Odyssey in a Nutshell - Sundara Kãnda

Continued from "What of Seetha? - 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 58 - Odyssey in a Nutshell

Where to start and what to tell 
Felt like Buridan’s ass Hanuman. 
For their part then all his folk
Sat there tight to catch his words. 
As though to help him in script
Addressed Jambavan Hanuman thus:
Tell O Hanuman where and how
Found thee Seetha Rama’s spouse.
Tell us how thou zeroed on
Rama’s spouse in wilderness.
Brief us now of odyssey thine
So that we can plan ourselves.
At the request of his peer
Spoke then Hanuman in loud tone.
Of course thee all bear witness
That I flew off from these shores.
Came across I in mid-seas 
Mountain that was made of gold. 
Sky high grew it in no time
Blocked it my way all the way.
To the errand on my hand
Saw it as I then hindrance.
Lashed it as I with my tail
Went it crashing down on knees. 
Assumed form it then human
And in warmth thus spoke to me:
For my friendship with thy dad
Thou should take me as thy kin. 
Am king of mountains Mainaka
Dwell in seas these underneath.
Mountains all in times of yore 
Had we wings to circle worlds
Afraid of our crash landing
Complained all to Lord Indra.
Chose as Indra to clip wings
Of the mountains there are all
It’s thy father but who saved 
Wings of mine from being clipped.
Bound am I to extend help
To thee now on this errand
With the intent to serve Ram
That he reclaims his lost spouse. 
Offered though he me to take
Rest on golden peak of his
Wanting not to waste my time
Wished I none of that for me.
Having grasped my urgency
Pressed he none more Mainaka. 
Bid as I him adieu then
Slipped he back then to sea bed. 
Resumed then I unhindered
Journey mine that seemed so long.
Came across I then Surasa
Mother of serpents of all seas.
Oh how she made clear her intent 
That she would make meal of me!
Not to rub on her wrong side
Pleaded my case with her thus:
Lived with Seetha ’n Lakshman
For long Ram in Dandak woods.
Snared as Ravan fair Seetha
Sent me her man to find out.
For thy being his subject
Dharma it’s thine aid his cause. 
As and when I find Seetha
Convey I would to that Ram
And come back to thee forthwith
So that thou me have for meal. 
But she would have none of it
And said none can escape her.
Mouth as she hers wide open
Gained I size to thwart her move. 
Pulled as she jaws her so wide
To thwart her then I turned tiny. 
So to beat the boon she got
That none can ever detour her
Went in and I came out swift
Brought as she her jaws to close.
In spite of the fact I tricked
Yet she wished me all the best.
Bade as she me then adieu 
So all creatures of the seas.
Hardly had I flew a league 
Felt as if was slowing down.
Surveyed as I all over
Found no hindrance in my route. 
In awe then I continued
Straining every nerve of mine.
To get to the roots of problem
As saw I down from high skies
Found a fiend at my shadow.
Though she saw the giant of me
Yet she challenged me that fiend. 
Said the fiend then all in glee
Glad I’ve found a giant in thee
Sure thou make full meal for me.
Like I did with that Surasa
Grew up in size all the more.
Rose as it to swallow me
Made I myself then puny.
Deftly then I entered her
Came out swiftly with her heart. 
With her heart thus in my hand
Fell its corpse on high seas then. 
From the talk of Siddhas then
Witnessed who all that from skies
Simhik was the fiend I slain
Killed as I the fiend that weird
Came to know that pulls its prey
Clutching at but their shadows.
Sank at length as sun in seas
Set then I foot on those shores.
As I reached the Lankan gates
Found there a fiend to confront.    
Having tongues of fire for hair
Tried that fiend to slay me straight.
Needed as I no more than
Fist of mine to pin her down 
Spoke that terrified fiend to me.
O great vanar thou may know
Me as Lanka’s main deity
That thee could well beat me true
All else here would bite the dust. 
In spite of the guards all there
Covered I Lanka all that night
Yet I found not Seetha there.   
Searched I Ravan’s palace then
Came a cropper there even.
Sauntered as I in and out
Found I to my wonder there
Garden with all golden walls.
Entered then I in great hope
Garden that was out of world.
In the midst of that garden
Found a dame I there squatted.
Unkempt all her pitch dark hair
Wide-eyed she was of middle age.
Downcast was she by demeanour
On guard there were women garish.
Taunted her all in their turns
Looked she like a trapped creature.
Ceased she not to pray her man
Cared she none fore self-upkeep. 
Cursing Ravan in between
Wished she then to end her life.
By the virtue of her soul
And the beauty of her self
Felt I she could be Seetha.
Heard I tinkles of anklets
Sensed I women were  nearby there.
Hiding myself on high branch
Waited for those women to come.
Sighted then I Ravan there
With his queens ’n keeps in tow. 
Seetha who sat in sorrow
Changed her posture to cover more.
Neared as Ravan her in lust
Cowered all the more then Seetha.
In his bid to gain her love
Fell then Ravan at her feet.
Snubbed by Seetha even then 
Gave her Ravan two more months
For her to choose from him or death.
At that Seetha seethed in rage
Spoke she to him with disdain.
How thou fail to know Ravan 
Spouse am I of godly Ram?
Snared as crooked way by thee
Don’t I know how coward are thou?
What if thou are Lankan king
Measure thou none to Ram’s valet.
Slighted as by Rama’s wife
Burned in anger Ravan then.
Having thus lost his bearing
Moved Ravan to throttle her.
Stopped him in his tracks his queen
With these words that pleased him well.
Measure as thou to Lord Indra
Makes she no patch ever on me.
Why run after Seetha then
With me at thy side for fun?
Won’t thou have in thy harem
Women ever eager to please thee?
Having massaged ego his
Led she back him to harem.
Turned guards all then too hostile
To Rama’s spouse who snubbed Ravan.
Though they scolded her loudly
Paid them deaf ear then Seetha.
Seeing Seetha unmoved thus
Ran some then to brief Ravan.
Rest of them in exhaustion 
Fell asleep all one by one.
In spite of that sans respite
Wept then Seetha for her man.
Woke up in trance Trijata then
From their ranks to address them.
Dream I had that bodes all ill
To Lanka ’n our Lord as well
Of course owing to this dame.
Better we make up with her now
So that she would save our lives. 
For the suffering women like her
Dreams such as those portend well.
Better we seek now her mercy
So that we could come out clean.
Having heard what Trijata said
Assured Rama’s spouse them help.
Seeing her in such a plight 
Felt I wretched for her sake.
Contrived I then to be heard
By her as I praised her man.
Having heard me tell her tale
Moved as she then spoke to me.
O little vanar who art thou
Who did send thee to Lanka?
Got as thee so close to Ram
Tell me how thou met my Lord?
Then I said to soothe her thus:
Made Lord Rama friend my Lord
Sugreev king of vanar world.
Hanuman am I sent by Ram
In search of thee in Ravan’s land. 
Gave me Rama to show thee
Ring this he wears ever on him. 
At thy beck and call am now
Bid me to take thee to Ram?
Such was Seetha’s perspective
Thought it would be fit for Ram 
If he were to slay Ravan
And then take her back with him.
Wanted then I from Seetha
Something dear to both of them
So that I could show that Rama.
Thus she gave me this diadem
That she said would please her man.
Then she told me that episode
Wherein a crow turned eager
All to savour Seetha’s charms
That too when she was with Ram!
She was not to let me go
Wished as I to take her leave.
Wanted Seetha I tell Ram
Suffering hers for want of him. 
Bid me she to fetch her man
Soon with Lakshman ’n Sugreev. 
Were thou fail to bring Rama
And the rest in just two months
Live I not a day longer.
Spoke as she in such despair
Seized I was with burning rage.
Then and there I turned a fiend
Ravaged the grove that held her.
Cowered all beasts there so varied
Woke up in fright Seetha’s guards.
Seeing me thus in fury
Ran they all to tell Ravan.
Pictured they then to Ravan
Havoc I wrought in garden.
Were Ravan to give orders
Boasted they would make me pay.
In his bid to subdue me
Sent Ravan then his kinkars.
Eighty thousand strong they were 
Slew I them all to last man.
‘Lost Lanka its vast army’,
Told Ravan his spies on prowl. 
Chose I then their funeral place
Slew its guards with just one stroke.
With huge force to capture me
Sent then Ravan Prahastha’s son. 
Spared I not then one even
Broke their backs with iron latch. 
With the death of Prahastha’s son
Dispatched Ravan ministers’ sons.
One by one to hell all them 
With that latch I then dispatched.
Not the one to give up soon
Sent Ravan his five Generals.
As I made them bite the dust
Chose Ravan to send his son.
Akshay though of tender age
Astute was he in warfare.
Yet I caught him by his legs
Flung him thus to Ravan’s court.
Enraged Ravan by all that
Sent his first born to battle.
That he subdued Lord Indra
Knows him world as Indrajit.
All his valour came to naught
When it came to me subdue.
Realizing I matched him well
Stunned me he with Brahmastra. 
At his behest his flock then
Tied me with all sorts of ropes.
As they took me to Ravan
Fumed at me then he in rage
Wanted he to find out then
Why thus I played spoilsport.
Him I told for Seetha’s sake
Caused I all that destruction.
Moreso made it clear to him
Sent I was by Lord Rama.
Gave thee counsel I told him
Lord Sugreev too for thy good.
Sent Sugreev thee his greetings
Words these with to caution thee. 
In my exile I met Ram
Vow  I took to stand by him.
Ram then wanted me to help
Him to fight who snared Seetha.
Thereby had I that barter
Whereby he would slay Vali
Stole who my wife unfairly.
To his vow to kill Vali
Made Ram Lakshman bear witness.
With that single arrow Ram
Brought an end to Vali’s reign.
Made as he me vanar king
Owe him I to stand by him.
‘Send back Seetha to Lord Ram’
Advice this mine to thee now
Come would Hanuman to deliver.
That thou know the vanar force
Could well conquer all three worlds
Hope thee heed this advice mine. 
Slighted as he by these words
Lost his cool then Lankan king.
Gave he go by to dharma
Ordered I be put to death. 
Spoke then sibling of Ravan
Revere all there as Vibhishan. 
Goes thy diktat O my Lord
Not with grain of thy dharma. 
In the annals of state craft
Sent are men to mend fences
Ill behoves the recipient king
Kills if he the one thus sent.
Punish if we must this vanar
Sever we could a limb or two.
At that Ravan gave orders
Tail mine be then set on fire.
Having hit my tail with sticks
Tied it they with jute and all.
Poured they tons of oil then
Set they thus my tail on fire.
So to slight me all the way
Taken was I round the streets. 
That they could make fun of me
Led I was then to main square.      
Vanar then I turned tiny
Slipped out of the ropes they tied.
Grew I then to touch the skies
Slew them all there at one go.
Set I fire to buildings all
There in Lanka one by one.
Burnt as Lanka to the core
Worried I was for Seetha.
Took I Seetha’s death for sure
Sank in sorrow to my knees.
Cried then as I unceasing
Heard I Yakshas talk in skies.
From their talk I learnt for sure
Came no harm to Rama’s spouse. 
Felt it’s all but grace of hers
Gave that respite to my tail.
Reached I then the Lankan beach
Quenched there well my burning tail.
Went I straight to Seetha then
Took her leave to fly back home. 
Took-off then I from Lanka
To head home to see thee all. 
There in high skies I flew past
Sun with trillion stars ’n moon. 
With the blessings of Rama
And the wishes of our folk
Bring I could thee good tidings.
In brief that’s all what happened
Much is left for us to do.
Continued to "Pep Talk to Peers - Sundara Kãnda" 


More by :  BS Murthy

Top | Hinduism

Views: 3505      Comments: 0

Name *

Email ID

Comment *
Verification Code*

Can't read? Reload

Please fill the above code for verification.