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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

IV. The Meeting

IV. The Meeting of the Princes - 66 I. The Meeting of the Brothers Sorrowing for his sire departed Bharat to Ayodhya came, But the exile of his brother stung his noble heart to flame, Scorning sin-polluted empire, travelling with each widowed queen, Sought through wood and trackless jungle Chitra-kuta’s peaceful scene. Royal guards and Saint Vasishtha loitered with the dames behind, Onward pressed the eager Bharat, Rama’s hermit-home to find, Nestled in a jungle thicket, Rama’s cottage rose in sight, Thatched with leaves and twining branches, reared by Lakshman’s faithful might. Faggots hewn of gnarled branches, blossoms culled from bush and tree, Coats of bark and russet garments, kusa spread upon the lea, Store of horns and branching antlers, fire-wood for the dewy night, – Spake the dwelling of a hermit suited for a hermit’s rite. “May the scene,” so Bharat uttered, “by the righteous rishi told, Markalvati’s rippling waters, Chitra-kuta’s summit bold, [65] Mark the dark and trackless forest where the untamed tuskers roam, And the deep and hollow caverns where the wild beasts make their home, Mark the spacious wooded uplands, wreaths of smoke obscure the sky, Hermits feed their flaming altars for their worship pure and high. Done our weary work and wandering, righteous Rama here we meet, Saint and king and honoured elder! Bharat bows unto his feet, Born a king of many nations, he hath forest refuge sought, Yielded throne and mighty kingdom for a hermit’s humble cot, Honour unto righteous Rama, unto Sita true and bold, Theirs be fair Kosala’s empire, crown and sceptre, wealth and gold!” Stately Sal and feathered palm-tree on the cottage lent their shade, Strewn upon the sacred altar was the grass of kusa spread, Gaily on the walls suspended hung two bows of ample height, And their back with gold was pencilled, bright as INDRA’S bow of might, Cased in broad unfailing quivers arrows shone like light of day, And like flame-tongued fiery serpents cast a dread and lurid ray,

IV. The Meeting of the Princes - 67 Resting in their golden scabbards lay the swords of warriors bold, And the targets broad and ample bossed with rings of yellow gold, Glove and gauntlet decked the cottage safe from fear of hostile men, As from creatures of the forest is the lion’s lordly den! Calm in silent contemplation by the altar’s sacred fire, Holy in his pious purpose though begirt by weapons dire, Clad in deer-skin pure and peaceful, poring on the sacred flame, In his bark and hermit’s tresses like an anchorite of fame, Lion-shouldered, mighty-armed, but with gentle lotus eye, Lord of wide earth ocean-girdled, but intent on penance high, [66] Godlike as the holy BRAHMA, on a skin of dappled deer Rama sat with meek-eyed Sita, faithful Lakshman loitered near! “Is this he whom joyous nations called to fair Ayodhya’s throne, Now the friend of forest-rangers wandering in the woods alone, Is this he who robed in purple made Ayodhya’s mansions bright, Now in jungle bark and deer-skin clad as holy anchorite, Is this he whose wreathed ringlets fresh and holy fragrance shed, Now a hermit’s matted tresses cluster round his royal head, Is this he whose royal yajnas filled the earth with righteous fame, Now inured to hermit’s labour by the altar’s sacred flame, Is this he whose brow and forehead royal gem and jewel graced, Heir to proud Kosala’s empire, eldest, noblest, and the best?” Thus lamented pious Bharat for his heart was anguish-rent, As before the feet of Rama he in loving homage bent, “Arya!” in his choking accents this was all that Bharat said, “Arya!” spake the young Satrughna and he bent his holy head! Rama to his loving bosom raised his brothers from his feet, Ah, too deep is love for utterance when divided brothers meet, Faithful Guha, brave Sumantra, bowed to Rama’s righteous feet, And a joy and mingled sadness filled the hermit’s calm retreat!

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas