The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 57 books and stories free download online pdf in English

The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 57

Canto LVII. 
Sumantra's Return.
When Ráma reached the southern bank,

King Guha's heart with sorrow sank:

He with Sumantra talked, and spent

With his deep sorrow, homeward went.

Sumantra, as the king decreed,

Yoked to the car each noble steed,

And to Ayodhyá's city sped

With his sad heart disquieted.

On lake and brook and scented grove

His glances fell, as on he drove:

City and village came in view

As o'er the road his coursers flew.

On the third day the charioteer,

When now the hour of night was near,

Came to Ayodhyá's gate, and found

The city all in sorrow drowned.

To him, in spirit quite cast down,

Forsaken seemed the silent town,

And by the rush of grief oppressed

He pondered in his mournful breast:

“Is all Ayodhyá burnt with grief,

Steed, elephant, and man, and chief?

Does her loved Ráma's exile so

Afflict her with the fires of woe?”

Thus as he mused, his steeds flew fast,

And swiftly through the gate he passed.

On drove the charioteer, and then

In hundreds, yea in thousands, men

Ran to the car from every side,

And, “Ráma, where is Ráma?” cried.

Sumantra said: “My chariot bore

The duteous prince to Gangá's shore;

I left him there at his behest,

And homeward to Ayodhyá pressed.”

Soon as the anxious people knew

That he was o'er the flood they drew

Deep sighs, and crying, Ráma! all

Wailed, and big tears began to fall.

He heard the mournful words prolonged,

As here and there the people thronged:

“Woe, woe for us, forlorn, undone,

No more to look on Raghu's son!

His like again we ne'er shall see,

Of heart so true, of hand so free,

In gifts, in gatherings for debate,

When marriage pomps we celebrate,

What should we do? What earthly thing

Can rest, or hope, or pleasure bring?”

Thus the sad town, which Ráma kept

As a kind father, wailed and wept.

Each mansion, as the car went by,

Sent forth a loud and bitter cry,

As to the window every dame,

Mourning for banished Ráma, came.

As his sad eyes with tears o'erflowed,

He sped along the royal road

To Daśaratha's high abode.

There leaping down his car he stayed;

Within the gates his way he made;

Through seven broad courts he onward hied

Where people thronged on every side.

From each high terrace, wild with woe,

The royal ladies flocked below:

He heard them talk in gentle tone,

As each for Ráma made her moan:

“What will the charioteer reply

To Queen Kauśalyá's eager cry?

With Ráma from the gates he went;

Homeward alone, his steps are bent.

Hard is a life with woe distressed,

But difficult to win is rest,

If, when her son is banished, still

She lives beneath her load of ill.”

Such was the speech Sumantra heard

From them whom grief unfeigned had stirred.

As fires of anguish burnt him through,

Swift to the monarch's hall he drew,

Past the eighth court; there met his sight,

The sovereign in his palace bright,

Still weeping for his son, forlorn,

Pale, faint, and all with sorrow worn.

As there he sat, Sumantra bent

And did obeisance reverent,

And to the king repeated o'er

The message he from Ráma bore.

The monarch heard, and well-nigh brake

His heart, but yet no word he spake:

Fainting to earth he fell, and dumb,

By grief for Ráma overcome.

Rang through the hall a startling cry,

And women's arms were tossed on high,

When, with his senses all astray,

Upon the ground the monarch lay.

Kauśalyá, with Sumitrá's aid,

Raised from the ground her lord dismayed:

“Sire, of high fate,” she cried, “O, why

Dost thou no single word reply

To Ráma's messenger who brings

News of his painful wanderings?

The great injustice done, art thou

Shame-stricken for thy conduct now?

Rise up, and do thy part: bestow

Comfort and help in this our woe.

Speak freely, King; dismiss thy fear,

For Queen Kaikeyí stands not near,

Afraid of whom thou wouldst not seek

Tidings of Ráma: freely speak.”

When the sad queen had ended so,

She sank, insatiate in her woe,

And prostrate lay upon the ground,

While her faint voice by sobs was drowned.

When all the ladies in despair

Saw Queen Kauśalyá wailing there,

And the poor king oppressed with pain,

They flocked around and wept again.