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The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 100

Canto C. 
The Meeting.
Then Bharat to Śatrughna showed

The spot, and eager onward strode,

First bidding Saint Vaśishṭha bring

The widowed consorts of the king.

As by fraternal love impelled

His onward course the hero held,

Sumantra followed close behind

Śatrughna with an anxious mind:

Not Bharat's self more fain could be

To look on Ráma's face than he.

As, speeding on, the spot he neared,

Amid the hermits' homes appeared

His brother's cot with leaves o'erspread,

And by its side a lowly shed.

Before the shed great heaps were left

Of gathered flowers and billets cleft,

And on the trees hung grass and bark

Ráma and Lakshmaṇ's path to mark:

And heaps of fuel to provide

Against the cold stood ready dried.

The long-armed chief, as on he went

In glory's light preëminent,

With joyous words like these addressed

The brave Śatrughna and the rest:

“This is the place, I little doubt,

Which Bharadvája pointed out,

Not far from where we stand must be

The woodland stream, Mandákiní.

Here on the mountain's woody side

Roam elephants in tusked pride,

And ever with a roar and cry

Each other, as they meet, defy.

And see those smoke-wreaths thick and dark:

The presence of the flame they mark,

Which hermits in the forest strive

By every art to keep alive.

O happy me! my task is done,

And I shall look on Raghu's son,

Like some great saint, who loves to treat

His elders with all reverence meet.”

Thus Bharat reached that forest rill,

Thus roamed on Chitrakúṭa's hill;

Then pity in his breast awoke,

And to his friends the hero spoke:

“Woe, woe upon my life and birth!

The prince of men, the lord of earth

Has sought the lonely wood to dwell

Sequestered in a hermit's cell.

Through me, through me these sorrows fall

On him the splendid lord of all:

Through me resigning earthly bliss

He hides him in a home like this.

Now will I, by the world abhorred,

Fall at the dear feet of my lord,

And at fair Sítá's too, to win

His pardon for my heinous sin.”

As thus he sadly mourned and sighed,

The son of Daśaratha spied

A bower of leafy branches made,

Sacred and lovely in the shade,

Of fair proportions large and tall,

Well roofed with boughs of palm, and Sál,

Arranged in order due o'erhead

Like grass upon an altar spread.

Two glorious bows were gleaming there,

Like Indra's377 in the rainy air,

Terror of foemen, backed with gold,

Meet for the mightiest hand to hold:

And quivered arrows cast a blaze

Bright gleaming like the Day-God's rays:

Thus serpents with their eyes aglow

Adorn their capital below.378

Great swords adorned the cottage, laid

Each in a case of gold brocade;

There hung the trusty shields, whereon

With purest gold the bosses shone.

The brace to bind the bowman's arm,

The glove to shield his hand from harm,

A lustre to the cottage lent

From many a golden ornament:

Safe was the cot from fear of men

As from wild beasts the lion's den.

The fire upon the altar burned,

That to the north and east was turned.

Bharat his eager glances bent

And gazed within the cot intent;

In deerskin dress, with matted hair,

Ráma his chief was sitting there:

With lion-shoulders broad and strong,

With lotus eyes, arms thick and long.

The righteous sovereign, who should be

Lord paramount from sea to sea,

High-minded, born to lofty fate,

Like Brahmá's self supremely great;

With Lakshmaṇ by his side, and her,

Fair Sítá, for his minister.

And Bharat gazing, overcome

By sorrow for a while was dumb,

Then, yielding to his woe, he ran

To Ráma and with sobs began:

“He who a royal seat should fill

With subjects round to do his will,

My elder brother,—see him here,

With silvan creatures waiting near.

The high-souled hero, wont to wear

The costliest robes exceeding fair,

Now banished, in a deerskin dress,

Here keeps the path of righteousness.

How brooks the son of Raghu now

The matted locks which load his brow,

Around whose princely head were twined

Sweet blossoms of the rarest kind?

The prince whose merits grew, acquired

By rites performed as he desired,

Would now a store of merit gain

Bought by his body's toil and pain.

Those limbs to which pure sandal lent

The freshness of its fragrant scent,

Exposed to sun, and dust, and rain,

Are now defiled with many a stain.

And I the wretched cause why this

Falls on the prince whose right is bliss!

Ah me, that ever I was born

To be the people's hate and scorn!”

Thus Bharat cried: of anguish sprung,

Great drops upon his forehead hung.

He fell o'erpowered—his grief was such—

Ere he his brother's feet could touch.

As on the glorious prince he gazed

In vain his broken voice he raised:

“Dear lord”—through tears and sobbing came,

The only words his lips could frame.

And brave Śatrughna wept aloud,

As low at Ráma's feet he bowed.

Then Ráma, while his tears ran fast,

His arms around his brothers cast.

Guha, Sumantra came to meet

The princes in their wild retreat.

Vrihaspati and Śukra bright

Their greeting thus rejoice to pay

To the dear Lord who brings the night,

And the great God who rules the day.

Then wept the dwellers of the shade,

Whose eyes the princes, meet to ride

On mighty elephants, surveyed;

And cast all thought of joy aside.