The Ramayana/Book I/Canto VII: The Ministers

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The Ramayana of Valmiki , translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
Book I — Canto VII: The Ministers


Two sages, holy saints, had he,
His ministers and priests to be:
Vasishtha, faithful to advise.
And Vámadeva, Scripture-wise.

Eight other lords around him stood,
All skilled to counsel, wise and good;
Jayanta, Vijay, Dhrishti bold
In fight, affairs of war controlled:
Siddhárth and Arthasádhak true
Watched o'er expense and revenue,
And Dharmapál and wise Aœok
Of right and law and justice spoke.
With these the sage Sumantra, skilled
To urge the car, high station filled.
   All these in knowledge duly trained
Each passion and each sense restrained:
With modest manners, nobly bred
Each plan and nod and look they read,
Upon their neighbours' good intent,
Most active and benevolent:
As sit the Vasus[1] round their king.
They sate around him counselling.
They ne'er in virtue's loftier pride
Another's lowly gifts decried.
In fair and seemly garb arrayed,
No weak uncertain plans they made.
Well skilled in business, fair and just,
They gained the people's love and trust,
And thus without oppression stored
The swelling treasury of their lord,
Bound in sweet friendship each to each,
They spoke kind thoughts in gentle speech.
They looked alike with equal eye
On every caste, on low and high.
Devoted to their king, they sought,
Ere his tongue spoke, to learn his thought.
And knew, as each occasion rose,
To bide their counsel or disclose.
In foreign land—or in their own
Whatever passed, to them was known.
By secret spies they timely knew
What men were doing or would do.
Skilled in the grounds of war and peace
They saw the monarch's state increase,
Watching his weal with conquering eye
That never let occasion by,
While nature lent her aid to bless
Their labours with unbought success.
Never for anger, lust, or gain,
Would they their lips with falsehood stain.
Inclined to mercy they could scan
The weakness and the strength of man.
They fairly judged both high and low,
And ne'er would wrong a guiltless foe;
Yet if a fault were proved, each one
Would punish e'en his own dear son.
But there and in the kingdom's bound
No thief or man impure was found:
None of loose life or evil fame,
No temper of another's dame.
Contented with their lot each caste
Calm days in blissful quiet passed;
And, all in fitting tasks employed,
Country and town deep rest enjoyed,
With these wise lords around his throne
   The monarch justly reigned,
And making every heart his own
   The love of all men gained.
With trusty agents, as beseems,
   Each distant realm he scanned,
As the sun visits with his beams
   Each corner of the land.
Ne'er would he on a mightier foe
   With hostile troops advance,
Nor at an equal strike a blow
   In war's delusive chance.
These lords in council bore their part
With ready brain and faithful heart,
With skill and knowledge, sense and tact,
Good to advise and bold to act.
And high and endless fame he won
   With these to guide his schemes,
As, risen in his might, the sun
   Wins glory with his beams.


  1. Attendants of Indra, eight Gods whose names signify fire, light aud its phenomena.