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Chapter 20: Ravana Dispatches Shuka as a Spy

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Ravana Dispatches Shuka as a Spy

Summary

As per the advice of Sardula, Ravana sends Shuka to Sugreeva as an ambassador. The monkeys harass him, who came to their place as a spy. But because of Rama’s gracefulness, Shuka comes out of danger. Sugreeva gives a fitting reply to Ravana’s message sent through Shuka. When monkeys again try to bind him and harass him, Rama prevents them from killing him.

Chapter [Sarga] 20 in Detail

tato nivistaam dhvajiniim sugriivenaabhipaalitaam |

dadarsha raakshaso.abhyetya shaarduulo naama viiryavaan || 6-20-1

Thereafter, an energetic demon named Sardula came and saw the army, commanded by Sugreeva, which was drawn up in a battle array.

caaro raakshasaraajasya raavanasya duraatmanah |

taam dristvaa sarvato.avyagram pratigamya sa raakshasah || 6-20-2

aavishya lankaam vegena raajaanamidamabraviit |

That demon, the spy of Ravana the evil natured king of ogres, coolly observed that army from all sides, speedily returned to Lanka and spoke to their king as follows:

esa vai vaanararkshagho lankaam samabhivartate || 6-20-3

agaadhashcaaprameyashca dvitiiya iva saagarah |

 “Boundless and immeasurable like another ocean, this multitude of monkeys and bears is approaching Lanka.”

putrau dasharathasyemau bhraatarau raamalakshmanau || 6-20-4

uttamau ruupasampannau siitaayaah padamaagatau |

etau saagaramaasaadya samnivistau mahaadyutii || 6-20-5

 “These brothers Rama and Lakshmana, the sons of Dasaratha, the excellent and the most dignified men endowed with beauty have arrived in the cause of Sita and settled in a camp after reaching the sea shore”.

balam caakaashamaavritya sarvato dashayojanam |

tattvabhuutam mahaaraja kshipram veditumarhasi || 6-20-6

 “O, monarch! Their army is employed around a radius of ten yojanas (eighty miles)on all sides. You have to ascertain this truth quickly”

tava duutaa mahaaraaja kshipramarhanti veditum |

upapradaanam saantvam vaa bhedo vaatra prayujyataam || 6-20-7

 “O, monarch! Your other spies also ought to ascertain the fact quickly. Under such circumstances, either conciliation or an act of giving away or sowing dissention (in the enemy’s ranks) may be employed.”

shaarduulasya vacah shrutvaa raavano raakshaseshvarah |

uvaaca sahasaa vyagrah sampradhaaryaarthamaatmanah || 6-20-8

shukam naama tadaa raksho vaakyamarthavidaam varam |

Hearing Shardula’s words Ravana the lord of demons was perturbed and immediately determined his cause of action. Then he spoke the following words to a demon by name, Shuka the foremost among those who know their duty.

sugriivam bruuhi gatvaashu raajaanam vacanaanmanu || 6-20-9

yathaasamdeshamakliibam shalksnayaa parayaa giraa |

 “Going quickly, speak fearlessly to king Sugreeva on my behalf, according to my command, in an excellent and gentle voice, as follows:”

tvam vai mahaaraja kulaprasuuto |

mahaabalashcharksharajahsutashca |

na kashcanaarthastava vaastyanartha |

stathaapi me bhraatrisamo hariisha || 6-20-10

O, great king! You are indeed born in a noble family, possessor of a great strength and are a son of Riksharaja. No gain whatsoever or any harm will accrue to you (from this battle) .O, lord of monkeys! Nevertheless, you are like a brother to me.”

aham yadyaharam bhaaryaam raajaputrasya dhiimatah |

kim tatra tava sugriiva kishkindhaam prati gamyataam || 6-20-11

 “What does it matter to you, if I have embezzled the wife of a wise prince? (Therefore) return to Kishkindha”

na hiiyam haribhirlankaa praaptum shakyaa katham cana |

devairapi sagandharvaih kim punarnaravaanaraih || 6-20-12

 “This Lanka cannot be reached by monkeys in any way. It cannot be acquired even by celestials and Gandharvas (celestial musicians), why to talk about men and monkeys?”

sa tadaa raakshasendrena samdisto rajaniicarah |

shuko vihamgamo bhuutvaa tuurnamaaplutya caambaram || 6-20-13

Then Shuka the demon heralded by Ravana turned himself into the form of a bird and quickly flew into the sky.

sa gatvaa duuramadhvaanamuparyupari saagaram |

samsthito hyambare vaakyam sugriiva madimabraviit || 6-20-14

Proceeding in the sky for a distance continuously over the ocean, Shuka then stood up in the sky itself and spoke these words to Sugreeva:

sarvamuktam yathaadistam raavanena duraatmanaa |

tatprapayantam vacanam tuurnamaaplutya vaanaraah || 6-20-15

praapadyanta tadaa kshipram loptum hantum ca mustibhih |

Shuka repeated all the words the wicked Ravana had told him to say to Sugreeva. As he was still speaking, the monkeys bounded into the air to reach him at that moment quickly to tear off his wings and to smite him by their fists.

sarvaih plavangaih prasabham nigrihiito nishaacarah || 6-20-16

gaganaadbhuutale caashu pratigrihyaavataaritah |

The demon thus attacked was forcibly seized by all the monkeys and immediately brought down to the ground from the sky.

vaanaraih piidyamaanastu shuko vacanamabraviit || 6-20-17

na duutaan ghnanti kaakutthsa vaaryantaam saadhu vaanaraah |

Shuka being harassed by monkeys spoke the following words: “O, Rama! Messengers are not to be killed. Let your monkeys be restrained properly.”

yastu hitvaa matam bhartuh svamatam samprabhaasate || 6-20-18

anuktavaadii duutah sann sa duuto vadhamarhati |

 “That messenger, who by abandoning the opinion of his king will speak about his own opinion though he being a messenger and he who on the other hand speaks that which was not told to him, that messenger is indeed fit to be killed.”

shukasya vacanam raamah shrutvaa tu paridevitam || 6-20-19

uvaaca maa vadhisteti ghnatah shaakhaamrigarsabhaan |

Hearing Shuka’s complaining words; Rama spoke to the foremost of monkeys, who were beating him as aforesaid, saying “Do not kill him”

sa ca patralaghudbhuutvaa haribhirdarshite.abhaye || 6-20-20

antarikshe sthito bhuutvaa punarvacana mabraviit |

Perceiving no fear from monkeys, Shuka became light winged, virtually standing in the sky and spoke again the following words.

sugriiva sattvasampanna mahaabalaparaakrama || 6-20-21

kim mayaa khalu naktavyo raavano lokaraavanah |

 “O, Sugreeva, rich in courage and possessing great strength and valor! What am I to tell Ravana, whose nature is to cause world to cry?”

sa evamuktah plavagaadhipastadaa |

plavangamaanaamrisabho mahaabalah |

uvaaca vaakyam rajaniicarasya |

caaram shukam shuddha madiinasattvah || 6-20-22

Hearing the aforesaid words, the mightily strong Sugreeva the king of monkeys and the foremost among them, with a merciless mind then spoke to the blame less Shuka, Ravana’s spy, as follows:

sa measi mitram va tathaanukampyo |

na copakartaasi na me priyo.api |

arishca raamasya sahaanubandha |

stato.asi vaaliiva vadhaarha vadhyah || 6-20-23

 “O, Ravana, worthy of killing! You are not my companion. You are not worthy of sympathy. You are not the person who helped me in any way. I do not like you, as you are Rama’s enemy. Hence, you are worthy to be killed like Vali, along with your associates”

nihanmyaham tvaam sasutam sabandhum |

sajjnaativargam rajaniicaresha |

lankaam ca sarvaam mahataa balena |

sarvaih karisyaami sametya bhasma || 6-20-24

 “O, the king of demons! I am killing you along with your sons, relatives and other kinsfolk. Arriving with a great army, I will reduce the entire Lanka and all of you to ashes.”

na mokshyase raavana raaghavasya |

sarvaih sahendraidapi muudha guptah |

antarhatah suuryapatham gato.api|

tathaiva paataalamanupravistah || 6-20-25

giriishapaadambujasamgato vaa |

hato.asi raamena shaanujastvam || 6-20-26

 “O, stupid Ravana! You along with your younger brother will not be left un-killed by Rama, even if you are protected by all including Indra (the lord of celestials) or even if you have disappeared (by virtue of conjuring trick) or obtained, the solar orbit or entered the nethermost subterranean region or even if approached the lotus feet of Shiva (the lord of Kailasa mountain)”

tasya te trisu lokesu na pishaacam na raakshasam |

traataaramanupashyaami na gandharvam na caasuram || 6-20-27

 “I do not see any protector to you as such in the three worlds, nor do I see any devilish being or a demon or a Gandharva (celestial musician) or an ogre coming forward to protect you.”

avadhiistvam jaraavriddham gridhraaraajam jataayusam |

kim mate raamasaamnidhye sakaashe lakshmanasya ca || 6-20-28

hritaa siitaa vishaalaakshi yaam tvam grihya na budhyase |

 “You killed Jataayu, the king of vultures and who was senior to you in old age. Why the wide-eyed Sita was not taken away in the presence of Rama and Lakshmana? Having made her captive, you do not recognize her for what she is.”

mahaabalam mahaatmaanam duraadharsam surairapi || 6-20-29

na budhyase raghushrestham yaste praanaan harisyati |

 “You are unaware how strong; high soled and irresistible even to celestials, is this Rama the excellent man of Raghu dynasty, who shall deprive you of your life.”

tatoabraviidvaalisuto.apyangado harisattamah || 6-20-30

vaayam duuto mahaapraajjna caarakah pratibhaati me |

Thereafter, Angada the son of Vali and the foremost of the monkeys spoke as follows: “O, Sugreeva the highly intelligent! He is not an ambassador. He appears to me as a spy.”

tulitam hi balam sarvamanena tava tisthataa || 6-20-31

grihyataam maagamallankaa metaddhi mama rocate |

 “All our army has been indeed evaluated by him, standing here. Let him be made captive. Let him not return to Lanka. This indeed finds favor with me.”

tato raajjnaa samaadistaah samutpatya valiimukhaah || 6-20-32

jagrihushca babandhushca vilapantamanaathavat |

Commanded then by the king Sugreeva, the monkeys jumped up, seized and bound him, who without defense, wailed loudly.

shukastu vaanaraishca ndaistatra taih samprapiiditah || 6-20-33

vyaacukrosha mahaatmaanam raamam dasharathaatmajam |

Harassed by those monkeys there, Shuka on his part cried loudly towards Rama, the high soled son of Dasaratha as follows:

lupyete me balaatpakshau bhidyete me tathaakshinii || 6-20-34

yaam ca raatrim marisyaami jaaye raatrim ca yaamaham |

etasminnantre kaale manmayaa caashubham kritam || 6-20-35

sarvam tadupapadyethaa jahyam cedyadi jiivitam |

 “My wings are being pulled out forcibly. My eyes are being pierced. If I die, all the sins incurred by me between my birth and my death would fall to your share.”

naaghaatayattadaa raamah shrutvaa tatparidevitam || 6-20-36

vaanaraanabraviidraamo muchyataam duuta aagatah |

Hearing that lamentation of Shuka, Rama did not allow his killing by the monkeys. Rama ordered monkeys to release him, as he came as an ambassador.

ityaarse shriimadraamaayane aadikaavye uddhakaande vimshah sargah

Thus completes 20th Chapter of Yuddha Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate

References

K. M. K. Murthy. (2002). Yuddha Kanda - Book Of War.

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

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

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