Click here to load whole tree
NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Other Scriptures by Acharyas > Valmiki Ramayana > Kishkindhya Kanda


The beauty of the spring scenery surrounding Lake Pampa awoke within Rama remembrances of His loving pastimes with Sita, and because of this, His grief became intensified. While constantly thinking about Sita, Rama wondered if she would be able to live in separation from Him, especially during this spring season.

Giving vent to His unbearable sorrow, Rama bitterly lamented as follows: “Lakshman, now is the month of Chaitra, and this lake is so lovely with its deep blue water. This is the season of love, and all the trees are resplendent with fruit and flowers. Look at the karnikara trees with their bright red blossoms, raining down their petals so that the carpet of green has become spotted with red.”

Without Sita, life seems meaningless. That which pleased Me when she was present, now gives Me pain! When I hear the Kokila’s call, I think of Sita’s sweet voice. When I see the pinkish lotus flowers swaying on the crests of the waves, I think of Sita’s eyes. The gentle fragrant breeze only reminds Me of Sita’s honey-scented breath. Lakshman, it is a cruel spring! The pain is unbearable for Me! I can no longer live without Sita. You had better return to Ayodhya and render service to Bharata while I stay here and give up My life!”

Hoping to instill some hope within Rama, Lakshman replied, “My dear brother, there is no reason to believe that Sita is not alive and well. Wherever Ravana may be- in heaven or on earth- within the sea or in the nether regions, We will find him and vent Our wrath! Give up this useless melancholy, and make up Your mind to find Sita! It is by earnest endeavor that We shall succeed, not by lamenting!”

After being admonished by Lakshman, Rama gave up His morbid depression. As They continued talking, Rama and Lakshman reached Rishyamukha Hill. From a distance, Sugriva could see Them approaching. Suspecting them to be allies of Vali, Sugriva became very afraid. Along with his associates, he quickly went to take shelter within Matanga’s ashram, since it was protected by the rishi’s magic spell. But despite this security, Sugriva was so frightened and restless that he wandered from hilltop to hilltop, being unable to remain still for a moment.

Hanuman said to his distracted master, “You should give up this paranoia of Vali. Because you are a fickle-minded monkey, you hastily come to some conclusion that will later on be rejected after giving the matter some careful thought.”

Sugriva replied, “Whether they are agents of Vali or not, these persons who have come here certainly seem dangerous. They look like chiefs of the demigods and They are armed with bows and swords. Remember that Vali is very cunning, and he has many friends.”

“Hanuman, I want you to go and find out why these two have come here. Observe Them carefully- Their speech and Their expressions. Find out who They are and what They want. If you purposely glorify me in Their presence, you will be able to find out whether They are actually friendly or inimical.”

Hanuman concealed his real form and appeared before Rama and Lakshman as a mendicant. After falling flat to offer his obeisances, Hanuman said, “O great heroes, please tell me how it is that such exalted personalities have come to this desolate region. Your strongly built bodies indicate that You are warriors, and yet You are dressed like ascetics. My name is Hanuman, and I am a minister of Sugriva, who has been banished from his kingdom by his elder brother, Vali. I am the son of Vayu and I can go anywhere at will and assume any form that I please. Sugriva has sent me here to extend to You his friendship and hospitality.”

Rama then said to Lakshman, “This Hanuman is a minister of Sugriva, the noble King of the Vanaras whom We have been searching for. How courteously he behaves, and how poetically he speaks. In his eyes, limbs, attitude and expression, there is nothing the least displeasing or duplicitous. He has depth, power, and confidence, and his speech reflects a mature unification of heart, voice and intelligence. Even an enemy would be charmed by his words! Lakshman, please explain to Hanuman the sequence of events that has led Us to come here.”

Lakshman said, “It is Our good fortune that We have met you, for We have been searching for Sugriva, being eager to make an alliance of friendship with him. This is Rama, the son of Maharaja Dasharatha, and I am His younger brother, Lakshman. Rama’s father wanted to install Him as his successor to the royal throne, but due to political intrigue, He was banished to the forest instead.”

“Recently, the Rakshasa king, Ravana, kidnapped Rama’s beloved wife, Sita. Overwhelmed by grief, We have been searching for Sita in the forest, and while wandering here and there, We came upon a fierce Rakshasa named Kabandha. By killing him, We relieved him from a terrible curse, and in return, he advised Us to make an alliance of friendship with Sugriva. It is for this purpose that We have come here, and We are ready to do whatever is beneficial for you and your noble king.”

Lakshman’s tone of voice was pathetic, and tears filled His eyes as He described Their plight to Hanuman. Hanuman then said, “Sugriva, like you, is now bereft of his kingdom and wife. I am sure that he and his followers will help You to find Sita. Please come with me now and meet Sugriva. He has been very anxious to find out the reason for Your coming here.”

After saying this, Hanuman assumed his real gigantic monkey-like form. Taking Rama and Lakshman upon his shoulders, Hanuman immediately departed for Rishyashringa Mountain. First of all, Hanuman went alone to Sugriva and explained about Rama’s friendly intentions.

Sugriva then took the form of a mendicant and went to see Rama and Lakshman. As he approached, Sugriva extended his hand as an offering of friendship, and with great pleasure, Rama extended His hand in return and warmly embraced the monkey chief. Lakshman then lit a sacred fire between Rama and Sugriva, in order to formally unite the two friends. After ceremonially circumambulating the fire, Rama and Sugriva looked upon one another without anxiety.

Sugriva then said, “My dear Rama, from this day on, Your happiness shall be my happiness, Your sorrow shall be my sorrow, and vice versa.”

After saying this, Sugriva snapped off a Sal branch full of flowers and placed it on the ground for Rama to sit on. Hanuman broke off a branch of sandalwood blossoms for Lakshman, and after all were seated Sugriva said, “Rama, I pass my life in constant anxiety because of my brother, Vali. After he forcibly took away my wife and kingdom, I took shelter within this forest. Still, I remain haunted by the fear that Vali may come and attack me at any time, and thus I know not a moment’s peace.”

Rama mildly smiled and replied, “Service is the real fruit of friendship, and so it is My duty to dispose of Vali so that you can regain your wife and kingdom.”

Sugriva then said, “Hanuman has told me how You were exiled to the forest, and how Your wife was kidnapped. As a friend, it is my vow to help You to recover her, whether she is in heaven, on earth, or in the nether regions. Rama, I am sure that I saw Sita being carried away by a powerful Rakshasa, and she was crying out, “Rama! Rama!” She saw us seated upon this hill, and so she threw down her upper garment and some jewelry. We have kept these.”

Rama was very eager to see these things and so Sugriva went and brought them from a dark cave where they had been stored. Immediately recognizing the cloth and jewelry, Rama cried out, “O darling, O dearly beloved!” As tears fell from His lotus eyes, Rama became so bewildered with grief that He suddenly fell to the ground, wailing pitifully. Then, after coming to His senses, Rama said, “Lakshman, these were worn by Sita. Can You recognize them?”

Lakshman replied, “I do not know about the yellow silk cloth, bangles or earrings. Out of respect for Sita, I would never gaze above her ankles. But, since I used to go every morning and bow down at her lotus feet, I do recognize the ankle-bells.”

Thereafter, when Rama inquired about Ravana, Sugriva said, “Unfortunately, I have not even heard of Ravana. But, You can rest assured that I will help You find him. Rama, You should not lament so much for the loss of Your dear wife. A person can never become happy simply by grieving. Such sorrow actually diminishes one’s strength, and thus puts his very life in danger. Even though I am a foolish monkey, in a similar situation, I do not lament as much as You.”

Rama became a little pacified by Sugriva’s words. After embracing once again, the two sat down comfortably. When Sugriva mentioned his fear of Vali once more, Rama said, “Friends and enemies are known by the respective service and disservice that they render. Sugriva, please rest assured that I will kill Vali today. But, first, I would like to hear exactly how such bitter enmity arose between you two brothers.”

Sugriva replied, “It is only to a true friend that one can give full vent to his grief. Rama, please listen as I tell You the whole story. When my father died, being the elder prince, Vali became the King of Kishkindha and I engaged in his service.

Previous to this, Mayavi, the son of Maya Danava, had become Vali’s enemy on account of a woman. Then, one night, as everyone was asleep, Mayavi came to Kishkindha and challenged Vali to fight. Although I, along with his wives, tried to dissuade him, the enraged Vali rushed out of the palace to meet the aggressor.

I followed my brother, and when Mayavi saw both of us he became afraid and ran away. Then, as we gave chase, Mayavi entered a deep and dark cave, the entrance of which was covered over by dense weeds. Vali ordered me to guard the entrance, while he went inside to fight with the demon.”

“One entire year passed as I waited with no sign of my brother. Then, when I saw blood mixed with foam oozing out from the cave, and heard what sounded like the enemy, but not my brother’s voice, I concluded that Vali must have been killed. After blocking the cave’s entrance with a huge boulder, I offered water for the benefit of my brother’s departed soul. Then, when I returned to Kishkindha, the ministers installed me on the throne, and I began to rule the kingdom righteously.”

“But, some time later, Vali returned to Kishkindha after killing Mayavi, much to everyone’s surprise. When he saw me sitting on the throne, Vali became enraged and immediately arrested all the ministers, putting them in chains. I could have fought with my brother, but out of respect, I bowed down to him and placed the royal crown at his feet, hoping that he would become pacified. Vali remained angry, however, and he continued to abuse me severely.”

“Calling together all the leading citizens, Vali announced, ‘I had entered the earth to kill the demon Mayavi, and it was only after searching for one full year that I was able to find him. After I killed Mayavi, along with all of his relatives, the flow of blood practically filled up the cave, making it very difficult for me to get out. When I finally reached the cave’s entrance, I discovered that a huge boulder blocked the way out. I called for Sugriva, again and again. When there was no reply, I kicked aside the boulder and returned home. Much to my surprise, I saw Sugriva sitting on the throne. I could very well understand that Sugriva had tried to shut me up within the cave so that he could gain control of the kingdom.’ ”

Sugriva concluded, “In retaliation, Vali took away all my possessions, including my wife, and banished me from Kishkindha, leaving me with just a single cloth. Ever since that time I have been residing on this mountain, along with my associates.”

Rama said, “My dear Sugriva, rest assured that I will kill Vali so that you can recover your wife and your kingdom.”

But, Sugriva doubted whether Rama was powerful enough to kill Vali. To illustrate his brother’s prowess, Sugriva narrated the following story: Once there was a great demon named Dundhubhi, who wandered over the earth in the form of a buffalo. When he came to the beach, he challenged the ocean to fight.

The presiding lord of the ocean then appeared before Dundhubhi and said, “O best of the asuras, I am not a competent match for you. I suggest that you approach Himavan, the presiding deity of the Himalayas and father-in-law of Lord Shiva.”

Thinking that the Ocean was afraid to fight with him, Dundhubhi went to the Himalayas and began tearing down its peaks. Himavan then appeared on a mountaintop and said, “I am the shelter of many great rishis who are nonviolent and peaceful in mind, and I myself am not at all adept at warfare. O greatest of the demons, please leave us aside and do not create any more disturbances.”

When the angry demon asked with whom he should fight, Himavan described my brother Vali, the son of Indra. Dundhubhi then went to Kishkindha. While bellowing loudly, he began to tear up the ground with his hooves, uproot big trees and damage the city gates with his horns. Vali immediately came and challenged the arrogant demon to fight.

After a brief exchange of harsh words, Vali grabbed Dundhubhi by the horns, whirled him around, and dashed him to the ground, making blood flow from his ears. A fierce duel followed, as each struck the other forcibly, but soon the demon began to weaken. Noticing this, Vali lifted Dundhubhi up in the air and smashed him to the ground with all his strength. As blood poured profusely from every hole in his body, Dhundhuhbi gave up his life.

Vali then lifted up Dundhubhi’s dead body and hurled it a distance of six kilometers. As the corpse flew through the air, drops of blood fell onto the ground at Matanga’s ashram. This angered the great rishi and he wondered who had done such a stupid thing.

When Matanga learned that Vali had killed the demon, he pronounced the following curse: “If that monkey ever comes within six kilometers of my ashram, he will instantly die. If his ministers come here, they will remain as stone statues for thousands of years.”

Sugriva then concluded his narration by saying, “Vali went and tried to pacify the rishi, but because he failed to do so, he has been afraid to approach this place ever since that time. Over there, You can see the dried up skin and bones of the great demon. You can just imagine how powerful Dundhubhi must have been. How can you hope to defeat Vali?”

Lakshman laughed to think how Sugriva doubted Rama’s ability to kill Vali. He then asked, “What could Rama do that will satisfy you regarding His prowess?”

Sugriva replied, “Once, at this place, Vali pierced seven large Sal trees with seven arrows. If Rama can split one of these trees with a single arrow and then kick the remains of Dundhubhi a distance of 200 bows’ length, I would consider Him to be a suitable match for Vali.”

After hearing this, Rama effortlessly lifted Dundhubhi’s skeleton with His big toe and sportingly flung it a distance of some kilometers. Still, Sugriva said, “When Vali had thrown the demon’s body it was very heavy with flesh and blood, and he was tired from fighting. Since the carcass is now comparatively light, it is impossible to judge who is actually the more powerful- Rama or Vali.”

Rama then picked up His bow and released a powerful arrow that pierced all seven Sal trees and then entered the earth, going all the way down to Patala. Finally, after an hour, the arrow returned to Rama’s quiver. Sugriva was struck with wonder, and he very reverently bowed down at Rama’s lotus feet. In turn, Rama picked up Sugriva and embraced him. He then suggested, “Let us go now to Kishkindha. Sugriva, you go on ahead and challenge Vali, while Lakshman and I hide behind some trees just outside the city gate.”

Sugriva went to Kishkindha and roared loudly, to challenge his brother. When he heard this, Vali came rushing out of the city, excited with rage, just like the sun emerging from behind a hill. Vali and Sugriva proceeded to angrily strike one another with their fists, but as Rama watched the fight with His bow in hand, He could not tell which of the two was Vali, for the brothers looked alike. Because of this, Rama refrained from releasing His arrow. Sugriva thought that Rama was unwilling to help him, and because he appeared to be losing the fight, he ran away, his body battered and soaked with blood. While chasing Sugriva, Vali taunted, “Coward! Run for your life! This time I will spare you!”

Sugriva took shelter in the forest surrounding Matanga’s ashram, and soon after, Rama and Lakshman also came there. Reproachfully, Sugriva said, “Rama, if You did not intend to kill Vali, why did You encourage me to challenge him? It would have been better if You had honestly said, ‘I am not willing to kill your elder brother.’ ”

Rama explained, “As I watched the fight I became confused, because your voice, bodily features and dress exactly resemble your brother’s. It is for this reason alone that I did not release My arrow. Put on some distinguishing mark and then go once again and challenge Vali.”

Turning to Lakshman, Rama said, “Uproot a blossoming Gajapushpi creeper and fasten it around Sugriva’s neck. In this way, I will easily be able to distinguish him from his brother.”

Sugriva once again departed for Kishkindha, accompanied by Rama, Lakshman, Hanuman, Nala, Nila and Tara. When they reached the outskirts of town, everyone concealed themselves within a grove of trees while Sugriva approached the gate, challenging his brother with loud roars. Vali was inside the ladies’ apartments when he heard Sugriva summoning him. In a fit of rage, he rose up from his seat and began to storm out of the room with heavy strides. In great anxiety, Vali’s wife, Tara, got up and clung to him lovingly, trying to restrain him.

Tara pleaded, “My lord, please cast aside your anger for now and consider the matter carefully. You have already severely beaten Sugriva, and so it is very surprising that he has returned so quickly and is roaring so confidently. I can only conclude that your brother is accompanied by a strong ally, and for this reason he dares to act so boldly.”

“Our son, Angada, has received information from his spies that Rama and Lakshman have come here and made an alliance of friendship with Sugriva. Rama is inconceivably powerful, on a level with Lord Vishnu, and so you should not risk creating enmity with Him. Why don’t you settle this quarrel by installing Sugriva as your successor, and in this way make friendship with Rama as well?”

Being destined to die, Vali could not accept this good advice, and so he replied, “I cannot tolerate such arrogance on the part of my younger brother. As far as Rama is concerned, I have no quarrel with Him. He is a virtuous kshatriya, and so I have no fear that He would harm an innocent person with whom He has no enmity.”

Vali stormed out of the city, hissing with rage, and a fierce battle followed. As before, Vali soon gained the upper hand, and so Sugriva signaled to Rama, indicating that his strength was failing. Rama could see that Sugriva was on the verge of collapse, and so He fitted a powerful arrow onto His bowstring. That arrow flashed through the air like lightning and pierced Vali deeply in the chest. And yet, although Vali fell to the ground, bathed in his blood, he did not give up his life, for he was wearing a celestial gold chain that had been given to him by his father, King Indra.

Rama and Lakshman came out from the grove and approached the mortally wounded Vali.

Filled with indignation, Vali chastised Rama with harsh and disdainful words: “I had heard that You are a righteous king, devoted to dharma, and that You are heroic and compassionate. Little did I realize that You are the vilest wretch! Like a well covered with weeds, You make an external show of virtue, but Your sinful action has betrayed Your wicked heart. I fought with Sugriva because I was convinced that You would not attack me. How could anyone claiming to be a kshatriya and a hero kill someone who is fighting with another, and with whom he has no enmity? I never harmed nor insulted You. I never attacked Your kingdom. What merit have You acquired by striking me unfairly? How will You ever justify this action in front of righteous men? If You had fought honestly, then it would be You lying here and not I! You shot Your arrow at me from a hiding place, like a snake attacking a sleeping man. I challenge You to justify this shameful act!”

Rama replied, “Your accusations show that you are actually ignorant of true morality. Monkeys are by nature frivolous because of their uncontrolled minds. You are a monkey and your advisors are also monkeys, so you cannot understand dharma.”

“The entire earth, with all its mountains, forests and rivers, is ruled by the dynasty of Ikshvaku. The kings of the Ikshvaku dynasty have complete authority over all men and animals, and the power to punish or reward whomever they please. It is you that have acted sinfully under the sway of lust and greed. You have taken Ruma, the wife of your younger brother, and enjoyed her as your wife. It is for this sinful act that you deserved to die at My hands.”

“Death is the proper punishment for one who has sexual relations with his daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, or the wife of a younger brother. If a king does not punish a sinner, then he himself becomes sinful. It is for this reason that I promised to kill you and thus enable Sugriva to regain his wife and kingdom. Aside from this, it is an accepted practice that while hunting, a kshatriya releases his arrows at inattentive animals from a hidden position. Because you are only a monkey, My act does not bear the slightest fault.”

After hearing this, Vali felt shame for his abominable actions.

With hands joined in supplication, he replied, “I must admit that what You have said is correct. I had only dared to denounce You because I was overly proud, being ignorant of my own sins.”

“My dear Rama, I beg that You to give protection to my only son, Angada, who was begotten by me through my wife, Tara. He will certainly become very distressed when he hears about my death. Please excuse the harsh words by which I foolishly accused You of acting in an unrighteous manner.”

Rama assured Vali that He would take care of Angada. When she learned of her husband’s defeat, Tara came running out from the city with her son. Surrounding Tara were Vali’s ministers, but upon seeing Rama, they began to fearfully run away. Tara tried to stop them, but the ministers advised, “Do not go to see Vali. Protect your son within the fortifications of Kishkindha and prepare to install him upon the royal throne.”

Tara replied, “I do not care for sovereignty. The kingdom and its royal opulence are now useless to me without my husband.”

While crying piteously and beating her breasts in agony, Tara went to where Vali was lying on the ground. She embraced her dying husband and lamented bitterly while Vali’s other wives came there and surrounded them. Tara’s only desire was to follow her husband. Having made up her mind to fast until death, she sat down by Vali’s side.

Hanuman then went and pleaded, “O Queen, please get up. Do not let your grief deviate you from the path of righteousness. You will have to perform the funeral ceremonies for your dead husband and then protect Angada carefully after installing him upon the throne.”

Tara adamantly replied, “As for Angada’s installation, that decision lies in the hands of his uncle, Sugriva. My only desire is to follow my husband to his destination.”

Vali then said, “Sugriva, I beg you to please forgive me for all the wrongs that I have done. Accept the kingdom from me now, and take care of my son, for he will always remain faithful to you.”

After saying this, Vali handed Sugriva the celestial gold chain that he had received from King Indra. Then, turning to Angada, he said, “My dear son, now that I am departing, you should always remain obedient to Sugriva. Act after due consideration, and accept the dualities of pleasure and pain with an equipoised mind. Avoid excessive attachment and hatred, for both extremes lead to degradation.”

After saying this to Angada, Vali, who was deeply pained by Rama’s arrow, gave up his life. Then, as Tara continued to embrace her dead husband while sorrowfully wailing, Nila came and extracted the arrow from Vali’s chest. Tara told Angada, “Bow down to your father’s feet”, and as the young prince did so, he also became overwhelmed by intense sorrow.

Seeing Tara’s anguish, Sugriva also became despondent. With a voice laden with sadness he said, “Rama, I am now experiencing that the fulfillment of my desire has produced just the opposite of what I had anticipated. Instead of happiness, I feel repulsion when I think of ruling the kingdom. Life itself seems tasteless, after having killed my elder brother. In order to atone for my sinful act, I have decided to enter fire and give up my life. My dear Rama, these other heroic monkeys will help You search for Your beloved wife.”

Rama was very unhappy to hear Sugriva talk like this, and tears came to His eyes. Tara then approached Rama and pleaded, “I know that my husband will be very unhappy without me, even if he’s living in heaven. Please kill me so that I can join him. Rama, if You consider the killing of a woman to be sinful, then just think of me as being non-different from Vali.”

Rama consoled Tara, and then said to Sugriva, “The tears of sorrow that you have shed are sufficient bereavement for the departed soul of your brother. Now it is time for you to attend to your responsibilities. This world is moving under the direction of eternal time, and thus all living beings make their appearance and then depart. Under the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, time never oversteps it limit or deviates from its course. Everything is destined by time, therefore, one should not lament for that which inevitable.”

Sugriva gradually became pacified, and then, with Lakshman’s help, he began to arrange for the cremation of his dead brother’s body. Tara had a palanquin brought from Kishkindha, and Sugriva and Angada put the body on it and led the procession to a nearby mountain stream. As the funeral pyre was being built, Tara placed Vali’s head upon her lap and continued to bitterly weep, giving pain to all that saw her. Finally, the other women came and raised up Tara, enabling Sugriva and Angada to place the body on the funeral pyre. After the completion of the cremation, water was brought from the River Tungabhadra, and offerings were made to the departed soul of the heroic monkey king.

Hanuman then asked Rama to accompany Sugriva to Kishkindha to perform his coronation. Rama declined, however, saying, “Due to the nature of My exile, I cannot enter any city. Hanuman, I suggest that you perform Sugriva’s coronation, and at the same time Angada can be installed as his successor. The monsoon season is about to begin, and that will not be a good time to search for Sita. All of you monkey chiefs can remain at Kishkindha for four months, while Lakshman and I pass Our time staying in a mountain cave. When the autumn season arrives, we can begin an all-out search for the kingdom of Ravana.”

When Sugriva entered Kishkindha, he was heartily welcomed by all the citizens. At the time of his coronation, the bathing ceremony was performed by leading monkeys, such as Mainda, Dvivida and Hanuman, as well as by Jambavan, the King of the bears. Sugriva got back his wife, Ruma, and he installed Angada as his successor.

For four months, Rama and Lakshman lived within a cave of the Prashravana Mountain. Due to feeling intense pangs of separation from Sita, Rama could not find any pleasure in the scenic beauty of the mountainous region. Nor would sleep come to visit Him at night, on account of His continuous crying.

One day, Rama said to Lakshman, “After evaporating water from the ocean for eight months, the sky sends forth heavy showers of rain. Dark clouds as large as hills range across the sky in clusters, creating a melancholy mood. See the golden lightning, streaking inside the black monsoon cloud, like Sita in the arms of Ravana! The lush green grass provides a colorful dress for mother earth, spotted with various flowers and restless birds. Bees are humming, frogs are croaking, and the rumble of thunder and the patter of rainfall provide a musical accompaniment. Sugriva must be enjoying the monsoon season, his object having been fulfilled. But, without Sita, I am like the riverbank that erodes on account of the river’s swelling current.”

At such times, Lakshman would try and encourage Rama by pointing out that the purpose of a grieving man was never to be fulfilled. However, the dark skies and frequent rain, although nourishing for the tropical jungle, only served to intensify Rama’s longing for Sita.

Rama assumed that by enabling Sugriva to get back his kingdom, the monkey King would never forget his obligation to help find Sita. And yet, even as the autumn season came and the skies became clear and blue, Sugriva did not come to meet Rama. Having achieved his goal, and being without any cause of fear, Sugriva spent his time completely absorbed in enjoying the company of young women, especially his wife Ruma and the newly acquired Tara. Because of this, he even neglected to fulfill his responsibility to take care of the state administration.

When Hanuman saw how Sugriva had become a slave to sensuality, and was completely neglecting his duties, he approached the King and advised, “You had better keep your promise and fulfill your obligation to Rama. Out of respect for his friend, Rama has not yet come here to remind you, but you should remember that it is only by His grace that you have prospered. Now is the time for you to summon all the monkeys under your command and begin an all-out search for Sita.”

Hanuman’s speech brought Sugriva to his senses. The King called for Nila and ordered, “Let my proclamation be broadcast to all the monkey warriors- they must report here for duty within fifteen days or else be punished with death!”

After giving this command, Sugriva returned to the inner apartments. Meanwhile, being separated from Sita, the beauty of the autumn season only served to heighten Rama’s anguish. And, because He could understand that Sugriva was simply wallowing in a life of sensuality, Rama became even more depressed. Lakshman also became despondent while observing Rama’s grief, and so He tried His best to cheer Him up.

One day, Rama said, “Now that autumn has arrived, the ground has become firm and dry, and the air is crisp and cool. This is the perfect time to initiate a military campaign and yet Sugriva is not to be seen. It seems that he has forgotten all sense of duty, being absorbed in sense enjoyment in the association of numerous women.”

“Lakshman, I want you to go to Kishkindha and admonish Sugriva in My name. Tell him, ‘O King of the monkeys, one who acts like you is the vilest of persons. I am astonished that you are not afraid of avoiding Me, the killer of your elder brother. I hereby warn you that if you neglect your promise to help Me find Sita, then I will personally come to Kishkindha and kill you, along with all of your relatives.’ ”

When Rama exhibited this transcendental anger, Lakshman also became excited with rage. While picking up His bow and preparing to depart, Lakshman declared, “If that rascal Sugriva does not jump up to execute Your command, I will kill him Myself this very day!”

Saying this, Lakshman hastily started to leave, but Rama tried to restrain His anger, saying, “First of all speak to Sugriva in a conciliatory tone, for I am sure that will be sufficient to bring him to his senses.”

Thereafter, with an air of great indignation, Lakshman entered Kishkindha, a beautiful city that had been built within a huge cave. As He rushed toward Sugriva’s palace, like a maddened elephant, Lakshman impetuously knocked down the trees that stood in His path.

There were many fierce monkeys guarding the palace entrance, and when they saw Lakshmana coming, His lips trembling with rage, they began to uproot large trees and pick up boulders. But, when Lakshman saw the guards arming themselves, He became so ferocious that the panic-stricken monkeys began running away in all directions. The ministers then rushed to inform Sugriva of how Lakshman had arrived in an exceedingly angry mood. However, because Sugriva was with Tara, and overwhelmed with sexual desire, he did not pay much attention to their words.

Meanwhile, as the ministers ordered the monkeys to arm themselves for battle, the enraged Lakshman met Angada and told him to inform Sugriva of His arrival. Angada then went, and while clasping his uncle’s feet, told him of Lakshman’s presence. Sugriva had fallen asleep in a drunken state, and so he did not even wake up. Only when numerous monkeys came and noisily clamored around Sugriva, out of fear of Lakshman, did the King finally become roused from his slumber.

As Sugriva opened his blood-shot eyes, the ministers said, “Lakshman is waiting for you outside the palace gate, in a very angry mood. We advise you to go out and offer your obeisances and submission, just to appease Him.”

Finally realizing the gravity of the situation, Sugriva quickly got out of bed wondering why Lakshman was so angry with him. Hanuman then reminded Sugriva, “O King, because you were absorbed in sense enjoyment, you did not notice how time was passing. Autumn arrived long ago, and yet you neglected to fulfill your promise to help Rama search for Sita. Lakshman has come here just to remind you of your duty, and so you had better approach Him with folded hands, hoping that He becomes pacified.”

Sugriva told Angada to escort Lakshman into the palace. All the monkeys who had previously taken up weapons now stood with folded hands to greet Him. When Lakshman came to the inner apartments, He could hear the sound of women singing to the accompaniment of musical instruments, as well as the jingling of their ornaments.

Actually, when He saw all the young and beautiful ladies, Lakshman became somewhat ashamed because of His vow to shun the company of others’ wives. Although He was thus restrained from entering, Lakshman twanged His mighty bow, causing Sugriva to become very afraid.

Sugriva trembled when he heard that awesome sound, and he told Tara, “I wonder why Lakshman is so angry. I think it would be better if you go first and try to appease Him.”

As Tara came before Him, her dress loosened and her eyes rolling due to intoxication, Lakshman’s anger subsided, as He looked downward at her feet, out of respect. Tara asked, “My dear prince, why are you so angry with Sugriva?”

Lakshman curtly replied, “Your husband has neglected his obligation to Rama, preferring to pass his days in the inner apartments, dallying with women.”

Tara pleaded, “You must forgive Sugriva, for he has lost his good intelligence under the influence of lust. We have heard that even great rishis sometimes hanker for sense enjoyment, and so what to speak of a fickle-minded monkey? Please do not think that Sugriva has forgotten his obligation to Rama. He has already called for millions of monkeys to assemble here so that they can be engaged in the search for Sita. Why don’t You come in now and talk with Sugriva?”

Lakshman entered the inner apartments of the palace, and when He saw the fabulous opulence, along with the groups of beautiful women, His anger once again became aroused. Sugriva was sitting on a couch, embracing Ruma, but when he saw Lakshman he became embarrassed and so quickly stood up with folded hands, as did all the ladies present there.

Lakshman angrily chastised Sugriva by saying, “You simply made empty promises, proving yourself to be a false friend and a most abominable person! One who receives help from a sincere friend and then does not repay that service is most hard-hearted and deserves to be killed!”

“Once, when Lord Brahma saw such an ungrateful person, he exclaimed, ‘The means of atonement has been prescribed for the killer of a cow, a drunkard, a thief, and for one who has broken a sacred vow, but there is no redemption for an ungrateful soul!’ I warn you, Sugriva. If you do not start helping Rama immediately, you will meet your brother Vali in the abode of Yamaraja this very day!”

Tara replied for her husband, “Lakshman, Sugriva is not a liar, nor is he hard-hearted. He has not forgotten what Rama did for him. His only fault is that he lost all sense of time, due to overindulgence in sensuality. We have heard that in Lanka, the abode of Ravana, there are millions of Rakshasas. Since it would not be possible to kill Ravana without slaying them first, Sugriva has summoned millions of monkey warriors from all corners of the earth. He has not yet met Rama, nor initiated the search for Sita, because he is awaiting their arrival. Sugriva has set a fifteen day time limit, and so thousands of monkeys and bears are expected to start arriving at Kishkindha today.”

After hearing this, Lakshman gave up His anger. Sugriva humbly threw aside his garland and said, “I could never repay Rama for all that He has done for me. He is my master and my Lord. I will follow Him wherever He goes and do whatever He orders. I admit that I was at fault, and now I beg for Your forgiveness.”

Lakshman replied in a mild voice, “Kindly forgive My angry mood as well. I think that it would be best for you to go see Rama right now. He will become encouraged by your sincerity.”

Sugriva then ordered Hanuman, “Once again, summon all the monkeys from the Himalayan, Mahendra, Mandara and Kailash Mountains. Arouse all those who are prone to sense indulgence and procrastination by telling them that anyone who does not respond within ten days will be killed.”

Hanuman immediately dispatched the monkey leaders in all directions, and, as a result, within the very hour, millions of monkeys began pouring into Kishkindha. After making their presentations to the King, the monkeys were dismissed. Again Lakshman urged Sugriva to go see Rama, and so the King called for a palanquin. Sugriva and Lakshman were then carried to where Rama was staying, and innumerable monkeys accompanied them.

As Lakshman and Sugriva stood before Him with folded hands, Rama gazed upon the army of monkeys with great satisfaction. Sugriva fell flat upon the ground to submit himself as a fully surrendered soul at the lotus feet of Lord Rama. Being very merciful, Rama lifted up Sugriva and embraced him without bearing any grudge for his past negligence.

Rama then had Sugriva seated and said, “First of all, a king should understand very well the proper times for religiosity, economic development, and sense enjoyment. Then, he can enjoy life accordingly. When a king gives up the Vedic regulations, being overly attached to sensuality, and thus indulges himself irregularly, he is to be considered fallen. My dear Sugriva, now is the time for you to try and find Sita as you have promised.”

Sugriva replied, “My dear Rama, please rest assured that I am very eager to help You, as are all of these monkeys assembled here”

Once again, Rama embraced Sugriva, to reconfirm their friendship. At this time, a huge dust cloud was seen to cover the entire sky so that the sun became veiled. This was caused by the vast hoards of monkeys that were converging at Kishkindha in response to Sugriva’s order. All the great leaders of the monkeys then approached Sugriva, along with their followers, reporting for duty. There was Keshar, the father of Hanuman; Sushena, the father of Tara; Tara, the father of Ruma; Mainda and Dvivida, the sons of the Ashvini-kumaras; and Jambavan, the King of the bears. Thus, the entire surrounding area of forests and mountains became completely covered with monkeys.

While pointing out to Rama all the different groups of monkeys, Sugriva said, “My dear Lord, You should consider these monkey warriors to be Your very own army. From now on, please order them as You see fit.”

Rama replied, “Our first mission is to locate Ravana, and ascertain whether Sita is still alive or not. My dear Sugriva, organize the search parties, and then when Sita is found, I will give the necessary orders.”

Being so instructed, Sugriva first called the monkey king, Vinda, and ordered, “I want you and your soldiers to search everywhere in the Eastern direction, including all the seven oceans and seven islands. I am giving you one month to search through this entire area, and anyone who reports back later than that will be executed for neglecting the royal order.”

Next, Sugriva dispatched Angada, Nila, Hanuman, Jambavan, Mainda, Dvivida and others to the South, making the son of Vali their leader. While describing the geography of this area, Sugriva said, “One hundred yojanas from the northern shore of the Salt Ocean is an island which I feel must surely be the residence of Ravana. Further south is Bhogavati, the capital of Rasatala, and beyond that is the abode of Yamaraja, which marks the southern boundary of Bhumandala. Do not search Pitriloka or beyond, for no earthly being can go there.”

Sugriva then sent Sushena and his followers to the West. While instructing them, Sugriva said, “In the middle of the Salt ocean is Pragjyotishapura, the city of Narakasura, and the western limit is where the sun sets. Beyond that there is no information as to what exists and so you should not go there.”

Finally, Shatabali was dispatched to the North. Sugriva informed him, “First, you will come to the land of the Mlecchas and then you will reach the Himalayan Mountains. Beyond this is 100 yojanas of desolate land, and then Mount Kailash. Further north is the Krauncha mountain and then the Uttara-kuru province, beyond which is the northern Saltwater sea. When you come to the shore of that ocean, turn back, for it is not possible to go any further.”

Sugriva considered Hanuman to be the most capable of finding Sita. Just to encourage him, the King said, “Hanuman, amongst all the powerful monkeys, you are exceptional. On this earth, in the sky, in heaven, or in the nether regions, there is no one capable of obstructing you. You not only have superhuman strength, but you are courageous, intelligent and resourceful. Therefore, I am especially counting on you to find Sita.”

By hearing this, and by observing Hanuman’s self-confidence, Rama also became convinced that it was he who would find His beloved wife. Taking off His ring, Rama handed it to Hanuman and said, “My name is inscribed on the inside. When you find Sita, give her this ring for she will recognize it and be convinced that you are My envoy. My dear Hanuman, I have full confidence that you will be able to carry out this important mission on My behalf.”

Hanuman took the ring and touched it to his forehead. Then, he bowed down to Lord Rama and departed. As the monkeys scoured the earth, looking for any clue to Sita’s whereabouts, Rama and Lakshman remained at Prashravana for the prescribed period of one month. After all the monkeys had departed Rama asked Sugriva, “How is it that you have acquired such an extensive knowledge of the earth’s geography?”

Sugriva replied, “After Vali had banished me from Kishkindha, I roamed over the earth, looking for shelter, until Hanuman informed me of Matanga Rishi’s curse.”

As the monkeys searched for Sita, they spread out during the day, combing their allotted areas, and then, at night, they regrouped in order to rest. Before one month had elapsed, Vinata, Shatabali and Sushena returned to Prashravana, having thoroughly scoured their assigned directions. With sad faces they reported to Sugriva that they had not been able to unearth even a single clue as to Sita’s whereabouts. Sugriva sat next to Rama as the monkeys came and related to him their experiences. Finally, everyone concluded that Hanuman was the only remaining hope.

As the party led by Angada thoroughly searched throughout the desolate Vindhya mountain range, hunger and thirst tormented the monkeys, for that place was devoid of water. When they left the mountains and entered the adjoining forest, they were disappointed to find that the trees did not have any leaves, and so what to speak of fruit and flowers. Because the streams in that forest had dried up, even birds and animals did not live there. This forest had once been the residence of the great sage Kandu. When his son died prematurely, at the age of ten, the rishi was so angry that he cursed the forest to become unfit for habitation by man or beast.

As the monkeys roamed about in that desolate forest, the allotted period of one month came to an end. While searching for water, Angada and Tara spotted a cave with creepers thickly growing at its entrance and aquatic birds congregating there. The monkeys quickly ran, hoping to find water within.

The cave was densely dark and so the monkeys entered by making a chain, holding one another by the hand. Finally, after going a long distance, they saw a light deep within the cave. Proceeding toward it, they came to a golden palace by the side of lovely ponds amid a very pleasant garden, in which golden trees were growing. In the middle of that heavenly grove, the monkeys saw an ascetic woman dressed in black deerskin, glowing with spiritual effulgence.

Hanuman approached her with folded hands and said, “Please tell us who you are and to whom this cave belongs. Why does everything have such a golden appearance? We are very tired and thirsty, because for a long time we have been wandering throughout waterless regions.”

The woman replied, “This cave is named Rikshabila and it is the creation of Maya Danava. After performing austerities here, Maya Danava received a benediction from Lord Brahma that enabled him to possess all the mystic powers known to Shukra. Maya Danava continued to live here, but later on, when he became attached to the Apsara, Hema, Indra drove him away from these regions with the help of his thunderbolt. At that time, Lord Brahma gave this cave to Hema.”

“My name is Svayamprabha, the daughter of Merusavarni, who is the superintending deity of Mount Meru. I am a friend of Hema’s and so I remain here just to guard this hermitage. Please make yourselves feel at home, and kindly tell me the purpose of your coming to these inaccessible regions.”

As Svayambrabha proceeded to offer her guests all kinds of hospitality, Hanuman related to her the entire story of Rama’s exile and their search for the kidnapped Sita. Hanuman then said, “We cannot thank you enough for your kind reception. Is there any service that we can perform in return?”

Svayamprabha replied, “Because I am engaged in executing austerities, I have nothing to ask from others.”

Hanuman then said, “Our master, the monkey king, Sugriva, had allotted us one month to find Sita. That period has already expired, and because of this we feel doomed. Is there any way that you could help us?”

Svayamprabha replied, “It is very difficult for anyone to even get out of this cave alive, but I shall help you by utilizing my mystic power. While looking, no one can leave this place, so all of you must close your eyes.”

Thereafter, as the monkeys kept their eyes tightly shut, they suddenly found themselves being transported out of the cave. When they opened their eyes, the monkeys found that the trees outside the cave were in full bloom. Concluding that spring had arrived, the monkeys were amazed to realize that so much time had mysteriously passed. Angada then suggested, “We should sit down and fast until death, for that would be more noble than being killed by Sugriva for our negligence.”

All the monkeys agreed that there was no question of returning to Kishkindha without having received any information about Sita. Tara then advocated, “Let us take shelter within this inaccessible cave. We could live there without fear of being discovered.”

Angada remained silent, as if ready to approve of this plan, but then Hanuman said, “My dear Prince, I consider you to be endowed with the eight attributes of intelligence. These are- possessing an inclination to hear what others have to say, having enough mental control to actually hear what others say, being able to comprehend the basic meaning of what is said, good memory, capacity to reason in favor of a proposition, capacity to reason against a proposition, deep insight into the meaning of what others say, and true wisdom.”

“Angada, you are also adept at employing the four kinds of political expedients- persuasion or conciliation, gift or gratification, sowing seeds of dissension within the enemy’s ranks and the use of violence or force if necessary.”

“Above and beyond this, you are endowed with the fourteen excellent qualities that characterize great personalities. These are- a sense of time and place, firmness, ability to endure all kinds of hardship, knowledge of all subjects, expertise, vigor, ability to guard one’s secrets, consistency, heroism, ability to judge one’s own strength in comparison to that of an enemy, appreciation of the services rendered by others, compassion for surrendered souls, indignation in the presence of unrighteousness, and steadiness in duty.”

In this way, Hanuman employed the first political expedient by flattering Angada. Then he utilized the third expedient by causing some dissension among the monkeys, making them argue about what should be done.

Finally, Hanuman intimidated Angada by saying, “If you carry out your foolish plan to live within this cave, you will soon meet with disaster. The other monkeys will not remain faithful to you under such conditions. Eventually, Lakshman will find out where you are, and he will destroy the cave, along with you and the other monkeys. On the other hand, if you return to Kishkindha, Sugriva will certainly forgive you, and because you are an only son, he will later-on install you upon the throne.”

However, Angada argued, “You overestimate Sugriva, and you forget that he is enjoying his elder brother’s wife. Sugriva purposely neglected his promise to Rama, and took action only after being threatened by Lakshman. Whoever wants to can return home, but I will remain here, fasting until death.”

Angada was weeping, and after saying this, he sat down on kusha grass, surrounded by the other monkeys, and all were determined to give up their lives. At this time, Sampati, the elder brother of Jatayu, came out of his cave and perched on the peak of a mountain, within the sight of all the monkeys.

Being overjoyed, he said to himself, “By the grace of Destiny I have gotten some food after such a long time! When the monkeys fall down dead of starvation, I will eat them one by one.”

Angada became very agitated upon hearing this. Addressing Hanuman, he said, “What a horrible fate we now face! This is all the doing of the evil Kaikeyi! First, she caused the death of the great soul Jatayu, then Vali, and now she will become the cause of our deaths as well!”

This was the first time that Sampati had heard about Jatayu’s death. He eagerly said, “Please tell me what happened to my younger brother. I am pleased to hear you glorify Jatayu, but at the same time I am anguished on account of his death. O best of monkeys, I wish to beg one favor from you. Long ago, my wings were burnt by the sun’s rays, and because of this I cannot fly. Would you all kindly help me come down from this mountain peak?”

The monkeys could not put much faith in Sampati, because just a moment before he had considered eating them. Still, they thought, “We were planning to die by fasting anyway. So, if this gigantic vulture eats us alive, it just means that our suffering will end more quickly.”

The monkeys then went and helped Sampati down from the mountaintop, and while doing so, Angada narrated the entire story of Rama’s exile as well as Jatayu’s heroic death.

In turn, Sampati related his own history as follows: “Long, long ago, after Indra had killed Vritrasura, Jatayu and I wanted to test our prowess and so we decided to challenge the King of heaven. After soaring high into the sky, all the way to the heavenly planets, we defeated Indra in battle. This made us become very proud, and so we decided to ascend even higher. But, as we approached the sun, Jatayu grew faint because of the heat. In order to save him I covered him with my wings, but as a result, they were burnt and I fell down onto the Vindhya Mountains.”

Angada interrupted, “If you are actually Jatayu’s elder brother and our well-wisher, then tell us where Ravana, the King of the Rakshasas, lives.”

Sampati replied, “Because I am very old and my wings are burnt, I am not able to physically serve Lord Rama. Therefore, I will serve Him with my power of speech. I was told that a young lady was carried away by Ravana, and while crying out, ‘Rama! Rama!’ she dropped some of her ornaments to the ground. I know that this Ravana is the King of the Rakshasas, and his kingdom, Lanka, is situated on an island, one hundred yojanas from the southern shore. Because I am a descendent of Vinata, my vision extends for more than one hundred yojanas, and I can see the golden city from here.”

“My dear monkeys, you will be able to find Sita in Lanka, guarded by Rakshasa women. Now, if you would be so kind as to grant me one favor in return, take me to the ocean so that I can offer water for the benefit of my brother’s departed soul.”

The monkeys were overjoyed to receive news about Sita, and so they cast aside their vow to fast until death. They took Sampati to the ocean, and after returning, Jambavan asked, “How did you come to learn that Sita had been kidnapped by Ravana?”

Sampati explained, “After my wings had been burnt, my son, Suparshva, began to take care of me and bring me my food. Once, when I was very hungry, and Suparshva returned home without any food, I chastised him severely. He then said, ‘While searching for flesh today, I happened to see a giant Rakshasa carrying away a young woman through the sky. I wanted to bring them both for you to eat, but in a very friendly manner the Rakshasa requested me to let him pass, and so I could not refuse. After that, the Siddhas came and informed me of Ravana’s identity. They said that I was very fortunate that the King of the Rakshasas hadn’t killed me.’ ”

Sampati could see that the monkeys were now confident of his friendship, and so he continued narrating his life-story as follows: “After falling onto the Vindhya Mountains, I remained unconscious for six days. Then, when I regained consciousness, I saw that the rishi, Nishakara, was living nearby. When I met the sage he asked how my wings had become burnt and so I explained to him how my brother and I had tried to chase the sun to where it sets in the West.”

“I told the rishi, ‘As we approached the sun, we began to lose consciousness. I was able to protect my brother, but in the process my wings were burnt and I fell down here upon this mountain. Since that time, I have not heard from my brother, and my crippled condition makes life unbearable. Therefore, I shall commit suicide by jumping off the mountain peak.’ ”

“As I stood before him with tears in my eyes, Nishakara said, ‘Do not despair, for I will give you a benediction: When, at a future date, you give information to the monkeys about Sita, your wings will reappear along with renewed energy.’ After saying this, the rishi returned to his cottage, and I crawled back to my place in the Vindhya Mountains. After that, I passed my time waiting for your arrival, and after 8000 years the rishi gave up his body and went to heaven. Now, in his absence, I doubt the truthfulness of his words.”

But, as Sampati continued to speak, a pair of wings suddenly sprouted on his body, while at the same time he felt a resurgence of youthful energy. With great delight, Sampati soared into the air to test his new wings, but before departing, he encouraged the monkeys to resume their search for Sita. After Sampati flew away, the monkeys headed south, endowed with fresh hope.

When the monkeys came to the shore of the ocean, they once again became dejected. Seeing the vastness of the water, the monkeys thought themselves incapable of crossing over to Lanka.

Just to encourage his followers, Angada said, “Despondency is utterly worthless, for it has never been the cause of an action’s bearing fruit. In fact, despair is the root of failure, and so it is as deadly as a poisonous snake. Whoever can leap 100 yojanas to rescue Sita from the clutches of Ravana, please step forward. Let us become freed from the fear of Sugriva’s wrath.”

No one responded, though, and so Angada began to ask the monkeys individually how far they could jump. Thus, one after another, the monkeys responded- some saying that they could jump 10 yojanas, some 20, or 30, 40 or 50. Mainda then said that he could jump 60 yojanas, and Dvivida claimed that he could leap 70.

Sushena declared that he could jump 80 yojanas and then Jambavan spoke: “Formerly I had an almost unlimited jumping capability, but now, at the end of my life, I can leap only 90 yojanas and no more. Long ago, when Lord Vamanadeva had covered the entire universe, I had circumambulated Him as He took His three strides. Now, unfortunately, I am not capable of jumping to Lanka to save Sita.”

Angada then said, “I can probably jump 100 yojanas, but I doubt whether I could do so a second time in order to return here.”

Jambavan said, “I am sure that with your prowess you could leap 1000 yojanas. But, you are the leader of this expedition and so it would not be proper for you to accomplish the task yourself. My dear prince, you must order someone else to do it.”

Angada replied, “It does not matter who is in charge. If someone does not go to Lanka, whether myself of someone else, then our only alternative will be to fast until death. Jambavan, please find out some means whereby we can cross the ocean and thus save ourselves from Sugriva’s anger.”

Jambavan then said, “Do not worry, for I shall now appeal to someone who will certainly be able to perform this difficult task. Hanuman, you are equal to Garuda, the carrier of Lord Vishnu, and so why haven’t you spoken? Listen everybody as I narrate the glorious history of the best of all monkeys: There was an Apsara named Punjikasthala was cursed by a rishi so that she had to be born as Anjana, the daughter of the monkey-king, Kunjara. Anjana grew up to be wonderfully beautiful, and she had the ability to change form at will.”

“Once, after marrying the monkey-chief, Keshari, Anjana took the form of a human being and wandered throughout the mountains. When he saw her, Vayu became captivated by her beauty and then removed her dress by means of the wind. When Vayu saw Anjana’s rounded and closely united thighs, her swelling breasts and other feminine attractions, he became overwhelmed with sexual desire and embraced her by force.”

“Unable to see her assailant, Anjana cried out, ‘Who is it that is violating my chaste vow to accept only one husband?’ Vayu replied, ‘I have not physically spoiled your chastity, because I entered you mentally. I am the god of air, and by my grace you will give birth to a powerful son who will be equal to me in travelling at will.’ ”

“Anjana was satisfied with Vayu’s speech, and soon thereafter she gave birth to Hanuman within a mountain cave. The next morning, when baby Hanuman saw the rising sun, he thought that it was a shiny fruit. Desiring to catch it, he leaped more than 3000 yojanas into the sky, but was thrown back to the earth by the sun’s brilliance. Unhurt, Hanuman once again jumped up into the sky, and this time Indra hurled his thunderbolt, being angered by the monkey’s audacity. The King of heaven’s supreme weapon dashed Hanuman against a mountainside, and as a result, the left side of his chin was fractured. It is because of this that he received his name, for Hanuman means, ‘One having a broken chin.’ ”

“Vayu became very angry at Indra because of his aggression against his son, and so he withheld the supply of air to the three worlds. This made the demigods very anxious, and so, with Lord Brahma in front, they rushed to where Vayu was staying. Then, just to satisfy the wind-god, Lord Brahma gave Hanuman the benediction that he would be invincible in battle. Indra had been quite pleased, as well as surprised to see that the baby monkey had not been killed by his thunderbolt, and so he awarded Hanuman the boon of dying at the time of his own choice.”

Jambavan concluded, “I therefore consider Hanuman alone to be capable of accomplishing our mission. Of course, in the past, this little jump would have been nothing for me. As Lord Trivikrama expanded His three steps to take away Bali Maharaja’s kingdom, I had soared around the world 21 times, just to circumambulate Him. When the demigods and asuras had desired to produce nectar, it was I who single-handedly collected all the herbs that were thrown into the ocean of milk. I have grown very old, however, and so now it is time for Hanuman to exhibit his astonishing prowess.”

Hanuman became very encouraged while listening to these words of glorification. Then, to the great joy of all the monkeys present there, he began to expand himself into a gigantic form, and while doing so, he further delineated his own glories.

Hanuman said, “I can go around Mount Meru 1000 times without pausing, and by splashing the waters of the ocean, I can inundate the entire world. I can circumambulate Garuda 1000 times as he flies through the sky, and I can uproot the entire city of Lanka and carry it a great distance, if I so desire.”

All the monkeys felt thrilled to hear Hanuman boast of his prowess. But, to remind him of the gravity of the situation, they said, “We will all stand here on one foot until you return. Our very lives depend upon you, as do all hopes of recovering Sita.”

Hanuman said, “I will jump from the peak of Mount Mahendra, since it is capable of sustaining the immense pressure that I will have to exert upon it.”

After saying this, Hanuman departed, and within a moment he arrived at the mighty Mahendra Hill, which would serve as the support for his monumental leap.