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2 The twelve reasons on why is it named Sundarkand (Book of Beauty)...

 1.  Lord Rama is the hero of Ramayana.  As per the rules of Sanskrit literature, a hero should appear in significant  parts of the  epic.  Lord Rama appears in all parts of Ramayana. He appears in Balakand, Ayodhyakand, Aranyakand, Kishkindhakand but not  in Sundarkand!  As per this rule Lord Rama did not appear in Sundarkand (except few slokas in the last 4 sargas  out of entire 68 sargas of Sundarkand) Even though Lord Rama did not much appear in Sundarkand, it is in this Sundarkand that Sri Hanuman beautifully sings the  glory of Lord Rama.   That is why it is called Sundarkand.

 2.    If you read Ramayana with full attention you will notice that Lord Rama is continuously thinking of mother Sita in Kishkindhakand.  Mother Sita was a great housewife, a very devoted wife who followed her husband to the forest, inspite of knowing that there will be nothing but trouble in the forest.  Lord Rama never lived away from her; naturally his loving heart could not bear the separation, so he was continuously thinking of Sita.

 Lord Rama’s love towards his wife is evident till Kishkindhakand.  It becomes more evident in Kishindhakand when he starts feeling the separation of Sita.  However, it is only in Sundarkand we come to know how much Sita loved Rama.  She was portrayed as a silent and most faithful follower of Lord Rama, but in Sundarkand her true feelings towards Lord Rama was outspoken.  Sita’s love towards Lord Rama is most beautiful.   The most beautiful woman in the universe (mother Lakshmi) was expressing her love towards the most beautiful Lord of the Universe (Lord Vishnu).  This  feeling of love was witnessed by two forces.  Ravana, the personification of evil, who was opposed to the Lord, and   Hanuman,  the personification of good, who was surrendered to the Lord.

 This cosmic drama was taking place in a beautiful garden called Asoka (devoid of sorrow).  This concept is beautiful.  When the evil (Ravana) was standing in front of the devotee  (Sita) and luring her, threatening her to surrender to the evil, the devotee was bold enough to declare her unconditional love towards Lord!  The devotee’s surrendering feeling was silently witnessed by the ciranjeevi (ever living being) Hanuman.

 Hanumanji is watching us, very closely, staying somewhere up in the tree which is called sorrow-free (asoka)!  He is watching us declaring our  unwillingness to surrender to evil, our ever willingness to be close to Lord.

 This concept is beautiful.  That is why it is named Sundarkand.

 3.    Sita’s husband lost his kingdom; he had no money; he could not offer her a proper place to live; he was  living in the forest.  The person who was obsessed with her was a king, living in great palaces, and had  a lot of wealth,  name and fame.

But still, unlike modern day woman who runs after money, name, fame and wealth, the woman {of India} – Sitadevi openly declared that no matter how ever wealthy Ravana was, she would  not even look at him!

 This is the true spirit of the Indian woman, who follows the sanatana sampradaya.  A woman loves her husband, not because of his name, fame and wealth, but because of her unconditional love towards him.  Also it is the spirit of the Indian man, who does not leave such a loving wife to her fate!  Rather, he fights till the end to protect his wife.  This is Ramayana.

 The chapter where such a loving couple’s feelings are portrayed beautifully is aptly named as Sundarkand by Valmiki.

 4.    This chapter also depicts the eagerness of Ravana to meet the Lord in the fight!  Ravana abducted Sita but he didn’t hide her anywhere in the dungeons or under the roof.  He rather kept her inside the Asokavana.  Sita was visible to all Yakshas, Kinneras, kimpurashas and gandharvas who had the ability to fly in the air.  Sita was visible to them!  Ravana seemed to have wantonly kept Sita there, so that Rama would come to know about her whereabouts.   The sooner the war with Rama the better chance was there to attain liberation for Ravana.  This thinking of Ravana is beautiful.  That is why it is called Sundarkand.

 5.    Hanuman pleaded with Sita saying “I will take you to Lord Rama,  please come along with me”;  but Sita rejected his offer inspite of knowing she was in eternal peril in the presence of Ravana.  This chapter depicts the greatness of Sita, that is why it is called Sundarkand.

 6.    Even though she was eating the food provided by Ravana, her intellect was siding with Mother Sita!  The demons like Trijata and Sarama pitied the state of Sita and tried to protect her.  A chapter where the soft-heartedness of demons is shown is called  Sundarkand.

 7.    Sita is the lower self (jivatma), Lord Rama is the higher Self  (paramatma).  In order to make their union possible, Hanuman in the form of Guru moved in the entire body called Lanka – that is why this chapter is called Sundarkand. 

 8.   “sundarasca sundareeca sundarou tayOradhikRUtasya pravruttah kaandaH sundarakandaH”.   Lord Rama is Sundara (one of the names from Vishnusahasranama), Mother Sita is Sundari (baala tripura sundari) and Hanumanji is Sundar (sundara Hanuman).  The chapter where Sundara Rama sent Sundara Hanuman in search of Sundari Sita is called   “Sundarakand”.

 9.    Brahma is said to have three attributes--- Satyam, sivam and sundaram. Satyam (truth) stands indivisible through all times (trikala abadhita). That which perpetually bestows prosperity is Sivam.  That which makes us hold gratitude in our hearts towards the indivisible truth is Sundaram. Lord Rama is Satyam, Sita is Sivam – Hanuman’s search  is sundaram.  That is why it is called Sundarkand.  Also the three qualities of Parabrahman are portrayed beautifully in this chapter.  That  is why it is called Sundarkand.

 10.      Lord Rama, by killing Tataka during Balakanda, displayed  the power of his physique.  Following his father’s command,  he walked away into the forest leaving the kingdom behind.    By this action, Lord Rama in Ayodhyakanda demonstrated  his obedience towards his father.  In Aranyakanda,  Surpanaka came  to seduce Lord Rama in the disguise of a beautiful woman, but Rama rejected  her!  This conveyed   Rama’s unwavering mental attitude.

Hanuman expressed   all the above qualities inherent  in Lord Rama throughout Ramayana, in this chapter alone!  That is why this chapter is called Sundarkand.

11.    Beautiful poetry, many hidden meanings are written in this chapter.  That is why this is Sundarkand,

12.    The story which ran for 13 years came  to an end in a single night! By telling Sita how much Lord Rama cared for her, Hanuman was able to make her feel happy.  This chapter is known for its power of casting away great misery from the lives of faithful devotees.  That is why this is called Sundarkand.

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