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The 4th Widow of AyodhyA-Part 6 of 8

From: M K Sudarshan (sudarsan_at_batelco.com.bh)
Date: Thu May 01 1997 - 00:18:37 PDT

                  THE FOURTH WIDOW OF AYODHYA (continued)
                      ---------------------------


Lakshmana ran downstream along a narrow ledge on the stony banks of the
River Godavari to meet Rama and share with him a new-found mood of optimism.

There was the same cheerful spring in his steps as there was in his heart.

The stroke of dawn drew very near. The sky was cloudless and seemed to have
descended down to earth covering the forest, as it were, with a blanket of
blue. Mist dissipated over the river-waters and the Godavari... she looked
blue too! The mountain-cliffs with their granite-tips, too, looked blue !
The grass, the foliage, the birds and the moths ---- everything had taken on
a coat of soft blue .... the colour of dawn ... the colour of hope....the
colour of AyodhyA's  "neela-mEga-shyAmalan" himself ....the colour of what
Lakshmana believed was .... good omen !

He felt, in that moment, the tide of fate turning in favour of the IshvAku
family! The misery of the past few years was now on the wane ! Things were
only going to get better from thereon. Sita would be rescued; Rama and he
would surely and triumphantly return to AyodhyA; "Ram-rajya" would be firmly
established in Saketha !

Yes, indeed, something deep within himself told him all this would happen
and soon!

Yes, he could sense the good foreboding in his bones ! Everything was going
to be alright! He wanted to rush to Rama and share with him the joy he felt
now ... the joy of hope !

He ran down the ledge and turned a corner.... and stopped dead in his tracks!

The sight he witnessed froze him. 

He couldn't believe his eyes ! He turned cold, his knees shook and he felt
his bubbly spirits evaporating quickly ...like so much muddy froth on the
Godavari's banks.

He saw Rama weeping !

He saw his brother, the valiant Raghuveeran of AyodhyA, weeping unconsolably !

Rama was seated on a stony-reef by the Godavari banks, the cool waters
thrashing around his feet... he was weeping, his head buried in his arms,
his body shaking with the emotion of some unbearable, unspeakable sadness....

Lakshmana paused in his tracks. He was struck by a welter of emotions. His
heart rushed out to his brother and yet he wondered if he should intrude on
Rama at all that moment .... a moment of private agony... those occasional
moments in the life of even men of stout hearts and brave will ...when
inhibitions are cast aside and men resort to a feminine expedient -- the
shedding of pent-up emotions and succumbing to the soothing relief that
unabashed weeping brings to a troubled mind.

The river abruptly began to shimmer like a sheet of copper as the first
orange rays of the sun, a dazzling tiara on the surrounding hill-crests,
began bouncing off the water-surface. 

Lakshmana softly approached his brother.

Then he stood beside him and gently placed a hand on those mighty, weeping
shoulders.

Rama didn't move.

They remained silent.

After a long while, Lakshmana spoke pensively ... as if he were engaged in a
monologue with the Godavari.

"Rama, my dear brother, you talked of "dhanur-mAsa nitya-karmAnUshtanA" a
while ago and its great importance in a man's life. 

"I just realized the truth of your words, my brother. I've just completed my
"sNana" and "nityAnUshtAnam-s" in the Godavari. And d'you know how I feel? I
feel uplifted ! It suddenly feels I've been living all these years under an
imaginary burden of mental agony! It suddenly feels as though that all the
misery and misfortune that's befallen the House of Raghuvamsha is but a
chimera in the desert-sand !

"Suddenly I feel, Rama, that we're not victims of fate anymore and that we
can re-write the script of our lives from this moment onward ! We will
triumph, Rama! Yes, you and I WILL overcome everything ! This moment will
pass, this darkest moment when you sit here alone on the banks of the
Godavari, in the middle of the forest, weeping and when there is none to
console you ...none who'd realize the great losses you've suffered these
many years ..... the loss of a kingdom, the loss of a father whose death-bed
you couldn't visit ... the loss of our mother, KaikEyi's love ...the loss of
beloved SitA.... the loss of dearest "bandhU-s" like Bharata and Jatayu .... 

"Oh! Rama ! my brother, Enough ! ... enough is enough... how many more
losses can your noble heart bear ! It is close to breaking now, I know ...
which is why you sit here and weep ....

Lakshmana gently stroked Rama's buried head.

"Enough, my dearest brother, enough of weeping ! Rise now, and wipe away the
tears from your handsome face ! Perform the holy "dhanur-mAsa" oblations you
have held up to me yourself! This river here will wash away your despair !
That Great Spirit of Compassion that presides "dhanur-mAsa", you described
to me back at the camp-site, that Spirit of Compassion, Oh Rama believe me,
permeates the sweet waters of this river here ! Plunge into it ! Bathe in
it, now ! And let it wash away your gloom and fill your heart, instead, with
the same fresh resolve and robust hope that have just entered into mine own !

"I swear to you, my dearest brother, I swear to you on the souls of those
little-ones just born to that wild she-boar, that mother with her little
ones, whose life you saved a while ago back at the camp-site... I swear to
you, Rama ... this is "satyam" ! ...on the souls of those of little new-born
creatures ..I swear we WILL triumph .... We will find and rescue Sita!  We
will return to the throne of AyodhyA .. and something tells me, too, O Rama,
that from this moment onwards there shall be no more loss in our lives ...
we shall only gain .... we shall soon gain the affection and support of
...new friends and allies.. who shall come into our lives .... and these
friends will never let us down ... they shall aid us in our mission ...in a
reliable way our own kith and kin back in AyodhyA never knew....

"Don't weep, my dearest brother, arise and conquer ... for you ARE the Lord
of AyodhyA, you are Raghuveeran !"        
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(to be continued)

sudarshan