Page:Myths of the Hindus & Buddhists.djvu/52

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To Bharata and Satrughna Janaka gave Mandavya and SrutakirtI, daughters of Kushadhwaja. Then those four princes, holding each his bride s hand, circumambulated the sacrificial fire, the marriage dais, the king, and all the hermits thrice, while flowers rained down from heaven and celestial music sounded. Then Dasharatha and his sons and their four brides returned home, taking with them many presents, and were welcomed by Kaushalya and Sumitra and the slender-waisted Kaikeyl. Having thus won honour, wealth, and noble brides, those four best of men dwelt at Ayodhya, serving their father.

Now, of those four sons, Rama was dearest to his father and to all men of Ayodhya. In every virtue he excelled; for he was of serene temper under all circumstances of fortune or misfortune, never vainly angered ; he remembered even a single kindness, but forgot a hundred injuries ; he was learned in the Vedas and in all arts and sciences of peace and war, such as hospitality, and policy, and logic, and poetry, and training horses and elephants, and archery; he honoured those of ripe age; he regarded not his own advantage ; he despised none, but was solicitous for the welfare of every one ; ministering to his father and his mothers, and devoted to his brothers, especially to Lakshman. But Bharata and Satrughna stayed with their uncle Ashwapati in another city.

Rama to be installed as Heir-Apparent

Now Dasharatha reflected that he had ruled for many, many years, and was weary, and he thought no joy could be greater than if he should see Rama established on the throne. He summoned a council of his vassals and counsellors and neighbouring kings and princes who were accustomed to reside in Ayodhya, and in solemn words,