Ravana Attempts to Kill Sita

Having heard about or directly seen the death of Indrajit, Ravana’s ministers hurriedly informed him of the matter: “O great king, your splendid son Indrajit has been killed in battle by Lakshmana accompanied by Vibhishana as we watched. Meeting Lakshmana in a close encounter, your heroic son, who had never previously been defeated, was killed by Lakshmana. After satisfying Lakshmana with his arrows, Indrajit has gone to those highest worlds.” Hearing about the ghastly and frightening death of his son Indrajit on the battleground, Ravana went into a long swoon. Regaining consciousness after a long time, the king, who was overwhelmed with grief over the death of his son, lamented pitifully as follows:

“Alas! O my dear child! O powerful leader of the rakshasa army! Having conquered Indra, how have you now been subdued by Lakshmana? When angry you could surely pierce with your arrows even death personified or the peak of Mount Mandara, what to speak of Lakshmana. Today I hold Yamaraja, the lord of death, in high esteem in that he has subjected you to the influence of time, O strong-armed one! This is the path of good warriors even among all the hosts of immortals. One who dies for the cause of one’s master attains heaven. When all the hosts of gods, protectors of the worlds and great sages hear that Indrajit has been slain, they will sleep comfortably without fear. With the singular absence of Indrajit, this entire earth with its forests and even the three worlds seem empty to me. Today I shall hear the cries of the rakshasi ladies in the residential quarters of the palace, like the bellowing of female elephants in a mountain cave. Abandoning the post of prince regent, the city of Lanka, the rakshasas, your mother, your wives and myself, where have you gone? Actually you should be here to perform my funeral rites when I go to the abode of death. O warrior, you are acting in a contrary way. While Rama, Lakshmana and Sugriva are still living, where have you gone without extracting the thorn from my side?”

An intense anger born from his son’s demise overcame Ravana as he was suffering while lamenting in that way. Indeed, sorrow over his son’s death further inflamed Ravana, who was wrathful and fiery by nature, as the sunbeams increase the heat of the sun. With his knitted brow, he looked like the ocean full of crocodiles and large waves at the end of the age. As Ravana grimaced angrily, it seemed as if a smoky fire spewed forth from his mouth, as it did from the mouth of Vritrasura. Tormented by the death of his son and overwhelmed with anger, Ravana decided to kill Sita. Ravana’s eyes, which were naturally red, began glowing frightfully due to the fire of anger. Ravana’s appearance, which was formidable by nature, became unbearable due to the fire of anger, like the wrathful form of Lord Rudra. Tears fell from his eyes like blazing drops of oil falling from two burning lamps. The sound of his teeth grinding sounded like the friction produced by the danavas when they churned the ocean of milk. Being as furious as the fire at the end of the world, in whatever direction he looked, the rakshasas hid themselves out of fear. All the rakshasas dared not approach him as he looked in all directions ready to devour all mobile and immobile entities like death.

Eager to rally the rakshasas on the battlefield, the outraged Ravana said in their midst: “After practicing severe austerities for thousands of years, at their conclusion I satisfied Lord Brahma. As the fruition of those austerities and because of Lord Brahma’s kindness, I will never be put in danger by gods or demons. The coat of armor which Lord Brahma gave me, glimmering like the sun, could not be pierced in battles with the gods and demons by fists or thunderbolts. Who would dare face me today, even he be Indra, when I am seated in my chariot on the battlefield wearing this armor? Let that bow and arrows given to me by Lord Brahma when I fought with the gods and demons be brought here now with the blowing of hundreds of trumpets for the slaughter of Rama and Lakshmana on the battlefield.”

Pained by the death of his son and overwhelmed with anger, the cruel Ravana thought things over and decided to kill Sita. Glaring with copper-colored eyes and an appalling appearance at all the whimpering night-stalkers, he said: “In order to trick the monkeys, my dear son killed an image that resembled Sita by his magical power. I shall make that a fact dear to me. I shall kill Sita, who is devoted to a kshatriya in name only.”

After saying this to his ministers and pulling out his excellent sword as bright as a clear sky, he quickly raised it. Pained by the death of his son and bewildered in mind, Ravana rushed off with his sword accompanied by his wife Mahodari and ministers to where Sita was. Seeing him going, his ministers roared like lions. Embracing each other when they saw how angry Ravana was, they said: “Today the two brothers, Rama and Lakshmana, will tremble when they see Ravana. When angered, Ravana has defeated all the four protectors of the world. He has also struck down many other enemies in combat. Ravana has brought riches from all the three worlds and is enjoying them. Nor is there anyone on this earth equal to him in prowess and strength.”

As they were talking, the furious Ravana rushed toward Sita in the Ashoka grove. Even though his well-wishers tried to restrain him, he angrily rushed toward Sita, as the planet Mars does toward the constellation Rohini. While the blameless princess of Mithila was being guarded by rakshasis, she saw angry Ravana coming with that excellent sword. Sita became distressed to see him approaching with that sword, even though his friends were trying to restrain him.

Aggrieved and wailing, Sita said: “From the way in which this angry fellow is rushing toward me, that evil-minded one will probably try to kill me as if I were unprotected, even though I do have a husband. So many times he requested me to be his wife, even though I am devoted to my husband. Yet I rejected him very clearly. Evidently he has fallen prey to despair because of my not submitting to him. Overwhelmed by anger and delusion, he obviously intends to kill me. Or else, this ignoble character has today struck down Rama and Lakshmana on the battlefield on my account. Oh, woe is me if the two princes were killed on my account! Or else, due to grief over his son’s death and being unable to kill Rama and Lakshmana, that sinful rakshasa is going to kill me.

“Vile as I am, I did not heed Hanuman’s advice. Had I left at that time on his back, I would not be grieving as I am now but would be resting in the lap of My husband. I think that Kausalya’s heart will break when she, having only one son, hears that He has perished in battle. As she weeps, she will remember His birth, childhood, youth, virtuous acts and beauty. After performing the obsequies of her dead son, she will become despondent and faint. She will surely enter the cremation fire or drown herself in water. How cursed to be the hunchback Manthara of sinful resolve, on whose account Kausalya will undergo such suffering!”

Meanwhile, seeing the destitute Sita wailing in this way, like the star Rohini fallen under the sway of Mars when away from the moon, an honorable, pure and intelligent minister named Supaarshva spoke to Ravana as the other ministers were trying to restrain him: “How is it that you, the younger brother of Kuvera, wish to kill Sita out of anger, casting aside all virtue? Ever since you completed your vows while engaged in Vedic studies, you have been devoted to your own occupational duties. Why, therefore, do you now think it fit to kill a woman? Look after the beautiful Sita, O lord of the world. Vent your anger with us against Rama on the battlefield. Getting yourself ready, today, which is the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight. March on to victory tomorrow, the new moon day, surrounded by your army. You being the clever chariot-warrior that you are, with sword in hand you will slay Rama and win Sita.”

Accepting the virtuous advice of his friend, the wicked Ravana returned to his palace again and proceeded to his council chamber surrounded by his well-wishers.

Thus completes 92nd Chapter of Yuddha Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate