The Ramayana of Valmiki

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

This page is entitled “shuka in his turn enumerates the enemy” and represents Chapter 28 of the Yuddha-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., Yuddha-kanda].

Chapter 28 - Shuka in his turn enumerates the Enemy

Sarana having described the forces of the enemy to Ravana, the Lord of the Titans, Shuka, in his turn, took up the tale, saying:—

“Dost you observe those resembling elephants intoxicated with ichor, rising up like banian trees on the banks of the Ganges or Sala Trees on the Himalayas?

“O King, those warriors, able to change their form at will, are irresistible, equal to the Daityas and Danavas and, in war, are endowed with the valour of the Gods. They number twenty-one million or more; they are Sugriva’s companions and Kishkindha is their accustomed abode; those monkeys born of the Gods and Gandharvas are capable of assuming different shapes at will.

“The two who stand there, who resemble each other and have the appearance of Gods, are Mainda and Dvivida, none is their equal in combat. Sanctioned by Brahma, they have drunk the water of immortality and they boast that they will demolish Lanka by their own prowess.

“As for that monkey whom you seest there, resembling an intoxicated elephant, who in strength and fury is able to chum up the ocean itself, it is he who came to Lanka to find Vaidehi and spy on you, O Lord. That monkey whom you perceivest, has returned, he is the eldest son of Kesarin and his sire is said to be Vayu; he is Hanuman, who crossed the ocean. Able to change his shape at will, that handsome and courageous warrior is no more able to be stayed in his course than Satataga himself.

“While yet a child, seeing the sun rise, he desired to eat it and, springing up, followed it to a distance of three thousand leagues, reflecting:—

‘I shall seize hold of Aditya and my hunger will be appeased forever!’

In this thought, intoxicated with his own strength, he leapt into the air but was unable to reach that God, who is invincible even to the Celestials, Rishis and Demons, and he fell on the mountain where that radiant orb rises. In his fall he fractured his jaw slightly on a rock and on account of the strength of his jaw he was called Hanuman!

“By associating with those monkeys I was enabled to learn his history, yet I am quite unable to describe his prowess, beauty and vigour adequately. He plumes himself on being able to destroy Lanka single-handed; it was he who formerly set fire to the city; how is it that you dost not remember him?

“Nearby is a warrior, dark of hue with eyes like lotuses, the Atiratha among the Ikshvakus; his heroism is well known in the world; his sense of duty never wavers nor does he ever swerve from righteousness; he knows how to loose Brahma’s weapon and is conversant with the Veda; indeed he is the most learned of Vedic scholars; he shatters the firmament with his arrows and rends the earth; his ire is equal to Mrityu’s and he resembles Indra in valour; his consort is Sita, whom you didst bear away from Janasthana; he is Rama, who has come to wage war on you, O King.

“He who stands on his right, radiant as gold refined in the crucible, with a broad chest, reddened eyes and dark curly locks, is Lakshmana, who is devoted to his brother’s interests and fortune; a general and a seasoned soldier, he knows better than any how to handle every weapon. Full of ardour, invincible, victorious, brave, accustomed to success and powerful, he has ever been Rama’s right hand and his very life’s breath. Where it concerns Raghava he would never be the one to seek to preserve his life. He has also sworn to exterminate all the titans in battle.

“He who stands on Rama’s left and who is surrounded by a group of titans, is Bibishana, whom that king of kings has installed as sovereign of Lanka; he, filled with ire, is advancing in order to enter into conflict with you!

“The other whom you seest standing in the centre like an immoveable rock, rules over the foremost of those deer of the branches; his prowess is immeasurable; for energy, glory, intelligence, strength and nobility, he stands out among those monkeys as Himavat amongst the mountains. He dwells with the principal monkey leaders in Kishkindha with its groves and trees, an inaccessible citadel of impenetrable approaches, excavated from the mountains. He wears a golden chain, wrought with a hundred lotuses in which Lakshmi, who symbolises prosperity, beloved of Gods and men, dwells. That chain, his consort Tara and the eternal empire of the monkeys, were conferred on Sugriva by Rama after he had slain Bali.

“O King, a hundred thousand multiplied by a hundred, is called a koti and a hundred thousand such kotis make one shanku. A hundred thousand shankus make one maha-shanku, a hundred thousand maha-shankus make one vrinda. A hundred thousand vrindas make a maha-vrinda and a hundred thousand maha-vrindas make a padma. A hundred thousand padmas make a maha-padma and a hundred thousand maha-padmas make a kharva. A hundred thousand kharvas make a samudra and a hundred thousand samudras make an ogna. A hundred thousand ognas make a maha-ogna. That Lord of the Monkeys as also Bibishana with his counsellors are surrounded by a hundred thousand shankus, plus a hundred thousand maha-vrindas, a hundred padmas, a hundred thousand maha-padmas, a hundred kharvas, a samudra and a maha-ogna. a koti of maha-ognas and a thousand samudras, and that Sugriva has come to make war on you!

“Powerful is that army following the King of the Monkeys, who is ever strong and brave. In the presence of those forces that resemble a blazing meteor, O Great King, prepare thyself to vanquish the enemy and take measures to avoid defeat!”

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: