Encounter between Rama and Ravana

Seeing that Mahodara, Mahaparshva and Virupaksha had been killed, Ravana began seething with rage during the conflict. He urged on his charioteer and spoke to him as follows, so it is said: “By killing Rama and Lakshmana I shall surely remove the sorrow caused by the slaughter of my ministers and the siege of Lanka. In combat I shall cut down the tree Rama, who bears the fruit Sita, whose branches are Sugreeva, Jambavan, Kumuda, Nala, Dvivida, Mainda, Angada, Gandhamaadana, Hanuman, Sushena and all the other monkey troop leaders.”

Causing all ten directions to resound with the rattling of his chariot, that mighty chariot warrior sallied forth quickly and charged toward Rama. Filled by that noise, the entire earth with its rivers, mountains and forests trembled, terrifying lions, deer and birds. Ravana employed a most ominous mystic weapon of darkness to devour all the monkeys, causing them to fall down everywhere about. Dust rose up from the ground as they ran defeated in all directions, for they could not tolerate the influence of that weapon presided over by Lord Brahma himself. When Rama saw the monkey troops being routed by the hundreds by Ravana’s arrows, He took up a sturdy position. After driving away the monkey army, Ravana, the best of rakshasas, saw Rama, the defeater of enemies, standing unconquered with His brother Lakshmana, as Vishnu stood with Indra. Rama had broad eyes like the petals of a lotus flower and long arms. The bow which He held seemed to be scraping the sky.

When Rama saw the defeated monkeys fleeing the battlefield and Ravana approaching, He joyfully grasped His bow in the middle. He then began bending the mighty bow, as if to He intended to split the world with it. The sound of Ravana’s volleys of arrows and of Rama’s bowstring knocked over the rakshasas by the hundreds. When Ravana came with the range of the two princes’ arrows, he resembled the planet Rahu approaching the sun and moon. Desiring to engage with Ravana in that first encounter, Lakshmana released from His bow sharp arrows that were like flames of fire. As soon as Lakshmana released those arrows, the passionate Ravana intercepted them in mid-air with his own arrows. Displaying his manual dexterity, Ravana split Lakshmana’s arrows, one with one, three with three and ten with ten.

Passing by Lakshmana, Ravana approached Rama, who was standing firmly like a mountain on the battlefield. With his eyes red from anger, Ravana approached Rama while showering Him with arrows. Seeing Ravana’s showers of arrows approaching, Rama quickly grabbed arrows with crescent-shaped heads from His quiver. With those broad-headed arrows, Rama splintered Ravana’s blazing arrows that resembled venomous serpents. Rama and Ravana quickly showered each other with different kinds of sharp arrows. Shoving back each other with the force of their arrows and remaining undefeated, they described circles around each other from left to right with arrows.

All living beings were terrified as the two warriors, who resembled death and the lord of death, fought with each other shooting arrows. The sky was covered with different kinds of arrows, as it is by clouds interlaced with lightning during the monsoon. The sky appeared to have innumerable eye-holes due to being covered with showers of swift sharp arrows guided by vulture plumes. The two warriors covered the sky with intense darkness by their arrows, like two huge clouds arisen at sunset or even at sunrise. Seeking the death of each other, a great and inconceivable fight ensued between them, like the one between Indra and Vritra. Both had excellent bows, both were skilled in combat, both were expert in the use of weapons and both were outstanding in combat. Indeed, wherever they moved, volleys of arrows moved about like waves in the ocean impelled by wind.

Then Ravana, who caused people to cry, used his hands to shoot a wreath of steel arrows into Rama’s forehead. Rama bore on His head that wreath released from Ravana’s dreadful bow. It shone like a blue lotus flower and Rama was undisturbed by it. Thereafter, angry as He was, Rama took more arrows and charged them by reciting mantras. Taking His bow, He shot those arrows without interruption at the lord of the rakshasas. Falling on Ravana’s impenetrable armor like a big cloud, those arrows did not cause him any distress. Rama, who was expert in the use of all kinds of mystic weapons, at once struck Ravana in the forehead with a most excellent weapon. Rama’s arrows hissed like five-headed snakes as they entered the ground when deflected by Ravana.

Having obliterated Rama’s weapons, the raging Ravana activated a tremendously dangerous mystic weapon of the asuras. By it Ravana shot arrows with the heads of lions, tigers, buzzards, ruddy geese, vultures, falcons, jackals and wolves, as well as arrows with lions having gaping mouths and arrows with the heads of donkeys, boars, dogs, cocks, alligators and poisonous snakes. Hissing like an angry snake, Ravana used his magical power to shoot these and other sharp arrows at Rama. Finding Himself overwhelmed by the weapon of the asuras, Rama enthusiastically released a weapon of the fire-god. By it He produced many kinds of arrows, some as bright as fire, others with heads like the sun, full moon, crescent moon, comets, shooting stars, planets, constellations and lightning. When struck by Rama’s mighty weapons, Ravana’s arrows vanished in thin air, but not before killing thousands of monkeys. Seeing Ravana’s weapon destroyed by the tireless Rama, the overjoyed monkeys gathered around Rama and roared as they faced Sugreeva. After destroying that weapon propelled by Ravana’s arms, Rama felt exhilarated. The great monkey chieftains shouted for joy.

Thus completes 99th Chapter of Yuddha Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate