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Story Of Chamunda Guarding Lanka And Abandoning It Upon Meeting Hanuman

The story of Chamunda guarding Lanka and abandoning it upon meeting Hanuman is a captivating episode from the Bengali Krittibasi Ramayana. In Valmiki Ramayana, it is Lankini who guards the golden palace of Ravana. This tale highlights the divine orchestration behind the events of the Ramayana, showcasing the interplay between various deities and their roles in the epic narrative.

The Arrival of Hanuman in Lanka

As part of his mission to locate Sita, Hanuman leaped across the vast ocean and reached the shores of Lanka. Utilizing his powers, he reduced himself to a tiny form to avoid detection by the rakshasas (demons) inhabiting the city. Lanka, under the rule of the demon king Ravana, was a magnificent city adorned with lush gardens, sparkling fountains, verdant parks, and grand palaces inlaid with precious gems.

Encounter with Chamunda

While stealthily exploring the city, Hanuman approached the formidable fortress of Lanka. It was here that he encountered the fearsome goddess Chamunda, who was tasked with guarding the city. Chamunda's appearance was terrifying: she wielded a chopper in one hand and a double-edged sword in the other. Her eyes blazed like fiery embers, and her breath emanated intense heat. Her huge tongue hung menacingly from her mouth, and her hair was a wild mass of matted locks. Her body was dark as rain clouds, and she wore a tiger skin, complemented by a gruesome garland of skulls draped around her neck.

Hanuman's Approach

Undeterred by her fearsome appearance, Hanuman approached Chamunda with caution and respect. He introduced himself, acknowledging her fearsome reputation and expressing his awe and reverence for her as a beloved of Shiva. Curious about her presence in Lanka, he inquired why she was guarding the city.

Chamunda's Role and Prophecy

Chamunda explained that she had been appointed by Brahma to guard Lanka since its creation. She recounted how she had once asked Shiva about the duration of her vigil. Shiva had foretold that her duty would end when a vanara (monkey) sent by Rama arrived in Lanka. This prophecy hinted at the pivotal role Hanuman was destined to play in the larger narrative of the Ramayana.

Chamunda's Departure

Recognizing Hanuman as the vanara mentioned in Shiva's prophecy, Chamunda questioned him about his identity and mission. Hanuman revealed that he was a devoted servant of Rama and a close ally of Sugriva. He had crossed the mighty ocean to deliver Rama's message and to find Sita.

Upon hearing Hanuman's purpose and realizing that the time for her departure had arrived, Chamunda prepared to leave. She had fulfilled her divine duty and now, with Hanuman's arrival, the prophecy was coming to fruition. Chamunda then left Lanka and ascended to Kailasha, the abode of Shiva, marking a significant moment in Hanuman's journey and in the unfolding events of the Ramayana.

Significance of the Episode

This episode from the Krittibasi Ramayana illustrates the interconnectedness of the divine and mortal realms in Hindu tradition. It underscores the idea that every event in the epic is guided by a higher cosmic order, with gods and goddesses playing crucial roles in ensuring the success of Rama's mission. Chamunda's departure symbolizes the removal of obstacles and the clearing of the path for Hanuman's mission in Lanka, paving the way for the eventual triumph of good over evil.