translated by David R. Slavitt
[Bhárata assures Kausálya, Rama’s mother, that he loves Rama, who is her son and his half-brother, and swears that he had nothing to do with Rama’s having been sent into exile in the forest.]
As Kausálya complained, Bhárata cupped his hands in reverence
and addressed her: “I am guiltless, my lady. I knew nothing about this.
You know how deep and abiding is my love for Rama.
May the man who exiled him never have thoughts that are in harmony
with the sacred texts. May he come to serve the most wicked of men.
May he urinate facing the sun and kick a sleeping cow.
May he bear the guilt of an unrighteous master,
who forces difficult tasks upon his servant without remuneration.
May he carry the stigma of the sin of treason against the king.
May he be reviled as is a king who levies heavy taxes
but does nothing to guard his subjects.
May he be compared with men who promise fees to priests at sacrifices
but then refuse to pay. May he who sanctioned my brother’s going
never honor the code of honor in battle, where elephants, horses, and chariots
crowd the field and weapons fly thick through the air.
May that evil man lose his understanding of sacred texts.
May he eat milk-rice, sesame-rice, and goat meat for no reason.
May he show a lack of respect for his gurus.
May his children, his wife, and his servants huddle about him at home
while he alone eats delicacies. May he who sanctioned Rama’s exile
be guilty of the sin of one who murders a king, a woman, a child,
or an elder, or of one who abandons his dependents.
May he be like one who sleeps through both morning worship
and evening worship. May he be guilty of arson.
May he violate his guru’s bed. May he betray his allies.
May he show disobedience to the gods, his ancestors,
and his mother and father. May he be excluded from this moment on
from participation in any good deed, from the praises of the good,
and from the world of good!”
Thus did Bhárata try fervently to reassure Kausálya. Then he collapsed.
Those were indeed heavy curses Bhárata had called down on his head,
and as he lay on the ground grief-stricken, Kausálya addressed him:
“My sorrow has only increased. That you should curse yourself
with such curses chokes the life out of me. I thank the gods
that your own thoughts never departed from righteousness,
any more than those of Lákshmana. If what you say is true,
you shall attain the world that only the good attain.”
Bhárata continued to languish in sorrow, his mind in turmoil
from his grief and confusion. There on the ground,
he fell into a stupor and passed the night weeping and heaving great sighs.