Translated by Robert P. Goldman & Sally J. Sutherland Goldman
The fifth and most popular book of the Ramáyana of Valmíki, “Súndara” recounts the adventures of the monkey hero Hánuman in leaping across the ocean to the island citadel of Lanka. Once there, he scours the city for the abducted Princess Sita. The poet vividly describes the opulence of the court of the demon king, Rávana, the beauty of his harem, and the hideous deformity of Sita’s wardresses. After witnessing Sita’s stern rejection of Rávana’s blandishments, Hánuman reveals himself to the princess, shows her Rama’s signet ring as proof of identity, and offers to carry her back to Rama. She nevertheless insists that Rama must come himself to avenge the abduction. The great monkey then wreaks havoc before permitting himself to be captured. His tail is set ablaze, but he escapes his bonds and leaping from rooftop to rooftop, sets fire to the city. Taking leave of Sita, Hánuman once more leaps the ocean to rejoin his monkey companions in Kishkíndha and tell Rama what has happened.
But when Máruti, the wise son of the wind god, who resembled a great cloud, saw the gaping mouth of Súrasa with its long tongue, looking like hell itself, he contracted his body so that in an instant he was no bigger than a thumb. He entered her mouth and flew out. Then that swift and majestic monkey hovered in the sky and said these words:
Homage to you, Daksháyani. I have entered your mouth. Now I shall go to where Vaidéhi is. May your words ever prove true.
538 pp. | ISBN-13: 0-8147-3178-3 |
Co-published by New York University Press and JJC Foundation
About the Translator
Robert P. Goldman is Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He is director and general editor of the massive translation project of the critical edition of Valmíki’s Rāmāyaṇa. He has also translated Ramáyana I: Boyhood for CSL.
Sally J. Sutherland Goldman is Lecturer in Sanskrit, University of California at Berkeley.
They co-authoered Devavāṇīpraveśikā: An Introduction to the Sanskrit Language.