1 The spiritual masters (siddhas) said, “It behooves us to hear the decision of the great sages in reply to the holy sermon delivered by the chief of Raghu’s race. 2 Come forward, you great chiefs of the sages, you Narada, Vyasa, Pulaha and all you other great sages, and be ready. 3 Let us descend to the full open court of Dasharata, which is as bright as gold and free from stain, like bees alighting on an immaculate, golden lotus.
4 Valmiki said:—
So saying, the whole company of divine sages left their celestial abode for that court. 5 There Narada, the chief of sages, sat foremost playing on his lute. In the midst was Vyasa with his dark blue complexion resembling a rainy cloud. 6 Moreover, the court was adorned with the presences of the chief sages Bhrigu, Angiras, Pulastya and others, with Chyavana, Uddalaka, Usira, Saraloman and many more with them.
7 Their deer skin garments hung loosely as they embraced one another. Their rudraksha beads moved in one hand, and their water pots shook in the other. 8 Their bodies shed a luster in the royal assembly-hall resembling the yellow starlight, like the beams of so many suns blazing upon one another. 9 They appeared like a shower of moonbeams or like a halo about the full moon, or like a circle about the orb of the sun out of its season. 10 They looked like a circlet of gems of varied colors, or like a necklace of pearls of great luster. 11 At the place where he sat, Vyasa appeared to be like dark cloud amidst the stars. Narada on his seat seemed like the white orb of the moon among stars. 12 Here Pulastya shone like Indra among the gods, and there Angira blazed like the sun amidst heavenly bodies.
13 On seeing the body of masters descending from the sky to the earth, the entire court of King Dasharata rose up to greet them. 14 There was a mixed assemblage of the celestial and earthly sages, whose commingled glory spread a luster to the ten sides of the court.
15 Some of them held bamboo sticks in their hands and others had lotuses in theirs. Some had put sacred grass in their crests, while others had inserted some gems in the braids of their hair. 16 Some had matted and tawny brown hairs on their heads, and others wore garlands of flowers on theirs. Some had strings of beads for their bracelets and others wore wristlets made of jasmine flowers. 17 Some were clothed in tatters, and others wore garments made of bark, while yet others wore clothes of silk. Some were girt with girdles of grass and skin about their waists, and others wore waistbands with pendant strings of pearl.
18 Vasishta and Vishwamitra honored the celestials one by one with respectful offerings, water and courteous address. 19 The great body of the celestials also honored Vasishta and Vishwamitra in their turn, with water and offerings worthy of them, and with polite speeches. 20 The king also honored the gods and the body of the spiritual masters, who in return greeted the monarch with inquiries about his welfare. 21 Then the heavenly and earthly saints exchanged greetings with one another with cordial welcomes and gestures, and were all seated afterwards on seats made of kusa grass. 22 They next honored Rama, who lay bowing before them, with gentle words and congratulations accompanied with offerings of flowers.
23 Seated in that assembly were the sages Vishwamitra, Vasishta, Vama Deva and the ministers of state. 24 Also there were Narada, the son of Brahma, Vyasa, the greatest of sages, Marichi, Durvasa and Angira. 25 Kratu, Pulastya, Pulaha, Saraloma, the great sage Vatsayana, Bharadwaja, and Valmiki the great bard and sage, were all there, 26 as were Uddalaka, Richika, Sarjati as well as Chyavana. 27 These and many others versed in the various branches of the Vedas, knowing all things worth knowing, were the leading members of that assembly.
28 Then Narada and others joined with Vishwamitra and Vasishta in addressing Rama, who was sitting silent with his face turned downwards. They said, 29 “We admire the prince’s blessed and graceful speech dignified with the spirit of detachment that breathes through the whole of it. 30 It is full of thought. It is perspicuous, elegant, clear, dignified, sweet and worthy of noble minded men by its lucid style and lack of faults. 31 Who is not struck with admiration at Rama’s speech? It expresses his thoughts well, correct in its diction, plain, sweet and agreeable to all.”
32 “It is rare to find one man among a hundred who is so eloquent, combining dignity and force with clarity and sweetness such that they command the admiration of all. 33 Who has such a clear head as our prince, a head that is as penetrating as the best pointed arrow, and as fruitful and beautiful as a creeping vine plant? 34 He is truly a man whose intellectual light, like that of Rama, burns like the flame of a lamp within himself and enlightens all about him.”
35 “Man’s blood, flesh and bones serve as machines to supply him with sensations of external objects, but there is no intelligence in them. 36 Life and death, old age and troubles, repeatedly overtake every man, but they are beasts who are so infatuated that they never to think of these. 37 There is scarcely any man to be seen who has an understanding as clear as Rama, who can use the past to judge the future. 38 Rama is the most excellent, admirable, useful and well shaped person among men, like the mango tree among the many useful plants. 39 It is only today that we see a man of Rama’s age having acquired so much experience of the world and who is so extraordinarily mature in understanding.”
40 “In every place there are many trees found growing that are beautiful to see, easy to climb, and abundant in flowers and leaves, but there is no tree of paradise growing on earth. 41 In every forest trees grow with good flowers and leaves, but the extraordinary and fair clove tree is not always to be found. 42 Rama has displayed the wonder of his knowledge, like the moon displays her cooling beams, and good trees their clusters of blossoms, and like flowers diffuse their fragrance all about. 43 It is very difficult to get the essence of true knowledge in this accursed world constructed by the uncontrollable and dominant predestination (of our past acts).”
44 “Only those are reckoned the best of men and leaders of the good who try their best to gain the essence of truth, and whose minds are fixed on glory as their best treasure. 45 We do not see anyone in all this world equal to Rama in discrimination and magnanimity, nor shall there be one like him in future. This is our firm conviction.”
46 “If this speech of Rama which has filled every one here with admiration fails to get a reply to the satisfaction of Rama’s mind, it is certain that all of us here must pass for senseless sages.”