by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “angada and his companions consider what course to take” and represents Chapter 53 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 monkeys beheld that awe-inspiring ocean, the abode of Varuna, shoreless, thunderous and abounding in huge billows.
Now the month fixed by the king as the term set for the search had passed while they were exploring that mountain fastness, the miraculous creation of Maya. Sitting down at the foot of the Vindhya Mountain amidst the blossoming trees, those high-souled monkeys anxiously began to reflect among themselves.
Perceiving the spring trees bending beneath the weight of flowers interlaced by hundreds of creepers, they were filled with apprehension. Recognizing the advent of spring and knowing the time appointed for their task had run out, each in turn sank to the ground.
Then that monkey having the shoulders of a lion, with plump and long arms, the youthful Prince Angada, endowed with wisdom, duly honouring the aged apes and other dwellers in the woods, spoke thus:—
“At the command of the monarch of the monkeys, we set out and, while we sojourned in the cave, a full month has passed away, O Monkeys. The month Ashvayuj was the time fixed, which was not to be exceeded. This is known to you! What should now be done? Receiving the mandate from your master, you who are his trusted men, politic, devoted to his welfare, skilled in every work, incomparable in its execution and renowned in every quarter, have set out on this campaign with me as your appointed leader. Now, having failed to attain our objective, we shall certainly die, of this there is no shadow of doubt. Who, failing to execute the commands of the King of the Monkeys, can live at ease? The time allotted by Sugriva has run out, all that remains is for us, the dwellers in the woods, to die fasting. Stem by nature, jealous of his authority, he will not forgive us if we return having transgressed his orders. He will regard it as a crime if we come before him without news of Sita; it is therefore better to allow ourselves to die of hunger here than give up all hope of seeing our sons, wives, wealth and homes. It were preferable to die here than perish ignominously at the hands of Sugriva. Further, I was not installed as heir-apparent by Sugriva but by Rama, that king among men of immortal exploits. Entertaining enmity to me of old, the king, finding me at fault, will determine to take my life by cruel means. Of what use is it to meet death in the presence of my friends who will witness the last moments of my existence? I shall remain here cn the sacred shore of the sea for the last supreme fast.”
Hearing the words of the crown prince, all those monkeys, exclaimed in sympathy:—
“Sugriva is harsh by nature and Raghava is devoted to his tender spouse. The king, perceiving that the time has past without our having been successful in our undertaking and that we have not found Vaidehi, will certainly put us to death in order to do what is agreeable to Rama. Those who fail (to execute his commands) may not enter the presence of a king. Having come hither as the principal servants of Sugriva, we must either find Sita or obtain information concerning her or else we must enter the region of Yama, O Hero.”
Hearing the monkeys speak thus in their terror, the General Tara said:—•“Of what use is it to yield to despair? Let us reenter the subterranean chamber and take up our abode there. That place abounding in flowers, food and water, which has been created by the power of illusion, is inaccessible. There we need not fear Purandara Himself or Raghava or the King of the Monkeys.”
At these words to which Angada himself assented, all the monkeys with renewed confidence, cried:—“Without delay, let us from now on employ those means that will save us from death.”