Yuddhakand - 98

ram: l:xm:N:p:v:j: rG:v:r s:it:ap:et: s:drm: .
kaktsT: k,N:aN:v: g:N:en:eD: ev:)e)y: D:aem:km: .
raj:d s:ty:s:D: dS:rT:t:n:y: Sy:am:l: S:at:m:et:m: .
v:d l::kaeB:ram: rG:kl:et:l:k raG:v: rav:N:aerm: ..

Talk By:  Vasanth

After discovering Sitadevi, Lord Raama’s messenger Hanuman flies back to his army camp. As he approached the Mahendra Hills, He roared his greetings to Raama , Lakshmana, King Sugriva and all his Vaanara gang.

He touched the ground and with palms folded with great humility, he stood before Raama and gave the news that Sitadevi had been found. Raama was overwhelmed with emotions. Everyone was happy and wonderstruck at Hanumanji’s impossible achievements.

Raama took Hanumanji in his hands and held him to his bosom in a divine embrace. All the troubles, insults and sufferings that Hanumanji had undergone melted away. He had felt the Lord’s embrace. Hanumanji described in detail the defense formation of lanka nad the valiance of the Rakshasa army and said to Raama " Please command us what should be done now ?" Now Raama was very eager to move his army forward. He was tormented by his thought of Sita’s helplessness. He was aching for the day when he could kill that wicked Rakshasa King. He was impatient to see her. The fire os separation was burning him. After seeing Sitadevi, Hanumanji had played real havoc in the beautiful city of Lanka. The Rakshasa monarch was very much disturbed by this act. He had sensed the threatening period. So he sought the advice of elders, wisemen and his ministers.

The whole assembly rose and declared in one loud voice. " Oh mighty king, noone can vanquish you. You have defeated many devaas and asuras. You have tamed many. We shall deal with the enemy. Hail Ravana , all glory to you."

His ministers were all devious rakshasas who had taken to evil ways. The evil can give the evil nothing but evil counsel. But Ravana’s brother Vibhishana pleaded with him with a few scholarly words. " Brother, it si morally wrong to have carried away Sita and keep her captive. You must be on the path of Dharma. restore Sita to Raama respectfully before the Vaanaras enter the city. Otherwise Sita will be the cause of untold misery for you and Lanka."

Ravana looked at his bother with great anger and spoke , " Never will I return Sita. You may leave us and go away." In this assembly, Raavana’s son, Indrajit also insults Vibhishana. Valmiki says that the insult of a righteous man results in disaster for the one who insults.

Ravana’s sense of pride and injured vanity kept him going on the wrong path. Vibhishana leaves his brother and Lanka and soon comesto Raama and takes refuge at His feet. To that righteous Vibhishan, who was born in the Rakshasa family, Raama grants a place in his army.

Making their way through forests, mountains and rivers , the Vaanara army led by Sugriva reaches the sea shore at last. Now this sea was a great barricade for them. Raama invokes the lord of the seas and the Ocean God with reverence tells Raama to build a bridge across. The mighty Vaanaras taking the name of Shri Raama complete the construction of Navsethu. With resounding shouts of triumph, The Vanaraas marched over the bridge ino Lanka. Raama sees many Vaanaras and bears and the excitement in their faces. They had come to help Raama. They were there to give their lives. Raama was touched by their devotion. His heart was brimming with gratitude, happiness and humility.

Now they all were almost in Lanka. Raama looked at the beautiful city which was full of glory and prosperity and pondered that it pitiable that it would have to be destroyed due to the delusion of one person. Lord Raama , who was Narayana in human form was there to oppsoe and destroy the unrighteous. Even at this last moment the abode of peace and tranquility try to avert the war by sending a messenger but the Rakshasa king never listened. His ministers and advisors also failed to persuade the diabolical king.

It appeared that he had sacrificed his happiness and everlasting prosperity at the altar of lust and pride. He had taken to wicked ways. Ravana commanded his army and it was kept ready. The Vaanara army climbed down the mountain and swarmed into the forest surrounding the city. The two armies were now poised for battle.

After receiving the signals, the Vaanaras with shouts of " Victory to Raama", " Long Live Raama" charged on the fortress of Lanka. They lifed huge boulders, rocks and trees and shook lanka to its very foundations.

A powerful force of the Rakshasas rushed out to the Raama’s army. Both fought a fierce battle. Nothing could be seen except destruction after destruction. The fighting of Sugriva, Hanuman, Angadha, Jambavan and Neel was glorious. Many great warriors of the Rakshasas army were slain.

In this process Ravana’s valiant son Indrajit came on the battlefield. He was blessed with boons from Brahma. He claimed many lives. He used his Nagpashastra and Lakshmana and Raama became unconscious. Garuda then came on the field and removed the poison and both the princes sat up with renewed strength. Indrajit’s anxiety grew more. He then used the Brahmatra and it made Raama lakshmana and many Vaanaras unconscious.

Jambavan thinks of herbal medicine for them. He sents Hanuman to get the Sanjivani herb from the Himalyas. Hanumanji grew in size and flew to the Himalayas to get the herbs, but there he finds it difficult to identify and so he lifts the entire mountain and brings to Lanka and after resurrection of Lakshamana , Raama and many injured Vaanaras takes it back.

In the battle, Indrajit was killed by Lakshamana. Ravan’s dear brother Kumbakarna was also sent to Yama’s abode. This pain was too much for Ravana to bear. Finally, in a fit of rage, he himself, sets out to the battle field. Ravana’s charioteer drove the monarch in a gleaming chariot which was drawn by eight horses and brought him to his desired spot. Rama looked at Ravana with interest. This Lord of Rakshasas was glorious to look at, full of courage and valour. He was endowed with all the qualities of a great hero.

Ravana was furious on the field and this anger on Ravana’s brow was seen by Raama. This diabolical devil had abducted Sitadevi. Sitadevi was desolate because she was kept captive. She was full of sorrow and mourning her separation from her beloved Raama. The thought of Sitadevi made Raama more valiant. Raama whose fame was known in all the three worlds took an arrow in his hand. Lakshmana and Hanuman were very eager to fight Ravana. For a long time, they put up a good fight, but even then, Ravana could not be defeated. Ravana released his agni astra and Lakshmana became injured and fell unconscious. Pavana putra was once again asked to get the Sanjeevani herb. Once again, he brought the entire mountain. The fragrance of the Sanjeevani revived Lakshmana and Rama was very happy to see Lakshmana alive. Words cannot describe Raama’s love for Lakshmana.

In the final encounter, Ravana was facing Raama. Both were masters in archery. Great, divine weapons were used by Ravana. During their fight, the earth trembled and even the Gods in the heavens were worried. Even nature seemed to stand still. Raama had injured Ravana’s hands and legs. Ravana’s last hours were fast approaching. Even at this stage, he was still undaunted. This wicked Rakshasa, who had once taken the form of a mendicant with a begging bowl in his hands, now stood in front of Raama. He had offended Raama and Raama was not ready to forgive him.

Raama released the divine agastya astra which penetrated Ravana’s chest. Streams of blood flowed from his body. His beautiful bow, slid down and crashed on the ground, causing the three worlds to tremble. This powerful king who had once ruled the entire world and who had been blessed by boons from Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, now lay dead. His face glowed in death! His wife Mandodari said, "It is not possible for an ordinary man to kill my lord. Raama is not just any man, He is someone divine. Lord Narayana Himself, has killed my lord!". Lanka mourned the death of king Ravana and Vibhishana was crowned as king.

There was great excitement in the Vaanara army. Everyone was eager to see Sitadevi, for whose sake the battle was fought. Lord Raama met his wife. Sitadevi’s eyes were filled with tears. She looked at the dear face of her Lord and her sorrow was at an end. Her eyes which had thirsted for her Lord, now drank the beauty of Rama.

Later on, Sitadevi was made to undergo the Agni pariksha. The fire God told Rama, "There is no taint on her name and she has been thinking only of you all the time!". Rama’s eyes were streaming with tears. He embraced and accepted his wife. Their separation, was now, truly over.

Only few days were now left, for the exile of fourteen years to be over. Raama, Sitadevi, Hanuman, Sugreeva, Jambhavan and all the Vaanaras got into their devine vehicle and made their way to Ayodhya. Raama looked at all of them and said that they had been true friends to Him and had done miracles for Him.

In Ayodhya, everyone assembled to witness Raama’s coronation ceremony. Virtue and Goodness had regained its lost crown! Sweet music floated in the air. Lord Raama and Sitadevi embodied the ideal couple, to enable human beings to live a dharmic way of life, in thought, word and in deed, under all circumstances and conditions. Raama and Sitadevi live forever in the hearts of their devotees.

dakshiNe lakshmaNo yasya, vaame tu janakaatmajaa,
puurato maaruti yasya, tvaM vande raghunandanam.h

Here they stand, the embodiments of Laxmi and Narayana, along with Lakshmana, the personification of puNya and in front of that param bhakta, the unique Ramadaasa Hanumanji, a radiant gem in the garland of Ramayana. Koti pranaams to them.

November 12, 1999 06:08 PM

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