25-2 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

The all-wise Śrī Rāma smiled to hear the words of Hanumān (the son of the wind-god). Then, looking towards the south, the All-merciful Lord spoke thus: - (12 B)

“Vibhīṣaṇa, see how clouds are gathering fast and the lightning flashes in the southern quarter. A lowering cloud is gently rumbling and I fear lest a severe hail-storm may ensue.” Vibhīṣaṇa replied, “Listen, my gracious lord: there is neither lightning nor a gathered mass of cloud. On the top of Laṅkā there stands a hall where Rāvaṇa is witnessing a music and dancing contest. It is the large royal umbrella spread over his head which presents the appearance of a thick dark mass of cloud; the ornaments in Queen Mandodarī’s ears, my lord, flash like lightning; while the incomparable music of cymbals and tabors is the sweet rumbling that You hear, O King of celestials.” The Lord smiled to perceive Rāvaṇa’s arrogance; He strung His bow and fitted an arrow to the string. (1 - 4)

With a single shaft the Lord then struck Rāvaṇa’s umbrella and crowns as well as Mandodarī’s ear-drops, which fell to the ground before the very eyes of all; but none could know the mystery. Having performed this startling feat Śrī Rāma’s shaft came back and dropped into His quiver again. And everybody in Rāvaṇa’s assembly was alarmed to see this great interruption in his revelry. (13 A-B)

There was no earthquake nor any strong gust of wind. Nor did they see any weapon or missile. All however, pondered within themselves that it was a most alarming ill-omen. When the ten-headed monster saw that the assembly had taken fright, he laughed and made the following ingenious remarks: “How can the mere dropping down of crowns be an ill-omen to him in whose case even the falling of heads proved a lasting boon? Therefore, return each to your own home and retire.” Accordingly all bowed their head and returned home. But anxiety lodged in Mandodarī’s hearts ever since her ear- rings dropped to the ground. With eyes full of tears and joining both her palms she said, “O lord of my life, listen to my prayer. My beloved, cease hostility with Śrī Rāma and have no more of obstinacy in your heart taking Him to be a mere mortal.” (1 - 4)

“Believe my word that Śrī Rāma (the Jewel of Raghu’s race) Himself is manifested in the form of this universe and that the Vedas conceive of every limb of His as a distinct sphere.” (14)

“The subterranean regions (Pātāla) are His feet and the abode of Brahmā His head; while the other (intermediate) spheres are located in His other limbs. Terrible Death is the mere contraction of His eyebrows, the sun is His eye and the mass of clouds His locks. The twin-born gods Aśvīni Kumāras (the celestial physicians) are His nostrils and the alternating days and nights constitute the repeated twinkling of His eyelids; while the ten quarters of the heavens are His ears: so declare the Vedas. The winds are His breath and the Vedas, His own speech; greed is His lower lip and Yama (the god who sits in judgment on the dead), His dreadful teeth; Māyā (cosmic illusion) is His laughter and the regents of the ten quarters, His arms; fire is His mouth and Varuṇa (the god presiding over the waters), His tongue; while the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe are His gestures. The eighteen principal species of the vegetable kingdom constitute the line of hair on His belly, the mountains are His bones and the rivers represent the network of His veins. The ocean is His belly and the inferno, His organs of urination and excretion. In short, the universe is a manifestation of the Lord and it is no use going into further details. (1 - 4)

“Lord Śiva is His ego, Brahmā His reason, the moon His mind and the great Viṣṇu is His faculty of understanding. It is the same Lord Śrī Rāma, manifested in the form of this animate and inanimate creation, who has assumed a human semblance. Pondering thus, hear me, O lord of my life: cease hostility with the Lord and cultivate devotion to the feet of Śrī Rāma (the Hero of Raghu’s line) so that my good-luck may not desert me.” (15 A-B)

Rāvaṇa laughed when he heard the words of his wife. “Oh, how mighty is the power of infatuation! They rightly observe in regard to the character of a woman that the following eight demerits ever abide in her heart: recklessness, mendacity, fickleness, deceit, timidity, indiscretion, impurity and callousness. You have described the enemy’s cosmic form and thus told me a most alarming story. But all that (whatever is comprised in that cosmic form), my beloved, is naturally under my control; it is by your grace that this has become clear to me now. I have come to know your ingenuity, my dear; for in this way you have told my greatness. Your words, O fawn-eyed lady, are profound: they afford delight when understood and dispel all fear even when heard.” Mandodarī was now convinced at heart that her husband’s impending death had deluded him. (1 - 4)

While Rāvaṇa was laughing and joking in diverse ways as mentioned above, the day broke and the king of Laṅkā, who was intrepid by nature and further blinded by pride, entered the court. The reed neither blossoms nor bears fruit even though the clouds rain nectar on it. Similarly the light of wisdom would never dawn on a fool even though he may have a teacher like Virañci (Brahmā). (16 A-B)

At this end the Lord of the Raghus woke at daybreak and, summoning all His counsellors, asked their opinion: “Tell me quickly what course should be adopted.” Jāmbavān bowed his head at the Lord’s feet and said, “Listen, O omniscient Lord, Indweller of all hearts, storehouse of wisdom, strength, glory, piety and goodness: I offer advice to You according to my own lights. It is that Vāli’s son (Prince Aṅgada) may be sent as an envoy (to Rāvaṇa).” The good counsel commended itself to all and the All- merciful turned to Aṅgada and said, “O son of Vāli, repository of wisdom, strength and goodness! go to Laṅkā, dear one, for My cause. I need not give you any elaborate instructions. I know you are supremely clever. You should talk with the enemy in such words as may advance My cause and serve his interest at the same time.” (1 - 4)

Bowing to the Lord’s command and adoring His feet, Aṅgada arose and said, “He alone is an ocean of virtues, on whom You shower Your grace, O divine Rāma.” “All the objects of my Lord are self-accomplished,” he thought; “He has only honoured me (by charging me with this task).” And the thought thrilled his body and delighted his heart. (17 A-B)

Adoring the Lord’s feet and keeping His glory in his heart Aṅgada bowed his head to all and departed. The gallant son of Vāli, who was an adept in warfare, was dauntless by nature, cherishing as he did the might of the Lord. As soon as he entered the city he met one of Rāvaṇa’s sons (Prahasta by name), who was playing there. From words they proceeded to fight; for both were unrivalled in strength and in the prime of youth to boot. He raised his foot to kick Aṅgada, who in his turn seized the foot and, swinging him round, dashed him to the ground. Finding him a formidable warrior, the demons ran helter-skelter in large numbers, too much frightened to raise an alarm. They did not tell one another what had happened, but kept quiet when they thought of the death of Rāvaṇa’s son. There was a cry in the whole city that the same monkey who had burnt down Laṅkā had come again. “Who knows what turn Providence is going to take?” everyone thought in excessive dismay. People showed him the way unasked: if he but looked at anyone, the latter would turn deadly pale. (1 - 5)

With his thoughts fixed on the lotus-feet of Śrī Rāma he then reached the gate of Rāvaṇa’s council-chamber. And there the stout-hearted and mighty hero stood with the mien of a lion glancing this side and that. (18)

He forthwith sent a demon and apprised Rāvaṇa of his arrival. On hearing the news the ten-headed monster laughed and said. “Go, usher him in my presence and let me see where the monkey has come from.” Receiving his order a host of messengers ran and fetched the monkey chief. Aṅgada saw the ten-headed giant seated on his throne like a living mountain of collyrium. His arms looked like trees and heads like peaks; while the hair on his body presented the appearance of numerous creepers. His mouths, nostrils, eyes and ears were as big as mountain caves and chasms. With an unflinching mind he entered the court, the valiant son of Vāli, possessed of great might. The assembly abruptly rose at the sight of the monkey; at this Rāvaṇa’s heart was filled with great fury. (1 - 4)

Thinking of Śrī Rāma’s might Aṅgada bowed his head and took his seat in the assembly as fearlessly as a lion treads in the midst of mad elephants. (19)

“Monkey, who are you?” Rāvaṇa asked. “I am an ambassador from the Hero of Raghu’s line, Rāvaṇa. There was friendship between you and my father; hence it is in your interest, brother, that I have come. Of noble descent and a grandson of the sage Pulastya (one of the mind-born sons of Brahmā), you worshipped Lord Śiva and Brahmā in various ways, obtained boons from them, accomplished all your objects and conquered the guardians of the different spheres as well as all earthly sovereigns. Under the influence of kingly pride or infatuation you carried off Sītā, the Mother of the Universe. But even now you listen to my friendly advice and the Lord will forgive all your offences. Put a straw between the rows of your teeth and an axe by your throat and take all your people including your wives with you, respectfully placing Janaka’s Daughter at the head. In this way repair to Him shedding all fear. (1 - 4)

“And address Him thus: “O Protector of the suppliant, O Jewel of Raghu’s race, save me, save me now.’ The moment He hears your piteous cry the Lord will surely rid you of every fear.” (20)

“Mind what you speak, you little monkey. Fool, are you not aware of my being an avowed enemy of the gods? Tell me, young fellow, your own name as well as your father’s. What is the common ground on which you claim fellowship between your father and myself?” “Aṅgada is my name: I am Vāli’s son. Did you ever meet him?” Rāvaṇa felt uncomfortable when he heard Aṅgada’s reply. “Yes, I do remember that there was a monkey, Vāli by name. But, Aṅgada, are you Vāli’s son? You have been born as a fire which stands for a cluster of bamboos for the destruction of your own race. Why should you have not perished even in the womb? In vain were you born, who have called yourself with your own mouth a hermit’s envoy. Now tell me if all is well with Vāli and, if so, where is he?” Aṅgada laughed at this and then replied. “Ten days hence you shall go to Vāli and embracing your friend personally enquire after his welfare. He will tell you all about the welfare that follows from hostility with Śrī Rāma. Listen, O fool: the seeds of dissension can be sown in the mind of him alone whose heart is closed to the Hero of Raghu’s line.” (1 - 5)

“I, forsooth, am the exterminator of my race; while you, Rāvaṇa, are the preserver of yours. Even the blind and the deaf would not say so, whereas you possess a score of eyes and an equal number of ears.” (21)

“What! Did I bring dishonour on my family by acting as His ambassador whose feet even Śiva, Brahmā and all the gods and sages desire to arose? It is strange that your heart does not burst asunder even on entertaining such an idea.” When he heard the monkey’s sharp rejoinder, Rāvaṇa glowered at him and said, “Wretch, I put up with your harsh words only because I know the bounds of decorum and righteousness.” Said the monkey, “I too have heard of your piety, which is evident from the fact that you stole away another’s wife. And I have witnessed with my own eyes the protection you vouchsafed to an envoy. An upholder of piety, why do you not drown yourself and thus end your life? When you saw your sister with her ears and nose cut off, it was from considerations of piety that you forgave the wrong. Your piety is famed throughout the world: I too am very fortunate in having been able to see you.” (1 - 4)

“Prate no more, you stupid creature, but look at my arms, O foolish monkey, that are like so many Rāhus to eclipse the tremendous moon-like might of the guardians of the spheres. Again, (you might have heard that) while resting on my lotus-like palms in the lake of the heavens. Mount Kailāśa with Śambhu (Lord Śiva) shone like a swan.” (22 A-B)

“Listen, Aṅgada; tell me which warrior in your army will dare encounter me. Your master (Rāma) has grown weak due to separation from his wife, while his younger brother (Lakṣmaṇa) shares his grief and is consequently very sad. You and Sugrīva are like trees on a river bank (that can be washed away any moment); as for my younger brother (Vibhīṣaṇa), he is a great coward. Your counsellor, Jāmbavān, is too advanced in age to take his stand on the field of battle; while Nala and Nīla are mere architects (and no warriors). There is one monkey, no doubt, of extraordinary might - he who came before and set fire to the city.” On hearing this Vāli’s son (Aṅgada) replied: “Tell me the truth, O demon king: is it a fact that a monkey burnt down your capital? A puny monkey set on fire Rāvaṇa’s capital! Who, on hearing such a report, would say it as true? Rāvaṇa, he whom you have extolled as a distinguished warrior is only one of Sugrīva’s petty runners. He who walks long distances is no champion; we sent him only to get news.” (1 - 5)

“It seems true that the monkey set fire to your capital without receiving an order from his master. That is why he did not go back to Sugrīva and remained in hiding for fear. All that you say, Rāvaṇa, is true and I am not in the least angry at hearing it. There is none in our army who would fight you with any amount of grace. Make friends or enter into hostilities only with your equals: this is a sound maxim to follow. If a lion were to kill frogs, will anyone speak well of him? Though it would be derogatory on the part of Śrī Rāma to kill you and He will incur great blame thereby, yet, mark me, Rāvaṇa, the fury of the Kṣatriya race is hard to face.” The monkey (Aṅgada) burnt the enemy’s heart with shafts of speech shot forth from the bow of sarcasm; and the ten-headed hero proceeded to extract the arrows, so to speak, with pairs of pincers in the form of rejoinders. He laughed and said: “A monkey possesses one great virtue: it does everything in its power to serve him who maintains it.” (23 A - F)

“Bravo for a monkey, who dances unabashed in the service of its master anywhere and everywhere. Dancing and skipping about to amuse the people it serves the interest of its master; this shows its keen devotion to duty. Aṅgada, all of your race are devoted to their lord; how could you, then, fail to extol the virtues of your master in the way you have done? I am a respecter of merit and too magnanimous to pay any attention to your scurrilously glib talk.” Said Aṅgada: “The son of the wind-god gave me a true account of your partiality to merit. He laid waste your garden, killed your son and set fire to your city and yet (in your eyes) he did you no wrong. Remembering such amiability of your disposition I have been so insolent in my behaviour with you, O Rāvaṇa. On coming here I have witnessed all that Hanumān told me, viz., that you have no shame, no anger and no feeling of resentment.” “It is because you possess such a mentality that you have proved to be the death of your own father.” Uttering these words Rāvaṇa burst into laughter. “Having been the death of my father I would have next claimed you as my victim; but a thought has come to me just now. Knowing you to be a living memorial of Vāli’s unsullied fame, I desist from killing you, O vile boaster. Tell me, Rāvaṇa, how many Rāvaṇas there are in the world? Or hear from me how many I have heard of. One went to the nether world (Pātāla) to conquer Bali and was tied up in the stables by the children, who made sport of him and thrashed him till Bali took pity on him and had him released. Another again was discovered by King Sahasrabāhu, who ran and captured him as a strange creature and brought him home for the sake of fun. The sage Pulastya then went and secured his release.” (1 - 8)

“Yet another, I am much ashamed to tell you, was held tight under Vāli’s arm. Be not angry, Rāvaṇa, but tell me the truth, which of these may you be?” (24)

“Listen, O fool: I am the same mighty Rāvaṇa, the sport of whose arms is familiar to Mount Kailāśa (the peak sacred to Lord Śiva) and whose valour is known to Umā’s Spouse (Śiva Himself), in whose worship I offered my heads as flowers. Times without number have I removed my lotus-like heads with my own hands to worship Lord Śiva (the Slayer of Tripura). The prowess of my arms is well-known to the guardians of the eight quarters, whose heart, you fool, still smarts under injuries inflicted by them. The toughness of my chest is familiar to the elephants supporting the eight quarters, whose fierce tusks, whenever I impetuously grappled with them, failed to make any impression on it and snapped off like radishes the moment they struck against it. Even as I walk, the earth shakes like a small boat when a mad elephant steps into it. I am the same Rāvaṇa, known for his might all over the world; did you never hear of him, you lying prattler?” (1 - 4)

“You belittle that Rāvaṇa and extol a mortal man? Barbarous monkey, O puny wretch. I have now fathomed your wisdom.” (25)

On hearing this, Aṅgada indignantly replied: “Take care what you say, you vainglorious wretch. How can He be accounted a man, you wretched Rāvaṇa, at whose very sight melted away the pride of Paraśurāma - the same Paraśurāma whose axe was like a fire to consume King Sahasrabāhu’s boundless forest of arms, or (to use another simile) like the sea in whose swift tide have drowned innumerable kings time after time. How can Śrī Rāma be a mortal, you arrogant fool? Is the god of love a mere archer, the Gaṅgā a mere stream, the cow of plenty a mere beast, the tree of Paradise a mere tree, the gift of food an ordinary gift, nectar an ordinary drink, Garuḍa (the mount of God Viṣṇu) a mere bird, the thousand-headed Śeṣa a mere serpent and the wish-yielding gem a mere stone, O ten-headed monster? Listen, O dullard: is Vaikuṇṭha an ordinary sphere and unflinching devotion to the Lord of the Raghus an ordinary gain?” (1 - 4)

“What! is Hanumān, O fool, an ordinary monkey, who got off unhurt after trampling your pride as well as that of your army, laying waste your garden, setting your capital on fire and slaying your own son?” (26)

“Listen, Rāvaṇa: giving up all hypocrisy, why do you not adore the All-merciful Lord of the Raghus? Oh wretch, if you pit yourself against Rāma, even Brahmā (the Creator) and Rudra (Lord Śiva) cannot save you. Fool, brag not in vain; if you contend with Rāma, such will be your fate: struck with Śrī Rāma’s arrows your many heads will fall to the ground in front of the monkeys, and the bears and monkeys will play with those heads as with so many balls. When the Lord of the Raghus gets enraged in battle and His many fierce arrows dart, will you then be able to bounce like this? Realizing this, adore the high-souled Śrī Rāma.” On hearing these words Rāvaṇa flared up like a blazing fire on which clarified butter has been thrown. (1 - 4)

“I have a brother like Kumbhakarṇa (lit., one having ears as big as a pair of jars) and the renowned Meghanāda (the vanquisher of Indra) for my son. And have you never heard of my own valour, by which I have conquered the entire creation, both animate and inanimate?” (27)

“Fool, with the help of monkeys your master has bridged the ocean; is this what you call valour? There are many birds which fly across the ocean; yet listen, O monkey, they are no heroes all. Now each of my arms is a veritable ocean, brimming over with a flood of strength, beneath which many a valiant god and man has been drowned. What hero is there, who will cross these twenty unfathomable and boundless oceans? I made the guardians of the eight quarters do menial service to me; while you, O wretch, glorify an earthly prince before me! If your lord, whose virtues you recount again and again, is valiant in battle, why does he send an ambassador to me? Is he not ashamed to make terms with his enemy? Look at my arms, which lifted and violently shook Mount Kailāśa, and then, foolish monkey, extol your master, if you like.” (1 - 4)

“What hero is there equal to Rāvaṇa, who with his own hands cut off his heads time and again and offered them to the sacrificial fire with great delight, as will be borne out by Gaurī’s Spouse (Lord Śiva) Himself.” (28)

“When as my skulls began to burn I saw the decree of Providence traced on my brow and read that I was going to die at the hands of a mortal, I laughed; for I knew Brahmā’s prophecy to be false. I am not afraid in my heart even when I remember this; for (I am sure) Brahmā must have traced the decree in his senile dementia. Yet, you fool, you repeatedly exalt the might of another hero in my presence, giving up all shame and sense of prestige.” Aṅgada replied: “Yes, there is no one in the whole world so shamefaced as you. You are bashful by your innate disposition, since you never indulge in self-praise. Only the story of offering your heads (to Lord Śiva) and lifting the mountain (Kailāśa) has been foremost in your mind and hence you have told it twenty times over. As for (the tale of) that strength of arm by which you were able to conquer Sahasrabāhu, Bali and Vāli, you have kept it secret in your heart. Listen, fool, and brag no more. Can anyone turn a hero by cutting off one’s head? A juggler is never called a hero even though he hacks to pieces his whole body with his own hands.” (1 - 5)

“Ponder, O fool, and see for yourself that due to infatuation moths burn themselves in fire and donkeys carry loads; but they are never termed as heroes.” (29)

“Cease wrangling any more, O wretch; listen to my advice and have done away with pride. I have not come to you as an envoy (to seek terms with you), O ten-headed monster; the Hero of Raghu’s line has sent me from other considerations. The All- merciful has said again and again: “A lion earns no reputation by killing a jackal.’ Bearing in mind the words of my lord I have suffered, O fool, your pungent speech. Otherwise, I would have smashed your jaws and taken back Sītā by force. I have judged your strength, O vile enemy of heaven, from the very fact that you carried off another’s wife while she was all by herself. You are the lord of demons and exceedingly haughty, while I am a messenger of one of Śrī Rāma’s servants. If I were not afraid of insulting Śrī Rāma, I would have wrought this wonder before your very eyes:” (1 - 4)

“Dashing you to the ground, exterminating your army and laying waste your town, O fool, I would have taken away Janaka’s Daughter with all your wives.” (30)

“Even if I did so, it would hardly bring me any credit; for it is no act of valour to slay the slain. A follower of the Vāma mārga (a sect of Śakti-worshippers indulging in certain prohibited practices as a part of their worship), a man given over to lust, a miser, a grossly stupid fellow, an utterly destitute person, a man suffering from disrepute, an extremely old man, an ever sick person, one who is always angry, he who is hostile to Lord Viṣṇu, an enemy of the Vedas and saints, he who exclusively nourishes his own body, he who is given to slandering others, and he who is a storehouse of sins - these fourteen types of persons are no better than corpses, even while they live. Realizing this, O wretch, I refrain from killing you. But rouse my anger no more.” On hearing this, the demon king bit his lips, wrung his hands and burst out furiously: “O vile monkey, you are now bent upon dying; for though small, you have spoken big words. He, on whose strength you dare utter such wild and sharp words, O stupid monkey, has no strength, glory, intelligence or majesty at all.” (1 - 4)

“Finding him devoid of merit and self-esteem, his father sent him into exile. Apart from that sorrow the separation from his wife is telling on him and above all he is constantly obsessed with terror of me. The demons devour day and night many such men as he of whose might you are proud; realize this, O fool, and cease to be perverse.” (31 A-B)