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Indian Mythology Yuddha Kand

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 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

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

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

 

 

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Festival Indian Mythology Navratri The Ramayana

Ram Navmi festival

Festival of Ram Navmi

Ram Navmi, is a Hindu festival celebrating birth of Lord Ram.

Lord Ram birth is celebrated in Rama Navmi festival
Lord Ram is believed to be seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Shri Ram Navmi is celebrated on ninth day(navmi) of chaitra month of hindu lunar year, in waxing moon (shukla paksha). This festival is celebrated with immense joy and enthusiasm all over India. In South India, this day is celebrated as wedding anniversary of Lord and Sita.

Legends around this festival

In Ramayan, Dasarath was king of Ayodhya. He had three wives, Kaushalya, Sumithra and Kaikeyi. King Dasarath was nat blessed with a child, so he and the people of Ayodhya were worried as they had no heir to their kingdom. Rishi Vasistha, suggested him to perform, Putra Kamesti Yagna, to get desired child.
King Dasarath agreed to this and went to meet Maharshi Rushya Shrungain, who gave his concent to solemanise the yagna. As a result of yagna, Fire God appeared and handed a bowl of payasam to king Dasarata, and asked him to give it to his wives. He gave one half to Kaushalya, other half to Kaikayi. And they two gave one half each of their payasam to Sumithra.
After few days all the three Queens conceived Dasratha’s child. On the ninth day (Navami) of Chaithra month of Hindu calendar , at noon Kaushlya gave birth to Lord Sri Ram, Kaikeyi gave birth to Bharath, and Sumithra gave birth to twins, Lakshman and Shatrughan.
This was a great day in Ayodhya and since then this day is calebrated as Ram Navmi festival.

Ram navmi festival celebrations

Temples are decorated, special hawans are performed, along with the chanting of vedic mantras.
Image of baby Ram is placed on cradle and is rocked by devotees, with singing of bhajan and kirtan. Many Hindu keep fast for the day followed by feasting in the evening. Along with LOrd Ram people also worship Sita (his wife), Laxman (his brother) and Hanuman (his ardent devotee). In the evening a special Ram Navmi procession is taken on street.
In South India, Sitarama Kalyanam, i.e.ceremonial wedding of the Lord Ram and Sita are performed by the priests at the temple. At the end of the day the deity is taken to a procession on the streets, with great fanfare and accompanied by group chanting of name of Rama.
The important celebrations on this festival take place at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh and Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, thronged by thousands of devotees, and Rathayatras, the chariot processions, also known as Shobha yatras of Rama, his wife Sita, brother Lakshmana and devotee Hanuman, are taken out at several places, including Ayodhya where thousands of people take a dip in the sacred river Sarayu.
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Indian Mythology The Ramayana

Quiz on the Ramayana

Ramayana Quiz

The Ramayana has been written many times. First instance of this was written by Sage Valmiki who was initially a robber. Later, he chronicled the life events of Rama, who is an incarnation of Vishnu, which is called Shrimad Valmiki Ramayana.

1. __________was the vaidya(doctor) who healed Lakshman.

2.  Meghnaad was performing yagna to please the goddess ___________.

3. How Rama identified Vali from Sugriva, when the two brothers were fighting?

4. Who saved Rama and Laxman from Naagpasha?

5. Sita was imprisoned in __________ vatika.

6. Ravana contained amrit in his navel. Rama evaporated this by using _____________ weapon.

7. Who was Ravana’s wife?

8.  How many Kanda’s or books are there in Srimad Valmiki Ramayana?

9. Hanuman is said to be Brahmachari. Yet, he had a son. Can you name his  son?

10. There is one character in the Ramayana, who is also present in Mahabharata. Who is he?

11. Laxman was an incarnation of ____________.

12. First shloka of The Ramayana written by Valmiki is Maa Nishada Pratistham… This happened when birds was killed by a hunter and Valmiki complained with above shloka. Which were those birds?

13. Hanuman had two siddhis, garima and __________. With the help of these two, he could get past Sursa.

14. Rama intended to use Brahmastra couple of times, first, on Indra’s son, Jayant. On whom, he wanted to use this weapon second time?

15. Who was the teacher of the four princes, Rama, Laxmana, Bharata and Shatrughan.

 

16.  Name the wife of Bali (or Vali).

17. Rama took help of Sugriva and monkeys because he was cursed to this effect. Who cursed him?

18. After rejected by Rama, Sita lived in the hermitage of sage __________?

19. Indra’s son, in a form of bird, was annoying Rama and Sita. Rama intended to use brahmastra on him. In what form he(Indra’s son) was in?

20. Who was the mother of Sita?

21. Rama, Sita and Laxman lived in ____________ forests during their exile.

22. While Jatayu lost his life trying to save Sita from cluthes of Ravana, his brother lived to tell the details of the abduction to Rama. Name him?

23. in Bal Kand, Rama let the wife of Sage Gautam come out of a curse. Who was she?

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Indian Mythology The Ramayana

Ravana abducted Sita, fully knowing the consequences

Ravana – The great scholar

Ravana, mostly known as the person who kidnapped Sita and was later killed by Lord Rama.Lets look at other aspects of him and try to find out the exact reason behind the abduction of Sita.

Ravana was a great scholar, a devout devotee of Lord Shiva. He knew about the scriptures. He even wrote a book Ravana Samhita, which is on astrology.

Even Lord Rama had once addresed Ravana as a “Maha Brahmin” (Great Brahmin).

He did great penance to please Lord Shiva and offered to give him his all heads. His name Ravana came from the fact that once he was pinned down by Lord Shiva under the Mount Kailash and his cry was defeaning.

Baidyanath Jyotirlinga and Ravana

He also had the boon from Brahma which gave him immunity against everyone, save human and monkeys.

From these facts, this is clear that Ravana was a learned, scholar person, who believed in hindu gods, Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma. This facts becomes unfathomable that he decided to kidnap the wife of the trinity, Lord Vishnu’s avatar Lord Rama.

If we look more into this, Ravana did not chose to pray Lord Vishnu, when he prayed Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma. Why? he could have chosen to pray lord Vishnu.

The reason for abduction

There is a reason. This reason comes from the fact of Ravana’s birth. Ravana was actually a devout follower of Lord Vishnu. Once he and his brother (Jaya and Vijaya) have caused some discomfort to a great Sage and they were subjected to his wrath. The events, which followed this incident ensured that Jaya and Vijaya will have to take three births and they need to killed by Lord Vishnu, before they can be closer to him.

So, in all probability, as he was a great scholar, he must knew that his salvation was in getting killed by Lord Vishnu’s avatara. That is sole reason, he did not ask from immunity from humans, because he knew this very well that Lord Rama has taken avatar in a human form.

Now again, he was a good ruler, there was no apparent reason that he would be under threat from anyone. After all, he was a great warrior as well. So how he could meet almighty. So, he created a reason, he did the unthinkable. He abducted Sita.

Ravana and Sita

This was the masterstroke. Ravana first created rules, so that he could be only killed by a human. This human was an avatar of Lord Vishnu and capable of defeating him. Then he created a reason.

This way, he ensured that only Lord Vishnu will become the reason of his death. This was his ultimate wish, which he achieved.

Lord Rama first used Prasavapana for evaporating the nectar from his navel, and then decapacitated his head.

Rama and Ravana – The Ramayana

I would say, he was the great strategist and he executed his plans well, so that he achieved one more step towards unification with Lord Vishnu.

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51-Facts Indian Mythology Popular Articles The Ramayana

Ramayana facts

Ramayana is one of the most riveting epics from India. This story of Lord Rama has been told and retold in several languages from ancient India and is still relevant. The Ramayana is not only the story of Rama, but this is also a story of other people. For instance, Lakshman, Bharat and Hanuman. We can’t forget Sita, Urmila, Vibheeshana alongwith Kaikeyi and Manthra.

Lord Rama with his brothers, Sita and Hanumana

Following are some of the interesting facts from this epic.

 

1. Author of The Ramayana is Sage Valmiki. There are many more versions of this epic are available by various writers. Valmiki’s version is thus also known as Valmiki Ramayana. Another famous version is by Tulsidas, known as Ramcharitmanas.

2. This great epic is composed of rhyming couplets called ‘shlokas’, employing a complex meter called ‘anustup’. These verses are grouped into individual chapters called ‘sargas’, wherein a specific event or intent is told. The ‘sargas’ are again grouped into books called ‘kands’.

3 The whole story of the Ramayana is written in seven chapters, also known as kands. These are

Bal Kand – Rama’s boyhood.

Ayodhya Kand – Rama’s life in Ayodhya until his banishment.

Aranya Kand – Rama’s life in the forest and his abduction by Ravana.

Kishkindha Kand – Rama’s stay at Kishkindha, the capital of his monkey ally Sugriva.

Sundar Kand –  Rama’s journey to Sri Lanka

Yudh Kand or Lanka Kand – Rama’s battle with Ravana, the recovery of Sita and their return to Ayodhya.

Uttar Kand – Rama’s life as king in Ayodhya, the birth of his two sons, Sita’s test of innocence and return to her mother, and Rama’s demise. This kand completes the story of the ramayana.

4 Rama ( the principal character of the ramayana), and his brothers were born as the result of putra-kameshti yagya by Dashratha. At the end of the yagya, a bowl of dessert was given to Dashratha, which was distributed among his wives. Sumitra was fed twice, so she gave birth to twins. Dasharatha was born in the line of Ikshvaku (“the first king of the Ikshvaku dynasty and founder of the Solar Dynasty of Kshatriyas in Vedic civilization in ancient India”).

5. Rama is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, a dashavatar.

6 In their childhood, Rama and Laxman helped Vishwamitra and took care of Maricha and Subahu. Rama points his bow at the two, and with one arrow kills Subahu, and with the other arrow flings Mareecha thousands of miles away into the ocean

7. Sita is considered to be an incarnation of Goddess Laxmi. She is also believed to be the daughter of Bhoomi devi (earth). Sita was also known as Vaidehi. An interesting fact about Sita is that she is also considered to be a reincarnation of Vedvati, whom Ravan had tried to molest while she was under penance, so as to become the consort of Lord Vishnu. She then cursed Ravana to become the cause of his destruction in her next birth.

Rama and Laxman

8. Laxman or Lakshman is an incarnation of Sheshnaag or Adi Shesha. He also accompanied Lord Vishnu as Balrama in the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

9. Laxman never slept during the Rama’s exile. He is also known as Gudakesh, meaning, the one who has defeated “sleep”.

10. Laxman killed three sons of Ravana. While his killing of Meghnaad is more popular, other sons of Ravana were Prahast and Atikay.

11. Lord Shiva explained that Laxman would have escaped Shakti easily, but to respect the weapon, he took this on his chest.

12. The laxmanrekha episode is not mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayana. This is mentioned by Mandodri in Lanka kand in Ramcharitamanas.

Laxman draws Laxmanrekha

13. Laxman was the twin brother of Shatrughana. Their mother was Sumitra.

14. Lord Rama left this earth by taking the Jal Samadhi in Sarayu river.

15. During Sita Swayamvara, Rama broken the bow of Shiva to win her hand.

Lord Rama breaking Shiva Dhanush (bow) – The Ramayana

16. Parshurama challenged Rama to string the bow of Vishnu. Which Lord Rama easily did and asked him to tell him to where he should release the arrow. Parshuram realized that Rama is no ordinary man. This is worth noting that both of these warriors were incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

17. The shiva dhanush was easily moved by Sita during her childhood.  King Janak observed this and this incident set the condition of Sita swayamvar in the Ramayana.

18. Lord Rama helped Sugriva to get back the kingdom of Kishkindha. He helped Sugriva to defeat his brother, Vali. He later married Tara, Vali’s wife. Tara is one of the Panchkanya. Mandodari, the wife of Ravana, is also a panchkanya from the Ramayana.

Battle between Vali and Sugriva – Rama about to kill Vali

19  Rama, Laxman and Sita spent the vanvaas in Dandakaranya forests.

20 Laxman’s wife was Urmila. There is not much written about her, but she also made a supreme sacrifice while staying back in Ayodhya, while Laxman accompanied Rana and Sita for vanvaas. Urmila was Sita’s younger sister. Urmila slept both his and her shares of sleep so that Laxman remained awake protecting Rama and Sita. She slept for the whole period of exile (14 years) and only woke up when Laxmana returned to Ayodhya.

21 Tara was an apsara produced from the churning of ocean. During the churning, Vali was from gods side.

Unknown facts from Mahabharata

22. Jambavantha was created by Brahma, to assist Rama in his struggle against Ravana. During a duel with Ravana, he hit Ravana and Ravana  became unconscious. He also reminded Hanuman of his prowess, so he could cross the ocean and visit Lanka.

Jambvant praises Hanuman

23. Vali was famous for the boon that he had received, according to which anyone who came before him lost half his strength to Vali, thereby making Vali invulnerable to any enemy.

24. Vali had defeated Ravana as well. Once Ravana called Vali for a fight. He took Ravana in his tail and took him around all the world. Humbled, Ravana called for a truce.

25. Hanuman, because of boons from Surya, laghima and garima, could take various forms. He used them to defeat Sursa, Lankini, Cat in the Ramayana.

Hanuman and Sursa

26. Lord Hanuman is one of the 7 chiranjeevs. These immortals will live till the beginning of the next Satya Yuga. Hanuman slain the demon Kalanemi, while fetching sanjeevani herb. Kalanemi was sent by Ravana. Hanuman rejected a pearl necklace gifted by to him by Sita saying “I don’t accept anything that does not contain Ram.” To prove his point he ripped his chest to show the presence of Ram in his heart.

Ram, Lakshman and Hanumana

27. Hanuman also defied Sun from rising before time as it would have killed Laxman.

28. Hanuman was also shot by Bharat while flying over Ayodhya. Hanuman accepted the arrow as Lord Rama was written over it. Since he was shot on a leg, he had a limp.

29.  Shatrughan is supposed to be the incarnation of Vishnu’s conch. Shatrughna was married to Shrutakeerti, the daughter of King Kusadhbojan and his wife. Shrutakeerti was the cousin of Sita, daughter of King Janaka.

30 Shatrughana killed Lavanasura, a demon who was the son of Madhu. It is believed that Madhu is where Mathura is situated today.

31. Bharat was the husband to Mandavi, daughter of King Janaka’s brother Kushadhvaja and thus a cousin of Sita, who was wife of Rama. They had two sons, Taksha and Pushka. Thus, in the Ramayana, wives of all brothers were related.

32. Bharat is considered to be born in the aspect of the Sudarshana Chakra, the most famous of Vishnu’s Panchayudhas.

Sudarshan chakra

33. Ravana’s grandfather was Pulastya, one of the seven great sages or Saptarishis. His father was himself a great sage Vishrava. Ravana once broke his arm to construct a musical instrument to sing songs of praise for Shiva. It was called the Ravan Hatta. While Ravan lay dying Ram asked Laxmana to go up to him to learn all that Ravana had to offer since Ravan was a Brahman.

34. His mother was the princess of Daityas. Her name was Kaikesi. Kaikesi father was Sumali. Ravana was half Brahmin and half asura.

35. Kaikesi chose Vishrava as her husband in quest to mother a son who was incomparable.

36. Vishrava was the father of Kubera. Thus Ravana was the half brother of Kubera. Ravana conquered Sri Lanka from Kubera and became the King of Lanka.

37. Ravana was also an excellent veena player and the sign of his flag had a picture of veena on it.

38. Ravana had four brothers. Vibhishana, Kumbhakarna and Ahiravan and Mahiravan. Khara and Dushan are also believed to be his brothers.

39. Kumbhakarna was considered pious, intelligent and brave that Indra was jealous of him. Along with his brothers, Ravana andVibhishana, he performed a major yajnaand penance for Lord Brahma. When the time came for asking a boon (blessing) from Brahma, his tongue was tied by goddess Saraswati (acting on Indra’s request). So instead of asking “Indraasana” (seat of Indra), he asked for “Nidraasana” (bed for sleeping).

Kumbhakarna – The Ramayana

40. Kumbhakarna had two sons, Kumbha and Nikumbha, who too fought in the war against Rama and were killed.

41. Ravana also asked for absolute invulnerability from and supremacy over gods, heavenly spirits, other rakshas, serpents, and wild beasts. He did not ask for protection from mortal men, as he did not think that they would cause him any harm.

42. Rama and Laxman were abducted by Ahiravan. Ahiravan was the brother of Ravana and king of patala (netherworld).  The two brothers were saved by Hanuman.

43. Following the capture of Lanka, Ravana pleased Shiva with his penance. Shiva said to pinned Ravana with his toe, but he offered his ten heads to appease Shiva. Pleased with his resilience and devotion, Shiva gave to him the divine sword Chandrahas

44. Ravana was cursed by Nandi that Lanka would be destroyed by a monkey. Later Hanuman put Lanka into flames.

45 Hanuman defeated his son Makardhwaj when he was guarding Rama and Laxman and rescued the two brothers.

46. Hanuman killed Ahiravan and Mahiravan by taking his panchroopi form.

47. Ravana did severe penance to appease Brahma. Brahma blessed him with nectar which could keep him alive as long as it lasted.

48 Vibheeshana told this about to Rama when in the battlefield, every time Rama cut his head, another head sprang up. On his advise, Rama first dried the nectar using Prasvapana and later killed him. This is important to know that the ramayana puts importance to Vibheeshana, who left his brother and helped the cause of Dharma.

Rama using Prasavapana on Ravana

49. Sita remained with Agni when Ravana abducted her. When Ravana came to kidnap mother Sita and she saw him, she took shelter of Agni. The fire-god covered the body of mother Sita, and in this way she was protected from the hands of Ravana. The fire-god, Agni, took away the real Sita and brought her to the place of Parvati, goddess Durga. An illusory form of mother Sita was then delivered to Ravana. The original Sita went to the abode of the fire-god. During Agnipariksha, illusory Sita entered the fire. At that time Agni brought the original Sita from his abode and delivered her to Lord Ramachandra.

50. Sita summoned Bhoomi devi to take her back after completing the Agni pariksha.

51. Rama and all his brothers left their abode by taking Jal samadhi in Sarayu river. This completes the story of the Ramayana.

52. The stripes on the back of squirrels is supposed to be Ram’s caress for their dedication to help construct the bridge to Lanka.

Reading suggestion – 51 facts from Mahabharat

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The Ramayana

The Ramayana story in pictures – Ayodhya Kand (2)

Ayodhya Kand – The Ramayana in pictures

The Ramayana story is told by sage Valmiki in various kandas. This is the story which is told in Ayodhya kand and is primarily around Rama’s vanvaas. Kaikeyi and Manthra were the central characters towards Rama’s vanvaas.

Manthra and Kaikeyi

Manthra advised Kaikeyi to ask for her boons from Dashrath

Manthra advising Kaikeyi to ask for Bharat’s ascendance to throne. Kaikeyi had two boons from Dashrath. Dashrath was the king of ayodhya and Kaikeyi’s husband.

 Kaikeyi in kopa bhavan

Kaikeyi in kopabhavan – asking for her two boons to Dashrath

She asks Dashrath for two boons. These boons have been given to her when Dashrath was helped by Kaikeyi in Dev Asur sangram. He was wounded in the battle field and Kaikeyi rode her to safety and later, tended him. Pleased with her, Dashrath asked her for two boons. She has now asked for Bharat’s coronation and Rama’s banishment.

Dashrath and Kaikeyi

Rama is exiled for fourteen years and Bharat becomes the king of Ayodhya. Dashrath dies as he could not cope up with the parting of Rama. Dashrath had a curse earlier because of that he had to leave this world in this manner.

Once while hunting, he accidentally killed Shravan Kumar. Shravan kumar was a dedicated son who was serving his blind parents. When Dashrath told this unfortunate incident to them, they cursed him saying that he would also suffer for his son as they are suffering because of him.

Shravan kumar and his parents

Dashrath and Shravan Kumar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dashrath’s was inconsolable when Rama, laxman and Sita were preparing to go to the forests.

Ram laxman preparing to go to vanvaas

Rama, alongwith Laxman and Sita go to forest to abide with their father orders.

Rama, Laxman and Sita

Bharat requests him to come back. But Rama refused as this was his duty to obey his father’s orders. Bharat then asks for his sandals and he put Rama’s sandals on the throne of Ayodhya. He then conducted the governance in the name of Lord Rama.

Rama and Bharat

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The Ramayana Weapon

Weapons in the period of The Ramayana

Weapons used in the times of the Ramayana

Long before the advent of nuclear weapons, we heard it many times in Indian mythology and ancient texts that not only powerful weapons existed, but they were also used by various people. Some of these weapons had the power to annihilate the whole universe. This provides us with some fascinating reading, as we can related to these weapons with modern warfare.

Lord Rama and his weapons

Probably the most written and popular is the Brahmastra, which is has found mention in Mahabharat and The Ramayana. This was the most potent and could be used once in the lieftime.  Lord Ram earlier intended to use this against Sagar (Sea god),as he wanted to ocean to give way to Lanka. Sagar was not yielding when Rama requested him, so as the last measure, he resorted to use the Brahmastra. Sagar promplty complied. By this time, the Brahmastra was invoked, so Rama has directed it towards a place, where it could do minimal harm.

When Rama invoked Brahmastra on Sagar (Sea God)

Ravana’s killing: Lord Rama used prasvapna as the means to evaporate the amrita (nectar) from Ravana, which was the reason Ravana was not dying. This important advice was given by Vibheeshana to him.

Rama using Prasavapan on Ravana

 

In the war,  he used Gandharvastra to kill 14000 asurs, as this weapon compelled asuras to think that the next person fighting to them is Rama. Thus they fought with each other and killed themselves. Only two people knew to use this weapon, Rama and Ravana, though Ram only had the knowledge to neutralize this.

Earlier, in his student days, Lord Rama used Manava upon Maricha.

Ravana killing by Lord Rama – The Ramayana

Lakshman and his weapons

Lakshman used various weapons in this war. He has killed Ravana’s son Meghnad. He used Varunaastra which Meghnaad failed. He used Sauryaastra to neutralize Meghnaad’s Aagneyastra . Then Lakshman had to use powerful weapon named Maheshwar to stop Meghnad’s asur weapon. Meghnad was killed when Lakshman used Indrastra. Prior to that Meghnaad used his powerful weapon Shakti, due to which Laskhman was unconscious on battle field. Hanuman brought Sanjeevani to revive him.

Hanuman bringing sanjeevani booti to revive Laxman

Meghnaad managed to imprison Rama and Laxmana in Naagpaash. Hanuman sought the help of Garud to free Rama and Lakshman. This is a very interesting and important incident, where the gods have been rendered helpless and had to seek help of mortals. Thus this mythology story is a teacher which teaches us to be humble, as help is needed by gods too.

 

Meghnaad used naga astra against Ram and Laxman

 

Ram and Laxman in nagpaash – revived by Garuda

 

Meghnaad’s boon and his death – Meghnaad had this boon that he could not be killed after performing a yagya. After completing the yagya, he would have received a rath (chariot) and while sitting on this, he could not be killed. Rama was told by Vibheeshan of this fact and Rama ordered him, Lakshman and Hanuman to go and stop this yagya. There was a precondition that he could not touch any weapon when performing this yagya.

There they disturbed his yagya and did not allow him to complete the yagya. So he had to get up in the middle of the yagya and fought with Lakshman and Hanumaan only with Yagya utensils. He was very angry with Vibheeshan, his uncle. He had saved a Divine Astra, Yamastra, to kill him, so he used it to kill him, but Kuber had already warned Lakshman about it, so Lakshman countered it and saved himself. Meghnaad used his three most fierce Astra (BrahmastraPashupatastra and Vaishnavastra) at Lakshman but to his surprise none of them even touched him; rather Vaishnavaastra circumambulated Lakshman before disappearing.

Meghnaad realized that Lakshman was no ordinary man, so he briefly disappeared from the battle ground and came to his father, told him everything and requested to make peace with Rama. But Ravana rebuked him for being coward, so Meghnaad again came to the battle after bidding good bye to his parents and wife. He fought with Lakshman fiercely and then was killed by Indrastra.

Laxman killing Indrajit

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Categories
Children stories Indian Mythology Mahabharat The Ramayana

Interesting birth stories from Indian mythology

Birth of Rama, Pandavas, Jarasandh and others

Indian or hindu mythology talk about interesting stories of  births as well. We find instances where great characters came to earth in different way. One common way is that eating dessert or fruit results in birth of a child.
We find this once in the period of The Ramayana and once in the period of Mahabharata.

Birth of Rama (An incarnation of Vishnu Dashavatar)

Dashrath, the king of Ayodhya, has three queens but he was deprived of children. He resorted to penance and after a dedicated worship and havana, messenger of Brahma offered him divine dessert, which was supposed to give sons to Dasharatha. He distributed the dessert to his queens and they soon became pregnant and later became the proud mothers of Ram, Laxman, Bharat and Shatrughan. This is how, one of the dashavatars of Vishnu, Rama was born.

Dashrath performing yagna and receiving prasad from Agni god

 

Birth of Jarasandh

Jarasandha was the king of Magadha.  Jarasandh’s father has done severe penance to get a son.  His father got a Magical mango from a sage. It was told that the his queen will get pregnant upon eating the fruit. He distributed the fruit in two halves and gave each half to his two wives. Both delivered a half of a baby , born dead.The king ordered the two halves to be thrown. A demon called Jara was wandering nearby and she noticed the pieces and joined them into one. The baby came alive. It was named as Jarasandh in the honour of the rakshasi. The boy became a very strong man. He defeated and captured 86 kings and kept them prisoner, intending to execute all of them in a sacrifice, once the number reached hundred. This will make him invincible and the ruler of world. For the success of Rajasooya yagya, Krishna, Arjuna and Bheema, went to him disguised as Brahmins and asked him to choose one of them to fight him. He rejected Shri Krishna saying that he was of inferior birth. He also denied Arjuna for a fight because he thought he was a child. He chose Bheema as he appeared suitable for a fight. The fight lasted a long time, thirteen days. Finally, acting upon Krishna’s advise, Bheema tore Jarasandha into two pieces, and tossed the pieces (cut lengthwise) facing opposite directions. This is how Jarasandha was killed in the same way he was born. Thus, as a result of killing of ruler of Magadh, Jarasandh, the path of
Rajsooya yagya was cleared. Yudhishthira later completed the Rajsooya yagya. This story is from the times of Mahabharata.

 

Birth of Drona

Drona was born in a vessel. Sage Bhardwaj produced reproductive fluid after seeing an apsara Ghritachi. He preserved this is a vessel (droon). Drona was thus developed from this fluid. Drona would later boast that he had sprung from Bharadwaja without ever having been in a womb. Even Drona’s wife, Kripi, was gestated outside a womb. Kripi and her brother Kripacharya were the children of the great archer, Shardwan. Indra felt threatened by him and sent an apsara to lose his control over his brahmacharya, thus saving his throne. This story is again from the times of Mahabharata.

Drona and Dhrishtdyumna – Mahabharat

 

Birth of Kauravas

Few people know that Kauravas birth was unnatural as well. Gandhari longed for hundred sons, and Vyasa granted her a boon that she would have these. She was unable to have any children for a long time and she eventually became pregnant, but did not deliver for two years, after which she gave birth to a lump of flesh. Vyasa cut this lump into a
hundred and one pieces, and these eventually developed into a hundred boys and one girl, Dushala.

Gandhari and Kauravas – birth – Mahabharat – Indian Mythology

 

Birth of Karna and Pandavas

Kunti was the mother of first three pandavas. When she was young, the sage Durvasa told her a mantra with which Kunti could summon any deva and have a child by him. When Kunti asked why he gave her this mantra, he told her that it would be useful to her later in life. Kunti, out of curiosity tried the mantra before her marriage and became the mother of  Karna. She had to let her son go and he was brought up by Adhirath.

Birth of Karna and Kunti letting him go away

Later, after marriage, she bore three more sons and shared the mantra with Madri, who became the mother of Nakula and Sahdev.

Pandavas and Draupadi

Categories
Indian Mythology Mahabharat

Stories of Boon in Indian mythology

 Stories of Boons from Indian Mythology

In Indian mythology, especially in times of Mahabharat and The Ramayana, we find many interesting stories related to boons. These boons were awarded by gods and sages to their devotees.  The devotees  performed penance so that they can be granted boons. Following are the narratives of some of the famous boons.

 The boon (or curse) of Ashwaththama

 It is believed that Ashwaththama had a boon from his father Drona, that he would not die. Another account say that he was cursed by Shri Krishna to live in seclusion till the end of Kalyuga. This is because he targeted Parikshit in an attempt to render the Pandavas heirless.

In Mahabharat war, Ashwaththama using the powerful weeapon – Brahmashira

The boon of Bhishma

Bhishma had a similar boon to choose his own death. His father Shantanu bestowed this boon to him after he declared that he will never marry, so that Satyavati’s sons can become the ruler of the kingdom. Before that, he also forgone the throne, which was rightfully his.

Bhishma taking oath for being unmarried – Bhishma Pratigya

The boon (or curse) of Kumbhakarna

 Kumbhakarna pleased Brahma and intended to ask the throne of Indra as a boon. But Indra asked Saraswati to help him. So instead of asking “Indraasana” (seat of Indra), he asked for “Nidraasana” (bed for sleeping). It is also said he intended to ask for Nirdevatvam (annihilation of the Devas), and instead asked for Nidravatvam (sleep). His request was granted. But his brother Ravana asked Brahma to undo this boon as it was in reality a curse. So Kumbhakarna slept, and was awake for six months, when he ate everything in the vicinity, including humans.

Boon of fragrance to Satyavati by Parashar

Satyavati, the mother of author of Mahabharat, Ved Vyasa smelled like a fish. Sage Parashar saw her once and got smitten by her beauty and proposed her. Satyavati put forth couple of conditions, one of them was that she should get rid of the smell from her body. Parashar told her that this would be fulfilled and instead of the smell, a fragrance will emanate from her body which can be sensed miles away.

Vyasa boon to Gandhari for hundred sons.
Ved vyasa has told Gandhari that she would be a mother of hundred sons. These sons were born from a lump of mass which gandhari gave birth to after pregnancy of two years. Ved Vyasa cut them into pieces and put them into jars. With time they came out as sons of gandhari thus making his boon true.

Gandhari mourning the death of her son – Mahabharat

The boon of Vali
Vali was famous for the boon from lord Shiva, according to which anyone who came before him lost half his strength to Vali, thereby making Vali invulnerable to any enemy. Once Ravana called Vali for a fight when Vali was doing his regular Sandhyavandanam. He took Ravana in his tail and took him around all the world. He was killed by Rama, when Sugriva was fighting with him.

Battle between Vali and Sugriva – Rama about to kill Vali

The boon of Jayadratha

Jayadratha had been enslaved by the Pandavas as a punishment for trying to kidnap Draupadi. Enraged, Jayadratha had performed penances to please Lord Shiva who granted him the boon that he would be able to overpower all the Pandavas except Arjuna on one day in battle. Abhimanyu entered the Chakravyuha and the Pandavas tried to follow him but Jayadratha single handedly held them all back and Abhimanyu, unaided, was killed in the Chakravyuha.

The boon of Bhasmasur

Bhasmasur obtained a boon from Lord Shiva that anything will turn into ashes, if he put his hand. He tried to test his boon on Lord Shiva only. Lord Vishnu came to his rescue and saved Lord Shiva from Bhasmasur.

Link to Recommended Reading

 

Categories
Indian Mythology Mahabharat Series of Seven The Ramayana

Seven interesting death stories – Indian mythology

Death stories from Mahabharata and The Ramayana – Indian Mythology

Though this topic seems a bit unusual, but there are enough incidents in Indian mythology, especially in Mahabharat and in the Ramayana, which compel me to write an article on the matter. These are a bit peculiar, so they warrant your attention. Interested? Read on…

Death of Ravana

Ravana’s – A character from the Ramayana

This is the story from the period of the Ramayana.  Ravana has obtained a boon from Lord Shiva that he shall not be slain by the Devas, the divine beings, Gandharvas, the Yakshas or by the Rakshasas. He did not include human beings into the list. Lord Vishnu took birth as a human in the form of Rama, and thus Ravana could be killed.

Jayadrath

Jayadrath was brother in law of Kauravas. He had a boon from Lord Shiva that he can stop all Pandavas for a day in a battle except Arjuna. He did so on thirteenth day of the Mahabharata war and did not allow pandavas to come into the chakravyuha. Arjuna’s son knew to enter the chakravyuha and he was trapped there as Pandavas could not follow him. Abhimanyu died a glorious death while defending Yudhishthira.

Arjuna vowed that the next day, he will kill Jayadrath or set himself on fire. The next day, Shri Krishna has to resort to his exploits when he made the sun to disappear using his Sudarshan chakra. Seeing this, Jayadratha came out of hiding to celebrate  Arjuna’s defeat. At this point of time, Shri Krishna withdrew the chakra and told Arjuna – Here is the Sun and here is Jayadrath, so kill him. Arjuna duly obliged and thus Jayadrath was killed in the Mahabharata war.

Jayadrath (Mahabharata)

Here is another story, Jayadrath was granted a boon by his father, sage Vridhakshtra that whosoever causes Jayadrath’s head to fall, his head will be burst in 100 pieces.  Shri Krishna directed Arjuna to cut his head in such a way that it falls in the lap of his father. You know what could have happened next?

Jayadratha killed by Arjuna

Hiranyakashyap

Hirankashyap had a boon from Brahma that “I should die neither in the morning nor in the evening, neither inside of my house not outside of my house, neither n earth nor in sky, not by any creature created by you and not by any weapon.”

Narsingh Avatar of Lord Vishnu – Dashavatar of Vishnu

Lord Vishnu took the form of Narasingh avatar and killed him in a place and at a time which fulfilled above prophecy. Bhagwan Narsingh’s  head was of a lion and his body was of a human being (He was not the creature created by Lord Brahma). He immediately attacked Hiranyakashyap and fought with him. He fought till it was evening (neither day nor night). At that time he picked him up, took him to the door (neither inside the house nor outside the house), kept his body on his lap (neither on Prithvi nor in the sky) and ripped his stomach with his nails (not with any kind of weapon).

Bhasmasur

Bhasmasur obtained a boon from Shiva that any person who is touched by Bhasmasur on his head, will burn into ashes immediately. After obtaining this, he tried to test this on Shiva. Shiva had to flee and he sought Bhagwan Vishnu’s help in this. He soon appeared before him in a form of beautiful lady, Mohini. Mohini asked Bhasmasur to match him while dancing and she will marry him. During the competition, she put a hand on her head, Bhasmasur obliged and immediately turned into Ashes.

How Bhasmasur was killed?

Pandu

 Pandu had a curse from Sage Kindam. Kindam died when he was spending time with his wife in the guise of deer. Pandu was hunting and he accidentally killed the couple. They cursed him that he will die similarly. Later, a day in forest, Pandu was with his wife Madri and forgot about the curse. Soon, both of them died as a result of the curse. This story is from the days of Mahabharat.

Jarasandh

Fight between Bhima and Jarasandh while Krishna watches

This story is from Mahabharat period. Jarasandh was killed in the same way he was born, in two pieces. Mighty Bhima, one of the Pandavas, fought a one to one battle with him and torn him in two pieces and threw them in opposite directions. Jarasandh was born in two halves after his father distributed the divine fruit to two of his wives. He was immensely powerful and was planning to become immortal when Krishna intervened. The fight between Bhima and Jarasandh reached and end only after Shri Krishna advised Bhima to throw the two halves of Jarasandh in opposite directions. Shri Krishna, the central character of Mahabharat, has been instrumental in many such incidents.

Sri Krishna, Bheema and Arjuna visit Jarasandh

Death of Bali or Vali

Rama killed Vali in the period of the Ramayana

In the period of the ramayana, bali and sugriva were two brothers. Bali has the boon that he will get the half strength of his opponent in any battle. Thus it was impossible to beat him by fighting with him. Bali has also done injustice to his brother Sugriva. Ram, decided to help him and asked Sugriva to fight with his brother with a garland. Thus Rama identified Sugriva and killed Bali with an arrow from hiding. Sugriva, later helped Rama when he searched his wife, Sita and his vaanar sena helped in fighting the war with Ravana.