Rama and Lakshmana performed the last rites of Jatayu who had just then breathed
his last and proceeded southwards. On the way, they learned some facts about Ravana from
Kadamba, a woodsman. "Monkey-king Vali's brother Sugriva is in exile in the forest.
Make friends with him and he will help you," he advised them.
Further along, they met Shabari, a 'sannyasini' waiting to see Rama. They moved on.
Sugriva spotted them and became frightened; he sent his minister Hanuman to know about
them. Though the present version of Ramayana describes these beings as monkeys, we should
consIder them to be human beings like Jatayu. After talking to Hanuman, Rama and Lakshmana
went to meet Sugriva and established friendship with him. Vali had done Sugriva much
injustice. His capital was Kishkindha and Vali had driven him out to exile and was keeping
Sugriva's wives with him. Hearing Sugriva's story, Rama promised that he would kill Vali
and restore Kishkindha to him. Sugriva in turn assured Rama that he would help them in
finding out where Sita was and rescuing her.
When they made friends with Sugriva, Rama and Lakshmana got a clue as to Sita's
situation. A short time ago, Sugriva and his ministers were sitting on the top of their
hill. They sighted a charioteer proceeding with a lady sitting in it. She had tied her
ornaments in a piece of cloth torn from her saree and had thrown the bundle down to fall
at the spot where they were sifting. Could she be Sitadevi? Rama asked his friends to
hurry and get the bundle.
'Yes, they were Sita's' Rama recognized them and asked Lakshmana whether he could also
recognise them. To this, Lakshmana replied: I can't recognise the necklace or earrings but
can recognise the pair of anklets she used to tie on her feet. I used to see them daily
when I went t pay my obeisance to her."
This shows how pure-hearted Lakshmana was. it does not mean that he had not seen her
face or did not remember it. He had no doubt seen her well. Once he had even told Rama
that her face had paled due to the hot son. But his looking at her was not intended to
notice the ornaments she wore.
Rama killed Vali and Sugriva was crowned. By then, the rains started and Sugriva
suggested that they would begin the search after the rains stopped. While he stayed at
Kishkindha, the brothers camped at a nearby Ashram of a sage.
A month passed and the rains stopped. But Sugriva did not come. Rama and Lakshmana were
annoyed. Seeking Rama's permission, Lakshmana went to Kishkindha and chastised Sugriva. He
warned him not to be ungrateful. Though Sugriva has stayed behind, he had not forgotten
his task. Hanuman had reminded him of his task and Sugriva has sent for monkeyleaders from
various places. When Lakshmana came, Sugriva said he would never be ungrateful and came
with him to Rama and later made further preparations. Monkey leaders from all corners
assembled. Sugriva chose some of the ablest among them and sent them to inspect various
areas to find out where Sita was. Hanuman and some others returning from their search
reported that Ravana in Lanka imprisoned Sita, Sugriva prepared to proceed to Lanka with
Rama, Lakshmana and his army.