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"DEAR, dear Vanara friend," said Sita,
"I do not know whether to rejoice or
grieve at the news you have brought. Your
words are like nectar mixed with poison.
My lord's love for me is sweetest nectar,
and his grief over my plight is bitterest
poison." Thus Sita spoke what she felt and
found comfort in putting in words her love
and her grief.
Pleasure and pain, happiness and
misery alternately impel human beings.
Sita was consoled but also pained by the
thought that Rama had not forgotten her,
but was thinking of her, grieving and
searching for her.
"We are puppets manipulated by the
twin strings of joy and sorrow", said Sita.
"None of us can escape their pull. My lord
and Lakshmana and myself are all subject
to this law. You say my lord suffers like a
sailing ship caught in a storm on the high
seas. O! When will he come here? Dear
Vanara friend, when will he destroy
Lanka and Ravana and the other
Rakshasas? All this must take place
within the two months' time still left.
Please explain this to my lord. Only two
months remain to me. Vibhishana, the
younger brother of Ravana, tried his best
to persuade the latter to change his ways.
'Return Sita,' he said to Ravana, 'and save
Lanka and the Rakshasa race.' All his
words have gone in vain. My heart is
strong within me. I know Ravana is on the
road to the abode of Yama. Soon my lord
will vanquish his foes and redeem me. I
have no doubt about this. My innocent
heart tells me this and it cannot prove
Thus Sita went on speaking with tears
in her eyes. Hanuman could not bear the
sight of her suffering.
"Mother!" he exclaimed, "I shall go at
once and bring back Rama. He will
descend on Lanka with a mighty army.
But why should you suffer any longer? If
you are agreeable, sit on my back. I shall
carry you across the ocean and restore you
in a moment to Rama. Do not for a
moment doubt my ability to do this. As
Agni carries the sacred offerings to Indra,
so shall I transport you to my Lord Rama.
Permit me, O pure of heart, to do this
service. I can not only carry you and
restore you to Rama, but I have the power
to wrench Lanka from its foundations and
throw it and its ruler at Rama's feet! Sit on
my back now and, like Rohini rejoining
the Moon, you will rejoin Rama. As I
sprang and came here, so shall I spring
and reach the other shore with you."
Thus Hanuman went on speaking out
of his affection and enthusiasm. And Sita
wondered how the little monkey before
her could hope to carry her across the
Hanuman saw her doubt and so, to
demonstrate his powers, he jumped off
from the platform and began to grow big
in size. Sita was pleased.
But she said: "O Son of Vayu! I realise
your strength and yet it is not right that
you should carry me. On the way the
Rakshasas are sure to intercept and
challenge you. They will hurl their
weapons at you. Your care will be to
guard me. You will not be able to fix all
your mind on the battle and that may be a
serious set-back to the strongest warrior.
In a battle, one cannot be certain of
victory and what would be my fate if you
should fall? And besides, in the violent
convulsions of a heady' fight, how could I
be sure of maintaining my position on
your back? I may slip and fall into the sea.
It is clear, therefore, that you should not
try to cross the sea with me. Apart from
that Hanuman, if you snatch me away
stealthily from the Rakshasas it would be
no credit to the valor of my lord. The
honor of the Kshatriya race demands that
he should come and fight and vanquish
Ravana and redeem me as the prize of
victory. Would Rama have me stolen back
even as Ravana stole me from him? No,
my son, return and quickly bring Rama
here with Lakshmana and the Vanara
army. Let my lord's arrows destroy Lanka
and send Ravana to Yama's abode. His
victory is certain. Like the fierce sun at
the hour of doom, Rama's arrows will
burn the Rakshasa people to ashes."
"You are right," said Hanuman, "I shall
return alone. But what shall I tell Rama?
What sign shall I carry of my having met
you and talked with you?"
Hearing these words, all her happy life
with Rama came like a flood to her
memory and her eyes were filled with
tears. If she told Hanuman and Hanuman
told Rama some intimate happenings
known only to herself and her lord, it
would be proof of Hanuman having seen
her and also make Rama see her present
With flowing tears, she recounted
incidents of their forest life.
"Once in Chitrakuta my lord and I
wandered about in the grove beside the
river and became weary and rested on the
ground. He laid his head upon my lap and
fell asleep. While thus, a crow came down
and hungrily pecked at my bosom, I drove
it off, but again and again it returned and
troubled me. I then flung a pebble at it.
But even that had no effect. Rama was
roused from slumber and saw me thus
troubled and weeping in pain. At first
when he saw what the matter was and
found it was but a crow, he was inclined
to laugh at my discomfiture. But he saw
the bruise the crow had made and
discovered that the bird was really an
Asura. The bird flew for its life, but Rama
sped a dart at it that pursued it wherever it
went, till at last the crow-Asura sought
Rama's feet for refuge and found pardon
there. Tell him of this incident. O
Hanuman, I cannot wait for many more
days. Tell him to come quickly and save
Again she was in tears as she said: "On
another occasion we were both wandering
all alone in the forest. I was tired.
Perspiration had washed off the tilaka on
my forehead. My lord playfully plucked a
pinch of red mineral from the rock and
applied it between my brows with his own
sweet hands. Ask him if he remembers
As she went on recalling happy
memories of the past the weight of her
present sorrow overwhelmed her and she
wept and said:
"What should I tell Rama? What is
there that he does not know? Does he
need my words to rouse his indignation?
Only tell my lord that I embrace his feet.
That is enough. There is Lakshmana
beside him, the brother born to serve him
and of unrivalled skill in arms. Looking at
his sweet face, my Lord even forgot his
grief for the father's death. The pure-
hearted hero, dear Lakshmana, parted
from his own mother and came away with
us and regarded me as his mother. Tell
him he should come and end my
As she thought of Lakshmana's
heroism and devoted loyalty, Sita's eyes
were filled with tears. When Rama had
gone chasing the golden deer, did she not
insult him and fling burning words at the
selfless and devoted friend? The thought
of this injustice filled her repentant heart
with insufferable pain.
She was unwilling to part from
Hanuman, who had come to her and
consoled her just as she was about to put
an end to her life. At the same time, she
wanted him to return quickly to Rama and
give him news concerning her.
At last she said: "My child, here is the
jewel given by my mother at my wedding
and fixed on my forehead by the late
Emperor. Take it and give it to my
husband as a sign from me."
So saying she untied a knot at the
corner of her sari, took out the divine
jewel and handed it to Hanuman who
received it with humble reverence. When
Hanuman had the jewel in his hand, pride
and joy filled his mind.
His heart was far away with Rama.
Mentally he had recalled Rama's presence
and conveyed the glad message of his
discovery. Only his body now stayed in
"Dear friend," said Sita, "you must tell
Rama all you have learnt here, and it will
be your good fortune to help him to
As Hanuman was about to leave, Sita
spoke again: "Dear Hanuman, convey my
affection to the Prince and also to king
Sugriva and the other Vanara leaders. Tell
them from me that I implore them to give
help to Rama to save me from this sea of
sorrow. You, more than anyone else, I
hope will encourage and show the way to
the prince in all matters."
Hanuman answered: "Lay aside your
sorrow, dear princess. Rama, Lakshmana
and the Vanara army will descend on
Lanka destroy the Rakshasas and redeem
you. Have no doubt."
As he was about to go, Sita said again:
"Should you not stay here somewhere, for
a while, and rest? Should you return at
once? Your visit has given me such great
consolation and made me forget my grief
for a while. When you leave, I shall sink
again in my sea of sorrow. You came here
crossing the great ocean. How will Rama
and the big army cross it? Have you
thought of that?" Doubts assailed her once
"Have no doubt, my queen!" said
Hanuman. "Do you think I am the only
Vanara that could cross the sea? There is
not a Vanara but has more power and skill
than I. Not only Sugriva, but many in his
army can fly round the world. What is this
narrow sea to them? There are thousands
among us who can roam in the sky. Have
no doubt whatever. Do you think they
would send the best among them as a
mere messenger? Dear lady, have done
with sorrow, for you will soon see me
with the two mighty princes on my back.
They will lay waste this city with the
arrows. They will destroy Ravana and all
his race. You have as good as crossed the
ocean of sorrow and reached the other
shore. God bless you. In a few days you
will see the two princes standing, bow in
hand, at the gates of Lanka, destroying the
Rakshasa host. You will see the Vanara
army leaping with joy over the ruined
city. Once they hear the news from me,
they will not delay a moment. I have only
to tell them and they will start at once. Do
not lose heart." Saying this and bowing
profoundly, Hanuman prepared to go.
"Tell Rama and Lakshmana that I am
alive," cried Sita. "See that no time is lost.
May God bless you."
And Hanuman left. Let us meditate
with reverence on the heroic son of
Anjana, the wise messenger who gave
consolation to Sita and quenched her
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?