by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “tara pacifies lakshmana” and represents Chapter 33 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].
Seeing Lakshmana approaching, the highly powerful monkeys of immense size guarding the gate, stood with joined palms and beholding the son of Dasaratha filled with wrath, breathing heavily, dared not obstruct his entry.
Then that mighty warrior, gazing about him, beheld that great city decorated with jewels and flowery gardens and rendered magnificent by heaps of precious stones with which it was filled; abounding in spacious buildings and temples, with jewels of every kind in abundance offered as merchandise, it was embellished by flowering trees covered with every desirable fruit.
Born of the Gods and Gandharvas, monkeys, able to change their form at will, wearing celestial garlands and raiment, added to the beauty of the city by their charming appearance.
Lakshmana beheld great mansions also, as high as the Vindhya and Meru mountains, and streams of pure water flowing through the city. He surveyed the enchanting abodes of Angada, Mainda, Dvivida, Gavaya, Gavaksha, Gaja, Sharabha, Vidhumati, Sampati, Suryaksha, Hanuman, Virabahu, Subahu and the great souled Nala, Kumuda, Sushena, Tara, Jambavan, Dadhi-baktra, Nila, Sunetra and Supatala, dwellings like unto white clouds adorned with fragrant garlands and filled with jewels, grain and lovely women.
The magnificent and inaccessible abode of the King of Monkeys, like the palace of Mahendra, stood on a white rock and was decorated with pinnacled domes resembling the peaks of Mt. Kailasha. Trees in full flower, bearing fruits of every kind of delicious flavour, had been planted there and resembled blue clouds, enchanting with their cool shade, celestial blooms and golden-hued fruit.
Valiant monkeys, bearing weapons in their hands, guarded the resplendent gateway, the arches of which were of fine gold adorned with magnificent garlands.
The mighty Lakshmana entered Sugriva’s palace without hindrance as the sun enters a great cloud, and having traversed the seven courtyards, filled with conveyances and seats, he beheld the inner apartments of that Chief of the Monkeys abounding in gold and silver couches with rich coverlets and fine seats.
On entering there, he heard sweet music blending with the rhythmic cadence of singing to the accompaniment of stringed instruments; and in the private apartments of Sugriva, many a high-born woman, distinguished for her youth and beauty, sumptuously attired, crowned with flowers and engaged in weaving garlands was observed by the high-souled Lakshmana. He noted too, that there were none of the king’s attendants, who were not richly apparelled, happy, well fed and eager to offer their services.
Hearing the sound of the women’s anklets and girdles, the virtuous Lakshmana became confused and incensed by the tinkling of those ornaments; and that hero stretched the cord of his bow so that the twanging resounded on all sides. Thereafter the valiant Lakshmana, indignant on Rama’s account, withdrew into a corner and stood silent, reflecting on his presumption in entering Sugriva’s private apartments. Hearing the twanging of the bow, Sugriva, the King of the Monkeys, recognizing the presence of Lakshmana, began to tremble on his splendid throne.
He reflected: ‘As Angada previously informed me, Saumitri, through brotherly solicitude, has undoubtedly come hither.’
Then that monkey, informed by Angada, his tidings now made doubly sure by the sound of the bow, understood that Lakshmana had come and he grew pale, his heart being filled with apprehension, and Sugriva, the King of the Monkeys, addressed Tara, of charming appearance, in well considered words saying:—
“O Lady of Lovely Eyebrows, what cause for displeasure has the younger brother of Rama, who is gentle by nature? Why has he come hither like a raving madman? Dost you know the reason of this prince’s anger? Assuredly that lion among men cannot be enraged without cause. If we have unwittingly displeased him, then considering the matter carefully, inform me without delay or go thyself to him.
“O Lovely One, by your sweet speech seek to conciliate him. Seeing you, his mind will become tranquil and his anger be allayed, for great warriors do not permit themselves to treat women with harshness. When your gentle words have soothed him and his mind and senses are under control, then I, in my turn, will approach that prince, whose eyes are as large as lotus petals and who is the conqueror of his foes.”
On this, Tara, swaying slightly, her eyes bright from the drinking of wine, her girdle loosened, hanging by a golden thread, wearing the insignia of royalty, with downcast looks approached Lakshmana. And when that great warrior beheld the consort of the King of the Monkeys, he, restraining his wrath in the presence of a woman, bowed his head, conducting himself like an ascetic.
Under the influence of wine and observing the benign attitude of that Prince, Tara, discarding all diffidence, addressed him in a conciliatory manner, in words calculated to gain his confidence and said:—
“From whence springs this anger, O Son of a King? Who has failed to carry out thine orders? What reckless person has approached the forest where the trees are dry with a flaming torch?”
Mollified by this soft speech, Lakshmana replied with studied courtesy:—
“Why, given over to lust, does your consort neglect his duty and his own true interests? And you, who art devoted to him, why dost you not give the matter your consideration? He has become indifferent to the affairs of the kingdom and of ourselves and our displeasure. Surrounded by parasites, O Tara, he gives himself up to sensual enjoyments.
“The four months appointed as the term of waiting have passed, but the King of the Monkeys in an orgy of drunkenness and pleasure, is unaware of it. Assuredly dissipation is not a proper means to the observance of one’s duty and obligations. Intemperance brings in its train the loss of wealth, virtue and the capacity for enjoyment.
“Not to requite a service received is to fail wholly in one’s duty and to lose a good friend is immensely injurious to one’s higher interests. From the point of view of prosperity, the greatest of virtues is friendship that is rooted in loyalty and justice; he who fails in these is not fixed in his duty. This being so, what should therefore be done, O You, who art conversant with the path of duty?”
Hearing these just and reasonable words, expressed with gentleness, Tara assured the prince of the certain fulfilment of his enterprise and again addressed Lakshmana saying:—
“O Son of a King, this is not the time for recrimination, you should restrain thine anger against my lord; he has thine interests at heart, forgive his folly, O Warrior.
“O Prince, how can a man endowed with every good quality be indignant with one who is lacking in them? Which of thine equals, despite his good character, would give way to wrath? I know the reason for the displeasure of Sugriva’s valiant ally, I am conversant with the service that you have both rendered us and which we must return. I know further, O Best of Men, that one must master one’s passions. I am aware in what company Sugriva has yielded to lust, which is the cause of the present procrastination that incites your wrath. When man yields to desire he forgets time and place as also his duty and what should rightfully be done. Do you pardon this Leader of the Monkey Race, who, at my side, without shame, gives himself up to sensual enjoyment to which he is the slave. Even the great Rishis, devoted to the practice of asceticism, when carried away by desire, lost control of their minds, how should this monkey,.therefore, volatile by nature, when overcome by passion, not become a slave to pleasure, king though he be?”
Having addressed these words of profound understanding to Lakshmana, whose courage was immeasurable, the gentle Vanari, with a troubled look, on account of her conjugal affection, then added for the good of her lord:—
“O Most Excellent of Men, though overcome by desire, Sugriva has long since made preparation to thine advantage. Already hundreds, thousands and millions of valiant monkeys, able to change their form at will, inhabiting every kind of tree, have come here.
“Be pleased to enter, therefore, O Long-armed Warrior; the chaste conduct of a sincere friend authorizes him to look on the wives of others.”
At Tara’s invitation and urged by a desire to carry out the commands that had been laid upon him, that illustrious hero, the conqueror of his foes, entered the inner apartment.
There, seated on a golden throne, covered with a rich cloth, he beheld Sugriva, resembling the sun itself, his person decked with celestial ornaments, of a godlike beauty and dignity. Wearing superb raiment and wreaths he looked like Mahendra himself, on every side he was surrounded by women adorned with crowns and jewels meet for goddesses, and his reddened eyes gave him the appearance of Antaka.
Of the hue of fine gold, clasping Ruma firmly in his arms, seated on a magnificent throne, that large-eyed hero saw before him the mighty Saumitri of expansive eyes.