Sugríva viewed the flying crowd,
And thus to Angad cried aloud:
'Why run the trembling hosts, as flee
Storm-scattered barks across the sea?'
'Dost thou not mark,' the chief replied,
Transfixed with shafts, with bloodstreams dyed,
With arrowy toils about them wound,
The sons of Raghu on the ground?'
That moment brought Viohishan* near.
Sugríva knew the cause of fear,
And ordered Jámbavan, who led
The bears, to check the hosts that fled.
The king of bears his hest obeyed:
The Vanars' headlong flight was stayed
A little while Vibhishan eyed
The brothers fallen side by side.
His giant fingers wet with dew
Across the heroes' eyes he drew,
Still on the pair his sad look bent,
And spoke these word in wild lament:
'Ah for the mighty chiefs brought low
By coward hand and stealthy blow!
Brave pair who loved the open fight,
Slain by that rover of the night.
Dishonest is the victory won
By Indrajit my brother's son.
I on their might for aid relied,
And in my cause they fought and died.
Lost is the hope that soothed each pain:
I live, but live no more to reign,
While Lanká's lord, untouched by ill,
Exults in safe defiance still.'
'Not thus,' Sugríva said, 'repine,
For Lanká's isle shall still be thine.
Nor let the tyrant and his son
Exult before the fight be done,
These royal chiefs, though now dismayed,
Freed from the spell by Garud'a aid,
Triumphant yet the foe shall meet
And lay the robber at their feet.'
His hope the Vánar monarch told,
And thus Vibhíshan's grief consoled.
Then to Sushen who at his side
Expectant stood, Sugríva cried:
'When these regain their strength and sense,
Fly, bear them to Kishkindhá hence.
Here with my legions will I stay,
The tyrant and his kinsmen slay,
And rescued from the giant king.
The Maithil lady will I bring,
Like Glory lost of old, restored
By S'akra, heaven's almighty lord.'
Sushen made answer: 'Hear me yet:
When Gods and fiends in battle met,
So fiercely fought the demon crew,
So wild a storm of arrows flew,
That heavenly warriors faint with pain,
Sank smitten by the ceaseless rain.
Vrihaspati, 1 with herb and spell,
Cured the sore wounds of those who fell.
And, skilled in arts that heal and save,
New life and sense and vigour gave.
Far, on the Milky Ocean's shore,
Still grow those herbs in boundless store;
Let swiftest Vánars thither speed
And bring them for our utmost need.
Those herbs that on the mountain spring
Let Panas and Sampáti bring,
For well the wondrous leaves they know.
That heal each wound and life bestow.
Beside that sea which, churned of yore,
The amrit on its surface bore,
Where the white billows lash the land,
Chandra's fair height and Drona stand.
Planted by Gods each glittering steep
Looks down upon the milky deep.
Let fleet Hanúmán bring us thence
Those herbs of wondrous influence.'
Meanwhile the rushing wind grew loud,
Red lightnings flashed from banks of cloud.
The mountains shook, the wild waves rose,
And smitten with resistless blows
Unrooted fell each stately tree
That fringed the margin of the sea.
All life within the waters feared
Then, as the Vánars gazed, appeared
King Garud's self, a wondrous sight,
Disclosed in flames of fiery light.
From his fierce eye in sudden dread
All serpents in a moment fled.
And those transformed to shaft that bound
The princes vanished in the ground.
On Raghu's sons his eyes he bent,
And hailed the lords armipotent.
Then o'er them stooped the feathered king,
And touched their faces with his wing.
His healing touch their pangs allayed,
And closed each rent the shafts had made.
Again their eyes were bright and bold,
Again the smooth skin shone like gold.
Again within their shell enshrined
Came memory and each power of mind:
And, from those numbing bonds released,
Their spirit, zeal, and strength increased.
Firm on their feet they stood, and then
Thus Ráma spake, the lord of men:
'By thy dear grace in sorest need
From deadly bonds we both are freed.
To these glad eyes as welcome now
As Aja 1 or my sire art thou.
Who art thou, mighty being? say,
Thus glorious in thy bright array.'
He ceased: the king of birds replied,
While flashed his eye with joy and pride:
'In me, O Raghu's son, behold
One who has loved thee from of old:
Garud, the lord of all that fly,
Thy guardian and thy friend am I.
Not all the Gods in heaven could loose
These numbing bonds, this serpent noose,
Wherewith fierce Rávan's son, renowned
For magic arts, your limbs had bound.
Those arrows fixed in every limb
Were mighty snakes, transformed by him.
Blood thirsty race, they live beneath
The earth, and slay with venomed teeth.
On, smite the lord of Lanká's isle,
But guard you from the giants' guile
Who each dishonest art employ
And by deceit brave foes destroy.
So shall the tyrant Rávan bleed,
And Sítá from his power be freed.'
Thus Garud spake: then, swift as thought,
The region of the sky he sought,
Where in the distance like a blaze
Of fire he vanished from the gaze.
Then the glad Vánars joy rang out
In many a wild tumultuous shout,
And the loud roar of drum and shell
Startled each distant sentinel.
464:1 The preceptor of the Gods.
465:1 Ráma's grandfather.