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But splendid, just, and great of mind, The childless king for offspring pined. No son had he his name to grace, Transmitter of his royal race. Long had his anxious bosom wrought, And as he pondered rose the thought: 'A votive steed 'twere good to slay, So might a son the gift repay.' Before his lords his plan he laid, And bade them with their wisdom aid: Then with these words Sumantra, best Of royal counsellors, addressed: 'Hither, Vas'ishtha at their head, Let all my priestly guides be led.' To him Sumantra made reply: 'Hear, Sire, a tale of days gone by. To many a sage in time of old, Sanatkumár, the saint, foretold How from thine ancient line, O King, A son, when years came round, should spring. 'Here dwells,' 'twas thus the seer began, 'Of Kas'yap's  1 race, a holy man, Vibhándak named: to him shall spring A son, the famous Rishyas'ring. Bred with the deer that round him roam, The wood shall be that hermit's home. To him no mortal shall be known Except his holy sire alone. Still by those laws shall he abide Which lives of youthful Bráhmans guide, Obedient to the strictest rule That forms the young ascetic's school: And all the wondering world shall hear Of his stern life and penance drear; His care to nurse the holy fire And do the bidding of his sire. Then, seated on the Angas'  1b throne, Shall Lomapád to fame be known. But folly wrought by that great king A plague upon the land shall bring; No rain for many a year shall fall And grievous drought shall ruin all. The troubled king with many a prayer Shall bid the priests some cure declare: 'The lore of Heaven 'tis yours to know, Nor are ye blind to things below: Declare, O holy men, the way This plague to expiate and stay.' Those best of Bráhmans shall reply: 'By every art, O Monarch, try Hither to bring Vibhándak's child, Persuaded, captured, or beguiled. And when the boy is hither led To him thy daughter duly wed.' But how to bring that wondrous boy His troubled thoughts will long employ, And hopeless to achieve the task He counsel of his lords will ask, And bid his priests and servants bring With honour saintly Rishyas'ring. But when they hear the monarch's speech, All these their master will beseech, With trembling hearts and looks of woe, To spare them, for they fear to go. And many a plan will they declare    And crafty plots will frame, And promise fair to show him there,    Unforced, with none to blame. On every word his lords shall say,    The king will meditate, And on the third returning day    Recall them to debate. Then this shall be the plan agreed,    That damsels shall be sent Attired in holy hermits' weed,    And skilled in blandishment, That they the hermit may beguile With every art and amorous wile    Whose use they know so well, And by their witcheries seduce The unsuspecting young recluse    To leave his father's cell. Then when the boy with willing feet Shall wander from his calm retreat    And in that city stand, The troubles of the king shall end, And streams of blessed rain descend    Upon the thirsty land. Thus shall the holy Rishyas'ring To Lomapád, the mighty king,    By wedlock be allied; For S'ántá, fairest of the fair, In mind and grace beyond compare,    Shall be his royal bride. He, at the Offering of the Steed, The flames with holy oil shall feed, And for King Das'aratha gain Sons whom his prayers have begged in vain.' 'I have repeated, Sire, thus far, The words of old Sanatkumár, In order as he spoke them then Amid the crowd of holy men.' Then Das'aratha cried with joy, 'Say how they brought the hermit boy.' 15:1 Kas'yap was a grandson of the God Brahmá. He is supposed to have given his name to Kashmír = Kas'yapa-míra, Kas'yap's Lake. 15:1b The people of Anga. 'Anga is said in the lexicons to be Bengal; but here certainly another region is intended situated at the confluence of the Sarjú with the Ganges, and not far distant from Das'aratha's dominions.' GORRESIO. It comprised part of Behar and Bhagulpur.

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Canto Viii

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