The Rámáyan of Válmíki, translated into English verse by Valmiki


Translated into English Verse


Ralph T. H. Griffith, M.A.

Principal of the Benares College

London: Trübner & Co.

Benares: E. J. Lazarus and Co.



Book I.
Canto I. Nárad.
Canto II. Brahmá’s Visit
Canto III. The Argument.
Canto IV. The Rhapsodists.
Canto V. Ayodhyá.
Canto VI. The King.
Canto VII. The Ministers.
Canto VIII. Sumantra’s Speech.
Canto IX. Rishyasring.
Canto X. Rishyasring Invited.
Canto XI. The Sacrifice Decreed.
Canto XII. The Sacrifice Begun.
Canto XIII. The Sacrifice Finished.
Canto XIV. Rávan Doomed.
Canto XV. The Nectar.
Canto XVI. The Vánars.
Canto XVII. Rishyasring’s Return.
Canto XVIII. Rishyasring’s Departure.
Canto XIX. The Birth Of The Princes.
Canto XX. Visvámitra’s Visit.
Canto XXI. Visvámitra’s Speech.
Canto XXII. Dasaratha’s Speech.
Canto XXIII. Vasishtha’s Speech.
Canto XXIV. The Spells.
Canto XXV. The Hermitage Of Love.
Canto XXVI. The Forest Of Tádaká.
Canto XXVII. The Birth Of Tádaká.
Canto XXVIII. The Death Of Tádaká.
Canto XXIX. The Celestial Arms.
Canto XXX. The Mysterious Powers.
Canto XXXI. The Perfect Hermitage.
Canto XXXII. Visvámitra’s Sacrifice.
Canto XXXIII. The Sone.
Canto XXXIV. Brahmadatta.
Canto XXXV. Visvámitra’s Lineage.
Canto XXXVI. The Birth Of Gangá.
Canto XXXIX. The Sons Of Sagar.
Canto XL. The Cleaving Of The Earth.
Canto XLI. Kapil.
Canto XLII. Sagar’s Sacrifice.
Canto XLIII. Bhagírath.
Canto XLIV. The Descent Of Gangá.
Canto XLV. The Quest Of The Amrit.
Canto XLVI. Diti’s Hope.
Canto XLVII. Sumati.
Canto XLVIII. Indra And Ahalyá
Canto XLIX. Ahalyá Freed.
Canto L. Janak.
Canto LI. Visvámitra.
Canto LII. Vasishtha’s Feast.
Canto LIII. Visvámitra’s Request.
Canto LIV. The Battle.
Canto LV. The Hermitage Burnt.
Canto LVI. Visvámitra’s Vow.
Canto LVII. Trisanku.
Canto LVIII. Trisanku Cursed.
Canto LIX. The Sons Of Vasishtha.
Canto LX. Trisanku’s Ascension.
Canto LXI. Sunahsepha.
Canto LXII. Ambarísha’s Sacrifice.
Canto LXIII. Menaká.
Canto LXIV. Rambhá.
Canto LXV. Visvámitra’s Triumph
Canto LXVI. Janak’s Speech.
Canto LXVII. The Breaking Of The Bow.
Canto LXVIII. The Envoys’ Speech.
Canto LXIX. Dasaratha’s Visit.
Canto LXX. The Maidens Sought.
Canto LXXI. Janak’s Pedigree.
Canto LXXII. The Gift Of Kine.
Canto LXXIII. The Nuptials.
Canto LXXIV. Ráma With The Axe.
Canto LXXV. The Parle.
Canto LXXVI. Debarred From Heaven.
Canto LXXVII. Bharat’s Departure.
Canto I. The Heir Apparent.
Canto II. The People’s Speech.
Canto III. Dasaratha’s Precepts.
Canto IV. Ráma Summoned.
Canto V. Ráma’s Fast.
Canto VI. The City Decorated.
Canto VII. Manthará’s Lament.
Canto VIII. Manthará’s Speech.
Canto IX. The Plot.
Canto X. Dasaratha’s Speech.
Canto XI. The Queen’s Demand.
Canto XII. Dasaratha’s Lament.
Canto XIII. Dasaratha’s Distress.
Canto XIV. Ráma Summoned.
Canto XV. The Preparations.
Canto XVI. Ráma Summoned.
Canto XVII. Ráma’s Approach.
Canto XVIII. The Sentence.
Canto XIX. Ráma’s Promise.
Canto XX. Kausalyá’s Lament.
Canto XXI. Kausalyá Calmed.
Canto XXII. Lakshman Calmed.
Canto XXIII. Lakshman’s Anger.
Canto XXIV. Kausalyá Calmed.
Canto XXV. Kausalyá’s Blessing.
Canto XXVI. Alone With Sítá.
Canto XXVII. Sítá’s Speech.
Canto XXVIII. The Dangers Of The Wood.
Canto XXIX. Sítá’s Appeal.
Canto XXX. The Triumph Of Love.
Canto XXXI. Lakshman’s Prayer.
Canto XXXII. The Gift Of The Treasures.
Canto XXXIII. The People’s Lament.
Canto XXXIV. Ráma In The Palace.
Canto XXXV. Kaikeyí Reproached.
Canto XXXVI. Siddhárth’s Speech.
Canto XXXVII. The Coats Of Bark.
Canto XXXVIII. Care For Kausalyá
Canto XXXIX. Counsel To Sítá.
Canto XL. Ráma’s Departure.
Canto XLI. The Citizens’ Lament.
Canto XLII. Dasaratha’s Lament.
Canto XLIII. Kausalyá’s Lament.
Canto XLIV. Sumitrá’s Speech.
Canto XLV. The Tamasá.
Canto XLVI. The Halt.
Canto XLVII. The Citizens’ Return.
Canto XLVIII. The Women’s Lament.
Canto XLIX. The Crossing Of The Rivers.
Canto L. The Halt Under The Ingudí.
Canto LI. Lakshman’s Lament.
Canto LII. The Crossing Of Gangá.
Canto LIII. Ráma’s Lament.
Canto LIV. Bharadvája’s Hermitage.
Canto LV. The Passage Of Yamuná.
Canto LVI. Chitrakúta
Canto LVII. Sumantra’s Return.
Canto LVIII. Ráma’s Message.
Canto LIX. Dasaratha’s Lament.
Canto LX. Kausalyá Consoled.
Canto LXI. Kausalyá’s Lament.
Canto LXII. Dasaratha Consoled.
Canto LXIII. The Hermit’s Son.
Canto LXIV. Dasaratha’s Death.
Canto LXV. The Women’s Lament.
Canto LXVI. The Embalming.
Canto LXVII. The Praise Of Kings.
Canto LXVIII. The Envoys.
Canto LXIX. Bharat’s Dream.
Canto LXX. Bharat’s Departure.
Canto LXXI. Bharat’s Return.
Canto LXXII. Bharat’s Inquiry.
Canto LXXIII. Kaikeyí Reproached.
Canto LXXIV. Bharat’s Lament.
Canto LXXV. The Abjuration.
Canto LXXVI. The Funeral.
Canto LXXVII. The Gathering Of The Ashes.
Canto LXXVIII. Manthará Punished.
Canto LXXIX. Bharat’s Commands.
Canto LXXX. The Way Prepared.
Canto LXXXI. The Assembly.
Canto LXXXII. The Departure.
Canto LXXXIII. The Journey Begun.
Canto LXXXIV. Guha’s Anger.
Canto LXXXV. Guha And Bharat.
Canto LXXXVI. Guha’s Speech.
Canto LXXXVII. Guha’s Story.
Canto LXXXVIII. The Ingudí Tree.
Canto LXXXIX. The Passage Of Gangá.
Canto XC. The Hermitage.
Canto XCI. Bharadvája’s Feast.
Canto XCII. Bharat’s Farewell.
Canto XCIII. Chitrakúta In Sight.
Canto XCIV. Chitrakúta.
Canto XCV. Mandákiní.
Canto XCVI. The Magic Shaft.
Canto XCVII. Lakshman’s Anger.
Canto XCVIII. Lakshman Calmed.
Canto XCIX. Bharat’s Approach.
Canto C. The Meeting.
Canto CI. Bharata Questioned.
Canto CII. Bharat’s Tidings.
Canto CIII. The Funeral Libation.
Canto CIV. The Meeting With The Queens.
Canto CV. Ráma’s Speech.
Canto CVI. Bharat’s Speech.
Canto CVII. Ráma’s Speech.
Canto CVIII. Jáváli’s Speech.
Canto CIX. The Praises Of Truth.
Canto CX. The Sons Of Ikshváku.
Canto CXI. Counsel To Bharat.
Canto CXII. The Sandals.
Canto CXIII. Bharat’s Return.
Canto CXIV. Bharat’s Departure.
Canto CXV. Nandigrám.
Canto CXVI. The Hermit’s Speech.
Canto CXVII. Anasúyá.
Canto CXVIII. Anasúyá’s Gifts.
Canto CXIX. The Forest.
Canto I. The Hermitage.
Canto II. Virádha.
Canto III. Virádha Attacked.
Canto IV. Virádha’s Death.
Canto V. Sarabhanga.
Canto VI. Ráma’s Promise.
Canto VII. Sutíkshna.
Canto VIII. The Hermitage.
Canto IX. Sítá’s Speech.
Canto X. Ráma’s Reply.
Canto XI. Agastya.
Canto XII. The Heavenly Bow.
Canto XIII. Agastya’s Counsel.
Canto XIV. Jatáyus.
Canto XV. Panchavatí.
Canto XVI. Winter.
Canto XVII. Súrpanakhá.
Canto XVIII. The Mutilation.
Canto XIX. The Rousing Of Khara.
Canto XX. The Giants’ Death.
Canto XXI. The Rousing Of Khara.
Canto XXII. Khara’s Wrath.
Canto XXIII. The Omens.
Canto XXIV. The Host In Sight.
Canto XXV. The Battle.
Canto XXVI. Dúshan’s Death.
Canto XXVII. The Death Of Trisirás.
Canto XXVIII. Khara Dismounted.
Canto XXIX. Khara’s Defeat.
Canto XXX. Khara’s Death.
Canto XXXI. Rávan.
Canto XXXII. Rávan Roused.
Canto XXXIII. Súrpanakhá’s Speech.
Canto XXXIV. Súrpanakhá’s Speech.
Canto XXXV. Rávan’s Journey.
Canto XXXVI. Rávan’s Speech.
Canto XXXVII. Márícha’s Speech.
Canto XXXVIII. Márícha’s Speech.
Canto XXXIX. Márícha’s Speech.
Canto XL. Rávan’s Speech.
Canto XLI. Márícha’s Reply.
Canto XLII. Márícha Transformed.
Canto XLIII. The Wondrous Deer.
Canto XLIV. Márícha’s Death.
Canto XLV. Lakshman’s Departure.
Canto XLVI. The Guest.
Canto XLVII. Rávan’s Wooing.
Canto XLVIII. Rávan’s Speech.
Canto XLIX. The Rape Of Sítá.
Canto L. Jatáyus.
Canto LI. The Combat.
Canto LII. Rávan’s Flight.
Canto LIII. Sítá’s Threats.
Canto LIV. Lanká.
Canto LV. Sítá In Prison.
Canto LVI. Sítá’s Disdain.
Canto LVII. Sítá Comforted.
Canto LVIII. The Brothers’ Meeting.
Canto LIX. Ráma’s Return.
Canto LX. Lakshman Reproved.
Canto LXI. Ráma’s Lament.
Canto LXII. Ráma’s Lament.
Canto LXIII. Ráma’s Lament.
Canto LXIV. Ráma’s Lament.
Canto LXV. Ráma’s Wrath.
Canto LXVI. Lakshman’s Speech.
Canto LXVII. Ráma Appeased.
Canto LXVIII. Jatáyus.
Canto LXIX. The Death Of Jatáyus.
Canto LXX. Kabandha.
Canto LXXI. Kabandha’s Speech.
Canto LXXII. Kabandha’s Tale.
Canto LXXIII. Kabandha’s Counsel.
Canto LXXIV. Kabandha’s Death.
Canto LXXV. Savarí.
Canto LXXVI. Pampá.
Canto I. Ráma’s Lament.
Canto II. Sugríva’s Alarm.
Canto III. Hanumán’s Speech.
Canto IV. Lakshman’s Reply.
Canto V. The League.
Canto VI. The Tokens.
Canto VII. Ráma Consoled.
Canto VIII. Ráma’s Promise.
Canto IX. Sugríva’s Story.
Canto X. Sugríva’s Story.
Canto XI. Dundubhi.
Canto XII. The Palm Trees.
Canto XIII. The Return To Kishkindhá.
Canto XIV. The Challenge.
Canto XV. Tárá.
Canto XVI. The Fall Of Báli.
Canto XVII. Báli’s Speech.
Canto XVIII. Ráma’s Reply.
Canto XIX. Tárá’s Grief.
Canto XX. Tárá’s Lament.
Canto XXI. Hanumán’s Speech.
Canto XXII. Báli Dead.
Canto XXIII. Tárá’s Lament.
Canto XXIV. Sugríva’s Lament.
Canto XXV. Ráma’s Speech.
Canto XXVI. The Coronation.
Canto XXVII. Ráma On The Hill.
Canto XXVIII. The Rains.
Canto XXIX. Hanumán’s Counsel.
Canto XXX. Ráma’s Lament.
Canto XXXI. The Envoy.
Canto XXXII. Hanumán’s Counsel.
Canto XXXIII. Lakshman’s Entry.
Canto XXXIV. Lakshman’s Speech.
Canto XXXV. Tárá’s Speech.
Canto XXXVI. Sugríva’s Speech.
Canto XXXVII. The Gathering.
Canto XXXVIII. Sugríva’s Departure.
Canto XXXIX. The Vánar Host.
Canto XL. The Army Of The East.
Canto XLI. The Army Of The South.
Canto XLII. The Army Of The West.
Canto XLIII. The Army Of The North.
Canto XLIV. The Ring.
Canto XLV. The Departure.
Canto XLVI. Sugríva’s Tale.
Canto XLVII. The Return.
Canto XLVIII. The Asur’s Death.
Canto XLIX. Angad’s Speech.
Canto L. The Enchanted Cave.
Canto LI. Svayamprabhá.
Canto LII. The Exit.
Canto LIII. Angad’s Counsel.
Canto LIV. Hanumán’s Speech.
Canto LV. Angad’s Reply.
Canto LVI. Sampáti.
Canto LVII. Angad’s Speech.
Canto LVIII. Tidings Of Sítá.
Canto LIX. Sampáti’s Story.
Canto LX. Sampáti’s Story.
Canto LXI. Sampáti’s Story.
Canto LXII. Sampáti’s Story.
Canto LXIII. Sampáti’s Story.
Canto LXIV. The Sea.
Canto LXV. The Council.
Canto LXVI. Hanumán.
Canto LXVII. Hanumán’s Speech.
Canto I. Hanumán’s Leap.
Canto II. Lanká.
Canto III. The Guardian Goddess.
Canto IV. Within The City.
Canto VI. The Court.
Canto VII. Rávan’s Palace.
Canto VIII. The Enchanted Car.
Canto IX. The Ladies’ Bower.
Canto X. Rávan Asleep.
Canto XI. The Banquet Hall.
Canto XII. The Search Renewed.
Canto XIII. Despair And Hope.
Canto XIV. The Asoka Grove.
Canto XV. Sítá.
Canto XVI. Hanumán’s Lament.
Canto XVII. Sítá’s Guard.
Canto XVIII. Rávan.
Canto XIX. Sítá’s Fear.
Canto XX. Rávan’s Wooing.
Canto XXI. Sítá’s Scorn.
Canto XXII. Rávan’s Threat.
Canto XXIII. The Demons’ Threats.
Canto XXIV. Sítá’s Reply.
Canto XXV. Sítá’s Lament.
Canto XXVI. Sítá’s Lament.
Canto XXVII. Trijatá’s Dream.
Canto XXX. Hanumán’s Deliberation.
Canto XXXI. Hanumán’s Speech.
Canto XXXII. Sítá’s Doubt.
Canto XXXIII. The Colloquy.
Canto XXXIV. Hanumán’s Speech.
Canto XXXV. Hanumán’s Speech.
Canto XXXVI. Ráma’s Ring.
Canto XXXVII. Sítá’s Speech.
Canto XXXVIII. Sítá’s Gem.
Canto XLI. The Ruin Of The Grove.
Canto XLII. The Giants Roused.
Canto XLIII. The Ruin Of The Temple.
Canto XLIV. Jambumáli’s Death.
Canto XLV. The Seven Defeated.
Canto XLVI. The Captains.
Canto XLVII. The Death Of Aksha.
Canto XLVIII. Hanumán Captured.
Canto XLIX. Rávan.
Canto L. Prahasta’s Questions.
Canto LI. Hanumán’s Reply.
Canto LII. Vibhishan’s Speech.
Canto LIII. The Punishment.
Canto LIV. The Burning Of Lanká.
Canto LV. Fear For Sítá.
Canto LVI. Mount Arishta.
Canto LVII. Hanumán’s Return.
Canto LVIII. The Feast Of Honey.
Canto LXV. The Tidings.
Canto LXVI. Ráma’s Speech.
Canto I. Ráma’s Speech.
Canto II. Sugríva’s Speech.
Canto III. Lanká.
Canto IV. The March.
Canto V. Ráma’s Lament.
Canto VI. Rávan’s Speech.
Canto VII. Rávan Encouraged.
Canto VIII. Prahasta’s Speech.
Canto IX. Vibhishan’s Counsel.
Canto X. Vibhishan’s Counsel.
Canto XI. The Summons.
Canto XII. Rávan’s Speech.
Canto XIII. Rávan’s Speech.
Canto XIV. Vibhishan’s Speech.
Canto XV. Indrajít’s Speech.
Canto XVI. Rávan’s Speech.
Canto XVII. Vibhishan’s Flight.
Canto XVIII. Ráma’s Speech.
Canto XIX. Vibhishan’s Counsel.
Canto XX. The Spies.
Canto XXI. Ocean Threatened.
Canto XXII. Ocean Threatened.
Canto XXIII. The Omens.
Canto XXIV. The Spy’s Return.
Canto XXV. Rávan’s Spies.
Canto XXVI. The Vánar Chiefs.
Canto XXVII. The Vánar Chiefs.
Canto XXVIII. The Chieftains.
Canto XXIX. Sárdúla Captured.
Canto XXX. Sárdúla’s Speech.
Canto XXXI. The Magic Head.
Canto XXXII. Sítá’s Lament.
Canto XXXIII. Saramá.
Canto XXXIV. Saramá’s Tidings.
Canto XXXV. Malyaván’s Speech.
Canto XXXVI. Rávan’s Reply.
Canto XXXVII. Preparations.
Canto XXXVIII. The Ascent Of Suvela.
Canto XXXIX. Lanká.
Canto XL. Rávan Attacked.
Canto XLI. Ráma’s Envoy.
Canto XLII. The Sally.
Canto XLIII. The Single Combats.
Canto XLIV. The Night.
Canto XLV. Indrajít’s Victory.
Canto XLVI. Indrajít’s Triumph.
Canto XLVII. Sítá.
Canto XLVIII. Sítá’s Lament.
Canto XLIX. Ráma’s Lament.
Canto L. The Broken Spell.
Canto LI. Dhúmráksha’s Sally.
Canto LII. Dhúmráksha’s Death.
Canto LIII. Vajradanshtra’s Sally.
Canto LIV. Vajradanshtra’s Death.
Canto LIX. Rávan’s Sally.
Canto LX. Kumbhakarna Roused.
Canto LXI. The Vánars’ Alarm.
Canto LXII. Rávan’s Request.
Canto LXIII. Kumbhakarna’s Boast.
Canto LXIV. Mahodar’s Speech.
Canto LXV. Kumbhakarna’s Speech.
Canto LXVI. Kumbhakarna’s Sally.
Canto LXVII. Kumbhakarna’s Death.
Canto LXVIII. Rávan’s Lament.
Canto LXIX. Narántak’s Death.
Canto LXX. The Death Of Trisirás.
Canto LXXI. Atikáya’s Death.
Canto LXXII. Rávan’s Speech.
Canto LXXIII. Indrajít’s Victory.
Canto LXXIV. The Medicinal Herbs.
Canto LXXV. The Night Attack.
Canto XCIII. Rávan’s Lament.
Canto XCVI. Rávan’s Sally.
Canto C. Rávan In The Field.
Canto CI. Lakshman’s Fall.
Canto CII. Lakshman Healed.
Canto CIII. Indra’s Car.
Canto CVI. Glory To The Sun.
Canto CVIII. The Battle.
Canto CIX. The Battle.
Canto CX. Rávan’s Death.
Canto CXI. Vibhishan’s Lament.
Canto CXII. The Rákshas Dames.
Canto CXIII. Mandodarí’s Lament.
Canto CXIV. Vibhishan Consecrated.
Canto CXV. Sítá’s Joy.
Canto CXVI. The Meeting.
Canto CXVII. Sítá’s Disgrace.
Canto CXVIII. Sítá’s Reply.
Canto CXIX. Glory To Vishnu.
Canto CXX. Sítá Restored.
Canto CXXI. Dasaratha.
Canto CXXII. Indra’s Boon.
Canto CXXIII. The Magic Car.
Canto CXXIV. The Departure.
Canto CXXV. The Return.
Canto CXXVI. Bharat Consoled.
Canto CXXVII. Ráma’s Message.
Canto CXXVIII. Hanumán’s Story.
Canto CXXIX. The Meeting With Bharat.
Canto CXXX. The Consecration.
Section XIII. Rávan Doomed.
Queen Fortune.
Vishnu’s Incarnation As Ráma.
Kusa and Lava.
Parasuráma, Page 87.
Yáma, Page 68.
Fate, Page 68.
Visvámitra, Page 76.
Household Gods, Page 102.
Page 107.
Page 108.
Page 109.
Page 110.
Page 120.
Page 125.
Page 125.
Page 136.
Page 152.
Page 157.
Page 161.
Page 169.
Page 174. The Praise Of Kings
Page 176. Sálmalí.
Page 178. Bharat’s Return.
Page 183.
Page 203.
Page 219.
Page 249.
Page 250.
Page 257.
Page 286. Urvasí.
Page 324.
Page 326.
Page 329. Ráma’s Alliance With Sugríva.
Page 342. The Fall Of Báli.
Page 370. The Vánar Host.
Page 372.
Page 374.
Page 378. Northern Kurus.
Page 428.
Page 431.
Page 434.
Page 436.
Page 452.
Page 462.
Page 466.
Page 470.
Page 497.
Page 489.
Page 489.
Page 492. Rávan’s Funeral.
Page 496.
Page 503. The Meeting.
Final Notes.
[pg 001]
Praise to Válmíki,2bird of charming song,3
Who mounts on Poesy’s sublimest spray,
And sweetly sings with accent clear and strong
Ráma, aye Ráma, in his deathless lay.
Where breathes the man can listen to the strain
That flows in music from Válmíki’s tongue,
Nor feel his feet the path of bliss attain
When Ráma’s glory by the saint is sung!
The stream Rámáyan leaves its sacred fount
The whole wide world from sin and stain to free.4
The Prince of Hermits is the parent mount,
The lordly Ráma is the darling sea.
Glory to him whose fame is ever bright!
Glory to him, Prachetas’5holy son!
Whose pure lips quaff with ever new delight
The nectar-sea of deeds by Ráma done.
Hail, arch-ascetic, pious, good, and kind!
Hail, Saint Válmíki, lord of every lore!
Hail, holy Hermit, calm and pure of mind!
Hail, First of Bards, Válmíki, hail once more!
Book I.6
Canto I. Nárad.7
To sainted Nárad, prince of those
Whose lore in words of wisdom flows.
Whose constant care and chief delight
Were Scripture and ascetic rite,
The good Válmíki, first and best
[pg 002]
Of hermit saints, these words addressed:9
“In all this world, I pray thee, who
Is virtuous, heroic, true?
Firm in his vows, of grateful mind,
To every creature good and kind?
Bounteous, and holy, just, and wise,
Alone most fair to all men’s eyes?
Devoid of envy, firm, and sage,
Whose tranquil soul ne’er yields to rage?
Whom, when his warrior wrath is high,
Do Gods embattled fear and fly?
Whose noble might and gentle skill
The triple world can guard from ill?
Who is the best of princes, he
Who loves his people’s good to see?
The store of bliss, the living mine
Where brightest joys and virtues shine?
Queen Fortune’s10 best and dearest friend,
Whose steps her choicest gifts attend?
Who may with Sun and Moon compare,
With Indra,11 Vishṇu,12 Fire, and Air?
Grant, Saint divine,13 the boon I ask,
For thee, I ween, an easy task,
To whom the power is given to know
If such a man breathe here below.”
Then Nárad, clear before whose eye
The present, past, and future lie,14
Made ready answer: “Hermit, where
Are graces found so high and rare?
Yet listen, and my tongue shall tell
In whom alone these virtues dwell.
From old Ikshváku’s15 line he came,
Known to the world by Ráma’s name:
With soul subdued, a chief of might,
In Scripture versed, in glory bright,
His steps in virtue’s paths are bent,
Obedient, pure, and eloquent.
In each emprise he wins success,
And dying foes his power confess.
Tall and broad-shouldered, strong of limb,
Fortune has set her mark on him.
Graced with a conch-shell’s triple line,
His throat displays the auspicious sign.16
[pg 003]
High destiny is clear impressed
On massive jaw and ample chest,
His mighty shafts he truly aims,
And foemen in the battle tames.
Deep in the muscle, scarcely shown,
Embedded lies his collar-bone.
His lordly steps are firm and free,
His strong arms reach below his knee;17
All fairest graces join to deck
His head, his brow, his stately neck,
And limbs in fair proportion set:
The manliest form e’er fashioned yet.
Graced with each high imperial mark,
His skin is soft and lustrous dark.
Large are his eyes that sweetly shine
With majesty almost divine.
His plighted word he ne’er forgets;
On erring sense a watch he sets.
By nature wise, his teacher’s skill
Has trained him to subdue his will.
Good, resolute and pure, and strong,
He guards mankind from scathe and wrong,
And lends his aid, and ne’er in vain,
The cause of justice to maintain.
Well has he studied o’er and o’er
The Vedas18and their kindred lore.
Well skilled is he the bow to draw,19
Well trained in arts and versed in law;
High-souled and meet for happy fate,
Most tender and compassionate;
The noblest of all lordly givers,
Whom good men follow, as the rivers
Follow the King of Floods, the sea:
So liberal, so just is he.
The joy of Queen Kauśalyá’s20heart,
In every virtue he has part:
Firm as Himálaya’s21 snowy steep,
Unfathomed like the mighty deep:
The peer of Vishṇu’s power and might,
And lovely as the Lord of Night;22
Patient as Earth, but, roused to ire,
Fierce as the world-destroying fire;
In bounty like the Lord of Gold,23
And Justice self in human mould.
With him, his best and eldest son,
By all his princely virtues won
King Daśaratha24 willed to share
His kingdom as the Regent Heir.
But when Kaikeyí, youngest queen,
With eyes of envious hate had seen
The solemn pomp and regal state
Prepared the prince to consecrate,
She bade the hapless king bestow
Two gifts he promised long ago,
That Ráma to the woods should flee,
And that her child the heir should be.
By chains of duty firmly tied,
The wretched king perforce complied.
[pg 004]
Ráma, to please Kaikeyí went
Obedient forth to banishment.
Then Lakshmaṇ’s truth was nobly shown,
Then were his love and courage known,
When for his brother’s sake he dared
All perils, and his exile shared.
And Sítá, Ráma’s darling wife,
Loved even as he loved his life,
Whom happy marks combined to bless,
A miracle of loveliness,
Of Janak’s royal lineage sprung,
Most excellent of women, clung
To her dear lord, like Rohiṇí
Rejoicing with the Moon to be.25
The King and people, sad of mood,
The hero’s car awhile pursued.
But when Prince Ráma lighted down
At Śringavera’s pleasant town,
Where Gangá’s holy waters flow,
He bade his driver turn and go.
Guha, Nishádas’ king, he met,
And on the farther bank was set.
Then on from wood to wood they strayed,
O’er many a stream, through constant shade,
As Bharadvája bade them, till
They came to Chitrakúṭa’s hill.
And Ráma there, with Lakshmaṇ’s aid,
A pleasant little cottage made,
And spent his days with Sítá, dressed
In coat of bark and deerskin vest.26
And Chitrakúṭa grew to be
As bright with those illustrious three
As Meru’s27 sacred peaks that shine
With glory, when the Gods recline
Beneath them: Śiva’s28 self between
The Lord of Gold and Beauty’s Queen.
The aged king for Ráma pined,
And for the skies the earth resigned.
Bharat, his son, refused to reign,
Though urged by all the twice-born29 train.
Forth to the woods he fared to meet
His brother, fell before his feet,
And cried, “Thy claim all men allow:
O come, our lord and king be thou.”
But Ráma nobly chose to be
Observant of his sire’s decree.
He placed his sandals30 in his hand
A pledge that he would rule the land:
And bade his brother turn again.
Then Bharat, finding prayer was vain,
The sandals took and went away;
Nor in Ayodhyá would he stay.
But turned to Nandigráma, where
He ruled the realm with watchful care,
Still longing eagerly to learn
Tidings of Ráma’s safe return.
Then lest the people should repeat
Their visit to his calm retreat,
Away from Chitrakúṭa’s hill
Fared Ráma ever onward till
[pg 005]
Beneath the shady trees he stood
Of Daṇḍaká’s primeval wood,
Virádha, giant fiend, he slew,
And then Agastya’s friendship knew.
Counselled by him he gained the sword
And bow of Indra, heavenly lord:
A pair of quivers too, that bore
Of arrows an exhaustless store.
While there he dwelt in greenwood shade
The trembling hermits sought his aid,
And bade him with his sword and bow
Destroy the fiends who worked them woe:
To come like Indra strong and brave,
A guardian God to help and save.
And Ráma’s falchion left its trace
Deep cut on Śúrpaṇakhá’s face:
A hideous giantess who came
Burning for him with lawless flame.
Their sister’s cries the giants heard.
And vengeance in each bosom stirred:
The monster of the triple head.
And Dúshaṇ to the contest sped.
But they and myriad fiends beside
Beneath the might of Ráma died.
When Rávaṇ, dreaded warrior, knew
The slaughter of his giant crew:
Rávaṇ, the king, whose name of fear
Earth, hell, and heaven all shook to hear:
He bade the fiend Márícha aid
The vengeful plot his fury laid.
In vain the wise Márícha tried
To turn him from his course aside:
Not Rávaṇ’s self, he said, might hope
With Ráma and his strength to cope.
Impelled by fate and blind with rage
He came to Ráma’s hermitage.
There, by Márícha’s magic art,
He wiled the princely youths apart,
The vulture31 slew, and bore away
The wife of Ráma as his prey.
The son of Raghu32 came and found
Jaṭáyu slain upon the ground.
He rushed within his leafy cot;
He sought his wife, but found her not.
Then, then the hero’s senses failed;
In mad despair he wept and wailed.
Upon the pile that bird he laid,
And still in quest of Sítá strayed.
A hideous giant then he saw,
Kabandha named, a shape of awe.
The monstrous fiend he smote and slew,
And in the flame the body threw;
When straight from out the funeral flame
In lovely form Kabandha came,
And bade him seek in his distress
A wise and holy hermitess.
By counsel of this saintly dame
To Pampá’s pleasant flood he came,
And there the steadfast friendship won
Of Hanumán the Wind-God’s son.
Counselled by him he told his grief
To great Sugríva, Vánar chief,
Who, knowing all the tale, before
The sacred flame alliance swore.
Sugríva to his new-found friend
Told his own story to the end:
His hate of Báli for the wrong
And insult he had borne so long.
And Ráma lent a willing ear
And promised to allay his fear.
Sugríva warned him of the might
Of Báli, matchless in the fight,
And, credence for his tale to gain,
Showed the huge fiend33 by Báli slain.
The prostrate corse of mountain size
Seemed nothing in the hero’s eyes;
He lightly kicked it, as it lay,
And cast it twenty leagues34 away.
To prove his might his arrows through
Seven palms in line, uninjured, flew.
He cleft a mighty hill apart,
And down to hell he hurled his dart.
Then high Sugríva’s spirit rose,
Assured of conquest o’er his foes.
With his new champion by his side
To vast Kishkindhá’s cave he hied.
Then, summoned by his awful shout,
King Báli came in fury out,
First comforted his trembling wife,
Then sought Sugríva in the strife.
One shaft from Ráma’s deadly bow
The monarch in the dust laid low.
Then Ráma bade Sugríva reign
In place of royal Báli slain.
Then speedy envoys hurried forth
Eastward and westward, south and north,
Commanded by the grateful king
Tidings of Ráma’s spouse to bring.
Then by Sampáti’s counsel led,
Brave Hanumán, who mocked at dread,
Sprang at one wild tremendous leap
Two hundred leagues across the deep.
To Lanká’s35 town he urged his way,
Where Rávaṇ held his royal sway.
[pg 006]
There pensive ‘neath Aśoka36 boughs
He found poor Sítá, Ráma’s spouse.
He gave the hapless girl a ring,
A token from her lord and king.
A pledge from her fair hand he bore;
Then battered down the garden door.
Five captains of the host he slew,
Seven sons of councillors o’erthrew;
Crushed youthful Aksha on the field,
Then to his captors chose to yield.
Soon from their bonds his limbs were free,
But honouring the high decree
Which Brahmá37 had pronounced of yore,
He calmly all their insults bore.
The town he burnt with hostile flame,
And spoke again with Ráma’s dame,
Then swiftly back to Ráma flew
With tidings of the interview.
Then with Sugríva for his guide,
Came Ráma to the ocean side.
He smote the sea with shafts as bright
As sunbeams in their summer height,
And quick appeared the Rivers’ King38
Obedient to the summoning.
A bridge was thrown by Nala o’er
The narrow sea from shore to shore.39
They crossed to Lanká’s golden town,
Where Ráma’s hand smote Rávaṇ down.
Vibhishaṇ there was left to reign
Over his brother’s wide domain.
To meet her husband Sítá came;
But Ráma, stung with ire and shame,
With bitter words his wife addressed
Before the crowd that round her pressed.
But Sítá, touched with noble ire,
Gave her fair body to the fire.
Then straight the God of Wind appeared,
And words from heaven her honour cleared.
And Ráma clasped his wife again,
Uninjured, pure from spot and stain,
Obedient to the Lord of Fire
And the high mandate of his sire.
Led by the Lord who rules the sky,
The Gods and heavenly saints drew nigh,
And honoured him with worthy meed,
Rejoicing in each glorious deed.
His task achieved, his foe removed,
He triumphed, by the Gods approved.
By grace of Heaven he raised to life
The chieftains slain in mortal strife;
Then in the magic chariot through
The clouds to Nandigráma flew.
Met by his faithful brothers there,
He loosed his votive coil of hair:
Thence fair Ayodhyá’s town he gained,
And o’er his father’s kingdom reigned.
Disease or famine ne’er oppressed
His happy people, richly blest
With all the joys of ample wealth,
Of sweet content and perfect health.
No widow mourned her well-loved mate,
No sire his son’s untimely fate.
They feared not storm or robber’s hand;
No fire or flood laid waste the land:
The Golden Age40 had come again
To bless the days of Ráma’s reign.
From him, the great and glorious king,
Shall many a princely scion spring.
And he shall rule, beloved by men,
Ten thousand years and hundreds ten,41
And when his life on earth is past
To Brahmá’s world shall go at last.”
Whoe’er this noble poem reads
That tells the tale of Ráma’s deeds,
Good as the Scriptures, he shall be
From every sin and blemish free.
Whoever reads the saving strain,
With all his kin the heavens shall gain.
Bráhmans who read shall gather hence
The highest praise for eloquence.
The warrior, o’er the land shall reign,
The merchant, luck in trade obtain;
And Śúdras listening42 ne’er shall fail
To reap advantage from the tale.43
[pg 007]
Canto II. Brahmá’s Visit
Válmíki, graceful speaker, heard,
To highest admiration stirred.
To him whose fame the tale rehearsed
He paid his mental worship first;
Then with his pupil humbly bent
Before the saint most eloquent.
Thus honoured and dismissed the seer
Departed to his heavenly sphere.
Then from his cot Válmíki hied
To Tamasá’s44 sequestered side,
Not far remote from Gangá’s tide.
He stood and saw the ripples roll
Pellucid o’er a pebbly shoal.
To Bharadvája45 by his side
He turned in ecstasy, and cried:
“See, pupil dear, this lovely sight,
The smooth-floored shallow, pure and bright,
With not a speck or shade to mar,
And clear as good men’s bosoms are.
Here on the brink thy pitcher lay,
And bring my zone of bark, I pray.
Here will I bathe: the rill has not,
To lave the limbs, a fairer spot.
Do quickly as I bid, nor waste
The precious time; away, and haste.”
Obedient to his master’s hest
Quick from the cot he brought the vest;
The hermit took it from his hand,
And tightened round his waist the band;
Then duly dipped and bathed him there,
And muttered low his secret prayer.
To spirits and to Gods he made
Libation of the stream, and strayed
Viewing the forest deep and wide
That spread its shade on every side.
Close by the bank he saw a pair
Of curlews sporting fearless there.
But suddenly with evil mind
An outcast fowler stole behind,
And, with an aim too sure and true,
The male bird near the hermit slew.
The wretched hen in wild despair
With fluttering pinions beat the air,
And shrieked a long and bitter cry
When low on earth she saw him lie,
Her loved companion, quivering, dead,
His dear wings with his lifeblood red;
And for her golden crested mate
She mourned, and was disconsolate.
The hermit saw the slaughtered bird,
And all his heart with ruth was stirred.
The fowler’s impious deed distressed
His gentle sympathetic breast,
And while the curlew’s sad cries rang
Within his ears, the hermit sang:
“No fame be thine for endless time,
Because, base outcast, of thy crime,
Whose cruel hand was fain to slay
One of this gentle pair at play!”
E’en as he spoke his bosom wrought
And laboured with the wondering thought
What was the speech his ready tongue
Had uttered when his heart was wrung.
He pondered long upon the speech,
Recalled the words and measured each,
And thus exclaimed the saintly guide
To Bharadvája by his side:
“With equal lines of even feet,
With rhythm and time and tone complete,
The measured form of words I spoke
In shock of grief be termed a śloke.”46
And Bharadvája, nothing slow
His faithful love and zeal to show,
Answered those words of wisdom, “Be
The name, my lord, as pleases thee.”
As rules prescribe the hermit took
Some lustral water from the brook.
But still on this his constant thought
Kept brooding, as his home he sought;
While Bharadvája paced behind,
A pupil sage of lowly mind,
And in his hand a pitcher bore
With pure fresh water brimming o’er.
Soon as they reached their calm retreat
The holy hermit took his seat;
His mind from worldly cares recalled,
And mused in deepest thought enthralled.
Then glorious Brahmá,47 Lord Most High,
Creator of the earth and sky,
[pg 008]
The four-faced God, to meet the sage
Came to Válmíki’s hermitage.
Soon as the mighty God he saw,
Up sprang the saint in wondering awe.
Mute, with clasped hands, his head he bent,
And stood before him reverent.
His honoured guest he greeted well,
Who bade him of his welfare tell;
Gave water for his blessed feet,
Brought offerings,48 and prepared a seat.
In honoured place the God Most High
Sate down, and bade the saint sit nigh.
There sate before Válmíki’s eyes
The Father of the earth and skies;
But still the hermit’s thoughts were bent
On one thing only, all intent
On that poor curlew’s mournful fate
Lamenting for her slaughtered mate;
And still his lips, in absent mood,
The verse that told his grief, renewed:
“Woe to the fowler’s impious hand
That did the deed that folly planned;
That could to needless death devote
The curlew of the tuneful throat!”
The heavenly Father smiled in glee,
And said, “O best of hermits, see,
A verse, unconscious, thou hast made;
No longer be the task delayed.
Seek not to trace, with labour vain,
The unpremeditated strain.
The tuneful lines thy lips rehearsed
Spontaneous from thy bosom burst.
Then come, O best of seers, relate
The life of Ráma good and great,
The tale that saintly Nárad told,
In all its glorious length unfold.
Of all the deeds his arm has done
Upon this earth, omit not one,
And thus the noble life record
Of that wise, brave, and virtuous lord.
His every act to day displayed,
His secret life to none betrayed:
How Lakshmaṇ, how the giants fought;
With high emprise and hidden thought:
And all that Janak’s child49 befell
Where all could see, where none could tell.
The whole of this shall truly be
Made known, O best of saints, to thee.
In all thy poem, through my grace,
No word of falsehood shall have place.
Begin the story, and rehearse
The tale divine in charming verse.
As long as in this firm-set land
The streams shall flow, the mountains stand,
So long throughout the world, be sure,
The great Rámáyan shall endure.50
While the Rámáyan’s ancient strain
Shall glorious in the earth remain,
To higher spheres shalt thou arise
And dwell with me above the skies.”
He spoke, and vanished into air,
And left Válmíki wondering there.
The pupils of the holy man,
Moved by their love of him, began
To chant that verse, and ever more
They marvelled as they sang it o’er:
“Behold, the four-lined balanced rime,
Repeated over many a time,
In words that from the hermit broke
In shock of grief, becomes a śloke.”
This measure now Válmíki chose
Wherein his story to compose.
In hundreds of such verses, sweet
With equal lines and even feet,
The saintly poet, lofty-souled,
The glorious deeds of Ráma told.