The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 15 books and stories free download online pdf in English

The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 15

15
Canto XV. 
The Preparations.
There slept the Bráhmans, deeply read

In Scripture, till the night had fled;

Then, with the royal chaplains, they

Took each his place in long array.

There gathered fast the chiefs of trade,

Nor peer nor captain long delayed,

Assembling all in order due

The consecrating rite to view.

The morning dawned with cloudless ray

On Pushya's high auspicious day,

And Cancer with benignant power

Looked down on Ráma's natal hour.

The twice-born chiefs, with zealous heed,

Made ready what the rite would need.

The well-wrought throne of holy wood

And golden urns in order stood.

There was the royal car whereon

A tiger's skin resplendent shone;

There water, brought for sprinkling thence

Where, in their sacred confluence,

Blend Jumná's waves with Gangá's tide,

From many a holy flood beside,

From brook and fountain far and near,

From pool and river, sea and mere.

And there were honey, curd, and oil,

Parched rice and grass, the garden's spoil,

Fresh milk, eight girls in bright attire,

An elephant with eyes of fire;

And urns of gold and silver made,

With milky branches overlaid,

All brimming from each sacred flood,

And decked with many a lotus bud.

And dancing-women fair and free,

Gay with their gems, were there to see,

Who stood in bright apparel by

With lovely brow and witching eye.

White flashed the jewelled chouri there,

And shone like moonbeams through the air;

The white umbrella overhead

A pale and moonlike lustre shed,

Wont in pure splendour to precede,

And in such rites the pomp to lead.

There stood the charger by the side

Of the great bull of snow-white hide;

There was all music soft and loud,

And bards and minstrels swelled the crowd.

For now the monarch bade combine

Each custom of his ancient line

With every rite Ayodhyá's state

Observed, her kings to consecrate.

Then, summoned by the king's behest,

The multitudes together pressed,

And, missing still the royal sire,

Began, impatient, to inquire:

“Who to our lord will tidings bear

That all his people throng the square?

Where is the king? the sun is bright,

And all is ready for the rite.”

As thus they spoke, Sumantra, tried

In counsel, to the chiefs replied,

Gathered from lands on every side:

“To Ráma's house I swiftly drave,

For so the king his mandate gave.

Our aged lord and Ráma too

In honour high hold all of you:

I in your words (be long your days!)

Will ask him why he thus delays.”

Thus spoke the peer in Scripture read,

And to the ladies' bower he sped.

Quick through the gates Sumantra hied,

Which access ne'er to him denied.

Behind the curtained screen he drew,

Which veiled the chamber from the view.

In benediction loud he raised

His voice, and thus the monarch praised:

“Sun, Moon, Kuvera, Śiva bless

Kakutstha's son with high success!

The Lords of air, flood, fire decree

The victory, my King, to thee!

The holy night has past away,

Auspicious shines the morning's ray.

Rise, Lord of men, thy part to take

In the great rite. Awake! awake!

Bráhmans and captains, chiefs of trade,

All wait in festive garb arrayed;

For thee they look with eager eyes:

O Raghu's son, awake! arise.”

To him in holy Scripture read,

Who hailed him thus, the monarch said,

Upraising from his sleep his head:

“Go, Ráma, hither lead as thou

Wast ordered by the queen but now.

Come, tell me why my mandate laid

Upon thee thus is disobeyed.

Away! and Ráma hither bring;

I sleep not: make no tarrying.”

Thus gave the king command anew:

Sumantra from his lord withdrew;

With head in lowly reverence bent,

And filled with thoughts of joy, he went.

The royal street he traversed, where

Waved flag and pennon to the air,

And, as with joy the car he drove,

He let his eyes delighted rove.

On every side, where'er he came,

He heard glad words, their theme the same,

As in their joy the gathered folk

Of Ráma and the throning spoke.

Then saw he Ráma's palace bright

And vast as Mount Kailása's height,

That glorious in its beauty showed

As Indra's own supreme abode:

With folding doors both high and wide;

With hundred porches beautified:

Where golden statues towering rose

O'er gemmed and coralled porticoes.

Bright like a cave in Meru's side,

Or clouds through Autumn's sky that ride:

Festooned with length of bloomy twine,

Flashing with pearls and jewels' shine,

While sandal-wood and aloe lent

The mingled riches of their scent;

With all the odorous sweets that fill

The breezy heights of Dardar's hill.

There by the gate the Sáras screamed,

And shrill-toned peacocks' plumage gleamed.

Its floors with deftest art inlaid,

Its sculptured wolves in gold arrayed,

With its bright sheen the palace took

The mind of man and chained the look,

For like the sun and moon it glowed,

And mocked Kuvera's loved abode.

Circling the walls a crowd he viewed

Who stood in reverent attitude,

With throngs of countrymen who sought

Acceptance of the gifts they brought.

The elephant was stationed there,

Appointed Ráma's self to bear;

Adorned with pearls, his brow and cheek

Were sandal-dyed in many a streak,

While he, in stature, bulk, and pride,

With Indra's own Airávat280 vied.

Sumantra, borne by coursers fleet,

Flashing a radiance o'er the street,

To Ráma's palace flew,

And all who lined the royal road,

Or thronged the prince's rich abode,

Rejoiced as near he drew.

And with delight his bosom swelled

As onward still his course he held

Through many a sumptuous court

Like Indra's palace nobly made,

Where peacocks revelled in the shade,

And beasts of silvan sort.

Through many a hall and chamber wide,

That with Kailása's splendour vied.

Or mansions of the Blest,

While Ráma's friends, beloved and tried,

Before his coming stepped aside,

Still on Sumantra pressed.

He reached the chamber door, where stood

Around his followers young and good,

Bard, minstrel, charioteer,

Well skilled the tuneful chords to sweep,

With soothing strain to lull to sleep,

Or laud their master dear.

Then, like a dolphin darting through

Unfathomed depths of ocean's blue

With store of jewels decked,

Through crowded halls that rock-like rose,

Or as proud hills where clouds repose,

Sumantra sped unchecked—

Halls like the glittering domes on high

Reared for the dwellers of the sky

By heavenly architect.