The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 66 books and stories free download online pdf in English

The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 66

Canto LXVI. 
The Embalming.
Kauśalyá's eyes with tears o'erflowed,

Weighed down by varied sorrows' load;

On her dead lord her gaze she bent,

Who lay like fire whose might is spent,

Like the great deep with waters dry,

Or like the clouded sun on high.

Then on her lap she laid his head.

And on Kaikeyí looked and said:

“Triumphant now enjoy thy reign

Without a thorn thy side to pain.

Thou hast pursued thy single aim,

And killed the king, O wicked dame.

Far from my sight my Ráma flies,

My perished lord has sought the skies.

No friend, no hope my life to cheer,

I cannot tread the dark path here.

Who would forsake her husband, who

That God to whom her love is due,

And wish to live one hour, but she

Whose heart no duty owns, like thee?

The ravenous sees no fault: his greed

Will e'en on poison blindly feed.

Kaikeyí, through a hump-back maid,

This royal house in death has laid.

King Janak, with his queen, will hear

Heart rent like me the tidings drear

Of Ráma banished by the king,

Urged by her impious counselling.

No son has he, his age is great,

And sinking with the double weight,

He for his darling child will pine,

And pierced with woe his life resign.

Sprung from Videha's monarch, she

A sad and lovely devotee,

Roaming the wood, unmeet for woe,

Will toil and trouble undergo.

She in the gloomy night with fear

The cries of beast and bird will hear,

And trembling in her wild alarm

Will cling to Ráma's sheltering arm.

Ah, little knows my duteous son

That I am widowed and undone—

My Ráma of the lotus eye,

Gone hence, gone hence, alas, to die.

Now, as a living wife and true,

I, e'en this day, will perish too:

Around his form these arms will throw

And to the fire with him will go.”

Clasping her husband's lifeless clay

A while the weeping votaress lay,

Till chamberlains removed her thence

O'ercome by sorrow's violence.

Then in a cask of oil they laid

Him who in life the world had swayed,

And finished, as the lords desired,

All rites for parted souls required.

The lords, all-wise, refused to burn

The monarch ere his son's return;

So for a while the corpse they set

Embalmed in oil, and waited yet.

The women heard: no doubt remained,

And wildly for the king they plained.

With gushing tears that drowned each eye

Wildly they waved their arms on high,

And each her mangling nails impressed

Deep in her head and knee and breast:

“Of Ráma reft,—who ever spake

The sweetest words the heart to take,

Who firmly to the truth would cling,—

Why dost thou leave us, mighty King?

How can the consorts thou hast left

Widowed, of Raghu's son bereft,

Live with our foe Kaikeyí near,

The wicked queen we hate and fear?

She threw away the king, her spite

Drove Ráma forth and Lakshmaṇ's might,

And gentle Sítá: how will she

Spare any, whosoe'er it be?”

Oppressed with sorrow, tear-distained,

The royal women thus complained.

Like night when not a star appears,

Like a sad widow drowned in tears,

Ayodhyá's city, dark and dim,

Reft of her lord was sad for him.

When thus for woe the king to heaven had fled,

And still on earth his lovely wives remained.

With dying light the sun to rest had sped,

And night triumphant o'er the landscape reigned.