Holy Lake of the Acts of Lord Rama, Part 22
BY: SUN STAFF
Patna, 19th c.
Mar 12, 2012 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of Tulasi das's 'Ramacaritamanasa'.
'Then Narada went to Siva proud at heart that he had conquered Love. To Siva he related Kama's deeds, but because Siva held him very dear, he warned him thus: "O sage, I earnestly beseech you, never repeat to Hari this tale as you have told it me. Even should the subject arise, keep silence!"
[Doha 127] 'It was good advice that Siva gave, but it pleased not Narada. Hear, Bharadvaja, the strange event. The will of Hari is all-powerful. [Caupai 128] Rama wills to do and it is done; there is none who can make it other. Sambhu's words did not please the sage. He went straight to Brahma's realm, and taking forthwith his melodious lute in hand, and singing, skilled minstrel as he was, of Hari's virtues, the high sage went on to the Ocean of Milk, where dwells Visnu, Lord of the Veda. Gladly rose Laksmi's lord to meet him, and sat down with the seer. The sovereign of all creation said with a smile, "It is long, O sage, since you showed me this favour." Narada told him the whole story of Kama's deeds, though Siva had already warned him not to do so. The delusive power of Raghupati is very strong; what mortal is there whom it does not mislead?
[Doha 128] 'With stern look but gentle words the Great God spoke: 'Ignorance, lust, pride and self-conceit perish at the very thought of you! Hearken, O sage! [Caupai 129] Infatuation dwells in the mind of him in whose heart is neither wisdom nor self-governance. But you who are so steadfast in devotion to the vow of continence -- what pain can Kamadeva cause you?" Complacently Narada replied, "Blessed Lord, it is all of thy grace!"
'The Compassionate reflected and saw that the stout tree of pride had sprung up in Narada's breast. "Therefore," he thought, "I shall speedily root it up, for it is my vow to work for my servants' welfare. I shall surely devise some plan which may be for the sage's good and also afford me sport.'
'Then Narada bowed his head before Hari's feet and departed, and his heart was bursting with ever-increasing pride. But Visnu sent forth his own magic power; hear now his mysterious plot.
[Doha 129] 'He fashioned on the road a city one thousand miles in breadth, more beautiful even than the city of Visnu in the varied manner of its construction; [Caupai 130] and in that city dwelt handsome men and women, as though many a Kamadeva and Rati had taken bodily form. King Silanidhi lived in that city, and his companies of horses and elephants and troops none could number. His royal power and luxury were like those of a hundred Indras; he was the abode of grace and splendour and might and prudent government.
Lord Vishnu giving Narad His Veena
He had a daughter, Visvamohani, at the sight of whose beauty even Laksmi would be charmed. Hari's phantom princess was a mine of all perfections; her loveliness no words can describe. The princess was about to choose a husband, and for this reason countless princes had come to the city. The sage entered the city to see the sights, and began to make inquiry of all that dwelt there. When he heard of all that was happening, he went to the king's palace, and the king received the sage with deference and gave him a seat.
[Doha 130] 'The king brought the princess and showed her to Narada and said, "Consider, lord, and tell me all her virtues and her faults."
[Caupai 131] 'When the sage beheld her beauty, he forgot his vow of continence and went on gazing at her for a long time. As he looked on her distinctive signs, his wits went all astray; inwardly he was delighted, but he said nothing openly. "Who marries her," he thought, "will be immortal, unconquerable on the field of battle; all creatures of the earth will serve him whom Silanidhi's daughter weds!" He thought on the fair character and fortune her face revealed and laid them up in his heart; to the king he made some pretence of an answer: "Your daughter is fair and fortunate," said Narada to the king, and went off pondering. "I must go and think out a scheme to make the maiden marry me. This is no time for prayers and penance.
[Doha 131] O God, how may I win the girl? At this time I need superb beauty and most excellent grace of form, that at the sight the maiden may be charmed and cast upon me the wreath of victory. [Caupai 132] I might ask Hari for beauty, but it would take a very long time to go to him, my friend. There is no one who desires my weal as Hari does; let him then help me at this crisis!"
'There and then he offered up an earnest prayer and the gracious Lord revealed himself in sportive mood. When he saw the Lord, the sage was well content and rejoiced that his purpose would be accomplished. In piteous tones he told his tale, saying, "Be gracious and help me! Grant me, Lord, such beauty as is thine; for in no other way may I win her. Lord, by whatever means it may be done, bring me good success and that right speedily; I am thy slave!"
Seeing the mighty power of his illusion, the Lord who has pity on the humble laughed to himself and said, [Doha 132] "Hearken, O Narada! In such wise will I act as to ensure your highest good -- naught else; nor are my words untrue. [Caupai 133] Listen, ascetic sage; if a sick man, distressed by his disease, ask for food that will harm him, the doctor will refuse to give it him; even so have I determined that which is for your good."
'So saying, the Lord vanished; but the sage was so infatuated by the influence of illusion that he understood not Hari's obscure speech. Straightway went the king of seers to the place where the arena was prepared for the maiden's choice. The kings were sitting, each upon his throne, in great magnificence, attended by their retinues. "Such is my exceeding beauty," thought the sage in joyful expectation, "that she could never pass me by to wed another." But for the sage's good the gracious Lord had bestowed on him an unspeakably hideous shape. Yet no one could detect what had happened, but all thought him to be Narada and bowed before him.
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