Friday, March 5, 2010

PDE Ramayana: Indra's Chariot

Reading Guide. As you know from the beginning of the story, the gods are the ones who planned for Rama to defeat Ravana. So, as the battle continues, the gods watch the events unfold, and Indra decides to send his own chariot, along with his charioteer, Matali, to aid Rama.

Image: In the painting below, the gods are watching Rama and Lakshmana from their celestial vehicles; meanwhile, on the chariot, Matali gives Rama advice. If you look at the full painting, you will see Ravana on his chariot facing Rama.

Source. Ramayana, The Epic of Rama, Prince of India, condensed into English verse by Romesh Dutt (1899). [300 words]

Lakshmana | 69. Indra's Chariot | Rama and Ravana

Not in dastard terror Ravan sought his safety in his flight,
But to seek fresh steeds of battle ere he faced his foeman's might.

Harnessing his gallant coursers to a new and glorious car,
Sunlike in its radiant splendor, Ravan came once more to war.

Gods in wonder watched the contest of the more than mortal foes,
Ravan mighty in his vengeance, Rama lofty in his woes;

Gods in wonder marked the heroes, lion-like in jungle wood:
Indra sent his arms and chariot where the human warrior stood!

"Speed, Matali," thus spake Indra, "speed thee with my heavenly car,
Where on foot the righteous Rama meets his mounted foe in war.

"Speed, for Ravan's days are ended, and his moments brief and few;
Rama strives for right and virtue — gods assist the brave and true!"

Brave Matali drove the chariot drawn by steeds like solar ray,
Where the true and righteous Rama sought his foe in fatal fray;

Shining arms and heavenly weapons he to lofty Rama gave —
When the righteous strive and struggle, gods assist the true and brave!

"Take this car," so said Matali, "which the helping gods provide;
Rama, take these steeds celestial, Indra's golden chariot ride;

"Take this royal bow and quiver, wear this falchion dread and dire:
Vishvakarman forged this armor in the flames of heavenly fire.

I shall be thy chariot driver and shall speed the thund'ring car.
Slay the sin-polluted Ravan in this last and fatal war!"

Rama mounted on the chariot clad in arms of heavenly sheen,
And he mingled in a contest mortal eyes have never seen!

Lakshmana | Indra's Chariot | Rama and Ravana

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