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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 - 60 Lakshman slew a mighty black-buck, with the antlered trophy came, Placed the carcass consecrated by the altar’s blazing flame, Radiant round the mighty offering tongues of red fire curling shone, And the buck was duly roasted and the tender meat was done. Pure from bath, with sacred mantra Rama did the holy rite, And invoked the bright Immortals for to bless the dwelling site, [58] To the kindly VISWA-DEVAS, and to RUDRA fierce and strong, And to VISHNU Lord of Creatures, Rama raised the sacred song. Righteous rite was duly rendered for the forest-dwelling made, And with true and deep devotion was the sacred mantra prayed, And the worship of the Bright Ones purified each earthly stain, Pure-souled Rama raised the altar and the chaitya’s sacred fane. Evening spread its holy stillness, bush and tree its magic felt, As the Gods in BRAHMA’S mansions, exiles in their cottage dwelt, In the woods of Chitra-kuta where the Malyavati flows, Sixth day of their weary wand’rings ended in a sweet repose. VIII. Tale of the Hermit’s Son Wise Sumantra chariot-driver came from Ganga’s sacred wave, And unto Ayodhya’s monarch, banished Rama’s message gave, Dasa-ratha’s heart was shadowed by the deepening shade of night, As the darkness of the eclipse glooms the sun’s meridian light! On the sixth night, – when his Rama slept in Chitra-kuta’s bower, – Memory of an ancient sorrow flung on him its fatal power, Of an ancient crime and anguish, unforgotten, dark and dread, Through the lapse of years and seasons casting back its death-like shade! And the gloom of midnight deepened, Dasa-ratha sinking fast, To Kausalya sad and sorrowing spake his memories of the past: “Deeds we do in life, Kausalya, be they bitter, be they sweet, Bring their fruit and retribution, rich reward or suffering meet,

III. The Death of the King - 61 [59] Heedless child is he, Kausalya, in his fate who doth not scan Retribution of his karma, sequence of a mighty plan! Oft in madness and in folly we destroy the mango grove, Plant the gorgeous gay palasa for the red flower that we love, Fruitless as the red palasa is the karma I have sown, And my barren lifetime withers through the deed which is my own! Listen to my tale, Kausalya, in my days of youth renowned, I was called a sabda-bedhi, archer prince who shot by sound, I could hit the unseen target, by the sound my aim could tell, – Blindly drinks a child the poison, blindly in my pride I fell! I was then my father’s Regent, thou a maid to me unknown, Hunting by the fair Sarayu in my car I drove alone, Buffalo or jungle tusker might frequent the river’s brink, Nimble deer or watchful tiger stealing for his nightly drink, Stalking with a hunter’s patience, loitering in the forests drear, Sound of something in the water struck my keen and listening ear, In the dark I stood and listened, some wild beast the water drunk, ’Tis some elephant, I pondered, lifting water with its trunk. I was called a sabda-bedhi, archer prince who shot by sound, On the unseen fancied tusker dealt a sure and deadly wound, Ah! too deadly was my arrow and like hissing cobra fell, On my startled ear and bosom smote a voice of human wail, Dying voice of lamentation rose upon the midnight high, Till my weapons fell in tremor and a darkness dimmed my eye! Hastening with a nameless terror soon I reached Sarayu’s shore, Saw a boy with hermit’s tresses, and his pitcher lay before, Weltering in a pool of red blood, lying on a gory bed, Feebly raised his voice the hermit, and in dying accents said: [60] ‘What offence, O mighty monarch, all-unknowing have I done, That with quick and kingly justice slayest thus a hermit’s son?

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas