These passages begin where Aja is crowned and his father, Raghu retires to a life of quiet and calm.
Stunningly, sovereignty serves them both – one on the throne; the other on a bed of grass.
I read from Kalidasa’s Raghuvamsam to contrast a King who was and a King who is…


“Raghu saw his son established,
Self-possessed, in everything;
And became then undemanding
Of both the transient and divine.
Born in Dilipa’s family pure,
It was clear, on getting old
One passed on the monarchy
To a son with merit, and became
A hermit garbed in the bark of a tree.”

“With the former king in quietude,
And a new one now in charge,
The dynasty looked like the sky
With a setting moon and a risen sun.
Raghu was in hermit’s garb
And his son in regal state,
The people did then see them both
As on the earth two parts of dharma –
Of attainment and of release.
His vulnerabilities to secure,
Aja consulted with ministers
Adept in policies of state;
While Raghu engaged in yogic practice
The imperishable to attain.”

“The young king took the seat of judgment
To know the nature of his people,
And the old one sat on a mat of straw,
To train his mind in solitude.
One brought under his control
Rival kings, through strength and wealth,
The other, the five bodily breaths,
Through the practice of meditation.”

“The new lord did reduce to ashes
The gains of earth by his opponents,
The other his karmas incinerated
In the fire which is wisdom.”

“The new king was in work persistent
And did not stop till it bore fruit;
The old one, with a mind resolute,
Did not cease the yoga practice
Till the ultimate could be seen.
Thus, alert to the containment,
One of the senses, of foes the other,
Both the twofold aims accomplished –
Of progress and of absolution.”


Perhaps, sovereignty comes from authority as much as it does from not having to be in control of anything but yourself.

Persistence in ruling isn’t far from persistence in relinquishing. Determination of very different kinds, but determination nonetheless.

The line of Raghu took it all and gave it all away when they had to.
Kings in every sense, quite literally.



(Note: The SHOUT! Network makes no claim to the extracts in translation. Our Granny has narrated the tremendous work of a very reputed translator, scholar and researcher.)


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