Rāmāyana | Āraṇya Kaṇḍa | Chapter 24

24. Rāma's Preparation for War Against Khara

[Rāma asks Lakshmana and Sītā to hide in a cave and decided to fight alone. He also sees the bad omens which greet Khara's army. He sees good omens. The army of Khara arrives and Rāma is ready for the battle.]

Observing the arrival of Khara who was coming with his evil valour, Rāma also saw the omens of danger accompanying Khara. 24.1

Rāma seeing those dreadful events which were harmful to the people and which creating horripilation due to fear and which indicated mass destruction Rāma told Lakshmana. 24.2

"Oh greatly strong one, please notice this greatly disturbing events, which indicate disturbance and destruction of all beings including Rākṣasas." 24.3

"The sky is covered with disturbing clouds of the red colour of donkey, which are harsh sounding and which gives rise to rains of the colour of blood." 24.4

"The arrows which emit smoke are congratulating me for a successful war and the bows decorated by gold are moving circularly." 24.5

"We are also seeing the birds moving in the forest with chirping, warning about the danger in front of us and the uncertainty of our lives." 24.6

"Without any doubt, great loss of life would take place. Oh valorous one, I find my shoulder is throbbing again and again indicating that victory is nearby and that our enemies would face defeat. also your face looks bright and lustrous indicating our success." 24.7-24.8

"Oh Lakshmana, while one prepares for the war, if one loses the shine of his this is indicative of the fact that his life span would be reduced." 24.9

"A great sound of the loud shouting of the Rākṣasas is being heard and also we hear the beating of war drums by those Rākṣasas who do cruel deeds." 24.10

"When dangerous events are anticipated by a learned man, he plans his activities in such a way that the danger is avoided." 24.11

"And so completely armed with bows and arrows, take Vaidehī to an inaccessible cave covered by trees on the mountains." 24.12

"I do not desire you to disobey these words of mine as this is the word based on the honour of my feet. Please keep going without any delay." 24.13

"Without any doubt you are valiant and very strong and can kill all the Rākṣasas yourself but I desire to kill these night farers myself." 24.14

When Rāma told like Lakshmana armed with bows and arrows, took Sītā with him and hid himself in an inaccessible cave. 24.15

When Sītā and Lakshmana entered the cave to hide themselves Rāma said, "Great, a job is accomplished" and wore an armour. 24.16

When he wore that armour he was looking like a blazing fire and in that darkness he shined like a smokeless fire. 24.17

That valorous one lifted up his great bow and created a very great sound by the twangs of his bow and filled all directions with that sound. 24.18

Then Devas, Gandharvas, Sidhas and Chāraṇas assembled there with a desire of seeing the war of that great man. 24.19

Sages, great persons and the great Brāhma Ṛishis who have performed great deeds, assembled there and started discussing among themselves. 24.20

"Let the cows and Brahmins who are the well-wishers of the world be safe. Let Rāma gain victory in the war over Rākṣasas of the Pulastya clan like Lord Vishnu won over all the Rākṣasas." 24.21

After saying this. they again started discussing among themselves. How will the war result when Rāma who is fighting alone faces the fourteen thousand powerful Rākṣasas." 24.22-24.23

Royal sages along with their followers, Sidhas, great Brahmins along with great curiosity as well as Devas on the air planes eagerly awaited there. 24.24

Then Seeing Rāma with great lustre waiting to fight the war, all beings were alarmed with great fear. 24.25

The form of Rāma who acts without any stress was incomparable and his angry form was similar to Rudra holding his Pinakini bow. 24.26

Then the army of Rākṣasas raining majestic sound as well as dreadful shrieks carrying weapons and banners appeared near to that place. 24.27

That forest was filled by the roar of a lions made by some, twangs of bow raised by some, the shouting of soldiers with each other, the sound of advancing army, the sound of proclamation, the sound raised from big drums and the tumultuous sound of the forest. 24.28-24.29

Being scared by that sound the wild animals from that forest got scared and ran away to a silent spot without even looking back. 24.30

The terrifying army carrying different types of weapons and which looked like the majestic sea came near Rāma. 24.31

The expert in warfare Rāma turned his eyes all over to see that army of Rākṣasas which had come ready for the war. 24.32

With great anger Rāma stretched his great bow and took out arrows from his quiver intending to kill all the Rākṣasas. 24.33

It was difficult to even look at the angry Rāma burning like the fire at the time of final deluge and seeing the lustre emanating from him all the forest deities ran away from there. 24.34

When we see at the very angry face of Rāma, it was like the face of Lord Shiva, who had come to kill Dakṣa. 24.35

Seeing the lustrous Rāma standing at the top of the battle ground, all beings, became scared and ran away from there. 24.36

The army of the Rākṣasas with their weapons, ornaments and flags and with armours which shined like fire looked like a mass of blue clouds at time of sun rise. 24.37

This is the end of Twenty Fourth Sarga of Āraṇya Kanda which occurs in Holy Rāmāyaṇa composed by Vālmīki as the First Epic.