CONTINUED FROM PART 2 – Seventh – Rama Avatar – The Rama Incarnation Part 3
HANUMAN RETURNS TO THE SEA SHORE
Everyone was rejoiced to see Hanuman. Hanumanji along with other vanars came back to the place where Sri Ram was waiting for them. Ram was very happy to see him. Hanuman touched Ram’s feet and narrated him everything about what had happened at Lanka. Hanuman also mentioned how mother Sita lives in Ashok Vatika. She just recites your name (Ram! Ram!) and pray everyday for you to come and free her. Hanumanji then delivered the jewelry (Chura mani) that mother Sita had given him. Hearing this Ram’s eyes were filled with tears, he thanked Hanuman for his good deed and took him in his arms and showered him with his blessings. He then asked Sugriv to prepare a huge army and march towards Lanka.
Soon everyone marched towards the oceanfront. Now the dilemma was how to cross this mighty ocean with a huge army. Lord Ram sat on the ocean shore and started praying to the ocean god to grant him a way to cross the ocean. Three days passed and the ocean god didn’t appear. Ram was filled with anger, he picked up his bow and as he was about to shoot his powerful arrow, the ocean god appeared with folded hands. He apologized for his behavior and said, “Lord, you have two monkey brothers in your army named Nal and Neel who have a boon* that if they throw a stone or rock in the water – it will float and never sink.
If they write your name (Shri Ram) on each and every stone they throw in water, it will not shrink and my waves will support the materials firmly.” Saying this the ocean god returned to his abode. On receiving Ram’s permission, Nal and Neel wrote Ram on every stone and threw them in the ocean and a floating bridge was constructed very easily. This bridge was named as RAAM SETU.
Before leaving, Ram decided to thanks Lord Shiva and create his shrine at the oceanfront. He builds a huge lingam and along with Lakshman and other he worships that place and this place is now known as “Rameshwaram”. He then along with his army crossed the floating bridge and reached the other other end of the ocean.
RAM IN LANKA
Ravan heard the news of Ram’s army reaching the shores of Lanka. Ravan’s wife Mandodari persuaded him to return Sita but all in vain, but he paid no attention to her words. Truly, one who is destined to be ruined always thinks on the wrong lines! Before declaring war, Sri Ram asked Angad to visit Lanka and convince Ravan to return Sita to Ram. The moment Angad entered Lanka, everyone was terrified to see another monkey. Rakshas ran to deliver this news to Ravan. On reaching Ravan’s court, Angad declared that he is a doot (ambassador) of Ram and has a message for Ravan.
Angad realized that no one offered him a seat, so he made his own seat by lengthening and coiling up his tail. His tail crown was much bigger than Ravan’s crown. He sat on it proudly and said,”My Lord Shree Ram has conveyed this message that return mother Sita to us and there will be no war”.
He then started singing praises of Shree Ram. Ravan in his pride paid no heed to Angad’s word and started making fun of him. Angad in anger planted his foot in Ravan’s court and said, “Come and remove my foot and you will see how much power is in my Lord’s name.” All the rakshas rushed to uproot Angad’s foot but all in vain. Even Meghnad tried to move Angad’s foot but no luck. Finally Ravan came forward, as he bend down to remove Angad’s foot, Angad removed is foot and said, “It would be better if you can bow in Shree Ram’s feet and ask for his forgiveness”.
When Ravann bent over his crown fell down and Angad picked that and flung it towards Shree Ram. Embarrassed Ravan return to his throne and Angad returned back to Ram. He narrated the whole incident to Ram. Ram and others praised Angad for his bravery and good deed.
On the other side, Ravan calls for a meeting with his ministers and advisories. He discusses his war strategy and how to defeat Ram and Lakshman in this war. Ravan’s brother Vibhishan advised him, “O lord, you have abducted Sita unlawfully. You should return Sita to Ram and stop the war.” His continuous request and praises in name of Shree Ram infuriated Ravan and he kicked Vibhishan and asked him to get out of his court.
Vibhishan left Ravan and went to meet Ram. He seeks protection in Ram’s feet. Sugriv suggested that Vibhishan should not be trusted as he is the enemy’s brother but then Hanuman mentioned about all the help Vibhishan had offered on his trip to Lanka. Hearing Hanuman’s word, Ram welcomed Vibhishan with open arms. He declared Vibhishan the king of Lanka and did his Abhishek.
WAR STARTS – KUMBHAKARAN KILLED IN WAR
A ruthless battle started between Shri Ram and Ravan and in this battle Ravan had lost his brave sons. He was still not ready to accept his defeat nor was he ready to return Mother Sita. Finally he decided to wake up Kumbhakaran, his brother who slept for months. Hundreds of drums and loud noises were made to wake Kumbhakaran up, elephants walked over him and barrels of cold water were thrown over his snoring body. Finally he woke up and roared, “Who dared to wake me up?” Since he woke up after months he was showered with all kinds of food and drinks. Ravan came to visit him and Kumbhakaran was excited to see him.
Ravan narrated him the whole situation. Listening to this, Kumbhakaran got mad at Ravan for his wrong doing and said, “do you have any idea who have you kidnapped? She is Jagdamba, the supreme power. You should have tried to kill Ram and Lakshman first before abducting Sita. But don’t worry I promise you that I will help you by killing all your enemies”.
He ate and drank and left for battle field. Seeing him in battlefield, Visbhishan came forward and bowed. Kumbhakaran blessed him and asked him to move out of his way. He is here to kill his enemies. He killed many monkeys and bear under his feet. His enormous figure scared the monkeys and they started to run away from the battlefield. Seeing this, Ram came into the battlefield and fierce battle broke between the two. Finally Ram with his powerful arrow killed Kumbhakaran.
Hearing the news of Kumbhakaran’s death Ravan fainted. Kumbhakaran’s death was a blow to Ravan and he was heart broken. His other sons calmed him down and requested permission to enter battlefield but they were all killed. Learning about his sons death Ravan was grief-stricken. Seeing his fathers condition Meghnath/meghnad (Indrajit) set to the battlefield to defeat Ram and Lakshman. Indrajit had a magic chariot more of a witchcraft which rose into the sky and became invisible.
From the sky he started to rain arrows at vanaras, not knowing the source of attack all the vanaras got terrified and approached Ram and Lakshman for help. Ram and Lakshman reached the battlefield and seeing them Indrajit used his ferocious weapon Naagpash (a trap of millions of snake) and Ram and Lakshman were tied in it and they lay unconscious on the ground. Seeing this Indrajit was filled with pride and he left for his palace.
While everyone was wondering what to do, Garuda appeared (Vishnu’s bird and enemy of serpents) from sky and he freed Ram and Lakshman from all the snakes. When Indrajit heard this news he was filled with anger and left for battlefield. Ravan knew that Meghnath/Indrajit was an expert in all kind of war games and he will be successful. Hearing Indrajit coming for battle Lakshman took permission from Ram to fight with Indrajit. Ram granted him permission and asked Hanuman to accompany Lakshman to the battlefield.
LAKSHMAN INJURED IN BATTLEFILED
Lakshman and Meghnath were involved in deadly fight. Both of them were equally powerful and skilled. Sensing that he cannot win in a fair game Meghnath tried to defeat Lakshman by using magic tricks. But Lakshman was not here to play child games; in an attack he destroyed Meghnath’s chariot and killed his chariot driver. This made Meghnath very furious and out of frustration and anger he used his supreme weapon SHAKTI on Lakshman.
Lakshman knew that no one can avert the impact of this powerful weapon so he stood there with folded hands reciting the name of Shri Ram. Shakti hit Lakshman in his heart and he fell to the ground. Meghnath rushed towards Lakshman so that he could carry his body to Lanka. But to his surprise he couldn’t lift Lakshman’s body. Though he was equal in strength to Lakshman still he couldn’t move his body a inch. No one knew that Lakshman in fact was a form of ANANT SHESHNAAG*, only those who are close to Shri Ram can lift up Lakshman.
* Sheshnaag is a serpent god. The coiled body of Sheshnaag forms a throne on which Lord Vishnu is reclining. Sheshnaag descended to earth and took the avatar of Lakshman, Shri Ram’s brother.
Seeing everyone running towards Lakshman, Meghnath flee the battle grounds. Wounded Lakshman lay unconscious on the ground, almost dead. His breathing had stopped, everyone was terrified to see this. But Hanuman was certain that nothing will happen to Lakshman as he is Shri Ram’s brother. He carried him in his arms and rushed towards Ram and narrated him the whole story. Shri Ram knew what had happened and was grief stricken to see his brother like that. Just then Vibhisan came forward and asked Hanuman to go to Lanka and get the Rajvaidya (physician )named Sushena. Hanuman assumed a tiny form and left for Lanka. Thinking that Rajvaidya may refuse to come along with him, he lifted his whole house and carried him to Shri Ram.
Finding himself close to Shri Ram he bowed before him and examined Lakshman and said,” Oh supreme lord, impact of this weapon – SHAKTI leads everyone to death. I am amazed to see Lakshman still breathing faintly. To save his life someone has to go to Dronagiri mountains in the Himalayas and fetch the Sanjivani Booti( a life restoring herb) which would be glowing brightly. But this task should be done before the dawn or we will not be able to revive Lakshman. Please arrange to bring the medicine without delay.”
Shri ram then asked Hanuman to help him as he can fly to that mountain and come back fast before dawn. Hanuman after seeking his blessings left on his mission. Meanwhile when Ravan heard about Hanuman heading towards Dronagiri parvat he ask Kalnemi – a rakshas to help him stop Hanuman from reaching there on time. At first Kalnemi was reluctant because he knew Hanuman was a form of Shiva but then he thought instead of being killed by Ravan why not I get killed from the hands of Hanuman. He agreed and soon disguised himself as sage and started chanting the name of Shri Ram.
When Hanuman heard Shri Ram’s name he comes and meet him. Kalnemi welcomed him and ask him about the war between Shri Ram and Ravan. He further says that with my divine powers I am watching everything from here and I am sure Shri Ram will win over the evil.
Hanuman was very happy to hear this and asked if he could get some water to drink. Disguised Kalnemi offered him water in a small vessel. That couldn’t quench Hanuman’s thirst and he asked for some more. Kalnemi asked him to go to the nearby lake and drink as much he desires. The moment Hanuman stepped into the lake a crocodile caught hold of his foot. Wasting no time Hanuman hit that crocodile so hard that it died on spot.
But before leaving she turned into a beautiful lady and said,”Oh Hanuman, the sage you met inside is a rakshas Kalnemi and I am his wife. Because of a Rishi Durvasa’s curse* we are born as rakshas but today I am free from that curse. May you succeed in your task.” Saying that she disappeared. Wondering why haven’t he heard any noises from outside, he stepped out of his hut but Hanuman was waiting for him, he caught hold of Kalnemi and killed him too.
*Rishi Durvasa curse – Kalnemi’s wife said, “Me and my husband Kalnemi lived in Indras court as musicians. One day Rishi Durvasa came to our court and seeing his ugly face we both started laughing. This offended him so much that he cursed us that we will be born as Rakshas on earth. After pleading to him, he had mercy on us and said that the curse will be lifted when Lord Vishnu will incarnate as Shri Ram in treta yug and at that time you both will be born as rakshas in Lanka. During the war when Lakshman, brother of Shri Ram will be injured, then Hanuman on his journey to Dronagiri mountains will come and liberate both of you from this curse.”
Hanuman resumed his journey and soon he reached Dronagiri parvat. The whole parvat was glowing and Hanuman failed to identify the correct booti. Since he was running out of time he lifted and carried the entire parvat in his palm and embarked on his journey back to Lanka. On his journey back he crossed over Ayodhya. At that time Bharat (Shri Ram’s yournger brother) was awake. Suddenly he saw a big shadow flying with a mountain. Thinking that he could be a rakshas he shot an arrow towards it. When the arrow hit Hanuman he cried,” Shri Ram, Shri Ram!” and fell to the ground.
When Bharat heard the name of his brother he ran towards Hanuman and placed his head in his lap. He pleaded him to open his eyes and asked him why is he taking Shri Ram’s name and who he was? Hanuman narrated him the whole story. Hearing everything Bharat was in total grief. He started crying and asked for forgiveness.Turning towards Hanuman he said,”Hanuman! along with this parvat please climb on this arrow of mine and it will take you faster.”
Hearing this Hanuman was puzzled that how could an arrow carry his weight and the mountains weight, but soon realized that he is Lord Shri Ram’s brother and how can he doubt him(Bharat)? Taking Shri Ram’s name he climbed on that arrow and it took off and flew into the horizon. Back in Lanka everyone was eyeing the sky and suddenly Hanuman appeared carrying the parvat in his palm.
Vanars on the ground cheered his name and the whole environment was filled with chants of Jai Shri Ram and Jai Hanuman. Hanuman had managed to come before dawn. As soon as he landed on the ground Rajvaidya Sushena rushed towards the parvat and gathered a mix of Jadi bootis (Life saving herbs) and administered it to Lakshman. Within minutes Lakshman woke up and Shri Ram and everyone was overcomed with joy. Both brothers embraced each other and the whole environment was filled with tears of joy and happiness.
Sanjeevani booti was so magical that its smell made all the dead vanars come back to life again. It was the moment of rejoice and celebration among the vanars. Shri Ram thanked Rajvaidya Sushena and asked Hanuman to drop him back to Lanka along with his house. Ram hugged Hanuman and thanked him for saving Lakshman’s life. READ MORE ABOUT WAR IN SHREE RAM SEVENTH INCARNATION.
INDRAJIT KILLED –
When Indrajit learned about Lakshman’s recovery he decided to go and worship his kuldevi in a cave. Vibhishan knew about this. He informed Ram that, “Indrajit is praying to his kuldevi and if his demonic sacrifice is completed successfully then will become invincible”. Hearing this Ram dispatched Lakshman, Hanuman and Angad to those caves to disrupt Indrajits puja. As they reached the cave, Lakshman challenged Indrajit to come out and fight with him. When they received no response they entered the cave and monkey disturbed his puja by throwing impure things in the sacrificial fire. Finally Indrajit’s puja was disrupted, he was filled with anger. He knew that his sacrifice was interrupted and now his end is near. A great battle was fought between the two.
His chariot was destroyed and he could no longer fly or hide himself, still he fought bravely. They both discharged their arrows and fought for hours. In the last Lakshman used a celestial weapon, Indrastra to kill Indrajit. Indrajit finally met his end. On learning about his beloved son’s fate, Ravan broke down and was in distress. Ravana himself wanted to go the battlefield but before leaving he visited Mahakal (God of time) temple to pray for strength.
RAVAN KILLED –
Enraged with anger Ravan entered the battlefield with his magical weapons. Ravan fell on his enemy like an avalanche killing everyone who came in his way. He asked his charioteer to take him to Ram and Lakshman. Both Ram and Ravan fought with celestial weapons of all kinds and a tumultuous battle broke between the two. Ravana used all his mayavi, mysterious and magical shaktis to distract Ram, but Ram rendered all his tricks and destroyed all his weapons. If Ravan dispatched Nagpash weapon then Ram destroyed his weapon by using Garudastra weapon.
Seeing all his arrows being destroyed Ravan was weakened in his spirit. Ram aimed a crescent shaped arrow at Ravan and that arrow threw one of Ravan’s head far off into the sea. Ram repeated the same with rest of the heads but to his astonishment, every time he sliced Ravan’s head or hand off another head or hand grew in its place. This cycle continued and soon it was about to get dark.
Vibhishan knew that as night approaches, Ravan’s magical powers will increase in force so he went to Ram and said,”My Lord, Ravan had obtained “Amrit” (the nectar of immortality), from the Gods. He couldn’t consume it so he has stored it in his stomach. And because of this Amrit his heads and body is regenerating as soon as they are cut off”.
Hearing to his advice Ram worshiped the sun god and invoked the most powerful celestial weapon, the Brahmastra. Ram aimed the great arrow towards Ravan’s stomach and it destroyed the amrit,and Ravan fell to the ground. This was the end of the mighty Ravan. Mandodari cried and wept inconsolably after seeing Ravan’s body. Visbhihan performed the last rite of his brother.
SITA’S AGNI PARIKSHA
With Ravan dead, Vibhishan was crowned the king of Lanka. Ram asked Hanuman to visit Lanka and after seeking Vibhishan’s permission bring Sita back. Vibhishan was elated to see Hanuman and after hearing Lord Ram’s orders he arranged everything and Sita was brought back respectfully to Ram. To everyone’s surprise, Rama asked Sita to prove her purity since she had lived in his enemy’s place.
Lakshman who was looking at Ram in dismay build a huge pyre and Sita entered the sacrificial fire, Agni the lord of fire raised Sita from the fire unharmed, and declared her purity. Ram accepted Sita and everyone danced with joy. Ram then reminded Sita that how he had kept Sita under the protection of Agni God and the one who was abducted was the pratibimb (shadow) of Sita. After Sita came back from Lanka, it was necessary to bring the real Sita out from the security of Agni God and that’s why she had given agni pariksha. Now it was time to return back to Ayodhya.
RAM’S RETURN TO AYODHYA
All the devtas, Brahma and Indra came to thanks the supreme lord and sang praises in his honor. After they left Ram told Vibhishan that there is one day left in his 14 years of exile and if doesn’t reach Ayodhya on time then Bharat will end his life. Vibhishan offered his Pushpak viman (the flying chariot) and that will carry all them to Ayodhya. On his way back Ram showed Sita all the places he had spent time searching for her like Rishiyamukh Mountain, Dandakvan, and many other places. They stopped at Shringberpur and met Nishad raj. Sita performed a prayer to river Ganga. Soon they all left for Ayodhya where Bharat was impatiently waiting for their arrival.
Ram, Sita and Lakshman met Guru Vashishth and touched his feet. Then they met all the mothers with great respect and affection. Finally he met his brothers Bharat and Shatrughna. Under Guru Vashishth supervision and with great pomp, and fanfare the coronation of Shri Ram was done in Ayodhya. This day is celebrated as Dusshera and on this day effigies of Ravan, Kumbhkaran and Meghnath are burnt to mark the victory of good over evil.
******************************* JAI SREE RAM ***************************************
*BOON OF NAL AND NEEL – Nal and Neel, were the two monkeys in the army of Sri Raam. They were very notorious in their childhood. They use to tease rishi munis and throw their belongings in the river, only to see them floating in water. One day it angered a Rishi and he gave them the curse that what ever they throw in water it would float, may their toys or stones or boulders, it will never sink.