by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “sugriva sends his monkeys to the east in search of sita” and represents Chapter 40 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].
Then the Lord of the Monkeys, his purpose accomplished, said to that lion among men, Rama, the destroyer of hostile hosts:—
“Here, gathered together, are the foremost of monkeys inhabiting my dominions, who are equal to Mahendra and are able to transport themselves anywhere at will. These ferocious monkeys, resembling giants and titans, of immeasurable prowess, renowned for their exploits, bellicose, valiant, indefatigable and supremely sagacious in all their deliberations, have come with their vast forces.
“O Rama, these untold millions, who inhabit various mountain tracts, traversing land and sea, have come to place themselves at your service. All are intent on their master’s welfare and obedient to your behests; they are at your command, it is for you to dispose of them as you will. Though I am fully conversant with your design, yet do you order all as you judgest best.”
“O Dear and Wise Friend, let us learn if Sita still lives or no and ascertain in what country Ravana dwells. Then, having come to where Videha’s daughter is to be found, we will adopt those measures that circumstances dictate, the hour having been fixed.
“O Lord of the Monkeys, it is not for me to command this expedition nor for Lakshmana; it is you who must direct it; you shalt be its leader. Do you, O Lord, take the command thyself in this matter, you are fully acquainted with my purpose, O Hero. You, the second of my friends, art full of courage, wise, knowing how to choose the fitting moment, devoted to my true interests, supremely loyal and accomplished.”
Thus addressed, Sugriva, in the presence of Rama and the sagacious Lakshmana, said to his general, Vinata, who resembled a great hill and whose voice resounded like thunder:—
“O Foremost of Leaders, who art accompanied by monkeys as bright as the sun and moon, you are able to turn time and place to advantage and art skilled in conducting thine affairs! Taking with you hundreds and thousands of apes, explore the eastern region with its forests, woods and mountains, in search of Sita, the Princess of Videha and also Ravana’s stronghold. Search among the mountain fastnesses, the forests and rivers for Rama’s beloved consort, the daughter-in-law of King Dasaratha; search by the beautiful Bhagirathi, the Sarayu, the Kaushiki and the Kalindi, the enchanting Yamuna and the great hills bordering the Sarasvati, the Sindhu and the Shona of ruby waters, the Mahi and Kalamahi with their splendid wooded hills.
“Look for them in the Brahmamalas, Videhas, Malavana, Kashikoshalas, and Magadhas, the Pundras and Angas, lands where the silkworm and silver mines abound and on the mountains and cities skirting the sea. Search through the houses in Mandara, amongst those people whose ears resemble cloths reaching to their nether lip, whose faces are black and dreadful, who are one-footed, though fleet withal, and whose bodies do not deteriorate; those also who feed on human flesh, and the Kiratas, hunters who are golden-hued, of pleasing looks, possessing thick hair worn in a knot, who subsist on raw fish and those creatures, tiger-men, terrible to behold.
“O Dwellers in the woods, search carefully in all these places that are accessible by climbing and swimming and the Island of the Seven Kingdoms Yava, also and the islands Suvama and Rupayaka, full of gold mines, called the gold and silver islands. Beyond these, is the mountain Shishira, whose peaks reach to the heavens, and which is inhabited by Gods and Giants. Seek here in the mountain fastnesses, cascades and forests for the glorious consort of Rama.
“Thereafter you will reach the red and swiftly flowing river Shona; from there descend to the seashore, where the Siddhas and Caranas dwell. In these enchanting sacred spots, seek everywhere for Ravana and Sita. Explore the forests, mountain sprung rivers, wild tracts and cavernous heights. It behoves you to examine the terrible islands in the ocean, where great waves arise and, whipped by the tempest, let forth a thunderous roar. There dwell Asuras of immense size, who by Brahma’s permission, seize the shadows of birds flying over the sea. Arriving at that vast ocean, that resounds like clouds at the time of the dissolution of the universe, frequented by huge serpents, keep careful watch and crossing over that sea, called Lohita, whose red waters are terrible to behold, you will come upon the mighty knarled Shamali tree. There, constructed by Vish-wakarma, like unto Mt. Kailasha, decorated with every kind of gem, towereth the abode of Garuda. Terrible demons resembling hills of diverse forms, named Mandehas, hang suspended from the rocks there. Day after day, at the rising of the sun, those demons tormented by that planet, fall into the water, struck by Brahma’s energy and then suspend themselves on the rocks once more.
“Proceeding further, you will come to the sea, named Kshiroda, that resembles a white cloud with its waves shining like a necklace of pearls. In its centre rises the great white mountain Rishabha, planted with trees, bearing fragrant blossoms and a lake named Sudarshana covered with dazzling silver lotuses having golden stamens, where flamingoes abound. Vibudhas, Caranas, Yakshas and Kinneras in the company of troops of Apsaras, disport themselves on the shore of that lake.
“Leaving the Kshiroda Sea behind, O Warriors, you will come to the Jalada sea which is a source of terror to all beings. There the Rishi Aurva created a shining object by the power of his anger, which was transformed into the head of a horse by Brahma. Its heat is unequalled and its food is the universe of movable and immovable beings. There the cries of the creatures of the sea, who are unable to bear the flames, can be heard wailing in its vicinity.
“To the north of the Svadu Sea rises the high mountain Jatarupashila, covering thirteen yojanas, of the splendour of gold. There, O Monkeys, you will behold the supporters of the earth, the serpent resembling the moon, with eyes as large as lotus petals, worshipped by the Gods, and possessing a thousand heads, the divine Ananta of dark hue sleeping on the summit of the mountain. There stands a golden palm tree with three branches resembling a standard set upon an altar. This is the boundary of the Eastern region set up by the Gods.
“The sun passing from Jambudvipa on the north and reaching the summit of Saumanasa, again becomes visible to the dwellers in Jambudvipa. It is there that the great Rishis, Vaikhanasas, bright as the sun, perform their austerities.
“This is the island Sudarshana, where the sun rises, giving light to all beings. Search for Janaki and Ravana on these mountain fastnesses and in the forests and woods. Here, when the sun shines on the Shaila mountain, the east appears roseate. Because the sun rises there, Brahma established it, in ancient times, as the gateway of the world, called the East. Here you should look for Sita and Ravana on the mountain breast, in the caves and by the waterfalls.
“Beyond is the impassable eastern quarter inhabited by the Gods, bereft of sun and moon, covered by darkness. Search for the princess in all those rocks, woods and streams that I have made known to you, but, O Foremost of Monkeys, you are only able to proceed thus far. Beyond is the region without sun or bourne of which I have no knowledge. Proceeding in search of Vaidehi and Ravana’s abode, having reached the mountain Udaya, return, when a full month shall have passed. Do not exceed the period; he who does so, will be punished by death.
“Having attained your end, and met with Maithili and with care explored the favourite region of Mahendra, which is covered with woods and thickets, return satisfied.”