Rāmāyana | Sundara Kaṇḍa | Chapter 58

Chapter: 58
Hanuman’s Narration of Lanka

[In this chapter Hanuman informs his monkey friends all that happened after he took off and till he returned. This chapter is the summary of all the previous 57 chapters of Sundara Kanda.]

Hanuman and other very strong monkeys sitting in the top of Mahendra Mountain attained incomparable mental peace at that time. 1

After taking their seat, Jambhavan and other dear, very happy and great monkeys enquired about the events that happened till then from Hanuman, who was the son of wind god, and who was extremely peaceful. 2

"How did you happen to see the holy lady? How is she? How does the ten headed one who does cruel deeds behave with her? We would like to know." 3

"Hey great monkey, please tell all this in detail to us, as it happened. After understanding the happenings we would all decide our future course of action." 4

"What news should we, who have gone there and returned back tell? What aspect of the events should not be told? You who are very intelligent should tell about this to us in detail. 5

(Our Smṛiti tell that the truth which hurts should not be told. In fact, later Hanuman does not tell anything about his exploits and anything about the burning of Lanka to Rāma feeling that he may think that he is boasting.)

Thus ordered by Jambhavan, that Hanuman became pleased with extreme happiness and saluted Sītā by bowing his head and replied. 6

"Did I not rise from the top of Mahendra Mountain, which was standing before you, fixing my mind firmly with a wish to reach the southern shore of the ocean." 7

"Then a golden, divine, pretty and horror filling peaks of one mountain lay in front of me as if it is intended to prohibit my journey. Then I thought as follows." 8

"Since it was in lying in my way. I thought that the mountain was trying to stop me." 9

I neared the divine and golden mountain and decided in my mind that, "This mountain is fit to be broken, " 10

"The peak of that very big mountain which was almost touching the sun, was hit by my swinging tail and was broken in to thousand pieces." 11

"What a surprise, that great mountain understanding well my intentions, called me with great love, "dear son" and making that word sound as if to melt my mind." 12

"Please understand that I am well known as Mainaka and I live in the great ocean. Please also understand that I am a close relation of Wind God and thus your close relative from the father's side." 13

"Child, once upon a time, the great mountains used to have wings and were travelling all over the world giving trouble to people." 14

"The God Indra, who had killed the Asura called Pāka, seeing this bad aspect of the mountain, started cutting in to pieces these wings of these mountains." 15

"Hey dear, I only was saved from Indra by your father by being swept away and lodged deeply in to the sea." 16

"Hey, killer of the enemies, I should behave in a way which is of help to Lord Rāma, as he is similar to Indra in his valour and is the greatest among those who are charitable" 17

"After I heard the words of the great Mainaka, I made him understand what needs to be done and my mind got prepared for completing my job." 18

"Though Mainaka is a great mountain, it took the shape of a human being and permitted me to go and that great mountain stayed in the middle of the ocean in the form of a mountain itself." 19

(The word ‘Andharhita' used in this śloka does not mean that he disappeared as in the 57th chapter, Hanuman has been seen as patting the mountain on his way back and in Yuddha Kanda, Rāma shows Mainaka Mountain on his way back from Lanka.)

"Then I thought of the remaining long distance which remained to be covered and became very fast and sped with vigour for a lot of time." 20

"Then I saw the divine lady Surasā who was the mother of Nāgas. That holy lady stood in the middle of the ocean and told me, "Hey monkey chief, devas have decided that you are going to be my food and I have got you after a very long long time. So I am going to eat you." 21-22

"I felt dejected after what Surasā told me and with humble salutation, I told her as follows." 23

"Rāma who was the son of Dasaratha along with his brother Lakṣmaṇa and wife Sītā entered the Daṇḍaka forest and was living there." 24

"His wife Sītā was abducted by the bad hearted Rāvaṇa. I am going because of the order of Rāma as his emissary. You who are living in the Kingdom of Rāma should render necessary help to me." 25

"Otherwise after rendering necessary help to Mythili and seeing Rāma, I myself will enter your mouth. I am telling this as an oath to you." 26

"That Surasā, who could assume any form that she chose, after being told by me like that said, "Nobody should cross and go beyond me, this is my boon."" 27

"After being told like this by Surasā, within a second I assumed a form of ten Yojanas long and 5 yojanas thick." 28

"At that time she was also able to open her mouth suitable to my size. Seeing her wide open mouth I made my body small." 29

(It is told that he assumed a form of hundred yojanas wide step by step in Chapter 1, Ślokas 171- 181.)

"Within a very short time, I became as small as a thumb and I went inside her mouth and within a minute came out." 30

"That deva lady Surasā assumed her normal form and addressing me told, "Hey great one, I have become pleased with you. Hey calm one, go as you wish so that you can complete your job. Hey monkey chief, bring Vaidehī with the great Rāghava together. Hey Monkey, go further, I am pleased with yourself."" 31-32

"Then I was appreciated by all beings as "Good, very good." And I effortlessly went in to the broad sky like an eagle." 33

"When it was like this, I found that only my shadow was being stopped and I could not see anything anywhere." 34

"Because my speed was taken away, I searched in all the ten directions and I could not find that which was preventing my speed." 35

"I could not see an shape anywhere. In spite of that a problem has arisen like this in the clear sky. A thought as to 'why is this?" arose in my mind. 36

"Thoughtful as I was, my sight did not spread down. After that I saw a horrible Rākṣasī, who was lying inside the water." 37

"She with terrible form told me the following words with enthusiasm which reflected truly her mind, which never gave any room for doubt, which were not causing good and which were like a roar." 38

"Hey, fat one, where are you going? You appear to be proper food for me, who is very hungry. Satisfy my body, which has been starving for a long time." 39

"I agreed to her words and increased the size of my body to a size bigger than her face." 40

"Her mouth also grew big and terrible for eating me. She did not know either my strength or my trick." 41

"So I reduced my very big size in to very small one within a second and removed her heart and jumped back in to the sky." 42

"She who lived in the saline sea, who was as fat as a mountain, fell dead with outstretched hands having lost her hands." 43

"I also heard the words of holy people who were travelling in the sky along with Chāraṇas saying that, "the terrible Rākṣasī called Simhikā has been killed with in a second by Hanuman."" 44

"After killing her, thinking about that dangerous deed, I covered a long distance and reached the place where the city of Lanka existed and saw the southern ocean shore of that town decorated by mountains, I entered in to the city which was the residence of Rākṣasas after the Sun has set in a manner in which even the valorous Rākṣasas could not see me." 45-46

"At the time of my entering, a lady with an action similar to the clouds of deluge roared and came before me." 47

"Then at that time, I hit and defeated her, who came to kill me, who was horrible looking and who had hairs like a raging fire, with a folded left fist and she with great fear told me "Hey, valorous one, I am the city of Lanka and I have been defeated by your valour and because of that you have become capable of defeating the entire Rākṣasas." And then I entered inside the city during Pradosha (after setting of the sun and before night fell)." 48-49

"After searching for the daughter of Janaka that entire night, I entered the harem of Rāvaṇa, but I was not able to see that pretty lady." 50

"I was not able to see her in the palace of Rāvaṇa also and because of that, being drowned in the sea of sorrow whose shores were not visible to me." 51

"I who was very sad, then saw a very great garden which was very peculiar and surrounded by golden walls." 52

"I jumped and crossed the wall and saw a garden with many trees. In the middle of that Asoka forest I saw a huge Simshuba tree. I climbed and sat on that tree and saw a golden forest of Banana plants." 53-54

"I saw sitting on that Simshuba tree at a slight distance attractive coloured and lotus petal eyed Sītā who was dark, who had a faded face due to starvation, who had dust coated hair, who was looking famished due to sorrow, who was wearing the same cloth that we saw earlier, and who was only concentrating her mind in the good of her husband, surrounded by Rākṣasīs, who have horrible form, who eat flesh and blood and who are cruel by nature and this sight was similar to a deer being looked after by a group of tigers." 55-57

"With lot of difficulty I reached the place where I could properly see Sītā, who was bullied by the Rākṣasīs frequently, who was in a miserable state, who was doing the only work of concentrating her mind on her husband, who had made up her hair in a single lock, who was lying down on the floor, who was like a lotus flower in winter, who was dejected because she saw no way to escape from Rāvaṇa, who had decided to die immediately and who was doe eyed." 58-59

"Seeing the lady who was wife of Rāma in that state of not being subject to notoriety, I sat on the Simshuba tree and observed her carefully." 60

"Then I heard the very loud sound of "Hala Hala" of the anklets and waist belts emanating from the palace of Rāvaṇa." 61

"At that time being very sad, I made my form in to a very tiny one and sat without moving in between the leaves of the Simshuba tree like a bird." 62

"Afterwards, the wives of Rāvaṇa and the very strong Rāvaṇa came towards the place where Sītā has been kept. Sītā with the pretty thighs seeing the chief of Rākṣasas coming towards her, folded and drew her thighs towards her and hid her chest by both her hands." 63-64

(This stanza gives an indication of the dress which she was wearing. It appears to be the two piece dress worn by women of the olden times.)

"That base ten headed one, addressing that Sītā, who was in great difficulty, who was trembling, who was seeing here and there, who was very sad because she saw no way out of her difficulties, who was depressed and who was praying to God, told, "Hey Sītā, respect me. Hey proud one, you are not recognizing me because of your pride. So if you continue in this state for another two months, I will drink all your blood."" 65-67

"Hearing these words of Rāvaṇa who was a bad soul, Sītā became very angry and told the following great words." 68

"Hey base Rākṣasa, Why is it that your tongue does not get detached because of saying these bad words addressing the daughter in law of Dasaratha who belonged to the clan of Ikshvāku and the wife of the very powerful Rāma." 69

"Hey sinner. who is un-gentlemanly, your valour which consisted of stealing me in the absence of my husband and when he was not able to see me is definitely meagre." 70

"You are not at all equal to Rāma and you would not be appointed as a servant of him for that Rāghava is truthful, worshipful and great admirer of war." 71

(The idea expressed in the last śloka that he was a deceit and poor in war is expressed in different words.)

"Hearing these words from Janaki, which were demeaning that ten headed one, glittered in anger like the fire of the funeral pyre." 72

"He rolled his two blood red eyes and with his right fist started killing Sītā and his ladies shouted "Ha, Ha" " 73

"Mandodarī, the wife of the ten headed one and who was a great lady, stood up from the middle of the ladies and was stopped from carrying out his intention." 74

(In the 40th śloka of 22nd chapter it is mentioned that he was prevented by Dhanyā Mala. Scholars are of the opinion that Dhanyā Mala was a different name of Mandodarī. She is the daughter of Maya the Asura architect and given as a gift to him by Goddess Pārvatī.)

"She told him, who was in great passion, using sweet words, "Hey Rāvaṇa, who is equal to Indra, what is the use of Sītā to you?" 75

"Hey Lord, be happy by taking pleasure from the Deva, Gandharva and Yakṣa maidens who are here. What are you going to do with Sītā?" 76

"Then that very strong Rākṣasa was pacified by the ladies, who were with him and was taken back to his palace." 77

"After the departure of the ten headed one, those horrible faced Rākṣasīs without mercy and using cruel words, terrorized Sītā." 78

"Sītā considered their words as cheap and as mere grass and the tumult created by them became in vain before Sītā." 79

"Calmed down after their useless shouting those flesh eating Rākṣasīs informed Rāvaṇa that "The decision of Sītā is indeed firm."" 80

"Then all of them after being dejected and depressed joined together surrounded her on all four sides and started sleeping." 81

"After all of them were asleep, Sītā who was always only thinking of her husband's interest, becoming extremely sad because of her dangerous state, wept." 82

"Then Trijaṭā rose from their midst and spoke the following words." 83

"You can eat me just now. This lady who is the daughter in law of Dasaratha and the daughter of Janaka will not be destroyed." 84

(This is again contradictory of earlier narration. Trijaṭā told about her dream to the Rākṣasīs while they were terrorizing Sītā.)

"Just now I truly, saw a dream which is terrible, making my hairs all over my body stand out. It was about the destruction of all Rākṣasas and the victory of her Lord." 85

"Let us all beg this Vaidehī, for being protected without any condition from Rāghava. I think this is the only proper thing to do." 86

"Such a sad person about whom this dream was seen is going to be devoid of all sorrows soon and is going to attain incomparable happiness in several ways." 87

"Mythili, who is the daughter of Janaka, would become pleased the moment you salute her." 88

"Then that lady became shy and became happy thinking of the victory of her husband and told, "If this is true, I would definitely be a support to all of you." 89

(These words of Sītā are not there in the earlier narration.)

"Seeing her in that miserable state, I patiently thought of her in my mind but my mind did not rest in peace." 90

"I thought of a method by which conversation can be initiated between me and Janaki. So I sang the praise of the Ikshvāku dynasty itself." 91

"That holy lady hearing the praise of the Kings of her dynasty, with tear stained eyes saw me and questioned me as follows." 92

"Hey monkey chief, who are you? For what reason and how did you come here? How did attachment develop between you and Rāma ? Please tell all this in detail to me." "Hearing her words I answered her thus." 93-94

"Hey holy lady, your husband Rāma has gained the help from someone called Sugrīva. He is the King of monkeys, very strong, very valorous and a great warrior." 95

"Please know that I who have come here is his minister Hanuman. Your husband Rāma, who does any job fully, has send me here as his emissary." 96

"Hey famous lady, that son of Dasaratha, who is a lion among men and also a great gentleman, has sent his signet ring to you as a memento." 97

"So lady, I am waiting for your orders. What should I do? I can take you to Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa, What do you think about it?" 98

"Sītā, who is the daughter of Janaka, after hearing this and understanding perfectly my words, replied "Let Rāghava himself take me back after killing Rāvaṇa,"" 99

"I bowed to the lady, who was beyond any blemish, with my head and after saluting her begged her to give a memento which would make Rāma happy." 100

"Then Sītā addressing me told "Be pleased to take that great gem seeing which Rāma the valorous would appreciate you a lot." 101

"After saying thus that great lady gave me a wonderful gem. Alas! she became very sad and requested me to tell the news by only words." 102

"After that having finished my allotted job, I saluted the princess and went round her with an intention of returning back." 103

"She then thought everything over within her mind and told, "Hey Hanuman, please inform my story to Rāghava."" 104

"Please take that action which would result in the immediate arrival of those valorous Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa along with Sugrīva." 105

"My allotted time to be alive is only two more months. If this does not happen, I would die like an orphan and Kākutstha (Rāma) would not be able to see me." 106

"Hearing those pitiable words, I became very angry and I also decided my future course of action." 107

"Because of that my body grew like a mountain. At that time desiring for war I started destroying that forest (Asoka Vana)." 108

"Those scary faced Rākṣasīs woke up at that time and saw that forest, which was full of scared animals and birds, being destroyed." 109

"They assembled in groups here and there in the forest neared and saw me and informed Rāvaṇa." 110

"Hey very powerful King, one bad monkey, without the knowledge of your valour has destroyed your forest which cannot be entered by anybody." 111

"Hey King of Kings, that monkey should certainly be destroyed. So please sentence that ignorant one which has done undesirable acts against you to death." 112

"Rākṣasas called Kinkaras who are difficult to win over and who obey the mind of Rāvaṇa were sent by him on hearing this and reached there." 113

"In the corner of the forest, I killed eighty thousands of them armed with spear and Thorne sticks with a steel pestle." 114

"Some among them, who escaped death went fast and informed Rāvaṇa about the destruction of the large army." 115

"I got renewed vigour and wisdom and left the place where I was and neared the victory stage. I killed several Rākṣasas who were there with a pillar removed from the stage and thus that stage which was an ornament to the city of Lanka was destroyed." 116

"After that Jambumali, the son of Prahasta, along with horrible Rākṣasas of terrible form were ordered to fight with me." 117

"I killed that Rākṣasa, who was an expert in war, along with his big army and those who accompanied them with the same terrible iron pestle itself." 118

"Hearing this the great King Rāvaṇa sent the very powerful sons of ministers along with a big army which consisted of also foot soldiers, I sent all of them to the city of Yama using the same iron pestle." 119-120

"Having heard that the valorous sons of ministers were killed in war, Rāvaṇa sent five valorous army commanders and I killed all of them along with their army. 121-122

"After that the ten headed Rāvaṇa send Akṣa, who was his son, as well as a great hero along with several Rākṣasas." 123

"I caught hold of the prince, who was an expert in war, who was the son of Mandodarī, who rose to the sky and who was wearing steel armour by his two legs, rotated him in the sky and killed him." 124

"Having heard the death of Aksha that ten headed Rāvaṇa, became very angry and send secondly Indrajit who was very angry, who was very strong, and an expert in war." 125

"I became greatly pleased by making him, who was a hero among Rākṣasas, and other Rākṣasas very weak and dejected." 126

"Having been sent with great hope by Rāvaṇa and having been accompanied by very many valorous Rākṣasas, that hero seeing that his army though valorous was being destroyed and unable to correctly estimate my strength, became jittery at that time and made me a prisoner by Brahmāstra itself." 127-128

"Then those Rākṣasas, who were there, tied me with ordinary rope and dragged and took me to the presence of Rāvaṇa." 129

"I being there within his sight, was conversed to by that bad soul Rāvaṇa and was asked about my coming to Lanka and about the killing of Rākṣasas." 130

""I told that, all that were done for the sake of Sītā." 131

"I am the adopted son of the wind God and am a monkey called Hanuman. Wanting to see you in person I was waiting to be brought near you from the place in front of Sītā." 132

"Please know that I am an emissary of Rāma and a minister of Sugrīva and I have come to you along with the message of Rāma." 133

"That greatly resplendent King Sugrīva sent the news of his well-being. He also told these words which are essence of Dharma (justice), Kama (desire) and Moksha (salvation), which are very suitable to this occasion, and which are good for you." 134

"The great Hero Rāma promised his friendship to me who was living in the dense forests of Riṣyamūka." 135

"He told me as follows, "King, my wife has been abducted by a Rākṣasa and you have to help me to the best of your capacity willingly."" 136

"Then these words were told by me, "Please also undertake to help in killing Bali for my sake."" 137

"That great Lord Rāghava, who was accompanied by Lakṣmaṇa signed a treaty, with fire as a witness, with Sugrīva whose Kingdom was stolen by Bali." 138

"After killing Bali by one arrow in war by Rāma, I who was the lord among monkeys was appointed as their King." 139

"It is our duty to help him as much as possible in this case. It is by him according to laws of justice that an emissary has been sent to you." 140

"Let Sītā be returned forthwith and be presented to Rāghava. If this is done monkey warriors will not destroy your valour." 141

"Who does not know the prowess of the monkeys, who are being invited in to the presence of even the devas." 142

"I told him that, "the monkey King told me to tell all these." And he stared at me with ire filled eyes as if to burn me." 143

"Without realizing my strength that sinful cruel Rākṣasa named Rāvaṇa ordered that I should be killed." 144

"There, his brother Vibhīṣaṇa, who was a wise one, begged him as follows for my sake." 145

"Hey, Chief of Rākṣasas, do not do like this. This opinion has to be rejected because you should take action according to the laws of Kings." 146

"Hey, King of Rākṣasas, in the laws of Kings nowhere the killing of an emissary is prescribed. It is necessary to understate the real state of affairs from an emissary who tells the good of his side." 147

"Hey, greatly valorous one, even though a very great crime is committed, killing of an emissary is never done but he can be disfigured." 148

"Thus requested by Vibhīṣaṇa, Rāvaṇa ordered the Rākṣasas, "This only has to be done. Let its tail be burnt.”" 149

"According to his orders my entire tail was covered with torn cotton cloths and ropes made of jute." 150

"Then those very valorous Rākṣasas beat me with whatever firewood they got as well as their fists and set fire to my tail." 151

"Though I was caught by the Rākṣasas and tied by several ropes, I had the intention of the seeing the town in broad day light, I never even felt slightly tired." 152

"Because it was like that, those Rākṣasa warriors brought me to the entrance of the city and in the main avenue shouted at me who was imprisoned and whose tail burning by fire." 153

"From there I made my very big body to a very small one, got loosened from the ties and again assumed the original big form." 154

"I killed all those Rākṣasas with a steel pestle and with a jump climbed on the top of the door of their town." 155

"Similar to the fire of deluge burning all people, I without hesitation burnt the entire town along with its houses and towers using my burning tail." 156

"Then I started thinking with sadness as follows, "The entire city has been made in to ash. There is no place in Lanka, which is not burnt. And so definitely Janaki would not be alive. There is no doubt about it that, I who was trying to burn Lanka also burnt Sītā also. Thus the great job of Rāma was made useless by me."" 157-158

"Then I heard the sweet news from the Chāraṇas, who were talking of strange news told that "Janaki alone has not been burnt and did not suffer any sorrow."" 159

"Hearing the wonderful news that Sītā did not suffer any sorrow and from the reasons told hereafter I felt consoled." 160

"Even when my tail was burning, I did not feel any heat and the wind was blowing cold and also my mind was happy." 161

"I became happy because of the thought in my mind of those real happenings, various acts, which resulted in good and the predictions, made as well as the words of the sages. Even when it was like that, I met Vaidehī once again and bid her farewell." 162

"From there I reached the top of mountain called Ariṣṭa and with a deep desire to see all of you started my return jump." 163

"After that travelling in the path of the sky frequented by Wind, Moon, Sun, Sidhas, Gandharvas and others I have just seen you all." 164

"By the power of Rāghava and your shining, I was able to complete the job of Sugrīva." 165

"I have told all that has happened in this case in a summary manner. Let it be decided as to what is to be done in future based on this." 166

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