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Ramayan, Book 3, The

Canto LXIV. Ráma's Lament.

Reft of his love, the royal chief,
Weighed down beneath his whelming grief,
Desponding made his brother share
His grievous burden of despair.
Over his sinking bosom rolled
The flood of sorrow uncontrolled.
And as he wept and sighed,
In mournful accents faint and slow
With words congenial to his woe,
To Lakshmaṇ thus he cried:
“Brother, I ween, beneath the sun,
Of all mankind there lives not one
So full of sin, whose hand has done
Such cursed deeds as mine.
For my sad heart with misery bleeds,
As, guerdon of those evil deeds,
Still greater woe to woe succeeds
In never-ending line.
A life of sin I freely chose,
And from my past transgression flows
A ceaseless flood of bitter woes
My folly to repay.
The fruit of sin has ripened fast,
Through many a sorrow have I passed,
And now the crowning grief at last
Falls on my head to-day.
From all my faithful friends I fled,
My sire is numbered with the dead,
My royal rank is forfeited,
My mother far away.
These woes on which I sadly think
Fill, till it raves above the brink,
The stream of grief in which I sink,—
The flood which naught can stay.
Ne'er, brother, ne'er have I complained;
Though long by toil and trouble pained,
Without a murmur I sustained
The woes of woodland life.
But fiercer than the flames that rise
When crackling wood the food supplies,—
Flashing a glow through evening skies,—
This sorrow for my wife.
Some cruel fiend has seized the prey
And torn my trembling love away,
While, as he bore her through the skies,
She shrieked aloud with frantic cries,
In tones of fear which, wild and shrill,
Retained their native sweetness still.
Ah me, that breast so soft and sweet,
For sandal's precious perfume meet,
Now all detained with dust and gore,
Shall meet my fond caress no more.
That face, whose lips with tones so clear
Made pleasant music, sweet to hear,—
With soft locks plaited o'er the brow,—
Some giant's hand is on it now.
It smiles not, as the dear light fails
When Ráhu's jaw the moon assails.
Ah, my true love! that shapely neck
She loved with fairest chains to deck,
The cruel demons rend, and drain
The lifeblood from each mangled vein.
Ah, when the savage monsters came
And dragged away the helpless dame,
The lady of the long soft eye
Called like a lamb with piteous cry.
Beneath this rock, O Lakshmaṇ, see,
My peerless consort sat with me,
And gently talked to thee the while,
Her sweet lips opening with a smile.
Here is that fairest stream which she
Loved ever, bright Godávarí.
Ne'er can the dame have passed this way:
So far alone she would not stray,
Nor has my darling, lotus-eyed,
Sought lilies by the river's side,
For without me she ne'er would go
To streamlets where the wild flowers grow,
Tell me not, brother, she has strayed
To the dark forest's distant shade
Where blooming boughs are gay and sweet,
And bright birds love the cool retreat.
Alone my love would never dare,—
My timid love,—to wander there.
O Lord of Day whose eye sees all
We act and plan, on thee I call:
For naught is hidden from thy sight,—
Great witness thou of wrong and right.
Where is she, lost or torn away?
Dispel my torturing doubt and say.
And O thou Wind who blowest free,
The worlds have naught concealed from thee.
List to my prayer, reveal one trace
Of her, the glory of her race.
Say, is she stolen hence, or dead,
Or do her feet the forest tread?”
Thus with disordered senses, faint
With woe he poured his sad complaint,
And then, a better way to teach,
Wise Lakshmaṇ spoke in seemly speech:
“Up, brother dear, thy grief subdue,
With heart and soul thy search renew.
When woes oppress and dangers threat
Brave effort ne'er was fruitless yet.”
He spoke, but Ráma gave no heed
To valiant Lakshmaṇ's prudent rede.
With double force the flood of pain
Rushed o'er his yielding soul again.

Canto LXV. Ráma's Wrath.

With piteous voice, by woe subdued,
Thus Raghu's son his speech renewed:
“Thy steps, my brother, quickly turn
To bright Godávarí and learn
If Sítá to the stream have hied
To cull the lilies on its side.”
Obedient to the words he said,
His brother to the river sped.
The shelving banks he searched in vain,
And then to Ráma turned again.
“I searched, but found her not,” he cried;
“I called aloud, but none replied.
Where can the Maithil lady stray,
Whose sight would chase our cares away?
I know not where, her steps untraced,
Roams Sítá of the dainty waist.”
When Ráma heard the words he spoke
Again he sank beneath the stroke,
And with a bosom anguish-fraught
Himself the lovely river sought.
There standing on the shelving side,
“O Sítá, where art thou?” he cried.
No spirit voice an answer gave,
No murmur from the trembling wave
Of sweet Godávarí declared
The outrage which the fiend had dared.
“O speak!” the pitying spirits cried,
But yet the stream their prayer denied,
Nor dared she, coldly mute, relate
To the sad chief his darling's fate
Of Rávaṇ's awful form she thought,
And the dire deed his arm had wrought,
And still withheld by fear dismayed,
The tale for which the mourner prayed.
When hope was none, his heart to cheer,
That the bright stream his cry would hear
While sorrow for his darling tore
His longing soul he spake once more:
“Though I have sought with tears and sighs
Godárvarí no word replies,
O say, what answer can I frame
To Janak, father of my dame?
Or how before her mother stand
Leading no Sítá by the hand?
Where is my loyal love who went
Forth with her lord to banishment?
Her faith to me she nobly held
Though from my realm and home expelled,—
A hermit, nursed on woodland fare,—
She followed still and soothed my care.
Of all my friends am I bereft,
Nor is my faithful consort left.
How slowly will the long nights creep
While comfortless I wake and weep!
O, if my wife may yet be found,
With humble love I'll wander round
This Janasthán, Praśravaṇ's hill,
Mandákiní's delightful rill.
See how the deer with gentle eyes
Look on my face and sympathize.
I mark their soft expression: each
Would soothe me, if it could, with speech.”
A while the anxious throng he eyed.
And “Where is Sítá, where?” he cried.
Thus while hot tears his utterance broke
The mourning son of Raghu spoke.
The deer in pity for his woes
Obeyed the summons and arose.
Upon his right thy stood, and raised
Their sad eyes up to heaven and gazed
Each to that quarter bent her look
Which Rávaṇ with his captive took.
Then Raghu's son again they viewed,
And toward that point their way pursued.
Then Lakshmaṇ watched their looks intent
As moaning on their way they went,
And marked each sign which struck his sense
With mute expressive influence,
Then as again his sorrow woke
Thus to his brother chief he spoke:
“Those deer thy eager question heard
And rose at once by pity stirred:
See, in thy search their aid they lend,
See, to the south their looks they bend.
Arise, dear brother, let us go
The way their eager glances show,
If haply sign or trace descried
Our footsteps in the search may guide.”
The son of Raghu gave assent,
And quickly to the south they went;
With eager eyes the earth he scanned,
And Lakshmaṇ followed close at hand.
As each to other spake his thought,
And round with anxious glances sought,
Scattered before them in the way,
Blooms of a fallen garland lay.
When Ráma saw that flowery rain
He spoke once more with bitterest pain:
“O Lakshmaṇ every flower that lies
Here on the ground I recognize.
I culled them in the grove, and there
My darling twined them in her hair.
The sun, the earth, the genial breeze
Have spared these flowers my soul to please.”
Then to that woody hill he prayed,
Whence flashed afar each wild cascade:
“O best of mountains, hast thou seen
A dame of perfect form and mien
In some sweet spot with trees o'ergrown,—
My darling whom I left alone?”
Then as a lion threats a deer
He thundered with a voice of fear:
“Reveal her, mountain, to my view
With golden limbs and golden hue.
Where is my darling Sítá? speak
Before I rend thee peak from peak.”
The mountain seemed her track to show,
But told not all he sought to know.
Then Daśaratha's son renewed
His summons as the mount he viewed:
“Soon as my flaming arrows fly,
Consumed to ashes shall thou lie
Without a herb or bud or tree,
And birds no more shall dwell in thee.
And if this stream my prayer deny,
My wrath this day her flood shall dry,
Because she lends no aid to trace
My darling of the lotus face.”
Thus Ráma spake as though his ire
Would scorch them with his glance of fire;
Then searching farther on the ground
The footprint of a fiend he found,
And small light traces here and there,
Where Sítá in her great despair,
Shrieking for Ráma's help, had fled
Before the giant's mighty tread.
His careful eye each trace surveyed
Which Sítá and the fiend had made,—
The quivers and the broken bow
And ruined chariot of the foe,—
And told, distraught by fear and grief,
His tidings to his brother chief:
“O Lakshmaṇ, here,” he cried “behold
My Sítá's earrings dropped with gold.
Here lie her garlands torn and rent,
Here lies each glittering ornament.
O look, the ground on every side
With blood-like drops of gold is dyed.
The fiends who wear each strange disguise
Have seized, I ween, the helpless prize.
My lady, by their hands o'erpowered,
Is slaughtered, mangled, and devoured.
Methinks two fearful giants came
And waged fierce battle for the dame.
Whose, Lakshmaṇ, was this mighty bow
With pearls and gems in glittering row?
Cast to the ground the fragments lie,
And still their glory charms the eye.
A bow so mighty sure was planned
For heavenly God or giant's hand.
Whose was this coat of golden mail
Which, though its lustre now is pale,
Shone like the sun of morning, bright
With studs of glittering lazulite?
Whose, Lakshmaṇ, was this bloom-wreathed shade
With all its hundred ribs displayed?
This screen, most meet for royal brow,
With broken staff lies useless now.
And these tall asses, goblin-faced,
With plates of golden harness graced,
Whose hideous forms are stained with gore
Who is the lord whose yoke they bore?
Whose was this pierced and broken car
That shoots a flame-like blaze afar?
Whose these spent shafts at random spread,
Each fearful with its iron head,—
With golden mountings fair to see,
Long as a chariot's axle-tree?
These quivers see, which, rent in twain,
Their sheaves of arrows still contain.
Whose was this driver? Dead and cold,
His hands the whip and reins still hold.
See, Lakshmaṇ, here the foot I trace
Of man, nay, one of giant race.
The hatred that I nursed of old
Grows mightier now a hundred fold
Against these giants, fierce of heart,
Who change their forms by magic art.
Slain, eaten by the giant press,
Or stolen is the votaress,
Nor could her virtue bring defence
To Sítá seized and hurried hence.
O, if my love be slain or lost
All hope of bliss for me is crossed.
The power of all the worlds were vain
To bring one joy to soothe my pain.
The spirits with their blinded eyes
Would look in wonder, and despise
The Lord who made the worlds, the great
Creator when compassionate.
And so, I ween, the Immortals turn
Cold eyes upon me now, and spurn
The weakling prompt at pity's call,
Devoted to the good of all.
But from this day behold me changed,
From every gentle grace estranged.
Now be it mine all life to slay,
And sweep these cursed fiends away.
As the great sun leaps up the sky,
And the cold moonbeams fade and die,
So vengeance rises in my breast,
One passion conquering all the rest.
Gandharvas in their radiant place,
The Yakshas, and the giant race,
Kinnars and men shall look in vain
For joy they ne'er shall see again.
The anguish of my great despair,
O Lakshmaṇ, fills the heaven and air;
And I in wrath all life will slay
Within the triple world to-day.
Unless the Gods in heaven who dwell
Restore my Sítá safe and well,
I armed with all the fires of Fate,
The triple world will devastate.
The troubled stars from heaven shall fall,
The moon be wrapped in gloomy pall,
The fire be quenched, the wind be stilled,
The radiant sun grow dark and chilled;
Crushed every mountain's towering pride,
And every lake and river dried,
Dead every creeper, plant, and tree,
And lost for aye the mighty sea.
Thou shalt the world this day behold
In wild disorder uncontrolled,
With dying life which naught defends
From the fierce storm my bowstring sends.
My shafts this day, for Sítá's sake,
The life of every fiend shall take.
The Gods this day shall see the force
That wings my arrows on their course,
And mark how far that course is held,
By my unsparing wrath impelled.
No God, not one of Daitya strain,
Goblin or Rákshas shall remain.
My wrath shall end the worlds, and all
Demons and Gods therewith shall fall.
Each world which Gods, the Dánav race,
And giants make their dwelling place,
Shall fall beneath my arrows sent
In fury when my bow is bent.
The arrows loosened from my string
Confusion on the worlds shall bring.
For she is lost or breathes no more,
Nor will the Gods my love restore.
Hence all on earth with life and breath
This day I dedicate to death.
All, till my darling they reveal,
The fury of my shafts shall feel.”
Thus as he spake by rage impelled,
Red grew his eyes, his fierce lips swelled.
His bark coat round his form he drew
And coiled his hermit braids anew,
Like Rudra when he yearned to slay
The demon Tripur509 in the fray.
So looked the hero brave and wise,
The fury flashing from his eyes.
Then Ráma, conqueror of the foe,
From Lakshmaṇ's hand received his bow,
Strained the great string, and laid thereon
A deadly dart that flashed and shone,
And spake these words as fierce in ire
As He who ends the worlds with fire:
“As age and time and death and fate
All life with checkless power await,
So Lakshmaṇ in my wrath to-day
My vengeful might shall brook no stay,
Unless this day I see my dame
In whose sweet form is naught to blame,—
Yea, as before, my love behold
Fair with bright teeth and perfect mould,
This world shall feel a deadly blow
Destroyed with ruthless overthrow,
And serpent lords and Gods of air,
Gandharvas, men, the doom shall share.”

Canto LXVI. Lakshman's Speech.

He stood incensed with eyes of flame,
Still mourning for his ravished dame,
Determined, like the fire of Fate,
To leave the wide world desolate.
His ready bow the hero eyed,
And as again, again he sighed,
The triple world would fain consume
Like Hara510 in the day of doom.
Then Lakshmaṇ moved with sorrow viewed
His brother in unwonted mood,
And reverent palm to palm applied,
Thus spoke with lips which terror dried
“Thy heart was ever soft and kind,
To every creature's good inclined.
Cast not thy tender mood away,
Nor yield to anger's mastering sway.
The moon for gentle grace is known,
The sun has splendour all his own,
The restless wind is free and fast,
And earth in patience unsurpassed.
So glory with her noble fruit
Is thine eternal attribute.
O, let not, for the sin of one,
The triple world be all undone.
I know not whose this car that lies
In fragments here before our eyes,
Nor who the chiefs who met and fought,
Nor what the prize the foemen sought;
Who marked the ground with hoof and wheel,
Or whose the hand that plied the steel
Which left this spot, the battle o'er,
Thus sadly dyed with drops of gore.
Searching with utmost care I view
The signs of one and not of two.
Where'er I turn mine eyes I trace
No mighty host about the place.
Then mete not out for one offence
This all-involving recompense.
For kings should use the sword they bear,
But mild in time should learn to spare,
Thou, ever moved by misery's call,
Wast the great hope and stay of all.
Throughout this world who would not blame
This outrage on thy ravished dame?
Gandharvas, Dánavs, Gods, the trees,
The rocks, the rivers, and the seas,
Can ne'er in aught thy soul offend,
As one whom holiest rites befriend.
But him who dared to steal the dame
Pursue, O King, with ceaseless aim,
With me, the hermits' holy band,
And thy great bow to arm thy hand
By every mighty flood we'll seek,
Each wood, each hill from base to peak.
To the fair homes of Gods we'll fly,
And bright Gandharvas in the sky,
Until we reach, where'er he be,
The wretch who stole thy spouse from thee.
Then if the Gods will not restore
Thy Sítá when the search is o'er,
Then, royal lord of Kośal's land,
No longer hold thy vengeful hand.
If meekness, prayer, and right be weak
To bring thee back the dame we seek,
Up, brother, with a deadly shower
Of gold-bright shafts thy foes o'erpower,
Fierce as the flashing levin sent
From King Mahendra's firmament.

Canto LXVII. Ráma Appeased.

As Ráma, pierced by sorrow's sting,
Lamented like a helpless thing,
And by his mighty woe distraught
Was lost in maze of troubled thought,
Sumitrá's son with loving care
Consoled him in his wild despair,
And while his feet he gently pressed
With words like these the chief addressed:
“For sternest vow and noblest deed
Was Daśaratha blessed with seed.
Thee for his son the king obtained,
Like Amrit by the Gods regained.
Thy gentle graces won his heart,
And all too weak to live apart
The monarch died, as Bharat told,
And lives on high mid Gods enrolled.
If thou, O Ráma, wilt not bear
This grief which fills thee with despair,
How shall a weaker man e'er hope,
Infirm and mean, with woe to cope?
Take heart, I pray thee, noblest chief:
What man who breathes is free from grief?
Misfortunes come and burn like flame,
Then fly as quickly as they came.
Yayáti son of Nahush reigned
With Indra on the throne he gained.
But falling for a light offence
He mourned a while the consequence.
Vaśishṭha, reverend saint and sage,
Priest of our sire from youth to age,
Begot a hundred sons, but they
Were smitten in a single day.511
And she, the queen whom all revere,
The mother whom we hold so dear,
The earth herself not seldom feels
Fierce fever when she shakes and reels.
And those twin lights, the world's great eyes,
On which the universe relies,—
Does not eclipse at times assail
Their brilliance till their fires grow pale?
The mighty Powers, the Immortal Blest
Bend to a law which none contest.
No God, no bodied life is free
From conquering Fate's supreme decree.
E'en Śakra's self must reap the meed
Of virtue and of sinful deed.
And O great lord of men, wilt thou
Helpless beneath thy misery bow?
No, if thy dame be lost or dead,
O hero, still be comforted,
Nor yield for ever to thy woe
O'ermastered like the mean and low.
Thy peers, with keen far-reaching eyes,
Spend not their hours in ceaseless sighs;
In dire distress, in whelming ill
Their manly looks are hopeful still.
To this, great chief, thy reason bend,
And earnestly the truth perpend.
By reason's aid the wisest learn
The good and evil to discern.
With sin and goodness scarcely known
Faint light by chequered lives is shown;
Without some clear undoubted deed
We mark not how the fruits succeed.
In time of old, O thou most brave,
To me thy lips such counsel gave.
Vṛihaspati512 can scarcely find
New wisdom to instruct thy mind.
For thine is wit and genius high
Meet for the children of the sky.
I rouse that heart benumbed by pain
And call to vigorous life again.
Be manly godlike vigour shown;
Put forth that noblest strength, thine own.
Strive, best of old Ikshváku's strain,
Strive till the conquered foe be slain.
Where is the profit or the joy
If thy fierce rage the worlds destroy?
Search till thou find the guilty foe,
Then let thy hand no mercy show.”

Canto LXVIII. Jatáyus.

Thus faithful Lakshmaṇ strove to cheer
The prince with counsel wise and clear.
Who, prompt to seize the pith of all,
Let not that wisdom idly fall.
With vigorous effort he restrained
The passion in his breast that reigned,
And leaning on his bow for rest
His brother Lakshmaṇ thus addressed:
“How shall we labour now, reflect;
Whither again our search direct?
Brother, what plan canst thou devise
To bring her to these longing eyes?”
To him by toil and sorrow tried
The prudent Lakshmaṇ thus replied:
“Come, though our labour yet be vain,
And search through Janasthán again,—
A realm where giant foes abound,
And trees and creepers hide the ground.
For there are caverns deep and dread,
By deer and wild birds tenanted,
And hills with many a dark abyss,
Grotto and rock and precipice.
There bright Gandharvas love to dwell,
And Kinnars in each bosky dell.
With me thy eager search to aid
Be every hill and cave surveyed.
Great chiefs like thee, the best of men,
Endowed with sense and piercing ken,
Though tried by trouble never fail,
Like rooted hills that mock the gale.”
Then Ráma, pierced by anger's sting,
Laid a keen arrow on his string,
And by the faithful Lakshmaṇ's side
Roamed through the forest far and wide.
Jaṭáyus there with blood-drops dyed,
Lying upon the ground he spied,
Huge as a mountain's shattered crest,
Mid all the birds of air the best.
In wrath the mighty bird he eyed,
And thus the chief to Lakshmaṇ cried:
“Ah me, these signs the truth betray;
My darling was the vulture's prey.
Some demon in the bird's disguise
Roams through the wood that round us lies.
On large-eyed Sítá he has fed,
And rests him now with wings outspread.
But my keen shafts whose flight is true,
Shall pierce the ravenous monster through.”
An arrow on the string he laid,
And rushing near the bird surveyed,
While earth to ocean's distant side
Trembled beneath his furious stride.
With blood and froth on neck and beak
The dying bird essayed to speak,
And with a piteous voice, distressed,
Thus Daśaratha's son addressed:
“She whom like some sweet herb of grace
Thou seekest in this lonely place,
Fair lady, is fierce Rávaṇ's prey,
Who took, beside, my life away.
Lakshmaṇ and thou had parted hence
And left the dame without defence.
I saw her swiftly borne away
By Rávaṇ's might which none could stay.
I hurried to the lady's aid,
I crushed his car and royal shade,
And putting forth my warlike might
Hurled Rávaṇ to the earth in fight.
Here, Ráma, lies his broken bow,
Here lie the arrows of the foe.
There on the ground before thee are
The fragments of his battle car.
There bleeds the driver whom my wings
Beat down with ceaseless buffetings.
When toil my aged strength subdued,
His sword my weary pinions hewed.
Then lifting up the dame he bare
His captive through the fields of air.
Thy vengeful blows from me restrain,
Already by the giant slain.”
When Ráma heard the vulture tell
The tale that proved his love so well,
His bow upon the ground he placed,
And tenderly the bird embraced:
Then to the earth he fell o'erpowered,
And burning tears both brothers showered,
For double pain and anguish pressed
Upon the patient hero's breast.
The solitary bird he eyed
Who in the lone wood gasped and sighed,
And as again his anguish woke
Thus Ráma to his brother spoke:
“Expelled from power the woods I tread,
My spouse is lost, the bird is dead.
A fate so sad, I ween, would tame
The vigour of the glorious flame.
If I to cool my fever tried
To cross the deep from side to side,
The sea,—so hard my fate,—would dry
His waters as my feet came nigh.
In all this world there lives not one
So cursed as I beneath the sun;
So strong a net of misery cast
Around me holds the captive fast,
Best of all birds that play the wing,
Loved, honoured by our sire the king,
The vulture, in my fate enwound,
Lies bleeding, dying on the ground.”
Then Ráma and his brother stirred
By pity mourned the royal bird,
And, as their hands his limbs caressed,
Affection for a sire expressed.
And Ráma to his bosom strained
The bird with mangled wings distained,
With crimson blood-drops dyed.
He fell, and shedding many a tear,
“Where is my spouse than life more dear?
Where is my love?” he cried.

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