The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 54 books and stories free download online pdf in English

The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 54

Canto LIV. 
Bharadvája's Hermitage.
So there that night the heroes spent

Under the boughs that o'er them bent,

And when the sun his glory spread,

Upstarting, from the place they sped.

On to that spot they made their way,

Through the dense wood that round them lay,

Where Yamuná's326 swift waters glide

To blend with Gangá's holy tide.

Charmed with the prospect ever new

The glorious heroes wandered through

Full many a spot of pleasant ground,

Rejoicing as they gazed around,

With eager eye and heart at ease,

On countless sorts of flowery trees.

And now the day was half-way sped

When thus to Lakshmaṇ Ráma said:

“There, there, dear brother, turn thine eyes;

See near Prayág327 that smoke arise:

The banner of our Lord of Flames

The dwelling of some saint proclaims.

Near to the place our steps we bend

Where Yamuná and Gangá blend.

I hear and mark the deafening roar

When chafing floods together pour.

See, near us on the ground are left

Dry logs, by labouring woodmen cleft,

And the tall trees, that blossom near

Saint Bharadvája's home, appear.”

The bow-armed princes onward passed,

And as the sun was sinking fast

They reached the hermit's dwelling, set

Near where the rushing waters met.

The presence of the warrior scared

The deer and birds as on he fared,

And struck them with unwonted awe:

Then Bharadvája's cot they saw.

The high-souled hermit soon they found

Girt by his dear disciples round:

Calm saint, whose vows had well been wrought,

Whose fervent rites keen sight had bought.

Duly had flames of worship blazed

When Ráma on the hermit gazed:

His suppliant hands the hero raised,

Drew nearer to the holy man

With his companions, and began,

Declaring both his name and race

And why they sought that distant place:

“Saint, Daśaratha's children we,

Ráma and Lakshmaṇ, come to thee.

This my good wife from Janak springs,

The best of fair Videha's kings;

Through lonely wilds, a faultless dame,

To this pure grove with me she came.

My younger brother follows still

Me banished by my father's will:

Sumitrá's son, bound by a vow,—

He roams the wood beside me now.

Sent by my father forth to rove,

We seek, O Saint, some holy grove,

Where lives of hermits we may lead,

And upon fruits and berries feed.”

When Bharadvája, prudent-souled,

Had heard the prince his tale unfold,

Water he bade them bring, a bull,

And honour-gifts in dishes full,

And drink and food of varied taste,

Berries and roots, before him placed,

And then the great ascetic showed

A cottage for the guests' abode.

The saint these honours gladly paid

To Ráma who had thither strayed,

Then compassed sat by birds and deer

And many a hermit resting near.

The prince received the service kind,

And sat him down rejoiced in mind.

Then Bharadvája silence broke,

And thus the words of duty spoke:

“Kakutstha's royal son, that thou

Hadst sought this grove I knew ere now.

Mine ears have heard thy story, sent

Without a sin to banishment.

Behold, O Prince, this ample space

Near where the mingling floods embrace,

Holy, and beautiful, and clear:

Dwell with us, and be happy here.”

By Bharadvája thus addressed,

Ráma whose kind and tender breast

All living things would bless and save,

In gracious words his answer gave:

“My honoured lord, this tranquil spot,

Fair home of hermits, suits me not:

For all the neighbouring people here

Will seek us when they know me near:

With eager wish to look on me,

And the Videhan dame to see,

A crowd of rustics will intrude

Upon the holy solitude.

Provide, O gracious lord, I pray,

Some quiet home that lies away,

Where my Videhan spouse may dwell

Tasting the bliss deserved so well.”

The hermit heard the prayer he made:

A while in earnest thought he stayed,

And then in words like these expressed

His answer to the chief's request:

“Ten leagues away there stands a hill

Where thou mayst live, if such thy will:

A holy mount, exceeding fair;

Great saints have made their dwelling there:

There great Langúrs328 in thousands play,

And bears amid the thickets stray;

Wide-known by Chitrakúṭa's name,

It rivals Gandhamádan's329 fame.

Long as the man that hill who seeks

Gazes upon its sacred peaks,

To holy things his soul he gives

And pure from thought of evil lives.

There, while a hundred autumns fled,

Has many a saint with hoary head

Spent his pure life, and won the prize,

By deep devotion, in the skies:

Best home, I ween, if such retreat,

Far from the ways of men, be sweet:

Or let thy years of exile flee

Here in this hermitage with me.”

Thus Bharadvája spake, and trained

In lore of duty, entertained

The princes and the dame, and pressed

His friendly gifts on every guest.

Thus to Prayág the hero went,

Thus saw the saint preëminent,

And varied speeches heard and said:

Then holy night o'er heaven was spread.

And Ráma took, by toil oppressed,

With Sítá and his brother, rest;

And so the night, with sweet content,

In Bharadvája's grove was spent.

But when the dawn dispelled the night,

Ráma approached the anchorite,

And thus addressed the holy sire

Whose glory shone like kindled fire:

“Well have we spent, O truthful Sage,

The night within thy hermitage:

Now let my lord his guests permit

For their new home his grove to quit.”

Then, as he saw the morning break,

In answer Bharadvája spake:

“Go forth to Chitrakúṭa's hill,

Where berries grow, and sweets distil:

Full well, I deem, that home will suit

Thee, Ráma, strong and resolute.

Go forth, and Chitrakúṭa seek,

Famed mountain of the Varied Peak.

In the wild woods that gird him round

All creatures of the chase are found:

Thou in the glades shalt see appear

Vast herds of elephants and deer.

With Sítá there shalt thou delight

To gaze upon the woody height;

There with expanding heart to look

On river, table-land, and brook,

And see the foaming torrent rave

Impetuous from the mountain cave.

Auspicious hill! where all day long

The lapwing's cry, the Koïl's song

Make all who listen gay:

Where all is fresh and fair to see,

Where elephants and deer roam free,

There, as a hermit, stay.”