poem – ravan’s coming

Ravan watched the happy moment burning with a vengeful spite,
Came to sad and sorrowing Sita in the guise of anchorite,

Tufted hair and russet garment, sandals on his feet he wore.
And depending from his shoulders on a staff his vessel bore.

And he came to lonely Sita, for each warlike chief was gone,
As the darkness comes to evening lightless from the parted Sun,

And he cast his eyes on Sita, as a graha casts its shade
On the beauteous star Rohini when the bright Moon’s glories fade.

Quaking Nature knew the moment; silent stood the forest trees,
Conscious of a deed of darkness fell the fragrant forest breeze,

Godavari’s troubled waters trembled’ neath his lurid glance,
And his red eve’s fiery lustre sparkled in the wavelets’ dance!

Mute and still were forest creatures when in guise of anchorite,
Unto Sita’s lonely cottage pressed the Raksha in his might,

Mute and voiceless was the jungle as he cast on her his eye,
As across the star of Chitra, planet Sani walks the sky!

Ravan stood in hermit’s vestments,-vengeful purpose unrevealed,-
As a deep and darksome cavern is by grass and leaf concealed,

Ravan stood sedate and silent, and he gazed on Rama’s queen,
Ivory brow and lip of coral, sparkling teeth of pearly sheen!

Lighting up the lonely cottage, Sita sat in radiance high,
As the Moon with streaks of silver fills the lonely midnight sky,

Lighting up the gloomy woodlands with her eyes serenely fair,
With her bark-clad shape of beauty mantled by her raven hair!

Ravan fired by impure passion fixed on her his lustful eye,
And the light that lit his glances gave his holy texts the lie,

Ravan in his flattering accents, with a soft and soothing art,
Praised the woman’s peerless beauty to subdue the woman’s heart:

‘Beaming in thy golden beauty, robed in sylvan russet drew,
Wearing wreath of fragrant lotus like a nymph of wilderness,

Art thou Sri or radiant Gauri, maid of Fortune or of Fame,
Nymph of Love or sweet Fruition, what may be thy sacred name!

On thy lips of ruddy coral teeth of tender jasmine shine,
In thy eyes of limpid lustre dwclls a light of love divine,

Tall and slender, softly rounded, are thy limbs of beauty rare,
Like the swelling fruit of tala leaves thy bosom sweetly fair!

Smiling lips that tempt and ravish, lustre that thy dark eyes beam,
Crush my heart, as rolling waters crush the margin of the stream.

And thy wealth of waving tresses mantles o’er thy budding charms,
And thy waist of slender beauty courts a lover’s circling arms!

Goddess or Gandharva maiden wears no brighter form or face,
Woman seen by eyes of mortals owns not such transcendent grace.

Wherefore then, in lonesome forest, nymph or maiden, make thy stay,
Where the jungle creatures wander and the Rakshas hold their sway?

Royal balls and stately mansions were for thee a meeter home,
And thy steps should grace a palace, not in pathless forest roam,

Blossoms rich, not thorn of jungle, decorate a lady’s bower,
Silken robes, not sylvan garments, heighten Beauty’s potent power!

Lady of the sylvan forest! other destiny is thine,
As a bride beloved and courted in thy bridal garments shine,

Choose a loved and lordly suitor who shall wait on thee in pride,
Choose a hero worth thy beauty, be a monarch’s queenly bride!

Speak thy lineage, heaven-descended! who may be thy parents high,
Rudras or the radiant Maruts, Vassus leaders of the sky,

All unworthy is this forest for a nymph or heavenly maid,
Beast’s of prey infest the jungle, Rakshas haunt its gloomy shade,

Lions dwell in lovely caverns, tuskers ford the silent lake,
Monkeys sport on pendant branches, tigers steal beneath the brake,

Wherefore then this dismal forest doth thy fairy face adorn,
Who art thou and whence descended, nymph or maid or goddess-born?

poem – brother’s faithfulness

Tears bedewed the face of Lakshman as he heard what Sita, said,
And he touched the feet of Rama and in gentle accents prayed:

‘If my elder and his lady to the pathless forests wend,
Armed with bow and ample quiver Lakshman will on them attend,

Where the wild deer range the forest and the lordly tuskers roam,
And the bird of gorgeous plumage nestles in its jungle home,

Dearer far to me those woodlands where my elder Rama dwells,
Than the homes of bright Immortals where perennial bliss prevails!

Grant me then thy sweet permission,-faithful to thy glorious star,
Lakshman,shall not wait and tarry when his Rama wanders far,

Grant me then thyloving mandate,-Lakshman hath no wish to stay,
None shall bar the faithful younger when the elder leads the way!’

‘Ever true to deeds of virtue, duteous brother, faithful friend,
Dearer than his life to Rama, thou shall not to forests wend,

Who shall stay by Queen Kausalya, Lakshman, if we both depart,
Who shall stay by Queen Sumitra, she who nursed thee on her heart?

For the king our aged father, he who ruled the earth and main,
Is a captive to Kaikeyi, fettered by her silken chain,

Little help Kaikeyi renders to our mothers in her pride,
Little help can Bharat offer, standing by his mother’s side.

Thou alone can’st serve Kausalya when for distant woods I part,
When the memory of my exile rankles in her sorrowing heart,

Thou alone can’st serve Sumitra, soothe her sorrows with thy love,
Stay by them, my faithful Lakshman, and thy filial virtues prove,

Be this then they sacred duty, tend our mothers in their woe,
Little joy or consolation have they left on earth below!’

Spake the hero: ‘Fear no evil, well is Rama’s prowess known,
And to mighty Rama’s mother Bharat will obeisance own,

Nathless if the pride of empire sways him from the righteous path,
Blood will venge the offered insult and will quench our filial wrath!

But a thousand peopled hamlets Queen Kausalya’s hests obey,
And a thousand arméd champions own her high and queenly sway,

Aye, a thousand village-centres Queen Sumitra’s state maintain,
And a thousand swords like Lakshman’s guard her proud and prosperous reign!

All alone with gentle Sita thou shalt track thy darksome way,
Grant it, that thy faithful Lakshman shall protect her night and day,

Grant it, with his bow and quiver Lakshman shall the forests roam,
And his axe shall fell the jungle, and his hands shall rear the home!

Grant it, in the deepest woodlands he shall seek the forest fruit,
Berries dear to holy hermits and the sweet and luscious root,

And whenwith thy meek-eyed Sita thou shalt seek the mountain crest,
Grant it, Lakshman ever duteous watch and guard thy nightly rest!’

Words of brother’s deep devotion Rama heard with grateful heart,
And with Sita and with Lakshman for the woods prepared to part:

Part we then from loving kinsmen, arms and mighty weapons bring,
Bows of war which Lord VARUNA rendered to Videha’s king,

Coats of mail to sword impervious, quivers which can never fail,
And the rapiers bright as sunshine, golden-hilted, tempered wen,

Safely rest these goodly weapons in our great preceptor’s hall,
Seekand bring them, faithful brother, for me thinks we need them all!’

Rama spake; his valiant brother then the wondrous weapons brought,
Wreathed with fresh and fragrant garlands and with gold and jewels wrought,

‘Welcome, brother,’ uttered Rama, ‘stronger thus to woods we go,
Wealth and gold and useless treasure to the holy priests bestow,

To the son of saint Vasishtha, to each sage is honour due,
Then we leave our father’s mansions, to our father’s mandate true!’

poem – the fall of bali

Star-eyed Tara softly counselled pressing to her consort’s side,
Mighty Bali proudly answered with a warrior’s lofty pride:

‘Challenge of a humbled foeman and a younger’s haugty scorn
May not, shall not, tender Tara, by a king be meekly borne!

Bali turns not from encounter even with his dying breath,
Insult from a foe, unanswered, is a deeper stain than death,

And Sugriva’s quest for combat Bali never shall deny,
Though sustained by Rama’s forces and by Rama’s prowess high!

Free me from thy sweet embraces and amidst thy maids retire,
Woman’s love and soft devotion woman’s timid thoughts inspire,

Fear not, Tara, blood of brother Bali’s honour shall not stain,
I will quell his proud presumption, chase him from this realm again,

Free me from thy loving dalliance, midst thy damsels seek thy place,
Till I come a happy victor to my Tara’s fond embrace!’

Slow and sad with sweet obeisance Tara stopped around her lord,
Welling tear-drops choked her accents as she prayed in stifled word,

Slow and sad with swelling bosom Tara with her maids retired,
Bali issued proud and stately with the thought of vengeance fired!

Hissing like an angry cobra, city’s lofty gates he past,
And his proud and angry glances fiercely all around he cast,

Till he saw the bold Sugriva, gold-complexioned, red with ire,
Girded for the dubious combat, flaming like the forest fire!

Bali braced his warlike garments and his hand he lifted high,
Bold Sugriva raised his right arm with a proud and answering cry,

Bali’s eyes were red as copper and his chain was burnished gold,
To his brother bold Sugriva thus he spake in accents bold:

‘Mark this iron fist, intruder, fatal is its vengeful blow,
Crushed and smitten thou shalt perish and to nether world shalt go,’

‘Nay that fate awaits thee, Bali,’ spake Sugriva armed for strife,
‘When this right arm smites thy forehead, from thy bosom rends thy life!’

Closed the chiefs in fatal combat, each resistless in his pride,
And like running rills from mountains poured their limbs the purple tide,

Till Sugriva quick uprooting Sal tree from the jungle wood,
As the dark cloud hurls the lightning, hurled it where his brother stood,

Staggering ‘neath the blow terrific Bali reeled and almost fell,
As a proud ship overladen reels upon the ocean’s swell!

But with fiercer rage and fury Bali in his anguish rose,
And with mutual blows they battled,-brothers and relentless foes,

Like the sun and moon in conflict or like eagles in their fight,
Still they fought with cherished hatred and an unforgotten spite,

Till with mightier force and fury Bali did his younger quell,
Faint Sugriva fiercely struggling ‘neath his brother’s prowess fell!

Still the wrathful rivals wrestled with their bleeding arms and knees,
With their nails like claws of tigers and with riven rocks and trees,

And as INDRA battles Vritra in the tempest’s pealing roar,
Blood-stained Bali, red Sugriva, strove and struggled, fought and tore,

Till Sugriva faint and falt’ring fell like Vritra from the sky,
To his comrade and his helper turned his faint and pleading eye!

Ah! those soft and pleading glances smote the gentle Rama’s heart,
On his bow of ample stature Rama raised the fatal dart,

Like the fatal disc of YAMA was his proudly circled bow,
Like a snake of deadly poison flew his arrow swift and low,

Wingéd dwellers of the forest heard the twang with trembling few,
Echoing woods gave back the accent, lightly fled the startled deer,

And as INDRA’S flag is lowered when the Aswin winds prevail,
Lofty Bali pierced and bleeding by that fatal arrow fell!

poem – the sentence

Morning came and duteous Rama to the palace bent his way,
For to make his salutation and his due obeisance pay,

And he saw his aged father shorn of kingly pomp and pride,
And he saw the Queen Kaikeyi sitting by her consort’s side.

Duteously the righteous Rama touched the ancient monarch’s feet,
Touched the feet of Queen Kaikeyi with a son’s obeisance meet,

‘Rama!’ cried the feeble monarch, but the tear bedimmed his eye,
Sorrow choked his failing utterance and his bosom heaved a sigh,

Rama started in his terror at his father’s grief or wrath,
Like a traveller in the jungle crossed by serpent in his path!

Reft of sense appeared the monarch, crushed beneath a load of pain,
Heaving oft a sigh of sorrow as his heart would break in twain,

Like the ocean tempest-shaken, like the sun in eclipse pale,
Like a crushed repenting rishi when his truth and virtue fail!

Breathless mused the anxious Rama,-what foul action hath he done,
What strange anger fills his father, wherefore greets he not his son?

‘Speak, my mother,’ uttered Rama,’ what strange error on my part.
Unremembered sin or folly fills with grief my father’s heart,

Gracious unto me is father with a father’s boundless grace,
Wherefore clouds his altered visage, wherefore tears bedew his face?

Doth a piercing painful ailment rack his limbs with cruel smart,
Doth some secret silent anguish wring his tom and tortured heart,

Bharat lives with brave Satrughns, in thy father’s realms afar,
Hath some cloud of dark disaster crossed their bright auspicious star?

Duteously the royal consorts on the loving monarch wait,
Hath some woe or dire misfortune dimmed the lustre of their fate.

I would yield my life and fortune ere I wound my father’s heart,
Rath my unknown crime or folly caused his ancient bosom smart!

Ever dear is Queen Kaikeyi to her consort and her king,
Hath some angry accent escaped thee thus his royal heart to wring,

Speak, my ever-lovinging mother, speak the truth, for thou must know,
What distress or deep disaster pains his heart and clouds his brow?’

Mother’s love nor woman’s pity moved the deep-determined queen,
As in cold and cruel accents thus she spake her purpose keen:

‘Grief nor woe nor sudden ailment pains thy father loved of old,
But he fears to speak his purpose to his Rama true and bold,

And his loving accents falter some unloving wish to tell,
Till you give your princely promise, you Will serve his mandate well!

Listen more, in bygone seasons,-Rama thou wert then unborn,
I had saved thy royal father, he a gracious boon had sworn,

But his feeble heart repenting is by pride and passion stirred,
He would break his royal promise as a caitiff breaks his word,

Years have passed and now the monarch would his ancient word forego,
He would build a needless causeway when the waters ceased to flow!

Truth inspires each deed attempted and each word by monarchs spoke,
Not for thee, though loved and honoured, should a royal vow be broke,

If the true and righteous Rama binds him by his father’s vow,
I will tell thee of the anguish which obscures his royal brow,

If thy feeble bosom falter and thy halting purpose fail,
Unredeemed is royal promise and unspoken is my tale!

‘Speak thy word,’ exclaimed the hero, ‘and my purpose shall not fail,
Rama serves his father’s mandate and his bosom shall not quail,

Poisoned cup or death untimely,-what the cruel fates decree,
To his king and to his father Rama yields obedience free,

Speak my father’s royal promise, hold me by his promise tied,
Rama speaks and shall not palter, for his lips have never lied.’

Cold and clear Kaikeyi’s accents fell as falls the hunter’s knife,
‘Listen then to word of promise and redeem it with thy life,

Wounded erst by foes immortal, saved by Queen Kaikeyi’s care,
Two great boons your father plighted and his royal words were fair,

I have sought their due fulfilment,-brightly shines my Bharat’s star.
Bharat shall be Heir and Regent, Rama shall be banished far!

If thy father’s royal mandate thou wouldst list and honour still,
Fourteen years in Dandak’s forest live and wander at thy will,

Seven long years and seven, my Rama, thou shalt in the jungle dwell,
Bark of trees shall be thy raiment and thy home the hermit’s cell,

Over fair Kosala’s empire let my princely Bharat reign,
With his cars and steeds and tuskers, wealth and gold and arméd men!

Tender-hearted is the monarch, age and sorrow dim his eye,
And the anguish of a father checks his speech and purpose high,

For the love he bears thee, Rama, cruel vow he may not speak,
I have spoke his will and mandate, and thy true obedience seek.’

Calmly Rama heard the mandate, grief nor anger touched his heart,
Calmly from his father’s empire and his home prepared to part.

poem – greetings

Message from returning Rama, Vanars to Ayodhya brought,
Righteous Bharat gave his mandate with a holy joy distraught:

‘Let our city shrines and chaityas with a lofty music shake,
And ourpriests to bright Immortals grateful gifts and offerings make,

Bards, reciters of Puranas, minstrels versed in ancient song,
Women with their tuneful voices lays of sacred love prolong,

Let our queens and stately courtiers step in splendour and in state,
Chieftains with their marshalled forces range along the city gate,

And our white-robed holy Brahmans hymn and sacred mantras sing.
Offer greetings to our brother, render homage to our king!’

Brave Satrughna heard his elder and his mandate duly kept:
‘Be our great and sacred city levelled, cleansed, and duly swept,

And the grateful earth be sprinkled with the water from the well,
Strewn with parchéd rice and offering and with flower of sweetest smell,

On each turret, tower, and temple let our flags and colours wave,
On the gates of proud Ayodhya plant Ayodhya’a banners brave,

Gay festoons of flowering creeper home and street and dwelling line,
And in gold and glittering garment let the gladdened city shine.

Elephants in golden trappings thousand chiefs and nobles bore.
Chariots, cars, and gallant chargers speeding by Sarayu’s shore,

And the serried troops of battle marched with colours rich and brave,
Proudly o’er the gay procession did, Ayodhya’s banners wave.

In their stately gilded litters royal dames and damsels came,
Queen Kausalya first and foremost, Queen Sumitra rich in fame,

Pious priest and learned Brahman, chief of guild from near and far,
Noble chief and stately courtier with the wreath and water jar.

Girt by minstrel, bard, and herald chanting glorious deeds of yore,
Bharat came,-his elder’s sandals still the faithful younger bore,-

Silver-white his proud umbrella, silver-white his garland brave,
Silver-white the fan of chowri which his faithful henchmen wave,

Stately march of gallant chargers and the roll of battle car,
Heavy tread of royal tuskers and the beat of drum of war,

Dundubhi and echoing sankha, voice of nations gathered nigh,
Shook the city’s tower and temple and the pealing vault of sky!

Sailing o’er the cloudless ether Rama’s Pushpa chariot came,
And ten thousand jocund voices shouted Rama’s joyous name,

Women with their loving greetings, children with their joyous cry,
Tottering age and lisping infant hailed the righteous chief and high.

Bharat lifted up his glances unto Rama from afar,
Unto Sita, unto Lakshman, seated on the Pushpa car,

And he wafted high his greetings and he poured his pious lay,
As one wafts the chaunted mantra to the rising God of Day!

Silver swans by Rama’s bidding soft descended from the air,
And on earth the chariot lighted,-car of flowers divinely fair,-

Bharat mounting on the chariot, sought his long-lost elder’s grace,
Rama held his faithful younger in a brother’s dear embrace.

With his greetings unto Lakshman, unto Rama’s faithful dame,
To Bibhishan and Sugriva and each chief who thither came,

Bharat took the jewelled sandals with the rarest gems inlaid,
Placed them at the feet of Rama and in humble accents said:

‘Tokens of thy rule and empire, these have filled thy royal throne,
Faithful to his trust and duty Bharat renders back thine own,

Bharat’s life is joy and gladness, for returned from distant shore,
Thou shalt rule thy spacious kingdom and thy loyal men once more,

Thou shalt hold thy rightful empire and assume thy royal crown,
Faithful to his trust and duty, Bharat renders back thine own,

poem – the sacrifice

Years have passed; the lonely Rama in his joyless palace reigned,
And for righteous duty yearning, Aswa-medha rite ordained,

And a steed of darkest sable with the valiant Lakshman sent,
And with troops and faithful courtiers to Naimisha’s forest went.

Fair was far Naimisha’s forest by the limpid Gumti’s shom.
Monarchs came and warlike chieftains, Brahmans versed in sacred lore,

Bharat with each friend and kinsman served them with the choicest food,
Proud retainers by each chieftain and each crownéd monarch stood.

Palaces and stately mansions were for royal guests assigned,
Peaceful homes for learnéd Brahmans were with trees umbrageous lined,

Gifts were made unto the needy, cloth by skilful weavers wrought,
Ere the suppliants spake their wishes, ere they shaped their inmost thought!

Rice unto the helpless widow, to the orphan wealth and gold,
Gifts they gave to holy Brahmans, shelter to the weak and old,

Garments to the grateful people crowding by their monarch’s door,
Food and drink unto the hungry, home unto the orphan poor.

Ancient rishis had not witnessed feast like this in any land,
Bright Immortals in their bounty blest not with a kinder hand,

Through the year and circling seasons lasted Rama’s sacred feast,
And the untold wealth of Rama by his kindly gifts increased!

poem – sita lost

Morning dawned; and with Valmiki, Sita to the gathering came,
Banished wife and weeping mother, sorrow-stricken, suffering dame,

Pure in thought and deed, Valmiki gave his troth and plighted word,-
Faithful still the banished Sita, in her bosom held her lord!

Mighty Saint,’ so Rama answered as he bowed his humble head,
‘Listening world will hear thy mandate and the word that thou hast said,

Never in his bosom Rama questioned Sita’s faithful love,
And the God of Fire incarnate did her stainless virtue prove!

Pardon, if the voice of rumour drove me to a deed of shame,
Bowing to my people’s wishes I disowned my sinless dame,

Pardon, if to please my subjects I have bade my Sita, roam,
Tore her from my throne and empire, tore her from my heart and home!

In the dark and dreary forest was my Sita left to mourn,
In the lone and gloomy jungle were my royal children born,

Help me, Gods, to wipe this error and this deed of sinful pride,
May my Sita prove her virtue, be again my loving bride!’

Gods and Spirits, bright Immortals to that royal Yajna came,
Hen of every race and nation, kings and chiefs of righteous fame,

Softly through the halls of splendour cool and scented breezes blew,
Fragrance of celestial blossoms o’er the royal chambers flew.

Sita, saw the bright Celestials, monarchs gathered from afar,
Saw her royal lord and husband bright as heaven-ascending star,

Saw her sons as hermit-minstrels beaming with a radiance high,
Milk of love suffused her bosom, tear of sorrow filled her eye!

Rama’s queen and Janak’s daughter, will she stoop her cause to plead,
Witness of her truth and virtue can a loving woman need?

Oh! her woman~s heart is bursting, and her day on earth is done,
And she pressed her heaving bosom, slow and sadly thus begun:

‘If unstained in thought and action I have lived from day of birth,
Spare a daughter’s shame and anguish and receive her, Mother Earth!

If in duty and devotion I have laboured undefiled,
After Earth I who bore this woman, once again, receive thy child!

If in truth unto my husband I have proved a faithful wife,
Mother Earth I relieve thy Sita from the burden of this life!’

Then the earth was rent and parted, and a golden throne arose,
Held aloft by jewelled Nagas as the leaves enfold the rose,

And the Mother in embraces held her spotless sinless Child,
Saintly Janak’s saintly daughter, pure and true and undefiled,

Gods and men proclaim her virtue! But fair Sita is no more,
Lone is Rama’s loveless bosom and his days of bliss are o’er!

poem – the sandals

Tears nor sighs nor sad entreaty Rama’s changeless purpose shook,
Till. once more with hands conjoinéd Bharat to his elder spoke:

‘Rama, true to royal mercy, true to duties of thy race,
Grant this favour to thy mother, to thy brother grant this grace,

Vain were my unaided efforts to protect our father’s throne,
Town and hamlet, lord and tiller, turn to thee and thee alone!

Unto Rama, friends and kinsmen, chiefs and warriors, turn in pain,
And each city chief and elder, and each humble village swain,

Base thy empire strong, unshaken, on a loyal nation’s will,
With thy worth and with thy valour serve thy faithful people still!’

Rama raised the prostrate Bharat to his ever-loving breast,
And in voice of tuneful hansa thus his gentle speech addrest:

‘Trust me, Bharat, lofty virtue, strength and will to thee belong,
Thou could’st rule a worldwide empire in thy faith and purpose strong,

And our father’s ancient min’sters, ever faithful, wise and deep,
They shall help thee with their counsel and thy ancient frontiers keep.

List! the Moon may lose his lustre, Himalaya lose his snow,
Heaving Ocean pass his confines surging from the caves below,

But the truth-abiding Rama will not move from promise given,
He hath spoke and will not palter, help him righteous Gods in heaven!’

Blazing like the Sun in splendour, beauteous like the Lord of Night,
Rama vowed his Vow of Duty, changeless in his holy might!

‘Humble token,’ answered Bharat, ‘still I seek from Rama’s hand,
Token of his love and kindness, token of his high command,

From thy feet cast forth those sandals, they shall decorate the throne.
They shall nerve my heart to duty and shall safely guard thy own,

They shall to a loyal nation absent monarch’s will proclaim,
Watch the frontiers of the empire and the people’s homage claim!’

Rama gave the loosened sandals as his younger humbly prayed,
Bharat bowed to them in homage and his parting purpose said:

‘Not alone will banished Rama barks and matted tresses wear,
Fourteen years the crownéd Bharat will in hermit’s dress appear,

Henceforth Bharat dwells in palace guised as hermit of the wood,
In the sumptuous hall of feasting wild fruit is his only food,

Fourteen years shall pass in waiting, weary toil and penance dire
Then, if Rama comes not living, Bharat dies upon the pyre!’

poem – mother’s blessing

Tears of sorrow and of suffering flowed from Queen Kausalya’s eye,
As she saw departing Sita for her blessings drawing nigh,

And she clasped the gentle Sits, and she kissed her moistened head,
And her tears like summer tempest choked the loving words she said:

‘Part we, dear devoted daughter, to thy husband ever true,
With a woman’s whole affection render love to husband’s due!

False are women loved and cherished, gentle in their speech and word,
When misfortune’s shadows gather, who are faithless to their lord,

Who through years of sunny splendour smile and pass the livelong day,
When misfortune’s darkness thickens, from their husband turn away,

Who with changeful fortune changing oft ignore the plighted word,
And forget a woman’s duty, woman’s faith to wedded lord,

Who to holy love inconstant from their wedded consort part,
Manly deed nor manly virtue wins the changeful woman’s heart!

But the true and righteous woman, loving, spouse and changeless wife,
Faithful to her lord and consort holds him dearer than her life,

Ever true and righteous Sita, follow still my godlike son,
Like a God to thee is Rama in the woods or on the throne!’

‘I shall do my duty, mother,’ said the wife with wifely pride,
‘Like a God to me is Rama, Sita shall not leave his side,

From the Moon will part his lustre ere I part from wedded lord,
Ere from faithful wife’s devotion falter in my deed or word,

For the stringless lute is silent, idle is the wheel-less car,
And no wife the loveless consort, inauspicious is her star!

Small the measure of affection which the sire and brother prove,
Measureless to wedded woman is her lord and husband’s love,

True to Law and true to Scriptures, true to woman’s plighted word,
Can I ever be, my mother, faithless, loveless to my lord?’

Tears of joy and mingled sorrow filled the Queen Kausalya’s eye,
As she marked the faithful Sita true in heart, in virtue high,

And she wept the tears of sadness when with sweet obeisance due,
Spake with hands in meekness folded Rama ever good and true:

‘Sorrow not, my loving mother, trust in virtue’s changeless beam,
Swift will fly the years of exile like a brief and transient dream,

Girt by faithful friends and forces, blest by righteous Gods above,
Thou shalt see thy son returning to thy bosom and thy love!

Unto all the royal ladies Rama his obeisance paid,
For his failings unremembered, blessings and forgiveness prayed,

And his words were soft and gentle, and they wept to see him go,
Like the piercing cry of curlew rose the piercing voice of woe,

And in halls where drum and tabor rose in joy and regal pride,
Voice of grief and lamentation sounded far and sounded wide!

Then the true and faithful Lakshman parted from each weeping dame,
And to sorrowing Queen Sumitra with his due obeisance came,

And he bowed to Queen Sumitra and his mother kissed his head,
Stilled her anguish-laden bosom and in trembling accents said:

Dear devoted duteous Lakshman, ever to thy elder true,
When thy elder wends to forest, forest-life to thee is due,

Thou hast served him true and faithful in his glory and his fame,
This is Law for true and righteous,–serve him in his woe and shame,

This is Law for race of Raghu known on earth for holy might,
Bounteous in their sacred duty, brave and warlike in the fight!

Therefore tend him as thy father, as thy mother tend his wife,
And to thee, like fair Ayodhya be thy humble forest life,

Go, my son, the voice of Duty bids my gallant Lakshman go,
Serve thy elder with devotion and with valour meet thy foe

Poem – The Consecration 

Joy! joy in bright Ayodhya gladness filled the hearts of all,

Joy! joy a lofty music sounded in the royal hall,
Fourteen years of woe were ended, Rama now assumed his own,

And they placed the weary wand’rer on his father’s ancient throne,
And they brought the sacred water from each distant stream and hill,

From the vast and boundless ocean, from each far and sacred rill.
Vasishtha, the Bard of Vedas with auspicious rites and meet

Placed the monarch and his consort on the gemmed and jewelled seat,
Gautama. and Katyayana, Vamadeva priest of yore,

Jabali and wise Vijaya verged in holy ancient lore,
Poured the fresh and fraurant water on the consecrated kine,

As the Gods anointed INDRA from the pure ethereal spring!
Vedic priests with sacred mantra, dark-eyed virgins with their song,

Warriors girt in arms and weapons round the crownéd monarch throng,
Juices from each fragrant creeper on his royal brow they place,

And his father’s crown and jewels Rama’s ample forehead grace,
And as Manu, first of monarchs, was enthroned in days of yore,

So was Rama consecrated by the priests of Vedic lore!
Brave Satrughna on his brother cast the white umbrella’s shade

Bold Sugriva and Bibhishan waved the chowri gem-inlaid,
VAYU, God of gentle zephyrs, gift of golden garland lent,

INDRA, God of rain and sunshine, wreath of pearls to Rama sent,
Gay Gandharvas raised the music, fair Apsaras formed the ring,

Men in nations hailed their Rama as their lord and righteous king!
And tis told by ancient sages, during Rama’s happy reign,

Death untimely, dire diseases came not to his subject men,
Widows wept not in their sorrow for their lords untimely lost,

Mothers wailed not in their anguish for their babes by YAMA crost,
Robbers, cheats, and gay deceivers tempted not with lying word,

Neighbour loved his righteous neighbour and the people loved their lord!
Trees their ample produce yielded as returning seasons went,

And the earth in grateful gladness never failing harvest lent,
Rains descended in their season, never came the blighting gale,

Rich in crop and rich in pasture was each soft and smiling vale,
Loom and anvil gave their produce and the tilled and fertile soil,

And the nation lived rejoicing in their old ancestral. 

Poem – The City Decorated 

With his consort pious Rama, pure in deed and pure in thought,

After evening’s due ablutions NARAYANA’S chamber sought,
Prayed unto the Lord of Creatures, NARAYANA Ancient Sire,

Placed his offering on his forehead, poured it on the lighted fire,
Piously partook the remnant, sought for NARAYANA’S aid,

As he kept his fast and vigils on the grass of kusa spread.
With her lord the saintly Sita silent passed the sacred night,

Contemplating World’s Preserver, Lord of Heaven’s ethereal height,
And within the sacred chamber on the grass of kusa lay,

Till the crimson streaks of morning, ushered in the festive day,
Till the royal bards and minstrels chanted forth the morning call,

Healing through the holy chamber, echoing through the roval hall.
Past the night of sacred vigils, in his silken robes arrayed,

Message of the proud anointment Rama to the Brahmans said,
And the Brahmans spake to burghers that the festive day was come,

Till the mart and crowded pathway rang with note of pipe and drum,
And the townsmen heard rejoicing of the vigils of the night,

Kept by Rama and by Sita, for the day’s auspicious rite.
Rama shall be Heir and Regent, Rama shall be crowned to-day,

Rapid flew the gladdening message with the morning’s gladsome ray,
And the people of the city, maid and matron, man and boy,

Decorated fair Ayodhya in their wild tumultuous joy!
On the temple’s lofty steeple high as cloud above the air,

On the crossing of the pathways, in the garden green and fair,
On the merchant’s ample warehouse, on the shop with stores displayed,

On the mansion of the noble by the cunning artist made,
On the gay and bright pavilion, on the high and shady trees.

Banners rose and glittering streamers, flags that fluttered in the breeze!
Actors gay and nimble dancers, singers skilled in lightsome song,

With their antics and their music pleased the gay and gathered throng,
And the people met in conclaves, spake of Rama, Regent Heir,

And the children by the roadside lisped of Rama brave and fair!
Women wove the scented garland, merry maids the censer lit,

Men with broom and sprinkled water swept the spacious mart and street,
Rows of trees and posts they planted hung with lamps for coming night,

That the midnight dark might rival splendour of the noonday light
Troops of men and merry children laboured with a loving care,

Woman’s skill and woman’s fancy made the city passing fair,
So that good and kindly Rama might his people’s toil approve,

So that sweet and soft-eyed Sita might accept her people’s love!
Groups of joyous townsmen gathered in the square or lofty hall,

Praised the monarch Dasa-ratha, regent Rama young and tall:
‘Great and good is Dasa-ratha born of Raghu’s royal race,

In the fulness of his lifetime on his son he grants his grace,
And we hail the rite auspicious for our prince of peerless might,

He will guard us by his valotir, he will save our cherished right,
Dear unto his loving brothers in his father’s palace hall,

As is Rama to his brothers dear is Rama to us all,
Long live ancient Dasa-ratha king of Raghu’s royal race,

We shall see his son anointed by his father’s righteous grace!
Thus of Rama’s consecration spake the burghers one and all,

And the men from distant hamlets poured within the city wall,
From the confines of the empire, north and south and west and east,

Came to see the consecration and to share the royal feast!
And the rolling tide of nations raised their voices loud and high,

Like the tide of sounding ocean when the full moon lights the sky,
And Ayodhya thronged by people from the hamlet , mart and lea,

Was tumultuous like the ocean thronged by creatures of the sea! 

Poem – Surpa Yarua Punished 

Rama heard her impious purpose and a gentle smile repressed,

To the foul and forward female thus his mocking words addressed:
‘List, O passion-smitten maiden! Sita is my honoured wife,

With a rival loved and cherished cruel were thy wedded life!
But no consort follows Lakshman, peerless is his comely face,

Dauntless is his warlike valour, matchless is his courtly grace,
And he leads no wife or consort to this darksome woodland grove,

With no rival to thy passion seek his ample-hearted love! ‘
Surpa-nakha passion-laden then on Lakshman turned her eye,

But in merry mocking accents smiling Lakshman made reply.
Ruddy in thy youthful beauty like the lotus in her pride,

I am slave of royal Rama, would’st thou be a vassal’s bride?
Rather be his younger consort, banish Sita from his arms,

Spurning Sita’s faded beauty let him seek thy fresher charms,
Spurning Sita’s faded graces let him brighter pleasures prove,

Wearied with a woman’s dalliance let him court a Raksha’s love!’
Wrath of unrequited passion raged like madness in her breast,

Torn by anger strong as tempest thus her answer she addrest:
Are these mocking accents uttered, Rama, to insult my flame,

Feasting on her faded beauty dost thou still revere thy dame?
But beware a Raksha’s fury and an injured female’s wrath,

Surpa-nakha slays thy consort, bears no rival in her path!’
Fawn-eyed Sita fell in terror as the Raksha rose to slay,

So beneath the flaming meteor sinks Rohini’s softer ray,
And like Demon of Destruction furious Surpa -nakha came,

Rama rose to stop the slaughter and protect his helpless dame.
‘Brother, we have acted wrongly, for with those of savage breed,

Word in jest is courting danger,-this the penance of our deed,
Death perchance or death-like stupor hovers o’er my lovéd dame,

Let me wake to life my Sita, chase this female void of shame!’
Lakshman’s anger leaped like lightning as the female hovered near.

With his sword the wrathful warrior cleft her nose and either ear,
Surpa-nakha in her anguish raised her accents shrill and high,

And the rocks and wooded valleys answered back the dismal cry,
Khara and the doughty Dushan heard the far-resounding wail,

Saw her red disfigured visage, heard her sad and woeful tale! 

Recital Of The Ramayana – Valmiki

When the silent night was ended, and their pure ablutions done, 

Joyous went the minstrel brothers, and their lofty lay begun, 
Rama to the hermit minstrels lent a monarch’s willing car, 

Blended with the simple music dulcet was the lay to hear, 
And so sweet the chanted accents, Rama’s inmost soul was stirred, 

With his royal guests and courtiers still the deathless lay he heard! 
Heralds versed in old Puranas, Brahmans skilled in pious rite, 

Minstrels deep in lore of music, poets fired by heavenly might, 
Watchers of the constellations, min’sters of the festive day, 

Men of science and of logic, bards who sang the ancient lay, 
Painters skilled and merry dancers who the festive joy prolong 

Hushed and silent in their wonder listed to the wondrous song! 
And as poured the flood of music through the bright and livelong day, 

Eyes and ears and hearts insatiate drank the nectar of the lay, 
And the eager people whispered: ‘See the boys, how like our king 

As two drops of limpid water from the parent bubble spring! 
Were the boys no hermit-children, in the hermit’s garments clad, 

We would deem them Rama’s image,-Rama as a youthful lad!’ 
Twenty cantos of the Epic thus the youthful minstrels sung, 

And the voice of stringéd music through the Epic rolled along, 
Out spake Rama in his wonder: ‘Scarce I know who these may be, 

Eighteen thousand golden pieces be the children-minstrels’ fee!’ 
‘Not so,’ answered thus the children, ‘we in darksome forests dwell, 

Gold and silver, bounteous monarch, forest life beseem not well!’ 
‘Noble children!’ uttered Rama, ‘dear to me the words you say, 

Tell me who composed this Epic,-Father of this deathless Lay?’ 
‘Saint Valmiki,’ spake the minstrels, ‘framed the great immortal song 

Four and twenty thousand verses to this noble Lay belong, 
Untold tales of deathless virtue sanctify his sacred line, 

And five hundred glorious cantos in this glorious Epic shine, 
In six Books of mighty splendour was the poet’s task begun, 

With a seventh Book, supplemental is the poet’s labour done, 
All thy matchless deeds, O monarch, in this Lay will brighter shine, 

List to us from first to ending if thy royal heart incline!’ 
‘Be it so,’ thus Rama answered, but the hours of day were o’er, 

And Valmiki’s youthful pupils to their cottage came once more. 
Rama with his guests and courtiers slowly left the royal hall, 

Eager was his heart to listen, eager were the monarchs all, 
And the voice of song and music thus was lifted day to day, 

And from day to day they listened to Valmiki’s deathless Lay!

The King’s Lament -Valmiki 

Is this torturing dream or madness, do my feeble senses fail, O’er my darkened mind and bosom doth a fainting fit prevail? 
So the stricken monarch pondered and in hushed and silent fear, 

Looked on her as on a tigress looks the dazed and stricken deer, 
Lying on the unswept pavement still he heaved the choking sigh, 

Like a wild and hissing serpent quelled by incantations high! 
Sobs convulsive shook his bosom and his speech and accent failed, 

And a dark and deathlike faintness o’er his feeble soul prevailed, 
Stunned awhile remained the monarch, then in furious passion woke. 

And his eyeballs flamed with redfire, to the queen as thus he spoke: 
‘Traitress to thy king and husband, fell destroyer of thy race, 

Wherefore seeks thy ruthless rancour Rama rich in righteous grace, 
Traitress to thy kith and kindred, Rama loves thee as thy own, 

Wherefore then with causeless vengeance as a mother hate thy son! 
Have I courted thee, Kaikeyi, throned thee in my heart of truth, 

Nursed thee in my home and bosom like a snake of poisoned tooth, 
Have I courted thee, Kaikeyi, placed thee on Ayodhya’s throne, 

That my Rama, loved of people, thou shouldst banish from his own? 
Banish far my Queen Kausalya, Queen Sumitra saintly wife, 

Wrench from me my ancient empire, from my bosom wrench my life, 
But with brave and princely Rama never can his father part, 

Till his ancient life is ended, cold and still his beating heart! 
Sunless roll the world in darkness, rainless may the harvests thrive, 

But from ri~hteous Rama severed, never can his sire survive, 
Feeble is thy aged husband, few and brief on earth his day, 

Lend me, wife, a woman’s kindness, as a consort be my stay! 
Ask for other boon, Kaikeyi, aught my sea-girt empire yields, 

Wealth or treasure, gem or jewel, castled town or smiling fields, 
Ask for other gift, Kaikeyi, and thy wishes shall be given, 

Stain me not with crime unholy in the eye of righteous Heaven!’ 
Coldly spake the Queen Kaikeyi: ‘If thy royal heart repent, 

Break thy word and plighted promise, let thy royal faith be rent, 
Ever known for truth and virtue, speak to peers and monarchs all, 

When from near and distant regions they shall gather in thy hall, 
Speak if so it please thee, monarch, of thy evil-destined wife, 

How she loved with wife’s devotion, how she served and saved thy life, 
How on plighted promise trusting for a humble boon she sighed, 

How a monarch broke his promise, how a cheated woman died!’ 
‘Fair thy form,’ resumed the monarch, ‘beauty dwells upon thy face, 

Woman’s winsome charms bedeck thee, and a woman’s peerless grace, 
Wherefore then within thy bosom wakes this thought of cruel wile, 

And what dark and loathsome spirit stains thy heart with blackest guile? 
Ever since the day, Kaikeyi, when a gentle bride you came, 

By a wife’s unfailing duty you have won a woman’s fame, 
Wherefore now this cruel purpose hath a stainless heart defiled, 

Ruthless wish to send my Rama to the dark and pathless wild? 
Wherefore, darkly-scheming woman, on unrighteous purpose bent, 

Doth thy cruel causeless vengeance on my Rama seek a vent, 
Wherefore seek by deeds unholy for thy son the throne to win, 

Throne which Bharat doth not covet,-blackened byhis mother’s sin? 
Shall I see my banished Rama mantled in the garb of woe, 

Reft of home and kin and empire to the pathless jungle go, 
Shall I see disasters sweeping o’er my empire dark and deep, 

As the forces of a foeman o’er a scattered army sweep? 
Shall I hear assembled monarchs in their whispered voices say, 

Weak and foolish in his dotapre, Dasa-ratha holds his sway, 
Shall I say to righteous elders when they blame my action done, 

That by woman’s mandate driven I have banished thus my son? 
Queen Kansalya, dear-loved woman! she who serves me as a slave, 

Soothes me like a tender sister, helps me like a consort brave, 
As a fond and loving mother tends me with a watchful care, 

As a daughter ever duteous doth obeisance sweet and fair, 
When my fond and fair Kausalya asks me of her banished son, 

How shall Dasa-ratha answer for the impious action done, 
How can husband, cold and cruel, break a wife’s confiding heart, 

How can father, false and faithless, from his best and eldest part?’ 
Coldly spake the Queen Kaikeyi: ‘If thy royal heart repent, 

Break thy word and plighted promise, let thy royal faith be rent, 
Truth-abiding is our monarch, so I heard the people say, 

And his word is all inviolate, stainless virtue marks his sway, 
Let it now be known to nations,-righteous Dasa-ratha lied, 

And a trusting, cheated woman broke her loving heart and died!’ 
Darker grew the shades of midnight, coldly shone each distant star, 

Wilder in the monarch’s bosom raged the struggle and the war: 
‘Starry midnight, robed in shadows! give my wearied heart relief, 

Spread thy sable covering mantle o’er an impious monarch’s grief, 
Spread thy vast and inky darkness o’er a deed of nameless crime, 

Reign perennial o’er my sorrows heedless of the lapse of time, 
May a sinful monarch perish ere the dawning of the day, 

O’er a dark life sin-polluted, beam not morning’s righteous ray!’

The Quest For Sita – Valmiki 

Past the rains, the marshalled Vanars gathered round Sugriva bold, 

And unto a gallant chieftain thus the king his purpose told: 
‘Brave in war and wise in counsel! take ten thousand of my best 

Seek the hiding-place of Ravan in the regions of the East. 
Seek each ravine rock and forest and each shadowy hill and cave, 

Far where bright Sarayu’s waters mix with Ganga’s ruddy wave, 
And where Jumna’s dark blue waters ceaseless roll in regal pride, 

And the Sone through leagues of country spreads its torrents far and wide. 
Seek where in Videha’s empire castled towns and hamlets shine, 

In Kosala and in Malwa and by Kasi’s sacred shrine, 
Magadh rich in peopled centres, Pundra region of the brave, 

Anga rich in corn and cattle on the eastern ocean wave. 
Seek where clans of skilful weavers dwell upon the eastern shore, 

And from virgin mines of silver miners work the sparkling ore. 
In the realms of uncouth nations, in the islets of the sea, 

In the mountains of the ocean, wander far and wander free!’ 
Next to Nila son of AGNI, Jambaman VIDHATA’S son, 

Hanuman the son of MARUT, famed for deeds of valour done, 
Unto Gaya and Gavaksha, Gandha-madan true and tried, 

Unto Angad prince and regent, thus the brave Sugriva cried: 
‘Noblest, bravest of our chieftains, greatest of our race are ye, 

Seek and search the Southern regions, rock and ravine, wood and tree, 
Search the thousand peaks of Vindhya lifting high its misty head, 

Through the gorges of Narmada rolling o’er its rocky bed, 
By the gloomy Godavari and by Krishna’s wooded stream, 

Through Utkala’s sea-girt forests tinged by morning’s early gleam. 
Search the towns of famed Dasarna and Avanti’s rocky shore, 

And the uplands of Vidarbha and the mountains of Mysore, 
Land of Matsyas and Kalingas and Kausika’s regions fair, 

Trackless wilderness of Dandak seek with anxious toil and care. 
Search the empire of the Andhras, of the sister-nations three,- 

Cholas, Cheras and the Pandyas dwelling by the southern sea, 
Pass Kaveri’s spreading waters, Malya’s mountains towering brave, 

Seek the isle of Tamra-parni, gemmed upon the ocean wave!’ 
To Susena chief and elder,-Tara’s noble sire was he,- 

Spake Sugriva with obeisance and in accents bold and free: 
‘Take my lord, a countless army of the bravest and the best, 

Search where beats the sleepless ocean on the regions of the West. 
Search the country of Saurashtras, of Bahlikas strong and brave, 

And each busy mart and seaport on the western ocean wave, 
Castles girt by barren mountains, deserts by the sandy sea, 

Forests of the fragrant ketak, regions of the tamal tree! 
Search the ocean port of Pattan shaded by its fruitful trees, 

Where the feathery groves of cocoa court the balmy western breeze, 
Where on peaks of Soma-giri lordly lions wander free, 

Where the waters of the Indus mingle with the mighty sea!’ 
Lastly to the valiant chieftain Satavala strong and brave, 

For the quest of saintly Sita, thus his mighty mandate gave: 
‘Hie thee, gallant Satavala, with thy forces wander forth, 

To the peaks of Himalaya, to the regions of the North! 
Mlechchas and the wild Pulindas in the rocky regions dwell, 

Madra chiefs and mighty Kurus live within each fertile vale, 
Wild Kambojas of the mountains, Yavanas of wondrous skill, 

Sakas swooping from their gorges, Pattanas of iron will!
Search the woods of devadaru mantling Himalaya’s side, 

And the forests of the lodhra spreading in their darksome pride, 
Search the land of Soma-srama where the gay Gandharvas dwell 

In the tableland of Kala search each rock and ravine well! 
Cross the snowy Himalaya, and Sudarsan’s holy peak, 

Deva-sakha’s wooded ranges which the feathered songsters seek, 
Cross the vast and dreary region void of stream or wooded bill, 

Till, you reach the white Kailasa, home of Gods, serene and still! 
Pass Kuvera’s pleasant regions, search the Krauncha mountain well, 

And the land where warlike females and the horse-faced women dwell, 
Halt not till you reach the country where the Northern Kurus rest, 

Utmost confines of the wide earth, home of Gods and Spirits blest!’

The Sandals – Valmiki

Tears nor sighs nor sad entreaty Rama’s changeless purpose shook, 

Till. once more with hands conjoinéd Bharat to his elder spoke: 
‘Rama, true to royal mercy, true to duties of thy race, 

Grant this favour to thy mother, to thy brother grant this grace, 
Vain were my unaided efforts to protect our father’s throne, 

Town and hamlet, lord and tiller, turn to thee and thee alone! 
Unto Rama, friends and kinsmen, chiefs and warriors, turn in pain, 

And each city chief and elder, and each humble village swain, 
Base thy empire strong, unshaken, on a loyal nation’s will, 

With thy worth and with thy valour serve thy faithful people still!’ 
Rama raised the prostrate Bharat to his ever-loving breast, 

And in voice of tuneful hansa thus his gentle speech addrest: 
‘Trust me, Bharat, lofty virtue, strength and will to thee belong, 

Thou could’st rule a worldwide empire in thy faith and purpose strong, 
And our father’s ancient min’sters, ever faithful, wise and deep, 

They shall help thee with their counsel and thy ancient frontiers keep. 
List! the Moon may lose his lustre, Himalaya lose his snow, 

Heaving Ocean pass his confines surging from the caves below, 
But the truth-abiding Rama will not move from promise given, 

He hath spoke and will not palter, help him righteous Gods in heaven!’ 
Blazing like the Sun in splendour, beauteous like the Lord of Night, 

Rama vowed his Vow of Duty, changeless in his holy might! 
‘Humble token,’ answered Bharat, ‘still I seek from Rama’s hand, 

Token of his love and kindness, token of his high command, 
From thy feet cast forth those sandals, they shall decorate the throne. 

They shall nerve my heart to duty and shall safely guard thy own, 
They shall to a loyal nation absent monarch’s will proclaim, 

Watch the frontiers of the empire and the people’s homage claim!’ 
Rama gave the loosened sandals as his younger humbly prayed, 

Bharat bowed to them in homage and his parting purpose said: 
‘Not alone will banished Rama barks and matted tresses wear, 

Fourteen years the crownéd Bharat will in hermit’s dress appear, 
Henceforth Bharat dwells in palace guised as hermit of the wood, 

In the sumptuous hall of feasting wild fruit is his only food, 
Fourteen years shall pass in waiting, weary toil and penance dire 

Then, if Rama comes not living, Bharat dies upon the pyre!’

poem – the wedding

Sage Vasishtha skilled in duty placed Videha’s honoured king,
Viswa-mitra, Sata-nanda, all within the sacred ring,

And he raised the holy altar as the ancient writs ordain,
Decked and graced with scented garlands grateful unto gods and men,

And he set the golden ladles, vases pierced by artists skilled,
Holy censers fresh and fragrant, cups with sacred honey filled,

Sanka bowls and shining salvers, arghya plates for honoured guest,
Parchéd rice arranged in dishes, corn unhusked that filled the rest,

And with careful hand Vasishtha grass around the altar flung,
Offered gift to lighted AGNI and the sacred mantra sung!

Softly came the sweet-eyed Sita,-bridal blush upon her brow,
Rama in his manly beauty came to take the sacred vow,

Janak placed his beauteous daughter facing Dasa-ratha’s soil,
Spake with father’s fond emotion and the holy rite was done:

‘This is Sita child of Janak, dearer unto him than life,
Henceforth sharer of thy virtue, be. she, prince, thy faithful wife,

Of thy weal and woe partaker, be she thine in every land,
Cherish her in joy and sorrow, clasp her hand within thy hand,

As the shadow to the substance, to her lord is faithful wife,
And my Sita best of women follows thee in death or life! ‘

Tears bedew his ancient bosom, gods and men his wishes share,
And he sprinkles holy water on the blest and wedded pair.

Next he turned to Sita’s sister, Urmila of beauty rare,
And to Lakshman young and valiant spake in accents soft and fair:

Lakshman, dauntless in thy duty, loved of men and Gods above,
Take my dear devoted daughter, Urmila of stainless love,

Lakshman, fearless in thy virtue, take thy true and faithful wife,
Clasp her hand within thy fingers, be she thine in death or life! ‘

To his brother’s child Mandavi, Janak turned with father’s love,
Yielded her to righteous Bharat, prayed for blessings from above:

‘Bharat, take the fair Mandavi, be she thine in death or life,
Clasp her hand within thy fingers as thy true and faithful wife! ‘

Last of all was Sruta-kriti, fair in form and fair in face,
And her gentle name was honoured for her acts of righteous grace,

‘Take her by the hand, Satrughna, be she thine in death or life,
As the shadow to the suistance, to her lord is faithful wife! ‘

Then the princes held the maidens, hand embraced in loving hand,
And Vasishtha spake the mantra, holiest priest in all the land,

And as ancient rite ordaineth, and as sacred laws require,
Stepped each bride and princely bridegroom round the altar’s lighted fire,

Round Videha’s ancient monarch, round the holy rishis all,
Ughtly stepped the gentle maidens, proudly stepped the princes tall!

And a rain of flowers descended from the sky serene and fair,
And a soft celestial music filled the fresh and fragrant air,

Bright Gandkarvas skilled in music waked the sweet celestial song
Fair Apsaras in their beauty on the greensward tripped along!

As the flowery rain descended and the music rose in pride,
Thrice around the lighted altar every bridegroom led his bride,

And the nuptial rites were ended, princes took their brides away,
Janak followed with his courtiers, and the town was proud and gay!

Poem – Woman’s Love – Valmiki

Woman’s Love’Dearly loved, devoted Sita! daughter of a royal line, 

Part we now, for years of wand’ring in the pathless woods is mine, 
For my father, promise-fettered, to Kaikeyi yields the sway, 

And she wills her son anointed,-fourteen years doth Rama stray, 
But before I leave thee, Sita, in the wilderness to rove, 

Yield me one more tender token of thy true and trustful love! 
Serve my crownéd brother, Sita, as a faithful, duteous dame, 

Tell him not of Rama’s virtues, tell him not of Rama’s claim, 
Since my royal father willeth,-Bharat shall be regent-heir, 

Serve him with a loyal duty, serve him with obeisance fair, 
Since my roval father willetb,-years of banishment be mine, 

Brave in sorrow and in suffering, woman’s brightest fame be thine 
Keep thy fasts and vigils, Sita, while thy Rama is away, 

Faith in Gods and faith in virtue on thy bosom hold their sway, 
In the early watch of morning to the Gods for blessings pray, 

To my father Dasa-ratha honour and obeisance pay, 
To my mother, Queen Kausalya, is thy dearest tendance due, 

Offer her thy consolation, be a daughter fond and true! 
Queen Kaikeyi and Sumitra equal love and honour claim, 

With a soothing soft endearment sweetly serve each royal dame, 
Cherish Bharat and Satrughna with a sister’s watchful love, 

And a mother’s true affection and a mother’s kindness prove! 
Listen, Sita, unto Bharat speak no heedless angry word, 

He is monarch of Kosala and of Raghu’s race is lord, 
Crownéd kings our willing service and our faithful duty own, 

Dearest song they disinherit, cherish strangers near the throne! 
Bharat’s will with deep devotion and with faultless faith obey, 

Truth and virtue on thy bosom ever hold their gentle sway, 
And to please each dear relation, gentle Sita, be it thine, 

Part we love! for years of wand’ring in the pathless woods is mine!’ 
Rama spake, and soft-eyed Sita, ever sweet in speech and word, 

Stirred by loving woman’s passion boldly answered thus her lord: 
‘Do I hear my husband rightly, are these words my Rama spake, 

And her banished lord and husband will the wedded wife forsake? 
Lightly I dismiss the counsel which my lord hath lightly said 

For it ill beseems a warrior and my husband’s princely grade; 
For the faithful woman follows where her wedded lord may lead, 

In the banishment of Rama, Sita’s exile is decreed, 
Sire nor son nor loving brother rules the wedded woman’s state, 

With her lord she falls or rises, with her consort courts her fate, 
If the righteous son of Raghu wends to forests dark and drear, 

Sita steps before her husband wild and thorny path to clear! 
Like the tasted refuse water cast thy timid thoughts aside, 

Take me to the pathless jungle, bid me by my lord abide, 
Car and steed and gilded palace, vain are these to woman’s life, 

Dearer is her husband’s shadow to the loved and loving wife! 
For my mother often taught me and my father often spake, 

That her home the wedded woman doth beside her husband make, 
As the shadow to the substance, to her lord is faithful wife, 

And she parts not from her consort till she parts with fleeting life! 
Therefore bid me seek the jungle and in pathless forests roam, 

Where the wild deer freely ranges and the tiger makes his home, 
Happier than in father’s mansions in the woods will Sita rove, 

Waste no thought on home or kindred, nestling in her husband’s love! 
World-renowned is Rama’s valour, fearless by her Rama’s side, 

Sita will still live and wander with a faithful woman’s pride, 
And the wild fruit she will gather from the fresh and fragrant wood, 

And the food by Rama tasted shall be Sita’s cherished food! 
Bid me seek the sylvan greenwoods, wooded hills and plateaus high, 

Limpid rills and crystal nullas as they softly ripple by, 
And where in the lake of lotus tuneful ducks their plumage lave, 

Let me with my loving Rama skim the cool translucent wave! 
Years will pass in happy union,-happiest lot to woman given,- 

Sita seeks not throne or empire, nor the brighter joys of heaven, 
Heaven conceals not brighter mansions in its sunny fields of pride, 

Where without her lord and husband faithful Sita would reside! 
Therefore let me seek the jungle where the jungle-rangers rove, 

Dearer than the royal palace, where I share my husband’s love, 
And my heart in sweet communion shall my Rama’s wishes share, 

And my wifely toil shall lighten Rama’s load of woe and care!’ 
Vainly gentle Rama pleaded dangers of the jungle life, 

Vainly spake of toil and trial to a true and tender wife!

Poem – Friends In Misfortune – Valmiki 

Long and loud lamented Rama by his lonesome cottage door, 

Janasthana’s woodlands answered, Panchavati’s echoing shore, 
Long he searched in wood and jungle, mountain crest and pathless plain, 

Till he reached the Malya mountains stretching to the southern main. 
There Sugriva king of Vanars, Hanuman his henchman brave, 

Banished from their home and empire lived within the forest cave, 
To the exiled king Sugriva, Hanuman his purpose told, 

As he marked the pensive Rama wand’ring with his brother bold: 
‘Mark the sons of Dasa-ratha banished from their royal home, 

Duteous to their father’s mandate in these pathless forests roam, 
Great was monarch Dasa-ratha famed for sacrifice divine, 

Raja-suya, Aswa-medha, and for gift of gold and kine, 
By a monarch’s stainless duty people’s love the monarch won, 

By a woman’s false contrivance banished he his eldest son! 
True to duty, true to virtue, Rama passed his forest life, 

Till a false perfidious Raksha stole his fair and faithful wife, 
And the anguish-stricken husband seeks thy friendship and thy aid, 

Mutual sorrow blends your fortunes, be ye friends in mutual need! ‘ 
Bold Sugriva heard the counsel, and to righteous Rama hied, 

And the princes of Ayodhya with his greetings gratified: 
‘Well I know thee, righteous Rama, soul of piety and love, 

And thy duty to thy father and thy faith in God above, 
Fortune favours poor Sugriva, Rama courts his humble aid, 

In our deepest direst danger he our truest friendship made! 
Equal is our fateful fortune,-I have lost a queenly wife, 

Banished from, Kishkindha’s empire here I lead a forest life, 
Pledge of love and true alliance, Rama, take this proffered hand, 

Banded by a common sorrow we shall fall or stoutly stand.! ‘ 
Rama grasped the hand lie offered, and the tear was in his eye, 

And they swore undying friendship o’er the altar blazing high, 
Hanuman with fragrant blossoms sanctified the sacred rite, 

And the comrades linked by sorrow walked around the altar’s light, 
And their word and troth they plighted: ‘In our happiness and woe 

We are friends in thought and action, we will f ace our common foe! ‘ 
And they broke a leafy Sal tree, spread it underneath their feet, 

Rama and his friend Sugriva sat upon the common seat, 
And a branch of scented Chandan with its tender blossoms graced, 

Hanuman as seat of honour for the faithful Lakshman placed. 
‘Listen, Rama,’ spake Sugriva, ‘reft of kingdom, reft of wife, 

Fleeing to these rugged mountains I endure a forest life, 
For my tyrant brother Bali rules Kishkindha all alone, 

Forced my wife from my embraces, drove me from my father’s throne, 
Trembling in my fear and anguish I endure a life of woe, 

Render me my wife and empire from my brother and my foe! ‘ 
‘Not in vain they seek my succour,’ so the gallant Rama said, 

‘Who with love and offered friendship seek my counsel and my aid, 
Not in vain these glistening arrows in my ample quiver shine, 

Bali dies the death of tyrants, wife and empire shall be thine! 
Quick as INDRA’S forkéd lightning are these arrows feather-plumed, 

Deadly as the hissing serpent are these darts with points illumed, 
And this day shall not be ended ere it sees thy brotherfall, 

As by lurid lightning severed sinks the crest of mountain tall! ‘

Poem – Bibhishan’s Departure – Valmiki

This to me Bibhishan answered, as with fiery comrades four, Rose in arms the wrathful Raksha and in fury rushed before. 
‘But I spare thee, roval Ravan, angry words thy lips have passed, 

False and lying and unfounded is the censure thou hast cast! 
True Bibhishan sought thy safety, strove to save his elder’s reign,- 

Speed thee now to thy destruction since all counsel is in vain, 
Many are thy smiling courtiers who with honeyed speech beguile,- 

Few are they with truth and candour speak their purpose void of guile! 
Blind to reason and to wisdow, Ravan seek thy destined fate, 

For thy impious lust of woman, for thy dark unrighteous hate, 
Blind to danger and destruction, deaf to word of counsel given, 

By the flaming shaft, of Rama thou shalt die by will of Heaven! 
Yet, O! yet, my king and elder, let me plead with latest breath, 

‘Gainst the death of race and kismen, ‘gainst my lord and brother’s death, 
Ponder yet, O Raksha monarch, save thy race and save thy own, 

Ravan, part we now ever,-guard thy ancient sea-girt throne!’

Poem – Bharat’s Entreaty And Rama’s Reply – Valmiki 

‘Speak, my true, my faithful Bharat,’ so the righteous Rama cried, 

‘Wherefore to this jungle dwelling hast thou from Ayodhya hied, 
Speak, my fond and loving brother, if our father bade thee come, 

Leaving throne and spacious empire in this wilderness to roam? 
Heir and Regent of Kosala! Dost thou tend our father well, 

And obey the lofty mandate from his royal lips that fell, 
And the ancient Dasa-ratha, glorious still in regal might, 

Doth he pass his bright life’s evening in each pure and holy rite? 
Doth my mother, Queen Kausalya, still for Rama wet her eye, 

And the gentle Queen Sumitra for her banished Lakshman sigh, 
Doth the peerless Queen Kaikeyi pass her days in duties fair, 

Guard her Bharat’s mighty empire, tend him with a mother’s care? 
Is each holy rite and homage to the Gods and Fathers done, 

Is the honour due to elders rendered by each duteous son, 
Do thy warriors guard thy kingdom as of yore with matchless skill, 

And with counsel deep and duteous do thy min’sters serve thy will? 
Rich thy fields in corn and produce fed by rivers broad and deep, 

Rich thy green unending pastures with the kine and fattened sheep, 
Tend the herdsman and his cattle, tend the tiller of the soil, 

Watch and help with all thy bounty workmen in their peaceful toil, 
For the monarch’s highest duty is to serve his people’s weal 

And the ruler’s richest glory is to labour and to heal! 
Guard thy forts with sleepless caution with the engines of the war, 

With the men who shoot the arrow and who drive the flying car, 
Guard Kosala’s royal treasure, make thy gifts of wealth and food, 

Not to lords and proud retainers, but to worthy and the good! 
Reader justice pure and spotless as befits thy royal line, 

And to save the good and guiltless, Bharat, be it ever thine, 
For the tears of suffering virtue wither like the thunder levin, 

And they slay our men and cattle like the wrath of righteous heaven, 
Fruitful be thy lore of Veda, fruitful be each pious rite, 

Be thy queen a fruitful mother, be thy empire full of might!’ 
Weeping, weeping, Bharat answered Dasa-ratha’s eldest son, 

‘Dasa-ratha walks the bright sky, for his earthly task is done! 
For impelled by Queen Kaikeyi to the woods he bade thee go, 

And his spotless fame was clouded and his bosom sank in woe, 
And my mother, late repenting, weeps her deed of deepest shame, 

Weeps her wedded lord departed, and a woman’s tarnished fame! 
Thou alone canst wipe this insult by a deed of kindness done, 

Rule o’er Dasa-ratha’s empire, Dasa-ratha’s eldest son, 
Weeping queens and loyal subjects supplicate thy noble grace, 

Rule o’er Raghu’s ancient empire, son of Raghu’s royal race! 
For our ancient Law ordaineth and thy Duty makes it plain, 

Eldest-born succeeds his father as the king of earth and main, 
By the fair Earth loved and welcomed, Rama, be her wedded lord, 

As by planet-jewelled Midnight is the radiant Moon adored! 
And thy father’s ancient min’sters and thy courtiers faithful still, 

Wait to do thy righteous mandate and to serve thy royal will, 
As a pupil, as a brother, as a slave, I seek thy grace, 

Come and rule thy father’s empire, king of Raghu’s royal race!’ 
Weeping, on the feet of Rama, Bharat placed his lowly head, 

Weeping for his sire departed, tears of sorrow Rama shed, 
Then he raised his loving brother with an elder’s deathless love, 

Sorrow wakes our deepest kindness and our holiest feelings prove! 
‘But I may not,’ answered Rama, ‘seek Ayodhya’s ancient throne, 

For a righteous father’s mandate duteous son may not disown, 
And I may not, gentle brother, break the word of promise given, 

To a king and to a father who is now a saint in heaven! 
Not on thee, nor on thy mother, rests the censure or the blame, 

Faithful to his father’s wishes Rama to the forest came, 
For the son and duteous consort serve the father and the lord, 

Higher than an empire’s glory is a father’s spoken word! 
All inviolate is his mandate,-on Ayodhya’s jewelled throne, 

Or in pathless woods and jungle Rama shall his duty own, 
All inviolate is the blessing by a loving mother given, 

For she blessed my life in exile like a pitying saint of heaven! 
Thou shalt rule the kingdom, Bharat, guard our loving people well, 

Clad in wild bark and in deer-skin I shall in the forests dwell, 
So spake saintly Dasa-ratha in Ayodhya’s palace hall, 

And a righteous father’s mandate duteous son may not recall!’

Poem – Ayodrya, The Righteous City – Valmiki 

Rich in royal worth and valour, rich in holy Vedic lore, 

Dasa-ratha ruled his empire in the happy days of yore, 
Loved of men in fair Ayodhya, sprung of ancient Solar Race, 

Royal rishi in his duty, saintly rishi in his grace, 
Great as INDRA in his prowess, bounteous as KUVERA kind, 

Dauntless deeds subdued his foemen, lofty faith subdued his mind! 
Like the ancient monarch Manu, father of the human race, 

Dasa-ratha ruled his people with a father’s loving grace, 
Truth and Justice swayed each action and each baser motive quelled 

People’s Love and Monarch’s Duty every thought and deed impelled, 
And his town like INDRA’S city,-tower and dome and turret brave- 

Rose in proud and peerless beauty on Sarayu’s limpid wave! 
Peaceful lived the righteous people, rich in wealth in merit high, 

Envy dwelt not in their bosoms and their accents shaped no lie, 
Fathers with their happy households owned their cattle, corn, and gold, 

Galling penury and famine in Ayodhya had no hold, 
Neighbours lived in mutual kindness helpful with their ample wealth, 

None who begged the wasted refuse, none who lived by fraud and stealth! 
And they wore the gem and earring, wreath and fragrant sandal paste, 

And their arms were decked with bracelets, and their necks with nishkas graced, 
Cheat and braggart and deceiver lived not in the ancient town, 

Proud despiser of the lowly wore not insults in their frown, 
Poorer fed not on the richer, hireling friend upon the great, 

None with low and lying accents did upon the proud man wait 
Men to plighted vows were faithful, faithful was each loving wife, 

Impure thought and wandering fancy stained not holy wedded life, 
Robed in gold and graceful garments, fair in form and fair in face, 

Winsome were Ayodhya’s daughters, rich in wit and woman’s grace 
Twice-born men were free from passion, lust of gold and impure greed, 

Faithful to their Rites and Scriptures, truthful in their word and deed, 
Altar blazed in every mansion, from each home was bounty given, 

‘Stooped no man to fulsome falsehood, questioned none the will of Heaven. 
Kshatras bowed to holy Brahmans, Vaisyas to the Kshatras bowed 

Toiling Sudras lived by labour, of their honest duty proud, 
To the Gods and to the Fathers, to each guest in virtue trained, 

Rites were done with true devotion as by holy writ ordained, 
Pure each caste in due observance, stainless was each ancient rite, 

And the nation thrived and prospered by its old and matchless might, 
And each man in truth abiding lived a long and peaceful life, 

With his sons and with his grandsons, with his loved and honoured wife. 
Thus was ruled the ancient city by her monarch true and bold, 

As the earth was ruled by Mann in the misty days of old, 
Troops who never turned in battle, fierce as fire and strong and brave, 

Guarded well her lofty ramparts as the lions guard the cave. 
Steeds like INDRA’S in their swiftness came from far Kamboja’s land, 

From Vanaya and Vahlika and from Sindhu’s rock-bound strand, 
Elephants of mighty stature from the Vindhya mountains came, 

Or from deep and darksome forests round Himalay’s peaks of fame, 
Matchless in their mighty prowess, peerless in their wondrous speed, 

Nobler than the noble tuskers sprung from high celestial breed. 
Thus Ayodhya, ‘virgin city,’-faithful to her haughty name,- 

Ruled by righteous Dasa-ratha won a world-embracing fame, 
Strong-barred gates and lofty arches, tower and dome and turret high 

Decked the vast and peopled city fair as mansions of the sky. 
Queens of proud and peerless beauty born of houses rich in fame, 

Loved of royal Dasa-ratha to his happy mansion came, 
Queen Kausalya blessed with virtue true and righteous Rama bore, 

Queen Kaikeyi young and beauteous bore him Bharat rich in lore, 
Queen Simitra bore the bright twins, Lakshman and Satruglina bold, 

Four brave princes served their father in the happy days of old!