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Lanka Dahan


Hanuman Jumps Across The Sea

During this meditation, Hanuman became aware of tremendous physical, mental, and spiritual powers bestowed upon him by the grace of the Lord. He became conscious about his ability to fly, become as big as the mountain, or as small as an atom. If he willed he could become invisible or carry out such unusual physical feats which were not possible for an ordinary mortal.

Waking from his deep state of introspection or meditation, the humble, but brave and powerful Hanuman mentally saluted Rama with firm resolve to conquer Lanka and seek release of Sita from her mental and physical sufferings. 

"Jai Sri Rama" became the inspiring slogan for everyone to fill themselves with freshness and courage. The dullness and despondency, the anxiety, apprehension, and depression gave way to hope of victory. Hanuman said, "Dear brothers, Sri Rama has infused special powers in my life. I am sure I shall be able to cross this ocean in one jump." 

Hanuman Leaps to Lanka

Everyone was delighted and shouted "Jai Sri Rama". Hanuman made himself big and tall and flew off to the distant Lanka across the ocean. He landed at the closed doors of the capital city that were guarded by the terrifying and vicious demons.

He killed them one by one and entered Lankan kingdom. He made himself small and roamed in the city for further information on the whereabouts of Mother Sita. He searched for the way to Ashokvan where Sita was held hostage.

Everywhere Hanuman saw people deeply engrossed in sense enjoyment. Physical pleasure was all that people cared for - a tamasik indulgence, hedonistic preoccupation! Temples and places of worship were deserted or filled with blood of sacrificed animals whose meat was enjoyed by noisy demons. 

Hanuman Meets Vibhishana 

Hanuman could not tolerate this all. He was purity personified, being sattvika by nature. He could not find any food of his taste. He started searching for someone who would be of pious, simple, and religious by nature. Then as he was passing by a palace building, Hanuman heard a faint repetitive name of Rama -- Rama, Rama, Rama! 

Who could be one in this Lanka taking the holy name of Rama! Hanuman wondered. With caution and care, he opened the gate of that palace-like building to find a demon couple worshipping the Lord and singing praise in the name of Rama. Hanuman saluted them in the name of Rama. It was surprising, but true, that this great devotee of Rama was none other than the younger brother of Ravana called as Vibhishana! Hanuman was accorded a very warm welcome by Vibhishana and his wife. 

The talk went on to the ungainly and self-destructive height of "pride and ambitions" Ravana harbored. He did not approve of his brother Ravana lifting Sita from Panchavati. It was sure to lead to the downfall of the person as well as the people of his kingdom. Vibhishana had tried to persuade Ravana to see reason and set Sita free. It was improper and selfish to act this way. A mighty king should not have thus kidnapped a noble queen, already married to someone else. 

Moreover, despite threats, Sita was firm not to marry Ravana. And if at all Ravana forced any such move, Sita could and would immolate herself in self created FIRE OF PURITY. This fire of purity would never allow Ravana even to come near Sita or touch her. Thus all attempts of Ravana to convince Sita for marriage were futile. In addition to the opposition from Vibhishana, Mandodari, wife of Ravana was dead against Ravana's intention of taking Sita as his best wife. But all this had made Ravana angry; and as is well known anger makes the person blind to see reason and rationality. 

Vibhishana told Hanuman every detail about Sita. He told that Sita at that time was kept under the care of lady servants at gardens of Ashokvan. Ravana had disallowed Vibhishana to enter that garden where Sita was kept in custody. 
It was left for Hanuman to try his own way without any help from within Lanka. But he was pleased to find a wonderful 'brother devotee' Vibhishana, as his friend and informer who would prove very useful for Rama to enter and conquer Lanka, and free Sita. 

Hanuman Surrenders! 

As ordered, Indrajeet, the powerful and obedient son of Ravana, reached Ashokvan to find the place in the most chaotic state. The trees were uprooted and the demon guards were running here and there to save their lives. Hanuman was as if making fun of them. Full of anger, Indrajeet challenged Hanuman to fight with him instead of his servants, saying, 

"O monkey, you have done a great harm and insult to the kingdom of Ravana. I have come to arrest you and if resisted, I would send you to hell by killing you." Thus saying they both were engaged in fierce fight. 

Soon Hanuman appeared to tire out and was arrested by Indrajeet and his subordinates. He was tied with ropes and brought to the court of Ravana. The secret of this arrest was that Hanuman deliberately got himself arrested so that he could reach the court of Ravana. 

Hanuman wanted to assess the character, strength, and weaknesses of Rama's opponent which would be useful for them to plan their strategy to defeat Ravana. Thus tied and escorted by cruel looking army men, Hanuman was brought in presence of Ravana. 

Hanuman Meets Ravana 

On seeing him Ravana was furious with rage: "O insignificant monkey, who are you? And what business brings you here to get killed! Don't you know that this is the kingdom of Ravana where people like you have no place to live?" 

Hanuman replied: "O proud King, how false is your claim! Till I am protected by Rama no one on this earth can injure me in the least, let alone kill me. But I will tell you who I am. Sri Rama has sent me here. He had told me to give this message to save your life by releasing Sita without any delay. It will be beneficial to you and your people. Otherwise the punishment Rama would bestow upon you will be of total annihilation! Be warned and heed this warning." 

On hearing these arrogant words, Ravana was hurt to the core. He was furious that this monkey in the name of Rama had audacity to threaten him. Hence he ordered his minister to kill Hanuman on the spot. At this juncture, Vibhishana rose from his seat and politely said to Ravana: 

"O mighty brother, have you forgotten the rules of treating the ambassador? What has happened to your intellect and reason that such a simple custom of honouring a messenger is lost on you. I request you to release Hanuman at most with a warning to leave Lanka and never to come back. Next time, if he is caught he may be punished more severely." 

"And O mighty King", continued Vibhishana "It does not befit you to keep defenseless Sita under arrest. I support Hanuman's appeal to release her instantly with honour and dignity." At this, Ravana called Vibhishana a traitor and injured him by hitting him with his foot. Thus Vibhishana was gravely insulted by Ravana; and therefore, mentally Vibhishana resolved to join Rama in the war against his own brother. 
Ravana meanwhile turned to his ministers and said, "Ok. Do not kill this monkey, but teach him a lesson for creating the nuisance in Lanka. Tie a long cloth to his most lovable tail and put it to fire." 

Hanuman Burns Lanka 

As ordered, the servants brought huge length of cotton cloth and tied it to the tail of Hanuman. Fire was applied to it. Hanuman by his special power increased the length of his tail by many many yards and started jumping here and there! He ran all around Lanka and in this process set most of the houses on fire! Hanuman was not hurt at all. Rama was there to take his care! At last Hanuman jumped in the waters of ocean and decided to return to his friends on the other side of the sea.