Tuesday, 1 April 2014

156. Saptajana hermitage.

                             Sugreeva accompanied by Rama walked briskly with more confidence.  Lakshmana strode ahead of them. The other vanaras like Hanuman, the dauntless Nala and Neela, and the captain of vanaras' captains (it is clear now that the ranks like Major, Colonel, Brigadier, General, Field Marshal etc. were not there in those days) Tara of great energy followed them. They moved on looking at the trees that are drooping with the weight of their flowers, and at he rivers that were carrying pleasant water while themselves were coursing towards ocean.
                On their way they observed lakes glistening forth with gem-like waters without slime, and with lotus buds in the the various stages of blossoming.
               Those lakes were reverberant with Karandavas, Saarasas, Swans, Vanjulas and other waterfowls, and also with Chakravaakas and other birds. They had seen doughty deer grazing gracefully the soft grass blades everywhere, somewhere, moving here and there in the forest and elsewhere standing. They had also seen the forest elephants that had white tusks for their ornaments and that were moving in herds, and which were the dangerous enemies of lakes as they destroy the lakebeds. Also seen were the vigorous and elephantine monkeys that were like mobile mountains, begrimed with dust, and bellowing on the mountain ridges.
                Rama noticed a clump of forest trees which seemed to be somewhat different from the other clumps he had seen earlier. He therefore became curious and asked Sugreeva 
"This cluster of trees surrounded with plantain trees is like an accumulation of thick clouds, and this is shining forth like a cloudscape in the sky. Has it happened just like that without any specific reason?  In case it has any special significance, then I would like to know the same. Could you please oblige me in this regard?"
                 Sugreeva nodded and said "Raghava, this extensive hermitage with abundant gardens and dainty tubers, fruits and plenty of water is a weary remover. There were hermits named sapta jana (meaning 'Seven Persons'), who avowedly decided to keep their heads downward and legs up, all the time. And they always reclined in water. Their diet was air alone and that too once in seven days. Keeping themselves unwaveringly in that way, they practised their asceticism for seven hundred years and went to heavens with their bodies. (Poor Trisanku  did not know this, obviously. - If you do not remember Trisanku then read 3. TRISANKUThis hermitage that has encircling trees for its compound wall has become highly unassailable even for Indra together with all gods and demons. Birds and other forest moving animals forbear this hermitage. Any one unknowingly enters in it do not return.
               "There one can enjoy very melodious music. Such lovely instrumental tunes, and also the sounds of ornaments are audible, too. Those things apart, one can feel a divine fragrance too. Glowing ritual-fires can be seen there, and their thick and ochry coloured smoke looking like reddish-brown pigeons flying slowly towards the treetops. When that smoke mantles the tree tops the trees look like mountains of gems overlaid with clusters of clouds.
              "I consider it to be imperative for all of us to offer salutations, determinedly and adjoining palms, addressing the sages called Seven Persons. Those who offer salutations to those sages with contemplated souls will be free from bodily trauma in the least."
              Then Rama along with Lakshmana, Sugreeva and others worshipped those sages and proceeded ahead feeling light at heart.

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