The Ramayana of Valmiki

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

This page is entitled “rama describes prasravana” and represents Chapter 27 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 27 - Rama describes Prasravana

The monkey Sugriva, having been crowned king, returned to Kishkindha, whilst Rama retired to the Mountain Prasravana.

That mountain resounded with the cries of tigers and deer, and the roaring of the lions that frequented it was heard day and night; bushes, diverse creepers and innumerable trees were to be seen everywhere. It was inhabited by bears, lynxes and many kinds of monkeys and resembled a mass of clouds sparkling with light and beauty. On the summit was a large and spacious cave, which Rama, who was accompanied by Saumitri, chose as a dwelling for himself.

Having contracted an alliance with Sugriva, Rama, the irreproachable descendant of the House of Raghu, addressed his brother Lakshmana, the increaser of his delight, in appropriate and significant words, saying:—

“O Saumitri, Destroyer of Your Foes! We should establish ourselves in this agreeable rocky cavern during the rainy season. This peak, the most lofty on this mountain, is enchanting, O Prince! White, black and dun-coloured crags adorn it and metals of every kind abound, while its rivers swarm with frogs; it is filled with innumerable trees and charming creepers, where a variety of birds warble and splendid peacocks can be heard; Malati, Kunda, Sinduvara, Shirishaka, Kadamba, Arjuna and Sarja trees embellish it with their blossom.

“Here is a lovely pool, festooned with flowering lotus, adjoining the cave, O Prince. Where the rock is hollowed out, it inclines to the north east, which will make our stay more agreeable, whilst on the west it is higher and we shall be sheltered from the winds. At the entrance, O Saumitri, is a smooth black stone like a piece of antimony washed in oil; to the north, O Friend, the crest of the mountain is magnificent and looks like a mass of polished collyrium or a stationary cloud. To the south, it stretches like a white veil, resembling Mount Kailasha, rich in metals, which give it a dazzling appearance.

“Observe this river of translucent water like unto Jahnavi on the Mount Trikuta! Candana, Tilaka, Sala, Tamala, Atimuktaka, Padmaka, Sarala and Ashoka trees embellish it; Vanira, Timida, Bakula, Ketaka, Hintala, Tinisha, Nipa, Vetasa and Kritamalaka trees grow on its banks, adorning it on every side, like a woman attired in rich raiment and precious gems.

“Innumerable flocks of birds fill it with their various notes and waterfowl enliven it with their amorous frolics. The river has created enchanting islands which are frequented by swans and cranes; its smiling aspect calls to mind a beautiful woman wearing innumerable ornaments. Here it is carpeted with blue lotuses, there shining with the red and in the distance white water-lilies may be seen. Ducks sport here in their hundreds, whilst peacocks and curlews fill this river, full of charm and colour, with their cries, and groups of sages frequent it.

“See how the Sandal and Kadubha trees grow in clusters of five, as if planned by an intelligent will. Ah! What an enchanting spot! O Saumitri, You Scourger of Your Foes, let us enjoy it to the full and make our retreat a happy one. Kishkindha too is not far from here, that marvellous city of Sugriva’s, where songs and the sound of musical instruments are heard, O Most Illustrious of Conquerors! It is the monkey warriors sporting to the sound of drums.

“Having recovered his consort and his kingdom, that monarch of the monkeys, Sugriva, surrounded by his companions, is assuredly celebrating his return to full prosperity.”

With these words, Rama with Lakshmana took up their abode on the Mountain Prasravana, where there were innumerable caves and woods.

Yet despite the beauty and abundance of fruits, Rama was unable to find the least pleasure there. Remembering the woman who had been torn from him and who was as dear to him as his very life’s breath, the more now, when the moon was rising over the summit of the mountain, he was unable to sleep, passing the nights on the couch, sighing, his spirit troubled, a prey to constant grief.

Seeing Rama desolate and a victim to profound melancholy, Lakshmana, who was equally afflicted, addressed him in affectionate words, saying:—“Cease to mourn, O Hero, you should not distress thyself thus. One who grieves is never successful, you knowest it well. In this world, one should have faith and trust in God, pursue virtue and engage in action, O Raghava! If your mind is agitated, you will never be able to overcome that titan, thine adversary, in combat, for he is a crafty fighter.

“Banish your grief and persist in thine endeavour; it will be thine to triumph over this demon and his entire family. O Rama, you canst overthrow the earth with its oceans, forests and mountains, how much more Ravana! Wait but till the autumn, for it is now the rainy season, then you shalt destroy him, his kingdom and his kinsfolk. Truly I desire to rekindle your dormant valour, as at the hour of sacrifice the fire buried beneath the ashes is revived by glowing libations.”

This salutary and opportune counsel of Lakshmana’s was received by Rama with respect and he answered in tender and friendly accents, saying:—

“O Lakshmana, inspired by devotion, you have spoken to me with wisdom and courage. Henceforth I shall manifest that valour no danger is able to subdue. I shall wait for the autumn and in accord with your counsel depend on Sugriva’s willing co-operation and the state of the rivers. He who has rendered a service merits repayment; the ungrateful who do not honour an obligation lose the respect of the good.” With joined palms, Lakshmana listened with approval to this judicious speech and addressed Rama, who had regained his cheerful mien, saying: “You speakest truly, O Chief of Men; without fail, that monkey will bring about that which you desirest. Meantime, while awaiting the autumn, endure the rains, resolving to slay thine adversary. Restraining thine anger, let us pass these four months of autumn together, dwelling on the mountain frequented by lions, and then hold thyself in readiness to destroy thine enemy.”

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