by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “other monkeys are sent to explore the western region” and represents Chapter 42 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].
Having despatched those monkeys in a southerly direction, Sugriva, addressing the leader, Sushena, who resembled a cloud, with bent head and joined palms approached his father-in-law, Tara’s sire, who was endowed with great prowess, and spoke to him also. Then he issued orders to Marica, the son of Maharshi and the mighty ape, Archismat, surrounded by the foremost of monkeys, possessing the splendour of Mahendra and like unto Vainateya in brilliance, and also to Marica’s offspring, the Maricas, the mighty Archirmalayas, that all these sons of the ascetic1 should march towards the region of the West, saying:—
“O You Monkey Chiefs, let two hundred thousand monkeys, led by Sushena, set out in search of Vaidehi! Scour the countries of the Saurashtras, the Bahlikas and Candracitras abounding in antimony and other provinces and populous places and fair and pleasant cities and Kukshi, dense with Punnaga trees and filled with Bakula and Uddalaka trees, as well as the tracts covered with Ketakas and the auspicious streams whose cool waters flow towards the west.
“Explore the forest of the ascetics and the mountain woodlands; there, having searched the tracts resembling deserts, the towering cliffs and the mountain ranges, extremely difficult of access, proceed further, when you will behold the sea, which abounds in whales and crocodiles, O Monkeys.
“Then the apes shall disport themselves amidst the groves covered with Ketakas and dense with Tamala and coconut trees. Look for Sita and Ravana’s stronghold there, in hills and woods, on the shores of the sea and explore Murachipattana and the delightful cities of Jatapura, Avanti and Angalapa as also the forest of Alakshita and all these spacious kingdoms.
“There, where the river Sindhu joins the ocean, is a high mountain named Somagiri, possessing a hundred peaks and covered with tall trees. On its slopes dwell the Sinhas1 who carry whales and elephants to their nests. These are found on the mountain ridges and on the extensive plateaus, where wild elephants range, gratified with food, whose trumpeting resembles the roar of thunder. The monkeys, able to change their shape at will, should scour that golden summit, towering to the sky and covered with graceful trees.
“In the middle of the sea rises the golden summit of the Mountain Pariyatra, extending over a hundred yojanas. There dwell thousands of powerful Gandharvas, effulgent as fire, formidable and mischievous, resembling flames. O Valiant Monkeys, do not approach them nor seek to eat the fruits from that region. These fruit trees are guarded with ferocious vigilance by those mighty Gandharvas, nevertheless you should search for Janaki there, nor have you ought to fear if you preserve your monkey form.
“There is a mighty hill, the colour of emerald, shining like a diamond, named Vajra, covered with trees and creepers, an hundred yojanas in height and area; carefully search all the caves of that mountain.
“In the fourth quarter of the ocean is the Mt. Charavat; there Vishvakarma forged the discus Sahasrara, which together with the conch was taken possession of by Shri Vishnu when he had slain Pancajana and the Danava Hayagriva. In those deep caverns and amidst those charming slopes, search for Ravana and Videha’s daughter with care.
“Beyond, rising from the depths of the sea, is the mighty mountain, Varaha with its peak of pure gold which measures four and sixty yojanas. On it is the golden city named Pragjyotisha where the giant, Naraka, dwells. There do you search for Ravana and Vaidehi among the beautiful plateaus and huge caves.
“Passing beyond that foremost of mountains, revealing glimpses of the gold in its depths, you will come to the Mountain Sarvasauvarna with its many fountains and waterfalls; there elephants, wild boar, lions and tigers roar ceaselessly on every side, filling it with their clamour day and night. Then there is the mountain named Megha where the Gods crowned the fortunate Mahendra, he of the bay horses, the Vanquisher of Paka. Having passed that mountain protected by Mahendra, you should repair to a range of sixty thousand golden hills, bright as the rising sun, casting their light on every side and embellished with blossoming golden trees. In their midst rises the monarch of mountains, Meru, the foremost of hills, on whom Aditya, well pleased, conferred a boon saying:—
“‘By my grace all the mountains under your protection shall be golden by night and day and those Gods who inhabit you, the Gandharvas and Danavas, shall both assume the radiance of gold.’
“At dusk, the Vishvadevas, the Vasus, the Maruts and the Celestials gather to adore the Sun-god and worshipped by them the sun sinks below the horizon traversing forty thousand miles in the space of an hour, when it withdraws behind the mountain range. On the summit of that mountain rises a palace resembling the sun in splendour, consisting of countless towers, which was built by Vishvakarma and is graced by various trees filled with birds. It is the abode of the magnanimous Varuna, who bears the noose in his hand.
“Between the Meru mountain and the Astachala Range there is a great Tala tree with ten crests, made of pure gold, which shines with extreme brilliance on a marvellous base. Search all the inaccessible places on this mountain, as well as the lakes and rivers for Ravana and Vaidehi.
“It is there that the virtuous Merusavami dwells, sanctified by his asceticism and equal to Brahma himself. Bowing down, you should make enquiries of the Maharishi Merusavami,Jvho resembles the sun, concerning Mithila’s daughter.
“From the end of the night, all those regions, that the sun illumines till it sets behind the Astachala mountains, should be searched by you, O Bulls among the Monkeys, but of that which lies beyond which is covered in darkness and without bourne, we know nought!
“Search for Sita and Ravana in this region as far as the Astachala Mountain and at the end of a month, return; those who tarry beyond this term will die. My father-in-law of long arms gifted with great prowess, I appoint as your leader; you should abide by his commands and listen to all he says; he is my spiritual preceptor. All of you are valorous and well able to ascertain the wisdom of a course, still you will be doing your duty in accepting him as your leader. In this wise, explore the western quarter. Having requited the good that has been done to us, we shall attain our end. Do you also determine what is pleasing to Rama and, in accord with time and place, execute it.”
Then those monkeys and their leaders with Sushena at their head, having given a due hearing to the wise counsel delivered by Sugriva, offered salutations to him and set out for the quarter protected by Varuna.