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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 - 74 Base thy empire strong, unshaken, on a loyal nation’s will, With thy worth and with thy valour serve thy faithful people still!” Rama raised the prostrate Bharat to his ever-loving breast, And in voice of tuneful hansa thus his gentle speech addrest: “Trust me, Bharat, lofty virtue, strength and will to thee belong, Thou could’st rule a world-wide empire in thy faith and purpose strong, And our father’s ancient min’sters, ever faithful, wise and deep, They shall help thee with their counsel and thy ancient frontiers keep. List! the Moon may lose his lustre, Himalaya lose his snow, Heaving Ocean pass his confines surging from the caves below, But the truth-abiding Rama will not move from promise given, He hath spoke and will not falter, help him righteous Gods in heaven!” Blazing like the Sun in splendour, beauteous like the Lord of Night, Rama vowed his Vow of Duty, changeless in his holy might! “Humble token,” answered Bharat, “still I seek from Rama’s hand, Token of his love and kindness, token of his high command, [74] From thy feet cast forth those sandals, they shall decorate the throne, They shall nerve my heart to duty and shall safely guard thy own, They shall to a loyal nation absent monarch’s will proclaim, Watch the frontiers of the empire and the people’s homage claim!” Rama gave the loosened sandals as his younger humbly prayed, Bharat bowed to them in homage and his parting purpose said: “Not alone will banished Rama barks and matted tresses wear, Fourteen years the crownéd Bharat will in hermit’s dress appear, Henceforth Bharat dwells in palace guised as hermit of the wood, In the sumptuous hall of feasting wild fruit is his only food, Fourteen years shall pass in waiting, weary toil and penance dire, Then, if Rama comes not living, Bharat dies upon the pyre!”

IV. The Meeting of the Princes - 75 VI. The Hermitge of Atri With the sandals of his elder Bharat to Ayodhya went, Rama sought for deeper forests on his arduous duty bent, Wandering with his wife and Lakshman slowly sought the hermitage, Where resided saintly Atri, Vedic Bard and ancient sage. Anasuya, wife of Atri, votaress of Gods above, Welcomed Sita in her cottage, tended her with mother’s love, Gave her robe and holy garland, jewelled ring and chain of gold, Heard the tale of love and sadness which the soft-eyed Sita told: How the monarch of Videha held the plough and tilled the earth, From the furrow made by ploughshare infant Sita sprang to birth, [75] How the monarch of Videha welcomed kings of worth and pride, Rama ’midst the gathered monarchs broke the bow and won the bride, How by Queen Kaikeyi’s mandate Rama lost his father’s throne, Sita followed him in exile in the forest dark and lone! Softly from the lips of Sita words of joy and sorrow fell, And the pure-souled pious priestess wept to hear the tender tale, And she kissed her on the forehead, held her on her ancient breast, And in mother’s tender accents thus her gentle thoughts exprest: “Sweet the tale you tell me, Sita, of thy wedding and thy love, Of the true and tender Rama, righteous as the Gods above, And thy wifely deep devotion fills my heart with purpose high, Stay with us my gentle daughter for the night shades gather nigh. Hastening from each distant region feathered songsters seek their nest, Twitter in the leafy thickets ere they seek their nightly rest, Hastening from their pure ablutions with their pitchers smooth and fair, In their dripping barks the hermits to their evening rites repair, And in sacred AGNI-hotra holy anchorites engage, And a wreath of smoke ascending marks the altar of each sage.

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas