Feb 22, 2024
Feb 22, 2024
by BS Murthy
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 51 - Advice to Deliver
Unnerved continued Hanuman
With Ravan who scared all gods.
Wishes Sugreev thou all well
With the message that follows.
Help as it would thee all now
Heed thee advice of my Lord.
Dasarath was a godly king
Fame he earned for rule his fair.
Son his eldest Lord Rama
So to honour his dad’s word
Gave up lawful right on crown.
For the help his wife the third
Rendered him in some battle
Gave word Dasarath to her then
Honour bound he would be to
Fulfill wishes three of hers,
Came when time to crown Rama
Sought as she crown for her son
Went Ram with his spouse Seetha
In tow with his brother Lakshman
To Dandak woods on exile then.
Janaka’s daughter that worthy
Woman that wed first Dasarath’s son
Kidnapped was she from those woods.
With his sibling Lord Rama
Went on searching for Seetha.
Came he soon to Kishkindha
Made he pact with Sugreeva.
Vow as per his Lord Rama
Slew the sibling of Sugreev
Vali who stole wife of his.
Vali’s valour world all knows
Felled him but Ram at one go.
Got as Sugreev Vanar Crown
Besides hand of Vali’s wife
Apart from his stolen one
So to keep the word he gave
To Lord Ram to find Seetha
Sent he vanars in their scores
Covering earth and heaven as well.
Find thou in the vanar ranks
Valorous all in their thousands
Conquer who could on their own
Worlds all three there at one go.
It’s me Hanuman, Vayu’ son
Flew the sea of hundred leagues
To reach Lanka in search of
Seetha kidnapped wife of Ram.
Scanned I Lanka’s width ’n breadth
Found I Seetha in the end.
O well learned king Ravan
Is it fair for thee confine
Wife of another in thy land?
It’s no dharma for the king
Breaks he rules of humankind.
Bodes it ill for all thy folk
That thee annoy Ram and his
Sibling who could destroy all
And sundry as well at their will.
For thine unfairness to Ram
In snaring loving spouse of his
Sure to rue thy citizens all.
Send back Seetha to her man
Pray heed advice of this mine
Given in keeping thy interest.
Fail thou heed my Lord’s advice
Found as I now in thy land
Seetha faithful wife of Ram
Rest of it is left to him
How to book thee for thy foul.
Being such a learned king
Wonder how thou fail to know
Seetha would prove thee costly.
Pays it to know Rama’s wife
Is not the one to get seduced
By the vile of devil itself.
May thou live for ever so long
Boon thou got from God Himself
Fail if thee to mend thy ways
Sure thou soon would come to grief.
Know the rider that God put
For thee to keep death at bay
Is on hand to see thy end.
In battles all with gods and such
Boon hath it that come thou clean.
It’s thy fate that failed thee true
To seek no harm from men and us,
It’s thus Ram and we vanars
Bring would thy end in combat.
Lay not as knives two in sheath
So’s the case with good and bad.
Blessed as gods thee for good deeds
Punish they would now for foul acts.
How thou fail to see writing
On the wall when Seetha’s man
Could slay Vali thy equal!
Rama if were to give nod
For that matter I would now
Sink thy Lanka in the seas.
Tied are my hands for Rama
Vowed he would slay well in time
Hands with his own who that dared
Kidnap his dear spouse Seetha.
Spare would Rama not even
Indra were to harm his cause,
What would come of folk like thee
Were they to cross swords with him?
Know Seetha thou here confine
Would cause curtains to come down
On the Lankan stage of thine.
She’s like the hangman’s rope
Brought by thyself to Lanka
On thine own to hang thyself.
With her power of chariness
Burn as well she might thy land.
Why drag down them all of them
Hordes of wives and thy siblings.
O Ravan the Lankan king
Heed thee advice of Sugreev.
Know Ram is no mere mortal
Power hath he to destroy all
Exists whatever in three worlds
And bring life back onto earth.
In all races of worlds all
None there equals him as man.
Makes it’s no joke to join
Battle with the god in him.
That thou hurt the god on earth
Hope there none for thee in life.
In their bid to save thy life
All three worlds if ever combine
Yet Ram would make bite thee dust.
Destined if were one to die
At the hands of Seetha’s man
Gods themselves know wash their hands.
Treating Hanuman’s words ranting
Lost his cool then Lankan king.
Canto 52 -Placates the Sibling
In rage Ravan then ordered
Hanuman be to put to death.
Stood up Vibhishan in dismay
The sibling fair of Lankan king.
To stall the folly of the court
Pleaded Vibhishan with Ravan.
To set Ravan in right frame
Praised his sibling him to skies.
Heed me learned king Ravan
Fair it’s none to kill Hanuman.
Kill if we one on errand
Don’t all we earn infamy?
Remind none thee O learned
It’s not how the king should act.
Swayed if thou by thine anger
What would come of thy learning?
Thus O Ravan unrivalled
Better be prudent in thy act.
Words at these of his sibling
Hissed in anger then Ravan.
The way he acted mala fide
It’s no ill to kill Hanuman.
Would not let go Vibhishan
Ravan on the path that’s wrong.
Won’t thee realize O learned
It’s no dharma to kill one
Brings that missive from rivals?
Brief it’s not mine to plead for
Life of one who harmed us all
But to keep up thy fair name
Deal thou with him as ordained.
Severe a limb or lash him well
That’s the way to deal with him.
It’s not wise to act in haste
Calm down so my great sibling.
Is there any better than thee
Knows who dharma in theory
Nuances as well in practice?
Valour with thine unrivalled
Conquer did thou all three worlds.
High such being thy position
Why let act such lower that?
Uphold honour of Lanka
Not by killing this vanar
But by slaying Ram who sent
Him to act in foul manner.
How this vanar on errand
Could have acted on his own
Without the goading of his Lord?
Were he to be freed by thee
Fetch he would then his masters
Itching to land on our shores
For thee to see the end of them.
Falls if Rama at thy feet
Bites as and when he the dust
It’s then but gods would realize
How thou made all cowards of them.
With thy penchant to conquer
Were thee to slay this vanar now
Would thou lose the chance of life
To slay that Ram ’n Lakshman too
For they fail to come to know
Made thou captive Seetha thus.
To slay vanar hordes are all
Itching are our men at arms,
Slay if thee but one vanar
Won’t thou deprive them their chance?
So to let our foes to know
To face us death is no less scared
Force we may all foes to show
Backs of theirs in battlefield.
Takes it no more than a score
Of our men to settle all scores
With Ram ’n Lakshman if they dare
Ever to set foot on our shores.
Averred as thus his own sibling
Changed his mind then king Ravan
To kill Hanuman lay there tied.
Canto 53 - Tail on Fire
Sibling as his stood so firm
Spoke then Ravan changing tune.
Spare as we may life of him
Let him not go scot-free now.
Pride as vanars at their tails
Set his tail on fire that hurts.
Goes as he back with burnt tail
Makes a scene to folk back home.
Burns as his tail like a log
Take this vanar round boulevards.
Having led him out of court
Set the palace guards all there
Rags to tie on Hanuman’s tail.
Worked as guards on tail his long
Turned it Hanuman like tree trunk.
Pouring oil then on rags
Set they tail of his on fire.
Gathered in time Lankans all
To see Hanuman’s tail on fire.
Though he could have freed himself
Bore that Hanuman thus in thought.
Escape that I this ordeal
It’s not for me such big deal.
Isn’t it the trouble they give
Fraction of the hurt I caused?
Can’t I on my own tackle
All these Ravan’s men at arms?
Bear I should well this ordeal
For the sake of my Lord Ram.
Roamed I though the town at night
Failed I would have to grasp well
The ins and outs of its layout.
Now that they would take me round
Through their streets in broad daylight
Chance I would have to assess
Strengths and weakness of the foe.
Falling as well in his trap
Led him Ravan’s men in chains
Through the streets of Lanka then.
Gloating over their success
Made they Hanuman their trophy.
Unmindful of burning tail
Scanned all Hanuman as he moved.
Saw he dumps of ammos large
Found he bunkers there well manned.
Buildings he found camouflaged
Tunnels which had underground.
As they taunted him a spy
Smiled to himself then Hanuman.
So to see his tail on fire
Came out Lankans then in droves.
Carried some then to Seetha
Tale of vanar’s burning tail.
For so long all in undertones
He’s the one with whom thee spake.
Hurt was Seetha by that news
Prayed she Agni to spare him.
Submit she did to Fire God
That he might save Hanuman then.
Deem if thou me true to Ram
Spare then Hanuman from thy heat.
Goodwill of gods if I earned
For my goodness to mankind
Be kind now to this Hanuman.
If Ram feels that I do yearn
For the embrace of his warmth
Pray go cool on Hanuman now.
Feel if thee that Lord Sugreev
Could help Rama take me out
From the darkness of Lanka
Pray thee comfort give Hanuman.
Lost no time then God of Fire
From his heat to spare Hanuman.
Blew then Vayu his father
Icy breeze to cool Hanuman.
Wondered Hanuman how it was
Rags though on his tail on fire
Yet he felt no heat as such.
Tail as mine as thus burning
None I feel the pain for that!
For the soothing feel I have
Lay the reason somewhere else.
For the sake of Rama’s cause
Didn’t Mainaka offer seat
For me to rest on his peak?
Likewise Agni should’ve thought
Fits it Rama’s cause like glove
Were he to leave me unscathed.
Might I as well owe all this
To the kindness of Lord Rama
And his faithful spouse Seetha.
Or else Agni being friend
Of my father Vayu wind
Would have spared me this ordeal.
Knowing am on Ram’s errand
Gave as affront folks all these
So to keep up his prestige
And to make them well realize
That they played all but with fire
Won’t I pay them in same coin?
Houdini made as he then
Went he roaring up in skies.
With his burning tail and all
Landed then on Lankan gates.
Assumed simian form Hanuman
Slipped he through the chains on him.
Grew he then back into giant
Looked he all the while for mace.
Picked he latch of that huge gate
Slew he all the guards he faced.
Having none to restrain him
With his burning tail Hanuman
Shone he like the mid-day sun.
Canto 54 - Arson to Hurt
Having had his way thus far
Thought of future course Hanuman.
Why not I give them in kind
For what they did all to my tail?
Much is left to hurt the foe
Caused I might have some damage.
Why not I torch Ravan’s town
With the help of tail mine
That they set on fire themselves?
For the favour of Agni
Make I Lanka his fodder.
Hovered as he in mid-air
Surveyed Ravan’s land he thus.
Landed then on some dwelling
Jumped he then from one another.
Chose he Prahastha’s own palace
With its sprawling compound then
And made he bonfire of all there.
Next in line was Mahaparsva’s
Mansion that met similar fate.
Not to content even then
Burnt he dwellings of nobles.
Leaned he then on that palace
Owned by one who subdued him.
Set he fire then one by one
Houses of the following.
Jambumali’s ’n Sumali’s
Rasmiketha’s ’n Suryasathru’s
Damstra’s ’n so Duraatma’s
Romasa’s ’n Ghora’s as well
Mattali’s besides Yuddhonmatha’s
Karala’s and Pisaachas’s too.
Kumbha’s as well Nikumbha’s
Yagnasatru’s ’n Brahmasatru’s
Not to speak of Kumbhakarna’s.
But spared Hanuman that dwelling
Lived where Vibhishan who pleaded
Case his then in Ravan’s Court.
Razed as fire in those places
Turned all therein to ashes.
Went he then to that courtyard
Where lived Lankan king Ravan.
Set he Ravan’s fort on fire
With the fading flame on tail.
Spread as fire in Ravan’s court
Thundered Hanuman even more.
As if to aid his son’s cause
Unleashed Vayu his frenzy.
Goaded thus by Hanuman’s dad
Spread tongues Agni far and wide.
In that towering inferno
Came all dwellings crashing down.
Looked then Lanka that lost soul
Thrown down from the heaven itself.
Lost their wits all then Lankans
Felt they Fire God turned vanar.
Filled all streets were with Lankans
Rent were skies there with their cries.
Jumped all over compound walls
Mansions as theirs came crashing.
From the debris of dwellings
Flowed then molten gold in streams.
Turned to ashes demonic frames
Turned grey landscape of Lanka.
In myriad shades of crimson red
Sprouted tongues of fire to skies.
Burning Lanka seemed as if
Tripura of yore Shankar burnt.
To bring Lanka to its knees
Moved then Hanuman to outskirts.
With still burning tail of his
Set fire Hanuman there dwellings.
Raged as fire in those buildings
Heard all bursting sounds from them.
Smoke that embers emitted then
Rose in columns to high skies.
Wondered all those who survived
Came if death in Hanuman’s form.
Brahma’s it was wrath felt some
Set what Hanuman to smash them.
Took some Hanuman for Vishnu’s
Avatar to end Ravan’s reign.
It’s in no time fire got spread
To nearby jungles all so deep.
Trapped as such in jungle fire
Died wildlife of forests there.
Rent was air with cries of all
Lost who then their kith and kin.
With the havoc that he caused
Lanka seemed an accursed land.
Climbed up Chitrakoot Hanuman
Surveyed Ravan’s land ravaged.
Felt glad Hanuman that Lanka
Lost its edge to fight Lord Ram.
Tail as his was still on fire
Looked he still the rising sun.
Having done his job Hanuman
Prayed he in all reverence Ram.
Gods all for his one-man show
Showered then praises on Hanuman.
Amidst the ruins of Lanka then
Stood like victor there Hanuman.
Felt on second thought gods all there
What they discerned was but dream,
For how could Hanuman on his own
Raze all Lanka at one go!
At the sight of Lanka thus
Rubbed all angels then their eyes,
At the havoc Hanuman caused
Worlds all trembled then dismayed.
Sages at that in their scores
As well angels there gathered
Not to speak of Yakshas then
Thought it augured well for world.
Continued to "What of Seetha? - Sundara Kãnda"
More by : BS Murthy