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14 Rise, glitter, break ; yet, Bubble, tell me why? -To show the course of all beneath the sky,
15 Stay, Meteor, stay thy falling fire ! -No, thus shall all the host of heaven expire.
16 Ocean, what law thy chainless waves confined ? —That which in Reason's limits holds thy mind.
17 Time, whither dost thou flee? I travel to Eternity.
Eternity, what art thou,-say?
20 O Life, what is thy breath ? -A vapour lost in death.
21 O Death, how ends thy strife ?
-In everlasting life.
O Grave, where is thy victory?
124. RÂMA AND SÎTÂ.
Dasharatha, king of Ayodhyâ, had by his wife Kausalyâ, a son named Râma; by his wife Kaikeyî, a son named Bharata ; by his wife Sumitrâ, two sons named Lakshamana and Shatrughna.
The four brothers grew up together at Ayodhyâ, but while they were yet striplings, the sage Vishwamitra sought the aid of Râma to protect him from the Râkshasas. The father, though very unwilling, was constrained to consent to the sage's request. Râma and Lakshamana then went to the hermitage of Vishwamitra and there Râma killed the demon Tâdikâ. Vishwâmitra supplied Râma with celestial arms and exercised a considerable influence over his actions. Vishwamitra, afterwards, took Rama and his brothers to Mithila to the court of Janaka. This king had a lovely daughter, named Sîtâ, whom he offered in marriage to any one who could bend the wonderful bow which had once belonged to Shiva. Râma not only bent the bow but broke it, and thus won the hand of the princess, who became a most virtuous and devoted wife.
Preparations were made at Ayodhyâ for the inauguration of Râma, as successor to the throne. Kaikeyi, the second wife of Dasharatha, and mother of Bharata, was her husband's favourite. She was kind to Râma. in childhood and youth, but she had a spiteful female slave, who worked upon the maternal affection of her mistress until she aroused strong feeling of jea
lousy against Râma. Kaikeyî had a quarrel and a long struggle with her husband, but he at length consented to install Bharat, and to send Râma into exile for fourteen years. Râma departed with his wife Sîtâ, and his ever devoted brother Lakshamana, and travelling southwards, he took up his abode at Chitrakůta, in Dandakâ
, forest between the Yamunâ and the Godâvarf. Soon after the departure of Râma, his father Dasharatha died, and Bharata was called upon to ascend the throne. He declined and set out for the forest with an army to bring Râma back. When the brothers met there was a long generous contention. Râma refused to return unntil the term of his father's sentence was completed, and Bharata declined to ascend the throne. At length it was arranged that Bharata should return and act as his brother's vicegerent. As a sign of Râma's supremacy,
Bharata carried back with him a pair of Râma's shoes, and these were always brought out ceremoniously when business had to be transacted. Râma passed ten years of his banishment moving from one hermitage to another, and went at length to the hermitage of the sage Agastya. This holy man recommended Râma to take up his abode at Panchavatî on the river Godâvarî, and the party accordingly proceeded hither. This district was infested with Rakshasas. Here Râvana, king of Lankâ, came, and, in the absence of Râma and Lakshamana, assuming the form of a religious mendicant, . by' force carried off Sîtâ to Lankâ, but after a variety of adventures and incidents, and many fiercely contested battles, Lankâ was taken, Ravana was killed, and Sitâ rescued.*
* From Dowson's Dictionary of Hindu Mythology, religion, &c.
DIALOGUE BETWEEN RÂMA'S MOTHER,
RÂMA, LAKSHAMANA, AND SÎTÂ. Then Râma and Sitâ and Lakshamana turned to Kausalya to take their leave of her; and Kausalyâ said to Râma:-“Sîtâ is unprotected, and Lakshamana is a mere boy: do you take care of them in the wilderness, and above all take care of yourself, and never forget me, who am your unfortunate mother." Here she was choked with grief and could speak no more; and Râma said to her :-.“ Lakshamana is my right hand, and Sitâ is my shadow : so you need have no fears on their account: for myself fear nothing, but engage yourself wholly in consoling my father Dasharatha : By your favour I hope to be successful at last, and to absolve my father from his promise, and return again to the Raj.” Kausalya
Râj then said to Lakshamana :-"I rejoice to see your attachment to Râma ; you should mutually protect each other, and Sîtâ should be the object of your common Consider Râma as your father, and Sîtâ as your mother, and serve them as you have served us." Kausalyâ then embraced Sîtâ and kissed her and said :-" The nature of women who have been constantly honoured by their beloved husbands, is to neglect their lords in time of trouble ; but in the heart of a virtuous woman her husband is esteemed sacred, and regarded as the pure fountain of happiness : Thus though my son Râma is exiled to the jungle, he is not contemptible in your sight, but is regarded as your deity, in poverty the same as in wealth.” Then Sîtâ, with joined hands, replied thus to the mother of her husband :-“ excellent one,
O I will do all you have commanded; for I am acquainted with the duty of a woman towards her lord, and could
no more depart from virtue, than light could depart from the moon : The lute yields no music, if it be divested of its strings; the chariot moves not without wheels; and a woman bereft of her husband has no pleasure though she have a hundred children ; scanty is the joy derived from a father, a brother, or a son ; but who does not honour a husband, as the source of happiness without bounds ; to the wife a husband is even
• Speeches at the time of going into exile— from Wheeler's History of India.