Friday, October 8, 2010

PDE Ramayana: Sugriva and Hanuman

Reading Guide. Following the advice they got from Kabandha, Rama and Lakshmana leave Shabari's hermitage and go in search of Sugriva, a monkey-king now living in exile. When Sugriva sees them coming, he is alarmed, thinking that they are agents in the employ of his brother Vali. In this episode you will also meet Hanuman, the monkey-god who will be Rama's most devoted follower.

Image: The photograph below shows Rama and Hanuman in a Ram-Lila ("Rama's Play") performance; you can learn more about the Ram-Lila tradition at Wikipedia.

SourceRama and the Monkeys by Geraldine Hodgson (1903). [400 words] This is the first selection you have read from Geraldine Hodgon's version of the Rama for young readers (junior high school). It picks up where Sugriva has noticed Rama and Lakshmana wandering in the woods and has sent Hanuman, in disguise, to go investigate.

Shabari | 41. Sugriva and Hanuman | Sugriva's Story

Then Sugriva invited Hanuman to disguise himself and approach the strangers and to find out if he could who they were and why they came. So Hanuman took the shape of a beggar and set forth.

When he overtook the two brothers, he spoke to them and extolled their great beauty and strength and asked them why they wandered thus fully armed about the lake country, filling all the animals with fear. When they did not reply, he explained that he was Hanuman, the messenger of Sugriva, the high-souled, heroic, and virtuous monkey who journeyed through the world with sorrow in his heart because Vali his elder brother had driven him away and had captured his wife.

Then Rama, his face shining with joy, told Lakshmana that this was certainly Hanuman the chief counsellor of Sugriva, the best of monkeys, whom they had come to seek by the lake Pampa, and he bade his brother speak words of welcome.

Hearing these words, Hanuman's heart overflowed with gladness. Here at last was a friendly power, a willing ally by whose help, if he could but bring them together, Sugriva might win back the kingdom and find his wife.

But first Hanuman repeated his question, asking why they wandered about thus in the lake country. Then Lakshmana explained who they were, how Rama had been driven into exile, and how he himself had of his own will followed his brother in all his wanderings and troubles. He said further that it was Rama's wish, great and powerful though he was, to place himself under the protection of Sugriva.

Then Hanuman answered that they must come at once. "Sugriva too," he said, "has been turned out of his kingdom; he too has had his wife torn from him and has been troubled greatly by a brother. He with us will help you in your search for beautiful Sita." So Rama and Lakshmana, knowing that the son of the Wind God could not lie, agreed to go with him.

And Hanuman, taking again his monkey shape, put them both on his back and sped away till he brought them to that best of hills and set them down in the presence of Sugriva the monkey chief.

Shabari | Sugriva and Hanuman | Sugriva's Story

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