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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

162 Conclusion [179] In

162 Conclusion [179] In the concluding portion of the Uttara or Supplemental Book, the descendants of Rama and his brothers are described as the founders of the great cities and kingdoms which flourished in Western India in the fourth and fifth centuries before the Christian Era. Bharat had two sons, Taksha and Pushkala, The former founded Taksha-sila, to the east of the Indus, and known to Alexander and the Greeks as Taxila. The latter founded Pushkala-vati, to the west of the Indus, and known to Alexander and the Greeks as Peukelaotis. Thus the sons of Bharat are said to have founded kingdoms which flourished on either side of the Indus river in the fourth century before Christ. Lakshman had two sons, Angada and Chandraketu, The former founded the kingdom of Karupada, and the latter founded the city of Chandrakanti in the Malwa country. Satrughna had two sons, Suvahu and Satrughati. The former became king of Mathura, and the latter ruled in Vidisha. Rama had two sons, Lava and Kusa. The former ruled in Sravasti, which was the capital of Oudh at the time of the Buddha in the fifth and sixth centuries before Christ. The latter founded Kusavati at the foot of the Vindhya mountains. The death of Rama and his brothers was in accordance with Hindu ideas of the death of the righteous. Lakshman died under somewhat peculiar circumstances. A messenger from heaven sought a secret conference with Rama, and Rama placed Lakshman at the gate, with strict injunctions that whoever intruded on the private conference should be slain. Lakshman himself had to disturb the conference by the solicitation of the celestial rishi Durvasa, who [180] always appears on earth to create mischief. And true to the orders passed by Rama, he surrendered his life by penances, and went to heaven. In the fullness of time, Rama and his other brothers left Ayodhya, crossed the Sarayu, surrendered their mortal life and entered heaven.

163 Epilogue by the Translator Ancient India, like ancient Greece, boasts of two great Epics. The Mahabharata, based on the legends and traditions of a great historical war, is the Iliad of India. The Ramayana, describing the wanderings and adventures of a prince banished from his country, has so far something in common with the Odyssey. Having placed before English readers a condensed translation of the Indian Iliad, I have thought it necessary to prepare the present condensed translation of the Indian Odyssey to complete the work. The two together comprise the whole of the Epic literature of the ancient Hindus: and the two together present us with the most graphic and life-like picture that exists of the civilisation and culture, the political and social life, the religion and thought of ancient India. The Ramayana, like the Maha-bharata, is a growth of centuries, but the main story is more distinctly the creation of one mind. Among the many cultured races that flourished in Northern India about a thousand years before Christ, the Kosalas of Oudh and the Videhas of North Behar were perhaps the most cultured. Their monarchs were famed for their learning as well as for their prowess. Their priests distinguished themselves by founding schools of learning which were known all over India. Their sacrifices and gifts to the learned drew together the most renowned men of the age from distant regions. Their celebrated Universities (Parishads) were frequented by students from surrounding countries. Their compilations of the old Vedic Hymns were used in various parts of India. Their elaborate Brahmanas or Commentaries on the Vedas were handed down from generation to generation by priestly families. Their researches into the mysteries of the Soul, [182] and into the nature of the One Universal Soul which pervade the creation, are still preserved in the ancient Upanishads, and are among the most valuable heritages which have been left to us by the ancients. And their researches and discoveries in science and philosophy gave them the foremost place among the gifted races of ancient India. It would appear that the flourishing period of the Kosalas and the Videhas had already passed away, and the traditions of their prowess and learning had become a revered memory in India, when the poet composed the great Epic which perpetuates their fame. Distance of time lent a higher lustre to the achievements of these gifted races, and the age in which they flourished appeared to their descendants as the Golden Age of India. To the imagination of the poet, the age of the Kosalas and Videhas was associated with all that is great and glorious, all that is righteous and true. His description of Ayodhya, the capital town of the Kosalas, is a description of an ideal seat of righteousness, Dasa-ratha the king of the Kosalas is an ideal king, labouring for the good of a loyal people. Rama, the eldest son of Dasa-ratha and the hero of the Epic, is an ideal prince, brave and accomplished, devoted to his duty, unfaltering in his truth. The king of the Videhas, Janak (or rather Janaka, but I have omitted the final a of some names in this translation), is a monarch and a saint. Sita, the

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas