Monthly Archives: May 2014

Rama and Ravana - The Ramayana

The Ramayana (Rama and Ravana) story in pictures – Yuddha Kand (1)

Yuddha Kand (1) or Lanka Kand

This is the last and the longest chapter of Valmiki Ramayana. This is also known as Lanka Kand. Since this is a long chapter, this story will be presented in a series of  articles. This is very interesting article where great demons were slain by Human and monkeys. Ravana, incidentally, did not seek immunity from these from his famous boon from Brahma

 

Rama and Ravana - The Ramayana

Rama and Ravana – The Ramayana

Rama welcomes Hanumana

After Hanumana succesfully locates Sita in Lanka and performed the act of burning the city of Lanka, He returns to Kishkindha. Rama listens to the whole story and praises Hanumana acknowledging the fact that this feat was not possible by ordinary people.

The seed of doubt

As Rama spoke about the enormity of the task which was performed by Hanumana, he gets worried that how his army of monkeys will reach Lanka, which was so difficult to reach. The vast ocean was the biggest hurdle. Sugriva comforts Rama  and he tells that the monkeys are efficient, strong and loyal to Rama. With help of the monkeys, surely they will be able to reach lanka and defeat Ravana.

 Rama gets the information on Lanka from Hanumana

Lord Rama asks Hanumana to provide him with the information on Lanka. Hanumana, skilled in oratory skills, describes the city of Lanka in detail. This city was strongly defended and as the vast sea is between them, it becomes truly impregnable. He elaborates that this city is surrounded by water and built on a mountain, it has four fold defenses including forest and artificial fortification.  Lanka is abounding with horses and elephants and is extremely difficult to conquer. Deep trenches and Sataghnis too as well as engines of war of every kind adorn Lanka the city of wicked Ravana.

Rama in consultation with monkeys

Rama in consultation with monkeys

Rama departs with army of monkeys for Lanka

 After getting the details form Hanumana, Rama chooses an auspicious hour to start his journey for his quest to take Sita back. They reach the seashore and Lord Rama confidently states that he will destroy the city of Lanka in no time. The time has now come to defeat Ravana and get Sita back. He also appoints generals for the army, notably Nila, Jambavant, Angad and others. They reached the seashore and faced the most pertinent question – How to cross the vast ocean?

Rama remembers Sita , Ravana had a meeting with his ministers

At this point, Lord Rama remembers Sita as he longed for her companionship. While in Lanka, Ravana assembles his ministers and discusses the current situation. To this, the ministers respond that he should be thinking too much about Rama. The Rakshasas are a strong group and they can easily defeat anyone. Ravana, himself has the honour of defeating Kubera and Indra, should be able to defeat and kill Rama, if need arises. Thus, Ravana was made confident by his ministers.

Vibheeshana’s word of advice

Vibheeshana, the wise brother of Ravana, advises to return Sita to Rama, as this act was not justified. But Ravana could not listen to him, and he sends him away. Ravana goes back to his assembly and asks all his warriors to be present at once. He then asks Prahast to defend the city of Lanka with his warriors.

Kumbhkarna reprimands Ravana but remains on his side

Ravana talks about his infatuation to Sita, his powers of battlefield, his boon and yet again, he is thoughtful of the devastation done by a single monkey. Kumbhkarna reprimands that the time of thinking is lost. If this act of consultation with us was done at the beginning of this action itself (of bringing Sita here), it would have been worthy of you. A king who performs king’s functions with a mind duly ascertained by justice, will not repent thereafter. He then said that he will kill Rama and Lakshmana and ensure that the victory is of Ravana’s.

Vibheeshana praises Lord Rama

Vibheeshana praises Lord Rama and he tells everyone about the power and prowess of Rama. He tells that he is a great warrior and equally a great archer. His arrows never miss their mark and he is expert in warfare. He advocates that Sita should be returned to Rama with honour. He also says that  If the beloved wife of Rama is not given away of your own accord, the city of Lanka will indeed perish. All our valiant demons too will perish.

Vibheeshana is admonished by Ravana and Indrajit

After hearing these words from him, Indrajit, son of Ravana criticizes him for underestimating the power of Ravana. He also says that Why are you frightening us?  At one time, the competent Devendra, the lord of three worlds, was indeed tossed down on the floor by me. All the flocks of celestials were cast into fear and all of them fled to different quarters. Airavata (Indra`s elephant), which was making noise discordantly, was hurled down by me on the floor. Ravana also gets angry and humiliates him before everyone.

Ravana and Vibheeshana

Ravana and Vibheeshana

Vibheeshana gets angry and leaves Lanka

Hearing a mouthful from Ravana and Indrajit, Vibheeshana loses his temper and flies wielding a mace in his hand, soared high into the sky, along with four other demons. Vibheeshana together with four of his companions reach Rama’’s place. Halting in the sky itself, Vibheeshana asks Rama to give a refuge to him. This was opposed by Sugriva, Angad, Jambavant and others. But Hanuman has different ideas. He trusted Vibheeshana and advocated his inclusion to Rama’s side. Finally, Rama says that he cannot refuse a person who has come to him, and there is merit in the person as he is speaking truth. Thus Vibheeshana is inducted into Rama’s side.

Tulabharam Shri Krishna

Sage Narada – Tulabharam (Krishna, Satyabhama and Rukmini)

A tale of two wives of Shri Krishna

This is the beautiful story of Shri Krishna and his two wives Satyabhama and Rukmini, which underlines the importance of devotion. Sage Narada as usual, has played a role into this as well.

Satyabhama belonged to a royal lineage and was very proud of her origins. Rukmini was very humble, though she was the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. Her devotion was pure to Shri Krishna.

Sage Narada’s plan

One day, Sage Narada came to Satyabhama and said that though she is beautiful and charming, Shri Krishna loves Rukmini more. Baffled by this, she said to him that what she can do get the Lord’s undivided attention. Sage Narada placed his card carefully – he said to Satyabhama that she needs to hand over Shri Krishna to him as a slave. Later on, He would trade Shri Krishna with her with equal weight of gold. In this way Shri Krishna will remain to her as this would prove her devotion towards Shri Krishna.

Narada - The omnipresent sage

Narada – The omnipresent sage

Satyabhama plans to impress Krishna

She agreed and approached Krishna and told him about her unfortunate vow to Sage Narada. The lord patiently listened to her and very meekly nodded his head. Satyabhama then commanded one of the servants to bring out the large scales used to weigh grains and groceries.

She also sent the caretaker of the coffers to bring out all her jewels and gold to the grand court room. And gently leading Krishna, she went to the Courtroom. All the ministers stared at the scales that had been placed at the center of the court. Their mouths further fell when they saw box after box of gold being carried inside. Krishna was silent throughout the entire time.

She gives Shri Krishna to Narada

Then as per the wishes of Narada, She gave Shri Krishna to Narada. Now the interesting part starts. In order to win back the Lord, She had to provide jewellery equal to the weight if Shri Krishna. As decided, Narada gave this option to Satyabhama. Amidst loud sighs of relief, Satyabhama agreed to it.

She wants to win him back with riches and ornaments

She then placed Krishna on one plate of the Scales and with a smirk on her face started piling up the gold, jewels and gemstones on the other plate. She kept adding more and more of her wealth, but the pan with Krishna did not even budge. To top it all Narada kept giving her ominous warnings, “Remember devi, if you fail to supply me with sufficient wealth, Krishna will forever be a slave to me. I can even bid him out to anyone I want.” Satyabhama freaked out and swallowing her pride, begged the other wives of Krishna to give her their jewels so thet they could retain Krishna. Out of their devotion to their lord,, the wives removed every gold ornament on their body until they were wearing only the Mangalsutra. But the scale showed no signs of motion.

Tulabharam Shri Krishna

Tulabharam Shri Krishna

Shri Krishna teases Satyabhama

Krishna, the master, told her, “Look Satyabhama, because of your stupid vow, I have to be a slave to this rishi. Oh how I hate this”, he complained. Satyabhama was at a loss for words when Krishna continued, “Why don’t you ask Rukmini. She must be able to get us out of this predicament”, he suggested coyly.

Rukmini comes to rescue

Satyabhama was in such a state that all her ill will towards Rukmini flew out of the window. She rushed to Rukmini’s private chambers and poured out the dire state of matters. Rukmini, ever calm, didn’t panic and came out to help Satyabhama. On the way she passed the sacred Tulsi plant and plucking a single leaf of Tulsi [Sacred Basil], she continued her way to the place where Shri Krishna and Narada were.

She very quietly walked towards the balance and praying to Krishna, placed the single tulsi leaf on all the piled up wealth. Lo and Behold! The pan containing Krishna flew up and remained underbalanced. Shocked at this, Satyabhama looked to Krishna for explanation. He asked Satyabhama to remove the riches from the balance.

Lord Krishna and Rukmini

Lord Krishna and Rukmini

Satyabhama understands the importance of devotion

Though sceptical, she agreed to what Krishna had to say. She removed all her riches save for Tulsi leaf, and yet, it weighed more than Krishna. She was stunned and humbled. Krishna jumped down from his high hanging pan and came to her, “Bhama, you gave all your riches to me, but there was no devotion in that offering. Just the feeling of possessiveness. When you made your offerings with such a thought in your mind, they lost their value and became mundane things. On the other hand Rukmini offered just a single tulasi leaf. But her intentions were noble. She made the offering with utmost love and devotion towards me. And that single leaf was sufficient to please me beyond expectations.

Sage Narada departs

Remember it is not the offering that matters, but the love and devotion with which you do it, that does.” Then leaving Satyabhama standing stunned in the court, Krishna returned to his chambers with his other wives. Turning to Narada, her eyes now shining bright with tears, Bhama said, “Devarishi, thank you for teaching me this hard learnt lesson today. I will never ever underestimate the power of devotion and love towards the lord.” Narada nodded and with his characteristic Narayana-Narayana, he was gone.

More stories about Lord Krishna