Reading Guide. Remember that Sita and Hanuman have never met before, so this dramatic encounter in Lanka is their first meeting.
Image: In the illustration below, you can see that at first Sita rejects Hanuman, thinking that this is another of Ravana's illusions intended to deceive her.
Source. The prose portion comes from Indian Myth and Legend by Donald A. Mackenzie (1913), and the verse portion comes from Ramayana, The Epic of Rama, Prince of India, condensed into English verse by Romesh Dutt (1899). [400 words]
Hanuman kept watch, crouching in the branches of a tree, and at length he found it possible to approach her in secret. At first she feared that Ravana had assumed the form of Hanuman to deceive her, but she was reassured when the vanara spy showed her the ring of Rama and related how greatly he sorrowed because she had been taken from him. Then was her heart touched with sorrow mingled with joy.
Hanuman offered to carry her away, but in her modesty she refused to touch the body of any male being save Rama. She took from her hair a bright jewel which she gave to Hanuman as a token, and she said that Ravana had allowed her but two months to live if she refused to yield to him.
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"'Tis no dream's deceitful whisper!" Hanuman spake to the dame,
As from darksome leafy shelter he to Rama's consort came.
"Rama's messenger and vassal, token from thy lord I bring:
Mark this bright ring, jewel-lettered with the dear name of thy king,
"For the loved and cherished Sita is to Rama ever dear,
And he sends his loving message, and his force is drawing near!
Sita held that tender token from her loved and cherished lord,
And once more herself she fancied to his loving arms restored,
And her pallid face was lighted and her soft eye sent a spark
As the Moon regains her lustre, freed from Rahu's shadows dark —
And with voice of deep emotion in each softly whispered word
Spake her thoughts in gentle accents of her consort and her lord.
"Messenger of love of Rama! Dauntless is thy deed and bold.
Thou hast crossed the boundless ocean to the Raksha's castled hold;
"Thou hast crossed the angry billows which confess no monarch's sway,
O'er the face of rolling waters found thy unresisted way;
"Thou hast done what living mortal never sought to do before,
Dared the raksha in his island, Ravan in his sea-girt shore!
"Speak, if Rama lives in safety in the woods or by the hill,
And if young and gallant Lakshman faithful serves his brother still,
"Speak, if Rama in his anger and his unforgiving ire,
Hurls destruction on my captor like the world-consuming fire,
"Speak, if Rama in his sorrow wets his pale and drooping eye,
If the thought of absent Sita wakes within his heart a sigh!"