Friday, 29 May 2015

271. Vibhishana continues his efforts.

         Vibhishana was not a guy who would advise and leave the party advised to take it or not. As he very, very and very strongly believed that all his advices were for the good for the advisees, he would ensure that it is taken and acted upon as adivised. He, therefore, could not sleep that night and was thinking about the pros and cons of his adivice, till dawn. At dawn he got up and entered the palace of Ravana. Ravana's palace was looking like a mass of rocks, elevated like a mountain-peak, well-divided into spacious apartments and occupied by eminent persons. It was inhabited by important ministers, who were intelligent and beloved. It was guarded on all sides by rakshasas, who were trust worthy and efficient. The air was filled with the sighing breaths of elephants in rut, with tumultuous noise produced by the blowing of conches and made to resound by an ensemble of musical instruments. The palace was filled with a number of women-folk, of course. It was having principal passages in which spoken words were heard. It was having turrets made of pure gold and adorned with excellent decors. The palace was like an abode of Gandharvas  and of Maruts  filled with a collection of jewels resembling a house of Nagas. (What a quick work after the burning by Hanuman! - How nice it would be if only we have such efficient workers now!)
       The valiant Vibhishana entered that mansion of his elder brother, Ravana, like the sun with rays outstretched with splendour entering a big cloud. Vibhishana with great radiance, heard the auspicious sounds of felicitous recital of prayers uttered by the knowers of Vedas (scriptural texts), wishing for the victory of his brother. Vibhishana of great strength saw Brahmins who knew Mantras (sacred texts) and Brahmanas, respected and offered with pots filled with curd, clarified butter as well as with flowers and unbroken rice. Vibhishana offered salutation to Ravana, the younger (half) brother of Kubera.
       After the customary formalities, Vibhishana obtained a seat adorned with gold, as endowed to him by a glance of the king. Vibhishana, while alone or surrounded by ministers, always spoke to Ravana the words convinced of reason and which were very much beneficial to Ravana. Accordingly he addressed his brother Ravana "O, annihilator of enemies! We are seeing inauspicious omens since Seetha arrived here. Even if the sacrificial fire is fed with oblations while uttering a proper set of Mantras, the fire is not flaring up well, emitting sparks, its flames are enveloped in smoke and are coming forth, polluted with soot. Serpents are seen at the corner of the sacrificial post which is nearest to the fire, also in houses keeping sacrificial fire and in places where sacred studies are made. Ants are seen in things to be offered as oblations. Cow's milk is getting curdled. Excellent elephants are bereft of rut. Horses are neighing miserably and are not rejoiced in eating grass. O, king! Donkeys, camels and mules shed tears, losing their hair and even if treated as per medical procedures are not getting cured. Crows in flocks are crying cruelly from all sides and are seen in crowds assembled together on house-tops. Vultures fly to and fro in circles over the city. Jackals are crying inauspiciously at the approach of both dawn and the dusk. At city-gates are heard loud cries of carnivorous animals gathered in groups, with thundering noise.
       "These things, in my opinion are happening due to the illegal detention of the most chaste lady, the wife of Rama, Seetha. Atonement for this is that Seetha should be given back to Rama. These bad omens are being seen also by the rakshashas and rakshasis  of the city and of the gynaeceum as well as all these people here. All your ministers have abstained to inform this to you. Whatever is seen or heard, it is to be told certainly by me as I cannot bear anything bad happening to you. Hence, you ought to do according to a justification of things for the occasion."
        Ravana was not at all inclined to follow the advice of Vibhishana and as such he told him  "I am not at all afraid of anybody. Rama cannot get back Seetha by any means. How Rama even along with Indra and the celestials can face me in battle?"
        Vibhishana started to argue but Ravana held up his right hand nearest to his body indicating Vibi to stop and then staring at his brother waved a few of his hands at him to get lost.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

270. Vibhishana advised Ravana to make peace with Rama.

          Then, Nikumbha, Rabhasa, the very strong Suryasatru, Suptaghna, Yagnakopa, Mahaparsva, Mahodara, the unconquerable rakshasas Agniketu and Rasmiketu,  the powerful son of Ravana Indrajit endowed with great power and energy, Prahasta and Virupaksha, Vajradamstra who was extraordinarily strong, Dhumarksha and Atikaya and the rakshash by name Durmukha, all carrying iron clubs, sharp-edged spears, spikes, darts, javelins and axes, bows with exceedingly fearsome arrows and swords shining like a vast expanse of water, and who were all extremely enraged, and flaming as it were with glory, rose up and asserted  "Now itself we may be sent to kill Rama along with Lakshmana and Sugreeva as well as the pitiable Hanuman by whom Lanka was attacked."
          Vibhishana the youngest brother of Ravana, told "Dear brother! You know very well that we should try prowess only when we cannot accomplish the task by the three well-known strategies viz. conciliation, gift and sowing dissention. The gallantries performed according to the prescribed precept, after well tested, will only succeed against those who are indifferent, who have been already attacked by an enemy or who stand struck down by fate. How do you wish to attack that Rama, who has become famous for his perpetual attentiveness,  will to conquer, established strength,  subdued anger and unconquerable might? Who can conceive or even imagine in this world Hanuman's ability in crossing the formidable ocean? The strength and the abilities of these enemies are difficult to be measured. They cannot be treated with contempt peremptorily or hastily by any means. What offence was done to the king of rakshasas by the illustrious Rama, whose wife was stealthily taken away? Khara, who had gone beyond limits, was of course killed by Rama in an encounter. Lives are certainly to be protected, according to one's own strength, by living beings. For this reason, a very great danger because of Seetha looms over us. She, who was brought here unjustly and wrongly, is to be given away without any further delay. What is the use in doing anything, with an animosity as an end? It is not appropriate to make enmity unnecessarily with Rama, who is valiant and who follows righteousness. Let Seetha be returned to him.
        "Before the City of Lanka with its elephants, horses and many riches are shattered, let Seetha be restored to him. Before the huge army of vanaras which is very dangerous and unconquerable attacks our Lanka, let Seetha be returned. If the beloved wife of Rama is not given away of your own accord, the city of Lanka will  perish. All our valiant rakshasas too will perish. I am propitiating you because of my very close relationship with you. Act on my words. I am telling you the most beneficial as well as truthful proposition . Let Seetha be given away to him. Before Rama, the prince discharges for your destruction, very strong, unfailing, formidable, alarming, frightening and awful  arrows equal to the rays of autumnal sun and provided with new heads and shafts, let Seetha be given back to Rama. Abandon soon your anger, which destroys happiness and piety. Resort to righteousness, which augments joy and fame. Become placid so that we may live with our sons and relatives peacefully and happily. Let Seetha be returned to Rama."
      After hearing Vibhishana's words, Ravana the king of rakshasas suddenly left all of them and went to his own palace. I think on hearing the lecture of Vibhishana, he, I mean Ravana got  terrible heads-ache and probably liked to have a few cups of Starbucks coffee or something like that. 

Monday, 25 May 2015

269. Many valiant warriors declared they will kill Rama.

      Nodding in agreement with the  sycophants, the valiant rakshash Prahasta, the commander-in-chief, looking like a dark cloud, rose and said pompously  "While all devas, asuras, gandharvas, devils, birds and serpents could not defeat you in battle, why bother about two human beings? All of us were cleverly cheated by that animal Hanuman. That vanara cannot live long, while I am alive. I shall make the entire earth extending up to the ocean, along with mountains forests and woods, bereft of vanaras. You command me. I will take care of those humans and his army of vanaras, if and when they come over here."
       The rakshash Durmukha spoke with rage "This humiliation meted out to us by that vanara is definitely not to be tolerated. The looming threat of attack by Sugreeva on the city of Lanka and the palaces in it under the rule of the glorious Ravana is outrageous. I alone can destroy Sugreeva and his vanaras even if they hide in the ocean or the subterranean region or the sky."
     The very strong Vajradamshtra, beset with great anger, took hold of a terrific iron club smeared with flesh and blood declared loudly "Why should we be bothered about that pitiable and miserable Hanuman, when Rama along with Lakshmana and Sugreeva who are said to be very difficult to be conquered, are alive? Now itself, with this iron club, killing Rama, Lakshmana and Sugreeva after perturbing the army of the vanaras, I shall return. Oh, king! Thousands of rakshasas able to change their form at will, courageous, appalling, terrifying to look at and firm in their purpose can assume human bodies and approach Rama without embarrassment and tell him that 'We have been dispatched by Bharata, your younger brother. He is summoning his forces and will surely come here soon.' I am sure he will swallow that tale. If you agree, then with spikes, javelins and maces together with arrows and swords in hand, we will quickly go there from here soon. Once that Rama falls into our deception then  we clandestinely go up in groups to the sky and beating that army of vanaras with a mighty hail of stones and missiles, we will send them to Yama. If Rama and Lakshmana thus fall into our trap they will surely abandon their lives."
      Thereafter Kumbhakarna's son,  Nikumbha, strong and powerful, became very angry and said in a loud voice "All of you stay along with the king. I alone will go there, kill Rama along with Lakshmana, Sugreeva, Hanuman and all the vanaras."
      Then Vajrahanu, who resembled a mountain, licking the corners of his mouth with his tongue, said "Sir, You continue to do your routine as hitherto, without any mental pain. I alone will kill Rama along with Sugreeva, Lakshmana, Hanuman, Angada and all the other vanaras."

Friday, 22 May 2015

268. sycophants advise Ravana to defy Rama.

          The sycophantic,  servile, crawling, flattering and cringing ministers, who ipso facto were quite close to Ravana, but stupid and without any moral conduct,  raising up in unison with joined palms spoke vehemently but pleasingly to Ravana, without knowing anything about the subject about which they started to advice. They said in chorus "O, king! Our army, equipped with iron bars, javelins, double-edged swords, darts and sharp-edged spears, is very great. Why are you getting worried? After proceeding to Bhogavati city, the serpents there were defeated by you. Kubera  who resides on the peak of the Mount Kailasa, surrounded by many Yakshas  surrendered to you. O, Lord! By your rage, Kubera, who was bragging himself about his strength acquired due to his friendship with Lord Shiva and was claiming to be a guardian of the world possessing great strength, was defeated by you in battle. Throwing down a group of Yakshas causing a flutter among themselves and taking them in prison, his aerial car, Pushpak was appropriated by you. O, the best of rakshashas! Maya  gave you his dear daughter Mandodari in marriage, because knowing your valour he preferred you as his friend rather than an antagonist. Madhu, Kumbhinasa's husband, another ruler of asuras, who was proud of his valour and who was difficult to be defeated, was defeated by you in a battle against him. O, mighty armed! After moving down to rasatala (the penultimate subterranean region), you conquered the serpent-kings Vasuki, Takshaka, Saukha and Jati and subjugated them under your control. O, annihilator of enemies! You, after a battle for a year, with the mighty asuras who were almost beyond destruction, who were valiant and who obtained boons were defeated by your own strength in combat. Several fascinating tricks were also learnt from them by you. Varuna's sons, valiant and strong and who were accompanied by an army of elephants, chariots, cavalry and infantry were defeated by you in the battle with them. You have also fought and won battles with Yama.  The earth is filled with, like big trees, many of our warriors who are strong and courageous like Devendra. O, King! Rama is definitely not equal to them in  valour, energy etc. Many warriors, who were considered to be impossible to be overcome in battle, were overpowered and killed by you. 
       "If that Rama somehow manages to come over here then there is no need for you, in person to face him. Prince Indrajit alone can destroy all the vanaras. After performing an excellent sacrifice to propitiate Mahesvara, our indomitable prince got a boon very rare to be obtained in the world, was acquired by him. Approaching that huge ocean of army of celestials, Devendra was captured by him and was imprisoned here at Lanka as a POW. Oh, king! Having been released by the orders of your grand father Brahma, Devendra who killed the asuras Shambara and Vritra and who was adored by all celestials, went back to heaven. You send our prince Indrajit alone, who even without any assistance will quash the army of vanaras together with Rama. Oh, king, Rama, who is an ordinary human, who  does not deserve to be considered as a danger."

Friday, 15 May 2015

267. Ravana convenes a meeting with his ministers.

                I am sure you are wondering what is happening at Lanka, what is the reaction of Ravana and what he proposes to do etc. That makes two of us. Let us go over to Lanka now and see what that guy Ravana is doing.
             Look! Ravana seems to be having a cabinet meeting. Look at his faces! All of them seem to be descended more than a little with shame at the thought of the fearful and the terrible act in Lanka done by Hanuman, a lowly vanara. Nevertheless he looked as imposing, grand, impressive, magnificent and majestic as before. His throne and the chairs for the members were makeshift ones. The charred walls were bereft of any decorations.
      Ravana started the meeting with his usual grand look and majestic voice (I guess at any point of time he normally uses only one mouth; in anger may be he will shout with all his ten mouths) with  "By him, who was only a vanara, the irresistible City of Lanka was entered into and was over-powered. Seetha the daughter of Janaka was also discovered by him. The thousand-pillared building used as a sanctuary was assaulted by that animal. Some of our most excellent rakshasas were killed. The entire City of Lanka was made turbid. What do you wise and very learned ministers think we should do now? What the very first appropriate thing is to be done next? 
          "Wise-men say that victory is dependent on good forethought. Verily for that reason, I desire a deliberation about Rama. There are three types of men (meaning devas, asuras, humans and animals) in the world, to wit the foremost the midmost and the lowermost. Let me tell you their inherent merits and demerits. The wise call him as the foremost among men, who carries through the beginning of any undertaking after consulting those who are wedded with the welfare of others, or with ministers who are highly knowledgeable in conferring advice or with friends having common interests. The wise men call that man as mediocre, who deliberates about an activity solitarily, applies his mind on law and justice all by himself and performs works singly. He who does not determine the merits and demerits of an act clearly, having recourse to Providence and neglects his duty by simply telling 'I shall do it',  is the lowest among men. In which manner these men are categorized always as good, bad or mediocre, so also the resolution in thought is classified as good bad or mediocre.
      "The wise say that resolution of thought is excellent in which the thinkers, on a view perceived by scriptures, obtain consensus and are satisfied with it. After deliberating several kinds of opinions, a decision of a matter obtained finally by a consensus of the counselors, is called mediocre. That resolution is said to be worst in which several arguments are made, employing divergent opinions and in which there is no advantage even after a consensus. For that reason, you, having excellent intellect, arrive at a well-thought out rightful action. I request you to do it earnestly. Rama surrounded by thousands of courageous vanaras, will be  coming to the City of Lanka, for the purpose of rescuing Seetha. Rama, by his befitting strength and intellegence, can certainly cross the ocean without much difficulty, with his brother along with his army and his companions. He may even get the ocean dried up. He may do any other thing by his valour. Please, therefore advise me with such advice that will save this city Lanka and my army."

Monday, 11 May 2015

266. Rama was lamenting about Seetha.

           That remarkable and extraordinary  army, well-protected by Neela, was kept positioned nicely at the northern shore of the ocean. Both Maina and Dvivida constantly and vigilantly moved here and there to ensure that everything was okay in that army. After the army was settled at the sea-shore, Rama who could not contain his worry and thoughts about his dear wife Seetha and hence was obliged to lament about her to  Lakshmana who, as usual was by his side. He, Rama told him "Lakshmana! It is so said that sorrow gets vanished at the passing of time. But my agony of not seeing my beloved is getting increased every day. My anguish is not so acute that my beloved is at a distance, nor that she was taken away. Her age is indeed passing away. What I need most at this moment is 'the wind!'  I very much desire that the wind that touches my beloved touch me, too. It is through  that wind I will get a feeling of contact of her limbs. It is through the moon I get a feeling of contact of her eyes. That darling when being carried away might have cried "Oh, Lord!" seeking for help. That thought is like poison gulped by me, hovering in my stomach and scorching my limbs. My body is scorching night and day, by the fire of passion, holding fuel of my separation from her and my thoughts of her flaring into shimmering flames.
       "Oh, Lakshmana! Diving deep into the sea without you, I like to fall asleep. Then this flaming passion will not thus scorch me, lying down in water of that deep sea. It is enough for me, who is passionate, that Seetha with charming thighs and me are resting on one and the same earth and on this thought I will be able to survive. Like a paddy-field without water survives by getting wet from a neighboring paddy-field under water, I also survive since I am hearing her as surviving. When shall I behold Seetha with charming hips, having long lotus-like eyes flourishing as prosperity, by conquering the enemies? When gently raising her face looking like lotus, with its beautiful teeth and lips, shall I drink as a sick man the sovereign drink of remedy? When will those breasts which are delightful, close, bulging and quivering, looking like Palmyra fruits, indeed press me? She, with dark-cornered eyes, who has fallen into the midst of rakshasas, like an orphan is surely not getting any to console her, though I am here for support. How Seetha, the daughter of the King Janaka, my darling and Dasharatha's daughter-in-law is sleeping among those rakshashis? Seetha will come out, driven away through my force the rakshasas, like black clouds by a digit of the moon, in autumn. Seetha, who by nature is slender, will undoubtedly become leaner further because of her anguish, her abstinence from food and her adverse position of time and place. When shall I bring back Seetha, having lodged arrows in Ravana's chest and having abandoned this mental agony? When indeed Seetha the virtuous lady similar to the child of a celestial, with an excited longing, will embrace my neck and release tears of joy? When shall I thrillingly abandon this terrible anguish, born out of my separation from Seetha, as we abandon soiled clothing?"
        While that sagacious Rama was lamenting thus there, the sun started to sink into the sea making the atmosphere less bright. Lakshmana consoled Rama who was overwhelmed with anguish, duly recollecting the lotus-eyed Seetha. Thereafter, Rama worshipped the evening-twilight.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

265. Rama reached the sea-shore with his army.

               Rama after a careful appraisal of the info furnished by that learned Hanuman decided to make a move with the army of Sugreeva on that day itself. He said as a reply to Hanuman as well as a command to Sugreeva  "After hearing your inestimable assessment of Lanka, I feel I will be able to conquer Lanka, the city of that terrible rakshash. I am really very confident of this. Be pleased to approve our march at a suitable moment for success. The sun has now reached the mid-day. 
        "Hearing of my march to Lanka, Seetha will get back her hope in life, like a sick man having drunk poison touches ambrosia at the end of his life. This northern planet of Phalguni will be in conjunction with the Hasta star tomorrow. Hence, let us depart today itself with all the troops accompanying us. O Sugreeva! By seeing the omens which are becoming visible, I deduce that I shall bring back Seetha the daughter of Janaka, by killing Ravana. My eye which is twitching on the upper lid is proclaiming my victory."
        After pausing for a while for evaluating the plans for the move, Rama resumed "Let general Nila accompanied by about one hundred thousand warriors go before the army, to explore the way. Let Nila the chief of Army steer the army speedily by the path abound with fruits and roots, cool woods, fresh water and honey. The evil-minded rakshasas may spoil the roots, fruits and water in the path-way. All of us, therefore should be on our guard, always. Let some experienced vanaras jump into low grounds, into places made inaccessible by forest-groves and into thickets and notice whether any rival forces are stationed there. Let whatever the remaining  little feeble forces  stay back in Kishkindha.
          "As our operation will be dreadful, it has to be discharged daringly. Let the best of vanaras with great strength in  thousands lead the formidable front of the army like an oceanic stream. Let Gaja, equal to a mountain, Gavaya a very strong warrior and Gavaksha march in front, as  majestic bulls march in front of a cow-herd. Let Rishabha, the Lord of the simians and the best of the primates march forward, duly guarding the right side of the army of the simians. Let Gandhamadana, with a strength unconquerable like an elephant in rut, proceed duly guarding the left side of the army of vanaras. I myself, mounted on the shoulders of Hanuman, like Indra on Airavata, will march in the centre of my troops, duly cheering the multitude of army. Let Lakshmana, resembling the lord of Death, march on the shoulders of Angada like Kubera, the lord of riches and the sovereign of beings, march on an elephant called Sarvabhauma. Let the highly strong, Jambavan with Sushena and the vanara Vegadarshi, guard the middle part of the army."
          The instructions of Rama was promptly obeyed by Sugreeva, the supreme commander-in-chief of  the forces, who gave orders accordingly. Then the massive army   of vanaras  quickly bounced with enthusiasm from caves and mountain-tops. The greatest and quite a different kind of army of that, nay, all time started the historic (I think 'epical' would be more appropriate) march.
         Rama was surrounded by the vanaras, looking like elephants, numbering ah... (yea I got it) infinity. That army of vanaras followed Rama who was marching in the lead. All those vanaras maintained by Sugreeva were rejoicing with delight.
      The vanaras, jumping overwhelmingly with roaring sound and joyfully playing musical instruments (like trumpets), marched towards southern direction. They marched on, eating good-smelling honeys and fruits and carrying large branches bearing clusters of blossoms in multitude. Wild vanaras would lift up and throw one another all of a sudden. Some others were hanging down and flying upwards. Some others were throwing down others.
         Vanaras close to Rama were shouting, "To us, Ravana is worthy to be killed and also the entire rakshasas."
       Rishabha, Nila, and the courageous Kumuda along with many vanaras were clearing up the path ahead. Sugreeva the king of vanaras, Rama and Lakshmana the destroyers of enemies were moving in the center along with many robust and terrible vanaras. The heroic vanara Satabali who was accompanied by hundreds of millions of vanaras, standing alone firmly, guarded the whole army of vanaras.
           Kesari with a retinue of a hundred crore, Panasa, Gaja and Arka along with very, very, many, many vanaras were protecting one flank of that army. Keeping Sugreeva in front, Sushena and Jambavanta surrounded by many bears, protected the hind part of that army.
       Nila, chief of the army, the self controlled and the foremost among movable beings, was protecting that army in every direction.
    Valimukha, Prajangha, Jambha and Rabhasa were moving on all sides, urging the soldiers forward. Those foremost among the vanaras, proud of their strength, thus marching with the army, saw the Sahya mountain joined with many small mountains, lakes abounding with flowers and eminent ponds. That large army of vanaras, terrific like an ocean-flood, frightfully enraging, having terror-stricken, abandoning the vicinity of towns and even villages, marched like a highly dreadful ocean with a great roaring  sound. All those prominent and valiant vanaras were overwhelmingly jumping ahead, like fine horses being whipped, at the side of that Rama.
        Rama and Lakshmana were being carried on the shoulders by Hanuman and Angada, were effulgent like the moon and the sun having come together in contact with two large planets Jupiter and Venus. Thereafter, Rama treated respectfully by Sugreeva and Lakshmana, moved towards southern direction, along with the army.
         Lakshmana, with a fully meaningful presence of mind, sitting on Angada, told Rama "Dear bro, Killing Ravana fast and rescuing Seetha who was taken away, you will proceed to Ayodhya which is abundantly rich, with the satisfaction of having accomplished your purpose. I am seeing all grand good omens in the sky and the earth self-evident of your fulfillment. The wind which is favorable, gentle, beneficial and comfortable to the army is blowing alongside. These beasts and birds are uttering sonorous and sweet sounds. All the quarters are looking bright. Even the sun is clear. The planet of Venus with its bright light, born from the sage Bhrigu is hanging behind you. Dhruva, the very bright pole-star, which is recognized by the contiguity of the stars presided over by the seven Brahma sages is becoming clear. All the pure great sages having bright light are shining around Dhruva star. The royal sage Trishanku, our paternal greatsomething grand father, born in the Ikshvaku dynasty, is purely shining as a star in front, along with his family-priest. Visakha stars are shining clearly without any evil influence. This supreme constellation is of our Ikshvakus.
          "The Mula constellation of the titans is badly positioned, in that it is touched by a comet raised with a tail of light and tormented by it. All this has come for the destruction of the titans, for, the star seized by death is oppressed by a planet in its last hour. The waters are crystal-clear, with good taste. The woodlands are laden with fruit. The fragrant air is not blowing much. Trees are bearing seasonal flowers. The armies of vanaras formed into different squadrons are looking highly splendid like the armies of celestials in the battle in which the rakshas Taraka was killed. Be pleased to see these good omens in this manner."
         The words of the delighted Lakshmana cheered his brother. Then, the army of vanaras consisting of excellent bears and vanaras with their very nails and teeth as weapons marched ahead, covering the entire earth. The awful dust raised by the nails and claws of the vanaras obscured the splendor of the sun and also covered the earth comprising of mountains, forests and the atmosphere. The colossal vanra-army advanced, encompassing the southern region like a mass of cloud enveloping the sky.
        While the army was crossing a river, the currents flowed inversely for a distance of many yojanas.
     The mighty army passed through lakes containing clear water, mountains full of trees, plain-landed territories and forests laden with fruits. The gigantic army marched, thoroughly covering the land. All of them with a wind-like speed went on, with abundant joy on their faces.
        For the sake of Rama, the vanaras moved with fully elevated pace vied with each other in high spirits, vigour and prowess. Out of pride born of prime youth, some made various gestures on the way. Some wild vanaras there walked very speedily. In that manner, some others hovered highly. Some made noises, sounding "kila! kila!"
         Some vanaras lashed their tails. Some stamped their feet. Some others, stretching their arms, broke off rocks and trees. Some vanaras ascended mountain-peaks and uttered huge noises. Some others mimicked a  lion's roar. Some vanaras were crushing many webs of creepers by the jerks of their thighs. The valiant vanaras also played with rocks and trees, by stretching their limbs.
             In that place, the land was covered splendidly by hundreds of thousands, by thousands and crores of vanaras, who were looking very dreadful. That extensive vanara-army was marching day and night. All the vanaras ruled by Sugreeva were exceedingly pleased and cheerful. All were marching quickly, rejoicing for war. Those vanaras who were desirous of Seetha's release did not halt even for a moment anywhere. The vanaras enjoyed the fruits of Champaka, Tilaka, mango, Praseka, Sinduvaara Timisa and Karaveera trees.
      The vanaras enjoyed Ashoka, Karanja, Plaksa, Nyagrodha, Jambu, myrobalan and Naga trees. Various kinds of forest-trees standing on the enchanting plateaus, being shaken by gust of winds, poured out flowers on those vanaras. A soft-touching breeze, refreshing as  sandal, blew while the bees hummed in the nectar-scented woods. That royal Sahya Mountain was highly adorned with red-coloured metal. The dust blown from that metal by the velocity of wind, coming forth from all sides, obscured the huge vanara-army.
            On the lovely mountain slopes, in blossom on all sides, Ketaki and Sindhuvara trees, the charming Vasanti, Madhavi creepers with flowers full of scent, clumps of jasmine, Chiribila, Madhuka, Vanjula and Vakula, Ranjaka and Tilaka, Nyavriksha all in flower, Mango, Patalika, Kovidara in flower, Muchulinda, Arjuna, Simsapa and Kutaja, Hintala, Timisa, Churna and Nipa, blue Ashoka, Sarala, Ankola and Padmaka trees were crawled in excitement by the vanaras who were delighted.
          There were delightful wells with stairs and ponds in that mountain, sought after by chakravaka birds, frequented by karandava birds, crowded with water-fowls and cranes, visited by boars and deer, haunted on all sides by bears, hyenas, lions and many dreadful tigers. There were beautiful reservoirs of water with blossoming blue lotuses, water lilies, white water lilies, black water lilies and various other kinds of aquatic flowers.
          Various kinds of birds sang in those mountain-peaks. Vanaras bathed in water, drank those waters and played. They ascended the mountain and got drenched in water, by sprinkling water by one over the other among them. Vanaras in mad rut plucked sweet-smelling fruits, roots and flowers there. Those vanaras, in reddish brown colour like honey, drinking honey from honey-combs weighing about a maund each, went on cheerfully. The foremost among the vanaras marched, duly breaking off trees, pulling along creepers and throwing away excellent mountains.
         Some other vanaras, well-pleased with honey they got from trees, yelled loudly. Some others reached trees to get honey. Some others were drinking honey excessively. The earth filled with those excellent vanaras, was like land filled with ripened fields of paddy.
          Then, the lotus-eyed and the mighty-armed Rama reached Mahendra Mountain and ascended its top, adorned with trees. Then, Rama mounted the peak and saw the ocean ruffled with water and scattered well with turtles and fishes.
      They crossed Sahya Mountain and Malaya Mountain and systematically approached the ocean having terrific sound. Rama together with Sugreeva and Lakshmana quickly descended the mountain and went to the excellent woodland adjoining the sea. Rama exclaimed happily "Oh, Sugreeva! We have reached the abode of Varuna. We should consider now the way to cross the ocean.
         "This ocean, the lord of Rivers, seems to be shore-less beyond. This sea is impossible to be crossed without a proper strategy. Now let us discuss and evolve some way to cross this sea."
        Rama, emaciated due to the absence of Seetha, then reached the sea and ordered for the halt of the army there. "Let all the army be stationed at this sea-shore, Sugreeva! Here, the time has come for us to think about the subject of crossing the ocean. Let not anyone slip away in any direction, leaving his respective unit of army. Let valiant vanaras make a move and probe carefully to find whether there is a hidden danger for us."
     Hearing Rama's order, Sugreeva along with Lakshmana made the army to halt at the sea-shore, stretched with trees. That army, stationed at the vicinity of the ocean, shined like a second ocean, splendid with yellowish white honey-colored water.
        There, those foremost of vanaras reached the woodlands at the shore and settled down, desiring to reach the other shore of the vast sea. While all the vanaras were halting there, the noise created out of their movement was dominantly heard, concealing the roar of the sea. That army of the vanaras ruled by Sugreeva, stationed as three divisions viz. 1. bears 2. long tailed vanaras and 3. vanaras, looked fully dedicated to the cause of Rama. That army of vanaras reached the great ocean and was delighted to behold the mighty ocean being diffused by the velocity of wind.
        Seeing the sea, the abode of Varuna, which was boundless and having the opposite shore far off, inhabited by a number of rakshasas, the vanara-troops sat down there.
      Rendered appalling by the ferocity of the fierce alligators and crocodiles, that ocean with its foaming waves at dusk, appeared to laugh and dance, welcoming Rama and his army.
         The ocean surged, when the moon rose. The image of the moon was reflected fully and brightly in it. The sea was full of huge alligators swift as fierce winds along with whales and great fish. That sea, the abode of Varuna was filled with serpents bestowed with flaming hoods, plunged with mighty aquatic creatures. Increasing waves of the sea in which sharks and bodies of serpents swarmed, rose and fell whipped into motion by the breeze. Emitting whirled sparkles, shining with large water-snakes, a fearful abode of enemies of gods forever, and the sea reached up to the uneven Patala. The ocean looked like the sky. The sky looked like the ocean. The ocean and the sky looked alike without any distinction.
          The water blended with sky and the sky blended with water. Filled with stars above and the pearls below, both the sky and the sea looked with the same splendor. There was no distinction between the two, of the sea filled with a row of waves and of the sky with a row of falling clouds. The waves of the ocean together banging one another with a terrific resonance, sounded like a kettle-drum in the sky.
         Those vanaras saw the sea lashing with winds, resonating with abundance of precious stones and water, rising high as if enraged in a grip of hurricane, filled with a number of aquatic creatures and tossed by them in the air by seemingly murmuring waves. The vanaras were struck with amazement to see the ocean seemed moving, full of resonance produced by a multitude of dashing waves rolling to and fro.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

264. Hanuman describes Lanka.

          Rama felt very much at ease in mind after hearing the well-founded and indubitably  reasonable exposition of Sugreeva. Rama slowly nodded his agreement with him.
       After thinking for a little while, turning to Hanuman he said  "Okay! After hearing dear Sugreeva, I feel I am quite competent to find ways of crossing this ocean by some means, like by way of building a bridge or by drying up the ocean.
        "Now please tell me how many citadels in Lanka are difficult to access. During your uninvited visit to Lanka you may have a glimpse of the size of the army, the fortification-details of the gates and citadels, the way in which Lanka was guarded and the various mansions of the more important rakshashas. Describe everything you have observed."
           Hanuman felt immensely happy that anticipating such a question from Rama, he had already collated the same and kept ready to produce. Had he worn a shirt like today, he would have lifted the collar of the same in pride. "Sir, I am already armed with the answers to the questions you asked me. Thinking that it would be a good idea to collect the same, I willingly subjected myself to be bound and dragged on to all the important roads and places in Lanka. While they were dragging me all-over Lanka, I merrily noted in my mind all the info you now want. I, therefore, can tell you everything, to wit, how the city of Lanka has been defended by the various methods of fortification and how it has been guarded by the troops. I can also tell you the details of how the rakshashas are attached to their king, the excellent prosperity of Lanka generated by the glory of Ravana, the awfulness of the ocean, the divisions of the body of his forces and of animals like horses and elephants carrying his forces other than the infantry.
           "The great Lanka was delighted and rejoicing, full of elephants in rut, abounding in chariots and inhabited by gangs of rakshashas. Four fairly big and extensive gates are fitted with strong doors along with huge beams for locking those gates. Strong and mighty ballistas capable of hurling darts and stones have been attached to them. The enemy troops which may arrive there would be warded off by those catapults at the very gates. Dangerous and sharp edged Sataghnis (trebuchets) made of iron, forged by hordes of rakshasas, have been kept in readiness in hundreds at the gates.
Comment: Sataghnis are four forearms in length bristled with iron spikes and are so called because they are supposed to kill hundreds at a time.
End Comment.
          "A great rampart made of gold, which is inviolable  and inlaid  at intervals  with gems, corals, cat's eyes and pearls, encircle the whole Lanka. Most awe-inspiring and fathomless moats (deep trenches) of great splendor, filled with cold water, infested with alligators and inhabited by fishes are there all round the city. Anterior to the gateways, there are four very extensive draw-bridges, equipped with numerous engines and furnished with many rows of buildings built on the rampart  meant for those entrusted with the duty of guarding the entrances. Against the approach of the enemy forces there, the draw-bridges are protected by the aforesaid engines and the enemy-battalions are flung into the moats on every side. The most important draw-bridge which is unshakable, firmly fastened very well and strong, is dazzling with numerous gold pillars and pedestals. Ravana, inclined to war and endowed with power of the state, himself remains alert and in readiness to review the forces. 
     "Oh, Rama! Lanka, therefore is impregnable; it looks like a celestial citadel that inspires awe. Surrounded by water and built on a mountain, it has four fold defenses including forest and artificial fortification. 
      "Lanka is situated on the other side of the ocean, which is difficult of access, Oh Rama! It offers no passage for vehicles either and there is no proper communication from any side. That city of Lanka, resembling the city of Gods, is built on a mountain peak and is inaccessible. That Lanka is abounding with horses and elephants and is extremely difficult to conquer. Deep trenches and Sataghnis, too, as well as engines of war of every kind adorn Lanka, the city of wicked Ravana. Ten thousand rakshasas all carrying darts in their hands and warriors, who with swords are ever alert and difficult to assail, are positioned at the eastern gate. One hundred thousand rakshasas, with an army of four limbs (viz. horses, foot soldiers, elephants and chariots) are positioned at the southern gate of the city. Warriors unsurpassed by others constitute that army. One million troops with shields and swords as well as proficient in the use of all mystic missiles, are positioned at the western gate. A hundred million rakshasas, who are mounted on chariots or who ride on horses, sons of distinguished families and greatly honored, are positioned there at the northern gate. Moreover, rakshasas, hundreds of thousands in number, difficult to attack, aggregating to one and quarter of a crore of rakshasas are positioned at the central division. Those bridges were broken by me and the moats were filled up with the wreckage. The city of Lanka was burnt by me and the defensive walls were pulled down. A part of the army of the gigantic rakshasas was destroyed. By some way or other, let us cross the ocean. The city of Lanka should be assumed then as destroyed by the vanaras. Oh, Rama! What is the use for the rest of the forces to you? Angada, Dvivida, Mainda, Jambavan, Panasa, Anala and Nila the commander-in-chief, alone, by reaching that great city of Ravana, leaping and storming Lanka with its mountains and woods, moats and archways, protective walls and buildings, will recover Seetha. Order quickly to get all the forces accumulated accordingly. Let us set out at the appropriate moment."

Monday, 4 May 2015

263. Sugreeva consoled Rama.

            Seeing the worried face of Rama, Sugreeva comforted him with "Oh, my brave friend! Why are you lamenting unnecessarily as a docile, submissive and spineless man? Do not worry about crossing that ocean. Abandon your worry like an ungrateful man abandons friendship. As the most crucial information, to wit, where Seetha is kept is now known to us, I do not indeed see any valid reason for your grief. Oh, Rama! You are a wise person, very knowledgeable about sacred works, an intellectual and an eminently learned man. Give up these apprehensions of an ordinary man. We shall make our way up to Lanka. If nothing else is plausible, we can build a bridge with large crocodiles.
         "All actions get dissipated by a person who is a pessimist, unenthusiastic, depressed or disturbed with grief. Such a person gets into troubles, almost on every occasion. These leaders of vanaras are gallant and efficient in every way. They won't hesitate even to enter a fire for your sake. I am positive about this from their joy. You ought to think and act in every way that we would be able to get back Seetha after destroying Ravana, the enemy of sinful deeds.
           "Let us consider the best way as to how a bridge can be constructed across the sea to reach that city of the king of rakshasas. Be certain that Ravana would be killed, once he faces you in a battle on that city of Lanka standing on a peak of the Trikuta Mountain.
        "It is obvious that without building a bridge across the sea, Lanka cannot be defeated even by devas,  including Indra and asuras. I assure you that when the whole of my army crosses the sea over the bridge built across it, they will come out victorious. You are already aware that these vanaras are able to change their form at will and are valiant in battle. Therefore, expel your apprehensions, which destroys any enterprise. Cling to the practice of boldness, which is resorted to by any successful person. It will produce competence without doubt to the doer quickly. Prevail upon the strength with alertness at this moment, Oh highly intelligent prince! Grief for something lost or destroyed consumes all resources of even the strong and magnanimous men like you. You are the foremost among the intelligent and the knower of all sacred texts. Hence, you ought to defeat the enemy, with me as your ally. I do not indeed see any one who can withstand you in a battle field in the three worlds, when you are armed with a bow. Oh Rama! Your work duly entrusted to the vanaras will definitely be completed with utmost promptitude. You shall behold Seetha ere long by crossing the sea. Oh, Lord of the earth! Desist from this melancholy. Yield to your legitimate indignation. Unadventurous Kshatriyas  never win honor but all fear the wrathful. You with your resourceful mind, along with us together, ponder over now a design to cross the sea. Know victory to be certain, once the sea has been crossed by the army. Verily when all my forces have passed over the sea our triumph is assured! These vanaras, the courageous soldiers who are able to change their form at their volition, will crush their opponents with an avalanche of rocks and trees. Once we have crossed the sea by whatever means employed, Ravana will definitely be killed before my eyes, Oh exterminator of enemies! What is the use of all these words? By all means, you will be a victorious man. I see good omens and my heart is over- thrilled with joy."

Friday, 1 May 2015

262. Rama appreciated Hanuman for his action.

Yuddha Kanda

         Rama was very much pleased the way in which Hanuman endeavored to console the worried and distressed Seetha. He was also touched with joy to hear the most appropriate words selected by Hanuman in this regard. Rama appreciated and thanked Hanuman with "A very outstanding work, the most arduous in the world has been done by you which could not be carried out even in thought by any other on the surface of this earth. Indeed, I cannot perceive as such anyone other than Garuda, Vayu and you, Hanuman, who can cross the mighty ocean. Who can return alive, after entering the city of Lanka, which is under the custody of Ravana ipso facto, unconquerable by Devas, Asuras, Yakshas, Gandharvas and Nagas? Who has the capability to enter without the knowledge of the guards guarding that city, which is powerfully guarded by the asuras, other than one whose courage and valour are equal to Hanuman's? A great act of service has been done by Hanuman to Sugreeva thus by exhibiting his strength corresponding to his pace. That servant to whom his master entrusts a difficult task and who performs it with zeal is said to be a superior person. The one who is ready and capable but does no more than his master extracts from him is called a mediocre person. The one who is well and able and yet does not carry out the instructions of his master as directed is said to be the lowest of subordinates. By finding out Seetha, the Raghu dynasty inclucing myself and Lakshmana, have been rightly saved today. But it pinches my conscience to think that I am not able to reward befittingly the bearer of such a good tiding. Let me at least embrace this unstinting Hanuman, as under the present circumstances, this is all I can do."
        Then Rama, vibrating with joy, clasped Hanuman in his arms.
         Rama, then told all those present including, of course, Sugreeva "The search for Seetha has been performed so much well in all ways. But my mind gets dejected once more, when I think of this vast ocean. How can these vanaras put together will reach the southern bank of the ocean, which is so difficult to cross and which contains voluminous water? Having received the tidings of Seetha, what can we do now to take the vanaras to the other side the sea?"
         Rama the destroyer of enemies and the mighty armed, was filled with apprehension and then became absorbed in thought.