Saturday, 28 June 2014

176. Search Party dispatched to west.

           Then Sugreeva ruminated for a while and decided the appropriated leader for the task-force to be sent westward. It was none other than Tara's dad Sushena, who looked like a massive cloud. On approaching and venerating that awesomely valorous Sushena, the father of Lady Tara, and now his own father-in-law, the king Sugreeva told him of his decision which Sushena accepted without any demur.
             Sugreeva then ordered the superb vanara son of the maharishi Mareecha, called Archishman, who was often mistaken for Indra, endowed with brilliance and bravery and whose speed equals that of the son of Vinata, namely Garuda, the Eagle-vehicle of Vishnu, to assist Sushena along with his mighty followers. Along with him Sugreeva also ordered the greatly mighty brothers of Archishman i.e., the other vanara sons of the Sage Mareecha, known as Arcishmaalyaas, also called as Mareechas.  Sugreeva told them "Oh, my heros, you shall assist Sushena, who will be your leader, in the search for Vaidehi, backed by your two hundred thousand vanara forces." 
      Sugreeva then addressed the force "Oh, my  courageous, daring, bold, heroic, adventurous, gritty, fearless, resolute, gallant, gutsy, audacious, intrepid and valiant vanaras, conduct your search in the Suraashtra, Baahlika and Chandrachitra provinces, including their extensive and delightful rural areas and spacious cities, as well as in their woods with Punnaaga trees, areas filled with Vakula, and Uddalaka trees and in their interiors, and also in the thickets of Ketaka trees.
         "Oh, my daredevils, at the outset search the shores of the rivers in the west whose cool water flows westward, as well as in the forests of sages and on the mountains of those forests, and in lands that are virtually dry and on the highly towering mountains that are chilly. After searching such a difficult western terrain encircled with enmeshed mountains, proceed towards the Western Ocean. There you will see the seawater ruffled by sharks and crocodiles. There try the shrubberies of Ketaka plants, in the copses of Tamaala plants and in the lands of coconut trees. Seetha is to be searched along with the residency of Ravana on the mountains that are sitting pretty on the seashore, as well as in the forests on those mountains. Further, the delightful cities situated alongshore like Murachi, Jaatapura, Avanti and Angalepa are also to be searched together with the forest of Alakshita and the nearby provinces and spacious townships.
             "At the junction of the river Sindhu with the ocean, there is a huge mountain named Hemagiri, (meanig Golden-Mountain) which has hundreds of summits and gigantic trees. The beautiful ridges of that mountain are inhibited by flying-lions which will be lifting sharks, fish and elephant seals to their lairs. The elephants inhibiting on the top of that mountain are contended but conceited, and trumpeting like thunderous clouds they will be moving everywhere in that vast area of the mountain abutted by water and near at the lairs of flying-lions. Search the golden peak of that Hemagiri which will be touching the sky and which has amazing trees on it.
          "There you will see the golden peak of a waterlogged mountain called Mt. Paariyaatra, whose peak is about hundred yojanas in height, and is hard to look at as it will be blindingly glittering. Twenty four crores of mighty and atrocious Gandharvas who will be shining like fire and who can change their guise at their wish, are living there on that mountain Paariyaatra.
               "Be careful not to offend them in anyway, as they have the power to crush together all the offenders together from everywhere. And do not, repeat NOT touch any fruit in that province, since those assiduous, highly mighty, valiant and appallingly audacious Gandharvas are safeguarding the fruits and tubers there and do not like any outsider to even touch them.
         "In you search for Janaki do not in anyway offend those Gandharvas. Then you proceed to the Mt. Vajra.
         "The Mt. Vajra is beyond Mt. Paariyaatra. It will be with a shine similar to the hue of the gemstone lapis, and it will be looking like a diamond in its shape. You will see that glorious mountain soaring high, squarely for a hundred yojanas, and diverse trees and climbers will be spreading over it. Search that mountain including its caverns.
           "In the fourth quarter of that ocean from land there is a mountain called Chakravaan. Vishvakarma, the Divine Architect, constructed a huge wheel with one thousand spokes on it. I understand that that is some sort of weapon.
              "Search the delightful cliffs of that Mt. Chakravaan and also in its spacious caves, together with for Ravana.
          "Then go to the Mt. Varaaja which is at sixty-four yojanas from the Mt. Chakravaan. That, too is a very great mountain with golden peaks. It is said to be the abode of the Rain-god, namely the ocean. A city named Praagjyotisha is there which is completely golden, wherein the evil-minded rakshash named Naraka is living.
            "There on the delightful cliffs and spacious caves of that Mt. Varaaha, including that city Praagjyotisha, search Ravana  together with Vaidehi. 
         "From there go to the entirely golden mountain containing waterfalls and rapids called Meghavanta.
         "From the Mt. Meghavanta, you go to the range of sixty thousand golden mountains. Those mountains are radiant all around with the tinge of young Sun, and with the resplendence of fully flowered trees which are wholly golden in hue. There is a unique and kingly mountain in the midst of that range of golden mountains, which is called Mt. Meru, or Saavrni Meru, to which mountain the generous Sun has once given a boon. Sun told that mountain 'By my beneficence whatever that is sheltered by you, like trees, climbers, rapids, boulders, all of them will transmute into golden hue, either by day or by night. Even those that reside on you, i.e. gods, gandharvas, demons etc., they too shall thrive as my votaries and as far as their resplendence is concerned they will be glittering like gold, i.e., in the ochry golden hue of the eventide.' Search that mountain.
           "On all those mountains, lakesides and riversides Vaidehi shall be searched together with Ravana, far and wide.
          "By the way, my valorous father-in-law, namely Sushena, is proceeding along with you. He will be your leader."

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

175. Search Party sent to South.

             On seeing the task force for eastwards headed by Vinata getting ready to leave, Sugreeva started to select the task force for southwards. After a careful deliberation, Sugreeva decided Angada as the head of the task force to be sent southwards. He called Angada and some other prominent and valorous vanaras who were not only valorous but had plenty of dash and dare, like the son of Agni (Fire-god) Neela, and the exceptional vanara Hanuman, the highly vigorous son of the Grandparent Brahma, namely Jaambavanta and also Suhotra, Sharaari, Sharagulma Gaja, Gavaaksha, Gavaya, Sushena, Vrishabha, Mainda, Dvivida, Gandhamaadana, Ulkaamukha and Ananga.
(Sushena mentioned above was NOT the father of Tara.) 
         Sugreeva announced the formidably mighty Angada as the chief of that task-force being sent to southward. And then he ordered them "Search the thousand crested Vindhya mountains abounding with numerous tress and climbers, then the delightful Narmada river coursing a little southerly to that range, which is adored by great snakes, along with  the wonderful River Godavari, as well as River Krishnaveni and Maha Nadi, and then the greatly auspicious River Varada which is an adoration to great snakes. And the territories of Mekhala, Utkala, the cities of Dashaarna, kingdoms of Abravanti, Avanti, and Vidarbha, also thus the charming kingdom of Maheehaka, are to be searched thoroughly.
           "Likewise Vanga and Kalinga territories should be searched along with Kaushika territories on their fringes. Do not omit the Dandaka forest and the mountains in and around that forest. River Godavari that courses through Dandaka forest, and the provinces of Andhra, Pundra, Chola, Paandya, Kerala are also to be searched thoroughly.
      "Then try the prosperous Mt. Malaya which is crowded with iron-ore mines at its vast mouths, and with amazing crests and motley flowered forests. Thoroughly search that great mountain and more so in the places that are with the copses of sandalwood trees.
         "From there you go and see the divine River Kaaveri, a receptacle of limpid waters.
     "You will find there the rishi Agastya, whose resplendence is akin to that of the Sun, sitting on the top of that highly resplendent Mt. Malaya. Seek his permission complaisantly to go further. After Agastya permits you, you leave that mountain and cross over the great River Taamraparni, a highly cherished river for crocodiles.
           "She whose water is overlapped with amazing copses of sandalwood trees and islands that River Taamrapani will be drifting for a rendezvous with her much yearned lover, namely the ocean, as with a young woman who will be coursing to have a rendezvous with her yearned lover.
           "From there, proceed to the Paandya Kingdom where you will see a fully golden castle-door bracing the compound-wall of the fortress, which is decorated with pearls and jewels, and conduct your search discreetly in that kingdom. Then on reaching the southern ocean, and on taking a resolve with regard to the purpose of your task, viz., importance of the mission undertaken vis-à-vis your individual capacities to leap the ocean, you reach the glorious Mt. Mahendra. Sage Agastya once penned its one end in the ocean, and the other end is now visible. That august and best one among all mountains will be completely golden with marvellous terraces and trees, and it will be steeping into ocean on the other side of land, and this mountain becomes the jumping-off point for you vanaras.
           "Mt. Mahendra is glorified with numerous kinds of flowered trees and climbers. Important gods, sages, yakshas and apsaras adore it, and it is overspread with the groups of siddhas and chaaranas, and thus it will be quite lovely to look at. And the Thousand-eyed Indra will always be visiting that Mt. Mahendra on every auspicious day.
          "There is a dazzling island on the other side of the shore of Mt. Mahendra, which is breadthwise a hundred yojanas, and which is an impassable one for humans, and you have to search that island up to its fringes.
            "I feel that Seetha is most likely there on that island because it is the dwelling place of the king of rakshashas Ravana, who is the coequal of Indra in his resplendence.
           "But beware of the rakshashi Angaaraka there in the midst of that southern ocean. She eats prey by grabbing its shadow when flying overhead.
(This demoness is also termed as Simhika whom Hanuman tears apart in Sundara Kanda.)
       "In all your searches, you should ensure that Seetha was definitely not there before leaving that place for the next.  On crossing over that isle and after a hundred yojanas you will find there the mountain named Pushpitaka, which is adored by the celestials like siddhas and chaaranas. Well-settled in oceanic waters that Mt. Pushpitaka will be shining forth with a resplendence similar to sunrays on one side and with that of moonshine on the other, and its lofty crests will look as if they are scribbling on the sky. One of its summits will be golden which the Sun adores, and another will be silvery whitish which the Moon adores, and that mountain is invisible to the unfaithful, unkindly or unbelievers. Remember to venerate that Mt. Pushpitaka by bowing your heads before you start searching it. From there go to the mountain named Suuryavaan which is fourteen yojanas away from the Mt. Pushpitaka. Give it a thorough search. 
     "In case your search did not yield the desired results, go to the  mountain named Vaidyuta whose trees will be all-time heart-pleasing and they yield fruits satiating every taste. You can devour the choicest fruits and tubers growing on the Mt. Vaidyuta, as well as the precious honey at that place. Then proceed to the mountain named Kunjara, on which Vishvakarma built the mansion for Agastya.
       "There you can see the golden abode of Agastya whish is beautifully decorated with numerous gemstones, and it measures a yojana breadthwise and ten yojanas in height. There is a city named Bhogavati which is an abode for snakes. It has broad roads and safeguarded from everywhere, and thus it becomes an unvanquishable city. Deadly serpents with harrowing fangs and fatal venom will be protecting it, where the highly hazardous king of serpents, namely Vasuki, is dwelling. Search that Bhogavati city and on coming out of that city, you search the fringes surrounding that city including the intermediate zones from the city to its fringes.
           "On crossing over that province there will be a glorious mountain named Rishabha, as that great mountain looks like a Holy Bull, and it is replete with every kind of gemstone. Whereon the sandalwood trees of ochry-yellowy, lotus-leaf-greenly, sky-blue colours, and as well as the most attractive sandalwood trees which will be in the glow of Fire are produced in that mountain Rishabha.
            "But never touch those sandalwood trees, as a genre of Gandharvas called Rohita are protecting them. Five gandharva kings, namely Shailuusha, Gramani, Shiksha, Shuka, and Bhabru, whose resplendence is similar to that of Sun are residing there. It is also the dwelling place of those who achieved ethereality by their pious activities, of whom some resemble the Sun, some Moon, and some Fire by their physique.
         "From Mt. Rishabha to the terminus of the earth the invulnerable beings who won heavens will be staying. After that, farther from earth there is the most dreadful world of manes, namely the abode of Yama, and you need not consider going there. You can go or search only up to this point, as that world of manes will be encompassed with an alarming darkness, and it is the capital city of Yama. After that there is no entry into the abode of Yama for the mortals.
        "Then return quickly for reporting. May be I omitted  to mention some places. You are hereby authorized, nay commanded to search places which are not mentioned by me, too. He who returns before a month and informs that 'Seetha is found,' will enjoy a comfortable living on a par with me in high-living and luxuries.
        "He who says so will be more dearer to me than anyone, and despite the fact that he might have committed some misdeeds in the past, he becomes my confidant."

Sunday, 22 June 2014

174. Search for Seetha is commenced.

                Sugreeva then turning to Rama said "Look! The entire force at my command has arrived. I hereby place it at your disposal without any reservation. They are ready for any action whatsoever
              "Oh, Rama, I would like to add that these vanaras are acclaimed for undertaking deeds considered impossible and accomplish them. They are powerful and have overcome weariness. They are renowned for their confrontation and noteworthy in their maneuvers. They can travel either on earth or on water  with equal dexterity. 
          "Please let me know what is the first next thing you want them to do. I will get it done with utmost promptitude."
       With effusive happiness, Rama hugged sugreeva and said "Oh, gracious Sugreeva, it is not known whether Vaidehi is alive or not. If she is alive we should find out where she is kept. Therefore, these two things are to be ascertained, at the outset. Our next course of action depends on these information."
              When Rama said so, Sugreeva thought for a while and decided to start the search in the east. Then he called and told one of the mightiest chiefs, named Vinata, who looked like a mountain and roared like thunders while fighting "Oh, Vinata, you are an acclaimed expert in determining the tasks in consonance with time, place and probity. Hence, you, along with the powerful vanaras under your control, go over the Eastern direction of the earth inclusive of its mountains, woodlands and forests.
         "There in the East, the forests, mountains and hiding places shall be searched for the princess of Videha, namely Seetha, the dear wife of my friend Rama. And also find out the residency of the rakshas Ravana.
        "You shall search on the mountains and in the townships that are steeped in the ocean. And you have to search on the peaks of mountains, where some extensive and unsightly beings are harbored, and at places where some other beings live with odd physical features. All the dwellings are to be searched in jambuu dwiipa. And you have to go beyond this to other easterly places that are reachable by mountaineering or by hopping or  by boat.
     "You strive hard in the island of Yava, as well as the Golden and Silver islands that are enwreathed with gold-mines, in and around Yava islands. On crossing over Yava Island, there is a mountain named Shishira, which touches heaven with its peak, and which is adored by both devas and asuras. You shall collectively rake through all these mountains, waterfalls, and forests in these islands for the glorious wife of Rama.
       "Search the hamlets, townships and the like along the river Shona, waters of which will be reddish with deep and speedy drift, and which is adored by siddhas and caranas (celestial singers). Do not omit those beautiful ghats  of that Shona River, and in the amazing forests along the shore. 
         "Then proceed to the island Plaksha Island. On that Plaksha Island very vast rivers emerge from mountains, but alongshore they have many pleasure gardens. You have to search in those gardens and at rivers together with cavernous mountains and forests of that island, and then proceed to Ikshu Island.
           "Then try at the terribly furious, tempestuous, blaring and tide-ripped ocean called ikshu samudra, as well as the ocean's islands which will be extremely ghastly. That ocean which mirrors a dark cloud and hallowed by great serpents, which blares blatantly is to be traversed only by it shores tactfully, to avoid being shadow-captured by its inhabitants. There you will see colossal bodied asuras with everlasting hunger inhabiting that ocean, capture prey by its shadow, as endued by Brahma. 
             "From there, go to the disastrous ocean named Lohita (meaning Red) Ocean, for its waters are red. There you shall see the colossal tree Kuuta-shalmali. This island is called shaalmali dwiipa (i.e. Shaalmali Island) because of this tree.
        "On that Shalmali Island you will be seeing the mansion of Vinata's son, namely Garuda, the Eagle-vehicle of Vishnu, which is decorated with numerous jewels, and which in sheen will be like Mt. Kailash, the abode of Shiva. This mansion is a construction of Vishvakarma, the Heavenly Architect. Thereabout huge-bodied, horrifying and merciless rakshashas of various shapes and similar to mountains in size, called Mandehas, will be dangling upside down from mountain peaks. Day after day those rakshashas will be falling in water when the sun always burns them at sunrise and fells them down, yet they will be resurfacing and start dangling on the mountaintops in the evening.
        "Then try the milk ocean, which will be like a whitish cloud in its shine, and would look like a pearly necklace while her ripples will be swaying. In the centre of that milk ocean there is a white mountain of colossal size, named Rishabha, surrounded with closely grown trees ever flowered with flowers of heavenly fragrance. And the renowned Lake Sudarshana is also there. That lake is replete with silvery lotuses whose fibrils are golden in sparkle, and in which kingly swans will be scampering about. Devas, chaaranas, yakshas, kinnaraas and hosts of apsara females will be coming to that lotus-lake Sudarshana joyously to enjoy frolicking in that Lake.
           "And on crossing over the milky ocean, you will immediately be seeing the soft-water ocean which will be frightening. There exists a fantastically refulgent Fire in the form of Horse's Face that originated from the anger of the Sage Aurasa. The victuals to that Fire is said to be that highly speedy waves of the ocean, together with all of the mobile and immobile beings of the world at the close of each Era.

        The name Aurasa is derived from the word उरु,(uru) meaning 'the thigh.' The mother of this sage hid him under her thigh when some kings came to kill him. Then with vengeance this sage started to burn the world with his yogic fire, but his manes pacified and asked him to release his yogic fire in the ocean water. When he did so, that fire remained underwater, ready to emerge from a cavity like that of a she-horse's mouth, from beneath the ocean from the South Pole. This fire is called vaDaba agni, or baDaba anala, referred here as Horse's Face. At the time of yuga anta, End of Era, that fire emerges out, and the whole creation, with all its stationary and mobile beings, become its fuel. This episode is detailed in aadi parva, First Canto, Maha Bharata.
End Comment.
        "There the high squealing sounds of oceanic beings dwelling undersea are audible. This is due to the fact  that they were incapacitated as well as tortured by the intense heat of the Fire from the Horse Mouth.
          "On the northern province of that soft-water ocean there is a hugely enormous mountain named Jaataruupa-shila (meaning Golden Mountain), the glitter of which is spread across thirteen yojanas. There you will see the lotus-petal, broad-eyed and thousand-hooded serpent god in black clothing, namely Ananta, sitting on the top of that mountain and sustaining the earth on his head, and is shining like moon in his brilliance and whom all beings hold in reverence.
       "A golden pylon resembling a palm tree with three branches as its heads is established on the peak of that mountain as the insignia of Ananta, and it will be lustrous with a golden podium. That  palm tree like pylon is constructed as the easterly compass by celestial gods, and beyond that is the completely golden mountain, namely the august Udaya Mountain (the Mt. Sunrise), beyond which it is all west. The pinnacles of Mt. Sunrise will be touching heavens for their height is hundred yojanas and that divine mountain greatly glitters for it is completely golden, and it is pedestalled with suchlike glittering mountains.
           "That Mt. Sunrise will be splendorous with well flowered and beautiful saala, palm, Tamaala, and Karnikaara trees which are completely golden in hue and which will be glittering similar to sun. On the apex of that Mt. Sunrise there is another pinnacle with one yojana width and ten yojanas height named Saumanasa, which is completely golden and very firm. Earlier while treading the three worlds in the incarnation of Trivikrama, the Supreme Person Vishnu made His first foothold on that pinnacle Saumanasa, and the second on the pinnacle of Mt. Meru to tread the heavens. The Sun is by far discernable in Jambu Dwiipa when he rises on this zenithal pinnacle Saumanasa, after he had circled the Jambu Dwiipa in a northerly route.
         "There the great-sages with the nomenclature of Vaikhanasas and Vaalakhilyaas will come into view with an ambience of luminosity, for those ascetics will be with the resplendence of the Sun.
             "In the presence of which resplendence the eyes of all living beings will become enlightened, and whereat that illuminating entity of universe, namely the Sun, will be sojourning, this is that Sudarshana Island, named so because it contains Sudarshana lake. On the top of that Mt. Sunrise, and even in its caves and forests of that island Ravana is to be searched, together with Seetha. The eastern aurora glows reddish because the golden hue of Mt. Sunrise imbricates the resplendence of the beneficent Sun.
            "In the beginning Brahma, the Creator, ordained this Mt. Sunrise to be the gateway for the earth to heaven, and even as the rising place for the Sun. As such this is verily said as the 'eastern quarter' of the compass.
          "Search thoroughly that mountain's peak, and also thereabout the rapids and caverns of that mountain for Vaidehi, and for Ravana. Beyond the Mt. Sunrise the eastern quarter is impassable. It will be hemmed in with gods since it is the gateway to heaven. Janaki should be scouted out on all those mountains, caverns and forests.  Also search those places omitted to be mentioned by me. 
          "You shall comeback within a month after finding out Vaidehi and the residency of Ravana."