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The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 90

Canto XC. 
The Hermitage.
The prince of men a league away

Saw where the hermit's dwelling lay,

Then with his lords his path pursued,

And left his warrior multitude.

On foot, as duty taught his mind,

He left his warlike gear behind;

Two robes of linen cloth he wore,

And bade Vaśishṭha walk before.

Then Bharat from his lords withdrew

When Bharadvája came in view,

And toward the holy hermit went

Behind Vaśishṭha, reverent.

When Bharadvája, saint austere,

Saw good Vaśishṭha drawing near,

He cried, upspringing from his seat,

“The grace-gift bring, my friend to greet.”

When Saint Vaśishṭha near him drew,

And Bharat paid the reverence due,

The glorious hermit was aware

That Daśaratha's son was there.

The grace-gift, water for their feet

He gave, and offered fruit to eat;

Then, duty-skilled, with friendly speech

In seemly order questioned each:

“How fares it in Ayodhyá now

With treasury and army? how

With kith and kin and friends most dear,

With councillor, and prince, and peer?”

But, for he knew the king was dead,

Of Daśaratha naught he said.

Vaśishṭha and the prince in turn

Would of the hermit's welfare learn:

Of holy fires they fain would hear,

Of pupils, trees, and birds, and deer.

The glorious saint his answer made

That all was well in holy shade:

Then love of Ráma moved his breast,

And thus he questioned of his guest:

“Why art thou here, O Prince, whose band

With kingly sway protects the land?

Declare the cause, explain the whole,

For yet some doubt disturbs my soul.

He whom Kauśalyá bare, whose might

The foemen slays, his line's delight,

He who with wife and brother sent

Afar now roam in banishment,

Famed prince, to whom his father spake

This order for a woman's sake:

“Away! and in the forest spend

Thy life till fourteen years shall end”—

Has thou the wish to harm him, bent

On sin against the innocent?

Wouldst thou thine elder's realm enjoy

Without a thorn that can annoy?”

With sobbing voice and tearful eye

Thus Bharat sadly made reply:

“Ah lost am I, if thou, O Saint,

Canst thus in thought my heart attaint:

No warning charge from thee I need;

Ne'er could such crime from me proceed.

The words my guilty mother spake

When fondly jealous for my sake—

Think not that I, to triumph moved,

Those words approve or e'er approved.

O Hermit, I have sought this place

To win the lordly hero's grace,

To throw me at my brother's feet

And lead him to his royal seat.

To this, my journey's aim and end,

Thou shouldst, O Saint, thy favour lend:

Where is the lord of earth? do thou,

Most holy, say, where roams he now?”

Then, by the saint Vaśishṭha pressed,

And all the gathered priests beside,

To Bharat's dutiful request

The hermit graciously replied:

“Worthy of thee, O Prince, this deed,

True son of Raghu's ancient seed.

I know thee reverent, well-controlled,

The glory of the good of old.

I grant thy prayer: in this pursuit

I know thy heart is resolute.

'Tis for thy sake those words I said

That wider still thy fame may spread.

I know where Ráma, duty-tried,

His brother, and his wife abide.

Where Chitrakúṭa's heights arise

Thy brother Ráma's dwelling lies.

Go thither with the morning's light,

And stay with all thy lords tonight:

For I would show thee honour high,

And do not thou my wish deny.”