The Ramayana/Book II/Canto LXXXI: The Assembly

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The Ramayana of Valmiki , translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
Canto LXXXI: The Assembly

Ere yet the dawn had ushered in
The day should see the march begin,
Herald and bard who rightly knew
Each nice degree of honour due,
Their loud auspicious voices raised.
And royal Bharat blessed and praised.
With sticks of gold the drum they smote,
Which thundered out its deafening note,
Blew loud the sounding shell, and blent
Each high and low-toned instrument.
The mingled sound of drum and horn
Through all the air was quickly borne,
And as in Bharat's ear it rang,
Gave the sad prince another pang.
  Then Bharat starting from repose,
Stilled the glad sounds that round him rose,
'I am not king--no more mistake:'
Then to S'atrughna thus he spake:
'O see what general wrongs succeed
Sprung from Kaikeyí's evil deed!
The king my sire has died and thrown
Fresh miseries on me alone.
The royal bliss, on duty based.
Which our just high-souled father graced,
Wanders in doubt and sore distress
Like a tossed vessel rudderless.
And he who was our lordly stay
Roams in the forest far away,
Expelled by this my mother, who
To duty's law is most untrue.'
  As royal Bharat thus gave vent
To bitter grief in wild lament,
Gazing upon his face the crowd
Of pitying women wept aloud.
His lamentation scarce was o'er,
When Saint Vas'ishtha, skilled in lore
Of royal duty, dear to fame,
To join the great assembly came.
Girt by disciples ever true
Still nearer to that hall he drew,
Resplendent, heavenly to behold,
Adorned with wealth of gems and gold:
E'en so a man in duty tried
Draws near to meet his virtuous bride.
He reached his golden seat o'erlaid
With coverlet of rich brocade.
There sat, in all the Vedas read,
And called the messengers, and said:
'Go forth, let Bráhman, Warrior, peer,
And every captain gather here:
Let all attentive hither throng:
Go, hasten: we delay too long.
S'atrughna, glorious Bharat bring,
The noble children of the king, [1]
Yudhájit [2] and Sumantra, all
The truthful and the virtuous call,'
   He ended: soon a mighty sound
Of thickening tumult rose around,
As to the hall they bent their course
With car, and elephant, and horse,
The people all with glad acclaim
Welcomed Prince Bharat as he came:
E'en as they loved their king to greet,
Or as the Gods Lord Indra [3] meet.
   The vast assembly shone as fair
     With Bharat's kingly face
   As Das'aratha's self were there
     To glorify the place.
   It gleamed like some unruffled lake
     Where monsters huge of mould
   With many a snake their pastime take
     O'er shells, sand, gems, and gold.


  1. The commentator says 'S'atrughna accompanied by the other sons of the king.'
  2. Not Bharat's uncle, but some councillor.
  3. S'atakratu, Lord of a hundred sacrifices, the performance of a hundred As'vamedhas or sacrifices of a horse entitling the sacrificer to this exalted dignity.