BOOK 4 - BOOK OF THE STATE 'KISHKINDHA'
CHAPTER 42 - SARGA 42
VERSE 20 - S`LOOKA 20
kot`yaha tatra caturvimshat
vasanti agni nikaashaanaam
ghoraaN`aam kaama ruupiN`aam.
Occasion: Searching for Sita, abducted by Ravana.
The Vanara king Sugriva was sending monkeys to search, in the direction of West.
Sugriva was giving directions to Sushen`a, his father-in-law and the leader of the search team.
Sugriva was describing the residents on the Western Mountains, by name 'Gandharvas', and 240 million in number. Their attributes: 1. Glowing like fire. 2. Very powerful. 3. Atrocious. 4. Guise-changers at will.
*The place Sugriva refers to seems to be Gandhara country or Kandahar in the present Afghanistan.
*The number of 240 million is very high for a country like Afghanistan of those days. The number 240 million can be reached only if the Gandharvas are ants or flies!
*We cannot blame Sugriva for his errors, if any. He may be providing the information to his followers, from his hearsay. There was no Google Earth in those days.
*Sugriva may not be an unlearned monkey king. He appears to be a knowledgeable tribal chief.