23-2 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

The Lord of Raghus, who was the highest limit of compassion, then instructed His younger brother saying, “Sugrīva is our friend, dear brother; you should only frighten him and bring him here.” (18)

There (at Kiṣkindha) Hanumān, the son of the wind-god, thought to himself, “Sugrīva has forgotten the task entrusted to him by Śrī Rāma.” Approaching Sugrīva, therefore, he bowed his head at his feet and tried to bring him round by employing all the four methods of persuasion. Sugrīva felt much alarmed to hear the words of Hanumān. “Sensuality has robbed me of my senses. Now, O son of the wind-god, troops of monkeys are scattered here and there: send batches of messengers to them and have it proclaimed that anyone who fails to appear before me within a fortnight, shall meet his death at my hands.” Thereupon Hanumān sent for envoys and receiving them most politely charged them with their duty making use of threats, blandishments and persuasion. They all bowed their head at his feet and proceeded on their journey. That very moment Lakṣmaṇa entered the city; seeing him angry monkeys ran away helter-skelter. (1 - 4)

Lakṣmaṇa then strung his bow and said, “I will burn the city to ashes (by making use of the Agni-astra)”. Thereupon came Vāli’s son (prince Aṅgada), seeing the whole city in dismay. (19)

He bowed his head at Lakṣmaṇa’s feet and made humble petition to him, whereupon Lakṣmaṇa extended to him his protecting arms. When the report of Lakṣmaṇa’s wrath reached the ears of the monkey lord (King Sugrīva), he was terribly distracted with fear and said, “Listen, Hanumān: take Tārā with you and with suppliant prayers appease the prince (Lakṣmaṇa).” Hanumān accordingly went with Queen Tārā and bowing at Lakṣmaṇa’s feet recounted the Lord’s glory. With much supplication he escorted the prince to the palace and after laving his feet seated him on a couch. Then the monkey lord (Sugrīva) bowed his head at the prince’s feet, while Lakṣmaṇa took him by the arm and hugged him. “There is nothing so intoxicating, my lord, as the pleasures of sense which in an instant infatuate the soul even of a sage.” Lakṣmaṇa was gratified to hear his humble speech and reassured him in many ways. The son of the wind-god told him all that had happened in the meantime, viz., how batches of spies had been despatched (in various directions). (1 - 5)

Accompanied by Aṅgada and other monkey’s and placing Śrī Rāma’s younger brother at the head. King Sugrīva went forth with joy and arrived in Śrī Rāma’s presence. (20)

Bowing his head at Śrī Rāma’s feet he exclaimed with joined palms, “My lord, I am not at all to blame (for what I have done). Exceedingly powerful, O Lord, is Your Māyā (deluding potency), which withdraws itself only when You, O Rāma, show Your grace to a Jīva. Gods, men and sages, my master, are all slaves of their senses; while I am a vile brute and a monkey, the most libidinous of animals. A man who is not pierced by the shaft of a woman’s glances, nay, who remains wakeful even in the dark night of anger (who is not swayed by passion) and who is never caught in the meshes of greed, is as good as Yourself, O Lord of Raghus. It is a virtue which cannot be attained by personal endeavour; it is only by Your grace that one here and one there can acquire it.” Thereupon the Lord of Raghus smiled and said: “Brother, you are dear to me as Bharata. Now with all your heart make some organized effort whereby we may get tidings of Sītā.” (1 - 4)

While a talk was thus going on between them, multitudes of monkeys arrived. Legions of monkeys of various colours were visible in all the quarters. (21)

(Says Śaṅkara:) I saw the army of monkeys, Umā; he is indeed a fool who would try to count them. They came and bowed their head at Śrī Rāma’s feet and found their true lord in Him when they gazed on His countenance. In the whole host there was no monkey whose welfare Śrī Rāma did not personally enquire. This was no miracle for my master, the Lord of Raghus, who has taken all forms and is omnipresent. They stood in martial array as ordered and King Sugrīva thus instructed them all: “I exhort and commission you to do Śrī Rāma’s work. Therefore, O monkey hosts, go forth in every direction and institute a search for Janaka’s Daughter, but you should all return in course of a month, my brethren, He who returns beyond this limit without any news shall meet his death at my hands.” (1 - 4)

On hearing his command the monkeys proceeded at once in various directions. Sugrīva then called Aṅgada, Nala and Hanumān. (22)

“Listen, O Nīla, Aṅgada, Hanumān and Jāmbavān: you are all resolute of mind and wise. Proceed all of you, gallant warriors, together to the south and enquire of everyone you meet the whereabouts of Sītā. Devise means though minds speech and action to trace Sītā and thereby accomplish the object of Śrī Rāmacandra. (For warming oneself) one should wait upon the sun turning one’s back towards the same, while fire should be waited upon turning one’s breast towards it; but a master must be served with one’s whole being (in thought, word and deed) without resorting to any wiles. Similarly one should strive for (lasting happiness in) the other world by discarding the unrealities of the world. In this way all one’s woes incident to birth and death are eradicated. The consummation of human birth, brethren, lies in worshipping Śrī Rāma in a disinterested spirit. He is verily a man of flair and he alone is highly blessed, who is enamoured of Śrī Rāma’s feet.” Taking leave of Sugrīva and bowing their head at his feet they joyously set out with their thoughts fixed on the Lord of Raghus. The last to make obeisance was Hanumān, (the son of the wind-god). The Lord knew that His work was going to be accomplished by him and therefore called him near. He stroked his head with His lotus hand and recognizing him to be His devotee gave him the ring off His finger. “Comfort Sītā in various ways and return quickly after telling Her of my might and the agony of my heart due to separation from Her.” Hanumān felt that he had reaped the reward of his birth and departed with the image of the All-merciful enshrined in his heart. Although the Lord knew everything, the Protector of the gods, respected the recognized principles of statecraft (by sending spies in the first instance to trace out His lost spouse). (1 - 7)

All the monkeys set forth ransacking woods, streams, lakes, hills and ravines with their mind wholly devoted to Śrī Rāma’s business and shaking off all attachment to their body. (23)

If at any place they came across some demon they would take his life by a single slap. They looked into every recess of forest and hill; and if they met any hermit they would all surround him. Presently they felt much oppressed with thirst; but water could be found nowhere and they also lost their way in the dense forest. Hanumān thought to himself that without water to drink all would die. Climbing a hill-top he looked all round and noticing a cavity in the ground saw a strange phenomenon there. Chakravākas, herons and swans hovered at its mouth and a number of other birds were making their way into it. Coming down the hill Hanumān (the son of the wind-god) took them all and showed them the cavern. They placed Hanumān at their head and entered the cave without further loss of time. (1 - 4)

Going further they saw a lovely garden and a lake with many full-blown lotuses. There stood a beautiful temple close by, where sat a woman who was austerity incarnate. (24)

From a distance all bowed their head to her and in response to her enquiry told her all about themselves. She then said, “Go and drink water and partake of beautiful and luscious fruits of various kinds.” They bathed and took some delicious fruits and all came once more to her. She related to them her own story from the beginning to the end and added, “I will now go and see the Lord of Raghus. Close your eyes and you will find yourself outside the cavern. You shall find Sītā; you need not feel remorse.” The champions closed their eyes and looking again they found themselves standing on the sea-shore. She on her part went to the Lord of Raghus and drawing near to Him bowed her head at His lotus feet. She made supplication in diverse ways and the Lord granted to her unceasing Devotion. (1 - 4)

Bowing to the Lord’s command she left for the forest of Badrīnātha (in the Himālayas), cherishing in her heart Śrī Rāma’s feet, that are adored by the unborn Brahmā as well as by Lord Śaṅkara. (25)

On this side (standing on the sea-coast) the monkeys thought to themselves, “The time-limit (fixed by Sugrīva) has expired, yet nothing has been done.” Sitting together they all said to one another, “Without obtaining any news (about Sītā) what shall we gain by returning to Kiṣkindha either?” Said Aṅgada with eyes full of tears, “It is death for us both ways. Here we have failed to get tidings of Sītā and if we go home King Sugrīva (the lord of monkeys) will behead us. He would have finished me immediately my father was killed, had not Śrī Rāma protected me; hence I owe no gratitude to him.” Again and again Aṅgada told them all, “Our death has arrived: there is no doubt about it.” When the monkey chiefs heard Angada’s words, they could make no answer and tears rolled from their eyes. For a moment they remained plunged in sorrow; but at last they spoke as follows: “We are not going to return without obtaining Sītā’s news, O sagacious prince!” So saying all the monkeys went to the sea-shore and spreading Kuśa grass there squatted on it. Seeing Aṅgada’s distress Jāmbavān (the old bear chief) gave a highly instructive discourse. “Imagine not Rāma to be a mortal, dear child; know Him to be the same as Brahma (the Supreme Spirit) without attributes, invincible and unborn. We, His servants, are all highly blessed in that we are ever devoted to the same Brahma endowed with a qualified form. (1 - 7)

“Of His own free will the Lord descends on earth for the sake of gods, Earth, cows and the Brāhmaṇas. Spurning all the varieties of final beatitude† the worshippers of His qualified form (come down and) remain with Him even on earth.” (26)

Thus they discoursed among themselves in many ways. Sampātī (Jaṭāyu’s elder brother) heard them from his cave in the mountain. When he came out of it and saw a host of monkeys, he said to himself, “God has provided me with a feast: I will devour them all today. I have been starving for many days past and have never had a full meal; today God has supplied me with abundant food all at a time.” The monkeys trembled with fear to hear the vulture’s words. “Our doom is now sealed, we are sure,” they said to themselves. All the monkeys rose when they saw the vulture; while Jāmbavān felt much perturbed at heart. Aṅgada reflected within himself and said: “There is no one so blessed as Jaṭāyu, who laid down his life in the service of Śrī Rāma and ascended to the abode of Śrī Hari, supremely lucky as he was.” When the bird (Sampātī) heard these words, which stirred in him a mixed feeling of joy and grief, he drew near to the monkeys, who felt alarmed by his presence. Assuring them of safety he went and enquired them about his younger brother and the monkeys told him the whole story. When Sampātī heard of his brother’s obsequies (performed by the Lord with His own hands), he glorified the Lord of Raghus in many ways. (1 - 6)

“Take me to the sea-shore, so that I may make an offering of water with sesame seeds (to my departed brother). I can help you only verbally, by following which you will succeed in recovering Her whom you seek.” (27)

Having performed the after-death ceremonies in respect of his departed brother (Jaṭāyu) on the sea-shore Sampātī narrated his own story. “Listen, O monkey chiefs: in the prime of our youth we two brothers (Jaṭāyu and myself) soared in the heavens and approached the orb of the sun. Jaṭāyu could not bear the heat of the sun and came back; but I in my pride advanced nearer the sun. My wings were scorched with the inordinate heat and I fell to the ground with a fearful scream. A sage, Chandramā by name, (who lived there) was moved with compassion when he saw me. He taught me spiritual wisdom in many ways and rid me of my identification with the body. “In the Tretā age the Supreme Spirit will take the form of a human being and the demon king (Rāvaṇa) will carry off His Spouse. The Lord will send out spies to search Her and you will be absolved of all sins by meeting them. Your wings will sprout again; worry not any longer on that account. You will have to do only this much: show where Sītā may be them.” The sage’s predictions have come true today; therefore, follow my instructions and set about the business of your Lord. On the summit of the Trikūṭa hill stands the city of Laṅkā; Rāvaṇa, who is fearless by nature, lives there. There, in the Aśoka garden, is lodged Sītā, who sits there, plunged in grief, even now. (1 - 6)

“I see Her, though you cannot; for the range of a vulture’s sight is unlimited. I have grown old now, or else I would have rendered some help to you.” (28)

“He who can cross over the ocean having a width of eight hundred miles and is a repository of intelligence will be able to do Śrī Rāma’s business. Look at me and take courage in your heart. See how rejuvenated I feel in body (with a new pair of wings) by Śrī Rāma’s grace. Even sinners who invoke Śrī Rāma’s Name are able to cross the vast and boundless ocean of mundane existence. You, therefore, who are His spies, should never lose nerve but be up and doing with the image of Śrī Rāma enshrined in your heart.” So saying, O Garuḍa! (Continues Kākabhuśuṇḍi) the vulture departed, leaving them much amazed at heart. Now each one of the monkeys talked of his own strength, but doubted his ability to leap across. Said Jāmbavān (the king of bears), “I am now too old and not a particle of my former strength is left in my body. When Śrī Rāma, the Slayer of the demon Khara, assumed the form of Trivikrama (the Lord with three strides, Lord Vāmana), I was young and possessed great strength. (1 - 4)

“In His effort to make Bali captive the Lord grew to an indescribable size. Yet in less than an hour I devoutly circumambulated Him as many as seven times.” (29)

Said Aṅgada, “I will leap across; but I have some diffidence in my heart about my getting back.” Jāmbavān, however, interposed, “Even though you are competent in every way, how can we send you, the leader of us all?” The king of bears then turned towards Hanumān: “Listen, O mighty Hanumān: how is it that you are keeping mum? A son of the wind-god, you are as strong as your father and are a storehouse of intelligence, discretion and spiritual wisdom. What undertaking in this world is too difficult for you to accomplish, dear child? It is for the service of Śrī Rāma that you have come down upon earth.” The moment Hanumān heard these words he grew to the size of a mountain, with a body shining as gold and full of splendour as though he was another king of mountains (Śumeru). Roaring again and again like a lion he said, “I can easily spring across the salt ocean and killing Rāvaṇa with all his army can uproot the Trikūṭa hill and bring it here. But I ask you, Jāmbavān kindly tender me suitable advice.” “All that you have to do, my son, is to go and see Sītā and come back with Her tidings. Then the lotus-eyed Śrī Rāma will recover Her by the strength of His arm taking with Him a host of monkeys for mere sport. (1 - 6)

“Taking with Him an army of monkeys Śrī Rāma will exterminate the demons and bring back Sītā: and the gods as well as Nārada and other sages will utter His praises, that sanctify the three spheres. A man who hears, sings, repeats or studies them will attain to the supreme state and Tulasīdāsa, who is devoted like a bee to the lotus feet of Śrī Rāma (the Hero of Raghu’s line), ever sings them.

Śrī Rāma, the slayer of the demon Triśirā, will grant all the desires of those men and women who listen to Śrī Rāma’s praises, the remedy for the disease of transmigration. Listen to the praises of Śrī Rāma, who possesses a form dark as the blue lotus, who by His elegance extinguishes millions of Cupids and whose Name is a veritable fowler for birds in the shape of sins. (30 A-B)


Thus ends the fourth descent into the Mānasa lake of Śrī Rāma’s exploits, that eradicates all the impurities of the Kali age.