The Ramayana/Book I/Canto XXV: The Hermitage of Love

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The Ramayana of Valmiki by Valmiki, translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
Book I — Canto XXV: The Hermitage of Love

Soon as appeared the morning light
Up rose the mighty anchorite,
And thus to youthful Ráma said,
Who lay upon his leafy bed:
'High fate is hers who calls thee son:
   Arise,'tis break of day;
Rise, Chief, and let those rites be done
   Due at the morning's ray.' [1]
At that great sage's high behest
   Up sprang the princely pair,
To bathing rites themselves addressed,
   And breathed the holiest prayer.
Their morning task completed, they
   To Vis'vámitra came

That store of holy works, to pay
   The worship saints may claim.
Then to the hallowed spot they went
   Along fair Sarjú's side
Where mix her waters confluent
   With three-pathed Gangá's tide. [2]
There was a sacred hermitage
   Where saints devout of mind
Their lives through many a lengthened age
   To penance had resigned.
That pure abode the princes eyed
   With unrestrained delight,
And thus unto the saint they cried.
   Rejoicing at the sight:
'Whose is that hermitage we see?
   Who makes his dwelling there?
Full of desire to hear are we:
   O Saint, the truth declare.'
The hermit smiling made reply
   To the two boys' request:
'Hear, Rama, who in days gone by
   This calm retreat possessed.
Kandarpa in apparent form,
   Called Káma [3]by the wise,
Dared Umá's [4]new-wed lord to storm
   And make the God his prize.
'Gainst Sthánu's [5]self, on rites austere
   And vows intent, [6]they say,
His bold rash hand be dared to rear,
   Though Sthánu cried, Away!
But the God's eye with scornful glare
   Fell terrible on him.
Dissolved the shape that was so fair

   And burnt up every limb.
Since the great God's terrific rage
   Destroyed his form and frame,
Káma in each succeeding age
   Has borne Ananga's [7]name.
So, where his lovely form decayed,
   This land is Anga styled:
Sacred to him of old this shade,
   And hermits undefiled.
Here Scripture-talking elders sway
   Each sense with firm control,
And penance-rites have washed away
   All sin from every soul.
One night, fair boy, we here will spend,
   A pure stream on each hand,
And with to-morrow's light will bend
   Our steps to yonder strand.
Here let us bathe, and free from stain
   To that pure grove repair,
Sacred to Káma, and remain
   One night in comfort there.'
With penance' far-discerning eye
   The saintly men beheld
Their coming, and with transport high
   Each holy bosom swelled.
To Kus'ik's son the gift they gave
   That honoured guest should greet,
Water they brought his feet to lave,
   And showed him honor meet.
Ráma, and Lakshman next obtained
   In due degree their share.
Then with sweet talk the guests remained,
   And charmed each listener there.
The evening prayers were duly said
   With voices calm and low:
Then on the ground each laid his head
   And slept till morning's glow.


  1. 'At the rising of the sun as well as at noon certain observances, invocations, and prayers were prescribed which might under no circumstances be omitted. One of these observances was the recitation of the Sávitri, a Vedic hymn to the Sun of wonderful beauty.' GORBESIO.
  2. Tripathaga, Three-path-go, flowing in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. See Canto XLV
  3. Tennyson's ' Indian Cama,' the God of Love, known also by many other names.
  4. Uma, or Parvati, was daughter of Himálaya, Monarch of mountains, and wife of S'iva. See Kálidása's Kumára Sambhava, or Birth of the War-God.
  5. Sthánu, The Unmoving one, a name of S'iva.
  6. The practice of austerities, voluntary tortures, and mortifications was anciently universal in India, and was held by the Indians to be of immense efficacy. Hence they mortified themselves to expiate sins, to acquire merits, and to obtain superhuman gifts and powers; the Gods themselves sometimes exercised themselves in such austerities, either to raise themselves to greater power and grandeur, or to counteract the austerities of man which threatened to prevail over them and to deprive them of heaven.... Such austerities were called in India tapas (burning ardour, fervent devotion) and he who practised them tapasvin.'GORRESIO.
  7. The Bodiless one.