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Lesson 13

Sugreeva’s army perform a great feat / Sampati liberated from curse / Sita Devi darshan / The burning of Lanka / Sugreeva’s army perform a great feat

Ramayan – Lesson 13

Sugreeva had promised to help Sri Rama trace Seeta. But it was difficult to carry out the search in the rainy season and so they decided to begin the quest once the rains had ended. Sri Rama and Lakshmana stayed on in the forest.

The rains set in. Black clouds gathered in the sky and darkness enveloped the earth. Thunder and lightning asserted their sway. There were torrential rains. The plants and trees, long thirsting for water, had their fill. The hills, which dust had covered and dimmed, now were washed by the rains and shone forth in regained freshness. The chataka birds, yearning for water, drank to their heartscontent. The sport of Nature struck Sri Rama and Lakshmana with wonder.

The rains receded and it was now autumn. The forest put on new glory now. Wherever one looked,green greeted the eyes. Chakravakas paired and sang together. Plants and trees were bent with the load of flowers and fruits. White clouds floated across the sky like hillocks of cotton. Sunrise and sunset held the beholder spellbound with their loveliness. The blossoming of the lotus, the music of the bees, the sport of swans and chakravakas – everything was fascinating. The moon shed cool light at night. Countless stars twinkled everywhere in the sky. As he gazed at all this magical loveliness around him, Sri Rama remembered Seeta and sighed deeply.

Sugreeva, now the King of Kishkindha, was immersed in the administration. He had completely forgotten his promise to Sri Rama. He himself, his wife and children and his kingdom – these were all that mattered to him, and he was oblivious of everything else.

One day Hanumantha urged Sugreeva : Sugreeva, what has happened to you? You have forgotten the favour that Sri Rama did you. Is this right? Good people never forget the help they receive.However small the favour, it remains green in their memory. And they endeavour to do something in return. You gained the kingdom by Sri Ramas favour. He reunited you and your wife.What great favours he has conferred! You should ever remain grateful to him. And you ought to render whatever service you can. But, what have you actually done? You have clean forgotten him. You have neglected your promise to help him. Poor man, he has lost his wife and is a wanderer in the forest. You are lost in pleasures. This is improper. The rains have receded. At least now take up the task of finding Seeta Devi.

At this very time Sri Rama sent Lakshmana to Sugreeva. Lakshmana said to Sugreeva, Sugreeva,the rains are over. You had promised to help us. but you are lost in selfish pursuits and have forgotten your word. My brother is miserable because of separation from Seeta. Well, at least tell me whether you will help us find Seeta or not. Sugreeva now woke up. He realized that he had been in the wrong. He said, Lakshmana, I have been remiss in my duty. I shall not delay any more. I will come with you to the forest straightway, and meet Sri Rama. We will attend to your work from today. He went to Sri Rama with leaders like Hanumantha. He bowed to him and said, I am guilty of a grievous offence. I pray to you to forgive me. I have not forgotten my promise to you. I shall start the search for Seeta Devi right away.

He then summoned his commander-in-chief, Neela, and the entire Vanara army. Lakhs of Vanaras who lived on the Mahendra, the Himavantha, the Vindhya, the Kailas and the Mandara Mountains responded. Some of them were black, some grey and some red. The grey ones were innumerable.The vanaras were endowed with a variety of capabilities. They could run very fast; they could leap very high; they were skilled in martial arts. These valiant forces came up to Sugreeva. Monkeys and bears crowded so that the forest overflowed with them.

Sugreeva now addressed Sri Rama : Sri Rama, have you seen this huge army? All these are warriors of exceptional valour; they are heroes. Nothing is impossible for them. They can leap over seas. They can climb mountains. They can leap to the sky. They fight valiantly. They will leave straightway in search of your wife. I will send them to different corners. Wherever Seeta Devi may be, they will find her. He then divided the Vanara army into four parts. He made a Vanara, Vinatha by name, the leader of the first group, Hanumantha was the leader of the second group, Sushena of the third and Shatabali of the fourth.

Then Sugreeva addressed his forces; You know that Ravana, the King of Lanka, has carried away Seeta Devi, the wife of Sri Rama. We do not know where Ravana has hidden Seeta Devi – in Lanka or somewhere else in the world. It is now our duty to find her. So set out straightway. Go in four directions and look for Seeta Devi everywhere. Sri Rama has laid us under an immense obligation. Let

us search out his beloved wife and repay the help in some measure. He who locates Seeta Devi will equal me in glory. He sent Shatabali to the north, Vinatha to the east and Sushena to the west.

He then called Hanumantha and said, Hanumantha, you are a master of speed. You can travel where you will. You can travel unimpeded in the sky or in the sea. You can visit the realm of the gods and that of the gandharvas. You are valiant and wise. So I repose the greatest confidence in you. Your share of the responsibility of finding Seeta Devi is great. I feel only you can accomplish this task.Lanka is to the south. So go to the south and search for Seeta Devi. Sri Rama listened to Sugreevas words. He was happy that Hanumantha was Sugreevas trusted friend. He also felt that only Hanumantha could find Seeta. He took his ring off his finger and said, Hanumantha, keep this ring. When you see my wife show her this ring; she will recognize it as mine, and talk to you freely.Hanumantha received the ring reverently with both hands and made it secure.

The armies of monkeys spread out in different directions as Sugreeva had instructed. Confident of discovering Seeta they set out excited and enthusiastic.

The force commanded by Shatabali, which went northward searched for Seeta in Prasthala, Mlecha,Pulinda, Shurasena, Kuru and Madradesha. It continued the quest in Kambhoja, Yavana,Shaka, Bahlika Rishika, Purava, Cheena and Maha Cheena. It scoured the lower regions of the Himalayas and the summits of Kalaparvatha, in the caves of Sudrashana Parvatha and the Devasakha Parvatha ranges, in Mount Kailas and Mount Kanchiparvatha. It looked for Seeta in Kraunchagiri where Devas and Gandharvas reside.

Vinatha, one of Sugreevas generals, went eastward with his powerful army of monkeys. They searched the forests, the mountains and the river banks in the eastern region. They looked for Seeta Devi on the banks of the Ganga, the Sarayu, the Kaushiki, the Yamuna which is well known as the Kalindi, the Saraswathi, the Sindhu and the Shona. They also went to the kingdoms of Brahmamala,Videha, Malava, Kashi, Kosala, Magadha, Pundra and Vanga. They looked for her in the regions of several mountains, the Mandara, the Rishabha, the Udaya Parvatha which the rays of the rising sun turn red, as well as Yavadweepa, Suvarna Dweepa and Ksheerasagara.

To the west went another general, Sushena. His army scoured several kingdoms like Saurashtra,Bahlika, Shura, Bheema and Kukshi, as well as the western coast. It visited the Avanthi and the Angalepa river banks, the mountain called Hemagiri, the Kanchanashikhara, Mount Varaha,and Meru Parvatha, known as the King of Mountains.

The Vanaras entered the forests. They felled plants and trees. They shouted. The forest animals were scared by the hubbub and fled. The noise they made filled the skies. But search as they might,the Vanaras could not find Seeta. They did not find her on the seacoasts or at the bottom of the sea or in the mountain and forest caves.

The Vanaras climbed mountains. They pushed aside boulders to see if there were pits. They climbed to the top of mountains and gazed around. But there was no sign of Seeta They went to different cities and kingdoms. They enquired if persons had newly come there. They looked for Seeta among the new arrivals. They looked for her in every town and every house but she was nowhere to be found. They were unhappy. All the groups except the one which had gone southwards returned disappointed to Kishkindha.

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Sampathi liberated from curse

Hanumantha, Angada, Thara, Jambavantha and their comrades went towards the south. They crossed the Vindhya Mountains and the Narmada. They crossed the Godavari, the Krishnaveni and the Varada, too. They searched for Seeta in Vidarbha, Rishwika, Mahishaka, Kalinga, Kaushika and other regions. They looked in the caves of Dandakaranya and the banks of the Godavari. They visited Andhra, Pundra, Chola, Pandya and Kerala. They entered the region of the Cauvery, with pellucid waters, and the Malaya regions near by. They looked for her in mountainous regions and rivers. But Seeta was not to be seen anywhere. They then reached a big forest. To their surprise they saw that the plants and trees had no leaves, flowers or fruits. The trees were all bare. There were no birds or animals there. It was totally lifeless. There was no water in the rivers; they had all dried up. The Vanaras were left wondering. They searched for Seeta here, too.

Once upon a time a great munilived in this forest. He was exceedingly short-tempered. Once his son was lost in the forest. The muni was afraid his son might be dead. He pronounced a curse : Let the plants and trees of this forest wither away. Let the lakes dry up. Let no living beings dwell here.And so the forest was deserted and frightening.

As the Vanaras were searching for Seeta they came to a cave. There was a rakshasa there. They concluded that he had carried away Seeta and killed him. But they could not find Seeta.

The Vanaras were troubled. They sat down to a conference. They thought, We promised Sri Rama that we would find Seeta but we do not see her anywhere. How can we keep our word?However,they took courage and resumed their search.

They reached the very top of the Vindhyas. They went beyond. They crossed several forests and mountain regions. They reached the seashore. But Seeta was not to be found.

As they were scouring the mountain region they found a spacious cave. A rakshasa architect, Maya, had constructed it for his nymph-wife, Hema. No stranger could enter it. And if any one did succeed in entering it, he could not come out. Hanumantha and the other Vanaras entered the cave. It was dark within. But they proceeded. They came to a big lake and a garden with flowers and fruits. They saw a lady engaged in tapas there. She was old, and had an unearthly radiance. She was Swayamprabha, a friend of Hema. She was in charge of the cave. Hanumantha went up to her, bowed to her and said, Mother, we are the soldiers of King Sugreevas army. We have come in search of Sri Ramachandras wife. He then narrated all that had happened.

The tapaswini treated them hospitably. She said, I have been appointed to guard this cave. No one who enters here can go out. But, since you are here on a worthy mission, it is not fair to imprison you here. She gave them fruits and water. By the power of her tapas she brought them all outside the cave, wished them success, and returned.

The Vanaras had escaped from the cave but had not found Seeta. They were very unhappy. Once again they looked everywhere. They searched every cave and bush but found no sign of Seeta anywhere.

They were all very tired. They sat down to rest. At that time a huge eagle arrived. It was called Sampathi. It was the King of Birds, and the elder brother of Jatayu. It had a huge body but its wings were burnt out.

Sampathi saw the Vanaras and swooped on them, in order to eat them. The sight of Sampathi unnerved Angada who said, Hanumantha, see how huge the eagle is! It will perhaps pierce us and kill us. How another similar eagle, Jatayu helped Sri Rama! It fought with Ravana and gave its life itself. But this King of Birds threatens to kill us. Our hour seems to have arrived. Let us pray to God.

Sampathi heard Angadas words. He said to himself,How is it these Vanaras are so sad? They mention the name of my younger brother Jatayu. Is he dead? O no, that cant be. Anyway, I shall ask them- so reflecting he said, You Vanaras, who are you? Whence have you come? What happened to my younger brother, Jatayu? Be not frightened. Tell me everything; I will not harm you. Then Angada told him about Sri Rama, and narrated the story of the exile to the forest, the abduction of Seeta, the death of Jatayu at the hands of Ravana in their fight and their own quest.

Sampathi was moved to great grief when he heard the news of Jatayus death. He was also furious with Ravana who had killed him. He said, O Vanaras, it was Ravana who carried away Seeta, wasnt it? He is the king of Lanka. Lanka is a big island. It is surrounded by the sea. You have to go southwards from here to reach it. Go to Lanka and liberate Seeta and come back. May you be fortunate! Then Angada said Sampathi, you did not tell us about yourself. How is it your wings are burnt? Why did you come here?

Long ago my younger brother Jatayu and I wished to compete with the sun and fly with him from the east to the west. We flew high. Because of the sharpness of the sun Jatayu grew tired and began to fall down. I then covered him with my wings. The sun burnt my wings with his fiery rays. At once I fell here. But now that I have told you where Seeta Devi is, my wings will grow again. So a rishi had told me. Even as he was speaking, his wings grew again. The Vanaras were as happy at the sight as Sampathi himself.

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The Vanaras thanked Sampathi and bent their steps towards the sea. They saw the vast ocean. High waves dashed against the shore. There were many poisonous creatures and cruel animals like whales in it. Wherever they looked they saw the vast ocean. It was impossible to cross it. But Lanka could not be reached without crossing the sea. Somehow or the other, they had to manage to do it. Who could do it? They looked at one another. Everyone was hesitant, every one was nervous, every one was curious. No one knew what to do.

Then Angada said, Friends, who is the puissant person who can cross this vast ocean? This ocean is a hundred yojanas wide. Who is the great hero who can leap across the ocean and meet Seeta, and return? Who can enable us to fulfil our promise to Sri Rama? Vanara heroes, what are your abilities? How far can you leap? Tell us.

The Vanara heroes began to unfold their abilities. One Vanara, Gaja, said he could jump ten yojanas.Gavaksha claimed he could jump twenty yojanas. Encouraged by this, another Vanara, Gadaya, said he could clear thirty yojanas. Sharabha claimed he could clear forty yojanas.Gandhamadana claimed he could clear fifty yojanas, Mainda sixty, Dwivida seventy, and Sushena eighty.

Jambava was the oldest and the wisest of the heroes of Sugreevas army there. He was the King of Bears. He was very intelligent. Although the other monkeys were proclaiming their powers Hanumantha had said nothing, and Jambava noted this. Hanumantha was a hero of rare powers, and only he could leap across the ocean. But he knew not his own abilities, and was silent. Jambava decided to stimulate him and make him leap across the ocean.

Then Jambavantha said, Vanara heroes, I am old; I can clear ninety yojanas. But this Hanumantha,Sugreevas minister, can quite clear the ocean. Hanumantha, you are endowed with tremendous abilities, why are you silent? You are yourself the son of Vayu. As a child you mistook the sun for a fruit and leapt towards the sun, you are such a mighty person. You are the sacred person who has received the gift of immortality from Lord Brahma Himself. Why are you passive? Recall your tremendous powers. Leap across the sea. Find out where Seeta Devi is. Convey the happy tidings to Sri Ramachandra. Ensure that we keep Sugreevas promise to Sri Ramachandra.

Then Hanumantha recalled his abilities and valour. He stood up. He said, I shall leap across the ocean. The Vanaras shouted in joy. Victory to Hanumantha!they cried. As they looked on admiringly Hanumantha expanded his form. He grew and grew until he reached the sky. The other Vanaras gazed on him in astonishment. Hanumantha said to them, Friends I shall cross the ocean and go to Lanka. I shall meet Seeta Devi and return. He then leapt towards the sky. He began to float like the wind. The entire world watched in amazement as the mountain-like Vanara flew in the sky.

As Hanumantha flew with the speed of Garuda the sea was disturbed and was covered with foam.Because of his swiftness the water of the sea leapt to the clouds. Anjaneya, who was flying like the king of birds drew clouds, too, with him.

Flying in this manner Anjaneya covered some one hundred yojanas. Farther away he sighted a row of trees in the forest on the seashore. As he continued he saw the gardens of Mount Malaya. Later he sighted southern rivers flowing into the sea.

Anjaneya now contracted his body to its normal size and descended on the other shore of the sea.He alighted on Lambaka, a high peak. Standing on the peak he gazed upon the trees all round. He looked round, and saw Lanka, shining forth in the midst of a wealth of trees.

Vishwakarma, the architect of the gods, had built Lanka. Vishrawas was the son of Pulastya Muni. He had three wives, Ilabile, Kaikasi and Raka. Ilabile was the daughter of Sage Bharadwaja. She gave birth to a son, who was named Kubera. Kubera pleased Parameshwara and by His grace acquired the throne of Lanka and the air chariot- Pushpaka Vimana. He was the happy ruler of Lanka. Ravana and Kumbhakarna were the sons of his stepmother Kaikasi; they defeated him and seized both the throne of Lanka and Pushpaka Vimana. With the consent of Parameshwara, Kubera constructed Alakanagara on Mount Kailas, and became the king of the Yakhshas. Kubera was the god of the North.

Ravana who seized Lanka became the ruler. He stationed Khara and Dushana, sons of his stepmother Raka, a rakshasi, in Janasthana. Sri Rama had slain both of them. On seeing Lanka,Hanumantha recalled all this. Lanka city situated on Mount Trikuta, shone like Kailasa on the mountain. Gardens were rich with flowers and fruits weighing down trees. The highways were beautiful with palaces and mansions.A strong fort surrounded Lanka. A powerful rakshasa force kept watch night and day.

Hanumantha approached the main entrance in order to enter the city. Lankadevi, the guardian of Lanka, saw Hanumantha and chased him. Hanumantha made his request respectfully: Mother, I have come to see the loveliness of Lanka. I beg of you, permit me to enter. But Lankadevi let out a roar and, approaching him, struck him hard. Hanumantha was in uncontrollable rage. He lifted her high and threw her to the ground. He spared her life only because she was a woman. Lankadevi now came to her senses. She said, Great Vanara, what I did was wrong. Pray forgive me. Long ago Lord Brahma said,When a Vanara hurts Lankadevi the end of Ravana approaches, and the rakshasas will be in danger. It looks as if the day has arrived. I shall not stop you. You can enter Lanka, and do what you will.

Lanka was the city of his enemies, and Hanumantha did not wish to enter it by the main entrance. He leapt over the wall and entered the city, his left foot forward. It was night. But he would not rest. He walked along the high way. Wherever he turned there were tall buildings. He could hear the sounds of the tiny bells of dancers and the music of celestial singers from within the buildings. Some rakshasas were engaged in €˜japa(reciting sacred names) and €˜tapas. Several were practicing martial arts. Surveying all these sights Hanumantha arrived near the women apartments of the palace.

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Sita Devi darshan

It was a moonlit night. Within, the palace was brightly lit. Hanumantha looked for Seeta everywhere in the womens apartments. There were several wives of Ravana there. They were all asleep. But there was none who resembled Seeta. Hanumantha moved about in the buildings near by and the residences of Ravanas brothers and high officers. But Seeta was nowhere to be found.

In the course of his search Hanumantha came to another part of Ravanas palace. The palace was beautified with playgrounds where peacocks sported. The walls were studded with diamonds and opals. Everything there was made of gold. All in all, it rivalled the palace of Kubera. Hanumantha entered the palace. He saw rooms full of different kinds of arms and treasuries where ornaments were. He came to Pushpaka Vimana. It was decorated with flowers and diamonds. Birds and serpents had been engraved on the vehicle, with diamonds, opals and corals. He was filled with wonder at the sight. As he looked around, at a distance he saw a row of Ashoka trees. He wondered if Seeta was to be found in the Ashokavana, and bent his steps towards that garden.

There were trees of many kinds in addition to Ashoka trees in the garden. The breeze was scent-laden. Cuckoos sang sweetly. Peacocks were dancing. Hanumantha proceeded, even as he enjoyed the beauty of the garden. He saw a beautiful woman sitting under an Ashoka tree. She was wearing a faded dress and wore no ornaments. Sorrow had dimmed her face. Her eyes were red with weeping. Hanumantha concluded that she was Sri Ramas wife. He danced with delight at having seen Seeta Devi. He was sad to think that Seeta Devi, a princess, was condemned to be in the captivity of rakshasas. Seeta was surrounded by rakshasis and so he climbed up a tree and sat on a branch.

The rakshasis were pestering Seeta Devi to marry Ravana. Unable to bear their harassment she was sobbing.She was saying, No matter how much you torment me, I cannot marry Ravana. Grief welled up in Hanumantha at the sight of Seetas helpless condition. But he restrained himself. After a while the rakshasis tired and fell asleep. Hanumantha thought that this was the opportunity for him, and he began to sing the story of Sri Rama in a sweet voice. The sacrifice performed by Dasharatha,the birth of Sri Rama, his wedding with Seeta, their exile to the forest, abduction of Seeta, Sri Ramas meeting with Sugreeva, his own quest of Seeta – all these he sang. The melodious song thrilled Seeta. It was the story of her beloved husband. She raised her head – but all that she saw was a huge monkey! Seeta was frightened. O this is some rakshasa who has come to deceive me. O gods, protect me- so she prayed.

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Hanumantha realized that she was frightened. He climbed down. With folded hands he spoke humbly :Mother, who are you? You look like the wife of our master, Sri Ramachandra. Are you Seeta Devi?She answered,Yes, I am Seeta Devi, But who are you?Hanumantha recounted all the incidents since her abduction. The death of Jatayu, the hospitality of Shabari, the friendship of Sugreeva, the killing of Vali, the Vanara forces proceeding in different directions in search of Seeta – all this he narrated. He then said, Mother, Sri Ramachandra has sent me here. Your sorrows are as good as overcome. Sri Ramachandra will come here with his army and kill Ravana. He will free you from this captivity and take you to Ayodhya. This is certain. He then gave her the ring which Sri Rama had given him for identification. The sight of the ring rejoiced Seetas heart. The recollection of her husband also grieved her. But she consoled herself. She then made enquiries about the welfare of Sri Rama and Lakshmana.

Hanumantha said, Mother, I leapt across the sea. I can grow as huge as I wish to. Come with me.Be seated on my shoulder. With a single leap I shall take you beyond Lanka. I will take you to Sri Rama and Lakshmana who are wretched because of separation from you. Seeta Devi said, Hanumantha, I am pleased very much with your words. But only my husband should liberate me. Sri Ramachandra should come here and kill Ravana. Only then I shall accept liberation. So I cannot come with you. And it would not be proper to go with you. Hanumantha replied, You are right. I will tell Sri Rama that he should come here swiftly. Give me something I can show Sri Rama to confirm my meeting with you.

Seeta Devi took out the Chudamani tied in the edge of her saree, and gave it to Hanumantha. He received it with reverence and wore it in his head. He then went round Seeta reverently and then bowed to her. She said, Great Vanara, convey my pranamas to Sri Rama. Give Lakshmana my blessings. I shall wait only for one month. Let Sri Rama come here within a month and set me free.Or else, I shall commit suicide, for I cannot bear the pestering by Ravana. I shall jump into fire and kill myself, so that I can protect my purity. Said Hanumantha, Mother, do not worry. Sri Ramachandra and Lakshmana will come here as soon as your message reaches them. They will come with their army and destroy Lanka. They will smash Ravanas army. They will despatch Ravana to the realm of Yama and free you from this prison. There is not the slightest doubt about this. He then once again bowed to Seeta Devi and departed.

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The burning of Lanka

A thought occurred to Hanumantha : I must find out the strength of Ravanas army, how valiant the soldiers are and how secure the fort is. He thought if he started rampaging through the Ashoka Vana, Ravana would send his army and he, Hanumantha, could gauge its strength.

So he started – He broke trees into pieces and threw them down. He rubbed one tree against another and made fire. With deafening roars he leapt from tree to tree. The garden, which had been quiet, was now full of noise and disorder. The sleeping rakshasas woke up and cried out in fear. They hastened to Ravana and reported : Great Lord, a huge monkey has entered Ashoka Vana and is on a rampage. Except the part of the garden where Seeta is confined, it is detroying everything there.Ravana was enraged to hear that Ashoka Vana, which was dear to him, was being wrecked. He sent a big army which charged on Hanumantha.

Hanumantha pulled out the bar of the main door and pounced on the army, whirling the bar all the time. The soldiers ran helter skelter in panic. The bar struck a number of them and killed them.

News of this reached Ravana. He flared up. He sent a bigger army under Jambumali, the son of his commander- in-chief, Prahasta. But in no time Hanumantha exterminated it. Another army led by the son of a minister, shared the same fate. Ravana sent his own son, Akshaya Kumara. The boy fought valiantly but perished.

The news of the death of his son grieved Ravana immensely. He sent another son, a celebrated warrior, Indrajithu. Indrajithu was a formidable warrior; he was called Indrajithu because he had vanquished Lord Indra himself. He fought with Hanumantha and used the Brahmastra. The mighty astra bound Hanumantha. Indrajithu returned to the palace with him.

Ravana was on his throne in his splendid court. The royal court was crowded. Everyone was troubled by the ravage perpetrated by the monkey.

Ravana had ten heads and twenty arms. His was a huge, frightening body. Angrily he demanded of Hanumantha: You monkey, who are you? Why have you come here? Why did you ravage Ashoka Vana?Hanumantha answered: I am the messenger of Sri Ramachandra. I came in search of Seeta Devi. I could not bear the sight of your evil deeds and so ravaged the Vana.

Ravana, you have committed a heinous crime. You have abducted another mans wife. It is a dastardly crime. You are ignorant of Sri Ramachandras valour. If he is displeased, all Lanka will burn and be reduced to ashes. Even now, listen to me. Restore Seeta Devi to Sri Ramachandra. Admit your guilt and seek his forgiveness. Great as he is, he will forgive you. Both you and Lanka will survive. Rule righteously. Ravanas eyes grew red with anger. You, a monkey, how dare you advise me? I shall straightway kill you, he thundered.

Vibheeshana was Ravanas brother. He, too, was a son of Kaikasi, but he did not indulge in evil deeds like his elder brothers Ravana and Kumbhakarna. He had performed tapas for a number of years in Gokarna. The boon he had asked for, and secured, from Brahma was that his mind should always rest in righteousness. He was unhappy that Ravana had abducted Seeta. He had often pressed Ravana to restore Seeta to Sri Rama honourably. He now forcefully protested against Ravanas decision to put Hanumantha to death. Ravana thought over the matter and decided that he would not put Hanumantha to death but would teach him a lesson for the havoc he had wrought in Ashoka Vana. He ordered his men to set fire to Hanumanthas tail. The servants at once began to wrap the tail in cloth. But wonder of wonders! As they went on wrapping, the tail went on growing. No amount of cloth would suffice. They brought cloth from every house in Lanka, but, no, they could not find enough cloth. Finally, Ravana said, Set it on fire as it is, and they did so.

At once Hanumantha leapt high. He moved about all over Lanka. He burnt every part of the city.Before Ravana and his ministers could realize what was happening the city was in flames.

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As the fire spread thick smoke enveloped the city. Women and children were choked and began to wail. Some were burnt in their houses. Wailing and shrieks and loud cries filled the air. As the entire city burnt smoke rose to the sky. The conflagration stretched its red tongue on all sides and lapped up the city. There was nothing except fire and smoke everywhere. People were confounded, they cried aloud, they wept, they ran in all directions, and they fell down dead. House or garden or rock -the fire spared nothing.

Hanumantha went to the seashore and shortened and extinguished his tail. Then suddenly he remembered Ashoka Vana, with a shock. What have I done? What is the fate of Seeta Devi?so he asked himself. He was wretched at what he had done. He decided to go to theVana and see what had happened. But just then he heard the Siddhas and the Charanas in the sky, saying to one another,How skilful is Hanumantha! All Lanka is burning but the fire has not spread to Ashoka Vana! Seeta Devi has not been harmed in the least! Hanumantha felt immensely relieved.

Hanumantha returned to Ashoka Vana. Once again he met Seeta Devi and reported to her all that had happened in Ravanas court. He then obtained her consent to leave. He went to the seashore He expanded his form to a gigantic size and leapt over the sea. He reached the northern coast. He joined Jambavantha and the others who were anxiously waiting for him.

The Vanara leaders rejoiced to see him. They danced and hopped about in sheer joy and surrounded Hanumantha. They demanded in one voice, Great Vanara, did you reach Lanka? Did you see Seeta Devi? Why did you not bring her? Tell us all your experiences.

Hanumantha also was delighted to see his friends once again. And he, too, was eager to share his experiences with them. He narrated all that had happened – the leap over the ocean, the meeting with Lanka Devi, the visit to Ravanas palace, the sight of the Pushpaka Vimana, the meeting with Seeta Devi and the burning of Lanka. The Vanaras were delighted with his great exploits. They all set out for Kishkindha.

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Examination on Lesson – 13

Choose answers to all the questions. All the best !!

Q1. Why did Shri Rama send Laxmana to Sugreeva, after the rainy season was over ?

Ans: a) To invite him to sacrifice b) To check out how was Sugreeva looking after his new kingdom c) To meet him as they had not met for a long time d)To remind him to fulfill his promise to look for Sita Devi

Q2. Why did Sugreeva send lakhs of Vanaras in four directions ?

Ans: a) To fight Ravana b) To conquer whole earth c) To look for Sita Devi d) To look for food

Q3 Who found Sita Devi first ?

Ans: a) Nala b) Neela c) Angada d) Hanuman

Q4. Why did Shri Rama give his ring to Hanuman ?

Ans: a) He wanted to reward Hanuman b) Because Hanuman wanted to wear the ring c) So that Hanuman, if he meets Sita Devi, it can be used as identification d) Because he didn’t want it

Q5. Why did Sita Devi give Chudamani to Hanuman?

Ans: a) So that he can prove that he had met her b) She did not want Ravana to get it c) She was afraid the Rakshasies guarding her will take it away d) She didn’t like it

Q6. Why did Hanuman start destroying Ashok Vana ?

Ans: a) Because he didn’t like forest b) Because he wanted to punish Ravana c) Because he wanted to draw Ravana’s army to war to gauge their strength d) Because he liked destroying things

Q7. Which son of Ravana was killed by Hanuman in the Ashok Vana battle ?

Ans: a)Prahastha b) Indrajit c) Akshayakumar d) Vibhishan

Q8. What did Ravan do to punish Hanuman ?

Ans: a)Ordered him to kill b) Burnt his tale c)Put him in Jail d)Insulted him with harsh words

Q9. Why did Hanuman burn Lanka ?

Ans: a)To punish Ravana and to put fear in everybody’s heart before the impending war b) It was an accident c) Sita Devi ordered him to burn it d)Shri Rama had told him to do so

Q10. Why did the burnt wings of Sampathi sprouted anew ?

Ans: a) Becuase of the sun raise b) Becuase of the medicines given by Vanaras c) Because of the sacrifices he made d) He had a boon that if he helped Shri Rarma in any way, he will get back his wings

Q11. Which mountain requests Hanuman to rest and accepts some food in the sea ?

Ans: a)Meru b)Vindhya c) Himalaya d) Mainaka

Correct Ansers below

Examination 13

Q.1 Ans d)

Q.2 Ans c)

Q.3 Ans d)

Q.4 Ans c)

Q.5 Ans a)

Q.6 Ans c)

Q.7 Ans c)

Q.8 Ans b)

Q.9 Ans a)

Q.10 Ans d)

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