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Story Of Angada Afraid Of Sugriva And Deciding To Fast Unto Death In Ramayana

Sugriva, the king of the Vanaras (monkey army), had assigned Hanuman, Angada, Jambavan, and other vanaras the task of searching for Sita in the southern direction. They scoured the land tirelessly for a month but their search seemed futile, and the ocean loomed as an insurmountable barrier. Disheartened and fearing failure, the vanaras faced a dire dilemma.

Angada’s Fear and Decision

Angada, the son of the slain Vali, voiced the collective despair. He lamented that the month-long search had yielded no results and that returning to Kishkindha without news of Sita would mean certain death at Sugriva’s hands. Angada, perceiving his life under threat not just from this failure but from Sugriva’s potential enmity, expressed his fear that Sugriva, who ascended the throne with Rama's support, might view him as a rival and a thorn in his side. Angada’s apprehension stemmed from the fact that he was crowned the prince by Rama, not Sugriva, thereby potentially stirring jealousy in Sugriva.

The Suggestion of Tarak

Among the vanaras, Tarak proposed an escape from their predicament. He suggested that they retreat to the nether world they recently explored, a land rich with fruit trees where they could live peacefully, away from Sugriva's wrath and the current mission’s pressures.

Hanuman’s Intervention

Hanuman, disheartened by the talk of desertion, intervened with wisdom and resolve. He reminded Angada and the others of their mission’s importance and the objective they set out to accomplish. Hanuman emphasized that deviating from their path would not ensure escape from death; rather, it would brand Angada as a traitor. He pointed out that most vanaras had families and responsibilities back home, making a permanent escape unfeasible. Hanuman highlighted that Angada, being unmarried and without such ties, could not impose this decision on others.

Hanuman’s Persuasion

Hanuman urged the vanaras to continue their search, suggesting that if all efforts failed, they should report their findings to Sugriva honestly. He believed Sugriva would not punish them unjustly for a sincere failure. Hanuman’s argument was rooted in duty and loyalty, contrasting Angada’s fear-driven rhetoric.

Angada’s Rebuttal and Resolve

Despite Hanuman’s efforts, Angada remained unconvinced. He recounted the unjust death of his father, Vali, at the hands of Rama, questioning why Rama didn’t attempt to reconcile with Vali who had once defeated Ravana, the very abductor of Sita. Angada’s bitterness clouded his judgment, making him see his demise as inevitable.

Hanuman’s Wisdom

Hanuman tried to soothe Angada’s anguish by extolling the virtues of Rama, suggesting that invoking Rama’s name could absolve all sins and perhaps bring clarity and peace. However, Angada remained adamant, disparaging both Rama and Sugriva. He instructed Hanuman to relay his words to his mother if the latter chose to return to Kishkindha.

The Decision to Fast Unto Death

Finally, influenced by Angada’s steadfastness, the other vanaras resolved to support him. They decided to sit down and fast unto death, a solemn protest against their perceived impending doom and the futility of their mission.

This poignant episode, found in the Bengali Krittibasi Ramayana but absent in Valmiki’s version, illustrates the despair and loyalty within the vanara ranks. It highlights the internal conflicts and the heavy burden of leadership and duty, enriching the epic's narrative with depth and emotional complexity.