With practised eye the king reviewed
The Vánars' countless multitude,
And, joying that his hest was done,
Thus spake to Raghu's mighty son:
"See, all the Vánar hosts who fear
My sovereign might are gathered here.
Chiefs strong as Indra's self, who speed
Wher'er they list, these armies lead.
Fierce and terrific to the view
As Daityas or the Dánav(659) crew,
Famed in all lands for souls afire
With lofty thoughts, they never tire,
O'er hill and vale they wander free,
And islets of the distant sea.
And these gathered myriads, all
Will serve thee, Ráma, at thy call.
Whate'er thy heart advises, say:
Thy mandates will the host obey."
Then answered Ráma, as he pressed
The Vánar monarch to his breast:
"O search for my lost Sítá, strive
To find her if she still survive:
And in thy wondrous wisdom trace
Fierce Rávan to his dwelling-place.
And when by toil and search we know
Where Sítá lies and where the foe,
With thee, dear friend, will I devise
Fit means to end the enterprise.
Not mine, not Lakshman's is the power
To guide us in the doubtful hour.
Thou, sovereign of the Vánars, thou
Must be our hope and leader now."
He ceased: at King Sugríva's call
Near came a Vánar strong and tall.
Huge as a towering mountain, loud
As some tremendous thunder cloud,
A prince who warlike legions led:
To him his sovereign turned and said:
"Go, take ten thousand(660) of our race
Well trained in lore of time and place,
And search the eastern region; through
Groves, woods, and hills thy way pursue.
There seek for Sítá, trace the spot
Where Rávan hides, and weary not.
Search for the captive in the caves
Of mountains, and by woods and waves.
To Sarjú,(661) Kausikí,(662) repair,
Bhagírath's daughter(663) fresh and fair.
Search mighty Yamun's(664) peak, explore
Swift Yamuná's(665) delightful shore,
Sarasvati(666) and Sindhu's(667) tide,
And rapid Sona's(668) pebbly side.
Then roam afar by Mahí's(669) bed
Where Kálamahí's groves are spread.
Go where the silken tissue shines,
Go to the land of silver mines.(670)
Visit each isle and mountain steep
And city circled by the deep,
And distant villages that high
About the peaks of Mandar lie.
Speed over Yavadwipa's land,(671)
And see Mount Sisir(672) proudly stand
Uplifting to the skies his head
By Gods and Dánavs visited.
Search each ravine and mountain pass,
Each tangled thicket deep in grass.
Search every cave with utmost care
If haply Ráma's queen be there.
Then pass beyond the sounding sea
Where heavenly beings wander free,
And Sona's(673) waters swift and strong
With ruddy billows foam along.
Search where his shelving banks descend,
Search where the hanging woods extend.
Try if the pathless thickets screen
The robber and the captive queen.
Search where the torrent floods that rend
The mountain to the plains descend:
Search dark abysses where they rave,
Search mountain slope and wood and cave
Then on with rapid feet and gain
The inlands of the fearful main
Where, tortured by the tempest's lash,
Against rude rocks the billows dash:
An ocean like a sable cloud,
Whose margent monstrous serpents crowd:
An ocean rising with a roar
To beat upon an iron shore.
On, onward still! your feet shall tread
Shores of the sea whose waves are red,
Where spreading wide your eyes shall see
The guilt-tormenting cotton tree(674)
And the wild spot where Garud(675) dwells
Which gems adorn and ocean shells,
High as Kailása, nobly decked,
Wrought by the heavenly architect.(676)
Huge giants named Mandehas(677) there
In each foul shape they love to wear,
Numbing the soul with terror's chill,
Hang from the summit of the hill.
When darts the sun his earliest beam
They plunge them in the ocean stream,
New vigour from his rays obtain,
And hang upon the rocks again.
Speed onward still: your steps shall be
At length beside the Milky Sea
Whose every ripple as it curls
Gleams glorious with its wealth of pearls.
Amid that sea like pale clouds spread
The white Mount Rishabh(678) rears his head.
About the mountain's glorious waist
Woods redolent of bloom are braced.
A lake where lotuses unfold
Their silver buds with threads of gold,
Sudarsan ever bright and fair
Where white swans sport, lies gleaming there,
The wandering Kinnar's(679) dear resort,
Where heavenly nymphs and Yakshas(680) sport.
On! leave the Milky Sea behind:
Another flood your search shall find,
A waste of waters, wild and drear,
That chills each living heart with fear.
There see the horse's awful head,
Wrath-born, that flames in Ocean's bed.(681)
There rises up a fearful cry
From the sea things that move thereby,
When, helpless, powerless for flight,
They gaze upon the horrid sight.
Past to the northern shore, and then
Beyond the flood three leagues and ten
Your wondering glances will behold
Mount Játarúpa(682) bright with gold.
There like the young moon pale of hue
The monstrous serpent(683) will ye view,
The earth's supporter, whose bright eyes
Resemble lotus leaves in size.
He rests upon the mountain's brow,
And all the Gods before him bow.
Ananta with a thousand heads
His length in robes of azure spreads.
A triple-headed palm of gold--
Meet standard for the lofty-souled--
Springs towering from the mountain's crest
Beneath whose shade he loves to rest,
So that in eastern realms each God
May use it as a measuring-rod.
Beyond, with burning gold aglow,
The eastern steep his peaks will show,
Which in unrivalled glory rise
A hundred leagues to pierce the skies,
And all the neighbouring air is bright
With golden trees that clothe the height.
A lofty peak uprises there
Ten leagues in height and one league square
Saumanas, wrought of glistering gold,
Ne'er to be loosened from its hold.
There his first step Lord Vishnu placed
When through the universe he paced,
And with his second lightly pressed
The loftiest peak of Meru's crest.
When north of Jambudwíp(684) the sun
A portion of his course has run,
And hangs above this mountain height,
Then creatures see the genial light.
Vaikhánases,(685) saints far renowned,
And Bálakhilyas(686) love the ground
Where in their glory half divine,
Touched by the morning glow, they shine
The light that flashes from that steep
Illumines all Sudarsandwíp,(687)
And on each creature, as it glows,
The sight and strength of life bestows.
Search well that mountain's woody side
If Rávan there his captive hide.
The rising sun, the golden hill
The air with growing splendours fill,
Till flashes from the east the red
Of morning with the light they shed.
This, where the sun begins his state,
Is earth and heaven's most eastern gate.
Through all the mountain forest seek
By waterfall and cave and peak.
Search every nook and bosky dell,
If Rávan there with Sítá dwell.
There, Vánars, there your steps must stay:
No farther eastward can ye stray.
Beyond no sun, no moon gives light,
But all is sunk in endless night.
Thus far, O Vánar lords, may you
O'er sea and land your search pursue.
But wild and dark and known to none
Is the drear space beyond the sun.
That mountain whence the sun ascends
Your long and weary journey ends.(688)
Now go, and in a month return,
And let success my praises earn.
He who beyond tho month shall stay
Will with his life the forfeit pay."