Ramayana - Pages 35 and 36
Copyright © The British Library Board
Add. MS 15296(2)
ff.86r (picture) and 88r (the colophon page)
The great monkey Hanuman has arrived on the shores of the southern ocean. His father was the god of wind, so he has special powers. Undismayed by the width of the ocean, he has swelled himself to an immense size and from the mountain Mahendra has launched himself across the ocean to the island kingdom of Lanka. The mother-of-serpents Surasa who dwells at the bottom of the ocean, has been pressed by the gods to test Hanuman. She has turned herself into a great sea monster with mighty fanged jaws. No matter how wide she expands her jaws, Hanuman matches them in size: he finally sails into them, reduces his size and emerges through her ear.
The Ramayana may have originally been a local epic confined geographically to the kingdom of Kosala in Uttar Pradesh and its neighbouring kingdoms. As it grew in size, however, it also expanded across the whole of India: the Deccan plateau was identified with the monkey kingdom of Kiskindha and Ravana's stronghold of Lanka with the island of Sri Lanka.
The colophon in red states that the text was written by Mahatma Hirananda in Udaipur, commissioned by Vyasa Jayadeva under the victorious umbrella of Maharana Raj Singh (reigning) over Chittorgarh (the former royal capital) in Mewar. It was finished on Wednesday 3 September 1653.