Sundara Kanda: Hanuman’s Odyssey

Sundara Kanda: Hanuman’s Odyssey

Sundara Kanda: Hanuman’s Odyssey by Murthy, B.S.. If Mahabharata’s Bhagvad-Gita is taken as a philosophical guide, Ramayana’s Sundara Kãnda is sought for spiritual solace; many believe that reading Sundara Kãnda or hearing it recited would remove all hurdles and usher in good tidings! Miracles apart, it’s in the nature of Sundara Kãnda to inculcate fortitude and generate hope in one and all. After all, isn’t it a depiction of how Hanuman goes about his errand against all odds! Again, won’t it portray how Seetha, on the verge of self-immolation, overcomes despair to see life in a new light? Besides, how Hanuman’s Odyssey paves the way for Rama to rescue his kidnapped wife! One is bound to be charmed by the rhythm of the verse and the flow of the narrative in this sloka to sloka transcreation of Valmiki’s adi kavya – the foremost poetical composition in the world. What is more, as the following verse illustrates, it was the forerunner of the magic realism of our times – “Gripped she then him by shadow / Cast which Hanuman coast to coast; Recalled he in dismay then / What Sugreev said at outset / That one fiend had aptitude / To grip its prey by mere shadow.”

. Canto 33 – Genesis of Exile

Seeing Seetha’s demeanour change
Gladdened Hanuman’s heart no end.

Folding his hands in reverence
Approached he then Rama’s wife.

Find thee grieving for some time
What doth make thee feel so sad?

Thy eyes that are all welled up
Make they clear that thou are hurt.

From thy bearing one can see
Come that thou from noble stock.

Tend I think that thou are none
But an angel strayed to earth.

Wonder thou could be North Star
Came down here from those high skies.

Pray thee tell me who art thou
Have thee left thy man in huff?

Seen thee grieving for some time
Have thee lost some dear soul then?

The more I see thee lovely one
All the more I hold thee high.

O thy bearing ’n demeanour
No less empress make thee look.

Are thee hapless Seetha then
Snared by Ravan from thy man?

Making two plus two as four
Take I thee for Rama’s wife.

Spoke as Hanuman to her thus
Seetha thought it fit to speak.

Dasarath was the king of kings
Daughter in-law am his near
Treated me he daughter like.

Seetha am king Janaka’s dear
Given in marriage to Rama
Son of Kausalya the Queen

In that palace of Koshal
What a life I led with Ram
For the best of twelve summers.

Heavenly rule to bring on earth
Came then time to crown Rama.

Thought it fit then Kaikeyi
Dasarath’s favoured number three
To see her son then ascend throne.

Made she clear then to Dasarath
Surely she would starve to death
Were he to crown Ram instead.

Pressed as she her suit to hilt
Cited she then that caveat
Cater would the king to her
Wishes three all when expressed.

Pulled as by his love for Ram
Stressed as Dasarath to the core
Wanted she that Ram may spend
From then fourteen years in woods.

Bound as Dasarath to his word
Sounded he then his first-born.

Gladly my man gave up then
Birthright his to rule his land.

Ordained thus by Kaikeyi
Set to Dandak woods then Ram.

Wanting hassles none for me
Wanted Ram that I stayed back.

What was there for me to cling
On to Dasarath’s palace then
When my man was not at home?

Not the one to forego Ram
Lakshman too then joined us.

That’s how three of us entered
Those thick jungles of Dandak.

Neared as end of our exile
Snared me Ravan from my man.

Intends Ravan to kill me
Were I to fail to take his hand
No more than in two more months,
Who is there to tell my man
Made up my mind to die now
For none I would have of Ravan.
. 1 – Hurdles in Skies
2 – City in Clouds
3 – Prelude to Entry
4 – Foray into Fort
5 – Life in Lanka
6 – Precincts to Beat
7 – Palace in the Plane
8 – Pushpak’s Prowess
9 – Harem at Night
10 – Women in Want
11 – Qualms of Celibate
12 – At Wits End
13 – Errand in the Bend
14 – Garden of Grief
15 – Withered Flower
16 – She is Seetha
17 – Guards all Hideous
18 – Ravan on Heat
19 – Dame in Despair
20 – Womanizer at Work
21 – Steadfast in Love
22 – Deadline to Death
23 – Guards that Pander
24 – Carrot and Stick
25 – Hapless Soul
26 – Wandering Thoughts
27 – Dream of a Nightmare
28 – On the Verge
29 – Good Tidings
30 – Hanuman’s Dilemma
31 – Rama’s Ballad
32 – Is it True?
33 – Genesis of Exile
34 – Swings in Mood
35 – Winning the Trust
36 – More of the Same
37 – Aborted Move
38 – Story to Tell
39 – Doubts to the Fore
40 – Repeats the Dose
41 – Rampage in the Park
42 – Panic in the Town
43 -Itching for Fight
44 -Takes on Prahastha’s Son
45 – Marshals in the Mire
46 – Generals in the Dumps
47 – Akshay’s Life on Line
48 – It takes Indrajit
49 – Ravan’s Darbar
50 – Cause of Loss
51 – Advice to Deliver
52 -Placates the Sibling
53 – Tail on Fire
54 – Arson to Hurt
55 – What of Seetha?
56 – Havoc of a Take-off
57 – Flight sans Hassles
58 – Odyssey in a Nutshell
59 – Pep Talk to Peers
60 – Angad on Rebound
61 – Eying the Madhuvan
62 – Orgy in the Garden
63 – Sugreev’s Reading
64 – Return of the Platoon
65 – News in Brief
66 – Tears in Torrents
67 – Hanuman’s Replay
68 – Times of Hope

Peep into Yuddha Kanda: War on Ravan

1. Embrace of a Gift
2. Coronation and After

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