Thursday, 30 July 2015

289. Shuka takes his turn.

           Eager to impress his king with his findings, Shuka, ignoring all etiquette,  peremptorily took over from his pal  by saying "O, king! Please look over there where the vanaras resembling huge elephants in rut, rising like banyan trees on the banks of the river Ganga or sala trees on Himalayas. Those warriors, able to change their form at will, are irresistible, equal to devas and danavas, and in a battle, are endowed with the valour of the gods. There are twenty one thousand crores, a thousand Shankus* and a hundred Vrindas* of these vanaras.
      "These vanaras are the attendants of Sugreeva and were born of devas and gandharvas, are able to change their form at will and always stay in Kishkindha. Those two lookalikes looking like devas standing over there, are Mainda and Dvivida. None can equal them in combat. These two who have drunk amrutam with due authorisation by Brahma are hopeful of destroying Lanka.
      "That vanara you see over there, resembling an intoxicated elephant, who in strength and fury is able to churn up the ocean itself, is the one who came to Lanka to find Seetha and spy on you. This vanara, by whom the ocean was traversed, is the eldest son of Kesari. He is known as the son of Vayu and famously called as Hanuman. He can assume any form at will. He is endowed with a great strength and a good form. He moves like his dad Vayu, with uninterrupted mobility.
           "When he was a child, seeing the sun rise  at dawn, he  presumed it to be some fruit and wanted to eat it. He then jumped up to get it up to a distance of three thousand yojanas (or twenty four thousand miles). However, before reaching the sun, which is unassailable even to devas, sages or danavas, he fell on a mountain, where that radiant orb rises. The fall resulted in the fracture of his jaw. For this reason, because of his strong jaw, he is called Hanuman. I actually learned a lot about this vanara from my bosom friends. It is not possible to describe his strength or physical form or glory in a few words. He alone would be able to destroy Lanka by his valour. How can we forget this vanara by whom the fire that was lighted in his tail by us was in turn lighted and is still blazing up Lanka? Nearby is a warrior, dark of hue with eyes like lotuses, the chief warrior among Ikshvakus, his heroism is well-known in all the worlds, his sense of duty never wavers, nor does he ever transgress the righteousness, he can handle without any difficulty the Brahma Astra and is conversant with Veda, he is the most learned of the Vedic scholars, he can shatter the firmament with his arrows, and rends even the earth, his anger is akin to that of Death, his valour equal to that of Indra, his consort is Seetha who was taken away by you from Janasthana, is Rama who has come to wage war on you, O king! This man, having the radiance of pure gold, with a broad chest, having red eyes, with black and curled hair, standing at the right side of Rama, is his brother called Lakshmana, who is interested in the care and welfare of his brother, skilled in leadership of combat and excellent among the wielders of all weapons.
        "This Lakshmana is said to be a very short-tempered person, difficult to be conquered, victorious, wise and mighty. He is said to be the right hand of Rama.
      "He does not care for his life in the cause of Rama. He is said to be very capable of killing in battle all the rakshashas, alone. Sir, do you see your brother Vibhishana there, taking guard at the left side of Rama. He is said to have been consecrated as a king for Lanka by Rama, who is sure of killing you in the ensuing battle with you. The vanara you see as an unshakable mountain and standing in the center of vanaras is the Lord of all the chiefs of vanaras, with a boundless energy and who, like an Himalayan hill, very much radiating the other vanaras by his splendour, glory, wisdom, strength and his noble descent, who occupies along with the chiefs of Army Generals, a secret place called Kishkindha, with its forests and trees and the place inaccessible because of its impassable mountains in which is established. Wearing his charming, beautiful and golden coloured garland with hundred lotuses is Sugreeva. This garland along with a lady called Tara as well as the permanent kingdom of vanaras were presented to him by Rama after killing Vali, the elder brother of Sugreeva. 
Clarification of the numbering system used in the Valmiki Ramayana:
      One hundred lakhs is a crore. A hundred thousand crores is reckoned as a Shanku. A hundred thousand Shankus are said to be one Maha Shanku. A hundred thousand Maha Shankus are called one Vrindam here. A hundred thousand Vrindas are said to be one Maha vrindam. A hundred thousand Mahavrindas are called one Padmam here. A hundred thousand padmas are said to be one Mahapadmam. A hundred thousand Mahapadmas are called one Kharvam here. A hundred thousand kharvas are said to be one Mahakharvam. A hundred thousand Mahakharvas are called one Samundram. A hundred thousand Samudras are said to be one ugha here. A hundred thousand ughas are acclaimed a one Mahaugha.
End Clarification

       "This Sugreeva, the king of vanaras, having great strength and valour, always surrounded by a colossal army, has come over here, accompanied by the valiant Vibhishana and his cronies, as also a hundred thousand crores of Shankas, a thousand Mahashankus, a hundred Vrindas, a thousand mahavrindas, a hundred padmas, a thousand Mahapadmas, a hundred kharves, samudras and Mahaughas of the same number, and a crore of Mahanghas whole army as such is identical of an ocean.
       "O, king! Please take a good look at this army, which appears like a blazing planet. Take appropriate measures to avoid defeat from these enemies."

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