Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Index  Previous  Next 


Kabandha saw each chieftain stand
Imprisoned by his mighty hand,
Which like a snare around him pressed
And thus the royal pair addressed:
'Why, warriors, are your glances bent
On me whom hungry pangs torment?
Why stand with wildered senses? Fate
Has brought you now my maw to sate.'
   When Lakshman heard, a while appalled,
His ancient courage he recalled,
And to his brother by his side
With seasonable counsel cried :
   'This vilest of the giant race
Will draw us to his side apace.
Come, rouse thee; let the vengeful sword
Smite off his arms, my honoured lord.
This awful giant, vast of size,
On his huge strength of arm relies,
And o'er the world victorious, thus
With mighty force would slaughter us,
But in cold blood to slay, O King.
Discredit on the brave would bring,
As when some victim in the rite
Shuns not the hand up raised to smite.'
   The monstrous fiend, to anger stirred,

The converse of the brothers heard.
His horrid mouth he opened wide
And drew the princes to his side.
They, skilled due time and place to note
Unsheathed their glittering sword and smote,
Till fiom the giant's shoulders they
Had hewn the mighty arms away.
His trenchant falchion Ráma plied
And smote him on the better side,
While valiant Lakshman on the left
The arm that held him prisoned cleft,
Then to the earth dismembered fell
The monster with a hideous yell,
And like a cloud's his deep roar went
Through earth and air and firmament.
Then as the giant's blood flowed fast,
On his cleft limbs his eye he cast,
And called upon the princely pair
Their names and lineage to declare.
Him then the noble Lakshman, blest
With fortune's favouring marks, addressed,
And told the fiend his brother's name
And the high blood of which he came:
'Ikshváku's heir here Ráma stands,
Illustrious through a hundred lands.
I, younger brother of the heir,
O fiend, the name of Lakshman bear.
His mother stole his realm away
And drove him forth in woods to stray.
Thus through the mighty forest he
Roamed with his royal wife and me.
While glorious as a God he made
His dwelling in the greenwood shade,
Some giant stole away his dame,
And seeking her we hither came.
But tell me who thou art, and why
With headless trunk that towered so high.
With flaming face beneath thy chest,
Thou liest crushed in wild unrest.'
   He heard the words that Lakshman spoke,
And memory in his breast awoke,
Recalling Indra's words to mind
He spoke in gentle tones and kind:
'O welcome best of men, are ye
Whom, blest by fate, this day I see.
A blessing on each trenchant blade
That low on earth these arms has laid!
Thou, lord of men, incline thine ear
The story of my woe to hear,
While I the rebel pride declare
Which doomed me to the form I wear.'

Next: Canto LXXII.: Kabandha's Tale.