Ramayanam – Rama Meets Hanuman.
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Rama and Lakshmana soon reached Rishyamukha. It 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. Hanuman introduced himself to the two brothers as the minister of the Vaanara king Sugreeva. He enquired about who Rama and Lakshmana were and what they were doing in the forest. Rama told Hanuman about Ayodhya, his exile, and the abduction of Sita. Hanuman took Rama and Lakshmana to Sugreeva. They told their story to him.
Sugreeva made an offer to Rama that if Rama were to help him to get rid of vaali, then Sugreeva would summon the entire monkey and bear clan to help Rama find Sita.
Rama, seeing that injustice was done to Sugreeva by vaali, agreed. In a fierce duel between vaali and Sugreeva, Rama shot dead vaali with his arrow. Sugreeva took over the reign of kishkinda. Thus with the help of the entire vaanara clan, the search for Sita began. Fierce vaanara warriors went north, south, east, and west.
[RAMA GIVING HANUMAN THE RING THAT COULD REGARD HIM AS A MESSENGER]
The troops that went south were led by the trusted Hanuman. Searching thoroughly and unable to find Sita, they finally reached the seashores. They wondered where to look for her now.
Jatayu’s brother, the aged Ganpati also came to hear of the whole story through the Banaras. He felt sad that jatayu had been killed by Ravana. Although he could not fly, he still had the sharp sight of a vulture. He could see into the distance and he was the one to see Sita far across the ocean, all alone and sad on the island of Lanka. The vanaras felt happy that at least they knew where Sita was. But they wondered how they could cross the vast ocean and reach Lanka. Hanuman prayed to Rama. Soon Hanuman was growing in size and became so big that the hills turned into tiny stones under his feet. Then thinking of his mission to find Sita, Hanuman pressed his foot hard into the ground and leaped high into the air. He was soon flying over the ocean. Finally, he landed on the glistening shores of Lanka.
Once in Lanka, he set out to find Sita.
Hanuman entered the Ashoka garden. Beneath one of the trees was the most beautiful woman Hanuman had ever seen. It was Sita. Sita was surrounded by many demons. Hanuman waited for all the demons to sleep as he approached Sita. Sita’s heart was filled with gladness as he presented her with Rama’s ring and told her that he was the messenger of Rama. Hanuman narrated the entire story of how Rama met Sugreeva and their search for Sita. Sita gave Hanuman a jewel that she wore, which Rama would recognize. She blessed Hanuman as he prepared to leave. Suddenly the demons awoke. When Ravana heard about the destruction caused by a monkey, he sent his son Indrajit to capture the monkey. Indrajit was a very skilled warrior. He used one of his powerful weapons on Hanuman, imprisoned him, and dragged him to Ravana’s court. When Hanuman was brought before the king, he was very impressed with the ten-headed Ravana.
Hanuman then warned Ravana about the danger which he would be facing if he did not return Sita to Rama and ask for forgiveness. Ravana became wild with rage. He ordered that Hanuman should be put to death at once. But Vibhishana, his younger brother, intervened and pointed out that it would be improper to kill a messenger. Then Ravana ordered Hanuman’s tail to be set on fire.
The king’s men wrapped Hanuman’s tail in cloth and set fire to it.
With his long tail on fire, Hanuman flew into the sky. He decided to set the city of Lanka ablaze to punish Ravana. He flew low over the city and set each building, palace, and garden on fire. Flames shot high into the sky. Then he finally jumped into the ocean to put off the fire on his tail. Hanuman reached kishkinda and told Rama all about Sita’s safety. Rama was overjoyed when he saw the jewel that Hanuman had brought back.