(iv) Śrī Rāma vanquishes and kills Rāvana
Canto XCIX (Yuddhakanda)
On seeing Mahodara and Mahāpārśwa killed, the notorious champion Virūpāksa, who was endowed with ex traordinary might, having (already) been struck down, a great rage actually seized Rāvana in the course of the great conflict. He urged on his charioteer and addressed to him the following words: so the tradition goes: — (1-2) "Killing the two princes, Rāma and Laksmana, I shall certainly get rid of the suffering caused (to me) on account of the ministers who have been killed and the city which has been laid siege to (by the monkeys). (3) In the fight I shall cut down the tree in the shape of Rāma, which is going to yield fruit through its blos som in the form of Sītā, whose principal boughs are Sugrīva, Jāmbavān, Kumuda, Nala, as well as Dwivida and Mainda, Angada, Gandhamadana as also Hanuman and Susena and all the other commanders of monkey troops." (4-5)
(Saying so and) causing (all) the ten directions to resound with the rattling of his chariot, that mighty and surpassing chariot warrior drove rapidly and rushed towards Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu). (6) Filled by that sound the entire earth including rivers, mountains and forests, trembled throwing the lions and other beasts as well as birds into a fright. (7) He manifested an exceedingly formidable and terrible mystic missile presided over by Rāhu (a giant presiding over the planet of that name and consisting of darkness), and with it he began to consume
all the monkeys, who started falling down on all sides. (8) Dust rose on the earth as they ran with all speed when frustrated;
for they could no longer endure the missile, which had been brought into being by Brahmā (the creator) himself. (9) Seeing those numerous divisions (of the monkeys) routed in hundreds by the excellent arrows of Rāvana, Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) took his stand firmly (on the battlefield). (10) Having put the army of the monkeys to flight, that tiger among the Rākshasas then beheld Śrī Rāma, the tamer of his enemies, who was endowed with long arms and eyes large as lotus petals standing unconquered with his brother Laksmana — like Indra accompanied by his (younger brother) Upendra (Lord Visnu) — holding up his bow as though scraping the sky.
Perceiving the monkeys routed in combat and Rāvana approaching, the mighty Śrī Rāma, who was endowed with ex traordinary energy and was accompanied by Laksmana, there upon joyfully took hold of his bow at the middle. (11-14) He then began to stretch the excellent bow, which was sonorous and endowed with great impelling force, as though he was going to rend the earth asunder. (15) Rākshasas fell (to the ground) in hundreds at the well known (buzzing) sound produced by the streams of Rāvana's arrows as well as by the twang of Śrī Rāma's bow. (16) Again coming within the range of the two princes (Laksmana and Śrī Rāma), the notorious Rāvana resembled Rāhu (the Daitya presiding over the planet of that name). (17) Desiring to engage him with his own sharpened arrows in the first instance and stretching his bow, Laksmana loosed his shafts resembling tongues of fire. (18) Rāvana, who was endowed with extraordinary energy, intercepted in the air (with his own arrows) Laksmana's arrows as soon as he, an excellent archer, loosed them. (19) Demonstrating his lightness of hand, he split the arrows of Laksmana one with one, three with three and ten with ten arrows. (20)
Over passing Laksmana, Rāvana, who (ever) won battles, approached Śrī Rāma, standing like another mountain on the battlefield. (21) Duly approaching Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu),
his eyes turning crimson through anger, Rāvana, the lord of Rākshasas, loosed showers of shafts (upon him). (22) Immediately on beholding the volleys of arrows loosed from the bow of Rāvana approaching, Śrī Rāma thereupon quickly seized hold of, in all haste, Bhallas (a variety of arrows with a crescent shaped head). (23) Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) then tore asunder with sharp edged Bhallas those streams of flaming arrows — arrows that were very formidable and resembled venomous serpents. (24) Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) and Rāvana rapidly covered each other with showers of sharp pointed shafts of various kinds; Śrī Rāma covering Rāvana and vice versa. (25) Pushing back each other with the onrush of their arrows and remaining undefeated, the two warriors described circles of various kinds round each other from left to right. (26)
Created beings were seized with terror even as the two re doubtable heroes, who resembled the god of retribution and the god of death respectively, simultaneously struck with vio lence loosing arrows (at each other). (27) The sky was overcast at that time with arrows of various kinds even as it is covered during the monsoon with clouds crowded with flashes of light ning. (28) The vault of heaven was studded with eyeholes as it were by showers of shafts of extraordinary velocity, which were extremely sharp pointed, were adorned with plumes of vultures and were loosed with great impetuosity. (29) Like two huge clouds that rose into view at a time when the sun had set and even when it arose, the two warriors enveloped the sky with great darkness with their arrows. (30) Like the duel that took place (in the hoary past) between the demon Vrtra and Indra, an unapproachable and unimaginable major conflict en sued between the two warriors, who sought the destruction of each other. (31) Indeed both were armed with excellent bows, both were skilled in fighting, both were the foremost of those adept in the use of missiles and both moved unhampered on the battlefield. (32) Indeed whichever course they both took (in their maneuverings) streams of shafts were set in motion like waves in two oceans, whipped up by the wind. (33)
Then Rāvana, who made people cry (wherever he went) and whose hands were (constantly) employed (in discharging arrows), dug into the brow of Śrī Rāma a succession of steel arrows, which adorned it like a chaplet. (34) Śrī Rāma bore that chaplet, loosed from the terrible bow of Rāvana and shining like the petals of a blue lotus, on his head and did not experience any pain. (35) Then, seizing hold of more arrows reciting sacred formulas (and thereby invoking the mystic missile sought for) and making use of the missile presided over by Rudra (the god of destruction), and stretching his bow, the valiant Śrī Rāma, who was endowed with extraordinary energy, and was seized with anger, let fly those arrows in uninterrupted succession against the king of Rākshasas. (36-37) Fallen on the impenetrable armour of Rāvana (the ruler of Rākshasas), which looked like a large cloud, the arrows did not cause any pain (to him) at the time. (38) Śrī Rāma, who was an adept in the use of all mystic missiles, forthwith pierced that suzerain lord of Rākshasas, seated in his chariot, once more in the forehead with an excellent missile. (39) Having pierced the excellent arrows (of Rāvana), the arrows of Śrī Rāma (generated by the missile) penetrated like five headed hissing serpents into the earth, when repelled by Rāvana (40).
Rendering the missile of Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) void, Rāvana, who was filled with wrath, manifested an exceedingly dreadful missile presided over by demoniac forces. (41) He loosed arrows having the heads of lions and tigers, those of buzzards and red geese, even of vultures and falcons, as well as those of jackals and wolves, also shafts having the heads of terrible lions with their mouths wide open and even resembling serpents, also those having the heads of donkeys and others having the heads of boars, dogs and cocks, alligators and venomous snakes. (42-44) Hissing like a serpent provoked to anger, Rāvana, who was endowed with extraordinary energy, let loose against Śrī Rāma by his conjuring tricks these and other whetted arrows. (45) Overwhelmed by that missile presided over by demoniac forces, that prince of the Raghus,
who was endowed with extraordinary vigour and resembled the god of fire (in brilliance), employed the missile presided over by the god of fire. (46) He produced through it arrows of every description, some with heads bright as fire, others with heads shining like the sun, the moon, the crescent, a comet and a huge meteor respectively, others shining like planets and lunar mansions and some resembling flashes of lightning. Pierced by the missile employed by Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) those for midable arrows of Rāvana melted away in the air; yet (before they did so) they killed the monkeys in thousands. Rejoiced to see that missile (presided over by demoniac forces) rendered void by Śrī Rāma of unwearied action, and encompassing Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu), all the monkeys, who were capable of changing their form at will, thereupon raised a clamour facing Sugrīva. (47-50) The high souled Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu), son of Dasaratha, was then filled with joy on having forcibly rendered void that well known missile which had flown from the arms of Rāvana; while the valiant monkey chiefs, full of joy, shouted at the top of their voice. (51)
That missile having been counteracted (by Śrī Rāma), Rāvana, the suzerain lord of Rākshasas, for his part doubled his fury and in his wrath the latter, who was endowed with extraordinary splendour, forthwith proceeded to aim at Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) another fearful missile presided over by Rudra (the god of destruction) and produced by the demon Maya. (1 2) Then issued forth on all sides from his bow flaming pikes and maces as well as clubs, hard as adamant, mallets, deceptive nooses and fiery thunderbolts of various kinds like piercing gales at the end of the world cycle. (3 4) The glorious Rāma (a scion of Raghu), the foremost of those proficient in the use of excel lent missiles, who was endowed with extraordinary splendour, neutralized that missile with the excellent missile presided over
by the Gandharvas (celestial musicians). (5)
This missile having been rendered void by the high souled Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu), Rāvana for his part, his eyes coppery with wrath, employed the missile presided over by the sun god. (6) Thereupon, issued brilliant and large discuses from the bow of the resourceful Rāvana (the ten headed monster) of terrible impetuosity. (7) (Even) as they rose into view and fell on all sides the sky was lit up and the quarters illuminated as by the sun, the moon and other planets. (8) The celebrated Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu), however, split those discuses and (other) strange weapons with the streams of his shafts in the forefront of Rāvana's army. (9) Seeing that missile frustrated, Rāvana, the suzerain lord of Rākshasas, for his part pierced Śrī Rāma with ten arrows in all his vital parts. (10) Though pierced by Rāvana with ten shafts that had shot forth from his huge bow, Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu), who was endowed with extraordi nary energy, did not flinch. (11) Extremely enraged, Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu), who (ever) won battles, thereupon pierced Rāvana in all his limbs with numerous arrows. (12)
In the meantime the mighty Laksmana, brother of Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu), the destroyer of 'hostile champions, pro voked to anger, seized hold of seven arrows. (13) With those shafts, which were impelled with great force, Laksmana (who was endowed with extraordinary splendour) tore (to begin with) into a number of pieces the standard of Rāvana, which bore the device of a man's head. (14) With a single arrow the glorious Laksmana, who was endowed with extraordinary might, also severed the head of the rākshasa's charioteer, which was adorned with flaming earrings. (15) With five whetted shafts Laksmana then split asunder the bow of that king of Rākshasas, which resembled the proboscis of an elephant. (16) And bound ing forward, Vibhīsana struck down with his mace Rāvana's excellent horses, which resembled a dark cloud (in hue) and were tall as hills. (17) Leaping down with all speed from his huge chariot, whose horses had been killed, Rāvana then exhibited a violent rage against his (youngest) brother. (18) Thereupon
the powerful king of Rākshasas, who was endowed with extraordinary energy, flung at Vibhīsana a flaming javelin, which resembled the thunderbolt. (19) With three shafts Laksmana (however) tore it asunder even before it reached him. A loud cheer forthwith arose among the monkeys in that major conflict. (20) Split into three fragments the javelin, which was wreathed in gold, fell down like an enormous flaming meteor, emitting sparks, fallen from the heavens. (21) Rāvana thereupon seized hold of a big javelin, which was highly renowned (for its infallibility), was difficult to approach even for Death, and was shin ing with its own brilliance. (22) Brandished with violence by the mighty and evil minded Rāvana, that immensely splendid javelin, which shone like a flaming thunderbolt, gave out a lurid gleam. (23)
In the meantime the heroic Laksmana speedily came to the rescue of Vibhīsana, who had reached a stage in which his life was in danger. (24) Stretching his bow, the gallant Laksmana actually covered with volleys of arrows Rāvana, who stood, javelin in hand, in order to save Vibhīsana. (25) Being covered thus with a stream of shafts discharged by the high souled Laksmana, Rāvana, whose prowess stood balked, no longer felt inclined to strike. (26) Standing with his face turned to wards Laksmana on seeing his brother (Vibhīsana) rescued by Laksmana, the notorious Rāvana spoke as follows; — (27) "Let ting off the rākshasa (Vibhīsana), this javelin is being violently hurled on you in as much as Vibhīsana has thus been rescued by you, 0 vaunter of your strength! (28) Piercing your heart, when hurled by my bludgeon like arm, and stained with blood, this javelin, will depart (only) after taking your life." (29)
Saying so and levelling at Laksmana that infallible javelin, which was adorned with eight bells and made a loud noise (in the course of its flight), which had been designed by the demon Maya by dint of magic, was capable of destroying the enemy and shone as it were with splendour, Rāvana, who was extremely enraged, hurled it and roared. (30-31) Flung with terrible impetuosity and cracking like a thunderbolt, that
javelin flew with force towards Laksmana in the forefront of the battle. (32) Addressing that javelin even as it was falling (on Laksmana), that scion of Raghu imprecated it as follows: — "May all be well with Laksmana! May you prove ineffectual! May your attempt (to kill Laksmana) be frustrated!!" (33) Released by the enraged Rāvana on the battlefield, that javelin, which was deadly as a venomous snake, fell at once on the bosom of Laksmana, who stood, fearless. (34) Flying with great violence, and flaming like the tongue of Vasuki (the lord of serpents), the javelin, which was full of extraordinary splendour, descended on the broad chest of Laksmana. (35) Pierced grievously by the javelin, which had penetrated very deep due to the (tremendous) force exerted by Rāvana, Laksmana thereupon fell to the ground. (36)
Observing Laksmana reduced to that predicament, Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu), who stood near, felt despondent at heart because of brotherly affection, even though he was endowed with extraordinary courage. (37) Reflecting awhile as it were, his eyes bedimmed with tears, he felt all the more enraged (even) like the fire at the end of a world cycle. (38) Realizing that it was not the time for feeling disconsolate, and gazing on Laksmana, Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu), resumed the fierce struggle with a mighty and whole hearted endeavour, resolved as he was upon the destruction of Rāvana. (39)
Śrī Rāma then beheld Laksmana pierced with a javelin in the great struggle and bathed in blood, and resembling a mountain with a snake (penetrating its centre). (40) The jewels among the monkeys could not extract even with effort that javelin, propelled (as it was) by the exceedingly mighty Rāvana and also because the stream of arrows loosed by the prince of Rākshasas overwhelmed them. Passing through the body of Laksmana (son of Sumitrā), it had penetrated into the surface of the earth. (41-42) Seizing hold of the terrible javelin with his hands, the mighty Rāma drew it out and, getting enraged snapped it in the course of the struggle. (43) While he was (busy) extracting the javelin, the exceedingly mighty Rāvana hurled arrows
on all his limbs that pierced his vital parts. (44) Not minding those arrows, and embracing Laksmana, he spoke (as follows) to Hanuman and the great monkey, Sugrīva: — (45)
"Remain encompassing Laksmana as you are doing, 0 princes of monkeys. The occasion, long sought by me to manifest my prowess, has come. Let this ten headed monster of sinful mind and sinful resolve be made short work of. I seek his death as a Cataka bird seeks the sight of a cloud, at the end of sum mer. (46-47) I take this unfailing vow before you at this hour, 0 monkeys, that before long you will see the world devoid of Rāvana or Rāma (myself). (48) I suffered the loss of my sovereignty, exile in the forest, peregrination in the forest of Dandaka and the insult offered to Sītā (a princess of the Videha territory) by the rākshasa (Rāvana). (49) (In this way) great and terrible agony has been suffered by me as also (bodily) torment approaching the tortures in hell. Making short work of Rāvana in combat, I shall have done with all (this) today. (50)
"This sinful rākshasa on whose account this army of mon keys has been dragged by me (to this distant land), Sugrīva has been installed on the throne (of Kiskindha) after disposing of Valī in combat, and on whose account the sea has been crossed and a bridge thrown over it, has fallen within the range of my vision on the battlefield today. Having come within my sight, he does not deserve to survive (any longer). (51-52) Having fallen within my view, Rāvana cannot survive any more than one who has entered the range of vision of a snake injecting (deadly) venom with his (very) glance or than a serpent who has fallen under the gaze of Garuda (the king of birds and enemy of serpents). (53) Perched on mountain peaks, 0 bulls among the monkeys, witness at ease you, who are so difficult to over power, this trial of strength between Rāvana and myself. (54) Let (all) the three worlds (earth, heaven and the intermediate region) including the Gandharvas (celestial musicians), gods, Rsis (the seers of Vedic Mantras) and Cāranas (celestial bards) behold (with their own eyes) today the Rāmahood of Rāma in the course of my combat. (55) I shall accomplish today a feat
which people in the world including all living beings, mobile as well immobile, gods not excepted, will ever recount together describing how the combat proceeded, as long as the earth is able to support those inhabiting it." (56)
Saying so, Śrī Rāma steadily proceeded to strike Rāvana (the ten headed monster) on the battlefield with penetrating shafts embellished with refined gold. (57) Rāvana too likewise covered Śrī Rāma on that occasion with flaming steel arrows and clubs (even) as a cloud would cover a mountain with torrents of rain. (58) A confused din arose from the excellent arrows loosed by Śrī Rāma (on the one hand), and Rāvana (on the other) as they struck each its opponent. (59) Split asunder and scattered, the shafts with flaming points of Śrī Rāma and Rāvana fell from the space to the earth's surface. (60) The mighty sound produced by the impact of the bowstring on the palms of the two heroes, which struck terror in all living beings, was astonishing as it were to hear. (61) Being covered by hails of shafts and over whelmed by the high souled Śrī Rāma, who was armed with a flaming bow, on closing with him, Rāvana took to his heels out of fear, even as a cloud would disperse when propelled by a gale. (62)
Beholding the heroic Laksmana soaked in a stream of blood, when struck down in combat with a javelin by the exceedingly mighty Rāvana, and having offered a fierce combat to the evil minded Rāvana, Śrī Rāma spoke as follows to the (monkey chief) Susena even while discharging streams of shafts (at his stalwart opponent): — (1 2)
"Fallen on the ground yielding to the prowess of Rāvana, here is the gallant Laksmana writhing like a serpent and caus ing grief to me. (3) My strength to fight is failing (even) as I be hold this hero, who is dearer to me than life (itself), drenched with blood, my mind being greatly agitated. (4) If (God forbid)
this well known brother of mine', who is endowed with auspicious bodily marks and (always) speaks highly of war, meet with his death, of what use is life or happiness to me? (5) My valour feels shamed as it were; my bow seems to slip from my hand; arrows are dropping down and my vision has been overpowered by tears. (6) My limbs are failing (even) like those of men in sleep; my acute anxiety is growing and I even wish to die on seeing my brother, who has been struck down by the evil minded Rāvana, seriously wounded in his vital parts, stricken with agony and groaning." (7 8)
Seeing his beloved brother, who was his (very) life breath going out (as it were), Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu), who was seized with great agony, gave himself up to anxiety and grief. (9) Beholding Laksmana lying wounded in the dust of the bat tlefield, he fell prey to extreme despondency and lamented (as follows), distracted in mind as he was: — (10) "Even victory, 0 hero, will not really bring to me any pleasure. What delight will the moon afford if it appears before a man who has lost his vision? (11) What purpose of mine will be served by fighting or even by life? I have no use for the war as a result of which Laksmana lies killed in the forefront of battle here? (12) Even as Laksmana (who is endowed with extraordinary splendour) followed me when I retired to the forest, I too shall likewise follow him to the abode of Death. (13) Alas! Laksmana, who always loved his kinsfolk (like me) and was ever devoted to me, has been led to this pass by the Rākshasas, who are given to treacherous warfare. (14) Wives may be found everywhere and kinsmen (too) can be had everywhere. I, however, see no place where a real brother could be had. (15)
"What object of mine on earth will be achieved by sovereign ty without Laksmana, who was difficult to overpower? What shall I actually say to mother Sumitrā, who so loves her son? (16) I shall not be able to endure the reproach which will be levelled (at me) by Sumitrā. Oh, what on earth shall I say to mother Kausalya and what shall I say to Kaikeyī? (17) Again, what shall I say to Bharata as well as to Satrughna, who is
endowed with extraordinary might, when they ask me, how I came back without Laksmana even though I retired to the for est along with him? (18) It is better to give up my life at this very place rather than hear the reproaches of one's own people. What sinful deed did I perpetrate in a former existence, due to which my pious brother lies killed before me? 0 my powerful brother, the foremost of men and the prince of heroes, how are you actually departing to the other world alone, deserting me? Why don't you speak to me, even though I am lamenting, 0 brother? Rise and look round. Why are you lying down? (19 21) Look at me with your own eyes, miserable as I am. You have been my comforter whenever, stricken with grief I roamed list lessly amidst the mountains and woods or felt despondent, 0 mighty armed one!"
Comforting Śrī Rāma, who was wailing thus, his mind distracted with grief, Susena for his part addressed the following excellent words: — "Give up this idea which causes affliction to you, this anxiety which gives rise to grief and is as piercing as shafts in the forefront of battle, 0 tiger among men! Surely Laksmana, the enhancer of prosperity, has not met his death (lit., returned to the five elements); for his features have not changed nor have they grown dark. His countenance may (yet) be seen radiant and clear. (22 26) The palms of his hands (still) resemble the petals of a lotus and his eyes are very bright. The appearance of those whose life has departed is not observed to be such, 0 ruler of the people! (27) Do not give way to de spondency, 0 hero! He is (still) alive, 0 tamer of your enemies! The repeatedly throbbing heart of Laksmana, who is lying on the earth's surface fast asleep with his limbs relaxed, proclaims him to be living, 0 gallant prince!"
Having addressed the foregoing words to Śrī Rāma (a sci on of Raghu), the highly sagacious Susena spoke as follows to the great monkey, Hanuman, who stood near: "Bounding with all speed from this place, 0 gentle one, to the Mahodaya mountain, the one which has already been made fully known to you by Jāmbavān, 0 gallant one, bring here the valuable herb,
which has sprung up on its southern peak. (28 31) "Bring you for restoring the heroic Laksmana to consciousness the precious herb Viśalyakaranī1 by name, Savarnyakaranī,2 SarhjTvakaranī3 and the precious herb, Sarhdhanī4, 0 gallant one!"
Springing to the (said) mountain rich in herbs, when spoken to thus, the glorious Hanuman became thoughtful, unable, as he was to recognize those valuable herbs. (32-33) The thought came to that son of the wind god, whose strength was immeasurable, "I shall go back taking this mountain peak itself. (34) By recourse to reasoning I conclude that curative herb to be growing on this peak alone; for Susena has said so. (35) If I return without taking the herb Viśalyakaranī harm may come (to Laksmana) due to the passage of time and a great perplexity may arise." (36)
Reflecting thus, and moving rapidly and reaching the Mahodaya (the foremost of the mountains), violently shaking thrice the mountain peak, which was clothed with multitudinous trees in flower, and breaking it up and holding it in his two hands, Hanuman, a tiger among monkeys, who was endowed with extraordinary might, balanced it. (37-38) Seizing hold of the mountain peak, which resembled a dark rainy cloud, Hanuman bounded from the earth's surface into the air. (39) Approach ing Susena, (nay) setting down the mountain peak and resting a while, Hanuman, who was endowed with extraordinary swift ness, spoke as follows: — (40) "Since I did not recognize those herbs, 0 bull among monkeys, here is a whole summit of that mountain brought by me as a result." (41)
Hanuman (sprung from the loins of the wind god), speaking thus and tearing up the herbs, Susena the foremost of
1. A herb credited with the virtue of expelling an arrow etc., from the body, healing the wound and relieving pain.
2. Another herb supposed to possess the property of counteracting the discolouration caused by a wound, burn etc., and restoring the original co lour of the skin.
3. Another herb believed to possess the virtue of bringing back an un conscious person to consciousness.
4. A herb credited with the property of joining a fractured bone.
monkeys, for his part took hold of them. (42) All those bulls among monkeys (who were present there) for their part were amazed to witness the feat of Hanuman, which was really most difficult to perform even for gods. (43) Crushing that herb, Susena, the foremost of monkeys, who was endowed with exceptional splendour, thereupon administered it to Laksmana through his nostrils. (44) Duly inhaling it, Laksmana, the destroyer of hostile champions, who still retained the javelin (in his body), instantly rose from the earth's surface, rid as he was of the javelin as also of his pain. (45) Overjoyed to perceive Laksmana, who was endowed with auspicious marks, arisen from the earth's surface, the monkeys for their part applaud ed him, saying "Excellent! Excellent!!" (46) Śrī Rāma, the destroyer of hostile champions, said to Laksmana, "Come, come." Tightly folding him in his arms, he pressed him to his bosom, his eyes bedimmed with tears. (47) After embracing Laksmana (son of Sumitrā), Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) then said (to him), "Luckily enough, 0 gallant one, I see you returned from the jaws of Death. (48) Indeed no purpose of mine would have been served by my (own) life or by Sītā or by victory. What end of mine would be achieved by my survival if you have returned to the five elements?" (49)
Pained by the irresolute talk of the high souled Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu), who was speaking in this strain, Laksmana submitted as follows: — (50) "Having solemnly taken that pledge (of killing Rāvana and crowning Vibhīsana on the throne of Lankā ) before, 0 prince of unfailing prowess, you ought not to speak as you have done like a weak and spiritless man. (51) Those who (always) speak the truth never render their vow futile; for the fulfilment of one's vow is the mark of greatness. (52) Moreover it is not becoming of you to give way to despair on my account, 0 sinless one! Redeem your pledge by killing Rāvana today. (53) Fallen a victim to your shafts, your adversary cannot escape alive any more than an elephant fallen in the clutch of a roaring lion possessing sharp teeth. (54) I for my part wish to see this evil minded fellow die quickly before
the yonder sun sinks below the horizon, its task (of going round the sky) accomplished. (55) If you seek to kill Rāvana on the field of battle and if you wish to fulfill the vow actually taken by you and there is a longing in you for the daughter of Janaka, 0 worthy hero, do what I tell you without delay." (56)
Seizing hold of his bow on hearing the counsel tendered by Laksmana, that valiant scion of Raghu, the destroyer of hostile champions, fitted formidable shafts to it and loosed them on Rāvana at the head of his army. Taking his seat in another chariot, Rāvana, the suzerain lord of Rākshasas, forthwith rushed against Śrī Rāma (a scion of Kakutstha) as the planet Rāhu (the demon presiding over the planet of that name) would rush towards the sun (on the eve of a solar eclipse). Seated in his chariot, Rāvana (the ten headed monster) for his part struck Śrī Rāma with shafts hard as adamantine, (even) as a rainy cloud would lash a huge mountain with torrents. (1-3) Śrī Rāma, steadily covered the ten headed monster on the battle field with arrows decked with gold and shining like a blazing fire. (4) "The combat between Śrī Rāma, who is standing on the ground, and the rākshasa, who is seated in a chariot, is not well matched," so declared the gods, Gandharvas (celestial musicians) and Kinnaras (a class of demigods credited with a human figure and the head of a horse). (5) Summoning (his charioteer) Mātali on hearing their talk, sweet as nectar, the glorious Indra, the foremost of gods, thereupon spoke as follows: — (6) "Proceed with all speed in my chariot to Śrī Rāma, the foremost of the Raghus, who stands on the ground; and inviting him to take his seat in the chariot on reaching the earth, render a signal service to the gods (thereby)." (7)
Saluting the god with his head bent low, when commanded thus by Indra (the ruler of gods), Mātali, the charioteer of gods, thereupon submitted as follows: — (8) "I shall proceed
immediately, 0 lord of gods, and perform the duty of a charioteer (to Śrī Rāma)." Providing with tawny horses the excellent chariot (of Indra, the ruler of gods), he forthwith brought it to the presence of Indra. (9) Then came the glorious and excellent chariot of Indra (the ruler of gods), bearing a standard raised on a golden staff, the body of which was wrought with gold and looked charming, which was fitted up with hundreds of tiny bells and with its pole of cat's eye gems shone like the morning sun, and which was yoked to excellent tawny horses decked with gold ornaments and white whisks and covered with nets of gold and shining like the sun. (10-11) Mounting the chariot as enjoined by Indra (the ruler of gods), and descending from heaven, Mātali stood opposite to Sn Rāma (a scion of Kakutstha). (12)
Remaining seated in his chariot, armed with a lash, Mātali, the charioteer of Indra (the thousand eyed god), then made with joined palms the following submission to Sn Rāma: — (13) "This chariot has been offered to you by Indra (the thousand eyed god) to bring you victory, 0 glorious scion of Kakutstha, the exterminator of your enemies, endowed (as you are) with extraordinary courage. (14) Here is the mighty bow belonging to Indra, as well as his armour shining as fire, his arrows bright as the sun and his stainless auspicious javelin. (15) Mounting this chariot, 0 gallant prince, with me as your charioteer, make short work of the rākshasa Rāvana (even) as the mighty Indra killed the giants, my lord!" (16) Duly circumambulating that chariot (as a mark of respect) and saluting it, as requested (by Mātali), Śrī Rāma then ascended the chariot, illumining (all) the (three) worlds by his splendour. (17) Then ensued, a wonderful and thrilling duel, between the mighty armed Śrī Rāma and the rākshasa, Rāvana. (18)
That scion of Raghu, who was supremely skilled in the use of excellent missiles, destroyed the missile presided over by Gandharvas as well as that presided over by gods, discharged by Rāvana, by means of missiles of the same kind. (19) Greatly enraged, Rāvana, the suzerain lord of Rākshasas, for his part
once more loosed an exceedingly formidable missile presided over by Rākshasas. (20) Turning into highly venomous serpents, the arrows loosed from the bow of Rāvana, which were decked with gold, rushed towards Śrī Rāma (a scion of Kakutstha). (21) With flaming mouths wide open, and vomiting a blazing fire from them, those dreadful arrows darted towards Śrī Rāma alone. (22) By those highly venomous reptiles with flaming coils, whose impact was hard as that of Vasuki (the king of serpents), all the quarters stood covered and the corners between the quarters too stood enveloped. (23) Seeing those reptiles flying (at him) on the battlefield, Śrī Rāma discharged the formidable and fearful missile presided over by Garuda (the king of birds, an avowed enemy of serpents). (24) Turning into golden eagles, the (natural) enemies of snakes, those golden feathered arrows loosed from the bow of Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) which shone like flames, flew about. (25) Appearing in the form of eagles, the arrows of Śrī Rāma, which were able to change their form at will, destroyed all those shafts which flew with great speed in the form of snakes. (26) Provoked to anger on his missile having been frustrated by Sn Rāma, the suzer ain lord of Rākshasas, then covered Śrī Rāma with formidable showers of shafts. (27) Having overwhelmed Śrī Rāma of un wearied action with a thousand arrows, he then pierced Mātali with a stream of shafts. (28) He tore the standard (of Indra's chariot) with a single arrow aimed at it, and having felled the golden ensign from (the top of) the chariot down to the seat of the chariot, Rāvana struck Indra's horses as well with a series of arrows.
Seeing Śrī Rāma afflicted, the gods, Gandharvas (celestial musicians) and Cāranas (celestial bards) along with the devils as also the Siddhas (a class of demigods endowed with mystic powers by virtue of their very birth) and the foremost Rsis be came despondent; while monkey chiefs along with Vibhīsana felt troubled. (29 31) Seeing the moon in the shape of Śrī Rāma eclipsed by the planet Rāhu in the shape of Rāvana, the planet Mercury stood assailing the constellation Rohinī — presided
over by the god Prajāpati (the lord of creation), the beloved of the moon — and spelling disaster to (all) created beings. Burning as it were in fury, the ocean arose high at that time as though it was going to touch the sun, its mist wreathed waves turning round. Turning the colour of ashes and assuming a stern aspect, its rays grown faint, the sun appeared with a headless trunk in its lap and united with a comet. The planet Mars too evidently stood assailing in the heavens the constellation visakha, presided over by the gods Indra and Agni (the god of fire), which is propitious to the kings of Kosala. A bow held tightly (in his hands), Rāvana (the ten headed monster) with his ten faces and twenty arms looked like the Mainaka mountain.
Being overwhelmed by the ten headed rākshasa, Śrī Rāma. could not (even) fit his arrows to his bow in the forefront of the battle. Knitting his brows, his eyes turned slightly crimson, he gave way to a fierce rage as though he would consume the Rākshasas. Casting their eyes at the countenance of the sagacious Śrī Rāma, who was provoked to anger, all created beings were seized with terror and the earth began to quake. (32 39) Full of lions and tigers, the (Trikuta) mountain shook, its trees swaying (to and fro). The lord of rivers, the ocean too was agitated. (40) Looking like donkeys and emitting a harsh sound and assuming a stern aspect, portentous clouds described circles in the sky on ail sides, thundering (all the time). (41)
Finding Śrī Rāma extremely enraged and also beholding fearful portents, all created beings felt dismayed and fear seized Rāvana (too). (42) Seated in their aerial cars, gods and Gandharvas (celestial musicians), great Nagas (semi divine beings having the face of a man and the tail of a serpent and said to inhabit Patala, the nethermost subterranean region), as well as Rsis (the seers of Vedic Mantras), devils and giants and eagles remaining in the air, they all witnessed at that time the com bat of the two heroes, fighting steadily with various dreadful weapons — a combat which presented the appearance of the final dissolution of the world. (43-44) Thrilled with delight on
observing the momentous struggle, all the gods and demons who had come to witness the contest at that time spoke with devotion as follows: — (45) Firmly established (in their respective position), the demons cried out to the ten headed monster: — "Be victorious!!" The gods on the other side called to Śrī Rāma saying again and again, "Be you triumphant!!" (46)
In the meantime, stroking an immense weapon, an exceedingly fearful and unassailable dart — which was powerful as the thunderbolt, which made a loud noise (when hurled at its target), and was capable of exterminating all enemies, dread ful to conceive, much more to behold, furnished as it was with spikes resembling mountain peaks, which with its sharp point resembled a smoke crested mass of fire blazing at the end of the time cycle, (again) which was difficult to approach even for Death, and which was the terror of all living beings, capable as it was of tearing and splitting them — the evil minded Rāvana, so called because he terrorized people, who was keen to strike in rage Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu), and was blazing as it were with anger, seized hold of that dart. (47 50) Surrounded by Rākshasas — heroic in combat and formed into battalions — and extremely enraged, the valiant Rāvana took hold of that dart on the field of battle. (51) Duly raising the dart, the colossus , roared terribly on the field of battle, (thereby) bringing excessive joy all round to his army, his eyes blood red with anger. (52) The frightful roar of Rāvana (the ruler of Rākshasas) caused the earth as well as the heavens as also the (four) quarters and the intermediate points of the compass to tremble at that time. (53) All living beings were alarmed at this roar of that evil minded colossus, and the ocean was set in commotion. (54)
Seizing hold of that enormous dart, and emitting a very loud roar, Rāvana, who was endowed with extraordinary valour ad dressed the following harsh words to Śrī Rāma: — (55) "Raised in fury by me, 0 Rāma, this dart, which is as powerful as the thunderbolt, will instantly take away your life as well as that of your brother, who stands by you as your helpmate. (56) Making short work of you, I, who (always) commend warfare,
shall speedily level you today with the heroic Rākshasas who have been killed (by you) at the head of the army. (57) Wait (a bit); I shall presently strike you down with this dart, 0 scion of Raghu!"
Saying so, that suzerain lord of Rākshasas hurled that dart (at Śrī Rāma). (58) Loosed from the hand of Rāvana, the dart flashed in the air, wreathed as it was in a circle of lightning, and making a loud noise, provided as it was with eight bells. (59) Seeing that flaming dart, terrible to behold, and stretching his bow, the gallant Śrī Rāma loosed arrows. (60) Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) tried to intercept the dart (even) as it approached, with a stream of darts (just) as Indra (the ruler of gods) would endeavour to stay the fire emerging at the end of the time cycle with showers. (61) That huge spear of Rāvana consumed those arrows loosed from the bow of Śrī Rāma (even) as a flame would consume moths. (62) Seeing those arrows pulverized by the impact of the dart and reduced to ashes (even) in air, Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) gave vent to his fury. (63) Feeling extremely enraged, that scion of Raghu, the delight of the Raghus, seized hold of the celebrated javelin, esteemed by Indra (the ruler of gods) and brought by (his charioteer) Mātali. (64)
Lifted up by the mighty prince, that brilliant javelin, which was rendered sonorous by its bells, lit up the sky like a meteor appearing at the end of the time cycle. (65) The javelin, when hurled (by Śrī Rāma) fell on that dart of Rāvana (the king of Rākshasas): so the tradition goes. Split up by the javelin and bereft of its splendour, the enormous dart fell down. (66) Śrī Rāma then pierced the exceedingly swift horses of Rāvana with his sharp arrows resembling the thunderbolt, which flew with great speed and went straight to their target. (67) Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) who was extremely energetic, then pierced Rāvana in the breast with whetted shafts and (also) in the forehead with three arrows. (68) Pierced with arrows all over his body, blood flowing from his limbs, Rāvana (the ruler of Rākshasas), standing in the midst of a gathering (of Rākshasas),
shone like an Asoka tree in blossom. (69) His limbs abnormally pierced with the arrows of Śrī Rāma and his body bathed in blood, the ruler of Rākshasas (lit., rangers of the night) felt exhausted in the midst of his army and at the same time gave vent to a violent rage at that moment. (70)
Hard pressed by the celebrated scion of Kakutstha in fury at that time, Rāvana, who was given to bragging on the field of battle, flew into a great rage. (1) Raising his bow, his eyes flaming with anger, extremely enraged as he was, the valiant Rāvana pressed Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) hard in that major conflict. (2) He continued to cover Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) with arrows in the same way as a rainy cloud would fill a pond with thousands of arrow like torrents falling from the heavens. (3) Śrī Rāma (a scion of Kakutstha), who was unshakable like a large mountain, did not flinch even though covered with a stream of arrows loosed from the bow (of Rāvana) on the field of battle. (4) The heroic prince stood intercepting the streams of arrows (discharged by Rāvana) with his (own) arrows on the battlefield and bore them like the rays of the sun. (5) Provoked to anger, the quickhanded night stalker then dug thousands of arrows into the breast of the high souled scion of Raghu. (6)
Covered with blood on the battlefield, that eldest brother of Laksmana was seen like a huge Kirhsuka tree with flowers in a forest. (7) Angered by the impact of the arrows (of Rāvana), that scion of Kakutstha, endowed as he was with immense energy, took up arrows which shone like the sun blazing at the end of the time cycle. (8) Though greatly enraged, both the war riors, Śrī Rāma and Rāvana could not thereupon see each other at that time on the battlefield, which was shrouded in darkness by the (hail of) arrows. (9) Laughing heartily, though filled with anger, the valiant Śrī Rāma, son of Emperor Dasaratha, then administered the following harsh rebuke to Rāvana: — (10)
"Since my consort was borne away by you from Janasthana, helpless as she was, through ignorance (about my real strength), 0 vile rākshasa, therefore you are not heroic. (11) Having carried away by force the helpless Sītā (a princess of the Videha territory) while she was in the great forest away from me, you think: 'I am a hero'. (12) Having perpetrated the cowardly act of laying your hands on another's wife, 0 rākshasa, posing as a champion in relation to women without a protector, you think: 'I am a hero'. (13) 0 shameless creature, you have transgressed the bounds of morality and are unstable of character, having laid hold through vanity of death (in the form of Sītā) you think:
'I am a hero'. (14) (Indeed) a laudable, momentous and glorious act has been performed by you, a heroic brother of Kubera (the god of wealth) and rich in might! (15) Reap today and this (very) moment the rich fruit of that detested and pernicious act perpetrated through (sheer) vanity. (16) Although, 0 evil minded one, you think to yourself: 'I am a hero', shame did not stand in your way at all when you were bearing Sītā away like a thief. (17) Had Sītā been forcibly laid hands upon by you in my presence, you would have surely joined your brother, Khara, that (very) moment, when struck with' my shafts. (18) By good fortune, 0 dull witted one, you have fallen within the range of my sight. I shall dispatch you to the abode of Death with my sharp arrows today. (19) Let carnivorous birds and beasts today drag away here and there, your head severed with my arrows, with its dazzling earrings, lying scattered in the dust of the battlefield. (20) Let vultures, swooping on your breast when you have been thrown down on the ground, 0 Rāvana, quaff with avidity your blood gushing forth from the outlet made by the head of my arrow. (21) Let birds (such as crows and vultures) tear out your entrails as eagles would pluck off snakes when you fall dead pierced by my arrows today." (22)
Saying so, the valiant Śrī Rāma, the well known extermina tor of his enemies covered Rāvana (the ruler of Rākshasas), who stood near, with showers of arrows. (23) The prowess, might and martial ardour as well as the force of the missiles
of Śrī Rāma, who sought the destruction of his enemy, was redoubled. (24) All the mystic missiles appeared before Śrī Rāma (who was rich in self knowledge). In his excessive joy (born of his martial ardour) the prince (who was endowed with extraordinary energy) became more nimble handed (in discharging arrows). (25) Perceiving these auspicious prognostications in him, Śrī Rāma, the exterminator of Rākshasas, began to strike Rāvana even more vehemently. (26) While being struck with volleys of stones hurled by the monkeys and the showers of arrows coming from Śrī Rāma, (a scion of Raghu) the ten headed monster felt shaken at heart. (27) When, on account of his mind being confused, he could no longer take up weapons nor stretch his bow, nor (again) could he oppose Śrī Rāma's valour, while the arrows and (other) weapons of every kind swiftly discharged by Śrī Rāma had his death for their objective, the hour of his death appeared imminent. (28 29) Perceiving him reduced to such a plight, the charioteer, who controlled his chariot, calmly and slowly drove his chariot out of the fray. (30) Turning in haste the chariot of Rāvana, which was rumbling like a cloud, on perceiving the king (lit., the lord of the earth) sunk down bereft of energy, the charioteer forthwith slipped away in dismay from the battlefield. (31)
Feeling extremely enraged due to stupefaction, his eyes blood red through anger, Rāvana, impelled by force of des tiny, spoke (as follows) to his charioteer: — (1) "Disdaining me as though I were deficient in prowess, powerless, bereft of manliness, cowardly and petty minded, devoid of energy, forsaken by conjuring tricks and abandoned by mystic missiles, 0 evil minded fellow, you act according to your own discretion! (2-3) What for was this chariot of mine removed by you in the Presence of the enemy, belittling me and without ascertaining my will? (4) By you, 0 unworthy soul, has my glory, which was
earned through a long period, my valour, dignity and (peoples') faith (in my bravery) too been wiped out. (5) My adversary, whose prowess is widely known, and who deserved to be gratified through feats of valour, stood looking on, while you made me, who was covetous of fighting, a coward! (6) In case you do not through perversity drive the chariot at any event (against the enemy), 0 evil minded fellow, my suspicion that you stand corrupted by the enemy will be justified. (7) This act which has been done by you (in the shape of removing me from the battlefield), is worthy of an enemy alone. Surely it cannot be the work of a friend wishing well of his friend. (8) Speedily drive the chariot back till my enemy does not withdraw, if you have lived with me long enough and if the benefits received from me are (still) remembered (by you)." (9)
"I was neither afraid nor perplexed, nor was I won over by the enemies, neither was I negligent nor disloyal, nor (again) have the benefits conferred by you been forgotten (by me). (11) An act which was not to your taste was (nevertheless) done by me as something conducive to your interest with a mind affectionately disposed (towards you) through attachment, desiring (as I did) to be of service to you and safeguarding your glory. (12) Like a petty minded and unworthy man you ought not to hold me, devoted as I am to your pleasure and good, guilty in this matter (of taking you away from the field of battle), 0 monarch! (13) Kindly listen: I will make answer to your query as to why your chariot was taken back by me from the battlefield (even) as the onrush of a stream (disgorging itself into a sea) is pushed back by a tide. (14) I took note of the exhaustion occasioned by your strenuous fighting. Indeed there was no exhibition of valour on your part nor did I notice any superiority to your adversary in you. (15) The steeds of my chariot too, which had been exhausted by drawing the chariot and broken down and, being worn out under the rays of the sun, felt miserable like cows lashed by a downpour. (16)
"Moreover in the event of those portents which appear in large numbers before our eyes (today) proving true, I foresee
(only) that which is unpropitious (to us). (17) (Propitious and unpropitious) time and place as well as (good and evil) omens, facial expressions, depression and liveliness, (the measure of) fatigue as also the strength and weakness of the warrior occupying the chariot must be ascertained (by a charioteer). (18) The eminences and depressions of the earth's surface, as well as the parts which are level and rugged, the time opportune for combat and the visible weak points of the enemy too must be known (by a charioteer). (19) How to advance (towards the enemy) and how to recede, how to hold one's position and how to make good a retreat — all this must be known by a charioteer seated in his chariot. (20) This meet action (of removing you from the battlefield) was evidently taken by me in order to give rest to you as well as to these steeds of the chariot and to relieve your terrible fatigue. (21) Your chariot was not arbitrarily removed by me, 0 gallant warrior. What I did was done because I was overwhelmed with affection for my master, 0 lord! (22) Command me with an eye to the reality of things, 0 valiant exterminator of your enemies! (Now) with a mind which feels relieved of all obligations (on having come to your rescue on the field of battle), I shall do that which you will enjoin me to do." (23)
Satisfied with the explanation of the charioteer, nay, applauding him in many ways, Rāvana, who was covetous of fighting, replied as follows: — (24) "Speedily drive this chariot, 0 charioteer, towards Rāma (a scion of Raghu). Rāvana would not turn back without killing his enemies in combat." (25) Saying so, Rāvana, the lord of Rākshasas, actually bestowed on the charioteer even while the latter remained seated in the chariot, an excellent and brilliant ornament for the hand. Hearing the instructions of Rāvana, the charioteer drove the chariot back (to the battlefield). (26) Urged on by the command of Rāvana, the charioteer then immediately drove the horses forward and that huge chariot of Rāvana (the ruler of Rākshasas) thereupon stood in an instant before Śrī Rāma on the battlefield. (27)
Beholding Śrī Rāma, standing absorbed in thought on the battlefield, exhausted (as he was) by the fight, and Rāvana facing him, duly prepared for an encounter, and approaching Śrī Rāma, the glorious sage Agastya, who had come in the company of gods to witness the (epoch making) encounter (of Śrī Rāma with Rāvana) now spoke as follows; — (1 2)
"Rāma, 0 mighty armed Śrī Rāma, hearken to the follow ing eternal secret — in the form of a holy, eternal, immortal and supremely blessed and excellent encomium, entitled the 'Āditya Hrdaya' (which is intended to propitiate Brahmā, installed in the heart of the orb of the sun), the blessing of all blessings, by means of which, my child, you will (be able to) conquer once for all your adversaries on the battlefield, and which is calculated to bring victory, root out all sins, allay all anxiety and grief once for all and prolong life. (3-5)
"Worship (you) the sun god, the ruler of the worlds, who is crowned with rays, who appears at the horizon (everyday without fail), who is greeted by gods and demons (alike) and brings light (to the world). (6) Indeed he is the embodiment of all gods and full of glory and creates and sustains the gods and the demons as well as their worlds by his rays. (7) Indeed he is the same as Brahmā (the Creator) as well as Visnu (the Protector of the universe). Lord Śiva (the god of destruction), Skanda (son of Lord Śiva), Prajāpati (the lord of creation), the mighty Indra (the ruler of gods), Kubera (the bestower of riches), Kāla (the Time spirit), Yama (the god of retribution), Soma (the moon god), Varuna (the ruler of the waters), the Pitrs (manes), the (eight) Vasus, the (twelve) Sadhyas, the (two) Aśwīs (the physicians of gods), the (forty nine) Maruts (wind gods); Manu (a progenitor of the human race), Vāyu (the wind god) and the god of fire. He constitutes (all) created beings, he is the life breath (of the universe), the source of the seasons, the store house of light, an offspring of Aditi, the progenitor (of all), the
sun-god, the courser in the heavens, the nourisher (of all), the possessor of rays, the golden, the brilliant, the one whose energy constitutes the seed of the universe and the maker of day. (8-10) He has seven tawny horses (yoked to his chariot), is full of rays and myriad rayed, the destroyer of darkness, the source of happiness, one who mitigates the suffering of his devotees, the infuser of life in the lifeless cosmic egg, all pervading and the cause of the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe. He is blissful by nature, the ruler of all, the bringer of day and the Teacher. A son of Aditi, he bears the fire of dissolution in his womb, is bliss personified and all enveloping (like space), the destroyer of cold, the lord of the heavens, the disperser of darkness, a master of the three Vedas (Rk, Sāma and Yajur), the sender of thick showers and the friend (giver) of water. He courses swiftly along his own orbit, carries in him the resolve to evolve the universe and is adorned with a circle of rays. He is death (itself), tawny (of hue) and the destroyer of all. He is omniscient, all formed, endowed with extraordinary brilliance, coppery, the source of all evolutes, the controller of (all) lunar mansions, planets and stars, the creator of all, the resplendent among the splendid. 0 god appearing in twelve forms (in the shape of twelve months of the year), hail to you! (11-15)
"Hail to (you in the form of) the eastern mountain and hail to the western mountain. Hail to the lord of hosts of luminaries, the lord of the day. (16) Hail to (you) the giver of victory, hail to (you) the joy born of victory! Hail to (you) the god having tawny horses (yoked to your chariot). Hail, hail to you with thousands of rays! Hail hail to you, son of Aditi! (17) Hail to (you) the subduer of the senses, the valiant one! Hail to you as denoted by the mystic syllable OM! Hail to (you) the awakener of the lotus! Hail to you, the fierce one! (18) Hail (to you) the ruler of Brahmā, Lord Śiva and Lord Vishu (the infallible)! Hail to (you) the sun god, the (spiritual) light indwelling the solar orb, the resplendent one, the devourer of all, appearing in the form of Rudra (who drives away ignorance). (19) Hail
to (you) the dispeller of darkness, the destroyer of cold, the exterminator of foes, the one whose extent is immeasurable, the destroyer of the ungrateful, the god who are the ruler of (all) lights! (20) Hail to you, possessing the lustre of refined gold, the dispeller of ignorance, the architect of the universe, the uprooter of darkness, splendour incarnate, and the witness of the world! (21)
"The Lord alone actually destroys, brings into existence and sustains (all) that has come into being. He (alone) radiates heat by his rays and sends showers. (22) Planted in (all) created beings (as their Inner Controller), he remains awake when they have, fallen asleep. Nay, he himself is the act of pouring oblations into the sacred fire as well as the fruit attained by those who pour such oblations. (23) He comprises (all) the gods as well as the sacrifices as also the fruit of sacrifices. Again, he is the Supreme Controller of (all) activities that are found in all living beings. (24) No individual celebrating the Lord (through the foregoing encomium) who is in distress, in difficulties, in a great forest as well as in times of peril comes to grief, a scion of Raghu! (25) Worship the Lord of the universe, the adored of (all) gods, with a concentrated mind. Muttering this praise (as many as) three times, one will come out victorious in combats. You will (be able to) make short work of Rāvana this (very) mo ment, 0 mighty armed one!"
Saying so, the celebrated Sage Agastya thereupon left in the same way as he had come. (26-27) Hearing this advice, Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu), who was endowed with extraordinary energy and had a subdued mind, found his grief immediately dissipated. Feeling greatly delighted, he retained the hymn in his memory. (28) Sipping water thrice (with the name of the Lord on his lips) and getting purified (in this way), looking intently on (the orb of) the sun and repeating this prayer, the valiant one experienced supreme felicity. Seizing hold of his bow (afterwards) and fixing his eyes on Rāvana, the hero (who felt delighted in mind) advanced (on the battlefield) with a view to attaining victory (in combat). He stood vowed to kill Rāvana
with an intense and all sided effort. (29-30) Delighted in mind to gaze on Śrī Rāma, feeling supremely exhilarated on perceiving the destruction of Rāvana (the ruler of the night stalkers) at hand, the sun god, standing (in person) in the midst of a host of gods, exclaimed: "Make haste!" (31)
Feeling delighted, that charioteer, the charioteer of Rāvana, drove forward with speed his chariot, a chariot which was capable of crushing the enemy's army and was a wonderful piece of art (like the city of the Gandharvas), which bore exceptionally lofty pennons and was drawn by horses richly endowed with excellent qualities and adorned with gold necklaces, which was fully equipped with implements of war and adorned with rows of flags and pennons, which was swallowing space as it were and was making the earth resound (with its sound), which was the doom of the enemy's forces and brought immense joy to its own. Śrī Rāma (the ruler of men), they say, saw advancing precipitately (towards him) the chariot of Rāvana (the king of Rākshasas), which bore a huge standard and was noisy, which was drawn by sombre steeds and clothed with a dreadful lustre and was shining in space like an aerial car, bright as the sun, and which, crowded as it was with pennons that flashed like lightning and displaying as it did the splendours of a rainbow (because of its decorations), looked like a cloud holding streams of water and releasing torrents in the shape of arrows.
Beholding the enemy's chariot advancing like a cloud and making noise like a mountain bursting asunder when struck with lightning, and stretching with impetuosity his bow, which when bent looked like the crescent moon, Śrī Rāma spoke (as follows) to Mātali, the charioteer of Indra (the god with a thou sand eyes) :— "From the way in which he is darting forward from left to right with great impetuosity once more it appears that his mind is set upon destroying himself in combat. (1-10)
Therefore take care and advance towards the enemy's chariot. I wish to destroy it completely (even) as the wind would blow away a cloud coming into view. (11) Without confusion or getting 'flurried and with a steady heart and vision and the movement of the reins fully controlled, drive the chariot swiftly. (12) True, you need not be instructed (by me) accustomed as you are to drive the chariot of Indra (the destroyer of strongholds). Keen as I am to fight with one pointed attention, I (just) re fresh your memory and do not admonish you." (13) Extremely gratified with the apology of Śrī Rāma, Mātali, the excellent charioteer of gods, drove the chariot on. (14) Passing the huge chariot of Rāvana on the right, Śrī Rāma then set Rāvana a trembling by the dust raised from the wheels (of his own chariot). (15) With his coppery eyes wide open, angered as he was,. Rāvana thereupon struck Śrī Rāma, who stood facing his chariot, with arrows. (16) Combining patience with anger, though provoked by the assault, Śrī Rāma seized hold on the battlefield of Indra's bow, which was possessed of extraordinary impulse, as also arrows of exceeding swiftness, which were brilliant like sunbeams. Then ensued a major conflict between the two war riors Śrī Rāma and Rāvana, who stood 'facing each other like two proud lions, desirous of killing each other. (17-18)
Thereupon, gods accompanied by Gandharvas (celestial musicians), Siddhas (a class of demigods endowed with mystic powers from their very birth) and great Rsis (too) assembled to witness the duel, longing as they did for the destruction of Rāvana. (19) Then burst into view fearful portents that caused one's hair to stand on end, giving a warning of doom to Rāvana and prosperity to the scion of Raghu. (20) The god of rain rained blood on the chariot of Rāvana, while violent whirlwinds blew from left to right. (21) Hovering in the aerial region, a large flock of vultures followed the evolutions of his chariot. (22) Lankā looked enshrouded in dusk hued like a (red) Japa flower even in the daytime and the region round about appeared aglow (with it). (23) Huge meteors accompanied by thunder fell with a great noise at that time. Foreboding evil
to Rāvana, they filled the Rākshasas with despondency .at that time. (24)
The earth shook in whichever direction Rāvana mooted and the arms of the Rākshasas were clasped as it were (even) as they struck. (25) Fallen before Rāvana, the rays of the sun appeared coppery, yellow, white and dark like ores on a mountain. (26) Beholding the angry mien of Rāvana and vomiting fire from their mouths, she jackals, followed by vultures, uttered sinister howls. (27) The wind blew raising clouds of dust over the battlefield and clouding the vision of that king of Rākshasas, blowing in a direction unfavourable to him. (28) Without the appearance of any cloud fearful thunderbolts of Indra (the god of rain), fell on his army, on all sides with a noise that was hard to endure. (29) All the quarters as well as the intermediate points of the compass were shrouded in darkness; and due to a shower of dust the sky became obscure. (30)
Carrying on a desperate fight (among themselves) and emitting sharp cries fearful mynahs fell in hundreds on his chariot on that battlefield. (31) The horses of his chariot incessantly let out sparks from their hips and loins and tears from their eyes, releasing out (in this way) fire and water (both) at a time. (32) Foreboding disaster to Rāvana, many such appalling and fearful portents appeared. (33) Before Śrī Rāma too, appeared on all sides omens that were delightful and propitious and foreshad owed victory to him. Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) was really overjoyed to behold on this occasion delightful omens foretelling his own triumph, and regarded Rāvana as (already) killed. (34 35) Śrī Rāma, who was well versed in the science of omens, now experienced delight and supreme felicity on observing the omens appearing on his own person on the battlefield and exhibited even greater prowess in combat. (36)
Then ensued on that occasion a fierce and prolonged duel between Śrī Rāma and Rāvana that struck terror in all the worlds. (1) At that time the army of Rākshasas as well as the huge army of the monkeys stood motionless with their weapons held fast (in their hands). (2) Distracted in heart to behold the two warriors, a human being and a rākshasa, (both) full of might, engaged in a desperate duel, all experienced great wonderment. (3) Their arms that were ready with weapons and impatient for action, the warriors (on both sides) stood amazed in mind to witness the encounter and did not attack one another. (4) The army of the Rākshasas, who were looking on Rāvana, as well as of the monkeys, who were gazing on Śrī Rāma with astonished eyes, appeared as though they were painted. (5) Indeed, having made up their minds (to carry the contest through) and firm in their indignation, the Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) and Rāvana for their part fought fearlessly, as it were, on witnessing the omens on the field of battle. (6) Śrī Rāma (a scion of Kakutstha), who was convinced that he was going to win (in combat) and Rāvana, who was firmly persuaded that he would die, exhibited the entire wealth of their prowess in the struggle on that occasion. (7)
Fitting arrows to his bow, the valiant Rāvana (the ten head ed monster), thereupon loosed them in his wrath at the standard fixed on the chariot of Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu). (8) Failing to reach the aforesaid ensign on the chariot of Indra (a destroyer of citadels) and glancing off the staff supporting the banner, those arrows fell on the earth's surface. (9) Stretching his bow in great fury, the valiant, Śrī Rāma too duly proceeded with his mind to return blow for blow. (10) He loosed a whetted shaft, irresistible as a great snake and burning with its own glory, aiming it at the banner of Rāvana. (11) The glorious Śrī Rāma let fly the arrow aiming it at the standard of Rāvana. Tearing asunder the ensign of Rāvana, that arrow entered the
earth. (12) Torn down, the flag of Rāvana's chariot fell to the ground.
The notorious Rāvana, who was endowed with extraordinary might, was inflamed with fury on perceiving the destruction of his standard and stood blazing as it were with indignation. Fallen a prey to anger, he loosed a hail of arrows; so the tradition goes. (13-14) With his flaming arrows, Rāvana pierced the horses (of the chariot) of Śrī Rāma. Those heavenly steeds, neither staggered nor reeled, but remained contented at heart, as they would feel when struck with lotus stalks. Infuriated to perceive the nonchalance of those horses on that occasion, Rāvana they say, let loose a further shower of shafts as also maces as well as iron clubs, discuses and mallets, mountain peaks and trees as well as pikes and axes. He, however, let fall this rain of weapons as a creation of magic. Unwearied, he loosed arrows in thousands on that occasion. (15-18) Leaving alone the chariot of Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu), that tumultuous, alarming, fearful and great shower of numerous weapons, which was attended with a terrible echo, descended on the simian army on all sides on the battlefield. Rāvana (the ten headed monster) loosed arrows with a mind that had given up (all) hope of survival, and wholly covered the space.
Seeing the notorious Rāvana putting forth great effort in the struggle, the celebrated Śrī Rāma (a scion of Kakutstha) thereupon fitted whetted shafts to his bow as though .laughing and then loosed them in hundreds and thousands. (19-22) Seeing those arrows, Rāvana completely covered the sky with his own. Due to that dazzling shower of shafts discharged by the two (contending) warriors at that time, the shining space looked like a second heaven raised with a network of arrows. No arrow (discharged by them) failed to reach the mark; there was not one that failed to pierce its target and not one that was loosed in vain. (23 24) Colliding with one another, the arrows of Śrī Rāma and Rāvana, who were loosing them on the battle field, fell to the ground. Discharging arrows to their right and left, the two warriors fought vehemently without interruption
and covered the sky with their formidable arrows so as not to leave even breathing space (between them) as it were. (25 26) Exchanging blow for blow, the two warriors struck each other on that occasion, Śrī Rāma hitting the steeds of Rāvana and the latter those of Śrī Rāma. (27)
Extremely enraged, the two warriors thus carried on a keen contest. For an hour or so, there raged a fierce struggle that caused one's hair to stand on end. (28) All created beings (present there) for their part gazed with an astonished mind on the said Śrī Rāma and Rāvana, fighting thus on the battlefield. (29) Furiously attacking and injuring each other on the battlefield, nay, intent on destroying each other, the excellent chariots of the two warriors assumed a terrible aspect. The two charioteers too went on displaying multifarious movements of their chariots born of their driving skill, such as moving in a circle, moving straight and darting forward and receding forthwith. The two warriors had recourse to impetuosity of movement in their forward and backward motion, Śrī Rāma wounding Rāvana and vice versa. Those excellent chariots of the two warriors, who were discharging streams of arrows, ranged the battleground like two clouds pouring showers. Having displayed movements of many kinds, on the field of battle, the two chariots once more stood facing each other. The shafts of the two chariots even as they stood at that moment met one with the other; the muzzles of the horses of the one closed with those of the horses of the other and the pennons (too) of the one closed with those of the other.
With four sharp arrows loosed from his bow Śrī Rāma there upon drove back the four spirited horses of Rāvana. On the retreating of his horses, that ten headed monster, fell prey to anger and let fly his whetted shafts against Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu). The said scion of Raghu, though grievously wounded by the mighty Rāvana, felt neither agitated nor disquieted. The ten headed monster then directed arrows that emitted a sound like a stroke of lightning at the charioteer of Indra (who carries the thunderbolt in his hand). Falling on the body of Mātali,
the arrows, which were loosed with great impetuosity, did not cause the least confusion or torment to him on the battlefield. Angered by that assault on Mātali, Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu), who for his part did not feel provoked by the assault on himself, made his adversary averse to fighting by (directing) a stream of his arrows against him. The valiant scion of Raghu loosed twenty, thirty, sixty and hundreds and thousands of arrows on the enemy's chariot.
Provoked to anger, while seated in his chariot, the king of Rākshasas, Rāvana too thereupon tormented Śrī Rāma with a shower of maces and mallets in return. Then there ensued once more a tumultuous struggle, which caused one's hair to stand on end. (30-44) The seven seas were thrown into agitation by the sound of maces, mallets and iron bludgeons and the gusts raised by the plumes adorning the (flying) arrows. (45) All the devils as well as the snakes inhabiting in their thou sands the nethermost subterranean region situated underneath the agitated seas felt disquieted. (46) The entire earth shook with its mountains, forests and jungles. The sun (the source of light) lost its brilliance and the wind too ceased to blow. (47) Thereupon all the gods — including the Gandharvas (celestial musicians), as well as the Kinnaras (another class of demigods credited with a human figure and the head of a horse or with a horse's body and the head of a man) and huge serpents — as also Siddhas (a class of demigods endowed with mystic powers from their very birth) and great Rsis (the seers of Vedic Man tras) fell a prey to anxiety. (48) "May all be well with the cows and the Brahmānas. May (all) the worlds endure forever! May Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) conquer in combat, Rāvana, the king of Rākshasas!" (49) Saying so, the gods including the hosts of Rsis (the seers of Vedic Mantras) present on the occasion witnessed the fierce struggle between Śrī Rāma and Rāvana, which caused one's hair to stand on end. (50) Watching that matchless struggle and observing that even as the sky is its own compeer and that the sea is its own analogue, the struggle between Śrī Rāma and Rāvana can be likened only to the struggle
between Śrī Rāma and Rāvana, the hosts of Gandharvas (celestial musicians) and Apsaras (heavenly nymphs) looked on that combat between Śrī Rāma and Rāvana. (51 52)
Fitting to his bow an arrow, which resembled a venomous serpent (in its fierceness) in wrath the mighty armed Śrī Rāma, who enhanced the glory of the Raghus (his forbears), cut off the glorious head1 of Rāvana, which was graced with flame bright earrings. The denizens of the entire three worlds saw that head fallen on the ground on that occasion. (53 54) Another head, exactly similar to the former, cropped up on the shoulders of Rāvana. The second head (too) of Rāvana was struck off on the battlefield in no time by the nimble handed Śrī Rāma — who was quick in action — with his arrows. The aforesaid head rose into view once more the moment it was severed; but it too was severed by the thunderbolt like shafts of Śrī Rāma. In the same way a hundred of heads, equally brilliant, were (successfully) struck off (by Śrī Rāma), yet no certainty about his death could be arrived at. Though equipped with numerous arrows and well versed in the use of all kinds of mystic missiles, the valiant Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu), the enhancer of Kausalya's joy, thereupon became thoughtful. (He said" to himself :—) "I wonder what is the reason that these well known shafts — which have all been tried and found infallible by me on the battlefield, by the help of which the raksasa Marica for his part was made short work of (by me) as also Khara along with Dusana, (the rākshasa) Viradha too was disposed of in a hole in the ground in the Kraunca wood, and Kabandha in the Dandaka forest, by which (again) were the (seven) sal trees (at Kiskindha) and mountains too were transfixed as also Valī (the lord of mon keys) and (last of all) the sea was thrown into agitation — have proved of little efficacy against Rāvana." (55 61)
Though absorbed in thought, yet not at all careless on the battlefield, Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) rained showers of ar
1. It seems Rāvana appeared on the battlefield with a single head only, during this combat.
rows on the breast of Rāvana. (62) Provoked to anger the king of Rākshasas, Rāvana, too, who was seated in his chariot, tormented Śrī Rāma in return with a shower of maces and mallets on the battlefield. (63) Then followed a great and tumultuous fight, which caused one's hair to stand on end, in the air as well as on the earth and again on the top of the (Trikuta) mountain. (64) While the gods, the devils and the Yaksas as also the fiends, the Nagas (serpent demons or semi divine beings credited with the face of a man and the tail of a serpent, and said to inhabit the nethermost subterranean region, Patala) and the Rākshasas looked on that major conflict, it continued the entire night. (65) The contest between Śrī Rāma and Rāvana ceased neither by night nor by day, not even for an hour or a moment. (66) Not perceiving the victory of Śrī Rāma in the duel between the two, the son of Dasaratha and the king of raksasas, that high souled charioteer of Indra (the foremost of gods) quickly spoke as follows to Śrī Rāma, (while he was still) engaged in fighting. (67)
Mātali forthwith refreshed the memory of Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) on that occasion and said, "How do you (merely) do as Rāvana does (by acting on the defensive) as though you did not know (how to dispose of him), 0 gallant prince (1) With a view to his destruction discharge you on him the mystic missile presided over by Brahmā (the grandfather of the universe, which was created by the ten Prajāpatis or lords of creation, who were all his mind born sons), my lord. The hour of his doom, which was foretold by the gods, has now arrived." (2) Reminded (of that missile) by the suggestion of Mātali, Śrī Rāma then seized hold of a flaming arrow, which flew like a hissing serpent. (3)
The glorious and powerful Sage Agastya had already be stowed on him (while he was moving in the Dandaka forest)
that enormous arrow gifted to him by Brahmā (the creator), which never missed its target. (4) Having been created of yore for (the use of) Indra (the ruler of gods) by Brahmā, whose strength was immeasurable, it was bestowed in the past on the ruler of gods, who was eager to conquer the three worlds. (5) The wind god presided over its feathers; the god of fire (lit., the purifier) and the sun god (the source of light) over its head; its shaft was made up of ether; while the Mandara and Meru mountains presided over its weight. (6) Provided with lovely feathers and decked with gold, the arrow, which emitted light from its body, had been made up of the essence of all the elements and shone like the sun. (7) Flaming like the fire of universal dissolution enveloped in smoke, and resembling a venomous snake, it was quick in action and capable of split ting asunder hosts of men, elephants and horses and smash ing gateways and iron bars and mountains too. Smeared with the blood of various victims and coated with their marrow, it presented a dreadful appearance. (8-9) Hard as adamantine and loud sounding it was capable of dispersing armies of every kind. Terrible (to behold) and hissing like a serpent, it fright ened all. (10) Providing lasting nourishment on the battlefield to buzzards, vultures and herons as well as to packs of jackals as also to Rākshasas, it assumed the aspect of Yama (the god of retribution) and inspired terror. (11) The delight of monkey chiefs and the scourge of raksasas, it was provided with various kinds of lovely and picturesque plumes of Garuda. (12)
Charging with a mystic spell in accordance with the scriptural ordinance that great arrow — which was supremely destructive, capable of dispelling the fear of (all) the worlds (in general) and the Ikswakus (in particular), taking away the glory of the enemies and delighting one's own self— the mighty Śrī Rāma, who was endowed with extraordinary strength, then placed it on his bow. (13-14) While that excellent arrow was being fitted by Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) to his bow, all created beings felt terrified and the earth shook. (15) Stretching his bow at full length, Śrī Rāma, who felt highly provoked and was supremely
active, loosed on Rāvana the arrow, which was capable of tearing asunder his vital parts. (16) Difficult to prevail against, like the thunderbolt hurled by the arm of Indra (the wielder of the thunderbolt), incapable of being warded off like Death, the arrow impinged on the breast of Rāvana. (17)
As soon as loosed, the arrow, which was endowed with exceeding velocity and was supremely capable of putting an end to the (enemy's) body, pierced the heart of the notorious and evil minded Rāvana. (18) Taking the life of Rāvana with all speed and stained with blood, that deadly shaft penetrated the earth's surface. (19) Soaked in blood on having killed Rāvana, and thereby accomplished its mission, appearing graceful, that well known arrow reentered the quiver (of Śrī Rāma) like a meek servant. (20) The notorious bow of Rāvana, when the latter was struck, immediately dropped down from his hand along with the arrow (fitted to it), synchronously with his life breath even while he was being separated from his life. (21) His life having departed, the ruler of Rākshasas (lit,, the progeny of the rākshasa Nirrti, the deity presiding over the south west corner), who was (once) endowed with terrible impetuosity and invested with extraordinary splendour, fell from his chariot to the ground (even) like the demon Vrtra when the latter was struck down by the thunderbolt (of Indra). (22) Seeing him fallen on the ground, the night rangers who had escaped the carnage, ran very fast in all directions panic stricken, their lord having (now) been killed. (23) Monkeys, who fought with trees, fell roaring upon them. Perceiving the destruction of Rāvana (the ten headed monster) the monkeys had assumed a triumphant air. (24) Harassed by the jubilant monkeys, the Rākshasas rushed (back) in panic towards Lankā , with faces exciting pity and raining tears, their supporter having (now) been killed. (25) Assuming a triumphant air, highly rejoiced as they were, and proclaiming the victory of Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) and the death of Rāvana at his hands, the monkeys thereupon shouted at the top of their voices. (26)
Presently there sounded loudly in the air the happy drums
of the gods and a highly delightful breeze sprang up there, wafting heavenly odours. (27) Covering the chariot of Śrī Rāma (9 scion of Raghu), a soul ravishing shower of flowers, which was difficult to find (elsewhere), fell from the heavens to the earth on that occasion. (28) The excellent utterance of the high souled gods saying "Well done! Bravo!!" combined with a panegyric in praise of Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) was distinctly heard in the heavens. (29) The fierce Rāvana, the terror of all the worlds, having been killed, a great joy filled (the heart of) the gods including the Cāranas (the celestial bards). (30) Rejoiced on having dispatched the foremost of the Rākshasas, Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) then fulfilled the desire of Sugrīva, Ahgada and Vibhīsana (by seeing and felicitating them on the fall of Rāvana (31) Thereupon the hosts of gods attained great peace of mind, (all) the (four) quarters brightened up and the sky (too) became clear. The earth no longer shook, the wind blew gently and the sun shed a steady light. (32) Coming to gether, rejoiced as they were by the victory (of Śrī Rāma), Sugrīva, Vibhīsana and Angada for their part, who were supple mented by their friends and accompanied by Laksmana, then paid their homage with due ceremony to Śrī Rāma (a scion of Raghu) who looked charming on the battlefield. (33) Śrī Rāma, the delight of Dasaratha (the king of Raghu's race), who had just killed his adversary (Rāvana) and was thus steadfast in his vows, and who was endowed with extraordinary might, stood encompassed on the battlefield by his own people as well as by his army (even) like the mighty Indra (the ruler of gods) surrounded by the celestial hosts. (34)
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Rāma kills Rāvana, Guler, circa AD 1780, National Museum, Delhi