The Ramayana of Valmiki

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

This page is entitled “hanuman enters the city” and represents Chapter 3 of the Sundara-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., Sundara-kanda].

Chapter 3 - Hanuman enters the City

Having rested on Mount Samva of lofty summits, that resembled a great cloud, Hanuman, the son of Maruta, that lion among monkeys, confident of his own strength, entered Lanka by night, with its wealth of ravishing groves and waters, guarded by Ravana; that enchanting city with its dazzling palaces resembling autumn clouds, where the sound of the sea could be heard, the breezes of which it inhaled day and night.

Prosperous, surrounded by great forces, resembling Vitapavati with its white gates and decorated arches, protected by infuriated elephants, splendid as Bhogavati filled with huge serpents, similar to the city of Indra, embellished by hosts of stars, resounding to the clamour of blustering winds, encircled by a golden rampart, re-echoing to the pealing of innumerable bells and adorned with banners, that city’ was approached by Hanuman in exaltation, his heart full of wonder.

And he surveyed it on every side, with its golden gates, the lintels of emerald and the pavements studded with pearls, crystal and gems; with its steps inlaid with precious stones, and floors of lapis lazuli, the grilles of refined gold and parapets of silver; the stairways of crystal that, free from dust, were possessed of emerald treads. And there were charming rooms, which, on account of their elegance, seemed to be built in the air.

The cries of curlews and peacocks could be heard and geese frequented that place whilst swans floated majestically on the lakes; everywhere the sound of the beating of drums and the tinkling of ornaments resounded and, beholding Lanka that resembled Vasvakara and seemed to be built in space, the monkey was filled with rapture.

Gazing on that splendid city belonging to the Lord of the Titans, that no other surpassed in opulence, the sagacious Hanuman reflected:—

‘This capital, protected by Ravana’s warriors is not to be subdued by force and is only accessible to Kumuda, Angada and that mighty monkey, Sushena or Mainda and Dvivida or the offspring of Vivasvata or the monkey Kushaparva or Rikshya, that foremost of monkeys, or myself.’

Thereafter, recollecting the valour of the long-armed Raghava and the prowess of Lakshmana, the confidence of that monkey was restored.

And that mighty monkey surveyed Lanka, the capital of the Lord of the Titans, that had the sea as her raiment, cow sheds and stables for her pendants, the armouries her breasts, decked out like a woman, where darkness was dispelled by the bright light of torches and the gleaming of the stars.

And as that tiger among monkeys, son of the great Wind-god, entered the city, the Deity who presided over the capital protected by Ravana, she of monstrous aspect, rose up and barred the way of that heroic son of Vayu. Emitting a great roar, she challenged the offspring of the Wind-god, saying:—

“O Dweller of the Forest, who art you and for what purpose hast you come hither? Answer truthfully if you dost value your life! Under no pretext will you be able to obtain entry into this Lanka protected by the forces of Ravana, which patrol it on every side.”

Then the valiant Hanuman answered her, who stood before him, saying:—“I shall tell you all about that on which you questioneth me anon but say first who you are in this hideous form and why you dost admonish me in anger, O Irascible One.”

Hearing Hanuman’s words, the Goddess of Lanka, able to change her shape at will, waxed wrath and in harsh tones addressed the son of the Wind-god, saying:—

“Obedient to the mandate of the magnanimous Ravana, the King of the Titans, I guard the city. None may pass me, yet if any should contrive to enter here, he will soon fall under my blows, deprived of his life breaths. I am the city of Lanka itself, and whatever betide I shall remain true to the words I have uttered!”

Hanuman, born of Maruta, the foremost of monkeys, stood motionless like a rock and beholding her in the form of a woman, that lion among monkeys, endowed with intelligence and courage, spoke to her thus:—

“I wish to behold this city with its turrets, walls and arches, and have come hither for this purpose. Great is my desire to see it and explore its woods, groves and gardens, as also its great buildings.”

Hearing these words, the presiding Deity of Lanka, who was able to change her form at will, was still further provoked and answered in anger:—

“O Insensate One, O Last of the Monkeys 1 without overcoming me, you canst not behold this city to-day, which is ruled over by the King of the Titans.”

Then that Hon among forest dwellers replied to that female ranger of the night, saying:—“After viewing the city, O Auspicious One, I shall return from whence I came.”

On this, Lanka emitted a terrible cry and struck that excellent monkey with the palm of her hand. Under the force of her blow, the valiant Son of Maruta let out a roar and closing the fingers of his left hand, pushed her away with his fist. Reflecting ‘She is a woman’ he controlled his anger, nevertheless the demon fell to the ground instantly, her face distorted and, seeing her lying on the earth, Hanuman, who was full of courage and nobflity, had compassion on her, she being but a woman.

Thereupon, Lanka, exceedingly agitated, addressed that monkey in low and faltering accents, saying:—

“O Mighty-armed One, have pity on me 1 Spare me, O Best of Monkeys! Those endowed with strength and prowess, stay their hand betimes! O You of great might, you have overcome me by your valour!

Hear the following truth from me which was proclaimed by Swyambhu who prophesied saying:

‘In the hour that a monkey overcomes you by force, the titans will cease to be invincible.’

“That time, fixed by Swyambhu has come, as is shown by your presence here to-day! The truth ordained by the Self-create is unalterable. The destruction of the unrighteous King Ravana together with all the titans is imminent, in consequence of the abduction of Sita. Therefore, O Best of Monkeys, do you enter this city, which is protected by Ravana, and accomplish all you desirest. Entering this splendid city, protected by the Lord of the Titans, which is doomed, go about freely wheresoever you will, in search of the chaste daughter of Janaka.”

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