10 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

IV. The Meeting

IV. The Meeting of the Princes - 72 Wherefore to Ayodhya’s city, as to longing wife’s embrace, Speed’st thou not to rule thy empire, lord of Raghu’s royal race? Dasa-ratha claims no duty, and his will is empty word, View him as a foreign monarch, of thy realm thou art the lord, Dasa-ratha is departed, gone where all the mortals go, For a dead man’s idle mandate wherefore lead this life of woe? Ah! I weep for erring mortals who on erring duty bent Sacrifice their dear enjoyment till their barren life is spent, Who to Gods and to the Fathers vainly still their offerings make, Waste of food! for God nor Father doth our pious homage take! And the food by one partaken, can it nourish other men, Food bestowed upon a Brahman, can it serve our Fathers then? Crafty priests have forged these maxims and with selfish objects say, – Make thy gifts and do thy penance, leave thy worldly wealth and pray! There is no Hereafter, Rama, vain the hope and creed of men, Seek the pleasures of the present, spurn illusions poor and vain, Take the course of sense and wisdom, cast all idle faith aside, Take the kingdom Bharat offers, rule Ayodhya in thy pride!” “Fair thy purpose,” answered Rama, “false thy reason leads astray, Tortuous wisdom brings no profit, virtue shuns the crooked way, For the deed proclaims the hero from the man of spacious lies, Marks the true and upright Arya from the scheming worldly-wise! [72] If assuming virtue’s mantle I should seek the sinful path, Gods who judge our secret motives curse me with their deepest wrath, And thy counsel helps not, rishi, mansions of the sky to win, And a king his subjects follow adding deeper sin to sin! Sweep aside thy crafty reasoning, Truth is still our ancient way, Truth sustains the earth and nations and a monarch’s righteous sway, Mighty Gods and holy sages find in Truth their haven shore, Scorning death and dark destruction, Truth survives for evermore!

IV. The Meeting of the Princes - 73 Deadlier than the serpent’s venom is the venom of a lie, From the false, than from the cobra, men with deeper terror fly, Dearer than the food to mortals, Truth as nourishment is given, Truth sustains the wide creation, Truth upholds the highest heaven, Vain were gifts and sacrifices, rigid penances were vain, Profitless the holy Vedas but for Truth which they sustain, Gifts and rites and rigid penance have no aim or purpose high, Save in Truth which rules the wide earth and the regions of the sky, I have plighted truth and promise and my word may not unsay, Fourteen years in pathless forests father’s mandate I obey, And I seek no spacious reasons my relinquished throne to win, Gods nor Fathers nor the Vedas counsel tortuous paths of sin! Pardon, rishi, still unchanging shall remain my promise given To my mother Queen Kaikeyi, to my father now in heaven, Pardon, rishi, still in jungle we shall seek the forest fare, Worship Gods who watch our actions, and pervade the earth and air! Unto AGNI, unto VAYU, shall my constant prayers run, I shall live like happy INDRA, hundred sacrifices done, And the deep and darksome jungle shall be Rama’s royal hall, For a righteous father’s mandate duteous son may not recall!” V. The Sandals [73] Tears nor sighs nor sad entreaty Rama’s changeless purpose shock, Till once more with hands conjoinéd Bharat to his elder spoke: “Rama, true to royal mercy, true to duties of thy race, Grant this favour to thy mother, to thy brother grant this grace, Vain were my unaided efforts to protect our father’s throne, Town and hamlet, lord and tiller, turn to thee and thee alone! Unto Rama, friends and kinsmen, chiefs and warriors, turn in pain, And each city chief and elder, and each humble village swain,

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas