Sunday, 12 April 2015

253. Hanuman reported the details of his journey to and from Lanka.

                   After ensuring that all the members of the team were seated comfortably, Jambavan asked Hanuman “My dear chap! Please let us all hear from you the details of your trip to and fro Lanka. How did you see Seetha? How was she there? How was that roguish rakshash Ravana treating her? O Hanuman! Tell us everything in detail whatever has occurred without omitting even a minor incident. After hearing you, we have to formulate the next course of action. Please let us have your opinion as to what info are to be disclosed and which are to be kept off from Rama, when we see him.”
         After praying Seetha and Rama mentally by bowing his head, Hanuman said “All of you know that, as desired by you all I leapt into the sky from the summit of the Mount Mahendra intent to reach the other end of the ocean. While I was going, a  golden mountain-peak which was so charming and fascinating came up on my way. I presumed that mountain was trying to stop me and as such I decided to shatter that excellent, charming and golden mountain.
         "As I struck it with my tail, the mountain-peak of that great hill, resembling the sun, was broken into a thousand pieces. Understanding my purpose, that great mountain said kindly 'O my son!'. When I paused for an instant and started to complete my task that mountain said loudly 'Know me to be generally called as Mynaka dwelling in this great ocean, as a companion as well as a brother of Vayu, your dear father.
          " 'O my son! Long ago, the foremost among the mountains used to have wings. They used to wander the entire earth freely, inadvertently hurting people sometimes. Indra did not like this and started chopping off their wings. O child! I, on my part, was hurled into this great ocean by Vayu, your father and thus was saved from from the clutches of Indra. 
          “ 'O Hanuman! I wanna  help Rama for the simple reason that Rama, having a prowess equal to that of Indra, is also excellent in supporting righteousness.' Hearing the words of Mynaka I, after informing him my purpose and the urgency of my travel, sought his permission to proceed without any delay. The kind Mynaka  allowed me to proceed. That Mynaka mountain vanished in the guise of a beautiful form of a human being. That large mountainous form also later drowned into the great ocean.
       "Thereafter, I was obstructed by Surasa, the mother of serpents in the midst of that ocean. She accosted me with 'Hi! The celestials told me that you would be very tasty and as such advised me to eat you. Therefore, me gonna eat you.'
          "After offering her my greetings and saluting her, I politely replied Surasa "Rama, the son of Dasharatha, together with Lakshmana, his brother and his wife Seetha entered the forest of Dandaka. The evil-minded Ravana took away Seetha, Rama's wife. By the orders of Rama, I am going to find her as an envoy. 
       " 'You, residing in Rama's country, ought to  help me to find Rama's wife Seetha. At least let me go now. I solemnly assure you that after seeing Seetha and Rama, I will come to you as your sweet dish.' Surasa did not agree to my request. Then I grew immediately as tall as ten Yojanas (eighty miles). Seeing me grown like this, she opened her mouth wide enough to accommodate me in it. Seeing her doing so, I grew further in size to fifteen Yojanas (or one hundred twenty miles). She opened her mouth further to accommodate  the size of my body. Then I suddenly  reduced to the size of my body to the size of a human thumb and entered her mouth and then immediately  came out. The divine Surasa, was pleased with my manoeuvre. She told me smilingly 'O Hanuman! Go happily for the fulfillment of your purpose. Bring back Seetha to the magnanimous Rama. Be happy. I am pleased with you.' Then, all those devas watching the fun  praised me saying Good! Well done! Bravo!...etc. Thereupon, I leapt into the extensive sky, like Garuda the eagle, the carrier of Lord Vishnu. Then on my way, my shadow was held fast and I was hardly able to move. Yet, I did not perceive anything. 
            "While I was wondering what could have caused such an hindrance to my journey. I started looking all the ten directions for the cause. When I looked below downward I saw a  terrifying, dreadful, fearful, and monstrous rakshasi lying in water.
          "Seeing me looking at her, she guffawing merrily told me 'O gigantic flying vanara! Where are you going? As I am very hungry I stopped you to make you my grub. I didn't get any good food for long and I need you badly for my sustenance. Please gratify me.' I agreed saying 'Amen', Then, I expanded my body to a size larger than the capacity of her mouth.
      "Her terrific large mouth too grew large enough to devour me. Seeing that I shrunk my body and went into her mouth  extracted her heart and leapt back out.
The heartless rakshashi, looking like a mountain, fell into the ocean with her arms emanating from it. I heard great sages along with the wandering celestial singers, moving in the sky, saying Simhika the dreadful rakshashi was  killed by Hanuman.
       "I, then travelling further for quite some time saw the southern shore of the ocean, where that City of Lanka, adorned with its trees, was situated. While the sun was setting, I, without being noticed by the rakshasas entered the city of Lanka.
    "While I was entering the City, a large woman accosted me. After defeating that woman by striking her with a blow of the fist of my left hand, I entered Lanka at dusk. When I defeated her, she told me 'O hero! I am the personified City of Lanka. As you have defeated me, you can defeat all the rakshasas here completely.'
      Searching for Seetha for the great part of the night, I could not find that Seetha.
     "Unable to find Seetha even in Ravana's dwelling and ipso facto becoming despondent and not knowing what to do I started moaning. While bemoaning, I saw an excellent grove near the gynaecium, concealed by a prolonged fence painted with golden colour. Crossing the fence, I saw that grove having copious trees. Amidst that Ashoka garden, I saw a large Shimshupa* tree. After ascending it, I beheld yonder an yellow-pigmented thicket of banana plants.
* Botanical name: Delbergia sissoo.
       "Not far from that Shimshupa tree, I saw Seetha, of youthful complexion, with eyes looking like lotus-petals, with her face emaciated by fasting, clad in a single piece of cloth, her hair soiled with dust, her limbs afflicted with grief and agony, devoted as she was to her lord and surrounded on all sides by ugly and cruel rakshashis living on flesh and blood, as a doe encircled by tigresses. Seetha, who had eyes like those of a deer, was somehow found by me looking depressed in the midst of those rakshashis, frightened as she was by them again and again, putting on a single braid of hair, as a mark of desolation, wholly devoted to the thought of her lord, having floor as her bedstead,  like a lotus-stalk in a cool season, turning away the request of Ravana, and determined to die.
      "Seeing that illustrious woman, the consort of Rama, in such a state, I stayed perched on the same Simshupa tree, looking at her. Meanwhile, I heard an exceedingly roaring and hallooing sound, mixed with sounds of girdles and anklets in the abode of Ravana. Then, I was very much frightened and contracted my physique. I, on my part, remained hidden like a bird in that Simshupaa tree dense with foliage.
         "Then, the mighty Ravana accompanied by many beautiful women reached that place where Seetha was staying. Thereupon, seeing that Rakshash, Seetha with her lovely waist, sat compressing her thighs enclosing her swollen breasts with her arms. Ravana, bowing his head and coming down to speak to Seetha who was frightened, very much grieving for her lord, glancing hither and thither, not finding any protection for her, trembling, distressed and extremely sorrowful saying, 'Treat me with respect.'
          "Ravana told her 'O arrogant lady! O Seetha! If you refuse me by your arrogance, I will be drinking your blood after a period of two months. Hearing those words of the evil-minded Ravana, Seetha was very much irritated told him 'How  your tongue has not yet falen off, O the worst rakshash, by speaking such words to the consort of Rama, of boundless glory, and the daughter-in-law of Dasharatha the lord of Ikshvaku dynasty?
    " 'O ignoble soul! Of what account is your prowess, when you came sneaking in in the absence of my lord, and abducted me? You have no similarity with Rama. You are unfit even to do service to Rama. Rama performs sacrifices. He speaks only truth. He is a lover of battle'.
         "Hearing these harsh words from Seetha, Ravana was at once ablaze with anger, as a fire blazes in a pile of wood. Rolling his cruel eyes and lifting his right fist nearest to his body, Ravana was about to kill Seetha. Then, an alarm was raised by a women there. Springing up from the midst of those women, a royal woman named Mandodari, the wife of that evil-minded Ravana, ran to him. He was restrained by her.
         "She told her husband Ravana, smitten with love 'O My lord!  You have the prowess equal or perhaps more than that of Indra! Why do you crave for this Seetha, a human? O lord! Enjoy yourself with the daughters of gods, Gandharvas the celestial musicians and Yakshas the semi-divine beings. Send this Seetha away to her human hubby.'
         "Then all the women together propitiated that mighty Ravana and quickly took him to his palace. When that Ravana left, the ugly-faced rakshasis frightened Seetha with their cruel and very dreadful words. Seetha reckoned the utterance of those women as a blade of grass. At that time, the roaring of those rakshasis reached Seetha in vain.
         "As their roaring frittered away, those flesh-eating rakshasis became helpless and reported that great resolve of Seetha to Ravana. Thereafter, all those women joined together, warded off their hopes and held back their effort. In the end, they encircled Seetha and were overpowered with sleep.
         "When those rakshasis went to sleep, Seetha, intent upon the welfare of her husband, was deeply aggrieved, miserable and sore, depressed as she was, lamenting pitifully. Trijata, rising suddenly from the midst of those rakshasis told them 'Feed on yourself quickly rather than on Seetha, the daughter of Janaka, a virtuous woman and the daughter-in-law of Dasharatha who does not get destroyed.
        " 'Now, I have seen a dreadful dream, causing my hair to stand erect. It is pointing towards the ruin of our rakshasas and the victory of her husband. We will pray Seetha, who is capable of protecting all of us from Rama. I feel that it is better for us. When such a dream is seen while a woman is weeping, that woman gets relieved of many kinds of sorrows and will obtain happiness. Seetha, the daughter of Janaka, indeed will be pleased on receiving a salutation'.
           "Delighted at hearing the victory of her lord, that girl Seetha then said 'If it is true, I will be protecting you all'. Taking rest for some time and seeing such a dreadful state of Seetha, I reflected upon it. My mind could not satisfy itself. Then all the rakshasis guarding Seetha fell asleep.
      "In order to make Seetha see me and talk to me, I started to describe the history of Ikshvaku's dynasty. Hearing that, Seetha, with her eyes filled with tears, looked at me and asked me 'Who are you? Why did you come here? How did you come? What type of contact do you have with Rama? Please tell me all this.' 
     "I replied her  'O princess! There is a courageous king of vanaras, by name Sugreeva, who is a companion to your mighty  husband, possessing a terrific prowess.
      " 'Know me as Hanuman, a servant of that Sugreeva. Rama, you husband, sent me to find you. O illustrious lady! Rama, your husband, gave me this ring personally to give you as a token of remembrance when I find you.'
             "After giving that ring to her I offered to take her to Rama, her dear husband, by carrying her on my back. Hearing my words and understanding them, Seetha the daughter of Janaka declined my offer saying 'Let Rama take me back, after killing Ravana'.
          "I, then requested Seetha  a token of remembrance which would gladden the heart of Rama. Then, Seetha gave me this foremost jewel and told me  'Let this foremost jewel be taken, by which the long-armed Rama will surely recognize.'
            "Seetha then  gave me a message also in words to me. Then, offering salutation to Seetha the princess in utmost devotion, I started to leave.
        "Seetha then stopped me and said 'O Hanuman! You ought to tell Rama about my tale of woes occurring here. Act so that both those heroes Rama and Lakshmana together with Sugreeva quickly arrive here, soon after hearing my tale. Tell my hubby my survival will be for two months only. Rama cannot see me alive thereafter as I will be dead like a helpless woman.' 
        While leaving her, those harrowing and miserable words were haunting me and I became angry. I decided to do something in this regard. Thereafter, my body grew up to a size equal to that of a mountain. Then, I started destroying that garden, thereby inviting a combat.
           "The rakshashis there with their ugly faces woke up and saw that thicket of garden being broken and with its frightened animals and birds moving about unsteadily. Coming from their respective places and seeing me in that garden, those rakshasis quickly went and reported the matter to Ravana. 
      "Ravana sent a powerful army of rakshasas called Kinkaras to kill or capture me. I killed all of them.
       "Then, an idea came to me. I occupied a lofty palatial mansion of a sanctuary which was an eminent ornament of Lanka, by killing a hundred rakshasas stationed there.
       "Then, Ravana sent Jambumali, the son of Prahasta together with numerous dreadful rakshasas having terrific forms. I destroyed that rakshash, endowed with a great strength, along with his followers, with my terrific iron bar taken from that sanctuary.
       "Hearing of it, Ravana dispatched the son of his minister, endowed with great strength with a regiment of infantry. I killed all of them  by that iron bar itself. Ravana then dispatched five valiant generals.
       "I got all the generals together with their army destroyed. Then, Ravana, the ten-headed monster, sent his mighty son, Aksha together with a multitude of army.
         "I killed him, too.  Hearing of the death of Aksha in combat, that ten-headed Ravana was very much enraged and thereupon dispatched his second son, by name Indrajit, who was strong but foolishly arrogant in battle.
      "Knowing me to be irresistible and his own army being perishable, Indrajit with a great haste, captured me with  Brahma-Asthra. Then, the rakshasas tied me with ropes and carried me away to Ravana's presence.
Seeing me, Ravana asked  'Why did you come to Lanka? Why did you kill the rakshasas?' I answered 'I have done all these acts for the sake of Seetha. I came to your abode with a desire to see Seetha. I am the offspring of Vayu. I am a vanara by name Hanuman, an envoy of Rama and a minister of Sugreeva. As Rama's messenger, I sought your presence here! That Sugreeva of great splendour enquired about your welfare. He directed me to convey the following message to  you.
       " 'While I was dwelling in Mount Rhishyamuka, Rama the prince par excellence became my friend. The king Rama told me that his wife had been taken away by a rakshash and solicited my help to locate where that rogue has kept his wife.
        " 'I readily agreed to that and I requested him to kill my brother Vali, who gravely wronged me. He readily agreed to that. Rama, the great lord along with Lakshmana made a friendship with me, whose kingdom was taken away by Vali. Killing Vali by a single arrow, Rama made me an emperor of all vanaras.
        " 'Now we have to extend help to that Rama in all ways. Therefore, I am sending Hanuman rightly to your presence. To avoid the heroic vanaras destroy your army, bring Seetha quickly and give her back to Rama.'
    "I told Ravana that this was the message of my lord Sugreeva. Ravana on hearing me was enraged and looked on me, as though he was going to reduce me to ashes with his very looks. Without knowing my glory ( in the form of my immunity to death), the evil-minded Ravana, ordered for my execution.
           "Then, Vibhishana the youngest brother of Ravana intervened and told Ravana 'Dear bro., it is not correct to execute an envoy. It would be a breach of protocol. An envoy should not be executed even if a very high offence is committed by him. You very well know all these things. Please revise your order.'
        "Hearing the right and sensible words of Vibhishana, Ravana ordered to burn my tail by fire. Thereupon, I was wrapped up my entire tail with bark of hemp and torn cotton-clothes. Thereafter, the the rakshash servitors, who completed their arrangements, striking me with their wooden staffs and fists, burnt my tail. Even though I was bound with many ropes, I maintained restraint.
        "Then, having reached the city-gate, those strong rakshasas made a loud proclamation of my presence in the principal streets, bound and enveloped in flames as I was. Then, after contracting my gigantic form once more and releasing my bondage, I stood in my native form again. Seizing an iron bar, I killed those rakshasas.
       "Then, I quickly jumped on to that city-gate and without any bewilderment, I set fire that city with its attics, ramparts and gates with my inflamed tail, as a fire at the end of the world, burned all living creatures. The entire Lanka had been reduced to ashes. No place was seen free from burning in that City.
        "Seeing that, a harrowing thought hit me. I thought if all the Lanka was burnt then that Ashoka vana and all its residents including Seetha would have been burnt. This filled me with grief. But to my great relief I heard the auspiciously worded utterance of charanas, the celestial signers who were exclaiming a tale of astonishment saying that Seetha was not burnt. Then I noticed something very astonishing, to wit, even though my tail was burning, I did not feel the pang of it. I then became delighted. The winds were sweet-smelling. My heart was delighted by seeing those good omens and by hearing the words of the accomplished sages.
          "Seeing Seetha once more, relieved by her again and then reaching the Mount Arishta there again, I started leaping back over the sea with a longing to see you all. Then, treading upon the path of the sky, frequented by the wind, the moon, the sun, Siddhas the semi-divine beings and Gandharvas the celestial musicians, I saw you all here.
       "I completed successfully all the tasks for which we were sent by Sugreeva, by the grace of Rama and also through your well wishes. I guess I have done everything properly there"

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