(400 BC / India)

Ravan Seeks Advice - Poem by Valmiki

Monarch of the mighty Rakshas, Ravan spake to warriors all,
Spake to gallant chiefs and princes gathered in his Council Hall:

'Listen, Princes, Chiefs, and Warriors! Hanuman our land hath seen,
Stealing through the woods of Lanka unto Rama's prisoned queen,

And audacious in his purpose and resistless in his ire,
Burnt our turret tower and temple, wasted Lanka's town with fire!

Speak your counsel, gallant leaders, Ravan is intent to hear,
Triumph waits on fearless wisdom, speak your thoughts without a fear,

Wisest monarchs act on counsel from his men for wisdom known,
Next are they who in their wisdom and their daring act alone,

Last, unwisest are the monarchs who nor death nor danger weigh,
Think not, ask not friendly counsel, by their passions borne away!

Wisest counsel comes from courtiers who in holy lore unite,
Next, when varying plans and reasons blending lead unto the right,

Last end worst, when stormy passions mark the hapless king's debate,
And his friends are disunited when his foe is at the gate!

Therefore freely speak your counsel and your monarch's task shall be
But to shape in deed and action what your wisest thoughts decree,

Speak with rainds and hearts united, shape your willing monarch's deed,
Counsel peace, or Ravan's forces to a war of vengeance lead,

Ere Sugriva's countless forces cross the vast and boundless main,
Ere the wrathful Rama girdles Lanka with a living chain!'

Poet's Notes about The Poem

By Romesh C. Dutt (1899)
(The Council of War)

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, July 8, 2012

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