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Thus, by his friends encompassed round,
He spoke, and Ráma, far renowned,
To his dear brother thus replied,
Whom holy rites had purified:
'O thou whom Queen Kaikeyi bare
The best of kings, thy words are fair.
Our royal father, when of yore
He wed her, to her father swore
The best of kingdoms to confer,
A noble dowry meet for her;
Then, grateful, on the deadly day
Of heavenly Gods' and demons' fray,
A future boon on her bestowed
To whose sweet care his life he owed.
She to his mind that promise brought,
And then the best of kings besought
To bid me to the forest flee,
And give the rule, O Prince, to thee.
Thus bound by oath, the king our lord
Gave her those boons of free accord.
And bade me, O thou chief of men,
Live in the woods four years and ten.
I to this lonely wood have hied
With faithful Lakshman by my side,
And Si*tá by no tears deterred,
Resolved to keep my father's word.
And thou, my noble brother, too
Shouldst keep our father's promise true:
Anointed ruler of the state
Maintain his word inviolate.
From his great debt, dear brother, free
Our lord the king for love of me,
Thy mother's breast with joy inspire,
And from all woe preserve thy sire.
*Tis said, near Gayá's holy town  1b
Gayá, great *saint of high renown,
This text recited when he paid
Due rites to each ancestral shade:

  'A son is born his sire to free
    From Put's infernal pains:
  Hence, saviour of his father, he
    The name of Puttra gains.'  2b

Thus numerous sons are sought by prayer,
In Scripture trained with graces fair,

p. 217

That of the number one some day
May funeral rites at Gayá pay.
The mighty saints who lived of old
This holy doctrine ever hold.
Then, best of men, our sire release
From pains of hell, and give him peace.
Now Bharat, to Ayodhya* speed,
The brave S'atrughna with thee lead.
Take with thee all the twice-born men,
And please each lord and citizen.
I now, O King, without delay
To Dandak* wood will bend my way,
And Lakshman and the Maithil dame
Will follow still, our path the same.
   Now, Bharat, lord of men be thou,
     And o'er Ayodhyá reign:
   The silvan world to me shall bow,
     King of the wild domain.
   Yea, let thy joyful steps be bent
     To that fair town to-day,
   And I as happy and content,
     To Dandak wood will stray.
   The white umbrella o'er thy brow
     Its cooling shade shall throw:
   I to the shadow of the bough
     And leafy trees will go.
   S'atrughna, for wise plans renowned,
     Shall still on thee attend;
   And Lakshman, ever faithful found,
     Be my familiar friend.
   Let us his sons, O brother dear,
     The path of right pursue,
   And keep the king we all revere
     Still to his promise true.'


216:1b Gayá is a very holy city in Behar. Every good Hindu ought once in his life to make funeral offerings in Gayá in honour of his ancestors.

216:2b Put is the name of that region of hell to which men are doomed who leave no son to perform the funeral rites which are necessary to ensure the happiness of the departed. Putra, the common word for a son is said by the highest authority to be derived from Put and tra deliverer.

Next: Canto CVIII.: Jáváli's Speech.