Yuddha Kanda 1 - Vibhishana Meets Shriram
After hearing Hanuman’s narration, Rama was pleased. He praised Hanuman, saying no one else in the world other than Garuda and Hanuman could cross the great ocean. At the same time, Rama was worried about crossing the ocean along with the ape army to reach Lanka.
Sugriva then reminded Rama of his prowess with the bow and told him that they would somehow cross the ocean. Rama then said he would build a bridge across the ocean or even dry it up to reach Lanka. Rama then enquired about Lanka’s army from Hanuman.
Hanuman then explained how Lanka had four gates with machines at the entrance. He described the iron gates and gold ramparts, and how difficult they were to penetrate. Hanuman described the moats surrounding the city and how they were filled with crocodiles. He described how there were millions of rakshasas guarding each of the four gates.
Rama then decided to start his military campaign the next day since it was auspicious. The next day, Rama and Lakshmana left for Lanka with the ape army. Finally, they reached Mount Mahendra and saw the mighty ocean before them.
Meanwhile in Lanka, Ravana was ashamed of how a monkey had burnt his great city. He realised that Rama would soon attack Lanka with the ape army. He asked his advisors for suggestions to prepare for the war. Ravana’s ministers praised him and reminded him of how he defeated the lord of wealth Kubera, the rakshasas Maya, and Madhu. They assured Ravana he would defeat Rama.
All the assembled rakshasa warriors pledged that they would kill and destroy Rama along with Hanuman and the others. Ravana’s brother Vibhishana then calmed everyone. He advised Ravana that enmity with Rama was not good. Vibhishana asked Ravana to return Sita to prevent the destruction of Lanka.
Ravana was furious and told Vibhishana that had anyone else uttered such words, they would be dead. Vibhishana then told Ravana that he did not want to see his brother being killed by Rama. He declared that he would leave Lanka. Using his powers, he flew and reached the place where Rama was. He introduced himself to Sugriva and the other apes.
Sugriva then met Rama and said Vibhishana was a rakshasa and should not be trusted. He advised Rama to capture Vibhishana. Hanuman then suggested that Vibhishana should not be doubted. He advised Rama to include Vibhishana on their side.
Vibhishana then arrived to meet Rama and fell at his feet pledging his support. Rama embraced Vibhishana and declared him as the king of the Rakshasas. Vibhishana then advised Rama to pray to Varuna and engage with him. Rama then waited three days lying on Kusha grass, but Varuna did not appear.
A furious Rama then angrily shot an arrow into the ocean. The arrow created havoc in the water, agitating all the beings. The Lord of the oceans then appeared before Rama. He told Rama to use the services of the ape Nala and build a bridge. He assured Rama that the crocodiles in the water would not strike the apes when they crossed the bridge.
The apes then proceeded to build a bridge under the guidance of Nala, who was the son of the divine architect Vishwakarma. Using boulders and trees, the apes began to build the bridge across the ocean. The bridge Nala constructed was ten yojanas wide and a hundred yojanas long. Rama and the apes then crossed the bridge and reached Lanka.
….. to be continued