by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “searchers are sent to the northern region” and represents Chapter 43 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 directed his father-in-law to the western region, the Lord of the Apes spoke to that heroic monkey Shatavali, in words fraught with his own and Rama’s interests:—“With an escort of a hundred thousand rangers of the woods, the sons of Vaivasvat and your counsellors, do you explore the northern region, O Hero, which is crowned with the snowy peaks of Himalaya, and search everywhere for Rama’s illustrious consort there.
“O Most Circumspect of Beings, having executed this task and done that which is pleasing to the son of Dasaratha, we shall have honoured our obligation and achieved success. The magnanimous Raghava has rendered us a great service and, if we can make some return, our life will not have been lived in vain. To render assistance to any in need is to make one’s life fruitful, even if one is under no obligation to do so; how much more if one is able to repay one’s benefactor. Reflecting on this, those who value our well-being and happiness should do all in their power to discover Janaki.
“Rama, the foremost of men, revered by all beings, the conqueror of hostile citadels, is united with us in friendship. Endowed with courage and discrimination, do you explore these numerous and dangerous regions, rivers and mountains.
“Search the lands of the Mlecchas, Pulindas, Shurasenas, Prasthalas, Bharatas, Kurus, Madrakas, Kambojas and Yavanas. The cities of Shakas should be visited by you as well as the Varadas, thereafter do you explore Himavat. In the tracts of Lodhras and Padmakas and in the Devadaru woods, search on every side for Ravana and Vaidehi. Reaching the Soma hermitage, frequented by Devas and Gandharvas, proceed to the mountain named Kala, possessing spacious plateaus. In the midst of these mountainous tracts, in the valleys and caverns search for that illustrious lady, Rama’s irreproachable consort. Having traversed that golden breasted mountain, you should scale Mt. Sudarshana and further Mt. Devasakha, the refuge of birds, filled with every variety of winged creature and covered with trees of differing fragrance. Amidst its golden rocks, fountains and caves, search for Ravana and Videha’s daughter.
Going beyond this mountain, you will come upon an open space, measuring four hundred miles in extent, devoid of mountains, rivers and trees, nor are any living beings to be found there. Speedily traversing this desert you will reach the stainless Kailasha Mountain which will fill you with delight. There, resembling a pale cloud, you will see the charming domain of Kuvera, of burnished gold, constructed by Vish-wakarma, where lies a great lake covered with flowering lotuses and lilies, frequented by swans and ducks, where troops of Apsaras disport themselves. There the King Vaishravana, adored by the whole world, the gracious dispenser of riches, sports with the Guhyakas. Amidst these mountains, bright as the moon, as also in the caverns, search carefully for Ravana and Sita.
Coming to Mt. Krauncha, with exceeding circumspection, enter its inaccessible caverns, which are well known to be extremely hard to penetrate. There dwell certain great and illustrious Rishis, effulgent as the sun, adored by the Gods, whose forms they assume. You should explore the other caves, plateaus and peaks of the Krauncha Mountain thoroughly. Then the tree-less Manasa peak will be seen, the abode of birds, and the scene of Kama’s austerities, where no way for any creature, God or Titan exists; this mountain should also be searched by you. Beyond this is the Mainaka Mountain where the great giant Maya has built his abode; this place with its plateaus, plains and woods must also be searched by you. Women with the faces of horses dwell there.
“Going beyond there, you will reach the abode of the Siddhas, where the ascetics—Valakhilyas and Vaikhanasas are. Pay obeisance to those great beings, whose austerities have cleansed them from all sin and, in humility, enquire of them concerning Sita. There is the Vaikhanasa lake covered with golden lotuses, the resort of beautiful swans, bright as the dawn. The elephant of Kuvera, Sarvabhauma by name, in the company of she-elephants, wanders about in that region.
“Beyond that lake is a sky bereft of moon, sun, stars and clouds but it is illumined as if by so many solar rays, through the effulgence of god-like Sages crowned by asceticism, who rest there. Leaving that region behind, you come to the river Shailoda, on whose banks the Kicaka reeds grow, by the help of which the Siddhas cross to and fro. There are the Uttara Kurus, with whom those who have acquired spiritual merit take refuge. There are lakes there, whose waters are covered with golden lotuses and innumerable rivers abounding in dark green leaves and pools of the hue of the rising sun, embellished by clumps of crimson lotuses. Pearls and gems of great price and masses of blue flowers possessing golden stamens cover those tracts and rivers with floating islets, where gold abounds and high banks scattered with precious stones, are seen. The trees there, thronged with birds, bear fruit and flowers at all seasons, charged with delectable juices and distilling delicious perfumes, fulfilling every desire. Other excellent trees give rich attire of different kinds and ornaments of pearls, emeralds and other gems desired by men and women; some also bear fruit which can be partaken of in every season. Some trees bring forth precious couches bedecked with costly and variegated coverlets and others furnish enchanting garlands, costly drinks and various kinds of viands. Women possessed of every accomplishment distinguished for their youth and beauty, are there, sporting with Gandharvas, Kinneras, Siddhas, Nagas, and Vidyadharas of great splendour; and all those of righteous deeds engaged in pleasure and those who enjoy what is pleasant and useful, sojourn there with their wives.
“There the continual sound of musical instruments, blended with sweet laughter, is heard, giving delight to all beings: there is none there who is not happy or wants for any desirable object and every day the enchantment of that place increases.
“Beyond that region is the Northern Sea. There in the bosom of the deep rises the Somagiri Mountain of immense size. Though bereft of the sun, yet on account of the brilliance of the Soma mountain, that land is as bright as if Vivasvat himself had warmed it with his luminous rays. There dwells the Soul of the universe, Shambhuinin, in his cosmic form as the eleven Rudras surrounded by Brahmarishis.
“O Foremost of Monkeys, you should not venture beyond the region of the Uttara Kurus, nor is there any way for creatures to do so. That mountain, named Soma, is incapable of being scaled, even by the Gods. Sighting this mountain, turn back speedily. You may proceed so far, O Foremost of Monkeys, but the region beyond, where unending night broods, is unknown to us.
“You should search all those places, which I have described to you, and also those I have omitted to mention. O You who are equal to the wind and fire, by discovering the place of concealment of Videha’s daughter, you will be doing what is exceedingly pleasing to the son of Dasaratha as well as to me! Having achieved your purpose, do you with your relatives, honoured by me and having acquired every distinction, your enemies slain, range the earth, the support of all beings, O Monkeys.”