by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “shardula gives an account of his mission to ravana” and represents Chapter 30 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].
The King of Lanka’s spies informed him that Rama was camping with his great army near Mount Suvela and, hearing from diem of Rama’s approach at the head of a vast host, he was perturbed and said to Shardula:—
“You appearest to be unmanned which is alien to your nature, O Ranger of the Night! Can it be that you have fallen a victim to those savage monkeys?”
Thus questioned by that tiger among the titans, Shardula, trembling with fear, answered in a faint voice, saying:—
“O King, it is impossible to spy on those lions among the monkeys, who are full of energy and prowess and protected by Raghava nor can one interrogate them in order to find out anything! On all sides the approaches are guarded by monkeys as big as hills.
“Scarcely had I penetrated into their ranks when I was recognized and forcibly seized and myself interrogated in every way by those monkeys, who attacked me with their knees, fists, teeth and the palms of their hands; thereafter I was led through the entire army by those pitiless monkeys who, having paraded me everywhere, brought me into Rama’s presence, exhausted and bewildered, my limbs covered with blood and wounds. They wished to murder me despite my supplications made with joined palms, when, fortunately I was saved by Rama who cried ‘Stay I’ ‘Stay!’
“That prince who has filled the sea with boulders and crags is encamped at the gates of Lanka, well equipped with weapons, his forces arranged in the form of Garuda and he is surrounded on all sides by monkeys. Having set me free, he is there full of energy advancing on Lanka! Ere he reaches the ramparts, do one thing or the other with all speed, either return Sita to him immediately or give him battle!”
Having reflected on what he had just heard, the King of the Titans, Ravana, made this significant reply:—
Then that exceedingly powerful one added:—
“You have explored the ranks of their army, who are the warriors among the Plavamgamas? What is the measure of their prowess? Who are these invincible monkeys? Whose sons and grandsons are they? Tell me the truth, O Faithful Friend!”
Thus interrogated, Shardula, the most skilled of envoys, began to speak thus in Ravana’s presence:—
“First there is the son of Riksharajas, invincible in war, O King, and the son of Gadgada. There follows another son of Gadgada and the son of the spiritual preceptor of Shatakratu, the father of the monkey who slew so many titans. Thereafter comes the virtuous Sushena, the valiant son of Dharma, then Saumya born of Soma, O King, and the monkey Dadimukha and Sumukha, Durmukha and Vegadarshin, the equals of Mrityu, whom Svyambhu formerly begot in the form of monkeys, and further there is the great Nila himself, the son of the Bearer of the Sacrificial Offerings and the son of the Wind, Hanuman. Then there is the grandson of Shakra, the youthful, invincible and courageous Angada, and Mainda and Dvivida who are both valiant and equal to the Ashvins. Five are the sons of Vivasvata who resembles Time as the Destroyer, Gaja, Gavaya, Gavaksha, Sharabha and Gandhamadana.
“There are ten kotis of monkeys full of prowess and martial ardour and I was unable to count the rest of those fortunate children of the Gods.
“That son of Dasaratha with the body of a lion, that youth, Rama, to whom none in the world can be compared for valour, slew Dushana, Khara, Trishiras and Viradha who fell under his blows, as also Kabandha, the equal of Antaka. No one is able to describe Rama’s qualities by whom the titans who went to Janasthana were slain.
“There too is the virtuous Lakshmana like unto the foremost of elephants, Matanga, in the path of whose shafts Vasava himself could not survive! There are also Shveta and Jyotirmukha, both born of Bhashkara and the son of Varuna, the monkey Hemaketu. The heroic son of Vishvakarma, the foremost of monkeys Nala, and the impetuous son of Vasu, Durdhara.
“Finally there is that prince of the titans, your brother Bibishana, on whom Rama has conferred the City of Lanka as the reward for his devotion. Thus I have described the entire army of monkeys stationed on the Mount Suvela; it is for you to decide what remains to be done!”