Wednesday, 10 July 2013

61. Devoted citizens requests Rama to return.

       Those citizens who were very highly devoted to their godlike prince Rama of unfailing bravery, despite being utterly exhausted ran behind the chariot with Rama, who was on his way to the forest for exile.  Rama who was the greatest celebrity of Ayaodhya and who was richly endowed with every virtue, resembling the full moon, had naturally become the darling of not only the people of  Ayodhya but also of the entire kingdom.  Fondly gazing on the people as though drinking with his eyes, Rama affectionately told them "The respect, love and affection you have shown me may, for my satisfaction be bestowed in equal measure on my very dear brother Bharata, too.  He will certainly do whatever are most beneficial to you.  Bharata who is very matured in knowledge despite young in age, who is gentle and endowed with virility and virtue, will become your worthy master who can dispel all your fears and protect you from every evil.   Bharata who is endowed with all the royal virtues is being earmarked as the prince.  Further, king's command is to be carried out by me as well as all of you.  If you desire to please me, see that the king does not suffer agony when I am gone to the forest in exile."
         The more Rama showed himself to be faithful to his duty, the more the people wished to have him as their master.  Rama accompanied by the son of Sumitra, drew the people like a strong magnet.  The people following them were weeping piteously, and ran after them as if tied and pulled with cords.  Those brahmanas (who were a part of the followers), who were triply revered for their learning, their age and their spirituality, cried out with their heads shaking "Oh Noble Steeds, of speedy breed! You who are carrying Rama, do stop, turn and come back!  Do not proceed any further!  Be friendly to your master (since by taking Rama against our wishes, you will be doing a disservice to him).  Indeed all things, which are endowed with ears, more so horses, stand appraised of our entreaty.  Therefore, you return.  That hero of the purest soul, of virtuous and auspicious firm resolve, that master, deserves to be brought back to the city and not to be taken to the forest."
         Hearing those brahmanas uttering those painful words, Rama got down from the chariot and started walking to the forest with Seetha and Lakshmana.  Rama with Seetha and Lakshmana, taking close strides, proceeded on foot towards the forest.  Rama who was affectionate in his disposition and had compassion in his eyes, could not abandon those brahmanas walking on foot, far behind the chariot. Perceiving Rama still going towards the forest, those brahmanas perplexed in mind and greatly distressed, cried  "The whole of this brahmana community is following you, devoted (as you are) to the brahmanas.  See, they are bearing the sacred fires on their shoulders.  Look at these canopies (obtained by us while observing Vajpeya sacrifice*) accompanying our backs like clouds at the end of the rainy season.
*-It is laid down in the Vedas that he who performs a Vajpeya sacrifice must be supplied with a white canopy.

         "With these canopies of ours, we shall give shade to you, who has got no canopy and is being scorched with rays (of the sun.  Oh, Dear child! The intellect of ours, who was forever engaged in perusing the study of Vedic texts has now been made to follow the course of exile to the forest. We will carry the Vedas in our hearts as our excellent treasure and our wives too will remain at home, protected by their character.  We shall not revoke our decision.  Our mind is fully determined to go along with you to the forest.  If you do not pay attention to piety, what being will remain devoted to the path of virtue?  Oh, prince of resolute conduct! We entreat you by our heads having gray hairs like the white color of the swans, that are soiled with dust as a result of their falling on the ground (in the course of our prostration to you) (pray) turn back.  Sacrifices have been commenced by many of those Brahmanas who have come here.  Their completion, depends on your return.  Beings both animate and inanimate, are indeed devoted to you. Show affection to those devotees, who entreat you to return. The trees held by their roots, unable to accompany you, seen to be weeping, hump-backed by the force of wind. Birds too, which sit motionless and are unable to go out in search of food and which remain fixed at one spot on trees, are supplicating you to return, compassionate as you are to all created beings."
      Those brahmanas crying thus with a view to persuade Rama to return, noticed that they had reached the river Tamasa which retarded the progress of Rama.  Thereafter, Sumantra, at the nod of Rama released the horses, tired as they were, from the chariot and quickly making them roll, allowed them to graze not very far from the bank of Tamasa once they had drunk water and had their body washed in the river.

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