Sugríva moved by wondering awe
The high-souled sons of Raghu saw,
In all their glorious arms arrayed;
And grief upon his spirit weighed.
To every quarter of the sky
He turned in fear his anxious eye,
And roving still from spot to spot
With troubled steps he rested not.
He durst not, as he viewed the pair,
Resolve to stand and meet them there:
And drooping cheer and quailing breast
The terror of the chief confessed.
While the great fear his bosom shook,
Brief counsel with his lords he took;
Each gain and danger closely scanned,
What hope in flight, what power to stand,
While doubt and fear his bosom rent,
On Raghu's sons his eyes he bent,
And with a spirit ill at ease
Addressed his lords in words like these:
'Those chiefs with wandering steps invade
The shelter of our pathless shade,
And hither come in fair disguise
Of hermit garb as Báli's spies.'
Each lord beheld with troubled heart
Those masters of the bowman's art,
And left the mountain side to seek
Sure refuge on a loftier peak.
The Vánar chief in rapid flight
Found shelter on a towering height,
And all the band with one accord
Were closely gathered round their lord.
Their course the same, with desperate leap
Each made his way from steep to steep,
And speeding on in wild career
Filled every height with sudden fear.
Each heart was struck with mortal dread,
As on their course the Vánars sped,
While trees that crowned the steep were bent
And crushed beneath them as they went.
As in their eager flight they pressed
For safety to each mountain crest,
The wild confusion struck with fear
Tiger and cat and wandering deer.
The lords who watched Sugríva's will
Were gathered on the royal hill,
And all with reverent hands upraised
Upon their king and leader gazed.
Sugríva feared some evil planned,
Some train prepared by Báli's hand.
But skilled in words that charm and teach,
Thus Hanumán 1b began his speech:
Dismiss, dismiss thine idle fear,
Nor dread the power of Báli here.
For this is Malaya's glorious hill 2b
Where Bálí's might can work no ill.
I look around but nowhere see
The hated foe who made thee flee,
Fell Báli, fierce in form and face:
Then fear not, lord of Vánar race.
Alas, in thee I clearly find
The weakness of the Vánar kind,
That loves from thought to thought to range,
Fix no belief and welcome change.
Mark well each hint and sign and scan,
Discreet aud wise, thine every plan.
How may a king, with sense denied,
The subjects of his sceptre guide?'
Hanúmán, 1 wise in hour of need,
Urged on the chief his prudent rede.
His listening ear Sugríva bent,
And spake in words more excellent:
'Where is the dauntless heart that free
From terror's chilling touch can see
Two stranger warriors, strong as those,
Equipped with swords and shafts and bows,
With mighty arms and large full eyes,
Like glorious children of the skies
Báli my foe, I ween, has sent
These chiefs to aid his dark intent.
Hence doubt and fear disturb me still,
For thousands serve a monarch's will,
In borrowed garb they come, and those
Who walk disguised are counted foes.
With secret thoughts they watch their time,
And wound fond hearts that fear no crime
My foe in state affairs is wise,
And prudent kings have searching eyes.
By other hands they strike the foe:
By meaner tools the truth they know.
Now to those stranger warriors turn,
And, less than king, their purpose learn.
Mark well the trick and look of each;
Observe his form and note his speech.
With care their mood and temper sound,
And, if their minds be friendly found,
With courteous looks and words begin
Their confidence and love to win.
Then as my friend and envoy speak,
And question where the strangers seek.
Ask why equipped with shaft and bow
Through this wild maze of wood they go.
If does, O chief, as first appear
Pure of all guile, in heart sincere,
Detect in speech and look the sin
And treachery that lurk within.'
He spoke: the Wind-God's son obeyed.
With ready zeal he sought the shade,
And reached with hasty steps the wood
Where Ragbu's son and Lakshman stood. 2
The envoy in his faithful breast
Pondered Sugrivá's high behest.
From Rishyamúka's peak he hied
And placed him by the princes' side.
The Wind-God's son with cautious art
Had laid his Vánar form apart,
And wore, to cheat the strangers eyes,
A wandering mendicant's disguise. 1b
Before the heroes' feet he bent
And did obeisance reverent,
And spoke, the gloirious pair to praise,
His words of truth in courteous phrase,
High honour duly paid, the best
Of all the Vánar kind addressed,
With free accord and gentle grace,
Those glories of their warrior race:
'O hermits, blest in vows, who shine
Like royal saints or Gods divine,
O best of young ascetics, say
How to this spot you found your way,
Scaring the troops of wandering deer
And silvan things that harbour here
Searching amid the trees that grow
Where Pampá's gentle waters flow.
And lending from your brows a gleam
Of glory to the lovely stream.
Who are you, say, so brave and fair.
Clad in the bark which hermits wear?
I see you have the frequent sigh,
I see the deer before you fly.
While you, for strength and valour dread,
The earth, like lordly lions, tread,
Each bearing in his hand a bow,
Like Indra's own, to slay the foe,
With the grand paces of bull,
So bright and young and beautiful
The mighty arms you raise appear
Like trunks which elephants uprear,
And as you move this mountain-king 2b
Is glorious with the light you bring.
How have you reached, like Gods in face,
Best lords of earth, this lonely place,
With tresses coiled in hermit guise, 1
And splendours of those lotus eyes?
As God's who leave their heavenly sphere,
Alike your beauteous forms appear.
Tne Lords of Day and Night 2 might thus
Stray from the skies to visit us.
Heroic youth, so broad of chest,
Fair with the beauty of the Blest,
With lion shoulders, tall and strong,
Like bulls who lead the lowing throng.
Your arms, unmatched for grace and length,
With massive clubs may vie in strength.
Why do no gauds those limbs adorn
Where priceless gems were meetly worn?
Each noble youth is fit, I deem,
To guard this earth, as lord supreme,
With all her woods and seas, to reign
From Meru's peak to Vindhya's chain.
Your smooth bows decked with dyes and gold
Are glorious in their masters' hold,
And with the arms of Indra 3 vie
Which diamond splendours beautify.
Your quivers glow with golden sheen,
Well stored with arrows fleet and keen,
Each gleaming like a flery snake
That joys the foeman's life to take.
As serpents cast their sloughs away
And all their new born sheen display,
So flash your mighty swords inlaid
With burning gold on hilt and blade.
Why are you silent, heroes? Why
My questions hear nor deign reply?
Sugríva, lord of virtuous mind.
The foremost of the Vánar kind.
An exile from his royal state,
Roams through the land disconsolate.
I Hanumán, of Vánar race,
Sent by the king have sought this place,
For he, the pious, just, and true.
In friendly league would join with you.
Know, godlike youths, that I am one
Of his chief lords, the Wind-God's son.
With course unchecked I roam will,
And now from Rishyamúka's hill.
To please his heart, his hope to speed,
I came disguised in beggar's weed.'
Thus Hanumán, well trained in lore
Of language spoke, and said no more.
The son of Raghu joyed to hear
The envoy's speech, and bright of cheer
He turned to Lakshman by his side,
And thus in words of transport cried:
'The counselor we now behold
Of King Sugríva righteous souled.
His face I long have yearned to see,
And now his envoy comes to me
With sweetest words in courteous phrase
Answer this mighty lord who slays
His foemen, by Sugríva sent.
This Vánar chief most eloquent.
For one whose words so sweetly flow
The whole Rig-veda 1b needs must know,
And in his well-trained memory store
The Yajush and the Sáman's lore.
He must have bent his faithful ear
All grammar's varied rules to hear.
For his long speech how well he spoke!
In all its length no rule he broke.
In eye, on brow, in all his face
The keenest look no guile could trace.
No change of hue, no pose of limb
Gave sign that aught was false in him.
Concise, unfaltering, sweet and clear,
Without a word to pain the ear.
From chest to throat, nor high nor low,
His accents came in measured flow.
How well he spoke with perfect art
That wondrous speech that charmed the heart,
With finest skill and order graced
In words that knew nor pause nor haste!
That speech, with consonants that spring
From the three seats of uttering, 2b
Would charm the spirit of a foe
Whose sword is raised for mortal blow.
How may a ruler's plan succeed
Who lacks such envoy good at need?
How fail, if one whose mind is stored
With gifts so rare assist his lord?
What plans can fail, with wisest speech
Of envoy's lips to further each?'
Thus Ráma spoke: and Lakshman, taught
In all the art that utters thought,
To King Súgríva's learned spy
Thus made his eloquent reply:
'Full well we know the gifts that grace
Sugríva, lord of Vánar race,
And hither turn our wandering feet
That we that high-souled king may meet
So now our pleasant task shall be
To do the words he speaks by thee.'
His prudent speech the Vánar heard,
And all his heart with joy was stirred.
And hope that league with them would bring
Redress and triumph to his king.
324:1 Sugríva, the ex-king of the Vánars, foresters, or monkeys, an exile from his home, wandering about the mountain Rishyamúka with his four faithful ex-ministers.
324:2 The hermitage of the Saint Matauga which his curse prevented Báli, the present king of the Vánars, from entering. The story is told at length in Canto XI. of this Book.
324:1b Hanumán, Sugríva's chief general, was the son of the God of Wind. See Book I, Canto XVI.
324:2b A range of hills in Malabar; the Western Ghats in the Deccan.
325:1 Válmíki makes the second vowel in this name long or short to suit the exigencies of the verse. Other Indian poets have followed his example, and the same licence will be used in this translation.
325:2 I omit a recapitulatory and interpolated verse in a different metre, which is as follows:--Reverencing with the words, So be it, the speech of the greatly terrified and unequalled monkey king, the magnanimous Hanúmán then went where (stood) the very mighty Ráma with Lakshman.
325:1b The semi divine Hanuma'n posseses. like the Gods and demons, the power of wearing all shapes at will, He is one of the Kámarúpís.
Like Milton's good and bad angels
325:2b Himálaya is of course par excellence the Monarch of mountains, but the complimentary title is frequently given to other hills as here to Malaya.
326:1 Twisted up in a matted coil as was the custom of ascetics.
326:2 The sun and the moon.
326:3 The rainbow.
326:1b The Vedas are four in number, the Rich or Rig-veda, the Yajush or Yajur-veda; the Sáman or Sáma-veda*, and the Atharvan or Atharva-veda. See p. 3. Note.
326:2b The chest, the throat, and the head.