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Sugreeva's Cave, Kodanda Rama Temple, Kishkinda, Hampi - Sri Ramanin Padhayil

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As part of following the footsteps of Lord Rama's journey, we are at Kishkinda, the Vanara (monkey) kingdom mentioned in the epic Ramayana. In our last article, we had seen the place from where Lord Rama shot an arrow at Vali.

Sugreeva's Cave:

Sugreeva’s Cave (also spelt as Sugriva’s Cave) is a major attraction in Hampi in Bellary District of Karnataka, which entices tourists from across the globe to visit this natural wonder of great mythological significance. This natural cave is simply fascinating. The serene environs and the panoramic view of the surroundings make it an attractive tourist destination. Located almost on the river shore, this is a naturally formed cave by huge boulders one leaning over the other.

Sugreeva's Cave, Hampi
Sugreeva's Cave, Hampi
Sugreeva's Cave, Hampi
Sugreeva's Cave, Hampi
Sugreeva's Cave, Hampi
Sugreeva's Cave, Hampi
Sugreeva's Cave, Hampi
Sugreeva's Cave, Hampi
Sugreeva's Cave, Hampi
Sugreeva's Cave, Hampi
Sugreeva's Cave, Hampi
Every one went to Kishkinda and hid behind trees. Sugreeva gave angry calls to Vali railing him for fight. Vali came and they both fought. Lord Rama was ready with his bow and arrows. But he could not identify Sugreeva from Vali. Both looked alike. So, Rama did not release his arrow. Vali won the war. Sugreeva ran back to Rushyamooka mountains (Sugreeva's Cave). Rama came there along with Lakshmana and Hanuman. Sugreeva showed his discomfort to Rama. If he could not protect him, why did he encourage Sugreeva to go and fight with Vali? Rama requested Sugreeva to hear him first. He was about to tell him the reason for not killing Vali. He could not distinguish Sugreeva from Vali. If by mistake, he killed Sugreeva, instaed of Vali, it would be a complete disaster. Rama has accepted him as a friend, and in the next moment, if he kills him, it would be a crime. In this forest, They were under his protection. In fact, he was their protector. If Sugreeva was in danger, what would happen to all of them? Thinking about all these things, Rama did not release his arrow. Rama encouraged Sugreeva to go and fight with Vali again. But, he should make sure that Rama could differentiate between the two. Rama, then directed Lakshmana to adorn Sugreeva with a Gajapushpi floral garland. Then he could identify him easily. Lakshmana did as his brother told him. Sugreeva and others started for Kishkinda. All these discussions and Ram/Sugreeva friendship happened here in this Cave.

In bhagavadam, Sukacharyar says "Whenever we need water, rivers are there ; whenever we need to have food we don't need a vessel instead we have hands ; we don't need tools like spoon instead we have teeth ; if we want to stay somewhere during rainy season, then the caves are there. Nature has given everything and why human need to suffer?" This place makes us understand that these all are true.

Upanyasam at Sugreeva's Cave by Sri U. Ve. Velukkudi Krishnan Swami: Hanuman is the brightest example of one whose living is filled with humility. When Hanuman first presented himself before Rama and offered his services, Rama turned to Lakshmana and said, "Brother! Listen! Notice how Hanuman has mastered the Vedas. His speech is saturated with the humility and dedication which the Rig Veda embodies and the reverence that the Yajur Veda embodies, and the intuitive vision that the Sama Veda grants. Hanuman knows all the spiritual texts. He is a genuine devotee. Sugriva is fortunate to have him as his minister, Hanuman, whose thoughts, words and deeds are offered to God." When these three are in perfect harmony, the person wins the Grace of God, as Hanuman succeeded in securing it.

Rama is the first to make a move towards friendship, and even when Sugriva hesitates, He continues to offer His friendship, and even asks if this is acceptable to Sugriva.

When Hanuman meets Sita in Lanka, She queried, 'Vanaranam naranam ca katam asit samagamah ?'. She asks Him how a friendship could have resulted between Rama and a monkey? What was the connection between a man and a monkey? Hanuman tells Her that just as She had confided in him (Hanuman) many things that even Lakshmana did not know, so did Rama make Sugriva His confidant. Were Sita and Hanuman the same species? Yet, had they not struck up a bond of mutual respect? So had Sugriva and Rama become friends.

The Ramayana shows us that both Sita and Rama are alike in their quality of kindness. Bhagwan Shri Ram has been the epitome of this lesson on 'HUMILITY' for us. This relation between a Man and a Vanara teaches us ‘Humility’. Humility to respect the lowly and the small. This quality (gunam) in Lord Rama is known as Sowsheelyam. Swami Desikan salutes the Sowsheelyam of Sri Ramachandra here. Sowsheelyam is the attribute of a great soul, who mixes with people lower than him in status with ease.

Kodanda Rama Temple:

The Kodanda Rama Temple is situated towards the east of Hampi at the end of the Virupaksha Bazaar. A small pathway from Virupaksha Bazaar at the east end leads along the river bank to Kodanda Rama temple. This temple faces Chakrathirtha, the most sacred bathing ghat in the river. The spot marks the place where Lord Rama crowned Sugriva as the King of Kishkhinda. The rectangular "GarbhaGriha" of the temple contains about 15 feet tall standing figures of Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana. These deities are carved out of a natural boulder.

KodandaRama Temple, Hampi
KodandaRama Temple, Hampi
KodandaRama Temple, Hampi
KodandaRama Temple, Hampi
KodandaRama Temple, Hampi
KodandaRama Temple, Hampi
KodandaRama Temple, Hampi
KodandaRama Temple, Hampi
KodandaRama Temple, Hampi
As per local legends Purushottama was suppressed at Hiremagalur by Rama. Purushottama requested him to show him his marriage scene. Sita stands in the right of Rama and Lakshmana to his left. According to other local myths, this is the place where Rama killed Vali and crowned Sugriva. Another account says that the place was the residence of nine siddhas who performed penance near a pond in the village known as Siddha Pushkarni. Parashurama also lived there, it was called Bhargavapuri.

The temple has both Dravidian and Hoysala styles of architecture. The present navaranga belongs to 14th century. The mukhamandapa is of the 16th century. The outer walls of the garbhagriha and vestibule are raised on a square basement that consists of six cornices. Navaranga and mukhamandapa have outer walls that are built with brick and mortar.

In the garbhagriha on a Hanuman pedestal there are idols of Kodandarama with Sita to his right and Lakshmana to his left. Rama and Lakshmana are shown carrying arrows in their right hands and strung bows in their left hands. The idols do not appear to be of Hoysala period.

In the temple enclosure there are small shrines that consist of images of Yoganarasimha, Sugriva, Kalinga, Mardhana, Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya, Vedanta Desika and some alvars. The outer-walls of the garbhagrha and sukansi have plasters and turrets as well as two rows of figures that represent Lord Vishnu and his incarnations such as Hayagriva, Narasimha, Lakshminarayana, Venugopala, Kalinga-Mardana and Govardhanadhari. Images of Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Hanuman, Garuda and Lord Ganesh are also depicted.

Vali and Sugriva fought, Hampi
This temple has more religious than architectural significance. The spot marks the place where Lord Rama had crowned Sugriva as the King of Kishkinda. Very near to this temple is the place, where vali and sugriva fought. Just behind the temples of Kodanda Rama are the temples for Sudarshana in the shape of a human figure with sixteen hands and YantrodharakaAnjaneya or Hanuman.

Upanyasam at the place where Vali and Sugriva fought by Sri U. Ve. Velukkudi Krishnan Swami:
Rishyamuka Parvatha was, at that time, the abode of a Vanara - monkey, Sugreeva by name; he dwelt there with a number of followers. He saw Sri Rama and Lakshmana at a distance, and was alarmed. With his companions he hid in Mathangashrama.

Sugreeva was the younger brother of Vali, the ruler of Kishkindha. He was the brother of an emperor, but yet was now condemned to wander in forests and mountain ranges. He was afraid of his elder brother and was in hiding in the Rishyamuka ranges. Vali and Sugreeva were the sons of a Vanara King, Riksharaja. The father had, before his death,appointed Vali as king and Sugreeva the Yuvaraja or prince. Vali was a formidable warrior. When, long before all this, the gods and the danavas undertook the churning of the ocean for the sake of amritha, Vali had helped them. He had married Tara, the daughter of a Vanara warrior Sushena. Their son was the valiant Angada.

Sugreeva used to assist his brother in the administration. He was highly respectful towards Vali and devoted to him. He had married Ruma, the daughter of another valiant Vanara, Tara. They all lived happily together.

Vali was a champion warrior. Few could face him on the battlefield. Every day he used to fly from the Northern Sea to the Southern Sea and from the Eastern Sea to the Western Sea before sunrise. He would throw up mighty mountains and catch them like mere balls. He could snap huge trees in a trice. Such was his prowess.

Once a rakshasa, Mayavi by name, turned up near the palace at the dead of the night and began to make a scene. Vali sleep was disturbed. Furious, he set out to subdue the rakhasa. Sugreeva followed his brother. The moment Mayavi saw Vali he fled. Vali and Sugreeva pursued him. Mayavi entered a huge cave. Vali followed. He asked Sugreeva to wait for him outside the cave.

Sugreeva waited accordingly. A day passed; another day followed. Weeks and months went by. But there was no sign of Vali. Sugreeva was sorely troubled. Shall I enter the cave? he asked himself. But the elder brother had instructed him to await his return. Unable to decide what to do, Sugreeva was restless.

A whole year passed. Sugreeva waited anxiously. One day Sugreeva hered the roar of rakshasas. And blood flowed out of the cave like a flood. But there was yet no sign of Vali. Sugreeva was grief-stricken. The rakshasas have killed my brother he wailed and wept profusely. He then placed a heavy boulder in the mouth of the cave so that the rakshasas could not come out, and returned to Kishkindha with a heavy heart. He narrated to the Vanaras all that had happened. They wept, saying that the kingdom was orphaned. They chose Sugreeva king, and crowned him. He was a righteous ruler.

But, all of a sudden, one day Vali appeared. The Vanaras were astounded. Vali, whom they had given up for dead, was there, right before them! Sugreeva learnt that Vali was back, and raced to meet him. He danced with joy. He removed his crown from his head and placed it at his brother feet. He said, Brother, we are all thrilled with joy at your return. All these days I ruled as your representative. Accept this crown. Hereafter you are our sovereign, and we are all your servants.

Sugreeva spoke these words with the utmost humility but Vali was not pleased. He said to his ministers, This Sugreeva is a traitor. He has proved treacherous to his own brother. He should be driven out of the kingdom.

Sugreeva was very unhappy. He was truly devoted to his elder brother. But he saw that, somehow, Vali was talking like a mad man. The ministers said, Master, why are you enraged? Your younger brother is a good person. He used to speak with affection about you always. He rules righteously. Why are you angry with him? How has he wronged you?

Vali replied, You know that I chased the rakshasa Mayavi. He entered a cave. I asked Sugreeva to wait for me and entered the cave. It was a vast cave, with several layers. It was pitch dark inside. It took me a year to locate Mayavi there. Then I fought with him and killed him. The cave was flooded with his blood. I then came to the entrance to the cave. But, there was a huge boulder blocking the entrance! This traitor did not want me to come out, and had placed it there. But I pushed it aside and came out. And I find that here, this sinner is merrily ruling over this kingdom.

Sugreeva said with folded hands,Brother, do not doubt my loyalty without reason. Honestly, I have not been a traitor to you. When blood flowed from the cave and I heard only the roar of the rakshasas I was in anguish. I placed the boulder there so that the rakshasas might not come out. I beg of you, do not mistake me. But Vali would not be convinced. He carried away Sugriva wife Ruma by force to his palace. He asked Sugreeva to leave his kingdom at once. Sugreeva, having lost both his wife and his kingdom, found refuge in the forest.

Sugreeva lived always in fear of Vali. So the appearance of Sri Rama and Lakshmana unnerved him. He feared they might belong to Vali camp. He retired to Mathangashrama with his followers. He then said to Hanuman, Find out who they are and why they have come here.

Hanuman was the son of Vayu. His mother was Anjanadevi. So Hanuman is also known as Anjaneya. He was very strong. He was as swift as the God of Winds, Vayu. He could fly in the sky. As a boy once he saw the sun and thought it was a fruit. He leapt to the sky to seize it. Then Lord Indra struck him with his Vajrayudha. Hanuman fell on a rock. Hishanavu- cheek – became swollen; he came to be known as Hanuman. He was immortal. So he had no fear of death. So great a person was Hanuman. He was Sugreeva minister and his close friend.

Hanuman dutifully approached Sri Rama and Lakshmana. Modestly he spoke to them :Who are you? You are handsome like the gods, the Ashwinis. You are sturdy. Your faces have the glow of royalty. But you wear cloth made of plant fibre, like rishis. Your faces have an unearthly radiance. But like the brightness of moon covered by clouds your lustre is dimmed by some great sorrow. Why have you come here? Be pleased to tell me.

Hanuman modest demeanour pleased Sri Rama. He said, Lakshmana, did you hear the words of this Vanara warrior? No one who has not studied the four Vedas with attention to the enunciation and the meaning can speak so pleasingly. There was not a single inappropriate word in his speech. There was no unpleasant distortion of face, eye, forehead or brows as he spoke. He said nothing that was unnecessary, but left out nothing that was relevant; never fumbled and was not too fast; his pronunciation was never indistinct so as to cause ambiguity. It is a pleasure to listen to him. Tell him about ourselves.

Lakshmana told Hanuman in detail all about themselves. Hanuman was glad that they were not from Vali camp. He was also moved by their plight. He said, My name is Hanuman. You are now in Kishkhinda. Vali, the elder son of Rikhsharaja, is the ruler. He has a younger brother, Sugreeva. I am Sugreeva minister. These two brothers are not on good terms. Fearing his brother, Sugreeva now lives here. He was apprehensive when he saw you. So I came to enquire about you. I will take you to Sugreeva. He will be happy to meet you. He placed them on his shoulders and carried to Sugreeva. He told Sugreeva about them and introduced them.

Sugreeva was happy to see Sri Rama and Lakshmana. He embraced Sri Rama and said,Sri Rama, I am pleased to see you. Hanuman has told me that you are a man of rare valour. I sorely need the help of a hero like you. Help me kill my elder brother Vali.

Sri Rama answered, Sugreeva, I have heard about you and your elder brother, Vali. We bent our steps towards this place, on the suggestion of a rakshasa, Kabandha. Hanuman also has told us something about you. But why do you desire my help to kill Vali? Sugreeva then narrated his story. Sri Rama was moved to pity by his tale of sorrow. He sympathized with Sugreeva who had lost both his kingdom and his wife. He said, Sugreeva, if Vali learns that you have taken shelter here, will he not come here and harass you?

Sugreeva explaned : No, Vali cannot enter Mathangashrama. There is a reason. Once a rakshasa, Dundubhi by name, challenged my brother to a duel. There was a grim fight. Finally Vali killed Dundubhi and made a hump of his body and threw it into the sea. Some blood from the corpse splashed into this ashram. Sage Matanga was angry and said, If the fellow who is responsible for this steps into this ashram, let him die. So Vali cannot come to this ashram. I am hiding here.

Sri Rama said, Sugreeva, have no fear. I will help you. Fight with Vali. I shall kill him. Take it that your dark days are over. Your kingdom and your wife are as good as restored to you. He went on, Sugreeva, as you know, a rakshasa has abducted my wife. It seems he is called Ravana. Do you know anything about Ravana? Will you help me find out where my wife is?

Sugreeva recalled that, when Ravana was carrying her away, Seeta Devi had thrown down a bundle of jewels. He had the bundle fetched. He explained, Sri Rama, some days ago a rakhshasa was carrying away a young woman by force. She was wailing, crying aloud, O Rama! O Lakshmana! When she saw us, she threw down this bundle of jewels. Here they are; see if they are your wife jewels. As soon as he saw the jewels Sri Rama remembered Seeta, and was overwhelmed with grief. His eyes grew dim with tears. He could not identify the jewels. He said, Lakshmana, you look at these jewels. Tell us if they belong to your sister-in-law.

Lakshmana looked at the jewels one by one, and said, These ear-rings I have not seen, nor have I seen this nose- ring. for I have never seen my sister-in-law face. But I am certain the anklets are hers; I know them well because I used to see them every morning when I touched my sister-in-law feet. Sugreeva tried to comfort Sri Rama who was shedding tears. He then asked, Sri Rama, when shall we challenge Vali? Sri Rama said, Let us not delay. We shall do it today. Sugreeva had his misgivings, thinking, How can we start a fight straightway? Vali is a person of immense prowess. He is a superb bowman. He can shoot an arrow to pierce seven trees one after another. Should we not prepare ourselves for a clash with him?

Lakshmana discerned that Sugreeva was terribly scared, and that he doubted if Sri Rama could overcome Vali. He thought first of all Sugreeva had to be reassured. He said, Sugreeva, how will you be reassured about my brother valour? Sugreeva replied, If Sri Rama can pierce seven trees with a single arrow as my brother Vali does, I shall be assured. Smiling, Sri Rama went to a cluster of seven trees with Lakshmana and Sugreeva, and strung his bow. Taking aim, he let fly an arrow. The arrow sped like lightning and pierced the seven trees. Sugreeva and his followers were dumb with astonishment. Then Sugreeva embraced Sri Rama in raptures, and said, Sri Rama, forgive me for testing you. I was forced to do it because of my fear of my brother. I am now convinced that only you can kill Vali. Let us set forth today, as you suggested, and kill Vali. They all went to Kishkindha.

Sugreeva entered Kishkindha and roared once. Vali, who was in the inner apartments of the palace, heard it. News had reached him that Sri Rama and Lakshmana, sons of Dasharatha, who had come from Ayodhya, were supporting Sugreeva. But yet, could Sugreeva summon so much courage? He was furious and came out. Sugreeva challenged Vali to a duel. Vali was always ready to fight. The two combatants came to the forest near by; the duel began. Sri Rama watched it from behind a tree.

Both were formidable warriors. But Vali had the upper hand. The brothers, engaged in grim boxing, looked exactly alike. Sri Rama could not make out who Vali was and who Sugreeva. Sri Rama was upset, not knowing what to do. By then Vali had over-powered Sugreeva; unable to cope with his blows Sugreeva ran away to Rishyamuka Parvatha.

Sri Rama, Lakshmana and others followed him. Sri Rama said to him, Sugreeva, do not misunderstand me. You and your elder brother are replicas. There is not the slightest difference between the two of you in height or build or features. So I could not identify you. But do not be apprehensive. Go again tomorrow and challenge your brother once again. Wear this garland, and I shall know you- so saying he put a garland around Sugreeva neck. The next day Sugreeva once again went to Kishkindha and let out a roar. Vali responded as before. As they were locked in a fight Sri Rama let fly a sharp arrow at the right moment. It pierced Vali chest and he fell down. His end was approaching. All the Vanaras and the women of the royal apartments crowded around him. Sri Rama, Lakshmana and Sugreeva also approached him.

Vali said, Sri Rama, I know who you are. I have heard that you are exceptionally righteous. But, was it a righteous act to strike at me from behind a tree when we were engaged in a duel? Sri Rama replied, Vali, you are unrighteous, and, therefore, you can be killed by any means. You doubted your brother integrity without a reason. You took away his wife by force. You disgraced him and drove him to the forest. Did no thought of righteousness cross your mind then? Vali now saw light. He repented his earlier deeds, which, now he realized, were unjust. He said, Sri Rama, you are right. I was unfair. I am now unhappy that I made my younger brother suffer. Sugreeva, forgive my offences. Henceforth rule over this kingdom. Look after my wife Tara and my son Angada well. May good fortune bless you- with these words Vali passed away.

Everyone was grief-stricken at Vali death. But what could anybody do? He had paid the penalty for his wrong doings. His obsequies were performed, and they all returned to Kishkindha. On an auspicious day Sugreeva was crowned king. Angada, Vali son, was made the Yuvaraja.

Now Rama faces the injured Vali. A dying Vali told Rama if you are searching your wife you should have come to me for help and friendship. Whoever took Sita even if it is Ravana I have defeated them and would have taken them at your feet and at your mercy.

So Vali asked the following questions:
  • What was my crime?
  • Even if I committed a crime (with my brother), what is your right to kill me?
  • The third statement shows Vali's disapproval of the way Rama killed him. He says, "I was fighting with some other person and was not careful enough when you shot me."
Rama makes the following replies to Vali:
  • The younger brother should be treated like a son. Even if he made a mistake you should forgive him, especially when he promised to respect you for your whole life.
  • About his authority he said he had permission from King Bharat to spread righteousness and punish evils.
  • The third argument he quoted how great kings did hunting of deers in the past. In fact, Vali in principle could also be kept in the category of deers (as he was a Vanara and not a Human) and a hunting king does not care whether the deer was careful or not.

If we imagine about all these, while in Kishkinda we can easily understand all these beautiful place. When you visit these places, please do carry Ramayana book along with you and do parayanam of each of the sargam in these places and sure you will understand the significance of these places. Next let us see Ranganatha Temple, Vittala Krishnan Temple and after that we shall start from Kishkinda.


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