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Chapter 73: Indrajit Shoots a Brahmastra at Rama and Lakshmana
Indrajit Shoots a Brahmastra at Rama and Lakshmana
Those rakshasas who survived hastily reported to Ravana that Devantaka, Trishira, Atikaya and others had been killed. Hearing this sudden message of death, the king’s eyes filled with tears. Thinking about the death of his sons and the horrible slaughter of his brothers, the king became very contemplative. When Indrajit saw how his father was miserable and drowning in an ocean of grief, he spoke the following words: “O lord of the rakshasas, you should not despair while Indrajit is alive! Indeed, no one is able to survive when struck by my arrows in combat. Today see Rama and Lakshmana lying dead on the ground, Their bodies pierced, scattered and completely covered by my arrows! Hear my vow strengthened by great determination, manliness and destiny: I shall this very day overcome Rama and Lakshmana with my arrows which are always effective! Today Indra, Yamaraja, Vishnu, Rudra, the saadhyas, Agni, Chandra and Surya will witness my immeasurable prowess as they did the formidable prowess of Vishnu in the sacrificial arena of Maharaja Bali!”
After saying this and taking leave of Ravana, the enemy of Indra, Indrajit mounted the chariot which was as swift as the wind, drawn by asses and equipped with weapons. Sitting down in the chariot, the glorious Indrajit, the crusher of enemies, suddenly departed for the battlefield. Extremely excited, many powerful rakshasas carrying excellent bows followed the great prince. Some rakshasas rode on elephants, some on fine steeds, tigers, scorpions, cats, asses, camels, snakes, boars, lions, jackals as big as hills, crows, swans and peacocks. They bore lances, sharp swords, axes, maces, firearms, mallets, bludgeons, cat-’o-nine-tails and iron bars. Indrajit quickly proceeded to the battleground to the loud accompaniment of drums and conch shells. Covered with a parasol as white as a conch shell or the moon, that crusher of enemies looked like the night sky with a full moon. That best of archers was being fanned with lovely Caamara whisks adorned with gold handles.
Seeing his son leaving with a large army, the glorious Ravana said: “O son, you have no rival in combat. You even conquered Lord Indra. Why would you not be able to kill Rama, a human being and therefore defeatable?” The prince accepted the king’s blessings. Then Lanka shone with Indrajit, whose splendor was like the sun. Indrajit’s valor was matchless and he shone like the sun in the sky. When he reached the battlefield, he stationed the rakshasas all around his chariot.
Then Indrajit worshiped the god of fire according to scriptural regulations with the recitation of excellent hymns. After propitiating the god of fire with an offering of parched grains, which was preceded by offerings of flower garlands and sandalwood paste, Indrajit offered oblations of clarified butter. The area around the sacrifice was strewn with weapons instead of reeds. Wood from the Bibhitaka tree were used as fuel. The robes worn by the attendees were red and the sacrificial utensils were made of iron. Indrajit grabbed a living black goat by the neck. After the goat was thrown in all at once, a smokeless fire sprang up from the fuel, displaying signs indicative of victory. The deity of fire rose up out of the fire, shining like molten gold. Inclining to the right, he personally accepted that offering.
Indrajit, who was skilled in the use of all weapons, invoked the Brahmastra weapon of Lord Brahma. He also recited an incantation to protect his bow, chariot and other things. While he was invoking weapons and offering oblations into the sacrificial fire, the sky with the sun, planets, moon and stars became frightened. After offering oblations in the fire, Indrajit, who was splendorous like fire and equal to Indra in might, made himself, along with his bow, arrows, sword, chariot, horses and chariot, invisible in the sky. Thereupon, the Rakshasa army, which was crowded with horses and chariots and beautified with flag and banners, sallied forth roaring and eager to fight. In the encounter which ensued the rakshasas struck the monkeys with many different sharp and speedy arrows, as well as with lances and goads. Watching the night-stalkers, Indrajit said: “Be enlivened and fight to kill the monkeys!”
Roaring in anticipation of victory, all the rakshasas thereafter showered the monkeys with dreadful volleys of arrows. Surrounded by rakshasas, Indrajit began annihilating the monkeys on the battlefield with his broad-tipped arrows, steel arrows, maces and clubs, so it is said. As Indrajit was assailing the monkeys, the latter suddenly showered him with boulders and trees. The mighty Indrajit, whose possessed immense vigor, then became quite angry and began tearing the monkeys’ bodies to pieces. Infuriated, Indrajit pierced with a single arrow, five, seven and nine monkeys on the field of battle, giving great pleasure to the rakshasas. Indrajit, who was most difficult to defeat, massacred the monkeys in combat with resplendent arrows adorned with gold.
Tormented by those arrows, the monkeys, whose limbs were injured and goals hampered, fell like great demons slain by the gods. Furious as they were, the fine monkeys rushed onto the battlefield toward Indrajit, who was glowing like the sun as he shot his fearsome arrows. With their bodies slashed and drenched with blood and their minds disturbed, all the monkeys fled. Having performed deeds of valor on behalf of Rama, the monkeys who had dedicated their lives to Rama roared and did not abandon the battleground but stayed there armed with boulders. Taking positions on the front line of battle, the monkeys showered Indrajit with trees, mountain peaks and boulders. Indrajit, who was victorious in combat, deflected that deadly shower of trees and boulders.
The Rakshasa then began to split the monkey troops on the field of battle with fiery arrows that were like poisonous snakes. After piercing Gandhamaadana with eighteen arrows, Indrajit hit Nala, who was standing at a distance, with nine arrows. Then he hit Mainda in his vital parts with seven arrows and Gaja with five. He then hit Jambavan with ten and Nila with thirty. With an arrow charged with a dreadful boon he had received, Indrajit rendered Sugreeva, Rishabha, Angada and Dvivida unconscious. Enraged like the fire of universal destruction, he also tormented other prominent monkeys with his many arrows. With his speedy arrows as brilliant as the sun, he put the monkey army into confusion on the battlefield. Once more that mighty son of Ravana looked with great delight at the monkey army tortured by his shower of arrows. Discharging a shower of arrows and a dreadful shower of weapons, Indrajit crushed the monkey army on all sides.
Leaving the space above the Rakshasa army and proceeding to a location above the monkey army, Indrajit, who was invisible, showered them with terrible volleys of arrows, like a dark-blue cloud pouring down rain. As victims of Indrajit’s deceptive trick, the monkeys’ bodies were slashed by his arrows and they fell howling on the battleground, like great mountains struck by Indra’s thunderbolt. They could only see sharp-pointed arrows showering down on the monkey troops. They could not, however, see the Rakshasa, who had made himself invisible by his magical power. Then that gigantic lord of rakshasas covered all directions with volleys of sharp arrows as bright as sun beams and destroyed the monkey’s leaders. He showered the monkey army with pikes, swords and axes that shone like blazing fire spewing flames and sparks.
When struck by Indrajit’s arrows, the monkey troop leaders looked like Kimshuka trees in bloom. Stumbling toward each other, the monkeys howled loudly and fell down. Struck by arrows while looking up toward the sky, some monkeys grabbed each other and fell on the ground. Using lances, pikes and arrows charmed with mystic incantations, Indrajit pierced the prominent monkeys, such as Hanuman, Sugreeva, Angada, Gandhamaadana, Jambavan, Sushena, Vegadarshi, Mainda, Dvivida, Nila, Gavaaksha, Gavaya, Kesari, Hariloma, Vidyuddamshtra, Suryanana, Jyotirmukha, Dadhimukha, Pavakaksha, Nala and Kumuda. Having wounded the monkey troop leaders with his maces and golden arrows, Indrajit showered Rama and Lakshmana with volleys of arrows as bright as sun beams. Unaffected by the shower of arrows, as if it were just a shower of rain, Rama, who was exhibiting the most incredible splendor, looked at Lakshmana and said:
“Resorting to a Brahmastra weapon and striking down many monkey soldiers, Indrajit is now tormenting us with his sharp arrows. Since Indrajit has received a boon from Lord Brahma, he therefore has great determination. Making his horrible form invisible, he stands with raised weapons. How then can he be killed? I know that Lord Brahma is inconceivable and that he is the origin of this particular weapon. As such, endure this shower of arrows with Me right now. This Rakshasa is in fact covering all directions with a shower of arrows. What is more, Sugreeva’s entire army, whose outstanding warriors have fallen, no longer looks very well. If Indrajit finds Us fallen on the ground unconscious and bereft of anger and joy, he will surely leave the battleground and return to Lanka to receive accolades for his exceptional prowess in combat.”
After that, the two princes allowed themselves to be seriously injured by Indrajit’s weapons. Having caused the two princes difficulty, that leader of rakshasas roared jubilantly. When Indrajit finished afflicting the enemy, he suddenly entered the city of Lanka which was under the protection of Ravana. As he was being praised by the practitioners of the black arts, Indrajit joyfully told everything to his father.
Thus completes 73rd Chapter of Yuddha Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.
Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate
Biggs, Robert. (2005). Yuddha-kanda – The Conquest of Lanka.
Merriam-Webster. (2007). At http://www.m-w.com.
Reference.com. (2007). At http://www.reference.com.
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