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Lesson 15

Overcoming the Sarpastra / Ravana disgraced / The death of Kumbhakarna / Hanuman transports the mountain / Indrajit killed / Overcoming the Sarpastra

Ramayan – Lesson 15

So a fierce war began between the Vanaras and the rakshasas. Boulders and trees hurled from the Vanara side split the heads of the rakshasas, and blood streamed from their bodies. The rakshasas fell with a thud. The rakshasas, too, sent forth dreadful astras. The astras split open the chests of the Vanaras, and cut off their heads. So lakhs of rakshasas and Vanaras lost their lives. A veritable lake of blood formed in the battlefield. The heads, bodies and limbs of rakshasas and Vanaras floated in the lake.

Some rakshasas and Vanaras engaged in duels. Some times the rakshasas had the upper hand,some times the Vanaras had the upper hand. Elephants and horses lay dead on the battlefield.Everywhere one saw dead bodies of rakshasas and Vanaras, dead elephants, broken chariots and horses rolling in pain, all in a lake of blood. Night fell, but the battle continued. Indrajithu, Ravana son, began creating illusions. In the thick night he started shooting sharp arrows. Sri Rama himself, bow in hand, took on the invisible Indrajithu, The collision of Indrajithu astras with Sri Rama arrows, was electrifying. Sri Rama sent forth, one swiftly following another,thousands of blazing arrows and lit up the entire battlefield. The battlefield was filled with the triumphant shouts of the Vanara heroes and the sounds of several musical instruments like the kettledrum, the panava, the anaka and the gomukha.

Unable to endure the blows inflicted by Sri Rama, Indrajithu shot even more stinging arrows. His arrows pierced the bodies of the Vanaras and blood leapt like a fountain from them. Distressed Vanaras died. Some arrows entered the bodies of Sri Rama and Lakshmana and caused painful wounds. Blood streamed from the wounds. Indrajithu then shot the Sarpastra (the Serpent Arrow).The asthra bound both Sri Rama and Lakshmana. Both lost consciousness. Intoxicated with his triumph Indrajithu returned to Lanka.

The moment Sri Rama and Lakshmana lost consciousness there was chaos in the Vanara army. The Vanaras were confounded and knew not what to do next.What awaits us?they began to ask oneanother. Sugreeva, Angada, Hanumantha and others began to sob in dismay.

Vibheeshana then applied cold water to their faces and brought them back to consciousness. He said, Sugreeva, arouse yourself. What is the use of despairing in this manner? Such things are bound to happen in the course of a war. You are the leader. No matter how overwhelming the difficulty or the grief, you must endure it. Or else, the army will be confounded. Restrain yourself for a while. Sri Rama will recover consciousness. And that is what happened, too. Sri Rama recovered and rose. His entire body was riddled with arrows. Lakshmana was still in a swoon. Sri Rama wailed, Lakshmana still lies unconscious. How can he be restored?

Just then a storm arose. As they all watched in wonder Garuda appeared in the sky, flapping his broad wings swiftly. The Vanaras were delighted to see him. Garuda deva alighted in the battle field, and at once the serpents which had bitten Sri Rama and Lakshmana and held them, slid away as fast as they could. Smiling, Garuda approached Sri Rama and Lakshmana and gently patted them. At once Lakshmana regained consciousness and rose. The wounds caused by the Sarpastra healed at once. Sri Rama, Lakshmana and the other Vanara warriors felt renewed energy. Zest returned to the battlefield. They all bowed to Garuda and displayed gratitude.

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Ravana disgraced

Ravana was filled with amazement when he learnt that Sri Rama and Lakshmana had survived the attack of the Serpent-Arrow. He called Dhumraksha, a general, and said,Dhumraksha, take a very powerful army and destroy utterly the Vanara army and Rama and Lakshmana. Dhumraksha accordingly came to the battlefield with a large army.

A fierce battle ensued between the Vanara army and the rakshasa army. The Vanaras hurled boulders and trees and broke the heads of the rakshasas. They broke their legs and arms. Their heads burst open. Their teeth dropped. Their tongues were out-stretched and their limbs and organs like the ears and the noses were crushed. The rakshasa forces were not passive. They began to slaughter the Vanara army with a variety of weapons. They slaughtered a number of monkeys. They broke the heads of monkeys and made blood flow like a rivulet. Using their clubs and maces they turned the monkeys into masses of flesh. The entire body covered with blood, the reddish brown monkeys turned completely red. As this fierce battle went on, Hanumantha started a duel with Dhumraksha. Both were mighty warriors. Both fought with an iron will. Both were belligerent. It was impossible to foretell who would win and who would lose. Finally, Hanumantha averted a blow from Dhumraksha mace and, seizing a hill near by, hurled it at him. At once Dhumrakshas fell down dead, and his army ran helter skelter.

Ravana was upset when he heard that Dhumraksha had been killed. He sent a general called Vajradamshtra to the battlefield. But he shared the fate of Dhumraksha. Angada killed him. Then came Akampana. Hanumantha slew him. Prahasta led the onslaught next, and fought fiercely, but Neela killed him.

Ravana was indignant when he saw how the Vanara army slew everyone of his generals. He himself entered the battlefield with a huge army. With him came several generals like Athikaya,Pishacha,Trishira and Kumbha, wielding a variety of arms. Lakhs and lakhs of rakshasas came with Ravana. Some had two faces and some three. Some had the faces of horses, camels and pigs. They were all ugly. The eyes of some of them sent forth fire. The rakshasas all came roaring, ready for battle.

The Vanaras, too, prepared to meet the fresh challenge. Sri Rama and Lakshmana strung their bows and stood ready. Ravana shot a blazing arrow as if he would burn the entire army. Sri Rama cut it with an arrow. Enraged, Ravana began to rain arrows. Fire issued from his arrows. The fire was fierce, as if it would burn up the entire army. But Sri Rama effortlessly subdued them. He cut Ravana arrows on their way.

When Sri Rama and Ravana were fighting, it was as if two mountains clashed. The earth trembled as they shot arrows. As one astra cut another, blinding flashes of lightning issued. There was the deafening sound of thunderbolts. Fire broke out like a forest fire. Sri Rama felled Ravana crown to the ground. He killed his charioteer. He broke Ravana chariot and pierced his armour. Ravana body was full of wounds. As blood streamed from Ravana body Sri Rama said, Ravana, today you have been thrashed. Go to your palace and rest. Disgraced and boiling with anger, Ravana returned to the palace. He was wretched as he said to himself, Did I have to be granted my life by Rama? I have never known defeat on the battlefield, and yet I was humiliated by a mere man! Is there no one to avenge this disgrace!- so he wailed.

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The death of Kumbhakarna

All of a sudden Ravana remembered Kumbhakarna. He was Ravana younger brother, and endowed with rare valour. At one swoop he could take toll of thousands. This recollection gave Ravana some comfort.

But Kumbhakarna was deep asleep. His was no ordinary sleep. If once he slipped into slumber he would not wake up for six months. Then he would be awake for just a day; then back to slumber.

Kumbhakarna had a belly worthy of his strength. Whenever he woke up, he would complain that he was hungry. He would gobble sheep and hens and cartload after cartload of cooked rice.

Ravana was worried because Kumbhakarna was in deep slumber; how could he be awakened? He had gone into slumber only a few days before, and would not wake up for another six months. But the situation did not permit waiting that long. Bewildered, Ravana sent for his ministers. He told them,It is a grim battle, and the enemy is gaining the upper hand. Kumbhakarna is our only hope now. Without him we are bound to taste defeat. So think of some way of waking him up.

The ministers thought over the problem. They then went to Kumbhakarna palace. He was slumbering. His body was a veritable mountain. The very sight scared them. But they had no choice,he had to be awakened somehow or the other.

They piled up huge hills of meat by his side. They tied hundreds of animals like pigs and deer to his cot. They made a heap of cooked rice until it reached the sky. They filled huge boilers with blood and wine. They then ordered hundreds of rakshasas to beat drums near him. The noise was deafening but did not reach the ears of Kumbhakarna. Then all the rakshasas shouted together and roared and bellowed but all this availed nothing. The rakshasas twisted Kumbhakarna legs, pounded them,sounded conches and kettledrums. Birds in the nearby forests flew away in fear at the sound and lions and other animals roared. But Kumbhakarna was blissfully asleep. They dragged him with a rope tied to his waist, and twisted wooden pieces in his nostrils. They poured water into his ears.They pulled his hair. But no, Kumbhakarna did not wake up.

They then brought hundreds of elephants and made them walk on him. This created a slight disturbance for Kumbhakarna and he moved and yawned, and yawned again. The sound of the yawn frightened the sheep and they began to bleat. A little awake from his slumber, Kumbhakarna looked around in anger. The hills of rice and meat somewhat pacified him. In a short while he made the rice-hill disappear. Then he enquired : What is the matter? Why did you wake me?With folded hands the rakshasas answered, Great Lord, Lanka is in great danger. The king has sent for you to meet him at once.

Kumbhakarna hastened to Ravana palace. Ravana embraced him. He then explained the peril Lanka was facing. He said, Brother, my honour depends on you. If you hasten to the battlefield and vanquish Rama you will save our honour. Otherwise, our lives are not worth living. Kumbhakarna answered, Brother, is it only now that you remember us? Did you seek our consent when you committed this sin? You have to suffer the punishment for your crime. You asked nobody when you committed a wicked deed but seek the help of people when you are in trouble; this policy is not right. Ravana was discomfited.Kumbhakarna himself broke the silence: Well, this is not the time for judgement. All Lanka is in danger, and must be saved. So I will go to the battlefield, and return after killing Rama and Lakshmana. He then strode towards the battlefield.

When this monstrous rakshasa entered the battlefield the Vanaras were stunned. Angada infused courage in them and asked them to hurl boulders and trees at him. But the boulders and trees broke into pieces when they touched his body. Unmindful of the boulders assailing him Kumbhakarna advanced insolently. He would draw towards him a number of monkeys together and swallow them.

This rakshasa who was advancing like a devil was terrifying. Hanumantha and others lifted boulders and hills and hurled them down on him from the sky. But Kumbhakarna rendered them ineffective.When Hanumantha brought a huge hill Kumbhakarna snatched it from him and threw it back at him. Hanumantha screamed in agony.

A number of Vanara heroes like Neela, Gavaksha and Rishabha fell on Kumbhakarna together. They began to hit him with their maces, while at the same time kicking and pounding and punching him.But Kumbhakarna felt nothing. Instead, Vanara heroes fell to the ground. Kumbhakarna swallowed those he could seize and dashed others against rocks; he stalked the battlefield like Yama.

Angada, Sugreeva and Hanumantha together threw mountains on Kumbhakarna. Sugreeva bit off his ears and nose. This infuriated the rakshasa all the more, and he began to trample the Vanaras under foot and destroy them. Like a drunken elephant in rut, which has entered a banana garden, he began to destroy the Vanaras.

Lakshmana shot hundreds of arrows at Kumbhakarna. The latter body was covered with arrows.But unmindful of them the rakshasa lunged at Sri Rama. Sri Rama began to shoot powerful astras. By then Kumbhakarna had begun to feel weak. But yet he threw about his limbs and took toll of monkeys. He hurled a huge hill at Sri Rama. Sri Rama cut it with his arrows. Sri Rama saw the havoc Kumbhakarna had wreaked and decided to get rid of him. He cut off his legs with ardhachandrastra. He cut off his arms with Vayavyastra. Having lost his legs and arms Kumbhakarna collapsed. Sri Rama shot the Indrastra and cut off his head, thus relieveing the world of a pest.

The news of the death of Kumbhakarna stupefied Ravana. He fainted. After a while he regained consciousness and began to lament for his brother. Then his sons Trishira, Devantaka, Narantaka, and Mahakaya, and his brothers, Mahodara and Mahaparshwa volunteered : Maharaja, do not be distressed. We shall go to the battlefield and exterminate the Vanara army and Sri Rama and Lakshmana. They then went to the battlefield with a powerful army.

The sight of a refreshed army advancing on them warned the Vanara warriors. Again there was a dreadful battle between the Rakshasas and the Vanaras. However determinedly they might fight, the rakshasas began to falter. Angada slew Naranthaka, Hanumantha slew Devantaka and Trishira, Neela slew Mahodara and Rishabha slew Mahaparshwa. Mahakaya, with a huge body like that of Kumbhakarna, was killed by Lakshmana who used the Brahmastra.

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Hanuman transports the mountain

17ram 17

The angusih of Ravana at the death of his sons and brothers was beyond the reach of words. I sent my sons and brothers to death because of my selfishnesshe wailed over and over again. His son Indrajithu consoled him in many ways. He told his father, I will vanquish the enemyand set out with a huge force.

Indrajithu steeds galloped with the speed of the wind. Behind him came lakhs of valiant rakshasas armed with bows, swords, spears and axes.

As soon as they reached the battlefield, the rakshasas started laying about them with their weapons.With shouts of triumph they swooped on the monkeys. Shooting arrows like lightning they cut off the heads of the Vanaras. Because of their blows the heads of the monkeys flew about like balls. High up in the sky, Indrajithu was still shooting arrows and rousing his own warriors. Each one of his arrows killed thousands of Vanaras. He sent forth hundreds of arrows at a time and harassed the Vanaras. After a while, he launched a battle of illusions.

This utterly bewildered the Vanaras. They only saw the arrows but could not make out whence and how they came. The arrows descended on them once from the north, the next time from the east, there after from the south- west. Then Sri Rama said to Lakshmana, Lakshmana, now Indrajithu has the upper hand. He is fighting a battle of maya – illusions. If this goes on, the Vanaras will be helplessly butchered. So let the two of us encounter him. We cannot overcome him. He will employ powerful astras against us. If we are wounded and fall down, he will return with the joy of victory.Then we can have a spell of rest, be refreshed, and wage war tomorrow. Lakshmana agreed. Sri Rama and Lakshmana began to send their arrows in the direction where Indrajithu seemed to be.

Indrajithu was very glad to see Sri Rama and Lakshmana. He used particularly sharp arrows. Sri Rama and Lakshmana fell down unconscious. Indrajithu returned to Lanka with arrogant ostentation.

The swooning of Sri Rama and Lakshmana overwhelmed the Vanara heroes with grief. But Jambavantha infused courage into them and called Hanumantha. He said, Hanumantha, this is not the hour for weeping. Sri Rama and Lakshmana have swooned. Lakhs of monkeys have been mortally wounded. They must be cured. So a herb called the Sanjivini is needed. At once leap over the sea and go to the Himalayas. You will see two very tall peaks, the Rishabha and the Kailasa. Between them is a peak known as the Oushadha. Thousands of herbs are found there. With those herbs it is possible to prepare medicines that can cure any disease. There are four herbs there – mrithasajeevini, vishalyakarani, savarnyakarani and sandhanakarani. Mrithasanjeevini is capable of recalling a dead person to life. Vishalyakarini heals wounds. Savalyakarni ensures that no scar is left behind. With sandhanakarni it is possible to rejoin limbs severed from the body. Therefore, bring them as fast as you can.

Hanumantha agreed and crossed the ocean. Travelling in the sky he reached the Himalayas. Gods,gandharvas, yakshas and kinnaras dwelt there. There were a number of caves in the mountains, and sages were immersed in tapas in the caves. Hanumantha stood between the two peaks, the Kailas and the Rishabha, and looked round. All round him were herbs, herbs and herbs.He was bewildered. How was he to recognize the herbs he was to take? What was he to do? The mission brooked not a moment delay, for the lives of Sri Rama and Lakshmana were at stake, and thousands of monkeys would perish. No, this must be averted somehow or the other, he said to himself.

And then a way out flashed to him – he meditated on the name of Sri Rama, and put his hand to the base of the mountain, the Oushadha. Wonder of wonders! The mountain stood in his palm. Still meditating on the name of Sri Rama, he rose in the air and began to fly back to Lanka. The vary gods were amazed at Hanumantha feat and exclaimed, Admirable! Wonderful! Great!

Hanumantha came to Lanka with the mountain of herbs. Jambavantha and Sugreeva were wonderstruck at his achievement. Jambavantha searched out the Sanjivini among the herbs and made a current of air blow from it towards Sri Rama and Lakshmana, and the Vanara heroes who had swooned. At once they all rose as if from sleep. Sri Rama heard about the incredible feat of Hanumantha and embraced him joyfully. The Vanara army shouted with the joy of victory. At the suggestion of Jambavantha Hanumantha carried the mountain back and placed it as before.

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Indrajit killed

Sri Rama army charged into Lanka with renewed zest. The guards were in panic at the sight,deserted the fort and fled. The Vanaras lit torches and began to set fire to all Lanka. Mansions and houses and even a portion of the palace were in flames. Pearls, diamonds, opals and gems were burnt to ashes. Thousands of rakshasas were charred to death. The fire stretched its red flaming tongue in all directions. Women and children bellowed in panic, It is pralaya, the Day of Destruction is here!, they shouted. Flabbergasted, they ran this way and that. In their torment the rakshasas could not distinguish between their own forces and others, and struck down their own warriors.Horses neighed in pain and elephants trumpted in agony, and the animals ran helter skelter trampling everyone in the way underfoot, and the situation became confusion worse confounded. No matter how hard they tried, the rakshasas could not take control, the Vanaras had the upper hand.

Ravana then sent mighty warriors like Kampana, Prajhanga and Kumbha, But they all persihed at the hands of the Vanaras. Then came Nikumbha, whom Hanumantha killed, and Makara, whom Sri Rama sent to death.

Indrajithu returned to the battle. Once again he started a battle of illusions. Then Lakshmana bowed to Sri Rama and said, Brother, I have made up my mind that I shall myself kill Indrajithu. Bless me.Sri Rama embraced and blessed him. Lakshmana, sitting on the shoulder of Hanumantha, went to the battlefield.

Indrajithu rained arrows. He also sent forth several deadly weapons without a moment pause. They pierced Lakshmana body and blood streamed from the wounds. Stung to the quick Lakshamana also directed very sharp arrows at Indrajithu. Both were formidable warriors. Each cut in the very air the arrows of the other. Arrows seemed to leap without intermission from the bows of both.

Lakshmana shot deadly arrows poisonous like serpents. Indrajithu broke them with a thousand arrows. Lakshamana rendered ineffective the stinging arrows shot by Indrajithu. As they fought grimly their armours were broken to pieces. Blood leapt from their bodies like water in a fountain.Their arrows covered the sky itself. Their roars threatened to split open the very skies. They never seemed to tire. So swift were their offences and responses that it was impossible to see how they took out the arrows and fixed them and shot them, and when the bow changed from one hand to the other.

With four arrows Lakshmana killed Indrajithu charioteer. But, Indrajithu was unaffected. He continued the fight even as he took charge of the chariot. With new arrows Lakshmana broke his chariot. Indrajithu body was riddled with arrows. He got into another chariot and continued the fight. Lakshmana cut his bowstring. Indrajithu retorted with stinging arrows. They were powerful like Indra Vajrayudha; they tormented Lakshmana. He cut a weapon known as Rathashakthi shot by Indrajithu. When Indrajithu employed a terrifying weapon endowed with the power of sacred verses, Lakshmana retaliated with an awesome arrow. The two unearthly and blazing weapons collided in mid air fully. A huge fire rose to the skies. Both were enraged that their arrows had been rendered ineffectual. Lakshmana shot the Varunastra, and Indrajithu replied with the Raudrastra. Lakshmana overcame Indrajithu Agneyastra with his Saurastra. Indrajithu shot the Asurastra, and at once several weapons like swords, axes, and maces leapt from it and sped towards Lakshmana; but he overcame it with the Maheshwarastra.

Finally, Lakshmana fixed the blazing Aindrastra to the bowstring, empowered it with the appropriate sacred verse and directed it against Indrajithu. With dazzling brilliance it leapt to him, cut off Indrajithu head and threw it away. The very gods applauded the victory. The Vanaras shouted in triumph. The rakshasas fled in panic. The battlefield was filled with the Vanaras roars of victory.

The news of Indrajithu death struck Ravana like a thunderbolt. He fell down like a tree the roots of which have been axed and wailed heartrendingly. Again and again he swooned; he rolled over in anguish and wailed. After a while he collected himself. He thought, Well, I shall surely wreak veangeance. He prepared to go to the battlefield.

When Ravana himself set forth, what followed needs no description. The surviving rakshasas felt a new confidence surging within them. They picked up their weapons and ascended their chariots. Ravana, too, ascended his chariot. Warning omens greeted him on the way, but he ignored them.

As soon as Ravana entered the battlefield, Lakshmana began an onslaught. But Ravana cut his arrows into pieces in the air itself. A fierce battle raged between Ravana and Lakshmana. Lakshmana cut the standard on the chariot of Ravana and killed his charioteer and his horses. Ravana was furious and shot the Shaktyayudha. Lakshmana fell down unconscious. Sri Rama then sent forth the powerful astras and forced Ravana to leave the battlefield. Hanumantha once again went to the Himalayas and brought the Oushadha Mountain. The breeze blowing over the Sanjivini restored Lakshmana.

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Examination on Lesson – 15

Choose answers to all the questions. All the best !!

Q1. Who was the son of Hanuman ?

Ans: a) Hanuman had no son b) Makardwaja c) Angada d) Tara

Q2. Who abducted Shri Rama and Laxmana to Patalaloka with the intention to make their sacrifice ?

Ans: a)Kumbhakarana b) Indrajit c) Prahasta d) Ahiravana

Q3 How did the Vanaras, Shri Rama and Laxmana over come the effects of Sarpastra ?

Ans: a) By taking medicines brought from Himalaya b) Because of the arrival of Garuda, the effect of Sarpastra was neutralized c)Vibhishana gave him medicines d)With time, the effects of Sarpastra wore off

Q4. How was Ravana disgraced ?

Ans: a) Sita Devi refused to go with him b) Vibhishana insulted him c) His sons disobeyed him In their first fight together,d) Shri Rama granted him life and let him go from the battle field after defeating him

Q5. Who killed the Kumbhakarana, the brother of Ravana ?

Ans: a) Shri Rama b) Laxmana c) Hanuman d) Angada

Q6. How were Shri Rama and Laxmana saved from the effects of attack from Indrajit ?

Ans: a) Vibhishana gave them medicines b) Because of the arrival of Garuda c) Because of Mantra said by Rishies d) Because of Mritsanjeevani brought by Hanuman from Himalaya

Q7. Who killed the mighty Indrajit ?

Ans: a) Hanuman b) Shri Rama c) Laxmana d) Sugreeva

Q8. Who killed Ahiravana and released Shri Rama and Laxmana from Patalaloka ?

Ans: a) Hanuman b) Angada c) Vibhishana d) Sugreeva

Correct answers below

Examination 15

Q.1 Ans b)

Q.2 Ans d)

Q.3 Ans b)

Q.4 Ans d)

Q.5 Ans a)

Q.6 Ans d)

Q.7 Ans c)

Q.8 Ans a)

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