Rāmāyana | Yuddha Kaṇḍa | Chapter 22

22. Bridge on Ocean

[When Rāma is about to shoot the arrow of Brahma, the god of ocean appears before him and requests Rāma to use the expertise of the monkey Nala who was the son of Viśvakarma to build a bridge across the sea, the arrow of Brahma is used to make the Maru desert fertile. The monkeys build a bridge to Lanka in five days and start crossing over.]

Then that noble one of the Raghu clan spoke these harsh words to the ocean, "Oh Great Ocean, I will dry you up till the Pāṭala." 22.1

"Oh ocean, when your water is consumed by my arrow, you would get dried up and a huge mountain of sand will appear in you and all the creatures within you would be destroyed." 22.2

"Oh ocean, by the rain of arrows that would leave my bow, the monkeys could walk down to the other shore and reach Lanka." 22.3

"Oh Ocean, which is the home of the Rākṣasas, by your intelligence you are not able to recognize my power or prowess and you will repent at my hands." 22.4

Fixing the Brahmāstra which is similar to the rod of Brahma on his bow that very strong one stretched the arrow. 22.5

When Rāma was stretching his bow keeping that arrow, the earth suddenly seems to split and the mountains seem to shake. 22.6

Darkness spread all over the world and all directions became not visible and rivers and lakes seem to get agitated. 22.7

The moon, sun and the stars did not move directly. Though the sun's rays lighted the sky, the sky was covered by darkness and it shined with a blaze of hundreds of meteors while thunders echoed with an unparalleled sound in the sky. 22.8-22.9

Series of divine storms blew in their very gross forms sweeping away clouds and breaking huge trees. 22.10

The wind broke the mountain peaks, broke off the points of the rocks. Winds of great speed struck together in the sky and emitted flashes of radiance proceeding from lightning with a great sound and then there were great thunders. 22.11

All the beings that were visible to the eye wailed along with the sound of thunders and even beings which were not visible made great sound and all the creatures were overpowered, agitated and were scared and did not move due to great fear. 22.12-22.13

After that in the great ocean, water tides along with marine creatures and Rākṣasas developed great speed and due to that speed, the swelling waters crossed in to the shore and travelled one Yojana inside the land. 22.14-22.15

Seeing the ocean which was overflowing Rāma the destroyer of his enemies did not retreat before the ocean swelled and crossed its limits. 22.16

The God of the ocean then arose from the middle of the ocean, similar to the sun rising at dawn from Mount Meru. 22.17

The God of the ocean along with the snakes with flaming jaws appeared with the colour of emerald decorated by Gold. 22.18

The valorous god of ocean, the lord of rivers, wearing a garland of pearls, with his eyes looking like lotus leaves, using a pretty garland made of all kinds of flowers as ornament on his head, with ornaments of purified gold, adorned with excellent jewels made of pearls from his domain, decorated with different kinds of gems and metals, resembling Himalaya mountain, wearing on his broad chest a locket shedding a white lustre, resembling a Kaustubha gem and hanging in the middle of a single string of pearls, with a multitude of waves whirled around him, encircled by the clouds and winds, escorted by rivers mainly the Ganga and Sindhu, endowed with diverse forms resembling various deities, approached Rāma with joined palms, who stood with arrows in hand, addressing him first as 'Oh Rāma!' and spoke the following words: 22.19-22.24

"Oh Rāma with tender heart, the earth, wind, sky, water and fire remain stable in their nature and go towards the eternal path." 22.25

"And due to this I am extremely deep and impossible to swim across and it is unnatural for me to be shallow. I am going to tell you a method to cross me." 22.26

"Oh son of the king, I cannot solidify my waters with alligators either because of desire or ambition or fear or love." 22.27

"Oh Rāma, I will make it possible so that all of you including the monkeys can cross me by a path and bear the army while they cross me. The alligators would not be aggressive on them while they cross over." 22.28

Then Rāma told the ocean, "Please hear, oh home of Varuṇa, this arrow should not go in vain and should descend on some place." 22.29

After hearing the words of Rāma and after seeing that great arrow, the great and lustrous ocean told Rāghava. 22.30

"On my northern parts there is a holy place called Drumatalaya and similar to you, it is well known in this world." 22.31

"Numerous dacoits who do very many cruel deeds known as the sinful Ābhīras drink my waters there." 22.32

"I am not able to bear the sinful touch of these great sinners and so I request this arrow which is great to be released on them, thus making it not go in vain." 22.33

Hearing these words of the great ocean, Rāma released that shining arrow to the place indicated by the ocean. 22.34

The place where that arrow which had the lustre of Vajra descended was the famous desert called Maru [Malwar]. 22.35

Then with great sound that arrow pierced the earth there was the place where water from Rasātala gushed to that place from a cleft in the earth. 22.36

And that well that was created became well known as Varuṇa and the water gushing out from there resembled the ocean. 22.37

With a horrifying sound the arrow of Rāma fell there and dried up the water in those cavities. 22.38

That place became famous in all the three worlds as the desert of Maru. The learned and valorous Rāma the son of Dasaratha who resembled Devas dried up that cleft and gave a boon to that place. 22.39-22.40

Due to granting of a boon by Rāma, that desert of Maru became the most suitable place for cattle rearing, a place with very little of disease, producing tasty fruits and roots, with a lot of ghee, a lot of milk and various kinds of sweet- smelling herbs. Thus it became an auspicious and suitable move, bestowing these merits. 22.41-22.42

When the cavity in that desert was burning, the ocean which is the lord of the rivers told Rāma who had great knowledge of science as well as great books. 22.43

"Oh gentle one, that person with the name Nala is the son of Viśvakarma, He has been given a boon by his father and he is equal to Viśvakarma [architect of devas]." 22.44

"Let him build the bridge with great enthusiasm and I would hold it for he is just like his father." 22.45

After saying this the God of ocean disappeared and Nala, the great monkey chief stood up and told the following words to the very strong Rāma. 22.46

"As told by the great ocean I have the ability of my father and I would construct a bridge across this wide ocean." 22.47

"This ocean which is a formidable body of water has given passage to Rāma due to its fear of punishment as Rāma wanted a bridge to be constructed across it." 22.48

On the Mandāra mountain Viśvakarma gave the following boon to my mother, "Oh Lady, the son who will be born to you would be exactly like me." 22.49

"I am the real son of Viśvakarma born out of his loins and I am similar to Viśvakarma and this has been reminded to me by the God of ocean and I did not speak about it because I thought it is not proper to talk about myself without being asked." 22.50

"I am capable of building a bridge across the ocean, the home of Varuṇa and so let all the great monkeys help me to build the bridge." 22.51

Then sent by Rāma all the monkey army jumped in joy on all sides and rushed towards the great forest in hundreds of thousands. 22.52

Those monkeys who resembled mountains broke mountain like rocks and trees and dragged them towards the sea. 22.53

Those monkeys filled the ocean with all types of trees like Sāla and Aśvakarṇa, Dhava and bamboo, Kuṭaja, Arjuna, palmyra, Tilaka, Tinisa, Bilva, Saptaparna, Karṇikā, in blossom as also mango and Aśoka. 22.54-22.55

Those best of monkeys who live in the forest carried and brought some trees with roots and some without roots which looked like the flag post of Indra. 22.56

From here and there those monkeys brought Palmyra trees, pomegranate shrubs, coconut and Vibhitaka, Karira, Bakula and neem trees. 22.57

Those huge bodied monkeys who were very strong uprooted elephant sized rocks and mountains and brought them with machines. 22.58

The water which went up due to throwing of the mountains, rose up to the sky and came back again and gushed back to the ocean. 22.59

The rocks which were falling from all sides caused turbulence in the ocean. Others threw strings of hundred yojanas long to keep the rocks straight. 22.60

Nala started building the bridge in the middle of the ocean which was the lord of all rivers and the bridge was built at that time by those great monkeys who can do terrible acts. 22.61

Some monkeys held the pole for measuring the bridge, others collected different type of materials and by the command of Rāma hundreds of thousands monkeys brought reeds and logs which were like the clouds and mountains and fastened parts of the bridge. 22.62-22.63

Some monkeys made the bridge with trees having blossomed ends and some monkeys who looked like Rākṣasas caught hold of rocks resembling mountains and peaks and appeared to run here and there. 22.64

When the stones where thrown in the sea, mountains also fell at those spots, very great sound emanated from there. 22.65

On the first day itself fourteen Yojana of bridge was constructed speedily by those monkeys who were joyful and were resembling elephants. 22.66

Similarly on the second day twenty yojanas of bridge was speedily constructed by those mighty strong monkeys with huge bodies. 22.67

Similarly on the third day, twenty one yojanas of bridge was constructed in the ocean, speedily by the monkeys who had huge bodies. 22.68

On the fourth day twenty two yojanas of bridge was constructed by further hastening those monkeys with great speed. 22.69

The speedily working monkeys constructed twenty three Yojanas of the bridge on the fifth day and reached up to the other end of the sea. 22.70

Thus the very strong gentle monkey chief Nala who was the son of Viśvakarma built a bridge on the ocean as his father would have done it. 22.71

The bridge constructed on the ocean which was the home of alligators by Nala was good to look at and auspicious and resembled the milky way in the sky. 22.72

With a wish to see the wonderful construction Devas, Gandharvas, Sidhas a well as great sages came and stood up on the sky. 22.73

Devas and Gandharvas saw that hundred Yojanas bridge which was ten Yojanas wide and which was constructed by Nala and understood that it was difficult to build. 22.74

The monkeys took long leaps and short and leaps shouted in joy. All other beings saw that construction of the bridge across the ocean as unimaginable, impossible and wonderful, causing their hair to stand on end in amazement. 22.75-22.76

It was a great spectacle to see those thousand crore of great monkeys cross to the other shore, immediately after building the bridge. 22.77

That great bridge, which was broad, well-constructed, glorious, well postured and held together firmly, looked beautiful like a separating straight line in the ocean. 22.78

And on the other shore of the sea Vibhīṣaṇa holding a mace along with his ministers stood up for invading the enemy. 22.79

Thereafter, Sugrīva on his part spoke to Rāma, the truly brave man as follows: "O, valiant man, this ocean, the abode of alligators, is indeed vast and so you climb up on the shoulder of Hanuman and let Lakṣmaṇa climb up on the shoulder of Angada. These monkeys can carry both of you while flying in the sky." 22.80-22.81

On front of the army the lustrous Rāma who followed Dharma and Lakṣmaṇa marched along with Sugrīva. 22.82

Some monkeys went along the middle of the bridge. Some others went along the sides. Some others were seen jumping into water. Some others marched forward on the path. Some monkeys entered the sky and flew like Garuda the eagle. 22.83

The sound of marching monkeys masked the sound of the ocean which was huge and terrific. 22.84

After the monkeys crossed over to the other shore by the bridge constructed by Nala, Sugrīva made them camp on the shore where plenty of fruits and roots were available. 22.85

Seeing that the wonderful and extremely difficult act was completed, the devas, the Sidhas and Chāraṇas along with great sages, immediately anointed him with sacred waters. 22.86

The Devas, Sidhas and others blessed Rāma, who was duly respected by kings with their auspicious -words as follows:" O, king, Defeat the enemies. Rule the earth and ocean which are eternally for years." 22.87

This is the end of Twenty Second Sarga of Yuddha Kanda which occurs in Holy Rāmāyaṇa composed by Vālmīki as the First Epic.