9 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

VI. Sita Lost - 88

VI. Sita Lost - 88 Looked on Rama lofty-fronted, with a royal visage graced, Like KANDARPA young and lustrous, lotus-hued and lotus-faced! What though she a Raksha maiden, poor in beauty plain in face, Fell her glances passion-laden on the prince of peerless grace, What though wild her eyes and tresses, and her accents counselled fear, Soft-eyed Rama fired her bosom, and his sweet voice thrilled her ear, What though bent on deeds unholy, holy Rama won her heart, And, for love makes bold a female, thus did she her thoughts impart: “Who be thou in hermit’s vestments, in thy native beauty bright, Friended by a youthful woman, armed with thy bow of might, Who be thou in these lone regions where the Rakshas hold their sway, Wherefore in a lonely cottage in this darksome jungle stay?” With his wonted truth and candour Rama spake sedate and bold, And the story of his exile to the Raksha maiden told: [90] “Dasa-ratha of Ayodhya ruled with INDRA’S godlike fame, And his eldest, first born Rama, by his mandate here I came, Younger Lakshman strong and valiant doth with me these forests roam, And my wife, Videha’s daughter, Sita makes with me her home. Duteous to my father’s bidding, duteous to my mother’s will, Striving in the cause of virtue in the woods we wander still, Tell me, female of the forest, who thou be and whence thy birth, Much I fear thou art a Raksha wearing various forms on earth!” “Listen,” so spake Surpa-nakha, “if my purpose thou wouldst know, I am Raksha, Surpa-nakha, wearing various shapes below, Know my brothers, royal Ravan, Lanka’s lord from days of old, Kumbha-karna dread and dauntless, and Bibhishan true and bold, Khara and the doughty Dushan with me in these forests stray, But by Rama’s love emboldened I have left them on the way! Broad and boundless is my empire and I wander in my pride, Thee I choose as lord and husband, – cast thy human wife aside,

VI. Sita Lost - 89 Pale is Sita and mis-shapen, scarce a warrior’s worthy wife, To a nobler, lordlier female consecrate thy gallant life! Human flesh is food of Rakshas! weakling Sita I will slay, Slay that boy thy stripling brother, – thee as husband I obey, On the peaks of lofty mountains, in the forests dark and lone, We shall range the boundless woodlands and the joys of dalliance prove!” II. Surpa-nakha Punished [91] Rama heard her impious purpose and a gentle smile repressed, To the foul and forward female thus his mocking words addressed: “List, O passion-smitten maiden! Sita is my honoured wife, With a rival loved and cherished cruel were thy wedded life! But no consort follows Lakshman, peerless is his comely face, Dauntless is his warlike valour, matchless is his courtly grace, And he leads no wife or consort to this darksome woodland grove, With no rival to thy passion seek his ample-hearted love!” Surpa-nakha passion-laden then on Lakshman turned her eye, But in merry mocking accents smiling Lakshman made reply: “Ruddy in thy youthful beauty like the lotus in her pride, I am slave of royal Rama, would’st thou be a vassal’s bride? Rather be his younger consort, banish Sita from his arms, Spurning Sita’s faded beauty let him seek thy fresher charms, Spurning Sita’s faded graces let him brighter pleasures prove, Wearied with a woman’s dalliance let him court a Raksha’s love!” Wrath of unrequited passion raged like madness in her breast, Torn by anger strong as tempest thus her answer she addrest: “Are these mocking accents uttered, Rama, to insult my flame, Feasting on her faded beauty dost thou still revere thy dame? But beware a Raksha’s fury and an injured female’s wrath, Surpa-nakha slays thy consort, bears no rival in her path!”

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas