Tales Of Ind, And Other Poems Part 3

If you are looking for Tales Of Ind, And Other Poems Part 3 you are coming to the right place.
Tales Of Ind, And Other Poems is a Webnovel created by T. Ramakrishna Pillai.
This lightnovel is currently completed.

Lo such the story of two human lives!

To them, as happens oft, abundant share Of Nature’s choicest gifts brought many ills.

But n.o.ble lives are thus more n.o.ble made, As shining gold oft-heated shines the more.

Over the ancient land of Vijiapore[2]

There reigned a king for truth and valour known.

The lovely Chandra[3] was his only child, Who like the moon among the stars of heaven Shone fairest ‘mong the daughters of the land.

The father fondly hoped his child would wed A neighbouring prince, the mighty ruler of An ancient kingdom richer than his own; The mother she would be the worthy spouse Of him who was her brother’s only son And trusted minister of Vijiapore.

But one there was, a courtier of the land, A youth, yet full of counsel wise and true, And ever ready to obey his master’s will.

The terror of his foes, a hunter bold, He rode the fleetest horse with ease and grace, The wildest elephant his might could tame, And horned bulls knew well his steady grip.

Him Chandra wished to wed, and in her breast With silent hope her love for him kept warm.

The years sped on, the father fondly dreamt She soon would be the queen of two proud realms, The mother that her future lord would be Both king and minister of state. Meanwhile Fair Chandra and her n.o.ble Timmaraj Longed for the consummation of their love.

A flower there is, the fairest flower in Ind, A flower beloved by poets of all time, Whose beauties lovers ever love to tell, And liken oft to woman’s thousand charms.

This flower, the stately lotus of our Ind, Its petals closes to the moon at eve, And all its beauties hides through silent night, But with the rising of the morning sun Opens and swells, its beauty full displays, And sweetest fragrance breathes when fiercest beat The rays. E’en so fair Chandra, though oft told She womanhood had long ago attained, And soon must wed one worthy of her race, Nought heeded when alternate to her view Were brought the prowess of the neighbouring king, The wisdom of the pilot of the state.

To wean her love from n.o.ble Timmaraj, He forth was sent against his country’s foes, With his small band to fall, and ne’er return.

But oft as he was sent, as often he Returned victorious with fresh laurels gained.

And when the bards before the king and queen Recited in the ancient palace hall The battles bravely won, the glories of The war, fair Chandra’s face with joy, e’en like The lotus, beamed, and as by magic charmed, Disclosed a thousand beauties centred there.

Though silent she, her looks to all made known Her love for Timmaraj, the author brave Of all his country’s good. Yet still she kept A seal upon her lips, until by chance An incident occurred which sealed her fate.

As on the sand near by the water’s edge One thoughtless stands to watch with eager eyes The surf that beats continuous on the sh.o.r.e, And suddenly when least expected flows A wave that reaches far beyond the rest, So stood the king and queen of Vijiapore In parents’ place, tempting their daughter fair To marry whom she loved not, could not love, When Chandra suddenly her mind declared.

Down through the stillness of a narrow vale The lovely Pampa flows, whose course is shaped By hills that lift their summits to the sky.

On either side, her course is like the life Inconstant of the daughters of this land, Who lived in times of old in castles set Amidst rich groves and cool, pellucid streams, And woodlands broad and fair to roam at will; But these by moats and battlements enclosed Were made impa.s.sable that the eyes impure Of man might not upon their beauty gaze, And so defile their virgin purity.

For all that here delighted woman’s eyes Was freely lavished by their royal sires; And countless guards to watch all day were there, And maidens numberless to sport with them And while away their tedious hours of life With tales of youth, who, bolder than the rest, Leapt over moats and scaled steep battlements To have a glimpse of those more dear than life, But who, alas! were doomed to endless woe, And sent to pine away in dungeons dark For tainting with their feet forbidden ground.

But soon their life was changed–the royal bride, Before the happy bridal hour began, Was first by all her kindred freely seen, And straightway taken to the palace hall To choose and then make known her future lord From anxious suitors there, and thenceforth spend With him her days of freedom and of joy.[4]

E’en so, none dared, so fearful is the gorge, To gaze upon the river’s loveliness, Except those inmates of the mountain caves, That in the noontide hour, to quench their thirst, Climb down, regardless of the huntsman’s bow, Or save the vultures of the air, those birds Which, soaring on majestic wings aloft, Alight, as if by instinct drawn, upon Her shady margins, there to feast upon The carca.s.s of some beast that died of age.

But soon the valley widens, and she flows At will, her waters sparkle in the sun, And on her margins for grim hills are seen Green fields, deep shady groves, and peaceful homes.

‘Tis here those mountains, that kept zealous guard O’er Pampa, fade away from view, as if To make amends for past unkindliness, So leaving her to shoot into the plain And watering Vijiapore and countless lands: ‘Twas here the village stood of Chengalpore, The scene of many n.o.ble deeds of man And woman’s high devotion to her lord.

‘Twas here one crowded hour of Timma’s life Was worth his country’s brightest annals, rich In spoils of war and deeds of valiant men.

In that one hour of all his glorious life He won a kingdom and a bride, for whom He left that kingdom never to return; And this the story of that glorious hour.

One day the news to Vijiapore was brought: The elephant whose rich caparisoned back The king, to please his subjects, once a year Rode on, his keeper in a sudden fit Of frenzy killed, and dreadful havoc wrought Amongst the royal steeds in Chengalpore; And now the mandate from the king went forth That Timmaraj should slay his fav’rite beast, For e’en the stoutest warrior of the land Dared not approach him in his frenzied mood.

Then ’twas that Chandra suddenly her mind Declared and boldly spake in words like these: “It is not meet, dear father, that thou shouldst So lightly use our only warrior’s life, Who won so many battles for his king And added nought but glory and renown Unto his country, and bid him thus fling His life away before a beast insane.

Thou knowest well thy foes are ever bent On wresting from thine hands this ancient crown, And he alone it is that often curbs Their pride. Yes, Timmaraj shall slay the beast, But grant my pray’r that he shall marry me, For often hast thou said that womanhood I long ago attained, and soon should wed One, therefore, worthy of our ancient house, And gladly will I wed that warrior bold, That shall, before to-morrow’s sun has set, Unto the portals of thy palace here Bring dead the beast, that now at Chengalpore Is working havoc on thy n.o.ble steeds.”

The king to this his consent gladly gave, a.s.sured that Timma by the angry beast Would be destroyed and never would return; And so the second mandate was proclaimed And sent to Chandra’s other suitors too, _That he shall win the daughter of the king Who slays the beast before the morrow’s close._ The morrow came, and, ere the warrior youth Leapt on his faithful steed, at early morn, A maiden stood before his gate and said, “Brave youth! thy Chandra sent me here to say Thou shouldst not fear to boldly face the beast; Shouldst thou come victor back, she will be thine And thine for ever even after death.

But shouldst thou flee from him to save thy life, Think then thou art unworthy of her love, And she shall not e’en see thy coward face; But, if perchance thou fallest by the beast, Vouchsafe to her through me with thine own hand One javelin of the eight which now thou hast, For she will not outlive her Timmaraj, But straightway bare her breast and plunge the dart And lifeless fall a corpse.” The youth replied, “I gladly send this javelin, but tell her She shall not need its use, for Timmaraj Will surely come victorious with the beast.”

With javelins seven then he sallied forth Upon his steed to win his bride or die.

Meanwhile the news was spread that Timmaraj And that young min’ster, who these many years Was seeking through her mother Chandra’s hand, And Bukka, ruler of the neighbouring state, Whom she her father fondly wished should wed, Had started on their steeds to Chengalpore; Each vowed to be the first to drag the beast Unto the royal city for six miles, And there slay him before the palace gate.

The city poured her sons the sight to see, For in the annals of their country’s past Not e’en the brightest page contained one deed That could this glorious feat of man surpa.s.s; And Timma was the people’s fav’rite, and They dearly wished that he should slay the beast, Win Chandra, and become their future king.

But soon the thought of that mad beast unnerved Both Bukka and the minister of the state.

The royal Bukka thus to himself said: “A richer kingdom than this Vijiapore I own, and why should I now madly stake My life in this hard feat; ’tis easier far To gain this Chandra and her father’s throne.

I will sit hidden in the thickest bush, Near yonder stream, by which the pathway runs– For Timmaraj is sure to pa.s.s that way– And with this arrow I will end his life.

Thereafter Chandra’s love for him will fade And die, and who is there to marry her But I?” So thought this foolish youth, to whom A woman’s love was as inconstant as His own resolve to fight a savage beast, And sat within a bush to watch his prey.

He too, the pilot of the state, deemed it A mad resolve to try the dang’rous feat, And silent sat unnoticed and unknown Upon the other side of that same path, Within a secret bush by that same stream.

The one knew not the other was concealed The fatal blow upon the selfsame prey To deal, but fearless Timma on his horse Approached the beast, which madly rushed on them, To force both horse and rider to the ground With his huge leg, and then to tear them both.

The horse was fleeter than the elephant, Which thus the chase gave up, but still the youth Undaunted neared the beast a second time, And hurled with all his might a jav’lin, which Pierced deep the temple. Thus enraged, the beast Began the chase again, but still the steed Was fleeter than the wearied elephant, And once again he stopped, but Timma hurled A second, which went deeper than the first, And roused him all the more–and nevermore He stopped, but towards Vijiapore the chase Continued; for in due succession flew Six jav’lins, lightning-like, with deadly aim.

Thus, by the angry beast pursued, he neared At last the little stream that must perforce Be crossed to reach the royal city gate.

Then from the pouch that dangled on his back, His only jav’lin, with his utmost might, Discharged, that so enraged the maddened beast, With fury rushing, that his writhing trunk Had all but touched the rider and his horse In one embrace to crush them both; but soon The keen-eyed youth the danger saw, and spurred His horse, which bounded o’er the stream, when lo!

Two arrows crossed each other underneath.

One pierced the min’ster dead; the other pierced The royal Bukka, who unconscious fell.

One moment more, and at the palace gate The wearied rider on his foaming steed Stood, like a warrior coming with his spoils, The beast beside him, which, worn out, fell dead.

And as the tall and ma.s.sive gate of some Old fort with spikes deep driven to withstand The foe, who battered it incessant, falls, And, powerless to stand the shock, at last Falls with a crash that far and wide was heard, So fell the beast, his ma.s.sive corpse all torn And mangled, and with jav’lins planted deep, And when he fell from his huge throat went forth A wail, his last, like roaring thunder, that Resounded through the hills of Vijiapore.

Another moment and brave Timma sat Upon the bridal seat, the veil was drawn, And, through the veil, the sacred knot was tied Round Chandra’s neck, and all was merry there.

And still another moment when–alas!

For that strange fickleness of human life Whose joys and griefs each other follow like The spokes of some fast-going wheel–there came The wounded Bukka with a violent wail That Timma had the king’s adviser slain, Whose body lay upon the riverside, Exposed to all the carrion birds of prey, And him too wounded, but the arrow pierced Not deep, but laid him senseless for awhile; But soon, with consciousness restored, his wound He washed, and straightway hastened on his steed, In time to tell the story, sad but true, And stop the marriage of that coward with The fairest and the n.o.blest of the land.

As when upon a tree, whose boughs with fruits Are laden, birds innumerable sit, Them to enjoy and to be merry there, The cruel hand of man to mar their joys Hurls suddenly a stone, and all the air Around is thick with jarring sounds of birds That in confusion fly–so fell the words Of Bukka on that scene, where all was joy, Where, like a beehive, swarmed the surging crowd, To see the marriage of their princess dear; And straightway in confusion wild they ran Without a purpose, but in various ways.

Unto their homes some ran the news t’acquaint, Some to the wounded Bukka and his horse, But many to the riverside to find Their min’ster lying dead by arrow pierced.

The sorrow-stricken king spake not a word, But like a lifeless figure stood awhile.

A sudden fit of frenzy overtook The king at last, and Timma’s awful doom He thundered forth in accents strong like these: “Be this my decree, forthwith known to all, That Timma henceforth shall be banished from My land for this dishonour brought on me.

He paved his way by murder to my throne, And sullied the fair name of my dear house.”

When these few awful words the monarch spoke, Tears trickled down his eyes, and Timma from The bridal seat received his doom, ‘stead of A blessing from the father of his bride.

A gentle touch, a whisper through the veil, Then Timma to the royal judgment bowed, And slowly moved from out those scenes of joy And merriment, and reached the palace gate, Where stood his horse by that dead elephant; And soon in that confusion that prevailed Was seen to slowly move a figure veiled, T’approach the gate, and forthwith Timma swung That figure on the saddle of his horse, Then himself leapt and vanished straight from view.

The angry monarch saw their sudden flight, And as some aged lion, when sore vexed, Like thunder roaring, musters all his strength And stands defiant to face the foe, so stood The aged warrior, whose old strength returned, His breast expanded, and his body raised Erect, and for the time his age shook off.

Then spake he forth in angry tones like these: “My only child is gone, and he that brings My daughter back shall have my highest meed– Nay, even half my kingdom I will give.”

None dared save Bukka to essay the feat, Who forthwith sprang upon his horse, and soon O’ertook the running pair, for Timma’s horse, Though deemed the fleetest in the land, now felt His double weight, his wonted speed decreased.

Then Timma said, “Our foe is nearing fast, And he is armed, while weapons I have none.

In bridal dress I cannot face the foe, And he will sure kill me and take you back Unto your angry sire. Thou art a girl Born of the martial Kshatriya race, and hence Thou knowest well to ride the wildest horse; So let me now dismount for thee t’escape.”

“‘Tis better far I die with thee,” she said, “But I have here the javelin thou didst give Before thou went’st to kill the elephant, The eighth and last, concealed within my veil.

Take this and stop the coming foe,–but oh!

Kill not the wretch who dared to follow us, And sully this our happy bridal hour By murder; only stay, oh, stay the chase!”

So said, she gave the jav’lin, which he hurled Upon the chasing charger’s breast with all His might, and straightway horse and rider fell; And, like those innocent and helpless doves, The loving pair together fled away, Their life of joy and freedom to renew.

Before the fury of an angered king For full three days and nights they ran, and found At last a safe and happy shelter in A shepherd’s cot, and in those troublous times ‘Twas easier for the brave to kingdoms found, Rear palaces, and rulers strong become, Than for the toiling peasants, from sown fields, To reap their crops and safely bear them home.

Brave Timma was a stranger ‘mongst new men; The many tigers by his arrows killed And neighboring clans and lawless robbers kept In check gave them sure hopes of future peace And future joy, and straightway they made him Their king to guard their women and their homes, While they their avocations of the soil In peace pursued, and soon was raised a fort; A stately palace too was reared within By willing hands, and safe from dang’rous foes, And far away from their dear native vale Of Vijiapore they spent their peaceful days In joy, beloved by all their loyal men.

But ’tis a saying often told in Ind, _He hath a foe who hath a lovely wife._ Her very loveliness is reason deemed To hate her lord, nay, murder him, and hence Her husband’s foe unconscious she becomes.

For Chandra’s beauty all these evils wrought Upon the youth, who for his country fought So many battles, and the Moslem kept In constant dread, and for his virtue’s sake, Though most beloved in his native land, And dreaded most for valour by his foes, He lived a stranger in a foreign land.

She, too, that maiden, ’twas her fate to share Her husband’s troubles for her beauty rare.

Still ’twas a little heav’n their new home where The halcyon days of mutual love were spent.

‘Tis sweet to love and sweeter to be loved; And thus in their new home their life of joy They spent in undisturbed solitude; But ah! this even was not long to be.

One day the news was brought to their new king, By a small troop of sorrow-stricken men, That ev’ry night a tiger from his den Came down and fearful havoc wrought amongst Their toiling cattle, and the piteous tales Of dreadful woe they poured into his ear Moved Timma’s heart, who took his trusty bow And forthwith started with a faithful band To drag the tiger from his mountain cave And then for ever stop his mad career.

For days and nights he wandered in the woods, But sad to tell found not the dreaded beast.

Still, nothing daunted, continued the search, Until at last his faithful men he missed, And wandered far into the wilds unknown, When lo! the villain Bukka, who, upon The outskirts of the newly-founded state, Was hovering like a falcon o’er his prey, Pounced suddenly upon the lonely youth And safely carried him to his abode; Then tidings sent to Chandra in these words: “Dear maid! thy Timma is a helpless slave, A humble suppliant for his life before The valiant Bukka; let thy pride now cease.

The jav’lin which thou sentest me to slay, Which killed my n.o.ble steed instead, awaits To pierce his head and forthwith end his life.

But hearken ere I strike him dead therewith, Thy matchless beauty, valour, virtue–these Are fit to shine in royal courts like mine, Add splendour to my household, where installed As queen the daughters of my land will pay Homage to thee–discard him, therefore, and Love me, and I will forthwith set him free.”

The angry maiden made reply, “Vile wretch!

Cursed be thy head to hold this evil thought.

If in my presence this request were made, Sure I to fragments would have splintered it With my own weapon, and the pieces thrown To carrion birds to feast upon withal.

Tell him ’tis better far he should be like A cur tied at my gate, for servants, as They pa.s.s, to throw a little morsel from The remnants of our feast; I fear him not, And if my lord he kills, sure I am not His wife, if forthwith I don’t leap upon The flames and then to ashes be reduced.

Begone! ’twere better far my husband dies Than be the prisoner of a grovelling wretch.”

Bukka, whose ire was roused, sent word at last– “Beware, you foolish maid! poor Timma’s life Endanger not by this refusal stern, Nor lightly treat my prowess, for to me ‘Tis easier far to take away his life Than for the lordly monarch of the woods To kill the puny, weakly lamb; and nought Prompts me to wait thus far, but pity for The daughter of a friend and neighbour-king, Else Timma’s body would have long ere this Been given to the eagles of the air.

So listen now, once more, ere I kill him, And, if at all thou carest for his life, Let me but see the beauty of thy face, And for one moment only gaze upon Its loveliness–then Timma shall be free, And I will pa.s.s in quietness to my home– Nay, henceforth I will not molest you both.

Shouldst thou this last request refuse, I swear, By all I sacred hold, the moment that Refusal comes, the jav’lin from my hand Will fly at Timma and will strike him dead.”

Meantime brave Chandra in the audience hall Of her own palace, ‘midst her faithful men, Received the news, and then in angry tones She spurned the wild request, when there appeared Her priest, who counsel gave in words like these: “It is not meet, O royal lady, that Thou shouldst this att.i.tude defiant a.s.sume, When Bukka in a moment may bereave Us all of our dear, n.o.ble Timmaraj, And drive thee, too, to fling thy life away; And, if ’tis writ thou shouldst so die with him, Our sad entreaties and our tears will nought Avail, nor alter laws thus preordained.

But haply, if it is writ otherwise, Why break the link that binds you both for life?

Call it not chance the link that binds men’s hearts, But Heaven’s sacred gift to sweeten life.

It is the hand divine that guides man’s life From the inception to the very end; Nay more, sees even after that life’s end, Its own appointed destiny is reached, To take fresh shape, its course to run anew, And reap what it had sown before, for take The tree, its fruit but falls to reach its base.

The calf his mother easily doth find Amidst a thousand cows, to suck the milk; And all our deeds doth likewise follow us, E’en after death, and they are not our own, But preordained laws, that must perforce Be anywise fulfilled, and He alone It is that sees their strict fulfilment here.

For ah! why should the n.o.blest maiden and The fairest and the wisest in the land Be mated to the meanest wretch through life?

All that is deemed the highest in the world– Beauty and honour, valour, virtue, wealth– All these availeth not, her mind is blank; She herself knows not whom to love and wed; Not e’en dear friendship kindles in her breast The lamp of love, but suddenly A pa.s.sing stranger’s glance, a simple look Instinctive plants that love, which slow takes shape, Despite a thousand counter forces, till At last the final end is reached: a look Is thus enough to bind two hearts for life, And this is but the true fulfilment of A preordained law that in the life Before had all but reached perfection full, Or their appointed shape had all but tak’n, And in the new life easily attains The end: such, then, the truth of all such things.

Call it what you will, simple tendency Inherited, the least sign gives it life, Which but leads it to its appointed end, Like powder whose combustibleness sleeps, The sudden spark to action rouses it.

And thus it was, O Chandra, thou didst share A humble courtier’s lot, and didst refuse The premier n.o.ble’s hand, or better still The queenship of two mighty states, and thus The many counter forces that were set At work but strengthened thy true love for him.

And why endanger such a husband’s life?

One wedded so to thee, and not by chance, But by the preordained law of G.o.d; For know thou livest only for thy lord.

Thy husband is thy lord, and, if perchance It is his will thou shouldst be Bukka’s queen, Thou shouldst, so knowing it, obey his will, Else, sure thou shalt be deemed nor pure nor chaste, But counted worse than e’en a faithless wife; ‘Tis not in man to alter written laws; ‘Tis hard, nay useless too to fight ‘gainst fate, And if ’tis writ that Bukka should now see Thy matchless face, thou canst not alter it, And fate’s severities good deeds alone Can soften, and our holy writings say ‘Tis sin to let another man behold Thy face, admire the beauties that enchant, And thou becomest then impure; but those Same holy books say, ’tis no sin to see The shadow for the true reality.

Leave a Comment