Rāmāyana | Sundara Kaṇḍa | Chapter 48

Chapter: 48
Hanuman’s Capture

[Indrajit, the eldest son of Rāvaṇa, is sent to capture Hanuman. He puts in lot of fight and at last sends Brahmāstra, which ties Hanuman. The Rākṣasa soldiers tied Hanuman by rope, which made Hanuman free of Brahmāstra, but still with a wish to see Rāvaṇa in person, he submits to the Rākṣasas. Rāvaṇa asks his ministers to question him. Hanuman replies that he is the emissary of Sugrīva.]

After Hanuman killed Akṣa Kumāra that famous Rākṣasa King, gained mental composure somehow and after that gave the following order to Indrajit who was equal to Indra and who was very angry. 1

"You are the one who knows the science of archery, you are the one of the greats among those who carry weapons, you are the one who can give even Devas and Asuras sorrow, you are the one who has shown great valour against Devas including Indra and the one who has worshipped Brahma and got special arrows." 2

"Neither Asuras, nor devas, nor those who are helped by Indra are capable of facing the power of your arrows in war." 3

"There is no one who does not get tired of war in all the three worlds, but you are protected by the power of your penance. Not only that you are protected by your own valour and also you are capable of acting as per the needs of time and place. You are also greatly intelligent." 4

"There is nothing in the war that cannot be achieved by your effort. Nothing is impossible to you in jobs that need the use of brain and thought. There is no one in all the three worlds who does not know the power of your arrows and intelligence." 5

"The power of your penance, valour and the strength of your arrows are equal to me. After getting you (as son), who would definitely achieve victory in war, my mind had never experienced any effort." 6

"All the Kinkaras, the Rākṣasa called Jambumali, the sons of ministers who were valorous, and the five commanders have been killed. Similarly the great army consisting of horses, elephants and chariots has been killed. Your dear brother Akṣa Kumāra has also been killed." 7-8

"Hey, killer of enemies, I do not definitely have the faith that I have you in them." 9

"Hey, intelligent one, after estimating and understanding this great strength, power and valour of the monkey, use your strength properly and do effort equal to your strength." 10

"Hey greatest among those who know archery, you who has the strength to conquer enemies, take further action such that, you use as much of your strength as required to destroy the army and take further action after judging your as well as the enemies strength." 11

"Hey heroic warrior, it (the monkey) has got capability of exterminating crowd by crowd and so army is useless against it. Further you should not near it depending on Vajra, because even God of wind does not have its speed. Since it is equal to fire, war of deceit does not help to kill it." 12

"Please go, after thinking clearly about all the points mentioned, having great confidence in the stability of your actions, after well remembering the bow and the power of arrows given by devas. Complete the job without failure." 13

(Rāvaṇa seems to be of the opinion that without the use of holy god given arrows, the monkey cannot be defeated.)

"The fact that I am sending you is contradictory to the fact that I love you, but this decision is proper for the King and the dharma (just action) of the King." 14

"Hey, killer of enemies, in war it is essential to show the expertise learned in a careful manner and what should be wished in war should only be victory over the enemy." 15

That hero, who had the strength equal to devas and who had untiring ability, after hearing the words of his father, decided on going to war mentally and went round his master (father). 16

After a respectful farewell by his own friends and with interest in war, Indrajit with an intention to be careful decided to depart. 17

That resplendent Rākṣasa prince who had eyes like the petals of lotus, who was a gentleman ebbed out like the sea during the full moon and new moon. 18

That Indrajit, who was equal to Indra, then climbed in to a chariot capable of travelling anywhere, drawn by four tigers that were comparable to the King of Birds, who were comparable to each other and who had white sharp teeth. 19

He who was greatest among archers, who knew the science of war, who was an expert in the war with arrows and who was great, reached quickly, riding on his chariot, to the place where Hanuman was sitting. 20

Hearing the sound made by his chariot and the twang of the bow, the famous Hanuman, who was a great monkey hero became very happy. 21

Indrajit who was an expert in war went near Hanuman carrying his bow and very sharp arrows. 22

When he was going with a bow and with interest in war, all the directions rattled and wild animals made various types of sounds. 23

During this time Nāgas, Yakṣas, Sages and Sidhas who travelled in the sky assembled there, besides the several species of birds hid the sky completely and shouted loudly. 24

That monkey, seeing Indrajit coming fast riding in the chariot, roared loudly and increased the size of his body speedily. 25

Riding on a miraculous chariot Indrajit, who could complete any job in an artistic manner, made thunderous sound by his bow. 26

Then that very strong monkey, who was equal in prowess to Indra and the Rākṣasa King and who was not afraid of war, fought with the son of the King of Rākṣasas and they faced each other like born enemies and with great anger. 27

That monkey, who was beyond sight, destroyed the speed of arrows of Indrajit, who had won laurels in war, who was great archer, who was a great charioteer and who was a great hero. He increased further and further and travelled in the sky, which was the path of his father. 28

At that time, he who was capable of killing the opposing warriors shot arrows which were long and sharp, which had been attached with good feathers, which had ends decorated by gold and feathers, which were capable of being drawn well and which were as fast as the thunderous fire. 29

That Hanuman, hearing the huge sound made by his chariot, the sound made by drums Beri and Pataha (types of war drums) and the sound made by the well-drawn bow again jumped up. 30

That brown coloured great monkey travelled fast in between several properly shot arrows by him who was capable of shooting arrows correctly and made them all useless. 31

Hanuman, the son of wind god, stood in front of him giving him facility to shoot him but spreading his hands jumped away from the arrows that he shot. 32

Those two, who were very fast and who were experts in war. carried on a war that attracted and surprised all beings. 33

That Rākṣasa did not know the Achilles heel of Hanuman and the son of wind God did know the weakness of the courageous one. Thus those two fought opposing each other an intolerable war similar in valour to the devas 34

The great one, who had firm capacity to shoot arrows without missing his aim, seeing that his arrows which never go waste, were going waste not able to hit his aim, became extremely thoughtful then. 35

That son of the King of Rākṣasas, understanding that the monkey was deathless, took a decision on how to tackle and catch him after great thought. 36

At that time, that great hero who was very learned in archery sent the Brahmāstra against the monkey. 37

Indrajit, who knew the essence of archery and who was a great hero, decided, "This one should be killed only by Brahmāstra" and tied him, who was the son of wind God, by Brahmāstra. 38

That monkey tied by the Rākṣasa using that arrow (Astra) became incapable of moving and because of that very sad. 39

Then that monkey chief understanding that his speed was reduced by the power of Brahma and understanding that he was tied by the arrow (Astra), remembered the blessing of Brahma to him. 40

Hanuman thought in his mind about the Brahmāstra, which was sent with the Chant of Brahma and also the boon given to him by Brahma. 41

"This arrow has been sent with an understanding that "I who am under the control of the arrow do not have strength to tie myself loose because of the power of the universal teacher." And so I have to respect the tie of the arrow of Brahma and obey it." 42

That monkey, understanding the power of that arrow and also remembering the blessings of Brahma permitting him to tie himself, decided to obey the order of Brahma. 43

"Even though I am tied by the arrow, I who am protected by Brahma, Indra and Vayu, do not have any sense of fear." 44

"Even this coming under the control of Rākṣasas, I have the great benefit of having a meeting with the King of Rākṣasas and so let the enemy carry me." 45

That Hanuman, who destroyed the valour of his enemies, who could take the right decisions and one who could guess the future course of events, did not move his limbs. Because of this he was caught by the enemies who neared him and acted as if he was bullied by all those who came there and made sounds like a weakling. 46

At that time, they finding him, who could destroy is enemies as still, strongly tied him by strong jute threads and pieces of tree hides. 47

That Hanuman deciding that "It is possible that the King of Rākṣasa may come to me to understand things, " tolerated peacefully the tying by the enemy soldiers and their bullying. 48

That hero was only tied by the ropes and hides and freed by the arrow, because that arrow does not tolerate tying by any other object. 49

At that time, only the heroic Indrajit having understood that he was only tied by ropes and freed by the tie of Brahmāstra thought as follows, "He has been tied by some other material. Will Brahmāstra tolerate it?, Alas, my great effort became in vain. Rākṣasas do not know the power of chants. If Brahmāstra becomes useless, then no other arrow will work against him and all of us should be afraid for our lives." 50-51

Hanuman did not allow anyone to know that he is free from the control of Brahmāstra. Because of that he suffered the troubles of other ties and was dragged by the Rākṣasas. 52

That monkey was dragged to the presence of the King of Rākṣasas by the cruel Rākṣasas, who beat him with fists and logs of wood. 53

Even though Indrajit understood well that he was free from the ties of Brahmāstra and was only tied by ropes allowed that very strong monkey warrior, who was surrounded by his army, took him in front of the King. 54

Those Rākṣasas tying him, who was the greatest among monkeys, like a ferocious elephant, presented him in front of the King of Rākṣasas. 55

At that time the following conversations took place among the Rākṣasas, "Who is this? Whom does it belong? Where from it has come? What job has it here? Who is helping him?" 56

The other Rākṣasas, who were very angry, shouted among themselves, "We have to kill it. We have to burn it. We have to eat it." 57

That great one, with contempt for them crossed the path and stood in front of the King of Rākṣasas who was surrounded by people ready to serve him in any way that he wants and saw the palace decorated by various precious stones. 58

(Some commentators interpret "With contempt for them" as "being dragged forcefully" also the "Path" is interpreted as "In the month of Māgha" by some of them. One version of Rāmāyaṇa says that Hanuman crossed the sea in the month of Māgha, on Ekādaśī Tithi and on a Sunday.)

That greatly glittering Rāvaṇa saw that great monkey being dragged hither and thither by those ugly looking Rākṣasas, 59

The monkey chief, Hanuman also saw the King of Rākṣasas, who was shining like the sun God and who was resplendent and very strong. 60

That ten headed one rolling his red eyes due to intense anger stared at the monkey and ordered his important ministers who were sitting near him and who were elders known for their pedigree and good character to question the monkey. 61

That monkey properly questioned by them about the reason as to why he came and also the cause of the reason, initially told. "I am the emissary coming from the King of monkeys." 62

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