26-2 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

Umā, (continues Lord Śiva,) the Lord of the Raghus played the part of a human being in the same way as Garuḍa (the mount of Bhagavān Viṣṇu) would sport in the company of snakes. Otherwise how could He who devours Death himself with the mere knitting of His brows engage with any grace in such a battle as this? He will thereby spread His fame, which will not only sanctify the whole world but will undoubtedly take across the ocean of mundane existence the people who sing it. Now Hanumān’s unconsciousness ceased and he woke and presently began to look about for Sugrīva. Meanwhile Sugrīva too recovered from his swoon and slipped out of Kumbhakarṇa’s grips, who had taken him for dead (and consequently loosened his grip). Kumbhakarṇa discovered his escape only when Sugrīva bit off the monster’s nose and ears and ascended into the air roaring. The demon caught Sugrīva by the foot and, having thus secured him, dashed him against the ground. Sugrīva, however, rose with remarkable agility and hit his adversary back. The mighty hero Sugrīva then returned into the Lord’s presence, shouting “Glory, glory, all glory to the merciful Lord!” Kumbhakarṇa felt sick at heart when he realized that he had been deprived of his nose and ears, and turned back in a fury. The monkey host was horror-stricken when they saw the monster, who was frightful by nature and looked more so in the absence of his nose and ears. (1 - 5)

Raising a shout of “Glory, glory, all glory to the Jewel of Raghu’s race!” the monkeys rushed forward and rained upon him all at once a volley of rocks and trees. (66)

Maddened with the Iust of battle, Kumbhakarṇa marched against the enemy like Death himself furious with rage. He seized and devoured myriads of monkeys, that looked like swarms of locusts entering a mountain cave. Seizing many more millions he crushed them against his body, and millions he levitated between his palms and mixed with the dust on the ground. Multitudes of bears and monkeys escaped through his mouth, nostrils and ears and ran away. Intoxicated with the frenzy of battle the demon stood in a challenging mood; as though the Creator had placed the whole universe at his disposal and he was going to devour it. All great warriors scuttled away from the battle- field and would not return under any persuasion whatsoever. They could neither see with their eyes nor hear any call. The demon host also sallied forth when they learnt that Kumbhakarṇa had dispersed the monkey army. Śrī Rāma saw the discomfiture of His forces and further perceived all kinds of enemy reinforcements pouring in. (1 - 4) “Listen, Sugrīva, Vibhīṣaṇa and Lakṣmaṇa; take care of the army while I test the might and man-power of this wretch,” said the lotus-eyed Lord. (67)

Taking His famous bow, known by the name of Śārṅga, in His hand and with a quiver fastened to His waist, the Lord of the Raghus went forth to crush the enemy’s ranks. The Lord first twanged His bow: the sound was so piercing that the enemy host was deafened to hear it. Śrī Rāma of unfailing resolve discharged a hundred thousand arrows, which sped like winged cobras. Numerous arrows flew in every direction; fierce demon warriors began to be mowed down. Feet, chest, head and arms were dismembered; while many a hero was cut into a hundred pieces. Whirling round and round, the wounded fell to the ground; the champions among them rose and, recovering themselves, would join battle again. They thundered like clouds even as the arrows struck them; while many of them took to flight at the very sight of the terrible arrows. Headless trunks rushed fiercely on with the cries of “Seize, seize, kill, kill.” (1 - 4)

In a trice the Lord’s arrows mowed down the terrible demon host. All the arrows then made their way back into Śrī Rāma’s quiver. (68)

When Kumbhakarṇa perceived and realized that the demon army had been wiped out in an instant, the formidable hero flew into a violent rage and gave a grim roar as that of a lion (the king of beasts). In his fury he tore up mountains by the roots and dashed them upon detachments of mighty monkey warriors. The Lord saw the huge mountains coming and shattered them with His arrows into dust as it were. The Lord of the Raghus once more pulled the string of His bow and indignantly discharged a volley of His exceedingly terrible shafts. The arrows entered and passed through his body like flashes of lightning disappearing into a cloud. Blood gushing out from his dark figure resembled spouts of red ochre shooting from a mountain of soot. Perceiving him in fluster, bears and monkeys dashed forward; the monster, however, laughed when the monkeys drew near. (1 - 4)

He burst into a terrible roar and, seizing millions and millions of monkeys, dashed them to the ground like a huge elephant, swearing by his ten-headed brother the while. (69)

Hosts of bears and monkeys fled like flocks of sheep at the sight of a wolf. The monkeys and bears, O Bhavānī, turned tail in terror, crying in a piteous voice. “Yonder demon is like unto a famine, which threatens to visit this land in the shape of the monkey host. Therefore, O Rāma, Slayer of Khara, the cloud laden with the water of compassion, reliever of the suppliant’s, agony, save us, protect us.” The moment the Lord heard the pathetic words, He advanced to meet him, putting His bow and arrows in order, Placing His army in the rear the most powerful Rāma marched ahead, full of indignation. Pulling the string of His bow, He fitted a hundred arrows to it; they flew and disappeared into the demon’s body. Even as the arrows struck him the demon rushed forth burning with rage; the mountains staggered and the earth shook as he ran. He tore up a rock; but the Glory of Raghu’s race cut off the arm that bore it. He then rushed forward with the rock in his left hand; but the Lord struck off even that arm to the ground. Thus shorn of his arms, the wretched resembled Mount Mandāra without its wings. He cast a fierce look on the Lord as if ready to devour all the three spheres. (1 - 6)

With a most terrible yell he rushed forth with his mouth wide open. The Siddhas and gods in the heavens shouted in great alarm “Ah, alas, dear me!” (70)

Perceiving the gods much alarmed, the All-merciful pulled the string of His bow right up to His ear and blocked the demon’s mouth with a flight of His arrows; yet he did not fall to the ground, most powerful as he was. With his mouth full of arrows he rushed forward like a living quiver of Death Himself. Then the Lord in His wrath took a sharp arrow and struck his head right off his body. The head dropped in front of his ten-headed brother, who was filled with agony at its sight like a snake that has lost its crest-jewel. The earth sunk beneath the weight of the terrible trunk that still sprinted there; thereupon the Lord cut it in two. The two pieces fell to the ground like a pair of mountains dropped from the heavens, crushing beneath them monkeys, bears and demons alike. His soul entered the Lord’s mouth in the form of a mass of light, to the astonishment of gods, sages and all. The gods sounded their kettle-drums in great exultation, extolled the Lord and rained down flowers in profusion. Having prayed to the Lord, all the gods went their way. Just at that moment arrived the celestial sage, Nārada. Standing high in the air he sang Śrī Hari’s praises in a delightful heroic strain, which pleased the Lord’s soul. The sage departed with the words “Pray, despatch this wretch (Rāvaṇa) quickly.” Śrī Rāma shone forth on the field of battle. (1 - 6)

The Lord of the Raghus, the king of Kosala, who was matchless in strength, shone resplendent on the field of battle in the midst of bears and monkeys, with drops of perspiration on His face, His lotus eyes turned red and His person specked with particles of blood, and both His hands busy playing with His bow and arrow. Even Śeṣa (the serpent-god), says Tulasī dāsa, could not describe the Lord’s beauty despite his numerous tongues.

Śrī Rāma vouchsafed a place in his own abode to a vile demon, who was a mine of impurities! Girijā, (continues Lord Śiva,) dull-witted are those men who adore Him not. (71)

At the close of the day the two contending armies retired from the battle-field. The battle had proved exceedingly strenuous even to the stoutest warrior. But the monkey host waxed stronger by Śrī Rāma’s grace, even as fire blazes up when fed with straw. The ranks of the demons were thinning night and day like merit, which is exhausted by speaking of one’s good deeds with one’s own lips. The ten-headed monster made much lamentation, clasping his brother’s head to his bosom again and again. The women wept and beat their breast with their hands, paying tributes to his extraordinary majesty and strength. At that juncture Meghanāda (Rāvaṇa’s eldest son) came and consoled his father by narrating a number of (reassuring) stories. “See my heroism tomorrow; I need not make any pretentious statement just now. I have had no occasion to show you, dear father, the strength which I acquired along with the chariot from my beloved deity.” While he rattled on in this manner the day broke and swarms of monkeys besieged all the four gates. On this side ranged the monkey and bear warriors terrible as death, while on the other side stood the demons exceedingly staunch in battle. Every champion fought for the victory of his own camp; the battle, O Garuḍa (says Kākabhuśuṇḍi), defied all description. (1 - 6)

Mounting his charmed car Meghanāda ascended into the air and roared with a terrible laugh, which struck the monkey host with terror. (72)

He discharged a volley of lances, pikes, swords and scimitars as well as axes, bludgeons and stones, and other missiles and weapons of every description, terrible as a thunderbolt, and further rained down shafts in profusion. The sky was thickly covered with arrows on all sides, as though the clouds poured in torrents in the month of Bhādrapada, when the constellation Maghā (the tenth in order of the 27 Nakṣattras) is in the ascendant. The cries of “Seize, seize, kill, kill” filled every ear; but nobody knew who it was that struck them. Snatching up rocks and trees, the monkeys sprang into the air; but they could not see him and returned sore disappointed. Meanwhile by his delusive power Meghanāda had turned every rugged valley, path and mountain cave into a veritable aviary of arrows. The monkeys were confounded and did not know where to turn. They felt helpless like so many Mandaras thrown into prison as it were by Indra. The son of the wind-god, Aṅgada, Nala, Nīla and all the other mighty heroes were completely discomfited by him. Again he assailed with his shafts Lakṣmaṇa, Sugrīva, and Vibhīṣaṇa and pierced their bodies through and through. Then he confronted the Lord of the Raghus Himself; the arrows he let fly turned into serpents even as they struck Śrī Rāma. The Slayer of Khara, who is all-independent, infinite and immutable, the one without a second, was overpowered by the serpents’ coils. Like an actor, He plays many a part, - He, the one, ever-free and omnipotent Lord. It was in order to invest the battle with a glory of its own that the Lord allowed Himself to be bound by a snare of serpents, even though the gods were dismayed at this sight. (1 - 7)

Girijā, (continues Lord Śiva,) is it ever possible that the Lord, who is the all- pervading abode of the universe and whose name, when repeated enables the hermits to cut asunder the bonds of existence, should fall in bondage? (73)

The doing of Śrī Rāma when appearing in an embodied form, Bhavānī, cannot be logically interpreted by the power of reason or speech. Realizing this those who know the truth about Him and are full of dispassion adore Śrī Rāma, discarding all theological speculation. Having thus thrown the monkey host into confusion, Ghananāda (a synonym for Meghanāda) at last revealed himself and began to pour abuses. Jāmbavān said, “Remain standing a while, O wretch!” When he heard this, his anger knew no bound. “Fool, I spared you only on account of your age. And yet you have had the audacity to challenge me, O vile creature!” So saying he hurled his glittering trident. Jāmbavān, however, caught it in his hand and, darting forward, struck Meghanāda in the chest with it so vehemently that the enemy of gods reeled and fell to the ground. Once again Jāmbavān in his fury took Meghanāda by the foot and, swinging him round, dashed him against the ground and thus showed him his strength. By virtue of the boon (granted to him by the Creator), however, he died not for all his killing. Thereupon Jāmbavān seized him by the foot and tossed him into Laṅkā. At this end the celestial sage Nārada despatched Garuḍa, who took no time in reaching by the side of Śrī Rāma. (1 - 5)

The king of birds seized and devoured the whole swarm of snakes created by Meghanāda’s demoniac power. The charm was thus dispelled and all the divisions of the monkey host rejoiced again. Armed with rocks, trees, stones, and claws, the monkeys rushed forth in their fury; while the demons took to their heels in utter confusion and climbed up the fort. (74 A-B)

When Meghanāda recovered from his swoon, he felt much ashamed to find his father before him. He speedily betook himself to a convenient mountain cave and resolved to perform a sacrifice which would render him invincible. At this end Vibhīṣaṇa approached the Lord and told Him his considered view. “Listen, my lord of incomparable might and generosity: the wicked Meghanāda, who is a past master in creating illusions and the scourge of heaven, is performing an unholy sacrifice. If, my lord, the sacrifice is allowed to be completed, he will not then be speedily conquered.” The Lord of the Raghus was highly gratified to hear this and summoned Aṅgada and many other monkeys. “Go with Lakṣmaṇa, brethren all, and wreck the sacrifice. And it is for you, Lakṣmaṇa, to kill him in battle. I am much distressed to find the gods in terror. You must finish him by force of your wit might or one way or other, mark me, brother, the demon must be put an end to. And Jāmbavān, Sugrīva and Vibhīṣaṇa, you three must keep by his side with your regiment.” When the Hero of Raghu’s line had finished His command, Lakṣmaṇa, who was staunch in battle, girt the quiver by his side and strung his bow; and cherishing the Lord’s glory in his heart, he spoke in a voice deep as thunder, “If I return today without slaying him (Meghanāda), let me no longer be called a servant of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus). Nay, even if a hundred Śivas come to his help, I shall nonetheless kill him in the name of Rāma (the Hero of Raghu’s line).” (1 - 7)

Bowing his head at the feet of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus), Lakṣmaṇa (who was none else than Lord Ananta or Śeṣa) set out at once, accompanied by champions like Aṅgada, Nīla, Mayanda, Nala and Hanumān. (75)

Arriving there, the monkeys found him squatting and offering oblations of blood and live buffaloes to the sacrificial fire. The monkeys wrecked the whole sacrifice; yet, when the demon refused to stir, they proceeded to applaud him (ironically). Even then he did not quit his place; the monkeys thereupon went and caught him by the hair and, striking him with the foot one after the other, ran away. He rushed forth, trident in hand, while the monkeys fled before him and came where Śrī Rāma’s younger brother (Lakṣmaṇa) stood at the head of his army. Driven by the wildest fury he came and shouted with a terrible roar again and again. The son of the wind-god and Aṅgada darted forward in great indignation: but he struck them on the breast with his trident and felled them to the ground. He then hurled his fierce trident at the Lord (Lakṣmaṇa): but Ananta intercepted it with his arrow and broke it in two. Meanwhile the son of the wind-god and Prince Aṅgada had risen again and struck him furiously; but he received no injury. When the heroes turned round thinking that the enemy could not be killed in spite of the best efforts, he rushed forth with a terrible yell. When Lakṣmaṇa saw him coming furiously like Death himself, he let fly fierce arrows. The wretch, however, vanished out of sight the moment he saw arrow terrible as thunderbolt darting towards him. He fought in various guises, now revealing himself and now disappearing. The monkeys were filled with dismay when they saw that the enemy could not be conquered. Lakṣmaṇa (the lord of serpents) thereupon flew into a towering rage. He made a firm resolve in his mind to dispose of the demon; for he thought, “I have played with this wretch long enough.” Recalling the might of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of Kosala), he defiantly fitted an arrow to his bow and shot it with such steady aim that it struck Meghanāda full in the breast and the demon abandoned all false appearances at the moment of death. (1 - 8)

He gave up his ghost with the words “Where is Rāma’s younger brother (Lakṣmaṇa)?” “Where is Rāma?” On his lips. “Blessed indeed is your mother!” exclaimed Aṅgada and Hanumān. (76)

Hanumān lifted him without any exertion and after placing him at the main gate of Laṅkā returned. Hearing of his death, the gods as well as the Gandharvas all appeared in the heavens in their aerial cars. Raining down flowers, they beat their drums and sang the spotless glory of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus). “Glory to Lord Ananta! Glory to the support of the whole universe! You, O lord, have delivered the gods.” Having thus hymned his praises, the gods as well as the Siddhas went their way, while Lakṣmaṇa arrived in the presence of the All-merciful. The moment the ten-headed monster heard the news of his son’s death, he dropped unconscious to the ground. Mandodarī made grievous lamentation, beating her breast and crying in many ways. The citizens were all smitten with grief; everyone abused Rāvaṇa. (1 - 4)

The ten-headed monster then consoled all the womenfolk in various ways. “Perceive and realize in your heart”, he said, “That the entire universe is perishable.” (77)

Rāvaṇa taught them sound wisdom; though vile himself, his counsel was so pious and wholesome! Indeed there are hosts of people clever in instructing others; but those who practise good morals themselves are few and far between. When the night was over and the day broke, the bears and monkeys invested all the four gates. The ten-headed monster summoned his champions and said, “He whose heart quails before the enemy in battle had better withdraw even now; for if he turns his back on the field of battle, he will have to suffer for it. Relying on the strength of my own arm have I started enmity and shall give befitting reply to the enemy who has invaded us.” So saying, he got ready his chariot, swift as the wind, and all the musical instruments of war sounded. The heroes, who were all matchless in strength, rushed forth like a storm of soot. Numberless ill-omens occurred at that time; but, extremely proud of his might of arm, he heeded them not. (1 - 5)

In his overweening pride he took no heed of the omens, whether good or bad. Weapons dropped from his hands and warriors fell down from their cars, while horses and elephants ran shrieking out of the line. Frightful jackals, vultures and donkeys gave a shrill cry while dogs whined in large numbers. And owls, like messengers of death, uttered most alarming notes.

Can he ever expect prosperity and good omens and attain peace of mind even in dream, who is actively malevolent to the living creation, is hostile to Śrī Rāma and is steeped in the enjoyment of the senses, all under a spell of delusion? (78)

The demon host, which defied all calculation, marched. Complete in all its four limbs, viz., elephants and chariots, horse and foot, it was divided into many regiments and was equipped with mounts, cars and other conveyances of every description as well as with numerous banners and standards of diverse colour. Numberless troops of infuriated elephants marched like rainy clouds driven by the wind. There were multitudes of distinguished warriors wearing uniforms of various colours, all heroic in battle and conversant with many illusive devices. Thus the army was magnificent in every way and looked like the mustered array of the gallant deity presiding over the vernal season. Even as the host marched, the elephants guarding the eight quarters tottered, the ocean was stirred to its very depth and the mountains rocked. The dust rose in clouds that obscured the sun, the air became still and the earth was troubled. Drums and kettledrums made an awful din like the thundering of clouds at the time of universal destruction. Tabors, clarionettes and hautboys sounded the martial strain that gladdens the heart of champions. All the heroes roared like lions, each extolling his own might and valour. Rāvaṇa exclaimed; “Listen, my valiant warriors: wipe out the hordes of these bears and monkeys, while I shall slay the two brother princes.” So saying he ordered his army to march forward. When the monkeys received this news, they all rushed forth swearing by the name of Śrī Rāma. (1 - 7)

The gigantic monkeys and bears, who were terrible as death, rushed forward like hosts of winged mountains of diverse colour. With claws and teeth, rocks and huge trees for their weapons they were all very powerful and knew no fear. They shouted “Glory to Śrī Rāma, a veritable lion for the wild elephant in the shape of Rāvaṇa” and sang His praises.

With a shout of “Victory! victory!!” on both sides and each finding his own match, the heroes came to a close combat, the monkeys singing the glory of Śrī Rāma and the demons extolling Rāvaṇa. (79)

Vibhīṣaṇa was disconcerted when he saw Rāvaṇa mounted on a chariot and the Hero of Raghu’s line without any. His great fondness for the Lord filled his mind with diffidence; and bowing to His feet he spoke with a tender heart: “My lord, You have no chariot nor any protection either for Your body (in the shape of armour) or for Your feet (in the shape of shoes). How, then, can You expect to conquer this mighty hero?” “Listen, friend:” replied the All-merciful, “the chariot which leads one to victory is quite another. Valour and fortitude are the wheels of that chariot, while truthfulness and good conduct are its enduring banner and standard. Even so strength, discretion, self-control and benevolence are its four horses, that have been joined to the chariot with the cords of forgiveness, compassion and evenness of mind. Adoration of God is the expert driver; dispassion, the shield and contentment, the sword. Again, charity is the axe; reason, the fierce lance and the highest wisdom, the relentless bow. A pure and steady mind is like a quiver; while quietude and the various forms of abstinence (Yamas) and religious observances (Niyamas) are a sheaf of arrows. Homage to the Brāhmaṇas and to one’s own preceptor is an impenetrable coat of mail; there is no other equipment for victory as efficacious as this. My friend, he who owns such a chariot of piety shall have no enemy to conquer anywhere.” (1 - 6)

“Listen, O friend of resolute mind: the hero who happens to be in possession of such a strong chariot can conquer even that mighty and invincible foe, attachment to the world.” Hearing the Lord’s words, Vibhīṣaṇa clasped His lotus feet in joy. “You have utilized this opportunity to exhort me, O Rāma, an embodiment of grace and bliss that You are.” On that side the ten-headed Rāvaṇa threw his challenge, while on this side Aṅgada and Hanumān invited him to a contest. The demons, on the one hand, and the bears and monkeys, on the other, steadily fought, each side swearing by its lord. (80 A - C)

Brahmā and the other gods, as well as a number of Siddhas and sages mounted their aerial cars and watched the contest from the heavens. I too, Umā (continues Lord Śiva,) happened to be in that company and witnessed Śrī Rāma’s exploits replete with martial zeal. The champions of both sides were maddened with a passion for war; the monkeys, however, led the field through the might of Śrī Rāma. With shouts of defiance they closed in single combat, each crushing his adversary and throwing him to the ground. They smote the enemy, hacked him to pieces, clutched him and dashed him to the ground; nay, they tore his head off and pelted another with the same. They ripped up bellies, plucked up arms and, seizing the opponent by the foot, dashed him to the ground. The bears buried the demon warriors underground and piled over them large heaps of sand. The gallant monkeys on the battlefield looked like so many infuriated forms of Death as they desperately fought against the enemy. (1 - 4)

Their bodies streaming with blood, the powerful monkey warriors looked like the god of death in fury. Crushing the champions of the demon host they roared like thunder- clouds. They slapped and browbeat their opponents, bit them and trampled them under foot. The monkeys and bears sent out a shrill cry and employed every stratagem to annihilate the miscreant host. They seized and tore open the cheeks, ripped up the bellies and hung the entrails round their necks, as though the lord of Prahlāda (Bhagavān Nṛsiṁha) had assumed a multiplicity of forms and sported on the field of death. The savage cries of “Seize, smite, cut to pieces and knock down!” filled both heaven and earth. Glory to Śrī Rāma, who can actually convert a blade of grass into a thunderbolt and vice versa. (1 - 2)

When the ten-headed Rāvaṇa saw his troops breaking, he mounted his chariot and drawing ten bows in his twenty arms turned round, shouting in great fury “Turn back, turn back.” (81)

The wrath of the ten-headed monster knew no bound as he darted forward. But the monkeys also hurried to confront him shouting with glee. Taking in their hands trees, stones and rocks, they hurled them upon him all at once. The rocks broke to pieces the moment they struck his adamantine frame. Rāvaṇa, who was maddened with the lust for war and most furious by temperament, flinched not but remained firm as a rock, planting his chariot where it stood. Burning all over with rage he darted and bullied hither and thither and started crushing the monkey warriors. Many a bear and monkey took to his heel, crying: “Help, help, Aṅgada and Hanumān! Save, save, O Lord Raghuvīra (Hero of Raghu’s line)! This wretch is devouring us like Death.” When the monster saw that all the monkeys had fled, he fitted an arrow to each of his ten bows. (1 - 4)

Fitting an arrow to each of his bows, he shot a volley of arrows, which flew and lodged like winged serpents. The shafts filled all available space on earth as well as in the heavens including the eight quarters, so that the monkeys knew not where to go. There was a wild uproar in the ranks of the monkeys and bears, who were all sore distressed and cried in anguish: “O Hero of Raghu’s line, O Ocean of mercy, O Befriender of the distressed, O Hari, O Saviour of mankind!”

Seeing the distress of his troops Lakṣmaṇa fastened the quiver to his waist; and taking the bow in his hand he bowed his head at Śrī Rāma’s feet and sallied forth, full of rage. (82)

“Pooh! You are making the monkeys and bears your target, O vile wretch; look at me, I am your death.” “It is you whom I have been looking for, you slayer of my son. Today I will soothe my heart by killing you.” So saying he discharged a flight of fierce arrows; but Lakṣmaṇa shivered them into a hundred pieces each. Nay, Rāvaṇa hurled upon him myriads of other missiles, but Lakṣmaṇa foiled them all by reducing them to particles as small as sesame seeds. Again, Lakṣmaṇa assailed him with his own shafts, smashing his chariot and killing the charioteer. Nay, each of his ten heads he transfixed with a hundred arrows, which seemed like serpents boring their way into the peaks of a mountain. With a hundred arrows more he struck him in the breast: he fell senseless to the ground. On regaining his consciousness the mighty demon rose again and hurled a lance that had been bestowed on him by Brahmā (the Creator). (1 - 4)