Tuesday, 1 March 2016

332. Lakshmana killed Atikaya.

          Seeing his own army chaps scattering away in jitters, Atikaya probed for the reason thereof. Getting to know of the killing of his three brothers who accompanied him to the battlefield and also his dear uncles Mahodara and Mahaparshva, Atikaya who had an agglomeration of  boons bestowed by Brahma, got wild and vowed to avenge their killing. Mounting that chariot, which was given to him as a boon by Brahma, which was shining like a cluster of thousand suns, Atikaya rushed towards the enemy region. Wearing a crown and well-cleansed ear-rings and drawing his bow, he roared with a big noise, making his name loudly heard. He was very sure that everyone in all the worlds knew about him and as such hearing his name, all the monkeys, the bears and the two humans will run away or surrender. 
          None in the enemy line (except Vibhishana and his palls) heard about him, that is Atikaya. However, seeing the bulkiness of his body, all the vanaras started wondering if Kumbhakarna had come from the land of Yama , and as a safety measure rushed to Rama for protection
        Rama seeing from a distance, Atikaya, who resembled a mountain in size, stationed in a lovely chariot, armed with a wonderful bow and rumbling like a cloud during a catastrophic rainfall, was wondering who this rakshash was. However, after consoling, comforting and assuring absolute protection to the vanaras who rushed to him for refuge after seeing the mountain like rakshash Atikaya, Rama asked Vibhishana “Oh my! who is he, resembling a mountain in size, armed with such a bow, brown-eyed and seated in that lovely and spacious chariot yoked with so many horses?  Tell me about this rakshash, whose mere sight is making all the vanaras tremble with fear and run away to save their lives.”
            Vibhishana replied Rama  “He is Atikaya, a son of Ravana and Dhanyamali, one of the many wives of Ravana. By worshiping Brahma, he got a boon exempting him from death at the hands of Suras and Asuras. He also got from Brahma mighty armors and that chariot shining like the sun.
       “He protected all rakshashas and demonstrated his power by defeating and conquering the devas and danavas several times. Even Yakshas are no match to him. Indra found his famous armor, vajra useless against this Atikaya, who paralyzed the vajra with his arrows. He struck down the noose of Varuna. O! Rama! It is better to finish him quickly, else he may erase the entire lot of our vanaras.”
         Though the vanaras of lower order were frightened of the mammoth sized Atikaya and were running to Rama seeking refuge, the commanders of the vanara army, like  Kumuda, Dvivida, Mainda, Nila, Sharabha etc. decided to face him boldlyTaking trees and mountain peaks, the brave and dauntless commanders marched forwards decidedly to attack him and try to finish him. Atikaya was however, more than a match for those adventurous, gritty, fearless, resolute and gallant vanaras. He effortlessly chopped off the trees and crags with his arrows. That strong and skilled rakshash Atikaya followed his defensive action by striking all those dauntless vanaras with his arrows. All those brave vanaras were injured with their blown out bodies, by the shower of Atikaya’s arrows and were unable to retaliate him. That giant and massive bodied rakshash was very gracious to spare those who were unable to fight. Atikaya quickly got fed up with fighting or rather killing the hapless vanaras who were foolish to face him. He decided to end the battle quickly by killing that human chap Rama. With that end in view he rushed towards Rama. On reaching in front of Rama, that mighty rakshash  with supercilious, scornful, arrogant, contemptuous, disdainful and lordly countenance jeered at Rama  “I guess my traitorous uncle Vibhishana would have filled you everything about me. I consider that it would be infra dig for me to attack any one who is not brave or competent enough to face me. If you or anyone in your army has the grit,  courage, spirit, resolution, nerve or guts  and thinks he has the ability and energy to face me is most welcome and I will oblige him to prove that he is no match for me in valour, bravery and courage. And I will quickly send him to Yama."
            The boasting of that arrogant  and conceited rakshash irritated Lakshmana, naturally. The enraged Lakshmana, stepping forward quickly and took the stance of an opponent in front of Atikaya. That twang of the bow of Lakshmana, filling the entire quarters, earth, sky and the ocean, was frightening. Atikaya was surprised. Atikaya told Lakshmana superciliously “Oh-my! I guess you are Lakshmana. I see that you are still a boy. Obviously you are ignorant of a fight, I mean a real fight against an opponent like me. My lad! I do not like to kill a mere boy. Go away. Even the Himalayan Mountains or the sky or the earth would not be able to endure the speed of my arrows. Drop your bow and go back. I do not like to kill a boy.
        “Look carefully my arrows. You will find them decked with pure gold. They are like the weapons of Ishvara and as such are amply capable of  subduing any of my enemies. This arrow looking like a serpent will drink your blood as a lion drinks the blood of an elephant. If you still foolishly wanna fight with me and thereby wanna meet your Maker, then you are most welcome."
        Atikaya then took an arrow and fixed it in his bow.
      The supreme arrogancy of Atikaya irritated Lakshmana. He thought that it may be construed as panic or anxiety on his part if he did not hit back that rakshash. He, therefore told him loftily “O the stupid rakshash! Mere words cannot make you a very important person. One cannot become extremely competent just by boasting. You better start to demonstrate your competence to me, who is standing in front of you and determined to kill you. Reveal yourself by your deeds and not mere boasts. Let me see how good you are as a warrior.
       “You are seated in a chariot, with all the weaponry and wielding a magnificent bow. Let me see your prowess either by your arrows or by any of your weapons. I promise that I shall strike down your head, like a fruit of a fan-palm, ripened by its time, is fallen down from its stalk by the gust of a wind. If you consider me a mere boy, try to overpower this boy.”
       Atikaya could not stomach the rational retort of Lakshmana nor could he contain his irritation and anger. With bubbling fury that rakshash, Atikaya took a stance for the duel by taking  an excellent arrow and started engaging it with his bow. The firmament  was overcrowded with the celestial spectators like Vidyadharas, Bhutas, Devas, Daityas, Maharshies  and Guhyakas expecting top-class performances by both the duelists Atikaya and Lakshmana.
          Atikaya inaugurated that duel by engaging an arrow to his bow, dispatched it towards Lakshmana, and expected that it would be the end of the duel i.e.  Lakshmana would be killed or run away. Lakshmana effortlessly chopped off that serpent-like sharp arrow with his crescent-pointed arrow.
       Atikaya was very much disappointed that his estimate about Lakshmana that he was a novice vis-a-vis  himself in warfare was all wrong. This irritated and enraged him. He now realized that Lakshmana was equal to him in prowess, bravery, daring, courage etc. He, therefore, settled down for a long and strenuous battle. 
      The rakshash, Atikarya hurled more and more powerful arrows towards Lakshmana. Lakshmana effortlessly chopped them off with his arrows.
      Lakshmana decided to flaunt his superiority over that rakshash. He then harnessed a powerful arrow on his bow, stretched it and released it. That arrow hit and then sunk into the forehead of that raksshash, who smeared with blood all over his face, appeared like a serpent-king on a mountain.
       That rakshash, recovering his breath, realized that Lakshmana was more than a match for him. He, therefore decided to fight with all the power, equipment, most powerful arrows and the top-class missiles got from Gods. Accordingly he seized hold of a set of highly powerful arrows and fixed them to his bow, stretched it and released the arrows. Those arrows with golden shafts and shining like the sun, set the sky ablaze looked highly ominous as Death. Lakshmana coolly chopped off those gluts of arrows by his arrows.
Atikaya then with another very powerful arrow struck Lakshmana in the middle of his chest.  Struck by that arrow in his chest, Lakshmana oozed out blood severely, like the fluid exuding from a rutting elephant.
           Lakshmana not minding the pain and the blood, quickly pulled that arrow-head and threw it down and taking a sharp arrow of his own and fixed it with a missile. When Lakshmana employed the missile of fire on his arrow, that arrow  caused a flame to blaze.
        Atikaya countered Lakshmana's arrow by a solar missile employed on his arrow, having a golden shaft as also looking like a serpent. 
           Lakshmana then hurled at Atikaya, a blazing and awful arrow employed with that mystic missile as Yama would hurl his rod of death.
          Atikaya countered Lakshmana's arrow by the awful arrow charged with the solar missile. Those two arrows, having their points blazed in splendor, struck at each other in the sky, like two enraged serpents.
   Those two powerful arrows fought with themselves and were reduced to ashes. Atikaya then tried a missile presided over by Tvasha (the architect of gods). Lakshmana chopped off that by his missile presided over by Indra.
       The battle between the two went on like that for a while. Laksshmana was puzzled why his very powerful missiles could not pierce the chest of that rakshash.  Then, Vayu came to him and whispered in his ears “That rakshash is cloaked by an inviolable armour endowed with a boon by Brahma. He, therefore can be killed by Brahmastra only."
        Lakshmana thanked Vayu with a nod and a lovely smile and called the Brahmastra from  his missiles library and set it on that rakshash. While this process was going on, all the quarters, the sun, the moon, the great planets and the sky were shaking as if frightened.
      Atikaya saw that Brahmastra was being set on him by Lakshmana, That rakshash tried his best to stop it. That all-powerful astra, blazing like fire, separated Atikaya’s head from his body. That head with its diadem, fell down on the ground like a peak of the Himalayan Mountain.
      All the surviving rakshashas were aghast seeing the headless body of Atikaya falling on the ground, with his clothes and ornaments scattered. With the end of their last leader all the raskshashas were frightened and  started dissipating with their faces turned towards that City of Lanka.

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