The Ramayana of Valmiki

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

This page is entitled “sugriva’s remorse” and represents Chapter 24 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 24 - Sugriva’s Remorse

Seeing Tara submerged in the fathomless ocean of grief, Bali’s younger brother was filled with remorse for his tragic end and overcome with distress, his face bathed in tears, in her presence, slowly approached Rama surrounded by his attendants.

Raghava, bearing all the marks of royalty, stood apart, full of dignity and majesty, bearing his bow and arrows, which resembled serpents, in his hands.

Then Sugriva addressed him, saying:—“In accord with your promise, O Indra among Men, you didst accomplish this deed, the results of which are here made manifest. In the midst of my triumph, O Prince, in the presence of the slain, my spirit is troubled. On account of the dead monarch, his chief queen is wailing piteously, the city is giving vent to lamentation and Angada is plunged in affliction; all this, O Rama, robs sovereignty of any delight for me.

“At first, anger, resentment and extreme vexation caused me to view the death of my brother with satisfaction, but soon, in the presence of the corpse of that King of the Monkeys, a great sadness seized me, O First of the House of Ikshvaku. Now it is made clear to me that it would have been better to continue to live as I formerly did on the lofty summit of the Rishyamuka mountain, than slay my brother.

“‘I have no desire to destroy you! Begone !’ were the words that magnanimous warrior addressed to me. This utterance was worthy of him, O Rama, and I, by killing him, have acted vilely. How can any, even if he be devoid of virtue, approve the murder of a brother or balance the happiness experienced on attaining a kingdom with the grief suffered by his death. Unquestioningly he had no intention of slaying me, being too great of soul, but in my perversity I have robbed him of his life.

“In the struggle, when, under the blows of the trees, I was about to succumb and cried out, he at once reassured me, saying:

‘Do not repeat thine impudence; go hence!’

“He was ever filled with brotherly affection, nobility and justice, whereas I was full of anger, envy and the natural characteristics of a monkey.

“That which should be excluded from one’s thoughts, feelings, desires and conduct is what I have harboured in murdering my brother, a crime equal to the slaying of Vish-warupa by Indra. But Indra’s guilt was shared by the earth, the trees and the waters as well as women, whereas who is able to share mine? Who would wish to bear the weight of the sin of a Deer of the Trees?

“I am not worthy to be held in honour by the people, nor to be allied to the kingdom, still less do I merit the throne, having committed such an infamous deed that entails the destruction of one of mine own race.

“I have perpetrated a vile and ignoble act, condemned by the whole world. An overwhelming sorrow fills me, as torrential rain fills a ravine. I am crushed by the bank of a river that has been trodden down by an intoxicated elephant, whose back and tail are the murder of my blood-brother, whose trunk, eyes, head and tusks are the remorse bearing me away.

“This sin, the weight of which is intolerable, O Prince, O Son of the House of Raghu, has destroyed all that is best in my heart, as fire consumes gold, leaving only dross. The company of the great leaders of monkeys, O Prince, are half dead through my fault and also on account of the violent despair of Angada.

“Rare indeed is a son as obedient as Angada, but a son is easily acquired; where however in the world can one akin to a blood brother be found, O Hero? To-day, if Angada, that Chief of Warriors, and his mother live, she, though overcome with grief will surely care for him, for bereft of him she would die. As for me, I wish to enter the blazing pyre in order to regain the affection of my brother and his son.

“Those leaders of monkeys will set out in search of Sita whenever you commandest. O Son of that Indra among Men, I, the Destroyer of my Race, who am no longer worthy to live after committing this outrage, bid you farewell, O Rama.”

Hearing the words of the wretched Sugriva, Bali’s brother, that noble descendant of the House of Raghu, Rama, began to weep, he, the Destroyer of Hostile Armies, for his mind was troubled. Thereafter, glancing here and there, that support of the earth, the protector of the world, Rama, in the midst of his distress, observed Tara groaning under the load of her affliction.

The chief queen of that Lion among Monkeys, of lovely eyes, was lying beside her lord, whom she held in her arms. Then the first of the ministers raised up that valiant consort of the King of the Monkeys, and she, trembling as they separated her from her lord, whom she was embracing, beheld Rama, whose radiance equalled the sun’s, standing with his bow and arrows in his hand.

Adorned with all the distinguishing marks of royalty, that large-eyed prince, whom she had never yet beheld, that first of heroes, was recognized by Tara, whose eyes resembled a doe’s, and she reflected ‘It is Kakutstha!’

Then that noble and unfortunate lady, who had so suddenly been plunged into affliction, tottering, approached the one who was the equal of Indra, inaccessible and all powerful. The venerable Tara, her beautiful frame wasted with grief, drawing near to the pure-souled Rama, who by his valour ever attained his end in combat, addressed him thus:—

“You are of immeasurable courage, unapproachable, master of your senses and of supreme faith; your fame is imperishable, you are full of wisdom and the support of the earth I Thine eyes are the colour of blood; you bearest a bow and arrows in thine hand; you are endowed with great strength and strong limbs; you have renounced the concerns of the body in this world in order to enjoy divine attributes. The shaft with which you didst pierce my beloved lord, now use to destroy me also. When I am dead, I shall be reunited to him; without me, Bali will never be happy, O Hero. Far from me, even in heaven, amidst the red-haired Apsaras, whose locks are braided in various ways and who are gorgeously attired, he will not be happy, O You whose eyes resemble the pure petals of the lotus.

“You knowest well that he who is separated from his loved one is wretched! On account of this, slay me, so that Bah shall not suffer in mine absence. If, in the greatness of your soul, you should reflect ‘I will not be guilty of slaying a woman’, say to thyself, ’she is part of Bali himself’ and strike me down. It will not be a woman whom you have put to death, O Son of that Indra among Men! By virtue of the law and according to the different Vedic texts, women are not other than the higher self of man. Therefore the wise say that the gift of a woman is assuredly the greatest of gifts. In this wise you dost give me back to my dear one in order that I may fulfil my duty to him, O Warrior; by this offering you shalt not incur the sin of slaying me.

“Filled with sorrow, bereft of support, left desolate, you shouldn’st not spare my life. The more so that far from that sagacious Prince of Monkeys, whose joyful gait resembled an elephant’s, with his glorious golden chain, the insigna of supreme majesty, I shall not live long, O Prince.”

Thus spoke Tara, and in order to console her, the magnanimous Lord addressed her with wisdom and understanding, saying:—

“O Consort of a Hero, do not grieve! The whole universe is ordered by the creator; similarly it is established that the sum of good and evil is ordained by Him, nor do the Three Worlds, obedient to His will, transgress His fixed laws. Because of this, you will attain supreme happiness and your son become heir-apparent to the kingdom. The Lord has ordained this in the order of things; the consorts of heroes do not complain.”

Thus comforted by the magnanimous and powerful victor of his foes, the wife of the valiant Bali, the gorgeously-attired Tara, ceased to lament.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: