The Ramayana/Book II/Canto C: The Meeting

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The Ramayana of Valmiki , translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
Canto C: The Meeting

'Then Bharat to Satrughna showed
The spot, and eager onward strode,
First bidding Saint Vasishtha bring
The widowed consorts of the king,
As by fraternal love impelled
His onward course the hero held,
Sumantra followed close behind
Satrughra with an anxious mind:
Not Bharat's self more fain could be
To look on Rama's face than he.
As, speeding on, the spot he neared,
Amid the hermits' homes appeared
His brother's cot with leaves o'erspread,
And by its side a lowly shed.
Before the shed great heaps were left
Of gathered flowers and billets cleft,
And on the trees hung grass and bark
Rama and Lakshman's path to mark:
And heaps of fuel to provide
Against the cold stood ready dried.
The long-armed chief, as on he went
In glory's light preeminent,
With joyous words like these addressed
The brave Satrughna and the rest:
'This is the place, I little doubt,
Which Bharadvája pointed out,
Not far from where we stand must be
The woodland stream, Mandákini.
Here on the mountain's woody side
Roam elephants in tusked pride,
And ever with a roar and cry
Each other, as they meet, defy.
And see those smoke-wreaths thick and dark:
The presence of the flame they mark,
Which hermits in the forest strive
By every art to keep alive.
O happy me! my task is done,
And I shall look on Raghu's son,
Like some great saint, who loves to treat
His elders with all reverence meet.'
Thus Bharat reached that forest rill,
Thus roamed on Chitrakuta's hill;
Then pity in his breast awoke,
And to his friends the hero spoke:
'Woe, woe upon my life and birth!
The prince of men, the lord of earth
Has sought the lonely wood to dwell
Sequestered in a hermit's cell.
Through me, through me these sorrows fall
On him the splendid lord of all:
Through me resigning earthly bliss
He hides him in a home like this.
Now will I, by the world abhorred,
Fall at the dear feet of my lord,
And at fair Sitft's too, to win
His pardon for my heinous sin.'
   As thus he sadly mourned and sighed,
The son of Dasaratha spied
A bower of leafy branches made,
Sacred and lovely in the shade,
Of fair proportions large and tall,
Well roofed with boughs of palm, and Sál,
Arranged in order due o'erhead
Like grass upor an altar spread.
Two glorious bows were gleaming there,
Like Indra's [1] in the rainy air,
Terror of foemen. backed with gold,
Meet for the mightiest hand to hold:
And quivered arrows cast a blaze
Bright gleaming like the Day-God's rays:
Thus serpents with their eyes aglow
Adorn their capital below. [2]
Great swords adorned the cottage, laid
Each in a case of gold brocade;
There hung the trusty shields, whereon.
With purest gold the bosses shone.
The brace to bind the bowman's arm,
The glove to shield his hand from harm,
A lustre to the cottage lent
From many a golden ornament:
Safe was the cot from fear of men
As from wild beasts the lion's den.
The fire upon the altar burned,
That to the north and east was turned.
Bharat his eager glances bent
And gazed within the cot intent;
In deerskin dress, with matted hair,
Rama his chief was sitting there:
With liou-shl ulders broad and strong,
With lotus eyes, arms thick and long.
The righteous sovereign, who should be
Lord paramount from sea to sea,
High-minded, born to lofty fate,
Like Brahma's self supremely great;
With Lakshman by his side, and her,
Fair Sita, for his minister.
And Bharat gazing, overcome
By sorrow for a while was dumb,
Then, yielding to his woe, he ran
To Kama and with sobs began:
'He who a royal seat should fill
With subjects round to do his will,
My elder brother,--see him here,
With silvan creatures waiting near.
The high-souled hero, wont to wear
The costliest robes exceeding fair,
Now banished, in a deerskin dress,
Here keeps the path of righteousness.
How brooks the son of Eaghu now
The matted locks which load his brow,
Around whose princely head were twined
Sweet blossoms of the rarest kind?
The prince whose merits grew, acquired
By rites performed as he desired,
Would now a store of merit gain
Bought by his body's toil and pain.
Those limbs to which pure sandal lent
The freshness of its fragrant scent,
Exposed to sun. and dust, and rain,
Are now defiled with many a stain.
And I the wretched cause why this
Falls on the prince whose right is bliss!
Ah me, that ever I was born
To be the people's hate and scorn!'
   Thus Bharat cried: of anguish sprung,
Great drops upon his forehead hung.
He fell o'erpowered-his grief was such-
Ere he is brother's feet could touch.
As on the glorious prince he gazed
In vain his broken voice he raised:
'Dear lord'--through tears and sobbing came,
The only words his lips could frame.
And brave Satrughna wept aloud,
As low at Ráma's feet he bowed.
Then Ráma, while his tears ran fast,
His arms around his brothers cast.
Guha, Sumantra came to meet
The princes in their wild retreat.
   Vrihaspati and Sukra bright
     Their greeting thus rejoice to pay
   To the dear Lord who brings the night,
     And the great God who rules the day.
   Then wept the dwellers of the shade,
     Whose eyes the princes, meet to ride
   On mighty elephants, surveyed;
     And cast all thought of joy aside.


  1. The rainbow is called the bow of Indra.
  2. Bhogavatí, the abode of the Nagas or Serpent race.