Chennai - 28/12/2010
Valmiki in his early life was a hunter and for maintaining his family became a robber. However by the grace of Sage Narada the hunter started chanting “MARA MARA” as he could not pronounce RAMA and later became a great devotee of Rama and wrote the epic nonpareil. The sacred Gayathri Mantra contains 24 syllables. Sage Valmiki set the Gayathri letters one by one as the starting letter of slokas in a uniform interval of 1000 verses. Thus Ramayana has 24,000 verses or slokas spread across seven Kandas or episodes namely Bala Kanda, Ayodhya Kanda, Aranya Kanda, Kishkinda Kanda, Sundara Kanda, Yuddha Kanda and Uttara Kanda.
Hanuman then reduced himself to a smaller size and searched everywhere. He scoured the imperial palace and every nook and corner of the city of Lanka but could not find Sita. He then remembered that he had not paid his obeisance to Lord Rama, Sita, Devathas, Marut Ganas and other celestial beings. He then offered prayers to them. While looking around suddenly he saw a small forest which was full of Asoka trees. He entered the Asoka forest and finds a lady under a Simsubha tree with luster but her clothes were torn and her face was dim. Then Hanuman saw a person advance menacingly towards Sita and asking her to marry him. Sita took a dried grass (darba) placed it in front of him and by looking at the darba told him that his end is nearing. The person was none other than the demon King Ravana who gave her an ultimatum to marry her within a month otherwise she will be killed. Sita was in tears and was about to end her life by hanging her long hair to the tree.
Hanuman then decided to feel the pulse of his enemy and started destroying the Asoka forest where Sita was imprisoned. The news of destruction by a monkey reached the court of Ravana who deputed his warriors to attack and capture Hanuman. The furious Hanuman then killed all the warriors one by one. Later Indrajit son of Ravan deploys Brahma Astra which alone can make Hanuman to abide and that too for a brief while. However the Brahmastra’s powers were nullified by the soldiers of Indarajit as they tied rope above the Brahmastra which released Hanuman. However Hanuman decided to see Ravana and kept silent and did not move his limbs. He was then taken to Ravana’s court and was made to stand in front of Ravan like a prisoner. Hanuman then made a big coiled seat out of his own tail and sat higher than Ravana. Hanuman then informed Ravana that he was the messenger of Rama and advised him to release Sita otherwise he will be killed by Rama. Ravana being impervious and unreceptive, ordered asuras to kill Hanuman.
The next day early morning somebody was knocking at the door and they were surprised to find the boy with the cash bag standing along with a railway official. The boy then narrated what happened and said while in the train in the midnight he sensed something wrong. The stranger was sleeping in the train and when the train stopped in a station the boy took the cash bag from the sleeping man, came out of the coach, went to the station master and informed what had happened. The Station Master then alerted the railway police who caught the stranger who was fast asleep and arrested him. The railway authorities then brought the boy to their house based on the address given by him. The parents were in joy and tears to see their son back and felt the prayers of their father (old man) who read the entire Sundara Kanda the whole night were answered by bringing back their lost son and money.
Sundara Kanda a spiritual solace
It was the Hanuman’s Odyssey which paved the way for Rama to resue His kidnapped wife. Hanuman is Chiranjeevi i.e. an eternally living person. Wherever someone is singing the glory of Sri Rama, there Hanuman is said to be present with folded palms, and eyes profusely shedding tears of joy. He is said to live at the bottom of the celestial Paarijaatha tree. He is Vaayu puthra (son of Wind God). He is the son of glorious Anjana Devi. He removed the grief of Seetha by handing over the ring from Rama as a symbol of hope. It is said that if one constantly prays to Hanuman, he gives boons such as - Intelligence, strength, name & fame, courage, good health, longevity, skill in speech, absence from laziness, wards off sluggishness and gets blissful and contented.
I hereby thank Sri (Major) V. Venkata Narayanan who painstakily did the proof reading of the article.
Sundara Kandam – Lifco Publications, Chennai
Sundara Kandam & Ramayana – Wikipedia
Sundara Kanda – Hanuman’s Odyssey – Sri B.S. Murthy