Rāmāyana | Sundara Kaṇḍa | Chapter 34

Chapter: 34
Hanuman’s Narration of Rāma

[Though initially Sītā becomes glad on seeing Hanuman, she gets confused when he starts going near her and decides that he is only Rāvaṇa. Slowly by his actions and sweet words, Hanuman tries to dispel this misunderstanding.]

Hearing her words, which are steeped in sadness after sadness that monkey chief Hanuman, gave the following mind pleasing reply: 1

"Holy lady, I am the emissary of Rāma, sent by him here and have come here to inform you about news pertaining to him." 2

"Hey Godly one, that Rāma who is the son of Dasaratha, who is the greatest among those who knows Vedas and who has knowledge of Vedas and Brahmāstra, enquired about your well-being." 3

Lakṣmaṇa who is dear to your husband, who is always with him, who is suffering due to sorrow and who is greatly resplendent has offered salutations by his head to you." 4

(Hindus as an extreme sign of respect prostrate before those whom they respect with their head at their feet.)

That lady hearing the news about the well-being of those two lion among men was pleased all over her body and addressed Hanuman in a different way as follows? 5

"The proverb that "Happiness comes to the living man even after one hundred years" which is normally told appears to be true in my case. How happy I am!" 6

She got wonderful confidence in Hanuman whom she has seen face to face. And they with confidence between them started mutual conversation. 7

Hearing her words, that monkey chief Hanuman, started going near Sītā, who was wilting with sorrow. 8

The nearer and nearer he approached her, Sītā started more and more suspecting him as Rāvaṇa. 9

"This must be Rāvaṇa who has changed his appearance and how foolish it is that I and he had conversed with each other. What a great tragedy", she thought. 10

She who had all the holy qualities and who was being pained by extreme sorrow left the branch of the Asoka tree which she was holding and sat firmly on the floor. 11

The great hero Hanuman, seeing her afraid of him due to the misunderstanding, saluted Sītā who was afflicted by sorrow by falling at her feet. But she, who was totally scared of him, did not see him by opening her eyes. 12

The sweet voiced and moon faced Sītā seeing that he was bowing to her for a long time, gathered little courage and told him thus: 13

"If you are indeed Rāvaṇa who is bent upon violence, you are causing me intense sorrow and that is not good for you." 14

"You are the same Rāvaṇa whom I saw in Janasṭhāna as the one who has taken the form of one who has given up the world by hiding his own form." 15

"Hey Rākṣasa, who is personification of passion, you are troubling me who is starving, shivering and in anguish and this is not good." 16

"Or perhaps, what I doubt about you is not right, for just by looking at you, my mind is peaceful." 17

"If you are indeed the emissary of Lord Rāma, let good happen to you. Hey, monkey chief, I am requesting you to narrate the story of Rāma. Hey peaceful monkey, you have attracted my mind like the banks of the river. Please describe the qualities of my Lord, Rāma." 18-19

"Hey, what is this, why this pleasant dream to me. Why am I, who has been abducted by force, assuming that this monkey has been sent by Rāma?" 20

"Even in my dream, if I see the valorous hero Lord Rāma with Lakṣmaṇa then I would not be scared. Has dreams also have become my enemy?" 21

"I do not think that this is a dream that forebodes good, for good would not happen by seeing a monkey in a dream. And I have received only good news." 22

"This could be self-deceit or could be the action of some evil spirit or a lunacy created by intense longing. Perhaps this is possibly the mirage." 23

"No, this is not madness or mental state created by madness, for I am clearly recognizing myself and this as a monkey." 24

Analysing in various ways thus about the strengths of her various thoughts, she concluded that the monkey was indeed the King of Rākṣasas who can assume any form he wanted. 25

Then Sītā who was the daughter of Janaka and who had a very thin waist, assuming thus in her mind, did not utter anything to the monkey. 26

Hanuman the Son of God of wind, understanding her sorrow started pleasing her by words, which were sweet to her ears. 27

"He is resplendent like the sun god, pleasing to the world like the moon god and a King to all the world like Lord Kubera." 28

"He is one with great fame, one who has extreme valour like Maha Vishnu and one who tells sweet truth like Lord Brihaspati." 29

(Brihaspati is the official teacher of all Devas. He is the planet Jupiter in the sky.)

"He attracts the eyes like the God of love, who is reborn, he is handsome, he is a gentleman, he is capable of anger where required, he punishes his enemies, he is a great charioteer and he is the best in the world." 30

"Hey lady, you will soon see that, he who took the form of a stag and removed that great one, on whom the whole world depends, far away from the hermitage and abducted you, when nobody was there, would get the punishment he deserves." 31-32

"I am the emissary who has been sent to your presence by that great hero who would soon kill Rāvaṇa by sending burning arrows which are like fire and which would be sent with anger. Because of your parting, he is drowned in sorrow and told me to tell you about his welfare." 33-34

(It is an Indian custom to inform your welfare first and then ask about the welfare of those whom we meet.)

"That Lakṣmaṇa, who increased the happiness of his mother Sumitrā, who is a great hero, who is resplendent, is sending news of his well-being along with his salutations." 35

"Hey, holy lady, that monkey Sugrīva, who is the friend of Rāma and who is the King of monkeys also told me to inform you good tidings." 36

"Rāma along with Sugrīva and Lakṣmaṇa always think about you. Hey, Vaidehī, by the grace of God, you also are alive in the custody of Rākṣasīs." 37

"You are soon going to see Rāma, the very strong Lakṣmaṇa and Sugrīva with immeasurable power surrounded by crores of monkeys." 38

"I, who have crossed the great ocean and reached the city of Lanka, am named as Hanuman and am the minister of Sugrīva." 39

"I am the one who has come here for keeping my feet on the head of Rāvaṇa and show my valor and also to see you." 40

"Hey lady, I am not what you think. Leave out this doubt and please keep faith in me." 41

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