Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Index  Previous  Next 


Thus Ráma spoke, and Lakshman then
Made answer to the prince of men:
'Yea, if the Vánar, undeterred
By fear of vengeance, break his word,
Loss of his royal power ere long
Shall pay the traitor for the wrong,
Nor deem I him so void of sense
To brave the bitter consequence.
But if enslaved to joy he lie,
And scorn thy grace with blinded eye,
Then let him join his brother slain:
Unmeet were such a wretch to reign.
Quick rises, kindling in my breast,
The wrath that will not be repressed,
And bids me in my fury slay
The breaker of his faith to-day.
Let Báli's son thy consort trace
With bravest chiefs of Vánar race.'

Thus spoke the hero, and aglow
With rage of battle seized his bow.
But Ráma thus in gentler mood
With fitting words his speech renewed:
'No hero with a soul like thine
To paths of sin will e'er incline.
He who his angry heart can tame
Is worthiest of a hero's name.
Not thine, my brother, be the part
So alien from the tender heart,
Nor let thy feet by wrath misled
Forsake the path they loved to tread.
From harsh and angry words abstain:
With gentle speech a hearing gain,
And tax Sugríva with the crime
Of failing faith and wasted time.'

Then Lakshman, bravest of the brave,
Obeyed the best that Ráma gave,
To whom devoting every thought
The Vánar's royal town he sought.
As Mandar's mountain heaves on high
His curved peak soaring to the sky,
So Lakshman showed, his dread bow bent
Like Indra's  1 in the firmament.
His brother's wrath, his brother's woe
Inflamed his soul to fiercest glow.
The tallest trees to earth were cast
As furious on his way he passed,
And where he stepped, so fiercely fleet,
The stones were shivered by his feet.
He reached Kishkindhá's city deep
Embosomed where the hills were steep,
Where street and open square were lined
With legions of the Vánar kind.
Then, as his lips with fury swelled,
The lord of Raghu's line beheld
A stream of Vánar chiefs outpoured
To do obeisance to their lord.
But when the mighty prince in view
Of the thick coming Vánars drew,
They turned them in amaze to seize
Crags of the rock and giant trees.
He saw, and fiercer waxed his ire,
As oil lends fury to the fire.
Scarce bad the Vánar chieftains seen
That wrathful eye, that troubled mien
Fierce as the God's who rules the dead,
When, turned in wild affright, they fled,
Speeding in breathless terror all
Sought King Sugríva's council hall,
And there made known their tale of fear,
That Lakshman wild with rage, was near.
The king, untroubled by alarms,
Held Tára in his amorous arms,
And in the distant bower with her
Heard not each clamorous messenger.
Then, summoned at the lords' behest
Forth from the city portals pressed.
Each like some elephant or cloud,
The Vánars in a trembling cloud:
Fierce warriors all with massive jaws
And terrors of their tiger claws.
Some matched ten elephants, and some
A hundred's strength could overcome.
Some chieftains, mightier than the rest,
Ten times a hundred's force possessed.
With eyes of fury Lakshman viewed
The Vánars' tree-armed multitude.
Thus garrisoned from side to side
The city walls assault defied.
Beyond the moat that girt the wall
Advanced the Vánar chiefs; and all
Upon the plain in *numbers *made,(?)
Impetuous warriors, stood arrayed.

p. 363

Red at the sight flashed Lakshman's eyes,
His bosom heaved tumultuous sighs,
And forth the fire of fury broke
Like flame that flashes through the smoke.
Like some fierce snake the hero stood:
His bow recalled the expanded hood,
And in his shaft-head bright and keen
The flickering of its tongue was seen:
And in his own all-conquering might
The venom of its deadly bite.
Prince Angad marked his angry look,
And every hope his heart forsook.
Then, his large eyes with fury red,
To Angad Lakshman turned and said:
   'Go tell the king that Lakshman waits
For audience at the city gates,
Whose heart, O tamer of thy foes,
Is heavy with his brother's woes.
Bid him to Ráma's word attend,
And ask if he will aid his friend.
Go, let the king my message learn:
Then hither with all speed return.'
   Prince Angad heard and wild with grief
Cried as he looked upon the chief:
''Tis Lakshman's self: impelled by ire
He seeks the city of my sire.'
At the fierce words and furious look
Of Raghu'a son he quailed and shook,
Back through the city gates he sped,
And, laden with the tale of dread,
Sought King Sugríva, filled his ears
And Rumá's with his doubts and fears.
To Rumá and the king he bent,
And clasped their feet most reverent,
Clasped the dear feet of Tárá, too,
And told the startling tale anew.
   But King Sugríva's ear was dulled,
By love and wine and languor lulled,
Nor did the words that Angad spake
The slumberer from his trance awake.
But soon as Raghu's son came nigh
The startled Vánars raised a cry,
And strove to win his grace, while dread
Each anxious heart disquieted.
They saw, and, as they gathered round,
Rose from the mighty throng a sound
Like torrents when they downward dash,
Or thunder with the lightning's flash.
The shouting of the Vánars broke
Sugriva's slumber, and he woke:
Still with the wine his eyes were red,
His neck with flowers was garlanded.
Roused at the voice of Angad came
Two Vánar lords of rank and fame;
One Yaksha, one Prabhava hight,-
Wise counsellors of gain and right.
They came and raised their voices high,
And told that Raghu's son was nigh:
'Two brothers steadfast in their truth,
Each glorious in the bloom of youth,
Worthy of rule, have left the skies,

And clothed their forms in men's disguise.
One at thy gates, in warlike hands
Holding his mighty weapon, stands.
His message is the charioteer
That brings the eager envoy near,
Urged onward by his bold intent,
And by the hest of Ráma sent. 1
The gathered Vánars saw and fled,
And raised aloud their cry of dread.
Son of Queen Tárá, Angad ran
To parley with the godlike man.
Still fiery-eyed with rage and hate
Stands Lakshman at the city gate,
And trembling Vanars scarce can fly
Scathed by the lightning of his eye.
Go with thy son, thy kith and kin,
The favour of the prince to win,
And bow thy reverent head that so
His fiery wrath may cease to glow.
What righteous Ráma bids thee, do,
And to thy plighted word be true.'


362:1 The rainbow.

Next: Canto XXXII.: Hanuman's Counsel.