Thursday, 16 July 2015

285. Shuka was finally released at the orders of Rama.

          That army of the valiant vanaras headed by their king Sugreeva looked charming like a full moon night in autumn presided over by the moon and illuminated by bright stars. The earth pressed under the feet of that multitude of warriors of that army which was energetic like a sea, trembled with fear by the rapid movement of that army. Then the vanaras heard a great tumult from the city of Lanka like noisy sounds of kettledrums and tabours, which caused their hair to raise. Their leaders were rejoiced by that sound, but could not tolerate it for long and countered it by emitting shouts, which surpassed, ipso facto suppressed that uproar. Those rakshasas, too, heard the roaring of the wildly delighted vanaras and they, at the first instance thought it  to be the thundering of clouds in the sky. When they noticed that there were no cloud they realized that the sound was from the varana army.
             Seeing Lanka dressed with multi colored flags and buntings, Rama was reminded of Seetha and his heart became queasy with grief. He murmured "Seetha whose eyes resemble those of a young deer, was detained by Ravana there, as Rohini star is overshadowed by the red bodied planet (mars)." Seeing Lakshmana he exclaimed "O, Lakshmana! Look at this Lanka, which appears as though constructed on a hilltop by Visvakarma with his imagination and so elevated scraping the sky looks very lovely. The city of Lanka was constructed densely with many seven storied buildings and appears like  the abode of Vishnu, covered with white clouds. Lanka is made beautiful by the garden vying with chaitraratha (the garden of Kubera the god of riches) with songs of birds of various species, with fruit bearing flowers and charms in bloom. See how a gentle breeze sways the branches where the cuckoos abound where bees swarm and where birds are excited with joy."
        The army of vanaras was divided into battalions according to the procedure found in scriptures. Rama ordered "Taking the troops of vanaras under his command, let Angada take up his position with Nila at the center of the formation. Let Rishabha along with his division of the army take up his position, having recourse to the right side of the army. Let Gandhamadana, the strong and unconquerable, resembling an elephant in rut, take his position superintending the left side of the  troops. I shall stand alert in the forefront of the army along with Lakshmana. Let Jambavan, Sushena and Vegadarshi protect the belly portion of the army. Let Sugreeva the king of vanaras protect the rear guard of the army."
      That army with innumerable skillfully distributed divisions led by the foremost of vanaras, resembled heavens with their mass of clouds. With a desire to crush the rakshashas in battle, the vanaras, seizing peaks of mountains and gigantic trees, kept them ready for use in the battle. All the heroic vanaras took an unequivocal   resolution  in their minds "With peak of mountains or with our bare fists, we shall shatter this Lanka into pieces."
       Then, Rama told Sugreeva "Our forces are properly marshaled. Let this Shuka be released." Hearing the explicit orders of Rama, Sugreeva released Shuka, the messenger.  
       Shuka went to Ravana and stood before Ravana shivering in fright. Seeing him shaking like that Ravana laughingly enquired him "Why were your wings tied up? You appear with your wings plucked up. Have you fallen as a victim to their various fickle minds?" Shuka told him nervously "On the northern shore of the ocean, I conveyed your message in a smooth tone, conciliating and without any ambiguity, exactly as per your instructions. Before I could finish, the enraged vanaras jumped on me and seized me. They soon started beating and plucking me. Those vanaras did not listen to what I was telling them. Vanaras, by their very nature, are angry and ferocious. That Rama the killer of Viraadha, Kabandha and Khara, along with Sugreeva has come over here. Having constructed a bridge across the sea and crossed the salty ocean and expelling the rakshasas, here stands Rama wielding his bow. Thousands of divisions of hordes of bears and vanaras resembling mountains and clouds, cover the earth. There is no more possibility of an alliance between these two armies, to wit, the army of rakshasas and the army of vanaras, than between that of devas and asuras. Very soon they will come to our rampart. Now we have to choose one of the two options to wit,  restore Seetha or defy him."
        Hearing the words of Shuka, Ravana with his eyes becoming blood red in anger, as if he would consume him with his glance, said  "Even if I were frightened by all the worlds or even if I were to face a battle with Devas or Gandharvas or Danavas, I would not give back Seetha. Endowed with a huge army I shall eclipse the aforesaid army of Rama, as the brilliance of all stars is obscured at the rising of the sun. My rashness is like that of the sea and my strength is like that of the wind. Rama is not aware of it. That is why, he is foolish enough to challenge me for a combat. Rama has not seen my arrows resembling venomous serpents lying in my quiver. That is why he is acting stupidly against me. Rama is not aware of my prowess in battle. Neither the thousand eyed Indra nor  Varuna, nor Yama, nor Kubera can defeat me in a battle."

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