by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “the hermitage of saptajanas” and represents Chapter 13 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].
The virtuous elder brother of Lakshmana, together with Sugriva, left the Rishyamuka Mountain and proceeded towards Kishkindha, which was maintained by Bali’s valour, Rama bearing his golden bow and carrying his arrows that shone like the sun in his hand.
Sugriva, his neck adorned with a wreath of flowers, full of courage, strode before the magnanimous Raghava and Lakshmana, behind whom came the hero Hanuman with Nala, the valiant Nila and the illustrious general Tara, renowned among the monkeys.
They observed the trees bowed with the weight of their flowers and the rivers bearing their peaceful waters to the sea. The ravines and cliffs with their chasms, caves, peaks and charming dales, the lakes with their limpid waters of emerald hue, adorned with opening lotus buds, drew their gaze as they passed. Ducks, cranes, swans, woodcock and other waterfowl were heard calling, whilst in the clearings of the woods deer could be seen grazing on the tender grass and young shoots, without fear of the wild beasts that roamed everywhere.
Wild and ferocious elephants adorned with ivory tusks, who proved a menace to the lakes by causing the banks to crumble, wandered about here and there and intoxicated with Mada juice, striking their foreheads against the rocks, resembled moving mountains. Monkeys as large as elephants, covered with dust and every species of wild beast and bird were seen by the followers of Sugriva as they passed on their way.
Advancing thus in all haste, the Joy of the House of Raghu, Rama, seeing a grove of trees, enquired of Sugriva:—“What is this clump of trees like a cloud in the sky? Indeed they seem like a mass of clouds ringed round by plantain groves! Great is my curiosity concerning them, O My Friend. I wish to learn of you what these are.”
On this enquiry from Rama, Sugriva, still walking on, told him the history of that great wood. “O Rama! It is a vast hermitage that removes all weariness and encloses many pleasant gardens and groves; the roots, fruit and water are delicious. Under the name of Saptajanas, seven Munis of rigid vows lived there, lying in the water, their heads alone emerging from it. Every seven days they partook of food, which was the wind from the mountain on which they dwelt. After seven hundred years they ascended to heaven in their bodies. Through the power of their asceticism, this hermitage, encircled by a hedge of trees, is inaccessible even to the Gods and Asuras, as well as their leaders. The birds eschew it, as also the other beasts of the forest; those who enter it unwittingly never return. Lovely melodies are heard issuing therefrom with the music of instruments and singing. Sometimes a divine fragrance is spread abroad from there, O Raghava, and three fires are lit; it is their smoke that one can see from here; the tops of the trees are enveloped in it like a golden cloud, resembling the plumage of a dove.
“These trees are magnificent with their tops crowned with smoke, like unto mountains of emerald crowned with rain clouds. Pay obeisance with reverence to them with joined palms, O Valiant Raghava, as also your brother, Lakshmana. Those who offer salutations to those Rishis of pure soul experience naught that is grievous.”
Then Raghava with his brother Lakshmana, with joined palms, offered salutations to those illustrious ascetics. Having paid reverence to them, the virtuous Rama, his brother Lakshmana and Sugriva with his monkeys went on happily.
Having left the hermitage of Saptajanas far behind, they beheld the inaccessible Kishkindha protected by Bali. Rama, his younger brother Lakshmana and the monkeys, famed for their valour, seizing their weapons, once more prepared to slay their enemy in that city which the son of the Chief of the Gods protected by his prowess.