Ramayana of Valmiki

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

This page is entitled “the duel between indra and ravana” and represents Chapter 28 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 28 - The Duel between Indra and Ravana

“Seeing Sumali overthrown and reduced to dust by Vasu and beholding his army in flight harassed by the Gods, the valiant son of Ravana, whose voice resembled the muttering of a thundercloud, provoked, rallied the Rakshasas and, mounted on an excellent chariot that coursed wheresoere he willed, that great warrior hurled himself on the Celestial Host. Like unto a fire that consumes the forests, he entered the field armed with every weapon, and when the Gods beheld him, a general stampede followed, none daring to face such a combatant.

Then Shakra stayed all those fugitives by admonishing them thus:—

“‘Neither should you tremble nor flee, return and fight, O You Gods! Behold my son, who is invincible, entering the lists 1’

“At that moment the son of Shakra, the illustrious God Jayanta, mounted on his chariot, that was marvellously constructed, turned towards the battlefield. Thereafter the Gods, surrounding the son of Saci, turned back to fight Ravani and a well-matched contest ensued between Gods and Rakshasas. Then Ravani loosed his golden shafts on Gomukha, the son of Matali, Jayanta’s charioteer, whilst Saci’s son, in his turn, in wrath harassed Ravani’s driver on every side. His eyes dilated with the fury that possessed him, the mighty Ravani covered his opponents with darts and thereafter, in his ire, he let fly innumerable extremely sharp weapons on the Celestial Host and Shataghnis, pikes, javelins, maces, swords, axes and huge crags were all discharged by him upon them. Then the worlds became agitated and while Indrajita decimated the enemy battalions the quarters were enveloped in darkness.

“Meanwhile the army of the Gods deserted Jayanta and, in confusion broke their ranks, being overwhelmed by the shafts of their rival.

“Rakshasas and Gods could not distinguish each other and the forces thrown into disorder on every side, fled in all directions.

“The Gods struck the Gods and the Rakshasas the Rakshasas, bewildered by the darkness that enveloped them, whilst others ran away. At that instant, a warrior, full of valour, named Puloman, the foremost of the Daityas, seized Jayanta and bore him away. Taking hold of his daughter’s son, he dived into the sea for he was his maternal grandfather and Saci’s sire.

“Learning of Jayanta’s disappearance, the Gods, cast down and discouraged, dispersed. Then Ravani, enraged, emitting loud cries, surrounded by his forces rushed on the Gods.

“Not beholding his son and observing the flight of the Gods, the Lord of the Celestials said to Matali:—‘Bring me my chariot!’ and Matali harnessed the divine, powerful and huge car, bringing it in all haste to his master. Thereupon, above the chariot and before him, clouds, riven by lightning, driven by the tempest emitted formidable mutterings and the Gandharvas struck up every kind of musical instrument while troops of Apsaras danced at the departure of the King of the Gods, and Rudras, Vasus, Adityas, the two Ashvins, as also the Hosts of the Maruts, armed with every kind of weapon, formed the escort of the Lord of the Thirty, as he started out.

“As Shakra advanced, a bitter wind blew, the sun ceased to shine and a great meteor fell. At the same time, the courageous Dashagriva, burning with ardour, himself ascended the divine Pushpaka Car constructed by Vishvakarma and harnessed to huge serpents, who, as it were causing the hair to stand on end, consumed everything with the wind of their breath.

“Daityas and titans surrounded the celestial car that was rolling towards the field of battle, advancing to meet Mahendra, and Dashagriva, having dismissed his son, took his place himself, whilst Ravani left the field and remained a tranquil witness.

“Then the struggle was resumed between the Rakshasas and the Gods, who like unto clouds, caused a shower of missiles to fall in the fight. And the wicked Kumbhakama, brandishing weapons of every kind, came there, O King, unaware with whom the conflict was taking place; using his teeth, his feet, his hands, lances, picks, mallets or anything whatsoever in order to assail the Gods in his fury. Having attacked the formidable Rudras, it went ill with that Ranger of the Night, who, in an instant, was riddled with wounds; and the army of the Rakshasas, hard pressed by the Gods, assisted by the Hosts of Maruts and armed with every weapon, were completely routed and, in the struggle, some fell on the earth mutilated and palpitating, whilst others remained clinging to their mounts. Some titans twined their arms round their chariots, elephants, donkeys, buffalo, serpents, horses, porpoise and boars with heads of goblins, where they lay motionless, whereupon the Gods pierced them with their shafts and thus they died. The sight of all those Rakshasas lying here and there in the sleep of death on that vast battlefield looked passing strange and, at the forefront of the battle, a river flowed, blood being its waters, weapons its crocodiles, in which vultures and crows abounded.

“Meantime Dashagriva, seething with anger on seeing his army entirely overthrown by the Gods, hurled himself with one bound into that sea of warriors, slaying the Celestials in the fight and challenging Shakra himself.

“Thereupon Shakra stretched his great bow that gave forth a thunderous noise and, when he drew it, the twanging of that weapon caused the quarters to resound. Then Indra, bending that great bow, let fall his flaming arrows like unto fire or the sun on Ravana’s head and, on his side, that powerful titan covered his rival with a hail of arrows loosed from his bow and both showered down missiles on every side so that nothing could be distinguished and the whole firmament was enveloped in darkness.”

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