The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 104 books and stories free download online pdf in English

The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 104

Canto CIV. 
The Meeting With The Queens.
Vaśishṭha with his soul athirst

To look again on Ráma, first

In line the royal widows placed,

And then the way behind them traced.

The ladies moving, faint and slow,

Saw the fair stream before them flow,

And by the bank their steps were led

Which the two brothers visited.

Kauśalyá with her faded cheek

And weeping eyes began to speak,

And thus in mournful tones addressed

The queen Sumitrá and the rest:

“See in the wood the bank's descent,

Which the two orphan youths frequent,

Whose noble spirits never fall,

Though woes surround them, reft of all.

Thy son with love that never tires

Draws water hence which mine requires.

This day, for lowly toil unfit,

His pious task thy son should quit.”

As on the long-eyed lady strayed,

On holy grass, whose points were laid

Directed to the southern sky,

The funeral offering met her eye.

When Ráma's humble gift she spied

Thus to the queens Kauśalyá cried:

“The gift of Ráma's hand behold,

His tribute to the king high-souled,

Offered to him, as texts require,

Lord of Ikshváku's line, his sire!

Not such I deem the funeral food

Of kings with godlike might endued.

Can he who knew all pleasures, he

Who ruled the earth from sea to sea,

The mighty lord of monarchs, feed

On Ingudí's extracted seed?

In all the world there cannot be

A woe, I ween, more sad to see,

Than that my glorious son should make

His funeral gift of such a cake.

The ancient text I oft have heard

This day is true in every word:

“Ne'er do the blessed Gods refuse

To eat the food their children use.’ ”

The ladies soothed the weeping dame:

To Ráma's hermitage they came,

And there the hero met their eyes

Like a God fallen from the skies.

Him joyless, reft of all, they viewed,

And tears their mournful eyes bedewed.

The truthful hero left his seat,

And clasped the ladies' lotus feet,

And they with soft hands brushed away

The dust that on his shoulders lay.

Then Lakshmaṇ, when he saw each queen

With weeping eyes and troubled mien,

Near to the royal ladies drew

And paid them gentle reverence too.

He, Daśaratha's offspring, signed

The heir of bliss by Fortune kind,

Received from every dame no less

Each mark of love and tenderness.

And Sítá came and bent before

The widows, while her eyes ran o'er,

And pressed their feet with many a tear.

They when they saw the lady dear

Pale, worn with dwelling in the wild,

Embraced her as a darling child:

“Daughter of royal Janak, bride

Of Daśaratha's son,” they cried,

“How couldst thou, offspring of a king,

Endure this woe and suffering

In the wild forest? When I trace

Each sign of trouble on thy face—

That lotus which the sun has dried,

That lily by the tempest tried,

That gold whereon the dust is spread,

That moon whence all the light is fled—

Sorrow assails my heart, alas!

As fire consumes the wood and grass.”

Then Ráma, as she spoke distressed,

The feet of Saint Vaśishṭha pressed,

Touched them with reverential love,

Then near him took his seat:

Thus Indra clasps in realms above

The Heavenly Teacher's380 feet.

Then with each counsellor and peer,

Bharat of duteous mind,

With citizens and captains near,

Sat humbly down behind.

When with his hands to him upraised,

In devotee's attire,

Bharat upon his brother gazed

Whose glory shone like fire,

As when the pure Mahendra bends

To the great Lord of Life,

Among his noble crowd of friends

This anxious thought was rife:

“What words to Raghu's son to-day

Will royal Bharat speak,

Whose heart has been so prompt to pay

Obeisance fond and meek?”

Then steadfast Ráma, Lakshmaṇ wise,

Bharat for truth renowned,

Shone like three fires that heavenward rise

With holy priests around.