The Ramayana of Valmiki, translated by Hari Prasad Shastri

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The Ramayana of Valmiki, translated by Hari Prasad Shastri

Postby admin » Mon May 17, 2021 11:44 am

The Ramayana of Valmiki
translated by Hari Prasad Shastri
(Vol. I: Bala Kanda; Aydohya Kanda)



Book I — Bala Kanda

1. Shri Narada relates to Valmiki the story of Rama
2. Valmiki creates the metrical form for the story
3. The deeds of Rama that will be described in the sacred poem
4. Shri Rama’s sons chant the poem
5. King Dasaratha’s kingdom and capital
6. The city of Ayodhya
7. The administration of the kingdom
8. The king decides to perform a sacrifice for the birth of a son
9. Sumantra relates a tradition that a son will be born through the help of Rishyasringa
10. He describes how Rishyasringa was brought to King Lomapada’s court
11. King Dasaratha goes to King Lomapada, by whose permission Rishyasringa comes to Ayodhya
12. Rishyasringa agrees to assist in the sacrifice
13. The sacrifice is commenced
14. The ceremonies are performed with the appropriate rites
15. To destroy Ravana, Shri Vishnu resolves to incarnate
16. He decides to incarnate as the four sons of King Dasaratha
17. To assist Shri Vishnu, celestial beings incarnate as warriors of the monkey tribe
18. King Dasaratha’s sons are born and grow to manhood
19. Vishwamitra’s request
20. The king’s reluctance to allow Shri Rama to contend with Maricha and Suvahu
21. On Vasishtha’s advice the king acquiesces
22. Ramachandra and Lakshmana set forth with Vishwamitra
23. They reach the hermitage of Kama
24. The two princes with Vishwamitra behold the dark forest of Taraka
25. Vishwamitra seeks to convince Rama that it is his duty to slay Taraka
26. How the Yakshini Taraka was slain
27. Shri Rama is given the celestial weapons
28. He is instructed in their use
29. Vishwamitra relates the story of his hermitage and commences the sacrifice
30. Maricha and Suvahu obstruct the sacrifice and are slain by Rama
31. Vishwamitra starts out with the two princes to attend King Janaka’s sacrifice
32. Vishwamitra tells of his ancestors and the dynasty of King Kusha
33. King Kushanabha’s hundred daughters
34. His son, Gadhi, is the father of Vishwamitra
35. Vishwamitra begins to narrate the origin of the holy river Gunga
36. The story of the King of Himalayas’ younger daughter Uma
37. The king’s elder daughter, Gunga
38. The story of King Sagara, Shri Rama’s ancestor
39. The horse with which he performs a sacrifice is stolen
40. The king’s sons search for the horse ; they accuse Shri Kapila of stealing it and are reduced to ashes
41. King Sagara’s grandson, Anshuman, finds the horse and the ashes of his uncles. He is told the funeral rites must be performed with the waters of the holy river Gunga
42. Anshuman’s son, Dilipa, fails and his son Bhagiratha performs austerities to induce the holy river to descend
43. Lord Shiva lets loose the sacred river which follows King Bhagiratha’s celestial chariot
44. King Bhagiratha completes the funeral rites for his ancestors
45. Vishwamitra begins to relate the story of the city of Vishala and the churning of the ocean, which leads to the combat between the Devas and the Titans
46. Diti undergoes severe austerities for the birth of a son
47. The holy sage and the princes arrive at Vishala and are welcomed by King Pramati
48. They come to Gautama’s hermitage and Vishwamitra relates its story
49. Shri Rama liberates Ahalya from Gautama’s curse and departs for Mithila
50. They are welcomed at the place of sacrifice by King Janaka
51. Gautama’s son Shatananda relates more of the story of the Sage Vishwamitra
52. How King Vishwamitra visits Vasishtha’s hermitage and accepts hospitality provided by the wish-fulfilling cow, Shabala
53. The king desires to possess Shabala but Vasishtha will not give her up
54. King Vishwamitra attempts to carry her away by force
55. Shabala creates an army which annihilates Vishwamitra’s forces
56. Shri Vasishtha by his spiritual strength conquers Vishwamitra who then engages in penances
57. Shri Vasishtha refuses to help King Trishanku enter heaven in his physical state
58. The king appeals to Shri Vasishtha’s sons to conduct the sacrifice. They curse him and he appeals to Vishwamitra
59. Vishwamitra seeks the help of the sons of Vasishtha and Mahodeva ; they refuse and are cursed
60. Through fear of Vishwamitra, the sages assist in the sacrifice and King Trishanku ascends to a specially created heaven
61. King Ambarisha’s sacrificial horse is lost and he seeks a human victim
62. Shunashepha, the human victim, seeks and obtains help from Vishwamitra
63. After more austerities Vishwamitra is proclaimed a Maharishi
64. Indra is perturbed and sends Rambha to disturb the further austerities of the sage
65. Vishwamitra performs another thousand years’ austerities and acquires brahmanhood
66. King Janaka relates the story of the great bow and the birth of Sita
67. The illustrious Rama breaks the bow and is given the Princess Sita in marriage
68. King Janaka sends messengers to invite King Dasaratha to the capital
69. King Dasaratha sets out with his spiritual preceptor, relations and ministers
70. The king, Vishwamitra and the princes are invited to King Janaka’s court where Vishwamitra relates the descent of the dynasty
71. King Janaka gives an account of the succession and his dynasty
72. The marriage of the four sons of King Dasaratha is arranged and preparations commence
73. The marriage ceremonies are completed
74. Parasurama appears amidst inauspicious signs
75. He challenges Rama to combat
76. Parasurama is vanquished and deprived of his glory and power
77. King Dasaratha with his army, the princes and their brides, return to Ayodhya

Book II — Ayodhya

1. King Dasaratha is inclined to resign his throne to Prince Rama and summons a council
2. The elders and councillors willingly accept Shri Rama as regent
3. The king resolves Shri Rama shall be installed
4. Shri Rama and Princess Sita prepare for the ceremony
5. On Vasishtha’s advice they observe a fast
6. The city of Ayodhya is decorated for the proclamation
7. The hunchback maid, Manthara, informs Queen Kaikeyi of Shri Rama’s coming installation
8. Manthara persuades the queen that Bharata should be regent and Prince Rama banished
9. Queen Kaikeyi is resolved upon her evil design
10. The king is deeply afflicted at the sight of the weeping queen
11. She asks for the two boons promised her by the king
12. The king suffers bitter agony at the thought of sending Prince Rama into exile
13. Kaikeyi disregards the king’s immeasurable distress
14. The fcng is overcome by grief, the queen summons Shri Rama
15. Sumantra hurries to Prince Rama’s palace
16. Shri Rama in his chariot drives swiftly to the king
17. He advances to the palace amidst the eulogy of his friends
18. He sees the king full of anguish and speechless ; Kaikeyi utters the cruel words
19. Shri Ramachandra betrays no sign of distress and prepares for exile
20. Queen Kaushalya is afflicted and helpless with sorrow
21. Shri Rama, in spite of the laments of the queen and Shri Lakshmana, prepares for departure
22. He appeals to Shri Lakshmana not to grieve
23. Shri Lakshmana offers to defeat all those who obstruct Shri Rama’s installation
24. The queen realises she has no power to restrain Shri Rama’s resolution
25. The queen gives her blessing and the brahmins their benediction
26. Shri Rama acquaints Princess Sita of his resolution
27. She entreats Rama to allow her to accompany him
28. Shri Rama seeks to dissuade her
29. Sita continues her entreaties but the prince is unwilling to consent
30. Seeing her fixed resolve Shri Rama grants her request
31. Shri Lakshmana is resolved to accompany them
32. Shri Rama bestows his wealth upon the brahmins, his friends and servants
33. He goes, with Sita and Lakshmana, to King Dasaratha’s palace
34. The king gives his blessing while the whole palace is filled with lamentation
35. Sumantra arraigns Queen Kaikeyi
36. She disregards the words of the chief minister and the king
37. Despite the instruction of Vasishtha, Shri Sita still desires to enter the forest
38. Shri Rama requests the king to protect his mother during his absence
39. As they prepare for departure the palace resounds with grief
40. All Ayodhya is distressed to see Shri Rama’s chariot depart
41. The whole world grieves for Prince Rama
42. Without Rama the king’s heart can find no rest
43. The lament of Queen Kaushalya
44. She finds peace in the consolation of Queen Sumitra
45. The lament of the brahmins who follow Shri Rama
46. Shri Rama, with Sita and Lakshmana and the charioteer, drive on alone to the forest
47. Those who have followed Prince Rama find themselves alone
48. Ayodhya without Shri Ramachandra is bereft of beauty
49. The chariot crosses the boundary of Kosala
50. They reach the river Gunga and meet the chief of ferrymen, Guha
51. They pass the night on the bank of the sacred river
52. Sumantra is ordered to return ; Shri Rama, Sita and Lakshmana cross the holy river
53. Determined to follow their destiny they enter upon exile
54. They spend the night at Prayaga in the hermitage of the Sage Bharadwaja
55. They cross the Yamuna and travel on
56. They reach the mountain Chittrakuta and build a hermitage
57. Sumantta returns to the stricken city of Ayodhya
58. He delivers Shri Rama’s message to the king
59. The king bewailing the absence of Rama is drowning in a sea of sorrow
60. The charioteer attempts to console Queen Kaushalya
61. Queen Kaushalya reproaches the king
62. The king is overcome with grief
63. He recalls a former evil deed which is the cause of his present distress
64. Overborne by grief the king yields up his life
65. The palace is filled with the sound of distress
66. The inhabitants of Ayodhya mourn for their lord
67. The elders recommend that a member of the house of Ikshwaku be appointed king
68. Messengers are sent to Prince Bharata
69. Prince Bharata’s inauspicious dream
70. The message is delivered, Bharata and Shatrughna leave the palace
71. Prince Bharata sees Ayodhya filled with unhappy people
72. Queen Kaikeyi begins to relate what has occurred
73. Prince Bharata reproaches his mother
74. He laments the death of his father and the exile of Shri Rama
75. He seeks to console Queen Kaushalya
76. The prince commences the performance of the funeral rites
77. The ceremonies are continued
78. The hunchback, Manthara, incurs Prince Shatrughna’s displeasure
79. Prince Bharata decides to go to the forest and bring back his brother
80. A royal highway is constructed for the prince
81. Vasishtha summons the royal assembly
82. The chiefs of the army prepare for departure
83. The whole army reaches the river Ganges
84. Guha, the chief of ferrymen, is filled with apprehension
85. He is filled with joy on hearing Prince Bharata’s intention
86. Guha tells of Shri Rama’s stay by the sacred river
87. How Shri Rama spent his first night of exile
88. Prince Bharata sleeps on the same spot where Shri Rama had rested
89. The army crosses the holy river
90. Prince Bharata with Shri Vasishtha visit Bharadwaja’s hermitage
91. Bharadwaja entertains the whole army
92. Prince Bharata with the army departs for Moimt Chittrakuta
93. They behold the hermitage of Shri Rama
94. Shri Rama decides to spend his exile on the mountain
95. He points out the beauties of nature to Sita
96. They see the army approaching and Lakshmana vows to destroy it
97. Shri Rama cannot believe Prince Bharata comes as an enemy
98. Prince Bharata goes on foot to meet Shri Rama
99. The four brothers meet with tears of joy
100. Shri Rama enquires of Prince Bharata concerning the discharge of his royal duties
101. Shri Rama hears the account of his father’s death
102. They are all afflicted with grief
103. Shri Rama greets the queens
104. He requests Prince Bharata to ascend the throne
105. Prince Bharata appeals to Shri Rama to return and rule the kingdom
106. In spite of entreaties Shri Rama remains steadfast in his vow
107. He instructs Prince Bharata to return and be installed
108. A brahmin utters words contrary to dharma
109. Shri Rama replies in words based on the Vedas
110. no. Vasishtha proclaiming the tradition of the dynasty, calls upon Rama to return
111. Prince Bharata still entreats Shri Rama who is resolved to follow his father’s command
112. Following the advice of the celestial sages. Prince Bharata is reconciled to becoming Shri Rama’s deputy
113. Prince Bharata commences the return journey
114. He finds Ayodhya desolate
115. Prince Bharata retires to Nandigrama and rules the kingdom from that city
116. The holy men of Chittrakuta depart, fearing the coming oppression of the asuras
117. Shri Rama decides to leave the hermitage and comes to the ashrama of the Sage Atri
118. Princess Sita receives gifts of love from the sage’s wife
119. The holy ascetics bless the exiles who enter the forest
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Re: The Ramayana of Valmiki, translated by Hari Prasad Shast

Postby admin » Mon May 17, 2021 12:09 pm


Western culture is only just beginning to look beyond the Roman and Greek civilizations for new inspiration. Even so, it is a little surprising that, although the mighty epics of the Iliad and the Odyssey are widely known and loved, only a few scholars have studied their Hindu counterparts known as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. In fact no good complete1 [The version of Ramayana included in Hindu Scriptures is a much abbreviated edition of the original, most of the legends being omitted.] modern English translation of the Ramayana exists, and the best of those made in the last half of the 19th century are unobtainable outside the larger libraries.

The Ramayana is a work of great antiquity attributed to the illustrious Sage Valmiki. Its date of composition cannot be fixed with any certainty, particularly as, in common with other Sanskrit classics, it was not at first committed to writing, but was passed on from singer to singer. This process also accounts for the fact that the various versions (Sakhas) of the poem that have come down to us differ slightly in context. The interesting fact is that the scholars are agreed that the Ramayana is the grandly conceived and executed masterpiece of one poet, and not a collection of stories from many sources, loosely gathered together.

Unfortunately we know very little about the Rishi Valmiki, whose tide 'Adikavi' (First poet) and pre-eminence in Sanskrit verse has never been seriously challenged to this day. He was a robber chief in a forest in Northern India and on one occasion waylaid two ascetics for the purpose of plundering them. The travellers, however, spoke to him with kindness, and offered him the spiritual truth in lieu of the gold and silver which they did not possess. Convinced of their sincerity and on their advice, Valmiki changed his mode of life and became a devotee of Shri Ramachandra, the Seventh Incarnation of God (Vishnu) on earth. After a long period of meditation on the form and virtues of Shri Rama, it is said that he was granted a vision of Rama’s life from beginning to end.

He gave expression to this unique experience, in Sanskrit verse, in the 24,000 slokas (48,000 lines) known as the Ramayana. The sloka is a specific metre which the poet himself discovered, as is told in a beautiful passage in the first book.

The poem is divided into seven books (Kandas) of unequal length, which may be very briefly summarised as follows: —

Book I. (Bala-Kanda.) King Dasaratha of Ayodhya (Oudh), performs a sacrifice in Ae hope of obtaining a son. At this time the Gods (Devas) are alarmed at the power acquired by the mighty Titan named Ravana, who, by the practice of black magic had conquered almost all of the known world. King Dasaratha’s prayer is answered and his three wives bear four sons, Rama, Bharata and the twins Lakshmana and Shatrughna, who are all partial incarnations of Shri Vishnu. Vishnu, however, manifests himself more fully in Shri Rama than in the other brothers. The boys grow up and Shri Rama wins as his bride, Sita, the daughter of King Janaka of the neighbouring kingdom of Videha.

Book II. (Ayodhya-Kanda.) King Dasaratha intends to proclaim Shri Rama heir-apparent, but the jealousy of his second queen, Kaikeyi, is aroused and she holds the king to a promise made formerly, that he would grant her two boons. The boons she now secures are the banishment of Shri Rama to the forest for fourteen years, and the installation of her own son Bharata as Yuvaraja.1 [Tuvaraja = heir-apparent.] According to the law of righteousness (dharma) a vow must be honoured, and Shri Rama calmly accepts the sentence of exile. He travels south to Chittrakuta in the Dandaka Forest with his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana. King Dasaratha dies of grief and Bharata implores Shri Rama to return to the throne, but the latter adheres firmly to the vindication of his father’s honour and the fulfilment of his vow.

Book III. (Aranya-Kanda.) After about ten years in the forest with her husband. Princess Sita is kidnapped by the Titan Ravana, and taken by him to his capital, Lanka (the modern Ceylon).

Book IV. (Kishkindkya-Kanda.) Rama and Lakshmana in pursuit of Ravana and to rescue Sita, enlist the aid of King Sugriva, leader of the monkey tribe, whose chief minister Hanuman becomes the foremost devotee and servant of Shri Rama. Help also comes from Vibishana, brother of Ravana, who has openly disapproved of the Titan king’s conduct, and warned him of the retribution he may expect for his unrighteous actions.

Book V. (Sundara-Kanda.) The monkey armies reach the south coast of India, and, bridging the straits, gain entry into Lanka.  

Book VI. (Lanka-Kanda.) After a series of pitched battles, Lanka is captured and Ravana is slain by Shri Rama. Sita demonstrates her purity and faithfulness to her husband, by successfully undergoing the ordeal by fire. The period of fourteen years’ exile is by now completed, and Shri Rama returns with his consort, his brothers and allies, to the capital Ayodhya, where he begins a long and glorious reign.

Book VII. (Uttara-Kanda.) This ‘later section’ or epilogue, describes the doubts raised in the minds of the citizens concerning the purity of Sita, and how they compel Shri Rama to send her to Valmiki’s hermitage in the forest where she gives birth to twin sons, Kusha and Lava. When these boys grow up, they return to Ayodhya and are recognized by Shri Rama, who subsequently brings Sita back to share the ruling of the kingdom with him.

This in outline is the story of the Ramayana, which, in the poetic grandeur of the original, as well as in the later Hindi work on the same theme by Goswami Tulsidas, has exerted a tremendous influence on the men and women of India. It is not only poetry of unsurpassed dramatic power and brilliancy it is a treasure-house of information on rhetoric, medicine, geology, botany, geography and every facet of the ancient civilization, with which learned scholars may interest themselves. For every Hindu, Shri Rama and Sita are the ideal man and woman, the model husband and wife. Shri Rama is an incarnation of God, the One all-pervading Principle of Truth and Intelligence, and what higher pattern for one’s life could be chosen than this man of perfect virtue, a lover of truth, compassionate, just, benevolent, valorous and chivalrous?

The story may also be taken as an allegory. Symbolically Rama and Ravana represent the forces of light and darkness operating in the human heart, as well as in the world. Truth, benevolence, mercy and righteousness are the forces of Light which are opposed by greed, lust, love of pleasure and power, anger and egoity. The real triumph of man means conquest of the forces of darkness. In India a festival is celebrated each year on the day traditionally held to be that on which Ravana fell and the rule of tyranny, injustice, savagery and unrighteousness ended.

Mention has already been made of Tulsidas’ later Hindi epic on the life of Shri Rama, which is probably the most widely read of all in the present day. One version of the story also forms an episode in the Mahabharata and another comparatively modem treatment of it is the Adhyatma Ramayana ascribed to the Sage Vyasa.

The Sage Valmiki himself wrote a long metaphysical classic known as the Maharamayana or Yoga Vasishtha, which deals with the inner development of Shri Rama as opposed to his outer deeds and which remains one of the most authoritative and respected philosophical treatises of Vedanta.

The life of Shri Rama has entered into the consciousness of the Indian people, and much art and literature, such as Bhababhuti’s dramas, draw their inspiration from it. The words of Brahma in the Ramayana have proved so far to be no idle boast: “So long as mountains and rivers have place on the earth, the story of the Ramayana will be told in the world.”

The aim of the translator is to make the story known to English readers in a complete form, the first part of which is published in this volume. Although it is not possible to reproduce the beauty of the original poetic form, the true spirit of Valmiki’s masterpiece is here preserved and for those who have vision, the whole significance of its spiritual purpose will be apparent.
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Re: The Ramayana of Valmiki, translated by Hari Prasad Shast

Postby admin » Mon May 17, 2021 12:10 pm


CHAPTER I: Shri Narada relates to Valmiki the story of Rama

The Sage Valmiki,1 [Valmiki. Once a robber chief, became later a fully illumined sage, author of Ramayana.] chief among the munis2 [Muni. A holy sage, a pious and learned person.] and the most eloquent of men, constantly engaged in the practice of self-control and the study of the holy scriptures, enquired of Shri Narada:3 [Narada. A great rishi, son of Brahma, the Creator. Many hynms of the Rig-veda are attributed to him.] —

“Who is there in the world to-day, endowed with excellent and heroic qualities, who is versed in all the duties of life, grateful, truthful, firm in his vows, an actor of many parts, benevolent to all beings, learned, eloquent, handsome, patient, slow to anger, one who is truly great; who is free from envy and when excited to wrath can strike terror into the hearts of celestial beings? O Sage, I would hear of such a man from thee, who art able to describe him to me.”

Narada, acquainted with the past, the present and the future, pleased with the words of the Sage Valmiki, answered him saying: —

“Rare indeed are those, endowed with the qualities thou hast enumerated, yet I can tell thee of such a one. Born in the family of Ikshwaku,4 [Ikshwaku. Son of Manu, founder of the Solar race of kings, who reigned in Ayodhya.] he is named Rama one renowned, fully self-controlled, valorous and illustrious, the Lord of All. Wise, conversant with the ethical code, eloquent, fortunate, a slayer of his foes, broad-shouldered, long-armed, possessing a conch-shaped neck and prominent chin, eminent in archery, with a muscular body, arms extending to the knees, and a noble head and brow; of mighty prowess; possessing well-proportioned limbs and skin of bluish tint,1 [bluish-tint. The Incarnations or Divine Descents called Avataras are said to have the colour of a new-born cloud.] one renowned for his virtue; of prominent eyes, deep-chested, bearing auspicious marks; one who protects those who take refuge in him and is ever-mindful of the good of those dependent on him; true to his promises, benevolent to his subjects, omniscient, renowned for his good deeds, pure, and ever responsive to devotion; meditating on his own essence.

“Equal to Brahma, the Protector of his people, pleasing to look upon; supporting the universe; the destroyer of those who contravene the moral code; the inspirer of virtue; the giver of special grace to his devotees and to those who duly observe sacrificial rites and are charitable; conversant with the essence of the Vedic philosophy; an adept in the science of warfare; skilled in the scriptural law; of infallible memory; beloved of all; of courteous disposition; incapable of cowardice; acquainted with the laws of this world as also of the other worlds.

“As the rivers hasten to the ocean, so do men of virtue ever approach him.

“Equal to Vishnu2 [Vishnu. The Lord as Maintainer and Supporter of the Universe.] in valour; grateful to the sight as the full moon; when stirred to righteous anger, resembling all- consuming death; in patience like the earth, in generosity like Kuvera;3 [Kuvera. The God of wealth.] in truthfulness the personification of virtue. Such are his great qualities — Rama, the beloved heir of King Dasaratha, possessing every excellent attribute, benevolent to all, devoted to the welfare of every living being.”

His father. King Dasaratha, made preparations to install him as his regent, but the Queen Kaikeyi, claiming the boons formerly promised to her, demanded the exile of Rama and the enthronement of her own son Bharata. The king held by his promise and by the ties of honour, sent his son Rama, whom he loved as his own life, into exile. Obeying the command of his royal sire, and in order to gratify Kaikeyi, Shri Rama went to the forest.

The son of Queen Sumitra, Prince Lakshmana, inspired by affection and humility, followed his brother Rama into exile.

The daughter of King Janaka, an incarnation of Lakshmi,1 [Lakshmi. The consort of Shri Vishnu, q.v.] endowed with the highest feminine virtues, seeing Prince Lakshmana accompanying Rama, obedient to her lord, followed him as Venus follows the moon.

Accompanied for some leagues by King Dasaratha and his people, Rama dismissed the chariot on reaching the town of Shringavera on the banks of the Ganges, and commanded the minister Sumantra to return to the capital.

Here the prince met his beloved Guha, the chief of the Chandalas,2 [Chandalas. Outcast.] accompanied by whom, with Lakshmana and Sita, he crossed the river Ganges and entered the forest, arriving at length at the Chittrakuta mountain described by the Sage Bharadwaja. Rama, Lakshmana and Sita dwelt happily in the forest like devas3 [Devas. Gods or celestial beings, literally “shining ones".] or gandharvas.4 [Gandharvas. Heavenly musicians.]

Overwhelmed with grief at the separation from his sons and lamenting their absence, the king departed this life, while Rama was dwelling on the Chittrakuta mountain.

The holy sages offered the throne, left vacant on the death of King Dasaratha, to Prince Bharata, who declined it, not desiring the kingdom. Setting forth to the forest where Shri Rama dwelt, in order to propitiate him, he approached that hero of truth with humility and directing his attention to the code of justice with which he was conversant, requested Rama to return and govern the kingdom.

The magnanimous, handsome and mighty Rama refused to accept the throne, preferring to carry out the command of his sire and, presenting Prince Bharata with his sandals as a symbol of authority, repeatedly exhorted him to return to the capital.

Shri Bharata, touching the feet of Rama in submission, departed and began to rule the dominion from the town of Nandigrama, while eagerly awaiting the return of his brother.

The sages and hermits, who dwelt in the forest, constantly harassed by asuras,5 [Asuras. A race of demons.] approached Shri Ramachandra to ask for his protection — Shri Rama agreed to slay the evil asuras in order to preserve the Sages who had sought his help. The holy men, whose appearance equalled the fire in lustre, heard of Shri Rama’s resolve and were assured by him of his protection.

The female asura Shurpanakha, who could assume various forms at will, was overpowered and disfigured by Rama and Lakshmana. All the wicked rakshasas1 [Evil spirits or fiends, enemies of the gods.] came led by Khara, Dushana and Trishira, to engage in combat with Shri Rama, and were slain by him. Shri Rama slew fourteen thousand rakshasas who dwelt in that forest. Hearing of the slaughter of the rakshasas. King Ravana transported with rage, took with him Maricha, a demon like himself. Maricha, knowing the superior strength of Rama, sought to dissuade Ravana from entering into combat with him, but Ravana who was marked down by destiny, disregarded the advice and went with Maricha to Shri Rama’s abode. There, Maricha lured Shri Rama and Lakshmana away from the hermitage, and Ravana, having slain the vulture Jatayu, carried Sita away.

Learning from the dying Jatayu of the abduction of the daughter of the King of Mithila, Shri Rama was overwhelmed with grief and began to mourn.

Having performed the funeral rites of the vulture, while wandering in search of Sita, he encountered an asura named Kabandha whose form was menacing and terrible.

Shri Rama slew him and then performed the funeral rites whereupon his soul ascended to heaven. While passing to the celestial sphere, Kabandha spoke to Rama of Shabari, a female ascetic, and entreated him to visit her. Shri Rama, the ever resplendent Destroyer of his foes, came to where Shabari dwelt and was duly worshipped by her.

On the banks of the Lake Pampa, Shri Rama met the monkey Hanuman who presented Sugriva to him. The mighty Rama related the whole of his story to him as far as the abduction of Shri Sita. Sugriva having listened to Shri Rama entered into the rite of friendship with him, witnessed by the fire. With full faith in Rama, Sugriva then recounted to him all the sufferings he had endured through his enmity with Bali2 [Bali or Vali — a Titan King, son of Virochana, son of Prahlada.] and the great daring of the latter. Then Shri Rama vowed to slay Bali, but Sugriva, uncertam of Rama’s prowess and desiring to test him, showed him the bones of the body of Dundhubi,1 [Dundhubi — a giant.] forming a heap as high as a mountain. With his foot, Rama kicked the heap to a distance of ten yojanas and, discharging an arrow, pierced seven palmyra trees, cleaving a mountain and with the shaft penetrating to the centre of the earth. Having witnessed this exploit, Sugriva was satisfied, and thereafter trusted Rama implicitly. In his company he passed through deep valleys to the town of Kishkindhya; there, the yellow-eyed Sugriva roared like thunder. At this terrible sound, the powerful and valiant monkey chief, Bali, issued forth, disregarding the warning of his wife Tara, and engaged in combat with Sugriva.

As desired by Sugriva, Shri Rama slew Bali with a single arrow; then he entrusted the government of Kishkindhya to Sugriva who now, as king of the monkey tribe, gathered his forces together and dispatched them to every quarter in search of Sita.

The vulture chief, the courageous Sampati, informed Hanu- man where Sita was, whereupon the monkey leapt over the sea that lies between Bharatvarsh2 [Bharatvarsh — India.] and Lanka,3 [Lanka — Ceylon.] a distance of five hundred miles.

Entering the city of Lanka that was protected by Ravana, Hanuman beheld Sita, meditating on Rama in the ashoka garden. He there delivered Rama’s ring to her and acquainted her with the welfare of her lord. Having revived the courage of Sita, he shattered the gate of the garden and slew seven sons of the counsellors of Ravana, five great captains and levelled Akshyakumara, the son of Ravana, to the dust. Then he suffered himself to be taken captive.

Knowing he could not be subdued by the weapon granted by Brahma to Ravana, yet acknowledging the power of its blessing,4 [The God Brahma had given Ravana a weapon which entangled everyone on whom it was used so that they could not escape. It was fitting, therefore, that Hanuman, though not subject to it, should acknowledge the god's power.] Hanuman allowed himself to be imprisoned, suffering many indignities. Subsequently he burnt the whole of Lanka, only sparing the place where Sita dwelt.

Returning to deliver his welcome tidings, he respectfully circumambulated the mighty Rama and recounted in detail how he had found Sita.

Setting out in the company of Sugriva and others, Rama reached the sea. There he created a tempest by his shining arrows and the Lord of the waters, Sumudra, appeared before him. Under his direction, Nala threw a bridge over the sea. Crossing the sea by means of this bridge, Shri Rama entered Lanka, slew Ravana in battle and recovered Sita, but she being the subject of slander, was addressed by him with harsh words in the midst of the assembly. After hearing the words of Rama with forbearance, Sita entered a great fire. On the testimony of the fire god, Sita was proved to be innocent and Rama, adored by all the gods, was content.

The animate and inanimate beings of the three worlds,1 [Bhur, bhuvah, swah. The lower, middle and upper worlds.] the gods and the sages, gave thanks that Ravana had been slain by Shri Rama. Shri Rama enthroned Vibishana2 [Bibishana or Vibishana. Younger brother of Ravana, but a devotee of Rama.] as the king of the asuras and, being wholly satisfied, revived all the monkeys and asuras who had fallen in battle.

In the aerial chariot, Pushpaka, accompanied by Sugriva, Shri Rama, a devotee of truth, reached the hermitage of Bharadwaja. From there, he sent Hanuman to Prince Bharata, as his messenger and conversing with Sugriva again mounted the aerial chariot and arrived at Nandigrama.

Ever obedient to his father, Shri Rama then cut off his matted locks and with Sita occupied the throne of Ayodhya.

Seeing Shri Rama occupying the throne, the people were happy and satisfied, virtuous and free from sickness, sorrow, famine or danger. None witnessed the death of his son; no woman became a widow and all were devoted to their husbands; there was no danger from tempests; none perished by water j nor was there any cause of fear from fire; fever and plague were unknown; there was no want, and no danger from thieves. Cities and villages were rich and prosperous; all lived happily as in the Satya Yuga.3 [Satya-Yuga. The golden age.]

Shri Rama and Sita observed countless Vedic sacrifices and gave much gold, and hundreds of thousands of cows in charity, thus preparing for themselves a place in the divine regions. Shri Rama added incalculably to the prosperity of the dynasty, and bestowed immense wealth on the brahmins. He employed his subjects in the duties of their respectives castes and ruled for eleven thousand years, after which he returned to his celestial abode, Vaikuntha.

He who reads the story of Rama, which imparts merit and purity, is freed from all sin. He who reads it with faith and devotion is ultimately worshipped together with his sons, grandsons and servants at his death.

A brahmin1 [The four traditional castes; the priests, the warriors, the merchants and those who serve the other three.] reading this becomes proficient in the Vedas, and philosophy; a kshatriya1 becomes a king; a vaishya1 grows prosperous in trade; a shudra,1 on reading this will become great in his caste.  
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