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Lesson 16

The killing of Ravana / Back to Ayodhya / The coronation of Shri Ram / The killing of Ravana

Ramayan – Lesson 16

Ravana returned to the battlefield in another chariot. Sri Rama himself encountered him. Gods assembled in the sky to witness the Rama-Ravana duel. Then Devendra thought, Ravana is seated in a magnificent chariot; Rama has to stand on the earth and fight. That would not be a fair fight. I shall give Rama my own chariot and the charioteer. He summoned his charioteer Matali and said,Matali, hasten to Lanka and respectfully offer Rama these astras and my chariot, and be in charge of the chariot. Matali sped to Lanka and told Sri Rama of Indra desire. Sri Rama was glad. He devoutly went round the chariot and then ascended it. The battle of battles began.

The arrows which leapt from Ravana bow assailed Sri Rama like serpents. Sri Rama overcame them with the Garudastra. Ravana sent forth thousands of arrows and damaged Sri Rama chariot and wounded his charioteer. This misadventure infuriated Sri Rama. He frowned. Fire issued from his eyes, as though to burn the enemy.

His towering rage struck terror in everyone. The earth shook, the very mountain, on which dwelt fierce creature like the lion and the tiger, trembled. The Trees swayed in fear. The sea was disturbed.Birds screeched in fear, and clouds acquired fierce colours. Gandharvas, Yakshas and Kinnaras, as well as rishis and munis, gathered in the firmament to witness the duel between Sri Rama and Ravana.

Ravana shot the Shulayudha to slay Sri Rama. It could strike with the terrifying power of a thunderbolt. It had steel nails all round. It could slay all evil spirits. When Ravana shot the Shulayudha, the Vanaras were in panic.

What hope is there! they gasped, and closed their eyes in terror. When Sri Rama seized it, whirled it round and round, and hurled it, it exploded powerfully and broke into pieces. Then Rama shot the Trishiras hard like diamond and sharp. They pierced Ravana forehead. Sri Rama said to Ravana,Ravana, what happened to your much-vaunted prowess? Where are your brothers, your sons and your army? See what disaster has flowed from your sin. You do not deserve to be forgiven. Just then Sage Agastya came there. He taught Sri Rama a mantra known as Aditya Hridaya. Sri Rama repeated the mantra devoutly. The Sun God appeared and said, Sri Rama, I appreciate your devotion. Your wish will be fulfilled, and you will be victorious in the battle.

Once again a fierce fight started between Sri Rama and Ravana. All the worlds shuddered. The other rakshasas and Vanaras had their weapons but watched the Sri Rama – Ravana duel, with no thought of the weapons they held.

Sri Rama shot sharp arrows and cut the standard on Ravana chariot. Ravana struck Sri Rama horses with mighty astras. But they were celestial steeds and the arrows could not hurt them.Ravana hurled a multitude of weapons like the mace, the wheel, the parigha, the club and the spike.Such menacing – looking and deadly weapons descended on Sri Rama chariot and the Vanaras like rain. As he sent forth more and more astras Ravana grew more and more exhilarated.Ravana, who was immersed in the duel, fixed thousands of arrows to his bowstring, and went on assailing Sri Rama. Sri Rama retaliated with a number of arrows. A veritable roof was created in the sky by their arrows.

Each cut the arrows of the other. Untiringly they shot arrows, changing the bow from one hand to another. They roared and fought like incensed elephants. They fought like bulls which, even if they are hurt, recover and charge again. The duel of these two enraged combatants was thrilling and breathtaking. They fought to kill. Each glared at his antagonist in rage and assailed him. Their determination made them look fierce.

Guiding the chariot in a battle itself is an art. Their charioteers were exceptionally skilful, and so they battled using a variety of movements. They faced each other and clashed fiercely. Sri Rama forced Ravana horses to retreat, and Ravana wounded Matali.

The entire world echoed and re-achoed the sounds of the weapons, the maces and the parighas they sent forth. Their astras fell into the distant seas and raised waves. They crashed into peaks and pounded and shattered them. Trees broke in the forests and fell to the ground. The gods and the gandharvas exclaimed, Ah, this is indeed a battle! Never before has a duel been fought which could match this duel, nor will there ever be a duel to match this. Only the sky can compare with the sky,only the ocean with the ocean; similarly, only the Rama-Ravana duel can be compared with the Rama-Ravana duel.

Finally, Sri Rama employed the Nishitastra and cut off the head of Ravana. But oh wonder! Another head appeared in its place. With another astra Sri Rama cut off that head, but yet another appeared in its place. No matter how many times he cut off the head another appeared. Sri Rama was worried. He reflected, How does this happen? Have my arrows been enfeebled? Or, is thisRavana beyond the reach of death? My arrows slaughtered mighty rakshasas like Khara, Dushana and killed even Vali; why are they ineffective now? Then Matali said, Sri Rama, why are you in such despair? Ravana end approaches. Now employ the Brahmastra. Aim at Ravana chest; do not delay.

Sri Rama drew out the Brahmastra. The great Agastya himself had given it to him. It had been created by Lord Brahma. Indra, the conqueror of the three worlds, had employed it. In the feathered base of the Brahmastra dwells Vayudeva and in its blade dwell the Sun God and Agni. Endowed with the energy of all living beings it was lustrous like the sun and sent forth fire like a serpent. It could speed like lightning. It was so powerful that it could reduce mountains to powder. It was like the Vajrayudha. It was the most powerful of all the weapons in the world. Sri Rama took it out, empowered it with sacred verses and fixed it to his bowstring. The entire world was panic- stricken.

In great rage Sri Rama pulled the string and, aiming at Ravana chest, let it go with all his might.Shooting forward like the Vajrayudha wielded by Indra, the Brahmastra struck Ravana in the chest. His chest burst.

The bow slipped from Ravana hands. His head bent to a side. His tongues stretched out, the eyeballs moved up and got stuck. Blood fell in torrents. Ravana fell down dead.ram 18

The Brahmastra split open Ravana chest and killed him and then returned to Sri Rama quiver. All the Vanaras burst into joyous shouts. The gods in the sky showered flowers and exclaimed,Unrighteous- ness has been vanquished, righteousness has won.

The rakshasas stood aghast at the death of Ravana. Saying, We have been overcome. There is no meaning in fighting any further, they stopped fighting and surrendered to Sri Rama.

Ravana death overwhelmed Vibheeshana with grief. After all, they were brothers, however wicked Ravana might have been. Sri Rama said to the sobbing Vibheeshana, Vibheeshana, it is not right that you should grieve in this fashion. Ravana fought valiantly and has attained the heaven of the heroic. However evil he might have been, he fought bravely. He did not hide in the palace like a coward. That merits admiration. Go now to Lanka and make arrangements for the funeral. Ravana is dead and we can have no quarrel with him now. He has now gone to a world in which there is no hatred, no envy, no anger and no suffering. Now he is like a brother to me also. So, go to Lanka now. Console Ravana wives and children and grandchildren. You will be the next king, and that may make them apprehensive. They may fear that you will persecute them because you were hostile to Ravana. Go to them and relieve their fears. Assure them that your administration will not trouble them in the least. Give them your word that you will be guided by truth and Dharma. Let Ravana funeral be worthy of a great hero.

Vibheeshana took some comfort. He decided to carry out Sri Rama instruction. He went to Lanka and called on Mandodari and the other wives of Ravana. They were stupefied by the death of their husband. Vibheeshana comforted them with timely words of consolation. He organised the funeral of Ravana on a grand scale.

Then Sri Rama called Hanumantha and said, Hanumantha, go at once to Ashoka Vana and tell Seeta Devi that I have killed Ravana. Bring her here. Hanumantha at once leapt to Ashoka Vana. He bowed to Seeta Devi and said, Mother, do you remember me? I am Hanumantha. Once I brought a message from Sri Rama to you. Now I bring very auspicious news. Sri Ramachandra fought a grim battle with Ravana. Ravana was killed. The rakshasas surrendered. Sri Ramachandra has commanded me to take you to him. Be pleased to come with me.

Joy and wonder bewildered Seeta. She fainted, unable to bear her ecstacy. She recovered after a while and said, Hanumantha, what joyous news have you brought! My good fortune dawns again.Sri Ramachandra has slain Ravana! Oh, my good fortune is matchless. She visualized the joyous days ahead and smiled. She recalled the misfortunes of the past and sobbed bitterly. She set out to see Sri Rama, in ecstatic excitement.

Seeta and Hanumantha approached Sri Rama. Sri Rama looked at Seeta, and she looked at him.Joy,love and excitement danced in the eyes of both. Both thought of Fate which had long separated them and shed tears. Seeta Devi ran to Sri Rama and touched his feet with her forehead.Her tears fell on his feet like grains of akshatha. It was a spectacle to fill the beholders with joy and grief at the same time.

Then suddenly Sri Rama said to Seeta Devi, Seeta, all these days you were in the house of another man. So how can others be certain that your chastity has not been tainted? The words struck Lakshmana, Sugreeva, Hanumantha and other Vanara heroes like a bolt from the blue. What! Doubt Seeta Devi purity! they exclaimed.

Sri Rama had not the slightest doubt about the spotless purity of Seeta Devi. His object was to bring home to every one her purity. Only Seeta Devi knew this. She was not upset. She said to Sri Rama, My Lord, I know what is in your heart. I am not in the least unhappy. Whether people doubt my chastity or not, I shall prove my purity. That is my duty, too, and she turned towards Lakshmana. She said, Lakshmana, prepare a pit of fire. The Vanara leaders were stunned by her resolve. They wept saying, Will Seeta Devi enter fire? We set her free from imprisonment, is it all in vain? Our fighting the war has served no purpose. What will happen if Seeta Devi enters the fire?

With a heavy heart Lakshmana prepared a big fire. He placed together faggots of sandal wood and other superior wood, and lighted them. Seeta walked up to the blazing fire. Everybody watched,hardly able to breathe.

Seeta Devi looked up at the sky with folded hands. Addressing the gods she said, Lord Brahma and other gods, I bow to you all. I was separated from my husband for a long time. I was in the house of another man. I could not avert what providence had ordained. But during this long period my body, mind and speech all rested only in my husband and Lord, Sri Ramachandra. The name of my lord, Sri Ramachandra, is engraved upon my heart. If it is true that not the faintest spot sullies my chastity,let the Fire God save me. She then went round the fire and jumped into it. The Vanaras cried aloud in anguish.

The next moment the effulgent Lord, the Fire God, rose from the flames, carrying Seeta Devi in his arms like a child. She had not suffered the least harm. On the other hand, she was more radiant than before. She was far lovelier than before. Giving the smiling Seeta Devi to Sri Ramachandra, the Fire God said,  Sri Rama, Seeta Devi is the purest of the pure. No one can doubt her purity. It is a greivous sin to do so. Accept her. Lord Indra and other gods appeared and praised Seeta Devi Chastity. They eulogized both Sri Rama and Seeta Devi and sang their praises. The Vanaras shouted in joy.

Sri Rama assembled all the Vanara heroes. He expressed his gratitude to all the Vanaras who had assisted him in locating Seeta, overcoming Ravana and reuniting him with his wife. He prayed to Indra to restore all the dead Vanaras to life, and the boon was granted.

Then Sri Rama said, Vibheeshana, my mission here is over. After you are crowned I will return to Ayodhya. I have promised Bharatha that I shall be in Ayodhya as soon as the period of fourteen years ends. The period is coming to an end. How Bharatha will be pining for me! I must return at once.

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Back to Ayodhya

Vibheeshana was crowned at a grand ceremony. All the Vanaras and rakshasas participated happily.The residents of Lanka were happy that the righteous Vibheeshana became their ruler.

Sri Rama said, Vibheeshana, I shall set out for Ayodhya. Be a righteous ruler. Make every one happy. Vibheeshana heart was overflowing with gratitude. His voice was choked. He said, Sri Rama, my heart overflows with gratitude. You are our God. I cannot find words to praise your greatness. Sri Rama, I wish to see your state and your mothers and brothers. I shall visit your Holy land and thus achieve fulfilment in life. My Pushpaka Vimana can take us wherever we wish, very fast. Let us set out for Ayodhya at once.

Sri Rama, Seeta and Lakshmana ascended the vimana. Vibheeshana, Sugreeva, Hanumantha, Neela and other Vanara heroes joined them. The Pushpaka sped to Ayodhya like a dart.

As they travelled, the sight of the borders of Kosala thrilled Sri Rama. The heart of this great man was overflowing with rapture. He said to Lakshmana, Look, Lakshmana, we can see our kingdom,Kosala. Here flows the Sarayu. We are returning to our land. There is no joy greater than seeing our dear land. Our motherland which gave birth to us and brought us up is the holy of holies. However wealthy, however attractive other countries may be our motherland is supreme to us.Lakshmana also was thrilled at the sight of Kosala. Both stood facing their motherland and bowed with reverence.

On the way they saw the hermitage of Sage Bharadwaja. Sri Rama said, Let us stay here tonight.Let us pay our respects to the Sage and leave tomorrow. Let Hanumantha set out for Ayodhya straightway. Let him convey to Bharatha the news of our approach. He then said to Hanumantha, Hanumantha, go to Ayodhya. Meet Bharatha. Note his manner. He is a very righteous, great man,and I am certain he will be waiting for me. But it is hard to tell what changes may have come about in fourteen long years. He may now desire to be the king. Or, the people may desire that he should continue as the king. If that is the situation, our return will inconvenience everyone.So we can stay on in the forest. Let Bharatha rule righteously and continue. But if he is immersed in thoughts of me, we must at once hasten to Ayodhya. Therefore, Hanumantha, start at once. Find out how things stand and come back.

The Pushpaka Vimana reached the ashrama of Sage Bharadwaja. They all alighted and paid their respects to the sage. Sri Rama narrated all that had happened from the day he left the ashram. The sage was unhappy that Sri Rama, Seeta and Lakshmana had suffered so much. But he also admired the resoluteness with which they had faced them. He praised the marvellous feats of Rama and Lakshmana. He blessed them all. He commended highly the selfless service of the Vanara heroes and their spirit of self-sacrifice. They spent the night in the ashram.

Hanumantha sped to Ayodhya.Bharatha was staying in a place called Nandigrama. He carried on the administration from Nandigrama. With matted hair and the garment of a hermit, he lived the life of a hermit. He used to worship the sandals of Sri Rama. He was pining for Rama return, living for the moment when he would see Sri Rama and restore the kingdom to him.

True, Bharatha was leading the life of a tapaswi, but he was not indifferent to his duties as a ruler.He did not leave the administration to others and vegetate. He ruled most efficiently. He wore himself out for the welfare of the people.

Hanumantha came to Nandigrama. He met Bharatha. He said, with folded hands, Maharaja, I am Sri Rama servant. My name is Hanumantha. He thus introduced himself. Bharatha was thrilled at the mention of Sri Rama name. In great joy he welcomed Hanumantha. He treated him hospitably and made enquiries. He said, Hanumantha, is Sri Rama well? Is my sister-in-law, Seeta Devi, well? My brother Lakshmana is well, too, isn’t he? Tell me about Sri Rama. I am eager to know about him.Where is he now? Why has he not come yet? He had promised to be here as soon as the fourteen years ended. But he has not come back yet. I cannot wait any longer. If my elder brother does not return, I will jump into fire.

Hanumantha comforted him saying, King Bharatha, do not be troubled. I have brought gladdening news. Sri Rama is coming here with Seeta Devi and Lakshmana. He is now in Bharadwaja Ashram. He told Bharatha, the story of Sri Rama, Seeta and Lakshmana from the time they left Chitrakuta – the stay in Dandakaranya, the killing of Khara, Dushana and Trishira, the episode of the illusory deer and the abduction of Seeta by Ravana and so on. The narration thrilled Bharatha. He considered himself privileged to have such an elder brother. He embraced Hanumantha. He then communicated the news to Kausalya, Sumitra, Kaikeyi and Shatrughna. He ordered the city to be splendidly decorated by the time Sri Rama arrived. Hanumantha returned to the ashram of Sage Bharadwaja.

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The coronation of Shri Ram

The news spread in Ayodhya that Sri Rams was returning. The people were in raptures. Every house and every road were decorated. Everywhere there was festivity and joyous excitement. People erected flowery arches, drew figures with coloured powders and hoisted flags. They composed songs and sang the glories of Sri Rama, Seeta and Lakshmana. They gathered near the main entrance to the city waiting for the arrival of Pushpaka Vimana.

The Vimana arrived from the ashram of Sage Bharadwaja. People rent the air with joyous cries. Sri Rama, Lakshmana and Seeta alighted. Once again people shouted so that their cries Victory to Sri Rama!  reached the sky.

Bharatha ran up to Sri Rama and touched his feet with his forehead. Ecsatcy made tears stream from his eyes. Sri Rama embraced his younger brother with affection and patted him. He touched the feet of Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi, and the Guru, Vashishta. He embraced Shatrughna who prostrated to him.

The joy of the people of Ayodhya beggared language. They all entered the city in a grand procession.Sri Rama told Bharatha of the exploits of Sugreeva and other Vanara heroes. He also told him of the help he had received from Vibheeshana.

Bharatha said, Brother, I have carried on the administration of Ayodhya for fourteen years as your representative, as you instructed me. Now you are back in Ayodhya. Be pleased to accept this kingdom, it is yours. All of us wish that you should rule over it and that is the desire of the people also. The people shouted joyfully, to endorse his submission.

At an auspicious time, Sri Rama ascended the throne of Ayodhya. Guided by preceptors and elders like Vashista and Sumanthra and with the co-operation of his brothers, he ruled wisely and well. Hanumantha stayed in Ayodhya as his honoured follower.

Sri Rama ruled with exemplary righteousness. He performed several sacrifices like the Poundarika, the Ashwamedha and the Vajapeya and helped the growth of Dharma. During his reign people, too, were righteous and virtuous. Disease was unknown. They lived long. People loved one another and had an egalitarian attitude.

Sri Rama was devoted to the welfare of his people. He paid particular attention to the economy and finances of the state. There was no muddle anywhere. There was no fear of thieves, and deceit, robbery and looting were unknown. Everyone was endowed with competence. No one was avaricious. No one coveted what belonged to another. People of different religions lived in harmony. Everyone was devoted to his duty.

People were full of admiration for Sri Rama. Sri Rama name was ever on their lips and in their hearts. They knew the power of that name. They became sanctified by ever cherishing that name.

There was no fear of wild animals in Sri Rama kingdom. Trees grew luxuriously and in plenty. There was plenty of food. Trees were loaded with flowers and fruits.

Sri Rama made his kingdom the home of happiness and joy. Ayodhya became the veritable heaven on earth.

Victory to Sri Rama, the greatest and most glorious of the great and the glorious, Sri Rama accompanied by Sri Seeta, Lakshmana, Bharatha,Shatrughna and Hanumantha!

Mangalam Kosalendraya Mahaniya Gunabdhiye

Chakravarthi Tanoojaya Sarvabhaumaaya Mangalam

All things auspicious to Sri Rama, the ruler of Kosala, the ocean of admirable traits and the son of Emperor Dasharatha!

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Examination on Lesson – 16

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

Q1. Whose chariot did Shri Rama use in the final fight with Ravana ?

Ans: a) Vibhisahana b) Sugreeva c) King Guha d) Lord Indra

Q2. How did Sage Agasthya help Shri Rama in the final battle with Ravana ?

Ans: a) By teaching him Aditya Hridaya Mantra b) By giving him a Chariot c) By giving him bow and arrow d) By giving him weapons

Q3 Who finally became the King of Lanka after Ravana’s death ?

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

Q4. Why did Sita Devi perform the fire ritual?

Ans: a) To prove Shri Rama that she was pure b) To prove Vibhishana that she was pure c) To prove Laxmana that she was pure d) To prove to the world that she was pure

Q5. Why did Shri Rama send Hanuman in advance to Ayodhya ?

Ans: a) To check the mentality of Bharat as well as the people of Ayodhya b) To prepare his visit to Ayodhya c)To tell Kaushalya Mata about his arrival d) To make staying arrangement in advance

Q6. Finally who was coronated on the throne of Ayodhya ?

Ans: a)Bharat b) Laxmana c) Shatrughna d) Sri Rama

Correct Answers below

Examination 16

Q.1 Ans d)

Q.2 Ans a)

Q.3 Ans b)

Q.4 Ans d)

Q.5 Ans a)

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