26-3 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra
That fierce lance, the gift of Brahmā, struck Lord Ananta (Lakṣmaṇa) right in the breast and the hero dropped to the ground full of agony. The ten-headed monster tried to lift the Prince and carry him off, but the glory of the demon’s matchless strength proved ineffective. How foolish it was on the part of Rāvaṇa to have sought to lift him on one of whose (thousand) heads rest all the spheres of the universe like a mere grain of sand. He little knew that he was no other than the Lord of the three spheres.
The son of the wind-god, who perceived this, rushed forward speaking harsh words; but even as the monkey came near, the monster struck him a terrible blow with his fist. (83)
Hanumān sank on his knees but did not fall to the ground. Recovering himself, he rose in exceeding wrath and struck Rāvaṇa a blow with his fist; the demon fell like a mountain struck by lightning. When the spell of his swoon was over and consciousness returned to him, he began to admire the monkey’s enormous strength. “Shame on my valour and shame on myself, if you are still alive, you enemy of gods!” So saying, Hanumān carried Lakṣmaṇa off to Śrī Rāma: the ten-headed monster was amazed at this sight. Said the Hero of Raghu’s line, “Bear in mind, brother, that you are the devourer of Death and the saviour of the gods.” Immediately, on hearing these words the gracious prince (Lakṣmaṇa) arose and sat up, while the fierce lance vanished into the heavens. Taking his bow and arrows again he darted and came post-haste in front of the enemy. (1 - 4)
With great despatch Lakṣmaṇa smashed Rāvaṇa’s chariot again and struck down his charioteer, who felt writhing with pain. Rāvaṇa, whose heart he transfixed with a hundred arrows, fell to the ground, much distressed. Another charioteer came and laid him in his own chariot and immediately took him away to Laṅkā; while Lakṣmaṇa, Śrī Rāma’s glorious brother, bowed at the Lord’s feet again.
At the other end the ten-headed monster, on coming to himself, set to perform some sacrifice. In his perversity and rank ignorance the fool sought to gain victory even by antagonizing Śrī Rāma! (84)
At this end Vibhīṣaṇa got all the information and, hastening to the Lord of the Raghus, apprised Him of everything. “My lord, Rāvaṇa is busy with a sacrificial performance; and if he completes it, the wretch will never die. Therefore, my lord, despatch some valiant monkeys at once, so that they may wreck his sacrifice, and the ten-headed monster be compelled to return.” As soon as the day broke the Lord sent out His champions - Hanumān, Aṅgada and others - who all rushed forward. In mere sport the monkeys sprang up to the fort of Laṅkā and fearlessly entered Rāvaṇa’s palace. The moment they saw him engaged in a sacrifice all the monkeys grew wildly furious. “You shameless wretch, having run away home from the battle, you have sat down here and feigned meditation!” So saying Aṅgada struck him with his foot; but the fool did not even look at them, his mind being absorbed in the pursuit of his own end. (1 - 4)
When he refused to look at them, the monkeys in their fury bit him with their teeth and kicked him. His wives too they seized by their locks and dragged out of doors while they cried most piteously. Then at last he rose, furious as Death, and, catching hold of the monkeys by their legs, he threw them away. Meanwhile, when he saw that the monkeys had wrecked the sacrifice, he felt discomfited at heart.
Having wrecked his sacrifice the monkeys safely returned to the Lord of the Raghus; while the demon (Rāvaṇa) set out ablaze with fury, abandoning all hope of life. (85)
Evil omens of a most fearful nature occurred to him even as he went. Vultures flew and perched on his heads. Being in the jaws of death, he paid no heed to anyone and exclaimed: “Beat the drums of war.” The demon host appeared endless as it marched on with its myriads of elephants, chariots, foot-soldiers and horsemen. The wicked demons rushed to face the Lord like a swarm of moths darting towards fire. At this end the gods prayed to the Lord: “This fellow (Rāvaṇa) has inflicted terrible suffering on us. Play with him no more, Rāma; Videha’s Daughter (Sītā) is feeling most disconsolate.” The Lord smiled to hear the godsí prayer; the Hero of Raghu’s line rose and put His arrows in order. The matted locks on His head had been tightly coiled and were interlaced with flowers. With His ruddy eyes and body dark as a rain-cloud He ravished the eyes of the whole world. He fastened His quiver to a piece of cloth girt round His loins and took in His hand formidable Śārṅga bow. (1 - 5)
The Lord took the Śārṅga bow in His hand and fastened to His waist the beautiful quiver with an inexhaustible stock of arrows. He had a pair of muscular arms and a charming and broad chest which was adorned with the print of the Brāhmaṇa’s (Bhrigu’s) foot. When the Lord, says Tulasīdāsa, commenced feeling the bow and arrow with His hands, the whole universe, including the elephants guarding the eight quarters, the divine Tortoise, the serpent-god (Śeṣa) and the earth with its oceans and mountains, began to tremble.
The gods rejoiced to see His beauty and rained down flowers in an endless shower, exclaiming “Glory, glory, all glory to the Fountain of mercy, the storehouse of beauty, strength and goodness.” (86)
Meanwhile arrived the vast demon host with its overcrowded ranks. The moment the monkey warriors saw the army they advanced to meet it like the masses of clouds that gather at the time of universal destruction. A numberless swords and claymores flashed like gleams of lightning from every direction. The shrill cries of the elephants and horses and the rattling sound of the chariots resembled the terrible thundering of clouds. Myriads of monkeysí tails stretched across the heavens like an array of magnificent rainbows appearing in the sky. The dust rose in thick columns like streams of water in the air and the arrows shot forth in an endless shower like rain-drops. Mountains hurled from either side crashed like repeated strokes of lightning. The Lord of the Raghus in His fury let fly arrows in showers, which straightway wounded the demon crew. The demon warriors shrieked with pain as the arrows struck them; and swinging round and round they fell to the ground here, there and everywhere. Streaming with blood, the wounded demons looked like mountains with their large cascades; and the blood ran in the form of a river, the terror of cowards. (1 - 5)
A most unholy river of blood, that smote recreants with terror, ran across the battlefield. With the two armies for its banks, the chariots for its intervening sands and their wheels for its whirlpools, it was a frightful flood indeed. The foot-soldiers, and even so elephants, horses, donkeys and other mounts of all kinds, more than one could count, (that floated on the river) represented the various aquatic creatures; the arrows, lances and iron clubs (swept by it) stood for its serpents: the bows borne along the current represented its waves and the shields stood for its many tortoises.
Warriors fell here and there like the trees on its banks and the abundant, marrow of their bones represented its scum. Dastards shuddered at its very sight, while champions were delighted at heart to see it. (87)
Spirits, ghouls and goblins and even so frightful genii with a long shaggy mass of hair and Pramathas (Śiva’s own attendants) took their plunge in it. Crows and kites flew off with human arms, which they tore from one another and ate themselves. Some said, “What a pity, fools that you should continue to suffer from want even in such plenty?” Wounded warriors fallen on the banks groaned like the moribund lying all round half in and half out of water (on the bank of a sacred river, lake etc., in order to ensure that they may breathe their last while their body is being washed by the sacred water since such a death is accounted as highly beneficial to the spirit of the dying man). Standing on its banks, vultures tore the entrails of the dead like fishermen angling with rapt attention. Many a dead warrior floated down with birds perched on them, as if the latter were enjoying a game of boating on the river. The Yoginīs (female attendants of Goddess Durgā) took to storing blood in skulls, while female spirits and sprites danced in the air. Even so Cāmuṇḍās (another class of female attendants of Durgā) sang songs in various strains, clashing the skulls of dead warriors like so many pairs of cymbals. Herds of Jackals snapped their teeth as they tore the dead, feasted upon them and yelled; and, when surfeited, they snarled. Myriads of headless trunks trotted along the battlefield, while the heads lying on the ground shouted “Victory! Victory!!” (1 - 5)
The heads shouted “Victory! Victory!!” while headless trunks darted wildly about. Birds got entangled in skulls even as they contended with one another; while champions overthrew their rivals. Imperious through Śrī Rāma’s strength, the monkeys crushed the demon crew; and mortally struck by Śrī Rāma’s flight of arrows, the champions lay in eternal sleep on the field of death.
Rāvaṇa thought within himself, “The demons have been wiped out and I am left alone, while the monkeys are still numerous. Let me, therefore, resort to conjuring without any limit.” (88)
When the gods saw that the Lord was on foot, they were exceedingly troubled at heart. Indra (the lord of heaven) forthwith despatched his own chariot, which Mātali (Indra’s charioteer) gladly brought there. It was a heavenly and unique car, which was all splendour; the King of Kosalapura (Ayodhyā) gladly mounted it. It was driven by four high-spirited and charming horses, which knew no decay or death and flew as fast as mind. The monkeys rushed forward with renewed vigour when they saw the Lord of the Raghus mounted on a chariot. When Rāvaṇa felt that the monkey’s onset was irresistible, he took to creating illusions. The illusive creation did not touch the Lord of the Raghus; while the monkeys, nay, even Lakṣmaṇa took it for real. The monkeys saw among a large demon host a number of Rāmas and as many Lakṣmaṇa. (1 - 4)
The monkeys and bears were much terrified at heart to see numerous Rāmas and Lakṣmaṇas. All of them, including Lakṣmaṇa, stood gazing like the figures in a picture wherever they were. The Lord of Kosala smiled to see His army at a nonplus; He fitted an arrow to His bow and in a trice Śrī Hari dispersed the Māyā to the delight of the whole monkey host.
Śrī Rāma then cast His glance on all and spoke in serene words: “Watch now my duel (with Rāvaṇa); for all of you, my heroes, are extremely tired.” (89)
So saying, the Lord of the Raghus bowed His head at the Brāhmaṇas’ lotus feet even as He urged forward His chariot. Thereupon Rāvaṇa felt much enraged at heart and darted to meet Him, challenging Him in a thundering voice: “Listen, hermit: I am not like one of those warriors whom you have vanquished in battle. My name is Rāvaṇa, whose glory is known all the world over, and whose prison holds within its walls the regents of the spheres! You slew Khara, Dūṣaṇa and Virādha and killed poor Vāli even as a hunter would shoot his game. Nay, you wiped out a host of demon champions and killed even Kumbhakarṇa and Meghanāda. Today I will, wreak vengeance on you for all this unless, O prince, you flee away from the battle. Today I will surely give you over to death; for it is the relentless Rāvaṇa whom you have to deal with.” Hearing his foul talk the All-merciful took him as doomed to death and smilingly replied as follows: “True, true is all your greatness. But prate no more; show your valour if you can. (1 - 5)
“Do not ruin your reputation by bragging. Pray, excuse me and listen to a sound maxim. There are three types of men in this world - those resembling the rose, the mango and the bread-tree respectively. The one gives flowers alone, the second flowers and fruit both and the third yields fruit alone. Even so the one talks, the second talks as well as does, while the third does but never goes about proclaiming it.”
Rāvaṇa heartily laughed when he heard Śrī Rāma’s words. “Ah! You teach me wisdom! You did not shrink from waging war against me then; now it seems you are afraid of death.” (90)
Having uttered these taunting words Rāvaṇa furiously began to discharge arrows like so many thunderbolts. Shafts of various designs flew and filled all the quarters, nay, every corner of the earth and heavens. The Hero of Raghu’s line let fly a fiery dart, and in a moment the demon’s bolts were all consumed. Rāvaṇa ground his teeth out of frustration and hurled a fierce lance; but the Lord sent it back along with His arrow. The demon then hurled crores of discs and tridents; but the Lord frustrated them by tearing them asunder without any exertion. Rāvaṇa’s arrows proved as futile as the schemes of the wicked invariably are. Then with a hundred arrows he struck Śrī Rāma’s charioteer (Mātali), who fell to the ground crying “Victory to Śrī Rāma!” Śrī Rāma took compassion and lifted up the driver; He was now stirred up with a terrible fury. (1 - 4)
When the Lord of the Raghus encountered the enemy on the battlefield, full of rage, the arrows in His quiver vied with one another in their endeavour to shoot forth. The man-eating demons were all seized with terror at the sound of the most awful twang of His bow. Mandodarī’s heart quaked; the ocean, the Tortoise supporting the globe, the earth and the mountains trembled; and the elephants guarding the quarters squealed, and clutched the globe with their tusks. The gods smiled at this amusing sight.
Śrī Rāma drew the bow-string right up to His ear and let fly His terrible darts, which sped forth vibrating like so many serpents. (91)
The arrows flew like winged serpents. At the first onset they killed Rāvaṇa’s charioteer and horses; then, smashing the car, they tore off his ensign and flags. Even though his strength had inwardly failed him, he roared aloud and, immediately mounting another car, ground his teeth and hurled missiles and other weapons of every description. All his efforts, however, failed like those of a man whose mind is ever intent on harming others. Then Rāvaṇa hurled forth ten pikes, which struck the four horses of Śrī Rāma’s chariot and overthrew them. The Lord raised His horses and, drawing the bow string, let fly His darts in great fury. The arrows of Śrī Rāma (the Hero of Raghu’s line) sped forth like a string of bees to enter Rāvaṇa’s heads, which compared a bed of lotuses. Śrī Rāma struck each of his brows with ten arrows, which pierced through them; and blood gushed forth in torrents. Though bleeding profusely, the mighty demon rushed forward; the Lord once more fitted arrows to His bow. The Hero of Raghu’s line discharged thirty shafts, which shot down his heads and arms to the ground. But they grew afresh as soon as they were severed; Śrī Rāma, however, struck off his heads and arms once more. Time after time the Lord smote off his arms and heads; but they were renewed as soon as they were blown off. Again and again the Lord tore off his arms and heads; for the King of Kosala takes delight in playing. The sky was full of heads and arms like an infinite number of Ketus and Rāhus. (1 - 7)
It seemed as though multitudes of Rāhus and Ketus were rushing through the air, streaming with blood; hit by the terrible shafts of Śrī Rāma (the Hero of Raghu’s line) again and again, they could not fall to the ground. The arrows, as they flew through the air, each transfixing a set of heads, seemed like so many rays of the angry sun each strung all over with a number of Rāhus.
As quickly as the Lord struck off his heads, they were renewed without end, like the passions of a man, which grow ever more and more even as he enjoys the pleasures of sense. (92)
When the ten-headed monster perceived the multiplication of his heads, he thought no more of his own death, but was seized with burning wrath. The fool roared in his great pride and rushed forward with all his ten bows drawn. Flying into a rage on the battle- field, the ten-headed monster discharged a shower of arrows and screened with it the chariot of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus), which was lost to sight for nearly half an hour, even as the sun is obscured by mist. When the gods raised a piteous cry, the Lord took up His bow, full of wrath. Making in effective the enemy’s arrows He cut off his heads, which covered all the quarters as well as the intermediate points of the compass, as well as heaven and earth. The severed heads flew through the air and struck terror into the monkeys’ hearts as they uttered the cries of “Victory, Victory!! Where is Lakṣmaṇa? Where is Sugrīva, the lord of the monkeys? Where is the hero of Raghu’s line, the lord of Kosala?” (1 - 4)
“Where is Rāma?” cried the multitudes of heads as they sped. The monkeys took to flight as they saw them. The Jewel of Raghu’s line smilingly fitted arrows to His bow and shot the heads through and through. Taking a rosary of skulls in their hands a large number of Kālikās (female attendants of Goddess Kālī) collected in numerous batches, as though having bathed in the stream of blood they had proceeded to worship the banyan tree of the battle.
Then the ten-headed monster in his fury hurled forth his terrible lance, which flew straight towards Vibhīṣaṇa like the rod of Death. (93)
When the Lord saw the most fearful lance coming, He thought to Himself, “It is My sacred vow to put an end to the distress of the suppliant!” Instantly Śrī Rāma put Vibhīṣaṇa behind Him and exposed Himself to the full force of the spear. When the lance struck Him, the Lord fainted for a while. Although it was a mere sport on the part of the Lord, the gods were filled with dismay. When Vibhīṣaṇa saw that the Lord had been grievously hurt, he seized his club and rushed forward full of rage. “You wretched vile and perverse fool! You have antagonized gods, human beings, sages and Nāgas alike. You devoutly offered your heads to Lord Śiva and have got millions for one in return. It is for this reason, O wretch, that you have been spared till this time; your death, however, seems to be impending now. Fool, you seek happiness through enmity with Śrī Rāma?” So saying, Vibhīṣaṇa struck his brother right on the chest with his club. (1 - 4)
At the terrible impact of the mighty club on his chest Rāvaṇa fell to the ground, all his ten mouths spouting blood. But he picked himself up again and darted forward full of fury. The two mighty champions closed with each other in a wrestling contest, each mauling the other. Vibhīṣaṇa, however, who was inspired with the strength of Śrī Rāma (the Hero of Raghu’s line), deemed his adversary as of no account.
Umā, (continues Lord Śiva,) Vibhīṣaṇa would never have dared of himself to look Rāvaṇa in the face. Armed with the might of Śrī Rāma (the Hero of Raghu’s line), however, he now closed with his brother like Death himself. (94)
Perceiving Vibhīṣaṇa much exhausted, Hanumān rushed forward with a rock in his hand; crushing the chariot, the horses and the charioteer all at once he gave Rāvaṇa a kick right in his breast. The demon, however, kept standing though shaking violently all over. Meanwhile Vibhīṣaṇa withdrew into the presence of Śrī Rāma (the Protector of His devotees). Rāvaṇa thereupon challenged and assailed the monkey (Hanumān), who ascended into the air spreading his tail. Rāvaṇa laid hold of his tail, but the monkey (Hanumān) flew along with him. The mighty Hanumān then turned and closed with him. The two well-matched warriors fought overhead, each striking the other in great fury. Putting forth all their strength and stratagem while in the air the two looked like a mountain of soot and Mount Śumeru contending with each other. When the demon could not be overthrown either through wit or through physical force, the son of the wind-god invoked his lord. (1 - 4)
Invoking the Hero of Raghu’s line, the strong-minded Hanumān challenged and struck Rāvaṇa. The two fell to the ground and rising again resumed fighting. The gods shouted “Victory” to both. Seeing Hanumān in such a strait, the monkeys and bears sallied forth in furious haste; while Rāvaṇa, who was battle-mad, crushed all the champions by the tremendous might of his arm.
Then, rallied by the Hero of Raghu’s line, the fierce monkeys rushed forward. Seeing the overwhelming monkey host, Rāvaṇa, however, displayed his Māyā (black art). (95) He became invisible for a moment and then the wretch revealed himself in multitudinous forms. The ten-headed monster appeared in as many forms as there were bears and monkeys in the army of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus). The monkey host beheld numberless Rāvaṇas; the bears and monkeys then fled in every direction. The monkeys had no courage to stay. They fled crying, “Help, Lakṣmaṇa! Help, Raghuvīra (Hero of Raghu’s line)!” Myriads of Rāvaṇas darted in all directions, thundering in a deep, shrill and frightful voice. All the gods took flight in panic crying, “Now, brethren, abandon all hope of victory. A single Rāvaṇa subdued the whole heavenly host. Now that he has been multiplied, let us seek mountain caves.” Only Brahmā (the Creator), Lord Śambhu (Śiva) and the wise seers, whoever knew something of the Lord’s glory, remained unshaken. (1 - 4)
They who understood the Lord’s might remained fearless. But the monkeys took the apparitions for real enemies. They all lost courage and fled, monkeys and bears alike, crying in their dismay: “Protect us, our merciful lord!” The most powerful Hanumān, Aṅgada, Nīla and Nala, who were all valiant in battle, fought and crushed the myriads of gallant Rāvaṇas that had sprouted on the soil of deception.
The Lord of Kosala smiled to see the dismay of the gods and the monkeys. He fitted or arrow to His famous Śārṅga bow and wiped out the whole host of illusive Rāvaṇa. (96)
In a trice the Lord dispersed the whole phantom, even as the veil of darkness is torn asunder with the rising of the sun. The gods rejoiced to see only one Rāvaṇa and, turning back, rained abundant flowers on the Lord. Raising His arm, the Lord of the Raghus rallied the monkeys, who returned, each shouting to other. Inspired by the might of their lord, the bears and monkeys ran; and leaping briskly they arrived on the battlefield. When Rāvaṇa saw the gods extolling Śrī Rāma, he thought to himself, “They think I am now reduced to one.” “Fools! you have ever been victims of my thrashing!” So saying he sprang into the air with great indignation. As the gods fled uttering a piteous cry, Rāvaṇa said, “Wretches whither can you go from my presence?” Seeing the distress of the gods, Aṅgada rushed forward and with a bound seized Rāvaṇa by the foot and threw him to the ground. (1 - 4)
Having seized Rāvaṇa and thrown him to the ground, Vāli’s son (Aṅgada) gave him a kick and then rejoined his lord. The ten-headed monster, on recovering himself, rose again and roared terribly in a shrill voice. Proudly drawing the string of all his ten bows he fitted a dart to each and rained a flight of arrows, wounding all the warriors in the enemy’s ranks to their utter dismay and confusion; and rejoiced to see his own might.
Thereupon the Lord of the Raghus tore off Rāvaṇa’s heads and arms, along with the arrows and bows; more than once. But each time they all multiplied like sins committed in a holy place. (97)
The bears and monkeys grew furious when they saw the repeated renewal of Rāvaṇa’s heads and arms. “This fool would not die even though his arms and heads are cut off!” So saying, the bear and monkey warriors darted towards him in great fury. Vāli’s son (Aṅgada), the son of the wind-god, Nala, Nīla, Sugrīva (the king of the monkeys) and Dwivida, all mighty heroes, hurled trees and rocks on him. Rāvaṇa, however, caught them and threw the same back upon the monkeys. Some of the monkeys tore the enemy’s body with their claws, while others would kick him and run away. Then Nala and Nīla climbed up his heads and set to tearing his foreheads with their claws. When he saw blood coming, he felt much troubled at heart and moved up his arms to catch hold of the monkeys. But they were not to be caught and leapt about from one hand to another like a pair of bees hovering over a bed of lotuses. At last with a furious bound he clutched them both; but before he could dash them to the ground, they twisted his arms and ran away. Again in his fury he took ten bows in his hands and with his arrows struck and wounded the monkeys. Having rendered Hanumān and other monkey chiefs senseless he rejoiced to see the approach of night. Seeing all the monkey heroes in a swoon the valiant Jāmbavān rushed forward with a host of bears carrying rocks and trees, which they hurled upon him, challenging him again and again. This enraged the mighty Rāvaṇa, who seized a number of the warriors by the foot and began dashing them to the ground. Jāmbavān (the king of the bears) flew into a rage when he saw the havoc wrought on his host, and gave Rāvaṇa a kick on the breast. (1 - 8)
The violent impact of the foot on his breast made Rāvaṇa senseless and he fell from his chariot to the ground, grasping a bear in each of his twenty hands, like bees reposing by night in the folds of the lotus. Seeing him unconscious, the king of the bears struck him with his foot once more and re-joined the Lord. Perceiving that it was night, the charioteer lifted him on to his chariot and then tried to bring him back to his senses.
On recovering from their swoon the bears and monkeys all arrived in the presence of the Lord, while all the demons stood round Rāvaṇa in great consternation. (98)
[PAUSE 26 FOR A THIRTY-DAY RECITATION]