The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 53 books and stories free download online pdf in English

The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 53

53
Canto LIII. 
Ráma's Lament.
When evening rites were duly paid,

Reclined beneath the leafy shade,

To Lakshmaṇ thus spake Ráma, best

Of those who glad a people's breast:

“Now the first night has closed the day

That saw us from our country stray,

And parted from the charioteer;

Yet grieve not thou, my brother dear.

Henceforth by night, when others sleep,

Must we our careful vigil keep,

Watching for Sítá's welfare thus,

For her dear life depends on us.

Bring me the leaves that lie around,

And spread them here upon the ground,

That we on lowly beds may lie,

And let in talk the night go by.”

So on the ground with leaves o'erspread,

He who should press a royal bed,

Ráma with Lakshmaṇ thus conversed,

And many a pleasant tale rehearsed:

“This night the king,” he cried, “alas!

In broken sleep will sadly pass.

Kaikeyí now content should be,

For mistress of her wish is she.

So fiercely she for empire yearns,

That when her Bharat home returns,

She in her greed, may even bring

Destruction on our lord the king.

What can he do, in feeble eld,

Reft of all aid and me expelled,

His soul enslaved by love, a thrall

Obedient to Kaikeyí's call?

As thus I muse upon his woe

And all his wisdoms overthrow,

Love is, methinks, of greater might

To stir the heart than gain and right.

For who, in wisdom's lore untaught,

Could by a beauty's prayer be bought

To quit his own obedient son,

Who loves him, as my sire has done!

Bharat, Kaikeyí's child, alone

Will, with his wife, enjoy the throne,

And blissfully his rule maintain

O'er happy Kośala's domain.

To Bharat's single lot will fall

The kingdom and the power and all,

When fails the king from length of days,

And Ráma in the forest strays.

Whoe'er, neglecting right and gain,

Lets conquering love his soul enchain,

To him, like Daśaratha's lot,

Comes woe with feet that tarry not.

Methinks at last the royal dame,

Dear Lakshmaṇ, has secured her aim,

To see at once her husband dead,

Her son enthroned, and Ráma fled.

Ah me! I fear, lest borne away

By frenzy of success, she slay

Kauśalyá, through her wicked hate

Of me, bereft, disconsolate;

Or her who aye for me has striven

Sumitrá, to devotion given.

Hence, Lakshmaṇ, to Ayodhyá speed,

Returning in the hour of need.

With Sítá I my steps will bend

Where Daṇḍak's mighty woods extend.

No guardian has Kauśalyá now:

O, be her friend and guardian thou.

Strong hate may vile Kaikeyí lead

To many a base unrighteous deed,

Treading my mother 'neath her feet

When Bharat holds the royal seat.

Sure in some antenatal time

Were children, by Kauśalyá's crime,

Torn from their mothers' arms away,

And hence she mourns this evil day.

She for her child no toil would spare

Tending me long with pain and care;

Now in the hour of fruitage she

Has lost that son, ah, woe is me.

O Lakshmaṇ, may no matron e'er

A son so doomed to sorrow bear

As I, my mother's heart who rend

With anguish that can never end.

The Sáriká,325 methinks, possessed

More love than glows in Ráma's breast.

Who, as the tale is told to us,

Addressed the stricken parrot thus:

“Parrot, the capturer's talons tear,

While yet alone thou flutterest there,

Before his mouth has closed on me:”

So cried the bird, herself to free.

Reft of her son, in childless woe,

My mother's tears for ever flow:

Ill-fated, doomed with grief to strive,

What aid can she from me derive?

Pressed down by care, she cannot rise

From sorrow's flood wherein she lies.

In righteous wrath my single arm

Could, with my bow, protect from harm

Ayodhyá's town and all the earth:

But what is hero prowess worth?

Lest breaking duty's law I sin,

And lose the heaven I strive to win,

The forest life today I choose,

And kingly state and power refuse.”

Thus mourning in that lonely spot

The troubled chief bewailed his lot,

And filled with tears, his eyes ran o'er;

Then silent sat, and spake no more.

To him, when ceased his loud lament,

Like fire whose brilliant might is spent,

Or the great sea when sleeps the wave,

Thus Lakshmaṇ consolation gave:

“Chief of the brave who bear the bow,

E'en now Ayodhyá, sunk in woe,

By thy departure reft of light

Is gloomy as the moonless night.

Unfit it seems that thou, O chief,

Shouldst so afflict thy soul with grief,

So with thou Sítá's heart consign

To deep despair as well as mine.

Not I, O Raghu's son, nor she

Could live one hour deprived of thee:

We were, without thine arm to save,

Like fish deserted by the wave.

Although my mother dear to meet,

Śatrughna, and the king, were sweet,

On them, or heaven, to feed mine eye

Were nothing, if thou wert not by.”

Sitting at ease, their glances fell

Upon the beds, constructed well,

And there the sons of virtue laid

Their limbs beneath the fig tree's shade.