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

Fifty-eighth Chapte

Telling the happenings of Lanka

(In this chapter Hanuman informs his monkey friends all that happened after he took off and till he returned. This chapter is the summary of all the previous 57 chapters of Sundara Kanda.)

anuman and other very strong monkeys sitting in the top of Mahendra Mountain attained incomparable mental peace at that time. 1

 After taking their seat ,Jambhavan and other dear, very happy and great monkeys enquired about the events that happened till then from Hanuman, who was the son of wind god, and who was extremely peaceful. 2

 How did you happen to see the holy lady? How is she? How does the ten headed one who does cruel deeds behave with her? We would like to know. 3

 Hey great monkey. Please tell all this in detail to us, as it happened. After understanding the happenings we would all decide our future course of action. 4

 What news should we, who have gone there and returned back tell? What aspect of the events should not be told? You who are very intelligent should tell about this to us in detail. 5

(Our Smrithis tell that the truth, which hurts, should not be told. In fact later Hanuman does not tell anything about his exploits and anything about the burning of Lanka to Rama feeling that he may think that he is boasting.)

 Thus ordered by Jambhavan, that Hanuman became pleased with extreme happiness and saluted Sita by bowing his head and replied. 6

 Did I not rise from the top of Mahendra Mountain, which was standing before you, fixing my mind firmly with a wish to reach the southern shore of the ocean. 7

 Then a golden, divine , pretty and horror filling peaks of one mountain lay in front of me as if it is intended to prohibit my journey. Then I thought as follows. 8

Since it was in lying in my way. I thought that the mountain was trying to stop me. 9

I neared the divine and golden mountain and decided in my mind that, “This mountain  is fit to be broken 10

 The peak of that very big mountain which was almost touching the sun, was hit by my swinging tail and was broken in to thousand pieces. 11

 What a surprise, that great mountain understanding well my intentions, called me with great love., dear son and making that word sound as if to melt my mind. 12

 Please understand that I am well known as Mainaka and I live in the great ocean. Please also understand that I am a close relation of Wind God and thus your close relative from the father’s side. 13

 Child , once upon a time , the great mountains used to have wings and were traveling all over the world giving trouble to people. 14

 The God Indra who had killed the Asura called Paka , seeing this bad aspect of the mountain , started cutting in to pieces these wings of these mountains. 15

 Hey dear, I only was saved from Indra by your father by being swept away and lodged deeply in to the sea. 16

 Hey, killer of the enemies, I should behave in a way which is of help to Lord Rama, as he is similar to Indra in his valour and is the greatest among those who are charitable 17

 After I heard the words of the great Mainaka , I made him understand what needs to be done and my mind got prepared for completing my job. 18

Though Mainaka is a great mountain, it took the shape of a human being and permitted me to go and that great mountain stayed in the middle of the ocean in the form of a mountain itself. 19

(The word Andharhita used in this sloka does not mean that he disappeared as in the 57th chapter, Hanuman has been seen as patting the mountain on his way back and in Yudha Kanda, Rama shows Mainaka Mountain on his way back from Lanka,)

Then I thought of the remaining long distance which remained to be covered and became very fast and sped with vigour for a lot of time. 20

 Then I saw the divine lady Surasa who was the mother of Nagas. That holy lady stood in the middle of the ocean and told me, Hey monkey chief, devas have decided that you are going to be my food and I have got you after a very long long time. So I am going to eat you. 21-22

 I felt dejected after what Surasa told me and with humble salutation, I told her as follows. 23

 Rama who was the son of Dasaratha along with his brother Lakshmana and wife Sita  entered the Dandaka forest and was living there. 24

 His wife Sita was abducted by the bad hearted Ravana. I am going because of the order of Rama as his emissary. You who are living in the kingdom of Rama should render necessary help to me. 25

 Otherwise after rendering necessary help to Mythili and seeing Rama , I myself will enter your mouth. I am telling this as an oath to you. 26

 That Surasa who could assume any form that she chose, after being told by me like that, :told, Nobody should cross and go beyond me, this is my boon. 27

 After being told like this by Surasa , within a second I assumed a form of ten Yojanas long and 5 yojanas thick. 28

 At that time she was also able to open her mouth suitable to my size. Seeing her wide open mouth I made my body small. 29

(It is told that he assumed a form of hundred yojanas wide step by step in Chapter 1, slokas 171-181)

 Within a very short time, I became as small as a thumb and I went inside her mouth  and within a minute came out. 30

 That deva lady Surasa assumed her normal form and addressing me told, Hey great one, I have become pleased with you. Hey calm one, go as you wish so that you can complete your job. , Hey monkey chief, bring Vaidehi with the great Raghava together . Hey monkey, go further, pleased with yourself. 31-32

 Then I was appreciated by all beings as “Good, very good. And I effortlessly went in to the broad sky like an eagle. 33

 When it was like this I found that only my shadow was being stopped and I could not see anything anywhere. 34

 Because my speed was taken away, I searched in all the ten directions and I could not find that which was preventing my speed. 35

 I could not see an shape any where. In spite of that a problem has arisen like this in the clear sky. :A thought as to “why is this?” arose in my mind. 36

 Thoughtful as I was , my sight did not spread down. After that I saw a horrible Rakshasi who was lying inside the water. 37

 She with terrible form told me the following words with enthusiasm which reflected truly her mind, which never gave any room for doubt, which were not causing good and which were like a roar. 38

 Hey, fat one, where are you going? You appear to be proper food for me who is very hungry. Satisfy my body ,which has been starving for a long time. 39

 I agreed to her words and increased the size of my body to a size bigger than her face. 40

Her mouth also grew big and terrible for eating me. She did not know either my strength or my trick. 41

 So I reduced my very big size in to very small one within a second and removed her heart and jumped back in to the sky. 42

 She who lived in the saline sea and who was as fat as a mountain fell dead with outstretched hands having lost her hands. 43

 I also heard the words of holy people who were traveling in the sky along with Charanas saying that, the terrible Rakshasi called Simhika has been killed with in a second by Hanuman. 44

 After killing her , thinking about that dangerous deed , I covered a long distance and reached the place where the city of Lanka existed and saw the southern ocean shore of that town decorated by mountains, I entered in to the city which was the residence of Rakshasas after the Sun has set  in a manner in which even the valorous Rakshasas could not see me. 45 – 46

 At the time of my entering some lady with an action similar to the clouds of deluge roared and came before me. 47

Then at that time , I hit and defeated her ,who came to kill me , who was horrible looking and  who had hairs like a raging fire, with a folded left fist and she with great fear told me Hey, valorous one , I am the city of Lanka and I have been defeated by your valour and because of that you have become capable of defeating the entire Rakshasas. And then I entered in side the city during Pradosha.(after setting of the sun and before night fell). 48-49

 After searching for the daughter of Janaka that entire night I entered the harem of  Ravana but I was not able to see that pretty lady. 50

 I was not able to see her in the palace of Ravana also and because of that, being drowned in the sea of sorrow whose shores were not visible to me. 51

 I who was very sad, then saw a very great garden which was very peculiar and surrounded by golden walls. 52

 I  jumped and crossed the wall and saw a garden with many trees. In the middle of that Asoka forest I saw a huge Simshuba tree. I climbed and sat on that tree and saw a golden forest of Banana plants. 53-54

 I saw sitting on that Simshuba tree at a slight distance attractive coloured and lotus petal eyed Sita who was dark, who had a faded face due to starvation, who had dust coated hair, who was looking famished due to sorrow, who was wearing the same cloth that we saw earlier, and who was only concentrating her mind in the good of her husband, surrounded by Rakshasis who have horrible form , who eat flesh and blood  and who are cruel by nature and this sight was similar to  a deer being looked after by a group of tigers. 55-57

 With lot of difficulty I reached the place where I could properly see Sita, who was bullied by the Rakshasis frequently, who was in a miserable state, who was doing the only work of concentrating her mind on her husband, who had made up her hair in a single lock, who was lying down on the floor, who was like a lotus flower in winter, who was dejected because she saw no way to escape from Ravana, who had decided to die immediately and who was doe eyed.  58-59

 Seeing the lady who was wife of Rama in that state of not being subject to notoriety, I continued on the Simshuba tree and observed her carefully. 60

 Then I heard the very loud sound of Hala hala of the anklets and waist belts emanating from the palace of Ravana. 61

 At that time being very sad I made my form in to a very tiny one and sat without moving in between the leaves of the Simshuba tree like a bird. 62

 Afterwards the wives of Ravana and the very strong Ravana came towards the place where Sita has been kept. Sita with the pretty thighs seeing the chief of Rakshasas coming towards her,  folded and drew her thighs towards her and hid her breasts by both her hands.  63-64

(This stanza gives an indication of the dress which she was wearing. It appears to be the two piece dress worn by women of the olden times.)

 That base ten headed one , addressing that Sita who was in great difficulty, who was trembling, who was seeing here and there, who was very sad because she saw no way out of her difficulties, who was depressed and who was praying God told, Hey Sita, respect me. Hey proud one, you are not recognizing me because of your pride. . So if you continue in this state for another two months, I will drink all your blood. 65-67

Hearing these words of Ravana who was a bad soul, Sita became very angry and told the following great words. 68

 Hey base Rakshasa, Why is it that your toungue does not get detached because of saying these bad words addressing the daughter in law of Dasaratha who belonged to the clan of Ikshu Vaku and the wife of the very powerful Rama. 69

 Hey sinner who is ungentlemanly , your valour which consisted of stealing me in the absence of my husband and when he was not able to see me is definitely meager. 70

 You are not at all equal to Rama and you would not be appointed as a servant of him for that Raghava is truthful , worshipful and great admirer of war. 71

( The idea expressed in the last sloka that he was a deceit and poor in war is expressed in different words.)

 Hearing these words from Janaki which were demeaning that ten headed one glittered in anger like the fire of the funeral pyre. 72

He rolled his two blood red eyes and with his right fist started killing Sita and his ladies shouted Ha, Ha 73

 Mandodari , the wife of the ten headed one and who was a great lady, stood up from the middle of the ladies  and was stopped from carrying out his intention. 74

( In the 40th sloka of 22nd chapter it is mentioned that he was prevented by Dhanya Mala. Scholars are of the opinion that Dhanya Mala was a different name of Mandodari She is the daughter of Maya the Asura architect and given as a gift to him by Goddess Parvathy..)

 She told him who was in great passion using sweet words ,” Hey Ravana who is equal to Indra, What is the use of Sita to you? 75

Hey Lord, be happy by taking pleasure from the deva, Gandharwa and Yaksha maidens  who are here. What are you going to do with Sita? 76

 Then that very strong Rakshasa was pacified by the ladies who were with him and was taken back to his palace. 77

 After the departure of the ten headed one those horrible faced Rakshasis without mercy and using cruel words terrorized Sita. 78

 Sita considered their words as cheap and as mere grass and the tumult created by them became in vain before Sita. 79

 Calmed down after their useless shouting those flesh eating Rakshasis informed Ravana that The decision of Sita is indeed firm. 80

 Then all of them after being dejected and depressed joined together surrounded her on all four sides and started sleeping. 81

 After all of them were asleep, Sita who was always only thinking of her husbands interests becoming extremely sad because of her dangerous state , wept. 82

 Then Trijata rose from their midst and spoke the following words. 83

 You can eat me just now. This lady who is the daughter in law of Dasaratha and the daughter of Janaka will not be destroyed. 84

(This is again contradictory o earlier narration .Trijata told about her dream to the Rakshasis while they were terrorizing Sita)

 Just now I truly , saw a dream which is terrible, making my hairs all over my body  stand out .It was about the destruction of all Rakshasas and the victory of her Lord. 85

 Let us all beg this Vaidehi , for being protected without any condition from Raghava. I think this is the only proper thing to do. 86

 Such a sad person about whom this dream was seen is going to be devoid of all sorrows soon and is going to attain incomparable happiness in several ways. 87

 Mythili who is the daughter of Janaka would become pleased the moment you salute her.  88

Then that lady became shy and became happy thinking of the victory of her husband and told , If this is true I would definitely be a support to all of you. 89

(These words of Sita are not there in the earlier narration.)

 Seeing her in that miserable state , I patiently thought of her in my mind but my mind did not rest in peace. 90

 I thought of a method by which conversation can be initiated between me and Janaki. So I sang the praise of the Ikshuvaku dynasty itself. 91

 That holy lady hearing the praise of the kings of her dynasty , with tear stained eyes saw me and questioned me as follows. 92

 Hey monkey chief, who are you? For what reason and how did you come here? How did attachment develop between you and Rama ? Please tell all this in detail to me. Hearing her words I answered her thus. 93-94

Hey holy lady, your husband Rama has gained the help from some one called Sugreeva. He is the king of monkeys, very strong, very valorous and a great warrior. 95

 Please know that I who have come here is his minister Hanuman. Your husband Rama who does any job fully has send me here as his emissary. 96

 Hey famous lady, that son of Dasaratha who is a lion among men and also a great gentleman, has sent his signet ring to you as a memento. 97

 So lady, I am waiting for your orders. What should I do? I can take you to Rama and Lakshmana, What do you think about it? 98

 Sita who is the daughter of Janaka after hearing this and understanding perfectly my words, Replied Let Raghava himself take me back after killing Ravana, 99

 I bowed to the lady who was beyond any blemish with my head and after saluting her begged her to give a memento which would make Rama happy. 100

 Then Sita addressing me told Be pleased take that great gem seeing which Rama the valorous would appreciate you a lot. 101

 After saying thus that great lady gave me a wonderful gem. Alas! She became very sad and requested me to tell the news by only words. 102

 After that having finished my allotted job, I saluted the princess and went round her with an intention of returning back. 103

 She then thought every thing over within her mind and told”, Hey, Hanuman, please inform my story to Raghava.. 104

 Please take that action which would result in the immediate arrival of those valorous Rama and Lakshmana along with Sugreeva. 105

 My allotted time to be alive is only two more months. If this does not happen, I would die like an orphan and Kakustha (Rama) would not be able to see me. 106

 Hearing those pitiable words, I became very angry and I also decided my future course of action. 107

 Because of that my body grew like a mountain. At that time desiring for war I started destroying that forest.(Asoka Vana) 108

 Those scary faced Rakshasis woke up at that time and saw that forest which was full of  scared animals and birds., being destroyed . 109

 They assembled in groups here and there in the forest neared and saw me and informed Ravana. 110

 Hey very powerful king, one bad monkey , without the knowledge of your valour has destroyed your forest which cannot be entered by anybody. 111

 Hey king of kings, that monkey should certainly be destroyed. So please sentence that ignorant one which has done undesirable acts against you to death . 112

 Rakshasas called Kinkaras who are difficult to win over and who obey the mind of Ravana were sent by him on hearing this and reached there.  113

 In the corner of the forest I killed eighty thousand of them armed with spear and thorned sticks with a steel pestle. 114

 Some among them who escaped death went fast and informed Ravana about the destruction of the large army. 115

 I got renewed vigour and wisdom and left the place where I was and neared the victory stage . I killed several Rakshasas who were there with a pillar removed from the stage and thus that stage which was an ornament to the city of Lanka was destroyed. 116

 After that Jambumali the son of Prahastha along with horrible rakshasas of terrible form were ordered to fight with me. 117

 I killed that Rakshasa who was an expert in war along with his big army and those who accompanied them with the same terrible iron pestle itself. 118

 Hearing this the great king Ravana sent the very powerful sons of ministers along with a big army which consisted of also foot soldiers , I sent all of them to the city of Yama using the same iron pestle. 119-120

 Having heard that the valorous sons of ministers were killed in war, Ravana sent five valorous army commanders and I killed all of them along with their army. 121-122

 After that the ten headed Ravana send Aksha who was his son, as well as a great hero along with several Rakshasas. 123

 I caught hold of the prince , who was an expert in war, who was the son of Mandodari, , who rose to the sky and who was wearing steel armour by his two legs, rotated him in the sky and killed him. 124

 Having heard the death of Aksha that ten headed Ravana, became very angry and send secondly Indrajit who was very angry, who was very strong, and an expert in war. 125

I became greatly pleased by making him who was a hero among Rakshasas and other Rakshasas very weak and dejected. 126

 Having been sent with great hope by Ravana and having been accompanied by very many valorous Rakshasas , that hero seeing that his army though valorous was being destroyed and unable to correctly estimate my strength, became jittery at that time and made me a prisoner by Brahmasthra itself. 127-128

 Then those Rakshasas who were there, tied me with ordinary rope and dragged and took me to the presence of Ravana. 129

 I being there within his sight, was conversed to by that bad soul Ravana and was asked about my coming to Lanka and about the killing of Rakshasas. 130

 I told that, all that were done for the sake of Sita.  131

 I am the adopted son of the wind God and am a monkey called Hanuman. Wanting to see you in person I was waiting to be brought near you from the place in front of Sita. 132

Please know that I am an emissary of Rama and a minister of Sugreeva and I have come to you along with the message of Rama.  133

 That greatly resplendent king Sugreeva sent the news of his well being. He also told these words which are essence of Dharma(justice), Kama(desire) and Moksha(salvation) , which are very suitable to this occasion, and which are good for you. 134

 The great Hero Rama promised his friendship to me who was living in the dense forests of Rishya Mooka. 135

 He told me as follows, King, my wife has been abducted by a Rakshasa and you have to help me to the best of your capacity willingly. 136

 Then these words were told by me, Please also undertake to help in killing Bali for my sake. 137

 That great Lord Raghava who was accompanied by Lakshmana signed a treaty, with fire as a witness, with Sugreeva whose kingdom was stolen by Bali. 138

 After killing Bali by one arrow in war by Rama , I who was the lord among monkeys was appointed as their king. 139

 It is our duty do help him as much as possible in this case. It is by him according to laws of justice that an emissary has been sent to you. 140

 Let Sita be returned forthwith and be presented to Raghava. If this is done monkey warriors will not destroy your valour. 141

 Who does not know the prowess of the monkeys who are being invited in to the presence of even the devas. 142

 I told him that, The monkey king told me to tell all these. And he stared at me with ire filled eyes as if to burn me. 143

Without realizing my strength that sinful cruel Rakshasa named Ravana ordered that I should be killed. 144

 There , his brother Vibishana who was a wise one, begged him as follows for my sake. 145

Hey , Chief of Rakshasas, do not do like this. This opinion has to be rejected because you should take action according to the laws of kings. 146

 Hey, king of Rakshasas, in the laws of kings no where the killing of an emissary is prescribed. It is necessary to understate the real state of affairs from an emissary who tells the good of his side. 147

 Hey, greatly valorous one, even though a very great crime is committed, killing of an emissary is never done but he can be disfigured. 148

 Thus requested by Vibishana, Ravana ordered the rakshasas, This only has to be done. Let its tail be burnt. 149

According to his orders my entire tail was covered with torn cotton cloths and ropes made of jute. 150

 Then those very valorous Rakshasas beat me with whatever firewood they got as well as their fists and set fire to my tail. 151

 Though I was caught by the Rakshasas and tied by several ropes , I had the intention of the seeing the town in broad day light, I never even felt slightly tired. 152

 Because it was like that, those Rakshasa warriors brought me to the entrance of the city and in the main avenue shouted at me who was imprisoned and whose tail burning by fire. 153

 From there I made my very big body to a very small one, got loosened from the ties and again assumed the original big form. 154

 I killed all those Rakshasas with a steel pestle and with a jump climbed on the top of the door of their town. 155

 Similar to the fire of deluge burning all people, I without hesitation burnt the entire town along with its houses and towers using my burning tail. 156

Then I started thinking with sadness as follows, The entire city has been made in to ash. There is no place in Lanka, which is not burnt. And so definitely Janaki would not be alive .There is no doubt about it that , I who was trying to burn Lanka also burnt Sita also. Thus the great job of Rama was made useless by me. 157-158

Then I heard the sweet news from the Charanas who were talking of strange news who told that, Janaki alone has not been burnt and did not suffer any sorrow. 159

 Hearing the wonderful news that Sita did not suffer any sorrow and from the reasons told hereafter I felt consoled. 160

 Even when my tail was burning, I did not feel any heat and the wind was blowing cold and also my mind was happy. 161

 I became happy because of the thought in my mind of those real happenings . various acts, which resulted in good and the predictions, made as well as the words of the sages. Even when it was like that I met Vaidehi once again and was bidden farewell by her. 162

 From there I reached the top of mountain called Arishta and with a deep desire to see all of you started my return jump. 163

 After that traveling in the path in the sky frequented by Wind, Moon, Sun, Sidhas, Gandarwas, and others I have just seen you all. 164

 By the power Of Raghava and your shining mien , I was able to complete the job of Sugreeva .165

 I have told all that has happened in this case in a summary manner. Let it be decided as to what is to be done in future based on this. 166

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

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Burning of the city of Lanka (Chapter 54)

Sunderkand: Burning of the city of Lanka (Chapter 54)

This article is part of “Sundara Kandam of Sage Valmiki” Fifty- fourth Chapter of Sunderkand Burning of the city of Lanka (Hanuman decided to inflict more misery to the city of Lanka by setting fire to it. He systematically set fire to all the houses, places and forests. He was praised by all Gods for such…

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Sunderkand: Setting fire to the tail of Hanuman (Chapter 53)

Sunderkand: Setting fire to the tail of Hanuman (Chapter 53)

This article is part of “Sundara Kandam of Sage Valmiki” Sunderkand: Fifty-third Chapter Setting fire to the tail of Hanuman (Ravana convinced by the advice of Vibhishana orders that Hanuman’s tail be burnt and he be dragged around the city. Hanuman thinks that this is a good opportunity to see round the city during the daytime…

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