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

III. The Death

III. The Death of the King - 64 Distant is the expiation, – but in fulness of the time, Dasa-ratha’s death in anguish cleanses Dasa-ratha’s crime!’ Spake the old and sightless prophet; then he made the funeral pyre, And the father and the mother perished in the lighted fire, Years have gone and many seasons, and in fulness of the time, Comes the fruit of pride and folly and the harvest of my crime! Rama eldest born and dearest, Lakshman true and faithful son, Ah! forgive a dying father and a cruel action done, Queen Kaikeyi, thou hast heedless brought on Raghu’s race this stain, Banished are the guiltless children and thy lord and king is slain! Lay thy hands on mine, Kausalya, wipe thy unavailing tear, Speak a wife’s consoling accents to a dying husband’s ear, Lay thy hands on mine, Sumitra, vision fails my closing eyes, And for brave and banished Rama wings my spirit to the skies!” Hushed and silent passed the midnight, feebly still the monarch sighed, Blessed Kausalya and Sumitra, blest his banished sons, and died.

65 Book IV. Rama-Bharata-Sambada (The Meeting of the Princes) [63] The scene of this Book is laid at Chitra-kuta. Bharat returning from the kingdom of the Kaikeyas heard of his father’s death and his brother’s exile, and refused the throne which had been reserved for him. He wandered through the woods and jungle to Chitra-kuta, and implored Rama to return to Ayodhya, and seat himself on the throne of his father, But Rama had given his word, and would not withdraw from it. Few passages in the Epic are more impressive than Rama’s wise and kindly advice to Bharat on the duties of a ruler, and his firm refusal to Bharat’s passionate appeal to seat himself on the throne. Equally touching is the lament of Queen Kausalya when she meets Sita in the dress of an anchorite in the forest. But one of the most curious passages in the whole Epic is the speech of Jabali the Sceptic, who denied heaven and a world hereafter. In ancient India as in ancient Greece there were different schools of philosophers, some of them orthodox and some of them extremely heterodox, and the greatest latitude of free thought was permitted. In Jabali, the poet depicts a free-thinker of the broadest type. He ridicules the ideas of Duty and of Future Life with a force of reasoning which a Greek sophist and philosopher could not have surpassed. But Rama answers with the fervour of a righteous, truth-loving, God-fearing man. All persuasion was in vain, and Bharat returned to Ayodhya with Rama’s sandals, and placed them on the throne, as an emblem of Rama’s sovereignty during his voluntary exile. Rama himself then left Chitra-kuta and sought the deeper forests of Dandak, so [64] that his friends and relations might not find him again during his exile. He visited the hermitage of the Saint Atri; and the ancient and venerable wife of Atri welcomed the young Sita, and robed her in rich raiments and jewels, on the eve of her departure for the unexplored wildernesses of the south. The portions translated in this Book are the whole or the main portions of Sections xcix., c., ci, civ., cviii, cix., cxii., and cxix, of Book ii, of the original text.

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas