The Ramayana/Book I/Canto XVIII: Rishyas'ring's Departure

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The Ramayana of Valmiki by Valmiki, translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
Book I — Canto XVIII: Rishyas'ring's Departure

The monarch called a Bráhman near
   And said, 'Now speed away
To Kas'yap's son, [1]the mighty seer,
   And with all reverence say
The holy child he holds so dear,
The hermit of the noble mind.
Whose equal it were hard to find,
   Returned, is dwelling here.
Go, and instead of me do thou
Before that best of hermits bow,
That still he may, for his dear son,
Show me the favour I have won.'
Soon as the king these words had said,
To Kas'yap's son the Bráhman sped.
Before the hermit low he bent
And did obeisance, reverent;
Then with meek words his grace to crave
The message of his lord he gave:
'The high-souled father of his bride
Had called thy son his rites to guide:
Those rites are o'er, the steed is slain;
Thy noble child is come again.'

Soon as the saint that speech had heard
His spirit with desire was stirred
To seek the city of the king
And to his cot his son to bring.

With young disciples at his side
Forth on his way the hermit hied,
While peasants from their hamlets ran
To reverence the holy man,
Each with his little gift of food,
Forth came the village multitude,
And, as they humbly bowed the head,
'What may we do for thee?' they said.
Then he, of Bráhmans first and best,
The gathered people thus addressed:
'Now tell me for I fain would know,
Why is it I am honoured so?'
They to the high-souled saint replied:
'Our ruler is with thee allied.
Our master's order we fulfil;
O Bráhman, let thy mind be still.'

With joy the saintly hermit heard
Each pleasant and delightful word,
And poured a benediction down
On king and ministers and town.
Glad at the words of that high saint
Some servants hastened to acquaint
Their king, rejoicing to impart
The tidings that would cheer his heart.
Soon as the joyful tale he knew
To meet the saint the monarch flew,
The guest-gift in his hand he brought,
And bowed before him and besought:
'This day by seeing thee I gain
Not to have lived my life in vain.
Now be not wroth with me, I pray,
Because I wiled thy son away.' [2]

The best of Bráhmans answer made:
'Be not, great lord of kings, afraid.
Thy virtues have not failed to win
My favour, O thou pure of sin.'
Then in the front the saint was placed,
The king came next in joyous haste,
And with him entered his abode,
Mid glad acclaim as on they rode.
To greet the sage the reverent crowd
Raised suppliant hands and humbly bowed.
Then from the palace many a dame
Following well-dressed S'ántá came,
Stood by the mighty saint and cried:
'See, honour's source, thy son's dear bride.'
The saint, who every virtue knew,
His arms around his daughter threw,
And with a father's rapture pressed
The lady to his wondering breast.
Arising from the saint's embrace
She bowed her low before his face,
And then, with palm to palm applied,
Stood by her hermit father's side.
He for his son, as laws ordain,
Performed the rite that frees from stain, [3]

And, honoured by the wise and good,
With him departed to the wood.


  1. Vibhándak, the father of Rishyás'ring.
  2. A hemis'loka is wanting in Schlegel's text, which he thus fills up in his Latin translation.
  3. Rishyas'ring, a Bráhman, had married Sántá who was of the Kshatriya or Warrior caste and an expiatory ceremony was necessary on account of this violation of the law.