The Ramayana of Valmiki

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

This page is entitled “tara’s grief” and represents Chapter 19 of the Kishkindha-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., Kishkindha-kanda].

Chapter 19 - Tara’s Grief

The mighty King of the Monkeys, who lay pierced by an arrow, did not reply further to Rama’s judicious words. His limbs crushed by rocks, severly bruised by the trees that Sugriva had hurled at him, transfixed by Rama’s shaft, at the point of death, he swooned away.

Tara, learning that he had been struck down by an arrow discharged by Rama in the struggle and receiving the distressing tidings that her lord lay dying, with a troubled heart hastily emerged with her son from the rocky cavern. The monkeys who followed Angada, however, on seeing Rama with his bow, ran away in fear.

Perceiving those monkeys fleeing in terror, like deer that scatter when the leader of the herd falls dead, Tara, though herself distraught, rallied the frightened monkeys, who sought to escape from Rama, as if his shafts had already been discharged at them, and said:—

“O Monkeys, you are the servants of that Lion among Monarchs; why are you abandoning all and flying in disorder? Has Bali not been laid low by his wicked brother on account of the throne? It was from afar that Rama loosed his far-reaching arrow 1”

Thus did the consort of Bali speak, and those monkeys, who were able to change their shape at will, answered with one voice in words fitting to the occasion, saying:—

“O You, who art the mother of a living son, return home and protect Angada! Death, in the form of Rama, has struck Bali down and is bearing him away. Having launched a volley of immense trees and great rocks, Bali fell, borne down by arrows that resembled the lightning. Beholding that Lion among Monkeys overcome, him whose prowess was equal to Indra’s, the whole army of monkeys has taken to flight. Let the warriors save the city and install Angada as king 1 The monkeys will obey Bali’s son, who will take his place. If these conditions do not meet with thine approval, O Lady of agreeable looks, then the monkeys will seek other inaccessible retreats. Amongst those who live in the forest, some have no wives, others have common wives, but we fear those who have been deprived of their wives and still desire them.”

As they were but a short distance away, that Lady of Sweet Smiles heard them and answered with dignity, saying:—

“Since that Lion among Monkeys is dying, of what use to me is my son or the entire kingdom? I shall seek out the feet of that magnanimous hero whom Rama has slain with a single arrow.”

Speaking thus, overcome with grief, beating her head and breast with her two hands and weeping, in her distress she rushed towards him and, still running, beheld her lord lying on the earth, he, the slayer of the foremost of monkeys, who never turned back in battle; he, who was able to hurl great mountains, as Vasava discharges his thunderbolt with all the fury of a storm, roaring the while like a great mass of thunder, clouds; he whose valour was equal to Shakra’s; that hero pierced by a single arrow, lay on the earth, like the leader of antelopes a tiger has struck down for its prey, or like a place of sacrifice, held sacred by all, with its banners and its altars laid waste by Suparna on account of a serpent.

Then Tara beheld the mighty Rama leaning on his bow, standing with his younger brother and the brother of her lord, and, beside herself with grief, she approached her spouse, who had fallen on the battlefield and, seeing him lying there, was overcome by distress and fell to the ground. Then, rising as if newly waking from sleep, seeing her lord caught in the noose of death, sobbing, she cried out: “O King!”

Her piercing cries, resembling an osprey’s, moved Sugriva deeply, as did the presence of Angada also.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: