The Ramayana/Book II/Canto XXV: Kaus'alya's Blessing

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The Ramayana of Valmiki , translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
Canto XXV: Kaus'alya's Blessing

Her grief and woe she cast aside,
Her lips with water purified,
And thus her benison began
That mother of the noblest man:
'If thou wilt hear no words of mine,
Go forth, thou pride of Raghu's line.
Go, darling, and return with speed,
Walking where noble spirits lead.
May virtue on thy steps attend.
And be her faithful lover's friend.
May Those to whom thy vows are paid
In temple and in holy shade,
With all the mighty saints combine
To keep that precious life of thine.
The arms wise Vis'vámitra [1] gave
Thy virtuous soul from danger save.
Long be thy life: thy sure defence
Shall b?thy truthful innocence,
And that obedience, naught can tire,
To me thy mother and thy sire.
May fanes where holy fires are fed,
Altars with grass and fuel spread,
Each sacrificial ground, each tree,
Rock, lake, and mountain, prosper thee.
Let old Vir?, [2] and Him who made
The universe, combine to aid;
Let Indra and each guardian Lord
Who keeps the worlds, their help afford,
And be thy constant friend the Sun,
Lord P?h? Bhaga, Aryaman. [3]
Fortnights and seasons, nights and days,
Years, months, and hours, protect thy ways,
Vrihaspati shall still be nigh,
The War-God, and the Moon on high,
And Nárad [4] and the sainted seven [5]
Shall watch thee from their starry heaven.
The mountains, and the seas which ring
The world, and Varuna the King,
Sky, ether, and the wind, whate'er
Moves not or moves, for thee shall care.
Each lunar mansion be benign,
With happier light the planets shine;
All gods, each light in heaven that glows,
Potect my child where'er he goes.
The twilight hours, the day and night,
Keep in the wood thy steps aright.
Watch, minute, instant, as they flee,
Shall all bring happiness to thee.
Celestials and the Titan brood
Protect thee in thy solitude,
And haunt the mighty wood to bless
The wanderer in his hermit dress.
Fear not, by mightier guardians screened,
The giant or night-roving fiend;
Nor let the cruel race who tear
Man's flesh for food thy bosom scare.
Far be the ape, the scorpion's sting,
Fly, gnat, and worm, and creeping thing.
Thee shall the hungry lion spare,
The tiger, elephant, and bear:
Safe, from their furious might repose,
Safe from the horned buffaloes.
Each savage thing the forests breed,
That love on human flesh to feed,
Shall for my child its rage abate,
When thus its wrath I deprecate.
Blest be thy ways: may sweet success
The valour of my darling bless.
To all that Fortune can bestow,
Go forth, my child, my Ráma, go.
Go forth, O happy in the love
Of all the Gods below, above;
And in those guardian powers confide
Thv paths who keep, thy steps who guide.
May S'ukra, [6] Yama, Sun, and Moon,
And He who gives each golden boon, [7]
Won by mine earnest pravers, be good
To thee, my son, in Dandak wood.
Fire, wind, and smoke, each text and spell
From mouths of holy seers that fell,
Guard Ráma when his limbs he dips,
Or with the stream makes pure his lips!
May the great saints and He, the Lord
Who made the worlds, by worlds adored,
And every God in heaven beside
My banished Ráma keep and guide.
Thus with due praise the long-eyed dame,
Ennobled by her spotless fame,
With wreaths of flowers and precious scent
Worshipped the Gods, most reverent.
A high-souled Br?man lit the fire,
And offered, at the queen's desire,
The holy oil ordained to burn
For Ráma's weal and safe return.
Kaus'aly? best of dames, with care
Set oil, wreaths, fuel, mustard, there.
Then when the rites of fire had ceased,
For Ráma's bliss and health, the priest,
Standing without gave what remained
In general offering, [8] as ordained.
Dealing among the twice-horn train
Honey, and curds, and oil, and grain,
He bade each heart and voice unite
To bless. the youthful anchorite.
Then Ráma's mother, glorious dame
Bestowed, to meet the Bráhman's claim,
A lordly fee for duty done:
And thus again addressed her son:
'Such blessings as the Gods o'erjoyed
Poured forth, when Vritra [9] was destroyed,
On Indra of the thousand eyes,
Attend, my child, thine enterprise!
Yea, such as Vinatá once gave
To King Suparna [10] swift and brave,
Who sought the drink that cheers the skies,
Attend, my child, thine enterprise!
Yea, such as, when the Amrit rose, [11]
And Indra slew his Daitya foes,
The royal Aditi bestowed
On Him whose hand with slaughter glowed
Of that dire brood of monstrous size,
Attend, my child, thine enterprise!
E'en such as peerless Vishnu graced,
When with his triple step he paced,
Outbursting from the dwarf's disguise, [12]
Attend, my child, thine enterprise!
Floods, isles, and seasons as they fly,
Worlds, Vedas, quarters of the sky,
Combine, O mighty-armed, to bless
Thee destined heir of happiness!'
The long-eyed lady ceased: she shed
Pure scent and grain upon his head.
And that prized herb whose sovereign power
Preserves from dark misfortune's hour,
Upon the hero's arm she set,
To be his faithful amulet.
While holy tunes she murmured low,
Aud spoke glad words though crushed by woe,
Concealing with obedient tongue
The pangs with which her heart was wrung.
She bent,she kissed his brow, she pressed
Her darling to her troubled breast:
'Firm in thy purpose, go,' she cried,
'Go Ráma, and my bliss betide.
Attain returning safe and well,
Triumphant in Ayodhyá, dwell.
Then shall my happy eyes behold
The empire by thy will controlled.
Then grief and care shall leave no trace,
Joy shall light up thy mother's face,
And I shall see my darling reign,
In moonlike glory come again.
These eyes shall fondly gaze on thee
So faithful to thy sire's decree,
When thou the forest wild shalt quit
On thine ancestral throne to sit.
Yea, thou shalt turn from exile back,
Nor choicest blessings ever lack,
Then fill with rapture ever new
My bosom and thy consort's too.
   To S'iva and the heavenly host
     My worship has been paid,
   To mighty saint, to godlike ghost,
     To every wandering shade.
   Forth to the forest thou wilt hie,
     Therein to dwell so long:
   Let all the quarters of the sky
     Protect my child from wrong.'
   Her blessings thus the queen bestowed;
     Then round him fondly paced,
   And often, while her eyes o'erflowed,
     Her dearest son embraced.
   Kaus'alyá's honoured feet he pressed,
     As round her steps she bent,
   And radiant with her prayers that blessed,
     To Sitá's home he went.
       * * * * *


  1. See Canto XXVIII: The Death of Tádaká
  2. The first progeny of Brahm? or Brahm? himself.
  3. These are three names of the Sun.
  4. See Canto I: Nárad
  5. The saints who form the constellation of Ursa Major.
  6. The regent of the planert Venus.
  7. Kuvera.
  8. Bali, or the presentation of food to all created beings, is one of the five great sacraments of the Hindu religion: it consists in throwing a small parcel of the offering, Ghee, or rice, or the like, into the open air at the back of the house.
  9. In mythology, a demon slain by Indra.
  10. Called also Garud, the King of the birds, offspring of Vinatá. See Canto XLII: Sagar's Sacrifice
  11. See Canto XLV: The Quest of The Amrit
  12. See Canto XXXI: The Perfect Hermitage.