(The War in Ceylon)
RAMA crossed over with his army from India to Ceylon. There is a chain of islands across the strait, and the Indian poet supposes them to be the remains of a vast causeway which Rama built to cross over with his army.
The town of Lanka, the capital of Ceylon, was invested, and the war which followed was a succession of sallies by the great leaders and princes of Lanka. But almost every sally was repulsed, every chief was killed, and at last Ravan himself who made the last sally was slain and the war ended.
Among the numberless fights described in the original work, those of Ravan himself, his brother Kumbha-karna, and his son Indrajit, are the most important, and oftenest recited and listened to in India; and these have been rendered into English in this Book. And the reader will mark a certain method in the poet's estimate of the warriors who took part in these battles.
First and greatest among the warriors was Rama; he was never beaten by an open foe, never conquered in fair fight. Next to him, and to him only, was Ravan the monarch of Lanka; he twice defeated Lakshman in battle, and never retreated except before Rama. Next to Rama and to Ravan stood their brothers, Laksh man and Kumbha-karna; it is difficult to say who was the best of these two, for they fought only once, and it was a drawn battle. Fifth in order of prowess was Indrajit the son of Ravana, but he was the first in his magic art. Concealed in mists by his magic, he twice defeated both Rama and Lakshman; but in his last battle he had to wage a face to face combat with Lakshman, and was slain. After these five warriors, pre-eminent for their prowess, various Vanars and Rakshas took their rank.
The war ended with the fall of Ravan and his funerals. The portions translated in this Book form the whole or portions of Sections xliv., xlviii., lix., lxvi., 1xvii., and lxxiii., an abstract of Sections Ixxv. to xci., and portions of Sections xciii., xcvi., ci., cii., ciii., cix., cx., and cxiii. of Book vi. of the original text.
INDRAJIT'S FIRST BATTLE--THE SERPENT-NOOSE
Darkly round the
leaguered city Rama's countless forces lay,
Far as Ravan cast his glances in the dawning light of day,
Wrath and anguish
shook his bosom and the gates he opened wide,
And with ranks of charging Rakshas sallied with a Raksha's pride!
All the day the
battle lasted, endless were the tale to tell,
What unnumbered Vanars perished and what countless Rakshas fell,
the fiery foemen urged the still unceasing fight,
Struggling with a deathless hatred fiercer in the gloom of night!
Onward came resistless
Rakshas, laid Sugriva's forces low,
Crushed the broken ranks of Vanars, drank the red blood of the foe,
the scattered Vanars facing still the tide of war,
Struggling with the charging tusker and the steed and battle car,
Till at last the
gallant Lakshman and the godlike Rama came,
And they swept the hosts of Ravan like a sweeping forest flame,
And their shafts
like hissing serpents on the falt'ring foemen fell,
Fiercer grew the sable midnight with the dying shriek and yell!
Dust arose like
clouds of summer from each thunder-sounding car,
From the hoofs of charging coursers, from the elephants of war,
Streams of red
blood warm and bubbling issued from the countless slain,
Flooded battle's dark arena like the floods of summer rain,
Sound of trumpet
and of bugle, drum and horn and echoing shell,
And the neigh of charging coursers and the tuskers' dying wail,
And the yell of
wounded Rakshas and the Vanars' fierce delight,
Shook the earth and sounding welkin, waked the echoes of the night!
Six bright arrows
Rama thundered from his weapon dark and dread,
Iron-toothÃ©d Vajra-dranshtra and his fainting comrades fled,
the serried Rakshas, wave on wave succeeding came,
Perished under Rama's arrows as the moths upon the flame!
Indrajit the son
of Ravan, Lanka's glory and her pride,
Matchless in his magic weapons came and turned the battle's tide,
What though Angad
in his fury had his steeds and driver slayed,
Indrajit hid in the midnight battled from its friendly shade,
Shrouded in a
cloud of darkness still he poured his darts like rain,
On young Lakshman and on Rama and on countless Vanars slain,
Matchless in his
magic weapons, then he hurled his Naga-dart,
Serpent noose upon his foemen draining lifeblood from their heart!
Vainly then the
royal brothers fought the cloud-enshrouded foe,
Vainly sought the unseen warrior dealing unresisted blow,
Fastened by a
noose of Naga forced by hidden foe to yield,
Rama and the powerless Lakshman fell and fainted on the field!
Indrajit ere dawned
the morning entered in his father's hall,
Spake of midnight's darksome contest, Rama's death and Lakshman's fall,
And the proud
and peerless Ravan clasped his brave and gallant son,'
Praised him for his skill and valour and his deed of glory done,
And with dark
and cruel purpose bade his henchmen yoke his car,
Bade them take the sorrowing Sita to the gory field of war!
Soon they harnessed
royal coursers and they took the weeping wife,
Where her Rama, pierced and bleeding, seemed bereft of sense and life,
Brother lay beside
his brother with their shattered mail and bow,
Arrows thick and dark with red blood spake the conquest of the foe,
Anguish woke in
Sita's bosom and a dimness filled her eye,
And a widow's nameless sorrow burst in widow's mournful cry:
Rama, lord and
king and husband! didst thou cross the billowy sea,
Didst thou challenge death and danger, court thy fate to rescue me,
Didst thou hurl
a fitting vengeance on the cruel Raksha force,
Till the hand of hidden foeman checked thy all-resistless course?
the earth no warrior who could face thee in the fight,
Who could live to boast his triumph o'er thy world-subduing might,
But the will of
Fate is changeless, Death is mighty in his sway,
Peerless Rama, faithful Lakshman, sleep the sleep that knows no day!
But I weep not
for my Rama nor for Lakshman young and brave,
They have done a warrior's duty and have found a warrior's grave,
And I weep not
for my sorrows,---sorrow marked me from my birth,
Child of Earth I seek in suffering bosom of my mother Earth!
But I grieve for
dear Kausalya, sonless mother, widowed queen,
How she reckons days and seasons in her anguish ever green.
How she waits
with eager longing till her Rama's exile o'er,
He would soothe her lifelong sorrow, bless her agÃ©d eyes once more,
Sita's love! Ayodhya's
monarch! Queen Kausalya's dearest born
Rama soul of truth and virtue sleeps the sleep that knows no morn!"
Sorely wept the
sorrowing Sita in her accents soft and low,
And the silent stars of midnight wept to witness Sita's woe,
But Trijata her
companion,--though a Raksha woman she,--
Felt her soul subdued by sadness, spake to Sita tenderly:
"Weep not, sad
and saintly Sita, shed not widow's tears in vain,
For thy lord is sorely wounded, but shall live to fight again,
Rama and the gallant
Lakshman, fainting, not bereft of life,
They shall live to fight and conquer,--thou shalt be a happy wife,
Mark the Vanars'
marshalled forces, listen to their warlike cries,
'Tis not thus the soldiers gather when a chief and hero dies,
'Tis not thus
round lifeless leader muster warriors true and brave,
For when falls the dying helmsman, sinks the vessel in the wave!
Mark the ring
of hopeful Vanars, how they watch o'er Rama's face,
How they guard the younger Lakshman beaming yet with living grace,
Trust me, sad
and sorrowing Sita, marks of death these eyes can trace,
Shade of death's decaying fingers sweeps not o'er thy Rama's face!
Listen more, my
gentle Sita, though a captive in our keep,
For thy woes and for thy anguish see a Raksha woman weep,
Though thy Rama
armed in battle is our unrelenting foe,
For a true and stainless warrior see a Raksha filled with woe!
Fainting on the
field of battle, blood-ensanguined in their face,
They shall live to fight and conquer, worthy of their gallant race,
Cold nor rigid
are their features, darkness dwells not on their brow,
Weep not thus, my gentle Sita,--hasten we to Lanka now."
And Trijata spake
no falsehood, by the winged Garuda's skill,
Rama and the valiant Lakshman lived to fight their foemen still!
RAVAN'S FIRST BATTLE-THE JAVELIN-STROKE
'Gainst the God-assisted
Rama, Ravan's efforts all were vain,
Leaguered Lanka vainly struggled in her adamantine chain,
with their forces vainly issued through the gate,
Chiefs and serried ranks of warriors met the same resistless fate!
Dhumraksha sallied with the fierce tornado's shock,
Hanuman of peerless prowess slayed him with a rolling rock,
Vajra-danshtra dashed through countless Vanars slain,
But the young and gallant Angad laid him lifeless on the plain,
warrior issued out of Lanka's wall,
Hanuman was true and watchful, speedy was the Raksha's fall,
Then the mighty-armed
Prahasta strove to break the hostile line,
But the gallant Nila felled him as the woodman fells the pine!
and countless soldiers sallied forth to face the fight,
Broke not Rama's iron circle, 'scaped not Rama's wondrous might,
Ravan could no
longer tarry, for his mightiest chiefs were slain,
Foremost leaders, dearest kinsmen, lying on the gory plain!
"Lofty scorn of
foes unworthy spared them from my flaming ire,
But the blood of slaughtered kinsmen claims from me a vengeance dire,"
the wrathful Ravan mounted on his thundering car,
Flame-resplendent was the chariot drawn by matchless steeds of war!
Beat of drum and
voice of sankha and the Raksha's battle cry,
Song of triumph, chanted mantra, smote the echoing vault of sky,
And the troops
like cloudy masses with their eyes of lightning fire
Girt their monarch, as his legions girdle RUDRA in his ire!
Rolled the car
with peal of thunder through the city's lofty gate,
And each fierce and fiery Raksha charged with warrior's deathless hate,
And the vigour
of the onset cleft the stunned and scattered foe,
As a strong bark cleaves the billows riding on the ocean's brow!
king of Vanars met the foeman fierce and strong,
And a rock with mighty effort on the startled Ravan flung,
Vain the toil,
disdainful Ravan dashed aside the flying rock,
Brave Sugriva pierced by arrows fainted neath the furious shock.
Next Susena chief
and elder, Nala and Gavaksha bold,
Hurled them on the path of Ravan speeding in his car of gold,
the rock and missile, vainly did with trees assail,
Onward sped the conquering Ravan, pierced the fainting Vanars fell.
Hanuman the son
of MARUT next against the Raksha came,
Fierce and strong as stormy MARUT, warrior of unrivalled fame,
But the Raksha's
mighty onset gods nor mortals might sustain,
Hauuman in red blood welt'ring rolled upon the gory plain.
the car of Ravan, where the dauntless Nila stood,
Armed with rock and tree and missile, thirsting for the Raksha's blood,
the valiant Nila, pierced by Ravan's pointed dart,
On the gory field of battle poured the red blood of his heart.
the scattered forces Ravan's conquering chariot came,
Where in pride mid dauntless valour Lakshman stood of warlike fame,
Calm and proud
the gallant Lakshman marked the all-resistless foe,
Boldly challenged Lanka's monarch as he held aloft his bow:
Lord of Lanka! wage with me an equal strife,
Wherefore with thy royal prowess seek the humble Vanars' life!"
"Hath thy fate,"
so answered Ravan, "brought thee to thy deadly foe,
Welcome, valiant son of Ra-hu! Ravan longs to lay thee low!
Then they closed
in dubious battle, Lanka's Lord his weapon bent,
Seven bright arrows, keen and whistling, on the gallant Lakshman sent,
Vain the toil,
for watchful Lakshman stout of heart and true of aim,
With his darts like shooting sunbeams cleft each arrow as it came.
the darts of Lakshman, pale with anger, wounded sore,
Ravan drew at last his Sakti, gift of Gods in days of yore,
Javelin of flaming
splendour, deadly like the shaft of Fate,
Ravan hurled on dauntless Lakshman in his fierce and furious hate.
Vain were Lakshman's
human weapons aimed with skill-directed well,
Pierced by Sakti, gallant Lakshman in his red blood fainting fell,
saw the combat and arose in godlike might,
Bleeding Ravan turned to Lanka, sought his safety in his flight.
FALL OF KUMBHA-KARNA
Once, more healed
and strong and valiant, Lakshman in his arms, arose,
Safe behind the gates of Lanka humbled Ravan shunned his foes,
Till the stalwart
Kumbha-karna from his wonted slumbers woke,
Mightiest be of all the Rakshas;--Ravan thus unto him spoke.
"Thou alone, O
Kumbha-karna, can the Raksha's honour save,
Strongest of the Raksha warriors, stoutest-hearted midst the brave,
Speed thee like
the Dread Destroyer to the dark and dubious fray,
Cleave through Rama's girdling forces, chase the scattered foe away!"
Like a mountain's
beetling turret Kumbha-karna stout and tall,
Passed the city's lofty portals and the city's girdling wall,
And he raised
his voice in battle, sent his cry from shore to shore,
Solid mountains shook and trembled and the sea returned the roar!
INDRA nor the
great VARUNA equalled Kumbha-karna's might,
Vanars trembled at the warrior, sought their safety in their flight,
But the prince
of fair Kishkindha, Angad chief of warlike fame,
Marked his panic-stricken forces with a princely warrior's shame.
ye trembling Vanars?" thus the angry chieftain cried,
"All forgetful of your duty, of your worth and warlike pride,
Deem not stalwart
Kumbha-karna is our match in open fight,
Forward let us meet in battle, let us crush his giant might!"
the broken army stone and tree and massive rock.
Hurled upon the giant Raksha speeding with the lightning's shock.
Vain each flying
rock and missile, vain each stout and sturdy stroke,
On the Raksha's limbs of iron stone and tree in splinters broke.
the scattered forces Kumbha-karna fearless stood,
As a forest conflagration feasts upon the parchÃ©d wood,
Far as confines
of the ocean, to the causeway they had made,
To the woods or caves or billows, Vanars in their terror fled!
Hanuman of dauntless
valour turned not in his fear nor fled,
Heaved a rock with mighty effort on the Raksha's towering held,
With his spear-head
Kumbha-karna dashed the flying rock aside,
By the Raksha's weapon stricken Hanuman fell in his pride.
and brave Nila and the bold Sarabha came,
Gavaksha and Gandha-madan, chieftains of a deathless fame,
But the spear
of Kunibha-karna hurled to earth his feeble foes,
Dreadful was the field of carnage, loud the cry of battle rose!
Angad prince of
fair Kishkindha, filled with anger and with shame,
Tore a rock with wrathful prowess, to the fatal combat came,
Short the combat,
soon the Raksha caught and turned his foe around
Hurled him in his deadly fury, bleeding, senseless on the ground!
king of Vanars with a vengeful anger woke,
Tore a rock from bed of mountain and in proud defiance spoke,
toil and struggle, Kumbha-karna hurled a rock,
Fell Suguriva crushed and senseless 'neath the missile's mighty shock!
the Vanar forces, like a flame through forest wood,
Came the Raksha where in glory Lakshman calm and fearless stood,
Short their contest,-Kumbha-karna
sought a greater, mightier foe,
To the young and dauntless Lakshman spake in accents soft and low:
and matchless warrior, fair Sumitra's gallant son,
Thou hast proved unrivalled prowess and unending glory won,
But I seek a mightier
foeman, to thy elder let me go,
I would fight the royal Rama, or to die or slay my foe!"
said gallant Lakshman, "peerless in thy giant might,
Conqueror of great Immortals, Lakshman owns thy skill in fight,
than bright Immortals thou shall meet in fatal war,
Death for thee in guise of Rama tarries yonder, not afar!"
Ill it fared with
Kumbha-karna when he strove with Rama's might,
Men on earth nor Gods immortal conquered Rama in the fight,
keen and flaming from the hero's weapon broke,
Kumbha-karna faint and bleeding felt his death at every stroke,
Last, an arrow
pierced his armour, from his shoulders smote his head,
Kumbha-karna, lifeless, headless, rolled upon the gory bed,
Hurled unto the
heaving ocean Kumbha-karna's body fell,
And as shaken by a tempest, mighty was the ocean's swell!
INDRJIT'S SACRIFICE AND SECOND BATTLE
Still around beleaguered
Lanka girdled Rama's living chain,
Raksha chieftain after chieftain strove to break the line in vain,
Sons of Ravan,--brave
Narantak was by valiant Angad slain,
Trisiras and fierce Devantak, Hanuman slew on the plain,
of stature, was by gallant Lakshman killed,
Ravan wept for slaughtered princes, brave in war in weapons skilled.
"Shed no tears
of sorrow, father! "Indrajit exclaimed in pride,
"While thy eldest son surviveth triumph dwells on Ravan's side,
Rama and that
stripling Lakshman, I had left them in their gore,
Once again I seek their lifeblood,--they shall live to fight no more.
Hear my vow, O
Lord of Rakshas! ere descends yon radiant sun,
Rama's days and gallant Lakshman's on this wide earth shall be done,
and VIVASWAT, VISHNU great and RUDRA dire,
Witness Sun and Moon and Sadhyas, and the living God of Fire!
Opened wide the
gates of Lanka; in the spacious field of war,
Indrajit arranged his army, foot and horse and battle car,
Then with gifts
and sacred mantras bent before the God of Fire,
And invoked celestial succour in the battle dread and dire.
With his offerings
and his garlands, Indrajit with spices rare,
Worshipped holy VAISWA-NARA on the altar bright and fair,
Spear and mace
were ranged in order, dart and bow and shining blade
Sacred fuel, blood-red garments, fragrant flowers were duly laid,
Head of goat as
black as midnight offered then the warrior brave,
And the shooting tongue of red fire omens of a conquest gave,
Curling to the
right and smokeless, red and bright as molten gold,
Tongue of flame received the offering of the hero true and bold!
Victory the sign
betokens! Bow and dart and shining blade,
Sanctified by holy mantras, by the Fire the warrior laid,
Then with weapons
consecrated, hid in mists as once before,
Indrajit on helpless foemen did his fatal arrows pour!
Fled the countless
Vanar forces, panic-stricken, crushed and slain,
And the dead and dying warriors strewed the gory battle plain,
Then on Rama,
and on Lakshman, from his dark and misty shroud,
Indrajit discharged his arrows bright as sunbeams through a cloud.
and bright sky vainly for his dark and hidden foe,
Rama to his brother Lakshman spake in grief and spake in woe:
Once again that
wily Raksha, slaying all our Vanar train,
From his dark and shadowy shelter doth on us his arrows rain,
By the grace of
great SWAYAMBHU, Indrajit is lost to sight,
Useless is our human weapon 'gainst his gift of magic might.
If SWAYAMBHU wills
it, Lakshman, we shall face these fatal darts,
We shall stand with dauntless patience, we shall die with dauntless hearts!"
calm and valiant, from the foeman's dart and spell
patiently the princes suffered, fearlessly the heroes fell!
INDRAJIT'S THIRD BATTLE AND FALL
from distant mountains Hanuman in safety brought,
Rama rose and gallant Lakshman, once again their foemen sought.
And when night
its sable mantle o'er the earth and ocean drew,
Forcing through the gates of Lanka to the frightened city flew!
Gallant sons of
Kumbha-kama vainly fought to stem the tide,
Hanuman and brave Sugriva slew the brothers in their pride,
warrior, vainly struggled with the foe,
Rama laid him pierced and lifeless by an arrow from his bow.
in anger for his gallant kinsmen slayed,
In his arts and deep devices Sita's beauteous image made,
And he placed
the form of beauty on his speeding battle car,
With his sword he smote the image in the gory field of war!
Rama heard the
fatal message which his faithful Vanars gave,
And a deathlike trance and tremor fell upon the warrior brave,
deep in wisdom to the anguished Rama came,
With his words of consolation spake of Rama's righteous dame:
"Trust me, Rama,
trust thy comrade,--for I know our wily house,--
Indrajit slays not the woman whom his father seeks as spouse,
'Tis for Sita,
impious Ravan meets thee on the battle-field,
Stakes his life and throne and empire, but thy Sita will not yield,
Deem not that
the king of Rakshas will permit her blood be shed,
Indrajit slays not the woman whom his father seeks to wed!
'Twas an image
of thy Sita, Indrajit hath cleft in twain,
While our army wails and sorrows,--he performs his rites again,
To the holy Nikumbhila,
Indrajit in secret hies,
For the rights which yield him prowess, hide him in the cloudy skies.
Let young Lakshman
seek the foeman ere his magic rites be done,
Once the sacrifice completed, none can combat Ravan's son,--
Let young Lakshman
speed through Lanka till his wily foe is found,
Slay the secret sacrificer on the sacrificial ground!"
Unto holy Nikumbhila,
Lakshman with Bibhishan went
Bravest, choicest of the army, Rama with his brother sent,
Magic rites and
sacrifices Indrajit had scarce begun,
When surprised by armÃ©d foemen rose in anger Ravan's son!
"Art thou he,"
thus to Bibhishan, Indrajit in anger spake,
"Brother of my royal father, stealing thus my life to take,
Raksha born of
Raksha parents, dost thou glory in this deed,
Traitor to thy king and kinsmen, false to us in direst need?
Scorn and pity
fill my bosom thus to see thee leave thy kin,
Serving as a slave of foemen, stooping to a deed of sin,
For the slave
who leaves his kindred, basely seeks the foemans grace,
Meets destruction from the foeman after he destroys his race!"
of impure passions," thus Bibhishan answer made,
"Of my righteous worth unconscious bitter accents hast thou said,
Know, proud youth,
that Truth and Virtue in my heart precedence take,
And we shun the impious kinsman as we shun the pois'nous snake!
this earth no longer bears thy father's sin and strife,
Plunder of the righteous neighbour, passion for the neighbour's wife,
Earth and skies
have doomed thy father for his sin-polluted reign,
Unto Gods his proud defiance and his wrongs to sons of men!
this fated Lanka groans beneath her load of crime,
And shall perish in her folly by the ruthless hand of Time,
perish and thy father and this proud presumptuous state,
Lakshman meets thee, impious Raksha, by the stern decree of Fate!"
"Hast thou too
forgot the lesson," Indrajit to Lakshman said,
"Twice in field of war unconscious thee with Rama have I laid,
Dost thou stealing
like a serpent brave my yet unconquered might,
Perish, boy, in thy presumption, in this last and fatal fight!"
Spake the hero:
"Like a coward hid beneath a mantling cloud,
Thou hast battled like a caitiff safe behind thy sheltering shroud,
Now I seek an
open combat, time is none to prate or speak,
Boastful word is coward's weapon, weapons and thy arrows seek!
Soon they mixed
in dubious combat, fury fired each foeman's heart,
Either warrior felt his rival worthy of his bow and dart,
his hurtling arrows pierced the Raksha's golden mail,
Shattered by the Raksha's weapons Lakshman's useless armour fen,
Red with gore
and dim in eyesight still the chiefs in fury fought,
Neither quailed bef ore his f oeman, pause nor grace nor mercy sought,
Till with more
than human valour Lakshman drew his bow amain,
Slayed the Raksha's steeds and driver, severed too his bow in twain.
"If the great
and godlike Rama is in faith and duty true,
Gods assist the cause of virtue!"--Lakahman uttered as he drew,
Fatal was the
dart unerring,--Gods assist the true and bold,
On the field of Nikumbhila, Lakshman's foeman headless rolled!
light of Rakshas' valour!" so the message-bearer said,
"Lakshman with the deep Bibhishan hath thy son in battle slayed,
Fallen is our
prince and hero and his day on earth is done,
In a brighter world, O monarch, lives thy brave, thy gallant son!
the father's bosom and his fleeting senses failed,
Till to deeper sorrow wakened Lanka's monarch wept and wailed:
"Greatest of my
gallant warriors, dearest to thy father's heart.,
Victor over bright Immortals,- art thou slain by Lakshman's dart,
Noble prince whose
peerless arrows could the peaks of Mandar stain,
And could daunt the Dread Destroyer,--art thou by a mortal slain!
But thy valour
lends a radiance to elysium's sunny clime,
And thy bright name adds a lustre to the glorious rolls of time,
In the skies the
bright Immortals lisp thy name with terror pale,
On the earth our maids and matrons mourn thy fall with piercing wail!
Hark! the voice
of lamentation waking in the palace halls,
Like the voice of woe in forests when the forest monarch falls,
Hark! the wailing
widowed princess, mother weeping for her son,
Leaving them in tears and anguish, Indrajit, where art thou gone!
Full of years,--so
oft I pondered,--when the monarch Ravan dics,
Indrajit shall watch his bedside, Indrajit shall close his eyes,
But the course
of nature changes, and the father weeps the son,
Youth is fallen, and the aged lives to fight the foe alone!"
Tears of sorrow,
slow and silent, fell upon the monarch's breast,
Then a swelling rage and passion woke within his heaving chest,
Like the sun of
scorching summer glowed his face in wrathful shame,
From his brow and rolling eyeballs issued sparks of living flame!
exclaimed the monarch, "she-wolf Sita dies to-day,
Indrajit but cleft her image, Ravan will the woman slay!"
Followed by his
trembling courtiers, regal robes and garments rent,
Ravan shaking in his passion to Asoka's garden went,
Maddened by his
wrath and anguish, with his drawn and flaming sword,
Sought the shades where soft-eyed Sita, silent sorrowed for her lord.
the royal sabre on that fatal day had stained,
But his true and faithful courtiers Ravan's wrathful hand restrained.
And the watchful
Raksha females girdled round the sorrowing dame,
Flung them on the path of Ravan to withstand a deed of shame.
"Not against a
woman, Ravan, mighty warriors raise their hand,
In the battle," spake the courtiers, "duty bids thee use thy brand,
Versed in Vedas
and in learning, court not thus a caitiff's fate,
Woman's blood pollutes our valour, closes heaven's eternal gate!
Leave the woman
in her sorrow, mount upon thy battle car,
Faithful to our king and leader we will wake the voice of war,
'Tis the fourteenth
day auspicious of the dark and waning moon,
Glory waiteth thee in battle and thy vengeance cometh soon,
in the contest slay thy foeman in his pride,
Seek as victor of the combat widowed Sita as thy bride!"
Slow and sullen,
dark and silent, Ravan then his wrath restrained,
Vengeance on his son's destroyer deep within his bosom reigned!
RAVAN'S SECOND BATTLE AND VENGEANCE
Voice of woe and
lamentation and the cry of woman's wail,
Issuing from the homes of Lanka did the monarch's ears awail,
And a mighty thought
of vengeance waked within the monarch's heart,
And he heaved a sigh of anguish as he grasped his bow and dart:
"Arm each chief
and gallant Raksha! be our sacred duty done,
Ravan seeks a fitting vengeance for his brave and noble son,
Mahodar and Virupaksha,
Mahaparshwa warrior tall,
Arm! this fated day will witness Lakshman's or your monarch's fall
Call to mind each
slaughtered hero,--Khara, Dushan, slain in fight,
Kumbha-kama giant warrior, Indrajit of magic might,
Earth nor sky
shall hide my foemen nor the ocean's heaving swell,
Scattered ranks of Rama's forces shall my speedy vengeance tell,
Be the red-earth
strewn and covered with our countless foemen slain,
Hungry wolves and blood-beaked vultures feed upon the ghastly plain,
For his great
and gallant brother, for his brave and beauteous son,
Ravan seeks a fitting vengeance, Rakshas be your duty done!"
House to house,
in Lanka's city, Ravan's royal best was heard,
Street and lane poured forth their warriors by a mighty passion stirred,
With the javelin
and sabre, mace and club and axe and pike,
Sataghni and bhindipala, quoit and discus quick to strike.
And they formed
the line of tuskers and the line of battle car,
Mule and camel fit for burden and the fiery steed of war,
of armÃ©d soldiers shook the earth beneath their tread,
Horsemen that on wings of lightning o'er the field of battle spread.
Drum and conch
and sounding trumpet waked the echoes of the sky,
Pataha and loud mridanga and the people's maddening cry,
the gates of Lanka, Ravan's lofty chariot passed
Destined by his fortune, Ravan ne'er again those portals crost!
And the sun was
dim and clouded and a sudden darkness fell,
Birds gave forth their boding voices and the earth confessed a spell,
Gouts of blood
in rain descended, startled coursers turned to fly,
Vultures swooped upon the banner, jackals yelled their doleful cry,
Omens of a dark
disaster mantled o'er the vale and rock,
And the ocean heaved in billows, nations felt the earthquake shock!
the fatal battle, sturdy Vanars fell in fight,
Warlike leaders of the Rakshas perished neath the foeman's might,
Mahodhar and Virupaksha
were by bold Sugriva slain,
Crushed by Angad, Mahaparshwa. slumbered lifeless on the plain.
But with more
than mortal valour Ravan swept the ranks of war,
Warriors fell beneath his prowess, fled before his mighty car,
the Vanar forces, filled with vengeance deep and dire,
Ravan marked the gallant Lakshman flaming like a crimson fire!
Like the tempest
cloud of summer Ravan's wingÃ©d courses flew,
But Bibhishan in his prowess soon the gallant charges slew,
Dashina from his
useless chariot Ravan leaped upon the ground,
And his false and traitor brother by his dearest foeman found!
marked Bibhishan battling by the foeman's side,
And he hurled his pond'rous weapon for to slay him in his pride,
the mighty jav'lin as it winged its whizzing flight,
Cleft it in its onward passage, saved Bibhishan by his might!
the angry Ravan gloating in his vengeful wrath,
Spake to young and dauntless Laksliman daring thus to cross his path:
thee I battle for thy deed of darkness done,
Face the anger of a father, cruel slayer of the son,
By thy skill and
by thy valour, false Bibhishan thou hast saved,
Save thyself! Deep in this bosom is a cruel grief engraved!"
and sad remembrance urged the lightning-wingÃ©d dart,
Ravan's Sakti fell resistless on the senseless Lakshman's heart,
saw the combat and arose in godlike might,
Carless, steedless, wounded Ravan sought his safety in his flight.
"Art thou fallen,"
sorrowed Rama, "weary of this endless strife,
Lakshman, if thy days are ended, Rama recks not for his life,
Gone is Rama's
wonted valour, weapons leave his nerveless hand,
Drop his bow and shining arrows, useless hangs his sheathÃ©d brand!
Art thou fallen,
gallant Lakshman, death and faintness on me creep,
Weary of this fatal contest let me by my brother sleep,
Weary of the strife
and triumph, since my faithful friend is gone,
Rama follows in his footsteps and his task on earth is done!
Thou hast from
the far Ayodhya, followed me in deepest wood,
In the thickest of the battle thou hast by thy elder stood,
Love of woman,
love of comrade, trite is love of kith and kind,
Love like thine, true-hearted brother, not on earth we often find!
When Sumitra seeks
thee, Lakshman, ever weeping for thy sake,
When she asks me of her hero, what reply shall Rama make,
What reply, when
Bharat questions,--Where is be who went to wood,
Where is true and faithful Lakshman who beside his elder stood?
What great crime
or fatal shadow darkens o'er my hapless life,
Victim to the sins of Rama sinless Lakshman falls in strife,
Best of brothers,
best of warriors, wherefore thus unconscious he,
Mother, wife, and brother wait thee, ope once more thy sleeping eye!"
wise Susena, gentle consolation lent,
Hanuman from distant mountains herbs of healing virtue rent,
And by loving
Rama tended, Lakshman in his strength arose,
Stirred by thoughts of fatal vengeance Rama sought the flying foes.
CELESTIAL ARMS AND CHARIOT
Not in dastard
terror havan sought his safety in his flight,
But to seek fresh steeds of battle ere he faced his foeman's might,
gallant coursers to a new and glorious car,
Sunlike in its radiant splendour, Ravan came once more to war.
Gods in wonder
watched the contest of the more than mortal foes,
Ravan mighty in his vengeance, Rama lofty in his woes,
Gods in wonder
marked the heroes, lion-like in jungle wood,
INDRA sent his arms and chariot where the human warrior stood!
thus spake INDRA, "speed thee with my heavenly car,
Where on foot the righteous Rama meets his mounted foe in war,
Speed, for Ravan's
days are ended, and his moments brief and few,
Rama strives for right and virtue,--Gods assist the brave and true!"
Brave Matali drove
the chariot drawn by steeds like solar ray,
Where the true and righteous Rama sought his foe in fatal fray,
Shining arms and
heavenly weapons he to lofty Rama gave,--
When the righteous strive and struggle, Gods assist the true and brave!
"Take this car,"
so said Matali, "which the helping Gods provide,
Rama, take these steeds celestial, INDRA'S golden chariot ride,
Take this royal
bow and quiver, wear this falchion dread and dire,
VISWA-KARMAN forged this armour in the flames of heavenly fire,
I shall be thy
chariot driver and shall speed the thund'ring car,
Slay the sin -polluted Ravan in this last and fatal war!"
Rama mounted on
the chariot clad in arms of heavenly sheen,
And he mingled in a contest mortal eyes have never seen!
RAVAN'S THIRD BATTLE AND FALL
Gods and mortals
watched the contest and the heroes of the war,
Ravan speeding on his chariot, Rama on the heavenly car,
And a fiercer
form the warriors in their fiery frenzy wore,
And a deeper weight of hatred on their anguished bosoms bore,
Clouds of dread
and deathful arrows hid the radiant face of sky,
Darker grew the day of combat, fiercer grew the contest high!
Pierced by Ravan's
pointed weapons bleeding Rama owned no pain,
Rama's arrows keen and piercing sought his foeman's life in vain,
Long and dubious
battle lasted, and with fury wilder fraught,
Wounded, faint, and still unyielding, blind with wrath the rivals fought,
Pike and Club
and mace and trident scaped from Ravan's vengeful hand,
Spear and arrows Rama wielded, and his bright and flaming brand!
Long and dubious
battle lasted, shook the ocean, hill and dale,
Winds were hushed in voiceless terror and the livid sun was pale,
Still the dubious
battle lasted, until Rama in his ire
Wielded BRAHMA'S deathful weapon flaming with celestial fire!
Weapon which the
Saint Agastya had unto the hero given,
Winged as lightning dart of INDRA, fatal as the bolt of heaven,
Wrapped in smoke
and flaming flashes, speeding from the circled bow,
Pierced the iron heart of Ravan, lain the lifeless hero low,
And a cry of pain
and terror from the Raksha ranks arose,
And a shout from joying Vanars as they smote their fleeing foes!
in rain descended on the red and gory plain,
And from unseen harps and timbrels rose a soft celestial strain,
And the ocean
heaved in gladness, brighter shone the sunlit sky,
Soft and cool the gentle zephyrs through the forest murmured by,
and fragrant odours wafted from celestial trees,
Fell upon the earth and ocean, rode upon the laden breeze!
Voice of blessing
from the bright sky fell on Raghu's valiant son,--
"Champion of the true and righteous! now thy noble task is done!"
MANDODARI'S LAMENT AND THE FUNERALS
"Hast thou fallen,"
wept in anguish Ravan's first and eldest bride,
Mandodari, slender-waisted, Queen of Lanka's state and pride,
"Hast thou fallen,
king and consort, more than Gods in warlike might,
Slain by man, whom bright Immortals feared to facein dubious fight?
Not a man!-the
Dark Destroyer came to thee in mortal form,
Or the heaven-traversing VISHNU, INDRA ruler of the storm,
Gods of sky in
shape of Vanars helped the dark and cruel deed,
Girdling round the Discus-Wielder in the battle's direst need!
Well I knew,--when
Khara, Dushan, were by Rama's prowess slain,
Rama was no earthly mortal, he who crossed the mighty main,
Well I knew,--when
with his army he invested Lanka's gate,
Rama was no earthly mortal but the messenger of Fate,
And I prayed,--the
faithful Sita, might unto her consort go,
For 'tis writ that nations perish for a righteous woman's woe,
But for impious
lust of woman,--all forgetful of thy wife,
Thou hast lost thy crown and kingdom, thou hast lost thy fated life!
Woe to me! the
sad remembrance haunts my tortured bosom still,
Of our days on famed Kailasa or on Meru's golden hill,
Done the days
of joy and gladness, Mandodari's days are done,
Since her lord and king and husband from her dear embrace is gone!
Sorely wept the
Queen of Lanka; Rama, tender, tearful, true,
Bade the funeral rites and honours to a fallen foeman due,
And they heaped
the wood of Chandan and the fragrant garland laid,
On the pyre they lifted Ravan in the richest robes arrayed,
and sorrowing Rakshas round their fallen leader stood,
Brahmans with their chaunted mantras piled the dry and scented wood,
Oil and cords
and sacred offerings were upon the altar laid,
And a goat of inky darkness as a sacrifice was slayed.
Piously the good
Bibhishan lighted Ravan's funeral pyre,
And the zephyrs gently blowing fanned the bright and blazing fire,
Slow and sad with
due abititions mourners left the funeral site,
Rama then unstrung his weapon, laid aside his arms of might.
From "THE RAMAYANA AND THE MAHABHARATA" Condensed into English Verse By Romesh C. Dutt (1899)