by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “hanuman prepares to go to lanka” and represents Chapter 67 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].
Seeing that extremely agile leader of monkeys stretching himself in preparation for crossing the four hundred miles of sea, the monkeys, renouncing all despondency, were filled with delight and began to shout and praise the heroism of Hanuman.
And, struck with amazement, beings from every sphere rejoiced unitedly, even as when they beheld the Lord Himself displaying his powers, when taking the three strides.
Thus acclaimed, the mighty Hanuman expanded in size and waved his tail in pleasure, demonstrating his strength. Applauded by the older monkeys and filled with energy, he assumed an unparalleled shape, like a lion that stretches himself at the mouth of a rocky cavern, and that Son of Maruta began to yawn and the mouth of that intelligent monkey resembled a blazing brazier or a smokeless fire.
Rising in the midst of those monkeys, his hair standing on end for joy, he paid obeisance to the older leaders and said to them:—“I am the son of him who shatters the mountain peaks and is the friend of fire, the mighty and incommensurable Vayu, who circulates in space, Maruta, of impetuous bounds, rapid pace and great soul. A thousand times am I able without pausing, to encircle Meru, that colossus that seems to lick the heavens. With my strong arms, churning up the sea, I can inundate the world with its mountains, rivers and lakes; with my thighs and legs, I can cause the ocean, the abode of Varuna with its great denizens, to overflow. I can encircle Vainateya, revered by all, who feeds on serpents, a thousand times while he courses once through space. What is more, I am able to reach the sun which rises in glory crowned with rays, before it sinks in the west and return without touching the earth. I can leap beyond the stars and planets, suck up the ocean and rive the earth; I can shatter the mountains with my bounds and in the immeasurable energy of my leaping I can cause the sea to overflow. When I mount into the sky, flowers from countless shrubs and trees will be borne away by me on my aerial course this day and studded with flowers my path shall resemble the Milky Way.
“And, O Monkeys, all beings shall behold me coursing through the air, encompassing the firmament, now rising, now descending, as it were devouring space. I shall scatter the clouds, shatter the mountains and dry up the ocean with my constant leaping. My powers are equal to the eagle’s or the wind; I know of none that surpasses the King of the Birds, the Wind-god or myself. In the twinkling of an eye, I shall float through the air like lightning from a cloud. While crossing the sea, my form will resemble Vishnu’s taking his three strides. My heart foretells that I shall encounter Vaidehi, therefore rejoice. Equal to Maruta in motion and Garuda in speed, I shall cover ten thousand miles; this is my firm conviction. I am able to wrest the ‘amrita’ from Indra, armed with his thunderbolt or from Brahma himself. Be assured, that having turned Lanka upside down, I shall return 1”
That monkey of immeasurable vigour roared thus, and astounded, the monkeys gazed on him with joy; and hearing those words that dissipated the distress of his kindred, that foremost of monkeys, Jambavan, transported with delight, said:—“O Hero! O Son of Kesarin! O Offspring of the Wind! You have dispelled the immense anxiety of your fellows, and these foremost of monkeys assembled here will perform acts tending to your welfare. By the grace of the Sages, the approval of our elders and the blessing of our spiritual preceptors do you cross the ocean. We will stand on one foot awaiting your return. On you depend the lives of all the inhabitants of the woods!”
Then that tiger of the monkeys said to those rangers of the woods:—“None in this world will be able to sustain the force of my leaping. Here is the mountain Mahendra with its compact mass of rocks and high escarpments, it is from its summit that I shall spring. With its trees of varied fragrance that cover it and its many crags, it will be able to bear my weight, when I prepare to leap over four hundred miles.”
With these words that monkey, the scourge of his foes, born of Maruta, whose equal he was, scaled that monarch of mountains, carpeted with flowers of every kind and grassy swards ranged by deer, containing flowering creepers and trees laden with fruit and blossoms, frequented by lions and tigers and herds of intoxicated elephants maddened with ichor; there flocks of birds trilled and waterfalls tumbled on every side.
Ascending that mountain, that foremost of monkeys, equal to Mahendra in power, began to wander from one crest to another and crushed between the arms of that high-souled one, that great mountain emitted a loud clamour, like a mighty elephant that has been attacked by a lion and waters gushed out from the scattered rocks and deer and elephants were seized with fear, whilst the giant trees shook.
Its spacious uplands were deserted by the-pairs of Gandharvas engaged in drinking and dalliance, the birds flew away and the bands of Vidyadharas fled from the high plateaus; the huge serpents hid themselves in terror and the cliffs and spars broke away. With its serpents hissing, their bodies half issuing from their holes, the mountain shone, as if decorated by pennants. The Rishis in fear and agitation fled from that support of the earth so that it resembled a wayfarer in a vast forest, deserted by his companions.
And that agile and valiant monkey, endowed with great speed, the destroyer of his foes, filled with an exalted purpose, had already reached Lanka in thought.