scene of this Book is laid at Chitra-kuta. Bharat returning from
the kingdom of the Kaikeyas heard of his father's death and his
brother's exile, and refused the throne which had been reserved
for him. He wandered through the woods and jungle to Chitra-kuta,
and implored Rama to return to Ayodhya and seat himself on the throne
of his father. But Rama had given his word, and would not withdraw
passages in the Epic are more impressive than Rama's wise and kindly
advice to Bharat on the duties of a ruler, and his firm refusal
to Bharat's passionate appeal to seat himself on the throne. Equally
touching is the lament of Queen Kausalya when she meets Sita in
the dress of an anchorite in the forest.
one of the most curious passages in the whole Epic is the speech
of Jabali the Sceptic, who denied heaven and a world here-after.
In ancient India as in ancient Greece there were different schools
of philosophers, some of them orthodox and some of them extremely
heterodox, and the greatest latitude of free thought was permitted.
In Jabali, the poet depicts a free-thinker of the broadest type.
He ridicules the ideas of Duty and of Future Life with a force of
reasoning which a Greek sophist and philosopher could not have surpassed.
But Rama answers with the fervour of a righteous, truth-loving,
persuasion was in vain, and Bharat returned to Ayodhya with Rama's
sandals, and placed them on the throne, as an emblem of Rama's sovereignty
during his voluntary exile. Rama himself then left Chitra-kuta and
sought the deeper forests of Dandak, so that his friends and relations
might not find him again during his exile. He visited the hermitage
of the Saint Atri; and the ancient and venerable wife of Atri welcomed
the young Sita, and robed her in rich raiments and jewels, on the
eve of her departure for the unexplored wildernesses of the south.
portions translated in this Book are the whole or the main portions
of Sections xcix., c., ci., civ., cviii.. cix., exii., and cxix.
of Book ii. of the original text.
THE MEETING OF THE BROTHERS
Sorrowing for his sire departed Bharat to Ayodhya came,
But the exile of his brother stung his noble heart to flame,
sin-polluted empire, travelling with each widowed queen,
Sought through wood and trackless jungle Chitra-kuta's peaceful
guards and Saint Vasishtha loitered with the dames behind,
Onward pressed the eager Bharat, Rama's hermit-home to find,
in a jungle thicket, Rama's cottage rose in sight,
Thatched with leaves and twining branches, reared by Lakshman's
hewn of gnarléd branches, blossoms culled from bush and tree.
Coats of bark and russet garments, kusa spread upon the lea,
of horns and branching antlers, fire-wood for the dewy night,--
Spake the dwelling of a hermit suited for a hermit's rite.
the scene," so Bharat uttered, "by the righteous rishi
Markalvati's rippling waters, Chitra-kuta's summit bold,
the dark and trackless forest where the untamed tuskers roam,
And the deep and hollow caverns where the wild beasts make their
the spacious wooded uplands, wreaths of smoke obscure the sky,
Hermits feed their flaming altars for their worship pure and high.
our weary work and wand'ring, righteous Rama here we meet,
Saint and king and honoured elder! Bharat bows unto his feet,
a king of many nations, he hath forest refuge sought,
Yielded throne and mighty kingdom for a hermit's humble cot,
unto righteous Rama, unto Sita true and bold,
Theirs be fair Kosala's empire, crown and sceptre, wealth and gold!
Sal and feathered palm-tree on the cottage lent their shade.
Strewn upon the sacred altar was the grass of kusa spread,
on the walls suspended hung two bows of ample height,
And their back with gold was pencilled, bright as INDRA's bow of
in broad unfailing quivers arrows shone like light of day,
And like flame-tongued fiery serpents cast a dread and lurid ray,
in their golden scabbards lay the sword of warriors bold,
And the targets broad and ample bossed with rings of yellow gold,
and gauntlet decked the cottage safe from fear of hostile men,
As from creatures of the forest is the lion's lordly den!
in silent contemplation by the altar's sacred fire,
Holy in his pious purpose though begirt by weapons dire,
in deer-skin pure and peaceful, poring on the sacred flame,
In his bark and hermit's tresses like an anchorite of fame,
mighty-arméd, but with gentle lotus eye.
Lord of wide earth ocean-girdled, but intent on penance high,
as the holy BRAHMA, on a skin of dappled deer
Rama sat with meek-eyed Sita, faithful Lakshman loitered near!
this he whom joyous nations called to fair Ayodhya's throne,
Now the friend of forest-rangers wandering in the woods alone,
this he who robed in purple made Ayodhya's mansions bright..
Now in jungle bark and deer-skin clad as holy anchorite,
this be whose wreathéd ringlets fresh and holy fragrance
Now a hermit's matted tresses cluster round his royal head,
this he whose royal yajnas filled the earth with righteous fame,
Now inured to hermit's labour by the altar's sacred flame,
this he whose brow and forehead royal gem and jewel graced,
Heir to proud Kosala's empire, eldest, noblest, and the best!"
lamented pious Bharat, for his heart was anguish-rent,
As before the feet of Rama he in loving homage bent,
in his choking accents this was all that Bharat said,
"Arya!" spake the young Satrughna and he bent his holy
to his loving bosom raised his brothers from his feet,
Ah, too deep is love for utterance when divided brothers meet,
Guha, brave Sumantra, bowed to Rama's righteous feet,
And a joy and mingled sadness filled the hermit's calm retreat!
BHARAT'S ENTREATY AND RAMA'S REPLY
"Speak, my true, my faithful Bharat," so the righteous
"Wherefore to this jungle dwelling hast thou from Ayodhya hied,
my fond and loving brother, if our father bade thee come,
Leaving throne and spacious empire in this wilderness to roam?
and Regent of Kosala! Dost thou tend our father well,
And obey the lofty mandate from his royal lips that fell,
the ancient Dasa-ratha, glorious still in regal might,
Doth he pass his bright life's evening in each pure and holy rite?
my mother, Queen Kausalya, still for Rama wet her eye,
And the gentle Queen Sumitra for her banished Lakshman sigh,
the peerless Queen Kaikeyi pass her days in duties fair,
Guard her Bharat's mighty empire, tend him with a mother's care?
each holy rite and homage to the Gods and Fathers done,
Is the honour due to elders rendered by each duteous son,
thy warriors guard thy kingdom as of yore with matchless skill,
And with counsel deep and duteous do thy min'sters serve thy will?
thy fields in corn and produce fed by rivers broad and deep,
Rich thy green unending pastures with the kine and fattened sheep,
the herdsman and his cattle, tend the tiller of the soil,
Watch and help with all thy bounty workmen in their peaceful toil,
the monarch's highest duty is to serve his people's weal
And the ruler's richest glory is to labour and to heal!
thy forts with sleepless caution with the engines of the war,
With the men who shoot the arrow and who drive the flying car,
Kosala's royal treasure, make thy gifts of wealth and food,
Not to lords and proud retainers, but to worthy and the good!
justice pure and spotless as befits thy royal line,
And to save the good and guiltless, Bharat, be it ever thine,
the tears of suffering virtue wither like the thunder levin,
And they slay our men and cattle like the wrath of righteous heaven,
be thy lore of Veda, fruitful be each pious rite,
Be thy queen a fruitful mother, be thy empire full of might!"
weeping, Bharat answered Dasa-ratha's eldest son,
"Dasa-ratha walks the bright sky, for his earthly task is done!
impelled by Queen Kaikeyi to the woods he bade thee go,
And his spotless fame was clouded and his bosom sank in woe,
my mother, late repenting, weeps her deed of deepest shame,
Weeps her wedded lord departed, and a woman's tarnished fame!
alone canst wipe this insult by a deed of kindness done,
Rule o'er Dasa-ratha's empire, Dasa-ratha's eldest son,
queens and loyal subjects supplicate thy noble grace,
Rule o'er Raghu's ancient empire, son of Raghu's royal race!
our ancient Law ordaineth and thy Duty makes it plain,
Eldest-born succeeds his father as the king of earth and main,
the fair Earth loved and welcomed, Rama, be her wedded lord,
As by planet-jewelled Midnight is the radiant Moon adored!
thy father's ancient min'sters and thy courtiers faithful still,
Wait to do thy righteous mandate and to serve thy royal will,
a pupil, as a brother, as a slave, I seek thy grace,
Come and rule thy father's empire, king of Raghu's royal race!"
on the feet of Rama, Bharat placed his lowly head,
Weeping for his sire departed, tears of sorrow Rama shed,
he raised his loving brother with an elder's deathless love,
Sorrow wakes our deepest kindness and our holiest feelings prove!
I may not," answered Rama, "seek Ayodhya's ancient throne,
For a righteous father's mandate duteous son may not disown,
I may not, gentle brother, break the word of promise given,
To a king and to a father who is now a saint in heaven!
on thee, nor on thy mother, rests the censure or the blame,
Faithful to his father's wishes Rama to the forest came,
the son and duteous consort serve the father and the lord,
Higher than an empire's glory is a father's spoken word!
inviolate is his mandate,--on Ayodhya's jewelled throne,
Or in pathless woods and jungle Rama shall his duty own,
inviolate is the blessing by a loving mother given,
For she blessed my life in exile like a pitying saint of heaven!
shalt rule the kingdom, Bharat, guard our loving people well,
Clad in wild bark and in deer-skin I shall in the forests dwell,
spake saintly Dasa-ratha in Ayodhya's palace hall,
And a righteous father's mandate duteous son may not recall!"
KAUSALYA'S LAMENT AND RAMA'S REPLY
Slow and sad with Saint Vasishtha, with each widowed royal dame,
Unto Rama's hermit-cottage ancient Queen Kausalya came,
she saw him clad in wild bark like a hermit stern and high,
And an anguish smote her bosom and a tear bedewed her eye.
bowed unto his mother and each elder's blessings sought,
Held their feet in salutation with a holy reverence fraught,
the queens with loving fingers, with a mother's tender care,
Swept the dust of wood and jungle from his head and bosom fair,
too in loving homage bent before each royal dame,
And they blessed the faithful hero spotless in his righteous fame.
came the soft-eyed Sita with obeisance soft and sweet,
And with hands in meekness folded bent her tresses to their feet,
and anguish smote their bosoms, round their Sita as they prest,
As a mother clasps a daughter, clasped her in their loving breast!
from royal hall and mansions, ranger of the darksome wood,
Reft of home and kith and kindred by her forest but she stood!
thou, daughter of Videha," weeping thus Kausalya said,
"Dwelt in woods and leafy cottage and in pathless jungle strayed,
thou, Rama's royal consort, lived a homeless anchorite
Pale with rigid fast and penance, worn with toil of righteous rite?
thy sweet face, gentle Sita, is like faded lotus dry,
And like lily parched by sunlight, lustreless thy beauteous eye,
the gold untimely tarnished is thy sorrow-shaded brow,
Like the moon by shadows darkened is thy form of beauty now!
an anguish scathes my bosom like the withering forest fire,
Thus to see thee, duteous daughter, in misfortunes deep and dire,
is wide Kosala's empire, dark is Raghu's royal house,
When in woods my Rama wanders and my Rama's royal spouse!
gentle Sita answered, answered Rama fair and tall,
That a righteous father's mandate duteous son may not recall!
JABALI'S REASONING AND RAMA'S REPLY
Jabali a learned Brahman and a Sophist skilled in word,
Questioned Faith and Law and Duty, spake to young Ayodhya's lord:
Rama, idle maxims cloud thy heart and warp thy mind,
Maxims which mislead the simple and the thoughtless human kind?
nor friendship doth a mortal to his kith or kindred own,
Entering on his Nvide earth friendless, and departing all alone,
upon the father and the mother dotes the son,
Kinship is an idle fancy,-save thyself thy kith is none!
the wayside inn he halteth who in distant lands doth roam,
Leaves it with the dawning daylight for another transient home,
on earth are kin and kindred, home and country, wealth and store,
We but meet them on our journey, leave them as we pass before!
for a father's mandate leave thy empire and thy throne,
Pass thy days in trackless jungle sacrificing all thy own,
to Ayodhya's city, as to longing wife's embrace,
Speed'st thou not to rule thy empire, lord of Raghu's royal race?
claims no duty, and this will is empty word,
View him as a foreign monarch, of thy realm thou art the lord,
is departed, gone where all the mortals go,
For a dead man's idle mandate wherefore lead this life of woe?
I weep for erring mortals who on erring duty bent
Sacrifice their dear enjoyment till their barren life is spent,
to Gods and to the Fathers vainly still their offerings make,
Waste of food! for God nor Father doth our pious homage take!
the food by one partaken, can it nourish other men,
Food bestowed upon a Brahman, can it serve our Fathers then?
priests have forged these maxims and with selfish objects say,
Make thy gifts and do thy penance, leave thy worldly wealth and
is no Hereafter, Rama, vain the hope and creed of men,
Seek the pleasures of the present, spurn illusions poor and vain,
the course of sense and wisdom, cast all idle faith aside,
Take the kingdom Bharat offers, rule Ayodhya in thy pride!"
thy purpose," answered Rama," false thy reason leads astray,
Tortuous wisdom brings no profit, virtue shuns the crooked way,
the deed proclaims the hero from the man of spacious lies,
Marks the true and upright Arya from the scheming worldly-wise!
assuming virtue's mantle I should seek the sinful path,
Gods who judge our secret motives curse me with their deepest wrath,
thy counsel helps not, rishi, mansions of the sky to win,
And a king his subjects follow adding deeper sin to sin!
aside thy crafty reasoning, Truth is still our ancient way,
Truth sustains the earth and nations and a monarch's righteous sway,
Gods and holy sages find in Truth their haven shore,
Scorning death and dark destruction, Truth survives for evermore!
than the serpent's venom is the venom of a lie,
From the false, than from the cobra, men with deeper terror fly,
than the food to mortals, Truth as nourishment is given,
Truth sustains the wide creation, Truth upholds the highest heaven,
were gifts and sacrifices, rigid penances were vain,
Profitless the holy Vedas but for Truth which they sustain,
and rites and rigid penance have no aim or purpose high,
Save in Truth which rules the wide earth and the regions of the
have plighted truth and promise and my word may not unsay,
Fourteen years in pathless forests father's mandate I obey,
I seek no spacious reasons my relinquished throne to win,
Gods nor Fathers nor the Vedas counsel tortuous paths of sin!
rishi, still unchanging shall remain my promise given
To my mother Queen Kaikeyi, to my father now in heaven,
rishi, still in jungle we shall seek the forest fare,
Worship Gods who watch our actions, and pervade the earth and air!
AGNI, unto VAYU, shall my constant prayers run,
I shall live like happy INDRA, hundred sacrifices done,
the deep and darksome jangle shall be Rama's royal hall,
For a righteous father's mandate duteous son may not recall!"
Tears nor sighs nor sad entreaty Rama's changeless purpose shook,
Till. once more with hands conjoinéd Bharat to his elder
true to royal mercy, true to duties of thy race,
Grant this favour to thy mother, to thy brother grant this grace,
were my unaided efforts to protect our father's throne,
Town and hamlet, lord and tiller, turn to thee and thee alone!
Rama, friends and kinsmen, chiefs and warriors, turn in pain,
And each city chief and elder, and each humble village swain,
thy empire strong, unshaken, on a loyal nation's will,
With thy worth and with thy valour serve thy faithful people still!"
raised the prostrate Bharat to his ever-loving breast,
And in voice of tuneful hansa thus his gentle speech addrest:
me, Bharat, lofty virtue, strength and will to thee belong,
Thou could'st rule a worldwide empire in thy faith and purpose strong,
our father's ancient min'sters, ever faithful, wise and deep,
They shall help thee with their counsel and thy ancient frontiers
the Moon may lose his lustre, Himalaya lose his snow,
Heaving Ocean pass his confines surging from the caves below,
the truth-abiding Rama will not move from promise given,
He hath spoke and will not palter, help him righteous Gods in heaven!"
like the Sun in splendour, beauteous like the Lord of Night,
Rama vowed his Vow of Duty, changeless in his holy might!
token," answered Bharat, "still I seek from Rama's hand,
Token of his love and kindness, token of his high command,
thy feet cast forth those sandals, they shall decorate the throne.
They shall nerve my heart to duty and shall safely guard thy own,
shall to a loyal nation absent monarch's will proclaim,
Watch the frontiers of the empire and the people's homage claim!"
gave the loosened sandals as his younger humbly prayed,
Bharat bowed to them in homage and his parting purpose said:
alone will banished Rama barks and matted tresses wear,
Fourteen years the crownéd Bharat will in hermit's dress
Bharat dwells in palace guised as hermit of the wood,
In the sumptuous hall of feasting wild fruit is his only food,
years shall pass in waiting, weary toil and penance dire
Then, if Rama comes not living, Bharat dies upon the pyre!"
THE HERMITAGE OF ATRI
With the sandals of his elder Bharat to Ayodhya went,
Rama sought for deeper forests on his arduous duty bent,
with his wife and Lakshman slowly sought the hermitage,
Where resided saintly Atri, Vedic Bard and ancient sage.
wife of Atri, votaress of Gods above,
Welcomed Sita in her cottage, tended her with mother's love,
her robe and holy garland, jewelled ring and chain of gold,
Heard the tale of love and sadness which the soft-eyed Sita told:
the monarch of Videha held the plough and tilled the earth,
From the furrow made by ploughshare infant Sita sprang to birth,
the monarch of Videha welcomed kings of worth and pride,
Rama 'midst the gathered monarchs broke the bow and won the bride,
by Queen Kaikeyi's mandate Rama lost his father's throne,
Sita followed him in exile in the forest dark and lone!
from the lips of Sita words of joy and sorrow fell,
And the pure-souled pious priestess wept to hear the tender tale,
she kissed her on the forehead, held her on her ancient breast,
And in mother's tender accents thus her gentle thoughts exprest:
the tale you tell me, Sita, of thy wedding and thy love,
Of the true and tender Rama, righteous as the Gods above,
thy wifely deep devotion fills my heart with purpose high,
Stay with us my gentle daughter for the night shades gather nigh.
from each distant region feathered songsters seek their nest,
Twitter in the leafy thickets ere they seek their nightly rest,
from their pure ablutions with their pitcher smooth and fair,
In their dripping barks the hermits to their evening rites repair,
in sacred agni-hotra holy anchorites engage,
And a wreath of smoke ascending marks the altar of each sage.
a deeper shadow mantles bush and brake and trees around,
And a thick and inky darkness falls upon the distant ground,
prowlers of the jungle steal beneath the sable shade,
But the tame deer by the altar seeks his wonted nightly bed.
how by the stars encircled sails the radiant Lord of Night,
With his train of silver glory streaming o'er the azure height,
thy consort waits thee, Sita, but before thou leavest, fair,
Let me deck thy brow and bosom with these jewels rich and rare,
these eyes and grey these tresses, but a thrill of joy is mine,
Thus to see thy youth and beauty in this gorgeous garment shine!"
at heart the ancient priestess clad her in apparel meet,
And the young wife glad and grateful bowed to Anasuya's feet,
and jewelled, bright and beauteous, sweet-eyed Sita softly came,
Where with anxious heart awaited Rama prince of righteous fame.
a wifely love and longina Sita met her hero bold,
Anasuya's love and kindness in her grateful accents told,
and his brother listened of the grace by Sita gained,
Favours of the ancient priestess, pious blessings she had rained.
the rishi's peaceful asram Rama passed the sacred night,
In the hushed and silent forest silvered by the moon's pale light,
dawned, to deeper forests Rama went serene and proud,
As the sun in midday splendour sinks within a bank of cloud