Thursday, 26 May 2016

356. Ravana himself goes to fight.

                The mournful and plaintive cry of the women reached Ravana's twenty ears and started troubling him very much. Whatever may be his faults, he was a good king and very much concerned about the happiness of his citizens. He, therefore, decided to do something to alleviate the distress of them.
           Sighing for a long time and remaining engrossed in reflection for a further long time, employing all his ten heads, Ravana became more enraged and assumed a frightfully frightful appearance. The sight of Ravana nipping his lips with his teeth, his eyes becoming blood-red with anger, was so appalling that his ministers and others around him dared not look at him.
          At last Ravana came to a conclusion as to what was to be done next. Looking at the coterie standing submissively before him for his orders, Ravana nodded as if to confirm that he had reached a conclusion. He told Mahodara, Mahaparshva and Virupaksha, who were standing near him "Get all the armies ready for immediate action."
       When the army was gathered and set ready for action, Ravana told his still living close sycophants Mahodara, Mahaparshva and Virupaksha  "Today will be the retribution day for Rama and Lakshmana for their killing Khara, Kumbhakarna, Prahasta and Indrajit. The sky overcast by my arrows, like clouds, will not be distinctly seen. Neither the quarters, nor the heaven, nor the seas will come to view. With a multitude of plumed arrows joined with my bow, I will kill, by turns, the troops of monkey-chiefs, too.
         "By mounting on a chariot, having a speed equal to that of wind, I will destroy today the armies of monkeys, with waves of arrows arising out of the ocean of my bow . Like an elephant, today I will destroy ponds in the form of troops of monkeys shining like the filaments of lotus, with their faces resembling full-blown lotuses. With their faces transfixed with arrows, the monkey-leaders, lying on the battle-field today will adorn the earth as lotuses together with the stalks.
      "With each arrow released in battle today, I shall tear the more furious monkeys fighting with trees. By annihilating the enemy without any trace today, I shall wipe off the tears of those rakshashas and rakshashies, who lost their husbands, brothers and sons. I shall ensure that the bodies of the monkeys pierced with my arrows lying dead in the battle field would cover the ground entirely without any space.
       "Today, I shall satiate the crows, vultures and all those other creatures which eat the flesh, with the flesh of my enemies, struck by my arrows. Arrange my chariot quickly. Bring my bow. Let all the remaining rakshashas here  follow me to the battle field."
              You will agree that there is no need to mention that the orders of Ravana was complied with implicitly. Sorry! What they did was much more than implicit! Seeing that there was not enough trained soldiers left, they went to each and every house and conscripted every grown up rakshash they found. And all of them were equipped with various weapons viz. swords, sharp-edged darts, pikes, maces, clubs, plough like weapons, sharp-edged javelins, staffs, discuses of every kind, sharpened axes, slings for throwing stones, stones or cylindrical wooden pieces with iron pikes and many other excellent and varied weapons that could be found without any delay.
          Ravana mounted that awesome  chariot brought to him and surrounded by several rakshashas, sallied forth with the determination to vanquish Rama and his army.
        The sight of Ravana coming in his imposing chariot accompanied by a large army, which was making all sorts of noise with their tabors, drums, Kettle-drums, conchs and with their mouths, filled the vanaras with some inexplicable apprehension.
       Yes! You guessed correctly! As usual some awful portends appeared. The cloud rained blood. The horses stumbled. A vulture descended on the top of the ensign. Jackals emitted sinister howls. All his (i.e. Ravana's) left eyes throbbed. All his left arms trembled. He became pale-faced. 
         A meteor with a sound similar to a thunder, fell down from the sky. Ill-omened vultures together with crows cried out aloud.
       As usual the villain of this epic, Ravana waved away these dreadful bad omens, like others.
       A tumultuous battle ensued between those vanaras and rakshashas. With a vengeance, Ravana started killing the vanaras in hundreds with his arrows.
          And very many vanaras lost one or more organs of their body. Some had their heads chopped. Some had their hearts pierced. Some were made deprived of their ears. Some were struck down breathless. Some were torn in their ribs. Some had their skulls smashed. Some were deprived of their eyes. Whichever side Ravana with all his twenty eyes, which had became red due to his excruciating anger, rolling, goes in his chariot in the battle-field, the vanaras, on that side, were not able to withstand the unimaginable surge  of his arrows.

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