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It then suffered itself to be shot. Ravan immediately transported himself back to the hut, and carried away Sita through the air in triumph.*
The poem then pathetically describes the grief of Rama, the measures adopted by him and his brother Lakshman to discover Sita, rendered difficult by the aerial course which Ravan had pursued. At length they learnt that she had been conveyed to Lanka. Rama then engaged in his interest a sovereign, Sugrivu, whose subjects consisted of monkeys, who sent an army of these sagacious and intrepid warriors, headed by his renowned generals, Hanuman, a monkey, and Jumont, a bear, and others of great martial fame, to his assistance. They marched forward, in the shapes of various animals, in splendid military array, until they reached, after numerous difficulties, dangers, and privations, the coast opposite Lanka, when they learned in a more positive manner from Sanput (a vulture) that Sita was in that island. But a difficulty then presented itself which necessarily led to a considerable delay; being no other than the ocean, which rolled its waves between the island and the main. It was accordingly determined in council, after long and mature deliberation (for they acted like discreet warriors, which all pugnacious nations of the present day do not), that it would be more prudent to attempt that which was possible, than to endeavour to do what was absolutely impossible; and as it was evident they could not pass over without a bridge, not to try that manœuvre, but, difficult as the undertaking was, to set about building one with all necessary dispatch. This, after strong opposition on the part of Ravan, and the utmost skill and
* There is another account of this incident, which my regard for the industrious and lovely daughter of Junuka induces me to give implicit credit to : namely, that while hunting, Rama meeting the Rakshasa in the form of a deer or antelope, shot him. The Rakshasa called, apparently in pain, upon the name of Lakshman, with whom Rama had left Sita. The affectionate wife believing that the cry came from Rama, whom she imagined to be in danger, urged her protector to fly to his aid. Lakshman at length, having previously drawn with his bow round the abode of Rama a charmed circle, within which nothing could injure Sita, and which he forbade her to pass, hastened to the relief of his supposed brother. No sooner had he left his charge than a mendicant Brahman appeared, and solicited alms; but would accept of none unless taken without the circle. Sita, respecting the sacred character of a Brahman, was induced to pass the prescribed bounds, and was immediately seized by him (who was Ravan in disguise), and carried away through the air to Lanka.
courage on the side of Hanuman, was effected by the monkeys, their commander setting an example of perseverance and bravery, which it would be well if our generalissimos would always follow. This intrepid simian chief not only tore up mountains from their bases, but conveyed ten of them, sixty-four miles each in circumference, at a time (one on the tip of his tail, one under each arm, one on each shoulder, one in each paw, and three on his head), and cast them into the sea. (See fig. 5, plate 9.)
If we are to believe the Hindus, the remains of this mighty undertaking, now called Adam's bridge, are still observable: but if we are not satisfied to extend our implicit faith so far, we may, perhaps more safely, imagine that Ceylon was once a part of the Continent, and insulated by a violent conyulsion of nature; and that the mountains of Hanuman are but the fragments of the rocky isthmus which formerly linked them together. But whatever our wayward imaginations may lead us to think, the Hindus possess a firm belief in the feats of Hanuman and his indefatigable monkeys: and with their belief, only, we have at present to do.
Impatient of delay, and anxious to be informed of the treatment which Sita had experienced, it was deemed advisable by Rama and his generals, that, while farther operations were in progress in building the bridge, accurate information should be obtained respecting her. The sage Jumont observed, that he who could leap a hundred joguns (about seven or eight hundred miles) across the channel, was exactly the party required. Who so proper to execute a brave action as he who proposes it, has been often observed; but, unfortunately, commonly observed in vain. Thus Jumont said, he himself would be glad to attempt it, but was too old : others were equally willing, but equally, from some cause or other, unable to undertake it. One, indeed, believed he might leap across, to be sure, easily enough; but he thought the question should be, if he might ever be able to leap back again. At length, the dauntless Hanuman, who had (like all those who perform the most) said the least, was appealed to. The simian hero smiled at Rama, and ever attentive to, and insensible of danger at the call of friendship (unlike the summer friends we occasionally meet with), made light of the business, ascended a hill, and, after plenty of sage advice from
WClerk Lith 4.1 Dear Ji Joho lama, llanuman and the Monkeys worshipping Vishnu and Lakshmi attended by Narela the
Published by Parbury, Allen of('London.1832.
Jumont (in giving which the courage of this ursine Nestor seldom required to be prompted), took a leap; and although tempted, like Saint Anthony, by demons and other things in his course, safely reached Lanka, and the vicinity of the abode of the captive beauty. With the rapidity of lightning Hanuman descended in the garden of the palace, where he discovered the pensive and disconsolate Sita. Transported with indignation against Ravan, he appears, after having conferred with her, to have resorted to some monkey tricks, not at all in accordance with his usual wisdom and discretion ; for he began pulling up the trees, destroying the flower-beds, and, in short, turning the garden into a complete wilderness. The king sent out people to drive him away, but he destroyed them all. Ravan then sent his eldest son, who, after a furious contest, in which he used a charmed weapon, seized Hanuman and set fire to his tail; with which, leaping from house to house, the enraged general burnt all Lanka. This operation was a manœuvre of Hanuman, for on hearing the order of Ravan to wrap the tail round plentifully with linen and oil it well, he continued to elongate it while they continued to wrap and oil, so that, when set fire to it made a tremendous blaze. He then, after having fired the town, went to Sita, and complained that he could not extinguish the flame of his tail. She directed him to spit upon it, in doing which he smutted his face, and gave rise to the present black faced mustachioed race of martial monkey heroes of the world.
Having effected the object of his mission, Hanuman returned back to the continent, and found that Rama had nearly perfected his preparations for the attack. A battle ensued, in which an incident occurred that, as I do not find a similar one represented in the combats of Osiris, Sesostris, Semiramis, Alexander, or in any other battle in the world, I am bound, for the good of my country in general, and for the instruction of the army in particular, to notice here.
One of the generals of the Lanka forces, named Koombhukurma,* a * I will in this place enable the reader to form a judgment of this redoubtable champion of Ravan, who, for the good reason of avoiding repetition, I beg may be considered as a fair sample of the Brobdingnag race of heroes to which he belonged. I have been somewhat apprehensive that these (in a certain degree apocryphal) deliniations of persons and propensities, which historic fidelity has occasionally obliged me to exhibit, may throw a shade of doubt over my