Bound by ropes and with tail ablaze, Hanumaan was taken through the streets of Lanka. "Here is the thief that entered our city!" cried the citizens who came out in large numbers to witness this scene. They jeered at him as he was taken round by the Raakshasas to the accompaniment of pipes and drums through all the streets of Lanka.
When Sita heard this in Ashoka Vana, she kindled a fire and offered a prayer to the god of Fire: "O Agni! If there be any goodness in me, any purity, be cool to Hanumaan; do not hurt him."
Hanumaan endured the blows and the insults heaped upon him, and proceeded from street to street quietly observing every thing. He noted in silence, for future use, all the secrets of that fortified city. After some time, he noticed that the fire which was burning bright at the end of the tail was not harming him. He said to himself: "the god of Fire is gracious to me now and does not harm me. I think I should not let slip this opportunity which has come to me unsought to put the fear of God into these Raakshasas.
Suddenly he shrank in
size and shook off the ropes that bound him and, resuming his huge shape, jumped
with his blazing tail to the top of a tall building. He plucked a pillar there
and whirled it round, striking terror in all beholders. Then he jumped from
house to house, setting fire to them. In a little while a strong breeze began to
blow and the whole city was in flames. The Raakshasas and their women and
children shouted in terror and ran hither and thither. "This
monkey is no other than Yama," said some. "No, he must be the god Agni,"
said others. And they all fled from their burning houses.
Recalling the insults he had suffered, Hanumaan was pleased when he saw the
flames rise. He sat on the summit of the Trikoota hill and contemplated with
satisfaction the red glow of the burning city. Then he went to the sea
and, plunging in, put out the fire in his tail and came ashore.
As he sat there, viewing the city in flames, it suddenly occurred to him that he might have burnt the Ashok Vana also, along with Sita and he got terrified. "Alas! Alas! What have I done?" he said with uncontrollable grief. "I have lost my senses in my rage. What is the use of strength and skill and all other gifts if one cannot control one's anger? Sita must have perished in this great fire that I have raised. My angry deed has led to the utter ruin of the whole purpose of my coming here. Alas, there is no fool, no sinner, like me on earth. My rage against the Rakshasas has ended in harm to Sita.
he heard a voice from the sky: ""What a miracle! Glory be to Hanuman's
prowess! Except the spot where Sita is, all Lanka is in flames!" Hearing
this heavenly conversation, Hanumaan was greatly relieved and said to himself:
"Sita has saved herself. She saved me, for it was her purity and power that
kept the fire from harming me." Hanumaan went straight to the Asoka park
again. There, under the Simsupa tree, he saw Seeta who was greatly relieved to
see him alive and cheerful.
Rejoicing, he bowed before her and said, "Oh mother! I have seen you safe and sound. This is your power and my good fortune. Please give me leave to go." Seeta said, "You are indeed a hero. For you there is nothing impossible. See that my lord comes here soon and lays low the Raakshasas and redeems me. I depend on you. You alone can achieve this."
"Be assured," said Hanumaan. "Sugreeva will soon be here with Rama and Lakshmana and the myriads of Vaanaras. Ravana and his wicked hordes will perish. The happy Prince will return with you to Ayodhya. Grieve no more. God bless you." Thus consoling her, Hanumaan took leave of Seeta. He went to the shore of the sea and, climbing up the beautiful hill called Arishta, rose into the sky. He flew straight like an arrow shot from a bow. At sight of the Mahendra hill he knew that he was near the other shore and he roared.
The Vaanaras who saw Hanumaan flying towards them like a great eagle across the sky, shouted, "He is come. He is come!" Till now their hearts had been full of care and their eyes wet. Now they jumped with joy. Hanumaan too rejoiced to see the mountains and trees all covered with his friends. Amid their glad uproar, he alighted on the Mahendra hill.
Jambavan welcomed Hanuman and requested him to narrate to them the events that happened in Lanka. In proper sequence and without omission, Hanumaan recounted all that happened during the passage and in the city of Lanka; how he searched for Seeta in vain in Ravana's palace, how he found her at last in the Asoka Vana, how there Ravana Sought and importuned her and was spurned by her, what dire threats he held out, how the raakshasis teased her and drove her to think of putting an end to her own life, and how it was at this juncture he approached and gave her news of Rama and hope and interest in life.
With tears in his eyes he told them what a divinely precious soul Seeta was and how nobly she had borne herself. Then he narrated how he destroyed the park and killed the Raakshasa warriors, how lie was finally bound by Indrajit and produced before Raavana. He described what took place at the interview, and how as a punishment for his boldness of speech they set fire to his tail, furnishing him thereby with a great torch with which he set their city ablaze.
this full narration to the Vaanara warriors all that happened between his
crossing and recrossing the sea, Hanumaan said:
"Our efforts have been successful so far because of the power of chastity of Seeta who is chastity incarnate. She could have reduced Ravana to ashes if she had chosen, but she patiently endured all this, because she wanted the punishment to proceed from her lord Sri Rama. What is your advice? Shall we go straight to Lanka, destroy Raavana and the Raakshasa hordes, recover Seeta
and restore her to Raama? We have the strength to do this."
Jaambavaan, old and wise, advised gently: "No, it is not right to do this even if we have the ability." he said. "We should report everything to Rama and Lakshmana and then do what they desire. Rama's purpose should be fulfilled in the manner that he desires. That alone is proper." All the Vaanaras, including Hanumaan and Angada, agreed that this was the right thing to do. They then rose into the sky and flew towards Kishkindha. They alighted near the protected park of Sugreeva and celebrated Hanuman's success by indulging in unrestrained revelry, drinking honey and eating fruit; ignoring the warnings of the guards they even ruined the beautiful park of their King. When this was reported to Sugreeva, he immediately understood that his soldiers had succeded in their mission and sent word that they should immediately return.
Angada leading, the Vaanaras marched to the presence of their king who with Rama
and Lakshmana was
awaiting their coming. Hanumaan bowed and said:
"Seen have I the Goddess of purity, your queen. She is safe and well in Lanka. I salute her from here across space." And he turned southwards and offered worshipful salutation. Thus succinctly did Hanumaan convey to the Prince the glad news that Seeta was found and was well in body and mind. Sugreeva and Lakshmana, beside themselves with joy, embraced Raama and asked Hanuman to tell them all the details. "Crossing the hundred yojanaas of water, I reached the city of the wicked Ravana on the southern shore. There, in a park attached to the palace, I saw Seeta held prisoner and closely guarded. It was wonderful to see her emaciated form. She maintained life only in the thought of her lord and repetition of his name. Cruel and ugly Raakshasis surrounded her. I saw her lying on the ground, her hair unkempt and her face clouded by sorrow and care. When I reached there, she had resolved to put an end to her life to escape from the Raakshasa king's importunities and threats. I began uttering praises of your glory in a low voice. And thus he told the whole story again to Rama and handed over to him the precious jewel that Sita had entrusted to him as a token. He also conveyed to Rama Sita's warning that the time available to her was limited:
"Many Raakshasas has my Rama slain, but why has he not come here yet to slay Ravana and save me from my sufferings? She bade me tell you that she would struggle and keep alive for a month, but then she would perish at the hands of Raavana, or she would seek her own release of death."
Rama was overjoyed at the news that Hanuman had brought and said to him: "O Hanumaan, let this embrace of mine stand as an acknowledgment of all that my heart feels of gratitude for your great service to me." So saying while his whole being thrilled with grateful love, he took Hanumaan into his arms and clasped him to his breast.
He then discussed with Sugreeva and Lakshmana how they could cross the sea and reach Lanka for defeating Ravana and rescuing Sita. Rama along with Lakshmana, Sugreeva, Hanuman and the Vanara army proceeded towards the southern sea. Good omens greeted them.