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Sundara K„nda: Hanumanís Odyssey
by BS Murthy
If Mahabharata's Bhagvad-Gita is taken as a philosophical guide, Ramayana's Sundara K„nda is sought for spiritual solace; many believe that reading Sundara K„nda or hearing it recited would remove all hurdles and usher in good tidings! Miracles apart, it's in the nature of Sundara K„nda to inculcate fortitude and generate hope in one and all. After all, isn't it a depiction of how Hanuman goes about his errand against all odds! Again, won't it portray how Seetha, on the verge of self-immolation, overcomes despair to see life in a new light? Besides, how Hanuman's Odyssey paves the way for Rama to rescue his kidnapped wife! One is bound to be charmed by the rhythm of the verse and the flow of the narrative in this sloka to sloka transcreation of Valmiki's adi kavya - the foremost poetical composition in the world. What is more, as the following verse illustrates, it was the forerunner of the magic realism of our times Ė ďGripped she then him by shadow / Cast which Hanuman coast to coast; Recalled he in dismay then / What Sugreev said at outset / That one fiend had aptitude / To grip its prey by mere shadow.Ē
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