24-2 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

Bowing his head Hanumān went forth and entered the grove; and having eaten the fruit he began to break down the trees. A number of warriors had been posted there as guards; some of them were killed by him, while the rest took flight and cried for help, “O lord, a huge monkey has made his appearance and laid waste the Aśoka grove. He has eaten fruits, uprooted trees, and, having crushed the watchmen, has laid them on the ground.” On hearing this, Rāvaṇa despatched a number of his champions. Hanumān roared when he saw them and slaughtered the whole demon host. A few that had survived though well-nigh killed, escaped screaming. Rāvaṇa then sent prince Akṣa, who sallied forth with a vast number of his best warriors. Seeing them approach, Hanumān seized a tree and threatened them and, having overthrown the prince, roared with a loud yell. (1 - 4)

Some he slew, some he crushed and some he seized and pounded with dust. And some who escaped cried, “O lord, the monkey is too strong for us.” (18)

The King of Laṅkā flew into a rage when he heard of his son’s death and sent the mighty Meghanāda. “Kill him not, my son, but bind him. Let us see the monkey and ascertain wherefrom he comes.” Meghanāda (the conqueror of Indra) sallied forth, a peerless champion, seized with fury at the news of his brother’s death. When Hanumān saw this fierce warrior approach, he gnashed his teeth and with a roar rushed forward to meet him. He tore up a tree of enormous size and smashed with it the car, thus rendering the crown prince of Laṅkā without chariot. As for the mighty warriors who accompanied him, Hanumān seized them one by one and crushed them by the weight of his limbs. Having finished them off, he closed with Meghanāda. It was like the encounter of two lordly elephants. Striking the opponent with his clenched fist, Hanumān sprang and climbed up a tree; while Meghanāda lay unconscious for a moment. He rose again and resorted to many a delusive device; but the son of the wind-god was not to be vanquished. (1 - 5)

Meghanāda ultimately fitted to his bow the arrow known as Brahmāstra (the weapon presided over by Brahmā), when Hanumān thought within himself: “If I submit not to Brahmā’s own weapon, its infinite glory will be cast to the winds. (19)

He launched the Brahmāstra against Hanumān, who crushed a whole host even as he fell. When he saw that the monkey had swooned, he entangled the latter in a noose of serpents and carried him off. Now, Pārvatī, is it conceivable that the envoy of the Lord whose very name enables the wise to cut asunder the bonds of mundane existence should come under bondage? No, it was in the service of the Lord that Hanumān allowed himself to be bound. When the demons heard that the monkey had been captured and noosed, they all rushed to the court in order to enjoy the spectacle. The monkey arrived and saw Rāvaṇa’s court: his superb glory baffled description. Even gods and regents of the quarters stood meek with joined palms, all watching the movement of his eyebrows in great dismay. But the monkey’s mind was no more disturbed at the sight of his power than Garuḍa (the king of birds) would be frightened in the midst of a number of serpents. (1 - 4)

When the ten-headed monster saw the monkey he laughed and railed at him. But presently he recalled his son’s death and felt sad at heart. (20)

Said the king of Laṅkā, “Who are you, monkey, and by whose might have you wrought the destruction of the grove? What, did you never hear my name? I see you are an exceptionally bold wretch. For what offence did you kill the demons? Tell me, fool, are you not afraid of losing your life?” “Listen, Rāvaṇa: recall Him by whose might Māyā (Nature) brings forth numberless universes; by whose might, O ten-headed monster, Brahmā, Hari (Viṣṇu) and Śiva carry on their respective function of creation, preservation and destruction; by whose might the thousand-headed serpent (Śeṣa) supports on his head the entire globe with its mountains and forests, who assumes various forms in order to protect the gods and teach a lesson to wretches like you; who broke Śiva’s unbending bow and crushed with it the pride of a host of princes; who despatched Khara, Dūṣaṇa, Triśirā and Vālī, all unequalled in strength. (1 - 5)

“By an iota of whose might you were able to conquer the entire creation, both animate and inanimate, and whose beloved spouse has been stolen away by you. Know me to be His envoy.” (21)

“I am aware of your glory: you had an encounter with Sahasrabāhu and won distinction in your contest with Vāli.†” Rāvaṇa heard the words of Hanumān but laughed them away. “I ate the fruit because I felt hungry and broke the boughs as a monkey is wont to do. One’s body, my master, is supremely dear to all; yet those wicked fellows would insist on belabouring me, so that I had no course left but to return their blows. Still your son (Meghanāda) put me in bonds; but I am not at all ashamed of being bound, keen as I am to serve the cause of my lord. I implore you with joined palms, Rāvaṇa: give up your haughtiness and heed my advice. Think of your lineage and view things in that perspective; in any case disillusion yourself and adore Him who dispels the fear of His devotees. Never antagonize Him who is a source of terror even to Death, that devours all created beings, both animate and inanimate, gods as well as demons. And return Janaka’s Daughter at my request. (1 - 5)

“Lord Śrī Rāma, the Slayer of Khara, is a protector of the suppliant and an ocean of compassion. Forgetting your offences, He will give you shelter if you but turn to Him for protection. (22)

 “Install the image of Śrī Rāma’s lotus feet in your heart and enjoy the uninterrupted sovereignty of Laṅkā. The glory of the sage Pulastya (your grandfather) shines like the moon without its spot; be not a speck in that moon. Speech is charmless without Śrī Rāma’s name. Ponder and see for yourself, casting aside arrogance and infatuation. A fair lady without clothes, O enemy of gods, does not a look herself even though adorned with all kinds of jewels. The fortune and lordship of a man who is hostile to Rāma eventually leave him even if they stay a while, and are as good as lost if acquired anew. Rivers that have no perennial source get dried up as soon as the rains are over. Listen, O ten-headed Rāvaṇa, I tell you on oath: there is none to save him who is opposed to Śrī Rāma. Śaṅkara, Viṣṇu and Brahmā in their thousands are unable to protect you, an enemy of Śrī Rāma.” (1 - 4)

“Abandon pride, which is the same as Tamoguṇa (darkness), rooted as it is in ignorance and is a source of considerable pain; and adore Lord Śrī Rāma, the Chief of the Raghus and an ocean of compassion.” (23)

Although Hanumān gave him exceedingly salutary advice, full of devotion, discretion, dispassion and wisdom, the most haughty Rāvaṇa laughed and said, “We have found a most wise Guru in this monkey! (Turning towards Hanumān he continued) Death hangs over your head, O wretch; that is why you have started exhorting me, O vile monkey.” “Just the contrary is going to happen;” retorted Hanumān. “I clearly perceive that you are labouring under some mental illusion.” Hearing these words of Hanumān Rāvaṇa got nettled. “Why not some of you quickly kill this fool?” As soon as the demons heard it, they rushed forward to kill him. That very moment came Vibhīṣaṇa (Rāvaṇa’s youngest brother) with his counsellors. Bowing his head he made humble entreaty: “It is against all statecraft: an envoy must not be killed. He may be punished in some other way, my master.” All exclaimed to one another, “This is sound counsel, brother.” Hearing this the ten-headed Rāvaṇa laughed and said, “All right, the monkey may be sent back mutilated. (1 - 5)

“A monkey is very fond of his tail: I tell you this secret. Therefore, swathe his tail with rags soaked in oil and then set fire to it.” (24)

“When the tailless monkey will go back, the wretch will bring his master with him, and I shall have an opportunity of seeing his might, whom he has so lavishly exalted .” Hanumān smiled to himself on hearing these words. “Goddess Śāradā has proved helpful to me, I believe.” On hearing Rāvaṇa’s command the stupid demons started doing as they were bid. Not a rag was left in the city nor a drop of ghee (clarified butter) or oil, the tail had grown to great a length through Hanumān’s playful gesture. The citizens thronged to see the fun; they kicked Hanumān and jeered much at him. With beating of drums and clapping of hands they took him round the city and then set fire to his tail. When Hanumān saw the fire blazing, he immediately assumed an utterly diminutive size, and slipping out of his bonds sprang to the attics of the gold palace, to the dismay of the demonesses. (1 - 5)

At that moment, impelled by God, all the forty-nine winds began to bluster. Hanumān roared with a loud laugh and swelled to such a size that he seemed to touch the sky. (25)

Though colossal in size, Hanumān appeared most nimble-bodied; he ran and sprang from palace to palace. The city was all ablaze and the people were at their wit’s end. Terrible flames burst forth in myriads and piteous cries were heard everywhere: “O father! Ah, my mother! Who will save us at this hour? As I said, he is no monkey but some god in the form of a monkey. Such is the result of despising a noble soul: the city is being consumed by fire as though it had no master.” In the twinkling of an eye Hanumān burnt down the whole city barring the solitary house of Vibhīṣaṇa. Pārvatī, (continues Lord Śiva,) Hanumān went unscathed because he was the messenger of Him who created fire itself. He burnt the whole of Laṅkā from one end to the other and then leapt into the ocean. (1 - 4)

After quenching his tail and relieving his fatigue he resumed his diminutive form and stood before Janaka’s Daughter with joined palms. (26)

“Be pleased, Mother, to give me some token, such as the Lord of the Raghus gave me.” She thereupon unfastened the jewel on Her head and gave it to the son of the wind- god, who gladly received it. “Convey my obeisance to Him, dear son, with these words: “My lord is all sufficient; yet recalling Your vow of kindness to the afflicted, relieve, O master, my grievous distress.” Repeat to him, my son, the episode of Indra’s son (Jayanta) and remind the Lord of the might of His arrows. If the Lord does not arrive here within a month, he will not find me alive. Tell me, Hanumān, how can I preserve my life; for you too, my son, now speak of going. Your sight had brought relief to my heavy heart: I have before me now the same dreary days and weary nights.” (1 - 4)

Reassuring Janaka’s Daughter he consoled Her in many ways and, bowing his head at Her lotus feet, set forth to meet Śrī Rāma. (27)

While leaving he roared aloud with such a terrible noise that the wives of the demons miscarried. Taking a leap across the ocean he reached the opposite shore and greeted his fellow-monkeys with a shrill cry of joy. They were all delighted to see Hanumān and felt as if they had been born anew. He wore a cheerful countenance and his body shone with a brilliance which left no doubt in their mind that he had executed Śrī Rāmacandra’s commission. They all met him and felt as delighted as a fish writhing with agony for lack of water would feel on getting it. They then gladly proceeded to see the Lord of the Raghus, asking and telling the latest events. On their way they all entered Sugrīva’s garden called Madhuvana and with Aṅgada’s consent began to eat the luscious fruit. When the guards interfered, they were beaten with fists till they took to their heels. (1 - 4)

They all approached Sugrīva and complained that the Crown Prince was laying waste the royal garden. Sugrīva rejoiced to hear this; for he concluded that the monkeys must have returned after accomplishing the Lord’s business. (28)

“If they had failed to get any news of Sītā, they could never dare to eat the fruit of Madhuvana.” While the king was thus musing, the monkey chiefs arrived with their party. Drawing near they all bowed their head at his feet and the lord of the monkeys received them all most cordially and enquired after their welfare . “It is well with us, now that we have seen your feet. By Rāma’s grace the work has been accomplished with remarkable success. It is Hanumān, Your Majesty, who did everything and saved the life of the whole monkey host.” Hearing this Sugrīva embraced him again and then proceeded with all the monkeys to see the Lord of the Raghus. When Śrī Rāma saw the monkeys approaching with their mission duly accomplished, He was extraordinarily delighted at heart. The two brothers were seated on a crystal rock and all the monkeys went and fell at Their feet. (1 - 4)

The all-merciful Lord of the Raghus embraced them all with affection and asked of their welfare. “All is well with us, now that we have seen Your lotus feet.” (29)

Said Jāmbavān, “Listen, O Lord of the Raghus: he on whom You bestow Your blessings, is ever lucky and incessantly happy; gods, human beings and sages are all kind to him. He alone is victorious, modest and an ocean of virtues; his fair renown shines brightly through all the three spheres of creation. Everything has turned out well by the grace of my Lord; today our birth has been consummated. The achievement of Hanumān (the son of the wind-god) cannot be described even with a thousand tongues.” Jāmbavān then related to the Lord of the Raghus the charming exploits of Hanumān (the son of the wind-god). The All-merciful felt much delighted at heart to hear them and in His joy He clasped Hanumān once more to His bosom. “Tell me, dear Hanumān, how does Janaka’s daughter pass her days and sustain her life?” (1 - 4)

“Your Name keeps watch night and day, while Her continued thought of You acts as a pair of closed doors. She has Her eyes fastened on Her own feet; Her life thus finds no outlet whereby to escape.” (30)

“When I was leaving, She gave me this jewel from the top of Her head.” The Lord of the Raghus took it and pressed it to His bosom. “My lord, with tears in both Her eyes Janaka’s Daughter uttered the following few words: “Embrace the feet of my lord and His younger brother; O befriender of the distressed, reliever of the suppliant’s agony, I am devoted to Your feet in thought, word and deed; yet for what offence, my lord, have You forsaken me? I do admit one fault of mine, that my life did not depart the moment I was separated from You. That, however, my lord, is the fault of my eyes, which forcibly prevent my life from escaping. The agony of separation from You is like fire, my sighs fan it as a gust of wind and in between stands my body like a heap of cotton, which would have been consumed in an instant. But my eyes, in their own interest (i.e., for being enabled to feast themselves on Your beauty) rain a flood of tears; that is why the body fails to catch the fire of desolation.” Sītā’s distress is so overwhelmingly great, and You are so compassionate to the afflicted, that it is better not to describe it.” (1 - 5)

“Each single moment, O fountain of mercy, passes like an age to Her. Therefore, march quickly, my lord, and vanquishing the miscreant crew by Your mighty arm, recover Her.” (31)

When the all-blissful Lord heard of Sītā’s agony, tears rushed to his lotus eyes. “Do you think anyone who depends on me in thought, word and deed can ever dream of adversity?” Said Hanumān: “There is no misfortune other than ceasing to remember and adore You. Of what account are the demons to You? Routing the enemy You will surely bring back Janaka’s Daughter.” “No one endowed with a body - a god, human being or sage - has put me under such obligation, Hanumān, as you have done. Even my mind shrinks to face you; how, then, can I repay your obligation? Listen, my son: I have thought over the question and concluded that the debt which I owe you cannot be repaid.” Again and again as the Protector of the gods gazed on Hanumān His eyes filled with tears and His body was overpowered with a thrill of emotion. (1 - 4)

Even as Hanumān listened to the words of his lord and gazed on His countenance he experienced a thrill of joy all over his body and fell at His feet, overwhelmed with love and crying: “Save me, save me (from the tentacles of egoism), my lord.” (32)

Again and again the Lord sought to raise him up; he, however, was so absorbed in love that he would not rise. The lotus hand of the Lord rested on his head. Gaurī’s lord (Śiva) was overcome with emotion as He called to mind Hanumān’s enviable lot. But, recovering Himself, Śiva resumed the most charming narrative. The Lord lifted up Hanumān and clasped him to His bosom; then He took him by the hand and seated him very close to Him. “Tell me, Hanumān, how could you burn Rāvaṇa’s stronghold of Laṅkā, a most impregnable fortress?” When Hanumān found the Lord so pleased, he replied in words altogether free from pride. “A monkey’s greatest valour lies in his skipping about from one bough to another. That I should have been able to leap across the ocean, burn the gold city, kill the demon host and lay waste the Aśoka grove was all due to Your might; no credit, my lord, is due to me for the same.” (1 - 5)

“Nothing is unattainable, my lord, to him who enjoys Your grace. Through Your might a mere shred of cotton can surely burn a submarine fire (the impossible can be made possible).” (33)

“Therefore, be pleased, my lord, to grant me unceasing Devotion, which is a source of supreme bliss.” When the Lord, O Pārvatī, heard the most artless speech of Hanumān He said, “Be it so!” Umā , he who has come to know the true nature of Rāma can have no relish for anything other than His worship. Even he who takes this dialogue (between Śrī Rāma and Hanumān) to heart is blessed with devotion to Śrī Rāma’s feet. On hearing the words of the Lord the whole host of monkeys cried, “Glory, glory, all glory to the gracious Lord, the fountain of bliss!” The Lord of the Raghus then summoned Sugrīva (the King of the monkeys) and said, “Make preparations for the march. Why should we tarry any longer? Issue orders to the monkeys at once.” The gods who were witnessing the spectacle rained down flowers in profusion and then gladly withdrew from the lower air to their own celestial spheres. (1 - 4)

Sugrīva (the lord of the monkeys) quickly summoned the commanders of the various troops and they presented themselves in multitudes. The troops of monkeys and bears, varying in colour, were all unequalled in strength. (34)

The mighty bears and monkeys bowed their head at the Lord’s lotus feet and roared. Śrī Rāma surveyed the whole monkey host and cast on them His gracious lotus-like eyes. Getting more power from His grace the monkey chiefs vied as it were with huge mountains equipped with wings. Śrī Rāma then sallied forth glad of heart and many were the delightful and auspicious omens that occurred to Him . It was in the fitness of things that good omens should appear at the time of His departure (on an expedition) whose glory itself embodies all blessings. Videha’s Daughter came to know of the Lord’s march; the throbbing of Her left limbs apprised Her of the same as it were. But what were good omens for Janaka’s Daughter foreboded evil for Rāvaṇa. Who could adequately describe the army as it marched with its countless monkeys and bears roaring. With no weapon other than their sharp claws, they carried rocks and trees (that they had uprooted on the way) and marched now in the air and now on land, for they had unhampered motion everywhere. The bears and monkeys roared like lions as they marched, while the elephants guarding the eight cardinal points shook and trumpeted. (1 - 5)

The elephants of the eight cardinal points trumpeted, the earth rocked, the mountains trembled and the oceans were agitated. The Gandharvas, gods, sages, Nāgas and Kinnaras, all felt delighted at heart to perceive that their troubles were over. Myriads of formidable monkey warriors gnashed their teeth (in a bellicose mood); while many more millions dashed forward crying “Glory to Śrī Rāma, Kosala’s lord, of mighty valour” and hymning His praises. Even the great lord of serpents (Śeṣa) found himself unable to bear the crushing weight of the belligerent troops and felt dizzy again and again. But each time he would struggle by clutching with his teeth the hard shell of the divine Tortoise. The scratches thus made by his teeth would make one imagine as if, knowing the departure of Śrī Rāma (the Hero of Raghu’s line) on His glorious expedition to be a most attractive theme, the serpent-king was inscribing its immortal and sacred story on the Tortoise’s back. (1-2)

Continuing His march in this way the All-merciful arrived at the seashore and halted there. The host of valiant bears and monkeys began to guttle fruits all round there. (35)