Monday, 29 June 2015

281. Ravana tried to disengage Sugreeva from Rama.

           Let us now go back to our villain of this epic, Ravana. Even though he pooh-poohed his brother Vibhishana, he was highly perturbed by what Vibhi was telling about Rama coupled with the atrocities of that animal Hanuman at Lanka. While he was  being perturbed about this matter, one of his spies, the rakshash Shardula informed him that an ever huge army, commanded by Sugreeva, is drawn up in battle array at the northern shore of the ocean. He, that spy told him, Ravana "Boundless and immeasurable like another ocean, this multitude of vanaras and bears is approaching Lanka. Those brothers Rama and Lakshmana, the sons of Dasharatha, acclaimed as the most excellent and dignified men endowed with beauty have arrived in the sea shore and have camped there. Your Majesty! The strength of their army is said to be around a radius of ten yojanas (eighty miles) on all sides. You have to get a confirmation of this info quickly. Your other spies should be able to ascertain the fact quickly. Under such circumstances, either conciliation or an act of giving away or sowing dissention  in the enemy's ranks, whichever your Majesty deems fit  may be employed."
      Shardula's info was like adding petrol (or something like that in those period) to fire. After scratching all his ten heads he came to a conclusion. He called the rakshash Shuka the foremost among those who know their duty and told him "Going quickly, speak fearlessly to the king Sugreeva on my behalf, according to my command, in an excellent and gentle voice, as follows  'O, great king! You are indeed born in a noble family, possessor of a great strength and the son of Riksharaja. No gain whatsoever but only harm will accrue to you from this battle. O, lord of vanaras! Nevertheless, you are like a brother to me. What does it matter to you, if I have embezzled the wife of a wise prince? Therefore, return to Kishkindha. This Lanka cannot be reached by you vanaras in any way. When it cannot be acquired even by devas and Gandharvas, why to talk about men and vanaras?' "
       Then Shuka, the rakshash as instructed by Ravana turned himself into the form of a bird, flew into the sky towards north. Reaching the other shore and remaining in the sky Shuka repeated all the words the wicked Ravana had asked him to tell Sugreeva. Before he could finish, some vanaras bounced into the air, seized  and brought him down to the ground from the sky. The harassed and terrified Shuka wailed loudly "O, Rama! Messengers are not to be killed. Let your vanaras be restrained."
         Hearing Shuka's howl, Rama asked the vanaras not to harm that rakshash. Shuka was much relieved and cried "O, Sugreeva, rich in courage and possessing great strength and valor! What am I to tell Ravana, whose nature is to cause world to cry?"
         Sugreeva shouted back his reply "Tell your boss 'O, Ravana, worthy of killing! You are not my companion. You are not worthy of sympathy. You are not a person who helped me in any way. I do not like you, as you are Rama's enemy. Hence, You are worthy to be killed like Vali, along with your associates. I am killing you along with your sons, relatives and other kinsfolk. Arriving with a great army, I will reduce the entire Lanka and all of you to ashes. You along with your brother will not be left alive by Rama, even if you are protected by all including Indra, the lord of devas or even if you have disappeared by some conjuring trick or obtained the solar orbit or entered the nethermost subterranean region or even if approached the lotus feet of Shiva, the lord of Kailasa mountain. I do not see any protector for you as such in the three worlds, nor do I see any devilish being or a rakshash or a Gandharva or an ogre coming forward to protect you. You killed Jatayu, the king of vultures and who was senior to you by age. Why the wide-eyed Seetha was not tried to be taken away in the presence of Rama or Lakshmana? Having made her captive, you do not recognize her for what she is. You are unaware how strong, high souled and irresistible even to devas, is this Rama the excellent man of Raghu dynasty, who shall deprive you of your life.' "
       Thereafter, Angada the son of Vali told Sugreeva "O, Sugreeva! He is not an ambassador. He appears to me as a spy.  Hovering there high above in the sky all info about our army would have been indeed evaluated by him. Let him be made captive. Let him not return to Lanka." King Sugreeva agreed and Shuka was made a captive. The frightened Shuka started wailing loudly "O Rama! My wings are being pulled out forcibly. My eyes are being pierced. If I die, all the sins incurred by me between my birth and my death would become yours."  Hearing that cry of Shuka, Rama suggested Sugreeva to release him, as he came as an ambassador. However, Sugreeva did not agree and kept him as a prisoner. 

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