Wednesday, 30 December 2015

326. Kumbhakarna goes to the battle-field with a huge army.

                  Kumbhakarna was not amused by Mahodara's prattle which he, Mahodara, called strategy(!). Kumbhakarna rebuked him suitably. Then he told his brother “My dear bro, Before the sun sets today, I assure you that you will hear the news most heartening to you, to wit, the annihilation of that Rama and his entire army. I will wipe-off your worry and fear today and you will live happily without any enemy for the rest of your life."
           Turning to Mahodara he said "O! Mahodara! Your words may be agreeable to those kings who are confused, who fancy themselves as very learned, but actually are stupid. You and people like you, are all cowards in battle. You always speak pleasantly and go according to the wishes of the king. Intent on conquering the enemy, I sally for the battle forthwith to make our monarch happy."
              Ravana  became very happy to hear his dear brother's words and told him "O dear brother! This Mahodara is frightened of Rama. There is no doubt. O! Kumbhakarna! None is equal to you in friendship and strength.
        "O! destroyer of enemies! You, who was sleeping, was awakened by me, for the purpose of destroying our enemies. Therefore, go like Yama the god of death, by taking a dart and a noose in your hand. Devour the monkeys and the two humans whose splendour is like that of the sun. By seeing your very form, the monkeys will run away. I am sure that the hearts of Rama and Lakshmana will get broken asunder."
          Ravana, knowing the strength and prowess of Kumbhakarna, was sure that he will vanquish Rama and his army. That thought made him so delighted and all his ten faces started to look as bright as the moon on full moon days.
         Taking hold of that large spike tinted with the blood of enemies, shining like Indra's thunderbolt and equally heavy, capable of tormenting Devas, Danavas, Gandharvas, Yakshas and Kinnaras, and donning garlands of splendorous crimson flowers emitting flames by itself naturally, Kumbhakarna of great brilliance told Ravana "Let our army stay back here. I shall go all alone. Being angry with hunger, I shall devour all those monkeys now.”
       Ravana was very happy to hear his dear brother say so. He, however told him "O! my darling brother! Go along with the army, with their spikes and hammers in hand. The monkeys, with their huge bodies, valiant, with a much determination and with their teeth, will destroy anyone who is either alone or off his guard. Therefore, go along with your troops so that you will be impossible to be defeated. Destroy the entire enemy force, which is inimical to our rakshashas."
              Getting up from his throne, Ravana  placed around the neck of Kumbhakarna, a necklace studded with a course of jewels. Not satisfied with that, Ravana then personally decorated his dear brother with armlets, rings, excellent jewellery and a handsome chain. Not satisfied with that, too, Ravana arranged for ornamentation of his (i.e. Kumbhakarna's) limbs with beautiful and sweet-smelling garlands as well as lovely ear-rings.
          Kumbhakarna with large ears, adorned with golden armlets and bracelets worn on his upper arms along with the ornament for his breast, shone like fire, well-fed with oblations. With a large, black and shining string worn around his loins, he was looking like Mount Mandara encircled by a serpent at the time of churning for amrit.
        Well secured with a golden armour and  carrying a great load of weapons, Kumbhakarna shone as a king of Mountains, enveloped by clouds at sunset. Adorned with ornaments to all his limbs and with a spike in his hand, that rakshash shone like Narayana, the all-embracing Lord, enthusiastic to take the three long strides,which were meant to cover the entire universe.
            Embracing his brother and offering him due respects, Kumbhakarna sought the permission (formal) of his brother. Ravana sent off the mighty Kumbhakarna, who then sallied forth with a great sound of drums and musical instruments  and with laudable benedictions.
        With loud sounds of conches and kettle-drums, with an army wielding excellent weapons and mounting on elephants and horses and chariots carrying mighty charioteers accompanied him who was the foremost among the charioteers. Those rakshashas followed that terrific and mighty Kumbhakarna, mounting on serpents, camels, donkeys, lions, elephants, wild beasts and birds.
           Kumbhakarna, whom devas and danavas tremble to see him as an antagonist , wielding a sharp spike in his hand, sallied forth with tremendous confidence. Many rakshashas, possessing a great energy and great strength, with terrific forms and fearful eyes, also wielding fearsome weapons in their hands, accompanied him as foot-soldiers.
         The rakshashas following him were of large colossal bodies resembling a mass of collyrium in hue,  with their eyes red hot, lifting up spikes, swords, sharp axes, javelins, iron rods, maces, mallets, enormous trunks of palmyrah trees to be hurled at the enemies.
         On the way Kumbhakarna assumed a body of a formidable and terrific form, with a breadth of a hundred bows and six hundred bows in height, with his eyes resembling the wheels of a cart, looking like a huge mountain and terrible to look at.
        Kumbhakarna with that colossal body having a proportionately huge mouth, looking like a scorched hill, boasted to the chaps around him "I'm  gonna burn up those troops of the foremost of monkeys in lots today, as a flash of fire would burn up the moths. The monkeys who are in the habit of roaming around in the woods, have not offended me of their own accord. That race of monkeys would be a good embellishment for the urban gardens in a city like ours. Rama, together with Lakshmana, is the root-cause for the attack on our city. If he is killed, all will be destroyed. Therefore, I'm  gonna kill that Rama in battle."
            Hearing that declaration of Kumbhakarna all the rakshashas who heard that applauded with a very terrific noise. However, Kumbhakarna was accosted with omens of terrific patterns appeared on all sides.
            Clouds, ashy in colour like asses, combined with meteors and strokes of lightning appeared. Even the earth trembled, together with its oceans and forests. Jackals of terrific form howled with morsels looking like flames in their mouths and birds twirled in circles from right to left. A vulture descended on the spike of Kumbhakarna, as he was sallying forth along the road. His left eye twitched and his left arm throbbed.
         Then, a blazing meteor fell down with a dreadful noise. Even the sun became lusterless and the wind was not blowing comfortably. Disregarding those great portents which were causing the hair (wherever he had on his body) to stand erect, Kumbhakarna marched on, driven by the power of fate.
          Kumbhakarna, looking like a mountain, traversing the rampart with his feet alone, saw a wonderful army of monkeys, looking similar to a thick coverage of clouds. Seeing that Kumbhakarna, the excellent among rakshashas, looking like a mountain, the vanaras ran away to all directions, as clouds are driven away by the wind.
           Kumbhakarna highly rejoiced seeing that highly fierce army of monkeys running away to different quarters in fright. In a very happy mood Kumbhakarna started roaring sounding like thunder. Hearing his terrific roar, similar to the rumbling of a cloud in the sky, many of the vanaras fell down on the ground, like Sal trees cut-up by the roots. Wielding a large iron rod, that gigantic Kumbhakarna looked like Yama to the frightened vanaras.

Monday, 14 December 2015

325. Mahodara interjects a strategy.

           Mahodara, who was also present there, somewhat resented the boasting of Kumbhakarna. He interjected mildly "O Kumbhakarna! Having been born in an illustrious family, it does not become of you to be so audacious. Your boasting sounds like the perception of a vain man who is also arrogant. You do not seem to have the ability to perceive the right thing to be done at any point of time. O Kumbhakarna! Your perception that the king does not know what is prudent and what is not is not correct. Your boasting sounds childish and audacious. Our king knows very well about apportioning of place and time, understands the subject about strengthening and diminishing of relationships as well as his own position and the position of others.
          “You are speaking as though virtue, wealth and pleasure are dwelling separately in water-tight compartments. By their very nature, there is no accurate description for those things. Action alone is indeed the means to get all the results. Even sinful acts may yield a fruit of prosperity!
          “Living beings reap the fruit of good actions in this and in the other world. However, he who remains diligently devoted to actions, good or otherwise, with a view to attaining sensuous pleasure enjoys eternal  bliss in this life. Such a person does not care what happens to him in the other world. In this context, this act of pursuit of sensuous pleasure has been cherished in his heart by the king and was approved by us, too. What violation is there in doing this daring act against the enemy?
          "Your declaration of marching all alone for the encounter, does not seem to be prudent. I do not thing you will be able to conquer, single-handed, that Rama by whom several mighty rakshashas were destroyed in Janasthana.
          "It does not seem wise to encounter single-handed that Rama, who is forever shining with a splendour. Going there single-handed does not seem to be wise."
          Having thus admonished the enraged Kumbhakarna, Mahodara turned to Ravana said "Sir, I have a strategy by which Seetha will be submissive to you. Announce by a beat of drum in the city-streets that myself, Dvijihva, Samhraadi, Kumbhakarna and Vitardana  are setting out for the final battle with Rama.
         “Then, we will actually fight with him. If we conquer him, there is no need for any strategies. In case we are not able to conquer him, then we will implement the plan which is as follows. Moistened with blood on our bodies torn with arrows marked with the name of Rama engraved on them, we shall come back here from the battle.
         "We will report to you that 'Rama as well as Lakshmana have been devoured by us. Then, have it proclaimed by the beating of trumpets in the entire city, on the back of an elephant, that Rama has been killed along with his brother and his army.
       "Becoming happy for that, arrange to bestow on your servants, objects of enjoyment, other desired objects and gold. Then, present garlands, garments and cosmetics to champions as well as abundant gifts to other warriors. 
        "When this thick rumour that Rama along with his companions have been devoured by our rakshashas  spreads far and wide, you approach Seetha in private and talk to her nicely consoling and conciliating her, tempt her with a load of luxuries and precious stones.
          "Ensure that she is scared and anguished. And make Seetha think that she lost her husband. Then, I am sure she will, may be with some reluctance, submit to your will. Believing that her charming husband is destroyed, Seetha from her hopelessness and feminine feeling of flexibility will come to your protection and embrace. Seetha, without her husband Rama, cannot go to her dad's place or to her in-law's place. The only option left for her would be only you!
             "I think that this is a very wonderful plan without any flaw, whatsoever. After the successful execution of this my wonderful and marvelous plan you will be acclaimed as 'An emperor who conquered his enemies without losing his army, without meeting with any danger and without a combat'. You will certainly be crowned with a great fame, merit, prosperity and glory."

Sunday, 13 December 2015

324. Kumbhakarna promised to kill Rama and others in battle.

             Hearing the lamentation of Ravana, Kumbhakarna guffawed. Then with a serious face he told his bro Ravana "O! My dear bro! What has happened was a very likely possibility envisaged during your consultation with your well wishers and counselors. But you unfortunately discounted it totally. 
          "O emperor! This course of events were not expected by you at first. In your arrogance you did not foresee such a consequence, in particular  from Rama, a human. 
          "A king who disregards an enemy and does not protect himself adequately, is very likely to have disappointing occurrences and would be removed from his position. That advice which was tendered to you earlier by Vibhishana is beneficial to us.
           "Now there is no point in crying over the spilled milk. Now, I will certainly do what you want me to."
          Ravana was not in a mood to take criticism or advice, even from his dear brother, Kumbhakarna. He asked his brother angrily "Why are you advising me like a venerable great teacher? Now, it is a waste to tell again that I did not take the advice which you consider was the best option.
              "Wise persons do not repent over the past. Past is past. Let us consider what is best for the present. If you have some affection for me or if you are confident about your own prowess and if you think it fit in your heart that what I need from you is to be done very much, you nullify the hardship, born out of my wicked conduct, by your prowess. He who rescues an afflicted soul, whose fortune is ruined, is the real friend. He who is ready at hand to help one who has deviated from the right course, is a kinsman.”
        Kumbhakarna felt sorry that his words hurt his dear brother Ravana who had become very angry with him. As it was not his intention to hurt the feelings of his dear bro, Kumbhakarna spoke slowly, sweetly and smoothly. Observing that his brother was highly perturbed and excited, Kumbhakarna, gently and softly told Ravana “O my dear brother! Sorry my words hurt you. Let me assure you that it was not my intention to hurt you. Please shed your anger completely and become your normal sweet self again. O king! I hereby give you my solemn assurance that until I live, fulfilling of your desire will be my utmost duty. As you desire, I shall destroy him, for whose account, you are feeling anguished.
             "O king! I consider it is my duty to give advice, which in my opinion is the best for you. I gave this advice, because of our relation and brotherly affection. That was past. At this moment, I gather that you desire the destruction of your adversaries in battle. It will, certainly be done by me. See today the army of monkeys and Rama along with his brother being killed by me in the fore-front of the battle-field. Be happy by seeing Rama's head, which I shall bring today from the battle. Let Seetha be unhappy.
       "Let all those rakshashas in Lanka, whose relatives have died in battle, witness the death of  Rama today. Today, I shall do the act of wiping off tears of the rakshashas, who have been afflicted with grief and lamenting because of the destruction of their relatives in combat by the adversaries. See today in battle, the mountain-like Sugreeva, the king of monkeys, looking like a cloud illuminated by the sun, thrown about, dissipated.
         "O king of rakshashas! From this moment onwards Rama can kill you or even cause a scratch on your body, only after killing me. On that account, I do not regret for myself. You can command me, even now, as you wish. No other person need be sought to assist me. I, alone can vanquish your enemies, who have a great strength. You know very well that I can face even ShakraYama, Agni, Vayu or Varuna. It is common knowledge that even Indra gets frightened of me.
         "Without any weapon I can smash my enemies, singly. I can kill even Indra, with my bare hands.
         "If Rama today survives my rapid blows of my fists, then my flood of arrows will finish him. O king! So long as I am alive, why do you succumb to any anxiety? Here, I am ready to sally forth for the destruction of your enemies. Get rid of any apprehension of Rama. In the battle, I will kill Rama, Lakshmana, the mighty Sugreeva and Hanuman, too, by whom the city of Lanka was burnt off and many rakshashas were killed. I shall devour the monkeys. I wish to be the raison d'ĂȘtre for the extraordinary reputation you will be securing for subjugating Rama.
         “O king! In case you have any fear for Indra or even for Brahma, I shall erase it, as the sun removes darkness of the night. You know very well that when I am enraged, even Devas will lay down on the floor. I can extinguish even Yama. I can devour the Pavaka (i.e. Agni), too. I can cause the sun along with the stars to fall asunder on the floor.
           "You know very well that I can overwhelm Indra. I can drink away the ocean. I can crush mountains into powder. I can tear up the earth. The supreme prowess of Kumbhakarna, who slept for a long time, is going to be demonstrated today. I am going to bring you happiness, conferring you a delight by killing Rama along with Lakshmana. I will devour all the chiefs of army of monkeys. O king! You make merry today. Throw away your agony and perform your usual duties without any worry. After I sent Rama to the world of Yama, Seetha will become subservient to you."

Monday, 7 December 2015

323. Ravana asks Kumbhakarna to liquidate Rama and his army.

             Kumbhakarna was slightly tottering due to the drowsiness caused by the intake of abundant quantity of inebriating drinks, in his march along the king's highway, full of royal dignity. He was accompanied by thousands of rakshashas. He was covered with a shower of flowers from the houses on both the sides of the highway. He arrived at Ravana's abode, covered with golden grilled windows, spacious and looking beautiful, like a shining sun.
       Entering Ravana's palace Kumbhakarna saw his worried brother sitting in the Pushpaka vimanSeeing Kumbhakarna Ravana quickly jumped from his seat in delighted and brought him near to his side. After the usual formalities, Kumbhakarna  asked him "For what purpose have I been woken up by you? Tell me from whom is the danger for you here and who is to be killed."
       Ravana told Kumbhakarna "O mighty Kumbhakarna! During your sound sleep that Rama came here with an army of monkeys and troubles me. This Rama is cutting short our race. Alas! Coming happily by a bridge, the forests and groves have been covered with an ocean full of monkeys, the army of that human Rama. 
         "The monkeys killed very many important rakshashas in battle. It seems the monkeys were not defeated at any time before, in a combat. O mighty Kumbhakarna! That is the danger which has arisen. You have to help us now. Go and destroy them now. You have been woken up solely for that purpose.
     "I have a great respect and affection for you. For several times, in battles between devas and asuras, you conquered the devas. O Kumbhakarna of terrible prowess! Therefore, show your entire prowess. There is indeed no one, in all the worlds, who is equal to you in strength.
           "O Kumbhakarna, Go and blow away that Rama and his army by your indomitable power, as an autumnal cloud is blown away by a high-rising wind.”

Sunday, 6 December 2015

322. Kumbhakarna goes to meet Ravana.

            Hearing the commotion, Rama presumed some rakshashas were attacking the vanaras unexpectedly. Hurriedly taking his sword, bow and quiver he (Rama) rushed out to their aid. Seeing the bulky Kumbhakarna, adorned with a diadem Rama realized the reason for the brouhaha. However, he became very much curious seeing the form of a mountain and looking like Lord Narayana  taking strides across space, and measured the whole universe in a couple of strides. Nevertheless he became vigilant. He also wanted to know about that mountain like rakshash.
       Beholding him again, who looked like a rainy black cloud and wearing a golden bracelet as an ornament on his upper arm, almost all the vanaras took to their heels in full speed in terror. Seeing the army running away, the rakshash increased the size of his body. Rama became interested to know who that rakshash was. He asked Vibhishana "Who is this eminent rakshash, appearing as a mountain, with a diadem and tawny eyes and looking like a cloud with a flash of lightning?  I have not seen such a creature earlier at any time."
          Vibhishana replied "He is the powerful Kumbhakarna, the son of Visravasa. He conquered Yama and Indra in battle. There is no other rakshash, corresponding to the size of his body. O Rama! He conquered thousands of Devas, Yakshas, Bhujangas (Serpant faced rakshashas), Pisithasanas (a kind of ghost), Gandharvas  and Vidyadharas  in battle.
          "Seeing the mighty Kumbhakarna with ghastly eyes and a spear in hand, the Devas were not able to face him. For them he looked like Yama. This Kumbhakarna, by his very nature, is energetic and mighty in contrast to the strength of the other prominent rakshashas (like Ravana, Intrajit etc.) attributable to the boons (granted on request by gods).
         "He was born with a perpetual voracious hunger, ipso facto soon after his birth, he was said to have consumed thousands of living creatures. This kind of activity continued with increased vigor, capability and quantum with his age. The frightened people sought refuge with Indra explaining the matter about him. Indra struck Kumbhakarna with his weapon thunderbolt. Kumbhakarna struck by Indra's thunderbolt became quite agitated and angry, roared loudly with anger. That roar of Kumbhakarna, made  the frightened people further frightened.
           "Enraged as he was on Mahendra (an alias for Indra), the mighty Kumbhakarna then pulled out a tusk of Airavata, Indra's elephant and struck it into Indra's chest. That Devendra, tormented by the hit of Kumbhakarna, was burning with rage. Devas, Brahmarishis and Danavas were felt aggrieved by the torments of Kumbhakarna. Indra, himself felt aggrieved,  taking Devas and other his co-aggrieved subjects, went to the abode of Brahma for solace, protection and remedy.
          "The evil doings of  Kumbhakarna were reported to Brahma, including how he devoured the living creatures right from the day of his birth, his assault on Devas, the destruction of hermitages and his taking away of others' wives. If he eats away the living creatures continuously like this, the world will become desolate shortly. Brahama, the great grandfather of the entire world, as well as to Ravana and his brothers, after thoroughly examining the report, sent for all the rakshashas.  He, Brahma, was stunned seeing Kumbhakarna along with them. He, just could not believe that he, himself created him.
      "The mere sight of Kumbhakarna was frightening even to Brahma. After pondering for a few moments, Brahma cursed Kumbhakarna  'I just could not believe that Visravasa begot you. Anyhow, your consuming living beings like the way it is reported to me is not acceptable to me.  Hence you will be sleeping apparently dead from now onwards.' Humbled by Brahma's curse, Kumbhakarna then promptly fell down and started sleeping. Ravana was greatly pained to see his dear brother sleeping like this. He represented to Brahma 'O Grandpa! You are cutting off a well-grown golden tree, just at the time of yielding its fruit. It is not fair on your part to curse your own great grandson like this. I know that you will not be able to revoke the curse. I request you to modify it in such a way that some space of time be fixed for his sleeping and waking.'
          "Brahma felt that the request of Ravana was just and fair. He modified the curse by  'He will sleep for about six months and wake-up for a day.' 
            "On the single days he was awake, having starved for six months, he  wanders all over the earth and eat the human race  like an augmented fire. Ravana, who was thoroughly subdued by you seems  frightened at your prowess, now got Kumbhakarna awakened for retribution.
         "The mere sight of Kumbhakarna seems to terrify our vanaras."
             After hearing Vibhishana, Rama ordered Neela, the chief of the vanara army "O Neela! Go, marshal the entire army. Occupying the door-ways, high-ways and bridges of Lanka, stand ready for operation. Draw together the mountain-tops, trees as well as the rocks. Let all the vanaras with their weapons and rocks in hand, ordered to stand ready."
           As per the direction of Rama,  Gavaksha, Sharabha, Hanuman and Angada, reached the gates, taking the mountain-tops. 

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

321. Kumbhakarna was awakened from sleep.

               Utterly ashamed and absolutely tired, Ravana was hardly able to walk. Probably he was cursing his maker for giving him two legs only as against twenty hands. May be he was thinking 'if only I have twenty legs, or at least a couple of more legs, it may not be so hard for me to walk.' Somehow he returned to the City of Lanka.
            Reaching his palace, he went straight to his favorite chamber to brood.  The thought that he, Ravana, the King of rakshashas was afflicted with the fear of Rama's arrows made his pride humbled and troubled him immeasurably. The thought that he was overcome by Rama, like an elephant by a lion or a serpent by an eagle, troubled him infinitely. The thought that Rama's arrows resembled the Rod of Brahma and possessed the splendour of lightning hurt his pride endlessly.
            He, the Lord of all Rakshashas, wanted to have a sound reprisal for the humiliation he had at the hands of Rama. After brooding for a while with all his ten heads he got a solution.   
           Resting on an excellent and charming throne made of gold, with his minds vastly relieved, Ravana told his flunky rakshashas "O! dear chaps! It is a pity that all that great penances performed by me did not help me, for, I, who is equal to Mahendra the Lord of Celestials, have been defeated by a lowly creature, to wit a human! The terrible words of Brahma, the Lord of Creation saying, 'You may have a threat from men' appear true. That is so. I sought immunity from death at the hands of devas, danavas, gandharvas, yakshas, rakshashas or pannagas (divine serpents), but I omitted to include humans.
       "Rama, the son of Dasharatha is the man I think of whom Anaranya born of Ikshvaku dynasty cursed me 'O, the worst of rakshasas, the worst of your race and the wretched one! In my race will be born a man who will slay you in battle with your sons, ministers, army, horses and charioteers.' Further, I was formerly cursed by Vedavati when she was humiliated by me. The same Vedavati seems to be born as Seetha, the daughter of Janaka.
       "What was predicted by Parvati the consort of Shiva, Nandishvara the attendant of Shiva, Rambha  and the daughter of Varuna have come to pass! The words of the sages never prove false. On account of all this, you should do your best to get me relief. Send immediately a good lot of rakshashas to the summit of Charya Mountain. Awaken that Kumbhakarna, who is without equal in prowess, who humbles the pride of the devas  and danavas, and on whom the curse of Brahma, the Lord of creation, rests all the time."
            In view of the grave situation to which he was driven in, Ravana issued orders  to guard all the gates with utmost care. So also the ramparts. Then to the flunky chaps he continued "Rouse Kumbhakarna who is slumbering soundly, immediately, by any means. 
          "The mighty Kumbhakarna, the foremost of all rakshasas will kill all the monkeys and the two princes at once in the battle. When Kumbhakarna is awakened, all my worried will evaporate."
           As ordered by Ravana a good lot of strong and mighty rakshashas were sent immediately to the place where Kumbhakarna was sleeping. He was sleeping in a beautiful cave, with a large door, having an area of a few Yojanas and bearing a floral perfume. Those very strong rakshashas, who were sent to awaken Kumbhakarna, though shaken off by Kumbhakarna's breaths, remained stable forcefully with difficulty and went into the cave. Entering that beautiful cave inlaid with diamonds and gold, those strong rakshashas beheld Kumbhakarna, of terrific prowess,  sleeping soundly.          
         They tried to awaken Kumbhakarna who was sleeping nastily like a spread-out mountain in a great slumber, breathing like a huge serpent. Kumbhakarna of irresistible valour was emitting dreadful snores, his nostrils looking horrible and his mouth a gaping hell. He was emitting an odour of marrow and blood, his limbs were adorned with golden armlets and he wore a diadem as bright as the sun.
          Then, those powerful rakshasas, in order to avoid the anger of Kumbhakarna, placed a heap of venison as high as Mount Meru, in front of him. They piled up a great mass of very tasty food with the meat of deer, buffaloes and pigs. Then, they placed pots of blood and various kinds of meat in front of Kumbhakarna. They rubbed Kumbhakarna with the most rare sandalwood and refreshed him with celestial and fragrant garlands as well as sweet-smelling perfumes. They burnt incenses and hymned his praises. They cried out noises which burst forth on every side like thunder.
          They blew conches which were as bright as the moon and made very high pitched sounds tumultuously all at once. Those rakshasas made sounds by clapping their hands, and shook him too, creating a great clamour. Birds passing through the sky ran helter-shelter and some  fell down soon on hearing the sounds of the couches, drums, gongs, clapping of hands and leonine roars.
         As the above endeavours did not waken  Kumbhakarna from his slumber, all the troops of rakshashas seizing bars, pestles and maces and pricked  him with all their might at various places on his huge body. Then, the cruel rakshashas tried hitting forcefully that sleeping Kumbhakarna on his chest with mountain-tops, pestles, maces, hammers and their fists; no dice. Despite the fact that all those rakshashas were quite strong and sturdy, they could not stand upright before the breathing from the nostrils and the mouth of Kumbhakarna. Then, they tried sitting round him and beating with their might drums, cymbals, kettle-drums and myriads of conches and trumpets.
          As they were unable to rouse him by these means, they resorted to more energetic and ruthless methods. They made horses, camels, donkeys, and elephants to trample upon him mercilessly. No dice.
           They then crushed his limbs under piles of heavy logs and pillars, as also pricked maces on his body with all their strength.                   Entire Lanka, with its mountains and groves, was filled with great noise generated by those rakshashas to wake the sleeping Kumbhakarna. Then, they beat a    thousand drums all around with sticks of refined gold.        
        Those rakshashas were at the end of their tether. As a last try they tried a thousand elephants ran up and down on his body. Oh! That seemed to be yielding the desired result. That made Kumbhakarna lightly wake up. The elephants running all over his body did not at all bother him. What bothered him was his beloved tummy. He then realized that he was terribly hungry, which made him suddenly spring up from his bed, yawning due to loss of sleep. 
         That yawning resembled a tempest. Guessing that he would be very hungry those rakshashas pointed to various kinds of victuals, boars, buffalos etc.. Kumbhakarna devoured them. Then, being thirsty drank blood kept ready in the pitchers. 
          As Kumbhakarna has gratified his hunger, the rakshashas approached him, saluting him with their heads bent and surrounded him on all sides.
             Raising his eyelids that were heavy with sleep, his gaze still veiled, he directed his glance towards those rakshashas and asked them "For what reason have you thus wakened me? Is all well with the king? Since you have wakened me in haste, there must be some problem from an external source. Now, I will sweep away the misfortune from Ravana, my very dear brother, even if I have to cut Mahendra (i.e. Indra) himself to pieces or to freeze Fire. For a petty reason, one does not indeed awaken, one such as I, from my slumber. Hence, tell me frankly, for what reason you have roused me."
           Yupaksha, a minister of the King, with his hands joined salutation, told "O, Prince! There is no threat whatsoever at anytime for us from celestials but a mere man is driving us back by a tumultuous tremor. That human guy has come with an army of monkeys, whose forms are as large as mountains, are besieging Lanka. There is an uncontrollable peril for us from Rama, who is furious on account of Seetha's abduction.
          "Already, a single monkey set fire to our great city and also slew the youthful Prince Aksha with his escort of elephants and retinue. Today that human guy defeated thoroughly our king and spared his life by saying something like 'Go now and come back refreshed tomorrow to face me to die'. Such a humiliation  our king never suffered even at the hands of Gods or Rakshashas or Danavas."
           Kumbhakarna rolling his great eyes, said "O, Yupaksha! I will now go and after conquering the entire army of monkeys with Lakshmana and Rama I will see Ravana. I shall satiate the rakshashas with the flesh and blood of monkeys and, as for Rama and Lakshmana, I shall drink their blood myself."
         Mahodara the captain of the team sent to awake Kumbhakarna, politely told Kumbhakarna "O, the mighty armed! Our King Ravana would like you to see him before you go to the battle field."
          Kumbhakarna agreed. The rakshasas, having awaken that sleeping Kumbhakarna hurried to the King in haste and told him "O, Lord of Rakshashas! Kumbhakarna, your brother, has wakened. Would you like him to enter the battle field from there itself or do you desire him to come here and see you?"
          Ravana answered "I wanna see him here first. Tell him that." Kumbhakarna was informed of the same.  Hearing his brother's wish, Kumbhakarna the inviolable rakshash of great prowess, leapt up from his couch and told them to bring him a drink which can boost up his strength.
           They obliged immediately what he wanted. Having drunk two thousand pitchers of assorted drinks, Kumbhakarna set out to see his dear bro.
          The fuming Kumbhakarna, going to his brother's palace along with the army of rakshashas, looked like Yama, the Lord of Death marching in high rage. He caused the earth to tremble with his foot-steps, while marching. The royal highway was illumined by his body, like the sun by its flashes illumines the earth. He went surrounded by a circle of rakshashas paying obeisance, resembling Indra  approaching the abode of Brahma.
           Seeing him on the royal high way, those vanaras stationed outside the city, as also their leaders, were frightened intolerably. They rushed to Rama for protection. Some fell down tottering, some so perturbed were going aimlessly and some others fell down due to nervous brake-down. Seeing that colossus appearing like a great peak, having a diadem which seemed to touch the sun with its brilliance, the vanarass were seized with terror were running hither and thither.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

320. Ravana himself goes to meet Rama and his army.

               The news that Prahasta, his top army chap was killed by one vanara named Nila completely stunned Ravana. At the same time he was very much grieved for the demise of Prahasta. He thought "I underestimated Rama and his vanara army. Now I myself will go and show them who I am. As a forest is consumed by blazing fires, I will scorch that army of vanaras now along with Lakshmana and Rama. Today, I shall satiate the earth with the blood of the vanaras."
        He then ascended his chariot which shone like a flame and was yoked to a team of excellent horses with the brilliance of effulgent bodies. Ravana sallied forth with the sound of conches, kettle-drums, cymbals, clapping of hands and leonine roars and well-acclaimed by agreeable encomiums. He was accompanied by the flesh-eating rakshashas whose forms resembled mountains and clouds. His (Ravana's) glances flashed like torches shone like Rudra surrounded by his ghost like followers.
        Seeing that unusually large army of rakshashas who seemed very furious, Rama asked Vibhishana "Who is in command of this army, furnished with every kind of standard, banner and canopy, armed with javelins, swords, stakes and other weapons and missiles and composed of imperturbable soldiers and elephants as high as the Mahendra Mountain?"
      As Vibhishana did not know that Ravana was in command of that army, he started telling Rama the names of important rakshash heros who were coming into their sight, like "O Prince! That hero who has a face with a coppery hue resembling a newly rising sun, is Akampana..... and that guy coming  standing in his chariot, brandish his bow which has a splendour of Indra's bow, whose standard bears the image of a lion, and who shines like unto an elephant with its terrible curved tusks, ... "
      When Ravana came into their views he told Rama so. Seeing Ravana, Rama commented "Alas! What a glory, what majesty Ravana, the Lord of Rakshas has! Ravana is beaming like the sun with his rays difficult to be gazed, as his magnificence would blind the eyes of any onlooker! The body of deva or danava hero may not be so radiant as this body of the king of rakshashas. All the warriors of the suzerain Ravana are as high as hills. All wield fiery weapons.
          "By good luck, that wretch comes today within my range of sight! Today, I shall expunge my wrath, born of Seetha's abduction!"
      Then Rama took up his bow and then standing erect, drew out an arrow and set ready for a fight. He heard Ravana shouting at his army chaps "Take up your positions unfalteringly and happily at the gates and principal exits, the outposts and fortifications. Learning of my presence along with you here, the vanaras may construe this to be a weak point and may storm this desolate city which is otherwise difficult to be overpowered."
         Ravana thereafter started liquidating vanaras systematically. Seeing Ravana with his radiant bow, Sugreeva the Lord of vanaras, tearing up a huge mountain-top, with its many trees and ridges ran towards that king of rakshashas and hurled it on him. Ravana quickly and effortlessly broke it asunder with his arrows. Then Ravana, taking a very  powerful arrow, hurled it to kill Sugreeva. That arrow  pierced the body of Sugreeva.
       Wounded by that arrow, Sugreeva fell moaning on the earth. Then, Gavaksha, Gavaya, Sushena, Rishabha, Jyotimukha and Nala tearing up rocks, hurled them towards Ravana.
            Ravana, with hundreds of arrows, not only rendered their projectiles fruitless but also pierced those leaders of the vanaras with a multitude of arrows. Pierced by the arrows of Ravana those vanara-Generals fell on the ground. Thereafter, Ravana disposed many of the formidable army of vanaras with a shower of arrows.
        Unable to face Ravana, the vanaras ran to Rama for protection. Then Rama, taking his bow, set out at once. Lakshmana interrupted him with joined palms, said "O, My dear Bro! I am sure I will be able to tackle and kill that rakshash, wretched Ravana. Permit me to do so." Rama nodding his agreement told Lakshmana "Go, Lakshmana and also be strenuous in this duel. Seek out his weak points and guard against your own. Defend yourself vigilantly with your eyes and bow."
      Lakshmana on entering the battle-field saw Ravana with arms as large as the trunks of elephants, who was brandishing his dreadful and fiery bow, covering the bodies of those vanaras with a close rain of darts. Seeing that horror, Hanuman decided to do something to end that atrocity.
     Approaching his chariot, Hanuman lifted his right arm told Ravana "You have got the boon of invulnerability to the devas, danavas, gandharvas and yakshas. But vanaras are a danger to you. This five-branched right hand of mine, which I now raise, will rob you of your life that has long been clinging in your body."
    Ravana was irritated and angry but also amused as well. He told Hanuman "Strike quickly without fear, O Vanara! Win eternal renown. Thereafter, I am going to destroy you, after measuring your strength."
       Hanuman made a tart rejoinder "Recollect that I have killed your son Aksha already."
      That was the last straw for Ravana, who without any more warning struck Hanuman on his chest with the palm of his hand (it is immaterial which hand). It was really very hard for Hanuman, who reeled. Quickly recovering his balance, Hanuman hit Ravana back with the very raised palm of his right hand. This was quite violent even for Ravana, who shook like a mountain when the earth trembles. Beholding Ravana struck in the fight by Hanuman's palm, the rishis, Vanaras, sidhas, devas and asuras (who were witnessing from the firmament the battle game as their prime entertainment) raised a resounding approbation.
       Ravana, who was quite a sportsman (may be sportsrakshash is more appropriate), having regained his breath, remarked "Well done! Well done! O, monkey! You are my adversary, worthy of praise by your valour!"
          Hanuman replied "O, Ravana! Why this boasting? Now strike me again! My fist is about to dispatch you to meet your maker."
      The tart reply of Hanuman very much irritated and angered Ravana, who enraged, his eyes red with fury and whirling his fist with force landed it down violently on Hanuman's chest. Hanuman did not expect such a mighty knock and therefore reeled once again. Seeing that mighty Hanuman exhausted, Ravana turned his chariot towards Nila. With his terrific arrows Ravana pierced the vital parts of Nila, who was already engaged in fight with some rakshash and was in a winning position.
          Nila, the Army General of vanaras, tormented by that hail of arrows, hurled with one hand a great rock at Ravana.
      Meanwhile, Hanuman regained his breath and in his martial ire cried out furiously at Ravana, who was occupied in fight with Nila "It is not proper to start fighting with a person who is already fighting with another."
       Ravana shattered the rock hurled by Nila with his arrows and it fell down, crumbling to pieces. Seeing that rock was shattered, Nila glowed with fury. Nila then hurled Aswakarna trees, Shala trees with extensive flowering, Chuta trees and other various types of trees. Ravana, confronting those trees, busted them to pieces and showered a hail of darts on Nila. Showered by a multitude of shafts, as from a cloud, the mighty Nila assumed a diminutive form and leapt on to the point of Ravana's standard.
         Seeing Nila standing well on the point of his standard, Ravana became highly furious. Nila was leaping on to the point of Ravana's standard jumped on to the tip of his bow and then on to the peak of his diadem and so on and so forth. Lakshmana, Hanuman and Rama and others were amused to see that. Ravana, amazed at the Nila's agility, seized an arrow called Agneya (the weapon of Fire).
       Seeing the discomfort and irritation of Ravana, all vanaras felt rejoiced. Seeing Ravana disconcerted at the agility of Nila all vanaras shouted joyously. The agile jumping hither and thither by Nila and  the shouts of joy by the vanaras, made Ravana totally confused and did not know what to do. Ravana then taking up an arrow, charged with the missile presided over by the fire-God, aimed at Nila who had perched on the tip of his standard.
         Then, Ravana told Nila "O monkey! You are endowed with agility combined with a supreme power of magic. Now save your life if you can."
        Ravana then shot that Agni Missile arrow at Nila. Struck on the chest by that arrow combined with a missile, Nila burnt all over, fell on the ground. Yet by virtue of the powerful aid of his father and his own native vigour, he did not die.
         Seeing Nila unconscious, Ravana, eager for fight, rushed on Lakshmana. Seeing Ravana in front of him Lakshmana told him "O, King of rakshashas! Now fight with me. Stop fighting with the vanaras!"
       Ravana drawing near his adversary, who stood close to his chariot replied "O, Lakshmana! By my good fortune, you in your perverted mind, reached within my range of sight so as to meet your death. This very instant, you will go to the region of Death, after having collapsed by the bang of my rain of arrows."
        Lakshmana told him "You are blowing your own trumpet! O, King of rakshashas! I know your valour, strength, energy and courage! Come! I now stand here, with my bow and arrows in hand."
        Thus accosted, Ravana, infuriated, loosened seven arrows which Lakshmana shattered with his arrows. Beholding those arrows shattered like great cobras with their hoods shattered, Ravana loosened other sharp arrows.
             The fight was going on evenly for some time. After sometime Lakshmana was struck by Ravana in the forehead with an arrow with the power of Agni, which had been bestowed on him by Brahma.
           Lakshmana was hardly able to withstand it and his head was reeling and his bow started slipping from his hand. With a very great effort he retained his consciousness, and shattered that arrow. Then he broke Ravana's bow with a three pointed arrow which also pierced him. Ravana swooned and regained his senses with difficulty.
        Ravana, with his bow broken, severely wounded by the arrows of Lakshmana, his limbs spattered with flesh and streaming with blood was raving. He, therefore decided to end the battle with one of the most powerful missiles he was bestowed with. He then seizing that spear gifted to him by Brahma, hurled by his strongest hand on Lakshmana. That blazing spear, faithfully emitting smoke and as bright as fire, frightening the vanaras on its way and defying all the arrows and missiles of Lakshmana to shatter it or stop it, hit his broad chest.
          The mighty Lakshmana, struck by that spear, fell down on the earth. Ravana then boldly rushing on him who was yet insensible, seized him brutally with his hands.
       Ravana who was capable of lifting Himavat, Mandara and Meru mountains as also the Three Worlds with the Gods, was surprised to see that he could not raise or even move Lakshmana. Lakshmana was only wounded in the breast by that very powerful missile and not killed due to the fact that he was an inconceivable fraction of Vishnu Himself and as such no one can kill him.
           Seeing Ravana was trying to take the body of Lakshmana, Hanuman rushed towards Ravana and struck angrily on his chest with his all powerful fist. That made Ravana to reel and fall on his knees to the ground.
          A good lot of blood oozed out from all his faces, eyes, and ears. Somehow he returned to his chariot and sat in the middle of it. Seeing Ravana despite his redoubtable strength staggered on the battle-field, sages and vanaras began to shout in triumph. The other celestial spectators from above also applauded.
         Lifting up Lakshmana in his arms, Hanuman brought him to Rama's presence. 
        That spear leaving Lakshmana returned to its position in that chariot of Ravana. The mighty Ravana too, regaining his consciousness, picked up his arrows and the great bow.
         Hanuman told Rama "You have to punish that rakshash by climbing my back, as Vishnu on Garuda, in order to fight with the Enemy of Gods."
             Rama did so. Approaching the battle field Rama saw Ravana standing in his chariot in the battle-field. Rama became angry on seeing him and rushed upon that Ravana like unto Vishnu with his uplifted mace rushed upon Virochana.
          Rama told in a deep voice to Ravana  "O, Rakshash! Stay, stay! Having evoked such a displeasure to me, where will you flee and get an abandonment? Even if you seek refuge in the region of Indra or Yama  or Surya or Brahma  or Agni or Shiva or  anywhere in the fourteen worlds you cannot elude me from now on."
           Irritated by the confident words of Rama, Ravana hurled powerful and flaming arrows on Hanuman the bearer of Rama. Strangely and surprisingly those arrows did not affect Hanuman in anyway but wounded him slightly. Seeing Hanuman wounded by Ravana, Rama's anger increased manifold.
         Rama shattered the chariot of Ravana along with its wheels, horses, banner, canopy, great standard, charioteer, darts, spears and swords. Thereupon, with a great force, Rama struck that Ravana, in his broad and beautiful chest, like Indra would strike the Mount Meru with his thunderbolt.
    That valiant King of rakshashas, whom neither thunder nor lightning could cause disturbance or trembling, stumbled letting fall his bow at the valiant impact of Rama's missiles which created a deep injury. Seeing that Ravana swooning, the magnanimous Rama took up a blazing arrow shaped like a crescent moon and used it to shatter the diadem of Ravana, which was of bright hue.
           In that battle-field, Rama told that Lord of Rakshashas whose splendour was dimmed, who resembled a venomous snake robbed of its poison or like a sun its rays extinguished, bereft of lustre "You have accomplished a highly terrific great feat and my brave soldiers have succumbed beneath your blows. Now, as you are weary and in this condition, I do not want to kill you now.
      "I know you have been tormented in the battle. Go back now. After refreshing yourself, come back in a new chariot with a new bow and try to conquer me."
         King Ravana, his confident boasting subdued, his bow shattered, his horses slain, his chariot shattered, his great diadem broken walked slowly back to Lanka with terrible anger and shame. 
        Rama then arranged for drawing out the arrows from the vanaras and from Lakshmana.
        As usual all the celestial spectators from the firmament felt rejoiced at the defeat of Ravana.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

319. Nila got the wicket this time.

          Seeing Prahasta coming to the battle field with such a confidence and nonchalance Rama became curious. He asked Vibhishana "Who is he with such a very huge body, with such a competent and insouciant outlook coming with a great speed along with a large army? Please tell me about this guy."
           Vibhishana readily obliged by "He is the overall chief of about two-thirds of the army of Lanka. He is a rakshash of immense prowess, skilled in the use of mystic weapons and quite valiant. He is called Prahasta, the field marshal of Ravana."
       The vanaras who were raring to fight, took hold of trees, rocks and lofty and thick stones. As they approached each other, a very great battle ensued between those combatants who showered down a hail of arrows and a bombardment of trees and stones. In that battle, many on both sides were killed.
        In that tumultuous clamour between the vanaras and rakshashas, cries of pain and victorious leonine roars were bellowed.
      The aids of Prahasta, namely Narantaka, Kumbhahanu, Mahanada and Samunnata killed hordes of vanaras. Seeing that, Dvivida, with a mountain-peak, struck down Narantaka. Durmukha on his part, uprooted a very large tree and crushed the rakshash Samunnata.
             Jambavan with a great fury seized a huge rock and threw it on the chest-region of Mahanada. Then, the valiant Kumbhahanu was fighting with the valiant vanara General Tara, who with a huge tree, hit him hard and the rakshash fell down stone dead. 
       Prahasta, with brimming anger, killed very many vanaras with an immense avalanche of arrows.
      Seeing Prahasta  annihilating the vanaras swiftly and efficiently, Nila decided to put an end to that nuisance. Seeing Nila running towards him, like a rocking wind in the sky rushes towards a large massive clouds, Prahasta the Army general halted Nila with a countless arrows. Unfortunately Nila was not able to restrain those arrows. He, therefore just faced and took them with closed eyes.
       Nila, with a great effort retaliated and killed Prahasta's horses by hurling a huge Sala tree on them. Then he quickly followed it by breaking the bow of Prahasta. Deprived of his bow, Prahasta, seizing a formidable mace, leapt down from the chariot. Those two courageous adversaries, with their limbs covered with blood, were standing like two elephants in rut.
         Lion and tiger in gait, lion and tiger in gestures, those two warriors tore each other with their sharp teeth. Vanquishers of other heroes and intrepid combatants, both of them, thirsting for fame, resembled Vritra and Indra. With a good force Prahasta exerting himself struck Nila on his forehead with a mace and blood oozed from his forehead. Nila with his limbs smeared with blood, seized a huge tree and struck Prahasta full on his chest. Ignoring that blow, he took a huge mace and ran towards Nila. Seeing Prahasta briskly rushing towards him, Nila took a huge rock swiftly and quickly hurled that rock on the head of Prahasta. That huge and terrific rock hurled by Nila found its target viz. Prahasa's head splitting it into myriad pieces. That was the end of Prahasta. 
       It is needless to mention that without the leader, his army vanished.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

318. Prahasta is sent to vanquish Rama and his army.

          Ravana just could not just believe that the great and highly prowess and indomitable Akampana was killed. He wanted some time to think to select the best commander to tackle that vanara army. He was looking at the faces of his commanders around him. Seeing Prahasta, the C-in-C  of his armed forces, he felt regretted that he had not sent him earlier. He started buttering his field marshal by  "O, Prahasta, the most proficient in war-fare! I now realize that I under estimated those monkeys. Now I realize that Kumbhakarna or Indrajit or you  or Nikumbha should have been sent to tackle them. As I cannot send the others at this time, I am asking you. Quickly place yourself in their midst with the required number of warriors and set forth in order to triumph over all those monkeys. Coming to know that your are entering the battle-field, the army of monkeys will run away.
      "The animals are unsteady, prone to insubordination and fickle-minded. They cannot stomach  your presence in the battle field as their adversary, as elephants shudder hearing a lion's roar. O, Prahasta! As that army takes to its heels, Rama along with Lakshmana being rendered supportless, will fall into your power though unwillingly. A skeptical misfortune is preferable to one that is certain! Whether it is pleasing or otherwise to hear, say honestly what you consider as an advantage to us."
         Prahasta the Army-General decided to tell Ravana what he has in his mind like Ushana  would speak to Bali, the king of rakshashas. Accordingly he said "O, king! we deliberated this matter with our wise ministers earlier. There was no unanimous agreement. To return Seetha was what I considered preferable. Not to do so meant war. This invasion of Rama along with a huge army of vanaras is not unforeseen by us.
        "Time and again, I have been honoured by you at appropriate times by gifts, felicitations and nice appreciations.  As quid pro quo, I, therefore, am highly obliged, when the opportunity arises, to render you a service. I consider your happiness more important to me than my wives, sons or riches. If necessary, I will willingly sacrifice my life for your sake in battle or for any other reason."
              Prahasta then ordered his aide-de-camp standing near him "Recall immediately all the warriors on leave, training, exercise etc. I want the entire lot of our army gathered and ready to march for the battle in a couple of hours. Today, the flesh-eating birds and beasts will have a feast of the bodies of vanaras and bears I will be slaying on the battle-field with my arrows."
           Within a short while, that City of Lanka was filled with those terrific rakshash-warriors, resembling elephants, wielding various types of weaponry. Some rakshashas propitiated the Agni with their offerings and some others paid homage to Brahmanas. These actions created a fragrant breeze bearing the scent of clarified butter.
         Then, the rakshashas became ready for the battle, delightedly wore garlands of different shapes, consecrated by certain Mantras (sacred formulas). Thereafter, armed with bows and armours, the rakshashas with their eyes turned towards their king Ravana, marched at a brisk pace and ranged themselves round Prahasta.
            Prahasta as commanded by Ravana, ascended his chariot and set out from Lanka along with a huge army. While Prahasta sallied forth, the sound of a kettle-drum, the resonance of musical instruments and the sound of conches were heard, as though filling the earth like the roar of a cloud.
        The rakshashas with terrific forms and bulky bodies, shouting with dreadful voices, went in front, as forerunners of Prahasta. Narantaka, Kumbhahanu, Mahanada and Samunnata, attendants of Prahasta sallied forth, surrounding him on all sides. He emerged from the eastern gate in the midst of an immense, formidable and orderly arranged army, resembling a herd of elephants. In the center of that army, vast as sea, Prahasta in his fury, came forth appearing like Death at the end of the world.
        The warriors of  Prahasta were very happy to be going to the battle field under the command of the most valiant,  doughty, indomitable, redoubtable and dauntless commander Prahasta, whom even Indra was  scared to face in a battle, were  raising war-cries happily and loudly. This, unfortunately for them, drew sinister answering calls from all creatures in Lanka. In a cloudless sky, birds of prey eating flesh and drinking blood, flew in circles from left to right towards the chariot. Fearful jackals vomited forth fire and flames, howling repeatedly. A meteor fell from the sky and the wind blew harshly.
          The planets, in opposition to each other, lost their brilliance. The clouds, with their raucous sound, showered blood on Prahasta's chariot and dampened those who were walking in front of it. A vulture facing the south alighted on the top of the standard, croaking towards both of its sides and deprived the rakshash of his entire lustre. The goad slipped several times then from the hand of the charioteer, himself a Suta (the son of a Kshatriya by a Brahamana woman) well skilled in controlling the horses, as he entered the battle-field.
          The splendor clothing Prahasta  vanished in an instant and the horses stumbled even on even ground. 
         On reaching the battle field, an exceedingly tumultuous clamour arose from Rama's army of vanaras as they tore up the trees and seized hold of huge rocks and getting prepared for attack and counter attack. Both the armies of the yelling rakshashas and the roaringr vanaras were delighted, impetuous and impatient for action. They were challenging each other with great shouts. Prahasta was going ahead nonchalantly towards the army of Sugreeva, whom he imagined, he would destroy without much effort.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

317. Hanuman scored again with Akampana.

              Seeing the carnage created by the chiefs of vanaras in the battle, Akampana decided to stop it. He ordered his charioteer "Drive the chariot quickly to that place, where those vanaras are killing quite a lot of our chaps. I wanna wipe out all those animals without any trace.
       "Those enormous and massive vanaras of terrific ferocity, armed with trees and rocks, dare to affront me arrogantly. I will eradicate all those audacious monkeys, who are harassing all our guys."
           Akampana the most skillful of chariot-warriors, with a hail of darts, assailed the vanaras from a distance very effectively. With the result the vanaras were unable to maintain their tranquillity, ipso facto their formation, and loosing the inclination to fight the battle. Quite a many of them were crushed under the shafts of the arrows of Akampana. Seeing that slaughter almost all the vanara warriors ran away. Seeing those companions, getting under the sway of death pursued by Akampana's darts, the mighty Hanuman decided to stop that carnage by Akampana.
            Seeing Hanuman, their great leader, who had come to protect them, all the vanaras rallied and regrouped themselves boldly around him. Being under the protection of the great Hanuman, all the vanaras felt themselves becoming very powerful.
          Akampana assailed a hail of arrows on Hanuman, who took them nonchalantly like a rock and decided to slay Akampana without any delay. Looking around he noticed a mountain nearby. Lifting that mountain quickly, letting up a roar, threw it at Akampana. Akampana shattered it even before it started to gain momentum, by means of his great crescent-shaped arrows.
         Undaunted with his failure, Hanuman quickly went to an Ashwakarna tree as large as a mountain. Uprooting it quickly and taking a firm hold of that Ashvakarna tree with large branches, Hanuman with immense delight threw it towards that rakshash Akampana with a terrific force.
        Hanuman was disappointed to see that tree missed Akampana. At the same time he was happy to note that the tree struck down elephants with their riders on them and charioteers with their chariots and quite a number of infantry rakshashasas. This unnerved the infantry rakshashas who ran away from the battle ground to save their lives.
       The undaunted and valiant Akampana, seeing what was happening by the onslaught of Hanuman who was enraged and rushing on, sowing terror among his (i.e. Akampana's) soldiers, was greatly perturbed. With a view to stop that Hanuman from doing any more harm to his rakshashas, Akampana, with  fourteen sharp arrows tore the flesh of Hanuman. Riddled with sharp-pointed shafts, Hanuman appeared like a mountain with a number of plants on it.
        That large body of the mighty Hanuman of great strength was shining  like a fire without smoke and resembled a blooming Ashoka tree. Hanuman then decided to finish that rakshash without any further delay.
         Fortunately for him, Hanuman found nearby a large tree which looked very strong and sturdy. He quickly pulled out that tree and hit Akampana with a force. That was the last straw for Akampana who fell down and died. Seeing Akampana lying lifeless on the earth, all his warriors ran away.
         The triumphant vanaras shouted with their might and killed the rakshashas who were still alive there on the battle-field.
        Then, Rama himself, the exceedingly strong Lakshmana, Sugreeva and other vanaras and the mighty Vibhishana paid tributes to Hanuman for killing the very strong rakshash Akampana.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

316. The next victim was Akampana.

         The news about the sad demise of Vajradamshtra irritated Ravana. He thought "Perhaps I under estimated the capabilities of Rama and his vanaras. I should have sent some one much better than Vajradamshtra. Now there is no point to brood over the spilled milk! Now let me make amends for my mistake. Who to send now? ...... Yeah! I should have sent Akampana! I will send him now. I am sure that he will finish that Rama, Lakshmana and all the animals with them."
          Having decided to sent Akampana now he gave orders accordingly.
       The mighty Akampana then quickly mobilized his army comprising of rakshashas of terrifying appearance. He furnished them with every kind of weapon. Then, Akampana with the stature and colour of a cloud, whose voice resembled a thunder, ascended his great chariot, decorated with fine gold and set out, surrounded by those dreadful rakshashas.
          Akampana was shining like the sun, by his splendour. As he sped on his way, hastened and eager to enter the battle, the horses drawing his chariot were suddenly deprived of their energy. The left eye of Akampana, who delighted in warfare, began to twitch. His countenance grew pale and his voice trembled. In the beginning it was a good day, marked by fine weather. But suddenly and inexplicably it turned into a day of bad weather with a bitter wind beginning to blow. Birds and beasts uttered cruel and fearful cries.
            Despite all those unfavourable portents, that rakshash Akampana having the shoulders of a lion and the agility of a tiger, disregarding them, rushed towards the battle-field with utmost speed with his troops. It looked that those already displayed portents got angry at the complete indifference of Akampana, ipso facto they sent another which created an immense tumult that would seem to convulse the ocean. That clamor, the outcome of the last portent frightened all the rakshashas and vanaras, excepting of course, Akampana. A fiercely fierce battle ensued between the vanaras and the rakshashas, who were fully prepared to lay their lives for the sake of Rama and Ravana, respectively.
       The tremendous clamour created by the warriors of both sides, yelling in their rage making savage cries, were distinctly heard far and wide. A highly terrific dust, in a thick coppery colour, raised by the warriors on both sides enveloped all the ten quarters.
        The combatants, enveloped by that dust, which was whitish like a piece of silk shaken by the wind, could no longer distinguish each other on the battle-field. Neither standard, banner and shield, nor horse, weapon and chariot could be discerned in that pall of dust. A great tumultuous clamour of warriors, making challenging cries and rushing upon each other, was heard on the battle-field, but in that confusion, no form was visible.
         In the darkness, the greatly enraged vanaras killed vanaras and the rakshashas killed rakshashas in that battle on that day. 
           The battle-ground was covered with the mangled bodies of rakshashas and vanaras sprinkled with blood. This did not deter the rakshashas and the vanaras to continue their efforts to send their adversaries to join their comrades lying inert on the battle-ground. 
           Akampana, the general of the army of rakshashas was not at all amused by what was happening there. He cheered all his rakshashas  and encouraged them to kill their adversaries and not to get killed or wounded. The vanaras, however, leaping upon them and relieving their weapons, crushed the rakshashas with blows by large trees and stones.
       The vanara commanders Kumuda, Nala and Mainda, in an outburst of anger, displayed unsurpassed rashness. With their determination, courage and prowess,  they created a great carnage among the rakshashas.