Rāmāyana | Sundara Kaṇḍa | Chapter 4

Chapter: 4 Hanuman's Lanka Travel

[Description of the city of Śrī Lanka]

That Resplendent monkey chief and great Hero Hanuman winning over the great goddess of City of Lanka, who in her valour could take any shape that she wishes, entered the city by jumping over the wall and not by crossing the gate. 1

(When your intention is to destroy the city, it is believed that you should not enter by the gate.)

Hanuman who always does good deeds to the King of Monkeys, Sugrīva, entered the city and placed his left leg on the head of his enemy. 2

(It is believed that if your first step is of left leg, you bring calamity to the city/house.)

That monkey, who was the son of Wind God and who has entered the city at night, reached the main avenue of the city which was decorated by precious gems and flowers and he saw round the city with extreme courage. 3-4

That city which was full of music created by drums and which was full of sounds of happiness, had a lot of great buildings with windows decorated by diamonds like the great elephant of deva loka and looked like the sky decorated by clouds. 5

That city shined with the good houses of the crowd of Rākṣasas 6

That city with buildings of the type Padma (lotus), Swastika (like swastika) and with palaces like Vardhamāna (ever increasing) had many beautifully constructed good houses and shined greatly like the sky by its clouds. 7

Hanuman, who does only good service to the King of Monkeys, with an intention of completing the work of Sri Rāma, completely saw that city which was decorated by pictures, garlands and ornaments and became happy. 8

That Son of Wind God, who was going from one house to another house saw houses of many sizes and shapes all over. 9

He heard the three sweet musical sounds of Thara, Madhyama and Manthra, which emanated from head, throat and belly respectively from the voluptuous ladies who were like the Apasra (court dancers) of Deva Loka. 10

In the houses of Lords, sounds of the waist belt, sounds made of anklets, sounds while climbing stairs, sounds of clapping hands and enthusiastic shouts were heard here and there. 11

He also heard sound of chanting of Mantras (sacred poems) from the houses of Rākṣasas. 12

He also saw Rākṣasas, who were experts in the knowledge of Vedas and also them, who were shouting poems in praise of Rāvaṇa. 13

He also saw several spies among the great army of Rākṣasa who were standing round the main avenue of the city. 14

He also saw those who were doing penance for performing Yaga, those with uncut hair, those whose head was shaved off completely, those who had covered themselves with hide of cow, those who had one hand full of Durbhā grass as weapons, those who had fire pits as weapons, those who had spear and thorn pointed stick as weapons, those who had ordinary sticks as weapons, those who had only one eye, those who had only one ear, those who had hanging stomachs and chests, those who were fierce looking archers, those who carried swords, those who had slanted mouth, those who carried pestle and mortars as weapons, those who were handicapped, those who were dwarfs, those who carried big steel rods, those who shined in peculiar shirts made of steel, those who were not very fat, those who were not very thin, those who were tall, those who were dwarf, those who were white, those who were black, those who were hunch backed, those who were midgets, those who were ugly looking, those who were in different shapes, those who were handsome, those who were holding flags, those who were holding small flags, those who were having trees and spears as weapons, those who were having mace as weapon and also those who were carrying different type of weapons. 15-20

That great monkey further saw those who had in their hands rope and a stone, those who were wearing garlands, those who had applied perfumes, those who were wearing costly ornaments, those who were wearing different types of dresses, those who had joined the army in their free will, those who were carrying many sharp spears and those who were very strong people and carried the Vajra (ace made of diamond) 21-22

Before the harem, he saw lakhs of very careful sentries appointed by the King of Rākṣasas. 23

Then the monkey chief saw the very famous and huge palace of the King of Rākṣasas constructed on the mountain top, surrounded by walls and moats full of lotus flowers which had a very precious golden tower. 24-25

The great monkey entered the beautiful palace of the King of Rākṣasas, which was pretty, which was similar to heaven, which was echoing divine sounds, which was full of sounds of horses, which had the jingling sound of ornaments, which was protected by chariots, palanquins, planes, wonderful horses bringing only good and four tusked elephants, which were like a series of white clouds and which was decorated by thick fat animals and birds and which was protected in all sides by Rākṣasas. 26-30

That Hanuman entered the harem of Rāvaṇa, which had surrounding walls made of gold and silver, which was decorated by costly pearls and other precious stones and which was full of scented smoke emanating from good quality myrrh and sandalwood. 31

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