by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “rama informs himself concerning current rumours from his friends” and represents Chapter 43 of the Uttara-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., Uttara-kanda].
Having entered there, the King was surrounded by entertaining companions accustomed to the exchange of humorous experiences, Vijaya, Madhumatta, Kashyapa, Mangala, Kula, Suraji, Kaliya, Bhadra, Dantavakra and Sumagadha, and they beguiled the magnanimous Raghava with amusing tales of every kind amidst great merriment.
Raghava, however, during some narrative, enquired of Bhadra, saying:—
“O Bhadra, what do they say of me in the town and country? What do they say of Sita, Bharata and Lakshmana? What do they say of Shatrughna and Kaikeyi our mother? Kings are always the subject of criticism whether they are in the forest or on the throne.”
On hearing Rama’s enquiry, Bhadra, with joined palms, answered:—
“Amongst the inhabitants of the city, nought but what is good is spoken of you, O King, above all they tell of your victory over Dashagriva, whom you didst slay, O Dear Prince!”
At these words of Bhadra, Raghava said:—
“Tell me all truthfully without reserve, what reports, good or ill, do the people of the city circulate regarding me? When I learn of them, I shall endeavour to do what is meet in the future and eschew what is evil. Tell me all in full confidence without fear. Laying aside every scruple, relate all the rumours current about me in the kingdom!”
Thus exhorted by Raghava, Bhadra, with joined palms, in profound reverence, addressed that mighty hero in measured tones, saying:—
“Hear, O King, what the people are saying, be it good or ill, in the highways, markets, streets, woods and parks—
‘Rama has achieved the impossible by throwing a bridge over the sea which to our knowledge was never done by his predecessors nor even by the Gods and Danavas together. With his foot-soldiers and cavalry, he has destroyed the invincible Ravana and has made the monkeys, bears and Rakshasas subject to him. Having slain Ravana in the fight and recovered Sita, Raghava, having mastered his anger, has taken his spouse into his house again. What pleasure can his heart experience in possessing Sita, whom Ravana formerly held in his lap, having borne her away by force? How is it that Rama was not filled with aversion for her after she had been taken to Lanka and conducted to the Ashoka Grove, where she was left to the mercy of the titans? We shall now have to countenance the same state of affairs regarding our own wives, since what a king does, his subjects follow!’
“These are the sayings current everywhere among the people of town and country, O King.”
At these words, Raghava, stricken with grief, asked, “Is it thus that they speak of me?”
Then all, bowing to the ground in reverence, answered the unfortunate Raghava and said:—
“It is true, O Lord of the Earth I”
Having heard their unanimous testimony, Kakutstha, the Scourge of His Foes, dismissed his companions.