Ms.Anandhi Ramasubramanian
Ms. Usha Satyan

After Hanuman returned to lord Rama’s camp after completing his mission of finding the whereabouts of sita, Lord Rama and Sugriva marched with their Vanara army towards the southern sea. When the Vanara army reached the Mahendra mountains they rested for a while. The spread of the Vanara army on the hill tops was a glorious sight though fiery.  It appeared as if the whole earth was covered with monkeys, monkeys and more monkeys.

In Lanka, Ravana, who learnt through his spies about the Vanara army camping on the other side was very much worried. He summoned his ministers for advice. All of them praised Ravana to the sky declaring that he was unconquerable . These words comforted him and boosted his pride. Ravana also consulted his brothers Vibishana and Kumbhakarna . Vibishana advised Ravana to return Sita to Rama and make peace with him but Ravana would not listen to him. Vibishana and his 4 friends left Lanka and took refuge in Rama. However Kumbha karna agreed to fight for his brother Ravana.

Back in Rama’s camp, Sugriva, Lakshmana and Vibishana discussed the ways and means to cross the sea. Rama prayed to the Lord of the Ocean for a passage for which Samudra raja appeared before him and suggested that they build a bridge with the help of the architect Nala who was in the Vanara army. The bridge was completed in 5 days using stones and boulders. The entire Vanara army then crossed the sea and reached Lanka.

In the meantime, Ravavna thought of a devious plan to make Sita yield to him, which he hoped would make Rama go back disgraced and broken hearted. With the help of a magician Vidhudjihva, a head resembling that of Rama was produced before Sita. Ravana with all his pride now announced to Sita that he had killed Rama. Just then, due to an emergency, Ravana had to rush back to the Council Hall to meet his Generals. When he left, the illusory head of Rama also vanished leaving Sita totally perplexed. Sarama, one of the rakshasis who cared for Sita comforted her, saying that Rama was alive and safe in Lanka, and that she was now only deceived by Ravana’s magic.

The Vanara army was now getting ready to fight – only waiting for the green signal form Lord Rama. However,  Lord Rama had different ideas. True to his noble character, Dharmatma Rama tried now to avert the war by sending Angada to Ravana as a messenger of peace, but Ravana did not want this peace. On the contrary he tried to kill Angada, who however managed to escape.

At this stage, Rama declares a full fledged war on Lanka.  He ordered his Vanara army to attack.  The Vanara’s used uprooted trees & boulders to attack the Rakshasas. Thousands were killed on either side and the battle field was soaked in blood.  It appeared as if Rama’s army was gaining the upper hand. At this time, Indrajit adopted his Maya tactics and shot the Nagapasa at Rama & Lakshmana.  The Serpants from the arrow hit them, and soon Rama & Lakshmana both fell to the ground, bound hand and foot.  Seeing their Masters down, the Vanaras panicked.  Indrajit thought that Rama & lakshmana were dead, and soon this message was conveyed to Ravana.  Ravana now instructed one of the Rakshasis Trijatha to take Sita to the battle field on the Pushpaka Vimana to show her the dead bodies of Rama & Lakshmana. Though initially Sita lost her balance, she was soon consoled by the friendly Trijatha that both Rama & lakshmana were alive.

Meanwhile, the celestial eagle Garuda came into view at the battle field.  At his sight, the serpants binding the two brothers fled away. Garuda now stroked the faces of Rama & Lakshmana with his wings and their wounds were healed.  Both Rama & lakshmana rose refreshed as if from a long sleep. Garuda then flew away.

The joy which Rama’s army experienced on seeing their Masters fully recovered was indescribable.  The sounds of their drums and bugles filled the air. They resumed their attack with greater vigour.   Ravana sent many great Generals to the battle front but they were all killed.  At last Ravana himself  mounted his chariot  and came to the battle field. A fierce battle took place.  Ravana shot the powerful Brahmasthra at Lakshmana and made him unconscious.  Hanuman hit Ravana with his feet, and then quickly carried away Lakshmana to Lord Rama to review him.

Now it was the turn of Rama to fight Ravana one to one. Ravana could not stand the mighty power of Lord Rama. Ravana was deeply wounded, his bow fell down from his hands, his chariot was smashed, and he stood helplessly before Rama.  Lord Rama now showed once again how noble he was. He took pity on Ravana and asked him to come the next day to fight in a new chariot with fresh weapons.

Ravana was devastated. He was not only ashamed, but his pride was humbled. He ordered Kumbakarna to be woken up from his sleep and to take part in the battle. However Kumbhakarna was defeated by Rama. Similarly, the other sons of Ravana too were wiped out by the Vanara army.

On hearing the news, Ravana sat dejected in his palace. Seeing his plight, Indrajit vowed to finish off once and for all, Rama & Lakshmana at once. He used his Maya tactics and becoming invisible, he showered powerful arrows on the Vanaras.  They became totally powerless against an enemy they could not see. Finally, Indrajit discharged the sacred Brahmasthra which made Rama, lakshmana and the Vanaras unconscious. Jambhavan then instructed Hanuman to go to the Sanjeevini Parvat and get the four wonderful herbs which alone could bring the dead back to life.  Hanuman, on reaching the Sanjivini Parvat could not make out which were the specific herbs, and so he uprooted the entire mountain and flew back to Lanka. At the very smell of the herbs, Rama, Lakshmana & the Vanaras leapt to life with their wounds healed.

In modern times, success is measured by the skill and personality of a person, but though skill and personality are needed to achieve success, it can never guarantee happiness and fulfillment. These can come only from developing character.

I would like to conclude by saying that Ravana’s life is an ideal example of the Greek proverb “character is destiny”. Ravana, no doubt was a very great person, but inspite of being repeatedly advised by wise men to return Sita  back to Rama, he refused to do so. Thus his pride, and passion for Sita overpowered him, and he was destined to destruction.

Jai Sri Ram

Ms. Usha Satyan

After the death of Kumba karna, his sons Kumba and Nikumba accompanied by several warriors came to destroy vanaras.  Sugriva with a powerful hit of his mighty fist felled Kumba to the ground and he died.  Hanuman pushed Nikumba to the ground and sat on his chest.  Nikumba was strangled to death and his head was wrenched off his body.  Then Indrajit, son of Ravana, who is his greatest strength rose up into the sky and hiding himself behind the clouds, he began to harass the brothers.  Many vanaras were killed and Rama made up his mind to kill the son of Ravana.

Lakshmana used the astra "AINDRA" which traveled like a streak of lightning and it severed the beautiful head of Indrajit from his body and it fell to the ground.  Indrajit who had captured Indra and brought him to his fathers city as a captive was killed by the astra which was ironically enough, presided over by Indra.  Rama was very happy and thrilled at the achievement of his beloved Lakshmana.  Ravana could not believe that his Indrajit could die.  Ravana was inconsolable and his grief turned into anger.  Ravana attacked the vanaras with all his pent up fury and hatred.  Lakshmana and Vibheeshana tried to bar Ravana's way but they were not successful. When he saw Vibheeshana, Ravana's fury doubled and he shot a blazing arrow at him but Lakshman stopped it midway.  Ravana shot another blazing brand at Lakshmana who fell down unconscious.  Hanuman again fetched the hill of herbs to revive Lakshmana.

Ravana is known for his wisdom as well as for his weakness for woman which may explain why he is pictured as very brainy (ten heads)

Rama confronts ten-headed Ravana.  A terrible battle ensued between Rama and Ravana.  The devas and gandharvas watched with beating hearts and bated breath.  Rama and Ravana let go divine astras, one more potent than  the other.  Rama cut off one head of Ravana's after the other.  As he cut off one head, another would rise to take its place and each succeeding head more efficient than the previous one.  Rama was baffled.  Ravana only let out his most hideous laughter as he watched Rama's growing confusion.

Indra sensed Rama's distress and sent down his own divine chariot and charioteer, Maatali to help him  The battle grew more fierce.  Rama and Ravana were both wounded.  Rama wounded every limb of Ravana but he still fought bravely.  Streams of blood flowed from his body.  In his last moment he looked proud, haughty and majestic.  Maatali whispered in Rama's ear to use "Agastya's astra" as Ravana's time is up.  Rama took the brahmastra invoked it in the manner which had been prescribed and placed it on the string.  When he did it the earth trembled with fear and all the animals and birds made frightened noises.  Rama pulled the string to his ear and released the great Brahmastra.  With a snake like hiss the astra darted forth and pierced the magnificent wide chest of Ravana.  This was the seat of all his power and strength and is now destroyed by Rama's burning shaft.  Ravana's bow slithered from his dying hands.  With a crash that shook the three worlds he fell down.  He face glowed in death.

The vanaras shouted and danced with joy.  The remaing rakshasas were frightened and scattered like scared mice.  The devas showered flowers from heaven and the Sun smiled his warm blessings.  Vibheeshana was moved to tears by the pity he felt for his brother.  Rama comforted him by saying " A hero who dies in the battlefield should not be mourned. He died a brave death and now shines bright as the Sun in the warriors heaven"  Vibheeshana refused to perform the last rites for Ravana. Rama, the noble, the valiant tells him that,

"All enmity ends with death"

and that he should perform the funeral rites for his brother to help him to reach the loka of his pitru's - Lanka mourned and Vibheeshana was crowned the King of Lanka.

Mandodari, the queen of Ravana the mother of Indrajit came to the battle field and spoke in a pained voice - "It is not possible for a man to kill my Lord.  I am sure it is Lord Narayana who has killed you.  Because of the blindness of lust, you desired Sita and the death came in the shape of Sita and she became the cause of your death.  You were not defeated by Rama in war but it was your own sinfulness which has killed you."

Rama sent Hanuman to fetch Sita.  Sita was so happy with relief at the victory of her beloved Lord Rama and wanted to see Rama as soon as possible.  Hanuman wanted to kill all the wicked rakshasis who guarded Sita but Sita says not to harm them.  They are not to blame.  They were only obeying their king.

One's mercy and compassion should be available to all. Such is the mark of a noble soul.

After Sita proves her purity- Rama, Lakshmana, Sita, Hanuman, Sugreeva & Vibheeshana returned to Ayodhya in Pushpaka Vimana.  Ayodhya was in a frenzy of ecstatic joy.  Rama and Bharata met as no brothers had met before.  Tears of happiness were in all eyes.  The brothers prostrated to their Guru Vasishta.

Bharata said to Rama, "Brother, take back now what always belonged to you-your crown, your people, your kingdom, your throne.   I have faithfully served your sandals these past fourteen years.  Now relieve me of my responsibility.  Rama donned the coronation robes.  Mother Sita was dressed beautifully in proper queenly style.  She was more beautiful than ever now, after having endured all the hardships of the forest and suffering at Ravana's hands (lanka).

Rama and Sita were seated on the thrones.  Lakshmana was near by.  Bharata & Satrugna held the royal white umbrella behind Rama.  Sugreeva & Vibheeshana gently waved the fans.  Rama was crowned king by sage Vasishta.  The dream of his Guru, of the queen mothers, of the loving and devoted brothers and of doting Ayodhyavasis was now fulfilled.  Sita took a pearl necklace and placed it around Hanuman's neck.  The humble and devoted Hanuman clasped the feet of his divine Lord and Lady and in hushed tones of respect he said,

"Grant that I shall live down the ages to listen to your divine story, wherever it is sung by loving and devoted people."

Rama smiled and blessed him.  Goodness and virtue had regained their lost crowns.  Rama rajya -  "an ideal time when everyone does his or her dharma, an age of supreme contentment, joy and goodness and where fathers never have to light the funeral pyres for their sons" had taken birth.

Narayana, the Lord who is all pervading, who has his abode in the ocean of milk and who is also called Hari, who has no beginning, no middle and no end, who is the Lord of Lords, who is the Ancient "Rama" and He will bless the one who studies this Ramayana and the one who listens to the story of Rama with reverence.  All his desires will be granted.  It grants Long life, Wealth, Health, Children, Fame, Comradeship with brothers, Good intelligence, Glory, Peace and Contentment.