Chapter 32 — Praise for Rama’s Speech

Valmiki said:—

When Prince Rama concluded his speech, calculated to remove all ignorance from the mind, all men in the assembly had their eyes beaming with wonder. The hairs on their bodies stood erect and pierced through their garments as if wishing to hear the speech. For a moment, after their stoic detachment and in their eagerness, the assembly seemed to have lost their worldly desires and be rolling in a sea of nectar. The audience remained motionless, like figures in a painting, enraptured with internal delight having heard the sweet words of fortunate Rama.

There were Vasishta and Vishwamitra with other sages, and prime minister Jayanta and other royal counselors then seated in that assembly. There were also King Dasharata and his subordinate kings, citizens and foreign delegates, chieftains and princes, together with brahmins and men learned in the Vedas and divine knowledge. These accompanied by their friends and allies, with birds in their cages and royal antelopes and steeds about the palace, had listened to Rama with fixed and mute attention. Likewise Queen Kausalya and other ladies adorned with their best jewels were seated at the windows, all mute and motionless.

Besides these, the birds on the trees and vines of the princely pleasure garden were listening to Rama without fluttering their wings or making any motion or sound. 10 Also present were masters and aerial beings, tribes of celestial musicians (gandharvas and kinnaras), together with Narada, Vyasa and Pulapa, the lords of the sages. 11 There were also some of the gods and chiefs of gods, demigods (vidyadharas) and the divine cobras (naagas) who heard Rama’s speech full of meaning and clarity.

12 Rama, his eyes beautiful as lotuses, his face lovely as the moon, the star in the sky of Raghu’s family, held his silence.

13 From heaven, divine beings showered flowers upon him with loud cheers and blessings. 14 People in the assembly were delighted with the sweet scent and beauty of these flowers from paradise filled with humming bees. 15 When blown into the air by the breeze of heaven, these flowers appeared like clusters of stars, which after their fall, brightened the ground with their beauty like the beaming smiles of heavenly maids. 16 They appeared like raindrops falling from clouds, ablaze with the light of silent lightning, and scattering like balls of fresh butter. 17 They also resembled particles of snowballs, like the beads of a necklace made of pearls, like beams of moonlight, like small waves in a sea of milk, or like drops of ice-cream. 18 Flowers were carried by the loose and sweet winds of heaven, some lotuses with long filaments attended by clusters of bees humming and flying about them. 19 Among them were heaps of ketaki, kairava, kunda and blue lotus flowers falling and shining brightly. 20 These flowers covered the court hall, the roofs of houses and their courtyards. Men and women in the city raised their heads to behold them falling. 21 The sky remained quite unclouded as flowers fell constantly from above. A sight like this, never before seen, struck people with wonder. 22 The shower of flowers fell for quarter of an hour, but the masters from whose hands they fell were unseen all the while.

23 When the falling of flowers ceased, after the assembly was covered with them, they heard the following words from the divine beings in the sky, 24 “We have been travelling everywhere in bodies as spiritual masters (siddhas) from the beginning of creation, but nowhere have we ever heard any speech as sweet as this. 25 Even the gods such as ourselves have never heard such a magnanimous speech of detachment as Rama, the moon of Raghu’s race, has just now spoken. 26 We account ourselves truly blessed to have heard today this highly charming and wonderful speech from the mouth of Rama himself. 27 Indeed we are awakened and edified by attending diligently to Rama’s truly excellent speech on the ambrosial bliss of asceticism, and leading to the highest joy of men.”