Raama and Lakshmana often lost heart and yielded sometimes to great despair. But they managed to encourage each other and proceeded on their way.
Passing through the forest, the two princes were suddenly caught by a tremendously big Raakshasa of ugly form without head or feet. His mouth was in his great belly and he had two enormous arms which, without moving from his place, he would stretch out and clutch tiger, bear or any other living thing within reach, and swallow them. He had only one eye which was placed in his chest but which was terrible to behold.
Caught by this monster, the princes were, for a while, bewildered and did not know what to do. Raama told Lakshmana: "Let us not be confused. You will cut off one arm, I shall cut off the other." And so they did. The name of the monster was Kabandha, which means the barrel-shaped one. Once his arms were severed, he was helpless; he began to explain:
"On account of my evil deeds I was cursed by Indra to bear this form and this name. I believe you are Raama and Lakshmana. Indra promised me freedom from the curse when you two should come and cut off my arms and commit this body of mine to the flames."
The princes cremated his body as desired by Kabanda. There arose from the flames a lovely being which entered a heavenly chariot and ascended to the celestial world. Before going, he said to Rama: "You will assuredly re-gain Sita. Go to the beautiful banks of the Pampa and seek the help of Sugreeva living there on the Rishyamukha hill. Driven out of the kingdom by his brother Vaali, he lives in constant fear and danger. Gain his friendship, and you will succeed in your attempt." Saying this Kabandha disappeared.
Raama and Lakshmana now set forward in the direction of the Pampa. In that lovely region they visited the aashrama of the aged sanyaasini, Sabari, the disciple of Rishi Matanga, and accepted her hospitality. Sabari was a woman of a forest tribe and a faithful serving sister in the aashrama of the old saint Matanga. After his death, she lived her saintly life, looking faithfully after the aashrama as of old. She was waiting for Rama for a long time before she could give up her body. When Rama and Lakshmana made their appearance, Shabari's dream was fulfilled. She washed their feet, offered them the best nuts and fruits that she collected for years. Then she took Rama's blessings and departed for heaven.
The meeting with this saintly woman and the waters of the river Pampa gave strength of mind to the princes. They thought over what should be done next. Said Raama: "Lakshmana, I am beginning to think that we shall succeed. Let us search the forest for Sugreeva whose help we should obtain."
The fugitive Monkey (Vanara) prince Sugreeva and his faithful subjects saw Raama and Lakshmana roving in the forests and were troubled with doubts. Having been ejected from his kingdom by Vaali, Sugreeva chose this mountainous spot because he believed that it was made by the curse of a rishi inaccessible to Vaali. And now he feared that here, too, Vaali in disguise was following him in order to kill him. Sugriva sent his close friend Hanuman to find out the indentity of the two strangers. Hanuman, disguised as an ascetic, came to Rama and Lakshmana.
The brothers told Hanuman of their intention to meet Sugriva because they wanted his help to find Sita. Hanuman was impressed by their courteous behavior and removed his ascetic garb. Then he carried the princes on his shoulder to Sugriva. There Hanuman introduced the brothers and narrated their story and their intention to seek his help. Sugreeva agreed to help, but he first wanted Rama to help him obtain his kingdom back from his brother Vali. Rama agreed to help him.