by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “narantaka is slain by angada” and represents Chapter 69 of the Yuddha-kanda of the Ramayana (English translation by Hari Prasad Shastri). The Ramayana narrates the legend of Rama and Sita and her abduction by Ravana, the king of Lanka. It contains 24,000 verses divided into seven sections [viz., Yuddha-kanda].
“O King, brave men do not give way to sorrow even at the death of so valiant a warrior as your younger brother, our uncle. Since you are able to conquer the Three Worlds, O Lord, why, like a common man, dost you suffer your courage to falter? Brahma bestowed on you a spear, mail, a dart, a bow and a chariot harnessed to a thousand mules, sending forth a rumble like unto a thundercloud; furnished with all these weapons, you will vanquish Raghava! Yet if it please you, O Great King, I myself will descend into the arena and bear away your foes, as Garuda the serpents. As Shambara fell under the blows of the King of the Gods and Naraka under those of Vishnu, so shall Rama fall this day, struck down by me on the battlefield.”
At these words of Trishiras, Ravana, the Lord of the Titans, under the sway of destiny, felt himself to be born anew and, hearing Trishiras speak thus, Devantaka, Narantaka and Atikaya, burning with martial ardour, desired nothing more than to enter into combat. “Away! Away!” roared those valiant sons of Ravana, the foremost of the Nairritas, the equals of Shakra in prowess.
All were able to fly in the air, all were skilled in magic, all had humbled the pride of the Gods, all were invincible warriors, all were endowed with great strength, all enjoyed great renown, of none was it recounted that they had been defeated in battle even by the Gods, Gandharvas, Kinneras or great Serpents. All were expert in the use of weapons, all were courageous and able fighters, all were highly learned and all had been the recipients of great boons.
Surrounded by his sons, the king, radiant as the solar orb, the destroyer of the power and glory of his foes, shone like Maghavat amidst the Gods, the humbler of the pride of the great Danavas.
Embracing his sons, he covered them with ornaments and sent them out to fight, heaping blessings upon them. Nevertheless Ravana sent his brothers Yuddhonmatta and Matta to accompany those youthful warriors and watch over them in the struggle. Then those heroes of immense stature paid obeisance to the mighty Ravana, the destroyer of creatures, and, circumambulating him, departed. Thereafter the foremost of the Nairritas, furnished with every kind of medicinal herb and perfume, went away, eager to fight, and Trishiras, Atikaya, Devantaka, Narantaka, Mahodara and Mahaparshva, under the sway of destiny, set out.
A magnificent elephant, like unto a dark cloud, offspring of Airavata’s race, named Sudarshana, served as Mahodara’s mount and that hero, furnished with every weapon, armed with a quiver, seated on his elephant, shone like the sun on the peak of the Astachala Mountain.
Trishiras, born of Ravana, was seated in an excellent car drawn by the foremost of steeds and it was filled with weapons of every kind. Standing in his chariot, armed with his bow, he looked as resplendent as a storm cloud on the peak of a mountain, attended by lightning, thunder, meteors and Indra’s bow. With his triple crown, Trishiras shone in his chariot likeHimavat, the Lord of Mountains with its golden crests.
Then the exceedingly war-like Atikaya, son unto that Lord of the Titans, most skilful of archers, ascended a superb chariot with excellent wheels, stout axles, magnificent steeds, carriage and yoke, rich in quivers and bows, filled with missiles, swords and maces, and that warrior wore a diadem encrusted with gold and covered with gems so that he looked like Meru shining in its own splendour. That mighty Prince of the Titans, surrounded by the foremost of the Nairritas, glowed in his chariot like the God who bears the thunderbolt amidst the Immortals.
And Narantaka, mounted on a white steed, as swift as thought, harnessed with gold, resembling Ucchairavas, was armed with a javelin like unto a thunderbolt and appeared exceedingly resplendent, resembling the illustrious Guha, the offspring of Shikhin riding on his peacock.
Devantaka, bearing a gilded iron bar, looked like an incarnation of Vishnu holding the Mandara Mountain in his arms and Mahaparshva, full of strength and energy, brandished a mace like unto Kuvera armed for combat.
Thereafter those intrepid warriors set out from Lanka like the Gods leaving Amaravati and powerful titans on elephants, horses and in chariots thundering like clouds, followed, armed with excellent weapons; and those youthful beings shone like the blazing sun with their brows encircled with diadems, sparkling in splendour like planets flaming in the heavens and, in the brightness of the raiment in which they were attired, that brilliant cavalcade resembled an autumn cloud or a flock of cranes in the sky.
Determined to die or vanquish their foe, they went forward in this courageous resolve, eager to fight, boasting, shouting and uttering threats, and those invincible heroes set out furnished with arrows amidst the clamour and clapping of hands, causing the earth to tremble as it were.
As the roars of their troops seemed to rend the heavens, those mighty titan princes, full of joy, increased their pace and beheld the simian host brandishing rocks and trees, whilst from their side, the courageous leaders of the monkeys observed the titan army with its mass of elephants, horses and chariots advancing like unto a thunder cloud to the sound of hundreds of gongs and, furnished with huge weapons, encompassed on all sides by the resplendent Nairritas, resembling blazing torches or suns.
Beholding that company approaching, the desire of the Plavamgamas was realised and, armed with huge rocks, they redoubled their cries in their eagerness to fight the titans, who responded with their shouts. Hearing the roars that the monkeys and their leaders let forth, the titan ranks, provoked by the joyous cheering of the enemy, roared with an even greater fury in their extreme valour.
Thereafter, as they joined issue with that formidable host of titans, the monkeys with their leaders hurled themselves upon them, brandishing sharp rocks like unto mountains and those Plavamgamas, armed with crags and trees, threw themselves upon the titan forces, some fighting in the air and some on the ground. Some amongst those foremost of monkeys fought
Those monkeys of redoubtable courage let an unequalled shower of trees, stones and rocks fall on the enemy who overwhelmed them with a hail of missiles. Titans and monkeys roared like lions on the battlefield; the Plavamgamas crushed the Yatudhanas with blows from stones and, in fury struck those warriors covered in mail and jewels, mounted in chariots, and on elephants and horses in the fray. Then the Plavamgamas redoubled their attacks against the Yatudhanas with crags that they tore up with their hands. Their bodies tense, their eyes starting from their heads, shouting, they stumbled and fell, whilst those lions among the titans, on their side, pierced those elephants among the monkeys with sharp arrows, striking them with spears, mallets, swords, javelins and lances and they mowed each other down in their desire to triumph. The limbs of monkeys and titans were streaming with the blood of their enemies, and rocks and swords, thrown by the monkeys and titans, covered the blood-stained earth in an instant, so that the ground was smothered with titans like unto mountains, who, mad with martial ardour, had been crushed and mangled by their foes.
Thereafter the monkeys, giving and receiving blows, their rocks shattered, engaged in a fresh and dreadful fight, using the severed limbs as weapons. And the Nairritas struck the monkeys with their own corpses and the apes struck the titans with the titan dead. Tearing the rocks from the hands of their foes, the titans broke them on the heads of the monkeys who shattered the arrows of the titans, using the pieces to destroy them. And they overwhelmed each other with crags in the battle and monkeys and titans set up a roaring like unto lions.
Then, their armour and shields pierced, those titans, attacked by the monkeys, dripped blood as trees their sap, and some monkeys in the conflict, destroyed chariots with chariots, elephants with elephants, horses with horses, whilst the titans employed weapons like razors or half moons and Bhallas and pointed shafts in order to shatter the rocks and trees of those intrepid monkeys. In that encounter, the earth became impassable, covered as it was with monkeys and titans mangled and crushed under the rocks and trees in the fight.
Full of audacity and ardour, the monkeys, engaged in the struggle, casting aside all fear, fought the titans with a light heart and various kinds of weapons.
Witnessing that appalling melee, the joy of the monkeys and the massacre of the titans, the great Rishis and hosts of Celestial Beings emitted shouts of triumph.
Narantaka however, mounted on his steed, that was as swift as the wind, with a pointed lance plunged into the thick of the simian ranks like a fish into the sea and that warrior pierced seven hundred monkeys with his effulgent spear and that enemy of Indra, of exceeding courage, in an instant, single-handed, overthrew the army of the foremost of monkeys under the eyes of the Vidhyadharas and Maharishis, hacking a pathvay for himself through the simian ranks, the bleeding flesh its mire, and which was covered with heaps of monkey corpses as high as hills.
Whenever those lions among the monkeys sought to bar his way, so often did Narantaka cleave their ranks by mowing them down. As a fire burns up a forest, so did he consume those simian battalions and each time those inhabitants of the woods tore up the trees and rocks, they fell under his lance like mountains riven by lightning.
Brandishing his glittering spear in the forefront of battle, the valiant Narantaka ranged the entire welkin, overthrowing everything in his course as the wind in the rainy season and, whether they stayed at their post or went out to meet him, those courageous monkeys could neither stand against him nor escape from him so that all fell, pierced by that warrior.
That unique javelin resembling Death itself, bright as the sun, was able, by itself, to destroy the ranks of the monkeys and leave them stretched on the earth, and the impact of that pike resembled the stroke of lightning so that the monkeys were unable to endure it and emitted loud cries. Those high-souled and intrepid monkeys, falling, resembled the peaks of mountains crumbling away, struck by lightning.
Meanwhile the powerful leaders of the monkeys, who had previously been put to flight by Kumbhakarna, having regained their vigour, were ranged round Sugriva and he, looking about him, observed the army of the monkeys fleeing before Narantaka, terror-stricken and scattering in all directions.
Witnessing this stampede, he beheld Narantaka, spear in hand, who was advancing, mounted on his steed. At this, the illustrious Sugriva, King of the Monkeys, addressed the youthful Prince Angada, a warrior whose valour equalled Shakra’s, and said:—
“Go out against that bold titan, who, riding on a horse, is consuming the army I have sent against him and speedily deprive him of his life’s breaths.”
At this command from his sovereign, the intrepid Angada, the foremost of monkeys resembling a rocky mass, broke away from that company like the sun emerging from a cloud and, with the bracelets he wore, he glittered like a mountain with its metallic veins. Without any weapons save his nails and teeth, that son of Bali, in his great strength, rushed out to meet Narantaka and said to him:—
“Why dost you strive with common monkeys? Do you with your spear, the impact of which is equal to lightning, strike my breast which I now present to you!”
The words of Angada, son of Bali, angered Narantaka, who bit his lip with his teeth hissing like a serpent, and hurled himself upon him in fury. Brandishing his spear, which glittered like fire, he struck at Angada but the weapon broke against the breast of that son of Bali, that was as hard as diamond, and fell to the earth.
Seeing his lance shattered, like a snake whose powerful coils are sundered by Suparna, the son of Bali raised his hand and struck the head of the steed of his adversary. Sinking to its knees, its eyeballs starting from their sockets, its tongue hanging out, that horse, as high as a hill, fell to the earth, its head crushed by the blow from the palm of his hand.
Then Narantaka, beholding his steed lying dead, grew enraged and, clenching his fist, struck the son of Bali on the forehead with energy so that the hot blood gushed forth from his injured brow. Now he flared up with wrath and then swooned away and, having lost consciousness awhile, on coming to himself was confused.
Thereafter Angada, Bali’s mighty son, clenching his fist, which equalled Mrityu’s in strength and resembled a great rock, brought it down on Narantaka’s breast.
His chest crushed, broken by the shock, vomiting flames, his limbs streaming with blood, Narantaka fell on the earth like a mountain struck by lightning: and when the mighty Narantaka fell in the struggle with Bali’s son, from the sky, the foremost of the Celestials and the monkeys emitted a great shout of triumph! And Angada filled Rama’s heart with joy and he was astonished at his exceedingly difficult achievement. Thereafter that warrior of illustrious exploits eagerly prepared for fresh encounters.