Ramleela

taking the centrestage …

Ramayana VII: Lanka on Fire!

on October 21, 2012

And so, Rama and Lakshmana met Hanuman, who would be invaluable in their search for Sita …

Characters:

Hanuman

Sugreev

Vaali

Sita

Ravana

Narrator:Hanuman the Strong carries a tired Ram and Lakshman to their secret hideout deep in the Rishyamukha Mountain, to their king in exile, Sugreev.

Lakshmana: Why are you hiding here if you are so strong?

Hanuman: My King Sugreev has been wronged by his brother Vaali, who wants to be King alone. We have been banished. So, we hide in the hills as we plot our return.

Rama: You have been kind to us;; let us find ways to help each other out. Ah look, I see your king arrive.

(Sugreev approaches. Hanuman introduces them, and they all sit down to talk)

Sugreev: Welcome to our little hill kingdom. You have lost your wife, and we have lost our throne.

Rama: Then we have a deal, we can help each other. But let me warn you, there should be no monkey business here!

Hanuman: Let there be a fight to the death with Vaali. King Sugreev can challenge him, and with your help, Rama, Vaali can be killed.

Narrator: The fight is set up. Look, you can see Sugreev, wearing a garland, ready to fight with Sugreev. Rama hides in the bushes, ready with his bow and arrow. Look, the battle begins. They fight each other. Though they look alike, Vali is the stronger one, for he has been given a boon that in any fight, half the strength of the enemy facing him will go over to him. So, it is impossible to kill him face to face. If the injustice to Sugreev is to be avenged, Vali will have to be shot by someone he can’t see. Thank goodness for the garland, or how would Rama know whom to shoot! Oh look, Ram takes aim, and he shoots! (cricket commentrary style, improvise too!)

Sugreev: I am sad to lose my brother, but I am happy to be King. Since Vali has repented of his sins while dying, I accept his son Angad as my own son and heir. Now Rama, my Monkey army is yours. The Vaanar Sena is good and loyal. Hanuman is in your service too.

Rama: I thank you King Sugreev. O Hanuman, we need news of Sita. We hear she is across the sea in Lanka, captured by the evil Ravana.

Hanuman: I will leap across the sea! I will take on my giant form, and reach little Lanka of the mighty Ravana. Give me but a sign, Lord Rama, so that Sita Ma may know that I come from you!

Rama: Here Hanuman, take my ring. She will recognise it and trust you. Speak to her; tell her we care and we are coming to avenge our humiliation.

Narrator:Hanuman races to the edge of the sea. He takes on his Viraat-Roop (giant form) and jumps all the way to Lanka! Meeting

monsters on the way, he escapes being eaten alive by them, and reaches Lanka safely. Sita is in a beautiful garden, the Ashok Vatika. He finds his way there.

Hanuman: I am hungry, after all that jumping and leaping. But work first!! Ah, there, I see mother Sita surrounded by her horrible guards. I shall wait for them to fall asleep. (waits) Ah, they are asleep now. Let me throw the ring to her.

Sita: Ah! What is this? My Lord’s ring? Where did it come from?

Hanuman: From me, mother! Lord Ram sent me with it. And a message of hope. He is on his way to rescue you and kill Ravana.

Sita: Child, my blessings. I am happy for now. Here, take my hair ornament to my Lord and tell him I await him.

Hanuman: Mother, I am hungry. Can I eat the fruits here?

Sita: Yes Child, eat and eat well. Then go and bring Rama to me.

Narrator:Hanuman tears up most of the forest garden. The guards panic. Soldiers are called, and hundreds of them cannot capture

Hanuman.

Hanuman: (laughing at them) You cannot catch me! So stop trying. Lead the way, I want to see the evil king Ravana.

Narrator:In Ravana’s court, Hanuman laughs at everyone present. He refuses to bow to Ravana. Ravana is furious.

Ravana: You are a cheeky monkey! I will punish you. Monkey people love their tail – Set fire to it!!

Hanuman: Ha ha! Try that too, and see what monkeying around can do! Aha, bring the cloth, bring the oil, set the fire. Off I go!!

Narrator: Hanuman leaps from building to building, making his tail longer and longer. He sets fire to the whole of the golden city of Lanka!

And leaving Lanka burning, Hanuman leaps back to the sea. He douses the fire, and then jumps across the ocean  – back to his Lord Rama.

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