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Even when Sri Rama tried to take ome rest, he always pined for Sita. I le could not eat, nor could he sleep. Lakshmana who sadly watched his brother’s condition, tried to instil some hope and confidence in him. “Dear brother,” he told Rama, “Please do not lose heart. I am sure we can trace Sita aid free her from Ravana”.
“Then, let us not waste any more lime,” said Rama and soon they reached Rishyamukha.
Rishyamukha was a hilly region where many Vanaras lived. Sugriva was their leader. He had the assistance and friendship of
Hanuman, a valiant and highly intelligent Vanara born with the blessings of gods.
Sugriva had an elder brother cabled Vali. Vali was the king of Kishkinda. The two brothers loved each other. Once Vali fought against a demon and chased him into a c&ve. Befofe entering he asked Sugriva to stand guard at its entrance. Sugriva waited there patiently, but Vali did not come out for many days. He was deeply worried. To add to his worry, he heard the demon roar and also saw blood floV/ but of the cave. He thought Vali was dead and closed the cave with a huge rock and returned to Kishkinda. Since the kingdom was without a king, people crowned Sugriva as the king.
One day all of a sudden Vali returned. When he came to know that
Sugriva had become the king, he was very angry. He banished’Sugriva from the kingdom and even kept back Sugriva’s wife.
Sugriva took shelter in Ivishyamukha as Vali could not enter the area because of a curse.
When Rama and Lakshmana reached Rishyamukha, Sugriva at lirst thought that they had come on behalf of Vali to kill him. So he sent I lanuman to find out who they were.
Hanuman introduced himself to Kama and told him about Sugriva. In i urn, Lakshmana told him about themselves and said, “O Vanara! A K a kshaSa called Ravana has abducted my sister-in-law. We do not know w here he lives. We are here to ask for Sugriva’s help to know more about Kavana. We are not here to kill f uigriva.”
Satisfied with this reply, Hanuman carried Rama and Lakshmana on his shoulders and with a powerful hop, reached the peak where Sugriva lived.
Sugriva, on hearing about Rama’s plight, embraced him warmly and told him, “Rama, I will help you in your search for Sita. Wherever she is, we will find her. Oh Yes! Now I remember. A few days back, we saw a woman being abducted by a Rakshasa. We heard her cry, “Rama! Lakshmana! Please save me.” She then threw down some of her ornaments tied in a piece of cloth. 1 will fetch these for you. Please set’ whether they belong to Mother Sita.” So saying, Sugriva asked one of the Vanaras to fetch the ornaments.
As soon as Rama saw the ornaments, tears welled up in his eyes and crying out Sita’s name, he fainted.
After a while he regained consciousness and asked Lakshmana, “Brother, please make sure that these belong to Sita.” But Lakshmana could not identify any head ornament or ear ornament. He bowed his head and said, “I have never looked at my r espected sister-in-law above her feet.
I can only identify the articles on her leet as I have noticed them while I ouching her feet everyday.” Such was l be respect Lakshmana had towards bis brother’s wife.
Rama then looked at the ornaments once again and knew for certain that they belonged to his dearest wife. He swore, “I will kill Havana who has separated Sita from me.”
Sugriva consoled his friend Rama and promised him that he would send l be Vanara army to trace Sita and then help in killing Ravana. In return, the grateful Rama offered to kill Vali and help Sugriva in regaining his kingdom and his wife. Sugriva who was still not aware of Rama’s’ enormous skill and bravery was doubtful whether he could fight against the very powerful Vali.
“Dear friend,” he told Rama, “I am glad with your offer to kill Vali. But I know my brother well. I have seen with my own eyes how Vali knocked down a line of seven trees with a single arrow. If you can also prove your skill, I will feel assured.”
Upon this Rama felled seven trees in a line with a single arrow. This made Sugriva very happy. So he went to Kishkinda and challenged Vali to ;i duel. This angered Vali a lot and he accepted Sugriva’s challenge at once. But in no time at all, Sugriva was
overpowered by Vali. Just at that I ime, Rama, who was hiding behind a t ree, shot an arrow capable of killing Vali. It hit him on the chest and Vali fell to the ground. Stunned by such an unexpected attack, Vali looked . i round and saw Rama. “Rama, is it 1 .1 ir on your part to hide behind a tree like a coward and kill me?” accused
“Maruthi! You are the most capable of all the Vanaras. I am sure that you will bring us the good news very soon.” Rama also agreed with Sugriva. He called Hanuman aside and gave him his ring. “When you meet Sita, please show her this ring. She will then know that you are truly my messenger” Hanuman accepted the ring with devotion and after touching Rama’s feet in reverence, left on his mission.
Sugriva had given one month’s time to the Vanaras to trace Sita. They searched and searched but just could not get any news about her. One group of Vanaras which had gone in the southern direction under Hanuman’s leadership was also unlucky. Tired and dejected, they sat on the seashore wondering what to do next. None of them dared to go to Sugriva for he had warned them not to come back without news of Sita.
As they were unsuccessful in their aim, they decided they would rather die. Yes! Let us end our lives. At least we have the satisfaction that we were in Kama’s sendee for a short time. Wish we could have died like Jatayu, lighting for Sita’s rescue,” they said loudly.
At the mention of the name Jatayu, a sea-bird came out from atop l he sea-boulders and asked the Vanara prince Angada. “Sir! I am Sampati, I; itayu’s elder brother. Did I hear you ay that Jatayu was killed by the tenheaded Ravana? I wish I could also have fought against Ravana because I saw him cross the sea along with a
I m autiful lady. May be she was Sita.”
Sampati continued and said, “I I. now where the wicked Ravana lives.
I is an island called Lanka which is ve ry far away. Strong walls have been
built around the city and it is difficult to cross them unnoticed.” The Vanaras felt happy to know the place.
Jambavanta, an elderly bear-like being, advised Hanuman, “Son! You have the speed of wind. You have the strength to destroy an entire city. You are the only one among us who can fly over the ocean and land on Lanka.”
With great enthusiasm Hanuman expanded his chest and sucking in the air, grew bigger and bigger till he seemed to touch the sky. With courage burning in his eyes, he strode atop the tallest peak and with a powerful thrust of his legs, took off. Soon he was air-borne. The Vanara army watched Hanuman’s feat with wonder and danced with joy. They blessed this son of Vayu for saving them from humiliation.