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Valmiki Ramayana - Bala Kanda in Prose Sarga 41

 

Amshuman's search for horse reveals that Kapila rendered his paternal-uncles to ashes. When he wanted to offer water oblation as obsequies to their souls he did not find water. Then Garuda, the Eagle-vehicle of Vishnu and maternal uncle of Amshuman advises him to get River Ganga onto earth whereby the souls are cleansed and they go to heaven. Amshuman reports the same to King Sagara, but Sagara not finding any way to get River Ganga onto earth departs to heaven at the end of his time.

 

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"On observing that his sons have gone long time back in search of ritual-horse, oh, Rama, king Sagara spoke this to his grandson, Amshuman, who is radiant with his own self-resplendence." Thus Vishvamitra continued his narration about Sagara. 

" 'You are brave one and completed your education in warfare, such as you are, you are a coequal to your paternal-uncles in magnificence, thus you search the course of your paternal uncles, also him by whom the horse is stolen.' Thus King Sagara started speaking to his grandson Amshuman. 

" 'The living beings in netherworlds of earth are intrepid and they are extraordinary also, hence you take your bow along with your sword to retaliate them in the event of their attacking you. On saluting them that are worthy for salutations, and on eliminating them that are the causer of obstructions, you shall achieve your purpose of tracking the ritual-horse, and thus you comeback safely and let my Vedic-ritual be crossed over to the other shore of mortality by you.' Thus king Sagara told his grandson Amshuman. 

"When the great-souled king Sagara has thoroughly said in this way, that adroitly agile Amshuman proceeded wielding a bow and a sword. Motivated by the King Sagara, oh, Rama, the best one among men, Amshuman progressed on the walkway that was hollowed out by his great-souled paternal-uncles inside the earth. And he that resplendent Amshuman beheld one of the four directional elephant of the earth which is being venerated by gods, monsters, demons, imps, vultures and serpents. Circumambulating that elephant in supplication, and even on enquiring after its well-being, he that Amshuman has enquired in detail with it for his paternal-uncles and even about the robber of the ritual-horse. 

"Hearing that enquiry of Amshuman that directional elephant with great perception replied on its part saying, 'oh Amshuman, son of Asamanja, on achieving your mission you will return expeditiously along with the horse. And on hearing that word of that directional elephant he departed from there, and on sequentially reaching other directional elephants that are abiding in other directions of earth, he commenced to ask the same enquiry which he made with the first, according to the positioning of elephants in directions, and according to the established procedures of their venerability. 

"All the elephants that safeguard the directions of earth which have the faculties of articulation and eloquence have adored Amshuman and motivated him by saying, 'you will be going from here taking the horse.' Hearing that common blessing of all the directional-elephants, he that nimble-footed Amshuman has gone to the place where his paternal-uncles, sons of Sagara, were rendered as mounds of ashes. 

"But he on whom the control of anguish has chanced for not physically seeing his paternal-uncles, that son of Asamanja then wept, as he is highly agonised and extremely anguished at their destruction. That tigerly-man Amshuman who is overwhelmed by agony and anguish, also beheld there the horse of Vedic-ritual that is grazing nearby. When he that great resplendent Amshuman wanted to offer obsequial waters to the departed sons of Sagara and searched for water he has not found any fount of water. Spanning his expert glances, oh, Rama, he then saw the rapid-winged king of birds, namely Garuda, the Eagle-vehicle of Vishnu, who is the maternal uncle of his father and other paternal-uncles, and whose flight will be similar to that of the Wind-god. 

"That great-mighty son of Lady Vinata, namely Garuda, also spoke this word to Amshuman, 'do not bemoan, oh, tigerly-man, this eradication of your paternal-uncles is worthwhile to the worlds. In fact, Kapila, the Imponderable Sage, has burnt down those great-mighty paternal-uncles of yours, oh, observant Amshuman, as such it will not be apt of you to offer the mundane obsequial water-oblations to them, indeed. 

" 'Oh, best one among men, River Ganga is the elder daughter of Himavanta, and oh, dextrous one, you have to offer water-oblation to the departed paternal-uncles of yours in her waters, namely the holy waters of River Ganga. World purifier River Ganga will drift them who are rendered as mounds of ashes to heaven, and when she who is much adored by all worlds drenches this ash, that River Ganga herself will lead the sixty-thousand sons of Sagara to heaven. Oh, great fortunate one, oh, best one among men, you may proceed from here with the horse, oh, brave one, it will be apt of you to carry out the Vedic-ritual of your grandfather.' Thus Garuda said to Amshuman. 

"Hearing the words of that great-winged eagle, Garuda, he that highly brave and well-renowned Amshuman swiftly took the horse, and returned to the ritual place of his grandfather, king Sagara. Then on reaching the King Sagara, who is under the vow of the ritual, oh, Rama, Amshuman described what all has happened and even the words of Garuda. 

"On hearing those unendurable words from Amshuman, the king Sagara firstly completed the Vedic-ritual scripturally and procedurally. On completing the Vedic-ritual King Sagara arrived at his capital, but that king could not arrive at a decision about the arrival of Ganga to the earth. 

"That great king Sagara could not get at any resolve in getting Ganga to earth even after a long time, and on ruling kingdom for thirty-thousand years he went to heaven." Thus Vishvamitra continued his narration about the ancestors of Rama.

 

 

Thus, this is the 41st chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India. 

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July, 2002, Desiraju Kumari [Revised : September 04]