Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Index  Previous  Next 


From Rishyamáka's rugged side
To Malaya's hills the Vánar hied

And to his royal chieftain there
Announced the coming of the pair:
'See here with Lakshman' Ráma stands
Illustrious in a hundred lands.
Whose valiant heart will never quail
Although a thousand foes assail;
King Das'aratha's son, the grace
And glory of Ikshváku's race.
Obedient to his father's will
He cleaves to sacred duty still.
With rites of royal pomp and pride
His sire the Fire-God gratified;
Ten hundred thousand kine he freed,
And priests enriched with ample meed;
And the broad land protected, famed
For truthful lips and passions tamed.
Through woman's guile his son has made
His dwelling in the forest shade,
Where, as he lived with every sense
Subdued in hermit abstinence,
Fierce Rávan' stole his wife, and he
Is come a suppliant, lord, to thee.
Now let all honour due be paid
To these great chiefs who seek thine aid.'
   Thus spake the Vánar prince, and, stirred
With friendly thoughts, Sugríva heard.
The light of joy his face o'erspread,
And thus to Raghu's son he said:
'O Prince, in rules of duty trained,
Caring for all with love unfeigned,
Hanúmán's tongue has truly shown
The virtues that are thine alone.
My chiefest glory, gain, and bliss,
O stranger Prince, I reckon this,
That Raghu's son will condescend
To seek the Vánar for his friend.
If thou my true ally wouldst be
Accept the pledge I offer thee,
This hand in sign of friendship take,
And bind the bond we ne'er will break.'
   He spoke, and joy thrilled Ráma's breast;
Sugríva's hand he seized and pressed
And, transport beaming from his eye,
Held to his heart his new ally.
In wanderer's weed disguised no more,
His proper form Hanúmán wore.
Then, wood with wood engendering, 1 came
Neath his deft hands the kindled flame.
Between the chiefs that fire he placed

p. 329

With wreaths of flowers and worship graced.
And round its blazing glory went
The friends with slow steps reverent.
   Thus each to other pledged and bound
In solemn league new transport found.
And bent upon his dear ally
The gaze he ne'er could satisfy.
'Friend of my soul art thou: we share
Each other's joy, each other's care;'
To us the bliss that thrilled his breast
Sugriva Raghu's son addressed.
From a high Sál a branch he tore
Which many a leaf and blossom bore,
And the fine twigs beneath them laid
A seat for him and Ráma made.
Then Hanumán with joyous mind,
Son of the God who rules the wind,
To Lakshman gave, his seat to be,
The gay branch of a Sandal tree.
Then King Sugriva with his eyes
Still trembling with the sweet surprise
Of the great joy he could not hide,
To Raghu's noblest scion cried:
'O Ráma, racked with woe and fear,
Spurned by my foes, I wander here.
Reft of my spouse, forlorn I dwell
Here in my forest citadel.
Or wild with terror and distress
Roam through the distant wilderness.
Vext by my brother Báli long
My soul has borne the scathe and wrong.
Do thou, whose virtues all revere,
Release me from my woe and fear.
From dire distress tby friend to free
Is a high task and worthy thee.'
   He spoke, and Raghu's son who knew
All sacred duties men should do.
The friend of justice, void of guile,
Thus answered with a gentle smile:
'Great Vánar, friends who seek my aid
Still find their trust with fruit repaid.
Báli, thy foe, who stole away
Thy wife this vengeful hand shall slay.
These shafts which sunlike flash and burn,
Winged with the feathers of the *ern,
Each swift of flight and sure and dread,
With even knot and pointed head,
Fierce as the crashing fire-bolt sent
By him who rules the firmament, 1
Shall reach thy wicked foe and like

Infuriate serpents hiss and strike.
Thou, Vánar King, this day shalt see
The foe who long has injured thee
Lie, like a shattered mountain, low,
Slain by the tempest of my bow.'
   Thus Ráma spake: Sugriva heard,
And mighty joy his bosom stirred:
As thus his champion he addressed:
'Now by thy favour, first and best
Of heroes, shall thy friend obtain
His realm and darling wife again
   Recovered from the foe.
Check thou mine elder brother's might;
That ne'er again his deadly spite
May rob me of mine ancient right,
   Or vex my soul with woe.'
The league was struck, a league to bring
To Sítá fiends, and Vánar king  1b
   Apportioned bliss and bale.
Through her left eye quick throbbings shot, 2b
Glad signs the lady doubted not,
   That told their hopeful tale.
The bright left eye of Báli felt
An inauspicious throb that dealt
   A deadly blow that day.
The fiery left eyes of the crew
Of demons felt the throb, and knew
   The herald of dismay.


328:1 Fire for sacred purposes is produced by the attrition of two pieces of wood. In marriage and other solemn covenants fire is regarded as the holy witness in whose presence the agreement is made. Spenser in a description of a marriage, has borrowed from them the Roman rite what he (illegible) sacrificial fire: p. 329

"His owne two hands the holy knots did knit
That none but death forever can divide.
His owne two hands, for such a turn most fit,
The *ing fire did kindle and provide.'
   Faery Queen, Book 1 XII. 37

329:1 Indra

Next: Canto VI.: The Tokens.