The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 34 books and stories free download online pdf in English

The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 34

34
Canto XXXIV. 
Ráma In The Palace.
The dark incomparable chief

Whose eye was like a lotus leaf,

Cried to the mournful charioteer,

“Go tell my sire that I am here.”

Sumantra, sad and all dismayed,

The chieftain's order swift obeyed.

Within the palace doors he hied

And saw the king, who wept and sighed.

Like the great sun when wrapped in shade

Like fire by ashes overlaid,

Or like a pool with waters dried,

So lay the world's great lord and pride,

A while the wise Sumantra gazed

On him whose senses woe has dazed,

Grieving for Ráma. Near he drew

With hands upraised in reverence due.

With blessing first his king he hailed;

Then with a voice that well-nigh failed,

In trembling accents soft and low

Addressed the monarch in his woe:

“The prince of men, thy Ráma, waits

Before thee at the palace gates.

His wealth to Bráhmans he has dealt,

And all who in his home have dwelt.

Admit thy son. His friends have heard

His kind farewell and parting word,

He longs to see thee first, and then

Will seek the wilds, O King of men.

He, with each princely virtue's blaze,

Shines as the sun engirt by rays.”

The truthful King who loved to keep

The law profound as Ocean's deep,

And stainless as the dark blue sky,

Thus to Sumantra made reply:

“Go then, Sumantra, go and call

My wives and ladies one and all.

Drawn round me shall they fill the place

When I behold my Ráma's face.”

Quick to the inner rooms he sped,

And thus to all the women said,

“Come, at the summons of the king:

Come all, and make no tarrying.”

Their husband's word, by him conveyed,

Soon as they heard, the dames obeyed,

And following his guidance all

Came thronging to the regal hall.

In number half seven hundred, they,

All lovely dames, in long array,

With their bright eyes for weeping red,

To stand round Queen Kauśalyá, sped.

They gathered, and the monarch viewed

One moment all the multitude,

Then to Sumantra spoke and said:

“Now let my son be hither led.”

Sumantra went. Then Ráma came,

And Lakshmaṇ, and the Maithil dame,

And, as he led them on, their guide

Straight to the monarch's presence hied.

When yet far off the father saw

His son with raised palms toward him draw,

Girt by his ladies, sick with woes,

Swift from his royal seat he rose.

With all his strength the aged man

To meet his darling Ráma ran,

But trembling, wild with dark despair,

Fell on the ground and fainted there.

And Lakshmaṇ, wont in cars to ride,

And Ráma, threw them by the side

Of the poor miserable king,

Half lifeless with his sorrow's sting.

Throughout the spacious hall up went

A thousand women's wild lament:

“Ah Ráma!” thus they wailed and wept,

And anklets tinkled as they stepped

Around his body, weeping, threw

Their loving arms the brothers two,

And then, with Sítá's gentle aid,

The king upon a couch was laid.

At length to earth's imperial lord,

When life and knowledge were restored,

Though seas of woe went o'er his head,

With suppliant hand, thus Ráma said:

“Lord of us all, great King, thou art:

Bid me farewell before we part,

To Daṇḍak wood this day I go:

One blessing and one look bestow.

Let Lakshmaṇ my companion be,

And Sítá also follow me.

With truthful pleas I sought to bend

Their purpose; but no ear they lend.

Now cast this sorrow from thy heart,

And let us all, great King, depart.

As Brahmá sends his children, so

Let Lakshmaṇ, me, and Sítá go.”

He stood unmoved, and watched intent

Until the king should grant consent.

Upon his son his eyes he cast,

And thus the monarch spake at last:

“O Ráma, by her arts enslaved,

I gave the boons Kaikeyí craved,

Unfit to reign, by her misled:

Be ruler in thy father's stead.”

Thus by the lord of men addressed,

Ráma, of virtue's friends the best,

In lore of language duly learned,

His answer, reverent, thus returned:

“A thousand years, O King, remain

O'er this our city still to reign.

I in the woods my life will lead:

The lust of rule no more I heed.

Nine years and five I there will spend,

And when the portioned days shall end,

Will come, my vows and exile o'er,

And clasp thy feet, my King, once more.”

A captive in the snare of truth,

Weeping, distressed with woe and ruth,

Thus spake the monarch, while the queen

Kaikeyí urged him on unseen:

“Go then, O Ráma, and begin

Thy course unvext by fear and sin:

Go, my beloved son, and earn

Success, and joy, and safe return.

So fast the bonds of duty bind.

O Raghu's son, thy truthful mind,

That naught can turn thee back, or guide

Thy will so strongly fortified.

But O, a little longer stay,

Nor turn thy steps this night away,

That I one little day-—alas!

One only—-with my son may pass.

Me and thy mother do not slight,

But stay, my son, with me to-night;

With every dainty please thy taste,

And seek to-morrow morn the waste.

Hard is thy task, O Raghu's son,

Dire is the toil thou wilt not shun,

Far to the lonely wood to flee,

And leave thy friends for love of me.

I swear it by my truth, believe,

For thee, my son, I deeply grieve,

Misguided by the traitress dame

With hidden guile like smouldering flame.

Now, by her wicked counsel stirred,

Thou fain wouldst keep my plighted word.

No marvel that my eldest born

Would hold me true when I have sworn.”

Then Ráma having calmly heard

His wretched father speak each word,

With Lakshmaṇ standing by his side

Thus, humbly, to the King replied:

“If dainties now my taste regale,

To-morrow must those dainties fail.

This day departure I prefer

To all that wealth can minister.

O'er this fair land, no longer mine,

Which I, with all her realms, resign,

Her multitudes of men, her grain,

Her stores of wealth, let Bharat reign.

And let the promised boon which thou

Wast pleased to grant the queen ere now,

Be hers in full. Be true, O King,

Kind giver of each precious thing.

Thy spoken word I still will heed,

Obeying all thy lips decreed:

And fourteen years in woods will dwell

With those who live in glade and dell.

No hopes of power my heart can touch,

No selfish joys attract so much

As son of Raghu, to fulfil

With heart and soul my father's will.

Dismiss, dismiss thy needless woe,

Nor let those drowning torrents flow:

The Lord of Rivers in his pride

Keeps to the banks that bar his tide.

Here in thy presence I declare;

By thy good deeds, thy truth, I swear;

Nor lordship, joy, nor lands I prize;

Life, heaven, all blessings I despise.

I wish to see thee still remain

Most true, O King, and free from stain.

It must not, Sire, it must not be:

I cannot rest one hour with thee.

Then bring this sorrow to an end,

For naught my settled will can bend.

I gave a pledge that binds me too,

And to that pledge I still am true.

Kaikeyí bade me speed away:

She prayed me, and I answered yea.

Pine not for me, and weep no more;

The wood for us has joy in store,

Filled with the wild deer's peaceful herds

And voices of a thousand birds.

A father is the God of each,

Yea, e'en of Gods, so Scriptures teach:

And I will keep my sire's decree,

For as a God I honour thee.

O best of men, the time is nigh,

The fourteen years will soon pass by

And to thine eyes thy son restore:

Be comforted, and weep no more.

Thou with thy firmness shouldst support

These weeping crowds who throng the court;

Then why, O chief of high renown,

So troubled, and thy soul cast down?”