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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 - 70 Not on thee, nor on thy mother, rests the censure or the blame, Faithful to his father’s wishes Rama to the forest came, [69] For the son and duteous consort serve the father and the lord, Higher than an empire’s glory is a father’s spoken word! All inviolate is his mandate, – on Ayodhya’s jewelled throne, Or in pathless woods and jungle Rama shall his duty own, All inviolate is the blessing by a loving mother given, For she blessed my life in exile like a pitying saint of heaven! Thou shalt rule the kingdom, Bharat, guard our loving people well, Clad in mild bark and in deer-skin I shall in the forests dwell, So spake saintly Dasa-ratha in Ayodhya’s palace hall, And a righteous father’s mandate duteous son may not recall! III. Kausalya’s Lament and Rama’s Reply Slow and sad with Saint Vasishtha, with each widowed royal dame, Unto Rama’s hermit-cottage ancient Queen Kausalya came, And she saw him clad in wild bark like a hermit stern and high, And an anguish smote her bosom and a tear bedewed her eye. Rama bowed unto his mother and each elder’s blessings sought, Held their feet in salutation with a holy reverence fraught, And the queens with loving fingers, with a mother’s tender care, Swept the dust of wood and jungle from his head and bosom fair, Lakshman too in loving homage bent before each royal dame, And they blessed the faithful hero spotless in his righteous fame. Lastly came the soft-eyed Sita with obeisance soft and sweet, And with hands in meekness folded bent her tresses to their feet, Pain and anguish smote their bosoms, round their Sita as they prest, As a mother clasps a daughter, clasped her in their loving breast! [70] Torn from royal hall and mansion, ranger of the darksome wood, Reft of home and kith and kindred by her forest hut she stood!

IV. The Meeting of the Princes - 71 “Hast thou, daughter of Videha,” weeping thus Kausalya said, “Dwelt in woods and leafy cottage and in pathless jungle strayed, Hast thou, Rama’s royal consort, lived a homeless anchorite, Pale with rigid fast and penance, worn with toil of righteous rite? But thy sweet face, gentle Sita, is like faded lotus dry, And like lily parched by sunlight, lustreless thy beauteous eye, Like the gold untimely tarnished is thy sorrow-shaded brow, Like the moon by shadows darkened is thy form of beauty now! And an anguish scathes my bosom like the withering forest fire, Thus to see thee, duteous daughter, in misfortunes deep and dire, Dark is wide Kosala’s empire, dark is Raghu’s royal house, When in woods my Rama wanders and my Rama’s royal spouse!” Sweetly, gentle Sita answered, answered Rama fair and tall, That a righteous father’s mandate duteous son may not recall! IV. Jabali’s Reasoning and Rama’s Reply Jabali a learned Brahman and a Sophist skilled in word, Questioned Faith and Law and Duty, spake to young Ayodhya’s lord: “Wherefore, Rama, idle maxims cloud thy heart and warp thy mind, Maxims which mislead the simple and the thoughtless human kind? Love nor friendship doth a mortal to his kith or kindred own, Entering on this wide earth friendless, and departing all alone, Foolishly upon the father and the mother dotes the son, Kinship is an idle fancy, – save thyself thy kith is none! [71] In the wayside inn he halteth who in distant lands doth roam, Leaves it with the dawning daylight for another transient home, Thus on earth are kin and kindred, home and country, wealth and store, We but meet them on our journey, leave them as we pass before! Wherefore for a father’s mandate leave thy empire and thy throne, Pass thy days in trackless jungle sacrificing all thy own,

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas