The Ramayana of Valmiki

by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597

This page is entitled “ravana’s meeting with bali” and represents Chapter 23b of the Uttara-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., Uttara-kanda].

Chapter 23b - Ravana’s Meeting with Bali

“Thereafter Ravana’s war-intoxicated followers ranged the City of Ashma and Dashanana beheld there a great palace, the archways of which were set with emeralds and adorned with a network of pearls. Abounding in golden pillars and sacred altars, the stairways, made of gold, were studded with diamonds and hung with small bells and delightful seats placed here and there, so that it resembled the palace of Mahendra.

“Beholding that beautiful dwelling, the supremely powerful Ravana reflected within himself:—

‘Whose is this marvellous mansion like unto the peak of Mount Meru? Go, O Prahasta and ascertain speedily to whom this residence belongs!’

“Thereupon Prahasta entered that excellent abode and, finding no one in the first apartment, he went to another, penetrating into seven rooms till at last he observed a fire burning, in the flames of which he beheld a man seated, laughing aloud; and, hearing that dreadful laughter, Prahasta’s hair stood on end. The man thus seated as if unconscious in the fire, blinding to look upon as the sun and like unto Yama himself, was wearing a golden chain. Beholding this, that nightranger speedily left the house and communicated all to Ravana.

“O Rama, Dashagriva, resembling a piece of collyrium, alighting from Pushpaka, sought to enter that dwelling but a huge-bodied person, moon-crested, barred the door. His tongue resembled a flame, his eyes were red, his teeth dazzling, his lips like the Bimba Fruit, his nose dreadful and he was handsome of form with a neck curved like a conch, marked with three lines, his jaws enormous, his beard thick, his bones well covered with flesh, possessing large fangs, his whole aspect terrible, causing the hair to stand on end; and he held a mace in his hand as he stood at the door; then as Ravana beheld him, his hair rose on end, his heart beat furiously and his body trembled.

“Perceiving these inauspicious omens, Ravana began to ponder within himself and while he was reflecting thus, that Being addressed him, saying:—

“‘Of what art you thinking, O Rakshasa? Tell me without fear! I shall confer the pleasure of combat on you, O Hero, O Night-ranger!’

“Thereafter he spoke again to Ravana, saying:—

“‘Dost you desire to enter into conflict with Bali or hast you some other intention?’

“Hearing these words, Ravana was overwhelmed with fear so that his hair stood on end but, recollecting himself, he answered:-

“‘O You, the foremost of those skilled in speech, who resides in this mansion? I would enter into combat with him if you counsdlest me to do so1’

“Then that Being answered him, saying:—

“‘The Lord of the Danavas lives here; he is supremely magnanimous, valiant, possessing truth for his prowess, endowed with many qualities, resplendent, like unto Yama bearing a noose in his hand, bright as the rising sun, incapable of being defeated in combat, impetuous, invincible, victorious, a veritable ocean of accomplishments, soft-spoken, the support of those who depend on him, devoted to his preceptor and the brahmins, conversant with the proper time (for executing actions), gifted with great powers, truthful, handsome, skilful, heroic, ever engaged in die study of the Veda; though walking on foot, he moves like the wind, he shines like fire, radiating heat like the sun, he stands in awe of neither Gods, spirits, snakes nor birds, fear is unknown to him. Dost you wish to fight with Bali, O Lord of the Rakshasas, O You gifted with supreme energy? Then enter this abode speedily and engage in the encounter!’

“Being thus addressed, the Ten-necked Titan went in to where Bali was, and that foremost of the Danavas, who resembled a flame of fire and was as hard to gaze upon as the sun, beholding the Lord of Lanka, burst into laughter and, taking the Rakshasa by the hand placed him on his lap, saying:—

“‘O Ten-necked Lord of the Rakshasas, O Long-armed One, what desire of thine shall I gratify? Say what has brought you hither?’

“Being thus addressed by Bali, Ravana answered:—

“‘O Illustrious One, I have heard that formerly you were imprisoned by Vishnu, verily I have the power to release you from these bonds!’

“Hearing these words of Ravana, Bali laughed and said:—

“‘Hear and I will tell you, O Ravana! The Dark-hued One Who stands at the door, formerly subdued all the Danavas and other powerful Lords and I also was imprisoned by Him. He is as invincible as Death; none in the world can delude Him. He, Who stands at the entrance, is the Destroyer, Creator and Preserver, Lord of the Three Worlds. Neither you nor I know Him; He is the Lord of the past, present and future, He is Time, He is the Kali Yuga, He overthrows all beings; He is the Creator and Destroyer of the Three Worlds and of all animate and inanimate things; that great God of all Gods creates and re-creates the universe again and again for ever. O Nightranger, He is the Dispenser of the fruits of sacrifices, gifts and oblations, verily He is the Creator and Preserver of the entire Universe, there is none in the Three Worlds comparable with Him in majesty and glory. O Scion of the House of Paulastya. He has the Danavas, our forbears, and you, under His control, like beasts bound with ropes.

‘“Vritra, Danu, Shuka, Shambu, Nishumbha, Shumbha, Kalanemi, Prahlada and others, Kuta, Virocana, Mridu, Yamala, Arjuna, Kansa, Kaitabha and Madhu all radiated heat like the sun and were as resplendent as its rays, all moved like the wind and showered down rain like unto Indra, all celebrated sacrifices and underwent severe penances, all were exalted of soul and followers of the Path of Yoga, all acquired wealth and enjoyed many pleasures, all distributed gifts abundantly, studied the Veda and protected their subjects, all were defenders of their kinsfolk and slayers of their foes, none could stand against them in the Three Worlds and they were powerful, thoroughly conversant with the Shastras and all branches of learning and were never known to retreat in battle.

“‘They ruled the kingdoms of the Gods, having overcome them a thousand times, and they were ever engaged in harassing them and protecting their own followers. Inflated with pride and arrogance, given to attachment, they were as effulgent as the newly risen sun, but the glorious Hari, the Lord Vishnu knows how to bring about the destruction of those who perpetually trouble the Gods. He creates them all and Himself constantly brings about their end; existing by Himself at the time of dissolution.

“‘These highly powerful and illustrious Danava Chiefs, able to assume any form at will, were destroyed by that glorious God, and further, all those heroes, said to be invincible and irresistible in warfare, have been discomfited by the wondrous power of Kritanta [i.e., The incarnation of the force of destiny].’

“Having spoken thus to Ravana, the Lord of the Danavas again addressed the King of the Rakshasas, saying:—

“‘O Hero, O You gifted with great strength, take up this shining disc that you seest and draw near to my side; I shall then tell you how I have broken my bonds forever. Do what I have told you, O Long-armed One, delay not!’

“O Descendant of Raghu, hearing this, the highly powerful Rakshasa, laughing, proceeded to where that celestial disc was. Proud of his strength he deemed himself able to lift it with ease but, taking hold of it, he could not move it by any means and, being ashamed, that highly powerful one again attempted it and barely raising it, that Rakshasa immediately fell to the earth unconscious, bathed in a pool of blood, like unto a Sala Tree that has been felled.

“Meantime the counsellors of the Lord of the Rakshasas, who were in the Pushpaka Chariot, cried out loudly ‘Alas! Alas!’ and thereafter, the Rakshasa, regaining his senses, rose up, his head bowed in shame and Bali said to him:—

“‘Draw near, O Foremost of the Rakshasas, and listen to my words, O Hero! This disc encrusted with gems, which you didst seek to lift, was an ornament for the ear belonging to one of my forbears and has remained here where it fell, look upon it 1 O You, endowed with great strength, the other fell on the summit of a mountain and, besides these two, his crown also fell on the earth before an altar during the encounter. Formerly neither time, death nor disease could overcome mine ancestor Hiranyakashipu, nor could he be visited by death during the day, at dawn or dusk. O Foremost of the Rakshasas, neither a dry nor a wet object nor any weapon could encompass his end.

“‘It came about that he entered into a dreadful quarrel with Prahlada and antagonism having grown up between him and the defenceless and courageous Prahlada, the Lord appeared in the form of Nrsingha, he of dreadful aspect who was the cause of terror to all beings. O Foremost of the Rakshasas, that awful Being, casting glances here and there, overwhelmed the Three Worlds and, taking up Hiranyakashipu in his arms, he tore his body open with his nails; that same Being, the supreme and taintless Vasudeva stands at the door! I shall now tell you of that supreme God, do you hear me, if my words have any significance for you. He who stands at the door has subdued thousands of Indras and hundreds and thousands of great Gods and Rishis.’

“Hearing these words, Ravana said:—

“‘I have beheld Kritanta, the Lord of Spirits and Death Himself! His hair is formed of serpents and scorpions, he bears a noose in his hand, his tongue is like unto a flame of fire darting like lightning, his jaws dreadful, his eyes red; he is endowed with immense speed and is the terror of all beings, like unto the sun incapable of being looked upon. Unconquerable in combat, the chastiser of evil-doers, yet even he was overcome in conflict, nor did I experience the least fear of him, O Lord of the Danavas. I do not know this person (at the door), it behoves you to tell me who he is.’

“Hearing these words of Ravana, Bali, the Son of Virocana, answered:—

“‘He is the Lord Hari, Narayana, the Protector of the Three Worlds. He is Ananta, Kapila, Vishnu and the highly effulgent Nrsingha; He is Kratudhama and Sudhama who bears the dreadful mace in his hands. He resembles the Twelve Adityas, He is the first Man, the primeval and excellent Purusha; He is like unto a dark blue cloud and is the first Lord of the Gods. O Long-armed One, He is encircled by flame; He is the supreme Yogi, beloved of His devotees; He projected the universe, preserves it and destroys it, assuming the form of Time endowed with great power. This Hari, bearing the discus in His hand, is the sacrifice and is worshipped in the sacrifice, He is the one great form of all the Gods, all beings, all worlds and all knowledge; He is Baladeva, O Mighty-armed One, the Slayer of Warriors; He has the eye of a hero and is the eternal Guru, the Father of the Three Worlds. All Sages, desirous of liberation, meditate on Him. He who knows Him thus, is freed from sin; he, who remembers, adores and worships Him, attains all.’

“Hearing these words of Bali, the highly powerful Ravana, his eyes red with anger, went out with uplifted weapons.

“Beholding him thus inflamed with fury, the Lord Hari, Who bore a club in His hand, reflected, ‘In deference to Brahma, I shall not slay this sinner yet,’ and making himself invisible, He vanished.

“Then Ravana, not beholding that Purusha there, rejoiced, and, shouting exultantly, issued out of Varuna’s abode and departed by the same way by which he had come,”

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