Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Ramayana (Rama and Ravana) story in pictures – Yuddha Kand (5)

Yuddha Kand (Rama and Ravana)- Part 5

In this part of Yuddha kand, Ravana loses his top commanders to Rama’s monkey commanders. The mighty warriors of Ravana meet death at the hands of Hanumana, Angada and Nila. This happens after Rama and Laxmana survived the attack of Indrajit. It was now Ravana’s turn to face the music.

Ravana knows about survival of Rama and Laxman

Ravana knows about survival of Rama and Laxman

Ravana knows that Rama and Laxmana have survived

Ravana heard the rejoicing monkeys, and asks some demons to discover the cause of that rejoicing.  The demons came back with the information that Rama and Laxmana have been relieved of the shackle of arrows.  They added that the two brothers Rama and Laxmana are alive and appear like two strong elephants in the battle-field.

Ravana then calls Dhumraksha, a demons and asks him to go with an army and kill Rama, Laxmana and the monkeys. Dhumraksha along with his army enters the western gate of Lanka where the army-chief Hanumana is present. Dhumraksha notices several bad omens.

Hanumana kills Demons

Hanumana kills Demons

Dhumraksha’s bad omens were not unfounded as Hanumana kills him

Dhumraksha along with army attacks the monkeys. A splendid battle ensued between the monkeye and the demons. The battle reached frightful proportions in that both the monkeys and demons were killed in large numbers. Hanumana shattered Dhumraksha’s chariot to pieces. Lifting his mace, Dhumraksha fights with Hanuman, who in turn hits him on his head and kills him. 

Several Demons killed by Hanumana

Several Demons killed by Hanumana

Another Ravana commander, Vajradamstra killed by Angada

Ravana then sends Vajradamstra, another demon to kill Rama, Sugreeva and his monkeys. Vajradamstra and his army emerge from the southern gate where Angada was positioned by Rama. The monkeys had a tough fight with the demons. Vali’s son Angada, the leader of the monkeys, strikes the terrible strong demons, chopping off their heads. The powerful demon Vajradamshtra penetrated the army of monkeys, sowing terror among them. The monkeys then sought refuge with Angada the monkey-leader. A fierce battle ensues between Vajradamshtra and Angada. Angada assaults Vajradamshtra with a sword and Vajradamshtra’s head falls on the ground.

Akampan meets death by the hands of Hanumana

Another great commander of Ravana, Akampana was sent for the battle. A fierce conflict ensued between monkeys and demons. Kumuda, Nala and Mainda the chiefs of monkeys creates a great carnage among demons. Akampana enters the battle-field and assails the monkeys with his bow and arrows. Then, Hanuman comes to the rescue of the monkeys. A great fight ensued between Akampana and Hanuman. Hanuman strikes the head of Akampana with a huge tree and Akampana dies. All the demons take to their heels and return to Lanka.

Prahasta also meets death, by Rama’s vailant commander, Nila

Ravana asks Prahasta to go to the battle. Prahasta sets out for the combat along with a huge army and enters the eastern gate. Bad omens appeared, as Prahasta enters the battle-field. The army of monkeys seized hold of trees and rocks, to attack the demons.On Rama’s enquiry, Vibhishana explains the prowess of Prahasta who entered the battle-field. The demons with their arrows and the monkeys with their stones combat each other. Both the monkeys and demons were killed in the battle. Prahasta the demon and Nila the monkey come face to face to fight. Prahasta hurls a volley of darts over Nila. Nila kills Prahasta’s horses by hurling a huge tree and breaks his bow. Finally a huge rock hurled by Nila breaks Prahasta’s head into myriad pieces and dies. All the other demons abandon the battle-field and return to Lanka.

Nila kills demons

Nila kills demons

 

 

The Ramayana (Rama and Ravana) story in pictures – Yuddha Kand (4)

Yuddha Kand from Ramayana – Part 4 (contd.)

In this article, events of the  first day of battle are described. High point of this battle was Rama and Laxmana were taken unconscious because of the designs of Indrajit, the son of Ravana. They were saved by Garuda, and vanara’s rejoiced.

Rama sends Angad one last time

Lord Rama, as a last resort, sends Angada to Ravana. He tries his best to convince Ravana, but in vain. Ravana commands his attendants to seize Angada. Angada shakes out those attendants who tried to seize him. He then ascended the roof of Ravana’’s palace, tramples and crushes it down by his strength. After this, He finally returns to Lord Rama.

Angad at Lanka

Angad at Lanka

Vanaras take Lanka under siege

After this, on command of Lord Rama, vanaras take Lanka under seige. As per his advice, all commanders took the position assigned to them. Ravana was informed of this by demons. He assesses the situation and found that large number of monkeys have virtually taken over Lanka. They have started destroying the city of Lanka. Ravana issues command to start combat. Fights start – Demons with weapons and monkeys with trees, mountain tops, etc.

The battle begins

A number of  duels arose between Rama’s army and demons, who ran up towards each other. Indrajit, the son of Ravana, fought with Angada. Sampati, who regained his wings after letting the vanara’s aware of Sita’s place, was fighting with Prajangha. Hanuman, the son of Pavan with Jambumali. Vibheeshana fought with the demon Shatrughna,  and so on. Laxman encountered Virupaksha and Agniketu and others with Rama. Blood flowed from both sides. In hand-to-hand encounters, the strong monkeys destroyed the Ravana’s demons.

Vanaras and Demons at Lanka

Vanaras and Demons at Lanka

The battle intensifies and great demons were killed

During the battle, Sampati managed to kill PrajanghaSugriva, killed Praghasa after he was threatening to swallow the monkey-troops with a Saptaparna tree. Laxman killed Virupaksha with an arrow.  Rama was wounded by Agniketu, Rashmiketu, Mitrughna and Yajnakopa. Soon, Rama chopped the hands of those four demons in the battle by his four terrific arrows having fire-like points. From Rama’s army, Nila received some strong opposition from Nikumbha.

Vidyunmali, who was proving an outstanding warrior on that night, was finally killed by Sushena. The demons waited for the night.

The night which saw Rama and Laxmana captured

In night, battle commences again.The demons destroy some monkeys. The monkeys drag and kill elephants, chariots and their occupants. Rama and Laxman killed a number of demons. Angad made Indrajit ran away from battle field after striking him hard. Sugriva praises Angad. But Indrajit comes back to the battle field and uses magic and serpent arrows to secure Rama and Laxman. Gloom prevailed over Rama’s army as the great brother lay still on the ground.

Hanuman and Angada started grieving. Indrajit celebrated with demons. Indrajit also attacked other monkeys and monkeys started to run away from the battlefield.

Meghnaad used naga astra against Ram and Laxman

Meghnaad used naga astra against Ram and Laxman

Vibhishana consoles everyone

Indrajit  informs Ravana that both Rama and Lakshmana have been killed. Ravana applauds his son for his great achievement. Everyone in the Rama’s camp was grieving. Seeing the plight of Vanaras, alongwith Nila, Hanumana, Angada and Jambavant, Vibhishana consoles and assures them that Rama and Laxmana will be alright. In Ashoka Vatika, Sita also receives this news and sank into sorrow. However, She was consoled by Trijata that nothing would happen to Rama. Meanwhile, because of his strength, Rama regains consciousness and thought that Laxmana is not well.

Garuda freed Rama and Laxmana

Garuda the King of Birds, makes his appearance on the scene and liberates Rama and Lakshmana from their bondage. It happened that all the snakes which bound Rama and Laxmana, fled away on appearance of this great bird, who was the son of Vinata. Thereupon, Garuda the eagle, coming into contact with Rama and Lakshmana  offering them his good wishes, with his hands caressly touched their faces that were radiant like the moon. The wounds of Rama and Laxmana healed after they came in contact with Garuda.

Ram and Laxman in nagpaash - revived by Garuda

Ram and Laxman in nagpaash – revived by Garuda

Monkeys celebrate

Thereafter, gongs were beaten, drums resounded, and couches were blown amid jumping in joy of the monkeys as before. Some other strong monkeys who use trees as maces in battle, waving their arms and uprooting hundreds and thousands of various trees, stood there, ready for the battle. Uttering great noises, frightening the demons and desirous to fight, the monkeys reached the gates of Lanka.

 

Baidyanath jyotirlinga temple

Kanwar festival or Shravan festival in India

Shravan festival in India

The month of Shrawan is a very holy month for hindu pilgrims. In this month, Lord Shiva is worshipped in Deoghar and people from all part of India throng at this place. They also undertook an arduous journey and offer water to Lord which they took from distant places and cover the distance on foot.

Kanwar Yatra is named after the Kanvar. Kanvar is a single pole  with two roughly equal loads fastened or dangling from opposite ends.  These loads are normally Ganges water which is offered to Lord Shiva after completion of Kanwar or Kanwad journey.

The month of Shravan is celebrated in worship to Lord Shiva and most devotees observe a fast on Mondays during this month. This festival is called Sharavn festival or Kanwar festival.

Kanwad festival

Ten days before Shiv-Teras thousands of Lord Shiva devotees gather in Haridwar to collect holy waters from the river Ganga to carry it back to their hometown and offer it at the local Shiv temple.

In north india, the Kanwarias take the water from Haridwar, Gangotri and other holy places. They take the water to their respective towns and offer the gangajaal to a local holy temple of Lord Shiva. This pilgrimage is done by covering the distance from Haridwar to their respective cities largely on foot. The devotees are mainly males, but females also celebrate this festival of Lord Shiva or Bhole Baba.

Kanwar festival - Devotees taking gangajaal from har ki pairi

Kanwar festival – Devotees taking gangajaal from har ki pairi, haridwar

Smaller pilgrimages are also undertaken to places like Allahabad and Varanasi.

In Bihar, during this festival, the kanwarias take the holy water from Sultanganj. Sultanganj has a special significance since Ganga turns northward at Sultanganj. The water is carried from here to Deoghar, the nearest Shiv jyotirling. This is 105 km far from sultanganj. It takes four days for the devotees to reach Deoghar walking. The devotees generally walk by day and take shelter at dharamshalas during night, some adventurous ones continue their journey during night.  Then there are Dak Kanwariyas, who cover the distance by running only in a day. They are supposed to travel the distance in one day only is quite arduous.  After offering water in Deoghar, devotees travel to basukinath, which is another place of interest for pilgrims.

Dak Kanwariyas during Shravan or Kanwar festival

Dak Kanwariyas during Shravan or Kanwar festival