by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “sugriva sends out other monkeys to explore the southern region” and represents Chapter 41 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 having sent away that mighty host of monkeys to the east, Sugriva dispatched another well tried army to the south.
Appointing Angada leader of those heroic monkeys, that hero, the lord of the monkey bands, conversant with the countries that had to be explored, sent out those endowed with speed and valour: Nila, the Son of Agni, and the monkey Hanuman, the exceedingly energetic Jambavan, Suhotra and Sharari, Sharagulma, Gaja, Gavaksha, Gavaya, Sushena, Vrishabha, Mainda, Dvivida, Gandhamadana, Ulkamukha and Ananga, the two sons of Hutashana.
And the King of the Monkeys began to describe those regions that were difficult of access to those simian chiefs, saying:—
“You will first behold the Vindhya ranges, possessing a hundred peaks covered with trees and shrubs of every kind, and the enchanting river, Narmada, frequented by mighty serpents, and the wide and charming stream, Godavari, with its dark reeds, and the captivating Krishnaveni; the regions of Mekhalas and Utkala and the city of Dasharna also; Abravanti and Avanti, Vidarbhas and Nishtikas and the charming Mahishakas. You will see too, the Matsyas, Kalingas and Kaushikas, where you should search for the princess and the Dandaka Forest with its mountains, rivers and caverns and the Godavari, also examine the districts of Andhras, Paundras, the Cholas, Pandyas and Keralas. Then repair to the Ayomukha Mountain, rich in ore, with its marvellous peaks and flowering woodlands; that mountain, possessing lovely forests of sandalwood, should be carefully searched by you.
“Thereafter you will behold that divine river of pure waters, the Kaveri, rendered gay by troups of Apsaras. On the summit of the mighty Mountain Malaya, bright as the sun, you will behold Agastya, the foremost of Rishis. By the permission of that high-souled one, you will cross over the great river, Tamrapami, abounding in crocodiles. Ravishing forests of sandalwood cover the islands of these waters flowing to the sea, which resemble a youthful bride going to meet her lover.
“Proceeding further, O Monkeys, you will see the golden gates set with pearls of the city of the Pandyas; then in order to ensure the success of your enterprise, you will approach the sea and ascertain your ability for crossing it. In the centre of the ocean, Agastya has set that foremost of mountains, Mahendra, its slopes covered with trees. Entirely made of gold it extends deep down into the waters; the abode of Gods, Rishis, Yakshas and Apsaras, thronged by innumerable Siddhas and Caranas and of surpassing loveliness, it is visited by the thousand-eyed God at each new moon.
“On the other side of the sea is an island, four hundred miles in length, inaccessible to men and splendid to look upon; search there with particular care, it is the abode of the wicked Ravana, who merits death, the Lord of the Titans, in splendour equal to Indra himself.
“In the middle of the ocean dwells the female titan named Angaraka, who procures her prey by seizing the shadow of those who fly in the air. Your doubts at rest, search there for the consort of that king of men whose glory is limitless.
“Beyond that island in the sea there rises a lovely hill on which Celestial Beings dwell, named Pushpitaka, bright as the rays of sun or moon, lapped by the waves of the ocean, whose peaks seem to pierce the heavens. Of these, one all golden, on which the day’s orb lingers, the ungrateful and the unbeliever may not behold. Inclining your heads to that peak, offer salutations and search on. After this you will come to another mountain, difficult of access, named Suryavan extending over fourteen yojanas and, beyond this, the mountain Vaidyuta, ever green, with trees bearing every desirable fruit in all seasons. Partaking of these delectable fruit and roots and drinking the honey, pass on, O Monkeys.
“Beyond there is the Mountain Kunjara which delights the eye and heart, where Vishvakarma constructed the abode of Agastya. Extending over four miles, this stately golden edifice adorned with many kinds of gems rises to the height of ten yojanas. There also is the city of Bhogavati, the abode of the Serpent Race, with spacious streets, incapable of being captured, guarded by formidable snakes and sharp-toothed highly-poisonous serpents, where the dread King of the Serpents, Vasuld, dwells. Search that city with care in every hidden place wheresoever it may be.
“Going beyond, you will find the beautiful Rishabha Mountain in the form of a bull, filled with gems where excellent Goshiraka, Padmaka, and Harishyama trees and those possessing the brilliance of fire are seen. Approaching the sandalwood forest by no means should you enter there, for a certain Gandharva, named Rohita, protects it with five other Celestial Beings resplendent as the sun, named Shailusha, Gramani, Shiksha, Shuka and Rabhru.
“Thereafter you will see the retreat of those ascetics, whose splendour resembles the sun, moon and fire; this is the end of the earth where those who have won the heavenly regions, dwell. Beyond is the dread abode of the Pitris, which is inaccessible. There Death has his city, enveloped in abysmal gloom, O Bulls among Monkeys. Pursue your explorations thus far; but those who go beyond never return.
“Having searched all those regions which are accessible to you, seeking for some trace of the princess, he who shall return within a month saying ‘I have seen Sita’ will pass his days in happiness, enjoying prosperity equal to mine, in the midst of every delight. None will be dearer to me; I shall cherish him as a relative and, however great the number of his faults, he will become my friend.
“Your strength and vigour are immeasurable and you are born in families endowed with great qualities; strive manfully therefore to find the princess; set forth on this mission of supreme importance and demonstrate your heroism.”