The legend of Black Cave is informed to Hanuma and others by Swayamprabha, the sainted lady who safeguards the paradisaical creation of a demon named Maya. Maya crafted this cave as a heaven on earth, for which the infuriated Indra eliminated Maya. Hema, an apsara, nymphal-virtuoso accords this fantastic creation to Swayamprabha. Swayamprabha offers hospitality to all the monkeys who entered that cave.
iti uktvā hanumān tatra punaḥ kṛṣṇa ajina aṃbarām |
abravīt tām mahābhāgām tāpasīm dharma cāriṇīm || 4-51-1
1. iti uktvaa hanumaan tatra = thus, on saying, Hanuma, there; punaH kR^iSNa ajina ambaraam = again, to one with black deer, skin, dressed in; abraviit taam mahaabhaagaam = spoke, to her, most reverential lady; taapasiim dharma caariNiim = sainted lady, in probity, conducting herself.
Thus, Hanuma on saying therein [that subject,] again spoke to that most reverential and sainted lady who is dressed in black deerskin and conducting herself in probity. [4-51-1]
idam praviṣṭāḥ sahasā bilam timira saṃvṛtam |
kṣut pipāsā pariśrāṃtāḥ parikhinnāḥ ca sarvaśaḥ || 4-51-2
2. idam [vayam] praviSTaaH sahasaa = here, [we,] entered, suddenly; bilam timira samvR^itam = cavity, with darkness, overspread; kSut pipaasaa parishraantaaH = with hunger, thirst, overtired; pari khinnaaH ca sarvashaH = overawed, also, anywise.
"Overtired with hunger and thirst we are overawed anywise, and we suddenly entered this cavity, which is overspread with darkness..." [Thus Hanuma is speaking to her.] [4-51-2]
mahat dharaṇyā vivaram praviṣṭāḥ sma pipāsitāḥ |
imām tu evam vidhān bhāvān vividhān adbhuta upamān || 4-51-3
dṛṣṭvā vayam pravyathitāḥ saṃbhrāṃtā naṣṭa cetasaḥ |
kasya ete kāṃcanā vṛkṣāḥ taruṇa āditya sannibhāḥ || 4-51-4
3, 4. mahat dharaNyaa vivaram = extensive, earth's, hollow; praviSTaaH sma pipaasitaaH = entered, we, thirstily; imaam tu evam vidhaan bhaavaan = these, but, this, kind of, mansion; vividhaan adbhuta upamaan = diverse, marvel, similar [marvellous ones]; dR^iSTvaa vayam pravyathitaaH sambhraantaa naSTa cetasaH = on seeing, we are, verily agitated, verily amazed, lost, hearts [agonised]; kasya ete kaancanaa vR^ikSaaH = whose, all these, golden, trees; taruNa aaditya sannibhaaH = young, sun, splendent like.
"We entered this extensive hollow of earth thirstily, but on seeing this kind of these diverse and marvellous mansions we are verily amazed [presuming that this is a dominion of some demon,] and we are agitated [in not knowing dos and don'ts,] and agonised [at our incarceration...] whose trees are all these golden ones, splendent like young sun... [4-51-3, 4]
śucīni abhyavahāryāṇi mūlāni ca phalāni ca |
kāṃcanāni vimānāni rājatāni gṛhāṇi ca || 4-51-5
tapanīya gava akṣāṇi maṇi jāla āvṛtāni ca |
5, 6a shuciini abhyavahaaryaaNi = depurated, edibles; muulaani ca phalaani ca = tubers, also, fruits, also; kaancanaani vimaanaani = golden, aircrafts; raajataani gR^ihaaNi ca = silvern, mansion, also; tapaniiya gavaakSaaNi = molten god [golden,] ventilators; maNi jaala aavR^itaani ca = jewelly, laces, overspread [encased,] also.
"The edibles, tubers, and fruits are all depurated... golden are the aircrafts... mansions silvern... ventilators golden and encased in jewelly laces... [4-51-5, 6a]
puṣpitāḥ phālavantaḥ ca puṇyāḥ surabhi gandhayaḥ || 4-51-6
ime jāṃbūnadamayāḥ pādapāḥ kasya tejasā |
6b, 7a. puSpitaaH phaalavantaH ca = flowered, fruited, also; puNyaaH surabhi gandhayaH = auspicious, scented, aromatically; ime jaambuunadamayaaH paadapaaH = these, completely golden, trees; kasya tejasaa = by whose, splendour.
"Flowered and fruited and also aromatically scented are these auspicious and completely golden trees... by whose splendour [they are rendered thus?] [4-51-6b, 7a]
kāṃcanāni ca padmāni jātāni vimale jale || 4-51-7
katham matsyāḥ ca sauvarṇā dṛśyante saha kacchapaiḥ |
7b, 8a. kaancanaani ca padmaani = golden, also, lotuses; jaataani vimale jale = born, in limpid, water; katham matsyaaH ca sauvarNaa = how, fishes, also, are golden; dR^ishyante saha kacChapaiH = ostensibly, with, tortoises.
"Also how the lotuses born in limpid water are golden, and how the fishes along with tortoises are ostensibly golden? [4-51-7b, 8a]
ātmānaḥ anubhāvāt vā kasya vai etat tapo balam || 4-51-8
ajānatām naḥ sarveṣām sarvam ākhyātum arhasi |
8b, 9a. aatmaanaH anu bhaavaat vaa = of yours, innate, owing to prodigy, or; kasya vai etat tapaH balam = whose, indeed, all this, ascesis', prowess; a jaanataam naH sarveSaam = not, knowing [oblivious of,] us, all of; sarvam aakhyaatum arhasi = all of it, to narrate, apt of you.
"Or, is all this owing to the innate prodigy of yours or to whose ascesis' prowess all this is owed... as all of us are oblivious of it, so it will be apt of you to narrate all of it..." [Thus Hanuma requested that sainted lady.] [4-51-8b, 9a]
evam uktā hanumatā tāpasī dharma cāriṇī || 4-51-9
prati uvāca hanūmaṃtam sarva bhūta hite ratā |
9b, 10a. evam uktaa hanumataa = thus, she is addressed, by Hanuma; taapasii dharma caariNii = sainted lady, righteous, of conduct; prati uvaaca hanuumantam = in turn, spoke [replied,] to Hanuma; sarva bhuuta hite rataa = all, beings, in well-being, blissful one.
Thus when Hanuma addressed her, that sainted lady, and a blissful one in the well being of all the beings, she replied Hanuma. [4-51-9b, 10a]
mayo nāma mahātejā māyāvī dānavarṣabhaḥ || 4-51-10
tena idam nirmitam sarvam māyayā kāṃcanam vanam |
10b, 11a. mayaH naama mahaatejaa [aasiit] = Maya, named, great-resplendent one [a marvellous fantasist] [was there]; maayaavii daanava R^iSabhaH = a wizard, demon, bullish; tena idam nirmitam = by him, this is, constructed; sarvam maayayaa kaancanam vanam = all this, with expertise in illusiveness [phenomenal expertise,] golden, woodland.
"A marvellous fantasist by name Maya was there, a bullish demon of wizardry and by him with his phenomenal expertise all this golden woodland is constructed..." [Thus, that sainted lady started her narration.] [4-51-10b]
purā dānava mukhyānām viśvakarmā babhūva ha || 4-51-11
yena idam kāṃcanam divyam nirmitam bhavana uttamam |
11b, 12a. puraa daanava mukhyaanaam = once, for demons, lords; vishva karmaa babhuuva ha = universal, craftsman, [he] became, indeed; yena idam kaancanam divyam = by whom, this, golden, heavenly; nirmitam bhavana uttamam = constructed, mansion, superb.
"Once he was the Universal Craftsman to the lords of demons by whom this divinely golden and superb mansion was constructed... [4-51-11]
sa tu varṣa sahasrāṇi tapaḥ taptvā mahat vane || 4-51-12
pitāmahāt varam lebhe sarvam auśasanam dhanam |
12b, 13a saH tu varSa sahasraaNi = he, but, years, thousands; tapaH taptvaa mahat vane = ascesis, on practising, in [this] horrendous, forest; pitaamahaat varam lebhe = from Forefather [Brahma,] boon, obtained; sarvam aushasanam dhanam = entire, of Sage Shukra, wealth [the architecture or, the wealth of immoderate beseechers of wealth.]
"But he on practising ascesis for thousands of years in this horrendous forest, obtained a boon from Brahma, the Forefather, [which entails acquirement of] entire wealth of Sage Shukra...
"But he on practising ascesis for thousands of years in this horrendous forest, obtained a boon from Brahma, the Forefather, [which entails acquirement of] entire wealth of those people, who immoderately and avariciously beseech all the available gods, to accord all wealth to them only...[4-51-12b, 13a]
Sage Shukra, better known as Shukraacaarya, is the mentor and clan-priest of demons. He was an astounding expert to canonise the Architectural Engineering, creating paradisiacal constructions, materialising materials just from out of thin air and the like. Likewise, many humans beseech gods near at hand, to bestow wealth as godsend without an iota of their personal strain, with a confidence that when Shukraacaarya could deliver material comforts to demons from out of thin air, gods must also be bestowing riches on them, as gods have no other function than this. Hence, this demon Maya, being a demon, wanted to loot the wealth of his own demon-priest Shukraacaarya, viz., the Architectural Engineering. And Brahma granted it, as a crosswise benefit to gods.
vidhāya sarvam balavān sarva kāma īśvaraḥ tadā || 4-51-13
uvāsa sukhitaḥ kālam kaṃcit asmin mahāvane |
13b, 14a. vidhaaya sarvam balavaan = methodised, everything, dynamic one; sarva kaama iishvaraH tadaa = all, wishes, ruler of [invested with privileges for all wishes,] then; uvaasa sukhitaH = resided, comfortably; kaalam kamcit asmin mahaavane = time, some, in this, great, forest.
"That dynamic one methodised everything and then resided comfortably in this great forest for some time, privileged with all his wishes... [4-51-13b, 14a]
tam apsarasi hemāyām saktam dānava puṃgavam || 4-51-14
vikramya eva aśanim gṛhya jaghāna īśaḥ puraṃdaraḥ |
14b, 15a. tam apsarasi hemaayaam saktam = him [demon Maya,] in apsara, [the paradisiacal nymph,] with Hema, engaged with; daanava pungavam = demon, eminent one; vikramya eva ashanim gR^ihya = charging, thus, Thunderbolt, on taking; jaghaana iishaH purandaraH = eliminated, administrator [of worlds,] enemy-strongholds destroyer, namely Indra.
"Indra, the Administrator of Worlds and destroyer of enemy citadels, on taking His Thunderbolt eliminated Maya, when that eminent demon was engaged with an apsara, a paradisiacal nymph, called Hema... [4-51-14b, 15a]
idam ca brahmaṇā dattam hemāyai vanam uttamam || 4-51-15
śāśvataḥ kāma bhogaḥ ca gṛham ca idam hiraṇmayam |
15b, 16a. idam ca brahmaNaa dattam = this one, also, by Brahma, beneficed; hemaayai vanam uttamam = for Hema, woodland, marvellous one; shaashvataH kaama bhogaH ca = everlasting, wish, enjoyments [fulfillers,] also; gR^iham ca idam hiraNmayam = mansion, also, this one, golden.
"This marvellous woodland, these everlasting wish-fulfillers, and this golden mansion, are beneficed by Brahma for Hema... [4-51-15]
duhitā merusāvarṇeḥ aham tasyāḥ svayaṃprabhā || 4-51-16
idam rakṣāmi bhavanam hemāyā vānarottama |
16b, 17a. duhitaa merusaavarNeH aham = daughter, of Merusaavarni, I am; tasyaaH svayamprabhaa = of her [of that apsara,] Swayamprabha named [meaning Self-Splendent]; idam rakSaami bhavanam = this, safeguarding, mansion; hemaayaa vaanarottama = of Hema, oh, best monkey.
"I am the daughter of Merusaavarni, oh, best monkey, named Swayamprabha and I am safeguarding this mansion of her, [that apsara] Hema... [4-51-16b, 17a]
mama priya sakhī hemā nṛtta gīta viśāradā || 4-51-17
tayā datta varā ca asmi rakṣāmi bhavanam mahān |
17b, 18a. mama priya sakhii hemaa = my, dearest, nymphean-friend, Hema; nR^itta giita vishaaradaa = in dance, music, virtuoso; tayaa datta varaa ca asmi = by her, bestowed, boon, also, I am; rakSaami bhavanam mahaan = safeguarding, mansion, superb.
"Hema is a virtuoso in dance and music and my dearest nymphean-friend, and she bestowed a boon upon me [by which none can dishonour me, and thus] I am safeguarding this superb mansion... [4-51-17b, 18a]
The Universal Architect is given the title of vishva karma and he will be proficient, right from the skills of a blacksmith to that of an outstanding engineer. His works are always guided and as directed by Indra. Indra's logic is that there shall be one vishva karma in all three worlds, like one Indra to three worlds. But whenever Indra lies low, the demons get works done through the heavenly vishva karma, instead of appointing their own architect as their clan-priest Shukraacaarya's treasure of architecture is lost. This treasure of architecture of Shukraacaarya is usurped by this demon Maya, through Brahma. As Indra cannot defy the boon of Brahma, he baited this Hema, the apsara, to make Maya to woo her. Accordingly, demon Maya brought the nymphal-virtuoso Hema to this cavernous paradisiacal mansion and was subjected to elimination by Indra. After the elimination of this Wonder Architect, Hema departed to Brahma's abode, bequeathing this mansion to Swayamprabha. From then on Hema resided in brahma loka 'Brahma's abode...' as said at: ghR^itaaciim atha vishvaaciim.... naaga datam ca hemaam ca... in Ayodhya part II, Ch. 91, verse 17. When Sage Bharadwaja gave hospitality to Bharata, that sage says this.
kim kāryam kasya vā hetoḥ kāṃtārāṇi prapadyatha || 4-51-18
katham ca idam vanam durgam yuṣmābhiḥ upalakṣitam |
18b, 19a. kim kaaryam kasya vaa hetoH = what, work [effort,] which, or, reason; kaantaaraaNi prapadyatha = impervious forests, come to pass; katham ca idam vanam durgam = how, also, this, forest, impassable; yuSmaabhiH upalakSitam = by you all, is seen [discovered.]
"What is your effort or for what reason you came to pass this impervious forest, and how you all have discovered this impassable forest... [4-51-18b, 19a]
śucīni abhyavahāryāṇi mūlāni ca phalāni ca |
bhuktvā pītvā ca pānīyam sarvam me vaktum arhatha || 4-51-19
19b, 19c. shuciini abhyavahaaryaaNi = wholesome, edibles; muulaani ca phalaani ca = tubers, also, fruits, also; bhuktvaa = on dining; piitvaa ca paaniiyam = on drinking, also, soft-drinks; sarvam me vaktum arhatha = about all, to me, to say [inform,] apt of you.
"Dine on these wholesome edibles, fruits and tubers, also on drinking soft drinks, it is apt of you to inform me all about [your mission..." Thus Swayamprabha gave hospitality to the monkeys.] [4-51-19b, 19c]
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iti vālmīki rāmāyaṇe ādi kāvye kiṣkindha kāṇḍe eka paṃcāśaḥ sargaḥ
© Nov, 2002, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao]