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Chapter 24: Shuka Informs Ravana of Rama’s Military Strength

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Shuka Informs Ravana of Rama’s Military Strength

Summary

Seeing Lanka and describing it, Rama instructs Lakshmana to draw up his army in battle array. Rama orders for release of Shuka who was captured by the army earlier. Shuka approaches Ravana and describes the strength of Rama’s side of the army. Ravana boasts himself of his own army’s strength.

Chapter [Sarga] 24 in Detail

saa viirasamitii raajjnaa viraraaja vyavasthitaa |

shashinaa shubhinakshatraa paurnamaasiiva shaaradii || 6-24-1

That army of valiant monkeys along with the king Sugreeva looked charming like a full moon night in autumn presided over by the moon and illuminated by bright stars.

pracacaala ca vegena trastaa caiva vasundharaa |

piidyamaanaa balau ghena tena saagaravarcasaa || 6-24-2

The earth pressed under foot by that multitude of army which was energetic like a sea, was trembled with fear by the rapid movement of that army.

tatah shushrupuraakrustam lankaayaah kaananaukasah |

bheriimridangasamghustam tumulam romaharsanam || 6-24-3

Then the monkeys heard a great tumult arising in Lanka and noisy sounds of kettledrums and tabours [a small drum with one head of soft calfskin], which caused their hair to stand on end.

babhuuvustena ghosena samhristaa hariyuuthapaah |

amrisyamaanaastam ghosam vinedurghosavattaram || 6-24-4

The leaders of monkeys were rejoiced by that sound. But by not tolerating that sound, they emitted shouts, which surpassed that uproar.

raakshasaastam plavangaanaam shushruvuste.api garjitam |

vardataamiva driptaanaam meghaanaamambare svanam || 6-24-5

Those demons too heard the roaring of the wildly delighted monkeys, which roar sounded like thundering of clouds in the sky.

dristvaa daasharathirlankaam citradhvajapataakinimm |

jagaama manasaa siitaam duuyamaanena cetasaa || 6-24-6

Seeing Lanka dressed with multi colored flags and buntings, Rama bethought himself of Sita and his heart was filled with grief.

atra saa mrigashaabaakshii raavanenoparudhyate |

abhibhuutaa graheneva lohitaangena rohinii || 6-24-7

 “Sita, whose eyes resemble those of a young deer, was detained by Ravana there, as Rohini star is overshadowed by the red bodied planet (mars).”

diirghamusnam ca nihshvasya samudviikshya ca lakshmanam |

uvaaca vacanam viirastatkaalahitamaatmanah || 6-24-8

Seeing Lakshmana after a warm and deep sigh, the heroic Rama spoke the following words, which were beneficial for him at that time:-

aalikhantiimivaakaashamutthitaam pashya lakshmana |

manseva kritaam lankaam nagaagre vishvakarmanaa || 6-24-9

 “O, Lakshmana! Look at this Lanka, which appears as though constructed on a hilltop by Visvakarma with his imagination and so elevated scraping the sky.”

vimaanairbahubhirlanka samkiirnaa racitaa puraa |

visnoh padamivaakaasham chaaditam paandubhirghanaih || 6-24-10

The city of Lanka was constructed densely with many seven storied buildings and appears like a sky the abode of Vishnu (the all pervaded), covered with white clouds.”

puspitaih shobhitaa lankaa vanaishcatrarathopamaih |

naanaapatagasamghustaphalapuspopagaih shubhaih || 6-24-11

 “Lanka is made beautiful by the garden vying [matching] with Chitraratha (the garden of Kubera the god of riches) with songs of birds of various species, with fruit bearing flowers and charms in bloom.

pashya mattavihangani praliinabhramaraani ca |

kokilaakulakhandaani dodhaviiti shivo.avilah || 6-24-12

 “See how a gentle breeze sways the branches where the cuckoos abound where bees swarm and where the birds are excited with joy.”

iti daasharathiiramo lakshmanam samabhaasata |

balam ca tatra vibhajacchaastradristena karmanaa || 6-24-13

Rama the son of Dasaratha spoke as aforesaid to Lakshmana. The army there was divided into battalions according to the procedure found in scriptures.

shashaasa kapisemaam taam balaadaadaaya viiryavaan |

angadah saha niilena tisthe durapi durjayah || 6-24-14

He issued the following commands: --“Taking these troops of monkeys from the army, let the valiant and the invincible Angada take up his position with Nila at the center of the formation.

tisthedvaanaravaahinyaa vaanaraughasamaavritah |

aashirto dakshinam paarshvamrisabho naama vaanarah || 6-24-15

Let Rishabha along with the multitude of monkeys take up his position, having recourse to the right side of the army.”

gandhahastiiva durdharsastarasvii gandhamaadanah |

tisthedvaanaravaahinyaah savyam pakshamadhisthatah || 6-24-16

 “Let Gandhamaadana, the strong and unconquerable, resembling an elephant in rut, take his position superintending the left side of the monkey troops.”

muurdhni sthaasyaamyaham yatto lakshmanena samanvitah |

jaambavaamshca susenashca vegadarshii ca vaanarah || 6-24-17

rikshamukhyaa mahaatmaanah kukshim rakshantu te trayah |

 “I shall stand alert in the forefront of the army along with Lakshmana. Let Jambavan, Sushena and Vegadarshi the monkey - those three exceeding wise leaders of bears and monkeys- protest the belly portion of the army.”

jaghanam kapisenaayaah kapiraajo.abhirakshatu || 6-24-18

pashcaardhamiva lokasya pracetaastejapaa vritah |

”Let Sugreeva the king of monkeys protect the rear guard of the army, resembling Varuna (the god of water) who remains enveloped with splendor protects the western quarter of the earth.”

suvibhaktamahaavyuuhaa mahaavaanararakshitaa || 6-24-19

aniikinii saa vibabhau yathaadyauh saabhrasamplavaa |

That army with innumerable divisions, being skillfully distributed led by the foremost of monkeys, resembled heavens with their mass of clouds.

pragrihya girishringaani mahatashcha mahiiruhaan || 6-24-20

aasedurvaanaraa lankaam mimardayusavo rane |

With a desire to crush the demons in battle, the monkeys, seizing peaks of mountains and gigantic trees, reached Lanka.

shikharairvikiraamainaam lankaam mustibhireva vaa || 6-24-21

iti sma dadhire sarve maanaamsi haripungavaah |

All the heroic monkeys held the following resolve in their minds, “It is with peak of mountains or with our bare fists even, we shall shatter this Lanka into pieces.”

tato raamo mahaatejaah sugriiva midamabraviit || 6-24-22

suvibhaktaani sainyaani shuka esa vimucyataam |

Then, Rama with great splendor spoke the following words to Sugreeva, “Our forces are properly marshaled. Let this Shuka be released.”

raamasya tu vacah shrutvaa vaanarendro mahaabalah || 6-24-23

mocayaamaasa tam duutam shukam raamasya shaasanaat |

Hearing the words of Rama, Sugreeva the lord of monkeys released Shuka the messenger, as per the order of Rama.

mocito raamavaakyena vaanaraishca nipiiditah || 6-24-24

shukah paramasamtrasto rakshodhipamupaagamat |

Shuka who was harassed by the monkeys and released then as per the words of Rama, was trembling with great fear and reached Ravana.

raavanah prahasanneva shukam vaakyamuvaaca ha || 6-24-25

kimimau te sitau pakshau luunapakshshca drishyase |

kaccinnaanekacittaanaam tesaam tvam vashamaagatah || 6-24-26

Ravana, even while laughing, enquired Shuka with the following words: “why were your wings tied up? You appear with your wings plucked up. Have you not fallen as a victim to their various fickle minds?”

tataspa bhayasamvigna stadaa raajjnaabhicoditah |

vacanam pratyuvaacedam raakshasaadhipamuttamam || 6-24-27

saagarasyottare tiire.abravam te vacanam tathaa |

yathaasamdeshamaklistam saantvayan shlaksnayaa giraa || 6-24-28

Asked as aforesaid by the king Ravana, Shuka agitated as he was with fear, gave him the following excellent reply: “On the northern shore of the ocean, I conveyed your message in a smooth tone, conciliating and without any ambiguity exactly as per your instructions.”

kruddhaisterahamutplutya dristamaatrah plavangamaih |

grihito.asmyapi caarabdho hantum loptum ca mustibhih || 6-24-29

 “Just on seeing me, the enraged monkeys jumped on me and seized me. They soon started beating and plucking me with their fists.”

na te sambhaasitum shakyaah samprashno.atra na vidyate |

prakrityaa kopanaastiikshinaa vaanaraa raakshasaadhipa || 6-24-30

 “O, Lord of demons! Those monkeys are not capable of being spoken to, or possible of being questioned in this matter. Monkeys, by their very nature, are angry and ferocious.”

sa ca hantaa viraadhasya kabandhasya kharasya ca |

sugriivasahito raamah siitaayaah padamaagatah || 6-24-31

 “That Rama the killer of Viraadha, Kabandha and Khara came along with Sugriva to the place of Sita.”

sa kritvaa saagare setum tiirtvaa ca lavanodadhim |

esa rakshaasi nirdhuuya dhanvii tisthati raaghavah || 6-24-32

 “Having constructed a bridge across the sea and crossed the salty ocean and expelling the demons, here stands Rama wielding a bow.”

rikshavaanarasamghaanaamaniikaani sahasrashah |

girimeghanikaashaanaam chaadayanti vasundharaam || 6-24-33

 “Thousands of divisions of hordes of bears and monkeys resembling mountains and clouds, cover the earth.”

raakshasaanaam balaughasya vaanarendrabalasya ca |

naitayorvidyate samdhirdevadaanavayoriva || 6-24-34

"There is no more possibility of an alliance between these two armies – the army of demons and the army of monkeys- than between a God and a demon.”

puraa praakaaramaayaanti kshipramekataram kuru |

siitaam vaasmai prayacchaashu yuddham vaapi pradiiyataam || 6-24-35

 “Very soon they will come to our rampart. Immediately, do any one of these two acts- either to restore Sita or to offer a combat to him."

shukasya vacanam shrutvaa raavano vaakya mabraviit |

rosasamraktanayano nirdahanniva cakshusaa || 6-24-36

Hearing the words of Shuka, Ravana with his eyes becoming blood red in anger, as if he would consume him with his glance, said as follows:

yadi maam pratiyudhyeran devagandharvadaanavaah |

naiva siitaam pradaasyaami sarvalokabhayaadapi || 6-24-37

 “Even if I were frightened by all the worlds or even if I were to face a battle with celestials or Gandharvas (celestial singers) or demons, I would not give back Sita.”

kadaa samabhidhaananti maamakaa raaghavam sharaah |

vasante puspitam mattaa bhramaraa iva paadapam || 6-24-38

 “When will my arrows soon fall upon Rama, as large black bees excited with joy fall upon a tree in bloom at spring time?”

kadaa shonitadigdhaangam diipaih kaarmukavicyutaih |

sharairaadiipayisyaami ulkaabhiriva kujnjaram || 6-24-39

 “When shall I consume his body flowing with blood, by the blazing arrows released from my bow, as flaming torches destroy an elephant?”

taccaasya balamaadaasye balena mahataa vritah |

jyotisaamiva sarvesaam prabhaamudyandivaakarah || 6-24-40

 “Endowed with a huge army I shall eclipse the aforesaid army of Rama, as the brilliance of all stars is obscured at the rising of the sun.”

saagarasyeva me vego maarutasyeva me balam |

na ca daasharathirveda tena maam yoddhumicchati || 6-24-41

 “My rashness is like that of the sea and my strength is like that of the wind. Rama is not aware of it. That is why, he is desirous of meeting me in a combat.”

na me tuuniishayaan baanaan sanisaaniva pannagaan |

raamah pashyati samgraame tena maam yoddhumicchati || 6-24-42

 “Rama has not seen my arrows resembling venomous serpents lying in my quiver. That is why; he desires to fight with me.”

na jaanaati puraa viiryam mama yuddhe sa raaghavah |

mama caapamayiim viinaam sharakonaih pravaaditaam || 6-24-43

jyaashabadatumulaam ghoraamaartagiitamahaasvanaam |

naaraacatalasamnaadaam taam mamaahitavaahiniim || 6-24-44

avagaahya maharangam vaadayisyaantagan rane |

Rama was not formerly aware of my prowess in battle. I shall cause to resound Veena (a musical instrument) in the form of my bow, which is played on with the heads of my arrows, the bow string producing a tumultuous sound, the huge cries of the wounded its terrible accompaniment, the darts sounding its innumerable notes, when I enter a vast stage in the form of my enemy ranks in that battle.”

na vaasavenaapi sa hasracakshusaa |

yuddhe.asmi shakyo varunena vaasvayam |

yameva vaa dharsayitum sharaagninaa |

mahaahave vaishravanena vaa svayam || 6-24-45

 “Neither by the thousand eyed Indra the god of celestials nor by Varuna the God of waters in person in a combat, nor by Yama the god of death with the fire of his arrows, nor by Kubera the lord of riches in person, can I be able to be attacked in a great battle.”

ityaarse shriimadraamaayane aadikaavye yuddhakaande caturvimshah sargah

Thus completes 24th 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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