--> Skip to main content

Importance Of Sundara Kanda In The Ramayana

Sundara Kanda, the fifth chapter, in the Ramayana is of great importance. The popular belief is that reading this chapter will usher in peace and prosperity. Here is a look at the significance of the Sundara Kanda of Ramayana.

The great epic Ramayana is divided into six Kandas (Chapters). Each of them, except Sundara Kanda, is descriptive of Bhagavan Sri Rama and his deeds.

Balakanda deals with the birth, childhood and the wedding of Sita-Rama, Ayodhya Kanda deals with the happenings in Ayodhya, including sending of Sita-Rama to exile, Aranyakanda deals with the life of the celestial couple in the forest and the abduction of Sita, Kishkinda Kanda deals with the introduction of Hanuman, meeting of Sugreeva and Rama, slaying of Vali, dispatching the vanaras in different directions in search of Mata Sita, Yuddha Kanda deals with the war, killing of Ravana and his army and ends with the coronation of Bhagavan Sri Rama.

Sundara Kanda begins with Hanuman’s heroic leap to Lanka, his travails on the way and at the gate of Lanka. His pounding of Ravana’s army, vandalizing Ashok Vana, meeting with Mata Sita, Hanuman’s meeting with Ravana and setting fire to Lankapuri and finally reporting to Rama and conveying the good news about the well being of Mata Sita.

Surprisingly and rightly, Rishi Valmiki called the fifth chapter Sundara Kanda. Several explanations are given about this. The foremost of them are — Hanuman was fondly called ‘Sundara’ by his mother Anjani and Sage Valmiki chose this name over others as Sundara Kanda is about Hanuman’s journey to Lanka.

Some say that the whole chapter is beautiful (sundara), the forests, Lanka and the description of Hanuman etc; hence it is called Sundara Kanda.

The most apt explanation is through the following shloka –

Sundaro, Sundaro Rama, Sundaro, Sundaro katha!
Sundare Sundari Sita, Sundare, Sundaram vanam
Sundare sundaram kavyam, sundare sundaram kapi,
Sundare, sundaram mantram, sundare kim na Sundaram?

(Beautiful is the name of Rama, beautiful is the story, Sita is beautiful, the forest is beautiful. the kavya is beautiful, the kapi (Anjaneya) is beautiful, the mantra is beautiful and finally what is NOT beautiful?)

Also, Sundara Kanda is Upasana Kanda; the others are not. Though the story line goes on cursorily, actually the deeper meaning is all about upasana. However, if one may interpret – it snugly fits in advaita, dvaita, vishishtadvaita concepts because it is Upasana Kanda.

Something significant about this kanda is that, it begins with “tat” and also ends with “tat”. It means that the meaning of the entire kanda is “tat va masi.” Tat means parabrahmam. In other words, the chapter begins with parabrahmam and ends with the same concept in the form of Hanuman and Sita. Hanuma could see Rama in Sita when he met her in Ashoka vana.

Almost after one year, there was a smile on the face of Sita. That itself qualifies for the name of Sundara Kanda. That is why it is said that the shlokas in the kanda have the power to mitigate the suffering of anybody. Hanuman, for that reason, concludes the chapter with the following shloka.

Tato mayaa vaagbhih adiina bhaashinii |
shivaabhih ishtaabhih abhiprasaaditaa |
jagaama shaantim mama maithila aatmajaa |
tava api shokena tathaa abhipiiditaa || (5-68-29)

Hanuman tells Sri Rama, “Thereafter, smoothened by me with comforting, well-disposed and agreeable words, Sita Mata, though tormented with thought of your grief, obtained peace of mind.”

The Kanda also begins with “Tato” - This line is called Mantra in Parayana tradition.

Tato raavananiitaayaah sitaayaah shatrukarshanah |
iyeshha padamanveshhtum chaaranaacharite pathi ||

Source article titled Sundarakanda – Why is it so significant by Dr GSRK Babu Rao? Published in April 2021 issue of Sapthagiri Magazine (TTD).