill him like an enormous
roaring flame. And almost in the same instant bang! would
go the bullet, too late, or too early. They would have blown
his brain to pieces before they could reclaim it. The hereti-
cal thought would be unpunished, unrepented, out of their
reach for ever. They would have blown a hole in their own
perfection. To die hating them, that was freedom.

He shut his eyes. It was more difficult than accepting


an intellectual discipline. It was a question of degrading
himself, mutilating himself. He had got to plunge into the
filthiest of filth. What was the most horrible, sickening thing
of all? He thought of Big Brother. The enormous face (be-
cause of constantly seeing it on posters he always thought
of it as being a metre wide), with its heavy black moustache
and the eyes that followed you to and fro, seemed to float
into his mind of its own accord. What were his true feelings
towards Big Brother?

There was a heavy tramp of boots in the passage. The
steel door swung open with a clang. O'Brien walked into
the cell. Behind him were the waxen-faced officer and the
black-uniformed guards.

'Get up,' said O'Brien. 'Come here.'

Winston stood opposite him. O'Brien took Winston's
shoulders between his strong hands and looked at him

'You have had thoughts of deceiving me,' he said. 'That
was stupid. Stand up straighter. Look me in the face.'

He paused, and went on in a gentler tone:

'You are improving. Intellectually there is very little
wrong with you. It is only emotionally that you have failed
to make progress. Tell me, Winston — and remember, no
lies: you know that I am always able to detect a lie — tell me,
what are your true feelings towards Big Brother?'

'I hate him.'

'You hate him. Good. Then the time has come for you
to take the last step. You must love Big Brother. It is not
enough to obey him: you must love him.'

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He released Winston with a little push towards the

'Room 101' he said.

356 1984

Chapter 5

At each stage of his imprisonment he had known, or
seemed to know, whereabouts he was in the window-
less building. Possibly there were slight differences in the air
pressure. The cells where the guards had beaten him were
below ground level. The room where he had been interro-
gated by O'Brien was high up near the roof. This place was
many metres underground, as deep down as it was possible
to go.

It was bigger than most of the cells he had been in. But
he hardly noticed his surroundings. All he noticed was that
there were two small tables straight in front of him, each
covered with green baize. One was only a metre or two
from him, the other was further away, near the door. He
was strapped upright in a chair, so tightly that he could
move nothing, not even his head. A sort of pad gripped his
head from behind, forcing him to look straight in front of

For a moment he was alone, then the door opened and
O'Brien came in.

'You asked me once,' said O'Brien, 'what was in Room
101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone
knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing
in the world.'

The door opened again. A guard came in, carrying some-

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thing made of wire, a box or basket of some kind. He set
it down on the further table. Because of the position in
which O'Brien was standing. Winston could not see what
the thing was.

'The worst thing in the world,' said O'Brien, Varies from
individual to individual. It may be burial alive, or death by
fire, or by drowning, or by impalement, or fifty other deaths.
There are cases where it is some quite trivial thing, not even

He had moved a little to one side, so that Winston had a
better view of the thing on the table. It was an oblong wire
cage with a handle on top for carrying it by. Fixed to the
front of it was something that looked like a fencing mask,
with the concave side outwards. Although it was three or
four metres away from him, he could see that the cage was
divided lengthways into two compartments, and that there
was some kind of creature in each. They were rats.

Tn your case,' said O'Brien, 'the worst thing in the world
happens to be rats.'

A sort of premonitory tremor, a fear of he was not certain
what, had passed through Winston as soon as he caught his
first glimpse of the cage. But at this moment the meaning of
the mask- like attachment in front of it suddenly sank into
him. His bowels seemed to turn to water.

'You can't do that!' he cried out in a high cracked voice.
'You couldn't, you couldn't! It's impossible.'

'Do you remember,' said O'Brien, 'the moment of pan-
ic that used to occur in your dreams? There was a wall of
blackness in front of you, and a roaring sound in your ears.

358 1984

There was something terrible on the other side of the wall.
You knew that you knew what it was, but you dared not drag
it into the open. It was the rats that were on the other side
of the wall.'

'O'Brien!' said Winston, making an effort to control his
voice. 'You know this is not necessary. What is it that you
want me to do?'

O'Brien made no direct answer. When he spoke it was
in the schoolmasterish manner that he sometimes affected.
He looked thoughtfully into the distance, as though he were
addressing an audience somewhere behind Winston's back.

'By itself,' he said, 'pain is not always enough. There
are occasions when a human being will stand out against
pain, even to the point of death. But for everyone there is
something unendurable — something that cannot be con-
templated. Courage and cowardice are not involved. If you
are falling from a height it is not cowardly to clutch at a
rope. If you have come up from deep water it is not coward-
ly to fill your lungs with air. It is merely an instinct which
cannot be destroyed. It is the same with the rats. For you,
they are unendurable. They are a form of pressure that you
cannot withstand, even if you wished to. You will do what
is required of you.'

'But what is it, what is it? How can I do it if I don't know
what it is?'

O'Brien picked up the cage and brought it across to the
nearer table. He set it down carefully on the baize cloth.
Winston could hear the blood singing in his ears. He had the
feeling of sitting in utter loneliness. He was in the middle 359

of a great empty plain, a flat desert drenched with sunlight,
across which all sounds came to him out of immense dis-
tances. Yet the cage with the rats was not two metres away
from him. They were enormous rats. They were at the age
when a rat's muzzle grows blunt and fierce and his fur brown
instead of grey.

'The rat,' said O'Brien, still addressing his invisible audi-
ence, 'although a rodent, is carnivorous. You are aware of
that. You will have heard of the things that happen in the
poor quarters of this town. In some streets a woman dare
not leave her baby alone in the house, even for five minutes.
The rats are certain to attack it. Within quite a small time
they will strip it to the bones. They also attack sick or dy-
ing people. They show astonishing intelligence in knowing
when a human being is helpless.'

There was an outburst of squeals from the cage. It seemed
to reach Winston from far away. The rats were fighting; they
were trying to get at each other through the partition. He
heard also a deep groan of despair. That, too, seemed to
come from outside himself.

O'Brien picked up the cage, and, as he did so, pressed
something in it. There was a sharp click. Winston made
a frantic effort to tear himself loose from the chair. It was
hopeless; every part of him, even his head, was held im-
movably. O'Brien moved the cage nearer. It was less than a
metre from Winston's face.

'I have pressed the first lever,' said O'Brien. 'You under-
stand the construction of this cage. The mask will fit over
your head, leaving no exit. When I press this other lever,

360 1984

the door of the cage will slide up. These starving brutes will
shoot out of it like bullets. Have you ever seen a rat leap
through the air? They will leap on to your face and bore
straight into it. Sometimes they attack the eyes first. Some-
times they burrow through the cheeks and devour the

The cage was nearer; it was closing in. Winston heard a
succession of shrill cries which appeared to be occurring in
the air above his head. But he fought furiously against his
panic. To think, to think, even with a split second left — to
think was the only hope. Suddenly the foul musty odour of
the brutes struck his nostrils. There was a violent convul-
sion of nausea inside him, and he almost lost consciousness.
Everything had gone black. For an instant he was insane, a
screaming animal. Yet he came out of the blackness clutch-
ing an idea. There was one and only one way to save himself.
He must interpose another human being, the BODY of an-
other human being, between himself and the rats.

The circle of the mask was large enough now to shut out
the vision of anything else. The wire door was a couple of
hand-spans from his face. The rats knew what was coming
now. One of them was leaping up and down, the other, an
old scaly grandfather of the sewers, stood up, with his pink
hands against the bars, and fiercely sniffed the air. Winston
could see the whiskers and the yellow teeth. Again the black
panic took hold of him. He was blind, helpless, mindless.

'It was a common punishment in Imperial China,' said
O'Brien as didactically as ever.

The mask was closing on his face. The wire brushed his 361

cheek. And then — no, it was not relief, only hope, a tiny
fragment of hope. Too late, perhaps too late. But he had
suddenly understood that in the whole world there was just
ONE person to whom he could transfer his punishment —
ONE body that he could thrust between himself and the
rats. And he was shouting frantically, over and over.

'Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don't care
what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones.
Not me! Julia! Not me!'

He was falling backwards, into enormous depths, away
from the rats. He was still strapped in the chair, but he had
fallen through the floor, through the walls of the build-
ing, through the earth, through the oceans, through the
atmosphere, into outer space, into the gulfs between the
stars — always away, away, away from the rats. He was light
years distant, but O'Brien was still standing at his side.
There was still the cold touch of wire against his cheek. But
through the darkness that enveloped him he heard another
metallic click, and knew that the cage door had clicked shut
and not open.

362 1984

Chapter 6

The Chestnut Tree was almost empty. A ray of sunlight
slanting through a window fell on dusty table-tops. It
was the lonely hour of fifteen. A tinny music trickled from
the telescreens.

Winston sat in his usual corner, gazing into an empty
glass. Now and again he glanced up at a vast face which eyed
him from the opposite wall. BIG BROTHER IS WATCH-
ING YOU, the caption said. Unbidden, a waiter came and
filled his glass up with Victory Gin, shaking into it a few
drops from another bottle with a quill through the cork. It
was saccharine flavoured with cloves, the speciality of the

Winston was listening to the telescreen. At present only
music was coming out of it, but there was a possibility that
at any moment there might be a special bulletin from the
Ministry of Peace. The news from the African front was dis-
quieting in the extreme. On and off he had been worrying
about it all day. A Eurasian army (Oceania was at war with
Eurasia: Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia) was
moving southward at terrifying speed. The mid-day bulle-
tin had not mentioned any definite area, but it was probable
that already the mouth of the Congo was a battlefield. Braz-
zaville and Leopoldville were in danger. One did not have
to look at the map to see what it meant. It was not merely 363

a question of losing Central Africa: for the first time in the
whole war, the territory of Oceania itself was menaced.

A violent emotion, not fear exactly but a sort of undif-
ferentiated excitement, flared up in him, then faded again.
He stopped thinking about the war. In these days he could
never fix his mind on any one subject for more than a few
moments at a time. He picked up his glass and drained it
at a gulp. As always, the gin made him shudder and even
retch slightly. The stuff was horrible. The cloves and sac-
charine, themselves disgusting enough in their sickly way,
could not disguise the flat oily smell; and what was worst
of all was that the smell of gin, which dwelt with him night
and day, was inextricably mixed up in his mind with the
smell of those

He never named them, even in his thoughts, and so
far as it was possible he never visualized them. They were
something that he was half-aware of, hovering close to his
face, a smell that clung to his nostrils. As the gin rose in
him he belched through purple lips. He had grown fatter
since they released him, and had regained his old colour —
indeed, more than regained it. His features had thickened,
the skin on nose and cheekbones was coarsely red, even
the bald scalp was too deep a pink. A waiter, again unbid-
den, brought the chessboard and the current issue of 'The
Times', with the page turned down at the chess problem.
Then, seeing that Winston's glass was empty, he brought the
gin bottle and filled it. There was no need to give orders.
They knew his habits. The chessboard was always waiting
for him, his corner table was always reserved; even when

364 1984

the place was full he had it to himself, since nobody cared
to be seen sitting too close to him. He never even bothered
to count his drinks. At irregular intervals they presented
him with a dirty slip of paper which they said was the bill,
but he had the impression that they always undercharged
him. It would have made no difference if it had been the
other way about. He had always plenty of money nowadays.
He even had a job, a sinecure, more highly-paid than his old
job had been.

The music from the telescreen stopped and a voice took
over. Winston raised his head to listen. No bulletins from
the front, however. It was merely a brief announcement
from the Ministry of Plenty. In the preceding quarter, it ap-
peared, the Tenth Three-Year Plan's quota for bootlaces had
been overfulfilled by 98 per cent.

He examined the chess problem and set out the pieces. It
was a tricky ending, involving a couple of knights. 'White to
play and mate in two moves.' Winston looked up at the por-
trait of Big Brother. White always mates, he thought with a
sort of cloudy mysticism. Always, without exception, it is so
arranged. In no chess problem since the beginning of the
world has black ever won. Did it not symbolize the eternal,
unvarying triumph of Good over Evil? The huge face gazed
back at him, full of calm power. White always mates.

The voice from the telescreen paused and added in a dif-
ferent and much graver tone: 'You are warned to stand by
for an important announcement at fifteen-thirty. Fifteen-
thirty! This is news of the highest importance. Take care
not to miss it. Fifteen-thirty!' The tinkling music struck up 365

Winston's heart stirred. That was the bulletin from the
front; instinct told him that it was bad news that was com-
ing. All day, with little spurts of excitement, the thought
of a smashing defeat in Africa had been in and out of his
mind. He seemed actually to see the Eurasian army swarm-
ing across the never-broken frontier and pouring down
into the tip of Africa like a column of ants. Why had it not
been possible to outflank them in some way? The outline of
the West African coast stood out vividly in his mind. He
picked up the white knight and moved it across the board.
THERE was the proper spot. Even while he saw the black
horde racing southward he saw another force, mysteriously
assembled, suddenly planted in their rear, cutting their co-
munications by land and sea. He felt that by willing it he
was bringing that other force into existence. But it was nec-
essary to act quickly. If they could get control of the whole
of Africa, if they had airfields and submarine bases at the
Cape, it would cut Oceania in two. It might mean anything:
defeat, breakdown, the redivision of the world, the destruc-
tion of the Party! He drew a deep breath. An extraordinary
medley of feeling — but it was not a medley, exactly; rather it
was successive layers of feeling, in which one could not say
which layer was undermost — struggled inside him.

The spasm passed. He put the white knight back in its
place, but for the moment he could not settle down to se-
rious study of the chess problem. His thoughts wandered
again. Almost unconsciously he traced with his finger in
the dust on the table:

366 1984


'They can't get inside you,' she had said. But they could
get inside you. 'What happens to you here is FOR EVER,'
O'Brien had said. That was a true word. There were things,
your own acts, from which you could never recover. Some-
thing was killed in your breast: burnt out, cauterized out.

He had seen her; he had even spoken to her. There was
no danger in it. He knew as though instinctively that they
now took almost no interest in his doings. He could have
arranged to meet her a second time if either of them had
wanted to. Actually it was by chance that they had met. It
was in the Park, on a vile, biting day in March, when the
earth was like iron and all the grass seemed dead and there
was not a bud anywhere except a few crocuses which had
pushed themselves up to be dismembered by the wind. He
was hurrying along with frozen hands and watering eyes
when he saw her not ten metres away from him. It struck
him at once that she had changed in some ill-defined way.
They almost passed one another without a sign, then he
turned and followed her, not very eagerly. He knew that
there was no danger, nobody would take any interest in him.
She did not speak. She walked obliquely away across the
grass as though trying to get rid of him, then seemed to re-
sign herself to having him at her side. Presently they were in
among a clump of ragged leafless shrubs, useless either for
concealment or as protection from the wind. They halted.
It was vilely cold. The wind whistled through the twigs and
fretted the occasional, dirty-looking crocuses. He put his 367

arm round her waist.

There was no telescreen, but there must be hidden
microphones: besides, they could be seen. It did not mat-
ter, nothing mattered. They could have lain down on the
ground and done THAT if they had wanted to. His flesh
froze with horror at the thought of it. She made no response
whatever to the clasp of his arm; she did not even try to dis-
engage herself. He knew now what had changed in her. Her
face was sallower, and there was a long scar, partly hidden
by the hair, across her forehead and temple; but that was not
the change. It was that her waist had grown thicker, and, in
a surprising way, had stiffened. He remembered how once,
after the explosion of a rocket bomb, he had helped to drag
a corpse out of some ruins, and had been astonished not
only by the incredible weight of the thing, but by its rigidity
and awkwardness to handle, which made it seem more like
stone than flesh. Her body felt like that. It occurred to him
that the texture of her skin would be quite different from
what it had once been.

He did not attempt to kiss her, nor did they speak. As they
walked back across the grass, she looked directly at him for
the first time. It was only a momentary glance, full of con-
tempt and dislike. He wondered whether it was a dislike that
came purely out of the past or whether it was inspired also
by his bloated face and the water that the wind kept squeez-
ing from his eyes. They sat down on two iron chairs, side by
side but not too close together. He saw that she was about
to speak. She moved her clumsy shoe a few centimetres and
deliberately crushed a twig. Her feet seemed to have grown

368 1984

broader, he noticed.

'I betrayed you,' she said baldly.

'I betrayed you,' he said.

She gave him another quick look of dislike.

'Sometimes,' she said, 'they threaten you with something
something you can't stand up to, can't even think about.
And then you say, 'Don't do it to me, do it to somebody
else, do it to so-and-so.' And perhaps you might pretend,
afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it
to make them stop and didn't really mean it. But that isn't
true. At the time when it happens you do mean it. You think
there's no other way of saving yourself, and you're quite
ready to save yourself that way. You WANT it to happen to
the other person. You don't give a damn what they suffer.
All you care about is yourself

All you care about is yourself,' he echoed.

And after that, you don't feel the same towards the other
person any longer.'

'No,' he said, 'you don't feel the same.'

There did not seem to be anything more to say. The wind
plastered their thin overalls against their bodies. Almost at
once it became embarrassing to sit there in silence: besides,
it was too cold to keep still. She said something about catch-
ing her Tube and stood up to go.

'We must meet again,' he said.

'Yes,' she said, 'we must meet again.'

He followed irresolutely for a little distance, half a pace
behind her. They did not speak again. She did not actually
try to shake him off, but walked at just such a speed as to 369

prevent his keeping abreast of her. He had made up his mind
that he would accompany her as far as the Tube station, but
suddenly this process of trailing along in the cold seemed
pointless and unbearable. He was overwhelmed by a desire
not so much to get away from Julia as to get back to the
Chestnut Tree Cafe, which had never seemed so attractive
as at this moment. He had a nostalgic vision of his corner
table, with the newspaper and the chessboard and the ever-
flowing gin. Above all, it would be warm in there. The next
moment, not altogether by accident, he allowed himself to
become separated from her by a small knot of people. He
made a halfhearted attempt to catch up, then slowed down,
turned, and made off in the opposite direction. When he
had gone fifty metres he looked back. The street was not
crowded, but already he could not distinguish her. Any one
of a dozen hurrying figures might have been hers. Perhaps
her thickened, stiffened body was no longer recognizable
from behind.

At the time when it happens,' she had said, 'you do mean
it.' He had meant it. He had not merely said it, he had wished
it. He had wished that she and not he should be delivered
over to the

Something changed in the music that trickled from the
telescreen. A cracked and jeering note, a yellow note, came
into it. And then — perhaps it was not happening, perhaps
it was only a memory taking on the semblance of sound — a
voice was singing:

'Under the spreading chestnut tree

370 1984

I sold you and you sold me '

The tears welled up in his eyes. A passing waiter noticed
that his glass was empty and came back with the gin bottle.

He took up his glass and sniffed at it. The stuff grew
not less but more horrible with every mouthful he drank.
But it had become the element he swam in. It was his life,
his death, and his resurrection. It was gin that sank him
into stupor every night, and gin that revived him every
morning. When he woke, seldom before eleven hundred,
with gummed-up eyelids and fiery mouth and a back that
seemed to be broken, it would have been impossible even
to rise from the horizontal if it had not been for the bottle
and teacup placed beside the bed overnight. Through the
midday hours he sat with glazed face, the bottle handy, lis-
tening to the telescreen. From fifteen to closing-time he
was a fixture in the Chestnut Tree. No one cared what he
did any longer, no whistle woke him, no telescreen admon-
ished him. Occasionally, perhaps twice a week, he went to a
dusty, forgotten-looking office in the Ministry of Truth and
did a little work, or what was called work. He had been ap-
pointed to a sub-committee of a sub-committee which had
sprouted from one of the innumerable committees dealing
with minor difficulties that arose in the compilation of the
Eleventh Edition of the Newspeak Dictionary. They were
engaged in producing something called an Interim Report,
but what it was that they were reporting on he had never
definitely found out. It was something to do with the ques-
tion of whether commas should be placed inside brackets, 371

or outside. There were four others on the committee, all of
them persons similar to himself. There were days when they
assembled and then promptly dispersed again, frankly ad-
mitting to one another that there was not really anything to
be done. But there were other days when they settled down
to their work almost eagerly, making a tremendous show
of entering up their minutes and drafting long memoranda
which were never finished — when the argument as to what
they were supposedly arguing about grew extraordinarily
involved and abstruse, with subtle haggling over definitions,
enormous digressions, quarrels — threats, even, to appeal to
higher authority. And then suddenly the life would go out
of them and they would sit round the table looking at one
another with extinct eyes, like ghosts fading at cock-crow.

The telescreen was silent for a moment. Winston raised
his head again. The bulletin! But no, they were merely
changing the music. He had the map of Africa behind his
eyelids. The movement of the armies was a diagram: a black
arrow tearing vertically southward, and a white arrow hori-
zontally eastward, across the tail of the first. As though for
reassurance he looked up at the imperturbable face in the
portrait. Was it conceivable that the second arrow did not
even exist?

His interest flagged again. He drank another mouthful of
gin, picked up the white knight and made a tentative move.
Check. But it was evidently not the right move, because

Uncalled, a memory floated into his mind. He saw a
candle-lit room with a vast white-counterpaned bed, and
himself, a boy of nine or ten, sitting on the floor, shaking


a dice-box, and laughing excitedly. His mother was sitting
opposite him and also laughing.

It must have been about a month before she disappeared.
It was a moment of reconciliation, when the nagging hun-
ger in his belly was forgotten and his earlier affection for
her had temporarily revived. He remembered the day well,
a pelting, drenching day when the water streamed down
the window-pane and the light indoors was too dull to read
by. The boredom of the two children in the dark, cramped
bedroom became unbearable. Winston whined and griz-
zled, made futile demands for food, fretted about the room
pulling everything out of place and kicking the wainscot-
ing until the neighbours banged on the wall, while the
younger child wailed intermittently. In the end his mother
said, 'Now be good, and I'll buy you a toy. A lovely toy —
you'll love it'; and then she had gone out in the rain, to a
little general shop which was still sporadically open nearby,
and came back with a cardboard box containing an outfit
of Snakes and Ladders. He could still remember the smell
of the damp cardboard. It was a miserable outfit. The board
was cracked and the tiny wooden dice were so ill-cut that
they would hardly lie on their sides. Winston looked at the
thing sulkily and without interest. But then his mother lit a
piece of candle and they sat down on the floor to play. Soon
he was wildly excited and shouting with laughter as the tid-
dly-winks climbed hopefully up the ladders and then came
slithering down the snakes again, almost to the starting-
point. They played eight games, winning four each. His tiny
sister, too young to understand what the game was about,

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had sat propped up against a bolster, laughing because the
others were laughing. For a whole afternoon they had all
been happy together, as in his earlier childhood.

He pushed the picture out of his mind. It was a false
memory. He was troubled by false memories occasionally.
They did not matter so long as one knew them for what they
were. Some things had happened, others had not happened.
He turned back to the chessboard and picked up the white
knight again. Almost in the same instant it dropped on to
the board with a clatter. He had started as though a pin had
run into him.

A shrill trumpet-call had pierced the air. It was the bul-
letin! Victory! It always meant victory when a trumpet-call
preceded the news. A sort of electric drill ran through the
cafe. Even the waiters had started and pricked up their

The trumpet-call had let loose an enormous volume of
noise. Already an excited voice was gabbling from the tele-
screen, but even as it started it was almost drowned by a
roar of cheering from outside. The news had run round the
streets like magic. He could hear just enough of what was
issuing from the telescreen to realize that it had all hap-
pened, as he had foreseen; a vast seaborne armada had
secretly assembled a sudden blow in the enemy's rear, the
white arrow tearing across the tail of the black. Fragments
of triumphant phrases pushed themselves through the din:
'Vast strategic manoeuvre — perfect co-ordination — utter
rout — half a million prisoners — complete demoraliza-
tion — control of the whole of Africa — bring the war within


measurable distance of its end — victory — greatest victory
in human history — victory, victory, victory!'

Under the table Winston's feet made convulsive move-
ments. He had not stirred from his seat, but in his mind
he was running, swiftly running, he was with the crowds
outside, cheering himself deaf. He looked up again at the
portrait of Big Brother. The colossus that bestrode the
world! The rock against which the hordes of Asia dashed
themselves in vain! He thought how ten minutes ago — yes,
only ten minutes — there had still been equivocation in
his heart as he wondered whether the news from the front
would be of victory or defeat. Ah, it was more than a Eur-
asian army that had perished! Much had changed in him
since that first day in the Ministry of Love, but the final, in-
dispensable, healing change had never happened, until this

The voice from the telescreen was still pouring forth its
tale of prisoners and booty and slaughter, but the shouting
outside had died down a little. The waiters were turning
back to their work. One of them approached with the gin
bottle. Winston, sitting in a blissful dream, paid no at-
tention as his glass was filled up. He was not running or
cheering any longer. He was back in the Ministry of Love,
with everything forgiven, his soul white as snow. He was in
the public dock, confessing everything, implicating every-
body. He was walking down the white-tiled corridor, with
the feeling of walking in sunlight, and an armed guard at
his back. The long-hoped-for bullet was entering his brain.

He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had tak- 375

en him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the
dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O
stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-
scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was
all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished.
He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.



The Principles of Newspeak

Newspeak was the official language of Oceania and
had been devised to meet the ideological needs of Ingsoc,
or English Socialism. In the year 1984 there was not as yet
anyone who used Newspeak as his sole means of commu-
nication, either in speech or writing. The leading articles
in 'The Times' were written in it, but this was a TOUR DE
FORCE which could only be carried out by a specialist. It
was expected that Newspeak would have finally supersed-
ed Oldspeak (or Standard English, as we should call it) by
about the year 2050. Meanwhile it gained ground steadi-
ly, all Party members tending to use Newspeak words and
grammatical constructions more and more in their every-
day speech. The version in use in 1984, and embodied in the
Ninth and Tenth Editions of the Newspeak Dictionary, was
a provisional one, and contained many superfluous words
and archaic formations which were due to be suppressed
later. It is with the final, perfected version, as embodied in
the Eleventh Edition of the Dictionary, that we are con-
cerned here.

The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a

376 1984

medium of expression for the world-view and mental hab-
its proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other
modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when
Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak
forgotten, a heretical thought — that is, a thought diverging
from the principles of Ingsoc — should be literally unthink-
able, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. Its
vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and of-
ten very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party
member could properly wish to express, while excluding
all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at
them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the
invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating unde-
sirable words and by stripping such words as remained of
unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all second-
ary meanings whatever. To give a single example. The word
FREE still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in
such statements as 'This dog is free from lice' or 'This field
is free from weeds'. It could not be used in its old sense of
'politically free' or 'intellectually free' since political and in-
tellectual freedom no longer existed even as concepts, and
were therefore of necessity nameless. Quite apart from the
suppression of definitely heretical words, reduction of vo-
cabulary was regarded as an end in itself, and no word that
could be dispensed with was allowed to survive. Newspeak
was designed not to extend but to DIMINISH the range of
thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting
the choice of words down to a minimum.

Newspeak was founded on the English language as we

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now know it, though many Newspeak sentences, even when
not containing newly-created words, would be barely intel-
ligible to an English-speaker of our own day. Newspeak
words were divided into three distinct classes, known as
the A vocabulary, the B vocabulary (also called compound
words), and the C vocabulary. It will be simpler to discuss
each class separately, but the grammatical peculiarities of
the language can be dealt with in the section devoted to the
A vocabulary, since the same rules held good for all three

THE A VOCABULARY. The A vocabulary consisted
of the words needed for the business of everyday life — for
such things as eating, drinking, working, putting on one's
clothes, going up and down stairs, riding in vehicles, garden-
ing, cooking, and the like. It was composed almost entirely
of words that we already possess words like HIT, RUN,
DOG, TREE, SUGAR, HOUSE, FIELD— but in compari-
son with the present-day English vocabulary their number
was extremely small, while their meanings were far more
rigidly defined. All ambiguities and shades of meaning had
been purged out of them. So far as it could be achieved, a
Newspeak word of this class was simply a staccato sound
expressing ONE clearly understood concept. It would have
been quite impossible to use the A vocabulary for literary
purposes or for political or philosophical discussion. It was
intended only to express simple, purposive thoughts, usu-
ally involving concrete objects or physical actions.

The grammar of Newspeak had two outstanding pe-
culiarities. The first of these was an almost complete

378 1984

interchangeability between different parts of speech. Any
word in the language (in principle this applied even to very
abstract words such as IF or WHEN) could be used either
as verb, noun, adjective, or adverb. Between the verb and
the noun form, when they were of the same root, there was
never any variation, this rule of itself involving the de-
struction of many archaic forms. The word THOUGHT,
for example, did not exist in Newspeak. Its place was tak-
en by THINK, which did duty for both noun and verb. No
etymological principle was followed here: in some cases it
was the original noun that was chosen for retention, in oth-
er cases the verb. Even where a noun and verb of kindred
meaning were not etymologically connected, one or other
of them was frequently suppressed. There was, for example,
no such word as CUT, its meaning being sufficiently cov-
ered by the noun-verb KNIFE. Adjectives were formed by
adding the suffix -FUL to the noun-verb, and adverbs by
adding -WISE. Thus for example, SPEEDFUL meant 'rapid'
and SPEEDWISE meant 'quickly'. Certain of our present-
day adjectives, such as GOOD, STRONG, BIG, BLACK,
SOFT, were retained, but their total number was very small.
There was little need for them, since almost any adjectival
meaning could be arrived at by adding -FUL to a noun-verb.
None of the now-existing adverbs was retained, except for a
very few already ending in -WISE: the -WISE termination
was invariable. The word WELL, for example, was replaced

In addition, any word — this again applied in principle
to every word in the language — could be negatived by add- 379

ing the affix UN-, or could be strengthened by the affix
PLUS-, or, for still greater emphasis, DOUBLEPLUS-. Thus,
for example, UNCOLD meant 'warm', while PLUSCOLD
and DOUBLEPLUSCOLD meant, respectively, Very cold'
and 'superlatively cold'. It was also possible, as in present-
day English, to modify the meaning of almost any word by
prepositional affixes such as ANTE-, POST-, UP-, DOWN-,
etc. By such methods it was found possible to bring about
an enormous diminution of vocabulary. Given, for instance,
the word GOOD, there was no need for such a word as BAD,
since the required meaning was equally well — indeed, bet-
ter — expressed by UNGOOD. All that was necessary, in
any case where two words formed a natural pair of oppo-
sites, was to decide which of them to suppress. DARK, for
example, could be replaced by UNLIGHT, or LIGHT by
UNDARK, according to preference.

The second distinguishing mark of Newspeak gram-
mar was its regularity. Subject to a few exceptions which
are mentioned below all inflexions followed the same rules.
Thus, in all verbs the preterite and the past participle were
the same and ended in -ED. The preterite of STEAL was
STEALED, the preterite of THINK was THINKED, and
so on throughout the language, all such forms as SWAM,
GAVE, BROUGHT, SPOKE, TAKEN, etc., being abolished.
All plurals were made by adding -S or -ES as the case might
be. The plurals OF MAN, OX, LIFE, were MANS, OXES,
LIFES. Comparison of adjectives was invariably made by
adding -ER, -EST (GOOD, GOODER, GOODEST), ir-
regular forms and the MORE, MOST formation being

380 1984


The only classes of words that were still allowed to inflect
irregularly were the pronouns, the relatives, the demonstra-
tive adjectives, and the auxiliary verbs. All of these followed
their ancient usage, except that WHOM had been scrapped
as unnecessary, and the SHALL, SHOULD tenses had been
dropped, all their uses being covered by WILL and WOULD.
There were also certain irregularities in word-formation
arising out of the need for rapid and easy speech. A word
which was difficult to utter, or was liable to be incorrectly
heard, was held to be ipso facto a bad word; occasionally
therefore, for the sake of euphony, extra letters were insert-
ed into a word or an archaic formation was retained. But
this need made itself felt chiefly in connexion with the B
vocabulary. WHY so great an importance was attached to
ease of pronunciation will be made clear later in this essay.

THE B VOCABULARY. The B vocabulary consisted of
words which had been deliberately constructed for political
purposes: words, that is to say, which not only had in every
case a political implication, but were intended to impose
a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them.
Without a full understanding of the principles of Ingsoc
it was difficult to use these words correctly. In some cases
they could be translated into Oldspeak, or even into words
taken from the A vocabulary, but this usually demanded
a long paraphrase and always involved the loss of certain
overtones. The B words were a sort of verbal shorthand, of-
ten packing whole ranges of ideas into a few syllables, and
at the same time more accurate and forcible than ordinary 381


The B words were in all cases compound words. [Com-
pound words such as SPEAKWRITE, were of course to be
found in the A vocabulary, but these were merely convenient
abbreviations and had no special ideologcal colour.] They
consisted of two or more words, or portions of words, weld-
ed together in an easily pronounceable form. The resulting
amalgam was always a noun-verb, and inflected according
to the ordinary rules. To take a single example: the word
GOODTHINK, meaning, very roughly, 'orthodoxy', or, if
one chose to regard it as a verb, 'to think in an orthodox
manner'. This inflected as follows: noun-verb, GOOD-
THINK; past tense and past participle, GOODTHINKED;
present participle, GOOD-THINKING; adjective, GOOD-
THINKFUL; adverb, GOODTHINKWISE; verbal noun,

The B words were not constructed on any etymological
plan. The words of which they were made up could be any
parts of speech, and could be placed in any order and muti-
lated in any way which made them easy to pronounce while
indicating their derivation. In the word CRIMETHINK
(thoughtcrime), for instance, the THINK came second,
whereas in THINKPOL (Thought Police) it came first,
and in the latter word POLICE had lost its second syllable.
Because of the great difficulty in securing euphony, irregu-
lar formations were commoner in the B vocabulary than
in the A vocabulary. For example, the adjective forms of
MINITRUE, MINIPAX, and MINILUV were, respectively,

382 1984

simply because -TRUEFUL, -PAXFUL, and -LOVEFUL
were slightly awkward to pronounce. In principle, however,
all B words could inflect, and all inflected in exactly the
same way.

Some of the B words had highly subtilized meanings,
barely intelligible to anyone who had not mastered the
language as a whole. Consider, for example, such a typical
sentence from a 'Times' leading article as OLDTHINKERS
UNBELLYFEEL INGSOC. The shortest rendering that one
could make of this in Oldspeak would be: "Those whose
ideas were formed before the Revolution cannot have a full
emotional understanding of the principles of English So-
cialism.' But this is not an adequate translation. To begin
with, in order to grasp the full meaning of the Newspeak
sentence quoted above, one would have to have a clear idea
of what is meant by INGSOC. And in addition, only a per-
son thoroughly grounded in Ingsoc could appreciate the
full force of the word BELLYFEEL, which implied a blind,
enthusiastic acceptance difficult to imagine today; or of the
word OLDTHINK, which was inextricably mixed up with
the idea of wickedness and decadence. But the special func-
tion of certain Newspeak words, of which OLDTHINK
was one, was not so much to express meanings as to de-
stroy them. These words, necessarily few in number, had
had their meanings extended until they contained within
themselves whole batteries of words which, as they were
sufficiently covered by a single comprehensive term, could
now be scrapped and forgotten. The greatest difficulty fac-
ing the compilers of the Newspeak Dictionary was not to 383

invent new words, but, having invented them, to make sure
what they meant: to make sure, that is to say, what ranges of
words they cancelled by their existence.

As we have already seen in the case of the word FREE,
words which had once borne a heretical meaning were
sometimes retained for the sake of convenience, but only
with the undesirable meanings purged out of them. Count-
less other words such as HONOUR, JUSTICE, MORALITY,
RELIGION had simply ceased to exist. A few blanket words
covered them, and, in covering them, abolished them. All
words grouping themselves round the concepts of liber-
ty and equality, for instance, were contained in the single
word CRIMETHINK, while all words grouping themselves
round the concepts of objectivity and rationalism were
contained in the single word OLDTHINK. Greater preci-
sion would have been dangerous. What was required in a
Party member was an outlook similar to that of the ancient
Hebrew who knew, without knowing much else, that all na-
tions other than his own worshipped 'false gods'. He did
not need to know that these gods were called Baal, Osiris,
Moloch, Ashtaroth, and the like: probably the less he knew
about them the better for his orthodoxy. He knew Jehovah
and the commandments of Jehovah: he knew, therefore,
that all gods with other names or other attributes were false
gods. In somewhat the same way, the party member knew
what constituted right conduct, and in exceedingly vague,
generalized terms he knew what kinds of departure from
it were possible. His sexual life, for example, was entirely

384 1984

regulated by the two Newspeak words SEXCRIME (sex-
ual immorality) and GOODSEX (chastity). SEXCRIME
covered all sexual misdeeds whatever. It covered fornica-
tion, adultery, homosexuality, and other perversions, and,
in addition, normal intercourse practised for its own sake.
There was no need to enumerate them separately, since they
were all equally culpable, and, in principle, all punishable
by death. In the C vocabulary, which consisted of scientific
and technical words, it might be necessary to give special-
ized names to certain sexual aberrations, but the ordinary
citizen had no need of them. He knew what was meant by
GOODSEX — that is to say, normal intercourse between
man and wife, for the sole purpose of begetting children,
and without physical pleasure on the part of the woman: all
else was SEXCRIME. In Newspeak it was seldom possible to
follow a heretical thought further than the perception that
it WAS heretical: beyond that point the necessary words
were nonexistent.

No word in the B vocabulary was ideologically neutral.
A great many were euphemisms. Such words, for instance,
as JOYCAMP (forced-labour camp) or MINIPAX Minis-
try of Peace, i.e. Ministry of War) meant almost the exact
opposite of what they appeared to mean. Some words, on
the other hand, displayed a frank and contemptuous un-
derstanding of the real nature of Oceanic society. An
example was PROLEFEED, meaning the rubbishy enter-
tainment and spurious news which the Party handed out
to the masses. Other words, again, were ambivalent, hav-
ing the connotation 'good' when applied to the Party and 385

'bad' when applied to its enemies. But in addition there were
great numbers of words which at first sight appeared to be
mere abbreviations and which derived their ideological co-
lour not from their meaning, but from their structure.

So far as it could be contrived, everything that had or
might have political significance of any kind was fitted into
the B vocabulary. The name of every organization, or body
of people, or doctrine, or country, or institution, or public
building, was invariably cut down into the familiar shape;
that is, a single easily pronounced word with the smallest
number of syllables that would preserve the original deri-
vation. In the Ministry of Truth, for example, the Records
Department, in which Winston Smith worked, was called
RECDEP, the Fiction Department was called FICDEP, the
Teleprogrammes Department was called TELEDEP, and so
on. This was not done solely with the object of saving time.
Even in the early decades of the twentieth century, tele-
scoped words and phrases had been one of the characteristic
features of political language; and it had been noticed that
the tendency to use abbreviations of this kind was most
marked in totalitarian countries and totalitarian organi-
zations. Examples were such words as NAZI, GESTAPO,
ning the practice had been adopted as it were instinctively,
but in Newspeak it was used with a conscious purpose. It
was perceived that in thus abbreviating a name one nar-
rowed and subtly altered its meaning, by cutting out most of
the associations that would otherwise cling to it. The words
COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL, for instance, call up

386 1984

a composite picture of universal human brotherhood, red
flags, barricades, Karl Marx, and the Paris Commune. The
word COMINTERN, on the other hand, suggests merely a
tightly-knit organization and a well-defined body of doc-
trine. It refers to something almost as easily recognized,
and as limited in purpose, as a chair or a table. COMIN-
TERN is a word that can be uttered almost without taking
a phrase over which one is obliged to linger at least mo-
mentarily. In the same way, the associations called up by a
word like MINITRUE are fewer and more controllable than
those called up by MINISTRY OF TRUTH. This accounted
not only for the habit of abbreviating whenever possible, but
also for the almost exaggerated care that was taken to make
every word easily pronounceable.

In Newspeak, euphony outweighed every consideration
other than exactitude of meaning. Regularity of grammar
was always sacrificed to it when it seemed necessary. And
rightly so, since what was required, above all for political
purposes, was short clipped words of unmistakable mean-
ing which could be uttered rapidly and which roused the
minimum of echoes in the speaker's mind. The words of the
B vocabulary even gained in force from the fact that nearly
all of them were very much alike. Almost invariably these
and countless others — were words of two or three syllables,
with the stress distributed equally between the first syllable
and the last. The use of them encouraged a gabbling style of 387

speech, at once staccato and monotonous. And this was ex-
actly what was aimed at. The intention was to make speech,
and especially speech on any subject not ideologically neu-
tral, as nearly as possible independent of consciousness. For
the purposes of everyday life it was no doubt necessary, or
sometimes necessary, to reflect before speaking, but a Party
member called upon to make a political or ethical judge-
ment should be able to spray forth the correct opinions as
automatically as a machine gun spraying forth bullets. His
training fitted him to do this, the language gave him an al-
most foolproof instrument, and the texture of the words,
with their harsh sound and a certain wilful ugliness which
was in accord with the spirit of Ingsoc, assisted the process
still further.

So did the fact of having very few words to choose from.
Relative to our own, the Newspeak vocabulary was tiny,
and new ways of reducing it were constantly being devised.
Newspeak, indeed, differed from most all other languages
in that its vocabulary grew smaller instead of larger every
year. Each reduction was a gain, since the smaller the area
of choice, the smaller the temptation to take thought. Ulti-
mately it was hoped to make articulate speech issue from
the larynx without involving the higher brain centres at
all. This aim was frankly admitted in the Newspeak word
DUCKSPE AK, meaning 'to quack like a duck'. Like various
other words in the B vocabulary, DUCKSPEAK was ambiv-
alent in meaning. Provided that the opinions which were
quacked out were orthodox ones, it implied nothing but
praise, and when 'The Times' referred to one of the orators


was paying a warm and valued compliment.

THE C VOCABULARY. The C vocabulary was supple-
mentary to the others and consisted entirely of scientific
and technical terms. These resembled the scientific terms
in use today, and were constructed from the same roots, but
the usual care was taken to define them rigidly and strip
them of undesirable meanings. They followed the same
grammatical rules as the words in the other two vocabu-
laries. Very few of the C words had any currency either in
everyday speech or in political speech. Any scientific work-
er or technician could find all the words he needed in the
list devoted to his own speciality, but he seldom had more
than a smattering of the words occurring in the other lists.
Only a very few words were common to all lists, and there
was no vocabulary expressing the function of Science as a
habit of mind, or a method of thought, irrespective of its
particular branches. There was, indeed, no word for 'Sci-
ence', any meaning that it could possibly bear being already
sufficiently covered by the word INGSOC.

From the foregoing account it will be seen that in New-
speak the expression of unorthodox opinions, above a very
low level, was well-nigh impossible. It was of course pos-
sible to utter heresies of a very crude kind, a species of
blasphemy. It would have been possible, for example, to say
BIG BROTHER IS UNGOOD. But this statement, which
to an orthodox ear merely conveyed a self-evident absur-
dity, could not have been sustained by reasoned argument,
because the necessary words were not available. Ideas inim- 389

ical to Ingsoc could only be entertained in a vague wordless
form, and could only be named in very broad terms which
lumped together and condemned whole groups of heresies
without defining them in doing so. One could, in fact, only
use Newspeak for unorthodox purposes by illegitimately
translating some of the words back into Oldspeak. For ex-
ample, ALL MANS ARE EQUAL was a possible Newspeak
sentence, but only in the same sense in which ALL MEN
ARE REDHAIRED is a possible Oldspeak sentence. It did
not contain a grammatical error, but it expressed a palpa-
ble untruth — i.e. that all men are of equal size, weight, or
strength. The concept of political equality no longer existed,
and this secondary meaning had accordingly been purged
out of the word EQUAL. In 1984, when Oldspeak was still
the normal means of communication, the danger theo-
retically existed that in using Newspeak words one might
remember their original meanings. In practice it was not
difficult for any person well grounded in DOUBLETHINK
to avoid doing this, but within a couple of generations even
the possibility of such a lapse would have vaished. A per-
son growing up with Newspeak as his sole language would
no more know that EQUAL had once had the second-
ary meaning of 'politically equal', or that FREE had once
meant 'intellectually free', than for instance, a person who
had never heard of chess would be aware of the secondary
meanings attaching to QUEEN and ROOK. There would
be many crimes and errors which it would be beyond his
power to commit, simply because they were nameless and
therefore unimaginable. And it was to be foreseen that with


the passage of time the distinguishing characteristics of
Newspeak would become more and more pronounced — its
words growing fewer and fewer, their meanings more and
more rigid, and the chance of putting them to improper
uses always diminishing.

When Oldspeak had been once and for all superseded,
the last link with the past would have been severed. History
had already been rewritten, but fragments of the literature
of the past survived here and there, imperfectly censored,
and so long as one retained one's knowledge of Oldspeak
it was possible to read them. In the future such fragments,
even if they chanced to survive, would be unintelligible
and untranslatable. It was impossible to translate any pas-
sage of Oldspeak into Newspeak unless it either referred to
some technical process or some very simple everyday ac-
tion, or was already orthodox (GOODTHINKFUL would
be the Newspeak expression) in tendency. In practice this
meant that no book written before approximately 1960
could be translated as a whole. Pre-revolutionary literature
could only be subjected to ideological translation — that is,
alteration in sense as well as language. Take for example
the well-known passage from the Declaration of Indepen-


Free eBooks at Planet 391


It would have been quite impossible to render this into
Newspeak while keeping to the sense of the original. The
nearest one could come to doing so would be to swallow the
whole passage up in the single word CRIMETHINK. A full
translation could only be an ideological translation, where-
by Jefferson's words would be changed into a panegyric on
absolute government.

A good deal of the literature of the past was, indeed, al-
ready being transformed in this way. Considerations of
prestige made it desirable to preserve the memory of cer-
tain historical figures, while at the same time bringing
their achievements into line with the philosophy of Ingsoc.
Various writers, such as Shakespeare, Milton, Swift, By-
ron, Dickens, and some others were therefore in process of
translation: when the task had been completed, their orig-
inal writings, with all else that survived of the literature
of the past, would be destroyed. These translations were
a slow and difficult business, and it was not expected that
they would be finished before the first or second decade of
the twenty-first century. There were also large quantities of
merely utilitarian literature — indispensable technical man-


uals, and the like — that had to be treated in the same way. It
was chiefly in order to allow time for the preliminary work
of translation that the final adoption of Newspeak had been
fixed for so late a date as 2050.

The Flesh of Fallen Angels! Come to me all! Asteroth,

Beelzebub, Asmodeus, Bapholada, Lucifer, Loki, Satan,

Cthulhu, Lilith, Della! Blood, to you all!

I'm the wolf, yeah!
I am the wolf! It's close, it's coming. You have come.
The witness to the end, of time. It's now! I will rise to
her side! I don't need the words!
I'm beyond the words!

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Book Page

I. SitaSwayamvara (The Bridal of Sita) . i

II. Vana-Gamana-Adesa (The Banishment) 17

III. Dasa-ratha-Viyoga (The Death of the Kittg) . . . 38

IV. Rama-Bharaia-Sambada (TJje Meeting of the Princes) . 63
V. Panchavati (On the Banks of the Godavari) ... 77

vi. Sita- Havana (Sita Lost) ' . 88

vil. Kishkindha (In the Nilgiri Mountains) . . . 104

vill. Sita-Sandesa (Sita Discovered) 118

IX. Ravamv-Sahha (The Council of War) . . . .127

X. Yuddfha i^The War in Ceylon) 137

XI. Rajya-Abhisheka (Rama's Return and Consecration) . 161
Xll. Aswa-Medlm (Sacrifice of tte Horse) . . . .171

Conclusion 179

Translator's EpHogm .'....». 181


Digitized by GoOgk



(The Bridal of Sita)

T^HE Epic relates to the ancient traditions of two powerful races,
the Kosalas and the Videhas, who lived in Northern India
between the twelfth and tenth centuries before Christ. The names
Kosala and Videha in the singular number indicate the king
doms, — Oudh and North Behar, — and in the plural number they
mean the ancient races which inhabited those two countries.

According to the Epic, Dasa-ratha king of the Kosalas had
four sons, the eldest of whom was Rama the hero of the poem.
And Janak king of the Videhas had a daughter named Sita, who
was miraculously born of a field furrow, and who is the heroine of
the Epic

Janak ordained a severe test for the hand of his daughter, and
many a prince and warrior came and went away disappointed.
Rama succeeded, and won Sita. The story of Rama's winning
his bride, and of the marriage of his three brothers with the sister
and cousins of Sita, forms the subject of this Book.

The portions translated in this Book form Section vi., Sections
Ixvii. to lxix., Section Ixxiii., and Section Ixxvii. of Book i. of
the original text.

d by Google



Ayodhya, the Righteous City

Rich in royal worth and valour, rich in holy Vedic lore,
Dasa-ratha ruled his empire in the happy days of yore,

Loved of men in fair Ayodhya, sprung of ancient Solar Race,
Royal risbi in his duty, saintly rishi in his grace,

Great as Indra in his prowess, bounteous as Kuvera kind,
Dauntless deeds subdued his foemen, lofty faith subdued his mind !

Like the ancient monarch Manu, father of the human race,
Dasa-ratha ruled his people with a father's loving grace,

Truth and Justice swayed each action and each baser motive quelled,
People's Love and Monarch's Duty every thought and deed impelled,

And his town like Indra' s city, — tower and dome and turret brave —
Rose in proud and peerless beauty on Sarayu's limpid wave !

Peaceful lived the righteous people, rich in wealth in merit high,
Envy dwelt not in their bosoms and their accents shaped no lie,

Fathers with their happy households owned their cattle, corn and gold,
Galling penury^nd famine in Ayodhya had no hold,

Neighbours lived in mutual kindness helpful with their ample wealth,

,None who begged the wasted refuse, none who lived by fraud and

stealth! *W f

And they wore thpr&em and earring, wreath and fragrant sandal paste,
And their arms^were decked with bracelets, and their necks with
nishkas graced,

Cheat and braggart and deceiver lived not in the ancient town,
Proud despiser of the lowly wore not insults in their frown,

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Poorer fed not on the richer, hireling friend upon the great,
None with low and lying accents did upon the proud man wait !

Men to plighted vows were faithful, faithful was each loving wife,
Impure thought and wandering fancy stained not holy wedded life,

Robed in gold and graceful garments, fair in form and fair in face,
Winsome were Ayodhya's daughters, rich in wit and woman's grace !

Twice-born men were free from passion, lust of gold and impure greed,
Faithful to their Rites and Scriptures, truthful in their word and deed,

Altar blazed in every mansion, from each home was bounty given,
Stooped no man to fulsome falsehood, questioned none the will of

r Kshatras bowed to holy Brahmans, Vaisyas to the Kshatras bowed,
Toiling Sudras lived by labour, of their honest duty proud,

To the Gods and to the Fathers, to each guest in virtue trained,
Rites were done with due devotion as by holy writ ordained!

Pure each caste in due observance, stainless was each ancient rite,
And the nation thrived and prospered by its old and matchless might,

And each man in truth abiding lived a long and peaceful life,
With his sons and with his grandsons, with his loved and honoured wife.

i Thus was ruled the ancient city by her monarch true and bold,
^ As the earth was ruled by Manu in the misty, days of old,

Troops who never turned in battle, fierce as fire and*strong and brave,
Guarded well her lofty ramparts as the lions guard the cave.

Steeds like Indra's in their swiftness came from far Kamboja's land,
From Vanaya and Vahlika and from Sindhu's rock-bound strand,

Digitized by GoOgle


Elephants of mighty stature from the Vindhya mountains came,
Or from deep and darksome forests round Himalay's peaks of fame,

Matchless in their mighty prowess, peerless in their wondrous speed,
Nobler than the noble tuskers sprung from high celestial breed.

Thus Ayodhya, " virgin city," — faithful to her haughty name, —
Ruled by righteous Dasa-ratha won a world-embracing fame,

Strong-barred gates and lofty arches, tower and dome and turret high
Decked the vast and peopled city fair" as mansions of the sky.

Queens of proud and peerless beauty born of houses rich in fame,
Loved of royal Dasa-ratha to his happy mansion came,

Queen Kausalya blessed with virtue true and righteous Rama bore,
Queen Kaikeyi young and beauteous bore him Bharat rich in lore,

Queen Spmitra bore the bright twins, Lakshman and Satrughna bold,
Four brave princes served their father in the happy days of old !


Mithila, and the Breaking of the Bow

Janak monarch of Videha spake his message near and far, —
He shall win my peerless Sita who shall bend my bow of war, —

Suitors came from farthest regions, warlike princes known to fame,
Vainly strove to wield the weapon, left Videha in their shame.

Viswa-mitra royal rhhi 9 Rama true and Lakshman bold,
Came to fair Mithila's city from Ayodhya famed of old,

Spake in pride the royal rishi : " Monarch of Videha's throne,
Grant, the wondrous bow of Rudra be to princely Rama shown."

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Janak spake his royal mandate to his lords and warriors bold :

" Bring ye forth the bow of Rudra decked in garlands and in gold/'

And his peers and proud retainers waiting on the monarch's call,
Brought the great and goodly weapon from the city's inner hall.

Stalwart men of ample stature pulled the mighty iron car
In which rested all-inviolate Janak's dreaded bow of war.

And where midst assembled monarchs sat Videha's godlike king,
With a mighty toil and effort did the eight-wheeled chariot bring.

" This the weapon of Videha," proudly thus the peers begun,
" Be it shewn to royal Rama, Dasa-ratha's righteous son,"

" This the bow," then spake the monarch to the rishi famed of old,
To the true and righteous Rama and to Lakshman young and bold,

" This the weapon of my fathers prized by kings from age to age,
Mighty chiefs and sturdy warriors could not bend it, noble sage !

Gods before the bow of Rudra have in righteous terror quailed,
Rakshas fierce and stout Asuras have in futile effort failed,

Mortal man will struggle vainly Rudra' s wondrous bow to bend,
Vainly strive to string the weapon and the shining dart to send,

Holy saint and royal rishi, here is Janak's ancient bow,

Shew it to Ayodhya's princes, speak to them my kingly vow ! "

Viswa-mitra humbly listened to the words the monarch said,

To the brave and righteous Rama, Janak's mighty bow displayed,

Rama lifted high the cover of the pond'rous iron car,

Gazed with conscious pride and prowess on the mighty bow of war.

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" Let me," humbly spake the hero, " on this bow my fingers place,
Let me lift and bend the weapon, help me with your loving grace,"

" Be it so," the ruin answered, t* be it so," the monarch said,
Rama lifted high the weapon on his stalwart arms displayed,

Wond'ring gazed the kings assembled as the son of Raghu's race
Proudly raised the bow of Rudra with a warrior's stately grace,

Proudly strung the bow of Rudra which the kings had tried in vain,
Drew the cord with force resistless till the weapon snapped in twain !

Like the thunder's pealing accent rose the loud terrific clang,
And the firm earth shook and trembled and the hills in echoes rang,

And the chiefs and gathered monarchs fell and fainted in their fear,
And the men of many nations shook the dreadful sound to hear !

Pale and white the startled monarchs slowly from their terror woke,
And with royal grace and greetings Janak to the rtshi spoke :

" Now my ancient eyes have witnessed wond'rous deed by Rama done,
Deed surpassing thought or fancy wrought by Dasa-ratha's son,

And the proud and peerless princess, Sita glory of my house,
Sheds on me an added lustre as she weds a godlike spouse,

True shall be my plighted promise, Sita dearer than my life,
Won by worth and wond'rous valour shall be Rama's faithful wife !

Grant us leave, O royal rishi, grant us blessings kind and fair,
Envoys mounted on my chariot to Ayodhya shall repair,

They shall speak to Rama's father glorious feat by Rama done,
They shall speak to Dasa-ratha, Sita is by valour won,

They shall say the noble princes safely live within our walls,
They shall ask him by his presence to adorn our palace halls ! "

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Pleased at heart the sage assented, envoys by the monarch sent,
To Ayodhya's distant city with the royal message went.


The Embassy to Ayodhya

Three nights halting in their journey with their steeds fatigued and spent,
Envoys from Mithila's monarch to Ayodhya's city went,

And by royal mandate bidden stepped within the palace hall,
Where the ancient Dasa-ratha sat with peers and courtiers all,

And with greetings and obeisance spake their message calm and bold,
Softly fell their gentle accents as their happy tale they told.

" Greetings to thee, mighty monarch, greetings to each priest and peer,
Wishes for thy health and safety from Videha's king we bear,

Janak monarch of Videha for thy happy life hath prayed,

And by Viswa-mitra's bidding words of gladsome message said :

* Known on earth my plighted promise, spoke by heralds near and far, —
He shall win my peerless Sita who shall bend my bow of war, —

Monarchs came and princely suitors, chiefs and warriors known to fame,
Baffled in their fruitless effort left Mithila in their shame,

Rama came with gallant Lakshman by their proud preceptor led,
Bent and broke the mighty weapon, he the beauteous bride shall wed !

Rama strained the weapon stoutly till it snapped and broke in twain,
In the concourse of the monarchs, in the throng of armed men,

Rama wins the peerless princess by the righteous will of Heaven,
I redeem my plighted promise — be thy kind permission given !

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Monarch of Kosala's country ! with each lord and peer and priest;
Welcome to Mithila's city, welcome t^Videha's feast,

Joy thee in thy Rama's triumph, joy thee with a father's pride,
Let each prince of proud Kosala win a fair Videha-bride ! '

These by Viswa-mitra's bidding are the words our monarch said,
This by Sata-nanda's counsel is the quest that he hath made."

Joyful was Kosala's monarch, spake to chieftains in the hall,
Vama-deva and Vasishtha and to priests and firahmans all :

" Priests and peers ! in far Mithila, so these friendly envoys tell,
Righteous Rama, gallant Lakshman, in the royal palace dwell,

And our brother of Videha prizes Rama's warlike pride,
To each prince of proud Kosala yields a fair Videha-bride,

If it please ye, priests and chieftains, speed we to Mithila fair,
World-renowned is Janak's virtue, Heaven-inspired his learning rare ! "

Spake each peer and holy Brahman : " Dasa-ratha's will be done ! "
Spake the king unto the envoys : " Part we with the rising sun ! "

Honoured with a regal honour, welcomed to a rich repast,
Gifted envoys from Mithila day and night in gladness passed !


Meeting of Janak and Dasa-ratha

On Ayodhya's tower and turret now the golden morning woke,
Dasa-ratha girt by courtiers thus to wise Sumantra spoke :

" Bid the keepers of my treasure with their waggons lead the way,
Ride in front with royal riches, gold and gems in bright array,

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Bid my warriors skilled in duty lead the four-fold ranks of war,
Elephants and noble chargers, serried foot and battle-car,

Bid my faithful chariot-driver harness quick each car of state,
With the fleetest of my coursers, and upon my orders wait.

Vama-deva and Vasishtha versed in Veda's ancient lore,
Kasyapa and good Jabali sprung from holy saints of yore,

Markandeya in his glory, Katyayana in his pride,

Let each priest and proud preceptor with Kosala's monarch ride,

Harness to my royal chariot strong and stately steeds of war,
For the envoys speed my journey and the way is long and far/*

With each priest and proud retainer Dasa-ratha led the way,
Glittering ranks of forces followed in their four-fold dread array,

Four days on the way they journeyed till they reached Videha's land,
Janak with a courteous welcome came to greet the royal band.

Joyously Videha's monarch greeted every priest and peer,
Greeted ancient Dasa-ratha in his accents soft and clear :

" Hast thou come, my royal brother, on my house to yield thy grace,
Hast thou made a peaceful journey, pride of Raghn's royal race ?

Welcome ! for Mithila's people seek my royal guest to greet,
Welcome ! for thy sons of valour long their loving sire to meet,

Welcome too the priest Vasishtha versed in Veda's ancient lore,
Welcome every righteous rishi sprung from holy saints of yore !

And my evil fates are vanquished and my race is sanctified,
With the warlike race of Raghu thus in loving bonds allied,

Sacrifice and rites auspicious we ordain with rising sun,

Ere the evening's darkness closes, happy nuptials shall be done ! "

Thus in kind and courteous accents Janak spake his purpose high,
And his royal love responding, Dasa-ratha made reply :

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" Gift betokens giver's bounty, — so our ancient sages sing, —
And thy righteous fame and virtue grace thy gift, Videha's king !

World- renowned is Janak's bounty, Heaven-inspired his holy grace,
And we take his boon and blessing as an honour to our race ! "

Royal grace and kingly greetings marked the ancient monarch's word,
Janak with a grateful pleasure Dasa-ratha's answer heard,

And the Brahmans and preceptors joyously the midnight spent,
And in converse pure and pleasant and in sacred sweet content.

Righteous Rama gallant Lakshman piously their father greet,
Duly make their deep obeisance, humbly touch his royal feet,

And the night is filled with gladness for the king revered and old,
Honoured by the saintly Janak, greeted by his children bold,

On Mithila's tower and turret stars their silent vigils keep,
When each sacred rite completed, Janak seeks his nightly sleep.

The Preparation

All his four heroic princes now with Dasa-ratha stayed
In Mithila's ancient city, and their father's will obeyed,

Thither came the bold Yudhajit prince of proud Kaikeya's line,
On the day that Dasa-ratha made his gifts of gold and kine,

And he met the ancient monarch, for his health and safety prayed,
Made his bow and due obeisance and in gentle accents said :

" List, O king ! my royal father, monarch of Kaikeya's race,
Sends his kindly love and greetings with his blessings and his grace,

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And he asks if Dasa-ratha prospers in his wonted health,
If his friends and fond relations live in happiness and wealth.

Queen Kaikeyi is my sister, and to see her son I came,
Bharat prince of peerless virtue, worthy of his father's fame,

Aye, to see that youth of valour, by my royal father sent,
To Ayodhya's ancient city with an anxious heart I went,

In the city of Mithila, — thus did all thy subjects say, —
With his sons and with his kinsmen Dasa-ratha makes his stay,

Hence in haste I journeyed hither, travelling late and early dawn,
For to do thee due obeisance and to greet my sister's son ! "

Spake the young and proud Kaikeya, dear and duly-greeted guest,
Dasa-ratha on his brother choicest gifts and honours pressed.

Brightly dawned the happy morning, and Kosala's king of fame
With his sons and wise Vasishtha to the sacred yajna came,

Rama and his gallant brothers decked in gem and jewel bright,
In th' auspicious hour of morning did the blest Kautuka rite,

And beside their royal father piously the princes stood,

And to fair Videha's monarch spake Vasishtha wise and good :

" Dasa-ratha watts expectant with each proud and princely son,
Waits upon the bounteous giver, for each holy rite is done,

'Twixt the giver and the taker sacred word is sacred deed,

Seal with girt thy plighted promise, let the nuptial rites proceed ! "

Thus the righteous-souled Vasishtha to Videha's monarch prayed,
Janak versed in holy Vedas thus in courteous accents said :

*' Wherefore waits the king expectant ? Free to him this royal dome,
Since my kingdom is his empire and my palace is his home,

And the maidens, flame-resplendent, done each fond Kautuka rite,
Beaming in their bridal beauty tread the sacrificial site 1

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I beside the lighted altar wait upon thy sacred hest,

And auspicious is the moment, sage Vasishtha knows the rest,

Let the peerless Dasa-ratha, proud Kosala's king of might,
With his sons and honoured sages enter on the holy site,

Let the righteous sage Vasishtha, sprung from Vedic saints of old,
Celebrate the happy wedding ; be the sacred mantras told ! "


The Wedding

Sage Vasishtha skilled in duty placed Videha's honoured king,
Viswa-mitra, Sata-nanda, all within the sacred ring,

And he raised the holy altar as the ancient writs ordain,

Decked and graced with scented garlands grateful unto gods and men,

And he set the golden ladles, vases pierced by artists skilled,
Holy censers fresh and fragrant, cups with sacred honey filled,

Sanka bowls and shining salvers, arghya plates for honoured guest,
Parched rice arranged in dishes, corn unhusked that filled the rest,

And with careful hand Vasishtha grass around the altar flung,
Offered gift to lighted Agni and the sacred mantra sung !

Softly came the sweet-eyed Sita, — bridal blush upon her brow, —
Rama in his manly beauty came to take the sacred vow,

Janak placed his beauteous daughter facing Dasa-ratha' s son,
Spake with father's fond emotion and the holy rite was done :

" This is Sita child of Janak, dearer unto him than Iife 9
Henceforth sharer of thy virtue, he she 9 prince , thy faithful wife,

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Of thy weal and woe partaker, be she thine in every land,
Cherish her in joy and sorrow, clasp her hand within thy hand,

As the shadow to the substance, to her lord is faithful wife,
And my Sita best of women follows thee in death or life / "

Tears bedew his ancient bosom, gods and men his wishes share,
And he sprinkles holy water on the blest and wedded pair.

Next he turned to Sita's sister, Urmila of beauty rare,

And to Lakshman young and valiant spake in accents soft and fair :

" Lakshman, dauntless in thy duty, loved of men and God* above,
Take my dear devoted daughter, Urmila of stainless love,

Lakshman, fearless in thy virtue, take thy true and faithful wife,
Clasp her hand within thy fingers, be she thine in death or life I* 9

To his brother's child Mandavi, Janak turned with father's love,
Yielded her to righteous Bharat, prayed for blessings from above :

" Bharat, take the fair Mandavi, be she thine in death or life,
Clasp her hand within thy fingers as thy true and faithful wife / "

Last of all was Sruta-kriti, fair in form and fair in face,

And her gentle name was honoured for her acts of righteous grace,

" Take her by the hand, Satrughna, be she thine in death or life,
As the shadow to the substance, to her lord is faithful wife I "

Then the princes held the maidens, hand embraced in loving hand,
And Vasishtha spake the mantra, holiest priest in all the land,

And as ancient rite ordaineth, and as sacred laws require,
Stepped each bride and princely bridegroom round the altar's lighted

Round Videha's ancient monarch, round the holy risbis all,
Lightly stepped the gentle maidens, proudly stepped the princes tall !

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And a rain of flowers descended from the sky serene and fair,
And a soft celestial music filled the fresh and fragrant air,

Bright Gandharoas skilled in music waked the sweet celestial song,
Fair Apsarat in their beauty on the green sward tripped along !

As the flowery rain descended and the music rose in pride,
Thrice around the lighted altar every bridegroom led his bride,

And the nuptial rites were ended, princes took their brides away,
Janak followed with his courtiers, and the town was proud and gay !


Return to Ayodhya

With his wedded sons and daughters and his guard in bright array,
To the famed and fair Ayodhya, Dasa-ratha held his way,

And they reached the ancient city decked with banners bright and brave,
And the voice of drum and trumpet hailed the home-returning brave.

Fragrant blossoms strewed the pathway, song of welcome filled the air,
Joyous men and merry women issued forth in garments fair,

And they lifted up their faces and they waved their hands on high,
And they raised the voice of welcome as their righteous king drew nigh.

Greeted by his loving subjects, welcomed by his priests of fame,
Dasa-ratha with the princes to his happy city came,

With the brides and stately princes in the town he held his way,
Entered slow his lofty palace bright as peak of Himalay.

Queen Kausalya blessed with virtue, Queen Kaikeyi in her pride,
Queen Sumitra sweetly loving, greeted every happy bride,

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Soft-eyed Site noble-destined, Urmila of spotless fame,
Mandavi and Sruta-kirti to their loving mothers came.

Decked in silk and queenly garments they performed each pious rite,
Brought their blessings on the household, bowed to Godp of holy might,

Bowed to all the honoured elders, blest the children with their love,
And with soft and sweet endearment by their loving consorts moved.

Happy were the wedded princes peerless in their warlike might,
And they dwelt in stately mansions like Kuvera's mansions bright,

Loving wife and troops of kinsmen, wealth and glory on them wait,
Filial love and fond affection sanctify their happy fate.

Once when on the palace chambers bright the golden morning woke,
To his son the gentle Bharat, thus the ancient monarch spoke :

" Know, my son, the prince Kaikeya, Yudajit of warlike fame,
Queen Kaikeyi's honoured brother, from his distant regions came,

He hath come to take thee, Bharat, to Kaikeya's monarch bold,
Go and stay with them a season, greet thy grandsire loved of old."

Bharat heard with filial duty and he hastened to obey,

Took with him the young Satrughna in his grandsire's home to stay,

And from Rama and from Lakshman parted they with many a tear,
From their young and gentle consorts, from their parents ever dear,

And Kaikeya with the princes, with his guards and troopers gay,
To his father's western regions gladsome held his onward way.

Rama with a pious duty, — favoured by the Gods above, —
Tended still his ancient father with a never-faltering love.

In his father's sacred mandate still his noblest Duty saw,
In the weal of subject nations recognised his foremost Law!

And he pleased his happy mother with a fond and filial care,
And his elders and his kinsmen with devotion soft and fair,

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Brahmans blessed the righteous Rama for his faith in gb4s above,
People in the town and hamlet blessed him with their loyal love 1

Wkfc a woman's whole affection fond and trusting Sita loved,
And within her faithful bosom loving Rama lived and moved,

And he loved her, for their parents chose her as his faithful wife,
Loved her for her peerless beauty, for her true and trustful life,

Loved and dwelt within her bosom though he wore a form apart,
Rama in a sweet communion lived in Site's loving heart !

Days of joy and months of gladness o'er the gentle Sita flew,
As she like the Quebn of Beauty brighter in her graces grew,

And as Vishnu with his consort dwells in skies, alone, apart,
Rama in a sweet communion lived in Site's loving heart !

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{The Banishment)

HP HE events narrated in this Book occupy scarcely two days.
The description of Rama's princely virtues and the rejoicings
at his proposed coronation, with which the Book begins, contrast
with much dramatic force and effect with the dark intrigues which
follow, and which end in his cruel banishment for fourteen years.

The portions translated in this Book form Sections i., ii., vi., and
vii., portions of Sections x. to xiii., and the whole of Section xviii.
of Book ii. of the original text.

The Council Convened

Thus the young and brave Satrughna, Bharat ever true and bold,
Went to warlike western regions where Kaikeyas lived of old,

Where the ancient Aswa-pati ruled his kingdom broad and fair,
Hailed the sons of Dasa-ratha with a grandsire's loving care.

Tended with a fond affection, guarded with a gentle sway,

Still the princes of their father dreamt and thought by night and day,

And their father in Ayodhya, great of heart and stout of hand,
Thought of Bharat and Satrughna living in Kaikeya's land.


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For his great and gallant princes were to him his life and light,
Were a part of Dasa-ratha like his hands and arms of might.

But of all his righteous children righteous Rama won his heart,
As Swayambhu of all creatures, was his dearest, holiest part,

For his Rama strong and stately was his eldest and his best,
Void of every baser passion and with every virtue blest !

Soft in speech, sedate and peaceful, seeking still the holy path,
Calm in conscious worth and valour, taunt nor cavil waked his wrath,

In the field of war excelling, boldest warrior midst the bold,
In the palace chambers musing on the tales by elders told,

Faithful to the wise and learned, truthful in his deed and word,
Rama dearly loved his people and his people loved their lord !

To the Brahmans pure and holy Rama due obeisance made,
To the poor and to the helpless deeper love and honour paid,

Spirit of his race and nation was to high-souled Rama given,
Thoughts that widen human glory, deeds that ope the gates of heaven !

Not intent on idle cavil Rama spake with purpose high,

And the God of speech might envy when he spake or made reply,

In the learning of the Vedas highest meed and glory won,

In the skill of arms the father scarcely matched the gallant son !

Taught by sages and by elders in the manners of his race,
Rama grew in social virtues and each soft endearing grace,

Taught by inborn pride and wisdom patient purpose to conceal,
Deep determined was his effort, dauntless was his silent will !

Peerless in his skill and valour steed and elephant to tame,
Dauntless leader of his forces, matchless in his warlike fame,

Higher thought and nobler duty did the righteous Rama move,
By his toil and by his virtues still he sought his people's love !

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Dasa-ratha marked his Rama with each kingly virtue blest,
And from life-long royal duties now he sought repose and rest :

" Shall I see my son anointed, seated on Kosala's throne,
In the evening of my life-time ere my days on earth be done,

Shall I place my ancient empire in the youthful Rama's care,
Seek for me a higher duty and prepare for life more fair ? "

Pondering thus within his bosom counsel from his courtiers sought,
And to crown his Rama, Regent, was his purpose and his thought,

For strange signs and diverse tokens now appeared on earth and sky,
And his failing strength and vigour spoke his end approaching nigh,

And he witnessed Rama's virtues filling all the world with love,
As the full-moon's radiant lustre fills the earth from skies above !

Dear to him appeared his purpose, Rama to his people dear,
Private wish and public duty made his path serene and clear,

Dasa-ratha called his Council, summoned chiefs from town and plain,
Welcomed too from distant regions monarchs and the kings qf men,

Mansions meet for prince and chieftain to his guests the monarch gave,
Gracious as the Lord of Creatures held the gathering rich and brave!

Nathless to Kosala's Council nor Videha's monarch came,
Nor the warlike chief Kaikeya, Aswa-pati king of fame,

To those kings and near relations, ancient Dasa-ratha meant,
Message of the proud anointment with his greetings would be sent.

Brightly dawned the day of gathering ; in the lofty Council Hall
Stately chiefs and ancient burghers came and mustered one and all,

And each prince and peer was seated on his cushion rich and high,
And on monarch Dasa-ratha eager turned his anxious eye,

Girt by crowned kings and chieftains, burghers from the town and plain,
Dasa-ratha shone like Indra girt by heaven's immortal train!

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The People Consulted

With the voice of pealing thunder Dasa-ratha spake to all,
To the princes and the burghers gathered in Ayodhya's hall :

" Known to all, the race of Raghu rules this empire broad and fair,
And hath ever loved and cherished subjects with a father's care,

In my fathers' footsteps treading I have sought the ancient path,
Nursed my people as my children, free from passion, pride and wrath,

Underneath this white umbrella, seated on this royal throne,
I have toiled to win their welfare and my task is almost done !

Years have passed of fruitful labour, years of work by fortune blest,
And the evening of my life-time needs, my friends, the evening's rest,

Years have passed in watchful effort, Law and Duty to uphold,
Effort needing strength and prowess, — and my feeble limbs are old !

Peers and burghers, let your monarch, now his lifelong labour done,
For the weal of loving subjects on his empire seat his son,

iNDRA-like in peerless valour, risbi-like in holy lore,
Rama follows Dasa-ratha, but in virtues stands before !

Throned in Pushya's constellation shines the moon with fuller light,
Throned to rule his father's empire Rama wins a loftier might,

He will be your gracious monarch favoured well by Fortune's Queen,
By his virtues and his valour lord of earth he might have been !

Speak your thought and from this bosom lift a load of toil and care,
On the proud throne of my fathers let me place a peerless heir,

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Speak your thought, my chiefs and people, if this purpose please you wel 1 ,
Or if wiser, better counsel in your wisdom ye can tell,

Speak your thought without compulsion, though this plan to me be dear,
If some middle course were wiser, if some other way were clear ! "

Gathered chieftains hailed the mandate with applauses Long and loud,
As the peafowls hail the thunder of the dark and laden cloud,

And the gathered subjects echoed loud and long the welcome sound,
Till the voices of the people shook the sky and solid ground !

Brahmans versed in laws of duty, chieftains in their warlike pride,
Countless men from town and hamlet heard the mandate far and wide,

And they met in consultation, joyously with one accord,
Freely and in measured accents, gave their answer to their lord :

" Years of toil and watchful labour weigh upon thee, king of men,
Young in years is righteous Rama, Heir and Regent let him reign,

We would see the princely Rama, Heir. and Regent duly made,
Riding on the royal tusker in the white umbrella's shade ! "

Searching still their secret purpose, seeking still their thought to know,
Spake again the ancient monarch in his measured words and slow:

" I would know your inner feelings, loyal thoughts and whispers kind,
For a doubt within me lingers and a shadow clouds my mind,

True to Law and true to Duty while I rule this kingdom fair,
Wherefore would you see my Rama seated as the Regent Heir ? "

« We would see him Heir and Regent, Dasa-ratha, ancient lord,
For his heart is blessed with valour, virtue marks his deed and Word,

Lives not man in all the wide-earth who excels tjhe stainless youth,
In his loyalty to Duty, in his love of righteous Truth,

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Truth impels his thought and action, Truth inspires his soul with grace,
And his virtue fills the wide earth and exalts his ancient race !

Bright Immortals know his valour ; with his brother Lakshman bold
He hath never failed to conquer hostile town or castled hold,

And returning from his battles, from the duties of the war,
Riding on his royal tusker or his all-resistless car,

As a father to his children to his loving men he came,

Blessed our homes and maids and matrons till our infants lisped his name,

For our humble woes and troubles Rama hath the ready tear,
To our humble tales of suffering Rama lends his willing ear !

Happy is the royal father who hath such a righteous son,
For in town and mart and hamlet every heart hath Rama won,

Burghers and the toiling tillers tales of Rama's kindness say,
Man and infant, maid and matron, morn and eve for Rama pray,

To the Gods and bright Immortals we our inmost wishes send,
May the good and godlike Rama on his father's throne ascend,

Great in gifts and great in glory, Rama doth our homage own,
We would see the princely Rama seated on his father's throne ! "


The City Decorated

With his consort pious Rama, pure in deed and pure in thought,
After evening's due ablutions Narayana's chamber sought,

Prayed unto the Lord of Creatures, Narayana Ancient Sire,
Placed his offering on his forehead, poured it on the lighted fire,

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Piously partook the remnant, sought for Narayana's aid,
As he kept his fast and vigils on the grass of kusa spread.

With her lord the saintly Sita silent passed the sacred night,
Contemplating World's Preserver, Lord of Heaven's ethereal height,

And within the sacred chamber on the grass of tusa lay,
Till the crimson streaks of morning ushered in the festive day,

Till the royal bards and minstrels chanted forth the morning call,
Pealing through the holy chamber, echoing through the royal hall.

Past the night of sacred vigils, in his silken robes arrayed,
Message of the proud anointment Rama to the Brahmans said,

And the Brahmans spake to burghers that the festive day was come,
Till the mart and crowded pathway rang with note of pipe and drum,

And the townsmen heard rejoicing of the vigils of the night,
Kept by Rama and by Sita for the day's auspicious rite.

Rama shall be Heir and Regent, Rama shall be crowned to-day, —
Rapid flew the gladdening message with the morning's gladsome ray,

And the people of the city, maid and matron, man and boy,
Decorated fair Ayodhya in their wild tumultuous joy !

On the temple' 8 lofty steeple high as cloud above the air,
On the crossing of the pathways, in the garden green and fair,

On the merchant' 8 ample warehouse, on the shop with stores displayed,
On the mansion of the noble by the cunning artist made,

On the gay and bright pavilion, on the high and shady trees,
Banners rose and glittering streamers, flags that fluttered in the
breeze !

Actors gay and nimble dancers, singers skilled in lightsome song;
With their antics and their music pleased the gay and gathered throng,

And the people met in conclaves, spake of Rama, Regent Heir,
And the children by the road-side lisped of Rama brave and fair !

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Women wove the scented garland, merry maids the censer lit,
Men with broom and sprinkled water swept the spacious mart and

Rows of trees and posts they planted hung with lamps for coming night,
That the midnight dark might rival splendour of the noonday light !

Troops of men and merry children laboured with a loving care,
Woman's skill and woman's fancy made the city passing fair,

So that good and kindly Rama might his people's toil approve,
So that sweet and soft-eyed Ska might accept her people's love !

Groups of joyous townsmen gathered in the square or lofty hall,
Praised the monarch Dasa-ratha, regent Rama young and tall :

" Great and good is Dasa-ratha born of Raghu's royal race,
In the fulness of his lifetime on his son he grants his grace,

And we hail the rite auspicious for our prince of peerless might,
He will guard us by his valour, he will save our cherished right,

Dear unto his loving brothers in his father's palace hall,
As is Rama to his brothers dear is Rama to us all,

Long live ancient Dasa-ratha king of Raghu's royal race,

We shall see his son anointed by his father's righteous grace ! "

Thus of Rama's consecration spake the burghers one and all,
And the men from distant hamlets poured within the city wall,

From the confines of the empire, north and south and west and east, '
Came to see the consecration and to share the royal feast !

And the rolling tide of nations raised their voices loud and high,
Like the tide of sounding ocean when the full moon lights the sky,

And Ayodhya thronged by people from the hamlet, mart and lea,
Was tumultuous like the ocean thronged by creatures of the sea !

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In the inner palace chamber stood the proud and peerless queen,
With a mother's joy Kaikeyi gaily watched the festive scene,

But with deep and deadly hatred Manthara, her nurse and maid,
Marked the city bright with banners, and in scornful accents said :

" Take thy presents back, Kaikeyi, for they ill befit the day,
And when clouds of sorrow darken, ill beseems thee to be gay,

And thy folly moves my laughter though an anguish wakes my sigh,
For a gladness stirs thy bosom when thy greatest woe is nigh ! .

Who that hath a woman's wisdom, who that is a prudent wife,
Smiles in joy when prouder rival triumphs in the race of life,

How can hapless Queen Kaikeyi greet this deed of darkness done,
When the favoured Queen Kausalya wins the empire for her son ?

Know the truth, O witless woman ! Bharat is unmatched in fame,
Rama, deep and darkly jealous, dreads thy Bharat' 8 rival claim,

Younger Lakshman with devotion doth on eldest Rama wait,
Young Satrughna with affection follows Bharat's lofty fate,

Rama dreads no rising danger from the twins, the youngest-born,
But thy Bharat' 8 claims and virtues fill his jealous heart with scorn !

Trust me, queen, thy Bharat's merits are too well and widely known,
And he stands too near and closely by a rival brother's throne,

Rama hath a wolf-like wisdom and a fang to reach the foe,
And I tremble for thy Bharat, Heaven avert untimely woe !

Happy is the Queen Kausalya, they will soon anoint her son,
When on Pushy a' a constellation gaily rides to-morrow's moon,

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Happy is the Queen Kausalya in her regal pomp and state,
And Kaikeyi like a bond-slave must upon her rival wait !

Wilt thou do her due obeisance as we humble' women do,

Will thy proud and princely Bharat as his brother's henchman go,

Will thy Bharat' 8 gentle consort, fairest princess in this land,

In her tears and in her anguish wait on Site's proud command ? "

With a woman's scornful anger Manthara proclaimed her grief,
With a mother's love for Rama thus Kaikeyi answered brief:

" What inspires thee, wicked woman, thus to rail in bitter tone,
Shall not Rama, best and eldest, fill his father's royal throne,

What alarms thee, crooked woman, in the happy rites begun,
Shall not Rama guard his brothers as a father guards his son ?

And when Rama's reign is over, shall not Gods my Bharat speed,
And by law and ancient custom shall not younger son succeed,

In the present bliss of Rama and in Bharat' s future hope,

What offends thee, senseless woman, wherefore dost thou idly mope ?

Dear is Rama as my Bharat, ever duteous in his ways,
Rama honours Queen Kausalya, loftier honour to me pays,

Rama's realm is Bharat' 8 kingdom, ruling partners they shall prove,
For himself than for his brothers Rama owns no deeper love ! "

Scorn and anger shook her person and her bosom heaved a sigh,
As in wilder, fiercer accents Manthara thus made reply :

" What insensate rage-or madness clouds thy heart and blinds thine eye,
Courting thus thy own disaster, courting danger dread and high,

What dark folly clouds thy vision to the workings of thy foe,
Heedless thus to seek destruction and to sink in gulf of woe ?

Know, fair queen, by law and custom, son ascends the throne of pride,
Rama's son succeedeth Rama, luckless Bharat steps aside,

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Brothers do not share a kingdom, nor can one by one succeed,
Mighty were the civil discord if such custom were decreed !

For to stop all war and tumult, thus the ancient laws ordain,
Eldest son succeeds his father, younger children may not reign,

Bharat barred from Rama's empire, vainly decked with royal grace,
Friendless, joyless, long shall wander, alien from his land and race !

Thou hast borne the princely Bharat, nursed him from thy gentle breast,
To a queen and to a mother need a prince's claims be pressed,

To a thoughtless heedless mother must I Bharat's virtues plead,
Must the Queen Kaikeyi witness Queen Kauaalaya's son succeed ?

Trust thy old and faithful woman who hath nursed thee, youthful queen,
And in great and princely houses many darksome deeds hath seen,

Trust my word, the wily Rama for his spacious empire's good,
Soon will banish friendless Bharat and secure his peace with blood !

Thou hast sent the righteous Bharat to thy ancient father's land,
And Satrughna young and valiant doth beside his brother stand,

Young in years and generous-hearted, they will grow in mutual love,
As the love of elder Rama doth in Lakshman's bosom move.

Young companions grow in friendship, and our ancient legends tell,
Weeds protect a forest monarch which the woodman's axe would fell,

Crowned Rama unto. Lakshman will a loving brother prove,
But for Bharat and Satrughna, Rama's bosom owns no love,

And a danger thus ariseth if the elder wins the throne,

Haste thee, heedless Queen Kaikeyi, save the younger and thy son !

Speak thy mandate to thy husband, let thy Bharat rule at home,
In the deep and pathless jungle let the banished Rama roam,

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This will please thy ancient father and thy father's kith and kin,
This will please the righteous people, Bharat knows no guile or sin !

Speak thy mandate to thy husband, win thy son a happy fate,
Doom him not to Rama s sendee or his unrelenting hate,

Let not Rama in his rancour shed a younger brother's blood,
As the lion slays the tiger in the deep and echoing wood !

With the magic of thy beauty thou hast won thy monarch's heart,
Queen Kausalya's bosom rankles with a woman's secret smart,

Let her not with woman's vengeance turn upon her prouder foe,
And as crowned Rama's mother venge her in Kaikeyi's woe,

Mark my word, my child Kaikeyi, much these ancient eyes have seen,
Rama's rule is death to Bharat, insult to my honoured queen ! "

Like a slow but deadly poison worked the ancient nurse's tears,
And a wife's undying impulse mingled with a mother's fears,

Deep within Kaikeyi's bosom worked a woman's jealous thought,
Speechless in her scorn and anger mourner's dark retreat she sought.


The Queen's Demand

Rama shall be crowned at sunrise, so did royal bards proclaim,
Every rite arranged and ordered, Dasa-ratha homeward came,

To the fairest of his consorts, dearest to his ancient heart,
Came the king with eager gladness joyful message to impart,

Radiant as the Lord of Midnight, ere the eclipse casts its gloom,
Came the old and ardent monarch heedless of his darksome doom !

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Through the shady palace garden where the peacock wandered free,
Lute and lyre poured forth their music, parrot flew from tree to tree,

Through the corridor of creepers, painted rooms by artists done,
And the halls where scented Ghampak and the flaming Asol shone,

Through the portico of splendour graced by silver, tusk and gold,
Radiant with his thought of gladness walked the monarch proud
and bold.

Through the lines of scented blossoms which by limpid waters shone,
And the rooms with seats of silver, ivory bench and golden throne,

Through the chamber of confection, where each viand wooed the taste,
Every object in profusion as in regions of the blest,

through Kaikeyi' s inner closet lighted with a softened sheen,
Walked the king with eager longing, — but Kaikeyi was not seen !

Thoughts of love and gentle dalliance woke within his ancient heart,
And the magic of her beauty and the glamour of her art,

With a soft desire the monarch vainly searched the vanished fair,
Found her not in royal chamber, found her not in gay parterre !

Filled with love and longing languor loitered not the radiant queen,
In her soft voluptuous chamber, in the garden, grove or green,

And he asked the faithful warder of Kaikeyi loved and lost,

She who served him with devotion and his wishes never crost,


Spake the warder in his terror that the queen with rage distraught,

Weeping silent tears of anguish had the mourner's chamber sought !

Thither flew the stricken monarch ; on the bare and unswept ground,
Trembling with tumultuous passion was the Queen Kaikeyi found,

On the cold uncovered pavement sorrowing lay the weeping wife,
Young wife of an ancient husband, dearer than his heart and life !

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Like a bright and blossoming creeper rudely severed from the earth,
Like a fallen fair Apsara, beauteous nymph of heavenly birth.

Like a female forest-ranger bleeding from the hunter's dart,
Whom her mate the forest-monarch soothes with soft endearing art,

Lay the queen in tears of anguish ! And with sweet and gentle word
To the lotus-eyed lady softly spake her loving lord :

^Wherefore thus, my Queen and Empress, sorrow-laden is thy heart.
Who with daring slight or insult seeks to cause thy bosom smart ?

If some unknown ailment pains thee, evil spirit of the air,
Skilled physicians wait upon thee, priests with incantations fair,

If from human foe some insult, wipe thy tears and doom his fate,
Rich reward or royal vengeance shall upon thy mandate wait !

Wilt thou doom to death the guiltless, free whom direst sins debase,
Wilt thou lift the poor and lowly or the proud and great disgrace,

Speak, and I and all my courtiers Queen Kaikeyi's hest obey,
For thy might is boundless, Empress, limitless thy regal sway !

Rolls my chariot-wheel revolving from the sea to farthest sea,
And the wide earth is my empire, monarchs list my proud decree,

Nations of the eastern regions and of Sindhu's western wave,
Brave Saurashtras and the races who the ocean's dangers brave,

Vangas, Angas and Magadhas, warlike Matsyas of the west,
Kasis and the southern races, brave Kosalas first and best,

Nations of my world-wide empire, rich in corn and sheep and'kine,
All shall serve my Queen Kaikeyi and their treasures all are thine,

Speak, command thy king's obedience, and thy wrath will melt away,
Like the melting snow of winter 'neath the sun's reviving ray ! "

Blinded was the ancient husband as he lifted up her head, _^

Heedless oath and word he plighted that her wish should be obeyed,

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Scheming for a fetal purpose, inly then Kaikeyi smiled,

And by sacred oath and promise bound the monarch love-beguiled :

^"Thou hast given, Dasa-ratha, troth and word and royal oath,
Three and thirty Gods be witness, watchers of the righteous truth,

Sun and Moon and Stars be witness, Sky and Day and sable Night,
Rolling Worlds and this our wide Earth, and each dark and unseen

Witness Rangers of the forest, Household Gods that guard us both,
Mortal beings and Immortal, — witness ye the monarch's oath,

Ever faithful to his promise, ever truthful in his word,
Dasa-ratha grants my prayer, Spirits and the Gods have heard !

Call to mind, O righteous monarch, days when in a bygone strife,
Warring with thy foes immortal thou hadst almost lost thy life,

With a woman's loving tendance poor Kaikeyi cured thy wound,
Till from death and danger rescued, thou wert by a promise bound,

Two rewards my husband offered, what my loving heart might seek,
Long delayed their wished fulfilment, — now let poor Kaikeyi speak,

And if royal deeds redeem not what thy royal lips did say,
Victim to thy broken promise Queen Kaikeyi dies to-day 1

^By these rites ordained for Rama, — such the news my menials bring, —
Let my Bharat, and not Rama, be anointed Regent King,

Wearing skins and matted tresses, in the cave or hermit's cell,
Fourteen years in Dandai's forests let the elder Rama dwell,

These are Queen Kaihey?s wishes, these are boons for which 1 pray,
I would see my son anointed* Rama banished on this day I "

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The King's Lament

** Is this torturing dream or madness, do my feeble senses fail,
O'er my darkened mind and bosom doth a fainting fit prevail ? "

So the stricken monarch pondered and in hushed and silent fear,
Looked on her as on a tigress looks the dazed and stricken deer,

Lying on the unswept pavement still he heaved the choking sigh,
Like a wild and hissing serpent quelled by incantations high !

Sobs convulsive shook his bosom and his speech and accent failed,
And a dark and deathlike faintness o'er his feeble soul prevailed,

Stunned awhile remained the monarch, then in furious passion woke,
And his eyeballs flamed with red fire, to the queen as thus he spoke :

" Traitress to thy king and husband, fell destroyer of thy race,
Wherefore seeks thy ruthless rancour Rama rich in righteous grace,

Traitress to thy kith and kindred, Rama loves thee as thy own,
Wherefore then with causeless vengeance as a mother hate thy son ?

Have I courted thee, Kaikeyi, throned thee in my heart of truth,
Nursed thee in my home and bosom like a snake of poisoned tooth,

Have I courted thee, Kaikeyi, placed thee on Ayodhya's throne,
That my Rama, loved of people, thou shouldst banish from his own ?

Banish far my Queen Kausalya, Queen Sumitra saintly wife,
Wrench from me my ancient empire, from my bosom wrench my life,

But with brave and princely Rama never can his father Dart,
Till his ancient life is ended, cold and still his beating heart !

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Sunless roll the world in darkness, rainless may the harvests thrive,
But from righteous Rama severed^ never can his sire survive,

Feeble is thy aged husband, few and brief on earth his day,
Lend me, wife, a woman's kindness, as a consort be my stay !

Ask for Other boon, Kaikeyi, aught my sea-girt empire yields,
Wealth or treasure, gem or jewel, castled town or smiling fields,

Ask for other gift, Kaikeyi, and thy wishes shall be given,

Stain me not with crime unholy in the eye of righteous Heaven ! "

Coldly spake the Queen Kaikeyi : <*If thy royal heart repent,
Break thy word and plighted promise, let thy royal faith be rent,

Ever known for truth and virtue, speak to peers and monarchs all,
When from near and distant regions they shall gather in thy hall,

Speak if so it please thee, monarch, of thy evil-destined wife,
How she loved with wife's devotion, how she served and saved thy

How on plighted promise trusting for a humble boon she sighed,
How a monarch broke his promise, how a cheated woman died ! "

" Fair thy form," resumed the monarch, " beauty dwells upon thy face,
Woman's winsome charms bedeck thee, and a woman's peerless grace,

Wherefore then within thy bosom wakes this thought of cruel wile,
And what dark and loathsome spirit stains thy heart with blackest

^Ever since the day, {Caikeyi, when a gentle bride you came,
By a wvfe's unfailing duty you have won a woman 8 fame,

Wherefore now this cruel purpose hath a stainless heart defiled,
Ruthless wish to send my Rama to the dark and pathless wild ?,

Wherefore, darkly-scheming woman, on unrighteous purpose bent,
Doth thy cruel causeless vengeance on my Rama seek a vent, •

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Wherefore seek by deeds unholy for thy son the throne to win,
Throne which Bharat doth not covet, — blackened by his mother's sin ?

v Shall I see my banished Rama mantled in the garb of woe,
Reft of home and kin and empire to the pathless jungle go.,

Shall I see disasters sweeping o'er my empire dark and deep.
As the forces of a foeman o'er a scattered army sweep ?

Shall I hear assembled monarchs in their whispered voices say,
Weak and foolish in his dotage, Dasa-ratha holds his sway,

Shall I say to righteous elders when they blame my action done,
That by woman's mandate driven I have banished thus my son ?

Queen Kausalya, dear-loved woman! she who serves me as a slave,
Soothes me Kke a tender sister, helps me like a consort brave,

As a fond and loving mother tends me with a watchful care,
As a daughter ever duteous doth obeisance sweet and fair,

When my fond and fair Kausalya asks me of her banished son,
How shall Dasa-ratha answer for the impious action done,

How can husband, cold and cruel, break a wife's confiding heart,
How can father, false and faithless, from his best and eldest part ? "

Coldly spake the Queen Kaikeyi : " If thy royal heart repent,
Break thy word and plighted promise, let thy royal faith be rent,

Truth-abiding is our monarch, so I heard the people say,
And his word is all inviolate, stainless virtue marks his sway,

Let it now be known to nations, — righteous Dasa-ratha lied,
And a trusting, cheated woman broke her loving heart and died ! "

Darker grew the shades of midnight, coldly shone each distant star,
Wilder in the monarch's bosom raged the struggle and the war :

>J*. Starry midnight, robed in shadows ! give my wearied heart relief,
^Spread thy sable covering mantle o'er an impious monarch's grieT,

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Spread thy vast and inky darkness o'er a detd of nameless crime,
Reign perennial o'er my sorrows heedless of the lapse of time.

May a sinful monarch perish ere the dawning of the day,

O'er a dark life sin-polluted, beam not morning's righteous ray ! "


The Sentence

^Morning came and duteous Rama to the palace bent his way,
For to make his salutation and his due obeisance pay,

And he saw his aged father shorn of kingly pomp and pride,
And he saw the Queen Kaikeyi sitting by her consort's side.

Duteously the righteous Rama touched the ancient monarch's feet,
Touched the feet of Queen Kaikeyi with a son's obeisance meet,

" Rama ! " cried the feeble monarch, but the tear bedimmed his eye,
Sorrow choked his failing utterance and his bosom heaved a sigh,

Rama started in his terror at his father's grief or wrath,
Like a traveller in the jungle crossed by serpent in his path !

Reft of sense appeared the monarch, crushed beneath a load of pain,
Heaving oft a sigh of sorrow as his heart would break in twain,

Like the ocean tempest-shaken, like the sun in eclipse pale,
Like a crushed repenting rishi when his truth and virtue fail !

Breathless mused the anxious Rama, — what foul action hath he done,
What strange anger fills his father, wherefore greets he not his son ?

" Speak, my mother," uttered Rama, " what strange error on my part,
Unremembered sin or folly fills with grief my father's heart, y

Gracious unto me is father with a father's boundless grace,
Wherefore clouds his altered visage, wherefore tears bedew his face?

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Doth a piercing painful ailment rack his limbs with cruel smart,
Doth some secret silent anguish wring his torn and tortured heart,

Bharat lives with brave Satrughna in thy father's realms afar,
Hath some cloud of dark disaster crossed their bright auspicious star ?

Duteously the royal consorts on the loving monarch wait,

Hath some woe or dire misfortune dimmed the lustre of their fate,

I would yield my life and fortune ere I wound my father's heart,
Hath my unknown crime or folly caused his ancient bosom smart ?

Ever dear is Queen Kaikeyi to her consort and her king,

Hath 8,ome angry accent escaped thee thus his royal heart to wring,

Speak, my ever -loving mother, speak the truth for thou must know,
What distress or deep disaster pains his heart and clouds his brow ? "

" Mother's love nor woman's pity moved the deep-determined queen,
As in cold and cruel accents thus she spake her purpose keen :

" Grief nor woe nor sudden ailment pains thy father loved of old,
But he fears to speak his purpose to his Rama true and bold,

And his loving accents falter some unloving wish to tell,

Till you give your princely promise, you will serve his mandate well >

Listen more, in bygone seasons, — Rama thou wert then unborn, —
I had saved thy royal father, he a gracious boon had sworn,

But his feeble heart repenting is by pride and passion stirred,
He would break his royal promise as a caitiff breaks his word,

Years have passed and now the monarch would his ancient word forego,
He would build a needless causeway when the waters ceased to flow !

Truth inspires each deed attempted and each word by monarchs spoke,
Not for thee, though loved and honoured, should a royal vow be broke,

If the true and righteous Rama binds him by his father's vow,
I will tell thee of the anguish which obscures his royal brow,

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If thy feeble bosom falter and thy halting purpose fail,
Unredeemed is royal promise and unspoken is my tale ! "

" Speak thy word," exclaimed the hero, "and my purpose shall not fail,
Rama serves his father's mandate and his bosom shall not quail,

Poisoned cup or death untimely, — what the cruel fates decree, —
To his king and to bis father Rama yields obedience free,

Speak my father's royal promise, hold me by his promise tied,
Rama speaks and shall not palter, for his lips have never lied."

Cold and clear Kaikeyi's accents fell as falls the hunter's knife, ;
" Listen then to word of promise and redeem it with thy life,

Wounded erst by foes immortal, saved by Queen Kaikeyi's car?,
Two great boons your father plighted and his royal words were fair,

I have sought their due fulfilment, — brightly shines my Bharat'sstar, —
Bharat shall be Heir and Regent, Rama shall be banished far !

If thy father' s royal mandate thou wouldst list and honour still,
Fourteen years in Dandak } s forest live and wander- at thy will.

Seven long years and seven, my Rama, thou shalt in the jungle dwell,
Bark of trees shall be thy raiment and thy home the hermit's cell,

Over fair Kosala's empire let my princely Bharat reign,

With his cars and steeds and tusker s x 'wealth and gold and armed men !

Tender-hearted is the monarch, age and sorrow dim his eye,
And the anguish of a father checks his speech and purpose high,

For the love he bears thee, Rama, cruel vow he may not speak*
I have spoke his will and mandate, and thy true obedience seek."

Calmly Rama heard the mandate, grief nor anger touched his heart, \
Calmly from his father's empire and his home prepared to part* /

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(The Death of the King)

'"PHE first six days of Rama's wanderings are narrated in this
Book. Sita and the faithful Lakshrnan accompanied Rama
in his exile, and the loyal people of Ayodhya followed their exiled
prince as far as the basks of the Tamasa river where they halted
on the first night. Rama had to steal away at night to escape the
citizens, and his wanderings during the following days give us beauti-
ful glimpses of forest life in holy hermitages. Thirty centuries have
passed since the age of the Kosafas and Videhas, but every step of the
supposed journey of Rama is well known in India to this day, and
is annually traversed by thousands of devoted pilgrims. The past
is not dead and buried in India, it lives in the hearts of millions
of faithful men and faithful women, and shall live for ever.

On the third day of their exile, Rama and his wife and brother
crossed the Ganges ; on the fourth day they came to the hermitage
of Bharad-vaja, which stood where Allahabad now stands, on the
confluence of the Ganges and the Jumna ; on the fifth day they
crossed the Jumna, the southern shores of which were then covered
with woods ; and on the sixth day they came to the hill of Chitra-
kuta, where they met the saint Valmifci, the reputed author of this
Epic. " We have often looked," says a writer in Calcutta Review,
vol. xxii, " on that green hill : it is the holiest spot of that sect of
the Hindu faith who devote themselves to this incarnation of Vishnu.
The whole neighbourhood is Rama's country, Every headland has
some legend, every cavern is connected with his name, some of the
wild fruits are still called Sita-phal, being the reputed food of the
exile. Thousands and thousands annually visit the spot, and round


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the hill is raised a footpath on which the devotee, with naked feet,
treads full of pious awe."

Grief for the banished Rama pressed on the ancient heart of
X3asa-ratha. The feeble old king pined away and died, remember-
ing and recounting on his death-bed how in his youth he had caused
sorrow and death to an old hermit by killing his son* Scarcely any
passage in the Epic is more touching than this old sad story told
by the dying monarch.

The portions translated in this Book form the whole or the
main portions of Sections xxvi., xxvii., xxxi., xxxix., xl.»
xlvi., lit, liv., It., lvi., lxiii., and lxiv. of Book ii. of the original


Woman's Love

" Dearly loved, devoted Sita ! daughter of a royal line,

Part we now, for years of wand'ri'ng in the pathless woods is mine,

For my father, promise-fettered, to Kaikeyi yields the sway,
And she wills her son anointed, — fourteen years doth Rama stray,

I But before I leave thee, Sita, in the wilderness to rove,
Yield me one more tender token of thy true and trustful love !

J Serve my crowned brother, Sita, as a faithful, duteous dame,
j Tell him not of Rama's virtues, tell him not of Rama's claim,

Since my royal father willeth,-~Bharat shall be regent«heir,
Serve him with a loyal duty, serve him with obeisance fair,

Since my royal father willeth, — years of banishment be mine,
Brave in sorrow and in suffering, woman's brightest fame be thine !

Keep thy fasts and vigils, Sita, while thy Rama is away,

Faith in Gods and faith in virtue on thy bosom hold their sway,

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In the early watch of morning to the Gods for blessings pray.
To my father Dasa-ratha honour and obeisance pay,

To my mother, Queen Kausalya, is thy dearest tendance due,
Offer her thy consolation, be a daughter fond and true !

Queen Kaikeyi and Sumitra equal love and honour claim,
With a soothing soft endearment sweetly serve each royal dame,

Cherish Bharat and Satrughna with a sister's watchful love,
And a mother's true affection and a mother's kindness prove !

Listen, Sita, unto Bharat speak no heedless angry word,
He is monarch of Kosala and of Raghu's race is lord,

Crowned kings our willing service and our faithful duty own,
Dearest sons they disinherit, cherish strangers near the throne !

Bharat's will with deep devotion and with faultless faith obey,
Truth and virtue on thy bosom ever hold their gentle sway,

And to please each dear relation, gentle Sita, be it thine,

Part we love ! for years of wand' ring in the pathless woods is mine ! "

Rama spake, and soft-eyed Sita, ever sweet in speech and word,
Stirred by loving woman's passion boldly answered thus her lord :

" Do I hear my husband rightly, are these words my Rama spake,
And her banished lord and husband will the wedded wife forsake ?

Lightly I dismiss the counsel which my lord hath lightly said,
For it ill beseems a warrior and my husband's princely grade !

For the faithful woman follows where her wedded lord may lead,
In the banishment of Rama, Sita's exile is decreed,

Sire nor son nor loving brother rules the wedded woman's state,
With her lord she falls or rises, with her consort courts her fate,

If the righteous son of Raghu wends to forests dark and drear x
Sita steps before her husband wild and thorny paths to clear /

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Like the tasted refuse water cast thy timid thoughts aside.
Take me to the pathless jungle, bid me by my lord abide,

Car and steed and gilded palace, vain are these to woman's life,
Dearer is her husband's shadow to the loved and loving wife !

For my mother often taught me and my father often spake,

That her home the wedded woman doth beside her husband make,

As the shadow to the substance, to her lord is faithful wife,

And she parts not from her consort till she parts with fleeting life !

Therefore bid me seek the jungle and in pathless forests roam,
Where the wild deer freely ranges and the tiger makes his home,

Happier than in father's mansions in the woods will Sita rove,
Waste no thought on home or kindred, nestling in her husband's love !

World-renowned is Rama's valour, fearless by her Rama's side,
Sita still will live and wander with a faithful woman's pride,

And the wild fruit she will gather from the fresh and fragrant wood,
And the food by Rama tasted shall be Sita's cherished food !

Bid me seek the sylvan greenwoods, wooded hills and plateaus high,
Limpid rills and crystal nullas as they softly ripple by,

And where in the lake of lotus tuneful ducks their plumage lave,
Let me with my loving Rama skim the cool translucent wave !

Years will pass in happy union, — happiest lot to woman given, —
Sita seeks not throne or empire, nor the brighter joys of heaven,

Heaven conceals not brighter mansions in its sunny fields of pride,
Where without her lord and husband faithful Sita would reside !

Therefore let me seek the jungle where the jungle-rangers rove,
Dearer than the royal palace, where I share my husband's love,

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" Part we then from loving kinsmen, arms and mighty weapons bring,
Bows of war which Lord Varuna rendered to Videha's king,

Coats of mail to sword impervious, quivers which can never fail.
And the rapiers bright as sunshine, golden* hiked, tempered well,

Safely rest these goodly weapons in our great preceptor's hall,
Seek and bring them, faithful brother, for methinks we need them all ! "

Rama spake ; his valiant brother then the wondrous weapons brought,
Wreathed with fresh and fragrant garlands and with gold and
jewels wrought,

" Welcome, brother," uttered Rama, "stronger thus to woods we go,
Wealth and gold and useless treasure to the holy priests bestow,

To the son of saint Vasishtha, to each sage is honour due,

Then we leave our father's mansions, to our father's mandate true ! "


Mother's Blessings

Tears of sorrow and of suffering flowed from Queen Kausalya's eye,
As she saw departing Sita for her blessings drawing nigh,

And she clasped the gentle Sita and she kissed her moistened head,
And her tears like summer tempest choked the loving words she said :

"Part we, dear devoted daughter, to thy husband ever true,
With a woman's whole affection render love to husband'sxroe-l

False are women loved and cherished, gentle in their speech and word,
When misfortune's shadows gather, who are faithless to their lord,

Who through years of sunny splendour smile and pass the livelong day,
When misfortune's darkness thickens, from their husband turn away,

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Who with changeful fortune changing oft ignore the plighted word,
And forget a woman's duty, woman's faith to wedded lord,

Who to holy love inconstant from their wedded consort part,
Manly deed nor manly virtue wins the changeful woman's heart !

But the true and righteous woman, loving spouse and changeless wife,
Faithful to her lord and consort holds him dearer than her life,

Ever true and righteous Sita, follow still my godlike son,
Like a God to thee is Rama in the woods or on the throne ! "

" I shall do my duty, mother," said the wife with wifely pride,
" Like a God to me is Rama, Sita shall not leave his side,

From the Moon will part his lustre ere I part from wedded lord,
Ere from faithful wife's devotion falter in my deed or word,

For the stringless lute is silent, idle is the wheel-less car,
And no wife the loveless consort, inauspicious is her star !

Small the measure of affection which the sire and brother prove,
Measureless to wedded woman is her lord and husband's love,

True to Law and true to Scriptures, true to woman's plighted word,
Can I ever be, my mother, faithless, loveless to my lord ? "

Tears of joy and mingled sorrow filled the Queen Kausalya's eye,
As she marked the faithful Sita true in heart, in virtue high,

And she wept the tears of sadness when with sweet obeisance due,
Spake with hands in meekness folded Rama ever good and true :

" Sorrow not, my loving mother, trust in virtue's changeless beam,
Swift will fly the years of exile like a brief and transient dream,

Girt by faithful friends and forces, blest by rfghteous Gods above,
Thou shalt see thy son returning to thy bosom and thy love ! "

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Unto ail the royal ladies Rama his obeisance paid,

For his failings unremembered, blessings and forgiveness prayed,

And his words were soft and gentle, and they wept to see him go,
Like the piercing cry of curlew rose the piercing voice of woe,

And in halls where drum and tabor rose in joy and regal pride, ,
Voice of grief and lamentation sounded far and sounded wide ! «

Then the true and faithful Lakshman parted from each weeping dame,
And to sorrowing Queen Sumitra with his due obeisance came,

And he bowed to Queen Sumitra and his mother kissed his head,
Stilled her anguish-laden bosom and in trembling accents said :

" Dear devoted duteous Lakshman, ever to thy elder true,
When thy elder wends to forest, forest-life to thee is due,

Thou hast served him true and faithful in his glory and his fame,
This is Law for true and righteous* — serve him in his woe and shame,

This is Law for race of Raghu known on earth for holy might,
Bounteous in their sacred duty, brave and warlike in the fight I

Therefore tend him as thy father, as thy mother tend his wife,
And to thee, like fair Ayodhya be thy humble forest life,

Go, my son, the voice of Duty bids my gallant L akshman g o,
Serve thy elder with devotion and with valour meeTTnYWpltf'


Citizens 1 Lament

Spake Sumantra chariot-driver waiting by the royal car,

" Haste thee, mighty-destined Rama, for we wander long and far,

Fourteen years in Dandak's forest shall the righteous Rama stray,
Such is Dasa-ratha's mandate, haste thee Rama and obey."

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Queenly Sita bright-apparelled, with a ttrong and trusting heart,
d, Counted on the car of splendour for the pathless woods to part,

roAnd the king for needs providing gave her robes and precious store,
. 7 or the many years of exile in a far and unknown shore,

&nd a wealth of warlike weapons to the exiled princes gave,
,Bow and dart and linked armour, sword and shield and lances brave.

Then the gallant brothers mounted on the gold-emblazoned car,
For unending was the journey and the wilderness was far,

Skilled Sumantra saw them seated, urged the swiftly-flying steed,
Faster than the speed of tempest was the noble coursers' speed.

And they parted for the forest ; like a long unending night,
Gloomy shades of grief and sadness deepened on the city's might,

Mute and dumb but conscious creatures felt the woe the city bore,
Horses neighed and shook their bright bells, elephants returned a roar !

Man and boy and maid and matron followed Rama with their eye,
As the thirsty seek the water when the parched fields are dry,

Clinging to the rapid chariot, by its side, before, behind,
Thronging men and wailing women wept for Rama good and kind :

u Draw the reins, benign Sumantra, slowly drive the royal car,
We would once more see our Rama banished long and banished far,

Iron-hearted is Kausalya from her Rama thus to part,
Rends it not her mother's bosom thus to see her son depart ?

True is rightecus-hearted Sita cleaving to her husband still,
As the ever present sunlight cleaves to Meru's golden hill,

Faithful and heroic Lakshman ! thou hast by thy brother stood,
And in duty still unchanging thou hast sought the pathless wood,

Fixed in purpose, true in valour, mighty boon to thee is given,
And the narrow path thou choosest is the righteous path to heaven ! "

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Thus they spake in tears and anguish as they followed him apace,
And their eyes were fixed on Rama, pride of Raghu's royal race,

Meanwhile ancient Dasa-ratha from his palace chamber' came,
With each weeping queen and consort, with each woe-disfracted dame!

And around the aged monarch rose the piercing voice of pain,
Like the wail of forest creatures when the forest-king is slain,

And the faint and feeble monarch was with age and anguish pale,
Like the darkened moon at eclipse when his light and radiance fail !

Rama saw his ancient father with a faltering footstep go,

Used to royal pomp and splendour, stricken now by age and woe,

Saw his mother faint and feeble to the speeding chariot hie,
As the mother-cow returneth to her young that loiters by,

Still she hastened to the chariot, " Rama ! Rama ! " was her cry,
And a throb was in her bosom and a tear was in her eye !

" Speed, Sumantra," uttered.- Rama, " from this torture let me part,
Speed, my friend, this sight of sadness breaks a much-enduring heart, j

Heed not Dasa-ratha' s mandate, stop not for the royal train,
Parting slow is lengthened sorrow like the sinner's lengthened pain ! "

Sad Sumantra urged the coursers and the rapid chariot flew,

And the royal chiefs and courtiers round their fainting monarch drew,

And they spake to Dasa-ratha : " Follow not thy banished son,
He whom thou wouldst keep beside thee comes not till his task is

Dasa-ratha, faint and feeble, listened to these words of pain,
Stood and saw his son departing, — saw him not on earth again !

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Crossing the Tamasa: the Citizens' Return

Evening's thickening shades descended on Tamasa's distant shore,
Rama rested by the river, day of toilsome journey o'er,

And Ayodhya's loving people by the limpid river lay,

Sad and sorrowing they had followed Rama's chariot through the day !

" Soft-eyed Sita, faithful Lakshman," thus the gentle Rama said,
" Hail the first night of our exile mantling us in welcome shade,

Weeps the lone and voiceless forest, and in darksome lair and nest
Feathered bird and forest creature seek their midnight's wonted rest

Weeps methinks our fair Ayodhya to her Rama ever dear,
And perchance her men and women shed for us a silent tear,

Loyal men and faithful women, they have loved their ancient king,
And his anguish and our exile will their gentle bosoms wring !

Moat I sorrow for my father and my mother loved and lost,
Stricken by untimely anguish, by a cruel fortune crost,

Bat the good and righteous JJharat gently will my parents tend, .
And with fond and filial duty tender consolation lend,

Well I know his stainless bosom and his virtues rare and high,
He will soothe our parents' sorrow arid their trickling tear will dry !

Faithful Lakshman, thou hast nobly stood by us when sorrows fell,
Guard my Sita by thy valour, by thy virtues tend her well,

Wait on her while from this river Rama seeks his thirst to slake,
On this first night of his exile food nor fruit shall Rama take,

Thpu Sumantra, tend the horses, darkness comes with. close of day,
Weary was the endless journey, weary is our onward way !."

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Store of grass and welcome fodder to the steeds the driver gave,
Gave them rest and gave them water from Tamasa's limpid wave,

And performing night's devotions, for the princes made their bed,
By the softly rippling river 'neath the tree's umbrageous shade.

On a bed of leaf and verdure Rama and his Sita slept,

Faithful Lakshman with Sumantra nightly watch and vigils kept,

And the stars their silent lustre on the weary exiles shed,

Ajid on wood and rolling river night her darksome mantle spread.

Early woke the righteous Rama and to watchful Lakshman spake :
" Mark the slumb'ring city people, still their nightly rest they take,

They have left their homes and children, followed us with loyal heart,
They would take us to Ayodhya, from their princes loth to part !

Speed, my brother, for the people wake not till the morning's star,
Speed by night the silent chariot, we may travel fast and far,

So my true and loving people see us not by dawn of day,
Follow not through wood and jungle Rama in his onward way,

For a monarch meek in suffering should his burden bravely bear,
And his true and faithful people may not ask his woe to share 1 "

Lakshman heard the gentle mandate, and Sumantra yoked the steed,
Fresh with rest and grateful fodder, matchless in their wondrous speed,

Rama with his gentle, consort and, with Lakshman true and brave,
Crossed beneath the silent starlight dark Tamasa's limpid wave.

On the further bank a pathway, fair to view and far and wide.
Stretching onwards to the forests spanned the spacious country side,

" Leave the broad and open pathway," so the gentle Rama said,
" Follow yet a track diverging, so the people be misled}

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Then returning to the pathway we shall march ere break of day.
So our true and faithful people shall not know our southward way."

Wise Sumantra hastened northward, then returning to the road,
By his master and his consort and the valiant Lakshman stood,

Raghu'8 sons and gentle Sita mounted on the stately car, •

And Sumantra drove the coursers travelling fast and travelling far.

Morning dawned, the waking people by Tamasa's limpid wave,
Saw not Rama and his consort, saw not Lakshman young and brave,

And the tear suffused their feces and their hearts with anguish burned,
Sorrow-laden and lamenting to their cheerless homes returned.


Crossing the Ganges. Bharad-vaja's Hermitage

Morning dawned, and far they wandered, by their people loved and lost,
Drove through grove and flowering woodland, rippling rill and river

Crossed the sacred Vedasruti on their still unending way,
Crossed the deep and rapid Gumti where the herds of cattle stray,

All the toilsome day they travelled, evening fell o'er wood and lea,
And they came where sea- like Ganga rolls in regal majesty,

'Neath a tall Ingudi's shadow by the river's zephyrs blest,
Second night of Rama's exile passed in sleep and gentle rest.

Morning dawned, the royal chariot Rama would no further own,
Sent Sumantra and the coursers back to fair Ayodhya's town,

Doffing then their royal garments Rama and his brother bold
Coats of bark and matted tresses wore like anchorites of old.

Guha, chief of wild Nishadas, boat and needed succour gave,
And the princes and fair Sita ventured on the sacred wave,

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And by royal Rama bidden strong Nishdas plied the oar,

And the strong boat quickly bounding left fair Ganga' s northern shore.

" Goddess of the mighty Ganga ! " so the pious Sita prayed,
" Exiled by his father's mandate, Rama seeks the forest shade,

Ganga ! o'er the three worlds rolling, bride and empress of the sea,
And from Brahma's sphere descended ! banished Sita bows to thee,

May my lord return in safety, and a thousand fattened kine,

Gold and gifts and gorgeous garments, pure libations shall be thine,

And with flesh and corn I worship unseen dwellers on thy shore,
May my lord return in safety, fourteen years of exile o'er ! "

On the southern shore they journeyed through the long and weary day,
Still through grove and flowering woodland held their long and weary

And they slayed the deer of jungle and they spread their rich repast,
Third night of the princes' exile underneath a tree was past.

Morning dawned, the soft-eyed Sita wandered with the princes brave,
To the spot where ruddy Ganga mingles with dark Jumna's wave,

And they crost the shady woodland, verdant lawn and grassy mead,
Till the sun was in its zenith, Rama then to Lakshman said :

" Yonder mark the famed Prayaga, spot revered from age. to age,
And the line of smoke ascending speaks some rishi's hermitage,

There the waves of ruddy Ganga with the dark blue Jumna meet,
And my ear the sea-like voices of the mingling waters greet.

Mark the monarchs of the forest severed by the hermit's might,
And the logs o£ wood and fuel for the sacrificial rite,

Mark the tall trees in their blossom and the peaceful shady grove,
There the sages make their dwelling, thither, Lakshman, let us rove."

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Slowly came the exile- wand'rers, when the sua withdrew his rays,
Where the vast and sea-like rivers met in sisters' sweet embrace,

And the asram s peaceful dwellers, bird of song and spotted deer,
Quaked to see the princely strangers in their warlike garb appear J

Rama stepped with valiant Lakshman, gentle Ska followed close,
Till behind the screening foliage hermits' peaceful dwellings rose,

And they came to Bharad-vaja, anchorite and holy saint,
Girt by true and faithful pupils on his sacred duty bent.

Famed for rites and lofty penance was the anchorite of yore,
Blest with more than mortal vision, deep in more than mortal lore,

And he sat beside the altar for the agni-hotra rite,
Rama spake in humble accents to the man of holy might :

" We are sons of Dasa-ratha and to thee our homage bring,
With my wife, the saintly Sita, daughter of Videha's king,

Exiled by my royal father in the wilderness I roam,

And my wife and faithful brother make the pathless woods their home,

We would through these years of exile in some holy asram dwell,
And our food shall be the wild fruit and our drink from crystal well,

We would practise pious penance still on sacred rites intent,

Till our souls be filled with wisdom and qur years of exile spent ! "

Pleased the ancient Bharad-vaja heard the prince's humble tale,
And with kind and courteous welcome royal strangers greeted well,

And he brought the milk and argbya where the guests observant stood,
Crystal water from the fountain, berries from the darksome wood,

And a low and leafy cottage for their dwelling-place assigned,
As a host receives a stranger, welcomed them with offerings kind.

In the asram s peaceful courtyard fearless browsed the jungle deer,
All unharmed the bird of forest pecked the grain collected near,

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And by holy men surrounded 'neath the trees' umbrageous shade,
In his pure and peaceful accents riM Bharad-vaja said :

" Not unknown or unexpected, princely strangers, have ye come,
I have heard of sinless Kama's causeless banishment from home,

Welcome to a hermit's forest, be this spot your place of rest,
Where the meeting of the rivers makes our sacred asram blest,

Lire amidst these peaceful woodlands, still on sacred rites intent
Till your souls be filled with wisdom and your years of exile spent! "

" Gracious are thy accents, ruhi" Rama answered thus the sage,
" But fair towns and peopled hamlets border on this hermitage,

And to see the banished Sita and to see us, much I fear,
Crowds of rustics oft will trespass on thy calm devotions here,

Far from towns and peopled hamlets, grant us, rubi, in thy grace,
Some wild spot where hid in jungle we may pass these years in peace."

" Twenty miles from this Prayaga," spake the rtthi pond' ring well,
" Is a lonely hill and jungle where some ancient hermits dwell,

Chitra-kuta, Peak of Beauty, where the forest creatures stray,
And in every bush and thicket herds of lightsome monkeys play,

Men who view its towering summit are on lofty thoughts inclined,
Earthly pride nor earthly passions cloud their pure and peaceful mind,

Hoary-headed ancient hermits, hundred autumns who have done,
By their faith and lofty penance heaven's eternal bliss have won,

Holy is the fair seclusion for thy purpose suited well,

Or if still thy heart inclineth, here in peace and comfort dwell ! "

Spake the rishi Bharad-vaja, and with every courteous rite,
Cheered his guests with varied converse till the silent hours of night,

Fourth night of the princes' exile in Prayaga' 8 hermitage,
Passed the brothers and fair Sita honoured by Prayaga's Sage.

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Crossing the Jumna— Valmiki's Hermitage

Morning dawned, and faithful Sita with the brothers held her way,
Where the dark and eddying waters of the sacred Jumna stray,

Pondering by the rapid river long the thoughtful brothers stood,
Then with stalwart arms and axes felled the sturdy jungle wood,

Usira of strongest fibre, slender bamboo smooth and plain,
Jambu branches intertwining with the bent and twisting cane,

And a mighty raft constructed, and with creepers scented sweet,
Lakahman for the gentle Sita made a soft and pleasant seat.

Then the rustic bark was floated, framed with skill of woodman's craft,
By her loving lord supported Sita stepped upon the raft,

And her raiments and apparel Rama by his consort laid,

And the axes and the deerskins, bow and dart and shining blade,

Then with stalwart arms the brothers plied the bending bamboo oar,
And the strong raft gaily bounding left for Jumna's southern shore.

" Goddess of the glorious Jumna ! " so the pious Sita prayed,
" Peaceful be my husband's exile in the forest's darksome shade,

May he safely reach Ayodhya, and a thousand fattened kine,
Hundred jars of sweet libation, mighty Jumna, shall be thine,

Grant that from the woods returning he may see his home again,
Grant that honoured by his kinsmen he may rule his loving men ! "

On her breast her arms she folded while the princes plied the oar,
And the bright bark bravely bounding reached the wooded southern

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And the wanderers from Ayodhya on the river's margin stood.
Where the unknown realm extended mantled by unending wood,

Gallant Lakshman with his weapons went before the path to clear,
Soft-eyed Sita followed gently, Rama fallowed in the rear.

Oft from tree and darksome jungle, Lakshman ever true and brave,
Plucked the fruit or smiling blossom and to gentle Sita gave,

Oft to Rama turned his consort, pleased and curious evermore,
Asked the name of tree or creeper, fruit or flower unseen before.

Still with brotherly affection Lakshman brought each dewy spray,
Bud or blossom of wild beauty from the woodland bright and gay,

Still with eager joy and pleasure Sita turned 1ier eye once more,
Where the tuneful swans and saras flocked on Jumna's sandy shore.

Two miles thus they walked and wandered and thebek of forest passed,
Slew the wild deer of the jungle, spread on leaves their rich repast,

Peacocks flew around them gaily, monkeys leaped on branches bent,
Fifth night of their endless wanderings in the forest thus they spent.

" Wake, my love, and list the warblings and the voices of the wood,"
Thus spake Rama when the morning on the eastern mountains stood,

Sita woke and gallant Lakshman, and they sipped the sacred wave,
To the hill of Chitra-kuta held their way serene and brave.

" Mark, my love," so Rama uttered, " every bush and tree and flower,
Tinged by radiant light of morning sparkles in a golden shower,

Mark the flaming flower of {Gnsuk and the Vilwa in its pride,
Luscious fruits in wild profusion ample store of food provide,

Mark the honeycombs suspended from each tall and stately tree,
How from every virgin blossom steals her store the faithless, bee !

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Oft the lone and startled wild cock sounds its clarion full and clear,
And from flowering fragrant forests peacocks send the answering cheer,

Oft the elephant of jungle ranges in this darksome wood,
For yon peak is Chitra-kuta loved by saints and hermits good,

Oft the chanted songs of hermits echo through its sacred grove,
Peaceful on its shady uplands, Sita, we shall live and rove ! "

Gently thus the princes wandered through the fair and woodland scene,
F r uits and blossoms lit the branches, feathered songsters filled the green,

Anchorites and ancient hermits lived m every sylvan grove,

And a sweet and sacred stillness filled the woods with peace and love!

Gently thus the princes wandered to the holy hermitage,
Where in lofty contemplation lived the mighty Saint and Sage,

Heaven inspired thy song, Valmiki ! Ancient Bard of ancient day,
Deed 8 of virtue and of valour live in thy undying lay !

And the Bard received the princes with a father's greetings kind,
Bade them live in Chitra-kuta with a pure and peaceful mind,

To the true and faithful Lakshman, Rama then bis purpose said,
And of leaf and forest timber Lakshman soon a cottage made.

" So our sacred Sattras sanction," thus the righteous Rama spake,
" Holy offering we should render when our dwelling-home we make,

Slay the black buck, gallant Lakshman, and a sacrifice prepare,
For the moment is auspicious and the day is bright and fair."

Lakshman slew a mighty black-buck, with the antlered trophy came,
Placed the carcass consecrated by the altar's blazing flame,

Radiant round the mighty offering tongues of red fire curling shone,
And the buck was duly roasted and the tender meat was done.

Pure from bath, with sacred mantra Rama did the holy rite,
And invoked the bright Immortals for to bless the dwelling site,

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To the kindly Viswa-devas, and to Rudra fierce and strong.
And to Vishnu Lord of Creatures, Rama raised the sacred song.

Righteous rite was duly rendered for the forest-dwelling made.
And with true and deep devotion was the sacred mantra prayed.

And the worship of the Bright Ones purified each earthly stain,
Pure- sou led Rama raised the altar and the chatty as sacred fane.

Evening spread its holy stillness, bush and tree its magic felt,
As the Gods in Brahma's mansions, exiles in their cottage dwelt,

In the woods of Chttra-kuta where the Malyavati flows,
Sixth day of their weary wand'rings ended in a sweet repose.


Tale of the Hermit's Son

Wise Sumantra chariot-driver came from Ganga's sacred wave,
And unto Ayodhya's monarch, banished Rama's message gave,

Dasa-ratha's heart was shadowed by the deepening shade of night,
As the darkness of the eclipse glooms the sun's meridian light !

On the sixth night, — when his Rama slept in Chitra-kuta's bower, —
Memory of an ancient sorrow flung on him its fatal power,

Of an ancient crime and anguish, unforgotten, dark and dread,
Through the lapse of years and seasons casting back its death-like shade !

And the gloom of midnight deepened, Dasa-ratha sinking fast,
To Kausalya sad and sorrowing spake his memories of the past :

" Deeds we do in life, Kausalya, be they bitter, be they sweet,
Bring their fruit and retribution, rich reward or suffering meet,

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Heedless child is he, Kausalya, in his fate who doth not scan
Retribution of his karma, sequence of a mighty plan !

Oft in madness and in folly we destroy the mango grove.
Plant the gorgeous gay palasa for the red flower that we love,

Fruitless as the red palasa is the karma I have sown,

And my barren lifetime withers through the deed which is my own !

Listen to my tale, Kausalya, in my days of youth renowned,
I was called a sabda-bcdki, archer prince who shot by sound,

I could hit the unseen target, by the sound my aim could tell, —
Blindly drinks a child the poison, blindly in my pride I fell !

I was then my father's Regent, thou a maid to me unknown,
Hunting by the fair Sarayu in my car I drove alone,

Buffalo or jungle tusker might frequent the river's brink,
Nimble deer or watchful tiger stealing for his nightly drink,

Stalking with a hunter's patience, loitering in the forests drear,
Sound of something in the water struck my keen and listening ear,

In the dark I stood and listened, some wild beast the water drunk,
'Tis some elephant, I pondered, lifting water with its trunk.

I was called a sabda-bedhi, archer prince who shot by sound*
On the unseen fancied tusker dealt a sure and deadly wound,

Ah ! too deadly was my arrow and like hissing cobra fell,
On my startled ear and bosom smote a voice of human wail,

Dying voice of lamentation rose upon the midnight high,

Till my weapons fell in tremor and a darkness dimmed my eye !

Hastening with a nameless terror soon I reached Sarayu' s shore,
Saw a boy with hermit's tresses, and his pitcher lay before,

Weltering in a pool of red blood, lying on a gory bed,
Feebly raised his voice the hermit, and in dying accents said :

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< What offence, O mighty monarch, all-unknowing have I done,
That with quick and kingly justice slayest thus a hermit's son ?

Old and feeble are my parents, sightless by the will of fate,
Thirsty in their humble cottage for their duteous boy they wait,

And thy shaft that kills me, monarch, bids my ancient parents die,
Helpless, friendless, they will perish, in their anguish deep and high!

Sacred lore and life-long penance change not mortal's earthly state,
Wherefore else they sit unconscious when their son is doomed by fate,

Or if conscious of my danger, could they dying breath recall,
Can the tall tree save the sapling doomed by woodman's axe to fall?

Hasten to my parents, monarch, soothe their sorrow and their ire,
For the tears of good and righteous wither like the forest fire,

Short the pathway to the asram, soon the cottage thou shalt see,
Soothe their anger by entreaty, ask their grace and pardon free 1

But before thou goest, monarch, take, O take thy torturing dart,
For it my bosom with a cruel burning smart,

And it eats into my young life as the river's rolling tide
By the rains of summer swollen eats into its yielding side.'

Writhing in his pain and anguish thus the wounded hermit cried,
And I drtw the fatal arrow, and the holy hermit died !

Darkly fell the thickening shadows, stars their feeble radiance lent,
As I filled the hermit's pitcher, to his sightless parents went,

Darkly fell the moonless midnight, deeper gloom my bosom rent,
As with faint and fait' ring footsteps to the hermits slow I went.

Like two birds bereft of plumage, void of strength, deprived of flight,
Were the stricken ancient hermits, friendless, helpless, void of sight,

Lisping in thek feeble accents still they whispered of their child,
Of the stainless hoy whose red blood Dasa-ratha's hands defiled !

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And the father heard my footsteps, spake io accents soft and kind :
'Come, my son, to waiting parents, wherefore dost thou stay behind,

Sporting in the rippling water didst thou midnight's hour beguile,
But thy faint and thirsting mother anxious waits for thee the while,

Hath my heedless word or. utterance caused thy boyish bosom smart,
But a feeble father's failings may not wound thy filial heart,

Help of helpless, sight of sightless, and thy parents' life and joy,
Wherefore art thou mute and voiceless, speak, my brave and beauteous
boy ! '

Thus the sightless father welcomed cruel slayer of his son,
And an anguish tore my bosom for the action I had done,

Scarce upon the sonless parents could I lift my aching eye,
Scarce in faint and faltering accents to the father make reply,

For a tremor shook my person and my spirit sank in dread,
Straining all my utmost prowess, thus in quavering voice I said :

« Not thy son, O holyiiermit, but a Kshatra warrior born,
Dasa-ratha stands before thee by a cruel anguish torn,

For. I came to slay the tusker by Sarayu's wooded brink,
Buffalo or deer of jungle stealing for his midnight drink,

And I heard a distant gurgle, some wild beast the water drunk, —
So I thought, — some jungle tusker lifting water with its trunk,

And I sent my fatal arrow on the unknown, unseen prey,
Speeding to the spot I witnessed, — there a dying hermit lay !

From his pierced and quivering bosom then the cruel dart I drew,
And he sorrowed for his parents as his spirit heavenward flew,

Thus unconscious, holy father, I have slayed thy stainless son,
Speak my penance, or in mercy pardon deed unknowing done ! '

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Slow and sadly by their bidding to the fatal spot I led,

Long and loud bewailed the parents by the cold unconscious dead,

And with hymns and holy water they performed the funeral rite,
Then with tears that burnt and withered, spake the hermit in his might:

' Sorrow for a son beloved Is a father's (Brest woe,
Sorrow for a son beloved, Dasa-ratha, thou shalt know I

See the parents weep and perish, grieving for a slaughtered son.
Thou shalt weep and thou shalt perish for a loved and righteous son !

Distant is the expiation, — but In fulness of the time,
Dasa-ratha' s death In anguish cleanses Dasa-ratha 9 s crime I *

Spake the old and sightless prophet ; then he made the funeral pyre,
And the father and the mother perished in the lighted fire,

Years have gone and many seasons, and in fulness of the time,
Comes the fruit of pride and folly and the harvest of my crime !

Rama eldest born and dearest, Lakshman true and faithful son,
Ah ! forgive a dying father and a cruel action done,

Queen Kaikeyi, thou hast heedless brought on Raghu's race this stain,
Banished are the guiltless children and thy lord and king is slain !

Lay thy hands on mine, Kausalya, wipe thy unavailing tear,
Speak a wife's consoling accents to a dying husband's ear,

Lay thy hands on mine, Sumitra, vision falls my closing eyes,
And for brave and banished Rama wings my spirit to the skies ! "

Hushed and silent passed the midnight, feebly still the monarch sighed,
Blessed Kausalya and Sumitra, blest his banished sons, and died.

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(The Meeting of the Princes)

'HE scene of this Book is laid at Chitra-kuta. Bharat return-
ing from the kingdom of the Kaikeyas heard of his father's
death and his brother's exile, and refused the throne which had
been reserved for him. He wandered through the woods and
jungle to Chitra-kuta, and implored Rama to return to Ayodhya,
and seat himself on the throne of his father. But Rama had given
his word, and would not withdraw from it.

Few passages in the Epic are more impressive than Rama's wise
and kindly advice to Bharat on the duties of a ruler, and his firm
refusal to Bharat's passionate appeal to seat himself on the throne.
Equally touching is the lament of Queen Kausalya when she meets
Sita in the dress of an anchorite in the forest.

But one of the most curious passages in the whole Epic is the
speech of JabalLthe Sceptic* who denied heaven and a world here-
after. In ancient India as in ancient Greece there were different
schools of philosophers, some of them orthodox and some of them
extremely heterodox, and the greatest latitude of free thought was
permitted. In Jabali, the poet depicts a free-thinker of the broad-
est type. He ridicules the ideas of Duty and of Future Life with a
force of reasoning which a Greek sophist and philosopher could not
have surpassed. But Rama answers with the fervour of a righteous,
truth-loving, God-fearing man.

All persuasion was in vain, and Bharat returned to Ayodhya

with Rama's sandals, and placed them on the throne, as an emblem

of Rama's sovereignty during his voluntary exile. Rama himself

hen left Chitra-kuta and sought the deeper forests of Dandak, so

63 e

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that his friends and relations might not find him again during his
exile. He visited the hermitage of the Saiot Atri ; and the ancient
and venerable wife of Atri welcomed the young Sita, and robed her
in rich raiments and jewels, on the eve of her departure for the un-
explored wildernesses of the south.

The portions translated in this Book are the whole or the main
portions of Sections xcix., c, ci., civ., cviii., cix., cxiL, and
cxix. of Book ii. of the original text.


The Meeting: of the Brothers

Sorrowing for his sire departed Bharat to Ayodhya came,
But the exile of his brother stung his noble heart to flame,

Scorning sin-polluted empire, travelling with each widowed queen,
Sought through wood and trackless jungle Chitra-kuta's peaceful scene.

Royal guards and Saint Vasishtha loitered with the dames behind,
Onward pressed the eager Bharat, Rama's hermit-home to And,

Nestled in a jungle thicket, Rama's cottage rose in sight,
Thatched with leaves and twining branches, reared by Lakshman's
faithful might.

Faggots hewn of gnarled branches, blossoms culled from bush and tree,
Coats of bark and russet garments, kusa spread upon the lea,

Store of horns and branching antlers, fire- wood for the dewy night, —
Spake the dwelling of a hermit suited for a hermit's rite.

" Mark the scene," so Bharat uttered, "by the righteous rlsbi told,
Malyavati's rippling waters, Chitra-kuta's summit bold,

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Mark the dark and trackless forest where the untamed tuskers roam,
And the deep and hollow caverns where the wild beasts make their

Mark the spacious wooded uplands, wreaths of smoke obscure the sky,
Hermits feed their flaming altars for their worship pure and high.

Done our weary work and wand'ring, righteous Rama here we meet,
Saint and king and honoured elder ! Bharat bows unto his feet,

Born a king of many nations, he hath forest refuge sought,
Yielded throne and mighty kingdom for a hermit's humble cot,

Honour unto righteous Rama, unto Sita true and bold,

Theirs be fair Kosala's empire, crown and sceptre, wealth and gold! "

Stately Sal and feathered palm-tree on the cottage lent their shade,
Strewn upon the sacred altar was the grass of kusa spread,

Gaily on the walls suspended hung two bows of ample height,
And their back with gold was pencilled, bright as Indra's bow of might,

Cased in broad unfailing quivers arrows shone like light of day,
And like flame-tongued fiery serpents cast a dread and lurid ray,

Resting in their golden scabbards lay the swords of warriors bold,
And the targets broad and ample bossed with rings of yellow gold,

Glove and gauntlet decked the cottage safe from fear of hostile men,
As from creatures of the forest is the lion's lordly den !

Calm in silent contemplation by the altar's sacred fire,
Holy in his pious purpose though begirt by weapons dire,

Clad in deer-skin pure and peaceful, poring on the sacred flame,
In his bark and hermit's tresses like an anchorite of fame,

Lion-shouldered, mighty-armed, but with gentle lotus eye,
Lord of wide earth ocean-girdled, but intent on penance high,

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Godlike as the holy Brahma, on a skin of dappled deer

Rama sat with meek-eyed Sita, faithful Lakshman loitered near !

" Is this he whom joyous nations called to fair Ayodhya's throne,
Now the friend of forest-rangers wandering in the woods alone.

Is this he who robed in purple made Ayodhya's mansions bright,
Now in jungle bark and deer-skin clad as holy anchorite,

Is this he whose wreathed ringlets fresh and holy fragrance shed,
Now a hermit's matted tresses cluster round his royal head,

Is this he whose royal yajnas filled the earth with righteous fame,
Now inured to hermit's labour by the altar's sacred flame,

Is this he whose brow and forehead royal gem and jewel graced,
Heir to proud Kosala's empire, eldest, noblest, and the best ? "

Thus lamented pious Bharat for his heart was anguish-rent.
As before the feet of Rama he in loving homage bent,

" Arya ! " in his choking accents this was all that Bharat said,
" Arya ! " spake the young Satrughna and he bent his holy head !

Rama to his loving bosom raised his brothers from his feet,
Ah, too deep is love for utterance when divided brothers meet,

Faithful Guha, brave Sumantra, bowed to Rama's righteous feet,
And a joy and mingled sadness filled the hermit's calm retreat !


Bharat' s Entreaty and Rama's Reply

" Speak, my true my faithful Bharat," so the righteous Rama cried,
" Wherefore to this jungle dwelling hast thou from Ayodhya hied,

Speak, my fond and loving brother, if our father bade thee come,
t living throne and spacious empire in this wilderness to roam ?

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Heir and Regent of Kosala ! Dost thou tend our father well,
And obey the lofty mandate from his royal lips that fell,

And the ancient Dasa-ratha, glorious still in regal might,

Doth he pass his bright life's evening in each pure and holy rite ?

Doth my mother, Queen Kausalya, still for Rama wet her eye,
And the gentle Queen Sumitra for her banished Lakshman sigh,

Doth the peerless Queen Kaikeyi pass her days in duties fair,
Guard her Bharat's mighty empire, tend him with a mother's care ?

Is each holy rite and homage to the Gods and Fathers done,
Is the honour due to elders, rendered by each duteous son,

Do thy warriors guard thy kingdom as of yore with matchless skill,
And with counsel deep and duteous do thy min'sters serve thy will ?

Rich thy fields in corn and produce fed by rivers broad and deep,
Rich thy green unending pastures with the kine and fattened sheep,

Tend the herdsman and his cattle, tend the tiller of the soil,
Watch and help with all thy bounty workmen in their peaceful toil,

For the monarch's highest duty is to serve his people's weal |
And the ruler's richest glory is to labour and to heal ! |

Guard thy forts with sleepless caution with the engines of the war,
With the men who shoot the arrow and who drive the flying car,

Guard Kosala's royal treasure, make thy gifts of wealth and food,
Not to lords and proud retainers, but to worthy and the good !

Render justice pure and spotless as befits thy royal line,
And to save the good and guiltless, Bharat, be it ever thine,

For the tears of suffering virtue wither like the thunder levin,
And they slay our men and cattle like the wrath of righteous heaven,

Fruitful be thy lore of Veda, fruitful be each pious rite,

Be thy queen a fruitful mother, be thy empire full of mi ght ! "

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Weeping, weeping, Bharat answered Dasa-ratha's eldest son,
" Dasa-ratha walks the bright sky, for his earthly task is done !

For impelled by Queen Kaikeyi to the woods he bade thee go,
And his spotless fame was clouded and his bosom sank in woe,

And my mother, late repenting, weeps her deed of deepest shame,
Weeps her wedded lord departed, and a woman's tarnished fame !

Thou alone canst wipe this insult by a deed of kindness done, —
Rule o'er Dasa-ratha's empire, Dasa-ratha's eldest son,

Weeping queens and loyal subjects supplicate thy noble grace, —
Rule o'er Raghu's ancient empire, son of Raghu's royal race !

For our ancient Law ordaineth and thy Duty makes it plain,
Eldest-born succeeds his father as the king of earth and main,

By the fair Earth loved and welcomed, Rama, be her wedded lord,
As by planet- jewelled Midnight is the radiant Moon adored !

And thy father's ancient min'sters and thy courtiers faithful still,
Wait to do thy righteous mandate and to senre thy royal will,

As a pupil, as a brother, as a slave, I seek thy grace, —

Come and rule thy father's empire, king of Raghu's royal race ! "

Weeping, on the feet of Rama, Bharat placed his lowly head,
Weeping for his sire departed, tears of sorrow Rama shed,

Then he raised his loving brother with an elder's deathless love,
Sorrow wakes our deepest kindness and our holiest feelings prove !

" But I may not," answered Rama, " seek Ayodhya's ancient throne,
For a righteous father's mandate duteous son may not disown,

And I may not, gentle brother, break the word of promise given,
To a king and to a father who is now a saint in heaven !

Not on thee, nor on thy mother, rests the censure or the blame,
Faithful to his father's wishes Rama to the forest came,

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iFor the son and duteous consort serve the father and the lord,
y ,p[igher than an empire's glory is a father's spoken word !

All inviolate is his mandate, — on Ayodhya's jewelled throne,
Or in pathless woods and jungle Rama shall his duty own,

All inviolate is the blessing by a loving mother given,

For she blessed my life in exile like a pitying saint of heaven !

Thou shalt rule the kingdom, Bharat, guard our loving people welly
Clad in wild bark and in deer '•skin I shall in the forests dwtJi,

So spake saintly Dasa-ratha in Ayodhya* s palace hall,

And a righteous father 9 s mandate duteous son may not recall / "


Kausalya's Lament and Rama's Reply

Slow and sad with Saint Vasishtha, with each widowed royal dame,
Unto Rama's hermit-cottage ancient Queen Kausalya came,

And she saw him clad in wild bark like a hermit stern and high,
And an anguish smote her bosom and a tear bedewed her eye.

Rama bowed unto his mother and each elder's blessings sought,
Held their feet in salutation with a holy reverence fraught,

And the queens with loving fingers, with a mother's tender care, \
Swept the dust of wood and jungle from his head and bosom faiiy*

Lakshman too in loving homage bent before each royal dame,
And they blessed the faithful hero spotless in his righteous fame.

Lastly came the soft-eyed Sita with obeisance soft and sweet,
And with hands in meekness folded bent her tresses to their feet,

Pain and anguish smote their bosoms, round their Sita as they prest,
As a mother clasps a daughter, clasped her in their loving breast !

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Torn from royal hall and mansion, ranger of the darksome wood,
Reft of home and kith and kindred by her forest hut she stood !

" Hast thou, daughter of Videha," weeping thus Kausalya said,
" Dwelt in woods and leafy cottage and in pathless jungle strayed,

Hast thou, Rama' 8 royal consort, lived a homeless anchorite,
Pale with rigid fast and penance, worn with toil of righteous rite?

But thy sweet face, gentle Sita, is like faded lotus dry,

And like lily parched by sunlight, lustreless thy beauteous eye,

Like the gold untimely tarnished is thy sorrow- shaded brow,
Like the moon by shadows darkened is thy form of beauty now !

And an anguish scathes my bosom like the withering forest fire,
Thus to see thee, duteous daughter, in misfortunes deep and dire,

Dark is wide Kosala's empire, dark is Raghu's royal house,
When in woods my Rama wanders and my Rama's royal spouse ! "

Sweetly, gentle Sita answered, answered Rama fair and tall,
That a righteous father 9 s mandate duteous son may not recall !


Jabali's Reasoning and Rama's Reply

Jabali a learned Brahman and a Sophist skilled in word,
Questioned Faith and Law and Duty, spake to young Ayodhya's lord :

" Wherefore, Rama, idle maxims cloud thy heart and warp thy mind,
Maxims which mislead the simple and the thoughtless human kind ?

Love nor friendship doth a mortal to his kith or kindred own,
Entering on this wide earth friendless, and departing all alone,

Foolishly upon the father and the mother dotes the son,
Kinship is an idle fancy, — save thyself thy kith is none !

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In the wayside inn he halteth who in distant lands doth roam,
Leaves it with the dawning daylight for another transient home,

Thus on earth are kin and kindred, home and country, wealth and store,
We but meet them on our journey, leave them as we pass before !

Wherefore for a father's mandate leave thy empire and thy throne,
Pass thy days in trackless jungle sacrificing all thy own,

Wherefore to Ayodhya's city, as to longing wife's embrace,
Speed'st thou not to rule thy empire, lord of Raghu's royal race ?

Dasa-ratha claims no duty, and his will is empty word, j

View him as a foreign monarch, of thy realm thou art the lord,)

Dasa-ratha is departed, gone where all the mortals go,

For a dead man's idle mandate wherefore lead this life of woe ?

Ah ! I weep for erring mortals who on erring duty bent
Sacrifice their dear enjoyment till their barren life is spent,

Who to Gods and to the Fathers vainly still their offerings make,
Waste of food ! for God nor Father doth our pious homage take !

And the food by one partaken, can it nourish other men,
Food bestowed upon a Brahman, can it serve our Fathers then ?

Crafty priests have forged these maxims and with selfish objects say, — /
Make thy gifts and do thy penance, leave thy worldly wealth and pray !1

There is no Hereafter, Rama, vain the hope and creed of men,
Seek the pleasures of the_present, spurn illusions poor and vain,

Take the course of sense and wisdom, cast all idle faith aside,
Take the kingdom Bharat offers, rule Ayodhya in thy pride ! "

" Fair thy purpose," answered Rama, " false thy reason leads astray,
Tortuous wisdom brings no profit, virtue shuns the crooked way,

For the deed proclaims the hero from the man of spacious lies,
Marks the true and upright Arya from the scheming worldly-wise !

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If assuming virtue's mantle I should seek the sinful path,

God 8 who judge our secret motives curse me with their deepest wrath,

And thy counsel helps not, rishi, mansions of the sky to win,
And a king his subjects follow adding deeper sin to sin ! I

/Sweep aside thy crafty reasoning, Truth is still our ancient way,
I Truth sustains the earth and nations and a monarch's righteous sway,

Mighty Gods and holy sages find in Truth their haven shore,
Scorning death and dark destruction, Truth survives for evermore !

Deadlier than the serpent's venom is the venom of a lie,

From the false, than from the cobra, men with deeper terror fly,

Dearer than the food to mortals, Truth as nourishment is given,
Truth sustains the wide creation, Truth upholds the highest heaven !

Vain were gifts and sacrifices, rigid penances were vain,
Profitless the holy Vedas but for Truth which they sustain,

Gifts and rites and rigid penance have no aim or purpose high,
Save in Truth which rules the wide earth and the regions of the sky !

I have plighted truth and promise and my word may not unsay,
Fourteen years in pathless forests father's mandate I obey,

And I seek no spacious reasons my relinquished throne to win,
Gods nor Fathers nor the Vedas counsel tortuous paths of sin !

Pardon, rishi, still unchanging shall remain my promise given
To my mother Queen Kaikeyi, to my father now in heaven,

Pardon, rishi, still in jungle we shall seek the forest fare,
Worship Gods who watch our actions, and pervade the earth and air !

Unto Agni, unto Vayu, shall my constant prayers run,
I shall live like happy Indra, hundred sacrifices done,

And the deep and darksome jungle shall be Rama's royal hall, ; — i
For a righteous father* s mandate duteous son may not recall I "/

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The Sandals

Tears nor sighs nor sad entreaty Rama's changeless purpose shook,
Till once more with hands conjoined Bharat to his elder spoke :

" Rama, true to royal mercy, true to duties of thy race,

Grant this favour to thy mother, to thy brother grant this grace,

Vain were my unaided efforts to protect our father's throne,
Town and hamlet, lord and tiller, turn to thee and thee alone !

Unto Rama, friends and kinsmen, chiefs and warriors, turn in pain,
And each city chief and elder, and each humble Tillage swain,

Base thy empire strong, unshaken, on a loyal nation's will,

With thy worth and with thy valour serve thy faithful people still ! "

Rama raised the prostrate Bharat to his ever-loving breast,
And in voice of tuneful hansa thus his gentle speech addrest :

" Trust me, Bharat, lofty virtue, strength and will to thee belong,
Thou could'st rule a world-wide empire in thy faith and purpose strong,

And our father's ancient min'sters, ever faithful, wise and deep,
They shall help thee with their counsel and thy ancient frontiers keep.

List ! the Moon may lose his lustre, Himalaya lose his snow, i
Heaving Ocean pass his confines surging from the caves below, \

But the truth-abiding Rama will not move from promise given, \
He hath spoke and will not palter, help him righteous Gods in heaven ! *

Blazing like the Sun in splendour, beauteous like the Lord of Night,
Rama vowed his Vow of Duty, changeless in his holy might !

'* Humble token," answered Bharat, "still I seek from Rama's hand,
Token of his love and kindness, token of his high command,

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IFrom thy feet cast forth those sandals, they shall decorate the throne,
They shall nerve my heart to duty and shall safely guard thy own,

They shall to a loyal nation absent monarch's will proclaim,
Watch the frontiers of the empire and the people's homage claim ! "

Rama gave the loosened sandals as his younger humbly prayed,
Bharat bowed to them in homage and his parting purpose said :

" Not alone will banished Rama barks and matted tresses wear,
Fourteen years the crowned Bharat will in hermit's dress appear,

Henceforth Bharat dwells in palace guised as hermit of the wood,
In the sumptuous hall of feasting wild fruit is his only food,

f Fourteen years shall pass in waiting, weary toil and penance dire,
\Then, if Rama comes not living, Bharat dies upon the pyre ! "


The Hermitge of Atri

With the sandals of his elder Bharat to Ayodhya went,
Rama sought for deeper forests on his arduous duty bent,

Wandering with his wife and Lakshman slowly sought the hermitage, I
Where resided saintly Atri, Vedic Bard and ancient sage.

Anasuya, wife of Atri, votaress of Gods above,

Welcomed Sita in her cottage, tended her with mother's love,

Gave her robe and holy garland, jewelled ring and chain of gold,
Heard the tale of love and sadness which the soft-eyed Sita told :

How the monarch of Videha held the plough and tilled the earthy
From the furrow made by ploughshare infant Sita sprang to birth,

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How the monarch of Videha welcomed kings of worth and pride,
Rama 'midst the gathered monarchs broke the bow and won the bride.

How by Queeil Kaikeyi's mandate Rama lost his father's throne,
Sita followed him in exile in the forest dark and lone !

Softly from the lips of Sita words of joy and sorrow fell,
And the pure-souled pious priestess wept to hear the tender tale,

And she kissed her on the forehead, held her on her ancient breast,
And in mother's tender accents thus her gentle thoughts exprest :

*« Sweet the tale you tell me, Sita, of thy wedding and thy love,
Of the true and tender Rama, righteous as the Gods above,

And thy wifely deep devotion fills my heart with purpose high,
Stay with us my gentle daughter for the night shades gather nigh.

Hastening from each distent region feathered songsters seek their nest,
Twitter in the leafy thickets ere they seek their nightly rest,

Hastening from their pure ablutions with their pitchers smooth and fair,
In their dripping barks the hermits to their evening rites repair,

And in sacred agni-hotra holy anchorites engage,

And a wreath of smoke ascending marks the altar of each sage.

Now a deeper shadow mantles bush and brake and trees around,
And a thick and inky darkness falls upon the distant ground,

Midnight prowlers of the jungle steal beneath the sable shade,
But the tame deer by the altar seeks his wonted nighdy bed.

Mark ! how by the stars encircled sails the radiant Lord of Night,
With his train of silver glory streaming o'er the azure height,

And thy consort waits thee, Sita, but before thou leavest, fair,
Let me deck thy brow and bosom with these jewels rich and rare,

t 01d these eyes and grey these tresses, but a thrill of joy is mine,
Thus to see thy youth and beauty in this gorgeous garment shine ! "

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Pleased at heart the ancient priestess clad her in apparel meet,
And the young wife glad and grateful bowed to Anasuya's feet,

Robed and jewelled, bright and beauteous, sweet-eyed Sita softly came.
Where with anxious heart awaited Rama prince of righteous fame.

With a wifely love and longing Sita met her hero bold,
Anasuya's love and kindness in her grateful accents told,

Rama and his brother listened of the grace by Sita gained,
Favours of the ancient priestess, pious blessings she had rained.

In the rishi's peaceful asram Rama passed the sacred night,

In the hushed and silent forest silvered by the moon's pale light,

Daylight dawned, to deeper forests Rama went serene and proud,
As the sun in mid-day splendour sinks within a bank of cloud !

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T ]


(On the Banks of the Godavari)

'HE wanderings of Rama in the Deccan, his meeting with
Saint Agastya, and his residence on the banks of the Godavari
river, are narrated in this Book. The reader has now left Northern
India and crossed the Vindhya mountains ; and the scene of the
present and succeeding five Books is laid in the Deccan and Southern
India. The name of Agastya is connected with the Deccan, and many
are the legends told of this great Saint, before whom the Vindhya
mountains bent in awe, and by whose might the Southern ocean
was drained. It is likely that some religious teacher of that
name first penetrated beyond the Vindhyas, and founded the
first Aryan settlement in the Deccan, three thousand years ago.
He was pioneer, discoverer and settler, — the Indian Columbus
who opened out Southern India to Aryan colonization and Aryan

Two yojanas from Agastya* s hermitage, Rama built his forest
dwelling in the woods of Panchavati, near the sources of the
Godavari river, and within a hundred miles from the modern city
of Bombay. There he lived with his wife and brother in peace
and piety, and the Book closes with the description of an Indian
winter morning, when the brothers and Sita went for their ablutions
to the Godavari, and thought of their distant home in Oudh. The
description of the peaceful forest-life of the exiles comes in most
appropriately on the eve of stirring events which immediately
succeed, and which give a new turn to the story of the Epic. We
now stand therefore at the turning point of the poet's narrative ;


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he has sung of domestic incidents and of peaceful hermitages so
far ; he sings of dissensions and wars hereafter.

The portions translated in this Book form Sections i., xii.,
xiii., xv., and xvi. of Book iii. of the original text.


The Hermitage of Agastya

Righteous Rama, soft-eyed Sita, and the gallant Lakshman stood
In the wilderness of Dandak, — trackless, pathless, boundless wood,

But within its gloomy gorges, dark and deep and known to few.
Humble homes of hermit sages rose before the princes' view.

Coats of bark and scattered kusa spake their peaceful pure abode,
Seat of pious rite and penance which with holy splendour glowed,

Forest songsters knew the asram and the wild deer cropt its blade,
And the sweet- voiced sylvan wood-nymph haunted oft its holy shade,

Brightly blazed the sacred altar, vase and ladle stood around,
Fruit and blossom, skin and faggot, sanctified the holy ground.

From the broad and bending branches ripening fruits in clusters hung,
And with gifts and rich libations hermits raised the ancient song,

Lotus and the virgin lily danced upon the rippling rill,

And the golden sunlight glittered on the greenwoods calm and still,

And the consecrated woodland by the holy hermits trod,

Shone like Brahma's sky in lustre, hallowed by the grace of God !

Rama loosened there his bow-string and the peaceful scene surveyed,
And the holy sages welcomed wanderers in the forest shade,

Rama bright as Lord of Midnight, Sita with her saintly face,
Lakshman young and true and valiant, decked with warrior's peer-
less grace !

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Leafy hut the holy sages to the royal guests assigned,
Brought them fruit and forest blossoms, blessed them with their bles*
sings kind,

** Raghu's son," thus spake the sages, " helper of each holy rite,
Portion of the royal Indra, fount of justice and of might,

On thy throne or in the forest, king of nations, lord of men,
Grant to us thy kind protection in this hermit's lonely den ! "

Homely fare and jungle produce were before the princes laid,
And the toil-worn, tender Sita slumbered in the asram's shade.

Thus from grove to grove they wandered, to each haunt of holy sage,
Sarabhanga's sacred dwelling and Sutikshna's hermitage,

Till they met the Saint Agastya, mightiest Saint of olden time,
Harbinger of holy culture in the wilds of Southern clime !

" Eldest born of Dasa-ratha, long and far hath Rama strayed," —
Thus to pupil of Agastya young and gallant Lakshman said, —

" With his faithful consort Sita in these wilds he wanders still,
I am righteous Rama's younger, duteous to his royal will,

And we pass these years of exile to our father's mandate true,
Fain to mighty Saint Agastya we would render homage due ! "

Listening to his words the hermit sought the shrine of Sacred Fire,
Spake the message of the princes to the Saint and ancient Sire :

" Righteous Rama, valiant Lakshman, saintly Sita seek this shade,
And to see thee, radiant ritbi, have in humble accents prayed."

" Hath he come," so spake Agastya, "Rama prince of Raghu's race,
Youth for whom this heart hath thirsted, youth endued with
righteous grace,

Hath he come with wife and brother to accept our greetings kind,
Wherefore came ye for permission, wherefore linger they behind ? "

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Rama and the soft-eyed* Ska were with gallant Larkshrhan led,
Where 'the l duh deer free and fearless roamed within the hoiyuhacfc,

Where the shrines of great Immortals stood in order thick and close,
And by bright and blazing altars chanted songs and hymns arose.

Brahma and the flaming Agni, Vishnu lord of heavenly light,
Indra and 'benign ViVAsahr ruler of the azure ! height,

Soma and the radiant Bhaga, and Kuvera lord of gold,
And Vidhatri great Creator Worshiped by'thesaints of t>ld,

Vayu breath of living creatures, Yama monarch of the dead,
And Varuna with his fetters Which the trembling sinners dread,

Holy Spirit of Gayatri goddess of the morning prayer,
Vasus and the hooded Nagas, golden- winged Garuda fair,

Kartikeya heavenly leader strong to conquer and to bless,
DHARMA'god of human duty and of human righteousness,

Shrines of all these bright Immortals ruling in the skies above,
Filled the pure and peaceful forest with a tsdm and holy love!

Girt by hermits righteous-hearted then the Saint Agastya came,
Rich in wealth of pious penance, rich in learning and in fame,

Mighty-arme*d Rama marked him radiant like the midday 'sun,
Bowed and' rendered due obeisance with each act of homage done,

Valiant Lakshman tall ahcl stately to the great Ajgastya bent,
With a woman' 8 soft devotion Sita bowed unto the saint.

Saint Agastya raised the princes, greeted them in accents sWeet,
Gave them fruit and herb and water, offered them the honoured seat,

With libations unto Agni offered welcome to each guest,

Food and drink beseeming hermits on the wearied princes (pressed.

"False the hermits," spake Agastya, "who to guests their dues deny,
Hunger they in life hereafter— like * the speaker ^>f a -lie,

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And a royal igbest : 4nd wanderer doth our foremost honour claim,
Car-borttekittgs protect the wide'earth by their pro^eds^d their* fame,

By these fruits and forest blossoms be our humble homage shewn,
By some gift, of Rama worthy, be Agastya's blessings known !

Take this bow, heroic Rama,— need for warlike arms is thine, —
Gems of more than earthly radiance on the goodly weapon shine,

Worshipper of righteous Vishnu ! Vishnu's wondrous weapon take,
Heavenly artist Viswa-karman shaped this bow of heavenly make !

Take this shining dart of Brahma radiant like a tongue of flame,
Sped by good and worthy archer never shall it miss its aim,

And this Indra's ample quiver filled with arrows true and keen,
Filled with arrows still unfailing in the battle's dreadful scene !

Take this sabre golden-hiked in its case of burnished gold,
Not unworthy of a monarch and a warrior true and bold,

Impious foes of bright Immortals know these weapons dread and dire,
Mowing down the ranks of foemen, scathing like the forest fire !

Be these weapons thy companions, — Rama, thou shdt need them oft, —
Meet and conquer still thy foemen like the Thunder- God aloft / "


The Counsel 6f Agastya

u Pleased am I," so spake Agastya, " in these forests dark and wild,
Thou hast come to seek me, Rama, with the saintly Janak's child,

But like pale and drooping blossom severed from the parent tree,
Far from heme in toil and trouble, faithful Sita follows thee,

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True to wedded lord and husband she hath followed Raghu's son,
, With a woman 9 8 deep devotion woman's duty she hath done !

How unlike the fickle woman, true while Fame and Fortune smile,
Faithless when misfortunes gather, loveless in her wicked wile,

How unlike the changeful woman, false as light the lightnings fling,
Keen as sabre, quick as tempest, swift as bird upon its wing !

Dead to Fortune's frown or favour, Sita still in truth abides,
As the star of Arundhati in her mansion still resides,

Rest thee with thy gentle consort, farther still she may not roam,
Holier were this hermit's forest as the saintly Sita's home ! "

" Great Agastya ! " answered Rama, " blessed is my banished life,
For thy kindness to an exile and his friendless homeless wife,

But in wilder, gloomier forests lonesome we must wander still,
Where a deeper, darker shadow settles on the rock and rill."

" Be it so," Agastya answered, " two short yqjans from this place,
Wild is Panchavati'8 forest where unseen the wild deer race,

Godavari's limpid waters through its gloomy gorges flow,
Fruit and root and luscious berries on its silent margin grow,

Seek that spot and with thy brother build a lonesome leafy home,
Tend thy true and toil-worn Sita, farther still she may not roam !

Not unknown to me the mandate by thy royal father given,

Not unseen thy endless wanderings destined by the will of Heaven,

Therefore Panchavati's forest marked I for thy woodland stay,
Where the ripening wild fruit clusters and the wild bird trills his lay,

Tend thy dear devoted Sita and protect each pious rite,
Matchless in thy warlike weapons peerless in thy princely might !

Mark yon gloomy Mahua forest stretching o'er the boundless lea,
Pass that wood and turning northward seek an old Nyagrodba tree,

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Then ascend a sloping upland by a steep and lofty hill,

Thou shalt enter Panchavati, blossom-covered, calm and still ! "

Bowing to the great Agastya, Rama left the mighty sage,
Bowing to each saint and hermit, Lakshman left the hermitage,

And the princes tall and stately marched where Panchavati lay,
Soft-eyed Sita followed meekly where her Rama led the way !


The Forest of Panchavati

Godavari'8 limpid waters in her gloomy gorges strayed,
Unseen rangers of the jungle nestled in the darksome shade !

" Mark the woodlands," uttered Rama, " by the Saint Agastya told,
Panchavati 9 8 lonesome forest with its blossoms red and gold,

Skilled to scan the wood and jungle, Lakshman, cast thy eye around,
For our humble home and dwelling seek a low and level ground,

Where the river laves its margin with a soft and gentle kiss, \

Where my sweet and soft-eyed Sita may repose in sylvan bliss, t

Where the lawn is fresh and verdant and the kusa young and bright, £
And the creeper yields her blossoms for our sacrificial rite."

" Little can I help thee, brother," did the duteous Lakshman say,
" Thou art prompt to judge and fathom, Lakshman listens to obey ! "

" Mark this spot," so answered Rama, leading Lakshman by the hand,
" Soft the lawn of verdant kusa, beauteous blossoms light the land,

Mark the smiling lake of lotus gleaming with a radiance fair,
Wafting fresh and gentle fragrance o'er the rich and laden air,

Mark each scented shrub and creeper bending o'er the lucid wave,
Where the bank with soft caresses Godavari's waters lave !

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Tuneful ducks frequent this margin, Cbulravakm breathe of love,
And the timid deer of jungle browse within the shady grove,

And the valleys are resonant with the peacock's clarion cry,

And the trees with budding blossoms glitter on the mountains high,

And the rocks in well-marked strata in their glittering lines appear,
Like the streaks of white and crimson painted on our tuskers fair!

Stately Sal and feathered palm-tree guard this darksome forest-land,
Golden date and flowering mango stretch afar on either hand,

Asok thrives and blazing Kinsuk, Chandan wafts a fragrance rare,
Asiva-karna and Khadira by the Sam dark and fair,

Beauteous spot for hermit-dwelling joyous with the voice of song,
Haunted by the timid wild deer and by black buck fleet and strong! "

Foe-compelling faithful Lakshman heard the words his elder said,
And by sturdy toil and labour stately home and dwelling made,

Spacious was the leafy cottage walled with moistened earth and soft,
Pillared with the stately, bamboo holding high the roof aloft,

Interlacing twigs and branches, corded from the ridge to eaves,^
Held the thatch of reed and branches and of jungle grass and leaver

And the floor was pressed and levelled and the toilsome task was dono,
And the structure rose in beauty for th$ righteous Raghu's son !

To the river for ablutions Lakshman, went of warlike fame,
With a store of fragrant lotus and of luscious berries came,

Sacrificing to the Bright Gods sacred hymns and mantras said,
Proudly then unto his elder shewed the home his hand had made.

In her soft and grateful accents gentle Sita praised his skill,
Praised a brother's loving labour, praised a hero's dauntless will,

Rama clasped his faithful Lakshman in a brother's fond embrace,
Spake in sweet and kindly accents with an elder's loving grace :

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<»ft Tftff ?£##& Off , TI*E GO^VA^ 8%

" HowcaqjRaroajhpmcl^^f^rcr^pric^^ovplikptlji^ renujjte^
Let him. hold thee, in his bosom, sojil of, love, and ami of mighty

And our father good and gracious, in, a righteous son like thee,
Lives agajn and treads thehrig^eartl^, from, the bonds^of YAMA^ree ! "

Thus spake Rama, and with Lakshman and with Sita child of love, 1
Dwelt in Panchavati's cottage as + the Bright Gods dwell 1 above !' I


Winter in Panchav*ti,

Came and passed the golden autumn in the forest's gloomy shade,
And the. northern blasts of winter, swept along, tfefosjlpn^ gljtfjfc

When the chilly night was over* once at morn the prince of 'fame
For hi* mojnjng's, pure, .ablutions to the, Qodava^i carne^

Meek-eyed Sita softly followed with the. pitcher in hecarms*
Gallant Lakshman spake to Rama of the Indian winter's charms :

" Comes. the bright and bracing wjpter to the. royal Rama^deajy
Like a bride the beauteous season doth in richest robes appear,

Frosty ajf; and) freshening zephyrs, wake to life ejach t mart and plain^
And the corn in dewdrop sparkling makes a sea of waving green,

But tfye village maid and matron shun tlje. freezing river's shore,
By the fire the village elder tells the stirring tale of yore !

With the winter's ample harvest men perform each pious, rite,
To the Fathers long departed, to the Gods of holy mighf,

With the rite of agrayana pioufr men their, sins dispel*

And with gay and sweet observance songs- of love the women tell;

And the monarchsbent on, conquest mask the, winter;' Stcjoudleas glow*
Lead their bannered cars. and. forces Against the, rival and t^e fpe,!

South warfs rolls, the solar- chappy an4. % qo1o\ ajid w^flc-w^ Nop fc
Reft of '.bridal mask ' an4 joyanc^ cojyiy, sighs, hex 8pr^ws^ipr$J^

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Southward rolls the solar chariot, Himalaya, * home of snow/
True to name and appellation doth in whiter garments glow,

Southward rolls the solar chariot, cold and crisp the frosty air,
And the wood of flower dismantled doth in russet robes appear !

Star of Pushya rules December and the pight with rime is hoar,
And beneath the starry welkin in the woods we sleep no more,

And the pale moon mist-enshrouded sheds a faint and feeble beam,
As the breath obscures the mirror, winter mist obscures her gleam,

Hidden by the rising vapour faint she glistens on the dale,
Like our sun-embrowned Sita with her toil and penance pale !

Sweeping blasts from western mountains through the gorges whistle by,
And the saras and the curlew raise their shrill and piercing cry,

Boundless fields of wheat and barley are with dewdrops moist and wet,
And the golden rice of winter ripens like the clustering date,

Peopled marts and rural hamlets wake to life and cheerful toil,
And the peaceful happy nations prosper on their fertile soil !

Mark the sun in morning vapours — like the moon subdued and pale —
Brightening as the day advances piercing through the darksome veil,

Mark his gay and golden lustre sparkling o'er the dewy lea,
Mantling hill and field and forest, painting bush and leaf and tree,

Mark it glisten on the green grass, on each bright and bending blade,
Lighten up the long drawn vista, shooting through the gloomy glade !

Thirst-impelled the lordly tusker still avoids the freezing drink,
Wild duck and the tuneful hansa doubtful watch the river's brink,

From the rivers wrapped in vapour unseen cries the wild curlew,
Unseen rolls the misty streamlet o'er its sandbank soaked in dew,

And the drooping water-lily bends her head beneath the frost,
Lost her fresh and fragrant beauty and her tender petals lost !

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Now my errant fancy wanders to Ayodhya's distant town,
Where in hermit's barks and tresses Bharat wears the royal crown,

Scorning regal state and splendour, spurning pleasures loved of yore,
Spends his winter day in penance, sleeps at night upon the floor,

Aye 1 perchance Sarayu's waters seeks he now, serene and brave,
As we seek, when dawns the daylight, Godavari's limpid wave !

Rich of hue, with eye of lotus, truthful, faithful, strong of mind,
For the love he bears thee, Rama, spurns each joy of baser kind,

' False he proves unto his father who is led by mother's wile,' —
Vain this ancient impious adage — Bharat spurns his mother's guile,

Bharat's mother Queen Kaikeyi, Dasa-ratha's royal spouse,
Deep in craft, hath brought disaster on Ayodhya s royal house !

" Speak not thus," so Rama answered, "on Kaikeyi cast no blame,/
Honour still the righteous Bharat, honour still the royal dame,

Fixed in purpose and unchanging still in jungle wilds I roam,
But thy accents, gentle Lakshman, wake a longing for my home !

And my loving mem'ry lingers on each word from Bharat fell,
Sweeter than the draught of nectar, purer than the crystal well,

And my righteous purpose falters, shaken by a brother's love,
May we meet again our brother, if it please the Gods above ! "

Waked by love, a silent tear-drop fell on Godavari's wave,

True once more to righteous purpose Rama's heart was calm and brave,

Rama plunged into the river 'neath the morning's crimson beam,
Sita softly sought the waters as the lily seeks the stream,

And they prayed to Gods and Fathers with each rite and duty done,
And they sang the ancient mantra to the red and rising Sun,

With her lord, in loosened tresses Sita to her cottage came,
As with Rudra wanders Uma in Kailasa's hill of fame !

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W 1

^E exchange the quiet life of Rama in holy hermitages for the
more stirring incidents of the Epic in this. Book. TheJove
of a Raksha princess for Rama and for Lakshman is re jectodr with
scorn, and smarting under insult and punishment she fires her
brother Ravan, the king of Ceylon, witn a thirst for vengeance.
The dwellers of Ceylon are described in the Epic as monsters of
various forms, and able to assume different sjiapes at wi}l f Ravan
sends Maricha in the shape of a beautiful, d^er to tempt ^w^
Rama and Lakshman from the cottage, and then finds his chance
for stealing away the unprotected Sita.

The misfortunes of our lives, according to Indian thinkers, are-
but the results of our misdeeds ; calamities are brought about by
our sins. And thus wej find in the Indian Epic, that a dark and
foul suspicion against Lakshman crossed the stainless mind of Sita,
and words of unmerited insult fell from her gentle, lips, on the ere
of the great calamity which clouded her life ever after. It was the
only occasion on which the ideal woman of the Epic harboured an
unjust thought or spoke an angry word ; and' it was followed 1 by
a tragic fate which few women on earth have suffered'. To the
millions of men and wonjen in Iindja, Sita re^ajns to this, day f the.
ideal of female love and female cjevoriqn . her, dark suspicions, a^gains^
Lakshman sprang out of an excess of her affectjpn for her husband ;
and her tragic fate and long trial proved that undying love.

The portions translated in this Book form the whole or the main
portions of Sections, xvii,, xviii,, xliii.^xly., xlvi., f xlvjj ; , and xjix,
of Book iii. of U>e ordinal t^xt.

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Surpa-nakha in Love

As the Moon with starry Chitra dwells in azure skies above,
In his lonesome leafy cottage Rama dwelt in Sita's love,

And with Lakshman strong and valiant, quick to labour and obey,
Tales of bygone times recounting Rama passed the livelong day. '

And it so befell, a maiden, dweller of the darksome wood,

Led by wandering thought or fancy once before the cottage stood,

Surpa-nakha, Raksha maiden, sister of the Raksha lord*

Came and looked with eager longing till her soul was passion-stirred !

Looked on Rama lion-chested, mighty-armed,, lotus-eyed,
Stately as the jungle tusker, with hia crown of tresses tied,

Looked on Rama lofty-fronted, with a royal visage graced,.
Like Kandarpa young and lustrous, lotus-hued and lotus-faced !

What though she a Raksha maiden, poor in beauty plain in face,
Fell her glances passion-laden on the prince of peerless grace,

What though wild her eyes and tresses, and her accents counselled fear,
Soft-eyed Rama fired her bosom, and hia sweet voice thrilled her ear,

What though bent on deeds unholy, holy Rama won her heart,
And, for love makes bold a femaje, thus did. she her thoughts impart :

" Who be thou in hermit's vestments, in thy native beauty bright,
Friended by a youthful woman, armed with thy bow of might,

Who be thou in these lone regions where the Rakshas hold their sway,
Wherefore in a lonely cottage in this darksome jungle stay?"

With his wonted truth and candour Rama spake sedate and bold,
And the story of his exile to the Raksha maiden told :

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The Flesh of Fallen Angels! Come to me all! Asteroth,

Beelzebub, Asmodeus, Bapholada, Lucifer, Loki, Satan,

Cthulhu, Lilith, Della! Blood, to you all!

I'm the wolf, yeah!
I am the wolf! It's close, it's coming. You have come.
The witness to the end, of time. It's now! I will rise to
her side! I don't need the words!
I'm beyond the words!

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Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:16 am
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" Dasa-ratha of Ayodhya ruled with Indra's godlike fame,
And his eldest, first born Rama, by his mandate here I came,

Younger Lakshman strong and valiant doth with me these forests roam,
And my wife, Videha's daughter, Sita makes with me her home.

Duteous to my father's bidding, duteous to my mother's will,
Striving in the cause of virtue in the woods we wander still,

Tell me, female of the forest, who thou be and whence thy birth,
Much I fear thou art a Raksha wearing various forms on earth ! "

" Listen," so spake Surpa-nakha, " if my purpose thou wouldst know,
I am Raksha, Surpa-nakha, wearing various shapes below,

Know my brothers, royal Ravan, Lanka's lord from days of old,
Kumbha- karna dread and dauntless, and Bibhishan true and. bold,

Khara and the doughty Dushan with me in these forests stray,
But by Rama's love emboldened I have left them on the way !

Broad and boundless is my empire and I wander in my pride.
Thee I choose as lord and husband,— cast thy human wife aside,

Pale is Sita and mis-shapen, scarce a warrior's worthy wife,
To a nobler, lordlier female consecrate thy gallant life !

Human flesh is food of Rakshas ! weakling Sita I will slay,
Slay that boy thy stripling brother, — thee as husband I obey,

On the peaks of lofty mountains, in the forests dark and lone,
We shall range the boundless woodlands and the joys of dalliance
prove ! "

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Surpa-nakha Punished

Rama heard her impious purpose and a gentle smile repressed,
To the foul and forward female thus his mocking words addressed :

" List, O passion-smitten maiden ! Sita is my honoured wife.
With a rival loved and cherished cruel were thy wedded life !

But no consort follows Lakshman, peerless is his comely face,
Dauntless is his warlike valour, matchless is his courtly grace.

And he leads no wife or consort to this darksome woodland grove,
With no rival to thy passion seek his ample-hearted love ! "

Surpa-nakha passion-laden then on Lakshman turned her eye,
But in merry mocking accents smiling Lakshman made reply :

" Ruddy in thy youthful beauty like the lotus in her pride,
I am slave of royal Rama, would' st thou be a vassal's bride ?

Rather be his younger consort, banish Sita from his arms,
Spurning Site's faded beauty let him seek thy fresher charms,

Spurning Sita's faded graces let him brighter pleasures prove,
Wearied with a woman's dalliance let him court a Raksha's love! "

Wrath of unrequited passion raged like madness in her breast,
Torn by anger strong as tempest thus her answer she addrest :

" Are these mocking accents uttered, Rama, to insult my flame,
Feasting on her faded beauty dost thou still revere thy dame ?

But beware a Raksha's fury and an injured female's wrath,
Surpa-nakha slays thy consort, bears no rival in her path ! "

Fawn-eyed Sita fell in terror as the Raksha rose to slay,
So beneath the flaming meteor sinks Rohini's softer ray,

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And like Demon of Destruction furious Surpa-nakha came,
Rama rose to stop the slaughter and protect his helpless dame.

" Brother, we hare acted wrongly, for with those of savage breed,
Word in jest is courting danger, — this the penance of our deed,

Death perchance or death-like stupor hovers o'er my lov&L dame,
Let me wake to life my Sita, chase this female void of shame ! "

Lakshman's anger leaped like lightning as the female hovered near,
With his 8 word the wrathful warrior cleft her nose and either ear,

Surpa-nakha in her anguish raised her accents shrill and high,
And the rocks and wooded valleys answered back the dismal cry,

Khara and the doughty Dushan heard the far-resounding wail,
Saw her red disfigured visage, heard her sad and woeful tale !


Rama's Departure

Vainly fought the vengeful Khara, doughty Dushan vainly bled,
Rama and the valiant Lakshman strewed the forest with the dead,

Till the humbled Surpa-nakha to her royal brother hied,
Spake her sorrows unto Ravan and Maricha true and tried.

Shape of deer unmatched in beauty now the deep Maricha wore,
Golden tints upon his haunches, sapphire on his antlers bore,

Till the woodland-wand'ring Sita marked the creature in his pride,
Golden was his neck of beauty, silver white his flank and side !

" Come, my lord and gallant Lakshman," thus the raptur'd Ska-spake,
" Mark the deer of wondrous radiance browsing by the forest brake! "

" Much my heart misgives me, sister," Lakshman hesitated still,
" 'Tis some deep deceitful Raksha wearing every shape at will,

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Monarchs wand'rfftg in this forest, hunting in this lonely glen,
Oft waylaid by artful Rakshas are by deep devices slain,

Bright as day-god or Gandharva, woodland scenes they lore to stray,
Till they fall upon the heedless, quick to slaughter and to slay,

Trust me, not in jewelled lustre forest creatures haunt the green,
'Tis some may a and illusion, trust not what thy eyes have seen ! "

Vainly spake* ihe watchful Lakshman in the arts df Rakshas Skilled,
For with forceful fascination Sita's inmost heart was thrilled,

" Husband, good and ever gracious," sweetly thiis implored the wife,
" I would tend this thing of beauty, — sharer of riiy forest life!

I have witnessed in this jungle graceful creatures passing fair,
Choivri and the gentle roebuck, antelope of beauty rare,

I have seen the lithesome monkey sporting in the branches' shade,
Grizzly bear that feeds on Mahua, and the deer that crops the blade,

I have marked the stately wild bull dash into the deepest wood,
And the Ktnnar strange and wondrous as in sylvan wilds he stood,

But these eyes have never rested on a form so wondrous fair,
On a shape so full of beauty, decked with tints so rich and rare !

Bright his bosom gem-bespangled, soft the lustre of his eye,
Lighting up the gloomy jungle as the Moon lights up the sky,

And his gentle voice and glances and his graceful steps and light,
Fill my heart with eager longing and my soul with soft delight !

If alive that beauteous' object thou canst capture in thy way,
As thy Ska's sweet companion in these woodlands he will stay,

And when done our days of exile, to Ayodhya will repair,
Dwell in Sita's palace chamber nursed by Sita's tender care,

And our royal brother -Bharat r oft will praise hk strength and speed,
And tbe queeris and royal mothers. pause the gentle thing to feed!

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If alive this wary creature be it, husband, hard to take,
Slay him and his skin of lustre cherish for thy Site's sake,

I will as a golden carpet spread the skin upon the grass,
Sweet memento of this forest when our forest days will pass !

Pardon if an eager longing which befits a woman ill, .
And an unknown fascination doth my inmost bosom fill,

As I mark his skin bespangled and his antlers' sapphire ray,
And his coat of starry radiance glowing in the light of day ! "

Rama bade the faithful Lakshman with the gentle Site stay,
Long through woods and gloomy gorges vainly held his cautious way,

Vainly set the snare in silence by the lake and in the dale,
'Scaping every trap, Maricha, pierced by Rama's arrows fell,

Imitating Rama's accents uttered forth his dying cry :

" Speed, my faithful brother Lakshman, helpless in the woods I die ! "


Lakshman 's Departure

" Heardst that distant cry of danger ? " questioned Site in distress,
" Woe, to me ! who in my frenzy sent my lord to wilderness,

Speed, brave Lakshman, help my Rama, doleful was his distant cry,
And my fainting bosom falters and a dimness clouds my eye !

To the dread and darksome forest with thy keenest arrows speed,
Help thy elder and thy monarch, sore his danger and his need,

For perchance the cruel Rakshas gather round his lonesome path,
As the mighty bull is slaughtered by the lions in their wrath ! "

Spake the hero : " Fear not, Site ! Dwellers of the azure height,
Rakshas nor the jungle-rangers match the peerless Rama's might,

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Rama knows no dread or danger, and his mandate still I own,
And I may not Jea*e thee, Lady, in this cottage all alone!

Cast aside thy causeless terror ; in the sky or earth below,
In the nether regions, Rama knows no peer or equal foe,

He shall slay the deer of jungle, he shall voice no dastard cry,
'Tis some trick of wily Rakshas in this forest dark and high !

Sita, thou hast heard my elder bid me in this cottage stay, |
Lakshman may not leave thee, Lady, for his duty — to obey,!

Ruthless Rakshas roam the forest to revenge their leader slain,
Various are their arts and accents ; chase thy thought of causeless
pain ! "

Sparkled Sita's eye in anger, frenzy marked her speech and word,
For a woman's sense is clouded by the danger of her lord :

" Markest thou my Rama's danger with a cold and callous heart,
Courtest thou the death of elder in thy deep deceitful art,

In thy semblance of compassion doest thou hide a cruel craft,
As in friendly guise the foeman hides his death-compelling shaft,

Following like a faithful younger in this dread and lonesome land,
Seekest thou the death of elder to enforce his widow's hand ?

False thy hope as foul thy purpose ! Sita is a faithful wife,
Sita follows saintly Rama, true in death as true in life ! "

Quivered Lakshman's frame in anguish and the tear stood in his eye,
Fixed in faith and pure in purpose, calm and bold he made reply «

" Unto me a Queen and Goddess, — as a mother to a son,—*
Answer to thy heedless censure patient Lakshraan speaketh none,

Daughter of Videha's monarch,— pardon if I do thee wrong, —
Fickle it the faith of woman, poison-dealing is her tongue !

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And thy censure, trust me, Lady, scathes me like a burning dart,
Free from guile is Lakskman's purpose, free from sin is Lakshmaa's

Witness ye my truth of purpose, unseen dwellers of the wood,
Witness, I for Sita's safety by my elder's mandate stood,

Duteous to my queen and elder, I have toiled and worked in rain,
Dark suspicion and dishonour cast on me a needless stain !

Lady I I obey thy mandate, to my elder now I go,
Guardian Spirits of the forest watch thee from each secret foe,

Omens dart and signs of danger meet my pained and aching sight,
May I see thee by thy Rama, guarded by his conquering might ! "

Ravan's Coming

Ravan watched the happy moment burning with a vengeful spite,
Came to sad and sorrowing Sita in the guise of anchorite, y

' s

Tufted hair and russet garment, sandals on his feet he wore,
And depending from his shoulders on a staff his vessel bore.

And he came to lonely Sita, for each warlike chief was gone,
As the darkness comes to evening lightless from the parted Sun.

And he cast his eyes on Ska, as a grata casts its shade '

On the beauteous star Rohini when the bright Moon's glories fade.

Quaking Nature knew the moment ; silent stood the forest trees,
Conscious of a deed of darkness fell the fragrant forest breeze,

Godavari's troubled waters trembled 'neath his lurid glance,
And his red eye's fiery lustre sparkled in the wavelets' dance !

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Mute and still were forest creatures when in guise of anchorite*
Unto Sita's lonely cottage pressed the Raksha in his might,

Mute and voiceless was the jungle as he cast on her his eye,
As across the star of Chitra, planet. Sani walks the sky !

Ravan stood in hermit's vestments, — vengefal purpose unrevealed, —
As a deep and darksome cavern is by grass and leaf concealed,

''Ravan stood sedate and silent, and he gazed on Rama's queen,
Ivory brow and lip of coral, sparkling teeth of pearly sheen !

Lighting up the lonely cottage Sita sat in radiance high,

As the Moon with streaks of silver fills the lonely midnight sky,

Lighting up the gloomy woodlands with her eyes serenely fair,
With her bark-clad shape of beauty mantled by her raven hair !

Ravan fired by impure passion fixed on her his lustful eye,
And the light that lit his glances gave his holy texts the lie,

Ravan in his flattering accents, with a soft and soothing art,
Praised the woman's peerless beauty to subdue the woman's heart :

" Beaming in thy golden beauty, robed in sylvan russet dress,
Wearing wreath of fragrant lotus like a nymph of wilderness,

Art thou Sri or radiant Gauri, maid of Fortune or of Fame,
Nymph of Love or sweet Fruition, what may be thy sacred name ?

On thy lips of ruddy coral teeth of tender jasmine shine,
In thy eyes of limpid lustre dwells a light of love divine,

Tall and slender, softly rounded, are thy limbs of beauty rare,
Like the swelling fruit of tola heaves thy bosom sweetly fair !

Smiling lips that tempt and ravish, lustre that thy dark eyes beam,
Crush ray heart, as rolling waters crush the margin of the stream,

And thy wealth of waving tresses mantles o'er thy budding charms.
And thy waist of slender beauty courts a lover's circling arms !

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Goddess or Gandharva maiden wears no brighter form or face,
Woman seen by eyes of mortals owns not such transcendent grace,

Wherefore then, in lonesome forest, nymph or maiden, make thy stay,
Where the jungle creatures wander and the Rakshas hold their sway ?

Royal halls and stately mansions were for thee a meeter home,
And thy steps should grace a palace, not in pathless forest roam,

Blossoms rich, not thorn of jungle, decorate a lady's bower,
Silken robes, not sylvan garments, heighten Beauty's potent power !

Lady of the sylvan forest ! other destiny is thine, —

As a bride beloved and courted in thy bridal garments shine,

Choose a loved and lordly suitor who shall wait on thee in pride,
Choose a hero worth thy beauty, be a monarch's queenly bride !

Speak thy lineage, heaven-descended ! who may be thy parents high,
Rudras or the radiant Maruts, Vasus leaders of the sky,

All unworthy is this forest for a nymph or heavenly maid,
Beasts of prey infest the jungle, Rakshas haunt its gloomy shade,

Lions dwell in lovely caverns, tuskers ford the silent lake,
Monkeys sport on pendant branches, tigers steal beneath the brake,

Wherefore then this dismal forest doth thy fairy face adorn,
Who art thou and whence descended, nymph or maid or goddess-


Ravan's Wooing

" Listen, Brahman ! " answered Sita, — unsuspecting in her mind
That she saw a base betrayer in a hermit seeming kind, —

" I am born of royal Janak, ruler of Videha's land,
Rama prince of proud Kosala by his valour won my hand.


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Years we pawed in peaceful pleasure in Ayodhya's happy clime.
Rich in every rare enjoyment gladsome passed our happy time,

Till the monarch Dasa-ratba,-r-for his days were almost done, —
Wished to crown the royal Rama as his Heir and Regent son.

But the scheming Queen Kaikeyi claimed a long-forgotten boon,
That my consort should be exiled and her son should fill the throne,

She would take no rest or slumber, nourishment of drink or food,
Till her Bharat ruled the empire, Rama banished to the wood \

Five and twenty righteous summers graced my good and gracious lord, I
True to faith and true to duty, true in purpose deed and word, /

Loved of all his loyal people, rich in valour and in fame,
For the rite of consecration Rama to his father came.

Spake Kaikeyi to my husband : — * List thy father's promise fair,
Bharat shall be ruling monarch, do thou to the woods repair,' —

Ever gentle, ever duteous, Rama listened to obey,

And through woods and pathless jungles we have held our lonely way !

This, O pions-hearted hermit, is his story of distress,

And his young and faithful brother follows him in wilderness,

Lion in his warlike valour, hermit in his saintly vow,

Lakshman with his honoured elder wanders through the forest now.

Rest thee here, O holy Brahman, rich in piety and fame,
Till the forest-ranging brothers greet thee with the forest game,

/Speak, if so it please thee, father, what great rishi claims thy birth,
Wherefore in this pathless jungle wand'rest friendless on this earth."

" Brahman nor a righteous rishi" royal Ravan made reply,
" Leader of the wrathful Rakshas, Lanka's lord and king am I,

He whose valour quells the wide* world, Gods above and men below,
He whose proud and peerless prowess Rakshas and Asuras know !

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But thy beauty's golden lustre, Ska, wins my royal heart,
Be a sharer of my empire, of my glory take a part,

' Many queens of queenly beauty on the royal Ravan wait,
Thou shalt be their reigning empress, thou shalt own my regal state!

Lanka girt by boundless ocean is of royal towns the best,
Seated in her pride and glory on a mountain's towering crest,

And in mountain paths and woodlands thou shalt with thy Ravan stray,
Not in Godavari 8 gorges through the dark and dreary day,

And fife thousand gay-dressed damsels shall upon my Sita wait,
Queen of Ravan's true affection, proud partaker of his state ! "

Sparkled Sita's eyes in anger and a tremor shook her frame,
As in proud and scornful accents answered thus the royal dame :

" Knowest thou Rama great and godlike, peerless hero in the strife,
Deep, uncompassed, like the ocean ? — I am Rama's wedded wife !

Knowest thou Rama proud and princely, sinless in his saintly life,
Stately as the tall Nyagrodha P — I am Rama's wedded wife 1

Mighty-arm£d, mighty-chested, mighty with his bow and sword,
Lion midst the sons of mortals, — Rama is my wedded lord !

Stainless as the Moon in glory, stainless in his deed and word,
Rich in valour and in virtue, — Rama is my wedded lord !

Sure thy fitful life is shadowed by a dark and dreadful fate,
Since in frenzy of thy passion courtest thou a warrior's mate,

Tear the tooth of hungry lion while upon the calf he feeds,
Touch the fang of deadly cobra while his dying victim bleeds,

Aye uproot the solid mountain from ks base of rocky land,

Ere thou win the wife of Rama stout oi heart and strong of hand !

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Pierce thy eye with point of needle tillit racks thy tortured head,
Press thy red tongue defraud bkeding'on the. razor's shining blade,

Hurl thyself upon the ocean from a towering peak and high,
Snatch the orbs of day and midnight from their spheres in azure sky,

Tongues of flaming conflagration in thy flowing dress enfold,
Ere thou take the wife of Rama to thy distant dungeon hold,

' Ere thou seek to insult Rama unrelenting in his wrath,
O'er a bed of pikes of iron tread a softer easier path ! **


Ravan's Triumph

Vain her threat and soft entreaty, Ravan held her in his wrath,
As the planet Budha captures fair Rohini in his path,

By his left hand tremor-shaken, Ravan heW her streaming hair,
By his right the ruthless Raksha lifted up the fainting fair !

Unseen dwellers of the woodlands watched the dismal deed of shame,
Marked the mighty-armed Raksha lift the poor and helpless dame,

Seat her on his car celestial yoked with asses winged with speed,
Golden in its shape and radiance, fleet as Indra's heavenly steed !

' Angry threat and sweet entreaty Ravan to her ears addressed,
As the struggling fainting woman still he held upon his breast,

Vain his threat and vain entreaty, " Rama ! Rama ! " still she cried,
To the dark and distant forest where her noble lord had hied.

Then arose the car celestial o'er the hill and wooded vale,
Like a snake in eagle's talons Sita writhed with piteous wail,

Dim and dizzy, faint and faltering, still she sent her piercing cry,
Echoing through the boundless woodlands, pealing to the upper sky :

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•« Save me* imghty-arm&l Lakshman, stainless in thy heart and deed,
Sare a faithful wife and woman from a Raksha's hist and greed,

True and faithful was thy warning, — false and foul the charge I made,
Pardon, friend, an erring sister, pardon words a woman said !

Help me, ever righteous Rama, duty bade thee yield thy throne,
Duty bids thee smite the sinful, save the wife who is thy own,

Thou art king and stern chastiser of each deed of sin and shame,
Hurl thy rengeance on the Raksha who insults thy faithful dame !

Deed of sin, unrighteous Ravan, brings in time its dreadful meed,
As the young corn grows and ripens from the small and living seed,

For this deed of insult, Ravan, in thy heedless folly done.

Death of all thy race and kindred thou shalt reap from Raghu's son /

Darksome woods of Panchavati, Janasthana's smiling rale,
Flowering trees and winding creepers, murmur to my lord this tale,

( ] Sweet companions of my exile, friends who cheered my woodland stay,

Speak to Rama, that his Sita rathless Ravan bears away ! ,


Towering peaks and lofty mountains, wooded hills sublime and high,
Far-extending gloomy ranges heaving to the azure sky,

In your voice of pealing thunder to my lord and consort say,
Speak to Rama, that his Sita ruthless Ravan bears away !

Unseen dwellers of the woodlands, spirits of the rock aqd fell,
Sita renders you obeisance as she speaks her sad farewell,

Whisper to my righteous Rama when he seeks his homeward way,
Speak to Rama, that hk Sita ruthless Ravan bears away !

Ah, my Rama, true and tender ! thou hast loved me as thy U&,
From the foul and impious Raksha thou shalt still redeem thy wife,

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Ah, my Rama, mighty-armed ! vengeance soon shall speed thy way,
When thou nearest, helpless Sita is by Ravan torn away !

And thou royal bird, Jatayu, witness Ravan's deed of shame,
Witness how he courts destruction, stealing Rama's faithful dame,

Rama and the gallant Laksbman soon shall find their destined prey,
When they know that trusting Sita is by Ravan torn away ! "

Vainly wept the anguished Sita ; vain Jatayu in his wrath,
Fought with beak and bloody talons to impede the Raksha's path,

Pierced and bleeding fell the vulture; Ravan fled with Rama's bride,
Where amidst the boundless ocean Lanka rose in towering pride !

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(In the NiJgiri Mountains)

13 AMA'S wanderings in the Nilgiri mountains, and his alliance
with Srugriva the chief of these regions, form the subject of
the Book. With that contempt for aboriginal races which has
marked civilized conquerors in all ages, the poet describes the
dwellers of these regions as monkeys and bears. But the modern
reader sees through these strange epithets; and in the descrip-
tion of the social and domestic manners, the arts and industries,
the sacred rites and ceremonies, and the civic and political life of
the Vanars, the reader will find that the poet even imports Aryan
customs into his account of the dwellers of Southern India. They
formed an alliance with Rama, they fought for him and triumphed
with him, and they helped him to recover his wife from the king
of Ceylon.

The portions translated in this Book form Sections v., xv.,
xvi., xx vi., a portion of Section xxviii., and an abstract of Sec-
tions xl. to xliii. of Book iv. of the original text.

Friends in Misfortune

Long and loud lamented Rama by his lonesome cottage door,
Janasthana's woodlands answered, Panchavati's echoing shore„

Long he searched in wood and jungle, mountain crest and pathless plain,
Till he reached the Malya mountains stretching to the southern main.

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There Sugriva king of Vanars, Hanuman his henchman brave,
Banished from their home and empire lived within the forest cave,

To the exiled king Sugriva, Hanuman his purpose told,

As he marked the pensive Rama wand' ring with his brother bold :

" Mark the sons of Dasa-ratha banished from their royal home,
Duteous to their father's mandate in these pathless forests roam,

Great was monarch Dasa-ratha famed for sacrifice divine,
Raja-suya, Aswa-medha, and for gift of gold and kine,

By a monarch's stainless duty people's love the monarch won,
By a woman's false contrivance banished he his eldest son !

True to duty, true to virtue, Rama passed his forest life,
Till a false perfidious Raksha stole his fair and faithful wife,

And the anguish-stricken husband seeks thy friendship and thy aid, —
Mutual sorrow blends your fortunes, be ye friends in mutual need ! "

Bold Sugriva heard the counsel, and to righteous Rama hied,
And the princes of Ayodhya with his greetings gratified :

" Well I know thee, righteous Rama, soul of piety and love,
And thy duty to thy father and thy faith in Gods above,

Fortune favours poor Sugriva, Rama courts his humble aid,
In our deepest direst danger be our truest friendship made !

Equal is our fateful fortune, — / have lost a queenly wife,
Banished from Kishkindhd } s empire here I lead a forest life,

Pledge of love and true alliance, Rama, take this proffered hand,
Banded by a common sorrow we shall fall &r stoutly stand I "

Rama grasped the hand he offered, and the tear was in his eye,
And they swore undying friendship o'er the altar blazing high,

Hanuman with fragrant blossoms sanctified the sacred rite,

And the comrades linked by sorrow walked around the altar's light,

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And their word and troth they plighted : " In our happiness and woe,
We are friends in thought and action, we will face our common foe ! "

And they broke a leafy Sal tree, spread it underneath their feet,
Rama and his friend Sugriva sat upon the common seat,

And a branch of scented Chandan with its tender blossoms graced,
Hanuman as seat of honour for the faithful Lakshman placed.

" Listen, Rama," spake Sugriva, " reft of kingdom, reft of wife,
Fleeing to these rugged mountains I endure a forest life,

For my tyrant brother Bali rules Kishkindha all alone,
Forced my wife from my embraces, drove me from my father's

Trembling in my fear and anguish I endure a life of woe,
Render me my wife and empire from my brother and my foe ! "

" Not in vain they seek my succour," so the gallant Rama said,
" Who with love and offered friendship seek my counsel and my aid,

Not in vain these glistening arrows in my ample quiver shine,
Bali dies the death of tyrants, wife and empire shall be thine !

Quick as Indra's forked lightning are these arrows feather-plumed.
Deadly as the hissing serpent are these darts with points illumed,

And this day shall not be ended ere it sees thy brother fall,

As by lurid lightning severed sinks the crest of mountain tall / "


The Counsel of Tara

Linked in bonds of faithful friendship Rama and Sugriva came,
Where in royal town Kishkindha, Bali ruled with warlike fame,

And a shout like troubled ocean's or like tempest's deafening roar
Spake Sngriva's mighty challenge to the victor king once more 1

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Bali knew that proud defiance shaking sky and solid ground,
And like sun by ecKpse shaded, dark and pale he looked around,

And his teeth were set in anger and a passion lit his eye,
As a tempest stirs a torrent when its lilies scattered lie,

And he rose in wrath terrific with a thought of vengeance dread,
And the firm earth shook and trembled 'neath his proud and haughty
tread !

But the true and tender Tara held her husband and her lord,
And a woman's deeper wisdom spake in woman's loving word :

" Wherefore like a rain-fed torrent swells thy passion in its sway,
Thoughts of wrath like withered blossoms from thy bosom cast away,

Wait till dawns another morning, wait till thou dost truly know,
With what strength and added forces comes again thy humbled foe.

Crushed in combat faint Sugriva fled in terror and in pain,
Trust me, not without a helper comes he to the fight again,

Trust me, lord, that loud defiance is no coward's falt'ring cry, \
Conscious strength not hesitation speaks in voice so proud and high ! I

Much my woman's heart misgives me, not without a mighty aid,
Not without a daring comrade comes Sugriva to this raid,

Not with feeble friend Sugriva seeks alliance in his need,
Nor invokes a powerless chieftain in his lust and in his greed.

Mighty is his royal comrade, — listen, husband, to my word,
What my son in forest confines from his messengers hath heard, —

Princes from Ayodhya's country peerless in the art of war,
Rama and trie valiant Lakshman in these forests wander far,

Much I fear, these matchless warriors have their aid and counsel lent,
Conscious of his strength Sugriva hath this proud defiance sent !

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To his foes resistless Rama is a lightning from above,
To his friends a tree of shelter, soul of tenderness and lore,

Dearer than his love of glory is his love to heal and bless,
Dearer than the crown and empire is his hermit's holy dress,

Not with such, my lord and husband, seek a vain unrighteous strife,
For, like precious ores in mountains, virtues dwell in Rama's life.

Make Sugriva thy companion, make him Regent and thy Heir,
Discord with a younger brother rends an empire broad and fair,

Make thy peace with young Sugriva, nearest and thy dearest kin,
| Brother's love is truest safety, brother's hate is deadliest sin !

Trust me, monarch of Kishkindha, trust thy true and faithful wife,
Thou shalt find no truer comrade than Sugriva in thy life,

I Wage not then a war fraternal, smite him not in sinful pride,
1 As a brother and a warrior let him stand by Bali's side.

Listen to thy Tara's counsel if to thee is Tara dear,
If thy wife is true in duty scorn not Tara's wifely tear,

Not with Rama prince of virtue wage a combat dread and high,
Not with Rama prince of valour, peerless like the Lord of sky ! "


The Fall of Bali

Star-eyed Tara softly counselled pressing to her consort's side y
Mighty Bali proudly answered with a warrior's lofty pride :

" Challenge of a humbled foeman and a younger's haughty scorn
May not, shall not, tender Tara, by a king be meekly borne !

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Bali turns not from encounter even with his dying breath,
Insult from a foe, unanswered, is a. deeper stain .than death,

And Sugriva's quest for combat Bali never shall deny,

Though sustained by Rama's forces and by Rama's prowess high !

Free me from thy sweet embraces and amidst thy maids retire,
Woman's love and soft devotion woman's timid thoughts inspire,

Fear not, Tara, blood of brother Bali's honour shall not stain,

I will quell his proud presumption, chase him from this realm again,

Free me from thy loving dalliance, midst thy damsels seek thy place,
Till I come a happy victor to my Tara's fond embrace ! "

Slow and sad with sweet obeisance Tara stepped around her lord,
Welling tear-drops choked her accents as she prayed in stifled word,

Slow and sad with swelling bosom Tara with her maids retired,
Bali issued proud and stately with the thought of vengeance fired !

Hissing like an angry cobra, city's lofty gates he past,
And his proud and angry glances fiercely all around he cast,

Till he saw the bold Sugriva, gold-complexioned, red with ire,
Girded for the dubious combat, flaming like the forest fire !

Bali braced 'his warlike garments and his hand he lifted high,
Bold Sugriva raised his right arm with a proud and answering cry,

Bali's eyes were red as copper and his chain was burnished gold,
To his brother bold Sugriva thus he spake in accents bold :

"Mark this iron fist, intruder, fetal is its vengeful bk>w,

Crushed and smitten thou shalt perish and to nether world shalt go,''

"Nay that fate awaits thee, Bali>" spake Sugriva armed for strife,
u When this right arm smites thy forehead, from thy bosom rends
j thy life!"

Closed the chiefs in fatal combat, each resistless in his pride,
And like running rills from mountains poured their limbs the purple tide,

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Till Sugriva quick uprooting S*I tree from the jungle wood,
As the dark cloud hunt the lightning, hurled h where hts brother stoo

Staggering 'neath the blow terrific Bali reeled and almost fell,
As a proud ship overladen reels upon the ocean's swell !

But with fiercer rage and fury Bali in his anguish rose,

And with mutual blows they battled, — brothers and relentless foe

Like the sun and moon in conflict or like eagles in their fight,
Still they fought with cherished hatred and an unforgotten spite,

Till with mightier force and fury Bali did his younger quell,
Faint Sugriva fiercely struggling 'neath his brother's prowess fell]

Still the wrathful rivals wrestled with their bleeding arms and kne<
With their nails like claws of tigers and with riven rocks and tre«

And as Indra battles Vritra in the tempest's pealing roar,
Blood-stained Bali, red Sugriva, strove and struggled, fought and toi

Till Sugriva faint and fait' ring fell like Vritra from the sky,
To his comrade and his helper tamed his feint and pleading eye 1

Ah ! those soft and pleading glances smote the gentle Rama's hea
On his bow of ample stature Rama raised the fatal dart,

Like the fatal disc of Yam a was his proudly circled bow,
Like a snake of deadly poison flew his arrow swift and low,

WingeM dwellers of the forest heard the twang with trembling fe
Echoing woods gave back the accent, lightly fled the startled de

And as Indra's flag is lowered when the Aswin winds prevail,
Lofty Bali pierced and bleeding by that fatal arrow fell !

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The Consecration of Sugriva

tars of love the tender Tara on her slaughtered hero shed,
en Sugriva's bosom melted when he saw his brother dead,

id each Vanar chief and warrior, maha-matra^ lord and peer,
ithered round the sad Sugriva wet with unavailing tear !

|id they girt the victor Rama and they praised his wond'rous might,
i the heavenly rtsbis gather circling Brahma's throne of light,

fe" muman of sun-like radiance, lofty as a hill of gold,

sped his hands in due obeisance, spake in accents calm and bold:


i to-

re Sy thy prowess, peerless Rama, prince Sugriva is our lord,
his father' 8 throne and empire, to his father's town restored,

ansed by bath and fragrant unguents and in royal garments gay,
* shall with his gold and garlands homage to the victor pay,

» the rock-bound fair Kishkindha do thy friendly footsteps bend,
y c id as monarch of the Vanars consecrate thy grateful friend ! "

bea fourteen years," so Rama answered, "by his father's stern command,
a city's sacred confines banished Rama may not stand,

lend and comrade, brave Sugriva, enter thou the city wall,
Id assume the royal sceptre in thy father's royal haH.

r Alant Angad, son of Bali, is in regal duties trained,
' j Jling partner of thy empire be the valiant prince ordained,

dest son of eldest brother, — such the maxim that we own, —
'!» orthy of his father's kingdom, doth ascend his father's throne.

sten ! 'tis the month of Sravan, now begins the yearly rain,
these months of wind and deluge thoughts of vengeful strife were


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Enter then thy royal city, fair Kishkindha be thy home,

With my ever faithful Lakshman let me in these mountains roam.

Spacious is yon rocky cavern fragrant with the mountain air,
Bright with lily and with lotus, watered by a streamlet fair,

Here we dwell till month of Kartik when the clouded sky will clear,
And the time of war and vengeance on our foeman shall be near."

Bowing to the victor's mandate brave Sugriva marched in state,
And the host of thronging Vanars entered by the city gate,

Prostrate chiefs with due obeisance rendered homage^ one and all,
And Sugriva blessed his people, stepped within the palace hall.

And they sprinkled sacred water from the vases jewel-graced,
And they waved the fan of chowr't, raised the sun-shade silver-laced,

And they spread the gold and jewel, grain and herb and fragrant^*,
Sapling twigs and bending branches, blossoms from the flowering tree,

Milk-white garments gem-bespangled,and the Chandans fragrant dyt,
Wreaths and spices, snow-white lilies, lotus azure as the sky,

Jatarupa and Priyangu, honey, curd and holy oil,

Costly sandals gilt and jewelled, tiger-skin the hunter's spoil !

Decked in gold and scenjted garlands, robed in radiance rich and rate,
Sweetly stepped around Sugriva sixteen maidens passing fair,

Priests received the royal bounty, gift and garment gold-belacedL
And they lit the holy altar with the sacred mantra graced, |

And they poured the sweet libation on the altar's lighted flame, |
And on throne of royal splendour placed the chief of royal fame!

On a high and open terrace with auspicious garlands graced,
Facing eastward, in his glory was the brave Sugriva placed,

Water from each holy river, from each tirtha famed of old,
From the broad and boundless ocean, was arranged in jars of goki»

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And from vase and horn of wild bull, on their monarch and their lord,
Holy consecrating water chiefs and loyal courtiers poured.

Gaya and the great Gavaksha, Gandha-madan proud and brave,
Hanuman held up the rases, Jambaman his succour gave,

And they laved the king Sugriva as Immortals in the sky,
Consecrate the star-eyed Indra in his mansions bright and high,

And a shout of joy and triumph, like the pealing voice of war,
Spake Sugriva's consecration to the creatures near and far !

Duteous still to Rama's mandate, as his first born and his own,
King Sugriva named young Angad sharer of his royal throne, |

Gay and bannered town Kishkindha hailed Sugriva's gracious word,
Tender Tara wiped her tear-drops bowing to a younger lord ! ^

The Rains in the Nilgiri Mountains

" Mark the shadowing rain* and tempest," 1 Rama to his brother said,
As on Malya's cloud-capped ranges in their hermit-guise they strayed,

" Massive clouds like roiling mountains gather thick and gather high,
Lurid lightnings glint and sparkle, pealing thunders shake the sky,

Pregnant with the ocean moisture by the solar ray instilled, . \

l! 3

Now the skies like fruitful mothers are with grateful waters filled !

Mark the folds of cloudy masses, ladder-like of smooth ascent,
One could almost reach the Sun-god, wreath him with a wreath of

And when glow these heavy masses red and white with evening's glow,,
One could almost deem them sword-cuts branded by some heavenly

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Mark the streaks of golden lustre lighting up the checkered sky,
Like a lover cbandan-pimted in each breeze it heaves a sigh,

And the earth is hot and feverish, moistened with the tears of rain,
Sighing like my anguished Sita when she wept in woe and pain !

Fresh and sweet like draught of nectar is the rain-besprinkled breeze,
Fragrant with the ketak blossom, scented by the camphor trees,

Fresh and bold each peak and mountain bathed in soft descending rain,
So they sprinkle holy water when they bless a monarch's reign !

I Fair and tall as holy hermits, stand yon shadow-mantled hills,
Murmuring mantras with the zephyr, robed in threads of sparkling

Fair and young as gallant coursers neighing forth their thunder cries,
Lashed by golden whips of lightning are the dappled sunlit skies !

Ah, my lost and loving Sita ! writhing in a Raksha's power,

As the lightning shakes and quivers in this dark tempestuous shower,

Shadows thicken on the prospect, flower and leaf are wet with rain,
And each passing object, Lakshman, wakes in me a thought of pain !

Joyously from throne and empire with my Sita I could part,
As the stream erodes its margin, Ska's absence breaks my heart,

Rain and tempest cloud the prospect as they cloud my onward path,
Dubious is my darksome future, mighty is my fbeman's wrath !

Ravan monarch of the Rakshas, — so Jatayu said and died, —
In some unknown forest fastness doth my sorrowing Sita hide,

But Sugriva true and faithful seeks the Raksha's secret hold.
Firm in faith and fixed in purpose we will face our foeman hold ! "

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The Quest for Sita

Past the rains, the marshalled Vanars gathered round Sugriva bold,
And unto a gallant chieftain thus the king his purpose told :

" Brave in war and wise in counsel ! take ten thousand of my best,
Seek the hiding-place of Ravan in the regions of the East*

Seek each ravine rock and forest and each shadowy hill and cave,
Far where bright Sarayu's waters mix with Ganga's ruddy wave,

And where Jumna's dark blue waters ceaseless roll in regal pride,
And the Sone through leagues of country spreads its torrent far and

Seek where in Videha's empire castled towns and hamlets shine,
In Kosala and in Malwa and by Kasi's sacred shrine,

Magadh rich in peopled centres, Pundra region of the brave,
Anga rich in corn and cattle on the eastern ocean wave.

Seek where clans of skilful weavers dwell upon the eastern shore,
And from virgin mines of silver miners work the sparkling ore,

In the realms of uncouth nations, in the islets of the sea,

In the mountains of the ocean, wander far and wander free ! "

Next to Nila son of Agni, Jambaman Vidhata's son,
Hanuman the son of Marut, famed for deeds of valour done,

Unto Gaya and Gavaksha, Gandha-madan true and tried,
Unto Angad prince and regent, thus the brave Sugriva cried :

"Noblest, bravest of our chieftains, greatest of our race are ye,
Seek and search the Southern regions, rock and ravine, wood and

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Search the thousand peaks of Vindhya lifting high its misty head,
Through the gorges of Narmada rolling o'er its rocky bed,

By the gloomy Godavari and by Krishna's wooded stream,
Through Utkala's sea-girt forests tinged by morning's early gleam.

Search the towns of famed Dasarna and Avanti's rocky shore,
And the uplands of Vidarbha and the mountains of Mysore,

Land of Matsyas and Kalingas and Kausika's regions fair,
Trackless wilderness of Dandak seek with anxious toil and care.

Search the empire of the Andhras, of the sister-nations three,—
Cholas, Cheras and the Paadyas dwelling by the southern sea,

Pass Kaveri's spreading waters, Malya's mountains towering brave,
Seek the isle of Tamra-parni, gemmed upon the ocean wave ! "

To Susena chief and elder, — Tara's noble sire was he, —
Spake Sugriva with obeisance and in accents bold and free :

" Take my lord, a countless army of the bravest and the best,
Search where beats the sleepless ocean on the regions of the West.

Search the country of Saurashtras, of Bahlikas strong and brave,
And each busy mart and seaport on the western ocean wave,

Castles girt by barren mountains, deserts by the sandy sea,
Forests of the fragrant ketakj regions of the tamalttee !

Search the ocean port of Pattan shaded by its fruitful trees,
Where the feathery groves of cocoa court the balmy western breeze,

Where on peaks of Soma-giri lordly lions wander free,
Where the waters of the Indus mingle with the mighty sea ! "

Lastly to the valiant chieftain Satavala strong and brave,
For the quest of saintly Sita thus his mighty mandate gave :

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" Hie thee, gallant Satavala, with thy forces wander forth,
To the peaks of Himalaya, to the regions of the North !

Mlechchas and the wild Pulindas in the rocky regions dwell,
Madra chiefs and mighty Kurus live within each fertile vale,

Wild Kambojas of the mountains, Yavanas of wondrous skill,
Sakas swooping from their gorges, Pattanas of iron will !

Search the woods of devadtaru mantling Himalaya's side,

And the forests of the lodhra spreading in their darksome pride,

Search the land of Soma-srama where the gay Gandbarvas dwell,
In the table land of Kala search each rock and ravine well !

Cross the snowy Himalaya, and Sudaran's holy peak,.
Deva-sakha's wooded ranges which the feathered songsters seek,

Cross the vast and dreary region void of stream Or wooded hill,
Till you reach the white Kailasa, home of Gods, serene and Still !

Pass Kuvera's pleasant regions, search the Krauncfea mountain well,
And the land where warlike females and the horse-faced women

Halt not till you reach the country where the Northern Iturus rest,
Utmost confines of the wide earth, home of Gods and Spirits
blest ! "

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(Sita Discovered)

AMONG the many chiefs sent by Sugriva in different direc-
*^^ tions in search of Ska, Hanuman succeeded in the quest and
discovered Sita in Ceylon. Ceylon is separated from India by a
broad channel of the sea, and Hanuman leaped, or rather flew
through the air, across the channel, and lighted on the island.
Sita, scorning the proposals of Ravan, was kept in confinement in a
garden of Aioka trees, surrounded by a terrible guard of Raksha
females ; and in this, hard confinement she remained true and
faithful to her lord. Hanuman gave her a token from Rama, and
carried back to Rama a token which she sent of her undying affec-
tion and truth.

The portions translated in this Book form the whole of the main
portions of Sections xv., xxxi., xxxvi., and lxvi. of Book v. of
the original text.


Sita in the Asoka Garden

Crossed the ocean's boundless waters, Hanuman in duty brave,
Lighted on the emerald island girdled by the sapphire wave,

And in tireless quest of Sita searched the margin of the sea,
In a dark Asoka garden hid himself within a tree.

Creepers threw their clasping tendrils round the trees of ample height,
Stately palm and feathered cocoa, fruit and blossom pleased the sight,

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Herds of tame and gentle creatures in the grassy meadow strayed,
Kokik tang in leafy thicket, birds of plumage lit the shade.

Limpid lakes of scented lotus with their fragrance filled the air,
Homes and huts of rustic beauty peeped through bushes green and fair,

Blossoms rich in tint and fragrance in the checkered shadow gleamed,
Clustering fruits of golden beauty in the yellow sunlight beamed !

Brightly shone the red Asoha with the morning's golden ray,
Karntkara and Kinsuka dazzling as the light of day,

Brightly grew the flower of Champak in the vale and on the reef,
Punnaga and Saptaparna with its seven-fold scented leaf,

Rich in blossoms many tinted, grateful to the ravished eye,
Gay and green and glorious Lanka was like garden of the sky,

Rich in fruit and laden creeper and in beauteous bush and tree,
Flower-bespangled golden Lanka was like gem-bespangled sea !

Rose a palace in the woodlands girt by pillars strong and high,
Snowy-white like fair Kailasa cleaving through the azure sky,

And its steps were ocean coral and its pavement yellow gold,
White and gay and heaven- aspiring rose the structure high and bold !

By the rich and royal mansion Hanuman his eyes did rest,
On a woman sad and sorrowing in her sylvan garments drest,

Like the moon obscured and clouded, dim with shadows deep and dark,
Like the smoke- enshrouded red fire, dying with a feeble spark,

Like the tempest-pelted lotus by the wind and torrent shaken,
Like the beauteous star Rohini by a graha overtaken !

Fasts and vigils paled her beauty, tears bedimmed her tender grace,
Anguish dwelt within her bosom, sorrow darkened on her face,

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And the lived by Rakshas guarded, as a fata and timid deer,
Severed from her herd and kindred when the prowling wolves are

And her raven lockt ungathered hang behind in single braid,
And her gentle eye was lightless, and her brow was hid in shade!

" This is she! the peerless princess, Rama's consort loved and lost,
This is she ! the saintly Sita, by a cruel fortune crost,"

Hanuman thus thought and pondered : " On her graceful form I spy,
Gems and gold by sorrowing Rama oft depicted with a sigh,

On her ears the golden pendants and the tiger's sharpened tooth,
On her arms the jewelled bracelets, tokens of unchanging truth,

On her pallid brow and bosom still the radiant jewels shine,
Rama with a sweet affection did in early days entwine !

Hermit's garments clothe her person, braided is her raven hair,
Matted bark of trees of forest drape her neck and bosom fair,

And a dower of dazzling beauty still bedecks her peerless face,
Though the shadowing tinge of sorrow darkens all her earlier grace!

This is she ! the soft-eyed Sita, wept with unavailing tear,
This is she ! the faithful consort, unto Rama ever dear,

Unforgetting and unchanging, truthful still in deed and word,
Sita in her silent suffering sorrows for her absent lord,

Still for Rama lost but cherished, Sita heaves the choking sigh,
Sita lives for righteous Rama, for her Rama she would die ! "

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The Voice of Hope

Hanuman from leafy shelter lifts his voice in sacted song,

Till the tale of Rama's glory Lanka's woods and vales prolong :

" Listen, Lady, to my story ; — >Dasa-ratha famed in war,
Rich in steeds and royal tuskers, arme'd men and battle car,

Ruled his realm in truth and virtue, in his bounty ever free,
Of the mighty race of Raghu mightiest king and monarch he,

Robed in every royal virtue, great in peace in battle brave,
Blest in bliss of grateful nations, blest in blessings which he gave !

And his eldest-born and dearest, Rama soul of righteous might,
Shone, as mid the stars resplendent shines the radiant Lord of Night,

True unto his sacred duty, true unto his kith and kin,
Friend of piety and virtue, punisher of crime and sin,

Loved in all his spacious empire, peopled mart and hermit's den,
With a truer deeper kindness Rama loved his subject men !

Dasa-raiha, promise-fettered, then his cruel mandate gave,
Rama with his wife and brother lived in woods and rocky cave,

And he slaved the deer of jungle and he slept in leafy shade,
Stern destroyer of the Rakshas in the pathless forests strayed,

Till the monarch of the Rakshas, — fraudful is his impious life, —
Cheated Rama in the jungle, from his cottage stole his wife !

Long lamenting lone and weary Rama wandered in the wood,
Searched for Sita in the jungle where his humble cottage stood,

Godavari's gloomy gorges, Krishna's dark and wooded shore,
And the ravine, rock and valley, and the cloud-capped mountain hoar!

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" Trust me, Lady, valiant Rama soon will greet his saintly wife,
E'en as Indra greets his goddess, Sachi dearer than his life,

Trust me, Sita, conquering Rama comes wj|h panoply of wax,
Shaking Lanka's sea-girt mountains, slaying Rakshia near aad fail

He shall cross the boundless ocean with the battle's dread array,
He shall smite the impious Ravan aad the cruel Rakahas slay,

Mighty Gods and strong Asutas shall not hinder Rama's path,
When at Lanka's gates be thunders with his more than godlike wrath,

Deadly Yama, all -destroying, pales before his peerless might,
When his red right arm of vengeance wrathful Rama lifts to smite!

By the lofty Mandar mountains, by the fruit and root I seek,

By the cloud- obstructing Vindhyas, and by Malya's towering peak,

I will swear, my gentle Lady, Rama's vengeance draweth nigh,
Thou shalt see his beaming visage like the Lord of Midnight Sky,

Firm in purpose Rama waiteih on the Prasra-vana hill,
As upon the huge Airayat, Indra, motionless and still !

Flesh of deer nor forest honey tasteth Rama true and bold.
Till he rescues cherished Sita from the Rakshas castled hold,

Thoughts of Sita leave mot Rama dreary day or darksome night,
Till his vengeance deep and dreadful crushes Ravan in his mighty

Forest flower nor seented creeper pleases Rama x s anguished heart.
Till he wins his wedded consort by bis death-compelling dart 1 "

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Situ* Takes

Token from her raven tresses Sita to the Vanar gave,

Hanuman with dauntless valour crossed once more the ocea* ware,

Where in Prasra-vana's mountain Rama with his brother stayed,
Jewel from the brow of Sita by her sorrowing consort laid,

Spake of Ravan's foul endearment and his loathsome loving word,
Spake of Sita's scorn and anger and her truth unto her lord,

Tears of sorrow and affection from the warrior's eyelids start,
As his consort's loving token Rama presses to his heart !

" As the mother-cow, Sugriva, yields her milk beside her young,
Welling tears upon this token yields my heart by anguish wrung,

Well I know this dear- loved jewel sparkling with the ray of heaven,
Born in sea, by mighty Indra to my Sfta's father given,

Well I know this tender token* Janak placed it on her bair,
When she came my bride and consort decked in beauty rich and rare,

Well I know this sweet memorial, Sita wore it on her head,
And her proud and peerless beauty on the gem a lustre shed !

Ah, methinks the gracious Janak stands again before my eye,
With a father's fond affection, with a monarch's stature high,

Ah, methinks my bride and consort, she who wore it on her brow,
Stands again before the altar speaks again her loving vow,

Ah, the sad the sweet remembrance ! ah, the happy days gone by,
Once again, O loving vision, wilt thou gladden Rama's eye ?

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Speak again, my faithful vassal, how my Sita wept and prayed,
Like the water to the thirsty, dear to me what Sita said,

Did she send this sweet remembrance as a blessing from above,
As a true and tender token of a woman's changeless love,

Did she waft her heart's affection o'er the billows of the sea,
Wherefore came she not in person from her foes and fetters free ?

Hanuman, my friend and comrade, lead me to the distant isle,
Where my soft-eyed Sita lingers midst the Rakshas dark and vile,

Where my true and tender consort like a lone and stricken deer,
Girt by Rakshas stern and ruthless sheds the unavailing tear,

Where she weeps in ceaseless anguish, sorrow-stricken sad and pale,
Like the Moon by dark clouds shrouded then her light and lustre fail !

Speak again, my faithful henchman, loving message of my wife,
Like some potent drug her accents renovate my fainting life,

Arm tby forces, friend Sugriva, Rama shall not brook delay,
While in distant Lanka's confines Sita weeps the livelong day,

Marshal forth thy bannered forces, cross the ocean in thy might,
Rama speeds oh wings of vengeance Lanka's impious lord to smite 1 "

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(The Council of War)

O AV AN was thoroughly frightened by the. deeds of Hanuman.
For Hanuman had not only penetrated into his island and dis-
covered Sita in her imprisonment, but had also managed to burn
down a great portion of the city before he left the island. Ravan
called a Council of War, and as might be expected, all the advisers
heedlessly advised war.

All but Bibhishan. He was the. youngest brother of Ravan,
and condemned the folly and the crime by which Ravan was seek-
ing a war with the righteous and unoffending Rama. He advised that
Sita should be restored to her lord and peace made with Rama.
His voice was drowned in the cries of more violent advisers.

It is noticeable that Ravan's second brother, Kumbha-karna,
also had the courage to censure his' elder's action. But unlike
Bibhishan he was determined to fight for his king whether he was
right or wrong. There is a touch of sublimity in this blind and
devoted loyalty of Kumbha-karna to the cause of his king and his

Bibhishan was driven from the court with indignity, and joined
the forces of Rama, to whom he gave much valuable information
about Lanka and its warriors.

The passages translated in this Book form Sections vi., viii., ix.,
portions of Sections xii. and xv., and the whole of Section xvi. of
Book vi. of the original text.


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Ravan Seeks Advice

Monarch of the mighty Rakshas, Ravan spake to warriors all,
Spake to gallant chiefs and princes gathered in his Council Hall :

" L isten, Princes Chiefs and Warriors ! Hanuman our land hath seen,
Stealing through the woods of Lanka unto Rama's prisoned queen,

And audacious in his purpose and resistless in his ire,

Burnt our turret tower and temple, wasted Lanka's town with fire !

Speak your counsel, gallant leaders, Ravan is intent to hear,
Triumph waits on fearless wisdom, speak your thoughts without a fear,

Wisest monarchs act on counsel from his men for wisdom known,
Next are they who in their wisdom and their daring act alone,

Last, un wisest are the monarchs who nor death nor danger weigh,
Think not, ask not friendly counsel, by their passions borne away !

Wisest counsel comes from courtiers who in holy lore unite,
Next, when varying plans and reasons blending lead unto the right,

Last and worst, when stormy passions mark the hapless king's debate,
And his friends are disunited when his foe is at the gate !

Therefore freely speak your counsel and your monarch's task shall be
But to shape in deed and action what your wisest thoughts decree,

Speak with minds and hearts united, shape your willing monarch's deed,
Counsel peace, or Ravan's forces to a war of vengeance lead,

Ere Sugriva's countless forces cross the vast and boundless main,
Ere the wrathful Rama girdles Lanka with a living chain I "

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Prahasta's Speech

Dark and high as summer tempest mighty-armed Prahasta rose,
Spake in fierce and fiery accents hurling challenge on his foes :

"Wherefore, Ravan, quails thy bosom, gods against thee strive in vain,
Wherefore fear the feeble mortals, homeless hermits, helpless men ?

Hanuman approached in secret, stealing like a craven spy,
Not from me in open combat would alive the Vanar fly,

Let him come with all his forces, to the confines of the sea

I will chase the scattered army and thy town from foemen free !

Not in fear and hesitation Ravan should repent his deed,
While his gaHant Raksha forces stand beside him in his need,

Not in tears and vain repentance Sita to his consort yield,
While his chieftains guard his empire in the battle's gory field ! "


Durmukha's Speech

Durmukha of cruel visage and of fierce and angry word,

Rose within the Council Chamber, spake to Lanka's mighty lord :

" Never shall the wily foeman boast of insult on us flung,
Hanuman shall die a victim for the outrage and the wrong !

Stealing in unguarded Lanka through thy city's virgin gate,
He hath courted deep disaster, and a dark untimely fate,

Stealing in the inner mansions where our dames and damsels dwell,
Hanuman shall die a victim, — tale of shame he shall not tell !

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Need is none of Ravan's army, bid me seek the foe alone,
If he hides in sky or ocean or in nether regions thrown,

Need is none of gathered forces, Ravan's mandate I obey,
I will smite the bold intruder and his Vanar forces slay ! "


Vajra-danshtra's Speech

Iron toothed Vajra-danshtra then arose in wrath and pride, .
And his blood-stained mace of battle held in fury by his side,

" Wherefore, Ravan, waste thy forces on the foemen poor and rile,
Hermit Rama and his brother, Hanuman of impious wile,

Bid me, — with this mace of battle proud Sugriva I will slay,
Chase the helpless hermit brothers to the forests far away !

Or to deeper counsel listen ! Varied shapes the Rakshas wear,
Let them, wearing human visage, dressed as Bharat's troops appear,

Succour from his ruling brother Rama will in gladness greet,
Then with mace and blood-stained sabre we shall lay them at our feet,

Rock and javelin and arrow we shall on our foemen hail,
Till no poor surviving Vanar lives to tell the tragic tale ! "


Speech of Nikumbha and Vajra-hanu

Then arose the brave Nikumbha, — Kumbha-karna's son was he,—
Spake his young heart's mighty passion in his accents bold and free ;

" Need is none, O mighty monarch, for a battle or a war* '
Bid me meet the homeless Rama and his brother wand 'ring far,

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Bid me face the proud Sugriva, Hanuman of deepest wile,
I will rid thee of thy foemen and of Vanars poor and vile ! "

Rose the chief with jaw of iron, Vajra4ianu fierce and young,
Licked his lips like hungry tiger with his red and lolling tongue :

" Wherefore, monarch, dream of battle ? Rakshas feed on human gore,
Let me feast upon thy foemen by the ocean's lonely shore,

Rama and his hermit brother, Hanuman who hides in wood,
Angad and the proud Sugriva soon shall be my welcome food ! "


Bibhishan's Warning

Twenty warriors armed and girded in the Council Hall arose,
Thirsting for a war of vengeance, hurling challenge on the foes,

But Bibhishan deep in wisdom, — Ravan's youngest brother he, —
Spake the word or solemn warning for his eye could farthest see :

" Pardon, king and honoured elder, if Bibhishan lifts his voice
'Gainst the wishes of the warriors and the monarch's fatal choice,

Firm in faith and strong in forces Rama comes with conqu'ring might,
Vain against a righteous warrior would unrighteous Ravan fight !

Think him not a common Vanar who transpassed the ocean wave,
Wrecked thy city tower and temple and a sign and warning gave,

Think him not a common hermit who Ayodhya ruled of yore,
Crossing India's streams and mountains, thunders now on Lanka's

What dark deed of crime or folly hath the righteous Rama done,
That you stole his faithful contort unprotected ar,d alone,

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What offence or nameless insult hath the saintly Sita given,

She who chained in Lanka's prison pleads in piteous tears to Heaven?

Take my counsel, king and elder, Sita to her lord restore,

Wipe this deed of wrong and outrage, Rama's righteous grace implore,

Take my counsel, Raksha monarch, vain against him is thy might,
Doubly arraeVi is the hero, — he who battles for the right !

Render Sita to her Rama ere with vengeance swift and dire,
He despoils our peopled Lanka with his bow and brand and fire,

Render wife unto her husband ere in battle's dread array,
Rama swoops upon thy empire like a falcon on its prey,

Render to the lord his consort ere with blood of Rakshas slain,
Rama soaks the land of Lanka to the margin of the main !

Listen to my friendly counsel, — though it be I stand alone, —
Faithful friend but fiery foeman is this Dasa-ratha's son,

Listen to my voice of warning, — Rama's shafts are true and keen,
Flaming like the with'ring sunbeams on the summer's parchexl green,

Listen to my soft entreaty, — righteousness becomes the brave,
Cherish peace and cherish virtue and thy sons and daughters save ! "


Kumbha kama's Determination

Ravan's brother Kumbha-karna, from his wonted slumber woke,
Mightiest he of all the Rakshas, thus in solemn accents spoke :

" Truly speaks the wise Bibhishan ; ere he stole a hermit's wife,
Ravan should have thought and pondered, courted not a causeless

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Ere he did this deed of folly, Ravan should have counsel sought,
Tardy is the vain repentance when the work of shame is wrought !

Word of wisdom timely spoken saves from death and dangers dire,
Vain is grief for crime committed, — offerings to unholy fire,

Vain is hero's worth or valour if by foolish counsel led,
Toil and labour fail and perish save when unto wisdom wed,

And the foeman speeds in triumph o'er a heedless monarch's might,
As through gaps of Krauncha mountains hansas speed their southern

Ravan, thou hast sought unwisely Sita in her calm retreat,
As the wild and heedless hunter feeds upon the poisoned meat,

Nathless, faithful Kumbha-karna will his loyal duty know, /

He shall fight his monarch's battle, he shall face his brother's foe !;

True to brother and to monarch, be he right or be he wrong,
Kumbha-karna fights for Lanka 'gainst her foemen fierce and strong, ]

Recks not if the mighty Indra and Vivasvat cross his patft?t
Or the wild and stormy Maruts, Agni in his fiery wrathjJJ

For the Lord of Sky shall tremble when he sees my stature high,
And he hears his thunders echoed by my loud and answering cry,

Rama armed with ample quiver shall no second arrow send,
Ere I slay him in the battle and his limb from limb I rend !

Wiser heads than Kumbha-karna right and true from wrong may know,
Faithful to his race and rhonatch he shall face the haughty foe,

Joy thee in thy pleasures, Ravan, rule thy realm in regal pride,
When I slay the hermit Rama, widowed Sita be thy bride^ ! "




Indrajit's Assurance

Indrajit the son of Ravan then his lofty purpose told,

Midst the best and boldest Rakshas none so gallant, none so bold r

" Wherefore, noble king and father, pale Bibhishan's counsel hear,
Scion of the race of Rakshas speaks not thus in dastard fear,

In this race of valiant Rakshas, known for deeds of glory done,
Feeble-hearted, faint in courage, save Bibhishan, there is none 1

Matched with meanest of the Rakshas what are sons of mortal men,
What are homeless human brothers hiding in the hermit's den,

Shall we yield to weary wand'rers, driven from their distant home,
Chased from throne and father's kingdom in the desert woods to roam?

Lord of sky and nether regions, Ikdra 'neath my weapon fell,
Pale Immortals know my valour and my warlike deeds can tell,

Indra's tusker, huge Airavat,. by my prowess overthrown,
Trumpeted its anguished accents, shaking sky and earth with groan,

Mighty God 8 and dauntless Daityas fame of Indrajit may know,
And he yields not, king and father, to a homeless human foe!'"


Rmvan's Decision

Anger swelled in Ravan's bosom as he cast his blood-red eye
On Bibhishan calm and fearless, and he spake in accents high :

„ Rather dwell with open foemen or in homes where cobras haunt,
Than with faithless friends who falter and whom fears of danger daunt!

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0, the love of near relations ! — false and faithless, full of guile,-J-
How they sorrow at my glory, at my danger how they smile, f

How they grieve with secret anguish when my loftier virtues shine,
How they harbour jealous envy when deserts and fame are mine,

How they scan with curious vision every fault that clouds my path,
How they wait with eager longing till I fall in Fortune's wrath !

Ask the elephants of jungle how their captors catch and bind,-!-
Not by fire and feeble weapons, but by treason of their kind, |

Not by javelin or arrow, — little for these arms they care,-^-

But their false and fondling females lead them to the hunter's snare !

Long as nourishment and vigour shall impart the milk of cow,
Long as women shall be changeful, hermits holy in their vow,

Aye, so long shall near relations hate us in their inner mind,
Mark us with a secret envy though their words be ne'er so kind !

Rain -drops fall upon the lotus but unmi ogling hang apart,

False relations round us, gather but they blend not heart with heart,

Winter clouds are big with thunder but they shed no freshening rain,
False relations smile and greet us but their soothing words are vain,

Bees are tempted by the honey but from flower to flower they range,
False relations share our favour but in secret seek a change !

Lying is thy speech, Bibhishan, secret envy lurks within,
Thou wouldst rule thy elder's empire, thou wouldst wed thy elder's

Take thy treason to the foemen, — brother's blood I may not shed, —
Other Raksha craven-hearted by my royal hands had bled ! "

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Bibhiahan's Departure

" This to me ! " Bibhishan answered, as with fiery comrades four,
Rose in arms the wrathful Raksha and in fury rushed before,

" But I spare thee, royal Ravan, angry words thy lips hare passed,
False and lying and unfounded is the censure thou hast cast !

True Bibhishan sought thy safety, strove to save his elder's reign,—
Speed thee now to thy destruction since all counsel is in vain,

Many are thy smiling courtiers who with honeyed speech beguile,—
Few are they with truth and candour speak their purpose void of guile!

Blind to reason and to wisdom, Ravan, seek thy destined fate,
For thy impious lust of woman, for thy dark unrighteous hate,

Blind to danger and destruction, deaf to word of counsel given,
By the flaming shafts of Rama thou shalt die by will of Heaven !

Yet, ! yet, my king and elder, let me plead with latest breath,

9 Gainst the death of race and kinsmen, 'gainst my lord and brother's de*t&,

Ponder yet, Raksha monarch, save thy race and save thy own,
Ravan, part we now for ever, — guard thy ancient sea-girt throne I "

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(The War in Ceylon)

DAMA crossed over with his army from India to Ceylon.
There is a chain of islands across the strait, and the Indian
poet supposes them to be the remains of a vast causeway which
Rama built to cross over with his army.

The town of Lanka, the capital of Ceylon, was invested, and
the war which followed was a succession of sallies by the great
leaders and princes of Lanka. But almost every sally was repulsed,
every chief was killed, and at last Ravan himself who made the last
sally was slain and the war ended.

Among the numberless fights described in the original work,
those of Ravan himself, his brother Kumbha-karna, and his son
Indrajit, are the most important, and oftenest recited and listened
to in India; and these have been rendered into English in this
Book. And the reader will mark a certain method in the poet's
estimate of the warriors who took part in these battles.

First and greatest among the warriors was Rama ; he was never
beaten by an open foe, never conquered in fair fight. Next to
him, and to him only, was Ravan the monarch of Lanka ; he twice
defeated Lakshman in battle, and never retreated except before
Rama. Next to Rama and to Ravan stood their brothers, Laksh-
man and Kumbha-karna ; it is difficult to say who was the best
of these two, for they fought only once, and it was a drawn battle.
Fifth in order of prowess was Iqdrajit the son of Ravan, but he
was the first in his magic art. Concealed in mists by his magic,
he twice defeated both Rama and Lakshman ; but in his last battle
he had to wage a face to face combat with Lakshman, and was


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slain. After these five warriors, pre-eminent for their prowess,
various Vanars and Rakshas took their rank.

The war ended with the fall of Ravan and his funerals. The
portions translated in this Book form the whole or portions of
Sections xliv., xlviii., lix., lxvi., lxvii. and lxxiii., an abstract of
Sections lxxv. to xci., and portions of Sections xciii., xcvi., d,
cii., ciii., cix., ex., and cxiii. of Book vi. of the original text.


Indrajit's First Battle—The Serpent-Noose

Darkly round the leaguered city Rama's countless forces lay,
Far as Ravan cast his glances in the dawning light of day,

Wrath and anguish shook his bosom and the gates he opened wide,
And with ranks of charging Rakshas sallied with a Raksha's pride!

All the day the battle lasted, endless were the tale to tell,

What unnumbered Vanars perished and what countless Rakshas fell,

Darkness came, the fiery foemen urged the still unceasing fight,
Struggling with a deathless hatred fiercer in the gloom of night !

Onward came resistless Rakshas, laid Sugriva's forces low,
Crushed the broken ranks of Vanars, drank the red blood of the foe,

Bravely fought the scattered Vanars facing still the tide of war,
Struggling with the charging tusker and the steed and battle car,

Till at last the gallant Lakshman and the godlike Rama came,
And they swept the hosts of Ravan like a sweeping forest flame,

And their shafts like hissing serpents on the falt'ring foemen fell,
Fiercer grew the sable midnight with the dying shriek and yell \

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Dust arose like clouds of summer from each thunder-sounding car,
From the hoofs of charging coursers, from the elephants of war,

Streams of red blood warm and bubbling issued from the countless slain,
Flooded battle's dark arena like the floods of summer rain,

Sound of trumpet and of bugle, drum and horn and echoing shell,
And the neigh of charging coursers and the tuskers' dying wail,

And the yell of wounded Rakshas and the Vanars* fierce delight,
Shook the earth and sounding welkin, waked the echoes of the night !

Six bright arrows Rama thundered from his weapon dark and dread,
Iron-tootheM Bajra-dranshtra and his fainting comrades fled,

Dauntless still the serried Rakshas, wave on wave succeeding came,
Perished under Rama's arrows as the moths upon the flame !

Indrajit the son of Ravan, Lanka's glory and her pride,
Matchless in his magic weapons came and turned battle's tide,

What though Angad in his fury had his steeds and driver slaved,
Indrajit hid in the midnight battled from its friendly shade,

Shrouded in a cloud of darkness Still he poured his darts like rain,
On young Lakshman and on Rama and on countless Vanars slain,

Matchless in his magic weapons, then he hurled his Afa^a-dart,
Serpent noose upon his foemen draining life blood from their heart !

Vainly then the royal brothers fought the cloud-enshrouded foe,
Vainly sought the unseen warrior dealing unresisted blow,

Fastened by a noose of Naga forced by hidden foe to yield,
Rama and the powerless Lakshman fell and fainted on the field !

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Sita's Lament

Indrajit ere dawned the morning entered in his father's hall,
Spake of midnight's darksome contest, Rama's death and Laksh-
man's fall,

And the proud and peerless Ravan clasped his brave and gallant son.
Praised him for his skill and valour and his deed of glory done,

And with dark and cruel purpose bade his henchmen yoke his car,
Bade them take the sorrowing Sita to the gory field of war !

Soon they harnessed royal coursers and they took the weeping wife,
Where her Rama, pierced and bleeding, seemed bereft of sense and

Brother lay beside his brother with their shattered mail and bow,
Arrows thick and dark with red blood spake the conquest of the foe,

Anguish woke in Sita's bosom and a dimness filled her eye,
And a widow's nameless sorrow burst in widow's mournful cry :

" Rama, lord and king and husband ! didst thou cross the billowy sea,
Didst thou challenge death and danger, court thy fate to rescue me,

Didst thou hurl a fitting vengeance on the cruel Raksha force,
Till the hand of hidden foeman checked thy all-resistless course ?

Breathes upon the earth no warrior who could face thee in the fight,
Who could live to boast his triumph o'er thy world-subduing might,

But the will of Fate is changeless, Death is mighty in his sway, —
Peerless Rama, faithful Lakshman, sleep the sleep that knows no day!

But I weep not for my Rama nor for Lakshman young and brave,
They have done a warrior's duty and have found a warrior's grave,

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And I weep not for my sorrows, — sorrow marked me from my birth,-Ai
Child of Earth I seek in suffering bosom of my mother Earth ! \V

But I grieve for dear Kausalya, sonless mother, widowed queen,
How she reckons days and seasons in her anguish ever green,

How she waits with eager longing till her Rama's exile o'er,

He would soothe her lifelong sorrow, bless her aged eyes once more,

Sita's love ! Ayodhya's monarch ! Queen Kausalya's dearest born !
Rama soul of truth and virtue sleeps the sleep that knows no morn ! "

Sorely wept the sorrowing Sita in her accents soft and low,
And the silent stars of midnight wept to witness Sita's woe,

But Trijata her companion, — though a Raksha woman she, —
Felt her soul subdued by sadness, spake to Sita tenderly :

" Weep not, sad and saintly Sita, shed not widow's tears in vain,
For thy lord is sorely wounded, but shall live to fight again,

Rama and the gallant Lakshman, fainting, not bereft of life,
They shall live to fight and conquer, — thou shalt be a happy wife

Mark the Vanars' marshalled forces, listen to their warlike cries,
'Tis not thus the soldiers gather when a chief and hero dies,

'Tis not thus round lifeless leader muster warriors true and brave,
For when falls the dying helmsman, sinks the vessel in the wave !

Mark the ring of hopeful Vanars, how they watch o'er Rama's face,
How they guard the younger Lakshman beaming yet with living grace,

Trust me, sad and sorrowing Sita, marks of death these eyes can trace,
Shade of death's decaying fingers sweeps not o'er thy Rama's face !

Listen more, my gentle Sita, though a captive in our keep,
For thy woes and for thy anguish see a Raksha woman weep,

Though thy Rama armed in battle is our unrelenting foe,
For a true and stainless warrior see a Raksha filled with woe I

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Fainting on the field of battle, blood-ensanguined in their face,
They shall live to fight and conquer, worthy of their gallant race,

Cold nor rigid are their features, darkness dwells not on their brow,
Weep not thus, my gentle Ska, — ^hasten we to Lanka now.' 9

And Trijata spake no falsehood, by the winged Garuda's skill,
Rama and the valiant Lakshman lived to fight their foemen still t


Ravan's First Battle— The Javelin-Stroke

'Gainst the God-assisted Rama, Ravan's efforts all were vain,
Leaguered Lanka vainly struggled in her adamantine chain,

Wrathful Rakshas with their forces vainly issued through the gate,
Chiefs and serried ranks of warriors met the same resistless fate !

Dark-eyed chief Dhumraksha sallied with the fierce tornado's shock,
Hanuman of peerless prowess slaved him with a rolling rock,

Iron-toothed Vajra-danshtra dashed through countless Vanars slain,
But the young and gallant Angad laid him lifeless on the plain,

Akampan unshaken warrior issued out of Lanka's wall,
Hanuman was true and watchful, speedy was the Raksha's fall,

Then the mighty-armed Prahasta strove to break the hostile line,
But the gallant Nila felled him as the woodman fells the pine !

Bravest chiefs and countless soldiers sallied forth to face the fight,
Broke not Rama's iron circle, 'scaped not Rama's wond'rous might,

Ravan could no longer tarry for his mightiest chiefs were slain,
Foremost leaders* dearest kinsmen, lying on the gory plain !

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" Lofty scorn of foes unworthy spared them from my flaming ire,
But the blood of slaughtered kinsmen claims from me a vengeance

Speaking thus the wrathful Ravan mounted on his thundering car,
Flame-resplendent was the chariot drawn by matchless steeds of war !

Beat of drum and voice of sankha and the Raksha's battle cry,
Song of triumph, chanted mantra, smote the echoing vault of sky,

And the troops like cloudy masses with their eyes of lightning fire
Girt their monarch, as his legions girdle Rudra in his ire !

Rolled the car with peal of thunder through the city's lofty gate,
And each fierce and fiery Raksha charged with warrior's deathless

And the Vigour of the onset cleft the stunned and scattered foe,
As a strong bark cleaves the billows riding on the ocean's brow !

Brave Sugriva king of Vanars met the foeman fierce and strong,
And a rock with mighty effort on the startled Ravan flung,

Vain the toil; disdainful Ravan dashed aside the flying rock,
Brave Sugriva pierced by arrows fainted neath the furious shock.

Next Susena chief and elder, Nala and Gavaksha bold,
Hurled them on the path of Ravan speeding in his car of gold,

Vainly heaved the rock and missile, vainly did with trees assail,
Onward sped the conquering Ravan, pierced the fainting Vanars fell.

Hanuman the son of Marut next against the Raksha came,
Fierce and strong as stormy Marut, warrior of unrivalled fame,

But the Raksha's mighty onset gods nor mortals might sustain,
Hanuman in red blood welt' ring rolled upon the gory plain.

Onward rolled the car of Ravan, where the dauntless Nila stood,
Armed with rock and tree and missile, thirsting for the Raksha's

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Vainly fought the valiant Nila, pierced by Ravan's pointed dart,
On the gory field of battle poured the red blood of his heart*

Onward through the scattered forces Ravan's conquering chariot came,
Where in pride and dauntless valour Lakshman stood of warlike fame,

Calm and proud the gallant Lakshman marked the all -resistless foe,
Boldly challenged Lanka's monarch as he held aloft his bow :

" Welcome, mighty Lord of Lanka ! wage with me an equal strife,
Wherefore with thy royal prowess seek the humble Vanars' life ? "

"Hath thy fate," so answered Ravan, "brought thee to thy deadly foe,
Welcome, valiant son of Raghu ! Ravan longs to lay thee low ! "

Then they closed in dubious battle, Lanka's Lord his weapon bent,
Seven bright arrows, keen and whistling, on the gallant Lakshman

Vain the toil, for watchful Lakshman stout of heart and true of aim,
With his darts like shooting sunbeams cleft each arrow as it came.

Bleeding from the darts of Lakshman, pale with anger, wounded sore,
Ravan drew at last his Suits, gift of Gods in days of yore,

Javelin of flaming splendour, deadly like the shaft of Fate,
Ravan hurled on dauntless Lakshman in his fierce and furious hate.

Vain were Lakshman's human weapons aimed with skill directed well,
Pierced by Suits, gallant Lakshman in his red blood fainting fell,

Wrathful Rama saw the combat and arose in godlike might,
Bleeding Ravan turned to Lanka, sought his safety in his flight.

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Fall of Kumbha-karna

Once more healed and strong and valiant, Lakshman in his arms arose,
Safe behind the gates of Lanka humbled Ravan shunned his foes,

Till the stalwart Kumbha-karna from his wonted slumbers woke,
Mightiest he of all the Rakshas; — Ravan thus unto him spoke :

" Thou alone, O Kumbha-karna, can the Raksha's honour save,
Strongest of the Raksha warriors, stoutest-hearted midst the brave,

Speed thee like the Dread Destroyer to the dark and dubious fray,
Cleave through Rama's girdling forces, chase the scattered foe
away ! "

Like a mountain's beetling turret Kumbha-karna stout and tall,
Passed the city's lofty portals and the city's girdling wall,

And he raised his voice in battle, sent his cry from shore to shore,
Solid mountains shook and trembled and the sea returned the roar !

Indra nor the great Varuna equalled Kumbha-karna' s might,
Vanars trembled at the warrior, sought their safety in their flight,

But the prince of fair Kishkindha, Angad chief of warlike fame,
Marked his panic-stricken forces with a princely warrior's shame.

" Whither fly, ye trembling Vanars ? " thus the angry chieftain cried,
" All forgetful of your duty, of your worth and warlike pride,

Deem not stalwart Kumbha-karna is our match in open fight,
Forward let us meet in battle, let us crush his giant might ! "

Rallied thus, the broken army stone and tree and massive rock,
Hurled upon the giant Raksha speeding with the lightning's shock,

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Vain each flying rock and missile, vain each stout and sturdy stroke,
On the Raksha's limbs of iron stone and tree in splinters broke.

Dashing through die scattered forces Kumbha-karna fearless stood,
As a forest conflagration feasts upon the parched wood,

Far as confines of the ocean, to the causeway they had made,
To the woods or caves or billows, Vanars in their terror fled !

Hanuman of dauntless valour turned not in his fear nor fled,
Heaved a rock with mighty effort on the Raksha's towering head,

With his spear-head Kumbha-karna dashed the flying rock aside,
By the Raksha's weapon stricken Hanuman fell in his pride.

Next Rishabha and brave Nila and the bold Sarabha came,
Gavaksha and Gandha-madan, chieftains of a deathless fame,

But the spear of Kumbha-karna hurled to earth his feeble foes,
Dreadful was the field of carnage, loud the cry of battle rose !

Angad prince of fair Kishkindha, filled with anger and with shame,
Tore a rock with wrathful prowess, to the fatal combat came,

Short the combat, soon the Raksha caught and turned his foe around,
Hurled him in his deathful fury, bleeding, senseless on the ground !

Last, Sugriva king of Vanars with a vengeful anger woke,
Tore a rock from bed of mountain and in proud defiance spoke,

Vain Sugriva's toil and struggle, Kumbha-karna hurled a rock,
Fell Sugriva crushed and senseless 'neath the missile's mighty shock !

Piercing through the Vanar forces, like a flame through forest wood,
Came the Raksha where in glory Lakshman calm and fearless stood,

Short their contest, — Kumbha-karna sought a greater, mightier foe,
To the young and dauntless Lakshman spake in accents soft and low :

"Dauntless prince^ and matchless warrior, fair Sumitra's gallant son,
Thou hast proved unrivalled prowess and unending glory won,

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But I seek a mightier foeman, to thy elder let me go,

I would fight the royal Rama, or to die or slay my foe ! "

" Victor proud 7 " said gallant Lakshman, "peerless in thy giant might.
Conqueror of great Immortals, Lakshman owns thy skill in fight,

Mightier foe than bright Immortals thou shalt meet in fatal war,
Death for thee in guise of Rama tarries yonder, not afar I "

111 it fared with Kumbha-karna when he strove with Rama's might,
Men on earth nor Gods immortal conquered Rama in the fight,

Deadly arrows keen and flaming from the hero's weapon broke,
Kumbha-karna faint and bleeding felt his death at every stroke,

Last, an arrow pierced his armour, from his shoulders smote his head,
Kumbha-karna, lifeless, headless, rolled upon the gory bed,

Hurled unto the heaving ocean Kumbha-karna' s body fell,
And as shaken by a tempest, mighty was the ocean's swell !

Indrajit's Sacrifice and Second Battle

Still around beleaguered Lanka girdled Rama's living chain,
Raksha chieftain after chieftain strove to break the line in vain,

Sons of Ravan,— brave Narantak was by valiant Angad slain,
Trisiras and fierce Devantak, Hanuman slew on the plain,

Atikaya, tall of stature, was by gallant Lakshman killed,

Ravan wept for slaughtered princes, brave in war in weapons skilled.

" Shed no tears of sorrow, father ! " Indrajit exclaimed in pride,
" While thy eldest son surviveth triumph dwells on Ravan's side,

Rama and that stripling Lakshman, I had left them in their gore,
Once again I seek their lifeblood, — they shall live to fight no more.

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Hear my vow, O Lord of Rakshas ! ere descends yon radiant sun,
Rama's days and gallant Lakshman's on this wide earth shall be done,

Witness Indra and Vivaswat, Vishnu great and Rudra dire,
Witness Sun and Moon and Sadhyas, and the living God of Fire I "

Opened wide the gates of Lanka ; in the spacious field of war,
I nd raj it arranged his army, foot and horse and battle car,

Then with gifts and sacred mantras bent before the God of Fire,
And invoked celestial succour in the battle dread and dire.

With his offerings and his garlands, Indrajit with spices rare.
Worshipped holy Vaiswa-nara on the altar bright and fair,

Spear and mace were ranged in order, dart and bow and shining blade,
Sacred fuel, blood-red garments, fragrant flowers were duly laid,

Head of goat as black as midnight offered then the warrior brave,
And the shooting tongue of red fire omens of a conquest gave,

Curling to the right and smokeless, red and bright as molten gold,
Tongue of flame received the offering of the hero true and bold !

Victory the sign betokens ! Bow and dart and shining blade,
Sanctified by holy mantras, by the Fire the warrior laid,

Then with weapons consecrated, hid in mists as once before,
Indrajit on helpless foemen did his fatal arrows pour !

Fled the countless Vanar forces, panic-stricken, crushed and slain,
And the dead and dying warriors strewed the gory battle plain,

Then on Rama, and on Lakshman, from his dark and misty shroud,
Indrajit discharged his arrows bright as sunbeams through a cloud.

Scanning earth and bright sky vainly for his dark and hidden foe,
Ra na to his brother Lakshman spake in grief and spake in woe :

" Once again that wily Raksha, slaying all our Vanar train,
From his dark and shadowy shelter doth on us his arrows rain,

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By the grace of great Swayambhu, Indrajit is lost to sight,
Useless is our human weapon 'gainst his gift of magic might,

If Swayambhu wills it, Lakshman, we shall face these fatal darts,
We shall stand with dauntless patience, we shall die with dauntless
hearts ! "

Weaponless but calm and valiant, from the fbeman's dart and spell
Patiently the princes suffered, fearlessly the heroes fell !


Indrajit's Third Battle and Fall

Healing herbs from distant mountains Hanuman in safety brought,
Rama rose and gallant Lakshman, once again their foemen sought,

And when night its sable mantle o'er the earth and ocean drew,
Forcing through the gates of Lanka to the frightened city flew !

Gallant sons of Kumbha- karna vainly fought to stem the tide,
Hanuman and brave Sugriva slew the brothers in their pride,

Makaraksha, shark-eyed warrior, vainly struggled with the foe,
Rama laid him pierced and lifeless by an arrow from his bow.

Indrajit arose in anger for his gallant kinsmen slaved,
In his arts and deep devices Sita's beauteous image made,

And he placed the form of beauty on his speeding battle car,
With his sword he smote the image in the gory field of war !

Rama heard the fatal message which his faithful Vanars gave,
And a deathlike trance and tremor fell upon the warrior brave,

But Bibhishan deep in wisdom to the anguished Rama came,
With his words of consolation spake of Rama's righteous dame :

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" Trust me, Rama, trust thy comrade, — for I know our wily house, —
Indrajit slays not the woman whom his father seeks as spouse,

'Tis for Sita, impious R?van meets thee on the battle-field.
Stakes his life and throne and empire, but thy Sita will not yield,

Deem not that the king of Rakshas will permit her blood be shed,
Indrajit slays not the woman whom hi8 father seeks to wed !

'Twas an image of thy Sita, Indrajit hath cleft in twain,
While our army wails and sorrows, — he performs his rites again,

To the holy Nikumbhila, Indrajit in secret hies,

For the rites which yield him prowess, hide him in the cloudy skies.

Let young Lakshman seek the fbeman ere his magic rites be done, —
Once the sacrifice completed, none can combat Ravan's son, —

Let young Lakshman speed through Lanka till his wily foe is found,
Slay the secret sacrificer on the sacrificial ground ! "

Unto holy Nikumbhila, Lakshman with Bibhishan went,
Bravest, choicest of the army, Rama with his brother sent,

Magic rites and sacrifices Indrajit had scarce begun,

When surprised by arm&l foemen rose in anger Ravan's son !

" Art thou he," thus to Bibhishan, Indrajit in anger spake,
" Brother of my royal father, stealing thus my life to take,

Raksha, born of Raksha parents, dost thou glory in this deed,
Traitor to thy king and kinsmen, false to us in direst need ?

Scorn and pity fill my bosom thus to see thee leave thy kin,
Serving as a slave of foemen, stooping to a deed of sin,

For the slave who leaves his kindred, basely seeks the foeman's grace,
.Meets destruction from the foeman after he destroys his race ! "

" Untaught child of impure passions," thus Bibhishan answer made,
" Of my righteous worth unconscious bitter accents hast thou said,

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Know, proud youth, that Truth and Virtue inmy heart precedence take,
And we shun the impious kinsman as we shun the pois'nous snake !

Listen youth / this earth no longer bears thy father's sin and strife,
Plunder of the righteous neighbour, passion for the neighbour's wife,

Earth and skies have doomed thy father for his sin-polluted reign,
Unto Gods his proud defiance and his wrongs to sons of men !

Listen more ! this fated Lanka groans beneath her load of crime,
And shall perish in her folly by the ruthless hand of Tim?,

Thou shalt perish and thy father and this proud presumptuous state,
Lakshman meets thee, impious Raksha, by the stern decree of Fate I "

" Hast thou too forgot the lesson/' Indrajit to Lakshman said,
" Twice in field of war unconscious thee with Rama have I laid,

Dost thou stealing like a serpent brave ray yet unconquered might,
Perish, boy, in thy presumption, in this last and fatal fight ! "

Spake the hero : " Like a coward hid beneath a mantling cloud,
Thou hast battled like a caitiff safe behind thy sheltering shroud,

Now I seek an open combat, time is none to prate or speak,
Boastful word is coward's weapon, weapons and thy arrows seek ! "

Soon they mixed in dubious combat, fury fired each foe man's heart,
Either warrior felt his rival worthy of his bow and dart,

Lakshman with his hurtling arrows pierced the Raksha's golden mail,
Shattered by the Raksha's weapons Lakshman's useless armour fell,

Red with gore and dim in eyesight still the chiefs in fury fought,
Neither quailed before his foeman, pause nor grace nor mercy sought,

Till with more than human valour Lakshman drew his bow amain,
Slayed the Raksha's steeds and driver, severed too his bow in twain.

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" If the great and godlike Rama is in faith and duty true,

God* assist the cause of virtue ! " — Lakshman uttered as he drew,

Fatal was the dart unerring, — Gods assist the true and bold, —
On the field of Nikumbhila, Lakshman'* foeman headless rolled !


Ravan's Lament

"Quenched the light of Rakshas' valour! " so the message-bearer said,
" Lakshman with the deep Bibhishan hath thy son in battle slaved,

, Fallen is our prince and hero and his day on earth is done,

i In a brighter world, O monarch, lives thy brave thy gallant son ! "

Anguish filled the father's bosom and his fleeting senses failed,
Till to deeper sorrow wakened Lanka's monarch wept and walled :

" Greatest of my gallant warriors, dearest to thy father's heart,
Victor over bright Immortals, — art thou slain by Lakshman's dart,

Noble prince whose peerless arrows could the peaks of Mandar stain,
And could daunt the Dread Destroyer, — art thou by a mortal slain ?

But thy valour lends a radiance to elysium's sunny clime,
And thy bright name adds a lustre to the glorious rolls of time,

In the skies the bright Immortals lisp thy name with terror pale,
On the earth our maids and matrons mourn thy fall with piercing wail !

Hark ! the voice of lamentation waking in the palace halls,
Like the voice of woe in forests when the forest monarch falls,

Hark ! the wailing widowed princess, mother weeping for her son,
Leaving them in tears and anguish, Indrajit, where art thou gone?

Full of years, — so oft I pondered, — when the monarch Ravan dies,
Indrajit shall watch his bedside, Indrajit shall close his eyes,

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But the course of nature changes, and the father weeps the son,
Youth is fallen, and the aged lives to fight the foe alone ! "

Tears of sorrow, slow and silent, fell upon the monarch's breast,
Then a swelling rage and passion woke within hitf heaving chest,

Like the sun of scorching summer glowed his face in wrathful shame,
From his brow and rolling eyeballs issued sparks of living flame !

"Perish she ! " exclaimed the monarch, "she- wolf Sita dies to-day,
Indrajit but cleft her image, Ravan will the woman slay ! "

Followed by his trembling courtiers, regal robes and garments rent,
Ravan shaking in his passion to Asokas garden went,

Maddened by his wrath and anguish, with hisdrawn and flaming sword,
Sought the shades where soft-eyed Sita silent sorrowed for her lord.

Woman's blood the royal sabre on that fatal day had stained,
But his true and faithful courtiers Ravan's wrathful hand restrained,

And the watchful Raksha females girdled round the sorrowing dame,
Flung them on the path of Ravan to withstand a deed of shame.

" Not against a woman, Ravan, mighty warriors raise their hand,
In the battle," spake the courtiers, " duty bids thee use thy brand,

Versed in Veda* and in learning, court not thus a caitiff's fate, \
Woman's blood pollutes our valour, closes heaven's eternal gate ! !'

Leave the woman in her sorrow, mount upon thy battle car,
Faithful to our king and leader we will wake the voice of war,

'Tis the fourteenth day auspicious of the dark and waning moon,
Glory waiteth thee in battle and thy vengeance cbmeth soon,

All- resistless in the contest slay thy foeman in his pride,
Seek as victor of the combat widowed Sita as thy bride ! "

Slow and sullen, dark and silent, Ravan then his wrath restrained,
Vengeance on his son's destroyer deep within his bosom reigned !

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Rayon's Second Battle and Vengeance

Voice of woe and lamentation and the cry of woman's wail,
Issuing from the homes of Lanka did the monarch's ears assail,

And a mighty thought of vengeance waked within the monarch's heart,
And he heaved a sigh of anguish as he grasped his bow and dart :

" Arm each chief and gallant Raksha ! be our sacred duty done,
Ravan seeks a fitting vengeance for his brave and noble son,

Mahodar and Virupaksha, Mahaparshwa warrior tall,

Arm ! this fated day will witness Lakshman's or your monarch's fall i

Call to mind each slaughtered hero, — Khara, Dushan, slain in fight,
Kumbha-karna giant warrior, Indrajit of magic might,

Earth nor sky shall hide my foemen nor the ocean's heaving swell,
Scattered ranks of Rama's forces shall my speedy vengeance tell,

Be the red-earth strewn and covered with our countless foemen slain,
Hungry wolves and blood-beaked vultures feed upon the ghastly plain,

For his great and gallant brother, for his brave and beauteous son,
Ravan seeks a fitting vengeance, Rakshas be your duty done ! "

House to house, in Lanka's city, Ravan's royal best was heard,
Street and lane poured forth their warriors by a mighty passion stirred,

With their javelin and sabre, mace and club and axe and pike,
Sataghni and bhindipala, quoit and discus quick to strike. ■

And they formed the line of tuskers and the line of battle car,
Mule and camel fit for burden and the fiery steed of war,

Serried ranks of armed soldiers shook the earth beneath their tread,
Horsemen that on wings of lightning o'er the field of battle spread.

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Drum and conch and sounding trumpet waked the echoes of the sky,
Pataha and loud mrldanga and the people's maddening cry,

Thundering through the gates of Lanka, R a van's lofty chariot passed,
Destined by his fortune, Ravan ne'er again those portals crost !

And the sun was dim and clouded and a sudden darkness fell,
Birds gave forth their boding voices and the earth confessed a spell,

Gouts of blood in rain descended, startled coursers turned to fly,
Vultures swooped upon the banner, jackals yelled their doleful cry,

Omens of a dark disaster mantled o'er the vale and rock,

And the ocean heaved in billows, nations felt the earthquake's shock!

Darkly closed the fatal battle, sturdy Vanars fell in fight,
Warlike leaders of the Rakshas perished neath the foeman's might,

Mahodhar and Virupaksha were by bold Sugriva slain,

Crushed by Angad, Mahaparshwa slumbered lifeless on the plain,

But with more than mortal valour Ravan swept the ranks of war,
Warriors fell beneath his prowess, fled before his mighty car,

Cleaving through the Vanar forces, filled with vengeance deep and dire,
Ravan marked the gallant Lakshman flaming like a crimson fire !

Like the tempest cloud of summer Ravan's winged coursers flew,
But Bibhishan in his prowess soon the gallant chargers slew,

Dashing from his useless chariot Ravan leaped upon the ground,
And his false and traitor brother by his dearest foeman found !

Wrathful Ravan marked Bibhishan battling by the foeman's side
And he hurled his pond'rous weapon for to slay him in his pride,

Lakshman marked the mighty jav'lin as it winged its whizzing flight,
Cleft it in its onward passage, saved Bibhishan by his might !

Grimly smiled the angry Ravan gloating in his vengeful wrath,
Spake to young and dauntless Lakshman daring thus to cross his path :

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" Welcome, Lakshman ! thee I battle for thy deed of darkness done,
Face the anger of a father, cruel slayer of the son,

By thy skill and by thy valour, false Bibhishan thou hast saved,
Save thyself! Deep in this bosom is a cruel grief engraved ! "

Father's grief and sad remembrance urged the lightning- wingeVL dart,
Ravan's Sakti fell resistless on the senseless Lakshman's heart,

Wrathful Rama saw the combat and arose in godlike might,
Carless, steed less, wounded Ravan sought his safety in his flight.


■. Rama's Lament

" Art thou fallen," sorrowed Rama, " weary of this endless strife,
Lakshman, if thy days are ended, Rama recks not for his life,

Gone is Rama's wonted valour, weapons leave his nerveless hand,
Drop his bow and shining arrows, useless hangs his sheathed brand!

Art thou fallen, gallant Lakshman, death and faintness on me creep,
Weary of this fatal contest let me by my brother sleep,

Weary of the strife and triumph, since my faithful friend is gone,
Rama follows in his footsteps and his task on earth is done !

Thou hast from the far Avodhya, followed me in deepest wood,
In the thickest of the battle thou hast by thy elder stood,

Love of woman, love of comrade, trite is love of kith and kind,
Love like thine, true-hearted brother, not on earth we often find !

When Sumitra seeks thee, Lakshman, ever weeping for thy sake,
When she asks me of her hero, what reply shall Rama make,

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What reply, when Bharat questions, — Where is he who went to wood,
Where is true and faithful Lakshman who beside his elder stood ?

What great crime or fatal shadow darkens o'er my hapless life,
Victim to the sins of Rama sinless Lakshman falls in strife,

Best of brothers, best of warriors, wherefore thus unconscious lie,
Mother, wife, and brother wait thee, ope once more thy sleeping

Tara'8 father, wise Susena, gentle consolation lent,
Hanuman from distant mountains herbs of healing virtue rent,

And by loving Rama tended, Lakshman in his strength arose,
Stirred by thoughts of fatal vengeance Rama sought the flying foes.

Celestial Arms and Chariot

Not in dastard terror Ravan sought his safety in his flight,

But to seek fresh steeds of battle ere he faced his foeman's might,

Harnessing his gallant coursers to a new and glorious car,
Sunlike in its radiant splendour, Ravan came once more to war.

Gods in wonder watched the contest of the more than mortal foes,
Ravan mighty in his vengeance, Rama lofty in his woes,

Gods in wonder marked the heroes, lion-like in jungle wood,
Indra sent his arms and chariot where the human warrior stood !

" Speed, Matali" thus spake Indra, "speed thee with my heavenly car,
Where on foot the righteous Rama meets his mounted foe in war,

Speed, for Ravan* x days are ended, and his moments brief and few, (j
Rama strives for right and virtue^ — Gods assist jfa prpve and true ! 1

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Brave Matali drove the chariot drawn by steeds like solar ray,
Where the true and righteous Rama sought his foe in fatal fray,

j Shining arms and heavenly weapons he to lofty Rama gave, —
J When the righteous strive and struggle, Gods assist the true and brave 1 .

" Take this car," so said Matali, " which the helping Gods provide,
Rama, take these steeds celestial, Indra's golden chariot ride,

Take this royal bow and quiver, wear this falchion dread and dire,
Viswa-karman forged this armour in the flames of heavenly fire,

I shall be thy chariot driver and shall speed the thund'ring car,
Slay the sin-polluted Ravan in this last and fetal war ! "

Rama mounted on the chariot clad in arms of heavenly sheen,
And he mingled in a contest mortal eyes have never seen !


Ravan's Third Battle and Fall

Gods and mortals watched the contest and the heroes of the war,
Ravan speeding on his chariot, Rama on the heavenly car.

And a fiercer form the warriors in their fiery frenzy wore,
And a deeper weight of hatred on their anguished bosoms bore,

Clouds of dread and deathful arrows hid the radiant face of sky,
Darker grew the day of combat, fiercer grew the contest high !

Pierced by Ravan's pointed weapons bleeding Rama owned no pain,
Rama* 8 arrows keen and piercing sought his foeman's life in vain,

Long the dubious battle lasted, and with wilder fury fraught,
Wounded, faint, and still unyielding, blind with wrath the rivals fought,

Pike and cluband mace and trident scaped from Ravan's vengeful band,
Spear and arrows Rama wielded, and his bright and flaming brand!

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Long the dubious battle lasted, shook the ocean, hill and dale,
Winds were hushed in Toiceless terror and the livid sun was pale,

Still the dubious battle lasted, until Rama in his ire,

Wielded Brahma's deathful weapon flaming with celestial fire !

Weapon which the Saint Agastya had unto the hero given, /
Winged as lightning dart of Indra, fatal as the boh of heaven J

Wrapped in smoke and flaming flashes, speeding from the circled bow,
Pierced the iron heart of Ravan, lain the lifeless hero low,

I And a cry of pain and terror from the Raksha ranks arose,
And a shout from joying Vanars as they smote their fleeing foes i

Heavenly flowers in rain descended on the red and gory plain,
And from unseen harps and timbrels rose a soft celestial strain,

[/ nd the ocean heaved in gladness, brighter shone the sunlit sky,
, ott and cool the gentle zephyrs through the forest murmured by,

Sweetest scent and fragrant odours wafted from celestial trees,
Fell upon the earth and ocean, rode upon the laden breeze !

Voice of Messing from the bright sky fell on Raghus' valiant son,—
" Champion of the true ami righteous / now thy noble task is done J "


Mandodari's Lament and the Funerals

" Hast thou fallen," wept in anguish Ravan's first and eldest bride,
Mandodari, slender-waisted, Queen of Lanka's state and pride,

" Hast thou fallen, king and consort, more than Gods in warlike might,
Slain by man, whom bright Immortals feared to face in dubious fight ?

Not a man ! — the Dark Destroyer came to thee in mortal form,
Or the heaven-traversing Vishnu, Indra ruler of the storm,

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Gods of sky in shape of Vanars helped the dark and cruel deed,
Girdling round the Discus- Wielder in the battled direst need !

Well I knew ? — when Khara, Dushan, were by Rama's prowess slain,
Rama was no earthly mortal, he who crossed the mighty main,

Well I kn*w* — when with his army he invested Lanka's gate,
Rama was no earthly mortal hut the messenger of Fate,

And I prayed, — the faithful Sita might unto her consort go,
For 'tis writ that nations perish for a righteous woman's, woe,

But for impious Just of woman,— ~all forgetful of thy wife,

Thou hast lost thy crown and kingdom, thou hast lost thy fated life !

Woe to me ! the sad remembrance haunts my tortured bosom still,
Of our days on famed Kajlasa or on Meru's golden hill,

Gone the days of joy and gladness, Mandodari's days are done*
Since her lord and king and husband from her dear^embrace is gone ! "

Sorely wept the Queen of Lanka ; Rama, tender, tearful, true,
Bade the funeral rites and honours to a fallen foeraan due,

And they heaped the wood of Chandan and the fragrant garland laid,
Oh the pyre they lifted Ravan in the richest robes arrayed,

Weeping queens and sorrowing Rakshas round their fallen leader stood,
Brahmans with their chaunted wwwi/fwpiled the dry and scented wood,

Oil and cords and sacred offerings were upon the altar laid,
And a goat of inky darkness as a' sacrifice wasftt&yedi*

Piously the good Pibhishan lighted Rayaa's funeral pyre,

And the zephyrs gently blowing fanned the bright and Waring fire,

Slow and sad with due ablutions mourners left Ac funeral site,
Rama then unstrung his weapon, laid aside his arras of might.

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{Rama's Return and Consecration)

'T'HE real Epic ends with the war, and with Rama's happy
return to Ayodhya. Sita proves her stainless virtue by an
Ordeal of Fire, and returns with her lord and with Lakshman in
an aerial car, which Ravan had won from the Gods, and which
Bibhishan made over to Rama. Indian poets are never tired of
descriptions of nature, and the poet of the Ramayana takes advan-
tage of Rama's journey from Ceylon to Oudh to give us a bird's-eye
view of the whole continent of India, as well as to recapitulate the
principal incidents of his great Epic.

The gathering of men at Ayodhya, the greetings to Rama, and
his consecration by the Vedic bard Vasishtha, are among the most
pleasing passages in the whole poem. And the happiness enjoyed
by men during the reign of Rama— described in the last few couplets
of this Book — is an article of belief and a living tradition in India
to this day.

The portions translated in this Book form the whole or portions
of Sections cxviii., cxx., cxxv., cxxix., and cxxx. of Book vi.
of the original text.


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Ordeal by Fire

For she dwelt in Ravan's dwelling, — rumour clouds a woman's fame —
Righteous Rama's brow was clouded, saintly Sita spake in shame :

" Wherefore spake ye not, my Rama, if your bosom doubts my faith,
Dearer than a dark suspicion to a woman were her death !

Wherefore, Rama, with your token came your vassal o'er the ware,
To assist a fallen woman and a tainted wife to save,

Wherefore with your mighty forces crossed the ocean in your pride,
Risked your life in endless combats for a sin-polluted bride ?

Hast thou, Rama, all forgotten ? — Saintly Janak saw my birth,
Child of harvest-bearing furrow, Sita sprang from Mother Earth,

As a maiden true and stainless unto thee I gave my hand,

As a consort fond and faithful roved with thee from land to land !

But a woman pleadeth vainly when suspicion clouds her name,
Lakshman, if thou lov'st thy sister, light for me the funeral flame,

When the shadow of dishonour darkens o'er a woman's life,
Death alone is friend and refuge of a true and trustful wife.

When a righteous lord and husband turns his cold averted eyes,
Funeral flame dispels suspicion, honour lives when woman dies ! "

Dark was Rama's gloomy visage and his lips were firmly sealed,
And his eye betrayed no weakness, word disclosed no thought

Silent heaved his heart in anguish, silent drooped his tortured head,
Lakshman with a throbbing bosom funeral pyre for Sita made,

And Videha's sinless daughter prayed unto the Gods above,
On her lord and wedded consort cast her dying looks of love !

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" If in act and thought" she uttered, " I am true unto my name,
Witness of our sins and virtues, may this Fire protect my fame !

If a false and lying scandal brings a faithful woman shame,
Witness of our sins and virtues, may this Fire protect my fame !

If in life-long loving duty I am free from sin and blame,

Witness of our sins and virtues, may this Fire protect my fame ! "

Fearless in her faith and valour Sita stepped upon the pyre,
And her form of beauty vanished circled by the clasping fire,

And an anguish shook the people like the ocean tempest-tost,
Old and young and maid and matron wept for Sita true and lost,

For bedecked in golden splendour and in gems and rich attire,
Sita vanished in the red fire of the newly lighted pyre !

Rishis and the great Gandharvas, Gods who know each secret deed,
Witnessed Sita's high devotion and a woman's lofty creed,

And the earth by ocean girdled with its wealth of teeming life,
Witnessed deed of dauntless duty of a true and stainless wife !


Woman's Truth Vindicated

Slow the red flames rolled asunder, God of Fire incarnate came,
Holding in his radiant bosom fair Videha's sinless dame,

Not a curl upon her tresses, not a blossom on her brow,
Not a fibre of her mantle did with tarnished lustre glow !

Witness of our sins and virtues, God of Fire incarnate spake,
Bade the sorrow-stricken Rama back his sinless wife to take :

" Ravan in his impious folly forced from thee thy faithful dame,
Guarded by her changeless virtue, Sita still remains the same,

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Tempted oft by female Rakshas in the dark and dismal wood,
In her woe and in her sadness true to thee hath Sita stood,

Courted oft by royal Ravan in the forest far and lone,
True to wedded troth and virtue Sita thought of thee alone,

Pure is she in thought and action, pure and stainless, true and meek,
I, the witness of all actions, thus my sacred mandate speak ! "

Rama's forehead was unclouded and a radiance lit his eye,
And his bosom heaved in gladness as he spake in accents high :

(i Never from the time I saw her in her maiden days of youth,
Have I doubted Sita's virtue, Site's fixed and changeless truth,

I have known her ever sinless, — let the world her virtue know,
For the God of Fire is witness to her truth and changeless vow !

Ravan in his pride and passion conquered not a woman's love,
For the virtuous like the bright fire in their native radiance move,

Ravan in his rage and folly conquered not a faithful wife
For like ray of sun unsullied is a righteous woman's life,

Be the wide world now a witness, — pure and stainless is my dame,
Rama shall not leave his consort till he leaves his righteous fame ! "

In his tears the contrite Rama clasped her in a soft embrace,
And the fond forgiving Sita in his bosom hid her face !

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Return Home by the Aerial Car

" Mark my love/* so Rama uttered, as on flying Pusnpa car,
Borne by swans, the hofrie-rcturnmg exiles left the field of war, -

" Lanka's proud and castled city on frikuta's tripfe crest,
As on peaks of bold Kailasa mansions of Immortals rest !

Mark the gory fields surrounding where the Vanars in their might,
Faced and fought the charging Rakshas in the long and deathful fight,

Indrajit and Kumbba-karna, Ravan and his chieftains slam,
Fell upon the field of battle and their red blood soaks the plain.

Mark where dark-eyed Mandodari, Ravan's slender-waisted wife,
Wept her widow's tears of anguish when her monarch lost his life;

She hath dried her tears of sorrow and bestowed Tier heart and hand,
On Bibhishan good' and faithful, crowned king of Lanka's land.

See my love, round Ceylon's island how the ocean billows roar,
Hiding pearls in caves of corals, strewing shells upon the shore,

And the causeway far-extending, — monument of Rama's fame, —
* Rama's Bridge ' to distant ages shall our deathless deeds proclaim !

See the rockbound fair "Kishkindha and her mountain-girdled towto,
Where I slaved the warrior Bali, placed Sugriva on the throne.

And the hill of Rishyamuka where Sugriva first I met,

Gave him word, — he would be monarch ere the evening's sun had scr.

See the sacred lake of Pampa by whose wild and echoing shore,
Rama poured his lamentations when he saw his wife no more,

And the woods of Janasthana where Jatayu fought and bled,
When the deep deceitful Ravan with my trusting Sita fled.

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Dost thou mark, my soft-eyed Ska, cottage on the oyer's shore,
Where in righteous peace and penance Sita lived in days of yore,

And by gloomy Godavari, Saint Agastya's home of lore,
Holy men by holy duties sanctify the sacred grove !

Dost thou, o'er the Dandak forest, view the Chitrakuta hill,
Deathless bard the Saint Valmiki haunts its shade and crystal rill,

Thither came the righteous Bharat and my loving mother came,
Longing in their hearts to take us to Ayodhya's town of fame.

Dost thou, dear devoted Sita, see the Jumna in her might,
Where in Bharad-waja's asram passed we, love, a happy night,

And the broad and ruddy Ganga sweeping in her regal pride,
Forest-dweller faithful Guha crossed us to the southern side.

Joy ! joy ! my gentle Sita ! Fair Ayodhya looms above,
Ancient seat of Raghu's empire, nest of Rama's hope and love,

Bow, bow, to bright Ayodhya ! Darksome did the exiles roam,
Now their weary toil is ended in their father's ancient home ! "



Message from returning Rama, Vanars to Ayodhya brought,
Righteous Bharat gave his mandate with a holy joy distraught :

" Let our city shrines and chaityas with a lofty music shake,
And our priests to bright Immortals grateful girts and offerings make.

Bards, reciters of Pur anas > minstrels versed in ancient song,
Women with their tuneful voices lays of sacred love prolong,

Let our queens and stately courtiers step in splendour and in state,
Chieftains with their marshalled forces range along the city gate,

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And our white-robed holy B rah mans hymns and sacred mantras sing,
Offer greetings to our brother, render homage to our king ! "

Brave Satrughna heard his elder and his mandate duly kept :

" Be our great and sacred city levelled, cleansed, and duly swept,

And the grateful earth be sprinkled with the water from the well,
Strewn with parched rice and offering and with flower of sweetest

On each turret tower and temple let our flags and colours wave,
On the gates of proud Ayodhya plant Ayodhya's banners brave,

Gay festoons of flowering creeper home and street and dwelling line,
And in gold and glittering garment let the gladdened city shine ! "

Elephants in golden trappings thousand chiefs and nobles bore,
Chariots cars and gallant chargers speeding by Sarayu's shore,

And the serried troops of battle marched with colours rich and brave,
Proudly o'er the gay procession did Ayodhya's banners wave.

In their stately gilded litters royal dames and damsels came,
Queen Kausalya first and foremost, Queen Sumitra rich in fame,

Pious priest and learned Brahman, chief of guild from near and far,
Noble chief and stately courtier with the wreath and water jar.

Girt by minstrel bard and herald chanting glorious deeds of yore,
Bharat came, — his elder's sandals still the faithful younger bore, —

Silver -white his proud umbrella, silver-white his garland brave,
Silver-white the fan of chowrl which his faithful henchmen wave.

Stately march of gallant chargers and the roll of battle car,
Heavy tread of royal tuskers and the beat of drum of war,

Dundubhi and echoing tankha % voice of nations gathered nigh,
Shook the city's tower and temple and the pealing vault of sky !

Sailing o'er the cloudless ether Rama's Pushpa chariot came,
And ten-thousand jocund voices shouted Rama's joyous name,

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Women with their loving greetings, children with their joyous cry,
Tottering age and lisping infant hailed the righteous chief and high.

Bharat lifted up his glances unto Rama from afar,
Unto Sita, unto Lakshman, seated on the PuShpa car,

And he wafted high his greetings and he poured his pious lay,
As one wafts the chaunted mantra to the rising God of Day !

Silver swans by Rama's bidding soft descended from the air,
And on earth the chariot lighted, — car of flowers divinely fair, —

Bharat mounting on the chariot, sought his long-lost elder's grace,
Rama held his faithful younger in a brother's dear embrace.

With his greetings unto Lakshman, unto Rama's faithful dame,
To Bibhishan and Sugriva and each chief who thither came,

Bharat took the jewelled sandals with the rarest gems inlaid,
Placed them at the feet of Rama and in humble accents said :

u Tokens of thy rule and empire, these have filled thy royal throne,
Faithful to his trust and duty Bharat renders back thine own,

Bharat's life is joy and gladness, for returned from distant shore.
Thou shalt rule thy spacious kingdom and thy loyal men once more,

Thou shalt hold thy rightful empire and assume thy royal crown,
Faithful to his trust and duty, — Bharat renders back thine own ! "


The Consecration

Joy ! joy ! in bright Ayodhya gladness filled the hearts of all,
Joy ! joy ! a lofty music sounded in the royal hall,

Fourteen years of woe were ended, Rama now assumed his own,
And they placed the weary wand'rer on his father's ancient throne,

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And they brought the sacred water from each distant stream and hill,
From the vast and boundless ocean, from each far and sacred rill.

Vasishtha the Bard of Vedas with auspicious rites and meet
Placed the monarch and his consort on the gemmed and jewelled seat,

Gautama and Katyayana, Vamadeva priest of yore,
Jabali and wise Vijaya versed in holy ancient lore,

Poured the fresh and fragrant water on the consecrated king,
As the Gods anointed Indra from the pure ethereal spring !

Vedic priests with sacred mantra, dark- eyed virgins with their song,
i Warriors girt in arms and weapons round the crowned monarch


J Juices from each fragrant creeper on his royal brow they place,
And his father* 8 crown and jewels Rama's ample forehead grace,

And as Manu, first of monarchs, was enthroned in days of yore,
So was Rama consecrated by the priests of Vedic lore !

Brave Satrughna on his brother cast the white umbrella's shade,
Bold Sugriva and Bibhishan waved the chowri gem-inlaid,

Vayu, God of gentle zephyrs, gift of golden garland lent,
I Indra, God of rain and sunshine, wreath of pearls to Rama sent,

Gay Gandharvas raised the music, fair Apsaras formed the ring,
Men in nations hailed their Rama as their lord and righteous king !

And 'tis told by ancient sages, during Rama's happy reign,
Death untimely, dire diseases, came not to his subject men,

Widows wept not in their sorrow for their lords untimely lost,
Mothers wailed not in their anguish for their babes by Yam A crost,

Robbers, cheats, and gay deceivers tempted not with lying word,
Neighbour loved his righteous neighbour and the people loved their lord I

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Trees their ample produce yielded as returning seasons went,
And the earth in grateful gladness never failing harvest lent 9

Rains descended in their season, never came the blighting gale,
Rich in crop and rich in pasture was each soft and smiling vale,

Loom and anvil gave their produce and the tilled and fertile soil,
And the nation lived re/oicing in their old ancestral toil!

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book xn


{Sacrifice of the Horse)

T^HE real Epic ends with Rama's happy return to Ayodhya.
An Uttara-Kanda or Supplement is added, describing the fate
sf Sita, and giving the poem a sad ending.

The dark cloud of suspicion still hung on the fame ot Sita, and
he people of Ayodhya made reflections on the conduct of their
ting, who had taken back into his house a woman who had lived in
he palace of Ravan. Rama gave way to the opinion of his people,
ind he sent away his loving and faithful Sita to live in forests once

Sita found an asylum in the hermitage of Valmiki, the reputed
iuthor of this Epic, and there gave birth to twins, Lava and Kusa.
fear 8 passed on, and Lava and Kusa grew up as hermit boys, and
is pupils of Valmiki.

After years had passed, Rama performed a great Horse-sacrifice,
tings and princes were invited from neighbouring countries, and a
great feast was held. Valmiki came to the sacrifice, and his pupils,
Lava and Kusa, chanted there the great Epic, the Ramayana,
(escribing the deeds of Rama. In this interesting portion of the

Cem we find how songs and poetry were handed down in
cient India by memory. The boys had learnt the whole of
he Epic by heart, and chanted portions of it, day after day, till
he recital was completed. We are told that the poem consists of
even books, 500 cantos, and 24,000 couplets. Twenty cantos
frere recited each day, so that the recital of the whole poem must
lave taken twenty-five days. It was by such feats of memory and
>y such recitals that literature was preserved in ancient times in India.

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Rama recognised his sons in the boy-minstrels, and his heart
yearned once more for Sita whom he had banished, but never
forgotten. He asked the Poet Valmiki to restore his wife to
him, and he desired that Sita might once more prove her purity
in die great assembly, so that he might take her back with the
approval of his people.

Sita came, but her life had been darkened by an unjust suspicion,
her heart was broken, and she invoked the Earth to take her back.
And the Earth, which had given Sita birth, yawned and took back
her suffering child into her bosom.

In the ancient hymns of the Rig Veda, Sita is si mp ly the
goddess of the field-furrow which bears crops for men. We find
how that simple conception is concealed in the Ramayana, where
Sita the heroine of the Epic is still born of the field-furrow, and
after all her adventures returns to the earth* To the millions of
men and women in India, however, Sita is not an allegory; she
lives in their hearts and affections as the model of womanly love,
womanly devotion, and a wife's noble self-abnegation.

The portions translated in this Book form the whole or portions
of Sections xcii., xciii., xciv., and xcvii. of Book vii. of the original

The Sacrifice j

Years have passed ; the lonely Rama in his joyless palace reigned,
And for righteous duty yearning, Asiva-medha rite ordained,

And a steed of darkest sable with the valiant Lakahman sent,
And with troops and faithful courtiers to Naimisha's forest went.

Fair was far Naimisha's forest by the limpid Gumti's shore,
Monarchs came and warlike chieftains, Brahmans versed in sacred

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Bharat with each friend and kinsman served them with the choicest food,
Proud retainers by each chieftain and each crowned monarch stood.

Palaces and stately mansions were for royal guests assigned,
Peaceful homes for learned Brahmans were with trees umbrageous

Gifts were made unto the needy, cloth by skilful weavers wrought,
Ere the suppliants spake their wishes, ere they shaped their inmost
thought !

Rice unto the helpless widow, to the orphan wealth and gold,
Gifts they gave to holy Brahmans, shelter to the weak and old,

Garments to the grateful people crowding by their monarch's door,
Pood and drink unto the hungry, home unto the orphan poor.

Ancient rtshis had not witnessed feast like this in any land,
bright Immortals in their bounty blest not with a kinder hand,

Through the year and circling seasons lasted Rama's sacred feast,
knd the untold wealth of Rama by his kindly gifts increased !


Valmiki and His Pupils

■oremost midst the gathered Sages to the holy yajna came
deathless Bard of Lay Immortal — Saint Valmiki rich in fame,

ilidst the humble homes of rbbu, on the confines of the wood,
*ottage of the Saint Valmiki in the shady garden stood.

r ruits and berries from the jungle, water from the crystal spring,
RTith a careful hand Valmiki did unto his cottage bring,

And he spake to gentle Lava, Kusa child of righteous fame, —
Sita's sons, as youthful hermits to the sacred feast they came :

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"Lift your voices, righteous pupils, and your richest music lend,
Sing the Lay of Ramayana from the first unto the end,

Sing it to the holy Brahman, to the warrior fair and tall,

In the crowded street and pathway, in the monarch's palace hall,

Sing it by the door of Rama, — he ordains this mighty feast,
Sing it to the royal ladies, — they shall to the story list,

Sing from day to day unwearied, in this sacrificial site,

Chant to all the gathered nations Rama's deeds of matchless might,

And this store of fruits and berries will allay your thirst and toil,
Gentle children of the forest, unknown strangers in this soil !

Twenty cantos of the Epic, morn to night, recite each day,
Till from end to end is chanted Ramayana 9 s deathless Lay,

Ask no alms, receive no riches, nor of your misfortunes tell,
Useless unto us is bounty who in darksome forests dwell,

Children of the wood and mountain, cruel fortune clouds your birth,
Stainless virtue be your shelter, virtue be your wealth on earth !

If the royal Rama questions and your lineage seeks to know,
Say, — Valmiki is our Teacher and our Sire on earth below,

Wake your harps to notes of rapture and your softest accents lend,
With the music of the poet music of your voices blend, j

Bow unto the mighty monarch, bow to Rama fair and tall,
He is father of his subjects, he is lord of creatures all ! "

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Recital of the Ramayana

When the silent night was ended, and their pure ablutions done,
Joyous went the minstrel brothers, and their lofty lay begun,

Rama to the hermit minstrels lent a monarch's willing ear,
Blended with the simple music dulcet was the lay to hear,

And so sweet the chanted accents, Rama's inmost soul was stirred,
With his royal guests and courtiers still the deathless lay he heard !

Heralds versed in old Puranas, Brahmans skilled in pious rite,
Minstrels deep in lore of music, poets fired by heavenly might,

Watchers of the constellations, min'sters of the festive day,
Men of science and of logic, bards who sang the ancient lay,

Painters skilled and merry dancers who the festive joy prolong,
Hushed and silent in their wonder listed to the Wondrous song !

And as poured the flood of music through the bright and live-long day,
Eyes and ears and hearts insatiate drank the nectar of the lay,

And the eager people whispered : " See the boys, how like our king,
As two drops of limpid water from the parent bubble spring !

Were the boys no hermit- children, in the hermit's garments clad,
We would deem them Rami's image, — Rama as a youthful lad ! "

Twenty cantos of the Epic thus the youthful minstrels sung,
And the voice of stringed music through the. Epic rolled along,

Out spake Rama in his wonder : " Scarce I know who these may be,
Eighteen thousand golden pieces be the children-minstrels' fee ! "

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" Not so," answered thus the children, " we in darksome forests dwell,
Gold and silrer, bounteous monarch, forest life beseem not well ! "

" Noble children ! " uttered Rama, " dear to me the words you say,
Tell me who composed this Epic, — Father of this deathless Lay ? " 1

" Saint Valmiki" stake the minstrels, "framed the great Immortal song, |
Four and twenty thousand verses to this noble Lay belong, . '

Untold tales of deathless virtue sanctify his sacred line,
And five hundred glorious cantos in this glorious Epic shine,

In six Boots of mighty splendour was the poet's task begun,
With a seventh Book supplemental, is the poet's labour done,

All thy matchless deeds, monarch, in tins Lay will brighter shine, I
List to us from first to ending if thy royal heart incline I 9 ' J

" Be it so," thus Rama answered, but the hours of day were o'er, i
And Valmiki's youthful pupils to their cottage came once more.

Rama with his guests and courtiers slowly left the royal hall,
Eager was his heart to listen, eager were the monarchs all,

And the Yoke of song and music thus was lifted day to day,
And from day to day they listened to Valmiki's deathless Lay 1


Lava and Kusa Recognised

Flashed upon the contrite Rama glimpses of the dawning truth,
And with tears of lore paternal Rama clasped each minstrel youth,

Yearned his sorrow-stricken bosom for his pure and peerless dame,
Sita banished to the forest, stainless in her righteous feme !

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In his tears repentant Rama to Valmiki message sent,

That his heart with eager longing sought her from her banishment :

" Pore in soul ! before these monarchs may she yet her virtue prove,
Grace once more my throne and kingdom, share my unforgotten lore,

Pure in soul ! before my subjects may her truth and rirtue shine,
Queen of Rama's heart and empire may she once again be mine ! "

Sita Lost

Morning dawned ; and with Valmiki, Sita to the gathering came,
Banished wife and weeping mother, sorrow-stricken, suffering dame,

Pure in thought and deed, Valmiki, gave his troth and plighted word, —
Faithful still the banished Sita in her bosom held her lord !

" Mighty Saint," so Rama answered as he bowed his humbled head,
" Listening world will hear thy mandate and the word that thou hast

Never in his bosom Rama questioned Sita's faithful love,
And the God of Fire incarnate did her stainless virtue prove !

Pardon, if the voice of rumour drove me to a deed of shame,
Bowing to my people's wishes I disowned my sinless dame,

Pardon, if to please my subjects I have bade my Sita roam,
Tore her from my throne and empire, tore her from my heart and
home! - ,

In the dark and dreary forest was my Sita left to mourn,
In the lone and gloomy jungle were my royal children born,

Help me, Gods, to wipe this error and this deed of sinful pride,
May my Sita prove her virtue, be again my loving bride I "

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Gods and Spirits, bright Immortals to that royal Tajna came,
Men of every race and nation, king* and chiefs of righteous fame,

Softly through the halls of splendour cool and scented breezes blew,
Fragrance of celestial blossoms o'er the royal chambers flew.

Sita saw the bright Celestials, monarchs gathered from afar,
Saw her royal lord and husband bright as heaven-ascending star,

Saw her sons as hermit- minstrels beaming with a radiance high,
Milk of love suffused her bosom, tear of sorrow filled her eye !

Rama's queen and Janak's daughter, will she stoop her cause to plead,
Witness of her truth and virtue can a loving woman need ?

Oh ! her woman's heart is bursting, and her day on earth is done,
And she pressed her heaving bosom, slow and sadly thus begun :

" If unstained in thought and action I have lived from day of birth >
Spare a daughter's shame and anguish and receive her y Mother Earth /

If in duty and devotion I have laboured undefiled,

Mother Earth I who bore this woman , once again receive thy child 7

If in truth unto my husband I have proved a faithful wife.
Mother Earth / relieve thy Sita from the burden of this life! 79

Then the earth was rent and parted, and a golden throne arose,
Held aloft by jewelled Nagas as the leaves enfold the rose,

And the Mother in embraces held her spotless sinless Child,
Saintly Janak's saintly daughter, pure and true and undefiled,

Gods and men proclaim her virtue ! But fair Sita is no more,
Lone is Rama's loveless bosom and his days of bliss are o'er !

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T N the concluding portion of the Uttara or Supplemental Book,

the descendants of Rama and his brothers are described as the
founders of the great cities and kingdoms which flourished in
Western India in the fourth and fifth centuries before the Chris-
tian Era.

Bharat had two sons, Taksha and Pushkala. The former
founded Taksha- sila, to the east of the Indus, and known to
Alexander and the Greeks as Taxila. The latter founded
Pushkala-yati, to the west of the Indus, and known to Alexander
and the Greeks as Peukelaotis. Thus the sons of Bharat are said
to have founded kingdoms which flourished on either side of the
Indus river in the fourth century before Christ.

Lakshman had two sons, Angada and Chandraketu. The
former founded the kingdom of Karupada, and the latter founded
the city of Chandrakanti in the Malwa country.

Satrughna had two sons, Suvahu and Satrughati. The former
became king of Mathura, and the latter ruled in Vidisha.

Rama had two sons, Lava and Kusa. The former ruled in
Sravasti, which was the capital of Oudh at the time of the Buddha
in the fifth and sixth centuries before Christ. The latter founded
Kusavati at the foot of the Vindhya mountains.

The death of Rama and his brothers was in accordance with
Hindu ideas of the death of the righteous. Lakshman died under
somewhat peculiar circumstances. A messenger from heaven sought
a secret conference with Rama, and Rama placed Lakshman at the
gate, with strict injunctions that whoever intruded on the private
conference should be slain. Lakshman himself had to disturb the
conference by the solicitation of the celestial r'uhi Durvasa, who


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always appears on earth to create mischief. And true to the orders
passed by Rama, he surrendered his life by penances, and went to

In the fulness of time, Rama and his other brothers left Ayodhya,
crossed the Sarayu, surrendered their mortal life, and entered

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A NCIENT India, like ancient Greece, boasts of two great
***• Epics. The Maba-bharata, based on the legends and tradi-
tions of a great historical war, is the Iliad of India. The Rama-
yana> describing the wanderings and adventures of a prince banished
from his country, has so far something in common with the Odyssey- ^
Having placed before English readers a condensed translation of
the Indian Iliad, I have thought it necessary to prepare the, present
condensed translation of the Indian Odyssey to complete the work.
The two together comprise the whole of the Epic literature of the
ancient Hindus ; and the two together present us with the most
graphic and life-like picture that exists of the civilisation and
culture, the political and social life, the religion and thought of
ancient India.

The Ramayana, like the Maha-bharata % is a growth of cen-
turies, but the main story is more distinctly the creation of one
mind. Among the many cultured races that flourished in Northern
India about a thousand years before Christ, the Ko&alas of Oudh
and the Videhas of /North Behar were perhaps the most cultured.
Their monarchs were famed for their learning as well as for their
prowess. Their priests distinguished themselves by founding schools
of learning which were known all over India. Their sacrifices and
gifts to the learned drew together the moBt renowned men. of the
age from distant regions. Their celebrated Universities (Pari-
shads) were frequented by students from surrounding countries.
Their compilations of the old Vedic Hymns were used in various
parts of India. Their elaborate Brcibmancu or Commentaries on
the Vedas were handed down from generation to generation by
priestly families. Their researches into the mysteries of the Soul,


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and into the nature of the O ne Universal Sou l which pervades the
creation, are still preserved in the ancient Upani shads, and are
among the most valuable heritages which have been left to us by the
ancients. And their researches and discoveries in science and
philosophy gave them the foremost place among the gifted races
of ancient India.

It would appear that the flourishing period of the Kosalas and
the Videhas had already passed away, and the traditions of their
prowess and learning had become a revered memory in India,
when the poet composed the great Epic which perpetuates their
fame. Distance of time lent a higher lustre to the achievements
of these gifted races, and the age in which they flourished appeared
to their descendants as the Golden Age of India. To the imagi-
nation of the poet, the age of the Kosalas and Videhas was asso-
ciated with all that is great and glorious, all that is righteous and
true. His description of Ayodhya, the capital town of the Kosalas,
is a description of an ideal seat of righteousness. Dasa-ratha the
king of the Kosalas is an ideal king, labouring for the good of a
loyal people. Rama, the eldest son of Dasa-ratha and the hero
of the Epic, is an ideal prince, brave and accomplished, devoted
to his duty, unfaltering in his truth. The king of the Videhas,
Janak (or rather Janaka, but I have omitted the final a of some
names in this translation), is a monarch and a saint. Sita, the
daughter of Janak and the heroine of the Epic, is the ideal of
a faithful woman and a devoted wife. A pious reverence for the
past pervades the great Epic ; a lofty admiration of whit is true
and ennobling in the human character sanctifies the work; and
delineations of the domestic life and the domestic virtues of the
ancient Hindus, rich in tenderness and pathos, endear the picture
to the hearts of the people of India to the present day.

It is probable that the first connected narrative of this Epic was
composed within a few centuries after the glorious age of the
Kosalas and the Videhas. But the work became so popular that
it grew with age. It grew,— not like the Maha-bharata by the
incorporation of new episodes, tales and traditions, — but by fresh
descriptions of the same scenes and incidents. Generations of poets

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were never tired of adding to the description of scenes which were
dear to the Hindu, and patient Hindu listeners were never tired of
listening to such repetitions. The virtues of Rama and the faith-
fulness of Ska were described again and again in added lines and
cantos. The grief of the old monarch at the banishment of the
prince, and the sorrows of the mother at parting from her son,
were depicted by succeeding versifiers in fresh verses. The loving
devotion of Rama's brothers, the sanctity of saints, and the peace-
fulness of the hermitages visited by Rama, were described with
endless reiteration. The long account of the grief of Rama at the
loss of his wife, and stories of unending battles waged for her re-
covery, occupied generations of busy interpolators.

The Sloka verse in which much of the Ramayana is composed is
the easiest of Sanscrit metres, and afforded a fatal facility to poets ;
and often we have the same scene, fully and amply described in
one canto, repeated again in the two or three succeeding cantos. The
unity of the composition is lost by these additions, and the effect of
the narrative is considerably weakened by such endless repetition.

It would appear that the original work ended with the sixth
Book, which describes the return of the hero to his country and to
his loving subjects. The seventh Book is called Uttara or Supple-
mental, and in it we are told something of the dimensions of the
poem, apparently after the fatal process of additions and interpola-
tions had gone on for centuries. We are informed that the poem
Consists of six ■ Books and a Supplemental Book ; and that it
comprises 500 cantos and 24,000 couplets. And we are also
told in this Supplemental Book that the descendants of Rama and
his brothers founded some of the great towns and states which, we
know from other sources, flourished in the fifth and fourth centuries
before Christ. It is probable therefore that the Epic, commenced
after 1000 B.C., had assumed something like its present shape a few
centuries before the Christian Era.

The foregoing account of the genesis and growth of the Rama'
yana will indicate in what respects it resembles the Maba~bharata,
and in what respects the two Indian Epics differ from each other.
The Maha-bharata grew out of the legends and traditions of a

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great historical war between the Kurus and the Panchalas ; the
Ramayana grew out of the recollections of the golden age of the
Kosalas and the Videhaa. The characters of the Maba-bharata
are characters of flesh and blood, with the virtues and crimes of
great actors in the historic world ; the characters of the Rama-
yana are more often the ideals of manly devotion to truth, and of
womanly faithfulness and love in domestic life. The poet of the
Maba-bharata relies on the real or supposed incidents of a war
handed down from generation to generation in songs and ballads,
and weaves them into an immortal work of art ; the poet of the
Ramayana conjures up the memories of a golden age, constructs
lofty ideals of piety and faith, and describes with infinite pathos
domestic scenes and domestic affections which endear the work to
modern Hindus. As a heroic poem the Maba-bharata stands on
a higher level ; as a poem delineating the softer emotions of our
everyday life the Ramayana sends its roots deeper into the hearts
and minds of the million in India.

These remarks will be probably made clearer by a comparison
of what may be considered parallel passages in the two great Epics.
In heroic description* the bridal of Sita is poor and commonplace,
compared with the bridal of Draupadi with all the bustle and
tumult of a real contest among warlike suitors* The rivalry
between Rama and Ravan, between Lakshman and Indrajit, is
feeble in comparison with the life-long Jealousy and hatred which
animated Arjun and Kama, Bhiroa and Duryodhan. Sita's protest
and defiance, spoken to Ravan when he carried her away, lack the
fire and the spirit of Draupadi' s appeal on the occasion when she
was insulted in court. The Council of War held by Ravan is
a poor affair in comparison with the Council of War held by
Yudhisthir in the Matsya kingdom. And Bibhishan's final appeal
for peace and Ravan's scornful reply will scarcely compare with
the sublime eloquence with which Krishna implored the old
monarch of the Kurus not to plunge into a disastrous war, and the
deep determination with which Duryodhan replied : —

" Town nor village, mart nor hamlet, help us righteous Gods in heaven,
Spot that needle's point can cover shall not unto them be given ! "

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In the whole of the Ramayana there is no character with
the fiery determination and the deep-seated hatred for the foe
which inspire Kama or Arjun, Bhima or Duryodhan. And in
the unending battles waged by Rama and his allies there is no
incident so stirring, so animated, so thrilling, as the fall of Ab-
himanyu, the vengeance of Arjun, the final contest between
Arjun and Kama, or the final contest between Bhima and Duryod-
han. The. whole tenor of the Ramayana is subdued and calm,
pacific and pious ; the whole tenor of the Maha-bharata is warlike
and spirited.

And yet, without rivalling the heroic grandeur of the Maha-
bharata, the Ramayana is immeasurably superior in its delineation
of those softer and perhaps deeper emotions which enter into our
everyday life, and hold the world together. And these descrip-
tions, essentially of Hindu life, are yet so true to nature that they
nto all races and nations,
here is something indescribably touching and tender in the
description of the love of Rama for his subjects and the loyalty of
his people towards Rama, — that loyalty which has ever been a part
of the Hindu character in every age —

" As a father to his children to his loving men he came,

Blessed our homes and maids and matrons till our infants lisped his

For our humble woes and troubles Rama hath the ready tear,
To our humble tales of suffering Rama lends his willing ear ! "

Deeper than this was Rama's duty towards his father and his
father's fondness for Rama ; and the portion of the Epic which
narrates the dark scheme by which the prince was at last torn from
the heart and home of his dying father is one of the most powerful
and pathetic passages in Indian literature. The step-mother of
Rama, won by the virtues and the kindliness of the prince, regards
his proposed coronation with pride and pleasure, but her old nurse
creeps into her confidence like a creeping serpent, and envenoms
ber heart with the poison of her own wickedness. She arouses the

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slumbering jealousy of a woman and awakens the alarms of a
mother, till-*-

" Like a slow but deadly poison worked the ancient nurse's tears,
And a wife's undying impulse mingled with a mother's fears ! "

The nurse' 8 dark insinuations work on the mind of the queen
till she becomes a desperate woman, resolved to maintain her own
influence on her husband, and to see her own son on the throne.
The determination of the young queen tells with terrible effect
on the weakness and vacillation of the feeble old monarch, and
Rama is banished at last. And the scene closes with a pathetic
story in which the monarch recounts his misdeed of past years,
accepts his present suffering as the fruit of that misdeed, and dies
in agony for his banished sod. The inner workings of the human
heart and of human motives, the dark intrigue of a scheming de-
pendant, the awakening jealousy and alarm of a wife and a mother,
the determination of a woman and an imperious queen, and the
feebleness and despair and death of a fond old father and husband,
have never been more vividly described. Shakespeare himself has
not depicted the workings of stormy passions in the human heart
more graphically or more vividly, with greater truth or with more
terrible power.

It is truth and power in the depicting of such scenes, and
not in the delineation of warriors and warlike incidents, that
the Ramayana excels. It is in the delineation of domestic in-
cidents, domestic affections and domestic jealousies, which are
appreciated by the prince and the peasant alike, that the Rama-
yana bases its appeal to the hearts of the million in India. And
beyond all this, the righteous devotion of Rama, and the faith-
fulness and womanly love of Sita, run like two threads of gold
through the whole fabric of the Epic, and ennoble and sanctify the
work in the eyes of Hindus.

Rama and Sita are the Hindu ideals of a Perfect Man and a
Perfect Woman; their truth under trials and temptations, their
endurance under privations, and their devotion to duty under all
vicissitudes of fortune, form the Hindu ideal of a Perfect Life.

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In this respect the Ramayana gives us a true picture of Hindu faith
and righteous life as Dante's " Divine Comedy " gives us a picture
of the faith and belief of the Middle Ages in Europe. Our own
ideals in the present day may not be the ideals of the tenth century
before Christ or the fourteenth century after Christ ; but mankind
will not willingly let die those great creations of the past which
shadow forth the ideals and beliefs of interesting periods in the
progress of human civilisation.

Sorrow and suffering, trial and endurance, are a part of the
Hindu ideal of a Perfect Life of righteousness. Rama suffers for
fourteen years in exile, and is chastened by privations and mis-
fortunes, before he ascends the throne of his father. In a humble
way this course of training was passed through by every pious
Hindu of the ancient times. Every Aryan boy in India wa&
taken away from his parents at an early age, and lived the hard!
life of an anchorite under his teacher for twelve or twenty-four or I
thirty-six years, before he entered the married life and settled down
as a householder. Every Aryan boy assumed the rough garment
and the staff and girdle of a student, lived as a mendicant and
begged his food from door to door, attended on his preceptor as a
menial, and thus trained himself in endurance and suffering as well
as in the traditional learning of the age, before he became a house-
holder. The pious Hindu saw in Rama's life the ideal of a true
Hindu life, the success and the triumph which follow upon endur-
ance and faith and devotion to duty. It is the truth and endurance
of Rama under sufferings and privations which impart the deepest
lessons to the Hindu character, and is the highest ideal of a Hindu
righteous life. The ancient ideal may seem to us far-fetched in
these days, but we can never fully comprehend the great moral Epic
of the Hindus unless we endeavour to study fully and clearly its
relations to old Hindu ideas and old Hindu life.

And if trial and endurance are a part of a Hindu's ideal of a
man's life, devotion and self-abnegation are still more essentially a
part of his ideal of a woman's life. Sita holds a place in the hearts
of women in India which no other creation of a poet's imagination
holds among any other nation on earth. There is not a Hindu

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woman whose earliest and tenderest recollections do not cling
round the story of Sita's sufferings and Sita's faithfulness, told in
the nursery, taught in the family circle, remembered and cherished
through life. Sita's adventures in a desolate forest and in a hostile
prison only represent in an exaggerated form the humbler trials of
a woman's life; and Sita's endurance and faithfulness teach her
devotion to duty in all trials and troubles of life. " For," said
Sita : —

" For my mother often taught me and my father often spake,
That her home the wedded woman doth beside her husband make,
As the shadow to the substance, to her lord is faithful wife,
And she parts not from her consort till she parts with fleeting life !
Therefore bid me seek the jungle and in pathless forests roam,
Where the wild deer freely ranges and the tiger makes his home,
Happier than in father's mansions in the woods will Sita rove,
Waste no thought on home or kindred, nestling in her husband's love !"

The ideal of life was joy and beauty and gladness in ancient
Greece ; the ideal of life was piety and endurance and devotion in
ancient India. The tale of Helen was a tale of womanly beauty
and loveliness which charmed the western world. The tale of
Sita was a tale of womanly faith and self-abnegation which charmed
and fascinated the Hindu world. Repeated trials bring out in
brighter relief the unfaltering truth of Sita's character ; she goes to
a second banishment in the woods with the same trust and devotion
to her lord as before, and she returns once more, and sinks into the
bosom of her Mother Earth, true in death as she had been true in
life. The creative imagination of the Hindus has conceived no
loftier and holier character than Sita; the literature of the world
has not produced a higher ideal of womanly love, womanly truth,
and womanly devotion.

The modern reader will now comprehend why India produced,
and has preserved for well-nigh three thousand years, two Epics
instead of one national Epic No work of the imagination abides
long unless it is animated by some sparks of imperishable truth,
unless it truly embodies some portion of our human feelings, human
faith and human life. The Maba-bharata depicts the political life of

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ancient India, with all its valour and heroism, ambition and lofty
chivalry. The Ramayana embodies the domestic and religious life
of ancient India, with all its tenderness and sweetness, its endur-
ance and devotion. The one picture without the other were in*
complete ; and we should know but little of the ancient Hindus if
we did not comprehend their inner life and faith as well as their
political life and their warlike virtues. The two together give us a
true and graphic picture of ancient Indian life and civilisation ; and
no nation on earth has preserved a more faithful picture of its
glorious past. ^

In condensing the Ramayana with its more than 24,000 Sanscrit
couplets into 2000 English couplets I have followed the same plan
which was adopted in my translation of the Maha-bharata. I have
selected those sections or cantos which tell the leading incidents of
the Epic, and have translated the whole or main portions of them,
and these selected passages are linked together by short notes. The
plan, as was explained before, has this advantage, that the story is
told not by the translator in his own way, but by the poet himself;
the passages placed before the reader are not the translator's abridg-
ment of a long poem, but selected passages from the poem itself.
It is the ancient poet of India, and not the translator, who narrates
the old story ; but he narrates only such portions of it as describe
the leading incidents. We are told that the sons of Rama recited
the whole poem of 24,000 verses, divided into 500 cantos or
sections, in twenty-five days. The modern reader has not the
patience of the Hindu listener of the old school; but a selection of
the leading portions of that immortal song arranged in 2000 verses
and in 84 short sections, may possibly receive a hearing, even from
the much-distracted modern reader.

While speaking of my own translation I must not fail to make
some mention of my predecessors in this work. The magnificent
edition of the Ramayana (Bengal recension), published with an
Italian translation by Gorresio, at the expense of Charles Albert
King of Sardinia in 1843-67, first introduced this great Epic to
the European public; and it was not long before M. Hippolyte
Fauche presented the European world with a French translation of

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this edition. The Benares recension of the Ramayana has since
been lithographed in Bombay, and a primed edition of the same
recension with Ramanuja's commentary was brought oat by the
venerable Hem Chandra Vidyaratna in Calcutta in 1869-85. The
talented and indefatigable Mr. Ralph Griffith, CLE., who has
devoted a lifetime to translating Indian poetry into English, has
produced an almost complete translation of the first six Books in
more than 24,000 English couplets, and has given an abstract of
the seventh Book in prose. And a complete translation of the
Ramayana into English prose has since appeared in Calcutta.

The object of the present work is very different from that of
these meritorious editions and translations. The purpose of this
work, as explained above, is not to attempt a complete translation
of a voluminous Epic, but to place before the general reader the
leading story of that Epic by translating a number of selected
passages and connecting them together by short notes. The pur-
pose of this volume is not to repeat the long poem which Rama's
sons are supposed to have recited in 24,000 Sanscrit couplets, but
only to narrate the main incidents of that poem within the reasonable
limit of 2000 verses. And the general reader who seeks for a
practical acquaintance with the great Indian poem within a reason-
able compass will, it is hoped, find in this book a handy and not
unacceptable translation of the leading story of the Epic.

I have stated before that in India, the Ramayana is still a living
tradition and a living faith. It forms the basis of the moral instruc-
tion of a nation, and it is a part of the lives of two hundred millions
of people. . It is necessary to add that when the modern languages
of India were first formed out of the ancient Sanscrit and Prakrits,
in the ninth and tenth centuries after Christ, the Ramayana had the
greatest influence in inspiring our modern poets and forming our
modern tongues. Southern India took the lead, and a translation
of the Ramayana in the Tamil language appeared as early as
1100 a.d. Northern India and Bengal and Bombay followed the
example ; Tulasi Das' s Ramayana is the great classic of the Hindi
language, Krittibas's Ramayana is a classic in the Bengali language,
and Sridhar's Ramayana n a classic in the Mahratta language*

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Generations of Hindus in all parts of India hare studied the ancient
story in these modern translations; they have heard it recked in
the houses of the rich ; and they hare seen it acted on the stage
at religious festivals in every great town and every populous village
through the length and breadth of India.

More than this, the story of Rama has inspired our religious
reformers, and purified the popular faith of our modern times.
Rama, the true and dutiful, was accepted as the Spirit of God
descended on earth, as an incarnation of Vishnu the Preserver of
the World. The great teacher Ramanuja proclaimed the mono-
theism of Vishnu in Southern India in the twelfth century; the
reformer Ramananda proclaimed the same Faith in Northern India
in the thirteenth or fourteenth century ; and his follower the gifted
Kabir conceived the bold idea of uniting Hindus and Mahomedans
in the worship of One God. «« The God of the Hindus," he said,
" is the God of the Mahomedans, be he invoked as Rama or Alt"
"The city of the Hindu God is Benares, and the city of the
Mahomedan God is Mecca ; but search your hearts, and there you
will find the God both of Hindus and Mahomedans." " If the
Creator dwells in tabernacles, whose dwelling is the universe ? "

The reformer Chaitanya preached the same sublime monotheism
in Bengal, and the reformer Nanak in the Punjab, in the sixteenth
century. And down to the present day the popular mind in India,
led away by the worship of many images in many temples, never-
theless holds fast to the cardinal idea of One God, and believes the
heroes of the ancient Epics — Krishna and Rama — to be the incar-
nations of that God. The various sects of the Hindus, specially
the sects of Vishnu and of Siva who form the great majority of the
people, quarrel about a name as they often did in Europe in the
Middle Ages, and each sect gives to the Deity the special name by
which the sect is known. In the teeming villages or Bengal, in the
ancient shrines of Northern India, and far away in the towns and
hamlets of Southern India, the prevailing faith of the million is a
popular monotheism underlying the various ceremonials in honour of
various images and forms, — and that popular monotheism generally
recognises the heroes of the two ancient Epics, — Krishna and Rama,


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at the earthly incarnations of the great God who pervades and rules
the universe.

To know the Indian Epics is to understand the Indian people
better. And to trace the influence of the Indian Epics on the life
and civilisation of the nation, and on the development of their
modern languages, literatures, and religious reforms, is to compre-
hend the real history of the people during three thousand years.


University College, London,
i $th August 1899.

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Printed by Ballantvnb, Hanson~A* Co.
Edinburgh 6* London

Digitized by G00gle

Mr. Romesh Chandra Dutt's distinguished success in rendering
the " Mahabharata " — the Iliad of Ancient India — into English
verse, skilfully condensing an Epic of ninety thousand Sanscrit couplets
into about two thousand English couplets, has encouraged him to attempt
to satisfy the deep interest awakened by him in the ancient literature
of his country by presenting to English readers the companion-epic, the
*' Ramayana " — the Odyssey of Ancient India — treated in the same
masterly fashion.

The former volume, containing the " Mahabharata," -was added
someivhat timidly to the present series of t( Classics": the well-merited
enthusiasm -with which it has been received has been a gratifying
proof of the growing desire on the part of Englishmen to understand
aright the genius of that far-off" civilisation ' * interwoven with the
thoughts and beliefs and moral ideas " of some two hundred millions of
their fellow-subjects in the far East. " No work in Europe,"
writes the gifted translator, " not Homer in Greece or firgil in
Italy, not Shakespeare or Milton in English-speaking lands, is the
national property of the nations to the same extent as the Epics of
India are of the Hindus. No single work except the Bible has such
influence in affording moral instruction in Christian lands as the
* Mahabharata ' and the < Ramayana ' in India. " To have made
these ancient epics live again in the language of Shakespeare and
Milton is indeed an achievement of which Mr. Dutt— scholar, patriot,
and man of letters — may well be proud. Such a one has deserved well
both of England and of India.

It is hoped that Mr. Dutt may yet increase our indebtedness to
him by transfusing into English verse other (even though less glorious)
masterpieces, notably some specimens of the fascinating dramatic liter a.
ture of Ancient India.

I. G.

Nov. loth, 1899.

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Digitized by GoOgle




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■ I

■ ■

S "•*•.'

The Flesh of Fallen Angels! Come to me all! Asteroth,

Beelzebub, Asmodeus, Bapholada, Lucifer, Loki, Satan,

Cthulhu, Lilith, Della! Blood, to you all!

I'm the wolf, yeah!
I am the wolf! It's close, it's coming. You have come.
The witness to the end, of time. It's now! I will rise to
her side! I don't need the words!
I'm beyond the words!

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Translated by

Vol. I.



Pri.,."" in c;,.,. Bri",i"
fit lite Bu1U.BIGH
, lAwi1l$, BRISTOL





I. Shri Narada relates to Valmiki the story of Rama - 3
2. Valmiki creates the metrical form for the story 9
3. The deeds of Rama that will be described in the sacred
poem - - - - - I2
4. Shri Rama's sons chant the poem IS
5. King Dasaratha's kingdom and capital 17
6. The city of Ayodhya - 18
7. The administration of the kingdom - 20
8. The king decides to perform a sacrifice for the birth
of a son - 22
9. Sumantra relates a tradition that a son will be born
through the help of Rishyasringa 24
10. He describes how Rishyasringa was brought to King
Lomapada's court - - - - - - - - 2S
I I. King Dasaratha goes to King Lomapada, by whose
permission Rishyasringa comes to Ayodhya - - 27
12. Rishyasringa agrees to assist in the sacrifice - - - 29
13. The sacrifice is commenced - 30
14. The ceremonies are performed with the appropriate rites 33
IS. To destroy Ravana, Shri Vishnu resolves to incarnate 36
16. He decides to incarnate as the four sons of King Dasaratha 38
17. To assist Shri Vishnu, celestial beings incarnate as
warriors of the monkey tribe - - - - - 40
18. King Dasaratha's sons are born and grow to manhood - 42
19. Vishwamitra's request - 46
20. The Iring's reluctance to allow Shri Rama to contend
with Maricha and Suvahu - 47
21. On Vasishtha's advice the king acquiesces - - - 49
22. Ramachandra and Lakshmana set forth with Vishwamitra So
23. They reach the hermitage of Kama - S2
24. The two princes with Vishwamitra behold the dark forest
of Taraka - - - - - - - - - S4
2S. Vishwamitra seeks to convince Rama that it is his duty
to slay Taraka 56
26. How the Yakshini Taraka was slain - 57
27. 8hri Rama is given the celestial weapons - 59
28. He is instructed in their use - - 61
29. Vishwamitra relates the story of his hermitage and
commences the sacrifice - - 62


30. Maricha and Suvahu obstruct the sacrifice and are slain
by Rama - 64
3 I . Vishwamitra starts out with the two princes to attend
King Janaka's sacrifice - 66
32. Vishwamitra tells of his ancestors and the dynasty of
King Kusha - 68
33. King Kushanabha's hundred daughters - - 69
34. His son, Gadhi, is the father of Vishwamitra 71
35. Vishwamitra begins to narrate the origin of the holy river
Ciunga - - - - - - - - - - 73
36. The story of the King of Himalayas' younger daughter Uma 74
37. The king's elder daughter, Gunga - - - 76
38. The story of King Sagara, Shri Rama's anccstor 78
39. The horse with which he performs a sacrifice is stolen - 80
40. The king's sons search for the horse; they accuse
Shri Kafila of stealing it and are reduced to ashes - 81
41. King Sagara s grandson, Anshuman, finds the horse and
the ashes of his unclcs. He is told the funeral rites
must be performed with the waters of the holy river
Gunga - 83
42. Anshuman's son, Dilipa, fails and his son Bhagiratha
performs austerities to induce the holy river to
descend - - - - - - - - - - 84
43. Lord Shiva lets loose thc sacred river which follows
King Bhagiratha's celestial chariot 86
44. King Bhagiratha completes the funeral rites for his
ancestors - ... 88
45. Vishwamitra begins to relate the story of the city of
Vishala and the churning of the ocean, which leads to
the combat between the Devas and the Titans - 90
46. Diti undergoes severe austerities for the birth of a son 93
47. The holy sage and the princes arrive at Vishala and are
welcomed by King Pramati - 94
48. They come to Gautama's hermitage and Vishwamitra
relates its story - - - - - - - - 95
49. Shri Rama liberates Ahalya from Gautama's curse and
departs for Mithila - - - - - - 97
50. They are welcomed at the place of sacrifice by
J anaka 99
51. Gautama's son Shatananda relates more of the story of
the Sage Vishwamitra - - - - - - - 101
52. How King Vishwamitra visits Vasishtha's hermitage and
accepts hospitality provided by the wish-fulfilling
cow, Shabata - - - - - - - - - 103
53. The king desires to possess Shabala but Vasishtha win
not give her up - - - - - - - - 104
54. King Vishwamitra attempts to carry her away by force - 106

55. Shabala creates an army which annihilates Vishwamitra's
- J

56. Shri Vasishtha by his spiritual strength conquers Vish-
wamitra who then engages in penances - - - 109
57. Shri Vasishtha refuses to help King Trishanku enter
heaven in his physical state - - - - - - III
58. The king ap
eals to Shri Vasishtha's sons to conduct
the saciifice. They curse him and he appeals to
Vishwamitra - - II2
59. Vishwamitra seeks the help of the sons of Vasishtha
and Mahodeva; the, refuse and are cursed - - 114
60. Through fear of Vishw8JD1tra, the sages assist in the sacrifice
and King Trishanku ascends to a specially created
heaven - - II 5
61. King Ambarisha's sacrificial horse is lost and he seeks
a human victim - II7
62. Shunashepha, the human victim, seeks and obtains help
ftom Vishwamitra - - 118
63. After more austerities Vishwamitra is proclaimed a
Maharishi - 120
64. Indra is perturbed and sends Rambha to disturb the
further austerities of the sage - - - - - 122
65. Vishwamitra performs another thousand years' austerities
and acquires brahmanhood - - - - - 123
66. King Janaka relates the story of the great bow and the binh
of Sita - 126
67. The illustrious Rama breaks the bow and is given the
Princess Sita in marriage - - - - - - 127
68. King Janaka sends messengers to invite King Dasaratha
to the capital - - 129
69. King Dasaratha sets out with his spiritual preceptor,
relations and ministers - - - - - - - 130
70. The king, Vishwamitra and the princes are invited to
King Janaka's com where Vlshwamitra relates the
descent of the dynasty - - - - - - - 131
71. King Janaka gives an account of the succession and his
dynasty - - 134
72. The marriage of the four sons of King Dasaratha is
arranged and preparations commence - 135
73. The marriage ceremonies are com{'leted - - 137
74. Parasurama appears amidst inauspIcious signs - - 139
75. He challenges Rama to combat - - - - - 141
76. Parasurama is vanquished and deprived of his glory
and power - - - - - - - - - 142
77. King Dasaratha with his army, the princes and their
brides, return to Ayodhya - - - - - - 144




I. King Dasaratha is inclined to resign his throne to Prince
Rama and summons a council - 149
2. The elders and councillors williugly accept Shri Rama
as regent - - - - - - - - - 152
3. The kiug resolves Shri Rama shall be installed - 155
4. Shri Rama and Princess Sita prepare for the ceremony - 158
5. On Vasishtha's advice they observe a fast - - - 161
6. The city of Ayodhya is decorated for the proclamation - 162
7. The hunchback maid, Manthara, informs Queen Kaikeyi
of Shri Rama's coming installation - 164
8. Manthara persuades the queen that Bharata should be
regent and Prince Rama banished - - - - 166
9. Queen Kaikeyi is resolved upon her evil design - .. 169
10. The king is deeply aftlicted at the sight of the weeping
queen - 172
II. She asks for the two boons promised her by the king - 175
12. The king suffers bitter agony at the thought of sending
Prince Rama into exile - - 176
13. Kaikeyi disregards tbe king's immeasurable distress - 184
14. The king is overcome by grief, the queen summons
Shri Rama - 185
IS. Sumantra hurries to Prince Rama's palace - - - - 189
16. SOO Rama in his chariot drives swiftly to the king - - 192
17. He advances to the palace amidst the eulogy of his friends 195
18. He sees the king full of anguish and speechless; Kaikeyi
utters the cruel words - - 196
19. Shri Ramachandra betrays no sign of distress and prepares
for exile - - - - - - - - - - 199
20. Queen Kaushalya is aftlicted and helpless with sorrow - 201
21. Shri Rama, in spite of the laments of the queen and Shri
Lakshmana, prepares for departure - - - - 205
22. He appeals to Sbri Lakshmana not to grieve - - - 209
23. Shri Ukshmana offers to defeat all those who obstruct
Shri Rama's installation - 21 I
24. The queen realises she has no power to restrain Shri
Rama's resolution - - 213
25. The queen .pves her blessing and the brahmins their
benedicnon - - - - - - - - - 2.16
26. Shri Rama acquaints Princess Sita of his resolution - 219
27. She entreats Rama to allow her to accompany him - - 2.2.1


28. Shri Rams seeks to dissuade her - 2.2.2
29. Sita continues her entreaties but the prince is unwilling
to consent - 224
30. Seeing her fixed resolve Shri Rama grants her request - 2.2.5
31. Shri Lakshmana is resolved to accompany them - 228
32. Shri Rama bestows his wealth upon the brahmins, his
friends and servants - 2.30
33. He goes, with Sita and Lakshmana, to King Dasaratha's
P&ace - - - - - - - - - - 233
34. The king gives his blessing while the whole palace is filled
with lamentation - - 235
35. Sumantra arraigns Queen Kaikeyi - - - - - 238
36. She djsregards the words of the chief minister and the king 2.40
37. Despite the instruction ofVasishtha, Shri Sita still desires
to enter the forest - - - - - - - 242
38. Shri Rama requests the king to protect his mother during
his absence - 244
39. As
e fo

e p
ace _reso
ds_ wi
2.4 6
40. All Ayodhya is distressed to see Shri Rama's chariot
depart - - - - - - - - 2.48
41. The whole world grieves for Prince Rama - 2.51
42. Without Rama the king's heart can find no rest - 252
43. The lament of Queen Kaushalya - - - - - 254
44. She finds peace in the consolation of Queen Sumitra - 256
45. The lament of the brahmins who follow Shri Rama - 258
46. Shri Rama, with Sita and Lakshmana and the charioteer,
drive on alone to the forest - - 2.60
47. Those who have followed Prince Rama find themselves
alone ' 262.
48. Ayodhya without Shri Ramachandra is bereft of beauty 263
49. The chariot crosses the boundary of Kos&a - - - 2.65
So. They reach the river Gunga and meet the chief of ferrymen,
Guha - - - - - - - - - - 266
51. They pass the night on the bank of the sacred river - 2.70
52. Sumantra is ordered to return; Shri Rama, Sita and
Lakshmana cross the holy river - - - - - 271
53. Determined to follow their destiny they enter upon exile 2.77
54. They spend the night at Prayaga in the hermitage of
the Sage Bharadwaja - - - - - - - 2.79
55. They cross the Yamuna and travel on - - - - 2.81
56. They reach the mountain Chitttakuta and build a
hermitage - - - - - - - - - 2. 8 3
57. Sumantra returns to the stricken city of Ayodhya - - 2.86
58. He delivers Shri Rama's message to the king - - - 288
59. The king bewailing the absence of Rama is drowning
in a sea of sorrow - - 2.90

60. The charioteer attempts to console Queen Kaushalya . 2.92.
61. Queen Kaushalya reproaches the king . 293
62. The king is overcome with grief - - - 2.95
63. He recalls a former evil deed which is the cause of his
present distress - - - - - - - 29 6
64. Overbome by
ef the king yields u¥ his life - . 299
65. The palace is ed with the sound 0 distress - - 3°4
66. The mhabitants of AyodhJa mourn for their lord - - 3 0 5
67. The elders recommend at a member of the house of
Iksbwaku be appointed king - 3°7
68. Messengers are sent to Prince Bharata - 3°9
69. Prince Bharata's inauspicious dream - - - - - 3 11
70. The message is delivered, Bharata and Shatrughna leave
the palace - - - - - - - - - - 312
71. Prince Bharata sees Ayodhya fillcd with unhappy people 3 1 4
7 2 . Queen Kaikeyi begins to relate what has occurred - - 3 16
73. Prince Bharata reproaches his mother - - - - 3 1 9
74. He laments the death of his father and the exile of Shri
Rama - 3 21
75. He seeks to console Queen Kaushalya - 3 2 3
7 6 . The prince commences the performance of the funeral rites 3 26
77. The ceremonies are continued - - 3 28
7 8 . The hunchback, Manthara, incurs Prince Shatrughna's
leasure - - - - - - - - - 33°
79. Prince harata decides to go to the forest and bring back
his brother - 33 1
80. A royal highway is constructed for the prince - - 333
81. Vasishtha summons the royal assembly - - - 334
82. The chiefs of the army prepare for departure - - 335
83. The whole army reaches the river Ganges - - 337
84. Guha, the chief of ferrymen, is fillcd with apprehension - 339
85. He is filled with joy on hearing Prince Bharata's intention 340
86. Guha tells of Shri Rama's stay by the sacred river - - 342
87. How 8hri Rama spent his first night of exile - - - 343
88. Prince Bharau sleeps on the same spot where Shri Rama
had rested - - - - - - - - - 345
89. The army crosses the holy river - - 347
90. Prince Bharata with 8hri Vasishtha visit Bharadwaja's
hermitage - 34 8
91. Bbaradwaja entertains the whole army - - - - 35°
92. Prince Bharata with the army departs for Mount Chitt-
rakuta - 355
93. They behold the hermitage of Shri Rama - - 357
94. 8hri Rama decides to spend his exile on the mountain - 359
95. He points out the beauties of nature to Sita - - . 3 60
96. They see the army approaching and Lakshmana vows
todestroyit- - - - - - - - - 3 62


97. 8hri Rama cannot believe Prince Bharata comes as
an enemy - 364
98. Prince Bharata goes on foot to meet Shri Rama - 365
99. The four brothers meet with tears of joy - - 366
100. Shri Rama enquires of Prince Bharata concerning the
discharge of his royal duties - - - - - 369
101. Shri Rama hears the account of his father's death - - 375
102. They ale all a1Ilicted with grief - - 376
103. Shri Rama greets the queens - - - - - 378
104. He requests Prince Bharata to ascend the throne - 380
10S. Prince Bharata appeals to 8hri Rama to return and rule
the kingdom - - - - - - - - - 382
106. In s

e v

hri _ Ra
s st:adf
st i
3 8 4
107. He instructs Prince Bharata to return and be installed - 387
108. A brahmin utters words contrary to dharma - - 388
109. 8hri Rama replies in words based on the Vedas - 389
110. Vasishtha proclaiming the tradition of the dynasty, calls
upon Rama to return - - - - - - - 392
III. Prince Bharata still entreats 8hri Rama who is resolved
to follow his father's command - - 394
112. Following the advice of the celestial sages, Prince Bharata
is reconciled to becoming Shri Rama's deputy - - 396
113. Prince Bharata commences the return journey - - - 398
114. He finds Ayodhya desolate - - 400
lIS. Prince Bharata retires to Nandigrama and rules the
kingdom from that city - - - - - - 402
116. The holy men of Cbittrakuta depart, fcaring the coming
oppression of the asuras - - - - - - 403
117. 8hri Rama decides to leave the hermitage and comes to
the ashrama of the Sage Ani .. - - - - 405
118. Princess Sita receives gifts oflove from the sage's wife - 407
119. The holy ascetics bless the exiles who enter the forest - 410
Glossaries - - 413



WESTERN culture is only just beginning to look beyond the
Roman and Greek civilizations for new inspiration. Even so,
it is a little surprising that, although the mighty epics of the
Iliad and the Odyssey are widely known and loved, only a few
scholars have studied their Hindu counterparts known as the
Ramayana and the Mahabharata. In fact no good complete 1
modem English translation of the Ramayana exists, and the
best of those made in the last half of the 19th century are
unobtainable outside the larger libraries.
The Ramayana is a work of great antiquity attributed to the
illustrious Sage Valmiki. Its date of composition cannot be
fixed with any certainty, particularly as, in common with other
Sanskrit classics, it was not at first committed to writing, but
was passed on from singer to singer. This process also accounts
for the fact that the various versions (Sakhas) of the poem that
have come down to us differ slightly in context. The interesting
fact is that the scholars are agreed that the Ramayana is the
grandly conceived and executed masterpiece of one poet, and
not a collection of stories from many sources, loosely gathered
Unfortunately we know very little about the Rishi Valmiki,
whose title 'Adikavi' (First poet) and pre-eminence in Sanskrit
verse has never been seriously challenged to this day. He was
a robber chief in a forest in Northern India and on one occasion
waylaid two ascetics for the purpose of plundering them. The
ttavel1ers, however, spoke to him with kindness, and offered
him the spiritual truth in lieu of the gold and silver which they
did not possess. Convinced of their sincerity and on their
advice, Valmiki changed his mode of life and became a devotee
of Shri Ramachandra, the Seventh Incarnation of God (Vishnu)
1 The venion of Ramava:na included in Huttlu &riptur.s is a much abbre-
viated edition of the origbiaJ, most of the legcnchl being omitted.

on earth. After a long period of meditation on the form and
virtues of Shri Rama, it is said that he was granted a vision
of Rama's life from beginning to end.
He gave expression to this unique experience, in Sanskrit verse,
in the 24,000 sloMs (48,000 lines) known as the Ramayana.
The sloM is a specific metre which the poet himself discovered,
as is told in a beautiful passage in the first book.
The poem is divided into seven books (Kandas) of unequal
length, which may be very briefly summarised as follows =-
Book 1. (Bala-Kanda.) King Dasaratha of Ayodhya (Oudh),
performs a sacrifice in the hope of obtaining a son. At this
time the Gods (DefJas) are alarmed at the power acquired by
the mighty Titan named Ra
, who, by the practice of black
magic had conquered almost all of the known world. King
Dasaratha's prayer is answered and his three wives bear four
sons, Rama, Bharata and the twins Lakshmana and Shatrughna,
who are all partial incarnations of Shri Vishnu. Vishnu,
however, manifests himself more fully in Shri Rama than in
the other brothers. The boys grow up and Shri Rama wins
as his bride, Sita, the daughter of King J anaka of the neighbour-
ing kingdom of Videha.
Book II. (Ayodhya-Kanda.) King Dasaratha intends to
proclaim Shri Rama heir-apparent, but the jealousy of his second
queen, Kaikeyi, is aroused and she holds the king to a promise
made formerly, that he would grant her two boons. The boons
she now secures are the banishment of Shri Rama to the forest
for fourteen years, and the installation of her own son Bharata
as YU'Daraja. 1 According to the law of righteousness (dharma)
a vow must be honoured, and Shri Rama calmly accepts the
sentence of exile. He travels south to Chittrakuta in the
Dandaka Forest with his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana.
King Dasaratha dies of grief and Bharata implores Shri Rama
to return to the throne, but the latter adheres firmly to . the
vindication of his father's honour and the fulfilment of his vow.
Book Ill. (Aranya-Kanda.) After about ten years in the
forest with her husband, Princess Sita is kidnapped by the Titan
Ravana, and taken by him to his capital, Lanka (the modem

1 Yuvaraj. = hdr-apparent.


Book IV. (Kishkindhya-Kanda.) Rama and Lakshmana in
pursuit of Ravana and to rescue Sita, enlist the aid of King
Sugriva, leader of the monkey tribe, whose chief minister
Hanwnan becomes the foremost devotee and servant of Shri
Rama. Help also comes from Vibishana, brother of Ravana,
who has openly disapproved of the Titan king's conduct, and
warned him of the retribution he may expect for his unrighteous
Book V. (Sundara-Kanda.) The monkey armies reach the
south coast of In
and, bridging the straits, gain entry into
Book VI. (Lanka-Kanda.) After a series of pitched battles,
Lanka is captured and Ravana is slain by Shri Rama. Sita
demonstrates her purity and faithfulness to her husband, by
successfully undergoing the ordeal by fire. The period of
fourteen years' exile is by now completed, and Shri Rama
returns with his consort, his brothers and allies, to the capitaJ
Ayodhya, where he begins a long and glorious reign.
Book VII. (Uttara-Kanda.) This C later section' or epilogue,
describes the doubts raised in the minds of the citizens
concerning the purity of Sita, and how they compel Shri Rama
to send her to Valmiki's hermitage in the forest where she
gives birth to twin sons, Kusha and Lava. When these boys
grow up, they return to Ayodhya and are recognized by Shri
Rama, who subsequendy brings Sita back to share the ruling
of the kingdom with him.
This in outline is the story of the Ramayana, which, in the
poetic grandeur of the original, as well as in the later Hindi
work on the same theme by Goswami Tulsidas, has exerted
a tremendous influence on the men and women of India. It is
not only poetry of unsurpassed dramatic power and brilliance,
it is a treasure-house of information on rhetoric, medicine,
geology, botany, geography and every facet of the ancient
civilization, with which learned scholars may interest them-
selves. For every Hindu, Shri Ram.a and Sita are the ideal
man and woman, the model husband and wife. Shri Rama
is an incarnation of God, the One all-pervading Principle of
Truth and Intelligence, and what higher pattern for one's
life could be chosen than this man of perfect virtue, a lover

of trUth, compassionate, just, benevolent, valorous and
The story may also be taken as an allegory. Symbolically
Rama and Ravana represent the forces of light and darkness
operating in the human heart, as well as in the world. Truth,
benevolence, D;lercy and righteousness are the forces of Light
which are opposed by greed, lust, love of pleasure and power,
anger and egoity. The real triumph of man means conquest
of the forces of darkness. In India a festival is celebrated each
year on the day traditionally held to be that on which Ravana
fen and the rule of tyranny, injustice, savagery and unrighteous-
ness ended.
Mention has already been made of Tulsidas' later Hindi epic
on the life of Shri Rama, which is probably the most widely
read of all in the present day. One version of the story also
forms an episode in the Mahabharata and another comparatively
modern treatment of it is the Adhyatma Ramayana ascribed
to the Sage Vyasa.
The Sage Valmiki himself wrote a long metaphysical classic
known as the Maharamayana or Yoga Vasishtha, which deals
with the inner development of 8hri Rama as opposed to his
outer deeds and which remains one of the most authoritative
and respected philosophical treatises of Vedanta.
The life of Shri Rama has entered into the consciousness
of the Indian people, and much art and literature, such as
Bhababhuti's dramas, draw their inspiration from it. The
words of Brahma in the Ramayana have proved so far to be no
idle boast: "So long as mountains and rivers have place on
the earth, the story of the Ramayana will be told in the world."
The aim of the tranSlator is to make the story known to
English readers in a complete form, the first part of which
is published in this volume. Although it is not possible to
reproduce the beauty of the original poetic form, the true spirit
of Valmiki's masterpiece is here preserved and for those who
have vision, the whole significance of its spiritual purpose will
be apparent.





Sin Narada relates to Valmiki the story of Rama

THE Sage Valmiki, 1 chief among the munis. and the most
eloquent of men, constantly engaged in the practice of self.
control and the study of the holy scriptures, enquired of Shri
Narada :8_
" Who is there in the world to-day, endowed with excellent
and heroic qualities, who is versed in all the duties of life,
grateful, truthful, firm in his vows, an actor of many parts,
benevolent to all beings, learned, eloquent, handsome, patient,
slow to anger, one who is trUly great; who is free from envy
and when excited to wrath can strike terror into the hearts
of celestial beings? 0 Sage, I would hear of such a man from
thee, who art able to describe him to me."
Narada, acquainted with the past, the present and the future,
pleased with the words of the Sage Valmiki, answered him
saying :-
"Rare indeed are those, endowed with the qualities thou
hast enumerated, yet I can tell thee of such a one. Born in
the family of Ikshwaku," he is named Rama;" one renowned,
fully self-controlled, valorous and illustrious, the Lord of All.
Wise, conversant with the ethical code, eloquent, fortunate,
a slayer of his foes, broad-shouldered, long-armed, possessing
a conch-shaped neck and prominent chin, eminent in archery,
with a muscular body, arms extending to the knees, and a
Doble head and brow; of mighty prowess; possessing well-
I Valmiki. Once a robber chief, became later a fully illumined 'age,
author of .Ramtf7tUU1.
· Muni. A holy sage, a pious and learned perlon.
· Narada. A sre!'t iishi, son of Brabma, the Creator. Many hymns
of the Rig-veda are attributed to him.
'Ibbwaku. Son of Manu, founder of the Solar race of kings, who I'Ciped
in Ayodhya.


proportioned limbs and skin of bluish tint,l one renowned for
his virtue; of prominent eyes, deep-chested, bearing auspicious
marks; one who protects those who take refuge in him and is
ever-mindful of the good of those dependent on him; true to
his promises, benevolent to his subjects, omniscient, renowned
for his good deeds, pure, and ever responsive to devotion; med-
itating on his own essence.
cc Equal to Brahma, the Protector of his people, pleasing to
look upon; supporting the universe; the destroyer of those
who contravene the moral code; the inspirer of virtue; the
giver of special grace to his devotees and to those who duly
observe sacrificial rites and are charitable; conversant with
the essence of the Vedic philosophy; an adept in the science
of warfare; skilled in the scriptural law ; of infallible memory ;
beloved of all ; of courteous disposition; incapable of cowardice;
acquainted with the laws of this world as also of the other
cCAs the rivers hasten to the ocean, so do men of virtue ever
approach him.
cc Equal to Vishnu 2 in valour; grateful to the sight as the
full moon; when stirred to righteous anger, resembling all-
consuming death; in patience like the earth, in generosity like
Kuvera;8 in truthfulness the personification of virtue. Such
are his great qualities-Rama, the beloved heir of King Dasar-
atha, possessing every excellent attribute, benevolent to all,
devoted to the welfare of every living being."
His father, King Dasaratha, made preparations to install him
as his regent, but the Queen Kaikeyi, claiming the boons formerly
promised to her, demanded the exile of Rama and the enthrone-
ment of her own son Bharata. The king held by his promise
and by the ties of honour, sent his son Rama, whom he loved
as his own life, into exile. Obeying the command of his royal
sire, and in order to gratify Kaikeyi, Shri Rama went to the
The son of Queen Sumitra, Prince Lakshmana, inspired by
affection and humility, followed his brother Rama into exile.
1 bluish-tint. The Incarnations or Divine Descents called Avataraa are said
to have the colour of a cloud.
· Vishnu. The Lord as Maintainer and Supporter of t¥ Univene.
· Kuvera. The God of wealth.


The daughter of King Janaka, an incarnation of Lakshmi,l
endowed with the highest feminine virtues, seeing Prince
Lakshmana accompanying Rama, obedient to her lord, followed
him as Venus follows the moon.
Accompanied for some leagues by King Dasaratha and his
people, Rama dismissed the chariot on reaching the town of
Shringavera on the banks of the Ganges, and commanded the
minister Sumantra to retUrn to the capital.
Here the prince met his beloved Guha, the chief of the
Chandalas, 2 accompanied by whom, with Lakshmana and Sita,
he crossed the river Ganges and entered the forest, arriving at
length at the Chittrakuta mountain described by the Sage
Bharadwaja. Rama, Lakshmana and Sita dwelt happily in the
forest like devas 3 or gandharvas.

Overwhelmed with grief at the separation from his sons and
lamenting their absence, the king departed this life, while Rama
was dwelling on the Chittrakuta mountain.
The holy sages offered the throne, left vacant on the death
of King Dasaratha, to Prince Bharata, who declined it, not
desiring the kingdom. Setting forth to the forest where Shri
Rama dwelt, in order to propitiate him, he approached that hero
of truth with humility and directing his attention to the code
of justice with which he was conversant, requested Rama to
return and govern the kingdom.
The magnanimous, handsome and mighty Rama refused to
accept the throne, preferring to carry out the command of his
sire and, presenting Prince Bharata with his sandals as a symbol
of authority, repeatedly exhorted him to return to the capital.
Shri Bharata, touching the feet of Rama in submission,
departed and began to rule the dominion from the town of
Nandigrama, while eagerly awaiting the return of his brother.
The sages and hermits, who dwelt in the forest, constantly
harassed by asuras, I» approached 8hri Ramachandra to ask for
his protection-Shri Rama agreed to slay the evil asuras in
order to preserve the Sages who had sought his help. The holy

1 Lakahmi. The consort ofShri Vishnu. q.v.
· ChandaJas. Outcast.
· Devas. Gods or celestial bei
. literally" shining ones ...
· Gandharvas. Heavenly musiaaoa.
I Aauraa. A race of demons.


men, whose appearance equalled the fire in lustre, heard of
Shri Rama's resolve and were assured by him of his pro-
The female asura Shurpanakha, who could assume various
forms at will, was overpowered and disfigured by Rama and
Lakshmana. All the wicked rakshasas 1 came led by Khara,
Dushana and Trishira, to engage in combat with Shri Rama, and
were slain by him. Shri Rama slew fourteen thousand rakshasas
who dwelt in that forest. Hearing of the slaughter of the
rakshasas, King Ravana transported with rage, took with him
Maricha, a demon like himself. Maricha, knowing the superior
strength of Rama, sought to dissuade Ravana from entering
into combat with him, but Ravana who was marked down by
destiny, disregarded the advice and went with Maricha to Shri
Rama's abode. There, Maricha lured Shri Rama and Laksh-
mana away from the hermita
e, and Ravana, having slain the
vulture Jatayu, carried Sita away.
Learning from the dying Jatayu of the abduction of the
daughter of the King of Mithila, 8hri Rama was overwhelmed
with grief and began to mourn.
Having performed the funeral rites of the vulture, while
wandering in search of Sita, he encountered an asura named
Kabandha whose form was menacing and terrible.
Shri Rama slew him and then performed the funeral rites
whereupon his soul ascended to heaven. While passing to the
celestial sphere, Kabandha spoke to Rama of Shabari, a female
ascetic, and entreated him to visit her. Shri Rama, the ever
resplendent Destroyer of his foes, came to where Shabari dwelt

lnd was duly worshipped by her.
On the banks of the Lake Pampa, Shri Rama met the monkey
Hanuman who presented Sugriva to him. The mighty Rama
related the whole of his story to him as far as the abduction
of Shri Sitae Sugriva having listened to Shri Rama entered
into the rite of friendship with him, witnessed by the fire.
With full faith in Rama, Sugriva then recounted to him. all
the su1ferings he had endured through his enmity with Balis
and the great daring of the latter. Then 8hri Rama vowed to

I Evil spirits or fiends, enemies of the KOds.
I Bali or Vali-a Titan King, son of Virochana, son of Prahlada.

slay Bali, but Sugriva, uncertain of Ram a's prowess and desiring to
test him, showed him the bones of the body of Dundhubi, l
forming a heap as high as a mountain. With his foot, Rama
kicked the heap to a distance of ten yojanas and, discharging an
arrow, pierced seven palmyra trees, cleaving a mountain and with
the shaft penetrating to the centre of the earth. Having witnessed
this exploit, Sugriva was satisfied, and thereafter trusted Rama
implicitly. In his company he passed through deep valleys to
the town of Kishkindhya ; there, the yellow-eyed Sugriva roared
like thunder. At this terrible sound, the powerful and valiant
monkey chief, Bali, issued forth, disregarding the warning of
his wife Tara, and engaged in combat with Sugriva.
As desired by Sugriva, Shri Rama slew Bali with a single
arrow; then he entrusted the government of Kishkindhya
to Sugriva who now, as king of the monkey tribe, gathered
his forces together and dispatched them to every quarter in
search of Sitae
The vulture chief, the courageous Sampati, informed Hanu-
man where Sita was, whereupon the monkey leapt over the sea
that lies between Bharatvarsh l and Lanka,3 a distance of five
hundred miles.
Entering the city of Lanka that was protected by Ravana,
Hanuman beheld Sits, meditating on Rama in the ashoka garden.
He there delivered Rama's ring to her and acquainted her with
the welfare of her lord. Having ttvived the courage of Sita,
he shattered the gate of the garden and slew seven sons of the
counsellors of Ravana, five great captains and levelled Akshya-
kumara, the son of Ravana, to the dust. Then he suffered
himself to be taken captive.
Knowing he could not be subdued by the weapon granted by
Brahma to Ravana, yet acknowledging the power of its blessing,'
Hanuman allowed himself to be imprisoned, suffering many
indignities. Subsequently he burnt the whole of Lanka, only
sparing the place where Sita dwelt.

1 Dundhubi-a giant.
I Bharatvarah-India.
I Lanka
· The God Biabrna had given Ravana a weapon which en
led everyone on
whom it was used 80 tbat they could not escape. It waa fitting, thereforc, that
Hanuman, though not ,ubjcc:t to it, should acknowledge the god', power.

RetUrning to deliver his welcome tidings, he respectfully
circumambulated the mighty Rama and recounted in detail how
he had found Sitae
Setting out in the company of Sugriva and others, Rama
reached the sea. There he created a tempest by his shining
arrows and the Lord of the waters, Sumudra, appeared before
him. Under his direction, Nala threw a bridge over the sea.
Crossing the sea by means of this bridge, Shri Rama entered
Lanka, slew Ravana in battle and recovered Sita, but she being
the subject of slander, was addressed by him with harsh words in
the midst of the assembly. After hearing the words of Rama
with forbearance, Sita entered a great fire. On the testimony
of the fire god, Sita was proved to be innocent and Rama,
adored by all the gods, was content.
The animate and inanimate beings of the three worlds, 1 the
gods and the sages, gave thanks that Ravana had been slain by
Shri Rama. Shri Rama enthroned Vibishana 2 as the king of
the asuras and, being wholly satisfied, revived all the monkeys
and asuras who had fallen in battle. .
In the aerial chariot, Pushpaka, accompanied by Sugriva,
Shri Rama, a devotee of truth, . reached the hermitage of
Bharadwa;a. From there, he sent Hanuman to Prince Bharata,
as his messenger and conversing with Sugriva again mounted
the aerial chariot and arrived at Nandigrama.
Ever obedient to his father, Shri Rama then cut off his matted
locks and with Sita occupied the throne of Ayodhya.
Seeing Shri Rama occupying the throne, the people were
happy and satisfied, virtuous and free from sickness, sorrow,
famine or danger. None witnessed the death of his son; no
woman became a widow and all were devoted to their husbands;
there was no danger from tempests; none perished by water ;
nor was there any cause of fear from fire; fever and plague
were unknown; there was no want, and no danger from thieves.
Cities and villages were rich and prosperous; all lived happily
as in the Satya Yuga.8
Shri Rama and Sita observed countless Vedic sacrifices and

1 Bhur, bhuvab, swab. The lower, middle ahd upper wodds.
· Bibisbana or Vibisbana. Younger brother ofRavana, but a devotee ofRama.
· Satya-Yuga. The colden age.

gave much gold, and hundreds of thousands of cows in charity,
thus preparing for themselves a place in the divine regions.
Shri Rama added incalculably to the prosperity of the dynasty,
and bestowed immense wealth on the brahmins. He employed
his subjects in the duties of their respectives castes and ruled
for eleven thousand years, after which he returned to his celestial
abode, Vaikuntha.
He who reads the story of Rama, which imparts merit and
purity, is freed from all sin. He who reads it with faith and
devotion is ultimately worshipped together with his sons,
grandsons and servants at his death.
A brahmin 1 reading this becomes proficient in the Vedas,
and philosophy; a kshatriya 1 becomes a king; a vaishya 1 grows
prosperous in trade; a shudra, l on reading this will become
great in his caste.


Sage Valmiki creates the metrical form for the story
THE wise and eloquent Valmiki with his disciple, Bharadwaja,
having listened to the words of Narada, was filled with wonder
and worshipped Rama in his heart. He offered obeisance to
Shri Narada, who craved permission to depart and on his request
being granted he ascended through space to the heavens.
Narada' having departed, the great Muni Valmiki proceeded
to the banks of the river Tamasa, which was close to the Ganges.
Reaching that place and seeing the pure and limpid waters,
Valmiki said to his disciple: "0 Bharadwaja, behold how pure
is the water of the holy river, verily it is clear and pleasant
like the mind of a good man. 0 Child, set down the waterpot
and fetch me my bark robe from the hermitage. I wish to bathe
in the sacred stream, delay not."
Obedient to the command of his Guru,s the disciple brought

I The four traditional castes; the priests, the warriors, the merchants and
thOle who serve the other three
· Guru. Traditional spiritual pre

the raiment from the Sage's hermitage and returning speedily,
offered it to him. Receiving the robe of bark from the hands
of his disciple, the sage, with his senses fully controlled, girded
it about him and while bathing repeated the traditional prayers,
offering libations of water to his ancestors and the gods. Then
he wandered about in the forest enjoying the beauties of nature.
Now the august sage, Shri Valmiki, beheld a pair of Krauncha 1
birds fearlessly disporting themselves in love. Soon after, a
fowler stealing up unobserved, slew the male bird in the
presence of the sage. The female bird, deprived of her yellow
crested companion, who but now had been spreading his wings
in the act of love to please her, perceiving him bleeding and
crying out in distress, began to mourn.
The hean of the sage was filled with pity on seeing the bird
struck down by the fowler. Touched by the lament of the
female krauncha and incensed by the cruel act of the fowler,
the sage said: "0 Fowler, having killed the bird in the midst
of the enjoyment of love with its mate, thou shalt never attain
prosperity. Do not visit the forest for many years lest evil
overtake thee."
Reflecting on the words he had addressed to the fowler and
realising their implication, the sage said to himself: "What
words are these that I have uttered, inspired by my compassion
for the dying bird? "
The wise and learned sage reflected a moment, and then said
to his disciple: cc Grieving for the dying bird, I have recited
this verse of four feet, each of equal syllables, which can be
sung to the vina. 1 May it bring me renown and may no ill
be spoken of me on account of this."
With great delight the disciple committed to memory the verse
composed by his spiritual preceptor, who expressed his satisfac-
tion at the skill of his pupil Bharadwaja. Bathing in the sacred
river, according to the prescribed ritual, the sage returned to
his hermitage, pondering over the matter. The humble and
learned disciple Bharadwaja followed the great Sage, carrying
his loshta filled with water.
On entering the hermitage, the sage worshipped the Lord

I. Krauncha. Ardea jaculator, a species of heroD.
I Vina. A music:allmoaed instrument.

and performed other rituals and having instructed his disciple
in the tradition and the sacred history, passed into deep
meditation. The Creator of the world, the Self-born, the four-
faced and glorious Brahma at length appeared before the holy
sage. Valmiki rose hastily, filled with astonishment, and
welcoming the Deity in great humility, offered obeisance to
Him. Leading Him to a seat, in profound reverence he poured
forth libations of water as enjoined in the tradition, making
enquiries as to His welfare. The Blessed Lord accepted the
homage offered to Him and commanded the sage to be seated.
Shri Valmiki occupied the place designated by Brahma and
once more recollected his grief over the incident of the wicked
fowler, who ruthlessly slew the bird that was so happy and
cooing with delight. He recalled the grief of the female bird
and read and re-read the lines:-
" By the ignorant and wicked fowler, grief is born
For he has wantonly slain the melodious krauncha."
Shri Brahma, seeing the sage aftlicted and sorrowful, said to him:
cc 0 Great Sage, let these words spontaneously uttered by thee,
inspired by the death of the krauncha, be poetry. Do thou
describe the whole story of Rama, who is the essence of virtue
and full of the highest attributes, in accordance with what thou
hast heard from Shri Narada. Do thou narrate all the known
and hitherto unknown deeds of Shri Rama, Sita and Lakshmana
and the asuras. Whatever relates to King Dasaratha, his
wives, city, palace, sayings, conduct and what he accomplished,
will be revealed to thee by my favour. None of thy words
will prove false. Do thou render into verse the sacred and
delightful deeds of Rama. 0 Sage, as long as the mountains
and rivers remain on the earth, so long will the story of Shri
Rama endure. So long as the story of Rama endures, so long
shalt thou abide in the higher regions."
Having uttered these words, Shri Brahma pondered awhile
witbin Himse1f and then vanished from sight.
The great sage and his disciple were filled with amazement
at this event, and reading the stanza again and again, their
delight grew. Repeatedly reciting the couplet, composed by
Valmiki, they rea1ised that the holy sage had expressed his sorrow

in poetic form. Then 8hri Valmiki meditated on the Lord
within his soul and it occurred to him to relate the story of Rama
in similar verse. For the good of the world, the illustrious
and holy sage, therefore, began composing the life of Shri Rama
in verse; that Rama, wonhy of world-wide renown, who is
both generous and charming. Shri Valmiki composed the story
of the life of Rama and of the slaying of Ravana in beautiful
and measured stanzas, a work of infinite merit.


The deeds of Rama that will be described in the sacred poem

HAVING heard the story of the life of the sagacious Rama from
the lips of Shri Narada which, when recounted, confers perfect
righteousness on the hearer, the holy sage wished to know more
concerning the sacred theme. Washing his hands and feet and
drinking a little pure water, placing himself facing the east on
a seat of kusha grass, with joined palms, he passed into profound
meditation and in a vision beheld the history of Rama. Through
the grace of Shri Brahma, the holy sage sawall that Rama,
Sita and Lakshmana had experienced, observed and done. He
witnessed in detail the life of Rama, who was truth incarnate
and all that he had accomplished in the forest and other places.
By the power of spiritual meditation and yoga, the Sage
Valmiki saw the whole past as clearly as if it were a fruit placed
on the palm of his hand. Thus, having witnessed all, the most
enlightened sage began to describe the life of Shri Rama in verse.
The history of Shri Rama, which confers righteousness,
worldly prosperity and delight on the reader, which does not
degrade the mind and grants release from sorrow, that story
which charms the heart and is as full of lovely gems as is the sea,
was rendered by Shri Valmiki, in the form in which 8hri Narada
had related it to him.
The birth of Ram&, his valour, his benevolence to all men,
his universal goodwill, his clemency, his pleasing looks, his

sweet disposition, his love of trUth, his humility, his helpful
services to the Sage Vishwamitra, the instrUction given by the
Sage Vishwamitra to him and his patient hearing of it; his
breaking of the great bow; his marriage to Princess Sita;
his controversy with Parasurama; the preparations for his
coronation; a description of his great qualities; the opposi-
tion offered by Queen Kaikeyi to the coronation; his departure
to the forest; the lament and death of King Dasaratha, the grief
of the people of Ayodhya; Rama's speech with the ferryman;
his farewell to Sumantra; his crossing of the Ganges; his visit
to the holy Sage Bharadwaja; his departure for Chittrakuta
on the instance of the sage; his dwelling in the leaf-thatched hut
on Mount Chittrakuta; the grief of the king on Sumantra's
return and the monarch's departure to heaven; the arrival of
Shri Bharata at Chittrakuta to persuade Rama to return to his
kingdom; his stay at the hermitage; his interview with Rama ;
the funeral rites of his sire; Rama's refusal to return; the
receiving of Rama's sandals by Bharata as a symbol of authority ;
Bharata's installation of the symbol and his ruling of Ayodhya
from Nandigrama; Shri Rama's visit to the Dandaka forest;
his slaying of the wicked Virodha;1 his interview with the Sage
Sharabhanga; his arrival at the hermitage of Sutikshna; the
meeting of Anasuya with Shri Sita and the imparting of teachings
to her; the visit of the Sage Agastya; his residence at
Panchavati; the meeting with Jatayu; the appearance of
Shurpamakha; the conversation of Rama and Lakshmana with
her; Shuparnakha's mutilation; the slaying of Khara, Dusana
and Trishira; the arrival of Ravana; the slaying of Maricha ;
the abduction of Sita; Rama's lament on his separation from
Sita; the slaying of Jatayu by Ravana; the meeting with
Kabandha; the arrival at Lake Pampa; Rama's interview with
Shabari; his arrival at the Rishyamukha mountain; his meeting
with Hanuman; Rama's seal of friendship with Sugriva; his
promise to destroy Bali; the combat between Bali and Sugriva ;
the slaying of Bali; the mourning of Tara; the installation
of Sugriva; Shri Rama's sojourn on the mountain in the rainy
season; Sugriva's exceeding of the stated time for his mission,
Rama's anger against him; Lakshmana's delivery of the message
I. Virodha. A man-eating demon.


to Sugriva; Sugriva's visit to Rama; his propitiation of Rama ;
the organising of the monkey army; the dispatch of the monkeys
to find Sita's abode; the description of the earth given to them;
the giving of Rama's ring to Hanuman; the monkeys entry into
the dark cave; their fasting on the seashore in preparation for
death; their interview with Sampati, the king of the vultures;
his information respecting Lanka; Hanuman's leap and his
crossing of the sea; the emergence of the Minaka hill from the
ocean; the slaying of the wicked female demon Singhika who
imprisoned her victims by capturing their shadow; the appear-
ance of Lanka by night; the entry of Hanuman into Lanka
and his lonely refiections; his seeing of the wicked Ravana
and his aerial chariot Pushpaka; Hanuman's entry into the
inner apartments, where Ravana is drinking surrounded by
women; Hanuman's search for Sita and his beholding of the
princess in the ashoka garden; Ravana's entry into the garden
and his solicitation of Sita; her reproaches; the threaU:ning
of Sita by the female asoras; Trijata's description of her dream
concerning the delivery of Shri Rama's ring to Sita by Hanuman ;
the conversation on this matter; the gift of the jewel to
Hanuman by Sita; the destruction of the grove by Hanuman ;
the flight of the women asoras; the slaying of Ravana's guards
by Hanuman; the capture of Hanuman and the burning of
Lanka by him; the re-crossing of the sea; the eating of the
fruits of the Madhu forest; the words of consolation offered
to Shri Rama by Hanuman and the delivery of Shri Sita's jewel
to him; the arrival of Shri Rama at the seashore and the
bridging of the sea by NaJa and Nila; the siege of Lanka;
the arrival of Ravana's brother Vibishana to take refuge with
Shri Rama and the disclosure by him of the design to destroy
Ravana; the slaying of Kumbhakarna and Meghanada; the
destrUction of Ravana; the reunion with Sita; the crowning
of Vibishana, King of Lanka; the offer of the aerial chariot
Pushpaka by Vibishana to Rama; the return of Shri Rama
to Ayodhya; the reunion with Prince Bharata; the crowning
of Shri Rama as king; the farewell to the monkey army; the
rejoicings ofhis subjects at the coronation; the repudiation of Sita ;
these and all the other deeds of Rama on earth have been described
in the sacred poem written by the blessed Valmiki himself.



Shri Rama's sons chant the poem

WHILE Shri Rama was still King of Ayodhya, the great Sage
Valmiki composed this beautiful classic.
The holy rishi composed twenty-four thousand verses and
divided them into five hundred chapters and six books. In
addition, he composed the epilogue. The work being completed,
he reflected thus: cc To whom shall I teach this classic? "
While the sage was reflecting on the matter, the two princes,
Kusha and Lava, the offspring of Rama and Sita approached
him and touched his feet in reverence. The great sage studied
these two virtuous princes of mellifluous speech, who dwelt
with him in his hermitage at that time. Knowing them to be
wise and full of faith in the teachings of the Vedas, the great
sage, who had expounded the meaning of the scriptures in his
verses, taught the classic to them.
The great Valmiki taught them the classic describing the
deeds of Rama and Sita and all that relates to the incidents
leading to the slaying of Ravana named "The Slaying of the
Grandson of Poulastya ".1 This historical classic is pleasant to
sing and adapted to the three measures of time,. it is contained
within the seven notes and can be sung to the vina. It expresses
the various moods of love, courage, disgust, anger, terror,
compassion, wonder, laughter and serenity.
The two princes were skilled musicians, proficient in rhythm
and melody and had sweet voices; they were as comely to
look at as Gandharvas. a Endowed with god-like beauty, the
two sweet singers, the reflected images of Shri Rama himself,
constantly repeated the holy classic and committed it to
memory. The two adorable and charming princes skilfully
recited the holy classic, the Ramayana, which extols virtue,
before the sages, the learned brahmins and the ascetics, as they
had been instrUcted to do.
1 Powastya. One of the seven great sages, born from the mind of Brahma, the
I three measures oftime-.low, medium, quick.
· Gandharva8--celcatial muaicians.



On a particular occasion, the two princes, great-souled,
fortunate, and equipped with all good qualities, chanted the
great epic in Shri Rama's assembly. The listening sages were
visibly moved and shed tears of delight. Being overcome with
wonder, they cried "Excellent! Excellent ", and praising
the two singers, the virtue-loving sages experienced great joy.
Showering praises on the brothers, they cried, "How melodiously
you sing! How exquisite is the divine poem, the story of
Rama ! "
Being pleased with the sweet singers, one sage presented them
with loshtas, another with delicious fruits, a third with robes
of bark and another with antelope skins; some gave sacrificial
thread, some vessels for collecting alms, others gave loin cloths,
kusha grass, garments of yellow cloth, scarves and thread for
binding the hair, sacrificial vessels, rosaries and axes. Others
bestowed their blessings upon them, saying cc May you live
long" and all acclaimed the author of the marvellous poem.
They said: "This metre will be the foundation of the verse
of future poets; it is composed according to specific rules;
the two princes have sung this wonderful poem with great art;
it will promote wisdom in those who listen to it and grant them
longevity and health; it is truly able to charm the heart."
While the sages were thus praising the two princes, Shri
Ramachandra, passing that way, took them to his royal palace.
Occupying his golden throne, Shri Ranta, the destroyer of his
foes, offered hospitality and reverence to the two worthy princes.
In the assembly, surrounded by his ministers and brothers,
Shri Rama looked approvingly on those handsome and learned
youths, and addressed the Princes Lakshmana, Shatrughna
and Bharata saying: cc Hear the historical poem, which these
two celestial and brilliant minstrels sing, this poem which
portrays incidents of wonderful meaning."
Then Shri Rama commanded the two musicians to sing and
the princes tuned their vinas and chanted the poem they had
learned, sweetly and clearly. The whole assembly listened to
the music which was wholly gratifying to the mind and heart.
8hri Rama said: "I admire the music and the verse sung
by these two minstrels who appear to be endowed with royal
attributes. "


In this way, praised and encouraged by Shri Ramachandra,
the two brothers demonstrating their skin in music, sang on.
Listening to them in the royal assembly, Shri Ramachandra
was charmed.

King Dasaratha's kingdom and capital

THE earth consisting of seven islands has been under one ruler
since the time of those kings descended from Manu,! who were
ever victorious.
Among those mighty monarchs was Sagara followed by his
sixty thousand sons who hollowed out the ocean. This classic
Ramayana contains the history of the House of Sagara, founded
by lkshwaku. This Rama- Katha 2 will be recited from beginning
to end-let all listen to it with faith.
On the banks of the river Sarayu, there was a great and
prosperous country named KoshaJa, inhabited by contented
people. In it was the city of Ayodhya, famous in the three
worlds, founded by the renowned Manu, a lord among men.
The city's thoroughfares extended for sixty miles; its beauty
was enhanced by streets admirably planned, the principal
highways being sprinkled with water and strewn with Bowers.
King Dasaratha protected the city as Maghavan 8 protects
Amaravati.- He dwelt there in splendour, as lndra in heaven.
The city had beautiful and massive gates and charming markets;
its fortifications were planned by skilful engineers and artificers.
There were bards, ballad singers and public musicians in the
city; the inhabitants were wealthy and had spacious houses
with high arched porticos, decorated with flags and banners.
It was filled with extensive buildings and beautiful gardens,

1 Manu from the root U man .., .. to think It. The progenitor of mankind,
created by Brahma.
· Rama-katha. The recitation of Ramayana.
· Magbavan. A title of the Lord Indra, Kins of the Ce1cstials.
· Amiravati. Lord IncIra'. capital.

and surrounded by mango groves, tall trees enhancing the
outskirtS of the city, giving it the appearance of a beautiful girl
wearing a girdle of greenery. The city was enclosed by strong
fortifications and a deep moat which no enemy, by any expedient
whatsoever, could penetrate. Countless elephants, horses, cattle,
camels and mules were to be seen in the city. Innumerable
ambassadors and merchants dwelt there and people from many
lands traded peacefully within its walls.
Ayodhya, like Indra's Amaravati, was resplendent with gilded
palaces, the walls of which were set with precious stones, the
domes resembling mountain peaks. Gem-encrusted, sky-kissing
buildings could be seen throughout the royal capital. Dwelling
houses, tall and fair, stood in well-placed sites and resounded
with delightful music. There were lovely dwellings occupied
by men of noble birth, resembling the aerial chariots that carry
those of pure life and spiritual perfection to heaven.
The warriors living in that city were of those who do not
slay a fleeing foe, they were skilled archers, able to pierce a target
by sound alone. Many had slain tigers, lions and wolves
wandering near their homes, either in single combat or with
different kinds of weapons. This great city which harboured
thousands of chieftains was built 1 by King Dasaratha.
In Ayodhya lived countless learned men engaged in the
observance of rituals, there were also artists and craftsmen, men
deeply read in the Veda and those endowed with every virtue,
full of truth and wisdom, as well as thousands of seers and sages
versed in the mystical science of Yoga.


The city of Ayodhya
THERE dwelt in that city, King Dasaratha, a fonower of the
tradition of the illustrious Emperor Manu. The king was
learned in the interpretation of the Vedas" his chief wealth was
1 It is implied that Manu founded. the original city on thiJ lite, but leveral cities
built by other monarcba succeeded it.

pre-eminence in truth and virtue; he was one who never broke
his word, who was ever prudent, majestic and beloved of his
subjects, a great charioteer, a worthy descendant of the dynasty
of Ikshwaku, an observer of many sacrifices, one who ever
delighted in the practice of righteousness; in full authority
over his people, equal to a great sage; a royal seer, renowned
in the three worlds, triumphing over his enemies, a friend to all ;
having perfect control of his senses and appetites; in prosperity
equal to Indra; in wealth equal to Kuvera.
That truth-loving monarch, striving to acquire perfection in
virtue, worldly prosperity and happiness, ruled the city as the
celestial monarch Indra rules Amaravati.
The people in that city were happy, virtuous, learned,
experienced, each satisfied with his state, practising his own
calling, without avarice and of truthful speech. None was
indigent or dwelt in a mean habitation; all lived happily with
their families, possessing wealth, grain, cattle and horses. In
that city of Ayodhya, none was a miser or a swindler, none was
mean-spirited, proud, rash, worthless or an atheist. Men and
women were of righteous conduct, fully self-controlled, and in
their pure and chaste behaviour they equalled the great sages.
None lacked earrings, coronets and necklaces. They bathed
daily and rubbed their bodies with oil, using attar of roses and
sandal paste. None ate impure food, none allowed his neighbour
to suffer hunger. All possessed ornaments and gold, and there
was none who had not learnt to subdue his mind. No one
in the city neglected to offer butter and fragrant objects in the
sacrificial fire. No one was mean, impious or failed to discharge his
duties; there were no thieves and none were born of mixed castes.
The brahmins were devoted to their respective duties, firm
in self-control and authorized to accept gifts. None denied
the existence of God, none uttered falsehood or were enamoured
of worldly pleasure and none was guilty of slander. No brahmin
was unversed in the six systems of philosophy nor did any
neglect to fast at the full moon, or on other appointed days;
there were none who suffered from mental or physical infirmities
and none were unhappy in that city.
Among the inhabitants, there were no revolutionaries and
none who were not loyal to king and state. Those who dwelt

there, worshipped the gods and the uninvited guest; they were
both magnanimous and charitable.
All attained a ripe age as vinuous and truth-loving people;
their homes were filled with children, grandchildren and virtuous
women. The warriors were subject to the learned brahmins
and the merchants to the warrior caste; in accordance with
their caste the people served the brahmins, the warriors and
the merchants.
In the administration of the empire, the Emperor Dasaratha
followed the example of the first ruler Manu who was supreme
in wisdom and a god among men.
Ayodhya abounded in warriors, undefeated in battle, fearless
and skilful in the use of arms, resembling lions guarding their
mountain caves.
There were horses in the city from Kamroja, Vanaya, Nudi
and Vahli, and elephants from the regions of Vindhu and Himavat.
The city of Ayodhya was full of courageous and noble men
belonging to the races of Bhadra, Mulla and Mriga, inhabitants
of the regions of Binchyachala and the Himalayan ranges.
The city possessed mighty elephants like great hills. That
capital was truly worthy of the name C Ayodhya,' which means
cc The city none can challenge in warfare".
Dwelling there, the Emperor Dasaratha, ruling the kingdom,
resembled the moon in the midst of countless stars. That
great king, equal to Indra himself, reigned over the city,
guarded by fortifications and ramparts, a city which contained
innumerable dwellings of many kinds and thousands of prosper-
ous inhabitants.


The administration of tlu kingdom

EVER devoted to the welfare of King Dasaratha, the ministers
of the House of Ikshwaku were possessed of all the virtues;
their counsels were based on truth and they understood the
import of the royal commands immediately.

Eight of the king's counsellors were famed; untiringly
employed in the affairs of state, they were honest and devoted
to the cultivation of virtue. Their names were Dhristi, Jayanta,
Vijaja, Siddhartha, Atyartha-Sadaka, Ashoka, Mantra-pala and
The great and holy sages, Vasishtha and Vamadeva assisted
the king in his observance of spiritual duties and also acted as
his advisers.
All the ministers were virtuous, scorning to do wrong,
benevolent, versed in the moral law, of wide experience, dis-
interested, magnanimous, acquainted with the spirit of the
scriptures, forbearing, patient, obedient to the king, true to their
word, cheerful, free from avarice and well acquainted with the
affairs of their fellow subjects and with those of the subjects
of other monarchs. They were efficient, firm in friendship,
and even passed judgment on their own sons if they broke
the law.
These counsellors were expert in the science of economics and
warfare, and never inflicted unmerited punishment on an enemy.
They were brave and unambitious. Conversant with every
branch of political life, they protected all those who lived in
the state. Adding to the royal treasury without burdening the
learned and the warriors, they inflicted penalties on wrongdoers
with due regard to their capacity for bearing it. These ministers
were pure of heart and of chaste conduct. None consorted
with his neighbour's wife, none were wicked and all lived
together peaceably. Cultivating every good quality and prac-
tising the various arts, they were renowned for their courage,
their fair name was published abroad and their lives were guided
by reason. Skilled in the laws of the country and blessed with
wealth, they issued wise edicts and exercised their minds in
philosophical debate.
Acquainted with the moral code, they conversed affectionately
with each other; such were King Dasaratha's ministers who,
informed by their agents of the needs of the people, satisfied
them and governed with prudence.
In the administration of his kingdom, the king never permitted
unrighteousness to cause dissension, and became known through-
out the world as an ocean of truth. That lion among men

King Dasaratha, reigning over the earth, had none superior
or equal to himself. Honoured by his feudal lords, surrounded
by friends, King Dasaratha, like Indra, reigned in majesty.
Benevolent, powerful, accomplished and gracious, King
Dasaratha protected Ayodhya and shone in splendour like the
sun i11 1 ]mi n ;1'g the world.


The ktng desires to perform a sacrifice for the birth of a son

KING DASARATHA, that glorious and righteous king, though
performing great austerities, was without an heir to the throne.
Then the wise and great-souled monarch said to himself: "I
will perform the horse-sacrifice (Aswa-medha)l in order to have
a son."
Having thus decided, the supremely sagacious sovereign
convened a meeting of his counsellors and addressing his chief
minister, Sumantra, commanded him as foJlows: "Send
speedily for the spiritual preceptors and priests." Quick to act,
Sumantra at once summoned those highly learned preceptors
and brought thither Suyagna, Vamadeva, Javali, Kasyapa
and Vasishtha together with other eminent priests and
Having offered salutations to these holy men, King Dasaratha,
speaking in gracious accents, uttered words full of truth and
purpose: He said, "0 Sages, I have practised virtue and yet
I have not had the good fottune to be blessed with a son;
it is therefore my intention to perform the horse-sacrifice. I
wisb to act according to the injunction of the scriptures; you,
o Holy Men, advise me after due deliberation as to how I can
be successful in the proposed undertaking" .

1 Aswa-Medha. A sacrifice, which in Vedic timet was
rformed by kinp.
A horse, being consecrated by certain ceremonies, was let loose and aUowCd
to wander at will followed bY warriors; the ruler of any country the animal
eutered was bound to fight or submit; finally the horse was sacrificed with
apecial rites.

The learned brahmins, led by 8hri Vasishtha, praised the
king's intention and said: "Thou hast decided on the proper
course, 0 King." Highly pleased, they commanded those
things requisite for the sacrifice to be assembled and the horse
loosed. They said, "0 King, Jet a place of sacrifice be
chosen on the north bank of the river Sarayu. 0 King,
this holy resolve formed by thee, for the sake of an heir, will
assuredly bring the fulfilment of thy desire ".
Hearing the words of the brahmins, the monarch rejoiced and
commanded his ministers to bring the sacrificial appointments
and release the horse under the protection of the warriors;l
they were also directed to erect a sacrificial pavilion on the bank
of the river Sarayu. He further decreed the adoption of those
measures which would diminish the possibility of hindrance to
the sacrifice, for even for kings, the horse-sacrifice was not easily
The king said: cc Let it be remembered that during the
observance of the sacrifice, no suffering must be inflicted on any,
lest some perverse and crafty brahmin should cause obstruction
in the proceedings. By carrying through the ritual without
regard for scriptural injunctions, it comes to nought; therefore,
bring the sacrifice to a successful conclusion. I depend on you,
and expect you to carry the sacrifice through to a successful
issue. "
The counsellors replied, saying, ee 0 King, be it so ".
Blessing the monarch, the learned brahmins retired, and the
king addressed his ministers saying: ee Prepare the sacrifice as
the officiating priests have instructed you and accept responsibil-
ity for its final success."
Then the illustrious sovereign left the court and entered his
private apartments where the queens dwelt, who loved the king
from the depths of their hearts.
King Dasaratba addressed them, saying: cc I intend to observe
a sacrifice for the sake of obtaining a son, do you all follow
the prescribed discipline." The queens rejoiced to hear these
words from the lips of the king and their lotus-like faces
brightened like flowers on the departure of the cold season.

1 See note on page 22.




Sumantra relates a tradition that a son will be born
through the help of the Sage Rishyasringa

SUMANTRA, having heard of the preparations for the sacrifice,
obtained a private audience with his sovereign and said: cc I
have heard of a tradition, formerly related to me by the august
brahmins. 0 King, in ancient days, the blessed Sanatkumara
predicted to the holy sages around him that a SOD would be
bom to thee.
It was prophesied that a son of Kasyapa, named Vibhandaka
would have a son called Rishyasringa and that he should dwell
in the forest aloDe with his saintly father, unknown to any other
man or woman.
This sage would keep the twofold vow of brahmacharya
enjoined by the sages. In this way he would pass a long time
worshipping God through the fire-sacrifice and the service of
his sire.
In the country named Anga, a famous king named Lomapada,
would oppress the people by his evil way of life and thus cause
a drought. On account of this, the king would suffer great
afftiction and summoning the brahmins would say to them:
" 0 Wise Men, acquainted as you are with the customs of the
world and also the divine laws, tell me what ritual of purification
and repentance I can adopt to expiate my evil deeds, which
have brought about this drought."
Then the brahmins, learned in the Veda, would answer the
king thus: "0 King, exert thyself by every means to bring
the son of the Sage Vibhandaka hither. Having with due
reverence conveyed him hither, do thou confer thy daughter
Shanta on him in marriage."
The king having listened to their words and reflected on how
he should bring that excellent sage to the court, would then
request his ministers and priests to approach the sage, but they
would declare their unwillingness to undertake the mission,
being afraid of the rishi's power.
In order to avoid the monarch's displeasure, however, after

deliberating on the method by which the sage could be brought
to the court, they would make the following proposal: ce By
the courtesans can the sage be persuaded to come to the king's
court, the rains will then follow and the drought will be at an
end. Then will the king join his daughter in marriage to the
sage. By pouring obIations into the sacrificial fire the illustrious
sage, Rishyasringa, will, by his grace, obtain the desired son
for King Dasaratha."
ce Thus spoke the illustrious Sanatkumara, in the midst of
the sages, and I have now recounted it to thee."
King Dasaratha was delighted to hear these words, and
requested the minister to describe further how King Lomapada
brought the sage to his court.

C HAP T E R 10

He describes Juno lUshyasringa 'Was brought to King
Lomapada's court

THUS requested, Sumantra began to narrate the story in detail
and said: ce 0 Great King, hear how the ministers brought
the Sage Rishyasringa to the court.
ce The ministers addressed King Lomapada saying: c We have
a plan whereby the young sage may be conveyed hither
successfully. He resides in the forest, devoted to holy study,
spiritual practices and asceticism, and is wholly unacquainted
with the pursuit of pleasure.
ce C By the means of those things gratifying to the senses,
we shall most certainly be able to bring the sage to the court.
Let beautifully-attired and lovely courtesans go there and by
their acts, charm and bring him hither'."
The king approved the plan and commanded his ministers
to carry it out.
The courtesans then entered the forest and took up their
abode near the hermitage, seeking a meeting with the young
sage. Protected by his father, the youthful ascetic seldom

passed the boundaries of the hermitage, nor had he seen any
man or woman beyond its precincts.
One day, impelled by destiny, the youth went forth from
the hermitage and beheld the graceful and beautiful women,
attired in many-coloured robes of exquisite design, singing
sweetly. They approached the son of Rishi Vibhandaka and
addressed him, saying: "Who art thou? Whose son art thou?
What is thy name? Why dost thou dwell in the dark
forest? "
Never having beheld women of beauty and charm before,
Rishyasringa was captivated and answered them, saying: "My
father is the great Sage Vibhandaka of the family of Kasyapa
and I am his son, my name is Rishyasringa. 0 Beautiful Beings
of charming mien, my hermitage is near at hand, please come
thither and allow me to offer you hospitality there."
The coUttesans accepted the invitation and accompanied the
sage who received them in the traditional manner, placing before
them water to wash their feet and delicious roots and fruits.
Fearing the father's return and anxious to depart with all haste,
the courtesans plied the young sage with tasty confections
which they had brought with them, saying: cc Be pleased to
accept these dainties which we have brought for thee to enjoy
on this occasion." They then caressed the youth, feeding him
with sweets and other delicacies.
The resplendent sage partook of the offerings, thinking them
to be fruits, never having tasted any other food.
The courtesans, fearing the father's return, pretended to be
fasting and left the hermitage. At their departure, the youth-
ful sage felt dejected and restless.
The following day, the courtesans, charmingly attired, again
went to the hermitage and smiled on perceiving the young sage
appear so disconsolate. They then approached him and said:
Ie 0 Handsome Youth, to-day please grace our hermitage with
thy presence. 0 Auspicious One, we can entertain thee better
there than here."
The young sage agreed to accompany them and went with
them to their abode. As the sage entered the city, Indra
showered rain on the domain of King Lomapada and the people


When the rain began to fall, King Lomapada, rea1ising that
the holy sage had entered the city, went out to meet him.
Offering him humble and loving salutations, he presented him
with the traditional gifts (arghya)l of water and food, and
entreated him to grant the boon that his father Vibhandaka
should not visit his displeasure on him.
The king then took the youth to the inner apartments and
united him in marriage to his daughter Shanta.
Deeply revered by the king, Rishyasringa lived happily in
the capital with his bride, the Princess Shanta.


King Dasaratha goes to King Lomapada, by whose permission
Rishyasringa comes to Ayodhya

SUMANTRA said: cc 0 Great King, hearken further to the words
of the great Sage Sanatkumara :-
cc , In the House of Ikshwaku, there will be a high1y righteous
and truth-loving king named Dasaratha who will form an alliance
with King Lomapada of Anga.
cc , King Dasaratha will approach his friend Lomapada and
beg the assistance of Rishyasringa, the husband of the Princess
Shanta, in the performance of the sacrifice he desires to observe,
that he may be blessed with a son. After mature consideration,
King Lomapada will permit Shanta's lord, Rishyasringa to
accompany King Dasaratha. Highly gratified, King Dasaratha
will return to his capital with Rishyasringa and will ask the sage
to officiate at the sacrifice he is about to perform in order to
obtain sons and also a future abode in the celestial regions.
" 'As a result of the sacrifice, King Dasaratha will have four
sons, each of limitless valour. These sons win be renowned
throughout the world and will increase the glory of their
dynasty. '
hya. A ceremonial offering of water, milk and kusha grass, rice, durv.,
u.ndalWoOd, fIowen, etc:.

" This story was narrated by the Sage Sanatkumara in the
first quarter of Satya- Yuga.l 0 Great King ! Thou shouldst
approach Rishyasringa with a worthy chariot and retinue, and
bring him with ceremony to thy capital."
Having heard the good counsel of his minister Sumantta,
the King commanded him to inform his Guru Vasishtha of
this matter, and the holy Vasishtha acquiesced in the plan.
Then the king, with firm resolve, attended by his queens,
counsellors and priests, prepared to set forth for the city where
Rishyasringa dwelt. Passing through various forests and
traversing many rivers, the king arrived at Lomapada's capital.
There he beheld the resplendent sage, in lustre like a glowing
fire, seated near King Lomapada.
Inspired by friendship, the great monarch Lomapada offered
respectful salutations to King Dasaratba and informed Rishyas-
ringa of his alliance with this king, whereupon the sage expressed
his approval in words of praise.
Having enjoyed the hospitality of King Lomapada for seven
days, King Dasaratha addressed him thus: cc 0 King, I desire
to enter upon an important undertaking, be gracious enough
to allow thy daughter Sbanta and her lord to return to my
capital to assist me."
Hearing these words, King Lomapada replied: "Be it so,"
and turning to the sage said: "Be pleased to go with thy wife
to the capital of King Dasaratba."
The youthful sage assented to the command of King Loma-
pada, and he, in company with his spouse, departed with King
Having taken leave of his friend, King Dasaratha despatched
speedy messengers to go before him to instruct his ministers
to prepare for their arrival.
The people of Ayodhya carried out all as they had been
commanded and overjoyed at the monarch's return, fulfilled
the instructions of his messengers. The citizens were delighted
to behold the young sage entering the city and being honoured
by the king, as Indra in heaven pays tribute to Kasyapa.
Having introduced the sage and his consort to the iDDer
I Satya-Yuga-the Golden Age. There are four yugas in the wOI'ld cycle-
Satya or Krita, Treta, Dwapara and Kali, the golden, silver, copper, and iron .'

apartments, the king offered him the traditional welcome as
enjoined in the scriptures.
The royal ladies also welcomed the wide-eyed Shanta with
her lord to the private apartments, and expressed their pleasure
and delight.
Honoured and worshipped by the queens, no less than by
King Dasaratha himself, the Princess Shanta and her husband,
the sage, dwelt in the palace as Brihaspati 1 resides in the city
of Mahendra.

C HAP T E R 12

Rishyasringa agrees to assist in the sacrifice

TIME passed and the spring came again while the holy sage
was at the court of King Dasaratha. On a propitious day,
the king decided to enter upon the sacrifice.
He approached Rishyasringa and, bowing low, offered saluta-
tions to him, inviting that sage to assist in the sacrifice
he was observing, to preserve the dynasty. The sage agreed
and requested the king to provide the necessary material for the
sacrifice and to let loose the horse.
The sovereign commanded his minister Sumantra to summon
with all speed the priests acquainted with the philosophy of
the Veda, and sent invitations to the sages Vamadeva, Javali,
Kasyapa, the high priest Vasishtha and other exalted and learned
Sumantra, setting out in haste, approached the sages coun-
eously and brought them to the king. The virtuous monarch,
after paying respectful homage to them, addressed them humbly,
speaking words full of candour and integrity.
He said: cc 0 Sages, despite my ardent desire to have an heir,
I am without one. I have, therefore, decided to perform the
horse sacrifice to that end. I desire the sacrifice to be observed
according to the scriptural laws and through the grace of the
Sage Rishyasringa, I hope to attain my purpose."
I Bribaapati. The Guru of the gods. also the regent of the planet Jupiter.

The sages advised the king to gather together the sacrificial
articles and to release the horse.
They said: cc Righteous is thy desire to be blessed with a
son; 0 King, thou shalt surely obtain four illustrious sons of
limitless valour."
The brahmins' words convinced the king that heirs would be
granted to him and he communicated his satisfaction to his
ministers. He said: "0 Counsenors, bring together four high
priests and set the horse at liberty under the protection of four
hundred warriors. Let a sacrificial pavilion be set up on the
bank of the river Sarayu, and let appropriate protective rites
be observed lest obstructions arise."
The king then ordained that during the period of sacrifice
neither priests nor other persons should be subject to any
suffering whatsoever. He said: cc In such rites, others have
been impeded by sub-human beings, which has resulted in the
annulment of the sacrifice. You should, therefore, employ
every means to bring the sacrifice to a successful con-
clusion. "
Hearing the words of the king, the ministers-highly gratified
-began to act according to his instructions. Then the brahmins
assured the king that the sacrifice would be accomplished
without hindrance and offering him obeisance, returned to their
The brahmins having departed, the king bade farewell to
his ministers and entered his private apartments.


The Sacrifice is co

THE fonowing year, spring having returned once more, the king,
desiring to complete the sacrifice for the sake of an heir, paid
homage to Shri Vasishtha, offering him humble salutations
according to the prescribed ordinance, and addressed that great
brahmin with submission, saying :-

" 0 Great Sage, be pleased to complete the holy ceremony
according to the sacred tradition. Let it be so undertaken that
no interference may take place. Thou art compassionate and
thy heart is inclined towards me. Thou art also my Guru,
the burden of the sacrifice must be borne by thee."
The most excellent sage replied, "Be it so. I will do as
thou desirest."
Hereafter, Shri Vasishtha summoned those brahmins,.able
to perform the holy rituals and also artificers, architects, writers,
actors and dancers.
Addressing the learned priests, he said: "At the king's
command, inaugurate the great sacrifice. Cause bricks in
thousands to be brought hither with all speed and erect many
kinds of dwellings, well arranged, furnished with food and
every comfort to accommodate royal and other guests. Prepare
hundreds of beautiful houses on suitable sites, together with
provisions and all things needed by brahmins; erect also large
buildings for the people of other lands, and store food and
articles of comfort where it is best to do so. Fine and we1l-
equipped houses should be built for villagers. Ensure that
hospitality in the form of food and refreshment be given with
courtesy and kindness. Those attending the sacrifice should
be entertained with respect and consideration, being received
in a becoming manner, according to their caste. Let no affront
be offered to any through greed, anger or lust. Let craftsmen

on their task and let no one act disruptively. Treat all in
a spirit of goodwill and courtesy, ,so that the work may be
successfully accomplished."
The people listened to the holy sage and answered, cc We
will act according to thy instructions, 0 Sage, nothing shall
be omitted."
Shri Vasishtha then summoned the chief minister Sumantra
and said: cc Send out invitations to the sacrifice to all the
righteous kings of the earth and also the brahmins, kshatriyas,
vaishyas and shudras of every country, but go first to the great
Sovereign of Mithila, the heroic Janaka, eminent in truth, the
greatest of warriors and a knower of the Veda, since he is an
ancient ally of King Dasaratha. Thereafter, bring the ever-
31 n

truthful King of Kashi, of exemplary conduct, equal to a god;
and then the aged and virtuous King of Kaikeya, our sovereign's
father-in-law, and invite his son also. Call the fortunate King
Lomapada of Anga, the intimate friend of the King, and bring
hither, with respect, Koshala, the King of Magadba.
"Thereafter, send messengers to the kings of the eastern
countries of Sindbu, Souriva, and Sourashtra, and the monarchs
of the south, with other great kings of the earth; let them come
with their brothers, relations, retainers and servants."
Having heard the words of Shri Vasishtha, Sumantra carried
out the instructions given by him, dispatching invitations by
special messengers to the monarchs of many lands, himself going
forth to escort some of the great kings.
Sumantra having departed, all the workers employed in the
sacrifice informed the holy sage of their progress, and he advised
them further saying: cc Let nothing be presented to any
without due respect, even in jest; gifts given with contempt
lead to the destruction of the giver."
A few days later, the kings from afar arrived at the sacrificial
pavilion bearing gifts of gems.
Then Shri Vasishtha, being pleased, said: "0 King, at thy
command, all the kings have come and been received by me
with due hospitality. The preparations for the sacrifice are
now completed, be pleased to enter the sacrificial pavilion and
inspect the articles needed for the ceremony. See how well
thy servants have furnished everything requisite and have
gratified thy every wish."
On the recommendation of the Sage V asishtha and Rishyas-
ringa, King Dasaratha went to the sacrificial ground at an
auspicious time, when a propitious star was in the ascendant.
Then the learned brahmins and 8hri Vasishtha elected Rishyas-
ringa as chief priest.
The sacrifice began in accordance with the ancient ordinance
and the king, with his queens, engaged in the preliminary

3 2



The Ceremonies are performed 'lOith the appropriate rites
HAVING ranged far and wide during a year, the horse returned
and on the bank of the river Sarayu the sacrifice of King
Dasaratha continued. The chief priests, under Rishyasringa,
assisted the king in the observance of the rituals. Brahmins
learned in the ancient science, also officiated and assisted the king
according to the instructioDS laid down in the Kalpa Sutra.
The two special portions of the sacrifice Pra'Vargya and
Upasada were duly observed; then the brahmins worshipped
the gods with joy. The illustrious sage performed certain rituals
and offered Indra the part of the sacrifice due to him. There-
after all panook of the soma-juice which destroys every sin.
The high-souled king duly undertook the third portion of
the ceremony with the assistance of the holy brahmins. In
the sacrifice, no oblation was omitted and none wrongly offered
in the sacred fire. All that was done was correctly carried out
under the supervision of the sages.
During the period of sacrifice, no brahmin experienced hunger
or thirst. Countless priests were present and each was attended
by hundreds of disciples. Workers, servants and other classes
were feasted like the brahmins, and monks and ascetics were
provided for abundantly.
The aged, the children, and the women were served with all
they cared to eat, and those who attended on them were willing
and pleasant.
By the king's command, apparel, money and other gifts were
freely distributed with immeasurable generosity. Mountains
of cooked and uncooked foods were to be seen and each could
have what he required, to suit his needs. Men and women
from many lands were daily entertained with food and drink.
From every side, the king heard the exclamations "How delicious
is the food, we are well content".
Servant'S and retainers gorgeously clad and wearing golden
earrings, attended on the brahmins, while others adorned with
jewels served other castes.


In the interval between the two parts of the sacrifice, eloquent
and learned pundits debated metaphysical problems and vied
with each other in the display of wisdom and acumen.
Day by day, the sacrificial ceremonies were carried out by
learned and holy priests. There were none assisting at the
holy ritual who were illiterate or unacquainted with the Vedas.
Each attendant of the king was inspired by exalted principles
and all were highly eloquent and deeply versed in the scriptures.
Eighteen pillars of wood were set up in the place of sacrifice,
each made of a different kind of timber. Priests, skilled in
the art of sacrificial rites, overlaid them with gold. Each of the
eighteen columns was twenty-one feet in height, polished and
of octangular shape and all were firmly fixed in the earth
and covered with embroidered cloths. In addition, they were
adorned with sandalwood and flowers and looked as beautiful
as the constellation of the seven sages, 1 in the sky. Sacrificial
pits were constructed by master masons and the fire kindled
by brahmins.
The sacrificial pit prepared for King Dasaratha was formed
like a great eagle in gold, its wings set with gems.
The beasts to be sacrificed to each particular deity were bound
according to scriptural injunction. There were birds, snakes
and horses, and according to tradition, the chief priest bound
the aquatic animals, such as turtles, in the sacrificial pavilion.
Three hundred beasts and the horse which had roamed over
the earth were assembled.
Queen Kaushalya joyfully paid reverence to the horse before
making the sacrifice with three strokes of the sword. Prompted
by righteous desire, Queen Kaushalya passed the night watching
over the dead body of the horse, then the priests caused the
king's serving women and the courtesans to approach it.
The twice-born of subdued senses cooked the fat of the horse
on the fire in the manner prescribed by the shastra. King
Dasaratba inhaling the odour emitted by the fat, acknowledged
and expiated his sins. Sixteen assistant priests made offerings
of parts of the horse into the fire, in spoons fashioned of cane,
plaksha wood being used in other sacrifices. At the horse
J The Plough, each star of which is .aid to be presided over by one of the
immortal sages.

sacrifice, three days of special rituals are observed: during the
first day the Agnistona is performed; during the second day,
the Uktha rite, during the third day the Atiratra rite. The
great sacrificial acts named Jyotishtoma, Agnishtona, Atiratas,
Abhijit, Vishnajit and Aptoryama are also observed.
King Dasaratha, the promoter of his dynasty, on the conclu-
sion of the sacrifice, gave away four parts of his kingdom, as
dakshina 1 to the four priests. The king distributed alms
following the great example of Swayambhumanu of old. The
sacrifice being concluded, that great monarch gave large portions
of the earth in charity, to the officiating priests, and finally that
magnanimous sovereign bestowed the whole kingdom on the
assistUlg priests.
Then the holy brahmins addressed that sinless monarch,
saying: cc 0 Lord of Men, we are not able to protect, defend
and administer this vast empire, for we have dedicated ourselves
to holy study. Therefore, 0 Great King, we render back these
lands to thee, grant us in return some lesser gift, be it gems,
gold or coins to help us in our hermitages."
Thus addressed by the learned brahmins, the king bestowed
on them a hundred million pieces of gold, and four hundred
million silver coins. Then the assistUlg priests placed all the
king's gifts before the holy sages, Vasishtha and Rishyasringa
and begged them to distribute them.
Each one received his just share and the priests were highly
pleased and well satisfied. The king gave away gold coins
to those who had come to witness the sacrifice and ten million
gold coins were bestowed on other brahmins present at that time.
A needy mendicant begged for the diamond studded bracelet
worn by the king himself and it was freely bestowed on him.
Beholding the brahmins fully satisfied, King Dasaratha with
great gladness made obeisance to them again and again.
The twice-born then bestowed their blessings on the king
who was exceedingly liberal and valorous and who saluted them
by prostratUlg himself on the earth.
Thus ended the great sacrifice, the means of destroying sin
and attaining heaven and scarcely to be accomplished by other
1 Dakshina. Gifts of charity given at the conclusion of a ceremony.

Then the king addressed Rishyasringa and said: "0 Thou
of great and virtuous resolve, tell me what further must be done
by me to be blessed with an heir ? "
The Sage Rishyasringa replied: "0 King, thou shalt be
blessed with four sons, who will perpetuate the royal line."


To destroy Ravana, Shri Vishnu resolves to incarnate

THE wise Rishyasringa, versed in the Scriptures, meditated for
a while and then spoke to King Dasaratha saying:-
" 0 King, I will perform the sacrifice Puttatresti, l spoken of
in the Atbarva Veda, which will assist thee in thy endeavour
to obtain a son."
Then the sage inaugurated the sacrifice and poured oblations
into the sacred fire accompanied by the chant of Vedic mantras.
The celestial beings, gandharvas, siddhas B and sages assembled
to obtain their portion of the sacrifice. After the sacrifice,
they all approached Shri Brahma, the Lord of mankind and
with joined palms addressed him :-
They said: cc 0 Blessed Lord, having been favoured by thee,
the Asura Ravana, perpetually troubles us who are helpless,
since thou hast granted great boons to him and we are forced
to bear his fearful oppression.
"This Lord of Rakshasas has persecuted the three worlds
and having overthrown the guardians of the earth, he has even
humbled Indra himself. Provoking the sages, contemplatives,
brahmins and the gods, he even controls the sun's rays and
the wind's power, even the ocean in his presence is still. At
his approach, 0 Blessed Lord, we are terrified. 0 Giver of
Boons, be pleased to bring about his destruction."
Hearing these words, Brahma reftected for a while and
1 Puttatresti. The sacrifice to extend the race by having SODS.
· Siddbas. Semi-divine beinp that dwell in the region between the earth
and the sun.
3 6

answered: cc I have devised a plan for slaying this wicked tyrant.
It was granted to Ravana that no gandharva, yaksha or deva
should be able to slay him, but thinking man to be of no account,
he did not ask to be made invulnerable in regard to him;
therefore, none but man can destroy him."
These words, uttered by Shri Brahma filled the celestial and
other beings with joy.
At this time the immortal Vishnu, with conch, disc and mace,
the Overlord of the whole world, clad in a yellow robe, appeared
at that place. Adored by the gods, he drew near and took
his seat by Shri Brahma, then all the gods addressed him
saying :-
cc 0 Madhusudana t, for the good of all beings, we entreat
Thee, to be born as heir to the supremely righteous, charitable
and illustrious Sage Dasaratha. Appear, 0 Lord, in the form
of four sons to the three consorts of that great king. Descending
into a human body, do thou slay Ravana, the scourge of the
universe, whom we are unable to destroy. That ignorant
Ravana, by his power, aftlicts the devas, siddhas and sages.
o Lord, that wicked asora, sporting in the garden of Indra,
has slain countless nymphs and gandharvas. In company with
the sages, we approach Thee so that we may be released from
this oppression. We take refuge in Thee, Thou art our only
asylum! 0 Lord, we beseech Thee to take birth as man in
order to destroy the enemy of men and gods."
Thus did the gods appeal to Shri Vishnu and He, adored
by the world, answered them who had taken refuge in Him :-
cc 0 Devas, fear no more, peace be with you. For your sake,
I will destroy Ravana, together with his sons, grandsons,
counsellors, friends and relatives. Having slain that cruel and
wicked asora, the cause of fear to the divine sages, I will rule
in the world of mortals for eleven thousand years."
Thus did Shri Vishnu grant a boon to the gods, and then
reflected as to where on the earth he should take birth as man.
Then the lotus-eyed Lord resolved to become incarnate as
the four sons of King Dasaratha.
The celestial sages, the heavenly musicians and the nymphs
I MadhusudaDa. Slayer of Madhu. (A demon.)

praised the Lord saying: "0 Universal Sovereign, destroy the
wicked asura, who is arrogant, powerful and vain, the enemy
of Indra and the scourge of the ascetics and pious men, one
who strikes terror into every heart, causing universal lamentation.
" Destroy, 0 Lord, this mighty being, together with his army,
generals, relatives, friends and followers, remove the cause of
the world's woe and then return to thy perfect abode."


He decides to incarnate as the four sons of King Dasaratha

THB Omniscient Lord, Shri Narayana, l listened to the praise
offered by the gods and honouring them, uttered words of
pleasing import to them.
He said: cc 0 Devas, by what means may the King of the
Asuras be slain, that thorn in the side of holy men? "
The gods with one accord answered the imperishable Lord,
crying: cc Do Thou become incarnate in the form of man and
slay him in open fight. 0 Conqueror of Thy foes, Ravana
has long practised austerities, by means of which he has won
the favour of the world-revered Brahma. That deity has
granted him a boon, by which he is rendered invulnerable to all
but man. Considering man of no account, he does not fear
him. The boon bestowed on him by Shri Brahma has made
him arrogant and he is bringing destruction to the three worlds
and carrying off women by violence. Therefore, 0 Lord, man
aloDe can bring about his death."
Hearing the words of the gods, Shri Vishnu resolved to choose
King Dasaratha as his sire.
At that time, the illustrious King Dasaratha, the slayer of his
foes, began to observe the sacrifice in order to obtain an heir.
Shri Vishnu, having formed his resolution to appear in human
form and concluded his deliberations with Shri Brahms,
I Narayana. A name ofShri Vishnu, U He whose abode is the water".
3 8

Forthwith there issued from King Dasaratha's sacrificial fire
to the sound resembling the beating of a drum, a great Being
of limitless splendour, of glowing countenance, clad in red and
hairy as a lion. Bearing auspicious marks and adorned with
beautiful ornaments, his height was equal to the peak of a
mountain. Striding boldly like a lion, his form shone as fire.
In both hands he carried, as would a beloved spouse, a vessel
of gold, with a silver cover, filled with payasa. 1
This great Being addressed the king saying: cc 0 King, I
come from Prajapati. a The king bowing down with joined
palms, answered: cc Thou art welcome, 0 Lord, what orders
hast thou for me ? "
Then the Being replied: cc Receive the fruit of thy sacrifice !
o Chief of Men, accept this dish of payasa prepared by the gods,
it will bring thee sons and increase thy power. Let it be eaten
by thy consorts, they will then present thee with the heirs for
whose sake thou hast performed the sacrifice."
The king received the food contained in the golden vessel
prepared by the gods and reverently raised it to his forehead.
Having received the divine repast, he rejoiced as a penniless man
on obtaining wealth.
Forthwith that wonderful and resplendent being vanished,
having offered the consecrated food to the king.
The tidings of this great event caused the consorts of King
Dasaratha extreme delight and they appeared as radiant as the
beams of the moon irradiating the autumnal sky.
Entering the private apartments, the king addressed Queen
Kaushalya, saying: cc Receive this food and partake of it that
thou mayest have a son."
Thereafter, the monarch gave half of the dish to Queen
Kaushalya and one-third to Queen Sumitra. Then he gave
the eighth of the payasa to Queen Kaikeyi and, after reflection,
the remainder to Queen Sumitra. In this way, the King divided
the dish of payasa among his three queens.
On partaking of the food, the beautiful queens were overjoyed
and considered themselves most fortunate.
Having consumed the payasa presented to them by the king,
1 Payasa. A special pfq)aration of rice in milk.
S Pr,japati. A name of Brahm.a, the Creator.

the queens soon became pregnant, their wombs glowing like
the fire in the sun.
The illusttious sQvereign perceiving that the wombs of his
consorts were quickened and that his great desire was about
to be fulfilled, was filled with supreme joy, as is Shri Vishnu
when worshipped by the gods and perfect beings in the celestial


To assist Shri Vishnu, celestial beings imamate as warriors
of the monkey tribe

SHRI VISHNU having become the sons 1 of King Dasaratha, the
divine Brahma thus addressed the gods: "The blessed Lord
Vishnu, the Ocean of Truth is engaged in a just undertaking
for the good of all, you should therefore support Him by
becoming incarnate as great beings in the monkey tribe, skilled
in the arts of magic, swift as the wind, conversant with the
dictates of virtue, wise and equal in might to the Lord, invincible,
endowed with celestial bodies and skilful in the science of war-
fare. Some among you should assume the forms of nymphs,
gandharvas and female ascetics who will give birth to heroes
in the monkey tribe.
cc In the past, when I yawned, the great bear, by the name
of Jambavan, issued from my mouth."
The gods thus instructed by the blessed Lord, caused warriors
to be born in the monkey tribe from the wombs of countless
celestial beings.
Indra created Bali, the Sun created Sugriva; Brihaspati
created the wise Tara, Kuvera begat Gandha-madana, I Vishwa-
karma' begst the mighty ape NaJa, Api begat Nila, who was
as resplendent as fire and in valour surpassed his father.
I Sons. The Lord was partially manifested in all the IOns of King Daaaratha.
· Gandha-madana. A general of the monkey al1iea of Rama.
I Viahwakanna. The architect of the gods.

The Aswini-Kumaras 1 produced Minda and Dvivida;
Varona- begat Suchena; Megha,8 was the father of Sharabha,
the mighty; Pavana t begat the warrior called Hanuman, whose
body was as hard as a diamond and whose speed equalled an
eagle's; he excelled all the other warriors in wisdom and
There were thousands of warriors born in the monkey tribe
ready to destroy Ravana. All the bears, monkeys and chimpan-
zees resembled the god that had produced them in characteristics,
habits and prowess, and many were of outstanding valour. The
female chimpanzees and bears gave birth to great beings of
divine nature. They produced hundreds and thousands of
healthy progeny. These dwellers of the forest were imposing
in form and in strength and fearlessness resembled lions and
tigers. .All were able to cleave rocks and mountains and fight
with their nails and teeth. Skilled in every kind of weapon,
they could shake great peaks, uproot the stoutest trees and by
their velocity even put the sea god to shame. Able to tear up
the earth with their feet and cause the ocean to overflow, they
could fly in the air and even seize the clouds.
These beings of the monkey tribe wandered in the woods,
making captive the elephants, and by their shouts causing the
birds in flight to fall to the ground. Thus were born millions
of monkeys, able to assume any form, together with hundreds
and thousands of monkey chiefs.
These chiefs begot other brave and powerful beings, some
of whom dwelt on the mountains while others inhabited the
valleys and forests.
The two brothers, Sugriva, the offspring of Surya, 6 and Bali,
the son of Indra, became the leaders of all the monkeys. Others
lived under the command of group leaders, such as Nala, Nila
and Hanuman. They were as strong as eagles and skilled in
every sort of warfare.
Wandering about the forest, they slew lions, tigers and

1 Aawini-kumaraa. Gods, sons of the sun, precunon of the dawn, also the
patrons of medicine.
S Varuna. The Hindu Neptune.
· Megha. The Regent of the clouds.
'Pavana. Lord of the winds.
· Surya-the IUD.

4 1

poisonous snakes. The powerful long-armed Bali protected
the monkeys, bears and chimpanzees by his prowess. These
heroes, invincible as mountains and of immense size, bom
to assist Shri Rama, filled the earth.


King DasarathaJs sons are born and grow to manhood

WHEN the sacrifice of King Dasaratha had been brought to
a successful conclusion, the gods, receiving their due portions,
returned to their abode.
The king also, having fulfilled the obligations incurred by
his initiation, returned to the capital with his queens, servants,
army and vehicles.
The royal guests to whom due hospitality had been shown,
made obeisance to the Sage Vasishtha and returned to their
homes. When they departed, ornaments, apparel and gifts were
distributed to their armies who set out for their own cities
with joy.
King Dasaratha attended the departure of his guests and then
re-entered the capital in a procession preceded by the holy
Rishyasringa with his wife Shanta then took leave of the
monarch and departed to his own city, King Dasaratha accom-
panying him for some distance. Then the king, expecting to
be blessed with an heir, dwelt happily in Ayodhya.
Six seasons after the completion of the sacrifice, in the twelfth
month, on the ninth day of the moon of Chaitramas, the star
Punarvasu was in the ascendant, and the planets, the Sun, Mars,
Saturn, Jupiter and Venus were exalted, and those signs of
the zodiac, such as the Ram, the Fishes, and the Scales in
auspicious aspects, the moon and Jupiter being in conjunction
at the period called Karka. Then the world-honoured Lord
of the W orId, endowed with divine attributes, Shri Ramachandra
was bom of the womb of Kaushalya.

The Promoter of the glory of the House of Ikshwaku, the
blessed Lord Vishnu was born as a son of Queen Kaushalya.
When this child of limitless splendour was born, the queen
looked most beautiful, like Aditi of old, favoured by Indra.
The hero of the realm of truth, Bharata, was born of Queen
Kaikeyi. Possessed of every grace, he was endowed with a
quarter of the glory of Shri Vishnu.
Sumitta gave birth to Lakshmana and Shatrughna, heroes
skilful in the wielding of weapons and also partaking of Shri
Vishnu's glory.
Bharata was born when the star Pushya was in the ascendant
in the Lagna Meena. 1 During the ascendance of the star
Shlasa in the Lagna Karka, 2 at the time of sunrise Shatrughna
was born.
Each of the sons of the king had special attributes and were
endowed with great qualities, they were as resplendent as the
Purva, 3 Uttara 4 and Bhadripata 5 stars.
At that time gandharvas played divine melodies, nymphs
danced, celestial drums were heard and the gods showered
Bowers from the sky.
Everywhere in the capital, signs of rejoicing were apparent;
the streets were filled with actors and dancers and those who
sang or played on various instruments.
The king gave gifts to the bards and ballad singers and
conferred wealth and cows on the brahmins.
The four children were named on the twelfth day; the eldest
son received the name Ramachandra, and the name given to
the son of Queen Kaikeyi was Bharata.
The sons of Queen Sumitra were called Lakshmana and
Shatrughna. The ceremony was performed by the holy Sage
Vasishtha with great joy. Mer this, the brahmins of the capital
and the country were feasted and presented with gifts and
precious gems.
Resembling the deity Shri Brahma, the king showed universal

1 Lagna Meena-Pisces.
. Lagna Karka-Cancer. Lagna is the point where the horizon and the path
of' the planets meet.
· Purva-8tar of'the East.
, Uttar&-Northcrn Star.
· Bhadripata-Onc of'the Lunar AstcriarnJ.

benevolence. The princes grew in the knowledge of the Veda,
in courage and active goodwill to all. Though each was wise,
learned and possessed of every virtue, yet Shri Ramachandra
excelled them in truthfulness and energy, and was beloved of all,
like the flawless orb of the moon. Expert in mounting the
elephant, the horse and the chariot, he was skilful in archery
and devoted to the service of his parents.
Shri Lakshmana cherished an exceeding love for his elder
brother Shri Ramachandra, the delight of the world, and Shri
Rama loved him also as his very self. Shri Ramachandra loved
Lakshmana who was endowed with every excellent quality, as
his own life, and neither slept nor partook of any nourishment
without the other.
When Raghava mounted on horseback, engaged in the chase,
Shri Lakshmana followed with bow and arrows to protect
Emulating the example of Shri Ramachandra, Bharata loved
Shatrughna and was loved by him with equal affection.
The monarch was as pleased and satisfied with his four sons
as is Shri Brahma with the four Vedas. Observing the wisdom,
prudence and modesty of his children, who were endowed with
every great attribute, King Dasaratha 4erived as great a delight
from them as Brahma from the four guardians of the earth.
The princes studied the Veda with perseverance, affectionately
attended on the king and acquired proficiency in the use of arms.
One day when the illustrious sovereign was in council with
his relatives, ministers, and learned preceptors, deliberating on
the marriage of his four sons, the great Sage Vishwamitra
appeared in the capital. Seeking an audience with the king,
he addressed the doorkeeper, saying: "Inform the king speedily
that the son of Gadhi of the race of Kaushika is at the gate."
The awe-stricken guard hastened to the royal apartment and
conveyed the tidings with due respect to his majesty, who with
his Guru Vasishtha went forth to welcome the sage at the gate
and bring him into the royal palace.
As Brahma welcomes 1m!ra, so did they greet the muni, and
beholding that resplendent and mighty ascetic, the observer of
great vows, of cheerful countenance, the king offered him argbya
according to the prescribed tradition.

The virtuous Vishwamitra then enquired of the king concern-
ing the welfare of the empire, the prosperity of his people,
relatives and friends and also as to the state of the royal treasury.
Thereafter, the sage questioned the monarch further, saying:
cc Are thy vassals obedient to thee? Are thine enemies subdued ?
Are the Vedic sacrifices duly observed in thy dominion? Are
strangers entertained with fitting hospitality?" Then after
enquiring as to the well-being of Shri Vasishtha and other sages,
Shri Vishwamitra entered the palace.
Here the king once more paid him reverence and with delight
addressed him saying: cc 0 August Sage, thy coming has caused
me as great a joy as the acquisition of ambrosia or the advent
of rain falling on the parched earth. a Sage, thy approach
is as grateful to me as the birth of a son to one without an heir
or the recovery of his wealth to one who imagined it to be
irretrievably lost. a Mighty Sage, I welcome thee with my
whole heart, say what commands thou hast for me? When
thy glance doth fall upon me, a Sage, I become righteous and
acquire merit; to-day my life is rendered fruitful and the
purpose of my birth is accomplished since thou hast visited
me. a Auspicious One, formerly thou wast a warrior sage,
illustrious by virtue of thy sacred practices, but now thou art
become a brahmin 1 and an worthy of supreme worship by me.
Thine advent has conferred purity and blessing on me, and by thy
sacred presence both the kingdom and I have been purged of
every offence. Be pleased to tell us of the purpose of thy coming,
I desire to manifest my gratitude to thee by rendering
thee service. a Kaushika, do not hesitate to speak thy will,
I am ready to do anything for thee; thou art to me as a god.
a Brahman Seer, by beholding thee, I have acquired the great
merits of a pilgrimage."
Hearing the words of King Dasaratha, sweet sounding and
in accordance with the scriptural injunctions, the great sage,
the repository of all excellent qualities, was highly gratified.

I Vishwamitra was originalIy of the warTior class and won brahminhood
by his asceticism. His story folIows later.



VishfJJamitra's request

HEARING the laudatory and admirable words of that Lion among
kings, Dasaratha, the great Sage Vishwamitra answered: cc 0
Great King, who in the world save one of the House of
Ikshwaku, instructed by Shri Vasishtha, could give tongue to
such utterances? 0 Illustrious Monarch, I will now unfold my
purpose, do thou fulfil it and prove the truth of thy words.
" 0 Chief of Men, when I undertake the observance of sacred
sacrifices to enhance my perfection, two rakshasas, adepts in
magic, create great impediments. When, after long effort, the
sacrifice approaches consummation, then these two rakshasas,
Maricha and Suvahu destroy the rite and defile the altar with
blood and flesh. My holy endeavours being thus frustrated,
I become despondent and leave the place of sacrifice. 0 King,
it is not permitted to me to show wrath when engaged in sacrifice,
and I therefore refrain from cursing them. Do thou lend me
the services of thy son, Shri Ramachandra, the truthful, the
brave, that hero, whose locks fall on his cheeks.
" Under my protection, he will destroy those mischievous
rakshasas and I will confer great blessings on him. I will
instruct him for his good in many sciences and he will become
famous in the three worlds. The rakshasas will not be able
to stand against Rams and no one else can destroy them. They
are proud and powerful, but now, owing to their sins, their
destruction is imminent, they will not be able to withstand Shri
" Do not allow a father's affection to overcome thee; I assure
thee that in the presence of Shri Ramachandra, the rakshasas
are as good as slain. Rama's virtues are known to Shri Vasishtha
and other ascetics. 0 King, if thou seekest everlasting renown
and merit in this world, then let Shri Rams go with me. Seek
the advice of Shri Vasishtha and thy counsellors and if they
approve the project, give me Ramachandra. Be pleased, 0
King, to give up thy beloved son for the space of ten days,
so that I may complete the sacrifice. 0 King, help me in
4 6

furthering my sacrifice, and do not let the allotted time pass
in vain. Do what is auspicious, do not grieve."
The upright and resplendent Sage Vishwamitra having uttered
these righteous words, became silent.
The words of Shri Vishwamitra filled the king with anxiety
and he became distraught. Because of these inexorable words,
the monarch trembled and fell unconscious from his seat
overcome with grief.


The king's reluctance to allOfJ} Shri Rama to contend with
Maricha and Suvahu

FOR some time the king lay insensible, then regaining conscious-
ness he said: "My lotus-eyed Rama is but fifteen years old,
I cannot believe he is capable of contending with the rakshasas.
I possess a large and well-equipped army and will myself lead it
against the demons. My seasoned warriors, who are courageous
and skilled in bearing weapons and who are suitably remunerated
by me, are fit to fight the rakshasas in battle; therefore, do not
ask for Rama. I myself, bearing my bow and arrows, will lead
the army in the field and fight to my last breath. Witlt this
protection, thy sacrifice will come to a successful conclusion.
I will go thither in person, do not take away Shri Ramachandra.
Shri Rams is still a child without military experience, he cannot
estimate the strength or weakness of the enemy, he has not yet
acquired proficiency in warfare.
cc Thou knowest well, 0 Sage, how crafty are the rakshasas
in combat. Shri Ramachandra is not capable of opposing them
successfully. I cannot bear the thought of Ramachandra
contending with them. 0 Sage, I shall not live, even for a
moment, if Shri Rama be separated from me, therefore, I entreat
thee, do not ask for him. Should'st thou insist on Rama
accompanying thee, then take my forces also with thee. 0
August Vishwamitra, recollect I pray thee that I am now nine
47 E

thousand years old and have begotten these sons with great
difficulty. These princes are dearer to me than life itself and
Shri Ramachandra is the dearest of them all. Excelling in virtue,
he is my eldest son, therefore, do not take him from me. 0
Great Sage, how powerful are these rakshasas? Who are their
supporters and how dost thou imagine Shri Rama can destroy
them ? 0 Blessed Lord, say if thou deemest that I and my army
may successfully oppose those rakshasas who are skilled in magic?"
Shri Vishwamitra answered: cc 0 King, Ravana, born of the
great family of Poulastya, having been favoured by Brahma
with a boon, is oppressing the three worlds. He is exceedingly
powerful and supported by many asuric followers. It is said
that this great warrior Ravana is the King of Asuras. He is
the brother of Kuvera and the son of the Sage Vishravas. He
does not obstruct the lesser sacrifices in person, but two mighty
rakshasas named Maricha and Suvahu, prompted by him, dis-
rupt the sacrificial rites."
The king listened to the muni's words and then spoke: cc I
am not able to oppose that evil-souled asura. 0 Knower of
the Law of Righteousness, I am but a wretched man and thou
art worthy of my worship; thou art verily a god and also
my spiritual preceptor. Since the gods, the danavas, gand-
harvas, yakshas, birds and snakes cannot destroy Ravana, how
can man do so? In battle, Ravana is able to defeat the mightiest
warriors, it is certain therefore, that neither I nor my army
ntend with him. How can I then send my son, beautiful
as a god, but inexperienced in war, to oppose Ravana? 0 Sage,
I will not let my young child go. Lavana, the son of Madhu
is among those who destroy the sacrifice. I will not give up
my son. The sons of Sunda and Upasunda, Maricha and
Suvahu, who resemble death itself in battle, are among those
who impede the sacrifice. They are skilful and seasoned
warriors, I dare not send my young son against them. Whoever
thou chooseth, friends, relatives or even I myself will accompany
thee to engage
the fight."
On hearing the king's injudicious words, the holy sage was
enraged. As an oblation poured into the fire adds to the
fierceness of the flame, so did the words of King Dasaratha
add to the fire. of anger kindled in the sage's heart.
4 8



On Vasishtha's ad'Dice the king acquiesces

HEARING the words of King Dasaratha inspired by solicitude
for his son, the great sage replied in displeasure:-
cc 0 King, recollect that thou art born in the house of Raghu,
how can'st thou presume to break thy promise? This action
is unworthy of thy royal line and is also improper. If this be
thy determined desire, I will take my leave, do thou live at ease
amidst thy relatives and friends, 0 Violater of thy Word! "
At the wrath of the august sage, the whole earth shook and
the gods began to tremble. Seeing the whole world shaken
with terror, the wise and patient muni Shri Vasishtha intervened,
and thus addressed the king:-
cc 0 King, thou art born in the family of Ikshwaku and art
righteousness personified! Blessed by fortune, filled with
patience and endurance, thou hast cherished great vows and
should'st not, therefore, abandon dharma. 1 The three worlds
know thee as virtuous, it is thy duty to maintain integrity and
not to act in contradiction to it. 0 Chief of Men, if one making
a promise does not honour it, he loses the merit of his good
deeds. It is, therefore, for thee to be faithful to thy word
and let Rama accompany this sage. Though Shri Ramachandra
is inexperienced in warfare, yet the asuras will not be able to
overcome him. Furthermore, he is under the protection of
Shri Vishwamitra and no harm can come to him. How can one
steal the nectar that is surrounded by fire? The holy Vish-
wamitra is virtue itself, his powers are unsurpassed, and there
is none living equal to him in wisdom and asceticism. In the
whole world of men and other beings, none excels him in the
use of weapons and none has fathomed the depth of his nature.
Neither the celestials, nor the sages, nor the asuras, nor any
other beings know the full glory of this sage. The god
Krishasawa and his highly virtuous sons gave every variety
of weapon to Vishwamitra when he was king. The two daughters
I Dharma-The traditional right action is dharma-personal action is duty.
It has been thought best to translate it as righteousness in most cases.

of Daksha, Jaya and Suprabha invented thousands of resplendent
weapons. 8hri Vishwamitra is not one, but many in one form;
he is illustrious, mighty and able to defeat any in battle. J aya
produced five hundred weapons supremely potent and capable
of destroying a host of asuras. Suprabha also created five
hundred weapons of war which no foe in the world could
withstand. 8hri Vishwamitra is an adept in the use of all these
arms, 0 King, he is also able to create many new weapons
and there is nothing in the three divisions of time 1 which is
not known to him. Do not hesitate to send thy son Rama
with this mighty and courageous sage, Shri Vishwamitra, and
do not entertain any fears for his safety. The Sage Vishwamitra
is well able to destroy the demons, but asks for the services
of thy son for his own good."
The Guru Vasishtha having thus exhorted the monarch, the
king cheerfully acquiesced to Shri Ramachandra accompanying
the sage.


Ramachandra and Lakshmana set forth with Vishwamitra

INSTRUCTED by Shri Vasishtha, King Dasaratha with a cheerful
countenance sent for Prince Rama and also Prince Lakshmana.
At the time of their departure, the Peace Chant was recited
by the king, whilst the Guru Vasishtha pronounced the benedic-
tion. The illustrious sovereign then smelt the heads 2 of his
sons with joy and delivered them into the care of the sage.
When the lotus-eyed Ramachandra and Prince Lakshmana
had taken their leave, Vayua sent forth cool and gentle breezes
redolent with fragrance and the celestial beings showered down
fiowers, to the sound of the beating of drums and the blowing
of conches.

1 Past, present and future.
· The traditional embrace.
I Vayu- The god of the wind.


Shri Vishwamitra led the way followed by the most illustrious
Ramachandra, then came 8hri Lakshmana of flowing locks,
bearing a bow in his hand.
The two handsome and powerful princes with quivers on
their backs and bows in their hands, adding lustre to the ten
cardinal points, followed the muni as if two three-headed snakes 1
were following 8hri Vishwamitra or as the Aswinikumaras and
Kinneras follow Brahma.
Shri Ramachandra and Lakshmana, armed with their bows,
adorned with precious jewels and wearing gloves made of
deerskin, resplendent and beautiful, girt with swords, following
the holy sage, looked like the two sons of Shiva.
Coming to the river Sarayu, nine miles to the south of the
capital, the Sage Vishwamitra addressed Shri Rama in gentle
accents, saying: "0 Child, purify thy body with water. When
thou hast done so, I will teach thee the use of Bala and Atibala.
The application of these two herbs will prevent thee from being
fatigued or suffering from disease, nor will age affect thee.
Even should'st thou retire to rest without performing the
purification ceremony no demon will be able to affiict thee;
none in the world will equal thee in prowess. 0 Rama, no one
in the three worlds will rival thee in good fortune, skill,
knowledge and practical wisdom. 0 Prince, when thou hast
learnt these sciences, thou wilt be able to answer any question
and thou wilt be unique in scholarship. These two sciences,
o Rama, are the parents of all other sciences. Thou wilt be
able to control hunger and thirst by their application. 0 Prince
of the House of Raghu, by the mastery of this lore, Bala and
Atibala, thou wilt attain renown throughout the whole world.
These brilliant sciences are the daughters of Brahma, I shall
impart them to thee, 0 Prince, because thou art qualified to
receive them. 0 Rama, all the fruits of this knowledge are
already thy attributes, yet when thou hast mastered it, thou
wilt be able to teach it to others."
Shri Ramachandra then poured the water over his body and
with a cheerful countenance said to the Sage Vishwamitra :-
" 0 Great Rishi, I am thy servant, teach me these sciences."
1 The bow on one shoulder, the quiver on the other with the head between
gave the appearance of a three-headed snake.

Possessed of the knowledge of these two sciences, the mighty
Rama resembled the sun in autumn, emitting a thousand rays.
Then the two brothers massaged the feet of the holy Guru
and passed the night pleasantly on the banks of the river Sarayu.
Shri Rama being unaccustomed to sleeping on the ground,
the two sons of King Dasaratha made a bed of grass, then
having listened to the gentle words of Shri Vishwamitra, they
passed the night in sleep.


They reach the hermitage of Kama

A LITTLE before dawn, the great Muni Vishwamitra, reclining
on his grassy couch, addressed the princes, saying: cc 0 Son
of Queen Kaushalya, 0 Rams, the dawn is about to break,
arise and perform thy morning devotions."
The two princes, hearing the words of the most generous sage,
rose, performed their ablutions, offered ceremonial water to the
rising sun, worshipped their ancestors and began to repeat
the holy Gayatri. 1 Their devotions completed, they offered
salutations with great reverence to the distinguished ascetic and
stood ready to proceed further.
In their company, the holy sage reached the confluence of
the rivers where the Ganges unites herself with the Sarayu.
There they beheld the holy ascetics in their sacred hermitage,
where for a long time they had practised Yoga assiduously.
Seeing the peaceful hermitage, Shri Ramachandra and
Lakshmana were filled with delight and said to the Sage
Vishwamitra: Ie 0 Blessed Lord, whose holy hermitage is this ?
Who dwells here? We are both eager to hear of this."
The great sage smiled and answered Rams, saying: cc Hear,
my son, I will tell thee who formerly dwelt here. Kandarpa,'

1 The Gayatri-Said to be the mother of all prayers, the moat sacred text
of the Veda.
· Kandarpa- The god of love.


whom the pundits called Kama once took human form and
fixed in meditation, worshipped the Lord Shiva here. When
Shri Shiva was passing with his newly-wedded bride, accom-
panied by celestial beings, Kama tried to agitate the mind of
the Lord Shiva and reaped the due punishment of his insolence.
o Son of the House of Raghu, Shiva in wrath opened his third
eye and the members of Kama's body were consumed. Since
Kama was reduced to ashes by the God, he has been a dis-
embodied being. 0 Rama, since that time, he has been known
as Ananga (bodiless) and the country where his limbs were
strewn as he sought to flee, is known as Anga. This hermit-
age belongs to the Lord Shiva and the holy men who dwell
here are his traditional devotees: they are both righteous and
sinless. 0 Rama, Thou of pleasing looks, this night I shall
break my journey at this hermitage and to-morrow we shall
cross the sacred river and proceed further. 0 Rama, let us
first purify ourselves by bathing and then recite the holy Gayatri
silently, offering oblations into the sacred fire, we will thereafter
pass the night in the hermitage."
While Shri Rama and the sage were conversing, the holy
ascetics dwelling in the hermitage, knew by the power of their
Yoga, that these great beings were approaching and were highly
Having presented arghya to Shri Vishwamitra, they then
offered hospitality to Shri Ramachandra and Lakshmana.
Entertained by those dwelling in the hermitage who regaled
them with the holy traditions and philosophical discourses,
they remained there for their evening devotion and with great
delight abode in the hermitage of Kama, the devout sages
gathering round Soo Vishwamitra who engaged them in
pleasing converse.




The two princes 'lDith Vis/noamitra behold the dark forest
of Taraka
WHEN the day dawned, the two princes performed their daily
devotions and followed Shri Vishwamitra to the river.
The keepers of sacred vows, the dwellers in the holy hermitage
accompanied them to the river bank and arranged for an
excellent boat to take them across; they aaid to Shri
Vishwamitra :-
cc 0 Great Rishi, do not delay, please board the vessel with
the royal princes, now, and thus avoid the heat of the day."
Shri Vishwamitra paid reverence to the devout sages and
proceeded to cross the sacred river. When the craft was in
mid-stream, the roar of the waters was heard by Shri Rama-
chandra and his younger brother. They questioned the holy
sage, saying: u 0 Venerable Lord, what is the cause of this
tumult? "
In answer to Shri Ramachandra, Shri Vishwamitra described
the cause of the sound in the following manner:-
cc 0 Prince, on Mount KaiIasha, l Shri Brabma created a lake
by the power of his thought, on account of which it is called
the Lake of the Mind (Manasarovara). The holy river Sarayu
rises in the Manasa Lake and flows through the capital Ayodhya,
here it joins the sacred stream Gunga, and this sound is pro-
duced when the two rivers unite. With concentrated mind,
offer salutations to them."
The two royal princes made obeisance to the rivers, and
having reached the southern bank, left the boat and proceeded
onward. Walking further, the two princes beheld a dark and
terrible forest and Shri Ramachandra again addressed the Sage
as follows: cc 0 Great Sage, this forest looks dark and sinister ;
above the ceaseless c1amour of crickets and other insects, fearful
beasts can be heard roaring. The forest resounds with their
dread cries while the harsh and discordant notes of birds echo
1 Mt. KaiJaaha- The abode of Lord Shiva.

through it. See, 0 Sage! Boars, lions, tigers and elephants
abound there, it is overgrown with dhara, ashwakama, kujaja,
patala, sillea and tinduka trees,! it is indeed terrifying."
The highly resplendent Sage Vishwamitra hearing these words,
said: cc My son, I will tell thee something of this dark forest.
Formerly there were two cities named Malava and Karusha, they
were both prosperous and resembled the cities built by the gods.
o Rama, in ancient times, Indra slew the wicked Vritrasura
then, being hungry and thirsty, he went to an inauspicious
and isolated place where he became distressed on account of
the sin of having slain a brahmin. The gods and holy sages
bathed Indra in the sacred waters of the Ganges, and purged
away his sin by pouring jars of water charged with mantrams
over him. In this way, the remorse of Indra was appeased,
the pollution caused by slaying a brahmin was washed away
and he was highly gratified. Purified and sinless, Indra gladly
conferred a boon on this land saying: 'These two cities will
be known as Malava and Karusha and they will acquire great
renown, their prosperity will be famed throughout the earth.'
cc When Indra thus favoured these two cities, the celestial
beings praised him and cried: 'Be it so.' These two places
soon enjoyed great prosperity and fame. In the course of time,
a perverse yakshini 2 was born here, possessing the strength of
a thousand elephants. Her name was Taraka, the wife of Sunda,
and her son was the rakshasa, Maricha, who was equal in strength
to Indra himself. He possessed long arms, an enormous mouth,
and a gigiantic body. This terrible rakshasa continually destroys
the people of these two lands.
cc 0 Rama, the wicked Taran constantly plunders and
devastates these two countries. Obstructing the road, she lives
at two miles distance from here; let us enter the forest of
Taraka. By my command, 0 Rams, do thou slay the wicked
yakshini and set the country free. 0 Rama, none dares to
come hither for fear of Taraka; save this land from the
dangerous demoness. This is why this forest is uninhabited,
but thou can'st restore it. This wicked yakshini is unceasingly
bent on her evil designs."
1 See I
arate glouary of Flowers and Trees.
I Yakshini-a female yaksha, a class of supernatural beings attendant on
the god of wealth, Kuvera.



Vismoamitra seeks to convince Rama that it is his duty
to slay T araka

HEARING the words of Shri Vishwamitra, Shri Rama of limidess
power and influence uttered the following auspicious words:-
cc 0 Great Sage, it is said that the yakshinis have little power,
then how is it that Taraka has come to possess the strength
of a thousand elephants? "
The mahatma listened to Rama's words and said: cc 0 Prince,
I will relate the story to thee. This female demon has acquired
her great strength by virtue of a boon which she received.
In the past, a powerful yaksha by the name of Suketu, who was
virtuous but childless, performed many yogic practices which
pleased Shri Brahma, who promised him a daughter by name
Taraka, and conferred on her the strength of a thousand
elephants. But the most illustrious Brahma did not grant a son
to that yaksha. When the daughter grew up and possessed
both the charm of youth and great beauty, her father gave her
in marriage to Sunda, the son of Jambha. After some time,
the yakshini gave birth to a son. His name was Maricha and he
was very powerful; though born of yaksha parentage he became
a rakshasa through a curse. 0 Rama, when the Sage Agastya
condemned Sunda to death by cursing him, then Taraka and
her son wished to devour the sage. Seeing her running towards
him, the blessed Sage Agastya cursed Maricha and said' Become
a demon'. He also cursed that wicked woman so that she
became a cannibal with a hideous countenance. Shri Agastya
said: 'May thy beauty vanish and mayest thou become a
terrible rakshasi.' Then Taraka, transported with anger under
this curse, began to destroy this sacred land because it was here
that the Sage Agastya performed his yogic practices.
cc 0 Rama, thou must slay this wicked and impious demon
Taraka, who ravages the land. For the good of the brahmins
and the king, 0 Raghava, accomplish this; do not hesitate
to destroy this vile yakshini. It is the duty of a warrior to
protect those of the four castes. A prince must not eschew

deeds that are painful and difficult, for the preservation of his
people. It is according to the law of eternal dharma, 0 Rama,
that even deeds that appear ruthless, are permitted to those
appointed to protect their subjects. 0 Raghava, Taraka is
wholly evil, and therefore must be destroyed. It is said that
in the past Manthara, a daughter of King Virochana, was slain
by Incira because she was the cause of the destruction of others.
The blessed Lord Vishnu Himself slew the wife of the Sage
Bhrigu, devoted to her husband, and the mother of Shukra
because she was intent on killing Indra. Many other great-
souled princes of old also condemned wicked women to death.
Therefore, it is for thee to fuIfil thy duty and slay this yakshini
without delay."


H 0'ltJ the yakshini T araka was slain

THE son of Dasaratha, firm in his vows, listened to the inspiring
words of the Sage Vishwamitra, which filled him with ardour,
and with joined palms he humbly addressed him :-
" To fulfil the commands of my royal sire and to honour his
promise, I deem it my duty to act according to thy instructions
without hesitation. My father, the emperor, at the time of my
departure from Ayodhya bade me carry out thy injunctions
-0 Muni, I shall honour them. I am prepared to execute
thy commands, 0 Rishi, because it will lead to the benefit
of the brahmins and the king, and will also bring happiness
to the people of this land."
Having spoken thus, Shri Rama grasped his bow and,
twanging the string, filled all the cardinal points with the sound.
The denizens of the forest were terrified, and Taraka was
overcome with helpless rage. Full of wrath that yakshini ran
in the direction from which the sound came and Shri Rama-
chandra beholding that gigantic and misshapen monster was
incensed and said to Lakshmana: cc 0 Brother, behold this

fearfu1 ya1csmni of formidable size, whose very aspect would
strike terror into timorous hearts. See, 0 Laksbmana, how I
shall cut off her ears and nose and put her to flight! She is
horrible, versed in black magic and hard to subdue, but it is
not proper to deprive a woman of her life. A woman is worthy
of protection, therefore, I shall incapacitate her, by depriving
her of the power of motion thus preventing her from doing
further mischief."
While Shri Rama was still speaking, the dreadful Taraka ran to-
wards him roaring with uplifted arms. The Rishi Vishwamitra
approaching her encouraged Rama, with a shout, crying, " J ai
to the descendant of Raghu". Notwithstanding, Taraka raised
a thick cloud of dust and for a while 8hri Rama and Lakshmana
could see nothing. Then the yakshini by the power of magic
caused a shower of rocks to rain on the two brothers and RaIna
was now filled with wrath. Parrying the rain of rocks and
advancing towards her, he cut off both her hands. Then 8hri
Lakshmana severed the nose and ears of the asuri who had
already been deprived of her hands. Assuming various forms,
she tried to deceive the princes by vanishing away. Then from
her hiding place, she showered heavy rocks on them, and a rain
of stones fell on every side.
8hri Vishwamitra, who stood watching the combat, now cried:
"Enough, she does not deserve further mercy; should'st thou
spare her, she will gain strength through her magic powers
and will again break up our holy rites. The evening is
approaching and in the evening rakshasas are overcome with
difficulty; slay her, therefore, without delay."
Then 8hri Vishwamitra pointed out the concealed yakshini
to Rama, who drew from his quiver arrows capable of following
sound and surrounded her with them. The powerful female
demon, an adept in occult powers, encompassed by the rain
of arrows, advanced roaring, towards the princes. With an
arrow, 8hri Rama pierced the heart of the wicked yakshini,
who fell to the ground and expired. Seeing the terrible yakshini
slain, Indra and other celestial beings worshipped 8hri Rama,
crying: " Well done, well done, 0 Holy Rama !" All the gods
filled with joy, said to Shri Vishwamitra: cc 0 Muni, may
prosperity attend thee, Indra and the gods are gratified with

Shri Ramachandra's feat of arms, show thy special favour to him
and deliver to him the two kinds of weapons, natural and super-
natural, belonging to Krishashwa. Present 8hri Ramachandra,
who is worthy to receive them, with all the other mighty
weapons, he is wholly devoted to thee; these two princes are
destined to achieve great things."
Having uttered these words, the gods bowed down to the
Sage Vishwamitra and returned to their abode.
Evening fell, and the holy sage gladdened by the slaying of
the wicked Taraka by Shri Rama, smelt the head of the prince
and addressed him thus: u 0 Rama, this night we will remain
here and to-morrow morning proceed to my hermitage."
Shri Rama rejoiced to hear the muni's words and rested happily
during the night in the forest.
On the day that Taraka was slain, the forest, freed from
the curse, adorned with champaka, l ashoka, l mango and other
trees, looked as charming as the forest of Chitraratha. 2
Shri Ramachandra, whom the siddhas praised for slaying
Taraka, passed the night in the forest, awaiting the dawn.


Shri Rama is given the celestial weapons

HAVING passed the night resting in the forest, the illustrious
Sage Vishwamitra spoke to Rama smilingly, in sweet accents:-
cc 0 Prince of Great Renown, I am entirely satisfied with thee
and am happy to give thee these weapons by means of which
thou shalt be able to conquer and subdue all thine enemies,
whether devas, asuras or nagas. 8 Accept these divine weapons,«
o Rama. Here is the great celestial disc and the Dunda weapon,

1 Champaka-a type of magnolia. } For full list of trees
Ashoka-a tree resembling the coconut. lee separate glossary.
· Chitraratha-The king of the gandharvas. q.v. page 3.
a Nagas-The
t race.
t Weapou-for fUll Iiat see separate glossary.

the Disc of Dharma, the Kala weapon, the Disc of Vishnu and
the irresistible Weapon of Indra. 0 Great Prince, here is the
Mace and the Spear of Mahendra the Brahma-Shira and the
Ishika. 0 Mighty-armed One, take the Sbankara weapon and
the two great maces Koumoduki and Lohitamukhi. 0 Great
Prince receive also the mighty Dharma-pasha, the Kala-pasha
and the Varona-pasha and two other maces called Shoshka and
Asbani; the Pinaka weapon, the Narayana weapon and the
fire-emitting weapon Agneya.
cc 0 Rama, take this wind weapon, Vayuvya, and the horse-
headed weapon, Hayashira, also the Krauncha weapon. I give
thee further two powers and the weapons called Kankala,
Mushala, Rapala and Kinkini. 0 Mighty Prince, I confer on
thee the two supernatural weapons named Vidyadhara and
Nandana, useful in fighting the Asuras.
"Take this jewel among swords, which I give to thee, 0
Mighty-armed One, and another supernatural weapon named
Gandharva, and here, 0 Rama, is one very dear to me called
Manava. Here are Prashaman, Soura, Praswaprana, Darpana
and that which has the power of drying up, and the pain-
inflicting weapon causing lamentation. I grant thee also the
strength to bear the Madana-astra presented to me by Kandarpa
which creates in man unbearable sexual desire so that he is
unable to fight. Here also is the Paisha-astra and the Mohan-
cc O! IDustrious Prince, receive also the weapon that produces
inertia, and the great Saumana weapon. 0 Great Prince, here
are the Samvartta, Moushalya, Sattyastra and Mayadhara, and
take the Tajaprabha by means of which the strength and courage
of the foe are withdrawn, and also the Shishira which chills and
the Somastra and Twashtra.
cc 0 Rama, now thou art all-powerful and knowest the secrets
of magic, yet take the Bava, Shitesu and Manava astra also.
o Prince, receive the Paramodara-astra, take all these weapons
from me."
Then the great Vishwami
turned his face to the east and
performed the purificatory rites with joy, conferring on Rama
the mantramS 1 for employing the weapons and instructing him
1 Mantrama--Acrcd formulas.


in the methods unknown even to the gods. All these weapons
did Shri Vishwamitra confer on Rama, and he, repeating the
appropriate mantrams, caused their presiding deities to appear
before him. Approaching with joined palms, they said: "0
Prince of the House of Raghu, we are thy servants and will obey
thy behests."
Shri Rama, having surveyed and blessed them, answered:
cc Come and serve me when I summon you."
Thereafter, Shri Ramachandra offering salutations to the
venerable Sage Vishwamitta, said: cc Let us proceed further,
my Lord."


He is instructed in their use

HAVING received the weapons and instructions for their use,
Shri Rama addressed the sage in charming accents as they
proceeded onward.
He said: cc 0 Blessed One, by thy grace, I have received
weapons which even the devas and asuras cannot easily obtain.
Be pleased to tell me further, how I may withdraw these weapons
when they are discharged? "
Then the supremely patient and holy sage taught Shri
Ramachandra the method of withdrawing the mantra-propelled
weapons and gave him more by the name of Satya-vana,
Satya-kirti, Dhrishta, Raphasa, Pratiharatara, Parangmukha,
Avangmukha, Lakshya, Alakshya, Drirnabha and Sunabhuka,
Dasharsha, Shutavaktra, Dasha-shirsha, Shatodara, Dharma-
nabha and Maha-nabha, Dunda-nabha and Swanabhuka,
Jyotisha and Shakuna and the two weapons Nirashya and
Vimala, also the Y ogandhara and Vinidra, Ditya and Praman-
thana, Shuchivahu, Mahavanu, Nishkali, Virucha, Sarchi-mali
Dhriti and Mali, Vrlttiman and Ruchira, Pitryia and Soamanas-
vidhuta and Makara, Karavira with Rati, Dhana and Dhanya.
The holy sage said, cc 0 Rama, receive also Kamarupa,
Kamaruchi, Moha and Avarana, also Jrim Bhala, Sarpa-natha

with Sandhana and Varona. Receive from me, 0 Rama, the
Krishashwa which assumes any form-O Prince, mayest thou
be triumphant, thou art worthy to possess these weapons".
Shri Rama answered cc May it be so, my Lord".
The holy rishil then placed the divine weapons before Rama,
some of which shone like fire, others with the colour of smoke
and yet others which resembled the sun and moon. With
joined palms the deities presiding over them addressed Shri
Rama with submission, saying: cc 0 Prince, we are at thy
service, what would'st thou have us accomplish? " Shri Rama
answered: cc When called to mind in the time of need, grant
me aid, now depart, all of you."
Offering obeisance to Shri Ramachandra, they replied: cc Be
it so, my Lord," and returned to their abode.
Shri Rama then questioned the great rishi, saying: cc 0
Spiritual Sovereign, what is this that resembles a dark cloud
near the mountain? It would seem to be a grove of trees,
pleasing to the sight, filled with deer. I hear birds singing
sweetly, have we then passed the dangerous forest which was
a cause of fear ? 0 Lord, let us rest here at peace; tell me,
whose hermitage is this? 0 Great Muni, are we now in thine
own hermitage, where the wicked demons, the slayers of
brahmins obstruct thy sacrifice? 0 Blessed One, be pleased
to show me the place of thy sacrifice. 0 Wise One, I will
slay the meddlesome demons who hinder thy devotions. Be
gracious enough to enlighten me in the matter, 0 Sage."


Vishwamitra relates the story of his hermitage
and commences the sacrifice

To the most glorious Shri Ramacbandra making enquiry
concerning the forest, the illustrious Sage Vishwamitra made
answer :-
:\ R.ishi-an illumined lage, who has had a vision of Truth or Reality.

cc 0 Rama, this is the place at which the Blessed Lord Vishnu,
the first among the gods, dwelt, observing his yogic practices
for immeasurable years and previous to that, it belonged to
the glorious Vamana. 1 This spot is called Siddha-ashrama,
for here, these great souls practised austerities with success.
At that time, Bali the son of King Virochana, conquered Indra
and other devas, together with the deities of the wind and he
ruled over the three worlds. When Bali initiated a sacrifice,
the devas, under the leadership of Agnil approached Shri
Vishnu in this hermitage and said: c 0 Lord, the son of
Virochana, King Bali is observing a great sacrifice; while it
is yet incomplete, come to our aid. The Lord grants the
requests of those who seek His favour, therefore, by the power
of Thy Yoga and for our own good, take the form of a dwarf
(Va mana) and secure our welfare.' Meantime, 0 Rama, the
Sage Kashyapa, resplendent as fire, who was endowed with
supreme lustre by virtue of his yogic practices, with his spouse
Aditi, having completed a thousand years' austerities, began to
praise Madhusudana, the conferrer of boons, saying: c 0
Supreme Purusha, a Thou art adored through austerity and Thou
dost grant the fruit of austerity, Thy nature is knowledge and
asceticism, it is by virtue of austerity that I behold Thee. 0
Lord, in Thy body I see the whole world animate and inanimate.
In Thee Who art beginningless and indescribable, I take refuge.'
cc The blessed Vishnu was pleased with this prayer and said
to the sinless Sage: cO Kashyapa, mayest thou see perfection,
thou hast merited a boon, ask what thou desirest.'
cc Then Kashyapa, the son of Marichi, answered: c 0 Blessed
Lord, Aditi, the gods and I beseech Thee to grant this boon
-Become the son of my sinless wife and myself. 0 Lord,
become the younger brother of Indra and assist the sorrow.
stricken devas. This spot, by Thy grace, shall then be known
as Siddha-Ashrama.' (Hermitage of the Perfect Ones.)
cc Upon this, the resplendent Vishnu was born of the womb
of Aditi as the incarnation Vamana and disguised as a mendicant,
he approached King Bali. Of him, he requested a piece of
1 Vamana-An incarnation ofShri Vishnu as the holy Dwarf.
a Agni-The god offire.
a Purusha-The Supreme Being, the Soul of the Universe. Literally the Lord
of the body, called the city of the nine gates.
63 F

ground that could be covered by three strides, and having obtained
what he asked, he covered the whole universe in three steps.
"This restful hermitage formerly belonging to Vamana,
whose devotee I am, is enjoyed by me. Here the rakshasas
wreak destruction. 0 Lion among men, remain here and slay
them. 0 Rama, to-day let us enter the Siddha-Ashrama together.
o Friend, this hermitage is not only mine but thine also. U
Accompanied by Shri Ramachandra and Lakshmana, the
holy sage entered the hermitage, which appeared as beautiful
as the autumn moon attended by the planet Punarvasu. 1 When
the sages dwelling in the Siddha-Ashrama perceived Shri
Vishwamitra, they rose and saluted him with joy. Having duly
honoured the resplendent sage, they entertained the princes in
a fitting manner.
Having rested awhile, the two princes humbly and respectfully
addressed the holy sage, saying: "0 Great Sage, inaugurate
thy sacrifice to-day, may it be attended with good fortune.
This place is the Siddha-Ashrama, we wish thee success in thy
undertaking. "
Thereupon the great sage with due preparation, his mind
subdued, began the sacrifice while the two princes kept vigil.
Having passed the night in this manner, in accordance with
the prescribed rules, they performed their ablutions, repeating
the mantram silently, they then paid respect to Shri Vishwamitra
and occupied their seats as do those performing a fire-sacrifice.


Man'cM and SUfJahu obstruct the sacrifice and are slain
by Rama

THE two princes, knowing what was appropriate in respect to
time and place and skilled in the art of conquering their foes,
uttered words fitting to the place and occasion.

1 Punarvasu-The seventh of the lunar astcrisms, called Nakshatras or wives
of the moon. Punarvasu is the most beloved.

They said: cc 0 Blessed One, we desire to hear at what
moment in the course of the sacrifice, the two demons appear?
It is essential for us to be acquainted with the matter, to forestall
their attack."
The dwellers in the Siddha-ashrama, hearing the words of
the princes, and finding them eager to fight the demons, praised
them saying: "0 Princes, from now on, keep watch over the
sacrifice for six days; the Sage Vishwamitra having begun the
rite will observe a strict silence during that time."
On this, the two illustrious princes kept watch in the Tapovana
forest continuously for six days without sleeping. Armed with
bow and arrows they guarded the rishi and his sacrifice with
firm resolve. Five days passed without interruption and on
the sixth day Shri Ramachandra said to Lakshmana: cc Brother,
be prepared to-day."
As Shri Rama uttered these words concerning the approaching
conflict with the demons, the altar fire blazed up suddenly.
The officiating brahmin, the priest and Shri Vishwamitra, who
were watching, beheld all the sacrificial implements set on fire.
The sacrifice of the holy sage still proceeding, a great and
fearful clamour resounded in the firmament. As in the rainy
season, clouds cover the sky, so the demons by the power of
magic began to course through the air.
Maricha and Suvahu and other demons surrounding the altar,
let fall torrents of blood. Seeing the altar deluged with blood,
Shri Ramachandra and Lakshmana were filled with anger and
ran to discover the cause. Then they saw Maricha and other
demons in the sky. Raghava beholding the demons rushing
towards him, said to Lakshmana, "0 Laltshmana, see these
evil fiesh-eating demons, I shall destroy them with the Manava-
weapon, as the wind scatters the clouds".
So saying, Shri Ramachandra hurled the shining Manava
weapon at them and striking the breast of Maricha, inflicted
a wound. Thus smitten, the demon was fiung into the sea,
a distance of a hundred miles. Perceiving Maricha reeling,
struck senseless by the Manava weapon, Shri Ramachandra
addressed Lakshmana, saying: "Behold the power of this great
weapon created by the muni ! Yet, though Maricha has been
deprived of his senses, he is not dead; verily I shall now destroy

those wicked, merciless and sinful blood-drinking demons who
obstruct the holy sacrifice." 80 saying, he seized the fire-
weapon and discharged it at the breast of 8uvahu, who straight-
way fell to the ground and expired. On this, 8hri Rama
destroyed the remaining demons with the air-weapon (Vayuvya).
Thus by slaying the obstructors of the sacrifice did 8hri
Ramachandra bring delight to the hearts of the sages and was
worshipped by them as was formerly the victorious Indra.
When the sacrifice had been successfully completed, perceiving
the world to be freed from the interference of the asuras, the
Rishi Vishwamitra said to Rama :-
cc 0 Mighty-armed Prince, to-day I have fulfilled my spiritual
purpose, thou hast obeyed the commands of thy Guru perfectly,
truly thou hast made the 8iddha-Ashrama worthy of its name."


VishfDamitra starts out r.oith the two princes to attend
King Janaka's sacrifice

THE great hero, the ever-cheerful Rama, together with Laksh-
mana having successfully assisted 8hri Vishwamitra, passed the
night in the hermitage.
At dawn, after purifying themselves, they approached 8hri
Vishwamitra and offered obeisance to him and the other sages.
Bowing down before the great muni, who was as resplendent
as a blazing fire, they addressed him in submissive tones, saying:
" 0 Great Rishi, we are both thy humble servants, what further
commands are there for us? We are here to obey."
The other rishis, led by 8hri Vishwamitra, listened to the
words of 8hri Ramachandra and answered saying: cc 0 Great
One, the King of Mithila, the righteous J anaka is performing
a holy sacrifice and we shall attend it. 0 Great Beings, be
pleased to accompany us; there you will see a rare and wonderful
bow. In ancient days this bow was given by the devas to

Janaka, it is exceedingly heavy and splendid. Neither gandharvas
nor asuras can bend this great bow, how much less man?
To test their skill, great kings have come to the assembly of
King Janaka, but none has succeeded in raising the bow and
stringing it. 0 Illustrious One, let us go and see the sacrifice
of the King of Mithila and also that marvellous bow. In former
days, King J anaka performed a sacrifice and the fruit of it was
the great bow which he obtained from the gods who instructed
him saying: C Place this bow in the sacrificial chamber and let
it be worshipped with incense, perfume and lights '."
Shri Vishwamitra having related these facts, started out
accompanied by the two princes and other sages. Invoking
the Vanadevata (Forest Deity) he said to him: cc My sacrifice
has come to a successful conclusion, may happiness be thine.
I am leaving the Siddha-Ashrama for the banks of the sacred
river Gunga on the slopes of the Himalayas, situated in the
domain of King J anaka."
Then the sage reverently circumambulated the hermitage and
turned northwards. As Shri Vishwamitra entered upon his
journey, the sages skilled in the knowledge of the science of
Brahman, accompanied him with their chattels placed on
hundreds of waggons. The birds and beasts of the hermitage
also followed them for a long way until the holy muni requested
them to tum back.
The sages and the holy muni reached the banks of the river
Shona at sunset and, having bathed and recited their evening
prayers, performed the fire sacrifice.
Shri Ramachandra and Prince Lakshmana then offered
salutations to Shri Vishwamitra and the other rishis, and sat
down before them. Thereafter Shri Rama cheerfully enquired :
cc 0 Lord, what country is this, covered with verdant groves?
Be gracious enough to relate everything concerning it."
The great ascetic of firm vows, was pleased to hear these
words and, sitting amidst the sages, he described the country
fully to them.




ViskloamitTa tells of his ancestors and the dynasty
of King Kusha

Ie 0 RAMA, in times of yore, there was a king named Kusha,
he was the son of a brahmin, a noted ascetic, faithful to his vows,
conversant with dharma and ever revered by the virtuous. He
wedded a high-born woman of great beauty named Bhidharvi,
and begat four sons, each resembling himself. Their names
were Kushamba, Kushanabha, Umurita-rajasa and Basu;
these four princes were mighty and active, and desirous of
teaching them the duties of a kshatriya, the truthful and righteous
King Kusha addressed them as follows:-
Ie , 0 My Sons, protect and nourish your subjects, this practice"
is productive of great merit.'
" In order to carry out the instructions of their sire, these
princes founded four cities and named them after themselves.
The mighty Kushamba called his city Kaushambi, and the
righteous Kushanabha founded the city of Mahodaya. 0 Rama,
Prince Umurita-rajasa founded the city named Dhar-maranya
and the Prince Basu called his city Giribrat, also named Basumati.
This city was surrounded by five mountain peaks and the
river Magadhi or Shona meandering through the mountains
resembled a lovely garland. 0 Rama, this stream the Magadhi
flows towards the east and irrigates the fruitful fields on either
" 0 Prince of Raghu, Kushanabha took in wedlock a nymph
named Ghritachi and by her had one hundred beautiful
daughters, who on reaching maturity were delightful to look
upon. One day, clad in lovely dresses, in beauty of form un-
paralleled they wandered in the garden like lightning amidst
the clouds. Singing, dancing and playing on instruments they
seemed to be divine forms which had materialised and des-
cended on the earth, or like the stars in the firmament.
" Seeing those lovely and virtuous princesses, Vayu the wind

god thus addressed them: 'I entreat you all to be wedded
to me; give up your mortal form, I will render you immortal.
Remember youth is passing and youth among mortals passes
even more swiftly; wedded to me, you will be beautiful for ever.'
" The damsels listened to the improper speech of the wind
god and replied mockingly: '0 Deity of the Wind, thou
knowest all that is passing in the hearts of men, but we know
what is passing in thy heart. Why dost thou insult us, 0
Wind? 0 Vayu, who art renowned for thy wisdom, we virgins
by the power of our devotion and self-control can effect thy
downfall, but because the merits of the righteous come to nought
when they cause harm to others, we shall preserve our sacred
vows inviolate. 0 Stupid One, heaven forfend that we choose
husbands for ourselves without first seeking the approval of our
honoured sire. He is as a god to us and our master, and we
shall wed the husbands he chooses for us.'
"The wind god was enraged and entering their bodies,
twisted and distorted them. Thus afflicted, the princesses in
tears, approached their father for assistance.
" The king was grieved to see his daughters in this condition
and said: cO speak, what has occurred? Who, disregarding
justice, has deformed you? Tell me all.' The monarch was
deeply moved by this event and his heart became heavy."


King Kushanabha's hundred daughters
WHEN the hundred princesses were thus questioned by the king
their father, they placed their heads at his feet and answered :
cc The wind god, who pervades all, has entered the evil path
and desired us to forsake virtuous conduct. We told him we
were not free to choose our way of life since our father was
still living and that he should consult thee if he wished to wed
us, but that sinful god, disregarding our request has twisted
and deformed our bodies in this manner."

The great king hearing the complaint of the hundred virgins,
said to them: " You have acted nobly by practising forbearance
towards the deity. It is meet that the generous-minded should
exercise forbearance, you have added to the honour of our
dynasty. Forbearance is the chief ornament of both man and
woman, you have achieved something rare; few are capable
of such forbearance. 0 Virgins, forbearance is charity, forbear-
ance is truth, forbearance is sacrifice. A man's true glory is
forbearance; forbearance is dharma. The world is established
in forbearance."
Having spoken thus, the princesses were comforted, and the
king dismissed them. Then the monarch, mighty like a god,
summoned his ministers and consulted them regarding the
alliance of his daughters to suitable families at the proper time
and place.
Now a great muni named Chuli full of glory derived from
prolonged celibacy and highly virtuous, was engaged in sacred
austerities for the purpose of spirituaIliberation.
At that place, the virgin daughter of the nymph Urmila,
named Somada, began to minister to the muni. She attended
on the great sage for a long time with undeviating faith and
devotion and her Guru was pleased with her; he said to her:
cc I am pleased with thee, what desire of thine shall I fulfil ? "
Perceiving the muni to be highly pleased, that sweet-voiced
nymph acquainted with the art of conversation made answer
to him: "0 King of Kings, I desire to bear a son, resplendent
with divine power, a worshipper of God and devoted to dharma.
I have no husband, nor do I wish to be the wife of any, as I
am a brahmacharini, l therefore, by virtue of thy Yoga, grant me
a son produced by the power of thy thought."
The divine Sage Chuli was pleased to hear these words
and granted her a son named Brahmadana, by the power of
his mind. Brahmadana became King of Kampila and was as
prosperous as Indra in heaven. King Kushanabha resolved to
give his daughters in marriage to King B J'Al1msada tta. Kushan-
abha requested King Brahmadatta to visit him and joyfully
gave him his daughters in marriage.
1 Brahmachari or bra.b.macharini-male or female celibate religious student
who lives with the teacher and is devoted to the practice of spiritual d.isc:ipliDe.
7 0

o Ramaji, King Brahmadatta, who was equal to Indra in glory
wedded the princesses one by one by taking their hands in his.
Through the touch of his hand, the princesses were freed from
their deformity and restored to their former beauty. When
King Kushnabha beheld his daughters released from their
disfigurement and restored to their former beauty he was filled
with joy.
Thus did the King Kushnabha give his daughters in marriage
to King Brahmadatta and then commanded their preceptors
to accompany them to the court ofms son-in-law.
80mada was delighted with the union of her son to the
damsels and receiving them with great affection, commended
the virtuous King Kushanabha.


His son, Gadhi, is the father of Vishwamitra

cc 0 RAMAJI, after the wedding of his daughters, the sinless
King Kushanabha prepared to perform a sacrifice in order to
obtain a son.
cc At the inauguration of the sacrifice, the munificent King
Kusha, son of 8hri Brahma, said to Kushanabha: '0 my Son,
thou wilt obtain a son like thyself, he should be named Gadhi,
he will bring thee immortal renown.'
"After some time a son was born to the wise King Kushanabha
who was a lover of virtue, and his name was Gadhi. This
Gadhi, 0 Rama, was my virtuous father l and because I was
born in the family of Kusha I was cal1ed Kaushika.
cc I had, 0 Prince, an elder sister named Satyavati, who
became the faithful spouse of Richika. When her lord died,
she ascended to heaven and took the form of the Kaushiki river.
The river is sacred and beautiful, and its waters confer merit
OD men. To bless the world Satyavati became the river flowing
Dear the Himalayas.
I The Risbi Vishwamitra is still speaking here.
7 1

" 0 Prince, through Jove of my sister, I dwell on the banks
of the Kaushiki river near the Himalayas.
cc Established in truth, faithful to her lord, that sister of mine,
named Satyavati is to-day the river Kaushiki, great among
streams and highly fortunate.
cc 0 Rama, in order to perform a sacrifice, I went to the
Siddha ashrama, I have now accomplished my purpose.
cc 0 Rama, at thy instance, I have told thee of my family
and origin; the night is far spent in listening to this tale, now
rest, so that, refreshed, we may resume our journey to-morrow.
Peace be with thee!
cc The leaves of the trees are motionless, the birds and beasts
are silent and darkness covers all. How imperceptibly the
evening has passed away. The sky is brilliant with stars, as if
a thousand eyes gazed down on us.
ee The bright moon with its cool beams, slowly rising higher
and higher dispels the darkness. Nocturnal wanderers and the
terrible fiesh-eating yakshas prowl about here and there."
Having uttered these words, the great Sage Vishwamitra
became silent. The other munis praised him saying: cc Well
spoken, well spoken, 0 Sage."
They said: cc The dynasty of Kusha has ever practised
righteousness and the kings of this line have been eminent in
virtue. Of this dynasty, thou, 0 Vishwamitra, art the most
illustrious, the fame of this royal line has been enhanced by
the beautiful river Kaushiki."
Thus did the great sages praise the Rishi Vishwamitra, who
then withdrew to rest, as the sun sets behind a mountain.
Shri Ramachandra and his brother Lakshmana, full of wonder
also made obeisance to the holy sage and retired to sleep.

7 2


VishfOamitra begins to narrate the origin of the holy
rifler Gunga

HAVING passed the night with the other munis on the banks
of the river Shona, Shri Vishwamitra said to Prince Rama at
daybreak: cc Arise, 0 Prince, the day has dawned, may prosperity
attend thee! Perform thy morning devotions and let us prepare
for our journey."
Shri Rama listened to the instructions of the holy sage,
recited his morning prayers and prepared to leave, saying:
cc 0 Knower of God, the waters of the holy river Shona appear
to be very shallow and rest on a sandy bed, be pleased to instruct
us where we should cross over it."
The sage replied: cc 0 Prince, I will show thee where the
great rishis traversed it." Thereafter they forded the river
and journeyed on and on, enjoying the many beautiful woods
and forests through which they passed.
Mer proceeding a great distance, late one afternoon, they
reached the holy river Ganges, beloved of the sages. On
beholding the lovely river rendered beautiful by the presence
of swans and cranes, Rama, Lakshmana and the sages were
filled with delight.
They halted on the banks and bathed in the sacred river as
prescribed by the holy ordinance, then lighting their sacrificial
fires they partook of the remains of the offerings. According
to the tradition, they offered water to their ancestors and
spreading coverings, seated themselves by the holy Ganges.
Sitting in the midst of the sages with the two princes before
him, Shri Vishwamitra was questioned by Shri Rama in the
following manner :-
cc 0 Lord, I desire to hear the story of this holy river, which
traverses the three paths. 1 How does the sacred Gunga,
passing through the three worlds merge at last in the ocean? "
1 In Hindu mythology the universe is divided into the three worlds: Bhur,
Bhuvah, Swab, the lower, middle and upper worlda. The sacred river is said
1.0 traverse all three.


On this request, Shri Vishwamitra began to narrate the origin
and genesis of the sacred river.
ce 0 Rama, the great Himavat, Lord of the Himalayas, the
treasury of all precious metals, had two daughters, who were
unsurpassed in loveliness on eanh. Their mother Mena, the
wife of Himachala (Himavat) was the daughter of Mount Meru.
Her elder daughter was named Gunga and the younger Uma.
es The devas wishing to observe certain sacred rites, asked
for Shri Gunga to promote the success of their undertaking
and with the permission of her father, took her away with them.
es HimachaIa, mindful of the good of all beings, gave his
daughter Gunga, the purifier of the whole world, to the gods,
thinking it to be his duty to do so. The gods supremely
gratified took his daughter Gunga and blessing all, left
"0 Prince of the House of Raghu, the other daughter of
HimachaIa, named Uma, practised great asceticism, considering
it to be her chief wealth. HimachaIa gave this ascetic daughter
U ma, who was venerated by the whole world, to Shri Mahadeva 1
in marriage, thinking him to be a worthy consort.
es 0 Rama, now I have told thee of the two daughters of
HimachaIa, revered by the whole world, the river Gunga and
Uma Devi.
ce 0 my Son, 0 Chief of Disciples, I have related to thee
the story of Shri Gunga accompanying the devas to heaven.
This beautiful daughter of the King of Himalaya, once resident
in heaven, is the charming river Gunga, whose waters destroy
all sin."


The story of the king of Himalayas' younger daughter Uma
HEAluNG the wonderful narrative, so eloquently related by Shri
Vishwamitra, both the princes praised the holy sage and said:
" 0 Divine Sage, thou hast tbld us a tale, by the hearing of
1 Mahadeva-A title of the Lord Shiva.

which great merit is acquired, be gracious enough to enlighten
us further regarding the elder daughter of the King of Himalaya.
Thou art omniscient, therefore describe to us fully, how the
Gunga, the world purifying stream, came down from heaven
to earth. 0 Thou, versed in the science of dharma, why is
this sacred river called Tripathaga (the Traverser of the Three
Worlds) and whence is this name derived? "
Seated amidst the other sages, Shri Vishwamitra, whose only
wealth was truth and austerity, spoke as follows, in answer to
Shri Rama's questioning:-
cc 0 Prince, in ancient times, the holy Lord Mahadeva was
wedded to Parvati 1 and being charmed with her beauty devoted
himself to the delights of connubial bliss. According to the
measure of time of the gods, the Lord Mahadeva passed a
hundred years with that devi 2 but remained without issue. In
their anxiety, the gods approached Shri Brahma and said:-
cc C Who will be able to endure the power and glory of the
offspring produced by these two mighty beings? '
cc They then took refuge with Shri Mahadeva, saying: c 0
God of Gods, 0 Mahadeva, ever engaged in doing good to all
beings, we offer salutations to thee, be gracious unto us! Thy
power, 0 First among the Gods, none can endure, therefore
with this goddess engage in yogic penances. For the welfare
of the three worlds, retain thine energy within thy body so that
the universe may be preserved and may not suffer destruction'."
The Ruler of the W orId, Shri Mahadeva, listened to the words
of the devas and said: cc Be it so, 0 Devas, I will restrain my
power so that all the regions including the earth may dwell
in peace, but 0 Devas, should my vital fluid overflow, who
shall receive it ? "
The gods answered Shri Mahadeva, saying: cc Let the eanh
receive it."
Then Shri Mahadeva let fall his seed on the earth covering
the mountains, seas and forests. When the earth could bear
no more, the devas asked the wind and fire deities to combine

1 Parvati- The consort of the Lord. Shiva.
. Dcvi-anothcr name for Parvati. Devi literally means goddess or shining


with that creative power and thus was a white mountain created
and later a heavenly forest as resplendent as the light of the sun.
From this fiery light was born the glorious Swami Karttikeya. 1
cc All the gods and rishis were full of joy and adored the Lord
Shiva and the goddess Uma. As they worshipped them with
grateful hearts, Uma was filled with wrath and said: cO Devas,
your action has filled me with displeasure, you shan not escape
the consequences.'
cc Then Uma shining like the sun, took water in the palm
of her hand and pronounced a curse on the gods, saying: c 0
Devas, you have prevented me from bearing a son, may you
be childless from this day, may your wives be without progeny.'
cc Still not appeased, Uma cursed the earth also and said:
c 0 Earth, thou shalt never remain in one form, thou shalt have
many masters. 0 Witless One, thou shalt never bear a son,
since thou hast prevented me from becoming a mother.'
cc Shri Mahadeva, seeing the devas discomfited, prepared to
depart to the northern region of the Himalayas. There, on a
peak named Himavatprabhava, he engaged in prolonged yogic
practices together with Uma.
" 0 Rama, I have told thee of one of the two daughters of
the Himalayas; now with Lakshmana, listen to the tale of the
other daughter of Himalaya, named Gunga."


The kine's elder daughter, Gunga

WHILST Shri Mahadeva was engaged in yogic meditation, the
devas, under the leadership of Agni, went to the region of
Brahma where, with Indra, they paid reverence to the Lord
of the world, and said: "0 Lord, at the beginning of creation
thou did'st make Shri Mahadeva our leader, but he has now
retired to the Himalayas and is engaged in the practice of
austerity with Uma. 0 Thou who art desirous of the good
1 Karttikeya-The God of War.

7 6

of the world, do what thou considerest ought to be done, thou
art our only refuge."
Then Shri Brahma encouraged the devas, with gentle words,
saying: "0 Devas, the curse of Uma Devi, that you should
remain without offspring is irrevocable, but the fire god Agni
will cause Gunga to bear a son who will destroy the enemies
of the gods. The youngest daughter of Himanchala (Vma)
will look upon her sister's son as her own and will inevitably
lavish her affection on him."
cc 0 Rama, the words of Shri Brahma filled the gods with
satisfaction and they offered obeisance to him. Then they all
circumambulated Mount Kailasha, l the repository of precious
metals, and begged Agni to beget a son.
"Agni acquiesced in their request and approaching Shri
Gunga, said: '0 Devi, let us beget a son for it is the wish
of the gods.'
"Assuming the form of a celestial nymph, Gunga, inspired
the fire god to plant his seed in her, her every vein being filled
with splendour. After a time, she addressed Agni, saying:
c 0 Deva, I am unable to bear the ever-increasing splendour
which thou hast communicated to me. My body is burning
like fire, my mind is agitated and I am filled with fear.'
"Agni replied: '0 Sinless One, place this foetus near the
Himalayas. '
cc Then Gunga Devi expelled the resplendent being, shining
like gold. This substance, falling on the earth, became the
purest gold that can be found. All objects in its proximity
became silver and the more distant areas exposed to its
penetrating rays became copper, the baser parts becoming zinc
and lead. In this way, its brilliance was transmuted into metals
and spread abroad and the mountains and forests near by were
changed to gold. 0 Rama, gold being produced in that dazzling
form is called jatarupa (form-born) and, 0 Hero, that is why
gold shines like fire. The grass, the creepers, the shrubs, all
were converted into gold, and from that splendour was born
cc The devas with Indra engaged the Krittikas l to nurse the
1 Mount KaiJasha--taid to be the abode of Lord Shiva.
· Krittikas-The Pleiades, the six nurses of the God of War.

child and they regarded him as their own son. The gods named
the child Karttikeya and said: 'He shall be our son and he
will be renowned in the three worlds.'
cc The Krittikas bathed the child and as he grew, his form
resembled the fire. Because the infant was bom prematurely,
the devas called him Skanda.
" The nurses began to nourish the child with milk and he
shone like a flame. With six mouths he sucked the milk of
six nurses at the same time. Soon he grew so powerful that
while yet an infant he challenged groups of demons to combat.
Then all the gods appointed him their commander-in-chief.
The Devas and Agni paid affectionate homage to this child.
"0 Rama, this is the inspiring and merit-bestowing story
of Shri Gunga and Karttikeya.
cc 0 Raghava, on this eanh, those who read this narrative
with faith and devotion shall have long lives, sons and grandsons
and obtain the divine region of Skanda."


The story of King Sagara, Shri Rama's ancestor

SHRI VISHWAMITRA in gentle accents, related this story to Shri
Ramachandra, and then again addressed him, saying:-
cc In ancient times there lived a king named Sagara, who
ruled in Ayodhya. He was brave and virtuous and a lover
of his subjects, yet he was without issue.
" The name of his chief queen was Keshini, a daughter of
King Vidharba; she was virtuous and truthful. His second
queen was Sumati, a daughter of Arishtanemi and she was
comely and charming.
"The king went to the Himalayas and engaged in severe
yogic practices in the forest of Bhrigu-prasravana. When he
had completed a hundred years' ascetic practices, the ever
trUthful Maharishi Bhrigu was pleased with hifn and favoured
7 8

him with a boon. He said: c 0 Sinless King, thou shalt beget
many sons and thy fame will be immeasurable. From one of
thy queens shall be bom one son, and from the other sixty
thousand sons.'
cc When the queens heard of the boon granted by the rishi,
they approached him saying: c 0 Knower of God, we are
certain that thy boon will bear fruit, please tell us therefore
which of us will beget one son and which sixty thousand? t
cc Hearing their words, the highly virtuous Bhrigu said:
C That depends on your desires. Tell me, which of you would
fain be the mother of the founder of the dynasty and which
desires to beget sixty thousand illustrious sons ? '
cc 0 Rama, Queen Keshini desired to be favoured by one son
only, but Sumati, the sister of Garuda 1 obtained the boon of
bearing sixty thousand powerful and illustrious sons.
u 0 Prince, the king offered salutations to the Rishi Bhrigu
and with his consorts returned to the capital.
cc When the time was ripe, the chief Queen Keshini gave birth
to a son who was ca1led Asamanjasa.
cc 0 Great One, a gourd was brought forth by Queen Sumati
from which, when opened, sixty thousand male infants emerged.
The nurses placed them in jars full of butter and tended them.
Mter a long time they attained to the state of adolescence,
and then grew to manhood.
" 0 Rama, the eldest son of King Sagara, Asamanjasa used
to seize hold of children and throw them into the river Sarayu.
When he saw them drowning, he rejoiced. This evil doer
grew up to oppress the good by his conduct.
cc The citizens of King Sagara's capital exiled the prince,
thus passing judgment on him. Asamanjasa became the father
of a valiant prince named Anshuman, who was esteemed by
everyone and addressed every man with courtesy.
"After a long time, KiDg Sagara resolved to perform a
sacrifice. 0 Rama, the king summoning the high priests began
the initiatory rites."

1 Garuda-a mythological bird, halfman, half bird, the vehicle ofShri Vishnu,
and the sla
of serpents. Garuda is said to have stolen the nectar of immortality
from the gOds, when it was churned from the ocean.
79 G



The horse fDith which he performs a sacrifice is stolen

HAVING listened to this tale, Shri Rama addressed the Muni
Vishwamitra, who resembled the fire in splendour, and said:
cc 0 Wise One, may prosperity constantly attend thee! I desire
to hear how my ancestor King Sagara performed the
sacrifice. "
Shri Vishwamitra, highly gratified by Shri Rama's eager
enquiry, smilingly replied: cc Listen, 0 Rama, to the history
of the high-souled King Sagara. There is a country between
the Himalayas and the Vindhya mountains, and it was there
that King Sagara performed his sacrifice. That land is suitable
for this purpose, 0 Great Prince.
cc The great archer and warrior Anshuman was appointed the
protector of the horse released for the sacrifice. A rakshasa
in disguise, stole the horse and when it was being borne away,
the priests approached the king, crying: C See, someone is
carrying off the horse, kill the thief and restore it.' The king
called for his sixty thousand sons and said: 'A wicked demon
has stolen the sacrificial steed, in what direction has he bome
it away? It has been consecrated by mantrams to avoid
obstructions; seek the horse, my sons, and may success attend
you. Scour the earth surrounded by the seas, and excavate
the earth at my command, till the sacred horse is found.
Having taken the initiation, I cannot leave this place. Go Ye,
My Sons! I shall remain here with Anshuman and the brahmins.'
.. 0 Rama. commanded by their father, those powerful princes
joyfully started in search of the horse. 0 Great One! they
ranged the world in vain and began to dig the ground with
their nails which were as sharp as diamonds.
. " 0 Prince of the House of Raghu, they used ploughs, spades
and other implements to excavate the ground and the earth
shook with the sound. While ploughing up the earth, many
snakes, demons and powerful titans were slain and injured.
" 0 Raghava, those mighty princes pierced the earth to the
depth of sixty thousand miles and reached the antipodes. Having

pierced the earth with its mountains, they searched for the horse
in Jambudwipa. 1
cc The devas, gandharvas, asuras and nagas became agitated,
and approached Shri Brahma; bowing before him with their
minds afflicted and in great distress, they said: c 0 Blessed
Lord, the sons of the Maharajah Sagara are digging up the
whole earth and they have brought about the death of many
great beings. Whosoever opposes them is slain with the words,
" Thou art a thief, thou hast stolen the sacrificial horse " '."


The king's sons search/or the horse; they accuse Shri Kapila
of stealing it and are reduced to ashes

CC THE grandsire Shri Brahma, hearing the words of the gods
regarding the sons of King Sagara, who were already doomed,
said :-
"c 0 Devas, this whole world belongs to the glorious Vasu-
deva l and he, in the form of the Sage Kapila, supports it.
These princes will fall victims to the wrath of holy Kapila ;
the earth is eternal and cannot be destroyed.' The gods,
hearing these words, returned to their own regions, full of joy.
" Meanwhile, the uproar caused by the sons of Sagara digging
the earth resembled the crash of thunder.
cc Having encompassed the whole world, they returned to
their father and said: c We have traversed the whole world
and have slain gods, demons and snakes, but we have found
no trace of the sacrificial horse nor of the thief. 0 Father,
may prosperity attend thee, be pleased to reflect on the matter
and give us further instructions.'
" The great monarch replied in anger: C Go, dig the earth
once more, capture the horse, accomplish your purpose, then
return. '
a Jambudwipa-one of the seven continents of which the world was made up.
· Vasudeva-a name of Vishnu.

cc In accordance with the command of their foyal sire, the
princes once more renewed their tunne1ling and came upon
the monstrous form of a great elephant which resembled a
cc 0 Prince of Raghu, the whole earth and the mountains
of that quarter are supported by that elephant Vimpaksha, and
whenever, from fatigue, he moves his feet to ease himself,
the whole world trembles and quakes.
cc The princes bowed down to him and circumambulated him.
They then continued digging deeper and deeper, first to the
east, then to the west. To the south they saw the second
great elephant whose name was Mahapadma. They beheld him
supporting that quarter of the earth and were astonished;
they offered him salutations.
cc 0 Prince, the sons of King Sagara next dug the northern
quarter of the earth and saw there a white elephant which
resembled a heap of snow. His name was Hima-Pandara and
his form was gigantic; they worshipped him as he stood
supporting that quarter of the earth.
cc Then with furious zeal, those mighty and valiant sons of
Sagara dug the earth and proceeded to that renowned quarter
where they saw Kapila the eternal Lord Vasudeva and the horse
grazing near him.
cc 0 Rama, they were glad, thinking that it was Shri Kapila
who had stolen the horse. Full of wrath, seizing ploughs, trees,
rocks and stones, they ran towards him, crying: C Thou art
the stealer of the sacrificial horse, thou art the thief. 0 Wicked
One, we, the sons of King Sagara, have found thee.'
cc 0 Rama, Shri Kapila, hearing these words, filled with rage,
uttered the sound C Htm ' and instantly by his immeasurable
power all the sons of Sagara were reduced to ashes."




King Sagara's grandson, Anshuman, finds the horse and the
ashes of his uncles. He is told the funeral n'tes must be
performed 'lDith the waters of the holy ri'Ver Gunga
cc 0 RAMACHANDRA, perceiving that a long period had elapsed
since the departure of his sons, King Sagara spoke to his
powerful and resplendent grandson Anshuman :
cc c 0 Child, thou art valiant, learned and illustrious like thine
ancestors, go and seek thine uncles and the stealer of the horse
also. The interior of the earth is inhabited by the most mighty
beings, arm thyself therefore with sword, bow and arrows. Pay
reverence to those worthy to be worshipped whom thou dost
encounter on the way and make obeisance to them; slay those
who obstruct thy purpose, then successful, return and ensure
the completion of the sacrifice.'
cc Thus instructed by his grandfather, Prince Anshuman,
arming himself with sword, bow and arrows, speedily departed.
Honoured on the way by devas, danavas, asuras and nagas,
pisachas, birds and serpents, he came to the mighty and
resplendent elephant and worshipped him, enquiring as to his
welfare. The elephant said in reply: c 0 Prince Anshuman,
thou wilt accomplish thy purpose and soon return to the capital.'
cc The prince proceeded further and enquired in the same
manner of each of the other great elephants. They all advised
the prince, who had paid due respect to them, to proceed further.
As instructed by them, Anshuman came to the place where
the heaped ashes of his uncles' bodies were lying. Overcome
with grief, Anshuman wept to see that death had overtaken
them. Aftlicted with distress and pain, he suddenly perceived
the sacrificial horse grazing near by. Desirous of offering the
rite of water for his departed relatives, he looked round but
could find no water anywhere. Extending his gaze, he saw
his maternal uncle, the holy eagle, who addressed the prince
as follows :-
cc c 0 Lion among men, grieve not, these princes have met
the death they deserved. They have been consumed to ashes

by the Mahatma Kapila of unimaginable glory. 0 Wise One,
it is not meet to offer the usual rites for them. 0 Gre
t One,
perform the rites with the water of the holy river Gunga, the
Daughter of Himalaya. When the waters of the purifier of
the world, the sacred Gunga Bow over their ashes, the ceremony
will be crowned with success and the sixty thousand princes
will be received into heaven '."
The illustrious and mighty Prince Anshuman listened to the
words of Shri Garoda and speedily returning with the horse,
approached King Sagara, who still awaited the completion of
the initiatory rites; he related to him all that the eagle had
said. The monarch completed the sacrifice and returned to
his capital considering the means whereby he might cause Shri
Gunga to descend to earth; but in vain.
King Sagara, unable to devise any way to accomplish this
matter, having ruled for thirty thousand years, departed hence.


Anshuman's son, Dilipa,fails and his son Bhagiratha performs
austerities to induce the holy river to descend

APTER his death, the ministers installed the virtuous Anshuman
as king. 0 Rama, glorious was the reign of King Anshuman.
He was succeeded by his son, the world-renowned Dilipa.
King Anshuman, leaving his kingdom to Dilipa, retired to
the top of a Himalayan peak and began to perform severe yogic
austerities. Having passed thirty-two thousand years in this
wise, without inducing the sacred river Gunga to descend on
earth, he gave up his life.
Acquainted with the fate of his great uncles, and overcome
with grief, the mighty sovereign Dilipa found no means of
bringing the sacred stream down to earth. Consumed with
anxiety, he reftected daily on how he should accomplish the
descent of the Gunga and perform the funeral rites for the
deliverance of the souls of his ancestors. The righteous and

illustrious King Dilipa, constantly engaged in these reflections,
was then blessed with the birth of a virtuous son,
The renowned monarch Dilipa observing many sacrifices,
ruled over his kingdom for thirty thousand years; his thoughts
were ever devoted to the deliverance of the souls of his forbears
until stricken with disease, he was claimed by death. Having
bequeathed the kingdom to his son Bhagiratha, his spirit
ascended to the region of Indra.
o Rama, Bhagiratha was a virtuous and royal sage, but he
had no heir and was desirous of obtaining a son. 0 Raghava,
he entrusted the administration of his kingdom to his ministers
and proceeded to the holy place named Gokarna where he
practised yogic penances to attract the descent of the holy Gunga.
With arms uplifted and senses controlled, he stood in the midst
of five fires in the hottest season, partaking of food once a month
only, and continued thus for a thousand years.
o Mighty Prince, after a thousand years, Shri Brahma, the
Lord and Ruler of the world, was pleased with Bhagiratha and,
accompanied by the devas, approached the high-souled king
and said:
cc 0 Bhagiratha, thy virtuous yogic practices have elicited our
admiration; ask for a boon, 0 Fortunate One."
The highly resplendent Bhagiratha, with joined palms
submissively addressed Shri Brahma, saying: cc 0 Blessed Lord,
if thou art pleased to confer the fruits of mine austerities on me
and grant me a boon, then allow me to deliver the souls of
the sons of King Sagara by offering them water at their funeral
rites, from the sacred stream. 0 Lord, do thou also grant as
a further boon that the Dynasty of Ikshwaku may be preserved
and I may have an heir."
The Grandsire of the whole world listened to the prayer of
the Maharajah Bhagiratha and answered him in gentle and
pleasing accents:-
cc 0 Mighty King Bhagiratha, thou hast asked a great boon,
may success attend thee! Let thy desire for a son be fulfilled.
o King, when the Gunga, the eldest daughter of Himalaya falls
on the earth with overwhelming power, the earth will not be

able to sustain her; none but the Lord Shiva can accomplish
thi "
Having uttered these words to King Bhagiratha and having
spoken to Shri Gunga also, Shri Brahma returned with the gods
to his own region.


Lord Shiva lets loose the sacred river which follO'l1JS
King Bhagiratha's celestial chariot

SHRI BRAHMA having departed, the King Bhagiratha, standing
on the tip of one toe, adored Shri Shiva for a full
r. 0
Mighty One, with arms uplifted, living on air, unsupported,
fixed like a pillar, day and night King Bhagiratha offered his
adorations to the Lord.
A full year having passed, the Lord of U ma, Shri Mahadeva,
who is adored by the whole world, spoke to King Bhagiratha
as follows: cc 0 Great One, I am pleased with thee, I will
accomplish what thou desirest, I will receive the descent of
Gunga on my head."
Then the holy Gunga, the eldest daughter of Himalaya, the
object of reverence to the whole world, assuming the form of
a mighty river, descended with torrential force on to the head
of Shiva. The goddess reflected within herself that she would
bear down the Lord Mahadeva to the antipodes. Shri Shiva,
reading her thoughts, grew angry and determined to detain the
mighty stream in his hair. Resembling the majestic Himalayas,
the locks of Shri Shiva held the falling Gunga fast and the
sacred river remained imprisoned there. For innumerable years
the Gunga wandered round and round in the locks of Shri
Mahadeva and could not find an egress.
o Rama, when Shri Bhagiratha did not see the holy stream
descending to earth, he again began his penance in order to
propitiate the Lord of the world.
Then Shri Shiva let loose the Gunga in the Brindusara lake

and as it fell it divided itself into seven streams. The three
branches conferring prosperity, Hladini, Pavani and Nalini,
Bowed towards the east from the head of holy Shiva.
Then the sacred Gunga of pure and delightful water was
divided into three further branches, Suchakshu, Sita and
Sindhav, all Bowing towards the west. The seventh of these
streams followed the chariot of the Maharajah Bhagiratha.
The royal sage, riding in a beautiful chariot, went forward
and the sacred river Gunga followed him.
Thus did the holy river descend from heaven on to the
forehead of 8hri Mahadeva and from thence came to the surface
of the earth.
The fall of the sacred stream created a mighty reverberation,
her waters Bowing through beautiful ways. Riding their aerial
chariots as large as cities, containing elephants and horses, the
gods, sages, celestial musicians, yakshas and siddhas in great
numbers, came to witness the holy Ganges falling from heaven
to earth. In their aerial chariots named Pariplava, the gods
came to see this wonderful event of the holy river Bowing on
the earth, and as they descended from the skies, the splendour
of their celestial ornaments irradiated the cloudless canopy of
heaven as if a thousand suns had risen there.
The mercurial fishes and aquatic creatures leaping from the
stream thrown up by the force of the current, shone like lightning
in the sky, whilst the foam and spray scattered on all sides
resembled Bocks of swans in Bight or clouds in winter.
The waters of the holy Gunga sometimes rose high in the air,
sometimes flowed tortuously, sometimes broadened out, some-
times dashed against the rocks and sometimes spouted upwards
afterwards falling to the ground; that pure water capable of
removing sin looked delightful Bowing on the swface of the earth.
Then the celestial sages and heavenly musicians and the
denizens of the earth, reverently touched that sacred stream
falling from the locks of Shiva.
Those beings, who through a curse, had fallen from the
heavenly regions and been made to dwell on earth, were cleansed
of their transgressions by bathing in the holy Gunga. Purified
and freed from their sins, those resplendent beings returned to
the heavenly regions, passing through the sky.

Wherever the sacred Ganges flowed, people were cleansed
of their sins by bathing in its waters.
King Bhagiratha, riding a celestial chariot, drove on and
Shri Gunga followed after him.
o Rama, the gods, the sages, rakshasas, asuras, yakshas,
the chief serpents and nymphs following King Bhagiratha,
together with the aquatic beings and swans, attended the
sacred river. Whichever course King Bhagiratha took, that
mighty river Gunga, the Destroyer of all sin, followed. Flowing
on and on, Shri Gunga arrived where the Sage J ahnu, worker
of miracles, was performing a sacrifice. Then the sacred
river swept over the sacrificial pavilion and all it contained.
The Rishi Jahnu perceiving the pride of Gungaji, grew angry
and drank up the whole of the water of that river, verily a great
miracle !
The devas, gandharvas and sages were astonished and began
to worship that Mahatma Jahnu, saying, "From to-day the
holy river shall be called thy daughter". The mighty JahnU
being pleased, let loose the river through his ears. From thence
Shri Gunga is called Jahnavi (the daughter ofJahnu). Thereafter
she once again flowed behind the chariot of King Bhagiratha.
Finally, the holy Gunga reached the sea and entered the lower
regions to fulfil the purpose of the king.
The royal Sage Bhagiratha attended by the sacred river,
gazed with grief on the ashes of his ancestors. 0 Prince of
the House of Raghu, as soon as the holy stream touched the
ashes, the sons of King Sagara were resuscitated, freed from sin,
and attained the cdestial region.


King Bhagiratha completes th4 funeral rites for his ancestors

WHEN the king attended by the holy Gunga, reached the
seashore, he entered the subterranean region where the sons
of King Sagara had been burnt to ashes.

"0 Rama, as the holy water flowed over the ashes, Shri
Brahma the Lord of all the worlds, addressed King Bhagiratha
as follows: '0 Great King, thou hast redeemed the sixty
thousand sons of King Sagara, who now dwell in the heavenly
region. 0 King, as long as the waters of the sea continue
on earth, so long shall the sons of King Sagara in celestial form
enjoy heaven. Henceforth, 0 Great Sovereign, Shri Gunga
shall be thy eldest daughter and be known by thy name
throughout the earth. This sacred river shall be named Shri
Gunga, Tripathaga 1 and Bhagirathi.
" , 0 King, perform the funeral rites of thine ancestors and
fulfil thy prescribed duty. The mighty King Sagara was not
able to accomplish this purpose and King Anshuman of limitless
prowess also failed to obtain the fulfilment of his devout desire.
Thy father Dilipa, equal to ourselves in merit and a warrior
fully established in the duties of his caste, that illustrious Dilipa
besought the holy Gunga to descend to earth in vain. This
great design has been accomplished by thee alone. Thou hast
acquired undying renown throughout the world.
cc , By achieving this, thou art possessed of the highest dharma.
o Great Sovereign, now do thou bathe in the holy stream also.
o Lion among men, purify thyself and acquire merit, then
perform the funeral rites of thine ancestors. 0 King, may
prosperity attend thee, return to thy capital, I shall now ascend
to my own abode.'
cc The mighty and illustrious Brahma then ascended to heaven
and the royal Sage Bhagiratha, having performed the obsequies
of the sons of King Sagara, with the water of the sacred Ganges,
returned to his capital.
"Enjoying every felicity, King Bhagiratha began to govern
once more and his people rejoiced that he had again assumed
rulership. All were freed from suffering and anxiety and they
increased in wealth and prosperity.
" 0 Rama, I have narrated the story of the descent of Shri
Gunga fully to thee. May prosperity attend thee 1 Dusk has
fallen and the hour of the evening prayer has come. This story
gives wealth, prosperity, fame, longevity, sons, and residence

1 Tripathaga-three way going.


in heaven to the reader. He who causes it to be heard by others
whether he be a brahmin or a kshatriya, brings joy to his
ancestors and the gods.
ce 0 Ramachandra, he who with fixed attention listens to this
story, shall obtain all he desires, his sins will be remitted
and he will obtain long life and renown."


Vis/noamitra begins to relate the story of the city of
V ishala and the churning of the ocean, which leads
to the combat betfDeen the devas and the daJtyas

SHRI RAMACHANDRA and Shri Lakshmana were filled with
astonishment on hearing the words of Shri Vishwamitra, and
said to him: cc 0 Holy Sage, marvellous indeed is the history
of King Sagara and the descent of the Ganges, which thou hast
related to us. n
The night drew on as they had been listening to the story,
and 8hri Rama and Lakshmana passed the remaining hours
meditating on the matter.
The clear day dawned and 8hri Rama, having performed
his daily devotions, said to 8hri Vishwamitra: cc The night
has passed in listening to this divine narrative, it has slipped
away, as if it were a moment. Now let us cross the sacred
and merit-giving stream reflecting on its marvellous origin.
Knowing thee to have come, the other sages have sent a boat
in preparation for crossing the holy river."
8hri Vishwamitra summoned the ferryman and with the
princes and sages all were conveyed to the other side. They
rested awhile on the opposite bank and entertained the sages
in their company. In the distance, they saw the city named
Vishala and soon the great Rishi Vishwamitra with the princes
reached that place of beauty, which resembled one of Indrats
Then Rama, full of wisdom, approached the holy sage and

humbly made enquiry concerning the city. He said: u 0
Great Sage, what royal and illustrious house rules here? I
desire to hear."
At these words of Rama, the holy sage began to relate the
story of the city as follows :-
cc 0 Rama, attend! I will tell thee the story of this city,
which I heard from Indra.
U In the golden age (Satya Yuga) DitP gave birth to a powerful
son Daitya, an asura, and Aditi 1 gave birth to the highly
fonunate and exceedingly righteous son Devata, a celestial
being. These two sagacious beings sought to become immortal,
incorruptible and free from disease, old age and other ills.
After reflecting on this matter, they resolved to chum Kshiroda
(the ocean of milk) and obtain from it the water of immortality.
Using the mighty snake Vasuki as a rope and the Mandara
mountain as the chum, they began to chum the ocean. When
they had done so for a thousand years, the snake Vasuki bit
the rocks with its teeth and threw up venom. From this was
produced the great poison which began to consume men, gods,
demons and the whole world.
cc The gods took refuge with the Lord Shiva and worshipped
him crying C Protect us, protect us '. Attracted by the mournful
cry of the gods, Shri Mahadeva and Shri Hari 8 appeared there
with conch and disc.
cc Shri Vishnu 8 smilingly addressed the bearer of the trident,
Shri Mahadeva, and said: C 0 Lord, thou art the chief of the
gods and should'st, therefore, accept whatever is first produced
by the churning of the ocean. Receive the poison as thy gift,
the first tribute.'
cc Having spoken thus, 8hri Vishnu disappeared, and the
Blessed Lord Shiva, moved by the distress of the gods and
the words of Shri Vishnu, drank the dreadful poison, as if it
were nectar, and returned to Kailasha.
cc 0 Prince of Raghu, the devas and the daityas began churning
once more, but the churning staff began to sink. Then the
devas and gandharvas praised the Lord Vishnu, saying: C 0
I Diti-a goddess. mother of the titans, daityas.
. Aditi-a goddes.., denoting U infinity". mother of the gods. adityas.
· Shri Had-another title of the Lord Vishnu.
9 1

Blessed Lord, Thou art the Master of all beings, thou art the
asylum of the gods-protect us all, 0 Great Lord, and support
the sinking Mandara mountain.'
cc Shri Vishnu, assuming the form of a tortoise, entered the
ocean and supported the mountain on his back. Taking hold
of the peak in his hand, the bless
d Vishnu churned the ocean,
standing between the devas and the asuras.
"After a thousand years, Shri Dhanwantari,I the teacher of
the Ayur Veda appeared, holding a staff and loshta in his hands;
thereafter many nymphs emerged. 0 Raghava, they were called
apsaras, cap' meaning water and C yara' to C emerge from' ;
on this account these beautiful damsels were named C apsaras.'
o Rama, they numbered six hundred million and their female
attendants were innumerable. None were received either by
the devas or the daityas, hence they remained without a lord.
cc Then, 0 Prince, Varuni,2 the daughter of the god Varuna 2
was born. The sons of Aditi did not accept her, but the asuras
gladly did so. Those who rejected her were called suras 3
(devas) and those who received her became merry and were
called asuras.
cc 0 Raghava, then the celestial horse Uchchaihshravas and
the jewel Kaustubha also rose out of the sea, and they were
succeeded by the water of immortality.
u 0 Rama, the devas fought with the danavas t for possession
of the nectar and the daityas allied themselves with the asuras
in this struy,gle; terrible indeed was this combat.
"Aftet many had lost their lives in the fight, Shri Vishnu
assumed the form of Mohini, a charming woman the product
of Maya 5 and stole the nectar from the combatants.
" Those who opposed the imperishable Vishnu were destroyed
by him. In this conflict the gods slew countless daityas. 8
Indra, after slaying the asuras, became the king of the devas
and with the he1p of the sages began to rule with joy."

1 Dhanwantari-pbysician of the gods.
· Varuni-litera1fy U wine u. the daughter of Varuna. the Lord of waters.
· Suras-another name for the gods.
& Danavas-Giants who warred against the gods.
I Maya-the indescribable, indefinable principle or })<?wer by which all
creatures are deluded. (For further explanation refer to gIOllary.)
· Daityas- Titans.

9 2



Viti undergoes severe austerities for the birth of a son

cc 0 RAMA, learning that her children had been slain, Diti
was much atfticted and approached her husband Kasyapa 1
with the words: c 0 Lord, by thy powerful sons, am I
bereft of my children. I desire a son who will be able to
destroy Indra, though to this end I must undergo great
penance. Such austerities I will perform, if thou wilt grant
me a son that is mighty, valorous, strong-willed and firm of
purpose. '
cc The holy sage answered the afflicted Diti saying: C Be it
so! Remain chaste for a thousand years, thou shalt then bear
a son capable of destroying Indra. By my grace, thy child
shall be the ruler of the three worlds.'
cc Thus did the sage console Diti, and blessing her, departed
to practise penance. Diti retired contentedly to the forest
of Kushaplava and began to undergo severe austerities.
u Indra then, coming there, paid reverence to her and began
to serve her with humility, supplying her with fire, kusha grass!
and other necessities, massaging her body when she became
weak from the severity of ascetic practices. 0 Rama, Indra
served Diti for a thousand years less ten days.
U Then Diti joyfully addressed Indra saying: C 0 Indra, thy
father has promised to grant me a son after a thousand years
penance. Thou shalt soon behold thy brother, whom I desire
shall overcome thee. With him thou shalt share the three
worlds and be happy, have no anxiety.'
cc By this time the afternoon had come. Diti overcome with
sleep, placing her feet where her head had lain, carelessly
assumed an impure posture.
cc Indra rejoiced and laughed aloud. Entering her body, he
cut the foetus into seven pieces with his great mace. Diti's
slumber was interrupted by the cry of the child in her womb.

1 Kaayapa-a Vedic sage.
I Kusha graas-sacred grass used in religious ceremonies, a grass of long staIb
and pointed leaves. (DesnOitachya bipinnata.)

Indra said to it C Do not weep', C Do not weep', and again
divided the child with his mace, despite Diti's cries, C Do not
destroy it, do not destroy it '.
cc Then Indra paused in his murderous assault and with
extreme humility addressed Diti saying C 0 Diti, thou wast
impure through sleeping with thy feet towards the head of the
couch, thou did'st thus occupy an improper posture. I have,
therefore, severed thine unborn child into seven parts, since he
was to be the cause of my destruction. 0 Devi, pardon me '."


The holy sage and the princes arrive at Vishala
and are welcomed by King Pramati

KNOWING the foetus to be divided into seven parts, Diti was
gready perturbed and said to Indra :-
cc Through my fault has this come to pass; 0 Indra, thou art
in no wise guilty. This child being divided, for thy good and
mine own, I declare that these seven shall become the protectors
of the forty-nine winds. These seven sons of divine appearance
shall be known as the Ba1a-kanda winds. Let one wander about
in the region of Brahma, another in the region of Indra, and
the third in space. Let the remaining four winds go anywhere
under thy instructions; may they all be known by the name
of Maruts, conferred on them by thee."
With joined palms, the thousand-eyed god Indra said in reply
to Diti: cc 0 Devi, it will assuredly come to pass as thou
desireth. Thy sons shall wander about in the form of devas
in the Tapovana forest."
Thus reconciled and fully satisfied the mother and son
ascended to heaven.
Thus have I heard, 0 Rama! This is that Tapovana forest
in which Indra formerly served his mother Diti. 0 Lion
among Men, here a great city was founded by the righteous
Prince Vishala, the son of King Ikswatu and Alambusa.

o Rama, the mighty son of Vishala was named Hemachandra,
and his son was the renowned Suchandra. 0 Rama, the SOD
of Suchandra was Dhumrashwa and his son was Srinjaya.
The glorious Sahadeva was the son of Srinjaya and the SOD
of Sahadeva was the highly virtuous Krishashwa.
The son of Krishashwa was Somadatta and his son was
Kakustha. The most illustrious and invincible of warriors
King Pramati the son of Kakustha, is the present ruler of
By the grace of King Ikswaku all the rulers of Vishala are
long lived, virtuous and mighty.
o Rama, let us pass the night here, and to-morrow we will
wait upon King Janaka.
When the powerful King Pramati heard of Shri Vishwamitra's
arrival in his kingdom, he went with his spiritual preceptor
and relatives to welcome him.
With joined palms, they offered him due worship and enquired
as to his welfare. The king said: "0 Muni, to-day I am
indeed fortunate that thou hast been gracious enough to visit
my kingdom. None is more blessed than I."


They come to Gautama's hermitage and Vishwamitra
relates its story

KING PRAMATI having enquired as to the well-being of Shri
Vishwamitra, said :-
Ie 0 Holy Sage, may the Lord protect those two youths;
be gracious enough to tell me who they may be. These princes,
equal to the gods in power, wa1king with the gait of an elephant,
fearless as lions or buIls in combat, whose eyes resemble lotuses,
who are armed with swords, bows and quivers, who rival
the heavenly Aswins 1 in beauty and who, in the Bower of their
1 Aawins-ceJe.stial bonemen, twin sons of Surya, the sun, precursors of the



youth, appear like gods, visiting the eanh. Why are they
travelling on foot? Whose sons are they? Why are they
come? Enhancing the earth as the sun and moon illumine
the sky; their manner of address and bearing showing them
to be kinsmen, why are these two heroes of high descent,
bearing mighty weapons, found on this hard path? I long
to hear."
Shri Vishwamitra related to the king the whole story of the
visit to the Siddha Ashrama and the slaying of the asuras.
The king was highly gratified to meet the princes, and
perceiving them to be virtuous, entertained them with the
greatest respect. Shri Ramachandra and Lakshmana having
received hospitality from King Pramati, passed the night
there. The following day they left for Mithilapuri, the capital
of King Janaka.
When they beheld the city at a distance, they cried out:
" How beautiful, how beautiful it is !" Thereafter, finding a
charming hermitage which was uninhabited, Rama enquired of
the Rishi Vishwamitra as follows: "0 Sage, how can it be
that this beautiful hermitage is unfrequented? 0 Lord, tell us
whose has been this hermitage? "
Shri Vishwamitra, chief among the eloquent, answered Rama,
saying: cc 0 Prince, hear the true story of this hermitage, I
will relate to thee who was its author and how he cursed it
in anger.
" 0 Rama, this place, a source of wonder even to the gods,
belonged to the Rishi Gautama and resembled the abode of
the celestials. Here with Ahalya, the sage practised Yoga for
thousands of years.
" 0 Rama, one day, the sage having gone to a distant place,
Indra, finding Ahalya alone, assumed his form, and said to her :
cO Fair One, I am overcome by desire, let us carry out our
conjugal duty.'
" 0 Raghava, though AhaIya recognized Indra disguised as
her lord, yet she acceded to his request. Then Ahalya addressed
Indra saying: c 0 Indra, I am highly gratified, now depart
quickly, unobserved. 0 Chief of the gods, preserve me and
thyself from Gautama.'
" Indra laughed and answered: c 0 Thou of beautiful waist,

to-day I rejoice, I will now depart for my own region.' On this,
he sought to leave the hut of Ahalya.
"0 RaIna, at that instant he observed the Rishi Gautama
entering the hut and he became agitated and anxious. Seeing
the holy sage unconquered by devas or danavas, endowed with
the power of Yoga, drenched with holy water, shining like fire,
holding the sacred fuel and kusha grass in his hands, IndIa
was terrified and grew pale.
"Shri Gautama perceiving Indra in his own guise and
judging by his guilty looks that he was leaving his spouse
having committed sin with her, cursed him saying:-
" c 0 Wicked Wretch, assuming my form, thou hast committed
this sinful act. Be thou impotent.' Cursed by the Rishi Gautama,
Indra was instantly deprived of his manhood. Then the Sage
Gautama cursed Ahalya also saying: 'Thou shalt remain
immovable in this place for thousands of years, thy food the
wind alone. Thou shalt be as dust, invisible to all creatures.
When Rama, the son of Dasaratha visits this forest, then shalt
thou be cleansed from thy sin. Having served him, 0 Deluded
One without desire for personal gain, thou shalt be restored
to me in thy present body.'
"Thus did the illustrious Gautama curse the wicked Ahalya
and, abandoning the hermitage, began his yogic penances, on
the beautiful peak of Himalaya, inhabited by siddhas."


Shri Rama liberates Ahalya from Gautama's curse
and departs for Mithila

DEPRIVED of his virility, Indra grew melancholy, and addressing
Agni and the other gods, said: "By obstructing the ascetic
practices of the Mahatma Gautama, who sought to usurp my
power, I have verily served the purpose of the gods. Evoking
his wrath, by causing him to curse me and denounce Ahalya,

I have robbed the rishi of his spiritual power, therefore, 0 Devas,
o Divine Beings, hdp me now to recover my manhood."
Then the gods with Agni at their head, approached the
pittris, kavyavahanas and other beings and said to them: cc Imira
has been deprived of his virility; this ram of yours is in full
possession of its powers, allow us to graft the testicles of the ram
on to Imira, we can compensate the ram in this wise-from
to-day, let those who desire to propitiate you, offer the sacrifice
of a castrated tam and receive the reward of great merit at your
hands. "
The pittris did as requested by Agni and grafted the testicles
of the ram on to Imira. From that time, 0 Rama, they have
accepted the sacrifice of a gelded ram.
This event proves the immeasurable power of the practices
of the holy sage. Now let us enter his hermitage. 0 Rama,
do thou liberate the unfortunate Ahalya, so that she may once
more resume her nymph-like form."
8hri Rama accepted the command and entered the hermitage,
preceded by the Sage Vishwamitta. There they beheld Ahalya,
by virtue of her yogic practices. Unperceived by devas, asuras
or men, it seemed as if Brahma had created her with his own
hands as a great mistress of occult powers. Resembling the
full moon veiled in mist or the reflection of the sun in water
or a bright fire wreathed in smoke, by the curse of the Rishi
Gautama she remained invisible and thus it was ordained she
should remain till she behdd 8hri Ramachandra and till that
hour, none in the three worlds should look on her.
With the deepest reverence did 8hri Rama and Lakshmana
touch the feet of Ahalya and she, remembering the words of
the Rishi Gautama fell down in devotion before them. There-
after, she entertained them with due hospitality, as enjoined
in the scriptures, while the two princes acknowledged the honour
paid to them. At this moment a rain of flowers fell from the sky,
scattered by the gods; heavenly musicians sang and celestial
nymphs danced whilst all rejoiced and paid homage to
The illustrious Sage Gautama becoming aware of the matter
through his divine powers, repaired to the hermitage and rejoiced
to behold AhaIya restored to her former state. Re-united, they

both worshipped the glorious Rama and then resumed their
spiritual life together.
Shri Rama, having accepted the homage offered to him,
departed thence for Mithila.


They are welcomed at the place of sacrifice by King Janaka
PRECEDED by Shri Vishwamitra, Shri Rama and Lakshmana
came to the king's place of sacrifice. Beholding the sacrificial
pavilion, they said to the holy sage: "How well has the great
Janaka prepared for the sacrifice! 0 August Rishi, thousands
of brahmins learned in the Vedas, from many lands, with
hundreds of bullock cans transporting their possessions, can be
seen here. 0 Holy Father, let us choose a place where thou
mayest rest. U .
The Sage thereupon sdected a place which was secluded
and supplied with water.
Hearing of the arrival of Shri Vishwamitra, King J anaka,
accompanied by his illustrious priest, Shri Shatananda, and
many others, hastened to that place and humbly offered obeisance
to the holy sage. Then the king placed the traditional gifts
of water sweetened with honeyl before him and he, accepting
the gifts, enquired as to the Iring's welfare and further whether
the sacrifice was proceeding without hindrance; he then duly
inquired concerning the welfare of Shri Shatananda and other
holy men in attendance on their sovereign.
The king received all with a cheerful countenance and with
joined palms said to Shri Vishwamitra: "0 August Lord,
please be seated with the other great sages." Thus requested,
they sat down, after which Janaka with his family priest,
brahmins and counsellors occupied their places, the king seated
in the midst of his ministers.

1 Madhuparka-a mixture of curds, butter, honey and the milk of coconut
-a traditional offering.


Having attended to the due placing of his guests, the illustrious
sovereign said: u 0 Lord, to-day, by the grace of the gods,
all the preparations for the sacrifice have been carried out, now
by thine advent here I have acquired merit equal to the fruit
of my sacrifice. Blessed am I that thou hast honoured the place
of sacrifice with thy presence. 0 Divine Sage, the high priests
have informed me that the sacrifice will be completed in the
course of twelve days, the gods will then come to take their
share; Thou, OIllusttious Lord, shalt behold them."
Having thus addressed the sage, the king again earnestly
enquired of him, saying: U May prosperity attend thee I
o Sage, who are these two illusttious princes, equalling the gods
in power, whose bearing resembles the majesty of an elephant,
or a lion, who are valiant and whose eyes are like lotuses, who
are armed with swords, bows and quivers and whose beauty
rivals the Aswini- Kumara, who are youthful and appear to
have descended from heaven to earth like the gods? Have
they come here on foot? Whose sons are they? They, whose
eyes are wide set and who are armed with sacred weapons,
who wear their hair like Karttikeya 1 and who captivate the hearts
of men by their magnanimous and virtuous qualities? Surely
they are come hither to exalt our hearts and add to the fame
of our dynasty? Adorning the earth as the sun or moon adorn
the sky, in stature and bearing resembling each other, 0 Great
Sage, whose sons are they? Please tell me all ! "
Hearing the words of King Janaka, Shri Vishwamitta said:
cc These are the sons of King Dasaratha."
He then told the king of their residence in the Siddha-Asrama
and of the slaying of the demons, of their visit to Vishala and
the rescue of Ahalya, also of their meeting with the Sage
Gautama. Then he said: cc Now have we come to see the
great bow."
Having related all this to the king, the great mum became

1 Kartfikeya-the god of war; the hair was shaved on the CTOwn and the
two side pieces like crows' wings )eft at the side.



Gautama's son, Shatananda, relates more of the story
of the Sage Vishwamitra

HAVING heard the words of the wise Vishwamitra, Shri Shat-
ananda, the eldest son of the Sage Gautama, resplendent by
virtue of his practice of Yoga, was filled with wonder and delight
and, beholding Shri Rama was astonished.
Seeing the two princes sitting at their ease, Shri Shatananda
said to the Sage Vishwamitra: cc 0 Holy Sage, was my mother,
so long involved in the practice of austerity, shown by thee
to Shri Ramachandra? 0 Illustrious One, did my mother enter-
tain these two heroes worthy of adoration with fruits and those
things she was able to obtain in the hermitage?
cc 0 Holy Rishi, didst thou relate the story of the improper
behaviour of Indra to my mother in bygone days, to Shri
Ramachandra? 0 Holy One, by vinue of the advent of
Shri Rama, did my mother obtain my father's favour once
more? 0 Kaushika, did my father duly honour Shri Rama-
chandra and is this Illustrious One, having received the hospitality
of my parents, really come hither? 0 Holy Sage, please tell
me; when my tranquil-minded sire entered the hermitage,
was he honoured by Shri Rama ? U
Shri Vishwamitra, skilled in the art of converse and acquainted
with the laws of rhetoric, answered Shri Shatananda saying :-
u 0 Great Muni, I did that which should be done, by speaking
that which was proper to the occasion, and patiently listening
to that which was spoken, recollecting my duty. As Jamadagni,
who first cursed Renuka and was then reconciled to her, so has
thy father shown favour to thy mother and received her again. u
Hearing the words of Shri Vishwamitra, the great Shatananda
addressed Shri Ramachandra, saying: u 0 Great One, may
thy coming be the source of prosperity to 'all. It is fortunate
indeed that thou didst visit my father's hermitage and restore
my mother to her former state. How can I sufficiently praise
that mighty Sage Shri Vishwamitra, reverenced by all the
sages. 0 Rama, enlightened are his actions; by virtue of his

holy practices he has become a brahmarishP though previously
a royal sage. Among brahmarishis he is unique, he is known
to me as one who is ever concerned with the good of all. 0
Rama, none is equal to thee on earth, since thou art protected
by so great a sage as Vishwamitra. Hear while I relate the story
of the great Kaushika 2 to thee :-
cc In the past, this holy sage was a virtuous monarch, versed
in all branches of learning, delighting in the welfare of his
subjects and the destroyer of his foes.
"Kusha, the righteous and powerful king, was the son of
Prajapati, and his son was Gadhi, and the great and illustrious
Sage Vishwamitra is the son of Gadhi.
"On ascending the throne, King Vishwamitra ruled the earth
for many thousands of years. At a certain time, King Vish-
wamitra, assembling his army, set out to range the earth.
o Rama, he passed through many cities and kingdoms and
crossed innumerable rivers, mountains and forests, visiting many
hermitages till he came to the one belonging to Shri Vasishtha.
This hermitage was thicldy planted with many-branched trees
with dense foliage in which birds of every kind dwelt. Many
species of beasts frequented that place, and the siddhas also
came there-devas, gandharvas and other celestial beings added
to the peace and beauty of that hermitage by their presence.
Beautiful birds flew about and peaceful deer wandered here
and there. Many learned brahmins also dwelt in that hermitage.
cc Brahmin sages and also celestial rishis inhabited that place,
so that it shone like fire by virtue of their presence. This
hermitage sheltered many great Vedic scholars equal to Brahma,
some living only on air, some on water, some on dry leaves.
Other sages lived on fruit and roots, and there were in addition
thousands of brahmacharis fully self-subdued.
cc Each sage observed the sacred traditions, performing his
morning and evening devotions, repeating the silent prayer (japa)
offering water to the spirits of his ancestors, and pouring obla-
tions into the sacrificial fire.
1 Brahmarishi- There are four kinds or sages or rishis: The Rajarishi or royal
lage, the Maharishi or great sage, the Brahmarishi or sacred sa
e and the Devariihi
or divine sage. The ascending scale cu1minates in the Devanshi.
· Kausbika- The name of Vishwamitra, he being the son of King Kusika, or


"Many retired householders practising Yoga, dwelt there
with their wives. Verily that hermitage resembled the abode
of Brahma, and the great and powerful King Vishwamitra
rejoiced to behold it."


HOfIJ King VishfDamitra f)isits Shri Vasishtha's hermitage
and accepts hospitality prwided by the wish-fulfilling cow,

BEHOLDING the hermitage, the mighty Vishwamitra filled with
joy, bowed with great humility to Shri Vasishtha who was
engaged in the telling of his rosary.
8hri Vasishtha welcomed the king and bade him be seated,
and he having done so was offered the fruits and roots that
grew in that place.
Honoured by the holy sage, King Vishwamitra enquired of
him if all were well with the fire sacrifice, his spiritual practices
and his disciples. Shri Vasishtha related to him all that
concerned his welfare and the welfare of those in the hermitage,
even to the trees themselves.
Sitting at ease, Shri Vasishtha said to King Vishwamitra,
eminent among yogis and a son of 8hri Brahma himself: cc 0
King, is it well with thee in all ways? Dost thou give satisfaction
to thy subjects in accordance with the law of righteousness and
dost thou rule and protect thy people according to the spiritual
law? Is thy revenue justly received and increased? Is it
judiciously administered and disttibuted to those who are eligible
and deserving? Are thy servants remunerated at the proper
season? Do thy subjects willingly obey thee ? 0 Sovereign,
hast thou subdued thine enemies? 0 Sinless King, is it well
with thine army, thy treasury, thy friends, thy SODS and
grandsons? U
In reply to these questions, King Vishwamitra humbly
answered: "All is well, my Lord I "
Conversing pleasandy together for a 10Dg time, recounting
10 3

the ancient traditions to each other, they thus promoted their
mutual delight.
o Prince of the House of Raghu, when King Vishwamitra
paused, Shri Vasishtha said to him smilingly: u 0 King,
although thou hast with thee a large retinue, yet it is my desire
to offer thee hospitality, together with thine army. Be pleased
to accept it. Since thou art a distinguished guest, it is meet
that I should do all within my power to entertain thee, therefore,
be gracious enough to receive the little I have to offer."
King Vishwamitra answered: "0 Lord, thy gentle and
pleasing words are sufficient entertainment. Moreover, thou
hast already presented me with fruits and the clear water of
thy hermitage. By meeting with thee alone, am I sufficiently
honoured. 0 Supremely Wise One, it was proper that I should
offer obeisance to thee; now thou hast entertained me, allow me
to offer thee salutations and depart."
The great sage declined to accept the king's refusal of his
offer, and still insisted that he should entertain him.
Then Vishwamitra said: "Be it according to thy pleasure,
my Lord, I will do as thou desirest."
At these words, Shri Vasishtha sent for his favourite spotted
cow Kamadhenu and said to her: u 0 Shabala, draw near and
listen to me, I desire to offer hospitality to the king and his army.
o Dear One, thou art the wish-fulfilling cow and can accomplish
anything, therefore, now prepare splendid dishes which will be
pleasing to them, of the six kinds of taste. l Produce speedily
whatever food can be eaten, drunk, licked or sucked."


The king desires to possess Shabala but Shri Vasishtha will not
give her up

THE cow Shabata provided for the needs of an according to
the instruction of Shri Vasishtha. Sugar cane, sweets of various
kinds, honey, crushed barley, wine and other excellent drinks,
1 The six kinds of taste : sweet, bitter, acid, .alt, pungent and acrid.

hot rice in heaps as high as mountains, milk, curry and other
fare combining the six tastes and countless other dishes with
sweets made of jagarP were distributed. Each was wholly
satisfied and delighted with the hospitality of Shri Vasishtha,
who accorded to all the companions and retainers of King
Vishwamitra the full extent of their desires.
The king with his family priests, ministers and attendants,
partaking of the feast offered with generosity and respect by
the great sage, was highly gratified.
When all the counsellors and personal attendants and the army
had received full hospitality, the king, wholly satisfied, said to
Shri Vasishtha: cc 0 Holy Sage, thou hast entertained me
royally, please hear what I have to say 0 Eloquent One! 0
Lord, give me the cow Shabala in exchange for a hundred
thousand excellent cows. Shabala is a jewel and by a king
should jewels be enjoyed-according to the natural law, this
treasure should therefore be mine."
Shri Vasishtha answered, saying: cc 0 King, I will not part
with Shabala in exchange for ten million cows, still less for
a hundred thousand. If thou did'st offef me mountains of silver
yet would I refuse to give thee Shabala for she must remain
in my hermitage.
cc 0 King, as a righteous man cares for his good name, so
do I for Shabala. She helps me to satisfy the devas, the pittris
and other beings. My sacred fire sacrifice and other Vedic rites,
besides the various branches of learning depend on Shabala.
o Great Ruler, indeed I cannot relinquish this cow, she is
my all and she fulfils all my needs-for these and numerous
other reasons do I refuse to yield the cow to thee. 0 King,
verily I will not part with Shabala."
The words of Shri Vasishtha merely increased the king's
desire and he, under great emotion, declared with passion:
cc 0 Great Muni, I will give thee fourteen thousand elephants
adorned with golden trappings, ornaments and goads and, in
addition, I will give thee a hundred and eight chariots made
of solid gold, each driven by four milk white horses. At the
same time, I offer thee eleven thousand well-trained horses,
each with a golden harness and further ten million cows of
1 Japri-coarse brown Indian 'UpI' made from palm ..p.

varied colours, that are young and healthy. 0 give me Shabala,
and I will give thee in exchange as much gold as thou desirest.
Grant me Shabala, I implore thee, and accept my gifts, 0 Sage."
Then the wise Vasishtha said: cc Under no condition can I
part with Shabala, 0 King, she is my jewel and my wealth.
She is my very life, my all-in-all, and she furnishes me with
alms and all I require for sacrifice. In brief, 0 King, Shabala
is the source of my spiritual life and I will never give her
up. "


King Vishwamitra attempts to carry her away by force

o RAMA, perceiving that Shri Vasishtha would not willingly
consent to part with the cow, Vishwamitra resolved to carry
her away by force.
o Raghava, while Shabala was being forcibly carried off,
distracted with grief, she began to reflect thus: cc Why has the
holy Vasishtha abandoned me? In what way have I offended
the holy sage? Why are the servants of the king dragging me
away from the hermitage? I am innocent and docile, the holy
muni is dear to me; what fault have I committed that the
Mahatma Vasishtha should abandon me ? "
Sighing again and again, Shabala, shaking off the hands of
the king's attendants, swiftly ran and placed her head at the feet
of the holy sage. Standing before Shri Vasishtha, shedding tears
and lamenting loudly, she cried: "0 Lord, 0 Son of Brahma
hast thou verily abandoned me? Why are the servants of the
king taking me away from thy presence, by force? "
Seeing the sorely stricken Shabala, Shri Vasishtha addressed
her as he would his own sister, saying: "0 Shabala, it is not
by my will that thou art thus being carried away, neither hast
thou offended me in any way, 0 Dear One. Drunk with desire,
the king is taking thee from me by force. I have not the power
to defend thee. The king is a warrior and lord of the earth,
he is attended by a mighty army with horses, elephants and
chariots, verily he is mightier than I."

Shabala, who was skilled in argument, listened to the words
of Shri Vasishtha and said: cc 0 Holy Sage, the power of a
warrior is as nought compared to that of a holy sage.
o Illustrious Lord, the strength of a sage is divine and based
on the exercise of spiritual practices and discipline, it is therefore
limitless; thou art, 0 Lord, immeasurably stronger than a
kshatriya. The power of that mighty king Vishwamitra, is
great, but he cannot equal thy strength and splendour. 0 Lord,
through thy strength and energy suffer me to destroy the power
and pride of this wicked wretch."
Shri Vasishtha answered: cc Be it so! Create an army by
thy spiritual energy, that will destroy the forces of the king."
Lowing loudly, Shabala, in obedience to the sage, instantly
produced hundreds of foreign soldiers, who began to destroy
the army of Vishwamitra while he was looking on. Perceiving
his army about to be overthrown, King Vishwamitra became
enraged and, mounting his chariot, his eyes red with anger,
he advanced to the attack. With various weapons, he began
to slay thousands of men, and Shabala, seeing the army created
by her, annihilated, now produced strange beings called shakas
in such numbers, that they filled the' whole earth. Highly
valorous, their skins shining like gold, clad in yellow armour,
furnished with scimitarS and maces, they started to consume
the army of Vishwamitra like a raging fire.
Then the great Vishwamitra, with the aid of yogic weapons,
began to create disorder in the ranks of the forces produced
by Shabala.


Shabala creates an armY which annihilates Vishwamitra's
As the mighty warriors fell, pierced by the weapons of \
Vishwamitra's forces, Shri Vasishtha said to Shabala: "0
Shabala, create more warriors by the power of Yoga."
1 0 7

Shabala, lowing loudly, produced well-armed soldiers from
her feet and udders, and from her hair and thighs were born
the extraordinary waniors Harita and Kirata. By these, the
whole army of Vishwamitra consisting of elephants, horses and
chariots, was instantly destroyed. Beholding their entire army
exterminated by the power of Shri Vasishtha, King Vishwami-
tra's hundred sons bearing mighty arms and with various
thought-propelled weapons rushed angrily at the holy Sage
Vasishtha. Shri Vasishtha merely uttered the sound cc H'm! "
and they were all immediately consumed. By the great Sage
Vasishtha, the infantry, cavalry and chariots, together with the
sons of King Vishwamitra, were instantly burned to ashes.
Then the illustrious monarch Vishwamitra whose sons and
army had been annihilated, was filled with shame and dismay.
Deprived of his glory, he resembled a waveless ocean or a snake
bereft of its fangs or the sun under eclipse. Like a bird without
wings, his confidence shattered, his pride humbled, he became
filled with anxiety. Bestowing the kingdom on his only remain-
ing son, he exhorted him to rule according to dharma and then
himself retired to the forest to practise asceticism.
After some time, he found favour with Shri Mahadeva] the
magnanimous granter of boons, and he, appearing before
Vishwamitra, addressed him saying: cc 0 King, why art thou
undergoing penance? What is thy desire? I will grant thee
whatsoever thou asketh ? n
Shri Vishwamitra making obeisance to Shri Mahadeva said
to him: "0 Great God, if I have found favour with thee,
then instruct me in the Upanishads and other branches of
learning, teach me also the mysteries and the science of archery.
Whatever weapons are known to the danavas, yaks has, asuras
and other beings, let them be revealed to me by thy grace."
On hearing the request of the king, Shri Shiva answered,
" Be it so " and returned to his abode.
King Vishwamitra, having acquired the various weapons from
Mahadeva, became as happy as the sea at the time of the full
moon. He now resolved to subdue the Sage Vasishtba and
regarded him as his captive already.
Proceeding to his hermitage he discharged his great weapons
1 Mahadeva-Great God, a name of Shiva.

like rain, setting the forest of Tapovan ablaze. AfBicted by these
dreadful weapons, all the sages began to Bee to the four quarters
in terror; even the disciples of Shri Vasishtha, together with
innumerable birds and beasts, escaped hastily in every direction.
The hermitage of Shri Vasishtha became deserted and a deep
silence fell upon it, causing it to resemble a barren field.
Shri Vasishtha repeatedly called out: cc Fear not, fear not,
I will destroy Vishwamitra as the sun dispels the morning
mist. "
Then the great Sage Vasishtha, foremost among those who
practise silent prayer, angrily addressed Vishwamitra saying:
cc Thou hast destroyed my ancient and auspicious hermitage,
o Wicked and Deluded Wretch, thou thyself shalt be destroyed."
Snatching up his staff equal to the rod of Y ama, he advanced
like a naked flame.


Shri Vasishtha by his spiritual strength conquers Vishwamitra
who then engages in penances

HEARING the harsh words uttered by Shri Vasishtha, Vishwami-
tra raising the fire weapon, cried: cc Stay! Beware!"
Then Shri Vasishtha, lifting up his Brahma staff in wrath,
exclaimed: "0 Vilest of Warriors, here I stand, let loose all
thy weapons, not excepting those propelled by thought which
thou hast obtained from the Lord Shiva. 0 Son of Gadhi,
to-day I will deprive thee of aU these weapons. How can thy
power as a warrior compare with that of a divine sage? 0
Stupid Wretch, behold my divine energy! "
So saying, Shri Vasishtha quenched the dangerous fire weapon
hurled at him by Vishwamitra as water quenches fire.
Then the son of Gadhi let 1Iy other dangerous weapons
upon the holy sage, the Varuna, the Rudra, the Indra, the
Pashupata and Ishika weapons together with the Manava,
Mohana, Gandharva, Swapana, Jrimbhana, Viadana, Santapana,

and Vilapana; the Shoshana, Darana and the terrible Vatra ;
the Brahma-pasha and Kalapasha, the Varuna-pasha and the
priceless Pinaka and also the missiles Shushka and Ardra, the
Danda weapon and the Pisacha, the Krouncha and the Dharma-
discus, the Kala discus and the discus of Vishnu, also the
weapon Vayuvya, Mathana and Haya-shira did he discharge
upon the great sage with the two Shaktis, the Kankala, Mushala,
Vidyadhara, Kala, the trident Kapala and the Kankana. All
these did he hurl at the holy sage.
Then Shri Vasishtha accomplished a great marvel and by
means of his staff alone destroyed all the weapons ofVishwamitra.
Seeing these weapons rendered ineffectual, Vishwamitra raised
the Brahman-astra. At this, Agni, the divine sages and the
celestial beings were seized with terror and the three worlds
shook with fear. But by means of his spiritual power and the
study and practice of Brahman- Vidya, Shri Vasishtha subdued
the Brahman-astra. As Shri Vasishtha consumed this tremen-
dous weapon, his charming and pleasing mien became terrible
and from each pore of his body shafts of light shot forth while
the staff of the holy sage, shining like fire, burst into flame.
All the sages now began to praise Shri Vasishtha, saying:
cc Thy power is without equal and ever productive of good,
by the power of thy Yoga, pacify the Brahman-astra. 0 Holy
Sage, thou hast humbled the pride of Vishwamitra. 0 Great
Ascetic, be pacified, that we also may be delivered from fear."
Thus addressed, Shri Vasishtha assumed his accustomed mien
and Vishwamitra, being defeated, sighing heavily, exclaimed:
cc Woe, woe to the might of a warrior! The real power is
the spiritual power. Shri Vasishtha by his spiritual strength
has fully conquered mine. I will, therefore, abandon my
warlike nature and seek to obtain brahmanhood."




Shri Vasishtha refuses to help King Trishanku enter heaven
in his physical state

THE heart of Vishwamitra was heavy, remembering his disgrace,
and he was filled with remorse at having bome enmity to Shri
o Rama, with his queen he went to the southern quarter
and began his great ascetic penance there.
After a long time four sons were born to him, each a devotee
of truth, who were virtuous and of great military prowess. Their
names were Havisyanda, Madhusyanda, Drirha-netra and
Having practised severe austerities for a thousand years, the
Grandsire of the world, Shri Brahma appeared before Vishwami-
tra and said: "0 Son of Kaushika, thou hast surpassed the
royal sages in thy great asceticism, thou shalt, therefore, be
numbered among them." Having thus spoken, Shri Brahma
with the gods went to Brahmaloka.
Vishwamitta was filled with shame and with bowed head,
overcome with grief, thus spoke: "Alas I In spite of prolonged
austerities, the gods still hold me to be a .royal sage. 1 I deem
this state no reward for the penance I have undergone."
o Rama, with renewed resolve, Vishwamitra, pre-eminent in
the field of endeavour began his life of mortification anew.
At this time, the great King Trishanku of the House of
Ikswaku, fully self-subdued and a lover of truth, resolved to
initiate a sacrifice in order to enter heaven in his physical body.
Summoning the holy Sage Vasishtha, he communicated his
intention to him, but the Mahatma Vasishtha, having duly
considered the matter, said: "0 King, this cannot be."
Discouraged by Shri Vasishtha and for the purpose of fulfilling
his design, the monarch went southwards to where the sons
of Shri Vasishtha abode, leading lives of purity and ascetism.
When King Trishanku beheld the sons of his own Guru, that
great and illustrious sage, he was full of shame, and with bowed
I See Dote on page 102.


head offered salutation to them, addressing them in great
humility saying, cc 0 Protectors of those who seek refuge in
you, I come to seek your aid. 0 Holy Ones, I besought
your sire to assist me in the observance of a sacrifice and he
discouraged me. I have, therefore, come to seek your help
in the matter. 0 Sons of my Holy Guru, I offer salutations
to you. Again and again, I bow down to you, 0 Holy Ones,
and beseech you to officiate at the proposed sacrifice, which I
desire to undertake for the fulfilment of my design, namely
that I may ascend to heaven in my embodied state. Discouraged
by the hol}' teacher Vasishtha, I consider that you alone are
able to assist me. Should you refuse me, there is none in whom
I may take refuge. The kings of the House of lkshwaku have
always sought guidance of their spiritual preceptor in time of
need, and the holy and learned Sage Vasishtha has ever upheld
the dynasty and, following him, you alone are my
instructors ".


The king appeals to Shri Vasishtha' s sons to conduct
the sacrifice. They curse hi", and he appeals to VisJrwamitra
o RAMA, hearing the words of the king, the hundred sons of
Shri Vasishtha were filled with wrath and said: "0 Thou
Evil-minded Wretch, discouraged by thy spiritual preceptor,
how dost thou dare to seek our aid? 0 King, we know thee
to be an ignorant man. 8hri Vasishtha is able to advance the
sacrifices of the three worlds, verily thou art no true disciple
of such a sage. Shall we render void the utterance of our
great sire? "
Hearing these harsh words, the king replied: cc Discouraged
by my Guru and now by you, I shall seek elsewhere for aid ;
may all be well with you."
The sons of the great sage were enraged on hearing these
words spoken in defiance, and cursed the king, saying: cc Mayest

thou become one of the fallen caste. U Having thus cursed him,
they returned to their hermitage.
When the night was over, the king was transformed into a
low-born being, his complexion dark, his body emaciated, his
head shaven, his whole frame besmeared with ashes from the
crematorium, his golden ornaments changed to lead.
When the people of the capital beheld the king in this
condition they fled from that place, and Trishanku departed, full
of anguish. Sunk in grief day and night, he finally sought refuge
with Shri Vishwamitra. That sage seeing the monarch deprived
of his kingdom and condemned to assume the form of a low-caste
being, was moved with compassion, and addressed him saying:
u 0 Mighty Prince, mayest thou be prosperous! Why hast
thou come hither? I know thee to be the Sovereign of Ayodhya
that through a curse art come to this state."
The eloquent King Tris
u, with joined palms, replied
in tones of submission: "0 Great One, discouraged by my
Guru and his sons in my desire to enter heaven in the physical
body, I have been transformed by them into a chandala. 1 Now,
for shame, I may not show myself to any. 0 Lord, I have failed
to obtain the fruit of countless sacrifices, an untruth has never
been uttered by me, I have governed my people with righteous-
ness and by my conduct have satisfied my spiritual preceptor
and holy men. I desired to undertake a further meritorious
sacrifice, but 0 Great Sage, my Guru has withheld his aid.
o Lord, destiny is irrevocable, destiny is inexorable, none can
withstand it. All are ruled by destiny. 0 Divine Sage, be
favourable to me, who am fallen into distress! Besides thee,
there is none in whom I can take refuge. 0 Holy One, by thy
spiritual energy, avert this evil fate."

· CJ1andala-u outQIt.




Vish'lOamitra seeks the help of the sons of Vasishtha
and Mahodeoa; they refuse and are cursed

SHRI VISHWAMITRA heard the appeal of the fallen sovereign and
in sweet accents spoke words of comfort, saying: "0 King,
thou art welcome, I know thee to be wholly virtuous, I will be
thy refuge, fear not. I shall invite hither the learned and pious
brahmans who will assist thee in the performance of thy sacrifice.
This thou shalt accomplish and obtain heaven in the form
imposed on thee by thy Guru. 0 King, having taken refuge
in me, consider thy purpose already accomplished."
Having uttered these words, Shri Vishwamitra commanded
his sons to prepare all things for the sacrifice. Summoning
his disciples, he said to them: "Bring hither the pious and
learned brahmins and the sons of Shri Vasishtha also. May
they come with their disciples, their friends, the learned and
the priests. If any disregard my word, let it be reported to
me. "
In obedience to the sage, the disciples set out to every quarter,
summoning the sages and learned men from many lands.
Returning, they approached Vishwamitra, and said: "0 Lord,
at thy command the holy sages are coming hither, some are
already come, Mahodeva excepted; but the sons of holy
Vasishtha, transported with rage uttered harsh words of which
we will tell thee." They said: cc How shall divine sages
partake of that sacrifice undertaken by a chandala, at which
a kshatriya officiates? And how shall those brahmins, con-
strained by Vishwamitra, partaking of the food offered by a
chandala, enter heaven? "
o Great Sage, these are the words of the sons of 8hri
,Vishwamitra, his eyes red with anger, answered: cc Why
should the sons of Shri Vasishtha disregard me, who am engaged
in severe ascetic practices and without guilt? By my power,
these evil-minded men shall this day be consumed to ashes
and enter the abode of death. By my curse they shall become

of those who subsist on the dead for a hundred incarnations.
They shall eat the flesh of dogs and be called C Musthika '.
Despised by all, they shall wander about among men and may
the wicked Mahodeva also, having imputed blame to me, be
born as a fowler, for a long time becoming the pitiless destroyer
of other's lives and by my wrath may he sink to a miserable
and abject state."
Sitting amid the sages, the Sage Vishwamitra having pro-
nounced this curse, became silent.


Through fear of Vishwamitra, the sages assist in the sacrifice
and King Trishanku ascends to a specially created heaven

HAVING stricken the sons of 8hri Vasishtha by the power of
his asceticism, Vishwamitra, seated amidst the sages, spoke :-
"The renowned monarch Trishanku of the dynasty of
Ikshwaku, who is both magnanimous and virtUous, has taken
refuge with me. He is desirous of entering heaven in his
embodied state, it is for me to accomplish it. 0 Sages, do you
unitedly assist him in this sacrifice."
The sages hearing the words of Vishwamitra and being
acquainted with the tradition, consulted together saying: "The
son of Kaushika, the Rishi Vishwamitra, is given to wrath. If
we do not fulfil his desire, like a consuming fire he will pour out
his curse upon us. Let us, therefore, assist him in the sacrifice
so that the king may enter heaven in his physical body. Now
let us inaugurate the rites."
Then the rites began, as prescribed by ancient tradition,
Vishwamitra acting as the chief priest and the learned brahmins
becoming the sacrificing priests subordinate to him. Observing
numerous rituals, the sacrifice continued for a long time. Then
Shri Vishwamitra called thither the gods for their share of the
sacrifice, but none of these celestial beings appeared. At this

the great sage grew exceedingly wroth and lifting up the sacrificial
vessel, said to the King Trishanku: cc 0 King, behold the power
of my asceticism by virtue of which I now send thee to heaven
in thy embodied state. 0 King, though it is deemed impossible
to accomplish this, by the power acquired by me I now say
to thee; C ascend to heaven in thy physical form.' "
Having uttered these words, King Trishanku, in the presence
of the sages instantly ascended to the heavens.
Seeing Trishanku there, Indra and all the other gods
exclaimed: cc 0 Trishanku, thou hast no place in heaven.
Cursed by thy Guru, 0 Stupid Wretch, do thou fall headlong
to the earth."
Trishanku accordingly instantly began to fall towards the
earth crying out to Shri Vishwamitra, cc Protect me ", cc Protect
me ".
Shri Vishwamitra, hearing the cry, grew angry, and called
out, cc Stay, Stay". At that moment, standing amidst the sages,
the great rishi resembled Prajapati. Thereafter he created seven
planets in the southern quaner called the Seven Rishis, and then
he created the Ashwini and twenty-seven other stars. Seated
amidst the sages, filled with wrath, Vishwamitra reflected in
himself: cc I will create another Indra or I will leave this heaven
without an Indra. Nay, I will make Trishanku Lord of this
heaven," and he began to create a new circle of gods.
Upon this, the sages, gods and celestial beings, bewildered
and perturbed, approached Vishwamitra and said with humility :
cc 0 Great Sage, this king has been cursed by his spiritual
preceptor and is not worthy of heaven."
Shri Vishwamitra answered them, saying: cc Hear, 0 ye Gods,
I have vowed that this king should enter heaven in his embodied
state, this pledge must be fulfilled. To this end, I have created
the Pole star and other planets and this heaven will abide as long
as the former heaven endures, as also the gods created by me,
it becomes you, therefore, to confirm what I have
The gods in awe, having heard these words, answered: cc Be
it so, 0 IDustrious Rishi, the heaven created by thee shall endure
beyond the Path of Vishwanara, and let Trishanku, suspended
head downwards, remain as if immortal among these shining

stars. As the stars attend on famous and successful men so
let these brilliant luminaries, created by thee, attend on King
Trishanku. "
8hri Vishwamitra, extolled by the gods, acquiesced in their
After this, 0 Rama, the gods and the ascetics who had
attended the sacrifice, returned to their own regions.


King Ambarisha's sacrificial horse is lost and he seeks
a human 'Victim

o RAMA, when Vishwamitra saw the sages departing, he said
to the dwellers of the Tapovana forest: "In the southern region,
great obstructions have hindered my penances, I shall therefore
go to another quarter to perform austerity. To the west of
this place, at the sacred spot named Pushkara, there is a large
and beautiful forest where I shall continue my practices un-
disturbed. "
Reaching that place, the great sage engaging in occult practices,
subsisted on fruit and roots.
Meanwhile, King Ambarisha of Ayodhya inaugurated the
horse sacrifice, but the horse was carried away by Indra, on
which the priest addressed the monarch, saying: "0 King,
it is for thee to protect the sacrificial steed, the horse has been
stolen away owing to thy negligence, therefore, provide another
or seek a human victim, so that the sacrifice may be accomplished
without further hindrance."
Hearing these words, the renowned monarch offered thousands
of cows to whosoever should find either a horse, or human being.
Seeking the sacrificial beast, the illustrious sovereign passed
through many countries, cities and forests, and entered hermit-
ages and sacred places.
At length, the King Ambarisha beheld Richika the S,ge,
with his sons and wife dwelling on the mountain Bhrigutunga.

Making obeisance to him, the king honoured him in various ways
and enquired as to his welfare. He then said to him: "If it
be agreeable to thee, grant me one of thy sons in exchange for
a hundred thousand cows. After searching many countries,
I have not found either a horse or a human victim for the
sacrifice. 0 Lord, do thou, therefore, deliver thy son to me
and accede to my request. U
Richika answered: "0 King, I will never bestow my eldest
son on any." His wife then said: cc My Lord does not wish
to part with the eldest son, but the youngest son Shunaka is
dearest to me, I shall not part with him. 0 Great Muni, the
eldest son is beloved of his father and the youngest is dear
to his mother, therefore, these two should not be taken away."
o Rama, the middle son, whose name was Shunashepha,
hearing these words, spoke thus: cc My father does not wish
to part with his eldest son, nor my mother with her youngest,
therefore, take me, 0 King."
o Rama, the king gave the Sage Richika a hundred thousand
cows in exchange for Shunashepha and, mounting his chariot,
started with him on his homeward journey.


Shunasheplza, the human victim, seeks and obtains help
from VishfDamitra

o RAMA, the illustrious King Ambarisha, accompanied by
Shunashepha, having in the afternoon reached Pushkara, rested
there. While the king rested, Shunashepha, going to a certain
spot, beheld Shri Vishwamitra, his maternal uncle, engaged
with other sages in the performance of spiritual practices and he,
sorrowful, thirsty and fatigued, fell at the feet of the sage, and
said: cc 0 Lord, for me there is neither father, mother, relative
nor caste. 0 Peaceful Sage, 0 Sovereign among ascetics, I
take refuge in thee; in the name of dharma, deliver me. Thou
can'st protect the whole world, how much more one so insignifi-

cant as myseJf. Do thou assist the king in the completion of
his sacrifice that it may be accomplished without hindrance,
and may I live and by means of my spiritual practices obtain
heaven. Thou art my master who am masterless. Protect me,
wretched as I am, as a father protects his child. U
Shri Vishwamitra, hearing the piteous words of Shunashepha
addressed his own sons, saying: "0 My Sons, that world
for which fathers beget their children is at hand, l this child
is the son of the Sage Richika and has taken refuge in me,
let us protect his life. You are all virtuous and charitable,
let one of you take the place of the sacrificial victim at the
Icing's sacrifice, and thus satisfy the God Agni. In this way,
we can rescue Shunashepha. Assist me in the completion of
the Icing's sacrifice, propitiate the gods, and enable me to be
true to my word."
Hearing these words, Madhusyanda and the other sons
sullenly replied to Vishwamitra, saying: "0 King of Kings,
would'st thou abandon thine own sons and protect another's?
Such an action resembles the relinquishing of a tasty dish to
partake of the flesh of a dog."
Hearing this reply, Shri Vishwamitra grew angry and, his eyes
inflamed with wrath, he said: " Your speech is arrogant and
contrary to dharma, it is a violation of filial affection. I regard
you all as insubordinate, therefore, I now curse you. Like the
sons of Shri Vasishtha, may you fall from your high caste and,
eating the flesh of dogs, wander about in the world during the
period of a thousand years ! "
Having thus cursed his sons, the muni, off
g Shunashepha
his protection, thus instructed him: "0 Son of a Sage, at
King Ambarisha's sacrifice, allow thyself to be bound, adorned
with the red garland, besmeared with sandalwood paste and tied
to the sacrificial post. I will impart to thee two mantrams,
which when repeated, will deliver thee."
The holy sage then carefully instructed him in the sacred
formulas. Thereafter, Shunashepha approached the king and
said: cc 0 Illustrious Monarch, now enter upon the initiation
without delay and accomplish the performance of thy sacrifice."
1 The Hindus regard their hope of a future existence to depend to a great extent
on their sons performing their obsequies.

The king, filled with joy, went without delay to the sacrificial
pavilion. With the consent of the officiating priest, the king
now dressed Shunashepha in red attire and tied him to the post
as the consecrated victim. Being bound, Shunashepha began
to praise Upendra 1 by reciting the mantrams he had been given
by Vishwamitra.
Indra, pleased with the worship of Shunashepha, bestowed
the blessing of long life on him.
o Rama, then did the king complete his sacrifice and obtain
the desired fruit from Indra.
Thereafter, the righteous Vishwamitra renewed his yogic
penance in Pushkara and performed it there for a thousand


After more austerities V ish'lOamitra is proclaimed
a Maharishi

SHRI VISHW AMITRA passed a thousand years in the practice of
mortification, then the gods came to bestow on him the fruits
of his asceticism. The supreme Brahma addressed him in
pleasing accents, saying: cc 0 Holy One, mayest thou be
prosperous, thou an now become a rishi by virtue of thy great
austerities." Having said this, Shri Brahma and the other
celestial beings returned to their own spheres.
Vishwamitra again engaged in severe austerity and in this
way passed many more years. While thus employed, the
celestial nymph Menaka came to bathe in the Pushkara lake.
Resembling lightning illumining a cloud, her beauty stirred
the passion of Vishwamitra and he said to her :-
cc Be gracious to me for I am filled with a great love for thee."
Then that beautiful one agreed to take up her abode in the
hermitage of the rishi. The penances ofVishwamitra were thus
rendered void by the' presence of Menaka in the hermitage.
o Rama, that nymph pa,sed ten years in that place.
1 Upendra-a name oflndra.


Mter this time, Shri Vishwamitra perceiving himself to have
been deluded, was filled with shame and he reflected on the
cause of his infatuation. Then he adjudged the gods to have
devised this plan to bring his ascetism to nought and he cried
out: "What, have I passed ten years with this woman, as it
were a night. Alas! My great austerities are destroyed by
this passion."
Sighing heavily and filled with remorse, he beheld Menaka
trembling with fear, standing near, but Vishwamitra addressing
her in reassuring words, bade her farewell.
Having controlled his passions, Shri Vishwamitra went to
the northern mountains and began to perform penance in the
Himalayas on the bank of the Kaushiki river.
Then, 0 Rama, the gods were filled with fear by the austerities
practised by the rishi on the Himalayan mountains, and approach-
ing Shri Brahma said :-

"0 Grandsire, now grant the title of maharishi to Shri
Shri Brahma then appeared before Vishwamitra and in gentle
accents said to him: "Hail to Thee, 0 Rishi, I am pleased
with thine austerity. I name thee chief among the rishis."
Then Vishwamitra, making obeisance to Shri Brahma, spoke
submissively saying: "0 Lord, these penances have been
undertaken by me that I might become a brahmarishi. Since
thou still namest me maharishi, I regard myself as not yet fully
self-subdued. "
Shri Brahma answered, saying: "So it is, thou hast not yet
fully gained the mastery over thy senses. 0 Great Muni,
undergo further penance." Having uttered these words, Shri
Brahma returned to the celestial regions.
Then Vishwamitra began an exceedingly severe penance,
standing unsupported with his arms raised, living only on air ;
in the summer season, standing in the midst of five fires,
in the rainy season lying without a canopy, in the winter
practising his spiritual discipline in water, thus did he pass
a thousand years.
Perceiving Vishwamitra undergoing these severe penances,
the gods were greatly pertUrbed. At length their lord, Indra,

approached the nymph Rambha and begged her to promote
his interest and cause harm to Vishwamitra.

Indra is perturbed and send.( Rambha to disturb the further
austerities of the Sage

INDRA thus addressed Rambha saying: cc 0 Rambha, it is for
thee to accomplish this great work and stimulate the passions
of the great Sage Vishwamitra, so that his spiritual practices
may be rendered void."
o Rama, Rambha, filled with apprehension on hearing the
words of Indra, said in humility: cc 0 lndra, the Rishi
Vishwamitra is easily moved to wrath, he will certainly curse
me if I approach him. I fear to enter his presence, do not
therefore ask me to undertake this task."
To Rambha, trembling with fear, standing with joined palms,
in token of submission, Indra made answer: u 0 Rambha, fear
not, accomplish my desire, may success attend thee!
In the spring season, assuming the form of a cuckoo calling
sweetly, accompanied by the god of love, I will take my place
on a blossoming tree not far from thee. 0 Rambha, attired in
beautiful and charming apparel do thou divert the mind of the
muni from his spiritual practices."
At the instance of Indra, that lovely nymph clad in enchanting
raiment, faintly smiling, went forth to allure the heart of Shri
At that moment, the liquid notes of the cuckoo began to
delight the rishi and he then beheld the nymph Rambha.
Stirred by the cuckoo's note and the ravishing sound of the
beautiful Rambha's song, Shri Vishwamitra, recollecting his
former fall, was filled with misgiving and recognizing the design
of the god Indra, transported with rage, cursed Rambha,
saying :-
cc 0 Rambha, 0 Unfortunate One, thou hast come hither

to lure me from my penance, I, who have conquered lust and
anger. Mayest thou become petrified and take the form of a
rock for ten thousand years. A brahmin perfected in the power
of Yoga shall one day deliver thee from this curse."
Having pronounced this curse on Rambha, the rishi became
a prey to remorse, for, giving way to wrath he lost the fruit
of all his yogic practices.
Rambha having been instantly turned to stone, Indra and
Kama, perceiving the sage filled with wrath, fled in terror.
Shri Vishwamitra having lost the merit of his penances could
obtain no peace; his passions remaining unsubdued, he resolved
to speak no word to any and never give way to anger; he said:
cc For a thousand years, I will not breathe. Reducing my body
to the last extremity, mastering my senses, I will obtain
brahmanhood by the power of my penance. Measureless years,
shall I remain standing, neither breathing nor eating, even should
my limbs become atrophied."
o Rama, Vishwamitra resolved to perform this mortification
for the space of a thousand years.


Vishwamitra performs another thousand years' austerities
and he acquires brahmanhood

AFTER this the great Rishi Vishwamitra, leaving the northern
quarter, went eastward and engaged in a most severe course
of austerities. Observing silence for a thousand years, he
performed incomparable ascetic practices, hardly able to be
After a thousand years, his form reduced to the semblance
of wood, the royal sage, under the greatest provocation, was
not incited to anger. 0 Rama, when Vishwamitra was persuaded
that he had conquered anger, his vow of a thousand years'
mortification being terminated, he sat down to eat.
At that time, Indra appeared in the guise of a brahmin and
1 2 3

requested the food set before the muni, upon which Vishwamitra,
believing him to be a sage, gave him the whole which he had
prepared for himself and still observing the vow of silence,
uttered no word.
, The chief of the sages, suspending his breath for a further
thousand years, continued his penance, then there issued from
his head a smoke which terrified the beings of the three worlds.
By the power of his mortification, the devas, gandharvas, and
other beings were deprived of their glory and lost conscious-
In distress, they addressed Shri Brahma saying: cc 0 Lord,
by every means in our power, we have sought to distract the
great sage from his penances and provoke him to anger, but he
has persisted in his practices and is free from desire and aversion.
If thou dost not grant him brahmanhood, verily the three worlds
will be destroyed. None can find rest anywhere, the seas are
drying up and the mountains are riven by the power of his
austerities; the sun is deprived of its splendour, the earth is
agitated and the wind stirs not. 0 Lord, we cannot move him
from his resolve. On account of this peril, men like atheists
have given up the performance of charitable deeds. Nowhere
is peace to be found. 0 Divine Being, lest the mighty
Vishwamitra, resplendent as fire, determine to destroy the
universe, deign to grant him his desire. As Time, in the form
of fire, at the dissolution of the world, consumes the whole
universe, so also will the Sage Vishwamitra. Grant him,
therefore, Indrahood, if he so desire it, for if Thou withhold
brahmanhood which he has sought to acquire, then only the
sovereignty of Indra's region, will content him."
Thus approached, 8hri Brahma, accompanied by the gods,
appeared before 8hri Vishwamitra and in pleasing accents
addressed him, saying: cc 0 Brahmarishi, reverence to thee,
we are pleased with thine austerity. 0 Holy Vishwamitra, by
the power of thy penance, thou hast acquired b l'A'hmSln'h ood.
The gods bless thee, may prosperity attend thee, may longevity
be thine I From to-day, thou art free, now go where thou
pleaseth. n
Offering SalutatiODS to Shri Brahma and aU the gods, Shri
Vishwamitra said: cc Having beltowed b rah"'lob ood aDd

longevity upon me, grant me instruction in the holy syllable
C AUM' and the Vedas also, and further invest me with the
authority to officiate at the sacrifice. 0 Ye Gods, let the son
of Brahma, Shri Vasishtha, fully acquainted with the Vedic
science, acknowledge me as a brahmarishi. If this desire of
mine be fulfilled, ye may all depart."
Thereupon the gods appeared before Shri Vasishtha, who
having acquiesced in their wish and sealed his friendship with
Vishwamitra, said to him: cc Verily thou art now a brahmarishi
and as such I acknowledge thee." Thereafter the gods returned
to their own region. Thus did the illustrious Sage Vishwamitra
acquire brahmanhood.
The divine sage then paid homage to the great Vasishtha and,
his purpose accomplished, wandered about the earth engaged in
charitable deeds. Shri Shatananda said: cc 0 Rama, this is the
story of Shri Vishwamitra and how he obtained brahmanhood.
o Raghava, verily he is the chief of sages and the personification
of Yoga. Constantly engaged in acts of virtue, he still performs
rigorous penances."
Having uttered these words, Shri Shatananda became silent.
When this excellent sage had ended his narrative, King J anaka
in the presence of Rama and Lakshmana humbly addressed Shri
Vishwamitra saying: cc 0 Chief of Sages, blessed am I, that
thou art come with Shri Rama and Lakshmana to my sacrifice.
o Muni, thou hast, by thy presence, done us great honour.
o Brahmarishi, thou hast added to our renown. Shri Rama,
my counsellors and I have heard the story of thy wonderful
austerities and also of thine excellent qualities. 0 Great Sage,
immense is thy power, unimaginable thy penances, incalculable
thy virtues, nor does one ever tire of hearing of thy marvellous
deeds. 0 Illustrious Lord, the sun has set and the time of
evening devotion is near, graciously grant us leave to depart ;
in the morning we shall see thee again."
8hri Vishwamitra gratified by the king's words, praised him
and granted him permission to depart, upon which King Janaka
rose and circumambulating the great sage took his departure,
accompanied by his spiritual preceptor and relatives.
Honoured by the sages, the great Vishwamitra with Shri Rams
and Lakshmana also returned to his abode.



King Janaka relates the story of the great bow and the birth
of Sita
THE day dawned peacefully and King J anaka, having performed
his morning devotions, called for the two princes and Vish..
wamitra. Having honoured the sage and the two descendants
of the House of Raghu, he said: cc 0 Blessed Lord, peace be
with thee, what service can I render thee, I am wholly thine."
Thus addressed by the king, the Sage replied: cc These two
princes are the sons of King Dasaratha, they are renowned in
the warrior caste and exalted throughout the earth. They desire
to see the great bow
which is deposited with thee, be gracious
enough to permit them to view it and having thus accomplished
their purpose, they will return to their own capital."
Thus addressed, King Janaka replied to the sage: cc 0 Holy
hear from me for what reason this bow is deposited with
me. There was a king named Devarata in the sixth generation
of the monarch Nimi who obtained this bow as a trust. In
ancient days, Shri Mahadeva at the destruction of Daksha'sl
sacrifice, lifting up his bow in sport said to the gods: c 0 Devas,
ye have failed to give me my share in the sacrifice, therefore,
by means of this bow I shall destroy you all.'
cc 0 Great Sage, the devas overwhelmed with fear, making
supplication to the god, succeeded in propitiating Shri Maha-
deva. Then he delivered the bow to the gods and they bestowed
it on King Devarata. This is the bow.
cc Thereafter, while I was ploughing the earth for a sacrifice, a
virgin issued therefrom. Being uncovered by the edge of the
plough, I named her Sita- and she became my daughter. This
earth-born virgin has grown up under my protection. For
the marriage of my daughter, it was established by me and
made known to the kings coming to seek her hand, that I should
not bestow her on any prince whose strength had not been
fully tried. 0 Renowned Sage, these kings have come to test
1 Daksha-the rather of Parvati, the son of Brahma, one of the Pr
I Si
iteral1y a furrow.

their prowess and I have placed the bow before them and
requested them to string it, but none as yet has been able to
do so. Perceiving them to be deficient in strength, I have
refused to bestow my daughter on any of them. These kings,
inflamed with anger, considering their failure to string the bow
had brought them into disrepute, surrounded my capital, and
inflicted great hardship on my people. This siege endured a
full year and immeasurably reduced my treasury. Undergoing
severe penances, I propitiated the gods, who granted me a large
army with which I have defeated those kings who have retreated,
bereft of courage, yet still smarting under imagined injury.
cc 0 Great Sage, this is that bow and I will show it to these
two princes. 0 Rishi, should Shri Ramachandra be able to
string the bow, I will give my daughter Sita to him in marriage."


The illustrious Rama breaks the bow and is given the Princess
Sita in marriage

ords of King Janaka, Shri Vishwamitra said :-
u 0 King, let the bow be shown to Shri Rama."
Then the monarch addressed his ministers, saying: U Go,
bring the bow adorned with flowers and sandalwood, hither."
The counsellors commanded by Janaka went to the capital
and brought back the bow. Five hundred men, of great strength,
brought the eight-wheeled cart on which the bow was placed.
Having brought the chest fashioned of iron containing the bow,
the ministers addressed their divine sovereign, saying: u 0
Chief of Men, here is the bow worshipped by former kings.
o Sovereign of Mithila, it is at thy disposal."
Then, with palms joined in humility, King Janaka spoke to
the holy Sage Vishwamitra standing with Rama and Lakshmana :
"0 Holy Lord, this is the bow which has been the object of
worship to the kings of the Nimi dynasty and which the monarchs
1 2 7 K

of the earth coming hither have sought to string. Even the gods
have not been able to raise, bend or string this bow. How,
therefore, should mortals have the power to do so if the gods
have failed? 0 Great Rishi, behold the bow, let the two princes
examine it."
The righteous Sage Vishwamitra, hearing the words of the
king, said to Rama: cc 0 Child, view this divine bow." Then
Shri Rama, approaching the casket in which the bow lay, opened
it and gazed upon it.
He said: cc 0 Divine Lord, taking it in my hand and raising
it up, I shall endeavour to string the bow." Then the king and
the sage answered: cc Be it so," and Shri Ramachandra with
a slight effort, seizing the centre of the bow, lifted it up in the
presence of thousands of people and without exertion drew it.
By the unparalleled strength of the illustrious Rama, the bow
broke into two parts and a sound resembling the fall of a
thunderbolt rang forth cleaving the mountains asunder and
causing the earth to shake, and on this the people on
every side fell insensible, save only Vishwamitra, Rama and
After a while, the people being somewhat restored, and
the king's misgivings set at rest, he addressed the excellent
Sage with humility, saying: cc 0 Blessed Lord, I have witnessed
the unparalleled, wonderful and incontestable feat of Shri
Ramachandra. My daughter, the Princess Sita, shall obtain
Prince Rama as her lord and add to the glory of my dynasty.
o Great Sage, to-day my pledge to subject the prospective
wooer of my daughter to a trial of strength has been redeemed.
Now I shall bestow on Rama, Sita, who is dearer to me than
my life. With thy permission, 0 Sage, my messengers in swift
chariots shall drive in all haste to Ayodhya and respectfully
relating this event to King Dasaratha invite him to my capital.
They shall funher inform him regarding the well-being of the
two princes protected by thee and with due honour, convey
the great king hither." ..
The Sage Vishwamitra acquiescing to the proposal, the king
communicated the matter to his messengers and entrusting them
with a personal missive to King Dasaratha, sent them forth
on their deputation.




King Janaka sends messengers to invite King Dasaratha
to the capital

COMMANDED by King Janaka, the messengers in swift chariots,
passing three nights on the way, their horses greatly fatigued,
arrived at Ayodhya. Entering the gates of the palace, they
addressed the sentries, saying :-
cc Please inform the king that we have come from King Janaka
and desire an audience."
King Dasaratha being informed, caused the messengers to be
brought before him. Entering the royal palace, they beheld
the aged king who resembled a god. His benign and gracious
presence putting them at their ease, they addressed him in gentle
and submissive accents saying: "0 Illustrious Sovereign, the
Lord of the kingdom of Mithila, the performer of great sacrifices,
King Janaka, enquires with affection as to thy well-being and
also concerning the welfare of thy subjects. With the consent
of the Sage Vishwamitra he sends you the following good tidings.
His daughter who has been wooed by many kings unable to
pass the requisite trial of strength, who have thereupon returned
home discomfited, has been won by thy highly fortunate and
princely son. He, in the company of the Sage Vishwamitra,