Sunday, 31 July 2016

375. Vibhishana brings Seetha to Rama.

              Hanuman, returning to where Rama was, told him that Seetha informed him that she was very much eager to see her husband, Rama, at the earliest.
       Rama was overwhelmed to hear that information. Then, drawing a deep and warm breath he told Vibhishana, who was standing nearby "Bring here Seetha, after she has bathed her head, has been anointed with charming cosmetics and adorned with beautiful jewels. Please bring her to me as early as you can.”
      Vibhishana, after collecting suitable dress, ornaments etc. and went to to Seetha accompanied by his own women for helping Seetha to take bath et al. On seeing Seetha he told "O Seetha! Anointed with charming cosmetics and adorned with beautiful jewels, get into the palanquin. Your husband is very eager to see you.”
       Seetha replied "O king of rakshashas! I wish to see my husband, at the earliest. I do not like to waste time in taking bath, dressing up et al."
        Vibhishana told her Rama desires to see her duly dressed and ornamented etc." 
      When Seetha was ready, she was taken into a shining palanquin, covered with an exceedingly valuable cloth and guarded by numerous rakshashas, was being tasken to the presence of Rama. Vibhishana went ahead of her to inform Rama the arrival of Seetha. 
        The thought that he would be seeing Seetha now made Rama feel a mixture of joy, indignation and a sense of misery. He then told Vibhishana to bring her to her presence as soon as she arrives.
       On learning that Seetha was coming in a palanquin to where Rama was stationed, very many rakshashas, bears and vanaras gathered to have a sight of that Seetha for whom the greatest war of that time was fought. Seeing that a large crowd was gathered around the palanquin where Seetha was sitting, Vibhishana ordered his police force to disperse the crowd there quickly. Police rakshashas wearing jackets and turbans and carrying staffs which made a jingling sound, started dispersing those crowd.
         Crowds of bears, vanaras and rakshashas, who were getting rough treatment from the police force, were making all sorts of noise, due to pain, while moving away from the palanquin on all sides. The intensity of the noise created by them was so great, resembling the roar of a sea, lashed by a storm.
        Learning the reason for that outcry,  Rama told Vibishana "Why are these people harassed by your chaps? Stop this exertion. They are my own people. An apartment or a police force is not a thing that protects a woman. Her character is her shield.
          "A woman becoming visible to public in times of a calamity, or in battles, or in Swayamvara or in marriage-functions is not condemned.
       "Seetha underwent quite a lot of stress and distress and was beset with a great difficulty. There is no fault in her appearance in public, particularly in my presence. Therefore let her come to me on foot, leaving the palanquin there. Let these vanaras and others may see Seetha in my presence."
       Vibhishana brought Seetha by foot to Rama, as ordered by him.      However, Lakshmana, Sugreeva and Hanuman  felt very much perturbed. From the pitiless facial features of Rama, showing indifference to his consort, they conjectured that Rama was, in someway, displeased with Seetha. Seetha, for her part, shrinking into her limbs with modesty, approached her husband, duly followed by Vibhishana.
      The pleasant-faced Seetha, who considered her husband as her highest deity, saw the charming face of her husband with surprise, rejoice and affection. Seeing the face of her beloved husband, which had not been seen for a long time and which was charming like the rising full moon, her mental fatigue was dispelled forthwith.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

374. Hanuman informed Seetha the victory of Rama.

           As directed by Rama, Hanuman, after getting the formal approval of the king Vibhishana, started happily to meet Seetha. During his journey to the Ashoka Vana, where Seetha was being held, all rakshashas and rakshashis seeing him were very polite, courteous and respectful and moved away to enable Hanuman to move fast without any hindrance. At the Ashoka vana, he found Seetha sitting in her usual place with her usual bearing viz. bereft of freshness, looking joylessly like a frightened cow and surrounded by rakshasies. Hanuman approached her and offering salutation to her, stood there silently.
       Seetha did not recognize the vanara in front of her for a few moments. When she recognized him, her beautiful but sad looking face bloomed like a beautiful flower. Seeing that Seetha recognized him, Hanuman told her “O Lady! Rama, Lakshmana and all others are well. We have won the battle and that rakshash Ravana has been killed by Rama in battle. Rama directed me to inform this to you. 
      “O the divine lady! Vibhishana the benign youngest brother of Ravana has been crowned as the king of Lanka. That means you are now as good as staying in your own house. King Vibhishana will be coming over here to see you and offer his respects to you."
           Seetha was absolutely exhilarated to hear the news. She was unable to say anything as she was tongue-tied with a thrill of delight.
          Seeing her reticent for quite some time, Hanuman asked her “Devi! May I know what you are thinking about? Why don’t you speak to me?”
      Seetha, coming back to reality from her reverie told Hanuman “The pleasant tidings about the victory of my husband made be totally spellbound, and as such I could not speak. O, Hanuman! I am terribly sorry I have nothing appropriate here to present you for the wonderful news you brought to me.
       “However, I could not think of anything on this earth that is worthy for you for you delightful message which has given me so much  happiness. Neither silver, nor gold nor diamonds nor the sovereignty of the three worlds, can be worthy of this message.”
         The words of Seetha made Hanuman highly exhilarated. He replied Seetha "O gentle lady! These words of yours, endowed with preciousness and affection, are better than any one or more presents like diamonds, gold etc. What I desire from you is your blessings and blessings alone.”
        Seetha nodding with a smile told Hanuman“I already knew you to be very good. Now I see that you are endowed with exceedingly good attributes, embellished with a grace of style and filled with an intelligence, consisting of eight excellences.*

* The eight excellences are: 1) Keenness to hear discourse on the Spirit 2) readiness to hear such discourses, 3) receptivity, 4) retentive power, 5) reasoning for and 6) against a proposition, 7) the faculty of comprehension and 8) realization of truth.

       “You are a praiseworthy and supremely virtuous son of Vayu. I find that you have all the qualities desired for a male viz. strength, valour, knowledge of scriptures, vigour, prowess, superlative skill in action, spirit, forbearance, firmness, stability and humility."
     Hanuman, because of his humility did not reply. After a moment he said “Devi, I wanna kill of all these notorious and vile rakshashies, by whom you have been continuously harassed earlier. These cruel rakshashis of terrific form and behavior, with still more cruel eyes, having ugly faces, were heard by me here speaking again and again harsh words to you, who are so devoted to your husband, at Ravana’s command, when you were suffering hardships in this Ashoka vana.
      “I wish to kill after torturing these cruel, extremely rough and deformed rakshashis, with distorted features and terrific hairs and eyes. Please permit me to do it as a present you desire to give me.”
     Seetha was shocked to hear those words from Hanuman and became speechless for a few moments. Then she told Hanuman “O! Hanuman! These rakshasshis were only obeying the orders of their master and king Ravana. I feel that the tortures I had from these poor creatures were a consequence of my bad fortune or on account of some misdeed committed by me in the past.
      “O Hanuman! It has been ordained that this type of situation is to be endured by me, due to the application of fate. Feeble as I am in these matters, I am forgiving the servants of Ravana here.
       “O Hanuman! As commanded by Ravana they threatened me. As he is dead now, they will not do the threatening. O Hanuman! I presume that you very well know the story of the bear, hunter and the tiger, where what the bear told the tiger the maxim that 'A superior person does not take into account the sins of those who have committed an offence. Virtuous persons consider good conduct as an ornament. Kindness is to be shown by a noble person even towards a sinner who deserves death, for, there is none who never commits a wrong. No evil is to be done, even to those cruel persons of sinful deeds, who take pleasure in harming the life of others and continue to perpetrate their sinful acts.' "

The Story of the hunter, tiger and the bear.

         Once upon a time a tiger was in pursuit of a hunter, in the forest where the tiger was residing. The hunter climbed up a tree. There was bear already perched on a bough of the tree. As the tiger was not able to climb the tree, from the foot of the tree, the tiger told the bear: "Look my dear bear, both of us are denizens of the forest. The hunter is our common enemy. Therefore, knock him down from the tree." The bear replied "The hunter having sought asylum at my abode, I am obliged to protect him. I am therefore not going to hurl him down. I would be deviating from my duty if I do so." Saying so, the bear coolly went into a snooze. The tiger then turned to the hunter and said, "Push the bear down. My tummy will be full after eating it. Then, I shall protect you." The hunter swallowed the words of the tiger and pushed the sleeping bear. The bear, however, clutched at another bough and escaped from falling down. The tiger now told the bear "You now see that the hunter is not a good chap and sought to hurl you down. He is bad a fellow who wronged you. Therefore push him down." The bear refused to hurl him down pronouncing the above referred maxim.
End Story.

           Hanuman was absolutely thrilled to hear the reply of Seetha. He told her “O divine lady! You are the most apt wife of Rama,  a paragon of virtue. Give me a message in return. Rama will be highly pleased to hear it."
          Seetha replied “O Hanuman! I long to see my husband as early as possible.”
         Hanuman assured her by saying that she would see him on that day itself. And he left to join Rama.

373. Vibhishana succeeds to the throne of Lanka.

           The deities watching the epical duel between Rama and Ravana from the firmament felt highly elated to see the end. Everyone telling the other sitting adjacent to him "At last that menace Ravana has been crushed by Rama. Let us all bless him." They then disbursed chatting among themselves about the manner of destruction of Ravana, the prowess of Rama, the admirable combat of the vanaras, the counsel tendered by Sugreeva, the affection and valour of Lakshmana, the loyalty of Seetha to her husband and about the strength of Hanuman etc. just like we humans in our world Earth would be doing on disbursing a test cricket match or some other international sports event on conclusion.
           Rama thanked Matali and told him to take back the chariot lent by Indra. 
        Rama told Lakshmana arrange the enthronement of Vibhishana in the place of his bro Ravana.
        Nodding his agreement, Lakshmana  initiated the process by getting a golden pot. Lakshmana, then placing that pot in the hands of the vanara chief who was standing adjacent to him, instructed him to bring sea-water, which was promptly brought to him in a short while.
        Thereupon, Lakshmana told Vibhishana to sit on the throne, sprinkled him with sea-water from that pot in accordance with the rule prescribed in Vedic scriptures. All the rakshashas (who somehow escaped death) endorsed this by attending the ceremony with a happy countenance.
      Then Vibhishana was consecrated. All rakshashas and vanaras were very delighted to see Vibhishana in the throne of Lanka. Of course  Rama together with Lakshmana were greatly delighted, too. Vibhishana, having gained that great kingdom bestowed on him by Rama, was also greatly delighted.
          Then, Rama told Hanuman "My dear Hanu! With the permission of the king, Vibhishana, go to the Ashoka vana and inform Seetha all the happy news you very well know what."

Friday, 22 July 2016

372. Vibhishana performed the obsequies to Ravana.

              All the consorts became very tired lamenting aloud. They were then weeping silently. Mandodari, the principal and most beloved wife and queen of Ravana,  staring at her husband in the silent atmosphere could not control her feelings. And she started lamenting  "O the great armed brother of Kubera! Even the mighty Indra would not not dare to come before you, when you were enraged.
        "O the lord of rakshashas! O king! How is it that you allowed yourself to be conquered in battle, by Rama, a mere human? How did a human, wandering in a forest, killed you, who had overcome the three worlds by dint of your prowess?
        "When you came to know that Khara was killed by Rama in Janasthana, you should have realized that Rama was really no mortal. We felt painful, the moment Hanuman penetrated, by dint of his prowess, deep into the City of Lanka, which was difficult to be entered even for gods. 
     “Alas! It is difficult to believe that you are dead when you were the death, even to the Death himself. How did you depart from this world, falling under the sway of Death? 
      “It was indeed a display of your cowardice that Rama’s consort was borne away by you, after luring away Rama from his hermitage. However, I do not recall your faint-heartedness at any time on the battle-field. 
            "You did not heed the sane and sensible advice of your friends. Nor did you like the advice of your brothers.
         "The counsel, which was endowed with reason, meaningful rule of conduct, wholesome, gentle and well-founded,  offered by Vibhishana,  was repudiated by you. The advice offered by Mareecha, Kumbhakarna, myself and my father were not heeded by you, who was arrogant of your prowess. What is followed is a bitter consequence of your perversity.
     "Why are you lying down, embracing the battle-ground, as one would embrace a loved one? Why do you not feel inclined to reply me, as though I were abhorrent to you? Woe be to me, that my heart is not bursting into pieces, tormented as I am with grief, seeing you like this.”
        Mandodari, affected by intolerable grief, fell down swooning on the chest of her dear hubby. All the vanaras seeing her in this condition felt that she was looking like a vivid flash of lightning across a rainy cloud, reddened by the flow of twilight.
     The other wives of Ravana gently took up Mandodari, who was bitterly weeping, tried to console her "Don't you know the uncertain state of the worlds, O queen, that the wealth of kings is unsteady, when there is a change in the tide of their fate?"
    Rama then told Vibhishana "Let the obsequies of your brother be performed and let these crews of women be consoled.”
      Vibhishana on second thoughts replied "I feel that am not obliged to perform the obsequies to him, who had abandoned the vow of virtue, was cruel, killed human beings, a cheat and who had longed for others' wives. This Ravana, who was interested in wishing evil to all, though venerable as a respectable elder, is not fit for that honor. He is my enemy, in the guise of a brother.
        "If I do not perform obsequies, O Rama, all the human beings on earth will speak about me as ruthless. But, on coming to know about his bad qualities all of them will speak of it as a good act.”
           Rama, though not entirely disagreeing with the view of Vibhishana,  replied "O king of rakshashas!  I feel that it is my duty to give you the appropriate advice. This rakshash may be full of unrighteousness and falsehood. But, he was brilliant, strong and a brave warrior in battles.
        "It is very well known to everyone that Ravana, who was mighty and endowed with strength and who was causing people to cry, was not defeated by anyone including Indra and other devas. Hostilities end with death. Our purpose has been accomplished. Let his funeral rites be performed. According to rule, Ravana is eligible to get the last rites on his dead body from you. You will also become fit for glory."
        Vibhishana accepted the advice of Rama and began to do obsequies to Ravana, his dead brother. Entering the City of Lanka, Vibhishana concluded all the rites of obsequies to Ravana.

Monday, 18 July 2016

371. The mourning of the consorts of Ravana.

              Just like present day, very, very bad news spread like wildfire in those days, too. Within a few minutes the residents of all the palaces including the gynaecea of Ravana's sweet and not so-sweet hearts came to know of the killing of  Ravana by  Rama. All the sweethearts, present and past, of the late Ravana rushed out towards the battle field to see the body of Ravana. Even though impeded now and then by their maid servants, they were rolling in the dust of the streets, with their hair disheveled, to demonstrate they were suffering with utter grief like cows that had lost their calf.
             After searching here and there in the battle field, they found the gigantic body of their sweetheart Ravana, lying on the ground, like a heap of black collyrium. All of them fell on the body of Ravana. As they were soooo many, many of them could not get even an inch of the body of Ravana. One hundred of them were able to get a finger of a hand of Ravana, and very many had to be satisfied by holding a companion, who was lucky enough to get hold of some part of Ravana's body, including a finger.
           They started to lament like the following.
        "It is  unbelievable that that Ravana, by whom Indra was thrown into fear, Yama struck with terror, Kubera was deprived of Pushpaka, lies killed in the battle-field, that too by a mortal. Here lies Ravana, killed in battle, by a man who came walking from Ayodhya. The great Ravana, who was incapable of being killed by Suras, Yakshashas and Asuras is killed by a mortal human far inferior in strength.
        "It is very unfortunate that your own death is caused because Seetha was borne away by you.  Had you listened to the sane and sensible advice of Vibhishana, your beloved brother, you would not be lying inert and lifeless on the ground.
    "Had you restored Seetha to Rama, this appallingly terrific disaster, which has robbed us of every root, would not have befallen us.
       "Your immoral act of stealing Seetha and adamant in keeping her despite all sane advice to the contrary, has caused you your life......"
       In the above manner the consorts of Ravana, depressed as they were and afflicted with grief, with their eyes full of tears,  lamented like female ospreys.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

370. The lamentation of Vibhishana.

             Vibhishana, though left Ravana and joined his (i.e. Ravana's) enemy, was very much fond of his brother, Ravana. His inherent love and affection for his brother, Ravana, burst out seeing him lying down dead in the battle field. Vibhishana could not help lamenting "O my dear bro! I could not bear the sight of you lying killed on the ground, though you are highly worthy of turning towards lofty beds,  No one is more valiant, celebrated and prudent in polity than you. Your long arms decked with armlets, are now motionless and your diadems, brilliant as the sun, are knocked down. How nice it would have been had you not done the hideous act for which you are made to lie lifeless on the ground.
           "O my dear valiant brother! This would not have happened had you accepted my advice. Unfortunately you were overcome with sensuality and infatuation. Because of your arrogance,  as well as that of Prahasta, Indrajit, Kumbhakarna, Atiratha and Narantaka, you did not  agree to my sane and sensible counsel, the consequence of it has come now.
          "You, the foremost hero of all heroes, who wield weapons, has fallen on the ground. The established rule of well-conducted persons has gone. The incarnation of virtue has departed. The epitome of strength has gone. The refuge of eulogies has gone out of sight. The sun has fallen to the earth. The moon has merged in darkness. Fire has extinguished its flames and a strenuous effort has become inactive.
      "What is remaining in this world now, when Ravana the foremost of rakshashas, is at present lying in everlasting sleep in the dust? With firmness for its shoot, endurance for its excellent blossom, asceticism for its strength, and valour for its firm root, the large tree in the shape of Ravana has been crushed in the battle-field, by the tempest in the shape of Rama.
          "With sharpness for its tusks, the line of ancestors for its back-bone, anger for its lower parts and graciousness for its proboscis, the elephant in rut in the shape of Ravana is lying inert on the ground, its body having been overthrown by a lion in the shape of Rama. With prowess and power for its expanded flames, sighs for its smoke and his native strength for its glowing heat, the blazing fire in the shape of Ravana, the rakshash has been extinguished in the battle-field by the rainy cloud in the shape of Rama.
        "With the rakshashas for its tail, hump and horn and fickleness for its ears and eyes, the bull in the shape of Ravana the rakshash, the conqueror of its enemies, which vied with the wind in energy, is lying dead, struck down by a tiger in the shape of Rama, the ruler of the earth."
          Seeing Vibhishana in deep sorrow mourning the death of his dear brother, Rama pacified him by "My dear Vibhi! Ravana did not die in battle without making an effort. He has fallen in combat, even though he was endowed with terrible prowess and exhibited extraordinary enthusiasm of a very exalted type and remained confident throughout.
         "In the past, none has ever been exclusively victorious in a combat. A hero either had been killed by his adversaries or had killed the enemies, in battle. Such is the destiny proclaimed by the ancients, as highly esteemed for a warrior. A warrior killed in battle, is not to be mourned. Such is the ascertainment of the sacred scriptures.
        "Therefore, containing your grief, proceed with what honour is due to him."
       Vibhishana replied Rama "My dear brother had never been conquered before in battles, including deities lead by Indra. He had given lavish gifts to mendicants. He was a connoisseur of pleasures, which he enjoyed very much. The king's servants were fully maintained. Riches were made over to friends. Grudges against enemies were revenged. He maintained a perpetually sacred fire. He practiced great religious austerities. He completely mastered Vedas, the sacred scriptures. He was highly proficient even in the ritual acts. I desire to do, with you graciousness, that which is to be performed to him, who has departed to the other world."
             Rama, nodding in agreement, advised  Vibhishana to perform the funeral rites to his departed brother. 

Saturday, 16 July 2016

369. Ravana was killed by Rama.

             Matali was wondering why Rama was just dilly-dallying and not killing that rakshash. Matali did not expect that the battle between Rama and Ravana would be taking so long and without any break. After thinking for a while, he thought that Rama was tired, too and hence could not think clearly and was acting involuntarily. Matali, therefore, decided to refresh the memory of Rama and told him "Sir! Why are you still dragging on the battle with Ravana. Why don't you finish him? Have you forgotten that Brahmaastra would do the trick?"
        Rama, who was reminded thus by Matali, thanked him and took hold of the Brahmaastra  looking like hissing serpent. It was given to him by the sage, Agastya earlier in the battle-field. It was made specifically  for Indra, by Brahma. It was bestowed to those who were considered worthy of it. Sometimes some unworthy rakshashas got it. It was said to be more powerful than a nuclear device like a hydrogen bomb. As such it was being used very, very sparingly when any other weapon proved to be of no use.
        Rama thanked Matali again for the timely helpful suggestion. He, then made it as powerful as it was meant to be by following the procedure specified in scriptures. Rama then fixed that arrow and was preparing himself to hurl it toward that rakshash, Ravana. The mere indication that the all-powerful astra was about to be hurled towards the enemy, all beings were frightened and the earth trembled. When Rama hurled it toward that rakshash, it, ignoring all the weapons hurled by Ravana to stop it, promptly hit Ravana's chest. After taking the life of Ravana from his body, that astra, anointed with his blood, penetrated the earth.
          After duly satisfying itself that it had accomplished its mission, that arrow re-entered its bed (i.e. the quiver of Rama) silently and fell asleep.
         The lifeless body of Ravana fell down from the chariot on to the ground, like Vritra, when he was struck down by the vajra.
       It is needless to specifically state that the entire army of Ravana, seeing the dead body of their king, ran away. And that made all the vanaras very happy and feeling triumphant. 
         Then the cheerful outlet of the deities who were watching the duel reverberated in the sky. Very pleasant winds, carrying divine odour, emanated from there and embraced Rama and all others in his army. They showered lots of fascinating flowers on the chariot of Rama.
          All of them cried in joy "well done! Bravo!", combined with a panegyric in praise of Rama.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

368. The final battle between Rama and Ravana.

            Then ensued a fierce and a prolonged epical duel between Rama and Ravana. The clatter created during that duel was frightful to all the worlds. Both the armies of the rakshashas and vanaras were absolutely spellbound watching that duel. They stood motionless with utter fascination forgetting the fact that they had to fight their enemies.
        Looking at their respective hero i.e. Rama for the vanaras and Ravana for the rakshashas, in amazement they were standing absolutely motionless. The deities watching the duel from the firmament were wondering whether all of them were turned into statues.
         The favorable portents indicating his winning the battle made Rama a more competent and fearless fighter. The portents indicating the end of Ravana made him angry and determine to fight with all the resources at his disposal and employing his best nay better than than his best prowess and ability.
          Whatever arrows and missiles hurled by Ravana towards Rama were warded off  by counter arrows and missiles by Rama.
        Ravana then tried to disable the horses of the chariot of Rama with blazing arrows. Being divine horses, they were neither shaken nor stumbled when hit by the arrows. They simply snorted.
     Ravana tried maces, iron bludgeons, discs, iron clubs, mountain-tops, trees, spikes and axes without any effect on Rama, his chariot etc. Ravana then tried streams of missiles as a creation of magic and also thousands of arrows. There is no need for me to mention that all of them were made noneffective by Rama.
       Realizing he could not make any dent on Rama or his chariot, including the charioteer and the horses, Ravana diverted his attack on the army of vanaras on all sides, for a change.
        The way in which Ravana was fighting clearly indicated that he lost all hope of victory. However, he was fighting with all his prowess, expertise, effectiveness, mastery etc. He completely covered the sky with his arrows. Due to that dazzling shower of arrows employed by both the warriors, the shining sky looked like a second sky built with arrows. 
        Sometime later, the further influx of arrows from both the duelists made the sky bereft of even a breathing space.
         The top two warriors of that time, Ravana and Rama carried out the fight well with sharp arrows. Rama succeeded in downing the flag-staff of Ravana.
          Rama and Ravana did not relent even for an iota of a second even when severely wounded. On the other hand they strolled in the battle-field like two clouds pouring showers.
          Rama hit the four splendid horses of Ravana in such a way that they were not severely wounded, but were made to feel very uncomfortable ipso facto retreat. This made Ravana very angry which was what Rama wanted. Rama also expected that the anger would make Ravana fight erratically, but that did not happen. The angry Ravana fought more ferociously wounding Rama severely. Rama bore the brunt of the  arrows of Ravana with a smile. He did not get upset or totter.
       Ravana then tried to irritate and anger Rama by attacking Matali, Indra's charioteer, by arrows with a sound similar to that of a thunder-bolt. As Matali had faced and would be facing very many ferocious and powerful enemies as the charioteer to Indra, he was well protected by the weapons hurled toward him. As such the arrows of great speed from the bow of Ravana falling on Matali's body, did not cause even a little of bewilderment or hurt on him in that battle.
        Rama became very angry for the attack on Matali. Rama then hurled thousands of arrows on the chariot of that rakshash, Ravana. Ravana then retaliated by showering innumerable maces and mallets on Rama. The battle thus turned highly tumultuous, causing one's hair to stand erect. With the sounds of maces, mallets and iron rods and with the gusts raised by the plumes adorning the flying arrows, the seven agitated oceans were disquieted. Thousands of all danavas and pannagas (some kind of serpents), inhabiting the Patala, felt disturbed. The entire earth, including mountains, groves and forests trembled. The sun too became gloomy and the wind did not blow.
          That battle between Rama and Ravana created such apprehension to all the worlds similar to the one that would be felt by the people of this our Earth when a nuclear war starts between some mighty nations.
             Deciding to take drastic action, Rama hurled a very powerful serpent-like arrow on Ravana. It duly chopped off a head of Ravana, which was graced with blazing ear-rings. Everyone, including the zealous deities and others like danavas and asuras watching the battle avidly from the firmament saw that head falling on the ground. They also saw another head, exactly similar to that fallen head, popping up from the shoulders of Ravana. That second head was again chopped off by Rama with his arrow with the same result. Rama was highly irritated to see that whenever he cut a head of that rakshash, another one grew up. Rama chopped off a few scores of the heads of Ravana. Every fallen head was immediately replaced by another.
           Vexed Rama became thoughtful. He was thinking very hard as to how that rakshash could be killed. Don't think that Rama became susceptible to the attacks of Ravana because he was thinking hard over something else. He was not like you and me. He was an ashtavadhani (i.e. One who does eight things at a time). May be more.         
          In view of the above, though Rama was deeply absorbed in thought, he remained vigilant in the battle-field. He showered streams of arrows on Ravana's chest. Ravana retaliated by showering maces and mallets on Rama.
           This battle continued for seven days. Wonder whether there was any lunch break, break for drinks etc.? The answer is an emphatic NO. It is categorically  stated by Maharish Valmiki that 'There was no respite in that battle between Rama and Ravana, either in the night or in the day or for an hour or even for a instant."
 नैव रात्रिं न दिवसं न मुहूर्तं न च क्षणम् |
रामरावणयोर्युद्धं विराममुपगच्छति ||

367. Prelude to the final battle.

   The charioteer of Ravana was feeling very happy that he was able to convince his king about taking him in the chariot away from the battle field. Within his mind he thanked Ravana for the wonderful gift and prayed that his master and king Ravana may live forever or at at least till he himself lives. Thrilled with rapture, that charioteer, happily drove forward the chariot towards Rama in the battle field.
    Rama was able to see that chariot, even when it was at a distance. He observed  that it was coming quite fast with a noise, bearing a large flag-staff, yoked with black horses, endowed with a terrific luster of the sun, filled with lightning-like flags and with a beautiful appearance of a rain-bow.
When that chariot came nearer, Rama noticed that that rakshash was releasing streams of arrows, like a cloud releasing streams of rain, with a noise like that of a bursting mountain, in the direction of Rama. Rama, getting ready to defend and retaliate, told Matali, the charioteer “O Matali! From the way in which that rakshash is rolling forward with a great speed in his chariot, it seems that he is determined to get himself killed by me in the battle.
“I, surely will oblige him. Please drive the chariot in front of him.
 “I would not be presumptuous to give any instructions to you, who is the charioteer to Indra. However, as I am keen to fight with a close attention, I am just reminding you and not giving you any directions nor instructions."
  Extremely pleased with those unpresumptuous words of Rama, Matali, the charioteer of Indra, felt highly gratified and elated. He wanted to do something which would irritate Ravana and produce that magnificent, superb, glorious, sublime, lovely and delightful smile on the face of Rama. With a mischievous smile, Matali passed his immense chariot through the right of the chariot of Ravana in such a way a good lot of dust raised from the hooves of his horses as well as from the wheels of his chariot were thrown on that of Ravana.  Ravana, who himself was also covered with the dust, in addition to the fine layer of dust all over his chariot, was irritated and angry. The enraged Ravana then, with his coppery eyes wide open, hurled on Rama, who stood facing his chariot, many arrows.
Rama holding the bow of Indra, which was supposed to be much better than most of all other bows, hurled arrows of enormous power and speed and were shining like sun-beams. Then began that great epical battle of all times between the two top warriors of that time viz. Rama and Ravana, each one of them desirous of killing the other.
 All the deities in the firmament, which was overcrowded,  were sure that Rama would kill that vicious rakshash Ravana in that battle, . All of them wanted to assist Rama in some subtle way. They, therefore, caused terrific portents that would appear to  give an augury of doom to Ravana and prosperity to Rama.
  Seeing the portents that were inimical to him made Ravana irritated and worried.
  Pleasant and auspicious omens, depicting victory of Rama appeared on all the sides of Rama. Seeing the pleasant omens predicting his victory, Rama was very much pleased and his self-confidence increased enormously, which in turn enhanced his prowess in that combat.


Monday, 11 July 2016

366. Sage Agastya advised Rama to pray the Sun.

                   The deities, sages, Kinnaras etc. watching the fight between Rama and Ravana from the firmament were anxious that Rama should kill that rakshash. When they saw that Ravana was returning to the battle field their anxiety grew more and they were thinking what to do to ensure the end of that rakshash. Sensing the mood of the other spectators, Sage Agastya decided to act. He along with some of the deities went to Rama who was getting ready to face Ravana who was returning in his chariot to the battle field. 
         Hi! Reader! If you wanna hear what the sage told Rama in their mother-tongue viz. Sanskrit,  click here.  As English translation is also given there, you may skip the rest of this chapter, if you so desire.
           He told Rama "O my lad! Let me tell you the eternal secret, by which you can conquer all your enemies in battle. 
      "This holy hymn dedicated to the Sun deity will ensure in destroying all enemies and bring you victory and never ending supreme bliss.
      "This hymn is supreme and is a guarantee of complete prosperity and is the destroyer of sin, anxiety, anguish and is the bestower of longevity.
    "Worship Him, who stretch his innumerable rays when he has completely risen, and who is held in reverence by the devas and asuras, and who is the Lord of the universe by whose effulgence all and everything brighten.
      "He indeed represent the totality of all celestial beings. He is self-luminous and sustains all with his rays. He nourishes and energizes the inhabitants of all the worlds and the race of devas and asuras.
    "He is Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Skanda and Prajapati. He is also Mahendra (=Shiva), kubera, kala, yama, soma (Moon deity) and varuna.
       "He is the pitrs, vasus, sadhyas, aswini devas, maruts, manu, vayu, agni, prana and, being the source of all energy and light, is the maker of all the six seasons.
       "He is the son of Aditi, creator of the universe, inspirer of action, transverser of the heavens. He is the sustainer, illumination of all directions, the golden hued brilliance and is the maker of the day.
         "He is Omnipresent and pervades all with countless rays. He is the power behind the seven sense organs, the dispeller of darkness, bestower of happiness and prosperity, the remover of misfortunes and is the infuser of life.
         "He is the primordial being manifesting as the Trinity. He ushers in the Day and is the teacher. He is Hiranyagarbha,  and has a vast and supreme felicity. He is the remover of intellectual frost.
           "He is the Lord of the firmament, dispeller of darkness. Master of all the vedas and a friend of the waters. He causes rain. 
            "He, whose form is circular and is colored yellow, is intensely absorbed and inflicts death. He is the destroyer of all and is Omniscient and exceedingly energetic and sustains the universe and all action.
       "He is the lord of stars, planets and all constellations. He is the origin of everything in the universe and is the cause of the lustre of even the brilliant ones. Salutations to Thee who is the One being manifest in the twelve forms of the Sun.
      "Salutations to the Eastern and western mountain, Salutations to the Lord of the stellar bodies and the Lord of the Day.
     "Salutations to the One who ordains victory and the prosperity that follows. Salutations to the one possessed of yellow steeds and to the thousand rayed Lord, and to Aditya.
       "Salutations to the Terrible one, the hero, the one who travels fast. Salutations to the one whose emergence makes the lotus blossom and to the fierce and omnipotent one.
     "Salutations to the Lord of Brahma, shiva and Achyuta.                      "Salutations to the powerful and to the effulgence in the Sun that is both the illuminator and devourer of all and is of a form that is fierce like Rudra.
     "Salutations to the transcendental atman that dispels darkness, drives away all fear, and destroys all foes. Salutations also to the annihilator of the ungrateful and to the Lord of all the stellar bodies.
     "Salutations to the Lord shining like molten gold, to the transcendental fire, the fire of supreme knowledge, the architect of the universe, destroyer of darkness and salutations again to the effulgence that is the Cosmic witness.
       "Salutations to the Lord who destroys everything and creates them again. Salutations to Him who by His rays consumes the waters, heats them up and sends them down as rain.
      "Salutations to the Lord who abides in the heart of all beings keeping awake when they are asleep. He is both the sacrificial fire and the fruit enjoyed by the worshipers.
     "The Sun is verily the Lord of all actions in this universe. He is verily the vedas, the sacrifices mentioned in them and the fruits obtained by performing the sacrifices.
        "Raghava, one who recites this hymn in times of danger, during an affliction or when lost in the wilderness and having fear, he will not lose heart and will become brave and confident.
      "Raghava, worship this Lord of all Gods and the Universe with one-pointed devotion. Recite this hymn thrice and you will win this battle.
      "O mighty armed one, you shall triumph over Ravana this very moment." 
       Having said what he wanted, Agastya joined his pals in the firmament. And the mind of Rama was cleared and was infused with the confidence of victory.
       He was greatly pleased and felt that he became more brave and energetic.
      Gazing at the sun with devotion, he recited this hymn thrice and experienced bliss.
      Purifying Himself by sipping water thrice, He took up his bow with his mighty arms.        
          Without any apprehension whatsoever, Rama eagerly awaited Ravana. Seeing Rama, determined to kill Ravana, the sun-god, blessed him victory.

Friday, 8 July 2016

365. Ravana returns to the battle field.

               A few minutes of rest cleared Ravana's mind. When he opened wide all his twenty eyes and looking hither and thither, he realized what happened. And he became highly angry with his charioteer. He shouted at his charioteer "O! you lousy skunk! What the hell have you done? All the worlds will now think me as a coward. Despising me as though I am bereft of manliness, incapable, deficient in prowess, cowardly, petty-minded, devoid of energy, bereft of brilliance, deserted of conjuring tricks and abandoned by mystic missiles. You made everyone think I got scared and ran away from the battle field. Why have you carried away this chariot of mine, thus humiliating me in the presence of my enemies?
          "Stupid fellow! Today you have erased my fame which was earned through a long period, prowess, vital power and the trust of people. While my adversary, having an illustrious prowess and making all the onlookers delightful through feats of his valour, stood looking on proudly, you made me a laughing stock of all the worlds.
         "Tell me who enticed you to do such an act that will bring ill fame for me. This act, which has been done by you, is only befitting of enemies. This is indeed not the work of a friend, who wishes me well. If you consider yourself very faithful to me, drive back the chariot swiftly to the battle field."
         The harsh and angry words of of the irritated Ravana pained very much his absolutely loyal charioteer. With tears brimming his eyes he politely entreated his master and king Ravana "Your Majesty! I was neither frightened nor stupid. I was not bribed by the enemies. My act was not a blunder. I was not disloyal to you. I have not forgotten the benefits conferred by you time and again. And I assure you, sir, I am absolutely and totally loyal to you and will remain so till my last moment of life. I thought that a few moments of rest will bring back your prowess, valour etc.
       "O monarch! Once again I assure you that I am totally loyal to you and I assure you that I will not take any action involving you which is not beneficial to you. I understood and realized your exhaustion due to your strenuous fighting in the battle.
     "The horses of the chariot were broken down and were exhausted. They became miserable and thoroughly fatigued, like the cows lashed by heavy rain. I was seeing inauspicious portends. Sir, you know very well that one of the important duties of a charioteer is to evaluate portents as to whether it is propitious or unpropitious, time and place, good or bad, facial as also the strength and weakness of the warrior occupying the chariot. 
         "I have been taught that the eminences and the depressions of the ground as well as the parts which are level and rugged, the time appropriate for the combat and the visible weak points of the enemy must be evaluated by a charioteer. I have also been taught when and how to arrive and retreat, how and when to hold one's position and to recede by me as a  charioteer.
       "In view of the above I humbly submit that the action taken by me was quite appropriate. It would give rest to you and these horses.
     "Your Majesty! If you are still not satisfied with my explanation, command me what am I to do now."
     Satisfied with the explanation given by his charioteer and applauding him in many ways, Ravana gave him an ornament from his neck and told his charioteer to take the chariot back to the battle field. The happy charioteer promptly obeyed and started the chariot towards Rama in the battle field.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

364. Ravana's charioteer sneaked him away from the battle-field.

            The intolerable anger made Ravana to determine to fight to kill that human Rama. With great effort Ravana started to oppress Rama with thousands of arrows, as a rainy cloud would fill a pond with thousands of arrow-like torrents from the sky.
           But our inimitable Rama did not wince. He stood firm like a large mountain which was unshakable. Rama effortlessly warded off the arrows of Ravana with his arrows.
        Ravana, highly irritated by his failure to at least wound that fellow, Rama, tried some thousands of arrows into the breast of Rama. Rama, hit by some the thousands of arrows of Ravana looked as if he was bathed in blood in the battle-field, appeared like a very big Kimshuka tree with bloom, in a forest.
         The space between Rama and Ravana in the battle-field was shrouded in darkness by their arrows. Rama angrily shouted at Ravana “You lousy rakshash! Since you took away my helpless wife from Janasthana surreptitiously, you are not a person of prowess.
       “You do not seem to have any shame for the cowardly action of laying your hands on another’s wife. On the other hand, you seem to be thinking of yourself as a champion for doing such a cowardly, spineless, craven, abject, dastardly, boneless, timorous, weak-kneed and pusillanimous act.
      “Now, I'm gonna make you reap the stupendous fruit of that noxious and contemptible act of stealing the wife of someone. 
     “Had you tried to lay your hands on Seetha in my presence, you surely would have made to join your brother Khara at that very moment by my arrows. Now that you have come within the range of my vision, I will dispatch you to the world of your departed ancestors."
          Rama, then poured out streams of arrows on Ravana. The prowess, the strength, the enthusiasm and the stamina of the arms of Rama became manifold when he longed for the death of his enemy in battle. All kinds of mystic missiles came to light in the mind of Rama. With the speed of lightning, he tormented Ravana vehemently. While being struck by volleys of stones hurled by the monkeys and the showers of arrows coming from Rama, Ravana felt bewildered at heart. Ravana  no longer was able to take up weapons, nor stretch his bow, nor reacted to Rama’s prowess. All his heads started reeling with confusion.
         The arrows and the missiles hurled by him against Rama were not effective. He started acting like a madman. Seeing Ravana reduced to such a pitiable plight, the charioteer driving the chariot, without getting excited, calmly and quickly carried off his chariot away from the battle-front.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

363. Ravana got hurt fighting Rama.

            Ravana, on reaching his palace,  guzzled greedily his favorite booze, which made him to start thinking. He felt awfully ashamed that he had to sneak away from the battle field. Now that he got back his composure, he decided to go back to the battle field and kill Rama, Lakshmana, Vibhishana and all others. Accordingly he got into the best available chariot and the best available charioteer and, of course all the best weapons and missiles he had at his disposal. 
               While Ravana was nearing the battle field, Rama at the behest of Lakshmana, was getting ready to fight him.
             Seeing Rama with his bow et al., Ravana thought it was a good omen for him. With confident smiles on all his faces and standing in his chariot released very powerful missiles on Rama. Rama, with his usual nonchalance, smashed those arrows and followed it by showers of his missiles and arrows, looking like blazing flames of fire, on Ravana. The divine spectators watching the fight from the firmament thought that it was not fair that Ravana was fighting from a chariot against Rama who was opposing him from the ground.
             Indra, agreeing in toto the sentiments of the other spectators, told his personal chauffeur, Matali "Taking my personal chariot go to Rama, standing below on the earth, pronto, and invite him to use the chariot to fight that rakshash, Ravana. You also mention that killing that rakshash, Ravana by him would give a great pleasure to us. Offer him my bow and other weapons for use."
           Taking the glorious and excellent chariot of Indra, having variegated body decked in gold, and was fitted with hundreds of tiny bells, with its pole of cat's eye gems shining like the morning sun, yoked to excellent green horses with golden chaplets on their heads and having white whisks, covered with nets of gold, shining like the sun and bearing a flag-staff raised on a golden bamboo, Matali went to Rama and told him "Indra has sent this chariot for you to use it for fighting that rakshash, Ravana. Here are the great bow of Indra, the armour shining as fire, some arrows as bright as sun and a stainless auspicious spear. These will make you to fight and vanquish and kill that rakshash with great ease."
            Rama accepted that offer. Then ensued a tumultuous and thrilling battle between Rama and Ravana.
            Whatever astra hurled by Ravana, Rama repulsed them with ease.
           The frustrated Ravana then pierced Matali with a multitude of arrows. Then he tore off the golden flag-staff from the top of the chariot down to the seat of the chariot.  He struck even Indra's horses with a multitude of arrows. This was very much resented by the spectators in the firmament.
         The crooked action by Ravana irritated Rama very much and he got angry, very much. Due to his monumental anger, Rama was not able to fit his arrows to his bow. This made his anger to grow further due to which, Rama, knitted his eye-brows and his eyes turned slightly blood-red. This enormous anger of Rama started to frighten all the living beings. The earth too began to tremble. The mountains, with lions, tigers and swaying trees, trembled. Even the ocean, the lord of rivers, became agitated. Dense clouds, emitting harsh sounds and assuming a stern aspect, roamed all over in the sky, thundering. The intolerable rage of Rama together with the concomitant terrific fearsome portents made all living beings frightened. Ravana started getting jitters, too.
            The spectators in firmament were divided this time. The asuras cheered Ravana and the the devas, Rama.
         Ravana had one spear which was not required to be used by him hitherto. This was superbly powerful as a thunderbolt, made a loud noise when hurled at a target, capable of exterminating all enemies with its sharp points dreadful to conceive and to behold, resembling a smoke-crested mass of fire blazing like eh.. whatever it is, exceedingly furious, was unassailable, a terror for all beings, capable  of tearing and splitting the enemy. He decided to use that now at Rama. With great deliberation, he took hold of that spear at its middle. With blood-red eyes in anger, Ravana with his colossal body, duly raising the spear. Keeping that spear ready for use, Ravana shouted at Rama: "You have kindled my fury beyond tolerance, O Rama! With this spear I am going to separate the lives of your brother and yours from your respective bodies." 
          He, then hurled that spear. That spear, wreathed in a circle of lightning and eight bells, making a loud noise, zoomed into the sky toward its target, Rama.
          With his characteristic cool and fascinating smile, Rama tried to ward off that horrendous spear with his arrows. The spear proved to be superior to the arrows hurled by Rama against it. That spear of Ravana consumed those arrows of Rama, as fire would consume moths.
           Seeing that, Rama got irritated that Ravana was endowed with such a spear. He, then took hold of that spear brought by Matali, hurled it against the spear zooming toward him. The spear of Indra proved to be superior to that of Ravana. The spear of Ravana fell on the ground, with its lustre extinguished.
         With a view to end the battle, Rama pierced the horses of Ravana. He then followed it up with his very powerful arrows pierced the chest-region of Ravana. Rama then decided to give some headache to all the ten heads of Ravana. He struck, quite deliberately, all the foreheads of Ravana with three arrows per head. With all his limbs torn down by arrows and with blood flowing from his limbs, Ravana was shining like a blooming Ashoka tree in the midst of a multitude of trees. With his limbs severely injured by Rama's arrows and with his body bathed in blood, Ravana was not in a position to do anything but getting angry, which he did, promptly.