The Sandals


Tears nor sighs nor sad entreaty Rama’s changeless purpose shook,

Till once more with hands conjoined Bharat to his elder spoke:


“Rama, true to royal mercy, true to duties of thy race,

Grant this favour to thy mother, to thy brother grant this grace,


Vain were my unaided efforts to protect our father’s throne

Town and hamlet, lord and tiller, turn to thee and thee alone!


Unto Rama, friends and kinsmen, chiefs and warriors, turn in pain,

And each city chief and elder, and each humble village swain,


Base thy empire strong, unshaken, on a loyal nation’s will,

With thy worth and with thy valour serve their faithful people still!”


Rama raised the prostate Bharat to his ever loving breast,

And in voice of tuneful hansa thus his gentle speech adrest:

“Trust me, Bharat, lofty virtue, strength and will to thee belong,

Thou could’st rule a world-wide empire in thy faith and purpose strong,


And our father’s ancient ministers, ever faithful, wise and deep,

They shall help thee with their counsel and thy ancient frontiers keep,


List! The Moon may lose his lustre, Himalaya lose his snow,

Heaving ocean pass his confines surging from the caves below,


But the truth abiding Rama will not move from promise given,

He hath spoke and will not falter, help him righteous Gods in heaven!”


Blazing like the Sun in splendour, beauteous like the Lord of Night,

Rama vowed his Vow of Duty, changeless in his holy might!


“Humble token”, answered Bharat, “still I seek from Rama’s hand,

Token of his love and kindness, token of his high command,


From thy feet cast forth those sandals, they shall decorate the throne,

They shall nerve my heart o duty and shall safely guard thy own,


They shall to a loyal nation absent monarch’s will proclaim,

Watch the frontiers of the empire and the people’s homage claim!


Rama gave the loosened sandals as his humble younger prayed,

Bharat bowed to them in homage and his parting purpose said:


“Not alone will banished Rama barks and mated tresses wear,

Fourteen years the crowned Bharat will in hermit’s dress appear,


Henceforth Bharat dwells in palace guised as the hermit of the wood,

In the sumptuous hall of feasting wild fruit is his only food,

Fourteen years will pass in waiting, weary toil and penance dire,

Then, if Rama comes not living, Bharat dies upon the pyre!”  (II.122.9-26)


Valmiki Ramayana translated by Romesh Dutt


Please read my earlier post: WHY DO HINDUS WORSHIP SHOES?




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