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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

III. The Death

III. The Death of the King - 46 Bid me seek the sylvan greenwoods, wooded hills and plateaus high, Limpid rills and crystal nullas as they softly ripple by, And where in the lake of lotus tuneful ducks their plumage lave, Let me with my loving Rama skim the cool translucent wave! Years will pass in happy union, – happiest lot to woman given, – Sita seeks not throne or empire, nor the brighter joys of heaven, Heaven conceals not brighter mansions in its sunny fields of pride, Where without her lord and husband faithful Sita would reside! Therefore let me seek the jungle where the jungle-rangers rove, Dearer than the royal palace, where I share my husband’s love, [42] And my heart in sweet communion shall my Rama’s wishes share, And my wifely toil shall lighten Rama’s load of woe and care!” Vainly gentle Rama pleaded dangers of the jungle life, Vainly spake of toil and trial to a true and tender wife! II. Brother’s Faithfulness Tears bedewed the face of Lakshman as he heard what Sita said, And he touched the feet of Rama and in gentle accents prayed: “If my elder and his lady to the pathless forests wend, Armed with bow and ample quiver Lakshman will on them attend, Where the wild deer range the forest and the lordly tuskers roam, And the bird of gorgeous plumage nestles in its jungle home, Dearer far to me those woodlands where my elder Rama dwells, Than the homes of bright Immortals where perennial bliss prevails! Grant me then thy sweet permission, – faithful to thy glorious star, Lakshman shall not wait and tarry when his Rama wanders far, Grant me then thy loving mandate, – Lakshman hath no wish to stay, None shall bar the faithful younger when the elder leads the way!” “Ever true to deeds of virtue, duteous brother, faithful friend, Dearer than his life to Rama, thou shalt not to forests wend,

III. The Death of the King - 47 Who shall stay by Queen Kausalya, Lakshman, if we both depart, Who shall stay by Queen Sumitra, she who nursed thee on her heart? For the king our aged father, he who ruled the earth and main, Is a captive to Kaikeyi, fettered by her silken chain, [43] Little help Kaikeyi renders to our mothers in her pride, Little help can Bharat offer, standing by his mother’s side. Thou alone can’st serve Kausalya when for distant woods I part, When the memory of my exile rankles in her sorrowing heart, Thou alone can’st serve Sumitra, soothe her sorrows with thy love, Stay by them, my faithful Lakshman, and thy filial virtues prove, Be this then thy sacred duty, tend our mothers in their woe, Little joy or consolation have they left on earth below!” Spake the hero: “Fear no evil, well is Rama’s prowess known, And to mighty Rama’s mother Bharat will obeisance own, Nathless if the pride of empire sways him from the righteous path, Blood will venge the offered insult and will quench our filial wrath! But a thousand peopled hamlets Queen Kausalya’s hests obey, And a thousand armed champions own her high and queenly sway, Aye, a thousand village-centres Queen Sumitra’s state maintain, And a thousand swords like Lakshman’s guard her proud and prosperous reign! All alone with gentle Sita thou shalt track thy darksome way, Grant it, that thy faithful Lakshman shall protect her night and day, Grant it, with his bow and quiver Lakshman shall the forests roam, And his axe shall fell the jungle, and his hands shall rear the home! Grant it, in the deepest woodlands he shall seek the forest fruit, Berries dear to holy hermits and the sweet and luscious root, And when with thy meek-eyed Sita thou shalt seek the mountain crest, Grant it, Lakshman ever duteous watch and guard thy nightly rest!” Words of brother’s deep devotion Rama heard with grateful heart, And with Sita and with Lakshman for the woods prepared to part:

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas