Continued from More of the Same - 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 41 - Rampage in the Park
Bid as adieu Hanuman soon
Exuded warmth Seetha then.
As he left her felt Hanuman -
Were I to fail to probe Lanka
Won’t my trip be incomplete?
How to test the guys all these
Than ride roughshod over them?
Were I to slay a few Generals
Won’t that weaken Ravan’s force?
Found as I now Rama’s wife
What if I dent Ravan’s pride?
Why not eyes ’n ears I keep
Wide open for task on hand?
Why fail assess relative strength
Of Ravan’s men and us vanars?
Better I invite Ravan’s wrath
That he lets loose kinkar force.
Battle as I palace guards
Chance it gives to test their strength.
Oh, this garden of gardens
Could be dear to evil Ravan.
Were I to arson this garden
Spits fire enraged Ravan then.
Won’t he send his elite force
Alive or dead to take me soon?
Won’t I take on all of them
On my own in their own land?
All those high and mighty trees
Hurricane like then Hanuman mowed.
Bulldozed as he his way through
Birds there perched all lost their nests.
Set he as the place on fire
Seemed that like huge funeral pyre.
Birds there flew to save their lives
Sounds they made then reached the skies.
Fire as raged there thick and fast
Cried wildlife there then thus trapped.
Soon the scene turned inferno
Came dwellings all crumbling down.
Turned in no time burning coal
Garden meant for queens to cool.
Hanuman in all eagerness
Waited to take Ravan’s men
Expected to confront him.
Canto 42 - Panic in the Town
To the sound of falling trees
Woke up Lanka from siesta.
Cried as flying birds all then
Cuddled all Lankans in panic.
Reached as tongues of flame to skies
Rushed out Lankans from their homes.
So to put the fear of death
In them into giant he turned.
Ran to Seetha women in fright
Hoping that she throws some light.
Tell us Seetha what thee know
Why this fiend did came to us?
Fear thee have none to tell us
What was that he spoke to thee?
Playing her cards close to chest
Countered Seetha them all thus:
How can thee ever expect me
Privy to thy demonic tricks?
Find as serpents their kindred
Thou should know him from his ways?
If thou let me I surmise
Demon some could be on roll now.
Ran as some to Ravan then
Went round some to see debris.
Appraised Lankans then Ravan
About the fiend that came to town.
O Lord Ravan came vanar
With whom Seetha spoke for long.
Pressed as we her long ’n hard
Preferred she not to divulge things.
It’s quite likely that vanar
Is one sent by her own man.
Garden that is Lanka’s pride
That is after thine own heart
Razed that vanar to the ground.
In spite of the fire he set
Sits as Seetha though unfazed,
What else it’s but his miracle
Touch her none those tongues of fire?
Clearly it was his intent
To see that Seetha was not hurt.
Sits still Seetha in cool shade
Right under the tree thus spared.
That he conferred with Seetha
And caused arson in thy land
Feel that fiend hath doubly sinned.
Thus we feel O Lankan king
Spare thou must not that simian.
Words those uttered by his folk
Made then Ravan fume in rage.
Scorch as if to all three worlds
Burned he like the mid-day sun.
To restrain vanar on rampage
Committed Ravan his panzers.
Eighty thousand strong it was
Force he sent to take Hanuman.
On their way to pin him down
Armed they all were to the teeth.
Went they all to have a go
As if to keep date with death.
Came as he in striking range
Spears they threw all at him sharp.
Closed in they all soon on him
With their swords ’n clubs as well.
Itching for a fight with them
Hit the ground with tail Hanuman.
Grew then Hanuman all the more
Slapped he arms his to scare them.
Sound that traversed to high skies
Made birds drop dead in their scores.
* Invoking Ram ’n Lakshman
As well vanar Lord Sugreev,
Laid who store on Lord Rama
Thundered Hanuman at them thus:
Hanuman I’m Vayu’s son
Privileged to serve mighty Ram
Lord of Koshal land there yore,
None him in this world equals
Sent by him am errand boy
Smash I would now all thy heads.
Ravans in their scores even
Match me not in battle skills,
Slabs ’n trees are all I need
For razing Lanka to the ground.
Watch as thou in wonderment
Find I Seetha unhindered
Leave then Lanka blessed by her. *
* these verses are revered the most by the devout.
In the face of Hanuman then
Saw there Ravan’s men nadir.
Being loyal to their Lord
Battle yet they gave Hanuman.
Unarmed as he flew in there
For use as his makeshift club
Pulled he latch of Lanka’s gates.
With that latch so thick and strong
Amuck he ran then amidst his foes.
In times yore as Indra did
Slew then Hanuman them in scores.
Scanned he then the battleground
To take on them who stood the ground.
Managed who then to escape
Ran to Ravan with that news.
Slighting that as storm in teacup
So to throw the book at Hanuman
Sent then Ravan Prahastha’s son.
Canto 43 -Itching for Fight
None there left to give battle
Prahastha’s son as not yet reached
Thought of future course Hanuman.
Thought he fit to despoil
Hill like palace found therein
Used for funeral pyres to lay.
Up the golden roof of it
Hop step and jump he went.
Perched on top of that terrace
Seemed he rivalled sun in skies.
Saw all those him stand up there
Wondered how he reached those heights.
Grew he so tall that he touched
Skyscape that was filled with clouds.
Slapped afresh he arms his strong
Sound that made the guards all there
Lose their consciousness en masse.
Prayed he Ram ’n Lakshman too
Invoked he Lord Sugreev’s grace.
Gaped as all those guards at him
Addressed Hanuman them all thus:
Come may Ravans in thousands
Won’t I mincemeat make them all.
Over thy dead bodies now
Go and I see Rama’s spouse.
So to unnerve them further
Roared he like thunderbolt.
Provoked by the daring of
Intruder who challenged them
Rose to one man guards all there
So to subdue who snubbed them.
Arrayed Ravan’s guards well built
Aimed they allied weapons at him.
Around the vanar thus they trapped
Whirlpool like look had those guards.
Enraged by their act Hanuman
Pulled he pillar of huge girth
Of that structure of sky high.
Like a rod he twirled it long
To ward off weapons they threw at him.
Sparks of friction emanated then
Burnt that place all far and wide.
Spoke thus Hanuman to those few
Survived then his great onslaught.
Force ours realize hath thousands
Match who would me bone to bone.
Know they all to smash thy heads
Land would soon on Lankan shores.
Know a weakling of vanar
Equals elephants ten no less.
Prowess elite force ours hath
Such is that thou can’t figure out.
Witness how all vanars would
Come to kill thee with their nails.
It’s thy ill fate that thy Lord
Snaring Seetha to thy land
Invited Ram’s wrath on thee
Hapless subjects of his State.
Canto 44 -Takes on Prahastha’s Son
Sent as he was by Ravan
In time garden gate Prahastha’s
Son had reached to slay Hanuman
Who by then came back to post.
Came thus Hanuman face to face
With Jambumali that Prahastha’s son
Savage fiend that slain all dared
Feared thus most the world over.
Bow his rivalled Indra’s own
Sent shivers it down enemies spines.
Strung as he the string to test
Of his bow to serve his cause
Echoed its sound in high skies.
Driven in cart of four donkeys
Came as Prahastha’s son near him
Greeted Hanuman him in scorn
Slapping hard his own thighs then.
Jambumali then lost no time
Aimed he arrows sharp at him.
Missed no arrow its target
Tip to toe was hurt Hanuman.
Bloodied face of Hanuman then
Looked like flowering rose at dawn.
Hurt by arrows in their scores
Mouth of Hanuman’s coral red
Looked like lotus in full bloom.
So to launch a blitzkrieg on
Prahastha’s son by Ravan sent
Picked up some slab then Hanuman.
What he hurled at Prahastha’s son
Turned that then to pebbles latter.
Enraged Hanuman plucked a tree
And javelined hard at Jambumali.
Aimed his arrows Prahastha’s son
Tree that just left Hanuman’s hands.
Prowess such was Jambumali’s
Shot he arrows in their scores
Missed none of them its target
Chipped to firewood tree all that.
With the shield of tree thus lost
To body blows of Prahastha’s son
Laid bare then all Hanuman frame.
Hanuman pulled a door latch then
Leapt he thus at Prahastha’s son.
Hit then Hanuman with that latch
Chest of Prahastha’s son that strong.
Blow that Hanuman dealt was such
Broke all bones of fiend that strong.
Battered as by Hanuman then
Lay dead Ravan’s chosen one.
Heard as breaking news Ravan
Of the death of Prahastha’s son
Went he into rare frenzy.
So to bring to book Hanuman
Sent Ravan for seven Marshals
Heirs apparent of secretaries
Seven of his who served him right.
Continued to Marshals in the Mire - Sundara Kãnda