There are many valuable messages in the Kishkinda Kanda, V. S. Karunakarachariar said in a discourse. Sugriva divides his monkey forces into four units and sends each in a different direction to look for Sita.

Sugriva sets deadlines for all his search teams. If they are not back within the stipulated time, they will be killed. The teams that go in the eastern, northern and western directions get back in time. However, they tell Sugriva that their search has proved futile. The southern team, of which Hanuman is a part, in the meanwhile, is not back. But the other teams observe that Hanuman will surely find Sita. The message here is that one should never utter inauspicious words or say negative things. Inauspicious words have a way of coming true, and are therefore best avoided. That is why even when children are chided for any wrongdoing, we are asked not to curse them or predict that something dire will happen to them. What if our harsh words should indeed come true? Thus one should always speak positive words, and that is what the monkeys do when they say that Hanuman is sure to have news of Sita.

The monkeys sent in the southern direction discover a cave, entering which they come to a place that shows all signs of prosperity. It has many fruit-bearing trees. Hanuman wants to find out more about the cave, for it would not be right to eat what is available, without permission from the owner. The lady in charge of the cave is Swayamprabha, who says she is merely the caretaker, but adds that she has the power to grant permission to the monkeys to eat what is available. When the monkeys have assuaged their pangs of hunger, Hanuman asks Swayamprabha what she wants in return for the help. She says that providing food to the hungry monkeys is her duty. How can she expect anything as a reward for performing her duty? There are two messages here. One is that we should not take anything that does not belong to us, without permission from the owner. Secondly, we should not expect anything in return for doing our duty. Thus, we find that the Kishkinda Kanda yields many lessons for life, if we study it carefully.

More In: Faith | Friday Review