Seventh – Rama Avatar – The Rama Incarnation Part 2
CONTINUED FROM PART 1 – Seventh – Rama Avatar – The Rama Incarnation Part 2
On King Dasharatha’s request his minister Sumantra prepared a beautiful chariot and asked Ram to ride it. Ram along with Sita and Lakshman rode this chariot and left for forest. People of Ayodhya with teary eyes followed them to the forest. Soon they entered the nearby village Shringberpur and Nishad raj (king of bhils) came to greet Ram, Sita and Lakshmana. He requested Ram to rest in his village for few days before proceeding to the exile of fourteen years.
Kevat a boatman, arranged fruits and water for Ram, Sita and Lakshman. With the help of other villagers he prepared some grass mats and Ram – Sita rested on those mats. In the morning Sumantra again requested Ram, Sita and Lakshman to return back to Ayodhya but Ram replied that they will return to Ayodhya after completing fourteen years in exile. With a heavy heart Sumantra returned back to Ayodhya with an empty Chariot. When King Dasharatha learned that his beloved sons and daughter Sita has not returned from the forest he fell to the ground and breathed his last.
RAM AND KEVAT
There in Shringberpur, Ram, Sita and Lakshman headed towards Ganga river banks and requested Kevat to help them cross the river in his boat. Kevat replied with folded hands,”Lord,let me wash your feet first before letting you in. I have heard about the magic of your feet. You touch something with your feet and even a stone (Ahilya) turns into a beautiful women. This boat is my only means of earning for my family and if your feet turn it into a beautiful lady then what am I going to feed my family?”
After seeking Ram permission Kevat bought a big vessel and washed Lord Ram’s feet. After that he took everyone across Ganga river in his boat. Sita worshiped Ganga river and took her blessings. Later they advanced towards the deep forest. On their journey they met many great rishis like rishi Bharadwaj and Maharishi Balmiki.
Finally they made a small hut in Chittrakoot next to river Mandakini and started residing there. When Bharat and Shatrughan learned about the happenings in Ayodhya; their hearts were filled with sorrow. He decided to visit Ram-Sita and Lakshman and ask for their forgiveness. He along with his three mothers, Guru Vashitha and people of Ayodhya, Bharat came to visit Rama in Chittrakoot.
Bharat tried to convince Ram to return back to Ayodhya with mother Sita but Ram replied that he will return after his exile period. Hearing this Bharat siad that he will never rule Ayodhya instead he will place Ram’s wooden slippers (Ram’s Paduka) on the throne and manage the kingdom in his name. After that all of them returned to Ayodhya with a hope that these 14 years will end soon and Ram-Sita and Lakshman will return home.
Ram stayed in Chittrakoot for some time surrounded with rishis and munis. Finally in the thirteenth year they moved deep into the forest and visited the ashram of Rishi Attri and his wife Anusuiya. There he learned about demons (rākṣas) disturbing rishis and their sacred prayers. Ram asked the rishis about a place to live nearby from where he could kill these demons (rākṣas). Rishi suggested a place called Panchavati in Dandakvan. Dandakvan was a dense forest filled with demons and ruled by Lanka king, Ravan. Soon Lakshman build a hut for them and they started living there. One day Shurpanakha saw these two young boys in the forest and decided to marry one of them.
DANDAK VAN INCIDENTS
She disguised herself as pretty women and approached Ram and asked him to marry her. Ram replied that he is already married, she then turned towards Lakshman and he too refused saying that I am a servant of my Lord Ram. Being refused and feeling insulted she came in her original form and when she tried to attack Sita, Lakshman cuts her nose and ears off with his sword. She rushed towards Khar and Dhushan, the commander-in-chief of Ravan’s army and they too were killed by Lord Ram. Terrified with their death Shurpanakha hurried towards Ravans court and narrated the whole incident.
Ravan understood that very minute that it was God in human form because Khar and Dhushan were strong and mighty just like him, and no one can defeat them other than god. He pacified his sister and left for his palace. He thought that god has incarnated himself to demolish demons (rākṣas) from earth and if I make him my enemy he will kill me and I will get my moksha (release from the cycle of rebirth).
He seized this opportunity to fight the supreme Lord Ram and approached his uncle Marich for help. Marich was surprised on his arrival and inquired about his sudden visit. Ravan narrated the whole story. Hearing this Marich replied, “You are going to fight with the supreme lord. Do you know he is the almighty god in human form? He has killed many strong demons (rākṣas) like Tadka, Subahu, Khar and Dhushan and you want to fight him?” Ravan was furious at listening all this and started abusing him. Marich thought its better to be killed by supreme lord then Ravan. He agreed to Ravan’s request and assumed the form of a golden deer.
Meanwhile here in Danak Van Ram said to Sita that I am about to play some leela and until I kill all the demons (rākṣas) you reside in the security of Agni, fire god. He then explained all the secret of his birth and her presence on earth. Mother Sita left her shadow-look alike in her place and she herself sunk into fire.
One day Sita saw a beautiful golden deer in the jungle, she was enamored by deer’s beauty. She showed it to Ram and asked him to catch it for her. Ram knew what was going to happen and asked Lakshman to take care of Sita while he was away hunting for that deer. That golden deer or Maya mrig took Lord Ram deep into the forest and because of his magical powers he started to play hide and seek with Ram. Tired of his games Ram aimed and shot his arrow. But before dying he screamed, “Hey Sita”, “Hey Lakshman”. Soon that deer was killed by Ram and he turned into his natural form, the demon.
Hearing her name she thought Lord Ram is in danger and persuaded Lakshman to go after him. At first Lakshman refused making her believe that it is some kind of a chal (joke) no one can harm Lord Ram but Sita asked him to follow Ram. Lakshman drew a protective line (lakshman rekha) around the hut to protect Mother Sita from any danger while he was gone in search of Shree Ram. As Lakshman left Ravan disguised himself as a sage and reached in front of the hut asking for alms.
Sita tried to give the alms from the other side of the lakshaman rekha but Ravan refused to accept it. He said either you come to the other side of the rekha to give me alms or I am going away. Not expecting any foul play, she unsuspectingly crosses the protective line (lakshman rekha) to give him alms. Soon Ravan reveals his true form and kidnaps Sita in his Pushpak Viman towards Lanka. Mother Sita cried and begged him to leave her but he paid no heed to her cries. On their way towards Lanka vulture king Jatayu tried to free Mother Sita from Ravan but he too was killed. Ravan killed him with his sword by cutting his wings. Reciting “Ram, Ram!” Jayatu fell to the ground and Ravan flew towards his Lanka.
Here back in Dandak van when Ram and Laxman returned, they found that Sita was missing. They started the search for Sita in the deep forest. Ram was in tears and he asked trees, streams and stones, “Have you seen Sita anywhere here?” While searching Ram and Lakshman encountered the badly injured Jatayu, who informed them about Mother Sita, “Yes, I’ve seen her being kidnapped by Ravan, the king of Lanka. I tried to stop him but he cut off my wings and escaped towards south.” Saying this Jatayu breathed his last and Ram did his last rites.
RAM MEET SUGRIV AND HANUMAN
Moving towards south, Ram and Laxman came to a beautiful spot of Pampa Sarovar. There they met Shabari, an affectionate Bhil woman. Seeing Ram, Shabari ran and touched his feet. It is believed that Shabari was waiting for Shree Ram for many years. She affectionately served them sweet fruits of jujube tree (ber). Both enjoyed her hospitality and love. Later in search of Sita they arrived at Mount Rishiyamukh. READ MORE ABOUT THEIR MEETING WITH SUGRIV AND HANUMAN HERE.
Here they met the monkey-king Sugriv and Hanuman who learnt about their mission. Sugriv remembered something and replied, “Oh, I saw a demon carrying away a woman. The woman threw some of her ornaments towards me. Here they are!” Ram watched the ornaments carefully and soon identified them. Sita’s whereabouts were not traced so far. Sugriv offered them his help and soon became a devotee of Ram. Ram inquired about there whereabouts and why they hiding in these mountains.
Sugriv narrated the whole story. He was the younger brother of Bali, king of Kishkindha. Both lived happily until one day a demon named Mayavi challenged Bali for a fight. Bali agreed to this fight but the demon hid in a cave. Bali entered the cave and asked him to guard the entrance of that cave and said, “If I don’t return in one month consider me dead.”
Standing outside the cave all I could hear was loud noises and screaming. I stood at the entrance of the cave for one month and one day I saw blood coming out of the cave. Suddenly it came to my mind what if Bali is killed and this demon comes out to fight me. I do not have immense strength like Bali to fight him. Assuming that Bali is dead I covered the cave’s mouth with a large boulder and returned to Kishkindha, and assumed kingship”.
After killing Mayavi, Bali returned to Kishkinda fuming in anger. Thinking that Sugriv had betrayed him, he threw Sugriv out of Kishkindha and forcefully took his wife for himself. Sugriv didn’t get a chance to explain his point that since the kingdom was king-less that’s why he was crowned the king of Kishkindha. Sugriv knew about Bali and Rishiyamukh mountain curse* (read about it below) so he fled towards the safest place Rishiyamukh mountains where Bali could not enter.
After listening to Sugriv’s ordeal, Lord Ram promised that he would kill Bali and restore Sugriva as the king. Sugreev with folded hands said, “Lord, I know about your strength and valor but its my duty to mention about Bali’s powers to you. Bali had received a boon from Lord Brahma that whosoever comes before Bali will loose half his strength to Bali making him unbeatable by any enemy”. He also mentioned an incident where Ravan had called Bali for a fight while he was busy doing his Shiv Puja.
This infuriated Bali so much that he wrapped Ravan body in his tail and his head against his armpit and holding Ravan in that condition Bali jumped over mountains and flew around the world until his prayers were over. This was the demon king Ravan who was defeated by Bali. Sugriv said,”I have no doubts about your powers but it’s just that when I recall Bali’s mighty deeds, I get worried and fearful.” He then asked Lord Ram to throw the heavy skeleton of Dundubhi (which was still lying there) in the air. Smiling Lord Ram just touched the skeleton of Dundubhi and threw it flying into the air to a distance of ten yojanas (1 yojana = 8-10 miles so ten yojanas is something between 80-100 miles away).
Sugriv then asked Lord Ram to pierce seven Sal trees with a single arrow, which Ram did and that beautiful arrow after piercing the trees returned to Rama’s quiver. Sugriv was happy to see all this and his doubts were all cleared.
Lord Ram smiled and said, “Don’t worry friend, go and call Bali for a fight. No one can save Bali now!” Sugriv went to Kishkindha and challenged Bali for a wrestling duel between them. Bali came and both were involved in a fierce battle. Lord Ram who was watching this fierce battle from a distance with a bow and arrow in his hand was amazed to see such a similarity between two brothers. He couldn’t distinguish Bali from Sugriv and was afraid to shoot his arrow at the wrong person. After fighting for a while Bali was badly injured and somehow he could free himself from the clutches of his brother’s grip and ran towards Rishiyamukh mountains.
Wounded and weary he was very disappointed with Lord Ram and he said,”You broke your promise, if you had no intention to kill Bali then why did you send me there?” Hearing to his complain Lord Ram replied,”Don’t be angry my friend and listen. You and Bali are so similar in height, weight and looks that I couldn’t make out a difference between you two. I was helpless my dear friend. I could have killed a wrong one. I suggest you go again tomorrow to fight Bali wearing a garland around your neck and this way I can differentiate between you two.”
Convinced Sugriv left to fight Bali wearing a garland around his neck. Bali’s wife Tara warned him this time that please don’t go, it’s the supreme lord Ram and under his supervision Sugriv is calling you to fight him again and again. But Bali paid no heeds to her words and wearing his protective necklace (a necklace from Indra which absorbs all the strength from the opponent) he left to fight. Fierce battle started between both the brothers. This time Lord Ram was prepared, he pulled the string and shot an arrow at Bali’s chest.
Just like a mighty tree when axed down come crashing to the ground, same way the mighty Bali fell to the ground all covered in blood. He was surprised at his end he looked around to see who killed him and then he saw Lord Ram and Lakshman approaching him with bow and arrow in their hand. He asked Ram, “You are the almighty Lord but why did you kill me as a hunter?I could have been a great help to you in searching Sita. Whoever took Sita, if it was Ravan I could have defeated him easily, I have done it in the past. Why did you kill me like this?”
Lord Ram reminded him of his sins and explained him about the four purusharthas (dharma, artha, kama, and moksha the four aspects of human life ) and granted him moksha. Bali found peace after listening to Lord Ram’s words and he asked him to take his son Angad under his supervision and Angad will assist Ram in his search for Sita. After Bali’s death Sugriv was crowned the king of Kishkindha and Angad was made the Yuvaraja (prince).
After getting the kingdom of Kishkindha, Sugriv enjoyed his time in enjoyment and totally forgot his promise to Lord Ram. Here days had passed and still no word from Sugriv infuriated Lord Ram. He asked Lakshman to visit Kishkindha and remind Sugriv of his words. Filled with anger Lakshman left for Kishkindha. Hearing about his arrival Sugriv met Lakshman and apologized about his behavior and assured him that the search will start soon.
Surgiv then called upon all the strong and mighty vanars and formed a huge army of strong monkeys and they were dispatched in East, West and North directions in a quest to find mother Sita. In the supervision of Angad, Jambhvant and Hanuman a special army was formed to go in search of Mother Sita.
After seeking permission from Lord Ram they all decided to move towards South, but before leaving, Ram gave his ring to Hanuman and asked Hanuman to console Sita. He added that by seeing this ring she will understand that you are my messenger. Hanuman bowed and left on his mission. They searched everywhere but couldn’t find Mother Sita, soon they came to on ocean shore. Seeing the vast ocean they all became hopeless and started to think how they will cross such a mighty ocean.
HOW HANUMAN GOT HIS POWER’S BACK?
All the Vanar sena (monkey soldier), Hanumanji, Angad and Jambhavant started looking for Mother Sita in every direction. But their search yield no result and they all sat by the ocean all distressed. On the ocean shore lived a mighty vulture named Sampati. He was old and couldn’t hunt for his food, seeing so many people around he exclaimed, “Thank you God for sending me food”.
Soon he heard Angad talking about the good deeds of Jatayu, how he was killed while he was trying to stop Mother Sita from being kidnapped by Lanka king Ravan. Because of his burnt wings Sampati coudn’t move so asked in his loud tone to tell him more bout Jatayu. They narrated the whole story of Jatayu’s brave deeds to Sampati. Hearing this Sampati was heartbroken. Since he couldn’t move he asked them to carry him to the ocean where he can pay his formal duties for his brother.
Hanuman then inquired about his condition. Sampati narrated his story – He and Jatayu were two brothers. When we were young and healthy, one day we decided to flew close to the sun. We flew higher and higher and when the sun’s heat was unbearable my younger brother Jatayu came back but I in my pride flew higher and closer to the sun. As a result of which my wings were burnt and fell to the ground. A kind-hearted rishi felt my pain, he brought me to his ashram and cured me. He gave me some religious preachings and told me that when god will incarnate himself in treta yug then you have to help his ambassadors find Mother Sita. Show them the way and your feathers will start growing back. Saying this his feathers started to grow back.
Sampati says that I can clearly see with my vulture eyes that far across this ocean, Mother Sita is held captive in Ashok Vatika. It’s a wondrous place and kingdom of demon king Ravan. Behind these huge palace walls mother Sita is held captive in his garden named Ashok Vatika in Lanka. He furthers adds that my feathers have started to grow back that a good sign that you will succeed in your mission. They all thanked and bid adieu to Sampati.
Now jumping the huge ocean was a task. Everyone was standing on the coast overlooking the ocean, and were worried as to how they can cross such a mighty ocean.At that instant, Jambhavant remembered about Hanuman’s lost powers.He said,”I can cross this ocean but to make a comeback would be tough for me as I am old now. But Hanuman you can do it.” He then reminds Hanumanji about his childhood mischief and how he was cursed.
Everyone sang praises in honor of Hanumaji and reminded him of his hidden powers and strength which helped him to regain his lost powers. By chanting the name of Lord Shri Ram Hanumanji started growing and growing. Everyone was surprised to see him in this form and this is when he was named “MAHAVEER” – Extremely brave or the courageous one. Remembering Shri Ram in his heart Hanumanji took the leap and crossed the 100 yojan samudar (800 miles ocean) and reached Lanka in search of mother Sita.
HANUMAN’S OCEAN TRIP TO LANKA – MAINAK PARVAT
Hanumanji took a leap and his size was as big as Mahendra parvat.He took a big leap and started flying over the sea.He looked like as if a giant mountain itself is flyng across the sky. The sea asked Mainak Parvat to come out of the ocean bed right in front of Hanuman so that he can take some rest on you. As a result of a punishment* Mainak Parvat remained submerged in ocean but on the command of sea it came out of the water and asked Hanuman, “O lord, I am Mainak Parvat, I am here to serve you. Please take rest on me for a little while. I have brought you some delicious fruits.Come and sit on me”.
I have a story to tell you. In earlier times mountains had wings and they could fly as they please. As a result of which many animals and birds would get crushed under us. Seeing this Indra cut off all the wings with his thunderbolt but I was saved by your father Vayu dev. He was kind enough to blow me into the ocean otherwise Indra would have cut off my wings too.” Hanuman was in no mood to listen to any stories. He said,”Please forgive me Mainak,I am in a hurry and I cannot rest on you.” Saying this Hanuman continued on his journey to Lanka.
HANUMAN’S OCEAN TRIP TO LANKA – NAAGMATA SURSA
By now devtas understood that Hanuman is unstoppable but they still wanted to test him so they asked Naagmata Sursa to test his valor and stop Hanuman midway. She grew taller and taller and transformed herself into a huge Rakshas woman and obstructed the path of Hanuman. Seeing a monster sitting in between his path Hanuman requested her to give him the path as he is on a mission to find Mother Sita. She replied,”No one can cross the ocean without passing through my mouth. Come into my mouth.” Saying that Sursa opened her huge mouth.
Sursa paid no heed to Hanuman’s repeatedly request. Hanuman then said,” Open up your mouth so big that I can pass.” In delight, Sursa started to open her mouth wider and wider. In comparison to her mouth Hanumaji started to grow bigger and bigger. By now Sursa’s mouth was several times bigger than Hanuman.This is what Hanuman was waiting for, he shrank his size to that of a small mosquito and before Sursa could match up to that size Hanuman entered her large and ugly mouth and quickly slipped out of it. Sursa was very pleased with Hanuman’s quick thinking. She blessed him and Hanuman was on his way to Lanka.
HANUMAN’S OCEAN TRIP TO LANKA – FEMALE DEMON SIMHIKA
After seeking blessing from Sursa Hanuman continued on his journey. Soon he realized he couldn’t move, to his surprise his shadow was trapped in the clutches of a sea – demon named Simhika. Hanuman then saw an ugly creature rising form the sea. She was a ferocious looking demon, black as a coal and had a huge belly. These creatures kill their prey by grabbing their shadows. He had heard from King Sugriv about this creature – one who grabs hold of anyone by their shadows.He thought to himself that he should get rid of this trouble soon to avoid further delay. Seeing Hanuman, Simhika’s mouth started to water she opened her wide mouth.
It was so huge that her opened mouth touched the sky. Hanuman thought to defeat a monster this size I should enter her stomach and kill her. Without wasting any minute Hanuman shrank to his tiniest size and entered her mouth. Inside Hanuman went on a rampage and started clawing her organs with his sharp fingernails. Gripped by pain, Simhika opened her mouth with a loud painful howl and Hanuman jumped out of it. Once out, Hanuman resumed his original form and started hitting Simhika with his mace till she dropped dead in the sea.
HANUMAN REACHES LANKA – LANKINI ENCOUNTER
Hanuman resumed his journey and soon he spotted lush green trees along the seashore. He was sure that he has reached Lanka. He was still in his gigantic size and to avoid any more troubles Hanuman shrank back to his tiniest form. He set himself atop of Trikut Parvat (mountain) from where he could get a good vision of Sone Ki Lanka – Golden city Lanka which was situated in Trikuta Hills.
This city was build by Vishwakarma – the architect of gods and it was not only beautiful; it was guarded and protected well from all sides. Ravan’s Lanka had four entrance doors, located in each directions and were heavily guarded. Hanuman had no intentions of getting caught by the rakshas so he waited till it was night time to enter the city. Hanumanji entered Lanka through its northern gate. To observe the city more closely Hanuman reduced to a size of a thumb.
As he advanced looking at those big mansions and golden gates of Lanka, a loud shrill voice startled him. “You monkey, who are you and why are you wandering my city at night?” asked Lankini – the female rakshas, gate keeper of Lanka.
Not frightened by her Hanuman asked,”I’ll answer all your questions but first answer who are you and why are you blocking my path?”
Hanuman was very angry at Lankini’s response and since she was a woman Hanuman just slapped her with his left arm and that slap was enough to knock Lankini down. “Have mercy on me O lord! I know who you are. I remember Brahmaji telling me that when I will be defeated by a Vanar consider from that day forth Lanka will be on the verge of destruction. Since King Ravan has brought Mother Sita to Lanka, Lanka has lost its charm and I know that Lanka’s doomsday is near”, cried Lankini. She continued sayng,” O vanar, welcome to Lanka and you may go wherever you feel like, may you find Mother Sita soon.” Hanuman resumed his tiny form and entered Lanka.
HANUMAN MEETING VIBHISAN IN LANKA
Hanumanji entered lanka and started searching each and every house and mansion but could not find Mother Sita. It was night time and everyone was either asleep or planning to sleep. Hanumanji had no issue in roaming the streets of Lanka. Words can’t describe Lanka it was so magnificent and it had gold everywhere on doors, windows, stairs everywhere. Hanuman explored Ravan’s palace and the entire Lanka but couldn’t find Mother Sita. He was tormented at this thought and then suddenly he saw a temple with tulsi plant growing all around it. He thought,”How can a devotee of my Lord Ram live among these rakshas? ”
Hanumanji was curious to know more about this place so he jumped over the wall of that temple and peeped inside to have a look. Since it was close to dawn (early morning hours before sunrise) the man of the house woke up chanting “Shri Ram, Shri Ram.” Hanumanji was extremely delighted to hear his Lord’s name. Hanumanji disguised himself as priest and decided to meet that person.Seeing a brahmin in his house that man was stunned. He asked,” Dear Brahmin, who are you and how could you enter Lanka without being noticed by any of the rakshas? Tell me, I am Vibhishan, brother of Ravan.”
Hearing to Vibhisan’s sweet talks Hanuman revealed his true form and replied, “I am Hanuman, my Lord Shri Ram has sent me to Lanka to find Mother Sita.” After learning about Hanuman, Vibhisan felt elated and very happy. Hanuman was amazed to see such devotion for Shri Ram in a place like Lanka.Vibhisan took him inside his house and offered Hanuman some fruits but Hanuman refused to accept any of those as he was on a mission. He inquired about Mother Sita and Vibhisan provided him with all the details. He told Hanuman that Mother SIta is in Ashok Vatika and that place is well guarded, he advised Hanuman to proceed with caution.
HANUMAN MEETS SITA
After taking leave from Vibhisan, Hanuman assumed his tiny form and in order to reach Ashok Vatika he jumped from branch to branch without being noticed. After reaching there he hid himself atop a cluster of trees and examined the whole place. There he saw a woman sitting under a tree all surrounded by rakshashnis (lady demons).She looked exhausted, sleep derived and very weak.
All the rakshashnis were keeping a watchful eye on Mother Sita and threatening her to listen to King Ravan’s wish. She just sat there crying and reciting Shri Ram’s name in her heart. He took no time in recognizing her,”This is Mother Sita”, said Hanumaji to himself. Since it was already morning he couldn’t get down and speak to Mother Sita so he sat up there in the trees and waited for sundown.
Just then he heard shouts of “Lankapati ki jai ho – Victory to Lanka King Ravan” followed by loud beating of the drums and blowing of the horns.Hanuman saw the demon king Ravan coming towards Ashok Vatika along with all his wives. He stood in front of Mother Sita and started threatening her with his strength and powers.
Mother Sita was not moved by Ravan’s threats. Seeing Mother Sita paying no heeds to his threats he warned her,” I give you one month time to think and if you fail to do so I will kill you.” Filled with anger and disappointment Ravan left along with his wives. Hanumanji witnessed the whole incident sitting admist the trees. He was fuming with anger, he just wanted to get down and attack Ravan but seeing the whole situation Hanuman had to curb his anger.
After Ravan left, all the rakshasis started to threaten Mother Sita. A rakshasi named Trijata, who was a wise and an ardent devotee of Ram tried to calm Mother Sita with her spiritual words. She then addressed her fellow rakshasis by saying,”I had a very scary dream last night and in my dreams I saw a monkey destroying Lanka, he set the whole Lanka on fire. This monkey was none other than a messenger of Shree Ram. Ravan, Kumbhkaran and Meghnath were killed and Vibhisan was crowned the king of Lanka. All you could hear was chanting of Shri Ram’s name. Sisters believe me, I think this dream of mine will soon be true.Stop harrassing Mother Sita and start respecting her.”
Listening to such a horrible dream all the rakshasis were scared and they all threw themselves at the feet of Mother Sita. Mother Sita addressed to Trijata,” Trijata! you are such a nice person.You are trying to save me from these rakshasis but didn’t you hear what your king Ravan just said. He has given me a month’s time and if my Lord Shri Ram doesn’t find me in that time please tell me what will I do?”
Trijata was overcomed by sorrow after listening to Mother Sita. She assured her,” O dear mother! please don’t loose hope, Shree Ram is no ordinary being, he is the master of three worlds he will surely save you from our King Ravan. Have patience.” After consoling her she along with other Rakshasis sat down under a tree to take rest.
Hanumanji was waiting for this opportunity. After making sure that everyone was asleep, Hanuman came down from the top branch to the lowest one and dropped Shri Ram’s mudrika (ring) in front Mother Sita. (This ring was given to Hanuman by Shree Ram when Hanuman was leaving in search of Mother Sita along with other Vanar’s.) Seeing Shri Ram’s ring Mother Sita was elated. She couldn’t imagine what her eyes were seeing. She looked around anxiously.
Holding the ring in her hand, she asked,” Who brought me my Lord’s ring. Is this some kind of magic. Is someone here, please come forward?” Saying this Mother Sita looked in every direction and Hanumanji who was hiding on a tree all this time came out of hiding. She was astonished to see a little monkey standing in front of her with folded hands and his eyes were filled with tears. Thinking that Mother Sita may mistake him as one of Ravan’s men Hanumanji started singing praises in honor of Shri Ram.
She was delighted to hear Shri Ram’s name. In that state of mind she asked,” Who are you and how did you enter Lanka? Did my Lord sent you here? Where did you get this ring from? Are you a rakshas and playing tricks with me?”
Seeing her disturbed, Hanumanji replied,” Mother, I am Hanuman, messenger of Shri Ram. What strength do I have, it is with Shri Ram’s blessings that I could enter Lanka and with his permission I have come to Lanka to find you.” He then narrated the whole story of how he and Shri Ram met.
She was overjoyed to hear this and with her cracking voice she inquired, ” How is Shri Ram and Lakshman? Are they all well? When are they going to come and take me away? Did you hear what that rakshas said he is going to kill me.”
Hanuman assured Mother Sita,” Mother, now that I have found you, Shri Ram and Lakshman with come soon, kill Ravan and his rakshas forces and take you away from this place. Till that time please don’t loose hope.” ” But how can a tiny vanar like you and other’s fight with Ravan’s forces?, she inquired.
Hanumanji smiled and replied,” Mother, we have the strength and courage of our Lord Shri Ram. With the blessings of our supreme lord we can destroy any enemy we come across in the battlefield. Let me reveal you my true form.” To calm all her fears, Hanuman revealed his true form which was as big as the sky and strong like a mountain. Mother Sita was stunned to see this, she said,” Hanuman come to your original form before anyone spots you. Now I know that Ravan’s end is near. You should now return to Shri Ram and tell him to come soon and rescue me.” Hanumanji then asked Mother Sita that he is hungry can he eat some fruits around this vatika.
HANUMAN BURNS LANKA
After seeking permission from Mother Sita, Hanumaji walked towards the orchard and started plucking some fruits. Hanuman was so hungry that in order to quench his hunger he started uprooting the trees. In those trees some of the rakshas were resting and seeing a small monkey trying to destroy their vatika they ran towards him to attack him. Hanuman who was busy enjoying his fruits, gave those rakshas a blow which flew them into the air and later dropped them onto the ground. All those who came to save their vatika was either killed or injured by Hanuman. He jumped all over that vatika breaking trees after trees. Ravan’s beautiful Ashokvtika which was once a leisure and beautiful place was now in shambles. A few frightened rakshas managed to escape and reached Ravan’s palace to inform him about the whole incident.
” Maharaj! a monkey has destroyed our Ashok Vatika and has killed many rakshas”, shouted a wounded guard. Ravan was surprised to learn that how could an ordinary monkey single handedly kill his powerful men. He was filled with anger and he shouted,” Go and capture that monkey. Tie him up and bring him in front of me.” Hearing Ravan’s command everyone rushed out of the palace to kill Hanuman.
Hanuman saw them coming and he cried, “Jai Shri Ram – Victory to Shri Ram” and leaped towards them. But as fate would have it, they all met their death. Reciting the name of his Lord – Ram, Ram Ram; Hanuman killed thousands of heavily armed rakshas including the powerful Jambhumali, chief commander of his army. Jambhumali shot a sharp arrow at Hanuman who sat upon the vatika roof but Hanuman killed him.
Ravan was shocked to hear about Jambhmali’s death, he soon dispatched some of his other heroic rakshas to capture Hanuman but they all met their fate just like Jambhumali. Learning that his heroic rakshas were also slaughtered, Ravan now decided to send his dear son Akshayakumara, in his eight- horsedrawn chariot to fight with Hanuman.Akshayakumara chariot was a special one as it was blessed that it cannot be destroyed.
When he reached Ashok Vatika he started raining arrows at Hanuman but Hanuman was ready to fight his enenmies. Soon his eternal chariot was broken into pieces by Hanuman leaving Akshayakumara in shock. To take revenge he attacked Hanuman with all his weapons (club, sword, arrows) but all the weapons were destroyed by Hanuman. Soon Akshayakumara flew in the sky and so did Hanuman and they they fought a fierce batte in sky. In the end Hanuman gave a huge blow to Akshayakumara, that he fell dead on the ground. Ravan was in a state of disbelief when he learned about his son’s untimely death.
Raged with anger Ravan screamed so loudly that the whole land shivered in fear. He announced that to avenge his son’s death he himself will go and kill that monkey. But his other son named Meghnath ( which means “thundering of the clouds”; also known as Indrajeet ), the most powerful and obedient one came forward and sought permission to defeat this monkey. At first Ravan was reluctant but later granted him permission.
In his chariot and followed by a huge army Meghnath left for Ashok Vatika. From the sounds of trumprets and the march Hanuman understood that someone big is coming to fight him but he sat unmoved on a tree.
Seeing the condition of Ashok Vatika, Meghnath was filled with anger and he challenged Hanuman to fight with him.He shouted, ” Monkey, you have caused enough destruction to our kingdom, now I have come to teach you a lesson.” They both got indulged in a fierce battle. Meghnath attacked Hanuman with his powerful shafts and Hanuman destroyed all of them.
Later Meghnath used a celestial weapon named “BRAHMASTRA” to strike Hanuman. When Hanuman saw BRAHMASTRA, he did not want to counteract it as it would show disrespect to Lord Brahma’s weapon so he thought of surrendering.On the other note Hanuman thought that it was high time to meet Ravan. Hanuman got trapped in BRAHMASTRA and fell to the ground. Meghnath tied Hanuman with a rope and dragged him to meet Ravan. When Hanuman entered Ravan’s court he saw Ravan and all other rakshas staring at him with surprise and anger.
Finding him to be an ordinary monkey Ravan growled and asked,” Who are you and what brings you to Lanka? Why have you played havoc on Lanka, speak up or face punishment?”
“I am Hanuman, messenger of Shri Ram”, replied Hanuman, proudly holding his head high, “With his permission I came to Lanka in search of Mother Sita. Let go of her and seek forgiveness from Shri Ram. If you fail to do so than I assure you, your end is near. The whole monkey clan has joined Shri Ram who himself is the supreme lord and a great warrior in all the three worlds. Wake up Ravan! to save yourself and your people from the wrath of Shri Ram, return Mother Sita to him and he will forgive you.”
Ravan was furious at the arrogant words of Hanuman and standing in his court he had the audacity to threaten Lankapati Ravan. Ravan’s anger was beyond control and he order his ministers to kill this insolent monkey. Vibhisan who was watching all this silently rose up from his seat and with folded hands he said,” Brother! it is not right to kill a messenger, its against the royal principles. Please reconsider your decision and grant him some other punishment instead of killing him.” Vibhisan tried to deter Ravan from killing Hanuman. Hanuman was very pleased with Vibhisan’s words. All the other ministers in the court supported Vibhisan’s suggestion.
Ravan, who desperately wanted to punish this messenger for killing his army and son; with an evil laugh uttered,” A monkey’s tail is his prized possession, so set his tail on fire and send him off to his friends and family.” He further said to wrap his tail in cloth and set it on fire and then he should be paraded around the Lanka city so that all those who were afraid of this monkey should now see his condition.
Everyone in the court except Vibhisan was delighted to hear this decision.Few of the ministers came forward to wrap his tail in oil but to their utter surprise Hanuman’s tail started to grow longer and longer until it circled the whole city. Even after hours of wrapping and using up all the scraps of cloths they had in Lanka they couldn’t cover his tail which kept on growing.Finally they decided to pour oil on that tail before setting it on fire. They took him to the center of the city before setting the tail on fire so that the people can enjoy this view.
The moment they set fire to his tail,with a deafening roar Hanuman jumped high into the air and assumed his gigantic form -all the ropes which were holding him became loose and fell off. All the rakshas ran off seeing this sight. Hanuman then again took his small size and jumped to the top of a roof. With his tail blazing and chanting Shri Ram’s name he started jumping from one roof to the other, setting the whole Lanka ablaze. Rakshas were running around to save their lives. Hanuman burnt the entire Lanka leaving Ashok Vatika and Vibhisan’s house. Soon the golden city of Lanka changed into heaps of ashes. Finally, Hanuman jumped into the sea to put out the flame set to his tail.
Because of all this Hanuman was tired so he resumed his small form and before leaving Lanka he went to Ashok Vatika once again to meet Mother Sita. He greeted her with folded hands and said,” Mother! my work here in Lanka is done but before leaving please give me something so that I can prove Shri Ram that I have met you in Lanka.” Soon she took of her Chudamani( a gemset jewelry with is worn by ladies at the back of heir head) and placed it in Hanuman’s hand.
Hanuman was overcomed with joy, he bowed in Mother Sita’s feet and said, ” Mother have courage for few days and soon you would see hordes of monkey and Shri Ram and Lakshman coming across the ocean to rescue you.” Mother Sita blessed him, and said, “Hanuman! convey my regards to my Lord and may you succeed in your mission.” After taking leave from Mother Sita, Hanuman reached the ocean shore and with a loud roar he leaped into the air. His mind was filled with satisfaction as he had accomplished his task and chanting Shri Ram’s name in his heart he continued his journey and soon he reached to the other side where everyone – Angad, Jhambvant and others were waiting for him.
* King Bali was cursed by Matanga Rishi that if he entered Rishymukha Mountain he will die. When Bali was the ruler of Kishkindha he killed a demon named Dundhubhi. With full force he kicked the demon body towards Rishymukha Mountain. The demon body fell in the ashram of Sage Matanga Rishi who lived in Rishymukha Mountains polluting the ashram and seeing this Matanga Rishi cursed King Bali that his head will blast into pieces if he entered the Rishymukh Mountain. Sugriv knew this secret and when being chased by King Bali he took refuge in Rishymukha Mountain.