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Ramayana, Epic of Rama, Prince of India

An Abbreviated Translation of the Indian Classic, the Ramayana by Romesh Chundar Dutt in 2,000 verses

100 Book VII. Kishkindha

100 Book VII. Kishkindha (In the Nilgiri Mountains) [104] Rama’s wanderings in the Nilgiri mountains, and his alliance with Sugriva the chief of these regions, form the subject of the Book. With that contempt for aboriginal races which has marked civilized conquerors in all ages, the poet describes the dwellers of these regions as monkeys and bears. But the modern reader sees through these strange epithets; and in the description of the social and domestic manners, the arts and industries, the sacred rites and ceremonies, and the civic and political life of the Vanars, the reader will find that the poet even imports Aryan customs into his account of the dwellers of Southern India. They formed an alliance with Rama, they fought for him and triumphed with him, and they helped him to recover his wife from the king of Ceylon. The portions translated in this Book form Sections v., xv., xvi., xxvi., a portion of Section xxviii., and an abstract of Sections xi. to xliii. of Book iv, of the original text. I. Friends in Misfortune Long and loud lamented Rama by his lonesome cottage door, Janasthana’s woodlands answered, Panchavati’s echoing shore, Long he searched in wood and jungle, mountain crest and pathless plain, Till he reached the Malya mountains stretching to the southern main. [105] There Sugriva king of Vanars, Hanuman his henchman brave, Banished from their home and empire lived within the forest cave, To the exiled king Sugriva, Hanuman his purpose told, As he marked the pensive Rama wand’ring with his brother bold: “Mark the sons of Dasa-ratha banished from their royal home, Duteous to their father’s mandate in these pathless forests roam, Great was monarch Dasa-ratha famed for sacrifice divine, Raja-suya, Aswa-medha, and for gift of gold and kine, By a monarch’s stainless duty people’s love the monarch won, By a woman’s false contrivance banished he his eldest son! True to duty, true to virtue, Rama passed his forest life, Till a false perfidious Raksha stole his fair and faithful wife,

VII. In the Nilgiri Mountains - 101 And the anguish-stricken husband seeks thy friendship and thy aid, – Mutual sorrow blends your fortunes, be ye friends in mutual need!” Bold Sugriva heard the counsel, and to righteous Rama hied, And the princes of Ayodhya with his greetings gratified: “Well I know thee, righteous Rama, soul of piety and love, And thy duty to thy father and thy faith in Gods above, Fortune favours poor Sugriva, Rama courts his humble aid, In our deepest direst danger be our truest friendship made! Equal is our fateful fortune, – I have lost a queenly wife, Banished from Kishkindha’s empire here I lead a forest life, Pledge of love and true alliance, Rama, take this proffered hand, Banded by a common sorrow we shall fall or stoutly stand!” Rama grasped the hand he offered, and the tear was in his eye, And they swore undying friendship o’er the altar blazing high, Hanuman with fragrant blossoms sanctified the sacred rite, And the comrades linked by sorrow walked around the altar’s light, [106] And their word and troth they plighted: “In our happiness and woe, We are friends in thought and action, we will face our common foe!” And they broke a leafy Sal tree, spread it underneath their feet, Rama and his friend Sugriva sat upon the common seat, And a branch of scented Chandan with its tender blossoms graced, Hanuman as seat of honour for the faithful Lakshman placed. “Listen, Rama,” spake Sugriva, “reft of kingdom, reft of wife, Fleeing to these rugged mountains I endure a forest life, For my tyrant brother Bali rules Kishkindha all alone, Forced my wife from my embraces, drove me from my father’s throne, Trembling in my fear and anguish I endure a life of woe, Render me my wife and empire from my brother and my foe!” “Not in vain they seek my succour,” so the gallant Rama said, “Who with love and offered friendship seek my counsel and my aid,

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas