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The Legend of Dunagiri

The Legend of Dunagiri
by Prashanti de Jager ©2011

Rama was wandering through a forest with his beloved who is called Sita and his brother Lakshmana. One day a demon Ravana, abducted Sita by tempting her with a golden deer, and took her to his kingdom, Lanka. Rama and Lakshman instantly starting searching all of India for her, and in this frantic quest, Rama and Lakshmana met Hanuman, a monkey warrior, who instant became their greatest ally.

And it was Hanuman who eventually found Sita in Lanka. He went to Ravana, who had a boon that he could be killed by any god nor by any demon, and told him that if he did not hand over Sita right then Hanuman would return with Rama and Lakshman and an army of bears and monkeys. Ravana was so arrogantly sure of his might that it did not even occur to him that a mere man or animal could ever harm him at all, much less kill him or any of his warriors. He was the strongest being in all the worlds, stronger than any demon, stronger than any god. Why should he worry about this little monkey and its human friends.

So Ravana, the demon with 10 heads and 20 arms, tried to ‘kill the messenger’ by humiliating him to death, and so wrapped a fiery cloth around his tail. But Hanuman, who was an incarnation of Shiva and the son of the Wind, was extremely talented and strong. He made his tail hundreds of meters long and then ran around the streets setting Lanka on fire and then he leaped from Lanka back to India, a jump of about 100 km, nothing spectacular for a person who as a child nearly leaped from the earth to the sun.

One of the most epic battles ever fought anywhere in the Cosmos started then with huge losses on both sides. Ravana’s demons were so strong, skilled and crafty, after all, they had just defeated every known power in all the Worlds. But Rama’s bears and monkeys were so phenomenally brave, and loyal, and incessantly giving ten times beyond their known abilities to serve Rama. Their hearts knew no end, and so neither was there a limit to their bravery nor to their Tejas, their Spirit.

At one point a deadly magic arrow hit Lakshman and he fell into the jaws of death. Rama called his best Ayurvedic Doctor who said that only one herb could save him, Sanjivani. The problem is that they were fighting in Lanka, which is southwest of Indian and this herb only grew high in the Himalayas in the north, and only on a mountain called Dhronagiri. And though it is rare, it is so powerful at bringing the Light of Life into the darkness of death that it can be found easily at night as it is one of the few herbs that has its own light source and thus it glows in the dark like a full moon.

So Hanuman said that he would fly to the Himalayas immediately, get the herb, and then fly back that very night, and with a mighty leap that only the Son of the Wind could accomplish, he sprang northward into focused flight. However, Ravana heard of his plans to fly to the Himalayas and sent a message to some of his allies: Set the entire mountain on fire so when Hanuman gets there he will not be able to tell what plant is glowing.

Little did Ravana know that, try as you may, you just cannot defeat nor even thwart Hanuman! So when Hanuman arrived at Dhronagiri and saw the mountain on fire, he simply dove into the mountain and lifted an entire side of the mountain up and flew right back to Lanka with the intention that the flight would put out the fire and when he arrived the ayurvedic Doctor would be able to identity the herb. And this is exactly what happened. Hanuman arrived with the gigantic section of the mountain and soon after Life itself reached into death and drew Lakshman back to the world, back to his brother’s arms, back to the battle. Imagine Rama’s joy and relief! Imagine how forever grateful he is to Hanuman for this epic deed. Imagine what happened to the morale and ferocity of Rama’s army of Bears and Monkeys when Lakshman was revived! An intense indomitable wave, of what basically was the manifestation of the Love for Rama and Sita, smashed into Lanka, terrifying even terrifying demons.

With the renewed vigor and with his beloved brother at his side the radiant Rama finally came face to face with the howling Ravana, and after an arduous battle, Rama fired his absolutely potent arrows cutting off many of Ravana’s heads, though every time the head would grow right back. Finally, Rama fired an arrow into the third chakra of the great demon, the manipura, and down the demon came gasping his last breaths, which actually carried prayers of love to the One who had killed him.

Rama ran into the heart of Ravana’s palace and found Sita sitting in Ravana’s royal gardens. Finally, after so long and with so much effort, he was reunited with his Beloved. One would be hard to find anywhere in the Cosmos that was not moved into deep joy and relief as Rama and Sita embraced. Such exuberant celebrations all over the earth and in the heavens ensued.

When they heard that Rama had killed Ravana, all the gods came out of hiding, as they had been unceasingly quaking with fear that Ravana was going to destroy them and take over the heavens as well. Indra came flying in and in surveying the site of the war he was aghast at the sight of dead bears and monkeys as far as the eye could see, dead beings far more brave than even Indra, the lord of all the gods. So Indra took Nectar from his Kumbha of immortality and sprinkled drops over them. The moment a drop hit one of the bears or monkeys they came back to life!

Then Rama, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman took Ravana’s airplane, Pushpati, that he had stolen from Kubera, and traveled back up north, and 21 days after the end of the battle, they entered their Kingdom of Ayodhya. The people were beyond happiness to see their King and Queen arrive with the retinue of Lakshman and Hanuman. The people laid out rows of lights everywhere to welcome them, and this evening is remembered even today as the festival of lights, Dewali, which basically means, a row of lights.

Peace was restored in all the world, and key to the success was the Sanjivani that grew only on Dhronagiri.


My teacher, taught me much of the following commentary.

Rama is the Being in all beings. He is Beingness personified. He is the ‘duty’ facet of the cosmic principle of sustainability. Rama is ‘causing rest’ and is ‘dark’ and ‘pleasant.’ Note that in this case ‘dark’ refers to the darkness of depth.

Sita is Peace and Joy incarnate. She is of the earth and is not born from a womb.

SitaRama is the manifestation the duty aspect of the divine union of the feminine and masculine. This union is loved by many, is full of Joy, and also goes through much suffering.

Lakshmana is ‘one pointedness.’ He is the ability to totally focus and is ‘marked’ with auspiciousness. He is like Rama’s second self.

Hanuman is the incarnation of Shiva. He is the son of the Wind, so he has control over Prana, which enables him to jump or fly great distances. Hanuman is very very powerful but his power is troublesome until it is focused on serving Rama. He is the power of the mind when turned toward pure Being.

Ravana, which means, ‘that which causes the world to cry,’ is the ego when it wants to consume endlessly and focus only on itself. Ravana’s 10 heads and the ability for the to instantly regenerate are indicative of our endless thoughts and ideas and concepts and basic chatter that distracts us from who we really are. His 20 arms signify power and also greed, reaching out in so many directions to control and possess.

Dunagiri Mountain or Dhronagiri as it is called by some, is the source of the herbs that restore life. Dhrona in this case likely refers to a ‘container of Soma,’ Soma being the nectar of immortality. Giri means mountain, and hence Dhronagiri can be seen as the mountain of Soma, of the deepest healing and empowering possible from herbs. (Another legend says that this is where the sage Dhronacharya meditated.)

Duna means ‘burnt’ and so Dunagiri can refer to that part of Dhronagiri that was brought from the Himalayas out to the world, in the hands of Hanuman and on fire, as a vehicle of deep restoration and vitality, as a restoration of Life! ‘Du’ also means ‘two’ and in this case Dunagiri refers to the union of Shiva with Shakti, of Purusha with Prakrti, of the Divine Masculine with the Divine Feminine.

Sanjivani is the name of a very special herb, and more. San means ‘together’ in this case and Jiva means ‘Life.’ So SanJiva means: ‘together with Life’ or ‘living together.’ SanJivani means a shakti or goddess whose power it is to be: “making alive, bringing to life, vivifying, reviving, animating, antidoting death, antidoting harm, antidoting anything else that keeps life away from you, causing life; a kind of elixir, the act of living, the act of reviving, animating, maintain, nourish.” Sanjivani is an herb, is an elixir, that can bring life to where there is death, and to bring wellness to where there is disease. Sanjivani is also known as Rudanti, Sanjivini, AmritaSrava and Sarvajana. AmritaSrava means ‘flowing nectar.’ Sarvajana means every person, and refers to being loved by every person, or dear to every person, or very very useful to every person. Here is the text of the Doctor telling Hanuman where and how to find it!

Sanjivani also refers to a Vidya, a body of knowledge, called Sanjivani Vidya, that is the art of bringing something or someone back to life. As described in the Mahabharata, Shukracharya, Venus, the Guru of the Asuras, was an expert at this.


The pure Being within us is separated from Joy and Happiness by self-centered power- hungry ego. With one pointed focus and a mind turned toward the true source of all power, we fight to be free of the mind’s reign of terror, of this thief of Peace. When a very strong dysfunctional tendency within us kills our ability to focus and be one-pointed, we stand to loose the battle. But we reconnect with the healing power of Nature that is our Nature. High in this nature, deeply hidden away from normal humans, there is a nectar so strong that it can revive us from death.

The herbs from Dunagiri offer so much power to restore the life and dignity and true purpose of a person, or a culture, or a species. Dunagiri is the nexus of ancient wisdom traditions with the epitome of Nature’s healing power with the global need to survive very strong dysfunctional tendencies the lesser aspects of ourselves.

The Dunagiri Team

Vision and Mission

History of Uttarakhand