Indra Presents a Chariot to Rama

Hearing Lakshmana’s advice, Rama took up His bow and fixed arrows to it. Then He shot those formidable arrows at Ravana in combat. Sitting in another chariot, Ravana, the lord of the rakshasas, charged toward Rama, as the planet Rahu rushes upon the sun. While seated in his chariot, Ravana struck Rama with arrows that were like thunderbolts, as a cloud would shower down rain on a big mountain. With full concentration, Rama showered the ten-headed rakshasa with gilded arrows shining like fire. The gods, gandharvas and Kinnaras declared: “The fight between Rama who is standing on the ground and Ravana who is seated in a chariot is not a fair match.”

Then the glorious chariot of Lord Indra arrived, having a flag raised on a golden pole. Its body was beautifully wrought with gold. It was adorned with hundreds of tinkling bells. The chariot shone like the newly risen sun. The chariot’s pole was made of vaidurya gem. The chariot was supplied with white camara whisks and was drawn by excellent green horses. It was covered with gold screens as bright as the sun. By the order of Lord Indra, his charioteer Matali was seated in the chariot and had come down from the heavenly planets to where Rama was.

Remaining seated in the chariot and bearing a whip, Matali, the charioteer of Lord Indra, joined his palms together and said to Rama: “O Rama, this chariot has been given to you by Lord Indra for Your victory. You are most courageous, glorious and the destroyer of your enemies. Here is Indra’s great bow and his armor shining like fire. Here are his arrows as bright as the sun and his spotless auspicious spear. O warrior, mounting this chariot with me as the driver, kill the rakshasa Ravana, as Indra killed the danavas.” Rama, who was illuminating the worlds with His splendor, circumambulated the chariot, offered it respect and mounted it. Then an amazing and hair-raising battle took place between the large-armed Rama and the rakshasa Ravana.

Rama, who was wise in the use of lethal weapons, destroyed Ravana’s Gandharva and daiva weapons, by using the same ones. Highly enraged by this, the night-stalker shot a most deadly rakshasa weapon. When the gilded arrows sprang from Ravana’s bow, rushing toward Rama, they became extremely poisonous snakes. With their blazing mouths wide open and vomiting blood, those frightening arrows sped straight for Rama. All the directions were completely covered by those highly poisonous blazing serpents whose touch was like that of Vasuki. Seeing those arrows approaching Him on the battlefield, Rama employed the formidable and dangerous weapon of Garuda. When released from Rama’s bow, those golden-feathered arrows became golden eagles, the enemies of snakes, and flew about. Rama’s arrows, which had assumed the form of eagles, destroyed all those swift arrows in the shape of snakes. Angered by the annulment of his weapon, Ravana then showered Rama with direful arrows. Afflicting Rama with one thousand arrows, Ravana then struck Matali with one hundred. With a single arrow, Ravana cut off the flag from Rama’s chariot. After felling the golden flag from the chariot, Ravana shot Indra’s horses with a volley of arrows.

When the gods, gandharvas, caranas, siddhas, danavas and great sages saw that Rama was afflicted, they became dejected. The monkey leaders and Vibhishana became disturbed. When the planet Mars saw the moon of Rama being eclipsed by Ravana, it attacked the star Rohini, the dear consort of the moon, thus indicating misfortune for all living beings. With its misty waves tossing, the ocean seemed to be burning. It rose up very high at that time, as if it wanted to touch the sun. The sun became dim, grayish and harsh-looking. It could be seen with a headless body on its lap and a comet. The constellation Vishakha presided over by Indra and Agni which is auspicious for the Ikshvaku Dynasty was being attacked by the planet Mars. With his ten heads and twenty arms, and holding a bow, Ravana looked like Mount Mainaka.

Being overcome by the ten-headed rakshasa, Rama was unable to place His arrows on His bow during the battle. Knitting His brow, His eyes turned red. He became highly enraged as if He would burn the rakshasas to ashes with His eyes.

All living beings became frightened and the earth trembled upon seeing Rama’s angry face. Trikuta Mountain with its lions and tigers shook, its trees swaying. The ocean also became agitated. Emitting a harsh sound like the braying of asses, portentous clouds rumbled as they circled about everywhere in the sky. Seeing Rama overwhelmed with wrath and observing ill omens, all living beings, including Ravana, became frightened. Seated in their aerial vehicles, the gods, gandharvas, nagas, sages, danavas, daityas, eagles and birds watched the battle between the two warriors as they fought with various kinds of weapons. That battle was like the dissolution of the world. All the gods and demons who had come to witness the great conflict were jubilant and shouted out encouragements with devotion as they watched. Dedicated to their party, the demons cried out to Ravana: “Victory to you!” The gods repeatedly shouted to Rama: “Be victorious!”

In the meantime, the evil Ravana, angry as he was at Rama and desiring to kill Him, touched a large projectile. The projectile was like a thunderbolt. It howled when thrown. It could destroy all enemies. It was frightful to see with its spikes like mountain peaks. Its sharp point resembled the smoky mass of fire that appears at the end of the age. It was extremely terrifying and unapproachable, even for death personified. It was frightening for all living beings because it could slice and pierce them. Burning with anger, Ravana seized that spear while surrounded by rakshasa warriors who were heroic in combat. Raising the spear, the red-eyed gigantic Ravana roared violently due to anger, bringing great delight to his soldiers.

While holding that huge spear and roaring, the most valorous Ravana harshly spoke the following words to Rama: “Raised out of anger, this spear as powerful as a thunderbolt will quickly take away the lives of You and Your brother! Today I shall quickly knock You down flat in front of the rakshasa warriors whom You previously defeated. Wait a minute! I shall kill You with this spear, O Rama!”

After saying this, that lord of the rakshasas hurled the spear. When released from Ravana’s hand, the spear shone in the air, enveloped as it was with lightning, and made a loud noise because of its eight bells. Seeing that dreadful blazing spear, the valiant Rama stretched His bow and shot arrows. Using arrows, Rama tried to stop the spear as it approached, as Indra would try to extinguish the fire of universal destruction at the end of the age with rain. Ravana’s huge spear burnt those arrows shot from Rama’ bow, as a fire would burn a moth. When Rama saw His arrows pulverized and reduced to ashes in mid air by that spear, He expressed His anger. He then grabbed the spear sent by Indra through Matali.

When lifted by the mighty Rama, that sparkling spear, which rang loudly with its bells, illuminated the sky like a meteor at the end of the world. When hurled, that spear hit Ravana’s spear, so it is said. Split by Rama’s spear, the other huge spear lost its splendor and fell down. Rama then pierced Ravana’s horses with sharp, swift arrows as hard as thunderbolts. The highly energetic Rama then pierced Ravana in the chest with sharp arrows and struck him in the forehead with three arrows. With his whole body pierced by arrows and his limbs dripping with blood, Ravana looked like an Ashoka tree in blossom. With all his limbs pierced by Rama’s arrows and his limbs drenched with blood, Ravana became exhausted in the midst of the army and felt extremely aggravated.

Thus completes 102nd Chapter of Yuddha Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate