Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Index  Previous  Next 


When Bharat with each friend and peer
Had heard that tale so full and clear,
They went together to the tree
The bed which Ráma pressed to see.
Then Bharat to his mothers said:
'Behold the high-souled hero's bed:
These tumbled heaps of grass betray
Where he that night with Sitá lay:
Unmeet, the heir of fortune high
Thus on the cold bare earth should lie,
The monarch's son, in counsel sage,
Of old imperial lineage.
That lion-lord whose noble bed
With finest skins of deer was spread,--
How can he now endure to press
The bare earth, cold and comfortless!
This sudden fall from bliss to grief
Appears untrue, beyond belief:
My senses are distraught: I seem
To view the fancies of a dream.
There is no deity so great,
No power in heaven can master Fate,
If Ráma, Das'aratha's heir,
Lay on the ground and slumbered there;
And lovely Sitá, she who springs
From fair Videha's ancient kings,

Ráma's dear wife, by all adored,
Lay on the earth beside her lord.
Here was his couch, upon this heap
He tossed and turned in restless sleep:
On the hard soil each manly limb
Has stamped the grass with signs of him,
That night, it seems, fair Sitá spent
Arrayed in every ornament,
For here and there my eyes behold
Small particles of glistering gold.
She laid her outer garment here,
For still some silken threads appear,
How dear in her devoted eyes
Must be the bed where Ráma lies,
Where she so tender could repose
And by his side forget her woes.
Alas, unhappy, guilty me!
For whom the prince was forced to flee,
And chief of Raghu's sons and best,
A bed like this with Sitá pressed.
Son of a royal sire whose hand
Ruled paramount o'er every land,
Could he who every joy bestows,
Whose body like the lotus shows,
The friend of all, who charms the sight,
Whose flashing eyes are darkly bright.
Leave the dear kingdom, his by right,
Unmeet for woe, the heir of bliss,
And lie upon a bed like this?
Great joy and happy fate are thine,
O Lakshman, marked with each fair sign,
Whose faithful footsteps follow still
Thy brother in his hour of ill.
And blest is Sitá, nobly good,
Who dwells with Ráma in the wood.
Ours is, alas, a doubtful fate
Of Ráma reft and desolate.
My royal sire has gained the skies,
In woods the high-souled hero lies;
The state is wrecked and tempest-tossed,
A vessel with her rudder lost.
Yet none in secret thought has planned
With hostile might to seize the land:
Though forced in distant wilds to dwell,
The hero's arm protects it well.
Unguarded, with deserted wall,
No elephant or steed in stall,
My father's royal city shows
Her portals open to her foes,
Of bold protectors reft and bare,
Defenceless in her dark despair:
But still her foes the wish restrain,
As men from poisoned cates refrain.
I from this hour my nights will pass
Couched on the earth or gathered grass,
Eat only fruit and roots, and wear
A coat of bark, and matted hair.
I in the woods will pass, content,
For him the term of banishment;
So shall I still unbroken save
The promise which the hero gave.

p. 196

While I remain for Ráma there,
S'atrnghna will my exile share,
And Ráma in his home again,
With Lakshman, o'er Ayodhyá reign,
for him, to rule and guard the state,
The twice-born men shall consecrate.
O, may the Gods I serve incline
To grant this earnest wish of mine!
If when I bow before his feet
And with all moving arts entreat,
   He still deny my prayer,
Then with my brother will I live:
He must, he must permission give,
   Roaming in forests there.'


195:1 Ráma, Lakshman, and Sumantra.

Next: Canto LXXXIX.: The Passage of Gangá.