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Sundara Kanda: Ramayan

Hanuman ji

I. This part of Ramayana contains poetic descriptions of several beautiful objects, places and people. Whether the poet describes, Sri Lanka, Pushpaka Vimana, Asoka forest, Madhu Vana, Hanuman, Sita, Rama, Ravana, or the Moonrise, he goes in to poetic rapture.

For example describing the moon in the 5th chapter he writes:

Then the intelligent Hanuman saw the moon, which was in the center of the sky, which was with rays and which was spreading the sheet of moon light, like an enthusiastic bull wandering in its stable. 1

Then he saw the moon, which destroys the sorrows of the world, which increased the levels of the great sea and which travelled by giving light to all beings.

That Goddess Lakshmi who shined normally on the Mandhara Mountain of earth, in the sea during dusk and on the lotus in the ponds, at that time shined sitting on the moon.

The moon in the sky was similar to the swan in the sliver cage, lion in the caves of Mandhara Mountain and the heroic soldier sitting on proud elephant.

The moon, which was full of all its crescents, resembled the bullock with its sharpened horns, the silver mountain with its peaks and the elephant whose tusks were decorated by gold.

That moon which did not lose the luster due to dense dew drops, which had borrowed light from sun and by which it drove away darkness, which was serving the luminous Lakshmi in its crystal clear mien and which had the rabbit mark, shined in the sky.

The moon shone with great light like the lion climbing on the stone clusters, like the great elephant reaching the war and like the King getting his Kingdom.

This section is about the exploits of Hanuman who was an extremely beautiful person as the poet describes him as "a shining handsome person made of Gold". Hanuman also has a name "Sundara".

It is in this section that a full comprehensive description of Sri Rama, possibly the most handsome person ever born is given (Chapter 35). Hence the sage must have thought that this deserves that name.

The reason why it is called Sundara Kanda is possibly best given by one of the greatest commentators of Sundara Kanda viz. Tilaka. He says

Beautiful among the most beautiful is Sri Lanka,

Beautiful among the most beautiful is the Story

Beautiful among the most beautiful is Sita,

What is there in it, which is not beautiful?

According to the belief of Hindus, Sundara Kandam is a mine where we can draw powers to support one in all worldly situations. People believe that reading or hearing the story is a panacea and final solution for all ills and all problems.

Hanuman at the suggestion and encouragement given by Jambhavan decided to cross the ocean and reach Sri Lanka. He promised his friends that he would search and find out Sita in Sri Lanka. The God of the sea, to help Hanuman, asked his friend Mainaka Mountain to rise above the sea and help Hanuman to relax and take rest. Hanuman however refused the offer and went ahead.

The assembled Devas wanted to test the efficiency of Hanuman and sent Devi Surasa to test him. She took the form of a Rakshasi and informed him that he should enter her mouth and become her food; Hanuman increased his size to a mega form. Surasa also made her mouth sufficiently big to swallow Hanuman.

At that time Hanuman reduced his body to a thumb size jumped in and out of Surasas's mouth. Surasa blessed him and the devas were sure that Hanuman can do the job assigned to him. After this a Rakshasi called Simhika caught hold of his shadow and started dragging him to her mouth so that she can eat him.

Hanuman again increased the size of the body and killed Simhika. After this, Hanuman reached the city of Sri Lanka. There he took a small midget form before entering the city, to avoid detection. However Lanka Devatha stopped him and challenged him. He hit her with his clenched fist and she fell down.

She realised that the end of the city of Sri Lanka was nearing and blessed Hanuman in his endeavour. Hanuman then searched all over the city including Ravana's harem. Though on seeing Mandodhari he thought that he has seen Sita, he concluded immediately that she who was living a life of luxury could not be Sita.

Later he located Sita in the Asoka forest which was attached to the harem of Ravana. She was sleeping on the floor, had not taken bath nor changed her dresses. She also had removed all non-essential ornaments and hung them on a tree.

While he was watching, Ravana paid a visit to Sita and requested her to be his wife. She refused and told him that the only way for him to continue to live was to give her back to Rama. Becoming furious, he set a period of two months for her to live and instructed the Rakshasis to terrorise her and make her agree for his proposal.

While the Rakshasis were trying their best, Trijata, the daughter of Vibhishana told the Rakshasis about her dream in which she clearly foresaw the defeat and death of Ravana and the victory of Rama. The Rakshasis were scared because of this. However, Sita dejected by her situation decided to commit suicide by hanging by her own hair.

Hanuman hiding in the tree related the story of Rama up to that point and hearing this Sita became enthused. Hanuman appeared before her, after all Rakshasis were asleep and related to her the adventures of Rama and also gave her signet Ring of Rama as the identification. He also requested her to ride on his back and reach Rama.

Sita refused this offer saying that this would be an insult to Rama's valour and also she, as a virtuous woman, would not touch another male willingly. She also gave him her pearl hair brooch as identification. This brooch was given to her by her father. She also told him story of the crow, which attacked her and how Rama put a Tilak on her forehead with a red stone. Hanuman took leave of Sita and while returning made up his mind to see Ravana as well as the city of Lanka. To draw attention to himself, he destroyed the Asoka Forest.

Ravana sent many of his warriors including his younger son Akshaya Kumara to capture Hanuman. However, Hanuman killed all of them. Then Ravana sent his elder son Indrajit to capture Hanuman who succeeded by using his Brahma Asthra.

Though he became free due to his boon, Hanuman seemingly submitted himself to the rakshasas and reached the court of Ravana. Becoming angry Ravana awarded capital punishment to Hanuman. However, Vibhishana, the younger brother of Ravana pointed out that such a punishment couldn't be given to emissaries. Agreeing to his view, Ravana ordered the Rakshasas to set fire to the tail of Hanuman.

Acceding to the prayer of Sita, who heard the news from other Rakshasis, the God of fire did not hurt Hanuman. Hanuman escaped from the clutches of the Rakshasas by his sheer prowess and using the fire in his tail set fire to the city of Lanka. Then he took leave of Sita and jumped back to the other shore. He then related his story to his friends and they together decided to tell it to Sri Rama. On their way back to Sri Rama, they destroyed the honey garden of King Sugreeva.

They then reached Kishkinda and relate in detail about how they have been able to find Sita and how she is sad, guarding her virtue and would die after 2 months.

Hanuman in this section has been described as one for whom nothing is impossible and who is the embodiment of faith, devotion, loyalty to the master, fearlessness and self-confidence. The story points out that, success is the outcome of such an attitude. It teaches us that, if we want to be successful in life, we have to combine the above qualities

As a humble devotee, I personally feel that if we can read and sing the original lilting poems of Sage Valmiki, it would be really great and those of us who cannot could equally benefit from daily reading the translation. I believe like this because unlike the Vedas, where the vibrations created by each sound is important, here it is a poem and the intention of Sage Valmiki appears to tell and make us understand the story.

Parayana Vidhana

Parvathy asked: -

"Oh, God of all beings, I would very much love to know from you, the greatness of Sundara Kanda in detail."

Sri Parameshwara replied: -

"I would summarize the greatness of Sundara Kanda for you, because to tell in detail, only the great Lord Ramachandra is capable. Similar to the fact that God Rama is the greatest among Devas, similar to the fact that Kalpaga tree is greatest among trees, similar to the fact that the Kousthubha Gem is greatest among gems, in Ramayana, Sundara Kanda is the greatest chapter.

By reading or listening to Sundara Kanda with devotion, all the wishes are fulfilled, all dangers will vanish, all diseases will be cured and all types of wealth will grow. Especially it is the greatest panacea for those who suffer from great diseases. Even diseases like tuberculosis, Leprosy and epilepsy, which cannot be cured by even divine medicines, would be cured completely by reading Sundara Kanda 68 times by the grace of Lord Ramachandra. Please hear its greatness, which I am telling you with attention.

Please hear, the following ancient story, which tells about the greatness of Sundara Kanda. There was a great city called Kanchipuram in the earth and once upon a time it was ruled by Chola Dynasty. Among those Kings, there was a great King called Vamsankara who lived with his wife Manorama, He gave many charities and did several fire sacrifices. He was devoted to the great temples of the city, which included the great Temple of Kamakshi and Ekamranatha and the temple of Varadaraja and ruled the state with efficiency. Unfortunately he was not blessed by any children. Once while coming out of the temple of Kamakshi, he saw a great sage entering the temple.

He worshipped that sage and when enquired introduced himself. The sage asked him, in what way he would be able to help him and the King requested him to bless him to become a father. The sage told the King, that "In your previous birth you were a saintly Brahmin who lived in Rameswaram and worshipped in the temple daily.

As a result you are born as the King of this country. Unfortunately, in your previous birth, you did not allow your daughter to join her husband and become a mother due to some family conflict. This is the reason why you are not able to become a father." He then requested the King and the queen to observe strict penance, give gold and silver as charities to Brahmins and worship Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva daily. The King and the queen followed his advice and as a result, a good son was born to them. They named him Balachandra and the prince grew up as an extremely learned and able man.

When he became old, the King decided to give his Kingdom to his son and make him his successor and retire to the forest. Unfortunately the terrible disease of Tuberculosis afflicted Balachandra. In spite of treatment by the foremost expert doctors of the world and daily prayers, the prince was not cured. When the King and queen were terribly worried and knew not what to do, the sage who had earlier blessed them with the child came again to that city.

The King and the Queen fell at his feet and requested him to cure the disease of the prince. The sage told, "In his previous birth, your son stole the materials kept ready for the worship of Rama and enjoyed life and that is why he is cursed with this disease. But later, realizing his sin, he daily read Ramayana and worshipped Rama and that is why he has been born to you.

I would tell you, how to get rid of the effects of that sin." The King thanked him and wanted to know in detail as to what should be done. The sage replied, "Construct a decorated Yagasala and in its middle construct a square platform. Spread a white silk cloth in that stage. On that cloth, spread six measures of Paddy and on that half the quantity of raw rice.

On that keep a golden vessel made of one pound of silver full of pearls. Cover that vessel with a silk cloth. On that keep a gold plate in which Sri Rama Yantra is drawn. Over that keep the golden statue of Sri Rama accompanied by Sita and Hanuman. Worship this statue using Rama Sahasranamavali.

Then read the entire Sundara Kanda. This worship and reading should start in the early morning and end at noon. A non-fading ghee lamp also should be kept burning for 68 days and the above procedure should be repeated 68 times.

On each day, Payasam should be prepared and offered to God Rama. Though this is the best, completing the repetition 68 times can also be done in four months. It is best for the individual himself to read the Sundara Kanda and it is of medium effect if it is got read by single Brahmin, and worse if it is got read by many Brahmins.

After completing the above, the Yudha Kanda should be completely read in 5 or 6 days. All the 73 days, in the evening a great scholar should re-tell the stories of Sundara Kanda. This would cure even diseases which Aswini Devas (Doctors of Gods) cannot cure. This also could help you win a war or even help you in getting occult powers, if your son does this, his disease would definitely get cured."

That sage then disappeared. The King performed the above worship and the prince himself read the Sundara Kanda daily and was fully cured of the disease. Hey Devi, just by reading Sundara Kanda 68 times, the prince was cured of a terrible disease. There are also many others who got rid of their illness by reading Sundara Kanda. So even if one is poor or not physically well, he should observe the Vratha of Sundara Kanda and get benefited.

Hanuman’s Ocean Crossing

Lava and Kusha, the sons of Rama, had sung the entire Ramayana as composed by sage Valmiki in front of Rama when he was performing the Aswamedha (horse) sacrifice. This first portion of Sundara Kanda is a part of their narration on the sixteenth day.]

This chapter describes how Hanuman crossed the great ocean to reach Sri Lanka in search of Sita. On the way, first the God of Ocean and Mainaka Mountain respected him. Later devas tested his capability by sending Surasa Devi to test him. After this Simhika dragged his shadow and tried to eat him. Crossing all these hurdles, he reached the other shore safely.]

Afterwards Hanuman, the slayer of his enemies, desired to travel by the paths that the Charanas (devas who travel in the sky) travel, to find out the place where Sita, who has been abducted by Ravana, is kept in hiding.

Then the valorous, strong and wise Hanuman started travelling as he liked, similar to a lion in zest, creating terror to the birds, felling trees by his immense chest, glowing like a diamond and killing various animals in the grass, like the torrential flow of water.

In addition, decorated by the series of multi coloured mountains which were falling behind, Hanuman looked like a streak of lightning in front of clouds which travel at a great height. 61 Strewn by the great speed of Hanuman, the flowers which fell on the water looked like the sky strewn with millions of stars. 62

The great storm generated by his travel attracted greatly the clouds, which were shining once in a while due to lightning. 63 The sky with clouds, which were rising high and the water filled ocean moving by tides of great speed looked alike. 64 Pointing high towards the sky, those two hands of

Hanuman looked similar to two five headed snakes coming out of the peak of mountains. 65 That great monkey appeared as if he was preparing to drink the great ocean full of high tides and also as if he was wishing to drink the sky also. 66 The two eyes of Hanuman, who was travelling in the sky, appeared as if they were shining like two mountain fires at two different points. 67 The 2 big yellow eyes of the chief of the monkey, shined like the moon and sun in the solar system.

68 His face which appeared reddish by his large and red nose, looked similar to the sky with a red setting sun. 69 His tails, which were held aloft in the sky, looked like Indra's flag held aloft in the sky. 70 With his white sparkling teeth, the famous and wise son of Wind God in the round created by his tail, looked similar to the sun framed by his halo. 71 His reddish behind appeared as if it is a reddish laterite split mountain.

72 The wind passing through the armpits of the monkey, who was crossing the sea, made thunderous swooshing sound made by the clouds. 73 That monkey hero appeared like a comet with a tail travelling through the sky. 74 The great stature monkey, who was equal to the rising sun, shined with his waist cloth like an elephant.

75 With his great body floating in the sky and its reflection in the depths of the ocean, the monkey looked like a ship being driven by the wind. 76 Whichever part of the atmosphere he travelled, that portion appeared greatly agitated by the speed of his body.

77 That monkey, who was travelling with great speed, was beating away the high tides of the sea by his immense chest. 78 The speed of the wind generated by the moving monkey as well as the moving clouds twisted the sea greatly by their great sounds.

79 That monkey, who was dragging with him the great tides of the salty sea, travelled as if he was separating the land and the sky. 80 Moving with immense speed and crossing the mountain (resembling the Mount Meru), like high tides, he appeared as if he was counting those tides while crossing them.

81 The seawater thrown towards the clouds by the monkey travelling at great speed mixed with the clouds and appeared like clouds of the autumn. 82 Those whales, crocodiles, fishes and tortoise which appeared above the water looked like human limbs when the cloth was removed from them.

83 At that time, the big snakes living in the sea, seeing the flying chief of monkey, mistook him to be Garuda, the eagle. 84 His shade, which was ten yojanas* broad and thirty yojanas long, appeared pretty over the water.85 Broadly placed over the sea, his shadow in the water appeared as if it was a huge crowd of fish following him. 86 Hanuman, who was powerful, huge and a great monkey appeared as if he was a winged mountain floating in the sky without any support.

87 That monkey, who was very powerful, caused the sea to look like a mountain pass, because of the high speed he was travelling in his path. 88

He travelled like the King of Birds through the route in which the birds flew and appeared as if a fast moving wind was dragging the clouds. 89 The huge clouds attracted by the monkey shined with colours of white, red, blue and yellow. 90 He appeared as if he was a moon, which is travelling through the cloud, being hid at times and being seen at times. 91 The Devas, Gandarwas and Danavas* rained flowers on the fast flying monkey. 92 Then as if to aid the work of Lord Rama, the sun did not scorch him and the wind made a pleasant atmosphere round him.

93 The sages praised the monkey, who was travelling with great speed, and also the Devas and Gandharvas sang in praise of the great one. 94 Seeing the monkey did not appear tired by his exertions, Rakshasas and Nagas, Yakshas and devas praised him with glee. 95 When the great monkey was travelling thus, the God of the ocean thought of methods of honoring the descendent of Ikshu Vaku. 96 He thought that if he did not help Lord Hanuman in his effort, all those who can talk would speak ill of him. 97 Since the Sagara Kings belonging to the Ikshu Vaku clan raised him and Hanuman was helping their descendent, the God of Ocean thought that Hanuman should not get tired 98.

After crossing the ocean Hanuman reach to Lanka then he looking for Sita after all he have founded Sita Mata she is sitting in Ashoka vatika in lanka. He was very small he throught the ring of Rama to Sita from the top of the tree. Then Sita astonished to see the ring of lord Rama.

Sita think that this holy ring how can reach to this unclean Lanka. Now, you are going to take full information about Jambavan. So, Jambavan in his youth he was very powerful he ride our full universe 23 times in 3 sec. He was creat from lord Bhrahma's wet. It means that Jambavan was alive before our earth was created. He was known as son of Bhrahma. And nobody can find how many yrs old in Jambavan and how log his life. While travelling Jambavan's toe nail was touch to the mountain than mountain get in anger and then he ask that you have so proud on your youth then mountain said that you will be like a old person from now you are at your old age. After that he is with his old body.

It is consider that Jambavan was alive before Satyuga and he will alive after kalyuga. While every vanara trying to reach to Lanka in a jump so, 1 vanara come to Jambavan and ask that how long you can jump. Then Jambavan ask them that in my old age I can jump 90 yojanas but Lanka is 100 yojanas far from here then Jambavan tell them about his youth. So, let's come to our Ramayan. Then Sita see upward to the tree. Then Lord Hanuman come to mata Sita then mata Sita ask who are you and how you get the ring of lord Rama.

Then hanuman said that I am messanger of lord Rama and my name is Hanuman. Then mata Sita said Hanuman how is prabhu Ram (Lord Rama). Then hanuman said that mate lord Rama is very good but he didn't eat anything after your kidnaping mate.

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