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

XII. Sacrifice

XII. Sacrifice of the Horse - 158 Fruits and berries from the jungle, water from the crystal spring, With a careful hand Valmiki did unto his cottage bring, And he spake to gentle Lava, Kusa child of righteous fame, – Sita’s sons, as youthful hermits to the sacred feast they came: [174] “Lift your voices, righteous pupils, and your richest music lend, Sing the Lay of Ramayana from the first unto the end, Sing it to the holy Brahman, to the warrior fair and tall, In the crowded street and pathway, in the monarch’s palace hall, Sing it by the door of Rama, – he ordains this mighty feast, Sing it to the royal ladies, – they shall to the story list, Sing from clay to clay unwearied, in this sacrificial site, Chant to all the gathered nations Rama’s deeds of matchless might, And this store of fruits and berries will allay your thirst and toil, Gentle children of the forest, unknown strangers in this soil! Twenty cantos of the Epic, morn to night, recite each day, Till from end to end is chanted Ramayana’s deathless Lay, Ask no alms, receive no riches, nor of your misfortunes tell, Useless unto us is bounty who in darksome forests dwell, Children of the wood and mountain, cruel fortune clouds your birth, Stainless virtue be your shelter, virtue be your wealth on earth! If the royal Rama questions and your lineage seeks to know, Say, – Valmiki is our Teacher and our Sire on earth below, Wake your harps to notes of rapture and your softest accents lend, With the music of the poet music of your voices blend, Bow unto the mighty monarch, bow to Rama fair and tall, He is father of his subjects, he is lord of creatures all!” III. Recital of the Ramayana [175] When the silent night was ended, and their pure ablutions done, Joyous went the minstrel brothers, and their lofty lay begun, Rama to the hermit minstrels lent a monarch’s willing ear, Blended with the simple music dulcet was the lay to hear,

XII. Sacrifice of the Horse - 159 And so sweet the chanted accents, Rama’s inmost soul was stirred, With his royal guests and courtiers still the deathless lay he heard! Heralds versed in old Puranas, Brahmans skilled in pious rite, Minstrels deep in lore of music, poets fired by heavenly might, Watchers of the constellations, min’sters of the festive day, Men of science and of logic, bards who sang the ancient lay, Painters skilled and merry dancers who the festive joy prolong, Hushed and silent in their wonder listed to the wondrous song! And as poured the flood of music through the bright and live-long day, Eyes and ears and hearts insatiate drank the nectar of the lay, And the eager people whispered: “See the boys, how like our king, As two drops of limpid water from the parent bubble spring! Were the boys no hermit-children, in the hermit’s garments clad, We would deem them Rama’s image, – Rama as a youthful lad!” Twenty cantos of the Epic thus the youthful minstrels sung, And the voice of stringéd music through the Epic rolled along, Out spake Rama in his wonder: “Scarce I know who these may be, Eighteen thousand golden pieces be the children-minstrels’ fee!” [176] “Not so,” answered thus the children, “we in darksome forests dwell, Gold and silver, bounteous monarch, forest life beseem not well!” “Noble children!” uttered Rama, “dear to me the words you say, Tell me who composed this Epic, – Father of this deathless Lay?” “Saint Valmiki,” spake the minstrels, “framed the great immortal song, Four and twenty thousand verses to this noble Lay belong, Untold tales of deathless virtue sanctify his sacred line, And five hundred glorious cantos in this glorious Epic shine, In six Books of mighty splendour was the poet s task begun, With a seventh Book supplemental, is the poet’ s labour done, All thy matchless deeds, O monarch, in this Lay will brighter shine, List to us from first to ending if thy royal heart incline!”

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas