25-3 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

When he thus inveighed against Śrī Rāma, the monkey chief grew furious with rage. For he who opens his ears to vituperation against Hari (Bhagavān Viṣṇu) or Hara (Lord Śiva) incurs as great a sin as he who kills a cow. Aṅgada (the great monkey) gave a loud yell and furiously struck both his mighty arms against the ground. The earth shook and members of the assembly were thrown off their seats and took to flight, possessed as they were by the hobgoblin of fear. The ten-headed monster (Rāvaṇa) too was about to topple down but recovered himself and stood up. Yet his most beautiful crowns fell to the ground; some of them he took and set on his heads, while Aṅgada sent the rest flying to the Lord. The monkeys fled when they saw the crowns coming. “Good heavens, how is it that meteors have begun to fall even during the daytime? Or is it that Rāvaṇa in his fury has hurled four thunderbolts, which are coming with great speed?” The Lord smiled and said, “Be not afraid at heart. They are neither meteors nor thunderbolts, nor even the planets Rāhu and Ketu. They are the crowns of the ten-headed Rāvaṇa, despatched by Vāli’s son (Aṅgada), that are coming this side.” (1 - 5)

The son of the wind-god sprang forward and caught them in his own hands; he then took them to the Lord and placed them before Him. The bears and monkeys gazed on them with wonder; for they were dazzling like the sun. At the other end the ten-headed monster (Rāvaṇa) in his fury indignantly cried to all about him, “Seize the monkey, and seizing him forthwith slay him.” Aṅgada smiled to hear this. (32 A-B)

“After killing him sally forth at once, all you mighty warriors, and devour every bear and monkey wherever you find one. Go and clear the earth of monkeys and capture the two ascetic brothers (Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa) alive.” The monkey prince (Aṅgada) got enraged and exclaimed again: “Are you not ashamed to wag your tongue like this? Cut your throat and die, you shameless destroyer of your race. Your heart does not crack even on witnessing my strength! O vicious stealer of women, storehouse of impurities, O sense-bound, dull-witted wretch, you babble abuse in a state of delirium, which shows that death has overtaken you, O wretched demon. You will reap its consequences later on when the monkeys and bears belabour you. Even as you utter the words that Śrī Rāma is a mortal, it is strange that your tongues, O proud demon, do not drop off. It is, however, certain that your tongues will drop off along with your heads on the battlefield.” (1 - 5)

“How can He be a mortal, O ten-headed monster, who killed Vāli with a single shaft? You are blind with all your twenty eyes; fie upon your birth, O dullard of ignoble womb. Śrī Rāma’s arrow are all thirsting for your blood and I spare you only for fear of displeasing Him, O vile demon of biting tongue.” (33 A-B)

“I am capable of smashing your jaws; but I have no permission from the Lord of the Raghus to do so. Otherwise I feel so enraged that I would break all your ten heads and lifting up Laṅkā drop it into the ocean. Your Laṅkā is like a fruit of the Uḍumbara tree; while you are like so many unsuspecting insects that reside in it. A monkey as I am, I would lose no time in eating it; but the gracious Rāma has not given me the order.” Rāvaṇa smiled to hear this witty remark. “Fool, where did you learn to tell such big lies? Vāli never boasted like this; it seems association with the hermits has made you such a vaunting liar.” “I am a blustering liar indeed, O monster with twenty arms, if I do not tear out your ten tongues.” Recalling Śrī Rāma’s might Aṅgada grew indignant and firmly planted his foot in the midst of the whole assembly. “If you can but stir my foot, O fool Śrī Rāma will return forthwith and I shall forgo Sītā as a lost wager.” “Listen, champions all:” exclaimed the ten-headed monster, “seize the monkey by the leg and dash him to the ground.” Meghanāda (the vanquisher of Indra) and many other stout warriors rose with delight from their respective seats and rushed with all their might, employing numerous devices; but Aṅgada’s foot refused to stir. The warriors, therefore, resumed their seats with their heads bent low. The enemies of heaven rose again and dashed forward; but the monkey’s foot moved no more than a sensually-minded striver, O Garuḍa (the enemy of serpents), is able to uproot the tree of error implanted in his heart (continues Kākabhuśuṇḍi). (1 - 7)

Myriads of great warriors of Meghanāda’s might arose with joy and swooped down; but the monkey’s foot did not budge, and they hung their heads and sat down again. The monkey’s foot would no more leave the ground than the soul of a saint would give up moral uprightness even though confronted with numberless obstacles. The enemy’s pride left him when he witnessed this. (34 A-B)

Everyone who saw the monkey’s strength was discomfited at heart. Challenged by the monkey Rāvaṇa himself now rose. Even as Rāvaṇa proceeded to grasp his foot, Vāli’s son (Aṅgada) broke out, “You cannot be saved by clinging to my feet. Fool, why do you not go and clasp Śrī Rāma’s feet?” He turned back much abashed at heart to hear this. All his splendour was gone and he was robbed of his glory even as the moon fades away at midday. With drooping heads he resumed his seat on the throne as if despoiled of all his riches. Śrī Rāma is the soul of the universe and the lord of life: how can he who is hostile to Him find any rest? The universe, Umā (Pārvatī), springs into existence and is again dissolved with a mere play of Śrī Rāma’s eyebrows. When He is capable of transforming a blade of grass into a thunderbolt and a thunderbolt into a blade of grass, how, then, can a vow of His ambassador prove false? Aṅgada admonished him in various ways; but as his end had drawn near, he would not listen. Having squashed the enemy’s pride, the son of King Vāli glorified his lord to his very face and departed, saying: “If I do not slay you after I have sported with you on the battlefield for some time, it will be no use my indulging in self-praise just now.” Aṅgada had killed Rāvaṇa’s son even before he arrived in the latter’s presence and Rāvaṇa felt very sad at the news. The demons too grew extremely nervous with fear when they witnessed the effectiveness of Aṅgada’s challenge. (1 - 7)

Setting at naught Rāvaṇa’s power, the mighty monkey, Vāli’s son, his body thrilling over with emotion and eyes full of tears, clasped in delight Śrī Rāma’s lotus feet. Perceiving that it was evening, the ten-headed monster returned disconsolately to his palace, where Mandodarī again spoke and advised him: - (35 A-B)

“Ponder in your mind, my beloved lord, and abandon perversity; your fight with the Lord of the Raghus is quite out of order. Śrī Rāma’s younger brother (Lakṣmaṇa) had traced a thin line; that too you could not cross. Such is your valour! My beloved, do you expect to conquer Him in battle, whose messenger performed such feats? Leaping across the ocean in mere sport, that lion among monkeys fearlessly entered your Laṅkā, killed your guards and laid waste your garden. Nay, he killed Prince Akṣa under your very nose, and, setting fire to the whole capital, reduced it to ashes. Where did your pride of power remain lurking at that time? Indulge no more in idle boasts, my spouse, and lay my words a little to heart. Do not imagine that the Lord of the Raghus is a mere earthly king, my husband; but know him to be the Ruler of the animate and inanimate creation, unequalled in strength. The might of His arrows is known to Mārīca; but you did not heed his words, taking him to be a mean fellow. In Janaka’s court were assembled numberless kings; you too were present there with your incomparable and enormous strength. There Śrī Rāma broke Śiva’s bow and won the hand of Janaka’s Daughter; why did you not conquer Him in battle then? The son of Indra (the lord of celestials) tasted of His strength when He caught hold of him and spared his life after destroying one of his eyes. You also witnessed Sūrpaṇakhā’s condition, yet you did not feel much abashed in your heart.” (1 - 7)

“My ten-headed lord, try to recognize Him, who, having slain Virādha as well as Khara and Dūṣaṇa, killed Kabandha in mere sport and disposed of Vāli with a single arrow.” (36)

“He who had the ocean bridged as a mere pastime and has encamped with His host on Mount Suvela, the same merciful Lord, the glory of the solar race, sent to you in your own interest an ambassador who, like a lion in the midst of a herd of elephants trampled on your might in open court. Nay, He has for His servants most formidable warriors like Aṅgada and Hanumān, who are so dauntless in battle; and still, my beloved lord, you speak of Him again and again as a mortal! In vain do you carry on your head the burden of pride, attachment and arrogance. Ah, my lord, you have turned hostile to Śrī Rāma and, overtaken as you are by death, the light of wisdom does not dawn on your mind. Death does not smite anyone with uplifted rod; he simply robs the victim of his piety, strength, reason and judgment. He alone whom death has approached very near falls a prey to delusion like you.” (1 - 4)

“Two of your sons have been slain and your capital has been burnt down; mend error even now, my beloved. Adore the All-merciful Lord of the Raghus, my husband, and win unsullied fame thereby.” (37)

Hearing the words of his consort (Mandodarī), which were piercing like a shaft, he rose and left for his council-chamber when the day broke. Forgetting all his fears he went and occupied his throne bloated with excess of pride. At this end Śrī Rāma summoned Aṅgada, who came and bowed his head at the Lord’s lotus feet. The gracious Rāma (the slayer of Khara) most politely seated him by His side and smilingly said, “O son of Vāli, I have great curiosity in my mind; therefore, I ask you a question. Tell me the truth, dear child. Rāvaṇa is the head of the demon race; he is celebrated throughout the world for his incomparable might. It is rather strange that you tossed no less than four of his crowns to me; tell me, my son, by what device you were able to lay your hands on them?” “Listen, O omniscient lord, the delighter of the suppliant: they were no crowns but the four virtues (resources) of a king, viz., Sāma (conciliation), Dāna (gift), Daṇḍa (physical force or coercion) and Bheda (division), which abide in the heart of a king - so declare the Vedas, my lord. They are the beautiful pedestals of statesmanship: remembering this, they themselves came to my lord (who is a true repository of all statesmanlike virtues).” (1 - 5)

“Listen, O Lord of Kosala: Rāvaṇa (the ten-headed monster) is lacking in piety, bears a settled aversion to my lord’s feet and has fallen into the clutches of death. Hence the aforementioned virtues have forsaken him and sought refuge in You.” The noble- minded Rāma smiled to hear his most ingenious reply. The son of Vāli then gave Him a report about the fort of Laṅkā. (38 A-B)

When Śrī Rāma received the news about the enemy, He summoned all His counsellors by His side. “Laṅkā has four massive gates; Thinkar as to how we should assail them.” Thereupon the monkey lord (Sugrīva), Jāmbavān (the king of bears) and Vibhīṣaṇa (Rāvaṇa’s brother) invoked in their heart the Ornament of the solar race; and putting their heads together they resolved upon a definite plan. They divided the monkey host into four brigades and appointed efficient generals to each. They then summoned all the company commanders and bringing the Lord’s might home to them issued instructions hearing which the monkeys rushed forward roaring like lions. They gladly bowed their head at Śrī Rāma’s feet, and with mountain-peaks in their hands all the heroes sallied forth. Shouting, “Glory to the Hero of Raghu’s line, the Lord of Kosala” the bears and monkey chiefs roared and assumed a threatening attitude. Even though they knew that Laṅkā was a most impregnable fortress, the monkeys marched forward undaunted depending on the might of their lord. Encompassing all the four quarters like a mass of clouds spreading over the horizon on all sides, they imitated the sound of drums and kettledrums with their mouth. (1 - 5)

“Glory to Rāma, glory to Lakṣmaṇa and glory to Sugrīva (the lord of the monkeys), thus roared the monkeys and bears, unsurpassed in their great might, like so many lions.” (39)

Laṅkā became a scene of great uproar. When the highly conceited Rāvaṇa heard it, he with a smile said, “Look at the insolence of these monkeys!” and summoned the demon host. “The monkeys have crossed over here driven by fate, and my demons are all hungry. God has provided them with a meal even at their home.” So saying the idiot burst into a horselaugh. “Sally forth in every direction, champions all; and wherever you find the bears and monkeys seize and devour them all.” Umā, Rāvaṇa’s conceit was as great as that of the sandpiper, which goes to sleep with its legs in the air (and thinks that it will support the heavens in case they fall). Taking his orders, the demons sallied forth, armed with excellent slings, javelins, iron clubs and maces, fierce axes, pikes, swords, bludgeons and masses of rock in their hands. As foolish carnivorous birds swoop down upon a heap of rubies the moment they see it, and have no idea of the pain they would have on breaking their beaks against it, so did the man-eating monsters rush forth in their folly. (1 - 5)

Armed with bows and arrows as well as with other weapons of various kinds, a vast cloud of mighty and valiant demons, staunch in battle, climbed up the battlements of the fort. (40)

On the gold battlements they looked like dark clouds hanging on the heights of Mount Meru. Martial drums and tabors sounded; the soul of the warriors was stirred by their crash. Numberless kettledrums and clarinets were also playing; their music cracked the heart of cowards. Advancing further, the demons saw the hosts of monkey and bear champions, exceptionally huge in size, who in their onrush would make no account of rugged valleys and catching hold of mountains would cleave them asunder and make passage through them. Gnashing their teeth and biting their lips, myriads of warriors on both sides roared and bullied, calling here on Rāma and there on Rāvaṇa. With shouts of victory on both sides the fight actually commenced. The demons cast down volleys of mountain-peaks, which the monkeys would seize with a bound and hurl them back. (1 - 4)

The fierce monkeys and bears would lay hold of masses of rock and hurl them against the fort. Darting against their adversary they would seize him by the leg and dash him to the ground; and in the event of his taking to flight they would challenge him to a duel again. The most agile and redoubtable monkeys and bears lightly sprang and climbed up the fort and penetrating the palaces sang Śrī Rāma’s praises wherever they pleased.

Catching hold of a demon each, the monkeys rushed back and jumped down to the ground with the demons beneath themselves on the top. (41)

Strengthened by Śrī Rāma’s might, the monkey host crushed the ranks of the demon warriors. They then climbed up the fort here and there and shouted glory to the Hero of Raghu’s line, who was majestic as the sun. The demon host fled before them like a mass of clouds driven by a strong blast. The city now burst into wails and howls; children, invalids and women in particular wept aloud. All joined in calling Rāvaṇa names; he, they said, had invited death while enjoying sovereignty. When he heard that his troops had beaten a retreat, the king of Laṅkā rallied his champions and then exclaimed in fury: “If I hear of anyone turning his back on the battlefield, I will behead him with my own terrible sword. You consumed my all and enjoyed all sorts of luxuries till now and lo! life has become so dear to you on the field of battle.” The champions were all alarmed and put to shame to hear this stern rebuke, and marched against the enemy in great fury. To die in open combat is the glory of a warrior, they thought; and they loved their life no more. (1 - 5)

Armed with weapons of various kinds, all the champions grappled with their antagonists, challenging them again and again. Striking the bears and monkeys with iron bludgeons and tridents, they deprived them of their nerve. (42)

Struck with terror (continues Lord Śiva) the monkeys turned tail, although Umā, they would come out victorious in the end. One exclaimed, “Where are Aṅgada and Hanumān? Where are the mighty Nala, Nīla and Dvivida?” At the time Hanumān heard that his troops were breaking, that mighty warrior held his position at the western gate of Laṅkā, where Meghanāda led the defence. The gate, however, would not give way and Hanumān was faced with a mighty impediment. The son of the wind-god grew terribly furious at heart and the warrior, who was formidable as death, gave a loud roar. He sprang and reached the fort of Laṅkā; and seizing a rock he rushed at Meghanāda, shattered his chariot, overthrew the charioteer and kicked Meghanāda himself at his chest. Another charioteer, who perceived the distress of the prince, picked him up in his own chariot and speedily brought him home. (1 - 4)

When Aṅgada heard that the son of the wind-god had gone to the fort single- handed, the son of Vāli, who was so valiant in battle, reached the fort in a single bound as a monkey would do out of sheer fun. (43)

The two monkeys let loose their fury against the enemy on the battlefield. Invoking in their heart the might of Śrī Rāma, both ran up to Rāvaṇa’s own palace and proclaimed the victory of Kosala’s lord. Holding the edifice in their hands they overthrew it with every pinnacle. The demon king was dismayed when he saw this. The women beat their breast with their hands crying: “This time the two pestilent monkeys have come!” Aṅgada and Hanumān frightened them with their monkey-like pranks and proclaimed to them the glories of Śrī Rāmacandra. Then, grasping each a gold pillar in their hands, the two champions exclaimed, “Let us now begin upon our ravaging job!” Presently they roared and fell on the enemy’s ranks and began to crush them with their mighty strength of arms, striking some with their foot and slapping another on the face and crying: “Take the consequences of not adoring Śrī Rāma!” (1 - 4)

The two heroes crushed their adversaries one against another and pulling off the victim’s heads, hurled them with such precision that they dropped in front of Rāvaṇa and burst like so many earthen vases full of curds. (44)

Whenever the two monkey chiefs caught hold of any great general of the demon host, they would seize him by the leg and send him flying to their lord (Śrī Rāma).

Vibhīṣaṇa would mention their name and Śrī Rāma assigned even them a quarter in His own abode. Man-eating monsters who feasted on the flesh of holy Brāhmaṇas thus attained a destiny which is solicited even by Yogīs (ascetics given to contemplation on God). Umā, (continues Lord Śiva,) Śrī Rāma is so tender-hearted and such a storehouse of compassion that He bestows the highest state (final beatitude) even on the demons, remembering that they think of Him even though in a spirit of hostility! Tell me, Bhavānī, who else is so benignant? Most dull-witted and utterly wretched are the men who, even on hearing of such a lord, worship Him not, disabusing themselves of all delusion. “Aṅgada and Hanumān have evidently forced their way into the fort of Laṅkā,” thus observed Ayodhyā’s lord. Rampaging in Laṅkā, the two monkeys looked like a pair of Mandāras churning the ocean. (1 - 4)

Having crushed and battered the enemy’s ranks by the might of their arm and perceiving that it was now the close of day, the two champions jumped down without any exertion and came where the Lord was. (45)

They bowed their head at the lotus-feet of their Master, and the Lord of the Raghus was glad at heart to see the valiant warriors. Śrī Rāma graciously regarded them both and presently their fatigue was gone and they felt supremely happy. On learning that Aṅgada and Hanumān had left, the numerous monkey and bear warriors retired from the field; while the demons, recovering their strength at nightfall, sallied forth, calling on their ten-headed lord. At the sight of the demon host the monkeys turned again; and gnashing their teeth in fury the champions closed with their opponents here and there. The two armies stood formidable; their champion’s challenging one another every time, came to a grim fight without giving in. The demons were all great warriors and dark in complexion; while the monkeys were stupendous in size and of various colours. The two armies were equally strong and the warriors too equally matched; displaying their martial feats they fought with fury and looked like masses of rainy and autumnal clouds driven against one another by a strong wind. The generals Akampana and Atikāya (sons of Rāvaṇa), when they perceived their troops losing ground, employed Māyā (illusive devices); in an instant it grew pitch dark and there was a downpour of blood, stone and ashes. (1 - 6)

Seeing the dense darkness all round, the monkey host was thrown into disorder. They could not see one another and there was an outcry everywhere. (46)

The Lord of the Raghus understood the secret of it all and summoned Aṅgada and Hanumān. He apprised them of all that was going on and issued necessary instructions to them. The two monkey chiefs rushed forth in a fury as soon as they heard the instructions. The All-merciful then drew His bow with a smile and forthwith let fly a flery dart. Lo! there was light all round and no trace of darkness left anywhere, even as doubts disappear with the dawn of spiritual enlightenment. The bear and monkeys were relieved of their fatigue and rid of all fear when they saw light again, and pressed on exultingly. Hanumān and Aṅgada thundered on the field of battle and the demons fled at their menacing roar. But the bears and monkeys seized the demon warriors in their flight and dashed them to the ground, performing marvellous feats of strength even as they did so, or catching them by the leg, hurled them into the ocean, where alligators, serpents and fish snapped them up and devoured them. (1 - 4)

Some were killed, some more were wounded, while others scampered away and clambered the fort. Having thus scattered the hostile forces, the bears and monkeys gave a loud roar. (47)

Perceiving that it was now night, all the four divisions of the monkey host returned to the camp of Kosala’s lord. The monkeys were all relieved of their fatigue the moment Śrī Rāma cast His benign look on them. There (in Laṅkā) the ten-headed monster sent for all his ministers and told them about the warriors that had been killed in action. “The monkeys have disposed of half our forces; tell me at once what counsel should be adopted.” “There upon Mālyavān, a very aged demon, who was Rāvaṇa’s maternal grandfather and an eminent counsellor, spoke words of highly ethical polity: “Listen, my son, to a few words of advice from me. Ever since you carried off Sītā and brought Her here, there have been ill- omens more than one can tell. By opposing Śrī Rāma, whose glory has been the theme of the Vedas and Purāṇas, none has ever enjoyed happiness.” (1 - 4)

“The same gracious Lord who despatched Hiraṇyākṣa with his brother Hiraṇyakaśipu, as well as the mighty Madhu and Kaiṭabha, has descended on earth (in the person of Śrī Rāma).” (48 A)