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The RÁMÁYAN of VÁLMÍKI - Part 2 - 115

Canto CXV. 
Then when the pious chief had seen

Lodged in her home each widowed queen,

Still with his burning grief oppressed

His holy guides he thus addressed:

“I go to Nandigrám: adieu,

This day, my lords to all of you:

I go, my load of grief to bear,

Reft of the son of Raghu, there.

The king my sire, alas, is dead,

And Ráma to the forest fled;

There will I wait till he, restored,

Shall rule the realm, its rightful lord.”

They heard the high-souled prince's speech,

And thus with ready answer each

Of those great lords their chief addressed,

With saint Vaśishṭha and the rest:

“Good are the words which thou hast said,

By brotherly affection led,

Like thine own self, a faithful friend,

True to thy brother to the end:

A heart like thine must all approve,

Which naught from virtue's path can move.”

Soon as the words he loved to hear

Fell upon Bharat's joyful ear,

Thus to the charioteer he spoke:

“My car with speed, Sumantra, yoke.”

Then Bharat with delighted mien

Obeisance paid to every queen,

And with Śatrughna by his side

Mounting the car away he hied.

With lords, and priests in long array

The brothers hastened on their way.

And the great pomp the Bráhmans led

With Saint Vaśishṭha at their head.

Then every face was eastward bent

As on to Nandigrám they went.

Behind the army followed, all

Unsummoned by their leader's call,

And steeds and elephants and men

Streamed forth with every citizen.

As Bharat in his chariot rode

His heart with love fraternal glowed,

And with the sandals on his head

To Nandigrám he quickly sped.

Within the town he swiftly pressed,

Alighted, and his guides addressed:

“To me in trust my brother's hand

Consigned the lordship of the land,

When he these gold-wrought sandals gave

As emblems to protect and save.”

Then Bharat bowed, and from his head

The sacred pledge deposited,

And thus to all the people cried

Who ringed him round on every side:

“Haste, for these sandals quickly bring

The canopy that shades the king.

Pay ye to them all reverence meet

As to my elder brother's feet,

For they will right and law maintain

Until King Ráma come again.

My brother with a loving mind

These sandals to my charge consigned:

I till he come will guard with care

The sacred trust for Raghu's heir.

My watchful task will soon be done,

The pledge restored to Raghu's son;

Then shall I see, his wanderings o'er,

These sandals on his feet once more.

My brother I shall meet at last,

The burthen from my shoulders cast,

To Ráma's hand the realm restore

And serve my elder as before.

When Ráma takes again this pair

Of sandals kept with pious care,

And here his glorious reign begins,

I shall be cleansed from all my sins,

When the glad people's voices ring

With welcome to the new-made king,

Joy will be mine four-fold as great

As if supreme I ruled the state.”

Thus humbly spoke in sad lament

The chief in fame preëminent:

Thus, by his reverent lords obeyed,

At Nandigrám the kingdom swayed.

With hermit's dress and matted hair

He dwelt with all his army there.

The sandals of his brother's feet

Installed upon the royal seat,

He, all his powers to them referred,

Affairs of state administered.

In every care, in every task,

When golden store was brought,

He first, as though their rede to ask,

Those royal sandals sought.