The Ramayana/Book II/Canto XXXVI: Siddhárth's Speech

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

Ikshváku's son with anguish torn
For the great oath his lips had sworn,
With tears and sighs of sharpest pain
Thus to Sumantra spake again:
'Prepare thou quick a perfect force,
Cars, elephants, and foot, and horse,
To follow Raghu's scion hence
Equipped with all magnificence.
Let traders with the wealth they sell,
And those who charming stories tell,
And dancing-women fair of face,
The prince's ample chariots grace.
On all the train who throng his courts,
And those who share his manly sports.
Great gifts of precious wealth bestow,
And bid them with their master go.
Let noble arms, and many a wain,
And townsmen swell the prince's train;
And hunters best for woodland skill
Their places in the concourse fill.
While elephants and deer he slays,
Drinking wood honey as he strays,
And looks on streams each fairer yet,
His kingdom he may chance forget.
Let all my gold and wealth of corn
With Rama to the wilds be born;
For it will soothe the exile's lot
To sacrifice in each pure spot,
Deal ample largess forth, and meet
Each hermit in his calm retreat.
The wealth shall Ráma with him bear.
Ayodhyá shall be Bharat's share.'

As thus Kakutstha's offspring spoke,
Fear in Katiketí's breast awoke.
The freshness of her face was dried,
Her trembling tongue was terror-tied.
Alarmed and sad, with bloodless cheek,
She turned to him and scarce could speak:
'Nay, Sire, but Bharat shall not gain
An empty realm where none remain.
My Bharat shall not rule a waste
Reft of all sweets to charm the taste--
The wine-cup's dregs, all dull and dead,
Whence the light foam and life are fled.'
   Thus in her rage the long-eyed dame
Spoke her dire speech untouched by shame.

Then, answering, Das'aratha spoke:
'Why. having bowed me to the yoke.
Dost thou, must cruel, spur and goad
Me who am struggling with the load?
Why didst thou not oppose at first
This hope, vile Queen, so fondly nursed?'

Scarce could the monarch's angry speech
The ears of the fair lady reach,
When thus, with double wrath inflamed,
Kaikeyí to the king exclaimed:

'Sagar, from whom thy line is traced,
Drove forth his eldest son disgraced,
Called Asamanj, whose fate we know:
Thus should thy son to exile go.'

'Fie on thee, dame!' the monarch said;
Each of her people bent his head,
And stood in shame and sorrow mute:
She marked not, bold and resolute.
Then great Siddhárth, inflamed with rage,
The good old councillor and sage
On whose wise rede the king relied,
To Queen Kaikeyí thus replied:
'But Asamanj the cruel laid
His hands on infants as they played,
Cast them to Sarjú's flood, and smiled
For pleasure when be drowned a child.' [1]
The people saw, and, furious, sped
Straight the the king his sire and said:
'Choose us, O glory of the throne,
Choose us. or Asamanj alone.'
'Whence comes this dread?' the monarch cried;
And all the people thus replied:
'In folly, King, he loves to lay
Fierce hands upon our babes at play,
Casts them to Sarjú's flood. and joys
To murder our bewildered boys.'
With heedful ear the king of men
Heard each complaining citizen.
To please their troubled minds he strove,
And from the state his son he drove.
With wife and gear upon a car
He placed him quick, and sent him far.

And thus he gave commandment, 'He
Shall all his days an exile be.'
With basket and with plough he strayed
O'er mountain heights, through pathless shade,
Roaming all lands a weary time,
An outcast wretch defiled with crime.
Sagar, the righteous path who held,
His wicked offspring thus expelled.
But what has Ráma done to blame?
Why should his sentence be the same?
No sin his stainless name can dim;
We see no fault at all in him.
Pure as the moon, no darkening blot
On his sweet life has left a spot.
If thou canst see one fault, e'en one,
To dim the fame of Raghu's son,
That fault this hour, O lady, show.
And Ráma to the wood shall go.
To drive the guiltless to the wild,
Truth's constant lover, undefiled.
Would, by defiance of the right,
The glory e'en of Indra blight.
Then cease, O lady, and dismiss
Thy hope to ruin Ráma's bliss,
Or all thy gain, O fair of face,
Will be men's hatred, and disgrace.'


  1. See Book I, Canto XXXIX. An Indian prince in more modern times appears to have diverted himself in a similar way.

    It is still reported in Belgium that Appay Deasy was wont to amuse himself "by making several young and beautiful women stand side by side on a narrow balcony, without a parapet, overhanging the deep reservoir at the new palace in Nipani. He used then to pass along the line of trembling creatures, and suddenly thrusting one of them headlong into the water below, he used to watch her drowning, and derive pleasure from her dying agonies."--History of the Belgium District. By H. J. Stokes, M. S. C.