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but the ashes of his brothers cannot be purified by earthly water; the god. dess Ganga must first be brought to earth, and having undergone lustration from that holy flood, the race of Sagara are to ascend to heaven. Brahma at last gives his permission to Ganga to descend. King Bhagiratha takes his stand on the top of Gokarna, the sacred peak of Himavan (the Himalaya), and here
Stands with arms outstretch'd on high, amid five blazing fires, the one
Down on Sankara's holy head, down the holy fell, and there,
By the penances of the king, Siva is propitiated, and the stream, by seven channels, finds its way to the plains of India.
Up the Raja at the sign upon his glittering chariot leaps, Instant Ganga the divine follows his majestic steps. From the high heaven burst she forth first on Siva's lofty crown, Headlong then, and prone to earth thundering rushed the cataract down, Swarms of bright-hued fish came dashing; turtles, dolphins in their mirth, Fallen or falling, glancing, flashing, to the many-gleaming earth. And all the host of heaven came down, spirits and genii, in amaze, And each forsook his heavenly throne, upon that glorious scene to gaze. On cars, like high-towered cities, seen, with elephants and coursers rode, Or on soft swinging palanquin, lay wondering each observant god. As met in bright divan each god, and flashed their jewell’d vestures' rays, The coruscating æther glow'd, as with a hundred suns ablaze. And with the fish and dolphins gleaming, and scaly crocodiles and snakes, Glanc'd the air, as when fast streaming the blue lightning shoots and breaks : And in ten thousand sparkles bright went flashing up the cloudy spray, The snowy flocking swans less white, within its glittering mists at play. And headlong now poured down the flood, and now in silver circlets wound, Then lake-like spread all bright and broad, then gently, gently flowed around, Then 'neath the caverned earth descending, then spouted up the boiling tide, Then stream with stream harmonious blending, swell bubbling up and smooth
subside. By that heaven-welling water's breast, the genii and the sages stood, Its sanctifying dews they blest, and plung'd within the lustral flood.
Whoe'er beneath the curse of heaven from that immaculate world had Red,
The DEATH OF YAJNADATTA.
The Raja Dasaratha was compelled to banish his favorite son Rama, immediately after his marriage to Sita, because his banishment was demanded by the Raja's wife Kaikeyi, to whom he had once promised to grant any request she might make. His grief at the loss of his son is described in this selection.
Scarce Rama to the wilderness had with his younger brother gone,
“Kausalya, if thou wakest, incline to thy lord's speech thy ready ear.
dark. At length, the evil that I did, hath fallen upon my fated head, As when on subtle poison hid an unsuspecting child hath fed; Even as that child unwittingly hath made the poisonous fare his food, Even so, in ignorance by me was wrought that deed of guilt and blood. Unwed wert thou in virgin bloom, and I in youth's delicious prime, The season of the rains had come, – that soft and love enkindling time. Earth's moisture all absorbed, the sun through all the world its warmth had
Turned from the north, its course begun, where haunt the spirits of the dead :
" In such a time, so soft, so bland, oh beautiful! I chanced to go,
bow. Swift I rushed up, I saw him there, heart-pierced, and fallen the stream
beside, The hermit boy with knotted hair,– his clothing was the black deer's hide. On me most piteous turned his look, his wounded breast could scarce
respire, And these the words, O queen, he spoke, as to consume me in his ire : "What wrong, O Kshatriya, have I done, to be thy deathful arrow's aim, The forest's solitary son, to draw the limpid stream I came. Both wretched and both blind they lie, in the wildwood all destitute, My parents, listening anxiously to hear my home-returning foot.
By this, thy fatal shaft, this one, three miserable victims fall,
O Yajnadatta, why so slow? — haste, let the cooling draught be shed.
seemed to choke, With hands above my head, my fears breaking my quivering voice, I spoke : • The Kshatriya Dasaratha I, O hermit sage, 't is not thy son ! Most holy ones, unknowingly a deed of awful guilt I've done. With bow in hand I took my way along Sarayu's pleasant brink, The savage buffalo to slay, or elephant come down to drink. “A sound came murmuring to my ear, – 't was of the urn that slowly
filled, I deemed some savage wild-beast near, -- my erring shaft thy son had killed. A feeble groan I heard, his breast was pierced by that dire arrow keen : All trembling to the spot I pressed, lo there thy hermit boy was seen. Flew to the sound my arrow, meant the wandering elephant to slay, Toward the river brink it went, — and there thy son expiring lay. The fatal shaft when forth I drew, to heaven his parting spirit soared, Dying he only thought of you, long, long, your lonely lot deplored.
Thus ignorantly did I slay your child beloved, O hermit sage!
" Was not thy mother once, my son, than life itself more dear to thee?
“ The miserable father now with gentle touch each cold limb pressed,