The Ramayana/Book I/Canto XXX: The Mysterious Powers

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The Ramayana of Valmiki by Valmiki, translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
Book I — Canto XXX: The Mysterious Powers[1]

Pure, with glad cheer and joyful breast,
Of those mysterious arms possessed,
Ráma, now passing on his way,
Thus to the saint began to say:
'Lord of these mighty weapons, I
Can scarce be harmed by Gods on high;
Now, best of saints, I long to gain
The powers that can these arms restrain.'
Thus spoke the prince. The sage austere,
True to his vows, from evil clear,
Called forth the names of those great charms
Whose powers restrain the deadly arms,
Receive thou True and Truly famed,
And Bold and Fleet: the weapons named

Warder and Progress, swift of pace,
Averted-head and Drooping-face;
The Seen, and that which Secret flies;
The weapon of the thousand eyes;
Ten-headed, and the Hundred-faced,
Star-gazer and the Layer-waste:
The Omen-bird, the Pure-from-spot,
The pair that wake and slumber not:
The Fiendish, that which shakes amain,
The Strong-of-Hand, the Rich-in-Gain:
The Guardian, and the Close-allied,
The Gaper, Love, and Golden-side;
O Raghu's son receive all these,
Bright ones that wear what forms they please;
Kris'ásva's mystic sons are they,
And worthy thou their might to sway.'
With joy the pride of Raghu's race
Received the hermit's proffered grace,
Mysterious arms, to check and stay,
Or smite the foeman in the fray.
Then, all with heavenly forms endued,
Nigh came the wondrous multitude.
Celestial in their bright attire
Some shone like coals of burning fire;
Some were like clouds of dusky smoke;
And suppliant thus they sweetly spoke:
'Thy thralls, O Ráma, here we stand:
Command, we pray, thy faithful band'
'Depart,' he cried, 'where each may list,
But when I call you to assist,
Be present to my mind with speed,
And aid me in the hour of need.'

To Ráma then they lowly bent,
And round him in due reverence went.
To his command, they answered, Yea,
And as they came so went away.
When thus the arms had homeward flown,
With pleasant words and modest tone,
E'en as he walked, the prince began
To question thus the holy man:
'What cloudlike wood is that which near
The mountain's side I see appear?
O tell me, for I long to know;
Its pleasant aspect charms me so.
Its glades are full of deer at play,
And sweet birds sing on every spray,
Past is the hideous wild; I feel
So sweet a tremor o'er me steal,
And hail with transport fresh and new
A land that is so fair to view.
Then tell me all, thou holy Sage,
And whose this pleasant hermitage
In which those wicked ones delight
To mar and kill each holy rite.
And with foul heart and evil deed
Thy sacrifice, great Saint, impede.
To whom, O Sage, belongs this land
In which thine altars ready stand!
'Tis mine to guard them, and to slay
The giants who the rites would stay.
All this, O best of saints, I burn
From thine own lips, my lord, to learn.'


  1. In Sanskrit Sankára, a word which has various significations but the primary meaning of which is the act of seizing. A magical power seems to be implied of employing the weapons when and where required. The remarks I have made on the preceding Canto apply with still greater force to this. The MSS. greatly vary in the enumeration of these Sankáras, and it is not surprising that copyists have incorrectly written the names which they did not well understand. The commentators throw no light upon the subject.' SCHLEGEL. I have taken the liberty of omitting four of these which Schlegel translates 'Sclerom* balum, Euomphalium, Cantiventrem, and Chrysomphalum.'