by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “bali’s last words” and represents Chapter 22 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].
Bali, whose breathing was scarcely perceptible and who was sighing faintly, glanced round and discerned his younger brother, Sugriva, before him. Addressing him whose victory had assured him of the possession of the dominion of the monkeys, he spoke in clear and affectionate tones, saying:—
“O Sugriva, do not approach me with any evil intent, I who was carried away by a fatal loss of understanding. It would seem to me, O My Friend, that it was not our destiny to live at peace with one another; though friendship is natural between brothers, yet with us it has been different. To-day, you will regain the kingdom of the forest-dwellers, whereas I, mark well, am leaving this world and going to the region of death. Not only am I abandoning in an instant, life, kingdom and great prosperity but also a reputation without stain. At this supreme moment, I make an appeal to you and, difficult though it is, it must be done, O Valiant Prince.
“See, stretched on the earth, his face bathed in tears, Angada, who is worthy of happiness, brought up in luxury and, though a child, possessing nought that pertains to childhood! Do you protect him from all peril, he who is my son and dearer to me than life, the issue of my loins and whom I now abandon, though he does not merit abandonment. Be his father, his benefactor and his guardian in all circumstances and in danger be his refuge, as I have ever been, O Chief of the Monkeys!
“Born of Tara, that fortunate prince, thine equal in valour, shall precede you in the destruction of the titans. That youthful Angada, Tara’s son, that valiant hero, whose prowess is great, will manifest it in deeds of valour worthy of me. Further, when the daughter of Sushena (Tara), of profound discernment and conversant with future happenings, bids you saying: ‘Do this, it is right’, do so without hesitation. There is no presentiment of Tara’s that does not come to pass.
“Whatever Raghava proposes, do you carry out with the same resolution; it were wrong to disobey him and he will punish you for your contempt. Take this golden chain, O Sugriva; the glorious Shri who dwells in it will leave it at my death.”
Hearing Bali’s affectionate and brotherly words, Sugriva was bereft of joy and grew sad, resembling the moon in eclipse. Pacified by Bali and anxious to act in a fitting manner, on his brother’s request, he took off the golden chain.
Having thus made over this mark of royalty, Bali, at the point of death, gazing on his son Angada, who stood before him, addressed him tenderly, saying:—
“Do you act in a manner fitting to the time and place. Suffer pleasure and pain with equanimity; in joy and sorrow be obedient to Sugriva. Assuredly, O Long-armed Warrior, you have ever been cherished by me, but it is not by living thus that you will earn Sugriva’s respect. Do not ally thyself with those who are not his friends, still less his foes, O Conqueror of Thine Enemies! Be loyal to Sugriva, your master, with your senses fully controlled and ever be attentive to his interests. Be not inordinately attached to any nor hold any in contempt; both extremes are a great error, therefore pursue the middle course.” With these words, suffering intensely from the arrow, his eyes staring wildly, his great teeth chattering, Bali expired.
Then a great tumult arose among the monkeys, thus deprived of their leader, and all the forest dwellers gave vent to lamentations, saying:—
“Henceforth Kishkindha is nought but a desert, the King of Monkeys having ascended to heaven; his gardens are but a wilderness, as are the mountains and the woods. That Lion of Monkeys has passed away; the forest-dwellers are stripped of their glory.
“He engaged the illustrious and long-armed Golaba, the Gandharva, in a terrible battle lasting ten years and yet another five; that struggle did not cease day or night; then in the sixteenth year, Golaba was struck down, that foolhardy one falling under the blows of Bali of strong teeth. How has he who protected us from all peril fallen in his turn?
“That valiant Leader of Monkeys being slain, the forestdwellers will not be able to find any safe place of refuge, like kine in the midst of a lion-infested forest.”
On hearing these words, Tara, who was submerged in an ocean of grief, gazing on the face of her dead lord, fell to the earth, embracing Bali like a creeper clinging to an uprooted tree.