Kabandha told Rama that he would need an ally, who was also down on his luck and powerful.

This is how he described Sugriva : ” A vanara named Sugriva has been abandoned by his brother Vali, the son of Indra. This self-respecting Vanara hero lives with four other Vanaras on the Rsyamuka mountain which is made beautiful by the Pampa surroundings. This king of vanaras is very valourous, radiant (teja), brilliant, truthful, disciplined, firm, intelligent and great. He is skilled, daring, lustrous, overcomes the mighty and isstrong. He is banished from the kingdom by his brother for the sake of the kingdom. Make him your friend. Don’t underestimate him because he is a Vanara. This hero, who is a kamarupi will be grateful for he needs your help.”

Rama meets Sugriva : Cambodian Temple : Musée Guimet

Rama meets Sugriva : Cambodian Temple : Musée Guimet

(Kamarupi can mean one who is very handsome, or it can mean one who can take any form at will.)

“He is the son of Bhaskara, the Sun, born of the ruler of the Rkshas.”

(Like Hanuman, Sugriva also had 2 fathers. His legal father was Rksharaja – the king of the rkshas. His genetic father was Surya Deva. Jambavantha was also a Rksha. Sometimes the word Rksha is identified with bears and sometimes with Vanaras. The balakanda explains that in anticipation of the war against Ravana, many Devas has Vanara sons. This is because of Brahma’s Varam to Ravana Rakshasa. Ravana made a long list of jathis (races) that he wanted immunity from and he left out Naras and Vanaras out of arrogance. Another famous Deva – Vanara Putra is Nala, the son of Viswakarma Deva and the builder of the Rama Sethu.

Sugriva is the genetic half-brother of Karna. They both share the same father, Surya Deva.)

“As a leader of the Kapis (Vanaras), he can clearly reach all the places where the man-flesh-desirers (rakshasas) live. There is no area covered the thousand rayed one (the Sun), that Sugriva does not know. Befriend him and try to help him and he will help you rescue the unhappy Sita Devi from Ravana, wherever he may have imprisoned her!”

The Importance of this Sarga is that it describes the way to Pampa and Rsyamuka, and the plants and animals that could be found there at that time.

Kabandha asked Sri Rama and Lakshmana, to proceed westward. The route along which the following trees were to be found would be the right way.

“राम Rama, यत्र where ever, प्रतीचीम् westward, दिशम् direction, अश्रित्य taking, मनोरमाः delightful, पुष्पिताः flowing, द्रुमाः trees, जम्बूप्रियालपनसप्लक्षन्यग्रोधतिन्दुकाः Jambu fruit trees , Priyal trees, Jack fruit trees, holy Banyan trees and trees with red flowers, अश्वत्थाः holy fig trees, कर्णिकाराश्च Karnikara trees, चूताश्च Mango trees, अन्ये च and other, पादपाः trees, धन्वनाः trees on the dry soil, नागवृक्षाश्च different kinds of thorny trees, तिलकाः Tilaka trees, नक्तमालकाः trees that bloom at night, नीलाशोकाः blue Asoka flower trees, कदम्बाश्च पुष्पिताः Kadamba trees in bloom, करवीराश्च Karaveera trees, अग्निमुख्याः Agnimukhya, अशोकाश्च Asoka, सुरक्ताः red trees, पारिभद्रकाः Paribhadrakas, प्रकाशन्ते are shining, एषः that is, शिवः auspicious, पन्थाः route.”

Neolamarckia cadamba Kadmba

After that, they would come across another garden, that looked like Nandana (the garden of Indra) and like Uttara Kuru (modern Uttarakhand), where all seasons were like spring, as in Kubera’s Chaitraratha garden.

After crossing many hills and pleasant forests – they would reach Pampa Pushkarini (Tank) described as below.

“अशर्कराम् soil without stones or pebbles , अविभ्रंशाम् or slipping, समतीर्थाम् not very deep or not very shallow, अशैवलाम् without moss, सञ्जातवालूकाम् smooth beds of sand on the banks, कमलोत्पलशालिनीम् tank with lotus and lily blooms.”

with tame ” हंसाः swans, प्लवाः ducks, क्रौञ्चाः Krauncha birds, कुरराश्चैव and curlews” and fish “अकृशानेककण्टकान् fat ones with a single bone, मत्स्यान् fish, रोहितान् prawns, वक्रतुण्डांश्च crooked trunk fish, नडमीनांश्च huge fish” that could be shot with arrows and ” अयस्तप्तान् baked on skewers made of iron.”

The Pampa water was always clear and beautiful and scented with lotus flowers, अनामयम् healthy, and could be drunk with a lotus leaf.

The flower plants were born of the sweat drops of the disciples of Sage Matanga and would never wilt. They would find an old lady called Sabari, who used to serve the disciples of Matanga. Once Sabari sees your divine form, she will leave for Svargam (heaven – Indra Lokam). The Nagas cannot attack the asrama of Matanga because of his Vidhana (ruling).

In front of the Pampa, you will find, the ऋष्यमूक rshyamooka mountain, created by Brahma and protected by Sisu nagas (शिशुनागाभिरक्षितः). Whatever a person dreams of on that mountain, he will attain on waking. No sinners can climb this difficult mountain. Even if they do the rakshasas (राक्षसाः) will throw them down in their sleep.

Bears, elephants, tigers and antelopes (रुरून्), come to drink the water of the Pampa.

There is a beautiful rock cave there. It is difficult to enter. There is lovely pond to its east. Sugriva lives there with 4 vanaras. Sometimes he sits on the mountain top.

Then Kabandha, in his beautiful form, left the place advising Rama to make friends with Sugriva.

Notes :

  • Parvati Devi is called Matangi the daughter of Matanga – but that is another story.
  • Many Kannada words use Ha, where Telugu and Tamil use Pa. So Hampi could well have been Pampi in other languages.
  • View Larger Map : The going west idea supports the bhadrachalam location for Panchavati, as opposed to the Nasik location
  1. Balinese masked dancer costumed as Sugriva the red monkey king


Authorship and Copyright notice: All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula