The Ramayana of Valmiki

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

This page is entitled “sugriva implores rama to help him against bali” and represents Chapter 8 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 8 - Sugriva implores Rama to help him against Bali

Gratified on hearing these words, Sugriva joyfully addressed the elder brother of Lakshmana in this wise:—

“Undoubtedly I am favoured by the Gods, since I have a virtuous friend, full of great qualities, such as you! With your help, O Irreproachable One, it would be possible for me even to conquer the celestial realm, how much more regain my kingdom, O Lord! I am the object of reverence to my friends and kinsmen, O Rama, since, witnessed by the sacred fire, I have formed an alliance with you! O Descendant of the House of Raghu, you will soon find me worthy of your friendship, but it does not become me to speak of mine own good qualities. It is in great heroes such as you, masters of themselves, that affection, like true courage, remains fixed, O Best of Well-born Men! Silver, gold and precious gems are shared amongst friends as belonging to either; rich or poor, happy or wretched, destitute or gifted with good qualities, a friend is ever a friend. Good fortune, prosperity or country, O Irreproachable Hero, are all sacrificed for the sake of a friend; only devotion to him matters.”

“True indeed,” replied the blessed Rama to the handsome Sugriva, in the presence of Lakshmana, who equalled Vasava in wisdom.

The following day, Sugriva, seeing Rama standing by the valiant Lakshmana, scanned the forest hurriedly and, observing a Sala tree at no great distance, covered with flowers and heavy with luxuriant foliage, in which bees were humming, tore off a magnificent leafy branch, and spreading it on the ground sat down on it with Rama.

Seeing the two thus installed, Hanuman, in his turn, breaking off a branch of a Sala tree, invited the self-effacing Lakshmana to take his place there.

Beholding Rama seated at his ease on that lofty mountain, covered with flowering Sala trees, radiating serenity like a peaceful lake, Sugriva, in his delight, in soft and gentle tones, leaning towards his friend who was manifesting extreme joy, said to him in accents trembling with emotion:—

“Harassed by my brother, my declared enemy, O Rama, fear of Bali preys on my mind. O You who art the refuge of the world, I am without a defender, grant me your support!”

Hearing these words, the illustrious and virtuous Rama, fixed in his duty, smiling, answered Sugriva, saying:—

“Administering relief is the fruit of friendship, harming others that of enmity! This very day, I shall slay the abductor of your consort. Here are my winged shafts and fiery arrows, O Fortunate One, whose hafts, inlaid with gold, resembling Mahendra’s thunder-bolt, have come from the forest of Karttikeya and are adorned with heron’s plumes. Their smooth joints and sharp points lend them the appearance of angry snakes. You shall see that enemy, your brother called Bali, tainted with evil deeds, struck down with these arrows, like a mountain crumbling into dust.”

Hearing Rama’s words, Sugriva, the leader of the monkey army, felt an inexpressible joy. “Excellent 1 Excellent!”, he cried. “O Rama, I have been overwhelmed with distress and you are the refuge of the afflicted. Knowing you to be mine ally, I have poured out my sorrow on your breast. Having clasped your hand in mine, witnessed by the fire, you have become the most valued friend of my life; by the truth I swear it. I have taken you as my friend and speak to you in confidence. The misfortune that has overtaken me constantly gnaws at my heart.”

Thus spoke Sugriva, his eyes brimming, his voice strangled with sobs, unable to continue. Then, stemming the stream of his tears, that flowed like a raging torrent, Sugriva, in Rama’s presence, mastering himself in an instant and, stifling his sobs, wiped his beautiful eyes. Thereafter, that illustrious monkey once again addressed Raghava, saying:—

“O Rama, formerly Bali, overwhelming me with insults, banished me from the kingdom. Seizing my consort, dearer to me than life itself, he bound my friends in chains. Then that perverse wretch sought to destroy me, O Rama, and often the monkeys themselves were bribed to that end, but I slew them. Full of apprehension on seeing you, O Rama, I did not venture to go out to meet you, being a prey to fear and yet in dread.

“These monkeys with Hanuman as their leader are my sole companions; it is due to them that I am still alive, though the situation is grave. These loyal monkeys surround and protect me, accompanying me on all my journeys, remaining with me wherever I decide to stay.

“O Rama, of what use is it to speak further? My elder brother, Bali, distinguished for his cruelty, is mine adversary. If he dies, at that very moment my misfortunes will be at an end. My happiness, nay, my very life, depends on his destruction. This is the only remedy for my woes. I tell you this while yet overcome with grief; happy or unhappy, a friend is ever the refuge of a friend!”

At these words, Rama enquired of Sugriva, saying:—“I wish to know the source of this hostility, tell me the cause of your mutual enmity. When the reason for thine hatred is known to me, O Monkey, I will concern myself with your relief. I shall reflect carefully on the matter and on its strength and weakness. Great is mine indignation to learn of thine ill-treatment, my heart beats faster, as in the rainy season the river’s flow is augmented. Speak with serene confidence while I string my bow, and know that when I loose my shaft to strike thine adversary, he is already slain.”

Hearing the speech of the magnanimous Kakutstha, Sugriva and his counsellors were highly gratified, and with a cheerful countenance Sugriva began to relate the real cause of his enmity with Bali to the elder brother of Lakshmana.

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