The Ramayana/Book I/Canto XXXV: Visvámitra's Lineage

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The Ramayana of Valmiki by Valmiki, translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
Book I — Canto XXXV: Visvámitra's Lineage

'The rites were o'er, the maids were wed,
The bridegroom to his home was sped.
The sonless monarch bade prepare
A sacrifice to gain an heir.
Then Kus'a, Brahmá's son, appeared,
And thus King Kus'anábha cheered:
'Thou shalt, my child, obtain a son
Like thine own self, O holy one.
Through him for ever, Gádhi named,
Shalt thou in all the worlds be famed.'
'He spoke, and vanished from the sight
To Brahmá's world of endless light.
Time fled, and, as the saint foretold,
Gádhi was born, the holy-souled.
My sire was he; through him I trace
My line from royal Kus'a's race.
My sister--elder-born was she--
The pure and good Satyavatí, [1]
Was to the great Richika wed.
Still faithful to her husband dead,
She followed him, most noble dame,
And, raised to heaven in human frame,
A pure celestial stream became.
Down from Himálaya's snowy height,
In floods for ever fair and bright,
My sister's holy waves are hurled
To purify and glad the world.
Now on Himálaya's side I dwell
Because I love my sister well.
She, for her faith and truth renowned,
Most loving to her husband found,
High-fated, firm in each pure vow,
Is queen of all the rivers now.
Bound by a vow I left her side
And to the Perfect convent hied.
There, by the aid 'twas thine to lend,
Made perfect, all my labours end.
Thus, mighty Prince, I now have told
My race and lineage, high and old,
And local tales of long ago
Which thou, O Ráma, fain wouldst know.
As I have sate rehearsing thus
The midnight hour is come on us.
Now, Ráma, sleep, that nothing may
Our journey of to-morrow stay.
No leaf on any tree is stirred:
Hushed in repose are beast and bird:

Where'er you turn, on every side,
Dense shades of night the landscape hide,
The light of eve is fled: the skies,
Thick-studded with their host of eyes,
Seem a star-forest overhead,
Where signs and constellations spread.
Now rises, with his pure cold ray,
The moon that drives the shades away,
And with his gentle influence brings
Joy to the hearts of living things.
Now, stealing from their lairs, appear
The beasts to whom the night is dear.
Now spirits walk, and every power
That revels in the midnight hour.'

The mighty hermit's tale was o'er,
He closed his lips and spoke no more.
The holy men on every side,
'Well done! well done,' with reverence cried;
'The mighty men of Kus'a's seed
Were ever famed for righteous deed.
Like Brahmá's self in glory shine
The high-souled lords of Kus'a's line,
And thy great name is sounded most,
O Saint, amid the noble host.
And thy dear sister--fairest she
Of streams, the high-born Kaus'ikí--
Diffusing virtue where she flows,
New splendour on thy lineage throws.'
Thus by the chief of saints addressed
The son of Gádhi turned to rest;
So, when his daily course is done,
Sinks to his rest the beaming sun.
Ráma with Lakshman, somewhat stirred
To marvel by the tales they heard,
Turned also to his couch, to close
His eyelids in desired repose.


  1. Now called Kos'í (Cosy) corrupted from Kaus'ikí, daughter of Kus'a.

    'This is one of those personifications of rivers so frequent in the Grecian mythology, but in the similar myths is seen the impress of the genius of each people, austere and profoundly religious in India, graceful and devoted to the worship of external beauty in Greece.' GORRESIO.