Rāmāyana | Sundara K| Chapter 11

Chapter: 11
Hall of Drink Search

[A full and detailed description of the hall of drink and Hanuman's search for Sītā there is recounted.]

Within a quarter of minute, he rejected his momentary wish that it was Sītā as not right and became clear headed and started thinking, in the right path. 1

After that Hanuman decided that "There was no chance of Sītā who was separated from Sri Rāma sleeping, nor eating, nor wearing of ornaments, nor even drinking water nor go near another male even if he were the King of Devas for even among devas there is none as great as Rāma and so this lady has to be somebody else." And he started searching further in the hall of drinking. 2-3

The monkey chief saw Rāvaṇa, who was deep asleep due to being tired by his intense love making and his collection of ladies among whom some were tired, some because of singing, some because of dancing and some asleep because of consumption of alcoholic drinks. He saw some ladies leaning on drums of different types and on small seats as well as many sleeping on special beds made for sleep by ladies. He saw thousands of ladies some decorated by ornaments, some who had the habit of describing their bodily beauty, some who describe the meanings of songs, some who work according to the need of place and time and some who can speak properly to suit an occasion 4-7

Amongst those ladies, the Rākṣasa King of great valour, looked like a bull among cows of high pedigree in a very wide stable. 8

Naturally being surrounded by those ladies, the King of Rākṣasas shined like an awesome he- elephant among large number of she elephants of the forest. 9

In the house of the great chief of Rākṣasas, the monkey chief saw collection of well stocked drinking places (bars). 10

In that drinking place Hanuman saw meats of deer, pig and raven kept separately. 11

He also saw further half eaten peacocks and hen kept in large golden vessels. 12

Hanuman saw the meats of eagle, sheep, porcupine, deer and peacock cooked with curd and Masalas, fully cooked doves, half eaten ravens, buffalos and one thorn fishes, well-cooked mutton, several type of side dishes, several type of drinks and several type of light eatables. 13-14

Similarly by different types of drinks which were sour, salty and other great tastes made by concentrating the juices of grapes, orange and pomegranate and those chains, armlets and bangles which have been removed and strewn all over and also decorated by flowers and fruits kept in goblets that place was very pretty. 15-16

That place of drink appeared to be glistening even without fire by the very many tastefully arranged sofas and chairs. 17

Garlands and also very many distilled alcoholic drinks, various alcoholic drinks made with sugar syrup, honey, fruit juices and flower concentrates, several other drinks which were sorted and kept and various types of meat which were properly mixed, cooked and made by great chefs, with great care in which various spices and condiments which were added in proper proportion filled that drinking place and added to its lustre. 18-20

That monkey chief saw many specially made drinks filled in silver and golden pots arranged in different place all over. 21

He also saw large number goblets, which were made of gold, silver and many made with several gems. 22

That place was also filled with serving cups for these drinks, which were made of gold, crystal and gold alloy. 23

That Hanuman saw in some place half emptied goblets, in some places empty goblets and in some places goblets filled to the brim. 24

He wandered here and there seeing various eatables, drinks sorted in different categories, left over food, broken drink pots, spilled water, fruits and prettily made garlands. 25-26

There were white cushions used by ladies for sleeping and various beauties sleeping tightly embraced. 27

Not only that in some cases one lady in her sleep was covering herself with the pulled out dress of another and several were in very deep slumber. 28

It was wonderful, that the cloths on their body and the garlands that they were wearing did not move by their heavy breath, which was like the slowly wafting wind. 29

The breeze carrying with in it the incense of cool sandal, by the scents of various alcoholic drinks and the various flowers in garlands was wafting here and there, That Puspaka Vimāna was also full of scents of various perfumes worn by different ladies, the sandalwood and other incense that were being burnt. 30-31

In that house of Rākṣasa some of the ladies were brown, some were black and some others were of golden colour. 32

Their looks because of deep sleep and made loose by their passion, appeared like the lotus pond in which the flowers have closed up. 33

Like this the great soul Hanuman wandered all over Rāvaṇa's harem and searched in all places but in spite of that did not find Janaki (Sītā, Janaka's daughter). 34

Hanuman became very thoughtful and worried because he thought that in staring at those women he has slipped from Dharma (the standards of right conduct.) 35

He thought that the sight of this crowd of wives of the enemy when they were deep asleep made him to commit a great sin. 36

Then he thought that his stare at the wives of somebody else was not done in a worldly manner. 37

"This sight of other people's wives has not done by me with passion", he further thought. 38

Then a new doubtless thought pointing towards the correct decision arose in the mind of very intelligent Hanuman who was capable of great thought 39

"I saw all the wives of Rāvaṇa who were sleeping without any fear and with great belief. In spite of that my mind did not waver even a little bit." He thought. 40-41

"Mind is the sole cause of all the sense organs doing good or bad and that mind did not waver even a bit in my case", he thought. 42

"Always, suppose a lady has to be searched it should be in the crowd ladies only and therefore it is impossible for me to search and find out Sītā in any other place." he further thought 43

"Search for an animal of a specific type has to be made within the type only and a lost woman cannot be searched among a group of deer." He thought. 44

"And therefore this Harem of Rāvaṇa was searched well by me with a very clean mind and in spite of that I could not find Sītā" he thought. 45

The great Hero Hanuman saw many lasses of Devas, Gandharvas and Nagas but was not able to find Janaki. 46

Having seen many great ladies, because he was not able to find Sītā, he went outside from that hall at that time and started thinking. 47

The great soul Hanuman having come out of that hall of drinking, took great pain in starting the search for Sītā again. 48

Thus ends the eleventh chapter of Sundara Kanda in the Rāmāyaṇa which is the first epic written by Vālmīki.