Illustrated Ramayana – Part 20

Though Maruthi scanned the entire city inch by inch he could not find Sita.
The thought of failure depressed him. ” Nought is there for me but to give up my life,” he thought.

He now remembered what Sampathi had said. Was he wrong or had the rakshasas eaten up Sita, he wondered. In anxiety and despair He sat there for some time not knowing what to do.
At that moment he espied at a distance the lovely park, Asokavana, enclosed by high walls.

He chanted Rama’s name and felt he would find Sita in the garden. He reached the high walls of the garden quickly and began to survey it.

Hanuman decided to leave no spot in the Asokavana unexplored. As he jumped from tree to tree the flowers fell in a shower on him.

The birds and other creatures there took him to be the god of spring himself. The Asokavana as a whole presented an enchanting appearance.

When Maruthi reached a particularly beautiful spot there, he thought that Sita, wan and dispirited from her long separation from Rama, would be surely coming to this spot to seek respite.

Maruthi of matchless intellect, climbed upon a lofty simsupa tree that was nearby and hid behind its leaves. Expecting the appearance of Sita from any quarter he gazed intently all round.

And sure enough he saw her on a terrace beneath a tall simsupa tree. All around her, rakshasis were on guard with great watchfulness. Sita was lean and emaciated through long fast. A single garment worked in gold, but dirty and ragged was all that, she wore on her body which was covered with dust.

Hanuman felt proud of Sita’s virtuous determination and unbounded patience. Her divine form inspired him.

From his lofty perch Hanuman watched Ravana approaching Sita, making unsuccessful advances to her and retreating in anger and disgrace.

Hanuman found Sita inconsolable with grief. Sita came to the tree on which Hanuman was hiding. He thought that this was the opportune moment to disclose his identity. He did so discreetly and tactfully and finally gave her the signet ring from Rama. This convinced Sita about the truth of Hanuman’s mission.