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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

V. On the Banks

V. On the Banks of the Godavari - 86 Bharat’s mother Queen Kaikeyi, Dasa-ratha’s royal spouse, Deep in craft, hath brought disaster on Ayodhya’s royal house!” “Speak not thus” so Rama answered, “on Kaikeyi cast no blame, Honour still the righteous Bharat, honour still the royal dame, Fixed in purpose and unchanging still in jungle wilds I roam, But thy accents, gentle Lakshman, wake a longing for my home! And my loving mem’ry lingers on each word from Bharat fell, Sweeter than the draught of nectar, purer than the crystal well, And my righteous purpose falters, shaken by a brother’s love, May we meet again our brother, if, it please the Gods above!” Waked by love, a silent tear-drop fell on Godavari’s wave, True once more to righteous purpose Rama’s heart was calm and brave, Rama plunged into the river ’neath the morning’s crimson beam, Sita softly sought the waters as the lily seeks the stream, And they prayed to Gods and Fathers with each rite and duty done, And they sang the ancient mantra to the red and rising Sun, With her lord, in loosened tresses Sita to her cottage came, As with RUDRA wanders UMA in Kailasa’s hill of fame!

87 Book VI. Sita-Harana (Sita Lost) [88] We exchange the quiet life of Rama in holy hermitages for the more stirring incidents of the Epic in this Book, The love of a Raksha princess for Rama and for Lakshman is rejected with scorn, and smarting under insult and punishment she fires her brother Ravan, the king of Ceylon, with a thirst for vengeance. The dwellers of Ceylon are described in the Epic as monsters of various forms, and able to assume different shapes at will. Ravan sends Maricha in the shape of a beautiful deer to tempt away Rama and Lakshman from the cottage, and then finds his chance for stealing away the unprotected Sita. The misfortunes of our lives, according to Indian thinkers, are but the results of our misdeeds; calamities are brought about by our sins. And thus we find in the Indian Epic, that a dark and foul suspicion against Lakshman crossed the stainless mind of Sita, and words of unmerited insult fell from her gentle lips, on the eve of the great calamity which clouded her life ever after. It was the only occasion on which the ideal woman of the Epic harboured an unjust thought or spoke an angry word; and it was followed by a tragic fate which few women on earth have suffered. To the millions of men and women in India, Sita remains to this day the ideal of female love and female devotion; her dark suspicions against Lakshman sprang out of an excess of her affection for her husband; and her tragic fate and long trial proved that undying love. The portions translated in this Book form the whole or the main portions of Sections xvii., xviii., xliii., xlv., xlvi., xlvii., and xlix. of Book iii. of the original text. 1. Surpa-nakha in Love [89] As the Moon with starry Chitra dwells in azure skies above, In his lonesome leafy cottage Rama dwelt in Sita’s love, And with Lakshman strong and valiant, quick to labour and obey, Tales of bygone times recounting Rama passed the livelong day. And it so befell, a maiden, dweller of the darksome wood, Led by wand’ring thought or fancy once before the cottage stood, Surpa-nakha, Raksha maiden, sister of the Raksha lord, Came and looked with eager longing till her soul was passion-stirred! Looked on Rama lion-chested, mighty-arméd, lotus-eyéd, Stately as the jungle tusker, with his crown of tresses tied,

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas