History of Literature






 


THE RAMAYAN OF VALMIKI


 

Translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith, M.A.


Illustrations by Raja Ravi Varma





 

 
 




THE RAMAYAN OF VALMIKI


 

Translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith, M.A.

1870-1874


Illustrations by Raja Ravi Varma



 

 
 

 
 




BOOK IV.


Canto I. Ráma's Lament.
Canto II. Sugríva's Alarm.
Canto III. Hanumán's Speech.
Canto IV. Lakshman's Reply.
Canto V. The League.
Canto VI. The Tokens.
Canto VII. Ráma Consoled.
Canto VIII. Ráma's Promise.
Canto IX. Sugríva's Story.
Canto X. Sugríva's Story.
Canto XI. Dundubhi.
Canto XII. The Palm Trees.
Canto XIII. The Return To Kishkindhá.
Canto XIV. The Challenge.
Canto XV. Tárá.
Canto XVI. The Fall Of Báli.
Canto XVII. Báli's Speech.
Canto XVIII. Ráma's Reply.
Canto XIX. Tárá's Grief.
Canto XX. Tárá's Lament.
Canto XXI. Hanumán's Speech.
Canto XXII. Báli Dead.
Canto XXIII. Tárá's Lament.
Canto XXIV. Sugríva's Lament.
Canto XXV. Ráma's Speech.
Canto XXVI. The Coronation.
Canto XXVII. Ráma On The Hill.
Canto XXVIII. The Rains.
Canto XXIX. Hanumán's Counsel.
Canto XXX. Ráma's Lament.
Canto XXXI. The Envoy.
Canto XXXII. Hanumán's Counsel.
Canto XXXIII. Lakshman's Entry.
Canto XXXIV. Lakshman's Speech.
Canto XXXV. Tárá's Speech.
Canto XXXVI. Sugríva's Speech.
Canto XXXVII. The Gathering.
Canto XXXVIII. Sugríva's Departure.
Canto XXXIX. The Vánar Host.
Canto XL. The Army Of The East.
Canto XLI. The Army Of The South.
Canto XLII. The Army Of The West.
Canto XLIII. The Army Of The North.
Canto XLIV. The Ring.
Canto XLV. The Departure.
Canto XLVI. Sugríva's Tale.
Canto XLVII. The Return.
Canto XLVIII. The Asur's Death.
Canto XLIX. Angad's Speech.
Canto L. The Enchanted Cave.
Canto LI. Svayamprabhá.
Canto LII. The Exit.
Canto LIII. Angad's Counsel.
Canto LIV. Hanumán's Speech.
Canto LV. Angad's Reply.
Canto LVI. Sampáti.
Canto LVII. Angad's Speech.
Canto LVIII. Tidings Of Sítá.
Canto LIX. Sampáti's Story.
Canto LX. Sampáti's Story.
Canto LXI. Sampáti's Story.
Canto LXII. Sampáti's Story.
Canto LXIII. Sampáti's Story.
Canto LXIV. The Sea.
Canto LXV. The Council.
Canto LXVI. Hanumán.
Canto LXVII. Hanumán's Speech.

 

 
 



 

 
 



BOOK IV.



Canto I. Ráma's Lament.
The princes stood by Pampá's side522
Which blooming lilies glorified.
With troubled heart and sense o'erthrown
There Ráma made his piteous moan.
As the fair flood before him lay
The reason of the chief gave way;
And tender thoughts within him woke,
As to Sumitrá's son he spoke:
“How lovely Pampá's waters show,
Where streams of lucid crystal flow!
What glorious trees o'erhang the flood
Which blooms of opening lotus stud!
Look on the banks of Pampá where
Thick groves extend divinely fair;
And piles of trees, like hills in size,
Lift their proud summits to the skies.
But thought of Bharat's523 pain and toil,
And my dear spouse the giant's spoil,
Afflict my tortured heart and press
My spirit down with heaviness.
Still fair to me though sunk in woe
Bright Pampá and her forest show.
Where cool fresh waters charm the sight,
And flowers of every hue are bright.
The lotuses in close array
Their passing loveliness display,
And pard and tiger, deer and snake
Haunt every glade and dell and brake.
Those grassy spots display the hue
Of topazes and sapphires' blue,
And, gay with flowers of every dye,
With richly broidered housings vie.
What loads of bloom the high trees crown,
Or weigh the bending branches down!
And creepers tipped with bud and flower
Each spray and loaded limb o'erpower.
Now cool delicious breezes blow,
And kindle love's voluptuous glow,
When balmy sweetness fills the air,
And fruit and flowers and trees are fair.
Those waving woods, that shine with bloom,
Each varied tint in turn assume.
Like labouring clouds they pour their showers
In rain or ever-changing flowers.
Behold, those forest trees, that stand
High upon rock and table-land,
As the cool gales their branches bend,
Their floating blossoms downward send.
See, Lakshmaṇ, how the breezes play
With every floweret on the spray.
And sport in merry guise with all
The fallen blooms and those that fall.
See, brother, where the merry breeze
Shakes the gay boughs of flowery trees,
Disturbed amid their toil a throng
Of bees pursue him, loud in song.
The Koďls,524 mad with sweet delight,
The bending trees to dance invite;
And in its joy the wild wind sings
As from the mountain cave he springs.
On speed the gales in rapid course,
And bend the woods beneath their force,
Till every branch and spray they bind
In many a tangled knot entwined.
What balmy sweets those gales dispense
With cool and sacred influence!
Fatigue and trouble vanish: such
The magic of their gentle touch.
Hark, when the gale the boughs has bent
In woods of honey redolent,
Through all their quivering sprays the trees
Are vocal with the murmuring bees.
The hills with towering summits rise,
And with their beauty charm the eyes,
Gay with the giant trees which bright
With blossom spring from every height:
And as the soft wind gently sways
The clustering blooms that load the sprays,
The very trees break forth and sing
With startled wild bees' murmuring.
Thine eyes to yonder Cassias525 turn
Whose glorious clusters glow and burn.
[pg 320]
Those trees in yellow robes behold,
Like giants decked with burnished gold.
Ah me, Sumitrá's son, the spring
Dear to sweet birds who love and sing,
Wakes in my lonely breast the flame
Of sorrow as I mourn my dame.
Love strikes me through with darts of fire,
And wakes in vain the sweet desire.
Hark, the loud Koďl swells his throat,
And mocks me with his joyful note.
I hear the happy wild-cock call
Beside the shady waterfall.
His cry of joy afflicts my breast
By love's absorbing might possessed.
My darling from our cottage heard
One morn in spring this shrill-toned bird,
And called me in her joy to hear
The happy cry that charmed her ear.
See, birds of every varied voice
Around us in the woods rejoice,
On creeper, shrub, and plant alight,
Or wing from tree to tree their flight.
Each bird his kindly mate has found,
And loud their notes of triumph sound,
Blending in sweetest music like
The distant warblings of the shrike.
See how the river banks are lined
With birds of every hue and kind.
Here in his joy the Koďl sings,
There the glad wild-cock flaps his wings.
The blooms of bright Aśokas526 where
The song of wild bees fills the air,
And the soft whisper of the boughs
Increase my longing for my spouse.
The vernal flush of flower and spray
Will burn my very soul away.
What use, what care have I for life
If I no more may see my wife
Soft speaker with the glorious hair,
And eyes with silken lashes fair?
Now is the time when all day long
The Koďls fill the woods with song.
And gardens bloom at spring's sweet touch
Which my beloved loved so much.
Ah me, Sumitrá's son, the fire
Of sorrow, sprung from soft desire,
Fanned by the charms the spring time shows,
Will burn my heart and end my woes,
Whose sad eyes look on each fair tree,
But my sweet love no more may see.
Ah me, Ah me, from hour to hour
Love in my soul will wax in power,
And spring, upon whose charms I gaze,
Whose breath the heat of toil allays,
With thoughts of her for whom I strain
My hopeless eyes, increase my pain.
As fire in summer rages through
The forests thick with dry bamboo,
So will my fawn eyed love consume
My soul o'erwhelmed with thoughts of gloom.
Behold, beneath each spreading tree
The peacocks dance527 in frantic glee,
And, stirred by all the gales that blow,
Their tails with jewelled windows glow,
Each bird, in happy love elate,
Rejoices with his darling mate.
But sights like these of joy and peace
My pangs of hopeless love increase.
See on the mountain slope above
The peahen languishing with love.
Behold her now in amorous dance
Close to her consort's side advance.
He with a laugh of joy and pride
Displays his glittering pinions wide;
And follows through the tangled dell
The partner whom he loves so well.
Ah happy bird! no giant's hate
Has robbed him of his tender mate;
And still beside his loved one he
Dances beneath the shade in glee.
Ah, in this month when flowers are fair
My widowed woe is hard to bear.
See, gentle love a home may find
In creatures of inferior kind.
See how the peahen turns to meet
Her consort now with love-drawn feet.
[pg 321]
So, Lakshmaṇ, if my large-eyed dear,
The child of Janak still were here,
She, by love's thrilling influence led,
Upon my breast would lay her head.
These blooms I gathered from the bough
Without my love are useless now.
A thousand blossoms fair to see
With passing glory clothe each tree
That hangs its cluster-burthened head
Now that the dewy months528 are fled,
But, followed by the bees that ply
Their fragrant task, they fall and die.
A thousand birds in wild delight
Their rapture-breathing notes unite;
Bird calls to bird in joyous strain,
And turns my love to frenzied pain.
O, if beneath those alien skies,
There be a spring where Sítá lies,
I know my prisoned love must be
Touched with like grief, and mourn with me.
But ah, methinks that dreary clime
Knows not the touch of spring's sweet time.
How could my black eyed love sustain,
Without her lord, so dire a pain?
Or if the sweet spring come to her
In distant lands a prisoner,
How may his advent and her met
On every side with taunt and threat?
Ah, if the springtide's languor came
With soft enchantment o'er my dame,
My darling of the lotus eye,
My gently speaking love, would die;
For well my spirit knows that she
Can never live bereft of me
With love that never wavered yet
My Sítá's heart, on me is set,
Who, with a soul that ne'er can stray,
With equal love her love repay.
In vain, in vain the soft wind brings
Sweet blossoms on his balmy wings;
Delicious from his native snow,
To me like fire he seems to glow.
O, how I loved a breeze like this
When darling Sítá shared the bliss!
But now in vain for me it blows
To fan the fury of my woes.
That dark-winged bird that sought the skies
Foretelling grief with warning cries,
Sits on the tree where buds are gay,
And pours glad music from the spray.
That rover of the fields of air
Will aid my love with friendly care,
And me with gracious pity guide
To my large-eyed Videhan's side.529
Hark, Lakshmaṇ, how the woods around
With love-inspiring chants resound,
Where birds in every bloom-crowned tree
Pour forth their amorous minstrelsy.
As though an eager gallant wooed
A gentle maid by love subdued,
Enamoured of her flowers the bee
Darts at the wind-rocked Tila tree.530
Aśoka, brightest tree that grows,
That lends a pang to lovers' woes,
Hangs out his gorgeous bloom in scorn
And mocks me as I weep forlorn.
O Lakshmaṇ, turn thine eye and see
Each blossom-laden Mango tree,
Like a young lover gaily dressed
Whom fond desire forbids to rest.
Look, son of Queen Sumitrá through
The forest glades of varied hue,
Where blooms are bright and grass is green
The Kinnars531 with their loves are seen.
See, brother, see where sweet and bright
Those crimson lilies charm the sight,
And o'er the flood a radiance throw
Fair as the morning's roseate glow.
See, Pampá, most divinely sweet,
The swan's and mallard's loved retreat,
Shows her glad waters bright and clear,
Where lotuses their heads uprear
From the pure wave, and charm the view
With mingled tints of red and blue.
Each like the morning's early beams
Reflected in the crystal gleams;
And bees on their sweet toil intent
Weigh down each tender filament.
There with gay lawns the wood recedes;
There wildfowl sport amid the reeds,
There roedeer stand upon the brink,
And elephants descend to drink.
The rippling waves which winds make fleet
Against the bending lilies beat,
And opening bud and flower and stem
Gleam with the drops that hang on them.
Life has no pleasure left for me
While my dear queen I may not see,
[pg 322]
Who loved so well those blooms that vie
With the full splendour of her eye.
O tyrant Love, who will not let
My bosom for one hour forget
The lost one whom I yearn to meet,
Whose words were ever kind and sweet.
Ah, haply might my heart endure
This hopeless love that knows not cure,
If spring with all his trees in flower
Assailed me not with ruthless power.
Each lovely scene, each sound and sight
Wherein, with her, I found delight,
Has lost the charm so sweet of yore,
And glads my widowed heart no more.
On lotus buds I seem to gaze,
Or blooms that deck Paláśa532 sprays;533
But to my tortured memory rise
The glories of my darling's eyes.
Cool breezes through the forest stray
Gathering odours on their way,
Enriched with all the rifled scent
Of lotus flower and filament.
Their touch upon my temples falls
And Sítá's fragrant breath recalls.
Now look, dear brother, on the right
Of Pampá towers a mountain height
Where fairest Cassia trees unfold
The treasures of their burnished gold.
Proud mountain king! his woody side
With myriad ores is decked and dyed,
And as the wind-swept blossoms fall
Their fragrant dust is stained with all.
To yon high lands thy glances turn:
With pendent fire they flash and burn,
Where in their vernal glory blaze
Paláśa flowers on leafless sprays.
O Lakshmaṇ, look! on Pampá's side
What fair trees rise in blooming pride!
What climbing plants above them show
Or hang their flowery garlands low!
See how the amorous creeper rings
The wind-rocked trees to which she clings,
As though a dame by love impelled
With clasping arms her lover held.
Drunk with the varied scents that fill
The balmy air, from hill to hill,
From grove to grove, from tree to tree,
The joyous wind is wandering free.
These gay trees wave their branches bent
By blooms, of honey redolent.
There, slowly opening to the day,
Buds with dark lustre deck the spray.
The wild bee rests a moment where
Each tempting flower is sweet and fair,
Then, coloured by the pollen dyes,
Deep in some odorous blossom lies.
Soon from his couch away he springs:
To other trees his course he wings,
And tastes the honeyed blooms that grow
Where Pampá's lucid waters flow.
See, Lakshmaṇ, see, how thickly spread
With blossoms from the trees o'erhead,
That grass the weary traveller woos
With couches of a thousand hues,
And beds on every height arrayed
With red and yellow tints are laid,
No longer winter chills the earth:
A thousand flowerets spring to birth,
And trees in rivalry assume
Their vernal garb of bud and bloom.
How fair they look, how bright and gay
With tasselled flowers on every spray!
While each to each proud challenge flings
Borne in the song the wild bee sings.
That mallard by the river edge
Has bathed amid the reeds and sedge:
Now with his mate he fondly plays
And fires my bosom as I gaze.
Mandákiní534 is far renowned:
No lovelier flood on earth is found;
But all her fairest charms combined
In this sweet stream enchant the mind.
O, if my love were here to look
With me upon this lovely brook,
Never for Ayodhyá would I pine,
Or wish that Indra's lot were mine.
If by my darling's side I strayed
O'er the soft turf which decks the glade,
Each craving thought were sweetly stilled,
Each longing of my soul fulfilled.
But, now my love is far away,
Those trees which make the woods so gay,
In all their varied beauty dressed,
Wake thoughts of anguish in my breast.
That lotus-covered stream behold
Whose waters run so fresh and cold,
[pg 323]
Sweet rill, the wildfowl's loved resort,
Where curlew, swan, and diver sport;
Where with his consort plays the drake,
And tall deer love their thirst to slake,
While from each woody bank is heard
The wild note of each happy bird.
The music of that joyous quire
Fills all my soul with soft desire;
And, as I hear, my sad thoughts fly
To Sítá of the lotus eye,
Whom, lovely with her moonbright cheek,
In vain mine eager glances seek.
Now turn, those chequered lawns survey
Where hart and hind together stray.
Ah, as they wander at their will
My troubled breast with grief they fill,
While torn by hopeless love I sigh
For Sítá of the fawn-like eye.
If in those glades where, touched by spring,
Gay birds their amorous ditties sing,
Mine own beloved I might see,
Then, brother, it were well with me:
If by my side she wandered still,
And this cool breeze that stirs the rill
Touched with its gentle breath the brows
Of mine own dear Videhan spouse.
For, Lakshmaṇ, O how blest are those
On whom the breath of Pampá blows,
Dispelling all their care and gloom
With sweets from where the lilies bloom!
How can my gentle love remain
Alive amid the woe and pain,
Where prisoned far away she lies,—
My darling of the lotus eyes?
How shall I dare her sire to greet
Whose lips have never known deceit?
How stand before the childless king
And meet his eager questioning?
When banished by my sire's decree,
In low estate, she followed me.
So pure, so true to every vow,
Where is my gentle darling now?
How can I bear my widowed lot,
And linger on where she is not,
Who followed when from home I fled
Distracted, disinherited?
My spirit sinks in hopeless pain
When my fond glances yearn in vain
For that dear face with whose bright eye
The worshipped lotus scarce can vie.
Ah when, my brother, shall I hear
That voice that rang so soft and clear,
When, sweetly smiling as she spoke,
From her dear lips gay laughter broke?
When worn with toil and love I strayed
With Sítá through the forest shade,
No trace of grief was seen in her,
My kind and thoughtful comforter.
How shall my faltering tongue relate
To Queen Kauśalyá Sítá's fate?
How answer when in wild despair
She questions, Where is Sítá, where?
Haste, brother, haste: to Bharat hie,
On whose fond love I still rely.
My life can be no longer borne,
Since Sítá from my side is torn.”
Thus like a helpless mourner, bent
By sorrow, Ráma made lament;
And with wise counsel Lakshmaṇ tried
To soothe his care, and thus replied:
“O best of men, thy grief oppose,
Nor sink beneath thy weight of woes.
Not thus despond the great and pure
And brave like thee, but still endure.
Reflect what anguish wrings the heart
When loving souls are forced to part;
And, mindful of the coming pain,
Thy love within thy breast restrain.
For earth, though cooled by wandering streams,
Lies scorched beneath the midday beams.
Rávaṇ his steps to hell may bend,
Or lower yet in flight descend;
But be thou sure, O Raghu's son,
Avenging death he shall not shun.
Rise, Ráma, rise: the search begin,
And track the giant foul with sin.
Then shall the fiend, though far he fly,
Resign his prey or surely die.
Yea, though the trembling monster hide
With Sítá close to Diti's535 side,
E'en there, unless he yield the prize,
Slain by this wrathful hand he dies.
Thy heart with strength and courage stay,
And cast this weakling mood away.
Our fainting hopes in vain revive
Unless with firm resolve we strive.
The zeal that fires the toiler's breast
Mid earthly powers is first and best.
Zeal every check and bar defies,
And wins at length the loftiest prize,
In woe and danger, toil and care,
Zeal never yields to weak despair.
With zealous heart thy task begin,
And thou once more thy spouse shalt win.
Cast fruitless sorrow from thy soul,
Nor let this love thy heart control.
Forget not all thy sacred lore,
But be thy noble self once more.”
He heard, his bosom rent by grief,
The counsel of his brother chief;
Crushed in his heart the maddening pain,
And rose resolved and strong again.
Then forth upon his journey went
The hero on his task intent,
Nor thought of Pampá's lovely brook,
[pg 324]
Or trees which murmuring breezes shook,
Though on dark woods his glances fell,
On waterfall and cave and dell;
And still by many a care distressed
The son of Raghu onward pressed.
As some wild elephant elate
Moves through the woods in pride,
So Lakshmaṇ with majestic gait
Strode by his brother's side.
He, for his lofty spirit famed,
Admonished and consoled;
Showed Raghu's son what duty claimed,
And bade his heart be bold.
Then as the brothers strode apace
To Rishyamúka's height,
The sovereign of the Vánar race536
Was troubled at the sight.
As on the lofty hill he strayed
He saw the chiefs draw near:
A while their glorious forms surveyed,
And mused in restless fear.
His slow majestic step he stayed
And gazed upon the pair.
And all his spirit sank dismayed
By fear too great to bear.
When in their glorious might the best
Of royal chiefs came nigh,
The Vánars in their wild unrest
Prepared to turn and fly.
They sought the hermit's sacred home537
For peace and bliss ordained,
And there, where Vánars loved to roam,
A sure asylum gained.
Canto II. Sugríva's Alarm.
Sugríva moved by wondering awe
The high-souled sons of Raghu saw,
In all their glorious arms arrayed;
And grief upon his spirit weighed.
To every quarter of the sky
He turned in fear his anxious eye,
And roving still from spot to spot
With troubled steps he rested not.
He durst not, as he viewed the pair,
Resolve to stand and meet them there;
And drooping cheer and quailing breast
The terror of the chief confessed.
While the great fear his bosom shook,
Brief counsel with his lords he took;
Each gain and danger closely scanned,
What hope in flight, what power to stand,
While doubt and fear his bosom rent,
On Raghu's sons his eyes he bent,
And with a spirit ill at ease
Addressed his lords in words like these:
“Those chiefs with wandering steps invade
The shelter of our pathless shade,
And hither come in fair disguise
Of hermit garb as Báli's spies.”
Each lord beheld with troubled heart
Those masters of the bowman's art,
And left the mountain side to seek
Sure refuge on a loftier peak.
The Vánar chief in rapid flight
Found shelter on a towering height,
And all the band with one accord
Were closely gathered round their lord.
Their course the same, with desperate leap
Each made his way from steep to steep,
And speeding on in wild career
Filled every height with sudden fear.
Each heart was struck with mortal dread,
As on their course the Vánars sped,
While trees that crowned the steep were bent
And crushed beneath them as they went.
As in their eager flight they pressed
For safety to each mountain crest,
The wild confusion struck with fear
Tiger and cat and wandering deer.
The lords who watched Sugríva's will
Were gathered on the royal hill,
And all with reverent hands upraised
Upon their king and leader gazed.
Sugríva feared some evil planned,
Some train prepared by Báli's hand.
But, skilled in words that charm and teach,
Thus Hanumán538 began his speech:
“Dismiss, dismiss thine idle fear,
Nor dread the power of Báli here.
For this is Malaya's glorious hill539
Where Báli's might can work no ill.
I look around but nowhere see
The hated foe who made thee flee,
Fell Báli, fierce in form and face:
Then fear not, lord of Vánar race.
Alas, in thee I clearly find
The weakness of the Vánar kind,
[pg 325]
That loves from thought to thought to range,
Fix no belief and welcome change.
Mark well each hint and sign and scan,
Discreet and wise, thine every plan.
How may a king, with sense denied,
The subjects of his sceptre guide?”
Hanúmán,540 wise in hour of need,
Urged on the chief his prudent rede.
His listening ear Sugríva bent,
And spake in words more excellent:
“Where is the dauntless heart that free
From terror's chilling touch can see
Two stranger warriors, strong as those,
Equipped with swords and shafts and bows,
With mighty arms and large full eyes,
Like glorious children of the skies?
Báli my foe, I ween, has sent
These chiefs to aid his dark intent.
Hence doubt and fear disturb me still,
For thousands serve a monarch's will,
In borrowed garb they come, and those
Who walk disguised are counted foes.
With secret thoughts they watch their time,
And wound fond hearts that fear no crime.
My foe in state affairs is wise,
And prudent kings have searching eyes.
By other hands they strike the foe:
By meaner tools the truth they know.
Now to those stranger warriors turn,
And, less than king, their purpose learn.
Mark well the trick and look of each;
Observe his form and note his speech.
With care their mood and temper sound,
And, if their minds be friendly found,
With courteous looks and words begin
Their confidence and love to win.
Then as my friend and envoy speak,
And question what the strangers seek.
Ask why equipped with shaft and bow
Through this wild maze of wood they go.
If they, O chief, at first appear
Pure of all guile, in heart sincere,
Detect in speech and look the sin
And treachery that lurk within.”
He spoke: the Wind-God's son obeyed.
With ready zeal he sought the shade,
And reached with hasty steps the wood
Where Raghu's son and Lakshmaṇ stood.541
Canto III. Hanumán's Speech.
The envoy in his faithful breast
Pondered Sugríva's high behest.
From Rishyamúka's peak he hied
And placed him by the princes' side.
The Wind-God's son with cautious art
Had laid his Vánar form apart,
And wore, to cheat the strangers eyes,
A wandering mendicant's disguise.542
Before the heroes' feet he bent
And did obeisance reverent,
And spoke, the glorious pair to praise,
His words of truth in courteous phrase,
High honour duly paid, the best
Of all the Vánar kind addressed,
With free accord and gentle grace,
Those glories of their warrior race:
“O hermits, blest in vows, who shine
Like royal saints or Gods divine,
O best of young ascetics, say
How to this spot you found your way,
Scaring the troops of wandering deer
And silvan things that harbour here
Searching amid the trees that grow
Where Pampá's gentle waters flow.
And lending from your brows a gleam
Of glory to the lovely stream.
Who are you, say, so brave and fair,
Clad in the bark which hermits wear?
I see you heave the frequent sigh,
I see the deer before you fly.
While you, for strength and valour dread,
The earth, like lordly lions, tread,
Each bearing in his hand a bow,
Like Indra's own, to slay the foe.
With the grand paces of a bull,
So bright and young and beautiful.
The mighty arms you raise appear
Like trunks which elephants uprear,
And as you move this mountain-king543
Is glorious with the light you bring.
How have you reached, like Gods in face,
Best lords of earth, this lonely place,
[pg 326]
With tresses coiled in hermit guise,544
And splendours of those lotus eyes?
As Gods who leave their heavenly sphere,
Alike your beauteous forms appear.
The Lords of Day and Night545 might thus
Stray from the skies to visit us.
Heroic youth, so broad of chest,
Fair with the beauty of the Blest,
With lion shoulders, tall and strong,
Like bulls who lead the lowing throng,
Your arms, unmatched for grace and length,
With massive clubs may vie in strength.
Why do no gauds those limbs adorn
Where priceless gems were meetly worn?
Each noble youth is fit, I deem,
To guard this earth, as lord supreme,
With all her woods and seas, to reign
From Meru's peak to Vindhya's chain.
Your smooth bows decked with dyes and gold
Are glorious in their masters' hold,
And with the arms of Indra546 vie
Which diamond splendours beautify.
Your quivers glow with golden sheen,
Well stored with arrows fleet and keen,
Each gleaming like a fiery snake
That joys the foeman's life to take.
As serpents cast their sloughs away
And all their new born sheen display,
So flash your mighty swords inlaid
With burning gold on hilt and blade.
Why are you silent, heroes? Why
My questions hear nor deign reply?
Sugríva, lord of virtuous mind,
The foremost of the Vánar kind,
An exile from his royal state,
Roams through the land disconsolate.
I, Hanumán, of Vánar race,
Sent by the king have sought this place,
For he, the pious, just, and true,
In friendly league would join with you.
Know, godlike youths, that I am one
Of his chief lords, the Wind-God's son.
With course unchecked I roam at will,
And now from Rishyamúka's hill,
To please his heart, his hope to speed,
I came disguised in beggar's weed.”
Thus Hanúmán, well trained in lore
Of language, spoke, and said no more.
The son of Raghu joyed to hear
The envoy's speech, and bright of cheer
He turned to Lakshmaṇ by his side,
And thus in words of transport cried:
“The counselor we now behold
Of King Sugríva righteous-souled.
His face I long have yearned to see,
And now his envoy comes to me
With sweetest words in courteous phrase
Answer this mighty lord who slays
His foemen, by Sugríva sent,
This Vánar chief most eloquent.
For one whose words so sweetly flow
The whole Rig-veda547 needs must know,
And in his well-trained memory store
The Yajush and the Sáman's lore.
He must have bent his faithful ear
All grammar's varied rules to hear.
For his long speech how well he spoke!
In all its length no rule he broke.
In eye, on brow, in all his face
The keenest look no guile could trace.
No change of hue, no pose of limb
Gave sign that aught was false in him.
Concise, unfaltering, sweet and clear,
Without a word to pain the ear.
From chest to throat, nor high nor low,
His accents came in measured flow.
How well he spoke with perfect art
That wondrous speech that charmed the heart,
With finest skill and order graced
In words that knew nor pause nor haste!
That speech, with consonants that spring
From the three seats of uttering,548
Would charm the spirit of a foe
Whose sword is raised for mortal blow.
How may a ruler's plan succeed
Who lacks such envoy good at need?
How fail, if one whose mind is stored
With gifts so rare assist his lord?
What plans can fail, with wisest speech
Of envoy's lips to further each?”
Thus Ráma spoke; and Lakshmaṇ taught
In all the art that utters thought,
To King Sugríva's learned spy
Thus made his eloquent reply:
“Full well we know the gifts that grace
Sugríva, lord of Vánar race,
And hither turn our wandering feet
That we that high-souled king may meet.
So now our pleasant task shall be
To do the words he speaks by thee.”
His prudent speech the Vánar heard,
And all his heart with joy was stirred.
And hope that league with them would bring
Redress and triumph to his king.
[pg 327]
Canto IV. Lakshman's Reply.
Cheered by the words that Ráma spoke,
Joy in the Vánar's breast awoke,
And, as his friendly mood he knew,
His thoughts to King Sugríva flew:
“Again,” he mused, “my high-souled lord
Shall rule, to kingly state restored;
Since one so mighty comes to save,
And freely gives the help we crave.”
Then joyous Hanumán, the best
Of all the Vánar kind, addressed
These words to Ráma, trained of yore
In all the arts of speakers' lore:549
“Why do your feet this forest tread
By silvan life inhabited,
This awful maze of tree and thorn
Which Pampá's flowering groves adorn?”
He spoke: obedient to the eye
Of Ráma, Lakshmaṇ made reply,
The name and fortune to unfold
Of Raghu's son the lofty-souled:
“True to the law, of fame unstained,
The glorious Daśaratha reigned,
And, steadfast in his duty, long
Kept the four castes550 from scathe and wrong.
Through his wide realm his will was done,
And, loved by all, he hated none.
Just to each creature great and small,
Like the Good Sire he cared for all.
The Ágnishṭom,551 as priests advised,
And various rites he solemnized,
Where ample largess ever paid
The Bráhmans for their holy aid.
Here Ráma stands, his heir by birth,
Whose name is glorious in the earth:
Sure refuge he of all oppressed,
Most faithful to his sire's behest.
He, Daśaratha's eldest born
Whom gifts above the rest adorn,
Lord of each high imperial sign,552
The glory of his kingly line,
Reft of his right, expelled from home,
Came forth with me the woods to roam.
And Sítá too, his faithful dame,
Forth with her virtuous husband came,
Like the sweet light when day is done
Still cleaving to her lord the sun.
And me his sweet perfections drew
To follow as his servant true.
Named Lakshmaṇ, brother of my lord
Of grateful heart with knowledge stored
Most meet is he all bliss to share,
Who makes the good of all his care.
While, power and lordship cast away,
In the wild wood he chose to stay,
A giant came,—his name unknown,—
And stole the princess left alone.
Then Diti's son553 who, cursed of yore,
The semblance of a Rákshas wore,
To King Sugríva bade us turn
The robber's name and home to learn.
For he, the Vánar chief, would know
The dwelling of our secret foe.
Such words of hope spake Diti's son,
And sought the heaven his deeds had won.
Thou hast my tale. From first to last
Thine ears have heard whate'er has past.
Ráma the mighty lord and I
For refuge to Sugríva fly.
The prince whose arm bright glory gained,
O'er the whole earth as monarch reigned,
And richest gifts to others gave,
Is come Sugríva's help to crave;
Son of a king the surest friend
Of virtue, him who loved to lend
His succour to the suffering weak,
Is come Sugríva's aid to seek.
Yes, Raghu's son whose matchless hand
Protected all this sea-girt land,
The virtuous prince, my holy guide,
For refuge seeks Sugríva's side.
His favour sent on great and small
Should ever save and prosper all.
He now to win Sugríva's grace
Has sought his woodland dwelling-place.
[pg 328]
Son of a king of glorious fame;—
Who knows not Daśaratha's name?—
From whom all princes of the earth
Received each honour due to worth;—
Heir of that best of earthly kings,
Ráma the prince whose glory rings
Through realms below and earth and skies,
For refuge to Sugríva flies.
Nor should the Vánar king refuse
The boon for which the suppliant sues,
But with his forest legions speed
To save him in his utmost need.”
Sumitrá's son, his eyes bedewed
With piteous tears, thus sighed and sued.
Then, trained in all the arts that guide
The speaker, Hanumán replied:
“Yea, lords like you of wisest thought,
Whom happy fate has hither brought,
Who vanquish ire and rule each sense,
Must of our lord have audience.
Reft of his kingdom, sad, forlorn,
Once Báli's hate now Báli's scorn,
Defeated, severed from his spouse,
Wandering under forest boughs,
Child of the Sun, our lord and king
Sugríva will his succours bring,
And all our Vánar hosts combined
Will trace the dame you long to find.”
With gentle tone and winning grace
Thus spake the chief of Vánar race,
And then to Raghu's son he cried:
“Come, haste we to Sugríva's side.”
He spoke, and for his words so sweet
Good Lakshmaṇ paid all honour meet;
Then turned and cried to Raghu's son:
“Now deem thy task already done,
Because this chief of Vánar kind,
Son of the God who rules the wind,
Declares Sugríva's self would be
Assisted in his need by thee.
Bright gleams of joy his cheek o'erspread
As each glad word of hope he said;
And ne'er will one so valiant deign
To cheer our hearts with hope in vain.”
He spoke, and Hanumán the wise
Cast off his mendicant disguise,
And took again his Vánar form,
Son of the God of wind and storm.
High on his ample back in haste
Raghu's heroic sons he placed,
And turned with rapid steps to find
The sovereign of the Vánar kind.
Canto V. The League.
From Rishyamúka's rugged side
To Malaya's hill the Vánar hied,
And to his royal chieftain there
Announced the coming of the pair:
“See, here with Lakshmaṇ Ráma stands
Illustrious in a hundred lands.
Whose valiant heart will never quail
Although a thousand foes assail;
King Daśaratha's son, the grace
And glory of Ikshváku's race.
Obedient to his father's will
He cleaves to sacred duty still.
With rites of royal pomp and pride
His sire the Fire-God gratified;
Ten hundred thousand kine he freed,
And priests enriched with ample meed;
And the broad land protected, famed
For truthful lips and passions tamed.
Through woman's guile his son has made
His dwelling in the forest shade,
Where, as he lived with every sense
Subdued in hermit abstinence,
Fierce Rávaṇ stole his wife, and he
Is come a suppliant, lord, to thee.
Now let all honour due be paid
To these great chiefs who seek thine aid.”
Thus spake the Vánar prince, and, stirred
With friendly thoughts, Sugríva heard.
The light of joy his face o'erspread,
And thus to Raghu's son he said:
“O Prince, in rules of duty trained,
Caring for all with love unfeigned,
Hanúmán's tongue has truly shown
The virtues that are thine alone.
My chiefest glory, gain, and bliss,
O stranger Prince, I reckon this,
That Raghu's son will condescend
To seek the Vánar for his friend.
If thou my true ally wouldst be
Accept the pledge I offer thee,
This hand in sign of friendship take,
And bind the bond we ne'er will break.”
He spoke, and joy thrilled Ráma's breast;
Sugríva's hand he seized and pressed
And, transport beaming from his eye,
Held to his heart his new ally.
In wanderer's weed disguised no more,
His proper form Hanúmán wore.
Then, wood with wood engendering,554 came
Neath his deft hands the kindled flame.
Between the chiefs that fire he placed
[pg 329]
With wreaths of flowers and worship graced.
And round its blazing glory went
The friends with slow steps reverent.
Thus each to other pledged and bound
In solemn league new transport found,
And bent upon his dear ally
The gaze he ne'er could satisfy.
“Friend of my soul art thou: we share
Each other's joy, each other's care;”
Thus in the bliss that thrilled his breast
Sugríva Raghu's son addressed.
From a high Sál a branch he tore
Which many a leaf and blossom bore,
And the fine twigs beneath them laid
A seat for him and Ráma made.
Then Hanumán with joyous mind,
Son of the God who rules the wind,
To Lakshmaṇ gave, his seat to be,
The gay branch of a Sandal tree.
Then King Sugríva with his eyes
Still trembling with the sweet surprise
Of the great joy he could not hide,
To Raghu's noblest scion cried:
“O Ráma, racked with woe and fear,
Spurned by my foes, I wander here.
Reft of my spouse, forlorn I dwell
Here in my forest citadel.
Or wild with terror and distress
Roam through the distant wilderness.
Vext by my brother Báli long
My soul has borne the scathe and wrong.
Do thou, whose virtues all revere,
Release me from my woe and fear.
From dire distress thy friend to free
Is a high task and worthy thee.”
He spoke, and Raghu's son who knew
All sacred duties men should do.
The friend of justice, void of guile,
Thus answered with a gentle smile:
“Great Vánar, friends who seek my aid
Still find their trust with fruit repaid.
Báli, thy foe, who stole away
Thy wife this vengeful hand shall slay.
These shafts which sunlike flash and burn,
Winged with the feathers of the hern,
Each swift of flight and sure and dread,
With even knot and pointed head,
Fierce as the crashing fire-bolt sent
By him who rules the firmament,555
Shall reach thy wicked foe and like
Infuriate serpents hiss and strike.
Thou, Vánar King, this day shalt see
The foe who long has injured thee
Lie, like a shattered mountain, low,
Slain by the tempest of my bow.”
Thus Ráma spake: Sugríva heard,
And mighty joy his bosom stirred:
As thus his champion he addressed:
“Now by thy favour, first and best
Of heroes, shall thy friend obtain
His realm and darling wife again
Recovered from the foe.
Check thou mine elder brother's might;
That ne'er again his deadly spite
May rob me of mine ancient right,
Or vex my soul with woe.”
The league was struck, a league to bring
To Sítá fiends, and Vánar king556
Apportioned bliss and bale.
Through her left eye quick throbbings shot,557
Glad signs the lady doubted not,
That told their hopeful tale.
The bright left eye of Báli felt
An inauspicious throb that dealt
A deadly blow that day.
The fiery left eyes of the crew
Of demons felt the throb, and knew
The herald of dismay.
Canto VI. The Tokens.
With joy that sprang from hope restored
To Ráma spake the Vánar lord:
“I know, by wise Hanúmán taught,
Why thou the lonely wood hast sought.
Where with thy brother Lakshmaṇ thou
Hast sojourned, bound by hermit vow;
Have heard how Sítá, Janak's child,
Was stolen in the pathless wild,
How by a roving Rákshas she
Weeping was reft from him and thee;
How, bent on death, the giant slew
The vulture king, her guardian true,
And gave thy widowed breast to know
A solitary mourner's woe.
But soon, dear Prince, thy heart shall be
From every trace of sorrow free;
[pg 330]
For I thy darling will restore,
Lost like the prize of holy lore.558
Yea, though in heaven the lady dwell,
Or prisoned in the depths of hell,
My friendly care her way shall track
And bring thy ransomed darling back.
Let this my promise soothe thy care,
Nor doubt the words I truly swear.
Saints, fiends, and dwellers of the skies
Shall find thy wife a bitter prize,
Like the rash child who rues too late
The treacherous lure of poisoned cate.
No longer, Prince, thy loss deplore:
Thy darling wife will I restore.
'Twas she I saw: my heart infers
That shrinking form was doubtless hers,
Which gaint Rávaṇ, fierce and dread,
Bore swiftly through the clouds o'erhead
Still writhing in his strict embrace
Like helpless queen of serpent race,559
And from her lips that sad voice came
Shrieking thine own and Lakshmaṇ's name.
High on a hill she saw me stand
With comrades twain on either hand.
Her outer robe to earth she threw,
And with it sent her anklets too.
We saw the glittering tokens fall,
We found them there and kept them all.
These will I bring: perchance thine eyes
The treasured spoils will recognize.”
He ceased: then Raghu's son replied
To the glad tale, and eager cried:
“Bring them with all thy speed: delay
No more, dear friend, but haste away.”
Thus Ráma spoke. Sugríva hied
Within the mountain's caverned side,
Impelled by love that stirred each thought
The precious tokens quickly brought,
And said to Raghu's son: Behold
This garment and these rings of gold.
In Ráma's hand with friendly haste
The jewels and the robe he placed.
Then, like the moon by mist assailed,
The tear-dimmed eyes of Ráma failed;
That burst of woe unmanned his frame,
Woe sprung from passion for his dame,
And with his manly strength o'erthrown,
He fell and cried, Ah me! mine own!
Again, again close to his breast
The ornaments and robe he pressed,
While the quick pants that shook his frame
As from a furious serpent came.
On his dear brother standing nigh
He turned at length his piteous eye;
And, while his tears increasing ran,
In bitter wail he thus began:
“Look, brother, and behold once more
The ornaments and robe she wore,
Dropped while the giant bore away
In cruel arras his struggling prey,
Dropped in some quiet spot, I ween,
Where the young grass was soft and green;
For still untouched by spot or stain
Their former beauty all retain.”
He spoke with many a tear and sigh,
And thus his brother made reply:
“The bracelets thou hast fondly shown,
And earrings, are to me unknown,
But by long service taught I greet
The anklets of her honoured feet.”560
Then to Sugríva Ráma, best
Of Raghu's sons, these words addressed:
“Say to what quarter of the sky
The cruel fiend was seen to fly,
Bearing afar my captured wife,
My darling dearer than my life.
Speak, Vánar King, that I may know
Where dwells the cause of all my woe;
The fiend for whose transgression all
The giants by this hand shall fall.
He who the Maithil lady stole
And kindled fury in my soul,
Has sought his fate in senseless pride
And opened Death's dark portal wide.
Then tell me, Vánar lord, I pray,
The dwelling of my foe,
And he, beneath this hand, to-day
To Yáma's halls shall go.”
[pg 331]
Canto VII. Ráma Consoled.
With longing love and woe oppressed
The Vánar chief he thus addressed:
And he, while sobs his utterance broke,
Raised up his reverent hands and spoke:
“O Raghu's son, I cannot tell
Where now that cruel fiend may dwell,
Declare his power and might, or trace
The author of his cursed race.
Still trust the promise that I make
And let thy breast no longer ache.
So will I toil, nor toil in vain,
That thou thy consort mayst regain.
So will I work with might and skill
That joy anew thy heart shall fill:
The valour of my soul display,
And Rávaṇ and his legions slay.
Awake, awake! unmanned no more
Recall the strength was thine of yore.
Beseems not men like thee to wear
A weak heart yielding to despair.
Like troubles, too, mine eyes have seen,
Lamenting for a long-lost queen;
But, by despair unconquered yet,
My strength of mind I ne'er forget.
Far more shouldst thou of lofty soul
Thy passion and thy tears control,
When I, of Vánar's humbler strain,
Weep not for her in ceaseless pain.
Be firm, be patient, nor forget
The bounds the brave of heart have set
In loss, in woe, in strife, in fear,
When the dark hour of death is near.
Up! with thine own brave heart advise:
Not thus despond the firm and wise.
But he who gives his childish heart
To choose the coward's weakling part,
Sinks, like a foundered vessel, deep
In waves of woe that o'er him sweep.
See, suppliant hand to hand I lay,
And, moved by faithful love, I pray.
Give way no more to grief and gloom,
But all thy native strength resume.
No joy on earth, I ween, have they
Who yield their souls to sorrow's sway.
Their glory fades in slow decline:
'Tis not for thee to grieve and pine.
I do but hint with friendly speech
The wiser part I dare not teach.
This better path, dear friend, pursue,
And let not grief thy soul subdue.”
Sugríva thus with gentle art
And sweet words soothed the mourner's heart,
Who brushed off with his mantle's hem
Tears from the eyes bedewed with them.
Sugríva's words were not in vain,
And Ráma was himself again,
Around the king his arms he threw
And thus began his speech anew:
“Whate'er a friend most wise and true,
Who counsels for the best, should do,
Whate'er his gentle part should be,
Has been performed, dear friend, by thee.
Taught by thy counsel, O my lord,
I feel my native strength restored.
A friend like thee is hard to gain,
Most rare in time of grief and pain.
Now strain thine utmost power to trace
The Maithil lady's dwelling place,
And aid me in my search to find
Fierce Rávaṇ of the impious mind.
Trust thou, in turn, thy loyal friend,
And say what aid this arm can lend
To speed thy hopes, as fostering rain
Quickens in earth the scattered grain.
Deem not those words, that seemed to spring
From pride, are false, O Vánar King.
None from these lips has ever heard,
None e'er shall hear, one lying word.
Again I promise and declare,
Yea, by my truth, dear friend, I swear.”
Then glad was King Sugríva's breast,
And all his lords their joy confessed,
Stirred by sure hope of Ráma's aid,
And promise which the prince had made.
Canto VIII. Ráma's Promise.
Doubt from Sugríva's heart had fled,
And thus to Raghu's son he said:
“No bliss the Gods of heaven deny.
Each views me with a favouring eye,
When thou, whom all good gifts attend,
Hast sought me and become my friend.
Leagued, friend, with thee in bold emprise
My arm might win the conquered skies;
And shall our banded strength be weak
To gain the realm which now I seek?
A happy fate was mine above
My kith and kin and all I love,
When, near the witness fire, I won
Thy friendship, Raghu's glorious son.
Thou too in ripening time shall see
Thy friend not all unworthy thee.
What gifts I have shall thus be shown:
Not mine the tongue to make them known.
Strong is the changeless bond that binds
The friendly faith of noble minds,
In woe, in danger, firm and sure
Their constancy and love endure.
Gold, silver, jewels rich and rare
They count as wealth for friends to share.
[pg 332]
Yea, be they rich or poor and low,
Blest with all joys or sunk in woe,
Stained with each fault or pure of blame,
Their friends the nearest place may claim;
For whom they leave, at friendship's call,
Their gold, their bliss, their homes and all.”
He spoke by generous impulse moved,
And Raghu's son his speech approved
Glancing at Lakshmaṇ by his side,
Like Indra in his beauty's pride.
The Vánar monarch saw the pair
Of mighty brothers standing there,
And turned his rapid eye to view
The forest trees that near him grew.
He saw, not far from where he stood,
A Sál tree towering o'er the wood.
Amid the thick leaves many a bee
Graced the scant blossoms of the tree,
From whose dark shade a bough, that bore
A load of leafy twigs, he tore,
Which on the grassy ground he laid
And seats for him and Ráma made.
Hanúmán saw them sit, he sought
A Sál tree's leafy bough and brought
The burthen, and with meek request
Entreated Lakshmaṇ, too, to rest.
There on the noble mountain's brow,
Strewn with the young leaves of the bough,
Sat Raghu's son in placid ease
Calm as the sea when sleeps the breeze.
Sugríva's heart with rapture swelled,
And thus, by eager love impelled,
He spoke in gracious tone, that, oft
Checked by his joy, was low and soft:
“I, by my brother's might oppressed,
By ceaseless woe and fear distressed,
Mourning my consort far away,
On Rishyamúka's mountain stray.
Expelled by Báli's cruel hate
I wander here disconsolate.
Do thou to whom all sufferers flee,
From his dread hand deliver me.”
He spoke, and Ráma, just and brave,
Whose pious soul to virtue clave,
Smiled as in conscious might he eyed
The king of Vánars, and replied:
“Best fruit of friendship is the deed
That helps the friend in hour of need;
And this mine arm in death shall lay
Thy robber ere the close of day.
For see, these feathered darts of mine
Whose points so fiercely flash and shine,
And shafts with golden emblem, came
From dark woods known by Skanda's name,561
Winged from the pinion of the hern
Like Indra's bolts they strike and burn.
With even knots and piercing head
Each like a furious snake is sped;
With these, to-day, before thine eye
Shall, like a shattered mountain, lie
Báli, thy dread and wicked foe,
O'erwhelmed in hideous overthrow.”
He spoke: Sugríva's bosom swelled
With hope and joy unparalleled.
Then his glad voice the Vánar raised,
And thus the son of Raghu praised:
“Long have I pined in depth of grief;
Thou art the hope of all, O chief.
Now, Raghu's son, I hail thee friend,
And bid thee to my woes attend;
For, by my truth I swear it, now
Not life itself is dear as thou,
Since by the witness fire we met
And friendly hand in hand was set.
Friend communes now with friend, and hence
I tell with surest confidence,
How woes that on my spirit weigh
Consume me through the night and day.”
For sobs and sighs he scarce could speak,
And his sad voice came low and weak,
As, while his eyes with tears o'erflowed,
The burden of his soul he showed.
Then by strong effort, bravely made,
The torrent of his tears he stayed,
Wiped his bright eyes, his grief subdued,
And thus, more calm, his speech renewed:
“By Báli's conquering might oppressed,
Of power and kingship dispossessed,
Loaded with taunts of scorn and hate
I left my realm and royal state.
He tore away my consort: she
Was dearer than my life to me,
And many a friend to me and mine
In hopeless chains was doomed to pine.
With wicked thoughts, unsated still,
Me whom he wrongs he yearns to kill;
And spies of Vánar race, who tried
To slay me, by this hand have died.
Moved by this constant doubt and fear
I saw thee, Prince, and came not near.
When woe and peril gather round
A foe in every form is found.
Save Hanumán, O Raghu's son,
And these, no friend is left me, none.
Through their kind aid, a faithful band
Who guard their lord from hostile hand,
Rest when their chieftain rests and bend
Their steps where'er he lists to wend,—
Through them alone, in toil and pain,
My wretched life I still sustain.
[pg 333]
Enough, for thou hast heard in brief
The story of my pain and grief.
His mighty strength all regions know,
My brother, but my deadly foe.
Ah, if the proud oppressor fell,
His death would all my woe dispel.
Yea, on my cruel conqueror's fall
My joy depends, my life, my all.
This were the end and sure relief,
O Ráma, of my tale of grief.
Fair be his lot or dark with woe,
No comfort like a friend I know.”
Then Ráma spoke: “O friend, relate
Whence sprang fraternal strife and hate,
That duly taught by thee, I may
Each foeman's strength and weakness weigh:
And skilled in every chance restore
The blissful state thou hadst before.
For, when I think of all the scorn
And bitter woe thou long hast borne,
My soul indignant swells with pain
Like waters flushed with furious rain.
Then, ere I string this bended bow,
Tell me the tale I long to know,
Ere from the cord my arrow fly,
And low in death thy foeman lie.”
He spoke: Sugríva joyed to hear,
Nor less his lords were glad of cheer:
And thus to Ráma mighty-souled
The cause that moved their strife he told:
Canto IX. Sugríva's Story.562
“My brother, known by Báli's name,
Had won by might a conqueror's fame.
My father's eldest-born was he,
Well honoured by his sire and me.
My father died, and each sage lord
Named Báli king with one accord;
And he, by right of birth ordained,
The sovereign of the Vánars reigned.
He in his royal place controlled
The kingdom of our sires of old,
And I all faithful service lent
To aid my brother's government.
The fiend Máyáví,—him of yore
To Dundubhi563 his mother bore,—
For woman's love in strife engaged,
A deadly war with Báli waged.
When sleep had chained each weary frame
To vast Kishkindhá564 gates he came,
And, shouting through the shades of night,
Challenged his foeman to the fight.
My brother heard the furious shout,
And wild with rage rushed madly out,
Though fain would I and each sad wife
Detain him from the deadly strife.
He burned his demon foe to slay,
And rushed impetuous to the fray.
His weeping wives he thrust aside,
And forth, impelled by fury, hied;
While, by my love and duty led,
I followed where my brother sped.
Máyáví looked, and at the sight
Fled from his foes in wild affright.
The flying fiend we quickly viewed,
And with swift feet his steps pursued.
Then rose the moon, whose friendly ray
Cast light upon our headlong way.
By the soft beams was dimly shown
A mighty cave with grass o'ergrown.
Within its depths he sprang, and we
The demon's form no more might see.
My brother's breast was all aglow
With fury when he missed the foe,
And, turning, thus to me he said
With senses all disquieted:
“Here by the cavern's mouth remain;
Keep ear and eye upon the strain,
While I the dark recess explore
And dip my brand in foeman's gore.”
I heard his angry speech, and tried
To turn him from his plan aside.
He made me swear by both his feet,
And sped within the dark retreat.
While in the cave he stayed, and I
Watched at the mouth, a year went by.
For his return I looked in vain,
And, moved by love, believed him slain.
I mourned, by doubt and fear distressed,
And greater horror seized my breast
When from the cavern rolled a flood,
A carnage stream of froth and blood;
And from the depths a sound of fear,
The roar of demons, smote mine ear;
But never rang my brother's shout
Triumphant in the battle rout.
I closed the cavern with a block,
Huge as a hill, of shattered rock.
Gave offerings due to Báli's shade,
And sought Kishkindhá, sore dismayed.
Long time with anxious care I tried
From Báli's lords his fate to hide,
But they, when once the tale was known,
Placed me as king on Báli's throne.
There for a while I justly reigned
[pg 334]
And all with equal care ordained,
When joyous from the demon slain
My brother Báli came again.
He found me ruling in his stead,
And, fired with rage, his eyes grew red.
He slew the lords who made me king,
And spoke keen words to taunt and sting.
The kingly rank and power I held
My brother's rage with ease had quelled,
But still, restrained by old respect
For claims of birth, the thought I checked.
Thus having struck the demon down
Came Báli to his royal town.
With meek respect, with humble speech,
His haughty heart I strove to reach.
But all my arts were tried in vain,
No gentle word his lips would deign,
Though to the ground I bent and set
His feet upon my coronet:
Still Báli in his rage and pride
All signs of grace and love denied.”
Canto X. Sugríva's Story.
“I strove to soothe and lull to rest
The fury of his troubled breast:
“Well art thou come, dear lord,” I cried.
“By whose strong arm thy foe has died.
Forlorn I languished here, but now
My saviour and defence art thou.
Once more receive this regal shade565
Like the full moon in heaven displayed;
And let the chouries,566 thus restored,
Wave glorious o'er the rightful lord.
I kept my watch, thy word obeyed,
And by the cave a year I stayed.
But when I saw that stream of blood
Rush from the cavern in a flood,
My sad heart broken with dismay,
And every wandering sense astray,
I barred the entrance with a stone,—
A crag from some high mountain thrown—
Turned from the spot I watched in vain,
And to Kishkindhá came again.
My deep distress and downcast mien
By citizen and lord were seen.
They made me king against my will:
Forgive me if the deed was ill.
True as I ever was I see
My honoured king once more in thee;
I only ruled a while the state
When thou hadst left us desolate.
This town with people, lords, and lands,
Lay as a trust in guardian hands:
And now, my gracious lord, accept
The kingdom which thy servant kept.
Forgive me, victor of the foe,
Nor let thy wrath against me glow.
See joining suppliant hands I pray,
And at thy feet my head I lay.
Believe my words: against my will
The royal seat they made me fill.
Unkinged they saw the city, hence
They made me lord for her defence.”
But Báli, though I humbly sued,
Reviled me in his furious mood:
“Out on thee, wretch!” in wrath he cried
With many a bitter taunt beside.
He summoned every lord, and all
His subjects gathered at his call.
Then forth his burning anger broke,
And thus amid his friends he spoke:
“I need not tell, for well ye know,
How fierce Máyáví, fiend and foe,
Came to Kishkindhá's gate by night,
And dared me in his wrath to fight.
I heard each word the demon said:
Forth from my royal hall I sped;
And, foe in brother's guise concealed,
Sugríva followed to the field.
The mighty demon through the shade
Beheld me come with one to aid:
Then shrinking from unequal fight,
He turned his back in swiftest flight.
From vengeful foes his life to save
He sought the refuge of a cave.
Then when I saw the fiend had fled
Within that cavern dark and dread,
Thus to my brother cruel-eyed,
Impatient in my wrath, I cried:
“I seek no more my royal town
Till I have struck the demon down.
Here by the cavern's mouth remain
Until my hand the foe have slain.”
Upon his faith my heart relied,
And swift within the depths I hied.
A year went by: in every spot
I sought the fiend, but found him not.
At length my foe I saw and slew,
Whom long I feared when lost to view;
And all his kinsmen by his side
Beneath my vengeful fury died.
The monster, as he reeled and fell,
Poured forth his blood with roar and yell;
And, filling all the cavern, dyed
The portal with the crimson tide.
Upon my foeman slain at last
One look, one pitying look, I cast.
I sought again the light of day:
The cave was closed and left no way.
To the barred mouth I sadly came,
And called aloud Sugríva's name.
But all was still: no voice replied,
[pg 335]
And hope within my bosom died.
With furious efforts, vain at first,
Through bars of rock my way I burst.
Then, free once more, the path that brought
My feet in safety home I sought.
'Twas thus Sugríva dared despise
The claim of brothers' friendly ties.
With crags of rock he barred me in,
And for himself the realm would win.”
Thus Báli spoke in words severe;
And then, unmoved by ruth or fear,
Left me a single robe and sent
His brother forth in banishment.
He cast me out with scathe and scorn,
And from my side my wife was torn.
Now in great fear and ill at ease
I roam this land with woods and seas,
Or dwell on Rishyamúka's hill,
And sorrow for my consort still.
Thou hast the tale how first arose
This bitter hate of brother foes.
Such are the griefs neath which I pine,
And all without a fault of mine.
O swift to save in hour of fear,
My prayer who dread this Báli, hear
With gracious love assistance deign,
And mine oppressor's arm restrain.”
Then Raghu's son, the good and brave,
With a gay laugh his answer gave:
“These shafts of mine which ne'er can fail,
Before whose sheen the sun grows pale,
Winged by my fury, fleet and fierce,
The wicked Báli's heart shall pierce.
Yea, mark the words I speak, so long
Shall live that wretch who joys in wrong,
Until these angered eyes have seen
The robber of thy darling queen.
I, taught by equal suffering, know
What waves of grief above thee flow.
This hand thy captive wife shall free,
And give thy kingdom back to thee.”
Sugríva joyed as Ráma spoke,
And valour in his breast awoke.
His eye grew bright, his heart grew bold,
And thus his wondrous tale he told:
Canto XI. Dundubhi.
“I doubt not, Prince, thy peerless might,
Armed with these shafts so keen and bright,
Like all-destroying fires of fate,
The worlds could burn and devastate.
But lend thou first thy mind and ear
Of Báli's power and might to hear.
How bold, how firm, in battle tried,
Is Báli's heart; and then decide.
From east to west, from south to north
On restless errand hurrying forth,
From farthest sea to sea he flies
Before the sun has lit the skies.
A mountain top he oft will seek,
Tear from its root a towering peak,
Hurl it aloft, as 'twere a ball,
And catch it ere to earth it fall.
And many a tree that long has stood
In health and vigour in the wood,
His single arm to earth will throw,
The marvels of his might to show.
Shaped like a bull, a monster bore
The name of Dundubhi of yore:
He matched in size a mountain height,
A thousand elephants in might.
By pride of wondrous gifts impelled,
And strength he deemed unparalleled,
To Ocean, lord of stream and brook,
Athirst for war, his way he took.
He reached the king of rolling waves
Whose gems are piled in sunless caves,
And threw his challenge to the sea;
“Come forth, O King, and fight with me.”
He spoke, and from his ocean bed
The righteous567 monarch heaved his head,
And gave, sedate, his calm reply
To him whom fate impelled to die:
“Not mine, not mine the power,” he cried,
“To cope with thee in battle tried;
But listen to my voice, and seek
The worthier foe of whom I speak.
The Lord of Hills, where hermits live
And love the home his forests give,
Whose child is Śankar's darling queen,568
The King of Snows is he I mean.
Deep caves has he, and dark boughs shade
The torrent and the wild cascade.
From him expect the fierce delight
Which heroes feel in equal fight.”
He deemed that fear checked ocean's king,
And, like an arrow from the string,
To the wild woods that clothe the side
Of Lord Himálaya's hills he hied.
Then Dundubhi, with hideous roar,
Huge fragments from the summit tore
Vast as Airávat,569 white with snow,
And hurled them to the plains below.
Then like a white cloud soft, serene,
The Lord of Mountains' form was seen.
It sat upon a lofty crest,
And thus the furious fiend addressed:
“Beseems thee not, O virtue's friend,
My mountain tops to rive and rend;
[pg 336]
For I, the hermit's calm retreat,
For deeds of war am all unmeet.”
The demon's eye with rage grew red,
And thus in furious tone he said:
“If thou from fear or sloth decline
To match thy strength in war with mine,
Where shall I find a champion, say,
To meet me burning for the fray?”
He spoke: Himálaya, skilled in lore
Of eloquence, replied once more,
And, angered in his righteous mind,
Addressed the chief of demon kind:
“The Vánar Báli, brave and wise,
Son of the God who rules the skies,570
Sways, glorious in his high renown,
Kishkindhá his imperial town.
Well may that valiant lord who knows
Each art of war his might oppose
To thine, in equal battle set,
As Namuehi571 and Indra met.
Go, if thy soul desire the fray;
To Báli's city speed away,
And that unconquered hero meet
Whose fame is high for warlike feat.”
He listened to the Lord of Snow,
And, his proud heart with rage aglow,
Sped swift away and lighted down
By vast Kishkindhá, Báli's town.
With pointed horns to strike and gore
The semblance of a bull he bore,
Huge as a cloud that downward bends
Ere the full flood of rain descends.
Impelled by pride and rage and hate,
He thundered at Kishkindhá's gate;
And with his bellowing, like the sound
Of pealing drums, he shook the ground,
He rent the earth and prostrate threw
The trees that near the portal grew.
King Báli from the bowers within
Indignant heard the roar and din.
Then, moonlike mid the stars, with all
His dames he hurried to the wall;
And to the fiend this speech, expressed
In clear and measured words, addressed:
“Know me for monarch. Báli styled,
Of Vánar tribes that roam the wild.
Say why dost thou this gate molest,
And bellowing thus disturb our rest?
I know thee, mighty fiend: beware
And guard thy life with wiser care.”
He spoke: and thus the fiend returned,
While red with rage his eyeballs burned:
“What! speak when all thy dames are nigh
And hero-like thy foe defy?
Come, meet me in the fight this day,
And learn my strength by bold assay.
Or shall I spare thee, and relent
Until the coming night be spent?
Take then the respite of a night
And yield thee to each soft delight.
Then, monarch of the Vánar race
With loving arms thy friends embrace.
Gifts on thy faithful lords bestow,
Bid each and all farewell, and go.
Show in the streets once more thy face,
Install thy son to fill thy place.
Dally a while with each dear dame;
And then my strength thy pride shall tame
For, should I smite thee drunk with wine
Enamoured of those dames of thine,
Beneath diseases bowed and bent,
Or weak, unarmed, or negligent,
My deed would merit hate and scorn
As his who slays the child unborn.”
Then Báli's soul with rage was fired,
Queen Tára and the dames retired;
And slowly, with a laugh of pride,
The king of Vánars thus replied:
“Me, fiend, thou deemest drunk with wine:
Unless thy fear the fight decline,
Come, meet me in the fray, and test
The spirit of my valiant breast.”
He spoke in wrath and high disdain;
And, laying down his golden chain,
Gift of his sire Mahendra, dared
The demon, for the fray prepared;
Seized by the horns the monster, vast
As a huge hill, and held him fast,
Then fiercely dragged him round and round,
And, shouting, hurled him to the ground.
Blood streaming from his ears, he rose,
And wild with fury strove the foes.
Then Báli, match for Indra's might,
With every arm renewed the fight.
He fought with fists, and feet, and knees,
With fragments of the rock, and trees.
At last the monster's strength, assailed
By Śakra's572 conquering offspring, failed.
Him Báli raised with mighty strain
And dashed upon the ground again;
Where, bruised and shattered, in a tide
Of rushing blood, the demon died.
King Báli saw the lifeless corse,
And bending, with tremendous force
Raised the huge bulk from where it lay,
And hurled it full a league away.
As through the air the body flew,
Some blood-drops, caught by gales that blew,
Welled from his shattered jaw and fell
By Saint Matanga's hermit cell:
Matanga saw, illustrious sage,
Those drops defile his hermitage,
[pg 337]
And, as he marvelled whence they came,
Fierce anger filled his soul with flame:
“Who is the villain, evil-souled,
With childish thoughts unwise and bold,
Who is the impious wretch,” he cried,
“By whom my grove with blood is dyed?”
Thus spoke Matanga in his rage,
And hastened from the hermitage,
When lo, before his wondering eyes
Lay the dead bull of mountain size.
His hermit soul was nothing slow
The doer of the deed to know,
And thus the Vánar in a burst
Of wild tempestuous wrath he cursed:
“Ne'er let that Vánar wander here,
For, if he come, his death is near,
Whose impious hand with blood has dyed
The holy place where I abide,
Who threw this demon corse and made
A ruin of the pleasant shade.
If e'er he plant his wicked feet
Within one league of my retreat;
Yea, if the villain come so nigh
That very hour he needs must die.
And let the Vánar lords who dwell
In the dark woods that skirt my cell
Obey my words, and speeding hence
Find them some meeter residence.
Here if they dare to stay, on all
The terrors of my curse shall fall.
They spoil the tender saplings, dear
As children which I cherish here,
Mar root and branch and leaf and spray,
And steal the ripening fruit away.
One day I grant, no further hour,
To-morrow shall my curse have power,
And then each Vánar I may see
A stone through countless years shall be.”
The Vánars heard the curse and hied
From sheltering wood and mountain side.
King Báli marked their haste and dread,
And to the flying leaders said:
“Speak, Vánar chiefs, and tell me why
From Saint Matanga's grove ye fly
To gather round me: is it well
With all who in those woodlands dwell?”
He spoke: the Vánar leaders told
King Báli with his chain of gold
What curse the saint had on them laid,
Which drove them from their ancient shade.
Then royal Báli sought the sage,
With reverent hands to soothe his rage.
The holy man his suppliant spurned,
And to his cell in anger turned.
That curse on Báli sorely pressed,
And long his conscious soul distressed.
Him still the curse and terror keep
Afar from Rishyamúka's steep.
He dares not to the grove draw nigh,
Nay scarce will hither turn his eye.
We know what terrors warm him hence,
And roam these woods in confidence.
Look, Prince, before thee white and dry
The demon's bones uncovered lie,
Who, like a hill in bulk and length,
Fell ruind for his pride of strength.
See those high Sál trees seven in row
That droop their mighty branches low,
These at one grasp would Báli seize,
And leafless shake the trembling trees.
These tales I tell, O Prince, to show
The matchless power that arms the foe.
How canst thou hope to slay him? how
Meet Báli in the battle now?”
Sugríva spoke and sadly sighed:
And Lakshmaṇ with a laugh replied:
“What show of power, what proof and test
May still the doubts that fill thy breast?”
He spoke. Sugríva thus replied:
“See yonder Sál trees side by side.
King Báli here would take his stand
Grasping his bow with vigorous hand,
And every arrow, keen and true,
Would strike its tree and pierce it through.
If Ráma now his bow will bend,
And through one trunk an arrow send;
Or if his arm can raise and throw
Two hundred measures of his bow,
Grasped by a foot and hurled through air,
The demon bull that moulders there,
My heart will own his might and fain
Believe my foe already slain.”
Sugríva spoke inflamed with ire,
Scanned Ráma with a glance of fire,
Pondered a while in silent mood.
And thus again his speech renewed:
“All lands with Báli's glories ring,
A valiant, strong, and mighty king;
In conscious power unused to yield,
A hero first in every field.
His wondrous deeds his might declare,
Deeds Gods might scarcely do or dare;
And on this power reflecting still
I roam on Rishyamúka's hill.
Awed by my brother's might I rove,
In doubt and fear, from grove to grove,
While Hanumán, my chosen friend,
And faithful lords my steps attend;
And now, O true to friendship's tie,
I hail in thee my best ally.
My surest refuge from my foes,
And steadfast as the Lord of Snows.
Still, when I muse how strong and bold
Is cruel Báli, evil-souled,
But ne'er, O chief of Raghu's line,
Have seen what strength in war is thine,
Though in my heart I may not dare
Doubt thy great might, despise, compare,
Thoughts of his fearful deeds will rise
And fill my soul with sad surmise.
Speech, form, and trust which naught may move
[pg 338]
Thy secret strength and glory prove,
As smouldering ashes dimly show
The dormant fires that live below.”
He ceased: and Ráma answered, while
Played o'er his lips a gracious smile:
“Not yet convinced? This clear assay
Shall drive each lingering doubt away.”
Thus Ráma spoke his heart to cheer,
To Dundubhi's vast frame drew near:
He touched it with his foot in play
And sent it twenty leagues away.
Sugríva marked what easy force
Hurled through the air that demon's corse
Whose mighty bones were white and dried,
And to the son of Raghu cried:
“My brother Báli, when his might
Was drunk and weary from the fight,
Hurled forth the monster body, fresh
With skin and sinews, blood and flesh.
Now flesh and blood are dried away,
The crumbling bones are light as hay,
Which thou, O Raghu's son, hast sent
Flying through air in merriment.
This test alone is weak to show
If thou be stronger or the foe.
By thee a heap of mouldering bone,
By him the recent corse was thrown.
Thy strength, O Prince, is yet untried:
Come, pierce one tree: let this decide.
Prepare thy ponderous bow and bring
Close to thine ear the straining string.
On yonder Sál tree fix thine eye,
And let the mighty arrow fly,
I doubt not, chief, that I shall see
Thy pointed shaft transfix the tree.
Then come, assay the easy task,
And do for love the thing I ask.
Best of all lights, the Day-God fills
With glory earth and sky:
Himálaya is the lord of hills
That heave their heads on high.
The royal lion is the best
Of beasts that tread the earth;
And thou, O hero, art confessed
First in heroic worth.”
Canto XII. The Palm Trees.
Then Ráma, that his friend might know
His strength unrivalled, grasped his bow,
That mighty bow the foe's dismay,—
And on the string an arrow lay.
Next on the tree his eye he bent,
And forth the hurtling weapon went.
Loosed from the matchless hero's hold,
That arrow, decked with burning gold,
Cleft the seven palms in line, and through
The hill that rose behind them flew:
Six subterranean realms it passed,
And reached the lowest depth at last,
Whence speeding back through earth and air
It sought the quiver, and rested there.573
Upon the cloven trees amazed,
The sovereign of the Vánars gazed.
With all his chains and gold outspread
Prostrate on earth he laid his head.
Then, rising, palm to palm he laid
In reverent act, obeisance made,
And joyously to Ráma, best
Of war-trained chiefs, these words addressed:
“What champion, Raghu's son, may hope
With thee in deadly fight to cope,
Whose arrow, leaping from the bow,
Cleaves tree and hill and earth below?
Scarce might the Gods, arrayed for strife
By Indra's self, escape, with life
Assailed by thy victorious hand:
And how may Báli hope to stand?
All grief and care are past away,
And joyous thoughts my bosom sway,
Who have in thee a friend, renowned,
As Varuṇ574 or as Indra, found.
Then on! subdue,—'tis friendship's claim,—
My foe who bears a brother's name.
Strike Báli down beneath thy feet:
With suppliant hands I thus entreat.”
Sugríva ceased, and Ráma pressed
The grateful Vánar to his breast;
And thoughts of kindred feeling woke
In Lakshmaṇ's bosom, as he spoke:
“On to Kishkindhá, on with speed!
Thou, Vánar King, our way shalt lead,
Then challenge Báli forth to fight.
Thy foe who scorns a brother's right.”
They sought Kishkindhá's gate and stood
Concealed by trees in densest wood,
Sugríva, to the fight addressed,
More closely drew his cinctured vest,
And raised a wild sky-piercing shout
[pg 339]
To call the foeman Báli out.
Forth came impetuous Báli, stirred
To fury by the shout he heard.
So the great sun, ere night has ceased,
Springs up impatient to the east.
Then fierce and wild the conflict raged
As hand to hand the foes engaged,
As though in battle mid the stars
Fought Mercury and fiery Mars.575
To highest pitch of frenzy wrought
With fists like thunderbolts they fought,
While near them Ráma took his stand,
And viewed the battle, bow in hand.
Alike they stood in form and might,
Like heavenly Aśvins576 paired in fight,
Nor might the son of Raghu know
Where fought the friend and where the foe;
So, while his bow was ready bent,
No life-destroying shaft he sent.
Crushed down by Báli's mightier stroke
Sugríva's force now sank and broke,
Who, hoping naught from Ráma's aid,
To Rishyamúka fled dismayed,
Weary, and faint, and wounded sore,
His body bruised and dyed with gore,
From Báli's blows, in rage and dread,
Afar to sheltering woods he fled.
Nor Báli farther dared pursue,
The curbing curse too well he knew.
“Fled from thy death!” the victor cried,
And home the mighty warrior hied.
Hanúmán, Lakshmaṇ, Raghu's son
Beheld the conquered Vánar run,
And followed to the sheltering shade
Where yet Sugríva stood dismayed.
Near and more near the chieftains came,
Then, for intolerable shame,
Not daring yet to lift his eyes,
Sugríva spoke with burning sighs:
“Thy matchless strength I first beheld,
And dared my foe, by thee impelled.
Why hast thou tried me with deceit
And urged me to a sure defeat?
Thou shouldst have said, “I will not slay
Thy foeman in the coming fray.”
For had I then thy purpose known
I had not waged the fight alone.”
The Vánar sovereign, lofty-souled,
In plaintive voice his sorrows told.
Then Ráma spake: “Sugríva, list,
All anger from thy heart dismissed,
And I will tell the cause that stayed
Mine arrow, and withheld the aid.
In dress, adornment, port, and height,
In splendour, battle-shout, and might,
No shade of difference could I see
Between thy foe, O King, and thee.
So like was each, I stood at gaze,
My senses lost in wildering maze,
Nor loosened from my straining bow
A deadly arrow at the foe,
Lest in my doubt the shaft should send
To sudden death our surest friend.
O, if this hand in heedless guilt
And rash resolve thy blood had spilt,
Through every land, O Vánar King,
My wild and foolish act would ring.
Sore weight of sin on him must lie
By whom a friend is made to die;
And Lakshmaṇ, I, and Sítá, best
Of dames, on thy protection rest.
On, warrior! for the fight prepare;
Nor fear again thy foe to dare.
Within one hour thine eye shall view
My arrow strike thy foeman through;
Shall see the stricken Báli lie
Low on the earth, and gasp and die.
But come, a badge about thee bind,
O monarch of the Vánar kind,
That in the battle shock mine eyes
The friend and foe may recognize.
Come, Lakshmaṇ, let that creeper deck
With brightest bloom Sugríva's neck,
And be a happy token, twined
Around the chief of lofty mind.”
Upon the mountain slope there grew
A threading creeper fair to view,
And Lakshmaṇ plucked the bloom and round
Sugríva's neck a garland wound.
Graced with the flowery wreath he wore,
The Vánar chief the semblance bore
Of a dark cloud at close of day
Engarlanded with cranes at play,
In glorious light the Vánar glowed
As by his comrade's side he strode,
And, still on Ráma's word intent,
His steps to great Kishkindhá bent.
[pg 340]
Canto XIII. The Return To Kishkindhá.
Thus with Sugríva, from the side
Of Rishyamúka, Ráma hied,
And stood before Kishkindhá's gate
Where Báli kept his regal state.
The hero in his warrior hold
Raised his great bow adorned with gold,
And drew his pointed arrow bright
As sunbeams, finisher of fight.
Strong-necked Sugríva led the way
With Lakshmaṇ mighty in the fray.
Nala and Níla came behind
With Hanumán of lofty mind,
And valiant Tára, last in place,
A leader of the Vánar race.
They gazed on many a tree that showed
The glory of its pendent load,
And brook and limpid rill that made
Sweet murmurs as they seaward strayed.
They looked on caverns dark and deep,
On bower and glen and mountain steep,
And saw the opening lotus stud
With roseate cup the crystal flood,
While crane and swan and coot and drake
Made pleasant music on the lake,
And from the reedy bank was heard
The note of many a happy bird.
In open lawns, in tangled ways,
They saw the tall deer stand at gaze,
Or marked them free and fearless roam,
Fed with sweet grass, their woodland home.
At times two flashing tusks between
The wavings of the wood were seen,
And some mad elephant, alone,
Like a huge moving hill, was shown.
And scarcely less in size appeared
Great monkeys all with dust besmeared.
And various birds that roam the skies,
And silvan creatures, met their eyes,
As through the wood the chieftains sped,
And followed where Sugríva led.
Then Ráma, as their way they made,
Saw near at hand a lovely shade,
And, as he gazed upon the trees,
Spake to Sugríva words like these;
“Those stately trees in beauty rise,
Fair as a cloud in autumn skies.
I fain, my friend, would learn from thee
What pleasant grove is that I see.”
Thus Ráma spake, the mighty souled;
And thus his tale Sugríva told:
“That, Ráma, is a wide retreat
That brings repose to weary feet.
Bright streams and fruit and roots are there,
And shady gardens passing fair.
There, neath the roof of hanging boughs,
The sacred Seven maintained their vows.
Their heads in dust were lowly laid,
In streams their nightly beds were made.
Each seventh night they broke their fast,
But air was still their sole repast,
And when seven hundred years were spent
To homes in heaven the hermits went.
Their glory keeps the garden yet,
With walls of stately trees beset.
Scarce would the Gods and demons dare,
By Indra led, to enter there.
No beast that roams the wood is found,
No bird of air, within the bound;
Or, thither if they idly stray,
They find no more their homeward way.
You hear at times mid dulcet tones
The chime of anklets, rings, and zones.
You hear the song and music sound,
And heavenly fragrance breathes around,
There duly burn the triple fires577
Where mounts the smoke in curling spires,
And, in a dun wreath, hangs above
The tall trees, like a brooding dove.
Round branch and crest the vapours close
Till every tree enveloped shows
A hill of lazulite when clouds
Hang round it with their misty shrouds.
With Lakshmaṇ, lord of Raghu's line,
In reverent guise thine head incline,
And with fixt heart and suppliant hand
Give honour to the sainted band.
They who with faithful hearts revere
The holy Seven who harboured here,
Shall never, son of Raghu, know
In all their lives an hour of woe.”
Then Ráma and his brother bent,
And did obeisance reverent
With suppliant hand and lowly head,
Then with Sugríva onward sped.
Beyond the sainted Seven's abode
Far on their way the chieftains strode,
And great Kishkindhá's portal gained,
The royal town where Báli reigned.
Then by the gate they took their stand
All ready armed a noble band,
And burning every one
To slay in battle, hand to hand,
Their foeman, Indra's son.
Canto XIV. The Challenge.
They stood where trees of densest green
Wove round their forms a veiling screen.
O'er all the garden's pleasant shade
The eyes of King Sugríva strayed,
[pg 341]
And, as on grass and tree he gazed,
The fires of wrath within him blazed.
Then like a mighty cloud on high,
When roars the tempest through the sky,
Girt by his friends he thundered out
His dread sky-rending battle-shout
Like some proud lion in his gait,
Or as the sun begins his state,
Sugríva let his quick glance rest
On Ráma whom he thus addressed:
“There is the seat of Báli's sway,
Where flags on wall and turret play,
Which mighty bands of Vánars hold,
Rich in all arms and store of gold.
Thy promise to thy mind recall
That Báli by thy hand shall fall.
As kindly fruits adorn the bough.
So give my hopes their harvest now.”
In suppliant tone the Vánar prayed,
And Raghu's son his answer made:
“By Lakshmaṇ's hand this flowery twine
Was wound about thee for a sign.
The wreath of giant creeper throws
About thy form its brillant glows,
As though about the sun were set
The bright stars for a coronet.
One shaft of mine this day, dear friend,
Thy sorrow and thy fear shall end.
And, from the bowstring freed, shall be
Giver of freedom, King, to thee.
Then come, Sugríva, quickly show,
Where'er he lie, thy bitter foe;
And let my glance the wretch descry
Whose deeds, a brother's name belie.
Yea, soon in dust and blood o'erthrown
Shall Báli fall and gasp and groan.
Once let this eye the foeman see,
Then, if he live to turn and flee,
Despise my puny strength, and shame
With foul opprobrium Ráma's name.
Hast thou not seen his hand, O King,
Through seven tall trees one arrow wing?
Still in that strength securely trust,
And deem thy foeman in the dust.
In all my days, though surely tried
By grief and woe, I ne'er have lied;
And still by duty's law restrained
Will ne'er with falsehood's charge be stained.
Cast doubt away: the oath I sware
Its kindly fruit shall quickly bear,
As smiles the land with golden grain
By mercy of the Lord of rain.
Oh, warrior to the gate I defy
Thy foe with shout and battle-cry,
Till Báli with his chain of gold
Come speeding from his royal hold.
Proud hearts, with warlike fire aglow,
Brook not the challenge of a foe:
Each on his power and might relies,
And most before his ladies eyes.
King Báli loves the fray too well
To linger in his citadel,
And, when he hears thy battle-shout,
All wild for war will hasten out.”
He spoke. Sugríva raised a cry
That shook and rent the echoing sky,
A shout so fierce and loud and dread
That stately bulls in terror fled,
Like dames who fly from threatened stain
In some ignoble monarch's reign.
The deer in wild confusion ran
Like horses turned in battle's van.
Down fell the birds, like Gods who fall
When merits fail,578 at that dread call.
So fiercely, boldened for the fray,
The offspring of the Lord of Day
Sent forth his furious shout as loud
As thunder from a labouring cloud,
Or, where the gale blows fresh and free,
The roaring of the troubled sea.
Canto XV. Tárá.
That shout, which shook the land with fear,
In thunder smote on Báli's ear,
Where in the chamber barred and closed
The sovereign with his dame reposed.
Each amorous thought was rudely stilled,
And pride and rage his bosom filled.
His angry eyes flashed darkly red,
And all his native brightness fled,
As when, by swift eclipse assailed,
The glory of the sun has failed.
While in his fury uncontrolled
He ground his teeth, his eyeballs rolled,
He seemed a lake wherein no gem
Of blossom decks the lotus stem.
He heard, and with indignant pride
Forth from the bower the Vánar hied.
And the earth trembled at the beat
And fury of his hastening feet.
But Tárá to her consort flew,
Her loving arms around him threw,
And trembling and bewildered, gave
Wise counsel that might heal and save:
“O dear my lord, this rage control
That like a torrent floods thy soul,
And cast these idle thoughts away
Like faded wreath of yesterday,
O tarry till the morning light,
Then, if thou wilt, go forth and fight.
[pg 342]
Think not I doubt thy valour, no;
Or deem thee weaker than thy foe,
Yet for a while would have thee stay
Nor see thee tempt the fight to-day.
Now list, my loving lord, and learn
The reason why I bid thee turn.
Thy foeman came in wrath and pride,
And thee to deadly fight defied.
Thou wentest out: he fought, and fled
Sore wounded and discomfited.
But yet, untaught by late defeat,
He comes his conquering foe to meet,
And calls thee forth with cry and shout:
Hence spring, my lord, this fear and doubt.
A heart so bold that will not yield,
But yearns to tempt the desperate field,
Such loud defiance, fiercely pressed,
On no uncertain hope can rest.
So lately by thine arm o'erthrown,
He comes not back, I ween, alone.
Some mightier comrade guards his side,
And spurs him to this burst of pride.
For nature made the Vánar wise:
On arms of might his hope relies;
And never will Sugríva seek
A friend whose power to save is weak.
Now listen while my lips unfold
The wondrous tale my Angad told.
Our child the distant forest sought,
And, learnt from spies, the tidings brought.
Two sons of Daśaratha, sprung
From old Ikshváku, brave and young,
Renowned in arms, in war untamed—
Ráma and Lakshmaṇ are they named—
Have with thy foe Sugríva made
A league of love and friendly aid.
Now Ráma, famed for exploit high,
Is bound thy brother's firm ally,
Like fires of doom579 that ruin all
He makes each foe before him fall.
He is the suppliant's sure defence,
The tree that shelters innocence.
The poor and wretched seek his feet:
In him the noblest glories meet.
With skill and knowledge vast and deep
His sire's commands he loved to keep;
With princely gifts and graces stored
As metals deck the Mountains' Lord.580
Thou canst not, O my hero, stand
Before the might of Ráma's hand;
For none may match his powers or dare
With him in deeds of war compare.
Hear, I entreat, the words I say,
Nor lightly turn my rede away.
O let fraternal discord cease,
And link you in the bonds of peace.
Let consecrating rites ordain
Sugríva partner of thy reign.
Let war and thoughts of conflict end,
And be thou his and Ráma's friend,
Each soft approach of love begin,
And to thy soul thy brother win;
For whether here or there he be,
Thy brother still, dear lord, is he.
Though far and wide these eyes I strain
A friend like him I seek in vain.
Let gentle words his heart incline,
And gifts and honours make him thine,
Till, foes no more, in love allied,
You stand as brothers side by side.
Thou in high rank wast wont to hold
Sugríva, formed in massive mould;
Then come, thy brother's love regain,
For other aids are weak and vain.
If thou would please my soul, and still
Preserve me from all fear and ill,
I pray thee by thy love be wise
And do the thing which I advise.
Assuage thy fruitless wrath, and shun
The mightier arms of Raghu's son;
For Indra's peer in might is he,
A foe too strong, my lord, for thee.”
Canto XVI. The Fall Of Báli.
Thus Tárá with the starry eyes581
Her counsel gave with burning sighs.
But Báli, by her prayers unmoved,
Spurned her advice, and thus reproved:
“How may this insult, scathe, and scorn
By me, dear love, be tamely born?
My brother, yea my foe, comes nigh
And dares me forth with shout and cry.
Learn, trembler! that the valiant, they
Who yield no step in battle fray,
Will die a thousand deaths but ne'er
An unavenged dishonour bear.
Nor, O my love, be thou dismayed
Though Ráma lend Sugríva aid,
For one so pure and duteous, one
Who loves the right, all sin will shun,
Release me from thy soft embrace,
And with thy dames thy steps retrace:
Enough already, O mine own,
Of love and sweet devotion shown.
Drive all thy fear and doubt away;
I seek Sugríva in the fray
His boisterous rage and pride to still,
And tame the foe I would not kill.
My fury, armed with brandished trees,
Shall strike Sugríva to his knees:
[pg 343]
Nor shall the humbled foe withstand
The blows of my avenging hand,
When, nerved by rage and pride, I beat
The traitor down beneath my feet.
Thou, love, hast lent thine own sweet aid,
And all thy tender care displayed;
Now by my life, by these who yearn
To serve thee well, I pray thee turn.
But for a while, dear dame, I go
To come triumphant o'er the foe.”
Thus Báli spake in gentlest tone:
Soft arms about his neck were thrown;
Then round her lord the lady went
With sad steps slow and reverent.
She stood in solemn guise to bless
With prayers for safety and success,
Then with her train her chamber sought
By grief and racking fear distraught.
With serpent's pantings fierce and fast
King Báli from the city passed.
His glance, as each quick breath he drew,
Around to find the foe he threw,
And saw where fierce Sugríva showed
His form with golden hues that glowed,
And, as a fire resplendent, stayed
To meet his foe in arms arrayed.
When Báli, long-armed chieftain, found
Sugríva stationed on the ground,
Impelled by warlike rage he braced
His warrior garb about his waist,
And with his mighty arm raised high
Rushed at Sugríva with a cry.
But when Sugríva, fierce and bold,
Saw Báli with his chain of gold,
His arm he heaved, his hand he closed,
And face to face his foe opposed.
To him whose eyes with fury shone,
In charge impetuous rushing on,
Skilled in each warlike art and plan,
Báli with hasty words began:
“My ponderous hand, to fight addressed
With fingers clenched and arm compressed
Shall on thy death doomed brow descend
And, crashing down, thy life shall end.”
He spoke; and wild with rage and pride,
The fierce Sugríva thus replied:
“Thus let my arm begin the strife
And from thy body crush the life.”
Then Báli, wounded and enraged,
With furious blows the battle waged.
Sugríva seemed, with blood-streams dyed,
A hill with fountains in his side.
But with his native force unspent
A Sál tree from the earth he rent,
And like the bolt of Indra smote
On Báli's head and chest and throat.
Bruised by the blows he could not shield,
Half vanquished Báli sank and reeled,
As sinks a vessel with her freight
Borne down by overwhelming weight.
Swift as Suparṇa's582 swiftest flight
In awful strength they rushed to fight:
So might the sun and moon on high
Encountering battle in the sky.
Fierce and more fierce, as fought the foes,
The furious rage of combat rose.
They warred with feet and arms and knees,
With nails and stones and boughs and trees,
And blows descending fast as rain
Dyed each dark form with crimson stain,
While like two thunder-clouds they met
With battle-cry and shout and threat.
Then Ráma saw Sugríva quail,
Marked his worn strength grow weak and fail.
Saw how he turned his wistful eye
To every quarter of the sky.
His friend's defeat he could not brook,
Bent on his shaft an eager look,
Then burned to slay the conquering foe,
And laid his arrow on the bow.
As to an orb the bow he drew
Forth from the string the arrow flew
Like Fate's tremendous discus hurled
By Yáma583 forth to end the world.
So loud the din that every bird
The bow-string's clans with terror heard,
And wildly fled the affrighted deer
As though the day of doom were near.
So, deadly as the serpent's fang,
Forth from the string the arrow sprang.
Like the red lightning's flash and flame
It flew unerring to its aim,
And, hissing murder through the air,
Pierced Báli's breast, and quivered there.
Struck by the shaft that flew so well
The mighty Vánar reeled and fell,
As earthward Indra's flag they pull
When Aśvíní's fair moon is full.584
Canto XVII. Báli's Speech.
Like some proud tree before the blast
Brave Báli to the ground was cast,
Where prostrate in the dust he rolled
Clad in the sheen of glistening gold,
[pg 344]
As when uptorn the standard lies
Of the great God who rules the skies.
When low upon the earth was laid
The lord whom Vánar tribes obeyed,
Dark as a moonless sky no more
His land her joyous aspect wore.
Though low in dust and mire was rolled
The form of Báli lofty-souled,
Still life and valour, might and grace
Clung to their well-loved dwelling-place.
That golden chain with rich gems set,
The choicest gift of Sákra,585 yet
Preserved his life nor let decay
Steal strength and beauty's light away.
Still from that chain divinely wrought
His dusky form a glory caught,
As a dark cloud, when day is done,
Made splendid by the dying sun.
As fell the hero, crushed in fight,
There beamed afar a triple light
From limbs, from chain, from shaft that drank
His life-blood as the warrior sank.
The never-failing shaft, impelled
By the great bow which Ráma held,
Brought bliss supreme, and lit the way
To Brahmá's worlds which ne'er decay.586
Ráma and Lakshmaṇ nearer drew
The mighty fallen foe to view,
Mahendra's son, the brave and bold,
The monarch with his chain of gold,
With lustrous face and tawny eyes,
Broad chest, and arms of wondrous size,
Like Lord Mahendra fierce in fight,
Or Vishṇu's never-conquered might,
Now fallen like Yayáti587 sent
From heaven, his store of merit spent,
Like the bright flame that pales and dies,
Like the great sun who fires the skies,
Doomed in the general doom to fall
When time shall end and ruin all.
The wounded Báli, when he saw
Ráma and Lakshmaṇ nearer draw,
Keen words to Raghu's son, impressed
With justice' holy stamp, addressed:
“What fame, from one thou hast not slain
In front of battle, canst thou gain,
Whose secret hand has laid me low
When madly fighting with my foe?
From every tongue thy glory rings,
A scion of a line of kings,
True to thy vows, of noblest race,
With every gentle gift and grace:
Whose tender heart for woe can feel,
And joy in every creature's weal:
Whose breast with high ambition swells,
Knows duty's claim and ne'er rebels.
They praise thy valour, patience, ruth,
Thy firmness, self-restraint, and truth:
Thy hand prepared for sin's control,
All virtues of a princely soul.
I thought of all these gifts of thine,
And glories of an ancient line,
I set my Tárá's tears at naught,
I met Sugríva and we fought.
O Ráma, till this fatal morn
I held that thou wouldst surely scorn
To strike me as I fought my foe
And thought not of a stranger's blow,
But now thine evil heart is shown,
A yawning well with grass o'ergrown.
Thou wearest virtue's badge,588 but guile
And meanest sin thy soul defile.
I took thee not for treacherous fire,
A sinner clad in saint's attire;
Nor deemed thou idly wouldst profess
The show and garb of righteousness.
In fenced town, in open land,
Ne'er hast thou suffered at this hand,
Nor canst of proud contempt complain:
Then wherefore is the guiltless slain?
My harmless life in woods I lead,
On forest fruits and roots I feed.
My foeman in the field I sought,
And ne'er with thee, O Ráma, fought.
Upon thy limbs, O King, I see
The raiment of a devotee;
And how can one like thee, who springs
From a proud line of ancient kings,
Beneath fair virtue's mask, disgrace
His lineage by a deed so base?
From Raghu is thy long descent,
For duteous deeds prëeminent:
Why, sinner clad in saintly dress,
Roamest thou through the wilderness?
Truth, valour, justice free from spot,
The hand that gives and grudges not,
The might that strikes the sinner down,
These bring a prince his best renown.
Here in the woods, O King, we live
On roots and fruit which branches give.589
[pg 345]
Thus nature framed our harmless race:
Thou art a man supreme in place.
Silver and gold and land provoke
The fierce attack, the robber's stroke,
Canst thou desire this wild retreat,
The berries and the fruit we eat?
'Tis not for mighty kings to tread
The flowery path, by pleasure led.
Theirs be the arm that crushes sin,
Theirs the soft grace to woo and win:
The steadfast will that guides the state,
Wise favour to the good and great;
And for all time are kings renowned
Who blend these arts and ne'er confound.
But thou art weak and swift to ire,
Unstable, slave of each desire.
Thou tramplest duty in the dust,
And in thy bow is all thy trust.
Thou carest naught for noble gain,
And treatest virtue with disdain,
While every sense its captive draws
To follow pleasure's changing laws.
I wronged thee not in word or deed,
But by thy deadly dart I bleed.
What wilt thou, mid the virtuous, say
To purge thy lasting stain away?
All these, O King, must sink to hell,
The regicide, the infidel,
He who in blood and slaughter joys,
A Bráhman or a cow destroys,
Untimely weds in law's despite
Scorning an elder brother's right,590
Who dares his Teacher's bed ascend,
The miser, spy, and treacherous friend.
These impious wretches, one and all,
Must to the hell of sinners fall.
My skin the holy may not wear,
Useless to thee my bones and hair;
Nor may my slaughtered body be
The food of devotees like thee.
These five-toed things a man may slay
And feed upon the fallen prey;
The mailed rhinoceros may die,
And, with the hare his food supply.
Iguanas he may kill and eat,
With porcupine and tortoise meat.591
But all the wise account it sin
To touch my bones and hair and skin.
My flesh they may not eat; and I
A useless prey, O Ráma, die.
In vain my Tárá reasoned well,
On dull deaf ears her counsel fell.
I scorned her words though sooth and sweet,
And hither rushed my fate to meet.
Ah for the land thou rulest! she
Finds no protection, lord, from thee,
Neglected like some noble dame
By a vile husband dead to shame.
Mean-hearted coward, false and vile,
Whose cruel soul delights in guile,
Could Daśaratha, noblest king,
Beget so mean and base a thing?
Alas! an elephant, in form
Of Ráma, in a maddening storm
Of passion casting to the ground
The girth of law592 that clipped him round,
Too wildly passionate to feel
The prick of duty's guiding steel,593
Has charged me unawares, and dead
I fall beneath his murderous tread.
How, stained with this my base defeat,
How wilt thou dare, where good men meet,
To speak, when every tongue will blame
With keen reproach this deed of shame?
Such hero strength and valour, shown
Upon the innocent alone,
Thou hast not proved in manly strife
On him who robbed thee of thy wife.
Hadst thou but fought in open field
And met me boldly unconcealed,
This day had been thy fate to fall,
Slain by this hand, to Yáma's hall.
In vain I strove, and struck by thee
Fell by a hand I could not see.
Thus bites a snake, for sins of yore,
A sleeping man who wakes no more.
Sugríva's foeman thou hast killed,
And thus his heart's desire fulfilled;
But, Ráma, hadst thou sought me first,
And told the hope thy soul has nursed,
That very day had I restored
The Maithil lady to her lord;
And, binding Rávaṇ with a chain,
Had laid him at thy feet unslain.
[pg 346]
Yea, were she sunk in deepest hell,
Or whelmed beneath the ocean's swell,
I would have followed on her track
And brought the rescued lady back,
As Hayagríva594 once set free
From hell the white Aśvatarí.595
That when my spirit wings its flight
Sugríva reign, is just and right.
But most unjust, O King, that I,
Slain by thy treacherous hand, should lie.
Be still, my heart: this earthly state
Is darkly ruled by sovereign Fate.
The realm is lost and won: defy
Thy questioners with apt reply.”596
Canto XVIII. Ráma's Reply.
He ceased: and Ráma's heart was stirred
At every keen reproach he heard.
There Báli lay, a dim dark sun,
His course of light and glory run:
Or like the bed of Ocean dried
Of his broad floods from side to side,
Or helpless, as the dying fire,
Hushed his last words of righteous ire.
Then Ráma, with his spirit moved,
The Vánar king in turn reproved:
“Why dost thou, Báli, thus revile,
And castest not a glance the while
On claims of duty, love, and gain,
And customs o'er the world that reign?
Why dost thou blame me, rash and blind,
Fickle as all thy Vánar kind,
Slighting each rule of ancient days
Which all the good and prudent praise?
This land, each hill and woody chase,
Belongs to old Ikshváku's race:
With bird and beast and man, the whole
Is ours to cherish and control.
Now Bharat, prompt at duty's call,
Wise, just, and true, is lord of all.
Each claim of law, love, gain he knows,
And wrath and favour duly shows.
A king from truth who never bends,
And grace with vigour wisely blends;
With valour worthy of his race,
He knows the claims of time and place.
Now we and other kings of might,
By his ensample taught aright,
The lands of every region tread
That justice may increase and spread.
While royal Bharat, wise and just,
Rules the broad earth, his glorious trust,
Who shall attempt, while he is lord,
A deed by Justice held abhorred?
We now, as Bharat has decreed,
Let justice guide our every deed,
And toil each sinner to repress
Who scorns the way of righteousness.
Thou from that path hast turned aside,
And virtue's holy law defied,
Left the fair path which kings should tread,
And followed pleasure's voice instead.
The man who cleaves to duty's law
Regards these three with filial awe—
The sire, the elder brother, third
Him from whose lips his lore he heard.
Thus too, for duty's sake, the wise
Regard with fond paternal eyes
The well-loved younger brother, one
Their lore has ripened, and a son.
Fine are the laws which guide the good,
Abstruse, and hardly understood;
Only the soul, enthroned within
The breast of each, knows right from sin.
But thou art wild and weak of soul,
And spurnest, like thy race, control;
The true and right thou canst not find,
The blind consulting with the blind.
Incline thine ear and I will teach
The cause that prompts my present speech.
This tempest of thy soul assuage,
Nor blame me in thine idle rage.
On this great sin thy thoughts bestow,
The sin for which I lay thee low.
Thou, Báli, in thy brother's life
Hast robbed him of his wedded wife,
And keepest, scorning ancient right,
His Rumá for thine own delight.
Thy son's own wife should scarcely be
More sacred in thine eyes than she.
All duty thou hast scorned, and hence
Comes punishment for dire offence.
For those who blindly do amiss
There is, I ween, no way but this:
To check the rash who dare to stray
From customs which the good obey,
I may not, sprung of Kshatriya line,
[pg 347]
Forgive this heinous sin of thine:
The laws for those who sin like thee
The penalty of death decree.
Now Bharat rules with sovereign sway,
And we his royal word obey.
There was no hope of pardon, none,
For the vile deed that thou hast done,
That wisest monarch dooms to die
The wretch whose crimes the law defy;
And we, chastising those who err,
His righteous doom administer.
My soul accounts Sugríva dear
E'en as my brother Lakshmaṇ here.
He brings me blessing, and I swore
His wife and kingdom to restore:
A bond in solemn honour bound
When Vánar chieftains stood around.
And can a king like me forsake
His friend, and plighted promise break?
Reflect, O Vánar, on the cause,
The sanction of eternal laws,
And, justly smitten down, confess
Thou diest for thy wickedness.
By honour was I bound to lend
Assistance to a faithful friend;
And thou hast met a righteous fate
Thy former sins to expiate.
And thus wilt thou some merit win
And make atonement for thy sin.
For hear me, Vánar King, rehearse
What Manu597 spake in ancient verse,—
This holy law, which all accept
Who honour duty, have I kept:
“Pure grow the sinners kings chastise,
And, like the virtuous, gain the skies;
By pain or full atonement freed,
They reap the fruit of righteous deed,
While kings who punish not incur
The penalties of those who err.”
Mándhátá598 once, a noble king,
Light of the line from which I spring,
Punished with death a devotee
When he had stooped to sin like thee;
And many a king in ancient time
Has punished frantic sinners' crime,
And, when their impious blood was spilt,
Has washed away the stain of guilt.
Cease, Báli, cease: no more complain:
Reproaches and laments are vain,
For thou art justly punished: we
Obey our king and are not free.
Once more, O Báli, lend thine ear
Another weightiest plea to hear.
For this, when heard and pondered well,
Will all complaint and rage dispel.
My soul will ne'er this deed repent,
Nor was my shaft in anger sent.
We take the silvan tribes beset
With snare and trap and gin and net,
And many a heedless deer we smite
From thickest shade, concealed from sight.
Wild for the slaughter of the game,
At stately stags our shafts we aim.
We strike them bounding scared away,
We strike them as they stand at bay,
When careless in the shade they lie,
Or scan the plain with watchful eye.
They turn away their heads; we aim,
And none the eager hunter blame.
Each royal saint, well trained in law
Of duty, loves his bow to draw
And strike the quarry, e'en as thou
Hast fallen by mine arrow now,
Fighting with him or unaware,—
A Vánar thou.—I little care.599
But yet, O best of Vánars, know
That kings who rule the earth bestow
Fruit of pure life and virtuous deed,
And lofty duty's hard-won meed.
Harm not thy lord the king: abstain
From act and word that cause him pain;
For kings are children of the skies
Who walk this earth in men's disguise.
But thou, in duty's claims untaught,
Thy breast with blinding passion fraught,
Assailest me who still have clung
To duty, with thy bitter tongue.”
He ceased: and Báli sore distressed
The sovereign claims of law confessed,
And freed, o'erwhelmed with woe and shame,
The lord of Raghu's race from blame.
Then, reverent palm to palm applied,
To Ráma thus the Vánar cried:
“True, best of men, is every word
That from thy lips these ears have heard,
It ill beseems a wretch like me
To bandy empty words with thee.
Forgive the angry taunts that broke
From my wild bosom as I spoke.
And lay not to my charge, O King,
[pg 348]
My mad reproaches' idle sting.
Thou, in the truth by trial trained,
Best knowledge of the right hast gained:
And layest, just and pure within,
The meetest penalty on sin.
Through every bond of law I burst,
The boldest sinner and the worst.
O let thy right-instructing speech
Console my heart and wisely teach.”
Like some sad elephant who stands
Fast sinking in the treacherous sands,
Thus Báli raised despairing eyes;
Then spake again with sobs and sighs:
“Not for myself, O King, I grieve,
For Tárá or the friends I leave,
As for sweet Angad, my dear son,
My noble, only little one.
For, nursed in luxury and bliss,
His father he will mourn and miss,
And like a stream whose fount is dry
Will waste away and sink and die,—
My own dear child, my only boy,
His mother Tárá's hope and joy.
Spare him, O son of Raghu, spare
The child entrusted to thy care.
My Angad and Sugríva treat
E'en as thy heart considers meet,
For thou, O chief of men, art strong
To guard the right and punish wrong.
O, if thou wilt thine ear incline
To hear these dying words of mine,
He and Sugríva will to thee
As Bharat and as Lakshmaṇ be.
Let not my Tárá, left forlorn,
Weep for Sugríva's wrathful scorn;
Nor let him, for her lord's offence,
Condemn her faithful innocence.
And well and wisely may he reign
If thy dear grace his power sustain:
If, following thee his friend and guide,
He turn not from thy hest aside:
Thus may he reign with glory, nay
Thus to the skies will win his way.
Though stayed by Tárá's fond recall,
By thy dear hand I longed to fall.
Against my brother rushed and fought,
And gained the death I long have sought.”
Then Ráma thus the prince consoled
From whose clear eyes the mists were rolled:
“Grieve not for those thou leavest thus,
Nor tremble for thyself or us,
For we will deal with thine and thee
As duty and the laws decree.
He who exacts and he who pays,
Is justly slain or justly slays,
Shall in the life to come have bliss;
For each has done his task in this.
Thou, wandering from the right, art made
Pure by the forfeit thou hast paid.
Thy weight of sins is cast aside,
And duty's claim is satisfied.
Then grieve no more, O Prince, but clear
Thy bosom from all doubt and fear,
For fate, inexorably stern,
Thou hast no power to move or turn.
Thy princely Angad still will share
My tender love, Sugríva's care;
And to thy offspring shall be shown
Affection that shall match thine own.”
Canto XIX. Tárá's Grief.
No answer gave the Vánar king
To Ráma's prudent counselling.
Battered and bruised by tree and stone,
By Ráma's arrow overthrown,
Fainting upon the ground he lay,
Gasping his troubled life away.
But Tárá in the Vánar's hall
Heard tidings of her husband's fall;
Heard that a shaft from Ráma's bow
Had laid the royal Báli low.
Her darling Angad by her side,
Distracted from her home she hied.
Then nigh the place of battle drew
The Vánars, Angad's retinue.
They saw the bow-armed Ráma: dread
Fell on them, and they turned and fled.
Like helpless deer, their leaders slain,
So wildly fled the startled train.
But Tárá saw, and nearer pressed,
And thus the flying band addressed:
“O Vánars, ye who ever stand
About our king, a trusty band,
Where is the lion master? why
Forsake ye thus your lord and fly?
Say, lies he dead upon the plain,
A brother by a brother slain,
Or pierced by shafts from Ráma's bow
That rain from far upon the foe?”
Thus Tárá questioned, and was still:
Then, wearers of each shape at will,
The Vánars thus with one accord
Answered the Lady of their lord:
“Turn, Tárá turn, and half undone
Save Angad thy beloved son.
There Ráma stands in death's disguise,
And conquered Báli faints and dies.
He by whose strong arm, thick and fast,
Uprooted trees and rocks were cast,
Lies smitten by a shaft that came
Resistless as the lightning flame.
When he, whose splendour once could vie
With Indra's, regent of the sky,
Fell by that deadly arrow, all
The Vánars fled who marked his fall.
Let all our chiefs their succours bring,
And Angad be anointed king;
[pg 349]
For all who come of Vánar race
Will serve him set in Báli's place.
Or else our conquering foes to-day
Within our wall will force their way,
Polluting with their hostile feet
The chambers of thy loved retreat.
Great fear is on us, all and one.
Those who have wives and who have none,
They lust for power, are fierce and bold,
Or hate us for the strife of old.”
She heard their speech as, sore afraid,
Arrested in their flight, they stayed,
And gave her answer as became
The spirit of so true a dame:
“Nay, what have I to do with pelf,
With son, with kingdom, or with self,
When he, my noble lord, who leads
The Vánars like a lion, bleeds?
His high-souled victor will I meet,
And throw me prostrate at his feet.”
She hastened forth, her bosom rent
With anguish, weeping as she went,
And striking, mastered by her woes,
Her head and breast with frantic blows.
She hurried to the field and found
Her husband prostrate on the ground,
Who quelled the hostile Vánars' might,
Whose bank was never turned in flight:
Whose arm a massy rock could throw
As Indra hurls his bolts below:
Fierce as the rushing tempest, loud
As thunder from a labouring cloud:
Whene'er he roared his voice of fear
Struck terror on the boldest ear:
Now slain, as, hungry for the prey,
A tiger might a lion slay:
Or when, his serpent foe to seek,
Suparṇa600 with his furious beak
Tears up a sacred hillock, long
The reverence of a village throng,
Its altar with their offerings spread,
And the gay flag that waved o'erhead.
She looked and saw the victor stand
Resting upon his bow his hand:
And fierce Sugríva she descried,
And Lakshmaṇ by his brother's side.
She passed them by, nor stayed to view,
Swift to her husband's side she flew;
Then as she looked, her strength gave way,
And in the dust she fell and lay.
Then, as if startled ere the close
Of slumber, from the earth she rose.
Upon her dying husband, round
Whose soul the coils of Death were wound,
Her eyes in agony she bent
And called him with a shrill lament.
Sugríva, when he heard her cries,
And saw the queen with weeping eyes,
And youthful Angad standing there,
His load of grief could hardly bear.
Canto XX. Tárá's Lament.
Again she bent her to the ground,
Her arms about her husband wound.
Sobbed on his breast, and sick and faint
With anguish poured her wild complaint:
“Brave in the charge of battle, boast
And glory of the Vánar host,
Why on the cold earth wilt thou lie
And give no answer when I cry?
Up, warrior, from thy lowly bed!
A meeter couch for thee is spread.
It ill beseems a glorious king
On the bare ground his limbs to fling.
Ah, surely must thy love be strong
For her whom thou hast governed long,
If thou, my hero, canst recline
On her cold breast forsaking mine.
Or, famed for justice through the land,
Thou on the road to heaven hast planned
Some city fairer far than this
To be thy new metropolis.
Are all our pleasures ended now,
With those delicious hours which thou
And I, dear lord, together spent
In woods that breathed the honey's scent?
Whelmed in my sorrow's boundless sea,
There is no joy, no hope, for me,
When my beloved lord, who led
The Vánars to the fight, is dead,
My widowed heart is stern and cold.
Or, at the sight mine eyes behold,
O'ermastered would it end this ache
And in a thousand fragments break.
Ah noble Vánar, doomed to pay
The penalty of all today—
Sugríva from his home expelled,
And Rumá601 from his arms withheld.
Our Vánar race and thee to save,
Wise counsel for thy weal I gave;
But thou, by wildest folly stirred,
Wouldst give no credence to my word,
And now wilt woo the nymphs above,
And shake their souls with pangs of love.
Ah, never could it be that thou
Beneath Sugríva's power shouldst bow,
Thy conqueror is none but Fate
Whose mandates all who breathe await.
And does no thrill of anguish run
Through the stern breast of Raghu's son,
Whose base hand dealt a coward's blow,
And smote thee fighting with thy foe?
Reft of my lord my days, alas!
[pg 350]
In bitter bitter woe will pass:
And I, long blest with every good,
Must bear my dreary widowhood.
And when his uncle's brow is stern,
When his fierce eyes with fury burn,
Ah, what will be my Angad's fate,
So fair and young and delicate?
Come, darling, for the last sad sight,
Of thy dear sire who loved the right;
For soon thine eyes will long in vain
A look at that loved face to gain.
And, hero, as thy child draws near,
With tender words his spirit cheer;
Thy dying wishes gently speak,
And kiss him on the brows and cheek.
High fame, I ween, has Ráma won
By this great deed his hand has done,
His debt to brave Sugríva paid
And kept the promise that he made.
Be happy, King Sugríva, lord
Of Ramá to thine arms restored:
Enjoy uninterrupted reign,
For he, thy foe, at length is slain.
Dost thou not hear me speak, and why
Hast thou no word of soft reply?
Will thou not lift thine eyes and see
These dames who look to none but thee?”
From their sad eyes, as Tárá spoke,
The floods of bitter sorrow broke:
Then, pressing close to Angad's side,
Each lifted up her voice and cried:
“How couldst thou leave thine Angad thus,
And go, for ever go, from us—
Thy child so dear in brave attire,
Graced with the virtues of his sire?
If e'er in want of thought, O chief,
One deed of mine have caused thee grief,
Forgive my folly, I entreat,
And with my head I touch thy feet.”
Again the hapless Tárá wept
As to her husband's side she crept,
And wild with sorrow and dismay
Sat on the ground where Báli lay.
Canto XXI. Hanumán's Speech.
There, like a fallen star, the dame
Fell by her lord's half lifeless frame;
And Hanumán drew softly near,
And strove her grieving heart to cheer:
“By changeless law our bliss and woe
From ancient worth and folly flow.
What fruits soe'er we cull, the seeds
Were scattered by our former deeds.602
Why mourn another's mournful fate,
And weep, thyself unfortunate?
Be calm, O thou whose heart is wise,
For none deserves another's sighs.
Look up, with idle sorrow strive:
Thy child, his heir, is yet alive.
Let needful rites be duly done,
Nor in thy woe forget thy son.
Regard the law which all obey:
They spring to life, they pass away.
Begin the task that bids thee rise,
And stay these tears, for thou art wise.
Our lord the king is doomed to die,
On whom ten million hearts rely.
Kind, liberal, patient, true, and just
Was he in whom they place their trust,
And now he seeks the land of those
Who for the right subdue their foes.
Each Vánar lord with all his train,
Each ranger of this wild domain,
And Angad here, thy darling, see
A governor and friend in thee.
These twain603 whose hearts with sorrow ache
The funeral rites shall undertake,
And Angad by his mother's care
Be king, his father's rightful heir.
Now let him pay, as laws require,
His sacred duty to his sire,
Nor one solemnity omit
Of all that mighty kings befit.
And when thy fond eye sees thine own
Dear Angad on his father's throne,
Then, lightened of its load of pain,
Thy spirit will have rest again.”
She heard his speech, she heaved her head,
Looked upon Hanumán and said:
“Sweeter my slain lord's limbs to touch,
Than Angad or a hundred such.
No rule or right, a widowed dame,
O'er Angad or the realm I claim.
Sugríva is the uncle, he
In every act supreme must be.
I pray thee, chief, this plan resign,
Nor claim from me what ne'er is mine.
The father with his tender care
Guards the dear child the mother bare,
Where'er I be, no sweeter task,
No happier joy I hope or ask
Than thus to sit with loving eyes
And watch the bed where Báli lies.
Canto XXII. Báli Dead.
There breathing still with slow faint sighs
Lay Báli on the ground: his eyes,
[pg 351]
Damp with the tears of death, he raised,
On conquering Sugríva gazed,
And then in clearest speech expressed
The tender feelings of his breast:
“Not to my charge, Sugríva, lay
Thine injuries avenged to-day;
But rather blame resistless Fate
That urged me on infuriate.
Fate ne'er agreed our lives to bless
With simultaneous happiness:
To dwell like brothers side by side
In tender love was still denied.
The Vánars' realm is thine to-day:
Begin, O King, thy rightful sway;604
For I must go at Yáma's call
To sojourn in his gloomy hall;
Must part and leave this very hour
My life, my realm, my kingly power,
And go instead of these to gain
Bright glory free from spot and stain.
Now at thy hands one boon I seek
With the last words my lips shall speak,
And, though it be no easy thing,
Perform the task I give thee, King.
This son of mine, no foolish boy,
Worthy of bliss and nursed in joy,—
See, prostrate on the ground he lies,
The hot tears welling from his eyes—
The child I love so well, more sweet
Than life itself, for woe unmeet,—
To him be kindly favour shown:
O guard and keep him as thine own.
Retain him ever by thy side,
His father, helper, friend, and guide.
From fear and woe his young life save,
And give him all his father gave.
Then Tárá's son in time shall be
Brave, resolute, and famed like thee,
And march before thee to the fight
Where stricken fiends shall own his might.
While yet a tender stripling, fame
Shall bruit abroad his warrior name,
And brightly shall his glory shine
For exploits worthy of his line.
Child of Susheṇ,605 my Tárá well
Obscurest lore can read and tell;
And, trained in wondrous art, divines
Each mystery of boding signs.
Her solemn warning ne'er despise,
Do boldly what her lips advise;
For things to come her eye can see,
And with her words events agree.
And for the son of Raghu's sake
The toil and danger undertake:
For breach of faith were grievous wrong,
Nor wouldst thou be unpunished long.
Now, brother, take this chain of gold,
Gift of celestial hands of old,
Or when I die its charm will flee,
And all its might be lost with me.”
The loving speech Sugríva heard,
And all his heart with woe was stirred.
Remorse and gentle pity stole
Each thought of triumph from his soul:
Thus fades the light when Ráhu606 mars
The glory of the Lord of Stars.607
All angry thoughts were stayed and stilled
And kindly love his bosom filled.
His brother's word the chief obeyed
And took the chain as Báli prayed.
On little Angad standing nigh
The dying hero fixed his eye,
And, ready from this world to part,
Spoke the fond utterance of his heart:
“Let time and place thy thoughts employ:
In woe be strong, be meek in joy.
Accept both pain and pleasure, still
Obedient to Sugríva's will.
Thou hast, my darling, from the first
With tender care been softly nursed;
But harder days, if thou wouldst win
Sugríva's love, must now begin.
To those who hate him ne'er incline,
Nor count his foe a friend of thine.
In all thy thoughts his welfare seek,
Obedient, lowly, faithful, meek.
Let no rash suit his bosom pain,
Nor yet from due requests abstain.608
Each is a grievous fault, between
The two is found the happy mean.”
Then Báli ceased: his eyeballs rolled
In stress of anguish uncontrolled
His massive teeth were bared to view,
And from the frame the spirit flew.
Their lord and leader dead, the crowd
Of noblest Vánars shrieked aloud:
“Since thou, O King, hast sought the skies
All desolate Kishkindhá lies.
Her woods, where Vánars loved to rove,
Are empty now, and hill and grove.
From every eye the light is fled,
Since thou, our mighty lord, art dead.
Thine was the unwearied arm that bore
The brunt of deadly fight of yore
With Golabh the Gandharva, when,
Lasting through five long years and ten,
[pg 352]
The dreadful conflict knew no stay
In gloom of night, in glare of day;
And when the fifteenth year had past
Thy dire opponent fell at last.
If such a foeman fell beneath
Our hero's arm and awful teeth
Who freed us from our terror, how
Is conquering Báli fallen now?”
Then when they saw their leader slain
Great anguish seized the Vánar train,
Weeping their mighty chief, as when
In pastures near a lion's den
The cows by sudden fear are stirred,
Slain the bold bull who led the herd.
And hapless Tárá sank below
The whelming waters of her woe,
Looked upon Báli's face and fell
Beside him whom she loved go well,
Like a young creeper clinging round
A tall tree prostrate on the ground.
Canto XXIII. Tárá's Lament.
She kissed her lifeless husband's face,
She clasped him in a close embrace,
Laid her soft lips upon his head;
Then words like these the mourner said:
“No words of mine wouldst thou regard,
And now thy bed is cold and hard.
Upon the rude rough ground o'erthrown,
Beneath thee naught but sand and stone.
To thee the earth is dearer far
Than I and my caresses are,
If thou upon her breast wilt lie,
And to my words make no reply.
Ah my beloved, good and brave,
Bold to attack and strong to save,
Fate is Sugríva's thrall, and we
In him our lord and master see.
Lo, by thy bed, a mournful band,
Thy Vánar chiefs lamenting stand.
O hear thy nobles' groans and cries,
O mark thy Angad's weeping eyes,
O list to my entreaties, break
The chains of slumber and awake.
Ah me, my lord, this lowly bed
Where rest thy limbs and fallen head,
Is the cold couch where smitten lay
Thy foemen in the bloody fray.
O noble heart from blemish free,
Lover of war, beloved by me.
Why hast thou fled away and left
Thy Tárá of all hope bereft?
Unwise the father who allows
His child to be a warrior's spouse,
For, hero, see thy consort's fate,
A widow now most desolate,
For ever broken is my pride,
My hope of lasting bliss has died,
And sinking in the lowest deep
Of sorrow's sea I pine and weep.
Ah, surely not of earthly mould,
This stony heart is stern and cold,
Or, in a hundred pieces rent,
It had not lingered to lament.
Dead, dead! my husband, friend, and lord
In whom my loving hopes were stored,
First in the field, his foemen's dread,
My own victorious Báli, dead!
A woman when her lord has died,
Though children flourish by her side,
Though stores of gold her coffers fill,
Is called a lonely widow still.
Alas, thy bleeding gashes make
Around thy limbs a purple lake:
Thus slumbering was thy wont to lie
On cushions bright with crimson dye.
Dark streams of welling blood besmear
Thy limbs where dust and mire adhere,
Nor have I strength, weighed down by woe,
Mine arms about thy form to throw.
The issue of this day has brought
Sugríva all his wishes sought,
For Ráma shot one shaft and he
Is freed from fear and jeopardy.
Alas, alas, I may not rest
My head upon thy wounded breast,
Obstructed by the massive dart
Deep buried in thy bleeding heart.”
Then Níla from his bosom drew
The fatal shaft that pierced him through,
Like some tremendous serpent deep
In caverns of a hill asleep.
As from the hero's wound it came,
Shot from the shaft a gleam of flame,
Like the last flashes of the sun
Descending when his course is run.
From the wide rent in crimson flood
Rushed the full stream of Báli's blood,
Like torrents down a mountain's side
With golden ore and copper dyed.
Then Tárá brushed with tender care
The dust of battle from his hair,
While her sad eyes poured down their rain
Upon her lord untimely slain.
Once more she looked upon the dead;
Then to her bright-eyed child she said:
“Turn hither, turn thy weeping eyes
Where low in death thy father lies.
By sinful deed and bitter hate
Our lord has met his mournful fate.
Bright as the sun at early morn
To Yáma's halls is Báli borne.
Then go, my child, salute the king,
From whom our bliss and honour spring.”
Obedient to his mother's hest
His father's feet he gently pressed
[pg 353]
With twining arms and lingering hands:
“Father,” he cried, “here Angad stands.”
Then Tárá: “Art thou stern and mute,
Regardless of thy child's salute?
Hast thou no blessing for thy son,
No word for little Angad, none?
O, hero, at thy lifeless feet
Here with my boy I take my seat,
As some sad mother of the herd,
By the fierce lion undeterred,
Lies moaning by the grassy dell
Wherein her lord and leader fell.
How, having wrought that awful rite,
The sacrifice of deadly fight,
Wherein the shaft by Ráma sped
Supplied the place of water shed,
How hast thou bathed thee at the end
Without thy wife her aid to lend?609
Why do mine eyes no more behold
Thy bright beloved chain of gold,
Which, pleased with thee, the Immortals' King
About thy neck vouchsafed to fling?
Still lingering on thy lifeless face
I see the pride of royal race:
Thus when the sun has set, his glow
Still rests upon the Lord of Snow.
Alas my hero! undeterred
Thou wouldst not listen to my word.
With tears and prayers I sued in vain:
Thou wouldst not listen, and art slain.
Gone is my bliss, my glory: I
And Angad now with thee will die.”
Canto XXIV. Sugríva's Lament.
But when Sugríva saw her weep
O'erwhelmed in sorrow's rushing deep,
Swift through his bosom pierced the sting
Of anguish for the fallen king.
At the sad sight his eyes beheld
A flood of bitter tears outwelled,
And, with his bosom racked and rent,
To Ráma with his train he went.
He came with faltering steps and slow
Where Ráma held his mighty bow
And arrow like a venomed snake,
And to the son of Raghu spake:
“Well hast thou kept, O King, thy vow:
The promised fruit is gathered now.
But life is marred, my soul to-day
Turns sickening from all joy away.
For, while this queen laments and sighs
Amid a mourning people's cries,
And Angad weeps his father slain,
How can my heart delight to reign?
For outrage, fury, senseless pride,
My brother, doomed of yore, has died.
Yet, Raghu's son, in bitter woe
I mourn his fated overthrow.
Ah, better far in pain and ill
To dwell on Rishyamúka still
Than gain the heaven of Gods and all
Its pleasures by my brother's fall.
Did not he cry,—great-hearted foe,—
“Go, for I will not slay thee, Go”?
With his brave soul those words agree:
My speech, my deeds, are worthy me.
How can a brother counterweigh
His grievous loss with joys of sway,
And see with dull unpitying eye
So brave and good a brother die?
His lofty soul was nobly blind:
My death alas, he ne'er designed;
But I, urged blindly on by hate,
Sought with his life my rage to sate.
He smote me with a splintered tree:
I groaned aloud and turned to flee,
From stern reproaches he forbore,
And gently bade me sin no more.
Serene and dutiful and good
He kept the laws of brotherhood:
I, fierce and greedy, vengeful, base,
Showed all the vices of our race.
Ah me, dear friend, my brother's fate
Lays on my soul a crushing weight:
A sin no heart should e'er conceive,
But at the thought each soul should grieve:
Sin such as Indra's when his blow
Laid heavenly Viśvarúpa610 low.
Yet earth, the waters of the seas,
The race of women and the trees
Were fain upon themselves to take
The weight of sin for Indra's sake.
But who a Vánar's soul will free,
Or ease the load that crushes me?
Wretch that I am, I may not claim
The reverence due to royal name.
How shall I reign supreme, or dare
Affect the power I should not share?
Ah me, I sorrow for my sin,
The ruin of my race and kin,
Polluted by a hideous crime
World-hated till the end of time.
Alas, the floods of sorrow roll
With whelming force upon my soul:
So gathers the descending rain
In the deep hollow of the plain.”
[pg 354]
Canto XXV. Ráma's Speech.
Then Raghu's son, whose feeling breast
Shared the great woe that moved the rest,
Strove with wise charm their grief to ease
And gently spoke in words like these:
“You ne'er can raise the dead to bliss
By agony of grief like this.
Cease your lament, nor leave undone
The funeral task you may not shun.
As nature orders o'er the dead.
Your tributary tears are shed,
But Fate, directing each event,
Is still the lord preëminent.
Yes, all obey the changeless laws
Of Fate the universal cause.
By Fate, the lives of all proceed,
That governs every word and deed,
None acts, none sees his hest obeyed,
But each and all by Fate are swayed.
The world its ordered course maintains,
And o'er that course Fate ever reigns.
Fate ne'er exceeds the rule of Fate:
Is ne'er too swift, is ne'er too late,
And making nature its ally
Forgets no life, nor passes by.
No kith and kin, no power and force
Can check or stay its settled course,
No friend or client, grace or charm,
That victor of the world disarm.
So all who see with prudent eyes
The hand of Fate must recognize,
For virtue rules, or love, or gain,
As Fate's unchanged decrees ordain.
Báli has died and won the meed
That waits in heaven on noble deed,
Throned in the seats the brave may reach
By liberal hand and gentle speech,
True to a warrior's duty, bold
In fight, the hero lofty-souled
Deigned not to guard his life: he died,
And now in heaven is glorified.
Then cease these tears and wild despair:
Turn to the task that claims your care,
For Báli's is the glorious fate
Which warriors count most fortunate.”
When Ráma's speech had found a close,
Brave Lakshmaṇ, terror of his foes,
With wise and soothing words addressed
Sugríva still with woe oppressed:
“Arise Sugríva,” thus he said,
“Perform the service of the dead.
Prepare with Tárá and her son
That Báli's rites be duly done.
A store of funeral wood provide
Which wind and sun and time have dried
And richest sandal fit to grace
The pyre of one of royal race.
With words of comfort soft and kind
Console poor Angad's troubled mind,
Nor let thy heart be thus cast down,
For thine is now the Vánars' town.
Let Angad's care a wreath supply,
And raiment rich with varied dye,
And oil and perfumes for the fire,
And all the solemn rites require.
Go, hasten to the town, O King,
And Tárá's little quickly bring.
A virtue is despatch: and speed
Is best of all in hour of need.
Go, let a chosen band prepare
The litter of the dead to bear.
For stout and tall and strong of limb
Must be the chiefs who carry him.”
He spoke,—his friends' delight and pride,—
Then stood again by Ráma's side.
When Tára611 heard the words he said
Within the town he quickly sped,
And brought, on stalwart shoulders laid,
The litter for the rites arrayed,
Framed like a car for Gods, complete
With painted sides and royal seat,
With latticed windows deftly made,
And golden birds and trees inlaid:
Well joined and wrought in every part,
A marvel of ingenious art.
Where pleasure mounds in carven wood
And many a graven figure stood.
The best of jewels o'er it hung,
And wreaths of flowers around it clung,
And over all was raised on high
A canopy of saffron dye,
While like the sun of morning shone
The brilliant blooms that lay thereon.
That glorious litter Ráma eyed.
And spake to Lakshmaṇ by his side:
“Let Báli on the bier be placed
And with all funeral service graced.”
Sugríva then with many a tear
Drew Báli's body to the bier
Whereon, with weeping Angad's aid,
The relics of the chief were laid
Neath many a vesture's varied fold,
And wreaths and ornaments and gold.
Then King Sugríva bade them speed
The obsequies by law decreed:
“Let Vánars lead the way and throw
Rich gems around them as they go,
And be the chosen bearers near
Behind them laden with the bier.
No costly rite may you deny,
Used when the proudest monarchs die:
As for a king of widest sway.
Perform his obsequies to-day.”
[pg 355]
Sugríva gave his high behest;
Then Princely Tára and the rest,
With little Angad weeping, led
The long procession of the dead.
Behind the funeral litter came,
With Tárá first, each widowed dame,
In tears and shrieks her loss deplored,
Add cried aloud, My lord! My lord!
While wood and hill and valley sent
In echoes back the shrill lament.
Then on a low and sandy isle
Was reared the hero's funeral pile
By crowds of toiling Vánars, where
The mountain stream ran fresh and fair,
The Vánar chiefs, a noble band,
Had laid the litter on the sand,
And stood a little space apart,
Each mourning in his inmost heart.
But Tárá, when her weeping eye
Saw Báli, on the litter lie,
Laid his dear head upon her lap,
And wailed aloud her dire mishap;
“O mighty Vánar, lord and king,
To whose fond breast I loved to cling,
Of goodly arms, wise, brave, and bold,
Rise, look upon me as of old.
Rise up, my sovereign, dost thou see
A crowd of subjects weep for thee?
Still o'er thy face, though breath has fled,
The joyous light of life is spread:
Thus around the sun, although he set,
A crimson glory lingers yet.
Death clad in Ráma's form to-day
Hast dragged thee from the world away.
One shaft from his tremendous bow
Dooms us to widowhood and woe.
Hast thou, O Vánar King, no eyes
Thy weeping wives to recognize,
Who for the length of way unmeet
Have followed thee with weary feet?
Yet every moon-faced beauty here
By thee, O King was counted dear.
Lord of the Vánar race, hast thou
No eyes to see Sugríva now?
About thee stands in mournful mood
A sore-afflicted multitude,
And Tára and thy lords of state
Around their monarch weep and wait.
Arise my lord, with gentle speech,
As was thy wont, dismissing each,
Then in the forest will we play
And love shall make our spirits gay.”
The Vánar dames raised Tárá, drowned
In floods of sorrow, from the ground;
And Angad with Sugríva's aid,
O'erwhelmed with anguish and dismayed,
Weeping for his departed sire,
Placed Báli's body on the pyre:
Then lit the flame, and round the dead
Passed slowly with a mourner's tread.
Thus with full rites the funeral train
Performed the service for the slain,
Then sought the flowing stream and made
Libations to the parted shade.
There, setting Angad first in place,
The chieftains of the Vánar race,
With Tárá and Sugríva, shed
The water that delights the dead.
Canto XXVI. The Coronation.
Each Vánar councillor and peer
In crowded numbers gathered near
Sugríva, mournful king, while yet
His vesture from the wave was wet,
Before the chief of Raghu's seed
Unwearied in each arduous deed,
They stood and raised the reverent hand
As saints before Lord Brahmá stand.
Then Hanumán of massive mould,
Like some tall hill of glistering gold,
Son of the God whose wild blasts shake
The forest, thus to Ráma spake:
“By thy kind favour, O my lord,
Sugríva, to his home restored
Triumphant, has regained to-day
His rank and power and royal sway.
He now will call each faithful friend,
Enter the city, and attend
With sage advice and prudent care
To every task that waits him there.
Then balm and unguent shall anoint
Our monarch, as the laws appoint,
And gems and precious wreaths shall be
His grateful offering, King, to thee.
Do thou, O Ráma, with thy friend
Thy steps within the city bend;
Our ruler on his throne install,
And with thy presence cheer us all.”
Then, skilled in lore and arts that guide
The speaker, Raghu's son replied:
“For fourteen years I might not break
The mandate that my father spake;
Nor can I, till that time be fled,
The street of town or village tread.
Let King Sugríva seek the town
Most worthy of her high renown,
There let him be without delay
Anointed, and begin his sway.”
This answered, to Sugríva then
Thus spake anew the king of men:
“Do thou who knowest right ordain
Prince Angad consort of thy reign;
For he is noble, true, and bold,
And trained a righteous course to hold
Gifts like his sire's that youth adorn
Born eldest to the eldest born.
[pg 356]
This is the month of Śrávaṇ,612 first
Of those that see the rain-clouds burst.
Four months, thou knowest well, extends
The season when the rain descends.
No time for deeds of war is this:
Seek thou thy fair metropolis,
And I with Lakshmaṇ, O my friend,
The time upon this hill will spend.
An ample cavern opens there
Made lovely by the mountain air,
And lotuses and lilies fill
The pleasant lake and murmuring rill.
When Kártik's613 month shall clear the skies,
Then tempt the mighty enterprise.
Now, chieftain to thy home repair,
And be anointed sovereign there.”
Sugríva heard: he bowed his head:
Within the lovely town he sped
Which Báli's royal will had swayed,
Where thousand Vánar chiefs arrayed
Gathered in order round their king,
And led him on with welcoming.
Low on the earth the lesser crowd
Fell in prostration as they bowed.
Sugríva looked with grateful eyes,
Spake to them all and bade them rise.
Then through the royal bowers he strode
Wherein the monarch's wives abode.
Soon from the inner chambers came
The Vánar of exalted fame;
And joyful friends drew near and shed
King-making balm upon his head,
Like Gods anointing in the skies
Their sovereign of the thousand eyes.614
Then brought they, o'er their king to hold
The white umbrella decked with gold,
And chouries with their waving hair
In golden handles wondrous fair;
And fragrant herbs and seed and spice,
And sparkling gems exceeding price,
And every bloom from woods and leas,
And gum distilled from milky trees;
And precious ointment white as milk,
And spotless robes of cloth and silk,
Wreaths of sweet flowers whose glories gleam
In grassy grove, on lake or stream.
And fragrant sandal and each scent
That makes the soft breeze redolent;
Grain, honey, odorous seed, and store
Of oil and curd and golden ore;
A noble tiger's skin, a pair
Of sandals wrought with costliest care,
Eight pairs of damsels drawing nigh
Brought unguents stained with varied dye.
Then gems and cates and robes displayed
Before the twice-born priests were laid,
That they would deign in order due
To consecrate the king anew.
The sacred grass was duly spread
And sacrificial flame was fed,
Which Scripture-learned priests supplied
With oil which texts had sanctified.
Then, with all rites ordained of old,
High on the terrace bright with gold,
Whereon a glorious carpet lay,
And fresh-culled garlands sweet and gay,
Placed on his throne, Sugríva bent
His looks toward the Orient.
In horns from forehead of the bull,
In pitchers bright and beautiful,
In urns of gold the Vánara took
Pure water brought from stream and brook,
From every consecrated strand
And every sea that beats the land.
Then, as prescribed by sacred lore
And many a mighty sage of yore,615
The leaders of the Vánars poured
The sacred water on their lord.616
From every Vánar at the close
Of that imperial rite arose
Shouts of glad triumph, loud and long
Repeated by the high-souled throng.
Sugríva, when the rite was done,
Obeyed the hest of Raghu's son,
Prince Angad to his breast he strained,
And partner of his sway ordained.
Once more from all the host rang out
The loud huzza and jovful shout.
“Well done! well done!” each Vánar cried,
And good Sugríva glorified.
[pg 357]
Then with glad voices loudly raised
Were Ráma and his brother praised;
And bright Kishkindhá shone that day
With happy throngs and banners gay.
Canto XXVII. Ráma On The Hill.
But when the solemn rite was o'er,
And bold Sugríva reigned once more,
The sons of Raghu sought the hill,
Praśravaṇ of the rushing rill,
Where roamed the tiger and the deer,
And lions raised their voice of fear;
Thick set with trees of every kind,
With trailing shrubs and plants entwined;
Home of the ape and monkey, lair
Of mountain cat and pard and bear.
In cloudy gloom against the sky
The sanctifying hills rose high.
Pierced in their crest, a spacious cave
To Raghu's sons a shelter gave.
Then Ráma, pure from every crime,
In words well suited to the time
To Lakshmaṇ spake, whose faithful zeal
Watched humbly for his brother's weal:
“I love this spacious cavern where
There breathes a fresh and pleasant air.
Brave brother, let us here remain
Throughout the season of the rain.
For in mine eyes this mountain crest
Is above all, the loveliest.
Where copper-hued and black and white
Show the huge blocks that face the height;
Where gleams the shine of varied ore,
Where dark clouds hang and torrents roar;
Where waving woods are fair to see,
And creepers climb from tree to tree;
Where the gay peacock's voice is shrill,
And sweet birds carol on the hill;
Where odorous breath is wafted far
From Jessamine and Sinduvár;617
And opening flowers of every hue
Give wondrous beauty to the view.
See, too, this pleasant water near
Our cavern home is fresh and clear;
And lilies gay with flower and bud
Are glorious on the lovely flood.
This cave that fares north and east
Will shelter us till rain has ceased;
And towering hills that rise behind
Will screen us from the furious wind.
Close by the cavern's portal lies
And level stone of ample size
And sable hue, a mighty block
Long severed from the parent rock.
Now let thine eye bent northward rest
A while upon that mountain crest,
High as a cloud that brings the rain,
And dark as iron rent in twain.
Look southward, brother, now and view
A cloudy pile of paler hue
Like Mount Kailása's topmost height
Where ores of every tint are bright.
See, Lakshman, see before our cave
That clear brook eastward roll its wave
As though 'twere Gangá's infant rill
Down streaming from the three-peaked hill.
See, by the water's gentle flow
Aśoka, sál, and sandal grow.
And every lovely tree most fair
With leaf and bud and flower is there.
See there, beneath the bending trees
That fringe her bank, the river flees,
Clothed with their beauty like a maid
In all her robes and gems arrayed,
While from the sedgy banks are heard
The soft notes of each amorous bird.
O see what lovely islets stud
Like gems the bosom of the flood,
And sárases and wild swans crowd
About her till she laughs aloud.
See, lotus blooms the brook o'erspread,
Some tender blue, some dazzling red,
And opening lilies white as snow
Their buds in rich profusion show.
There rings the joyous peacock's scream,
There stands the curlew by the stream,
And holy hermits love to throng
Where the sweet waters speed along.
Ranged on the grassy margin shine
Gay sandal trees in glittering line,
And all the wondrous verdure seems
The offspring of creative dreams.
O conquering Prince, there cannot be
A lovelier place than this we see.
Here sheltered on the beauteous height
Our days will pass in calm delight.
Nor is Kishkindhá's city, gay
With grove and garden, far away.
Thence will the breeze of evening bring
Sweet music as the minstrels sing;
And, when the Vánars dance, will come
The sound of tabour and of drum.
Again to spouse and realm restored,
Girt by his friends, the Vánar lord
Great glory has acquired; and how
Can he be less than happy now?”
This said, the son of Raghu made
His dwelling in that pleasant shade
Upon the mountain's shelving side
That sweetly all his wants supplied.
But still the hero's troubled mind
No comfort in his woe could find,
Yet mourning for his stolen wife
Dearer to Ráma than his life,
Chief when he saw the Lord of Night
Rise slowly o'er the eastern height,
[pg 358]
He tossed upon his leafy bed
With eyes by sleep unvisited.
Outwelled the tears in ceaseless flow,
And every sense was numbed by woe.
Each pang that pierced the mourner through
Smote Lakshmaṇ's faithful bosom too,
Who, troubled for his brother's sake,
With wisest words the prince bespake:
“Arise, my brother, and be strong:
Thy hero heart has mourned too long.
Thou knowest well that tears and sighs
Will mar the mightiest enterprise.
Thine was the soul that loved to dare:
To serve the Gods was still thy care;
And ne'er may sorrow's sting subdue
A heart so resolute and true.
How canst thou hope to slay in fight
The giant cruel in his might?
Unwearied must the champion be
Who strives with such a foe as he.
Tear out this sorrow by the root;
Again be bold and resolute.
Arise, my brother, and subdue
The demon and his wicked crew.
Thou canst destroy the earth, her seas,
Her rooted hills and giant trees
Unseated by thy furious hand:
And shall one fiend thy power withstand?
Wait through this season of the rain
Till suns of autumn dry the plain,
Then shall thy giant foe, and all
His host and realm, before thee fall.
I wake thy valour that has slept
Amid the tears thine eyes have wept;
As drops of oil in worship raise
The dormant flame to sudden blaze.”
The son of Raghu heard: he knew
His brother's rede was wise and true;
And, honouring his friendly guide,
In gentle words he thus replied:
“Whate'er a hero firm and bold,
Devoted, true, and lofty-souled
Should speak by deep affection led,
Such are the words which thou hast said.
I cast away each pensive thought
That brings the noblest plans to naught,
And each uninjured power will strain
Until the purposed end we gain.
Thy prudent words will I obey,
And till the close of rain-time stay,
When King Sugríva will invite
To action, and the streams be bright.
The hero saved in hour of need
Repays the debt with friendly deed:
But hated by the good are they
Who take the boon and ne'er repay.”
Canto XXVIII. The Rains.
“See, brother, see” thus Ráma cried
On Mályavat's618 dark-wooded side,
“A chain of clouds, like lofty hills,
The sky with gathering shadow fills.
Nine months those clouds have borne the load
Conceived from sunbeams as they glowed,
And, having drunk the seas, give birth,
And drop their offspring on the earth.
Easy it seems at such a time
That flight of cloudy stairs to climb,
And, from their summit, safely won,
Hang flowery wreaths about the sun.
See how the flash of evening's red
Fringes the fleecy clouds o'erhead
Till all the sky is streaked and lined
With bleeding wounds incarnadined,
Or the wide firmament above
Shows like a lover sick with love
And, pale with cloudlets, heaves a sigh
In the soft breeze that wanders by.
See, by the fervent heat embrowned,
How drenched with recent showers, the ground
Pours out in floods her gushing tears,
Like Sítá wild with torturing fears.
So softly blows this cloud-born breeze
Cool through the boughs of camphor trees
That one might hold it in the cup
Of hollowed hands and drink it up.
See, brother, where that rocky steep,
Where odorous shrubs in rain-drops weep,
Shows like Sugríva when they shed
Tne royal balm upon his head.
Like students at their task appear
These hills whose misty peaks are near:
Black deerskin619 garments wrought of cloud
Their forms with fitting mantles shroud,
Each torrent from the summit poured
Supplies the place of sacred cord.620
And winds that in their caverns moan
[pg 359]
Sound like the voice's undertone.621
From east to west red lightnings flash,
And, quivering neath the golden lash,
The great sky like a generous steed
Groans inly at each call to speed.
Yon lightning, as it flashes through
The giant cloud of sable hue,
Recalls my votaress Sítá pressed
Mid struggles to the demon's breast.
See, on those mountain ridges stand
Sweet shrubs that bud and bloom expand.
The soft rain ends their pangs of grief,
And drops its pearls on flower and leaf.
But all their raptures stab me through
And wake my pining love anew.622
Now through the air no wild bird flies,
Each lily shuts her weary eyes;
And blooms of opening jasmin show
The parting sun has ceased to glow.
No captain now for conquest burns,
But homeward with his host returns;
For roads and kings' ambitious dreams
Have vanished neath descending streams.
This is the watery month623 wherein
The Sámar's624 sacred chants begin.
Áshádha625 past, now Kośal's lord626
The harvest of the spring has stored,627
And dwells within his palace freed
From every care of pressing need.
Full is the moon, and fierce and strong
Impetuous Sarjú628 roars along
As though Ayodhyá's crowds ran out
To greet their king with echoing shout.
In this sweet time of ease and rest
No care disturbs Sugríva's breast,
The foe that marred his peace o'erthrown,
And queen and realm once more his own.
Alas, a harder fate is mine,
Reft both of realm and queen to pine,
And, like the bank which floods erode,
I sink beneath my sorrow's load.
Sore on my soul my miseries weigh,
And these long rains our action stay,
While Rávan seems a mightier foe
Than I dare hope to overthrow.
I saw the roads were barred by rain,
I knew the hopes of war were vain;
Nor could I bid Sugríva rise,
Though prompt to aid my enterprise.
E'en now I scarce can urge my friend
On whom his house and realm depend,
Who, after toil and peril past,
Is happy with his queen at last.
Sugríva after rest will know
The hour is come to strike the blow,
Nor will his grateful soul forget
My succour, or deny the debt
I know his generous heart, and hence
Await the time with confidence
When he his friendly zeal will show,
And brooks again untroubled flow.”629
Canto XXIX. Hanumán's Counsel.
No flash of lightning lit the sky,
No cloudlet marred the blue on high.
The Saras630 missed the welcome rain,
The moon's full beams were bright again.
Sugríva, lapped in bliss, forgot
The claims of faith, or heeded not;
And by alluring joys misled
The path of falsehood learned to tread.
In careless ease he passed each hour,
And dallied in his lady's bower.
Each longing of his heart was stilled,
And every lofty hope fulfilled.
With royal Rumá by his side,
Or Tárá yet a dearer bride,
[pg 360]
He spent each joyous day and night
In revelry and wild delight,
Like Indra whom the nymphs entice
To taste the joys of Paradise.
The power to courtiers' hands resigned,
To all their acts his eyes were blind.
All doubt, all fear he cast aside
And lived with pleasure for his guide.
But sage Hanúmán, firm and true,
Whose heart the lore of Scripture knew,
Well trained to meet occasion, trained
In all by duty's law ordained,
Strove with his prudent speech to find
Soft access to the monarch's mind.
He, skilled in every gentle art
Of eloquence that wins the heart,
Sugríva from his trance to wake,
His salutary counsel spake:
“The realm is won, thy name advanced,
The glory of thy house enhanced,
And now thy foremost care should be
To aid the friends who succoured thee.
He who is firm and faithful found
To friendly ties in honour bound,
Will see his name and fame increase
And his blest kingdom thrive in peace.
Wide sway is his who truly boasts
That friends and treasure, self and hosts,
All blent in one harmonious whole,
Are subject to his firm control.
Do thou, whose footsteps never stray
From the clear bounds of duty's way,
Assist, as honour bids thee, now
Thy friends, observant of thy vow.
For if all cares we lay not by,
And to our friend's assistance fly,
We, after, toil in idle haste,
And all the late endeavour waste.
Up! nor the promised help delay
Until the hour have slipped away.
Up! and with Raghu's son renew
The search for Sítá lost to view.
The hour is come: he hears the call,
But not on thee reproaches fall
From him who labours to repress
His eager spirit's restlessness.
Long joined to thee in friendly ties
He made thy fame and fortune rise,
In gentle gifts by none excelled.
In splendid might unparalleled.
Up, to his succour, King! repay
The favour of that prosperous day,
And to thy bravest captains send
Prompt mandates to assist thy friend.
The cry for help thou wilt not spurn
Although no grace demands return:
And wilt thou not thine aid afford
To him who realm and life restored?
Exert thy power, and thou hast won
The love of Daśaratha's son:
And wilt thou for his summons wait,
And, till he call thee, hesitate?
Think not the hero needs thy power
To save him in the desperate hour:
He with his arrows could subdue
The Gods and all the demon crew,
And only waits that he may see
Redeemed the promise made by thee.
For thee he risked his life and fought,
For thee that great deliverance wrought.
Then let us trace through earth and skies
His lady wheresoe'er she lies.
Through realms above, beneath, we flee,
And plant our footsteps on the sea.
Then why, O Lord of Vánars, still
Delay us waiting for thy will?
Give thy commands, O King, and say
What task has each and where the way.
Before thee myriad Vánars stand
To sweep through heaven, o'er seas and land.”
Sugríva heard the timely rede
That roused him in the day of need,
And thus to Níla prompt and brave
His hest the imperial Vánar gave:
“Go, Níla, to the distant hosts
That keep in arms their several posts,
And all the armies that protect
The quarters,631 with their chiefs, collect.
To all the luminaries placed
In intermediate regions haste,
And bid each captain rise and lead
His squadrons to their king with speed.
Do thou meanwhile with strictest care
All that the time requires prepare.
The loitering Vánar who delays
To gather here ere thrice five days,
Shall surely die for his offence,
Condemned for sinful negligence.”
Canto XXX. Ráma's Lament.
But Ráma in the autumn night
Stood musing on the mountain height,
While grief and love that scorned control
Shook with wild storms the hero's soul.
Clear was the sky, without a cloud
The glory of the moon to shroud.
And bright with purest silver shone
Each hill the soft beams looked upon.
He knew Sugríva's heart was bent
On pleasure, gay and negligent.
He thought on Janak's child forlorn
From his fond arms for ever torn.
He mourned occasion slipping by,
And faint with anguish heaved each sigh.
[pg 361]
He sat where many a varied streak
Of rich ore marked the mountain peak.
He raised his eyes the sky to view,
And to his love his sad thoughts flew.
He heard the Sáras cry, and faint
With sorrow poured his love-born plaint:
“She, she who mocked the softest tone
Of wild birds' voices with her own,—
Where strays she now, my love who played
So happy in our hermit shade?
How can my absent love behold
The bright trees with their flowers of gold,
And all their gleaming glory see
With eyes that vainly look for me?
How is it with my darling when
From the deep tangles of the glen
Float carols of each bird elate
With rapture singing to his mate?
In vain my weary glances rove
From lake to hill, from stream to grove:
I find no rapture in the scene,
And languish for my fawn-eyed queen.
Ah, does strong love with wild unrest,
Born of the autumn, stir her breast?
And does the gentle lady pine
Till her bright eyes shall look in mine?”
Thus Raghu's son in piteous tone,
O'erwhelmed with sorrow, made his moan.
E'en as the bird that drinks the rains632
To Indra thousand-eyed complains.
Then Lakshmaṇ who had wandered through
The copses where the berries grew,
Returning to the cavern found
His brother chief in sorrow drowned,
And pitying the woes that broke
The spirit of the hero spoke:
“Why cast thy strength of soul away,
And weakly yield to passion's sway?
Arise, my brother, do and dare
Ere action perish in despair.
Recall the firmness of thy heart,
And nerve thee for a hero's part.
Whose is the hand unscathed to sieze
The red flame quickened by the breeze?
Where is the foe will dare to wrong
Or keep the Maithil lady long?”
Then with pale lips that sorrow dried
The son of Raghu thus replied:
“Lord Indra thousand-eyed, has sent
The sweet rain from the firmament,
Sees the rich promise of the grain,
And turns him to his rest again.
The clouds with voices loud and deep,
Veiling each tree upon the steep,
Up on the thirsty earth have shed
Their precious burden and are fled.
Now in kings' hearts ambition glows:
They rush to battle with their foes;633
But in Sugríva's sloth I see
No care for deeds of chivalry.
See, Lakshmaṇ, on each breezy height
A thousand autumn blooms are bright.
See how the wings of wild swans gleam
On every islet of the stream.
Four months of flood and rain are past:
A hundred years they seemed to last
To me whom toil and trouble tried,
My Sítá severed from my side.
She, gentlest woman, weak and young,
Still to her lord unwearied clung.
Still by the exile's side she stood
In the wild ways of Daṇḍak wood,
Like a fond bird disconsolate
If parted from her darling mate.
Sugríva, lapped in soft repose,
Untouched by pity for my woes,
Scorns the poor exile, dispossessed,
By Rávaṇ's mightier arm oppressed,
The wretch who comes to sue and pray
From his lost kingdom far away.
Hence falls on me the Vánar's scorn,
A suitor friendless and forlorn.
The time is come: with heedless eye
He sees the hour of action fly,—
Unmindful, now his hopes succeed,
Of promise made in stress of need.
Go seek him sunk in bliss and sloth,
Forgetful of his royal oath,
And as mine envoy thus upbraid
The monarch for his help delayed:
“Vile is the wretch who will not pay
The favour of an earlier day,
Hope in the supplicant's breast awakes,
And then his plighted promise breaks.
Noblest, mid all of women born,
Who keeps the words his lips have sworn,
Yea, if those words be good or ill,
Maintains his faith unbroken still.
The thankless who forget to aid
The friend who helped them when they prayed,
Dishonoured in their death shall lie,
And dogs shall pass their corpses by.
Sure thou wouldst see my strained arm hold
My bow of battle backed with gold,
Wouldst gaze upon its awful form
Like lightning flashing through the storm,
And hear the clanging bowstring loud
As thunder from a labouring cloud.”
His valour and his strength I know:
But pleasure's sway now sinks them low,
With thee, my brother, for ally
That strength and valour I defy.
[pg 362]
He promised, when the rains should end,
The succour of his arm to lend.
Those months are past: he dares forget,
And, lapped in pleasure, slumbers yet.
No thought disturbs his careless breast
For us impatient and distressed,
And, while we sadly wait and pine,
Girt by his lords he quaffs the wine.
Go, brother, go, his palace seek,
And boldly to Sugríva speak,
Thus give the listless king to know
What waits him if my anger glow:
Still open, to the gloomy God,
Lies the sad path that Báli trod.
“Still to thy plighted word be true,
Lest thou, O King, that path pursue.
I launched the shaft I pointed well.
And Báli, only Báli, fell.
But, if from truth thou dare to stray,
Both thee and thine this hand shall slay.”
Thus be the Vánar king addressed,
Then add thyself what seems the best.”
Canto XXXI. The Envoy.
Thus Ráma spoke, and Lakshmaṇ then
Made answer to the prince of men:
“Yea, if the Vánar, undeterred
By fear of vengeance, break his word,
Loss of his royal power ere long
Shall pay the traitor for the wrong.
Nor deem I him so void of sense
To brave the bitter consequence.
But if enslaved to joy he lie,
And scorn thy grace with blinded eye,
Then let him join his brother slain:
Unmeet were such a wretch to reign.
Quick rises, kindling in my breast,
The wrath that will not be repressed,
And bids me in my fury slay
The breaker of his faith to-day.
Let Báli's son thy consort trace
With bravest chiefs of Vánar race.”
Thus spoke the hero, and aglow
With rage of battle seized his bow.
But Ráma thus in gentler mood
With fitting words his speech renewed:
“No hero with a soul like thine
To paths of sin will e'er incline,
He who his angry heart can tame
Is worthiest of a hero's name.
Not thine, my brother, be the part
So alien from the tender heart,
Nor let thy feet by wrath misled
Forsake the path they loved to tread.
From harsh and angry words abstain:
With gentle speech a hearing gain,
And tax Sugríva with the crime
Of failing faith and wasted time.”
Then Lakshmaṇ, bravest of the brave,
Obeyed the hest that Ráma gave,
To whom devoting every thought
The Vánar's royal town he sought.
As Mandar's mountain heaves on high
His curved peak soaring to the sky,
So Lakshmaṇ showed, his dread bow bent
Like Indra's634 in the firmament.
His brother's wrath, his brother's woe
Inflamed his soul to fiercest glow.
The tallest trees to earth were cast
As furious on his way he passed,
And where he stepped, so fiercely fleet,
The stones were shivered by his feet.
He reached Kishkindhá's city deep
Embosomed where the hills were steep,
Where street and open square were lined
With legions of the Vánar kind.
Then, as his lips with fury swelled,
The lord of Raghu's line beheld
A stream of Vánar chiefs outpoured
To do obeisance to their lord.
But when the mighty prince in view
Of the thick coming Vánars drew,
They turned them in amaze to seize
Crags of the rock and giant trees.
He saw, and fiercer waxed his ire,
As oil lends fury to the fire.
Scarce had the Vánar chieftains seen
That wrathful eye, that troubled mien
Fierce as the God's who rules the dead,
When, turned in wild affright, they fled.
Speeding in breathless terror all
Sought King Sugríva's council hall,
And there made known their tale of fear,
That Lakshmaṇ wild with rage, was near.
The king, untroubled by alarms,
Held Tárá in his amorous arms,
And in the distant bower with her
Heard not each clamorous messenger.
Then, summoned at the lords' behest
Forth from the city portals pressed,
Each like some elephant or cloud,
The Vánars in a trembling crowd:
Fierce warriors all with massive jaws
And terrors of their tiger claws,
Some matched ten elephants, and some
A hundred's strength could overcome.
Some chieftains, mightier than the rest,
Ten times a hundred's force possessed.
With eyes of fury Lakshmaṇ viewed
The Vánars' tree-armed multitude.
Thus garrisoned from side to side
The city walls assault defied.
Beyond the moat that girt the wall
Advanced the Vánar chiefs; and all
Upon the plain in firm brigade,
Impetuous warriors, stood arrayed.
[pg 363]
Red at the sight flashed Lakshmaṇ's eyes,
His bosom heaved tumultuous sighs,
And forth the fire of fury broke
Like flame that flashes through the smoke.
Like some fierce snake the hero stood:
His bow recalled the expanded hood,
And in his shaft-head bright and keen
The flickering of its tongue was seen:
And in his own all-conquering might
The venom of its deadly bite.
Prince Angad marked his angry look,
And every hope his heart forsook.
Then, his large eyes with fury red,
To Angad Lakshmaṇ turned and said:
“Go tell the king that Lakshmaṇ waits
For audience at the city gates,
Whose heart, O tamer of thy foes,
Is heavy with his brother's woes.
Bid him to Ráma's word attend,
And ask if he will aid his friend.
Go, let the king my message learn:
Then hither with all speed return.”
Prince Angad heard and wild with grief
Cried as he looked upon the chief:
“'Tis Lakshmaṇ's self: impelled by ire
He seeks the city of my sire.”
At the fierce words and furious look
Of Raghu's son he quailed and shook.
Back through the city gates he sped,
And, laden with the tale of dread,
Sought King Sugríva, filled his ears
And Rumá's with his doubts and fears.
To Rumá and the king he bent,
And clasped their feet most reverent,
Clasped the dear feet of Tárá, too,
And told the startling tale anew.
But King Sugríva's ear was dulled,
By love and wine and languor lulled,
Nor did the words that Angad spake
The slumberer from his trance awake.
But soon as Raghu's son came nigh
The startled Vánars raised a cry,
And strove to win his grace, while dread
Each anxious heart disquieted.
They saw, and, as they gathered round,
Rose from the mighty throng a sound
Like torrents when they downward dash,
Or thunder with the lightning's flash.
The shouting of the Vánars broke
Sugríva's slumber, and he woke:
Still with the wine his eyes were red,
His neck with flowers was garlanded.
Roused at the voice of Angad came
Two Vánar lords of rank and fame;
One Yaksha, one Prabháva hight,—
Wise counsellors of gain and right.
They came and raised their voices high,
And told that Raghu's son was nigh:
“Two brothers steadfast in their truth,
Each glorious in the bloom of youth,
Worthy of rule, have left the skies,
And clothed their forms in men's disguise.
One at thy gates, in warlike hands
Holding his mighty weapon, stands.
His message is the charioteer
That brings the eager envoy near,
Urged onward by his bold intent,
And by the hest of Ráma sent.”
The gathered Vánars saw and fled,
And raised aloud their cry of dread.
Son of Queen Tárá, Angad ran
To parley with the godlike man.
Still fiery-eyed with rage and hate
Stands Lakshmaṇ at the city gate,
And trembling Vánars scarce can fly
Scathed by the lightning of his eye.
“Go with thy son, thy kith and kin,
The favour of the prince to win,
And bow thy reverent head that so
His fiery wrath may cease to glow.
What righteous Ráma bids thee, do,
And to thy plighted word be true.”
Canto XXXII. Hanumán's Counsel.
Sugríva heard, and, trained and tried
In counsel, to his lords replied:
“No deed of mine, no hasty word
The anger of the prince has stirred.
But haply some who hate me still
And watch their time to work me ill,
Have slandered me to Raghu's son,
Accused of deeds I ne'er have done.
Now, O my lords—for you are wise—
Speak truly what your hearts advise,
And, pondering each event, inquire
The reason of the prince's ire.
No fear have I of Lakshmaṇ: none:
No dread of Raghu's mightier son.
But wrath, that fires a friendly breast
Without due cause, disturbs my rest.
With labour light is friendship gained,
But with severest toil maintained.
And doubt is strong, and faith is weak,
[pg 364]
And friendship dies when traitors speak.
Hence is my troubled bosom cold
With fear of Ráma lofty-souled;
For heavy on my spirit weigh
His favours I can ne'er repay.”
He ceased: and Hanumán of all
The Vánars in the council hall
In wisdom first, and rank, expressed
The thoughts that filled his prudent breast:
“No marvel thou rememberest yet
The service thou shouldst ne'er forget,
How the brave prince of Raghu's seed
Thy days from fear and peril freed;
And Báli for thy sake o'erthrew,
Whom Indra's self might scarce subdue.
I doubt not Ráma's anger burns
For the scant love thy heart returns.
For this he sends his brother, him
Whose glory never waxes dim.
Sunk in repose thy careless eye
Marks not the seasons as they fly,
Nor sees that autumn has begun
With dark blooms opening to the sun.
Clear is the sky: no cloudlet mars
The splendour of the shining stars.
The balmy air is soft and still,
And clear and bright are lake and rill.
Thou heedest not with blinded eyes
The hour for warlike enterprise.
Hence Lakshmaṇ hither comes to break
Thy slothful trance and bid thee wake.
Then, Monarch, with a patient ear
The high-souled Ráma's message hear,
Which, reft of wife and realm and friends,
Thus by another's mouth he sends.
Thou, Vánar King, hast done amiss:
And now I see no way but this:
Before his envoy humbly stand
And sue for peace with suppliant hand.
High duty bids a courtier seek
His master's weal, and freely speak.
So by no thought of fear controlled
My speech, O King, is free and bold,
For Ráma, if his anger glow,
Can, with the terrors of his bow
This earth with all the Gods subdue,
Gandharvas,635 and the demon crew.
Unwise to stir his wrathful mood
Whose favour must again be wooed.
And, most of all, unwise for one
Grateful like thee for service done.
Go with thy son and kinsmen: bend
Thy humble head and greet thy friend.
And, like a fond obedient spouse,
Be faithful to thy plighted vows.”
Canto XXXIII. Lakshman's Entry.
Through the fair city Lakshmaṇ came,
Invited in Sugríva's name.
Within the gates the guardian bands,
Of Vánars raised their suppliant hands,
And in their ordered ranks, amazed,
Upon the princely hero gazed,
They marked each burning breath he drew,
The fury of his soul they knew.
Their hearts were chilled with sudden fear:
They gazed, but dared not venture near,
Before his eyes the city, gay
With gems and flowery gardens, lay,
Where fane and palace rose on high,
And things of beauty charmed the eye.
Where trees of every blossom grew
Yielding their fruit in season due
To Vánars of celestial seed
Who wore each varied form at need,
Fair-faced and glorious with the shine
Of heavenly robes and wreaths divine.
There sandal, aloe, lotus bloomed,
And there delicious breath perfumed
The city's broad street, redolent
Of sugary mead636 and honey scent.
There many a lofty palace rose
Like Vindhya or the Lord of Snows,
And with sweet murmur sparkling rills
Leapt lightly down the sheltering hills.
On many a glorious palace, raised
For prince and noble,637 Lakshmaṇ gazed:
Like clouds of paly hue they shone
With fragrant wreaths that hung thereon:
There wealth of jewels was enshrined,
And fairer gems of womankind.
There gleamed, of noble height and size,
Like Indra's mansion in the skies,
Protected by a crystal fence
Of rock, the royal residence,
With roof and turret high and bright
Like Mount Kailása's loftiest height.
There blooming trees, Mahendra's gift,
High o'er the walls were seen to lift
Their golden fruited boughs, that made
With leaf and flower delicious shade.
He saw a band of Vánars wait,
[pg 365]
Wielding their weapons, at the gate
Where golden portals flashed between
Celestial garlands red and green.
Within Sugríva's fair abode
Unchecked the mighty hero strode,
As when the sun of autumn shrouds
His glory in a pile of clouds.
Through seven wide courts he quickly passed,
And reached the royal tower at last,
Where seats were set with couch and bed
Of gold and silver richly spread.
While the young chieftain's feet drew near
The sound of music reached his ear,
As the soft breathings of the flute
Came blending with the voice and lute.
Then beauty showed her youth and grace
And varied charm of form and face:
Soft bright-eyed creatures, fair and young,—
Gay garlands round their necks were hung,
And greater charms to each were lent
By richest dress and ornament.
He saw the calm attendants wait
About their lord in careless state,
Heard women's girdles chime in sweet
Accordance with their tinkling feet.
He heard the anklet's silvery sound,
He saw the calm that reigned around,
And o'er him, as he listened, came
A rush of rage, a flood of shame.
He drew his bowstring: with the clang
From ease to west the welkin rang:
Then in his modest mood withdrew
A little from the ladies' view.
And sternly silent stood apart,
While wrath for Ráma filled his heart.
Sugríva knew the sounding string,
And at the call the Vánar king
Sprang swiftly from his golden seat,
And feared the coming prince to meet.
Then with cold lips that terror dried
To beauteous Tárá thus he cried:
“What cause of anger, O my spouse
Fair with the charm of lovely brows,
Sets Lakshmaṇ's gentle breast on fire,
And brings him in unwonted ire?
Say, canst thou see, O faultless dame,
A cause to fill his soul with flame?
For there must be a reason when
Such fury stirs the king of men.
Reveal the sin, if sin of mine
Anger the lord of Raghu's line.
Or go thyself, his rage subdue,
And with soft words his favour woo.
Soon as on thee his eyes are set
His heart this anger will forget,
For men like him of lofty mind
Are never stern with womankind.
First let thy gentle speech disarm
His fury, and his spirit charm,
And I, from fear of peril free,
The conqueror of his foes will see.”
She heard: with faltering steps and slow,
With eyes that shone with trembling glow,
With gold-girt body gently bent
To meet the stranger prince she went.
When Lakshmaṇ saw the Vánar queen
With tranquil eyes and modest mien,
Before the dame he bent his head,
And anger, at her presence, fled.
Made bold by draughts of wine, and cheered
By Lakshmaṇ's look no more she feared,
And in the trust his favour lent
She thus addressed him eloquent:
“Whence springs thy burning fury? say:
Who dares thy will to disobey?
Who checks the maddened flames that seize
On forests full of withered trees?”
Then Lakshmaṇ spoke, her mind to ease,
His kind reply in words like these:
“Thy lord his days in pleasure spends,
Heedless of duty and of friends,
Nor dost thou mark, though fondly true,
The evil path his steps pursue.
He cares not for affairs of state,
Nor us forlorn and desolate,
But sits a mere spectator still,
A sensual slave to pleasure's will.
Four months were fixed, the time agreed
When he should help us in our need:
But, bound in toils of pleasure fast,
He sees not that the months are past.
Where beats the heart which draughts of wine
To virtue or to gain incline?
Hast thou not heard those draughts destroy
Virtue and gain and love and joy?
For those who, helped at need, refuse
Their aid in turn, their virtue lose:
And they who scorn a friend disdain
A treasure naught may buy again.
Thy lord has cast his friend away,
Nor feared from virtue's path to stray,
If this be true, declare, O dame
Who knowest duty's every claim,
What further work remains for us
Deceived and disappointed thus.”
She listened, for his words were kind,
Where virtue showed with gain combined,
And thus in turn the prince addressed,
As hope was rising in his breast:
“No time, no cause of wrath I see
With those who live and honour thee:
And thou shouldst bear without offence
Thy servant's fitful negligence.
I know the seasons glide away,
While Ráma maddens at delay
I know what deed our thanks has earned,
I know that grace should be returned.
But still I know, whate'er befall,
That conquering love is lord of all;
[pg 366]
Know where Sugríva's thoughts, possessed
By one absorbing passion, rest.
But he whom sensual joys debase
Heeds not the claim of time and place,
And sees not with his blinded sight
His duty or his gain aright.
O pardon him who loves me! spare
The Vánar caught in pleasure's snare,
And once again let Ráma grace
With favour him who rules our race.
E'en royal saints, whose chief delight
Was penance and austerest rite,
At love's commandment have unbent,
Beguiled by sweetest blandishment.
And know, Sugríva, roused at last,
The order to his lords has passed,
And, long by love and bliss delayed,
Wakes all on fire your hopes to aid.
A countless host his city fills,
New-gathered from a thousand hills:
Impetuous chiefs, who wear at need
Each varied form, his legions lead.
Come then, O hero, kept aloof
By modest awe, nor fear reproof:
A faithful friend untouched by blame
May look upon another's dame.”
He passed within, by Tárá pressed,
And by his own impatient breast,
Refulgent there in sunlike sheen
Sugríva on his throne was seen.
Gay garlands round his neck were twined,
And Rumá by her lord recline.
Canto XXXIV. Lakshman's Speech.
Sugríva started from his rest
With doubt and terror in his breast.
He heard the prince's furious tread
He saw his eyes glow fiercely red.
Swift sprang the monarch to his feet
Upstarting from his golden seat.
Rose Rumá and her fellows, too,
And closely round Sugríva drew,
As round the moon's full glory stand
Attendant stars in glittering band.
Sugríva glanced with reddened eyes,
Raised his joined hands in suppliant guise
Flew to the door, and rooted there
Stood like the tree that grants each prayer.638
And Lakshmaṇ saw, and, fiercely moved,
With angry speech the king reproved:
“Famed is the prince who loves the truth,
Whose soul is touched with tender ruth,
Who, liberal, keeps each sense subdued,
And pays the debt of gratitude.
But all unmeet a king to be,
The meanest of the mean is he
Who basely breaks the promise made
To trusting friends who lent him aid.
He sins who for a steed has lied,
As if a hundred steeds had died:
Or if he lie, a cow to win,
Tenfold as heavy is the sin.
But if the lie a man betray,
Both he and his shall all decay.639
O Vánar King, the thankless man
Is worthy of the general ban,
Who takes assistance of his friends,
And in his turn no service lends.
This verse of old by Brahmá sung
Is echoed now by every tongue.
Hear what He cried in angry mood
Bewailing man's ingratitude:
“For draughts of wine, for slaughtered cows,
For treacherous theft, for broken vows
A pardon is ordained: but none
For thankless scorn of service done.”
Ungrateful, Vánar King, art thou,
And faithless to thy plighted vow.
For Ráma brought thee help, and yet
Thou shunnest to repay the debt:
Or, grateful, thou hadst surely pressed
To aid the hero in his quest.
Thou art, in vulgar pleasures drowned,
False to thy bond in honour bound.
Nor yet has Ráma's guileless heart
Discerned thee for the thing thou art—
A snake who holds the frogs that cries
And lures fresh victims as it dies.
Brave Ráma, born for glorious fate,
Has set thee in thy high estate,
And to the Vánars' throne restored,
Great-souled himself, their mean-souled lord.
Now if thy pride disown what he,
High thoughted prince, has done for thee,
Struck by his arrows shalt thou fall,
And Báli meet in Yáma's hall.
Still open, to the gloomy God,
Lies the sad path thy brother trod.
Then to thy plighted word be true,
Nor let thy steps that path pursue.
Methinks the shafts of Ráma, shot
Like thunderbolts, thou heedest not,
Who canst, absorbed in sensual bliss,
Thy promise from thy mind dismiss.”
[pg 367]
Canto XXXV. Tárá's Speech.
He ceased: and Tárá starry-eyed
Thus to the angry prince replied:
“Not to my lord shouldst thou address
A speech so fraught with bitterness:
Not thus reproached my lord should be,
And least of all, O Prince, by thee.
He is no thankless coward—no—
With spirit dead to valour's glow.
From paths of truth he never strays,
Nor wanders in forbidden ways.
Ne'er will Sugríva's heart forget,
By Ráma saved, the lasting debt.
Still in his grateful breast will live
The succour none but he could give.
Restored to fame by Ráma's grace,
To empire o'er the Vánar race,
From ceaseless dread and toil set free,
Restored to Rumá and to me:
By grief and care and exile tried,
New to the bliss so long denied,
Like Viśvámitra once, alas,
He marks not how the seasons pass.
That saint ten thousand years remained,
By sweet Ghritáchí's640 love enchained,
And deemed those years, that flew away
So lightly, but a single day.
O, if those years unheeded flew
By him who times and seasons knew,
Unequalled for his lofty mind,
What marvel meaner eyes are blind?
Then be not angry, Raghu's son,
And let thy brother feel for one
Who many a weary year has spent
Stranger to love and blandishment.
Let not this wrath thy soul inflame,
Like some mean wretch unknown to fame:
For high and noble hearts like thine
Love mercy and to ruth incline,
Calm and deliberate, and slow
With anger's raging fire to glow.
At length, O righteous prince, relent,
Nor let my words in vain be spent,
This sudden blaze of fury slake,
I pray thee for Sugríva's sake.
He would renounce at Ráma's call
Rumá and Angad, me and all
Who call him lord: his gold and grain,
The favour of his friend to gain.
His arm shall slay the fiend more base
In soul than all his impious race,
And happy Ráma reunite
To Sítá, rival in delight
Of the triumphant Moon when he
Rejoins his darling Rohiṇí.641
Ten million million demons guard
The gates of Lanká firmly barred.
All hope until that host be slain,
To smite the robber king is vain.
Nor with Sugríva's aid alone
May king and host be overthrown.
Thus ere he died—for well he knew—
Spake Báli, and his words are true.
I know not what his proofs might be,
But speak the words he spake to me.
Hence far and wide our lords are sent
To raise the mightiest armament,
For their return Sugríva waits
Ere he can sally from his gates.
Still is the oath Sugríva swore
Kept firmly even as before:
And the great host this day will be
Assembled by the king's decree,
Ten thousand thousand troops, who wear
The form of monkey and of bear,
Prepared for thee the war to wage:
Then let thy wrath no longer rage.
The matrons of the Vánar race
See marks of fury in thy face;
They see thine eyes like blood are red,
And will not yet be comforted.”
Canto XXXVI. Sugríva's Speech.
She ceased: and Lakshmaṇ gave assent,
Won by her gentle argument.
So Tárá's pleading, just and mild,
His softening heart had reconciled.
His altered mood Sugríva saw,
And cast aside the fear and awe
Like raiment heavy with the rain
Which on his troubled soul had lain.
Then quickly to the ground he threw
His flowery garland, bright of hue,
Which round his royal neck he wore,
And, sobered, was himself once more.
Then turning to the princely man
In soothing words the king began:
“My glory, wealth, and royal sway
To other hands had passed away:
But Ráma to my rescue came,
And gave me back my power and fame.
O Lakshmaṇ, say, whose grateful heart
[pg 368]
Could nurse the hope to pay in part,
By service of a life, the deed
Of Ráma sprung of heavenly seed?
His foeman Rávaṇ shall be slain,
And Sítá shall be his again.
The hero's side I will not leave,
But he the conquest shall achieve.
What need of help has he who drew
His bow, and one great arrow flew
Through seven tall trees, a mountain rent,
And cleft the earth with force unspent?
What aid needs he who shook his bow,
And at the sound the earth below
With hill and wood and rooted rock
Quaked feverous with the thunder shock?
Yet all my legions will I bring,
And follow close the warrior king
Marching on his impetuous way
Fierce Rávaṇ and his hosts to slay.
If I be guilty of offence,
Careless through love or negligence,
Let him his loyal slave forgive;
For error cleaves to all who live.”
Thus king Sugríva, good and brave,
In humble words his answer gave,
Softened was Lakshmaṇ's angry mood
Who thus his friendly speech renewed:
“My brother, Vánar King, will see
A champion and a friend in thee.
So strong art thou, so brave and bold,
So pure in thought, so humble-souled,
That thou deservest well to reign
And all a monarch's bliss to gain.
Lend thou my brother aid, and all
His foes beneath his arm will fall.
Full well the words thou speakest suit
A chieftain wise and resolute.
With grateful heart that loves the right,
And foot that never yields in fight.
O come, and my sad brother cheer
Who mourns the wife he holds so dear.
O pardon, friend, my harsh address,
And Ráma's frantic bitterness.”
Canto XXXVII. The Gathering.
He ceased: and King Sugríva cried
To sage Hanúmán642 by his side:
“Summon the Vánar legions, those
Who dwell about the Lord of Snows:
Those who in Vindhyan groves delight,
Kailása's, or Mahendra's height,
Dwell on the Five bright Peaks, or where
Mandar's white summit cleaves the air:
Wherever they are wandring free
In highlands by the western sea,
On that east hill whence springs the sun,
Or where he sinks when day is done.
Call the great chiefs whose legions fill
The forests of the Lotus Hill,643
Where every one in strength and size
With the stupendous Anjan644 vies.
Call those, with tints of burnished gold
Whom Maháśaila's caverns hold:
Those who on Dhúmra roam, or hide
In the wild woods on Meru's side.
Call those who, brilliant as the sun,
On high Maháruṇ leap and run,
Quaffing sweet juices that distil
From odorous trees upon the hill,
Call those whom tranquil haunts delight,
Where dwell the sage and anchorite
In groves that through their wide extent
Exhale a thousand blossoms' scent.
Send out, send out: from coast to coast
Assemble all the Vánar host:
With force, with words, with gifts of price
Compel, admonish and entice.
Already envoys have been sent
To warn them of their lord's intent.
Let others urged by thee repeat
My mandate that their steps be fleet.
Those lords who yielding to the sway
Of love's delight would fain delay,
Urge hither with the utmost speed,
Or with thee to my presence lead:
And those who linger to the last
Until ten days be come and passed,
And dare their sovereign to defy,
For their offence shall surely die.
Thousands, yea millions, shall there be,
Obedient to their king's decree,
The lions of the Vánar race,
Assembled from each distant place,
Forth shall they haste like hills in size,
Or mighty clouds that veil the skies,
And swiftly speeding on their way
Bring all our legions in array.”
[pg 369]
He ceased: the son of Váyu645 heard,
Submissive to his sovereign's word;
And sent his rapid envoys forth
To east and west and south and north.
They bent their airy course afar
Along the paths of bird and star,
And sped through ether farther yet
Where Vishṇu's splendid sphere is set.646
By sea, on hill, by wood and lake
They called to arms for Ráma's sake,
As each with terror in his breast
Obeyed his awful king's behest.
Three million Vánars, fierce and strong
As Anjan's self, a wondrous throng
Sped from the spot where Ráma still
Gazed restless from the woody hill.
Ten million others, brave and bold,
With coats that shone like burning gold,
Came flying from the mountain crest
Where sinks the weary sun to rest.
Impetuous from the northern skies,
Where Mount Kailása's summits rise,
Ten hundred millions hasted, hued
Like manes of lions, ne'er subdued:
The dwellers on Himálaya's side,
Whose food his roots and fruit supplied,
With rangers of the Vindhyan chain
And neighbours of the Milky Main.647
Some from the palm groves where they fed,
Some from the woods of betel sped:
In countless numbers, fierce and brave,
They came from mountain, lake, and cave.
As on their way the Vánars went
To rouse each distant armament,
They chanced that wondrous tree to view
That on Himálaya's summit grew.
Of old upon that sacred height
Was wrought Maheśvar's648 glorious rite,
Which every God in heaven beheld,
And his glad heart with triumph swelled.
There from pure seed at random sown
Bright plants with luscious fruit had grown,
And, sweet as Amrit to the taste,
The summit of the mountain graced.
Who once should eat the virtuous fruit
That sprang from so divine a root,
One whole revolving moon should be
From every pang of hunger free.
The Vánars culled the fruit they found
Ripe on the sacrificial ground
With rare celestial odours sweet,
To lay them at Sugríva's feet.
Those noble envoys scoured the land
To summon every Vánar band
Then swiftly homeward at the head
Of countless armaments they sped.
They gathered by Kishkindhá's wall.
They thronged Sugríva's palace hall,
And, richly laden, bare within
That fruit of heavenly origin.
Their gifts before their king they spread,
And thus in tones of triumph said:
“Through every land our way we took
To visit hill and wood and brook,
And all thy hosts from east to west
Flock hither at their lord's behest.”
Sugríva with delighted look
The present of his envoys took,
Then bade them go, with gracious speech
Rewarding and dismissing each.
Canto XXXVIII. Sugríva's Departure.
Thus all the princely Vánars, true
To their appointed tasks, withdrew.
Sugríva deemed already done
The work he planned for Raghu's son.
Then Lakshmaṇ gently spoke and cheered
Sugríva for his valour feared:
“Now, chieftain, if thy will be so,
Forth from Kishkindhá let us go.”
Sugríva's heart swelled high with pride
As to the prince he thus replied:
“Come, speed we forth without delay:
'Tis mine thy mandate to obey.”
Sugríva bade the dames adieu,
And Tárá and the rest withdrew.
Then at their chieftain's summons came
The Vánars first in rank and fame,
A trusty brave and reverent band,
Meet e'en before a queen to stand.
They at his call made haste to bring
The litter of the glorious king.
“Mount, O my friend.” Sugríva cried,
And straight Sumitrá's son complied.
Then took by Lakshmaṇ's side his place
The sovereign of the woodland race,
Upraised by Vánars, fleet and strong,
Who bore the glittering load along.
On high above his royal head
A paly canopy was spread,
And chouries white in many a hand
The forehead of the monarch fanned,
And shell and drum and song and shout
Pealed round him as the king passed out.
[pg 370]
About the monarch went a throng
Of Vánar warriors brave and strong,
As onward to the mountain shade
Where Ráma dwelt his way he made.
Soon as the lovely spot he viewed
Where Ráma lived in solitude,
The Vánar monarch, far-renowed,
With Lakshmaṇ, lightly stepped to ground,
And to the son of Raghu went
Joining his raised hands reverent.
As their great leader raised his hands,
So suppliant stood the Vánar bands.
Well pleased the son of Raghu saw
Those legions, hushed in reverent awe,
Stand silent like the tranquil floods
That raise their hands of lotus buds.
But Ráma, when the king, to greet
His friend, had bowed him at his feet,
Raised him who ruled the Vánar race,
And held him in a close embrace:
Then, when his arms he had unknit,
Besought him by his side to sit,
And thus with gentle words the best
Of men the Vánar king addressed:
“The prince who well his days divides,
And knows aright the times and tides
To follow duty, joy, or gain,
He, only he, deserves to reign.
But he who wealth and virtue leaves,
And every hour to pleasure cleaves,
Falls from his bliss like him who wakes
From slumber on a branch that breaks.
True king is he who smites his foes,
And favour to his servants shows,
And of that fruit makes timely use
Which virtue, wealth, and joy produce.
The hour is come that bids thee rise
To aid me in my enterprise.
Then call thy nobles to debate,
And with their help deliberate.”
“Lost was my power,” the king replied,
“All strength had fled, all hope had died.
The Vánars owned another lord,
But by thy grace was all restored.
All this, O conqueror of the foe,
To thee and Lakshmaṇ's aid I owe.
And his should be the villain's shame
Who durst deny the sacred claim.
These Vánar chiefs of noblest birth
Have at my bidding roamed the earth,
And brought from distant regions all
Our legions at their monarch's call:
Fierce bears with monkey troops combined,
And apes of every varied kind,
Terrific in their forms, who dwell
In grove and wood and bosky dell:
The bright Gandharvas' brood, the seed
Of Gods,649 they change their shapes at need.
Each with his legions in array,
Hither, O Prince, they make their way.
They come: and tens of millions swell
To numbers that no tongue may tell.650
For thee their armies will unite
With chiefs, Mahendra's peers in might.
From Meru and from Vindhya's chain
They come like clouds that bring the rain.
These round thee to the war will go,
To smite to earth thy demon foe;
Will slay the Rákshas and restore
Thy consort when the fight is o'er.”
Canto XXXIX. The Vánar Host.
Then Ráma, best of all who guide
Their steps by duty, thus replied:
“What marvel if Lord Indra send
The kindly rain, O faithful friend?
If, thousand-rayed, the God of Day
Drive every darksome cloud away?
Or, rising high, the Lord of Night
Flood the broad heaven with silver light?
What marvel, King, that one like thee
The glory of his friends should be?
No marvel, O my lord, that thou
Hast shown thy noble nature now.
Thy heart, Sugríva, well I know:
Naught from thy lips but truth may flow,
With thee for friend and champion all
My foes beneath my arm will fall.
The Rákshas, when my queen he stole,
Brought sure destruction on his soul,
Like Anuhláda651 who beguiled
Queen Śachí called Puloma's child.
Yes, near, Sugríva, is the day
When I my demon foe shall slay,
As conquering Indra in his ire
Slew Queen Paulomí's haughty sire.”652
[pg 371]
He ceased: thick clouds of dust rose high
To every quarter of the sky:
The very sun grew faint and pale
Behind the darkly-gathering veil.
The mighty clouds that hung o'erhead
From east to west thick darkness spread,
And earth to her foundations shook
With hill and forest, lake and brook.
Then hidden was the ground beneath
Fierce warriors armed with fearful teeth,
Hosts numberless, each lord in size
A match for him who rules the skies:
From many a sea and distant hill,
From rock and river, lake and rill.
Some like the morning sun were bright,
Some, like the moon, were silver white:
These green as lotus fibres, those
White-coated from their native snows.653
Then Śatabali came in view
Girt by a countless retinue.
Like some gold mountain high in air
Tárá's illustrious sire654 was there.
There Rumá`s father,655 far-renowned,
With tens of thousands ranged around.
There, tinted like the tender green
Of lotus filaments, was seen,
Compassed by countless legions, one
Whose face was as the morning sun,
Hanúmán's father good and great,
Kesarí,656 wisest in debate.
There the proud king Gaváksha, feared
For his strong warrior arm, appeared.
There Dhúmra, mighty lord, the dread
Of foes, his ursine legions led.
There Panas, first for warlike fame,
With twenty million warriors came.
There glorious Níla, dark of hue,
Arrayed his countless troops in view.
There moved lord Gavaya brave and bold,
Resplendent like a hill of gold,
And near him Darímukha stood
With millions from the hill and wood
And Dwivid famed for strength and speed,
And Mamda, both of Aśvin seed.
There Gaja, strong and glorious, led
The countless troops around him spread,
And Jámbaván657 the king whose sway
The bears delighted to obey,
With swarming myriads onward pressed
True to his lord Sugríva's hest;
And princely Ruman, dear to fame,
Led millions whom no hosts could tame,
All these and many a chief beside658
Came onward fierce in warlike pride.
They covered all the plain, and still
Pressed forward over wood and hill.
In rows for many a league around
They rested on the grassy ground;
Or to Sugríva made their way,
Like clouds about the Lord of Day,
And to the king their proud heads bent
In power and might preeminent.
Sugríva then to Ráma sped,
And raised his reverent hands, and said
That every chief from coast to coast
Was present with his warrior host.
Canto XL. The Army Of The East.
With practised eye the king reviewed
The Vánars' countless multitude,
And, joying that his hest was done,
Thus spake to Raghu's mighty son:
“See, all the Vánar hosts who fear
My sovereign might are gathered here.
Chiefs strong as Indra's self, who speed
Wher'er they list, these armies lead.
Fierce and terrific to the view
As Daityas or the Dánav659 crew,
[pg 372]
Famed in all lands for souls afire
With lofty thoughts, they never tire,
O'er hill and vale they wander free,
And islets of the distant sea.
And these gathered myriads, all
Will serve thee, Ráma, at thy call.
Whate'er thy heart advises, say:
Thy mandates will the host obey.”
Then answered Ráma, as he pressed
The Vánar monarch to his breast:
“O search for my lost Sítá, strive
To find her if she still survive:
And in thy wondrous wisdom trace
Fierce Rávaṇ to his dwelling-place.
And when by toil and search we know
Where Sítá lies and where the foe,
With thee, dear friend, will I devise
Fit means to end the enterprise.
Not mine, not Lakshmaṇ's is the power
To guide us in the doubtful hour.
Thou, sovereign of the Vánars, thou
Must be our hope and leader now.”
He ceased: at King Sugríva's call
Near came a Vánar strong and tall.
Huge as a towering mountain, loud
As some tremendous thunder cloud,
A prince who warlike legions led:
To him his sovereign turned and said:
“Go, take ten thousand660 of our race
Well trained in lore of time and place,
And search the eastern region; through
Groves, woods, and hills thy way pursue.
There seek for Sítá, trace the spot
Where Rávaṇ hides, and weary not.
Search for the captive in the caves
Of mountains, and by woods and waves.
To Sarjú,661 Kauśikí,662 repair,
Bhagírath's daughter663 fresh and fair.
Search mighty Yamun's664 peak, explore
Swift Yamuná's665 delightful shore,
Sarasvati666 and Sindhu's667 tide,
And rapid Śona's668 pebbly side.
Then roam afar by Mahí's669 bed
Where Kálamahí's groves are spread.
Go where the silken tissue shines,
Go to the land of silver mines.670
Visit each isle and mountain steep
And city circled by the deep,
And distant villages that high
About the peaks of Mandar lie.
Speed over Yavadwipa's land,671
And see Mount Śiśir672 proudly stand
Uplifting to the skies his head
By Gods and Dánavs visited.
Search each ravine and mountain pass,
Each tangled thicket deep in grass.
Search every cave with utmost care
If haply Ráma's queen be there.
Then pass beyond the sounding sea
Where heavenly beings wander free,
And Śona's673 waters swift and strong
With ruddy billows foam along.
Search where his shelving banks descend,
Search where the hanging woods extend.
Try if the pathless thickets screen
The robber and the captive queen.
Search where the torrent floods that rend
The mountain to the plains descend:
Search dark abysses where they rave,
Search mountain slope and wood and cave
Then on with rapid feet and gain
The inlands of the fearful main
Where, tortured by the tempest's lash,
Against rude rocks the billows dash:
An ocean like a sable cloud,
Whose margent monstrous serpents crowd:
[pg 373]
An ocean rising with a roar
To beat upon an iron shore.
On, onward still! your feet shall tread
Shores of the sea whose waves are red,
Where spreading wide your eyes shall see
The guilt-tormenting cotton tree674
And the wild spot where Garuḍ675 dwells
Which gems adorn and ocean shells,
High as Kailása, nobly decked,
Wrought by the heavenly architect.676
Huge giants named Mandehas677 there
In each foul shape they love to wear,
Numbing the soul with terror's chill,
Hang from the summit of the hill.
When darts the sun his earliest beam
They plunge them in the ocean stream,
New vigour from his rays obtain,
And hang upon the rocks again.
Speed onward still: your steps shall be
At length beside the Milky Sea
Whose every ripple as it curls
Gleams glorious with its wealth of pearls.
Amid that sea like pale clouds spread
The white Mount Rishabh678 rears his head.
About the mountain's glorious waist
Woods redolent of bloom are braced.
A lake where lotuses unfold
Their silver buds with threads of gold,
Sudarśan ever bright and fair
Where white swans sport, lies gleaming there,
The wandering Kinnar's679 dear resort,
Where heavenly nymphs and Yakshas680 sport.
On! leave the Milky Sea behind:
Another flood your search shall find,
A waste of waters, wild and drear,
That chills each living heart with fear.
There see the horse's awful head,
Wrath-born, that flames in Ocean's bed.681
There rises up a fearful cry
From the sea things that move thereby,
When, helpless, powerless for flight,
They gaze upon the horrid sight.
Past to the northern shore, and then
Beyond the flood three leagues and ten
Your wondering glances will behold
Mount Játarúpa682 bright with gold.
There like the young moon pale of hue
The monstrous serpent683 will ye view,
The earth's supporter, whose bright eyes
Resemble lotus leaves in size.
He rests upon the mountain's brow,
And all the Gods before him bow.
Ananta with a thousand heads
His length in robes of azure spreads.
A triple-headed palm of gold—
Meet standard for the lofty-souled—
Springs towering from the mountain's crest
Beneath whose shade he loves to rest,
So that in eastern realms each God
May use it as a measuring-rod.
Beyond, with burning gold aglow,
The eastern steep his peaks will show,
Which in unrivalled glory rise
A hundred leagues to pierce the skies,
And all the neighbouring air is bright
With golden trees that clothe the height.
A lofty peak uprises there
Ten leagues in height and one league square
Saumanas, wrought of glistering gold,
Ne'er to be loosened from its hold.
There his first step Lord Vishṇu placed
When through the universe he paced,
And with his second lightly pressed
The loftiest peak of Meru's crest.
When north of Jambudwíp684 the sun
[pg 374]
A portion of his course has run,
And hangs above this mountain height,
Then creatures see the genial light.
Vaikhánases,685 saints far renowned,
And Bálakhilyas686 love the ground
Where in their glory half divine,
Touched by the morning glow, they shine
The light that flashes from that steep
Illumines all Sudarśandwíp,687
And on each creature, as it glows,
The sight and strength of life bestows.
Search well that mountain's woody side
If Rávaṇ there his captive hide.
The rising sun, the golden hill
The air with growing splendours fill,
Till flashes from the east the red
Of morning with the light they shed.
This, where the sun begins his state,
Is earth and heaven's most eastern gate.
Through all the mountain forest seek
By waterfall and cave and peak.
Search every nook and bosky dell,
If Rávaṇ there with Sítá dwell.
There, Vánars, there your steps must stay:
No farther eastward can ye stray.
Beyond no sun, no moon gives light,
But all is sunk in endless night.
Thus far, O Vánar lords, may you
O'er sea and land your search pursue.
But wild and dark and known to none
Is the drear space beyond the sun.
That mountain whence the sun ascends
Your long and weary journey ends.688
Now go, and in a month return,
And let success my praises earn.
He who beyond tho month shall stay
Will with his life the forfeit pay.”
Canto XLI. The Army Of The South.
He gathered next a chosen band
For service in the southern land.
He summoned Níla son of Fire,
And, offspring of the eternal Sire,
Jámbaván bold and strong and tall,
And Hanumán, the best of all,
And many a valiant lord beside,689
With Angad for their chief and guide.
“Go forth,” he cried, “with all this host
Exploring to the southern coast:
The thousand peaks that Vindhya shows
Where every tree and creeper grows:
Where Narmadá's690 sweet waters run,
And serpents bask them in the sun:
Where Krishṇaveṇí's691 currents flee,
And sparkles fair Godávarí.692
Through Mekhal693 pass and Utkal's694 land:
Go where Daśárṇa's695 cities stand.
Avantí696 seek, of high renown,
And Abravanti's697 glorious town.
Search every hill and brook and cave
Where Daṇḍak's woods their branches wave
Ayomukh's698 woody hill explore
Whose sides are bright with richest ore,
Lifting his glorious head on high
From bloomy groves that round him lie.
[pg 375]
Search well his forests where the breeze
Blows fragrant from the sandal trees.
Then will you see Káverí's699 stream
Whose pleasant waters glance and gleam,
And to the lovely banks entice
The sportive maids of Paradise.
High on the top of Malaya's700 hill,
In holy musing, calm and still,
Sits, radiant as the Lord of Light,
Agastya,701 noblest anchorite.
Soon as that lofty-thoughted lord
His high permission shall accord,
Pass Támraparṇí's702 flood whose isles
Are loved by basking crocodiles.
The sandal woods that fringe her side
Those islets and her waters hide;
While, like an amorous matron, she
Speeds to her own dear lord the sea.
Thence hasting on your way behold
The Páṇḍyas'703 gates of pearl and gold.
Then, with your task maturely planned,
On ocean's shore your feet will stand.
Where, by Agastya's high decree,
Mahendra,704 planted in the sea,
With tinted peaks against the tide
Rises in solitary pride,
And glorious in his golden glow
Spurns back the waves that beat below.
Fair mountain, bright with creepers' bloom
And every tint that trees assume,
Where Yaksha, God, and heavenly maid
Meet wandering in the lovely shade,
At changing moon and solemn tide
By Indra's presence glorified.
One hundred leagues in fair extent
An island705 fronts the continent:
No man may tread its glittering shore,
With utmost heed that isle explore,
For the fair country owns the sway
Of Rávaṇ whom we burn to slay.
A mighty monster stands to keep
The passage of the southern deep.
Lifting her awful arms on high
She grasps e'en shadows as they fly.
Speed through that isle, and onward still
Where in mid sea the Flowery Hill706
Raises on high his bloomy head
By saints and angels visited.
There, with a hundred gleaming peaks
Bright as the sun, the sky he seeks,
One glorious peak the Lord of Day
Gilds ever with his loving ray;
Thereon ne'er yet the glances fell
Of thankless wretch or infidel.
Bow to that hill in reverence due,
And then once more your search pursue.
Beyond that glorious mountain hie,
And Súryaván,707 proud hill is nigh.
Your rapid course yet farther bend
Where Vaidyut's708 airy peaks ascend.
There trees of noblest sort, profuse
Of wealth, their kindly gifts produce.
Their precious fruits, O Vánars, taste,
The honey sip, and onward haste.
Next will ye see Mount Kunjar rise,
Who cheers with beauty hearts and eyes.
There is Agastya's709 mansion, decked
By heaven's all moulding architect.
Near Bhogavatí710 stands, the place
Where dwell the hosts of serpent race:
A broad-wayed city, walled and barred,
Which watchful legions keep and guard,
The fiercest of the serpent youth,
Each awful for his venomed tooth:
And throned in his imperial hall
Is Vásuki711 who rules them all.
Explore the serpent city well,
Search town and tower and citadel,
And scan each field and wood that lies
Around it, with your watchful eyes.
Beyond that spot your way pursue:
A noble mountain shall ye view,
Named Rishabh, like a mighty bull,
With gems made bright and beautiful.
[pg 376]
All trees of sandal flourish there
Of heavenly fragrance, rich and rare.
But, though they tempt your longing eyes,
Avoid to touch them, and be wise.
For Rohitas, a guardian band
Of fierce Gandharvas, round them stand,
Who five bright sovereign lords712 obey,
In glory like the God of Day.
Here by good deeds a home is won
With shapes like fire, the moon, the sun.
Here they who merit heaven by worth
Dwell on the confines of the earth.
There stay: beyond it, dark and drear,
Lies the departed spirits' sphere,
And, girt with darkness, far from bliss,
Is Yáma's sad metropolis.713
So far, my lords, o'er land and sea
Your destined course is plain and free.
Beyond your steps you may not set,
Where living thing ne'er journeyed yet.
With utmost care these realms survey,
And all you meet upon the way.
And, when the lady's course is traced,
Back to your king, O Vánars, haste.
And he who tells me he has seen.
After long search, the Maithil queen,
Shall gain a noble guerdon: he
In power and bliss shall equal me.
Dear as my very life, above
His fellows in his master's love;
I call him, yea though stained with crime.
My kinsman from that happy time.”
Canto XLII. The Army Of The West.
Then to Susheṇ Sugríva bent,
And thus addressed him reverent:
“Two hundred thousand of our best
With thee, my lord, shall seek the west.
Explore Suráshṭra's714] distant plain,
Explore Váhlíka's715 wild domain,
And all the pleasant brooks that flee
Through mountains to the western sea.
Search clustering groves on mountain heights,
And woods the home of anchorites.
Search where the breezy hills are high,
Search where the desert regions lie.
Search all the western land beset
With woody mountains like a net.
The country`s farthest limit reach,
And stand upon the ocean beach.
There wander through the groves of palm
Where the soft air is full of balm.
Through grassy dell and dark ravine
Seek Rávaṇ and the Maithil queen.
Go visit Somagiri's716 steep
Where Sindhu717 mingles with the deep.
There lions, borne on swift wings, roam
The levels of their mountain home,
And elephants and monsters bear,
Caught from the ocean, to their lair.
You Vánars, changing forms at will,
With rapid search must scour the hill,
And his sky-kissing peak of gold
Where loveliest trees their blooms unfold.
There golden-peaked, ablaze with light,
Uprises Páriyátra's718 height
Where wild Gandharvas, fierce and fell,
In bands of countless myriads dwell.
Pluck ye no fruit within the wood;
Beware the impious neighbourhood,
Where, very mighty, strong, and hard
To overcome, the fruit they guard.
Yet search for Janak's daughter still,
For Vánars there need fear no ill.
Near, bright as turkis, Vajra719 named,
There stands a hill of diamond framed.
Soaring a hundred leagues in pride,
With trees and creepers glorified.
Search there each cave and dark abyss
By waterfall and precipice.
Far in that sea the wild waves beat
On Chakraván's720 firm-rooted feet.
Where the great discus,721 thousand rayed,
By Vísvakarmá's722 art was made.
When Panchajan723 the fiend was slain.
And Hayagríva,724 fierce in vain,
[pg 377]
Thence taking shell and discus went
Lord Vishṇu, God preëminent.
On! sixty thousand hills of gold
With wondering eyes shall ye behold,
Where in his glory every one
Is brilliant as the morning sun.
Full in the midst King Meru,725 best
Of mountains, lifts his lofty crest,
On whom of yore, as all have heard,
The sun well-pleased this boon conferred:
“On thee, O King, on thee and thine
Light, day and night, shall ever shine.
Gandharvas, Gods who love thee well
And on thy sacred summits dwell,
Undimmed in lustre, bright and fair,
The golden sheen shall ever share.”
The Viśvas,726 Vasus,727 they who ride
The tempest,728 every God beside,
Draw nigh to Meru's lofty crest
When evening darkens in the west,
And to the parting Lord of Day
The homage of their worship pay,
Ere yet a while, unseen of all,
Behind Mount Asta's729 peaks he fall.
Wrought by the heavenly artist's care
A glorious palace glitters there,
And round about it sweet birds sing
Where the gay trees are blossoming:
The home of Varuṇ730 high-souled lord,
Wrist-girded with his deadly cord.731
With ten tall stems, a palm between
Meru and Asta's hill is seen:
Pure silver from the base it springs,
And far and wide its lustre flings.
Seek Rávaṇ and the dame by brook,
In pathless glen, in leafy nook
On Meru's crest a hermit lives
Bright with the light that penance gives:
Sávarṇi732 is he named, renowned
As Brahmá's peer, with glory crowned.
There bowing down in reverence speak
And ask him of the dame you seek.
Thus far the splendid Lord of Day
Pursues through heaven his ceaseless way,
Shedding on every spot his light;
Then sinks behind Mount Asta's height,
Thus far advance: the sunless sea
Beyond is all unknown to me.
Susheṇ of mighty arm, long tried
In peril, shall your legions guide.
Receive his words with high respect,
And ne'er his lightest wish neglect.
He is my consort's sire, and hence
Deserves the utmost reverence.”
Canto XLIII. The Army Of The North.
Forth went the legions of the west:
And wise Sugríva addressed
Śatabal, summoned from the crowd.
To whom the sovereign cried aloud:
“Go forth, O Vánar chief, go forth,
Explore the regions of the north.
Thy host a hundred thousand be,
And Yáma's sons733 attend on thee.
With dauntless courage, strength, and skill
Search every river, wood, and hill.
Through every land in order go
Right onward to the Hills of Snow.
Search mid the peaks that shine afar,
In woods of Lodh and Deodár.734
Search if with Janak's daughter, screened
By sheltering rocks, there lie the fiend.
[pg 378]
The holy grounds of Soma tread
By Gods and minstrels visited.
Reach Kála's mount, and flats that lie
Among the peaks that tower on high.
Then leave that hill that gleams with ore,
And fair Sudarśan's heights explore.
Then on to Devasakhá735 hie,
Loved by the children of the sky.
A dreary land you then will see
Without a hill or brook or tree,
A hundred leagues, bare, wild, and dread
In lifeless desolation, spread.
Pursue your onward way, and haste
Through the dire horrors of the waste
Until triumphant with delight
You reach Kailása's glittering height.
There stands a palace decked with gold,
For King Kuvera736 wrought of old,
A home the heavenly artist planned
And fashioned with his cunning hand.
There lotuses adorn the flood
With full-blown flower and opening bud
Where swans and mallards float, and gay
Apsarases737 come down to play.
There King Vaiśravaṇ's738 self, the lord
By all the universe adored,
Who golden gifts to mortals sends,
Lives with the Guhyakas739 his friends.
Search every cavern in the steep,
And green glens where the moonbeams sleep,
If haply in that distant ground
The robber and the dame be found.
Then on to Krauncha's hill,740 and through
His fearful pass your way pursue:
Though dark and terrible the vale
Your wonted courage must not fail.
There through abyss and cavern seek,
On lofty ridge, and mountain peak,
On, on! pursue your journey still
By valley, lake, and towering hill.
Reach the North Kurus' land, where rest
The holy spirits of the blest:
Where golden buds of lilies gleam
Resplendent on the silver stream,
And leaves of azure turkis throw
Soft splendour on the waves below.
Bright as the sun at early morn
Fair pools that happy clime adorn,
Where shine the loveliest flowers on stems
Of crystal and all valued gems.
Blue lotuses through all the land
The glories of their blooms expand,
And the resplendent earth is strown
With peerless pearl and precious stone.
There stately trees can scarce uphold
The burthen of their fruits of gold,
And ever flaunt their gay attire
Of flower and leaf like flames of fire.
All there sweet lives untroubled spend
In bliss and joy that know not end,
While pearl-decked maidens laugh, or sing
To music of the silvery string.741
Still on your forward journey keep,
And rest you by the northern deep,
Where springing from the billows high
Mount Somagiri742 seeks the sky,
And lightens with perpetual glow
The sunless realm that lies below.
There, present through all life's extent,
Dwells Brahmá Lord preëminent,
And round the great God, manifest
In Rudra743 forms high sages rest.
Then turn, O Vánars: search no more,
Nor tempt the sunless, boundless shore.”
Canto XLIV. The Ring.
But special counselling he gave
To Hanumán the wise and brave:
[pg 379]
To him on whom his soul relied,
With friendly words the monarch cried:
“O best of Vánars, naught can stay
By land or sea thy rapid way,
Who through the air thy flight canst bend,
And to the Immortals' home ascend.
All realms, I ween, are known to thee
With every mountain, lake, and sea.
In strength and speed which naught can tire
Thou, worthy rival of thy sire
The mighty monarch of the wind,
Where'er thou wilt a way canst find.
Exert thy power, O swift and strong,
Bring back the lady lost so long,
For time and place, O thou most wise,
Lie open to thy searching eyes.”
When Ráma heard that special hest
To Hanumán above the rest,
He from the monarch's favour drew
Hope of success and trust anew
That he on whom his lord relied,
In toil and peril trained and tried,
Would to a happy issue bring
The task commanded by the king.
He gave the ring that bore his name,
A token for the captive dame,
That the sad lady in her woe
The missive of her lord might know.
“This ring,” he said, “my wife will see,
Nor fear an envoy sent by me.
Thy valour and thy skill combined,
Thy resolute and vigorous mind,
And King Sugríva's high behest,
With joyful hopes inspire my breast.”
Canto XLV. The Departure.
Away, away the Vánars sped
Like locusts o'er the land outspread.
To northern realms where rising high
The King of Mountains cleaves the sky,
Fierce Śatabal with vast array
Of Vánar warriors led the way.
Far southward, as his lord decreed,
Wise Hanumán, the Wind-God's seed,
With Angad his swift way pursued,
And Tára's warlike multitude,
Strong Vinata with all his band
Betook him to the eastern land,
And brave Susheṇ in eager quest
Sped swiftly to the gloomy west.
Each Vánar chieftain sought with speed
The quarter by his king decreed,
While from his legions rose on high
The shout and boast and battle cry:
“We will restore the dame and beat
The robber down beneath our feet.
My arm alone shall win the day
From Rávaṇ met in single fray,
Shall rob the robber of his life,
And rescue Ráma's captive wife
All trembling in her fear and woe.
Here, comrades, rest: no farther go:
For I will vanquish hell, and she
Shall by this arm again be free.
The rooted mountains will I rend,
The mightiest trees will break and bend,
Earth to her deep foundations cleave,
And make the calm sea throb and heave.
A hundred leagues from steep to steep
In desperate bound my feet shall leap.
My steps shall tread unchecked and free,
Through woods, o'er land and hill and sea,
Range as they list from flood to fell,
And wander through the depths of hell.”
Canto XLVI. Sugríva's Tale.
“How, King,” cried Ráma, “didst thou gain
Thy lore of sea and hill and plain?”
“I told thee how,” Sugríva said,
“From Báli's arm Máyáví fled744
To Malaya's hill, and strove to save
His life by hiding in the cave.
I told how Báli sought, to kill
His foe, the hollow of the hill;
Nor need I, King, again unfold
The wondrous tale already told.
Then, wandering forth, my way I took
By many a town and wood and brook.
I roamed the earth from place to place,
Till, like a mirror's polished face,
The whole broad disk, that lies between
Its farthest bounds, mine eyes had seen.
I wandered first to eastern skies
Where fairest trees rejoiced mine eyes,
And many a cave and wooded hill
Where lilies robed the lake and rill.
There metal dyes that hill745 adorn
Whence springs the sun to light the morn.
There, too, I viewed the Milky sea,
Where nymphs of heaven delight to be.
Then to the south I made my way
From regions of the rising day,
And roamed o'er Vindhya, where the breeze
Is odorous of sandal trees.
Still in my fear I found no rest:
I sought the regions of the west,
And gazed on Asta,746 where the sun
[pg 380]
Sinks when his daily course is run.
Then from that noblest hill I fled
And to the northern country sped,
Saw Himaván,747 and Meru's steep,
And stood beside the northern deep.
But when, by Báli's might oppressed,
E'en in those wilds I could not rest,
Came Hanumán the wise and brave,
And thus his prudent counsel gave:
“'I told thee how Matanga748 cursed
Thy tyrant, that his head should burst
In pieces, should he dare invade
The precincts of that tranquil shade.
There may we dwell in peace and be
From thy oppressor's malice free.”
We went to Rishyamúka's hill,
And spent our days secure from ill
Where, with that curse upon his head,
The cruel Báli durst not tread.”
Canto XLVII. The Return.
Thus forth in quest of Sítá went
The legions King Sugríva sent.
To many a distant town they hied
By many a lake and river's side.
As their great sovereign's order taught,
Through valleys, plains, and groves they sought.
They toiled unresting through the day:
At night upon the ground they lay
Where the tall trees, whose branches swayed
Beneath their fruit, gave pleasant shade.
Then, when a weary month was spent,
Back to Praśravaṇ's hill they went,
And stood with faces of despair
Before their king Sugríva there.
Thus, having wandered through the east,
Great Vinata his labours ceased,
And weary of the fruitless pain
Returned to meet the king again,
Brave Śatabali to the north
Had led his Vánar legions forth.
Now to Sugríva he sped
With all his host dispirited.
Susheṇ the western realms had sought,
And homeward now his legions brought.
All to Sugríva came, where still
He sat with Ráma on the hill.
Before their sovereign humbly bent
And thus addressed him reverent:
“On every hill our steps have been,
By wood and cave and deep ravine;
And all the wandering brooks we know
Throughout the land that seaward flow,
Our feet by thy command have traced
The tangled thicket and the waste,
And dens and dingles hard to pass
for creeping plants and matted grass.
Well have we searched with toil and pain,
And monstrous creatures have we slain
But Hanumán of noblest mind
The Maithil lady yet will find;
For to his quarter of the sky749
The robber fiend was seen to fly.”
Canto XLVIII. The Asur's Death.
But Hanumán still onward pressed
With Tára, Angad, and the rest,
Through Vindhya's pathless glens he sped
And left no spot unvisited.
He gazed from every mountain height,
He sought each cavern dark as night,
And wandered through the bloomy shade
By pool and river and cascade,
But, though they sought in every place,
Of Sítá yet they found no trace.
On fruit and woodland berries fed
Through many a lonely wild they sped,
And reached at last, untouched by fear,
A desert terrible and drear:
A fruitless waste, a land of gloom
Where trees were bare of leaf and bloom,
Where every scanty stream was dried,
And niggard earth her roots denied.
No elephants through all the ground,
No buffaloes or deer are found.
There roams no tiger, pard, or bear,
No creature of the wood is there.
No bird displays his glittering wings,
No tree, no shrub, no creeper springs.
There rise no lilies from the flood,
Resplendent with their flower and bud,
Where the delighted bees may throng
About the fragrance with their song.
There lived a hermit Kaṇdu named,
For truth and wealth of penance famed.
Whom fervent zeal and holy rite
Had dowered with all-surpassing might.
His little son, a ten year child—
So chanced it—perished in the wild.
His death with fury stirred the sage,
Who cursed the forest in his rage,
Doomed from that hour to shelter none,
A waste for bird and beast to shun.
[pg 381]
They searched by every forest edge,
They searched each cave and mountain ledge,
And thickets whence the water fell
Wandering through the tangled dell.
Striving to do Sugríva's will
They roamed along each leafy rill.
But vain were all endeavours, vain
The careful search, the toil and pain.
Through one dark grove they scarce could wind,
So thick were creepers intertwined.
There as they struggled through the wood
Before their eyes an Asur750 stood.
High as a towering hill, his pride
The very Gods in heaven defied.
When on the fiend their glances fell
Each braced him for the combat well.
The demon raised his arm on high,
And rushed upon them with a cry.
Him Angad smote,—for, sure, he thought
This was the fiend they long had sought.
From his huge mouth by Angad felled,
The blood in rushing torrents welled,
As, like a mountain from his base
Uptorn, he dropped upon his face.
Thus fell the mighty fiend: and they
Through the thick wood pursued their way;
Then, weary with the toil, reclined
Where leafy boughs to shade them twined.
Canto XLIX. Angad's Speech.
Then Angad spake: “We Vánars well
Have searched each valley, cave, and dell,
And hill, and brook, and dark recess,
And tangled wood, and wilderness.
But all in vain: no eye has seen
The robber or the Maithil queen.
A dreary time has passed away,
And stern is he we all obey.
Come, cast your grief and sloth aside:
Again be every effort tried;
So haply may our toil attain
The sweet success that follows pain.
Laborious effort, toil, and skill,
The firm resolve, the constant will
Secure at last the ends we seek:
Hence, O my friends, I boldly speak.
Once more then, noble hearts, once more
Let us to-day this wood explore,
And, languor and despair subdued,
Purchase success with toil renewed.
Sugríva is a king austere,
And Ráma's wrath we needs must fear.
Come, Vánars, ye think it wise,
And do the thing that I advise.”
Then Gandhamádan thus replied
With lips that toil and thirst had dried;
“Obey his words, for wise and true
Is all that he has counselled you.
Come, let your hosts their toil renew
And search each grove and desert through,
Each towering hill and forest glade.
By lake and brook and white cascade,
Till every spot, as our great lord
Commanded, be again explored.”
Uprose the Vánars one and all,
Obedient to the chieftain's call,
And over the southern region sped
Where Vindhya's tangled forests spread.
They clomb that hill that towers on high
Like a huge cloud in autumn's sky,
Where many a cavern yawns, and streaks
Of radiant silver deck the peaks.
In eager search they wandered through
The forests where the Lodh trees grew,
Where the dark leaves were thick and green,
But found not Ráma's darling queen.
Then faint with toil, their hearts depressed,
Descending from the mountain's crest,
Their weary limbs a while to ease
They lay beneath the spreading trees.
Canto L. The Enchanted Cave.
Angad and Tára by his side,
Again rose Hanumán and tried
Each mountain cavern, dark and deep,
And stony pass and wooded steep,
The lion's and the tiger's home,
By rushing torrents white with foam.
Then with new ardour, south and west,
O'er Vindhya's height the search they pressed.
The day prescribed was near and they
Still wandered on their weary way.
They reached the southern land beset
With woody mountains like a net.
At length a mighty cave they spied
That opened in a mountain's side.
Where many a verdant creeper grew
And o'er the mouth its tendrils threw.
Thence issued crane, and swan, and drake,
And trooping birds that love the lake.
The Vánars rushed within to cool
Their fevered lips in spring or pool.
Vast was the cavern dark and dread,
Where not a ray of light was shed;
Yet not the more their eyesight failed,
[pg 382]
Their courage sank or valour quailed.
On through the gloom the Vánars pressed
With hunger, thirst, and toil distressed,
Poor helpless wanderers, sad, forlorn,
With wasted faces wan and worn.
At length, when life seemed lost for aye,
They saw a splendour as of day,
A wondrous forest, fair and bright,
Where golden trees shot flamy light.
And lotus-covered pools were there
With pleasant waters fresh and fair,
And streams their rippling currents rolled
By seats of silver and of gold.
Fair houses reared their stately height
Of burnished gold and lazulite,
And glorious was the lustre thrown
Through lattices of precious stone.
And there were flowers and fruit on stems
Of coral decked with rarest gems,
And emerald leaves on silver trees,
And honeycomb and golden bees.
Then as the Vánars nearer drew,
A holy woman met their view,
Around her form was duly tied
A garment of the blackdeer's hide.751
Pure votaress she shone with light
Of fervent zeal and holy rite.
Then Hanumán before the rest
With reverent words the dame addressed:
“Who art thou? say: and who is lord
Of this vast cave with treasures stored?”
Canto LI. Svayamprabhá.
“Assailed by thirst and hunger, dame,
Within a gloomy vault we came.
We saw the cavern opening wide,
And straight within its depths we hied.
But utterly amazed are we
At all the marvels that we see.
Whose are the golden trees that gleam
With splendour like the morning's beam?
These cates of noblest sort? these roots?
This wondrous store of rarest fruits?
Whose are these calm and cool retreats,
These silver homes and golden seats,
And lattices of precious stones?
Who is the happy lord that owns
The golden trees, of rarest scent,
Neath loads of fruit and blossom bent?
Who, strong in holy zeal, had power
To deck the streams with richest dower,
And bade the lilies bright with gold
The glory of their blooms unfold,
Where fish in living gold below
The sheen of changing colours show?
Thine is the holy power, I ween,
That beautified the wondrous scene;
But if another's, lady, deign
To tell us, and the whole explain.”
To him the lady of the cave
In words like these her answer gave:
“Skilled Maya framed in days of old
This magic wood of growing gold.
The chief artificer in place
Was he of all the Dánav race.
He, for his wise enchantments famed,
This glorious dwelling planned and framed
He for a thousand years endured
The sternest penance, and secured
From Brahmá of all boons the best,
The knowledge Uśanas752 possessed.
Lord, by that boon, of all his will,
He fashioned all with perfect skill;
And, with his blissful state content,
In this vast grove a season spent.
By Indra's jealous bolt he fell
For loving Hemá's753 charms too well.
And Brahmá on that nymph bestowed
The treasures of this fair abode,
Wherein her tranquil days to spend
In happiness that ne'er may end.
Sprung of a lineage old and high,
Merusávarṇi's754 daughter, I
Guard ever for that heavenly dame
This home, Svayamprabhá755 my name,—
For I have loved the lady long,
So skilled in arts of dance and song.
But say what cause your steps has led
The mazes of this grove to tread.
[pg 383]
How, strangers did ye chance to spy
The wood concealed from wanderer's eye?
Tell clearly why ye come: but first
Eat of this fruit and quench your thirst.”
Canto LII. The Exit.
“Ráma,” he cried, “a prince whose sway
All peoples of the earth obey,
To Daṇḍak's tangled forest came
With his brave brother and his dame.
From that dark shade of forest boughs
The giant Rávaṇ stole his spouse.
Our king Sugríva's orders send
These Vánars forth to aid his friend,
That so the lady be restored
Uninjured to her sorrowing lord.
With Angad and the rest, this band
Has wandered through the southern land,
With careful search in every place
The lady and the fiend to trace.
We roamed the southern region o'er,
And stood upon the ocean's shore.
By hunger pressed our strength gave way;
Beneath the spreading trees we lay,
And cried, worn out with toil and woe,
“No farther, comrades, can we go.”
Then as our sad eyes looked around
We spied an opening in the ground,
Where all was gloomy dark behind
The creeping plants that o'er it twined.
Forth trooping from the dark-recess
Came swans and mallards numberless,
With drops upon their shining wings
As newly bathed where water springs.
“On, comrades, to the cave,” I cried
And all within the portal hied.
Each clasping fast another's hand
Far onward pressed the Vánar band;
And still, as thirst and hunger drove,
We traced the mazes of the grove.
Here thou with hospitable care
Hast fed us with the noblest fare,
Preserving us, about to die,
With this thy plentiful supply.
But how, O pious lady, say,
May we thy gracious boon repay?”
He ceased: the ascetic dame replied:
“Well, Vánars, am I satisfied.
A life of holy works I lead,
And from your hands no service need.”
Then spake again the Vánar chief:
“We came to thee and found relief.
Now listen to a new distress,
And aid us, holy votaress.
Our wanderings in this vasty cave
Exhaust the time Sugríva gave.
Once more then, lady, grant release,
And let thy suppliants go in peace
Again upon their errand sped,
For King Sugríva's ire we dread.
And the great task our sovereign set,
Alas, is unaccomplished yet.”
Thus Hanumán their leader prayed,
And thus the dame her answer made:
“Scarce may the living find their way
Returning hence to light of day;
But I will free you through the might
Of penance, fast, and holy rite.
Close for a while your eyes, or ne'er
May you return to upper air.”
She ceased: the Vánars all obeyed;
Their fingers on their eyes they laid,
And, ere a moment's time had fled,
Were through the mazy cavern led.
Again the gracious lady spoke,
And joy in every bosom woke:
“Lo, here again is Vindhya's hill,
Whose valleys trees and creepers fill;
And, by the margin of the sea,
Praśravaṇ where you fain would be.”
With blessings then she bade adieu,
And swift within the cave withdrew.
Canto LIII. Angad's Counsel.
They looked upon the boundless main
The awful seat of Varuṇ's reign.
And heard his waters roar and rave
Terrific with each crested wave.
Then, in the depths of sorrow drowned,
They sat upon the bosky ground,
And sadly, as they pondered, grieved
For days gone by and naught achieved.
Pain pierced them through with sharper sting
When, gazing on the trees of spring,
They saw each waving bough that showed
The treasures of its glorious load,
And helpless, fainting with the weight
Of woe they sank disconsolate.
Then, lion-shouldered, stout and strong,
The noblest of the Vánar throng,
Angad the prince imperial rose,
And, deeply stricken by the woes
That his impetuous spirit broke,
Thus gently to the chieftains spoke:
“Mark ye not, Vánars, that the day
Our monarch fixed has passed away?
The month is lost in toil and pain,
And now, my friends, what hopes remain?
On you, in lore of counsel tried,
Our king Sugríva most relied.
Your hearts, with strong affection fraught,
[pg 384]
His weal in every labour sought,
And the true valour of your band
Was blazoned wide in every land.
Forth on the toilsome search you sped,
By me—for so he willed it—led,
To us, of every hope bereft,
Death is the only refuge left.
For none a happy life may see
Who fails to do our king's decree.
Come, let us all from food abstain,
And perish thus, since hope is vain.
Stern is our king and swift to ire,
Imperious, proud, and fierce like fire,
And ne'er will pardon us the crime
Of fruitless search and wasted time.
Far better thus to end our lives,
And leave our wealth, our homes and wives,
Leave our dear little ones and all,
Than by his vengeful hand to fall.
Think not Sugríva's wrath will spare
Me Báli's son, imperial heir:
For Raghu's royal son, not he,
To this high place anointed me.
Sugríva, long my bitter foe,
With eager hand will strike the blow,
And, mindful of the old offence,
Will slay me now for negligence,
Nor will my pitying friends have power
To save me in the deadly hour.
No—here, O chieftains, will I lie
By ocean's marge, and fast and die.”
They heard the royal prince declare
The purpose of his fixt despair;
And all, by common terror moved,
His speech in these sad words approved:
“Sugríva's heart is hard and stern,
And Ráma's thoughts for Sítá yearn.
Our forfeit lives will surely pay
For idle search and long delay,
And our fierce king will bid us die
The favour of his friend to buy.”
Then Tára softly spake to cheer
The Vánars' hearts oppressed by fear:
“Despair no more, your doubts dispel:
Come in this ample cavern dwell.
There may we live in blissful ease
Mid springs and fruit and bloomy trees,
Secure from every foe's assault,
For magic framed the wondrous vault.
Protected there we need not fear
Though Ráma and our king come near;
Nor dread e'en him who batters down
The portals of the foeman's town.”756
Canto LIV. Hanumán's Speech.
But Hanumán, while Tára, best
Of splendid chiefs his thought expressed,
Perceived that Báli's princely son
A kingdom for himself had won.757
His keen eye marked in him combined
The warrior's arm, the ruler's mind,
And every noble gift should grace
The happy sovereign of his race:
Marked how he grew with ripening age
More glorious and bold and sage,—
Like the young moon that night by night
Shines on with ever waxing light,—
Brave as his royal father, wise
As he who counsels in the skies:758
Marked how, forwearied with the quest,
He heeded not his liege's hest,
But Tára's every word obeyed
Like Indra still by Śukra759 swayed.
Then with his prudent speech he tried
To better thoughts the prince to guide,
And by division's skilful art
The Vánars and the youth to part:
“Illustrious Angad, thou in fight
Hast far surpassed thy father's might,
Most worthy, like thy sire of old,
The empire of our race to hold.
The Vánars' fickle people range
From wish to wish and welcome change.
Their wives and babes they will not leave
And to their new-made sovereign cleave.
No art, no gifts will draw away
The Vánars from Sugríva's sway,
Through hope of wealth, through fear of pain
Still faithful will they all remain.
Thou fondly hopest in this cave
The vengeance of the foe to brave.
But Lakshmaṇ's arm a shower will send
Of deadly shafts those walls to rend.
Like Indra's bolts his shafts have power
To cleave the mountain like a flower.
O Angad, mark my counsel well:
If in this cave thou choose to dwell,
[pg 385]
These Vánar hosts with one accord
Will quit thee for their lawful lord,
And turn again with thirsty eyes
To wife and babe and all they prize.
Thou in the lonely cavern left
Of followers and friends bereft,
Wilt be in all thy woe, alas,
Weak as a blade of trembling grass:
And Lakshmaṇ's arrows, keen and fierce
From his strong bow, thy heart will pierce.
But if in lowly reverence meek
Sugríva's court with us thou seek,
He, as thy birth demands, will share
The kingdom with the royal heir.
Thy loving kinsman, true and wise,
Looks on thee still with favouring eyes.
Firm in his promise, pure is he,
And ne'er will vex or injure thee.
He loves thy mother, lives for her
A faithful friend and worshipper.
That mother's love thou mayst not spurn:
Her only child, return, return.”
Canto LV. Angad's Reply.
“What truth or justice canst thou find,”
Cried Angad, “in Sugríva's mind?
Where is his high and generous soul,
His purity and self-control?
How is he worthy of our trust,
Righteous, and true, and wise, and just,
Who, shrinking not from sin and shame,
Durst take his living brother's dame?
Who, when, in stress of mortal strife
His noble brother fought for life,
Against the valiant warrior barred
The portal which he stood to guard?
Can he be grateful—he who took
The hand of Ráma, and forsook
That friend who saved him in his woes,
To whom his life and fame he owes?
Ah no! his heart is cold and mean,
What bids him search for Ráma's queen?
Not honour's law, not friendship's debt,
But angry Lakshmaṇ's timely threat.
No prudent heart will ever place
Its trust in one so false and base,
Who heeds not friendship, kith or kin,
Who scorns the law and cleaves to sin.
But true or false, whate'er he be,
One consequence I clearly see;
Me, in my youth anointed heir
Against his wish, he will not spare,
But strike with eager hand the blow
That rids him of a household foe.
Shall I of power and friends despoiled,
In all my purpose crossed and foiled,—
Shall I Kishkindhá seek, and wait,
Like some poor helpless thing, my fate?
The cruel wretch through lust of sway
Will seize upon his hapless prey,
And to a prison's secret gloom
The remnant of my years will doom.
'Tis better far to fast and die
Than hopeless bound in chains to lie,
Your steps, O Vánars, homeward bend
And leave me here my life to end.
Better to die of hunger here
Than meet at home the fate I fear.
Go, bow you at Sugríva's feet,
And in my name the monarch greet.
Before the sons of Raghu bend,
And give the greeting that I send.
Greet kindly Rumá too, for she
A son's affection claims from me,
And gently calm with friendly care
My mother Tárá's wild despair;
Or when she hears her darling's fate
The queen will die disconsolate.”
Thus Angad bade the chiefs adieu:
Then on the ground his limbs he threw
Where sacred Darbha760 grass was spread,
And wept as every hope had fled.
The moving words of Angad drew
Down aged cheeks the piteous dew.
And, as the chieftains' eyes grew dim,
They swore to stay and die with him.
On holy grass whose every blade
Was duly, pointing southward, laid,
The Vánars sat them down and bent
Their faces to the orient,
While “Here, O comrades, let us die
With Angad,” was the general cry.
Canto LVI. Sampáti.
Then came the vultures' mighty king
Where sat the Vánars sorrowing,—
Sampáti,761 best of birds that fly
On sounding pinions through the sky,
Jaṭáyus' brother, famed of old,
Most glorious and strong and bold.
Upon the slope of Vindhya's hill
He saw the Vánars calm and still.
[pg 386]
These words he uttered while the sight
Filled his fierce spirit with delight:
“Behold how Fate with changeless laws
Within his toils the sinner draws,
And brings me, after long delay,
A rich and noble feast to-day,
These Vánars who are doomed to die
My hungry maw to satisfy.”
He spoke no more: and Angad heard
The menace of the mighty bird;
And thus, while anguish filled his breast,
The noble Hanumán addressed:
“Vivasvat's762 son has sought this place
For vengeance on the Vánar race.
See, Yáma, wroth for Sítá's sake,
Is come our guilty lives to take.
Our king's decree is left undone,
And naught achieved for Raghu's son.
In duty have we failed, and hence
Comes punishment for dire offence.
Have we not heard the marvels wrought
By King Jaṭáyus,763 how he fought
With Rávaṇ's might, and, nobly brave,
Perished, the Maithil queen to save?
There is no living creature, none,
But loves to die for Raghu's son,
And in long toils and dangers we
Have placed our lives in jeopardy.
Blest is Jaṭáyus, he who gave
His life the Maithil queen to save,
And proved his love for Ráma well
When by the giant's hand he fell.
Now raised to bliss and high renown
He fears not fierce Sugríva's frown.
Alas, alas! what miseries spring
From that rash promise of the king!764
His own sad death, and Ráma sent
With Lakshmaṇ forth to banishment:
The Maithil lady borne away:
Jaṭáyus slain in mortal fray:
The fall of Báli when the dart
Of Ráma quivered in his heart:
And, after toil and pain and care,
Our misery and deep despair.”
He ceased: the feathered monarch heard,
His heart with ruth and wonder stirred:
“Whose is that voice,” the vulture cried,
“That tells me how Jaṭáyus died,
And shakes my inmost soul with woe
For a loved brother's overthrow?
After long days at length I hear
The glorious name of one so dear.
Once more, O Vánar chieftains, tell
How King Jaṭáyus fought and fell.
But first your aid, I pray you, lend,
And from this peak will I descend.
The sun has burnt my wings, and I
No longer have the power to fly.”
Canto LVII. Angad's Speech.
Though grief and woe his utterance broke
They trusted not the words he spoke;
But, looking still for secret guile,
Reflected in their hearts a while:
“If on our mangled limbs he feed,
We gain the death ourselves decreed.”
Then rose the Vánar chiefs, and lent
Their arms to aid the bird's descent;
And Angad spake: “There lived of yore
A noble Vánar king who bore
The name of Riksharajas, great
And brave and strong and fortunate.
His sons were like their father: fame
Knows Báli and Sugríva's name.
Praised in all lands, a glorious king
Was Báli, and from him I spring.
Brave Ráma, Daśaratha's heir,
A glorious prince beyond compare,
His sire and duty's law obeyed,
And sought the depths of Daṇḍak' shade
Sítá his well-beloved dame,
And Lakshmaṇ, with the wanderer came.
A giant watched his hour, and stole
The sweet delight of Ráma's soul.
Jaṭáyus, Daśaratha's friend,
Swift succour to the dame would lend.
Fierce Rávaṇ from his car he felled,
And for a time the prize withheld.
But bleeding, weak with years, and tired,
Beneath the demon's blows expired,
Due rites at Ráma's hands obtained,
And bliss that ne'er shall minish, gained.
Then Ráma with Sugríva made
A covenant for mutual aid,
And Báli, to the field defied,
By conquering Ráma's arrow died.
Sugríva then, by Ráma's grace,
Was monarch of the Vánar race.
By his command a mighty host
Seeks Ráma's queen from coast to coast.
Sent forth by him, in every spot
We looked for her, but find her not.
Vain is the toil, as though by night
We sought to find the Day-God's light.
In lands unknown at length we found
A spacious cavern under ground,
Whose vaults that stretch beneath the hill
Were formed by Maya's magic skill.
Through the dark maze our steps were bent,
And wandering there a month we spent,
[pg 387]
And lost, in fruitless error, thus
The days our king allotted us.
Thus we though faithful have transgressed,
And failed to keep our lord's behest.
No chance of safety can we see,
No lingering hope of life have we.
Sugríva's wrath and Ráma's hate
Press on our souls with grievous weight:
And we, because 'tis vain to fly,
Resolve at length to fast and die.”
Canto LVIII. Tidings Of Sítá.
The piteous tears his eye bedewed
As thus his speech the bird renewed;
“Alas my brother, slain in fight
By Rávaṇ's unresisted might!
I, old and wingless, weak and worn,
O'er his sad fate can only mourn.
Fled is my youth: in life's decline
My former strength no more is mine.
Once on the day when Vritra765 died,
We brothers, in ambitious pride,
Sought, mounting with adventurous flight,
The Day-God garlanded with light.
On, ever on we urged our way
Where fields of ether round us lay,
Till, by the fervent heat assailed,
My brother's pinions flagged and failed.
I marked his sinking strength, and spread
My stronger wings to screen his head,
Till, all my feathers burnt away,
On Vindhya's hill I fell and lay.
There in my lone and helpless state
I heard not of my brother's fate.”
Thus King Sampáti spoke and sighed:
And royal Angad thus replied:
“If, brother of Jatáyus, thou
Hast heard the tale I told but now,
Obedient to mine earnest prayer
The dwelling of that fiend declare.
O, say where cursed Rávaṇ dwells,
Whom folly to his death impels.”
He ceased. Again Sampáti spoke,
And hope in every breast awoke:
“Though lost my wings, and strength decayed,
Yet shall my words lend Ráma aid.
I know the worlds where Vishṇu trod,766
I know the realm of Ocean's God;
How Asurs fought with heavenly foes,
And Amrit from the churning rose.767
A mighty task before me lies,
To prosper Ráma's enterprise,
A task too hard for one whom length
Of days has rifled of his strength.
I saw the cruel Rávaṇ bear
A gentle lady through the air.
Bright was her form, and fresh and young,
And sparkling gems about her hung.
“O Ráma, Ráma!” cried the dame,
And shrieked in terror Lakshmaṇ's name,
As, struggling in the giant's hold,
She dropped her gauds of gems and gold.
Like sun-light on a mountain shone
The silken garments she had on,
And glistened o'er his swarthy form
As lightning flashes through the storm.
That giant Rávaṇ, famed of old,
Is brother of the Lord of Gold.768
The southern ocean roars and swells
Round Lanká, where the robber dwells
In his fair city nobly planned
And built by Viśvakarmá's769 hand.
Within his bower securely barred,
With monsters round her for a guard,
Still in her silken vesture clad
Lies Sítá, and her heart is sad.
A hundred leagues your course must be
Beyond this margin of the sea.
Still to the south your way pursue,
And there the giant Rávaṇ view.
Then up, O Vánars, and away!
For by my heavenly lore I say,
There will you see the lady's face,
And hither soon your steps retrace.
In the first field of air are borne
The doves and birds that feed on corn.
The second field supports the crows
And birds whose food on branches grows.
Along the third in balanced flight
Sail the keen osprey and the kite.
Swift through the fourth the falcon springs
The fifth the slower vulture wings.
Up to the sixth the gay swans rise,
[pg 388]
Where royal Vainateya770 flies.
We too, O chiefs, of vulture race,
Our line from Vinatá may trace,
Condemned, because we wrought a deed
Of shame, on flesh and blood to feed.
But all Suparṇa's771 wondrous powers
And length of keenest sight are ours,
That we a hundred leagues away
Through fields of air descry our prey.
Now from this spot my gazing eye
Can Rávaṇ and the dame descry.
Devise some plan to overleap
This barrier of the briny deep.
Find the Videhan lady there,
And joyous to your home repair.
Me too, O Vánars, to the side
Of Varuṇ's772 home the ocean, guide,
Where due libations shall be paid
To my great-hearted brother's shade.”
Canto LIX. Sampáti's Story.
They heard his counsel to the close,
Then swiftly to their feet they rose;
And Jámbaván with joyous breast
The vulture king again addressed:
“Where, where is Sítá? who has seen,
Who borne away the Maithil queen?
Who would the lightning flight withstand
by Lakshmaṇ's hand?”
Again Sampáti spoke to cheer
The Vánars as they bent to hear:
“Now listen, and my words shall show
What of the Maithil dame I know,
And in what distant prison lies
The lady of the long dark eyes.
Scorched by the fiery God of Day,
High on this mighty hill I lay.
A long and weary time had passed,
And strength and life were failing fast.
Yet, ere the breath had left my frame,
My son, my dear Supárśva, came.
Each morn and eve he brought me food,
And filial care my life renewed.
But serpents still are swift to ire,
Gandharvas slaves to soft desire,
And we, imperial vultures, need
A full supply our maws to feed.
Once he turned at close of day,
Stood by my side, but brought no prey.
He looked upon my ravenous eye,
Heard my complaint and made reply:
“Borne on swift wings ere day was light
I stood upon Mahendra's773 height,
And, far below, the sea I viewed
And birds in countless multitude.
Before mine eyes a giant flew
Whose monstrous form was dark of hue
And struggling in his grasp was borne
A lady radiant as the morn.
Swift to the south his course he bent,
And cleft the yielding element.
The holy spirits of the air
Came round me as I marvelled there,
And cried as their bright legions met:
“O say, is Sítá living yet?”
Thus cried the saints and told the name
Of him who held the struggling dame.
Then while mine eye with eager look
Pursued the path the robber took,
I marked the lady's streaming hair,
And heard her cry of wild despair.
I saw her silken vesture rent
And stripped of every ornament,
Thus, O my father, fled the time:
Forgive, I pray, the heedless crime.”
In vain the mournful tale I heard
My pitying heart to fury stirred,
What could a helpless bird of air,
Reft of his boasted pinions, dare?
Yet can I aid with all that will
And words can do, and friendly skill.”
Canto LX. Sampáti's Story.
Then from the flood Sampáti paid
Due offerings to his brother's shade.
He bathed him when the rites were done,
And spake again to Báli's son:
“Now listen, Prince, while I relate
How first I learned the lady's fate.
Burnt by the sun's resistless might
I fell and lay on Vindhya's height.
Seven nights in deadly swoon I passed,
But struggling life returned at last.
Around I bent my wondering view,
But every spot was strange and new.
I scanned the sea with eager ken,
And rock and brook and lake and glen,
I saw gay trees their branches wave,
And creepers mantling o'er the cave.
I heard the wild birds' joyous song,
And waters as they foamed along,
And knew the lovely hill must be
Mount Vindhya by the southern sea.
[pg 389]
Revered by heavenly beings, stood
Near where I lay, a sacred wood,
Where great Niśakar dwelt of yore
And pains of awful penance bore.
Eight thousand seasons winged their flight
Over the toiling anchorite—
Upon that hill my days were spent,—
And then to heaven the hermit went.
At last, with long and hard assay,
Down from that height I made my way,
And wandered through the mountain pass
Rough with the spikes of Darbha grass.
I with my misery worn, and faint
Was eager to behold the saint:
For often with Jaṭáyus I
Had sought his home in days gone by.
As nearer to the grove I drew
The breeze with cooling fragrance blew,
And not a tree that was not fair,
With richest flower and fruit was there.
With anxious heart a while I stayed
Beneath the trees' delightful shade,
And soon the holy hermit, bright
With fervent penance, came in sight.
Behind him bears and lions, tame
As those who know their feeder, came,
And tigers, deer, and snakes pursued
His steps, a wondrous multitude,
And turned obeisant when the sage
Had reached his shady hermitage.
Then came Niśakar to my side
And looked with wondering eyes, and cried:
“I knew thee not, so dire a change
Has made thy form and feature strange.
Where are thy glossy feathers? where
The rapid wings that cleft the air?
Two vulture brothers once I knew:
Each form at will could they endue.
They of the vulture race were kings,
And flew with Mátariśva's774 wings.
In human shape they loved to greet
Their hermit friend, and clasp his feet.
The younger was Jaṭáyus, thou
The elder whom I gaze on now.
Say, has disease or foeman's hate
Reduced thee from thy high estate?”
Canto LXI. Sampáti's Story.
“Ah me! o'erwhelmed with shame and weak
With wounds,” I cried, “I scarce can speak.
My hapless brother once and I
Our strength of flight resolved to try.
And by our foolish pride impelled
Our way through realms of ether held.
We vowed before the saints who tread
The wilds about Kailása's head,
That we with following wings would chase
The swift sun to his resting place.
Up on our soaring pinions through
The fields of cloudless air we flew.
Beneath us far, and far away,
Like chariot wheels bright cities lay,
Whence in wild snatches rose the song
Of women mid the gay-clad throng,
With sounds of sweetest music blent
And many a tinkling ornament.
Then as our rapid wings we strained
The pathway of the sun we gained.
Beneath us all the earth was seen
Clad in her garb of tender green,
And every river in her bed
Meandered like a silver thread.
We looked on Meru far below
And Vindhya and the Lord of Snow,
Like elephants that bend to cool
Their fever in a lilied pool.
But fervent heat and toil o'ercame
The vigour of each yielding frame,
Our weary hearts began to quail,
And wildered sense to reel and fail.
We knew not, fainting and distressed,
The north or south or east or west.
With a great strain mine eyes I turned
Where the fierce sun before me burned,
And seemed to my astonished eyes
The equal of the earth in size.775
At length, o'erpowered, Jaṭáyus fell
Without a word to say farewell,
And when to earth I saw him hie
I followed headlong from the sky.776
With sheltering wings I intervened
And from the sun his body screened,
But lost, for heedless folly doomed,
My pinions which the heat consumed.
In Janasthán, I hear them say,
My hapless brother fell and lay.
I, pinionless and faint and weak,
Dropped upon Vindhya's woody peak.
Now with my swift wings burnt away,
Reft of my brother and my sway,
From this tall mountain's summit I
Will cast me headlong down and die.”
[pg 390]
Canto LXII. Sampáti's Story.
“As to the saint I thus complained
My bitter tears fell unrestrained.
He pondered for a while, then broke
The silence, and thus calmly spoke:
“Forth from thy sides again shall spring,
O royal bird, each withered wing,
And all thine ancient power and might
Return to thee with strength of sight.
A noble deed has been foretold
In prophecy pronounced of old:
Nor dark to me are future things,
Seen by the light which penance brings.
A glorious king shall rise and reign,
The pride of old Ikshváku's strain.
A good and valiant prince, his heir,
Shall the dear name of Ráma bear.
With his brave brother Lakshmaṇ he
An exile in the woods shall be,
Where Rávaṇ, whom no God may slay,777
Shall steal his darling wife away.
In vain the captive will be wooed
With proffered love and dainty food,
She will not hear, she will not taste:
But, lest her beauty wane and waste,
Lord Indra's self will come to her
With heavenly food, and minister.
Then envoys of the Vánar race
By Ráma sent will seek this place.
To them, O roamer of the air,
The lady's fate shalt thou declare.
Thou must not move—so maimed thou art
Thou canst not from this spot depart.
Await the day and moment due,
And thy burnt wings will sprout anew.
I might this day the boon bestow
And bid again thy pinions grow,
But wait until thy saving deed
The nations from their fear have freed.
Then for this glorious aid of thine
The princes of Ikshváku's line,
And Gods above and saints below
Eternal gratitude shall owe.
Fain would mine aged eyes behold
That pair of whom my lips have told,
Yet wearied here I must not stay,
But leave my frame and pass away.”
Canto LXIII. Sampáti's Story.
“With this and many a speech beside
My failing heart he fortified,
With glorious hope my breast inspired,
And to his holy home retired.
I scaled the mountain height, to view
The region round, and looked for you.
In ceaseless watchings night and day
A hundred seasons passed away,
And by the sage's words consoled
I wait the hour and chance foretold.
But since Niśakar sought the skies.
And cast away all earthly ties,
Full many a care and doubt has pressed
With grievous weight upon my breast.
But for the saint who turned aside
My purpose I had surely died.
Those hopeful words the hermit spake,
That bid me live for Ráma's sake,
Dispel my anguish as the light
Of lamp and torch disperse the night.”
He ceased: and in the Vánars' view
Forth from his side young pinions grew,
And boundless rapture filled his breast
As thus the chieftains he addressed:
“Joy, joy! the pinions, which the Lord
Of Day consumed, are now restored
Through the dear grace & boundless might
Of that illustrious anchorite.
The fire of youth within me burns,
And all my wonted strength returns.
Onward, ye Vánars, toil strive,
And you shall find the dame alive.
Look on these new-found wings, and hence
Be strong in surest confidence.”
Swift from the crag he sprang to try
His pinions in his native sky.
His words the chieftains' doubts had stilled,
And every heart with courage filled.778
Canto LXIV. The Sea.
Shouts of triumphant joy outrang
As to their feet the Vánars sprang:
And, on the mighty task intent,
Swift to the sea their steps they bent.
They stood and gazed upon the deep,
Whose billows with a roar and leap
On the sea banks ware wildly hurled,—
The mirror of the mighty world.
There on the strand the Vánars stayed
And with sad eyes the deep surveyed,
Here, as in play, his billows rose,
And there he slumbered in repose.
Here leapt the boisterous waters, high
As mountains, menacing the sky,
And wild infernal forms between
The ridges of the waves were seen.
[pg 391]
They saw the billows rave and swell,
And their sad spirits sank and fell;
For ocean in their deep despair
Seemed boundless as the fields of air.
Then noble Angad spake to cheer
The Vánars and dispel their fear:
“Faint not: despair should never find
Admittance to a noble mind.
Despair, a serpent's mortal bite,
Benumbs the hero's power and might.”
Then passed the weary night, and all
Assembled at their prince's call,
And every lord of high estate
Was gathered round him for debate.
Bright was the chieftains' glorious band
Round Angad on the ocean strand,
As when the mighty Storm-Gods meet
Round Indra on his golden seat.
Then princely Angad looked on each,
And thus began his prudent speech:
“What chief of all our host will leap
A hundred leagues across the deep?
Who, O illustrious Vánars, who
Will make Sugríva's promise true,
And from our weight of fear set free
The leaders of our band and me?
To whom, O warriors, shall we owe
A sweet release from pain and woe,
And proud success, and happy lives
With our dear children and our wives,
Again permitted by his grace
To look with joy on Ráma's face,
And noble Lakshmaṇ, and our lord
The king, to our sweet homes restored?”
Thus to the gathered lords he spoke;
But no reply the silence broke.
Then with a sterner voice he cried:
“O chiefs, the nation's boast and pride,
Whom valour strength and power adorn,
Of most illustrious lineage born,
Where'er you will you force a way,
And none your rapid course can stay.
Now come, your several powers declare.
And who this desperate leap will dare?”
Canto LXV. The Council.
But none of all the host was found
To clear the sea with desperate bound,
Though each, as Angad bade, declared
His proper power and what he dared.779
Then spake good Jámbaván the sage,
Chief of them all for reverend age;
“I, Vánar chieftains, long ago
Limbs light to leap could likewise show,
But now on frame and spirit weighs
The burthen of my length of days.
Still task like this I may not slight,
When Ráma and our king unite.
So listen while I tell, O friends,
What lingering strength mine age attends.
If my poor leap may aught avail,
Of ninety leagues, I will not fail.
Far other strength in youth's fresh prime
I boasted, in the olden time,
When, at Prahláda's780 solemn rite,
I circled in my rapid flight
Lord Vishṇu, everlasting God,
When through the universe he trod.
But now my limbs are weak and old,
My youth is fled, its fire is cold,
And these exhausted nerves to strain
In such a task were idle pain.”
Then Angad due obeisance paid,
And to the chief his answer made:
“Then I, ye noble Vánars, I
Myself the mighty leap will try:
Although perchance the power I lack
To leap from Lanká's island back.”
Thus the impetuous chieftain cried,
And Jámbaván the sage replied:
“Whate'er thy power and might may be,
This task, O Prince, is not for thee.
Kings go not forth themselves, but send
The servants who their best attend.
Thou art the darling and the boast,
The honoured lord of all the host.
In thee the root, O Angad, lies
Of our appointed enterprise;
And thee, on whom our hopes depend,
Our care must cherish and defend.”
Then Báli's noble son replied:
“Needs must I go, whate'er betide,
For, if no chief this exploit dare,
What waits us all save blank despair,—
Upon the ground again to lie
In hopeless misery, fast, and die?
For not a hope of life I see
If we neglect our king's decree.”
Then spoke the aged chief again:
“Nay our attempt shall not be vain,
For to the task will I incite
A chieftain of sufficient might.”
[pg 392]
Canto LXVI. Hanumán.
The chieftain turned his glances where
The legions sat in mute despair;
And then to Hanumán, the best
Of Vánar lords, these words addressed:
“Why still, and silent, and apart,
O hero of the dauntless heart?
Thou keepest treasured in thy mind
The laws that rule the Vánar kind,
Strong as our king Sugríva, brave
As Ráma's self to slay or save.
Through every land thy praise is heard,
Famous as that illustrious bird,
Aríshṭanemi's son,781 the king
Of every fowl that plies the wing.
Oft have I seen the monarch sweep
With sounding pinions o'er the deep,
And in his mighty talons bear
Huge serpents struggling through the air.
Thy arms, O hero, match in might
The ample wings he spreads for flight;
And thou with him mayest well compare
In power to do, in heart to dare.
Why, rich in wisdom, power, and skill,
O hero, art thou lingering still?
An Apsaras782 the fairest found
Of nymphs for heavenly charms renowned,
Sweet Punjikasthalá, became
A noble Vánar's wedded dame.
Her heavenly title heard no more,
Anjaná was the name she bore,
When, cursed by Gods, from heaven she fell
In Vánar form on earth to dwell,
New-born in mortal shape the child
Of Kunjar monarch of the wild.
In youthful beauty wondrous fair,
A crown of flowers about her hair,
In silken robes of richest dye
She roamed the hills that kiss the sky.
Once in her tinted garments dressed
She stood upon the mountain crest,
The God of Wind beside her came,
And breathed upon the lovely dame.
And as he fanned her robe aside
The wondrous beauty that he eyed
In rounded lines of breast and limb
And neck and shoulder ravished him;
And captured by her peerless charms
He strained her in his amorous arms.
Then to the eager God she cried
In trembling accents, terrified:
“Whose impious love has wronged a spouse
So constant in her nuptial vows?”
He heard, and thus his answer made:
“O, be not troubled, nor afraid,
But trust, and thou shalt know ere long
My love has done thee, sweet, no wrong,
So strong and brave and wise shall be
The glorious child I give to thee.
Might shall be his that naught can tire,
And limbs to spring as springs his sire.”
Thus spoke the God; the conquered dame
Rejoiced in heart nor feared the shame.
Down in a cave beneath the earth
The happy mother gave thee birth.
Once o'er the summit of the wood
Before thine eyes the new sun stood.
Thou sprangest up in haste to seize
What seemed the fruitage of the trees.
Up leapt the child, a wondrous bound,
Three hundred leagues above the ground,
And, though the angered Day-God shot
His fierce beams on him, feared him not.
Then from the hand of Indra came
A red bolt winged with wrath and flame.
The child fell smitten on a rock,
His cheek was shattered by the shock,
Named Hanumán783 thenceforth by all
In memory of the fearful fall.
The wandering Wind-God saw thee lie
With bleeding cheek and drooping eye,
And stirred to anger by thy woe
Forbade each scented breeze to blow.
The breath of all the worlds was stilled,
And the sad Gods with terror filled
Prayed to the Wind, to calm the ire
And soothe the sorrow of the sire.
His fiery wrath no longer glowed,
And Brahmá's self the boon bestowed
That in the brunt of battle none
Should slay with steel the Wind-God's son.
Lord Indra, sovereign of the skies,
Bent on thee all his thousand eyes,
And swore that ne'er the bolt which he
Hurls from the heaven should injure thee.
'Tis thine, O mighty chief, to share
The Wind-God's power, his son and heir.
Sprung from that glorious father thou,
And thou alone, canst aid us now.
This earth of yore, through all her climes,
I circled one-and-twenty times,
And gathered, as the Gods decreed,
Great store of herbs from hill and mead,
Which, scattered o'er the troubled wave,
The Amrit to the toilers gave.
[pg 393]
But now my days are wellnigh told,
My strength is gone, my limbs are old,
And thou, the bravest and the best,
Art the sure hope of all the rest.
Now, mighty chief, the task assay:
Thy matchless power and strength display.
Rise up, O prince, our second king,
And o'er the flood of ocean spring.
So shall the glorious exploit vie
With his who stepped through earth and sky.”784
He spoke: the younger chieftain heard,
His soul to vigorous effort stirred,
And stood before their joyous eyes
Dilated in gigantic size.
Canto LXVII. Hanumán's Speech.
Soon as his stature they beheld,
Their fear and sorrow were dispelled;
And joyous praises loud and long
Rang out from all the Vánar throng.
On the great chief their eyes they bent
In rapture and astonishment,
As, when his conquering foot he raised,
The Gods upon Náráyaṇ785 gazed.
He stood amid the joyous crowd,
Bent to the chiefs, and cried aloud:
“The Wind-God, Fire's eternal friend,
Whose blasts the mountain summits rend,
With boundless force that none may stay,
Takes where he lists his viewless way.
Sprung from that glorious father, I
In power and speed with him may vie,
A thousand times with airy leap
Can circle loftiest Meru's steep:
With my fierce arms can stir the sea
Till from their bed the waters flee
And rush at my command to drown
This land with grove and tower and town.
I through the fields of air can spring
Far swifter than the feathered King,
And leap before him as he flies,
On sounding pinions through the skies.
I can pursue the Lord of Light
Uprising from the eastern height,
And reach him ere his course be sped
With burning beams engarlanded.
I will dry up the mighty main,
Shatter the rocks and rend the plain.
O'er earth and ocean will I bound,
And every flower that grows on ground,
And bloom of climbing plants shall show
Strewn on the ground, the way I go,
Bright as the lustrous path that lies
Athwart the region of the skies.786
The Maithil lady will I find,—
Thus speaks mine own prophetic mind,—
And cast in hideous ruin down
The shattered walls of Lanká's town.”
Still on the chief in rapt surprise
The Vánar legions bent their eyes,
And thus again sage Jámbaván
Addressed the glorious Hanumán:
“Son of the Wind, thy promise cheers
The Vánars' hearts, and calms their fears,
Who, rescued from their dire distress,
With prospering vows thy way will bless.
The holy saints their favour lend,
And all our chiefs the deed commend
Urging thee forward on thy way:
Arise then, and the task assay.
Thou art our only refuge; we,
Our lives and all, depend on thee.”
Then sprang the Wind-God's son the best
Of Vánars, on Mahendra's crest,
And the great mountain rocked and swayed
By that unusual weight dismayed,
As reels an elephant beneath
The lion's spring and rending teeth.
The shady wood that crowned him shook,
The trembling birds the boughs forsook,
And ape and pard and lion fled
From brake and lair disquieted.




 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

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