Illustrated Ramayana – Part 18

Hanuman rose aloft gaily from the mountain and with prayers to Sri Rama regarded himself al equal to Garuda the monarch of the feathered beings.

Then, with supreme confidence he leapt forward flashing like a comet across the sea. With his hands outstretched he appeared like a five-headed cobra blazing a trail across the waters.

The sea in front of him rapidly diminished in length through his amazing speed of flight. It seemed as if he drank it up and would next swallow the sky itself.

As the monkey hero proceeded on his airy route, his tawny eyes blazed like lightning or like huge fires on mountaintops or like the sun and the moon rising together on the horizon.

His phenomenal flight over the trackless waste of waters compelled the admiration and homage of the gods, the asuras, and the gandharvas who showered on him flowers of celestial fragrance.

Hanuman met many obstacles on the way but so great was his strength and so deep his devotion to the task ahead that nothing could stop his progress.

One of the obstacles encountered by Hanuman was the monstrous form of Surasa. She, in fact, was the naga maiden. The gods, to test the abilities of Hanuman, asked her to block his way.

Accordingly, she blocked the path of the flight and challenged Hanuman. The vanara drew in his size and became a tiny creature. Before Surasa knew what was happening, Hanuman entered her mouth and came out of her huge frame and she was outwitted.

Continuing his flight, Hanuman landed gently on the top of a peak near the great city of Lanka.