Vanara-s deliverance from black hole is effectuated by Sainted Lady Swayamprabha. On listening to Hanuma about the plight of monkeys by which they entered this cavity in searching for Seetha, Sainted Lady Swayamprabha becomes sympathetic and offers guestship. When entreated by Hanuma for an exit from that incarceration, and as the time frame set by Sugreeva is lapsed in this very cavity, Swayamprabha uses her ascetic powers to transport the monkeys from that cave, which exit is otherwise impossible for any other intruder, in his aliveness.
atha tān abravīt sarvān viśrāṃtān hari yūthapān |
idam vacanam ekāgrā tāpasī dharma cāriṇī || 4-52-1
1. atha = then; dharma caariNii = she who in probity, pursuer of; eka agraa = single-mindedly concentrative; taapasii = sainted lady; vishraantaan = when relaxed; taan sarvaan hari yuuthapaan = to them, all, monkey commanders; idam vacanam abraviit = this, word, spoke.
When those monkey commanders are relaxed after refreshments, then that sainted lady, who concentrates single-mindedly and who is a pursuer of probity, spoke this word to all of them. [4-52-1]
vānarā yadi vaḥ khedaḥ pranaṣṭaḥ phala bhakṣaṇāt |
yadi ca etat mayā śrāvyam śrotum icchāmi kathatām || 4-52-2
2. vaanaraaH = oh, Vanara-s; phala bhakSaNaat = fruits, by devouring; vaH khedaH = your, enervation; pranaSTaH yadi = eased off, if; etat = all that [episode of yours]; mayaa shraavyam yadi = by me, listenable, if; [taam = that]; kathataam = episode; shrotum icChaami = to listen, I wish.
"Oh, vanara-s, if your enervation is eased off by devouring fruits, and if I may listen to that episode of yours, I wish to listen to it." Thus Swayamprabha addressed the monkeys. [4-52-2]
tasyāḥ tat vacanam śrutvā hanumān māruta ātmajaḥ |
ārjavena yathā tattvam ākhyātum upacakrame || 4-52-3
3. maaruta aatmajaH hanumaan = Air-god's, son, Hanuma; tasyaaH tat vacanam shrutvaa = of hers, that, sentence, on hearing; aarjavena = sincerely; yathaa tattvam = as per, in its pithiness; aakhyaatum upacakrame = to narrate, stated.
Hanuma, the son of Air-god, sincerely started to narrate their episode in its pithiness on hearing her words. [4-52-3]
rājā sarvasya lokasya mahendra varuṇa upamaḥ |
rāmo dāśarathiḥ śrīmān praviṣṭo daṇḍakā vanam || 4-52-4
lakṣmaṇena saha bhrātrā vaidehyā ca api bhāryayā |
tasya bhāryā janasthānāt rāvaṇena hṛtā balāt || 4-52-5
4, 5. sarvasya lokasya raajaa = of all, world, king; mahendra varuNa upamaH = Mahendra, Rain-god, who is similar to; daasharathiH = son of Dasharatha; shriimaan raamaH = illustrious one, Rama; bhraatraa lakSmaNena saha = bother, Lakshmana, along with; bhaaryayaa vaidehyaa api ca = along with wife, Vaidehi, even also; daNDakaa vanam praviSTaH = Dandaka, forest, entered; tasya bhaaryaa = his, wife; raavaNena = by Ravana; janasthaanaat balaat hR^itaa = from Janasthaana, coercively, abducted.
"The king of all the world and one similar to Mahendra and Rain-god, such an illustrious Rama of Dasharatha entered Dandaka forest with his bother Lakshmana, even along with his wife Vaidehi, but Ravana coercively abducted his wife from Janasthaana. [4-52-4, 5]
vīraḥ tasya sakhā rājñaḥ sugrīvo nāma vānaraḥ |
rājā vānara mukhyānām yena prasthāpitā vayam || 4-52-6
6. viiraH = valiant one; vaanara mukhyaanaam raajaa = of Vanara-s, important ones, king; sugriivaH naama = Sugreeva, one known as; vaanaraH = a Vanara; tasya raaj~naH sakhaa = that, king's [Rama's,] friend; yena vayam prasthaapitaa = by whom, we are, expedited.
"A valiant one and the king of important vanara-s known as Sugreeva is a vanara and the friend of that kingly Rama, and that vanara king expedited us. [4-52-6]
agastya caritām āśām dakṣiṇām yama rakṣitām |
sahaibhirvānaraimukhyairaṅgadapramukhairvayam - yadvā -
saha ebhiḥ vānaraiḥ mukhyaiḥ aṃgada pramukhaiḥ vayam || 4-52-7
rāvaṇam sahitāḥ sarve rākṣasam kāma rūpiṇam |
sītayā saha vaidehyā mārgadhvam iti coditāḥ || 4-52-8
7, 8. sarve sahitaaH = [you] all, collectively; vaidehyaa siitayaa saha = for one from Videha kingdom, for Seetha, together with; kaama ruupiNam raakSasam raavaNam = by wish, guise-changer, for demon, for Ravana; maargadhvam = [you] shall search; iti = saying so; vayam = we; angada pra mukhaiH = Angada, et al; ebhiH mukhyaiH vaanaraiH saha = these, with important, vanara-s, along with; agastya caritaam = by Sage Agastya, trodden [walkabout]; yama rakSitaam = by Yama, the Death-god, watched over; dakSiNaam aashaam coditaaH = to southern, prospect [direction,] we are mobilised.
"He mobilised us along with these important vanara-s and Angada as helmsman to this southerly prospect, which is the walkabout of Sage Agastya and watched over by Yama, the Death-god, saying, 'you all shall collectively search for Seetha of Videha kingdom together with the demon Ravana, a guise-changer by his wish.' [4-52-7, 8]
vicitya tu vayam sarve samagram - samudram - dakṣiṇām diśam |
vayam bubhukṣitāḥ sarve vṛkṣa mūlam upāśritāḥ || 4-52-9
9. vayam sarve = we, all; samagram = in entirety; [or] samudram = at ocean - other than southern ocean; dakSiNaam disham = southerly, direction; vicitya = on searching out; bubhukSitaaH = we were hungry; vayam sarve = we, all; vR^ikSa muulam upa aashritaaH = tree, at stem, nearby, dependent on [gathered around.]
"On searching out the southerly direction in its entirety we are all hungered and we all gathered around at a tree-stem. [4-52-9]
vivarṇa vadanāḥ sarve sarve dhyāna parāyaṇāḥ |
na adhigacchāmahe pāram magnāḥ cintā mahāarṇave || 4-52-10
10. sarve = [we] all; vi varNa vadanaaH = without, colour faced - became whey-faced; sarve dhyaana paraayaNaaH = [we] all, in propositions, preoccupied; cintaa mahaa arNave = despair, great [depthless,] ocean [the deep of]; magnaaH = deluged; paaram = other shore [of despair ocean]; na adhi gacChaamahe = not, over, reached by us.
"All of us were whey-faced, all of us were preoccupied with propositions, thus deluged in the depthless deep of our despair we could not overreach the other shore of our oceanic despair. [4-52-10]
cārayantaḥ tataḥ cakṣuḥ dṛṣṭavanto mahad bilam |
latā pādapa saṃchannam timireṇa samāvṛtam || 4-52-11
11. tataH = then; cakSuH caarayantaH = [our] eyes, while straggling; lataa paadapa sanChannam = with creepers, woody trees, wrapped up in; timireNa samaavR^itam = by darkling, enwrapped; mahat bilam = wide, cavity; dR^iSTavantaH = we became perceivers of - we perceived.
"Then straggling our eyes we perceived this wide cavity wrapped up with vines and woods and enwrapped in darkling. [4-52-11]
asmāt haṃsā jala klinnāḥ pakṣaiḥ salila reṇubhiḥ |
kurarāḥ sārasāḥ caiva niṣpatanti patatriṇaḥ || 4-52-12
12. asmaat = from it [cavity]; salila reNubhiH pakSaiH = with water, drops, [with such flapping] wings; jala klinnaaH = water, drenched; [sprinkling]; hamsaaH = swans; kuraraaH saarasaaH caiva = fish-hawks, saarasa waterfowls , also thus; patatriNaH = birds; niS patanti = out, falling [coming out.]
"Swans, water-hawks, saarasa-waterfowls were coming out of this cavity drenched in water and sprinkling drops of water with the flaps of their wings. [4-52-12]
sādhu atra praviśāma iti mayā tu uktāḥ plavaṃgamāḥ |
teṣām api hi sarveṣām anumānam upāgatam || 4-52-13
13. atra saadhu pravishaama iti = therein, good, we enter, thus; mayaa tu plavangamaaH uktaaH = by me, on my part, fly-jumpers are, said; teSaam sarveSaam api hi = for them, all of them, even, indeed; anumaanam = inference of water; upaagatam = came about.
"I said to all of them, 'Good! Let us enter it,' while they too had some inference about the availability of water in here. [4-52-13]
asmin nipatitāḥ sarve api atha kārya tvarānvitāḥ |
tato gāḍham nipatitā gṛhya hastau parasparam || 4-52-14
14. atha = then; kaarya tvara anvitaaH = by task's, haste, having [hastened by our task]; sarve api = all [of us,] even; tataH ni patitaa [nipatana arthaaya] = then, down, fell [readied ourselves to fall in cavity]; parasparam = each of each; hastau gaaDham gR^ihya = hands, tightly, taking [clasping]; asmin ni patitaaH = in it, down, fell - we fell down in this cavity.
"As our task was hastening us then we all readied ourselves to fall in the cavity by tightly clasping each other's hand, and then we fell in this cavity. [4-52-14]
idam praviṣṭāḥ sahasā bilam timira saṃvṛtam |
etat naḥ kāryam etena kṛtyena vayam āgatāḥ || 4-52-15
tvām ca eva upagatāḥ sarve paridyūnā bubhukṣitāḥ |
15, 16a. timira samvR^itam = darkness, shrouded in - Black Cavity; idam bilam sahasaa praviSTaaH = this, cavity, readily we entered,; etat naH kaaryam = this much, our, work [here in cavity]; etena kR^ityena vayam aagataaH = by this, escapade [for water,] we all, have come; bubhukSitaaH = who are ravenous; paridyuunaa = who are retrogressive; sarve = all [of us]; tvaam upagataaH = at you, came near.
"Thus we readily entered this Black Cavity, and this much is our activity in here as we all have come here by our escapade for water, and we neared you when we were ravenous and retrogressing. [4-52-15, 16a]
ātithya dharma dattāni mūlāni ca phalāni ca || 4-52-16
asmābhiḥ upabhuktāni bubhukṣā paripīḍitaiḥ |
16b, 17a. bubhukSaa paripiiDitaiH = by hunger, overly harassed ones; asmaabhiH = by us; aatithya dharma dattaani = hospitality, by grace of, offered [by you]; muulaani ca phalaani ca = tubers, also, fruits, also; upabhuktaani = devoured.
"And we who are overly harassed by hunger have devoured the fruits and tubers you have offered with the grace of your hospitality. [4-52-16]
yat tvayā rakṣitāḥ sarve mriyamāṇā bubhukṣayā || 4-52-17
brūhi pratyupakāra artham kim te kurvantu vānarāḥ |
17b, 18a. bubhukSayaa mriyamaaNaa = with hunger, on the verge of death; sarve = all of us; yat = by which reason; tvayaa rakSitaaH = by you, rescued; by that reason alone; vaanaraaH = vanara-s; te = to you; prati upakaara artham = in turn, favour's, sake [in requital]; kim kurvantu = what, can they do; bruuhi = you tell.
"You have rescued all of us who were on the verge of hunger-deaths, and what is to be done by vanara-s for you in requital that you may please tell." Thus Hanuma spoke to that sainted lady. [4-52-17b, 18a]
evam uktā tu sarvajñā vānaraiḥ taiḥ svayaṃprabhā || 4-52-18
pratyuvāca tataḥ sarvān idam vānara yūthapān |
18b, 19a. taiH vaanaraiH = by those, by vanara-s; evam uktaa = thus, she is spoken; sarva j~naa = omniscient; svayamprabhaa = Swayamprabha; tataH = then; sarvaan vaanara yuuthapaan = to all, monkey, commanders; idam prati uvaaca = this, in turn, said [replied.]
When she is spoken thus by those vanara-s then that omniscient Swayamprabha replied this to all of the vanara commanders. [4-52-18b, 19a]
sarveṣām parituṣṭā asmi vānarāṇām tarasvinām || 4-52-19
caraṃtyā mama dharmeṇa na kāryam iha kenacit |
19b, 20a. tarasvinaam sarveSaam vaanaraaNaam = mighty ones, with all, of vanara-s; pari tuSTaa asmi = overly [very,] happy, I am; dharmeNa carantyaa = with equity, conducting myself; mama = to me; iha kenacit = now, in the least; kaaryam na = work, no - I do not need anything.
"I am very happy with all of the mighty vanara-s and what I have done to you is a part of my conduct in equity, hence nothing need be done now in my favour, in the least. [4-52-9b, 20a]
The other versions of Ramayana complete this chapter with this verse and place the following subject in a separate chapter.
evam uktaḥ śubham vākyam tāpasyā dharma saṃhitam || 4-52-20
uvāca hanumān vākyam tām anindita locanām |
20b, 21a. taapasyaa = by sainted lady; evam = that way; dharma samhitam = , propriety, agreeable to; shubham vaakyam = blessed, word; uktaH hanumaan = one who is spoken to, Hanuma; a nindita locanaam = not, reprovable, eyed [rather, one with such discernment]; taam = to her; vaakyam uvaaca = sentence, said.
When Hanuma is said that blessed word by that sainted lady in that way, that which is agreeable to propriety, then Hanuma said this sentence to her who is with an unreprovable discernment. [4-52-20b, 21a]
śaraṇam tvām prapannāḥ smaḥ sarve vai dharmacāriṇim || 4-52-21
yaḥ kṛtaḥ samayo asmākam sugrīveṇa mahātmanā |
sa tu kālo vyatikrānto bile ca parivartatām || 4-52-22
21b, 22. dharma caariNim = scrupulosity, comporting yourself; tvaam = in you; sarve sharaNam prapannaaH smaH = [we] all, auspice, we obtained [we are under]; mahaatmanaa sugriiveNa = noble-souled one, by Sugreeva; asmaakam = for us; yaH samayaH kR^itaH = which, time, made [stipulated]; saH kaalaH = that, time; bile = in cavity; pari vartataam = around, while roving; yatikraanta [vi ati kraantaH = verily, over, stepped] we lapsed it.
"We are now under the auspices of your ladyship comporting yourself in scrupulosity. We lapsed the time stipulated for us by the noble-souled Sugreeva by our roving around in this cavity. [4-52-21b, 22]
sā tvam asmāt bilāt asmān uttārayitum arhasi |
tasmāt sugrīva vacanāt atikrāntān gata āyuṣaḥ || 4-52-23
23. saa = such as you are - a righteous lady; tvam = you; tasmaat sugriiva vacanaat atikraantaan = that, Sugreeva's, word [order, of timeframe] overextended; gata aayuSaH = lost [threatened,] with longevity; asmaan = us; asmaat bilaat uttaarayitum arhasi = from this, cavity, to crossover, apt of you.
"Such as you are, a righteous lady, it will be apt of you to cross us over this cavity, as we have overextended the timeframe fixed by Sugreeva, whereby our longevity itself is threatened. [4-52-23]
trātum arhasi naḥ sarvān sugrīva bhaya śankitān |
mahat ca kāryam asmābhiḥ kartavyam dharmacāriṇi || 4-52-24
tat ca api na kṛtam kāryam asmābhiḥ iha vāsibhiḥ |
24, 25a. dharma caariNi = oh, prudent lady; sugriiva bhaya shankitaan = from Sugreeva, fear, [we who have become] hesitaters - haunted by; naH sarvaan = us, all; traatum arhasi = to sail through, apt of you; asmaabhiH = by us; mahat kaaryam ca kartavyam = admirable, achievement, also, is achievable; iha vaasibhiH = here, living - held up; asmaabhiH = by us; tat kaaryam ca api = that, deed, also, even; na kR^itam = not, done.
"Oh, prudent lady, sail all of us through. We are rendered as hesitaters with the fear from Sugreeva. We still have to achieve an admirable achievement and that deed is also left undone as we are held-up in here." Thus Hanuma spoke to her. [4-52-24, 25a]
evam uktā hanumatā tāpasī vākyam abravīt || 4-52-25
jīvatā duṣkaram manye praviṣṭena nivartitum |
25b, 26a. hanumataa evam uktaa taapasii = by Hanuma, thus, she who is said, sainted lady; vaakyam abraviit = sentence, said; praviSTena = he who entered - for incomers; jiivataa nivartitum = while living, outgoing - from this cavity; duSkaram manye = impracticable, I believe.
When Hanuma said thus that sainted lady said sentence, "I believe outgoing is impracticable for the incomers in aliveness from this cavity. [4-52-25b, 26a]
tapasaḥ suprabhāvena niyama upārjitena ca || 4-52-26
sarvān eva bilāt asmāt tārayiṣyāmi vānarān |
26b, 27a. niyama upa arjitena = by self-restraints, acquired; tapasaH su prabhaavena = by ascesis', sublime, efficacy; sarvaan eva vaanaraan = all of the, thus, vanara-s; asmaat bilaat taarayiSyaami = from this, cavity, I wish to sail them through - make you departure from cavity.
"By the sublime efficacy of ascesis acquired through my practices of numerous self-restraints I wish to sail all of the vanara-s through the incarceration, called this cavity. [4-52-26b, 27a]
nimīlayata cakṣūnṣi sarve vānara puṃgavāḥ || 4-52-27
na hi niṣkramitum śakyam animīlita locanaiḥ |
27b, 28a. sarve vaanara pungavaaH = all of you, vanara-s, the best; cakSuunSi nimiilayata = eyes [eyelids,] close; a nimiilita locanaiH = not, shut, with eyes; niSkramitum = trying to exit; na shakyam hi = not, possible, indeed.
"All of you best vanara-s shall close up your eyelids, for it is indeed impossible to attempt an exit with unclose eyes." Thus that sainted lady said to monkeys. [4-52-27b, 28a]
tato nimīlitāḥ sarve sukumāra aṃgulaiḥ karaiḥ || 4-52-28
sahasā pidadhuḥ dṛṣṭim hṛṣṭā gamana kānkṣiṇaḥ |
28b, 29a. tataH = then; gamana kaankSiNaH = departure, desirers; hR^iSTaa = gladdened; sarve nimiilitaaH = all, closed [their eyes]; sahasaa = immediately; sukumaara angulaiH karaiH = with delicate, fingered, with hands; dR^iSTim pidadhuH = eyesight, lidded.
Then all of those desirers of departure are gladdened and immediately shut their eyelids, and further they lidded them with their delicately fingered hands. [4-52-28b, 29a]
vānarāḥ tu mahātmāno hasta ruddha mukhāḥ tadā || 4-52-29
nimeṣa antara mātreṇa bilāt uttāritāḥ tathā |
29b, 30a. tadaa = then; hasta ruddha mukhaaH = with hands, blocked - covered, with faces; mahaatmaanaH vaanaraaH tu = noble-souled, vanara-s, on their part; [tayaa = by her]; tathaa = that way; nimeSa antara maatreNa = a minute, within, barely; bilaat = from cavity; ut taaritaaH = up, sailed through.
She then sailed those noble souled vanara-s who covered their faces with their hands through that cavity barely within a minute. [4-52-29b. 30a]
uvāca sarvān tān tatra tāpasī dharma cāriṇī || 4-52-30
niḥsṛtān viṣamāt tasmāt samāśvāsya idam abravīt |
30b, 31a. dharma caariNii = in righteousness, she who is conducting herself - a virtuous lady; taapasii = sainted lady; tatra = there - at the exterior of cavity; taan sarvaan uvaaca = to them, all, spoke; viSamaat tasmaat niHsR^itaan = precarious, from that [cavity,] those who came out; samaashvaasya idam abraviit = on comforting, even this, spoke.
That virtuous and sainted lady on comforting all of the monkeys, who are taken out of that precarious cavity, spoke this to them at the exterior of cavity. [4-52-30b, 31a]
eṣa vindhyo giriḥ śrīmān nānā druma latā āyutaḥ || 4-52-31
eṣa prasavaṇaḥ śailaḥ sāgaro ayam mahā udadhiḥ |
svasti vo astu gamiṣyāmi bhavanam vānararṣabhāḥ |
iti uktvā tat bilam śrīmat praviveśa svayamprabhā || 4-52-32
31b, 32. eSa = this; shriimaan = magnificent one; naanaa druma lataa aayutaH = with diverse, trees, vines, surrounded by; vindhyaH giriH = is Vindhya, mountain; eSa prasavaNaH shailaH = this is, Prasravana, [named] mountain; ayam saagaraH mahaa udadhiH = this one, ocean, vast expanse, of water; vaanararSabhaaH = oh, Vanara-s, best ones; vaH svasti astu = to you, safe, may betide; bhavanam gamiSyaami = to [my] mansion, I wish to go [back]; iti uktvaa = thus, on saying; svayamprabhaa = Swayamprabha; shriimat tat bilam = ostentatious one, that, cavity; pravivesha = [re] entered.
"This one which is surrounded by diverse trees and vines is the magnificent Vindhya Mountain, this mountain is Prasravana, and this vast expanse of water is the southerly ocean. Now I wish to return to my mansion... oh, best vanara-s, let safety betide you." saying thus Swayamprabha the Sainted Lady, re-entered the ostentatious cavity, called Riksha Bila. [4-52-31b, 32]
- - - .
Luminescence vs. non-luminescence
The episode of Swayamprabha is usually taken as a matter of fact scene, and almost un-commentated by ancient commentators, but it has some bearing on the import of the famous Vedic saying a-sato maa sat-gamaya, tamaso maa jyotir gamaya, mR^ityor maa a-mR^itam gamaya 'from unreality lead me unto reality, from darkness lead me unto light, from mortality lead me unto immortality...' Here the monkeys on duty have entered a black hole, saw an unreal world, and are on the verge of hunger-deaths, and they want release from the three, viz., darkness, unreality and death. Then a real being Swayamprabha, with her own self-luminosity appeared and gave them the real food, saved them from mortality and led them to luminance from 'their' darkness, rather than from the 'cavity's' darkness.
The entry of monkeys into a gloom is the pathless search in their duty, seeing an unreal world is deeming their search as unreal, rather meaningless, and hunger-death is not in their physical aspect, it is the hungering for finding Seetha, as Swayamprabha alone says tarasvinaH vaanaraaH ' mighty monkeys...' as such they are they can sustain for some more days or months without food, but they are mortal and their hope of finding Seetha is now subjected to mortality. In view of these facts they needed a torch, a beacon, a blind-lamp in blinding darkness, called a 'way-out for Seetha's search...'
Hanuma is not that diffident a monkey to speak very humble pleasantries as at verses 16 and 17. He addressed the sainted lady, 'as you have led us to light from darkness, also saved us from physical deaths, lead us unto reality, truth, a correct way to reach our destination and let this dying hope in search become immortal in finding Seetha...' Accordingly, Swayamprabha being a godsend transported them to the southerly side of the cavity, avoiding other directions. If they are transported to northern side they have to return to Kishkindha, only to die at the hand of Sugreeva. Why she has transported them to southern side is because, she is sarvaj~na an 'all-knower...' knower of past, present and the future course of Ramayana. On this southern side there is an ocean and whether to cross it or die on that seashore is up to the monkeys. As a torchbearer and illuminator of the gloomy thoughts of monkeys, her role-play is over and she retunes to her cavity. In the next few chapters the monkeys quarrel among themselves, but Hanuma is the only one to learn lesson from Swayamprabha's action in transporting them to this end of ocean, takes lead in future events. Hence, Swayamprabha led Hanuma to the three positives, the truth, luminescence, and liveness of their mission.
- - -
iti vālmīki rāmāyaṇe ādi kāvye kiṣkindha kāṇḍe dvi paṃcāśaḥ sargaḥ
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© Dec, 2002, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : December 04]