The qualities of Rama

(In the first chapter of the Bala Kanda of Ramayana, Narada extols the qualities of Rama to Sage Valmiki. Here is an English translation of the same taken from here.)

Then Nárada, clear before whose eye

The present, past, and future lie,

Made ready answer: ‘Hermit, where

Are graces found so high and rare?

Yet listen, and my tongue shall tell

In whom alone these virtues dwell.

From old Ikshváku’s  line he came,

Known to the world by Ráma’s name:

With soul subdued, a chief of might,

In Scripture versed, in glory bright,

His steps in virtue’s paths are bent,

Obedient, pure, and eloquent.

In each emprise he wins success,

And dying foes his power confess.

Tall and broad-shouldered, strong of limb,

Fortune has set her mark on him.

Graced with a conch-shell’s triple line,

His threat displays the auspicious sign.

High destiny is clear impressed

On massive jaw and ample chest,

His mighty shafts he truly aims,

And foemen in the battle tames.

Deep in the muscle, scarcely shown,

Embedded lies his collar-bone.

His lordly steps are firm and free,

His strong arms reach below his knee; 1

All fairest graces join to deck

His head, his brow, his stately neck,

And limbs in fair proportion set:

The manliest form e’er fashioned yet.

Graced with each high imperial mark,

His skin is soft and lustrous dark.

Large are his eyes that sweetly shine

With majesty almost divine.

His plighted word he ne’er forgets;

On erring sense a watch he sets.

By nature wise, his teacher’s skill

Has trained him to subdue his will.

Good, resolute and pure, and strong,

He guards mankind from scathe and wrong,

And lends his aid, and ne’er in vain,

The cause of justice to maintain.

Well has he studied o’er and o’er

The Vedas  and their kindred lore.

Well skilled is he the bow to draw,

Well trained in arts and versed in law;

High-souled and meet for happy fate,

Most tender and compassionate;

The noblest of all lordly givers,

Whom good men follow, as the rivers

Follow the King of Floods, the sea:

So liberal, so just is he.

The joy of Queen Kaus’alyá’s  heart,

In every virtue he has part:

Firm as Himálaya’s snowy steep,

Unfathomed like the mighty deep:

The peer of Vishnu’s power and might,

And lovely as the Lord of Night;

Patient as Earth, but, roused to ire,

Fierce as the world-destroying fire;

In bounty like the Lord of Gold,

And Justice self in human mould.

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