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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 - 76 Now a deeper shadow mantles bush and brake and trees around, And a thick and inky darkness falls upon the distant ground, Midnight prowlers of the jungle steal beneath the sable shade, But the tame deer by the altar seeks his wonted nightly bed. Mark! how by the stars encircled sails the radiant Lord of Night, With his train of silver glory streaming o’er the azure height, And thy consort waits thee, Sita, but before thou leavest, fair, Let me deck thy brow and bosom with these jewels rich and rare, Old these eyes and grey these tresses, but a thrill of joy is mine, Thus to see thy youth and beauty in this gorgeous garment shine!” [76] Pleased at heart the ancient priestess clad her in apparel meet, And the young wife glad and grateful bowed to Anasuya’s feet, Robed and jewelled, bright and beauteous, sweet-eyed Sita softly came, Where with anxious heart awaited Rama prince of righteous fame. With a wifely love and longing Sita met her hero bold, Anasuya’s love and kindness in her grateful accents told, Rama and his brother listened of the grace by Sita gained, Favours of the ancient priestess, pious blessings she had rained. In the rishi’s peaceful asram Rama passed the sacred night, In the hushed and silent forest silvered by the moon’s pale light, Daylight dawned, to deeper forests Rama went serene and proud, As the sun in mid-day splendour sinks within a bank of cloud!

77 Book V. Panchavati (On the Banks of the Godavari) [77] The wanderings of Rama in the Deccan, his meeting with Saint Agastya, and his residence on the banks of the Godavari river, are narrated in this Book. The reader has now left Northern India and crossed the Vindhya mountains; and the scene of the present and succeeding five Books is laid in the Deccan and Southern India. The name of Agastya is connected with the Deccan, and many are the legends told of this great Saint, before whom the Vindhya mountains bent in awe, and by whose might the Southern ocean was drained. It is likely that some religious teacher of that name first penetrated beyond the Vindhyas, and founded the first Aryan settlement in the Deccan, three thousand years ago. He was pioneer, discoverer and settler, – the Indian Columbus who opened out Southern India to Aryan colonization and Aryan religion. Two yojanas from Agastya’ a hermitage, Rama built his forest dwelling in the woods of Panchavati, near the sources of the Godavari river, and within a hundred miles from the modern city of Bombay. There he lived with his wife and brother in peace and piety, and the Book closes with the description of an Indian winter morning, when the brothers and Sita went for their ablutions to the Godavari, and thought of their distant home in Oudh. The description of the peaceful forest-life of the exiles comes in most appropriately on the eve of stirring events which immediately succeed, and which give a new turn to the story of the Epic, We now stand therefore at the turning point of the poet’s narrative; [78] he has sung of domestic incidents and of peaceful hermitages so far; he sings of dissensions and wars hereafter. The portions translated in this Book form Sections i., xii., xiii., xv., and xvi, of Book iii. of the original text. I. The Hermitage of Agastya Righteous Rama, soft-eyed Sita, and the gallant Lakshman stood In the wilderness of Dandak, – trackless, pathless, boundless wood, But within its gloomy gorges, dark and deep and known to few, Humble homes of hermit sages rose before the princes’ view. Coats of bark and scattered kusa spake their peaceful pure abode, Seat of pious rite and penance which with holy splendour glowed, Forest songsters knew the asram and the wild deer cropt its blade, And the sweet-voiced sylvan wood-nymph haunted oft its holy shade,

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas