Rāmāyana | Sundara Kaṇḍa | Chapter 59

Chapter: 59
Hanuman’s Narration of Sītā

[Hanuman then narrates the problems of Sītā in Lanka in a graphical manner. He tells the other monkeys that as a virtuous woman she herself could kill Rāvaṇa but is not doing so, because it would bring bad fame to her husband, ]

After telling all these in detail, Hanuman told the important matter that needed to be told and ended his speech. 1

"My mind has been set at calm after seeing the virtuousness of Sītā personally. The work of Rāma has born fruits. Similarly the zest of Sugrīva also has borne fruits." 2

(Work of Rāma is searching for Sītā.)

"Rāvaṇa, who is the chief of Rākṣasas and one who is great for doing penances, is certainly capable of protecting the entire world. If he becomes angry he can also destroy the world. His body has not been destroyed after touching her because of the power of his penance." 3

[Translators like Kamban and Tulsidas could not bear, Sītā to be touched by Rāvaṇa and so they have changed this aspect in their translation. While Kamban says that Rāvaṇa uprooted her house along with her, Tulsidas assumes that she whom he had taken to Lanka is only of Maya (illusory) Sītā.]

"Whatever action taken, when blackened by anger, by that virtuous lady, who is the daughter of Janaka, cannot even be done by the flames of fire that are touched by hand." 4

"That lady who is the epitome of justice is steeped in the ocean of sorrow below a Simshuba tree in the middle of Asoka forest owned by that bad soul, Rāvaṇa." 5

"Like the crescent of moon hidden by series of clouds, she is surrounded by Rākṣasīs and has wilted due to sorrow and lives a life without lustre." 6

"That daughter of Janaka has been imprisoned, but that virtuous pretty lady does not bother about the very strong Rāvaṇa." 7

"That Vaidehī, who is virtuous considered from any aspect, without any other thought, always thinks with love of Rāma like the Indrāṇī does about Indra." 8

"Sītā is still dressed in the cloth she was dressed when abducted, she is coated with dust, faded because of sorrow, is very lean and always thinks about the good of her husband." 9

"I saw her in the garden of the harem surrounded by ugly looking Rākṣasīs, who were terrorizing her often." 10

"I wish that she, who is doe eyed, who always thinks of her husband, who had made up her hair in a single bundle, who is sleeping on the floor, who is like the lotus flower in winter, who had decided to commit suicide because she was not able to see any way to escape from Rāvaṇa and who is in a miserable situation, gained confidence with lot of effort." 11-12

"After that I conversed with her. She was informed of everything. She became happy on hearing the treaty between Rāma and Sugrīva." 13

"That Rāma, who is of firm conviction, who follows all good principles and who is great would become only an instrument in case of killing Rāvaṇa. It is only because of her devotion to her husband that she is not killing Rāvaṇa." 14

(Hanuman clears the doubt of other monkeys, who feel, that as a virtuous woman she herself could have killed Rāvaṇa. He tells them that she is not doing so because of her devotion to her husband.)

"By nature she is lean, because of her being taken away from her husband's company. She has further become lean similar to the one who learns without understanding." 15

"That Sītā who is great is thus drowned in sorrow. Let us now do what all should be done in this case." 16-17

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