The Ramayana/Book II/Canto III: Das'aratha's Precepts

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The Ramayana of Valmiki , translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
Canto III: Das'aratha's Precepts

The monarch with the prayer complied
Of suppliant hands, on every side
Uplifted like a lotus-bed:
And then these gracious words he said:
'Great joy and mighty fame are mine
Because your loving hearts incline,
In full assembly clearly shown
To place my Ráma on the throne.'
Then to Vas'ishtha, standing near,
And Vámadeva loud and clear
The monarch spoke that all might hear:
"Tis pure and lovely Chaitra now
When flowers are sweet on every bough;
All needful things with haste prepare
That Ráma be appointed heir.'

Then burst the people's rapture out
In loud acclaim and joyful shout;
And when the tumult slowly ceased
The king addressed the holy priest:
'Give order, Saint, with watchful heed
For what the coming rite will need.
This day let all things ready wait
Mine eldest son to consecrate.'
Best of all men of second birth
Vas'ishtha heard the lord of earth,
And gave commandment to the bands
Of servitors with lifted hands
Who waited on their master's eye:
'Now by to-morrow's dawn supply
Rich gold and herbs and gems of price
And offerings for the sacrifice,
Wreaths of white flowers and roasted rice.
And oil and honey, separate;
New garments and a car of state,
An elephant with lucky signs,
A fourfold host in ordered lines,
The white umbrella, and a pair
Of chowries, [1] and a banner fair;
A hundred vases, row on row,
To shine like fire in splendid glow,
A tiger's mighty skin, a bull
With gilded horns most beautiful.
All these, at dawn of coming day,
Around the royal shrine array,
Where burns the fire's undying ray.
Each palace door, each city gate
With wreaths of sandal decorate.
And with the garlands' fragrant scent
Let clouds of incense-smoke be blent.
Let food of noble kind and taste
Be for a hundred thousand placed;
Fresh curds with streams of milk bedewed
To feed the Bráhman multitude.

With care be all their wants supplied.
And mid the twice-born chiefs divide
Rich largess, with the early morn,
And oil and curds and roasted corn.
Soon as the sun has shown his light
Pronounce the prayer to bless the rite,
And then be all the Bráhmans called
And in their ordered seats installed.
Let all musicians skilled to play,
And dancing-girls in bright array
Stand ready in the second ring
Within the palace of the king.
Each honoured tree, each holy shrine
With leaves and flowery wreaths entwine,
And here and there beneath the shade
Be food prepared and presents laid.
Then brightly clad, in warlike guise,
With long swords girt upon their thighs,
Let soldiers of the nobler sort
March to the monarch's splendid court.'

Thus gave command the twice-born pair
To active servants stationed there.
Then hastened to the king and said
That all their task was duly sped,
The king to wise Sumantra spake:
'Now quick, my lord, thy chariot take,
And hither with thy swiftest speed
My son, my noble Ráma lead.'

Sumantra, ere the word was given,
His chariot from the court had driven,
And Ráma, best of all who ride
In cars, came sitting by his side.
The lords of men had hastened forth
From east and west and south and north,
Áryan and stranger, those who dwell
In the wild wood and on the fell,
And as the Gods to Indra, they
Showed honour to the king that day.

Like Vásav, when his glorious form
Is circled by the Gods of storm,
Girt in his hall by kings he saw
His car-borne Ráma near him draw,
Like him who rules the minstrel band
Of heaven; [2] whose valour tilled the land,
Of mighty arm and stately pride
Like a wild elephant in stride,
As fair in face as that fair stone
Dear to the moon, of moonbeams grown, [3]
With noble gifts and grace that took
The hearts of all, and chained each look,
World-cheering as the Lord of Rain
When floods relieve the parching plain.
The father, as the son came nigh,
Gazed with an ever-thirstier eye.
Sumantra helped the prince alight

From the good chariot passing bright,
And as to meet his sire he went
Followed behind him reverent.
Then Ráma clomb, the king to seek
That terrace like Kailása's peak,
And reached the presence of the king,
Sumantra closely following.
Before his father's face he came,
Raised suppliant hands and named his name, [4]
And bowing lowly as is meet
Paid reverence to the monarch's feet.
But soon as Das'aratha viewed
The prince in humble attitude,
He raised him by the hand in haste
And his beloved son embraced,
Then signed him to a glorious throne,
Gem-decked and golden, near his own.
Then Ráma, best of Raghu's line,
Made the fair seat with lustre shine
As when the orient sun upsprings
And his pure beam on Meru flings.
The glory flashed on roof and wall,
And with strange sheen suffused the hall,
As when the moon's pure rays are sent
Through autumn's star-lit firmament.
Then swelled his breast with joy and pride
As his dear son the father eyed,
E'en as himeself more fair arrayed
In some clear mirror's face displayed.
The aged monarch gazed awhile,
Then thus addressed him with a smile,
As Kas'yap, whom the worlds revere,
Speaks for the Lord of Gods to hear:
'O thou of all my sons most dear,
In virtue best, thy father's peer,
Child of my consort first in place,
Mine equal in her pride of race,
Because the people's hearts are bound
To thee by graces in thee found,
Be thou in Pushya's favouring hour
Made partner of my royal power.
I know that thou by nature's bent
Both modest art and excellent,
But though thy gifts no counsel need
My love suggests the friendly rede.
Mine own dear son, be modest still,
And rule each sense with earnest will.
Keep thou the evils far away
That spring from love and anger's sway.
Thy noble course alike pursue
In secret as in open view,
And every nerve, the love to gain
Of ministers and subjects, strain.
The happy prince who sees with pride
His thriving people satisfied;
Whose arsenals with arms are stored,
And treasury with golden hoard,--

His friends rejoice as joyed the Blest
When Amrit crowned their eager quest.
So well, my child, thy course maintain,
And from all ill thy soul refrain.'

The friends of Ráma, gathered nigh,
Longing their lord to gratify,
Ran to Kaus'alyá's bower to tell
The tidings that would please her well.
She, host of dames, with many a gem,
And gold, and kine rewarded them.

Then Ráma paid the reverence due,
Mounted the chariot, and withdrew,
And to his splendid dwelling drove
While crowds to show him honour strove.
   The people, when the monarch's speech
     Their willing ears had heard,
   Were wild with joy as though on each
     Great gifts had been conferred.
   With meek and low salute each man
     Turned to his home away,
   And there with happy heart began
     To all the Gods to pray.


  1. Whisks, usually made of the long tails of the Yak.
  2. Chitraratha, King of the Gandharvas.
  3. The Chandrakánta or Moonstone, a sort of crystal supposed to be composed of congealed moonbeams.
  4. A customary mark of respect to a superior.