The Ramayana/Book I/Canto LX: Tris'anku's Ascension

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The Ramayana of Valmiki , translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
Canto LX: Tris'anku's Ascension

So with ascetic might, in ire,
He smote the children and the sire.
Then Vis'vámitra, far-renowned,
Addressed the saints who gathered round:
'See by my side Tris'anku stand,
Ikshváku's son, of liberal hand.
Most virtuous and gentle, he
Seeks refuge in his woe with me.
Now, holy men, with me unite,
And order so his purposed rite
That in the body he may rise
And win a mansion in the skies.'

They heard his speech with ready ear
And, every bosom filled with fear
Of Vis'vámitra, wise and great.
Spoke each to each in brief debate:
'The breast of Kus'ik's son, we know,
With furious wrath is quick to glow.
Whate'er the words he wills to say,
We must, be very sure, obey.
Fierce is our lord as fire, and straight
May curse us all infuriate.
So let us in these rites engage,
As ordered by the holy sage.
And with our best endeavour strive
That King Ikshváku's son, alive,
In body to the skies may go
By his great might who wills it so.'

Then was the rite begun with care:
All requisites and means were there:
And glorious Vis'vámitra lent
His willing aid as president.
And all the sacred rites were done
By rule and use, omitting none,
By chaplain-priest, the hymns who knew,
In decent form and order due.
Some time in sacrifice had past,
And Vis'vámitra made, at last,
The solemn offering with the prayer
That all the Gods might come and share.
But the Immortals, one and all,
Refused to hear the hermit's call.

Then red with rage his eyeballs blazed:
The sacred ladle high he raised,
And cried to King Ikshváku's son:
'Behold my power, by penance won:
Now by the might my merits lend,
Ikshváku's child, to heaven ascend.
In living frame the skies attain,
Which mortals thus can scarcely gain.
My vows austere, so long endured,
Have, as I ween, some fruit assured.
Upon its virtue, King, rely,
And in thy body reach the sky.'

His speech had scarcely reached its close
When, as he stood, the sovereign rose,
And mounted swiftly to the skies
Before the wondering hermits' eyes'

But Indra, when he saw the king
His blissful regions entering,
With all the army of the Blest
Thus cried unto the unbidden guest:
'With thy best speed, Tris'anku, flee:
Here is no home prepared for thee.
By thy great master's curse brought low,
Go, falling headlong, earthward go.'

Thus by the Lord of Gods addressed,
Tris'anku fell from fancied rest,
And screaming in his swift descent,
'O, save me, Hermit?' down he went.
And Vis'vámitra heard his cry,
And marked him falling from the sky,
And giving all his passion sway,
Cried out in fury, 'Stay, O stay!'

By penance-power and holy lore,
Like Him who framed the worlds of yore,
Seven other saints he fixed on high
To star with light the southern sky.
Girt with his sages forth he went,
And southward in the firmament
New wreathed stars prepared to set
In many a sparkling coronet.
He threatened, blind with rage and hate,
Another Indra to create,
Or, from his throne the ruler hurled,
All Indraless to leave the world.
Yea, borne away by passion's storm,
The sage began new Gods to form.
But then each Titan, God, and saint,
Confused with terror, sick and faint,
To high souled Vis'vámitra hied,
And with soft words to soothe him tried:
'Lord of high destiny, this king,
To whom his master's curses cling,
No heavenly home deserves to gain,
Unpurified from curse and stain.'

The son of Kus'ik, undeterred,
The pleading of the Immortals heard,
And thus in haughty words expressed
The changeless purpose of his breast:
'Content ye, Gods: I soothly sware
Tris'anku to the skies to bear
Clothed in his body, nor can I
My promise cancel or deny.
Embodied let the king ascend
To life in heaven that ne'er shall end.
And let these new-made stars of mine
Firm and secure for ever shine.
Let these, my work, remain secure
Long as the earth and heaven endure.
This, all ye Gods, I crave: do you
Allow the boon for which I sue.'
Then all the Gods their answer made:
'So be it, Saint, as thou hast prayed.
Beyond the sun's diurnal way
Thy countless stars in heaven shall stay:
And 'mid them hung, as one divine,
Head downward shall Tris'anku shine;
And all thy stars shall ever fling
Their rays attendant on the king.' [1]

The mighty saint, with glory crowned,
With all the sages compassed round,
Praised by the Gods, gave full assent,
And Gods and sages homeward went.


  1. 'The seven ancient rishis or saints, as has been said before, were the seven stars of Ursa Major. The seven other new saints which are here said to have been created by Vis'vámitra, should be seven new southern stars, a sort of new Ursa. Von Schlegel thinks that this mythical fiction of new stars created by Vis'vámitra may signify that these southern stars, unknown to the Indians as long as they remained in the neighbourhood of the Ganges, became known to them at a later date when they colonized the southern regions of Indra.' GORRESIO.