by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “sugriva assembles his troops” and represents Chapter 37 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].
“Call together all those who inhabit the heights of the Mahendra, Himavat, Vindhya, Kailasha and Mandara mountains, as also those from the peaks of Mt. Pandu and the Five Hills; those who dwell on the mountains that are bright as the dawn; those who inhabit the furthest shores of the sea in the western region and those on the mountains in the mansions of the sun; those formidable monkeys who have taken refuge in the Pad-machalu woods; those monkeys resembling clouds of collyrium, who possess the strength of the lord of elephants, who dwell on the Anjana hill; those possessing the splendour of gold, inhabiting the caves of the Mahashaila mountains and those who frequent the slopes of Mt. Meru, as well as those dwelling on Mt. Dhumra; those who possess the brilliance of the rising sun, of immense bounds, who, on the Mt. Maharuna, drink the heady wine Maireya; those who dwell in the vast, fair and fragrant forests with their charming glades, where the ascetics’hermitages are found. With the aid of the fleetest of monkeys summon them all from every quarter of the world by means of gifts and conciliation, Already I have sent out messengers who are famed for their agility, yet, in order to expedite matters further, let them be followed by other emissaries.
“Bring those leaders of monkeys also, who are lazy or given over to pleasure. If they have not responded to my appeal in ten days, they will suffer the death penalty for infringing the royal command. Let those lions among monkeys under my dominion carry out my orders with all speed in their hundreds, thousands and millions.
“Resembling mountains of mist shrouding the heavens, let those excellent monkeys of terrifying aspect come at my call. Let all the monkeys who are acquainted with the way, scour the earth; call them together at my command with all speed.”
At the words of the Monkey King, the Son of the Wind dispatched groups of intelligent monkeys to every quarter. Setting out to that region traversed by Vishnu, by the paths frequented by birds and stars, the monkeys, under the commands of their sovereign set forth immediately.
Scouring the seas, mountains, forests and lakes, they called all the different monkeys together to help Rama. When these monkeys heard of Sugriva’s order, a very death warrant, they, in fear, at once set out for Kishkindha.
Those of the Plavagama Tribe, who were as black as collyrium, filled with energy, came from the Mt. Anjana to the number of three kotis to join Rama. Those who frolicked on the high hills, where the sun sets, shining like gold, offered themselves in ten kotis. From the heights of Mt. Kailasha, monkeys whose colour resembled a lion’s mane, came to the number of a thousand and those who lived on fruit and roots, who dwelt on Himavat came in tens of millions, whilst those terrible apes of fearful deeds, resembling burning coals, descended in haste from the Vindhya mountain in thousands of millions. Those who dwelt on the shores of the white sea, the dwellers of the Tamala forests and those who fed on coconuts could not be numbered.
From woods, caves and rivers, a vast army of monkeys issued forth, who seemed able to drink up the sun’s rays. Now those mighty monkeys, who had gone out in all haste to spur others on, found a great tree growing on the summit of Mt. Himavat. In ancient times on that divine and sacred peak, a great sacrifice had been performed which found favour with Mahadeva, who satisfies all the desires of the Gods. Thereafter many varieties of fruit and roots resembling ambrosia had sprung up in that quarter from the sacred offerings of grain and seed,1 and those who partook of them had no need of further sustenance for the period of a whole month.
Then those foremost among the monkeys gathered those celestial fruits and roots with medicinal herbs from that place of sacrifice and they brought fragrant flowers also to please Sugriva.
Having called all the monkeys of the world together, those chosen messengers returned with speed at the head of their troops and soon those fleet and spirited monkeys had returned to Kishkindha, where Sugriva was; and they presented him with the fruit, herbs and roots that they had gathered, saying:—
“We have scoured the mountains, rivers and forests; all the monkeys of the earth have come at your call.”
These words pleased Sugriva, the King of the Monkey Tribe, who freely accepted all the gifts they had brought.