Friday, 9 September 2016

387. Hanuman tells Bharata what happened to Rama in the forest.

          Bharata continued  "I am extremely delighted hearing the news of the return of my dear brother and lord, who proceeded to the forest so many years ago. Please tell me how they were spending their time in the forest. Hope nothing untoward thing happened."
           Hanuman, who was seated in a very comfortable seat next to Bharata started his tale about Rama's exploits and misfortunes and how he overcame them "I think I better tell you what happened to Rama after you left him carrying his sandals.
       "As the animals and birds seemed to be frightened to see strangers i.e. Rama, Lakshmana and Seetha, they left that forest Chitrakuta. They then they started to move over to a large, terrific and solitary forest Dandaka, which had been trampled by elephants and extensive with lions, tigers and deer.
        "When they were entering deep into that forest, Viradha, a rakshash, suddenly appeared before them. They fought with him and pushing him into a pit killed him.
        "They then reached the beautiful hermitage of Sharbhanga in that evening. After that sage Sharabhanga ascended to heaven, our triple left for Janasthana.
       "Thereafter, a rakshashi called Surpanakha solicited the hand of Rama in marriage which was, of course declined. Assuming Seetha was the reason for her rejection, she tried to kill Seetha. Lakshmana intervened and chopped off her ears and nose with his sword. This caused fourteen thousand rakshashas to try to kill Rama, but Rama killed them. All the ascetics were quite happy as these rakshashas were causing obstacles to their austerity.
     "The rakshashas who were killed include Khara, their leader, Dushana and Trishira, the brothers of Khara.
       "Surpanakha then rushed to Ravana, her brother and convinced him that he should make Seetha his wife.   Disguised in the form of a deer studded with precious stones, a rakshash by name, Maricha, a relative of Ravana, allured Seetha.
     "Seetha, on seeing it, told Rama to get it for her. Thereupon, Rama tried to get hold of that deer. Rama was angered to see that it was eluding him. As he was not able to get hold of it, he killed  it with an arrow.
       "While Rama was away chasing the deer, Lakshmana was also cleverly manoeuvred to leave the hermitage and Seetha was there alone without any protection. Ravana forthwith entered the hermitage and seized Seetha. Having killed a vulture named Jatayu, who sought to deliver her, Ravana went away with Seetha.
   "Ravana taking Seetha in his aerial car was seen by the vanaras. On reaching Lanka Ravana proposed to Seetha. Seetha rejected him outright. She was then kept in the Ashoka vana and a horde of rakshashis employed to guard her and also to make her agree to marry him.
      "Having killed that deer, Rama, on his way back to the hermitage saw his dear bro Lakshmana who was sent by Seetha to ensure that he (Rama) was safe. On returning to the hermitage, they found Seetha missing. While searching for her they chanced upon the vulture, Jatayu lying mortally hurt. They learnt from that bird that Seetha was abducted by the rakshash Ravana.
      "While searching for Seetha, they were entangled in the looooong hands of the rakshash Kabandha whom they killed. Before dying, Kabandha advised Rama to approach Sugreeva, living in the Mount Rishyamuka for his help in finding Seetha.
        “Rama and Sugreeva became close friends. It was agreed between them that Rama will kill Vali, the brother of Sugreeva and Sugreeva then will help Rama in finding Seetha and also to rescue her.
      "Rama killed Vali and made Sugreeva the king. As agreed to, Sugreeva sent his his vanaras to all directions to locate Seetha.
     "I was in the team sent to the south. We reached Vindhya, the foremost of mountain-ranges but we could not locate Seetha.
     "While we were discussing inter se our hard luck,  the brother of Jatayu, Sampati who chanced to hear our conversation, precisely communicated to us where Seetha was held by Ravana.
    "As commanded by our leader, Angada, I went to Lanka and saw Seetha kept in the Ashoka vana, clad in a soiled silk-saree, looking cheerless, but unflinching in her vow. I met her and gave her a ring with the name, Rama engraved on it, as a proof of my authenticity.
   "Receiving in return from her, a jewel  from her head, I came back to the northern shore, successful as I was in my undertaking. On my return, I gave Rama that brilliant and valuable jewel as a proof of my meeting Seetha.
        "Then, on reaching the ocean, he got a bridge constructed by Nala and through that bridge, the army of the valiant vanaras crossed the ocean. Neela killed Prahasta. Ram killed Kumbhakarna and Ravana. Lakshmana killed Indrajit, the son of Ravana.
      "When Rama killed all the rakshashas in Lanka, Indra, Yama, Varuna, Maheshvara, Brahma as also Dasharatha, your deceased father came from heaven and bestowed boons to Rama.
     "Vibhishana was kind enough to spare the Pushpaka Viman for our journey back. Rama and all others are staying in the hermitage of the sage Bharadwaja."
       Bharata thanked Hanuman for the information

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