Sunday, 10 May 2015

265. Rama reached the sea-shore with his army.

               Rama after a careful appraisal of the info furnished by that learned Hanuman decided to make a move with the army of Sugreeva on that day itself. He said as a reply to Hanuman as well as a command to Sugreeva  "After hearing your inestimable assessment of Lanka, I feel I will be able to conquer Lanka, the city of that terrible rakshash. I am really very confident of this. Be pleased to approve our march at a suitable moment for success. The sun has now reached the mid-day. 
        "Hearing of my march to Lanka, Seetha will get back her hope in life, like a sick man having drunk poison touches ambrosia at the end of his life. This northern planet of Phalguni will be in conjunction with the Hasta star tomorrow. Hence, let us depart today itself with all the troops accompanying us. O Sugreeva! By seeing the omens which are becoming visible, I deduce that I shall bring back Seetha the daughter of Janaka, by killing Ravana. My eye which is twitching on the upper lid is proclaiming my victory."
        After pausing for a while for evaluating the plans for the move, Rama resumed "Let general Nila accompanied by about one hundred thousand warriors go before the army, to explore the way. Let Nila the chief of Army steer the army speedily by the path abound with fruits and roots, cool woods, fresh water and honey. The evil-minded rakshasas may spoil the roots, fruits and water in the path-way. All of us, therefore should be on our guard, always. Let some experienced vanaras jump into low grounds, into places made inaccessible by forest-groves and into thickets and notice whether any rival forces are stationed there. Let whatever the remaining  little feeble forces  stay back in Kishkindha.
          "As our operation will be dreadful, it has to be discharged daringly. Let the best of vanaras with great strength in  thousands lead the formidable front of the army like an oceanic stream. Let Gaja, equal to a mountain, Gavaya a very strong warrior and Gavaksha march in front, as  majestic bulls march in front of a cow-herd. Let Rishabha, the Lord of the simians and the best of the primates march forward, duly guarding the right side of the army of the simians. Let Gandhamadana, with a strength unconquerable like an elephant in rut, proceed duly guarding the left side of the army of vanaras. I myself, mounted on the shoulders of Hanuman, like Indra on Airavata, will march in the centre of my troops, duly cheering the multitude of army. Let Lakshmana, resembling the lord of Death, march on the shoulders of Angada like Kubera, the lord of riches and the sovereign of beings, march on an elephant called Sarvabhauma. Let the highly strong, Jambavan with Sushena and the vanara Vegadarshi, guard the middle part of the army."
          The instructions of Rama was promptly obeyed by Sugreeva, the supreme commander-in-chief of  the forces, who gave orders accordingly. Then the massive army   of vanaras  quickly bounced with enthusiasm from caves and mountain-tops. The greatest and quite a different kind of army of that, nay, all time started the historic (I think 'epical' would be more appropriate) march.
         Rama was surrounded by the vanaras, looking like elephants, numbering ah... (yea I got it) infinity. That army of vanaras followed Rama who was marching in the lead. All those vanaras maintained by Sugreeva were rejoicing with delight.
      The vanaras, jumping overwhelmingly with roaring sound and joyfully playing musical instruments (like trumpets), marched towards southern direction. They marched on, eating good-smelling honeys and fruits and carrying large branches bearing clusters of blossoms in multitude. Wild vanaras would lift up and throw one another all of a sudden. Some others were hanging down and flying upwards. Some others were throwing down others.
         Vanaras close to Rama were shouting, "To us, Ravana is worthy to be killed and also the entire rakshasas."
       Rishabha, Nila, and the courageous Kumuda along with many vanaras were clearing up the path ahead. Sugreeva the king of vanaras, Rama and Lakshmana the destroyers of enemies were moving in the center along with many robust and terrible vanaras. The heroic vanara Satabali who was accompanied by hundreds of millions of vanaras, standing alone firmly, guarded the whole army of vanaras.
           Kesari with a retinue of a hundred crore, Panasa, Gaja and Arka along with very, very, many, many vanaras were protecting one flank of that army. Keeping Sugreeva in front, Sushena and Jambavanta surrounded by many bears, protected the hind part of that army.
       Nila, chief of the army, the self controlled and the foremost among movable beings, was protecting that army in every direction.
    Valimukha, Prajangha, Jambha and Rabhasa were moving on all sides, urging the soldiers forward. Those foremost among the vanaras, proud of their strength, thus marching with the army, saw the Sahya mountain joined with many small mountains, lakes abounding with flowers and eminent ponds. That large army of vanaras, terrific like an ocean-flood, frightfully enraging, having terror-stricken, abandoning the vicinity of towns and even villages, marched like a highly dreadful ocean with a great roaring  sound. All those prominent and valiant vanaras were overwhelmingly jumping ahead, like fine horses being whipped, at the side of that Rama.
        Rama and Lakshmana were being carried on the shoulders by Hanuman and Angada, were effulgent like the moon and the sun having come together in contact with two large planets Jupiter and Venus. Thereafter, Rama treated respectfully by Sugreeva and Lakshmana, moved towards southern direction, along with the army.
         Lakshmana, with a fully meaningful presence of mind, sitting on Angada, told Rama "Dear bro, Killing Ravana fast and rescuing Seetha who was taken away, you will proceed to Ayodhya which is abundantly rich, with the satisfaction of having accomplished your purpose. I am seeing all grand good omens in the sky and the earth self-evident of your fulfillment. The wind which is favorable, gentle, beneficial and comfortable to the army is blowing alongside. These beasts and birds are uttering sonorous and sweet sounds. All the quarters are looking bright. Even the sun is clear. The planet of Venus with its bright light, born from the sage Bhrigu is hanging behind you. Dhruva, the very bright pole-star, which is recognized by the contiguity of the stars presided over by the seven Brahma sages is becoming clear. All the pure great sages having bright light are shining around Dhruva star. The royal sage Trishanku, our paternal greatsomething grand father, born in the Ikshvaku dynasty, is purely shining as a star in front, along with his family-priest. Visakha stars are shining clearly without any evil influence. This supreme constellation is of our Ikshvakus.
          "The Mula constellation of the titans is badly positioned, in that it is touched by a comet raised with a tail of light and tormented by it. All this has come for the destruction of the titans, for, the star seized by death is oppressed by a planet in its last hour. The waters are crystal-clear, with good taste. The woodlands are laden with fruit. The fragrant air is not blowing much. Trees are bearing seasonal flowers. The armies of vanaras formed into different squadrons are looking highly splendid like the armies of celestials in the battle in which the rakshas Taraka was killed. Be pleased to see these good omens in this manner."
         The words of the delighted Lakshmana cheered his brother. Then, the army of vanaras consisting of excellent bears and vanaras with their very nails and teeth as weapons marched ahead, covering the entire earth. The awful dust raised by the nails and claws of the vanaras obscured the splendor of the sun and also covered the earth comprising of mountains, forests and the atmosphere. The colossal vanra-army advanced, encompassing the southern region like a mass of cloud enveloping the sky.
        While the army was crossing a river, the currents flowed inversely for a distance of many yojanas.
     The mighty army passed through lakes containing clear water, mountains full of trees, plain-landed territories and forests laden with fruits. The gigantic army marched, thoroughly covering the land. All of them with a wind-like speed went on, with abundant joy on their faces.
        For the sake of Rama, the vanaras moved with fully elevated pace vied with each other in high spirits, vigour and prowess. Out of pride born of prime youth, some made various gestures on the way. Some wild vanaras there walked very speedily. In that manner, some others hovered highly. Some made noises, sounding "kila! kila!"
         Some vanaras lashed their tails. Some stamped their feet. Some others, stretching their arms, broke off rocks and trees. Some vanaras ascended mountain-peaks and uttered huge noises. Some others mimicked a  lion's roar. Some vanaras were crushing many webs of creepers by the jerks of their thighs. The valiant vanaras also played with rocks and trees, by stretching their limbs.
             In that place, the land was covered splendidly by hundreds of thousands, by thousands and crores of vanaras, who were looking very dreadful. That extensive vanara-army was marching day and night. All the vanaras ruled by Sugreeva were exceedingly pleased and cheerful. All were marching quickly, rejoicing for war. Those vanaras who were desirous of Seetha's release did not halt even for a moment anywhere. The vanaras enjoyed the fruits of Champaka, Tilaka, mango, Praseka, Sinduvaara Timisa and Karaveera trees.
      The vanaras enjoyed Ashoka, Karanja, Plaksa, Nyagrodha, Jambu, myrobalan and Naga trees. Various kinds of forest-trees standing on the enchanting plateaus, being shaken by gust of winds, poured out flowers on those vanaras. A soft-touching breeze, refreshing as  sandal, blew while the bees hummed in the nectar-scented woods. That royal Sahya Mountain was highly adorned with red-coloured metal. The dust blown from that metal by the velocity of wind, coming forth from all sides, obscured the huge vanara-army.
            On the lovely mountain slopes, in blossom on all sides, Ketaki and Sindhuvara trees, the charming Vasanti, Madhavi creepers with flowers full of scent, clumps of jasmine, Chiribila, Madhuka, Vanjula and Vakula, Ranjaka and Tilaka, Nyavriksha all in flower, Mango, Patalika, Kovidara in flower, Muchulinda, Arjuna, Simsapa and Kutaja, Hintala, Timisa, Churna and Nipa, blue Ashoka, Sarala, Ankola and Padmaka trees were crawled in excitement by the vanaras who were delighted.
          There were delightful wells with stairs and ponds in that mountain, sought after by chakravaka birds, frequented by karandava birds, crowded with water-fowls and cranes, visited by boars and deer, haunted on all sides by bears, hyenas, lions and many dreadful tigers. There were beautiful reservoirs of water with blossoming blue lotuses, water lilies, white water lilies, black water lilies and various other kinds of aquatic flowers.
          Various kinds of birds sang in those mountain-peaks. Vanaras bathed in water, drank those waters and played. They ascended the mountain and got drenched in water, by sprinkling water by one over the other among them. Vanaras in mad rut plucked sweet-smelling fruits, roots and flowers there. Those vanaras, in reddish brown colour like honey, drinking honey from honey-combs weighing about a maund each, went on cheerfully. The foremost among the vanaras marched, duly breaking off trees, pulling along creepers and throwing away excellent mountains.
         Some other vanaras, well-pleased with honey they got from trees, yelled loudly. Some others reached trees to get honey. Some others were drinking honey excessively. The earth filled with those excellent vanaras, was like land filled with ripened fields of paddy.
          Then, the lotus-eyed and the mighty-armed Rama reached Mahendra Mountain and ascended its top, adorned with trees. Then, Rama mounted the peak and saw the ocean ruffled with water and scattered well with turtles and fishes.
      They crossed Sahya Mountain and Malaya Mountain and systematically approached the ocean having terrific sound. Rama together with Sugreeva and Lakshmana quickly descended the mountain and went to the excellent woodland adjoining the sea. Rama exclaimed happily "Oh, Sugreeva! We have reached the abode of Varuna. We should consider now the way to cross the ocean.
         "This ocean, the lord of Rivers, seems to be shore-less beyond. This sea is impossible to be crossed without a proper strategy. Now let us discuss and evolve some way to cross this sea."
        Rama, emaciated due to the absence of Seetha, then reached the sea and ordered for the halt of the army there. "Let all the army be stationed at this sea-shore, Sugreeva! Here, the time has come for us to think about the subject of crossing the ocean. Let not anyone slip away in any direction, leaving his respective unit of army. Let valiant vanaras make a move and probe carefully to find whether there is a hidden danger for us."
     Hearing Rama's order, Sugreeva along with Lakshmana made the army to halt at the sea-shore, stretched with trees. That army, stationed at the vicinity of the ocean, shined like a second ocean, splendid with yellowish white honey-colored water.
        There, those foremost of vanaras reached the woodlands at the shore and settled down, desiring to reach the other shore of the vast sea. While all the vanaras were halting there, the noise created out of their movement was dominantly heard, concealing the roar of the sea. That army of the vanaras ruled by Sugreeva, stationed as three divisions viz. 1. bears 2. long tailed vanaras and 3. vanaras, looked fully dedicated to the cause of Rama. That army of vanaras reached the great ocean and was delighted to behold the mighty ocean being diffused by the velocity of wind.
        Seeing the sea, the abode of Varuna, which was boundless and having the opposite shore far off, inhabited by a number of rakshasas, the vanara-troops sat down there.
      Rendered appalling by the ferocity of the fierce alligators and crocodiles, that ocean with its foaming waves at dusk, appeared to laugh and dance, welcoming Rama and his army.
         The ocean surged, when the moon rose. The image of the moon was reflected fully and brightly in it. The sea was full of huge alligators swift as fierce winds along with whales and great fish. That sea, the abode of Varuna was filled with serpents bestowed with flaming hoods, plunged with mighty aquatic creatures. Increasing waves of the sea in which sharks and bodies of serpents swarmed, rose and fell whipped into motion by the breeze. Emitting whirled sparkles, shining with large water-snakes, a fearful abode of enemies of gods forever, and the sea reached up to the uneven Patala. The ocean looked like the sky. The sky looked like the ocean. The ocean and the sky looked alike without any distinction.
          The water blended with sky and the sky blended with water. Filled with stars above and the pearls below, both the sky and the sea looked with the same splendor. There was no distinction between the two, of the sea filled with a row of waves and of the sky with a row of falling clouds. The waves of the ocean together banging one another with a terrific resonance, sounded like a kettle-drum in the sky.
         Those vanaras saw the sea lashing with winds, resonating with abundance of precious stones and water, rising high as if enraged in a grip of hurricane, filled with a number of aquatic creatures and tossed by them in the air by seemingly murmuring waves. The vanaras were struck with amazement to see the ocean seemed moving, full of resonance produced by a multitude of dashing waves rolling to and fro.

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