The Ramayana of Valmiki

by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597

This page is entitled “sugriva sends hanuman to interview rama” and represents Chapter 2 of the Kishkindha-kanda of the Ramayana (English translation by Hari Prasad Shastri). The Ramayana narrates the legend of Rama and Sita and her abduction by Ravana, the king of Lanka. It contains 24,000 verses divided into seven sections [viz., Kishkindha-kanda].

Chapter 2 - Sugriva sends Hanuman to interview Rama

Beholding those two illustrious brothers, Rama and Lakshmana, bearing great swords in their hands, Sugriva grew anxious and, with a beating heart, glancing round on every side, could find no place in which to take refuge. Seeing those two heroes, he moved about restlessly from place to place and, in his terror, felt himself about to swoon. Exceedingly perturbed, the virtuous Sugriva with his companions began to ponder on the varying aspects of the situation and that Chief of the Monkey Tribe, pointing out those two warriors, Rama and Lakshmana, to his ministers, said:—

“Without doubt, Bali has sent these two heroes to this wood, which is inaccessible to him, and they, assuming robes of bark, have come hither and have penetrated this stronghold.”

Then those counsellors of Sugriva, perceiving the two skilful archers, sped away from that ridge to a higher crest, slipping off hurriedly behind their leader and thereafter they encircled that King of the Forest Dwellers. In close formation, they leapt from crag to crag, causing the rocks to tremble with their bounds. Jumping with extreme force, they broke down the flowering trees growing in that altitude and those amazing monkeys, leaping in every direction on that great mountain, struck terror in the hearts of the deer, the wild cats and the tigers.

Thereafter, the counsellors of Sugriva, assembling on that Indra of mountains, gathered round their sovereign with joined palms, and the eloquent Hanuman addressed Sugriva, who in his terror suspected some project of his brother’s to be afoot, saying:—

“Let all banish fear of Bali! There is nothing to inspire terror on this, the highest of mountains. I do not see any sign here of that cruel Bali of evil aspect, who has filled you with apprehension and caused your flight, O Bull among Monkeys. That cunning creature whom you fearest, your wicked elder brother, is not here, O Friend: I see no cause for thine apprehension. It is evident, O Plavamgama, that your simian nature is asserting itself, since, by giving way to distraction of mind, you are not able to see clearly. You are intelligent, experienced, able to read the expression of others and fully prepared for any eventuality, but a prince who gives way to agitation is not able to forestall any.”

Hearing Hanuman’s pregnant utterance, Sugriva answered him with greater calm saying:—

“Seeing those two long-armed warriors of large eyes, armed with bows and swords, resembling the offspring of the Gods, who would not be afraid? I deem these two powerful heroes to be the messengers of Bali. Kings have many friends, and I do not feel able to trust them. Those who are cautious invariably find the weak spot in those who are over-confident. Bali is crafty in every enterprise. Those monarchs who are well-informed are able to overcome their enemies and should spy out their actions with the help of ordinary men.

“Go, O Plavamgama, in the guise of a common man and find out the intentions of these two strangers. Study their gestures, their manners and their speech; observe their attitude and how they are disposed.

“By praise and repeated courtesies inspire them with confidence. Interrogate those two archers in my name, O Bull amongst Monkeys, and enquire of them for what reason they have come to these woods. Discover if their purpose be honest, O Plavamgama; their speech and manner will betray them if they are ill-intentioned.”

Thus commanded by Sugriva, the Son of Maruta prepared to seek out Rama and Lakshmana.

His master, through extreme fear, having rendered himself unapproachable, the monkey Hanuman of noble attributes, listening to his words with respect, answered: “Be it so!” and went forth to meet the mighty Rama and Lakshmana who accompanied him.

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