Sundara Kandam

Ramayanam - Sundara Kandam
By Sage Valmiki
Translated by P. R. Ramachander

Introduction to Ramayana

Vedas and Puranas dominated the ancient religious scenario of Hinduism. Vedas are great store house of knowledge and deal in sacred holy form as to how to lead a normal life, giving stress to the ideal method of living. Side by side the history of religion and the spiritual quest methods to attain God also form a part of Vedas. But Puranas (ancient stories) are epic stories rivaling in greatness of any ancient literature produced anywhere in the world. As the only fore runner of the eighteen great Puranas compiled by Veda Vyasa (literally an essay writer), there is one great Purana which has not been compiled by him and this is Ramayana, which deals with the story of Rama. Ramayana is written by Valmiki - the sage who lived inside an anthill. Unlike Vyasa, who is a great reporter, Valmiki was a very great poet. He had written the story of Ramayana with utmost poetic frenzy and eloquence. There is not a single stanza in Ramayana, where he has not used a figure of speech. His descriptions touch the chord deep of the mind. Hindus believed that it was the first epic ever written and they called it the Adhi Kavya (First Epic) and called Valmiki the Adhi Kavi (First Poet). Unlike the other great Puranas, Ramayana deals with the story of Rama, who is possibly the most ideal human being ever lived in India. In spite of several thousand years old, his story provides a guide to every individual human being as to how to live an ideal life. The entire story of Ramayana is about him and him only. This story is divided in to six chapters viz. Bala kanda (Chapter on Childhood), Ayodhya Kanda (Chapter on Ayodhya), Aranya Kanda (Chapter of the Forest), Kishkinda Kanda (Chapter on Kishkinda), Sundara Kanda (Beautiful Chapter) and Yuddha Kanda (Chapter on War). There is also another chapter Uthara Kanda (After Chapter) which is supposed to have been written by some other poet.

Valmiki was a hunter by birth, who was earning bread to his family by hunting animals. One day Sage Narada, who met him, enquired from him, whether his family members, who shared the food that he took home, were willing to share his sin of hunting and killing the animals. Valmiki thought they would, but none of them were willing to do so. This upset Valmiki and he wanted to give up his sinful ways and search for a better life. Narada requested him to keep on repeating the name of Rama, endlessly and ceaselessly. After some time, in his absorption of meditation, he did not notice that an anthill was built around him. His name comes from this story. Valmiki became a sage and a poet. He was searching for a suitable hero whose story he wanted to write in a poetic form. In his pursuit, one day he saw a hunter killing one among the bird couple, which resulted in the heart-rending cry of the other. This touched his heart and soon he met Sage Narada again. Narada requested him to write the story of Rama which revolves round the marital separation. This suited the poignant mood of Valmiki whose mind was crying ever since he witnessed the death of the bird. An epic poem was born.

This poem was about Rama. Rama along with his younger brothers, Bharatha, Lakshmana and Shatrugna was the son of a great King Dasaratha. All of the four brothers learnt all that has to be known on all aspects of life from Vasishta, their teacher. Due to his soft and lovable personality, the entire world worshipped Rama. The great sage Viswamithra (meaning friend of the world) requested Dasaratha for the services of Rama to kill several Rakshasas who troubled him. Unwillingly Dasaratha sent Rama and Lakshmana along with him. After being further trained by the sage, Rama and Lakshmana helped the sage by killing Subahu and Thadaga. The sage took these two brothers to the state of Mithila where the King Janaka was searching for a suitable groom to his daughter Sita, who was famed for her beauty. On the way Rama's feet touched a stone, which turned in to Ahalya, the wife of sage Gowthama. She was cursed to become a stone because Indra viewed her with passion.

Sita's father Janaka had told that his daughter would be given as a bride to only that man who could handle the great bow of Shiva which was given to him as a boon. Rama could do this effortlessly and won the hand of Sita. The marriage was celebrated with pomp and glory. Rama's brothers also married the daughters of King Janaka's brothers. On their way back, Rama was challenged by Sage Parasurama who had taken a vow to kill all Kshatriyas (Royal caste). Rama broke the great bow that Parasurama was carrying. Parasurama understood that the purpose of his incarnation was over and went back. Rama and Sita spent ten years in Ayodhya happily. Realizing the onset of old age, King Dasaratha wanted to crown Rama as a King of future. Kaikeyi the mother of Bharatha did not like this idea. She reminded Dasaratha that he had given two boons to her when she heroically helped him in a great battle. She asked that her son Bharatha should be made as the King of Ayodhya and Rama should be sent to forest for fourteen years. Rama understanding the predicament of his father, who loved him most, agreed to the conditions of mother Kaikeyi. His wife Sita and his darling brother Lakshmana accompanied him to the forest. He crossed the great River Ganges by the help of Guha, his friend. Unable to contain his sorrow, King Dasaratha died. Bharatha who came back from his uncle's place refused to take over the reins of the Kingdom of Ayodhya. He journeyed to the forest and met Sri Rama. Rama advised him to rule the country for fourteen years. Bharatha agreed to do this as a representative of Rama. He took along with him the wooden slippers of Rama to a town called Nandi Grama and installed them on the throne. He ruled Ayodhya from there as a representative of Rama.

Rama, Lakshmana and Sita got accustomed to the hard life of the forest. They visited the hermitage of many sages which included the hermitage of Sage Agasthya. Instead of living in one single place, they shifted their place of stay often. They also killed many Rakshasas, who were troubling people, like Kabanda, Trishiras, Dhooshana and Khara. When they were living in the Janasthana forest Lord Rama single handedly killed fourteen thousand rakshasas. In the thirteenth year of their stay, Shurpanaka, the sister of Ravana, approached Lakshmana with a request to marry her. Lakshmana cut of her nose and ears. The enraged lady went with a complaint to her illustrious brother Ravana. She told him about the very pretty Sita. Ravana decided to make Sita his wife. He requested his uncle Maarecha to take the form of a golden deer and wander in front of Sita. Sita naturally took fancy for the deer and requested Lord Rama to catch it and give it to her. The deer took Rama away from his home and when it died shouted for the help of Lakshmana in the voice of Rama. Sita forced Lakshmana to go to the help of Rama. Ravana took the form of Brahmin and requested Sita to come out of the house and give him alms. Reluctantly she did this and was forcibly taken away by Ravana in his aircraft called Pushpaka Vimana. At this time one hawk-king called Jatayu, who was a friend of the family, tried to save Sita. But Ravana killed him. Jatayu told Rama and Lakshmana on their return about this abduction, before his death. Rama and Lakshmana started the search for Sita. They met Shabhari, a great sage, on the way and Rama blessed her. They then met Hanuman, the minister of Sugreeva. Hanuman convinced them that Sugreeva would help them in their search for Sita and in return, Rama should kill Sugreeva's brother Bali who was terrorizing him. Rama killed Bali and the monkey hoards searched for Sita in the four directions of the earth. The hoard going south was led by Angada, the son of Bali and consisted of Hanuman the son of Vayu (God of Wind) and Jambhavan, the bear. At one point when they were about to give up their search, Sampathi the hawk, who was the elder brother of Jatayu advised them that Sita was in the palace of Ravana in Sri Lanka. Spurred by this info, Hanuman crossed by jumping the great sea in between the Indian continent and Lanka. He located Sita and gave her the ring of Sri Rama as identification. She told him that Ravana would kill her after one month. Before leaving back, Hanuman killed most of the armies of Ravana which included his youngest son Akshaya Kumara. He was captured by Indrajit, the elder son of Ravana. While in captivity, he advised Ravana to follow the path of Dharma and return Sita to Lord Rama. Ravana spurned this advice and wanted to execute Hanuman. Ravana's younger brother Vibishana advised Ravana not to do that and instead maim Hanuman as a punishment. The rakshasa set fire to the tail of Hanuman. With that, Hanuman set fire to the city of Sri Lanka. He crossed the ocean back and informed Rama of the plight of Sita.

Rama ably supported by the monkey and bear armies reached the shore of the sea with an aim to wage a war against Ravana. Vibishana, the just brother of Ravana, sought asylum with Rama from Ravana at this stage. Rama built a bridge across the sea and crossed it along with his army to Sri Lanka. In a horrendous war, the entire army of Ravana was exterminated and Ravana along with his sons and brother Kumbha Karna was killed. Sita was freed and her chastity tested in front of all those assembled by the test of fire. She came out unscathed. Rama took her back and before going back, crowned Vibishana as the King of Sri Lanka.

Rama along with Sita and Lakshmana returned back to Ayodhya and there Rama was crowned as the King of Ayodhya.

This, in short, is the story of Ramayana, That part of the story which deals with crossing of the ocean by Hanuman, his finding of Sita and informing Rama about his fruitful search is called ‘Sundara Kandam' - Beautiful Chapter. From ages it is believed that reading of Sundara Kanda gives immense benefits.

Introduction to Sundara Kandam

Sundara Kandam is the Fifth Section of Ramayana (Story of Lord Rama) written by Sage Valmiki and comprises of 2885 verses spread in 68 Chapters."Sundara" as we all know in the literary sense means 'Beautiful' and 'Kandam' means 'Section'. The sage has called this section as "beautiful section" of Ramayana possibly because: -

I. This part of Ramayana contains poetic descriptions of several beautiful objects, places and people. Whether the poet describes, Sri Lanka, Pushpaka Vimana, Asoka forest, Madhu Vana, Hanuman, Sita, Rama, Ravana, or the Moonrise, he goes in to poetic rapture.

For example describing the moon in the 5th chapter he writes:
Then the intelligent Hanuman saw the moon, which was in the center of the sky, which was with rays and which was spreading the sheet of moon light, like an enthusiastic bull wandering in its stable. 1

Then he saw the moon, which destroys the sorrows of the world, which increased the levels of the great sea and which travelled by giving light to all beings. 2

That Goddess Lakshmi who shined normally on the Mandhara Mountain of earth, in the sea during dusk and on the lotus in the ponds, at that time shined sitting on the moon. 3

The moon in the sky was similar to the swan in the sliver cage, lion in the caves of Mandhara Mountain and the heroic soldier sitting on proud elephant. 4

The moon, which was full of all its crescents, resembled the bullock with its sharpened horns, the silver mountain with its peaks and the elephant whose tusks were decorated by gold. 5

That moon which did not lose the luster due to dense dew drops, which had borrowed light from sun and by which it drove away darkness, which was serving the luminous Lakshmi in its crystal clear mien and which had the rabbit mark, shined in the sky. 6

The moon shone with great light like the lion climbing on the stone clusters, like the great elephant reaching the war and like the King getting his Kingdom. 7

II. This section is about the exploits of Hanuman who was an extremely beautiful person as the poet describes him as "a shining handsome person made of Gold". Hanuman also has a name "Sundara".

III. It is in this section that a full comprehensive description of Sri Rama, possibly the most handsome person ever born is given (Chapter 35). Hence the sage must have thought that this deserves that name.

The reason why it is called Sundara Kanda is possibly best given by one of the greatest commentators of Sundara Kanda viz. Tilaka. He says

Sundare Sundari Lanka, Sundare Sundari Katha,
Sundare sundari Sita, Sundare kim na Sundaram?

Beautiful among the most beautiful is Sri Lanka,
Beautiful among the most beautiful is the Story,
Beautiful among the most beautiful is Sita,
What is there in it, which is not beautiful?

According to the belief of Hindus, Sundara Kandam is a mine where we can draw powers to support one in all worldly situations. People believe that reading or hearing the story is a panacea and final solution for all ills and all problems.

The story narrated in Sundara Kanda in brief is as follows:

Hanuman at the suggestion and encouragement given by Jambhavan decided to cross the ocean and reach Sri Lanka. He promised his friends that he would search and find out Sita in Sri Lanka. The God of the sea, to help Hanuman, asked his friend Mainaka Mountain to rise above the sea and help Hanuman to relax and take rest. Hanuman however refused the offer and went ahead. The assembled Devas wanted to test the efficiency of Hanuman and sent Devi Surasa to test him. She took the form of a Rakshasi and informed him that he should enter her mouth and become her food; Hanuman increased his size to a mega form. Surasa also made her mouth sufficiently big to swallow Hanuman. At that time Hanuman reduced his body to a thumb size jumped in and out of Surasas's mouth. Surasa blessed him and the devas were sure that Hanuman can do the job assigned to him. After this a Rakshasi called Simhika caught hold of his shadow and started dragging him to her mouth so that she can eat him. Hanuman again increased the size of the body and killed Simhika. After this, Hanuman reached the city of Sri Lanka. There he took a small midget form before entering the city, to avoid detection. However Lanka Devatha stopped him and challenged him. He hit her with his clenched fist and she fell down. She realised that the end of the city of Sri Lanka was nearing and blessed Hanuman in his endeavour. Hanuman then searched all over the city including Ravana's harem. Though on seeing Mandodhari he thought that he has seen Sita, he concluded immediately that she who was living a life of luxury could not be Sita. Later he located Sita in the Asoka forest which was attached to the harem of Ravana. She was sleeping on the floor, had not taken bath nor changed her dresses. She also had removed all non-essential ornaments and hung them on a tree. While he was watching, Ravana paid a visit to Sita and requested her to be his wife. She refused and told him that the only way for him to continue to live was to give her back to Rama. Becoming furious, he set a period of two months for her to live and instructed the Rakshasis to terrorise her and make her agree for his proposal. While the Rakshasis were trying their best, Trijata, the daughter of Vibhishana told the Rakshasis about her dream in which she clearly foresaw the defeat and death of Ravana and the victory of Rama. The Rakshasis were scared because of this. However, Sita dejected by her situation decided to commit suicide by hanging by her own hair. Hanuman hiding in the tree related the story of Rama up to that point and hearing this Sita became enthused. Hanuman appeared before her, after all Rakshasis were asleep and related to her the adventures of Rama and also gave her signet Ring of Rama as the identification. He also requested her to ride on his back and reach Rama. Sita refused this offer saying that this would be an insult to Rama's valour and also she, as a virtuous woman, would not touch another male willingly. She also gave him her pearl hair brooch as identification. This brooch was given to her by her father. She also told him story of the crow, which attacked her and how Rama put a Tilak on her forehead with a red stone. Hanuman took leave of Sita and while returning made up his mind to see Ravana as well as the city of Lanka. To draw attention to himself, he destroyed the Asoka Forest. Ravana sent many of his warriors including his younger son Akshaya Kumara to capture Hanuman. However, Hanuman killed all of them. Then Ravana sent his elder son Indrajit to capture Hanuman who succeeded by using his Brahma Asthra. Though he became free due to his boon, Hanuman seemingly submitted himself to the rakshasas and reached the court of Ravana. Becoming angry Ravana awarded capital punishment to Hanuman. However, Vibhishana, the younger brother of Ravana pointed out that such a punishment couldn't be given to emissaries. Agreeing to his view, Ravana ordered the Rakshasas to set fire to the tail of Hanuman. Acceding to the prayer of Sita, who heard the news from other Rakshasis, the God of fire did not hurt Hanuman. Hanuman escaped from the clutches of the Rakshasas by his sheer prowess and using the fire in his tail set fire to the city of Lanka. Then he took leave of Sita and jumped back to the other shore. He then related his story to his friends and they together decided to tell it to Sri Rama. On their way back to Sri Rama, they destroyed the honey garden of King Sugreeva. They then reached Kishkinda and relate in detail about how they have been able to find Sita and how she is sad, guarding her virtue and would die after 2 months.

Hanuman in this section has been described as one for whom nothing is impossible and who is the embodiment of faith, devotion, loyalty to the master, fearlessness and self-confidence. The story points out that, success is the outcome of such an attitude. It teaches us that, if we want to be successful in life, we have to combine the above qualities

As a humble devotee, I personally feel that if we can read and sing the original lilting poems of Sage Valmiki, it would be really great and those of us who cannot could equally benefit from daily reading the translation. I believe like this because unlike the Vedas, where the vibrations created by each sound is important, here it is a poem and the intention of Sage Valmiki appears to tell and make us understand the story.

I hope many of you would be benefited by this translation, which is nearest to the original.

Parayana Vidhana [Method of Reading]

Parvathy asked: -
"Oh, God of all beings, I would very much love to know from you, the greatness of Sundara Kanda in detail."

Sri Parameshwara replied: -
"I would summarize the greatness of Sundara Kanda for you, because to tell in detail, only the great Lord Ramachandra is capable. Similar to the fact that God Rama is the greatest among Devas, similar to the fact that Kalpaga tree is greatest among trees, similar to the fact that the Kousthubha Gem is greatest among gems, in Ramayana, Sundara Kanda is the greatest chapter. By reading or listening to Sundara Kanda with devotion, all the wishes are fulfilled, all dangers will vanish, all diseases will be cured and all types of wealth will grow. Especially it is the greatest panacea for those who suffer from great diseases. Even diseases like tuberculosis, Leprosy and epilepsy, which cannot be cured by even divine medicines, would be cured completely by reading Sundara Kanda 68 times by the grace of Lord Ramachandra. Please hear its greatness, which I am telling you with attention.

Please hear, the following ancient story, which tells about the greatness of Sundara Kanda. There was a great city called Kanchipuram in the earth and once upon a time it was ruled by Chola Dynasty. Among those Kings, there was a great King called Vamsankara who lived with his wife Manorama, He gave many charities and did several fire sacrifices. He was devoted to the great temples of the city, which included the great Temple of Kamakshi and Ekamranatha and the temple of Varadaraja and ruled the state with efficiency. Unfortunately he was not blessed by any children. Once while coming out of the temple of Kamakshi, he saw a great sage entering the temple. He worshipped that sage and when enquired introduced himself. The sage asked him, in what way he would be able to help him and the King requested him to bless him to become a father. The sage told the King, that "In your previous birth you were a saintly Brahmin who lived in Rameswaram and worshipped in the temple daily. As a result you are born as the King of this country. Unfortunately, in your previous birth, you did not allow your daughter to join her husband and become a mother due to some family conflict. This is the reason why you are not able to become a father." He then requested the King and the queen to observe strict penance, give gold and silver as charities to Brahmins and worship Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva daily. The King and the queen followed his advice and as a result, a good son was born to them. They named him Balachandra and the prince grew up as an extremely learned and able man. When he became old, the King decided to give his Kingdom to his son and make him his successor and retire to the forest. Unfortunately the terrible disease of Tuberculosis afflicted Balachandra. In spite of treatment by the foremost expert doctors of the world and daily prayers, the prince was not cured. When the King and queen were terribly worried and knew not what to do, the sage who had earlier blessed them with the child came again to that city. The King and the Queen fell at his feet and requested him to cure the disease of the prince. The sage told, "In his previous birth, your son stole the materials kept ready for the worship of Rama and enjoyed life and that is why he is cursed with this disease. But later, realizing his sin, he daily read Ramayana and worshipped Rama and that is why he has been born to you. I would tell you, how to get rid of the effects of that sin." The King thanked him and wanted to know in detail as to what should be done. The sage replied, "Construct a decorated Yagasala and in its middle construct a square platform. Spread a white silk cloth in that stage. On that cloth, spread six measures of Paddy and on that half the quantity of raw rice. On that keep a golden vessel made of one pound of silver full of pearls. Cover that vessel with a silk cloth. On that keep a gold plate in which Sri Rama Yantra is drawn. Over that keep the golden statue of Sri Rama accompanied by Sita and Hanuman. Worship this statue using Rama Sahasranamavali. Then read the entire Sundara Kanda. This worship and reading should start in the early morning and end at noon. A non-fading ghee lamp also should be kept burning for 68 days and the above procedure should be repeated 68 times. On each day, Payasam should be prepared and offered to God Rama. Though this is the best, completing the repetition 68 times can also be done in four months. It is best for the individual himself to read the Sundara Kanda and it is of medium effect if it is got read by single Brahmin, and worse if it is got read by many Brahmins. After completing the above, the Yudha Kanda should be completely read in 5 or 6 days. All the 73 days, in the evening a great scholar should re-tell the stories of Sundara Kanda. This would cure even diseases which Aswini Devas (Doctors of Gods) cannot cure. This also could help you win a war or even help you in getting occult powers, if your son does this, his disease would definitely get cured." That sage then disappeared. The King performed the above worship and the prince himself read the Sundara Kanda daily and was fully cured of the disease. Hey Devi, just by reading Sundara Kanda 68 times, the prince was cured of a terrible disease. There are also many others who got rid of their illness by reading Sundara Kanda. So even if one is poor or not physically well, he should observe the Vratha of Sundara Kanda and get benefited. There are also other methods of reading Sundara Kanda.

Reading 32 Times:
This consists of reading Chapter 1 to 38 on the first day and the rest on the next day. This should be repeated 32 times in 64 days

Reading 24 Times:
This consists of reading Chapter 1-15 on the first day, 16-41 on the next day and the rest of the chapters on the third day. This should be repeated 24 times in 72 days.

Reading 12 Times:
This consists of reading Chapter 1-15 on the first day, 16-32 on the second day, 33-51 on the third day and the rest of the chapters on the fourth day. This should be repeated 12 times in 48 days.

Reading 7 Times:
Read 7 chapters a day and complete reading on the fourteenth day and repeat it 7 times and complete the parayana in 68 days.

Reading 4 Times:
Read ten chapters per day for the first 27 days and read the remaining 2 chapters on the 28th day.

Reading Two Times:
Read eight chapters per day and complete reading twice on the seventeenth day.

In all these cases on the last day, the last chapter of Yudha Kandam (131st chapter) should be read. On each day before and after the parayana boiled milk with Sugar should be offered as offering (Naivedya) to God. On the day of completion, it is desirable to give a feast to the Brahmins.

Methods for Reading Once:
Suppose someone is not able to follow any of the above desirable rules, he can read it any way according to his capacity.

Several such methods are given below: -
1. Read the entire Sundara Kanda once in a full day.
2. Read Chapter 1-35 on the first day and the rest of the chapters next day.
3. Read Chapter 1-37 on the first day, 37-40 on the second day and the rest on the third day.
4. Read chapter 1-15 on the first day, 16-37 on the second day, 38th chapter on the third day, 39-54 on the fourth day and the rest on the fifth day.
5. Start on a Friday, daily read 9 chapters and complete reading on the next Friday.
6. Read within 9 days stopping each day on 5th, 15th, 20th, 26th, 28th, 40th, 52nd, 60th and 68th chapters.
7. Daily read 6 chapters and complete it on the 12 th day.
8. Till 22 days read two chapters a day, 5 chapters on the 23rd day, 3 chapters on the 24th day, 6 chapters on the 25th day, 3 chapters on the 26th day, 4 chapters on the 27th day and the rest 3 chapters on the 28th day.

If someone is not able to follow any of the methods suggested above, he can read it as per his capacity without following any rules.

Some of the specific problems, which could be solved by doing Parayana of certain chapters, are given below: -
1. Salvation can be achieved by reading the first chapter daily for six months.
2. Effect of attack of devils, ghosts, spirits can be warded off by reading 3rd chapter.
3. To get rid of dullness of brain, Read 13th chapter
4. To get rid of the sin of having affair with someone else's wife, Read chapters 7-11.
5. To get permanent wealth and happiness, Read chapter 15.
6. To get rid of bad dreams, Read Chapter 27.
7. To get good behavior, Read chapter 20-21.
8. To rejoin with lost relatives, Read chapters 33-40.
9. To get rid of impending danger, Read chapter 36.
10. To get pardon from god for insult done to him knowingly and unknowingly, Read chapter 38.
11. Read chapters 42-47 to win over enemies
12. To become just and charitable, Read chapter 51
13. For improvement of assets like house, land etc., Read chapter 54.
14. To get peace and happiness, Read Chapter 61
15. To get perennial happiness and to attain God, Read chapter 67.
16. To get what one wishes, Read chapter 41
17. To realize God and to become one capable of sweet words, Read chapter 19.

It is essential to offer Naivedya to God before and after the Parayana. It would be great if at the end of the Parayana, Lord Rama, Goddess Sita and Lord Hanuman are worshipped using Sahasra Nama (1000 names). If someone is not capable of doing it, he can worship using 108 names of the God. As Naivedya, boiled milk added with Sugar is supposed to be best offering to Lord Rama. Lotus and Thulasi (Ocimum) fare the best to worship Lord. If not available, any flower can be used. However, Karavira (Arali) should never be used. Offering to God Pomegranate would bring in immense benefits. It would be better to the devotee to Chant Rama Gayathri during the beginning, Avahana and end of the worship. This is given by "Dasarathaya Vidhmahe, Sita Vallabhata Dheemahi, Thanno Rama Prachodayath."

Also it is essential that after the Pooja, meditation is done using Gayathri Manthra or the Shadakshari manthra of Rama viz "Ram Ramaya Namah". Though it is desirable to represent Rama either by Dasavarana Yanthra or statue, it would be sufficient if worship is done to the Ramayana Book. Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman always are present wherever Ramayana book is there. It is also essential that whosoever does the Parayana for getting specific objectives should observe Brahmacharya during the parayana period."

Lord Shiva after telling all this to Goddess Parvathy told her that whoever reads are listens to this book on the Sundara Kanda Phala Prapthi, would become a great devotee of Lord Rama and would lead a happy painless life.

Section: V
Sundara Kandam
[Beautiful Section]
[There are many theories why this chapter is called Sundara Kanda instead of perhaps Hanumath Kanda. Some of them are 1. Sundram means that which removes sorrow. 2. Sundran means an emissary 3. Sundran is a one who acts as a communication link between hero and heroine, 4. Sundara as it tells the beautiful story of finding Sita 5. It is the most beautiful chapter due to the beauty of the words, poems and figures of speech used. 6. It is Sundara Kandam because it has much more greatness than all other chapters.]

Index
1. Hanuman's Ocean Crossing
2. Hanuman's Sri Lanka Entry
3. Hanuman's Victory over Goddess
4. Hanuman's Lanka Travel
5. Rakshasa and Rakshasis Seeing
6. Ravana's Palace Entry
7. Pushpaka Vimana Seeing
8. Pushpaka Vimana Description
9. Harem Visit
10. Mandodhari Seeing
11. Hall of Drink Search
12. Hanuman's Dejection
13. Hanuman's Disappointment
14. Asoka Forest Search
15. Hanuman's Seeing of Sita
16. Hanuman's Lamenting
17. Rakshasis Seeing
18. Ravana’s Arrival
19. Sita’s Description
20. Ravana's Proposal
21. Ravana's Proposal Denial
22. Ravana’s Setting of Limit
23. Rakshasis Persuasion of Sita
24. Rakshasis Bullying
25. Sita’s Sorrow
26. Sita's Decision for Suicide
27. Trijata’s Dream
28. Sita’s Attempt to Suicide
29. Good Omens Seeing
30. Hanuman's Thinking to Console Sita
31. Rama’s Story Narration
32. Sita Sees Hanuman
33. Hanuman’s Dialogue with Sita
34. Hanuman’s Narration of Rama
35. Hanuman’s Description of Rama
36. Hanuman’s Ring Presentation
37. Hanuman’s Mega Form
38. Sita’s Choodamani
39. Hanuman's Consolation of Sita
40. Sita’s Giving Leave to Hanuman
41. Asoka Forest Destruction
42. Hanuman’s Destruction of Kinkaras
43. Hanuman Heralds Sugreeva Arrival
44. Jambu Mali’s Death
45. Minister's Sons Death
46. Army Commanders Destruction
47. Aksha Kumara’s Death
48. Hanuman’s Capture
49. Prowess of Ravana
50. Prahastha’s Questioning of Hanuman
51. Hanuman’s Advice
52. Vibishana's Advice
53. Hanuman’s Tail on Fire
54. Hanuman’s Burning of Lanka
55. Hanuman’s Fear
56. Hanuman’s Return from Lanka
57. Hanuman’s at Mahendra Mountain
58. Hanuman’s Narration of Lanka
59. Hanuman’s Narration of Sita
60. Angadha’s Opinion
61. Honey Forest Destruction
62. Dadhimuka's Resistance
63. Dadhimuka's Information
64. Hanuman at Kishkinda
65. Hanuman’s Choodamani Presentation
66. Rama's Choodamani Narration
67. Hanuman’s Narration of Sita
68. Hanuman’s Further Narration

Chapter: 1
Hanuman’s Ocean Crossing

[Lava and Kusha, the sons of Rama, had sung the entire Ramayana as composed by sage Valmiki in front of Rama when he was performing the Aswamedha (horse) sacrifice. This first portion of Sundara Kanda is a part of their narration on the sixteenth day.]

[This chapter describes how Hanuman crossed the great ocean to reach Sri Lanka in search of Sita. On the way, first the God of Ocean and Mainaka Mountain respected him. Later devas tested his capability by sending Surasa Devi to test him. After this Simhika dragged his shadow and tried to eat him. Crossing all these hurdles, he reached the other shore safely.]

Afterwards Hanuman, the slayer of his enemies, desired to travel by the paths that the Charanas (devas who travel in the sky) travel, to find out the place where Sita, who has been abducted by Ravana, is kept in hiding. 1

[It is clear from this sloka that our ancients knew that even in sky you have to travel by certain chartered pathways.]

With a desire to perform the incomparable and difficult job, he extended his head and neck and resembled a bull. 2

Then the valorous, strong and wise Hanuman started travelling as he liked, similar to a lion in zest, creating terror to the birds, felling trees by his immense chest, glowing like a diamond and killing various animals in the grass, like the torrential flow of water. 3-4

Hanuman stood like an elephant calf in a forest, in the mountain, which had many special elephants and which are fit to be worshipped and endowed, possessing the natural colours of blue, red, yellow and pink, decorated by the strange reddish (laterite) stones and also thickly populated by Yakshas, Kinnaras, Gandharvas (all the three are communities of minor devas) and Devas with their families along with Pannagas who can take any form or shape they like. 5-7

That reddish vanara (monkey), saluted the Sun God, the King of devas Indra, the Wind God Vayu, the progenitor Lord Brahma and all great and holy ones and then turned to the eastern direction and saluted his own father Vayu again. He then thought of Rama and Lakshmana and offered them his prayers and bowed before all the holy rivers and the sea. After this he embraced his manes and offered pradakshina (perambulation) to them and concentrated his mind on the travel that he intended to make. 8-10

[As soon as he was born to Anjana, Hanuman felt very hungry. He was told by his mother to eat any fruit which is red. He jumped towards the Sun in the dawn, who complained to Indra about this attack. Indra hit baby Hanuman with his Vajarayudha who fell down. His father, the Wind God, went in hiding creating a crisis in the world. Then devas led by Brahma blessed the baby Hanuman and gave him several boons.]

Being blessed by all vanaras assembled there with a wish made by them for his safe return journey, he stood facing the path in which the wind travels. 11

He stood facing the south and started growing in his physical stature, after requesting the other monkeys to wait for him in the same place. 12

Being watched by the great and elderly monkeys, Hanuman, who is the greatest among those who can jump and cross, grew like the ocean in high tide for completing the work of Rama. 13

With his forelegs extended, he with an enormous stature stood facing Sri Lanka, with a wish to jump and cross the sea and pressed the mountain by his fore legs. 14

The Mountain in spite of this pressure was stable but tottered for a few minutes. As a result the trees shook and flowers of different colours were strewn all over the mountain. 15

Strewn by the thick flower clusters all over, the mountain was covered fully by flowers. It appeared more like a mountain of flowers. 16

Pressed heavily by the strong Hanuman, the Mahendra Mountain resembled an elephant in heat and water flowed out of it. 17

Pressed by the great hero Hanuman, that mountain revealed deposits of Gold, Mica and silver through the openings and sparkled. 18

Not only that but also that mountain which had lot of laterite stones, threw out medium size fire flames all over and pushed out dense smoke. 19

Because of the pressure exerted by the Vanara, the animals, which lived in the caves, were pressed and made sad and painful sounds. 20

That horrendous noise made by the big animals spread in all directions all over the world and also in gardens throughout. 21

Snakes, with shining white Swastika marked hoods, spit out poison from their mouth and hit at the stones with their poisonous teeth. 22

Stuck by the angry and poisonous snakes, those big stones burnt as if they were on fire and broke in to thousands of pieces. 23

Those herbs in the mountain, which were supposed to cure the poison bite of the snakes, were not able to remove the poison from the mountain itself. 24

Some of the snakes with big body were spitting fire and came out from the caves and were trampled by Hanuman's feet. 25
Trampled heavily those trees of the mountain with new growths, gave out a smell of sandal, and gave rise to a rain of flowers. 26

Those stones of the mountain, which were deep red, yellow and light red broke in to pieces and were strewn all over. 27

With the colour of reddish sandal and with ochre coloured deposits that mountain shone like a fire and was broken. 28

Vidhyadaras (demi gods who wear garland and live in the sky), who had brought golden vessels to drink, left behind the costly vessels and mugs, various types of flavored and cooked meat, shields made of the hide of a bull and swords with golden handles and rose up along with their women folk thinking that the mountain is being broken along with sages occupying it. 29-31

Not only that, some other Vidhyadharas, who wore garlands in their neck and who had eyes like white lotus and some others who were intoxicated and also who were decorated by red paste and red garlands and red eyes reached the sky. 32

Their ladies, who wore chains, armlets, shoulder bangles, stood with a smiling face along with their lovers, in the sky. 33

Empowered by the manthras that they knew these Vidhyadharas and sages were able to float in the sky and watch the mountain. 34

Others heard the following words spoken by those great sages, the demi gods Charanas and saints of great reputation, 35

"The strong Hanuman, who is the son of wind God Vayu, who is as big as a mountain, is going to cross the sky like the sharks cross the ocean." 36

"For the sake of Lord Rama, and for the sake of his monkey friends, he is attempting to the impossible job of crossing the ocean." 37

The Vidhyadharas who heard these words of the sages stood in the sky and watched Hanuman who had an enormous form. 38

Hanuman who was like a small mountain shook his body, shed some of the hair from his body and like a big cloud made a very loud trumpeting sound. 39

Making up his mind to jump to a great height, Hanuman rotated his big round tail, which is covered by hair all over, like a eagle rotating a snake. 40

Swiftly being rotated behind him, his thick tail, resembled an enormous snake being drawn hither and thither by Lord Garuda. (Eagle on whom Lord Vishnu rides) 41

Hanuman stood stiff with his forelegs, which resembled huge iron pillars, made his belly as small as possible and readied his hind legs for a big jump. 42

That great Hero, shortened his arms and neck and increased his virility, stature and power to the maximum extent possible. 43
Looking above, staring afar and staring in to the sky, he controlled his breath for the big jump. 44

Standing firm on his two legs, extending his ears to catch all the sound, making up his mind to travel fast in the sky, that Great monkey who is very strong, faced the other monkeys and spoke to them as follows. 45

"I would travel to Sri Lanka which is protected by Ravana like the holy arrow sent by Lord Rama with the speed of the torrential wind." 46

"If I am not able to find Sita in Sri Lanka, I would then go to the heavens with the same speed." 47

"If I am not able to locate her there also, with great ease, I will tie Ravana and bring him here." 48

"Whatever may happen, I would return after fulfilling the task and return along with Sita and if not I would bring the whole Sri Lanka along with Ravana." 49

After talking like this to other monkeys, the great monkey Hanuman, without any worry and with great speed resembling that of Garuda, rose up in the sky. 50

When he rose up in the sky, the trees in that mountain along with their branches also rose along with him. 51

Along with him, he took away flower-laden trees with white fat cranes using the speed of his thighs and travelled in the clear paths of the sky. 52

Those trees which travelled along with him by the speed of his thighs, returned back after some time like the relatives who go with the guests and return after some time after the send off. 53

Those sala trees (possibly pine trees), which rose to the sky by the speed of the thigh of Hanuman, accompanied him like the soldiers who accompany their King. 54

Surrounded by many types of fully flower-laden trees, the mountain like Hanuman was looking surprisingly wonderful. 55

Those well mature trees fell in the sea like the mountains slain by Indra and drowned deep.* 56
* Once mountains were supposed to have wings and troubling people. Indra cut away their wings.

Hanuman who was similar to a cloud and looked like a mountain surrounded by different type of flowers, buds, tender leaves and fire flies. 57

Those trees along with heaps of flowers from them, which were uprooted by the speed of the thighs of Hanuman, returned back to the water like the friends after a send off. 58

The multi coloured and different kinds of flowers, which were light by nature, which fell of due to the fast movement of Hanuman, fell in to the sea. 59

Because of them the great sea glittered like a sky full of stars. 60

In addition, decorated by the series of multi coloured mountains which were falling behind, Hanuman looked like a streak of lightning in front of clouds which travel at a great height. 61

Strewn by the great speed of Hanuman, the flowers which fell on the water looked like the sky strewn with millions of stars. 62

The great storm generated by his travel attracted greatly the clouds, which were shining once in a while due to lightning. 63

The sky with clouds, which were rising high and the water filled ocean moving by tides of great speed looked alike. 64

Pointing high towards the sky, those two hands of Hanuman looked similar to two five headed snakes coming out of the peak of mountains. 65

That great monkey appeared as if he was preparing to drink the great ocean full of high tides and also as if he was wishing to drink the sky also. 66

(Since he was moving up and down, it appeared at one moment that he was trying to drink the sea and at another moment the sky.)

The two eyes of Hanuman, who was travelling in the sky, appeared as if they were shining like two mountain fires at two different points. 67

The two big yellow eyes of the chief of the monkey, shined like the moon and sun in the solar system. 68

His face which appeared reddish by his large and red nose, looked similar to the sky with a red setting sun. 69

His tails, which were held aloft in the sky, looked like Indra's flag held aloft in the sky. 70

With his white sparkling teeth, the famous and wise son of Wind God in the round created by his tail, looked similar to the sun framed by his halo. 71

His reddish behind appeared as if it is a reddish laterite split mountain. 72

The wind passing through the armpits of the monkey, who was crossing the sea, made thunderous swooshing sound made by the clouds. 73

That monkey hero appeared like a comet with a tail travelling through the sky. 74

(This was a bad omen to the people of Sri Lanka.)

The great stature monkey, who was equal to the rising sun, shined with his waist cloth like an elephant. 75

With his great body floating in the sky and its reflection in the depths of the ocean, the monkey looked like a ship being driven by the wind. 76

Whichever part of the atmosphere he travelled, that portion appeared greatly agitated by the speed of his body. 77

That monkey, who was travelling with great speed, was beating away the high tides of the sea by his immense chest. 78

The speed of the wind generated by the moving monkey as well as the moving clouds twisted the sea greatly by their great sounds. 79

That monkey, who was dragging with him the great tides of the salty sea, travelled as if he was separating the land and the sky. 80

Moving with immense speed and crossing the mountain (resembling the Mount Meru), like high tides, he appeared as if he was counting those tides while crossing them. 81

The seawater thrown towards the clouds by the monkey travelling at great speed mixed with the clouds and appeared like clouds of the autumn. 82

Those whales, crocodiles, fishes and tortoise which appeared above the water looked like human limbs when the cloth was removed from them. 83

At that time, the big snakes living in the sea, seeing the flying chief of monkey, mistook him to be Garuda, the eagle. 84

His shade, which was ten yojanas* broad and thirty yojanas long, appeared pretty over the water. 85
* Two and a half miles

Broadly placed over the sea, his shadow in the water appeared as if it was a huge crowd of fish following him. 86

Hanuman, who was powerful, huge and a great monkey appeared as if he was a winged mountain floating in the sky without any support. 87

That monkey, who was very powerful, caused the sea to look like a mountain pass, because of the high speed he was travelling in his path. 88

(Because of his great speed, the water parted below him and was like a mountain pass.)

He travelled like the King of Birds through the route in which the birds flew and appeared as if a fast moving wind was dragging the clouds. 89

The huge clouds attracted by the monkey shined with colours of white, red, blue and yellow. 90

He appeared as if he was a moon, which is travelling through the cloud, being hid at times and being seen at times. 91

The Devas, Gandarwas and Danavas* rained flowers on the fast flying monkey. 92
* Children born to Kasyapa and his wife Dhanu.

Then as if to aid the work of Lord Rama, the sun did not scorch him and the wind made a pleasant atmosphere round him. 93

The sages praised the monkey, who was travelling with great speed, and also the Devas and Gandharvas sang in praise of the great one. 94
Seeing the monkey did not appear tired by his exertions, Rakshasas and Nagas, Yakshas and devas praised him with glee. 95

When the great monkey was travelling thus, the God of the ocean thought of methods of honoring the descendent of Ikshu Vaku. 96

(One of the well-known forefathers of Lord Rama.)

He thought that if he did not help Lord Hanuman in his effort, all those who can talk would speak ill of him. 97

Since the Sagara Kings belonging to the Ikshu Vaku clan raised him and Hanuman was helping their descendent, the God of Ocean thought that Hanuman should not get tired. 98

(Bhageeratha one of the forefathers of Lord Rama brought water from the head of Lord Siva to the dried up sea so that Bhageeratha's ancestors should get salvation from their sins and thus filled up the sea.)

He thought that he should take suitable action, which would refresh Hanuman and also provide him with rest so that he can cross the remaining distance easily. 99

Thinking properly like this, the God of the ocean spoke to the mountain Hiranya Nabha (Golden bellied) also called as Mainaka (son of Mena) who was hiding within him. 100

(He was the son of Himalayas and his queen Mena.)

"Hey mountain chief, you have been appointed over here to monitor the entry of Asuras living in Patala* by Indra, the King of Devas". 101
* The world underneath earth peopled by undesirables.

"You are standing here closing the way to prevent them from come up by those powerful ones living in the vast Patala". 102

"Oh Mountain, only you have the power to grow sideways and also bottom to the top. Hey, mountain chief, it is because of this I have come here to speak to you, please get up." 103

"This monkey chief Hanuman is flying in the sky with great valor for doing a dangerous errand to Lord Sri Rama. He is now going to come just above you". 104

"I need to help him, for all the descendants of Ikshu Vaku are worth worshipping by me and therefore they are fit to be worshipped by you also." 105

"We have to do good and we should not leave it undone for duties performed at the correct time brings bad name to good people." 106

"Raise up above the water level and let the great monkey, who is our guest, who is fit to be worshipped, stand on you for some time." 107

"Oh mountain with golden peaks, which are served by devas and Gandharvas, let Hanuman take rest on you and go refreshed his remaining way". 108

"You should know the good qualities of Lord Rama, the parting pangs of his wife Sita and also tiredness of Lord Hanuman and try to raise up fast." 109

The Mainake Mountain, which was full of forests, climbers and golden peaks listening to the words of the ocean rose up fast. 110

That Mainaka Mountain, which was rising very high, looked like the glittering Sun God with his rays coming out piercing a thick cloud. 111

That mountain, which had great fame, ordered to thus by the God of ocean within a very short time exhibited its peaks outside the water. 112

Those peaks, which were golden, pointed and great, resembled the rising Sun God and appeared as if they were rubbing the sky and the deep blue sky tinted by the sparkling golden peaks looked as if it has become golden in colour. 113-114

The Mountain, which had several peaks of innate glitter and of sparkling gold colour, resembled hundreds of Suns. 115

Rising above by itself in the middle of salty ocean and standing in front of him, Hanuman thought that it was an obstacle. 116

That fast moving monkey chief easily brushed off its tall peaks as if wind brushes of the cloud. 117

That mountain which was pushed aside by the monkey, was astonished by his strength and also became happy because of it. 118

That mountain which stood tall in the sky, became happy and took a human form, stood on his own peak and said as follows to the valorous monkey. 119

"Hey great monkey you have done some thing which other people cannot do." 120

"Please get down on to my peaks and relax." 121

"The ocean was remade by the ancestors of Lord Rama and the Ocean God worships you, who is engaged in the job of helping Rama, as an act of gratefulness." 122

"We always have to repay, the good done to us. This is the perennial duty of our religion. So he wants to help you and make you beholden to him." 123

"He requested me with respect to provide a resting place to you in my pleasant valley so that you need not jump at a stretch the one hundred yojanas and then easily jump the rest of the way. And so hey, great monkey, you please stay on me for some time, take rest and then proceed." 124-125

"Hey monkey chief, savour the very tasty roots and fruits lovingly offered by the God of Ocean and you can proceed very much refreshed soon." 126

"Hey monkey chief, you know that receiving and showering hospitality on good people is a blessed act in all the three worlds and apart from that, you do have another connection with me." 127

"Hey monkey chief, I consider you the greatest among all those monkeys, who can move fast and jump very high." 128

"It is well known that those learned ones, who desire to perform rightful acts, that even if a guest is not a great one, he is fit to be worshipped. Then what to say when the guest happens to be a great person like you." 129

"Hey great monkey, you are the son of Vayu (the wind god), who is great among the devas and equal in speed to him." 130

"Hey holy one, if you are worshipped the Wind God receives it himself and please also hear about another reason why you are fit to be worshipped by me". 131

"Hey son, during Krutha Yuga Mountains also had wings and they were travelling to all places like Wind and Garuda." 132

"Because the mountains were travelling all over the great sages and society of devas, who were with them as well as all living beings, were terror struck because of the fear that these mountains may fall on them." 133

"Because of this reason, Devendra who had done one hundred fire sacrifices, became enraged and started to cut the wings of the mountains in to pieces in different places using his Vajrayudha* (Diamond equipment literally)." 134
* A weapon made by the bones of Sage Dadichi to kill Vruthrasura.

"That angry Devendra intent on cutting my wings neared me, but the great wind god blew me away fast from that place." 135

"Your father pushed me inside this salt sea so that no harm was done to my wings and thus I alone was saved." 136

"And so I worship you as I should have worshipped the God of Wind. Monkey chief, you know that this connection between both of us is really great." 137

"And so Monkey chief, because of this, accept the hospitality provided by me and the Ocean God and bless us." 138

"Hey chief of monkeys, relax and take rest and accept our worship and also accept our love. I have become happy by meeting with you." 139

Thus told by the great mountain, the great monkey said "I am pleased with your hospitality. You have provided all the hospitality to me and I have accepted it." 140

"The time for performance of my duty is getting over and also the day light hours are nearing to an end. Apart from this, I have given my word that I will not tarry in between doing this great work." 141

(See the 46th stanza of this chapter.)

Thus telling, the valorous monkey chief Hanuman patted the mountain on its peaks and with a smile re-entered the sky and re-commenced his journey. 142

That monkey, who was the son of wind God, was seen off with respect by the mountain as well as the ocean and was worshipped by them by suitable wishes. 143

After this, he left the mountain and ocean and travelled high and started to go forward by the path of his father and started travelling in the clear sky. 144

The son of Wind God further rose up and moving in the right direction and started travelling without any support in the clear sky. 145

Witnessing this almost impossible second act being performed, all Sidhas, devas and sages appreciated him. 146

Seeing the great act of the golden peaked Mainaka mountain, all the devas and Devendra, who were there in the sky, became extremely happy. 147

The great Indra with his ebbing happiness and with stuttering voice due to that told the following words to Mainaka, the mountain chief. 148

"Hey golden peaked King of the Mountains, I have become very pleased with you." 149

"Hey, pleasant one, I have given you my protection." 150

"You have provided help in the right time to valorous Hanuman, who is fearless, even when there was a need to be afraid." 151

"This monkey is going in the service of Lord Rama, who is the son of Dasaratha, and because of your hospitality to him, I am extremely pleased." 152

Because of these words, the mountain chief understood that even Indra, the King of Devas, was pleased with him and became very happy. 153

Thus the mountain chief stood there firmly and Hanuman was moving extremely fast over the ocean. 154

At that time the devas, gandarwas, siddhas and the great sages seeing the fast moving monkey chief in the sky, told Surasa the mother of Nagas (serpents), who had the splendor of the Sun, thus. 155

"This great Hanuman, who is the son of Wind God, is flying over the sea. Please take a ferocious rakshasa form which touches the sea, which is like mountain and with red eyes and vampire like teeth and delay his progress." 156-157

"We want to know (test) for the second time, his strength and virility and also would like to see whether he will win you over by trick or become dejected." 158

(Though they had an inkling of this from his behavior with Mount Mainaka, they wanted to reconfirm.)

Thus requested and respected by the devas, Surasa Devi took an unusual ugly fear creating form which is more suitable to the rakshasas and stood in the middle of the sea and spoke to Hanuman thus: 159-160

"Hey monkey, you have been allotted as food to me by the devas and so I am going to eat you. Enter my open mouth." 161

Thus spoken to the great Hanuman, saluting her and with a pleasant face spoke to her thus: 162

"Rama, the son of Dasaratha, came to the Dandakaranya forest along with his brother Lakshmana and his wife Sita and was living there." 163

"He earned the enmity of Rakshasas and when he was otherwise engaged, Ravana abducted his wife, the renowned Sita." 164

"As per the orders of Rama, I am going as an emissary in search of her. You, who are a citizen in the Kingdom of Rama, are also bound to help him out." 165

"Or else I promise you that after seeing Sita and also Rama. who is very much worried, I would come to you and reach your mouth." 166

Thus requested by Hanuman, Surasa Devi, who could take any form she wished, said to him" None can cross me and this is a boon given to me by the devas." 167

With a desire to know the strength of Hanuman, Surasa Devi, the mother of Nagas, further said "You can only go from here after entering my mouth. This is a boon given to me by Lord Brahma." Saying this she enlarged the size of her mouth greatly opened it wide and stood before him. 168-169

Angered by the words of Surasa, Hanuman told her "Make your mouth suitably big so that you can swallow me." 170

Telling her thus, Hanuman became ten Yojanas big as Surasa was at that time ten yojanas big. 171

Observing that he has grown to ten Yojanas, Surasa enlarged her mouth to twenty yojanas. 172

The very intelligent Hanuman seeing that she has opened her mouth to twenty yojanas became angry and took up the form of thirty yojanas. 173

Seeing this, Surasa made her mouth forty yojanas wide. 174

The valorous Hanuman became fifty yojanas big. 175

Surasa made her mouth sixty yojanas wide and Hanuman became seventy yojanas big. 176

Surasa made her mouth eighty yojanas wide. 177

The Mountain like Hanuman made himself ninety yojanas big. 178

Surasa Devi made her mouth one hundred yojanas wide. 179

Very intelligent and wise Hanuman seeing the wide open mouth of Surasa with protruding tongue, very fearful and similar to hell, instead of increasing his size further, started reducing himself fast and like a wind driven cloud became as small as a thumb. 180-181

With great speed, the great one entered her mouth and suddenly came out and standing in the sky itself told the following words: 182

"Hey Dakshayani (daughter of Daksha) my salutations to you. I have entered your mouth and so taking this as the truth, allow me to go to the place where Sita lives." 183

(These words bring out the fact that Hanuman knew about her divine origin. This also is indicated by the fact that he saluted her. - Refer to Stanza 162)

Seeing Hanuman like the moon, which has come out of the mouth of Rahu, Surasa took her real form and told him, "Hey, son, Her monkey chief, let you have a pleasant journey and let your errand be successful. Please become happy after reuniting Rama and Sita." 184-185

All beings witnessing the third and impossible task of Hanuman and praised the monkey chief and said "Great, Great." 186

Equivalent in speed to Garuda, he left the sea, which is the abode of Varuna and which was very difficult to cross, and rose above to the sky and travelled further. 187

(Some commentators believe that Hanuman descended in to the sea, took bath and rose up, because he entered the mouth of Surasa.)

Hanuman then travelled like Garuda in the sky which is served by the rain drops, in which the birds live, peopled by Gandharwas like Thumburu* who sing ragas like kaisika, in which rainbows exist, in which aero planes which travel high on vehicles such as lion, elephant, tiger, birds snake and crocodile exist, which is well decorated, which is being lit by fire of Vajrayudha, thunder and lightning, Which is populated by people who do good deeds and those great ones who have won over heavens, which is being constantly served by Agni, the fire God, who is being fed by the portions to be given to devas, which is full with Sun, moon, planets and stars, which is filled by sages, Yakshas, Gandarwas and Nagas, which is really great, which is very clear, which is full, in which Viswavasu the King of Gandarwas travels, in which the elephant of Devendra travels, which is the way of Sun and the moon, which does always good, which is the roof constructed by Lord Brahma for all living beings and which is populated by great valorous vidhyadaras. 188-194
* A celestial horse headed singer

Like the wind he also dragged the clouds with him. 195

Attracted by the monkey chief the clouds shined in black and also red, yellow and white colours. 196

That monkey, who was entering and coming out of the clouds, looked like the moon of the rainy season, which is completely invisible and visible at different times. 197

Hanuman, the Son of Wind God, looked like a winged mountain visible from all places in the support less sky. 198

A Rakshasi (ogress) called Simhika, who can assume any form she likes, saw the fast moving Hanuman and thought in her mind thus. 199

"Today I am going to eat proper and sufficient food as an animal of this size has come my way after a long time." 200
Thinking thus in her mind she dragged Hanuman's shadow and once his shadow was caught Hanuman started thinking thus. 201

"Like a torrential wind of the sea blowing against, a big ship slows it down, my strength has reduced and I am being stopped." 202

Then the monkey peered all round, to the top, below and saw a very large being floating in the sea. 203

Examining it carefully, he thought, "This must be the fearsome and big being, as told by the King of Monkeys Sugreeva, which can drag one's shadow and I do not have any doubt about it." 204

(In Kishkinda Kanda, in the forty first chapter, Sugreeva describes about this Rakshasi to Hanuman.)

That wise and intelligent monkey recognized her as Simhika and started increasing his size like the black cloud in rainy season. 205

Seeing the increasing size of monkey chief's body, she opened her mouth, which was like Patala and the sky very wide. 206

Thundering like a series of clouds she started chasing the monkey. 207

That wise monkey saw her throat through her widely open mouth, he also saw the big size of her body and her Achilles Heel.* 208
* Murma or her weak point by which she can be killed.

Slightly reducing his body's size, he fell with lot of force and like thunder in to her wide-open throat. 209

The Siddhas and Charanas (celestial beings) saw him vanish in his throat like the moon vanishing on full moon eclipse days. 210

With his sharp nails he tore her Achilles heel and with the speed of wind and mind came out of it. 211

The fearless monkey chief Hanuman thus killed her by his quick power of thinking, valor and capacity to take right decisions at right time and started increasing in his size. 212

Because the monkey tore apart her chest, she fell down dead in to the sea. Is it that Hanuman was created by Brahma to kill her! 213

Seeing how fast he killed Simhika, those beings who live in the sky told monkey chief thus: 214

"Hey, great monkey, you have now done a very great deed. A great animal is dead. We all wish you to complete the job that you have undertaken without any problems. 215

"Hey monkey chief, if anyone has your four qualities of valor, wisdom, intelligence and quick thought process, he would never face any problems in completing his job." 216

Understanding the meaning of their words, respected by all of them, he reached the sky again and moved forward. 217
Once he completed travelling one hundred yojanas, he almost reached the other shore and seeing in all directions, he saw a very big forest. 218

Traveling in the sky itself, he saw the island decorated by very many kinds of trees, the Malaya Mountain and its sub forests. 219

That heroic and intelligent Hanuman, examined the sea, seashores, the trees on the sea shore, the rivers, which were the wives of the sea and ports as also his big cloud like body, which was hiding the sky and thought. 220-221

"Seeing the big growth of my body and its torrential speed, the Rakshasas would get curious about me". Thus thought the monkey chief. 222

He then reduced his mountain like size of his body and took his real form like the great sage from whom ignorance has been removed. 223

He further reduced his size and resembled the great Vamana who destroyed the pride of King Mahabali by measuring three steps. 224

That Hanuman, who can assume many pretty forms, reached the sea shore examined his stature himself and thinking about the job that he has to do, assumed a form that is suitable for the job and became one who cannot be defeated by others. 225

From there the great Hanuman, who was like a big mountain range landed in the Lamba (hanging) mountain, which had pretty fertile peaks full of pandanus, coconut and Karnikara (some herb) plants. 226

Hanuman reached the seashore and saw the city of Lanka, which was on the Trikoota (three spire) mountain and reduced his stature to the minimum required size and bullying the animals and birds jumped from the mountain. 227

Hanuman with his immense strength crossing the great ocean, which was populated, by Danavas and Pannagas jumped on the other shore and saw the city of Lanka which was similar to the city of Amaravathi, the capital of Indra. 228

Thus ends the first chapter of Sundara Kanda in the Ramayana which is the first epic written by Valmiki.

Chapter: 2
Hanuman's Sri Lanka Entry

[In this chapter the musings of Hanuman on seeing the city of Sri Lanka, his first impressions about it and his thinking on the strategy he has to adopt is described.]

It is wonderful that the great one crossed the great ocean, which was impossible to cross, and stared at Sri Lanka situated on the top of Trikoota Mountains. 1

By the rain of flowers shed by the different trees here and there, Hanuman, who was decked by flowers all over, after completing the task he has undertaken looked as if he was a victorious hero. 2

The truly heroic Hanuman, though he had crossed one hundred yojanas, did not know what is tiresomeness. Not only that, he was not even doing breathing with effort. 3

"I can jump and cross several more hundred yojanas and so reaching the other shore of a sea which is only one hundred yojanas is not a great job", he thought. 4

The great one among heroes and the fastest among those who can jump, crossed the sea and neared the city of Sri Lanka. 5

He walked in to the center of gardens, which had light bluish lawns, strewn with stones here and there and with dense population of trees 6

That very resplendent monkey chief Hanuman, went by the side of mountains full of trees and forests in full bloom. 7

That son of wind God, stood on a mountain with several peaks and saw the city of Sri Lanka laden with the gardens and minor forests. 8

He, the monkey chief, saw pine trees, Karnikara trees,* date palms, Priyala trees, lemon trees, wild jasmine trees, panadanus bushes (Thazhampoo), incense filled long pepper trees, Kadamba trees, seven leafed banana trees, fully flowered asana trees, Kovidara trees, karavira trees and also many trees bent with heavy load of flowers which were full of birds and whose tips were being shaken by the breeze that was blowing all around, ponds full of swans and ducks, lotus and lily flowers and many many tree filled gardens which flowered and fruited all round the year, many swimming pools specially constructed for play and also several pretty flower gardens. 9-12
* Those trees whose modern day equivalent is not known are given as such.

The great Hanuman then saw the beautiful city of Sri Lanka which resembled the city of Amaravathi of the devas and which was being ruled by Ravana, protected on all the four sides by Ravana himself, fearsome archers and ever roaming Rakshasas because Sita was abducted and kept in the city, and which was also protected well by moats full of lotus and lily flowers and gold like tall walls all around. It also had mansions which resembled the planets, the autumn sky, dazzling white elevated long wide avenues, strange golden tower gates decorated by climbers and other decorative items, many spires used to keep watch on the enemies from out side, flags and other banners. 13-18.

That monkey chief thought that the city, which was built on the mountain as a city with white and regal houses, was floating in the sky. 19

He saw the city built by Viswa Karma (architect of Devas) and ruled by Ravana was flying in the sky. 20

He approached the northern gate of Sri Lanka whose forts appeared as if they were the waist, whose moats appeared as if they were dresses, whose guns and spears appeared as if they were the hairs and whose spires appear as if they were the ear studs and which was constructed by Viswa Karma after deep thought, which appeared as tall as the Kailasa Mountain (abode of Lord Siva) and which appeared as if it was touching the sky and whose buildings are constructed one over another so that it appeared as if the whole city was flying, which was thickly populated by terrible Rakshasas like the city of Bhogavathi which was populated by Nagas, which is strongly built, which does not have dirt, which was once occupied by Lord Kubera, which is protected by several valorous Rakshasas who were armed with spears and long swords similar to a cave being protected by serpents and which can never be evaluated as to what it is and started thinking. 21-25

Observing the fierce security, the sea and the terrible enemy Ravana, the monkey started thinking. 26

"Even if the monkey army reaches here it would not be of any use, for even devas cannot wage a war and win over Lanka." 28

"Even if Rama reaches the very peculiar city of Sri Lanka, which is really impossible to enter and is ruled by Ravana, what possibly can the great warrior do?" 29

"In case of Rakshasas, there is no point in talking to them in a friendly manner or with sweet words nor can they be corrupted by money and nor is it possible to make them fight against each other and the only option of war cannot even be thought of as a possibility." 30

"This is because only Angadha, the son of Bali, Neela, the monkey chief, the heroic King Sugreeva and myself can enter this city." 31

"Let me find out whether Sita the daughter of Janaka is alive or not and after seeing her I can think of a strategy." 32

"I can not enter this city of Rakshasas and which is protected by them in the present form". 33

"These Rakshasas are highly valorous, very strong and greatly heroic and so can only be deceived by me who is searching Sita." 34

"I should search the city of Sri Lanka with an almost invisible form and that too in the night because for completing this great deed, it is the most appropriate time." 35

Knowing that, even Devas and Asuras would find it difficult to enter that city, Hanuman took several deep breaths and started thinking. 36

"What trick should I employ to search so that I would not be visible to Ravana and the bad Rakshasas?" 37

"The job which I have taken oath to complete should certainly be done and also I should be able to talk with the daughter of Janaka alone" thought he. 38

"When a job has to be done, sending a messenger, who is unstable and who cannot do the proper thing at the proper time, is like having darkness at dawn." 39

"Even after knowing well as to what has to be done and what should not be done, there is no possibility of completing the job if the messenger is over confident and thinks that he only can complete the job." 40

"How will the job be completed properly? How no problems will crop up preventing its completion? And what should be done so that crossing of the great ocean does not become a waste?" 41

"Suppose I am seen by the Rakshasas then the wish of Lord Rama to Kill Ravana can definitely not be done." 42

"Even if one takes the form of Rakshasa is it possible to hide from these Rakshasas and if it is in any other form this task would definitely not be done." 43

"I know the fact that even the God of Wind cannot move here unhindered. Is there anything that these powerful Rakshasas do not know?" 44

"If I remain here with my present form, I will be destroyed and Lord's mission will surely fail." 45

"So I will go as a dwarf and not in my present form; enter the city at night to complete the mission of Sri Rama." 46

"After entering the unapproachable city of Ravana, then I can search all houses and buildings for the daughter of Janaka." 47

At that time thinking thus, anxious to see Sita (daughter of King Videha), he started waiting for the sunset. 48

After sunset and in the night Hanuman, the Son of Wind God, assumed a very minute strange form as big as a cat. 49

That valorous Hanuman jumped and entered with lot of speed the beautiful city with clearly demarcated avenues. 50

That monkey saw that big city, which resembled the city of Gandarwas, which was full of palatial buildings built on pillars inlaid with silver and gold, having windows made of gold, having seven to eight stories and having floors decorated by gold and crystal. 51-52

Diamonds and other precious stones decorated those grounds of the houses of Rakshasas and several garlands of pearls were used to decorate them. 53

The strange wall hangings made of gold, which was used to decorate all over the city by the Rakshasas made the city glitter in eminence. 54

Though the Great monkey became happy on seeing the city, which had very big white buildings, which had windows made of gold of the purest quality, which was surrounded by very powerful night patrol, which was being protected by the great valor of Ravana, which cannot be described by ones thought process and which is surprisingly beautiful. He felt dejected because he was mainly interested in seeing Sita. 55-56

The moon also making up his mind to help Hanuman, rose up along with its thousands of rays, decorating the roof of the world with moonlight, in the middle of the stars along with it. 57

(Before this, Ocean, God of Wind and Sun were trying to help Hanuman.)

That monkey hero saw the moon, who was having the luster of a conch, having the colour of milk and lotus stem and who was shining above as if he was a swan swimming in the lotus pond. 58

Thus ends the second chapter of Sundara Kanda in the Ramayana which is the first epic written by Valmiki.

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