The Ramayana/Book II/Canto LXVIII: The Envoys

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The Ramayana of Valmiki , translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
Canto LXVIII: The Envoys

Vas'ishtha heard their speech and prayer,
And thus addressed the concourse there.
Friends, Brámans, counsellors, and all
Assembled in the palace hall:
'Ye know that Bharat, free from care,
Still lives in Rámagriha [1] where
The father of his mother reigns:
S'atrughna by his side remains.
Let active envoys, good at need,
Thither on fleetest horses speed,
To bring the hero youths away:
Why waste the time in dull delay?'
   Quick came from all the glad reply:
'Vas'ishtha, let the envoys fly'
He heard their speech, and thus renewed
His charge before the multitude:
'Nandan, As'ok, Siddhárth, attend,
Your ears, Jayanta, Vijay, lend:
Be yours, what need requires, to do:
I speak these words to all of you.
With coursers of the fleetest breed
To Rájagriha's city speed.
Then rid your bosoms of distress,
And Bharat thus from me address:
'The household priest and peers by us
Send health to thee and greet thee thus:
Come to thy father's home with haste:
Thine absent time no longer waste.'
But speak no word of Ráma fled,
Tell not the prince his sire is dead,
Nor to the royal youth the fate
That ruins Raghu's race relate.
Go quickly hence, and with you bear
Fine silken vestures rich and rare.
And gems and many a precious thing
As gifts to Bharat and the king.'
   With ample stores of food supplied,
Bach to his home the envoys hied,
Prepared, with steeds of swiftest race,
lo Kekaya's land [2] their way to trace.
They made all due provision there,
And every need arranged with care,
Then ordered by Vas'ishtha. they
Went forth with speed upon their way.
Then northward of Pralamba, west
Of Apartála, on they pressed,
Crossing the M'aliní that flowed
With gentle stream athwart the road.
They traversed Gangás holy waves
Where she Hastinapura [3] lives,
Thence to Panchala [4] westward fast
Through Kurujangal's land [5] they passed.
On, on their course the envoys held
By urgency of task impelled.
Quick glancing at each lucid flood
And sweet lake gay with flower and bud.
Beyond, they passed unwearied o'er,
Where glad birds fill the flood and shore
Of Saradanda racing fleet
With heavenly water clear and sweet.
Thereby a tree celestial grows
Which every boon on prayer bestows:
To its blest shade they humbly bent,
Then to Kulinga's town they went.
Then, having passed the Warrior's Wood,
In Abhikala next they stood,
O'er sacred Ikshumati [6] came,
Their ancient kings' ancestral claim.
They saw the learned Brahmans stand,
Each drinking from his hollowed hand,
And through Bahika [7] journeying still
They reached at length Sudaman's hill:
There Vishnu's footstep turned to see,
Vipasa [8] viewed, and Salmali,
And many a lake and river met,
Tank, pool, and pond, and rivulet.
And lions saw, and tigers near,
And elephants and herds of deer,
And still, by prompt obedience led,
Along the ample road they sped.
Then when their course so swift and long,
Had worn their steeds though fleet and strong,
To Girivraja's splendid town
They came by night, and lighted down.
To please their master, and to guard
     The royal race, the lineal right,
   The envoys, spent with riding hard,
To that fair city came by night. [9]


  1. Rámagriha, or Girivraja was the capital of As'vapati, Bharat's maternal grand father.
  2. The Kekayas or Kaikayas in the Punjab appear amongst the chief nations in the war of the Mahábhárata; their king being a kinsman of Krishna.
  3. Hástinapura was the capital of the kingdom of Kuru, near the modern Delhi.
  4. "The Panchálas occupied the upper part of the Doab.
  5. 'Kurujángala and its inhabitants are frequently mentioned in the Mahábhárata, as in the Ádi-parv. 3789, 4337, et al.' WILSON'S Vishnu Purána. Vol. II. p. 176. DR. HALL'S Note.
  6. 'The Ὀξύματις of Arrian. See As. Res. Vol XV. p. 420, 421, also Indische Alterthumskunde, Vol. I. p. 602, first footnote.' WILSON'S Vishnu Purána, Vol. I, p 421. DR. HALL'S Edition. The Ikshumatí was a river in Kurukshetra.
  7. 'The Bahíkas are described in the Mahábhárata, Kama Parvan, with some detail, and comprehend the different nations of the Punjab from the Sutlej to the Indus.' WILSON S Vishnu Purana. Vol.l, p. 167.
  8. The Beas, Hyphsis, or Bibasis.
  9. It would be lost labour to attempt to verify all the towns and streams mentioned in Cantos LXVIII and LXXII. Professor Wilson observes (Vishnu Purána, p. 139. Dr. Hall's Edition) 'States, and tribes, and cities have disappeared, even from recollection; and some of the natural features of the country, especially the rivers, have undergone a total alteration.

    Notwithstanding these impediments, however, we should be able to identify at least mountains and rivers, to a much greater extent than is now practicable, if our maps were not so miserably defective in their nomenclature. None of our surveyors or geographers have been oriental scholars. It may be doubted if any of them have been conversant with the spoken language of the country. They have, consequently, put down names at random, according to their own inaccurate appreciation of sounds carelessly, vulgarly, and corruptly uttered; and their maps of India are crowded with appellations which bear no similitude whatever either to past or present denominations. "We need not wonder that we cannot discover Sanskrit names in English maps, when, in the immediate vicinity of Calcutta, Barnagore represents Barahanagar, Dakshineswar is metamorphosed into Duckinsore, Ulubaria into Willoughbury.......There is scarcely a name in our Indian maps that does not afford proof of extreme indifference to accuracy in nomenclature, and of an incorrectness in estimating sounds, which is, in some degree, perhaps, a national defect.'

    For further information regarding the road from Ayodhya to Rajagriha, see Additional Notes.