ENTREATY AND RAMA'S REPLY
"Speak, my true, my faithful Bharat," so the righteous
"Wherefore to this jungle dwelling hast thou from Ayodhya hied,
my fond and loving brother, if our father bade thee come,
Leaving throne and spacious empire in this wilderness to roam?
and Regent of Kosala! Dost thou tend our father well,
And obey the lofty mandate from his royal lips that fell,
the ancient Dasa-ratha, glorious still in regal might,
Doth he pass his bright life's evening in each pure and holy rite?
my mother, Queen Kausalya, still for Rama wet her eye,
And the gentle Queen Sumitra for her banished Lakshman sigh,
the peerless Queen Kaikeyi pass her days in duties fair,
Guard her Bharat's mighty empire, tend him with a mother's care?
each holy rite and homage to the Gods and Fathers done,
Is the honour due to elders rendered by each duteous son,
thy warriors guard thy kingdom as of yore with matchless skill,
And with counsel deep and duteous do thy min'sters serve thy will?
thy fields in corn and produce fed by rivers broad and deep,
Rich thy green unending pastures with the kine and fattened sheep,
the herdsman and his cattle, tend the tiller of the soil,
Watch and help with all thy bounty workmen in their peaceful toil,
the monarch's highest duty is to serve his people's weal
And the ruler's richest glory is to labour and to heal!
thy forts with sleepless caution with the engines of the war,
With the men who shoot the arrow and who drive the flying car,
Kosala's royal treasure, make thy gifts of wealth and food,
Not to lords and proud retainers, but to worthy and the good!
justice pure and spotless as befits thy royal line,
And to save the good and guiltless, Bharat, be it ever thine,
the tears of suffering virtue wither like the thunder levin,
And they slay our men and cattle like the wrath of righteous heaven,
be thy lore of Veda, fruitful be each pious rite,
Be thy queen a fruitful mother, be thy empire full of might!"
weeping, Bharat answered Dasa-ratha's eldest son,
"Dasa-ratha walks the bright sky, for his earthly task is done!
impelled by Queen Kaikeyi to the woods he bade thee go,
And his spotless fame was clouded and his bosom sank in woe,
my mother, late repenting, weeps her deed of deepest shame,
Weeps her wedded lord departed, and a woman's tarnished fame!
alone canst wipe this insult by a deed of kindness done,
Rule o'er Dasa-ratha's empire, Dasa-ratha's eldest son,
queens and loyal subjects supplicate thy noble grace,
Rule o'er Raghu's ancient empire, son of Raghu's royal race!
our ancient Law ordaineth and thy Duty makes it plain,
Eldest-born succeeds his father as the king of earth and main,
the fair Earth loved and welcomed, Rama, be her wedded lord,
As by planet-jewelled Midnight is the radiant Moon adored!
thy father's ancient min'sters and thy courtiers faithful still,
Wait to do thy righteous mandate and to serve thy royal will,
a pupil, as a brother, as a slave, I seek thy grace,
Come and rule thy father's empire, king of Raghu's royal race!"
on the feet of Rama, Bharat placed his lowly head,
Weeping for his sire departed, tears of sorrow Rama shed,
he raised his loving brother with an elder's deathless love,
Sorrow wakes our deepest kindness and our holiest feelings prove!
I may not," answered Rama, "seek Ayodhya's ancient throne,
For a righteous father's mandate duteous son may not disown,
I may not, gentle brother, break the word of promise given,
To a king and to a father who is now a saint in heaven!
on thee, nor on thy mother, rests the censure or the blame,
Faithful to his father's wishes Rama to the forest came,
the son and duteous consort serve the father and the lord,
Higher than an empire's glory is a father's spoken word!
inviolate is his mandate,--on Ayodhya's jewelled throne,
Or in pathless woods and jungle Rama shall his duty own,
inviolate is the blessing by a loving mother given,
For she blessed my life in exile like a pitying saint of heaven!
shalt rule the kingdom, Bharat, guard our loving people well,
Clad in wild bark and in deer-skin I shall in the forests dwell,
spake saintly Dasa-ratha in Ayodhya's palace hall,
And a righteous father's mandate duteous son may not recall!"
KAUSALYA'S LAMENT AND RAMA'S REPLY
Slow and sad with Saint Vasishtha, with each widowed royal dame,
Unto Rama's hermit-cottage ancient Queen Kausalya came,
she saw him clad in wild bark like a hermit stern and high,
And an anguish smote her bosom and a tear bedewed her eye.
bowed unto his mother and each elder's blessings sought,
Held their feet in salutation with a holy reverence fraught,
the queens with loving fingers, with a mother's tender care,
Swept the dust of wood and jungle from his head and bosom fair,
too in loving homage bent before each royal dame,
And they blessed the faithful hero spotless in his righteous fame.
came the soft-eyed Sita with obeisance soft and sweet,
And with hands in meekness folded bent her tresses to their feet,
and anguish smote their bosoms, round their Sita as they prest,
As a mother clasps a daughter, clasped her in their loving breast!
from royal hall and mansions, ranger of the darksome wood,
Reft of home and kith and kindred by her forest but she stood!
thou, daughter of Videha," weeping thus Kausalya said,
"Dwelt in woods and leafy cottage and in pathless jungle strayed,
thou, Rama's royal consort, lived a homeless anchorite
Pale with rigid fast and penance, worn with toil of righteous rite?
thy sweet face, gentle Sita, is like faded lotus dry,
And like lily parched by sunlight, lustreless thy beauteous eye,
the gold untimely tarnished is thy sorrow-shaded brow,
Like the moon by shadows darkened is thy form of beauty now!
an anguish scathes my bosom like the withering forest fire,
Thus to see thee, duteous daughter, in misfortunes deep and dire,
is wide Kosala's empire, dark is Raghu's royal house,
When in woods my Rama wanders and my Rama's royal spouse!
gentle Sita answered, answered Rama fair and tall,
That a righteous father's mandate duteous son may not recall!
JABALI'S REASONING AND RAMA'S REPLY
Jabali a learned Brahman and a Sophist skilled in word,
Questioned Faith and Law and Duty, spake to young Ayodhya's lord:
Rama, idle maxims cloud thy heart and warp thy mind,
Maxims which mislead the simple and the thoughtless human kind?
nor friendship doth a mortal to his kith or kindred own,
Entering on his Nvide earth friendless, and departing all alone,
upon the father and the mother dotes the son,
Kinship is an idle fancy,-save thyself thy kith is none!
the wayside inn he halteth who in distant lands doth roam,
Leaves it with the dawning daylight for another transient home,
on earth are kin and kindred, home and country, wealth and store,
We but meet them on our journey, leave them as we pass before!
for a father's mandate leave thy empire and thy throne,
Pass thy days in trackless jungle sacrificing all thy own,
to Ayodhya's city, as to longing wife's embrace,
Speed'st thou not to rule thy empire, lord of Raghu's royal race?
claims no duty, and this will is empty word,
View him as a foreign monarch, of thy realm thou art the lord,
is departed, gone where all the mortals go,
For a dead man's idle mandate wherefore lead this life of woe?
I weep for erring mortals who on erring duty bent
Sacrifice their dear enjoyment till their barren life is spent,
to Gods and to the Fathers vainly still their offerings make,
Waste of food! for God nor Father doth our pious homage take!
the food by one partaken, can it nourish other men,
Food bestowed upon a Brahman, can it serve our Fathers then?
priests have forged these maxims and with selfish objects say,
Make thy gifts and do thy penance, leave thy worldly wealth and
is no Hereafter, Rama, vain the hope and creed of men,
Seek the pleasures of the present, spurn illusions poor and vain,
the course of sense and wisdom, cast all idle faith aside,
Take the kingdom Bharat offers, rule Ayodhya in thy pride!"
thy purpose," answered Rama," false thy reason leads astray,
Tortuous wisdom brings no profit, virtue shuns the crooked way,
the deed proclaims the hero from the man of spacious lies,
Marks the true and upright Arya from the scheming worldly-wise!
assuming virtue's mantle I should seek the sinful path,
Gods who judge our secret motives curse me with their deepest wrath,
thy counsel helps not, rishi, mansions of the sky to win,
And a king his subjects follow adding deeper sin to sin!
aside thy crafty reasoning, Truth is still our ancient way,
Truth sustains the earth and nations and a monarch's righteous sway,
Gods and holy sages find in Truth their haven shore,
Scorning death and dark destruction, Truth survives for evermore!
than the serpent's venom is the venom of a lie,
From the false, than from the cobra, men with deeper terror fly,
than the food to mortals, Truth as nourishment is given,
Truth sustains the wide creation, Truth upholds the highest heaven,
were gifts and sacrifices, rigid penances were vain,
Profitless the holy Vedas but for Truth which they sustain,
and rites and rigid penance have no aim or purpose high,
Save in Truth which rules the wide earth and the regions of the
have plighted truth and promise and my word may not unsay,
Fourteen years in pathless forests father's mandate I obey,
I seek no spacious reasons my relinquished throne to win,
Gods nor Fathers nor the Vedas counsel tortuous paths of sin!
rishi, still unchanging shall remain my promise given
To my mother Queen Kaikeyi, to my father now in heaven,
rishi, still in jungle we shall seek the forest fare,
Worship Gods who watch our actions, and pervade the earth and air!
AGNI, unto VAYU, shall my constant prayers run,
I shall live like happy INDRA, hundred sacrifices done,
the deep and darksome jangle shall be Rama's royal hall,
For a righteous father's mandate duteous son may not recall!"
Tears nor sighs nor sad entreaty Rama's changeless purpose shook,
Till. once more with hands conjoinéd Bharat to his elder
true to royal mercy, true to duties of thy race,
Grant this favour to thy mother, to thy brother grant this grace,
were my unaided efforts to protect our father's throne,
Town and hamlet, lord and tiller, turn to thee and thee alone!
Rama, friends and kinsmen, chiefs and warriors, turn in pain,
And each city chief and elder, and each humble village swain,
thy empire strong, unshaken, on a loyal nation's will,
With thy worth and with thy valour serve thy faithful people still!"
raised the prostrate Bharat to his ever-loving breast,
And in voice of tuneful hansa thus his gentle speech addrest:
me, Bharat, lofty virtue, strength and will to thee belong,
Thou could'st rule a worldwide empire in thy faith and purpose strong,
our father's ancient min'sters, ever faithful, wise and deep,
They shall help thee with their counsel and thy ancient frontiers
the Moon may lose his lustre, Himalaya lose his snow,
Heaving Ocean pass his confines surging from the caves below,
the truth-abiding Rama will not move from promise given,
He hath spoke and will not palter, help him righteous Gods in heaven!"
like the Sun in splendour, beauteous like the Lord of Night,
Rama vowed his Vow of Duty, changeless in his holy might!
token," answered Bharat, "still I seek from Rama's hand,
Token of his love and kindness, token of his high command,
thy feet cast forth those sandals, they shall decorate the throne.
They shall nerve my heart to duty and shall safely guard thy own,
shall to a loyal nation absent monarch's will proclaim,
Watch the frontiers of the empire and the people's homage claim!"
gave the loosened sandals as his younger humbly prayed,
Bharat bowed to them in homage and his parting purpose said:
alone will banished Rama barks and matted tresses wear,
Fourteen years the crownéd Bharat will in hermit's dress
Bharat dwells in palace guised as hermit of the wood,
In the sumptuous hall of feasting wild fruit is his only food,
years shall pass in waiting, weary toil and penance dire
Then, if Rama comes not living, Bharat dies upon the pyre!"
THE HERMITAGE OF ATRI
With the sandals of his elder Bharat to Ayodhya went,
Rama sought for deeper forests on his arduous duty bent,
with his wife and Lakshman slowly sought the hermitage,
Where resided saintly Atri, Vedic Bard and ancient sage.
wife of Atri, votaress of Gods above,
Welcomed Sita in her cottage, tended her with mother's love,
her robe and holy garland, jewelled ring and chain of gold,
Heard the tale of love and sadness which the soft-eyed Sita told:
the monarch of Videha held the plough and tilled the earth,
From the furrow made by ploughshare infant Sita sprang to birth,
the monarch of Videha welcomed kings of worth and pride,
Rama 'midst the gathered monarchs broke the bow and won the bride,
by Queen Kaikeyi's mandate Rama lost his father's throne,
Sita followed him in exile in the forest dark and lone!
from the lips of Sita words of joy and sorrow fell,
And the pure-souled pious priestess wept to hear the tender tale,
she kissed her on the forehead, held her on her ancient breast,
And in mother's tender accents thus her gentle thoughts exprest:
the tale you tell me, Sita, of thy wedding and thy love,
Of the true and tender Rama, righteous as the Gods above,
thy wifely deep devotion fills my heart with purpose high,
Stay with us my gentle daughter for the night shades gather nigh.
from each distant region feathered songsters seek their nest,
Twitter in the leafy thickets ere they seek their nightly rest,
from their pure ablutions with their pitcher smooth and fair,
In their dripping barks the hermits to their evening rites repair,
in sacred agni-hotra holy anchorites engage,
And a wreath of smoke ascending marks the altar of each sage.
a deeper shadow mantles bush and brake and trees around,
And a thick and inky darkness falls upon the distant ground,
prowlers of the jungle steal beneath the sable shade,
But the tame deer by the altar seeks his wonted nightly bed.
how by the stars encircled sails the radiant Lord of Night,
With his train of silver glory streaming o'er the azure height,
thy consort waits thee, Sita, but before thou leavest, fair,
Let me deck thy brow and bosom with these jewels rich and rare,
these eyes and grey these tresses, but a thrill of joy is mine,
Thus to see thy youth and beauty in this gorgeous garment shine!"
at heart the ancient priestess clad her in apparel meet,
And the young wife glad and grateful bowed to Anasuya's feet,
and jewelled, bright and beauteous, sweet-eyed Sita softly came,
Where with anxious heart awaited Rama prince of righteous fame.
a wifely love and longina Sita met her hero bold,
Anasuya's love and kindness in her grateful accents told,
and his brother listened of the grace by Sita gained,
Favours of the ancient priestess, pious blessings she had rained.
the rishi's peaceful asram Rama passed the sacred night,
In the hushed and silent forest silvered by the moon's pale light,
dawned, to deeper forests Rama went serene and proud,
As the sun in midday splendour sinks within a bank of cloud!
wanderings of Rama in the Deccan, his meeting with Saint Agastya,
and his residence on the banks of the Godavari river, are narrated
in this Book. The reader has now left Northern India and crossed
the Vindhya mountains; and the scene of the present and succeeding
five Books is laid in the Deccan and Southern India. The name of
Agastya is connected with the Deccan, and many are the legends told
of this great Saint, before whom the Vindhya mountains bent in awe,
and by whose might the Southern ocean was drained. It is likely
that some religious teacher of that name first penetrated beyond
the Vindhyas, and founded the first Aryan settlement in the Deccan,
three thousand years ago. He was pioneer, discoverer and settler,-the
Indian Columbus who opened out Southern India to Aryan colonization
and Aryan religion.
yojanas from Agastya's hermitage, Rama built his forest dwelling
in the woods of Panchavati, near the sources of the Godavari river,
and within a hundred miles from the modern city of Bombay. There
he lived with his wife and brother in peace and piety, and the Book
closes with the description of an Indian winter morning, when the
brothers and Sita went for their ablutions to the Godavari, and
thought of their distant home in Oudh. The description of the peaceful
forest-life of the exiles comes in most appropriately on the eve
of stirring events which immediately succeed, and which give a new
turn to the story of the Epic. We now stand therefore at the turning
point of the poet's narrative; he has sung of domestic incidents
and of peaceful hermitages so far; he sings of dissensions and wars
portions translated in this Book form Sections i., xii., xiii.,
xv., and xvi. of Book iii. of the original text.
THE HERMITAGE OF AGASTYA
Righteous Rama, soft-eyed Sita, and the gallant Lakshman stood
In the wilderness of Dandaki--trackless, pathless, boundless wood,
within its gloomy gorges, dark and deep and known to few,
Humble homes of hermit sages rose before the princes' view.
of bark and scattered kusa spake their peaceful pure abode,
Seat of pious rite and penance which with holy splendour glowed,
songsters knew the asrama and the wild deer crept its blade,
And the sweet-voiced sylvan wood-nymph haunted oft its holy shade,
blazed the sacred altar, vase and ladle stood around,
Fruit and blossom, skin and faggot, sanctified the holy ground.
the broad and bending branches ripening-, fruits in clusters hung,
And with gifts and rich libations hermits raised the ancient song,
and the virgin lily danced upon the rippling rill,
And the golden sunlight glittered on the greenwoods calm and still,
the consecrated woodland by the holy hermits trod,
Shone like BRAHMA'S sky in lustre, hallowed by the grace of God!
loosened there his bow-string and the peaceful scene surveyed,
And the holy sages welcomed wanderers in the forest shade,
bright as Lord of Midnight, Sita with her saintly face,
Lakshman young and true and valiant, decked with warrior's peerless
hut the holy sages to the royal guests assigned,
Brought them fruit and forest blossoms, blessed them with their
son," thus spake the sages, "helper of each holy rite,
Portion of the royal INDRA, fount of justice and of might,
thy throne or in the forest, king of nations, lord of men,
Grant us to thy kind protection in this hermit's lonely den!
fare and jungle produce were before the princes laid,
And the toil-worn, tender Sita slumbered in the asram's shade.
from grove to grove they wandered, to each haunt of holy sage,
Sarabhanga's sacred dwelling and Sutikshna's hermitage,
they met the Saint Agastya, mightiest Saint of olden time,
Harbinger of holy culture in the wilds of Southern clime!
born of Dasa-ratha, long and far hath Rama strayed,"
Thus to pupil of Agastya young and gallant Lakshman said,--
his faithful consort Sita in these wilds he wanders still,
I am righteous Rama's younger, duteous to his royal will,
we pass these years of exile to our father's mandate true,
Fain to mighty Saint Agastya we would render homage due!"
to his words the hermit sought the shrine of Sacred Fire,
Spake the message of the princes to the Saint and ancient Sire:
Rama, valiant Lakshman, saintly Sita seek this shade,
And to see thee, radiant rishi, have in humble accents prayed."
he come," so spake Agastya, "Rama prince of Raghu's race,
Youth for whom this heart hath thirsted, youth endued with righteous
he come with wife and brother to accept our greetings kind,
Wherefore came ye for permission, wherefore linger they behind?
and the soft-eyed Sita, were with gallant Lakshman led,
Where the dun deer free and fearless roamed within the holy shade,
the shrines of great Immortals stood in order thick and close,
And by bright and blazing altars chanted songs and hymns arose.
and the flaming AGNI, VISHNU lord of heavenly light,
INDRA and benign VIVASAT ruler of the azure height,
and the radiant BHAGA, and KUVERA lord of gold,
And VIDHATRI great Creator worshipped by the saints of old,
breath of living creatures, YAMA monarch of the dead,
And VARUNA with his fetters which the trembling sinners dread,
Spirit of GAYATRI goddess of the morning prayer,
VASUS and the hooded NAGAS, golden-winged GARUDA fair,
heavenly leader strong to conquer and to bless,
DHARMA god of human duty and of human righteousness,
of all these bright Immortals ruling in the skies above,
Filled the pure and peaceful forest with a calm and holy love!
by hermits righteous-hearted then the Saint Agastya came,
Rich in wealth of pious penance, rich in learning and in fame,
Rama marked him radiant like the midday sun,
Bowed and rendered due obeisance with each act of homage done,
Lakshman tall and stately to the great Agastya bent,
With a woman's soft devotion Sita, bowed unto the saint.
Agastya raised the princes, greeted them in accents sweet,
Gave them fruit and herb and water, offered them the honoured seat,
libations unto AGNI offered welcome to each guest,
Food and drink beseeming hermits on the wearied princes pressed.
the hermits," spake Agastya, "who to guests their dues
Hunger they in life hereafter-like the speaker of a lie.
a royal guest and wanderer doth our foremost honour claim,
Car-borne kings protect the wide earth by their prowess and their
these fruits and forest blossoms be our humble homage shewn,
By some gift, of Rama worthy, be Agastya's blessings known!
this bow, heroic Rama,--need for warlike arms is thine,--
Gems of more than earthly radiance on the goodly weapon shine,
of righteous VISHNU! VISHNU'S wondrous weapon take,
Heavenly artist VISWA-KARMAN shaped this bow of heavenly make!
this shining dart of BRAHMA radiant like a tongue of flame,
Sped by good and worthy archer never shall it miss its aim,
this INDRA's ample quiver filled with arrows true and keen,
Filled with arrows still unfailing in the battle's dreadful scene!
this sabre golden-hilted in its case of burnished gold,
Not unworthy of a monarch and a warrior true and bold,
foes of bright Immortals know these weapons dread and dire,
Mowing down the ranks of foemen, scathing like the forest fire!
these weapons thy companions,-Rama, thou shalt need them oft,
Meet and conquers till thy foemen like the Thunder-God aloft!"
THE COUNSEL OF AGASTYA
"Pleased am I," so spake Agastya, "in these forests
dark and wild,
Thou hast come to seek me, Rama, with the saintly Janak's child,
like pale and drooping blossom severed from the parent tree,
Far from home in toil and trouble, faithful Sita follows thee,
to wedded lord and husband she hath followed Raghu's son,
With a woman's deep devotion woman's duty she hath done!
unlike the fickle woman, true while Fame and Fortune smile,
Faithless when misfortunes gather, loveless in her wicked wile,
unlike the changeful woman, false as light the lightnings fling,
Keen as sabre, quick as tempest, swift as bird upon its wing!
to Fortune's frown or favour, Sita still in truth abides,
As the star of Arundhati in her mansion still resides,
thee with thy gentle consort, farther still she may not roam,
Holier were this hermit's forest as the saintly Sita's home!"
Agastya!" answered Rama, "blesséd is my banished
For thy kindriess to an exile and his friendless homeless wife,
in wilder, gloomier forests lonesome we must wander still,
Where a deeper, darker shadow settles on the rock and rill."
it so," Agastya answered, "two short yojans from this
Wild is Panchavati's forest where unseen the wild deer race,
limpid waters through its gloomy gorges flow,
Fruit and root and luscious berries on its silent margin grow,
that spot and with thy brother build a lonesome leafy home,
Tend thy true and toil-worn Sita, farther still she may not roam!
unknown to me the mandate by thy royal father given,
Not unseen thy endless wanderings destined by the will of Heaven,
Panchavati's forest marked I for thy woodland stay,
Where the ripening wild fruit clusters and the wild bird trills
thy dear devoted Sita and protect each pious rite,
Matchless in thy warlike wcapons peerless in thy princely might!
yon gloomy Mahua forest stretching o'er the boundless lea,
Pass that wood and turning northward seek an old Nyagrodha tree,
ascend a sloping upland by a steep and lofty hill,
Thou shalt enter Panchavati, blossom -covered, calm and still!"
to the great Agastya, Rama left the mighty sage,
Bowing to each saint and hermit, Lakshman left the hermitage,
the princes tall and stately marched where Panchavati lay,
Soft-eyed Sita followed meekly where her Rama led the way!
THE FOREST OF PANCHAVATI
Godavari's limpid waters in her gloomy gorges strayed,
Unseen rangers of the jungle nestled in the darksome shade!
the woodlands," uttered Rama, "by the Saint Agastya told,
Panchavati's lonesome forest with its blossoms red and gold,
to scan the wood and jungle, Lakshman, cast thy eye around,
For our humble home and dwelling seek a low and level ground,
the river laves its margin with a soft and gentle kiss,
Where my sweet and soft-eyed Sita may repose in sylvan bliss,
the lawn is fresh and verdant and the kwa young and bright,
And the creeper yields her blossoms for our sacrificial rite."
can I help thee, brother," did the duteous Lakshman say,
"Thou art prompt to judge and fathom, Lakshman listens to obey!
this spot," so answered Rama, leading Lakshman by the hand,
"Soft the lawn of verdant kusa, beauteous blossoms light the
the smiling lake of lotus gleaming with a radiance fair,
Wafting fresh and gentle fragrance o'er the rich and laden air,
each scented shrub and creeper bending o'er the lucid wave,
Where the bank with soft caresses Godavari's waters lave!
ducks frequent this margin, Chakravakas breathe of love,
And the timid deer of jungle browse within the shady grove,
the valleys are resonant with the peacock's clarion cry,
And the trees with budding blossoms glitter on the mountains high,
the rocks in well-marked strata in their glittering lines appear,
Like the streaks of white and crimson painted on our tuskers fair!
Sal and feathered palm-tree guard this darksome forest-land,
Golden date and flowering mango stretch afar on either hand,
thrives and blazing Kinsuk, Chandan wafts a fragrance rare,
Aswa-karna and Khadira by the Sami dark and fair,
spot for hermit-dwelling joyous with the voice of song,
Haunted by the timid wild deer and by black buck fleet and strong!
faithful Lakshman heard the words his elder said,
And by sturdy toil and labour stately home and dwelling made,
was the leafy cottage walled with moistened earth and soft,
Pillared with the stately bamboo holding high the roof aloft,
twigs and branches, corded from the ridge to eaves,
Held the thatch of reed and branches and of jungle grass and leaves,
the floor was pressed and levelled and the toilsome task was done
And the structure rose in beauty for the righteous Raghu's son!
the river for ablutions Lakshman went of warlike fame,
With a store of fragrant lotus and of luscious berries came,
to the Bright Gods sacred hymns and mantras said,
Proudly then unto his elder shewed the home his hand had made.
her soft and grateful accents gentle Sita praised his skill,
Praised a brother's loving labour, praised a hero's dauntless will,
clasped his faithful Lakshman in a brother's fond embrace,
Spake in sweet and kindly accents with an elder's loving grace:
can Rama, homeless wand'rer, priceless love like thine requite,
Let him hold thee in his bosom, soul of love and arm of might,
our father good and gracious, in a righteous son like thee,
Lives again and treads the bright earth, from the bonds of YAMA
spake Rama, and with Lakshman and with Sita child of love,
Dwelt in Panchavati's cottage as the Bright Gods dwell above!
WINTER IN PANCHAVATI
Came and passed the golden autumn in the forest's gloomy shade,
And the northern blasts of winter swept along the silent glade,
the chilly night was over, once at morn the prince of fame,
For his morning's pure ablutions to the Godavari came.
Sita softly followed with the pitcher in her arms,
Gallant Lakshman spake to Rama of the Indian winter's charms:
the bright and bracing winter to the royal Rama dear,
Like a bride the beauteous season doth in richest robes appear,
air and freshening zephyrs wake to life each mart and plain,
And the corn in dewdrop sparkling makes a sea of waving green,
the village maid and matron shun the freezing river's shore,
By the fire the village elder tells the stirring tale of yore!
the winter's ample harvest men perform each pious rite,
To the Fathers long departed, to the Gods of holy might,
the rite of agrayana pious men their sins dispel,
And with gay and sweet observance songs of love the women tell,
the monarchs bent on conquest mark the winter's cloudless glow,
Lead their bannered cars and forces 'gainst the rival and the foe!
rolls the solar chariot, and the cold and widowed North
Reft of 'bridal mark' and joyance coldly sighs her sorrows forth,
rolls the solar chariot, Himalaya, 'home of snow,'
True to name and appellation doth in whiter garments glow,
rolls the solar chariot, cold and crisp the frosty air,
And the wood of flower dismantled doth in russet robes appear!
of Pushya rules December and the night with rime is hoar,
And beneath the starry welkin in the woods we sleep no more,
the pale moon mist-enshrouded sheds a faint and feeble beam,
As the breath obscures the mirror, winter mist obscures her gleam,
by the rising vapour faint she glistens on the dale,
Like our sun-embrownéd Sita with her toil and penance pale!
blasts from western mountains through the gorges whistle by
And the saras and the curlew raise their shrill and piercing cry,
fields of wheat and barley are with dewdrops moist and wet,
And the golden rice of winter ripens like the clustering date,
marts and rural hamlets wake to life and cheerful toil,
And the peaceful happy nations prosper on their fertile soil!
the sun in morning vapours-like the moon subdued and pale
Brightening as the day advances piercing through the darksome veil,
his gay and golden lustre sparkling o'er the dewy lea,
Mantling hill and field and forest, painting bush and leaf and tree,
it glisten on the green grass, on each bright and bending blade,
Lighten up the long-drawn vista, shooting through the gloomy glade!
the lordly tusker still avoids the freezing drink,
Wild duck and the tuneful hansa doubtful watch the river's brink,
the rivers wrapped in vapour unseen cries the wild curlew,
Unseen rolls the misty streamlet o'er its sandbank soaked in dew,
the drooping water-lily bends her head beneath the frost,
Lost her fresh and fragrant beauty and her tender petals lost!
my errant fancy wanders to Ayodhya's distant town,
Where in hermit's barks and tresses Bharat wears the royal crown,
regal state and splendoar, spurning pleasures loved of yore,
Spends his winter day in penance, sleeps at night upon the floor,
perchance Sarayu's waters seeks he now, serene and brave,
As we seek, when dawns the daylight, Godavari's limpid wave!
of hue, with eye of lotus, truthful, faithful, strong of mind,
For the love he bears thee, Rama, spurns each joy of baser kind,
he proves unto his father who is led by mother's wile,'
Vain this ancient impious adage-Bharat spurns his mother's guile,
mother Queen Kaikeyi, Dasa-ratha's royal spouse,
Deep in craft, hath brought disaster on Ayodhya's royal house!"
not thus," so Rama answered, "on Kaikeyi cast no blame,
Honour still the righteous Bharat, honour still the royal dame,
in purpose and unchanging still in jungle wilds I roam,
But thy accents, gentle Lakshman, wake a longing for my home!
my loving mem'ry lingers on each word from Bharat fell
Sweeter than the draught of nectar, purer than the crystal well,
my righteous purpose falters, shaken by a brother's love,
May we meet again our brother, if it please the Gods above!"
by love, a silent tear-drop fell on Godavari's wave,
True once more to righteous purpose Rama's heart was calm and brave
plunged into the river'neath the morning's crimson beam,
Sits, softly sought the waters as the lily seeks the stream,
they prayed to Gods and Fathers with each rite and duty doue,
And they sang the ancient mantra to the red and rising Sun,
her lord, in loosened tresses Sita to her cottage came,
As with RUDRA wanders UMA in Kailasa's hill of fame!