Thursday, 31 July 2014

184. Swayamprabha got the vanaras out of the cavity.

                             Swayamprabha watched congenially the vanaras pouncing on the victuals and guzzling water and various fruit juices to satiate their hunger and quench their thirst. When they finished she said "Oh, vanaras, I hope your enervation is eased off by devouring food and fruits. Now please tell me about you and how you happened to enter the cavity." 
             Hanuman replied on behalf of all the vanaras "The king of all the world and one who looks like Mahendra and the Rain-god, Varuna, to wit Rama the son of Dasharatha entered Dandaka forest and was living with his brother Lakshmana and his wife Vaidehi at Janasthaana. There the rakshash Ravana abducted his wife. Our master and the king of all vanaras Sugreeva, a close friend of Rama, ordered us to search the whereabouts of Seetha. We have been sent southwards. Likewise, three forces have been sent to the other directions, viz. north, east and west.
         "While searching for Seetha we perceived this wide cavity wrapped up with vines and woods and swans, water-hawks, saarasa-waterfowls were coming out of this cavity drenched in water and sprinkling drops of water with the flaps of their wings. As all of us were terribly hungry and thirsty, we decided to explore this cavity for food and water. 
        "By your hospitality, we have been rescued from death due to hunger and thirst. For that we are highly thankful and obliged to you. Please tell us what you would require from us as a requital." 
        On hearing Hanuman, the pleasant and omniscient Swayamprabha replied "I am very happy that I was able to relieve you the pain of hunger and thirst. What I have done to you is a part of my conduct in equity, and as such nothing needs be done now in my favour, in the least."
           Hanuman then told her "We are now under the auspices of your ladyship comporting yourself in scrupulosity. We lapsed the time stipulated for us by our lord Sugreeva due to our roving around in this cavity. As we have overextended the time-frame fixed by Sugreeva, whereby our longevity itself is threatened.
          "Oh, prudent lady, we are rendered as hesitaters and as such are very anxious about the wrath of our lord Sugreeva. However, we still have to strive to achieve the fulfillment of the task expected from us and that deed is getting further delayed as we are held-up in here."
        Then the lady said "I believe the getting out by yourselves is impracticable. However by the sublime efficacy of ascesis acquired through my practices of numerous self-restraints, I believe I could sail all of you out of this cavity. I could do that if only all of you close your eyes until you are out of this cavity."                  All the vanaras were very much relieved and highly gladdened. Then all the vanaras not only closed their eyes but lidded them with their hands, too.
     Within a minute all the vanaras found themselves out of that cavity. Then the lady told them "This one which is surrounded by diverse trees and vines is the magnificent Vindhya Mountain; this mountain is Prasravana and this vast expanse of water is the southerly ocean. I wish you good-luck. Goodbye." 
     She then got back into that cavity. All the vanaras heaved a sigh of relief.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

183. The legend of the Black Cave.

         The saintly lady looked very beautiful. She, with a trace of smile on her lovely mouth was simply staring at them. As there was no response from the saintly lady, Hanuman continued "Overtired with hunger and thirst we entered this cavity, which is overspread with darkness, with the hope that we may get some water to drink and some grub to eat. On seeing these diverse and marvellous mansions we are absolutely amazed. We got agitated, too and agonised as well.
         "We find that the edibles, tubers, and fruits are all depurated. 
       "Also we wonder how the lotuses born in the limpid water are golden, and how the fishes along with tortoises are ostensibly golden! Are they so because to the innate prodigy of yours?"  
        At last the saintly lady deigned to reply. She said "This is the handiwork the marvellous and fantastic craftsman named Maya.
     "Once he was the chief architect to the danavas. This divinely golden and superb mansion was constructed by that wonderful craftsman Maya.
      "Performing ascesis for thousands of years in this horrendous forest, he obtained a boon from God Brahma by which he usurped the entire knowledge of the Sage Shukra.

Sage Shukra, better known as Shukraacaarya, was the mentor and clan-priest of Asuras(=rakshashas). He was an astounding expert in Architectural Engineering, creating paradisiacal constructions, materialising materials just from out of thin air and the like. Many humans beseech gods near at hand, to bestow wealth (i.e. knowledge, technique etc.), with the belief that when Shukraacaarya could deliver material comforts to asuras from out of thin air, gods too would be  able bestow riches on them, (as if gods have no other function than this). Hence, this asura Maya wanted to surpass his own priest Shukraacaarya in Architectural Engineering and the like. And Brahma granted it, as a crosswise benefit to gods.
End Comment.
      "That dynamic one methodized everything and then resided comfortably in this great forest for some time, enjoying everything he desired. Indra, did not like this. Hence he coolly eliminated Maya at the time when that eminent Maya was engaged with an apsara, called Hema. This marvellous woodland, these everlasting wish-fulfillers, and this golden mansion were endowed by Brahma to that Hema.
       "I am the daughter of Merusaavarni, named Swayamprabha and I am looking after this on behalf of Hema.
          "Hema is a virtuoso in dance and music and my dearest nymphean-friend, and she bestowed a boon upon me [by which none can dishonour me, and thus] I am safeguarding this superb mansion without any worry or fear.

The Architect for Indra is called  Vishva Karma who is endowed with high-class proficiency right from blacksmith art to that of an outstanding engineer. His works are always guided and as directed by Indra. Indra does not like any competitor for his Vishva Karma in any of the worlds, like one Indra for all the worlds. After their clan-priest Shukraacaarya's treasure of architecture is lost to Maya, the asuras get works done through the heavenly Vishva Karma, instead of appointing their own architect. This treasure of architecture of Shukraacaarya is usurped by this demon Maya, through Brahma. As Indra cannot defy the boon of Brahma, he baited this Hema, the apsara, to make Maya to woo her. Accordingly, Maya brought the nymphal-virtuoso Hema to this cavernous paradisiacal mansion and was subjected to elimination by Indra. After the elimination of this Wonder Architect, Hema departed to Brahma's abode, bequeathing this mansion to Swayamprabha. From then on Hema resided in brahma loka.
End Comment.

          "How come you fellows happen to pass through this impervious forest, and how you have discovered this forest?
      First dine on these wholesome edibles, fruits and tubers, as well as  drinking soft drinks. After satiating your thirst and hunger tell me about yourselves."
            Hearing that all the ravenous vanaras pounced on the eats and drank the sweet drinks.

Monday, 21 July 2014

182. Leader Angada invigorates his force with pep talk.

           Seeing them like that the leader of that task-force,  Angada decided to do something to raise their spirits. Accordingly he addressed them "Hi! my friends, please lend me your ears. We in oneness have searched here, there and thereabouts in the very thickset forests, daunting mountains, frightening rivers and unnerving and petrifying  cavities and in mountain caves up to their end. Unfortunately we have not seen Janaki. That ill-natured rakshash, the abductor of Seetha, namely Ravana is not seen, either. As that rakshash Ravana, carrying Seetha was going southward, his ultimate destination must be there in the south. For that reason our king Sugreeva seems to believe that we will find them. We started a long time back and a great deal of time has lapsed. All of you know very well that our master Sugreeva is a strict disciplinarian. It is, therefore incumbent on all of us to continued our search with renewed vigour everywhere collectively.
          "Surrender not to sluggishness, submit not to sorrowfulness, slouch not to sleep, as these undesirable lethargies seem to be creeping on you. Let us all continue the search with revitalized energy and enthusiasm.
         "Insistency, ingenuity and indomitability of heart are said to be the vanguard for achieving results. You all know that relentless efforts will get the fruits of pursuit.
      "I am positive that it will be our team that will find the whereabouts of Seetha. Fruit of pursuit will definitely be for those who pursue an endeavour earnestly and steadfastly.  You all know that any endeavour will have its own vicissitudes. Now we seem to be at the down-end. If we pursue with grit and resolution, I am sure, we will to to the top. That apart, all of you know that our King Sugreeva is irascible and a ruthless persecutor. Bear this in mind and all the sluggishness will disappear from you."
                On hearing Angada's words, one vanara (sorry, I forgot his name) though enervated with thirst and fatigue agreed with him in toto and said "Friends! I entirely agree with what Angada said. What he said is very rational, appropriate, advantageous and pragmatic. Let us carry out as said by him. Again let us search out mountains, caves, crags, and also  the uninhabited forests and mountain rapids. Let us all collectively search all of the places with forests, mountains and gorges as indicated by Sugreeva." 
            Those great-mighty vanaras again perking themselves up searched the southern compass that was overspread with Vindhya forests. Those vanaras were now eager to get the honour for finding the whereabouts of Seetha. Now they made their searches with more thoroughness than before. They searched everywhere relentlessly on ascending the mountaintop and other places. They did not find Seetha but fatigue found them. 
          After a little rest they continued searching what all they could see all over on that many caved mountain. Then on climbing down the mountain they reached ground until they became tired and inane. However, they took respite for only a few moments.
         Thus starting from the Mt. Vindhya, they continued their search towards the southern direction.
          Despite the fact that the caves and the thick forests of the Mt. Vindhya were packed with lions and tigers, they braved them and searched the caves and thick forests of Vindhya Range thoroughly. They did not spare the towering rapids. When they reached the southwest peak of that mountain during their search they reckoned that the time set by Sugreeva had lapsed. This was due to the fact that they overstayed thereat viz. Mt. Vindhya. 
          As there was no point returning to Kishkindha without any positive result they continued their search. They observed a wide-opened, intimidating, alarming, frightening, discouraging, awesome, unnerving and disconcerting cavity known as Riksha cavity.
            As the entire vanara force was clenched tightly by thirst, hunger and fatigue and were craving for at least water, they were all immune to the sentiment called fear. The only sentiment they had at that point of time was hope. Clinging their dear hope, they peeped into that capacious cavity which was enwrapped with climbers and trees. There they also saw swans and the waterfowls like Krauncha, Saarasa and Chakravaka waterfowls exiting from the cavity with their bodies drenched in water and reddened with the dapples of lotuses' pollen. 
          They wondered what that cavity was. Was it the entrance to Naraka, The Hell of Yama, Paataala or the Netherworld of the Emperor Bali? All such thoughts vanished when they noticed that there was some water in there. Hanuman who was well known for his eruditeness and was respected by all for his worldly knowledge over very many things, and was very much regarded for his glossiness spoke "We all have searched the southern quarter including those places that are enmeshed with meshes of mountains, and we got fatigue instead of the whereabouts of Seetha. 
        "Swans along with waterfowls like Saarasa, Kruancha, and water drenched Chakravaka birds are coming out of this cavity from all over, and even the trees available at its doorway are verdant. Certainly there must be a wellspring or a pond with water." 
        Those words of Hanuma emboldened all those vanaras and they entered the cavity and found it as a sunless or moonless cavity, enfolded in hair-raising darkness. They noticed some lions and various other animals and birds going in and out of that cavity which was enshrouded in obscurity. Strangely they were able to see in spite of the darkness.
        On going further into that cavity, those vanaras beheld a locale that was luminous, as well as lovely. In that awful cave compacted with various trees, they advanced further carefully and holding hands so that no one is lost.
         They became very thirsty and awfully tired and after going quite a distance they perceived a luminescence. They were looking in wonder a shadowless woodland with golden trees which in irradiance was like the irradiated Ritual-fire. They beheld Saala, Taala [Palmyra,] Tamaala trees and some flowered trees like Punnaaga, Vanjula, Dhava, Campaka, Naaga and Karnikaara trees. The bunches of their flowers were golden and amazing, leaflets were reddish, and like that the climbers enwreathing at their tops were like their towering diadems and since those trees have golden fruits, they look as though decorated with golden jewellery. Those golden-bodied tress were shining forth like tender sun and their pedestals were completely studded with lapis gems. The birds encircling those trees were in the hue of lapis lazuli gems. The lotus lakes were encompassed with golden lotuses with broad petals, which in shine were similar to tender sun.
          Then they beheld there the lotus-lakes containing serene waters and stocky lotuses and burly fishes that were golden. There the vanaras beheld choicest mansions everywhere made out of gold and silver, some with golden and some with silver domes, while some with golden and some with silver multi-stories, but all were studded with lapis gems with golden windows covered with lacework of pearls. They have also seen everywhere flowered and fruited trees that were similar in shine to red corals and rubies, and golden honeybees, as well as honeys.
         They further beheld everywhere diverse and capacious beds and seats that were amazingly crafted with gemstones and gold, and also stacks of utensils made of gold, silver and bell metal. They saw stockpiles of heavenly aloe vera substances and sandalwood sticks and depurated eatables, tubers and fruits. They also saw top-grade soft drinks, luscious honeys, heaps of finest quality clothing, exotic blankets and sheaves of deerskins. There were mounds of undefiled gold stockpiled here and there glowing with the glow of ritual fire.
           All the vanaras were gaping in wonder here and there and they noticed a lady there. She looked like a saint and was attired in jute-cloths.  She looked like a luminiferous entity. 
        In wonderment the vanaras stood still all over, and Hanuman asked her politely "Who are you? Whose is this cavity, the mansion and these jewels? Please speak."

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

181. Undaunted Southward Party was disheartened.

           Let us now go and see what the party sent to south is doing.
            The entire task force headed by the valiant Angada assisted by equally powerful and valiant vanaras like Hanuman started, with all earnestness and enthusiasm to search the places indicated by their king. They did not spare even a remote place. They systematically searched the caves and forests of the Vindhya Mountains, mountaintops, all hard to penetrate places, rivers and lakes, and in stands of trees with beamy trees. They also tried at diverse mountains, forests and trees. Unfortunately they were not in luck. They did not go to any hotel, motel or lodge for a sojourn  for rest at nights nor did they go to any restaurant, cafĂ©, bistro, cafeteria, trattoria, tearoom or eatery for grub. The hapless vanaras conducted their search by feeding themselves upon unalike fruits and tubers and sojourning here and there. 
    They did not spare even inscrutable, incomprehensible, mysterious and enigmatic places, deeply caved, deeply forested and dry places with little amount of water and still less of people, a void and an impenetrable ones with a ghastly look. They felt highly tormented when their careful, conscientious, painstaking, efficient, meticulous, exhaustive, scrupulous and assiduous search was not fruitful. Nevertheless they continued their search with determination. 
          In the manner stated about the undaunted vanaras continued their search. During the course of their search, they entered a certain province where the trees were infertile for fruiting, destitute of leaves and flowers, the brooks were dry. And they could not locate even tubers. There were no buffalos, no elephants, no other animals, no  birds. They did not even see any creature crawling on the ground.
         There they could not find any useful trees or herbal plants or climbing plants on trees or creeping plants on earth. Lotus-lakes which will normally be pleasing for sight have no soft leaves, nor bloomed lotuses on their creepers, and even honeybees were discarding them as they were devoid of any fragrance. 
         This was due to the curse of the maharishi named Kandu. He lost his son, a ten-year-old boy in that forest. The maharishi became angry with that forest and cursed that great forest in it entirety to become an uninhabitable and impermeable one to be abandoned by birds, animals etc.
       But our heroic vanaras, despite such heavy handicaps and hardships, conscientiously searched that forest, too, up to its fringes, including its mountains, caves, fountains, and rivers. But the result was nix.
        On entering the next area, a deep forest overly encompassed with climbers and shrubberies they saw a rakshash of fiendish deeds who looked fearless. All of those vanaras were amazed to see that fiendish figure standing like a mountainous boulder, and apprehending an imminent danger from him, those vanaras tightened their wrestler's girdle-cloth.
             Seeing the vanaras that mighty rakshash rushed towards them shoving up his clenched fist and shouting 'You wretched creatures, I am going to kill you all.'  Angada, the son of Vali, presumed him to be Ravana, thwacked him with his palm.  That rakshash spewed forth blood from his throat and fell onto the ground alike an inverted mountain. When that rakshash breathed his last, all the vanaras, with triumphal shimmer searched everywhere including that cave of that mountain where that rakshash appeared, presuming that cave belonged to Ravana.
            So far all their efforts were futile. Completely disheartened all of them coming together sat down at the base of a lonely tree completely exhausted.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

180. Seetha NOT found in East, West and North.

            All the leaders of the search parties as well as each and every member of the parties did their job not only very conscientiously as a loyal soldier of the king Sugreeva, but also as a zealous one who wanted to get the special privileges promised by the king for the one who finds Seetha.
         As commanded by the king Sugreeva all the elephantine vanaras essayed everywhere with post-hast for Vaidehi. They have thoroughly searched at lakes, in the pens of creepers on riverbanks, in vacant lands and in the crowded cities and at most difficult places, rivers and mountains. All the commanders did their job in this regard with utmost alacrity and capability.  All the provinces inclusive of mountains, woodlands, and thick forests of those provinces were scrupulously and systematically searched. All of them firmed up in finding Seetha have searched nooks and corners of earth day and  night. 
        The task-forces sent to East, West and North returned to the Mt. Prasavana within one month without any information about Seetha and reported so to Sugreeva.
       Rama was disheartened to hear that news about 'no news' about Seetha. Sugreeva told him in a comforting manner "Dear Friend, don't loose heart. The party sent to South has not come yet.  We certainly will get good news from them."

Thursday, 10 July 2014

179. Rama was curious about Sugreeva's knowledge of geography.

            Sugreeva in turn shouted at the search parties to search thoroughly and earnestly and also wished them good-luck. He felt very happy and relieved that he had now taken a suitable requital action for Rama.
         After seeing the last of the search party vanished from sight, Rama looking at Sugreeva curiously and asked him "My dear fellow, how come you know so well about the geography and also history of almost the entire earth?" 
           Sugreeva smiled and replied "I already told you that I took over the crown of Kiskindha on the assumption that my dear brother Vali was killed and subsequently he turned up and finding me on his throne he became highly furious and banished me and also threatened to kill me. As a consequence, I was made to run away rapidly, and during that fleeing I went on seeing diverse rivers, forests and cities. I have then really seen almost the entire earth. 
        "On going to eastern direction I saw various trees, enchanting mountains with caves, and also numerous lakes. There I saw the mountain wreathed in with various ores, namely Mt. Udaya, the Sun-Rise, and I have also seen the Milk Water Oceans which is forever an abode for apsaras. 
       "Then from that eastern direction I fled to southern direction, which is thick with Vindhya Range mountains and diverse trees, especially with sandalwood trees.
     "While I was seeing the interiors of forests and mountains again I was made to run by Vali, who was setting upon me from within the interiors of those forests and mountains, and then I reached the western direction. Such as I was, on seeing diverse cities and the  mountains Astagiri, Mt. Dusk etc.
          "As Vali did not relent, I went northwards to Himalayas, Mt. Meru, like that at the Northern Ocean.
        "Then I became tired of running around. At that point Hanuman told me about the curse of the maharishi Matanga. I, along with my followers, settled at the Mt. Rishyamuka. Oh, prince Rama, then Vali though reached Mt. Rishyamuka, he did not enter into its precincts because of the curse.
           "This is how I came to know about various places on this earth."

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

178. All hopes pinned on Hanuman.

          After assigning suitable forces to all the four directions to find out the whereabouts of Seetha, Sugreeva heaved a long sigh of relief. Then something occurred to him and he hurriedly shouted for Hanuman. The task-force of Angada under whom Hanuman was attached, almost left. Hearing the shout of the king, all of them halted. And Hanuman approached Sugreeva and waited for further instructions. Sugreeva looked at him for a long moment and nodded. Then he told Hanuman "Oh, my dear Hanuman, I purposely did not make you to lead any of the task forces set up for the search of Seetha for the reason that I want you to be free from any responsibility other than to find out where Seetha is kept. And I attached you to the task force being sent southwards for the reason that I strongly feel that Seetha will be there as that rakshash Ravana was taking her in that direction.
    "With your unusual mobility, unstoppable celerity, unremitting vivacity, and untold ability you emulate your father Maaruti, the Air-god of marvelling dynamism. I am positive that with your brawniness, astuteness, venturesomeness, ethicism, the manner in which you conduct yourself in abidance with time, place and ethicality, you will be the one who is going to find Seetha." 
           Rama heard what Sugreeva was telling Hanuman. He was very much impressed. On looking at Hanuman, Rama got a gut-feeling that Hanuman was definitely going to find where Seetha was. He gave Hanuman his ring that was shining forth with his own name engraved in it and told him "Dear Hanuman, I am inclined to agree with Sugreeva in toto. Please keep this emblematic ring. Seeing this, Seetha will know that you have come from me and accept you. Oh, my dear chap, your enthusiasm, vital-force combined with your venturesomeness are heralding achievement to me." 
             Hanuman kept that ring safely and securely on his head, and making palm-fold he reverenced the feet of Rama, and then joined his task force. When Hanuman started along with the task-force, Rama shouted at him "Oh, highly powerful Hanuman, I rely upon your vivacity, being the best venturesome vanara, oh, son of Vayu, showing your adventures that are not inconsequential you make happen as to how access can be gained to Janaka's daughter, Seetha." .

Sunday, 6 July 2014

177. Search Party sent to north.

      After sending his father-in-law, namely Sushena to the westerly direction Sugreeva decided another valorous vanara named Shatabali as the leader for the force to be sent to the northern direction. Accordingly he called him and told "With all your hundred thousand and odd forest-dwelling vanaras of your kind, you proceed to the northern direction. Scout out the whole of the northern quarter including the  snowy Himalayan mountains for the glorious wife of Rama.
          "There in the north, the provinces of Mlecchas, Pulindas, Shurashena, Prasthala, Bharata, Kuru, Madraka, Kaambhoja and Yavana should also be scrutinized along with the cities of Shaka and Darada. Then try the Himalayas.
          "Always remember to look for Ravana, too while searching for Seetha.
          "And then you go to that great-peaked mountain named Mt. Kala. On its cliffs, mountainsides and in the caves the impeccable wife of Rama is be searched. On going across that lordly mountain Kala, you will reach the mountain named Sudarshana. Search there.
      "From there you go to the Mt. Kailash. There you can have a look at the delightful mansion of Kubera, which in shine will be like a silver cloud and processed with gold, and the Divine Architect Vishvakarma has constructed it. Ravana is to be searched on the Mt. Kailash, and even in the caves of nearby mountains which will be shining like moon, together with Vaidehi.
           "Thereafter on reaching the Mt. Krauncha you shall cautiously enter into a highly  exacting and formidable tunnel of that mountain to search Seetha. 
           "In that tunnel great-souled sages reside at the request of gods, and those great sages would look like the Sun in their resplendence and godly in their mien. Search there, too for Ravana and Seetha. 
            "A little away from that Mt. Kraunca, you will find another mountain named Mainaaka where you will find the mansion of the rakshash Maya which is built by himself. Search both the mansion and the Mt. Mainaaka inclusive of its crests, grades and caves. Thereabouts the dwellings of horse-faced females, namely KimpuruSas, are there and you have to search there also.
         "Then there in the North Kuru, you will find the dwelling of those who have achieved divine merit in their previous births and now born in that country to enjoy the fruits of that divine merit. That country itself is earmarked for meritorious beings. 
         "As all the inhabitants of that part of the North Kuru have performed good deeds in earlier births, they are accorded with paradisiacal pleasures now. All are engaged in passion and live in pleasure and prosperity along with their ever youthful females. 
           "On passing beyond that mountainous locale in Uttara Kuru, there is a treasure trove of waters in the mid of which there is a gigantic golden mountain named Mt. Soma.
          "Those who have gone to the sphere of Indra, and those who have gone to the sphere of Brahma can clearly see that lordly Mt. Soma, situated in the vast ocean from the vast heavens. 
         "Do not enter the north of Kuru province under any circumstance as there is no way out to follow.
         "Skip that mountain named Soma as you will not be able to go up there. It is an impassable one even for gods.
           "You should thoroughly search in all those provinces I mentioned, and you have to make up your mind for searching in other places that are not referred by me.
       "If you bring the happy information about Seetha, you will rove over the earth with your friends and relatives and with your beloveds, also fostering your progeny."