Lakshmana Kills Indrajit’s Charioteer

Seeing Lakshmana and Indrajit struggling like two elephants eager to conquer each other, Vibhishana took a position on the battlefront to watch them fight. Standing there, he pulled back his great bow and shot long and sharp-pointed arrows at the rakshasas. Falling thickly, the arrows whose touch was like fire ripped apart the rakshasas, as thunderbolts do to big mountains. Vibhishana’s assistants also chopped up the rakshasas warriors in that combat with pikes, swords and sharp spears. Surrounded by rakshasas, Vibhishana looked like a bull elephant among its proud young. Vibhishana encouraged the monkeys, who were fond of killing rakshasas, by speaking the following opportune words:

“Before you stands the one who is Ravana’s only support. This is what is left of his army. Why are you standing there, O monkey chieftains? Once this sinful Rakshasa is killed on the front line, the rest of his army, except for Ravana, is as good as dead. The following rakshasas, who were powerful and heroic, have been slain: Prahasta, Nikumbha, Kumbhakarna, Kumbha, Dhumraksha, Jambumali, Mahaamaali, Tikshnavega, Ashaniprabha, Suptaghna, Yajnakopa, Vajradamshtra, Samhradi, Vikata, Arighna, Tapana, Manda, Praghasa, Praghasa, Prajangha, Jangha, Agniketu, Rashmiketu, Viddutjihva, Dvijihva, Suryashatru, Akampana, Supaarshva, Cakramali, Kampana, Devantaka and Narantaka.

“Having swum across an ocean by killing those many outstanding rakshasas who were exceedingly powerful, let us quickly cross this small hoof print of a cow. Only this much remains for you to conquer, O monkeys. All the rakshasas who were proud of their strength were killed when they met you. It is not proper for me to bring about the slaughter of my nephew. Casting aside compassion, for the sake of Rama I should kill my nephew. Although I want to kill him, tears block my eyes. Therefore the strong-armed Lakshmana will eliminate him. O monkeys gather together and kill the servants standing near him.”

Incited in this way by the illustrious Vibhishana, the monkey leaders rejoiced and lashed their tails. Roaring again and again, they then howled in different ways, imitating the cries of peacocks when they see a cloud. Jambavan and all his troops began hitting the rakshasas with rocks, as well as with their teeth and claws. Giving up their fear, the mighty rakshasas armed with many kinds of weapons surrounded Jambavan, who was attacking them. Using arrows, sharp axes, spears, staffs and iron clubs, they attacked Jambavan, who was massacring the Rakshasa army. The alarming tumult which that encounter between the monkeys and rakshasas raised was like that during the battle between the gods and demons. Lowering Lakshmana from his back, Hanuman himself angrily pulled up a sala tree from a mountain and began slaughtering rakshasas by the thousands.

Giving a tough fight to his uncle Vibhishana, Indrajit, the destroyer of enemy warriors, rushed toward Lakshmana. Immersed in combat on the battlefield, Lakshmana and Indrajit attacked each other with volleys of arrows. They covered each other with networks of arrows, as clouds cover the strong sun and moon at the end of the hot season. Because of the manual dexterity of the combatants, one could not see when they picked up a bow, when they held it in their fists, when they pulled out arrows from their quivers, when they selected them, when they fitted them to the bow and when they hit their target. Because the sky was completely covered with speeding arrows, no objects could be seen.

Reaching Indrajit, Lakshmana attacked him, and Indrajit also attacked Lakshmana. As they fought with each other, a gruesome situation developed. The showers of their sharp arrows seemingly covered the sky with darkness. Everything was enveloped in darkness and was most frightening. Because of those arrows falling by the hundreds, the directions and intermediate directions were covered by them. Everything was covered by darkness and appeared very scary. When the sun with its thousand rays set and everything was covered by darkness, large streams of masses of blood began to flow by the thousands. Grisly carnivorous beasts emitted frightful cries with their voices. The wind did not blow at that time, nor did fire burn. The great sages murmured: “May all be well with the worlds! Feeling distressed, the Gandharvas who were there fled with the caranas.

Then Lakshmana pierced with four arrows the black horses with gold trappings hitched to Indrajit’s chariot. Then Lakshmana shot a wide-tipped arrow and a gilded one, both of which were like Indra’s thunderbolt. Those feathered arrows were shot with full force signaled by the twang of the Lakshmana’s hand on the bowstring. Because of Lakshmana’s dexterity, the arrows severed the head off of the body of Indrajit’s charioteer as he was moving. Once the charioteer was dead, Indrajit himself took up the task of conducting the chariot while wielding his bow. For the onlookers it was amazing to see him playing the role of a charioteer in that battle. Lakshmana pierced Indrajit while the latter was handling the horses and then shot arrows at the horses when Indrajit was using his bow. On those occasions, the fleet Lakshmana fearlessly tormented Indrajit with volleys of arrows as he moved about on the battlefield. Seeing his charioteer killed, Indrajit lost his enthusiasm to fight and became despondent.

Seeing dejection on Indrajit’s face, the monkey troop leaders became very excited and congratulated Lakshmana. Unable to hold themselves back, the four monkeys chieftains—Pramathi, Rabhasa, Sharabha and Gandhamaadana—manifested their impetuosity. Jumping up abruptly, they came down on Indrajit’s four fine steeds. When the horses were pressed down by those monkeys as big as mountains, blood clearly flowed from their mouths. Crushed and mangled, the horses collapsed lifeless on the ground. After killing Indrajit’s horses and smashing his big chariot, the monkeys quickly jumped back and stood at Lakshmana’s side. After his horses had been killed, Indrajit jumped down from his chariot and assailed Lakshmana with a shower of arrows. As Indrajit was moving about on foot, Lakshmana, who was equal to Indra, badly injured Indrajit with volleys of excellent sharp arrows.

Thus completes 89th Chapter of Yuddha Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate