9 months ago

Ramayana, Epic of Rama, Prince of India

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

IX. The Council

IX. The Council of War - 120 Last, unwisest are the monarchs who nor death nor danger weigh, Think not, ask not friendly counsel, by their passions borne away! Wisest counsel comes from courtiers who in holy lore unite, Next, when varying plans and reasons blending lead unto the right, Last and worst, when stormy passions mark the hapless king’s debate, And his friends are disunited when his foe is at the gate! Therefore freely speak your counsel and your monarch’s task shall be But to shape in deed and action what your wisest thoughts decree, Speak with minds and hearts united, shape your willing monarch’s deed, Counsel peace, or Ravan’s forces to a war of vengeance lead, Ere Sugriva’s countless forces cross the vast and boundless main, Ere the wrathful Rama girdles Lanka with a living chain!” II. Prahasta’s Speech [129] Dark and high as summer tempest mighty-armed Prahasta rose, Spake in fierce and fiery accents hurling challenge on his foes: “Wherefore, Ravan, quails thy bosom, gods against thee stride in vain, Wherefore fear the feeble mortals, homeless hermits, helpless men? Hanuman approached in secret, stealing like a craven spy, Not from me in open combat would alive the Vanar fly, Let him come with all his forces, to the confines of the sea I will chase the scattered army and thy town from foemen free! Not in fear and hesitation Ravan should repent his deed, While his gallant Raksha forces stand beside him in his need, Not in tears and vain repentance Sita to his consort yield, While his chieftains guard his empire in the battle’s gory field!” III. Durmukha’s Speech Durmukha of cruel visage and of fierce and angry word, Rose within the Council Chamber, spake to Lanka’s mighty lord: “Never shall the wily foeman boast of insult on us flung, Hanuman shall die a victim for the outrage and the wrong!

IX. The Council of War - 121 Stealing in unguarded Lanka through thy city’s virgin gate, He hath courted deep disaster and a dark untimely fate, Stealing in the inner mansions where our dames and damsels dwell, Hanuman shall die a victim, – tale of shame he shall not tell! [130] Need is none of Ravan’s army, bid me seek the foe alone, If he hides in sky or ocean or in nether regions thrown, Need is none of gathered forces, Ravan’s mandate I obey, I will smite the bold intruder and his Vanar forces slay!” IV. Vajra-danshtra’s Speech Iron toothéd Vajra-danshtra then arose in wrath and pride, And his blood-stained mace of battle held in fury by his side, “Wherefore, Ravan, waste thy forces on the foemen poor and vile, Hermit Rama and his brother, Hanuman of impious wile, Bid me, – with this mace of battle proud Sugriva I will slay, Chase the helpless hermit brothers to the forests far away! Or to deeper counsel listen! Varied shapes the Rakshas wear, Let them, wearing human visage, dressed as Bharat’s troops appear, Succour from his ruling brother Rama will in gladness greet, Then with mace and blood-stained sabre we shall lay them at our feet, Rock and javelin and arrow we shall on our foemen hail, Till no poor surviving Vanar lives to tell the tragic tale!” V. Speech of Nikumbha and Vajra-hanu Then arose the brave Nikumbha, – Kumbha-karna’s son was he, – Spake his young heart’s mighty passion in his accents bold and free: “Need is none, O mighty monarch, for a battle or a war, Bid me meet the homeless Rama and his brother wand’ring far, [131] Bid me face the proud Sugriva, Hanuman of deepest wile, I will rid thee of thy foemen and of Vanars poor and vile!” Rose the chief with jaw of iron, Vajra-hanu fierce and young, Licked his lips like hungry tiger with his red and lolling tongue:

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas