Rāmāyana | Sundara Kaṇḍa | Chapter 41

Chapter: 41
Aśoka Forest Destruction

[Hanuman decides that having come to Lanka, he should gather about the strength and weaknesses of the enemy before going from there. This would mean attracting Rāvaṇa to send his powerful troops at him. With this end in view, he destroys the Aśoka forest.]

Thus praised by Sītā and worshipped and respected by her that monkey started to depart but moving away from that place started thinking. 1

"This black eyed lady has been visited and very little is left for the things to be done. It is time now to leave out the first three methods and I feel that the fourth method is the best." 2

[The four methods are Sama (peaceful), Bheda (creating differences), Dhāna (trying to bribe) and Daṇḍa (violent physical fight).]

"In case of Rākṣasa, Sama (peace) will not work and Dhāna (bribe) will not work against people who are very rich and these strong people would not fall prey to Bheda (splitting) and I feel at this stage only my heroism is the better option." 3

"In this case, there is no other option apart from fight, if by war some of the Rākṣasa die other Rākṣasas would become soft." 4

"If one is ordered to do a job necessary to be completed, if he does many other jobs without conflict to the job ordered to do, then he is the person who is to be employed." 5

"In this world just one method would not work in simplest of jobs and so he who knows several methods to complete a job is the one who is expert in doing it." 6

"When I am here, if I gain knowledge about the strength of the enemy and the tricks that they employ in war and return pleased with myself to the place of the King of monkeys then only I would have been deemed to have completed the job thoroughly." 7

"I should think, how I should easily engage myself in war with the Rākṣasas for then only the ten headed one would make me fight with his army." 8

"If that happens then I would be able to meet Rāvaṇa along with his ministers and chieftains and judge about his strength and understand his wishes and return back happily." 9

"This garden resembling divine garden which is attracting the mind and the eye, which has several trees and climbers and which is a great forest belongs to that sinner." 10

"Like the fire destroying dried wood, I should destroy this and once it is destroyed the ten headed one would become very angry." 11

"Then only the chief of Rākṣasas would send an army consisting of horses, chariots and elephants armed with three headed spears, long spears and deadly chains and this would turn in to a big war." 12

"I who has intolerable (by the enemies) prowess would engage myself in war with the very powerful Rākṣasas, destroy that army and would return back happily to the place of the monkey King." 13

That son of Wind God exuding with great power then became agitated like wind and by the speed of his great thighs started breaking the trees. 14

That heroic Hanuman then destroyed that private ladies garden, which was full of several exuberant birds and several trees. 15

That garden with the broken trees, filled up fountains and powdered peaks became a place one would not like to see. 16

That forest filled with cries of several types of birds, lakes made out of shape and faded red leaf buds became filled with dried trees and climbers as if it was attacked by forest fire. 17

Those climbing plants with the broken fences looked like women trembling out of fear. 18

With destroyed houses made of climbers, broken art museums, with crushed big snakes, with many violent animals and with broken granite stone houses that great forest looked as it had lost its normal appearance. 19

That very special enclosure of the garden made by the climbing Aśoka plants meant for the enjoyment of women of the ten faced one was full of broken and weeping plants. 20

After doing an intolerable act, to the mind of heroic and rich Rāvaṇa, that monkey, full of valour sat on the main gate expecting to fight a war alone with several very strong Rākṣasas. 21

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