11 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 - 126 Many are thy smiling courtiers who with honeyed speech beguile, – Few are they with truth and candour speak their purpose void of guile! Blind to reason and to wisdom, Ravan, seek thy destined fate, For thy impious lust of woman, for thy dark unrighteous hate, Blind to danger and destruction, deaf to word of counsel given, By the flaming shafts of Rama thou shalt die by will of Heaven! Yet, O! yet, my king and elder, let me plead with latest breath, ’Gainst the death of race and kinsmen, ’gainst my lord and brother’s death, Ponder yet, O Raksha monarch, save thy race and save thy own, Ravan, part we now for ever, – guard thy ancient sea-girt throne!”

127 Book X. Yuddha (The War in Ceylon) [137] Rama crossed over with his army from India to Ceylon. There is a chain of islands across the strait, and the Indian poet supposes them to be the remains of a vast causeway which Rama built to cross over with his army. The town of Lanka, the capital of Ceylon, was invested, and the war which followed was a succession of sallies by the great leaders and princes of Lanka. But almost every sally was repulsed, every chief was killed, and at last Ravan himself who made the last sally was slain and the war ended. Among the numberless fights described in the original work, those of Ravan himself, his brother Kumbha-kama, and his son Indrajit, are the most important, and oftenest recited and listened to in India: and these have been rendered into English in this Book. And the reader will mark a certain method in the poet’s estimate of the warriors who took part in these battles. First and greatest among the warriors was Rama; he was never beaten by an open foe, never conquered in fair fight. Next to him, and to him only, was Ravan the monarch of Lanka; he twice defeated Lakshman in battle, and never retreated except before Rama. Next to Rama and to Ravan stood their brothers, Lakshman and Kumbhakarna; it is difficult to say who was the best of these two, for they fought only once, and it was a drawn battle. Fifth in order of prowess was Indrajit the son of Ravan, but he was the first in his magic art. Concealed in mists by his magic, he twice defeated both Rama and Lakshman; but in his last battle he had to wage a face to face combat with Lakshman, and was [138] slain. After these five warriors, pre-eminent for their prowess, various Vanars and Rakshas took their rank. The war ended with the fall of Ravan and his funerals. The portions translated in this Book form the whole or portions of Sections xliv., xlviii., lix., lxvi., lxvii., and lxxiii., an abstract of Sections lxxv. to xci., and portions of Sections xciii., xcvi., ci., cii., ciii., cix., cx., and cxiii, of Book vi. of the original text.

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas