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The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 1 - 74

Canto LXXVI.

Debarred From Heaven.

The haughty challenge,undeterred

The son of Daśaratha heard,

And cried,while reverence for his sire

Checked the full torrent of his ire:

“Before this day have I been told

The deed that stained thy hands of old.

But pity bids my soul forget:

Thy father,murdered,claimed the debt.

My strength,O Chief,thou deemest slight,

Too feeble for a Warrior's might.

Now will I show thy wondering eyes

The prowess which they dare despise.”

He hastened then with graceful ease

That mighty bow and shaft to seize.

His hand the weapon strung and swayed:

The arrow on the string was laid.

Then Jamadagni's son he eyed,

And thus in words of fury cried:

“Thou art a Bráhman,still to be

Most highly honoured,Chief,by me.

For Viśvámitra's sake beside

Shall reverence due be ne'er denied.

Though mine the power,I would not send

A dart at thee thy life to end.

But thy great power to wander free,

Which penance-rites have won for thee,

Or glorious worlds from thee to wrest,

Is the firm purpose of my breast,

And Vishṇu's dart which now I strain

Can ne'er be shot to fall in vain:

It strikes the mighty,and it stuns

The madness of the haughty ones.”

Then Gods,and saints and heavenly choir

Preceded by the General Sire,

Met in the air and gazed below

On Ráma with that wondrous bow.

Nymph,minstrel,angel,all were there,

Snake-God,and spirit of the air,

Giant,and bard,and gryphon,met,

Their eyes upon the marvel set.

In senseless hush the world was chained

While Ráma's hand the bow retained,

And Jamadagni's son amazed

And powerless on the hero gazed.

Then when his swelling heart had shrunk,

And his proud strength in torpor sunk,

Scarce his voice ventured,low and weak,

To Ráma lotus-eyed,to speak:

“When long ago I gave away

The whole broad land to Kaśyap's sway

He charged me never to remain

Within the limits of his reign.

Obedient to my guide's behest

On earth by night I never rest.

My choice is made,I will not dim

Mine honour and be false to him.

So,son of Raghu,leave me still

The power to wander where I will,

And swifter than the thought my flight

Shall place me on Mahendra's height.

My mansions of eternal joy,

By penance won,thou mayst destroy,

My path to these thy shaft may stay.

Now to the work!No more delay!

I know thee Lord of Gods;I know

Thy changeless might laid Madhu low.

All other hands would surely fail

To bend this bow.All hail!all hail!

See!all the Gods have left the skies

To bend on thee their eager eyes,

With whose achievements none compete,

Whose arm in war no God can meet.

No shame is mine,I ween,for thou,

Lord of the Worlds,hast dimmed my brow.

Now,pious Ráma,'tis thy part

To shoot afar that glorious dart:

I,when the fatal shaft is shot,

Will seek that hill and tarry not.”

He ceased.The wondrous arrow flew,

And Jamadagni's offspring knew

Those glorious worlds to him were barred,

Once gained by penance long and hard.

Then straight the airy quarters cleared,

And the mid regions bright appeared,

While Gods and saints unnumbered praised

Ráma,the mighty bow who raised.

And Jamadagni's son,o'erawed.

Extolled his name with highest laud,

With reverent steps around him strode,

Then hastened on his airy road.

Far from the sight of all he fled,

And rested on Mahendra's head.