Sunday, 29 November 2015

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

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

Saturday, 28 November 2015

319. Nila got the wicket this time.

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

Thursday, 26 November 2015

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

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

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

317. Hanuman scored again with Akampana.

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

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

316. The next victim was Akampana.

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

Monday, 23 November 2015

315. Angada killed Vajradamshtra.

           The mighty Vajradamstra, seeing the devastation of his army, was aghast with anger. He started to counter that by counterattacking by stretching his  terrific bow, comparable to that of Indra's  vajra,  assailed the vanaras with a flood of arrows. By his order, the foremost of the rakshash commanders under his control mounted on chariots, fought the battle with every kind of weapon. The vanaras, assembling on all sides, fought with rocks, trees, hands etc. Thus the battle turned very fierce, cruel, savage, brutal, aggressive, menacing, vicious, fiery and murderous.
           As no warrior on either side ever retreated in any battle, a tremendous struggle ensued. Some vanaras and rakshashas, with their shattered heads, bereft of arms and legs, lay on the earth bathed in blood with their bodies severely ruptured by weapons, became a prey to herons, vultures and crows or devoured by troops of jackals.
       Vanaras and rakshashas felled on the battlefield, as headless trunks creating terror to the fearful. The limbs of many were hacked to pieces. However, slowly and steadily the vanara army was gaining superiority. This was evident as under the eyes of Vajradamshtra, almost all his army of rakshashas were being killed or made ineffective (by way or loss of one or more limbs)  by the vanara-troops.
       Seeing this, that powerful Vajradamshtra, his eyes red with anger, bow in hand, penetrated into the army of vanaras, sowing panic among them. In this way Vajradamshtra, like the wings of an eagle that flew straight to their target, started killing or maiming a bunch of his opponents simultaneously at a time. This created terror among the vanaras and they sought refuge with Angada.
         Angada then went straight to Vajradamshtra. Both Vajradamshtra and Angada fought against each other like a lion and an elephant in rut. Thereafter, that Vajradamshtra knocked the mighty Angada at his vital organs with his arrows resembling hundred thousand flames of fire.
        With all his limbs drenched in blood, the mighty Angada having a terrific prowess threw a tree on Vajradamshtra. That unperplexed rakshash, seeing that tree coming towards him, cut it into innumerable pieces which fell in heaps on earth.
      Seeing this Angada taking a large rock and threw it on that rakshash. Vajradamshtra evaded that rock by leaping down from his chariot. Armed with his mace, he stood waiting unperplexed, on the battle-field. The rock thrown by Angada crushed the chariot with its wheels, shafts and horses. Thereafter, Angada seizing another large peak of a mountain adorned with trees, threw it on Vajradamshtra's head. This time the missile found the marked target, to wit Vajradamshtra. It made Vajradamshtra vomit blood and feel dizzy. Vajradamshtra, with determination,  clenching his mace convulsively and breathing heavily for a moment regained his consciousness. Vajradamshtra, with uncontrollable anger hit Angada full on the chest with his mace. Angada took it unflinchingly, with a sneer. The mace slipped from the hands of Vajradamshtra and rolled down. Vajradamshtra then started a pugilistic encounter. Exhausted by the blows, spitting blood, both the warriors looked like the planets Mars and Mercury.
           Angada, with a firm determination to end the fight, uprooted a tree full with many flowers and fruits and stood waiting. The rakshash, too, with the same intention, seized hold of a shield covered with the hide of a bull as well as a great beautiful sword decorated richly with a multitude of golden bells. Determined to be victorious, both the vanara and the rakshash, making roaring sounds, roamed about in different ways and collided with each other. With their gaping wounds, they shone like a pair of Kimshuka trees in blossom. 
           Each found the other quite a match for him. Both of them, therefore absolutely exhausted and sank their knees on the earth. Fortunately for him, Angada was the first to overcome his tiredness. With a great effort he sprang up like a serpent struck with a stick. As luck would have it he saw the well sharpened sword glistening nearby. Like lightning he grabbed it and assaulted Vajradamshtra on his giant head. Vajradamshtra, with his limbs drenched in blood and eyes rolling, fell down in two pieces. Seeing Vajradamshtra slain, his entire army fled. 

Sunday, 22 November 2015

314. Vajradamstra, the next scapegoat enters.

             The news about the death of Dhumraksha drove Ravana mad with anger and he began to hiss with all his mouths like a bunch of serpents. After a few moments of careful analysis in his mind, Ravana decided that the valiant Vajradamshtra would be the most appropriate commander to take retribution for the killing of Dhumraksha and others. He, accordingly called him and told him "O, the most intrepid and valiant warrior! Go ahead as the commander and slay Rama, Lakshmana, Sugreeva and all his vanaras." Saying "Yes, Sir" Vajradamshtra  left and organized very many divisions of the army. 
           Adorned with colourful bracelets and a diadem, Vajradamshtra set out immediately, wielding a bow and well-covered by an armour. That army-general circumambulated and ascended his chariot, duly decorated with flags. 
         All those rakshashas in their resplendent and coloured uniforms, full of strength and mounted on elephants furious with rut, resembled moving mountains. Those elephants mounted by warriors bearing lances and goads were skilled in war-fare. Some other elephants, mounted by valiant rakshashas, were quite mighty in strength. That whole army of rakshashas paraded, looking as brilliant as the clouds, with lightning and sound in the rainy season. They emerged from the southern gate where the General Angada was stationed.
         While those rakshashas were emerging from the gate, inauspicious portents appeared, as usual. From a cloudless yet burning sky, meteors fell. Fearful jackals, emitting their howls and belching forth flames and fire. The dreadful beasts foretold destruction of the rakshashas, who while entering the combat, stumbled miserably. Even after seeing these portents Vajradamshtra of exceeding prowess and sharpness, mustered courage and being fond of battle, set out for the combat with a brave face.
        The vanaras, burning for victory, seeing their enemies advancing, made tremendous shouts which echoed every quarter. Thereafter, a tumultuous battle ensued. It delivered many warriors of both sides with their necks severed, lying on the surface of the earth, their entire bodies bathed in blood.
          The unhurt warriors, with arms resembling steel, or with trees or large stones approached their adversaries, attacking with various kinds of weapons. An extremely horrible and terrible noise was heard there from trees, rocks and weapons. A terrific noise of the wheel-rims of chariots and the bow, along with the tumultuous sounds of conches, kettle-drums and tabours heard from there.
        Some rakshashas, leaving weapons, fought the battle with their arms. Many of the rakshashas were beaten and their bodies fragmented by the vanaras fighting with their teeth, nails, palms, feet, fists, trees and knees. Some rakshashas were crushed to powder with rocks. Tremendously frightening the vanaras in the battle by his arrows, Vajradamshtra moved himself in the battle-field like Yama moving at the time of dissolution of the worlds, wielding a noose in his hand.
           The strong rakshashas skilled in weaponry and wielding various kinds of weapons, in their increased anger killed many a vanara in that battle. The courageous Angada, killed all those rakshashas, like a world-destroying fire. The valiant Angada with his raging red eyes killed quite a lot of  rakshashas, like a lion killing small animals. 
          Many a rakshashas struck by Angada there, had their heads shattered and fell down like chopped off trees. The earth covered with chariots, conspicuous flags, horses, bodies of vanaras and rakshashas with streams of blood flowing there appeared fearful.            That battle-field, decorated with necklaces, bracelets worn on the upper arm, garments and umbrellas looked like an autumnal night. By the swiftness of Angada, that great army of rakshashas there trembled like a cloud by the swiftness of wind.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

313. Hanuman sent Dhumraksha to meet his Maker.

              Seeing Dhumraksha  all the vanaras who were eagerly waiting for retaliation, roared with joy. The vanaras started to fight with a vengeance in retribution of what was done by Intrajit. Many of the enraged vanaras were cut down on all sides by the rakshasas. The vanaras hit back ferociously and equalized the score. The vanaras fought with such a fierceness they had never fought before.
         Despite being torn asunder by the rakshashas with terrible maces, spears, hammers, frightful iron bars and variegated tridents, the mighty vanaras fearlessly and undauntedly executed their tasks with an excitement born of anger. Ignoring the fact that their bodies were split up by the tridents and their limbs broken by arrows, the furious vanaras took up trees and rocks there and fought with a determination, completely unmindful of the pain and agony caused by the wounds. Those terribly swift vanaras, roaring aloud harassed the rakshashas at all places, by calling out their names actual and nicknames. That awful battle with all kinds of rocks and trees furnished with many branches between the vanaras and the rakshashasas appeared mesmerizing.
      Some rakshashas were crushed by vanaras, who had overcome fear and some blood-loving rakshashas vomited copiously their own blood. Some rakshashas were slashed open at their sides. Some were formed into a heap by the trees. Some others were crushed by stones and yet some others torn to pieces by the vanaras by their teeth and nails. With their standards crushed and broken, their swords snapped and their chariots overturned, many rakshashasas became nervous.
           Crushed by the great rocks by the vanaras, the earth was scattered with corpses of great elephants resembling hills and horses with their riders. The vanaras rushed upon the rakshashas, flinging themselves upon them with great force horizontally and vertically and scratching their faces with their sharp nails. With their faces turned pale very much, due to apprehension, their hair torn out and maddened by the smell of blood, those rakshashas were felled on the ground by the vanaras.
         Some brave and  enraged rakshashas, ran up towards the vanaras and hit them with their strong and mighty palms several severe blows. Some of the stronger vanaras, receiving that sharp shock, with even a greater ferocity, crushed the rakshashas with blows of their fists, feet, teeth and trees. Seeing his army routed, Dhumraksha started to fight like a top hero he really was.
       Some vanaras pierced with spears lost rivers of blood while others struck down by blows of axe, fell down. Some were crushed by iron bars, others torn by harpoons, some others pierced by javelins, all exhausted and lost their lives. Slain in battle by infuriated rakshashas, some vanaras, drenched with blood, fell on the ground and some others disappeared without any trace.
           With pierced hearts, some vanaras were made to lie down on one side. Some were torn asunder by tridents that their intestines were hanging outside their bodies. That mighty battle assumed most awful proportions in that the vanaras and rakshashas were crammed with rocks, trees and multitude of weapons. With the bow-strings as the tuneful lute, the neighing of horses as a measure rhythm and the trumpeting of elephants as the vocal music, the whole battle resembled a symphony.
           Dhumraksha on his part, wielding his bow in his hand and laughing, made the vanaras to run away to all directions by a shower of his arrows. Seeing the army perturbed by Dhumraksha, Hanuman decided to stop him forever. Turning towards him, taking a gigantic rock in his hands Hanuman, with his eyes inflamed with anger, flung that rock on the chariot of Dhumraksha. Seeing the fast approaching rock, Dhumraksha grabbing his mace hurriedly, jumped out of the chariot. Seeing the shattering of his chariot with its wheels, its pole, its crest along with banner and bows, by that rock which then rolled down to the ground, Dhumraksha thanked his good luck. Hanuman did not stop with that. After breaking the chariot, he destroyed a good number of rakshashas with the trunks of trees furnished with their branches. With their heads crushed, the rakshashas left this world  leaving their bodied drenched with blood in this world. Some others were crunched by the trees and fell down on the earth. Our James Bond of Ramayanam, the relentless Hanuman, breaking off the peak of a mountain, ran towards Dhumraksha. The valiant Dhumraksha lifted his mace and making a roaring sound, ran towards Hanuman. Dhumraksha brought down that mace studded with countless spikes on the head of our dear hero Hanuman. That poor rakshash, Dhumraksha did not know about our dear hero who was in no way disturbed by that blow but struck Dhumraksha on the middle of his skull with his rocky peak. It was the last straw for Dhumraksha. Struck by the rocky peak, which shattered all his limbs, Dhumraksha fell down, stone dead on the ground like a mountain crumbling. Seeing Dhumraksha killed, all the surviving and mobile rakshashas were scared of death left the battle field in a hurry. On that day our hero Hanuman became Hero square for his comrades.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

312. Dhumraksha was sent to contain Rama.

               That uproar created by the vanaras, who were full of martial ardour, startled Ravana,  his counselors and other rakshashas around him. Hearing that mighty clamour, sounding smooth and deep, Ravana told, with a slightly quivering voice all those present around him "That uproar, resembling the rumbling of clouds, seems to have been created by that horde of rejoicing vanaras. It sounds their joy is great. Their roar seems to be agitating the briny ocean itself. Those two brothers Rama and Lakshmana were tied by sharp arrows. I, therefore wonder why this sound of exuberance of such a great magnitude. I am a bit apprehensive."
         After pondering for a few moments, Ravana told the rakshashas around him "You immediately find the reason for this general rejoicing over there among the vanaras."
           On going to the  ramparts they noticed that Sugreeva as well as Rama and Lakshmana were in the lead of the vanara army. All the rakshashas felt some nasty feeling in the tummies and wanted to hit the loo or whatever it was called then.  Controlling with great difficulty and with their hearts palpitating  with fear and faces turning pale, all those terrified rakshashas descended from the ramparts and ran to Ravana.
       In quivering voices they informed Ravana of the unpleasant info "The two brothers, Rama and Lakshmana, whom Indrajit had bound with his benumbing shafts and whose arms he had pinioned, are free from the arrows which paralyzed them and now appear on the field of battle, as two strong elephants who have snapped their fetters."
          Ravana was puzzled to hear the news as he was told earlier by his dear son Intrajit that he had killed those two humans. All his ten  faces turned pale. He expressed his thoughts aloud "If those chaps, having been bound by Indrajit are freed, despite their injuries in battle by the formidable arrows which were infallible, resembling serpents, bright as the sun, I perceive my entire army in jeopardy. Those very arrows, bright as fire, which in battle have taken the life of my enemies, have now been rendered void indeed!"
              Thinking after a few moments, hissing like a snake, he addressed a rakshash yclept Dhumraksha who was also around him "You, with such a terrific prowess should be able to at least contain Rama and his animals, if not eliminate them. Go quickly with a considerable force of rakshashas and slay Rama, Lakshmana and his vanaras."
           Dhumraksha, having no choice other than to obey his king, quickly departed from the royal palace. Having crossed that gate, he shouted at the General of the forces "Mobilize the army immediately."
              Dhumraksha, having got the mobilized army following him, kept the army ready quickly, as per Ravana's command. Dhumraksha then with a mule-like clatter, set out in a celestial chariot to which mules adorned with gold and heads of deer and lions were hitched. That Dhumraksha of mighty prowess, surrounded by rakshashas, set forth amidst mocking laughter, through the western gate where the vanara army-chief Hanuman was stationed. As he mounted and advanced in an excellent chariot harnessed by mules, birds of ill-omen in the sky cautioned that advancing rakshash of very terrible and fearful appearance.
         A highly terrible vulture alighted on the top of his chariot, while some other vultures clustered on the point of his standard. The earth trembled. The wind with the noise resembling a thunder blew adversely. Every quarter, obscured by abundant darkness, did not dazzle. Seeing those terrible omens that appeared in all their horror to the rakshashas, Dhumraksha became perturbed. Terror seized all the rakshashas who were advancing in front of Dhumraksha.
       Dhumraksha, the highly terrible and strong rakshash, surrounded by a multitude of rakshashas, gaped at that army of a multitude of vanaras, resembling a flood, protected by  Rama.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

311. Enter Garuda, the Savior.

          Sugreeva on hearing the hustle of movements, inquired the reason for the same. Angada told him that the reason seemed to be that they had heard only just now that  Rama and Lakshmana were lying covered with  blood in a bed of arrows.
        Sugreeva  shaking his head told Angada "No. I feel that there is some other cause for their bewilderment. They seem to be scared. Your see, they are running away helter-skelter in all directions. They are not looking behind. They are jostling each other and leaping over those who have fallen."
      Sugreeva then noticed Vibhishana and correctly guessed the reason. He told Jambavan "It is Vibhishana who has come here. On seeing him, the vanaras thought him to be Indrajit and panicked. You reassemble them immediately, and inform them that it is Vibhishana who has come!"
         Jambavan the king of Bears promptly and efficiently executed the command of Sugreeva. Realizing the fact and ashamed for their hasty erroneous conclusion those vanaras retraced their steps, shaking off their fear.
        Sugreeva told Sushena, his father-in-law, who was on his side "Taking these two brothers, Rama and Lakshmana as well as  the troops of vanaras who are pretty strong, go to Kishkindha and stay put there till they recover their consciousness. As for me, I shall slay Ravana with his son and his relatives and bring back Seetha."
        Sushena replied Sugreeva "I have witnessed a great war between devas and asuras. Just like this Intrajit, the asuras becoming invisible overcame the devas despite their skill in wielding arms. To those devas who were wounded, unconscious and almost dead, Brihaspati treated them by the aid of certain herbs accompanied by his spells of sacred formulas. Let the vanaras Sampati, Panasa and others go  to the ocean of milk and bring those herbs.
     "These vanras are conversant with those efficacious mountainous divine herbs Sanjivakarani and Vishalya. In the bosom of the milky ocean, there are the mountains called Chandra and Drona, where the ambrosia was formerly churned. These two excellent herbs exist there. The devas placed those two mountain in the vast sea......"
           Before he could conclude what he wanted to say, they heard a loud buzzing noise accompanied by a great wind and massed clouds and lightning, whipping up the salty waves in the ocean, causing the mountains to tremble as from an earthquake. Large trees on the sand-banks had their branches broken and fell headlong into the briny waters of the ocean. All snakes became frightened. The snakes inhabiting there and all the marine animals plunged quickly into the briny ocean.
             While the vanaras were wondering the cause of these phenomena, a mighty eagle was seen by them. It was recognized by the older vanaras as Garuda, the son of Vinata. On beholding Garuda, the eagle, the serpents binding Rama and Lakshmana in the form of mighty arrows, fled away. Thereupon, Garuda the eagle, approached Rama and Lakshmana and offered them his good wishes, with his hands fondly caressing their faces that were radiant like the moon.
         That touch by Garuda the eagle, all the wounds on the bodies of Rama and his bro were immediately healed like magic. Their bodies soon became smooth and well-rounded. Their luster, valour, strength, endurance and resolution, their perspicacity, intelligence and memory were redoubled.
        Lifting them up both, the highly majestic Garuda embraced them. Rama asked him "Now, by your grace, we both have overcome a great disaster created by Indrajit. Now we have been made strong as before. Nay, we feel we have become more strong than before. By meeting you thus, my heart is swelled with happiness in the same manner when I was meeting Dasharatha, my father or Aja, my paternal grandfather. Who are you, the one endowed with beauty, having blissful garlands and anointment, wearing clean garments and adorned with divine ornaments?"
         The highly majestic and the mighty Garuda, the eagle, the King of Birds, with his eyes widened in gladness and with a pleased heart, replied Rama "O, Rama! I am your dearest friend Garuda , dear as your own breath moving outside. I came here to help you, both. The most valiant asuras or the exceedingly strong vanaras or the suras together with gandharvas, at the instance of Devendra, were unable to untie this awfully terrific entanglement of arrows created through his power of sorcery by Indrajit.
        "These arrows are actually serpents and the sons of Kadru. With their sharp fangs, abundantly filled with poison, transformed into arrows, by the dint of sorcery by Indrajit. You and your brother Lakshmana are blessed. Hearing about this incident, I started at once. You have been released from this quite terrific shackle of arrows. Both of you should maintain vigilance, all the time, in future.
        "All the rakshashas  are inherently  treacherous fighters in battle. For you, your warriors, pure-mindedness and straight forwardness are the strength. What Indrajit has done, exemplifies how the rakshashas are always crooked-minded. For this reason, you should not trust the rakshashas."
       Garuda then told "O, Rama, now I am pushing off. Don't waste your time trying to find out who I am and how I am one of your dear friends. Now concentrate on destroying Ravan and his cronies and rescuing Seetha. Then you will come know of why and how about me. Pip-pip, toodle-oo."
                  Garuda then took off and vanished like a super-supersonic aircraft. Seeing Rama and Lakshmana were completely and absolutely healed of their wounds, the chiefs of vanaras howled like roars of lions and lashed their tails.
         Thereupon, gongs were beaten, drums resounded, and conches blown amid jumping in joy of the vanaras as before. Some of the strong vanaras who used trees as maces in battle, were waving their arms and uprooting hundreds and thousands of various trees, stood there, ready for the battle. Uttering great noises, frightening the rakshashas and eager to fight, the vanaras reached the gates of Lanka.
       On reaching the gates, all the vanaras made such a highly terrible and tumultuous battle cry in the mid-night which sounded like the rolling thunder at the end of summer .