The Ramayana of Valmiki

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

This page is entitled “lakshmana goes to kishkindha” and represents Chapter 31 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 31 - Lakshmana goes to Kishkindha

The offspring of that Indra among Men, the son of a king, then spoke to his elder brother, who, full of tenderness, cheerless, despite his natural gaiety and full of distress, had but now expressed his desire to him:—

“Nay, that monkey is not a civilized being; he does not consider the immediate consequences of his acts nor will he enjoy the glory of the monkey realm; it is not fitting he should take advantage of circumstances in this wise. In his stupidity, he has become the slave of domestic bliss without calling to mind the debt he owes to you; let him therefore die and seek out Bali; the throne should not be conferred on one devoid of virtue. I am unable to contain my violent rage; I shall slay that disloyal Sugriva immediately. That son of Bali with the leaders of the monkeys shall this day assist us to recover the princess.”

Then Rama, the Destroyer of Warriors, in terms that were prudent and appropriate, addressed Lakshmana, who bow in hand desired to follow up his words with action and who full of ire was burning to fight:—

“Nay, thine equals in this world do not commit such an outrage, the warrior who nobly masters his anger, is the greatest of heroes. Do not belie your natural integrity, O Lakshmana! Recollect the feelings of joy that the alliance with Sugriva formerly aroused in you. Speak to him in moderate tones, omitting all harsh expressions, regarding his delay and his tardiness.”

Thus counselled by his elder brother, that Lion among Men, the valiant Lakshmana, the Slayer of Hostile Warriors, entered the town of Kishkindha. The sage and virtuous Lakshmana, eager to carry out what was agreeable to his brother, filled with indignation, entered the abode of that monkey, bearing in his hand his bow, resembling Indra’s, high as the peak of a mountain, like unto Mt. Mandara.

Faithful to the behest of Rama, his younger brother, the equal of Brihaspati, reflected in himself how he should address and answer Sugriva and, filled with ire on account of his brother’s anguish and displeasure, Lakshmana advanced like a loosened tempest, uprooting Sala, Tala, Ashvakarna and other trees in his impetuous strides, like a great elephant shattering the mountains and crushing the rocks under his feet, thus cutting short he distance to his goal.

That Tiger among the Ikshvakus then beheld the splendid city of the King of Monkeys, the inaccessible Kishkindha, hollowed out of the mountain and filled with warriors. His lips trembling in his fury against Sugriva, Lakshmana beheld those formidable looking monkeys ranging round the city and seeing that foremost of men, those monkeys resembling elephants, tore up parts of the mountain, rocks, boulders and great trees. Lakshmana, observing them seizing hold of these missiles, felt his anger redoubled, like a brazier lit with innumerable brands, and they, beholding that infuriated warrior, who resembled the God of Death himself at the dissolution of the worlds, fled in their hundreds on all sides.

At that, those Foremost of Monkeys, returning to Sugriva’s palace, informed him of Lakshmana’s approach and of his anger, but that King of the Monkeys who was passing his time in dalliance with Tara paid no heed to what those Lions among Monkeys were saying.

Thereupon, under the orders of the ministers, those monkeys, their hair standing on end, large as mountains or elephants or clouds, issued out of the city and terrible to behold with their nails and teeth, their jaws like tigers, stationed themselves in the open. Many had the strength of ten elephants, others were ten times as strong and some were endowed with the strength of a thousand elephants.

Lakshmana, who was enraged, recognized that Kishkindha, filled with these monkeys, who were armed with trunks of trees and endowed with great valour, was difficult of access. And emerging from the walls and ditches, these monkeys stood courageously in the open field.

In the face of Sugriva’s debauched indifference and the provocative attitude of the monkeys, the valiant Lakshmana, guardian of the interests of his elder brother, was seized with fresh anger, and that lion among men, heaving deep and burning sighs, his glances flashing with fury, resembled a brazier belching forth smoke.

With his pointed darts as the flickering tongue, his military ardour the poison, his bow the coils, he resembled a fiveheaded snake or the blazing fire at the end of the world or the enraged serpent king.

Then Angada, who had gone out to meet him, in his terror, suffered extreme discomfiture and that illustrious warrior Lakshmana, his eyes red with anger, commanded him saying:—“O Child, inform Sugriva of my advent and tell him that the younger brother of Rama has come. O Conqueror of your Foes, tormented by his brother’s grief, Lakshmana waits at your gate. Do you seek to prepare that monkey by addressing him in this wise and return with all speed to inform me of his answer, O Dear Child.”

Hearing these words spoken by Lakshmana, Angada, filled with distress, went to seek out his uncle, who now occupied his father’s place and said to him: “Saumitri is come!”

Then Angada, overwhelmed by the harsh accents of that hero, his countenance bearing the traces of profound distress, went away, first offering obeisance to the feet of the king in great reverence and thereafter to those of Ruma.

That valiant prince, having touched the feet of his father, then made obeisance to his mother also and finally pressed the feet of Ruma having informed Sugriva of what had taken place.

Sugriva, heavy with sleep and fatigue, did not wake up but lay in a drunken stupor, sexual indulgence having dulled his reason.

Meantime, seeing Lakshmana, fear troubling their hearts, the monkeys welcomed him with shouts to appease his wrath. Beholding him near at hand, they raised a great clamour, resembling a huge wave or the growl of thunder or the roaring of lions; and this great tumult roused that red-eyed monkey adorned with garlands who was bemused with liquor, his mind bewildered.

Recognizing his voice, two ministers of that king of the monkeys, accompanied by Angada, approached him. Both were of noble and venerable appearance and were named Yaksha and Prabhava. Ingratiating themselves by their speech that went straight to the point and sitting down near the king, who resembled Indra, the Lord of the Maruts, they said to him:—

“There are two brothers, full of nobility and power, Rama and Lakshmana, who in human form are worthy of the kingdom they confer on others. One of them, bow in hand, stands at the door; beholding him, the monkeys, terrified, are raising a great clamour. This brother of Raghava, Lakshmana, his spokesman, charged by him to communicate his wishes, has come at Rama’s command and the son of Tara, the beloved Angada, has been sent to you in all haste by Lakshmana, O King, as his deputy, O Irreproachable Prince.

“That valiant warrior Lakshmana stands at the door, his eyes inflamed with anger and consumes the monkeys with his glances, O King. Go quickly and place your head at his feet with all those who belong to you, O Great Monarch, so that his anger may be instantly appeased.

“That which the virtuous Rama desires, do you carry out scrupulously so that his wrath be softened; execute his wishes with care, O King, fulfil your pledge and be true to your word!”

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