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Chapter 57: Prahasta Attacks the Monkeys

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Prahasta Attacks the Monkeys

Summary

Ravana asks Prahasta to go to the battle. Prahasta sets out for the combat along with a huge army and enters the eastern gate. Bad omens appeared, as Prahasta enters the battle-field. The army of monkeys seized hold of trees and rocks, to attack the demons.

Chapter [Sarga] 57 in Detail

akampana vadham shrutvaa kruddho vai raaksasa iishvarah |

kimcid diina mukhash ca api sacivaams taan udaiksata || 6-57-1

Hearing of Akampana's killing, Ravana the Lord of demons, with a little depressed face, was enraged and looked towards his ministers.

sa tu dhyaatvaa muhuurtam tu mantribhih samvicaarya ca |

tatastu raavanah puurvadivase raaksasaadhipah || 6-57-2

puriim pariyayau lankaam sarvaan gulmaan aveksitum |

Having reflected awhile and deliberated with his ministers, Ravana the king of Demons then passed that forenoon in inspecting his defenses in the City of Lanka.

taam raaksasa ganair guptaam gulmair bahubhir aavritaam || 6-57-3

dadarsha nagariim lankaam pataakaa dhvaja maaliniim |

The king Ravana saw that City, guarded by groups of demons, filled with innumerable troops and decorated with banners and flags.

ruddhaam tu nagariim dristvaa raavano raaksasa iishvarah || 6-57-4

uvaaca amarsitah kaale prahastam yuddha kovidam |

Seeing Lanka besieged [surrounded with armed forces], Ravana the Lord of Demons spoke as follows to Prahasta who was skilled in war-fare and who wished well of him even at a critical time.

purasya upanivistasya sahasaa piiditasya ha || 6-57-5

na anyam yuddhaat prapashyaami moksam yuddha vishaarada |

"O, Prahasta the proficient in war-free! I do not see any other deliverance than a battle for this city, which is besieged suddenly and being devastated."

aham vaa kumbha karno vaa tvam vaa senaa patir mama || 6-57-6

indrajid vaa nikumbho vaa vaheyur bhaaram iidrisham |

"Either myself or Kumbhakarna or yourself my army-chief or Indrajit or Nikumbha and none else could undertake such a task!"

sa tvam balam itah shiighram aadaaya parigrihya ca || 6-57-7

vijayaaya abhiniryaahi yatra sarve vana okasah |

"For that reason, taking a company of warriors, you quickly place yourself in their midst and set forth in order to triumph over all those monkeys."

niryaanaad eva te nuunam capalaa hari vaahinii || 6-57-8

nardataam raaksasa indraanaam shrutvaa naadam dravisyati |

"Unsettled in no time on knowing your decision to enter the battle-field, the army of monkeys will run away on hearing the raring sound of the leaders of demons."

capalaa hy aviniitaash ca cala cittaash ca vaanaraah || 6-57-9

na sahisyanti te naadam simha naadam iva dvipaah |

"The monkeys are unsteady, misbehaved and fickle-minded. They do not tolerate your sound, as elephants the lion's roar."

vidrute ca bale tasmin raamah saumitrinaa saha || 6-57-10

avashaste niraalambah prahasta vasham esyati |

"O, Prahasta! As that army takes to its heels, Rama along with Lakshmana being support-less, will fall into your power though unwillingly."

aapat samshayitaa shreyo na atra nihsamshayii kritaa || 6-57-11

pratiloma anulomam vaa yad vaa no manyase hitam |

"A skeptical misfortune is preferable to one that is certain! Whether it is unpleasing to hear or not, say what you consider as an advantage to us."

raavanena evam uktas tu prahasto vaahinii patih || 6-57-12

raaksasa indram uvaaca idam asura indram iva ushanaa |

Hearing the words of Ravana, Prahasta the Army-General spoke the following words to Ravana, like Ushana the preceptor [teacher] of demons would speak to Bali, the king of demons.

raajan mantrita puurvam nah kushalaih saha mantribhih || 6-57-13

vivaadash ca api no vrittah samaveksya parasparam |

O, king! Formerly, we deliberated this matter with our wise ministers and, after having a good dialogue with each other, a disagreement arose between us."

pradaanena tu siitaayaah shreyo vyavasitam mayaa || 6-57-14

apradaane punar yuddham dristam etat tathaiva nah |

"To return Seetha was what I considered preferable. Not to do so meant war; we foresaw this."

so aham daanaish ca maanaish ca satatam puujitas tvayaa || 6-57-15

saantvaish ca vividhaih kaale kim na kuryaam priyam tava |

"I have ever been honored by you at appropriate times by gifts, felicitations and nice words. When the opportunity arises, is it not for me to render you a service?"

na hi me jiivitam raksyam putra daara dhanaani vaa || 6-57-16

tvam pashya maam juhuusantam tvad arthe jiivitam yudhi |

"Neither wives nor sons nor riches are going to be spared by me. See you me, intending to sacrifice my life for your sake in the battle."

evam uktvaa tu bhartaaram raavanam vaahinii patih || 6-57-17

uvaachedam balaadhyaksaan prahastah puratah sthitaan |

Having spoken thus to Lord Ravana, the General Prahasta said to his leading officers who stood before him as follows:

samaanayata me shiighram raaksasaanaam mahad balam || 6-57-18

mad baana ashani vegena hataanaam tu rana ajire |

adya tripyantu maamsena paksinah kaanana okasaam || 6-57-19

"Gather a large army of demons together for me. Today, the flesh-eating birds and beasts shall feed on the enemy that I strike down on the battle-field with my swift arrows."

tasya tadvachanam shrutvaa balaadhyaksaa mahaabalaah |

balam udyojayaam aasus tasmin raaksasa mandire || 6-57-20

Hearing that command of Prahasta, the mighty leaders of the army assembled the forces in the abode of that demon.

saa babhuuva muhuurtena tigma naanaa vidha aayudhaih |

lankaa raaksasa viirais tair gajair iva samaakulaa || 6-57-21

Within a short while, that City of Lanka was filled with those terrific demon-warriors, resembling elephants and wielding various types of weaponry.

huta ashanam tarpayataam braahmanaamsh ca namasyataam |

aajya gandha prativahah surabhir maaruto vavau || 6-57-22

While some demons propitiated the fire-god with their offerings and paid homage to Brahmanas, a fragrant freeze bearing the scent of clarified butter began to blow.

srajash ca vividha aakaaraa jagrihus tv abhimantritaah |

samgraama sajjaah samhristaa dhaarayan raaksasaas tadaa || 6-57-23

Then, the demons who were ready for the battle, delightedly wore garlands of different shapes, consecrated by certain Mantras (sacred formulas).

sadhanuskaah kavacino vegaad aaplutya raaksasaah |

raavanam preksya raajaanam prahastam paryavaarayan || 6-57-24

Thereafter, armed with bows and armors, the demons with their eyes turned towards their king Ravana, marched at a brisk pace and ranged themselves round Prahasta.

atha aamantrya ca raajaanam bheriim aahatya bhairavaam |

aaruroha ratham divyam prahastah sajja kalpitam || 6-57-25

hayair mahaa javair yuktam samyak suuta susamyutam |

mahaa jalada nirghosam saaksaac candra arka bhaasvaram || 6-57-26

uraga dhvaja durdharsam suvaruutham svapaskaram |

suvarna jaala samyuktam prahasantam iva shriyaa || 6-57-27

Then, Prahasta who got ready with his weapons and armor, after bidding obeisance to the king and striking a terrible kettle-drum, mounted his chariot, which was kept ready, yoked to an extremely swift horses, well controlled by a charioteer, emanating a noise resembling that of a large cloud, actually shining like moon-light, inviolable with a flag bearing an ensign of snake, with a good collision-guard, with nice wheels and decorated with a net of pure gold smiling as it were in its magnificence.

tatas tam ratham aasthaaya raavana arpita shaasanah |

lankaayaa niryayau tuurnam balena mahataa vritah || 6-57-28

Then, Prahasta the one who was commanded by Ravana, ascended his chariot and set out from Lanka soon along with a huge army.

tato dumdubhi nirghosah parjanya ninada upamah || 6-57-29

shushruve shankha shabdash ca prayaate vaahinii patau |

While Prahasta the general sallied forth, the sound of a kettle-drum, the resonance of musical instruments and the sound of conches were heard, as though filling the earth like the roar of a cloud.

ninadantah svaraan ghoraan raaksasaa jagmur agratah || 6-57-30

bhiima ruupaa mahaa kaayaah prahastasya purah saraah |

The demons with terrific forms and bulky bodies, shouting with dreadful voices, went in front, as forerunners of Prahasta.

naraantakah kumbhahanurmahaanaadah samunnatah | 6-57-31

prahastasachivaa hyete niryayuh parivaarya tam |

Narantaka, Kumbhahanu, Mahanada and Samunnata, attendants of Prahasta sallied forth, surrounding him on all sides.

vyuudhena eva sughorena puurva dvaaraat sa niryayau || 6-57-32

gaja yuutha nikaashena balena mahataa vritah |

He emerged from the eastern gate in the midst of an immense, formidable and orderly arranged army, resembling a herd of elephants.

saagara pratima oghena vritas tena balena sah || 6-57-33

prahasto niryayau tuurnam kruddhah kaala antaka upamah |

In the centre of that army, vast as the sea, that Prahasta in his fury, came forth appearing like Death at the end of the world.

tasya niryaana ghosena raaksasaanaam ca nardataam || 6-57-34

lankaayaam sarva bhuutaani vinedur vikritaih svaraih |

The uproar that arose on his setting forth with his demons raising the war-cries drew sinister answering calls from all creatures in Lanka.

vyabhram aakaasham aavishya maamsa shonita bhojanaah || 6-57-35

mandalaany apasavyaani khagaash cakruu ratham prati |

In a cloudless sky, birds of prey eating flesh and blood, flew in circles from left to right towards the chariot.

vamantyah paavaka jvaalaah shivaa ghoraa vavaashire || 6-57-36

antariksaat papaata ulkaa vaayush ca paruso vavau |

Fearful jackals vomited forth fire and flames, howling repeatedly. A meteor fell from the sky and the wind blew harshly.

anyonyam abhisamrabdhaa grahaash ca na cakaashire || 6-57-37

meghaashcha kharanirghosaa rathasyopari raksasah |

vavarsuu rudhiram ca asya sisicush ca purah saraan || 6-57-38

The plants, in opposition to each other, lost their brilliance. The clouds, with their raucous sound, showered blood on Prahasta's chariot and dampened those who were walking in front of it.

ketu muurdhani gridhro asya viliino daksinaa mukhah |

nadannubhayatah paarshvam samagraamaharatprabhaam || 6-57-39

A vulture facing the south alighted on the top of the standard, croaking towards both of its sides and deprived the demon of his entire luster.

saarather bahushash ca asya samgraamam avagaahatah |

pratodo nyapatadd hastaat suutasya haya saadinah || 6-57-40

The goad [a pointed rod used to urge on an animal] fell several times then from the hand of the charioteer, himself a Suta (the son of a Kshatriya by a Brahmana woman) even though skilled in controlling the horses, as he entered the battle-field.

niryaana shriish ca yaa asya aasiid bhaasvaraa ca sudurlabhaa |

saa nanaasha muhuurtena same ca skhalitaa hayaah || 6-57-41

That rarely splendor which clothed Prahasta at the time of his exit vanished in an instant and horses stumbled on the even ground.

prahastam tv abhiniryaantam prakhyaata bala paurusam |

yudhi naanaa praharanaa kapi senaa abhyavartata || 6-57-42

Beholding that Prahasta, renowned for his excellences and martial valor; as he advanced to give battle, the army of monkeys went forward to attack him.

atha ghosah sutumulo hariinaam samajaayata |

vriksaan aarujataam caiva gurviish ca agrihnataam shilaah || 6-57-43

Thereafter, an exceedingly tumultuous clamor arose among the monkeys as they tore up the trees and seized hold of huge rocks.

nadataam raaksasaanaam cha vaanaraanaam cha garjataam |

ubhe pramudite sainye rakso gana vana okasaam || 6-57-44

vegitaanaam samarthaanaam anyonya vadha kaanksinaam |

parasparam ca aahvayataam ninaadah shruuyate mahaan || 6-57-45

Both the armies of the yelling demons and the roaring monkeys were delighted, impetuous and powerful with impatience to slay each other and challenging each other with great shouts.

tatah prahastah kapi raaja vaahiniim |

abhi pratasthe vijayaaya durmatih |

vivriddha vegaam ca vivesha taam camuum |

yathaa mumuursuh shalabho vibhaavasum || 6-57-46

Thereafter, the evil-minded Prahasta sallied forth for victory towards the army of Sugreeva, whom in his folly, imagined he would destroy, with an accelerated speed as a grass-hopper rushes towards a flame.

ityaarse shriimadraamaayane aadikaavye yuddhakaande saptapajnchaashah sargah

Thus completes 57th Chapter of Yuddha Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate

References

K. M. K. Murthy. (2002). Yuddha Kanda - Book Of War.

Merriam-Webster. (2007). At http://www.m-w.com.

Reference.com. (2007). At http://www.reference.com.

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