Friday, March 12, 2010

PDE Ramayana: Hanuman and the Mountain

Reading Guide. After another devastating attack by Indrajit, this time using a Brahmastra (Brahma-weapon), it is up to Hanuman to save the army.

Image: The depiction of Hanuman carrying the Medicine Hill is one of the most popular Hanuman icons. This is a Hanuman statue in Haladiagada, Kendrapada, Orissa in eastern India.

SourceMyths of the Hindus and Buddhists by Sister Nivedita (1914). [300 words]

Kumbhakarna | 65. Hanuman and the Mountain | Indrajit

Then Ravana grew ever more heavy of heart, but Prince Indrajit came to his father and vowed to slay Rama and Lakshmana that day, and he sallied forth. But first he offered libations unto Fire, and sacrificed a goat, and the bright, smokeless Fire-God, with his flickering tongue, rose up to take the offering, and he bestowed a Brahma-weapon on Indrajit, and blessed his bow and car with charms. Armed with that weapon, Indrajit slew countless hosts of monkeys, and laid low Sugriva and Angada and Jambavan and Nila and other chiefs, but himself remained invisible. Then Rama, seeing him thus weaponed and unassailable, counselled a semblance of defeat. And Indrajit returned victorious to Lanka.

Then Vibhishana and Hanuman ranged the field, beholding thousands of slain and wounded, a horrid sight and grim, and they came nigh to the king of bears, Jambavan, and asked if he yet lived. He answered faintly, recognizing Vibhishana's voice, and asked if Hanuman was alive; then Hanuman bowed to Jambavan and held his feet. Jambavan rejoiced, and despite his wounds he spoke to the Wind-God's son, "Do thou labour for this host of bears and monkeys, for only thou canst save them. Thou shalt bound over the sea, and reach Himalaya, king of mountains, and bring thence the four life-giving herbs that grow on him, and return forthwith with healing for the monkey host."

Then Hanuman roared and sprang, and he passed across the sea and over hills and woods and rivers and cities till he came to Himalaya and beheld its hermitages. He ranged the mountain, but the herbs were hidden from him, and angered and impatient, Hanuman rooted up the whole mountain and sprang with it into the air and returned to Lanka, welcomed by all the host. And the slain and wounded monkeys rose up whole, as if from restful sleep, healed by the savour of the four medicinal herbs. But all the slain rakshasas had been cast into the sea. Then Hanuman took the mountain-peak again to Himalaya and returned to Lanka.

Kumbhakarna | Hanuman and the Mountain | Indrajit

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