Aarti Natarajan Sharma
In the 16 Century, Goswami Tulsidas composed the Ram Charitamanas, which was his version of the original Sanskrit poem Ramayana written by Sage Valmiki. The fifth chapter of
Ramayana is what comprises of the Sundar Kand. The traditional days for reading this are Tuesdays and Saturdays since these are days associated with prayers to Hanuman. It is believed that any reading of the Ramayana should commence with the narration of the Sundar Kand.
Sundar Kand is an inspiring account of the activities of Lord Ram’s staunch devotee, Hanuman. The Kand describes Hanuman’s devotion and single-minded desire to help Ram rescue Sita from Lanka. His journey to Lanka is what is described in detail in the Sundar Kand.
In order to get to Lanka, Hanuman needed to cross the ocean. He was doubtful of being able to do that. Jambavant reminds him of the powers he carries within himself, which makes Hanuman assume a giant form and leap across the ocean, proceeding speedily towards Lanka. He faces several obstacles, especially demons, during this journey, which he deals with intelligently and swiftly. When he reaches Lanka, he finds Sita in Ashoka Vatika and requests her to return with him. Sita refuses saying she would rather wait for Ram to come rescue her, as well as avenge the insult of her abduction at the hands of the king of Lanka, Ravan.
Hanuman gives Sita Ram’s ring as a sign of being the Lord’s messenger. Impressed with his devotion to Ram, Sita blesses Hanuman with eight special powers, nine kinds of wealth, and being an eternal devotee at the feet of Ram.
Ravan gets to know of Hanuman being in Lanka and captures him. Then follows a dialogue between hanuman and Ravan where the former asks him to release Sita. Ravan refuses to listen and orders Hanuman’s tail to be put to fire. Angered at the suffering Sita is going through in Lanka, Hanuman escapes his bonds and creates havoc in Lanka, setting fire to everything he jumps on. He also leaves Ravan with a dire warning—if a simple devotee of Lord Ram can cause such chaos, what annihilation would Lord Ram himself cause when he came to rescue Sita? With these words, Hanuman makes the giant leap back across the ocean and gives Ram the news that he managed to locate Sita.
This is the essence of the Sundar Kand. Hanuman stands for everything that is brave, valiant, intelligent, and above all, obedient. Praying to Hanuman gives the devotees immense benefits. Regular readings instil confidence in the devotees to be able to overcome obstacles and tackle difficulties in life with courage. It also creates a sense of serenity and peace in the mind. It is believed that reading the Sundar Kand in the house wards off evil and averts disasters.
Sundar Kand can be chanted any time during the day, preferably while facing east. The reading of this Kand is often done in a musical group, singing the verses to accompaniment of the harmonium. One should also try to wear red or orange clothes during the reading as these colours symbolise Hanuman.
Vedic astrology believes that reading of the Sundar Kand helps negate the malefic effects of the planet of Mars.Buy your premium copy of the Sundar Kand here.