The Ramayana of Valmiki

by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597

This page is entitled “jambavan appeals to hanuman to sacrifice himself for the good of all” and represents Chapter 66 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].

Chapter 66 - Jambavan appeals to Hanuman to sacrifice himself for the good of all

Perceiving the discouragement of that great army composed of hundreds and thousands of monkeys, Jambavan said to Hanuman:—

“O Warrior, foremost among the multitude, you who art versed in the scriptures, why art you sitting apart, silent? In courage and strength, you are the equal of Rama and Lakshmana and of the King of the Monkeys himself, O Hanuman!

Arishtanemi’s son, the mighty Vainateya, the illustrious Garuda is the foremost of all winged creatures. Many a time I have seen that all-powerful bird of immense wings and exceeding energy bearing away serpents from the ocean; the strength that is in his wings resembles the might and vigour of thine arms; none can withstand you. Thine energy, intelligence, courage and loyalty sets you apart from the rest of beings, therefore prepare thyself to cross the ocean.

“The most noble of all the Apsaras, Punjika-Thala, under the name of Anjana, became the wife of the monkey Kesarin. She was renowned in the three worlds and her beauty was unequalled on earth. As a result of a curse, O Friend, she was born in the monkey race, able to change her form at will.

“Once that daughter of the king among the monkeys, Kunjara, having assumed the form of a woman radiant with youth and beauty, adorned with garlands of various kinds, clad in silk, was wandering about on the summit of a mountain, which resembled a mass of clouds in the rainy season.

“And it happened that the God of the Wind stole away the red-bordered yellow robe of that large-eyed maiden, who stood on the mountain top. Then Maruta perceived her rounded, well-proportioned thighs and her breasts touching each other and her amiable and pleasing mien. Beholding that youthful woman of lovely limbs and slender waist, her whole being radiant with beauty, he was filled with desire and beside himself, enveloping that irreproachable lady in his arms, Manmatha embraced her.

“In her distress, Anjana, faithful to her conjugal vows, cried out:—

‘Who desires to sever the ties of a woman devoted to her lord?’

Hearing these words, the Wind-God answered,

‘I do not wish to wrong you, O Lady of Lovely Hips, let not your heart be troubled. By embracing you and entering into you you shalt bear a son endowed with strength and intelligence, of immense energy, of noble nature, possessed of vigour and courage and in agility and speed equal to myself.’

“These words pleased your mother and she gave birth to you in a cave, O Foremost of Monkeys.

“While still a child, you didst see the sun rise over the great forest and taking it to be a fruit sought to seize it. Bounding into the air, you didst mount up for a thousand yojanas, O Great Monkey and, though the burning rays of the sun beat upon you, you didst not falter. Seeing you rushing through space, Indra, full of wrath, hurled this thunderbolt at you, whereupon, falling, you didst fracture your left jaw on the point of a rock from which arises your name, Hanuman. Observing you in this state, Vayu the Destroyer, the Bearer of Fragrance, in the height of anger, ceased to blow throughout the Three Worlds.

“Then all the Gods were distressed on account of the calamity that has befallen the worlds and these Lords of the Universe sought to pacify the wrathful Wind-god, whereupon Pavana being placated, Brahma accorded you the boon of invulnerability in combat.

Seeing how you didst sustain the impact of the thunderbolt, that God of a Thousand Eyes was pleased with you and also conferred an excellent boon on you, saying:—

‘You shalt not die till you desires to do so! You, endowed with extreme vigour, the son of Kesarin, resembling the Wind God in energy, art born of his loins and equal to him in speed’.

O Friend, we are lost, but you, possessed of skill and courage, art in our midst a second Lord of the Monkeys.

“In the time when Vishnu covered the world with three strides, I, O Child, circumambulated the earth with its mountains, forests and woods, one and twenty times. Then commissioned by the Gods, we gathered all the herbs which (when cast into the sea) produced the nectar of immortality and at that time our strength was great. Now I am old and my prowess has deserted me, but you, endowed with every virtue art amongst us. Employ your valour, O Hero, for you are most fitted to do so. Bestir thyself and cross the vast ocean, O Redoubtable Monkey; the entire monkey host is eager to behold your prowess. Arise and leap over the mighty sea, for you surpasses all beings in motion. Canst you remain indifferent to the despair of all the monkeys? Put forth your strength, as did Vishnu when traversing the Three Worlds with three strides, O Lion among Monkeys!”

Thus exhorted by the foremost of monkeys, Hanuman, renowned for his great might, the son of the Wind, assumed a form preparatory to crossing the sea that gladdened the hearts of those monkeys.

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