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Sugriva Detects the Presence of Rama
When Rama reached the shore of Lake Pampa, which was crowded with lotus flowers, water lilies and fish, He began to lament, His mind being disturbed. Upon seeing the lake, Rama's senses became excited because of delight. Coming under the sway of amorous desire, He said to Lakshmana: "Lake Pampa looks very beautiful with its water sparkling like a vairdurya gem, its surface covered with fully open lotus flowers and water lilies, and its shore lined with many kinds of trees. O Lakshmana, just see the forest so beautiful to behold along the shore of Lake Pampa, where the trees are like the peaks of mountains. I am being stricken with heartbreak just like during the spring season due to Sita's abduction and Bharata's predicament. Although I am stricken with grief, Lake Pampa lined with wonderful forests fascinates Me with its cool and clear waters covered with many different types of flowers. Despite being blanketed with lotuses and teeming with snakes, wild beasts and birds, it appears very lovely. This field sprinkled with flowers fallen from trees is bright with blues and yellows, like a colorful carpet spread on the ground. The tops of trees laden with flowers are entwined all around with vines blossoming at their ends. O Lakshmana, this month is a time of pleasant breezes and it awakens profound feelings of love. It is fragrant with the aromas of trees bearing flowers and fruits.
"Just see the beauty of these forest groves showering down flowers, as clouds do shower down rain. Different varieties of trees standing amongst lovely rocks are dropping their flowers on the ground due to the force of strong winds. See how the wind is playing everywhere with the flowers fallen on the ground, those that are just falling, and those that are still on the trees. The bees, moved from their places by the wind, sing the praises of that wind which is shaking the tree branches weighted down with flowers. The wind issuing forth from mountain caves seems to sing as it makes the trees dance to the song of love-maddened cuckoos. Being shaken all over by the wind, the trees, having the ends of their branches entangled with each other, appear to be tied together. Pleasing to the touch, as cooling as sandalwood paste, and wafting a sweet fragrance, this pious wind relieves exhaustion. Shaken by the wind, the forests fragrant with honey seems to be singing because of the constant humming of bumblebees. The mountains look enchanting with their peaks linked together by flowering trees growing in their level areas. With their tops cloaked with flowers, those trees shaken by the wind and swarming with honeybees seem to be singing.
See these flower-laden karnikara trees everywhere, which look like men dressed in yellow garments who are decorated with gold ornaments. O Lakshmana, this spring season resounding with the singing of many birds increases My grief at being separated from Sita. In fact, love torments Me, overwhelmed as I am with grief. Engaging in a dispute with Me, the cuckoo joyfully calls out to Me. This waterfowl happily squawking in this nice forest waterfall saddens Me because I am overcome with amorous longing, O Lakshmana. When My beloved used to hear its cry in the past while She was still present in the cottage, She used to call Me with extreme delight. See how birds of every kind alight on trees, bushes and vines here and there, sounding various notes. When female birds are in the company of male birds, they are very happy to be in the midst of their own kind. Similarly, the female bees are humming sweetly because of their joy at hearing the buzzing of drones, O Lakshmana. By the honking of waterfowl and the shrill twitter of male cuckoos, these trees do sing, enkindling My amorous desires. Surely I will be consumed by the fire of spring which has the reddish ashoka flowerets as its hot embers, the humming of honeybees as its crackle and the ashoka trees' copper-colored leaves as its flames. O Lakshmana, there is no reason for Me to continue living without seeing that sweet-speaking woman with fine eyelashes and lovely hair.
"This season, during which flocks of cuckoos congregate in the precincts of pleasant forests, is very dear to My beloved Sita, O sinless one. This fire of grief, which has sprung from love and is augmented by the qualities of spring, will very shortly consume Me. Not seeing My beloved Sita and seeing these pleasing trees, My feelings of love will surely climax. Sita's absence increases My grief, as does the spring which negates the possibility of sweat by its cool breezes. That fawn-eyed lady does indeed torment Me, overwhelmed as I am with anxiety and sorrow, and so also does this cruel forest breeze which blows during this month of Caitrai. These peacocks appear very beautiful as they dance here and there, their tails looking like crystal lattices being shaken by the wind. Surrounded by peahens, these love-maddened peacocks increase My longing, overwhelmed as I am by love. O Lakshmana, just see how that peahen is dancing at the side of her dancing peacock mate on top of that hill. Spreading the fan of his tail and apparently laughing at Me with his cries, that peacock is mentally pursuing his beloved peahen. Surely that peacock's beloved has not been stolen away in the forest by a rakshasa. Therefore he is dancing with his beloved in the charming groves. For Me, however, it is unbearable to live here without Sita during this flower-bearing month.
"See, O Lakshmana, how love is present even among the animal species, for which this peahen approaches her mate out of love. The broad-eyed Sita would also be approaching Me in a bustle due to Her feelings of love, had She not been abducted. See how this multitude of forest flowers at the end of winter are all useless for Me. Overjoyed, the birds sing melodiously in chorus, calling out to one another and intoxicating Me with amorous desire. If spring has arrived in that region where My beloved is, surely She, being under the power of another, will be lamenting as I am. Assuredly spring will not touch that place where Sita is. Even so, how can that woman with dark, lotus-like eyes continue living without Me? Or else, spring may be present where My beloved is, but what will that shapely woman do when She is being threatened by others? Certainly upon entering the spring season, that youthful woman who speaks so sweetly and whose eyes resemble lotus petals will give up Her life.
"The thought constantly recurs in My mind that the chaste Sita cannot survive in separation from Me. The affection of Sita, the princess of the Vaidehas, is truly focused on Me, and My affection is focused on Sita under all circumstances. This breeze bearing the fragrance of flowers and gratifying the sense of touch is like fire to Me while I am thinking of my darling. The same breeze which I formerly considered enjoyable when in the company of Sita, is, in Her absence, increasing My suffering. The crow that indicated Sita's abduction by his crowing is now perched on a tree branch cawing jubilantly, indicating that She will return. While this crow took part in Sita's abduction, he will now bring Me to where My broad-eyed Sita is. Listen, O Lakshmana, to the warbling of birds perched on the ends of flowering branches. Their sound is increasing My longing. That honeybee suddenly approaches the flowering spray of the tilaka tree which is being shaken by the wind, as he would approach his darling when enthralled by love. Increasing the suffering of lovers, this ashoka tree is threatening Me with its sprays of flowers. O Lakshmana, yonder mango trees burdened with flowers look like human beings annointed with bright cosmetics, their minds bewildered by love. O Lakshmana, just see the kinnaras wandering randomly through the forest groves on the banks of Lake Pampa.
See these marvelously fragrant lotus flowers all over the water shining like the newly risen sun. Here is Lake Pampa whose pleasant waters are adorned with red lotus flowers, blue water lilies and aromatic white lotus flowers, and which is teeming with swans and ducks. Its waters are covered all over with lotus flowers that shine like the newly risen sun and whose pollen has been scattered by honeybees. Always frequented by ruddy geese, the wonderful woodlands along the shore look beautiful with herds of elephants and deer coming to drink its water. O Lakshmana, jarred by waves propelled by the force of the wind, the lotus flowers on the placid water are glistening.
Life no longer appeals to Me now that I am unable to see My Sita, who is always fond of lotus flowers and whose broad eyes are shaped like the petals of a lotus flower. Oh how crooked is Cupid, that he makes Me remember the blessed Sita, who speaks so nicely and is now gone and difficult to recover. I could endure the longing that has now arisen in Me if spring with its flower-bearing trees would not smite Me repeatedly. Those things which were pleasing while in Sita's company have become unpleasant in Her absence. O Lakshmana, when I see the petals encircling the calyxes of lotus flowers, I am reminded of Sita's bud-like eyes. The enchanting breeze caressing the filaments of lotus flowers and blowing through the trees resembles Sita's breath. See the trunks of the exceptionally beautiful karnikara trees on the mountain peaks to the south of Lake Pampa. This king of mountains, Rishyamuka, well-adorned by abundant minerals, is discharging a colorful cloud of dust stirred up by strong blasts of wind. The peaks of this mountain look as if they are on fire because of the leafless kimshuka trees covered with flowers. These blooming malati vines, mallika jasmine and karavira trees which are growing on the banks of Lake Pampa are as fragrant as honey. There are ketaki and sindhuvara trees and flowering vasanti vines, as well as madhavi and jasmine vines full of fragrance everywhere about. There are also blooming cirivilva, madhuka, vanjula, bakula, campaka, tilaka and naga trees. On the tops of mountains are padmaka, blue ashoka and lodhra trees in bloom, tawny as the mane of a lion. There can also bee seen ankola, kuranta, curnaka, paribhadraka, mango, patali, kovidara, mucukunda and arjuna trees in bloom on the mountain peaks. There are also ketaka, uddalaka, shirisha, shimshapa, dhava, shalmali, kimshuka, red kurabaka, tinisha, and naktamala trees in bloom.
"O Lakshmana, see the pleasant, flowering trees entwined by blossoming vines here on the banks of Lake Pampa. The trees are bent so low by the wind that one can touch their branches. Vines embrace the trees like ladies intoxicated with love. Passing from tree to tree, mountain to mountain and forest to forest, the wind blows as if thrilled to taste the nectar of different flowers. Some trees are covered all over with flowers and are as fragrant as honey, while others are covered with buds and are dark-colored. The honeybees enfatuated with nectar linger inside the flowers thinking: `How sweet this is! How delicious this is! How mature this is!' Hidden inside the flowers, they suddenly emerge and fly off to other trees on the shore of Lake Pampa because of their greed for nectar. Strewn with mounds of flowers fallen of their own accord, this stretch of land looks like a bed made comfortable with spread sheets. O Lakshmana, different varieties of flowers have accumulated into piles of yellow and red across the mountain slopes.
"See the abundance of flowers on the trees at the end of winter. Indeed, during this flower-bearing month the trees are blooming as if in competition with each other. Crowned with flowers and resounding with the buzzing of bees calling out to each other, the trees look very beautiful. Diving into the clear water, this karandava duck is enjoying with his beloved, awakening My feelings of love. Since Lake Pampa's beauty, which resembles that of the Mandakini River, is so captivating, it's characteristics are famous throughout the world. If I happen to find that chaste woman, and We live in this particular forest, I shall not envy Lord Indra nor long to be in Ayodhya. If I could indeed enjoy with Her in these pleasant meadows, I would not worry nor long for anything else. Covered as they are with different kinds of flowers, those trees disturb My mind because of My separation from Sita. See the lake full of cool water, covered with lotuses, teeming with ruddy geese, ducks, water fowl and herons, and frequented by wild boars and deer. Lake Pampa appears extremely beautiful with birds singing sweetly. Reminding Me of My darling whose face resembles the moon and whose eyes are shaped like lotus petals, the joyful birds of many kinds enflame My longing.
"Look at the stags with their does on the beautiful mountain tops, and at Me suffering in separation from My fawn-eyed Sita; their wandering here and there is afflicting My mind. I will be fortunate only if I am able to see My beloved on this mountain stirring with flocks of birds in rut. I could definitely survive if I could enjoy the pleasant breezes of Lake Pampa with the lovely Sita at My side. Those who are lucky are able to enjoy the breezes coming from Lake Pampa, tantalizing breezes which carry the aroma of red lotus flowers and fragrant white water lilies, and which relieve distress. How can Sita, the daughter of King Janaka, continue living when She is separated from Me and is in a helpless condition? How can I tell the righteous and truthful King Janaka that everything is all right when he inquires about Our well-being in a public assembly? Where is that dear Sita who, dedicated as she was to the path of truth, followed Me into the forest when I was exiled by My father due to My bad fortune? O Lakshmana, how can I continue when I am so miserable due to the loss of Sita, who followed Me when I lost My kingdom and was downcast? My mind is disturbed by not seeing Her fragrant, bright, spotless face with adorable eyes. When shall I hear Sita's unparalleled sweet and wholesome voice accompanied by smiles and laughter. Although She was suffering in the forest, She spoke kindly to Me when I was stricken with love, as if She were not suffering at all. What shall I tell My mother Kausalya when she asks Me: `Where and how is the princess, my daughter-in-law?' Go, Lakshmana! See My dear brother Bharata, for I am unable to continue living without Sita."
Thus Rama lamented like a boat tossed about on the sea by high winds, unable to see the end of His suffering. As Rama was lamenting like a fatherless child, His brother Lakshmana spoke the following just and perfect words: "Take heart, Rama. May You have good luck. Do not worry, O best of men. The intelligence of those whose minds are free from sin never becomes dull. Remembering the misery born form separation, give up affection for loved ones. Even a wet wick can burn when it is soaked with sufficient oil. Even if Ravana goes down to Patala or some region still lower than that, he will not live long under any circumstance. Let Us get some information on that sinful rakshasa, he will then either return Sita or meet his end. If Ravana enters into the womb of Diti, the mother of the demons, with Sita, I shall kill him even there if he does not give back Sita. Be patient, O noble brother. Give up this miserly mentality, for those whose ativities and goal have been obstructed cannot be successful without exertion. Such exertion is indeed very powerful; there is nothing more powerful than exertion. Men who exert themselves do not become discouraged while engaged in their duties. Depending on Our exertion alone, We shall recover Sita. Abandoning sorrow at a distance, give up the behavior of one overwhelmed by desire. You no long seem to know that You are a great soul advanced in self-realization."
When Rama, whose mind had been perturbed by sorrow, was awakened by Lakshmana, He gave up His grief and illusion and became resolute. Shri Rama, whose prowess was inconceivable and who was undisturbed, crossed beyond the charming Lake Pampa, which was lined with trees waving in the wind. With His mind overcome with anxiety, Rama sallied forth with Lakshmana, hurriedly searching in the forests, waterfalls and caves. Walking in the manner of a playful elephant in rut, the great soul Lakshmana, whose mind was settled, tried to reassure Rama by His own character and strength.
One day, the lord of the forest monkeys, Sugriva, who used to roam about the environs of Rishyamuka Mountain, happened to see the two amazing-looking pinces, afterwhich he became so frightened that he could not do anything. Moving slowly like an elephant, the monkey was crushed by the weight of fear and overwhelmed with anxiety at having seen the two princes, Rama and Lakshmana. Frightened upon seeing those two powerful descendants of the Raghu Dynasty, the tawny-colored monkeys retreated to the security of their pious and enjoyable residence.
Sugriva Sends Hanuman to Meet Rama
Upon seeing the two brothers, Rama and Lakshmana, who were both great souls, heroic and outstanding wielders of weapons, Sugriva became fearful. Looking around in all directions, he could not find any relief anywhere. The monkey chief did not even wish to stay at his own place, and his fearful mind gave way to despondency. After contemplating the situation and consulting with his advisors about his strengths and weakness, Sugriva and all his followers became very disturbed. The distraught monkey chieftan then pointed out Rama and Lakshmana to his ministers, saying: "These two men disguised as ascetics wearing tree bark cloth who have entered this impenetrable forest have obviously been sent by Vali." When Sugriva's ministers saw the two expert bowmen, they fled to another mountain top. Quickly reaching their new location, the tawny monkeys surrounded Sugriva, who was the chief of those monkey leaders. Jumping from precipice to precipice, the monkeys shook the mountains with their forcefulness, until they all reached the same place. While leaping in that way, they also smashed the flowering trees growing on the mountains. When they jumped on that mountain from all sides, they frightened the deer, wild cats and tigers, and then proceeded elsewhere. Coming together on Rishyamuka Mountain, all of Sugriva's ministers stationed themselves around him with joined palms. Thereafter Hanuman, who was skilled at speaking, spoke the following to Sugriva, who was overcome with fear and apprehensive about Vali committing some transgression: "Everyone should give up their anxiety about Vali. This is the best of mountains know as Rishyamuka. As such there is no danger from Vali here. I do not see that cruel-looking Vali, from whom you fled and of whom you are so fearful, O best of monkeys. YouR wicked and sinful-acting elder brother Vali, who is a source of danger for you, is not here. I therefore do not see any reason for fear. Your monkey nature is all to evident. Because of your light-mindedness, you are unable to remain fixed on a decision. Endowed as you are with intelligence and wisdom, conduct your activities by reading the minds of others through their gestures. A king who is less intelligent cannot rule over his subjects properly."
After hearing everything that Hanuman said, Sugriva made the following relpy, which was more convincing than what Hanuman had said: "Who would not be afraid of these two men with long arms and broad eyes who are bearing bows, arrows and swords. They look like the sons of gods! I fear these two outstanding men must have been sent by Vali, for kings have many friends and these cannot be trusted at all. One should recognize enemies when they are going about in disguise. Mistrustful as they are, they assail the weak points of their adversaries who trust in them. Vali is crafty in his affairs. Kings are shrewd in implementing plots by which their enemies are destroyed. Thus they should be know through spies dressed as ordinary men. O Hanuman, approaching those two men in an innocent way, you should find out about them through their gestures, expressions and words. Inspiring confidence in them by repeatedly praising me with words and gestures, find out what their intention is, whether they are pleased to hear what you say. Standing with your face towards me, inquire from them why they have entered this forest. If you determine that they are pure in heart, O monkey, try to discover whether they are wicked or not by their manner of speaking and facial expressions."
When Hanuman, the son of the wind god, had been instructed in this way by the monkey king, he decided to go where Rama and Lakshmana were. Accepting the monkey king's command, Hanuman replied: "So be it." Praising Sugriva, who was dismayed and yet difficult to assail, Hanuman went to where the highly powerful Rama and His brother Lakshmana were.
Hanuman Meets Rama and Lakshmana
Hanuman accepted Sugriva's order and then jumped from the top of Rishyamuka Mountain to where Rama and Lakshmana were. Because of his suspicions, Hanuman abandoned the form of a monkey and assumed the form of a mendicant. Falling on the ground before the two descendants of the Raghu Dynasty like a humble person, Hanuman then spoke to the two warriors, praising Them with sweet and agreeable words. Offering Them respect in accordance with scriptural rules, Hanuman, the son of the wind god, spoke to Them exactly according to Sugriva's wishes: "You two ascetics of austere vows appear to be saintly kings or demigods. Why have You come to this region, frightening the deer herds and other forest creatures while examining all the trees that grow on the banks of Lake Pampa? You two are beautifying the auspicious waters of this lake. Who are You two ascetics of great fortitude and excellent complexion who are dressed in cloth made from the bark of trees. While sighing repeatedly, You are causing distress to all living creatures. You cast glances as does a lion and Your strength and prowess are also like a lion's. Bearing bows like Lord Indra's, You are capable of defeating any enemy. You are splendorous, handsome and strut about like fine bulls. Your arms are like the trunk of an elephant and You are very effulgent. By your bodily luster You are illuminating this best of mountains. You deserve to be kings and resemble the immortal gods. Why have You come to this region?
"Your eyes are just like the petals of a lotus flower. Your matted hair is tied in a knot atop Your heads. You two warriors resemble each other and look as if You have descended from the world of the gods. By the will of providence, the sun and moon have descended to the earth. You two men have broad chests and possess the beauty of gods. Your shoulders are as wide as a lion's. You are extremely enthusiastic, like two bulls in rut. Why are not Your arms, which are long, well-shaped, and like iron clubs, decorated with all kinds of suitable ornaments? I consider You both as capable of protecting this entire earth with Mount Meru, the Vindhya Mountains and its oceans and forests. These precious bows of wonderful workmanship look like Lord Indra's gilded thunderbolts. These fine-looking quivers are full of dreadful, sharp arrows which are like serpents and which and put an end to one's life. These swords are long, very large in size, and are adorned with wrought gold, shining like two snakes that have shed their skin. Why do You not answer Me when I have glorified You both in this way?
"There is a certain monkey chieftan named Sugriva who is righteous and valiant. He was banished by his brother and is now sadly wandering the earth. Sent by that great soul Sugriva, king of the most important monkeys, I, a monkey named Hanuman, have come here. Sugriva desires Your friendship. I am his minister, a monkey born from the wind god. I assumed this form as a mendicant in order to satisfy the wishes of Sugriva. I jumped all the way from Rishyamuka Mountain, for I can go anywhere I wish and assume any form I wish." When Hanuman, who was a skillful speaker, finished saying all this, he said nothing more.
Upon hearing what Hanuman had said, the glorious Rama, whose face was beaming with delight, spoke as follows to Lakshmana standing at His side: "This person who has arrived before Me is a minister of the lord of monkeys, Sugriva, whom I was looking for. He is an elocuent speaker who utters sweet words with affection, O crusher of foes. It is not possible to speak like that unless one has studied the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, or the Sama Veda. He must have thoroughly studied grammar, for he has not said anything wrong even though talking extensively. Neither was there any fault in his face, eyes, forehead, eyebrows or any other limbs while he was speaking. His speech emanated from his chest, vibrated in his throat and was of medium tone. His words were concise, unambigous, unfaltering and unhurried. The words he utters are wholesome, captivating and properly composed. Whose mind would not be pleased by these remarkable words which were manifested in three places the heart, the throat and the head. They can even pacify the mind of an enemy with a raised sword. How can a king who has no such emissary have success in his enterprises? By the entreaties of such qualified emissaries, a king achieves success in all circumstances."
After being spoken to in this way by Lord Rama, Lakshmana, who was Himself a master of speech, addressed Hanuman, the minister of Sugriva: "We are familiar with the good qualities of the great soul Sugriva, O wise monkey. We are also looking for that lord of monkeys, Sugriva. We shall certainly do whatever you say under the command of Sugriva, O best of monkeys." Hearing those adroit words of Lakshmana and having his mind fixed on the victory of Sugriva, Hanuman, who was visibly pleased, wished to establish friendship with the two princes.
Hanuman Inquires from Rama about His Visit
Hearing the sweet speeches of Rama and Lakshmana and how They wished to meet Sugriva, Hanuman was pleased and his mind began thinking of Sugriva: "Sugriva will certainly attain his kingdom, for Rama has come with a purpose to accomplish and Sugriva will have to assist Him." Thus Hanuman felt extremely pleased and spoke as follows to Lord Rama: "For what reason have You come with Your brother to this dreadful and impenetrable forest on the shores of Lake Pampa, which is infested with so many snakes and wild beasts?"
Upon hearing this inquiry, Lakshmana, on the urging of Rama, spoke about Rama, the son of King Dasharatha: "There was a king named Dasharatha who was splendorous and devoted to righteousness. He always protected the four divisions of society through the execution of his own prescribed duties. He had no enemy nor did he have enmity with anyone. Moreover among living entities he was like another Lord Brahma. He satisfied the Lord with sacrificial performances, such as agnishtoma, in which the priests were accordingly remunerated. This is his first-born son known to the people by the name Rama. He is the shelter of all living beings and has complied with the instructions of His father. This warrior is the most qualified of King Dasharatha's sons. He possesses the bodily characteristics of a monarch. He was just about to be inherit the kingdom when He lost it and came here to live with Me in the forest. He was followed by His consort Sita, who is most glorious and obedient to Him, as the sun is followed by its own brilliance as it sinks below the horizon. I am His younger brother named Lakshmana. Because of His qualities, I have accepted a position as His servant. He is always grateful and makes much of even the most insignificant service. My brother deserves to enjoy all kinds of comforts. He is most honorable and is always concerned about the welfare of all living beings. Deprived of His opulence, He is residing in the forest. A rakshasa who can assume any form at will has kidnapped His wife. We, however, do not know who that raksasa is.
"There was a son of Diti named Danu who was cursed to become a rakshasa. He mentioned to Us that Sugriva was a capable leader of monkeys. He said that Sugriva would find out who had kidnapped Rama's wife. After saying this, Danu joyfully rose up to heaven. I have related all this to you in accordance with your inquiry. In fact, Rama and I have come to take shelter of Sugriva. Having previously attained lordship over the world, having given away all His wealth and having achieved unequalled fame, Rama now wishes to have Sugriva as His master. He whose father was the shelter of the world and fond of righteousness, his son, who is presently the shelter of the world, wishes to take shelter of Sugriva. My elder brother in whom the whole world previously took shelter seeks the shelter of Sugriva. That Rama by whose constant satisfaction constituted the pleasure of the citizens is longing for the mercy of the lord of monkeys. This is King Dasharatha's first-born son well-known throughout the world as Rama, who has always honored all of the earth's rulers endowed with all good qualities. He has now come to take shelter of Sugriva. That leader of monkey troops ought to be merciful to Rama, seeing that He is overwhelmed with grief and has come seeking his shelter."
While Lakshmana was speaking in this pathetic way with tears flowing from His eyes, Hanuman responded as follows: "By our good luck persons like you, who are intelligent, have conquered their anger and controled their senses, and who therefore deserve to meet Sugriva, have come within the range of my vision. Robbed of the kingdom and estranged by Vali, Sugriva was deprived of his wife and exiled to the forest where he lives in great anxiety. Sugriva, an offspring of the sun god, along with us monkeys, will help You locate Sita." When Hanuman finished speaking these sweet words, he softly added: "Let us go see Sugriva."
After offering respect to Hanuman according to the rules, the righteous Lakshmana said the following to Lord Rama: "Overjoyed, this son of the wind god speaks appropriately. Because Sugriva has some purpose to accomplish, You will also accomplish Yours. The warrior monkey Hanuman speaks clearly and his face is glowing with satisfaction. He would not speak falsely." Upon hearing this, that most wise son of the wind god was ready to take Rama and Lakshmana to Sugriva. Abandoning the guise of a mendicant, he again assumed his form as a monkey. Placing the two warriors on his shoulders, he departed. That best of monkeys whose fame was extensive was delighted like one who has achieved his goals. That fine-minded son of the wind god whose prowess was ample proceeded towards Rishyamuka Mountain with Rama and Lakshmana.
Rama and Sugriva Become Friends
Jumping from Rishyamuka Mountain to the nearby Malaya Mountain, Hanuman again assumed the guise of a mendicantii
and introduced Rama and Lakshmana to Sugriva: "This is the extremely wise Rama of steadfast prowess, who has just arrived. His heroism is undeterrable and is accompanied by His brother Lakshmana. Rama was born in the Ikshvaku Dynasty as the son of King Dasharatha. He is famous for His dedication to duty and is carrying out the order of His father, for which reason He has come to reside in the wilderness. His wife was kidnapped by the demon Ravana, and so He has come to take shelter of you.
"King Dasharatha fully worshiped the fire god Agni with the performance of rajasuya and ashvamedha sacrifices, in which the brahmanas were duly rewarded and in which cows were given away in charity by the thousands. He ruled the earth by means of his austerity and truthfulness. On account of the king's co-wife Kaikeyi, this prince was exiled to the forest and has come to take shelter of you. These two brothers-Rama and Lakshmana-desire your friendship. Receive Them properly, for They are worthy of respect."
Upon hearing Hanuman's statement, Sugriva was pleased in mind. Thus he gave up his fear of Rama and was pacified. Assuming the form of a very handsome human, the monkey chieftan Sugriva spoke to Rama as follows: "You are trained in righteousness and are chivalrous and dear to all. Hanuman has truthfully informed me of Your good qualities. It is an honor for me and a great achievement that You seek the friendship of me, a monkey. If it pleases You to be my friend, here is my extended hand. Grasp my hand and thus establish a binding covenant with me."
Rama was very pleased to hear Sugriva's words and grasped Sugriva's hand tightly. Assuming a amicable mood, Rama embraced Sugriva to His breast. Then Hanuman abandoned the guise of an ascetic and assumed his own form, afterwhich he placed wood in a pile and set it on fire. While the fire was burning, the sober Hanuman worshiped it with flowers and then placed it between Rama and Sugriva. Circumambulating the blazing fire in a clockwise direction, Rama and Sugriva solemnized their friendship. By doing this they both felt tremendous mental satisfaction, though while looking at each other they were unable to achieve any satiety.
Sugriva then joyfully spoke the following words to Rama: "Since You are my bossom friend, we are one in happiness and distress." Then Sugriva broke off from a sala tree a branch ladden with flowers and leaves. Laying the branch down on the ground, Sugriva sat on it with Rama. Hanuman then happily offered Lakshmana a fully flowering branch of a sandalwood tree to sit on.
After this, Sugriva, whose eyes were bewildered with joy, gently spoke the following sweet words to Rama: "Since I was exiled and deprived of my wife, I have been wandering around in this forest stricken with fear. After my wife was taken away from me, I took shelter of this impassable forest. Being banished and harassed by Vali, I am living in this forest out of anxiety and with a perturbed mind. O blessed one, grant me protection from Vali, overcome as I am with apprehension. O Rama, You should act in such a way that I have no cause for fear."
Hearing these words, Rama, who was powerful and knew how to act appropriately, uttered the following pleasing words: "O mighty monkey, I know that friendship is the fruit of an act of kindness. I shall slay Vali, who has taken away your wife. These sharp arrows of Mine, which shine like the sun, are infallible. They will forcefully strick down that Vali of wicked deeds. Fitted with buzzard feathers, these arrows are as bright as Lord Indra's thunderbolt. Sharp-tipped and straight-shafted, they are like angry snakes. You will soon see Vali knocked down on the ground like a mountain shattered by My sharp arrows which are like cruel, venemous serpents."
After Sugriva heard Lord Rama's encouraging statement, he was very happy and spoke the following significant words: "By Your mercy, O lion among men, I hope to regain my beloved wife and kingdom. O god among men, deal with my older brother in such a way so that he will not assault me anymore."
As soon as Sugriva and Rama became affectionate to each other, the left eyes of Sita, Vali and Ravana, which were lotus-like, golden and fiery respectively, began twitching simultaneouslyiii.
Sugriva Shows Sita's Veil and Jewelry
Sugriva once more spoke pleasantly to Lord Rama: "Hanuman, the best of my ministers, has informed me of the reason for which You have come to this desolate wilderness. While You were living in exile in the forest with Your brother Lakshmana, a rakshasa kidnapped Your wife Sita, the daughter of King Janaka. While She was being carried away from You and Lakshmana, She cried repeatedly. The vulture Jatayu was killed by the rakshasa who had been seeking an oportunity to kidnap Sita. Before long You will give up the sorrow born from the separation from Your wife. I will bring Her back even as the Lord retrieved the Vedas when these were stolen by demons. Whether Your wife is in the depths of the subterranean region or on the crest of heaven, I shall bring Her back and deliver Her to You, O crusher of enemies. What I am saying is true, O descendant of the Raghu Dynasty. No one can keep Your wife as theirs, whether Indra or the gods and demons, anymore than one can digest poison. Give up Your sorrow, for I shall bring back Your beloved.
"I surmise that Sita was undoubtedly carried off by a rakshasa of cruel deeds as was witnessed by me. She was loudly crying out, "O Rama! O Rama! O Lakshmana!" as She writhed like a serpent queen in the embrace of Ravana. Seeing me with four other monkeys on the slope of a mountain, She tossed down Her veil and sparkling ornaments. We recovered them and kept them safely, O Rama. I shall bring them so that You can identify them."
Rama then said to Sugriva: "Bring them quickly, My friend. Why are you delaying?" Hearing this, Sugriva immediately entered into the deep recess of a mountain cave in order to please Lord Rama. Bringing back the veil and shiny ornaments, Sugriva said, "Look!" as he showed them to Rama. After Rama grasped the cloth and sparkling jewelry, His face became covered with tears, as does the moon by fog. Being completely drenched with tears shed due to His tremendous affection for Sita, Rama lost all composure and fell on the ground, crying out, "O My darling!" Constantly pressing that valuable jewelry to His chest, He hissed repeatedly, like an angry serpent in its hole.
Seeing Lakshmana at His side, Rama began lamenting piteously with an unbroken flow of tears: "Look, Lakshmana! These are the veil and bodily ornaments dropped to the ground by Sita while She was being kidnapped. Surely Sita dropped these ornaments on the ground of some meadow as She was being abducted, for they look exactly the same." Lakshmana then replied to Rama as follows: "I do not recognize the bracelets, nor the earrings. I only recognize the anklebells because of My always bowing down to Her feet."
Thereafter the sullen Rama said to Sugriva: "Tell Me to what place Sita, who is dearer to Me than My life, was carried by the monstrous rakshasa as witnessed by you. Also, where is the residence of that rakshasa who has caused Me considerable suffering and on whose account I shall slay all the rakshasas. He has opened the gates of hell for his own destruction by abducting Sita and provoking Me excessively. O lord of monkeys, please inform Me about that night-stalker who, as My enemy, kidnapped My dearly beloved from the depths of the forest while I was diverted. I will soon dispatch him to the abode of the lord of death."
Sugriva Consoles Rama
After Sugriva had been spoken to in this way by Rama, Sugriva replied in the following way with joined palms and a voice chocked with tears: "I do not at all know the residence, capability, prowess or even the shameful family lineage of that sinful rakshasa. Give up Your sorrow, O crusher of enemies! I promise that I shall endeavor to return Sita to You. After killing Ravana and his associates and thereby satisfying You, I shall then soon exert myself in such a way that You will become further pleased with me. Enough of this mental weakness! Remember Your own fortitude! Such weakness is not at all becoming of persons like You.
"I have also met with great adversity on account of my wife's having been abducted. I neither grieve as You do, nor have I lost my composure. I do not grieve for my own wife, even though I am but an ordinary monkey, what to speak of a great person like You, who are cultured and resolute. You should restrain Your tears with fortitude. You should not abandon propriety, which is the fortitude of those who are resolute. By deliberating with his own intelligence in adversity, financial difficulty, danger or imminent death, a person of fortitude does not suffer. However, a childish person who always gives into to weakness, is helplessly plunged into sorrow, as an overloaded boat sinks in water.
"Here are my palms joined as a sign of reverence. I implore You out of affection-resort to manliness, do not allow any place for sorrow. There is no happiness for those who brood over their misfortune, and their strength gradually diminishes. Therefore, do not grieve. The life of one engrossed in sorrow is perilous. As such, give up Your grief, O greatest of kings, and resort to fortitude alone. I am giving You this advice out of a feeling of friendship, not simply to coerce You. Respecting my friendship, You should cease grieving."
After being sweetly consoled by Sugriva, Rama wiped the tears from His face with the end of His cloth. When Rama had returned to His normal condition because of Sugriva's words, He embraced Sugriva and spoke the following: "O Sugriva, what you have done is worthy and appropriate, and exactly what an affectionate and benevolent friend ought to do. By your instruction, My friend, I have regained My composure. A friend like you is very rare, especially at this time. You should, however, attempt to locate Sita, as well as the wicked and monstrous rakshasa Ravana. You should also tell Me without any hestiation what I should do. You will achieve your goal, as much as seeds sown in fertile soil sprout during the rainy season. You should consider as truthful My promise to deliver you from Vali, O tiger among monkeys. Never before have I spoken falsely, nor shall I ever do so. I promise you this and swear to it on truth itself."
Sugriva and all his ministers were very pleased by what Lord Rama said, and especially by His promise. In each other's company in that solitary region, the monkey and the human began discussing their happiness and suffering, which were similar. When the wise monkey heard the promise made by that best of men, he realized that he would thus achieve his desired goals.
Sugriva Relates His Problem with Vali
The monkey Sugriva was very pleased by what Rama said, and so replied to Him: "I am undoubtedly blessed by the gods in every way in that I have You who are endowed with such good qualities as a friend. With Your assistence, O sinless one, I should even be able to attain lordship over the gods, what to speak of my own kingdom. Indeed, I deserve to be respected by relatives and friends because I have solemnized friendship with a descendant of the Raghu Dynasty with fire as a witness. Eventually You will learn that I am a worthy friend for You, although I am unable to explain to You exactly what my virtues are. The love of great souls like You who have mastered themselves is indeed constant and their fortitude great. Persons do no considered their own silver, gold, garments and ornaments as personal possessions when in the company of friends. Whether rich or poor, happy or distressed, perfect or imperfect, a friend is one's greatest resort. Upon seeing such affection, it is possible to renounce wealth, happiness or even one's body for the sake of friendship."
In the presence of Lakshmana, Shri Rama, who was as effulgent as Lord Indra, said to the soft-spoken Sugriva: "That is correct." Seeing Rama and the powerful Lakshmana standing there, Sugriva's shifting eyes glanced all about in the forest. That lord of monkeys then saw not far from there a flowering sala tree whose boughs had few leaves and which were swarming with bumblebees. Sugriva broke off one of the flowering boughs with the most leaves, laid it on the ground and sat on it with Lord Rama. Seeing them sitting like that, Hanuman also tore off a sala branch and made the humble Lakshmana sit on it. When Rama was comfortably seated like a calm sea on the slope of that mountain abounding in fruits and flowers, the delighted Sugriva spoke the following sweet and tender words out of affection to Rama: "Exiled and deprived of my wife, I wander this most excellent Rishyamuka Mountain listlessly. Having been exiled and antagonized by my brother Vali, I live here terrified, sunken in fear with a disturbed mind. You ought to be merciful to me, helpless as I am and stricken with fear of my brother Vali, O You who can deliver everyone from fear."
When the mighty and righteous Rama had been addressed in this way by Sugriva, He replied as if laughing: "A friend is recognized by his benevolent acts and an enemy by his injurious ones. I shall this very day rid you of this rogue who has taken away your wife. Here indeed are My swift arrows made from strong reeds and adorned with gold. They are equiped with buzzard feathers and resemble Lord Indra's thunderbolt. They are sharp-tipped, smooth-shafted and are like angry serpents. Watch as My arrows strike down your inimical brother Vali, who has wronged you, as if he were a shattered mountain."
Upon hearing Rama's reply, Sugriva, the leader of an army of monkeys, felt unequalled satisfaction and exclaimed: "Very good! O Rama, I am completely overcome by grief, and You are the shelter for those who are suffering from the pangs of grief. I shall relate to You my problems, since I have accepted You as a friend. By accepting Your hand in friendship with a fire as the witness, I consider You more important than my own life. This I swear by truth. Recognizing You to be my friend, I am revealing in confidence the cause of the sorrow which is constantly disrupting my mind."
Having spoken this much with tears welling up in his eyes, he was unable to speak any more due to his voice being choked up with tears. While sitting there in the presence of Rama, Sugriva, by recourse to his fortitude, managed to restrain his tears which had come on like the powerful course of a river. After restraining his tears and wiping his bright eyes, he drew a deep breath and began speaking as follows to Rama: "Formerly I was forcefully deposed from the throne with harsh words and exiled by Vali, who was mightier than I, although I had ascended it on his behestiv. He also took away my wife, who was more important to me than my life, and bound in chains those who were my friends and relatives. That wicked fellow is always attempting to destroy me, O Rama. Yet I have killed many monkeys sent by him. Due to this fear alone I did not approach You when I saw You, for everyone becomes frightened when in danger. As a matter of fact, these monkeys headed by Hanuman have been my only companions, and that is why I have been able to keep myself alive despite the difficulty I am in. These affectionate monkeys literally protect me on all sides. They accompany me wherever I go and stay with me wherever I stay.
"This is my story in brief, O Rama. Of what use is it to say any more? My inimical brother Vali is well-known for his cruelty. My suffering can be removed at once by killing him. My happiness and even my life depend on his destruction. This is the way in which to end my suffering. In happiness or distress, one's only refuge is one's friend."
Upon hearing this request, Rama again spoke to Sugriva: "I want to hear the actual reason for which Vali was so inimical to you. After hearing the reason for his enmity and understanding both of your strengths and weaknesses, I shall immediately give you relief. Like the downpour of water during the monsoon, My indignation, which is strong and shakes My heart, is increasing when I hear how you were wronged. Speak joyfully and confidently until I string My bow. As soon as I shoot an arrow, your enemy will be killed."
When Sugriva was spoken to in this way by the great soul Rama, he experienced unparalleled pleasure with his four monkey companions. With his face illuminated with delight, Sugriva began relating to Rama the actual cause for the enmity between him and Vali.
The Story of Sugriva's Exile
Sugriva said: "My elder brother's name is Vali, who is capable of crushing any enemy. He was highly esteemed by our father, as well as by myself in the past. When our father passed away, Vali, who was well-respected, was installed as king of the monkeys by the ministers because of his being the eldest son. While he ruled over his vast ancestral kingdom, I served him affectionately at all times like a menial servant. Besides the demon Maya's son Dundubhi, there was an elder son named Mayavi. Vali formerly had a bitter dispute with him over a woman. Arriving at the gates of Kishkindha at night while everyone was asleep, the enraged demon roared and challenged Vali to fight.
"When my sleeping brother heard the frightful roar, he could not bear it and abruptly rushed out. While he was rushing out in anger to kill that great demon, he was blocked by his wives and me, who were bowing down out of respect. Brushing us all aside, the mighty Vali sallied forth. Out of affection for Vali, I also departed with him. Upon seeing my brother and me approaching from a distance, the demon became frightened and fled in a hurry. While he was fleeing in fear, we ran after him more quickly. At that time the road was illuminated by the light of the rising moon.
"That demon then hastily entered a large hole in the ground that was difficult to enter and covered with grass. When we reached that spot, we stopped. Seeing that his enemy had entered that hole, Vali became infuriated and said to me: `O Sugriva, stand watch here at the entrance to this tunnel while I enter it and quickly kill my enemy.' When I heard his instruction, I requested him to allow me to accompany him, but instead he bound me by an oath to remain at my post while he entered the deep tunnel. While I waited at the entranceway, more than a year passed since he had entered.
"Not seeing my brother during all that time, I began fearing that he had been killed. Because of my affection for him and believing that he had died, I became bewildered. Then, after a long time, I saw a stream of foamy blood flowing from the tunnel's entranceway. Thereafter I became very depressed. The thundering roar of demons also reached my ears. But even though my brother was also roaring as he fought, I did not hear him. By those indications I reasoned that my brother had been killed. I thereupon blocked the entrance to the tunnel with a boulder as large as a mountain. In anguish I offered libations of water to the spirit of my supposedly deceased brother and then returned to Kishkindha, O friend. Although I concealed the truth, the ministers found out what had happened with effort.
"After discussing among themselves, the ministers conjointly installed me as king. Meanwhile, my brother Vali disposed of his enemy, the great demon Mayavi, and returned to Kishkindha. Seeing me installed as king, his eyes turned red with rage. Binding my ministers in chains, he chastized them with harsh language. O Rama, even though I was capable of restraining my sinful brother, I did not do so out of reverence for him as my elder brother.
"After Vali killed his enemy Mayavi, he then entered the city of Kishkindha. Respecting him as I did, I greeted him with due respect. He, however, did not offer any blessing in return with a joyful mind. Bowing down, O Lord, I touched the top of my crown to his feet. Even so, because of his anger with me, he did not show any mercy."
Vali's Undue Anger Toward Sugriva
Sugriva continued: "With good intentions I tried to placate my brother, who was entirely outraged and rabid with anger, saying: `Luckily you have killed your enemy and returned home safely. Unprotected as I am, you are my only protector. Here is your many-ribbed parasol as bright as the full moon held by me, and yak-tail wisks. Please accept them. I waited at the entrance to the tunnel for one year, O king, despite my distress at your having entered it alone. When I saw blood collecting at the entranceway, my mind was drowning in misery and I became completely bewildered. I then covered the entranceway to the tunnel with the a boulder broken from the tip of a mountain. Leaving that place, I again returned to Kishkindha. When they saw that I had returned after such a long time without you, out of anxiety for the safety of this kingdom, the citizens and ministers installed me as king. This was not done out of covetousness on my part for the kingdom. Thatfore you should excuse me. You alone deserve the honor of being king, while I am your humble servant as previously. My installation as king was only because of your absence. I herein restore to you the kingdom, which had been entrusted to me, along with its capital city, citizens and ministers, and which has been freed from all problems. Do not become angry with me, my dear brother. O king, I beseech you with a bowed head and joined palms. I was forced to accept the post of king by the concurrence of the ministers and citizens, lest the lack of a leader tempt someone to conquer it.'
"Even though I had spoken in such a tender manner, Vali maligned me, saying `Curse you!' and spoke many abusive words. Summoning together the common people and respectable ministers, he uttered the following most contemptible words in the midst of my well-wishers: `You all know how that great demon Mayavi came in the night, savage and unintelligent as he was, and challenged me to fight. Upon hearing his enjoinder, I sallied forth from my royal palace. This baneful brother of mine also followed on my heels. As soon as the mighty demon saw that he was being persued by two persons, he fled in fear of his life. Running with increased speed, he entered a deep tunnel. Seeing that he had entered a very dangerous tunnel, I then said to my evil-looking brother: `I cannot return to the city of Kishkindha without slaying this demon. Wait at the entrance to this tunnel until I kill him.' Thinking that my brother would wait at the entrance for me, I entered the narrow opening. One year elapsed as I searched for that demon. When I finally found my enemy, he was no longer frightened because of the amount of time that had passed. I thereupon killed that demon and all his relatives. During the ensuing fight within the depths of the earth, a mass of blood flowed out from the tunnel's entrance, making it difficult to exit.
`After I had easily killed the demon Mayavi, I could not find a way out of the tunnel because the entrance was blocked. I called out again and again for Sugriva, but when there was no reply, I became exceedingly distraught. By repeated kicks I was able to push the rock back. Then I came out and returned to the capital. Disregarding brotherly affection, this merciless Sugriva, desiring the kingdom for himself, sealed me inside the tunnel.'
"Having spoken in this way, the shameless Vali then banished me, leaving me with only a single piece of cloth. Exiled by him and deprived of my wife, I wander over the earth with its forests and oceans out of fear. Distressed by the confiscation of my wife, I have taken shelter of this Rishyamuka Mountain, which for a particular reason is inapproachable for Valiv. This is the full story of Vali great enmity with me. See my innocence in this predicament of mine. O warrior, You should be kind to me by protecting me from being subjugated by Vali, sticken as I am with fear, for You can protect the whole world."
Lord Rama, who was conversant with righteousness, heard Sugriva's entreaty and began speaking in the following righteous manner as if laughing: "My unfailing, sharp arrows, which are as luminous as the sun, will strike down that debased Vali by their force. That wicked scoundrel who has abducted your wife will live only until I see him. From My own experience I can infer that you are sunken in an ocean of sorrow. I shall help you cross it and attain all your goals."
Sugriva was very pleased to hear Rama's promise of assistence and therefore spoke the following important words.
Sugriva Tests Rama's Strength
When Sugriva heard Rama's words, which increased his joy and courage, he joined his palms together and appraised Lord Rama of Vali's strength: "When angry, You can doubtlessly burn all these worlds with Your sharp, blazing arrows that can pierce one's vital organs, just as the sun does at the end of the age. Hear from me with an attentive mind about Vali's ability, prowess and fortitude, then do what is necessary. Waking up at sunrise, Vali stalks from the western ocean to the eastern, from the south up to the north, without becoming exhausted. Climbing the tops of mountains, he breaks off the tips of the mountains, throws them in the air with force and then catches them again. Many sturdy trees were easily broken by Vali to demonstrate his strength. There was a mighty demon named Dundubhi who used to assume the form of a water buffalo. He shone like the peak of Mount Kailasa and was as strong as one thousand elephants. Deluded by a boon which he had received, his mind had become wicked due to pride, and so he approached the ocean. Disdaining the wave-tossed sea which possesses abundant gems, he said: `Give me a fight!'
"Then the righteous ocean rose up and replied to that demon Dundubhi, who was being impelled by the force of destiny: `I am not fit to fight you who are skilled in battle. Listen and I will tell you who can fight with you. In a great forest is the king of mountains named Himavan. He is superexcellent, the shelter of ascetics and famous as the father-in-law of Lord Shiva. Possessing thundering waterfalls, many caves and rapids, he is capable of giving you unmatched satisfaction.' Realizing that the ocean was afraid of him, that topmost of demons headed for the forest of Himavan like an arrow shot from a bow. Then Dundubhi hurled to the ground a large number of boulders as white as elephants from that mountain. Remaining on his own mountain top, the gentle Himavan, who had a pleasant appearance like a white cloud, said the following: `O Dundubhi, do not annoy me. I am not very expert in fighting because I am the resort of ascetics.' When Dundubhi heard what the wise king of mountains said, with eyes red from anger he demanded: `If you are unable to fight or are petrified with fear, then tell me who can fight with me, eager as I am for a match.'
"Hearing what the big demon said, the righteous Himavan became angry and, being skilled in speaking, replied as follows: `There is a glorious and highly intelligent monkey named Vali who is equal to Indra in prowess. He resides in the city of Kishkindha, which is unequalled in splendor. Being skilled in combat, he is capable of contending with you in a fray, as Indra did with Namuci. If you want to fight, then go to him right away. He is difficult to assault and is always valiant in warfare.'
"Dundubhi became furious when he heard what Himavan said. He immediately headed for Vali's capital, Kishkindha. Assuming the form of a water buffalo with sharp-pointed horns, he inspired fear like the approach of a great storm cloud rumbling in the sky. The mighty demon shortly arrived at the gates of Kishkindha. Dundubhi's roaring shook the earth, like the beating of kettle drums. He broke down trees that were growing nearby and cleaved the earth with his hoofs. He arrogantly gouged the gates with his horns, as an elephant would with its tusks. From inside his private residencial quarters, the intollerant Vali heard the uproar and rushed out with his wives, as the moon is accompanied by the stars. Vali, who was the lord of monkeys and of all the forest creatures, clearly spoke the following accentuated words to Dundubhi: `Why are you blocking this city's gate and roaring? I know who you are, O Dundubhi. You had better spare your life by going away!'
"Hearing what the wise lord of the monkeys said, Dundubhi, his eyes reddened with anger, replied as follows: `You should not speak like that in the presence of ladies, O warrior. Fight with me right now, then I will know your strength. Or else, I shall restrain my anger for tonight. Dedicate yourself to the enjoyment of sensuous pleasures until sunrise. Give presents to the monkeys after embracing them. Take leave of all your near and dear ones, O ruler of all the forest monkeys. Take one last good look at Kishkindha, install someone equal to yourself on the throne as your successor, and enjoy with your wives while you can. For I am going to destroy your pride. To kill a drunkard, or one who is inattentive, asleep, unarmed, or enfaturated with women like you, is as despicable in this world as killing a foetus.'
"Sending away all his wives headed by Tara, Vali laughed heartily and out of anger slowly replied to that great demon: `If you are not afraid to fight with me, then do not hesitate thinking that I am drunk. My apparent inebriety is just the enthusiasm of a warrior for combat.' Having said this, the wrathful Vali jerked his head, causing his gold neclace, which was given to him by his father Lord Indra, to sway, and stood there ready for battle.
"Vali then seized Dundubhi, who resembled a mountain, by the horns and spun him around in a circle, roaring loudly. Vali thereafter threw him down with a loud bellow. After being thrown down, blood immediately began flowing from Dundubhi's ears. After this a terrible struggle ensued between the two warriors who were intent on victory on account of their intense rage. Vali, who was equal to Indra in prowess, struck Dundubhi with fists, knees, feet, boulders and trees. As the monkey and demon fought, the demon began to loose ground and Vali began to gain the advantage. Finally Vali lifted Dundubhi up and threw him onto the ground so that Dundubhi was therein crushed in that deadly conflict. As soon as Dundubhi's huge body hit the ground, he died. Lifting up Dundubhi's lifeless cadaver with his arms, the strong Vali threw him a distance of eight miles. While Dundubhi's cadaver was flying through the air, drops of blood flowing from his mouth were scattered by the wind over the hermitage of the sage Matanga. Seeing those drops of blood splattered all around, the sage became irked and began thinking who was responsible: `Who is that wicked, feebleminded, incompetent knave who has who has thrown blood on me without any warning?'
"After saying this, when the sage came out in the open, he saw the cadaver of the mountain-like water buffalo fallen dead on the ground. He could understand by the power of his austerities that this was the work of a monkey. He therefore uttered a powerful curse against Vali because he had thrown the corpse: `He who poluted this forest and my hermitage with blood and smashed these trees with the cadaver of this demon should not enter this forest because if he does, he will be killed. If he comes within eight miles of my hermitage, that brainless dolt will not be able to survive. Neither should any of his ministers remain in my forest. After hearing this curse, they should not stay any longer but should leave peacefully. I have always protected this forest as if it were my son. If, therefore, they continue to stay in this forest for destroying its leaves and twigs, fruits and roots, I shall certainly also curse them. Today is the deadline for them to leave. If I see any monkey here tomorrow, he will be turned into stone for many thousands of years."
Hearing the curse uttered by the sage, the monkeys thereafter left that forest. Seeing that they had done this, Vali asked: `Why have all of you residents of Matangavana come to see me? I hope everything is all right with the residents of that forest.' Then all those monkeys began explaining to Vali, who was adorned with a gold chain, the whole reason for the curse pronounced against him. When Vali heard the explanation given by the monkeys, he approached the sage with joined palms and begged for forgiveness. The sage, however, ignored him and entered into his hermitage. Out of fear of that curse, Vali became completely perplexed. For fear of that curse, Vali does not care to enter the region of Rishyamuka Mountain or even see it, O Lord of human beings. Knowing that he cannot enter this great forest, O Rama, I wander about with my advisors without any anxiety. Here is the demon Dundubhi's glimmering heap of bones, which resembles a large mountain peak. And here are seven tall sala trees with low-hanging branches, each of which Vali can denude of leaves by shaking strongly. Such is Vali's strength as explained by me, O Rama. How will You be able to kill him in combat?"
Lakshmana laughingly retorted to Sugriva: "What act should Rama perform so that you will believe that He can kill Vali?" Sugriva then replied to Him: "In the past Vali pierced these seven sala trees on a certain occasion one by one, and then repeated this again later. If Rama should split even one of these trees with an arrow, witnessing His prowess, I will consider Vali already dead. The same is also true, O Lakshmana, if upon lifting this water buffalo's skeleton with one of His feet, Rama can then throw it a distance of two hundred bows."
After saying this, the red-eyed Vali contemplated Rama's bodily beauty for a while, and then began speaking again: "The powerful monkey Vali is heroic and considers himself so. He is famous for his strength and manliness and has never been defeated in battle. His activities are seen as being difficult even for the gods. Pondering them, I am alarmed and have taken shelter of Rishyamuka Mountain. Just thinking about how he is invincible, unassailable and intolerant, I never leave this mountain. Dismayed and frightened, I roam about this great forest accompanied by my dedicated ministers, the chief of whom is Hanuman. I have also found a praiseworthy friend in You, who are kind to Your friends. O tiger among men, I have therefore taken shelter of You as one would the Himalaya Mountains. However, I am well aware of my evil brother's strength, whereas I have not yet witnessed Your prowess in battle, O descendant of the Raghu Dynasty. It is not that I am trying to test You, or belittle You, or frighten You. It is Vali activities which have engendered cowardice in me. Your unfaltering voice, intelligence, steadiness and physical appearance, indicate Your preeminent strength, like a fire covered by ashes."
When Lord Rama heard what Sugriva said, He began smiling and replied to the monkey: "If you have no confidence in Our prowess, O monkey, then I shall instill in you confidence in Our battle skill that is worthy of praise."
After speaking these words of consolation to Sugriva, Rama playfully lifted Dundubhi's huge cadaver with the toes of His foot and tossed it a distance of eighty miles. When Sugriva saw how Lord Rama kicked the demon's dry skeleton away, he said to Him: "O friend, when Vali threw this body in the past, it was freshly killed and heavy with flesh and blood, and he was exhausted from fighting and intoxicated. Stripped of flesh, it has become as light as dry grass and so You have easily tossed it. Under these circumstances I am unable to determine who is stronger-You or Vali, for whether a body is dried up or not makes a big difference, O descendant of the Raghu Dynasty. I am still doubtful as to which of you is stronger. By trying to pierce one sala tree with an arrow, Your strength or weakness will be revealed. Therefore, string this bow, which is like the trunk of an elephant, pull it back all the way to Your ear, and shoot a large arrow. The arrow which You shoot will undoubtedly pierce this sala tree. Enough of this hestation! Just do me this favor, O prince, according to my request. As the sun is the greatest of luminaries, the Himalayas are the greatest of mountains, the lion is the greatest of quadrupeds, You are the greatest of men in prowess."
Rama's Pierces the Seven Sala Trees
After hearing Sugriva's well-worded request, the most glorios Rama picked up His bow in order to inpire Sugriva with confidence. Grasping that formidable bow, Rama fired one arrow at the tree indicated by Sugriva, filling the directions with the twang of His bow string. Having been propelled with great force, the guilded arrow pierced all seven sala trees, the flat area of the mountain on which they stood, and entered the earth, so it is said. In a moment the speedy arrow cut through the earth, came out the other side, returned to where Rama was and entered again into the quiver. Sugriva was completely amazed to see the force with which Rama's arrow pierce the seven sala trees. Overjoyed, Sugriva joined his palms together to offer respect to Rama and bowed, touching his head to the ground so that his jewelry was also hanging down. Delighted by that act, Sugriva said to Rama, who was the most knowledgeable in the use of weapons: "O best of men, You are able to kill in combat all the gods, including Indra, with Your arrows, what to speak of Vali. Who can stand up to You in battle when You pierced with a single arrow those seven big sala trees, the mountain and the earth! Now that I have made friends with You who are equal to Indra and Varuna, my grief has vanished and I am highly jubilant. O descendant of Kakutstha, please kill favor me by killing my inimical brother Vali, for which reason I am standing here with joined palms."
Then Rama embraced the pleasant-looking Sugriva, who was as dear to Him as Lakshmana, and said: "Let us immediately go to Kishkindha, O Sugriva. You go ahead, and when you get there, challenge your so-called brother Vali to a fight." They all quickly departed for the city of Kishkindha. Upon arriving, they situated themselves in the thick forest, hiding themselves behind trees. With his cloth wrapped tightly around his waist, Sugriva roared fiercely to challenge Vali, so that the sky seemed to be rent by his forceful shouts. Hearing his brother's roaring, the powerful Vali became furious and rushed out precipitously, as the sun pops up from below the horizon. There then commenced a most tumultuous battle between Vali and Sugriva, which was like a clash between Mercury and Mars in the heavens. The enraged brothers struck each other in battle with their palms and soles, and with their fists, which felt like thunderbolts. At that time, Rama, holding His bow, watched the two brothers, who resembled each other like the two twin gods, the Ashvini-kumaras. Because of this, Rama could not distinguish who was Sugriva and who was Vali. Therefore He decided not to fire any arrow. Being trounced by Vali and seeing that Rama was not protecting him, Sugriva ran to Rishyamuka Mountain.
Exhausted, drenched in blood, battered by blows and being pursued by the angry Vali, Sugriva entered the refuge of the great forest of Matangavana. Seeing Sugriva enter the forest, Vali stopped out of fear of the curse and said: "You are free for now." Rama also returned along with Lakshmana and Hanuman to where the monkey Sugriva was. When the miserable Sugriva saw that Rama had returned with Lakshmana, he looked at the ground out of shame and said: "After showing me Your prowess and inducing me to challenge Vali, why did You allow me to be pumelled by my enemy? You should have been truthful from the very beginning and told me that You were not going to kill Vali at this time. Then I would not have left this place."
Rama replied in the following way to that great soul Sugriva, who was complaining bitterly with a piteous voice: "O Sugriva, let your anger be abated. Please hear the reason why I did not shoot any arrow. Both you and Vali are exactly alike as far as ornaments, dress, size and movement. I cannot see any difference between you in voice, splendor, appearance, prowess, or speech. I was thus confused by your similarity, O best of monkeys. Therefore I did not fire My powerful arrow capable of slaying an enemy, out of fear of accidentally hitting you, thus destroying the friendship which is the foundation sustaining both of us. If I, O great warrior and lord of monkeys, were to kill you out of ignorance or some lapse, my foolishness and childishness would be revealed. Killing one to whom protection has been promised is said to be the greatest sin.
"Lakshmana, the lovely Sita and I are all dependent on You who are Our shelter in this forest. Therefore, please fight one more time. Do not be afraid, O monkey. Within one hour you will see Vali struck down in battle by one of My arrows and writhing on the ground. Put something on yourself so that I can recognize you when you are engaged in hand to hand combat." Then Rama said to Lakshmana: "Uprooting this auspicious and blossoming gajapushpa vine, tie it around Sugriva's neck." Lakshmana then pulled up the gajapushpa vine that was growing on the side of the mountain and placed it around Sugriva's neck. With that flowering vine wrapped around his neck, Sugriva shone like the moon at night encircled by stars, or like a rain cloud at sunset surrounded by herons. With his body shining brightly and his mind reassured by Rama's words, Sugriva departed with Rama for Kishkindha, which was under the sway of Vali.
Rama Visits the Hermitage of the Saptajanas
Lord Rama then lifted up His big bow and gathered up His gold-adorned arrows that glared like the sun and which were effective in battle. He then left Rishyamuka Mountain with Sugriva for Kishkindha, which was protected by Vali's valor. In front of Lord Rama strode the strong-necked Sugriva accompanied by the powerful Lakshmana. Behind them came the valiant Hanuman, along with Nala, Nila and the mighty Tara, who was a leader of monkey hordes. Following Sugriva, they saw trees bent down by the weight of flowers, rivers bearing pleasant waters flowing to the ocean, mountains, crevices and deep caves, pinnacles and prominent waterfalls of charming appearance. They also saw along the path sparkling ponds of water clear as a vaidurya gem with lotus flowers whose buds were just beginning to open. The ponds resounded with the cries of karandava ducks, cranes, swans, ruddy geese and other water fowl. They saw forest deer roaming about everywhere fearlessly grazing on the soft, tender shoots of newly grown grass, or standing still. There were also numerous fierce, wild elephants with gleaming white tusks that would devastate the banks of the ponds. Elephants in rut, which were as big as the side of a mountian, were disturbing the sides of the mountain and stirring up clouds of dust as they moved about. Seeing in the forest different beasts and birds moving about under the protection of Sugriva, They advanced quickly.
As they were quickly proceeding to Kishkindha, Rama saw a massive forest of trees, bushes and vines and said to Sugriva: "Here is a thick forest that resembles a cloud in the sky. My dear friend, I am very curious to know what that is which resembles a big cloud hemmed in at the ends by banana trees. I want you to satisfy My curiosity." Upon hearing Rama's question, Sugriva began relating about that great forest as he continued walking along: "O descendant of the Raghu Dynasty, this extensive hermitage relieves physical exhaustion. It has gardens and groves providing delicious roots, froots and waters. Here lived seven sages named the Saptajanas, who performed extreme penances. They would always sleep sitting with their heads bowed down or by lying down in water. Their only nutrition was to breath once in seven days and they resided solely in the forest. After seven hundred years they ascended to heaven in their very same bodies. Being surrounded by a wall of trees and protected by their supernatural power, this hermitage is inassailable by the gods and demons headed by Lord Indra.
"Birds and other wild creatures avoid it, and those who unwittingly enter it never come out again. In it are heard the sounds of tinkling ornaments and vocal music, as well as instrumental music such as drums. There is also a heavenly fragrance, O Rama. The three sacred fires-dakshina, garhapatya and ahavaniya-are buring there. Their smoke, which is the color of a dove, is covering the tops of the trees like a cloud. With their tops covered with smoke and a mass of clouds, the trees look just like mountains of vaidurya gems. You and Your brother Lakshmana should offer Your respects humbly with joined palms. Nothing inauspicious is seen in the body of those who offer such respect to those self-realized sages."
Then Rama along with Lakshmana offered respects to those sages with joined palms. After They had done this, Sugriva and the other monkeys continued walking on with highly gratified minds. After travelling a long distance from the hermitage of the Saptajanas, they saw the unassaultable city of Kishkindha which was protected by Vali. Exhibiting their unmatched might, Rama, Lakshmana and the monkeys again reached the city, taking up their weapons to slay their enemy Vali, the son of Lord Indra, who was protecting the city by his prowess.
Sugriva Again Challenges Vali
Promptly reaching Kishkindha, they all hid themselves in the dense jungle. Glancing all about the forest, the thick-necked Sugriva, who was very fond of forests, became extremely aggravated. Roaring fiercely, Sugriva, who was surrounded by his followers, challenged Vali to fight, his shouts seeming to rend the sky. Rumbling like a huge cloud propelled by the force of the wind, he turned to Rama, who shone like the rising sun, and said: "We have reached Vali's city Kishkindha. Its gates are covered with wrought gold, it is adorned with flags and war machines and is surrounded with booby traps for monkeys. Please fulfill the promise You previously made to kill Vali, just as the arrival of the appropriate season causes vines to bear fruits."
Being petitioned in this way by Sugriva, the dutiful Rama, the slayer of enemies, replied as follows: "Lakshmana has already pulled up this gajapushpa vine and placed it around your neck as a distinguishing sign. With this vine draped around your neck, you are as effulgent as the moon encircled by stars at night. By firing just one arrow during your skirmish, I shall immediately free you from the fear and enmity engendered by Vali. O Sugriva, show Me your enemy in the guise of a brother! When struck down by My arrow, he will roll in the dust. If after crossing the path of My vision he continues to live, you may consider Me incompetent and rebuke Me on the spot. I pierced seven sala trees in your presence. Therefore, know that by My strength I shall now kill Vali. I have never ever spoken a lie, even when in difficulty, because of My greed for righteousness, nor will I ever do so. I shall fulfill My promise, just as Indra makes a field produce abundant grains by showers of rain. Give up your bewilderment!
"As such, now challenge Vali by roaring in such a way that he has to come out. He is famous for his victories and is proud of his strength. As such, when summoned by you, being fond of fighting, he will promptly come out of his palace. Those who are aware of their own valor cannot bear the sound of enemies challenging them to fight, especially when they are in the presence of women."
When the golden-brown Sugriva heard what Rama said, he roared savagely, as if rending the sky. Hearing his roar, the city's cows became frightened and ran in confusion, as do cultured women when treated in a vulgar way by hooligans due to lack of protection from the king. The deer also fled like scared horses on a battle field, and birds fell to the ground like those who fall from the heavenly planets when their pious credits are exhausted. The famed Sugriva roared powerfully like a mass of thunder clouds. With his enhanced glory, he resembled the ocean unsettled by wind-swept waves.
Vali's Wife Begs Him Not to Fight
The intollerant Vali heard within his palace his brother Sugriva's roar. When Vali heard that roar which caused all living beings to tremble in fear, he lost his self-infatuation and became dreadfully outraged. With all his limbs seized with anger and glowing like the setting sun, Vali suddenly lost his bodily effulgence like the sun upon setting. Vali, who possessed fiercesome teeth and who glowed like fire due to anger, resembled a lotus pond sporting barren stalks whose roots had been dug up by elephants. Hearing that unbearable roar, Vali rushed impetuously out of his palace, rending the earth with his feet.
Then Vali's wife Tara embraced him affectionately, showing her fondness for him, and, being frightened and confused, she spoke to him the following beneficial words: "Please give up this anger which is flowing like the current of a river, as a person upon rising in the morning takes off his flower garlandvi. You can fight in the morning, O monkey warrior, for there are not many enemies, nor are you weak. I do not like that you are rushing out in a hurry. Please listen as I explain why I am stopping you. Previously you trounced Sugriva when he challenged you to fight. When you came out, you defeated him. Suffering from severe blows, he fled.
"His coming back to challenge you after being particularly vanquished and smitten by you, arouses a suspicion in me. His roaring exhibits such pride and conviction. He would not be roaring with such impetuosity unless there was some due cause. I do not believe that Sugriva has come here alone. It is on the basis of some supporter that he is roaring as he is. Sugriva is by nature crafty and intelligent. He never enters into friendship with anyone without testing their prowess. I shall relate to you for your benefit what I have previously heard from your son Angada. Once when Angada went into the depths of the forest, his spies informed him of the following, which I am now relating to you.
"The king of Ayodhya had two sons known as Rama and Lakshmana. Born in the Ikshvaku Dynasty, They are warriors who are impossible to defeat. While They were travelling, They came to help Sugriva attain his cherished goal. Your brother's assistant in this difficult conflict is the well-known Rama, who is the crusher of enemy forces like the fire that flares up at the end of the age. He is like a tree that gives shelter to godly souls and is the ultimate goal of those in difficulty. He is the resort of the afflicted and the sole repository of fame. Possessing material and transcendental knowledge, He is dedicated to His father's command. As the Himalaya Mountains are the source of minerals, He is the paramount embodiment of virtue. Therefore, it is not good for you to oppose that great soul Rama, who is difficult to defeat and inestimable in martial exploits. O warrior, I shall tell you something, even though I do not wish to find fault with you. Please hear and act upon the advice I am about to give you. Kindly invest Angada as prince regent without delay. Do not fight with your brother, for he is in a position of strength. In fact, I consider your friendship with Rama as very essential for you. And Sugriva will abandon at a distance his animosity toward you.
"Whether residing here or on Rishyamuka Mountain, your younger brother is always your most adoring friend. I do not see any friend equal to him in this world. By offering him gifts, honor and by other means, draw him near to you. Abandoning your enmity, let him stand by your side. As far as I am concerned, the thick-necked Sugriva has always been your friend. There is no other way for you to be successful except by depending on your brother's friendship. If you intend on doing what is pleasing to me and if you consider me your well-wisher, accept my request and carry it out wholeheartedly. Be pleased with me and listen to my salutary advice-do not give in to anger. A fight with Rama, who is as powerful as Indra, would not be advantageous for you."
Thus Tara offered wholesome advice to Vali. But Vali did not care to accept what she said because he was already in the grip of death and soon about to die.
Vali Goes Out to Fight Sugriva
Vali rebuked Tara who had spoken in the afore-mentioned manner and whose face shone like the moon, saying: "Hearing the excited roaring of my brother Sugriva, for what reason should I endure it especially when he is inimical, O lovely woman? For those warriors who have never been defeated and have never retreated from the battle field, it is worse than death to tolerate a foray. I cannot bear the arrogannt bellowing of that neckless Sugriva, who wishes to engage in combat with me. Nor should you worry about Rama's acting againt me. He is conversant with righteousness and is aware of His duty, therefore how could He commit any sin? Go back with the other women. Why are you still following me? O Tara, you have shown your concern and devotion for me. I shall go out and fight with Sugriva. Give up your anxiety. I shall destroy his pride, but shall not take away his life. As long as he is standing on the battle field, I shall fulfill his desire by striking him with my fists and with tree trunks until he flees. That wicked fellow will not be able to withstand my pride and anger. You have offerend me assistance and shown me friendship, O Tara. Go back with a controled mind. I swear on my life that I shall return after defeating my brother in combat."
Thereafter the sweet-speaking Tara embraced Vali and slowly circumambulated him clockwise while crying. Tara then performed the svastyayana ceremony for auspiciousness by reciting various hymns from the Vedas in order to secure Vali's victory. Perpexed by her anxiety, she entered inside the royal chambers with the other co-wives. Once Tara and the other ladies were inside the palace, Vali angrily salled forth from the city, hissing like a big snake. Breathing deeply, the splendorous Vali was highly agitated and glanced all around to get a look at his enemy. He then saw the glorious golden-brown Sugriva, tightly girded with cloth, standing firmly and shining like fire. Seeing that most valiant Sugriva standing nearby, Vali, being highly irate, tightened his own cloth. With his fists raised, the heroic Vali opportunely approached Sugriva to fight. Raising his clenched fist and stretching it to full length, Sugriva also aimed it squarely at Vali. With his eyes as red as copper, Vali said to Sugriva, who was skilled in combat and approaching rapidly: "When I swing this fist of mine with fingers firmly clenched, it will return after taking your life."
When spoken to in this way, Sugriva angrily replied to Vali as follows: "Let this fist strike you on the head, taking away your life." Upon being hit with force by Vali, Sugriva was enraged and vomited blood, like a mountain with a waterfall. Sugriva uprooted a sala tree and vigorously struck Vali's limbs, as lightning bolts strike a mountain. Perplexed by the beating and crushed by the heavy weight of the sala tree, Vali began trembling like an overloaded boat in the sea. The two brothers possessed fiercesome strength and prowess and were as impetuous as Garuda. They were well-built, with intimidating bodies, and resembled the sun and the moon in the sky. They were intent on finding out each other's vulnerable points. Then Vali, who possessed great strength and valor, got the upper hand, and the mighty Sugriva began to lose ground. With his pride broken by Vali, Sugriva began losing strength. Shortly Sugriva showed his determination to Vali. A vicious fight ensued between the two, like the battle between Indra and Vritra, in which they repeatedly used trees with their branches, mountain peaks, their own razor-sharp claws, fists, knees, feet and arms. Drenched in blood, they rumbled loudly like two clouds, threatening each other and fighting.
Lord Rama saw that Sugriva was getting weaker and was continually looking around in all directions. Then the mighty Rama, seeing Sugriva's difficulty, looked intently at an arrow in order to slay Vali. Then He fixed on His bow an arrow that was as venemous as a serpent, and pulled it back all the way, so that it was as ominous as the wheel of time at the end of the world. Frightened by the twang of the bow string, the birds and deer quickly fled away, as when bewildered at the end of the world. The released arrow, which shone like lightning, made a sound like thunder. Being shot by Rama, the large arrow struck Vali in the chest. When impacted by the arrow, the glorious and valorous monkey chieftan fell on the ground. Thus he lost his glory and consciousness, as the flag raised in honor of Lord Indra on the full moon day of the month of Ashvin is dropped to the ground after the festivalvii. Shri Rama, the best of men, had fired that excellent arrow decorated with gold and silver. That blazing arrow was like the dissolution of the world and could destroy any enemy. It was like the smoking fire emanating from Lord Shiva's third eye. Soaked by streams of blood and bodily fluids, Vali resembled an blossoming ashoka tree uprooted by the wind. Deprived of consciousness, Vali, the son of Lord Indra, looked like Lord Indra's flag fallen on the ground.
Vali Criticizes Rama
When Vali, who was difficult to contend with, was hit by Rama's arrow, he suddenly fell over like a hewn tree. He was lying with all his limbs splayed on the ground, like a flag whose rope was undone. When Vali, the lord of the monkey hordes, had fallen on the ground, the earth did not look so well, like the night sky without the moon. Although knocked down on the ground, Vali's body did not lose its life, beauty, splendor or glory. An excellent gold chain with a set diamond given to him by Indra preserved that moneky's life, effulgence and beauty. By dint of that gold necklace, the leader of monkey hordes looked like the edges of a cloud at sunset. Fallen on the ground, his splendor seemed to be divided into three parts-his necklace, his body and the deadly arrow. The arrow fired from Rama's bow prepared the way to the spiritual world for Vali, by which he could achieve the highest destination.
Vali looked just like King Yayati when he fell from the heavenly planets after his pious credits were exhausted, or like the sun fallen on the earth at the end of the age. Vali, the son of Lord Indra, who was as inassailable and unbearable as his father, was fallen down. His neck was like a lion's. He had long arms. His mouth was bright and his eyes, yellow. With great respect, the two brothers slowly approached the fallen warrior, who resembled a flaming fire and who was looking at Them.
When Vali saw Rama and the mighty Lakshmana, he spoke the following words which were polite, harsh, yet indicative of righteousness: "You are the son of a king, famous and of pleasing appearance. All living beings speak of Your glories in this world in the following way: `Rama is of noble birth and the embodiment of goodness. He is courageous and has executed rigorous vows. He knows how to be compassionate and is engaged in the welfare of all the citizens. He is merciful, eager for victory, conversant with the proper time for doing things and firm in His vows.' What merit will You achieve by shooting me in the chest with an arrow while I was absorbed in fighting and looking in another direction? Self-control, peacefulness, forgiveness, righteousness, fortitude, truthfulness and valor-these are the qualities of monarchs, O king, as also chastisement for offenders. Believing that You possessed these qualities and recognizing Your extraordinary ancestry, I went to fight with Sugriva, even though obstructed by my wife Tara. As long as I could not see You, I believed that You would not attack me while I was fighting with someone else with concentration and unaware of Your presence. Now I know that you are a shallow character, an unrighteous hipocrite committing sinful deeds, like a deep well concealed by grass. I did not know that You were a sinful rogue wearing the dress of the pious, completely enveloping Yourself in a guise of piety. I have never committed any offence in Your kingdom or capital. I have never even met You before, nor did I ever mock You. I am just a forest monkey who always lives on fruits and roots. And I had come here to do battle with someone else. O king, it seems You possess the characteristic of unrighteousness.
Who, born in a royal family, properly educated and freed from doubts, would perform such a cruel deed under the pretense of righteousness? I have heard, O Rama, that You were born in a royal dynasty and that You are righteous. Why then do You run around in the garb of the gentle when You are cruel? Equality, charity, forgiveness, righteousness, truthfulness, fortitude and prowess-these are the qualities of monarchs, O king, as well as chastisement of offenders. We are just forest-dwelling animals who live on roots and fruits. This is our nature, while You are a man and a ruler of men. Land, gold and silver-these are causes for contention. What interest could You have in my fruits here in this forest? Strict rule and leniency, chastisement and granting favors-these are the activities of a king. A king should not act whimsically. You, on the other hand, are overwhelmed with desires, are irrascible and unstable. In the sphere of kingly duties, You kill whoever You wish. You have no faith in duty, nor is Your intelligence fixed in the attainment of wealth. Engaged in activities to satisfy Your whimsies, You are being dragged about by Your senses. Having killed me with an arrow, though I was innocent, and thus committing a reprehensible act, what will You say when in the midst of the godly?
"The murderer of a king, a brahmana, or a cow, one who engages in the slaughter of living things, a thief, a nonbeliever, and one who marries before his elder brother-these all go to hell. The informer, the miser, the slayer of his own friend, and the one who violates the wife of his spiritual master-these descend to the world of sinners, of this there is no doubt. My skin cannot be worn by the pious, neither can my hair or bones be used or my flesh be eaten by those who are practicing virtue like You. Only five kinds of animals with five claws on each foot can be eaten by brahmanas, kshatriyas and vaishyas: the rhinoceros, the porcupine, the iguana, the hare, and the tortoise. The wise do not touch my skin or bones, O king, because of my being a monkey. Although I have five claws, my flesh in uneatable, yet You have killed me anyways. The all-knowing Tara gave me advice that was good and true. Not heading it, I have come under the sway of death. With You as her lord, the earth is unprotected, like a chaste woman whose husband is a rascal. How were You engendered by the great soul King Dasharatha when You are a rogue, mischievous, petty, sinful and falsely peaceful?
"I have been slain by the elephant Rama, who has broken the chain of morality, who has transgressed the duties of the virtuous, and who has abandoned the goad of righteousness. When You have committed such an unholy and unjust act, what will You say when You are in the company of the pious? I do not see You exhibiting the same valor against the wrongdoers as You do against us who are neutral to You. If You had been seen by me while I was fighting, You would have been slain and gone to the lord of death, Yamaraja, today. Although I am difficult to assail on the battlefield, I have been slain by You while I could not see You, as when a sleeping drunkard is bitten by a snake.
"If You had commanded me earlier, I could have brought back Sita from whatever solitary place and slain Her abductor. I have been slain by You in order to gratify Sugriva. But I would have delivered to You Ravana with a rope around his neck without killing him in battle. I could have brought back Sita from the depths of the sea or from the subterranean world, as the Lord in His incarnation as Hayagriva rescued the Vedas from the Madhu and Kaitabha demons. It would have been alright for Sugriva to inherit the throne after I have gone to heaven, but it is unjust that I have been unrighteously slain by You. Given that people with such material desires are subject to death, if after due consideration You can give me a suitable answer as to why You have acted as You have, I shall forgive You."
Having spoken in this way, Vali, who shone like the sun, stared at Rama. His mouth was parched around the edges. Being pained by the arrow that pierced him, that great soul who was a son of the sun god became silent.
Vali Begs Rama's Forgiveness
After Vali, who was slain and losing consciousness, had spoken to Rama these harsh words, which seemed polite, beneficial and conducive to righteousness, Rama replied as follows to that best of monkeys, who was like the sun deprived of its effulgence, a storm cloud that had dropped all its rain or an extinguished fire: "Why do you scold Me out of childishness, when you are ignorant of righteousness, worldly interests and when to act? My dear friend, why do you wish to speak to me out of simian fickleness without first speaking with the elderly preceptors who possess wisdom? This earth with its mountains and forests belongs to the descendants of the Ikshvaku Dynasty. They have the right to punish or reward the beasts, birds and men who reside here. The righteous soul Bharata is truthful, honest, conversant with duty, worldly desires and economic gain, and is engaged in punishing and rewarding according to merit-thus He rules over the earth. He possesses prudence and humility, and truthfulness is firmly established in Him. He possesses valor as prescribed in the scriptures and knows how to act according to time and place. Having been commanded by Him to propagate righteousness, We and other monarchs wander the face of the earth to do so. As long as Bharata, the tiger among kings, who is fond of righteousness, rules over the whole earth, who can do anything unrighteous? Being fixed in our supreme duty and upholding the order of Our brother Bharata, We punish as necessary anyone who deviates from righteous.
"As far as you are concerned, you have hampered righteousness and are condemnable by your actions. And you are the chief of those who are slaves of lust and who do not stay on the path laid out by the saintly kings. One who follows the path of virtue should recognise these three as fathers: an elder brother, a father, and one who bestows learning. Based on the principle of righteousness, a younger brother, one's own son, and a qualified disciple-these three should be considered as sons. O monkey, the duties of the pious are subtle and most difficult to understand. Situated within the heart of all living beings, the Supersoul knows what is good and evil. By association with monkeys who are fickle and inexperienced, how can you, yourself being fickle, know what righteousness is? As for Myself, I shall clearly tell you the significance of My statement. You should not denounce Me out of shere anger. Take note of the reason for which you have been slain by Me-you have abadonded the eternal principle of righteousness by cohabiting with your brother's wife. Out of lust you cohabited with Sugriva's wife Ruma, who is your sister-in-law, while Sugriva was still alive, thus committing a great sin. This punishment has been meted out because you strayed from the path of righteousness, acted out of lust, and violated the wife of your brother. I do not see any other means of restraining one who is opposed to righteousness and has departed from the norms of common decency except such punishment, O leader of the monkey hordes. Moreover, I, a warrior born in a respectable family, cannot bear your sin. According to scripture, the punishment for one who approaches out of lust his own daughter, sister or the brother's wife is death.
"In fact, Bharata is the ruler of this earth and We are simply carrying out His orders. Since you have transgressed the laws of righteousness, how can We neglect you? The wise Bharata judges with righteousness those who have transgressed the principles moral law and is determined to punish those who act out of lust. Taking to heart Bharata's instructions, We are determined to punish characters like you who breach the bonds of morality. Moreover, My friendship with Sugriva is just like mine with Lakshmana. It also has as its motive the recovery of Sugriva's wife and kingdom and his endeavor to render Me a great favor. I gave My word to assist Sugriva in the presence of all the monkeys. And how can one like Me disregard a promise? As such, for all these reasons which are based on the significant principles of morality, you should consider your punishment as justified. Your punishment should be seen as entirely in consonance with righteousness. And one who is thus conversant with duty should render suitable services to a friend. If you had been familiar with duty, I could have done the same for you. The following two verses were recited by Manu who was devoted to integrity, and they are accepted by those who are expert in the determination of duty: `Sinners who are punished by kings are absolved and ascend to the heavenly realm just like the godly who perform pious deeds. A thief is freed from his guilt by either punishment or clemency. But if a king does not punish a sinner, he has to accept responsibility for that sin.viii'
"My noble ancestor Mandhata administered a severe and appropriate penalty on a monk for perpetrated a crime similar to yours. Different monarchs have similarly punished other sinners for their blunders. And people also execute acts of expiation by which they absolve their guilt. Therefore, enough of this anguish. O tiger among monkeys, your death was conceived according to the principles of righteousness. We were not acting according to Our own whims. Listen to another reason why I shot you, O best of monkeys. When you hear that reason, you should not be angry with Me. I feel no affliction nor remorse for what I did. While in hiding or in the open, humans, by using different kinds of traps, nets and nooses, catch deer with beautiful legs as they try to flee in fear or as they stand their ground fearlessly. Men who are meat-eaters shoot deer regardless of whether they are aware or not or whether they are facing them or not, and there is no fault in this. Even the royal sages who are conversant with righteousness go hunting. Therefore, I have shot you in combat with an arrow. Whether you were fighting with Me or with someone else does not matter, for you are merely a monkey. Kings are the dispensers of merit which is difficult to achieve, and of fortunate life, of this there is not doubt. One should therefore neither injure, critize, insult nor speak harshly to them. They are gods moving about on the surface of the earth in the form of human beings. Being ignorant of the principles of righteousness and acting on anger alone, you denounce Me, who am dedicated to the code of conduct of My ancestors."
Greatly pained when spoken to in that way by Rama and no longer finding fault with Him, Vali had attained a correct understanding of righteousness. He thereafter replied to Rama with joined palms: "O best of men, what You have said is true, there is no doubt about it. An ignorant person cannot argue with a learned person. O Rama, You should not find fault with me for the unpleasant words which I erroneously spoke to You earlier. You are fully aware of the four goals of life and are engaged in the welfare of the people. Your intelligence is calm and undisturbed in determining punishment appropriate to the offense. O knower of righteousness, please deliver me with words conducive to righteousness, for I am the foremost of those who have transgressed morality."
While staring at Rama, Vali slowly continued speaking to Him with a pained voice choked up with tears, like an elephant caught in mud: "I do not grieve for my self, nor for my wife Tara, nor for my kinsmen as I do for my son Angada, who possesses the best qualities and is adorned with gold bracelets. Unable to see me any longer, he who has been loved by me since his childhood will become like a dried up pond. O mighty Rama, my beloved and only son, who was born from the womb of Tara, is but an inexperienced boy and therefore deserves to be protected by You. Establish a congenial understanding between Sugriva and Angada, for You are their protector and the one who can teach them what should be done and what should not be done. You should adopt the same attitude toward Sugriva and Angada that You have toward Bharata and Lakshmana. You should also see that Sugriva does not disregard Tara, whose only fault is the offense committed by me. One who has received Your mercy, is under Your control and follows Your mind can indeed rule a kingdom, one can even achieve the heavenly realm or rule over the whole earth. Even though I was restrained by my wife Tara, desiring death at Your hands, I entered into an encounter with my brother Sugriva."
After Vali had humbly spoken to Rama in this way, he became silent. Then Rama consoled Vali, who was now illuminated, speaking the following words which revealed the principles of righteousness: "O monkey, do not fret over this matter. You should not worry about Us or your self. We have determined Our course of action in relation to you in accordance with the principles of righteousness. He who punishes those who deserve it and he who receives punishment as he deserves, both these never come to ruin due to the fulfilment of the law of cause and effect. By My meting out punishment in accordance with the dictates of scripture, you are free from any contingent sin and have regained your own righteous nature. Give up your grief and bewilderment, and the fear present in your heart. O lord of monkeys, Angada will depend on Sugriva and Me just as he used to depend on you, of this there is no doubt."
After hearing the sweet, reassuring words which were conducive to virtue, Vali spoke the following reasonable words to Rama, who was capable of completely crushing His enemy on the battle field: "O warrior of frightful prowess, You are equal to Lord Indra. Due to the pain caused by Your arrow I became bewildered and thus I unwittingly vilified You. Be pleased with me and forgive my offense, O ruler of men!"
Tara Rushes to the Side of Her Dying Husband
Receiving a reply that was just and logical, Vali, the great king of the monkeys, lay there fatally wounded by the arrow. All his limbs were crushed by stones and he was severley beaten by tree trunks. Being pierced by Rama's arrow, he was losing consciousness. Vali's wife Tara heard how Vali had been fatally wounded in battle by an arrow fired by Lord Rama. Upon hearing about the unfortunate and terrible murder of her husband, she hurried out of the palatial quarters, which were like mountain caverns, with her son. When Angada's body guards saw Rama armed with a bow, they ran away in fear, even though they possessed dreadful prowess. Tara saw the frightened monkeys fleeing as fast as they could, like deer who had bolted from the herd after their leader had been slain.
Approaching them, the dispirited Tara said to them, who were all afraid of Rama's arrows as if they had been pierced by them: "If Vali has been killed by Rama's arrows, which can strike with great force from a distance, so that his brother Sugriva could gain the throne, why should you monkeys who are the royal attendants of Vali abandon him and flee?"
Upon hearing Tara's remark, the monkeys replied in a timely and unequivocable manner: "Go back, O mother, and protect your son! Death in the form of Rama has slain Vali and is carrying him away. Rama's arrows, which are just like thunderbolts, shattered the trees and huge stones which Vali hurled, and then struck him down. Since that tiger among monkeys who was equal to Indra in prowess has been slain, this whole army is fleeing towards Kishkindha. Let us protect the gates of the city. Let Angada be coronated king. We monkeys will serve Vali's son when he assumes the post of king. However, O woman with a lovely face, your presence here is not at all pleasing to us. Other monkeys who are our enemies will soon take possession of all the high places. Among those monkeys, some have wives and some have none. There is tremendous danger from those lusty fellows who were deprived of their possessions through exile."
The lady of charming smiles heard what they said because they were at a short distance. The reply she gave them, which was worthy of her position as a queen, was as follows: "Now that the most glorious lion among monkeys who was my husband is finished, of what use to me are my son, the kingdom or even my own life? I shall simply seek the soles of the feet of that great soul who has been slain by an arrow fired by Rama."
Having said this, she ran quickly, crying out of extreme grief, and struck herself continuously on the head and breast with her fists. As she was going along, she presently saw her husband fallen down on the ground. He had been the slayer of demon chieftans who never retreated from battle. He used to hurl huge mountain peaks against his enemies, as Indra would hurl thungderbolts. He had the impetuosity of a gale storm and roared like a huge mass of clouds. In prowess he was equal to Indra. He was now like a cloud that was calm after discharging its rain. His roaring had previously inspired fear in those who roared. Though a hero, he had been felled by one who is a hero. He was like a lion who had been slain for the sake of prey by a tiger. He resembled a place of worship respected by all people whose altar and flag had been destroyed by Garuda on account of a snake. She saw Rama standing and leaning on His excellent bow, as well as Lakshmana and her husband's younger brother. Passing them, she reached the spot where her husband lay dying on the battle field. Seeing him, she was overcome with pain, became dizzy and fell on the ground. She again got up, like one rising from sleep, and began wailing. Seeing her husband tightly bound by the ropes of death, she cried. When Sugriva saw her wailing like a female osprey, and that Angada had also arrived, he became despondent.
Tara Intends to Fast Until Death
Upon seeing her husband fallen on the ground, slain by an arrow shot by Rama, and reaching him, that lady whose face shone like the moon embraced him. When Tara saw Vali, the lord of the monkeys, who was just like an elephant and equal to Lord Indra, struck down by an arrow and looking like an uprooted tree, her mind was stricken with sorrow and she lamented as follows: "O best of the monkey warriors, your prowess is fiercesome on the battle field. Why do you not speak to me now, O tiger among monkeys, when I stand disconsolate before you? Get up and lie down upon your excellent couch! Surely exalted kings like you do not lie on the bare ground. O monarch, the earth must be very dear to you in that you are ignoring me and embracing the earth with your limbs even though you are dead. Obviously you have created another city just like the charming Kishkindha on the path leading to heaven by dint of your piety. You have now put a stop to the pastimes which we enjoyed with you in the forests fragrant with honey. I am devoid of happiness and hope and am drowning in an ocean of sorrow now that you, the leader of great generals, have passed away.
"My heart is very strong in that despite being pained with sorrow on seeing my husband dead, it does not break into a thousand pieces. Because you exiled Sugriva and expropriated his wife, this is the fruit that you have reaped, O sovereign of the monkeys. When I offered you helpful advice out of a desire to assist you, out of illusion you disregarded me. O honorable sir, you will surely agitate the minds of the celestial damsels who are proud of their beauty and youth and expert in love affairs. The time has undoubtedly arrived for the termination of your life. By time's power, you who could not be subdued have come under the complete control of Sugriva. I was raised in a lifestyle free from suffering and had never previously been miserable. Now I shall suffer wretched and miserable widowhood as one forsaken. The fine lad Angada is so dear to me and desering of enjoyment. To what condition will he be reduced when his uncle Sugriva become angry? O Angada, take a good look at your father who was found of righteousness! Before long you will not be able to see him any more.
"O Vali, after embracing your son and smelling his head, give me a message, as you have already departed from this world. Indeed, Rama as accomplished a mighty task by killing you and He has fulfilled His promise to Sugriva. O Sugriva, be satisfied with the attainment of your goals. You will now regain your wife Ruma. Enjoy the kingdom without any anxiety, for your inimical brother has been liquidated. O Vali, why do you not speak lovingly to me when I am lamenting like this? See here your many fine co-wives, O lord of monkeys."
Hearing her lament in this way, the female monkeys surrounded her and Angada and began wailing loudly and piteously out of sorrow. Then Tara continued lamenting: "Why have you deserted Angada to depart on the long journey to the other world, O you whose heroic arms are adorned with gold ornaments? When you have such a nice son with all the same good qualities as you, it is not at all proper for you to leave him and go away. What did I or your son ever do to displease you, O lord, that you have abandoned us to depart on the lengthy journey to the next world? If I every did anything which you did not like, please forgive me for that, O lord of the monkey dynasty. I touch my head to your feet."
Thus Tara cried piteously at the side of her husband, surrounded by the other female monkeys. That woman of faultless complexion decided to fast completely from food and water, sitting on the ground where Vali lay.
Hanuman Consoles Tara
Then Hanuman, a leader of monkey hordes, slowly consoled Tara, who was collapsed on the ground like a star fallen from the sky: "A departed soul reaps the fruits of his good and bad deeds executed in accordance with his intentions. For whom do you grieve when you yourself are lamentable? Whom do you pity when you yourself are miserable? Since this body is like a bubble, for whom should one grieve? You should look after this boy Angada because he is your son. Please think about the rites that should be performed for the welfare of Vali. You know that the birth and death of living beings is not stable. Therefore, the learned should only do that which is conducive to good fortune and not anything which is mundane, such as weeping. This monkey chieftan upon whom thousands, tens of thousands and millions of monkeys depended for the attainment of their goals has reached the end of his allotted life. Since he ruled his kingdom justly, given charity fairly and provided for the sustenance of others, he has surely gone to that place attainted by those who have scored victory through righteousness. Therefore you should not lament for him. Indeed, all these exceptional monkeys, your son Angada, and these bears have you as their leader, O irreproachable lady. Madame, please slowly direct these two who are grief-stricken-Angada and Sugriva. Take Angada by the hand and let him rule the earth. Let everything that a male descendant should do for his deceased father be executed at this time. Whatever is beneficial for the departed king has already been decreed by time. The funeral rites of the monkey king should be carried out and Angada should be coronated. When you see your son sitting upon the royal lion throne, you will be pacified."
Hearing Hanuman's request, Tara, who was overwhelmed with grief for her husband, replied to Hanuman who was standing nearby: "As far as I am concerned, there could be one hundred sons equal to Angada, still I would prefer to embrace the body of my slain husband on the funeral pyre. I have no power over the monkey kingdom nor over Angada. His uncle Sugriva has such power in all matters and is close to him. This decision of yours regarding Angada is not worth maintaining, for the father or uncle is the benefactor of the son, O Hanuman, not the mother. In fact, there is nothing better for me to do in this world or in the next than to take shelter of my husband. I should accept this bed upon which lies this hero who was slain while facing his enemy."
Breathing slowly and with hardly any life left, Vali looked all around and first saw his younger brother. Then that lord of monkeys Vali clearly and affectionately said to Sugriva, who had achieved victory: "O Sugriva, you should not hold be responsible for any sin, for I was forcefully carried away by what was meant to happen on account of my bewilderment. I think that we were not destined to enjoy happiness at the same time. For that reason the friendship that should be there between brothers became something else. Accept this very day rule over this kingdom of forest dwellers and know me to be already departed for the abode of Yamaraja, the lord of death. Indeed, I shall soon give up my life, kingdom, extensive wealth and great and irreproachable fame. Whatever I request you to do in this condition, you ought to carry out, O king. See Angada fallen on the ground, with his face full of tears. He deserves a life of comfort and was raised that way. Although a boy, he is not childish. Please thoroughly protect this son of mine, who is dearer to me than my own life, as if he was your own son. Although he will be without me, see that he lacks nothing. You shall be his father and protector in every way, and his shelter during danger as I have been, O ruler of monkeys. This son of Tara is equal to you in glory and prowess and will be ahead of you in the slaughter of the rakshasas. Acting heroically on the battle field, the youthful Angada, being strong and glorious, will perform actions equal to mine.
"Tara, the daughter of King Sushena, is very expert in discerning very subtle meanings, in interpreting various kings of omens and in all other affairs. Whatever she says is right you should do without any hesitation. No opinion of Tara every proves wrong. You should undoubtedly carry out Lord Rama's task, for by not doing so you may accrue some sin, and He may attack you if He is slighted. Also, wear this celestial gold necklace, O Sugriva, for the magnanimous goddess of fortune resides in it, and she will leave it if it remains on me when I die."
When instructed in this way by Vali out of brotherly affection, Sugriva again became miserable, like the moon caught in an eclipse. Pacified by Vali's words, carefully doing what was appropriate, he also accepted the gold necklace when permitted. After giving that gold necklace to Sugriva, Vali looked at his son standing nearby and, being about to die, spoke the following words out of affection to Angada: "Pay due attention to time and place when doing something, see the pleasant and the unpleasant as equal, so also when it is time for happiness or distress, and always remain under the command of Sugriva. If you act as you did when cherished by me, Sugriva may not esteem you in the same way. You should not associate with those who are not his friends, nor with those who are his enemies, O crusher of foes. Dedicate yourself to your uncle's goals, remain self-disiciplined and dependent on him. You should exhibit neither excessive fondness nor the lack of it, for both these constitute a great defect. Therefore, also be moderate."
Having said this, Vali, who was in extreme pain from the arrow, with his eyes trembling and his frightful teeth showing, at last gave up his life. Then all the monkeys begain wailing and cried out very loudly: "Since the king of the monkeys has ascended to heaven, Kishkindha is now desolate, and so also are its gardens, mountains and forests. By the death of that tiger among monkeys, the monkeys have been deprived of their effulgence. It was by his great might that the forests and woodlands were covered masses of flowers. Who will do that now? He gave battle to the great gandharva Golabha for fifteen years. The fight raged on day and night without stopping. In the end Golabha was strucken down in the sixteenth years. After having killed that depraved fellow, how has Vali, who protected us from all danger, been slain? Now that Vali, the suzerain lord of the monkeys has been slain, the monkeys can achieve no peace, like a herd of wild cows in a forest whose leader has been killed by a lion. Then Tara, who was submerged in an ocean of adversity, looked at the face of her dead husband. Clinging to him like a vine clinging to a hewn tree, she fell on the ground.
Tara Laments for Her Dead Husband
While smelling the head of her deceased husband who had departed from this world, Tara spoke to him the following words: "Not having followed my advice, you are lying very uncomfortably on stony and uneven ground. Certainly the earth is dearer to you than me, for you are lying there embracing her and do not answer me. Oh, destiny has come under the sway of Sugriva! He alone is powerful, O hero fond of bold acts. The foremost of bears and monkeys fully worshiped you who were so powerful. Why do you not wake up upon hearing the miserable cries and lamentations of Angada and myself? Previously on this hero's bed lay those enemies killed by you. Now, having been killed in combat, you are lying on it, O my beloved who was fond of fighting. Leaving me all alone without protection, you have departed. An intelligent man should never give his daughter to a warrior. Just see me, the wife of a warrior, destroyed in no time and made a widow. My pride has been smashed and and so also my everlasting fortune. I am drowning in a fathomless and vast ocean of grief. Surely my heart is made of steel in that upon seeing my husband killed, it has not broken into a thousand pieces immediately. He who was my husband and well-wisher, who by his very nature was very dear to me, and who was valorous in battle, has passed away. A woman deprived of her husband, even if she is blessed with a son, wealth and abundant food, is still called a widow by the people. You are lying in a pool of blood with your limbs spread, just as you used to on your own royal-red bed. Because your limbs are covered with dust and blood, I am unable to embrace you with my arms, O best of monkeys. By this most dreadful calamity, Sugriva has achieved his goals and his fear has been dispelled by Rama's shooting one arrow. I am prevented from embracing your body by the arrow piercing your heart and so stand gazing at you who are dead."
Nila then pulled out the arrow that was stuck in Vali's flesh, as one would pull a venemous snake out of a mountain cave. While that arrow was being pulled out, it shone just like the rays of the setting sun when obstructed by a mountain peak. Streams of blood flowed from all over Vali's body which was stained with red pigment from the ground. Tara wiped the dust of battle off of her husband and bathed him with the tears flowing from her eyes. Seeing her slain husband drenched in blood, Tara said to her red-eyed son Angada: "See the terrible end of your father, My son! His enmity which was a result of his sinful activities has come to an end. My dear son, greet your father the king, whose body is as brilliant as the sun and who has departed for the abode of the lord of death."
When instructed in this way, Angada stood up and grasped the feet of his father. He squeezed those feet with his well-rounded arms and said: "I am your son Angada." Tara then said: "O Vali, since Angada is greating you, why do you not speak to him as you used to, saying, `May you live long, My son?' Like a cow with her calf whose bull has just been killed by a lion, I stand with my son at the side of you who are unconscious. Having performed a sacrifice in the form of a battle, why did you take your final purificatory bathix in the blood sprung from the wound caused by Rama without your wife? Why do I not see your gold necklace which was given to you by Lord Indra when he was pleased with you in a fight? Royal glory never leaves you any more than does light leave the sun when it sets behind Mount Meru. You did not follow my advice, nor was I able to obstruct you. As you have been destroyed in a conflict, so have I with my son, and good fortune is now abandoning me."
Tara Wants to be Cremated with Vali
Seeing Tara being washed into an ocean of sorrow by the strong current of her tears, Sugriva felt saddened because of his involvement in the slaughter of his brother Vali. As Sugriva watched, his face became completely wet with tears in a moment and his mind became disturbed. Surrounded by his servants, he slowly approached Rama. Reaching the glorious Lord Rama, who held a bow with arrows that were like poisonous snakes and who was distinguished by outstanding physical characteristics, Sugriva said to Him: "Although You have acted according to Your promise and I have achieved my desired objective, my mind now turns away from the resultant royal enjoyments along with this very life of mine. Because of the death of my older brother, his wife Tara is weeping excessively, the citizens are grief-stricken and wailing loudly, and Angada is in danger. Therefore my mind finds no pleasure in sovereignty over the kingdom. In the past, due to anger, humiliation and indignation, I wanted to have Vali killed. But now that he is dead I shall regret it bitterly until the end of my life, O best of the descendants of the Ikshvaku Dynasty! I think it is better for me to stay on Rishyamuka Mountain and subsist on what is available for me there than to attain heaven as a result of having killing Vali. My brother's words, `Go away! I do not wish to kill you!' were worthy of him, O Rama, whereas my plot to kill him is worthy of me.
"Even if one is being impelled by lust, after duly considering the responsibility for usurping the kingdom and the resultant sorrow caused by this, how can one find happiness in slaying such a highly qualified brother? Whereas he never considered killing me because that would have reduced his own greatness, because of my perversity I have perpetrated a transgression which has taken away his life. After moaning for an hour while I beat him with a tree branch, he consoled me by saying: `Do not do this again.' While he maintained brotherliness, nobility and righteousness, I exhibited anger, lust and simian fickleness.
"By the slaughter of my brother I have achieved the same inconceivable, inadmissible, undesirable and utterly revolting sin as that achieved by Indra when he killed Vishvarupa. Whereas the earth, the water, the trees and womankind accepted the sinful reaction of Lord Indra, who would agree to accept and bear the sin committed by a monkey? Since I have committed a misdeed causing the destruction of my dynasty, I am not fit to accept the post of prince regent from the citizens, much less dominion over the kingdom. I have carried out a vile and sinful act that is entirely condemnable. As such I am being overwhelmed by a tremendous sorrow, just as a current of water occasioned by a downpour of rain rushes to the lowest ground.
"The fully grown elephant of sin, whose rear end and tail represent the murder of one's own brother, and whose trunk, eyes, head and tusks are remorse, is striking me, as it might strike a river bank. O best of men, this intolerable sin is deminishing the amount of piety in my heart, as gold quickly separates from dross when it is melted by fire. Because of my instrumentality in the death of Vali, as well as Angada's pangs of grief, I consider this race of great monkey chiefs to be almost lifeless. It is easy to find a son who is virtuous and obedient, but where can one find a son like Angada? Nor can there be found a land where one can be near one's natural brother.
"If Angada is able to survive the sorrow over his father's death, than his mother, whose duty it is to raise him, will also be able to survive. But without her son, Tara, being reduced to abject misery, would not be able to survive. Of this I am certain. Desiring the affection of my brother and his son, I shall enter a blazing fire. Remaining at Your command, these preeminent monkeys will search for Sita. After my death, O prince, Your goal will be achieved in its entirety. O Rama, give me permission to die, for I, an offender, have destroyed my race and do not deserve to live."
When Rama, the destroyer of enemy warriors, heard these pained words of Sugriva, He began to shed tears and became disturbed for some time. Looking all around at that time, Shri Rama, who was the protector of the world and as forgiving as the earth, saw Tara drowning in adversity and weeping miserably. Vali's chief minister then lifted up Tara from the ground where she lay embracing the body of her husband, who had charming eyes and was the lord of lion-like monkeys. When they tried to separate her from her husband, she struggled and clung to his body. At that time she saw Rama holding a bow and arrows in his hands and glowing like the sun itself. The fawn-eyed woman recognized that He was Rama, the descendant of Kakutstha, the foremost of all human beings, who possessed all the good characteristics of a monarch and who had beautiful eyes, although she had never seen Him before. The noblewoman Tara, who had fallen into adversity and felt heartsick, hurried with faltering steps to the presence of Rama, who was equal to Lord Indra, difficult to approach and of the highest dignity.
Reaching Lord Rama, who was completely transcendental and who always hit the target because of His excelling in combat, Tara, who was almost unconscious because of grief, said to Him: "You are immeasurable and difficult to approach. You have conquered Your senses and are the most righteous. Your fame is undecaying and You are wise. You are tolerant like the earth and Your eyes are reddish. You are holding a bow and arrow in Your hands. You possess tremendous strength and firm limbs. Having given up all human bodily comforts, You enjoy good fortune arising from a divine body. Please kill me with the same arrow with which You killed my beloved. When I am killed in that way, I will go where he is. Vali could not be very happy without me. Even if he were to see heavenly damsels with eyes like the petals of lotus flowers wearing clothes of many different colors and crowns of reddish flowers, he would not enjoy them in my absence. Without me, even in heaven Vali would be unhappy and lose his bodily color, as You have experienced on the slopes of Rishyamuka Mountain without Your consort Sita.
"You know how a young man suffers due to the loss of his sweetheart. Knowing this, please kill me so that Vali will not suffer due to my absence. If You are think that You cannot do that because it is a sin to slay a woman, then, considering me as identical with Vali, kill me. In that way You will not incur the sin of slaying a woman, O prince. In the revealed scriptures and their supportive texts it is stated that a wife is the very self of her husband. Therefore in this world the wise consider the giving of a daughter in marriage as the greatest gift. If after due regard for duty, You restore me to my beloved husband, by this act of kindness You will not reap the sin of slaying my husband. You should kill me, for I am suffering, without protection, forlorn and reduced to this condition. Indeed, I cannot live very long without the wise monkey Vali, who walked about like an elephant and who wore a most valuable gold necklace, O king!"
After being spoken to in this way by Tara, the mighty Rama consoled her by saying the following: "O wife of a warrior, I am not thinking incorrectly, for the whole world was created by God and everyone says that He created it with both happiness and distress. The three worlds cannot transgress the bounds which He has set, for they are under His control. You will enjoy supreme happiness as you did previously and your son will become prince regent. This is all God's arrangement, and the wife of a warrior never laments."
When consoled by the mighty Lord Rama, the well-dressed Tara, whose face showed signs of excessive wailing, became silent.
The Cremation of Vali
Sharing the grief of Tara and Angada, Shri Rama consoled them with the following words: "A dead person does not achieve well-being by the grieving of others. Therefore do those rites which are required after a death. Popular customs should be followed, and you have done so by sheding tears. The required rites cannot be performed once the appointed time has passed. Destiny is the cause of everything in this world and facilitates the execution of duties. Destiny is the cause by which all living beings engage in activities. No one is the doer of anything, nor is anyone independent. The whole world follows its nature and is under the influence of the time factor. The time factor does not overstep its own bounds, nor does it every diminish. When confronted with nature, no one can overcome it.
"The time factor has no relation, friend, kinsman or cause, nor is it ever under the control of someone else. It has no cause nor is it conquerable. A saintly person should see everything as a transformation of the time factor. Merit, economic success and material enjoyment are the result of the process of time. Having attained the stainless fruit of his actions in the shape of merit, wealth and enjoyment, Vali has regained his original nature. That great-souled monkey, by not maintaining his life, has attained that heaven which he deserved on account of his complete dedication to the execution of his duties. The destiny which Vali has achieved is indeed the best. Enough of this lamenting! Do what is necessary for the occasion."
After Rama finished speaking, Lakshmana spoke the following polite words to Sugriva, whose mind was distrubed: "Immediately perform with Tara and Angada the funeral rites of Vali, as well as his cremation. Instruct someone to bring many dry logs and pieces of heavenly sandalwood for Vali cremation ceremony. Comfort Angada, who is sorely distressed. Do not be childish; this city is dependent on you. Let Angada bring flower garlands, various piece of cloth, clarified butter, vegetable oil, fragrant oinments and whatever else is require for this occasion. O Tarax, go find a palanquin and return quickly, for promptness is especially appropriate at this time. Let strong monkeys who are capable of carrying Vali's palanquin get ready."
Having spoken in this way to Sugriva, Lakshmana, the slayer of inimical warriors, stood at the side of His brother Rama. Hearing Lakshmana's instructions, the monkey general Tara, whose mind was disturbed, quickly entered the city with his mind set on getting a palaquin. Tara returned with a palanquin carried by monkey warriors. The palanquin was divine, and just like a chariot in that it had a royal seat for sitting on. It was adorned with carved figures of birds and trees. It was also covered with the figures of foot soldiers and was beautiful to see from any angle. It looked like the aerial vehicle of the perfected beings and had lattice work for air ventilation. It was perfectly assembled, spacious and constructed by the celestial carpenter Vishvakarma. It had decorative mountains carved from wood and was made with the greatest of care. It was adorned with first class ornaments and chains and decked with beautiful flower garlands. It was it was upholstered with fine cloth and decorated with red sandalwood paste. On it were heaped piles of flowers. It was decked with garlands of sparkling lotus flowers the color of the rising sun.
Seeing such a palanquin, Rama said to Lakshmana: "Let Vali be taken away immediately and the funeral rites performed." Wailing as he lifted up Vali with Angada's help, Sugriva placed Vali on the palanquin. After placing on the palanquin Vali's dead body, which was adorned with different kinds of ornaments, flower garlands and clothing, King Sugriva, the lord of the monkeys, gave the following command: "Let the last rites of my noble brother be performed as they should be. Let monkeys proceed before the palanquin, scattering many different kinds of jewels before the palanquin. Let Vali's funeral rites be performed as soon as possible with the same wealth used for the obsequial rites of great kings."
Embracing Angada at that moment, all the monkeys headed by Tara whose relative had been killed began walking in procession as they wailed. Then all the monkey women who had been under the protection of Vali repeatedly cried out, "O hero! O hero!" as they wept. Then all monkey women headed by Tara followed behind their slain husband, crying pitifully. By the cries of the monkey women in the midst of the forest, all the woodlands and mountains in all directions seemed to be crying. On the solitary sandy bank of a mountain stream the grief-stricken monkeys in masse prepared a funeral pyre. Lowering the palanquin from their shoulders, the bearers halted at that lonely spot and all became dispirited. Seeing her husband lying on the palanquin, Tara placed his head on her lap and, being completely overwhelmed with sorrow, began wailing: "O great king of the monkeys! O lord! O my darling! O most honorable one! O strong-armed one! O my love, look at me! Why do you not look at this your servant who is stricken with grief? O respectful one, even though your life has departed, your face still looks as beautiful and as effulgent as the setting sun, just like when you were alive. O monkey, time in the form of Rama, who made us all widows by firing a single arrow, is taking you away. Do you not know, O king of kings, that these monkeys women, though unable to leap, have come on foot? Why do you not look at your dear wives, whose faces are as effulgent as the moon, nor at Sugriva, the lord of monkeys? O king, these ministers headed by Tara, as well as the citizens, are standing around you. Send them away as you used to do, O conqueror of foes. Then, intoxicated with love, we shall all enjoy in the forest."
The monkey women then picked up Tara, who was wailing due to the anguish she felt over the death of her husband. With the help of Sugriva, Angada, who was weeping due to distress, then lifted his father on to the funeral pyre. Setting the pyre on fire according to scriptural regulations, Angada then circumambulated clockwise around his father who had set out on the long journey occasioned by death. Having cremated Vali as required, they all went to bathe in the cool waters of an auspicious river. Thereafter, placing Angada before them, along with Sugriva and Tara, they all offered libations of water to the spirit of the deceased Vali. Sharing the same grief as the morose Sugriva, the mighty Rama had the funeral rites of Vali performed. After cremating the body of Vali, the foremost of capable males, who was famous and who had been slain by the arrow of Rama, Sugriva approached Lord Rama, who shone like a blazing fire, along with Lakshmana.
Rama Gives Instructions for the Consecration of Sugriva
When Sugriva finished his ceremonial bath after the cremation, the greatest of the monkey ministers came and stood around him. They all then approached the strong-armed Rama, who was unwearied in action, and stood with joined palms, as sages stand around Lord Brahma. Then Hanuman, the son of the wind god, who was as effulgent as a golden mountain and whose face was as brilliant as the rising sun, spoke with joined palms as follows: "By Your mercy, O Lord, Sugriva was able to obtain this great ancestral monkey kingdom, which was very difficult to achieve. Entering into the beautiful city with Your permission, he will perform all of his duties along with his well-wishers. After the coronation ceremony in which he is bathed with waters scented with perfumes and medicinal herbs as per scriptural rule, he will offer You special worship with gems and flower garlands. You should therefore visit the mountain cave in which the city of Kishkindha is located. Gladden the monkeys by giving them a leader.
After being requested in this way by Hanuman, Rama replied as follows: "My dear Hanuman, obeying the command of My father, for fourteen years I will not enter even a village, much less a city. As soon as Sugriva enters the opulent and enjoyable city, let him be crowned king." After saying this to Hanuman, Lord Rama said the following to Sugriva: "Conversant as you are with conduct, you should install Angada, who possesses tremendous strength and character, as prince regent. Because he is the son of your older brother, the noble-minded Angada should be installed as prince regent immediately.
"This is Shravana, the first month of the rainy seasonxi. My dear friend, the four months comprising the rainy season have now begun. This is not the time for an undertaking. Go enter your beautiful city. Meanwhile, I shall reside on this mountain with Lakshmana. This mountain cave is pleasant, large and airy. It has sufficient water and abundant lotus flowers and water lilies. When the month of Karttikaxii begins, endeavor to slay Ravana. This is our agreement, My friend. Now go enter your palace. Arrange to have yourself coronated as king and enjoy with your well-wishers."
Being ordered in this way by Rama, Sugriva, the king of the monkeys, entered the charming city of Kishkindha, which had previously been protected by Vali. When Sugriva entered the city, thousands of monkeys offered him their respects and then entered the city, surrounding him from all sides. Then, when the citizens saw their ruler, they bowed their heads respectfully and threw themselves on the ground all at the same time. After all the citizens got up from the ground, the glorious Sugriva spoke to them and then entered the pleasant inner chambers of his brother's palace. As soon as Sugriva came out of the palace, his well-wishers coronated him by anointing him, as the immortal gods did to Indra.
They brought him a white parasol with a pole covered with gold leaf and a pair of white yak-tail wisks with gold handles which brought one fame. They brought all kinds of gems, as well as grains and herbs, tree boughs with milky sap and flowers, pieces of white cloth and pale-colored ointments, perfumes and garlands of flowers that grow on land and in water, celestial sandalwood paste and many varieties of fragrances. There was also dried rice stained with yellow turmeric, seeds of priyangu grass, honey, clarified butter, yogurt, a tiger skin, a boar's skin, and a pair of sandals. Sixteen joyful maidens arrived there bearing fine oinments, a bright yellow pigment called go-rocana, and a red cosmetic called manah-shila. Then, after satisfying the best of brahmanas with jewels, cloth and food, they began the consecration of Sugriva according the circumstances and in accordance with the rules and regulations.
Thereafter those monkeys who were familiar with the mantras of the Vedas spread kusha grass, brought fire wood, lit the sacred fire, purified the fire to make it fit for sacrifice, and offered oblations of clarified butter into it. They sat Sugriva facing eastward on an excellent throne with golden legs and coronated him with different appropriate hymns. This was done in the upper chamber of a palace decorated with brightly-colored flower garlands. Those best of monkeys brought the pure, auspicious waters from all the holy rivers and all the holy places where people bathe, as well as from the ocean, and stored it in gold pots. As the Vasus coronated Indra with a ceremonial bath, Gaja, Gavaksha, Gavaya, Sharabha, Gandhamadana, Mainda, Dvivida, Hanuman, Jambavan and Nala joyfully bathed Sugriva, pouring the fragrant water through beautiful buffalo horns and from large, round-bellied pots made from wrought gold.
Once the great soul Sugriva's coronation was completed, all the monkeys shouted out with delight by the thousands. Obeying Lord Rama's request, Sugriva embraced Angada and installed him as prince regent. After Angada's installation, the noble monkeys all praised Sugriva, crying out: "Very good! Very good!" Being pleased by what had taken place, they praised Lord Rama and Lakshmana again and again. Being crowded with happy, well-fed people and decorated with banners and flags, the city of Kishkindha situated within a mountain cave looked very nice. Sugriva then informed the great soul Rama about his coronation, as well as how he had regained his wife Ruma and sovereignty over the kingdom, as Indra achieved rulership over the gods.
Rama Resides in a Cave on Mount Prasravana
After informing Lord Rama about his coronation as king, Sugriva went back in his cave. Then Rama went with His brother to Mount Prasravana, which was noisy because of its tigers and deer and infested with lions that roared frightfully. The mountain was covered with many bushes and vines and thickly forested with trees. The place was frequented by bears, monkeys, blue-faced baboons and wild cats. The mountain looked like a mass of clouds and had spring of pure water that never dried up. Rama and Lakshmana chose as Their residence a large, long cave on top of the mountain.
Having made an agreement with Sugriva that the search for Sita would be taken up after the rainy season, the sinless Rama spoke the following opportune and momentous words to Lakshmana: "This mountain cave is pleasant, spacious and airy. Let us reside in it, O Lakshmana, during the rainy nights. This lovely mountain peak is adorned with protruding crags which are white, black and red. It abounds in minerals and is beautified by caves from which streams full of croaking frogs flow. It is covered with groves of various kinds of trees, and vines with colorful flowers. It is noisy with the sounds of different kinds of birds and resounds with the loud cries of peakcocks. There are bushes of malati and jasmine, and blooming trees of sinduvara, shirisha, kadamba, arjuna and sarja. Moreover, this nice pond full of blossoming lotuses will be not far from Our cave, O prince. Since this cave faces the south-west, it will be very good for Us. Because it is only elevated on the western side, it will be protected from wind and rain, My dear brother. Furthermore, at the entrance of the cave there is a large rock which is level and smooth and resembles a pile of black eye cosmetic.
"O brother, look towards the north at that mountain peak! It resembles a pile of black powder or a rain cloud rising above the horizon. To the south there is another mountain which shines like silver, looks like Mount Kailasha and is adorned with all kinds of minerals. See the river flowing on the eastern side of the cave; it is just like the Mandakini River at Trikuta where we were staying previously. It is free from mud and is equal to the Ganges River. Its banks are adorned with trees such as sandalwood, tamala, atimukta, padmaka, sarala, vanira, timida, bakula, ketaka, hintala, tinisha, nipa, vetraka, and kritamalaka. With these trees growing with different shapes on the river's banks, it looks like a well-dressed young woman wearing fine cloth and ornaments. It is resounding with the cries of hundreds of flocks of many different kinds of birds. It is beautified by its ruddy geese which are fascinated with each other. It has pleasant sandy banks and is frequented by swans and cranes. The river looks like a fully dressed woman who is laughing heartily. In some places the river is covered with blue lotus flowers, in other places there are red ones and in other places, the newly opening buds of celestial white water lilies. Water fowl by the hundreds have taken shelter in this river and it resounds with the cries of peacocks and herons. This charming river is visited by multitudes of ascetics.
"See the sandalwood trees standing in nice rows, and the kakubha trees which seem to have appeared in order to please My mind. Oh, this region is most lovely, O conqueror of enemies! We could certainly enjoy Ourselves here, O Lakshmana. Let Us reside here comfortably. Sugriva's charming capital Kishkindha with its beautiful forests will not be very far from here. The sound of musical instruments can be heard, O best of victors, as well as the shouts of monkeys and the rhythmic beating of clay mridanga drums. Having regained his wife, kingdom and a great fortune, Sugriva must surely be rejoicing in the midst of his well-wishers." Speaking in this way, Rama began residing with Lakshmana on Prasravana Mountain, on which could be seen many caves and groves of trees.
Although the mountain possessed abundant pleasures and opulence, while residing on it, Rama did not find the slightest pleasure there because of His remembrance of His kidnapped consort. While lying on His bed at night, He could not sleep, even upon seeing the moon risen above the eastern horizon, His mind being agitated by both grief and the shedding of tears.
Lakshmana, who shared His brother's grief, spoke the following conciliatory words to Him who was constantly mourning and overwhelmed with grief: "You are dedicated to Your duties in this world. You believe in the existence of God and are devoted to Him. You are by nature pious and resolute too. If You remain irresolute, You will be especially unable to kill in combat Your enemy Ravana, who is treacherous in his actions. Up root Your grief and make Your determination firm. Then You should eliminate that rakshasa along with his clan. O descendant of Kakutstha, You are even able to turn upside down the earth with its oceans, mountains and forests, what to speak of Ravana. Wait until autumn, for the rainy season has just begun. Then You will annihilate Ravana along with his kingdom and army. I am simply awakening Your manliness, as one would rekindle a fire by pouring clarified butter on the hot coals at an appropriate time."
Accepting Lakshmana's advice as sound, Rama spoke the following tender words to His well-wisher: "O Lakshmana, the advice You have given Me is exactly what should be given by one who is devoted, affectionate, benevolent and endowed with unfailing prowess. I have completely given up My grief, which mars all one's activities. I shall now arouse My energy, which is unimpeded during acts of valor. I shall wait until autumn in accordance with Your request, looking forward to the goodness of Sugriva and the calming of the rivers. A hero who has been benefited in some way is obliged to repay that. An ungrateful person who does not repay his debt afflicts the hearts of the pious"
Accepting what Rama said as just, Lakshmana with joined palms replied to Rama, whose appearance was pleasing and who was exhibiting His fine intelligence: "Sugriva will soon accomplish everything that You desire, O king. Waiting for autumn, tolerate the botheration caused by the rain and remain determined to kill Your enemy. Restraining Your anger, wait for the fall season and endure these four months in My company. Reside here on this mountain which is inhabitated by lions to pass the time, even though You are capable of slaying Your enemy."
Rama Describes the Rainy Season
Having killed Vali, installed Sugriva as king and taken up residence on top of Mount Prasravana, Rama then said to Lakshmana: "The rainy season has now arrived. Just see the sky overcast with clouds that resemble mountains. Having sucked up water from the ocean through the sun's rays, the sky is producing life-giving rains, as if it were a fetus carried for nine monthsxiii. It is now possible to ascend into the sky by the staircase of the clouds and adorn the sun with garlands of kutaja and arjuna flowers. It seems as if the sky's wounds have been covered with clouds as wet bandages that are reddish along the edges because of being tinged by the twilight. With its gentle breezes like sighs, its pale clouds and its golden twilight like sandalwood paste, the sky looks as if it were love-sick.
"Having been tormented with heat and then flooded with fresh rains, the earth is exuding hot tears, as Sita surely must be doing in her affliction. Recently sprung from the depths of the clouds, as cooling as the leaves of a camphor tree and infused with the fragrance of ketaka flowers, the wind can be quaffed from the hollow of the joined hands. Similar to Sugriva's present situation, Mount Prasravana's enemy, the forest fire, is now eliminated. It's arjuna trees are in bloom. It is perfumed with the aroma of ketaka flowers and it is being bathed with torrents of rain. Due to being covered with clouds as if they were black antelope skins, adorned with showers of rain as if they were sacred threads worn by brahmanas and their caves howling with winds as if they were reciting hymns from the Vedas, the mountains seem like students who have finished their study of the Vedas. Lashed with gold whips in the form of lighnting bolts and rumbling from within its bosom, the sky appears to be anguishing. Lightning flashing in the depths of a dark blue cloud looks to Me like the ascetic Sita squirming in the embrace of Ravana.
"Apparently smeared by clouds and concealed, the directions in which the planets headed by the moon preside are favorably inclined toward those who are smitten with love. O Lakshmana, look at the kutaja trees in bloom on mountain tops! In some places they are covered with tears due to the excessive heat which they have endured. In other places they look satisfied by the rainfall and thus enkindle feelings of love in Me, even though I am stricken with grief. The dust has settled, the wind is cool and all the discomfort ocassioned by the hot season has been assuaged. Kings who were out on military expeditions have halted and people who were abroad are returning to their homes. Desirous of sojourning at Manasa-sarovara Lakexiv, the swans have departed and the ruddy geese are consorting with their mates. The carts and chariots no longer traverse the roads which are damaged by repeated rains. The sky, which is visible in some places and not visible in others, looks like the calm ocean which is interspersed here and there with mountains. The mountain streams quickly carry to the ocean their fresh water, which is mixed with sarja and kadamba flowers, is reddish with mountain minerals and is followed by the cries of peacocks.
"People are eating in abundance the jambu fruits, which are bursting with juice and resemble bumble bees. Mango fruits, which have turned various colors upon maturing, are falling to the ground when shaken by the wind. With lightning as their flags and herons in flight as their garlands, the clouds have the shape of mountains. They are rumbling like bellowing elephants in rut arrayed for battle. With their pastures nurtured by abundant rain and their peacocks dancing jubilantly, the forests on which the clouds have poured their rains look more lovely in the afternoons. Having rested repeatedly on the colossal peaks of mountains, the rumbling clouds studded with herons continue their journey. Flying quickly to meet their longed-for cloud, a jubilant row of herons looks like a long garland of white lotus flowers adorning the sky. With it new grass sprinkled with new-born red indragopa insects, the earth looks charming like a woman with a green blanket speckled with red conchineal wrapped tightly around her waist.
"Lord Vishnu slowly falls asleepxv, rivers run swiftly to the ocean, a female heron joyfully approaches a cloud, and a beautiful woman full of longing approaches her beloved. Peacocks are joyfully dancing in the forest regions; the kadamba trees have flowers on their branches; the bulls and cows are equally eager to unite; the earth looks very pleasant with its fields of grains and woodlands. The rivers are flowing, the clouds are pouring down rain, elephants in rut are trumpeting, the forest regions are looking beautiful, separated lovers are remembering each other, the peacocks are dancing, and the monkeys are feeling reassured. The great elephants feel overjoyed smelling the fragrance of ketaka flowers. They are pleased by hearing the sound of waterfalls in the midst of the forest, and bellow in unison with the peacocks. Being pelted with rain, the honey bees resting on the branches of a kadamba tree gradually shed the intoxication which had overtaken them suddenly due to imbibing the nectar of flowers. With their fully ripened fruits resembling balls of powdered charcoal and containing abundant juice, the branches of the jambu trees look as if they are being slowly sucked by swarms of honey bees.
"The forms of clouds adorned with flags of lightning and emitting deep and loud peals of thunder look beautiful like war elephants eager for battle. Being in rut, the elephant leader who has set out roaming the mountains and forests in search of combat, upon hearing the rumbling of the clouds, turns around, suspecting it to be a call to combat. Singing in some places by its swarms of honey bees, dancing in other places through its blue-necked peacocks, and becoming enraged in other areas through its great elephants in rut, the forest regions appeared endowed with different characteristics. Abounding in kadamba, sarja, arjuna and kandala trees, supplied with fresh water, and resounding with the cries of dancing peacocks in rut, the land of the forest region looks like a place intended for drinking spiritous liquor. Thristy birds joyfully drink the crystal-clear water given by Indra which has fallen like pearls and collected in the hollows of leaves. Doing this, the birds' wings become discolored by the wetness of the water. A concert has begun in the woodlands in the form of the sound of mridanga drums through the rumbling of clouds, the sweet accompaniment of stringed intruments through the humming of honey bees, and the rhtymic beat of croaking frogs.
"Music and dancing were seemingly set into motion in the forests by peacocks dancing merrily in one area, others crying out loudly in another area; in still another area peacocks were perched on the tops of trees observing everything with their jewel-like tails hanging down loose. Upon being awakened from their long hibernation by the repeated rumbling of clouds and aroused by the fresh rains, frogs of different sizes, shapes, colors and sounds began croaking. Washing away their worn-out banks, the proud rivers with ruddy geese floating on their surfaces rush to meet their lord, the ocean, bearing him offerings of fruits and flowers for his pleasure. Dark blue clouds full of fresh rain cling to other such clouds, as rocks scourched by a forest fire cling to other similar rocks, being bound at the base. Elephants wander through the most delightful forests, in which are heard the cries of peacocks in heat. In those forests the tracts of grass are speckled with the tiny red insects called indragopa. The forests themselves are scented with the fragrance of arjuna and kadamba trees. Ignoring the lotus flowers whose filaments had been destroyed by the recent rains, black bumblebees joyfully suck the honey of newly blooming kadamba flowers with intact filaments.
"Mighty elephants roam about in rut, bulls are joyful, lions are more valorous in the forests, the great mountains look lovely, kings are quiet, and Lord Indra is sporting with the rain clouds. With their torrents of rain, the clouds hanging over the sky drown out the roar of the ocean, causing the rivers, ponds, lakes and reservoirs to overflow and flood the whole land. Abundant rains fall on the earth, winds blow with increased force, while rivers that have washed away their banks make roads impassable. As monarchs are consecrated with a ceremonial bath, the great mountains exhibit their beauty and splendor while being bathed with water carried in pitchers in the form of clouds by the wind god as a gift from Lord Indra. Because of the sky's being covered with clouds, neither the sun nor stars are visible. The earth is wet because of the recent showers, and, being covered with darkness, the cardinal directions are indiscernible. After being washed clean by the showers, the great mountains look very beautiful with numerous waterfalls resembling long strands of pearls.
"With their force being impeded by protruding rocks, the waterfalls sparkle like breaking necklaces whose pearls are falling into caves in which peacocks cry out loudly. After falling with great force and washing the lower regions of the mountains, the cascades are arrested by large caverns. Resembling the necklaces worn by celestial damsels that are broken by the force of sexual embrace, the unparalleled cascades fall on all sides. Since the sun cannot be seen during the whole day, the only way by which it can be known that it is night is by the fact that birds return to their nests, the lotus flowers close and the evening jasmine buds open. Kings have turned back their military expeditions and their armies stand obstructed by the weather. Indeed, hostilities and roads have both been reduced to the same state by water. Now it is that time in the month of bhadrapada (August) for beginning study of the Vedas for those brahmanas who chant the Sama Veda.
"Having finished preparing His dwelling for the rainy season and accumulated sufficient necessities to last during that period, Bharata, the king of Kosala, must have undertaken the vow of caturmasya which begins in the month of ashadha (July). The current of the swelling Sarayu River is increasing, like the shouts of the people of Ayodhya when they see Me returned from exile. Having defeated his enemy, reunited with his wife and established as ruler over his kingdom, Sugriva is enjoying happiness during these rains which manifest numerous good qualities. Having lost My wife and extensive kingdom, I am suffering like a bank being corroded by a river, O Lakshmana! My grief is great, the rains have made travel impossible, and My enemy Ravana seems unassailable. When I saw how difficult it was to travel on the roads, I made no demand on Sugriva, even though he was submissive to Me.
"I did not want to say anything to Sugriva because he had just then been reunited with his wife after a long period of suffering, and My task is a long and arduous one. After resting sufficiently and realizing when it is time for action, Sugriva will remember his obligation, of this there is no doubt. Therefore, I am simply awaiting the mercy of Sugriva and the rivers, O prince! A heroic soul is certainly inclined to fulfill his obligations, whereas an ungrateful person who does not pay his debts offends those endowed with goodness."
Praising Lord Rama's observation and thinking for a while, Lakshmana, with joined palms, showed His good judgement in the following way: "O king, soon Sugriva will accomplish all Your desired goals. Endure the hindrance caused by the rain until the arrival of autumn, remaining intent on destroying Your enemy."
Hanuman Urges Sugriva to Search for Sita
When the rainy season came to an end, Hanuman saw that the sky was clear, free from lightning and clouds, crowded with cranes, resonant with their cries, and illuminated with a lovely light. He also saw that Sugriva, who had achieved his goals, was negligent in acquiring wealth and religious merit. Instead, Sugriva had taken to the path of the ungodly, thinking only of his own affairs. Having accomplished his goals and finished his duties, Sugriva was simply enjoying the company of beautiful women. Indeed, Sugriva had achieved all his cherished goals-he had regained his own wife Ruma and had also gained the hand of Tara, whom he had desired all along. Now he was enjoying day and night, with his anxieties extinguished and his wishes fulfilled, just as Indra enjoys himself with the hordes of gandharvas and apsaras. After intrusting the administration of the kingdom to his ministers, he did not bother to oversee them. Now that all danger to his kingdom had been removed, he engaged himself in lusty activities.
Hanuman, the son of the wind god, had ascertained the meaning of all the sacred scriptures and was completely familiar with what should be done and what should not be done. He knew the duties required for particular occasions and was expert in expressing himself. Thus Hanuman approached Sugriva, who understand the truth underlying what was said to him, and who harbored deep love and trust toward Hanuman. After propitiating Sugriva in various ways with reasonable arguments, Hanuman addressed him with the following words, which were friendly, truthful, beneficial, persuasive, righteous, prudent and full of meaning: "You have regained your kingdom and fame, and you have increased the prosperity of your dynasty. But you still have to gain the goodwill of friends. A monarch who knows how to act in relation to friends increases his dominion, glory and valor. O king, he to whom the treasury, the military, friends and one's own self are all equal enjoys a large dominion.
"You are rich in moral conduct and are situated on a path free from danger. Therefore you should achieve the purpose of your friend Lord Rama since you had promised to do so. One who out of illusion does not enthusiastically abandon all other duties to accomplish the goal of a friend meets with disaster. He who achieves the purpose of a friend only after the alotted time has passed does not act in a way beneficial to that friend, even though he might accomplish great things. The search for Sita, which is the goal of our friend Rama, is getting delayed! Therefore, let us accomplish this task for Shri Rama. Because He is so submissive to you, O king, Lord Rama will not tell you that it is time to begin the search, even though He knows it is now time and is in a hurry to begin.
"Rama is responsible for the prosperity of your dynasty and will remain your friend for a long time. His power is immeasurable and His personal virtues are unequaled. As He helped you achieve your goals, now you help Him achieve His. Order the monkey chiefs to summon the monkey hordes. If this task is begun without any pressure from Rama, then it will be as if everything was done timely. However, if the task is done only on the urging of Rama, it will surely be considered that there was a delay. You should carry out Rama's task even if you had not achieved your own goals. How much more are you obliged to Him when He has killed your enemy Vali and won for you your kingdom. Although you are stong and exceptionally valliant, why do you delay in ordering the monkeys to begin the search and thus win the pleasure of Rama, the son of King Dasharatha? Although Rama is able to subdue the gods, demons and giant serpents with His arrows, He has given you the opportunity to fulfill your promise. He has performed a great act of kindness for you without hesitating to kill Vali. Therefore, let us search for His wife Sita on the earth as well as in the heavens. Neither gods, danavas, gandharvas, demons, maruts, or yakshas can frighten Him. As such, O king of monkeys, you should whole-heartedly satisfy Lord Rama, who is so powerful and who has previously done you favors. By your command, O lord of monkeys, none of us will cease in our search whether below the earth, on the earth, in the water, in the air or in the heavens. Therefore, give orders as to who should do what and in what place. In fact, more than a million monkeys who are invinicible are at your command, O sinless one!"
Upon hearing Hanuman's request, which was opportune and well-worded, Sugriva made the proper decision. He duly instructed Nila to summon the troops from all directions. He said: "Please see that my entire army, as well as all the troop leaders assemble without delay before their commander-in-chief. Those swift-footed and energetic monkeys who are guarding the frontiers should quickly leave their posts and present themselves in obedience to my command. Capital punishment will be the reward for any monkey taking more than two fortnights to come here. There will be no reconsideration on this point. In the company of Angada, you should definitely approach the monkey elders with this command of mine."
After making this arrangement, the mighty Sugriva retired to his palace.
Rama Sends Lakshmana to Remind Sugriva
After Sugriva had returned to his cavern and the sky was free from clouds, Lord Rama, who was residing on Mount Prasravana for the length of the rainy season, began to feel agony because of His love for Sita and the anguish of being separated from Her. He was pained to see the sky clear, the orb of the moon free from clouds and the autumn night illuminated by moonlight. Seeing Sugriva leading a life of sense gratification, while the time to begin the search for Sita had passed, Rama felt perplexed. When He had regained His mental balance, the wise Rama, the protector of men, began thinking of Sita, although She existed in His mind. While seated on the peak of the mountain beautified with gold ore, Shri Rama observed the autumn sky and began thinking of His dear consort. Seeing that the sky was clear, being free from lightning and clouds, and that it resounded with the cries of herons, Rama lamented with plaintive words:
"How could that young woman of Mine be enjoying now when She was accustomed to immitating with Her voice the cries of herons making love? Seeing the Asana trees in bloom, which are as brilliant as gold, how could that young woman of Mine be enjoying now without seeing Me? How will that lady, whose voice was so tender, whose every limb was so charming and who was accustomed to be wakened by the sound of swans, wake up now? How will that lady with eyes as broad as the petals of a lotus flower feel when see hears the sound of ruddy geese cavorting about in pairs. Whether wandering about on the shore of lakes and streams or groves and forests, I am now unable to find any happiness without that fawn-eyed damsel. Constantly being increased by the qualities of autumn, love must be afflicting that fine lady because of Her tender age and separation from Me."
In this and other ways did that best of men, Prince Rama, lament, like a catakaxvi bird longing for water from Lord Indra. Returning after wandering about in those pleasant mountains in search of fruits, the handsome Lakshmana saw His elder brother. Seeing Rama all alone, overwhelmed with unbearable anxiety, without external awareness, despondent and miserable, the intelligent Lakshmana spoke to Him as follows:
"What is the use of abasing yourself by surrendering to love, O noble one? This always destroys mental concentration. Can You not regain your composure by some effort? Perform Your duties to completion. Let Your mind be peaceful. Devote Your time to concentrating Your mind. Getting the help of capable persons like Sugriva, make Yourself strong. Having You as Her protector, Sita cannot be easily retained by anyone else. No one can escape being burned when hugging a blazing flame of fire, O worthy hero!"
Rama then spoke the following words, characteristic of His nature, to Lakshmana, who possessed auspicious marks and who was unassailable: "Your words are beneficial, acceptable, logical, consoling and conducive to righteousness and material gain. Undoubtedly, the matter at hand should be carried out with special attention. But We should not merely think of the fruit of this undertaking, which cannot be impeded, O prince!
Remembering Sita, whose eyes resembled the petals of a lotus flower, Rama, whose face was withered, spoke as follows to Lakshmana: "Having showered the earth with rain, the thousand-eyed Indra is now peaceful, his work being completed. Having dropped their rains while rumbling deeply as they passed over mountains and trees, the clouds are exhausted. The clouds which were the color of a dark-blue lotus flower and which obscured all ten directions are now peaceful like elephants that have satisfied their lusty desires.
"The rainy winds, which blew strongly, were full of water and carried the fragrance of flowering kutaja and arjuna trees, has ceased blowing, though it is capable of doing so. The uproar caused by clouds, elephants, peacocks and waterfalls has suddenly stopped, O sinless one. The mountains are shining beautifully as if their peaks have been cleaned of their impurities by the huge clouds. The autumn rivers can be seen flowing slowly between their sandy banks, like a broad-waisted woman shy about a recent love affair. Autumn has arrived, manifesting its beauty on the branches of saptacchada trees, in the light of the sun, moon and stars, and in the pastimes of preeminent elephants. With Her loveliness manifested in numerous ways and adorned with the beauties of autumn, the goddess of fortune excessively exhibits Her charm in the clusters of lotus flowers openned by the first rays of the sun. Scented with the fragrance of the flowers of saptacchada trees and resounding with the buzzing of honeybees, the breezes blowing in the forests greatly agitate the elephants in rut.
"With their large, extended wings covered with the pollen of lotus flowers while coursing the sandy banks of large rivers, the swans fond of rivers are consorting with ruddy geese. Loveliness is manifested in many ways: in elephants maddened with rut, in herds of excited cows and in the downward flowing of plesant waters. Having shed their tail-feathers, the peacocks have lost their beauty and festivity, no longer feeling attachment for their mates. Noticing that the sky was free from any clouds, the peacocks have become absorbed in thinking about them. The depths of the forests seem to be illuminated with the golden tips of the priyaka trees which are very pleasing to the eyes and fragrant with a gratifying aroma. Elephants fond of lotus ponds are wandering about with their mates in the blossoming florest. Being agitated by lust and longing for intercourse, those excellent elephants are moving rather slowly. The clear sky is the color of a freshly polished sword. The waters of rivers are flowing in narrow streams. The blowing winds are cool due to contact with white lotus flowers. And the directions are bright, being freed from the darkness caused by clouds.
"Due to the heat of the sun, the mud has vanished and the earth is covered with dust after a long time. Now is the time for monarchs with enmity to do battle with one another. Overjoyed bulls whose beautiful forms have been enhanced by the qualities of autumn and whose bodies are covered with dust, being excited by lust and ready to fight with one another, are bellowing in the midst of cows. The she-elephants of good lineage, being smitten with love, though accustomed to moving quickly, are slowly rambing through the forest with their mates, sometimes encirling them. Having shed their magnificent tail-feathers, the peacocks on the banks of rivers go away miserable and dispirited as if frightened by the swarms of herons. Startling the ducks and ruddy geese by their loud bellows, the stately elephants standing in lakes adorned with lotuses drink the water after slashing it again and again. Joyful swans land on rivers which are free from mud, lined with sand, filled with tasty water and frequented by herds of cows and flocks of herons and which resound with their noises.
"The din raised by the flowing of rivers, the rumbling of clouds, the roar of waterfalls and the howling of wind, as well as the crying of peacocks and the croaking of frogs has completely ceased. Highly venemous snakes of many different colors were shut up in their tunnels since the first rains. Emaciated and stricken with hunger, they are coming out of their holes. Oh, the twilight, tinged red with passion, has abandoned her blue clothes, the sky, her eyes sparkling with joy like stars due to the touch of shimmering moonbeams! With the risen moon as her charming face, the shining stars as her beautiful eyes and enveloped in moonlight, the night looks like a lady whose body is draped with white cloth. Jubilant from eating fully ripened grains, herons fly in an attractive line, dashing across the sky, like a knotted string being carried away by the wind. With a single swan sleeping in its midst and being decorated with flowers, the water of the great lake looks delightful, like the night sky illuminated by the full moon and beautified with masses of stars.
"With a broken girdle of scattered swans and decorated with garlands of blooming lotuses, the excellent lakes' beauty is now increased, like lovely women adorned with jewelry. Mixed with the music produced by whistling bamboos and spread everywhere by the morning breeze, the sounds of butter churns, cows and bulls amplify each other. The banks of rivers are beautified by clumps of kasha grass with its blossoming fronds agitated by the gentle wind, resembling pieces of freshly washed cloth. Bees fond of drinking honey merrily wander through the forests with their mates. Being intoxicated, they travel on the forest breezes, their bodies looking golden due to the pollen of lotuses and asana flowers. The clear waters, blosoming lotuses, cries of herons, ripened fields of grain, gentle breezes and spotless moon indicate the end of the rainy season. The rivers with their visible girdle of fish are now moving slowly, like women who have enjoyed with their lovers at night and are therefore not anxious to move about at sunrise.
"With their surfaces covered with ruddy geese, duckweed and clumps of kasha grass, the rivers resemble women whose faces are anointed with golden gorocanaxvii and enhanced with lines of cosmetics. Having grasped his bow and departed, Cupid, who is capable of fierce punishment, is now performing dreadful deeds in the forests, which are beautified by blooming bana and asana trees and are resounding with jubilant honeybees. After completely satisfing the world with abundant rain, filling the rivers and reservoirs, bestowing upon the earth ripe grains, and abadoning the sky, the clouds have vanished. My dear friend, the lakes look very charming with their pleasant waters, resounding with the cries of ospreys and crowded with ruddy geese. On the mountain peaks can be seen asana, saptaparna, kovidara, bandhujiva, tamala trees and shyama vines in bloom. O Lakshmana, see how the sandy river banks are crowded all about with swans, cranes, ruddy geese and ospreys. The time has arrived for inimical kings desirous of victory to act, My friend. This is the time for the first expedition of kings, O prince, but I see neither Sugriva nor any activity instigated by him.
"The four months of the rainy season have passed as if they were one hundred years because of my grief upon not seeing Sita. She followed Me into the formidable Dandaka Forest, as a ruddy goose would follower her mate into a garden. O Lakshmana, Sugriva is not being merciful to Me, even though I am separated from My darling, stricken with grief, deprived of My kingdom and living in exile. Because I am rejected by My family, bereft of My kingdom and outraged by Ravana, for these and other reasons the wicked Sugriva holds Me in contempt. After fixing a time to begin the search for Sita, that fool ignores it because he has already accomplished his goals. Therefore, enter the city of Kishkindha and say the following on My behalf to that foolish monkey attached to worldly pleasures:
`If after promising to assist those who have rendered service in the past, one breaks that promise, he is the lowest of men. On the other hand, a warrior who keeps his promise, whether it leads to good or evil, is the best of men. Carnivorous beasts will not even eat the cadavers of those who, after achieving their own goals, do not aid their friends in achieving theirs. Do you really wish to see My bow resembling a cluster of thunderbolts when I grasp its gilded frame on the battlefield? Do you wish to hear again the dreadful twang of My bowstring thundering like a bolt of lightning when I am angry on the battlefield?'
"Fully knowing My desire and My prowess in battle, and that I have You as My assistant, how is it that Sugriva is not in anxiety? Having accomplished his own purpose, that lord of monkeys ignores the reason for which we struck up friendship with eath other, O conqueror of enemy cities. After promising to take up My cause at the end of the rainy season, that monkey chieftan, enjoying himself as he is, does not recognize that the four months have already transpired. Amusing himself with his ministers and associates while drinking, Sugriva is not being kind to Us whom are afflicted with grief.
"Go and inform Sugriva about the form which My anger will assume, O mighty youth: `The path taken by Vali when killed on the battlefield is not yet closed. Stand by your promise, Sugriva! Do not follow Vali's path. In battle I only killed Vali. But I shall slay you, a breaker of promises, along with all your people.'
"Since this undertaking is impeded, way whatever is necessary initiate it, O best of men. Hurry! The time has already passed! Tell Sugriva: `Considering your promise to Me as an eternal principle, keep it, O lord of monkeys. Do not let yourself see Vali in the world of the dead when you are sent there by My arrows today!'"
Seeing His disconsolate elder brother completely enraged and ranting, that master of humanity developed a severe attitude toward Sugriva.
Lakshmana Angrily Goes to Kishkindha
Lakshmana spoke as follows to His elder brother Rama, who, though of royal lineage, was overwhelmed with grief and longing for His consort: "Sugriva is not following the example of the virtuous, nor does he recognize the relation between an action and its result. He will not be able to enjoy his royal simian opulence for long, for his mind does not concern itself with Your goal. Due to loss of reason, he has become attached to the pleasures of life and has no intention of helping You after You had kindly assisted him. O hero, let him die and meet his elder brother Vali. Such an unqualified person should not be given a kingdom. I cannot control my anger which is impetuous. I shall kill Sugriva this very day. Let Sugriva's son Angada commence the search for Sita with the help of outstanding monkey warriors."
As Lakshmana finished making known His intentions of slaying Sugriva, He began to rush off to Kishkindha, holding His bow and seething with anger for combat. Just then Rama, the slayer of enemy warriors, spoke the following words, which were well-thought and civil: "Certainly no one like You would ever commit such a sin in this world. One who slays sin by right deliberation is a valiant warrior and the best of men. You should not entertain such thoughts, O Lakshmana, for You always conduct Yourself piously. Remember the love and friendship between Sugriva and Myself and Our former activities together. Abandoning Your anger, You should speak in a concilliatory manner to Sugriva, who is guilty of tardiness, reminding him that the time for him to act has passed."
Having been fully instructed by His elder brother about how to act, Lakshmana, the slayer of enemy soldiers, left for the city of Kishkindha. Then the clear-thinking and intelligent Lakshmana, who was working for the benefit of His elder brother, being furious, entered Sugriva's palace. Holding His bow which was as brilliant as a rainbow, formidable like a mountain peak and equal to all-conquering time, Lakshmana resembled Mount Mandara. Lakshmana was thinking about what He was suppposed to say to Sugriva and what He expected Sugriva to say in reply. Though equal to Brihaspati in intelligence, He was inclined to do as instructed by His brother. He was surrounded by the fire of anger sprung from His brother's displeasure at not recovering Sita. Being irritated, Lakshmana rushed ahead like a gale wind, felling sala, tala, ashvakarna and other trees, and knocking over mountain peaks by His speediness. Crushing the stones under His feet like an elephant, Lakshmana took long strides because of His haste to accomplish His task on behalf of Rama. Lakshmana saw the great city of the simian chieftan Sugriva situated on an impassible mountain and surrounded by an army of monkeys. Lakshmana, whose lips were trembling from anger at Sugriva, saw fearsome monkeys roaming outside Kishkindha.
Seeing Lakshmana, the monkeys, who resembled elephants, snatched up hundreds of boulders and huge trees from the tops of mountains. When Lakshmana saw that the monkeys were holding weapons, He became doubly angry, like a fire increased by additional fuel. Seeing Lakshmana so furious, like death-inflicting time, the monkeys fled in all directions, their bodily limbs trembling due to fear. They thereupon entered Sugriva's palace and informed him of Lakshmana's angry arrival. At that time Sugriva, who was attached to enjoying the company of women, was with his consort Tara and did not heed the warning which the soldiers bore. After being ordered by the king's ministers, the monkeys, who resembled mountains, elephants or clouds and caused one's hairs to stand on end, proceeded out of the city. With claws and fangs as weapons, they were fierce-looking. They were all as proud as tigers and had fearsome faces. Some were as strong as ten elephants, some as strong as one hundred, and some as strong as one thousand.
Lakshmana then surveyed Kishkindha, which was difficult to assail and was surrounded by a vast army of monkeys holding tree trunks in their hands. Thereafter all the monkey soldiers came out of the fortifications and made themselves clearly visible. Thinking about Sugriva's negligence and His elder brother's anguish, Lakshmana again became overwhelmed with anger. Heaving long, hot sighs, his eyes turned red from anger so that that tiger among men looked like a smokey fire. Lakshmana resembled a five-headed serpent, the tips of His arrows being the tongues, His bow being the coils, and His martial skill being its poison. Becoming greatly despondent out of fear, Angada duly approached the enfuriated Lakshmana, who resembled the fire of universal devastation or the Lord of serpents, Ananta-shesha.
With eyes red due to anger, the glorious Lakshmana commanded Angada in the following way: "Tell Sugriva about My arrival with these words: `Here is Lakshmana, the destroyer of enemies, arrived before you. Afflicted by the suffering of His brother, He is standing at your door. If it pleases you, heed his words, O monkey.' After delivering this message to him, O conqueror of assailants, return quickly."
Upon hearing Lakshmana's request, Angada became overwhelmed with anxiety. He therefore approached his uncle and said: "Lakshmana has arrived." When Angada first heard Lakshmana's message, he departed greatly disturbed in mind and with his face twisted with alarm. First he bowed to his uncle Sugriva, then to his aunt Ruma and his mother Tara. After touching the feet of his uncle, he once again touched those of his aunt and mother. He then grabbed hold very tightly of Ruma's feet and again made known the afore-mentioned matter. Sugriva, however, being quite asleep, unconscious, intoxicated from drinking liquor and enfatuated by love, did not wake up. Seeing that Lakshmana was furious, the monkeys, being overcome with fear, raised a hue and a cry in hopes of pacifying Him. They raised a loud clammor near Lakshmana that sounded like pounding ocean waves, peals of thunder, or roaring lions. That loud noise woke Sugriva. He was disoriented due to intoxication, his eyes were red as copper and he wore only flower garlands.
The two ministers, Plaksha and Prabhava, had accompanied Angada. They gave wise counsel, were noble-looking and were highly esteemed by Sugriva himself. Standing respectfuly beside Sugriva, who was sitting like Indra, the lord of the winds, they informed him about the presence of Lakshmana, who had come to teach him about material well-being and righteousness. They said: "Having assumed human-like forms, the two highly glorious brothers, Rama and Lakshmana, who are always true to Their word and worthy of sovereignty, have made you king. One of Them Lakshmana, is stading at the door with a bow in His hands, because of which the monkeys are all shaking violently and shrieking loudly. Here is Lakshmana, the younger brother of Rama, who has arrived under the order of Rama with a message from Him and the determination to see that it is carried out. And this dear son of Tara, Angada, has been sent by Lakshmana to you, O sinless one. This Lakshmana, whose angry eyes seem to burn the monkeys, is standing at the door. Go immediately with your relatives and son and bow your head before Him to appease His anger. Do whatever the righteous Rama requests you to do. Follow the conditions of the agreement and be truthful to your promise."
Hanuman Addresses Sugriva
When Sugriva heard the message brought by Angada and the two ministers regarding how angry Lakshmana was, he got up off of his bed. Having heard the entreaty of his ministers, Sugriva, who was expert in taking counsel from his advisors and adept at political maneuvers, understanding the gravity of Lakshmana's anger and the vanity of his frivolity, spoke the following words to his ministers: "I have not uttered any harsh word nor have I committed any wrong against Rama. I am therefore wondering why Rama's brother Lakshmana is angry with me. Probably my enemies who are always seeking to bring me to grief have told Lakshmana about some supposed faults of mine. In this situation, we should try to carefully ascertain the actual state of mind of Lakshmana. In fact, I am not afraid of Lakshmana or Rama. However, a friend who is unduly angry does cause misgivings. It is very easy to make friends, but difficult to maintain that friendship until the end. Because of the fickle nature of the mind, friendship is broken even over insignificant things. Therefore am I now afraid, for I am unable to repay the favor which the great soul Rama has done for me."
After Sugriva finished speaking in this way, the best of monkeys Hanuman made on the basis of his own logic the following statement in the midst of the monkey counselors: "It is not at all surprising that you, the lord of monkey hordes, have forgotten the kind service rendered to you. The heroic Rama rejected fear at a distance when he killed for your sake Vali, who was equal in prowess to Indra. His anger in this case is no doubt out of affection for you and has therefore sent His younger brother Lakshmana here. As unattentive as you are, you are unaware what the date is. The auspicious autumn green with saptacchada trees in bloom has already begun. The sky, being free of clouds, is illuminated by shining, bright planets. All the directions, as well as the rivers and lakes, are very pleasing.
"You are unaware that it is now the time for military undertakings, O best of monkeys. You are obviously absentminded and therefore Lakshmana has come to remind you of your duty. The harsh language spoken by Rama is out of distress for His consort Sita. Therefore you should tolerate it. In fact, because of your offence, I do not see any other means of pacifying Lakshmana except going before Him with folded hands. A king should receive good advice from counselors appointed for that purpose. That is why, abandoning all fear, I shall tell you something over which I have carefully deliberated. Raising His bow when angry, Lord Rama is able to bring under submission the whole universe, including gods, demons and gandharvas. It is not proper to provoke Him who deserves to be indemnified when one remembers the good deed done by Him and is thankful for it. O king, bow your head along with your sons and well-wishers. Stick to your agreement with Rama, as a wife remains submissive to her husband. You should not disregard Rama or Lakshmana's order, not even mentally. For your mind knows the extensive manly power of Rama, who is equal in prowess to Indra, as well as that of Lakshmana."
Lakshmana Enters Kishkindha
After this, Angada returned from Sugriva's palace and requested Lakshmana to enter the delightful cavern in which the city of Kishkindha was located. Lakshmana did so to fulfill the order of Lord Rama. The monkeys who stood guard at the gate were huge-bodied and strong. They all stood there with joined palms watching Lakshmana. The monkeys were terrified to see Lakshmana snorting angrily, and dared not encircle Him. Lakshmana saw the huge and pleasant cavern of Kishkindha, which was adorned with sparkling gems. It was dazzling and graced with goves of blossoming trees. It possessed many mansions and palaces which were illuminated by their innumerable jewels. It was beautified by the presence of flowering kalpa-vriksha trees which can fulfill all one's desires. All about were handsome monkeys wearing bright flower garlands and clothes. They were the sons of demigods and gandharvas and could assume any form at will. Kishkindha was scented with the sweet aroma of sandalwood, aloe and lotus flowers, and its roads were fragrant with the smell of cider and honey. Lakshmana saw mountain streams whose waters were crystal-clear. He also saw the abode of Angada, and along the main boulevard He saw the prominent mansions of the following important monkeys: Mainda, Dvivida, Gavaya, Gavaka, Gaja, Sharabha, Vidyunmali, Subahu, Nala, Kumuda, Sushena, Tara, Jambavan, Dadhivaktra, Nila, Supatala and Sunetra. They were shining like white clouds and were adorned with thousands of flower garlands. They contained abundant wealth and food grains and were beautified by the presence of jewel-like women.
He then saw the enchanting and unassailable palace of Sugriva, which was encrusted all over with white crystal and which was equal to Indra's palace. It had white spires like the peaks of Mount Kailasa, and was further enhanced by blossoming trees capable of satisfying all one's desires. It also had mind-pleasing trees gifted by Indra. These resembled dark clouds and produced heavenly flowers and fruits and provided cooling shade. Its gates were guarded by soldiers with weapons in their hands. It was covered with garlands of flowers and was white with gates covered with refined gold.
The mighty Lakshmana entered Sugriva's charming palace without hindrance, as the sun enters a great cloud. After passing through seven courtyards which were crowded with people, the righteous Lakshmana saw the grand, secluded residential quarters of Sugriva. It was furnished here and there with many fine couches covered with gold and silver that were spread with valuable cloth covers. As soon as He entered those chambers, He heard the sweet sound of metrical singing accompanied by harmonious stringed instruments. The mighty Lakshmana also saw in Sugriva's chambers many ladies with different bodily proportions who were proud of their beauty and youth. Those ladies of high lineage with their bodies adorned with the finest jewelry were engaged in stringing lavish flower garlands. Lakshmana also saw Sugriva's attendants, who were never unsatisfied, without engagement or devoid of nice clothes and ornaments.
Lakshmana felt embarrassed when He heard the soft tingling of the ladies' anklebells and golden waist belts. Upon hearing the sound of those ornaments, He became highly excited due to the intensity of His anger. He therefore plucked His bow string, filling all the directions with its sound. Restrained only by His own good character, Lakshmana withdrew to a distance, enraged as He was on account of Rama's condition. Alarmed to learn of Lakshmana's arrival by the twang of His bow, Sugriva got up from his throne. He thought: "Just as Angada had informed me earlier, Lakshmana, who is very fond of His brother Rama, has obviously arrived." Having learned from both Angada and the twang of the bow that Lakshmana had arrived, Sugriva's mouth became dry. Thereupon Sugriva asked the following friendly question of the fair Tara, although his mind was bewildered by fear:
"I wonder why Lakshmana, who is by nature mild, has come here as though He were angry, O lady with lovely eyebrows? Do you know the cause of the prince's anger, O innocent lady? Surely such an exemplary person would not become angry without due cause. If you are able to ascertain what it is which we have done that has displeased Him, please make it known without any further delay. Or else, my lady, you should go and personally pacify Him with soothing words. When the pure-minded Lakshmana sees you, he will not be able to remain angry, for great souls never act harshly towards women. I shall meet with Lakshmana, whose eyes resemble the petals of a lotus flower, only after He has been placated by you."
Faltering as she walked, the golden cord of her girdle becoming loose and her eyes rolling due to intoxication, Tara bowed her slim body out of modesty as she came into the presence of Lakshmana. Seeing that Sugriva's wife had arrived, the royal prince looked downwards and became indifferent, His anger ceasing due to the proximity of a woman. Because of having drunken liquor and because of the peaceful appearance of the prince, Tara did not feel shy. She spoke the following meaningful and conciliatory words which were bold due to affection: "What is the reason for Your anger, O prince? Who has disobeyed Your command? Who would intrepidly rush towards a grove of dry trees to escape a forest fire?
Upon hearing her words, Lakshmana's doubts were eradicated. Lakshmana then replied with the following affectionate words: "This husband of yours has shunned the attainment of righteousness and material amelioration, being engrossed in sense gratification, O lady intent on the well-being of your husband! Why do you not remind him of this? He does not concern himself with the affairs of the state, nor with Us who are sunken in misery. In the company of his ministers, O Tara, he engages himself in trying to satisfy his senses. After fixing the limit of four months before commencing the search for Sita, Sugriva is unaware that the time has passed because he is enjoying himself drinking liquor. Drinking liquor is not considered praiseworthy for those who wish to attain religious merit and material amelioration. Wealth, enjoyment and righteousness are lost due to drinking. A great loss of religious merit occurs when one fails to repay a favor. One's material interests are harmed when one looses a virtuous friend. A friend is one who is dedicated to truth and righteousness and who is foremost at advancing the interests of his friend. Both of these have been abandoned by your husband, for he is not steadfast in the execution of duty. Being knowledgeable about the nature of duty, please tell Us what We should do in the present circumstances in order to achieve the great task lying before Us." 
After hearing Lakshmana's words, which were conducive to righteousness, material gain and mental concentration, and which revealed His sweet nature, Tara replied to Him in a way which showed her faith in Rama's goal: "This is not the time for anger, O prince, nor should anger be shown to a friend. You should tolerate the negligence of Sugriva since he does wish to help You achieve Your goal. How can one who is exceedingly virtuous vent his anger against someone weaker, O prince? How could a person like You give in to anger when You are always self-controlled and a well-spring of sobriety? I know the reason for the anger of Rama, the friend of the monkey warriors. I know the reason for the delay in realizing Rama's mission. I know the deed done by You on our behalf and I know what we have to do in this connection. I also know how strong the desire for sense enjoyment is among those who have material bodies. I also know to whom this attachment is fastened by the fetters of lust and how Sugriva is now completely detached. Because You are under the sway of anger, You do not understand someone under the control of lust. A man attached to the fulfillment of lust does not give any more importance to time and place than he does to his own material gain and religious merit. Therefore, please pardon Your brother Sugriva, the lord of the monkey dynasty, for he was engaged in fulfilling his own lust while at my side and has abandoned all shame in the attempt to satisfy his lustiness. Even great sages who were charismatic because of their practice of religiosity and austerity and their ability to inhibit their urges have lusty desires. Therefore, how is it possible that this monkey, being fickle and a king, would not become attached to material happiness?"
After having made this meaningful reply to Lakshmana, Tara once more spoke words that were for the benefit of her husband: "For a long time Sugriva has cherished the idea of undertaking Your quest, O best of men, even though he is a slave to lust. For that reason, hundreds of thousands of valorous monkeys residing in the mountains and who are capable of assuming any form at will have arrived here. Therefore, come inside our chambers, O strong-armed one, who have been guarding Your character by staying respectfully outside the women's quarters. The pious do not consider it wrong to glance on others' wife with a friendly eye."
Being invited by Tara and being in a hurry because of His brother's command, the physically powerful Lakshmana entered into the palace. Thereafter He saw Sugriva seated on a most excellet throne plated with gold and covered with very costly upholstery. The glorious Sugriva was as brilliant as the sun. The limbs of his body were adorned with dazzling ornaments and garlands and so he resembled a divine being. He looked as invincible as Lord Indra. He was surrounded by beautiful ladies adorned with sparkling jewelry and garlands. Seeing this, Lakshmana's eyes became red with intense anger, like death personified. Sitting on his magnificent throne while embracing his wife Ruma, the large-eyed and golden-colored Sugriva stared at Lakshmana, who was not short of strength.
Lakshmana Admonishes Sugriva
When Sugriva saw that Lakshmana had entered the palace without resistance, his senses became disturbed. Seeing that Lakshmana was breathing heavily and glowing like a fire on account of his vexation over His brother's difficulty, that best of monkeys jumped off of his golden throne, like Lord Indra's finely adorned flag being thrust suddenly in the air. As Sugriva had jumped, so did Ruma and the other women, like stars accompanying the full moon. His eyes reddish due to intoxication, Sugriva approached with folded hands Lakshmana, who was standing there like a tall kalpa-vriksha tree. Then Lakshmana angrily said to Sugriva, who was standing next to Ruma in the midst of Tara and the other women, like the moon surrounded by stars:
"A king who is endowed with piety and good lineage, who is compassionate and has his senses under control, and who is thankful and truthful is honored in this world. On the other hand, what king, being situated in unrigteousness, is more hard-hearted than he who makes false promises to those who have rendered him some service? By falsely promising to gift a horse one commits the sin of killing one thousand horses, by falsely promising to gift a cow one commits the sin of killing one thousand cows, while by falsely promising to help a person one destroys himself and all his people. One who after fulfilling his purposes does not repay his debt to his friends is ungrateful and deserves to be killed by all living beings, O lord of the monkeys! The following verse venerated by all men was spoken by Lord Brahma when he became angry upon seeing an ungrateful person: "Expiations have been prescribed for one who kills a brahmana, one who drinks liquor, one who commits theft and one who violates a sacred vow, but not for one who is ungrateful."
You are ignoble, ungrateful and a liar, O monkey, for after promising to assist Lord Rama, you are neglecting to do so. Surely, having achieved your own goals by Rama's help, you should make an effort on His behalf, initiating the search for Sita. Instead you are attached to crass sense enjoyment and untrue to your promise. Rama does not consider you a snake croaking like a frogxviii. Although sinful and wicked-minded, you were able to achieve sovereignty over the monkeys by the assistance of the highly blessed Rama, who feels compassion for others. When you are pierced by Rama's sharp arrows, you will soon see Vali, if you fail to recognize the favor done for you by Rama. The path which Vali traversed when killed has not been closed. Honor your agreement, O Sugriva. Do not follow Vali's path! Obviously you do not see the arrows like thunderbolts shot from the bow of Lord Rama, the descendant of Ikshvaku. Therefore, you are complacently enjoying yourself without thinking of Rama's mission."
Tara Pacifies Lakshmana
Tara, who was as effulgence as the moon, then spoke to Lakshmana, who was burning with rage: "O Lakshmana, You should not talk like that! Sugriva, the lord of the monkeys, does not deserve to hear such harsh words sprung from Your mouth. Sugriva is not ungrateful, neither is he a cheater, a rogue, a liar or a deceiver. Nor has he forgotten the favor rendered him by Rama, which was difficult for others to achieve on the battlefield. By Rama's mercy, Sugriva achieved perpetual glory and sovereignty over the monkeys, as well as Ruma and myself, O conqueror of enemies. After previously having slept miserably for so long, upon achieving such utter happiness, he was unaware of the time, as also once happened to the sage Vishvamitra. While he was attached to the celestial damsel Ghritaci, ten years seemed no more than a day to the great sage Vishvamitra. Although he was always very keen about the time, under those circumstances he did not notice how time was passing him by. What then to speak of an ordinary person?
"You should forgive Sugriva, who is subject to the four bodily propensities-eating, sleeping, mating and defending. He is thoroughly exhausted and unsatisfied in the matter of fulfilling his lusty desires. O Lakshmana, a man with a nature like Yours should not allow himself to suddenly fall prey to anger without due deliberation. I placate You on behalf of Sugriva, O knower of what is right. You should abandon this tremendous anger which has arisen in You. In my opinion, Sugriva could abandon Ruma, myself, sovereignty over the monkeys, his wealth, stock of food grains and cows for the pleasure of Rama. After slaying the demon Ravana in battle, Sugriva will reunite Rama and Sita, just like the moon with the star Rohini. They say there are hundreds of thousands and even millions of rakshasas in Lanka. Without first killing those rakshasas, who are difficult to defeat and who can assume any form at will, it is not possible to kill Ravana, who has abducted Sita. They and Ravana cannot be slain by anyone unaided, especially not by Sugriva.
"This at any rate is what the great monkey chieftan Vali had said, for he was exceptionally wise. How he achieved such power, I do not know. I am only saying what I have heard. To assist You, messengers have been sent to muster strong monkeys who are outstanding in battle. Because he is waiting for the arrival of those mighty warriors, Sugriva has not embarked on the expedition to achieve Rama's goal. O Lakshmana, today is the time limit set by Sugriva for their arrival. Today You will meet hundreds of thousands of stalwart monkeys, bears and long-tailed baboons. Since they will be arriving here soon, please give up Your anger. When they see Your eyes red with anger, the monkey women cannot find any peace, fearing a repeat of the previous slaughter of Vali."
Sugriva Begs Lakshmana for Forgiveness
After Tara had spoken in such a polite manner, Lakshmana, who was by nature gentle, accepted her request. When this occurred, Sugriva abandoned his fear of Lakshmana, as one would abandon wet clothes after bathing. Then Sugriva tore the beautiful, many-colored garland from his neck and was free from vanity. Sugriva, the best of the monkeys, humbly spoke to the formidable Lakshmana the following gladdening words: "O Lakshmana, the son of Sumitra, my lost wealth, glory and sovereignty over the monkeys was recovered in perpetuity by the mercy of Lord Rama. Who is that god who can repay even a tiny portion of the service rendered by Rama, who is known by His own deeds? With me as His assistant, the righteous Rama will regain His consort Sita and slay the demon Ravana by dint of His own might. What need does Rama have of an assistant when with a single arrow He pierced seven huge trees, the mountain on which they stood and the earth itself? What use is an assistant to Him, O Lakshmana, when the twang of His bowstring caused the earth with its mountains to shake? I shall follow Rama's expedition when He sallies forth with the troops to slay His enemy Ravana. If I, Your servant, have committed any infraction out of confidence or love, please pardon me. There is no servant who does not commit some error."
While the great soul Sugriva was speaking in this way, Lakshmana became very pleased with him and lovingly replied as follows: "My brother is very fortunate to have you as His lord, especially since you are so humble, O ruler of the monkeys! On account of your dignity and purity, you deserve to enjoy the unequaled opulence of a simian dominion. With you as His assistant, the valorous Rama will undoubtedly slay His enemies in battle before long. Since you are acquainted with the principles of righteousness, are grateful for Rama's help and never retreat from battle, your remarks are just and reasonable. What person aware of his own faults could speak so depreciatively of himself besides My elder brother and yourself, even though you are competent in many affairs. You are equal to Rama in prowess and strength and have been designated by the gods as His assistant for a long time to come, O best of monkeys! But, immediately leave this place with Me, O warrior, and reassure your friend Rama, who is suffering due to the abduction of Sita. And forgive Me, My friend, for the harsh words which I spoke when relating Rama's message."
Monkey Warriors Assemble at Kishkindha
On hearing what the great soul Lakshmana said, Sugriva gave the following insruction to his counselor Hanuman, who was standing at his side: "Quickly bring by gift, persuasion or whatever means the mighty monkeys who reside on these mountain peaks-Mahendra, Himalaya, Vindhya, Kailasa and Mandara, as well as those that always dwell on the mountains on the other side of the ocean in the west which are as effulgent as the newly risen sun. Also summon those monkeys who reside on those mountains which are the abode of the sun and as effulgent as the sunrise, the formidable monkeys who reside in the forest of Padma Mountain, as well as those monkeys residing on Anjana Mountain who are as dark as eye-liner or storm clouds and as powerful as elephants, the monkeys who are as effulgent as gold residing in the caves of Mount Mahashaila, those living on the slopes of Mount Meru, those who reside on Dhumra Mountain, the monkeys residing on Maharuna Mountain who are the color of the rising sun, drinking mead and moving about furiously, as well as the monkeys who reside all about in exceedingly charming forests that are vast and fragrant, having hermitages of sages in their regions."
When Hanuman, the son of the wind god, heard this command from Sugriva, he sent monkey messangers in all directions. By the king's command, the monkeys immediately lept into the sky which was covered with one step by Lord Vishnu, taversing the course of the birds and luminaries. They caused all the monkeys living along the oceans, in the mountains, in the forests and along the rivers and lakes to mobilize for Rama purpose. When they heard the command of king of kings, Sugriva, who was like death personified, they all came out of fear of him. In this way, thrity million very strong monkeys the color of eye-liner came from Anjana Mountain to where Rama was. One hundred million monkeys as effulgent as molten gold came from the mountains where the sun sets. One billion monkeys the color of a lion's mane came from Mount Kailasa. Ten billion monkeys living on fruits and roots came from the Himalaya Mountains. Billions of monkeys fearsome like Mars itself came hastily from the Vindhya Mountains. It was impossible to ascertain the number of monkeys who came from the Ocean of Milk, from the forest of Tamalavana where they live on coconuts, or those who came from the forests, caves and river banks. As those legions of monkeys arrived, they blocked out the sun.
Those valliant monkeys who were sent to muster the simian troops saw in the Himalaya Mountains a huge tree. At that spot in the mountains a nice sacrifice agreeable to all the gods was executed in the past in order to propitiate Lord Shiva. They also saw roots and fruits that were as tasty as the nectar of immortality and which had sprung up from the grains and milk offered in that sacrifice. Whoever eats the celestial fruits sprung from the remnants of that sacrifice will be satisfied for one month. Since they live on fruits, those stalwart monkeys gathered those celestial fruits and roots, as well as herbs too. From that sacrificial arena they also brought fragrant flowers for the pleasure of Sugriva.
Those messangers rallied all the monkeys on the earth and quickly returned at the head of the multitudes. Within one hour those swift-moving monkeys reached Kishkindha where Sugriva was. Presenting all the roots, fruits and herbs, they requested Sugriva to accept them with the following words: "By your command, all the monkeys on the mountains, lakes, rivers and forests of the world are arriving." Hearing this, Sugriva, the lord of the monkeys, felt pleased and accept their gifts affectionately.
Sugriva Goes to Placate Rama
After accepting all those gifts and speaking with them kindly, Sugriva dismissed those messengers. After sending away those thousands of messengers who had performed their duty, Sugriva felt as if he and Rama had already achieved their goal. Then Lakshmana said to that foremost monkey of frightful strength, giving Sugriva great joy: "Come out of Kishkindha, if you so please, O gentle one!" Very pleased to hear Lakshmana's suggestion, Sugriva replied: "So be it! Let us go out. I must obey Your command." When Sugriva finished speaking in this way to Lakshmana, he sent away Tara and the other ladies. Then he called out loudly to some strong-bodied monkeys who were permitted to be within the ladies' quarters: "Come here!" Upon hearing his words, they immediately came to him with folded palms. Shining like the sun, Sugriva said to them: "Bring my palanquin here this very minute!" On his order, the quick-striding monkeys promptly brought the fine-looking palanquin. When Sugriva saw that it was ready, he said to Lakshmana: "Please sit on it at once, O Lakshmana." Saying this, Sugriva and Lakshmana got onto the gold palanquin which was being carried by a group of monkeys.
A white parasol was being carried over Sugriva's head and monkeys were standing around him waving white yak-tail wisks. Some monkeys were blowing conchshells and beating drums, while others sang songs in praise of Sugriva. Thus did he travel in splendor for the first time since he had achieved his royal fortune. Surrounded by hundreds of fierce monkeys bearing weapons in their hands, he proceeded to where Rama was. When he reached the magnificent place where Rama was residing, Sugriva got down from the palanquin with Lakshmana and stood with joined palms. When Rama saw the vast army of monkeys standing with folded hands and resembling lotus buds in a lake, He became very pleased with Sugriva. Then Sugriva threw himself on the ground before Rama, touching his head to Rama's feet, afterwhich Rama lifted him up. Rama embraced him out of affection and high regards. Doing this, Rama said to him: "Please sit down." Seeing that he was sitting on the ground, Rama said:
"A king always strives for religious merit, material amelioration and sense enjoyment at the appropriate times, O best of the monkeys. However, one who pursues sense enjoymet while ignoring religious merit and material amelioration will wake up when he falls, like one who sleeps in the top of a tree. A king who engages himself in slaying his enemies and in winning friends is blessed with relgious merit. Indeed, he enjoys the fruit of religious merit, material amelioration and sense enjoyment. The time for endeavor has now arrived, O conqueror of foes! Therefore, O lord of monkeys, think about how to proceed in consultation with your ministers."
When Rama finished speaking in this way, Sugriva replied: "My lost wealth, glory and sovereignty over the monkeys was recovered in perpetuity by Your mercy, O strong-armed one. I have achieved all this by the grace of You and Your brother. One who does not return a favor is the vilest of men. These hundreds of mighty monkeys have come here after summoning all the monkey hordes of the earth. On their way are bears, monkeys and long-tailed baboons of fearsome appearance who possess intimate knowledge of the forest, as well as monkeys capable of assuming any form who were born from gods and gandharvas. They are followed by hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, millions, tens of millions, billions, tens of billions, trillions, and even more. Soon will arrive the monkeys who reside on Mount Meru and in the Vindhya Mountains and who are equal to Lord Indra. They are coming to You in order to fight the rakshasas. After killing Ravana, they will surely bring back Sita."
When Rama saw the endeavor Sugriva was making under His command, Rama looked like a blossoming blue lotus flower out of joy.
Arrival of the Monkey Hordes
While Sugriva was yet speaking in this way with folded hands, Rama embraced him tightly and said: "It is not at all surprising that Indra showers down rain, that the sun with its thousands of rays clears the sky of darkness, that the moon by its brilliance illuminates the night, or that a person like you pleases his friends, O conqueror of enemies. It is not at all surprising that this beatiful quality exists in you. I know that you always speak in a pleasing manner. With you as my helper I shall be able to conquer all My enemies in battle. You indeed are a well-wisher and friend capable of assisting Me. For his own destruction that lowest of rakshasas Ravana kidnapped Sita by deceiving Her, just as Anuhlada kidnapped Shaci, the daughter of the demon Paulomaxix. In a short time I shall kill Ravana with My sharp arrows, as Indra slayed Pauloma for connivance in the abduction of Shaci."
Meanwhile, there arose a great cloud of dust blocking the burning heat of the sun. All the directions were obscured and covered by the darkness and the whole earth with its mountains, forests and groves shook. Then the whole earth became covered with innumerable exceedingly strong monkeys who resembled big mountains and who had very sharp teeth. In the twinkling of an eye the area was covered with millions of monkey chiefs who were able to assume any form at will. These formidable monkeys came from the banks of rivers, the slopes of mountains, the shores of oceans and forests, and were roaring like thundering clouds. Some were the color of the rising sun, others yellowish like the moon, others were the color of the filaments of a lotus flower and others were white from living on the icy peaks of the Himalaya Mountains.
First there appeared the valiant and glorious monkey named Shatabali, who was followed by millions of monkeys. Then came Sushena, who looked like a golden mountain and who was the powerful father of Tara. He was followed by many millions of monkeys. After that arrived Tara, the father of Ruma and father-in-law of Sugriva, followed by millions of monkeys. Than arrived the wise and foremost of monkeys, Kesari, the glorious father of Hanuman, followed by hundreds of thousands of monkeys. He was the color of the filaments of a lotus flower and was as effulgent as the newly risen sun. The fiercesome Gavakshi, the king of the long-tail baboons, arrived surrounded by one billion followers. Accompanied by two billions bears of frightening spead came Dhumra, the destroyer of enemies. Surrounded by fearsome monkeys numbering thirty million came the general named Panasa. Next appeared the general Nila followed by one hundred million monkeys. He had a gigantic body and looked like a big pile of black antimony. Then arrived Gavaya, who shone like a mountain of gold and who was surrounded by fifty million. Then came the mighty general Darimukha, who stood in the presence of Sugriva with one billion followers. Mainda and Dvivida, both sons of the Ashvini-kumaras also arrived, each followed by one billion monkeys.
Followed by thrity million monkeys, the mighty Gaja, who possessed great strength, also came before Sugriva. The king of bears, Jambavan, who possessed tremendous vigour, also in submission before Sugriva, followed by one hundred million bears. The mighty Rumanvan came quickly, surrounded by hundreds of millions of valiant monkeys. Next came Gandhamadana followed by one billion monkeys. Then came Angada, the prince regent, who was equal to his father Vali in prowess, accompanied by many billions of monkeys. Then was seen Tara as bright as a star followed by fifty million monkeys of formidable deeds. The general Indrajanu could also be seen with his one hundred and ten million monkeys. Then arrived Rambha, as brilliant as the rising sun, surrounded by eleven thousand and one hundred monkeys. Next came the valiant and mighty general named Durmukha, followed by twenty million monkeys. Hanuman also appeared, surrounded by one billion undefeatable monkeys who looked like the many peaks of Mount Kailasa. The valorous Nala also arrived there followed by one billion one hundred thousand monkeys that dwelt in trees. Then Dadimukha arrived before Sugriva, followed by one hundred million monkeys.
The generals Sharabha, Kumuda, Vahni Ramha and many otheres who numbers could not be calculated arrive there, covering the earth with its mountains and forests. Jumping from one tree to another and from branch to branch and growling, the monkeys surrounded Sugriva as clouds surround the sun. All the generals presented themselves to Sugriva by announcing themselves with many words and bowed heads. After approaching Sugriva and following the required etiquette, those foremost monkeys would repart, while others that had just met with Sugriva stood by with joined palms. Having informed Lord Rama about the arrival of all the generals who were in a hurry to settle down and take rest, Sugriva stood with joined hands before Rama and said the following to the monkey generals: "After stationing your forces conveniently near mountain streams and in forest groves, each general should be able to determine the exact number of his troops."
Sugriva Sends Vinata to the East
Then Sugriva, the king of the monkeys, whose wealth had increased considerably, said the following to Rama, the tiger among men who was the crusher of hostile armies: "These powerful generals as effulgent as Indra who reside within my dominion have arrived and are now properly accommodated. The generals, being fearsome and resembling daityas and danavas, have arrived followed by their very powerful soldiers who are capable of tremendous deeds. These mighty monkey generals are well-known for their exploits and have conquered fatigue. They are well-known for their valor in battle and are outstanding in their ventures. These monkeys, O Rama, can move over land and water. Residing on different mountains, they number many millions and are all your servants. They are all at Your beck and call and are engaged in the welfare of their master. They are capable of carrying out Your wishes. These generals have arrived with many thousands of troops capable of fierce heroism. Just say whatever You consider opportune. You should order this army which is obediant to Your command. Even though we know what it is we must do, You should give us proper orders."
Embracing Sugriva tightly, Shri Rama said: "Let it be ascertained whether Sita is alive or not and the land where Ravana resides, O greatest of the wise. When the place where Sita and Ravana are has been located, I shall do was is expedient with you. Neither I nor Lakshmana are capable of doing anything until then. Only you are capable of doing so, O king of the monkeys. Having already understood My mission, You should give the necessary orders. You indeed know what My goal is, O warrior. Of this there is no doubt. You are My second well-wisher, Lakshmana being the first. You are courageous, wise and know when to do a particular thing. Intent on Our welfare, you have completely achieved your own goals and are the most knowledgeable about My goals."
Upon receiving this instruction, Sugriva spoken to the general Vinata in the presence of Rama and Lakshmana: "You possess wisdom about the time and place for action and are expert in determining your duty. Followed by one hundred thousand monkeys, explore the eastern direction with its mountains, forest and groves. There search for Sita and the residence of Ravana in the mountain heights, in forests and along river banks. You should search in all those regions where flows the Ganges, the Sarayu, the Kaushiki, the lovely Yamuna and its source, the Sarasvati, the Sindhu, the Shona whose waters sparkle like a gem, the Mahi and Kalamahi graced with mountains and forests. Also scour the regions known as Brahmamala, Videha, Malava, Kashi, Kosala Magadha, Pundra, Anga, as well as the land of silkworms and the land where silver mines abound. All these places should be searched while looking for Sita, the beloved consort of Rama and daughter-in-law of King Dasharatha.
"You should explore the towns built on mountains bordered by the sea, whatever villages are on Mount Mandara, as well as all the places where dwell those who have large ears, those whose ears reach their lips, those whose faces are awefully black like iron, those who are shift-moving one-legged ghosts, those who are powerful nomads, those who are cannibals, those who are handsome kiratas with a golden complexion and tuffs of sharp hair on their heads, those who are kiratas subsisting on raw fish who reside on islands and cross the waters by boat. O forest dwellers, you should explore all those places that can be reached by crossing mountains and by leaping over them, as well as those places which are accessible by boat. Full of enthusiasm, you should search Yavadvipa with its seven kingdoms, and also the islands with gold and silver mines. Beyond Yavadvipa lies a mountain named Shishira which is inhabited by gods and demons and which kisses the sky with its summit. All together search for the glorious Rama's consort in the mountain heights and forests and near the waterfalls of those islands.
"Then, crossing the ocean to the region inhabited by siddhas and caranas and reaching the Shona River whose waters are reddish, search for Sita and Ravana at all its bathing places and in the forests along its banks. You should explore streams hemmed in by numerous scary gardens that flow from mountain peaks, as well as mountain caves and forests. Then you should explore the grim group of islands known as Ikshudvipa, as well as the roaring ocean surrounding it that is tossed by the wind. The hunger-stricken, huge-bodied demons there, when duly permitted by Lord Brahma, regularly capture ocean birds by their shadows. Use mantras to cross that roaring ocean which resembled a dark cloud and is infested with big serpents. Then, upon reaching the Red Sea, you will see the giant kutashalmali tree on the island known as Shalmali. There you will see Garuda's home decorated with different kinds of jewels. It was constructed by Vishvakarma and resembles Mount Kailasa.
"On that island dwell gigantic, formidable rakshasas of different forms known as mandehas. They are fearsome and hang upside down from the peaks of mountains. Those rakshasas attack the rising sun each day, and being burned to death by its intense effulgence, fall head-long into the ocean, where they become revived and again hang from the peaks of mountains. Going further, you will reach that ocean which is as white as a cloud and is called Kshirodaka, the ocean of milk. It waves seem to be adorned with necklaces of pearls. In the middle of that ocean is a huge white mountain called Rishabha. It is covered with groves of blooming trees that emit a celestial fragrance. On that mountain is a lake called Sudarshana which is crowded with swans and shimmering silver lotus flowers with filaments of gold. The delighted gods, caranas, yakshas, kinnaras, and bevies of celestial damsels resort to that lotus lake to enjoy themselves. Crossing the ocean of milk, you will soon see the ocean of fresh water. It is frightening for all living beings and in its depths rages a submarine fire known as Vadavamukha. It is said to have been produced from the anger of the sage Aurva when this fell into that ocean. The wonderful water full of moving and nonmoving beings and thrashing about with impetuosity is the fuel for that fire. There can be heard the wailing of the creatures living in that ocean being burnt by the fire and as well as of those that are able to escape it.
"At a distance of one hunded and twenty-four miles from the northern shore of the ocean of fresh water is a very large mountain as brilliant as gold which is known by the name Jatarupashila. There you will also find seated in front of the mountain the thousand-headed snake named Ananta-shesha. He holds up the earth, is as effulgent as the moon, is clad in blue garments and has eyes as broad as the petals of a lotus flower. In front of that mountain is a golden three-boughed palmyra tree surrounded with a platform and which is the ensign of Ananta-shesha. The gods consider this tree the boundary mark indicating the limit of the east. Beyond it lies the glorious moutain of gold from where the sun is supposed to rise. Touching the heavens with its golden peak reaching eight hundred miles, it shines gloriously on its base. It looks very beautiful with its golden sala, tamala, and palmyra and karnikara trees in bloom and shining like the sun.
"On that peak is another everlasting golden peak called Saumanasa which is eight miles long and ten miles high. In ancient times the Supreme Person Vishnu in His incarnation as Trivikrama placed His first step on that peak, and His second He placed on Mount Meru. The sun becomes more visible when, while passing Jambudvipa from the north, it ascends Mount Meru. On that mountain great sages called valakhilyas practice austerities. The are seen to glow, being as bright as the sun. In front of this eastern mountain is an island called Sudarshana. All living beings get sight and life from the light reflected off of it. You should search for Ravana and Sita everywhere on the peaks, caves and forest of that mountain. Illuminated by the brilliance of Mount Meru and of the magnanimous sun, the eastern direction appears reddish at sunrise and sunset.
"This eastern mountain where the sun rises was made at the beginning of the creation as a door for those leaving this world and for those coming down. Therefore it is called the first or eastern direction. You should thoroughly search for Ravana and Sita on that mountain's peaks, cascades and caves. Past that mountain, the eastern direction is impenetrable. being inhabited only by its presiding deity, Indra. It receives no light from the sun or moon, but remains covered by darkness and is therefore invisible or unseeable. You should look for Sita on the peaks of all the afore-mentioned mountains, on the banks of all the afore-mentioned rivers, and in all the afore-mentioned caves, as well as in all those regions that I have not mentioned. The monkeys may proceed up to there. We have no information about what lies beyond the eastern mountain, being as it is without sunlight and having no perceivable boundary. After reaching the eastern mountain, if you should find Sita and also Ravana's abode, return before one month. Do not stay longer than a month. Anyone doing so will be punished with death by me. After finding Sita and thus having achieved your goal, come back immediately. When you have carefully scoured the eastern region dear to Lord Indra, found Sita and returned here, you will be very happy."
Sugriva Sends Hanuman, Nila & Angada to the South
After sending that mighty army of monkeys to the east, Sugriva sent very experienced monkeys to the south. For that expedition the courageous Sugriva commisioned heroes endowed with speed and prowess headed by Angada. They were Nila, son of the fire god Agni, Hanuman, son of the wind god, the exceptionally powerful Jambavan, son of Lord Brahma, as also Suhotra, Sharari, Sharagulma, Gaja, Gavaksha, Gavaya, Sushena, Vrishabha, Mainda, Dvivida, another Sushena, Gandhamadana and the two sons of Ananga-Ulkamukha and Hutashana. After designating the extremely energetic Angada as their leader, Sugriva assigned them the southern region to explore. He told them about those places that were difficult to access in that region:
"Explore the Vindhya Mountains which have thousands of peaks. They are covered with all kinds of trees and vines. There flows the pleasant Narmada River which is infested with big snakes. Then search along the lovely Godavari River, the wide Krishnaveni River and the highly fortunate Varada River infested with big snakes. Search the territories known as Mekhala, Utkala and also the cities of Dasharna, Abravanti and Avanti. Completely search the territories of Vidarbha, Rishtika, Mahishaka, Vanga, Kalinga, Kaushika, the entire region of Dandakaranya, as also the territories of Andhra, Pundra, Cola, Pandya and Kerala. You should also go to the Ayomukha Mountains of Malaya. Their lovely peaks consist of various minerals and are covered with flowering forests. You should thoroughly search those extensive mountains which are covered with beautiful groves of sandalwood trees. Then you will see that blessed and divine Kaveri River which is frequented by heavenly damsels.
"Seated in front of the Malaya mountain range you will find the foremost of sages Agastya, shining like the sun. When allowed by that great soul, you will cross the great Tamraparni River, which is infested with alligators. With its islands and waters covered with sandalwood trees, it goes to the ocean, as a young lady approaches her lover. Passing that place, you will see the wonderful golden gate inlaid with pearls and gems of the city of the Pandyas. Upon reaching the ocean, you may decide what to do next. Agastya established the splendid Mount Mahendra made of gold and crowned with lovely peaks and trees between the moat of the city of the Pandyas and the ocean, into which the mountain enters.
"The thousand-eyed Indra visits that mountain on every fifteenth day of the dark fortnight. It is adorned with every kind of flowering trees and creepers, and is visited by the foremost of the gods, rishi and yakshas. Celestial damsels, siddhas and caranas throng there. On the other side of the ocean is a resplendent island measuring a distance of eight hundred miles. It is impenetrable to human beings. Search it thoroughly. You should especially look for Sita there with all your mind. That land is undoubtedly the abode of the evil-minded Ravana, the lord of the rakshasas, whose vigor is equal to Indra and who deserves to be killed. In the midst of the southern ocean lives a rakshasi known as Angarika. She captures her prey by seizing their shadow as they fly in the air. Meticulously searching all those places to remove any doubts about them, locate the whereabouts of Rama's consort Sita.
"Going eight hundred miles into the ocean to the island of Lanka and passing it shines a glorious mountain named Pushpitaka. It is inhabited by siddhas and caranas. It is as bright as the rays of the sun and moon, and is partly submerged in the ocean, its summit apparently scratching the vault of heaven. It has a golden peak upon which the sun rests, and a silver one upon which the moon rests. Neither the ungrateful, hard-hearted or unbelieving can see it. Respectfully bow your heads before that mountain and then assiduously carry on your search for Sita. O monkeys, beyond that mountain is the mountain known as Suryavan at a distance of one hundred and twelve miles from Pushpitaka Mountain on a path which is difficult to tread. Passing beyond it, you will reach Vaidyuta Mountain. It is covered with trees very pleasing to the mind which are capable of fulfilling all one's desires. After enjoying the first-class fruits, roots and honey available there, go further. There you will find the mountain called Kunjara, which delights the eyes and mind. On it is a dwelling of the sage Agastya which was built for him by the heavenly architect Vishvakarma. It is eight miles long and eighty yojanas tall, and is adorned with gold and various kinds of gems.
"On that mountain is a city called Bhogavati, the home of serpents. It has broad avenues, is difficult to assail, is well-fortified and protected on all sides by highly poisonous snakes with sharp fangs. The awe-inspiring king of snakes Vasuki lives in that city. After entering it, search it carefully. You should explore whatever places there are nearby the city or those hidden from view. Past that region there is a great and glorious mountain called Rishabha. Its shape resembles a bull and it contains many jewels. On it grow various species of heavenly sandalwood trees, such as goshirshaka, padmaka, harishyama and agnisamaprabha. When you see them, however, you should not touch them at all.
"That forest is protected by a kind of gandharvas called rohita. They have five leaders who are as effulgent as the sun. Their names are Shailusha, Gramani, Shiksha, Shukha and Babhru. They are engaged in the performance of pious activities and they enjoy their bodies which are lustrous like the sun, moon or fire. Those who have gained the right to ascend to heaven and are unasailable live there. Do not go beyond that region, for that is Pitriloka, the fearful abode of the forefathers. In that region is found the capital of Yama, the lord of death. It is covered by darkness that causes great discomfort. You will only be able to explore this far, O best of monkey warriors. Moving beings are unable to go beyond this region. Thoroughly searching that area and whatever else can be seen, after discovering the whereabouts of Sita, come back here. He who returns in less than a month with the news that he has located Sita will enjoy material pleasures equal to mine. There will be no one more dear to me than he. Indeed, he will be dearer to me than my own life. Even if he has committed many offences, I shall consider him my friend. You all have immeasurable strength and prowess and were born in very qualified families. Commence that endeavor which will result in the retrieval of Sita."
Sugriva Sends Sushena and Others to the West
After sending the aforesaid monkeys to the south, Sugriva joined his palms together, bowed his head and spoke the following words to the mighty general Sushena, the father of Tara, and therefore his own father-in-law. Sugriva also addressed the great monkey Arcishman, the son of the great sage Marica, who was surrounded by valiant warriors. He was as radiant as Lord Indra, was endowed with intelligence and prowess and was equal to Garuda in brilliance. Sugriva also addressed the exceedingly capable monkeys known as Arcirmalyas and the sons of Marici known as Maricas, as well as those who were the sons of great sages. All these he insructed to search the western direction:
"Accompanied by two hundred thousand monkeys and being led by Sushena, go and search carefully for Sita. Search the region of Saurashtra, Bahlika (present-day Balkh), the territory of the Shurasenas (modern-day Mathura), as well as the prosperous districts and extensive settlements. Search the region of Kukshi which is thick with punnaga trees, bakula trees, uddalaka trees as well as thickets of ketaka bushes. Explore the auspicious rivers flowing towards the west which carry cool waters, as well as the hermitages of ascetics, whatever mountains there are and the uncultivated lands consisting of many deserts and high, cold precipices.
"After searching throughout the western region covered with mountain ranges difficult to access, you should go further to the Arabian Sea whose waters are stirred up by timi fish. There you monkeys will enjoy yourselves in thickets of ketaka bushes, groves of tamala trees and groves of coconut trees. Search for Sita and for Ravana's residence there, as well as on the hills and in the forests along the seashore. Also explore the cities called Muravi, Jatapura, Avanti, Angalepa, as well as the forest called Alakshita, and the countries and large towns existing there. There is a mountain by the name Somagiri covered with gigantic trees at the confluence of the Sindhu River and ocean. On the pleasant plateaus of that mountain dwell winged lions that carry gigantic timi fish, alligators and elephants to their nests. Having been carried to those nests on the mountain peaks which abound with water everywhere, the proud elephants roam around, bellowing like thundering clouds. The golden summit of Somagiri Mountain touches the heavens and is overspread with beautiful trees. You monkeys, being capable of assuming any form at will, should thoroughly investigate that mountain.
"When you reach that ocean (the Arabian Sea), you will also see the golden summit of Pariyatra Mountain, which is eight hundred miles high and difficult to see. On that mountain peak dwell two hundred and forty million gandharvas who are very swift, as brilliant as fire and capable of exhibiting any form they wish. Glowing like flames of fire when they gather together from all sides, you should not offend them even though they possess terrible prowess, nor should you pick any of the fruits growing in that region. For those gandharvas are difficult to approach, valiant, energetic, most powerful and fiercely intrepid, and they guard the fruits and roots found there. You should carefully look for Sita in that area. As long as you act like normal monkeys you have no need to fear those gandharvas. In that locality is a big mountain called Vajra, which is as effulgent as a vaidurya gem, as hard as a diamond and covered with plenteous trees and vines. It is eight hundred miles high from all sides. You should examine the caves of that mountain with great attention, O monkeys!"
"On one forth of the ocean stands the mountain known as Cakravan. Vishvakarma, the architect of the gods, forged a cakra there. After killing the demons Hayagriva and Pancajana at that place, the Supreme Person Vishnu took the cakra away from Hayagriva and the conchshell away from Pancajanaxx. You should search intently for Sita in all the caves and lovely peaks of that mountain. In that fathomless ocean is a mountain called Varaha which has golden peaks and is five hundred and twelve miles high. On that mountain is located the golden city of Pragjyotisha. In that city dwells the wicked demon known as Naraka. You should search for Ravana and Sita all over the lovely peaks and deep caves of that mountain. Going beyond that mountain in which veins of gold are clearly visible, there is an entire mountain of gold with ten thousand waterfalls. On that mountain elephants, boars, lions and tigers are consantly roaring everywhere, exulting in the tumult they raise. On that mountain called Megha was the glorious Indra, subduer of the demon Paka, crowned king by the gods. Going past that lord of mountains protected by Indra, you will reach a range of sixty thousand gold hills which is as effulgent as the newly risen sun and which is illuminated on all sides by brilliantly shining golden trees in bloom.
"In the middle of those hills stands Mount Meru, the foremost of mountains and their king. In ancient times the mount received a boon from Lord Indra after pleasing him. The sun god said the following: `By my mercy all those who take shelter of you by day or by night will become golden. Whether gods, gandharvas or demons reside on you, they will become my devotees and will be as effulgent as gold.' Going to Mount Meru at sunset, the gods, vishvedevas, vasus and maruts worship the sun god, afterwhich he hides himself behind that western mountain, remaining unseen by all the living entities. In half an hour the sun quickly reaches that mountain at eighty thousand miles. On the summit of that mountain is a heavenly abode shining like the sun and consisting of numerous palaces constructed by Vishvakarma. It is beautified with graceful trees and flocks of different kinds of birds. It is the abode of Varunaxxi, who holds a noose in his hand. Between Mount Meru and the western mountain on a charming platform stands a brilliant golden tala tree with ten boughs. You should meticulously search for Ravana and Sita everywhere, including along all the lakes and rivers which are difficult to reach in that region.
"On Mount Meru dwells a sage known as Merusavarni who is conversant with righteousness, is enlightened by his own austerities and is equal to Lord Brahma. After bowing your heads down to the ground, you should query the sage for news about Sita. Transcoursing the mortal world, at the fall of night the sun sets behing that mountain. You monkeys can only go that far. We do not know anything about what lies beyond that hinterland where the sun does not shine. If you manage to ascertain the whereabouts of Ravana and Sita at the western mountain, return here within one month. Do not take longer than one month. I will kill anyone who takes longer than a month to return. My valiant father-in-law will accompany you. You should listen to and obey all his instructions. My strong-armed father-in-law possesses extraordinary power and is my superior. You monkeys are also courageous and fit to lead. Yet, I request you to accept him as your leader for searching the western region. We can only repay our debt to Lord Rama for the service He has rendered us when we have found His consort. You should accomplish every other affair apart from this goal with due consideration for place, time and purpose."
After carefully listening to Sugriva's instructions and bidding him farewell, all those monkeys headed by Sushena departed for the western region guarded by Varuna.
Sugriva Sends Shatabali and Others to the North
After dispatching his father-in-law to the western region, Sugriva, the king of the monkeys, instructed Shatabali in a manner that was beneficial to himself and to Rama: "Surrounded by hundreds and thousands of forest monkeys along with all your counselors who are like the sons of Yama, the lord of death, proceed into the northern region adorned with the snowy peaks of the Himalayas and search everywhere for the glorious consort of Rama. When you have accomplished this and we have fulfilled the cherished mission of Lord Rama, we will be freed from debt, O you who are skilled at achieving your goals. In fact, the great soul Rama has done us a favor. If we are able to repay that act of kindness, our lives will be successful. One's birth is considered successful if one helps a suppliant achieve what he requests, even if the suppliant has done nothing for that person. How much more so would it be if one helps him who has rendered some service in the past. Reaching this conclusion, you who desire to please us should do whatever is necessary to find Sita. This Rama standing here deserves the respect of all living beings, is the best of men and has cultivated affection towards us. With your abundant intelligence and prowess, search the many difficult to reach rivers and mountain ranges.
"Search the lands where live the Mlecchas, Pulindas, Shurasenas, Prasthalas, Bharatas, Kurus, Madras, Kambojas and Yavanas, and also the towns of the Shakas and the lands of the Daradas. Also explore the Himalaya Mountains. You should search all over for Ravana and Sita in the groves of lodhra and padmaka trees and in the pine forests of the Himalayas. After visiting the sage Soma's hermitage, which is frequently visited by gods and gandharvas, you will reach the tall peak of Mount Kala. Scour the high precipices and deep mountain caves in seach of Rama's consort. Passing the gigantic Mount Kala which has substantial gold deposits, you should come to the mountain called Sudarshana. Past that is a mountain called Devasakha, which is the refuge of many birds. It is swarming with flocks of many different species of birds and forested with many kinds of trees. Look for Ravana and Sita everywhere in the forests, near waterfalls and in caves. Passing that mountain, you will reach a region measuring eight hundred miles across which is devoid of mountains, rivers and trees and which is uninhabited by any living beings. Crossing that hair-raising region quickly, you will be pleased to reach the white Mount Kailasa.
"There is located Kuvera's lovely palace made from gold. It resembles a white cloud and was constructed by Vishvakarma. It has a wide lake abounding in lotuses and waterlilies. It is crowded with swans and ruddy geese and frequented by bevies of heavenly damsels. Kuvera is the son of the sage Vaishrava and king of the yakshas. He is the one who bestows wealth and is honored by everyone. He enjoys himself there with the yakshas. Search for Ravana and Sita on the mountain peaks as bright as the moon, as well as in the caves thereabout. When you come to Kraunca Mountain, which is very difficult to approach, carefully enter its cave, for it is said to be quite impassable. Under the invitation of the gods, great-souled sages as effulgent as the sun and themselves resembling gods dwell in that cave. You should also explore the other caves, peaks, precipices, plateaus and slopes of Kraunca Mountain. Scour the treeless peak of Kraunca Mountain which is known as Manasa. It is the abode of many birds and can fulfill all desires. Neither spirits, gods or rakshasas care to go there. You should comb Kraunca Mountain with its peaks, plateaus and prominences.
"Past Kraunca Mountain is a mountain called Mainaka. On it is a palace made by the danava Maya himself. You should likewise search Mainaka Mountain with its peaks, plateaus and caverns. There you will find the abodes of kinnara women. Going beyond that region, you will arrive at a hermitage inhabited by perfected beings. There reside perfected ascetics of the vaikhanasa and valakhilya orders. After properly respecting those great ascetics who have freed themselves from all sin, you should humbly solicite them for information about Sita. Near there is a lake called Vaikhanasa which is filled with golden lotus flowers and resorted to by swans as brilliant as the newly risen sun. Kuvera's riding elephant called Sarvabhauma always roams about that area with she-elephants. Beyond that lake is an expanse of sky devoid of sun, moon, stars and thundering clouds. That land is illuminated as if by the sunlight due to the effulgence of godly ascetics who dwell there. Past that region is a river called Shailoda. On both its banks grow kicaka bamboo whose dry stalks rattle when the wind blows through. When the bamboos become entangled they permit the holy men to cross over the river and return.
"The land of the Uttara-kurus, where dwell those who have performed pious deeds, lies along that river. In that region are thousands of rivers. In those rivers the leaves of plants are blue-green like vaidurya gems. The rivers' waters form pools wherein bloom golden lotuses. Lakes shimmering like the rising sun and covered with clumps of red lotuses beautify that land. All thoughout that land are masses of blue lotuses whose petals resemble valuable jewels and whose filaments are as bright as gold. The rivers have sandy banks strewn with round pearls, precious gems and nuggets of gold. The rivers are hemmed in by fabulous mountains of all kinds of gems and gold and are as radiant as the sun. The trees that grow there always bear flowers and fruits and are crowded with birds. These have a heavenly aroma, taste and touch and can satisfy all one's desires. Other trees produce many different kinds of adornments and clothes. The ornaments are encrusted with sparkling pearls and vaidurya gems. These are fit for both men and women to wear. Some trees bear highly desirable fruits that can be enjoyed during all the seasons, even winter. Some trees produce beds with blankets. Others produce fascinating flower garlands, or various kinds of costly drinks and eatables. Still others produce women endowed with beauty, youth and good qualities.
"Splendorous gandharvas, siddhas, nagas and vidyadharas always enjoy there with their women. All of them have performed pious acts in previous lives. All of them are engaged in love-making. All of them live in comfort and luxury with their women. One always hears the sound of singing and instrumental music, as well as peals of laughter which pleases the minds of everyone. No one there is unhappy, nor inclined to evil. And one's good qualities which gratify the mind increase day by day.
"Beyond the land of the Utara-kurus is the northern ocean. In the middle of it stands a large golden mountain called Somagiri. Those who have attained the heavenly planets such as Indraloka and Brahmaloka, as well as the gods themselves clearly see that kingly mountain. Although there is no sun in that region, it is illuminated by the effulgence of that mountain as if by the sun itself. Thus you should understand that it is endowed with the sun's brightness. There resides the Supreme Personality of Godhead Vishnu, who is the all-pervading Supersoul, surrounded by Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma and great sages. You should by no means venture north of the region of Uttara-kuru. Indeed, there is no way of going beyond it. It is said that Mount Somagiri is difficult to scale, even for gods. Aftering sighting it, you should immediately come back. Monkeys can only go that far. We have no knowledge of that unbounded region without sun that lies beyond Uttara-kuru. You should search all those places described by me. You should also decide to search any other areas not mentioned by me. By discovering Sita you monkeys equal to the fire and wind gods will have accomplished a task most agreeable to Lord Rama, and even more so to me. After that, I will honor you with all kinds of enjoyable gifts which you will enjoy with your relatives. You will then wander the earth with your dear ones without any fear of enemies, O best of monkeys!"
Rama Gives His Signet Ring to Hanuman
Because Sugriva was sure that Hanuman would be successful in finding Sita, he then specifically spoke in such a way as to further encourage Hanuman. Being extremely pleased with Hanuman, the son of the wind god, Sugriva, the lord of the forest-dwelling monkeys, spoke as follows: "O best of monkeys, I see no obstruction to your movement on the ground, in the air, in space, in the world of the immortals, or in the waters. You know all the worlds inhabited by demons, gandharvas, nagas, humans and gods. Your unobstructed movement, speed, energy and dexterity are like those of your father, the wind god, O great and heroic monkey. Neither is there any being in this world who is equal to you in vigor. As such you should ponder the means of find Sita. In you indeed abide strength, intelligence, prowess, good judgement and knowledge of time and place."
From this statement Rama could understand that the success of this mission depended on Hanuman, and so He began to think: "Sugriva is completely convinced about Hanuman's ability, and Hanuman too is certain about his own success in this matter. Having proven himself by his actions and been accepted by his lord, Hanuman's efforts will be successful."
Gazing at that monkey who was quite fit to accomplish the task, Rama's mind became joyful as if He had achieved His goal. Rama happily gave Hanuman a ring with Rama's name on it as a token of recognition for Sita. Then Rama said: "By this token, O best of monkeys, Sita, being undisturbed, will know that you have come from Me. Your resolution, your courageous heroism and Sugriva's statement indicate success to me."
Taking the ring and touching it to his head, Hanuman then bowed down to Rama's feet with joined palms. Leading that great army of monkeys, Hanuman shone like the spotless orb of the moon beautified by a mass of stars in a cloudless sky. As Hanuman was leaving, Lord Rama said: "I am dependent on your strength, O mighty one. Exert yourself in such a way by your abundant prowess that Sita, the daughter of King Janaka, may be found."
The Monkeys Depart in Search of Sita
Calling all the monkeys, Sugriva spoke to them in a manner to accomplish Rama's mission: "You should search all those places which I have assigned to you." Understanding their master's ominous command, the monkeys sallied forth, covering the earth like a swarm of locusts. Shri Rama returned to Mount Prasravana where He would continue to live for a period of one month with Lakshmana until the discovery of Sita. The valiant monkey Shatabali then suddenly sallied forth toward the northern direction bordered by the Himalaya Mountains. The monkey general Vinata marched toward the east. Accompanied by Tara, Angada and others, Hanuman headed toward the south where the sage Agastya resides. Furthermore, the monkey chieftan Sushena proceeded toward the fearful eastern direction that is guarded by Varuna. After sending the monkeys off in all directions accordingly, Sugriva, the commander-in-chief of the monkey forces, enjoyed himself immensely.
When ordered by the king, all the monkey generals, hastily marched to the direction assigned to them, shouting and howling, growling and snarling, roaring and running along. After receiving the king's instructions, the generals replied: "We shall slay Ravana and bring back Sita." Different generals boastfully said: "I shall single-handedly kill Ravana on the battlefield, and forcibly bring back Sita who is trembling due to Her difficulties. You should all wait here." "I shall single-handedly bring back Sita even from the nether regions. I shall knock down trees. I shall spit open mountains and the earth and churn the oceans." "I can jump at least eight hundred miles across the ocean." "I can jump even more than eight hundred miles." "No one can obstruct my movement on the earth surface, in the ocean, on the mountains, in the forest, or in the nether region." Thus did the monkeys proud of their strength speak in this manner one by one in the presence of Sugriva, their ruler.
Sugriva Explains How He Learned Geography
When the monkey generals had departed with their troops, Rama asked Sugriva: "How is it that you are familiar with the entire earth disc?" Bowing low, Sugriva replied: "Please listen. I shall narrate everything in detail. When Vali was pursuing the demon Mayavi toward the Malaya Mountain, the demon in the guise of a buffalo entered into a cave on the Malaya Mountain. Vali also entered that cave in order to kill the demon. On Vali's instruction, I waited obediently at the entrance of the cave. Vali did not come out of the cave, even after one year. Then the cave became filled with gushing blood. I then concluded that my elder brother had been killed. I placed a boulder the size of a mountain over the entrance of the cave so that the buffalo would not be able to come out and would thus perish.
"Having no hope for Vali's survival, I came back to Kishkindha. Having obtained a vast kingdom along with the wives Tara and Ruma, I lived there with my friends free from anxiety. Meanwhile, after slaying the buffalo demon, Vali came back. I returned the kingdom to him out of respect, for I was afraid of his anger. Desiring to kill me, the wicked Vali, who was mentally derranged, chased me as I ran with my ministers. Being pursued by Vali, I ran quickly, seeing many different rivers, forests and towns. I saw the whole earth as clearly as the reflection in a mirror, everything passing me by like a wirling fire brand. Thus the world seemed no bigger than the hoofprint of a cow. When I reached the eastern region, I saw many different kinds of trees, as well as mountains, rivers and many different charming lakes. There I saw the eastern mountain containing deposits of minerals, as also the ocean of milk which is the constant abode of celestial damsels.
"Being pursued by Vali, I hurriedly returned and headed for the southern region where lies the thickly forested Vindhya Mountains adorned with sandalwood trees. After seeing those mountains and trees I then left the southern region, heading elsewhere. Thus I reached the western region while being chased by Vali. Seeing those mountains and trees, I reached the western region. While being pursued by Vali, I saw the different lands and the excellent mountain. When I reached that mountain, I raced toward the north. As I fled from Vali, I could not find any shelter in the Himalayas, on Mount Meru, or at the northern ocean. Then Hanuman said to me: `I just now remembered how Vali was cursed by the sage Matanga that if he ever entered his hermitage, his head would certainly burst into a hundred pieces. We could live there happily and without any fear.' While I resided at Rishyamuka Mountain, Vali did not enter for fear of the sage Matanga's curse. In that way, O king, I personally saw the whole earth disc, afterwhich I took up residence in a cave on Rishyamuka Mountain."
The Monkeys Fail to Find Sita
Receiving their orders from their king Sugriva, the monkey generals at once departed with their troops for their assigned regions. They completely searched the lakes, bushes growing along rivers, open fields, towns, mountains and also areas impenetrable because of rivers. Looking all day long for Sita, the monkeys would gather together at a particular place at night. Traversing during the day the lands where trees bore fruits in all seasons and which could satisfy all one's desires, they took rest at night. Considering the day they departed as the first, the generals returned after one month to Mount Prasravana with Sugriva. While scouring the eastern region assigned to him, Vinata and his ministers failed to locate Sita and returned. After searching the entire northern region, the great monkey Shatabali then returned with his forces. Exploring the western region with his monkeys, Sushena returned to Sugriva after one month had passed.
The generals approached Sugriva, who was sitting with Lord Rama on the slope of Mount Prasravana, and said: "We have searched all the countries, mountains, forests, caves and rivers flowing into the sea. We have scoured all the caves mentioned by you, as well as bowers covered with vines. While exploring continents and rugged impassable terrain, we killed many gigantic creatures, suspecting that they might be Ravana. The great soul Hanuman, who is of noble lineage, will find Sita. Fortunately he has gone in the same direction in which Sita has gone."
The Monkeys Explore the Vindhya Mountains
Accompanied by Tara and Angada, Hanuman proceeded toward the southern region assigned to them by Sugriva. After travelling a long way with all those generals and exploring the caves and thick forests of the Vindhya Mountains, Hanuman stopped. After searching through the mountian peaks, rivers, lakes, thick forests and inaccessible regions, those valiant monkeys failed to locate Sita, the daughter of King Janaka. The monkeys, who were difficult to overpower, stayed wherever they could and ate different kinds of roots and fruits while searching for Sita. The region was riddled with caves, difficult to explore, arrid, uninhabited, desolate and frightening.
After searching thoughout all those regions, the thirsty monkey generals left and entered another fearful region difficult to attack. The trees there did not bear fruits, flowers or leaves. The rivers were dry and it was even difficult to unearth edible roots. There were no buffalos, deer, elephants, tigers, birds or any other kind of forest creatures. There were no trees, herbs, vines or creepers. There were no lotuses with smooth leaves, nor clusters of blooming lotus flowers, charming to see and swarming with honeybees.
There was a great sage named Kandu who was very fortunate, truthful and dedicated to the practice of austerities. The advanced sage was easily angered and difficult to overcome because of his austerities. In that forest the sage's sixteen year-old son's life expired, for which the sage became furious. By the curse of that righteous sage, that great forest became uninhabitable, impenetrable, and devoid of beasts and birds. After searching the forests, mountians, caves and flowing rivers, the monkeys who were trying to please Sugriva where unable to locate Ravana or Sita.
Upon entering that dreadful forest overgrown with vines and bushes, the monkeys saw a ferocious demon as big as a mountain and unafraid even of the gods. Seeing how big he was, the monkeys tightened the sashes around their waists in preparation for combat. When the mighty demon saw all those monkeys, he said: "You are finished!" Becoming enraged, Angada rushed toward the demon, who was swooping down with a raised fist to strike Angada. Thinking him to be Ravana, Angada struck him with the palm of his hand, so it is said. Being slain by Angada, the demon vomited blood and fell on the ground like a mountain. After the demon had been killed, the monkeys shone triumphantly and they thoroughly searched all the mountain caves in that area. When they finished scouring the area, they entered inside another frightful mountain cave. After completing their search of that cave, they came out exhausted and sat at the foot of a tree, feeling disappointed.
The Monkeys Search the Silver Mountain
The wise Angada, being exhausted, then slowly spoke the following words to the monkeys: "Together we have searched forests, mountains, rivers, caves, pits and impenetrable regions, yet we have not found Sita, the daughter of King Janaka, nor Her abductor, the wicked rakshasa. Moreover, quite a bit of time has passed, and Sugriva's command is formidable. Therefore all of you continue looking all about. Giving up lethargy, anxiety and sleep, search until you find Sita. It is said that courage, enthusiasm and indefeatable spirit are conducive to success. Therefore I say this to you. Let the forest monkeys scour this impassable forest today. Giving up torpor, search this forest again. One who engages in action will see the fruit of his work. Enough of this lethargy!. It is inappropriate for us. King Sugriva apportions sever punishment. We should always dread him, as well as the great soul Rama. You should follow this advice of mine, if it pleases you. Otherwise, tell me what you consider more advisable for us, O monkeys."
Upon hearing Angada's admonition, Gandhamadana spoke as follows with a voice waivering due to thirst and exhaustion: "Angada's advice is typical of him. It is beneficial and agreeable. Therefore you should follow it. Let us once again search all the mountains, caves, rocks, desolate forests and mountain waterfalls which were assigned to us by Sugriva. Let us scour all the mountain heights together."
Getting up together, the powerful monkeys explored the southern region crowded with the forested peaks of the Vindhya Mountains. The monkeys scaled the pinnacles of the Silver Mountain, which resembled an autumn cloud. Desirous of finding Sita, they began searching the charming kodra forests and groves of saptaparni trees growing there. Climbing up that mountian slope, the dauntless monkeys felt exhausted and failed to find Rama's beloved consort. After thoroughly examining the mountain with its many caves, the monkeys came down, casting glances all around. On reaching the ground, being tired and perplexed, the monkeys stayed for some time, taking shelter there at the foot of a tree. After resting for some time and becoming relieved from exhaustion, they prepared to again search the entire southern region. Lead by Hanuman, the stalwart monkeys proceeded to wander across the Vindhya Mountian range.
The Monkeys Meet the Ascetic Woman Svayamprabha
Accompanied by Tara and Angada , the monkey Hanuman began searching the caves, forests, dens of lions and tigers, mountain cascades, rough slopes and precipices of those mountains. They then reached the south-western summit of those mountains. While they were on that mountain, the appointed time passed. That area was difficult to explore because of the many caves and thick forests. Hanuman thoroughly scoured that mountain. Searching so that each one was never far away, the monkeys Gaja, Gavaksha, Gavaya, Sharabha, Gandhamadana, Mainda, Dvivida, Hanuman, Jambavan, Prince Regent Angada and Tara soon saw a cave called Rikshabila. Its mouth was open, though it was difficult to enter, and was the home of Maya Danava. Overwhelmed with hunger and thirst and being exhausted, they were seeking water. Therefore they eyed the entrace of the cave which was covered by trees and vines. Herons, swans, cranes and ruddy geese were coming out of the cave with their bodies wet with water and smeared with the pollen of lotus flowers. When the monkeys reached the entrance of the cave, which was emitting a pleasing fragrance, the monkeys became bewildered with wonder.
Hoping to find water inside the cave, the monkey leaders approached the cave, which was crowded with all kinds of creatures and resembled the nether region. It was fearful and difficult to behold and most difficult to enter. Then Hanuman, son of the wind god, looking like a mountain peak and being capable of penetrating thick jungles, said to the doubtful monkeys: "After searching the southern lands criss-crossed with mountains, we are all quite tired and have found no sign of Sita. And now, from everywhere in this cave are emerging wet swans, herons, cranes and ruddy geese. Surely there must be a well or pool of water in there. Moreover the trees at the entrance of this cave are all verdant green." Having said this, they all entered into that cave which was enveloped in darkness, without any sunlight or moonlight, and therefore frightful. Upon entering, those heroic monkeys saw lions and other beasts and birds, and thereafter penetrated deep into the cavern. Niether their vision, strength or prowess failed them as they proceeded. As the movement of the wind is not impeded, neither was their vision in that darkness. Penetrating deep into the cave, the monkeys saw a place that was clear and charming.
Clutching hold of each other, the monkeys continued a distance of eight miles into that dreadful cave thick with all kinds of trees. Thirsty as they were and desiring water, they were bewildered and absent-minded as they proceeded through that cave for some time free from weariness. When the weary-faced monkeys, who were hungry and thirsty, became hopeless about their life, they saw a light. They soon reached a shining grove of golden trees as brillant as fire, such as tamala, punnaga, vanjula, dhava, campaka, naga, and karnikara trees in bloom. They had clusters of golden flowers and tender red leaves. They were entangled with vines and adorned with their own gold ornamentation. There were golden trees whose trunks were shining as brightly as the morning sun and which had protective bases of vaidurya gems. They saw pools crowded with birds and clusters of blue lotus flowers resembling vaidurya gems. In that area they saw huge trees and lotuses of gold as brilliant as the newly risen sun, as well as pools of blue lotuses with pleasant water in which swam golden fish and huge tortoises. The monkeys saw palaces of gold and silver, and on all sides mansions of gold, silver and marble inlaid with vaidurya gems and sporting windows covered with screens of pearls.
All about them they saw trees bearing flowers and fruits that resembled pieces of coral. On all sides could be seen golden bees, honey, couches and seats encrusted with gold and jewels, costly conveyances, piles of vesels made from gold, silver and brass, mounds of agarwood and celestial sandalwood, pure foods, edible roots and fruits, expensive drinks, liquors and juices, piles of expensive shimmering cloth, as well as piles of decorative blankets and deerskins. The monkeys also saw placed here and there piles of sparkling gold resembling fire. Looking all about in the cavern, they say a certain woman not far away. They saw that she was an ascetic dressed in bark cloth and the skin of a black antelope, eating meagerly and glowing with glory. Amazed, the monkeys stoped there all about. Hanuman then asked her the following question: "Who are you and whose cave is this?" Greeting here with joined palms, Hanuman, who resembled a mountain, again asked the old woman: "Who are you and to whom belong this cave, buildings, gems and gold? Speak up."
Svayamprabha Relates the History of the Cave
Having spoken in that way, Hanuman again addressed the elderly ascetic woman who was most fortunate and engaged in the practice of austerities: "Completely fatigued due to hunger and thirst, we hastily entered this dark cave. Upon entering this great cavern, we were bewildered and apprehensive to see so many amazing things. To whom belong these golden trees that resemble the sun, pure foods, edible roots and fruits, golden conveyances and residences of silver with windows covered with screens of gems? By whose spiritual power were these golden trees bearing flowers, fruits and sweet fragrance produced, as well as these golden lotuses growing in clear water? Why are these fish swimming with tortoises golden? Is this your own doing, or is it the result of someone else's power attained through asceticism? Please explain this in full to us, for we are completely ignorant in this regards."
Being questioned in this way by Hanuman, the elderly ascetic woman engaged in the practice of virtue for the benefit of all living beings replied to him as follows: "There is a powerful wizard named Maya, who is the foremost of the danavas. This entire golden forest was created by him by dint of his magical powers. Formerly he was the chief architect of the danava kings, so it is said. He is the one who built this heavenly golden palace. Practising austerities in the great wilderness for one thousand years, Maya Danava received from Lord Brahma the boon of all the same powers as Shukracaryaxxii. After creating this forest, that powerful danava, being capable of fulfilling all his own desires, lived here happily for some time. Because the danava was attached to the heavenly damsel Hema, Indra, the lord of the gods, threw a thunderbolt at him. Lord Brahma then bestowed this magnificent forest to Hema, along with perpetual enjoyment of luxuries and this golden palace. I am Svayamprabha, the daughter of Merusavarni. I guard this palace for Hema, O best of monkeys. My dear friend Hema is expert in singing and dancing. And I am guarding her fabulous palace in accordance with the boon she received. What are you trying to accomplish or whose purpose are you trying to fulfill that you are treading these difficult paths? And how did you find this inaccessible cave? After partaking of these foodstuffs, edible roots and fruits and drinking water, you can tell me everything."
Hanuman Explains His mission to Svayamprabha
After the monkeys had rested, the ascetic woman single-mindedly spoke the following words to them: "If your fatigue has been dispelled by eating fruits, and if your story is worth hearing, then please do tell it to me. I am eager to hear it." Upon hearing her request, Hanuman proceeded to narrate everything straightforwardly: "The glorious son of King Dasharatha, Rama, the king of the whole world and an equal to Indra and Varuna, entered the Dandaka Forest with His brother Lakshmana and His consort Sita. His wife was violently kidnapped from Janasthana by Ravana. Lord Rama's dear friend is the valiant king of the monkeys named Sugriva. He sent us along with these fierce chieftans headed by Angada to the southern region inhabited by the sage Agastya and protected by Yama, the lord of death. We were instructed to look for the rakshasa Ravana who can change his form at will, as well as Princess Sita.
After searching the entire southern region, we were hungry and tired and so took shelter under a tree. Pale and wane, we began reflecting how we were sunken in an ocean of anxiety whose shore we could not see. As our eyes wandered here and there, we spied this cave covered with trees and vines and enveloped in darkness. From out of the cave flew swans, ospreys, cranes and other acquatic birds wet with water. I suggested that we all go inside the cave. All of them came to the same conclusion, suspecting that there was water in the cave. In a hurry to enter, we rushed into this dark cave while holding each other's hands. That is the reason and the way by which we came here. We came to you out of hunger and exhaustion. Our hunger has been vanquished by eating the roots and fruits which you have so hospitably offered us. Since you saved us when we were dying of hunger, tell us what we can do to repay your service."
When spoken to in this way by Hanuman, Svayamprabha replied as follows to all those monkey chieftans: "I am very pleased with all you heroic monkeys. But because I am engaged in a life of piety, there is no service that anyone can do for me."
Svayamprabha Delivers the Monkeys from the Cave
When the ascetic woman finished speaking those auspicious words that were full of spiritual significance, Hanuman replied to that offenceless lady in the following way: "We all take shelter of you who are engaged in the practice of righteousness. The time limit set for us by Sugriva has surely already expired while we were wandering in this cave. You should therefore help us get out of this deadful cave, for we have violated Sugriva's orders and are therefore doomed. You should deliver us who are stricken with fear of Sugriva. We had a great task to accomplish, O virtuous woman, but we were unable to do it while we were here."
Being requested in this way by Hanuman, the ascetic woman replied as follows: "I think it is most difficult for any living being who has entered this cave to get out. I shall however deliver all of you monkeys out of this cave by the power of my austerities and restraint of mind. All of you close your eyes, for it is not possible for those with opened eyes to get out of the cave." Closing their eyes, they then all covered their faces with the supple fingers of their hands because of their desire to leave. While they kept they faces covered with their hands, they were transported out of the cave in the twinkling of an eye. The pious ascetic lady then consoled them after they had been delivered from danger: "There is the Vindhya Mountain range thickly forested with trees and vines. There is Mount Prasravana and there, the Indian Ocean. Good luck to you monkeys! I shall return to my abode." Saying this, she returned inside her splendid cave.
Then the monkeys saw the shoreless ocean which is the abode of Varuna, lord of the watery depths. It was covered with fearsome waves. While searching the mountain cave created by the magical powers of Maya Danava, the one month fixed for them by Sugriva had elapsed. Sitting down at the foot of one of the Vindhya Mountains whose trees were in full bloom, the monkeys began to fret. Seeing how the tree branches were burdened with spring flowers and hundreds of vines, they became stricken with fear. Informing each other that spring had arrived and realizing that the time period for performing their task had expired, they sank down to the ground. Then the highly intelligent Prince Angada, whose chest was like a lion's or a bull's, spoke the following:
"We all set out in accordance with the order of Sugriva. Do you not realize that one month has passed while we were in the cave? We set forth in the month of ashvin (September), and that time has passed. As such, what should we do? You have earned the confidence of Sugriva. You are expert in politics. You are devoted to procurring his welfare and are engaged by him in all kinds of activities. You are all unequaled in work and your manliness is well known everywhere. Under Sugriva's command, you accepted me as your leader when you set forth. Having failed to accomplish our task, we will now die. Of this there is no doubt. Since the time limit set by Sugriva has passed, we forest monkeys should simply sit down and fast until death.
"Severe by nature and established in authority, Sugriva would never forgive us offenders. And without any news about Sita, he will surely release his furry upon us. Therefore, the best thing for us to do is to begin fasting until death this very day, renouncing our sons, wives, wealth and homes. The king will certainly kill us all when we return to Kishkindha. It is better for us to die here than to have an ignoble death at the hands of Sugriva. Neither was I installed as Prince Regent by Sugriva. This was done by Lord Rama, who is never wearied in action. Sugriva previously had a grudge against me because of my father. Seeing my transgression, he has already decided to have me killed in a most cruel manner. What to do with my well-wishers when they see my life ending in that way? I shall therefore sit down here on this holy shore of the ocean to fast until death."
Hearing this exhortation made by Angada, all the monkeys replied in the following mournful way: "Sugriva is severe by nature, and Rama is attached to His consort. Seeing that the time for returning has passed and that we have not found Sita, Sugriva will certainly have us killed in order to please Rama. It is not advisable for offenders to go before their master. Let us return to Sugriva only after finding Sita or obtaining some information about Her. If not, we will go to the abode of the lord of death."
Hearing these words uttered by the freightened monkeys, Tara said: "Enough of this despair! Let us enter the cave and stay there if it so pleases you. Having been created by magical powers, this cave is difficult to enter and has abundant trees, water, food and drinks. Here there is no cause for fear from Indra, Rama or even less so from Sugriva." After hearing the favorable statements of Angada and Tara, the monkeys regained confidence and said: "Let us immediately do what is expedient so that we may not be killed by Sugriva."
Hanuman Warns the Monkeys to Return to Kishkindha
When Tara, who was as effulgent as a star, finished speaking in this way without any opposition from Angada, Hanuman considered the kingdom of Kishkindha already seized by Angada. Hanuman considered Angada to be endowed with intelligence distinguished by eight attributesxxiii, endowed with fourfold strengthxxiv and fourteen virtuesxxv. Constantly increasing in energy, strength and valor, Angada's glory was growing like the waxing moon. Hanuman then began trying to convince Angada, who was inclined to listen to Tara's advice, as Indra would be inclined to Shukracarya, and thus tired of carrying out Sugriva's order. By employing the third and fourth methods-sowing dissention and using force-Hanuman first set all the monkeys against each other through eloquent speech. Once this was accomplished, he then proceeded to intimidate Angada by using many alarming words and threats:
"You are certainly more powerful in combat than your uncle, and as able as your father to tighty retain sovereignty. The monkeys, however, are always fickle-minded, O best of monkeys. Without their sons and wives, they would not tolerated your commands. I tell you clearly that these monkeys will not become attached to you. You are unable to turn Jambavan, Nila and Suhotra, nor I, nor all these monkeys against Sugriva by persuasion, gifts or threat of violence. One can be at ease when entering into hostilities with the weak. One who is weak should therefore avoid hostility with the strong. Because of what you have heard, you consider this cave impregnable. Yet this cave can be rent asunder by the action of Lakshmana's arrows. In fact, a small opening was previously made in this cave by Lord Indra's thunderbolt. Lakshmana, however, will tear this cave to pieces like a leaf cup with His sharp arrows. Lakshmana has many such steel-tipped arrows which strike like bolts of lightning and can even shatter mountains."
"As soon as you settle down in this cave, all the monkeys will abandon you, for they have already decided to do so. Remembering their wives and children, famished and wearied by their plight, they will turn their backs on you. Abandoned by your friends, well-wishers and relatives, you will be terrified by the rustling of a blade of grass. Flying at great speed and difficult to counteract, Lakshmana's arrows, which are meant for killing opponents, will under no circumstance spare you. On the other hand, if you return with us and submit yourself humbly before Sugriva, he will eventually install you on the throne. Your uncle is fond of righteousness and is affectionate, firm in vows, pure and true to his word. He will certainly not kill you. He is especially enamored of your mother. Indeed, he lives for her alone. And you are his only offspring. Therefore, O Angada, let us go back."
The Monkeys Again Decide to Fast Until Death
Hearing Hanuman's words, which were courteous, conducive to virtue and respectful of Sugriva, Angada replied as follows: "Neither steadiness, purity of the self, nonviolence, straightforwardness, valor, nor composure are found in Sugriva. Detestable as Sugriva is, he took the beloved wife of his elder brother while he was still alive, though she is by moral principle his mother. How does he know what morality is? When his elder brother was engaged in combat, Sugriva sealed the entrance of the cave. Whose services will Sugriva remember when after Rama had offered him His hand in friendship and done him a favor, he forget all about Rama? Sugriva began the search for Sita out of fear of Lakshmana, not out of fear of unrighteousness. Therefore, how can there be any righteousness in him? What noble person from his race will ever trust that sinful, ungrateful, forgetful and fickle-minded monkey? Whether he has good qualities or not, why would Sugriva install me on the throne and allow me to live when I am born in the family of his enemy?
"After returning to Kishkindha, how would I be able to survive like a helpless weakling, since I am an offender, have sown discord among my ministers, and am devoid of power? The wicked and merciless Sugriva will surely have me imprisoned and punished in secret in order to protect his sovereignty. Fasting until death is preferable to incarceration and ruin. All you monkeys should bid me farewell and return to your homes. I solemnly declare unto you that I shall not return to Kishkindha, but shall fast until death at this very place. Death is certainly better for me. After greeting King Sugriva, you may inform him of my condition, and so also the two mighty princes, Rama and Lakshmana. You should inform my uncle Sugriva and my aunt Ruma about my welfare and health only after greeting them properly. You should also console my poor mother Tara, who is by nature affectionate to her son and compassionate too. She will definitely give up her life when she hears that I am dead."
Saying this much and offering respects to the elderly monkeys, the disconsolate Angada sat down on a mat of kusha grass. As soon as he had done this, the other monkeys became overwhelmed and shed hot tears from their eyes. Condemning Sugriva and praising Vali, they surrounded Angada and determined to fast until death. After considering Angada's statement, they sipped water three times for purification. Sitting down facing east on mats of kusha grass whose points were facing south, they took shelter of the shore of the Indian Ocean. They thought that this was the best thing for them to do. While the monkeys were discussing about Rama's exhile, the death of King Dasharatha, the massacre at Janasthana, the slaughter of Jatayu, the abduction of Sita, the killing of Vali in battle and Rama's anger, another danger approached the monkeys. With those monkeys resembling mountain peaks wailing loudly in dismay, the caves of that mountain echoed like a cloud rumbling with thunder.
Sampati Swoops Down to Devour the Monkeys
The king of vultures also happened to arrive at the same plateau where the monkeys were fasting until death. He was the long-lived bird known by the name Sampati, who was the glorious brother of Jatayu and his strength and fame were well known. Coming out of a cave all of a sudden and feeling delighted to see the monkeys there, Sampati said: "As by destiny a man in this world gets the fruition of his actions, this food meant for me has come after a long time. I shall eat these monkeys one after another as they drop dead from starvation." The bird uttered these words when he saw the monkeys. Becoming greatly disturbed to hear the hungry bird's remarks, Angada said to Hanuman: "Just see! In order to destroy the monkeys under the pretext of Sita, Yama, the lord of death, has come to this land. Rama's mission has not been accomplished nor has King Sugriva's instruction been followed. Now this unforeseen calamity has overtaken us monkeys.
"You have heard in its entirety of the service rendered by Jatayu, the king of vultures, who was desirous of pleasing Sita. Similarly, all living beings, even those born in animal species, do what is pleasing to Rama, giving up their lives like us. Bound by love and compassion for Rama, people serve each other. Therefore, give up your very lives in the attempt to serve Him. Jatayu, who knew what duty was, did a thing pleasing to Rama by laying down his life. We have traversed a difficult path in order to please Lord Rama, and we are now exhausted and about to lose our lives without having found Sita. Jatayu was fortunate to be slain by Ravana, for thus he attained the supreme destination and is freed from fear of Sugriva. The monkeys have fallen into calamity by the death of Jatayu and King Dasharatha, and by the abduction of Sita. Rama and Lakshmana's exhile in the forest with Sita, Rama's slaying of Vali with an arrow, and the annihilation of the rakshasas because of Rama's anger-all these are brought about by the boons Kaikeyi requested."
His mind being greatly agitated by hearing their mornful lamentations and seeing them fallen on the ground, the wise Sampati, king of the vultures, spoke piteously. After hearing the words sprung from Angada's mouth, Sampati said: "Who speaks of the slaughter of my brother Jatayu, who is dearer to me than my own life, thus causing my heart to tremble? How did a battle take place between him and a rakshasa in Janasthana? I am hearing my brother's name after a very long time. With your help I wish to come down from this mountain perch. I am very pleased to hear the praising of my younger brother after such a long time, for he was qualified and deserving of praise for his prowess. O monkeys, I wish to hear about the death of my brother Jatayu, who lived in Janasthana. How did King Dasharatha, who is a friend of my brother and the father of Rama, die? My wings have been burned by the sun's rays and therefore I cannot fly. I want to come down from this mountain, O conquerors of enemies."
Angada Narrates the Story of Rama to Sampati
After hearing Sampati's words chocked up due to sadness, the monkey generals did not trust him because of his previous intention to eat them. When the monkeys who had begun to fast saw the vulture, they came to the dreadful conclusion that he wished to eat them all: "If this vulture devours us who have sat down to fast, we will have thoroughly accomplished our purpose very quickly." All the monkeys thereafter came to this conclusion. Angada then helped the vulture come down from the mountain peak and said: "There was a mighty king of the monkeys named Riksharaja. My noble grandfather had two pious sons-Sugriva and Vali-both of whom had tremendous strength. My father King Vali was well known in the world. The mighty warrior and glorious son of King Dasharatha known by the name Rama, who was the ruler of the whole earth, entered the Dandaka Forest along with His brother Lakshmana and His wife Sita. Devoted to the command of His father, he took up the path of righteousness. His wife was forcibly abducted from Janasthana by Ravana. The vulture Jatayu, a friend of Rama's father, saw Sita being carried away into the sky. After smashing Ravana's chariot and placing Sita safely on the ground, the vulture, being exhausted, was slain in combat by Ravana. In this way the vulture was slain by Ravana, who was more powerful.
"After Rama performed his funeral rites, Jatayu attained the supreme destination. Then Rama established friendship with my great uncle Sugriva and killed my father. Since my uncle Sugriva had been banished with his ministers, after slaying Vali, Rama made Sugriva king. Installed on the throne by Rama, Sugriva is the lord of all the monkeys. Sent by him and engaged in this way by Rama, we have been searching everywhere for Sita, who is as effulgent as the sun, but have not found Her. After thoroughly scouring the Dandaka Forest, we inadvertently entered a concealed cavern. While we explored that cave constructed by the magician Maya, the one month time limit set by King Sugriva elapsed. Since we have exceeded the time period, we order-carriers of Sugriva have sat down out of fear to fast until death. If Rama, Lakshmana and Sugriva are angry, there is no question of us surving upon returning to Kishkindha."
Sampati Narrates his History
When the monkeys, who had given up all hopes for living, finished relating their sorrowful tale, the vulture Sampati, shedding tears, loudly replied: "The vulture whom you mentioned as slain by the stronger Ravana was my younger brother Jatayu. Due to my old age and loss of wings I have to tolerate this news, for I do not have the strength to avenge this aggression against my brother. In the past, when Indra killed Vritrasura, Jatayu and I spedily flew up to heaven with the intention of defeating Indra. After we left, we reached the sun encircled with blazing rays of light. When the sun reached the midway position in its journey across the sky, Jatayu was becoming exhausted by the sun's heat. Seeing my brother tormented by the sun's rays and greatly perturbed, I covered him with my own wings out of affection. In this way, my wings were burnt up and I fell down to the Vindhya Mountains, O monkeys. Living on this mountain, I have had no news of my brother."
Hearing the story related by Jatayu's brother Sampati, the wise Angada replied: "If you are indeed the brother of Jatayu and have heard the story I narrated, tell me if you know the place where that rakshasa stays. If you actually know where Ravana, the short-sighted ruler of the rakshasas, is, whether that be near or far, please tell us." Then the powerful Sampati, the elder brother of Jatayu, spoke the following words that were becoming of himself, thereby pleasing the monkeys: "Although I am a vulture whose wings are burnt off and devoid of virility, O monkeys, I can render Rama the greatest aid by my speech alone. I know the worlds presided over by Varuna and encompased with three steps by Vishnu in His incarnation as Trivikrama. I am also familiar with the places were the gods and demons fought in combat and where they churned the elixir of immortality from the ocean of milk. Even though my strength is robbed by old age and my life force is waning, I must first perform this task for Rama."
"Once I saw a beautiful young lady being carried away by the sinful Ravana. She was crying out, `O Rama! O Rama! O Laksmana!' She was tossing off her ornaments and flailing her arms in the air. Her exquisite silken garments shone brightly against the swarthy body of the rakshasa, like the sun perched on a mountain peak or a bolt of lightning in the sky. Because She was calling out the name `Rama,' I think She must be Sita. Listen as I speak about the abode of that rakshasa. The very son of the sage Vaishrava and the half-brother of Kuvera, a rakshasa named Ravana, lives in the city of Lanka. That charming city constructed by Vishvakarma is on an island lying eight hundred miles from here. The gates and terraces of that city are made of gold, and the great wall surrounding it is as brilliant as the sun.
"In that city resides the forlorn Sita clad in silken garments in the inner chambers of Ravana's palace under the watch of rakshasis. There you will find Sita, the daughter of King Janaka. After reaching the end of the ocean at a full eight hundred miles and reaching its southern coast, you will find Ravana in Lanka, which is hidden on all sides by the sea. Going there quickly, show your prowess, O monkeys! By intuition I can see that you will find Sita and return. Now the first level of flight is that of sparrows and other birds that eat grains. The next higher level is that of birds that eat the remnants of meals and those that eat fruits. The third level is that of cranes, herons and ospreys. The fourth level is that of hawks, and the fifth is that of vultures. The sixth is that of swans endowed with strength and virility and graced with beauty and youth. The flight level of Garuda, however, is the highest. All we vultures were born from Aruna, the son of Vinata.
"Standing here, I can see both Ravana and Sita. We also possess Garuda's supernatural power of vision. As such, by the potency of our food and because of our own kinship with Garuda, we can always see up to a distance of eight hundred miles. Moreover, the food set aside for us by nature is that which is seen at a great distance, while others find their food at the feet of trees. The outrage committed by the flesh-eating demon against my brother should some how or other be avenged. The means should be found for crossing the salty ocean. You will surely find Sita, and having attained your goal, you will return to Kishkindha. I want you to take me to the ocean so that I can offer libations of water to my magnanimous brother, who has attained heaven."
Thereafter the monkeys, who were endowed with extraordinary strength, carried Sampati to the shore of the ocean. When Sampati finished the funeral rites, the elated monkeys carried him back to where they had met him.
Sampati Explains his Knowledge of Sita's Abduction
The monkeys were very delighted to hear the nectarean words spoken by that king of vultures. Rising up all together from the ground, Jambavan, the best of bears, said the following to Sampati: "Where is Sita? Who saw Her? And who kidnapped Her? Please explain all that and become a shelter for us forest dwellers. Who is unworried by Rama's arrows which fly as quickly as lightning or by those fired by Lakshmana Himself?"
Again consoling the monkeys who were elated and eager to hear about Sita, Sampati said: "Listen to how I heard about Sita's abduction, who related it to me and where the broad-eyed Sita is. Long ago I fell down onto this inaccessible mountain which is many miles high. I am old and my life and prowess are spent. That best of birds, my son named Suparshva, regularly brought me food when I was in that condition. Gandharvas possess intense lustiness, serpents, anger, deer, fear, and we birds, hunger. Once he came to me without any meat at the time of sunset, when I was hungry and hankering for food. My son endured my harsh words uttered for his failure to bring me food when I was hungry. Offering me respects, he related the following incident:
`O father, I flew into the sky at the proper time to secure flesh for food, stationing myself in such a way so as to block the approach to Mahendra Mountain. I stayed there with my head hanging downward in order to intercept the passage of the thousands of creatures living in the sea. Then I saw someone resembling a pile of black cosmetics carrying a lady who was as effulgent as the morning sun. Seeing them I decided to capture them as food for you. He, however, humbly requested me for passage with sweet words. There is no one even among the vile who would attack those who speak words of praise. How then could one like me do so, dear father?
`After covering the sky with his splendor, he quickly passed by. Thereafter I was approached and greeted by beings travelling through the sky. The great sages said to me:
You are lucky to be alive, child. It is your good fortune that somehow or other that demon carrying a lady left without harming you.
Thus did those gracious sages speak to me. I was informed that that demon was Ravana, the king of the rakshasas. I watched Rama's wife, Sita, whose ornaments wore broken, garments torn and hair dissheveled. She was overwhelmed with grief and was crying loudly. This is how my time was spent, O father.'
"Thus did my son Suparshva relay this information to me. Even after hearing this, I did not think of acting in a valorous way. For how can a wingless bird try to do anything? But listen to what I am capable of doing, since I am accostumed to helping others with my words and intelligence. I shall explain to you that which depends on your prowess. I shall indeed do you a favor by my words and intelligence. In fact, Rama's mission is also mine, of this there is no doubt. You all are most intelligent, powerful and wise. Being comissioned by Sugriva, you are unassailable even by the gods. The arrows of Rama and Lakshmana are razor-sharp and ended with vulture feathers. Therefore they are capable of subduing the three worlds. Of course, Ravana is endowed with vigor and strength. There is, however, nothing difficult for you to achieve, being as capable as you are. As such, what is the use of wasting time? Make up your minds, for those who are as intelligent as you do not delay in beginning their tasks."
Sampati's Meeting with the Sage Nishakara
The monkey leaders all sat down on the mountain, surrounding Sampati, who had previously bathed after performing his brother's funeral rites. Having inspired the monkeys, Sampati joyfully spoke to Angada, who was sitting nearby, surrounded by monkeys: "Let all the monkeys listen attentively and quietly to what I have to say. I will fully explain how I learned about Sita. Formerly, when my wings were singed by the scorching rays of the sun, I fell down to the forest on this peak of the Vindhya Mountains. When I regained consciousness after six days, being weak and faint, I looked around but was unable to recognize anything. After scanning all the oceans, mountains, rivers, lakes, forests and beaches, my memory returned. Thus I realized that I was on the southern shore of the ocean bounded by the Vindhya Mountains, which are teeming with flocks of birds and riddled with caves.
"Here there was a holy hermitage worshiped even by the gods. In it resided the sage known as Nishakara, who was engaged in practicing difficult austerities. Since the righteous sage ascended to heaven, I have passed eight thousand years dwelling on this mountain in his absence. Slowly coming down from the mountain where I fell, with difficulty I reached a plain overgrown with sharp kusha grass. Desiring to see that sage, I reached his hermitage with great difficulty. Indeed, Jatayu and I used to visit that sage often. Fragrant breezes blew in the area around that hermitage. There were no trees without fruits or flowers. Reaching the holy hermitage, I sat underneath a tree, desirous as I was of seeing the venerable sage Nishakara.
"Soon, at a distance, I saw the unassailable sage illuminated by his own glory. He had just taken his bath and was returning from the south. Bears, deer, tigers, lions and serpents followed him on all sides, as do people a cherished benefactor. Seeing that the sage had reached his hermitage, all the animals departed, just as the king's army and ministers leave the king when he enters his palace. The sage was happy to see me and went inside his hermitage. Coming out again after a few minutes, he asked me why I had come: `Seeing you without your plumage, I did not recognize you. Your wings have been burnt by fire, and your skin is also damaged. Previously I used to see two vultures, brothers and rulers of their species, both of pleasing appearance and as quick as the wind. You are the older brother Sampati, and Jatayu is your younger brother. Assuming human forms, you used to touch my feet respectfully. Is this some disease that you have contracted? How have your wings fallen off? Or who has punished you in this way? Please tell me everything.'"
Sampati's Explains His Mishap
Afterwards, Sampati informed the sage about their dangerous undertaking to chastise Indra, which was difficult to accomplish, and their approaching the sun: "O venerable sage, because of the wounds on my flesh, my shame, my perturbation and my exhaustion, I am unable to reply to your inquiries. Jatayu and I were both bewildered by pride and enviousness. As such we took a challenge before sages on the peak of Mount Kailasa to follow the sun until it had set behind the western mountain, flying high into the sky to measure our prowess. We both flew into the sky together and beheld different cities on the surface of the earth as no bigger than the wheel of a charriot. In one area we heard instrumental music, in another, the chanting of Vedic hymns. In another place we saw singing ladies dressed in red. Flying speedily into the sky, we reached the path of the sun and saw that the forest looked like a grassy field. The mountains piled on the earth looked like pebbles and the rivers crossing it looked like strings. The Himalaya, Vindhya and Meru Mountains looked like elephants in a pond.
"We were then overtaken by intense sweat, fatigue and fear. We became bewildered and practically unconscious. We could not distinguish the southern, south-eastern or western directions. The world which operates under specific laws seemed as if it had been prematurely consumed by fire. Depending on my eyes for sight, my mind became confused. After struggling to fix my eyes on the horizon, I was again able to see the sun. It appeared to us as if it were the same size as the earth. Without any notice, Jatayu thereafter dropped down to the earth. Seeing him do so, I quickly allowed myself to fall down from the sky. Having been covered by my wings, Jatayu was not burned. I, however, because of my recklessness, was badly burned as I fell from the sky. I assumed that Jatayu had fallen somewhere in Janasthana, while I fell down with burnt wings and unconscious in the Vindhya Mountains. Deprived of my sovereignty, brother, wings and prowess, I simply want to die and will jump off of a mountain peak."
The Sage Nishakara's Prediction About Sampati
Sampati continued: "Relating this story to the great sage, I began weeping because of my great sadness. After contemplating for awhile, the venerable sage replied: `You will get another pair of wings, as well as vitality, sight, valor and strength. I have heard from historical narrations that a remarkable even would take place in the future. I have learned this not only by hearing, but have also seen it by dint of my austerities. There will be a king named Dasharatha in the dynasty descending from Ikshvaku. His son will be the mighty Rama. He will go into the forest with His brother Lakshmana in order to uphold the order of His father. A certain rakshasa named Ravana born in the dynasty of Nairriti and lord of the rakshasas, being unkillable by gods or demons, will abduct Rama's consort from the forest at Janasthana. Even though offered very palatable and desirable preparations to eat, the illustrious and fortunate Sita did not eat them. Learning about this, Indra will give Her a pudding of rice and milk that will be like the elixir of immortality which even the gods find difficult to obtain. When She finds out that the pudding had come from Indra, Sita will take the first part and spill it on the ground, saying:
Whether My husband and master is still alive with Lakshmana, or whether They have attained divinity, let this rice pudding reach Them.
Dispatched as messengers of Lord Rama, monkeys will come. O bird, inform them about Rama's consort. Under no circumstances should you leave this area. After all, what can you do in your present condition? Wait for the proper time and place and you will get new wings. I can supply you with new wings this very moment. But by staying here you will perform a deed beneficial to the whole world. This is indeed your duty to those two princes, to yourself, to the brahmanas, to the gods, to the great sages and to Lord Indra. I long to see the two brothers-Rama and Lakshmana. Yet I do not wish to continue living for a long time and will give up this body.'
"Thus spoke the great sage who could see the Supreme Truth."
Sampati Receives New Wings
Sampati continued: "Praising me in this and other ways, the eloquent sage took leave of me and entered his dwelling. Slowly crawling from the mountain cave and ascending this peak of the Vindhya Mountains, I have been waiting for you. Since then until the present more than eight thousand years have passed. Remembering the sage's words, I have been waiting for that time and place. After the sage Nishakara passed away and attained heaven, I have been burning with anxiety because of my doubts. I have been brushing aside the thought of suicide which would occasionally arise by remembering the sage's prediction. The hope which he instilled in me for my survival drives away my sorrow, as a flame of fire drives away darkness. Knowing as I did the prowess of the evil-minded Ravana, I rebuked my son, asking: `Why did you not try to protect Sita?' Even hearing Her cries for help and seeing that Sita was being taken away from the two princes, my son did not do any act that would have pleased me, despite knowing my deep friendship with King Dasharatha."
As Sampati was speaking with the monkeys, a new pair of wings sprung from his shoulders right in front of the monkeys. Seeing his body sporting a pair of wings with golden feathers, he experienced tremendous delight and said to the monkeys: "By the power of the immeasurable sage Nishakara, my wings which were previously burned by the rays of the sun have grown back. I am now experiencing the same prowess, strength and vitality as in my youth. Just do everything you can and you will find Sita. The recovery of my wings is the confirmation of your success."
After speaking in this way to all those monkeys, Sampati, the best of birds, jumped of the mountain peak with the desire to test his flying skill. When the monkeys, who were dependent on their valor, heard what Sampati said, their minds became overjoyed. Having regained their prowess which was like the wind and their virility, they headed for the southern region where the constellation Abhijit shines with the determination to find Sita.
The Monkeys Dispirited on Seeing the Ocean
Informed in this way by the king of vultures, the monkeys, who were as valiant as lions, jumped up all together and shouted joyfully. After hearing Sampati's account, desiring to find Sita, the monkeys happily approached the Indian Ocean, which was the way to Ravana's abode. Upon reaching that area, the monkeys of formidable prowess saw the ocean which was like a reflection of the entire land mass of the world. Having reached the northern coast of the Indian Ocean, the monkey warriors stopped there. The monkeys became distressed when they saw that ocean which was hair-raising. In some parts it seemed to be asleep, in others it seemed to be playing, in others it seemed to be covered with volumes of water the size of mountains or by enormous waves. In its depths were gathered huge, monsterous creatures. Seeing that the ocean was shoreless like the sky, the monkeys all exclaimed at once: "How will we accomplish our task?" Seeing the army despondent from seeing the ocean, Angada tried to assuage their fear: "Do not let your minds become despondent. Despondency is very harmful. It destroys a man just as an angry snake kills a child. Fruitless are the efforts of one who, though engeavoring vigorously, gives way to despondency."
After the night had passed, Angada again approached the elder leaders and consulted with them. While the soldiers were standing around Angada, they resembled an army of demigods surround Lord Indra. Besides Angada and Hanuman, who else could hold that simian army in check? Addressing both the elders and the soldiers, the glorious Angada greeted them and spoke the following meaningful words: "What mighty monkey can jump across this ocean? Who will make Sugriva, the conqueror of foes, true to his promise? Which monkey warrior can jump a distance of eight hundred miles? Who will free these monkey generals from fear? By whose power will we accomplish our goal and happily return to Kishkindha to see our wives, children and homes? By whose mercy will we joyfully meet Rama, the hardy Lakshmana and the powerful Sugriva? If any one of you monkeys is capable of jumping across the ocean, kindly rid us of our fear by doing so immediately."
When they heard Angada's request, no one said anything. All the monkey soldiers remained still. Once more did Angada addressed those monkeys: "You are all the best of the strong and of firm valor. You are born in distinguished families and have been honored frequently. Your movement can never be obstructed under any circumstance. Therefore, O monkeys, tell me who has the ability to jump across the ocean."
The Monkeys Proclaim Their Jumping Skills
After hearing what Angada said, the foremost of all those monkeys, such as Gaja, Gavaksha, Gavaya, Sharabha, Gandhamadana, Mainda, Dvivida, Sushena and Jambavan, began declaring their jumping ability one after the other. Gaja said: "I can jump eighty miles!" Gavaksha said: "I can jump one hundred and sixty miles!" Then the monkey Gavaya said: "O monkeys, I can leap a distance of two hundred and forty miles!" The monkey Sharabha said: "I can jump three hundred and twenty miles!" The mighty Gandhamadana said to the monkeys: "I can leap four hundred miles! Of this there is no doubt." Thereafter Mainda said: "I am capable of jumping a full four hundred and eighty miles!" The powerful Dvivida declared: "I can undoubtedly jump five hundred and sixty miles." The best of monkeys, Sushena declared to the monkeys: "I, however, can jump six hundred and forty miles."
While they were speakin in this way, Jambavan, the oldest of them, offered them respects and said: "Previously I had the capacity to jump great distances, though now I have certainly reached the end of my life. Nevertheless, the task which Rama and Sugriva have decided to accomplish cannot be neglected. Please note the distance that I can presently leap. I can jump a distance of seven hundred and twenty miles. Of this there is no doubt." Then Jambavan continued speaking to those monkeys: "Of course I had a great capacity than this in the past. When the eternal Lord Vishnu manifested His incarnation as Trivikrama during the sacrifice performed by King Bali, I circumambulated the Lord as He traversed the universe in three steps. Now that I am old, the distance I can jump has diminished. When I was young my strength was unmatched by others. At present I reckon my ability to be only this much. However, the task cannot be accomplished with this much jumping skill."
Offering respects to the wise Jambavan, Angada said: "I can leap eight hundred miles, but I am not certain whether I can return or not." Then the eloquent Jambavan replied to him: "Your ability is well known, O best of the monkeys and bears. Surely you can jump eight hundred or eight thousand miles and return. A master can never be dispatched by those who are his servants. All of us are meant to be directed by you, O best of the monkeys. We are situated as your menial servants, like a master with his spouse. Therefore you should always protect us as if we were your spouses. You are the root of the work that has to be done, O conqueror of foes. Those who are expert in all affairs say that the root of a thing must be carefully protected, for while the root exists is it possible for something to flower and bear fruit. In this regards, you are the means of accomplishing this task, O warrior of unfailing valor. Endowed as you are with intelligence and prowess, you are the expedient in the matter, for you are our superior and the son of our superior, O best of monkeys."
Angada, the son of Vali, replied as follows: "If neither I nor any other monkey performs the task at hand, then we will again have to start fasting until death. Having failed to carry out Sugriva's instruction, I do not see how we can protect our lives when we return to Kishkindha. Sugriva can be either very merciful or enraged. If we return without having carried out his instructions, we will meet with destruction. Therefore you should ponder the means by which this task is not hindered."
When Angada finished speaking in this way, Jambavan replied to him: "Your mission will not be obstructed in the least, O hero! I shall now appeal to him who can accomplish this task." Then Jambavan addressed an appeal to that best of monkeys Hanuman, who was sitting peacefully at a distance.
Hanuman Requested to Jump Across the Ocean
Seeing that the hundreds of thousands of monkey soldiers were despondent, Jambavan spoke as follows to Hanuman: "O hero, you are the most learned of the monkeys. You are sitting quietly by yourself. Why do you not speak? O Hanuman, you are equal in prowess and strength to Sugriva, and even to Rama and Lakshmana. Kashyapa's descendant was the mighty and best of birds known as Garuda, a son of Vinata. Many times I saw that glorious bird of great speed snatching up snakes from the ocean. There is no difference between the strength of his wings and your arms, nor is there any difference in prowess and velocity. Your strength, intelligence, vigor and courage are exception among all living beings. Why do you not recognize your own capability?
"There was an outstanding celestial damsel known as Punjikasthala. By a curse she was born as the daughter of a great monkey chieftan named Kunjara. She became known as Anjana, the wife of the monkey Kesari. Her bodily proportions were the most lovely of any female monkey and she was famous in all the three worlds for her physical beauty. Though a monkey, she could change her form at will. Once she assumed a human form looking beautiful and youthful. She was wearing wonderful garlands and ornaments and was wearing costly silk garments. She was strolling about on the top of a mountain which resembled a large rain cloud. The wind god gently removed the beautiful yellow robe with a red border from the broad-eyed lady standing on the mountain top. He thereafter beheld her lovely countenance, her rounded and tightly pressed thighs and her shapely raised breasts.
"As soon as the wind god saw that lovely woman with broad hips, slender waist and lovely limbs, he became infatuated by lust. The wind god embraced with his two arms that innocent lady whose body was infused by Cupid. Bewildered by what was happening, the lady of noble actions said: `Why do you wish to brake my vow of fidelity to only one husband.' Upon hearing Anjana's utterance, the wind god replied: `I shall not harm you. O fortunate lady, you have no reason to fear. While embracing you, my mind entered you. Therefore you will give birth to a son who will be powerful and intelligent. Possessing exceptional courage, vigor, strength and prowess, he will be equal to me in leaping and jumping.'
"Your mother was pleased when spoken to in this way. She gave birth to you, the best of monkeys, in a cave on Mount Mandara. When you were a child, you saw the risen sun in the great forest. Thinking that it was a fruit and desiring to get it, you jumped into the sky. Reaching a distance of twenty four thousand miles, you were repulsed by the briliance of the sun. You did not become despondent because of that. Seeing you quickly rising up into the sky even after having fallen like that, Indra became angry and hurled a thunderbolt at you. Then he threw you against the topmost peak of a mountain, fracturing your jaw. Thus you became known as Hanuman for your swollen jaw.
"Seeing you badly injured, the wind god Vayu, the bearer of fragrances, became extremely angry and does not visit the three worlds any more. For lack of air, the demigods became confused and all the three worlds felt distressed. Lord Brahma then pacified the wind god and granted you the boon of invulnerability in battle. Pleased to see you undisturbed by the impact of his thunderbolt, the thousand-eyed Indra granted you the boon of being able to choose when you die. In this way you are the child of Kesari engendered in his wife by another, O monkey of frightful prowess. Being the offspring of the wind god, you are equal to him in vigor. Because you are his son, you are equal to him in jumping.
"At the moment our energy is exhausted. Therefore you should now protect us. Endowed with skill and prowess, you are like another Garuda. During the Lord's incarnation as Trivikrama, I circumambulated the earth with its mountains, forests and groves twenty-one times. When the gods wanted to extract the elixir of immortality from the ocean of milk, they commissioned me to bring the necessary herbs because of my extraordinary strength. Now I am old and devoid of prowess. At the present time only you among us possess all the necessary qualities. As such, show your prowess, for you are the best of the monkeys. The entire monkey army is anxious to see your virility. Get up, O tiger among monkeys, and jump across the ocean, for your jumping skill surpasses that of all other living beings. All the monkeys are despondent, O Hanuman. Why do you ignore them? Show your prowess even as the all-mighty Vishnu traversed the universe in three steps."
Encouraged by Jambavan and convinced of his own vigor, Hanuman, the son of the wind god, greatly pleased those monkeys by assuming a gigantic form.
Hanuman Prepares to Jump Across the Ocean
When the monkeys saw that Hanuman had suddenly assumed a suitable form for leaping eight hundred miles across the ocean and was full of vigor, they became overjoyed, shouting loudly and glorifying Hanuman. Standing all around him, they were jubilant and amazed, even as were all beings when they saw the Supreme Lord Narayana display His form as Trivikrama. As Hanuman was being praised, he continued to grow in size, swirling his tail around joyfully as he remembered his own strength. While Hanuman was being praised by the elder monkeys and he was become surcharged with energy, he looked exceptionally beautiful. As a lion stretches himself out in a spacious mountain den, so did Hanuman, the son of the wind god, stretch himself in size. When Hanuman yawned, his open mouth resembled a red-hot pan or a smokeless fire. With his hair standing on end due to delight, Hanuman, rising up amidst the monkeys, addressed the senior monkeys in the following way:
"Shattering mountain peaks and circulating in space, the wind is the friend of fire and of immeasurable strength. I am the son of the wind god of rapid speed and movement. Thus no one is equal to me in leaping. I can circumambulate one thousand times the peak of Mount Meru, which seems to be scratch the sky. I can push the ocean away with the force of my arms to flood the world with its mountains, rivers and lakes. With my thighs and shanks I can stirr up the ocean, bringing its huge crocodiles to the surface. I can circumambulate Garuda one thousand times as he flies through the sky. I can overtake the sun blazing with its wreath of rays when it rises from the east before it can set in the west. Then I can return with the same terribly rapid speed without ever setting foot on the earth, O best of monkeys.
"I can overtake all the luminaries in speed. I can dry up the ocean and tear the earth to pieces. I can crush mountains into powder by jumping on them. Jumping with great speed, I can cross the ocean. The flowers from all kinds of trees and vines will follow me now when I leap through the air. Thus my journey across the sky will resemble the Milky Way. All living beings will see me leaping into the fearful sky, flying through the air and landing on the other side of the ocean. You will see me resembling a huge cloud, covering the heavens and swallowing the sky as I go. Crossing the sky with a concentrated mind, I shall rend clouds, shake mountains and dry up the sea.
"Such capability is found in Garuda, in the wind god, and in myself. Except for Garuda and the swift wind god, I do not see any created being who can follow me when I jump. In the twinkling of an eye, I shall suddenly leap into the supportless vault of heaven like a bolt of lightning sprung from a cloud. My form as I leap across the sea will resemble Lord Vishnu's incarnation as Trivikrama when He cross the universe with three steps. By my intelligence and mental effort I can see that I shall find Sita. Therefore, rejoice, O you monkeys! Being equal to the wind god in speed and equal to Garuda in velocity, I believe that I can jump eight thousand miles. By my prowess I can forcibly bring here the nectar of immortality from the hand of Indra bearing a thunderbolt, or even from Lord Brahma. I think I can even pick up Lanka and take it elsewhere."
Exultant and amazed, the monkeys there gazed as that monkey whose splendor was immeasurable boasted loudly. Upon hearing these words uttered by Hanuman which extinguished the anxiety of his comrades, Jambavan delightedly spoke to Hanuman as follows: "O son of the valiant Kesari! O son of the wind god! You have eliminated the tremendous anxiety of your comrades. Desiring your well-being, the assembled leaders will invoke prayer of auspiciousness for your success. By the mercy of the sages, the approval of the elder monkeys and the mercy of your superiors, jump across the ocean!We shall stand on one leg until you return, for the lives of all the forest-dwelling monkeys depends on you."
Then Hanuman said: "This place cannot to bear the pressure caused by my jumping. Those peaks of Mount Mahendra, which is solid stone, are firm and large. Those peaks on which I shall exert pressure are thickly forested and adorned with mounds of minerals. They will be able to withstand the pressing of my feet when I leap from there to a distance of eight hundred miles."
Then Hanuman, wide known as the son of the wind, climbed atop Mount Mahendra, which was covered with many kinds of trees, meadows frequented by deer, flowering creepers and trees that always bore fruits and flowers. That best of mountains was infested with lions and tigers and frequented by elephants in rut. I resounded with the sound of mating birds and was crowded with waterfalls. Hanuman, who was equal in prowess to Lord Indra, climbed Mount Mahendra, whose peaks jutted upwards steeply.
When that great mountain felt the pressure of Hanuman's feet, it screamed like a elephant in rut being attacked by a lion. It released streams of water, its masses of rocks being crushed. Its deer and elephants became frightened and its tall trees shook. Naga and gandharva couples, who were addicted to intoxication and sex, began abandoning that great peak, as did flying birds and groups of vidyadharas. While stone fell from the trembling peaks of the great mountain, snakes hide in holes. As the hissing snakes came halfway out of their holes, the mountain looked as if it were adorned with flags. When the mountain was abandoned by the sages who were perturbed by fear, it resembled a traveler without any companion in a large wilderness. Hanuman, who was dynamic, outstanding and the slayer of enemy warriors, composed his mind and mentally went to Lanka.