6 | Śrī Rāma Carita Mānasa Stotra

Listen, O sage, to an old and sacred legend which was narrated by Śambhu to Girijā. There was a principality known by the name of Kaikaya, which was celebrated throughout the world. A king named Satyaketu ruled there. He was a champion of virtue, a storehouse of political wisdom, dignified, glorious, amiable and powerful. He had two gallant sons, who were repositories of all virtues and most staunch in battle. The elder of the two and the heir to the throne was named Pratāpabhānu. The other was known by the name of Arimardana, who was unequalled in strength of arm and steady in battle. There was perfect unity between the two brothers and the affection each bore to the other was free from all blemish and guile. To the elder son the king resigned the throne and withdrew himself into the forest for the sake of devotion to Śrī Hari. (1 - 4)

When Pratāpabhānu became king, a proclamation to this effect was made throughout the land. He looked after his subjects with utmost care according to the precepts of the Vedas and there was not a speck of sin anywhere (in his kingdom). (153)

The Prime Minister, Dharma Ruci by name, was a second Śukra and was as devoted to the king as he was wise. With a prudent counsellor and a gallant and powerful brother, the king himself was an embodiment of glory and daring in war. He owned a vast army consisting of horse and foot, chariots and elephants. It had numberless excellent warriors all of whom fought fearlessly in battle. The king rejoiced to see his army and there was a tumultuous sound of kettledrums. He collected a special force for the conquest of the world, and availing himself of an auspicious day marched forth with beat of drums. A number of battles were fought here and there and all hostile kings were brought to their knees by superior might. By the strength of his arm be reduced all the seven sections of the terrestrial region and let the princes go on payment of tribute. Now Pratāpabhānu was the undisputed sovereign of the entire globe. (1 - 4)

Having thus subjugated the whole universe by the might of his arm, the king re- entered his capital. He indulges in the pleasures of wealth, religious practices and sense- gratification etc. , at the appropriate time. (154)

Secured by king Pratāpabhānu’s might, the charming earth became a cow of plenty as it were (yielded all one’s coveted products). The people were happy and free from all sorrows and both men and women were good-looking and virtuous. The minister, Dharma Ruci, was devoted to the feet of Śrī Hari; in the interest of his king he advised him on state policy every day. Preceptors, gods, saints, manes and Brāhmaṇas - the king invariably served them all. Whatever duties have been enjoined on a king in the Vedas, he gladly and devoutly performed. He bestowed gifts of various kinds every day and listened to the best scriptures including the Vedas and the Purāṇas. In all holy places he constructed many small and big wells and tanks, flower gardens and lovely orchards, dwellings for the Brāhmaṇas and beautiful temples of wonderful architecture. (1 - 4)

Whatever sacrifices have been enjoined in the Vedas and the Purāṇas, the king devoutly performed each one of them a thousand times. (155)

There was no seeking for any reward in his heart; the king was a man of great discrimination and wisdom. Whatever meritorious act he performed in thought, word or deed, the wise king dedicated it to Lord Vāsudeva (the all-pervading God Viṣṇu). Equipping himself with all the outfit of hunting, the king mounted a gallant steed one day and, entering the dense forest of the Vindhya range, killed many a sacred animals. While ranging in the wood he espied a wild boar. It looked as if with the moon in his mouth the demon Rāhu had hid in the forest. The orb was too large to be contained in the mouth, yet in his rage he would not disgorge it. Thus have I chosen to portray the beauty of the frightful tusks of the boar, while its body too was of an enormous size and bulk. Growling at the tramp of the horse and pricking up its ears it gazed with a startled look. (1 - 4)

On seeing the huge boar, which resembled a purple mountain-peak, the king whipped the horse and advanced rapidly, challenging the boar at the same time and saying it could no longer escape. (156)

When it saw the horse coming on with a great noise, the boar took to flight swift as wind. The king lost no time in fitting the arrow to his bow and the boar crouched as soon as it saw the shaft. The king discharged his arrows taking a steady aim each time, but the boar saved itself by its wiliness. The beast rushed on, now hiding and now emerging into view; while the king in much excitement followed closely on its track. The boar went afar into a dense thicket, which was impenetrable by elephant or horse. Even though the king was all by himself and was faced with untold hardships in the forest, still he would not abandon the chase. Seeing the king so determined, the boar slunk away into a deep mountain-cave. When the king perceived that there was no access to the cave, he had to return much disappointed; and, what was worse, he lost his track in the great forest. (1 - 4)

Exhausted with much exertion and oppressed by hunger and thirst, the king and his horse kept searching for a stream or pond and almost fainted for want of water. (157)

While wandering in the forest he espied a hermitage. In that hermitage dwelt, in the disguise of a hermit, a monarch who had been despoiled of his kingdom by Pratāpabhānu and who had run away from the field of battle deserting his army. Knowing that the time was propitious for Pratāpabhānu and most unfavourable to his own self, he felt much disgusted at heart and refused to return home; and he was too proud to come to terms with the victor. Suppressing the anger in his own heart the ex-king lived in the forest like a pauper in the garb of an anchorite. It was to him that king Pratāpabhānu went and he for his part immediately recognized that the newcomer was no other than Pratāpabhānu. Overcome by thirst, the latter, however, could not recognize the ex-king. Perceiving his holy garb Pratāpabhānu took him to be a great sage and, getting down from his horse, made obeisance to him. The king was, however, too astute to disclose his name. (1 - 4)

Seeing king Pratāpabhānu thirsty, he showed him a good lake and the king as well as his horse gladly bathed in it and drank from it. (158)

The whole fatigue was gone and the king heaved a sigh of relief. The hermit thereafter took him back to his hermitage; and perceiving that it was sunset now he gave him a seat and then spoke to him in polite terms, “Who are you and wherefore do you risk your life by roaming in the forest all alone, even though you are so young and handsome? Reading the marks of an emperor on your person I am moved with great pity.” “Listen, O great sage: there is a king named Pratāpabhānu; I am his minister. Ranging in pursuit of hunt I have lost my way and by great good fortune I have been led into your presence. Your sight is a rare boon to me; it leads me to believe that something good is about to befall me.” The hermit said, “It is now dusk, my son; and your city is five hundred and sixty miles away. (1 - 4)

“Listen, O wise: dark and dreary is the night, and the forest is dense and trackless; knowing this, tarry here overnight and depart in the morning.” (159 A)

The inevitable, says Tulasīdāsa, is invariably preceded by circumstances that are favourable to it. Either it comes to a man or takes him to the cause of his doom. (159 B)

“Very well, my lord,” the king replied; and bowing to the hermit’s command he tied up the horse to a tree and then sat down. The king extolled him in many ways and bowing at his feet congratulated himself. He then spoke to him in soft and endearing terms, “Regarding you as a father, my lord, I venture to address you. Looking upon me as your son and servant O great sage, pray tell me your name in full, my master.” Although the king did not recognize him, he recognized the king. While the king had a guileless heart, the hermit was a pastmaster in fraud. Being an enemy in the first instance, and a Kṣatriya on top of it and again of royal blood, he sought to accomplish his end by dint of his cunning. The thought of the pleasures of royalty had made the enemy king sad; the fire of jealousy smouldered within his heart like that of a furnace. On hearing the artless words of Pratāpabhānu and recalling the grudge he had nursed against him, the hermit felt delighted at heart. (1 - 4)

He uttered the following soft yet false and artful words, “My name is now Bhikhārī (a mendicant), penniless and homeless as I am.” (160)

The king replied, “Those who are repositories of wisdom and free from pride like you always keep their reality concealed; even though proficient in every way, they prefer to remain in tattered clothes. That is why saints as well as the Vedas proclaim that those who are supremely indigent are held most dear by Śrī Hari. Penniless and homeless beggars like you fill the minds of even Virañci and Śiva with doubt. Whoever you may be, I bow at Your feet; now be gracious to me, my lord.” When the hermit saw the king’s artless affection and extraordinary faith in him, he won him over in every way, and spoke with a still greater affection “Listen, O king; I tell you sincerely that I have dwelt here for long. (1 - 4)

“No one has come to me so far nor do I make myself known to anyone; for popular esteem is like a wild fire, which consumes the forest of penance (i. e. , neutralizes it).” (161 A)

Not only fools, says Tulasīdāsa, but even clever men are taken in by fair appearances. Look at the beautiful peacock: though its notes are sweet like nectar, it devours snakes. (161 B)

“That is why I live in this world away from the public gaze. I have little to do with anything other than Śrī Hari. The Lord knows everything without being told; tell me, then, what is to be gained by humouring the world. You are sincere and intelligent and are therefore supremely dear to me; and I too have earned your affection and confidence. Now, my son, if I were to keep anything from you, I shall incur the most severe blame.” The more the hermit talked of his indifference to the world the more trustful grew the king. When the false anchorite saw the king devoted to him in thought, word and deed, he said, “My name, brother, is Ekatanu.” Hearing this, the king bowed his head and asked further, “Kindly explain to me the meaning of this appellation recognizing me as your faithful servant.” (1 - 4)

“My birth took place at the first dawn of creation. Since then I have never taken another body; that is why I am called Ekatanu.” (162)

“Marvel not, my son, to hear this; for nothing is too difficult to obtain through penance. By dint of penance Brahmā creates the universe; by dint of penance Viṣṇu assumed the role of its protector. By dint of penance, again, Śambhu destroys the world; there is nothing in this world which cannot be attained through penance.” Hearing this, the king felt much enamoured and the hermit commenced relating old legends. Having discussed topics of Karma (action) and Dharma (duty) and told many legends bearing on them he discoursed on dispassion and knowledge. And he further related at length countless marvellous stories connected with the creation, maintenance and dissolution of the universe. Hearing all this the king completely yielded to the influence of the hermit and then proceeded to tell him his real name. Said the hermit, “O king, I know you. Even though you tried to deceive me, I appreciated this move on your part.” (1 - 4)

“O king, the political maxim is that kings should not disclose their name in all cases. And when I thought of your political sagacity, I conceived great love for you.” (163)

“Your name is Pratāpabhānu; king Satyaketu was your father. O king, by the grace of my preceptor I know everything; but foreseeing my own harm I refuse to tell everything I know. When I saw your natural straightforwardness, affection, faith and political wisdom, I conceived a spontaneous affection for you; and that is why I told you my own story on your asking. I am now pleased; doubt not and ask what you will, O king.” Hearing these agreeable words, the king rejoiced and, clasping the hermit’s feet, supplicated to him in many ways. “O gracious sage, by your very sight I have within my grasp all the four ends of human existence (viz. , religious merit, wealth, enjoyment and final beatitude). Yet, as I see my lord so gracious, I would ask a boon which is impossible to attain otherwise, and thereby overcome sorrow.” (1 - 4)

“Let my body be free from old age, death and suffering; let no one vanquish me in battle and let me enjoy undisputed sovereignty over the globe for a hundred Kalpas (repetitions of creation) and let me have no enemies.” (164)


Said the anchorite, “So be it, O king. But there is one difficulty; hear it too. Even Death shall bow his head at your feet (much more those who are subject to death). The only exception shall be the Brāhmaṇas, O ruler of the earth. The Brāhmaṇas are ever powerful by virtue of their penance; no one can deliver from their wrath. If you can propitiate the Brāhmaṇas to your will, O king, even Brahmā, Viṣṇu and the great Lord Śiva shall be at your command. Might is of no avail against the Brāhmaṇas; with both arms raised to heaven I tell you this truth. Listen, O sovereign; if you escape the Brāhmaṇa’s curse, you shall never perish.” Hearing his words, the king rejoiced and said, “My lord, I shall no longer die. By your grace, O benevolent master, I shall be blessed at all times.” (1 - 4)

“Amen!” said the false anchorite, and added with crafty intent, “If you tell anyone about my meeting with you and your straying away, the fault shall not be mine.” (165)

“I warn you, O king, because great harm shall befall you if you relate this incident to anyone. If this talk happens to reach a third pair of ears, I tell you the truth, you are doomed. O Pratāpabhānu, if you divulge this secret or if a Brāhmaṇa curses you, you are undone. In no other way shall you die, even if Śrī Hari and Hara get angry with you.” “It is true, my lord,” said the king, clasping the hermit’s feet. “Tell me, who can deliver from the wrath of a Brāhmaṇa or a spiritual preceptor? A Guru can save one even if one has evoked the wrath of Brahmā; but in the event of a quarrel with one’s preceptor there is no one in the world who can save. If I do not follow your advice, let me perish; I care not. My mind is disturbed by only one fear; the curse of a Brāhmaṇa, my lord, is something most terrible.” (1 - 4)

“How shall I be able to win over the Brāhmaṇas? Kindly tell me that too. I see no well wishes other than you, my gracious lord.” (166)

“Listen, O king: there are various expedients in this world. But they are hard to accomplish and are of doubtful issue besides. Of course, there is one very simple device; but that too involves one difficulty. Its contrivance depends on me; but my going to your city is out of the question. Ever since I was born I have never been to anybody’s house or village so far. And if I do not go, it will be a misfortune for you. I am therefore in a dilemma today.” Hearing this, the king replied in a polite language, “My lord, there is a maxim laid down in the Vedas: the great show kindness to the small. Mountains always bear tiny blades of grass on their tops, the fathomless ocean carries floating foam on its breast and the earth ever bears dust on its bosom.” (1 - 4)

So saying, the king clasped the hermit’s feet and said, “Be gracious to me, my master. You are a saint, compassionate to the humble; therefore, my lord, take this trouble on my behalf.” (167)

Knowing that the king was completely under his influence, the hermit, who was clever at deception, said, “Listen, O king: I tell you the truth. For me in this world there is nothing hard to obtain. I will surely accomplish your object, devoted as you are in thought, word and deed to me. The power of Yoga (contemplation), planning, penance and mystic formulas work only when secrecy is maintained about them. O king, if I cook food and you serve it and if nobody comes to know me, whoever tastes the food so prepared shall become amenable to your orders. Again, I tell you, whosoever dines at the house of such people shall, O king, be dominated by your will. Go and operate this scheme, O king, and take this vow for a whole year. (1 - 4)

“Everyday invite a new set of a hundred thousand Brāhmaṇas with their families; while I, so long as your vow lasts, shall provide the daily banquet.” (168)

“In this way O king, with little exertion all the Brāhmaṇas shall be propitiate to your will. The Brāhmaṇas in their turn will offer oblations into the sacred fire, perform big sacrifices and practise adoration; and through that channel the gods too shall be easily won over. I give you one more sign. I will never come in this form. By my delusive power, O king, I will carry off your family priest and, making him just like myself by dint of my penance, will keep him here for the year; while I, O king, will take his form and manage everything for you. The night is far gone, so you had better retire now; on the third day we will meet again. By my penitential power I will convey you home, both you and your horse, even while you are asleep.” (1 - 4)

“I will come in the form I have told you, and you will recognize me when I call you aside and remind you of all this.” (169)

The king went to sleep in obedience to the hermit; while the counterfeit sage returned to his own seat and sat down there. Deep sleep came upon the weary monarch; but how could the other fellow sleep, distracted as he was with anxiety. The demon Kālaketu made his appearance there; it was he who had assumed the form of a boar and led the king astray. A great friend of the hermit-king, he was skilled in manifold ways of deceit. He had a hundred sons and ten brothers, who were great villains, invincible and annoying to the gods. Seeing the Brāhmaṇas, saints and gods in distress the king had already killed them all in battle. Recalling the old grudge the wretch conspired with the hermit-king and contrived a plot for the extermination of the enemy; but, as fate would have it, the king knew nothing of it. (1 - 4)

A spirited foe, even though left alone, should not be lightly regarded. The demon Rāhu, who has nothing left of him but his head, is able to torment both the sun and moon even to this day. (170)

The hermit-king was delighted to see his ally and rose to meet him. The meeting gave him much satisfaction and he related the whole story to his friend. The demon too was glad and said, “Listen, O king: since you have followed my advice, take the enemy as subdued. Cease to worry now and lay yourself to rest. God has effected a cure without the use of a medicine, I will sweep away the enemy root and branch and see you on the fourth day.” Fully reassuring the hermit-king, the arch-impostor, who was highly irascible, departed. In an instant he conveyed Pratāpabhānu to his palace, horse and all. Putting the king to bed beside his queen, he tied up the horse in the stall in the proper way. (1 - 4)

Again he carried off the king’s family-priest and, depriving him of his senses by his supernatural power, kept him in a mountain-cave. (171)

Himself assuming the form of the family-priest, the demon went and lay down on the former’s sumptuous bed. The king woke even before daybreak and felt much astonished to find himself at home. Attributing the miracle to the glory of the sage, he got up quietly, unperceived by the queen. Mounting the same horse he rode off to the woods without any man or woman of the city knowing it. When it was midday, the king returned; there was rejoicing and festal music in every house. When the king saw his family-priest, he looked at him in amazement, recollecting the object he held so dear to his heart. The interval of three days hung heavy on the monarch as an age, his mind being set on the feet of the false anchorite. At the appointed time the priest came and reminded him in detail of all that had been agreed upon. (1 - 4)

The king was delighted to recognize his preceptor (in the priest’s form); his mind was too clouded to have any sense left. At once he invited a hundred thousand chosen Brāhmaṇas with their families. (172)

The priest cooked four kinds of foods with six different tastes as mentioned in the Vedas. He prepared an illusory banquet and a variety of seasoned dishes more than one could count. Dressing the flesh of a variety of animals the wretch mixed with it the cooked flesh of Brāhmaṇas. All the invited Brāhmaṇas were then called for the dinner. Their feet were duly washed and they were respectfully shown to their places. The moment the king began to serve the food, a (fictitious) voice from heaven (raised by the demon Kālaketu himself) said, “Up, up, Brāhmaṇas! and return to your homes. Taste not this food; it is most harmful. The dishes include the flesh of the Brāhmaṇas. ”Up rose all the Brāhmaṇas believing the ethereal voice. The king lost his nerve; his mind was bewildered with infatuation. As fate would have it, he could not utter a word. (1 - 4)

Then exclaimed the Brāhmaṇas in wrath, without a second thought, “O foolish king, go and take birth in the demon’s form, you and all your family.” (173)

“O vile Kṣatriya! inviting the Brāhmaṇas you were out to ruin them with their families. But God has preserved our sanctity; it is you and your race that are undone. In the course of a year you shall perish; and not a soul shall be left in your family to offer water to gratify your spirit.” Hearing the curse the king was sore stricken with fear. Again, a voice was heard from heaven, “O holy Brāhmaṇas you have uttered this curse without careful thought; the king has committed no crime.” The Brāhmaṇas were astounded when they heard the ethereal voice. The king hastened to the kitchen. There was neither any food there nor the Brāhmaṇa cook. The king returned in deep thought. He related the whole story to the Brāhmaṇas and threw himself on the ground frantic with fear. (1 - 4)

“Even though you are guiltless, O king, what is inevitable fails not. A Brāhmaṇa’s curse is very terrible; no amount of effort can counteract it.” (174)

So saying, all the Brāhmaṇas dispersed. When the people of the city received the news, they were much perturbed and began to blame Providence, who had begun upon a swan and produced a crow instead. Conveying the priest to his house, the demon (Kālaketu) communicated the tidings to the hermit. The wretch in his turn despatched letters in all directions and a host of princes hastened with their troops martially arrayed and, beating their kettledrums, beleaguered the city. Everyday battles were fought in diverse forms. All his champions fought valiantly and fell. And the king with his brother bit the dust. Not one of Satyaketu’s family survived; a Brāhmaṇa’s curse can never fail. Having vanquished the foe and re-inhabiting the city all the chiefs returned to their own capitals enriched with victory and fame. (1 - 4)

Listen, O Bharadvāja: whosoever incurs the displeasure of heaven, for him a grain of dust becomes vast as Mount Meru, a father becomes frightful as Yama (the god of death) and rope a snake. (175)

O sage, in due time, I tell you, this king, with his family, was born as a demon. He had ten heads and twenty arms. His name was Rāvaṇa; he was a formidable hero. The king’s younger brother, Arimardana by name, became the powerful Kumbhakarṇa. His minister, who was known as Dharma Ruci, became Rāvaṇa’s younger half-brother, Vibhīṣaṇa by name, who is known to the whole world as a devotee of God Viṣṇu and a repository of wisdom. And the king’s sons and servants, they were born as fierce demon crew. These wretches could take any shape they liked and belonged to various orders. They were all wicked, monstrous and devoid of sense and were ruthless, bloody and sinful. They were a torment to all creation beyond what words can tell. (1 - 4)

Even though they were born in the incomparably pure and holy line of the sage Pulastya, yet, on account of the Brāhmaṇa’s curse, they were all embodiments of sin. (176)

All the three brothers practised austerities of various kinds, most severe beyond all description. Seeing their penance the Creator drew nigh and said to the eldest of them, “Ask a boon, dear son.” The ten-headed Rāvaṇa suppliantly clasped his feet and addressed to him the following words. “Listen, O lord of the universe; my prayer is that I should die at the hands of none save monkeys and men.” “So be it; you have done great penance.” This was the boon Brahmā and I granted to him (said Śiva). The Creator then approached Kumbhakarṇa and was astonished to see his gigantic form. Brahmā said to himself, “Should this wretch have his daily repast, the whole world will be no more.” So Brahmā directed Śāradā, who changed his mind. Accordingly the demon asked for continued sleep, extending over six months. (1 - 4)

Last of all Brahmā went up to Vibhīṣaṇa and said, “Ask a boon, my son.” He asked for pure love for the lotus feet of the Lord. (177)

Having granted them boons Brahmā went away, while they returned to their home rejoicing. The demon Maya had a daughter, Mandodarī by name, who was exceedingly beautiful, a jewel of womankind. Maya brought and made her over to Rāvaṇa, knowing that the latter was going to become the lord of the demons. Delighted at having obtained such a good wife, Rāvaṇa next went and married his two brothers. On a three-peaked mountain called Trikūṭa in the middle of the ocean there stood a very large fortress built by Brahmā himself. The demon Maya (who was a great architect) renovated it. It contained numberless palaces of gold and jewels, and was more beautiful and charming than Bhogavatī (the capital of Pātāla, the nethermost region in the core of the globe), the city of the serpents, and Amarāvatī, the capital of Indra (the lord of paradise). It was known throughout the world by the name of Laṅkā. (1 - 4)

The ocean surrounded it on all sides as a very deep moat. It had a strong fortification wall built of gold and jewels, the architectural beauty of which defied description. Whoever was preordained by Śrī Hari to be the chief of the demons in a particular cycle, that illustrious hero of incomparable might live there with his army. (178 A-B)

Great demon warriors had been living there. They were all exterminated in battle by the gods. Now under Indra’s commission it was occupied by a garrison consisting of ten million guards of Kubera (the chief of the Yakṣas). Having obtained this news from some quarter Rāvaṇa marshalled his army and besieged the fortress. Seeing his vast force of fierce warriors, the Yakṣas fled for their lives. Thereupon Rāvaṇa surveyed the whole city; he was much pleased with what he saw and all his anxiety (about a suitable capital) was gone. Perceiving that the city was naturally beautiful and inaccessible for others, Rāvaṇa fixed his capital there. By assigning quarters to his followers according to their several deserts he made them all happy. On one occasion he led an expedition against Kubera and carried away his aerial car known by the name of Puṣpaka as a trophy. (1 - 4)

Again, in a sportive mood he went and lifted Mount Kailāśa and, thereby testing as it were, the might of his arms, returned most jubilant. (179)

His happiness and prosperity, the number of his sons, his army and his allies, his victories and glory, his might, wisdom and fame grew from more to more everyday even as avarice grows with each new gain. He had a stalwart brother like Kumbhakarṇa, a rival to whom was never born in this world. Drinking his fill he remained buried in sleep for six months; and at his waking the three worlds trembled. Were he to take his meals every day, the whole universe would soon have been ruined. He was unspeakably staunch in fight and there were numberless brave warriors who could be compared with him. Rāvaṇa’s eldest son was Meghanāda, who ranked foremost among the champions of the world. Before him none could stand in battle. Due to him there was a stampede in the city of the immortals every day. (1 - 4)

There were many more champions such as the hideous Kumukha, the intrepid Akampana, Kuliśarada with teeth like thunderbolts, the fiery Dhūmaketu and the gigantic Atikāya, each one of whom was able to subdue the whole world. (180)

Taking form at will, they were skilled in all forms of demoniac Māyā (deceit); they never thought of piety or compassion even in dream. One day the ten-headed Rāvaṇa was seated in court and reviewed his innumerable retainers, hosts of sons and grandsons, relatives and servants, troops of demons, more than anyone could count. On seeing the host the naturally proud Rāvaṇa spoke words full of wrath and arrogance: ”Listen, all demon troops: the host of heaven are my enemies. They never dare to stand up in open fight, but flee away at the sight of a powerful adversary. There is only one way of causing their death, which I tell you in detail; now listen to it. Go and prevent the feasting of Brāhmaṇas, the performance of sacrifices, the pouring of oblations into the sacred fire, the ceremony of Śrāddha (offering food etc. , to a departed soul) and all other religious functions. (1 - 4)

“Emaciated with starvation and rendered weak, the gods will automatically surrender to me. Then I will see whether I should kill them or let them go after subjecting them perfectly to my will.” (181)

Then Rāvaṇa sent for Meghanāda and admonished him, inciting him to greater strength and hostility. ”The gods who are staunch in battle, powerful and proud of their fighting skill, you should conquer in battle and bring them in chains.” The son got up and bowed to the commands of his father. In this way Rāvaṇa ordered all and himself sallied forth, club in hand. Even as the ten-headed Rāvaṇa marched, the earth shook and at his thundering call the spouses of gods miscarried. Hearing of Rāvaṇa’s angry approach the gods themselves sought the caves of Mount Śumeru. When the ten-faced Rāvaṇa invaded the beautiful realms of the guardians of the ten quarters, he found them all desolate. Again and again he roared loudly like a lion and, challenging the gods to battle, scoffed at them. Mad after war he traversed the whole world in search of a combatant; but nowhere could he find anyone. The sun-god, the moon-god, the wind-god, the god of water, the gods of wealth and fire, the gods of time and death and all other gods entrusted with the governance of the world. Kinnaras, Siddhas, men, gods and Nāgas, all were wilfully harassed by him. All embodied beings in the creation of Brahmā, whether men or women, submitted to Rāvaṇa’s will. All did his bidding out of fear and always bowed suppliantly at his feet. (1 - 7)

By his mighty arm he subdued the whole universe and left no one independent. The king of kings, Rāvaṇa, ruled according to his own will. He won by the might of his arms and wedded daughters of gods, Yakṣas, Gandharvas, human beings, Kinnaras and Nāgas and many other beautiful and excellent dames. (182 A-B)

Whatever Rāvaṇa told Indrajit to do was done by him sooner as it were than the former uttered the command. Now hear what they did who had been ordered by him even earlier. The whole demon crew, sinful at heart and of terrible aspect, were the torment of heaven. Roaming at night, they did outrages of various kinds and assumed diverse forms through their delusive power. They acted in every way contrary to Veda and did everything in their power to eradicate religion. Wherever they found a cow or a Brāhmaṇa they set fire to that city, town or village. Virtuous acts were nowhere to be seen. No one paid any respect to the gods, the Brāhmaṇas and the spiritual preceptor. There was no devotion to Śrī Hari, no sacrificial performances, no austerities and no spiritual wisdom. No one would ever dream of listening to the Vedas or the Purāṇas. (1 - 4)

If ever any talk of Japa (muttering of sacred formulas), Yoga (subjugation of mind), dispassion, penance or of oblations to gods in a sacrifice entered Rāvaṇa’s ears he would at once be on his feet and run to stop them. He would allow nothing of these and would destroy everything he laid his hands upon. There was such corruption in the world that no talk of piety could be heard anywhere. Whoever recited the Vedas or the Purāṇas was intimidated in manifold ways and sent into exile.

The terrible outrages the demons did beggar description. There is no limit to the evil-doings of those who hold violence most dear to their heart. (183)