The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 91 books and stories free download online pdf in English

The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 91

Canto XCI. 
Bharadvája's Feast.
Soon as he saw the prince's mind

To rest that day was well inclined,

He sought Kaikeyí's son to please

With hospitable courtesies.

Then Bharat to the saint replied:

“Our wants are more than satisfied.

The gifts which honoured strangers greet,

And water for our weary feet

Hast thou bestowed with friendly care,

And every choice of woodland fare.”

Then Bharadvája spoke, a smile

Playing upon his lips the while:

“I know, dear Prince, thy friendly mind

Will any fare sufficient find,

But gladly would I entertain

And banquet all thine armed train:

Such is my earnest wish: do thou

This longing of my heart allow,

Why hast thou hither bent thy way,

And made thy troops behind thee stay?

Why unattended? couldst thou not

With friends and army seek this spot?”

Bharat, with reverent hands raised high,

To that great hermit made reply:

“My troops, for awe of thee, O Sage,

I brought not to thy hermitage:

Troops of a king or monarch's son

A hermit's home should ever shun.

Behind me comes a mighty train

Wide spreading o'er the ample plain,

Where every chief and captain leads

Men, elephants, and mettled steeds.

I feared, O reverend Sage, lest these

Might harm the holy ground and trees,

Springs might be marred and cots o'erthrown,

So with the priests I came alone.”

“Bring all thy host,” the hermit cried,

And Bharat, to his joy, complied.

Then to the chapel went the sire,

Where ever burnt the sacred fire,

And first, in order due, with sips

Of water purified his lips:

To Viśvakarmá, then he prayed,

His hospitable feast to aid:

“Let Viśvakarmá hear my call,

The God who forms and fashions all:

A mighty banquet I provide,

Be all my wants this day supplied.

Lord Indra at their head, the three365

Who guard the worlds I call to me:

A mighty host this day I feed,

Be now supplied my every need.

Let all the streams that eastward go,

And those whose waters westering flow,

Both on the earth and in the sky,

Flow hither and my wants supply.

Be some with ardent liquor filled,

And some with wine from flowers distilled,

While some their fresh cool streams retain

Sweet as the juice of sugar-cane.

I call the Gods, I call the band

Of minstrels that around them stand:

I call the Háhá and Huhú,

I call the sweet Viśvávasu,

I call the heavenly wives of these

With all the bright Apsarases,

Alambúshá of beauty rare,

The charmer of the tangled hair,

Ghritáchí and Viśváchi fair,

Hemá and Bhímá sweet to view,

And lovely Nágadantá too,

And all the sweetest nymphs who stand

By Indra or by Brahmá's hand—

I summon these with all their train

And Tumburu to lead the strain.

Here let Kuvera's garden rise

Which far in Northern Kuru366 lies:

For leaves let cloth and gems entwine,

And let its fruit be nymphs divine.

Let Soma367 give the noblest food

To feed the mighty multitude,

Of every kind, for tooth and lip,

To chew, to lick, to suck, and sip.

Let wreaths, where fairest flowers abound,

Spring from the trees that bloom around.

Each sort of wine to woo the taste,

And meats of every kind be placed.”

Thus spake the hermit self-restrained,

With proper tone by rules ordained,

On deepest meditation bent,

In holy might preëminent.

Then as with hands in reverence raised

Absorbed in thought he eastward gazed,

The deities he thus addressed

Came each in semblance manifest.

Delicious gales that cooled the frame

From Malaya and Dardar came,

That kissed those scented hills and threw

Auspicious fragrance where they blew.

Then falling fast in sweetest showers

Came from the sky immortal flowers,

And all the airy region round

With heavenly drums was made to sound.

Then breathed a soft celestial breeze,

Then danced the bright Apsarases,

The minstrels and the Gods advanced,

And warbling lutes the soul entranced.

The earth and sky that music filled,

And through each ear it softly thrilled,

As from the heavenly quills it fell

With time and tune attempered well.

Soon as the minstrels ceased to play

And airs celestial died away,

The troops of Bharat saw amazed

What Viśvakarmá's art had raised.

On every side, five leagues around,

All smooth and level lay the ground,

With fresh green grass that charmed the sight

Like sapphires blent with lazulite.

There the Wood-apple hung its load,

The Mango and the Citron glowed,

The Bel and scented Jak were there,

And Apelá with fruitage fair.

There, brought from Northern Kuru, stood

Rich in delights, the glorious wood,

And many a stream was seen to glide

With flowering trees along its side.

There mansions rose with four wide halls,

And elephants and chargers' stalls,

And many a house of royal state,

Triumphal arc and bannered gate.

With noble doorways, sought the sky,

Like a pale cloud, a palace high,

Which far and wide rare fragrance shed,

With wreaths of white engarlanded.

Square was its shape, its halls were wide,

With many a seat and couch supplied,

Drink of all kinds, and every meat

Such as celestial Gods might eat.

Then at the bidding of the seer

Kaikeyí's strong-armed son drew near,

And passed within that fair abode

Which with the noblest jewels glowed.

Then, as Vaśishṭha led the way,

The councillors, in due array,

Followed delighted and amazed

And on the glorious structure gazed.

Then Bharat, Raghu's son, drew near

The kingly throne, with prince and peer,

Whereby the chouri in the shade

Of the white canopy was laid.

Before the throne he humbly bent

And honoured Ráma, reverent,

Then in his hand the chouri bore,

And sat where sits a councillor.

His ministers and household priest

Sat by degrees from chief to least,

Then sat the captain of the host

And all the men he honoured most.

Then when the saint his order gave,

Each river with enchanted wave

Rolled milk and curds divinely sweet

Before the princely Bharat's feet;

And dwellings fair on either side,

With gay white plaster beautified,

Their heavenly roofs were seen to lift,

The Bráhman Bharadvája's gift.

Then straight by Lord Kuvera sent,

Gay with celestial ornament

Of bright attire and jewels' shine,

Came twenty thousand nymphs divine:

The man on whom those beauties glanced

That moment felt his soul entranced.

With them from Nandan's blissful shades

Came twenty thousand heavenly maids.

Tumburu, Nárad, Gopa came,

And Sutanu, like radiant flame,

The kings of the Gandharva throng,

And ravished Bharat with their song.

Then spoke the saint, and swift obeyed

Alambúshá, the fairest maid,

And Miśrakeśí bright to view,

Ramaṇá, Puṇḍríká too,

And danced to him with graceful ease

The dances of Apsarases.

All chaplets that by Gods are worn,

Or Chaitraratha's graves adorn,

Bloomed by the saint's command arrayed

On branches in Prayága's shade.

When at the saint's command the breeze

Made music with the Vilva trees,

To wave in rhythmic beat began

The boughs of each Myrobolan,

And holy fig-trees wore the look

Of dancers, as their leaflets shook.

The fair Tamála, palm, and pine,

With trees that tower and plants that twine,

The sweetly varying forms displayed

Of stately dame or bending maid.

Here men the foaming winecup quaffed,

Here drank of milk full many a draught,

And tasted meats of every kind,

Well dressed, whatever pleased their mind.

Then beauteous women, seven or eight,

Stood ready by each man to wait:

Beside the stream his limbs they stripped

And in the cooling water dipped.

And then the fair ones, sparkling eyed,

With soft hands rubbed his limbs and dried,

And sitting on the lovely bank

Held up the winecup as he drank.

Nor did the grooms forget to feed

Camel and mule and ox and steed,

For there were stores of roasted grain,

Of honey and of sugar-cane.

So fast the wild excitement spread

Among the warriors Bharat led,

That all the mighty army through

The groom no more his charger knew,

And he who drove might seek in vain

To tell his elephant again.

With every joy and rapture fired,

Entranced with all the heart desired,

The myriads of the host that night

Revelled delirious with delight.

Urged by the damsels at their side

In wild delight the warriors cried:

“Ne'er will we seek Ayodhyá, no,

Nor yet to Daṇḍak forest go:

Here will we stay: may happy fate

On Bharat and on Ráma wait.”

Thus cried the army gay and free

Exulting in their lawless glee,

Both infantry and those who rode

On elephants, or steeds bestrode,

Ten thousand voices shouting, “This

Is heaven indeed for perfect bliss.”

With garlands decked they idly strayed,

And danced and laughed and sang and played.

At length as every soldier eyed,

With food like Amrit satisfied,

Each dainty cate and tempting meat,

No longer had he care to eat.

Thus soldier, servant, dame, and slave

Received whate'er the wish might crave.

As each in new-wrought clothes arrayed

Enjoyed the feast before him laid.

Each man was seen in white attire

Unstained by spot or speck of mire:

None was athirst or hungry there,

And none had dust upon his hair.

On every side in woody dells

Was milky food in bubbling wells,

And there were all-supplying cows

And honey dropping from the boughs.

Nor wanted lakes of flower-made drink

With piles of meat upon the brink,

Boiled, stewed, and roasted, varied cheer,

Peachick and jungle-fowl and deer,

There was the flesh of kid and boar,

And dainty sauce in endless store,

With juice of flowers concocted well,

And soup that charmed the taste and smell,

And pounded fruits of bitter taste,

And many a bath was ready placed

Down by each river's shelving side

There stood great basins well supplied,

And laid therein, of dazzling sheen,

White brushes for the teeth were seen,

And many a covered box wherein

Was sandal powdered for the skin.

And mirrors bright with constant care,

And piles of new attire were there,

And store of sandals and of shoes,

Thousands of pairs, for all to choose:

Eye-unguents, combs for hair and beard,

Umbrellas fair and bows appeared.

Lakes gleamed, that lent digestive aid,368

And some for pleasant bathing made,

With waters fair, and smooth incline

For camels, horses, mules, and kine.

There saw they barley heaped on high

The countless cattle to supply:

The golden grain shone fair and bright

As sapphires or the lazulite.

To all the gathered host it seemed

As if that magic scene they dreamed,

And wonder, as they gazed, increased

At Bharadvája's glorious feast.

Thus in the hermit's grove they spent

That night in joy and merriment,

Blest as the Gods who take their ease

Under the shade of Nandan's trees.

Each minstrel bade the saint adieu,

And to his blissful mansion flew,

And every stream and heavenly dame

Returned as swiftly as she came.