Ramayana of Valmiki

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

This page is entitled “the fight between the gods and the rakshasas” and represents Chapter 27 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 27 - The Fight between the Gods and the Rakshasas

[Full title: The Fight between the Gods and the Rakshasas. The Death of Sumali].

“Having crossed Mount Kailasha with his infantry and cavalry, the extremely powerful Dashanana reached Indraloka and, like an ocean that overflows, the tumult of the Rakshasa army, approaching on all sides, reverberated in Devaloka.

“Hearing of Ravana’s advent, Indra trembled on his throne and addressed the assembled Gods, Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, Sadhyas and Hosts of Maruts, saying:—

“‘Prepare to fight against the wicked-minded Ravana!’

“At Shakra’s command, the Gods, his equals in war, endowed with great valour, boldly armed themselves for combat. Mahendra however, who feared Ravana extremely, profoundly perturbed, sought out Vishnu and spoke to him thus

“‘O Vishnu, how shall I withstand the Rakshasa Ravana, whose strength is formidable and who, alas, is advancing to attack me? He owes his power to the boon he has received from Brahma and to nought else and the words uttered by that Lotus-born God must be carried into effect! Do You grant me such assistance again which You didst accord me when I destroyed Namuchi, Vritra, Bali, Naraka and Shambara! O Lord, O God of Gods, Slayer of Madhu, there is no refuge save You in the Three Worlds with all the animate and inanimate beings. You are the blessed Narayana, the eternal lotus-born One; You are the Sustainer of the Worlds and of myself, Shakra, the King of the Gods; You have created the Three Worlds with all the moving and unmoving objects and, at the end of the world cycle, all is withdrawn into You, O Bhagavat; therefore, O God of Gods, tell me truly if You will arm Thyself with sword and discus in order to enter into combat with Ravana?’

“Thus spoke Shakra, the King of the Gods, and that sovereign Lord, Narayana, answered him saying:—

“‘Fear not! Hear me! On account of the boon he has received which renders him invincible, this wicked wretch may not be overcome by the Gods and Asuras combined! Intoxicated with his power, that Rakshasa, accompanied by his son, will certainly achieve a great feat. As for your request, that I should enter into combat with him, I shall certainly not meet the Rakshasa Ravana in fight, for Vishnu never leaves the battlefield without laying his adversary low; it is not possible to accomplish this to-day since Ravana is protected by die boon, but I swear to you, O King of the Gods, Shatakratu, that I myself will become the cause of that titan’s death. The Gods shall rejoice when I make known to them that the hour has struck! I speak the truth, O Mighty Lord of the Gods, Consort of Saci, therefore fight with the assistance of the Gods and banish all fear!’

“Then the Rudras with the Adityas, Vasus, Maruts and the two Ashvins, assembling, advanced to meet the Rakshasa. At that instant, the end of the night having come, a great clamour arose from Ravana’s army as they took the field on all sides, and those valiant warriors, wrought up with excitement, on seeing each other, eagerly rushed on the foe. Thereafter confusion was sown amongst the ranks of the Daivatas by the presence of that indomitable and vast army in the forefront of battle and a terrible struggle ensued between the Gods, Danavas and Rakshasas, amidst a fearful tumult and under a hail of missiles of every land.

“Then those valiant Rakshasas of grim aspect grouped themselves round Ravana in the fight, and Marica, Prahasta, Mahaparshva, Mahodara, Akampana, Nikumbha, Shuka, Sarana Dhumaketu, Mahadamshtra, Ghatodara, Jambumalin, Maharada Virupaksha, Saptaghna, Yajnakopa, Durmukha, Dushana, Khara, Trishiras, Karaviraksha, Suryashastru, Mahakaya and Atikaya, Devantaka, Narantaka and the highly powerful Sumali, Ravana’s maternal grandfather, all those warriors, encircling their valiant leader, entered the battlefield.

“And with whetted shafts, enraged, he began to assail the Celestial Host, as a tempest scatters the clouds; and the forces of the Gods were overthrown by the rangers of the night, O Rama, and scattered in all directions, like unto a herd of deer before lions.

“Meantime the courageous Savitra, the eighth Vasu, entered the battlefield surrounded by soldiers, full of martial ardour, furnished with every kind of weapon and he began to sow terror in the enemy ranks when he appeared in the midst of the fight. Thereafter the two Adityas, full of valour and intrepidity, Twastar and Pushan, at the head of a division, entered the lists in their turn, whereupon a fearful struggle ensued between the Rakshasas and the Gods, who never retreated in battle and were jealous of their good name. And the Celestials there present fell in hundreds of thousands under the blows of the Rakshasas, who were formidable and armed with weapons of every kind. On their side, the Gods, redoubtable in their vigour and extreme valour, with the help of faultless arrows, despatched their foes to the region of Yama. Thereupon O Rama, the Rakshasa Sumali, fully armed, hurled himself on the foe in fury and scattered the entire Celestial Host with his innumerable and penetrating missiles, as a violent hurricane, the clouds, and with formidable blows from spears and javelins, decimated them, so that the Gods were unable to stand.

“The Immortals having thus been put to flight by Sumali, the eighth Vasu, Savitra, enraged, stood fast, and surrounded by his forces, full of energy and courage stayed the onrush of that Ranger of the Night, whereupon a fearful duel, causing the hair to stand on end, ensued between Sumali and the Vasu, both warriors who did not know what it was to retreat in battle. Under the powerful missiles of his adversary, the chariot of the Rakshasa, that was harnessed to serpents, suddenly fell to pieces; and having shattered his chariot in the fight with his countless darts, the Vasu seized hold of his mace with the intention of slaying him. Brandishing that weapon with its flaming point, resembling the Rod of Death, Savitra brought it down on Sumali’s head and the mace fell upon him with the flash of a meteor, so that it appeared like a great thunderbolt hurled by Indra on a mountain. Thereafter nothing of the Rakshasa could be seen, neither bone nor head nor flesh, for that mace, by overthrowing him on the battle field, had reduced him to dust.

“Then the Rakshasas, beholding that Sumali had fallen in the fight, questioning each other, all fled, routed by that Vasu who had overcome them.”

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: