Chapter 7 — Vishwamitra Asks for Rama’s Help

Valmiki speaking:—

After the illustrious Vishwamitra had heard the unusually lengthy speech from the lion among kings, his hairs stood erect with joy. He said, “This speech is worthy of you, O best of kings on earth, and one descended from a royal race, and guided by sage Vasishta himself. Consider well, O king, the deed which I have in mind, and support the cause of virtue.”

“I am employed, O chief of men, in religious acts for attainment of my consummation, but the horrible rakshasa demons have become my great obstructions. Whenever I offer sacrifices to the gods at any place, instantly these nocturnal demons appear to destroy my sacrificial rites. On very many occasions when I commence my ceremonies, the rakshasa chiefs fling heaps of flesh and blood on the sacrificial ground. Being thus obstructed in my sacrificial duties, I now come to you with a broken spirit, having labored in vain to complete the rites.”

“The vows of the rite prevent me from giving vent to my anger by curses. Such being the sacrificial law, I expect by your favor to gain its great object in peace. 10 Being thus oppressed I have recourse to your protection, and you should protect me. Otherwise it is an insult for petitioners to be disappointed by the best of men as yourself.”

11 “You have a son, the beautiful Rama, powerful as a fierce tiger and strong as the great Indra himself. He is able to destroy the rakshasas. 12 May you now deliver that Rama, your eldest son, to me, having his youthful locks of hair like the black plumage of a crow, but possessing the true valor of a hero. 13 Protected under my sacred authority and by his prowess, he will be able to sever the heads of the malicious rakshasas. 14 I will do him an infinity of good services, whereby in the end he will become adored by the inhabitants of all three worlds. 15 The night-wandering rakshasas cannot abide in the field before Rama, but must fly like stags in the wilderness before a furious lion. 16 No man other than Rama can make bold to fight with the rakshasas, just as no animal other than a furious lion can stand to fight wild elephants.”

17 “Elated with their strength, these vicious beings have become like poisoned shafts in fighting. Being delegates of the demons Khara and Dushana, they are as furious as death itself. 18 They cannot, O tiger among kings, be able to sustain the arrows of Rama, but must settle like flying dust under the ceaseless showers of his arrows.”

19 “Let not paternal affection prevail over you, O king, as there is nothing in this world which the high-minded will refuse to part with. 20 I know it for certain, and so you also should know, that the rakshasas must be destroyed by him. Wise men like ourselves will never undertake an uncertainty. 21 I well know the great soul of the lotus-eyed Rama, and so does the illustrious Vasishta, and all others who are far-seeing. 22 Should the senses of greatness, duty and renown have a seat in your soul, you should deliver my desired object to me, your son.”

23 “It will take ten nights to perform the rites of my sacrifice, during which Rama shall have to stay with me and kill the rakshasas who are obnoxious to my rites and the enemies of the sacrifice. 24 O King Dasharata, let the ministers headed by Vasishta join and give their assent, and deliver your Rama to me. 25 “O descendant of Raghu, you know that auspicious times must not be allowed to slip away, so you must not allow my time to slip. So may I have Rama? Be blessed and do not give way to sorrow. 26 Even the smallest service, if done in good time, appears to be much, and the best service is of no avail if done out of season.”

27 Vishwamitra, the illustrious and holy chief of the sages, paused after saying these words filled with virtuous and useful intention. 28 Hearing these words of the great sage, the magnanimous king held his silence for some time, with a view to prepare a fitting answer; because no man of sense is ever satisfied with talking unreasonably either before others or to himself.