Ramakien, “Hanuman Carries the Mountain to Cure Phra Lak”

translated from the Thai by Frederick Goss

Phaya Phiphek led the wanon troops to a mango grove. They roamed about gathering fruit until the light of the sun faded. When all the baskets on their shoulder poles were full, the kumphan led them back.
Marching along the forest path, he felt a twitch in his right eye and was seized with a feeling of panic all through his body. The asura quickly marched on.
At the encampment at Mount Morakot, he went to the royal pavilion of the four-armed lord and saw that there were only a few wanon attendants sitting around, looking listless, dejected and despondent. He asked about the Garuda-mounted one: “Today, where has he gone?”
The senior wanon raised his hands in respect and replied: “He has gone to investigate something that has occurred.” 
Learning this news, Phaya Phiphek felt anxiety in his heart as if his life would come to an end. All the many monkeys were so alarmed that their bodies shook. They all threw down their baskets and followed along behind the kumphan.
They walked through the night along the wide path in chilling silence and desolation until they got close to the army of Phra Chakri. 
At the battlefield, Phaya Phiphek came upon the companies of dead krabi piled upon each other, all senseless, scattered thickly all over the ground. Then he saw mighty Hanuman stretched out upon the head of an elephant lying on the earth and became more panicky: ‘Oh, how can this be! The son of the wind, with fighting might to suppress all the three worlds, has fallen here, struck down by the adversary.’ He thought about Hanuman: ‘It seems wrong that his life would come to an end, seeing that he is the son of Phra Phai. Perhaps he was struck by poison making him unconscious. If wind blows through his body that will renew his life and he will be revived.’ He quickly approached the wanon.
He sat down and examined the face of Hanuman. His bearing was valiant and courageous and his eyes red like the rays of the sun. His hand grasped his powerful diamond trident, his body poised as if to leap up and fight the yaksa: ‘He has not lost the aura of a leading soldier, fallen yet still showing dignity.’ He raised his hands above his head in homage to the deva in all the sixteen Brahma levels and recited a mighty incantation. 
After seven recitations, he blew directly into the mouth of the krabi. The wind coursed throughout his body as the asura called out to the wanon.
When the wind was blown into his chest, the poison from the bow dissipated. Hanuman faintly heard the words and was revived. He looked around and was happy to see Phiphek. He got up and knelt to pay respect to the asura.
Phaya Phiphek asked: “Gosh, what happened to make all the krabi fall dead by the hand of this contemptible enemy, scattered thickly all about the ground?” 
The son of the wind informed him of the events from beginning to end: “I was not overcome like this because I lost to the malicious might of those asura. Celestial Indra came riding on his great elephant, Erawan, together with deva and celestial maidens up in the clouds, singing and humming, dancing and prancing, their plucking and strumming echoing throughout the sky. The younger brother, bedazzled and befixed, became careless. Indra shot his arrow that struck the younger brother of the four-armed lord and the eighteen wanon leaders, who all passed away. His retinue of celestial beings hurled their war weapons in combat. The krabi troops all perished, piteously making me vexed beyond belief wondering why Makkhawan would act in this way. I jumped into the fight, intent on taking the life of Kosi and broke the neck of the elephant, Erawan, but he brutally beat me with his bow and I fell. I was on the verge of having my life come to an end, but you came to revive me in time. Your kindness is beyond words.”

Phaya Phiphek replied: “It was not Indra, but Intharachit who trickily transformed himself to be Thao Kosi so you would not know it was the enemy and he could strike you all down. When engaging in war, how could you not be on guard and let yourself be overcome by such a deception? Conscript and captain piled up dead, the whole army, I am distressed beyond belief.” The asura quickly led Hanuman and the companies of krabi through the corpses of the wanon troops.
Phaya Phiphek looked around the battlefield and saw Phra Hariwong embracing his younger brother, pitifully lying upon the bare ground. Shocked as if Phra Kan had come to take his life, he and Hanuman approached the incarnated lord.
The two sat at the feet of His Royal Highness. Phaya Phiphek held the right foot of Phra Chakri; the son of the wind held his left foot. Such extreme suffering, such extreme grief, such extreme sad weeping.
Phiphek pled: “Oh, Phra Chakkrit, your mighty beneficence is spread throughout the heavens, protecting all with your great celestial power like a bejeweled umbrella erected over the world. You ought not to have fallen upon the bare earth, miserably lying here embracing your younger brother, your body pitifully covered with dirt in such an unseemly fashion.” Hanuman howled: “Oh, Phra Hariwong, with power to conquer all three worlds, the most exceedingly excellent and greatest of royal beings, the foundation of the world, how could you come to fall here and be piled upon one another piteously like mere nuggets of gold, covered by dust blown by the breeze, tormented by the damp dew out in the open air?” Phiphek pined: “Oh royal younger brother, I am dismayed that you were struck by the asura’s arrow. Because you did not properly protect yourself, you have already been struck down by the evil yaksa three times. Where to find one similar in the royal lineage, honest and faithful to the conch-carrying lord. Steadfast, you do not think about your own life, determined to offer yourself until you have now been struck down again.” The son of the wind wailed: “Oh, at this time, what a waste fulfilling my duty as the superbly supreme soldier. I am distressed beyond reckoning to have served His Royal Highness until his shelter like a golden pipal tree is no longer a refuge. Dying would be better.” The two lamented sadly as if they would lose their senses.
Chomphuphan and the company of wanon soldiers dimly heard those two weeping as a misty dew settled on them, washing away their sorrow so that they regained their senses. All the conscripts and captains were revived, rose up and were happy seeing Hanuman and Phiphek as if receiving celestial nectar. 
The sorrow of Phaya Phiphek and the son of the wind abated. They all helped to massage the feet of Phra Narai and utter pleasant words in order to awaken His Royal Highness.
The bow-bearing lord dimly heard the asura and wanon and gradually regained his senses. His breathing, which had been blocked, began to flow. He opened his eyes and saw the asura and the son of the wind. His sadness abated as he steeled himself, able to rise up: “What has happened, Phiphek? My younger brother, Phra Lak, and the krabi troops were struck by arrows, putting an end to their lives. At that time, I saw a very peculiar sight, Amarin’s elephant, Erawan. Why did it come with the yaksa, then die with a broken neck?”
Phaya Phiphek replied: “This elephant was conjured following a ruse of Intharachit who transformed himself into Makkhawan as a tricky tactic in the fight. His Phrommat arrow, bestowed on him by His Celestial Majesty, Phra Sayomphu, has great power to subjugate all the three worlds.”
Phra Kritsanu asked: “How do you think we can cure mighty Phra Lak and the ranks of powerful wanon who have been struck by his arrow?”
Phiphek replied: “I have some understanding of remedies for the arrow of the asura, but truly do not know everything, unlike Chomphuphan. Phra Suli had him study medicinal cures.”

The wanon Chomphuphan bowed his head to the feet of Phra Chakri: “What Phaya Phiphek has said is not false. When I was still an attendant serving at the feet of Phra Suli, His Celestial Majesty had me go study the medicinal herbs in all four lands. The medicine to remedy the Phrommat arrow of the asura is located at Mount Awut in the great land of Buppha Phawi. It is a long way to reach there and at that place is a powerful, sharp chakra that spins all the time and will kill anyone who goes onto that mountain. According to the celestial command of Phra Isuan, if Narai incarnates as Phra Ram in the family of Ayuthaya and his younger brother is struck by the arrow of the asura leader, have a soldier with great fighting might named Hanuman, the son of Phra Phai, go to Mount Awut. The chakra will stop spinning because of his might. Let him bring back the medicinal herbs of Phra Isuan as the remedy of the Phrommat arrow of the yaksa. Phra Lak and the powerful krabi will be revived.”
Phra Kritsanu commanded: “Son of the wind, go quickly with your formidable power to Mount Awut and retrieve the medicine to revive Phra Lak and the ranks of wanon troops who have been struck by the powerful arrow of the yaksa. Do this within this night.”
The son of the wind bowed his head to receive the order of the incarnated lord, made obeisance and crawled out. 
He raised his hands in homage to His Celestial Majesty, Phra Sayomphu, closed his eyes and uttered an incantation that transformed his body.

He made himself as big, powerful and splendid as great Phra Phrom. With a kick, he rose up and flew rapidly through the sky with his might.

As swift as the wind, he sped through the banks of clouds in the blink of an eye.
On arrival, the wanon floated in the sky, looked at the tip of the great mountain and noticed that the fierce chakra of Phra Suli had stopped spinning. When the krabi leader was sure of this, he went straight to the peak of the huge mountain, creating an echoing noise and great shaking with his powerful might.
The celestials who lived there to guard the medicinal herbs of His Celestial Majesty, Phra Isuan, heard the resounding sound and felt the shaking and quaking of the great mountain. Feeling alarmed throughout their bodies, they looked up at the peak of the mount and saw the wanon with a pure radiant white body, diamond teeth, and graceful earrings. They were aware that Narai had incarnated to come and eliminate the wicked yaksa: ‘Perhaps he has had someone come to fetch the medicine as a remedy for the arrow of the contemptible asura.’ With this thought, they shouted out: “You there, brave krabi, why have you come here? Do you not fear for your life? Explain your purpose.”
Hanuman replied: “His Royal Highness, the four-armed lord, has come to fight the ten-faced one. His younger brother, Phra Lak, has been struck by the Phrommat arrow of mighty Intharachit. His Royal Highness has ordered me to obtain the medicine to remedy the perilous poison in the younger brother of Phra Chakkrit, according to the celestial command of the ruler of the world.”
The celestial beings understood and were no longer suspicious: “Phra Narai having you come for the medicinal herbs at the top of the great mountain to remedy the poison of the asura arrow is in accord with the command of Phra Isuan. However, he specified that you will have to carry away the entire mountain. The herbs cannot be picked and plucked as you might intend, wanon. You must take the mountain and we celestial deva, who guard the medicinal herbs, will follow along to see His Royal Highness and will then bring the mountain back.” 

The son of the wind made a quick display of his might and went to lift up Mount Awut.
He hoisted the mountain onto his shoulder, rose up to the highest point in the sky and flew away with his might. The deva helped to give support.

The krabi happily reached the battlefield and tried to put the great mountain down, but it would not descend to the ground. At a loss, he asked the great celestial ones: “Goodness, sirs, honorable deva, what is it with Mount Awut? I try to put it here on the ground, but it will not go down.”
The guardian deva of the mountain replied: “Mighty krabi, His Celestial Majesty commanded that the medicine be used to revive those in the family of Phra Chakkrit, the Garuda-mounted lord. The land of Longka is just a small island floating in the sea, not a fitting place for Mount Awut of eternal purity. You must take this celestial mountain towards the north so that the gentle wind will carry the fragrance to the younger brother of His Royal Highness, Phra Harirak, and the ranks of wanon troops. Then they will be revived. It is not so difficult.”

Hanuman carried the mountain along with his might.
The fragrance of the medicine spread over Phra Lak and the ranks of wanon and courtiers. They all revived at once.
When they had regained their senses, Phra Lak, Ongkhot, the son of Phra Suriya and the powerful wanon troops saw Phra Chakri. All rose from the ground and raised their hands in reverent delight. Phra Lak hugged the ankles of his glorious elder brother: “This war is not just with the gang of wicked asura. Mighty Thao Kosi has colluded with the yaksa. He rode Erawan here to float in the sky, along with his celestial retinue, deva and heavenly maidens dancing and making sweet, lulling music. I did not realize he was some wicked enemy. I was confused, transfixed, and careless. The celestial one struck me down with his powerful arrow. My life would have ended if you, oh mighty lord, had not come to revive me in time. In revenge, allow me to take the troops to continue this fight in heaven. I will strike that group of deva down dead. Garuda-mounted lord, please have mercy.”
Phra Kritsanu said: “It was not Indra. Intharachit played a crafty trick by transforming himself to be Thao Kosi. You, thus, were overcome by the real enemy. Do not be angry at the thousand-eyed one.”
The guardian deva of the great mountain were delighted to see that Phra Lak had recovered. They gave praise and a blessing for victory to the two royal ones: “May you have formidable might with glorious power from your great bows to eliminate these perfidious foes who are battling against the world in order to bring peace and comfort like a gemmed umbrella erected over the head of all the learned ones and deva. May you two brothers stay in well-being. We will take leave at this time and go guard the medicinal herbs according to the command of His Celestial Majesty, Phra Isuan.” They took the mountain and flew away through the sky.
When the deva had conferred their blessing and taken the mountain back, Phra Narai felt very pleased. His face beamed like the radiant moon. He stood down the ranks of courtiers and wanon, invited his faithful younger brother to mount the bejeweled chariot and returned to the royal pavilion amid cheering that reverberated across the lands. 

Translated from the Thai by Frederick Goss. Edited by Chris Baker. Copyright © 2024 by Frederick Goss. Used with the permission of the editor and translator.