Friday, August 27, 2010

PDE Ramayana: The Armies

Reading Guide. The rainy season comes to an end, and Rama becomes frustrated with Sugriva's lack of action, so he sends Lakshmana to remind the monkey king of the promises he made to Rama. Sugriva then sends four armies of monkeys and bears to seek Sita in all directions. The expedition that goes south (the right way, in the direction of Sri Lanka) includes Hanuman, along with Vali's son Angada, and Jambavan, the king of the bears. The list includes many regions and landmarks until finally Sugriva names Tamraparni, which is indeed the island of Lanka.

Image: The illustration below is another item from the so-called Mewar Ramayana which was commissioned by King Jagat Singh (1628-1652); you can read more about the Mewar Kingdom at Wikipedia.

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). To see the geographical listings of the northern, eastern, and western search parties, see Dutt's poem! [300 words]

Rainy Season | 47. The Armies | Sampati

When the rainy season was drawing to a close, Rama fretted because Sugriva, King of the Vanars, was making no effort to collect his forces and prepare for the recovery of Sita. Instead, he drank wine and spent the days in merriment among his wives. At length Lakshmana visited the palace and threatened Sugriva with death because he had broken his promise, whereat the monarch summoned speedily his great armies of apes and bears in countless numbers. Four divisions were then sent out to the north and the south, and eastward and westward, to search for Sita.

~ ~ ~

Next to Nila son of Agni, Jambavan Vidhata's son,
Hanuman the son of Marut, famed for deeds of valor done,

Unto Gaya and Gavaksha, Gandhamadan true and tried,
Unto Angad prince and regent, thus the brave Sugriva cried:

"Noblest, bravest of our chieftains, greatest of our race are ye!
Seek and search the southern regions, rock and ravine, wood and tree.

"Search the thousand peaks of Vindhya lifting high its misty head;
Through the gorges of Narmada rolling o'er its rocky bed,

"By the gloomy Godavari and by Krishna's wooded stream,
Through Utkala's sea-girt forests tinged by morning's early gleam.

"Search the towns of famed Dasarna and Avanti's rocky shore,
And the uplands of Vidarbha and the mountains of Mysore,

"Land of Matsyas and Kalingas and Kausika's regions fair,
Trackless wilderness of Dandak seek with anxious toil and care.

"Search the empire of the Andhras, of the sister-nations three, —
Cholas, Cheras and the Pandyas dwelling by the southern sea,

"Pass Kaveri's spreading waters, Malya's mountains towering brave,
Seek the isle of Tamraparni, gemmed upon the ocean wave!"

Rainy Season | 47. The Armies | Sampati

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