Srimad Ramayana

BY: HAREKRSNA.COM


Apr 8, CANADA (SUN) — The Travels of Rama by Valmeeki Muni - A 4-part series, translated by Karnamrita dasa.


Volume 1, The Ayodhya Kanda
(The Book of Ayodhya)

By the Mercy of His Divine Grace Om Vishnupada Sri Srimad A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada - Translated by Karnamrita Dasa, 1997


CANTO 1

Description of the Qualities of Rama

1) Taking His affectionate and sinless brother, Satrughna, who ever slays His foes, Lord Bharata proceeded to the habitation of His maternal uncle. 2) Being affectionately entertained by Yudhajit, the horse master, the righteous prince remained there for some time and received the fond embrace due a beloved son. 3) Bharata and Satrughna abided there in great happiness, having all Their desires gratified, and They always remembered Their elderly father, King Dasaratha. 4) King Dasaratha too, never forgot his absent sons, the heroic Bharata and Satrughna, who resembled Indra and Varuna.

5) Indeed, the emperor held his four mighty sons, who had issued from his body, as dear as his own arms.

6) Of the four, Lord Rama was the king's most beloved son, and like a Brahma He excelled all others in virtue.

7) Indeed, He was the eternal Lord Sri Vishnu, and had advented Himself in the world of men on behalf of the Devas, who desired the slaying of Ravana.

8) Queen Kausalya had her beauty embellished by her son of unequalled potency, just as Aditi does by Vajrapani [Indra].

9) He was endowed with supernal loveliness and heroism, and was envious of no one. He was a son unequalled in the world, and resembled Dasaratha in the possession of good qualities.

10) He was always tranquil at heart and His speech was gentle— He never spoke haughtily to any man even though He had been reviled.

11) He was often delighted by some small service rendered Him, and being self-possessed, He would forgive hundreds of misdeeds.

12) Lord Rama would converse only with self-realised souls, with those of mature character, with those advanced in spiritual knowledge, and with those advanced in years. He was always available to such persons when He was not under arms.

13) He was intelligent, sweetly spoken, and would always speak first [thus allaying others' nervousness]. He was agreeable and valorous, but was not proud of His heroism.

14) He never spoke an untruth, He offered all respect to the learned and the elderly; the people adored Him, and He loved the people.

15) He was compassionate, mild, and the worshipper of brahmanas. He pitied the unfortunate, was conversant with the principles of religion, was always kind, and was purity personified.

16) Lord Rama always had His family's well-being in mind. He considered His regal duty to be of great importance, and He contemplated the heavenly reward of such conduct with immense satisfaction.

17) He would countenance no mischief, neither did He relish vulgar talk. Like Brihaspati, He could counter specious arguments with ease.

18) His transcendental body was free from disease and the influence of old age. He was eloquent, beautiful, and adaptable to circumstances. He knew the heart of every man on earth [being omniscient], and He alone was aloof from the world of matter.

19) He alone was possessed of all conceivable qualities who was the king's son, and was as dear to the people as their own hearts.

20) He had acquired all requisite learning, had undertaken all manner of religious vows and was fully conversant with the Vedas and the Vedic supplements. Lord Rama, the elder brother of Bharata, surpassed His father in the wielding of the bow and missiles controlled by hymns.

21) He was the benefactor of the people; He was determined and noble-minded, truthful and honest. He was tutored by elderly brahmanas who were authorities in matters of religion and economics.

22) He knew the principles of religion, regulated sense enjoyment, and the acquisition of wealth. His memory was faultless, He was shrewd, and He was conversant with both worldly conventions and Vedic ritual.

23) He was modest and reserved. He kept His counsellors' advice secret and had many companions and confidential servants. His wrath and joviality were both unfailing, and He knew when renunciation and restraint were called for.

24) Rama was the personification of unflinching devotion, His wisdom was unswerving, He utterly rejected things mundane, and would never speak harshly. He was alert and infallible. He was neither unaware of the faults of His kin nor of others.

25) He knew the scriptures, He was grateful, He was learned in the art of psychology, and He was sagacious in the matter of proffering and accepting favours.

26) He attracted the self-realised, and bestowed His mercy upon them, and He knew when to suppress disturbing elements in His father's realm. He was conversant with the means of collecting revenue and He managed the state expenditure as per the scriptural ordinances.

27) He was pre-eminent in His ability to extract the quiddity of the various scriptures and of works composed in a mixture of dialects. Lord Rama enjoyed sense-pleasure within the bounds of religion and economy and was never slothful.

28) He knew how to apportion funds for the patronage of the arts that serve for amusement or sport, and He was an accomplished rider and trainer of spirited horses.

29) He was fully conversant with the Dhanurveda and was adjudged the greatest warrior in the world by the atirathas. He knew how to best the enemy in an assault, and was proficient in the deployment of military formations.

30) He was invincible in battle by either demigods or demons. He was free from spite, having subdued anger, and He was neither haughty nor envious.

31) Lord Rama was not to be disesteemed or disregarded by any living being, neither did He come under the sway of the time factor. Indeed, the Prince was endowed with super-excellent characteristics that were unequalled within the three worlds.

32) He was like the earth in point of forbearance, like Brihaspati in point of wisdom, and like Indra in point of valour.

33) He was loved by His father's subjects, and ever increased His sire's delight. Lord Rama was endowed with dazzling transcendental qualities, and He was haloed as if by the rays of the sun.

34) The earth personified adored Him who was possessed of such virtues, who was unconquerable, who was courageous, and who was the unequalled Lord of all.

35) Perceiving his son to be possessed of innumerable sublime characteristics, King Dasaratha, the subduer of foes, began to consider thus.

36) Now that the long-lived monarch had grown old he thought: "How shall I live to see my beloved Rama crowned king?

37) This is undoubtedly the foremost desire within my heart— when, pray, shall I behold my darling son anointed as emperor?

38) He is desirous of the people's prosperity and He is compassionate upon all living beings. He is dearer to my subjects than I, and is just like Parjanya, the god of rain.

39) In valour He is the equal of Yama and Indra, and in intellect He is the equal of Brihaspati. He is as constant as a mountain, and He is more qualified and virtuous than am I.

40) When I witness His dominion over the entire world, then I shall attain the kingdom of God!"

41-42) Observing such manifold qualities, which are rarely to be found in kings, to be present in his cultured son, and to a degree that is seldom to be seen in mankind, King Dasaratha and his counsellors resolved to have Rama installed as heir-apparent.

43) The emperor was somewhat elderly in body and mind, and he observed terrifying portents in the heavens and upon the earth.

44) He reminded himself, however, of the people's love for Rama— whose countenance was as radiant as the full moon, and his fears were completely dispelled.

45) For his own benefit, as well as for that of his subjects, and also to gain the affection of the public, the righteous king, who was motivated by devotional love for his son, urged the speedy coronation of Lord Rama.

46) To that end, the intelligent emperor had the prominent residents of various cities and villages brought to the capital to observe the festivities.

47) Upon arriving in Ayodhya, they were provided with fitting accommodation and with jewels and ornaments. They were given an honourable reception, and the king came personally, fully decorated, and met them, just as Brahma meets his offspring.

48) The arrangements were so quickly made that the emperor had neither the king of the Kekayas nor King Janaka brought to his capital, thinking they would hear the delightful news in due course.

49) Thereafter, as King Dasaratha, the subduer of foes, took his seat in the assembly of guests. The other sovereigns, who were esteemed by their subjects, entered and took their respective seats as well.

50) He was thus surrounded by kings who were self-controlled and endowed with the marks of nobility, by men who had come from town and village, and who sat closely about him, and he appeared like Indra in the midst of the demigods.

THUS ENDS THE FIRST CANTO OF THE AYODHYA KANDA
OF VALMEEKI MUNI'S RAMAYANA


Rama Visits his Mother before Exile
Punjab, Bahu, c. 1680


CANTO 2

Rama's Inauguration Debated

1-4) Thereafter, King Dasaratha addressed the assembly with words both amiable and delightful, his voice resounding like the deep note of a kettledrum. The emperor, who was marked with the characteristics of kings, addressed the princes and potentates in a great voice that resembled the thundering of a cloud and was saturated with spiritual sentiment, saying, "It is well known that my glorious realm was protected by my predecessors as if it were their son.

5) It is my desire that this kingdom, which is under the dominion of the descendants of Ikshvaku, be bestown with the highest good and the resultant happiness of the entire world.

6) Following the path of virtuous conduct established by my forebears, I have protected my subjects tirelessly and with whatever energy I was able.

7) In striving for the good of the world I have worn this body out in the shade of a white umbrella.

8) I have lived a life of many thousands of years, and I long to give rest to this aged body.

9) I have borne the burden of exercising regal power with controlled senses, and I am exhausted by the heavy yoke of righteous government.

10) If the assembled brahmanas, who are like unto bulls, will consent, then I wish to retire, having first made my son responsible for the care of my subjects.

11) "My eldest son, the valorous Rama, has inherited all my virtues; He is the equal of Indra in might and the subduer of the cities of His foes.

12) In the morning, when the moon traverses Pushya, I shall appoint my son, Rama, who is the supreme support of religion, as successor to the throne.

13) He is a fit protector for us, who is the master of the Goddess of Fortune, and the elder brother of Lakshmana. The three worlds would be better governed with Him as their master.

14) In endowing the earth with this great good— the bestowal of kingship upon my son— I shall become free of anxiety.

15) If my well-considered proposal is fitting, then consent to it, sirs, else tell me what I should do instead.

16) This would give me great joy, yet if there be some alternative to my proposition, then let it be considered, for an unbiased opinion arises from the conflict of opposing views."

17) So saying, the emperor was applauded by the delighted kings, and they voiced their happiness like peacocks crying out to a great rain cloud.

18) There arose an affectionate uproar as the multitude clamoured joyfully. They all simultaneously proclaimed their delight, and the resultant tumult seemed to shake the earth.

19-20) Fully comprehending the mood of the elderly king, and knowing him to be fully conversant with matters both sacred and secular, the brahmanas, military chiefs and the various citizens and foreigners who were gathered there came to a unanimous conclusion within their minds, and they counselled King Dasaratha as follows:

21) "You have prospered for many thousands of years, O Emperor, now you should anoint Lord Rama heir apparent!

22) We desire to behold the mighty-armed Raghava mounted upon a great elephant under the shade of a white umbrella."

23-24) Hearing their declaration, the sovereign then questioned them to ascertain that which was dear to their hearts— as if he were unaware of it— saying, "O kings, I have heard you desire my Raghava to be your master, but I have an apprehension I should like you to dispel.

25) How is it that, despite my governing the world according to religious principles, you wish to see the mighty Ramachandra coronated in my stead?"

26) The citizens and foreigners replied to the great soul, saying, "Your son, O king, possesses many delightful characteristics.

27) Hearken, as we declare the endearing and transporting qualities possessed by the godly Rama, O lord!

28) Sri Rama is of unfailing prowess, He is the equal of Indra in point of divine characteristics, and He undoubtedly surpasses all the descendants of Ikshvaku.

29) Rama is the transcendental Personality of Godhead, He is the one truthful person in the world and is devoted to truth. Religion and opulence directly proceed from Rama.

30) He is as delightful to the people as the moon, He is as forbearing as the earth, He is as wise as Brihaspati, and as courageous as Indra.

31) He knows the tenets of religion, He associates with the faithful [at all times], He is virtuous and non-envious. He is powerful, He comforts the distressed, He is gentle, He remembers any service rendered Him, and He has subdued senses.

32) Lord Raghava is gentle, He is never capricious, He is beautiful, He is free of spite, His speech is delightful, and He is the most truthful of all beings.

33) He honours the learned scholars of the Veda, the elderly and the brahmanas, and consequently His earthly fame, glory, and power ever increase.

34) "Lord Rama is skilled in the employment of the weapons of demigods, demons and men. He has concluded His study of the various branches of spiritual knowledge under the vow of brahmacharya, and He is fully conversant with the supplementary Vedic literature’s.

35) Lord Rama, the elder brother of Lakshmana, has become the greatest exponent of the musical arts in the world. He is the auspicious crest-jewel of His family, He is amiable, He is noble and He has a mighty intellect.

36-37) He has been trained by the best and most expert brahmanas in the matter of religion and political economics. Whenever He marches with a military force in the company of Lord Lakshmana for the protection of some village or city, He is always victorious, and returns home by chariot or elephant.

38 41) He always enquires after the well-being of the citizens as if they were His kinsmen, or as if He were their father and they His sons. He asks after their children, their wives, their servants and disciples, all in due order and with full attention. He always asks, 'Are your disciples eager to hear their lessons?' and 'Is there someone dressed in armour for your protection?' “He is always compassionate to suffering mankind, and He ever takes a fatherly delight in their joys. He speaks nothing but the truth, He is a great archer, He is submissive to the aged, and He has His senses in rein.

42) "He always smiles before He speaks, and He has resorted to righteousness with His whole being. He ever does that which is beneficial to all, and He eschews rancorous talk.

43) He is expert in the matter of argument and counter-argument, and vies with Brihaspati as an orator. His brow is enchanting, His eyes are large and reddish, and verily, He is Vishnu Himself.

44) Lord Rama delights the world with His heroism, chivalry and power. Although He engages in the protection of the citizens, His senses are never seduced by passion.

45) He is capable of governing the entire universe, what to speak of this earth. Neither His wrath nor the bestowal of His grace are purposeless.

46) He slays those the scriptures ordain to die, but He is never angered by those who do not deserve death. With great happiness Lord Rama bestows riches upon whoever He pleases.

47) "Lord Rama shines with the brilliance of the sun's rays by dint of His patience, His dearness to your subjects, the love He engenders in men, and His dazzling spiritual attributes.

48) Ramachandra is endowed with all possible virtues, and His valour is unfailing. He is the equal of the presiding deities of the planets, and the earth desires to have Him as her master.

49) By good fortune, your child, Lord Raghava, is able to bestow the ultimate beatitude upon His servants and, by the grace of God, He is endowed, like Mareecha and Kasyapa, with all the virtues of a good son.

50-51) "Every citizen of the state and capital, as well as foreigners dwelling in their respective habitations, offer fervent prayers to demigods, demons, men and serpents in the hope of obtaining strength, salubrity, and longevity for their beloved Rama.

52) Morning and evening, every woman who has fixed her mind upon Lord Rama, be she aged or youthful, worships the Devas on His behalf. O king, may their prayers be answered by your grace!

53) We wish to see your son, Ramachandra, the issue of an emperor, who is complexioned like a dark blue-green lotus, and who vanquishes all His foes, installed as heir apparent.

54) For the weal of the world, and for us all, you should anoint Him, who is the noble and worshippable Lord of lords, with expedition, O bestower of boons!"

THUS ENDS THE SECOND CANTO OF THE AYODHYA KANDA
OF VALMEEKI MUNI'S RAMAYANA


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