The Ramayana/Book II/Canto CVI: Bharat's Speech

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The Ramayana of Valmiki , translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
Canto CVI: Bharat's Speech

Good Bharat, by the river side,
To virtuous Ráma's speech replied,
And thus with varied lore addressed
The prince, while nobles round him pressed:
'In all this world whom e'er can we
Find equal, scourge of foes, to thee?
No ill upon thy bosom weighs.
No thoughts of joy thy spirit raise.
Approved art thou of sages old,
To whom thy doubts are ever told.
Alike in death and life, to thee
The same to be and not to be.
The man who such a soul can gain
Can ne'er be crushed by woe or pain.
Pure as the Gods, high-minded, wise,
Concealed from thee no secret lies.
Such glorious gifts are all thine own,
And birth and death to thee are known,
That ill can ne'er thy soul depress
With all-subduing bitterness.
O let my prayer, dear brother, win
Thy pardon for my mother's sin.
Wrought for my sake who willed it not
When absent in a distant spot.
Duty alone with binding chains
The vengeancs due to crime restrains,
Or on the sinner I should lift
My hand in retribution swift.
Can I who know the right, and spring
From Das'aratha, purest king--
Can I commit a heinous crime,
Abhorred by all through endless time?
The aged king I dare not blame,
Who died so rich in holy fame,
My honoured sire, my parted lord,
E'en as a present God adored.
Yet who in lore of duty skilled
So foul a crime has ever willed,
And dared defy both gain and right
To gratify a woman's spite?
When death draws near, so people say,
The sense af creatures dies away;
And he has proved the ancient saw
By acting thus in spite of law.
But O my honoured lord, be kind.
Dismiss the trespass from thy mind,
The sin the king committed, led
By haste, his consort's wrath, and dread.
For he who veils his sire's offence
With tender care and reverence--
His sons approved by all shall live:
Not so their fate who ne'er forgive.
Be thou, my lord, the noble son,
And the vile deed my sire has done,
Abhorred by all the virtuous, ne'er
Resent, lest thou the guilt too share.
Preserve us, for on thee we call.
Our sire, Kaikeyi, me and all
Thy citizens, thy kith and kin;
Preserve us and reverse the sin.
To live in woods a devotee
Can scarce with royal tasks agree,
Nor can the hermit's matted hair
Suit fitly with a ruler's care.
Do not, my brother, do not still
Pursue this life that suits thee ill.
Mid duties, of a king we count
His consecration paramount,
That he with ready heart and hand
May keep his people and his land.
What Warrior born to royal sway
From certain good would turn away,
A doubtful duty to pursue,
That mocks him with the distant view?
Thou wouldst to duty cleave, and gain
The meed that follows toil and pain.
In thy great task no labour spare:
Rule the four castes with justest care.
Mid all the four, the wise prefer
The order of the householder: [1]
Canst thou, whose thoughts to duty cleave,
The best of all the orders leave?
My better thou in lore divine,
My birth, my sense must yield to thine:
While thou, my lord, art here to reign,
How shall my hands the rule maintain?
O faithful lover of the right,
Take with thy friends the royal might,
Let thy sires' realm, from trouble free,
Obey her rightful king in thee.
Here let the priests and lords of state
Our monatch duly consecrate,
With prayer and holy verses blessed
By saint Vas'ishtha and the rest.
Anointed king by us, again
Seek fair Ayodhvá there to reign,
And like imperial Indra girt
By Gods of Storm, thy might assert.
From the three debts [2] acquittance earn,
And with thy wrath the wicked burn,
O'er all of us thy rule extend,
And cheer with boons each faithful friend.
Let thine enthronement, lord, this day
Make all thy lovers glad and gay,
And let all those who hate thee flee
To the ten winds for fear of thee.
Dear lord, my mother's words of hate
With thy sweet virtues expiate,
And from the stain of folly clear
The father whom we both revere.
Brother, to me compassion show,
I pray thee with my head bent low,
And to these friends who on thee call,--
As the Great Father pities all.
But if my tears and prayers be vain,
And thou in woods wilt still remain,
I will with thee my path pursue
And make my home in forests too.'
   Thus Bharat strove to bend his will
   With suppliant head, but he,
Earth's lord, inexorable still
   Would keep his sire's decree.
The firmness of the noble chief
   The wondering people moved,
And rapture mingling with their grief,
   All wept and all approved.
'How firm his steadfast will,' they cried,
  'Who Keeps his promise thus!
Ah, to Ayodhyá's town,' they sighed,
  'He comes not back with us'
The holy priest, the swains who tilled
  The earth, the sons of trade,
And e'en the mournful queens were filled
  With joy as Bharat prayed,
And bent their heads, then weeping stilled
  A while, his prayer to aid.


  1. The four religious orders, referable to different times of life are, that of the student, that of the householder, that of the anchourite, and that of the mendicant.
  2. To Gods, Men, and Manes.