The Sundara Kanda forms the heart of Valmiki’s Ramayana and consists of a detailed, vivid account of Hanuman’s adventures. After learning about Sita, Hanuman assumes a gargantuan form and makes a colossal leap across the ocean to Lanka.
To cross the ocean, Lord Hanuman takes on the size of a mountain. Hanuman soared skyward. He shone like the sun. He crossed the surging sea in a single bound.
In no time at all he reached the distant shore of Lanka. At first he could not find Sita. He looked everywhere-in Lanka’s streets, in all the houses, even in the royal harem. Finally he went beyond the city to the gardens and orchards of the royal estate. There in the centre of a grove known as the Ashok Vatika he found the captive princess seated in the shade of a giant tree.
She was very pale. Like the waning moon, she had become quite slim. The grief of separation from her beloved Rama had not, however, dimmed her radiance. She glowed by virtue of her inner purity. Like the moon, too, she remained always luminous and lovely.
Even while he watched from a hiding place not far from her, Hanuman saw the cruel king, Ravana, make his regular visit to Sita in her seclusion. “For ten months you have remained here mooning over Rama. You have but two months left to forget him and show favour to me. I warn you, relent or my cooks will make mince—meat pie out of you for me to eat.” Sita remained brave all the while that Ravana was there, but when he left she broke into tears.
While she wept, Hanuman crept nearer to her. Gently he murmured that he was a messenger. “Rama sent me.” Sita lifted her eyes in disbelief, and Hanuman caught his breath at the sight of her fragile beauty. He gave her Rama’s ring to show that he spoke the truth. He promised her that Rama would come for her. In turn, she removed the jewel which still adorned her hair. “Give this to Rama. Tell him to come for me, or I shall die.”
Hanuman left her with comforting words, then went back to the streets of the capital determined to do mischief to the rakshasas and to see Ravana face to face before leaving Lanka. With this in mind, he got into fights with rakshasa soldiers. After scuffling with several he decided to let them capture him. He knew that, as a prisoner, he would be taken before Ravana. Sure enough, he was soon hauled before the king, and there Hanuman heckled him.
Furious at this insult, Ravana ordered Hanuman bound head and foot. “Set his tail on fire!”
Hanuman smiled at this, for it was just what he wanted. Once his tail was flaming, he easily slipped out of his bonds and into the night. No one could catch him. Laughing at how helpless they all were against his wonders, Hanuman hopped from house to house until he had touched each with his tail, setting the entire city on fire.
Satisfied that the rakshasas would remember him and his visit forever, he went to the seashore. In one mighty leap he crossed the ocean once more, and rejoined the group waiting for him on the other side.
Hanuman informs Rama how Seetha expressed her grave doubt as to how monkeys and bears can leap across a vast sea, as well as her appeal to Rama to destroy Ravana along with his entire army in Lanka and take her back to Ayodhya. Hanuma further informs Rama, how he resolved her doubt by explaining the prowess of the troops of monkeys and bears, commanded by Sugreeva as also how he brought solace and peace to her from her worries.
Why Sundara Kanda is Important?
It is traditional to begin the reading (pārāyaṇa) of the Ramayana with the Sundara Kanda.
This lesson is recited, preferably on Tuesdays or Saturdays, these days having been earmarked for special prayers to Hanuman. It happens to be for nullification of the malefic effects of the crow mounted, the son of Surya and Chhaya (Shadow), Lord Shani. Ramayana reveals that Shani Dev, who was captive at Ravana’s palace, was rescued by Lord Hanuman. As a token of thanks, Shani Dev offered reprieve to all devotees of Lord Hanuman. Alternately once Shani Dev was caught between Hanuman’s shoulders and the ceiling when attempting to mount the latter to influence his stars. Unable to bear the pain, Shani Dev offered gratitude in return to an immediate release.
The religious faith suggests that its recital brings harmony to the household. Many believe that if you do not have time to read the whole Ramayana, you should read the Sundara Kanda.
Trails of Sundara Kanda in Srilanka :
Sri Baktha Hanuman Temple,Ramboda :
Sri Baktha Hanuman Temple,Ramboda On these hills of Ramboda where Hanuman was searching for Setadevi, Chinmaya mission of Sri Lanka built a temple with Hanuman as the presiding deity. On every full moon day special pooja”s are conducted and witnessed by thousands of devotees.
This is a rock in the Labookelle estate. Lord Hanuman met Sitadevi and on his way to announce this happy information to Lord Rama, rested on this hill top. The hilltop where Lord Hanuman is believed to have rested after meeting Sitadevi is known as Mani Kattuther. Today an open temple with statues of Lord Rama, Devi Sita, Lakshmana and Lord hanuman stands on top of it .
According to Ramayana, after meeting Devi Sita Lord Hanuman dedicated to test the strength of the mighty King Ravana and his army of Rakshasas. In the events that unfolded Lord Hanuman’s tail was set on fire by the rakshasa’s, who in turn went on to torch some parts of King Ravana’s empire. Ussangoda is one of the torched areas, which is said to have been a airport used by king Ravana
Chariot Path and Sita Tear Pond :
The summit of the mountain next to the mountain range overlooking Frotoft Estate in Pussallawa is the place where Lord Hanuman first set his foot on mainland Lanka. This mountain known as Pawala Malai is visible from this mountain range. These hills stand tall in-between King Ravana’s capital city and Ashoka Vatika.
The barren land atop the mountain range is believed to be the route in which King Ravana took Sitadevi from his capital city Lankapura to Ashoka Vatika, which was a paradise on earth. Till date no vegetation grows on this passage except grass. King Ravana is believed to have taken this passage on top of these hills to show Sitadevi the beauty of his kingdom.
The Sita tear pond is found en route by the chariot route, is believed to have been formed by the tears of Sitadevi and has not dried up since, even during severe droughts when the adjoining rivers dry up.
In this area there are many large trees whose bright red blooms add colour to the scenery. These flowers are called Sita flowers. The peculiarity of these flowers is the configuration of the petal’s, stamen and pistil’s, which resemble a human figure carrying a bow, and is said to represent Lord Rama. These flowers are unique only to this area in the whole of sri lanka.