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Ramayana, Book 2, The

Canto CVI. Bharat's Speech.

Good Bharat, by the river side,
To virtuous Ráma's speech replied,
And thus with varied lore addressed
The prince, while nobles round him pressed:
“In all this world whom e'er can we
Find equal, scourge of foes, to thee?
No ill upon thy bosom weighs,
No thoughts of joy thy spirit raise.
Approved art thou of sages old,
To whom thy doubts are ever told.
Alike in death and life, to thee
The same to be and not to be.
The man who such a soul can gain
Can ne'er be crushed by woe or pain.
Pure as the Gods, high-minded, wise,
Concealed from thee no secret lies.
Such glorious gifts are all thine own,
And birth and death to thee are known,
That ill can ne'er thy soul depress
With all-subduing bitterness.
O let my prayer, dear brother, win
Thy pardon for my mother's sin.
Wrought for my sake who willed it not
When absent in a distant spot.
Duty alone with binding chains
The vengeance due to crime restrains,
Or on the sinner I should lift
My hand in retribution swift.
Can I who know the right, and spring
From Daśaratha, purest king—
Can I commit a heinous crime,
Abhorred by all through endless time?
The aged king I dare not blame,
Who died so rich in holy fame,
My honoured sire, my parted lord,
E'en as a present God adored.
Yet who in lore of duty skilled
So foul a crime has ever willed,
And dared defy both gain and right
To gratify a woman's spite?
When death draws near, so people say,
The sense of creatures dies away;
And he has proved the ancient saw
By acting thus in spite of law.
But O my honoured lord, be kind,
Dismiss the trespass from thy mind,
The sin the king committed, led
By haste, his consort's wrath, and dread.
For he who veils his sire's offence
With tender care and reverence—
His sons approved by all shall live:
Not so their fate who ne'er forgive.
Be thou, my lord, the noble son,
And the vile deed my sire has done,
Abhorred by all the virtuous, ne'er
Resent, lest thou the guilt too share.
Preserve us, for on thee we call,
Our sire, Kaikeyí, me and all
Thy citizens, thy kith and kin;
Preserve us and reverse the sin.
To live in woods a devotee
Can scarce with royal tasks agree,
Nor can the hermit's matted hair
Suit fitly with a ruler's care.
Do not, my brother, do not still
Pursue this life that suits thee ill.
Mid duties of a king we count
His consecration paramount,
That he with ready heart and hand
May keep his people and his land.
What Warrior born to royal sway
From certain good would turn away,
A doubtful duty to pursue,
That mocks him with the distant view?
Thou wouldst to duty cleave, and gain
The meed that follows toil and pain.
In thy great task no labour spare:
Rule the four castes with justest care.
Mid all the four, the wise prefer
The order of the householder:383
Canst thou, whose thoughts to duty cleave,
The best of all the orders leave?
My better thou in lore divine,
My birth, my sense must yield to thine:
While thou, my lord, art here to reign,
How shall my hands the rule maintain?
O faithful lover of the right,
Take with thy friends the royal might,
Let thy sires' realm, from trouble free,
Obey her rightful king in thee.
Here let the priests and lords of state
Our monarch duly consecrate,
With prayer and holy verses blessed
By saint Vaśishṭha and the rest.
Anointed king by us, again
Seek fair Ayodhyá, there to reign,
And like imperial Indra girt
By Gods of Storm, thy might assert.
From the three debts384 acquittance earn,
And with thy wrath the wicked burn,
O'er all of us thy rule extend,
And cheer with boons each faithful friend.
Let thine enthronement, lord, this day
Make all thy lovers glad and gay,
And let all those who hate thee flee
To the ten winds for fear of thee.
Dear lord, my mother's words of hate
With thy sweet virtues expiate,
And from the stain of folly clear
The father whom we both revere.
Brother, to me compassion show,
I pray thee with my head bent low,
And to these friends who on thee call,—
As the Great Father pities all.
But if my tears and prayers be vain,
And thou in woods wilt still remain,
I will with thee my path pursue
And make my home in forests too.”
Thus Bharat strove to bend his will
With suppliant head, but he,
Earth's lord, inexorable still
Would keep his sire's decree.
The firmness of the noble chief
The wondering people moved,
And rapture mingling with their grief,
All wept and all approved.
“How firm his steadfast will,” they cried,
“Who Keeps his promise thus!
Ah, to Ayodhyá's town,” they sighed,
“He comes not back with us.”
The holy priest, the swains who tilled
The earth, the sons of trade,
And e'en the mournful queens were filled
With joy as Bharat prayed,
And bent their heads, then weeping stilled
A while, his prayer to aid.

Canto CVII. Ráma's Speech.

Thus, by his friends encompassed round,
He spoke, and Ráma, far renowned,
To his dear brother thus replied,
Whom holy rites had purified:
“O thou whom Queen Kaikeyí bare
The best of kings, thy words are fair,
Our royal father, when of yore
He wed her, to her father swore
The best of kingdoms to confer,
A noble dowry meet for her;
Then, grateful, on the deadly day
Of heavenly Gods' and demons' fray,
A future boon on her bestowed
To whose sweet care his life he owed.
She to his mind that promise brought,
And then the best of kings besought
To bid me to the forest flee,
And give the rule, O Prince, to thee.
Thus bound by oath, the king our lord
Gave her those boons of free accord,
And bade me, O thou chief of men,
Live in the woods four years and ten.
I to this lonely wood have hied
With faithful Lakshmaṇ by my side,
And Sítá by no tears deterred,
Resolved to keep my father's word.
And thou, my noble brother, too
Shouldst keep our father's promise true:
Anointed ruler of the state
Maintain his word inviolate.
From his great debt, dear brother, free
Our lord the king for love of me,
Thy mother's breast with joy inspire,
And from all woe preserve thy sire.
'Tis said, near Gayá's holy town385
Gayá, great saint of high renown,
This text recited when he paid
Due rites to each ancestral shade:
“A son is born his sire to free
From Put's infernal pains:
Hence, saviour of his father, he
The name of Puttra gains.”386
Thus numerous sons are sought by prayer,
In Scripture trained with graces fair,
That of the number one some day
May funeral rites at Gayá pay.
The mighty saints who lived of old
This holy doctrine ever hold.
Then, best of men, our sire release
From pains of hell, and give him peace.
Now Bharat, to Ayodhyá speed,
The brave Śatrughna with thee lead,
Take with thee all the twice-born men,
And please each lord and citizen.
I now, O King, without delay
To Daṇḍak wood will bend my way,
And Lakshmaṇ and the Maithil dame
Will follow still, our path the same.
Now, Bharat, lord of men be thou,
And o'er Ayodhyá reign:
The silvan world to me shall bow,
King of the wild domain.
Yea, let thy joyful steps be bent
To that fair town to-day,
And I as happy and content,
To Daṇḍak wood will stray.
The white umbrella o'er thy brow
Its cooling shade shall throw:
I to the shadow of the bough
And leafy trees will go.
Śatrughna, for wise plans renowned,
Shall still on thee attend;
And Lakshmaṇ, ever faithful found,
Be my familiar friend.
Let us his sons, O brother dear,
The path of right pursue,
And keep the king we all revere
Still to his promise true.”

Canto CVIII. Jáváli's Speech.

Thus Ráma soothed his brother's grief:
Then virtuous Jáváli, chief
Of twice-born sages, thus replied
In words that virtue's law defied:
“Hail, Raghu's princely son, dismiss
A thought so weak and vain as this.
Canst thou, with lofty heart endowed,
Think with the dull ignoble crowd?
For what are ties of kindred? can
One profit by a brother man?
Alone the babe first opes his eyes,
And all alone at last he dies.
The man, I ween, has little sense
Who looks with foolish reverence
On father's or on mother's name:
In others, none a right may claim.
E'en as a man may leave his home
And to a distant village roam,
Then from his lodging turn away
And journey on the following day,
Such brief possession mortals hold
In sire and mother, house and gold,
And never will the good and wise
The brief uncertain lodging prize.
Nor, best of men, shouldst thou disown
Thy sire's hereditary throne,
And tread the rough and stony ground
Where hardship, danger, woes abound.
Come, let Ayodhyá rich and bright
See thee enthroned with every rite:
Her tresses bound in single braid387
She waits thy coming long delayed.
O come, thou royal Prince, and share
The kingly joys that wait thee there,
And live in bliss transcending price
As Indra lives in Paradise.
The parted king is naught to thee,
Nor right in living man has he:
The king is one, thou, Prince of men,
Another art: be counselled then.
Thy royal sire, O chief, has sped
On the long path we all must tread.
The common lot of all is this,
And thou in vain art robbed of bliss.
For those—and only those—I weep
Who to the path of duty keep;
For here they suffer ceaseless woe,
And dying to destruction go.
With pious care, each solemn day,
Will men their funeral offerings pay:
See, how the useful food they waste:
He who is dead no more can taste.
If one is fed, his strength renewed
Whene'er his brother takes his food,
Then offerings to the parted pay:
Scarce will they serve him on his way.
By crafty knaves these rules were framed,
And to enforce men's gifts proclaimed:
“Give, worship, lead a life austere,
Keep lustral rites, quit pleasures here.”
There is no future life: be wise,
And do, O Prince, as I advise.
Enjoy, my lord, the present bliss,
And things unseen from thought dismiss.
Let this advice thy bosom move,
The counsel sage which all approve;
To Bharat's earnest prayer incline,
And take the rule so justly thine.”

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