The Ramayana/Book I/Canto LI: Vis'vámitra

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The Ramayana of Valmiki , translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
Canto LI: Vis'vámitra

Wise Vis'vámitra's tale was done:
Then sainted Gautam's eldest son,
Great S'atánanda, far-renowned,
Whom long austerities had crowned
With glory--as the news he heard
The down upon his bodv stirred,--
Filled full of wonder at the sight
Of Ráma, felt supreme delight.
When S'atánanda saw the pair
Of youthful princes seated there,
He turned him to the holy man
Who sate at ease, and thus began:
'And didst thou, mighty Sage, in truth
Show clearly to this royal youth
My mother, glorious far and wide,
Whom penance-rites have sanctified?
And did my glorious mother--she,
Heiress of noble destiny--
Serve her great guest with woodland store,
Whom all should honour evermore?
Didst thou the tale to Ráma tell
Of what in ancient days befell,
The sin, the misery, and the shame
Of guilty God and faithless dame?
And, O thou best of hermits, say,
Did Ráma's healing presence stay
Her trial? was the wife restored
Again to him, my sire and lord?
Say, Hermit, did that sire of mine
Receive her with a soul benign,
When long austerities in time
Had cleansed her from the taint of crime?

And, son of Kus'ik, let me know,
Did my great-minded father show
Honour to Ráma, and regard,
Before he journeyed hitherward?'
The hermit with attentive ear
Marked all the questions ot the seer:
To him for eloquence far-famed,
His eloquent reply he framed:
'Yea, 'twas my care no task to shun,
And all I had to do was done;
As Renuká and Bhrigu's child,
The saint and dame were reconciled.'
   When the great sage had thus replied,
To Ráma S'atánanda cried:
'A welcome visit, Prince, is thine,
Thou scion of King Raghu's line.
With him to guide thy way aright,
This sage invincible in might,
This Bráhman sage, most glorious-bright,
By long austerities has wrought
A wondrous deed, exceeding thought:
Thou knowest well, O strong of arm,
This sure defence from scathe and harm.
None, Ráma, none is living now
In all the earth more blest than thou,
That thou hast won a saint so tried
In fervid rites thy life to guide.
Now listen, Prince, while I relate
His lofty deeds and wondrous fate.
He was a monarch pious-souled.
His foemen in the dust he rolled;
Most learned, prompt at duty's claim,
His people's good his joy and aim.
   Of old the Lord of Life gave birth
To mighty Kus'a, king of earth.
His son was Kus'anábha, strong,
Friend of the right, the foe of wrong.
Gádhi, whose fame no time shall dim,
Heir of his throne was born to him,
And Vis'vámitra, Gádhi's heir,
Governed the land with kingly care.
While years unnumbered rolled away
The monarch reigned with equal sway.
At length, assembling many a band,
He led his warriors round the land--
Complete in tale, a mighty force,
Cars, elephants, and foot, and horse.
Through cities, groves, and floods he passed,
O'er lofty hills, through regions vast.
He reached Vas'ishtha's pure abode,
Where trees, and flowers, and creepers glowed,
Where troops of sylvan creatures fed;
Which saints and angels visited.
Gods, fauns, and bards of heavenly race,
And spirits, glorified the place;
The deer their timid ways forgot,
And holy Bráhmans thronged the spot.
Bright in their souls, like fire, were these,
Made pure by long austerities,
Bound by the rule of vows severe,
And each in glory Brahmá's peer.
Some fed on water, some on air,
Some on the leaves that withered there.
Roots and wild fruit were others' food;
All rage was checked, each sense subdued,
There Bálakhilyas [1] went and came,
Now breathed the prayer, now fed the flame:
These, and ascetic bands beside,
The sweet retirement beautified.
Such was Vas'ishtha's blest retreat,
Like Brahmá's own celestial seat,
Which gladdened Vis'vamitra's eyes,
Peerless for warlike enterprise.


  1. Divine personages of minute size produced from the hair of Brahmá, and probably the origin of


                'That small infantry
       Warred on by cranes.'