Hanuman was flying fast across the sea when suddenly a mountain peak emerged from the sea and stood as a barrier across his way. Hanuman got enraged and gave a fierce blow to the peak. As soon as he struck at the peak, a human face appeared out of it. Hanuman was a very astonished to see this face and said, “Who are you and why are you barring my way?”
“I am Mount Mainak. Your father had helped me once, so I have now come to repay that help. You have still to go a long way, you must be feeling tired. So, you can rest for some time on me,” replied the mountain peak.
“Thanks a lot; I am not to take rest until and unless I complete the job that I have been sent for.” Saying so, Hanuman proceeded further on this way.
Hardly had Hanuman went over a small distance when a new trouble appeared. A sea-demoness, Sinhika by name, was roaming in search of food. It caught sight of Hanuman’s shadow falling on the sea-waters. It felt pleased to think, “Aha! I am going to get a fine meal today.”
Thinking so, Sinhika caught Hanuman’s shadow. As a result, he began to be drawn towards her mouth by a strange invisible power.
The wicked demoness often drew flying birds to her mouth and made them her food. But Hanuman was not easy to be caught. He hit at the face of the demoness with his foot violently.
Even then Hanuman could not save himself from going into Sinhika’s belly. But as soon as he entered her belly, her anger knew no bounds. He tore open her belly and came out safe and sound.
When Hanuman came out, Sursa, a resident of the underworld gave a test to him. Hanuman came out successful in this test. Then he bowed low before Sursa and took leave of her saying. “Mother! I take leave of you now.”
Sursa blessed Hanuman and said, “Gods had sent me to test your strength and wisdom, O Hanuman! You have come out brilliantly successful in this test. You are a man of prowess and talent. So, you will easily accomplish all the jobs assigned to you by Rama.”
Saying these words, Sursa went away and Hanuman was able to cross the sea without facing any other impediment.
Having crossed the ocean, Hanuman reached Lanka. The fourwall round the town was fairly high. It was made of gold studded with different types of precious stones. Ocean waves smote on this wall on all sides and demons with fearful gigantic bodies stood guard at the gates leading into the town.
Hanuman decided to enter the town in a clandestine manner at night so that the guards might not be able to see him. He changed himself into a demon and entered the town of Lanka. After roaming in almost all parts of the town, Hanuman got to the roof of a fort. Standing on the turret of this fort, he observed the grandeur of the town.
Thinking of his mission, Hanuman got plunged into deep thoughts. “How shall I be able to locate Ram’s wife Sita in such a big town?” he said to himself.
Roaming hither and thither stealthily, Hanuman came to Ravana’s palace. There he saw a small garden just beside the royal abode. Going into the garden, Hanuman climbed up a tall tree. Perching on a high branch, he thought, “Can Sita be here in this garden?” Amidst such reflections, he passed the night there in the tree.
At dawn, Hanuman had a close look around the garden and saw Sita sitting under a tree. His joy knew no bounds. He thought, “She is sitting in a pensive mood – probably lost in thoughts of her dear husband. She must be Sita and none else. But why is she surrounded by a number of demonesses?”
Then suddenly he heard a demoness say, “Sita! Your start is at the zenith as the ruler of Lanka craves to make you his queen. Shed your sorrow and dress up in this valuable royal robe. Ravana, our King, is about to come. Be ready to welcome him with open arms.”
Just then Ravana stepped into the garden where Sita was sitting. Seeing him, all the demoness guards bowed low and left the garden. Coming to Sita, Ravana said, “Why do you keep engrossed in the thoughts of Rama who possess little prowess, courage, wealth and fame. He is just a non-entity when compared to me. You have no to her choice but to be my queen.”
Seeing Ravana advancing towards her, Sita placed a straw between herself and him and said. “As the sun and its light are inseparable, nobody can separate my husband from me. You had better hand me over to my dear husband and ask for his pardon. He is very broad-minded and merciful. He will certainly excuse you.”
Hearing Sita’s sermonising words, Ravana got enraged and he said, “Your sweet words have incited my anger not sympathy. I cannot brook any more impudence. I give you two month’s time. If you do not agree to marry me by then, my chef will cut you to pieces and cook your flesh for me.”
“Mind you fool! One who insults a true wife , cannot escape a dishonourable death even if he happens to drink nectar,” retorted Sita defiantly.
“Haven’t you heard of my power? I can lift the earth with my hands. I can pierce through the sun and I can defeat the death-god even. Can your husband Ram face me. then? Erase him out of your memory.”
“You foolish demon! Can a fire-fly’s cold light make a lily bloom? No, never. Why don’t you forget that you have abducted me with deception? How cowardly you are! Why don’t you die of shame. O abominable Wretch!” Sita’s poignant reproach made Ravana answerless and he went away cursing himself in rage.
As soon as Ravana left, a number of demonesses came into the garden and began to frighten and threaten Sita. Some of them tried to persuade her to accept Ravana as her husband.
One of them said, “Why don’t you try to please our king, Ravana?”
“How dare you defy his order? asked the other.
“If ou marry our king, you will be the queen of Lanka. So, you must agree to marry him,” suggested the third.
But one of them was named Trijata. She was very kind, wise and God-fearing. She told her companions, “Friends! I have had a very fearful and unpleasant dream at night – A huge monkey came from somewhere. He bent down entire Lanka and killed Ravana’s army.
So, I suggest to you all not to tease or trouble Sita in any way otherwise we shall certainly land in some trouble.”
The demonesses having gone, Sita was lost in grief and said to herself, “I have no alternative now. I must end my life some way or other.”
By now Hanuman had shifted to the same tree under which Sita was sitting. Seeing her aggrieved due to separation from Ram, Hanuman began to narrate Ram’s story in a gentle voice, “Obeying his father’s order, Rama proceeded to the forest along with his brother Lakshmana and wife Sita. Sita was abducted by Ravana, ruler of Lanka. A Vanara, friendly to Ram, set out to trace Sita and it is a matter of delight that he has found her today.”
Hearing Hanuman’s words, Sita got startled and asked Hanuman who was sitting in the tree, “Who is there narrating the greatness of my husband in this land of demons?”
“I am a humble servant of Rama,” replied Hanuman.
Then Hanuman handed over Ram’s ring to Sita and said, “Here is the ring which Rama gave me to you so that you may believe me.”
Hanuman’s words imparted great satisfaction to Sita and she said, “How is my husband, Hanuman? How is Lakshmana? Is everything all right?”
“Both of them are all right yet they are always worried on your score. But keep patience, you respected lady! These demons are like moths while Ram’s bow shoots fire-spitting arrows. Had they got any clue about your whereabouts earlier, you would have been rescued by now. Anyhow, don’t worry! They will soon reach here along with their army and rescue you after killing all the demons.”
Thus knowing about Ram’s well-being, Sita felt very delighted.
But looking at Hanuman, Sita expressed her doubt and said, “Ram’s soldiers must be small like you while the demons are very strong and furious. How will you be able to beat them?”
Hearing these words, Hanuman assumed a gigantic form which was very imposing and fearful. Seeing it, Sita was convinced of the strength of Rama’s army. She blessed Han Hanuman saying, “May you never get old! May you be an immortal man with noblest values!”
Suddenly Hanuman caught sight of trees laden with ripe juicy fruits. He said to Sita, “I am feeling awfully hungry. Seeing these fruits my mouth has begun to water. May I eat a few of them in order to stay my stomach?”
“But the garden is being guarded by fearful demons. They will not allow you to do so. How will you face them single handed?” Sita expressed her doubt.
“I don’t fear them at all especially when your blessings are with me.” Saying so, Hanuman bowed low before Sita and went to the fruit-trees. He started plucking and eating fruits. Not only this, he uprooted some trees as well.
The demons on guard came and prevented Hanuman from damaging the garden. But Hanuman attacked them and killed many of them. Those who escaped his wrath ran away in fear and went to Ravana’s court. They complained, “Your Majesty! A huge monkey has come into the royal garden. It has done a lot of damage to the garden by uprooting trees and destroying fruit. Also, he has put to death many a soldier who was guarding the garden.” Hearing this, Ravana sent his youngest son – Akshaya Kumar – along with some select soldiers to chastise and catch Hanuman.
Seeing them, Hanuman uprooted a tree and threw it on Ravana’s soldiers. Akshaya Kumar and some other soldiers were killed and the remaining soldiers fled for their lives.
Reaching the court, the demons said to Ravana, “Your Majesty! That monkey is very, very brave and strong. He has killed your son and many soldiers as well. It does not seem so easy to overpower him.”
Hearing of Akshaya’s death, Ravana was red with anger and her ordered his elder son Meghanada, “Go and bring the monkey in chians here. Let me see after all, who he is.”
“Here I go , sir,” said Meghanada and he marched to the royal garden with a strong force.
Hanuman again attacked the demons. Some of them were killed while others were beaten. Seeing this, Meghanada started showering arrows on Hanuman but they could not harm even slightly. Uprooting a tree, Hanuman flung it on Meghanada who was beside himself with anger.
Meghanada, then, made use of a Divine Weapon that trapped Hanuman and he fell down on the ground. But he smiled in his lips and thought, “This silly demon doesn’t know at all that I can easily get rid of this trap. But I want to be face to face with Ravana. So, I’ll not break it.”
Seeing Hanuman lying helpless, Meghanada ordered his soldiers, “Catch hold of this mischievous monkey and present him before the king of Lanka.”
“Yes sir.” Saying so, the soldiers made a cordon about Hanuman and caught hold of him. They took him to the court of Ravana.
Meghanada was extremely happy at his success. In a air of pride, he made for his palace.
Seeing Hanuman presented before him, Ravana flew into a rage and he said, “You Wretched Monkey! Who are you? Why have you damaged my garden? Do you not know me? Don’t you fear death?”
“I am a messenger of King Sugreeva. You were on good days so far, O King of Lanka. But these days are over and your bad days have begun. You must atome for you sins now. You had better return Sita to her husband Rama and ask for his pardon for what you did,” argued Hanuman.
Hearing hits, Ravana was beside himself with rage and ordered his soldiers, “Take away this Wretch and put him to death. He hasn’t yet known about my power.
Hearing Ravana’s order, his wise brother – Vibhishana – said, “Brother! It is against all norms to kill a messenger. Be kind enough to set him free.”
“All right; don’t kill him but only mutilate him. Wrap a few rags round the end of his tale and set them on fire. Then lead him through the streets of my capital,” Ravana ordered his soldiers.
Hanuman did not say anything in reply to what Ravana had said. Curling his tail round, he kept sitting on it quite calmly.
The demons tried to lift Hanuman up from his place but they could not. Seeing this, Ravana ordered some more soldiers to help their companions and obey his order of setting Hanumans tail on fire.
So, a large number of Ravana’s soldiers fell upon Hanuman. Lifting him up, they began to wrap rags doused in kerosene. But Hanuman increased the length of his tail every now and then. It created a problem and more rags were wrapped on Hanumans tail which was now set on fire.
Fearful flames came out of the tail-fire and all the demons present there clapped to see it. They danced in joy indeed. Ravana said, “When this monkey returns to his master without his tail, his master will be highly ashamed. He may come here in a fit of rage. We shall remain anxious to see him.”
The demons tied both the hands of Hanuman with a string and led him through the streets of Lanka. As soon as the procession reached the central place of the town, a large crowd gathered to see Hanuman. People clapped to see his burning tail and broke into reals of laughter. Some mischievous people also tried to tease and kick Hanuman.
When the procession reached the gate of Ravana’s capital, Hanuman minimized his size and got rid of all strings and traps.
Seeing this sudden change in Hanuman’s size, children and women of the demons got frightened. A strong wind began to blow. Hanuman gave out loud laughter and began to frisk here and there. His roar sent a wave of fear among all present there. Women and children began to weep bitterly saying, “Who will save us from this monkey? We had already said that this on key is not an ordinary monkey. He must be a god who has come to finish us all.”
Hanuman began to jump on the roofs of houses, thus setting every house on fire, one after the other. Getting to the top of a high attic, Hanuman again assumed his gigantic form and began to dance round and round. The flames from his long burning tail set the entire town ablaze.
Even Ravana’s palace caught fire. There were cries and bewailings everywhere around. Women began to run helter-skelter with their babies in their arms. Only on house was safe. It belonged to Vibhishana, Ravana’s younger brother and a devout devotee of Rama. It was no less than a miracle. As a result, even the citizens of Lanka came to have a devotional liking for Ram.
Troubled by the furious fire, the demons of Lanka clamoured for safety. They did not know what to do in order to save themselves from the dangerous fire that had burnt almost the entire town to ashes.
At last the people went to their king Ravana and requested him, “Your Majesty! save us from this dreadful fire. It has burnt everything we had.”
But Ravana was helpless. He was watching his burning capital with wide open eyes. Entire Lanka was in flames. In a matter of minutes everything was going to be reduced to ashes. The king did not know what to do.
People began to whisper among themselves, “Our king is a wicked person. He has done a grave sin by abducting the wife of another person. This calamity is undoubtedly the result of the misdeed committed by our sinful ruler, Ravana.”