Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Index  Previous  Next 


'My brother, known by Báli's name,
Had won by might a conqueror's fame.
My father's eldest-born was he,
Well honoured by his sire and me.
My father died, and each sage lord
Named Báli king with one accord;
And he, by right of birth ordained,
The sovereign of the Vánars reigned.
He in his royal place controlled
The kingdom of our sires of old,
And I all faithful service lent
To aid my brother's government.
The fiend Máváví, him of yore
To Dundubhi  2 his mother bore,--

For woman's love in strife engaged,
A deadly war with Báli waged.
When sleep had chained each weary frame
To vast Kishkindá's  1b gates he came.
And, shouting through the shades of night,
Challenged his foeman to the fight.
My brother heard the furious shout,
And wild with rage rushed madly out.
Though fain would I and each sad wife
Detain him from the deadly strife.
He burned his demon foe to slay,
And rushed impetuous to the fray.
His weeping wives he thrust aside,
And forth, impelled by fury, hied;
While, by my love and duty led,
I followed where my brother sped.
Máyáví looked, and at the sight
Fled from his foes in wild affright.
The flying fiend we quickly viewed.
And with swift feet his steps pursued.
Then rose the moon, whose friendly ray
Cast light upon our headlong way.
By the soft beams was dimly shown
A mighty cave with grass o'ergrown.
Within its depths he sprang, and we
The demon's form no more might see.
My brother's breast was all aglow
With fury when he missed the foe,
And, turning, thus to me he said
With senses all disquieted:
'Here by the cavern's mouth remain;
Keep ear and eye upon the strain,
While I the dark recess explore
And dip my brand in foeman's gore.'
I heard his angry speech, and tried
To turn him from his plan aside.
He made me swear by both his feet,
And sped within the dark retreat.
While in the cave he stayed, and I
Watched at the mouth, a year went by.
For his return I looked in vain,
And, moved by love, believed him slain.
I mourned, by doubt and fear distressed,
And greater horror seized my breast
When from the cavern rolled a flood,
A carnage stream of froth and blood;
And from the depths a sound of fear,
The roar of demons, smote mine ear;
But never rang my brother's shout
Triumphant in the battle rout.
I closed the cavern with a block,
Huge as a hill, of shattered rock.
Gave offerings due to Báli's shade,
And sought Kishkindhá, sore dismayed.
Long time with anxious care I tried
From Báli's lords his fate to hide,
But they, when once the tale was known,
Placed me as king on Báli's throne.
There for a while I justly reigned

p. 334

And all with equal care ordained,
When joyous from the demon slain
My brother Báli came again.
He found me ruling in his stead,
And, fired with rage, his eyes grew red.
He slew the lords who made me king,
And spoke keen words to taunt and sting.
The kingly rank and power I held
My brother's rage with ease had quelled,
But still, restrained by old respect
For claims of birth, the thought I checked.
Thus having struck the demon down
Came Báli to his royal town.
With meek respect, with humble speech,
His haughty heart I strove to reach.
But all my arts were tried in vain,
No gentle word his lips would deign.
Though to the ground I bent and set
His feet upon my coronet:
Still Bali in his rage and pride
All signs of grace and love denied.'


333:1 "Sugríva's story paints in vivid colours the manners, customs and ideas of the wild mountain tribes which inhabited Kishkindhya or the southern hills of the Deccan, of the people whom the poem calls monkeys, tribes altogether different in origin and civilization from the Indo-Sanskrit race." Gorresio.

333:2 A fiend slain by Báli.

333:1b Báli's mountain city.

Next: Canto X.: Sugríva's Story.