In Valmiki the main rasa is pathos. We only pity Ravana. Lines such as the following


न तत्र काश्चित् प्रमदाः प्रसह्य वीर्योपपन्नेन गुणेन लब्धाः।

न चान्य-कामापि न चान्य-पूर्वा विना वरार्हां जनकात्मजां ताम्॥

 na tatra kAScit pramadAH prasahya vIryopapannena guNena labdhAH /   

na cAnya-kAmApi na cAnya-pUrvA vinA varArhAM janakAtmajAm tAM// (V.R. V – 9 – 71) :


‘There, not even one woman had been obtained forcefully by the strong Ravana, except for that daughter of Janaka, Sita. Every other woman had been obtained by her good character alone and there was no woman who had desire in another man, and there also was none with another in her life’.

are not there either in Kamban or Tulsi. The above shloka occurs in the description of women in Ravana’s harem where Hanuman was searching while they were all asleep. It follows Valmiki’s statement: All those women had been stolen by Ravana with a desire for war, some together with heat of youth obtained Ravana being desired by god of love. (Shloka #70). His abduction of Sita was the single sin he committed. In Tulsi the main rasa is bhakti, devotion. His Ravana at times is disgusting. He kicks Vibhishana; he kneels and cringes before Sita.

Hanuman’s search for Sita in Ravana’s harem reveals Hanuman’s spotless character. And it also gives us an opportunity to see Valmiki’s portrayal of the monkeyish trace in Hanuman. He sees Mandodari, Ravana’s wife sleeping. Three beautiful epithets are used (V.R.V–10–51,52) to describe Mandodari: ‘cAru-rUpiNI’ (beautiful figure), ‘bhUshanais-suvibhUshitAM’ (charmingly decorated by jewellery), and ‘vibhUshayantIm iva ca svashriyA bhavanottamaM’ (decorating the whole hall by the richness of her own radiance). Seeing this lady, Hanuman for a moment thinks it is Sita. And he jumps in joy!

आस्फोटयामास चुचुम्ब पुच्छं ननन्द चिक्रीड जगौ जगाम।

स्तम्भान्-अरोहन्-निपपात भूमौ निदर्शयन् स्वां प्रकृतिं कपीनां॥ (V.R. V-10-54)


 AsphoTayAmAsa cuchumba pucchaM nananda cikrIDa jagau jagAma/    stambhAn-arohan-nipapaAta bhUmau nidarshayan svAM prakRtiM kapInAM //

He clapped his hands, clasped his arms, kissed his tail, was delighted, was playful, sang, paced showing his simian nature, climbed pillars and fell down on the floor.

This depiction of Hanuman’s reaction reveals the species to which he belonged by nature and is enjoyable as such; so Kamban does not touch it! But Kamban is too good a poet to miss the opportunity of such expressions. So he uses it when Hanuman actually sees Sita in the Ashoka-vana:

ஆடினன் பாடினன் ஆண்டும் ஈண்டும் பாய்ந்து

ஓடினன்  உலவினன் உவகைத்தேன் உண்டான் (K.R.V – 393)


Adinan pADinan ANDum INDum pAyndu   

Odinan ulAvinan uvakait-tEn uNDAn[3] 

Drunk to the brim with the honey of happiness, he danced,

he sang,  he jumped hither and thither, ran and paced.

Tulsi does not elaborate Hanuman’s feelings when he saw Sita; he simply says: “He mentally bowed to Her as soon as he saw Her” (T.R. V – 7 – 4)

Dekhi man hi mahu kInhi praNAmA

Let us come back to Valmiki. The sudden delight of Hanuman on seeing Mandodari and thinking of her as Sita soon vanished; thought Hanuman, (continues Valmiki):

​  न रामेण वियुक्ता सा स्वप्तुम्-अर्हति भामिनी | न भोक्तुं नाप्यलङ्कर्तुं न पानम्-उपसेवितुं ||

नान्यं नरमुपस्थातुं सुराणामपि चेश्वरं  |      न हि राम समः कश्चित् विद्यते त्रिदशेष्वपि

अन्येयमिति निश्चित्य भूयस्तत्र चचार सः || (V.R. V – 11-2,3)

 na RameNa viyuktA sA svaptum-arhati bhAminI /   

  na bhOktum nApyalamkartuM na pAnam-upasevituM //           

              nAnyaM naram-upasthAtuM surANAmapi ceSvaraM //                           

            na hi rAma samaH kaScit vidyate tridaSeshvapi /                             

  anyeyamiti niScitya bhUyas-tatra cacAra saH // 


This cannot be Sita. That Sita is not suitable to sleep separated from Rama, will not eat, will not decorate also, not suited to drink a beverage, to reach another man even though if he were Indra because there is indeed no one equaling Rama even among gods. This must be another woman.

The thoughts of Hanuman on not seeing Sita anywhere in Lanka, before he decided to search in the Ashoka grove are excellent in Valmiki. Also, a little before that, having seen the ladies of Ravanas harem in their own bedrooms in compromising postures – which both Valmiki and Kamban describe rather uncompromisingly, with Kamban going into microdetails – Hanuman first censures himself, then realises that his mind has not wavered at all, due to the Lord’s Grace. Here are some beautiful lines from Valmiki:


पर-दारावरोधस्य प्रसुप्तस्य निरीक्षणं।इदं खलु ममात्यर्थं धर्म-लोपं करिष्यति॥

न हि मे परदाराणां दृष्टिर्विषय-वर्तिनी।न तु मे मनसा किंचित् वैकृत्यम्-उपपद्यते॥

मनो हि हेतुः सर्वेषां इन्द्रियाणाम् प्रवर्तने।शुभा-शुभासु अवस्थासु तच्च मे सुव्यवस्थितं॥

स्त्रियो हि स्त्रीषु दृश्यन्ते सदा संपरिमार्गणे।न शक्यं प्रमदा नष्टा मृगीषु परिमार्गितुम्॥

                                                                                 .... (V.R. V – 11 – 37 to 43)

Para-dArAvarodhasya prasuptasya nirIkshaNaM / idaM khalu mamAtyarthaM dharma-lopaM karishyati //  

na hi me paradArANAM dRshTir-vishaya-vartinI /  na tu me manasA kimcit vaikRtyam-upapadyate//     

mano hi hetus-sarveshAM indriyANAm pravartane / shubhA-shubhAsu avasthAsu tacca me suvyavasthitaM

striyo hi strIshu dRSyante sadA samparimArgaNe / na shakyaM pramadA nashTA mRgIshu parimArgituM // 

My seeing the sleeping house of other people's wives will do a great default to dharma. My sight is indeed not in the matter of other wives here; to my mind there indeed was not even a little disturbance. Among auspicious or inauspicious states in the behavior of all senses mind is the reason. That mind of mine is very steady. During search for women they can always be seen only among other women. A woman missing is not possible to be searched among female deer.

These lines are some of Valmiki’s best. They show, in Srinivasa Sastri’s words, that  ‘Hanuman was not a mere monkey but a being who had plumbed the depths of all the ShAstras and Vedas and knew what high moral codes were’. Now inspite of the consoling words to himself about his mind being steady, the fact that after all this search Sita has not been seen does depress Hanuman (V–12–1 to 9). He analyses the situation with great self-reliance and faith in his hero Rama. Again there is no parallel of these lines anywhere else:

अनिर्वेदः श्रियो मूलं अनिर्वेदः परं सुखं। अनिर्वेदो हि सततं सर्वार्थेषु प्रवर्तकः॥

करोति सकलं जन्तोः कर्म यच्च करोति सः। तस्माद्-अनिर्वेदकरं यत्नं चेष्टेऽहम्-उत्तमं॥

अदृष्टांश्च विचेष्यामि देशान् रावण-पालितान्। (V.R. V –12 –10, 11


anirvedaH shriyo mUlaM anirvedaH paraM sukhaM /  anirvedo hi satataM sarvArthesu pravartakaH//

karoti sakalaM jantoH karma yacca karoti saH/tasmAd-anirvedakaraM yatnaM cEshTe’ham-uttamaM//  

adRshTAmSca viceshyAmi deshAn rAvaNa-pAlitAn /  

Non-depression is the basis of all development. Absence of despondency is the greatest comfort. Self reliance always is indeed the promoter in all matters. Whatever action a human does that action of man is made to be successful by non-depression. Therefore I will perform a best effort that is devoid of depression. I will now search all those regions ruled by Ravana but not yet seen.


So again he continues his search. But after some more search he gets a depressing feeling once more. The description of the search from house to house by Hanuman gets an elaborate dramatisation in Kamban’s portrayal. Mansions, porticos, palaces, dance-halls, temples, smaller houses, music platforms, auditoria for debates -- every nook and corner was covered by Hanuman. In describing this Kamban says that Hanuman was capable of contracting himself or enlarging himself so as to enter any place and get out from anywhere (K.R. V–228). Kamban describes Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Indrajit’s mansions very elaborately, whereas Valmiki gives only a list of names whose houses were searched by Hanuman. Of course Tulsi does not elaborate the search. He makes Hanuman meet Vibhishana and learn the truth.


The depression of Hanuman that Valmiki depicts is also handled by Kamban in his own inimitable style. ‘Maybe Ravana killed that chaste lady and did the horrendous act of eating her up! Maybe he has kept her captive in some inaccessible cave! My Lord Rama is thinking I will come back after seeing and talking to her! My boss Sugriva is thinking I will come back bringing her. How can I go back and tell them that I have failed?. (K.R. V -320, 321). So goes Hanuman.


In Tulsi’s narration all this drama is absent because Hanuman meets Vibhishana during his night-search and gets the information that Sita is held captive in the Ashoka forest nearby. In Valmiki, after one of the bouts of depression and a reassuring self-analysis, Hanuman spots the Ashoka forest and realises he has not searched there. Ha! That is the place I have to search now, says Hanuman and mentally thanks (with great hope and faith) all the gods that he knows as well as his own favourites, Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana. (V.R. V–13–59):

नमोऽस्तु रामाय सलक्ष्मणाय देव्यै च तस्मै जनकात्मजायै।

नमोऽस्तु रुद्रेन्द्र-यमानिलेभ्यः  नमोऽस्तु चन्द्रार्क-मरुद्गणेभ्यः॥.

namo.astu rAmAya salakshhmaNAya devyai ca tasmai janakAtmajAyai .

namo.astu rudrendra-yamAnilebhyaH  namo.astu candrArka-marudgaNebhyaH ..


Consequently this shloka gets importance and all Ramayana expositors consider this as a prayer to Rama and other gods. They invariably include this in their preliminary recitals before their expositions.

                                                                   CONTINUED IN 28.9.3