Rāmāyana | Sundara Kaṇḍa | Chapter 31

Chapter: 31
Rāma’s Story Narration

[Hanuman narrates the story of Rāma up to that point in brief manner after the Rākṣasīs have slept. Sītā hears the story, becomes happy and locates Hanuman.]

After thinking like this in various ways and having decided on what to do, he sweetly narrated in a clear manner the following: 1

"There was a King called Dasaratha, who had an army consisting of chariots, horses and elephants, who was greatly resplendent, who was truthful and who was famous all over". 2

(Daśaratha’s original name was Nemi. He undertook to fight with Śambara to help his friend Indra. Śambara took ten different forms all sitting on chariots and attacked him from ten different directions. With a single chariot, Nemi efficiently fought and killed him. Afterwards he was known as Dasaratha, the ten-chariot man.)

"He was greatest among the Kingly sages, was equal to sages by his penance, was born in the family of emperors and was equal to Indra in strength." 3

"He was non-violent, was having a great mind, was charitable, was truly a hero, was the head of Ikshvāku clan, was lucky and was responsible for increase in the clan's wealth." 4

"He was a King in all respects, was very rich, who was famous in the world, which surrounded by four oceans and was one who does good and was also one who is good." 5

Rāma was his eldest and darling son, who was having a face like moon, who was a specialist and who was the greatest among the archers." 6

"Rāma was a protector of his just actions (dharma), was a protector of his people, was a protector of all animals and the nation's Dharma and was one capable of giving pain to his enemies." 7

"Due to the promise given by his father who was firm in his belief of truth and who was an elderly man, he adorned himself with sagely dresses and was sent to the forest along with his wife and brother." 8

(The promise was given to Kaikeyi. She was with him in the chariot when he fought Śambara. While fighting was in progress, the wheel axle got loose. Kaikeyi tightened it by using her thumb and as a result Dasaratha was able to kill Śambara. Pleased with his wife's daring, he gave her two boons. But she made him promise to give her those boons at any time she wants.)

"Rāma who was hunting in the deep forest killed many Rākṣasas who could assume any shape they wanted." 9

"Hearing the destruction of Janasṭhāna and killing of Khara and Dūṣaṇa, Rāvaṇa deceived Rāma by illusion of a deer and Janaki was abducted by him with great passion for her." 10

(Mārīcha who was his uncle played the part of the deer. Janasṭhāna was an area of Daṇḍakāraṇya forest where Rāma stayed for a long time.)

"Rāma who was searching the virtuous and innocent Sītā in the forest, met a monkey called Sugrīva and became his friend." 11

"Sugrīva took a vow to find out the place where Sītā was living and Rāma assured him that Sugrīva would be made as the King of the country of monkeys." 12

"Because of that, the very strong and great hero Śrī Rāma killed Bali and gave the country of monkeys to Sugrīva." 13

(Bali was the elder half-brother of Sugrīva.)

"Appointed by Sugrīva, several thousand monkeys, who are very attractive, are searching for her in all directions." 14

"I being enthused by the words of Sampattī jumped and crossed this great ocean which is one hundred Yojanas broad for the sake of that broad eyed lady." 15

(After a hopeless search for Sītā, the monkeys decide to commit a mass suicide. While discussing, they happen to mention about the valiant fight of Jatāyu with Rāvaṇa. Sampattī, who was the elder brother of Jatāyu (both were sons of God Aruṇa), who had earlier tried to protect his younger brother from the harsh sun rays, was living in a cave nearby having lost his wings. He was shocked by the news of Jatāyu's death and by his far sighted vision was able to locate Sītā in the island of Lanka)

"I, well known to Rāghava, have found out that lady of whom I have heard with the specified appearance, with specified colour, with specified glitter" 16

After telling thus the great monkey observed silence. 17

Janaki after hearing the above words was greatly wonderstruck. 18

Then that lady who had very pretty hair, which had a curved ends, lifted her face, which was partially covered by her hair and examined the Simshuba tree. 19

That Sītā whose soul was filled with only Śrī Rāma's thought, examined all directions and places and after well grasping the words of the monkey said to herself, "So be it" and became very happy. 20

She after searching round, up and down her saw Hanuman who was extremely wise, who was the minister of the monkey King, who was the son of God of wind and who looked like the rising son from behind the mountains. 21

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