Rāmāyana | Sundara Kaṇḍa | Chapter 35

Chapter: 35
Hanuman’s Description of Rāma

[To convince Sītā, Hanuman described in detail about Rāma and also told her the story of the meeting of Rāma with Sugrīva as well as killing of Bali and consequent successful search for her. Sītā is at last convinced that he indeed is Hanuman.]

Once she heard about the story of Rāma from Hanuman, Sītā with a sweet voice started telling the following friendly words. 1

"Where did you get to know of Lord Rāma? How do you know Lakṣmaṇa? How did the friendship between men and monkeys develop?" 2-3

"Hey, monkey, be pleased to tell in detail once again the bodily signs of Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa. By this no sorrow will ever reach me." 4

"How is the bodily appearance of Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa? How are their features? How are their thighs? How are their hands? Please describe these in detail for my sake." 5

Thus requested by Vaidehī, Hanuman the son of Wind God, started telling in detail about Rāma. 6

"Hey, lady with lotus leaf like eyes, Hey broad eyed one, Hey Vaidehī, it is extremely lucky that you asked me to describe the features of Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa. Be pleased to hear the features of Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa as is known to me." 7-8

"Hey daughter of Janaka, Rāma has eyes like the lotus leaf; he steals the mind of all beings as he was born with beauty and pity." 9

(The word "Rāma" means "He who is handsome.")

"He is equal to Sun in the resplendence, equal to earth in his patience, equal to Brihaspati in wisdom and equal to Indra in fame." 10

"He is the protector of animals, protector of his own people, protector of beliefs and just action and killer of his enemies." 11

"Hey pretty one, Rāma is the protector of the four castes of the world, author of just practices of the world and he is the one who makes others obey such practices." 12

"He is one with lustre, he is always being worshipped, he is very firm in continence, he is an expert in doing service to the poor and he knows the best methods of doing any action." 13

(Tilakat, the famous commentator, translates "He is one with lustre" as "He is being worshipped as Sun God by Brahmins".)

"He is an expert in royal administration and hence he worships Brahmins, he understands science and practices it, he is by nature of a very good character, he is humility personified and in spite of that a valorous hero." 14

"He is an expert in Yajur Veda, he is one who is respected by great Vedic scholars and he is an expert in science of war, Vedas and Vedāngas." 15

"Hey, Devi, he has high shoulders, he has long hands, he has neck like a conch, he has a smiling face, he has shoulder bones hidden by flesh, he has red eyes and he is the one who is addressed as "Rāma" by all people." 16

"He has a musical booming voice of a trumpet, he is of soft shade, he is one with fame, he is one with ideal height and girth, he has proportionate organs and he is of black colour." 17

"Three of his are firm (chest, wrist and fist), three of his are long (eye brows, hands and Andas*) three of his are equal (ends of hair on the head, knees, Andas) three of his are high (stomach, belly and chest), three of his are red (ends of the eye, nails, and bottom of the feet), three of his are shining (hair, lines on feet and private parts) and three of his are having a regal look (sound, stride and overall looks) 18 * Literally egg but could be testicles.

(What are mentioned in the bracket in this and later stanzas are views of expert commentators. The ślokas do not contain them.)

"He has three folds in his belly and neck, three of his are depressed (chest, nipples and lines on his feet), four of his are short (neck, private parts, back side and knee joint), he has three whirls on his head, he has four lines on the thumb of his feet, he has four lines on his forehead, he is four hands tall (one hand is one and a half feet) and he has four organs equal (hands, knee joints, thighs and cheeks)" 19

"He has fourteen parts as equal (eye brows, nasal orifices, eyes, ears, lips, nipples, arm joints, wrists, knee joints, hips, hip joints, back sides, hands and legs). He has four sharp teeth, he has the combined gait of four animals (lion, tiger, elephant and bull), he has pretty lips, jaw bones and nose, he has five organs soft (hair, eyes, teeth, skin and feet) and he has eight organs long (back bone, body, hands, nose, eyes, private parts, fingers and legs)." 20

"He has ten organs like lotus flower (Face, mouth, eyes, tongue, lips, cheek bones, chest, nails, hand and feet), he has ten big ones (Chest, head, forehead, neck, shoulders, hands, belly, sides, back and voice), he is spread throughout by three (fame, riches and renown), he has two of them white (teeth and eyes), six of them standing out (arm pit, belly, chest, nose, hands and forehead), Nine of the ones are very sharp (hair on the head, moustache, nails, hair on the body, skin, fingers, eyes, private parts and knowledge) and he observes three aspects of life (charity, wealth and passion), three times a day (morning, noon and evening)" 21

"He is interested in truth and justice, he is very lucky, he is interested in charity all over the world, he knows the differences brought about by time and place and he tells only those words which are good to all beings." 22

"Sumatra’s son Lakṣmaṇa, who is his younger mother's son and also one who cannot be defeated by anybody, is equal to him in affection and features." 23

"Those two great men, who were going round and round the world with the intention of finding you out, were seen by us." 24

"Those two men who were wandering throughout the out the world in search of you, had a friendly meeting with Sugrīva, who was insulted by his elder brother, who was extremely sad because of the fear towards his brother, who was the King of animals and who was in hiding to take revenge of his brother in the thickly wooded forest of Riṣyamūka." 25-26

(Bali was the King of monkeys and his younger brother was Sugrīva. Once they chased a giant called Dundubhi, who entered a tiny cave. Bali went in chase of the giant inside the cave and requested Sugrīva to keep guard in the mouth of the cave. Since Bali did not come out for a long time, Sugrīva thought that he is dead and crowned himself as the King of monkeys. But Bali did return and thought that Sugrīva was insulting him. Chased by Bali, Sugrīva hid along with some of his friends, in the Riṣyamūka Mountain, where Bali cannot set foot, because of a curse by a sage.)

"We, few people, served Sugrīva, who was truthful, who was driven out by his brother and who was the King of monkeys." 27

"While things were like this, those two wearing the bark of the trees and holding huge bows neared the Riṣyamūka Mountains." 28

"That monkey chief seeing those two great souls, who were great warriors was fear stuck and ran away to the upper parts of the mountain." 29

(The fact that Sugrīva was a coward is brought out in this stanza.)

"Then that monkey chief sitting on the peak of the mountain immediately sent me as an emissary to those heroes." 30

"Under the orders of Sugrīva, I went and informed them, who were two handsome and powerful Lords, with folded hands about the situation in the mountain." 31

"Understanding the situation and getting pleased, those two rode on my back and were brought to the place of Sugrīva." 32

"Both of them were introduced to the great soul, Sugrīva and by mutual conversation both of them developed faith in each other." 33

"The Chief of the monkeys and Chief of men, were told during the conversation about things past and being convinced about each other became happy." 34

"Because of that, elder brother of Lakṣmaṇa consoled Sugrīva who was driven out by his elder brother and a great hero, Bali because of a woman." 35

(There are differing versions of this story. One of them is that Sugrīva was driven out because while he became a King instead of Bali, he married one of the wives of Bali)

"This time Lakṣmaṇa who can get any job done without effort informed the monkey King Sugrīva about the sorrow caused to Rāma because of parting with you." 36

"Hearing the words of Lakṣmaṇa, that monkey chief became dull similar to the Sun affected by Rāhu and Ketu during eclipse." 37

"That time, the monkey warriors brought out all those ornaments, which were shining on your body, which were thrown by you on earth, while you were being abducted and exhibited them before Rāma but the monkeys were not knowing the place where you have been taken." 38-39

"When Rāma was benumbed by sorrow, we gave him those ornaments which fell down and broke with tingling sound" 40

"Your husband who is like a God, kept those very pretty ornaments on his lap and wept several times." 41

"The son of Daśaratha’s sorrow went up and up seeing those ornaments again and again and the fire of his sorrow was burning more and more." 42

"Drowned by his sorrow, he lay down silently and I used several words of consolation with great difficulty made him stand up." 43

"Rāma accompanied by Lakṣmaṇa saw those very great ornaments again and again and pointed them out several times and gave them to Sugrīva for safe keeping." 44

"Hey holy lady, that Rāghava, who is not able to see you, internally burns like a volcano burning in huge fire." 45

"Because of you, he was sleepless and worries and thoughts also were burning that Rāghava like the fire burns the fire place." 46

"He was shattered because of the sorrow in not being able to see you like a huge mountain was shattered by an earth quake." 47

"Hey princess, he did not get an iota of happiness because he was not able to see you after he wandered round and round the streams, gardens and springs." 48

"Hey daughter of Janaka, that Rāghava, who is a lion among men, is going to kill Rāvaṇa along with all his relations soon." 49

"That time Rāma and Sugrīva together signed a treaty for killing Bali and undertaking a thorough search for you." 50

"Because of that Bali was killed by those two princes in a war near Kiṣkindha." 51

"Śrī Rāma killed Bali by his valour and after that appointed Sugrīva as the King to all monkeys and bears." 52

"Hey holy lady, the unity in purpose between Rāma and Sugrīva happened like this and I am an emissary sent by both of them because of that." 53

"Once Sugrīva got his Kingdom back, he sent the very powerful monkey chiefs for searching for you in all the ten directions." 54

(Below and above has also been included along with eight directions.)

"Ordered by the King of monkeys, those monkeys who are very strong and equal to the Himalaya Mountains started their search in all parts of the earth." 55

"From then onwards, we as well as the other monkey groups, interested in carrying out the orders of Sugrīva, travelled throughout the world in search of you." 56

"The monkey chief Angada who is blessed by Lakshmi, who is very strong and who is the son of Bali started his search assisted by one third of the armies." 57

"We spent several nights on the Vindhya Mountains without getting any result and as a result became very sad." 58

"We, because we were not able to get the job done in the time stipulated and also because of the fear of the monkey King, decided to give up our life." 59

"After searching for the divine lady in forests, mountains, caves, streams and being not able to find her place of residence, we decided to give away our life." 60

"Hey, Vaidehī, Angada seeing that all monkeys have decided to give up their life by starvation, drowned in great sorrow, related the stories of Jatāyu's death, killing of Bali and how we were not able to find the divine lady and our consequent decision to give up our life and became extremely sad." 61-62

"A heroic great hawk seeing us, who were about to commit suicide, because we were not able to complete the instructions of our boss, came near us with an intention of helping us to complete the job." 63

"This hawk King called Sampattī who was the elder brother of Jatāyu on hearing the death of Jatāyu, came near us very fast and told the following words." 64

"Hey, monkey chiefs, who defeated and killed my younger brother Jatāyu and where was it done? I am interested in knowing it from you." 65

"Then Angada related to him the war that was done for saving you with the horrible Rākṣasa at Janasṭhāna and the consequent death of the great soul, as it happened." 66

"Hey pretty lady, that son of Aruṇa hearing the story of Jatāyu's death became very sad and told us that you are living in the house of Rāvaṇa." 67

(Hawks has the ability to see for long distances.)

"Hearing the happy tidings from Sampattī, we all, who were led by Angada started from there." 68

"Those monkeys with the extreme exuberance for locating you, happily and without any thought reached the northern shore of the great ocean." 69

"Those monkey chiefs led by Angada with great wish to see you after reaching the sea shore, became filled with fear (because of difficulty in crossing the sea) and became very sad." 70

"Then I, after seeing the sea, removed the fear from the minds of those very sad monkeys and crossed the one hundred yojanas." 71

(Initially even Hanuman was filled with fear, but Jambhavan told him that he was the only one who has the capacity and he is under-estimating his own strength because of a curse during his childhood. Once he realized his strength, Hanuman crossed the sea.)

"Within a night, I searched all over Lanka filed with Rākṣasas, saw Rāvaṇa and needless to say, also you who is filled with sorrow." 72

"Oh, holy lady, please know me as the son of Wind God, Minister of Sugrīva, the one who is enthused by Lord Rāma and the one who has come here because of you." 73

"Oh lady, who is devoid of any blemishes, I have just narrated to you everything as it happened. I am the emissary of the son of Dasaratha and so please recognize me as such." 74

"Your Kākutstha (descendent of Kākutstha), who is foremost among all archers, is all right. Similarly that Lakṣmaṇa who is interested in serving his elder brother and who is symbol of all that is good is also all right." 75

"Hey holy lady, I, who am interested in the well-being of your valorous husband have reached here alone as per the orders of Sugrīva." 76

"I who can assume any shape I want, with a deep wish to find out the path that you have travelled and who can travel anywhere without any help have reached this southern side." 77

"I, because of my luck, am going to console the monkey army, who are all sad because they are not able to locate you, by informing them about my meeting with you." 78

"Hey, holy lady, it is indeed lucky that my crossing of the sea has not gone waste and because of my great luck, I am going to get the fame of locating and meeting you." 79

"That great hero Rāghava, is going to exterminate Rāvaṇa along with his friends and relatives and is going to take you back." 80

"Hey, Vaidehī, Mālyavān is the most holy among the mountains and from this mountain a monkey called Keśarī reached the mountains of Gokarṇa." 81

"He, the great monkey chief, who is my father, under the orders of Devas and Rishis killed an Asura called Sambasadhana in this holy waters of Varuṇa" 82

"Hey, Maithili, I was produced in the wife of this monkey chief by the wind God and I became famous as Hanuman by my work." 83

(There are lot of stories of Hanuman's birth. One story says that he was produced by Shiva and Pārvatī when they were playing in the forest as monkeys. Pārvatī did not want to bear this child and the child was entrusted to the wind god. He put the child in the womb of Anjana, the wife of Keśarī.)

"Hey holy lady who has done only good deeds, hey Vaidehī, to gain your complete belief I told you all about Rāma. That Rāghava is going to take you from here very soon." 84

Famished by sorrow that Sītā seeing the reasons and proper information, believed in Hanuman and decided that he is indeed the emissary of Rāma. 85

That Janaki having attained immense happiness and due to extreme happiness shed happy tears from her eyes, which had curved eyelids. 86

That broad eyed one's, incomparable pretty face which was blessed with red, white long eyes appeared as if it was the moon who has escaped from Rāhu. 87

She decided without any doubt that indeed it is Hanuman for there was no other reason to decide otherwise. Hanuman, seeing the holy lady with friendly eyes, told the following: 88

"Hey Maithili, I have told you all that is to be told in its entirety. So please take courage and give me leave. What do you think, I should do now? 89

"Hey Maithili, I was born as a monkey to the god of wind, when according to the wishes of sages, Sambasadana was killed by a monkey in war and I am equal in power to the God of Wind." 90

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