Battle between Lava and Rama's brother, Shatrughna, near the hermitage of Valmiki, Page from a Dispersed Ramayana Series
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
sheet: 13 1/4 x 17 1/4 in. (33.7 x 43.8 cm)
image: 10 3/4 x 14 3/8 in. (27.3 x 36.5 cm)
Inscriptions: Figures are identified in Sanskrit on recto.
Inscription in Sanskrit on verso:
And Shatrughna, overcome with compassion, raised Lava by the hand and ordered his attendants: "Sprinkle this boy, who resembles Rama, with clean water"(42). The attendants immediately showered him with water. After he was revived, they placed him on the chariot and departed as he kept making inquiries (43). Thus ends the thirtieth chapter, the Horse-sacrifice, containing the Kusha and Lava episode that describes the war between Lava and Shatrughna.
Janamejaya said: "When Lava caught hold of the steed, such a fierce fight took place. Where had Kusha gone and why he had not told Sita (1)?"
The sacred Kusha episode in its entirety is known to Jaimini, who said, "O King, listen to my narration of the great adventures of Kusha (2). Hearing this, both men and women become free of all sins.
"From there, the sacrificial horse moved onward. As the great chariot left with Lava (3), the young hermits whose faces were obscured by tears went to Sita. "O Sita, some king's horse was caught forcibly by your son, Lava, (4) who fought against his grand army. Having defeated the great army the boy became very tired (5), and then his bow was shattered by some valiant warrior and he was taken to the capital"(6). Hearing their words, Janaki (Sita) transformed into a painted image of a heavenly damsel, like a maiden frightened by a flash of lightning or a rich man being confornted by a plunderer (7). O King, listening to the events of the forest which came like a bolt from the blue, Sita fainted under the overwhelming effects of grief."
"Gaining consciousness she said, "O Rama, I am truthful to you in thoughts, act, and speech; and by virtue of that truth my son Lava is well-versed in warfare (8). But the lonely boy was shot down by your sinful commanders."
"Speaking as thus, in a sweet voice (9), the grieving lady cried bitterly (10): "Lava you left without asking me and were felled to the bed of arrows. Arrows should never hit your moon-like face (11). Lava, who is intelligent and whose diet includes only fruits, roots, and tubers, had his body scarred with arrows (12).
"Why did your commanders hurt that boy? How could the hands of these cruel and sinful men act in that way?(13) And at this very moment neither father Valmiki nor mighty Kusha is present. To whom shall I relate the occurence of such a great fight?(14)
"O Janamejaya, thus Janaki kept lamenting; meanwhile, Kusha emerged from the forest carrying the load of sacrificial firewood and Kusha grass (15).
"While coming Kusha encountered several bad omens, causing anxiety to his heart (16). "Deers were running to my right and left, letting out alarming sounds. Tears came to my eyes and my heart ached." Pondering as thus, Kusha arrived at the entrance of the hermitage (17). "How is it that Lava is not coming to greet me? In the morning I prevented him from going with me (18). Is he angry about that? Maybe not. By whom Lava was taken prisoner?" Thinking as thus, the courageous one. . . ."
Inscription read by S. Mitra, Intern, Asian Art Department
This item is not on view
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Wiener
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