The Ramayana of Valmiki

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

This page is entitled “the fight between sugriva and bali” and represents Chapter 12 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 12 - The Fight between Sugriva and Bali

Hearing Sugriva’s gracious speech, Rama, in order to inspire him with confidence, took up his bow and a formidable arrow, and taking aim, pierced the Sala trees, filling the firmament with the sound.

Loosed by that mighty warrior, the arrow, decorated with gold, passed through the seven Sala trees and entering the mountain, buried itself in the earth. In the twinkling of an eye that shaft with the speed of lightning, having pierced the seven trees with extreme velocity, returned to Rama’s quiver.

Seeing those seven trees pierced by Rama’s impetuous arrow, that Bull among Monkeys was extremely astonished and, overcome with joy adorned with all his ornaments, prostrated himself before Raghava with joined palms, his forehead touching the earth,

Amazed at Rama’s prowess, he addressed that great warrior, skilled in the scriptural traditions, as also in the use of every weapon, who stood before him and said:—

“O Lion among Men, with thine arrows, you are able to destroy all the Gods with their King in combat, why not Bali also? O Kakutstha, who can resist you on the field of battle, you, who hast pierced seven Sala trees, the mountain and the earth with a single arrow! Now my anxieties are dispelled and my satisfaction complete. Where could I find a friend such as you, who art equal to Mahendra and Varuna? For my sake do you subdue mine adversary in the form of a brother, I implore you!”

Rama, embracing the handsome Sugriva, like unto Lakshmana, in his great wisdom answered him, saying:—

“Let us leave here without delay for Kishkindha. Do you precede us. When we come to that city, O Sugriva, it is for you to challenge Bali, who is a brother in name only.”

Thereafter they started out in all haste for Kishkindha, Bali’s capital. Concealing themselves behind some trees, they halted in a dense wood where Sugriva hurled defiance at Bali with a deep and challenging roar. His clothes tightly wrapped round him, he shouted with all his strength, shattering the silence of the firmament.

When the powerful Bah heard his brother emitting this tremendous clamour, he was livid with anger and rushed out like the sun rising over the mountain top. Then a terrible struggle ensued between Bali and Sugriva, resembling the clash of Mars and Jupiter, in the heavens.

With the striking of their palms like the clap of thunder and their fists that were as hard as diamonds, the two brothers, filled with fury, assaulted each other, whilst Rama, bow in hand, watched those two combatants, who resembled the Ashvins.

Not being able to distinguish between Bali and Sugriva, Rama was loath to loose his death-dealing shaft. Then Sugriva, overcome by Bali, seeing that Rama refrained from coming to his aid, ran towards the Rishyamuka Mountain. Exhausted, his limbs covered with blood, crushed by his brother’s blows, who pressed him furiously, he took refuge in the vast forest. The mighty Bali, seeing him penetrating deep into the woods, said:—

“Go! I spare you!” he himself not venturing to enter there, through fear of the curse.

Then Rama, accompanied by his brother and Hanuman, reentering the wood, found the monkey Sugriva. When the latter perceived Rama returning with Lakshmana, he hung his head in shame and in a tearful voice, his eyes fixed on the ground, said:—

“After demonstrating your strength, you didst issue the command: ‘Challenge thine adversary!’ Thereafter you didst allow him to defeat me. Why hast you done this? O Raghava, you should have told me frankly: ‘I do not wish to slay Bali,’ then I would not have left this place.” Thus in sad and reproachful tones did the great-souled Sugriva speak, and Rama answered him, saying:—

“O Sugriva, My Dear Friend, do not vex thyself but hear the reason why I did not discharge mine arrow. Thine ornaments, clothes, shape and gestures and those of Bali so resembled each other that there was no difference between you! The voice, colour, look, prowess and speech were wholly similar, O Monkey! Disconcerted by thine exact resemblance, O Best of Monkeys, I did not let fly my swift and dreadful death-dealing arrow, the slayer of the foe, for this reason. ‘One must have a care not to destroy them both,’ I reflected. In truth, had I made an end of thine existence, O Chief of the Monkeys, through ignorance or carelessness, then my stupidity and heedlessness would have been apparent. To kill one’s ally is assuredly a great and heinous sin. Further, I, Lakshmana and the fair-complexioned Sita are all wholly dependent on you; in the forest, you are our refuge. Enter once more into combat, therefore, and fear nothing, O Monkey. In the twinkling of an eye, you shalt see me piercing Bali with my shaft and striking him down; you shalt see him writhing on the field of battle. Do you, however, wear a distinguishing sign, O Chief of the Monkeys, by the help of which I may recognize you in the thick of the struggle. O Lakshmana, these blossoming and beautiful Gajapushpi flowers, do you place round the neck of the magnanimous Sugriva.”

Plucking the blossoming Gajapushpi from where it grew, Lakshmana placed it round the neck of Sugriva. The creeper that the fortunate Sugriva wore round his neck was as bright as the sun and resembled a circle of cranes illumining a cloud over which they are planing. Sparkling with beauty and encouraged by Rama’s words, Sugriva started on the road to Kishkindha with him.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: