The Ramayana/Book II/Canto CXIII: Bharat's Beturn

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

Bearing the sandals on his head
Away triumphant Bharat sped,
And clomb, S'atrughna by his side,
The car wherein he wont to ride.
Before the mighty army went
The lords for counsel eminent,
Vas'ishtha, Vámadeva next,
Jáváli, pure with prayer and text.
Then from that lovely river they
Turned eastward on their homeward way:
With reverent steps from left to right
They circled Chitrakúta's height,
And viewed his peaks on every side
With stains of thousand metals dyed.
Then Bharat saw, not far away,
Where Bharadwája's dwelling lay,
And when the chieftain bold and sage
Had reached that holy hermitage,
Down from the car he sprang to greet
The saint, and bowed before his feet.
High rapture filled the hermit's breast,
Who thus the royal prince addressed:
'Say, Bharat, is thy duty done?
Hast thou with Ráma met, my son?'
The chief whose soul to virtue clave
This answer to the hermit gave:
'I prayed him with our holy guide:
But Raghu's son our prayer denied,
And long besought by both of us
He answered Saint Vas'ishtha thus:
'True to my vow, I still will be
Observant of my sire's decree:
Till fourteen years complete their course
That promise shall remain in force.'
The saint in highest wisdom caught,
These solemn words with wisdom fraught,
To him in lore of language learned
Most eloquent himself returned:
'Obey my rede: let Bharat hold
This pair of sandals decked with gold:
They in Ayodhyá shall ensure
Our welfare, and our bliss secure.'
When Ráma heard the royal priest
He rose, and looking to the east
Consigned the sandals to my hand
That they for him might guard the land.
Then from the high-souled chief's abode
I turned upon my homeward road,
Dismissed by him, and now this pair
Of sandals to Ayodhyá bear.'
To him the hermit thus replied,
Bv Bharat's tidings gratified:
'No marvel thoughts so just and true,
Thou best of all who right pursue,
Should dwell in thee, O Prince of men,
As waters gather in the glen.
He is not dead,we mourn in vain:
Thy blessed father lives again,
Whose noble son we thus behold
Like Virtue's self in human mould.'
He ceased: before him Bharat fell
To clasp his feet, and said farewell:
His reverent steps around him bent,
And onward to Ayodhyá went.
His host of followers stretching far
With many an elephant and car,
Waggon and steed, and mighty train,
Traversed their homeward way again.
O'er holy Yamuná they sped,
Fair stream, with waves engarlanded,
And then once more the rivers' queen,
The blessed Gangá's self was seen.
Then making o'er that flood his way,
Where crocodiles and monsters lay,
The king to S'ringavera drew
His host and royal retinue.
His onward way he thence pursued,
And soon renowned Ayodhyá viewed.
Then burnt by woe and sad of cheer
Bharat addressed the charioteer:
'Ah, see, Ayodhyá dark and sad,
Her glory gone, once bright and glad:
Of joy and beauty reft, forlorn,
In silent grief she seems to mourn.'