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See also   Baali,   Taaraa

First we hear the name of Sugreev from Kabandh, while advising Raam in His endeavor of search for Seetaa in the last part of Aranya Kaand, but we meet him in early Kishkindhaa Kaand, when Raam and Lakshman arrive near Rishyamook Parvat and Sugreev spots them. He gets frightened with the idea that they might have been sent by Baali to kill him.

Sugreev and Baali were two brothers. Baali was elder and Sugreev was younger. Their mortal father's name was Riksh Raaj. Otherwise Baali was Indra's son, and Sugreev was Soorya's son. How these two brothers were born? [read  Birth of Baali and Sugreev]. Baali became the King of Kishkindhaa Nagaree and Sugreev used to serve him very dearly. Both loved each other very much.

Sugreev is acclaimed to be a strict disciplinarian, as his orders are inviolable by any. Even now the proverbial saying exists that a "command by elders is to be followed like Sugreev's Aagyaa (Sugreev's order) which is to be implemented even at each other's throats, but can not be refuted, lest those throats will be nipped off.

Exile to Sugreev
One day Maayaavee Raakshas (Maya Daanav's son and Mandodaree's brother) came to Baali with the desire of fight and challenged him. Both brothers came out to fight with him, but seeing them both coming to him, he ran away. They followed him. The Raakshas hid in a cave. Baali entered the cave instructing Sugreev that if he didn't come back for one year, he could go back and take care of the kingdom.

More than one year passed, but Baali didn't come back. In the meantime Sugreev saw a stream of blood gushing out of the cave. He got scared. Thinking Baali dead, he put a big stone at the mouth of the cave, and came back to Kishkindhaa. Baali's ministers coronated him as King as the throne could not keep empty for long time for safety purpose. Baali also came back after some time. He scolded and insulted Sugreev on deceiving him and intending to kill him by closing the mouth of the cave. He exiled him and abducted his wife. Since then Sugreev lived on Rishyamook Parvat with his four ministers, Hanumaan, Nal, Neel and Taar. [see also "Baali, Maayaavee and Sugreev"]

Friendship of Sugreev and Raam
One day Sugreev saw Raam and Lakshman coming to his side. He got scared that Baali must have sent them to kill him. Although Hanumaan explained him in several ways that Baali or his people could not come there, but he was so scared that he sent Hanumaan to find out about them. Hanumaan went in the form of a Braahman and asked about them. But Raam and Lakshman didn't speak anything to him. Then he changed to his original form and told them everything truth. Then Ram and Lakshman also told him about themselves.

Hanumaan got very happy to hear Raam and Lakshman. He brought them to Sugreev. They talked about themselves, and as Kabandh advised Raam, they became friends in front of Agni. After that they told each other their stories in detail. Sugreev showed Seetaa's cloth and jewelry to ascertain whether they were of Seetaa's or somebody else's. They were of Seetaa. Both brothers got very sad seeing that.

As they talked further they promised each other to help in solving one another's problem. Raam initiated to kill Baali and got Sugreev's wife and kingdom back to him. It was necessary because Sugreev could not help Him in the present situation.

Sugreev Doubts Raam in Killing Baali
Sugreev said - "How can I believe that you can kill Baali with one arrow, because I know Baali's power and strength, but I don't know yours. I am not doubting your powers, but at the same time I do not want to put your life in risk for me." Raam asked - "How will you be convinced that I can kill Baali, I will do the same for your satisfaction". Then Sugreev told Raam the  story of Dundubhee (see "Baali and Dundubhee") and said - "These are the seven Shaal trees. Baali can shake them together and make them without leaves. How can you kill Baali, tell me?" This time Lakshman asked - "How will you be convinced that Raam can kill Baali?" Sugreev hesitantly said - "Baali pierced these trees one by one, so if you can break only one Shaal tree in two pieces with one arrow, I will be convinced; besides these are Dundubhee's bones. Baali threw them one Yojan far only with his toe.

Note from Vaalmeeki Raamaayan
Baali was able to throw that body, with whole of his foot, only up to two hundred bow-lengths, where the length of bow is said as six to seven feet. But Raam could kick that heap up to 10 Yojan far, roughly ninety miles, only with a flip of his foot-toe's tip. But Sugreev continued his grumbling, "in those days this skeleton was with flesh and blood, now it became weight-less, thus show me more of your show of strength..." One Yojan is an ancient measure for distance, where that distance is covered in one yoking. Chambers dictionary puts it as five miles, and it is disagreeable for it is British-Indian revenue measure. Traditionally it is four Krosh and thus each Yojan is nine to ten miles.]

Then Raam took out His bow and pierced all the seven Shaal trees with one arrow in one time; besides, His arrow, after piercing those trees went to a mountain top, then to the seventh Lok below Prithvi, [The Rasaatal is the deepest subterranean plane, and it forms the base of other planes of earth called, Atal, Vital, Sutal, Talaatal, Mahaatal, Rasaatal underneath the surface of earth up to its core] and came back to His quiver. Sugreev was greatly astonished and impressed seeing this. Then Raam just touched the pile of Dundubhee's bones with His big toe and it fell 10 Yojan far from that place. Now Sugreev got fully convinced that Raam could kill Baali.

Raam Kills Baali
After convincing Sugreev, Raam asked him to invite Baali for a dual fight. Sugreev went to Kishkindhaa to fight with Baali, but since both looked same in their style and appearance, Raam could not differentiate them from one another and thus could not take chance to kill Sugreev. Sugreev had to run away from there and hide in Rishyamook Van. He was very angry at Raam but when Raam explained the reason, he cooled down.

Next time Raam sent him to fight by putting a Gajpushp (Gaj flower) garland in his neck, so that He can recognize Sugreev immediately without any doubt. When Sugreev challenged Baali next time, Baali's wife Taaraa got suspicious and envisioned danger for her husband's life. She requested him not to fight with his younger brother, to return his wife, and extend friendship with him. But Baali didn't agree with her. Taaraa said - "I have heard from Angad that there are two princes of Ayodhyaa who are now Sugreev's friends. They are the Swaamee of Tri-Lok, so you should not fight with them. Sugreev also couldn't dare to come again if he had not got their backing."

Baali said - "If he has Raam's backing, and Raam is Swaamee of Tri-lok, I am sure He will not fight with me according to A-Dharm. Besides I have no enmity also with Him, why He should kill me? If He is Swaamee of Tri-Lok, then I will get Swarg after being killed by Him, and if I will win, I will rule the kingdom for thousands of years; so you don't worry and go back to the palace with your friends." And he came out to fight with Sugreev.

He found only Sugreev standing in front of him, so he got assured that there was no backing for him and started fighting with him. This time Raam made no mistake in recognizing Baali, so He shot an arrow at Baali from behind the trees. Baali got hurt and fell down on the ground. Seeing falling him all Vaanar ran away from there in fear. When Taaraa heard this, she came out of the palace and cried a lot. Sugreev was also very sad after he got Baali killed.

After Baali's death, Sugreev was appointed the King of Kishkindhaa, Angad was appointed as Crown Prince, Roomaa (Sugeev's wife) came back to Sugreev, Taaraa got remarried to Sugreev. Lakshman performed Sugreev's Raaj Tilak, as Raam could not enter the city. Sugreev started living in Kishkindhaa Nagaree and took care of his kingdom.

Sugreev and Search of Seetaa
When after four months of rainy season, Sugreev did not show any sign of searching Seetaa, Raam got very angry. He sent Lakshman to remind him about His own work. Lakshman arrived there in severe anger - felling trees, breaking their branches. Seeing Him so angry, all Vaanar ran away here and there. Lakshman met Angad outside. Angad greeted Him. Lakshman said - "Inform Sugreev that I have come to see him."

Angad went inside and told about Lakshman and His anger. Sugreev got scared and with his ministers' advice, he sent Taaraa to please him first. Taaraa came out and talked to Lakshman sweetly. Lakshman cooled down. Then came out Sugreev. He asked for their forgiveness and promised to start search soon. He went to Raam and planned for Seetaa's search. He called upon all Vaanar from all over the place. They were millions of them. Most came. Then he assigned four search parties for four directions. All parties were given one month time to return. If they didn't come back in the assigned time they would be killed.

He sent Hanumaan to South along with Nal, Neel, Jaambvaan etc under the leadership of Angad. At the time of going Hanumaan asked Raam to give him some kind of identification to show Seetaa that he had come from Raam. Since Hanumaan was going in right direction, Raam gave him His ring as His identification and blessed him.

Sugreev in the Battlefield
Sugreev fought very bravely in the battlefield. First time when he saw Raavan, he could not control himself and jumped over him. After some time he came back. When Raam asked "Where were you?", he told everything. Raam stopped him doing such things in future as He could not risk a Raajaa's life like that.

Once when he was fighting with Raavan, Raavan put him in his armpit and took him to Lankaa, but then he could escape from there. He killed several Raakshas in the war.


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Created by Sushma Gupta On 5/27/04
Modified on 06/15/13