Ramayana of Valmiki

by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597

This page is entitled “the ceremonies are continued” and represents Chapter 77 of the Ayodhya-kanda of the Ramayana (English translation by Hari Prasad Shastri). The Ramayana narrates the legend of Rama and Sita and her abduction by Ravana, the king of Lanka. It contains 24,000 verses divided into seven sections [viz., Ayodhya-kanda].

Chapter 77 - The ceremonies are continued

On the eleventh day, Prince Bharata purified himself and on the twelfth day he performed the Sapindi ceremony, and distributed jewels, gold, silver, gorgeous apparel and other articles among the brahmins.

He also gave in charity countless white goats and cows, male and female servants, chariots and horses. On the thirteenth day, the mighty-armed Bharata, overcome with grief, went to collect the ashes of the king and, standing near the funeral pyre, spoke in a voice choked with emotion. He said: “O Lord, my brother, Ramacandra, to whom you had entrusted me, has entered the forest and you, also, hast abandoned me, helpless and wretched as I am. O Father, where hast you gone, abandoning Mother Kaushalya, whose son is now exiled?”

Seeing the white ashes of the king’s bones and the body wholly consumed, Bharata burst into fresh lamentation, and weeping, fell on the earth. The people tried to raise the prince who was lying on the ground like the banner of Indra, its support broken. The counsellors raised up Prince Bharata as the sages formerly lifted up King Yayati, who had fallen from heaven on the termination of the fruit of his merit. Perceiving Bharata, overcome with grief, Shatrughna, remembering his sire, also fell senseless to the ground.

Being somewhat restored, they called to mind the excellent qualities of their illustrious father and Shatrughna cried: “The boons exacted by Manthara are the ocean inhabited by the crocodile Kaikeyi, in which we are submerged. O Father, where art you gone, abandoning your tender and beloved son Bharata? Why hast you abjured us, you who wast wont to give us delicious food, fitting gifts, robes and ornaments? Who will now confer these favours on us? Why is the earth not riven, thus deprived of an illustrious and pious sovereign? Alas! My father has departed to heaven and Shri Rama has gone to the forest 1 How can I continue to live? Bereft of my father and brother, I shall enter the fire. I shall not return to the capital, I shall go to Tapovana.”

The palace attendants hearing the prince grieving so bitterly, were afflicted and fell to the ground, tormented like bulls whose horns are broken.

Then the excellent and wise Vasishtha, their father’s chief priest raising Bharata up, addressed him, saying: “O Prince, thirteen days have passed since the cremation of your illustrious father’s body. Do not delay longer, but collect the bones that remain. Every man suffers the three pairs of opposites; hunger and thirst, pleasure and pain, life and death. Do not permit thyself to grieve for that which cannot be avoided.”

Then the wise Sumantra raised up Shatrughna and consoling him explained the nature of birth and death that visits all beings. Standing erect, those two lions among men, their eyes red with much weeping, resembled the standards of Indra, bereft of glory by the effects of sun and rain. Then the counsellors approached the two princes and requested them to undertake the remaining ceremonies.

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