Ravana’s Sons and Brothers Sally Forth

Hearing the evil Ravana lamenting in this way, the grief-stricken Trishira said: “It is true that our younger brother has been slain. But, O king, decent people do not lament as you are. Surely you can conquer all the three worlds, O master! Therefore, why do you allow yourself to lament like a common person? You still have the spear given by Lord Brahma, your armor, arrows, bow and your chariot drawn by one thousand donkeys that sounds like a thunder cloud. You have more than once killed gods and Danavas with a single weapon. Therefore you should be able to kill Rama when you are armed with all of your weapons. Just stay here, O great king. I shall go out onto the battlefield to exterminate your enemies, as Garuda would to snakes. Struck down this day by me on the battlefield, Rama will die as did Shambara when killed by Indra, or Naraka by Lord Vishnu.”

After hearing Trishira’s statement, Ravana, impelled as he was by destiny, felt himself reborn. Devantaka, Narantaka and Atikaya also became eager for combat when they heard what Trishira said. Then the valiant sons of Ravana, who were equal in prowess to Indra began each shouting all at once: “I shall kill the enemy!” “No, I shall do it!”

All were able to fly in the sky. All were skilled in deceptive tricks. All were capable of crushing the pride of the residents of the heavenly planets. All were wild in combat. All possessed tremendous strength. All enjoyed wide fame. All had never been seen to be conquered by the gods accompanied by Gandharvas, Kinnaras and gigantic celestial serpents on a battlefield. All were heroic and skilled in the use of mystic weapons. All were expert in warfare. All had received the best education and all had received boons.

Surrounded by his sons, who were equal to the sun in splendor and capable of crushing the power and glory of the enemy, Ravana looked just like Lord Indra surrounded by the immortals capable of destroying the pride of great Danavas. Ravana embraced his sons, decorated them with fine ornaments, conferred blessings upon them and sent them off to the battlefield. He also sent along his two brothers: Mahaparshva and Mahodara to defend the princes. After taking leave of Ravana, who caused all people to wail, those giants circumambulated him clockwise and departed. Anointing themselves with all kinds of medicinal herbs and fragrant perfumes, the mighty rakshasas, eager for battle, set for under the impulse of destiny. They were six: Trishira, Atikaya, Devantaka, Narantaka, Mahodara and Mahaparshva.

Thereafter Mahodara mounted an elephant named Sudarshana that looked like a dark-blue cloud and which belonged to the same species as Indra’s elephant Airavata. Sitting on the elephant and armed with all kinds of weapons, he shone like the sun on the top of the western mountain. Ravana’s son Trishira mounted a fine chariot drawn by excellent steeds and equipped with all kinds of weapons. Seated on the chariot and holding a bow, he shone brightly like a rain cloud accompanied by lightning, falling stars sunbeams and a rainbow. Wearing a crown on each of his three heads, Trishira looked like Mount Himavan, the lord of the Himalaya Mountains, with three golden peaks.

Then Atikaya, the best of all archers and a son of Ravana, mounted his fine chariot. His chariot had good wheels, axles, horses, hitching-pole, a sparkling quiver and bow, as well as spears, swords and clubs studded with iron spikes. With his golden crown and ornaments, Atikaya looked like Mount Meru shining with its own splendor. Riding in his chariot and surrounded by other rakshasas, that prince shone like Indra surrounded by the immortal gods. Narantaka mounted a horse that resembled Uchchaishrava, the horse of Indra. It had gold trappings and was as swift as the mind. Holding a spear that resembled a shooting star, Narantaka looked like Skanda, the war god, riding on his peacock carrier with spear in hand.

Grabbing his iron club adorned with gold, he looked like Lord Vishnu holding Mount Mandara ready to churn the ocean of milk. Grabbing a mace, Mahaparshva, who was most vigorous, shone like Kubera holding a mace on the battlefield. Those rakshasas sallied forth as did the gods from Amaravati. Big rakshasas armed with the best of weapons followed then on elephants, horses and chariots rumbling like storm clouds. The gigantic princes shone like the sun. Because of the brilliance of their crowns, they looked like planets shining in the sky. The gleaming row of weapons in their hands resembled a row of white swans in the autumn sky. Deciding to die or defeat their enemies, the warriors sallied forth in order to have an encounter.

As they sallied forth, the giants, who were madden for combat, roared and discharged arrows. The earth trembled because of their roaring and slapping of arms. Because of the lion-like roars of the rakshasas, the sky seemed to be thundering. As those joyful rakshasas came out of the city, they saw the monkey army with uplifted boulders and trees. The monkeys also saw the Rakshasa army, which consisted of elephants, horses and chariots adorned with tinkling bells. It was like a blue storm cloud and was approaching with raised weapons.

Seeing that the army of dazzling rakshasas had arrived and finally having an opportunity to attack, the monkeys raised up huge boulders and roared again and again. Unable to bear the roars of the rakshasas, the monkeys roared back at them. When the Rakshasa hordes heard the jubilant roars of the monkey troop leaders, they could not stand it and roared even more fiercely. Entering the midst of the Rakshasa army carried raised boulders, the monkey troop leaders looked mountains with peaks. Some monkeys jumped into the sky armed with trees and boulders and some marauded on the ground holding trees with huge trunks, raging against the Rakshasa forces. Thereafter a fearsome battle ensued between the monkeys and the rakshasas.

While being impeded by volleys of arrows, the direful monkeys hurled an unparalleled shower of trees, boulders and rocks. Both the monkeys and rakshasas roared like lions on the battlefield. Infuriated, the monkeys crushed the Rakshasa devil-worshipers clad in armor with boulders, killing them on the battleground. Furious in combat, some monkeys killed rakshasas clad in armor who wearing different kinds of ornaments. Jumping up unexpectedly, some monkeys butchered those valiant practitioners of the black arts who were riding chariots, elephants and horses. Their bodies crushed all over by mountain peaks and their eyes bulging from fist blows, the rakshasas staggered, howled and fell. The rakshasas also hit the monkeys with pikes, mallets, swords, lances and spears. Assaulting each other and desiring to defeat each other, the monkeys’ and rakshasas’ limbs were stained with the blood of their enemies. In a short time the ground was covered with boulders and swords thrown by the combatants and drenched with blood. The whole area was crowded with rakshasas the size of mountains who had been wounded and scattered about in pieces.

Being dispersed by the rakshasas, the monkeys, whose stones had been shattered, once again put up an amazing fight with their limbs. The rakshasas hit monkeys with other monkeys, and the monkeys also hit the rakshasas with other rakshasas. Snatching the boulders from the monkeys, the rakshasas hit the monkeys with them. Similarly, the monkeys grabbed the weapons from the rakshasas and assaulted them. On the battlefield, the rakshasas and monkeys struck each other with mountain peaks and slashed each other with weapons, roaring like lions. With their shields and armor smashed by the monkeys, the rakshasas bled profusely, like trees exuding sap. During the battle, some monkeys knocked down a chariot with chariot, a horse with a horse, and an elephant with an elephant. The rakshasas shattered the trees and boulders of the monkeys by shooting arrows with sharp heads shaped like a horseshoe, heads shaped like a crescent and heads shaped like a spear.

It was difficult to walk on the ground because of the scattered mountain peaks, shattered trees and cadavers of slain monkeys and rakshasas. Reaching the battlefield and abandoning fear, all those monkeys, whose demeanor exhibited pride and excitement, fought the rakshasas with different kinds of weapons. While the tumultuous battle was raging on, the monkeys were elated, the rakshasas were perishing and the great sages and hordes of demigods were cheering. Then Narantaka, riding a horse as swift as the wind, grasped a sharp spear and entered the dreadful monkey army, like a fish entering the great ocean. That valiant Rakshasa pierced seven hundred monkeys single-handed with his shining spear. In a moment that enemy of Indra massacred the monkey soldiers. The Vidyadharas and great sages saw the giant riding on the back of a horses among the monkey troops. They saw in his wake a mire of flesh and blood and fallen monkeys covering the ground.

Just as the monkeys were thinking of displaying their prowess, Narantaka left, cleaving a passage through the monkeys. Raising his blazing lance on the battlefield, Narantaka decimated the monkeys, as a fire would consume forests. As soon as they were hit by Narantaka’s lance, the monkeys fell down like a mountain struck by lightning. Roaming about in all directions, the mighty Narantaka completely crushed the monkeys to the ground, like the wind during the monsoon season. Terrified, the monkey warriors could not flee, stand up or move. Narantaka pierced them all as they jumped, stood still or ran. Struck down by that lance, which looked like death personified and was as bright as the sun, the monkeys fell down on the ground. The monkeys could not bear the impact of that lance, which was like a thunderbolt, and therefore they wailed loudly. The bodies of the falling monkeys resembled mountain peaks felled by thunderbolts.

When the monkeys regained their confidence, having previously been assaulted by Kumbhakarna, they now approached Sugreeva. Looking around, Sugreeva saw that the monkey troops were fleeing in all directions in fear of Narantaka. He then saw Narantaka riding a horse and approaching with his lance. Seeing this, Sugreeva said to Angada: “Immediately go and take the life of that Rakshasa warrior riding a horse who is unsettling the monkey army!” Hearing his master’s command, Angada rushed out of his army, like the sun coming out of a cloud. Adorned with gold armbands, Angada sparkled like a mountain with deposits of minerals.

Approaching Narantaka, Angada, who was unarmed except for his claws and teeth, spoke as follows: “Stop! Why are you bothering with these ordinary monkeys? Throw your spear, whose blow is like a thunderbolt, against my chest!” Narantaka became furious when he heard what Angada said. Biting his lips with his teeth and hissing like a snake, the irate Narantaka faced Angada. Brandishing his blazing lance, he suddenly hurled it at Angada. When the spear hit Angada’s chest, which was as hard as a diamond, it broke into pieces and fell to the ground. Seeing that lance broken like the coils of a serpent slashed by Garuda, Angada raised his hand and violently struck the head of Narantaka’s horse. The horses feet sunk into the ground, its eyes bulged out and its tongue protruded from its mouth. With its head crushed by the blow from Angada’s hand, the horse fell on the ground. Seeing that his horse had been killed, Narantaka became furious. Raising his fist, Narantaka struck Angada in the head.

After Angada’s head had been struck, hot blood flowed profusely. He felt a constant burning sensation and fainted. When he regained consciousness, he was surprised. Clenching his fist, which was like death and had the impact of a mountain, Angada struck it against Narantaka’s chest. Angada’s fist split open Narantaka’s chest, causing him to sink into the ground and staining his limbs with blood. Spewing blood from his mouth, he fell on the ground, like a mountain felled by a thunderbolt. When Narantaka, who was foremost in valor, was killed in combat by Angada, there arose a great cry of rejoicing from the monkeys and from the residents of heaven watching from the sky. Angada performed a difficult act of valor pleasing to the mind of Rama and which even surprised the latter. Then Angada, who was capable of frightful deeds, again became eager for battle.

Thus completes 69th Chapter of Yuddha Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate