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Chapter 53: The Burning of Hanuman’s Tail

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The Burning of Hanuman’s Tail

Summary

As ordered by Ravana, the demons wrap up old rags around Hanuma's tail, pour oil to it and burn it with fire. The demons tie Hanuma with ropes and conduct him to walk down the entire city, proclaiming to the citizens of Lanka saying that Hanuma is a spy. The female-demons inform Seetha about the burning of Hanuma's tail and making him move around the city by demons. Then, Seetha starts praying the fire-god to do good to Hanuma. In response to her prayers, fire-god makes Hanuma feel cool with his burning tail. Then, Hanuma approaches the city-gate of Lanka, takes an iron-rod from the arched door of the gate and kills all the security-guards there.

Chapter [Sarga] 53 in Detail

tasya tat vacanam shrutvaa dashagriivo mahaabalah |

desha kaala hitam vaakyam bhraatuh uttamam abraviit || 5-53-1

Hearing those words, which were appropriate for that place and time, spoken by that high-souled Vibhishana, his brother, Ravana spoke the following words in reply:

samyag uktam hi bhavataa duuta vadhyaa vigarhitaa |

avashyam tu vadhaat anyah kriyataam asya nigrahah || 5-53-2

"You have spoken well indeed that killing of an envoy is forbidden. Another punishment other than killing needs be certainly meted out to him."

kapiinaam kila laanguulam ishtam bhavati bhuushanam |

tat asya diipyataam shiighram tena dagdhena gacchatu || 5-53-3

"It is said that a tail is possibly a beloved ornament for the monkeys. Let his tail be burn immediately. Let him go with a burnt tail."

tatah pashyantu imam diinam anga vairuupya karshitam |

samitraa jnaatayah sarve baandhavaah sasuhrij janaah || 5-53-4

"Let all his relatives together with his friends, kinsmen and amicable persons then see him miserably injured with his deformed limbs."

aajnaapayat raakshasa indrah puram sarvam sacatvaram |

laanguulena pradiiptena rakshobhih pariniiyataam || 5-53-5

Ravana ordered that let the monkey be carried around with his burning tail by the demons in the entire city around its cross-roads."

tasya tat vacanam shrutvaa raakshasaah kopa karkashaah |

veshtante tasya laanguulam jiirnaih kaarpaasikaih pataih || 5-53-6

Hearing those words of Ravana, the demons, hard-tempered with their wrath, wrapped, up old ragged clothes around Hanuma's tail.

samveshtyamaane laanguule vyavardhata mahaakapih |

shushkam indhanam aasaadya vaneshv iva huta ashanah || 5-53-7

While his tail was being wrapped around with cotton tatters, Hanuma proliferating, soon after catching dry wood in forests.

tailena parishicya atha te agnim tatra avapaatayan |

laanguulena pradiiptena raakshasaan taan apaatayat || 5-53-8

rosha amarsha pariita aatmaa baala suurya sama aananah |

The demons sprinkled oil and set out fire on that tail. Then, Hanuma, with his face resembling a rising sun with his mind filled with anger and impatience and with his burning tail, threw those demons down.

laanguulam sampradiiptam tu drastum tasya hanuumatah || 5-53-9

sahastriibaalavriddhaashcha jagmuh priitaa nishaacharaah |

To see the burning tail of that Hanuma, the delighted demons together with their women, children and elders went there.

sa bhuuyah samgataih kruurai raakasaih hari sattamah || 5-53-10

nibaddhah kritavaan viirah tat kaala sadrishiim matim |

Tied down again by the cruel demons, coming together, the heroic Hanuma the foremost among monkeys made up his mind appropriate for that occasion (as follows):

kaamam khalu na me shaktaa nibadhasya api raakshasaah || 5-53-11

chittvaa paashaan samutpatya hanyaam aham imaan punah |

"Though I have been tied down, those demons cannot do whatever they wish to do against me. Breaking the ties, I can fly up and kill them."

yadibharturhataarthaaya charantam bhartrishaasanaat || 5-53-12

badhnantyete duraatmano na tu me niskritih kritaa |

"If these evil-minded demons fasten me who is acting for the good of Rama my lord, because of the command by their lord, no rebuff has been done to me."

sarveshaam eva paryaapto raakshasaanaam aham yudhi || 5-53-13

kim tu raamasya priiti artham vishahishye aham iidrisham |

lankaa carayitavyaa me punah eva bhavet iti || 5-53-14

"I am adequate enough to kill all these demons in battle. But, for the delight of Rama, such city of Lanka is fit to be espionaged [spied] again. For this reason, I am putting up with it."

raatrau na hi sudrishtaa me durga karma vidhaanatah |

avashyam eva drashtavyaa mayaa lankaa nishaa kshaye || 5-53-15

"Lanka was not indeed observed well as to the particulars of specifications of the fort, when it was seen by me during the night. Surely, it is to be seen by me during the day-time."

kaamam bandhaih ca me bhuuyah pucchasya uddiipanena ca |

piidaam kurvantu rakshaamsi na me asti manasah shramah || 5-53-16

"Let the demons tie me down of again and torment me as they wish, by burning my tail. There will be no travail to my mind."

tatah te samvrita aakaaram sattvavantam mahaakapim |

parigrihya yayuh hrishtaa raakshasaah kapi kunjaram || 5-53-17

Then, those delighted demons went, seizing Hanuma, who concealed all types of his feelings, who was strong and foremost among monkeys.

shankha bherii ninaadaih taih ghoshayantah sva karmabhih |

raakshasaah kruura karmaanah caarayanti sma taam puriim || 5-53-18

Sounding couches and kettle-drums and proclaiming the acts of Hanuma like his damaging of the pleasure-garden, the demons performing terrible deeds, dragged Hanuma through out that city.

anviiyamaano raksobhiryayau sukhamarimdamah |

hanumaan caarayaamaasa raakshasaanaam mahaapuriim || 5-53-19

Accompanied by demons, Hanuma the annihilator [killer] of enemies went happily and roamed about in that great city of demons.

atha apashyat vimaanaani vicitraani mahaakapih |

samvritaan bhuumi bhaagaan ca suvibhaktaan ca catvaraan || 5-53-20

Then, Hanuma saw some wonderful house some wrapped up plots of land and well parted cross ways.

viithiishcha grihasambaadhaah kapih shringatakaani cha |

tathaa rathyoparathyaashcha tathaiva grihakaantaraan || 5-53-21

grihaamshcha meghasamkaashaan dadarsha pavanaatmajah |

Hanuma, the son of wind-god, saw streets congested with dwellings, places where several roads meet, high-ways as also approach-roads, small inner apartments and palaces appearing in multitudes, like clouds.

catvareshu catushkeshu raaja maarge tathaiva ca || 5-53-22

ghoshayanti kapim sarve caariika iti raakshasaah |

All the demons proclaimed in cross roads, four-pillared temples and in royal high-ways, saying that Hanuma was a spy.

striibaalavriddhaa nirjagmustatra tatra kutuuhalaat || 5-53-23

tam pradiipitalaanguulam hanumantam didriksavah |

Women, children and old people came out from their respective dwellings, with an eagerness to see that Hanuma with his burning tail.

diipyamaane tatah tasya laanguula agre hanuumatah || 5-53-24

raakshasyah taa viruupa akshyah shamsuh devyaah tat apriyam |

While the tip of Hanuma's tail was being ignited by the demons there, those female-demons with monstrous eyes then informed that unpleasant matter to Seetha, the princess.

yah tvayaa krita samvaadah siite taamra mukhah kapih || 5-53-25

laanguulena pradiiptena sa esha pariniiyate |

"O Seetha! That monkey with a red face, who had a conversation with you, is being moved around in the city, with his ignited tail."

shrutvaa tat vacanam kruuram aatma apaharana upamam || 5-53-26

vaidehii shoka samtaptaa huta ashanam upaagamat |

Hearing that cruel news, which created as much sorrow as when she was carried away by Ravana, Seetha was tormented with grief and started to pay homage to the fire-god.

mangalaa abhimukhii tasya saa tadaa aasiin mahaakapeh || 5-53-27

upatasthe vishaala akshii prayataa havya vaahanam |

Then, the large-eyed Seetha, wishing for the welfare of Hanuma, prayed the fire-god with her devoted self.

yadi asti pati shushruushaa yadi asti caritam tapah || 5-53-28

yadi ca asti eka patniitvam shiito bhava hanuumatah |

"If I have done any service to my husband, if I have performed a penance and if I am a faithful wife, please be cool to Hanuma."

yadi kashcit anukroshah tasya mayi asti dhiimatah || 5-53-29

yadi vaa bhaagya shesham me shiito bhava hanuumatah |

"If the wise Rama has even a little of kindness to me and if I have still some good fortune remaining to my credit, please be cool to Hanuma."

yadi maam vritta sampannaam tat samaagama laalasaam || 5-53-30

sa vijaanaati dharma aatmaa shiito bhava hanuumatah |

"If that virtuous Rama recognizes me as one, who is endowed with a good moral conduct and who is ardently desirous of meeting him please be cool to Hanuma."

yadi maam taarayati aaryah sugriivah satya samgarah || 5-53-31

asmaat duhkhaan mahaabaahuh shiito bhava hanuumatah |

"If the venerable Sugreeva, true to his promise, can make me traverse from this ocean of sorrow, please be cool to Hanuma."

tatah tiikshna arcih avyagrah pradakshina shikho analah || 5-53-32

jajvaala mriga shaava akshyaah shamsann iva shivam kapeh |

Then, the fire-god, as though informing the fawn-eyed Seetha about the well-being of Hanuma, shone brightly with sharp flames, undisturbed and shooting out pointed flames towards the right.

hanumajjanakashchaapi puchchhaanalayuto.anilah || 5-53-33

vavau svaasthyakaro devyaah praaleyaanilashiitalah |

Even wind-god, the father of Hanuma, combined with the fire on Hanuma's tail, swept coolly like a snow-breeze, creating a solace to Seetha.

dahyamaane ca laanguule cintayaamaasa vaanarah || 5-53-34

pradiipto agnih ayam kasmaan na maam dahati sarvatah |

While his tail was in flames, Hanuma was reflecting why the fire, which was blazing on all sides, was not burning him.

drishyate ca mahaajvaalah karoti ca na me rujam || 5-53-35

shishirasya iva sampaato laanguula agre pratishthitah |

"It is conspicuous with large flames. But it is not creating any paoin to me, as if a snow-ball is kept at the tip of my tail."

athavaa tat idam vyaktam yat drishtam plavataa mayaa || 5-53-36

raama prabhaavaat aashcaryam parvatah saritaam patau |

"Or, while I was jumping over the ocean, a surprise-alliance was formed with Mount Mainaka and through the mountain, with the ocean, because of Rama's power. By this, the reason of the coolness is clear."

yadi taavat samudrasya mainaakasya ca dhiimatha || 5-53-37

raama artham sambhramah taadrik kim agnih na karishyati |

"If such eagerness was there in the mind of the sea and the wise Mount Mainaka for the cause of Rama; will not the fire-god show the same degree of eagerness in making its touch cold?"

siitaayaah ca aanrishamsyena tejasaa raaghavasya ca || 5-53-38

pituh ca mama sakhyena na maam dahati paavakah |

"The fire does not burn me, due to kindness of Seetha, powerfulness of Rama and friendliness of my father."

bhuuyah sa cintayaamaasa muhuurtam kapi kunjarah || 5-53-39

utpapaata atha vegena nanaada ca mahaakapih |

That Hanuma, the foremost among the monkeys, reflected again for a moment, jumped with swiftness and roared too.

pura dvaaram tatah shriimaan shaila shringam iva unnatam || 5-53-40

vibhakta rakshah sambaadham aasasaada anila aatmajah |

Then, the glorious Hanuma like a mountain-peak approached the city-gate, which was looking high and stood secluded from the crowds of demons.

sa bhuutvaa shaila samkaashah kshanena punah aatmavaan || 5-53-41

hrasvataam paramaam praapto bandhanaani avashaatayat |

That prudent Hanuma assumed the form of a mountain and immediately within a moment, assumed an exceedingly short form, thus becoming free from his tethers.

vimuktah ca abhavat shriimaan punah parvata samnibhah || 5-53-42

viikshamaanah ca dadrishe parigham torana aashritam |

The glorious Hanuma, having been free from his bonds, again assumed the form equal to a mountain and while looking around, found and iron rod belonging to the arched door-way.

sa tam grihya mahaabaahuh kaala aayasa parishkritam || 5-53-43

rakshinah taan punah sarvaan suudayaamaasa maarutih |

That long-armed Hanuma, again taking that rod made of iron, killed all those guards.

sa taan nihatvaa rana canda vikramah |

samiikshamaanah punah eva lankaam |

pradiipta laanguula krita arci maalii |

prakaashata aaditya iva amshu maalii || 5-53-44

That Hanuma, having an impetuous valor in combat, destroying those demons and looking over Lanka, shone like the sun encircled with rays, with the wreath of flames blazing on his tail.

ityaarse shriimadraamaayaNe aadikaavye sundarakaande tripajnchashaH sargah

Thus completes 53rd Chapter of Sundara Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate

References

Durga, Kishore Kopalle, and K. M. K. Murthy. (2001). Sundara Kanda - Book Of Beauty.

Merriam-Webster. (2007). At http://www.m-w.com.

Reference.com. (2007). At http://www.reference.com.

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