The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 1 - 9 books and stories free download online pdf in English

The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 1 - 9

Canto IX.Rishyasring.

The wise Sumantra,thus addressed,

Unfolded at the king's behest

The plan the lords in council laid

To draw the hermit from the shade:

“The priest,amid the lordly crowd,

To Lomapád thus spoke aloud:

“Hear,King,the plot our thoughts have framed,

A harmless trick by all unblamed.

Far from the world that hermit's child

Lives lonely in the distant wild:

A stranger to the joys of sense,

His bliss is pain and abstinence;

And all unknown are women yet

To him,a holy anchoret.

The gentle passions we will wake

That with resistless influence shake

The hearts of men;and he

Drawn by enchantment strong and sweet

Shall follow from his lone retreat,

And come and visit thee.

Let ships be formed with utmost care

That artificial trees may bear,

And sweet fruit deftly made;

Let goodly raiment,rich and rare,

And flowers,and many a bird be there

Beneath the leafy shade.

Upon the ships thus decked a band

Of young and lovely girls shall stand,

Rich in each charm that wakes desire,

And eyes that burn with amorous fire;

Well skilled to sing,and play,and dance

And ply their trade with smile and glance

Let these,attired in hermits'dress,

Betake them to the wilderness,

And bring the boy of life austere

A voluntary captive here.”

He ended;and the king agreed,

By the priest's counsel won.

And all the ministers took heed

To see his bidding done.

In ships with wondrous art prepared

Away the lovely women fared,

And soon beneath the shade they stood

Of the wild,lonely,dreary wood.

And there the leafy cot they found

Where dwelt the devotee,

And looked with eager eyes around

The hermit's son to see.

Still,of Vibháṇdak sore afraid,

They hid behind the creepers'shade.

But when by careful watch they knew

The elder saint was far from view,

With bolder steps they ventured nigh

To catch the youthful hermit's eye.

Then all the damsels,blithe and gay,

At various games began to play.

They tossed the flying ball about

With dance and song and merry shout,

And moved,their scented tresses bound

With wreaths,in mazy motion round.

Some girls as if by love possessed,

Sank to the earth in feigned unrest,

Up starting quickly to pursue

Their intermitted game anew.

It was a lovely sight to see

Those fair ones,as they played,

While fragrant robes were floating free,

And bracelets clashing in their glee

A pleasant tinkling made.

The anklet's chime,the Koïl's82cry

With music filled the place

As'twere some city in the sky

Which heavenly minstrels grace.

With each voluptuous art they strove

To win the tenant of the grove,

And with their graceful forms inspire

His modest soul with soft desire.

With arch of brow,with beck and smile,

With every passion-waking wile

Of glance and lotus hand,

With all enticements that excite

The longing for unknown delight

Which boys in vain withstand.

Forth came the hermit's son to view

The wondrous sight to him so new,

And gazed in rapt surprise,

For from his natal hour till then

On woman or the sons of men

He ne'er had cast his eyes.

He saw them with their waists so slim,

With fairest shape and faultless limb,

In variegated robes arrayed,

And sweetly singing as they played.

Near and more near the hermit drew,

And watched them at their game,

And stronger still the impulse grew

To question whence they came.

They marked the young ascetic gaze

With curious eye and wild amaze,

And sweet the long-eyed damsels sang,

And shrill their merry laughter rang.

Then came they nearer to his side,

And languishing with passion cried:

“Whose son,O youth,and who art thou,

Come suddenly to join us now?

And why dost thou all lonely dwell

In the wild wood?We pray thee,tell,

We wish to know thee,gentle youth;

Come,tell us,if thou wilt,the truth.”

He gazed upon that sight he ne'er

Had seen before,of girls so fair,

And out of love a longing rose

His sire and lineage to disclose:

“My father,”thus he made reply,

“Is Kaśyap's son,a saint most high,

Vibháṇdak styled;from him I came,

And Rishyaśring he calls my name.

Our hermit cot is near this place:

Come thither,O ye fair of face;

There be it mine,with honour due,

Ye gentle youths,to welcome you.”

They heard his speech,and gave consent,

And gladly to his cottage went.

Vibháṇdak's son received them well

Beneath the shelter of his cell

With guest-gift,water for their feet,

And woodland fruit and roots to eat,

They smiled,and spoke sweet words like these,

Delighted with his courtesies:

“We too have goodly fruit in store,

Grown on the trees that shade our door;

Come,if thou wilt,kind Hermit,haste

The produce of our grove to taste;

And let,O good Ascetic,first

This holy water quench thy thirst.”

They spoke,and gave him comfits sweet

Prepared ripe fruits to counterfeit;

And many a dainty cate beside

And luscious mead their stores supplied.

The seeming fruits,in taste and look,

The unsuspecting hermit took,

For,strange to him,their form beguiled

The dweller in the lonely wild.

Then round his neck fair arms were flung,

And there the laughing damsels clung,

And pressing nearer and more near

With sweet lips whispered at his ear;

While rounded limb and swelling breast

The youthful hermit softly pressed.

The pleasing charm of that strange bowl,

The touch of a tender limb,

Over his yielding spirit stole

And sweetly vanquished him.

But vows,they said,must now be paid;

They bade the boy farewell,

And,of the aged saint afraid,

Prepared to leave the dell.

With ready guile they told him where

Their hermit dwelling lay:

Then,lest the sire should find them there,

Sped by wild paths away.

They fled and left him there alone

By longing love possessed;

And with a heart no more his own

He roamed about distressed.

The aged saint came home,to find

The hermit boy distraught,

Revolving in his troubled mind

One solitary thought.

“Why dost thou not,my son,”he cried,

“Thy due obeisance pay?

Why do I see thee in the tide

Of whelming thought to-day?

A devotee should never wear

A mien so sad and strange.

Come,quickly,dearest child,declare

The reason of the change.”

And Rishyaśring,when questioned thus,

Made answer in this wise:

“O sire,there came to visit us

Some men with lovely eyes.

About my neck soft arms they wound

And kept me tightly held

To tender breasts so soft and round,

That strangely heaved and swelled.

They sing more sweetly as they dance

Than e'er I heard till now,

And play with many a sidelong glance

And arching of the brow.”

“My son,”said he,“thus giants roam

Where holy hermits are,

And wander round their peaceful home

Their rites austere to mar.

I charge thee,thou must never lay

Thy trust in them,dear boy:

They seek thee only to betray,

And woo but to destroy.”

Thus having warned him of his foes

That night at home he spent.

And when the morrow's sun arose

Forth to the forest went.

But Rishyaśring with eager pace

Sped forth and hurried to the place

Where he those visitants had seen

Of daintly waist and charming mien.

When from afar they saw the son

Of Saint Vibháṇdak toward them run,

To meet the hermit boy they hied,

And hailed him with a smile,and cried:

“O come,we pray,dear lord,behold

Our lovely home of which we told

Due honour there to thee we'll pay,

And speed thee on thy homeward way.”

Pleased with the gracious words they said

He followed where the damsels led.

As with his guides his steps he bent,

That Bráhman high of worth,

A flood of rain from heaven was sent

That gladdened all the earth.

Vibháṇdak took his homeward road,

And wearied by the heavy load

Of roots and woodland fruit he bore

Entered at last his cottage door.

Fain for his son he looked around,

But desolate the cell he found.

He stayed not then to bathe his feet,

Though fainting with the toil and heat,

But hurried forth and roamed about

Calling the boy with cry and shout,

He searched the wood,but all in vain;

Nor tidings of his son could gain.

One day beyond the forest's bound

The wandering saint a village found,

And asked the swains and neatherds there

Who owned the land so rich and fair,

With all the hamlets of the plain,

And herds of kine and fields of grain.

They listened to the hermit's words,

And all the guardians of the herds,

With suppliant hands together pressed,

This answer to the saint addressed:

“The Angas'lord who bears the name

Of Lomapád,renowned by fame,

Bestowed these hamlets with their kine

And all their riches,as a sign

Of grace,on Rishyaśring:and he

Vibháṇdak's son is said to be.”

The hermit with exulting breast

The mighty will of fate confessed,

By meditation's eye discerned;

And cheerful to his home returned.

A stately ship,at early morn,

The hermit's son away had borne.

Loud roared the clouds,as on he sped,

The sky grew blacker overhead;

Till,as he reached the royal town,

A mighty flood of rain came down.

By the great rain the monarch's mind

The coming of his guest divined.

To meet the honoured youth he went,

And low to earth his head he bent.

With his own priest to lead the train,

He gave the gift high guests obtain.

And sought,with all who dwelt within

The city walls,his grace to win.

He fed him with the daintiest fare,

He served him with unceasing care,

And ministered with anxious eyes

Lest anger in his breast should rise;

And gave to be the Bráhman's bride

His own fair daughter,lotus-eyed.

Thus loved and honoured by the king,

The glorious Bráhman Rishyaśring

Passed in that royal town his life

WithŚántáhis beloved wife.”