Dream of a Nightmare - Sundara Kãnda

Continued from Steadfast in Love - Sundara Kãnda

If Mahabharata's Bhagvad-Gita is taken as a philosophical guide, Ramayana's Sundara Kãnda is sought for spiritual solace. What is more, many believe that reading Sundara Kãnda or hearing it recited would remove all hurdles and usher in good tidings!


Canto 27 - Dream of a Nightmare

Seetha’s intent to end life
Made some scurry to Ravan.

Stayed some back to turn their ire
On Rama’s spouse in despair then.

That thou would be put to death
No need for thee to end life.

Rose then Trijata one learned
Appraised thus the risks involved.
She’s Janaka’s daughter fair
Married young to Dasarath’s son
Reveres whom world as Lord Rama.
Slept off as I dream I had
Trouble that portends to us all.
Trijata’s prophesy of doomsday
Shell-shocked those on Seetha’s guard.
Detail now thou dream thy had
Makes thee speak thus so frightened.
Averred well Trijata that she saw
Heavenly palanquin in her dream.
Reclined therein Ram in white
Stood by Lakshman in blood red.
Found I Seetha in my dream
Sit on sky-high white mountain.
Mounted then Ram ’n Lakshman
Huge white elephant with four tusks.
Oh that elephant that unique
Made they to that mountain peak.
Taken as if cue from Ram
Lowered its back that white giant.
For her to climb up to him
Gave Ram his hand to Seetha.
Having sat thus in Ram’s lap
Rose as Seetha so to probe
Saw I touch her sun ’n moon.
Took they chariot swift all then 
Drawn by bulls all eight snow white.
Drove it Lakshman to us straight
Ram and Seetha came our midst.
In our land as they landed 
Reached out Pushpak in welcome.
Having took them on its board
Flew off Pushpak then northwards.
It’s as if gods beckon Rama
Makes that risky for Ravan.
Saw I Ravan in my dream
Drunkard like lay on the floor.
In his flight to save his skin
Seems he slipped from thus Pushpak.
Saw I Ravan’s tonsured head
Peeping from that donkey cart.
Looked he like one out of mind
Madman like he played then pranks.
In all fear then fell Ravan
On all fours in front of Ram.
Tore he all his garments then
Lost he coherence as he raved.
Went he then to hole so foul
Filled with filth and night soil.
Pushed as was he by some lass
Fouled he was from head to foot. 
All the way to that quagmire
Dragged was Kumbhakarna too
As though to share Ravan’s fate.
Saw I naked Ravan’s sons
Riding southward on wild beasts.
In that pell-mell in Lanka
Found I Vibhishan stand his ground
Waving that white flag at Ram.
All in white with his aura
Wore Vibhishan then Lankan crown.
Held as Vibhishan Court Royal
Played then music Band Royal.
Climbed he up a white elephant
With his men wise four in tow.
Heard I demon folk of Lanka
Playing drums to funeral tunes.
To the brim of its gables
Saw I Lanka sink in seas.
With his burning tail I saw 
Came down Rama’s aid on us,
Torched as he thus one by one
Went up in flames homes of all.
Lanka as was thus burning
Wailing I saw women in streets.
Saw I men folk of Lanka
Apply cow dung on their wives.
So to escape Rama’s wrath
Better we into woods retreat.
No man ever spares tormentors
Of the woman he comes to love.
Stop thy tirade at Seetha
Seek her pardon for thy life.
Portend but well such dreams all
For those hapless women forlorn.
Count thou on her good nature
Though all thee had abused her.
Nothing but her forgiveness
Can save us from Rama’s ire.
Take this all as just bad patch
In her glorious reign on earth.
In the regal mien of queen
Seen I Seetha with Rama
Flying back to her native. 
Portends trouble to our Ravan
At the hands of Seetha’s man.
See that eyelid left her twitch
Fetches it news her all good.
Shoulder as her left spasms
It’s but signal troubles exit.
See I quivering her left thigh 
Know it portends no different.
Heard I some bird tell Seetha
Expect she could her man soon.
Having heard what Trijata said
In her goodness Rama’s wife
Promised them all safe passage
As and when Ram comes chasing.

Canto 28 -  On the Verge

Stunned as guards all kept silent
Had then Seetha yet second thought.
Recalled as she Ravan’s threat
Thought she fit to end her life.
Wonder didn’t I drop dead now
Ravan though scared me to death!
If it were not made of stone
Why wouldn’t sorrow break my heart?
Better on my own end my life 
Fiends all here sure skin me live.
Fails to turn up if my Lord 
Bound to cruel Ravan then
Like a surgeon at his work
Turn his scalpel on my frame.
Since the outer limit he gave
Me to lean my mind on him
Would be at hand in two months
Feel I like one on death row
To be led for her hanging
One fine morning to gallows.
How can ever I tell my folk
Fate mine is like boat that caught
In the storm of high seas now.
It’s by craving golden deer
Brought I ruin on all of us.
Looks like ill-fate was at work
To make me lose my common sense.
Thou all-knowing O my Lord 
How thou fail to come to know
Me that Ravan vowed to kill?
My heart though is set on thee
It’s as though thou forsook me.
O my Lord, how come thou
Thought it fit to ignore me!
When thou regain crown thine soon
Won’t thou regale with new queens?
But thy Seetha likes to end
Life hers as thy faithful one.
Loyal here all to Ravan
Who would poison me procure? 
Wavered as her hapless mind
So she wandered for low branch. 
In her bid to hang herself
Coiled she her hair that long.
Thought she dearly of her man
And her beloved brother-in-law. 
As she was to take the plunge
Paused she finding omens some good.

Canto 29 - Good Tidings

Courtiers as would flock to kings
Omens good came in thick and fast.
Twitched her left eye unceasing
Turned as bright her dark eyes then.
Shoulder splendid of hers left
Wont to shoulder Rama’s head
Seized by spasm to usher good.
As if her man was on hand
Shivered the left one in welcome
Wondrous thigh of hers so round 
As if Rama sought them both
Slid down pallu from her breasts.
Having read the signals right
Seed she seemed at onset sown
Of that monsoon which was full. 
In the phase of post eclipse
Moon like looked then Rama’s wife.
Felt at all ease Seetha then
Hoping better days would come soon.

Canto 30 - Hanuman’s Dilemma

Picture perfect of Seetha
From his hiding got Hanuman.
Divined having Seetha thus
Gloated Hanuman his fortune.
Hoping to see Rama’s wife 
Roam as my peers world over
Blessed am I that gods all willed
It’s me but who finds her now.
Having come to Ravan’s land
Won’t my spying aid Rama?
Privy if to ins and outs
Of the fortress of Lanka
Won’t that come all so handy
For Lord Ram to win this war?
Isn’t lament pulling her
How to infuse hope in her!
Worry she had none of yore
Neck deep now she in sorrow
Won’t I owe it to my Lord
Console should I his beloved.
Were I to fail to infuse hope
In the hapless Rama’s spouse
Of what avail this trip mine?
Fail if I to inform her
Rama’s intent to reach her 
In her state of helplessness
Won’t I leave her high and dry?
Truly it’s my chance of life
Make I could Ram feel at ease
With the news of her welfare.
How to make it to Seetha
Encircled by Ravan’s guards?
Fail if I to sound her now
In her hapless state of mind
Might end her life as it dawns.
Fail if I to speak to her
What am I to tell her man?
Were I to go back to Rama 
Without a word from his beloved
Won’t that make him frustrated?
Fail if I were to lift her
Before we close in on Ravan
Won’t she bring her life to close? 
Why rush back to Kishkindha
Why not find I ways ’n means
To appraise her of Rama’s plans.
Speak I might as well to her
To make her know there all to know.
Were I to converse in Sanskrit
Might she take me for Ravan
In the guise of Rama’s friend.
Let me talk in native slang
That she takes me for vanar.
In her state of shock Seetha
See might in me weird creature.
Fearing Ravan came in disguise
What if Seetha starts shouting?
With the knives all drawn out now
Won’t guards all those gherao me?
Might they as well try to kill
Me to serve as mid-day meal.
Well, would they find me sitting duck
Won’t I jump from branch to branch.
As I go on gaining size
Won’t they shiver all down their spines?
Forces to fetch to rein me
Won’t they all to Ravan run?
Won’t then Ravan send his force
Chance that gives me to take them.
But in that sea of his army
How to find an escape route?
If I were to get captured 
Fail I would to contact her,
So she fails to get the wind
Of the state of Rama’s mind?
Seetha as would stay perturbed
Won’t that make my trip wasted? 
Keeps that Rama in darkness
Place where Ravan confined her. 
Were I to get killed or captured
Leaves that Rama in square one. 
Can one Rama find to cross
Sea this vast to reach Seetha?
Take I can all Ravan’s men
But that drags on for so long
Thus I can’t go back in time.
How can one ever zero on
One who wins the war on hand
Gauge I till width of the gulf
Wise it not to go for jump.
If I were to turn my tail
How would Seetha get my trial,
Were I to try to talk to her
Won’t I have a war on hand?
Won’t the success of errands
Come to depend on the one
Vested who is with the same?
Won’t the best of well-laid plans
Go awry in hands of those
That lack tact to tackle them?
Better I fail not Rama’s cause
With some thoughtless act of mine.
How to make her take it cool
That me her man sent for her!
In the hearing of her now
Mutter if I would Rama’s tale
Might it as well dawn on her 
It was her Lord that sent me.
Won’t my words in praise of Ram
Bring back memories of their time?
So to sing then Rama’s tale
In the hearing of his spouse
Perched then Hanuman on low branch.

Continued to Rama's Ballad    


More by :  BS Murthy

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