Rāmāyana | Sundara Kaṇḍa | Chapter 2

Chapter: 2 Hanuman's Śrī Lanka Entry

[In this chapter the musings of Hanuman on seeing the city of Śrī Lanka, his first impressions about it and his thinking on the strategy he has to adopt is described.]

It is wonderful that the great one crossed the great ocean, which was impossible to cross, and stared at Śrī Lanka situated on the top of Trikūṭa Mountains. 1

By the rain of flowers shed by the different trees here and there, Hanuman, who was decked by flowers all over, after completing the task he has undertaken looked as if he was a victorious hero. 2

The truly heroic Hanuman, though he had crossed one hundred yojanas, did not know what is tiresomeness. Not only that, he was not even doing breathing with effort. 3

"I can jump and cross several more hundred yojanas and so reaching the other shore of a sea which is only one hundred yojanas is not a great job", he thought. 4

The great one among heroes and the fastest among those who can jump, crossed the sea and neared the city of Śrī Lanka. 5

He walked in to the centre of gardens, which had light bluish lawns, strewn with stones here and there and with dense population of trees 6

That very resplendent monkey chief Hanuman, went by the side of mountains full of trees and forests in full bloom. 7

That son of wind God, stood on a mountain with several peaks and saw the city of Śrī Lanka laden with the gardens and minor forests. 8

He, the monkey chief, saw pine trees, Karṇikāra trees,* date palms, Piyāla trees, lemon trees, wild jasmine trees, panadanus bushes (Thazhampoo), incense filled long pepper trees, Kadamba trees, seven leafed banana trees, fully flowered asana trees, Kovidara trees, Karavīra trees and also many trees bent with heavy load of flowers which were full of birds and whose tips were being shaken by the breeze that was blowing all around, ponds full of swans and ducks, lotus and lily flowers and many many tree filled gardens which flowered and fruited all around the year, many swimming pools specially constructed for play and also several pretty flower gardens. 9-12 * Those trees whose modern day equivalent is not known are given as such.

The great Hanuman then saw the beautiful city of Śrī Lanka which resembled the city of Amarāvatī of the devas and which was being ruled by Rāvaṇa, protected on all the four sides by Rāvaṇa himself, fearsome archers and ever roaming Rākṣasas because Sītā was abducted and kept in the city, and which was also protected well by moats full of lotus and lily flowers and gold like tall walls all around. It also had mansions which resembled the planets, the autumn sky, dazzling white elevated long wide avenues, strange golden tower gates decorated by climbers and other decorative items, many spires used to keep watch on the enemies from outside, flags and other banners. 13-18.

That monkey chief thought that the city, which was built on the mountain as a city with white and regal houses, was floating in the sky. 19

He saw the city built by Viśvakarma (architect of Devas) and ruled by Rāvaṇa was flying in the sky. 20

He approached the northern gate of Śrī Lanka whose forts appeared as if they were the waist, whose moats appeared as if they were dresses, whose guns and spears appeared as if they were the hairs and whose spires appear as if they were the ear studs and which was constructed by Viswa Karma after deep thought, which appeared as tall as the Kailasa Mountain (abode of Lord Siva) and which appeared as if it was touching the sky and whose buildings are constructed one over another so that it appeared as if the whole city was flying, which was thickly populated by terrible Rākṣasas like the city of Bhogavathi which was populated by Nagas, which is strongly built, which does not have dirt, which was once occupied by Lord Kubera, which is protected by several valorous Rākṣasas who were armed with spears and long swords similar to a cave being protected by serpents and which can never be evaluated as to what it is and started thinking. 21-25

Observing the fierce security, the sea and the terrible enemy Rāvaṇa, the monkey started thinking. 26

"Even if the monkey army reaches here it would not be of any use, for even devas cannot wage a war and win over Lanka." 28

"Even if Rāma reaches the very peculiar city of Śrī Lanka, which is really impossible to enter and is ruled by Rāvaṇa, what possibly can the great warrior do?" 29

"In case of Rākṣasas, there is no point in talking to them in a friendly manner or with sweet words nor can they be corrupted by money and nor is it possible to make them fight against each other and the only option of war cannot even be thought of as a possibility." 30

"This is because only Angada, the son of Bali, Nīla, the monkey chief, the heroic King Sugrīva and myself can enter this city." 31

"Let me find out whether Sītā the daughter of Janaka is alive or not and after seeing her I can think of a strategy." 32

"I can not enter this city of Rākṣasas and which is protected by them in the present form". 33

"These Rākṣasas are highly valorous, very strong and greatly heroic and so can only be deceived by me who is searching Sītā." 34

"I should search the city of Śrī Lanka with an almost invisible form and that too in the night because for completing this great deed, it is the most appropriate time." 35

Knowing that, even Devas and Asuras would find it difficult to enter that city, Hanuman took several deep breaths and started thinking. 36

"What trick should I employ to search so that I would not be visible to Rāvaṇa and the bad Rākṣasas?" 37

"The job which I have taken oath to complete should certainly be done and also I should be able to talk with the daughter of Janaka alone" thought he. 38

"When a job has to be done, sending a messenger, who is unstable and who cannot do the proper thing at the proper time, is like having darkness at dawn." 39

"Even after knowing well as to what has to be done and what should not be done, there is no possibility of completing the job if the messenger is over confident and thinks that he only can complete the job." 40

"How will the job be completed properly? How no problems will crop up preventing its completion? And what should be done so that crossing of the great ocean does not become a waste?" 41

"Suppose I am seen by the Rākṣasas then the wish of Lord Rāma to Kill Rāvaṇa can definitely not be done." 42

"Even if one takes the form of Rākṣasa is it possible to hide from these Rākṣasas and if it is in any other form this task would definitely not be done." 43

"I know the fact that even the God of Wind cannot move here unhindered. Is there anything that these powerful Rākṣasas do not know?" 44

"If I remain here with my present form, I will be destroyed and Lord's mission will surely fail." 45

"So I will go as a dwarf and not in my present form; enter the city at night to complete the mission of Sri Rāma." 46

"After entering the unapproachable city of Rāvaṇa, then I can search all houses and buildings for the daughter of Janaka." 47

At that time thinking thus, anxious to see Sītā (daughter of King Videha), he started waiting for the sunset. 48

After sunset and in the night Hanuman, the Son of Wind God, assumed a very minute strange form as big as a cat. 49

That valorous Hanuman jumped and entered with lot of speed the beautiful city with clearly demarcated avenues. 50

That monkey saw that big city, which resembled the city of Gandharvas, which was full of palatial buildings built on pillars inlaid with silver and gold, having windows made of gold, having seven to eight stories and having floors decorated by gold and crystal. 51-52

Diamonds and other precious stones decorated those grounds of the houses of Rākṣasas and several garlands of pearls were used to decorate them. 53

The strange wall hangings made of gold, which was used to decorate all over the city by the Rākṣasas made the city glitter in eminence. 54

Though the Great monkey became happy on seeing the city, which had very big white buildings, which had windows made of gold of the purest quality, which was surrounded by very powerful night patrol, which was being protected by the great valour of Rāvaṇa, which cannot be described by ones thought process and which is surprisingly beautiful. He felt dejected because he was mainly interested in seeing Sītā. 55-56

The moon also making up his mind to help Hanuman, rose up along with its thousands of rays, decorating the roof of the world with moonlight, in the middle of the stars along with it. 57

(Before this, Ocean, God of Wind and Sun were trying to help Hanuman.)

That monkey hero saw the moon, who was having the lustre of a conch, having the colour of milk and lotus stem and who was shining above as if he was a swan swimming in the lotus pond. 58

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