This article is part of “Sundara Kandam of Sage Valmiki”

Eighteenth (18th) Chapter

Arrival of Ravana

(Here the description of the passionate Ravana who woke up and came to Asoka forest along with his wives to see Sita , is given. Ravana is described as valorous but spoiled by his passion and his women are described as virtuous, good and devoted to him)

When he was examining with care the forest, which was in full flower and also searching for the daughter of Videha, the night was about to come to an end and the dawn was in making.

In the end of night, he heard the recitation of Vedas by the Brahma rakshasas who were well versed in all the six parts of Vedas and who had done great fire sacrifices. 2

(Brahma Rakshasas are highly learned Brahmins who due to the wayward life they lead and sins they committed are not able to attain Pithru Loka after their death. It is believed that they are very learned and have occult powers)

At that time, the very strong and great Hero, the ten headed one (Ravana) was woken up with the good luck, by singing songs which were sweet to hear and also verses praising him. 3

That famous king of Rakshasas having woken up at the correct time wearing displaced clothes and garlands thought of the daughter of Videha.  4

That egoist Rakshasa because the God of love affected him was not able to keep his passion to Sita under control. 5

He , carrying with him his unparalleled fame ,wearing all ornaments entered Asoka forest., which was having hangings made of gold in which gems were inlaid, which had fallen fully ripe fruits, which was dense with trees, which was giving happiness to the mind and eyes ,  which was having statues of deer , which was full of different varieties of trees, which was having several wonderful birds full of zest, which was filled with lotus ponds and which was shining with various types of flowers and saw it round.  6-9

That Ravana was followed by a very big group of ladies similar to Indra being followed by deva and Gandharva maidens. 10

Some of those ladies were carrying in their hand white threaded fan, some had golden lamps hanging on a chain and some had round ornamental discs. 11

(The Chamara, the white threaded fan had a handle and was used to fan kings)

Some with water in golden vessels preceded him and some with back turned swords and carpets followed him. 12

At that time, one intelligent lady took a gem studded pot with water in her right hand and walked with him. 13

(When great personages walked, someone walked before him and sprinkled water on his path, so that, the road is not dusty.)

Another walked behind him with an umbrella, which was having a golden handle, which was white, like a swan and which was shining like a full moon. 14

With eyes made red by the lack of sleep and wine, those great wives of Ravana followed their heroic husband like the streaks of lightning following the clouds. 15

Those darling wives of Ravana who were wearing mixed up garlands and bangles, who were having a disheveled looks, whose hair has been unloosened, whose face was full of droplets of sweat, whose body was made wet by sweat, whose hair was adorned by flowers, who were tottering because of loss of sleep and due to effects of wine, who were having pretty faces, who were having eyes causing passion and who were great ladies followed the Rakshasa king because of  their respect and passion towards him.  16-18

This very strong Ravana who was the husband of those ladies had come under the control of passion became a bad individual and because he had lost his heart to Sita and was following a path of utter selfishness. 19

Hanuman the son of Wind god heard the jingling sound of the anklets and waist belts of those great ladies. 20

Hanuman saw Ravana who was capable of very great deeds, who had unimaginable strength and masculinity, who shined on all the four directions by the light of many lamps held in the front which were fed by perfumed oils, who was full of passion, egoism and bad conduct, who was having long red eyes, who was a personification of the god of love without his rope and who was wearing well washed white clothes with a colour of foam of milk hanging from his shoulders but pushed to one side, entered the garden. 21-24

Hiding in the branch with profuse leaves and hidden by leaves and flowers, Hanuman started examining Ravana with care. 25

When the chief of monkeys was examining Ravana thus he saw the youthful pretty great wives of Ravana. 26

That famous king surrounded by that bevy of beauties entered the garden of the harem, which was full of animals and birds. 27

That Hanuman saw the very strong king of Rakshasa who was the son of sage Vishravas, who was holding his two ears upright like spears, who was well ornamented, who was visibly drunk by passion, and who was surrounded by his ladies like the stars surrounding the moon. 28-29

(Malyavan, the maternal grandfather of Ravana, wanted the Rakshasa clan to win over Devas. He induced his daughter Kaikasi to attract Sage Vishravas, who was the son of

Pulasthya and father of the God of wealth, Kubera. She became the mother of four children as a result. The eldest was Ravana)

That monkey chief who was endowed with great power saw Ravana  who was glittering by the rays of his power. 30

That greatly resplendent monkey chief who was the Son of God of wind decided without any doubt that” This individual was earlier seen by me in the center of the city, in a great palace asleep and so this must be the great hero Ravana and he jumped and ran away 31

(The awesome look of Ravana induced fear even in a great hero like Hanuman. The poet wants us to compare the weak and tender Sita in such a circumstance.)

That monkey chief was greatly resplendent but being disturbed by the great power of Ravana, he further withdrew deep into hiding. 32

That Ravana with a great desire to see Sita who had jet-black hair, jet black eyes, passionately attractive wide waist and very dense breasts neared her. 33

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

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