Then, after fulfilling his heart's wish, Hanuma, looking over Lanka, thought about the remaining act to be done, with an augmented energy. "Which act indeed is remaining now to be done by me here that may further create anguish to these demons? I have demolished the garden. I have killed excellent demons. I destroyed a portion of the army. The demolition of the fort is still remaining. When the fort gets destroyed, the task (of Rama's battle) will be devoid of fatigue. Even with a small effort in this task, the work will become fruitful. It is justified to satisfy this blazing flame on my tail, by feeding it to the full, with these excellent houses (in the city of Lanka)."
Then, Hanuma, with his burning tail, strolled over the house-tops of Lanka, like a cloud charged with lightning. Surveying the gardens and lofty palatial mansions, that Hanuma, without fear, passed from one house to another, of the demons. Jumping down on Prahasta's house, the valiant Hanuma, with great swiftness, having strength equal to wind, scattering fire on it, jumped over from there, to another house belonging to Mahaparsva. Hanuma, with great swiftness, having strength equal to wind, scattering fire on it, jumped over from there, to another house belonging to Mahaparsva. Hanuma scattered a fire there resembling a flame of fire that is to destroy the world.
That Hanuma, of great splendour, then leapt to the houses of Vajradamshtra, Shuka and Sarana, the intelligent. Leaving the house of Vibhishana, Hanuma of great splendour, went successively to the houses of Rashmiketu, Surya shatru, Hrasvakarna, Damshtra, Romasha the demon, Yuddhonmatta, Matta, Dhvajagreeva the demon, the terrific Vidyujjihva, Hastimukha, Karala, Pishacha, Shonitaaksha, Kumbhakarna, Makaraksha, Yajnashatru, Brahmashatru, Narantaka, Kumbha as also the evil-minded Nikumbha and burnt the houses.
That Hanuma of great fame burnt away wealth in the mansions of the rich. Having passed over all the houses, the mighty and glorious Hanuma thereafter approached the house of Ravana the king of demons. Thereafter, scattering a blazing fire located at the tip of his tail, on that principal house, decorated with various kinds of precious stones, resembling Mounts Meru and Mandara as also embellished with all good work, the valiant Hanuma roared like a cloud thundering at noon-time in a rainy season.
In contact with the wind, the fire escalated with a great speed and intensity, blazing like a fire that is to destroy the world. The wind carried the blazing fire to other houses. In conjunction with the wind, the fire became very swift.
Those large houses, with golden windows, embedded with pearls, gems and precious jewels were shattered to pieces. The demons, who were running hither and thither to protect their houses and who lost their spirits and abundant wealth, created a tumultuous nose, saying "Alas! The fire-god has come really in a form of this monkey!"
Some women crying and carrying their suckling’s with their hair dishevelled, fell down from their houses, which were enveloped with fire, and shone like flashes of lightning falling from clouds in the sky. That Hanuma saw molten metals mixed with diamonds, corals, cat's eye-gems, pearls and silver, surging from every marvellous house.
As the fire does not get satisfied with any amount of firewood and straw fed to it, Hanuma was not wearied in killing any number of demons. The earth was not then wearied in receiving the number of demons killed by Hanuma (in her lap). Flames of fire glittered like Kimshuka flowers at some places, blossoms of Shalmali tree at some places and like saffron-flowers at some other places.
The high souled Hanuma, the swift monkey scorched the city of Lanka, as Rudra scorched the city of Tripura. Then, the fire having a terrific prowess, diffused by the swift Hanuma, stretching out a circle of flames, blazed and rose up to the summit of the mountain on which the city of Lanka.
That fire diffused on those buildings, together with the wind picked up a speed equal to that of a fire at the time of dissolution of the world. It grew taller, touching the sky with a smokeless splendour. Those flames of fire shot up, as inflamed by ghee. The great fire persisted, surrounding the entire Lanka, having a good splendour equal to that of millions of suns and blazed like a broken-up hemi-sphere of the world, creating many sounds of a wide-spread thunderbolt.
The fire with a fierce splendour there, extended fully to the sky, shooting flames like Kumshuka flowers. The clouds, bearing the colour of blue lotuses, shone as covered by smoke formed out of the extinguished fire. "He is not a monkey. He is either Indra the Lord of celestials wielding a thunderbolt, or Yama the lord of death of water, or the wind-god or the fire seated in the third eye of Lord Shiva or the sun-god or Kubera the lord of riches or the moon-god. He may be Kala (the Time-spirit) himself. Whether the rage of four-faced Brahma, the grand father of all and the creator of all has arrived here in the guise of a monkey, playing the role of a destroyer of demons?"
"Or whether a supreme bright energy of Vishnu, the lord of maintenance of the Universe, unthinkable, unmanifest, infinite and pearless, arrived now, assuming the form of a monkey for the destruction of demons, by virtue of Her extraordinary power?"
Thus spoke all those excellent troops of demons in multitude, gathering together there, on seeing that city scorched so soon, with its host of living beings, houses and trees. Then, Lanka having been scorched with its demons, horses, chariots, elephants, multitude of birds, animals and trees, cried pitiably with tumultuous noise. Making a very terrific noise with a dreadful sound, the demons cried in various ways as follows: "O my dear beloved son! O my beloved husband! O my friend! O my very auspicious life, filled with enjoyments!"
That Lanka appeared as though afflicted by a curse, as defeated by a strong fury of Hanuma, enveloped by flames of fire, with its distinguished heroes killed and with its warriors in retreat. Hanuma, with his great mind, saw Lanka with its dazed, frightened and dejected demons, marked by blazing flames of fire and afflicted by the fury of Brahma the creator of the universe.
After demolishing the garden which was full of excellent trees, killing great demons in battle and burning that city endowed with a series of excellent houses, Hanuma the monkey and the son of wind-god, stood at ease. Standing there on the wonderful flat summit of Mount Trikuta, Hanuma the foremost leader of the monkeys, having a garland of flames formed by his blazing tail, shone like the sun having a garland of rays.
Killing those multitudes of demons, demolishing that garden endowed with several trees and scattering fire on the houses of demons, the high-souled Hanuma sought Rama with his mind. Then, all the multitude of celestials enlogised that Hanuma, the principal warrior of the monkeys, possessing great strength and swiftness similar to the wind, greatly intelligent and the most excellent. Demolishing the garden, killing the demons in battle, Hanuma of great splendour shone brightly, after burning the beautiful City of Lanka.
Seeing that city of Lanka burnt there, celestials, saints and great sages along with celestial’s musicians, got a colossal surprise. Seeing that Hanuma, the foremost among the monkeys and a mighty monkey, all the created beings were frightened, thinking of him as a fire that is to destroy the world.
Thus completes 54th Chapter of Sundara Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.
© April, 2006, K. M. K. Murthy