by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “ravana sends out fresh spies” and represents Chapter 29 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].
Beholding those foremost of monkey leaders pointed out by Shuka—the valiant Lakshmana, Rama’s right arm, his own brother Bibishana standing close to Raghava, the King of all the Monkeys, Sugriva, of exceeding prowess, the heroic Angada, grandson of the Bearer of the Thunderbolt, the powerful Hanuman and the invincible Jambavan, Sushena, Kumuda, Nila and Nala, those paragons among the monkeys, Gaja, Gavaksha, Sharabha, Mainda and Dvivida—Ravana, his heart agitated, became enraged and began to inveigh against those two heroes, Shuka and Sarana, who had completed their report.
In a voice strangled with fury, he overwhelmed them with reproaches as they stood with bowed heads before him, saying:—
“In sooth it is scarcely fitting that such unpleasing words should be uttered by loyal servants to their king who has the power to mete out punishment or reward. That you should both hymn the praises of the foe belonging to an alien race who has come here to attack me, is unbecoming! In vain have you sat at the feet of your elders, spiritual preceptors and the aged, since the essential traditions of the scriptures do not rule your lives or, if you have imbibed them, you have not remembered them; you are over-burdened with ignorance! Having such unintelligent servants as you are, it is a miracle that I am still able to wield the sceptre. Have you no fear of death that you dare address me thus insolently, I, whose tongue dispenses good and evil?
“Even in contact with fire, the forest trees may remain standing but an evil-doer cannot escape the condemnation of his sovereign! Did the remembrance of your past services not moderate mine ire, I should certainly punish you miserable wretches by death, who thus hymn the praises of mine adversaries.
“Begone! Go hence, leave my presence! Having regard for your past services I shall not put you to death. You are already dead, ungrateful creatures, since you have no devotion for me!”
Hearing these accusations, which covered them with confusion, Shuka and Sarana paid obeisance to Ravana, saying:—“Be you victorious!” and withdrew.
At this command, that Ranger of the Night, Mahodara, without delay summoned spies and these presenting themselves in all haste before the king, hailed him with joined palms and expressed their desire to see him victorious.
Thereupon Ravana, the Lord of the Titans, said to those agents who were full of confidence, courage and zeal and were fearless:—
“Go and find out Rama’s plans, who are his ministers and who stand nearest to him in counsel and friendship, what are his hours of sleeping and waking and what he intends to do next.
“A wise monarch who discovers all that concerns his adversary through his spies, needs to exert himself only to a moderate degree to overcome his enemy on the field of battle.”
“May it be so!” answered the emissaries full of joy and, placing Shardula at their head, they honoured their sovereign by circumambulating him. Having paid obeisance to that powerful Lord of the Titans, those spies set out for where Rama and Lakshmana were to be found.
Leaving in disguise they observed Rama, Lakshmana, Sugriva and Bibishana near the Mountain Suvela. Beholding that army they were seized with terror and as they stood there, the righteous Prince of the Titans, Bibishana, recognized them and arrested them but Shardula alone was held captive, Bibishana saying:—“This one is the traitor!”
Rama however released Shardula also, who was being harassed by the monkeys, having already in his compassion given the other titans their freedom.
Beaten by those impetuous and agile monkeys, they returned to Lanka, groaning and beside themselves: and those emissaries, valiant rangers of the night, who were wont to penetrate into enemy territory, returned to Dashagriva and informed him that Rama’s army was camping in the neighbourhood of the Suvela Mountain.