The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 103 books and stories free download online pdf in English

The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 103

Canto CIII. 
The Funeral Libation.
When Ráma heard from Bharat each

Dark sorrow of his mournful speech,

And tidings of his father dead,

His spirits fell, his senses fled.

For the sad words his brother spoke

Struck on him like a thunder stroke,

Fierce as the bolt which Indra throws,

The victor of his Daitya foes.

Raising his arms in anguish, he,

As when the woodman hews a tree

With its fair flowery branches crowned,

Fainted and fell upon the ground.

Lord of the earth to earth he sank,

Helpless, as when a towering bank

With sudden ruin buries deep

An elephant who lay asleep.

Then swift his wife and brothers flew,

And water, weeping, o'er him threw.

As slowly sense and strength he gained,

Fast from his eyes the tears he rained,

And then in accents sad and weak

Kakutstha's son began to speak,

And mourning for the monarch dead,

With righteous words to Bharat said:

“What calls me home, when he, alas,

Has gone the way which all must pass?

Of him, the best of kings bereft

What guardian has Ayodhyá left?

How may I please his spirit? how

Delight the high-souled monarch now,

Who wept for me and went above

By me ungraced with mourning love?

Ah, happy brothers! you have paid

Due offerings to his parting shade.

E'en when my banishment is o'er,

Back to my home I go no more,

To look upon the widowed state

Reft of her king, disconsolate.

E'en then, O tamer of the foe,

If to Ayodhyá's town I go,

Who will direct me as of old,

Now other worlds our father hold?

From whom, my brother, shall I hear

Those words which ever charmed mine ear

And filled my bosom with delight

Whene'er he saw me act aright?”

Thus Ráma spoke: then nearer came

And looking on his moonbright dame,

“Sítá, the king is gone,” he said:

“And Lakshmaṇ, know thy sire is dead,

And with the Gods on high enrolled:

This mournful news has Bharat told.”

He spoke: the noble youths with sighs

Rained down the torrents from their eyes.

And then the brothers of the chief

With words of comfort soothed his grief:

“Now to the king our sire who swayed

The earth be due libations paid.”

Soon as the monarch's fate she knew,

Sharp pangs of grief smote Sítá through:

Nor could she look upon her lord

With eyes from which the torrents poured.

And Ráma strove with tender care

To soothe the weeping dame's despair,

And then, with piercing woe distressed,

The mournful Lakshmaṇ thus addressed:

“Brother, I pray thee bring for me

The pressed fruit of the Ingudí,

And a bark mantle fresh and new,

That I may pay this offering due.

First of the three shall Sítá go,

Next thou, and I the last: for so

Moves the funereal pomp of woe.”

Sumantra of the noble mind,

Gentle and modest, meek and kind,

Who, follower of each princely youth,

To Ráma clung with constant truth,

Now with the royal brothers' aid

The grief of Ráma soothed and stayed,

And lent his arm his lord to guide

Down to the river's holy side.

That lovely stream the heroes found,

With woods that ever blossomed crowned,

And there in bitter sorrow bent

Their footsteps down the fair descent.

Then where the stream that swiftly flowed

A pure pellucid shallow showed,

The funeral drops they duly shed,

And “Father, this be thine,” they said.

But he, the lord who ruled the land,

Filled from the stream his hollowed hand,

And turning to the southern side

Stretched out his arm and weeping cried:

“This sacred water clear and pure,

An offering which shall aye endure

To thee, O lord of kings, I give:

Accept it where the spirits live!”

Then, when the solemn rite was o'er,

Came Ráma to the river shore,

And offered, with his brothers' aid,

Fresh tribute to his father's shade.

With jujube fruit he mixed the seed

Of Ingudís from moisture freed,

And placed it on a spot o'erspread

With sacred grass, and weeping said:

“Enjoy, great King, the cake which we

Thy children eat and offer thee!

For ne'er do blessed Gods refuse

To share the food which mortals use.”

Then Ráma turned him to retrace

The path that brought him to the place,

And up the mountain's pleasant side

Where lovely lawns lay fair, he hied.

Soon as his cottage door he gained

His brothers to his breast he strained.

From them and Sítá in their woes

So loud the cry of weeping rose,

That like the roar of lions round

The mountain rolled the echoing sound.

And Bharat's army shook with fear

The weeping of the chiefs to hear.

“Bharat,” the soldiers cried, “'tis plain,

His brother Ráma meets again,

And with these cries that round us ring

They sorrow for their sire the king.”

Then leaving car and wain behind,

One eager thought in every mind,

Swift toward the weeping, every man,

As each could find a passage, ran.

Some thither bent their eager course

With car, and elephant, and horse,

And youthful captains on their feet

With longing sped their lord to meet,

As though the new-come prince had been

An exile for long years unseen.

Earth beaten in their frantic zeal

By clattering hoof and rumbling wheel,

Sent forth a deafening noise as loud

As heaven when black with many a cloud.

Then, with their consorts gathered near,

Wild elephants in sudden fear

Rushed to a distant wood, and shed

An odour round them as they fled.

And every silvan thing that dwelt

Within those shades the terror felt,

Deer, lion, tiger, boar and roe,

Bison, wild-cow, and buffalo.

And when the tumult wild they heard,

With trembling pinions flew each bird,

From tree, from thicket, and from lake,

Swan, koïl, curlew, crane, and drake.

With men the ground was overspread,

With startled birds the sky o'erhead.

Then on his sacrificial ground

The sinless, glorious chief was found.

Loading with curses deep and loud

The hump-back and the queen, the crowd

Whose cheeks were wet, whose eyes were dim,

In fond affection ran to him.

While the big tears their eyes bedewed,

He looked upon the multitude,

And then as sire and mother do,

His arms about his loved ones threw.

Some to his feet with reverence pressed,

Some in his arms he strained:

Each friend, with kindly words addressed,

Due share of honour gained.

Then, by their mighty woe o'ercome,

The weeping heroes' cry

Filled, like the roar of many a drum,

Hill, cavern, earth, and sky.