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90 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

" 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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SITA LOST 91

II

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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92 THE EPIC OF RAMA, 1>RINCE OF INDIA

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 !



Ill

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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SITA iOST 93

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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94 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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 ! "



IV

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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SITA LOST *5

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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96 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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
heart,

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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SITA LOST 97

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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98 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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-
born?"



VI

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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SITA LOST 99

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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ioo THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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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SITA LOST 101

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 ! **



VII

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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102 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

•« 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 ! ,

v'

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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SITA LOST 103

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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BOOK VII

KISHKINDHA

(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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\

IN THE NILGIRI MOUNTAINS 105

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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106 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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
throne,

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 / "



II

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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IN THE NILGIItl MOUNTAINS 107

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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108 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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 ! "



III

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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IN THE NILGIRI MOUNTAINS 109

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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no THE EPIC OP RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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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IN THE NILGIRI MOUNTAINS

IV

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:

ti



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
vain,

H



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112 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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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IN THE NILGIRI MOUNTAINS 113

«

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
scent,

And when glow these heavy masses red and white with evening's glow,,
One could almost deem them sword-cuts branded by some heavenly
foe!



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ii4 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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
rills,

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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IN THE NILGIRI MOUNTAINS 115

VI

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
wide.

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
tree.



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ii6 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OP INDIA

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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IN THE NILGIRI MOUNTAINS 117

" 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
dwell

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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BOOK VIII

SITA-SANDESA
(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.

I

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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SITA DISCOVERED 119

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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120 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

And the lived by Rakshas guarded, as a fata and timid deer,
Severed from her herd and kindred when the prowling wolves are
near,

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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SITA DISCOVERED 121

II

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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i«4 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

" 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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SITA DISCOVERED 125

IV

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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126 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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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BOOK IX

RAVANA-SABHA

(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
country.

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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II

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 ! "

III

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 ! "



IV

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 ! "



V

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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THE COUNCIL OF WAR 131

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 ! "



VI

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
shore!

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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132 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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 ! "



VII

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
strife,



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THE COUNCIL OF WAR 133

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
flight!

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^ ! "



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134 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

VIII

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!'"



IX

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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THE COUNCIL OF WAR 135

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
queen,

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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BOOK X

YUDDHA

(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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138 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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.



I

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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THE WAR IN CEYLON 139

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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II

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
life,

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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THE WAR IN CEYLON 141

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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142 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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



III

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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THE WAR IN CEYLON 143

" Lofty scorn of foes unworthy spared them from my flaming ire,
But the blood of slaughtered kinsmen claims from me a vengeance
dire,"

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
hate,

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
blood,



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144 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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
sent,

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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THE WAR IN CEYLON 145

IV

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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THE WAR IN CEYLON 147

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 !



VI

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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152 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

" 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 !



VII

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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THE WAR IN CEYLON 153

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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VIII

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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156 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

" 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.



IX

■. 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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THE WAR IN CEYLON 157

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
eye!"

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 !



XI

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 "



XII

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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BOOK XI

RAJYA-ABHISHEKA

{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.



x6z



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162 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

I

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
concealed,

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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RAMA'S RETURN AND CONSECRATION 163

" 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 !



II

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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164 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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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RAMA'S RETURN AND CONSECRATION 165

III

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 ! "



IV

Greetings

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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RAMA'S RETURN AND CONSECRATION 167

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
smell,

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 ! "



V

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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RAMA'S RETURN AND CONSECRATION 169

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

throng,
I

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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170 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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

ASWA-MEDHA

{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
Bore.

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
text.



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
lore,



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, SACRIFICE OF THE HORSE 173

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
lined,

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 !



II

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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174 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

"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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SACRIFICE OF THE HOBSE 17$

III

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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1*6 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA l

" 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



IV

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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SACRIFICE OF THE HORSE 177

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
said,

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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178 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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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J



CONCLUSION

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

179



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i8o THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

always appears on earth to create mischief. And true to the orders
passed by Rama, he surrendered his life by penances, and went to
heaven.

In the fulness of time, Rama and his other brothers left Ayodhya,
crossed the Sarayu, surrendered their mortal life, and entered
heareo.



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EPILOGUE BY THE TRANSLATOR



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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i82 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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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EPILOGUE BY THE TRANSLATOR 183

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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184 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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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EPILOGUE BY THE TRANSLATOR 185

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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186 THB EPIC OP RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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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EPILOGUE BY THE TRANSLATOR 187

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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188 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OP INDIA

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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EPILOGUE BY THE TRANSLATOR 189

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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i9o THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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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EPILOGUE BY THE TRANSLATOR _ 191

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,

N



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192 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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.



ROMESH DUTT.



University College, London,
i $th August 1899.



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"*»?'



Printed by Ballantvnb, Hanson~A* Co.
Edinburgh 6* London



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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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■ I

■ ■



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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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RAMAYANA


OF


VALMIKI


Translated by
BAR I PRASAD SHASTRI


Vol. I.


BALA KANDA
AYDOHYA KANDA


SHANTI SADAN
29 CHIPSTOW VILLAS
LONDON, W.II
1952



Pri.,."" in c;,.,. Bri",i"
fit lite Bu1U.BIGH
, lAwi1l$ Mea.tl, BRISTOL



DEDICATED TO


LISL FUCHS AND MARJORIE ROBLEY



CONTENTS


BOOK I-BALA KANDA


CHAPTER PAGE
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
vii



CONTENTS


CHAPTER PAGE
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
ng
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
viii



CONTENTS
CHAPTER PAGB
55. Shabala creates an army which annihilates Vishwamitra's
b
- 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


is



CONTENTS


BooK I1-AYODHYA


CHAPTER PAGE
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
X



CONTENTS


CHAPTER PAGE
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
reFrep
e fo
de

e
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
xi



CONTENTS
CHAPm PAGE
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
dis
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
xii



CONTENTS


CHAPTER PAGE
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

e
trea
es
hri _ Ra
re_mai
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


xiii



INTRODUCTION


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
together.
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.
XV



INTRODUCTION
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
Ceylon).


1 Yuvaraj. = hdr-apparent.


xvi



INTRODUCTION
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
actions.
Book V. (Sundara-Kanda.) The monkey armies reach the
south coast of In
and, bridging the straits, gain entry into
Lanka.
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
xvii



INTRODUCTION
of trUth, compassionate, just, benevolent, valorous and
chivalrous?
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.


xviii



BOOK I
BALA KANDA


I



CHAPTER I


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.


3



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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
worlds.
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
forest.
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 new.bom cloud.
· Vishnu. The Lord as Maintainer and Supporter of t¥ Univene.
· Kuvera. The God of wealth.


4



BALA KANDA
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.


s



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
men, whose appearance equalled the fire in lustre, heard of
Shri Rama's resolve and were assured by him of his pro-
tection.
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.
6



BALA KANDA
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
lon.
· 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.
7



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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.
S



BALA KANDA
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.


CHAPTER 2


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
ptor.
9



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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.
10



BALA KANDA
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
II



THE RAMAYANA'OF VALMIKI
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.


CHAPTER 3


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
IZ



BALA KANDA
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.


13



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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.
14



BALA KANDA


CHAPTER 4


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
Creator.
I three measures oftime-.low, medium, quick.
· Gandharva8--celcatial muaicians.


IS


c



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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. "


16



BALA KANDA
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.


CHAPTER S
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.
17



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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.


CHAPTER 6


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.
18



BALA KANDA
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
19



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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.


CHAPTER 7


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.
20



BALA KANDA
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
Sumantra.
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
21



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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.


CHAPTER 8


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
brahmins.
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.
22



BALA KANDA
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
performed.
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.


23



'IHE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI


CHAPTER 9


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
24



BALA KANDA
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
25



THB RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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
rejoiced.


26



BALA KANDA
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.


CHAPTER II


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. '
1
hya. A ceremonial offering of water, milk and kusha grass, rice, durv.,
u.ndalWoOd, fIowen, etc:.
27



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
" 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
Dasaratha.
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 .'
28



BALA KANDA
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 god..like 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
brahmins.
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.
:a9



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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
homes.
The brahmins having departed, the king bade farewell to
his ministers and entered his private apartments.


CHAPTER 13


The Sacrifice is co
ed


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 :-
3°.



BALA KANDA
" 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
andserwmtsbesuimb
r
arde
so
ttheirheartsbes

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



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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
initiations.


3 2



BALA KANDA


CHAPTER 14


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.


33



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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.
34



BALA KANDA
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
monarchs.
1 Dakshina. Gifts of charity given at the conclusion of a ceremony.
35



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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."


CHAPTER IS


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



BALA KANDA
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.)
37



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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."


CHAPTER 16


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,
vanished.
I Narayana. A name ofShri Vishnu, U He whose abode is the water".
3 8



BALA KANDA
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.
39



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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
region.


CHAPTER 17


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.
40



BALA KANDA
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
power.
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



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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.


CHAPTER 18


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
brahmins.
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.
42



BALA KANDA
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.
43



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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
him.
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.
44



BALA KANDA
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.
4S



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI


CHAPTER 19


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
Ramachandra,
" 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



BALA KANDA
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.


CHAPTER 20


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



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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
can
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



BALA KANDA


CHAPTER .21


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.
49



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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.


CHAPTER 22


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.


so



BALA KANDA
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.
SI



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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.


CHAPTER 23


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.


52



BALA KANDA
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
gratified.
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.


53



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI


CHAPTER 24


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.
54



BALA KANDA
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.
SS



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI


CHAPTER 2S


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
S6



BALA KANDA
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."


CHAPTER 26


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
57



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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
58



BALA KANDA
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.


CHAPTER 27


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.
59



THB RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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-
astra.
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.


60



BALA KANDA
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."


CHAPTER 28


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
61



THE RAAIAYANA OF VALMIKI
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."


CHAPTER 29


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.
62



BALA KANDA
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



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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.


CHAPTER 30


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.
64



BALA KANDA
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
65



1 HE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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."


CHAPTER 3 I


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
66



BALA KANDA
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.


67



1 HE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI


CHAPTER 32


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
bank.
" 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
68



BALA KANDA
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."


CHAPTER 33


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."
69



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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



BALA KANDA
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.


CHAPTER 34


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



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
" 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



BALA KANDA


CHAPTER 35
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.


13



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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
HimachaIa.
"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."


CHAPTER 36


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.
74



BALA KANDA
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
one.


7S



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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."


CHAPTER 37


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



BALA KANDA
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
Kumara.
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.
77



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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."


CHAPTER 38


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



BALA KANDA
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 RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI


CHAPTER 39


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
80



BALA KANDA
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 " '."


CHAPTER 40


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.
81



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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
mountain.
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."


82



BALA KANDA


CHAPTER 4 I


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
83



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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.


CHAPTER 42


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



BALA KANDA
illustrious King Dilipa, constantly engaged in these reflections,
was then blessed with the birth of a virtuous son,
Bhagiratha.
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
8S



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
able to sustain her; none but the Lord Shiva can accomplish
thi "
s.
Having uttered these words to King Bhagiratha and having
spoken to Shri Gunga also, Shri Brahma returned with the gods
to his own region.


CHAPTER 43


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
86



BALA KANDA
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.
87



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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.


CHAPTER 44


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.
88



BALA KANDA
"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.


89



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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."


CHAPTER 4S


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
cities.
Then Rama, full of wisdom, approached the holy sage and
90



BALA KANDA
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



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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



BALA KANDA


CHAPTER 46


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.)
93



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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 '."


CHAPTER 47


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.
94



BALA KANDA
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
Vishala.
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."


CHAPTER 48


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
dawn.


9S


II



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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,
96



BAJ..A KANDA
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."


CHAPTER 49


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,
97



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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
Ahalya.
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
98



BALA KANDA
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.


CHAPTER SO


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.


99



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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
silent.


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.
100



BALA KANDA


CHAPTER 5 I


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
101



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI'
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
Kusha.


102



BALA KANDA
"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."


CHAPTER S2


HOfIJ King VishfDamitra f)isits Shri Vasishtha's hermitage
and accepts hospitality prwided by the wish-fulfilling cow,
Shabala


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 RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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."


CHAPTER S3


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.
1°4



BALA KANDA
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.
IOS



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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. "


CHAPTER 54


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."
106



BALA KANDA
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.


CHAPTER SS


Shabala creates an armY which annihilates Vishwamitra's
forces
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



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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.
108



BALA KANDA
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.


CHAPTER S6


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,
109



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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."


no



BALA KANDA


CHAPTER 57


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
Vasishtha.
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
Maharatha.
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.


III



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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 ".


CHAPTER S8


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
U2



BALA KANDA
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.


113



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI


CHAPTER S9


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
Vasishtha.
,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
114



BALA KANDA
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.


CHAPTER 60


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
lIS



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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
promised."
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
u6



BALA KANDA
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
proposal.
After this, 0 Rama, the gods and the ascetics who had
attended the sacrifice, returned to their own regions.


CHAPTER 61


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.
117



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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.


CHAPTER 62


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-
118



BALA KANDA
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.
119



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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
years.


CHAPTER 63


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.


120



BALA KANDA
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
Vishwamitra."
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,
I2I



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
approached the nymph Rambha and begged her to promote
his interest and cause harm to Vishwamitra.


CHAPTER 64
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
Vishwamitra.
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
122



BALA KANDA
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.


CHAPTER 6S


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
accomplished.
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



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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-
ness.
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
124



BALA KANDA
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.
us



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI


CHAPTER 66


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
Rishi
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
apatis
I Si
iteral1y a furrow.
126



BALA KANDA
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."


CHAPTER 67


The illustrious Rama breaks the bow and is given the Princess
Sita in marriage


HEARING the
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



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
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
Lakshmana.
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.


128



BALA KANDA


CHAPTER 68


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,
coming hither, broke the sacred bow in the presence of a great
assembly, therefore, King Janaka desiring to see his daughter
wedded to thy son, Shri Ramachandra, sends thee the following
message: cc 0 Great Sovereign be gracious enough to visit my
kingdom with all speed, together with thy preceptors, thy family
and attendants and be united with thy sons. Accept the love
I bear for thee. Do thou come hither and witness the nuptials
of thy children.
cc 0 King, these are the words of King Janaka which we bring
to thee approved by the Sage Vishwamitra and the priest Shri
Shatananda. "
Having utter
these words, the messengers, overawed by
the sovereign's presence, became silent.
On receiving these tidings, King Dasaratha full of joy, said
129



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
to the holy Sage Vasishtha, Shri Vamadeva and his ministers:
" Protected by Shri Vishwamitra, Shri Ramachandra and Prince
Lakshmana are now in the city of Mithila. The renowned
J anaka has witnessed the prowess of Shri Ramachandra and
desires to give his daughter in marriage to him. If this union
is looked upon with favour by you, let us start for Mithila
immediately, so that we may reach it with all speed."
The sages and ministers there present, answered: "It is
well," whereupon the king, highly pleased, said: "Let us
set out to-morrow."
King Dasaratha with his counsellors entertained King J anaka's
messengers with great respect, and they passed the night there
in comfort.


CHAPTER 69


King Dasaratha sets out with his spiritual preceptor, relations
and ministers


THE night being over, King Dasaratha, glad in heart, accom-
panied by his spiritual preceptor and relations, summoned his
chief minister, Sumantra, and said :-
" Let the officers of the treasury take with them wealth and
jewels in abundance and precede us in good order. Let the
four divisions of my army hold themselves in readiness and
let chariots and palanquins be prepared. Let my commands
be carried out with promptitude. Suffer Shri Vasishtha,
Vamadeva, Javali, Kashyapa, Bhrigu, Markandeya and Katya-
yana with other learned and holy men to lead the procession.
Make ready the royal chariot, let there be no delay, King Janaka's
messengers are eager to return."
Then the mighty King Dasaratha attended by the holy sages
set out on the journey followed by his army. Passing four
nights on the road, they entered the capital of King Janab,
who, having commanded the city to be decorated, advanced
to pay honour to his royal guests. Approaching the aged
13°



BALA KANDA
sovereign Dasaratha, King Janaka was filled with joy, and
addressed him with cheerful words, saying: cc 0 Great King,
I bid thee welcome, fortunate indeed am I that thou hast been
gracious enough to honour me with thy presence. Now shalt
thou have the felicity of looking on thy two sons. Twice blessed
am I that Shri Vasishtha, attended by other learned sages, has
come hither also, as it were Indra in the midst of the gods.
Every impediment to the wedding ceremony has been withdrawn
and this ancient dynasty, by the alliance with the House of Raghu,
will acquire new lustre. 0 Illustrious Sovereign, to-morrow
at the completion of the sacrifice, having consulted with the
sages, be gracious enougJi to celebrate the nuptials."
The eloquent monarch, Dasaratha, seated amidst the sages,
answered: "I have ever heard that those who receive charity
are subject to the conferrer of that charity! 0 Thou acquainted
with virtue, it is ours to defer to thee in all things."
Hearing the speech of the truthful sovereign, King Dasaratha,
King Janaka was filled with astonishment.
All the sages then coming together, passed the night in
converse, mutually delighting each other.
King Dasaratha, being united with his sons was filled with
happiness and surrendered himself wholly to King Janaka's
hospitality.
The magnanimous sovereign of Mithila, having completed
the orders for the preparations of the wedding ceremony, retired
to rest.


CHAPTER 70


The king 'lDith Vishwamitra and the princes are invited to
King Janda's court fOhere V ish'lOamitra relates the descent
of the dynasty
THE following day, King Janaka, having carried out the sacrifice
with the assistance of the priests, said to Shri Shatananda :-
U My younger brother, the virtuous and mighty Kushadwaja,
resides in the city of Sankanshya, which is surrounded by a moat
13 1



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
and battlements, mounted by heavy batteries, the river Ikshu
Bowing at its side, and resembles the aerial chariot Pushpaka. I
desire to see that Exce11ent One, who, with liberality, has assisted
me in the act of sacrifice; it is meet that he should attend
the marriage ceremony."
Having spoken thus to Shri Shatananda, certain attendants
standing near, were commanded by the king to set out thither.
At his command, the messengers, like gods riding out on the
behest of Indra, went forth on swift horses to bring back the
royal guest.
Arriving at Sankanshya, and being received by the King
Kushadwaja, they acquainted him with King Janaka's proposal.
The great king acquiescing to his request, came to the capital
of the sovereign of Mithila and beholding the virtuous great-
souled Janaka,
ether with Shri Shatananda, bowed down to
them in salutation.
Having occupied a royal seat in the assembly, the two
illustrious brothers commanded their chief minister, Sudamana,
saying: cc 0 Chief of Counsellors, speedily approach the great
sovereign, Dasaratha, of limitless glory, and bring that Excellent
One to my court, together with the two princes and his ministers."
Sudamana, going to the encampment of King Dasaratha, and
bowing down to him, said: cc 0 Great Hero, 0 Lord of Ayodhya,
the sovereign of Mithila humbly invites thee with thy spiritual
preceptor, thy priests and thy two sons to his assembly."
Then King Dasaratha attended by his friends and kinsmen
came to the place where King J anaka sat amidst the sages and
ministers. And he, the wise and eloquent monarch addressed
King Janaka, saying: u 0 Great King, it is known to thee that
the chief priest of the House of Ikshwaku is Shri Vasishtha and
my spokesman in all matters. Therefore, with the approval of
Shri Vishwamitra he will relate the descent of our dynasty
to thee."
Having spoken, Dasaratha became silent and Shri Vasishtha
then addressed King Janaka and Shri Shatananda:-
cc From Brahman, the Unmanifest, the Eternal and Imperish-
able Brahma came forth. From him was produced Maricha,
Maricha begot Kashyapa; Kashyapa begot Surya, Surya
13 2



BALA KANDA
begot Vivaswat, and Vivaswat begot Manu. Manu was the
father of Ikswaku who was the first king of Ayodhya. The son
of Ikswaku was Kukshi and his son was Vikukshi; the illustrious
Vana was the son of Vikukshi and Vana's son was the mighty
Anranya; his son was Prithu and the son of Prithu was
Trishanku; the great Dhundhumara was the son of Trishanku
and his son was the hero Yuvanashwa. The renowned Mand-
hata was born of Yuvanashwa and Mandhata's son was named
Susandhi. Susandhi had two sons Dhruva-sandhi and Prasen-
ajit. Bharata was the son of Dhruva-sandhi and the renowned
Asit was the son of Bharata. The three sons of Asit were
Hihaxas, TaJajanghas and Shashavindus, great Kings, who,
hostile to their sire, waged war against him and sent him into
exile. Then King Asit, with his two consorts, going to the
Himalayas, there laid down his life, leaving the queens pregnant,
whereat one of them, to destroy the fruit of the other's womb,
gave her poison.
cc At that time, a sage of the family of Bhrigu dwelt on the
heights of HimaIaya, by name Chyavana practising penance
there. Then the lotus-eyed Queen Kalindi, desirous of bearing
an excellent son approached the sage who resembled a god and
bowed before him. The brahmin addressed the queen saying :
c 0 Fortunate One, thou bearest in thy womb, a hero, soon
to be born together with the poison; have no anxiety.'
cc The queen, faithful to her deceased lord, overcome with
sorrow, fearing the death of her child, paid homage to the muni.
Thereafter she bore a son, born with the poison administered
by the other wife and he was named Sagara.
"The son of Sagara was Asumanjas, and his son was
Anshuman. The son of Anshuman was Dilipa, and Dilipa's
son was Bhagiratha. The son of Bhagiratha was Kakustha and
his son was Raghu. The son of Raghu, Prabradha became
a demon, and was subsequently called Kalamashapada and his
son was Shangana. The son of Shangana was Sudarshana, and
his son was Agni-varna. Shighraga was the son of Agni-vama
and the son of Shighraga was Manu. Manu's son was Prashu-
shrub and his son was Ambarisha. Ambarisha's SOD was
named Nahusha and his son was Yayati. The SOD of Yayati
was Nabhaga.


133



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
cc The son of Nabhaga was Aja, and the son of Aja was King
Dasaratha; the two sons of King Dasaratha are Rama and
Lakshmana.
cc 0 King, I have recounted the genealogy of King Ikswaku
to thee. All these kings were noble, virtuous and distinguished
in their love of truth.
cc King Dasaratha requests the hands of thy daughters in
marriage for his two sons, who are in every way worthy to be
thy kinsmen. 0 Chief of Men, bestow thy daughters on them."


CHAPTER 71


King Janaka gives an account of the succession and his dynasty


KING JANAICA, paying homage to the Sage Vasishtha, said: "0
Maharishi, be peace with thee, hear the account of the succession
of our dynasty. At the time of bestowing a daughter in
marriage, it is customary for the father to recite the pedigree
of his race, be gracious enough to hear me, 0 Lord.
"In ancient times, renowned in the three worlds was the
King Nimi, eminent in virtue, a lover of truth and foremost
among kings of that era. Nimi begot Mithi whose son was
the first Janaka and he begot Udavasu. His sbn was Nandi-
vardhana and he begot Suketu. Suketu begot the righteous
Devarata and the son of Devarata was the royal Sage Briha-
dratha. He begot the great hero Mahavirya whose son was
Dhratiman and his son was the truthful Sudhriti. He begot
Dhrishta-Ketu and his son was the royal Sage Haryashwa.
Haryashwa begot Maru. Then followed Prasidhaka, Kirtti-
ratha, Devamirha, Bibudha, Mahidhraka, Kirtivaja and Maha-
roma. Maharoma begot Swarnaroma and his son was Hraswa-
roma. Hraswaroma had two sons of whom I, myself, am the
elder, and this is my younger brother Kushadwaja. My father,
bequeathing the kingdom to me and charging me with the care
of Kushadwaja, retired to the forest. My aged sire, having
pas sed from this world, I began to rule according to dharma,
134



BALA KANDA
supporting my brother with the utmost affection. After some
time, the King Sudhanwa besieged the capital of Mithila,
thereafter he sent me offers of peace on condition I surrendered
my daughter, Sita, and also the sacred bow of Shiva to him.
o Brahmarishi, on rejecting his offer a battle ensued between
us in which Sudhanwa was slain. 0 Great Sage, King Sud-
hanwa being dead, I gave the kingdom of Sankasya to my
well-beloved brother Kushadwaja. This is my well-beloved
brother. 0 Sages, we submit ourselves in love, to thee.
cc 0 Raghava, to Shri Ramachandra I give my daughter Sita,
and Prince Lakshmana will receive the Princess U rmila. Sita,
resembling a daughter of the gods, I bestow on Rama; verily
with my whole heart do I yield these two daughters of mine
to thy sons. 0 King, now be pleased to inaugurate the
traditional distribution of kine in charity. Perform the Nandi-
Mukha 1 ceremony so that the nuptials may be celebrated.
"To-day the Magda star is in the ascendant and in three days
the Uttara Phalguni will have risen; the marriage should take
place in that conjunction.
" For the purpose of ensuring their felicity, let Rama and
Lakshmana now distribute cows, land, sesamum seed and other
requisite offerings."


CHAPTER 72


The marriage of the four sons of King Dasaratha is arranged
and preparations commence


KING JANAICA having uttered these words, Mahamuni Vish-
wamitra, as desired by Shri Vasishtha, said to him:-
cc 0 King, wonderful indeed are the two Houses of Ikshwaku
and Videha, their glory is limitless, verily they have no equal.
Shri Rama and Sita are in perfect accord one with the other,
as also Labhmana and U rmila, each equals the other in grace
and heritage. 0 Virtuous King, I have something further to
1 Nandi-mukha ceremony-The distribution of cows in charity.
I3S



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
say, hear me. Thy younger brother, King Kushadwaja,
unexcelled in virtue, has two daughters of incomparable beauty,
these two I request for the sagacious Bharata and the pious
Shatrughna. The four sons of King Dasaratha are youthful,
handsome, resembling the gods, equal to the (four) guardians
of the world. 0 Great King, bestow these two damsels on the
younger sons of King Dasaratha. Thou art unequalled in virtue
and the House of Ikswaku is without a peer."
Hearing the magnanimous words of Shri Vishwamitra echoed
by Shri Vasishtha, King Janaka with joined palms humbly
addressed the two august sages :-
cc 0 Holy Ones, I am proud that you have approved the
alliance of my House with the House of Ikshwaku. Your
commands shall be accomplished. The daughters of King
Kushadwaja shall be given to the Princes Bharata and Shatrughna
in marriage. Let the four great sons of King Dasaratha be
united with the four princesses on the same day. 0 Divine
Sage, to-morrow the constellation Phalguni presided over by
the deity Bhag 1 is in the ascendant. The wise consider this
season as auspicious for the nuptials."
Shri Vasishtha answering cc Be it so", King Janaka, in great
humility, addressed the holy sages, saying: cc 0 Spiritual Kings,
it is by your favour that I am able to offer my daughters in
marriage. Regard me as your servant. Ye are wonhy of these
seats prepared for you. Let my kingdom now belong to the
King Dasaratha and my affections extend to the kingdom of
Ayodhya. I have spoken truth. 0 Holy Ones, do what is
considered necessary."
King Dasaratha hearing with attention the words uttered by
King J anaka was pleased and replied, saying: cc 0 Brothers,
possessing innumerable excellent qualities, ye have honoured
the holy rishis and kings with abundant hospitality. May you
be blessed! May happiness be yours! With your leave I shall
now withdraw to my own apartments to inaugurate the prelim-
inary rites."
Having taken leave of the King of Mithila, Shri Dasaratha,
preceded by the holy sage, went away.
1 Dhag-one of the Adityas q.v., whose special season UUara Phalguni is con-
sidered favourable for marriages or alliances.
13 6



BALA KANDA
The following day, having fulfi11ed the traditional rites, King
Dasaratha gave away innumerable cows in charity. On behalf of
each of his sons, he bestowed on the brahmins thousands of cows
whose horns were covered with gold, yielding rich milk, together
with their calves. With every cow the king gave away a metal
milking vessel. On that day, four hundred thousand cows
were given away by him. That mighty king holding his sons
supremely dear, gave incalculable wealth in their name. King
Dasaratha, performing these deeds of charity, surrounded by
his sons, resembled Brahma attended by the Regents of the world.


CHAPTER 73


The marriage ceremonies are completed


ON the day on which King Dasaratha distributed the cows in
charity, the great hero Yudhajit, the son of the King Kaikeya
and the maternal uncle of Bharata, also came to ]anakats
capital.
Seeing King Dasaratha, he made enquiries as to his welfare
and said: u 0 King, the Lord of Kaikeya, through affection,
sends tidings of his well-being to thee, and seeks to know if it be
well with thy friends. 0 Great King, my father desired to see
Prince Bharata, and for this purpose I went to Ayodhya. There,
hearing that thou hadst gone to Mithila with thy sons, for their
nuptials, I came hither in haste to see the son of my sister."!
King Dasaratha thereupon duly honoured his kinsman who
spent the night happily in company with the princes.
The following day, rising early, King Dasaratha performing
his customary devotions, proceeded to the sacrificial pavilion,
escorted by the sages.
At an auspicious hour in the presence of Shri Vasishtha and
other sages, Shri Ramachandra and his brothers adorned with
every ornament being present, the preliminary ceremonies were
performed.
1 = Bharata being the son of Queen Kaikeyi, daughter of the King of Kaikcyi.
137



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
Then Shri Vasishtha addressed King Janaka saying: cc 0
King, King Dasaratha has inaugurated the preliminary cere-
monies, he now awaits thy pleasure. The sacred rite is com-
pleted when host and guests come together. Be pleased,
therefore, to perform the principal nuptial rites."
King Janaka listened to the words of the great-souled Vasishtha
and answered: cc What guard detains King Dasaratha at the
gate? Whose sanction does his royal majesty seek? Is not
this his house? Let the king enter! 0 Chief of Sages, my
daughters, in readiness, stand at the altar, bright as the clear
flame. I, standing near, await you all. There is no need for
delay. Let the king cause the ceremony to take place without
further hindrance."
Then King Dasaratha with his sons and the holy sages entered
the marriage pavilion. Thereafter, King J anaka addressed Shri
Vasishtha, saying: cc 0 Virtuous Sage, with the other sages
perform the wedding ceremony."
Then Shri Vasishtha ignited the sacrificial fire in the centre
of the pavilion. Shri Vishwamitra and Shri Shatananda standing
before him, sprinkled the altar with perfume, and decorated
it with flowers. Then he set out the golden vessels and the
sacred kusha grass, filling many pots with incense and arranging
them in the form of a conchshell. Dishes filled with parched
com and rice were placed there, and durbha grass spread about,
the sacred formulas being pronounced over them. The holy
rishis now lit a fire pronouncing the Vedic mantrams and offered
oblations into it.
Shri Sita, adomed with jewels, took her seat by the sacred fire
opposite Shri Ramachandra. King Janaka, addressing the Son
of Raghu, said: cc 0 Rama, from to-day my daughter Sita will
be thy companion in virtue. Accept her, 0 Prince, and take
her hand in thine. This fortunate princess, faithful and tender,
will constantly attend thee, following thee like a shadow, in
loving obedience. May you both be happy."
Saying this, King Janaka sprinkled on them water purified
by mantrams. Then all the gods cried, cc Jai ! Jai ! "1 and divine
music sounded, while a shower of Bowers fell from the skies.
Thus was Sita joined in marriage to Shri Ramachandra.
I J ai I Jai I-literally victory 1 VICtory 1
13 8



BALA KANDA
Then King J anaka said to Shri Lakshmana: ,
O Lakshmana,
come hither, peace be with thee ! Take in thy hand the hand
of my daughter Urmila, tarry not, 0 Prince."
Having thus spoken, Janaka likewise addressed Prince
Bharata, saying: "0 Son of Raghu, accept the hand of the
Princess Mandavi" and to Prince Shatrughna, he said: "0
Great Prince, accept the hand of Shruta-kirtti. 0 Princes of
the House of Raghu, be gentle and faithful to your wives as
they will be to you, receive them now, let there be no delay."
Thus instructed by King Janaka, the four princes, taking the
hands of the four princesses as directed by the Sage Vasishtha,
circumambulated the fire, King Janaka and the sages performing
the rites as ordained by the sacred ordinance.
As the nuptial ceremony of the four princes of the House
of Raghu with the four princesses terminated, a rain of Bowers
fell on them from the sky. Divine music sounded, nymphs
danced and the celestial singers broke into paeons of praise. All
these marvellous events marked the wedding of the sons of
King Dasaratha while the princes, circumambulating the fire,
were united with their brides.
Thereafter with their wives, they returned to their apartments
and KingJanaka with his relatives and friends, with a joyful heart
having taken part in the festivities, also withdrew.


CHAPTER 74


ParllSU1'atna appears amidst inauspicious signs


THE night being past, the great Sage Vishwamitra took leave of
King Dasaratha and King Janaka and, blessing the princes and
their sire, departed for the Himalayas to meditate there. The
holy rishi being gone, King Dasaratha begged the permission
of the Lord of Mithila to return to his capital. Bidding farewell
to the pious king, Janaka escorted him for some distance on
his way.
To the King of Ayodhya, On behalf of his daughter, King
139



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
J anab gave a hundred thousand cows, woollen cloths, countless
silken robes and richly decorated elephants, horses and chariots.
He also bestowed on him male and female attendants, numberless
golden coins with quantities of pearls and coral. All these and
many other gifts King Janaka gave with a joyful mind, and
having taken leave of King Dasaratha, returned to Mithila,
whereupon King Dasaratha with his illustrious sons, preceded
by the sages, started on the homeward journey, accompanied
by his army.
As the sages, with 8hri Ramachandra, advanced in company
with the king, the screeching of strange and terrible birds was
heard, while frightened deer Bed across their path.
Perceiving these inauspicious signs, the king addressed Shri
Vasishtha, saying: cc 0 Holy Guru, why do the birds cry thus
ominously, and the deer traverse our path? What do these
omens portend ? My mind is filled with anxiety, 0 Divine
Lord. "
The Maharishi Vasishtha, in gentle tones, replied: "0 King,
the fearful crying of the birds betokens some great danger, but
the crossing of the deer from left to right indicates a speedy end
to thy fears."
While they were yet speaking, the earth began to quake and
and giant trees fell down, darkness covered the earth and clouds
of dust veiled the sun, nor could the cardinal points be discerned.
In the great dust storm that followed, the army was overwhelmed
with terror and all became paralysed, save Shri Vasishtha, King
Dasaratha and the princes alone.
When the dust was allayed and the army somewhat recovered,
8hri Vasishtha beheld the son ofYamadagni of dreadful aspect.
With matted hair, Parasurama, the humbler of the pride of kings
and emperors, drew near.
The appearance of the muni resembling the splendour of
Mount Kailasha or the fires of dissolution at the end of the
world-period was hardly to be borne by human eyes. With his
battle axe on his shoulder, bearing a mighty bow, brilliant as
lightning, he appeared like Shiva about to strike down Tripura. 1
Beholding Parasurama resembling a blazing fire, the sages
reflected among themselves and said: cc His father being slain,
1 Tripura-the name of a demon slain by Shiva.
14 0



BALA KANDA
has Parasurama come again to destroy the warrior caste?"
Was not his anger appeased when he formerly destroyed the
whole warrior caste? Has he come again to take his revenge
on us ? "
Reflecting thus, they approached Parasurama with traditional
offerings, saying: "0 Rama, accept this arghya."
Shri Parasurama accepting the offering, then addressed Shri
Rama.


CHAPTER 75


He challenges Rama to combat


" 0 llAMA, 0 Illustrious Hero, I have heard of thy great prowess.
I have also been acquainted with thy heroic deed, the breaking
of the bow at Janakapura, verily a feat exciting wonder and
surpassing imagination. Having heard of thine achievement,
I, taking this other bow, have come hither. With this terrible
bow named Yamadagni, show thy strength, 0 Rama, and placing
an arrow in it, discharge it. Should'st thou be able to
accomplish this, I will engage in honourable combat with thee."
Hearing these words, King Dasaratha, became dejected and
humbly addressed the rishi, saying: "0 Holy Parasurama,
thou art a great brahmin sage, it becomes thee not to show anger
to warriors; be gracious unto my son, who is still a child.
Thou art born in the family of Bhrigu and hast pledged thyself
to Indra to bear arms no more. Having given the dominion
of the world to Kashyapa and retired to the Mahendra mountain
to practise asceticism, why hast thou now come hither to destroy
us? 0 Sage, if Rama is slain, none of us will survive."
The great son of J amadagni, disregarding the entreaty of King
Dasaratha, again addressed Rama, saying: cc 0 Rama, these
two bows of exquisite design, famed throughout the world,
exceedingly powerful, were forged by Vishwalwma. 1 One of
them, wielded by Shri Shiva in combat with Tripura, was broken
by thee. The other, held by me, of inexpressible power, was
, Vishwakanna-t
architect of the gods.
14 1



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
given to Vishnu by the gods and is known to give victory over
the foe; it is equal in moment to that which thou hast broken.
cc Formerly the gods asked Brahma which of the two excelled
the other and Shri Brahma, acquainted with their intention,
invoked a quarrel between Vishnu and Mahadeva. They
entered into combat one with the other. By the shout raised
by Shri Vishnu, Shri Mahadeva was struck motionless and
his bow unstrung. Then the gods and rishis came to that place
and caused the two gods to be reconciled. Thereafter the gods
esteemed the bow of Vishnu to be the more powerful and Shri
Shiva surrendered his bow to the King of Mithila, together
with all its arrows.
"This bow, belonging to Vishnu, was given in ancient times
by that god to Richib and he gave it to his son J amadagni,
my father. He having renounced the bearing of weapons,
retired to practise austerity, when the rash and foolish monarch
Sahasravaku slew him. Hearing of the cruel death of my sire,
I successively destroyed the warrior caste, from generation
to generation, thus acquiring dominion over the earth. I
conferred this great dominion as a gift on the Sage Kashyapa
at the completion of a sacrifice, and retired to the Mahendra
mountain, cheerfully observing the practice of Yoga. To-day,
o Valiant Prince, acquainted with thy great achievement, I
have come hither to behold thee. Receive this bow, bestowed
on my ancestors by Shri Vishnu and in the spirit of a warrior,
place an arrow on it. If thou succeed in drawing the bow,
I will challenge thee to fight."


CHAPTER 76


Parasurama is fJanquished and deprived of his glory and pOfJJe1'
HEAluNG these words, Shri Rama having regard for the presence
of his sire, answered with restraint, saying: cc 0 Parasurama,
thy deeds are known to me, as also the avenging of thy fathers'
murderers. Methinks thou dost deem me lacking in valour,
I.p



BALA KANDA
I, a kshatriya, and a descendant of the Solar race. 0 Rishi,
witness my prowess."
Having spoken thus, Shri Ramachandra, incensed, seized the
bow and arrows from the rishi's hands and stringing it, placed
an arrow on it. While drawing the mighty bow, the son of
Dasaratha addressed the rishi with defiance, saying: cc 0 Sage,
thou art a brahmin and as such do I honour thee; thou art
further a kinsman of Shri Vishwamitra, therefore I shall not
slay thee with this arrow, but by this shaft I will rob thee of
the power of motion so that thou shalt no longer be able to travel
through space, or I will banish thee from those high regions
to which thou hast attained by the practice of penance. Say,
what is thy desire? This divine arrow of Vishnu, possessing
the power of vanquishing the strength and pride of the foe,
may not be restored by me to the quiver, till it has accomplished
its great purpose."
When Rama placed the arrow in the sacred bow, Brahma,
with the gods, assembled to behold that glorious deed, followed
by the gandharvas, apsaras, yakshas and other beings. Shri
Ramachandra, having taken up the mighty bow, the three worlds
began to tremble and Parasurama, bereft of his divine power,
stood aghast. Deprived of his glory and powerless, Shri
Parasurama with humble entreaty, addressed the lotus-eyed
Rama :-


" When the dominion of the earth was given by me to the
sage Kashyapa, he said C Thou must not inhabit this kingdom'.
Therefore, 0 Rama, in obedience to the sage, I do not stay
on the earth by night. This world is no longer mine, but
belongs to Kashyapa. 0 Rama, do not deprive me of the power
of movement, but allow me speedily to return to the beautiful
Mahendra mountain. Thou can'st deprive me of the merits
earned by the practice of Yoga. I know Thee to be the
Imperishable, Thou art verily Vishnu Himself, none but Thou
could'st wield this bow. 0 Son of Raghu, the gods have
assembled to behold Thee; Thou art pre-eminent in combat,
and the conqueror of Thine enemies. 0 Virtuous Prince, to be
defeated by Thee is no ignominy; discharge Thy matchless
arrow and I will return to the Mahendra mountain."
143 L



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
Thereupon Shri Ramachandra discharged the arrow and the
merit of Parasurama was rendered void, whereupon he speedily
departed to the Mahendra mountain.
The darkness being dispelled and the whole world once more
filled with light, Rama was worshipped by the gods and rishis,
and Shri Parasurama having circumambulated the son of
Dasaratha, returned to his own hermitage.


CHAPTER 77


King Dasaratha fJJith his army, the princes and their brides,
return to Ayodhya


SHRI PARASURAMA having departed, Shri Rama delivered the bow
and arrows as a trust to the god Varuna. Having offered
salutations to Shri Vasishtha and the other sages he, seeing his
father filled with apprehension, addressed him, saying: cc Sire,
Shri Parasurama has now gone, do thou command thine army
to proceed towards Ayodhya."
King Dasaratha, hearing Rama's words, embraced him and
reBected that his son was born to him a second time. Then
summoning his army to advance, he in a chariot, adorned with
banners, to the fanfare of trumpets proclaiming victory, entered
Ayodhya.
The streets of the city sprinkled with water and Bowers,
appeared beautiful, and the citizens rejoicing at the return of
their sovereign, greeted him with shouts of welcome.
Met by the brahmins inhabiting the city, the king with his
friends and relatives, followed by the princes and their brides,
entered the royal palace which was white as snow.
There, the kindred of the king welcomed him with garlands
and sandalwood. The Queens Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi
received the brides and conducted the fortunate Sita, the
illustrious Urmila, and the two daughters of Kushadwaj to their
palace, with auspicious rites. Arrayed in sumptuous silken
robes, and borne to the temple to worship the holy images, the
144



BALA KANDA
brides then offered respectful salutations to their mother-in-Iaws,
and others worthy of honour. Thereafter, each began to live
with her lord in her own palace.
Shri Ramachandra with the other princes, possessing the
knowledge of the use of weapons and the science of defence,
passed the time with their friends in attendance on their aged
sire.
After some time, King Dasaratha said to his son Bharata:
cc 0 my Son, thy maternal uncle, who came for the purpose
of taking thee to his home, still tarries in the capital, therefore,
go with him to see thy grandfather."
Prince Bharata and Prince Shatrughna prepared to start on
their journey and took leave of their father and their highly
compassionate brother Rama.
Bharata being gone, Shri Rama and Lakshmana ministered
to the aged king as if he were a god and in his name performed
charitable deeds among the people of the city.
Rama also ministered to his mother with deep affection, and
served his Guru with single-minded devotion. His noble
behaviour gratified the king, the brahmins, merchants and other
castes; his sweet disposition and pious conduct charmed the
people of the capital. Rama, wholly devoted to truth was
renowned for his virtue, and endowed with every excellent
quality like Swayambhu1-Brahma himself.
For a long time did Shri Rama enjoy a life of content with
Sitae To him, she was dear beyond all things and he
surrendered his whole heart to her. Love is enhanced by
beauty, virtue and gentleness, and Sita possessed all these in
an equal degree with Rama. Lovely as a goddess, Shri Sita
was able to discern the thoughts of her lord before he expressed
them. The beautiful Sita with Shri Ramachandra wholly
satisfied, resembled Lakshmi, the consort of the incomparable
Vishnu.


1 Swayambhu-the Imperishable or Self-existent, a name of Brahma, the
creator.


END OF BALA KANDA


I4S



BOOK I I
AYODHYA KANDA



CHAPTER I


King Dasaratha desires to see Prince Rama made regent,
and summons a council


THE great souled Bharata affectionately requested the pious
Shatrughna to accompany him, on the journey to his maternal
grandfather.
Enjoying abundant hospitality and held by their uncle
Ashwapati in all affection, the two brothers dwelt there happily.
Satisfied with the love and entertainment bestowed on them,
they daily remembered their royal sire, the aged monarch, and
the king also thought of his sons, now in a distant country.
The four sons of the aged king were as dear to him as his
own four arms issuing from his body, yet Rama resembling
Brahma, endowed with every good attribute, was dearest to
his sire. Shri Rama, the eternal Purusha, l the Lord Vishnu
himself, descended on earth on the entreaty of the gods, to
slay Ravana, the enemy of the whole world.
The charming Queen Kaushalya, glowing with matemallove
for her son Ramachandra, resembled Aditi at the birth of Indra.
Unequalled in beauty, brave and chivalrous, never speaking
ill of others, Rama inherited the virtues of his illustrious father;
of a cheerful disposition, speaking soft words to all, never
returning a harsh answer when treated with contumely; when
injured, pardoning the offender and remembering the offence
no more; showing gratitude for the least of favours and
devoting his leisure from affairs of state to seeking the friendship
of those eminent in wisdom, learning, age and conduct. Wise
and generous, he was foremost in addressing others, speaking
with affection; supremely courageous yet not rendered vain-
glorious by his own powers; never uttering falsehood, honouring
the learned and the aged" showing regard for his people who
1 Purusha-literally lord or the city of nine gates, i.e'. the body-the dweller
in the body as the indwelling Lord.
149



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
were devoted to him; having overcome wrath; surpassingly
compassionate, venerating the brahmins; showing extreme pity
for the poor; well-versed in public and individual responsibili-
ties, fulfilling his domestic duties, not only to add lustre to the
dynasty but also to attain an exalted state in the other world.
Wise in the discharge of his obligations; as a Scion of the House
of Ikshwaku, proving himself tender and loving to those
who sought his protection; restraining the evil-doer; ever
seeking the weal of his subjects; eschewing frivolous pursuits
and shallow talk; neither hearing nor speaking aught against
dharma; in debate equal in eloquence to Brihaspati; free from
infirmities; youthful, handsome, having knowledge of time
and space and being able to divine the contents of a man's heart
at a single glance; verily a great sage and for his marvellous
qualities as dear to the people as life itself. Profoundly learned
in the science and the philosophy of the Veda, which he had
studied with his spiritual preceptor, he even excelled his father in
the art of warfare. The repository of all auspiciousness, virtuous,
cheerful, truthful and guileless; having received full instruction
from the learned brahmins in sacred and secular policy, knowing
the significance of virtue, material prosperity and enjoyment;
of prodigious memory, conversant with worldly wisdom,
possessing a pleasing disposition, gentle, able to conceal his
thoughts; recognizing when to refuse and when to accept
material gifts; winning many friends, firm in his devotion to
his Guru and to God, countenancing no sin; never uttering a
bitter word or one which would agitate the hearts of others;
energetic, deploring his own faults whilst excusing those of
others; a great advocate, grateful, lending support to those
he held in affection; in all circumstances true to his word;
capable of protecting the interests of his family and friends;
knowing how to meet out retribution to the wicked. Acquiring
wealth by just means, and appreciating how to distribute it with
discrimination. Proficient in the Veda, following the literary
and dramatic arts with enthusiasm, endowed with the gift of
oratory in Sanskrita and his own native tongue; depending on
right alone for felicity and prosperity; prudent, accomplished
in sport, music and painting; an incomparable rider whether
mounted on horse or elephant; skilled in archery, renowned
ISO



AYODHYA KANDA
in the field, forestalling the enemy in attack and knowing how
to destroy his defences; fired with righteous wrath when
engaging in combat, so that neither god nor titan could withstand
him; speaking nought against any; free from pride and envy ;
ever submissive, yet overruled in his resolve by none; pre-
eminent among his people; renowned in the three worlds;
in forbearance resembling the earth, in wisdom equal to Brihas-
pati, in courage like unto Indra.
Shining resplendent like the full moon in the love of his
people and his sire, worshipped for his excellent qualities, his
matchless valour and his integrity, the eanh desired to make
him her lord.
Seeing his illustrious son manifesting these qualities, King
Dasaratha began to reflect in this wise: "I have become old
and have ruled a full measure of years. I desire to see Rama
crowned while I yet live! "
This inclination grew in the mind of the king, and he waited
eagerly for the time when he might resign his throne in favour
of Rama. He reflected: "Rama, resembling a cloud, raining
compassion on all; beloved far beyond myself; in valour equal
to Yama and Indra, in understanding like Brihaspati, in
endurance like unto a mountain, exceeding myself in excellent
attributes; on him do I desire to confer the dominion of the
earth; this will be my heaven."
Then that great sovereign summoning his ministers communi-
cated to them his resolve to proclaim Rama, endowed with those
powers, rare even in a king, and a mine of surpassing virtues,
as heir-apparent.
At that time, inauspicious ponents appeared on the earth,
and in the heavens, and the king, conscious that he had grown
old, reflected that by bestowing the throne on Rama, he would
gratify his comely son, and also assuage his own sorrow and
benefit his people. Filled with affection for his subjects, and
for their good, he desired to increase their felicity by installing
Rama as heir-apparent, when the hour was auspicious.
Summoning the subject princes and the inhabitants of other
cities and lands with due respect, the aged monarch entertained
them in his palaces, bestowing on them gifts of various kinds,
but the sovereign of Kaikeya and the king of Mithila were not
ISI



THB RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
informed of the occasion since they would hear of it thereafter.
Seated in the assembly, the king resembled Prajapati in the
midst of his subjects.
The kings of the earth coming together in council, King
Dasaratba occupying the throne and they taking the places
prepared for them, reverently faced the royal dais, observing
the traditions of the court. Surrounded by his feudal lords
and the elders, the king appeared like Indra sitting among the
gods.


CHAPTER 2


The elders and councillors willingly accept Shri Rama as regent


IN ringing tones, King Dasaratha addressed the leaders of
the people seated before him, uttering words delighting their
hearts.
When the aged monarch began to speak, his words resembled
the beat of drums, or the crashing of thunder, yet they were
filled with great sweetness withal and uttered in the manner of
a king. He said: "It is well known to you that this vast
empire was upheld by my predecessors and their fathers before
them. To promote the prosperity and felicity of the kingdom,
formerly protected by the Kings of Ikshwaku, I, walking in the
path trodden by my forbears, have preserved it to the utmost.
Having passed sixty thousand years under the royal canopy,
my body has become old and feeble and seeks repose. The
burdens of state, not able to be sustained by those of uncontrolled
mind, have I borne, and now am weary. To-day, therefore,
with the approval of the learned brahmins present here and for
the good of my people, I desire to surrender the dominion to
the protection of my eldest son. Possessing every essential
virtue, Shri Ramachandra, my beloved son, equal to Indra in
prowess and the conqueror of his foes, excelling in every virtue,
resembles the moon accompanied by the Pushyal star.
1 Pushya-name of the sixth lunar mansion, also a constenation of three stan.
IS2



AYODHYA KANDA
CC I desire to install as regent, I Rama, exalted among men,
elder brother of Lakshmana, worthy to be your protector. In
truth, I verily believe that not only the earth, but the three
worlds will regard him as their lord. Desiring the joy of the
universe, I shall lay upon him the weight of government and
thus be freed from anxiety concerning the kingdom.
cc If this seems proper to you, give me your counsel or say
what should otherwise be done. Though this be my decree,
yet should you judge aught else to be a better way, then speak
that I may know of it. The best course is well known to be
determined after careful deliberation."
Hearing the words of King Dasaratha, the other monarchs
and elders cried in unison, cc Excellent, Excellent!" Upon this,
a sound like distant thunder, pleasant to hear, or like the cry
of peacocks delighting in the storm, arose. Thereafter, the
purpose of the sovereign being communicated to all, acclamations
burst forth that shook the foundations of the palace.
Then the learned brahmins, the ministers, kings and the elders
of the city assembled for consultation with those who had come
from afar, and being of one mind, after due deliberation, thus
addressed the king:-
cc 0 Mighty Sovereign, thou hast ruled for thousands of years
and have now become old, do thou, therefore, appoint Rama
as regent. It is our cherished desire that the glorious Prince
Rama should be seen by us, riding on an elephant beneath
the royal canopy."
The king, wishing to fathom their true motives, replied with
candour, saying: "Acting on my suggestion, you have all
expressed your willingness to see Rama appointed regent, yet
there is still some uncertainty in my mind; tell me frankly
why you desire to see Rama crowned. Have I erred? Have I
failed to govern righteously? "
Then the elders of the people and the counsellors answered
the sagacious sovereign Dasaratha in this wise: cc 0 King, thy
SOD is endowed with excellent attributes. Hear of the divine
and amiable qualities of the wise and perfect Ramachandra,
qualities endearing him to all and pleasing to record.


· Recent-Yu
. = heir-apparent.
153



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
cc In his love and zeal for truth, he is equal to Indra. Thou,
o King, art exalted above all in the House of Ikshwaku, yet
none in the world practises righteousness as does Shri Rama.
cc By his conduct, he has added lustre to virtue and prosperity.
Diffusing happiness among his people, he resembles the moon
delighting the earth. In forbearance, he is like the earth, in wisdom
like Brihaspati, in valour like Indra. With a deep regard for truth,
free from envy and jealousy, his disposition is excellent.
cc Forgiving every injury, a comforter of the aftIicted and the
distressed, he addresses all with gentleness. Acknowledging
every favour received in full measure, self-controlled, true to
his word whatever betide, speaking no ill of others, of candid
utterance, full of wisdom he ever reveres the aged.
cc Of immeasurable renown, Shri Rama, whose glory and
splendour constantly increase, who in the science of archery
is superior even to the gods, asuras and men, who has studied
all the branches of learning and the Veda, is also unequalled in
the art of music. The abode of peace and prosperity, ever
courteous, humble and wise, and who, having received the
highest instruction from the brahmins, is skilful in expounding
the meaning of the Veda.
cc When in company with Lakshmana, he goes to the attack,
storming towns and villages, he never withdraws without wholly
defeating the enemy. Returning triumphant, he enquires after
the welfare of his subjects as if they were his own sons, and
gives special thought to the well-being of women, servants and
his disciples as a father regards the needs of his family.
cc 0 Sire, Shri Rama graciously enquires respecting our own
disciples whether they render us proper service and hospitality
and further discharge their duties faithfully.
cc He suffers with the aftIicted and rejoices like a parent when
his people hold a festival. That mighty archer, the observer
of truth, the servant of the aged, who blesses all those who seek
his protection, is wholly righteous. Performing noble deeds,
he will not hear or utter words that create discord. Possessing
a charming brow and large eyes, in this resembling Vishnu
himself, Rama, by the process of deduction, is able to converse
with eloquence. By his courage, prowess, self-reliance and
patience, he has become the delight of his people.
IS4



AYODHYA KANDA
" Ever ready to serve his subjects, scorning sensual pleasures,
he is able to rule the three worlds, how much more this tiny
earth?
"His joy and anger are never excited without cause. He
destroys those meriting death, but shows mercy to the innocent.
" Liberal to those who have found favour with him; willing
to suffer in the exercise of self-control; beloved of his subjects,
he evokes devotion in every virtuous heart.
" Brilliant as the moon by reason of his excellent attributes,
the earth claims him as her lord.
"0 King, thou art fortunate in possessing this great son
who resembles Kashyapa, the son of Marichi. The people of
Ayodhya and the citizens of the kingdom of Koshala continually
pray for Rama's life and well-being.
" Men, women, the aged and those from far and near, at dawn
and eventide, unitedly pray to all the gods that 8hri Rama may
ever be attended by prosperity. 0 Great King, graciously
accede to our request. 0 Giver of boons, we beg thee to install
8hri Rama as regent without delay. Thy son, resembling
8hri Vishnu himself, is benevolent and generous to all. 0 King,
do this with a cheerful mind."


CHAPTER 3


The king resolfJes Shri Rama shall be installed


To those who with joined palms were making this petition,
King Dasaratha answered courteously :-
cc To-day, indeed, I am happy and fortunate since the people;
desire my son, 8hri Rama, to be proclaimed regent."
Thus, in the presence of his subjects, the king in gracious
accents addressed 8hri Vasishtha, Vamadeva and other sages:-
cc In this month of Chitta, when the woods are beautiful with
flowering trees, be pleased, 0 Holy Ones, to prepare an things
for the installation of my son as heir-apparent."
ISS



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
After the king had spoken, the people applauded, and when
the shouts of acclamation had died away, the monarch addressed
the mighty Sage Vasishtha, saying: cc 0 Blessed Lord, it is meet
that thou shouldest order those things needful for the coronation
ceremony."
Then Shri Vasishtha commanded the ministers in attendance
to provide gold, gems, unguents, garlands of white flowers,
parched rice, honey and clarified butter in separate vessels, also
new cloths, chariots, weapons of all kinds, a complete army,
elephants free from any imperfection, white Bags, a white canopy,
chamaras, l a hundred vessels of gold shining like fire, bulls
with gilded horns, lion skins and other requisites.
Then the Sage Vasishtha commanded them, saying: cc Place
all these in the king's sacred pavilion. Let every gate in the
capital and the private apartments of the palace be decorated
with garlands and sandalwood, and let fragrant incense be
kindled everywhere.
"0 Y e Accomplished Ministers, provide sweet and health-
giving foods, milks and curds in attractive dishes sufficient to feed
a hundred thousand brahmins. To-morrow the holy brahmins
should be respectfully served with butter, curdled milk and
parched rice, and presented with as much dakshina as will
preserve them from want for the remainder of their lives.
cc To-morrow, early in the morning, the Peace Chant should
be recited, therefore, let the holy brahmins be invited and their
seats prepared. Let banners and arches of flowers be displayed
everywhere, and the roads sprinkled with water. Let beautifully
attired singing girls with their attendants wait at the gates of
the palace; let food and cooling drinks be provided at all the
principal crossroads, also gifts of money and ritual objects that
are considered sacred; let fruit and flowers be sent separately ;
let armed warriors clothed in clean raiment and armed with
scimitars, wait in the courtyard of the king."
In this manner, Shri Vasishtha and Shri Vamadeva performed
all that had been required by the king and, everything being carried
out to their satisfaction, they informed the great monarch accord-
ingly. Then the illusttious sovereign said to the prime minister
SU1D8Dtra: U Let the accomplished Prince Rama be brought
1 Chamaru-WIUW made of)'llb" tails.
I.s6



AYODHYA KANDA
here with all speed." Acquiescing in the royal command,
Sumantra brought thither in a royal chariot that great warrior,
Shri Rama. Surrounded by the rulers of the earth, the east,
the west, the north and the south, the kings of aryan and
non-aryan descent and those from the forests and the hills,
King Dasaratha looked like Indra in the midst of the gods.
He beheld his son Shri Ramachandra, handsome, valorous,
of mighty length of arm, fearless, walking like an intoxicated
elephant, his countenance resembling the moon, fair to look
upon, captivating the hearts of all by his virtue and generosity,
refreshing his subjects as clouds refresh those afHicted with the
heat.
The monarch could not gaze sufficiently on his beloved son
as he, attended by Sumantra who followed him with reverence,
alighted frQm his chariot and ascended the steps of the royal palace
which resembled Mount Kailasha. Approaching the king he
announced his name and made profound obeisance at his feet.
Seeing the prince standing respectfully at his side, the king
embraced him and asked him to occupy the golden throne set
with jewels and gold. Raghava thus seated looked like the sun
rising on the Sumeru mountain. The whole assembly was
illumined by the presence of Shri Rama who resembled the
moon riding in the autumn sky filled with innumerable stars.
As a man adorned with many ornaments is overjoyed with
delight to see his own image reflected in a mirror, so was King
Dasaratha filled with ineffable delight when beholding the glory
of his son; and like Kashyapa addressing Indra, the mighty
sovereign smilingly spoke to Rama :-


Ie 0 My Son, thou art the offspring of my chief queen and
do resemble her, thou art exceedingly dear to me, endowed as
thou art with all the great attributes, thou hast imbued thy people
with thy noble qualities; accept therefore the high office of
regent. Notwithstanding, My Son, that thou art by nature
endowed with all good qualities and art humble, yet hear while
I tell thee that which is for thy good.
Ie Keep far from thee those evil habits born of love, pleasure
and anger; through thy secret service acquaint thyself closely
with all the happenings of thy kingdom and other domains,
1
7



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
as though they took place before thine eyes. Give pleasure to
thy people by filling the various storehouses and arsenals. 0
Prince, that sovereign who rules his subjects with due regard
to their happiness causes his friends to rejoice like the gods
who have drunk the nectar of immortality. Wherefore, 0 my
Child, conduct thyself with a mind fully subdued."
Then, the friends of Rama acquainted Queen Kaushalya of
the king's resolve and she rewarded the messengers of these
good tidings with many cows and gems.
Shri Rama, hearing the king's words, answered: cc So be it,"
and, bowing to the great monarch, left the palace in his chariot,
the people greeting him with joy as he passed by.
Satisfied with the sovereign's decree, they acclaimed him
with salutations and returning to their homes worshipped their
gods, propitiating them so that no impediment sho"!ld arise in
the installation of Shri Rama as regent.


CHAPTBR 4


Shri Rama and Princess Sita prepare for the ceremony
THE citizens having departed, the king again consulted his
ministers, saying to them: cc To-morrow, the Pushya star is
in the ascendant, I decree, therefore, that the lotus-eyed Rama
shall then be installed as my successor."
Dismissing his counsellors, the king, entering the inner
apartment, commanded Sumantra to bring Rama to him once
more. In obedience to the command of his royal master,
Sumantra repaired to the palace of Rama, to bring him thither.
Rama, hearing the doorkeeper announce the second visit of
the minister, became anxious and sending for him with all haste
inquired ofhim the purport of his coming. Sumantra answered,
saying: cc The king desires to see thee." 8hri Rama thereupon
hastily repaired to the palace of his royal parent.
King Dasaratha retiring to the private apartment, issued
instructions that Rama should be brought thither. The prince,
IS8



AYODHYA KANDA
entering his father's palace, bowed low, with joined palms, from
a distance, and contemplated his sire.
The king, raising him up, embraced him and, giving him
a seat, again addressed him :-
cc 0 Prince, I have now grown old and have ruled long,
enjoying all the pleasures of the heart. I have also performed
hundreds of sacrifices and distributed great quantities of food
and lavish gifts as alms to the brahmins. 0 Great One, a son
such as thou art, is the fruit of much charity and study of the
Veda. 0 Most Excellent One, what I desired to give in charity,
I have given, and I have studied the Veda and offered up many
sacrifices. My desire for pleasure is past; I have discharged
every obligation to the gods, the sages, my ancestors and the
learned brahmins, nothing remains to be accomplished by me
but thine installation. 0 My Son, hear me, it is the will of my
people that thou become their sovereign; I shall, therefore,
install thee as my successor. Nevertheless, 0 Rama, fearful
dreams have visited me at night, attended by the roar of thunder
and the falling of meteors, signs betokening opposition. 0
Rama, the star of my birth is surrounded by the sun, Mars
and Rahu; those versed in divination speak of it as of evil
augury, that portends either the death of a king or the visitation
of some grave calamity. 0 Prince of Raghu, I desire to see
thee crowned before my senses fail. Verily, the mind of man is
inconstant. To-day, the astrologers announce that Purnavasu
is in the ascendant, but to-morrow it will be the Pushya star,
auspicious to thy coronation. I desire thee, therefore, to be
proclaimed regent to-morrow. Do thou, from now on, fast
with thy spouse, passing the night on a bed of kusha grass,
with a stone for thy pillow. It is the duty of the friends
surrounding thee to guard thee. In such undertakings many
obstrUctions arise.
cc Prince Bharata is in the city of his grands ire, it is my will
that thou be installed in his absence. Thy brother, Bharata,
is virtuous, compassionate, master of his senses and obedient
to thee, yet, 0 Prince, I know the mind of man to be fickle,
even the mind of a righteous and devout man may be subject
to inconstancy. To-morrow, thy coronation shall take place,
therefore, now return to thy abode."
159 M



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
King Dasaratha having thus spoken, Shri Rama left for his
palace. Entering his own abode, anxious to acquaint ]anaki
with the Icing's proposal and not finding the princess in her
own apartment, Rama repaired to the palace of his mother.
There he beheld the Queen Kaushalya, seated in the temple,
observing the vow of silence and praying for her son's welfare.
Acquainted with the sovereignJ s decree, Shri Lakshmana and
Sumitra were already in the palace of the chief queen, and Sita
also having been summoned thither was sitting at her side.
Queen Kaushalya attended by Queen Sumitra, Lakshmana
and Sita, having heard that Shri Rama would be installed when
the Pushya star was in the ascendant, was meditating on
Narayana, l with closed eyes and controlled breathing.
Shri Rama, approaching his mother, paid reverence to her
and joyfully exclaimed: Ie 0 Mother, my father has commanded
me to serve the people and to-morrow I am to take up the
burden of government. Shri Vasishtha, my preceptor, and
other sages have ordained that the Princess Sita should, this
night, fast with me. At dawn, the Princess Sita and I will
carry out those prayers and rites proper to the occasion. U
Queen Kaushalya, long desirous of this event, with tears of
joy flowing from her eyes, answered: cc 0 My Beloved Son
Rama, mayest thou live long and may all thine enemies perish.
Acquiring the throne, mayest thou bring joy to thy friends,
relatives and also Queen Sumitra. 0 Child, surely thou wert
born under an auspicious star since thou hast won favour with
thy royal sire by thine excellent attributes. The purpose of my
devotion and austerity, undertaken to please the lotus-eyed
Narayana, has been fulfilled to-day inasmuch as thou art about
to obtain the kingdom of the dynasty of Raghu."
Shri Rama listening to his mother's words, smilingly addressed
Shri Lakshmana, he who ever paid honour to his father, and
said: Ie 0 Lakshmana, share with me the government of the
kingdom, thou art my second self, the dominion is equally thine.
o Brother, I desire life and a kingdom for thy sake. u
Thereafter, Shri Rama, bowing to the two queens, with
their permission withdrew with Sita to his own apartment.


1 Narayana-a name of the Lord, the waten (nara) being His first centre
of motion.


160



AYODHYA KANDA


CHAPTER S


On Vasishtha's ad'Dice they observe a/ast


KING DASARATHA, having acquainted his son Rama with the
knowledge of his approaching regency, now called his spiritual
preceptor, Shri Vasishtha, and addressed him, saying: cc 0 Sage,
whose only wealth is austerity, graciously approach Shri Rama
and cause him to observe a fast with Princess Sita in preparation
for his coronation."
Shri Vasishtha answering, cc Be it so ", went himself to Shri
Rama's palace. Ascending a chariot drawn by two horses, he
drove to the palace, and entering by the three gates, approached
the abode of Raghava, white as a cloud.
Shri Rama hearing of the arrival of his preceptor, speedily
went forth to welcome him and offer him due obeisance. Taking
him by the hand, he assisted him to alight from the chariot
and, studying his mood, made enquiries as to his well-being.
The venerable Vasishtha said: "0 Rama, thy royal parent
is gracious to thee, to-morrow thou shalt be proclaimed ruler
of the kingdom, do thou observe a fast to-day. To-morrow,
King Dasaratha will install thee as regent, as Nahusba of old
made over his kingdom to Yayati.'" ,
Having uttered these words, the knower of truth, the sovereign
of munis, requested Rama and Sita to observe a fast that night.
Then Shri Ramachandra respectfully saluted Shri Vasishtha,
and the royal preceptor accepting his salutation departed for
his abode.
Conversing delightfully with his friends, Shri Rama, when
requested by them, retired to the inner apartments. The palace
of Raghava was crowded with joyful men and women, and
resembled a lake filled with lotuses visited by innumerable birds.
Leaving the palace, Shri Vasishtha perceived the streets to
be filled with people. All the roads entering Ayodhya were so
crowded with spectators eager to witness Shri Rama's coronation
that none could pass to and fro without difficulty. The
sound of the multitudes shouting with joy, filling the highways,
resembled the roaring of the sea.
161



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
All the streets of the capital were swept and sprinkled with
water; on either side, flower garlands were hanging, and every
house was decorated with flags and banners. Men and women,
children and the aged, all anxiously awaiting the dawn, so that
they might witness the sacred ceremony, looked forward with
eagerness to the great festival that would promote their happiness.
The priest Shri Vasishtha, avoiding the crowded streets, at
length reached the royal palace. Ascending the balcony which
resembled a white cloud, he greeted the king as Brihaspati pays
homage to Indra.
Seeing the sage approaching, the king rose and enquired as
to what Shri Rama had said. Shri Vasishtha answered, cc All
is prepared". As the king rose from his throne, the whole
assembly stood up to honour the venerable sage.
Having heard his spiritual preceptor's report, the king,
dismissing the court, withdrew to the inner apartment, as a lion
enters its cave. Entering those gorgeous and richly ornamented
apartments equal to one of Indra's palaces, he resembled the
moon gliding through the heavens.


CHAPTER 6


The city of Ayodhya is decorated for the proclamation


SURI V ASISHTHA having taken his departure, Shri Ramachandra
and the large-eyed Sita purified themselves, and mentally adored
the Lord Narayana. Offering salutations to the vessel containing
the sacrificial oblation and to propitiate Narayana, Shri Rama
poured clarified butter into the sacred fire. Thereafter partaking of
the remainder of the offering and praying for what was auspicious"
seated on the kusha grass, he meditated on Shri Narayana.
Observing silence with purified minds, the prince and princess
slept in the temple. Three hours before the dawn, they rose
and caused their servants to clean and decorate the palace.
Then" after listening to the recitation of the dynastic ballads
causing them great delight" they performed their morning
162



AYODHYA KANDA
devotions and silently repeated the Gayatri. As the sun rose,
clad in silken garments, they saluted Shri Narayana abiding in
the golden orb and then instructed the learned brahmins to
recite the Peace Chant and other prayers.
The deep and melodious sound of the Peace Chant, recited
by the brahmins, mingling with the beat of drums, filled the
capital of Ayodhya. The inhabitants of the city, knowing that
Rama and Sita were observing a fast and offering devotion to
the Lord, were filled with joy.
On the dawning of day, the citizens brought banyan trees"
setting them up as pillars to adorn the city for the coming
coronation. The high temples resembling the Himalayan peaks,
the stately houses, the highways, the crescents and streets, the
shops filled with merchandise, the mansions where members of
the royal family dwelt, the public assembly halls and the tall
trees were all hung with flags of different colours which fluttered
in the breeze. Here and there, companies of actors and dancers
gave pleasure to the people by singing sweetly and playing
melodiously on their instruments. In the market, in the houses,
at home and abroad, all spoke only of the coming proclamation
of Shri Rama as ruler. Children playing in front of their homes
also chattered about this matter.
In honour of the occasion, the roads were strewn with Bowers,
and rendered fragrant with incense and pleasant odours; lamps
were placed here and there lest the royal procession should pass
through at night.
Having decorated the city, the inhabitants awaiting the
proclamation, came together in public assemblies or stood on
raised tribunes. Praising King Dasaratha, they said: cc That
mighty King Dasaratha of the dynasty of Ikswaku is indeed
a pious man. Realising he has grown old, he, himself, is
installing Rama as ruler. How gracious is our king that he is
placing us under the rule of 8hri Ramachandra. May the Lord
long protect the prince as our ruler. Shri Rama is simple"
highly learned, devoted to righteousness and affectionate to his
brothers. Virtuous and wise, 8hri Rama loves us as his own
brethren. May the righteous and sinless King Dasaratha live
long, by whose grace, we see Rama enthroned to-day."
Hearing the praises of King Dasaratha by the people, those
16 3



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
living far distant were attracted to the holy ceremony and Bocked
to see the royal procession, filling the city of Ayodha Purl.
On the day of the full moon, the tumult of the multitude
was like the roar of the ocean. People coming from far and near
to Ayodhya which resembled the city of Amaravati, enhanced
the beauty of the capital as aquatic creatures add to the beauty
of the sea.


CHAPTER 7


The hunchback maid, Manthara, informs Queen Kaikeyi
of Shri Rama's coming installation


AT this time, Queen Kaikeyi had a female servant who had
accompanied her from the abode of her royal parent and was
ever in attendance on the queen. Her name was Manthara.
By chance, ascending the balcony of the palace which
resembled the full moon, she perceived the capital of Ayodhya
adorned with garlands of lotuses and the principal streets
sprinkled with water. Flags were Buttering from the tops of
the tall houses, the roads levelled, and the wide streets crowded
with people. Holy brahmins carrying auspicious gifts were
waiting to offer them to 8hri Ramachandra; the temples were
painted white and strains of musical instruments resounded
everywhere. Elated by the festivities, joyful crowds were
singing the Vedic mantras and not only men but elephants,
horses and cattle demonstrated their joy in their own peculiar
fashion. Large flags bound with Bowers were being carried
by joyous citizens wandering here and there.
Manthara was amazed to see these unusual activities and,
meeting 8hri Rama's royal nurse gaily dressed in a white silken
robe, she enquired of her, saying: cc Why is the wealthy Queen
KaushaIya, mother of 8hri Rama, distributing immense riches
in charity to-day ? Why are the people of the capital so joyous?
What is the happy king about to accomplish? "
The royal nurse, overcome with joy at that time, told the
16 4



AYODHYA KANDA
hunchbacked Manthara of Rama's enthronement. She said:
" To-morrow, at dawn, under the Pushya star, King Dasaratha
will install the sinless Rama, the subduer of anger, as Yuvaraja."
The words of the nurse filled the hunchbacked woman with
jealous wrath. Speedily descending from the high palace which
resembled Mt. Kailasa, that sinful woman, consumed with
malice, entered the bedchamber of Queen Kaikeyi and, waking
her, thus addressed her :-


"Why art thou sleeping, 0 Deluded One? Thou art in
imminent peril; art thou blind to future suffering? 0 Fair
One, the good fortune which thou vauntest is about to pass
away, like a river that is dried up in the summer season."
Queen Kaikeyi, pained by the bitter words of the sinful
hunchbacked maid, answered her saying: cc 0 Manthara, is all
well? Why do I behold thee with a gloomy mien, what is the
cause of thy distress ? "
Hearing the gentle accents of Queen Kaikeyi, Manthara, who
was full of cunning, assuming a sorrowful mien and feigning
friendship for the queen, spoke bitterly, "0 Devi, a great
calamity has befallen thee. Hear me! King Dasaratha is
about to proclaim Shri Ramachandra as regent. I am immersed
in the bottomless sea of fear; I am affiicted with pain and
sorrow; I am as if scorched by fire, and for thy good I have
come hither. 0 Kaikeyi, thy woes are my woes, thy sorrows
my sorrows, of this I am certain. Hearken! Thou art the
daughter of a great royal House and thou art the favourite of
King Dasaratha. Why art thou deceived by his crafty ways ?
Outwardly, thy husband appears to be a speaker of truth, but,
inwardly, he is a deceitful man. His speech is fair, but his
heart is hard. Thy honesty is the cause of thy suffering.
Prevailing on thee .by specious words, the king visits thee and
speaks insincere words to thee. By delivering the kingdom to
Kaus1).alya's son, he seeks to make her mistress of all. Like
an affectionate mother, thou hast nourished in thy lap the enemy
that is called thy lord. Thou resemblest the one who pressed
a serpent to her bosom deeming it, through illusion, to be her
infant. As a snake or an enemy harms the one who has spared
him, so has King Dasaratha to-day dealt with thee and thy son.
165



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
This sinful, deceitful monarch will destroy thee, thy son and
thy relatives, who are worthy of happiness, by enthroning Shri
Ramachandra. 0 Thou of Deluded Intellect, ever indifferent
to thine own good, hear me, there is yet time. Whatever thou
can'st do for thine own advantage perform and thus protect
thy son and me."
Hearing the words of Manthara, the beautiful queen rose
from her couch, like the autumnal moon. Filled with wonder
and delight, she took from her person a precious ornament and
presented it to the hunchback woman.
That lovely one, unequalled in beauty among youthful women,
said to Manthara: "0 Manthara, thou hast brought me joyful
tidings. Tell me, what I can offer thee in return for these
pleasing words? I find no difference between Rama and
Bharata. I am, therefore, fully satisfied if the king installs
Shri Ramachandra. 0 Dear One, nothing is more pleasing to
me than the news of Shri Rama's enthronement. Ask for
whatever pleases thee, and I will confer it on thee."


CHAPTER 8


Manthara persuades the queen that Bharata should be regent
and Prince Rama banished


PROMPTED by disappointment and anger, Manthara, casting the
jewel away, in disdain, cried: "0 Foolish Queen, this is no
occasion for rejoicing, dost thou know that thou art about to be
submerged in a sea of sorrow? I cannot but laugh silently
at thy folly. Thou rejoicest when there is reason to mourn !
I pity thy simplicity, how should a woman rejoice in the
advancement of the son of her enemy? Prince Bharata has an
equal right to the kingdom with Ramachandra. Rama fears
Prince Bharata and, fearing him, seeks to displace him. Laksh-
mana, though heir to the throne, is Rama's obedient servant,
just as Prince Shatrughna is faithful to Bharata. 0 Beautiful
One, by birth Bharata has a claim to the throne. Traditionally,
166



AYODHYA KANDA
the kingdom should be his. Shri Rama is well-versed in affairs
of state, and acts promptly in his own interests. Knowing the
danger threatening Bharata from Rama, I am filled with dread.
cc To-day, Queen Kaushalya is fortunate indeed; her son
will be enthroned by the holy brahmins at dawn, when the
Pushya star is in the ascendant. Thereafter, thou shalt have
to stand in complete submission like a stone, before Queen
Kaushalya whose enemies will be subdued. Thus, not only
thou, but the virtuous Prince Bharata will become a servant
and dependent on the Queen Kaushalya. The women of Shri
Rama's household will be filled with joy, but thy daughters-
in-law, having no status, will suffer great anxiety and sorrow."
Queen Kaikeyi believing Manthara really to be benevolently
disposed to her, began to extol the great virtues of Ramachandra,
saying: "Shri Rama instructed by his holy Guru is truly
righteous, grateful, truthful and pious; he, the eldest son of
the king, assuredly deserves to be made regent. May he live
long! He will ever protect his brothers and servants as a father
protects his children. 0 Kubija,l why art thou jealous ofRama's
coronation? Mter a hundred years, Bharata will inherit the
throne of his illustrious ancestors. Why art thou sad on such
a joyful occasion, 0 Manthara? Shri Ramachandra is as dear
to me as is Bharata, he serves me with greater zeal even than
he does Queen Kaushalya. If Shri Rama ascends the throne,
it is as if Bharata ruled the land; Shri Rama regards his brother
as himself."
Hearing the Queen's words, Manthara intensely provoked,
sighed deeply and said: "0 Stupid One, thou deemest adversity
to be prosperity, thou art sinking in an ocean of suffering and
yet dost not perceive it. When Rama becomes king, who will
succeed him, Prince Bharata or his own son? Prince Bharata
will remain without a kingdom forever.
" 0 Beautiful Princess, all the sons of the king cannot occupy
the throne, and if they could, it would bring calamity. Therefore,
o Kaikeyi, the sovereign confers his throne on the eldest son;
yet, if the younger son be endowed with good qualities he may
succeed; the kingdom is given to one and one only. When
Rama becomes king, then thy son like an orphan, deprived
I Kubija-hunchback.


16 7



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
of all comfort, will be cast forth from the royal dynasty to suffer.
I have come to tell thee this for thy good and thou dost not
comprehend it. If thou wert wise, thou wouldst not reward
me with this jewel on account of the increased prosperity of thy
rival. Assuredly when Rama assumes the regency, he will
either banish Prince Bharata or have him put to death. Through
proximity people acquire affection even for inanimate objects,
but thou didst send thy son in his childhood to thy father's
house.
cc Prince Shatrughna has accompanied Bharata; Lakshmana
follows Rama as Shatrughna follows Bharata. It is said that
a tree marked down for felling by the dwellers of the forest is
preserved by the proximity of the thorny ishika bushes. Thus
will Lakshmana ever protect Rama, and Rama in return will
preserve Lakshmana. These two brothers love each other as
do the Aswins; this is well known. Rama will, therefore, seek
to harm Bharata though he will ever protect Lakshmana. I,
therefore, consider it were best for Bharata to escape to the
forest. If Rama succeed to his father's kingdom, how may thy
welfare and that of thy relatives be assured? To thee Bharata
is a child worthy of happiness but to Rama he is a rival.
When Rama is king, Bharata will not live long. It becomes
thee, therefore, 0 Queen, to protect Prince Bharata, as the leader
of a herd of elephants protects it from the lion's spring.
Prompted by pride, thou hast in the past slighted Queen
Kaushalya; dost thou think she will spare thee when she is
chief queen? 0 Beautiful One, note well when Rama obtains
the kingdom together with its mountains, seas and valleys,
then thou and thy son, Prince Bharata, will suffer ignominy.
Assuredly, when Rama is king, Prince Bharata will be deprived
of life, therefore, act so that Rama may be exiled to the forest
and Bharata obtain the kingdom."


168



AYODHYA KANDA


CHAPTER 9


Queen Kaikeyi is resol'Oed upon her eoil design


THE face of Queen Kaikeyi flushed with anger, and sighing
deeply, she said to Manthara: cc To-day, I shall indeed banish
Rama and ensure that Bharata be proclaimed regent. 0
Manthara, how may Bharata become regent, and Rams be
deprived of the kingdom? "
Hearing these words, the sinful Manthara, bent upon the
complete destruction of Shri Rama, said to the queen: cc Hear,
o Kaikeyi, I will unfold to thee the only course which will lead
to the coronation of Prince Bharata. 0 Kaikeyi, hast thou
forgotten that which thou hast often related to me ? 0 Lover
of Poesy, if it be thy desire to hear the tale from my lips, listen
and then take action."
Thus addressed, Queen Kaikeyi, rising from her couch,
replied: cc 0 Manthara, relate by what means Bharata may
acquire the throne and 8hri Rama suffer eclipse."
Then the wicked Manthara, desirous of doing injury to Rama,
said: cc Formerly when thy husband was engaged in a war
between the devas and asuras, he supported the cause of Indra.
He took thee with him and I accompanied thee. 0 Kaikeyi,
to the south, in the Dandab forest, there ruled a king named
Timidwaja in his capital Bijayanta. He was versed in the magic
named Shambara, and he was unconquerable by the gods. He
waged war on Indra and in the great conflict the asuras, at night,
carried off the wounded from their beds and slew them. King
Dasaratha fought great battles with these asuras who pierced
his body many times with their weapons. He, falling un-
conscious, thou, 0 Devi, brought him from the battlefield and
when they still assailed him, didst skilfully preserve him. 0
Beautiful One, then the king, thy lord, well pleased with thee,
proffered thee two boons, and thou didst answer: C I shall claim
them when the need arises.'
cc I was not then acquainted with this matter, but thou didst
later relate it to me. Prompted by my love for thee, I have
169



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
treasured all this in my memory. Now, demand the cessation
of preparations for Shri Rama's enthronement. For the first
boon ask for the proclamation of Bharata as regent, and for
the second the banishment of Rama for fourteen years. During
the period of his exile, men will grow to love thy son and his
rule will be assured.
cc 0, Daughter of a Mighty King, entering the chamber of
wrath, clad in soiled raiment, cast thyself on the bare ground.
On the entrance of the king, neither look at nor speak to him
but, rolling on the ground, continue to weep. Doubtless thou
art very dear to thy lord who, for thy sake, would enter a raging
fire. The king would never provoke thee nor can he bear to
see thee weep. He would sacrifice life itself for thy sake. The
king cannot be indifferent to thy requests. 0 Indolent One,
test the power of thy beauty to-day; but have a care lest the
king offer thee diamonds, pearls, gold and other gems, and be
not caught in the snare of greed.
cc 0 Fortunate One, remind the king of the two boons promised
to thee on the battlefield; strive hard for the success of thine
undertaking. If the king would lift thee up, let him on oath
renew his promise. Do thou say to him: c 0 Great King,
send Rama into exile for fourteen years and make Bharata ruler
of the kingdom.'
cc Whilst Rama is absent, the rule ofBharata will be established
and he will reign forever. 0 Beautiful One, demand the exile
of Rama, from King Dasaratha, and all will be well with thy son.
Men will forget their love for Rama and will cease to care for
him, and Bharata will have no enemy anywhere. When 8hri
Rama returns, the supremacy of Bharata will be firmly estab-
lished; ruling with love, he will inspire affection and many
friends will support him. Therefore, 0 Queen, questioned by
the king, fearlessly and firmly demand that the preparations
for Rama's enthronement be terminated."
Kaikeyi, thus prevailed upon to execute the evil design of
Manthara and fully prepared to comply with it, followed her
counsel as a young chicken follows its mother. The beautiful
queen, aggrieved that the king had not consulted her concerning
this great event, said: cc 0 Manthara, thou art truly my sincere
well-wisher I Of all deformed aeatures on earth, thou art the
17 0



AYODHYA KANDA
wisest. 0 Kubija, as yet, I fail to comprehend the king's real
intention. Deformed women are usually sinful and perverse,
but thou, 0 Kubija, art unique, resembling a lotus bending to
the breeze. In spite of thy physical defect, thou art not to be
despised. It would seem that thy slender waist, bashful of thy
full rounded bosom, had withdrawn itself. 0 Manthara, thy
face is like the full moon, thou art indeed lovely, thy body is
smooth, thy waist decorated with a girdle, thy thighs are long,
thy limbs slender. 0 Manthara, when thou walkest before me,
clad in a silken sari, reaching to thy ankles, thou art as graceful
as a swan.
"Acquainted with every grace and blandishment, thy hump
protruding like the hub of a wheel is surely filled with wisdom,
diplomacy and understanding. I, therefore, present thee with'
a gold chain to adorn it.
"0 Lovely Woman, when Bharata becomes king and Rama
goes into exile, I will cover thy hump with beaten gold. When
I am certain of the success of my undertaking, I will apply
sandalwood paste to thy hump, and to thy forehead a diadem
of gold and gems.
" 0 Kubija, I will give thee ornaments of pure gold; thus
attired and adorned thou shalt be free to live as thou pleaseth.
Thou shalt put my sister queens to shame and precede them
with pride. 0 Thou whose face is incomparably beautiful, thou
art a rival of the full moon. 0 Deformed One, many hunch-
backed women wearing golden ornaments shall attend thee as
thy handmaids."
Thus flattered, Manthara reclining on a white couch, glowing
like an altar flame, spoke: "0 Fortunate One, it is useless to
construct a dam when the water has run away, therefore, enter
on thine undertaking immediately. Go wait upon the king in
the chamber of wrath."
Thus prompted by Kubija, the beautiful-eyed Queen Kaikeyi,
filled with ambition, entered the chamber of wrath with
Manthara. There, inspired by the hunchbacked woman,
casting her pearl necklace of immeasurable value on the ground,
the queen rolling on the Boor, addressed her: "0 Kubija,
either Rama shall go into exile and Bharata obtain the kingdom,
or King Dasaratha will have news of my death. I shall neither
17 1



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
put on ornaments, nor partake of delicious dishes; if Rama
is installed, it shall be the end of my life."
Manthara continued to instruct Kaikeyi in the most cruel
manner, uttering words hostile to Rama. "Know well, 0
Fortunate One, should Rama become ruler, it will mean endless
suffering for thee and thy son. Therefore exert thyself to
overthrow him."
The queen, wounded by the shafts of Manthara's words,
placing both hands on her heart, replied angrily: "0 Kubija,
either thou shalt bear the news of my death to the king, or Rama
shall be exiled and Bharata enthroned. If Rama be not exiled,
then I shall neither sleep on a bed nor wear flowing garments,
nor apply sandalwood paste nor antimony to my person.
Except Bharata be enthroned, I shall neither eat nor drink. If
this is not accomplished, I do not desire to live."
Having firmly resolved this, casting her ornaments to
the ground, she, herself, lay down like a fallen kinnari. 1 Her
face veiled in wrath, her body stripped of its garlands and
jewels, the queen resembled the sky bereft of sun and stars.


CHAPTER 10


The king is deeply afflicted at the sight of the weeping queen


INCITED by Manthara, Kaikeyi, like a kinnari, continued to
roll on the ground as if wounded by a poisoned arrow. The
artful queen, devising a plan, gradually unfolded her design
to Manthara. Heaving deep sighs, like a python, Manthara
was filled with satisfaction, perceiving her favourite, Kaikeyi,
resolved on her evil course of action.
Reflecting on the matter, torn with jealousy, the queen, pluck-
ing out her eyebrows, scattered her shining ornaments OD the
ground adorning it as stars illumine the firmament. Lying thus,


1 Kinnari-mythical beings, celestial choriaten, laid to have 'prunr from
the toe of Brahma.


17 2



AYODHYA KANDA
attired in soiled raiment with her hair dishevelled, she resembled
a nymph fallen from heaven.
The king, having given his instructions for the installation
of Shri Rama, dismissed the court and entered the inner
apartments of the queens to inform them of the great
occasion.
Anxious to impart the good tidings to his beloved consorts,
the illustrious King Dasaratha entered the inner apartment,
first going to the beautiful abode of Kaikeyi. As the moon
sails into a dear sky after eclipse, so did the king enter the
apartment of Queen Kaikeyi. He passed through the garden
made beautiful by parrots, peacocks, swans and cranes. Music
was softly playing, while dwarfed and hunchbacked maids passed
to and fro. There were leafy bowers and alcoves on whose walls
were painted beautiful pictures. Everywhere champaka 1 and
asoka 2 enhanced the view, whilst other trees were laden with
blossom and fruit. Altars of ivory, silver and gold with springs
of water flowing by seats inlaid with precious metals and costly
jewels, where delicious food and drink was constantly served,
transformed the palace into paradise itself.
The king entered the inner apartments, but did not perceive
the queen on the couch where desire had caused him to seek
her. Calling loudly and receiving no answer, he grew sad;
never before had Kaikeyi missed the time of dalliance, never
before had the king found the apartment deserted. The monarch
desiring to know where the queen was, questioned a maidservant,
who replied with fear and submission: cc 0 Sire, she has entered
the chamber of wrath."
On hearing these words, the heart of the sovereign was
exceedingly troubled. Restless and agitated in mind, the king
bowed with sorrow entered the chamber of wrath and found the
queen lying on the ground in an unseemly manner. The king
who, in his old age, loved the young queen as dearly as his
own life, was deeply aftlicted at the sight. That sinless monarch
beheld the ambitious Kaikeyi lying on the earth like a branch
tom from a tree, or a nymph thrust forth from heaven. She lay
like an apsara fallen on the earth when her merit is exhausted,


. 1 Champaka-magnolia, Michelia champaka.
I Asoka-a tree reaembJing the coconut.
173



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
or like a snapped garland, or a doe ensnared by the hunter,
or like a young elephant wounded by a poisonous arrow.
Standing over her like an immense tusker, the monarch
regarded her with affection. Gently caressing her, apprehensive
yet propelled by desire, the king addressed his lotus-eyed queen:
cc 0 Devi, I know not why thou art displeased, by whom hast
thou been insulted. 0 tell me! 0 Auspicious One, I am
grieved to see thee lying in the dust, why art thou, ever
benevolent towards me, lying on the earth? Thou art as dear
to me as my own life, why dost thou act as one possessed by
an evil spirit? Art thou sick? If so, I have many eminent
physicians who can cure thy malady, who being satisfied with
the gifts and honours bestowed on them, are ready to obey my
will. In an instant they shall restore thee to health. 0
Beautifu1 One, tell me the symptoms of thy complaint. Or
dost thou desire to reward or punish any man? Do not let
the charm of thy face be marred by grief.
cc In order to please thee, I will put to death one who does
not deserve the penalty, or will pardon one who merits death.
I will reduce a rich man to poverty, or 'cause a pauper to be
made wealthy. I and all those who belong to me are thy
obedient servants. I shall never oppose thy will, 0 Queen.
If I can please thee even at the cost of my life, thou hast but
to speak. Well dost thou know how much I love thee, now
tell me what I may do for thee.
cc I swear to accomplish whatever thou desireth. Know me
to be monarch of a kingdom on which the sun never sets. The
lands of Drivira, Sindhu, Souvira, Sourashtra, Dakshinaputha,
Vanga, Anga, Maghandha, Matsha, Kashi and Koshala together
with their abundant produce and wealth are ruled by me. If
thou desirest any of these, tell me. .
cc 0 Frail One, why dost thou cause thyself suffering? Rise,
rise, 0 Dearest, what dost thou fear? 0 Kaikeyi, as the sun
dispels the mist, I will dispel thy fears."
Thus flattered by the king, Kaikeyi appeared somewhat
pacified, yet in order to afilict her lord, began to utter bitter
and harsh words.


174



AYODHYA KANDA


CHAPTER I I


She asks for the tfJJo boons promised her by the king


THE queen addressed the great sovereign, Dasaratha, who,
overcome with desire, was pierced by the shafts of Kama-deva,l
and said: Neither am I sick nor has any offered me insult. I
harbour a certain ambition which thou can'st fulfil. If thou art
willing to accomplish this, then give me thy solemn promise
and I will make known its purport to thee."
The resplendent monarch, agitated by desire, raising the head
of the queen from the ground took her in his arms and answered
smilingly: cc 0 Fortunate One, dost thou not know that none
is dearer to me than thou, saving that lion among men, Shri
Ramachandra. I swear by the invincible Rama, who is even
dearer to me than thou, that I will fulfil thy ambition. 0
Kaikeyi, I swear by Rama, without seeing whom I cannot live
one hour, that I will execute thy desire. 0 Dear One, by my
oath I have demonstrated to thee the intensity of my love, now
tell me what thou desirest. Knowing the great love I bear
for thee, have no fear; by my meritorious deeds I declare to
thee, I will grant thee what thou asketh."
Following the instructions of Manthara, knowing the fulfil-
ment of her ambition to be at hand and concerned with the
advancement of Bharata, Kaikeyi spoke harshly. Satisfied with
the attitude of the king, she, resembling the dreadful god of
death, addressed him: cc 0 Great King, formerly thou didst
promise me two boons to which the thirty-three gods were
witness. 0 King, moon, sun, ether, the planets, day and night,
the cardinal points, the universe and those who inhabit it, the
earth, the gandharvas, the asuras, the spirits and other beings
are witness to that promise given to me by thee. 0 Ye Gods,
listen with attention to the boons which the king, a lover of
truth, highly resplendent and acquainted with the law of duty,
grants me."
The Queen Kaikeyi, praising the king, who was overcome
by desire and ready to grant any boon, said: "0 King, recollect
S Kama or Kandarpa-The God of Love.
I7S N



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
how in the war between the gods and asuras
thou didst fall
wounded like one dead, and I rescued thee by applying the
appropriate means? On thy recovery, thou didst promise me
two boons. 0 Truthful Monarch, I now earnestly desire these
two boons which are in thy power to grant. Shouldst thou,
despite thy promises given, not fulfil these desires, then I will
relinquish my life, dishonoured by thee."
The queen, holding the Icing's mind subject by her sweet
words, resembled a hunter who, intending to slay a deer, lays a
snare for it. Then addressing the king infatuated with passion
and willing to grant any boon, she said :-


cc 0 Deva, hear me, I now claim these two boons. Employing
the preparations made for Rama's installation, let my son
Bharata be proclaimed regent, this is the first boon. The second
pledge granted me on the battlefield is now also due to be
fulfilled. Let Ramachandra be exiled to the forest for fourteen
years, wearing a dress of bark, with matted locks like a hermit,
while my son, Prince Bharata, rules without hindrance. This is
my earnest desire. Let me, this day, behold the exile of Rama.
o King, Protector of Truth, preserve thy integrity and the
traditions of thy birth. The riSIDs declare that the observance
of truth is the most excellent means of attaining heaven."


CHAPTER 12


The king suffers bitterly at the thought of sending
Prince Rama into exile


THE harsh words of Queen Kaikeyi caused intense suffering
and agitation to the heart of the king. He began to refiect
_"Am I seeing a dream by day, is my mind unhinged, am I
possessed by an evil spirit, is an inauspicious star causing me
distress or is this disturbance the result of some malady? "
Pondering awhile, the king grew calm, but his mind was still
troubled, and, recollecting the demands of Queen Kaikeyi, he
17 6



AYODHYA KANDA
again became resdess and agitated like a deer in the presence
of a lioness. Heaving deep sighs, seated on the ground, he
resembled a highly venomous snake hypnotized by the power
of a mantram. He cried out in anger, cc Woe unto me" and
fell senseless.
Mer a long time, he recovered consciousness, and suffenng
great distress, full of wrath, answered Kaikeyi, while his
glance seemed as if it would consume her. cc 0 Thou of Evil
Disposition, 0 Destroyer of my Dynasty, what harm have 8hri
Ramachandra or I done to thee ? Rama has ever treated thee
as his own mother. Why hast thou determined thus? Alas!
I brought thee to my house for the destruction of my home.
I deemed thee to be the daughter of a king and thou hast
shown thyself to be a venomous serpent. All my people unite
in praise of Rama. For what fault shall I abandon him ? It
were possible for me to part with Queen Kaushalya, Sumitra,
my kingdom, even life itself, but I cannot abandon Shri Rama.
To behold the heir-apparent causes delight to my heart; when
not contemplating him, my mind loses its capacity to act. The
world may continue to exist without the sun, crops may grow
without water, but I cannot live even for a litde while without
Shri Ramachandra.
cc Therefore, 0 Sinful One, give up thine arrogance. See, I
put my head at thy feet, be gracious to me. Why hast thou
determined on this cruelty, 0 Wicked One? If thou desireth
to test my love for Prince Bharata, then do so. When thou didst
say betimes that Rama, my eldest son, was entided to the
kingdom on account of his virtues, didst thou utter these words
in flattery to gratify me or to exact some service of Rama ?
cc The tidings of Rama's installation is causing thee a burning
discontent. Possessed by an evil spirit, thou art not thyself,
I wean. 0 Devi, it is a great calamity that the House of
Ikshwaku, famed for its probity, should fall into disrepute.
cc Hadst thou not been aflticted by an evil spirit or influenced
by an inauspicious planet, thou wouldst never have spoken to
the detriment of others. It is certain that thou art possessed
by a malignant entity. 0 Child, thou hast often said that thou
didst love Shri Rainachandra, even as Bharata himself. 0 Devi,
bow dOlt thou dare to seek the banishment of Ramachandra
177



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
for fourteen years? How canst thou demand the exile of the
virtuous and tender Ramachandra for fourteen long years?
o Thou of beautiful eyes, how canst thou think of sending
Rama into exile, who ever honours thee? Rama has paid thee
greater respect than Bharata. I fail to comprehend how thou
canst desire his exile. Reflect well, none in the world will offer
thee greater service, respect and obedience than Rama.
cc Among the thousands of women and maid-servants in my
private apartments, none ever speaks ill of Rama, and he
with a pure heart offers protection to every living being, while
his subjects ever love and obey him. He has won the hearts
of all beings by protecting the interests of the needy and the
afHicted. Generosity, faithful service to his preceptor, vaIour
in the field of battle, skill in archery, have all contributed to his
renown. Truth, austerity, friendship, purity, simplicity of life,
knowledge of philosophy and service of his teacher are well-
known qualities of Shri Ramachandra.
cc 0 Devi, Shri Ramachandra ever acting in the highest
interests of all, equal to the maharishis and the gods in
enlightenment, must not suffer the ills of exile. Shri Rama has
never speken a harsh word to any, how shall I then, at thy
instigation, give him this pitiless message? What shall befall
me bereft of Rama who is endowed with forgiveness, gratitude,
self-control, renunciation, truth and virtue, and who never
inflicts pain on any human being?
cc 0 Kaikeyi, I have grown old and my end is near. In this
wretched state I beseech thee to show mercy on me. The earth
girdled by the sea, and all that is contained therein, shall be
thine. Why dost thou drive me to the brink of death's dark
abyss?
cc 0 Kaikeyi, I touch thy feet in supplication. Protect Shri
Ramachandra and save me from dishonouring my word."
King Dasaratha, stricken with grief, fell senseless, his whole
frame convulsed and agitated. Again and again he entreated
the queen to take him beyond the sea of suffering, but that
cruel one growing each instant more adamant, replied: cc 0
King, if thou repent of the two boons given to me, none in
the world will call thee righteous. When other kings question
thee regarding thy promises, 0 Righteous One, what will be
178



AYODHYA KANDA
thine answer? Wilt thou say that she to whom thou owest thy
life and by whose grace thou yet livest, who rendered thee great
service at the time of misfortune and to whom thou didst promise
two boons, has now been refused these blessings?
"Assuredly thou shalt become a stigma on the illustrious
dynasty of Ikshwaku, having given promises from which thou
now wouldst fain withdraw. Recollect King Shivya, who
gave the flesh of his own body, to redeem a pledge, was of thy
royal house. King Alarka, likewise of thy dynasty, plucked out
his eyes that the sight of an aged and learned brahmin might
be restored, and thus obtained the highest state. Not only man
is bound by his word, the ocean whose boundaries are fixed,
does not pass beyond the shore. Therefore, recollecting thy
pledge, do not relinquish it. 0 King, art thou bereft of thy
senses? Abandoning truth, thou wouldst grant Rama the
kingdom so that thou mayest enjoy the embraces of Queen
Kaushalya. Be it in accord with dharma or not, be it truth
or falsehood, thou must fulfil the promise made to me, it shall
never be revoked.
cc Shouldst thou withdraw thy pledge and grant Ramachandra
the kingdom, I will give up my life by drinking deadly poison.
Were I to see Queen Kaushalya receiving salutations as chief
queen, I should not be able to endure it.
cc 0 Great Sovereign, I swear by Bharata and my own life
that nothing save the exile of Rama shall satisfy me."
After speaking these words, Kaikeyi became silent, disregard-
ing the supplications of the aftlicted monarch. Understanding
the full portent of the harsh words of Kaikeyi, implying Rama's
exile and the rulership of Bharata, the king remained silent for
a long time. His senses numbed, he gazed steadfastly at the
face of his beloved queen, speaking thus bitterly.
Maharajah Dasaratha, aftlicted on hearing the threatening
speech of Kaikeyi resembling a thunderbolt, inspiring pain and
grief, knowing she had resolved to banish Rama, cried out: Ie 0
Rama! Rama!" and heaving deep sighs fell to the earth like
a felled tree. Like a madman bereft of sense or as one in
delirium or a snake hypnotized by incantations, he fell, deprived
of his glory. In abject tones, he addressed Kaikeyi, saying:
ee Who has instructed thee in this evil design, cloaked in specious
179



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
garb? Art thou not ashamed to address me as one possessed?
Formerly, I did not deem thee capable of such conduct; in
youth, thy disposition was otherwise. What has overpowered
thee that thou seekest such a boon? Stay these unjust words
that Rama should go to the forest and Bharata occupy the
throne. 0 Sinful One, 0 Cruel-hearted One, 0 Evil Doer,
relinquish the insistence on thy resolve, for thine own sake and
for the sake of thy subjects and thy son. Either Rama or I
must have offended thee. How have we done so, that thou
speakest thus? Assuredly Prince Bharata will never wish to
occupy the throne while Rama lives. I deem Bharata no less
virtuous than Ramachandra. When instructing Rama to go to
the forest, seeing him stricken, how can I look on him? How
can I look upon his face darkened like the moon in ec1i pse ?
How can I revoke that decision made in consultation with my
ministers and friends desiring my welfare, causing confusion,
as the sudden smiting of an army by the enemy. What will
the kings of other lands say when they hear the breaking
of my resolve which was reached by common consent? Will
they not say: eKing Dasaratha of the House of Ikshwaku is
like a child. We marvel that he has ruled so long.' When
the aged, wise and learned brahmins enquire for Rama, shall I
answer them that, coerced by Kaikeyi, I have sent him into
exile ? If I say this in truth, it will be accounted falsehood
since I have already instructed my Guru to install Shri Rama
as regent. What will his mother, Queen Kaushalya, say, if I
banish Rama? How shall I explain this cruel deed to Queen
Kaushalya ? She is ever dutiful, a friend, serving me as a
handmaid, keeping my secrets as a trusted companion, practising
virtue like a woman and in attending on my welfare resembling
a sister, serving me with delicious food like a mother, ever
speaking sweetly to me, ever desiring my good; her son is
dearest to me. How can I fail to accord her due respect?
Fearing thy displeasure, how great would be my subsequent
repentance and remorse ?
"As one partaking of delicious food, really injurious to him,
is later filled with regret, so knowing Rama exiled at my
command, the terrified Sumitra will place no further faith in
me. Oh! how unfortunate is this, that Sita hearing these evil
180



AYODHYA KANDA
tidings of my death and Shri Ramachandra's banishment, will
yield up her life, as a nymph dies deprived of her mate in a
Himalayan valley.
" I shall not long survive the exile of Rama and the grief of
Sitae Enjoy thou the kingdom with thy son, but as a widow!
Know well, 0 Devi, there is no happiness for me in life if Rama
is exiled. As men infatuated by the colour of wine, drink
it thinking ill of it the while and knowing its harmful
consequences, so did I, charmed by thee, enter into union with
thee, believing thee true and faithful. Yet now I know thy
disposition to be incomparably vile. Thou hast deluded me
with alluring deceits.
"As a hunter decoys a deer by sweet music, so alas! will
the people of the capital think of me, as my son's executioner.
They will shrink from me as from a brahmin who drinks
intoxicating liquor. Alas! that I should hear such bitter
words. Now I am suffering deep afiliction as men who consume
the fruit of their former iniquities. 0 Sinful One, having long
protected thee, it is I who have erred, like the man who carefully
preserves the rope with which he is eventually hanged.
"As a child, in a solitary place, plays with a black snake not
knowing it will be the cause of his death, so am I. Who is
more wicked than my.se1f, who, during my lifetime causes my
saintly son to become an orphan? The whole world will despise
me saying: eKing Dasaratha is overcome by lust and at the
prompting of a woman has sent his son into exile.'
" Shri Rama in his childhood abstained from flesh, honey1
and wine, and faithful to his brahmacharya vow, was reduced
to a skeleton by the observance of severe austerities, much study
and the firm service of his preceptor. Now, a householder,
the time has come that he should enjoy health and prosperity,
yet now he is condemned to undergo great physical privation.
It is certain when I command him to go to the forest, he will
reply C Be it so, 0 Sire'. Alas! how much better if it could be
otherwise. My beloved child will assuredly not disobey me.
Not knowing my £rue reason, and believing the command to
spring from the sincerity of my heart, he will acquiesce and


I Honey in those days being obtained by killing all tbe bees, hence Shri Rama
eschewed It.
I8I



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
willingly depart; yet all will execrate me if Rama leaves us.
ee Death, who spares none, will take me to the region of Yama
while Shri Ramachandra has gone to the forest, then 0 Kaikeyi,
what grievous injustice wilt thou inflict on thy remaining
relatives and Queen Kaushalya? She, deprived of Rama and
Lakshmana, will no longer be able to endure her grief and will
yield up her life.
cc 0 Kaikeyi, having cast me, Kaushalya, Sumitra and my
three sons into the pit of death, canst thou be happy? Wilt
thou be able to protect the dynasty of Ikshwaku, which for
long ages has been ruled without disturbance, when Rama and
I are gone? Will Bharata approve the banishment of Rama,
if it be so, let him not perform my obsequies. 0 Enemy, may
thine ambitions be fulfilled. When I am dead and Rama
banished, then wilt thou, a widow, govern the kingdom with
thy son.
ee 0 Thou dwelling in our midst as the pretended daughter
of a king, wert thou truly a princess, thine incomparable renown
would not have been tarnished, nor would I have been set at
nought by thee.
cc Now my son, accustomed to ride on chariots, horses and
elephants will have to walk barefoot in the forest. He, who
formerly was served at table by attendants in jewelled livery,
each vying with the other, saying: C My dish is sweeter, 0
Lord,' how shall that Rama henceforth live on the bitter and
insipid fruits of the forest? How shall he pass his life depen-
dent on fruit and roots? How shall Shri Ramachandra,
accustomed to costly apparel and a luxurious couch, sleep on the
bare ground, clothed in the yellow robe of a mendicant? I
know not why an evil-minded woman should issue this cruel
decree that Rama should be exiled and Bharata be installed as
regent.
ee Woe unto those women seeking material gain, skilful in
accomplishing their own purpose! I do not condemn all
women, but those like the mother of Bharata. 0 Kaikeyi,
versed in wrong doing, ever meanly disposed and seeking thine
own advantage, didst thou enter my house to cause me afiliction ?
What fault hast thou seen in me or in Ramachandra, the friend
of all the world? 0 Kaikeyi, on seeing Rama suffering in the
182



AYODHYA KANDA
forest at thy request
fathers will abandon their sons
faithful
wives their husbands
and the whole world will condemn
thee.
" When I behold Shri Ramachandra adorned and handsome
as a god, approaching me
my eyes are delighted; seeing him
thus
I am filled with joy and courage. The affairs of the world
may continue in the absence of the dawn
and the earth exist
without rain, evoked by Imira, but none in the capital will enjoy
happiness beholding Rama going into exile.
"Alas! To-day, I am about to perish for long nursing thee
in my arms
0 Kaikeyi
a venomous snake bent on my
destruction. Thou art my real enemy. Now do thou, Rama
and Lakshmana perform my funeral ceremonies, then govern
the kingdom with thy son, Bharata. Destroy my relatives and
friends, depopulate my towns and country, and live in accord
with mine enemies, 0 Thou Cruel Wretch! Why do thy teeth
not break into a thousand fragments, seeing thou hast spoken
improperly before thy lord, and uttered vain boasts. Never did
my Rama speak an unkind word to thee. He knows not how
to speak unkindly. Thou chargest Rama with baseness, who
ever was of gentle speech and who is endowed with every
excellent quality.
" 0 Thou Defamer of the Kingdom of Kaikeya, I shall not
grant thy request whether thou be angered or sorrowful or
takest thy life by swallowing poison or dasheth thy head against a
rock, or even sinkest into the earth. Thou utterest words keen
as the edge of a razor, deceitful and heartrending, veiling them
in gentle accents, thy nature is perverse, thou art the destroyer
of thine own family. Thou hast inflicted bitter agony on me.
Though charming in looks, thou art a dangerous woman.
I do not desire to consort with one so surpassingly wicked.
" What use to speak of love and joy, I cannot live without
Ramachandra. 0 Devi, abstain from destroying me. . I touch
thy feet, be gracious to me. n
Finding her heart unmoved by his appeal, King Dasaratha
like an orphan, fawning and abject, fell unconscious at the feet
of Kaikeyi as one about to die.


18 3



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI


CHAPTER 13


Kaikeyi disregards the king's immeasurable distress


KING DASARATHA lying on the ground in utter ignominy,
resembled King Yayati fallen from heaven. The cruel queen,
seeing her purpose yet unaccomplished, herself fearless yet
inspiring terror in the heart of the king, again demanded the
boons, saying:-
" 0 King, thou didst ever deem thyself a man of truth and
one faithful to his vows, why dost thou then withhold the boons
promised to me ? "
Mter some time, the monarch exceedingly disquieted, replied
in anger :-
"0 Sinful Woman, after my death when Ramachandra, the
chief of men, has gone into exile, thou mayest accomplish thy
purpose. In heaven, the gods will enquire concerning the
welfare of Shri Ramachandra. If I reply that I have sent Rama
into exile to please Kaikeyi, it will be looked upon as a falsehood,
and none will believe it. Having passed innumerable years
without a son, how should I, after long suffering and anxiety,
being blessed with an heir, forsake the long-armed Rama ?
" How can Rama, valorous, learned, tolerant and forbearing,
whose eyes are like lotuses, be driven into exile by me? How
should I send the beautiful Rama, whose complexion is like
the blue lotus, to the Dandaka forest? Shri Rama, meriting
every comfort and pleasure, undeserving of sorrow, how can I
behold that wise Ramachandra in disttess ?
" Had I died without seeing Rama afflicted, who merits no
suffering whatsoever, my spirit would have experienced joy in
heaven. 0 Pitiless, 0 Sinful Kaikeyi, why, why dost thou
compel me to send my dear and truthful son, 8hri Ramachandra,
to the forest? I shall incur dishonour throughout the whole
world. "
Thus lamenting and distracted, evening having fallen and
the night creeping on apace, King Dasaratha affticted and in
great anguish, experienced no delight on beholding the moon.
184



AYODHYA KANDA
The old king, sighing heavily, continued to lament, and gazing
at the starry sky cried: "0 Night, adorned with stars, do not
pass into the dawn. 0 Auspicious Night, with great humility,
I supplicate thee, have pity on me and do not pass away. I
have no desire to behold the face of this cruel "Kaikeyi, who has
caused me immeasurable distress."
Then the monarch again entreated Kaikeyi saying: "A
virtuous man and yet wretched, I take refuge in thee, for I have
only a short while to live. 0 Auspicious One! Know this ;
I am a king and not alone but in the royal assembly have I
proclaimed Rama as regent. Be gracious unto me, 0 Kaikeyi,
o Child, 0 Giver of Delight! Grant imperishable rulership
to Shri Ramachandra and endear thyself to me. 0 Kaikeyi,
thus shalt thou obtain great renown.
cc 0 Thou of beautiful face, let Rama be installed, so shalt
thou cause pleasure to Shri Ramachandra, to Bharata, to the
court, nay to the whole world."
Then the pure-hearted sovereign, his eyes reddened in his
distress burst into a flood of tears, but the wicked Kaikeyi
disregarded both his flattery and his weeping.
The king, realising the exile of Shri Rama could not be avoided,
fell senseless to the earth. Sighing deeply at every moment,
King Dasaratha passed the night in great anguish.
At dawn, the royal musicians striking up to awaken the great
monarch, were ordered by him to be silent.


CHAPTER 14


The king is ooercome by grief j the queen summons Shri Rama


KAIDYI beholding the king distracted with suffering, undecided
how to act, and restless as a fish on dry land, said :-


"0 King, what is the meaning of thy grief and sorrow?
Having promised me two boons, wilt thou incur the sin of
default? Those versed in the secret of righteousness, call truth
the essence of virtue. I ask thee but to protect truth for thine
I8S



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
own good. 0 King, in ancient times, thy forbear, King Shivya
fulfilled a promise given, by yielding up his body to a hawk
and thus acquired a high spiritual state. Thus also the illustri-
ous Alarka gladly taking out his own eyes gave them to a blind
brahmin versed in the Veda. The Lord of Waters, the ocean,
paying due regard to truth, does not pass beyond its boundaries
at the time of the full moon. Truth is Brahman. Truth is
the crown of righteousness. The imperishable Veda proclaims
the glory of truth. When the heart is purified by the practice
of truth, Brahman is realised. 0 King, if thou holdest truth
to be the fruit of virtue, then following truth grant me the two
boons, 0 Bestower of Boons. For the sake of safeguarding thy
future happiness, send Rama into exile! Send Rama into exile
at my request. Thrice I repeat my desire. If thou failest to
exile Rama, I shall not survive the dishonour and shall yield up
my life in thy presence."
Hearing the words of Kaikeyi, King Dasaratha found himself
bound and unable to escape, like King Bali of old in the presence
of Vamana. 1 Distraught, his mind agitated, his countenance
pallid, the king resembled a bullock tottering between the yoke
and the wheel. Anxiety and grief overwhelmed the king; with
a supreme effort, mustering his courage and controlling his
senses, his eyes distended, he addressed Kaikeyi; "0 Sinful
Woman, at the time of our nuptials, in the presence of the
sacred flame, I took thy hand in mine, but to-day, I reject thee
and the son born of thee, Prince Bharata. 0 Devi, the night
is nearly passed and the sun about to rise. My Guru and the
elders will urge me to perform the installation ceremony. Let
the preparations made for the installation be used for my funeral
rites. Let no part therein be taken by thee, 0 Kaikeyi, as thou
dost oppose the installation of 8hri Rama. How shall I look
upon the faces of these people now filled with joy in anticipation
of Rams's enthronement, that will soon become overcast and
melancholy? "
The night illumined by the moon and stars passed away as
the King was speaking, and day dawned. Then Kaikeyi,
eloquent in speech but full of iniquity, transported with anger,
spoke passionately :-
J Vamana-The holy Dwarf, a divine Incarnation.
186



AYODHYA KANDA
cc 0 King, why dost thou speak like one affected by a grave
disease? Send for thy son Ramachandra to come hither.
Install my son on the throne and send Rama into exile. Then
shalt thou have accomplished thy duty."
The king, like a well-bred horse smarting under the lash,
replied: cc I am caught in the net of dharma, I am bereft of
understanding, let me behold my eldest son, Shri Rama."
The morning had now dawned, and the night had fled; the
sun had risen and an auspicious planet was in the ascendant.
The blessed Lord Vasishtha endowed with every excellent
quality, surrounded by his disciples, holding the sacred articles
required for the installation, came to the great door. Passing
through the capital, Shri Vasishtha observed the streets swept
and watered. Flags were fluttering everywhere in the breeze,
flowers of many kinds were strewn on the roads and garlands
hung here and there. All the inhabitants looked happy; shops
and stalls displayed a variety of merchandise, while incense
mixed with ambergris and sandalwood perfumed the air. Every-
where people were celebrating the festival and eagerly awaiting
the coronation of Ramachandra.
Having passed through the city of Ayodhya, which resembled
Amaravati, Shri Vasishtha came to the royal palace, and beheld
at the gate an assembly of brahmins and teachers who enhanced
the scene. Innumerable priests, skilled in the ritual of sacrifice,
courtiers and leaders of the warrior class, as well as merchants
were gathered there. Shri Vasishtha penetrated to the private
apartments and delightedly entered there. At the door he
beheld the charioteer Sumantra of pleasing looks and the holy
sage begged him to announce his arrival to the king aI1d inform
his majesty that he had brought the sacred water of the Gunga
in golden vessels, and various seeds, fragrant herbs and gems of
different kinds. There was also honey, curds, clarified butter,
parched rice, kusha grass, flowers and milk, together with
eight beautiful virgins and a white elephant. A chariot drawn
by four horses, an excellent sword and bow, a palanquin with
bearers and a canopy resembling the moon in purity. Two
white chamaras, a narrow-necked jar of gold, white heifers,
a lion with great teeth, a fine steed, a lion throne, a tiger skin,
sacrificial fuel and fire. Musicians of every kind, beautifully
187



THE RAMAYANA OF VAI..MIKI
adorned women singers, teachers, priests, cows, deer and birds ;
representatives of the people and merchants with their families
were gathered there. These and many people inspired by
affection and of gentle speech, had come with their leaders
to see the coronation of Rams.
Shri Vasishtha ordered Sumantra to inform the king with
all haste that Rams should be installed when the Pushya star
was in the ascendant. Sumantra instructed by the royal Sage
Vasishtha, and having access to the person of the king, entered
the palace crying cc Jai! Jai! to his majesty". The guards
permitted him to enter without hindrance, and Sumantra,
approaching the king, ignorant of his condition, began to praise
his royal master, according to the prevailing custom. With
great humility he addressed him, saying: cc 0 Gracious Sover-
eign, as the sun at the breaking of day gives pleasure to the sea,
so do thou give us joy by thy radiant countenance. Add to our
delight, 0 Mighty Lord! As in the morning Indra was adored
by his charioteer, whereafter he defeated the asuras, so do I
salute thee. I come to wake thee as the Vidyas and Vedas
waken Brahms. As sun and moon stimulate the earth which
supports all men and life, so do I come to waken thee, 0 Great
Ruler. Awake, 0 Maharaj and rejoice the hearts of the people
by thy sight. Don thy royal robes and adorn thyself with the
great gems, resplendent like the sun on the crest of Mount
Meru. 0 Sire, may the Moon, the Sun, Shiva and Kuvera
be auspicious to thee. May Varuna, Agni and Indra grant thee
success. The lovely night has passed and the auspicious day
has dawned. 0 Royal Sage, arise and perform thy duties;
preparations for the installation of Rams are completed, the
leading citizens and the inhabitants of the capital are waiting
in reverence at the gate; the blessed Sage Vasishtha, with his
disciples, is at the door. Command us, 0 King, to inaugurate
the coronation of Rams immediately; as cattle without a
keeper, an army without a general, night without the moon,
cows without a buIl, so is thy kingdom without a king
to-day. "
The king hearing the peaceful words of Sumantra was
once more submerged in the sea of sorrow; though over-
come with grief, his eyes red with wrath, he answered him :
188



AYODHYA KANDA
" 0 Sumantra, thy words of praise inflict great pain on me."
Sumantra, beholding the miserable condition of his master,
and hearing his anguished words, joining his palms in submission,
stepped backwards, tongue-tied.
Then Kaikeyi, skilled in achieving her own purpose, addressed
Sumantra: u 0 Sumantra, being overjoyed on account of the
installation of his son, the king has not slept this night. Being
fatigued, he is now overcome with sleep. Go thou, therefore,
and bring the illustrious Ramachandra hither; this matter
requires no deliberation."
Sumantra re1lected that the arrival of Shri Ramachandra
would pacify the mind of the king: he speedily went to summon
him and on the way re1lected, cc Why has Queen Kaikeyi
summoned Rama in haste?" The charioteer believed the
eagerness of the king had prompted him to summon Shri
Ramachandra for the purpose of his installation. Sumantta,
happily came to the beautiful palace of Shri Rama which
resembled a small island in the sea, and beheld there many
people standing at the gate.
He beheld many kings and great chieftains assembled in their
allotted places.


CHAPTER IS


Sumantra hurries to Prince Rama's palace


WHEN night had given way to the dawn, brahmins well-versed
in the Veda, together with the king's priests, came to the palace
gate. With them came the counsellors, the chiefs of the army
and leading merchants to witness the installation of Rama.
The sun having risen and the Pushya planet with Karrata 1
being auspicious,. it being the time at which Rama was bom,
brahmins brought vessels of gold filled with water, a finely


1 Cancer.
I In the right conjunction astrologic:ally.
189



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
decorated throne and I resplendent chariot with I seat spread
with I tiger skin. W Iter was brought from the confluence of
the Gunga and Yamuna and from the holy rivers, lakes and
wells, from the westward flowing streams and those descending
from great heights and flowing through the plains. From the
seas also water was provided and stored in shining vessels of
gold and silver, wherein lotus blooms floated and on whose
surface sticks of Gular l and banyan were sprinkled.
Honey, curds, clarified butter, kusha grass, and ftowers were
also provided. Beautifully adorned singing women were like-
wise present. Chamaras with handles of gold set with jewels,
a beautiful canopy, scintillating and round as the moon, were
furnished for the ceremony, also a white caparisoned steed, a
young elephant of great size, and eight virgins gracefully attired.
Musicians with vinas, bards and those who proclaim the
Icing's praise; everything required for the installation of a
sovereign of the dynasty of Ikshwaku was furnished by command
of the king. Not beholding King Dasaratha at the appointed
time, those present said: "Who will announce our arrival to
the monarch? The sun has risen, but the king has not come
forth; every preparation for the installation of Rama is now
complete."
While they were thus speaking, Sumantra, honoured servant
of the state, addressed the royal guests, and maharajahs, saying :
"As commanded by the king, I purpose to bring Shri Rama
before him. On my return, I will ask his majesty for you who
are worthy of honour, the reason for the delay."
The aged Sumantra came to the door of the inner apartment
and entered, unannounced. Praising the royal dynasty of Raghu,
he reached the chamber where the king was lying on the ground.
Pouring forth his praise, he approached the arras hanging before
the king's chamber, and said: u 0 Sovereign, may Surya,
Kuvera, Varuna, Agni and Indra grant thee victory. The
Goddess Night, has departed, dawn has come, arise 0 Lion
among Kings! Brahmins, ambassadors and chiefs of the forces
have assembled and are desirous of seeing thee."
The king, rousing himself, said to his chief minister, Suman-
tra: "Bring Shri Ramachandra hither speedily. Why dost
1 Gular-Twigs of a fragrant resinous tree.
190



AYODHYA KANDA
thou delay? I do not sleep, go bring Shri Rama with all haste."
Sumantra, 80wing to the king, went forth to execute his
commands. Thinking the installation of RaIna to be near, he
set out for the palace, passing joyfuIJy along the royal route
gay with flags and banners. Hearing on all sides, people
conversing of the coming event, he mingled with the happy
throng and after walking some distance, saw Shri Rama's
palace, white as the peak of Mount Kailasha and fair as Indra's
abode.
The turrets, adorned with golden images, studded with
coral and jewels, rendered the palace resplendent, like the
winter clouds on the caverns of Mount Sumeru. The main
gateway, decorated with wreaths of gems and pearls, was
fragrant with sandalwood and ambergris, sweet-scented like
the Malaygiri mountain and abounding with cranes and pea-
cocks. The doors and walls of the inner apartments were
decorated with paintings of lions, tigers and wolves, pleasing
to the eye and mind.
The palace of Rama, resplendent as the sun and moon,
furnished like the palace of Kuvera and equalling the abode
of Indra, was surrounded by many kinds of birds who sported
there. Men from distant lands in bejewelled apparel waited
bearing gifts in their hands, eager to behold Rama. The
spacious palace was sumptuously furnished and the attendants
serving there were men of small stature.
Shri Sumantra, delighting the people, in his chariot drawn
by horses, came to the door of the palace which was filled with
untold wealth and surrounded by deer and peacocks gladdening
the heart.
Entering the gates and greeting those dear to Rama, Sumantra
reached the door of the inner apartment. There also he heard
everyone conversing of Shri Rama and he rejoiced to hear them
speaking of his glory. He beheld the inner inclosure, resplen-
dent and lofty as Mount Meru, which was rendered charming
by the presence of many deer and birds. There, too, he beheld
those from various lands, descending from their chariots,
bearing gifts.
He observed an elephant equal to a hill in height, resembling
a dark cloud, who had never known the touch of a goad and
191 0



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
whose forehead was dripping with sweat. Its name was
Shatrunja, and it stood prepared to carry Rama. ·
Proceeding further, Sumantra beheld many charioteers and
horsemen ready with their caparisoned horses. Continuing on
his way, Shri Rama's chief minister saw countless artists and
poets gathered there.
Passing through the multitude, he came to the private apart-
ment of Shri Rama. Unchallenged, the great Sumantra,
resembling a cloud, entered the apartment as a crocodile enters
the gem-filled ocean.


CHAPTER 16


Shri Rama in his chariot dri'lJes swiftly to the king


PASSING through a further doorway, thronged with people,
Sumantra came to another gate where no guard stood. He
beheld there many young men, alert, vigilant, and devoted to
their master, armed with bows and axes, and wearing beautiful
ear-rings. Beyond these, Sumantra saw aged men, clad in red,
gorgeously attired, holding staves in their hands, guarding the
apartments of the Queens. Seeing the virtuous Sumantra
approaching with others, they stood respectfully at attention.
Sumantra, addressing these humble and experienced attend-
ants, said: "Be pleased to inform Shri Ramachandra that
Sumantra waits at the door."
They, ever desiring the good of Rama, informed the prince
and Sita of the arrival of Sumantra. Knowing Sumantra to be
in the confidence of his royal father, Shri Rama affectionately
caused him to be summoned.
The charioteer, entering there, perceived Shri Ramachandra
resembling Kuvera himself, seated on a golden couch, spread
with soft cushions and richly ornamented. His brow was
anointed with pure and fragrant sandalwood-paste, the colour
of the blood of a wild boar.
By his side the Princess Sita, as beautiful as the moon attended
192



AYODHYA KANDA'
by the Chitra l planet, was seated, holding a chamara in her
hand.
Sumantra, versed in the customs of the court, offered respectful
salutations to Shri Rama who appeared as resplendent as the
noonday sun. With joined palms, Sumantra humbly enquired
as to the prince's welfare and addressed him who was thus
seated on the couch, saying: "0 Excellent Son of Queen
Kaushalya, the king desires to see thee in the apartment of
Queen Kaikeyi, be pleased to go thither without delay."
Thus addressed, that Lion among men, the most illustrious
Ramachandra, filled with joy, on receiving the summons, replied:
"Be it so, I will go thither with all speed." Then turning
to Sita, he said: "0 Devi, my mother Kaikeyi, and my father
have consulted each other concerning those matters relative to
my installation. 0 Princess of Beautiful Eyes, my mother
Kaikeyi, ever benevolent and accomplished, knowing the king's
desire, is influencing him for my good! That daughter of the
great King of Kaikeya, ever obedient to my royal father desires
my welfare. He, with his beloved queen, has sent for me
through Sumantra, who is ever well-disposed to me, and desires
what is pleasing to me, as does the king, my sire, and the queen,
my mother. Assuredly, to-day the king will proclaim me regent.
I shall go to my royal father in all haste, do thou converse
happily with thy maids of honour."
Hearing these courteous words, spoken by her lord, the
lotus-eyed Princess Sita reciting the Peace Chant, followed
Shri Ramachandra to the door. She said: "0 Maharaj, the
kingdom has many learned brahmins who will crown thee, as
Indra was crowned by Brahma. When the preliminary initiation
is completed and thou dost perform the Rajasuya l sacrifice and
I behold thee dressed in an antelope skin with the deer's horns
in thy hand, do thou then allow me to pay thee homage. May
Indra in the east protect thee, may Yama in the south protect
thee, may Varuna in the west protect thee, may Kuvera in the
north protect thee."
Having taken leave of Sita, 8hri Rama left his palace with
Sumantra. 8hri Rama, going forth from his palace, as a liOD
1 Chitra-8pica . ".
I RaJaauya .acrifi
great sacrifice performed at a king'. installation.
193



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
issues from his cave, beheld 8hri Lakshmana humbly waiting
at the door.
At the middle gate, 8hri Rama encountered his friends and
honoured those who had gathered there to witness his coronation.
Then that Lion among men, the son of King Dasaratha,
mounted his chariot resplendent as flame, spread with tiger skins
and which, on its course, made a noise like thunder. Inlaid
with gold and gems, it dazzled the beholders as does the
brightness of the sun. The horses yoked to the chariot, equalling
young elephants, galloped as swiftly as the steeds of Indra.
8hri Rama, seated in his resplendent chariot moving rapidly
with a sound as of thunder issuing from the clouds, appeared
like the moon coursing in the heavens. His younger brother,
Prince Lakshmana attended him standing behind him in the
chariot, with a chamara in his hand.
On every side, shouts of "J ai! J ai !" arose, while the
multitude followed Shri Rama's chariot with its cavalcade of
mounted horsemen and mountain-like elephants. Warriors
whose brows were anointed with sandalwood paste and amber-
gris, preceded the royal chariot bearing naked swords in their
hands. Then followed the musicians and bards singing their
praises and the shouts of warriors resembling the roaring of
lions. The chariot went forward amid a rain offtowers showered
down from the balconies and windows by beautifully adorned
women, of faultless limbs, who thus offered salutations to Rama
and desirous of his welfare chanted hymns of adoration, saying:
"0 Delight of Thy Mother, whose heart to-day is raised in
exultation because of thee; to-day thy royal mother will see
thee in possession of the throne.
"The Princess Sita, exceedingly dear to Rama is esteemed the
most fortunate woman in the world by womankind who, believing
her to have practised a high degree of virtUe and ascetism in
a previous birth, say, "As the planet Rohini 1 found union with
the moon, so has the Princess 8ita found union with
Rama. U
Hearing the delightful eulogies of the women, Raghava
pressed on, listening to the converse of the citizens and those
come from afar, concerning his approaching coronatioD. Some
1 Rohini-fourth of the lunar astensmll.
194



AYODHYA KANDA
said: CC To-day, Shri Ramachandra, our lord, will acquire
limitless wealth and power through the favour of his royal sire.
Those people over whom he holds sway, will obtain their heart's
desire and the fulfilment of their ambitions. Should he enjoy
the kingdom for long, it will be our gain, since no distress will
visit the kingdom while he is king."
Thus preceded by neighing horses and the praises of his
dynasty sung by chroniclers and bards, Rama advanced like the
god Kuvera, while on every side he beheld the decorated high-
ways filled with male and female elephants, chariots, horses and
people and stalls overflowing with gems and merchandise.


CHAPTER 17


He advances to the palace amidst the plaudits of his friends


SEATED in his chariot, the prince beheld his delighted friends
and the city, white as a cloud, adorned with flags and banners
fluttering here and there, fragrant with the perfume of incense,
filled with a multitude of men and enriched by stately buildings.
Passing through the scented highways where heaps of sandal-
wood were burning, and rare perfumes, wool and silken cloths,
unpierced pearls, and innumerable gems being exposed to view,
with stalls replete with articles of food and drink and merchandise
of every kind, he beheld the royal highway adomed like the
pathway of the gods in heaven, with every auspicious mark,
such as curds, rice, sandalwood, parched grain and milk.
Traversing the cross-roads gay with flowers and fragrant objects,
amidst the blessings and salutations of his friends, he acknow-
ledged their praise with humility. Those advanced in years,
were crying: cc 0 Prince, thou who art to be crowned to-day,
let thy rule resemble thy grandfather's and thy great grand-
father's, thus shall we prosper as in the days of thine ancestors,
may our happiness exceed even those times. Neither do we
require the comforts of this world, nor those of the other world.
Beholding 8hri Ramachandra returning after his coronation,
I9S



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
our delight will exceed all else. Nothing is dearer to us than
the installation of Shri Ramachandra of limitless glory."
Thus did Raghava advance, amidst the eulogies of his friends
the focus of every eye and hean, serene and imperturbable.
Those who were unable to behold him or were unnoticed by
him, became objects of contempt to others, nay, they were a
reproach to themselves. The all-compassionate Ramachandra
looked on each of the four castes with equal condescension.
Each loved him according to his capacity.
Passing the temples, the sacred groves and pavilions, Shri
Ramachandra circumambulated them in reverence. He now
beheld the royal palace, resembling a white cloud, its towers
like the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kailasa, its balconies
seeming almost to reach the skies like the fire chariots of the
gods; the pleasure houses set with precious gems, caused the
whole palace to excel all those on earth and rival even the abode
of Indra.
Approaching his father's palace, Shri Rama passed through
the three gateways guarded by archers, and proceeded on foot
through the fourth and fifth enclosures. There, leaving his
attendants, he entered the private apartments of the king.
The multitude seeing Rama enter the palace were filled with
joy and awaited his coming forth as the sea awaits the coming
of the full moon.


CHAPTER 18


He sees the king full of anguish and speechless; Kaikeyt' utters
the cruel words


ENTERING the private apartment, Shri Ramachandra beheld
King Dasaratha full of distress, his countenance pale, seated
with Kaikeyi on the royal couch. First placing his head at the
feet of his royal sire, he then respectfully offered salutatioDS
to Mother Kaikeyi.
The king, his eyes filled with tears, his throat choked with
196



AYODHYA KANDA
emotion, could only utter the word" Rama " and nothing more.
As the heart of a man who accidentally touches a serpent is filled
with fear, so was the heart of Rama on beholding the king's
misery. The king agitated by grief and remorse, sighing bitterly,
filled with anguish, resembled the ocean which, calm by nature,
is agitated by a mighty storm, or Rahu 1 causing the sun's eclipse,
or the soul of a sage stirred by the utterance of falsehoods.
Without knowing the cause of the Icing's distress, Shri Rama
became agitated like the sea on the day of the full moon. Shri
Ramachandra, ever engaged in seeking his father's welfare,
reflected: "Why is my father not happy to see me to-day?
Formerly, when displeased, on beholding me he was pacified,
but to-day, beholding me, he is troubled. Why is he overcome
with grief and bereft of his glory? "
Making obeisance to Kaikeyi, he said: cc If by an involuntary
offence, I have caused my father displeasure, then 0 Mother,
propitiate him for me. Erstwhile, even when displeased, my
father showed favour to me, but to-day, I behold him pale
of countenance, and deeply distressed, nor does he speak to me.
Is my revered father suffering any physical or mental distress?
It is rare indeed for a man to be consistently happy. Has his
majesty seen any grievous fault in the amiable Prince Bharata
or the valorous Shatrughna, or in my mothers or in me ? I do
not desire to live a single instant if his majesty is not satisfied
with me, or is displeased or if I have disobeyed him. Why
should not man obey his parents, who are the source of his
birth and who are living gods? Hast thou spoken harsh words,
in vanity, to the king, on hearing which his heart is lacerated?
o Devi, answer my question truly. Tell me the cause of this
unprecedented grief in my sire."
Kaikeyi thus addressed by 8hri Rama, dead to all shame
and skilful in defence of her selfish purpose, spoke arrogantly:
"0 Rams, the king is not angry nor is he suffering physical
pain, he has something on his mind which he fears to disclose
to thee. He loves thee dearly and so hesitates to tell thee this
unpleasant matter. It is for thee to fulfil what he has promised
to me and to act in accordance with it. Having formerly granted


1 Rahu-a mythical demon, said to cause the eclipse of the sun and moon
by swallowing it.
197



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
me a boon, he now repents it like a common man. To promise
a boon and then seek to evade it, is like the setting up of a dam
when the water has gone. 0 Rama, have a care lest the king
abandon truth for thy sake. Among holy men, truth is said
to be the root of dharma. Should the king command thee
and thou fulfil his command without further deliberation, then
will I reveal the whole truth to thee. The king may not
communicate with thee directly, therefore, be ready to execute
what I command on his behalf."
Shri Rama, highly agitated, replied to Kaikeyi in the presence
of the king: "For shame, 0 Devi, to speak thus to me. At
the command of my father I am willing to do anything, even
to casting myself into the fire. At the bidding of the king
my parent and author of my welfare, I will gladly drink deadly
poison or throw myself into the sea. 0 Devi, disclose to me
his will, I vow to fulfil his command. Be assured, 0 Mother,
Rama does not utter falsehood."
To the ever truthful Rama, Kaikeyi answered in these wound-
ing words: cc 0 Ramachandra, long ago the Maharajah fought
against the asuras and fell wounded on the field. I then
preserved him and he promised me two boons. For these I ask
the installation of Prince Bharata and thy exile to the Dandaka
forest. 0 Great One, if thou desirest that thou and thy father
should uphold truth, then hear me. In obedience to thy father,
now go into exile for fourteen years. Let the preparations made
for thine installation be used for the enthronement of Bharata.
Giving up thy claims to the kingdom, do thou with matted hair,
wearing a deer skin, live in the Dandaka forest for seven and
again seven years. Let the earth be ruled by Prince Bharata.
This kingdom filled with an abundance of gems, horses and
elephants must be his. On account of this is the king distressed,
his countenance pale and he is unable to look on thee. 0 Rama,
obey the king and preserve him by fulfilling his command. n
At these cruel words of Kaikeyi, Shri Ramachandra betrayed
no sign of distress, but the king realismg the future suffering
of his son was overwhelmed with grief.


198



AYODHYA KANDA


CHAPTER 19


Shri Ramachandra betrays no sign of distress and prepares
for exile


THE slayer of his foes, Shri Ramachandra, hearing the words
of Kaikeyi, keen as the pangs of death, was in no way moved
by them, and answered: cc Be it so! To honour the promise
made by the king, I will leave for the forest immediately, with
matted locks, attired in raiment made of bark, but I desire
to know why the illustrious sovereign does not address me?
o Devi, fear not, I vow, in thy presence that I shall dwell
in the forest, dressed in bark with matted locks; rejoice, there-
fore! Whatever command the benevolent monarch, ever
mindful of my welfare, shall lay upon me, I will gladly execute
to please him. There is nothing I would not do for him without
hesitation, but one painful thought still lingers in my mind.
Why does the king not speak to me himself of Bharata's
enthronement? 0 Mother, by thine order, I am willing to
surrender to my brother Bharata, not only the kingdom, but
also Sita, together with every object of desire, my wealth and
my life. How much more would I do for my father, that he
may preserve the vow of truth and serve thy purpose. Render
this matter clear to the king. How is it that I behold my father
with bowed head, shedding tears? Let messengers on swift
horses summon Prince Bharata immediately from his uncle's
house, while I, without considering the merit or demerit of
my sire's injunctions, enter the Dandaka forest for fourteen years."
Queen Kaikeyi highly pleased by the words uttered by Shri
Ramachandra and assured of his exile, urged him to depart,
saying: cc So be it; messengers on swift footed horses will
summon Bharata immediately from his uncle's home. 0 Rama,
being ready to enter the forest, do not delay: depart, therefore,
with all speed. Overcome with shame, the king dare not ask
thee to depart, but do thou disregard this. 0 Ramachandra,
the king will neither bathe nor partake of food till thou hast
entered upon thine exile."
The king, hearing the words of Kaikeyi, cried ee Woe ",
199



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
cc Woe ", and, stricken with griet feU senseless on the golden
couch. Raising up the king, Shri Ramachandra, urged on by
the words of Kaikeyi as a horse under the lash, prepared to enter
the forest in all haste. His heart unmoved by the queen's cruel
words, he replied: cc 0 Devi, I did not desire the kingdom
to acquire wealth and power, but becoming regent, I wished to
preserve dharma. Know me, like the sages, to be a protector
of dharma. If I can render any service to my father at the cost
of my life, it is as if already accomplished. There is no greater
good in this world than service to one's sire by thought, word
and deed. On this command, not issued by the king but by
thee, I will dwell for fourteen years in the uninhabited forest.
o Sati, thou hast been my mother and yet art unacquainted
with my nature. IT thou had'st known me, no need would
have arisen to consult my father on so insignificant a matter.
Now I go to take leave of my mother, Queen Kaushalya, and
offer consolation to my Sitae Let Bharata rule the kingdom
according to dharma and serve our royal father faithfully. This
is a son's abiding duty."
Hearing the words of Shri Ramachandra, the king, speechless
and overcome with griet wept aloud, shedding bitter tears.
The most illustrious Ranta made obeisance to his father lying
pitifully there and, then bowing to the feet of Kaikeyi, left
the apartment. Having circumambulated the King and Queen
Kaikeyi with extreme reverence, Shri Ramachandra came forth
from the inner chamber and beheld his friends standing at the
door. Shri LakshmSlnq full of wrath, his eyes suffused with
tears, followed Rama.
Shri Rama circumambulated the sacred articles prepared for
the installation ceremony in great reverence, and prayed that
they should be dedicated to the installation of Prince Bharata.
Then turning from them, without a backward glance he slowly
withdrew.
The abandoning of the ceremony failed to impair the serenity
of Shri Ramachandra, the splendour ofhis countenance remained
unchanged as the moon suffers no diminution of its beauty in
the waning period. On renouncing the kingdom and departing
for exile, 8hri Ramachandra resembled a great yogi and none
observed any change of mood in him.
200



AYODHYA KANDA
Relinquishing the royal canopy, the beautiful chamara and
bidding a respectful and affectionate farewell to his friends and
the people's delegates and guests, remembering the sorrow
occasioned to them, and restraining his senses, the prince went
to the apartments of his mother, to break the distressing tidings
to her. Those about him found no change in him, neither in
the adornments of his body, donned in preparation for the
royal ceremony, nor in the cheerfulness of his countenance.
Such was the truthful Ramachandra. As the autumnal moon
does not lose its splendour, so the cheerfulness of the mighty-
armed Rama did not diminish. Addressing those standing near
with sweetness and respect, he approached his mother Kaushalya.
The most valorous Prince Lakshmana, the sharer of his
brother's joys and griefs, followed him. Aware of the great
distress that would arise in the hearts of his friends, 8hri Rama
for his mother's sake entered the palace in a serene and cheerful
mood.


CHAPTBR 20


Queen Kaushalya is afflicted and helpless with sorrow
PERCEIVING that Lion among men, Shri Ramachandra, his palms
joined in a gesture of farewell, coming forth from his father's
a partments, the ladies of the inner chamber began to lament
loudly, saying: 'e Shall 8hri Rama, who fulfilled all our desires
without awaiting the injunction of his royal sire and who is
our sole refuge, to-day go into exile ?
cc From his birth he has honoured and respected us as his
own mother, Queen Kausha1ya. When we have spoken harsh
words to him, he was never angry, nor did he ever give any
cause for displeasure. That prince who ever reconciled those
who were affronted, is to-day going into exile. Our king,
acting like an ignorant man, is determined to destroy his subjects
and is sending Rama, who is the sole support of all beings,
into exile."
Thus, weeping bitterly, all the maids of honour and maid-
201



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
servants of the king lamented like cows bereft of their calves.
The king hearing their cries of distress, deeply aBlicted with
grief for his son, overcome with shame, fell down on his couch.
Shri Ramachandra, grieving for the woes of his relatives,
breathing like a mighty elephant approached his mother's apart-
ments with Lakshmana.
Entering there, he beheld at the first gate the venerable and
aged guardian of the door and his attendants, who rose on
perceiving the prince, crying cc Jai " cc Jai " to him. Reaching
the second gate, he met with the aged brahmins honoured by
the state for their great learning. Saluting them, he entered
the third gate where women, the aged and children were keeping
guard. The women gave their blessings to the prince and went
to inform the Queen Kaushalya of Shri Rama's arrival.
According to scriptural injunctions, the queen had spent the
whole night worshipping Shri Vishnu, desirous of her son's
good. aad in a silken sari, she was pouring oblations into the
sacred fire, with joy. Shri Rama, entering the chamber of his
mother, beheld her offering oblations into the sacred flame;
he beheld there the sacrificial articles prepared for the worship
of the gods; curds, rice, butter, sweetmeats, rice cooked in milk,
garlands of white flowers, sesamum seed, fuel and jars filled
with pure water.
Shri Rama saw the fair complexioned queen in a white robe,
emaciated through long fasts. After a time, perceiving her son,
Shri Ramachandra, she ran towards him as a mare runs to meet
its foal. Embracing him, inspired by maternal love, she
addressed the great Rama with gentle and affectionate words:
cc 0 my Son, mayest thou become aged and righteous like the
royal sages. Mayest thou attain the age appropriate to thy
dynasty. Mayest thou acquire renown and fulfil thy family
duties. 0 Dear Prince, now approach thy truth-loving father,
who awaits thee to-day to appoint thee regent of the kingdom."
Offering her son a seat, she placed before him sweetmeats ;
Shri Rama, touching them only, with joined palms humbly
addressed her; he, ever affectionate and now showing even
greater tenderness in protecting his mother's hODour, said:
cc 0 Goddess, thou art not yet acquainted with the great calamity
that threatens us. I must go to the Dandaka forest and have
202



AYODHYA KANDA
come to seek thy sanction. It is the season of sorrow for thee,
Sita and Lakshmana. Now, entering the forest, my seat will
be of kusha grass and there, residing for fourteen years, I shall
live on honey, roots and fruits. The king has conferred the
regency on Prince Bharata and I, giving up royal fare, must
enter the forest to eat the food of ascetics there. By the king's
command, Bharata will be installed as regent. For fourteen
years, it is ordained that I shall live in the forest, practising
asceticism far from the haunts of men. The forest from
henceforth will be my home; roots and berries will be my
food ! "
Hearing these words, the queen fell to the ground like the
bough of a fir tree severed from the trunk, by an axe!
Resembling a nymph fallen from heaven or a phantom tree
struck down, she fell. Shri Ramachandra raised her to her
couch, her body soiled with dust, like a steed that has rolled
on the earth and gently brushed away the dust with his own
hands. The queen, worthy of every happiness, seated by her
son, filled with distress, addressed him in the presence of Shri
Lakshmana :-


cc 0 Child, 0 Rama, hadst thou not been bom of my womb,
I should have suffered the distress of being childless, but I
should have been spared this sorrow. 0 My Son, were I a
barren woman, I should not have been thus affticted, for a barren
woman has but one grief, that of being childless. The fortune
that befalls a wife, alas! was not to be enjoyed by me for long!
Having a son, I looked for happiness, but now, though chief
queen, I must bear the piercing words of my rival consorts,
no longer showing me deference. What greater calamity can
befall a woman? The insults that will be heaped upon me,
without thee, will prove unendurable. Alas! This is the
season of unfathomable grief and a1Biction! 0 My Son, when
thou art gone, I shall cease to live. As chief queen, I have
already bome great provocation; now, serving Kaikeyi, I shall
be deemed lower than her maidservant, indeed some say I
am already her slave. Those who attend me, will desert me
on beholding Bharata made regent."
Then Queen Kaushalya growing angry, began to utter bitter
20 3



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
words, saying: cc How shall I, thus afilicted, look on the face
of Kaikeyi ? 0 Rama, seventeen years have passed since thou
didst receive the holy thread. l Since then, I have lived in
expectation of thine installation and the termination of my
sorrows, but now I must suffer further. I shall not be able
to endure this. 0 Rama, I shall not be able to suffer the
contumely of the other queens in myoId age. 0 Child, not
beholding thy countenance resembling the full moon, how shall
I bear this miserable life? I have kept innumerable fasts,
worshipped the gods and nourisbed thee till now, yet un-
fortunate as I am, it bas proved to be in vain. Surely my beart
is made of stone that it has not broken to-day, it resembles
a river in the rainy season that does not overflow under continued
rain. Surely death has forgotten me or there is no room in
his abode. Had it not been so, he would have carried me hence
to-day like a doe carried away by a lion. Assuredly my heart
must be as hard as iron that it is not riven under this aBliction.
o why does not the \earth open and engulf me; it seems one
cannot die before the time appointed. Those sacred austerities,
fasts, meditation and penance undertaken for the prosperity of
my child have proved vain, like seeds sown in a barren field.
If at this time of sorrow, I might die, threatened with thy
separation, I should embrace death as willingly as a cow deprived
of its calf. 0 My Son, of what use is life now to me, robbed
of the sight of thy face resembling the full moon? Nay, I will
follow thee to the forest like a feeble cow following its calf."
Queen Kaushalya, the mother of Rama, afflicted and helpless,
rea1ising her own unfortunate position, and her son to be bound
in the service of truth, lamented like a kinnari whose offspring
has been made captive.


1 A brahmin boy is invested with the holy thread at about eight yean of age,
th
ceremony is called Upa-naya.
It is possible that 8hri Rama received it earlier.
204



AYODHYA KANDA


CHAPTER 21


Shri Rama, in spite of the laments of the queen and Shri
Lakshmana, prepares for departure


SHRI LAKSHMANA, overcome with grief, addressed Mother
Kaushalya in words suited to the occasion. He said: cc 0 Mother,
it cannot be pleasing to thee that Rams, at the command of the
king, who is subject to a woman, and oblivious of the prosperity
of the kingdom, should go to the forest. Old age has impaired
the intellect of the monarch who, impelled by desire, is no longer
master of his senses; what words will he not utter? I see
no fault in Ramachandra for which he should be exiled and
deprived of his kingdom. I know no man whether friend or foe
who can find fault with Rama even in absence. Like a god,
he is guileless, self-controlled and forbearing even to his foes ;
what righteous king would abandon such a son without cause?
What son versed in the discharge of a sovereign's duties would
give obedience to so puerile a king ? "
Addressing Rams, Lakshmana continued: cc 0 Brother, before
the multitude become acquainted with these tidings, assume
the reins of the kingdom, I will assist thee in the undertaking.
o Raghava, who will dare oppose thee, when like death itself,
I stand by thy side, armed with my bow? If two or three,
nay if all the people of Ayodhya resist thee in thine undertaking,
I will destroy them. If all the supporters of Bharata oppose
thee, not even one shall escape. The meek are ever oppressed.
Should our father, inspired by Kaikeyi, become our enemy,
then, though worthy of protection, I will undoubtedly slay him !
Even should a spiritual preceptor, prompted by egoity, follow
the evil path and do what ought not to be done, he must be
restrained.
cc On what authority does the king confer the kingdom on
the son of Kaikeyi, when the son of the chief queen, rightly heir
to the throne, still lives ? 0 Slayer of thy Foes, who will dare
to incur our enmity and give Bharata the kingdom?
cc 0 Mother, I swear by the truth, by my bow, by the laws
of charity, by the merit acquired in worshipping the gods, that
20S



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
I am Shri Rama's willing servant. 0 Devi, should Rama enter
the blazing fire or the dark forest, know I shall have preceded
him. 0 Goddess, do thou and Shri Ramachandra behold my
prowess by which I shall destroy all your sufferings, as the sun
destroys darkness. I will also slay the king enslaved by Kaikeyi,
who is aged, contemptible, of unsubdued mind and in his
second childhood."
Hearing the words of the noble Lakshmana, Queen Kaushalya
was overcome with grief and said to Shri Ramachandra: cc 0
Child, thou knowest the content of thy brother's heart, now act
as thou considerest meet. It does not befit thee to abandon
thy sorrow-stricken mother at the unjust words of her rival.
o Righteous One, if thou art established in dharma, then remain
here, serve me and acquire virtue. There is no higher duty
than service of the mother. I am, with the king, equally an
object of thy reverence, and I command thee not to go to the
forest. In thy separation, there is no occasion for rejoicing,
neither do I desire to live, but with thee I will gladly live,
sustaining myself on herbs alone. If thou, leaving me afflicted
with grief, go to the forest, then shall I refuse food and yield up
my life. Then, 0 My Son, being responsible for my death thou
wilt, like Samudra,l unmindful of thy mother, enter hell."
Seeing his mother, the Queen Kaushalya, thus lamenting,
the righteous Ramachandra spoke to her dutifully, saying: cc 0
Goddess, I cannot disregard my father's commands, therefore
I bow before thee and entreat thy favour and sanction to enter
the forest. Know that the Sage Kandu, a great pundit,
acquainted with his yogic duty, slew a cow in obedience to his
father's commands, knowing it to be a sin, which was thereafter
not charged against him.
cc In ancient times, likewise, in our own dynasty, the sons
of King Sagara, digging the earth, sacrificed their lives at their
father's behest. At the command of his father, the son of
J amadagnya, Parasurama, with his axe, cut off the head of his
mother Renuka. 0 Devi, these and other godlike men have
obeyed their father resolutely. I, too, without hesitation, shall
perform that which benefits my father. 0 Mother, not I alone
obey my father but all those virtuous men, mentioned by me,
1 Samudra-the Lord of rivera who killed a brahmin.
206



AYODHYA KANDA
have been obedient to their father's will. I follow no new law"
nor one contrary to the traditions of the royal dynasty, but tread
the path of my illustrious ancestors. I am accomplishing nought
which has not already been accomplished in this world. He
who acts in accordance with his father's commands does not
fall from virtue."
Having spoken thus to his mother, Shri Rams addressed
Lakshmana, saying: cc 0 Lakshmana, I am acquainted with
thine immeasurable love for me, thy valour and thy prowess ;
none can withstand thee. 0 Lakshmana, my mother endowed
with every good quality is now subject to misery and grief
through ignorance of dharma and lack of resignation. 0
Brother, dharma is the highest good on earth, Truth and
dharma are one. My father's command is founded on dharma,
hence it is superior to my mother's ruling. 0 Hero, it is
unworthy in one seeking the supreme fruit of dharma, not to
fulfil the promise made to his father, mother or a learned
brahmin, I cannot, therefore, disregard my father's command.
o Hero, inspired by my father, Mother Kaikeyi has urged me
to this course, therefore, 0 Lakshmana, relinquish the idea of
bloodshed and embracing the state of virtue, follow me."
Thus lovingly addressing Lakshmana, with bowed head and
in great humility Rama turned to Queen Kaushalya and said:
cc 0 Goddess, now grant me permission to go into exile. In
my absence pray for me. Having honoured my vow, I shall
return, like King Yayati who falling to earth from heaven, again
ascended thither. 0 Mother, comfort my unhappy father.
Have no anxiety, 0 Mother, I shall return after fourteen years
as desired by my father. Do thou, Sita, Lakshmana and
Sumitra obey my royal sire. This is the ancient tradition. 0
Mother, disregarding the preparations made for mine installation,
let thy mind be freed from grief and allow me to go into exile
as ordained by dharma."
Hearing the words of Rama, inspired by righteous motives,
spoken with courage and equanimity, Queen Kaushalya as one
restored to life, gazed steadfastly at Rama and said: cc 0 My
Son, if thou art versed in dharma and art mindful of the good
done to thee by thy parents, then am I as WOl thy of thy respect
as thy father. 0 My Son, do not abandon thine unfortunate

7 p



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
mother and enter the forest. 0 My Child, of what use is my
life without thee? The earth, the region of the pittris, heaven
and the region of Mahaloka, which are the abodes of highest
bliss, for me are all void without thee. An hour with thee is
my greatest delight 0 My Son."
Shri Rama, hearing his mother's lament, was agitated, like
a king who is perturbed, when on a dark night his torch-bearers
are assailed on the way.
Then the dutiful Rama again addressed his mother rendered
almost senseless with grief and Lakshmana distressed and
disquieted, and spoke to them for their good, in words that were
full of integrity :-


cc 0 Lakshmana, I know of thy prowess and the intensity of
thy devotion to me, but now in opposition to my purpose, thou
dost increase my mother's misery. 0 Brother, there are three
means to happiness in this world, they are righteousness,
prosperity and pleasure. Those who love righteousness should
pursue it as a wife acquires merit by being obedient to her
husband, and pleasure by endearing herself to him and prosperity
by becoming a mother. That undertaking which does not
ensure these three, should be given up and that by which they
are secured should be camed out. He who pursues prosperity
alone, is without friends and has many enemies, and he who is
devoted to pleasure, which is not based on righteousness, is an
object of contempt. 0 Brother, the king is firstly our preceptor,
secondly our father and thirdly he is an aged man. From the
point of view of dharma, I must obey his commands, whether
they are inspired by anger or desire. As a righteous man, I
must fulfil his behests. Rare is the son so ruthless as to disobey
his father. How can I evade the behests of my sire, who is
my parent and has full authority over me as a king, and further
is the consort of my dear mother Kausbalya? How, therefore,
should the queen, abandoning the virtuous king, her lord, follow
me like a widowed woman? 0 Goddess, grant me permission
to leave for the forest whilst thou dost recite the Peace Chant,
that my vow may be accomplished.
" Like King Yayati of old who returned to heaven, inspired.
by his love of truth, I, too, shall return. 0 Mother, I dare not
208



AYODHYA KANDA
disobey my father for the sake of a mere kingdom! Life is brief
and I have no desire for the ruIership of the world through
the sacrifice of virtue."
The mighty Rama thus acquainting his mother with his
intention of entering the forest as demanded by Kaikeyi, circum-
ambulated the Queen Kaushalya, fixing his heart on his
departUre.


CHAPTER ZZ


He appeals to Shri Lakshmana not to grieve


SHRI RAMACHANDRA then turned to Shri Lakshmana, who unable
to endure his distress, full of wrath against Kaikeyi, his eyes
distorted, was breathing heavily like a mighty elephant. Address-
ing him in terms of affection as a beloved brother and friend,
patiently calming his fears, Rams said: cc a Brother, give up
grief and anger and arm thyself with patience, forgetting the
preparations made for mine installation, make thyself ready for
my departure to the forest. a Lakshmana, prepare with the
same zeal as thou didst prepare for my coronation. The mind
of my mother, Kaikeyi, is clouded with suspicion on account
of my proposed enthronement, therefore, a Lakshmana, act so
that her suspicions may be allayed. 0 Brother, Mother Kaikeyi
believes thou wilt use force to place me on the throne. This
I cannot endure, nor can I suffer her to experience anxiety.
At no time, do I recollect that I have voluntarily given cause
for offence to my parents. a Lakshmana, let us relieve the
apprehensions of our royal father, ever truthful and valiant but
now fearful lest his future life be jeopardized. If I do not
abandon the desire for the crown, the distress caused to the
heart of the king, at the violation of his vow, will be mine also.
a Labhmana, because of this, I desire to enter the forest
without delay, abandoning the project of mine installation.
Thinking her purpose accomplished, Queen Kaikeyi will to-day,
if I depart for the forest, cause her son Bharata to be summoned
209



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
and will make over the kingdom to him with joy. The heart
of Kaikeyi will find no rest till I, dressed in a deer skin, with
matted locks, ent
the forest. I cannot grieve her, who has
urged me to go to the forest and contributed to my resolution,
therefore, I will depart without delay. 0 Lakshmana, the
acquisition of the kingdom is not part of my destiny. If
providence had favoured me, Kaikeyi would not have desired
to send me to the forest. 0 Dear One, thou knowest no
distinction was made by me between my three mothers, nor
has Kaikeyi looked on me as different from Prince Bharata,
but to-day to frustrate my coronation and send me into exile,
she has uttered cruel and pitiless words. This is the will of
God and nought else. Had it not been so, how should Kaikeyi
the daughter of a king, of gentle disposition and noble nature,
speak thus like a vulgar woman in the presence of her husband?
Whatever is inscrutable to man should be known to be the
decree of providence; even Brahma cannot evade the conse-
quences of karma. 1 It is this unalterable and fixed decree that
has created the dissension between Kaikeyi and me, not to be
understood by man.
U Pleasure, pain, fear, anger, profit and loss, life and death,
and similar matters come into being as a result of our karma.
Even the sages practising great austerities, prompted by their
karma, abandoning asceticism have been swept away by
concupiscence and avarice. This sudden happening, never
apprehended, this frustration of a well-devised plan is the work
of karma. Therefore, I in no wise regret my resolve nor the
cancellation of my coronation. Do thou also abandon grief
and following me forget the preparations for the coronation.
o Lakshmana, with these vessels of water brought hither for
mine installation, let my dedication to the ascetic life, be made.
Yet what use have I now for these sacred waters? From now
on, I shall draw water with mine own hands for every ritual.
U 0 Lakshmana, do not grieve that the installation ceremony
remains unperformed. We know by reason and discernment
that there is little difference between ruling a kingdom and living
in a forest. 0 Lakshmana, do not for an instant blame Queen
1 Karma-The law governing the behaviour of matter in all ita grOli and
lubtle forma.
210



A YODHY A KAND:A
Kaikeyi for obstructing my coronation; prompted by karma,
men say what is unlawful."


CHAPTER 23


Shri Lakshmana offers to defeat all those who obstruct Shri
Rama's installation


INSTRUCTED by his brother, Lakshmana, his head bowed, was
filled with distress on account of Shri Rama's impending
departure, yet glad to learn the secret of dharma. Remaining
in the cave of anger awhile, breathing like a snake provoked in
its hole, his frowning mien resembling an enraged lion, swaying
like the trunk of an elephant, with quivering limbs, averting
his gaze, he addressed his elder brother, saying: "0 Brother,
in this evil hour, thou art subject to a great delusion. Ill-timed
is this assertion that disobedience to a parent is contrary to
dharma. It does not become one virtuous as thou art to speak
thus. Thou, a leader among warriors, canst control thy fate,
yet like a weak man thou speakest of it as irrevocable. Dost
thou respect these wicked beings, 1 0 Virtuous One ? Dost thou
not know how many deceivers appear as righteous men? Take
note how the king and Kaikeyi for selfish ends deceive thee
and send thee into exile. If this matter of the boons granted
to Kaikeyi were true, then why was it not revealed 'ere the
preparations for thy installation were made? If it can be said
it was done in error, then that error is a calamity. It will cause
dissension among the people. How can the younger take
precedence over the elder in matters of state? I cannot suffer
this, 0 Great Hero, pardon me. This law thou praiseth, by
which thy mind is governed, is incomprehensible to me. Thou
who art powerful, why must thou submit to Kaikeyi? Wilt
thou obey the unjust command of thy father, contrary to the law
of dharma? Dost thou not perceive their duplicity, in frus-
trating thine installation under the pretext of granting a boon ?
I The King and Kaikeyi.


211



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
I consider the pursuit of such a course to be worthy of
condemnation. This is the reason for my distress. Though
our parents, the King and Kaikeyi, desire to harm thee and are
swayed by passion, who, except thee, would countenance their
design ? Yet thou attributest this matter to the decree of fate.
This action is unpleasing to me. Let the weak and the cowardly
trust in so uncertain a fate, heroes and men of patient resolve,
do not accept the dictates of karma. He, who by his own
endeavours, conquers fate, never suffers. Let it be seen to-day
whether fate or exertion prevail.
"That destinyl which prevents thine installation, which
resembles an elephant refusing to respond to the goad, and
having broken its fetters, is wandering about unchecked, that
decree will I conquer by my prowess.
"Neither the guardians of the four quarters, nor all the
dwellers in the Three Worlds, united as one, can prevent thine
installation, how much less then, my father? Those who have
planned thine exile, shall themselves pass fourteen years in exile.
I will frustrate the hopes of my father and Kaikeyi, who,
depriving thee of the kingdom, seek to enthrone Bharata. The
power of karma will not bring such adversity to those opposed
to us as my valour shall in1Iict on them! After ruling a
thousand years, do thou retire to the forest, leaving thy sons
to govern the kingdom, then, like our ancestors, who, becoming
aged, withdrew to a hermitage, do thou continue to live in the
forest. Formerly, kings in their declining years, giving over
their subjects to the governance of their sons and grandsons,
used to retire to the forest as ascetics. If, 0 Rama, thou fearest
to rule against the behests of the king, thinking the administration
would be insecure, I will protect thy kingdom as the shore
protects the earth from the inroads of the sea. If I fail, may I
never be called a hero! Now fix thy mind on thine enthronement
with these auspicious preparations; singlehanded I can effect
the defeat of the kings who obstruct thine installation. These
two arms of mine are not for show, nor is my bow a mere
decoration. My sword was never meant to dangle at my side,
nor are my arrows designed to be kept in the quiver! All these
are dedicated to the task of destroying the enemy. I will not
1 The result of one's karma.


212



AYODHYA KANDA
brook the existence of my foes. With my keen bright sword, I
will hew their bodies to pieces, even if it be Indra himself. I will
cut to pieces elephants, horses and men with my sword, creating
large heaps and rendering advance impossible. To-day, my
enemies shall fall like clouds rent by lightning. Donning the
godha,llifting up my bow, I shall strike the enemy with many
shafts and large numbers of them with a single arrow. I shall
destroy innumerable soldiers, horses and elephants by piercing
their most vulnerable parts with my shafts. To-day I shall
demonstrate the power of my weapons and establish thy
sovereignty. To-day these two arms accustomed to be adorned
with ornaments and sandalpaste and used to distributing charity
and to protecting friends, shall prove their prowess by opposing
those who obstruct thine installation. 0 Ramachandra, I am
thy servant, tell me who is thy foe and command me to oppose
him so that severing them from their fame and friends, the
kingdom be placed in thy hands."
Shri Ramachandra, hearing the words of Lakshmana, wiping
away his tears, consoled him, saying: "0 Dear One, know
my chief vaIour to be obedience to the will of my father; it
behoves the virtuous to fu1fi.1 their father's command."


CHAPTBR 24


The queen remises she has no pOfJJer to restrain 8hri Rama's
resolution


SBBING the righteous Ramachandra determined to obey his sire,
Queen KaushaIya, her eyes filled with tears and her throat
choked with emotion, said :-


CC 0 Rama, thou hast never experienced hardship. Fruit of
my womb and the seed of King Dasaratha, thou, foUowing
dharma, hast ever spoken sweetly to aU, how wilt thou be able
1 A JU8rd of leather and metal, worn on the left: arm to protect it from the
bow string. '
21 3



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
to endure living in the forest? He whose servants live on
sweetmeats and butter, how will that Rama of mine be able
to live on roots and fruit? Who will not feel insecurity,
knowing King Dasaratha to have banished his illustrious and
virtuous son? If he acts thus to such a son, what of myself?
If Ramachandra, beloved of all, is compelled to enter the forest,
then undoubtedly destiny (past karma) rules our joys and
sorrows. 0 Child, the fire of grief in my heart, fanned by the
wind of thine absence, fed on lamentation and a:fHiction;
stimulated by tears, emitting the smoke of anxiety, will utterly
consume and destroy me, like a forest fire at the end of winter
reduces the bushes, creepers and grass to ashes. 0 Child, as
a cow runs after its calf, so shall I follow thee wheresoever
thou goest."
Rama, listening to the sorrowful speech of Queen Kaushalya,
replied: u 0 Mother, the king is sorely distressed by the deceit
of Kaikeyi, and I also must leave him when I go to the forest.
The Maharajah will not survive if thou also come with me.
No more cruel act can a woman perform than to leave her
husband; it is not to be countenanced. As long as my father
lives, it is for thee to serve him. This eternal dharma must
be followed by thee. t '
The virtuous maharani listening to the advice of Shri
Ramachandra, he who overcame difficulties with ease, replied
submissively to him: cc 0 My Son, thy words are true!'
8hri Rama then addressed her who was suffering deep distress,
saying: u 0 Goddess, both thou and I must obey my father.
He is first my preceptor, secondly my father, thirdly thy husband
and finally the protector, master and lord of us all. Having
cheerfully passed fourteen years in the forest, I will return and
do thy bidding."
Queen Kaushalya, her eyes brimming with tears, she who
did not merit suffering, answered Shri Ramachandra, saying:
u 0 My Son, how shall I endure dwelling with my rivals?
If thou art resolved to enter the forest at the command of thy
father, then like a wild doe take me with thee."
.To his weeping mother, 8hri Rama replied: "As long as
a woman lives, she should consider her husband as her master
and her lord. The king is our master, how should we be
214



AYODHYA KANDA
masterless while the king lives? Bharata also is virtuous,
humble and devoted to the good of all. He will undoubtedly
treat thee with respect and not oppose thee. When I am gone,
let not the king suffer on account of my separation, and let him
not be overcome by this great grief. The king is now aged,
it becomes thee to serve him with every care. Even a virtuous
woman, devoted to piety and fasting, if negligent towards her
consort, comes to a sinnerts state, but she who is devoted to
her lord attains heaven. The woman who is ever devoted to
her husband and ever ready to seek his welfare, attains heaven,
even if she has not worshipped any god. Service of the husband
is a duty sanctioned by ancient tradition, by the Veda and by
the scriptural law. 0 Mother, undertake those rituals promoting
universal peace and serve the gods with floral offerings. For
my sake, give hospitality to pious and learned brahmins and
await my return. Performing the discipline of daily purification,
give up savoury foods, and existing on simple fare, serve the
king. Should the king still be living when I return, truly it
shall be well."
The queen, her eyes suffused with tears, distressed on account
of the impending separation from her son, replied to Shri
Ramachandra: cc 0 Child, thy resolution to enter the forest
being fixed, I have no power to restrain thee. 0 Hero, fate
is irrevocable, therefore, enter the forest without anxiety,
mayest thou be happy. On thy return, my sufferings will cease.
o Auspicious One, when thou returnest on the fulfilment of
thy vow, rendering back the debt thou owest to thy father,
my joy will be complete. None can comprehend the warp of
fate. 1 It is fate that urges thee to oppose me. 0 Prince, now
depart and return safely, promoting my delight with a pure
heart. 0 Child
I pray that thou wilt return soon, and that I
shall behold thee in robes of bark with matted locks."
Queen Kaushalya, knowing that Ramachandra was eager to
enter the forest, reverendy gave him her blessings, uttering
auspicious words.


1 The mult of accumulated. thought and action through countleu lives.
2IS



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI


CHAPTBR 2S
The queen gives her blessing and the brahmins pronourwe
the benediction
REsTRAINING her grief, sipping a few drops of pure water from
her hand, Queen Kaushalya, purifying herself, performed the
benedictory rites for the well-being of Rama. She said: cc 0
Prince of the House of Raghu, I may not restrain thee, therefore
now depart, and on thy return, tread the path of the virtuous.
o Great Raghu, may that dharma which thou hast practised
with courage, preserve thee. May the gods thou hast worshipped
in the temples and on the highways and the great sages protect
thee. May the weapons given thee by the wise Vishwamitra
protect thee. 0 Mighty One, preserved by this service rendered
by thee to thy father, mother and the truth, mayest thou live
long. May the sacrificial kusha grass, sacred grass rings, altars,
temples, sacred places, mountains, trees of every kind, lakes,
rivers, birds, snakes and lions ever protect thee! May Brahma,
Pusha, l Aryama, 2 Indra and Lokapala 3 all be auspicious to thee f
May the seasons, the months, the weeks, the years, the day
and night favour thee! 0 My Son, may holy meditation,
concentration and dharma, together with the injunctions,
ordained in the Veda protect thee! May the Lord Sanat-
Kumara,« Mahadeva 5 with Uma,' Brihaspati, the seven holy
Rishis 7 and Shri Narada bless thee! Mayall the perfect beings
adored by me, ever protect thee! May the mountain ranges,
the seas as also Varona their lord, space, the earth, the rivers
and the stars with their deities, the planets and the day and night
protect thee in the forest! May the six seasons, the twelve
months, the whole year and the divisions of the hour promote
thy happiness! May the devas, the adhityas 8 and the asuras,
wandering in the forest in the guise of hermits, protect thee f
1 Pusha or Pushan-the Sun.
· Arvama-chicf of the pittris or anceston.
· Lokapala-guardian of the four quarten.
& Sanat-Kumara-mind-bom son of Shri Brahma.
I Mahadeva-Great God, a title of Lord Shiva.
· Uma-Parvati, Shivats consort.
, Seven Holy Rishia-Angira, Atri, Adbitya. Kratu. Poulastya. Vasiahtha and
Vasu.
· Adhityu-cun gods.

_________________
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!
Image

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anna-the architect of the gods.
35 0



AYODHYA KANDA
dwellings for the army. I desire to offer Prince Bharata
hospitality, I therefore call upon the deities Yama, Varuna,
Kuvera and also Indra. Let them assist me in providing the
entertainment. I also summon all the rivers, flowing above
or below from east to west and from west to east. Let some
of these produce the delicious wine named Maireya 1 and that
named Saura, II and also cool, sweet water, like the juice of the
sugar cane. I summon further the heavenly musicians called
Haha and HOOu, together with other divine beings and nymphs.
I summon the dancing apsaras, Ghritachi, Vishwachi, Mishra-
keshi, Alambusha, Nagadanta, Hema and Soma, who dwell in
the Himalayas. I call on the dancing nymphs attendant on
Brahma and Indra; let them attire themselves in beautiful
apparel, bringing their instruments. I desire the celestial forest
Chaitraratha to appear here, the leaves of whose trees are formed
like beautiful damsels. I desire further foods of many kinds
that can be chewed, sucked or licked, and various drinks to be
prepared by the deity presiding over the moon. Let garlands
of fresh flowers be made ready and beautiful goblets and different
dishes of flesh be produced here instantaneously! "
By his yogic power and the proper recitation of the sacred
mantras, the holy Sage Bharadwaja produced all that was
necessary. Facing the east in the posture of invitation, 8hri
Bharadwaja sat in meditation for a space. Then, one by one,
the gods appeared before him. The coo), slow and fragrant
breezes blowing from the Malaya and Dadura mountains,
tempered the heat. The clouds rained down flowers and the
sound of the divine dundubhis (drums) was heard; delightful
zephyrs began to blow, nymphs danced, the celestial musicians
sang and the notes of the vina were heard everywhere. The earth
and the sky were filled with sweet and harmonious sounds,
heard by all living beings. As the divine music continued,
Bharata's army beheld the wonderful structure wrought by
Vishwakarma. They perceived the whole area within a radius
of four miles, to be covered with a carpet of green and glistening
grass sparkling like a green emerald. Its beauty was enhanced


1 Mai
or Mireya-A kind of intoxicating liquor made of the blossoms of
Lythrum Fructicosum with sugar.
· Saura--a celestial drink, U Saura U meaning cc relating " to the sun.
3SI 24



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
by silwa, l kapitha, l amlakP and mango trees. A wood appeared
wherein people could wander, also a divine stream flowing
between banks adorned by various trees. Beautiful white
mansions were erected, with stables for elephants and horses.
Palaces with their balconies decorated with leaves and Bowers
were to be seen, and others adorned with green and flowery
sprays and garlands of pure white blossoms sprinkled with
scented water. These dwellings contained square courts
serving as reception halls with space for palanquins, and coaches.
Food of all kinds, rice, the juice of sugar cane and every variety
of confection was to be found there, with curry puffs, pancakes
and other delicious dishes served in clean vessels, while excellent
carpets and seats were spread for relaxation, and couches with
spotless coverings and quilts.
Entering these mansions with the permission of the Sage
Bharadwa;a, Prince Bharata was followed by his servants,
ministers and priests who, perceiving all to be well furnished,
were highly gratified.
In one of the mansions, a room was set apart containing
a throne where retainers holding the canopy and chamara were
in attendance. Bharata with his ministers, circumambulated
the royal dais as if it were occupied by Shri Rama and bowing
to it respectfully, Shri Bharata, holding the chamara, occupied
a lower seat, the counsellors, priests and army commanders
assuming positions in accordance with their respective rank.
Now, at the command of the holy sage, streams of milk,
thickened with rice, flowed before Bharata's eyes. Beautiful
houses, washed with quicklime, appeared on the river banks.
Twenty thousand youthful women, enchantingly attired and
wearing beautiful ornaments came there at the instance of
Brahma. Kuvera also sent twenty thousand lovely damsels
adorned with gold, gems and pearls. Further twenty thousand
nymphs from the region of Indra appeared, whose beauty caused
men to lose their reason. Narada, Gopha and other brilliant
musicians began to sing and play before Bharata, and the celestial
nymphs to dance in the presence of the prince, at the rishi's
command. All the flowers most highly esteemed in the celestial
gardens among the gods, were seen at Prayaga, through the power
J For plants and treft, see separate glosury.
3S a



AYODHYA KANDA
of Bharadwaja. The trees applauded, the bahadur tree per-
formed on the cymbals and the pipal danced, through the
influence of the sage, and those named devaparna, tala and
kuraka assumed the form of dwarfs! Plants by the name of
shingsapa, amaIaki and jambu, and twining creepers such as
the jasmine and mallika, taking on the shape of women in the
hermitage of Bharadwaja, cried out: "0 Wine-Bibbers, drink!
o Hungry Ones, eat kheeva! Come, fill yourselves with the
various kinds of meat! "
Each person was bathed in the cool river and attended by
seven or eight beautiful maidens with lustrous eyes, who
massaged their body with oil and unguents. Their bath
completed, many women dried them with soft cloths and gave
them sweetened water, tasting like ambrosia, to drink.
The keepers attended carefu1ly to the horses, elephants,
mules, camels and bullocks. Those steeds belonging to the
royal stables and ridden by great generals, were fed by the
grooms on bundles of sugar cane and parched and sweetened
rice, their attendants and mahouts could hardly recognize their
charges. The soldiery were now intoxicated with wine and
indulging in every pleasure! Each was gratified in whatever
he desired; their bodies anointed with sandalwood paste and
united with the nymphs in amorous dalliance, they exclaimed:
" We will neither go to Ayodhya nor enter the Dandaka
forest! Let Bharata live at ease and Shri Rama dwell in the
forest! "
Thus did the warriors and grooms express themselves in the
state of inebriation, while thousands of soldiers, in exultation,
shouted aloud: " Verily, this is heaven!" Running hither
and thither with garlands round their necks, innumerable soldiers
danced, sang and laughed. Though they had partaken to the
full of excellent dishes, sweet as nectar, yet when they perceived
fresh articles of food, they could not restrain themselves from
eatinganew!
Thousands of messengers, servants and the wives of the
soldiery, putting on colourfu1 raiment, displayed themselves
with pride. Elephants, horses, camels, deer and birds were
fully satisfied; none wanted for anything! No one, in the
army of Bharata, was seen in soiled garments or hungry or
353



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
unkempt, none was seen with an unclean countenance or
uncombed hair !
The men beheld countless dishes of mutton, pork, venison
and other meats cooked in fruit-juices and fried in butter with
cloves, caraway seeds and lentils simmering gently in them.
Thousands of vessels were filled with spiced rice, garnished
with flowers and flags. All were speechless with wonder on
beholding them! Within a radius of five miles, the wells were
filled with frumenty (kheeva) and cows like Kamadhenu fulfilled
every desire! The trees dripped honey and the lakes were filled
with the sparkling wine Maireya, and banked with dressed
viands such as deer, chickens and peacocks. Hundreds and
thousands of dishes were provided, and myriads of vessels filled
with curds, mixed with caraway seeds, ginger and other fragrant
spices, were served there. Lakes of yoghourt and milk, together
with heaps of sugar, were to be seen on the river banks, as also
fragrant crushed leaves and unguents with large pots of sandal-
wood paste, mirrors and towels! An abundance of sandals
and shoes were provided, whilst antimony, combs, brushes,
parasols, bows and quivers, armour and ornamental seats were
placed here and there! Tanks, full of liquid mixed with herbs
to promote digestion, were taken to the banks of lakes where
descent was easy, and where the people could bathe freely and
drink when they pleased! These lakes were filled with pure
water, abounding in lotuses and fringed with tender grass of
blue and emerald hue; here, resting places for the beasts were
also to be found.
Prince Bharata's companions were astounded at the entertain-
ment provided by the Maharishi Bharadwaja. All passed the
night in amusement, as in the garden of Indra !
At dawn, the rivers, celestial musicians and nymphs took leave
of the maharishi and returned to their own abode. But Prince
Bharata's followers were still flushed and inebriated, their bodies
painted with sandalwood, the flower garlands in heaps like
mountains, lying everywhere, scattered and trampled on by men
and beasts.


354



AYODHYA KANDA


CHAPTER 92


Prince Bharata roith the army departs for Mount Chittrakuta
PRINCE BHARATA, having passed the night in enjoyment of the
entertainment provided, early in the morning, desirous of seeing
Rama, approached the muni.
With joined palms, he stood before the holy rishi who was
engaged in the fire ritual.
The Sage Bharadwaja enquired of him, saying: cc 0 Sinless
Prince, didst thou pass the night in my hermitage in peace?
Are all satisfied with the meagre entertainment provided by
me?"
Shri Bharata, offering salutations to the maharishi, who had
come out from his hermitage replied: cc 0 Blessed Lord, I and
my whole army have been rendered completely happy in thy
hermitage, thou hast fully satisfied us all. My people have
passed the night agreeably, they have slept in excellent houses
and partaken of delicious dishes, and have lost all sense of
the fatigue caused by the journey. 0 Great Sage, now allow
me to take leave of thee and go to my brother; look on me with
favour, I beg of th
. 0 Wise One, how far from here is the
hermitage of the pious Rama and which is the way thither? "
The sage, eminent in ascetic practices, replied to Bharata,
who desired to see his brother: cc 0 Prince, at ten miles' distance
from here, in a field full of boulders, is the beautiful mountain
named Chittrakuta! To the north of that mountain flows the
river Mandakini, winding through flowery forests, its banks
planted with blossoming trees. 0 Friend, close to that river,
on the Chittrakuta mountain, thou shalt find thy two brothers
dwe11ing in a thatched hut. 0 Fortunate Prince, on the southern
bank of the Yamuna, thou wilt see two paths, do thou take
the right path with thine army, horses and elephants! This
path will take thee to Shri Rama."
At the moment of departure the consorts of King Dasaratha,
descending from their chariots, came to the place where the
great sage was and stood encircling him. Among them the frail
3SS



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
and trembling Kaushalya and Sumitra touched the feet of the
holy man. Then Kaikeyi, thwarted in her designs and despised
by the whole world, touched the feet of the sage and circum-
ambulated him. Grief-stricken, she stood at a little distance
from Bharata, as the holy Bharadwaja addressed the prince,
saying: cc 0 Prince, I desire to be acquainted with thy mothers."
The ever eloquent Bharata answered humbly: cc 0 Holy
Lord, here is my father's chief queen, wretched and weakened
through fasting, yet resembling a goddess. She is the mother
of that Lion among men, the highly intrepid Prince Rama!
Comparable to Aditi who brought forth Prajapati, she has
given birth to Raghava! She, who leaning on her arm, stands
with a sorrowful heart, like the branch of the karnikara tree
stripped of its flowers, is the Queen Sumitra, the mother of
those heroes of truth, Shri Lakshmana and Shatrughna. 0
Great Sage, she who has brought great afHiction on these two
chiefs of men and caused the death of King Dasaratha by
separating him from his sons, who is given to anger and who
is vain and shallow, esteeming herself favoured, who is highly
ambitious and fickle and yet looks upon herself as free from
imperfection, that cruel and wicked Kaikeyi, is my mother! 0
Great Muni, it is she who has caused my great misfortune! "
Unable to utter further, his throat choked with emotion, the
prince began to sigh heavily, his eyes inflamed, breathing like
a provoked serpent. Then the holy sage, acquainted with what
should come to pass, answered saying: U My Son, do not
reproach Queen Kaikeyi, the exile of Shri Rama will be
productive of great good and the gods and danavas and the
illustrious sages will gain great benefit from the presence of
Shri Rama in the forest! "
Hearing this, Bharata bowed low to the rishi and receiving
his blessing, circumambulated him with reverence. Then craving
permission from the sage to depart, he ordered his army to
prepare to march.
The leaders of the forces mounted their horses, while others,
ascending golden chariots, started on their journey. mephants
with howdahs fixed by golden chains and adorned with Buttering
Bags went forward, the bells hanging from the male and female
tuskers causing a sound like the thunder of the clouds at the end
35 6



AYODHYA KANDA
of the rainy season! The other vehicles large and small,
conveying members of the royal family advanced also.
Shri Bharata, intent on seeing Rama, riding in a resplendent
palanquin shining like the sun or moon, with his great army,
moved towards the south, covering the earth like a vast cloud.
The horses and elephants were all contented and the vast
concourse inspiring the wild deer and birds with terror, looked
splendid as it entered the deep forest.


CHAPTER 93


They behold the hermitage of Shri Rama


As the mighty army traversed the forest, the leaders of the herds
of wild elephants with their companions, ran away in alarm.
Bears, leopards and other fierce beasts could be seen fleeing
on the hilltops and by the banks of the river.
Supremely gratified, Prince Bharata proceeded in the midst
of his soldiers who shouted as they marched. The army of
the illustrious Bharata, resembled an ocean, whose waves spread
over the earth or like the clouds covering the sky during the
rainy season. The ground for miles was covered with elephants
and horses, so that no trace of it could be seen.
Having marched a considerable distance, Shri Bharata,
perceiving his animals to be fatigued, addressed the holy priest,
Shri Vasishtha, saying: "This country appears to be as
beautiful as described to me, I deem that we have reached that
place spoken of by the Sage Bharadwaja. This mountain is
Chittrakuta, and this is the Mandakini river, and this is the
forest which, from a distance, resembled a blue cloud. These
are the glorious peaks of Chittrakuta, which are being trodden
by my great elephants! See, 0 Holy Guru, as the dark clouds
pour down water in the rainy season, so do the elephants,
whose trunks are scarred by the waving branches of the trees,
scatter flowers on the hills.
cc 0 Shatrughna, behold the lovely Chittrakuta mountain
351



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
sought after by the gods; everywhere herds of deer wander
about enhancing its beauty, like crocodiles swimming gracefully
in the sea. As clouds driven by the wind in winter adorn the
sky, so do these deer running before the army, render the forest
delightful.
cc Our soldiers decorating their heads with Bowers, resemble
the people of the south who crown themselves with blossoms.
See, 0 Shatrughna, the forest that appeared terrifying and
seemed to breathe by being filled with men, resembles Ayodhya
itself !
cc The dust rising from the hoofs of the bullocks covers the sky
and settles there, till the wind quickly dispels it, as if those
things obstructing my vision of Shri Rama were being removed
from my eyes. 0 Shatrughna, behold these horses yoked to
the chariots with their charioteers, swiftly passing through the
forest! And see those beautiful peacocks with long feathers,
running in fear towards their habitation on the mountain. 0
Sinless Brother, this place appears enchanting to me and a fit
abode for ascetics.
cc How lovely are the spotted deer wandering about with their
hinds; they appear as if studded with flowers. Let my leaders
go forward and seek out the place where Shri Rama and
Lakshmana dwell."
Hearing the words of Shri Bharata, the warriors bearing
weapons in their hands, entered the forest and there perceived
a spot where smoke was ascending. On beholding this, they
returned to Prince Bharata and communicated to him their
belief, that the two royal brothers dwelt where the smoke arose.
They said: "If it be not Shri Rama and Lakshmana yonder,
then surely it is some devotee who can inform us concerning the
dwelling place of Raghava ! "
Hearing this pleasing report, Shri Bharata addressed the
leaders of the army saying: "Do you remain here, do not
proceed further, I, with the holy Guru Vasishtha and Sumantra
will go forward to that place."
Thus commanded the warriors halted and Shri Bharata
looked towards the spot where the smoke was visible. Observing
the smoke, the warriors, waiting at that place, rejoiced, believing
the time for the meeting with Shri RamI was at hand.
35 8



AYODHYA KANDA


CHAPTER 94


Shri Rama decides to spend his exile on the mountain


SHRI RAMA who had passed many days on that mountain,
gratified Shri Sita by showing her many scenes of natural beauty,
they themselves appearing as lovely as lndra and his consort.
Shri Rama said: cc 0 Fortunate One, beholding the beauty
of this pleasant mountain, no longer does the separation from
my friends or my country cause me pain! 0 Centre of Delight!
behold the loveliness of these peaks abounding in metals of
various kinds, reaching the skies and frequented by birds of
every species! These peaks, some of which shine like silver,
some of which are ruddy, some yellow, some glittering with
the splendour of the brilliant gems concealed in them; some
sparkling with sapphire and crystal, and some resembling quick-
silver and glittering like the stars! Though many lions and
leopards abound in the forest, yet influenced by the pure nature
of the ascetics dwelling here, they have ceased to follow their
cruel instincts. Many varieties of birds have their nests on
yonder hill, trees laden with fruit and flowers affording delightful
shade, render the mountain enchanting!
"Here are mango, jambu, asana, lohdra, piyaIa, panasa,
dhuva, ankotha, bhavya, tinisha, bilwa, tindura, bamboo,
kasanari, arista, varana, madhuca, tilaka, vadari, amlaka, nipa,
vetra, dhanwaria, vijaka and other trees.
cc 0 Auspicious Princess, behold the ravishing loveliness of
these hills where the wise kinneras wander in pairs, their
swords and coloured apparel hanging on the branches. See the
charming retreats of the vidya dharas 1 and their companions.
These mountains with their cascades and bubbling springs
appear like mighty elephants the ichor flowing from their
foreheads.
cc What mind would not be filled with delight by the breezes
issuing from the caves of the mountain, redolent with fragrance,
pleasing to the senses? 0 Peerless One, if it be for me to
I Vieiya Dharaa- U Possesaora of Knowledge ft. a class of deities attend an
on Indra.


359



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
dwell here with thee and Lakshmana for innumerable years,
no grief or anxiety will visit me. 0 Lovely Lady, on the
mountain of Chittrakuta, rendered pleasant by a profusion of
Bowers and fruits, whose delightful peaks echo with the sweet
song of birds, I am content to dwell! By residing here, two
objects have been achieved, the fulfilment of my father's vow
and the satisfaction of Prince Bharata. 0 Daughter of King
Videha, behold this enchanting spot where self-control and
asceticism are easily exercised. Say, art thou happy here?
The discipline of residence in the forest is declared by royal
sages to be a means to liberation. Our ancestors such as Manu
have held that residence in the forest is the means of acquiring
the form of the gods. Behold, 0 Princess, yonder mountain,
adorned by thousands of rocks blue, yellow, purple and white.
At night, the healing herbs shine like fire, lighting the crags
with their radiance. See, 0 Princess, some of the caves
resemble houses, some appear like Bower gardens, all enhancing
the glory of the mountain. It would seem that Chittrakuta
has sprung forth from the earth and from every side appears
incomparably beautiful. Observe, 0 Auspicious One, how
those devoted to pleasure, have spread couches here and there,
and covered them with azure lotuses overlaid with coverings
of bark. See the faded garlands cast aside by them and the rinds
of many fruits of which they have partaken.
" This mountain Chittrakuta, in variety of Bowers and trans-
parent waters, has surpassed the capital of Indra in loveliness.
o Sita, I will pass the twelve years here with Prince Lakshmana
and thee; pursuing the highest virtue and discipline, I shall
thus protect my kingdom and earn merit."


CHAPTER 9S


He points out the beauties of nature to Sita
HAVING pointed out the beauty of the hills to Sita, Raghava
now showed her the pleasant river Mandakini issuing from
the mountain. The lotua-eyed Lord addressed the daughter
3 6 0



AYODHYA KANDA
of King Janaka, whose countenance resembled the moon,
saying: "0 Princess, behold the river Mandakini with its
delightful banks frequented by swans, cranes and other water-
fowl, abounding in flowering trees of different kinds, which
cause it to resemble the river Sangandhika in the region of
Kuvera. Its pleasant fords, where I desire to bathe, the waters
of which have been rendered muddy by the herds of deer who
have come to drink and recendy departed, all these attract the
heart. 0 Dear One, the ascetics attired in robes of bark and
deerskin, bathe at stated seasons in this river. 0 Princess
of beautiful eyes, here the munis observing strict and austere
vows, stand with uplifted arms, worshipping the sun. The
trees agitated by the breeze, cause the hills to appear as if they
were dancing. The blossoms scattered by the force of the wind
make it seem as if Chittrakuta were offering flowers to the river.
o Auspicious One, here the waters of Mandakini sparkle like
gems and there they form a sandy beach. Groups of perfect
beings frequent the banks. 0 Princess, behold the heaps of
flowers shaken down from the branches by the wind, and others
floating through the air and falling into the river to be carried
away by the water. 0 Kalyani, behold the wild geese standing
in the shallows, uttering sweet cries to summon their mates
or diverting themselves with them. 0 Lovely Sita, when I
behold the Chittrakuta mountain and the river Mandakini in
company with thee, I esteem it a greater joy than any Ayodhya
could yield me. Come, 0 Sita, and let us two bathe in the
river Mandakini, frequented by perfect beings who are endowed
with inner and outer control and are devoted to the practice of
austerity. 0 Princess, thou didst formerly play with thy maids
of honour in Ayodhya, to-day amuse thyself with me in the
Mandakini river, pelting me with red and white lotuses and
splashing the waters over me. 0 Dear One, imagine those
dwelling here to be the citizens of Ayodhya and the Mandakini
to be the river Sarayu. 0 Sita, I am happy with thee, who art
obedient to my command as is also Prince Lakshmana. 0
Beloved, bathing thrice a day with thee in the river and living
on honey, fruits and berries, I feel no desire for the comforts
of the kingdom of Ayodhya. Who will not be happy, dwelling
on the banks of the river Mandakini" where herds of elephants
3 61



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
wander and lions and monkeys come to quench their thirst,
and where flowers grow throughout the year ? "
Thus Shri Rama conversed on many wondrous things
concerning the Mandakini river with Sita and taking the hand
of the princess, wandered with her over the blue and beautiful
Chittrakuta mountain.


CHAPTER 96


They see the army approaching and Lakshmana vows
to destroy it


HAVING shown Sita the beauties of the river Mandakini, Rama
and Sita seated themselves on a rock. Feasting VidehP with
venison, Shri RaIna, in order to please her, spoke in this wise:
cc This meat is pure and is rendered delicious by being roasted
in the fire."
While thus conversing with Sita, he observed the dust rising
like a cloud, stirred up by the feet of the approaching army
of Bharata and heard the tramp of marching warriors at the
sound of which the leaders of the elephants with their herds,
ran hither and thither in agitation. Seeing the herds of elephants
fleeing at the tumult caused by the army, Shri Rama said to
Lakshmana: cc 0 Lakshmana, Queen Sumitra is fortunate indeed
to be thy mother. Is this warlike clamour issuing from the
clouds? The herds of elephants dwelling in the dense forest,
the wild buffaloes and the deer are fleeing away in terror!
Has any king or prince come to hunt in the woods, or has
some terrible and bloodthirsty beast entered the forest? Enquire
into the matter, 0 Lakshmana ! Even the birds are not carefree
in their flight; it becomes thee to seek out the cause of this
commotion. "
Speedily climbing a shala tree, Shri Lakshmana looked in all
directions. First he examined the eastern quarter, then he looked
1 Videhi__ name of Sita, as daughter of the KinS of Vidcha.
3 62



AYODHYA KANDA
towards the north and there he beheld a vast army composed
of elephants, horses, chariots and well-armed infantry !
Describing the approaching army with its elephants, horses,
chariots and flags, Shri Lakshmana said to Rama: "0 Great
One, put out the fire and let Sita enter the cave, do thou
arm thyself and take up thy bow and arrow."
Shri Rama answered Lakshmana saying: cc 0 Child, ascertain
by the symbols on the flags to whom this army belongs."
The prince listened to Rama's words and burning with anger
desirous of consuming the army, replied: cc Without doubt,
Bharata, having secured the throne has come to slay us both
in order to enjoy rulership, unopposed! See, by that large
and beautiful tree is a chariot with a white flag bearing the sign
of a pomegranate tree. The soldiers mounted on swift moving
horses are coming towards me. I see the riders on elephants
also. 0 Hero, let us both, armed with bows and arrows, climb
the hill, or clad in battle array, stand here fully prepared. We
shall surely defeat Bharata. To-day, we shall subdue him on
whose account all our sufferings have come to pass. 0 Rama,
that Bharata, on whose account, thou, Sita and I, have been
deprived of our kingdom and cast into tribulation, is approaching
like an enemy. He must certainly be slain, 0 Prince, I see
no sin in destroying him. It were no sin to slay one who seeks
to injure thee. 0 Prince, he has already wronged thee; by
slaying Bharata, thou canst acquire mastery over the whole
earth. To-day, Kaikeyi, avid for the kingdom, will see her son
slain in the field. Seeing Bharata slain by me, like a tree
uprooted by an elephant, Kaikeyi will suffer great anguish!
I shall slay Kaikeyi also, and her friends and Manthara too. 0
Bestower of Honour, I will &ee the world of the sinful Kaikeyi;
to-day I will let loose my long restrained wrath on the forces
of mine enemy, as a fire consumes dried grass. To-day, I will
drench the fields of Chittrakuta with the blood of mine enemies.
To-day, those elephants, wounded by my sharp arrows and
those men slain by me, will be dragged hither and thither by
wild beasts. To-day, I will redeem my vow, by destroying
Bharata and his army with my bow and arrow."


3 6 3



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI


CHAPTER 97


Shri Rama cannot belie'De Prince Bharata comes as an enemy


SEEING Lakshmana overcome with anger and desire for ven-
geance, Shri Rama sought to pacify him saying: cc 0 Lakshmana,
the learned wanior Bharata, fully armed, is coming to see us
in person, of what value is shield or sword? What should I do
with a kingdom obtained by slaying my brother Bharata, I having
undertaken to fulfil my father's behests? I will never accept
riches obtained by the slaying of relatives and friends which
would be as acceptable to me as food mixed with poison! 0
Lakshmana, I promise thee, it is for the sake of my brothers
that I desire to pursue virtue, legitimately acquired wealth,
pleasures, and even the kingdom. 0 Lakshmana, I speak the
truth, by this sign, touching my arms, ' I desire a kingdom only
for the sake of supporting my brothers and securing their good'.
o Charming Prince! The acquisition of the kingdom is not
difficult to me, but 0, My Brother, I do not even desire dominion
of the celestial region if it can only be acquired by unrighteous
means! 0 Dear One! May the Deity of Fire consume all
that gives me joy, if it is not for thy good and to the advantage
of Bharata and Shatrughna! It seems to me that when my
dearest brother, ever devoted to me, returned to Ayodhya from
the home of his maternal uncle, after hearing that we three,
robed in bark had entered the forest, he, overwhelmed by
affection and grief, set out hither to seek us! I see no other
purpose for his advent here. Or it may be that Bharata, wroth
with his mother has reproached her with bitter words and has
come here to be reconciled with me. It is meet that Bharata
should see me and I cannot believe that he comes as an enemy.
What harm has Bharata ever done to us, 0 Brother, that to-day,
thou assumest him to be against us? It is improper for thee
to speak ill or harshly of Bharata. Those bitter things thou
sayest of Bharata, thou hast in fact said of me. 0 Son of
Sumitra, how should a father slay his son, or a brother slay
his brother, whatever betide? If thou hast said all this on
account of the kingdom, then I will desire Bharata to give thee
3 6 4



AYODHYA KANDA
the kingdom. 0 Lakshmana, if I say to Bharata C Give the
crown to Lakshmana " assuredly he will answer C Be it so '."
Shri Lakshmana was profoundly humiliated by the words
of Rama, his limbs and muscles contracted and he was sunk
in shame. He said: cc It appears that the Maharaja Dasaratha
himself has come hither to see us."
Seeing Lakshmana abashed, Shri Rama answered: cc I also
believe my father is come to see us, and will seek to take us home
to the capital, knowing how grievously we suffer in the forest! "
cc It may be, too, that the king, knowing Sita to be worthy
of every happiness, will take her home. See, 0 Brother, two
excellent horses of noble breed, swift as the wind, appear in
view! The great and aged elephant Shattunjaya that carries
my illustrious father, marches before the army, but I feel
apprehensive for I do not behold the white umbrella of my
renowned Lord! 0 Lakshmana, descend from the tree."
The prince having descended in obedience to Shri Rama,
stood before him with joined palms.
Shri Bharata meanwhile commanded his army not to approach
or disturb the hermitage of Rama. The army with its elephants
and horses occupied an area of seven miles and the prudent
Bharata who, to please Rama, had rid himself of all egoity and
employed only virtuous means, caused it to take up its position
at some distance from the Chittrakuta mountain.


CHAPTER 98


Prince Bharata goes on foot to meet Shri Rama


THAT exalted one, Shri Bharata, nuly obedient to the behests
of his Guru, perceiving his army well lodged, proceeded on foot
to meet 8hri Rama. As soon as the army was encamped, he
addressed Shatrughna in these words: cc 0 Excellent One,
thou with thy men and a few huntsmen, speedily search the forest
and seek out 8hri Rama's hermitage. Let Guha attended by
a thousand ofhis warriors, armed with bows, arrows and swords,
3 6 5



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
search for Shri Rama in the forest. I, myself, in the company
of the counsellors, citizens, elders and brahmins, will go on
foot through the forest. I shall not rest till I have beheld the
saintly Rama, the valiant Lakshmana and the most auspicious
Sitae I shall not seek repose till I have looked on the shining
countenance of Shri Rama, my elder brother. My mind will
taste no peace till I have placed my forehead at the feet of Rama,
that bear the marks of royalty. My soul will find no delight
till I have placed Shri Rama on the ancestral throne and beheld
him anointed with the holy water at the time of his coronation!
Fortunate is Prince Lakshmana, who looks on the moon-like,
lotus-eyed resplendent face of Rama, each day. Blessed is the
daughter of King Janaka, who follows Shri Rama, the Lord
of earth and ocean! Blessed also is Chittrakuta, equal to
the Himalayas, on which Shri Rama dwells, as Kuvera and
Chittraratha dwell in the forest. Blessed is this forest to-day,
abounding in poisonous serpents and difficult to penetrate,
because the mighty warrior Rama abides in it."
Thus speaking, the valiant Prince Bharata entered the forest
on foot. The chief of eloquent persons, the pious Bharata,
reached the centre of the forest, where blossoming and fruitful
trees adorned the mountain heights. Climbing a shala tree,
he saw the smoke rising from the fire in Rama's hermitage.
The prince with his friends rejoiced like those who have crossed
the ocean, to find the dwelling place of Rama. Finding that
8hri Ramachandra dwelt on the mountain frequented by ascetics,
Shri Bharata, leaving his army behind, in the company of Guha
speedily started for the hermitage.


CHAPTER 99


The four brothers meet fDith tears of joy


8HRI BHARATA with great eagerness pointed out the indications
of the position of 8hri Rama's hermitage to his brother
8hatrughna. He appealed to 8hri Vasishtha to bring his mothers
3 66



AYODRYA KANDA
there speedily, while he, devoted to his elder brother, hastily
went on before. Sumantra followed Shatrughna, who walked
behind Bharata and who was equally anxious to behold Rama.
The prince, proceeding, at length descried the hut thatched
with leaves in the midst of the hermitages of the ascetics, and
beheld before it a heap of broken wood and Bowers plucked
for worship. To mark the site of the ashrama, Shri Rama and
Lakshmana had bound kusha grass and strips of cloth to the
trees. He perceived also great heaps of the dung of deer and
buffaloe, dried for fuel, to be used in winter.
The illustrious and mighty Bharata going forward, spoke
measured words to his brother and counsellors, saying: "I
deem we have reached the place spoken of by the Sage
Bharadwaja, and that the river Mandakini is not far distant
from here! Prince Lakshmana has bound strips of cloth to
the trees, so that when fetching water on a dark night, he may
know the way back to the hermitage. This appears to be the
road traversed by the great elephants who were roaring in the
forest. I perceive the black smoke rising from the ascetics'
sacrificial fire. Here, I shall behold that Lion among men,
Shri Rama, the great preceptor, seated in majesty, like a
resplendent sage."
Proceeding a little further, Prince Bharata reached the river
Mandakini on Chittrakuta, and addressing his companions, said:
" That chief of men, a very god among living beings, is seated
in this lonely forest in the posture of an ascetic. Woe unto me,
wretched is my life and birth, on account of which the most
resplendent Lord of all, Shri Ramachandra is plunged in this
a1Hiction and dwells in the forest deprived of all joy! Despised
by men because of this, I will now fall at the feet of Rama
and Sita in order to propitiate them."
While still lamenting, Bharata perceived the hut thatched
with leaves, pure and pleasant, covered with the leafy boughs
of sala, tala and other trees, resembling an altar covered with
kusha grass.
Here and there mighty bows and shields covered with gold,
wielded in battle, hung, adding to the beauty of the pla
, and
nearby stood a quiver of arrows, bright as the rays of the sun,
and keen as the serpents with shining hoods of the Bhagawati
3
2B



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
river. There also were two scimitars in scabbards of gold and
two shields emblazoned with golden Bowers, also many deerskins
and gloves with gold embroidered gauntlets. That habitation
was impregnable as a cave and unassailable by the herds of
wild deer.
Bharata discerned in this dwelling, Shri Rama seated near
the altar, resplendent as fire. For a long time, Shri Bharata
gazed on the beauty of the scene. He saw Rama sitting, his
matted locks coiled on the crown of his head., shining like a flame,
his body clad in a robe of bark, covered with the skin of a
black antelope, his shoulders resembling a lion's, his arms
were long, his eyes like lotuses, that ruler of earth and ocean,
the sovereign of eternal decrees! Shri Bharata beheld that
righteous one with Lakshmana and Sita, seated on a platform
strewn with kusha grass, appearing like the eternal Brahma.
Beholding him seated thus, the pious Bharata was overpowered
with sorrow and affection, and ran towards him, his throat
choked with grief, weeping and lamenting. Though the pain was
past restraining, he yet mastered it and spoke: cc AIas! my
elder brother, worthy of a seat in the royal assembly, beloved
of his counsellors, is to-day associating with wild beasts in the
forest. He, deserving of apparel adorned with thousands of
golden coins, is sitting, clad in a deerskin, in order to practise
the obligations of righteous living. Shri Rama, who was
formerly adorned with garlands of different Bowers, how can
he endure the weight of his matted locks? He, who should
have acquired merit by the performance of sacrifices aided by
the rishis, to-day increases his meritorious deeds by the practice
of austerity. Now is the countenance of my elder brother,
formerly adorned with sandal paste, covered with dust! AIas!
it is on my account that Shri Rama, who formerly enjoyed
every delight, is to-day undergoing this distress. Woe unto
me, who am abhored by all."
Thus lamenting, the wretched Bharata, his face bedewed with
tears, sought to run and fall at the feet of Rama, but sank
unconscious on the way. Deeply afflicted, that great hero,
Prince Bharata, cried out: cc 0 Excellent One," and uttered
no more. Exclaiming only, cc 0 Noble Sire", he could proceed
no further. Shatrughna, also weeping, embraced the feet of
3 68



AYODHYA KANDA
Shri Rama, on which Rama gathering them both in his arms,
melted into tears.
Then Sumantra and Guha approached Shri Rama and
Lakshmana, and it appeared as if the Sun and Moon, Jupiter
and Venus had conjoined in the heavens. The inhabitants of
the forest, beholding the four princes met together in their midst,
shed tears of joy.


CHAPTER 100


Shri Rama enquires of Prince Bharata concerning the discharge
of his royal duties


SHRI RAMACHANDRA saw Bharata lying on the ground, clothed
in ascetic's garb, his hair coiled on the crown of his head, his
palms joined in supplication, resembling the sun bereft of
splendour, fallen to earth, at the time of the dissolution of the
world.
Taking hold of the hands of his brother, who was emaciated
and weak, Shri Rama raised him up and smelling his head,
embraced him, clasping him in his arms and tenderly enquiring
of him: "0 Child, where is thy father, that thou art come
to the forest alone? Had he lived, thou couldst not have
come hither unaccompanied! Alas! I grieve that I scarcely
recognize my brother, thin, weary and full of care. What
brings thee to the forest? 0 My Brother, is the king well
and happy? Or has grief brought about his end? 0 Darling,
thou art yet a child, tell me, is ought amiss in that eternal
kingdom? 0 Hero of Truth, hast thou served the king well ?
Say, is that Sovereign of men, devoted to truth and to duty,
the performer of the great sacrifice, in good health? Is
that highly learned monarch, master of the ascetic brahmins,
fully cherished? 0 Child, are Mother Kaushalya and
Queen Sumitra, mother of an illustrious son, well? Is that
highly exalted Queen Kaushalya, happy? 0 Friend, dost
thou sufficiently regard that humble, experienced, highborn,
369



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
magnanimous companion of mine, he who is skilled in action,
the son of Shri Vasishtha? Does the royal priest, highly versed
in the Veda, who is wise and beneficent, inform thee of the
time of sacrifice? 0 Brother, dost thou offer full reverence
to the Gods, father, mother, Guru, thine elders, the physicians
and brahmins? 0 Friend, dost thou give due respect and
honour to Sudhama, skilled in the science of arms and
conversant with the mantra-driven weapons? Hast thou made
those thy counsellors, who are trustworthy, patient, masters of
ethics and who have transcended avarice? 0 Prince, the good
fortune of kings is secret consultation with those versed in the
spiritual laws. My Son, hast thou overcome sleep? Dost thou
awaken betimes? Dost thou in the late hours meditate on the
methods of acquiring legitimate wealth? Dost thou reflect
alone on matters of moment and consult with thy ministers in
public? Do other monarchs know of thy decisions before they
are applied? When thou hast determined upon what must
and should be done, dost thou speedily accomplish it? Are
lesser kings acquainted with thy determined resolve after the
event or before thou hast set it in motion? Dost thou prefer
the society and advice of a learned pundit to that of countless
fools? In times of adversity, it is of infinite advantage to have
the proximity of a learned man. If a sovereign surround
himself with ten thousand ignorant persons, he will receive
no help from them, but should a king be attended by a wise
minister, thoughtful, studious, versed in the moral laws
and government, he will reap a great advantage. 0 Brother,
dost thou employ men of exalted character in affairs of moment
and lesser ones in unimportant events? Dost thou appoint
ministers who are pure of heart, full of integrity and of a noble
disposition, whose ancestors have served the crown in positions
of authority? 0 Son of Queen Kaikeyi, do the arrogant and
proud, when incensed, offer thee or thy ministers insult? As a
woman disregards one who has illicit connection with another's
wife or the priests condemn that man who has sinned whim
offering the sacrifice, so is a king despised who levies harsh taxes.
That monarch who does not condemn a man to death, who has
through avarice and deluded by ambition, accused others who
are virtuous, and even threatened the life of the king, is himself
370



AYODHYA KANDA
destroyed! 0 Brother, art thou attended by such persons?
Has a commander-in-chief who is active, victorious over his
enemies, skilled in arms, patient in adversity, devoted to thee
and experienced, been appointed by thee? Hast thou honoured
with suitable rewards, those men who are valiant, distinguished,
eminent in military sciences, resourceful and whose abilities
have been tested? Dost thou distribute remuneration and
provisions in a fitting manner when they are due? Servants
who are not paid at the proper season, become incensed and
disregard their master. Dissatisfied retainers are a source of
danger.
"Are the liege warriors and chieftains devoted to thee? In
time of need, are they ready to lay down their lives for thy sake?
Hast thou appointed, as thine ambassadors, those who are citizens
of thy kingdom, who can divine the motives of others, who are
of sound judgment, eloquent, and able to overcome their
opponents in debate? Dost thou employ three spies, each
unacquainted with the other to master the secrets of the fifteen, l
excluding thy ministers, priests and the heir-apparent? Dost
thou set a watch over enemies whom thou hast driven from
thy kingdom and yet who have returned? Dost thou deem
them harmless? Art thou attended by brahmins of atheistic
opinions? Such persons deem themselves wise but, in fact,
are fools, yet they may divert others from the path of virtue,
being skilled in dispatching souls to the lower regions. They
do not study the authorised treatises on the duties of men,
but indulge in arguments against the Veda and becoming
eminent in useless knowledge, discuss unworthy matters con-
tinually.
Ie 0 Friend, dost thou carefully preserve the capital Ayodhya,
the seat of our ancestors and great men, justly termed clnvincible'
having strong gates and being filled with elephants, horses
and chariots, where brahmins engaged in spiritual duties dwell,
also warriors and merchants, and superior men who have
subdued their senses and are intent on various enterprises;
that progressive city which is replete with temples of many
:a The fifteen are: chamberlains. adjutants. treasurers, master of the rolls,
commanders-in-chief, police chiefs, lawyers, magistrates, kee-pers of the foreats
and mountains, almoners, gaolers, doorkeepers, superintendents of public worlo,
priests and paymasters.


37 1



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
forms, frequented by learned men. 0 Brother, ours is a capital
which has been the site of many great sacrifices, which contains
innumerable temples and lakes, frequented by cheerful men
and women, where festive assemblies are held, where no
portion of the earth is uncultivated, where elephants, horses
and cattle dwell in large numbers, where no one lives in jeopardy,
and which is irrigated by artificial means so that people need
not depend solely on rain; which is delightful and where no
dangerous beasts like lions abound, which is free from wicked
men, which improves daily and which is protected by the spirits
of our ancestors, tell me is that city prosperous? 0 Brother,
art thou satisfied with the husbandmen and those who live by
tending their cattle? Dost thou provide what they need and
preserve them from harm? Dost thou ever guard them and
provide them with sustenance? 0 Brother, a king should ever
protect his subjects by righteous means. Dost thou propitiate
the women of thy realm? Are they duly safeguarded by thee ?
Dost thou put thy confidence in them? Dost thou communicate
thy secrets to them? 0 Prince, dost thou, well adorned, show
thyself to thy people in the assembly hall 'ere noon? Do those
who work for thee approach thee with assurance, or do they
hold back on account of fear ? Both these states are unprofit-
able. Dost thou treat thy subjects with moderation? Are thy
forts well supplied with wealth, food, arms, water, armaments,
and furnished with archers and bowmen? 0 Prince, does thy
treasury contain more than is needed for thine expenditure?
Is thy wealth spent unprofitably on musicians and dancers?
Is a part of thy treasure devoted to the gods, thy sisters, the
brahmins, the uninvited guests, warriors and friends? Dost
thou condemn any through avarice, without regard for justice
or subjecting the offender to closer examination by those
eminent in law and who are of good conduct? Are those who
serve thee, just men, innocent of lying and theft, and not of
ill-repute? 0 Noble One, those who are apprehended for theft,
caught in the act and their guilt established on due P.YAminA tion,
are they able to obtain release by bribing the officials? In
a dispute between a rich and a poor man, do thy experienced
judges carry out justice uninfluenced by a desire for gain? 0
Prince of Raghu, the tears of those who are unjusdy condemned
37 2



AYODHYA KANDA
by a monarch who lives at ease and is indifferent to justice
being meted out, destroy his children and his herds! 0 Prince,
dost thou satisfy the aged, children and physicians by providing
them with their needs, treating them with affection and granting
them the benefits of wise administration? Dost thou offer
salutations on meeting thy Guru or the aged, the ascetics,
strangers, sacred objects, and the brahmins who are learned
and enlightened? Dost thou use the time reserved for the
performance of thy duty, for the acquisition of wealth, or
dost thou waste the opportUnity of fulfilling thy duty and
acquiring wealth by partiality to comfort and dissipation? 0
Chief of Conquerors, 0 Knower of the significance of time,
dost thou divide thine hours between the observance of thy duty,
the acquisition of wealth and legitimate diversion? 0 Wise
One, do the learned pundits and the citizens pray daily for thy
welfare? 0 Bharata, dost thou abjure the fourteen failings a
sovereign must eschew? Atheism, dissimulation, anger, in-
attention, procrastination, neglect of the wise, indolence,
surrender of the senses to external objects, disregard of counseJ,
consulting those who advocate evil, the deferring of that which
has been resolved upon, the concealment of counsel received,
the abandoning of righteous conduct, the offering of respect
equally to the low and high bom, and the ruthless conquest of
other lands.
" 0 King, art thou acquainted with the results of the following
and dost thou constantly reflect on them? Hunting, gambling,
sleeping during the day, slander, inordinate affection, vanity,
concentration on dancing and music, lounging here and there
to no purpose; the five fortifications; by moat, by high banks,
by thickly planted trees, by waste land destitute of means
of subsistence and by a waterless region; the four means to
success; concluding peace, liberality, punishment and sowing
dissension in the ranks of the enemy; the seven requisites of
administration: the king, the ministers, government, treasury,
territory, army and allies. The kinds of persons with whom
one should not contract friendship; those who speak ill of others,
the bold, the curious, the injurious, those who take other's
property, the abusive, the ruthless, and the eight objects which
should be pursued; righteousness, acquisition of l
gitimate
373



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
wealth, suitable diversioDS, the study of the three Vedas, treaty,
stratagem, invasion, proper timing, and allying oneself with
the powerful?
"Art thou acquainted with the five kinds of suffering caused
by celestial beings; by fire, water, disease, famine and plague?
Hast thou carefully considered the misfortunes occasioned
by officials, thieves, enemies and the king's favourites? Dost
thou reflect that it is not proper to be intimate with a child,
one who is senile, one who has long been affticted, one who
has been excommunicated, a coward, a terrorist, one who is
avaricious or who excites covetousness, one who is despised
by others, one who is voluptuous, one who consults everybody,
one who speaks ill of the brahmins, one who ascribes all to
fate, or who is aftlicted by famine, or who wanders from
country to country without a purpose, one who has many
adversaries, one who does not act at the proper season, one
who is not devoted to truth, one who lives under foreign
domination and one who is aggressive? Hast thou given the
following due consideration and found them to be in accord
with thee: thy subjects, women, the kingdom, those who
have lost their wealth, thine enemy, thy friend, those un-
friendly to thine enemy?
cc 0 Wise One, art thou acquainted with the preparations
necessary for a journey, the methods of punishment, the drawing
up of treaties, and who is to be trusted or distrusted? 0 Prince,
dost thou enter into consultation with thy counsellors collectively
or separately, and dost thou treat each interview as private?
Dost thou conclude thy study of the Veda with charitable gifts ?
Dost thou employ thy wealth in distribution of alms and legiti-
mate diversions? Do thy marriages become fruitful of progeny?
Dost thou practise what thou hast learned from the scriptures ?
Dost thou approve of acts of benevolence, duty, and worship
and regard them as productive of fame and longevity? 0
Prince, dost thou follow the path of thy predecessors, which
promotes happiness and which all applaud? 0 Bharata, clost
thou partake of delicious dishes by thyself? When amongst
thy companions, dost thou first present them with succulent
food and then partake of it thyself? Know, 0 Brother, that
monarch who is acquainted with the Jaw and also knows how
374



AYODHYA KANDA
to administer justice and rules by righteous means, becomes
Lord of the earth and enters heaven on his death."


CHAPTER I 0 I


Shri Rama hears the account of his father's death


BHARATA, hearing these words of Rama, replied: "What will
the discharge of royal duties avail me, who am destitute of all
virtue? 0 Great One, according to the tradition of our line,
the younger brother may not be king while the elder lives,
therefore, 0 Raghava, return with me to the auspicious city
of Ayodhya and for the sake of our family, cause thyself to be
installed as king. Some may consider the king a man, but I
hold him to be a god, since his conduct differs from others,
being inspired by duty and divine grace. When I was at the
home of my maternal uncle and thou exiled to the forest, King
Dasaratha, adored by the good, the performer of spiritual
sacrifices, departed to heaven. As soon as thou, with Sita and
Lakshmana, hadst left the capital, the king overwhelmed by
sorrow and aftliction, passed away. 0 Chief of Men, offer
the traditional libations for thy father; Shatrughna and I have
already carried out this ritual. 0 Prince, it is said that the
water and rice offered by a beloved son, grants imperishable
bliss to one departed. 0 Raghava, thou wast indeed the beloved
of thy royal father; through grief on thy account and the desire
to see thee, thy sire, his mind unceasingly fixed on thee,
overcome by sorrow, departed to heaven."


375



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI


CHAPTER 102


They are all afflicted with grief
ON hearing the account of his father's death, from his brother,
Shri Rama fell unconscious.
Bharata's words proved as dreadful to Shri Rama, as the
mace of Indra falling on the danavas in battle. Wringing his
hands, Raghava fell to the earth like a tree severed by an axe.
The Lord of the World, Shri Rama, fallen on the earth, lay
like an elephant which, having borne away the river bank,
sinks under the load. His two brothers together with Sita,
perceiving him to have fallen in a swoon, sprinkled him with
water in order to restore him.
Recovering somewhat, Shri Rama began to lament. The
virtuous prince, conscious that his sire had passed away, uttered
these pious words to Bharata: U What should I do in Ayodhya
now my father has departed to heaven? Who can preserve
the capital bereft of this illustrious monarch? What can I,
worthless and wretched, do for that magnanimous one, my
father, who died through grief at my separation and whose
funeral rites I was not able to perform? 0 Sinless Bharata,
thou indeed art blessed, by whom the last rites of thy warrior
parent were performed. Now when I return to the capital
after completing the term of my exile, none will instruct me
in what is good and what is evil. Formerly, in affection, my
father being pleased with my good conduct, enlightened me.
Who will now utter those words which fell pleasingly on my ears? "
Turning his face towards Sita whose countenance resembled
the full moon, Rama thus addressed her: cc 0 Sita, thy father-
in-law has left this life, 0 Lakshmana, thou art fatherless I
Bharata has related this bitter news to us. 0 Lakshmana,
bring the pulp of the Ingudi fruit and change this apparel
of bark. I desire to offer libations of water to my royal sire.
Let Sita precede me and thou follow her; on such occasions,
this procedure must be observed."! Then Sumantra, the aged
1 When they descend into the water the order of the procession is that the
children go tiist according to age, then the women, then the men, the youngest
fint, the eldest last. The order is reversed when they emerge.
37 6



AYODHYA KANDA
retainer of the royal line, wise, intelligent, tender-hearted,
self-subdued, and humble, wholly devoted to Rama, comforted
the princes and led them to the river Mandakini whose waters
were sacred and meritorious.
Deeply aftlicted, the illustrious ones approached the pleasant
river that passed through blossoming woods, and descending
into the pure, swift-flowing and un-muddied stream, they offered
the ritual water in the name of their royal father, saying: cc 0
Great King, may this water be thine." Then Shri Rama, fi.11ing
his palms with water, turning to the south, wept and said:
u 0 Mighty King, may this sacred water offered to-day by me,
be thine for ever in the region of thine ancestors."
Thereafter, Raghava with his brothers offered balls of rice
in memory of the king on the shores of the river Mandakini.
Having made a cake by mixing the juice of berries with the pulp
of the Ingudi fruit, Shri Rama spread it on kusha grass and
deeply afllicted, weeping, said: "0 Mighty King, be pleased
to accept and partake of this food, for that which is man's
customary food, the gods approve."
Then ascending the hillside, Shri Rama returned by the way
he had come. The great Raghava, reaching the door of the
thatched hut, took hold of the hands of Lakshmana and Bharata,
and wept. The sound of the weeping of the four princes and
Sita re-echoed in the mountains like the roaring of a lion, and
the army hearing it were greatly perturbed and said among
themselves, cc Shri Rama and Bharata have met and they are
bewailing the death of the king, their sire."
Leaving their camp and turning their faces to where the sound
of weeping arose, they went in haste to that spot. Some mounted
horses and elephants, some rode in gilded chariots, and others
on foot hastened towards that place, for though Shri Rama
had but lately left the capital, it appeared to them as if he
had been long absent from them. Desirous of seeing Rama,
they proceeded to the hermitage of the illustrious prince in
various kinds of vehicles and the sound of their advance and
the rolling wheels created a noise like thunder. Elephants
terrified by the tumult ran with their mates into other woods,
perfuming the forest with their ichor. Boars, wolves, buffaloes,
snakes, tigers, wild cattle and deer of many kinds were filled
377



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
with fear. Ducks, waterfowl, swans, geese, cuckoos and herons
fled in every direction. The air was filled with birds, and the
earth with men, rendering both beautiful.
At length, the army reached the place where they perceived
the illustrious and innocent Rama, the chief of men, seated on
the sacrificial seat, and seeing his condition they began to curse
Kaikeyi and Manthara and, approaching closer, wept bitterly.
Shri Rama, observing them so affiicted, embraced them like
a parent. Embracing those who were worthy of his affection,
offering salutations to some, he treated those of his age and his
relatives with the respect due to each.
The voice of their weeping filled the earth and sky, and
reverberated in the caves and in every quarter like the beat
of a drum.


CHAPTER 103


Shri Rama greets the queens


SHRI V ASISHTHA, preceded by the widowed queens of King
Dasaratha, proceeding towards Shri Rama's hermitage, beheld
the slow-moving Mandakini and the holy place frequented by
Rama. Aftticted with grief, Queen Kaushalya wept and then
said to Sumitra and the other Queens: cc 0 see! here is the
place where the defenceless Rama, Lakshmana and Sita, deprived
by Kaikeyi of their kingdom, come to bathe. 0 Sumitra,
here meseems thy son Lakshmana unwearyingly brings water
for my son. Though engaged in this menial service, a kind office
performed for an elder brother is an honourable act! Though
the carrying of water is a humble occupation, when Shri Rama-
chandra, persuaded by Bharata, returns to the capital, then thy
son, worthy of every comfort, will abandon these laborious
duties. "
Queen Kaushalya of large eyes, now perceived the funeral cake
offered by Shri Rama in memory of his father. She beheld
how the sorrow-stricken RaIna had laid the flour ball on the
ground in his great sire's remembrance, and she then addressed
37 8



AYODHYA KANDA
the widows of the departed king, saying: "See how this
has been offered by Raghava in memory of the great king of
the House of Ikshwaku. I do not consider this flour ball
mixed with the juice of the Ingudi ttuit to be worthy of the
Mahatma Dasaratha, who was equal to a god! How should
the sovereign of the earth enclosed between the four seas, find
this cake of Ingudi pulp acceptable? Nothing is more painful
to me than this, that the illustrious Rama should offer this
paltty flour ball to his deceased father! Why does my heart
not break into a thousand fragments, seeing this poor offering ?
It is a common saying among men that the food eaten by a man
is the food of his god and his ancestors."
The consorts of the king consoled the chief queen and
proceeding onwards, reached the hermitage where they beheld
Shri Rama seated like a god descended from heaven. Seeing
Shri Ranta withdrawn from every pleasure, they were deeply
distressed and wept bitterly.
Shri Ranta, the Devotee of Truth, rose up and touched the
feet of his mothers, and the large-eyed queens with their tender
hands took the dust from his feet. 8hri Lakshmana, distressed
to see their grief, offered salutations to them with deep affection
and they, wiping the dust from the feet of 8hri Rama,
manifested the same love to Prince Lakshmana, since he, too,
was the son of King Dasaratha. 8ita also, full of grief, her eyes
suffused with tears, stood before the queens touching their feet.
Kaushalya, embracing Shri 8ita who was emaciated through
the privations of her exile, addressed her as a mother her
daughter and said: "Alas! Alas! the daughter of King
Videha, the daughter-in-law of King Dasaratha, and the consort
of 8hri Ramachandra, has undergone great privations in the
forest. 0 Janaki, I burn with the fire of grief when I behold
thy countenance scorched by the sun like the faded crimson
water lilies, or gold defiled with dust, or the mOOD obscured
by clouds. I am being consumed by the pain arising from this,
like a piece ofwood 1 slowly consumed by fire."
While Queen Kaushalya was thus lamenting, 8hri RIma-
chandra approached the Holy Vasishtha and touched his lotUS


I, Videha is the name given to the two pieces of wood from which a fire is
kindJed. There is, therelore, a play on the name of Sita, here.
379



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI


feet. Having touched the feet of the great ascetic, who was
as resplendent as fire, like Indra offering salutations to the feet
of Brihaspati, Shri Rama sat down near him.
Then the pious Bharata accompanied by his counsellors, the
chief people of the city, and his generals, approached Shri Rama
and occupied a lower seat.
The heroic Bharata, with joined palms, seated by his elder
brother who was attired in ascetic's garb, appeared like Prajapati
seated before Brahma! At that moment, the principal citizens
present were filled with curiosity to know what Shri Bharata
would say to Raghava. The ever-truthful and valiant Rama,
seated with Bharata and Lakshmana, together resembled three
ritual fires in the place of sacrifice.


CHAPTER 104


He requests Prince Bharata to ascend the throne


SHRI RAMA, together with Lakshmana, addressed Shri Bharata,
saying: cc 0 Bharata, say why thou art come hither to the forest
in ascetic's garb, clothed in bark and deerskin? For what
purpose, 0 Prince, hast thou, abandoning thy throne, come to
the forest, attired in the skin of the antelope? "
Thus questioned, Shri Bharata controlling his grief, answered :
cc 0 Noble Sire, my father, the king, by my mother acting in
an improper manner, has died of grief through separation from
his son. 0 Mighty Prince, my mother has done an exceedingly
evil deed and forfeited her fair name. Widowed and over-
whelmed with afBiction, she will fall into hell. Though the son
of Kaikeyi, yet am I thy servant. Be gracious to me and allow
thyself to be installed to-day and ascend the throne like Indra.
The elders of the people and my widowed mother have come
hither to entreat thee. Be pleased to grant our request, 0
Lord.
cc Q Thou who payest due deference to all men, being the
eldest son of the king, shouldst by right occupy the throne.
380



AYODHYA KANDA
Accept the burden of kingship and gratify the desire of thy
friends. The earth, obtaining thee as her Lord, will rest satisfied
as the winter night in the presence of the moon. Not only
am I thy brother, but thy devoted follower and servant. I
and my ministers salute thee and beg of thee to look with favour
on our request.
cc 0 Chief of Men, let not these counsellors and those who
have traditionally held office, plead in vain."
Having spoken, Prince Bharata, his eyes suffused with tears,
placed his head at the feet of Shri Rama. Shri Rama lifting
him up embraced Prince Bharata who was sighing like one
distraught, and said: cc 0 Bharata, why should a virtuous and
enlightened prince such as thou, act so that his elder brother
commit sin? 0 Hero, I see no fault in thee, but it behoves
thee not to speak ill of thy mother. 0 Sinless One, the father
or the spiritual preceptor can order his disciple, his servant
or his wife as he will. Therefore, it must be known to thee,
that a wise son or devotee should ever manifest obedience.
I am, therefore, submissive to my sire.
cc 0 Lovely One, we are subject to the king and it is one
if he send us to the forest, to the abode of ascetics, or retain us
in his proximity. 0 Chief of the Virtuous, a mother should
be revered even as the father. 0 Bharata, by the command
of my pious mother 'and father, I was sent to the forest, how
should I dare to disobey them?
cc Do thou, 0 Prince, return to the capital and acclaimed
by the people, ascend the throne, while I reside in the forest
as an ascetic. Remember, thus did the king resolve in the
presence of his people and now he has departed. The sovereign
is the instructor of his people and of thee also, and it was meet
he should do as he has done. 0 Bharata, do thou enjoy the
kingdom given thee by my father.
cc 0 Beautiful One, I shall remain in the Dandaka forest for
fourteen years and enjoy what my father has conferred on me.
The illustrious monarch, my sire, honoured by the w'hole world,
has commanded me to come to the forest and tC) obey him
is my happiness.
" Meseems the sovereignty of the whole world .is vain if it
be mine in defiance of my father's command." .
381



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI


CHAPTER 105


Prince Bharata appeals to Shri Rama to return and rule
the kingdom
THE princes surrounded by relatives and friends passed the night
sorrowing. The day having dawned, the brothers observed
the fire sacrifice and performed the repetition of silent prayer
on the banks of the river Mandakini, then entering the hermitage
of Rama, they sat in profound silence, no one uttering a word,
a great peace prevailing over all.
At length, 8hri Bharata, in the midst of his friends, broke
the silence and thus addressed 8hri Rama: "0 My Brother,
our illustrious sovereign conferred the kingdom on me to satisfy
my mother and fulfil the obligation of his former boons and
my mother having given this kingdom to me, I now offer it
to thee, enjoy it without hindrance. When the dam bursts in
the rainy season, none can stem the tide, similarly none but thee
can protect this vast dominion. 0 King, as an ass cannot equal
the pace of a horse, nor an ordinary bird's flight that of an eagle,
so am I unable to rule the kingdom without thee.
cc 0 Ranta, happy is the sovereign on whom others depend,
but wretched is the one who depends on others. A tree
pJanted and watered, though it grow and spread forth great
branches that no dwarf can scale, and be covered with blossom,
if it bear no fruit, the one who planted it suffers obloquy. 0
Mighty Hero, let this metaphor be understood by thee, that
thou, being the Lord of all, mayst guide thy servants. 0
Lord, let us behold thee, the destroyer of thy foes, seated on
the royal throne, shining resplendent like the SUD. May these
mighty tuskers follow thy chariot and all the queens dwelling
in the palace rejoice."
The people hearing 8hri Bharata's words applauded them
saying, cc Well said !" cc Well said ! U
Then the compassionate Rama perceiving Bharata affticted
and lamenting, consoled him saying: cc 0 Bharata, man is not
free, time! drags him hither and thither. All objects perish, aU
individualised souls must depan when their merit is exhausted ;
I Time is the form of dmioy.


3 82



AYODHYA KANDA
sons, friends, wives, all who live must die one day. Hoarding
and spending, prosperity and destitution, meeting and parting,
life and death are all akin. When the ripe fruit falls, we are
not surprised, thus a man being born should not fear when
death claims him.
ee As a building supported by stout pillars on becoming old,
falls into ruins, so man subject to age, must one day meet with
dissolution. 0 Bharata, the night once past, does not come
again; so the waters of the Yamuna, Bowing to the sea, do
not return. See! the days and nights are passing away,
decreasing the period of our life's span, as the rays of the sun
in summer suck up the earth's moisture. 0 Prince, grieve for
thyself therefore, there is nought else worthy of grief! Age
withers all whether movable or immovable. Death is ever at
our side, nor does it leave us when we travel to a distant place,
and it is still present at our returning !
ee What shall a man do when his skin is wrinkled and grey hair
covers his head and he is stricken in years? Man rejoices when
the sun rises and sets, heedless of the waning of his powers.
He welcomes the approach of each season, such as the arrival
of spring, yet the succession of the seasons devours man's days !
As pieces of driftwood, Boating on the sea, come together for
a space, so wives, sons, relatives, wealth and property remain
with us a while, but in the course of time, leave us.
ee One, sitting by the wayside, cries to a group of travellers
passing by, ' Let me also go with you! ' why then should man
grieve to tread the road, which has been trodden by his
predecessors? The life of man, like a river Bowing, does not
return, thus our days diminish and we should perform those
righteous acts that bring us to the knowledge of Reality.
ee Practising virtue, man should enjoy worldly pleasures; our
father, the illustrious Dasaratha, having performed benevolent
deeds and given fitting charitable gifts, has departed, clothed
in virtue. Having cherished his servants and nourished his
people, having levied those taxes alone warranted by moral duty,
having set up water tanks and created reservoirs and performed
many saaificial acts, he has passed away. Leaving the world
after enjoying a variety of pleasures and offering countless
sacrifices, the king, at a great age, has gone to heaven.
383 2C



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
cc 0 Brother, it is not meet to grieve for the king, who, full
of years, having enjoyed the pleasures of the world, respected
by the good, has given up his life. Having abandoned his
worn-out frame, he has obtained the form of a celestial being.
"A wise, learned and enlightened man like thee, should not
grieve for such a sire. Exercising patience, thou shouldst cease
to lament and giving up sorrow return to the capital. 0 Chief
among the Eloquent, thy father has commanded thee to dwell
in Ayodhya. I too will perform the behests of him who ever
practised righteousness !
" I cannot disregard the commands of my illustrious father,
he is worthy to be obeyed by thee and me, being our parent
and our ruler. 0 Son of Raghu, I shall, therefore, obey his will
and dwell in the forest. 0 Chief of Men, those who desire
felicity in a future state, and who are virtuous and benevolent
should obey their elders. 0 Great One, bear in mind the
behests of our father, a lover of truth, and return to the capital
to rule over the kingdom! "
The magnanimous Rama, having uttered these sage words
relative to the need for obedience to his father, became silent.


CHAPTER 106


In spite of the entreaties exhorting him to return, Shr; Rama
remains steadfast in Ju.s'Vow


RAMA, the lover of his people, having spoken, ceased; then
the pious Bharata answered Rama, putting forth persuasive
arguments of righteous purport, saying: cc 0 Lord, who is there
in this world like thee? Adversity does Dot move thee, nor
does any agreeable thing touch thee. All look on thee as their
superior, yet thou seekest counsel of thine elders!
"The man to whom the living and dead are one and who
is indift'erent as to what he possesses or loses, for what reason
should he grieve? 0 Lord, those who like thee, know, as thou
dost, what is the nature of the soul and its essence, are Dot
moved in the hour of distress !
3 8 4



AYODHYA KANDA
cc 0 Prince of Raghu, like the gods, thou art magnanimous,
thou art ever forbearing and faithful to thy vows. Thou art
wise, thou knowest and seest all! Thou art aware of the
motives of men's actions and the cause of their abandoning
them, therefore, that distress which is insupportable to others,
does not, in any wise, disturb thee."
Having spoken thus, Bharata continued: cc 0 Rama, be
gracious to me, though during my absence in a strange ]and,
my mother committed those sins which cause my aftliction.
I am bound by the ties of duty, else would I have slain my
wicked mother. What is evil and what is good is known to me,
descended as I am from the righteous King Dasaratha, therefore
I am unable to act contrary to virtue. I cannot speak evil in
the assembly of my pious and aged father, who has passed away,
and where is a man to be found so wholly acquainted with
the law of righteousness as was the king, yet what person
familiar with the moral law, would commit so great a wrong
prompted by the desire to please a woman? There is an ancient
saying that, at the approach of death, man loses the power
of judgment! The king has verily justified this adage to the
whole world 1 Through fear of Queen Kaikeyi's wrath or her
threat of self-imposed destruction, or through mental agitation,
the king may have acted thus without consulting his subjects,
but thou art not bound by such a deed. He who imputes
the transgressions of his father to righteous motives is not
considered a good son; as heir to the king, reveal not the errors
of thy sire, but conceal this unjust deed from the world.
cc 0 Hero, it is thy duty to save my mother Kaikeyi, my father,
my relatives and myself from the consequences of this action
condemned by all. 0 Brother, remember thy duty as a warrior
and reflect on the outcome of thy sojourn in the forest as an
ascetic, but do thou also consider the good of thy people. It
becomes thee not to undertake this course of action. The first
duty of a warrior is to be installed so that he may be able to
protect his people. Say, why should a man giving up that which
is an established duty, embrace that which is wretched, cheerless,
visionary and undefined? If, 0 Blessed One, thou desirest
to undertake this mortification, why dost thou not seek it through
the arduous labour of ruling the four castes? It is said that
. 3 8 S



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
the duty of the householder is the highest dharma, then, why
dost thou abandon it ?
cc 0 Lord, hear me; I am but thy child in respect of learning,
age and state, how should I be able to govern the kingdom?
I, a child, void of understanding and virtue and in rank
also thine inferior; how should I be able to live without thee
much less rule in thy stead? Therefore, 0 Raghava, 0 Thou
Virtuous One, do thou, with thy relatives govern the kingdom
without opposition and acquire merit! The great sage, the
Holy Vasishtha, is here present with the ministers and priests,
permit thyself to be crowned and return with us to Ayodhya !
cc As Indra, having conquered his foes, entered heaven attended
by the Maruts, do thou enter A yodhya, thereby discharging
thy duties to the gods, the sages, and thine ancestors, gratifying
the ambitions of thy friends! Regard me as thy servant and
command me! 0 Noble One, let thy friends to-day rejoice
at thine enthronement and let the evil doers flee to the uttermost
ends of the earth! 0 Chief of Men, wash away the taint of
my mother's guilt and deliver our great parent from this heinous
sin. With my head bent in submission, I entreat thee; as 8hri
Vishnu shows his compassion to all beings, do thou show mercy
to us. 8houldst thou however reject my prayer and go hence to
some other forest, then will I fonow thee there I "
8hri Rama, thus entreated by Shri Bharata, who had placed
his head at the feet of his brother in humility, still remained
steadfast in his vow and did not waver or consent to return
to Ayodhya. Beholding the constancy of 8hri Rama, all present
rejoiced to see him so faithful to his vow, yet bewailed his
determination not to return to the capital.
The merchants, the learned brahmins and the priests filled
with wonder, and the weeping matrons, praised Bharata and
unitedly entreated Rama to return.


3 86



AYODHYA KANDA


CHAPTER 107


He instructs Prince Bharata to return and be installed


SHRI RAMA, worshipped by Bharata, who sought to petition
him further, replied to his younger brother in the presence
of the other warriors, saying: "0 Bharata, Son of Queen
Kaikeyi, and the mighty Dasaratha, what thou hast said is meet
and right. In ancient times when King Dasaratha, our sire,
sought thy mother, Princess Kaikeyi, in marriage, he promised
her father that he would be succeeded by a son of hers.
Furthermore, in the war between the gods and asuras, our
sovereign made the promise of two boons to thy mother in
return for her great services, in consequence of which thy
illustrious and charming mother asked two favours of the king,
holding him to his word.
cc 0 Lion among Men! By one boon was my exile secured
and by the other the kingdom was obtained for thee. 0 Chief
of men, as a result of the boon granted by my father, I have
consented to live in the forest for fourteen years.
" Determined to prove the trUth of my father's word, I have
entered the forest with Sita and Lakshmana, regardless of heat
and cold. 0 Great Ruler, it becomes thee also to prove thy
father to be a votary of truth and allow thyself to be speedily
installed. 0 Bharata, honour this debt, thou owest it to the
king, and thus proteCt his fair name. By occupying the throne,
shalt thou succeed in pleasing me and rejoicing thy mother,
Queen Kaikeyi.
cc 0 Friend, I have heard that formerly a great monarch
named Gaya, when offering a sacrifice at Gaya, to the spirit
of his an
estors, said: CA son is called cc Puttra " because he
saves his father from hell and protects the spirits of his anceston
by enjoined acts of benevolence.'
"To have many learned and virtuous sons is greatly to be
desired, for some of them may offer a saaifice at Gaya and thus
deliver the spirits of their ancestors.
"0 Son ofRaghu, all the royal sages have approved this tenet,
thou shouIdst also, therefore, accept it. 0 Bharata, do thou
3 8 7



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
return to Ayodhya with Shatrughna and thy people and promote
the happiness of thy subjects there.
cc 0 King, I shall speedily retire to the Dandaka forest with
Sita and Lakshmana. 0 Bharata, be thou king of men and I
will be sovereign over the wild beasts. Do thou return joyfully
to the capital and I will cheerfully proceed to the forest.
es May the royal canopy protect thee from the sun's heat,
I shall seek shelter from its rays in the dense shadows of the
trees. 0 Bharata, Shatrughna of limitless understanding shall
attend thee, and I shall be attended by the iJlustrious Prince
Lakshmana. 0 Brother, do not be a prey to grief any longer,
thus shall we, the four sons of the great King Dasaratha, establish
his fame in the realm of trUth."


CHAPTER 108


A brahmin utters words contrary to dharma


As Shri Rama thus instructed Bharata, a brahmin named J avali
uttered these words contrary to dharma: cc Well-spoken, 0
Raghava, but it is not for thee to think as common men, for
thou art a man of understanding and also a philosopher.
Consider well, 0 Prince, a man has neither a real friend nor
an enemy, he enters the world alone and leaves it alone also.
He who thinks c This is my father' or C This is my mother.
and becomes attached to this relationship is without sense.
From the standpoint of right reasoning, none belongs to any.
As a man travelling from his own village to another, remains
for the night somewhere on the way and leaves at dawn, so
father, mother, wealth and family remain with a man for a
brief space and the wise do not become attached to them.
es 0 Chief of Men, thou dost DOt, being youthful, merit the
path of suffering s
with thorns; it ill becomes thee to abandon
thy father's kingdom. RetUrn to Ayodhya and rule over that
prosperous land. The goddess protecting Ayodhya, devoted
to thee, awaits thy return. 0 Prince, enjoy those chosen
3 88



AYODHYA KANDA
pleasures which befit a king and divert thyself in the capital
as Indra in Amaravati. Dasaratha is nought to thee nor thou
to him, the king is one person and thou another, therefore,
follow the advice I give thee.
cc The father's seed is but the remote cause of man's birth,
since if it does not enter the mother's womb, it cannot fructify ;
the true source of conception is the womb of the mother. The
king has departed to the place destined for all mortals. Why
dost thou claim this false relationship and distress thyself in
vain, 0 Rama? I grieve for those who, abandoning the
pleasures of the world, seek to acquire merit for felicity hereafter
and sink to an untimely death, I do not grieve for others. Men
waste food and other precious things by offering them up yearly,
as sacrifices in honour of their departed ancestors. 0 Rama,
has a dead man ever partaken of food? If food that is eaten
by one, nourishes another, then those who journey need never
carry provision on the way. Relatives might feed a brahmin,
in his name, at home!
cc 0 Ramachandra, these scriptural injunctions were laid down
by learned men, skilled in inducing others to give, and finding
other means of obtaining wealth, thus subjugating the simple-
minded. Their doctrine is ' Sacrifice, give in charity, consecrate
yourselves, undergo austerities and become ascetics'. 0 Rama,
be wise, there exists no world but this, that is certain! Enjoy
that which is present and cast behind thee that which is
unpleasant! Adopting the principle acceptable to all, do thou
receive the kingdom offered thee by Bharata."


CHAPTER 109


8hri Rama replies in words based on the Vedas
SHlU RAMA, patiently giving ear to the utterance of Javali, replied
with a due sense of judgment and in words based on his belief
that those duties enjoined in the Vedas, should be fulfilled.
,cc 0 Muni, that which thou hast spoken with the desire to
3 8 9



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
please me, is not authorized, nor are thy admonitions just, since.
even the most cursory analysis proves them to be false. 0 Sage,
in the assembly of the good, men who are not self-subdued
and who are wanting in integrity and those who act contrary
to what is ordered by the scriptures, are not honoured. It is
his conduct that renders man virtuous, a coward or a hero and
transmutes impurity to purity. Should I embrace error and
abandon the authority of my elders, relinquishing rectitude
and honour, as also moral conduct and the Vedic ordinance,
then I, conforming to thy beliefs and sacrificing prudence,
would forfeit the respect of wise and virtuous men.
U Following thy counsel, were I to cease to pursue the way
of truth and tread the lower path, by what means should I
attain heaven? Were I to depart from the moral code, then
every man might act according to his inclination, since the
subject mirrors the king, in action.
"Above all, a sovereign should manifest probity, benevolence,
his chief duty being to uphold truth; truth is verily the
kingdom, by truth is the world supported.
U The gods and sages esteem truth as the highest principle.
He who utters truth attains the supreme state. Men fear a liar
as they do a venomous serpent, truth is the root of all felicity
and the support not only of this world, but the best means
of attaining heaven !
"Whatever is offered in sacrifice, whatever austerity is
undertaken has its foundation in truth, so the Vedas declare,
hence truth is the most sacred of all things.
" One maintains a family, another governs the whole world,
another falls into hell, another attains heaven in accordance
with the fruit of his actions! Acquainted with the law of Karma
founded on truth, ought I not to prove my sire a devotee of
that truth? Why should not I, who have pledged my word,
follow that which I have accepted as truth? Honouring my
father's vow, I shall never abandon the way of truth either for
the sake of governing a kingdom or through being misled by others
or through ignorance or anger. Hast thou not heard that
neither the Gods nor the ancestors receive the offerings of one
who is irresolute, infirm of purpose and false to his word ?
" I hold truth as the supreme virtue of mankind. I desire
390



AYODHYA KANDA
to reverence that truth upheld by men of old. Should I follow
the duty of a warrior, I should be unjust. To do that which
is false is worthy only of mean, covetous and depraved souls.
Should I pursue that crooked path, indicated by thee, then I
should perpetrate falsehood, through the mind, the body and
the soul. Those who uphold truth acquire land, renown, fame,
and heaven also; therefore, let all men utter truth and act
according to truth !
CC That which thou, after much deliberation, believest to be
true, and recommendest to me is wholly improper. 0 how
can I disregard the command of my sire, that I should reside
in the forest? When I pledged my word in the presence of
my father, to enter the forest, Queen Kaikeyi was rendered
glad at heart, how should I now give her cause for distress?
cc Giving up falsehood and deceit, differentiating between what
should and should not be done, subduing the senses, possessed
of full faith in the Vedic injunctions, I shall devote myself to
the fulfilment of my father's will !
"By sacrifice, one acquires the state of Indra and enters
heaven. The sages by virtue of sacrifice have gone thither."
The illustrious and glorious Ramachandra, highly displeased
by the materialistic arguments of J avali spoke thus in terms
of refutation and reproof: cc 0 Javali, by speaking the truth,
by pursuing the duties of their caste and station, by manifesting
their valour in time of need, by gende speech, by service of
their spiritual preceptor, the gods and unexpected guests, men
attain heaven! Therefore, those brahmins instructed in truth,
pursue virtue with a single mind in accordance with their caste
and station and eagerly await their entrance to BrahmaIoka. 1
o Javali, I perceive with regret the action of my illustrious
parent in permitting one of atheistic ideas, who has fallen from
the path of rectitude enjoined in the Vedas, to remain in his
court. Those who preach the heretical doctrine of the Charvaka
school, are not only infidels, but have deviated from the path
of truth. It is the duty of a monarch to deal with such persons
as with felons, nor should men of understanding and learning
stand in the presence of such atheists.
"0 JavaJi, those versed in wisdom, who preceded thee,
1 Brahmalob.-the abode of Shri Bnbma, the ereator.
39 1



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
performed many holy acts by virtue of which they acquired
eminence here and in the spiritual realm. Those sages have
ever practised harmlessness, truth, asceticism, charity, benevo-
lence and sacrifice.
cc 0 Javali, those who fulfil their spiritual duty, who are the
foremost in deeds of charity, and who harm none, who frequent
the assemblies of the good and are revered by all men, they
are without sin, their name shall live for ever as that of our
illustrious Guru, Shri Vasishtha/'
Rama, having uttered these harsh words to Javali, he, with
humility addressed Rama saying: cc 0 Rama, I am no atheist;
on this occasion, I assumed this atheistical disguise in order to
turn thee from thy purpose and persuade thee to return to the
capital! "


CHAPTER 110


Vasishtha proclaiming the tradition of the dynasty,
calls upon Rama to return


PERCEIVING Rama still to be indignant at the speech of Javali,
the holy Vasishtha said :-


cc 0 Rama, the Sage Javali is a believer in the transmigration
of the soul; he has thus spoken through his desire to persuade
thee to return to the capital. 0 Sovereign of Men, hear from
me concerning the creation of the world.
cc In the beginning, all was water, and from that element
the earth was formed and after this, Brahma and other gods
came into existence. The eternal, imperishable Brahma was
begotten of absba (ether) and from him came forth Marichi,
and from him Kashyapa was produced. From Kashyapa was
born Vivaswat, and the son of Vivaswat was Manu himself,
who was the first among the Prajapatis. Ikshwaku was the SOD
of Manu and to him the whole world was given by Manu, and
Ikshwaku became the first King of Ayodhya. The SOD of
39 2



AYODHYA KANDA
Ikshwaku was named Kukshi and his son was Vikukshi, whose
son was the resplendent and illustrious King Vana and the
great warrior Anavanya was his son. During the reign of the
virtuous King Anavanya there was neither famine nor scarcity
of rain nor any thief. The son of Anavanya was Prithu and
his son was Trishanku. So great was Trishanku's observance
of truth that he attained heaven in his embodied state. His son
was the mighty Dhundhumara. The son of Dhundhumara
was Yuvanashwa and his son was Mandhata. The illustrious
Susandhi was the son of Mandhata and Dhruvasandhi and
Prasenagita were the offspring of Susandhi. The renowned
Bharata was the son of Dhruvasandhi and from Bharata sprang
Ajita, against whom the great kings, Himaya, Talagangha and
Shashavindu declared war. Ajita laid siege to them by building
fortifications, but found their defeat beset with difficulties.
" Resigning his throne, he retired to the delightful Himalayas
to devote himse1f to spiritual practices. It is said that one of
his two queens was pregnant and the other gave her poison
to destroy the foetus. The Queen Kalindi approached the Sage
Chyavana, the son of Bhrigu, who resided in the Himalayas
at that time, and paid him respectful homage. He, gratified,
knowing her to be desirous of a son, said: c 0 Goddess, thou
shalt bring forth a son who will be renowned, virtuous,
magnanimous, of excellent conduct, a promoter of his race
and a subduer of his foes.'
" The Queen hearing this, saluted the rishi with reverence;
she then returned home and brought forth a son, whose eyes
resembled the lotus and who resembled Brahma in splendour.
Being bom with the poison that her fellow-consort had ad-
ministered to her, Kalindi's son was named Sagara.
cc Consecrated at a fitting season, King Sagara drained the
ocean. His son was called Asamanjas, he oppressed the people
and the king ordered him to be banished on account of his
evil ways. The son of Asamanjas was Anshuman and his son
was Dilipa. The son of Dilipa was Bhagiratha. The son of
Bhagiratha was Kakustha whose son was Raghu from whom
the royal line has since been named. The sons ot Shri Raghu
were known by the names of Pravriddha, Purushadaka, Kalmasha-
pada and Soudasa. The son of Kalmashapada was S hqnlrhJna
393



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
who rising to great power, by a curse, was destroyed wth his
whole army. The mighty hero Sudarshana was the son of
Shankhana and his son was Agnivarna and Agnivarna's son was
Shighraga. His son was named Meru, and Meru's son was
Prashusvara, and his son was the great Sage Ambarisha. The
son of Ambarisha was the truthful Prince Nahusha, whose son
was the virtuous Nabhaga. Nabbaga had two sons, Aja and
Suvrata, and the son of Aja was the illustrious sovereign
Dasaratha. Thou art the son of the great monarch Dasaratha
renowned all through the world, who reigned over earth and
heaven.
" In the dynasty of Ikshwaku, the eldest son succeeds to the
throne; while the eldest son lives, none else can become king.
It is not meet for thee to violate this sacred tradition of the
House of Raghu. 0 Great One, reign over this earth filled
with treasures and those extensive dominions subject to thee,
as did thy sire ! "


CHAPTER I I I


Prince Bharata still entreats Shri Rama who is resolved
to follO'tJJ his father's command


HAVING spoken thus, Shri Vasishtha continued, uttering words
of wisdom. "0 Rama, when a man is born, he must regard
as his teachers, his father, his mother and his spiritual preceptor.
ee 0 Chief of Men, the parents bestow on man the physical
frame, but the spiritual preceptor confers wisdom on him, and
hence he is called Guru.
ee I am the preceptor of thy father and of thee, mark my
counsel and do not over-ride the way of the good. 0 My Son,
here are thy relatives, the learned brahmins and the people
of the capital, as also the warriors and merchants. Fulfil thy
duty to them and do not exceed the limits of moral obligation.
"Here is thy pious and aged mother, whom thou shouldst
Dot disobey. That man is called virtuous who renders obedience
to his mother.


394



AYODHYA KANDA
Ie 0 Prince, thou shalt not have swerved from the path of
righteous action by acceding to Bharata's request that thou
shouldst occupy the throne."
Thus, having addressed Rama with mildness, the holy Guru
Vasishtha resumed his seat.
The mighty Rama then made answer, saying: Ie The good
that parents do to their son cannot easily be recompensed.
In childhood, they present him with beautiful attire and
delectable dishes, they put him to rest and tenderly rub his body
with oil of sesamum seed and manifest affection in gende
counsels; further they strive single-mindedly for his ultimate
good.
Ie The commands of my sire, the author of my being, shall
not be set aside."
The magnanimous Bharata hearing these words of Rama-
chandra, suffered great distress, and spoke to Sumantra, saying:
" 0 Charioteer, prepare a seat of kush a grass on this trestle seat,
I will place myself before Shri Ranta till he be pleased to grant
my request. Like a brahmin, who is destitute, I will lie at
the door of this hut, fasting and covering my face, till Shri Rama
consents to return to the capital."
Sumantra looking towards Shri Rama, spread the kusha grass,
and Prince Bharata, full of grief, seated himself there, before
his brother.
Perceiving this, Shri Rama, chief of the royal sages, said to
him: Ie 0 Beloved Bharata, what wrong have I done that thou
shouldst sit thus before me? A brahmin may adopt this
measure towards his aggressor, but it is not meet that a crowned
head should do so. 0 Lion among Men, rise, abandon this
cruel vow and return speedily to the capital."
Bharata, a1Hicted, yet resolute, remaining firm, said to the
people of the capital and of the country who surrounded him :
Ie Why do you not also make entreaty to Shri Rama ? "
Then they answered saying: "Weare unable to press
Kakustha 1 further, since he is resolved to follow his father's
command. U
Rama hearing their words said to Bharata: cc 0 Prince,
consider the words of thy companions versed in righteousness
1 Kd.ustba-a name of Rama, as descendant of King Ikshwaku.
395



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
and weigh the matter carefully. Having reflected on their
words with attention, arise, 0 Raghava, and undergo that which
shall purify thee for having enacted that which does not become
a warrior. Do thou drink water and touch me also."
Bharata rising, said: cc Hear, 0 Brahmins, Countrymen and
Warriors! I do not desire the kingdom of my father, I did
not urge my mother to demand it. I knew naught of the exile
of 8hri Rama. If it be required that someone shall dwell in
the forest in obedience to my father's command, then will I
reside there for fourteen years in his stead."
Shri Rama, astonished at his brother's resolution, addressed
the people present, saying: cc Friends, whatever was bought,
pledged or sold by the king in his lifetime, can by no means
be cancelled by me or Bharata. Neither can I accept contumely
and permit Bharata to go as my representative to the forest.
What Kaikeyi demanded was rightfully granted by the king.
" I know Bharata to be disinterested and a true disciple of
his Guru, and that excellent one is a lover of truth. I herewith
declare that on my return from the forest, I shall accept the
kingdom and with my virtuous brother govern the country
with honour.
" 0 Bharata, I have discharged the boon granted to Kaikeyi
by the king and vindicated his honour. Do thou liberate the
king from the charge of falsehood and redeem the second boon."


CHAPTER I 12


PollorDing the adfJice of the celestial sages, Prince Bharata
is reconciled to becoming Shri Rama's deputy


THE great sages who were present at the meeting of the two
illustrious brothers, were astonished. The royal sages, those
perfect ones also celestial beings, who were invisible, praised
the two princes and said: cc Blessed is the king, whose sons
are highly virtuous and veracious, we are immeasurably gratified
to hear their convene."


396



AYODHYA KANDA
Desirous that the life and reign of Ravana should end soon,
certain sages approached Bharata and unitedly addressed him,
saying: "0 Bharata, 0 Highly Resolute Prince, 0 Pious and
Renowned One, recollect that thou art born in a royal line,
let not the word of Rama be disregarded by thee, if thou art
wishful to bring felicity to the spirit of thy parent. J t is our desire
that thy father who has entered heaven may be absolved from
every debt, having discharged his obligations to Queen Kaikeyi."
Having spoken thus, these celestial sages returned to their
abode.
Rama, gratified by their words, said: cc By you, have I been
assisted in upholding virtue."
Prince Bharata with trembling accents again entreated Rama,
saying: "0 Rama, he who is skilled in righteous governance
and who is the eldest, ascends the throne. Do thou, observing
the tradition, fulfil the desire of thy mother Kaushalya. I alone
have neither the courage to administer so vast a dominion,
nor should I be able to satisfy the people of the capital and
kingdom.
"Our relatives, friends, and warriors await thy conversion
to sovereignty as the husbandman eagerly anticipates the rain
clouds. Therefore, 0 Wise One, accept the crown for thou
alone art able to establish this kingdom."
Having spoken thus, Bharata fell at the feet of his brother
and fervently entreated him, crying: "0 Rama, 0 Rama."
Shri Rama, raising up the young prince who, eloquent and
lotus-eyed, resembled a wild swan embraced him, and said:
"That genuine humility which thou hast demonstrated will
furnish thee with sufficient courage to govern the kingdom.
Do thou consult thy ministers, counsellors and friends in the
great work of thy rule. The moon may cease from shining,
and the Himalaya abandon the snows, Mount Meru its splendour
or the ocean exceed its boundary, but I shall not relinquish
the vow made in the presence of my sire. 0 Beloved One,
it is not for thee to determine whether that which was brought
about by thy mother was done through love of thee, or through
ambition to see thee made king, it is for thee to treat her as
thy parent. U
Then Prince Bharata answered Rama who resembled the SUQ
391



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
in glory and the new moon in splendour, saying: cc 0 Noble
One, place thy feet in these sandals adorned with gold, since
soon they will furnish our onJy means of support and protection."
The illustrious Rama having put on the sandals, took them
off and returned them to Bharata. He, bowing reverently to
the sandals addressed Rama thus: "From to-day I shall for
fourteen years, assuming matted locks and a robe of bark, live
on fruits and roots, awaiting thy return. Offering up the
management of the kingdom to these sandals for fourteen years,
if I do not see thee returning on the final day of that period,
I will enter the fire and be consumed! "
Shri Rama embracing Bharata with great reverence answered
cc Be it so." Then he spoke further saying: cc Cherish thy
mother Kaikeyi, and be not angry with her. In my name and
in the name of Shri Sita, I adjure thee to reverence and protect
Queen Kaikeyi!" His eyes suffused with tears, Shri Rama
then bade farewell to Shri Bharata and Shatrughna.
Bharata offering due reverence to the ornate and glittering
sandals, circumambulated Shri Rama and placed them on the
head of the mighty elephant belonging to King Dasaratha.
Then Shri Rama, immoveable like the Himalayas, in the practice
of virtue and the promoter of the honour of the House of Raghu,
made obeisance to his holy Guru, the ministers, citizens and
his brothers, and dismissed them.
His mothers, overcome with grief, were unable to utter
a single word. To them also Shri Rama offered reverent
salutations and sorrowfully entered his own dwelling.


CHAPTER I 13


Prince Bharata commences the return journey


THEN 8hri Bharata, fully reconciled, taking the sandals from
the head of the elephant, placed them on his own and ascended
the chariot with Shatrughna, 8hri Vasishtha, Vamadeva and
J avall of firm vows, with all the sagacious counsellors preceding
39 8



AYODHYA KANDA
him. Circulating the Mount Chittrakuta, they proceeded
towards the east, by the river Mandakini, where they beheld
coundess veins of metal.
Shri Bharata with his army, went forward and at a short
distance from Chittrakuta, perceived the hermitage in which
the holy Bharadwaja and other sages dwelt. Approaching the
hermitage of the Sage Bharadwaja, Shri Bharata having dis-
mounted from his chariot, offered salutations to him. Bharadwaja,
full of joy, said to Bharata: cc 0 Friend, hast thou beheld Shri
Rama ? Is thy purpose accomplished? "
Shri Bharata, ever devoted to his brother, answered the sage,
saying: "0 Lord, I and the holy Guru V asishtha besought
Rama to return, but he cheerfully replied: C My father's decree
that I should reside in the forest for fourteen years, shall be
faithfully observed by me '."
Then the learned and eloquent Shri Vasishtha, skilled in
wisdom, addressed Shri Rama in this wise: cc 0 Wise One,
be pleased to bestow thy sandals, adorned with gems, on thy
deputy. Do thou bear the good of the capital in thy heart.
Shri Rama, in obedience to his holy Guru, turning towards
the east, put on the sandals and thereafter delivered them
to me.
cc Now, frustrated in my design to bring back Shri RaIna,
I am retUrning to Ayodhya with these sandals."
The Maharishi Bharadwaja, then uttered these auspicious
words: "0 Prince, versed in the knowledge of virtue, thine
excellence is as little a source of wonder, as water ever ftowing
towards a hollow. King Dasaratha, possessed of a righteous
and duty-loving son, such as thou art, has surely found
immortality. "
Shri Bharata, touching the feet of the holy rishi, in great
reverence, with joined palms, circumambulated him and then,
with his counsellors, proceeded to Ayodhya.
The army following Prince Bharata, some riding elephants,
some horses, and some in bullock carts, crossed the Yamuna
with its singing waves and came to the sacred waters of the
Gan:ges.
Having crossed the holy river Gunga, with his companions,
8hri Bharata entered the town of 8hringavera and from there
399 2D



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
passed on to Ayodhya. Beholding Ayodhya, a stricken city,
deserted by his father, King Dasaratha and his brother Shri
Ramachandra, Prince Bharata, deeply distressed, said to his
charioteer: cc Behold the ruined capital bereft of its former
glory, unadorned and lacking all signs of festivity! How silent,
how wretched is this city, formerly so full of life."


CHAPTER I 14


He finds Ayodhya desolate


THE prince, in his chariot, which gave forth a thunderous sound
as it rolled onward, entered Ayodhya. There he beheld the city
where cats and owls ranged, and where the doors of the dwellings
were closed, darkness and gloom reigning over all. The city
resembling the planet Rohini, l that has lost its splendour on
the moon's eclipse, or a mountain stream, whose waters have
dried up in the sun's heat, deserted by the waterfowl, the fishes
all having perished.
Sad and wretched, on account of its separation from Rama,
Ayodhya resembled the sacrificial flame, which when the oblation
is poured into it, shines like a golden cone and then sinks into
smoking ash, or like a mighty army divested of its weapons
in battle, its horses, elephants, chariots and standards scattered
abroad and its heroic warriors slain. That city which looked,
as it were, like the waves of the sea whipped into foam by
the storm, rolling and breaking and then sinking into silence
with the dying out of the wind, or like the sacrificial pavilion
deserted by the priests who go forth in search of alms after the
sacrifice; or like kine bereft of the bull, who have ceased to graze
in the pasture and stand in the enclosure dispirited; or like a neck-
lace stripped of its precious gems; or like a meteor, its virtue
exhausted, fallen to earth, deprived of its splendour; or like
a 1I0wering branch, loaded with blossom in the Spring, visited
1 Robini-The constellation of five stan (Taurus) containing Aldebaran,
whIch star is probablv meant here. Called the U Red Ode" aDd laid to be
the favourite
of the moon.


400



AYODHYA KANDA
by a swarm of bees, that is suddenly consumed by a forest
fire.
The streets were deserted and the fairs and markets closed,
and no merchandise was offered for sale. Dark and fearful,
Ayodhya resembled the moon and stars obscured by heavy clouds
in the rainy season, or a deserted tavern, its revellers departed,
the liquor expended and naught but fragments of broken glass
and pots in wild disorder scattered here and there. Ayodhya
appeared like a tank sunk into the earth, the water being spent,
the foundations having collapsed, the jars and earthen vessels
lying scattered amidst the thirsty, standing there in despair; or
it resembled the string of a great hero's bow that has been
severed by the arrow of his adversary and is lying on the earth ;
or an aged and ill-nourished mule, urged on by a soldier, slain
in the battle and left unheeded.
Viewing the desolation, Prince Bharata, seated in his chariot,
spoke to Sumantra, who was driving the equipage: "Alas!
How sad that this city, formerly so gay, to-day appears so
melancholy, the intoxicating fragrance of floral garlands and
the scent of incense, no longer filling it. 0 Sumantra, I do
not hear, as formerly, the sound of clattering chariots, the
neighing of horses and the prolonged roaring of elephants.
Alas! Since Rams departed, the young men of Ayodhya have
ceased to adorn themselves with garlands of fresh blossoms and
sandalwood and men no longer walk abroad decked with flowers.
No longer are festivals observed and the people of the capital
are merged in grief; it seems as if the glory of the city had
departed with Rama. O! Ayodhya is bereft of light, like the
night overcast with clouds at the time of the waxing moon.
When will my brother, Ramachandra, return like a festival,
diffusing joy in Ayodhya, as do the autumnal rains? Formerly,
the royal highways of the capitaI were fined with richly attired
youths, but to-d.ay they are aU deserted."
Wailing and lamenting, Prince Bharata entered his father's
palace, which, bereft of the king, resembled a cave without
a lion.
Seeing the inner compartment in complete darkness, the prince
wept aloud, like the gods, when warring with the titans, are
dticted when beholding the darkening of the SUD.
401



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI


CHAPTER I IS


Prince Bharata retires to N andigrama and rules the kingdom
from that city


THE sorrowing Bharata, firm in his resolve, having brought his
mothers back to A yodhya, said to the holy Guru Vasishtha
and the elders :-


CC I crave your permission to retire to Nandigrama and there
endure the woes occasioned by 8hri Rama's absence. The king
has departed and my elder brother has entered the forest. I
shall, therefore, await the return of 8hri Rama, since verily
he alone is Lord of Ayodhya."
8hri Vasishtha and the counsellors, hearing the words of
Prince Bharata, answered him saying: cc 0 Prince, thy words,
inspired by devotion to thy brother, are worthy of praise.
Verily, they do thee honour! Who will dare oppose thee,
who art deeply attached to thy brother and who, in this land,
has reached such an exalted state? n
Perceiving the counsellors reconciled to his purpose, the prince
said to Sumantra: "Bring hither the chariot In
The chariot having come, Bharata, after conversing with his
mothers, mounted the equipage with his brother Shatrughna.
Accompanied by the priests and ministers, the two princes
cheerfully proceeded to Nandigrama, the Guru Vasishtha and
the pious brahmins leading the procession.
Then the army, elephants, horses and chariots together with
the people of the capital, followed him unbidden. The peerless
Bharata filled with fraternal love, carrying the sandals of Shri
Rama on his head, at last reached Nandigrama. Dismounting
from the chariot, he addressed his spiritual preceptor and the
elders, saying: cc My brother, 8hri Rama, gave this kingdom
to me, as a precious trust, verily these sandals, decorated with
gold shall represent him. n
Once more lifting the sandals reverently to his head, he
addressed the people of the capital, saying: cc YeMen of
Ayodhya, accept these sandals as symbols of the feet of 8hri
402



AYODHYA KANDA
Rama. Let them rest beneath the royal canopy and wave the
chamara over them. These are the sandals of our supreme
Guru and by them will righteousness be established in the
kingdom. I shall preserve the trust lovingly reposed in me
by Rama, till his return. When he returns to Ayodhya, I,
myself, will assist him to put on the sandals. Then I, united
with him once more, will deliver the kingdom to him and like
a son will I honour him. By restoring the capital and kingdom
to Rama, I shall wash away the stigma of dishonour brought
on me by my mother. 8hri Rama will be installed and his
subjects made happy; then shall ill-fame pass away, and I shall
win exceeding honour from the people."
Thus lamenting, the afBieted Bharata, with the assistance of
his counsellors, retired to Nandigrama and ruled the kingdom
from that city. With matted locks, assuming the bark dress
of an ascetic, 8hri Bharata dwelt in Nandigrama, protected by
his army.
Residing in Nandigrama, obedient to Shri Rama and faithful
to his promise, 8hri Bharata, placing the sandals on the royal
throne, spreading the canopy over them and waving the cbamara
above them, committed the seals of the kingdom to their keeping,
he, himself, passing his life as a servant of Rama.
Every matter of import and all the business of state was first
laid before the sandals, and every gift brought to the king was
first offered to them, and afterwards treated as occasion required.


CHAPTER I I 6


The holy men of Chittrakuta depart, fearing the coming
oppression of the asuras


BHARATA having departed to Ayodhya, 8hri Rama perceived
that the ascetics living on Chittrakuta were filled with apprehen-
sion and desirous of withdrawing from that place.
Formerly, these holy men dwelling in Chittrakuta looked for
8hri Rama's protection, but now they sought to take their
403



THE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
departUre. By the expression in their eyes and other signs,
they manifested their misgivings and could be observed convers-
ing secretly in low tones with one another.
Shri Rama, beholding their anxiety addressed them with
humility, saying: cc 0 Blessed Ones, has my conduct towards
you suffered a change? For what reason are your hearts filled
with dread? 0 Holy Ones, has my younger brother involunt-
arily injured you? Or has Shri Sits, ever devoted to my service,
given you cause for offence? Perchance she has done that
which is not fitting for a woman? "
Thus questioned, a great sage, an aged ascetic, his frame
emaciated by austerities, tremblingly answered the Ever-
Compassionate One, saying: cc 0 Child, bounteous to all that
lives, Shri Sita is innocent of any breach of the traditional
attitude to any, least of all towards holy men. In truth, the
reason is that the asuras, through enmity to thee, have begun
to oppress the sages, and therefore, they being terrified, seek
how they may defend themselves in secret.
cc Ravana's younger brother Kara, who dwells here, is casting
out the ascetics from their hermitages. 0 Friend, he is in-
exorable and he is a mighty warrior. He is brutal and cannot
endure thy presence here. Since thou hast come to dwell in
this hermitage, the asuras have increased the persecution of
the sages. Appearing in grotesque and terrible forms, they fill
them with terror, then to do them further mischief, they fiing
unclean and inauspicious objects into the sacred precincts,
finally when meeting with guileless and pure-hearted hermits,
they slay them. Those evil-hearted asuras wander everywhere
covertly, till perceiving a sage to be alone and defenceless, they
put an end to his life.
cc At the time of sacrifice, when the sacred fire is kindled by
the ascetics, then do the asuras, scattering the hallowed vessels
and ladles,. quench the fire by discharging water over it and
destroying the utensils. 0 8hri Ramachandra, weary of these
wicked asuras, the sages are urging us to abandon these
hermitages and depart hence.
cc 0 Rama, those terrible asuras threaten to slay us all,
therefore, we are leaving this hermitage. Not rar distant is
the wonderful Tapovana belonging to the Maharishi Ashwa;
404



AYODHYA KANDA
it is rich in fruits and roots, there we would dwell. 0 Friend,
if it seem proper to thee, do thou come there, for thine oppression
is also planned.
cc 0 Prince, though thou art able to defend thyself, thy sojourn
here with thy holy consort is fraught with peril."
Hearing the words of Kulupati and perceiving their anxiety
to be gone, Shri Rama sought to persuade them to stay, but
in vain, and the sages departed. Shri Rama accompanied them
a short distance then, taking leave of them and offering obeisance
to them, returned to his sacred dwelling. On leaving the holy
men, they instructed him lovingly in the path of duty and
bade him farewell.
Shri Rama did not then abandon the hermitage, which the
6ages had deserted. Among them we're a few who, inspired
by Rama's example, had surrendered their hearts to him, and
of them the prince was ever mindful.

_________________
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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Post Re: POST, POST LIKE YOU NEVER POSTED BEFORE!
THE MEETING OF THE PRINCES 65

Mark the dark and trackless forest where the untamed tuskers roam,
And the deep and hollow caverns where the wild beasts make their
home,

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,



d by Google



66 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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 !



II

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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THE MEETING OF THE PRINCES 67

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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68 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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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THE MEETING OF THE PRINCES 69

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 / "



III

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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70 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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 !



IV

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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THE MEETING OF THE PRINCES 71

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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72 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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 MEETING OF THE PRINCES 73



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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74 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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 ! "



VI

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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THE MEETING OF THE PRINCES 75

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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76 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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 ]



BOOK V
PANCHAVATI

(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
religion.

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 ;

77



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78 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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.



I

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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ON THE BANKS OF THE GODAVARI 79

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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«b THE EPIC *>F fc'AMk, PRIW€£ OF INDIA

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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<Wl -PHE BANKS OF "WJE -GGWAtfARl 81

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 / "



II

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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82 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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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ON THE BANKS OF THE GODAVARI 83

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 !



Ill

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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8* THE EPIC OF RAMft* PRING5 Qfi INItfA

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



IV

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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86 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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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ON THE BANKS OF THE GODAVARI 87

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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BOOK VI

SITA-JftARAHA,

(SifaLost)



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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SITA LOST 89

I

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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90 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

" 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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SITA LOST 91

II

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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92 THE EPIC OF RAMA, 1>RINCE OF INDIA

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 !



Ill

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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SITA iOST 93

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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94 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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 ! "



IV

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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SITA LOST *5

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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96 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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
heart,

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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SITA LOST 97

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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98 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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-
born?"



VI

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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SITA LOST 99

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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ioo THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

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 !



Digitized by GoOgle



SITA LOST 101

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 ! **



VII

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 :



d by Google



102 THE EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA

•« 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 ! ,

v'

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,



d by Google



SITA LOST 103

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 !



d by Google



BOOK VII

KISHKINDHA

(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

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I disagree

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Post Re: POST, POST LIKE YOU NEVER POSTED BEFORE!
POST :alb :fireeye :=P :whysosrs :3 :9 :meow :lol :face :dement :twisted :evil :( :jont :chocoban :chocoban :asuka :monja :blargh :fag :shinjif

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MELON BREAD!

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SUIKA PAN!

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MARON PAN

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hmm, oh yeah. suika is watermelon. I wonder how many watermelon bread types there are...

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I Don't Know A Lot!!!!!!


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... This thread is terrifying beyond all reason.

Newfag bump. <3

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Post Re: POST, POST LIKE YOU NEVER POSTED BEFORE!
YomToxic wrote:
MELON BREAD!


You still never gave me any melon bread ;<

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I will give you only PAIN and lawn ornaments LACED WITH PAIN!!!

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

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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!
Image

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lol well i never got cheese burgers

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