Three Cities of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, Part Two


BY: SUN STAFF - 25.9 2018


A three-part adaptation of a summary of cities corresponding to the three gunas.



The Sage Valmiki devotes less space to describing the ancient city of Kishkindha, compared to Ayodhya, or Lanka, but still he offers us a detailed survey of the place. This capital city was situated amidst tall peaks, and guarded by huge vanaras (monkey warriors). Built on hills and slopes, the whole city appeared to be intertwined with adjoining forests and groves.

There were different types of houses, villas and palaces throughout Kishkindha. The royal roads were filled with gay cafes, pleasure dens, and drinking salons. All such places were absent in the saintly Ayodhya.


Monkeys and Bears in the Kishkindha Forest
Folios from Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas, c. 1775


The Vanaras, who were created by Lord Brahma to assist Rama, were of different shapes and hues, and each had more than one chieftain. They all had their residences, dwarfed by the palace of their chief, Sugriva, which shine with dazzling brilliance and as sun glinted on the many turrets. Set against the blue sky, the whitewalls of the palace seemed like clouds floating across the sky. The doors and the steps were made of gold and were carved with intricate designs. There were attractive sofas and seats, divans and settees covered with priceless upholstery.

Luscious fruits and colourful wines were found everywhere, in curiously wrought receptacles. Sugriva's palace was filled with a crowd of Vanara girls and women, who were either singing or dancing or busy preparing garlands or edible items.


Rama and the Monkey Chiefs 
19th c., Patna


Not much else is mentioned about the monkey inhabitants of Kishkindha, except that they were disciplined and brave. When Sita Devi was kidnapped, hundreds and thousands of Vanaras fanned out to different parts of the country under the orders of Sugriva to locate her. But otherwise, the whole Kishkindha reeked of slothful pleasure and sense gratification. To say it was primarily rajasic, and to an extent tamasic, would be an ideal description of this city.