Fierce Encounter between Rama and Ravana

A savage and protracted duel ensued between Rama and Ravana, which terrified everyone in the world. At that time, the rakshasa army and the huge army of monkeys stood motionless, holding their weapons. With distracted minds, everyone was completely amazed to see a mighty human and a rakshasa contending with each other. Eagerly holding different types of weapons in their hands, they stood in amazement watching the battle and did not attack each other. With astonished eyes, the rakshasas stared at Ravana and the monkeys at Rama, so that they looked like a painting. After seeing those omens, Rama and Ravana, who were fixed in wrath, made up their minds and fought fearlessly. Rama, who knew that He would win, and Ravana, who knew that he would die, displayed their entire prowess during that fight.

Then, due to anger, Ravana fixed arrows to his bow and shot them directly at the flag fluttering on Rama’s chariot. The arrows did not reach the flag, but struck against the flagpole and fell on the ground. Infuriated by this, Rama stretched His bow and set His mind to return kind for kind. Rama aimed at Ravana’s flag and shot a sharpened arrow, which was like a big unbearable snake glowing with its own splendor. The arrow shot by Rama tore off Ravana’s flag and hit the earth. When torn from Ravana’s chariot, the flag fell down on the ground.

Seeing that his flag had been destroyed, Ravana was seething with rage as if he were on fire. Possessed by anger, he showered torrents of arrows. Ravana pierced Rama’s horses with blazing arrows. The divine horses did not stagger or reel. They were as composed as if they had been struck with the stems of lotus flowers. When Ravana saw that the horses were not affected, he became angry and released another shower of arrows, as well as maces, iron rods, discuses, clubs, mountain peaks, trees, pikes and axes. He released that shower of weapons, however, by means of magical power. That tumultuous, frightening, horrible and deafening shower of numerous arrows fell everywhere on the monkey army, except where Rama’s chariot was. Ravana completely covered the sky with arrows. Untired in mind or effort, Ravana shot thousands of arrows, having lost the will to live.

Seeing Ravana making a big effort on the battlefield, Rama placed sharpened arrows on His bow with a faint laugh and shot them by the hundreds and thousands. When Ravana saw those arrows, he covered the sky with his own. The brilliant shower of arrows released by those two looked like a second effulgent heaven fashioned from arrows. No arrow missed its mark, none failed to penetrate, none was unsuccessful. Colliding with each other, the arrows shot by Rama and Ravana on the battlefield fell on the ground. Fighting without interruption, they shot arrows to the right and to the left, covering the sky so as not to leave even a breathing place. Attacking each other blow for blow, Rama hit Ravana’s horses and Ravana hit Rama’s horses.

The two incensed warriors engaged in a pitched battle. The hair-raising and tumultuous fight lasted almost an hour. All living beings watched with astonishment as Rama and Ravana fought on the battlefield. As they assaulted each other, they became extremely aggravated and charged toward each other. As they fought in this way, their magnificent chariots assumed a grim appearance. The two charioteers displayed their driving skills by steering the chariots in circles and straight forward, or by lurching forward and then retreating. As Rama maimed Ravana and Ravana maimed Rama, the charioteers exhibited their speediness in going forwards and backwards. Those two magnificent chariots wandered the battlefield firing volleys of arrows, like two clouds pouring down rain. Showing off different kinds of movement on the battleground, the two chariots again stood facing each other. As the two chariots stood there, their hitching poles touched, as did their flags and the mouths of their horses.

With four sharp arrows shot from His bow, Rama repulsed Ravana’s four spirited horses. Angered by that, the night-stalker shot sharpened arrows at Rama, the descendent of the Raghu Dynasty. Although wounded by the powerful Ravana, Rama showed no sign of pain, nor did He become disturbed. The ten-headed Ravana then shot arrows making a sound like thunder at Indra’s charioteer. When the forceful arrows fell on Matali’s body, they did not cause the least confusion or distress. Although not bothered by the assault on Himself, Rama was angered by the assault on Matali and made His enemy desist with a volley of arrows. Rama shot twenty, thirty, sixty, hundreds and thousands of arrows at the enemy’s chariot.

Seething in his chariot, Ravana, the lord of the rakshasas, counteracted Rama with a shower of maces and clubs on the battlefield. Then the tumultuous and hair-raising conflict resumed. The noise made by the maces, clubs and iron bludgeons, as well as by the feathered arrows, agitated the seven oceans. All the serpents and danavas inhabiting the nether regions under the agitated oceans were disturbed. The whole earth with its mountains, forests and groves shook. The sun became dim and the wind did not blow. Thereafter all the gods, gandharvas, siddhas, topmost sages, Kinnaras and nagas became anxious and said: “May all be well with the cows and Brahmanas! May the worlds endure perpetually! May Rama be victorious in battle with Ravana, the lord of the rakshasas!” After saying this prayer, the gods accompanied by hosts of sages watched the vicious and hair-raising fight between Rama and Ravana. Crowds of gandharvas and Apsaras watched that unparalleled battle. When they saw it, they said that as the sky is its own equal and the ocean its own too, that battle between Rama and Ravana was only equal to itself.

Placing on His bow an arrow that was like a poisonous snake, the wrathful Rama, who increased the glory of the Raghu Dynasty, cut off Ravana’s splendid head, which was adorned with shimmering earrings. All the three worlds saw that head fallen on the ground. Another head exactly like the previous sprouted up out of Ravana’s body. The fleet-handed Rama quickly cut off that second head with His arrows. As soon as that head had been severed, another head came into view, but that one was also severed by Rama’s arrows that were like thunderbolts. In that way, one hundred heads that were equally brilliant were cut off, yet Ravana’s death remained unrealized. Rama, who was knowledgeable about all kinds of weapons and possessed a sufficient stock of arrows, began thinking: “These arrows were effective in slaughtering Mariicha, Khara and Duushana. With them I disposed of Viradha in the Kraunca Grove and Kabandha in the Dandaka Forest. With them I pierced the seven Shaala trees and mountains, slew Vali and agitated the ocean. All of these arrows of mine were trustworthy. Why, then, are the ineffective against Ravana?”

While He was thinking in this way, He was not distracted in fighting and directed a shower of arrows at Ravana’s chest. From his chariot, the angry Ravana also counteracted Rama with a shower of maces and clubs. Then a great, tumultuous and hair-raising battle took place on the land, in the sky, as well as on mountain peaks. While the gods, danavas, yakshas, pishacas, nagas and rakshasas watched that great fight, which lasted the whole day and night. The battle between Rama and Ravana did not stop at day or night, nor for an hour or a moment. Seeing that Rama could not defeat Ravana in that engagement, Indra’s outstanding charioteer spoke to Rama as He was fighting.

Thus completes 107th Chapter of Yuddha Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate