Continued from Life in Lanka - Sundara Kãnda
If Mahabharata's Bhagvad-Gita is taken as a philosophical guide, Ramayana's Sundara Kãnda is sought for spiritual solace. What is more, many believe that reading Sundara Kãnda or hearing it recited would remove all hurdles and usher in good tidings!
Canto 11 - Qualms of Celibate
Felt soon Hanuman that Seetha
Forsake would not her Lord Ram.
How could forlorn Seetha then
Would have had that happy look?
Could ever Seetha find a man
Who would out tempt her Rama?
In his search for Rama’s spouse
Went in Hanuman further down.
To his surprise there he found
Many more in wait for Ravan.
After a bout of game of dice
Worn out there lay some on beds.
On their sexiness lasses
Indulged then in innuendos.
Some as cracked crude party jokes
Rest of them had heck of time.
Praised all each other’s wantonness
Bragged they all about ways of flesh.
Felt then Hanuman if at dawn
Should Ravan all lay them true
Makes him raging bull in pen.
Finds as he his mates on heat
Looks he no less king elephant.
Meant to succor their sex urge
Sweets varied were well laid there.
Found he there lay on platter
Meat of deer and boars deep-fried.
‘Use-me’ vessels of solid gold
Brimming there with leftovers.
Beasts assorted were slaughtered
For the sumptuous meal they had.
Recipes all of fish he found
Flesh as well of birds roasted.
Plentiful lay food vegetarian
Fresh that was and spicy too.
Besides silver jars of wine
Desserts were there in gold plates.
On the cots that lined furlongs
Spread were jasmines one foot deep.
Corals those that filled the floors
Seemed they all like burning coals.
Aroma of the food there lay
All the more them made hungry.
Served were juices of fresh fruits
Spirits they raised in there gathered.
Mean it was no that quarter
Than those chambers of Ravan.
Entered storeroom as Hanuman
Found he racks and racks of gold.
Saw he wine in vats of gold
Studded which all with rare gems.
Vats of silver there he found
With half full of wine still left.
Lay there mounds of food so fresh
Feed which could scores hungry souls.
Found be broken goblets there
Stamped by maidens in their haste.
Stepped he out of that quarter
Straight into that banquet hall
Lesbians full in their couplings.
In their pairs they shared blankets
Which in turns they pulled on each.
Breath of some made own pallus
Ripple like reeds in windy climes.
Aroma from their breath then matched
With those dregs of wine they left.
Sea breeze that was so profuse
Scent theirs took to all corners.
In that banquet hall were found
Beauties black ‘n blonds as well.
Worn out as by excess sex
Looked some then like shrunken bees.
Women of allure though they were
None had charms of Rama’s spouse.
Celibate that he was Hanuman
Developed thus he qualms of own
If the sight was right for him!
Doubts came thick and fast to him
Turned if he then peeping Tom.
Blamed he Ravan for his plight
Act whose brought him to that pass.
Single minded that Hanuman
Aside he set his doubts in time.
For he had no covetous look
Women all failed to excite him.
Felt he nice that his own mind
Helped his celibate intent then.
What else could he do to find
Seetha than to scan fair sex.
Would one expect to find her
Amidst a flock of deer on run.
With no stone as left unturned
Alas, Seetha he couldn’t find.
Lovely women all he found there
But not Seetha his Lord’s spouse.
Looked he then back at Pushpak
Searched he which from tip to toe.
Not the one to leave mid-course
Pursued Hanuman Seetha’s search.
Canto 12 - At Wits End
In his search for Seetha thus
Sauntered Ravan’s place Hanuman.
Failed as he to find her still
Felt she could have died of grief.
Finding her no yielding type
Ravan could have got her hanged.
Or else Seetha should’ve gone
Underground in Ravan’s land.
Were he to go with blank page
Would Lord Sugreev approve that?
Would not all the pains it took
For him to reach Ravan’s land
Come to naught were she not found?
When he would go back in time
Won’t his peers and Lords as well
Get round him for Seetha’s news?
Were he to show empty hand
Won’t that break the hearts of all?
What would elder Jambavan say?
How Prince Angad would take it!
So as not to fail them all
Not by finding Seetha now,
Better I pull up socks my well
So to pass through pathless woods.
If one gives up not on hopes
Tends that towards goal his own.
Resolved he thus not to sulk
But to press then even more.
Having felt thus he went back
To all those places he had been.
After making one more round
Of the harem of Ravan
Stepped he out of Pushpak then.
Entered he then those dwellings
Annexed to Ravan’s Royal Court.
Searched he then the town proper
That was Lanka’s headquarters.
As though to leave none to chance
Sauntered Hanuman suburbs there all.
Left he none of private parks
Nor he spared a public place.
But for woman of hideous looks
Found he not there Rama’s spouse.
Saw he though there stunners too
Found he Seetha nowhere there.
Saw he many an angel there
In them in vain he searched her.
Drew he blank in captive cells
Lodged where women by Ravan brought.
Having failed to find her there
Agonized Hanuman even more.
What a waste of time it was
To come to Lanka in her search!
Sank he on his knees Hanuman
Despaired of that mission failure.
Canto 13 - Errand in the Bend
On the rebound then Hanuman
Like a lightning reached Pushpak.
Staring at the place he searched
Thought he errand of his failed.
How come Seetha was not found
Left I though no room to search?
In all entire land of this
Had I left a stone unturned?
If I go by Jataayu’s words
And fetch Rama here forthwith,
Failing to see her he would
Take his wrath on all of us.
Would have Seetha in despair
Succumbed to Ravan in secret!
Sped as Ravan her in arms
Out of range of Ram’s arrow,
Preferring death to his amour
Did she into ocean drop?
Flew as Ravan her in skies
Having seen never ending seas
Lost she might have been her nerve
And thus died in mid-air then.
Chaste as Seetha to her man
The thought of rape by Ravan then
Would have led her heart to seize.
Committed that she to her Lord
Tried as she to wriggle herself
Would have slipped from Ravan’s grip.
With none around to rescue her
Drowned she might have Ram in mind.
For that matter Ravan’s wives
Would have killed her by envy.
Or else forlorn Seetha might
Have died in her great despair.
For Lakshman to help her out
Seetha would have surely cried.
Maybe in some secret vault
Ravan could have confined her.
Seems it absurd even then
Seetha would to Ravan turn.
With no news of Seetha now
Makes it no sense to go back.
Reported dead or found missing,
What a breaking news it makes?
What an end to such beginning
Should that ever end in deadlock?
Were I to go now without a clue
What’s the worth of my errand?
Not for Sugreev sent me here
Have I count of Ravan’s wives.
What would Rama have to say
Were I to face him blank faced?
Were I to state that found her not
Wouldn’t he die of broken heart?
Hears if he of mission failure
What for he would like to live?
Seeing Rama slip in coma
Lakshman too would come to grief.
Back home Bharat ’n Satrughna
Break down hearing breaking news.
Won’t on hearsay go to grave
Mothers three of brothers those four?
Having failed to keep his word
Won’t our Sugreev die of shame?
Unable to bear her man’s death
Wouldn’t then Ruma forego life?
Mourns as Tara, Vali’s death
Won’t her new Lord’s death kill her?
Wont’ then follow suit Angad
Tara’s son to Vali born.
If ever enemies eye our land
What would come of our empire?
Made all prosper Sugreev’s reign
Won’t they feel all orphaned now?
In the wake of Sugreev’s death
Sport ’n pastime suffer no end?
Won’t feel vanars fatherless
And get scattered world over?
In that depressed state of theirs
Many might as well end their lives.
Were I to go without her sight
It’s like taking death sentence.
Serves no purpose going there
Without the news of her welfare.
Were I to stay put here itself
Might they as well live in hope.
Better I remain in her search
Feed I would on fruits ’n roots.
As and when I reach dead end
Can’t I immolate without a trace?
Or unto death I would fast
Upon my frame let beasts all feast.
Why not I let myself drown
In the selfsame sea I crossed?
It was such a good beginning
Why should it ever end different?
Fail in case to find Seetha
What if I turn ascetic here?
Live if I in Lanka thus
Won’t I let live my folk there?
Downs as curtain death on life
Takes none further part on stage.
At not finding Rama’s spouse
That’s how Hanuman’s mind wavered.
Brave that he was rose in time
And thought of seeing Ravan’s end.
Or else I could lift Ravan
And fly across the sea I crossed.
Confined somewhere in these parts
How that would serve Seetha’s cause?
As he thought the better of it
And thought none of Ravan more
Came to sing the same old tune.
Were I to go by Jataayu’s words
And fetch Rama here forthwith
Finding her not he would sulk
And his wrath would harm us all.
Stay if I back in Lanka
Harm I none in Kishkindha.
Oh, isn’t yonder garden there?
Well, how I failed to notice that!
Seems like gods are guiding me
In my search of Rama’s spouse.
What if that grove yields that fruit
Brings which joy to Rama’s heart?
Buoyed by that thought he set
Sights his all then on that grove.
So to bring him good tidings
Prayed he Ram ’n Seetha then
As well Lakshman and Rudra,
Besides Indra and Vayu
Yama ’n Surya not to speak
Angels all there in the skies
Prayed them all he in reverence.
Hoping to find her in grove
Sought he as well Sugreev’s grace.
Striding there in long strides
Worked out moves his in advance.
Find I would there guards for sure
With swords drawn to stop trespass.
For the comfort of someone
Breezes past that he that grove
Seems that Vayu is concerned.
Assume I might tiny form
And turn needle in haystack.
Hope gods all of heavens there are
Help me in my mission on earth.
If I were to go blindfold
Moonlight hope would lead me to
Rama’s spouse in Ravan’s land.
Sure to bless is Lord Vishnu
That I would see Seetha now.
How I wish to see Seetha
With such beauty that is rare.
Pining for so long for Ram
May not she look at her best.
Canto 14 - Garden of Grief
With Seetha in mind Hanuman
Reached that garden royal soon
Perched he then on compound wall.
In that grove that’s thick and wide
Saw he scores of full-grown trees.
Besides Asoka trees there were
Flowering neem and mangoes too.
Like Ram’s arrow then he sped
Towards a climber in that grove.
Flowers there all pleased him much
Thrilled him sounds all birds then made.
Shone there flowers North Star like
Sauntered there then deer languid.
Craving cuckoos cried on trees
Bees on heat on flowers there zoomed.
Hovered birds then for their mates
Clamoured peacocks there on ground.
Jumped as he from tree to tree
Woke up birds all from their sleep
Birds as fluttered into skies
Severed by their wings flowers all there.
Fell as flowers those on him thus
Made they mountain on his frame.
To get rid of that flower burden
As he grew in size Hanuman
Seemed he Spring God on the rise.
Flowers as scattered all over
Gave that mother earth maiden look.
Toyed as he then with trees there
Fell all balance flowers they wore.
Tried as he to test his strength
Dropped were ripen fruits they bore.
Spared not his push leaves even
Trees there stood like lost gamblers.
Bare as turned thus trees all there
Birds were then left with no shades.
Pulled he trunks then with his tail
Broke them all with arms and legs.
Like the ravaged women by him
Battered there lay Ravan’s grove.
As would scatter clouds by wind
Severed lay creepers from tree trunks.
Found as he his way inside
Saw he footpaths paved with gold.
Ponds were there of pure water
Steps which had with gems inlaid.
Beds of those had pearls for sand
Grew there golden trees on banks.
Made flowers lotus red carpets
Swans like royal guests sauntered.
Serviced were they by canals
Brought they water nectar like.
Lined on banks of those canals
Trees that nearly kissed skyline.
In the midst of that vast grove
Mountain there lay that was huge.
Had it numerous caves so deep
House which could a million men.
Found on it a stream Hanuman
Seemed that like a dame enraged
Sprang who up from beloved’s lap.
As would desist her friends then
Her from leaving estranged mate
So bent branches on those banks
Touching waters at mid-stream.
Wound its way then back that stream
As would pacified woman backtrack.
On those branches of thick trees
Birds of same feather flocked together.
With clear water that was cool
Laid there was a swimming pool.
Change rooms built for both sexes
Gave that complex ambiance rare.
Gardens lay there in the scores
Walkways were all coral paved.
Flowerpots plenty of pure gold
Contained colorful crotons there.
Spread there Sinsupa far and wide
Dais of gold all covered its ground.
Round the dais of spick and span
Grown were tropical trees varied.
In that grove of golden hues
Shone Hanuman like rising sun.
Trinkets tied to branches there
Set they tune for passing breeze.
Soared as hopes his sky high then
Climbed he Sinsupa’s topmost branch.
Had a premonition Hanuman then
Seetha would grace that place soon.
Wonder as was that Pushpak
Seemed the garden none the less.
Forlorn so long that Seetha
Wouldn’t she find this grove soothing?
Why not as she got used to
Strolling in the thick jungles.
Fatigued as would be Seetha
By the constant thought of Ram
Might come her for recouping.
As she saunters in that grove
Recall she would with fondness
Time she spent with her man then.
Besides she was so fond of
All that goes for life in woods.
Fail she might not to turn up
For her morning bath downstream.
Think I not of another place
Better which would for morning walk.
Were she to be alive still
Won’t she be drawn to this stream?
Driven by hope of finding her
Lay there Hanuman in hiding.
Continued to Withered Flower - Sundara Kãnda