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Valmiki Ramayana - Sundara Kanda in Prose Sarga 34

Hearing the words of the grief-stricken Seetha, Hanuma reveals himself to be a messenger of Rama and repeats the enquiries made by Rama, Lakshmana and Sugreeva. Seetha, however, suspects Hanuma to be Ravana in disguise and chides him when Hanuma approaches nearer to her. Seetha then asks Hanuma to describe the good qualities of Rama. Hanuma on his part discloses to her his actuality as a minister of Sugreeva and tells the important qualities of Rama. He requests her to have faith in his words.

 

Hearing those words of Seetha who was overthrown from one grief to another, Hanuma the best of monkeys gave the following reply in a kindly and affectionate manner.

"O Seetha the daughter of the king of Videha Kingdom! I have come here as your messenger on Rama's directions. The virtuous Rama enquired about your welfare too. O Divine Lady! Rama the son of Dasaratha, who is excellent among the knower of Veda and who knows Brahma's missile (a mythical weapon which deals infallible destruction) and Vedas the sacred knowledge, enquired about your welfare. Also the greatly splendorous Lakshmana, the favourite brother and the follower of your husband, himself tormented with grief, performed salutation to you by bowing his head." 

Hearing that news of welfare of Rama and Lakshmana the excellent of men, the divine lady, with all her limbs thrilled with joy, spoke to Hanuma (as follows): " 'Joy rushes to surviving man even though (it be) as the end of a hundred years' - this popular adage appears true and and auspicious for me." 

Seetha showed wonderful friendly disposition towards Hanuma who approached her. Both of them also conversed with each other in full confidence. Hearing that reply of Seetha who was afflicted with grief, Hanuma the army-chief of monkeys endeavoured to draw nearer to her. In as much as that Hanuma drew nearer to her, in the same way, that Seetha suspected him as Ravana.

"O shame! It was my guilt to tell him all this to him. He is indeed that Ravana, who obtained another guise." That Seetha, having faultless limbs, leaving that branch of Ashoka tree and as emaciated with grief, sat down on that ground itself.

Seeing Seetha afflicted with grief and deluded with fear, the great armed Hanuma also then simply saluted her. She too, trembling with fear, did not look towards him again. Seetha, with her countenance resembling the moon, seeing Hanuma saluting her, had a deep sigh and spoke to Hanuma in a sweet-sounding voice (as follows)

"If you are Ravana, who made use of an illusive guise and yourself a conjurer, you are causing me a further agony. It is no good. You are indeed the same Ravana, who, abandoning your real form, appeared to me in the guise of a vagrant religious mendicant in Janasthana. O demon who can assume any form at your will! It is no good that again you are causing agony to me, emaciated because of fasting and feeling very miserable. Otherwise, whatever is suspected by me is not indeed true because in my mind, a pleasurable sensation indeed occurred by reason of your audience."

"If you have come as Rama's messenger, may you be blessed! O the best of monkeys! Rama's anecdote is very pleasurable for me. Hence, I am requesting you to narrate it. "O monkey! Narrate the qualities of my beloved Rama. O gentle one! You are eroding my mind as a rapid course of stream erodes a river bank. I, who was taken away long ago, is seeing a monkey sent by Rama in this way. Alas! How delightful this dream is!'

"If I have seen the eminent Rama together with Lakshmana, I would not have disheartened. In my case, even my dream is wicked! I do not deem it as a dream. Seeing a monkey in a dream does not bring about prosperity But prosperity has come to me!"

"How possibly is it a delusion of my mind? Is it an impending course of flatulence or changing mental condition of madness? Is it a looming mirage? Otherwise, it is neither madness nor even a delusion, which is a symptom of madness. Because I am knowing about myself as also about this monkey."

Thus deliberating upon the strengths and weaknesses in several ways, Seetha finally imagined him to be Ravana, as demons can change their forms at will. Then, that slender waisted Seetha, the daughter of Janaka, thus having made up her mind, did not reply in return anything further to Hanuman.

Understanding the contemplation of Seetha, Hanuma the son of wind-god then brought about a great joy in her with his words most favourable to her ears (as follows): "Rama has a great splendour like that of the sun. He is pleasing to all like the moon. As Kubera the Lord of wealth, he is a lord to the entire world. Like Vishnu, he is greatly renowned and endowed with valour. Rama is a speaker of truth. Like Lord Brihaspati, he has a sweet voice. He is a handsome man, possessing good fortune and a royal dignity. He is a personified Manmadha, the lord of love."

"Rama gets anger only at right time. He strikes a befitting person at a right time. He is an excellent chariot-warrior. The world is resting under the shelter of arms of this high souled man. Showing an illusory antelope, Ravana detracted Rama and took you away from a deserted hermitage. You will see later, the consequence Ravana will get for this act."

"Which valiant Rama with arrows strongly shining like sparkles released with anger, by the same Rama I was sent here as a messenger and I arrived at your presence. That Rama, agonised by your separation wishes to enquire of your welfare. That long-armed Lakshmana too, having a great splendour and who augments the happiness of Sumitra his mother, saluted you and enquired about your welfare. O princess! That monkey called Sugreeva, a companion of Rama and the king of the excellent monkeys, asked about your welfare."

"Rama, together with Sugreeva and Lakshmana, is always recollecting you. O Seetha! Eventhough coming into the control female-demons, you are somehow surviving by your good lunch! Within a few days, you will see Rama, the mighty Lakshmana and the highly splendorous Sugreeva, in the presence of crores of monkeys. I am a monkey, the minister of Sugreeva, called Hanuma. I entered the city of Lanka, by traversing the great ocean."

"Asserting my strength and putting down my feet on the head of the evil minded Ravana, I have come to see you. O Princess! I am not so, as you comprehend me (as Ravana). Let your suspicion be given up. Believe me as I say it."

 

Thus completes 34th Chapter of Sundara Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.

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January, 2005, K. M. K. Murthy