by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “the prowess of angada and kumbha: kumbha is slain” and represents Chapter 76 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].
At the height of that appalling struggle in which so many valiant soldiers perished, Angada advanced on the heroic Kumbha; and the impetuous Kampana, in anger, challenged Angada and, forestalling him, struck him a violent blow causing him to reel. Thereafter that warrior, coming to himself, hurled a rock on his adversary, who, crushed under the blow, fell to the ground.
Seeing Kampana slain, Shonitaksha drove his chariot boldly at the monkey and, in his fury, struck him with his sharp and fiery arrows, tearing his flesh; then, like unto the Fire of Death, he loosed innumerable flaming Kshuras, Kshurapras, Narachas, Vatsadantas, Shilimukhas, Karnis, Shalyas and Vipathas on him, and that valiant and energetic son of Bali, his limbs pierced, in his might, snapped the formidable bow of that titan and shattered his chariot with its shafts also.
Thereupon Shonitaksha instantly took up his sword and shield and, without hesitation, sprang forward with an impetuous bound but the courageous Angada, receiving the violent impact, with a shout, broke that weapon with his hand. Thereafter that lion among monkeys, as if following the line of the sacred thread, let the blade fall on the titan’s shoulder, cutting it in two and, raising his great sword, the son of Bali, shouting again and again, ran to the forefront of the battle to seek out further opponents.
Now, in company with Prajangha, the courageous Yupaksha drove his car furiously against that valiant monkey and, at that instant, Shonitaksha, breathing heavily, rushed on that warrior of the golden bracelets? Full of energy, Prajangha, the intrepid companion of Yupaksha, hurled himself on the mighty Angada, mace in hand and, between Shonitaksha and Prajangha the Prince of Monkeys resembled the full moon between two Vishakhas. Then Mainda and Dvivida went to Angada’s aid and stood on guard near him, whilst the titans of immense stature, their battalions drawn up, full of vigour, threw themselves furiously on the monkeys with swords, arrrows and maces and the encounter between those Indras among the monkeys, in the grip of those bulls of titans, was desperate, causing the hair to stand on end. In that fight, the former, seizing trees and stones, discharged them, but Prajangha, who was exceedingly powerful, broke them with his sword. Stones and trees fell thick and fast on his chariot but were all severed by the countless shafts of the mighty Yupaksha, while the trees that, on their side, were thrown by Dvivida and Mainda, were crushed and destroyed by Shonitaksha, who was full of ardour and courage.
Thereafter the infuriated Prajangha, brandishing his great sword with which he severed the limbs of his adversaries, leapt on Angada and, seeing him close beside him, that Indra among the monkeys, in his great strength struck him a violent blow with an Ashvakarna Tree and, with his fist, hit out at the arm holding the sword which fell at the impact. Beholding his sword lying on the earth, like unto an iron bar, that powerful titan raised his fist and, like unto lightning, brought it down with great force on the brow of the intrepid Angada, foremost among the monkeys, who reeled for an instant but, having regained his senses, that courageous son of Bali, boiling with rage, struck Prajangha’s head from his shoulders.
Then Yupaksha, seeing his paternal uncle lying on the field, quickly alighted from his chariot, his eyes full of tears and, as his quiver was empty, drew his sword.
Beholding Yupaksha rushing towards him thus, Dvivida, with a mighty blow, struck him on the breast and, in his ire, seized hold of him with force. Perceiving his valiant brother made captive, the exceedingly energetic Shonitaksha struck Dvivida on the chest, and the blow caused the intrepid Dvivida to stumble, but he clung to the mace that his rival sought once more to raise against him. Meanwhile Mainda joined Dvivida, and Shonitaksha and Yupaksha, burning with courage, engaged the two Plavagas in a terrible struggle. The mighty Dvivida tore the face of Shonitaksha with his nails and, dragging him to the ground, crushed him, whilst Mainda, fired with wrath, pressed Yupaksha in his arms so that he fell lifeless on the earth.
Then the army of those foremost among the titans, discouraged by the death of their leaders, turned and fled in order to rejoin the sons of Kumbhakarna; and Kumbha, seeing those soldiers fleeing in all haste, rallied them and, perceiving those valiant warriors to have been cruelly used by the highly powerful monkeys, and their leaders being slain, Kumbha, full of ardour, began to execute difficult feats in the encounter.
Taking up his bow, he, the foremost and most skilled of archers, let fly a series of arrows like unto venomous serpents able to pierce the limbs and, with his shafts and marvellous bow, shining with a great lustre he appeared like a second Indra illumined by the effulgence of Airavata! Thereafter he stretched that bow up to his ear and struck Dvivida with a golden-hafted and plumed arrow and, as soon as it pierced that foremost of the Plavagas, who resembled the Trikuta Mountain, his legs stiffened and, trembling, he stumbled and fell.
Mainda, however, beholding his brother succumb in that great combat, rushed towards his adversary with a huge rock and that hero hurled it at the titan, but Kumbha shattered it with five whetted shafts and, taking hold of another dart with a sharp point, resembling a poisonous snake, he struck the breast of Dvivida’s elder brother with violence.
Under the blow, Mainda, the General of the Monkeys, his chest tom open, fell unconscious on the earth. Thereupon the fiery Angada, seeing his maternal uncles overcome despite their prowess, hurled himself on Kumbha who was stretching his bow and, as he advanced, Kumbha pierced him with five whetted darts, then with a further three, and again with three spears, as if he were attacking an elephant. Thus Angada was struck by the mighty Kumbha with innumerable shafts but, though his limbs were pierced by a succession of penetrating darts, that were flaming and adorned with gold, yet he remained immoveable and let fall a shower of rocks and trees on the head of that warrior born of Kumbhakarna, who cut off and severed all the weapons that the son of Bali loosed upon him.
Seeing that leader of monkeys, Kumbha cut off his two eyelids with twin arrows, as one blinds an elephant with torches, so that the blood flowed and his eyes were veiled; thereupon Angada, with one hand protected his bloody lids and with the other seized hold of a Sala Tree that stood near and, propping it on his chest, he stripped that leafy tree of its branches, and, having bent it a little, discharged it in the fight in the sight of all the titans, and that Sala Tree, that resembled the banner of Indra, appeared like unto Mount Mandara. Thereafter Kumbha cut that tree to pieces and pierced his adversary with seven pointed and murderous shafts so that Angada suddenly fell down, unconscious.
Beholding the invincible Angada stretched on the ground, like unto the sea when its waters recede, the leaders of the monkeys carried the tidings to Raghava. Then Rama, hearing that the son of Bali had fallen and been overcome in the course of a desperate struggle, issued his orders to the simian leaders who were led by Jambavan. At Rama’s command, those lions among the monkeys, full of rage, their eyes red with anger, rushed on Kumbha, who was stretching his bow, and flew to the aid of Angada.
Then Jambavan, Sushena and Vegadarshin, enraged, threw themselves on that warrior born of Kumbhakarna, and seeing them advance, the titan cut short the impetuous onslaught of those foremost of monkeys with a hail of arrows, as a rock obstructs the course of a torrent and, in the path sown with arrows, the intrepid monkeys were unable to discern anything, nor, as the sea cannot overstep its shores, were they able to pass.
Beholding the simian ranks overwhelmed by the rain of shafts, the King of the Monkeys, Sugriva, placing his nephew, Angada, behind him, fell upon the son of Kumbhakarna in the fight, as an impetuous lion on an elephant who is wandering on the slopes of a mountain, and that powerful monkey tore up huge trees, Ashvakarnas and others of varying fragrance, in great numbers, which he hurled at his adversary. Then the illustrious son of Kumbhakarna, with his sharp arrows, shattered that irresistible avalanche of trees that covered the whole sky and scattered those forest giants that shone like Shataghnis.
Beholding the rain of missiles dispersed by Kumbha, the valiant Monarch of the Monkeys, full of glory and majesty, remained unmoved and, suddenly struck by an arrow, he seized hold of Kumbha’s bow that was equal to Indra’s and broke it, throwing that weapon on the ground with violence. Then, having accomplished that incredible feat, he angrily addressed Kumbha, who resembled an elephant whose tusks are broken, and said:—
“O Elder Brother of Nikumbha, your strength and prowess in loosing thine arrows are admirable as are your filial piety and courage and Ravana’s also. O You who art equal to Prahlada or Bali or the Slayer of Vritra or Kuvera or Varuna, you alone art like unto your mighty Sire. You only, O Long-armed Warrior, armed with your mace, the slayer of your foes, cannot be overcome by the Gods any more than misfortune can overwhelm him who is master of his senses! Advance, O Most Intelligent Prince and witness me in action!
“On account of a boon, your paternal uncle is able to withstand Devas and Danavas and, fiill of prowess, Kumbhakarna, in his turn, defied the Suras and Asuras 1 With your bow you are equal to Indra and in valour Ravana’s peer! In the world you are now the foremost of the titans in strength and power! Let all beings witness the mighty and prodigious duel between us to-day resembling the combat between Shakra and Shambara! By striking down those valiant monkeys, who were possessed of extreme courage, you have accomplished a feat without equal and manifested your skill in the use of weapons. O Hero, it is from fear of incurring reproach that I have not slain you, for your great exploits have wearied you; rest awhile therefore, reflecting on my prowess!”
Thus flattered by Sugriva with fair words, the ardour of that warrior was redoubled, as the sacred fire flames up when butter is poured therein. Then Kumbha seized Sugriva in his two arms, whereupon, like two elephants intoxicated with ichor, those two, breathing heavily again and again, their limbs interlaced, crushed each other, wrestling, and from their mouths emitting flames mingled with smoke. Under the trampling of their feet, the earth sank and the waters of Varuna’s abode, overflowed on every side.
Finally Sugriva, having thrown Kumbha down with violence, cast him into the salty waves, thus causing him to become acquainted with the depths of the ocean. Nevertheless Kumbha rose again and leapt on Sugriva, with his fist delivering a furious blow like unto lightning upon his breast, and the armour of the monkey was shattered and blood gushed forth. That violent blow from the titan’s fist struck against the bones of his adversary and, from the impact, a flame shot forth resembling the fire that bursts from the Mountain Meru when struck by lightning. Thereafter Sugriva, that mighty lion among the monkeys, effulgent like the solar disc of a thousand rays, parrying the thrust, lifted up a fist resembling a thunderbolt and brought it down with force on his opponent’s breast. At the impact, which shattered him, Kumbha, bereft of his senses, sank like a brazier, the brightness of which is extinguished. Under this blow of the fist, the titan suddenly fell down, like unto the Lohitanga of brilliant rays expelled from heaven by the force of destiny. And Kumbha falling, his chest crushed by Sugriva, resembled the flaming body of a meteor shooting from the sky!
Thereupon Kumbha being struck down in the fight by that Monarch of the Plavamgamas of formidable valour, the earth with its mountains and forests trembled and a great fear seized the titans.