by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “hanuman observes the city and its inhabitants” and represents Chapter 4 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].
By his valour, the mighty Hanuman, foremost of monkeys, having triumphed over Lanka, that splendid city, able to change her form at will, without passing through the gate, leapt over the wall and, by night, penetrated into the centre of the capital.
Hanuman, faithful to the interests of the King of the Monkeys, having found his way into that city, thus placed his left foot on the heads of his foes; and that excellent son of Maruta, entering by night, proceeded along the royal highway strewn with flowers and continued to advance through that enchanting capital where the sound of musical instruments blended with laughter.
That magnificent city with its innumerable dwellings bearing the mark of the mace and the goad, with windows of diamond, resembled the sky adorned with clouds. Lanka belonging to the titans, with its opulent mansions like white clouds, adorned with lotuses and svastikas, hung with garlands, highly decorated, was viewed by Hanuman with delight, who ranged it on Rama’s behalf and in the interests of Sugriva.
That illustrious monkey passing from house to house, observed the many dwellings of varying forms, on every side and listened to the melodious chanting in triple modulation, of women sick with love, who resembled celestial nymphs. He heard the tinkling of their girdles and the clashing of their anklets, as they ascended the stairways of those dwellings belonging to the great Ones, and here and there the sound of clapping of hands and the clicking of castanets. He heard also the intoning of sacred formulas in the dwellings of the titans and the recitation of those occupied in the study of the Veda.
He also saw titans who were singing the praises of Ravana in a loud voice, a great company of them being stationed on the royal highway which they obstructed; and he observed a large concourse of spies in the central courtyard, who had been initiated, some with matted locks, some shaven, some wearing deer-skins and some stark naked, bearing handfuls of darbha grass, braziers, picks, clubs and staves, and others in rags, who had only a single eye or ear or breast which twitched; and some were dwarfs, hideous to behold; and there were bowmen, swordsmen and warriors bearing clubs and iron bars or effulgent in curious armour; some were neither exceedingly fat nor too lean nor unduly tall nor short nor extremely fair nor dark nor humpbacked nor dwarfed; some were deformed, some handsome, some distinguished and there were also standard bearers and some who carried flags and every kind of weapon.
And Hanuman observed that some were armed with spears, darts, harpoons, arrows, slings and other weapons and many ranging about at will wore garlands and were daubed with paste, sprinkled with perfume, clothed in rich stuffs and adorned with magnificent jewels; some of these mighty warriors were furnished with javelins and maces and hundreds and thousands of them were garrisoned in the central courtyard, engaged in guarding the private apartments with vigilance by order of their king.
And he saw the famous palace of the Lord of the Titans, built on the summit of the mountain, with golden arched gateways, surrounded by a moat, embellished with pale lotuses and completely encircled by a rampart, resembling heaven itself; and it was marvellous, resonant with pleasant sounds and filled with the neighing of superb steeds and well-bred beasts and the noise of chariots and elephants; and there were four tusked elephants resembling great clouds and many herds of deer.
Then the monkey entered that palace protected by the Titan King, guarded by thousands of mighty Yatudhanas, the portals of which were richly decorated with beasts and birds and he penetrated to the inner apartment encircled with walls of Hema and Jambunada gold, its ceilings adorned with pearls and gems of great price and pervaded by the fragrance of aloe and sandalwood.