Friends In Misfortune - Poem by Valmiki
Long and loud lamented Rama by his lonesome cottage door,
Janasthana's woodlands answered, Panchavati's echoing shore,
Long he searched in wood and jungle, mountain crest and pathless plain,
Till he reached the Malya mountains stretching to the southern main.
There Sugriva king of Vanars, Hanuman his henchman brave,
Banished from their home and empire lived within the forest cave,
To the exiled king Sugriva, Hanuman his purpose told,
As he marked the pensive Rama wand'ring with his brother bold:
'Mark the sons of Dasa-ratha banished from their royal home,
Duteous to their father's mandate in these pathless forests roam,
Great was monarch Dasa-ratha famed for sacrifice divine,
Raja-suya, Aswa-medha, and for gift of gold and kine,
By a monarch's stainless duty people's love the monarch won,
By a woman's false contrivance banished he his eldest son!
True to duty, true to virtue, Rama passed his forest life,
Till a false perfidious Raksha stole his fair and faithful wife,
And the anguish-stricken husband seeks thy friendship and thy aid,
Mutual sorrow blends your fortunes, be ye friends in mutual need! '
Bold Sugriva heard the counsel, and to righteous Rama hied,
And the princes of Ayodhya with his greetings gratified:
'Well I know thee, righteous Rama, soul of piety and love,
And thy duty to thy father and thy faith in God above,
Fortune favours poor Sugriva, Rama courts his humble aid,
In our deepest direst danger he our truest friendship made!
Equal is our fateful fortune,-I have lost a queenly wife,
Banished from, Kishkindha's empire here I lead a forest life,
Pledge of love and true alliance, Rama, take this proffered hand,
Banded by a common sorrow we shall fall or stoutly stand.! '
Rama grasped the hand lie offered, and the tear was in his eye,
And they swore undying friendship o'er the altar blazing high,
Hanuman with fragrant blossoms sanctified the sacred rite,
And the comrades linked by sorrow walked around the altar's light,
And their word and troth they plighted: 'In our happiness and woe
We are friends in thought and action, we will f ace our common foe! '
And they broke a leafy Sal tree, spread it underneath their feet,
Rama and his friend Sugriva sat upon the common seat,
And a branch of scented Chandan with its tender blossoms graced,
Hanuman as seat of honour for the faithful Lakshman placed.
'Listen, Rama,' spake Sugriva, 'reft of kingdom, reft of wife,
Fleeing to these rugged mountains I endure a forest life,
For my tyrant brother Bali rules Kishkindha all alone,
Forced my wife from my embraces, drove me from my father's throne,
Trembling in my fear and anguish I endure a life of woe,
Render me my wife and empire from my brother and my foe! '
'Not in vain they seek my succour,' so the gallant Rama said,
'Who with love and offered friendship seek my counsel and my aid,
Not in vain these glistening arrows in my ample quiver shine,
Bali dies the death of tyrants, wife and empire shall be thine!
Quick as INDRA'S forkéd lightning are these arrows feather-plumed,
Deadly as the hissing serpent are these darts with points illumed,
And this day shall not be ended ere it sees thy brotherfall,
As by lurid lightning severed sinks the crest of mountain tall! '
Poet's Notes about The Poem
CONDENSED INTO ENGLISH VERSE
By Romesh C. Dutt (1899)
EPIC OF RAMA, PRINCE OF INDIA
(In the Nilgiri Mountains)
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