Category Archives: Mythology

Cantos LXXV & CVIII(Book VI)(Yuddha-Kánda): The epic battle culminates with Ráma slaying Rávan

Sugriva spake in words like these:
‘Now, Vánar lords, the occasion seize.
For now, of sons and brothers reft,
To Rávan little hope is left;
And if our host his gates assail
His weak defence will surely fail.’
                               –Excerpt from Canto LXXV (Book VI)(Yuddha-Kánda)
Urged onward by his charioteer
The giant’s foaming steeds came near,
And furious was the battle’s din
Where each resolved to die or win.
The Rákshas host and Vánar bands
Stood with their weapons in their hands,
And watched in terror and dismay
The fortune of the awful fray.
The giant chief with rage inflamed
His darts at Ráma’s pennon aimed;
But when they touched the chariot made
By heavenly hands their force was stayed.
Then Ráma’s breast with fury swelled;
He strained the mighty bow he held,
And straight at Rávan’s banner flew
An arrow as the string he drew
A deadly arrow swift of flight,
Like some huge snake ablaze with light,
Whose fury none might e’er repel,
And, split in twain, the standard fell.
                                  –Excerpt from Canto CVIII(Book VI)(Yuddha-Kánda)

A dreadful encounter started between the two kings. The Rákshas and the Vánaras were surprised to see the epic duel. Two mahabalis Ráma and Rávan started discharging arrows. Rávan’s arrows were becoming useless whereas Ráma’s arrow broke Rávan’s flag staff which further enraged Rávan and he started a downpour of shafts. But finding that they were not working against Ráma, he started using gadas, parighas, chakras and musalas, mountain tops, trees, darts and parashus. The seven oceans thundered with the sound of maces and musalas. Both were determined to kill each other. One of Ráma’s arrow cut Rávan’s head but alas instantly arose another head resembling the former. It was also swiftly cut-off but there arose another one and this continued endlessly. Ráma finally took the flaming and dreadful arrow of Brahma, given by the great Rishi Agastya, and discharged it at Rávan which pierced his body and thus brought the end of Rávan.



Canto CX Book VI (Yuddha-Kánda) – The Battle – The Scion of Ikshvaku slays the Lord of Rákshas (Part 2 of 2)

Then Mátali to Ráma cried:
“Let other arms the day decide.
Why wilt thou strive with useless toil
And see his might thy efforts foil?
Launch at the foe thy dart whose fire
Was kindled by the Almighty Sire.”
He ceased: and Raghu’s son obeyed:
Upon his string the hero laid
An arrow, like a snake that hissed.
Whose fiery flight had never missed:
The arrow Saint Agastya gave
He laid it on the twisted cord,
He turned the point at Lanká’s lord,
And swift the limb-dividing dart
Pierced the huge chest and cleft the heart,
And dead he fell upon the plain
Like Vritra by the Thunderer slain.

On Mátali’s advice, Ráma chose the gleaming shaft, a gift from Brahma and which had been given by sage Agastya. It was breathing as if like a serpent. This was created for the conquest of all the three worlds, to be used by Indra. With the sun and fire in its head, the wind god was in its feathers. It was as heavy as the mountains Meru and Mandara. It sparkled as the Sun. The shaft was resplendent by its own lustre, well feathered and adorned with jewels. It could annihilate the enemy completely. It could rip through entire enemy army as it was hard as a diamond.  This deadly shaft brought euphoria to the monkeys and extermination of the Rákshas. Ráma fitted the resplendent shaft into his magnificent bow and after pronouncing the required mantras, drew his bow to the fullest and aimed the arrow at the Lord of Rákshas. He discharged that shaft at Rávan, piercing his vitals. The arrow fiercely struck Rávan in the chest. Rávan’s bow slipped from his hand and he tumbled out of his chariot. The shaft, after slaying Rávan, soaked in blood, again entered the quiver. Rávan thunderously fell to the ground. Seeing the death of their lord, the Rákshas panicked and started running away, but the monkeys chased them. The monkeys proclaimed Ráma’s victory with joy. Flowers rained down on Ráma’s chariot and the celestial beings were delighted with Rávan’s death. After killing Rávan, Ráma dazzled on the battle field, encircled by his army and friends. The epic battle thus came to an end with the victory of good over evil.

Canto CIX Book VI (Yuddha-Kánda) – The Battle – The Scion of Ikshvaku battles Lord of Rákshas (Part 1 of 2)

With wondrous power and might and skill
The giant fought with Ráma still.
Each at his foe his chariot drove,
And still for death or victory strove.
The warriors’ steeds together dashed,
And pole with pole reëchoing clashed.
Then Ráma launching dart on dart
Made Rávan’s coursers swerve and start.
God and Gandharva, sage and saint
Cried out, with grief and terror faint:
“O may the prince of Raghu’s line
Give peace to Bráhmans and to kine,
And, rescuing the worlds, o’erthrow
The giant king our awful foe.”
The doubtful fight he still maintained,
And on the foe his missiles rained.
In air, on earth, on plain, on hill,
With awful might he battled still;
And through the hours of night and day
The conflict knew no pause or stay.

The battle waged relentlessly. Indra summoned his charioteer Mátali and sent him to Ráma with the jewel studded gold made chariot. Mátali took the chariot to Rama and exhorted Ráma to kill the Rákshas in the same way as Indra killed the danavas. Ráma climbed into the chariot and the battle resumed. Ráma and Rávan opposing each other in the epic battle, highly angered, began to dash towards and assail each other; and being determined to slay each other they looked greatly dreadful. The two great warriors attacked one another with a barrage of arrows. The two heroes, discharging their shafts and  influenced by illusions, assailed each other proceeding and receding, Rama attacking Rávan and Rávan withstanding him. Ráma’s courage and confidence started increasing gradually, and he intensified his assault on Rávan. On the other hand, Rávan became more and more confused and he even could not find his weapon. The omens indicating Rávan’s destruction multiplied whereas more signs of good fortune for Ráma appeared. The final chariot duel started between them which made the monkeys and Rákshas absolutely still, holding on to their weapons and witnessing the fierce combat between the two. They stood facing each other, the forepart of one chariot touching that of the other and the heads of the steeds touching each other; and the flags, stationed on one touched those of the other. Ráma’s sharpest arrow cut off Rávan’s head but immediately another head grew in its place. That too was severed quickly but another grew to replace it. The hundred heads, all equal in brilliance, were cut off but there seemed to be no end to the Lord of Rákshas’s life. Ráma wondered that the arrows killed Marica, Khara, Dusana, Viradha and Kabandha. But why they were failing against Rávan.  Now the final assault.