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Valmiki Ramayana - Sundara Kanda in Prose Sarga 38

Hanuma asks Seetha to give him a token of remembrance, which Rama can recognize. Seetha then narrates the episode of a crow which occurred on the Chitrakuta mountain and requests Hanuma to repeat it before Rama by way of a token of recollection. She further sends greetings to both Rama and Lakshmana, conveys her enquiry about their welfare and conveys to them her resolve to survive only for a month after the expiry of the time-limit given by Ravana. Thereupon, she hands over to Hanuma her jewel for the head as a token of remembrance.

 

Hearing those words of Seetha, the eloquent Hanuma was very much pleased and spoke to Seetha (as follows): 

"O Seetha, the beautiful princess! Whatever you spoke is befitting. It is in keeping with woman's nature and humility of a chaste women. It is indeed not fit for a woman to mount on my back and traverse an extensive ocean, which is having a width of one hundred yojanas. O Seetha endowed with modesty! The second reason you mentioned that you would not be touching any one else other then Rama is befitting of you, the wife of that high soled Rama. O princess! which other lady except you can speak of such sweet words?"

"O princess! I can completely inform Rama of all that you have done and of all that you have spoken before me. O princess! All this was told by me because of several reasons, being desirous of doing good to Rama ad with my mind moistened with affection towards him. I spoke this because of the unassailability of Lanka, its great ocean so difficult to be crossed and also my capacity of taking you. Because of my great affection and devotion towards you, I wish to carry you well now itself to Rama your husband. These words were not spoken by me with any other motive. 

"O faultless Seetha! If you are not willing to go with me, give me a token of remembrance which Rama can recognise."

Hearing Hanuma's words, Seetha like the daughter of a god, slowly spoke the following words, strung together with alphabets of tears: "You tell this (following) excellent thing as a token of remembrance to my beloved husband. There is a place inhabited by sages at a hillock in the north-eastern It was bountiful with roots fruits and water. In that place, while we were residing in a hermitage of sages, on a day long ago, we were strolling in water in parts of groves with various kinds of flowers of perfume in that hillock. Your thereupon became wet and sat at my proximity."

"Then, a crow, yearning for meat, began to peck me. Picking up a clod of earth, I prevented the crow from its act. Pecking me again and again, the crow was hiding there only. That crow, yearning for food, did not resign from meat. While I was angry with that bird, my skirt was slipping and I was pulling its string (so as to tighten it). I was seen by you then."

"Moved by anger, I felt abashed for being laughed at by you. Torn down by the crow, which was yearning for food, I sought shelter with you. Feeling tired, I again settled on your lap. As though angry, I was consoled by you and I was fully delighted."

"Slowly wiping my eyes, my face filled with tears, I was seen by you, O Lord, as having been annoyed by the crow. I even slept for a long time on Rama's lap because of my fatigue. In his turn, Rama the elder brother of Bharata, slept in my arms."

"Meanwhile, the same crow appeared there. Descending all of a sudden, the crow clawed me at the space between the breasts, even as I awoke from my sleep and rose from the lap of Rama. Flying up again, it tore me up a lot. Then, Rama got wet by the discharged drops of blood. Thereafter, that splendorous Rama, the annihilator of enemies, who was in a pleasant slumber, was woken up by that crow and by me who was grievously tormented by the crow. That long-armed Rama, seeing me pierced violently on the breasts, then spoke the following words, hissing like an angry serpent."

"O Seetha the round-thighed woman! Who has wounded the space between your breasts? who is playing with a fire-faced serpent filled with fury? Then, throwing a glance around, Rama saw that crow with its sharp claws moistened with blood and sitting in front of me alone."

"That crow, the best among birds, seems to be the son of Indra the Lord of celestials, staying in mountains and moving with a peed equal to the wind. Then, the long-armed Rama, the best among wise men, swirling his eyes in anger, made a resolve in the matter of that ferocious crow. Taking a blade of Kusa grass from his bed ( made of Kusa grass), Rama employed it to work with Brahma's missile (a mythical weapon which deals with infallible destruction). That blazing shoot of grass, resembling a fire destroying the world, flared up in front of that bird. As Rama threw that blazing blade of Kusa grass towards that crow, that blade of grass went chasing that crow in the sky."

"Then, while that blade of grass came chasing, that crow went flying in many a way. Seeking protection, it roamed all over the world. Roaming the three worlds in search of a saviour, that crow was abandoned by Indra; its father, the celestials and the sages. Finally, it sought refuge in the same Rama."

"That Rama, who affords protection, was compassionate and protected that crow, which fell on the ground (in salutation to Rama) and sought for protection, eventhough it was apt to be killed. Seeing that crow, coming exhausted and dejected, Rama said to it: 'It is not possible to make Brahma missile a waste. For this reason, tell me what to do now."

Thereafter, that crow said "Let your arrow shoot my right eye." Then that blade of Kusa grass shooted the right eye of that crow. By giving away its right eye in that way, the crow saved its life. After offering salutations to Rama and King Dasaratha and being discharged by that valiant Rama, the crow returned to its own abode."

"O lord of the earth! For my sake you hurled a Brahma's missile even at a crow. Why are you forgiving the one who has taken me away from you? O Rama the best among men! You, with great strength, annihilate the enemy and bestow your mercy on me. O Lord! She who has a protector in you, actually looks like one without any protector."

"You yourself told me that kindness is the best righteousness. I know you, having a great prowess, a great energy, and a great strength. I know your non-acquiescence, imperturbability, profoundness like an ocean, as Lord of the earth including the oceans and as equal to Indra the Lord of celestials."

"O Rama! Eventhough you are strong, excellently skilled in archery and a truthful man, why are you not utilizing your arrow on demons? Neither the serpent-demons, nor the divine musicians nor the demons nor the storm-gods are able to resist the onrush of Rama in battle. If the valiant Rama has any haste in my case, why does he not destroy the demons with his sharp arrows?!

"For what reason, even Lakshmana the tormentator of enemies, the mighty man and the valiant man does not protect me, by taking the command of his elder brother? Those two tigers among men, Rama and Lakshmana, with a sharpness equal to that of wind and fire, even if they are unconquerable by demons too, why are they neglecting me? There is not doubt that I would have committed a great sin, for which reason those two brothers Rama and Lakshmana the tormentators of enemies, even when capable , are neglecting me." 

Hearing the pitiable appeal Seetha with tears, Hanuma of great splendour and the son of wind-god spoke (as follows): "O Seetha! Rama has grown averse to everything else, caused by grief towards you. I swear it to you by truth. When Rama is overpowered by grief; Lakshmana too gets tormented by grief. O faultless Seetha! Somehow or other, you have been discovered by me. This is not the time to lament. Your will see the end of your sorrow within a short time. Those two mighty princes, the excellent among men, are eager to see you and they will reduce Lanka to ashes."

"O large-eyed Seetha! Killing the cruel Ravana along with his relatives in battle, Rama will take you back to his own city. Tell me what to be expressed to Rama or to the mighty Lakshmana or to the splendorous Sugreeva or even to the other monkeys assembled there."

Hearing the words of Hanuma, Seetha, like the daughter of a sage, tormented with grief, spoke to Hanuma the monkey (as follows): "On my behalf, salute by bowing your head and ask about the welfare of Rama, the Lord of the worlds, whom the magnanimous Kausalya gave birth. (On my behalf, ask about the welfare of ) Lakshmana, that good child of Sumitra who, having renounced the wreaths of flowers, all the riches, pleasant and beautiful girls and even the prosperity difficult to be obtained in this extensive world, offered his profound respects to and pacified his father and mother, followed Rama to exile."

"Renouncing a great comfort, the righteous Lakshmana, acting in an affectionate manner towards Rama, followed him, watching over him in the forest. Lakshmana, who has broad shoulders like that of a lion, mighty-armed, steady-minded and having pleasant looks, behaves towards Rama as towards his father and looks to me as his own mother."

"The valiant Lakshmana, on that day of occurrence, did not know that I was being taken away by Ravana. He serves elders. He possesses a splendour. Though capable, he does not talk much. To Dasaratha, my father-in-law, he is his replica a beloved and the best prince. Lakshmana, the younger brother of Rama is the one who is dearer to me always. That energetic Lakshmana carries out well, whatever load of work is entrusted to him"

"Seeing whom, Rama ceases to recollect his deceased father, that Lakshmana is to be asked about his well-being, as my word and on my behalf. O Hanuma, the excellent of monkeys and the best of monkeys! you are the model for fulfilling this act of addressing him in such a way that Lakshmana, the mild, every-pure and clever darling of Rama may bring my sorrows to an end."

"Depending on your effort, Rama will be more active with his effort the following words again and again to Rama, my Lord and the hero:"

"O Rama! I shall hold my life for a month. I cannot survive after a month I am telling you the truth. O valiant man! You are required to rescue me, detained (as I am) by Ravana the criminal and subjected to humiliation, as you (as Lord Vishnu) earlier protected Indra the Lord of celestials and Lakshmi the goddess of prosperity from the abode of servants and demons."

Then, untying the bright divine jewel for her head tied in her garment, Seetha gave it to Hanuma, saying that it might be handed over to Rama. Taking the excellent jewel, the valiant Hanuma thereupon fitted it to his finger, since his arm (eventhough he had assumed his former tiny form), was not fitting to it properly.

Receiving that jewel, Hanuma the best among the monkeys, offered his salutation to Seetha, by engaging himself in circumambulation and stood aside with humbleness. Filled with a great delight, born out of Seetha's discovery by him, that Hanuma mentally sought (the presence) of Rama but stood there with just his physical body.

Taking that excellent and highly venerable jewel, worn by Seetha and by its influence resembling one who was shaken by a blast coming from the top of a huge mountain, Hanuma was mentally pleased and set out for crossing the ocean in his return journey.

 

Thus completes 38th Chapter of Sundara Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.

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December, 2005, K. M. K. Murthy